Government

December, 2012

Flushing

No-fly zone still in Flushing

Many northeast Queens neighborhoods have complained recently about increased aircraft noise, but it could be worse. Comment.
South Jamaica

Boro’s advocates add voices to gun debate

The shooting of 26 people at a school in Newtown, Conn., has sparked a national debate on gun violence, and while opinions in Queens differ on the role regulation will play in preventing another tragedy, there is a consensus that it would be only one part of a multi-faceted solution. Comment.
Jamaica

House panel clears Meeks in loan probe

The House Ethics Committee last week cleared U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) of any wrongdoing after an investigation into a questionable $40,000 loan he received in 2007 and failed to report on his financial disclosure statements. Comment.
Bayside

Braunstein law aims to bust fake lawyers

Lawyers caught practicing without a license will now be charged with a felony, according to the northeast Queens official who originally introduced the bill. Comment.
Letters

Government will help single parents

Thank you for writing. I have heard from single parents across America about the challenges they face, and I am glad you reached out to me to share your perspective. Comment.
Floral Park

Avella gets tough on trees

Even before Hurricane Sandy, Glen Oaks Village President Bob Friedrich said his group maintained a running list of ailing trees in his part of northeast Queens, but to no avail. Comment.
South Jamaica

Jamaica woman tells story of loss in mayor’s campaign against guns

Dionne Gordon, whose brother was gunned down 2 1/2 years ago while visiting their parents’ house in South Jamaica, stood behind Mayor Michael Bloomberg at City Hall Monday in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre to call on Washington to take immediate and long-term steps to curb gun violence. Comment.
Far Rockaway

Cuomo appoints LIPA chief as post-storm shift continues

Poor performance and calls for change led to the resignation of top officials with the Long Island Power Authority, and now Gov. Andrew Cuomo has found two replacements. Comment.
Jamaica

Ethics Panel clears Meeks

The House Ethics Committee Thursday announced that U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) had been cleared in the committee’s investigation into a questionable $40,000 loan the congressman received in 2007. Comment.
Far Rockaway

Boro pols criticize food aid program

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Human Resources Administration have come under fire from several elected officials from Queens who charged that too many people in need were denied eligibility for a federal disaster food aid program and that applying was too difficult for Rockaway residents. Comment.
Glen Oaks

Cuomo, Silver pledge to halt co-op tax hikes

Co-op and condo owners need not worry about any drastic tax increases because Gov. Andrew Cuomo has committed to their cause, lawmakers said Monday. Comment.
Flushing

Qns pols want community say in casino plans

City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) is the latest Queens lawmaker to join a group that is advocating for a local voice in the selection of a site for any future casinos in the state. Comment.
On Point

DOE should define ‘public purpose’ over meetings in schools

If you are a volunteer in one of New York’s many community-based organizations, a member of a civic association or a co-op resident whose meetings are held in a public school, the city Department of Education has a message for you: Drop dead. Comments (1).
Astoria

Boro botches human rights

As far as human rights are concerned, the Urban Justice Center gave the Queens City Council delegation a C-plus, landing it second to last in a report card surveying all five boroughs. Comment.
Cartoon

Tip of the week

Glen Oaks

DOE locks out community groups

Unless they are nonprofits, groups looking to use the city’s public schools have been told to back off by the city Department of Education, community leaders in Queens said this week. Comments (1).
Bayside

FAA plans to enact controversial departure changes at LaGuardia: Avella

After a six-month testing period in which the Federal Aviation Administration tested controversial changes in departure procedures at LaGuardia Airport, one northeast Queens lawmaker said the agency has committed to implementing the plan. Comment.
Broadway-Flushing

City Council lines redrawn

In a feat of legal gymnastics, the commission in charge of redrawing the City Council districts Tuesday took back its supposed final version to make further changes and reunited Flushing’s Mitchell-Linden co-op and condo complex into the same district. Comment.

November, 2012

Cambria Heights

Clark renews push to double speeding fines

Following the death of one of her constituents in a motor vehicle accident, state Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) is renewing her push to raise the fines for speeding in residential neighborhoods. Comment.
Jamaica

Dozens submit testimony on stop-and-frisk at York

Last year the NYPD stopped nearly 700,000 people across New York City — the majority of whom were young black and Latino men — but Manny Yusuf does not exactly fit that description. Comments (1).
Woodhaven

New Council lines inflame Woodhaven

A Woodhaven civic group is drawing a line in the sand, rejecting a proposed redistricting it says will split the neighborhood’s representation in the City Council. Comment.
Flushing

Assemblyman Weprin lifts up autism program

Surrounded by artwork in the heart of the borough’s cultural headquarters, state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) presented a $5,000 check Friday to the Flushing Queens Museum’s ArtAccess program to benefit individuals with autism. Comment.
Bayside

Avella pledges again to shovel for seniors

With a potentially snowy winter looming, one northeast Queens lawmaker has revamped recruiting efforts to staff a snow removal for seniors program in its sophomore season. Comments (1).
Corona

CB 4 hires district manager

Since Community Board 4 has not had a district manager for many months, Christian Cassagnol has had a lot to do since stepping into the position recently, but he is confident he is the best man for the job. Comment.
Bayside

CB 11 blocks Huang development

In a unanimous vote, Community Board 11 came out against allowing a controversial developer to finish four homes under construction in Bayside. Comment.
Flushing

Boro groups blast new Council lines

The New York City Districting Commission released maps last week that could determine City Council boundaries for the next decade, although the public will not get to comment on what many in Queens see as serious flaws. Comments (1).
Bayside Hills

Residents cited for fallen trees owned by city

Homeowners affected by fallen city trees in the wake of Hurricane Sandy were irate when they learned the city Department of Buildings had placed violations on their homes. Comments (1).
Howard Beach

Sanitation first on scene after Sandy hits Queens

Although many residents and elected officials in ravaged regions of the borough have expressed frustration with some aspects of the city response to Hurricane Sandy, they have heaped praise on at least one agency for its quick response to the storm: the city Sanitation Department. Comments (2).
Letters

Council members should be ashamed over soda law

I had written to my city councilman, Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), about my family’s experience at the AMC Bay Terrace movie theater that was doing a trial run of the law which is to go into effect next March. Comment.
Bayside

Avella bill tackles plane noise

After a summer in which residents throughout northeast Queens raised their voices over growing airplane noise, one state senator has introduced legislation that would put more power in the hands — and ears — of the people. Comments (6).
Government

City plan helps speed home repairs post-storm

The city is assessing damage to houses and apartments in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and has started a program to help owners quickly make needed repairs, such as fixes to electrical systems that will help restore power. Comments (1).
Far Rockaway

One-stop center opens in Far Rock

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Far Rockaway Tuesday, where the city was opening one of seven one-stop centers to help those communities most affected by Superstorm Sandy. Comments (1).
Ozone Park

Ulrich slams Red Cross slow Sandy response

The American Red Cross has come under fire by frustrated storm victims and elected officials in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, with many charging the organization’s relief effort in southern Queens started far too late and has not been nearly strong enough. Comments (9).
Little Neck

Gas stations need extra power source: Weprin

Fuel remained in high demand more than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy swept her way through Queens as gas stations worked to restore electricity and provide relief to residents who had waited in long lines before the city imposed gas rationing. Comment.
Bayside

Qns pols blast Con Ed, city on Sandy response

There was enough blame to go around this week as lawmakers throughout northeast Queens criticized different agencies for their responses, or lack thereof, to Hurricane Sandy. Comments (1).
On Point

Legislators must bring back tax breaks for co-ops, condos

The co-op and condominium community was hit hard in June when the state Legislature adjourned without renewing the city Tax Abatement and J51 programs. These programs were implemented decades ago and have helped equalize the disparity in taxes paid by co-ops and condominiums and have provided needed dollars through tax abatements that have helped maintain the city’s aging housing infrastructure. Comments (2).

