Government

December, 2013

Political Action

Conservative Party hopeful in next year’s elections

In a recent interview, Thomas Long, chairman of the Queens Conservative Party, gave his views of various current political topics. Comments (1).
Government

De Blasio names Bill Bratton as top cop

Incoming Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio made one of his most closely watched appointments Thursday when he named Bill Bratton as his administration’s new police commissioner. This will be Bratton’s second turn as head of the nation’s largest police force. Comment.
Flushing

CB 7 chair blasts parking plan for Flushing Commons project

Community leaders blasted new details about parking at the proposed Flushing Commons project that the developers unveiled at a Community Board 7 District Service Cabinet meeting last Thursday. Comments (4).
Letters

People can’t rely on gov’t for everything

Responses to my letters to the editor reveal how much dependence and trust in an intrusive government is ingrained in our psyche. Without a shred of evidence, writers claim I advocate for a country with no government or regulation, and where people fend for themselves and die in the streets. Comments (3).
Bayside

Braunstein pushes bill on campus rape

State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) has been highlighting Columbia University’s alleged mishandling of rape complaints to promote a bill he drafted that would require universities to refer such crimes to police within 24 hours. Comments (1).
Bayside

New Councilman Paul Vallone to run office out of Bell Plaza

City Councilman-elect Paul Vallone has signed a lease to operate his district office out of Suite 507 in Bell Plaza at 42-40 Bell Blvd. Comments (1).
Letters

Make elections more democratic

Gov. Andrew Cuomo must lead the charge toward accomplishing the reforms advanced by his Moreland Commission to investigate public corruption. Comments (1).
Flushing

Crowley fasts for immigration reform

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) joined the nationwide “Fast for Families” last week in support of immigration reform that would provide undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship. Comments (6).
Rego Park

Police hand out more parking tickets and moving summons during initiative

QUEENS — The Police Department said officers issued hundreds of tickets in the borough last week during a citywide initiative to improve pedestrian safety during the holiday shopping season. Comment.
Mayoral Spin Cycle

De Blasio must think long-term to plan city’s success

There has never been a better time to be a progressive in New York City. The new mayor, the city public advocate, city comptroller and most of the City Council are from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and we will now see if a concentrated focus on the poor and middle class will help vault them to a better station in life. Comment.
Glendale

Glendale residents decry homeless shelter plan

State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) responded to the city’s decision to push for a controversial homeless shelter in Glendale by chastising the city Department of Homeless Services for failing to stem the need for such facilities. Comment.
Government

Brown praises de Blasio on Bratton appointment

The borough’s top prosecutor last week praised Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s appointment of a police commissioner, saying he had a successful history working with Bill Bratton. Comment.
South Jamaica

Council calculates violence

Gun violence in South Jamaica has dropped precipitously since the City Council implemented a pilot program last year based on the Cure Violence initiative, a project out of the University of Illinois-Chicago that approaches violence as a public health crisis. Comments (3).
Flushing

Meng asks USPS to mend post office

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) called on the U.S. Postal Service to renovate the exterior of the long-neglected Benjamin S. Rosenthal Post Office on Main Street last week. Comments (3).
Kew Gardens

Borough Hall atrium first face-lift since ‘40

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but maybe the ancient city’s founders would have moved a little quicker if they had had to deal with the December weather in Queens. Comment.
Political Action

Giuliani active in politics without holding office

Rudy Giuliani achieved prominence in federal law enforcement early in his career. Within two years after graduating from New York University Law School, he began working for the U.S. attorney’s office. A brief time after that he became chief of the Narcotics Unit and later executive U.S. attorney. Comment.
Glendale

City pushes forward with Glendale shelter plan

The city is pushing ahead with plans to transform a vacant Glendale manufacturing plant into a homeless shelter despite objections from the community. Comments (1).
Willets Point

City OKs subsidies for Willets project

The city approved $42.6 million in tax breaks for the developers of Willets Point Tuesday in a move strongly opposed by two elected officials from northeast Queens. Comment.
East Elmhurst

Rep. Crowley tackles airport noise

The Queens congressional delegation has turned up the heat on airline companies on the issue of airplane noise. Comments (2).
Long Island City

AG nails JPMorgan and talks about role

Fresh off his record $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman spoke to a packed Little Theater at LaGuardia Community College Monday night. Comment.
On Point

Queens’ civil leaders weigh wood-chipping and bridge tolls

On Dec. 1, the Queens Civic Congress held its 16th annual legislative reception in Douglaston. The QCC, a uniquely Queens institution, is an umbrella organization of more than 100 civic associations. It is an example of productive civic engagement and the adage that “all politics is local.” Comments (1).
Willets Point

Willets Pt developers request $42.6 million in subsidies

Developers have requested $42.6 million in tax breaks from the city for the redevelopment of Willets Point into residential, commercial and retail space. Comment.
Letters

Dems give GOP its just desserts

Finally, the Democrats smacked the Republican Party in the face by changing the rules and allowing presidential nominees to be approved by a simple majority — the way it should be. Comments (2).
Woodhaven

Ulrich to include Woodhaven in public budgeting program

The new City Council districts are causing concerns for Woodhaven residents who want their community to join the participatory budgeting program. Comment.
Letters

Do not swoon over de Blasio win

Sometimes a gift-wrapped package does not contain a gift. A case in point is Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who ran on a ticket espousing the needs of the little people, distinguishing himself from the Bloomberg administration. Comments (1).

November, 2013

Government

Schumer wants to strengthen fed robocall law

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is preparing to introduce legislation to toughen penalties for violations of federal Do Not Call rules, including $20,000 fines for each violation and jail time for the “most egregious” offenders. Comments (2).
Long Island City

Boro affected by SNAP cuts

New York City families are already feeling the effects of recent cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Comments (2).
Astoria

State gives $4.6 million for SNAP gap

New York state will provide $4.6 million in grants to emergency food providers during the holiday season in a move that should help some families in Queens. Comments (2).
Flushing

NYCHA installs cameras

Residents of Bland Houses in Flushing can finally sleep a little easier since 53 security cameras were installed in the development in mid-November. Comment.
Woodside

Woodside jiggle joint loses bid to be cabaret

A Woodside gentleman’s club was denied a cabaret license by Community Board 1 last week, meaning only two women will be able to dance at the same time. Comment.
Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens construction nears halfway point: DOT

Both parts of the Kew Gardens interchange construction project are almost halfway done, according to officials from the state Department of Transportation. Comment.
Political Action

Mayoral ticket benefitted Vallone race for Council

One of the most closely watched City Council races in Queens has ended in a loss for Dennis Saffran to Paul Vallone. It was a highly competitive campaign. Although both District 19 candidates campaigned hard, it was Vallone who was able to get about 300 people to turn out on Election Day and help his campaign. Comment.
Government

Stop-and-frisk leads to few convictions: AG

Aside from its questionable legality, the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program is highly ineffective at catching criminals, with just 3 percent of stops resulting in a conviction, a new report by the state attorney general found. Comments (1).
Jamaica

Boro to get share of $1 billion in foreclosure relief

As the foreclosure crisis in Queens showed signs of improvement, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced New York state will receive more than $1 billion out of a historic settlement reached with JPMorgan stemming from its role in the financial crisis. Comment.
Bellerose

Hearing on ICCC moved to January

A hearing on the first of two variances the Indian Cultural and Community Center needs to break ground on its controversial plan to erect a pair of nine-story apartment towers on the Creedmoor campus in Bellerose was rescheduled for next year. Comments (5).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

De Blasio outshines Bloomberg on empathy skills

I watched a documentary the other night about President John F. Kennedy and I was struck by how well he was able to connect with voters. Even when he was receiving a long line of well-wishers, he seemed to listen to each one intently. Comment.
Richmond Hill

