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Queens Ledger

Assembly candidate talks with community over coffee

August 16, 2018 | by Mark Garzon

Assembly candidate Catalina Cruz held a community coffee talk at Asadero La Fogata last Saturday to discuss issues in Corona.

A dozen residents attended the talk and voiced a variety of concerns in the neighborhood including cleanliness, affordable housing for seniors, immigration, and substance abuse prevention.

Cruz, who is running for office to represent the 39th Assembly District, has held similar talks in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona to provide residents with an opportunity to share micro-level issues in the community with her.

“It’s a more thorough, nontraditional way to just shoot the breeze and get to know each other,” she said.

Cruz explained that these types of meetings allow her to sit down and get to know residents beyond the time constraints of going door-to-door, while also finding new ways to improve the neighborhood.

A common concern among residents at Saturday’s talk was cleanliness in Corona. Several residents said the community has become overridden by trash and that there are not enough garbage cans on the street.

“Twenty years ago, Corona was much cleaner,” said resident Raul Delamelena. “There wasn’t so much garbage.”

Delamelena said the presence of garbage on the streets has increased significantly to the point where even his apartment building has been affected by excessive trash.

He said people can’t enjoy public spaces such as parks because of the problem.

“I’ve called 311 so many times to complain that they practically know me now,” he said.

Resident Ingrid Gomez agreed that the presence of garbage has become concerning, especially in parks.

“Children are playing and they are there for fun, and I think they deserve a space that’s clean,” she said.

According to Cruz, cleanliness is a common issue she has heard from residents at meetings, as well as affordable housing for seniors.

“Folks are telling me that they can’t afford to live here anymore,” she said.

Cruz said she plans to continue these meetings at least once a month if she is elected, and will also host town halls to continue to hear from residents.

“I very much believe in open-door policies for our community,” she said. “I am working for the people so the people should have access to me all the time.”

Gomez said these types of meetings are essential to keep track of what’s going on in the neighborhood.

“We do need these kinds of forums to discuss ideas, to hear what our neighbors need and what their concerns are,” she said. “That’s the way politics should be done.”

Read more:LIC/Astoria Journal – Assembly candidate talks with community over coffee