October, 2012

Little Neck

Weprin renews effort for tougher sex-offender law

With the search still on for a man who police said sexually abused a young girl inside a local library, one northeast Queens lawmaker has renewed his push for a bill that would keep predators away from the children’s section. Comments (1).
Queensbridge

Sunnyside councilman calls for increased regulations on gun sales

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) introduced five resolutions calling for stricter gun control last week in response to two recent shootings in the Queensbridge Houses. Comments (17).
Corona

Electeds lament soda ban at Corona small biz forum

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) and state Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) spoke out against the so-called soda ban Monday, telling a forum of small business owners and members of the business community they were concerned the ban would have negative effects on their industry. Comment.
South Jamaica

Board tables fast-food chain upgrade decision

Community Board 12 voted last week to table the decision to renew a variance for a revamped McDonald’s in South Jamaica. Comment.
Flushing

Flushing market moves closer to getting nod for roof parking

Community Board 7 approved a special permit that would put rooftop parking above a downtown Flushing grocery store and also got an update on the construction of the Whitestone Bridge, including a major change to traffic patterns. Comments (1).
South Ozone Park

Cuomo takes reins in state racing reform

Now that’s a horse of a different color. Comment.
Woodhaven

Group rails against plans

At a special forum in Woodhaven last month, two groups laid out opposing plans for the abandoned Rockaway rail line, while the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association said it would refrain from taking a position until further notice. Comment.
Oakland Gardens

Weprin posts best attendance

Fourteen lawmakers represent the borough of Queens in the City Council, but only one posted a perfect attendance record over the last two years, according to statistics. Comments (1).
Jackson Heights

Queens electeds laud court’s gay marriage ruling

Queens and city officials praised last week the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that found the controversial Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Comment.
Astoria

Astoria plant ruling could raise city rates

The state is demanding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission turn back a recent decision regarding how market rates for one of Astoria’s power plants are calculated on the grounds that the ruling could increase electricity bills across the state by up to $500 million. Comment.
Long Island City

New Council lines in works

The nonpartisan commission charged with drawing new City Council districts has isolated itself from criticism by not completing a comprehensive first draft, critics of the process contended at the final public hearing in Queens last week. Comments (1).
Government

Qns pols back industry suit challenging city soda ban

Queens politicians from the left and right voiced their agreement with a recent lawsuit filed by the beverage industry last week against the controversial soda ban limiting the size of sugary drinks in many city venues. Comment.
Letters

Prune tree for safety of drivers

I am writing to request that something be done as soon as possible with regard to the newly installed traffic light on the left side of Parsons Boulevard and the eastbound Long Island Expressway service road. Comments (1).
Springfield Gardens

City begins sewer project’s long-awaited final phase

When Annette Jennings-Bradley moved to Springfield Gardens 25 years ago, there were 33 homes near Springfield Lake. Neighbors had told her the area was created from landfill, and if she built her house there, it would sink into the ground within 10 years. Comment.
South Jamaica

S. Jamaica senior housing draws closer

South Jamaica’s Calvary Baptist Church took one step closer Tuesday toward building a long-awaited residence for seniors who are taking on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren. Comment.
South Ozone Park

CB 10 questions site of home for teenagers

A new boarding home for delinquent teenagers has recently opened in South Ozone Park as part of an effort to keep rehabilitating youths close to their families, but residents who live nearby are annoyed the program failed to ask their views about the location of the home before it set up shop. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

Justice Kagan visits St. John’s U

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan told an audience of about 150 people at St. John’s University Monday that when it comes to her and her colleagues, there are some fundamental differences. Comment.
Jamaica

Boro electeds differ on stop/frisk bills

Queens last week was once again in the forefront on the debate over stop-and-frisk, but this time the heated words were not ringing out from the streets of Jamaica or Jackson Heights, but from City Hall. Comment.
Letters

City must prune park, street trees

As the seasons transition from summer to autumn, it is important for the city Parks Department to prune many of the trees in the city’s parks and along city streets. While every tree cannot be pruned, there are those that are in serious need of pruning to reduce the risk of injury to people or damage to property. Comment.
Bayside

Truck traffic and pollution under fire in new Avella bill

A lawmaker in northeast Queens has proposed a piece of legislation aimed at curbing illegal truck traffic on residential streets by allowing authorities to seize vehicles of drivers who repeatedly break the law. Comment.
Government

Lawmakers weigh use of campaign funds to help struggling boro nonprofits

Some Queens state legislators said using campaign funds to donate money to struggling local nonprofits is not necessarily a good practice — even though campaign records indicate many engage in the activity. Comment.
Government

Critics blast system as flawed as voter registration nears end

In August, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new initiative designed to lift the state’s dismal voter registration numbers, and as the Oct. 12 deadline to register for next month’s general election draws near, critics in Queens said there is no good reason those numbers should be so low. 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.
Bellerose

Creedmoor boss promises Avella better security

Community members are cautiously optimistic that the security situation — or, rather, the lack of security situation — at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Campus in Bellerose is going to improve after meeting with the head of the state’s Office of Mental Health last week. Comment.
Letters

Publicize poll site changes

Four years ago, in the U.S. presidential election, voter turnout was higher than usual across most of the country. This year, Americans are once again gearing up to go to the polls Nov. 6 to choose our president. Here in New York City, we must do our part to ensure that the election runs as smoothly as possible for every voter. Comment.
Jamaica

State fights foreclosures in Qns.

Four Queens nonprofits will receive a share of more than $16 million the state attorney general’s office has set aside this year to assist homeowners in avoiding foreclosure, though it was not certain whether the grants would allow the groups to expand their services or simply compensate for other sources of funding that have run dry. Comment.
Auburndale

Civic tries hand at enforcing law on Qns car shops

A city agency rarely disciplines Queens businesses that renege on promises made to the community in exchange for obtaining a zoning variance, according to civic leaders. Comment.
College Point

Group against waste station veils donors

A group opposing the city and federal government over construction of a College Point garbage facility near LaGuardia Airport has a policy of keeping its donors anonymous, leading some community members to question who is driving the media blitz about bird strikes. Comments (1).
Bayside

Bayside Hills Civic prez tackles ‘apathy’

Community Board 11 gathered in Bayside Monday night, as it does almost every month, with Chairman Jerry Iannece at the helm. Comment.
Little Neck

Lawmakers protest DOE deals with large agencies for special education

Northeast Queens lawmakers have joined forces with education advocates to protest a city move that they said could cost specialneeds students time in the classroom. Comments (2).
Editorial

City must prune trees in parks, on streets

As the seasons transition from summer to autumn, it is important for the city Parks Department to prune many of the trees in the city’s parks and along city streets. While every tree cannot be pruned, there are those that are in serious need of pruning to reduce the risk of injury to people or damage to property. Comments (2).