CB 9 may revote on ouster

The decision on whether to remove longtime board member Sam Esposito from Community Board 9 amid accusations he made anti-Semitic remarks is not over. Comment.
Jamaica

Queens trio named to de Blasio’s transition team

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio Wednesday announced three leaders from Queens in the realms of technology, higher education and the arts who will help the city’s 109th mayor choose his new government. Comments (1).
Letters

Beware of governmental crises

Do you believe the attack on Benghazi resulting in four American deaths was prompted by a video? Do you still believe you can keep your doctor and your health plan? Will Lois Lerner at the Internal Revenue Service ever be held responsible for her actions? Do you believe the president was never informed of the National Security Agency surveillance? Would you enter your private information on the government healthcare website with confidence? Comments (3).
Letters

Reflect on the memory of JFK

On Nov. 22, we will remember the death of President John F. Kennedy. Comments (2).
Letters

New mayor must back city workers

New Yorkers went to the polls to cast their votes for the next mayor of New York City, and the winner has his work cut out for him. Comments (1).
Letters

Living wage in city is possible

Working men and women at Resorts World Casino hit the jackpot recently in what is sure to become a benchmark agreement for casino labor statewide. Comments (1).
Kew Gardens

Katz releases economic development plan for boro

Borough President-elect Melinda Katz’s experience heading the City Council Land Use Committee is at the forefront of the economic development plan she released Wednesday, which calls for developing mix-use districts, promoting a high-tech economy and developing a branding campaign that puts Queens on a pedestal. Comments (6).
Maspeth

Better airplane noise monitoring system to come to boro: officials

Queens is getting a new system for monitoring noise from area airports, officials from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey said last week. Comment.
Government

Stop & frisk fight continues in court

Lawyers who successfully argued against the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices asked the full Second Circuit Court of Appeals Monday to reconsider a decision made by a three-judge panel to remove the district judge who ruled on the landmark case. Comment.
Ozone Park

Addabbo honors vets with Ozone Park flag

For years a flagpole has stood empty in an Ozone Park shopping center, but Friday a group of citizens, along with state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), hoisted a new flag to mark Veterans Day. Comment.
South Richmond Hill

CB 9 member retained after ouster vote fails

Community Board 9 had one less member as of Tuesday night, but it was not Sam Esposito. Comment.
Richmond Hill

CB 9 retains board member accused of anti-Semitic remark

Community Board 9 voted to retain Sam Esposito, a longtime member, after he was accused of making anti-Semitic remarks to three board members earlier this year. Comments (1).
Government

Court stays stop-and-frisk reforms

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) last week called a federal appeals court decision to temporarily suspend a lower court’s ruling and orders to reform stop-and-frisk “deeply troubling.” Comments (1).
The Civic Scene

Cause a racket to get something done about airplane noise

The West Cunningham Park Civic Association and the Civic Association of Utopia Estates held a joint general membership meeting, where the new commanding officer of the 107th Precinct, Capt. Fred Grover, and Janet McEneaney and Bob Whitehair, president and vice president of Queens Quiet Skies, spoke. Comment.
Letters

Cuomo must give Rockaways housing

Well, governor, here is an opportunity to prove you are not an elitist politician, not in the pockets of high-line developers and that you care about the needy people of this city that you govern. Comment.
Douglaston

CB 11 vote allows car dealership to expand Douglaston showroom

Community Board 11 unanimously voted at its November meeting to allow a car dealership from Douglaston to expand its showroom. Comments (1).
Editorial

Boro Votes Change

The Bill de Blasio landslide effect rumbled across Queens as Democrats secured all but one of the seats up for grabs in the general election. Comment.
Letters

Protest FAA plan over airplane noise

The only way the citizens of northeast Queens are going to get results from the industry-slanted Federal Aviation Administration is to start protesting immediately in front of their offices, government buildings and airline ticket offices. Comments (4).
Political Action

Vallone, Saffran make second run for Council seat

In the 19th City Council District in northeast Queens, it has been a hard-fought race between Republican Dennis Saffran and Democrat Paul Vallone. Both are attorneys and have run for this seat before. Vallone ran in a Democratic primary four years ago but lost to Kevin Kim. Twelve years ago, Saffran ran against Tony Avella in the general election and lost by a narrow margin. Comments (1).
Government

Appeals court stays stop-and-frisk reforms

A federal appeals court Thursday temporarily suspended the court-ordered reforms to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics and removed the judge who ruled the controversial practices unconstitutional as the city appeals the case. Comments (1).
Ozone Park

Casinos, judges’ age will appear on ballot

On Nov. 5, New Yorkers will have several opportunities to amend the state Constitution when they vote on six proposed ballot measures. Comments (1).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

If elected mayor, de Blasio should reach out to opponents

One of the greatest political books ever, “A Team of Rivals,” by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, tells the compelling and relevant tale of President Abraham Lincoln’s unprecedented hiring of his presidential rivals to serve in his administration. Comment.

October, 2013

Letters

Debt ceiling debacle will continue next year

After more than two weeks of political gridlock, there was finally an agreement to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling to prevent the nation from defaulting on its financial responsibilities. Comment.
Astoria

Council passes co-op resolution in favor of FEMA storm funds

It took the City Council just under two weeks to unanimously agree that Queens co-ops and condos deserve federal storm recovery money, but the government in Washington has yet to jump onboard. Comments (1).
Letters

Work begins where shutdown ends

It is overdue, but the federal government is open and the debt ceiling has been raised. This is a welcome development for our country, but the damage caused is irreversible and was unnecessary. Comments (1).
Flushing

Rozic to host tax exemption workshop

A northeast Queens lawmaker will be hosting a community workshop this weekend to help residents benefit from a state tax exemption program. Comments (2).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

Changing political winds will usher in de Blasio

Historians often point out that political movements work in cycles. After a few terms of Republican presidents, for example, we often see a shift to a Democratic president, like when Barack Obama followed George Bush Jr. and Bill Clinton defeated George Bush Sr., who succeeded Ronald Reagan. Comment.
Letters

Do not give in to GOP demands

I think U.S. Rep. Marlon Stutzman (R-Ind.) exposed the truth behind the Republican Party’s opposition to Obamacare by saying, “We’re not going to be disrespected .... We have to get something out of this, and I don’t know what that even is.” Comments (5).
Government

Cop union sues over anti-profiling law

The union representing the NYPD’s rank-and-file officers filed a lawsuit against the City Council this week, claiming lawmakers overstepped their authority by passing a vague anti-profiling law that leaves cops to guess who can and cannot be stopped. Comment.
Letters

Tea Party makes Bush look good

I used to laugh at the “No-Bama” quip appearing on bumper tags, asking, “Miss Bush yet?” I would harken back to decisions made during that, period such as the unnecessary Iraq war, tax cuts for the wealthy and so on, not to mention Dr. Evil Cheney, which still leaves a sour taste merely recalling his being. Comments (4).
Political Action

Ragusa is re-elected chairman of Queens GOP

On Sept. 27, the Queens Republican Party held its convention to elect its county chairman and county officers. It is held every two years. Next year, the Queens Democratic Party will hold its convention for the same purpose. Comment.
Editorial

The Other Sex

Queens has been on the sidelines for over two weeks watching the theater of the absurd play out in Washington as GOP hardliners in the House of Representatives held the nation hostage. Comments (1).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

Increase voter turnout with non-partisan elections

As the old saying goes, democracy is the second worst form of government — everything else is tied for first. Comments (1).
Sunnyside

Fed workers at Maloney rally decry shutdown

Scores of federal employees described the negative impact of the federal shutdown on their families and finances in a Columbus Day demonstration in Manhattan organized by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria). Comments (1).
Letters

