Flood mitigation infrastructure project in Flushing now complete

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

The city Department of Environmental Protection announced the completion of extensive infrastructure upgrades in Flushing to combat flooding in a $71 million project.

Elected officials from the surrounding neighborhoods praised the city’s effort to upgrade the aging storm sewer system with over 7,700 feet of pipes and a 53 catch basin on the western edge of Flushing.

“This $71 million investment in Flushing will significantly upgrade the sewer system, improve drainage, reduce flooding, and provide a reliable supply of water,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has been a longtime opponent of DEP’s bioswale program in east Flushing, a green installation concept that absorbs rainwater into the ground as opposed to washing it out to sea via storm sewers, in favor of more traditional methods controlling water runoff. He expressed gratitude for the effort to bring more conventional flood mitigation solutions.

“The sewers and water mains in Flushing, College Point, and Whitestone have been significantly upgraded thanks to this $71 million investment, which will also help alleviate flooding,” Avella said. “I’m happy to see these neighborhoods benefitting from such a large-scale, multi-phase infrastructure project and look forward to the relief and improved quality of life it will bring residents.”

The new storm sewers are situated along the Whitestone Expressway Service Road between 25th Avenue and Flushing Creek, as well as in the neighboring communities on 144th Street, Union Street, 25th Road, Farrington Street and Higgins Street.

“This project is an example of the quality-of-life improvements that our community needs. The flooding induced by heavy rainstorms has forced many businesses in the area to temporarily close their doors when they could be serving customers,” state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) said. “These infrastructure improvements will benefit the residents and businesses here in Flushing. As the representative of a rapidly developing community, I look forward to more projects that will continue to strengthen our infrastructure.”

Along with an additional 1,800 linear feet of sanitary sewers, the project should improve water supply reliability to the surrounding communities. In addition, 22 new fire hydrants have been installed.

“These infrastructure upgrades are an important investment in our borough’s future and will do a great deal to improve roadway drainage and mitigate flooding,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said.

As the project wrapped, roads were repaved with new curbs, sidewalks, pedestrian ramps, streetlights and traffic signals along with 166 trees planted.

“Improving drainage and reducing flooding are critical infrastructure needs in Flushing, and I thank the city for working to make sure our community is equipped with these basic necessities,” said City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing). “Flushing and its surrounding communities still have a long way to go until our waterways are able to meet federal standards of cleanliness, and I will continue working with the DEP and every advocate in our community until the day we can make our waterways truly fishable and swimmable.”

According to DEP, this is only the first phase of a larger project. A total of $130 million combined will be going to the next phase — set to begin this year — and Phase III, which has a 2020 start date.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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Source: Times Ledger

Flood mitigation infrastructure project in Flushing now complete

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

The city Department of Environmental Protection announced the completion of extensive infrastructure upgrades in Flushing to combat flooding in a $71 million project.

Elected officials from the surrounding neighborhoods praised the city’s effort to upgrade the aging storm sewer system with over 7,700 feet of pipes and a 53 catch basin on the western edge of Flushing.

“This $71 million investment in Flushing will significantly upgrade the sewer system, improve drainage, reduce flooding, and provide a reliable supply of water,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has been a longtime opponent of DEP’s bioswale program in east Flushing, a green installation concept that absorbs rainwater into the ground as opposed to washing it out to sea via storm sewers, in favor of more traditional methods controlling water runoff. He expressed gratitude for the effort to bring more conventional flood mitigation solutions.

“The sewers and water mains in Flushing, College Point, and Whitestone have been significantly upgraded thanks to this $71 million investment, which will also help alleviate flooding,” Avella said. “I’m happy to see these neighborhoods benefitting from such a large-scale, multi-phase infrastructure project and look forward to the relief and improved quality of life it will bring residents.”

The new storm sewers are situated along the Whitestone Expressway Service Road between 25th Avenue and Flushing Creek, as well as in the neighboring communities on 144th Street, Union Street, 25th Road, Farrington Street and Higgins Street.

“This project is an example of the quality-of-life improvements that our community needs. The flooding induced by heavy rainstorms has forced many businesses in the area to temporarily close their doors when they could be serving customers,” state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) said. “These infrastructure improvements will benefit the residents and businesses here in Flushing. As the representative of a rapidly developing community, I look forward to more projects that will continue to strengthen our infrastructure.”

Along with an additional 1,800 linear feet of sanitary sewers, the project should improve water supply reliability to the surrounding communities. In addition, 22 new fire hydrants have been installed.