September, 2012

Corona

Ferreras distributes $629K

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) said she focused on domestic violence, sanitation, education and parks in doling out her about $629,000 in discretionary funds this year. Comment.
Government

Income gap between poor, rich widens in Queens: U.S. Census

The income gap between the rich and the poor widened in Queens last year from 2010, while poor households in the borough experienced a larger drop in income than the same category of people in the city as a whole, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau last Thursday. Comment.
Government

Mayor’s annual city report charts felony crime increase

An assessment of city agencies was released last week showing positive shifts, like shorter Fire Department response times, but ground lost in other areas such as major felony crime, which rose by 4 percent. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Moya helps immigrants to access gov’t resources

Confusion and fear often deter immigrants, regardless of whether they are here legally or undocumented, from receiving services from government agencies they have every right to and the state Assembly is making a push to change that. Comments (1).
Howard Beach

Addabbo Mobile Office Hours

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) announced he is holding mobile office hours in Sept. and Oct. to give meet his constituents and hear the issues that concern them. The Senator will hold office hours on Monday or Thursday evenings at several Queens Library locations around his district between 5:30 and 7p.m. Comment.
Flushing

Redrawn Halloran seat not GOP friendly

A bipartisan group redrew a highly Democratic voting bloc into the seat of Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) instead of leaving it in Councilman Peter Koo’s (D-Flushing) more urban district, raising questions about politics played out in the decision. Comments (3).
Glen Oaks

Glen Oaks votes limited by polling site changes

While voters throughout the borough took to the polls last week in the state primary elections, residents in the Glen Oaks Village co-op reported some confusion after the city Board of Elections changed their polling locations. Comment.
Jamaica

Rufus King ceremony ushers immigrants to citizenship

Celidez Arvelo was choked with emotion Monday when after 11 years in this country she could finally call herself an American citizen. Comment.
Government

De Blasio says water payment plan favors DEP

Customers who receive abnormally high water bills and enter into a payment program with the city Department of Environmental Protection to pay off what they owe forfeit their right to dispute their bills, a fact underlined in a new city public advocate’s guide to understanding and contesting water bills. Comment.
Astoria

Suggested City Council districts leave Astoria intact, nix Rikers

Astoria is split in half in New York’s new state Senate and congressional lines, but the proposed City Council district leaves the neighborhood largely in one piece. Comment.
Astoria

Vallone wants bill to curb salesmen

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said he plans to introduce legislation to stop salespeople from knocking on the doors of residents who want them to scram. Comment.
South Ozone Park

Sex offenders residing at shelter near PS 124

More than 20 sex offenders are living in a South Ozone Park shelter that is 1,000 feet away from PS 124, according to the New York state sex offender registry. Comments (6).
Whitestone

Boro pols slam FAA for noisy flight testing

Queens officials gave the Federal Aviation Administration an earful Monday night after the agency failed to inform the borough about a change in flight patterns, which have generated a litany of noise complaints from Bayside and Whitestone. Comment.
Flushing

Bengali ballots not ready for primary

The city violated the federal Voting Rights Act by acting too slowly on a 2011 requirement to provide ballots in a South Asian language and delaying them until 2013, according to a complaint filed by a nonprofit this week. Comments (1).
Flushing

Gov’t has been wiretapping Liu since 2009 over contributions

Lawyers for two people charged with funneling illegal campaign contributions to City Comptroller John Liu’s war chest revealed Monday the government has been investigating Liu and his advisers since 2009 and contend “desperate” government agents have been targeting the campaign without producing any proof of wrongdoing. Comment.
Queensbridge

Van Bramer distributes $638K to district’s nonprofits

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) gave large chunks of his more than $600,000 in discretionary funding to nonprofits in his district that provide multiple services to needy youth and seniors. Comment.
Little Neck

Northern Blvd. drivers get left onto Marathon

For years drivers would wait in line to make a left turn at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Marathon Parkway, usually lucky to go more than one car at a time. The traffic would pile up along Northern Boulevard, making rush hour on the road more congested. Comment.
Editorial

‘Take the High Road’

Just weeks before the Democratic Party primary, state Sen. Shirley Huntley was dragged into a Nassau County court to face charges that she took part in a scam in which the state was allegedly bilked out of $30,000. Comment.
Letters

Abolish the five boro presidents

As imprudent as it was to have cherry trees chopped down in the courtyard of Queens Borough Hall, it is even more imprudent to spend $17 million in difficult economic times on an atrium project (“Boro Hall stripped of woods,” TimesLedger Newspapers, Aug. 16-22). Comment.
Editorial

The Sanitation Hammer

Law-abiding Queens residents are getting slammed by the city Sanitation Department for the harmless offense of putting their trash bins on the curb too early in the day before the scheduled pickup. Comments (1).
Forest Hills

City to update sewer system in Forest Hills

Flooding along neighborhood streets in Forest Hills had residents calling for a city solution to their watery problems after rain tore through the area earlier this month. Comments (1).
Bayside

Senator calls for term limits amid Huntley scandal

Following two high-profile ethics cases in Albany, a northeast Queens lawmaker has renewed his push for tougher laws and term limits. Comment.
Government

Water bill increases blamed on meters

The city public advocate and Queens residents suspect new city DEP-installed water meters may be to blame in many cases of abnormally high water bills — some of which have jumped by as much as 1,000 percent. Comment.
Bellerose

Avella promotes bill for vet-owned businesses

Supporting pro-veteran legislation is something politicians on both sides of the aisle could get behind, one area elected official said last week, but a bill that would boost businesses owned by American’s Bravest in New York still has not been fully backed. Comment.
Corona

QEDC hosts entertainment, artists at Corona Plaza

As No. 7 train passengers disembarked and filed down the stairs of the elevated tracks Sunday, they were greeted by a Corona Plaza many probably did not recognize. Comment.
Oakland Gardens

Weprin urges city to use electric taxis

When it comes to environmental legislation, two City Council members have plugged into a bill they said has the potential to save the planet from harmful gas emissions. Comment.
Letters

Sanitation must change garbage can pickup policy

I received your Aug. 9 response regarding my correspondence on behalf of Ms. Palma Pollizzi. Comment.