Obama, Congress must grow up

Since Congress cannot agree on anything, our government has now shut down. This is such a travesty because so many people are going to be affected by this in different ways, and not for the better. Comments (1).
Bayside

Braunstein introduces bill to bar revenge porn

A northeast Queens lawmaker has teamed up with another state legislator from across the aisle to draft a bill cracking down on the sharing of sexually explicit pictures, also known as “revenge porn.” Comments (3).
Bayside

CB 11 supports funds for co-op storm relief

Community Board 11 heard reports from its Transportation and Government Affairs committees this week in support of a city resolution recommending federal funding for co-op and condo groups as well as various speed bump proposals throughout its northeast Queens territory. Comments (1).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

Term limits bring fresh energy into politics

It’s an interesting quirk in the political world that some elected offices are term-limited while the vast majority are not. Comments (1).
Letters

Hold vote to end gov’t shutdown

There is a lot of blame and finger-pointing for the recent federal government shutdown. Today, I am offering a common-sense solution. Comment.
Jamaica

Boro feels effects of federal shutdown

As the country entered the second week of the federal government shutdown with no end in sight, members of the Queens congressional delegation said their constituents were feeling the impact. Comments (1).
Letters

Republicans must stand up to Tea Party

If it wanted to, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives could immediately end the government shutdown it has caused. Comments (3).
Letters

De Blasio has to do right by labor

Now is the only time in the modern history of organized labor in New York City that all members of every public employee union are forced to work under expired contracts. Comments (2).
Flushing

New Union Street library opens in Mitchell-Linden

One northeast Queens library opened this week while another closed for renovations as part of a massive, decade-long capital improvement push in the borough. Comments (1).
New Voices

Boro’s Asian voters face snafus at polls in primary

The move to the legacy voting machines caused some chaos on Primary Day, with a number of the relics breaking down or otherwise malfunctioning. Compounding these issues were unclear directives on the use of paper ballots and at times confusing poll site instructions. Comments (2).
Political Action

Despite losing Catsimatidis sees a future in politics

Gristedes billionaire John Catsimatidis plans to play a role in reorganizing the city’s Republican Party after losing his bid to win the GOP line in the September mayoral primary. Comments (2).
Editorial

Defending Hizzoner

It’s time to give Mayor Michael Bloomberg a break. Comments (1).
Letters

Gov’t shutdown unfair to workers

Members of Congress need to do what they were elected to do and pass a budget that allows the federal government to function. Comment.
Mayoral Spin Cycle

De Blasio could face major decisions on city schools

There are only three months left in the Bloomberg era, and the folks at the Tweed Building who work for the city Department of Education are probably dusting off their résumés and thinking about their next gig. Comment.
College Point

NYPD tow lot incites anger in College Pt.

College Point community leaders are furious the NYPD quietly set up a tow yard without the neighborhood’s knowledge. Comments (2).
Letters

Obamacare will do people good

A longtime friend sent me an e-mail the other day about defunding Obamacare, hoping his side would shut down the government in protest. He is in that Tea Party/Republican/Libertarian loop of e-mailers who send out crazy, racist, bigoted, mean e-mails mocking President Barack Obama and the Democrats. Comments (6).
Letters

Ferreras should not support Willets plan changes

For too long there has been an unwritten law that in connection with legislation pending before the New York City Council, the Council member whose district encompasses the area on which there may be an impact has the say on whether the legislation should be enacted or rejected. Not only does this not comport with legitimate democratic processes, but it ignores the fact that a single Council member does not speak for all the residents of a district and ignores the fact there may be an impact upon an entire borough as well as the city. Comments (1).

September, 2013

St. Albans

Board cracks down on block party plans

The party’s over! Comments (1).
Rosedale

Voters get three options in CD 31 Dem primary

Three contenders have thrown their hats in the ring for the Democratic primary in southeast Queens to determine who wins the party spot for the City Council seat now held by Donovan Richards. Comments (2).
I Sit and Look Out

Next beep should take notes on Brooklyn’s Markowitz

Anthony Weiner is out. We really never thought, given the last few polls, that he was in, but one never knows. Since he served a part of Queens in the U.S. House of Representatives, I guess we have to remember him, but let us get over it quickly. Anthony will capitalize on his return to public life — note I did not write “public service”). In any event, he is living in Manhattan and, if we are lucky, he will not be in Queens anytime soon. Comments (1).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

De Blasio must choose great deputy mayors if he wins

Conventional wisdom is rarely correct in political campaigns, and early front-runners also don’t often make it first to the finish line. Just ask Hillary Clinton, Christine Quinn or Mark Green. Comment.
Whitestone

Helicopter noise sparks outrage in Whitestone

Whitestone and Malba Gardens residents are being driven nuts by increased helicopter noise as more choppers travel to and from the north coast of Long Island, where a mandatory route bypassing Suffolk and Nassau counties begins about 15 miles away from the Queens border. Comments (12).
Letters

Say no to Willets shopping mall

There are many reasons for the City Council to reject the application of Sterling Equities and Related Cos., which seeks to amend the 2008 approved Willets Point plan. Comments (1).
Letters

Take hint from Far East airports

In view of the increased jet noise over the New York metro area, I thought your readers might be interested in how several large cities in Asia have dealt with this problem. Comments (1).
Letters

Curtail number of political fliers, calls

Over the last month I have received more than 100 fliers in the mail and what seemed like an equal number of calls regarding New York City primary elections. In the five mail delivery days before the primary, I counted 38 fliers, which I had saved for recycling. This does not take into account the endless TV commercials. Comments (1).
Ridgewood

CB5 pedals forward on adding designated bike lanes

Community members who live within the confines of Community Board 5 will soon have an opportunity to weigh in on proposed bike lanes in the area, according to officials from the city Department of Transportation. Comment.
Political Action

Boro Dems have avoided internal strife seen in GOP

Every two years, major and minor political parties focus on county conventions for the purpose of electing county officers to run the county party during the next two-year period. Comment.
Bayside

Avella drafting legislation against pension stripping

Retirees are afraid. Comments (2).
Long Island City

House plan to limit food stamps would hurt New Yorkers: Maloney

Political leaders in western Queens are opposing a congressional proposal that would cut $39 billion from the federal food stamps program over the next 10 years. Comments (2).
Jamaica

Judge won’t postpone stop-and-frisk reforms

Murders in Queens are down almost 40 percent from where they were last year, and the federal judge who ruled the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices unconstitutional cited the citywide drop in crime Tuesday when she rebuked the Bloomberg administration’s claim that reforming the Police Department would make the streets unsafe. Comments (2).
Bayside

Bayside leaders warn of FAA’s exclusion plans

Anyone opposed to the idea of the Federal Aviation Administration exempting itself from studying how its flight patterns might affect the environment has less than two weeks to speak up. Comments (1).
Editorial

Council Races Get Special Interest

Races for Queens City Council seats should be home-grown affairs with candidates taking positions on neighborhood issues that have divided some residents and united others, but in the 2013 primary outside influences in the form of big bucks have been injected into the contests for Council spots in several communities. Comments (4).
Bayside

CB 11 considers Bayside parking garage proposal

Residents of northeast Queens floated ideas on how Community Board 11 should prioritize its capital and expense budget recommendations to the city, including the purchasing of land at Udalls Cove, building a parking garage off Bell Boulevard and improving pedestrian islands in Bayside Hills. Comments (4).
Letters

Staff unhelpful at boro pols’ offices

I have reached my breaking point with the lack of help coming from our elected officials at state Sen. Jose Peralta’s (D-East Elmhurst) and City Councilman Daniel Dromm’s (D-Jackson Heights) offices and how they have the most incompetent workers our tax dollars pay for. Comment.
Political Action

