Petrone Reconvenes Huntington Station Action Coalition
Town Hall Press Release:
New community initiatives planned in response to recent violent incidents
Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone, at a meeting reconvening the Huntington Station Action Coalition he formed two years ago to address community problems, called for a unified, focused effort to combat the root causes of recent gang-related violent incidents that have raised community concerns.
“It Is time for everybody to come together – not to take sides, not to point fingers – but to take our efforts continuing Huntington Station’s revitalization and addressing its problems to a new dimension,” Supervisor Petrone said at the December 2 meeting, held at Town Hall and attended by local civic, church and government leaders. The meeting also served to help plan the community-sponsored vigil held on Saturday December 3.
Supervisor Petrone asked Friends of the Huntington Station Latin Quarter president Ed Perez and Dolores Thompson of the Huntington Branch of the NAACP to lead the revitalized efforts of the Action Coalition, which they renamed Huntington Station Action NOW. They will meet on a monthly basis and report regularly to the Supervisor.
Composed of 20 distinguished community leaders, the Action Coalition, appointed by Supervisor Petrone in October 2009, was charged with identifying the root causes of Huntington Station’s problems and developing possible solutions. Supervisor Petrone named Suffolk County Legislators Jon Cooper and Lou D’Amaro as co-chairs. The Action Coalition issued a report in March 2010 that recommended both concrete proposals that could be implemented quickly and longer-term approaches to both addressing the continuing security issues in the community and supporting Huntington Station’s continued revitalization.
Many of the short-term recommendations have been implemented successfully, including the now-annual parade and festival attended by thousands that has helped increase community pride, heightened community outreach and greater coordination between the Town’s public safety department and Suffolk County police. But with sporadic flare-ups of gang-related violent incidents, those attending the meeting agreed that efforts and additional resources were needed, especially to prevent community youth from getting involved with gangs
“The problem is the youth,” said community leader Al White. “We need innovative ideas to work with the kids before they get involved in gangs.”
“We need to be more proactive about gangs,” said Legis. D’Amaro, who attended the meeting (Legis. Cooper was represented by aide Lora Gellerstein). “I’m done with waiting. We need the resources in Huntington Station to stop this before it happens.”
Among the new issues under discussion was the effort to secure state legislation allowing reconstituting the Town’s Administrative Code Enforcement Bureau, which would be dedicated to hearing case of alleged Town Code Violations. A previous version of the bureau, formed to provide more effective and speedier prosecution of code violations, was struck down by the courts.
Huntington Station Action Now will hold its next meeting on Dec. 16.