August, 2012

Fresh Meadows

Jewish voters to leave church for library poll

Kew Gardens Hills residents who were concerned that voting at their new polling site at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church would violate their religious beliefs can rest easier now that polling has been moved to the Kew Gardens Hills Library. Comment.
Bayside

Repaving makes rocky ride

It should not be a bumpy ride for long. Comment.
Bayside

Electeds scold FAA on noise

While they said constituent complaints were not doing the trick to silence the booming planes zipping over their homes, Bayside elected officials took to the streets Friday to make some noise of their own. Comments (1).
Flushing

Baisley Houses seek end to City Council division

When a city commission redraws the district lines for the City Council this year, civic leaders from southeast Queens are calling for the unification of the Baisley Houses in Jamaica. Comment.
Springfield Gardens

City plans flood relief near Springfield Park

Heavy rains earlier this month proved true the old adage “When it rains, it pours,” and when it pours in certain parts of southeast Queens streets can look more like Springfield Lake than Springfield Boulevard. Comments (1).
Bayside

Pol wants Sanitation to halt trash can ticketing

The city Sanitation Department is wrongfully ticketing residents who put their trash bins on the curb for pickup too early, according to state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who is renewing calls to the department to stop fining people under what he said is artificial policy. Comments (1).
South Jamaica

Sutphin Blvd. corner renamed for Tom White

There were many kind words directed at the late City Councilman Thomas White Jr. during a street renaming ceremony in South Jamaica Saturday, but two of the speakers sent a much more powerful message as living examples of his greatest legacy. Comment.
Bayside

Bayside leaders rally against airliner noise

With planes flying overhead, elected officials and community leaders gathered in Bayside Friday morning to lower the volume on airline noise passing over the area. Comments (6).
Bayside

Avella lends his support for boat safety bill

After a summer of tragedy on the water, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has teamed up with another state lawmaker to draft legislation to encourage safer boating. Comment.
Bayside

Braunstein wants tougher penalties on bath salt sales

Lawmakers moved to toughen penalties on the use and sale of synthetic drugs throughout the state last week, introducing new legislation and regulations. Comment.
Flushing

Qns hearing planned for new Council lines

A commission is set to host next week the only public hearing in Queens on the once-in-a-decade process of redrawing the City Council’s district lines. Comment.
Whitestone

Halloran hands budgeting reins to his constituents

Constituents of City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) started a year-long process last week of deciding where their tax dollars will go. Comments (1).
Editorial

Funding Funny Business

Although the process often benefits worthy causes, the tradition of handing out millions of dollars in “discretionary funds” to be disbursed by City Council members calls to mind the days of Tammany Hall. Comment.
Government

As stop-and-frisks rise, complaints fall: CCRB

As the number of stop-and-frisks the NYPD conducted in 2011 rose 14 percent over the previous year, the number of complaints dropped by 10 percent, according to a new report by the city Civilian Complaint Review Board. Comments (1).
Government

Schumer pushes to protect pilots from lasers

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has asked federal officials to tighten rules on the sale of laser pointers that people on the ground have been pointing into aircraft cockpits aloft, imperiling all those aboard. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

Fresh Mdws. prepares for role in city budgeting

Fresh Meadows residents will soon have a direct role in how some of their tax dollars will be spent thanks to a year-old city experiment in participatory budgeting, about to enter its second round. Comment.
Letters

Have a say in spending city money

City residents pay the highest taxes in the country. Aside from the federal and state taxes, we pay city income, water, sewer and property taxes and more. Comment.
Bayside

Jawin keeps pushing for Ft. Totten

The Center for the Women of New York President Ann Jawin has not let up in ongoing efforts to move her group into a building in Fort Totten in Bayside and said she hoped to see bids chosen to renovate part of the facility by the end of the year. Comment.
St. Albans

Comrie surveys St. Albans biz on soda ban

City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), an opponent of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s so-called soda ban, said if hizzoner was really committed to reducing the amount of sugar New Yorkers consume, there was a better way to go about doing so than limiting the size of drinks a business can sell. Comment.
Letters

Pols should not vote on their own pay

Allow me the opportunity to comment on your proposal to increase legislators’ salaries. It represents a conflict of interest for any legislator to vote on their own pay raise. In the past, legislation increasing the salaries for state Assembly members and state senators was passed in one legislative session and would take effect in the next session — in other words, the next elected class of officials. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Dromm distributes $550K to nonprofits

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said sanitation and ensuring the success of burgeoning immigrant populations were his priorities when he doled out the $550,000 he received in discretionary funding this year. Comment.
Ridgewood

Ridgewood group sees state funds fade

With its state member item funds gone and city cash quickly fading away, the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corp. is cutting staff hours and shrinking services, but the nonprofit remains hopeful that it can remain a viable resource to the community. Comment.

July, 2012

Bayside

Avella fires off fracking letter to Gov. Cuomo

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week requesting a personal meeting to further discuss hydraulic fracturing before the governor decides if he would allow the controversial oil and gas extraction procedure in the state. Comments (5).
Willets Point

EDC and Shulman’s development group admit to illegal lobbying: AG

The city Economic Development Corp. and the local development corporation run by former Borough President Claire Shulman admitted they illegally lobbied city officials about the multibillion-dollar Willets Point Redevelopment project, the attorney general announced Tuesday. Comment.
Sunnyside

Street renamed for late Sen. Lanzillotti

A crowd of community and family members gathered on the corner of 48th Avenue and 41st Street Saturday to honor Carlo Lanzillotti, the late state senator who represented his neighborhood of Sunnyside in the 1950s. Comment.
Flushing

Meng backs bill making state gov’t use flags made in America

State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) introduced legislation July 18 that would require all American flags used by the state government be home grown. Comment.
Jamaica

Cop in Bell shooting sues city to get job back

William Bell said Tuesday he did not believe Gescard Isnora, the former NYPD detective who was fired for his involvement in the deadly 2006 shooting of his son, Sean Bell, should get his job back. Comments (1).
Letters

Shulman must be investigated

In an article in the July 8 New York Post Queens Weekly section, headlined “Shulman gets slap for illegal Willets lobby,” Claire Shulman, the former borough president, once again got away with illegal shenanigans. Comment.
Middle Village

Crowley sees cash slashed

A treasure trove of discretionary funds was allotted to members of the City Council recently — but the cash hauls were not doled out equally, as one Queens lawmaker’s funds were drastically slashed. Comments (2).
Jamaica

Bloomberg initiative revamps Jamaica probation program

Clients at the Neighborhood Opportunity Network center in Jamaica still see a probation officer when they visit the building on the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, but that is about the only way the new program resembles a traditional probation office. Comment.
Woodside

Van Bramer gets Doe Fund for Woodside

The “men in blue” have arrived in Woodside. Comment.
Letters

Citizens United mocks the law

Wisconsin has been sold to the highest bidder: the Koch brothers and their fellow billionaire benefactors. Gov. Scott Walker’s puppeteers outspent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett 8:1 — $31 million to $4 million. Comment.
Astoria

Vallone’s funds cut by 15%

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) used the more than than $680,000 he was allotted in discretionary funding this year to assist a variety of charitable organizations in his district, but he said he thought he would have had more if not for an old feud over the renaming of the Ed Koch-Queensborough Bridge. Comment.
Letters

Gov’t should not cut services

Nonprofits that provide valuable services to the children and adults of our communities have been cut off from state money by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. We all know we are in the midst of an economic crisis in our state and country, but these organizations cannot continue to operate properly unless they receive some state financial backing. Comment.
St. Albans

Comrie brings home big bucks

The city recently released the massive list of discretionary funds allocated by the City Council to individual members and one southeast Queens councilman brought home far more cash for his district than his colleagues. Comment.
College Point

Boro condo pays upkeep tab on DOT land

The city Department of Transportation owns a small grassy plot of land in College Point, but condo owners nearby have been footing the bill for its upkeep. Comments (1).
Rockaway Beach

Tip of the week

Bayside

Bayside school receives Blue Ribbon award

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) honored PS 159 in Bayside with a Senate resolution last week to celebrate its designation as a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Comment.
Letters

Albany dysfunction hurts co-op and condo owners

The co-op and condo community were abandoned this past week as the legislative season drew to a close in Albany. Three vital bills affecting the lives of every co-op and condo owner were left on the scrap heap of an adjourned state Legislature. The working class residents and seniors living on fixed incomes who mostly live in these communities struck out by a Legislature and governor that threw them nothing but curve balls. Comment.

