To The Editor:
For far too long, the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island have been denigrated as the “outer boroughs” of New York City. We are in fact, not satellites, but all part of our great city.
This division manifests itself in many ways. When important hearings are held dealing with land use and other issues, local residents have to trek to Manhattan to express their opinions. The City Planning Commission, the Board of Standards and Appeals, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission all operate from downtown Manhattan. This makes it difficult for residents of the four non-Manhattan boroughs to appear to testify on matters that affect the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Why can’t these agencies come to the four other boroughs on a regular basis and hold hearings dealing with each borough’s issues?
And why don’t we see our citywide elected officials and agency heads coming to all of the boroughs to listen to the taxpayers who pay their salaries?
We need to see the citywide elected people and agency heads on a regular basis, not just at election time or at some grand event. I would strongly suggest that the leaders appear in each of the five boroughs at least once a month to listen to the residents and their concerns. We are concerned about education, transportation, housing issues, crime prevention, health care, the environment, taxes, utility rates and all aspects of community life. These leaders should come to a civic or community organization meeting.
Recently, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña came to Little Neck, but was only able to stay one hour to listen to and answer questions regarding residents’ concerns about our local schools. Her appearance was most welcome. So I would urge them to venture out of downtown Manhattan and meet the locals. We are friendly and don’t bite!