“These infrastructure upgrades are an important investment in our borough’s future and will do a great deal to improve roadway drainage and mitigate flooding,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said.

As the project wrapped, roads were repaved with new curbs, sidewalks, pedestrian ramps, streetlights and traffic signals along with 166 trees planted.

“Improving drainage and reducing flooding are critical infrastructure needs in Flushing, and I thank the city for working to make sure our community is equipped with these basic necessities,” said City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing). “Flushing and its surrounding communities still have a long way to go until our waterways are able to meet federal standards of cleanliness, and I will continue working with the DEP and every advocate in our community until the day we can make our waterways truly fishable and swimmable.”

According to DEP, this is only the first phase of a larger project. A total of $130 million combined will be going to the next phase — set to begin this year — and Phase III, which has a 2020 start date.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Terrace On The Park

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Source: Times Ledger

Flood mitigation infrastructure project in Flushing now complete

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

The city Department of Environmental Protection announced the completion of extensive infrastructure upgrades in Flushing to combat flooding in a $71 million project.

Elected officials from the surrounding neighborhoods praised the city’s effort to upgrade the aging storm sewer system with over 7,700 feet of pipes and a 53 catch basin on the western edge of Flushing.

“This $71 million investment in Flushing will significantly upgrade the sewer system, improve drainage, reduce flooding, and provide a reliable supply of water,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has been a longtime opponent of DEP’s bioswale program in east Flushing, a green installation concept that absorbs rainwater into the ground as opposed to washing it out to sea via storm sewers, in favor of more traditional methods controlling water runoff. He expressed gratitude for the effort to bring more conventional flood mitigation solutions.

“The sewers and water mains in Flushing, College Point, and Whitestone have been significantly upgraded thanks to this $71 million investment, which will also help alleviate flooding,” Avella said. “I’m happy to see these neighborhoods benefitting from such a large-scale, multi-phase infrastructure project and look forward to the relief and improved quality of life it will bring residents.”

The new storm sewers are situated along the Whitestone Expressway Service Road between 25th Avenue and Flushing Creek, as well as in the neighboring communities on 144th Street, Union Street, 25th Road, Farrington Street and Higgins Street.

“This project is an example of the quality-of-life improvements that our community needs. The flooding induced by heavy rainstorms has forced many businesses in the area to temporarily close their doors when they could be serving customers,” state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) said. “These infrastructure improvements will benefit the residents and businesses here in Flushing. As the representative of a rapidly developing community, I look forward to more projects that will continue to strengthen our infrastructure.”

Along with an additional 1,800 linear feet of sanitary sewers, the project should improve water supply reliability to the surrounding communities. In addition, 22 new fire hydrants have been installed.

“These infrastructure upgrades are an important investment in our borough’s future and will do a great deal to improve roadway drainage and mitigate flooding,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said.

As the project wrapped, roads were repaved with new curbs, sidewalks, pedestrian ramps, streetlights and traffic signals along with 166 trees planted.

“Improving drainage and reducing flooding are critical infrastructure needs in Flushing, and I thank the city for working to make sure our community is equipped with these basic necessities,” said City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing). “Flushing and its surrounding communities still have a long way to go until our waterways are able to meet federal standards of cleanliness, and I will continue working with the DEP and every advocate in our community until the day we can make our waterways truly fishable and swimmable.”

According to DEP, this is only the first phase of a larger project. A total of $130 million combined will be going to the next phase — set to begin this year — and Phase III, which has a 2020 start date.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Queens Theatre

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Source: Times Ledger

Flood mitigation infrastructure project in Flushing now complete

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

The city Department of Environmental Protection announced the completion of extensive infrastructure upgrades in Flushing to combat flooding in a $71 million project.

Elected officials from the surrounding neighborhoods praised the city’s effort to upgrade the aging storm sewer system with over 7,700 feet of pipes and a 53 catch basin on the western edge of Flushing.

“This $71 million investment in Flushing will significantly upgrade the sewer system, improve drainage, reduce flooding, and provide a reliable supply of water,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has been a longtime opponent of DEP’s bioswale program in east Flushing, a green installation concept that absorbs rainwater into the ground as opposed to washing it out to sea via storm sewers, in favor of more traditional methods controlling water runoff. He expressed gratitude for the effort to bring more conventional flood mitigation solutions.

“The sewers and water mains in Flushing, College Point, and Whitestone have been significantly upgraded thanks to this $71 million investment, which will also help alleviate flooding,” Avella said. “I’m happy to see these neighborhoods benefitting from such a large-scale, multi-phase infrastructure project and look forward to the relief and improved quality of life it will bring residents.”