June, 2012

Letters

Go back to voting machines with booths

This is 2012. Many years ago, we sent a man to the moon. We have developed search engines and new technologies and a computerized society that knows everything about everything. Comment.
Government

Bloomberg battles backlash over large sugary drink ban

Queens leaders had unyielding words for Mayor Michael Bloomberg after hearing of his intentions to ban large sugary drinks in the city, arguing that he should explore other avenues to lessen the waist size of New Yorkers. Comments (1).
Little Neck

Weprin bill on staging crashes held up in Albany

Legislation aimed at curbing insurance fraud was put on hold last week as the state Senate failed to pass a bill that would make staging automobile accidents a Class D felony. Comment.
Bayside

Jethwani cheered for 30 years on Community Board 11

Looking back after more than 30 years as a member of Community Board 11, Bayside’s Mohan Jethwani said public service came naturally to him. Comment.
Forest Hills

Child care spared cuts in city budget

Child care advocates got a some good news Monday night when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the city’s new budget will not cut child daycare and after-school programs. Comment.
Jamaica

U.S. Senate’s Farm Bill reduces food stamps for thousands in Queens

More than 20,000 Queens households saw their food stamp benefits threatened last week when the U.S. Senate passed its Farm Bill. Comment.
Bayside

Bloomberg, Quinn reach on-time budget

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) announced an agreement for an on-time, $68.5 billion balanced budget Monday evening, bringing a sigh of relief to firehouses, libraries and schools worried about their financial standing. Comments (1).
Letters

Dems, GOP must not increase Stafford interest rate

Both Democrats and Republicans seem to agree that to let interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans double after July 1 is a major concern, especially when they have to face voters Nov. 6. What has been lost in the heightened election year rhetoric is that both the White House and Congress saw this issue coming. Comment.
Glendale

Pols help get mail upgrade for Glendale

It’s not a unique ZIP code, but it is a step in the right direction. Comment.
Douglaston

Doug intersection poses risk

Douglas Montgomery said he became a member of Community Board 11 because he wanted to bring up the key issues affecting his neighbors, and he is doing just that by sounding off on what he called a dangerous intersection in Douglaston. Comments (1).
Editorial

Voters must understand English

A recent press release by the always-photographed state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) and state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) indicates they want to add another language to our cumbersome paper ballot with legislation they are introducing in Albany. Comment.
Government

Mayor picks Padavan to sit on city’s redistricting panel

Three Queens residents have been appointed to the commission that will redraw New York’s City Council lines ahead of the 2013 elections. Comment.
Maspeth

Maspeth stairs need a lift

It’s no stairway to heaven. Comment.
Letters

Vote to preserve your individualism

Elections have become public auctions of private goods. Voters have figured out that they could vote themselves more money from the treasury by voting for people who promised to give them more money in exchange for electing them. Comment.
Bayside

Avella calls on city to address tax lien evasion

Citing apparent attempts to beat the system, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) criticized the city Department of Finance, accusing it of allowing delinquent property owners who failed to pay their property taxes to remove their properties from the annual tax lien sale by submitting fraudulent checks. Comment.
Jamaica

Councilman Wills in hot water over AG probe

City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) was banned from dishing out funds to his district Monday amid claims by state investigators that he failed fully cooperate with a probe of a $33,000 state grant that has allegedly gone missing after it was given to a nonprofit headed by the council member. Comments (1).
Kew Gardens

S. Asians seek multi-language info for voters

Results from the 2010 U.S. census showed that enough Asian Indians in Queens lacked English proficiency to trigger a federal law requiring an additional written language to be added to voting materials, but which language to pick has been the source of some contention heading into election season. Comments (2).
Flushing

Asian leaders question Dems’ Liu snub

A group of Asian-American leaders in Queens is demanding an explanation from state Democrats as to why they did not invite city Comptroller John Liu to the national convention in September. Comment.
Bayside

CB 11 meets amid flap over flags on Bell

Retired Bayside businessman Jack Oshier did not need a microphone when he waved American flags to make his point in the 46-35 Oceania St. school cafeteria where Community Board 11 was holding its last formal gathering Monday before a two-month summer recess. Comment.
Letters

Americans need a country that works for the little guy

As the big countdown clock on the television screen counted down, the results were Hollande 52 percent and Sarkozy 48 percent. The small crowd in the 20-seat restaurant cheered. My wife and I were sitting at a window table in a French restaurant in the Latin quarter of Paris having dinner when the election results were broadcast. Comment.
Flushing

As Primary Day nears, barbs fly in Flushing congressional race

The race for the newly created congressional seat in Flushing became more contentious over the last week, with accusations flying between candidates, their competitors and Queens civic groups even as the hopefuls picked up more endorsements. Comment.
Flushing

Koo persists in quest for comfort women memorial

A group of Korean-American civic organizations and city lawmakers gathered Monday night to remember the Asian women who they contend were forced into sex slavery during World War II, a topic that has also heated up tensions between the group and Japan. Comment.
Bayside

Pols rename Bayside street for 9/11 hero

Lt. Peter J. Farrenkopf used to call Bayside home before he died in 2009 of illnesses that dated back to his working at Ground Zero after Sept. 11. Comment.
Letters

Government must follow the rules

I want to thank state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) for his concern and action on behalf of his constituents regarding the rules and regulations for placing refuse out for collection. Citizens may be fined if they place refuse out for collection before 5 p.m. from May to September and before 4 p.m. from October to April. Comment.
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.
Letters

Bill properties separately if on 2 tax lots

According to state law, property owners are required to pay property taxes whether or not they receive a bill. While it is a homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that property taxes are paid, there is something unfair about the situation I am about to explain. Comment.

