Interview with Dennis Gallagher - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the November 2001 Juniper Berry Magazine

Interview with Dennis Gallagher

Dennis Gallagher

Tell me about yourself and your family.

I am 37, and have been married for 14 years. I have two boys, aged 10 and 12. I have always lived in the 30th district and currently live in Middle Village.

Why do you want this City Council job?

For the past 10 years, I have worked as Chief of Staff for Tom Ognibene and have helped get many things accomplished in our community ‒ I'd like to continue with this service.

What do you have to offer the community that your opponent does not?

Significant on the job experience. Prior, I was Executive Assistant to Senator Serf Maltese. I know the inner operations and how to provide services for the community. I know the city capital budget of City government and how to work through the bureaucracy to get the things this community needs. I have a common sense approach and I know all the community issues.

Many of the Juniper Park Civic members are volunteers in the community ‒ what have you done as a volunteer in our neighborhood?

I have done many things. I am the former President of a civic organization called the Midville Civic Association; I have headed neighborhood and community watches; I am a coach at St. Margaret's of basketball for 8th grade girls and 3rd and 4th grade boys; I am a member of the JPCA and the MV Property Owners Association; I am a former board member of the Catalpa YMCA; former Manager of the RGMV Little League; the 28th Assembly District Leader; Reiff Park sports coach; I am on the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council and currently aiding with the Juniper Park Halloween Festival...there's so much more.

I'm sure that's enough. Let's move on: What is your plan to get more police officers for the 104th Precinct?

I have two plans. I support a substation under the circumstances that more police are added. Secondly, as you know, our officers are always sent out for special assignment, like baseball games, tennis, etc. I would like to stop that. We also need to focus our efforts on Quality of Life crimes ‒ we could have one car dedicated to travel to and from troubled places all night. We need to get back our community police officers, and they need to change their work shifts to suit the community.

How would you improve the emergency response time of the 104th Precinct?

Well, they needed more patrol cars so Tom (Ognibene) and I got them money from the city budget so they could get 6 cars including a high tech undercover van and a mobile command center. Since then response time has dropped dramatically. We also need more nighttime patrols.

In light of the recent WTC terrorist attack, what can you tell the JPCA members that would ensure you have the leadership and experience to help this City in its most trying time?

This City strongly needs someone with experience in city government, especially financing and the city budget. I have solid experience in this area. Our community needs funding for police vehicles, parks, schools etc., and someone that knows how to fight for these things. Because this is only a two-year term, this is not the time for on the job training. I will be working for our community from the first day on the job.

Whom do you support for Mayor and why?

I would have liked Rudy, if it weren't for term limits. I worked very closely with him for 8 years, but because that isn't possible, I feel Mike Bloomberg would be best suited. Mr. Bloomberg is a gentleman who has a sincere interest in New York City. He built a successful business from the ground up and has true leadership skills and commitment. He will continue Rudy's agenda with policing, revitalization, and welfare reform, etc.

At the YMCA debate your opponent supported the Ferrer plan to raise taxes 4 cents a day dedicated to after school activities. What do you think of this?

In the City Budget there is over 40 billion dollars, there are many different ways to find money without a tax increase. Obviously I do not support Ferrer's plan; this would force the middle class out of the city, especially seniors and others on a fixed budget.

What should we do about overcrowding in our school district?

In the last couple of years it has been improving. The new school additions we brought to our community are modular units rather than trailers. Clearly we need new schools, especially middle and high schools in our area. As a matter of fact, Tom and I fought to keep a multiplex movie theatre out of Forest Hills (Ratner site on Metropolitan Avenue) so we could build schools there, including a new high school for our community.

How would you get more capital funding above regular Council allotments?

No one has been more successful than Tom and I in getting capital funding, just look at Juniper Valley Park ‒ it has a beautiful new track, and the center of Brennan Field will be redone soon so the kids have a more professional field to enjoy. Also, we have gotten every school in District 30 at least $200,000 for new computer labs.

That's great. Anything else you'd like to say?

38 of the 51 elected officials are not returning and you need to have someone who goes in the first day and knows what to do. You cannot afford to take a step back. I will be there to remind people of the Giuliani administration; I will be a voice in government with knowledge and experience to deal with our community issues – not special interest groups.

Thank you so much for giving us some insight on you and good luck.