The new storm sewers are situated along the Whitestone Expressway Service Road between 25th Avenue and Flushing Creek, as well as in the neighboring communities on 144th Street, Union Street, 25th Road, Farrington Street and Higgins Street.

“This project is an example of the quality-of-life improvements that our community needs. The flooding induced by heavy rainstorms has forced many businesses in the area to temporarily close their doors when they could be serving customers,” state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) said. “These infrastructure improvements will benefit the residents and businesses here in Flushing. As the representative of a rapidly developing community, I look forward to more projects that will continue to strengthen our infrastructure.”

Along with an additional 1,800 linear feet of sanitary sewers, the project should improve water supply reliability to the surrounding communities. In addition, 22 new fire hydrants have been installed.

“These infrastructure upgrades are an important investment in our borough’s future and will do a great deal to improve roadway drainage and mitigate flooding,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said.

As the project wrapped, roads were repaved with new curbs, sidewalks, pedestrian ramps, streetlights and traffic signals along with 166 trees planted.

“Improving drainage and reducing flooding are critical infrastructure needs in Flushing, and I thank the city for working to make sure our community is equipped with these basic necessities,” said City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing). “Flushing and its surrounding communities still have a long way to go until our waterways are able to meet federal standards of cleanliness, and I will continue working with the DEP and every advocate in our community until the day we can make our waterways truly fishable and swimmable.”

According to DEP, this is only the first phase of a larger project. A total of $130 million combined will be going to the next phase — set to begin this year — and Phase III, which has a 2020 start date.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Terrace On The Park

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Police search for missing Rochdale woman

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By Naeisha Rose

TimesLedger Newspapers

Police were searching for a Rochdale woman was reported missing Saturday.

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Ingrid Wallace, 65, was last seen April 7 at 4 p.m. at her Rochdale residence between 157 Street and North Conduit Avenue, according to the NYPD.

Police described Wallace as approximately 5 feet, 2 inches tall and 160 pounds with a dark complexion, dark hair and brown eyes.

She was last seen wearing blue jeans and sneakers and a green blouse.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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State budget passes provisions to protect workers against sexual harassment

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By Gina Martinez

TimesLedger Newspapers

The state Legislature has reached an agreement on a series of policy changes to protect workers against sexual harassment as part of the fiscal year 2019 state budget.

State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing) serves as chair of the Assembly’s Task Force on Women’s Issues, a workgroup on sexual harassment put together earlier this year by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx). The group is made up of 14 assembly members – 10 of whom are women.

Over the last few months, the work group reviewed policy proposals — including non-disclosure agreements, sexual harassment prevention training initiatives and settlement payouts that would cover both private and public employees.

Rozic said that from the start of session, it was made clear that this year’s budget would not only address pressing fiscal challenges, but effective measures to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

“I am proud of the efforts led by the Assembly’s majority working with colleagues to ensure that this is the first step toward ending the culture of sexual harassment that has been ingrained in so many industries,” she said.

Lawmakers reached an agreement that the state Division of Human Rights will create and publish a guidance policy to prevent sexual harassment. New policies will be required to be distributed to employees and include examples of prohibited conduct that would be considered unlawful sexual harassment, a procedure outlining the timely and confidential investigation of complaints, and information on all available paths of recourse for those coming forward with complaints of sexual harassment, Rozic said.

The state budget also includes provisions to protect those who fall outside of the definition of “employee.” The provisions make it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to allow the sexual harassment of non-employees in its workplace. A non-employee includes independent contractors, subcontractors, vendors or consultants.

Rozic plans to host a series of discussions in an effort to inform New Yorkers about the provisions in the enacted budget. She said the discussions will build on her efforts that began in October when she introduced the “Models Harassment Protection Act,” legislation that would provide models with protections against sexual and other forms of harassment in the industry.

Rozic said the state finally took action because of women who came forward and broke their silence during last year’s growing “Me Too” movement.

“While the state budget includes overdue legislation to prevent sexual harassment in various workplaces, the next step is ensuring that these measures are enforced and that we continue to meet with advocates and discuss the next steps to further strengthen New York’s sexual harassment policies,” she said.

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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Students from two Queens schools pack Easter baskets for children in homeless shelters

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By Bill Parry

TimesLedger Newspapers

Students from St. John’s Prep in Astoria and St. Leo’s Catholic Academy in Corona donated their time and efforts to brighten the Easter holiday for children living in two shelters for homeless families Sunday.

