Since his re-election in 2005, Councilman Dennis P. Gallagher has been nothing but a bundle of contradictions wrapped in lies.
For example, he makes a 6-figure salary, currently $112,000 per annum, yet claims he does not have the money to move out of the house he shares with his estranged wife. Why is that? Where is all that money going? City records indicate that the couple has refinanced their home multiple times over the past few years. Gallagher alone makes more than 2 ½ times the amount of an average Joe who resides within Council District 30, yet somehow can't afford an $800-$900 monthly rent for a studio in the area. It is a matter of record that Gallagher's brother posted his $200,000 bail bond, but a question remains: who is paying for his high priced lawyer if Gallagher has no money?
But even more revealing of Gallagher's deceptiveness is that although he sat before a grand jury and told them he was separated from his wife, the couple was videotaped and photographed holding hands after his arraignment. What was that all about? Someone is putting on a show for the cameras.
Now let's take a look at Gallagher's job performance. Dennis says he is all for saving the entire St. Saviour's property as the community wants, yet Borough President Helen Marshall recently told members of the press that Gallagher has been lobbying her to support building on the property ‒ and no public park. He said he secured $1 million in the 2008 budget for acquisition of the church, yet no one can find the phantom cash. He then claimed he really needed $3 million.
Gallagher also says he wants to put an end to overdevelopment. He made frequent phone calls to the Department of City Planning to help speed up a rezoning application. No, not the Maspeth-Middle Village-Glendale phase 2 down zoning study that has been on city planning's back burner since 2004. That would actually help his constituents. Instead, he pressured the Department of City Planning to certify a foreign developer's application to build houses on the St. Saviour's property. He told neighbors of the St. Saviour's property that the developer will build a factory at the site if he doesn't get his zoning change, although this developer only builds houses ‒ and cheap ugly houses at that.
In addition, in order to push forward with the zoning change, the trees at the site had to be destroyed. Gallagher kept quiet while that happened over a period of weeks. Then after the deed was done, he made sure the Parks Department saw the horrendous condition of the property and secured a no from them so he could wash his hands of responsibility.
Just before his re-election, Gallagher said he was against the erection of a 5-story building in Maspeth where the buildings are only 2 stories. He said he would come down to the Board of Standards and Appeals to testify against the variance application at a public hearing, but failed to show up. A few weeks later he was seen being hugged and thanked profusely by the applicant during a fundraiser.
And speaking of fundraisers, Gallagher has been holding them and actively raising money for an unspecified future political race even after he told members of the community that he has no intentions whatsoever to run for any office after his term expires in 2009.
While Dennis would like us to believe that he has been effectively representing us at City Hall even after felony charges were brought against him, his schedule, which was recently publicly revealed, says otherwise. A number of Dennis' workdays in September and October were wide open, with no meetings about community concerns on his agenda. Even regularly scheduled council meetings were noted as FYI meaning that his attendance was not mandatory and not expected.
It is obvious that Dennis Gallagher's time has been occupied with other activities. Some who are connected by purse strings to Gallagher consider the following to be acceptable ways to spend $112K of tax moneys: lobbying on behalf of foreign developers against the best interests of the community, attacking civic volunteers verbally, in print and online, being completely absent in the district during our biggest recent crisis ‒ summer flooding, staying silent about a proposed cell tower in Maspeth and scheduled destruction of a forest at Ridgewood Reservoir. We consider this to be taxation without representation. The sad fact of the matter is that we would be better off with an empty seat than with its current occupant. Dennis Gallagher must resign for the good of his district.
**The views expressed in this column represent only those of the author and not the board or membership of the Juniper Park Civic Association.