May, 2012

Bayside

B’side firehouse may return to chopping block

Almost one year after city officials doused the flames caused by outrage over the potential closure of FDNY Engine Co. 306 in Bayside, tensions may heat up once again. Comments (1).
Flushing

Ackerman seat race heats up

Several candidates vying for the new congressional seat centered in eastern Queens were knocked off the ballot after some of the signatures they collected were ruled invalid, but court challenges could reverse their fortunes. Comment.
Hollis

Malcolm Smith hears youths’ concerns on violence

Whether he did it intentionally or not, state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) chose a grimly appropriate setting for his forum on youth violence last week. Comment.
Middle Village

Three unions endorse Crowley in congressional race

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) cleaned up graffiti in her district and cut the ribbon on new school computers as she continued to rack up union endorsements for her congressional run last week. Comment.
Flushing

Meng explains bid for House

State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) hopes to bring jobs back to America from abroad if she is elected to the new Queens congressional seat in September, she told TimesLedger Newspapers in a sit-down interview last week. Comment.
Whitestone

Civic president boycotts meet held by Avella

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) held a town hall meeting last Thursday where city representatives were asked questions by northeast Queens residents and civic associations, although one neighborhood group that was not invited called for a boycott of the event. Comments (115).
Flushing

Queens congressional candidates trade few barbs at Main St. event

All six candidates vying for the new Queens congressional seat appeared at a tame forum at the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library Monday night, where most of the political differences were along party lines. Comment.
South Ozone Park

Cuomo plans NYRA shift

After ousting two top executives in the wake of a scandal that saw bettors cheated out of $8.5 million, the New York Racing Association’s decision to fill the spots from within is not sitting well with the governor. Comments (2).
Whitestone

Halloran undergoes surgery to remove benign tumor

City Councilman Dan Halloran’s (R-Whitestone) congressional bid will be temporarily sidelined as the councilman undergoes a neurosurgical procedure to remove a benign tumor. Comments (1).
Kew Gardens

Borough lawmakers pen bill to protect female immigrants

There are currently two competing versions of a women’s rights bill extension on the federal level, but Queens lawmakers are not waiting for a resolution and have introduced state legislation to protect the anonymity of victims’ immigration status when they report domestic violence. Comment.
Flushing

Library advocates fight to stave off budget cuts

Queens Library supporters rallied to close the book on budget cuts for good. Comment.
Bayside

Iannece optimistic about Assembly bid

More than one month after announcing his intentions to run for the newly created 25th state Assembly District seat, Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said things have been working in his favor so far, including his first endorsement from the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. Comments (2).
College Point

Contaminated soil at NYPD site needs to go: CB 7

Construction crews are currently working on the College Point Police Academy project near the Whitestone Expressway, but civic leaders said the city has not lived up to promises about handling contaminated soil on the site. Comments (3).
Willets Point

Willets Pt. wants roads fixed after eminent domain fails

In the wake of a city decision to drop its eminent domain proceedings, property owners from Willets Point called on the city Department of Transportation to repair the streets of their neighborhood at Monday’s Community Board 7 meeting and had a unique guest speaker to help make their case. Comments (1).
Letters

Nonprofit heads must give up perks

It is disappointing that City Councilmen David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), in the April 19-25 story “Proposed bill blocks trash charge for culturals,” would prevent the city from charging so-called private nonprofit groups for paying for trash and recycling. Comment.
College Point

Crowley reintroduces jobs bill following 2011 Senate rejection

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) hopes a proposed bill allocating $70 billion to teachers and first responders around the country will pass with presidential support, although a nearly identical piece of legislation did not gain enough support to even come to a vote in the Democratically led U.S. Senate last year. Comment.
Bayside

CB 11 considers street renaming

A Bayside student who wants to honor his late teacher by having a Bayside street renamed in her honor got the nod from Community Board 11 Monday. Comment.
Flushing

‘Hipster’ influx pulls city gaze westward

Hipsters who are moving into the neighborhoods of western Queens are pulling inspectors from the city Department of Buildings away from their usual hot spots in the eastern part of the borough, according to the department. Comment.
Editorial

Punishment Should Fit the Crime

Under standards imposed during the Bloomberg administration, the city can boot or tow cars of owners who owe as little as $350 or have five unpaid parking tickets in the course of one year, even if the tickets have not gone to judgment. Comment.
Government

Mayor’s ‘13 budget draws Queens ire

While Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $68.7 billion proposed budget poses no threats to teaching positions, the cuts to firehouses, after-school programs and the library’s budget have some in Queens rallying for another fight. Comment.
Letters

Big Oil does not deserve more money from gov’t

On March 29, Republicans in the U.S. Senate calling the bill a political stunt, blocked legislation to strip billions of dollars in tax breaks for the biggest U.S. oil companies. A last-minute entreaty by President Barack Obama was not enough to convince senators to strip the oil and gas industry of tax incentives. Comment.
Letters

Fund Bayside groups

I am writing to you in regards to your recent budget line item vetoes that eliminated certain discretionary funding. Comment.
Flushing

Stavisky officially begins rematch with Messer for Senate

State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) formally announced Friday that she will run in the newly created Asian district centered around Flushing and she had members of the community on hand to tout her credibility. Comment.
Laurelton

Trees damage sewer pipes

Laurelton homeowners say city sidewalk trees are wreaking havoc with their sewer lines, leaving them few options but to replace the lines themselves at a hefty cost. Comment.
Letters

Boro Board should reject Willets plan

Apart from the destruction of more than 200 small businesses with the loss of employment by thousands and even more so by the burdens placed upon their dependents, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Willets Point plan is replete with a lack of transparency ill befitting an elected official whose constituents should not be limited to large real estate interests. Comment.
Bayside

Assistant AG McCue, 91, was active in Queens GOP

William McCue, a New York state assistant attorney general, longtime Republican Party official and World War II veteran, died April 19. He was 91. Comment.
Flushing

Liu seeking donors despite probe

City Comptroller John Liu was the guest of honor at two headline-grabbing fund-raisers this week, but he also schmoozed at a less-publicized dinner with Flushing’s Chinese community days the night before his former campaign treasurer was indicted on federal wire fraud charges. Comment.
Government

City Council passes living wage bill 45-5

The City Council passed a bill Monday to raise the minimum wage for employees of private companies receiving large sums of city funds, overriding Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto, but three Queens councilmen said no. Comment.
Letters

Supreme Court needs term limits

On March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court started listening to arguments relative to the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, passed by Congress. Let us hope our lifetime-appointed judges will offer their unbiased consideration with their ruling in June. Comment.

April, 2012

Letters

Overturn Citizens United to protect elections

Your Feb. 23-29 paper contained the letter “Fight to keep big money out of political campaigns.” It expresses the feeling of the vast majority of Americans. Comment.
Bayside

Iannece announces Assembly run for Lancman’s seat

Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece announced Tuesday he was setting up an exploratory committee to run for the Assembly seat currently held by Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), who already has launching his own campaign for Congress. Comment.
Astoria

Vallone wants pencil-pushing cops patrolling neighborhoods instead

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and the union DC 37 Local 1549, which represents the city’s clerical and administrative employees, called upon the New York Police Department last week to turn over 500 desk job positions to civilians. Comment.
Ridgewood

Lancman, Nolan blast Glendale SSA office closure

Residents angered by the closure of the Ridgewood/Glendale Social Security Office joined state Assembly members Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) and Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) to advocate for the reopening of the office on Myrtle Avenue. Comment.
Government

U.S. Supreme Court won’t rule on Queens rent control laws

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday refused to rule on whether New York’s rent regulation laws are constitutional. Comment.
Flushing

Avella proposes flat tax on gas for city motorists

The rising price of gas is no secret for city drivers, according to state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside). Comment.
Astoria

Pols look to block new trash tax

City Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) joined with the heads of nonprofits at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria Tuesday to announce legislation against a proposal to have nonprofits and cultural institutions pay for their trash pickup. Comment.
Astoria