The youngsters prepared 161 brightly decorated Easter baskets filled with candy, small toys, craft and hygiene items and delivered them to the Boulevard Family Residence at the former Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst and the Metro Family Shelter in Woodside as part of a project spearheaded by St. John’s Prep dance director Debra Befumo.

“As a child, I couldn’t wait to receive an Easter basket filled with toys from my parents, but for children living in shelters, such gifts are usually not possible,” Befumo said. “Our project allows these children to forget any struggles they might be facing and enjoy their childhood doing what all kids love to do: play!”

The students who volunteered for the St. John’s Prep Easter Basket Project enjoyed participating.

“Perhaps the kids receiving these baskets will remember this always, and this memory will cause them to reflect upon the real celebration of this Easter holiday,” St. John’s Prep Junior Georgia Patronas said. St. Leo’s first grader Javion Halbert added, “There were a lot of baskets and the kids looked so happy. I liked helping.”

It was the second year in a row Befumo organized the effort.

“Unfortunately, almost every New Yorker sees the visible homeless as they go about their day, but we seek to serve the invisible homeless — those children tucked away in shelters, having had to give up most of their treasured possessions, fighting to keep their classmates from knowing where they live, often being too ashamed to explain to their friends why they suddenly had to change schools,” Befumo said. “It is these invisible homeless children who most need our kindness and generosity.”

The Department of Homeless Services encourages New Yorkers who are interested in volunteering at a homeless shelter or to assist with delivering homeless services, to visit www.nycservice.org/search#s and search by interest using the category Homelessness and Housing.

“As the mayor has said, New Yorkers experiencing homelessness come from literally every community in this city — and we are encouraged by New Yorkers who want to do more to support our homeless neighbors as they get back on their feet, especially during the holiday season,” DHS spokesman Isaac McGinn said. “Whether by volunteering or donating, we welcome communities that want to give back and are committed to working with interested community members to ensure their efforts and energies are most effectively directed to improve quality of life for New Yorkers in need.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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Genovese crime family associate convicted of racketeering, murder conspiracy

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By Gina Martinez

TimesLedger Newspapers

An associate of the Genovese crime family was convicted of racketeering and murder conspiracy for an attempted hit on a Whitestone man, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said.

Salvatore Delligatti, 40, was found guilty in Manhattan federal court last week on all counts of racketeering conspiracy, murder-for-hire conspiracy, participation in an illegal gambling operation, and a firearms offense following a three-week jury trial. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison in August.

Delligatti committed all his crimes in order to increase his standing in the Genovese family, according to Berman.

“Delligatti recruited a group of hitmen to murder an individual,” he said. “But Delligatti’s hitmen were caught red-handed by the Nassau County Police Department and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office before they could carry out their hit. Delligatti now stands convicted of this foiled murder plot and other crimes he committed with the Genovese family.”

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According to the indictment, from around 2008 through May 2016, Delligatti was an associate of the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra. During this time, Delligatti conspired with others to participate in and conduct the affairs of the Genovese family through a pattern of racketeering that included a murder conspiracy, an extortion conspiracy, and the operation of an illegal sports betting business, prosecutors said.

As part of Delligatti’s participation in the Genovese family, around May 2014 through June 2014 he conspired with Robert DeBello, a “made” soldier, and Ryan Ellis, a Genovese family associate, to murder Whitestone “tough guy” Joseph Bonelli, according to the prosecutors.

Delligatti asked for and received permission from DeBello to murder Bonelli, according to the indictment. Instead of carrying out the murder himself, as he had been authorized to do, Delligatti instead hired a crew of hitmen from the Bronx to ambush and kill Bonelli at his house, prosecutors said.

Delligatti provided the hitmen with a loaded .38 revolver, a getaway car, and offered to pay them thousands of dollars for the murder, prosecutors said. Delligatti’s plot was thwarted as a result of wiretap surveillance by the Nassau police and the Nassau DA’s office, prosecutors said.

The hired hitmen were apprehended in the getaway car a few blocks from Bonelli’s house on June 8, 2014, according to the indictment. Prosecutors said police recovered the loaded revolver, a spray bottle containing bleach and other materials in the car.

Prosecutors added that from April 2014 through May 2014, Delligatti and others in the Genovese family, including DeBello and Ellis, took part in a conspiracy to use threats of violence and economic harm to extort the owners and promoters of a night club located on the rooftop of a hotel in Queens.