Catsimatidis backs vocational schools and stop-frisk

John Catsimatidis is running strongly in the Republican primary election, to be held Sept. 10. He has been endorsed by former Republican Gov. George Pataki. His main opponent in that race is Joe Lhota, a former deputy mayor. Comment.
Government

Lever-style machines to return for primary vote

Voters in Queens will be going analog on Primary Day as the city Board of Elections rolls out the old lever-style voting machines across the five boroughs. Comments (1).
On Point

Condo, co-op owners should vote for who will care for them

Next week, Democrats and Republicans will select their parties’ candidate for November’s mayoral election. Having attended numerous candidate forums in the past few months, a reality check taken with a dose of truth serum is in order by the contenders, as they purport to solve many serious problems confronting our city. Comment.
Editorial

Get Out and Vote

Next Tuesday voters from Queens will go to the polls to choose candidates in primaries for citywide offices as well as borough president and the City Council. This is a year when every vote counts and a low turnout will allow a small portion of the electorate to decide who runs City Hall and other major posts for the next four years. Comment.
Letters

Willets Point plan nothing but same old politics

The Willets Point plan approved in 2008 was clear and unambiguous. The city would acquire 62 acres in Willets Point through the voluntary sale by property owners or, if need be, through eminent domain. A private developer would construct on the site upscale retail stores, office buildings, a convention center, a school and luxury housing with a portion set aside for affordable housing. Comments (1).
Sunnyside

Van Bramer secures $2.6M to expand Sunnyside center

The City Council allocated $2.6 million in capital funding to Sunnyside Community Services so it can renovate its second floor and enhance senior services, administrators said. Comment.
Letters

Electeds should rethink candidate they support

During the course of the District 19 Council race, Jobs for New York has sent a series of “hit pieces” against three of the candidates for the benefit of Paul Vallone. The mailers are paid for by Jobs for New York, and upon information and belief were designed, printed and dist Comments (6).
St. Albans

Thompson calls for reforms of juvenile justice practices

With a week to go in the Democratic primary, mayoral candidate Bill Thompson was joined by southeast Queens clergy and community leaders Tuesday morning when he laid out a platform involving the criminal justice system for young, non-violent offenders. Comment.
Letters

Pols should only serve the public

In reference to the Aug. 2-8 Bayside Times letter “Give pols more than one salary,” those who are financially successful in the private sector should not be seeking elected public office with the objective of gaining additional salaries, lucrative pensions and the perks that come with such positions. Comments (1).
Cartoon

Tip of the week

Jamaica

Library custodians upset over outsourcing of jobs

Custodial workers are accusing the Queens Library of playing dirty when it comes to outsourcing union jobs to low-paid contract workers. Comment.

August, 2013

Editorial

Council Deals Blow to Mayor Bloomberg

After an emotionally charged session at City Hall last week, the City Council voted to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s vetoes of two bills designed to rein in the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk. Comment.
Government

Council overrides Bloomberg on stop-and-frisk reform

In the latest rebuke of the Bloomberg administration’s use of stop-and-frisk, the City Council Thursday voted to defeat the mayor’s veto on two NYPD-reform bills known as the Community Safety Act. Comment.
Pomonok

Pomonok blasts NYCHA policies on paid parking

A group of lawmakers want the city to answer for what they called egregious parking mismanagement at Pomonok Houses that is driving residents crazy. Comment.
Dutch Kills

Roundup of shopping carts clears trash in Dutch Kills

Several western Queens residents are praising police from the 114th Precinct who they said teamed up with the city Sanitation Department to remove more than one dozen shopping carts stuffed with garbage around Dutch Kills. Comment.
Jamaica

Bloomberg administration asks judge to suspend stop-and-frisk ruling

The Bloomberg administration Tuesday asked the federal judge who earlier this month ruled the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional to temporarily suspend her appointment of an independent monitor and her order to reform the practice, claiming the broad-sweeping directive is likely to cause “irreparable harm” to public safety. Comment.
Astoria

Moms turn lemons into lemonade to push for gun control legislation

Moms around the country chose an unusual way to advocate for gun control over the weekend: lemonade. Comments (4).
Letters

City needs speed cameras

Is columnist Bob Friedrich so cynical of government as to deny the practical benefits of speed cameras (“Speed cameras feed Gotham’s revenue addiction,” Aug. 2-8)? Comment.
Queensbridge

Van Bramer calls on NYCHA to fix center at Queensbridge

A Queens lawmaker called on the city last Friday to repair a crumbling Long Island City community center. Comment.
Flushing

Liu proposes legalizing marijuana in five boros

City Comptroller John Liu wants to legalize marijuana possession in the city, although the proposal would likely have the least impact on Queens, which already logs the fewest arrests per capita than any other borough. Comments (5).
Flushing

Boro leaders blast Bloomy’s fingerprint idea

The heads of Queens public housing communities blasted the mayor’s recent suggestion that residents should be fingerprinted in order to make the houses safer. Comments (3).
Queens Village

Retired Queens Village cop speaks out on stop-and-frisk

Days after the city filed notice it would appeal a federal judge’s ruling on stop-and-frisk, a retired police captain from Queens Village stood with others earlier this week to voice her support for a package of NYPD reform bills the City Council was scheduled to vote on Thursday. Comment.
Letters

Do not trust lying politicians

Why does reader Roseanne D’Angelo support lying, adultery and stealing? Comment.
Rockaway Beach

LIPA customers now face hike in monthly electric bill

LIPA customers will see a rise in their bills this month after the power utility increased its charge for its monthly power supply. Comment.
Letters

Keep rowdy youth out of the Olde Flushing site

I hope you received my July 2 letter regarding the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground, on 46th Avenue between 164th and 165th streets in Flushing. The conservancy, of which I am a co-chair, is looking forward to your visit to the site in the near future. Comment.
Kew Gardens

Sen. Gillibrand pushes voting rights in boro

With the 50th anniversary of a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights era weeks away, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) made a stop in Queens last week to urge her colleagues in Congress to restore a key element of the movement’s legislation that was nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. Comments (1).
Political Action

Every precaution must be taken when counting ballots

In the 1930s and ’40s, voting machines came into use in most American cities. The era of paper ballots was over and the possibility of voter fraud was lessened, but there are always some people who will try to beat the system. Comment.
Government

City appeals stop-and-frisk ruling

Days after Mayor Michael Bloomberg vehemently blasted what he called a “very dangerous decision,” the city’s Law Department Friday filed notice it plans to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional. Comments (2).
Government

U.S. attorney general takes steps to reform drug-sentencing policy

Calling the criminal justice system “in too many respects broken,” the country’s top law enforcement official Monday announced a set of reforms to national drug policies aimed at reducing the number of minorities sent to prison on federal drug charges. Comments (3).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

Media should pay attention to politics, not sexual transgressions

It’s hard enough braving the wilting summer heat and standing at subway stations each morning shaking hands and passing out fliers. Then there are the endless public events and candidate forums that occupy every waking moment — when you’re not on the phone with potential donors pleading for money. Comment.
Government

Queens has mixed reaction to decision on police tactic

Queens pretty much drew its line in the sand on stop-and-frisk with the debate over the City Council’s Community Safety Act back in June. So when a federal judge earlier this week released her widely anticipated decision rebuking the NYPD’s use of the controversial practice, voices on both sides of the debate seized upon an opportunity to dig in their heels. Comment.
Jamaica

Judge orders NYPD to fix stop & frisk

Police in Jamaica’s 103rd Precinct will wear cameras to document interactions with civilians in a pilot program if a federal judge’s ruling earlier this week on the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk holds up. Comments (2).
Bayside

Avella drops out of race for borough president

In an unexpected move,.State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) dropped out of the race for Queens borough president Wednesday. Comments (4).
Bayside