Vallone gets cameras for Steinway Library

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said he has paid for new security cameras at two Astoria libraries in response to a man’s inappropriate touching of a 9-year-old girl at the Steinway Library last year. Comment.
Editorial

Friendship Center Needs a Friend

In tough times, city agencies have to make difficult decisions. When budgets are slashed they have to make the best possible use of the money left. Nonetheless, we think the decision by the city Department of Mental Health and Hygiene to eliminate funding for the Friendship Center in Jamaica cannot be justified. Comment.
Flushing

Four hopefuls file to get on ballot for Queens congressional seat

By Monday afternoon, only the four candidates who scored major-league endorsements so far in the race for the Queens congressional seat had filed their petitions with the city to appear on the ballot, but anyone else eyeing the seat had until midnight to do the same. Comment.
North Shore Towers

Tensions flare at North Shore Towers after Avella criticizes colleagues

Nearly 1,000 people crammed into North Shore Towers in Little Neck Thursday night to listen to a panel discuss about the skyrocketing property assessment values the city assigned to condos this year and last as tensions flared between Queens elected officials. Comment.
Whitestone

City updates CB 7 on construction of Whitestone Bridge

At Monday’s Community Board 7 meeting, residents got updates on construction projects in northeast Queens from city officials along with watchful residents. Comments (1).
College Point

College Point firm fined $1M over wages

A College Point business that cheated a group of workers out of more than $1 million was ordered to pay up and is barred from bidding on contracts in the Big Apple for five years, the city comptroller said last week. Comment.
Flushing

Lancman outlines platform

State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) recently sat down with TimesLedger Newspapers to discuss his campaign for Congress and outline some of the issues he would tackle in Washington, D.C., if he should win a four-way primary in June and then defeat a Republican challenger in November. Comment.
Government

Lancman calls Gottlieb ‘hack’ in primary run

After word spread that Jeff Gottlieb, a 70-year-old employee of the state Board of Elections, was seeking a spot in the Democratic primary for a Queens congressional seat, state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) said it was a ploy to siphon votes away from him. Comment.
Flushing

Lancman blasts new candidate as ‘party hack’

State Assemblyman Rory Lancman not only called Jeff Gottlieb’s entrance into the Democratic race for the Queens congressional seat “a sham,” but said the Queens Democratic Party and its chosen candidate were both responsible for trying to siphon votes away from him. Comment.
Bayside

Save our Beacon: CB 11

A guest appearance by City Comptroller John Liu and a community powwow in support of Bayside’s Beacon program led the discussions at Monday night’s Community Board 11 meeting. Comment.
Astoria

Census won’t fix Astoria numbers

Despite the hopes of Queens and Brooklyn, the U.S. Census Bureau rejected a request from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to modify the 2010 census counts for the city to reflect the undercounted population. Comment.
Government

State budget has Cross Bay toll rebate

Negotiations over the state budget seemed as mild as this year’s winter with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature approving a $132.6 billion, on-time package that addressed a major issue in Queens. Comment.
Government

Endorsements bestowed in Ackerman seat race

The three Democrats facing off in the primary for U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman’s (D-Bayside) seat have been racking up endorsements and money ahead of June 26, when one will win the chance to take on the Republican challenger. Comment.
Bayside

Iannece announces Assembly run for Lancman’s seat

Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece announced Tuesday he was setting up an exploratory committee to run for the state Assembly seat currently held by Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), who already has launched his own campaign for Congress. Comment.
Rosedale

Communities rally to create new 116th Pct.

With an area of nearly 13 square miles and 354 miles of roads, the 105th Precinct is the fourth largest in the city, snaking its way up along the Queens-Nassau County border. Community members in neighborhoods from Rosedale to Glen Oaks say the precinct is too big, so they are calling on the city to split it in half. Comment.
Bayside

Catholics slam Ackerman on birth control mandate

A group of religious residents from churches across Queens picketed outside the office of U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) Friday afternoon to protest a controversial federal health care mandate that would require all employers to cover birth control as part of any insurance plan. Comment.

March, 2012

Government

Redistricting dust settles

Northeast Queens will see significant changes in how the area is represented in state and federal government now that the dust has settled on the redistricting process. Comment.
Bayside

Ackerman says he wanted to leave office at top of his game

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) addressed reporters during a Tuesday afternoon conference call after maintaining radio silence in the wake of his abrupt retirement announcement last Thursday evening. Comments (1).
Flushing

Judge set to hear suit on extra Senate seat

Queens politicians expect a lawsuit challenging the creation of a 63rd state Senate seat to be decided next month, and state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) will then decide in which district she will run. Comment.
On Point

New redistricting lines reflect Albany’s sham reform

The pattern emerging has become transparently clear. The governor pushes for reform, in this case the once-a-decade redistricting of legislative lines, and threatens a veto if the state Legislature fails to act. The Legislature’s public face supports the governor’s call for reform and avoids publicly challenging him. Comment.
Astoria

Astoria dissected by Albany redistricting: Gianaris

Astoria lawmakers said they were disappointed by the new congressional and state Senate district lines, which splits the neighborhood across two districts. Comments (1).
Flushing

Liu defends his indicted Flushing campaign treasurer

City Comptroller John Liu defended his campaign treasurer and described his political future in hazy terms in a recent interview, even as he kept on producing audits on city agencies. Comment.
Flushing

Sidewalk saga near an end

The city offered a $1,500 olive branch to John Biagi to compensate him for a surprise sidewalk makeover he received in 2009, but the Flushing homeowner turned it down. Comment.
Letters

Pol praised for helping constituent

To anyone and everyone who is not aware, this letter is to let them know of the work City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and his staff do. Comments (1).
Government

Ackerman hoped to keep district safe before exiting

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) wove stories from his youth and more than 30 years as a New York lawmaker into an explanation as to why he abruptly decided to leave office at the end of his term last Thursday. Comment.
Government

Queens delegation split over redistricting

The contentious redistricting process that changed political representation in Queens came to a close Monday when a federal judge signed off on the new congressional lines, days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo did the same at the state level. Comment.
Kew Gardens

NYCLU blasts Brown over his interrogations

The New York Civil Liberties Union has criticized Queens District Attorney Richard Brown for interrogating people accused of crimes before they are arraigned or have consulted a lawyer, saying it is unethical and unconstitutional. Comment.
Bayside

Bayside traffic light lowered after Halloran sounds off

A problematic intersection in Bayside was brought to light this week when City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) announced the lowering of a traffic signal near 35th Avenue and the Clearview Expressway. Comments (1).
Laurelton

Sanders’ chief of staff eyes future as city councilman

City Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton) will be term-limited out of his southeast Queens district in 2013 and his young chief of staff is already making plans to make a smooth transition into the seat. Comment.
Letters

New Yorkers deserve non-political, redistricted lines

On Feb. 7, I testified at the state Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment hearing at Queens Borough Hall regarding the proposed state Assembly and state Senate districts. After waiting more than four hours to testify, I gave my testimony to a commission that seemed uninterested in my thoughts. Comment.
Rochdale Village

Dangerous fake pot should be banned: Wills

At a number of bodegas in southeast Queens, customers can legally purchase a product that produces a marijuana-like high, but while the weed may be fake, the dangerous side effects are real. Comment.
Government

