The Civic Scene

December, 2012

The Civic Scene

Briarwood’s Susil Singh, 74, worked tirelessly to help others

In Queens, Harbachan Singh is a well-known civic activist from Community Board 8, the Saul Weprin Democratic Club, the Queens Civic Congress and the Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College, but his wife Susil H. Singh was an active civil and community servant in her own right. Comment.
The Civic Scene

People must learn from the lessons of Hurricane Sandy

A 19-page booklet called PlaNYC was issued in 2006 by the mayor’s Sustainable Advisory Board as a special supplement from the city. Its purpose was to alert people to the needs of 2030. It warned that by 2015 our temperatures will have risen by half a degree and that by 2020 half of our power plants will be more than 50 years old. Comment.

November, 2012

The Civic Scene

Pat Dolan honored for civic work with street renaming

A year ago, Pat Dolan died after being hit by a car while crossing Hillside Avenue while heading to a transportation meeting at Community Board 8. The irony is the bus stop had been moved more than a block away from CB 8 because it had been in front of stores. A traffic light now stands where the bus now stops. I call it “Pat Dolan’s traffic light.” Comment.
The Civic Scene

Flushing man honored for saving woman under attack

Frank Magri, a Flushing resident who lives in the Pomonok Houses and is a member of Community Board 8, was recently honored at a CB 8 meeting for his heroic actions in defending a woman from an attacker in a subway car. Comment.

October, 2012

The Civic Scene

Many greenspaces in CB 8 receiving upgrades, renovations

As required, Community Board 8 representatives met with Queens officials from the city Parks Department in the overlook in Forest Park Sept. 27. There was an update on previously submitted agenda items and a report on other items concerning CB 8. Comment.
The Civic Scene

Circus arrival causes consternation in Fresh Meadows

The September 2012 Jamaica Estates Monthly Bulletin had an interesting article about vehicle booting, which began July 30. The city Department of Finance will boot a vehicle instead of towing it away if the owner owes more than $350 in parking, red-light camera or bus lane violation tickets. Comment.

September, 2012

The Civic Scene

Public schools in the city need to overcome problems

As our public schools open, they again face the problems not faced by private and charter schools. Students are either excluded or put out when they cause trouble. Comment.

August, 2012

The Civic Scene

Congress must tighten influence exerted by lobbying

A recent news article told of the U.S. Congress slightly decreasing its subsidies to the agro industry. It is sad that large agro businesses are still receiving large amounts of money although we are experiencing a $1 trillion annual federal deficit. Comment.
The Civic Scene

Diamond honored for three decades of community service

On June 12, Bernie Diamond was honored at a dinner at Hillcrest Jewish Center for his 35 years of service as a member of Community Board 8. Comments by people at the dinner and my conversation with Bernie have developed a picture of a man who has devoted his life to community service. Comment.

July, 2012

The Civic Scene

City should uphold zoning against Mormon church

Several decades ago, when the City Charter was revised, the city Board of Standards and Appeals was created. The old city Board of Estimate was eliminated and a five-member BSA was created. The BSA hears appeals from concerned landowners if they believe the zoning resolutions passed by the City Planning Commission and the City Council are unfair. Comments (3).
The Civic Scene

Queens high schools educate many remarkable students

All the Queens high schools educate, encourage and nurture their students. Here are just a few things different schools accomplished this past school year. Comment.

June, 2012

The Civic Scene

Queens students showcase hard work in and out of school

TimesLedger Newspapers prints a special feature every two weeks called “Student of Distinction.” Here are some of its features. Comments (1).
The Civic Scene

Big business harms city public schools and students

Down from 33, the city now wants to close 24 city high schools and reopen them using $60 million in federal turnaround money administered by the state. Seven Queens schools are on this list. The city Department of Education wants to close the schools in the fall, bring in a new principal, fire all the staff and let 50 percent come back and then hire 50 percent new teachers. Comments (1).
The Civic Scene

City must do more to prevent danger from sidewalk trees

The city has extended tree pruning from seven to 10 years, and now someone said it is being extended to 14 years. While this saves money, it endangers people walking under trees as well as property. Comment.

May, 2012

The Civic Scene

Eminent domain easily abused in the hands of developers

Two expansion proposals are slowly wending their way forward. New York University wants to expand in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. The city also wants developers to demolish the Iron Triangle in Willets Point and build giant, mixed-use buildings and other properties. Comments (1).

April, 2012

The Civic Scene

DOE must show better treatment toward special-needs pupils

Regretfully, the city Department of Education has been making sudden changes every few months for the past 10 years. In the past there was stability in city schools, but these days there is confusing change after change. Comment.
The Civic Scene

Civics fight Mormon church variance for 33rd Ave. chapel

A member of the Jamaica Estates Safety and Security Task Force, Bill Murray, has reached out to neighborhood civic associations to ascertain techniques which can be used to better protect the community from criminal activities. Comment.

March, 2012

The Civic Scene

Bloomberg’s legacy concerning education looks bleak

As Michael Bloomberg reaches his 10th year as mayor, he continues in his well-meaning but flawed policy of closing most of our high schools. It seems he wants to close most of the high schools in Queens in spite of their traditions and histories. Comments (1).
The Civic Scene

Beep honors local heroes at State of the Boro address

After telling of all the accomplishments that took place this past year in Queens, Borough President Helen Marshall honored a number of residents and government workers who performed great achievements and improved the quality of life in the borough. Comment.

February, 2012

The Civic Scene

BSA should be on side of Queens neighborhoods

In 1991, when the new City Charter was written, civic leaders warned that the creation of a city Board of Standards and Appeals would lower the quality of life, and it is happening as predicted. Comment.

January, 2012

The Civic Scene

Students face many obstacles just trying to do well in school

New York City is starting a new round of witch trials in our schools, just like the ones conducted last year. The witches are the schools accused of being failures. City education officials just announced that they want to close 19 failing schools while state education officials claim 104 Queens schools were in need of improvement under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Comment.
CNG: Community Newspaper Group