Avella drops out of beep race

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) dropped out of the race for Queens borough president, he announced in a statement Wednesday. Comment.
Jamaica

Judge rules stop-and-frisk unconstitutional

The federal judge overseeing the broadest-reaching challenge to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy Monday ruled the department’s use of those practices is unconstitutional and appointed an independent monitor to administer reforms. Comments (4).
East Elmhurst

E. Elmhurst, Corona rezone plan heads to Council and Bloomberg

A rezoning proposal intended to curb out-of-character real estate development in East Elmhurst and Corona is headed down the home stretch. Comments (1).
Letters

McCaffrey stood up for rights of outerboros

The late City Councilman Walter McCaffrey is now officially free from the scourge of term limits. How ironic that he was one of the first victims of term limits, which is nothing more — politically speaking — than the voters’ expression of a preference for a one-night stand. Comment.
Letters

Come clean on stop-frisk bills

City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) wrote a letter in the July 19-25 edition of TimesLedger Newspapers defending his vote for the two Intros 1079 and 1080, comprising the Community Safety Act. Comments (3).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

Two polar political opposites want to be city comptroller

Most New Yorkers don’t know what the city comptroller does, much less be able to spell the archaic title. Comment.
Political Action

Political clubs perform essential county functions

The political party operates at many levels. Here in New York City, the parties have county organizations with officers and an executive committee composed mainly of district leaders. Comment.

July, 2013

Laurelton

Two libraries plan to grow with Council funds

The Laurelton and Rosedale libraries took a step toward building second floors with more than $2.5 million in city funds allocated this year by City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton). Comment.
Government

Boro lawmakers split on profiling bill

Queens lawmakers dug in their heels this week over a controversial anti-profiling bill that would allow individuals to sue the city in state court over the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices. Comment.
Government

Mayor upholds vow to veto

As expected, Mayor Michael Bloomberg took his red pen to a pair of NYPD-reform bills Tuesday, setting up the final showdown in the politically charged debate over legislation to rein in the department’s stop-and-frisk practices. Comments (2).
Neponsit

Pipeline plan stirs debate

Despite increasing opposition, energy companies National Grid and Williams Transco are moving forward to build a 3.2-mile-long pipeline that would increase the supply of natural gas in Brooklyn and Queens. A number of local groups and individuals are against the project, citing safety hazards and concerns for the environment. Comment.
Corona

USTA pledges $10M to park for expansion

The City Council voted Wednesday to allow the United States Tennis Association to expand in Flushing Meadows Corona Park following an 11th-hour agreement that will pump about $10 million into the shabby greenspace. Comment.
Letters

Gay opponents need to change tune

I hear some people say they do not support anyone being gay or gay marriage. They call gays deviants and say homosexuality is wrong, immoral and not what God intended. It upsets them that in this politically correct world they cannot do this and cannot say that. Comments (7).
Long Island City

Vallone bill would reverse Ed Koch bridge naming

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) is drafting legislation to remove former Mayor Ed Koch’s name from the Queensboro Bridge, a measure he said is in demand among residents of Queens. Comments (2).
Briarwood

Gennaro blasts safety act at crime camera unveiling

City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) hailed new NYPD cameras in Briarwood last week, but warned a bill passed by the Council could put the freshly installed crime-fighting tools in jeopardy. Comments (1).
Government

City officials propose reforms for inspecting restaurants

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) met with several Council members last week, including Queens officials, to unveil a legislative package intended to improve New York City’s restaurant inspection program while protecting the health of residents. Comments (1).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

Columnist ponders if Twitter controversy was all strategy

Imagine that for more than a decade you’ve been plotting to become mayor of New York City and you have been blocked from that path by the wealthiest man in town. Comment.
Government

Boro leaders blame GOP for food stamp cuts

Queens elected officials blasted House Republicans last week for passing a revised farm bill that stripped funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, but retained agriculture subsidies. Comments (1).
Letters

Sign up for 9/11 health funds

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 affected all of us, but survivors and the brave first responders, many of whom risked everything to provide emergency aid, have suffered incomparable health problems and financial loss in the years following this tragedy. Comment.
Letters

Do not curtail stop-and-frisk

The City Council’s passage in June of the inaptly named Community Safety Act is a reckless action which will handcuff the police, lead to more drugs and guns on our streets and victimize the poor and minority citizens the Council claims to protect. Comment.
Jamaica

Boro’s CCRB complaints drop in 2012

The number of complaints filed with the independent body investigating allegations of police misconduct dropped slightly in the borough last year, with areas of southeast Queens continuing to account for the lion’s share. Comments (1).
Editorial

Meter Madness

Queens has a starring role in the Muni-Meter meltdown bedeviling the city. There is a constant stream of complaints to community boards across the borough from motorists trying to appease the temperamental meters so they can perform simple tasks such as buying a newspaper or having a cup of coffee. Comments (2).
Little Neck

Weprin, Simotas earn $$$ for jobs outside Assembly

State Assembly members David Weprin (D-Little Neck) and Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) earned six-figure salaries last year from their jobs outside Albany, recent filings aimed at shedding light on state officials’ outside incomes show. Comments (2).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

Do not underestimate underdog mayoral candidates

I was so often labeled an underdog by the media when I ran for mayor last year that I jokingly told my friends I was thinking of changing my first name to “Longshot.” Comment.
Whitestone

Embattled lawmaker has funding slashed

Lawmakers kept a promise this week to give out earmarks to nonprofits and schools on behalf of embattled City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), but this year his share of the pot was greatly diminished. Comments (1).
Willets Point

Mystery music bugs Flushing from far away

Residents of a serene North Flushing block spent six weeks tracking down the elusive source of blaring music — and were shocked to find it across a river and more than a mile away. Comments (17).
Government

Council cuts three boro lawmakers’ discretionary budgets

A trio of Queens City Council members had their discretionary funding budgets cut this year, while five lawmakers got double-digit increases to dole out to non-profit groups. Comments (2).
Woodside

Former Councilman Walter McCaffrey dies

Former City Councilman Walter McCaffrey, who represented Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City for nearly two decades, died Wednesday. He was in his mid-60s. Comment.
Maspeth

Maspeth street will honor bar owner George Gibbons

After nearly a year of struggle, a lifelong Maspeth resident who was killed in 2011 will be honored with his name added to the street on which he grew up. Comments (1).
Letters

Court made wrong marriage decision

The U.S. Supreme Court’ ruling on gay marriage will cause more harm than good. The court has destroyed and robbed the foundation of traditional marriage and has single-handedly destroyed society as we know it. Comments (4).
Letters

Religion impedes rights for gays

If people say they support civil unions and equal rights for gays but feel that the “sacrament” of marriage should be between a man and a woman, then by excluding gays from marriage they show that they are not for equal rights for gays. Comment.
Political Action

Petition drives make or break a politician’s candidacy

The election campaigns every year in New York state and especially in New York City have two parts. The first is having designating petitions circulated with the candidates’ names on them. Each political party listed on the ballot goes through the petition process. Comment.
Cartoon

Tip of the week

Mayoral Spin Cycle

Not all black voters may have their eye on Thompson

Identity politics is an age-old term for voters picking one of their own. Up until the 1940s, the Irish largely dominated New York politics and ticket balancing meant having one Irish candidate, one Italian candidate and one Jewish candidate on the same slate to appeal to the dominant ethnic groups in the city. Comment.
Cartoon

Tip of the week

June, 2013

Whitestone

City freezes Halloran discretionary grants

The city has frozen $72,857 in discretionary grants once in the hands of embattled City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), according to a published report. Comment.
Government

Queens welcomes vote giving federal benefits to same-sex couples

Elected officials across Queens applauded the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday when it ruled that legally married same-sex couples should receive the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples and also made way for same-sex marriage in California. Comments (1).
Government