From about 2013 through 2015, Delligatti, DeBello and Ellis were involved in a large-scale bookmaking and sports betting operation that took bets from gamblers in Manhattan and Queens, while making use of an offshore wire room, according to prosecutors.

During the gambling operation, Delligatti and Ellis brought envelopes filled with cash to DeBello. Delligatti’s co-defendants, DeBello and Ellis, previously pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy offenses for their roles in the murder conspiracy, the extortion conspiracy, and the illegal gambling operation, prosecutors said.

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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Secret Theatre’s ‘[title of show]’ delivers with witty, comedic dialogue and tunes

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By Merle Exit

TimesLedger Newspapers

The uniquely-named “[title of show]” has begun its run at Long Island City’s Secret Theatre.

Directed by Scott Guntrie, “[title of show]” first debuted at the 2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival prior to its Off-Broadway run and continues its run at Secret Theatre — located at 44-02 23rd St. — through April 14.

The plot centers on two gay men, Jeff Bowen (Jason Moody) and Hunter Bell (Jeffrey Scott Stevens), who decide to write a musical to submit to an annual festival to help boost their struggling acting careers. They have just three weeks to get the job done.

The musical gets its name based on a submission form that reads, “[title of show],” which the creators chose to use as the title. The show is a humorous spoof on what needs to be done to execute their dreams.

As the show progresses — without an intermission — the writers decide that they are going to use the dialogue that comes up between the four main characters as the dialogue in the play. The dialogue proved to be witty and comedic, especially with one subplot: the casting of the show.

Since they are continuing with the festival, from Off-Broadway to the Great White Way, they are also attempting to get in touch with people who might be interested in being in the Broadway version, both major stars — in their dreams — as well as unknown actors.

The acting and singing talent of the cast was enjoyable to watch. They were excellent, though a little more enunciation would have further enhanced the show, as it was sometimes difficult to understand some of the dialogue and lyrics.

The show started with a fast pace and continued that way through most of the performance, but the end of the play dragged on just a bit.

Will “[title of show]” succeed on Broadway? As the cast sings, “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing than 100 people’s ninth favorite thing. Those nine people will tell nine people. Then we’ll have 18 people lovin’ the show! Then 18 people will grow into 525,600 people all lovin’ our show!”

You can catch performances of “[title of show]” at the Secret Theatre until April 14, with show times offered every day at 7:30 p.m. except Monday, April 9, and Tuesday, April 10. There will be an additional matinee show on Sunday, April 8, at 3 p.m.

For get tickets, call the box office at (718) 392-0722 and visit the Secret Theatre’s website for more information.

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David Bressler announces challenge against Braunstein

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By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

A northeast Queens business leader officially announced his candidacy against Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) at a Republican dinner event in Queens Village in mid-March.

David Bressler, a regional manager for Bimbo Bakeries and president of the Bay Club, spoke out against irresponsible government spending and wasteful bureaucracy at the Queens Village Republican Club’s March 18 Lincoln Dinner.

“At the Bay Club and in my profession, you need to establish a budget and at year’s end, you must balance that budget. You need to implement and have oversight of all expenditures, whether they are operating expenses or capital projects. It should be the same when managing our local state and federal governments,” Bressler said. “Unfortunately, many politicians do not adhere to these principles.”

Bressler said irresponsible spending from politicians has led to large deficits and he praised the tax plan passed by the federal government, claiming it has resulted in wage increases and bonuses from several companies due to the corporate tax deduction.

He slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio, who proposed charging for garbage pickup in front of private homes to incentivize residents to recycle, and came out against the property taxes on homeowners in northeast Queens.

“We need to replace those politicians and the way they go about managing the government,” Bressler continued. “I’m sure there are candidates with good financial background, such as myself, who would discover millions of dollars of government waste… I’m in it to make Edward Braunstein a private citizen.”

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But despite the words in his speech, Bressler said he is interested in running a civil and respectful campaign against Braunstein, who he claims to have no animosity toward other than disagreements over how government should be run.

Braunstein ran unopposed in 2016 in both the primary and general election and has been largely unchallenged since his election in 2011.

Bressler was born and raised in Whitestone and attended Bayside High School, before settling down in Bay Terrace in 1994.

He manages the Bay Club, which is a gated community of 1,037 units housing 2,400 residents, as well as different amenities for over a decade and has been with Bimbo Bakeries, a Mexican vendor which supplies well-known brands, for up to 18 years.

Bressler’s announcement to run precedes the creation of a campaign and submission of petitions to the Board of Elections.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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