Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and former Public Advocate Mark Green were the featured speakers at the JPCA meeting held on Thursday, December 14th, 2006. The JPCA's annual holiday party followed the meeting.

Councilman Avella spoke about problems with the Departments of City Planning and Buildings and his difficulties getting reform measures passed by the city council, which is heavily influenced by money from the real estate industry and developers. Mr. Avella was given a Community Service Award by President Robert Holden on behalf of JPCA in appreciation for all he has done to help preserve our neighborhoods, such as fighting against overdevelopment and to save St. Saviour's Church.

Mark Green spoke about health care, government spending, the war in Iraq and the influence of big corporations on the federal government. Mr. Green donated an autographed copy of his most recent book, Losing Our Democracy, to JPCA for our raffle which was held following his closing remarks.

Dozens of prizes were given away at JPCA's annual holiday raffle. Local merchants were very generous this year, and many of the more than 200 members in attendance went home winners.

(Robert Hudak from the Department of Buildings was scheduled to speak at the meeting but did not make it. He reported having car trouble. We hope to reschedule him for another meeting next year.)

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year to all of Maspeth and Middle Village. JPCA will continue to work on behalf of our neighborhoods throughout 2007.