Supreme Court guts Voting Rights Act

Despite the partisan quagmire in Washington that has thwarted efforts to tackle gun reform, immigration and a farm bill, Queens congressional members said it was imperative their colleagues come together to rewrite a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act the Supreme Court invalidated Tuesday. Comment.
Astoria

Boro pols oppose obscure legal move on cop bills

Days before the City Council was set to weigh in on a pair of controversial bills that would bring new oversight to the NYPD this week, a group of Queens lawmakers opposed the use of a rare legislative procedure that brought the items to the floor. Comment.
Flushing

USTA meet full of fuzzy math

Grass parking allocated for the US Open in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is twice the space cited by representatives from the city Parks Department and the United States Tennis Association at a City Council hearing last week. Comment.
Bayside

Bloomberg’s budget saves boro from cuts

The Bloomberg administration’s passing of its final $70 billion city budget has restored the fates of popular Queens institutions that have gotten too used to fighting for funding. Comment.
Astoria

Four Queens lawmakers oppose forcing vote on NYPD bills

A group of Queens lawmakers formed the bulk of the opposition against a rare legislative procedure in the City Council that will bring two NYPD oversight bills to a full vote this week. Comment.
Long Island City

New rules to save boro homes

The city’s building code will probably be modified to better prepare for storms following recommendations unveiled last week by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) in Long Island City. Comment.
Letters

City can treat unkempt land better

The issue of unkempt properties has plagued our communities since the housing bust. Presently, the city Sanitation Department can go on properties and clean them once they have been given a particular status. While I am pleased with this change in regulations, more needs to be done. Comment.
Sunnyside

House defeats farm bill with provisions for food stamp cuts

The new Farm Bill was voted down by the House of Representatives Thursday by a vote of 234-195. Comment.
Laurelton

SE Queens task force wants to quiet house parties

Neighbors in southeast Queens have come to dread unruly house parties that take over their residential blocks during the summer months, and they are banding together to try to pull the plug before things get out of hand this year. Comments (5).
Government

Ferreras pushes feds to probe Herbalife

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate recruitment practices of Herbalife, a company recently accused of operating a pyramid scheme targeting minority groups. Comments (3).
Astoria

Sheldon Silver rejects new Scaffold Law: Moya

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) killed proposed changes to the city’s Scaffold Law Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman for Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights). Comment.
Willets Point

City returns to shutter more Willets shops

The city again shut down a group of Willets Point businesses that lie in the footprint of a $3 billion redevelopment project set to begin early next year, while talks about a detailed plan to relocate the auto repair shops to Maspeth have been stalled since October. Comment.
Letters

Ban fruit-flavored liquors in N.Y.

I am writing to urge all honorable legislators in New York City and the state to propose a bill which would make illegal the manufacture, distribution and sale of any liquors which are deceptively advertised as soft drinks or flavored with fruit juices. Comment.
Cartoon

Tip of the week

Government

City lawyers argue for 16 oz. soda cap

The Bloomberg administration was back in court this week arguing for the legality of its proposed regulations on the size of sugary drinks — a day after releasing dire diabetes statistics for the city. Comments (1).
Flushing

Queens at heart of NSA program defense

A former Flushing High School student has become the center of a debate over the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs. Comment.
South Jamaica

Teen’s death spurs SE Qns gun buyback

Borough President Helen Marshall is allocating up to $50,000 from her office’s discretionary budget for a gun buyback to honor the memory of the 14-year-old girl who was shot and killed while riding a city bus in South Jamaica last month. Comments (1).
Corona

City authors Senate legislation to lease boro parkland to USTA

A controversial bill that would help transfer Queens parkland to the United States Tennis Association was introduced in Albany Monday without any names attached, although a source said it was written by the mayor’s office. Comment.
Letters

Left-wing right on guns, gov’t

A short while ago, the Vatican agreed with President Barack Obama concerning the need for gun control. Recently, West Point did an in-depth study on conservatives and liberals. Comments (23).

May, 2013

South Ozone Park

Lawmakers urge Cuomo to allow city gaming

A group of concerned elected officials and business leaders gathered on the steps of Borough Hall in Kew Gardens this week to urge the governor to reconsider rolling the dice on table gaming in the city. Comments (1).
Bayside

FAA committee agrees to review LGA plane noise

Baysiders never stopped speaking up about unprecedented airplane noise over northeast Queens, and the Federal Aviation Administration showed they were heard when it agreed to include them in its decision-making, lawmakers said. Comments (2).
Willets Point

City opts to fix shuttered shops in Willets Point

After one branch of city government issued several Willets Point business owners violations and shut down their body shops earlier this month, another branch will now pay to fix them. Comments (1).
Corona

Stop-and-frisk down 27 percent in Queens in 2012

A new analysis of NYPD data by the New York Civil Liberties Union revealed Queens outpaced the city’s drop in police stops last year, and in some of the borough’s busiest areas the police appear to be stopping people more selectively than in the past. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

Weprin pushes to pass ‘Alice’s Law’

A Queens state Assemblyman’s efforts to crack down on staged car accidents kicked into high gear as the lawmaker prepared his final push before the current legislation session ends in June. Comment.
Letters

Take part in city budget process

As a taxpayer, it is important that you have the opportunity to get involved in the city’s budget process. It is your money and it only makes sense that you have a say in how it is spent. Comments (1).
Letters

City must stop practice of solitary confinement

It is time to end torture in New York City jails. I am referring to the rampant use of solitary confinement, which has brutalized incarcerated people, cost taxpayers millions of dollars and made our streets more dangerous. Comment.
Letters

Knives have no place on a plane

It is ridiculous that the Transportation Security Administration is going to allow small knives to be carried on board planes. A small knife is just as dangerous as a large one. Comment.
East Elmhurst

Qns pol backs off USTA bill

The Bloomberg administration probably will be tapping a state lawmaker from outside Queens to carry a state bill allowing the United States Tennis Association to expand its Flushing Meadows Corona Park facility. Comment.
Government

FDNY discrimination suit sent back to court

A panel of appellate judges Tuesday ruled a Brooklyn federal judge overstepped his authority by finding the FDNY intentionally discriminated against black and Hispanic applicants without hearing testimony from the city’s witnesses, kicking the case back to the district court and directing a new judge to be appointed. Comment.
Letters

Knives have no place on a plane

It is ridiculous that the Transportation Security Administration is going to allow small knives to be carried on board planes. A small knife is just as dangerous as a large one. Comment.
Political Action

Protection from terrorism is first priority of government

Since Washington, D.C., is the national capital, it could be said that Boston is the spiritual capital of our country from the standpoint that it was in April 1775 that the Revolutionary War began with the Battles of Lexington and Concord between American patriots and British soldiers. These military engagements occurred outside Boston and triggered a war that would last seven years. Comment.
Letters

Shame Congress into passing gun control laws

Republicans successfully derailed the passage of gun legislation last month in the last moments when passage looked likely. The 54 votes in favor fell short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who co-authored the bill, said it would have passed if the National Rifle Association did not score it. The NRA score scared enough senators to oppose it rather than risk reprisals from pro-gunners come election time. Most headlines called these folks cowards. Comment.
Queensbridge

Family of man killed in Queensbridge sues NYPD

The family of a Japanese student struck and killed by a police cruiser in Queensbridge has filed an $8 million lawsuit against the city and NYPD in hopes of finding out the circumstances surrounding his death, their lawyer said. Comment.
Bayside

Avella bill bans self-certifying of new buildings

The practice of self-certification by developers has long been a thorn in the side of state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), and the lawmaker introduced legislation that he hopes could put an end to it once and for all. Comments (1).
Letters

Pols have no guts over gun control

I am disgusted with the cowardly behavior of some of our U.S. senators bowing down to the National Rifle Association and their lobbyists while more than 90 percent of Americans are in favor of universal background checks, a no-brainer. Yet 46 of our senators voted against the wishes of the people. Comments (5).
Letters

More guns are not the answer

The idea of solving violence committed with firearms by increasing the amount of firearms is as idiotic as offering a drowning man a glass of water to relieve his thirst. Comment.
Letters

Shame on Senate over gun bill

It is incomprehensible that the background checks for people who want to purchase guns did not pass the U.S. Senate. Comments (5).

