On February 22, New York City Councilmember Peter Koo visited the Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE) office to communicate with the Korean American community.

Several issues were discussed during this meeting. The first issue was the Northern Blvd Alternate Parking regulations. The current regulations do not allow for vehicles to park along Northern Blvd from 4PM to 7PM on weekdays. Many Korean American owned businesses are impacted by this stattute because the lack of parking spaces drives customers away from their businesses. To solve this issue, KACE interns researched this issue and sent its findings to the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) in 2009. However, the process of evaluating the current regulations is being delayed. Through Councilmember Koo, this issue is gaining speed as he pressured NYCDOT constantly. NYCDOT is preparing to conduct a study on this issue and Koo commented that this may rake some time.

KACE inquired about working together with the Councilmember’s office on creating programs to further enhance the local area and society. Councilmember Koo promised further cooperation with KACE on future programs.

A question was asked about services offered by the Councilmember’s office. Councilmember Koo stated that as long as the issue pertains to the City of New York, his office can assist local constituents on the matter. Koo is currently Chair of the Waterfront Committee, and his office can take care of matters such as landlord-tenant issues, business permits, sanitation issues, construction matters, and matters regarding education.

Koo spoke about some of the health regulatory problems in Korean American businesses. Some storeowners are fined indiscriminately because of kimchi. Kimchi can be keep at room temperature; but according to the health law, salad or any other vegetable products must be kept in cold storage. Koo stated that he can fix this problem. Also he asked to Korean storeowners to file a complaint at his office if this problem is experienced. If there is request from the citizens, he will arrange a meeting with appropriate people to correct the New York City law to fit Korean food.

Dongchan Kim (KACE) said after Michael Bloomberg was elected as New York City mayor, he abolished the Education Board policy, and delegated all responsibilities to the Department of Education. Because of this action, voices were not being heard on education and led to mismanagement of schools. As a result, a majority of New York City’s public schools are overcrowded. The overcrowding led to a degradation of education in schools. Koo said that education reform will probably be possible with the new mayor.

Koo also said the local community has to stand up for itself, and if there is new elected administration, the education reforms are likely to be proceed. Koo said that he knew about overcrowded schools inĀ  Flushing. However, it is hard to proceed with an education reform under the current administration, and if there is a new mayor elected, he will do his best.

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