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Political trio promises funding hike for seniors at Briarwood JC forum

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State Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing) and City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) addressed seniors during the Briarwood Jewish Center’s candidates’ day Monday, promising to increase senior services and to deal with concerns such as inconvenient polling sites, an overgrown walkway and intersection cross lights.

Several seniors at the center said both their representatives and polling places had been changed recently after legislators redrew district lines, causing confusion.

“There’s different people, different districts ... Anthony Weiner was my guy, and now he’s not,” said Hilda Kornhauser, the recording secretary for the sisterhood of the Briarwood Jewish Center.

Both Mayersohn and McLaughlin are running unopposed in their bids for re-election to the state Assembly this year. Mayersohn’s district is essentially unchanged, but McLaughlin’s district has shifted dramatically in many new areas for the veteran politician.

Gennaro is serving his first term in the City Council, elections for which are not until next year.

Mayersohn said she was concerned about the confusion over polling places because it had caused some residents to not vote during the September primary.

“I went to every school in my district, and people were walking away from the poll saying I’m not going to vote,” said Mayersohn.

Mayersohn lost part of the Briarwood district after the redistricting this year. The part that she lost now belongs to McLaughlin.

“I was delighted to come by and to follow Nettie around,” said McLaughlin. “We will work closely together to serve the Briarwood community.”

McLaughlin said he hoped to implement a free bus service for seniors that would pick them up from their homes and take them to wherever they wanted to go, whether it was a museum, a Broadway play or a restaurant.

In addition, McLaughlin said he was planning on organizing a bus trip to Albany for constituents to demonstrate for senior rights.

The major concern addressed by Gennaro was a walkway along Main Street, just north of Queens Boulevard that is flanked by two beds of grassy weeds.

When the weeds and grass are left untrimmed, they grow to several feet high and begin to cover the walkway, said Theresa Lagala, an 88-year-old woman who lives in Tulane Hall by 84th Road.

In addition, the walkway is not shoveled in the winter, and in the fall the walkway can become slippery when it is covered with leaves, said Lagala.

According to Gennaro, maintenance of the walkway is the responsibility of about 20 private houses located a few feet above the walkway on Pershing Crescent between Morton Street and 84th Road. But he said it was impractical to expect each house to trim its own bit of weeds, especially when the area is significantly separated from the houses.

“Everybody wants this to be completely converted to concrete,” said Albert Gasparo, a resident of 84-01 Main St. who collected more than 600 signatures for a petition to complain about the walkway. “We want the bushes to be pruned. We don’t want this street to look like a rural town in Louisiana, we want it to look like a main artery in the city.”

Gennaro called the walkway the “gateway to the Briarwood community” and vowed to fix it up, if he had to cut the grass himself.

The councilman also promised to deal with a traffic light at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and Main Street which seniors complained changed too quickly to allow them to cross the street completely.

Reach reporter Tien-Shun Lee by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com, or call 229-0300,Ext. 155.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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