April, 2013

Letters

NRA, pols in cahoots against kids

Every newspaper in the country should print the names of the 41 Republican U.S. senators, along with the five Democrats, who voted down the gun control bill. Comments (2).
Pomonok

Pomonok blasts parking hike

A group gathered at Pomonok Houses last week to castigate the city for increasing annual parking fees by more than 400 percent weeks before the money is due. Comment.
Jamaica

Probation Dept. brings families into new center

A revamped probation program the city introduced in Jamaica over the summer is expected to branch out to Long Island City and Far Rockaway soon. Comment.
Jamaica

City moves on trash problem

They say you can’t fight City Hall, but whoever said you can’t give it a motivating kick in the rear end every once in a while? Comment.
Kew Gardens Hills

Kew Gardens Hills library rehab part of building spurt in system

Lawmakers kicked off the expansion of the Kew Garden Hills library last Friday as part of a decade-long capital spending boom that has forged ahead despite budget cuts to operating costs. Comment.
Letters

Participatory budgeting shines in eastern Queens

Over the past eight months, the residents of eastern Queens embarked on a new and unusual way to decide how $1 million of government funds would get spent. The results exceeded my expectations and once again proved the value of public participation in government. Comment.
Bayside

Voters say term limits cut graft: Poll

New York voters have had enough with dishonest elected officials and believe term limits could help curb corruption in politics, a Siena College poll found. Comment.
Letters

Give constituents their owed monies

It is important that the projects that were approved for funding in City Councilman Daniel Halloran’s (R-Whitestone) 19th Council District under the participatory budgeting project be allocated those monies. Comment.
Sunnyside

PS 150 second graders design awareness posters

The winner of the Curb Your Dog campaign poster contest — an initiative from students at PS 150 that aims to educate dog owners about the importance of cleaning up their pets’ droppings — was announced at the school Tuesday. Comment.
Editorial

No Slippery Slope

A town hall meeting last week at the Museum of the Moving Image gave both sides in the debate over gun legislation a chance to air their feelings about how this legislation will affect Queens. Comment.
Flushing

Meng marks 100 days since she joined House

Just more than 100 days ago, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) was laying the groundwork for her first term as a member of Congress to succeed her predecessor, who had racked up more than 30 years on the job. Comment.
Richmond Hill

Wills tours borough barber shops

There are few places like the neighborhood barber shop, where regulars and visitors can be found sounding off about the issues of the day as they reshape their hairdos. Comment.
Oakland Gardens

Weprin says projects will fly

Residents of northeast Queens have nothing to worry about after voting on how to spend $1 million for community projects, their City Councilman Mark Weprin said, despite a bribery case against a neighboring councilman leaving budget items in limbo. Comments (1).
Jamaica Hills

State disability cuts not as bad as feared

Fears that state funding cuts to organizations that serve people with developmental disabilities would trigger a sharp rollback in services were allayed last week with the release of a plan showing the direct impact to groups will be far less than originally anticipated. Comment.
Belle Harbor

City grants Sandy extension for property tax assessments

Homeowners whose properties were damaged by Superstorm Sandy have been granted an extension to appeal their property tax assessments with the city. Comment.
Astoria

State gun legislation sparks heated debate at town hall

A town hall meeting at the Museum of the Moving Image grew heated last Thursday when community members lobbed pointed questions at two Queens state legislators over controversial gun legislation they voted to pass in January. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

Rozic touts awareness after Fresh Meadows house fire

As a Fresh Meadows family recovers from a night-time fire that filled their home with smoke earlier this month, northeast Queens community leaders over the weekend announced a campaign to promote fire safety awareness. Comment.
On Point

Speed cameras will waste money and serve as a nuisance

Hold on to your wallets! A new effort by the city to pick your pockets is underway and it is called speed cameras. Remember when the city promised that red light cameras were being installed for safety, not revenue enhancement? We were sold that bill of goods by the same politicians who told us profits from the lottery would bolster education spending. Comments (3).
Flushing

NAACP protests controversial Flushing arrest

Members of the NAACP from around the borough protested the controversial January arrest of a black teenager and the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy in Flushing Monday. Comments (2).
Jamaica Hills

Boro programs for disabled brace for state budget cuts

Funding cuts for nonprofits that serve people with developmental disabilities will likely result in some drawing back of services, despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s insistence that the cuts should only affect administrative overhead, the director of the Queens Center for Progress said Tuesday. Comment.
Bayside

Halloran holds on as staff shrinks

Funding for community-based projects in northeast Queens is in limbo after City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) was arrested in a bribery scandal last week and charged with plotting to misuse money meant for neighborhood groups. Comments (1).
Kew Gardens

USTA project dodges vote

The United State Tennis Association’s proposal to expand its Flushing Meadows Corona Park facility made its way through the borough president’s office this week, but no formal vote was taken. Comment.
College Point

LGA trash station opponents lose court battle

New York state courts struck a blow to opponents of a trash transfer station slated for the foot of a LaGuardia Airport runway, but critics of the plan vow the fight is far from over. Comments (5).
Hollis

Cuomo calls on state to curb corruption with Public Trust Act

One week after federal authorities announced they had uncovered two suspected bribery plots in Queens and the Bronx, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a legislative initiative designed to give the state’s 62 district attorneys more power to prosecute corruption cases. Comment.
Bayside

Ackerman doubled staff salaries in ‘12

Bayside’s departing congressman left office with a generous farewell for his staffers: nearly doubling their pay. Comments (1).
Ozone Park

Ozone Park project set to start next year

The scarred and pockmarked streets of Ozone Park make for tricky driving. Comment.
Letters

Police officer intimidates resident at CB 8 meeting

I attended a Community Board 8 meeting March 13, which had on its agenda a United States Tennis Association application to expand its facilities in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Comments (3).
St. Albans

NYPD’s new chief of department hails from Queens

Phillip Banks III, 50, who spent more than half of his life working for the NYPD, was appointed recentlyas the NYPD’s new chief of department. Comment.
Editorial

Sick Days for All

If every year were an election year, city government might get something done. Comment.
Ozone Park

Overhaul planned for Ozone Park streets

City agencies revealed a sprawling plan last week to bring a series of street, sewer and lighting upgrades to Ozone Park. Comment.
Government

Boro lawmakers temper praise for state budget

Leaders in Albany lauded the third on-time budget passed in a row last month, but Queens lawmakers expressed reservations about the bill. Comment.
Astoria

Maloney’s city office receives death threats over telephone

Callers phoned in death threats to U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), the congresswoman revealed this week. Comment.