Boro lawmaker hopes guv vetoes district lines

The state Legislature drafted bills for a new set of maps that would define political boundaries in the state Assembly and state Senate for the next decade, but Queens lawmakers were still hopeful Gov. Andrew Cuomo would veto them. Comment.
Kew Gardens

Jamaica NAACP fights upstate seat

NAACP and southeast Queens leaders gathered outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to veto a proposal by the state Legislature to add a 63rd state Senate seat upstate, a move they said would dilute the voting power of everyone downstate, regardless of race. Comment.
Astoria

Simotas’ baby due in July

State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) said she and her husband of eight years, John Katsanos, are expecting their first child in July. Comment.
Government

Ackerman may face Lancman in redrawn district and Turner may square off vs. Meeks

The federal judge chosen to redraw New York state’s congressional district lines released her preliminary map Tuesday, which if approved would set up a showdown between U.S. Reps. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village) and Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) in a battle for southern Queens. Comment.
Bayside

CB 11’s Iannece hints at run for elected office

Community Board 11 voted to re-elect each of its four board officers for another year Monday, although Chairman Jerry Iannece hinted it may be his last. Comments (1).
Government

Electeds expect guv veto

State Sens. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said despite a report that new Senate lines would be drawn that would not put their homes in the same district, they had not been notified about any change. Comment.
Letters

People at community meetings care

I was at the 109th Precinct Community Council meeting Feb. 8 and I was appalled when you spoke from the podium and told members of the community to stop complaining about Flushing. Comment.
Glen Oaks

Queens co-ops and condos want city to pay for sidewalk repairs

When it comes to getting sidewalks repaired that are damaged by curbside trees, co-op and condominium owners claim the city Parks Department gives them the short end of the stick. Comments (1).
Bayside

New 111th CO takes charge

Capt. Jason Huerta, the new commanding officer of the 111th Precinct, brings more than two decades’ worth of experience to his northeast Queens patrol. Comment.

February, 2012

Flushing

Liu campaign staffer arrested on illegal fund-raising charges

A campaign staffer for city Comptroller John Liu was arrested Tuesday afternoon, making her the second person associated with Liu’s mayoral campaign to be charged by federal officials in connection with questionable donations, according to court documents. Comment.
Government

B’klyn judge appointed to redraw congressional boundaries of N.Y.

A federal judge in Brooklyn was appointed Monday to redraw the boundaries for New York state’s 27 congressional districts. Comment.
Government

Liu says he wants public’s help in identifying wasteful spending

City Comptroller John Liu unveiled a four-point plan to cut government waste and laid out proposals to get the city’s unemployed working again during his State of the City address last Thursday at City College. Comment.
I Sit and Look Out

Columnist’s friend finds much to gripe about over politics

Here are the comments of my fourth friend, responding to my recent column about my gripes about our society. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

British journalist cheers Lancman’s NY libel law

A state law co-authored by state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) protecting journalists who report on terrorism from libel lawsuits in other countries that has since become federal law is now gaining traction across the pond. Comment.

January, 2012

Kew Gardens

DA Brown sworn in to office

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown was sworn in for his sixth four-year term, extending his record as the longest-tenured district attorney in Queens history. Brown took the oath of office in front of approximately 100 colleagues, public officials and family gathered at the DA’s third-floor conference room. Comment.
Flushing

Queens prodigal son Cuomo returns for budget address

Gov. Andrew Cuomo returned to the borough of his birth Thursday morning to deliver his budget address again and many of his proposals drew applause from the audience. Comment.
Flushing

Beep focuses on health care

Borough President Helen Marshall touted the multiple new health care institutions, housing ventures and schools that are transforming Queens in her State of the Borough speech Tuesday at Queens College’s Colden Auditorium. Comments (1).
Flushing

Guv presents budget in boro

After his Albany address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented his budget plan for a second time in Flushing last Thursday morning, which had many Queens officials in the audience nodding their heads in agreement. Comment.
Richmond Hill

Group rallies to unite SW Queens in Assembly

A group of Richmond Hill and Ozone Park residents, most of them South Asian and West Indian, met inside Villa Russo Monday night to shape their future. Comment.
Bellerose

Civics want new election district

Leaders from more than a dozen eastern Queens civic groups met in Bellerose last week, demanding their communities be united by the state task force that will redraw the area’s legislative lines for the coming decade. Comment.
Editorial

Mazel Tov, Jacob

A son of Forest Hills has been appointed to one of the most important positions in the Obama administration. Comment.
Bayside

Avella trashes city’s garbage bin policy

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) slammed the city Department of Sanitation Friday for fines that have been levied against residents for putting their trash cans out too early the day before collection. Comments (1).
Political Action

Paper ballots in Iowa more efficient than voting machines

Here in New York state, we have been using voting machines for at least the last 70 years. When these machines came into use, it was heralded as an end to voting fraud, since votes would now be counted by the voting machines instead of by hand. There seemed to be little possibility of mistakes in counting the ballots. Comments (1).
Forest Hills

Prez picks Forest Hills grad

President Barack Obama tapped a Forest Hills High School graduate to be his next chief of staff last week. Comment.
Corona

CB 4 member resigns over Pledge of Allegiance

Right after Community Board 4 said the Pledge of Allegiance before its monthly meeting in Corona last week, a longtime member announced he would be stepping down because two other members would not salute the flag. Comments (2).
Bayside

Officials protest MSG blackout to boro fans

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) is calling foul on Time Warner Cable and the Madison Square Garden Company for hitting an impasse that has resulted in a television blackout of a number of professional sports teams. Comments (4).
Government

More bread for top teachers

Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed incentives, including merit pay, so the city can retain and recruit the best teachers during his State of the City address last Thursday in the Bronx. Comments (1).
No Holds Barred

Write to elected officials in favor of money-making execution plan

Some of you may have noticed that I did not emphasize in my last blog what public executions could do for the economy of Queens. Let me rectify that immediately, lest you think this is a matter of no concern to your pocketbook and mine. Comments (6).
Bayside

Congressman says Bayside Hills, Auburndale may not be his anymore

Newly elected U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village) paid his first, and possibly last, visit to Community Board 11 last week when he talked about his experiences in Washington thus far and his stance on issues concerning the district. Comment.
Richmond Hill

Bellerose artist to rhyme at SEVA event

A South Asian rapper who grew up in Bellerose is using his name to promote a borough group’s effort to highlight the importance of the upcoming state redistricting battle. Comment.
Forest Hills

Weiner now daddy to baby boy Jordan

Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner became a first-time father late last month after his wife gave birth to a 7-pound boy, the New York Post reported. Comment.
Flushing

Cops vow crackdown on boro bars

Northeast Queens police said they will focus on bars and restaurants operating illegally in 2012, but community leaders said more needs to be done on a state level and cited a Flushing watering hole with a questionable liquor license as an example. Comment.
Bellerose

Avella calls on city to fix broken curbs

Bellerose homeowner Caroline Vereline said that in the 54 years she has lived in her home, she has never seen the city Department of Transportation repair the curbs on her street. Comment.
CNG: Community Newspaper Group