Way to go Jimmy Vacca - In The First Person

Announcement

Supporting our schools

One of my greatest joys is being able to provide resources and programs for our community's schools and seeing the joy on our kids' faces when I go to visit. It is clear that they are taking advantage of all these tools and opportunities to the fullest.

Over the last few weeks, I have visited both P.S. 72 in Throggs Neck and P.S. 96 in Pelham Parkway, where I provided a total of $350,000 through the City Council to fund technology improvements. The new technology labs, computers, and SmartBoards give both students and teachers important new tools to use in the classroom.

When an executive from Cablevision approached me last fall and asked for help connecting a school in my district with the New York Rangers "Hockey 101: Power to Learn" program, I jumped at the opportunity. This week I visited P.S. 83 in Morris Park where the program is up and running! The students and physical education teachers are taking advantage of hockey equipment from the program to enhance in-school and after-school activities.

In addition, I proudly sponsor a variety of music, dance, and theater programs at schools throughout my district each year, including a great new program with the Bronx Dance Theater at P.S. 71 in Pelham Bay.

COUNTRY CLUB BUS SERVICE RESTORED

I am pleased to report a long, hard-fought victory for my constituents. The MTA has agreed to restore bus service for Country Club and Spencer Estate residents to Westchester Square and Crosby Avenue! Beginning in April, the MTA plans to extend the Bx24 bus to Westchester Square from Pelham Bay Station, as well as restore the Bx5 to its previous route along Bruckner Boulevard between Crosby Ave and Pelham Bay Station. Back in 2010, residents needing to get to school, doctor appointments, and shopping destinations, were left out to dry as a result of budget-cutting service reductions along these routes. I am proud to report that our voices have been heard and this necessary service will be resuming very soon.

AIRPLANE NOISE TOWN HALL

Congressman Joe Crowley and I, in conjunction with the Country Club Civic Association, will host a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, February 22 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Villa Maria Academy at 3335 Country Club Road, regarding increased flight traffic and airplane noise affecting our community. Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be on hand to answer questions and address concerns. Please join us!

FREE TAX PREP EVENT

I am co-sponsoring a free tax preparation event on Saturday, March 17 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Bronx House at 990 Pelham Parkway South. Community residents who meet the income guidelines (less than $50,000 with dependents or less than $25,000 without dependents), are encouraged to come and receive assistance with your income taxes from IRS-certified tax preparers. For more information or to sign up, call 718-792-1800 (ext. 226 or ext. 230). Space is limited!

addressing street safety

This week, the City Council Transportation Committee, which I chair, held a joint hearing with the Public Safety Committee to examine the Police Department's traffic accident response practices and investigations, as well as its enforcement of traffic rules. More New Yorkers died at the hands of reckless or speeding drivers than gunfire in the last decade, and yet, unless they are drunk or distracted by something like a cell phone, chances are the driver will face nothing more than a traffic ticket. As we all know, speeding is far too rampant on our streets. In addition to the speed bumps, stop signs, and traffic lights I am always fighting for throughout our neighborhood, I am intent on making sure that reckless drivers who take a life are held more accountable and that our streets are in turn made much safer.

Reusable Muni Meter Receipt Legislation

I recently introduced legislation that would allow drivers who purchase muni-meter time at one location, to use the remaining time at a different muni-meter location. The Department of Transportation has already stated that drivers who have time left on a muni-meter receipt can use that time elsewhere. However, judges and traffic enforcement agents have disagreed with this policy, forcing drivers to purchase new muni-meter tickets when parking at different locations.

With the city now raising over $600 million a year from drivers through parking tickets and fines, it seems as though the installation of muni-meters has become just another way for the city to raise money, even though they have consistently told us this was not the case. My legislation makes it clear that we will not be nickel and quartering drivers and ensures they will be allowed to take excess time with them to their next location. I will be working hard to make sure this legislation is passed and becomes law.