In an effort to close its current budget gap, last week the Bloomberg Administration announced that it was planning to close the Fire Department's Engine 306 in Bayside. This firehouse serves the Bayside and Bay Terrace area and is vital to the safety of our community.
In addition, the safety repercussions of closing Engine 306 go beyond Bayside and Bay Terrace. If Engine 306 is closed, emergency responders will have to be called in from other areas. This will take assets away from areas such as Flushing, Whitestone, Douglaston and Little Neck and put those areas at additional risk as well.
When a fire emergency occurs every minute counts. Closing Engine 306 will put property and lives in Northeast Queens at undue risk.
I applaud our local elected officials as they have aggressively fought against the closing of Engine 306. Senator Tony Avella, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein and Councilman Dan Halloran have worked together in a bipartisan manner to fight this travesty. They clearly recognize that our safety is of the utmost importance and they have moved quickly to stop this closure.
The fact that the Bloomberg Administration is proposing to close a budget gap by putting the property and lives of the residents of Northeast Queens is just one example of the misguided ideology of the administration. While I understand that the city, state and federal governments are each in financial crisis, it seems that each time the city faces such a crisis, the first places the mayor seeks to cut are our schools and our emergency services (police, fire and EMS).
Those areas should always be the last place we cut. In addition, on a national level, our tax dollars continue to build schools, police stations and firehouses in Iraq and Afghanistan while we are closing schools and firehouses here in New York City.
It is time that our mayor and our federal government get their priorities straight and ensure that our communities have good schools and our citizens can go to bed at night knowing that they are safe and, in the event of an emergency, an emergency responder is only moments away.
Steven Anthony Behar