Van Bramer gets results, wants his constituents to know about them
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Sunnyside/Woodside & Long Island City, released his annual report card last month that stated how he had increased the number of schools in the district, upgraded neighborhood parks and funded cleanup programs.
The councilman’s report card also provided details on the number of constituent cases his office handled in 2012 as well as his attendance record in city hall.
Van Bramer said his office tackled 3,860 constituent cases in 2012, up 33% from a year earlier. His report said that many of the cases dealt with quality-of-life and real estate issues. He said many of these concerns—from sanitation issues to crime—led to town hall meetings. In 2012, he hosted 14 such meetings.
The councilman’s report also states in large print: “95% attendance record [in city hall] in 2012.”
Van Bramer keeps a high profile—which is partly why so many constituents call his office. He attends most events in the district and posts his whereabouts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. He is often seen on television and in local newspapers advocating on behalf of his constituents.
The councilman’s release of his own self-assessment/report card is unique.
“I don’t want people to say ‘Where is he? What does he do? What does a councilman do?’” Van Bramer said. “People should know what their councilman does.”
Furthermore, “I am proud of this [report]…and I’m not going to wait for a newspaper to publish it…so I decided to share it.”
Van Bramer said that his biggest achievement has been bringing schools to the area.
“Five new school buildings are going up in my district,” he said. “I don’t know of another council district where there are so many going up.”
Two schools are scheduled to open in Long Island City this September (IS/HS 404 and PS/IS 312). Meanwhile, an elementary school in Sunnyside — located on 43rd Street between Queens Blvd and 47th Ave. — is scheduled to open September 2014. Furthermore, by September 2015, an elementary school in Woodside, located on 39th Avenue (between 57th and 58th streets), should open.
In the past few months, after a great deal of prodding by Van Bramer, the School Construction Authority announced that an annex, which will cater to 350 students, will be added to PS 11 (54-25 Skillman Ave.) in Woodside.
Three parks in Sunnyside and Woodside are in the midst of being revamped, following funding allocations from Van Bramer’s office.
There was a groundbreaking at Lou Lodati Park, located at 43rd Street and Skillman Ave., last fall where a new asphalt surface is going down and a dog run is being built. The $1.4 million revamp, which will include some new planting beds, should be completed by August.
Meanwhile, a groundbreaking is expected at Noonan Playground (43rd Street and Greenpoint Ave.) in summer, which will increase the size of the playground, upgrade the sprinkler system and add shrubs. Additionally, the park house and basketball courts will be upgraded. The entire job, at a cost of $1.3 million, will be completed over the course of a year. Previously, it was going to be done in phases.
Van Bramer has also allocated $250,000 for the revamping of the dog run at Doughboy Park in Woodside. The design has yet to be completed, he said.
Van Bramer said he has tackled quality-of-life issues.
He said a $250,000 pigeon mitigation system is going to be installed this spring at the 46th, 52nd and 61st Street subway stations. The majority of those funds will be spent at the 52nd Street where the sidewalks are blanketed by pigeon droppings.
The MTA will put in place a mitigation system that includes spiking, sound-based deterrents as well as low-voltage wiring.
Meanwhile, Van Bramer’s $30,000 graffiti cleanup program is continuing for a third year, where streets such as Broadway, Skillman Ave, 43rd Ave., Roosevelt Ave., Woodside Ave. and 65th Place are cleaned monthly.
Last year, a Woodside street cleaning program began where two workers have been spending three days per week cleaning Roosevelt (51st to 61st Streets) and Woodside Avenues.
The councilman said his office over the past three years has turned into “a one-stop-shop of sorts where all constituent cases are being brought in.” He said, “If you do a good job, then the word will get out and more people will come.”
“The staff I hire work hard and are committed to helping people,” Van Bramer said. “I have dealt with the staff of other elected officials who have been rude and arrogant— talking down to constituents—and I have tried to avoid that.”
The office has seven full time staffers and is operating at capacity. Most of them are under the age of 30, and work long hours.
“We all work hard every single day and we are not going to stop,” Van Bramer said. “I don’t want to take the foot off the gas.”
For the councilman’s report card, please click here.