By ISADORA MURPHY
First came former Mayor Ed Koch, who simply went up to people and
asked "How am I doin?"
Now current Mayor Rudy Giuliani issues a Management Report, which gave
high grades to city agencies this June.
And the most recent addition to this
evaluation trend is a report that City Council Speaker Peter Vallone asked Baruch College
to compile, which he explains surveyed city residents
directly to get their "Satisfaction with New York City Services."
But no matter whose on the sponsor list,
the question remains: Hows the city doin when it comes to Queens fair
share, and the boroughs Community Board District Managers gave the Tribune their
own opinions on the Vallone report and the state of the borough.
There are 14 Community Board District
Managers who serve as a link and a voice between the Queens community the agencies of city
government. They receive complaints from the community and seek action from officials.
Sometimes their demands are met, and the community applauds the city services, but other
times there is no response from the city, and the district managers feel the wrath of
The recently released, 27-page Vallone
study found many unsatisfied Queens residents, but some District Managers who spoke to the
Tribune werent really convinced by a study done by someone seeking a new
"Vallone did this because hes
running for mayor," said Community Board 9 District Manager Mary Ann Carey. Carey
represents Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Kew Gardens and Ozone Park.
District Manager Jonathan Gaska added,
"Sometimes you wonder why reports like this were issued." Gaska represents
Community Board 14 which includes Far Rockaway, Bayswater, Hammels, and Seaside. "He
who does the report can shade it any way he wants."
Although most members had heard about the
survey, none of the eight district managers that responded had read it and the Speakers
office told the Tribune the report was not sent to the District Managers and they
were not part of the survey, although the complete report is available on line for them to
Marilyn Bitterman, the district manager of
Community Board 7, commented "I dont think the residents are quite so happy
with city services." Board 7 serves Flushing, College Point, Bayside, Beechhurst and
Although some District Managers seemed to
dislike the current administration, and thought it is better than the one before, there
seemed to be a consensus that as the community watch dogs, the district managers
didnt need a survey to tell them which city services caused Queens the most
"I know the reality of what I
see," said Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano who spends his time in
Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and Liberty Park.
The study, prepared by
Baruch School of Public Affairs, Survey Research Unit, The City University of New York,
Douglas Muzzio, Ph.D., and Gregg Van Ryzin Ph.D. found crime to be a throbbing migraine in
After interviewing 2,132 adult residents of
the five boroughs, only 38 percent of Queens residents felt safe walking the streets of
Queens at night. That number seemed low compared to the 54 percent of Staten Islanders who
felt the most secure going out at night.
But the district managers said although
crime was still a problem in some areas, it isnt nearly as bad as eight years ago.
"Give credit where its due.
Crime has been reduced a lot," said Giordano. "To my knowledge crime is down
nation wide but in New York crime is down more than it is in other cities. The Police
Department and Mayor have done a very good job reducing crime," said Giordano who
mentioned that crime in his precinct was down 50 percent from the early 1990s.
The study went on to say that people
drinking and using drugs in public places concerned four in 10 Queens residents but not as
many, only 23 percent, were bothered by graffiti.
Perhaps the reason Queens
does not feel so safe is because, according to the Baruch study, three in 10 Queens
residents rated police services as only fair or poor.
"When asked their main reason for
rating police service as only fair or poor, the most frequent reason cited by respondents
was; police response time is too slow (17 percent); police are too aggressive or abusive
(14 percent); police are not courteous or professional (eight percent); high crime in the
neighborhood (seven percent); and police do not follow up with complaints (seven percent).
But Sally Martino-Fisher, the district
manager for Community Board 13, said the reality of Queens life is "Police response
time is always going to be long because of the distance they have to go."
Martino-Fisher said there werent
enough police officers in her neighborhood which was offered a new precinct in the 1970s
but has yet to see one. "We have things that we asked for 100 years ago that we still
havent gotten. Its ridiculous. We need additional [police] vehicles. They go
1,000 miles a week. How long do you think it would take to beat a car to death like
that," Martino-Fisher added.
However, Carey said that the police are
much better in her community. "Its 100 percent better than the previous
administration. The minute the new administration took over, the police response was much
better and there was a drop in burglary and robbery," Carey said.
No one mentioned police fairness, which
Queens gave a mixed rating to in the study. Thiry five percent of those surveyed claimed
the NYPD is unfair in the handling of people but 52 percent believing they are just.
In general when it came to fire protection
from loss of property due to fire and clean streets Queens gave their approval.
YOU GET THERE FROM HERE?
In Queens, the survey
concluded that 42 percent of the population is riding the subway daily and only 14 percent
never ride. In fact, the study indicates that Queens is the most positive next to
Manhattan about their subway ride.
Giordano agreed with the good out look on
mass transit. He said he doesnt get many complaints and its a lot better than
10 to 15 years ago.
If they cant catch a train, Queens
residents hop the bus according to the 25 percent the survey says ride them daily, and 63
percent applaud the bus service.
But the survey responders from Queens gave
an negative rating on the street and road surface condition, with 29 percent ranking them
as poor while only two percent ranked conditions as excellent. Dangerous traffic
conditions were seen by 40 percent as a problem in Queens.
& OUTDOOR DAZES
The survey also counted that
a majority of residents frequent the library in Queens more than any other borough. Parks
are popular too, despite the lack of toilets, payphones, and abundance of abandoned
vehicles, and rats.
However parks was the one area in which
Community Board 5 has suffered greatly, according to Giordano.
He said parks are poorly maintained, adding
that there are only seven full time parks workers that need to clean 229 acres.
If the surveys numbers
prove accurate, 41 percent of Queens residents share thoughts about leaving the city in
their search for inexpensive housing.
Still, 53 percent of Queens felt their
neighborhood was a good place to live and have stayed relatively the same over the years.