March, 2013

St. Albans

CB 12 pressures police for more polite patrols

Community Board 12 members last week took a crime update as an opportunity tell the 103rd Precinct they were unhappy with the way some of its officers conduct themselves. Comment.
Woodhaven

Neighborhood Spotlight: Woodhaven split irks civic

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association wants to unify the neighborhood — a difficult task when redistricting carves up the community. Comment.
Bayside

Halloran puts $1 million budget to vote

Residents of northeast Queens working alongside City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) have finalized their ballot to determine how the district will spend $1 million in discretionary funds. Comment.
Government

Qns state senators hash out Albany budget deal

Queens lawmakers in the state Senate put in a marathon session lasting until the wee hours of Wednesday morning in hopes of having Albany pass an on-time budget, but some were not thrilled by the process. Comment.
Astoria

CB 1 says city investigating fake website for Astoria board

Community Board 1 District Manager Lucille Hartmann said the board has asked the city to look into a website that closely resembles the official website but accuses the board of favoring developers and being out of touch with the community. Comments (1).
Cartoon

Tip of the week

Government

Queens population on the rise: Census

The number of people living in Queens is growing, although not as fast as in Brooklyn or Manhattan, according to new U.S. census data released this month. Comment.
Government

Boro lawmakers want $9/hr

Queens lawmakers are pushing for a state minimum wage increase, but not all are thrilled with a tax extension on top-earners as budget negotiations in Albany enter their final stages. Comment.
Laurelton

Council changes financial disclosure rule after southeast Queens special election

In southeast Queens’ special election last month — the first race in the borough under new campaign finance disclosure rules — the 1199/SEIU reported spending more than $22,000 to send mass mailings to its members urging them to vote for Donovan Richards. Comment.
Jamaica Hills

Queens bodega clerks knock limits on tobacco displays

Ann Hussain, a manager at a Jamaica Hills grocery store, said she thinks a proposal from Mayor Michael Bloomberg that would require most retailers to keep cigarettes and other tobacco products out of sight is a bad idea. Comments (1).
Jamaica

Quinn backs NYPD reform amid stop/frisk trial

The day after the broadest challenge yet to the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk practices kicked off in a Manhattan federal courtroom, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) announced she was in favor of appointing an independent monitor to oversee the department. Comments (1).
Long Island City

Muslims hurt by NYPD surveillance: Report

A CUNY School of Law project released a report last week saying the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims in the city has bred self-censorship and distrust of others in the community. Comments (1).
Bay Terrace

FAA reps take heat at plane noise meet

After meeting face-to-face with the Federal Aviation Administration, residents and elected officials of northeast Queens mulled over their next move to silence airliner noise above their homes, which could include legal action. Comment.
Corona

Roosevelt to get New Deal

Continuing her work of several years to improve Roosevelt Avenue, City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) joined with city officials and community leaders Tuesday to unveil a seven-point plan to make the strip cleaner, brighter and safer. Comment.
Letters

Follow New York’s lead on gun control

Protecting our most valuable resource — children — is any society’s most sacred duty, but it is a mission that we too often fail to accomplish. And that failure, whether it is in a supermarket parking lot in Tucson, Ariz., or a classroom in Newtown, Conn., is a continuing tragedy that should offend us all and shame us into immediate action. Comments (29).
Government

Queens lawmakers fighting for mixed-martial arts bill

The Queens state Assembly delegation is set to weigh in on a mixed-martial arts bill that passed the state Senate last week, although three of the borough’s lawmakers have already co-sponsored similar legislation in the past. Comment.
Bay Terrace

Some condos, co-ops cut off from tax relief

After recently celebrating the state’s commitment to securing a partial tax abatement plan for co-op and condominium owners, Bay Terrace’s Warren Schreiber said he was disappointed to see the city potentially complicating the process. Comment.
Glen Oaks

Grant money renews push for FEMA co-op equality

Queens welcomed the news that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would include co-op and condominium owners in its housing grants for Hurricane Sandy relief, but U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Hauppauge) said there was still more to be done. Comments (1).
Whitestone

Halloran says mayor twisted snow plot claims

In an attempt to set the record straight as he runs for re-election to a second term, City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) has blamed Mayor Michael Bloomberg for distorting his claims about a Sanitation Department slowdown in the aftermath of the 2010 blizzard. Comments (1).
Letters

Gov’t must save U.S. Postal Service

It is sad to contemplate the possible demise of our reliable “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” U.S. Postal Service, but that may fall victim to the onslaught of the privatization pirates. Comments (4).
On Point

Sequester necessary to stop out-of-control gov’t spending

I woke up March 1 amazed to find buses and subways running, planes still flying and creating too much noise in Bayside and the gears of government grinding along. After weeks of nonstop predictions of a sequestration Armageddon from Washington, I was relieved that the roads were still open and traffic lights functioning, enabling me to reach the deli and my morning joe at the Glen Oaks Shopping Center. Comments (1).
Bayside

Iannece re-elected as CB 11 chairman for one more year

All four Community Board 11 officers were re-elected for another year Monday, including Chairman Jerry Iannece, who was given his fifth and final term with the group. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Feds to reach out to boro borrowers in foreclosure deal

Queens residents who were in foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 with any of the 13 mortgage servicers that inked an agreement with federal regulators last week are expected to be contacted by the end of March about receiving payments, which could range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $125,000. Comment.
Government

Borough weighs impact of sequester cuts

The impact that billions of dollars in federal spending cuts will have on Queens was not immediately clear since it is widely expected that Congress will revise the deep automatic cuts over the next few years. Comment.
Letters

Gun restrictions will not infringe on people’s rights

When I was a kid, I grew up with images of Hopalong Cassidy shooting umpteen bullets at bad guys from his six-shooter while riding on his white horse, Topper, at a full run. Paladin was called to town to wipe out bad guys because he was the guy with the gun in the ad, Have Gun Will Travel. Wyatt Earp shot all the bad guys when they deserved it and so did Steve McQueen and several others. Comments (22).
Kew Gardens

Queens groups seek to influence budget at boro hearing

About 150 representatives from Queens community boards, nonprofits and civic groups made their pitch to Borough President Helen Marshall last week on how they think a portion of the city’s budget should be spent in the coming fiscal year. Comment.
Richmond Hill

Agencies fine boro businesses more than city average: Report

City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio stood in Richmond Hill Monday and blasted the Bloomberg administration for issuing a disproportionate number of fines to small businesses in Queens while sparing Manhattan stores. Comment.
Murray Hill

Lawmaker displays road rage at long-closed Flushing bridge

A Queens lawmaker took to the 149th Street bridge in Murray Hill yet again to denounce its continued closure and the horrendous traffic conditions that it causes. Comments (1).

February, 2013

Letters

City Council members need to work for the people

I had written to each of you regarding your inaction with respect to the mayor’s ban on sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces. Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) was kind enough to provide me with a letter signed by himself and 13 Council members and sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg June 1 protesting the enactment of the ban. Comments (3).
Whitestone

City DEP service plan protects water and sewer pipes

A new city-endorsed water and sewer service line protection program sparked some skepticism from concerned residents over how safe it really was to sign onto and how it stacked up against other options. Comments (2).
Hollis

Sen. Malcolm Smith spent donor dollars at restaurants, hotels

State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) received more than 86,000 votes in November, which was more than enough to secure him another term in office considering the fact he ran unopposed in 2012. Comments (1).
Letters

Four pols show courage on gun control

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden deserve great credit for their efforts to curb gun violence in our country. So does Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the state level and Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the city level. Comments (2).
Letters

Writer cannot decide gun ownership

Unfortunately, Kenneth Kowald’s Jan. 17-23 article “NRA has no right to dictate who should live and die” is filled with the same illogical, irrational cliches we have been putting up with for years from the anti-gun extremists. Comments (3).
Kew Gardens

Court strikes down part of DA’s interview program

Thousands of convictions in Queens court could be heading for retrial after a state appellate court ruled last week that part of a program run by District Attorney Richard Brown’s office violated suspects’ constitutional rights against self-incrimination. Comment.
Letters

Gun law should be model for U.S.

The new gun restriction law passed by New York state’s Legislature is a good beginning down the path for making a dent in reducing weapons on our streets. Comments (3).
Flushing

Kim, Rozic sworn in as Assembly members

The borough’s newest state Assembly members kicked off their historic journeys as Queens representatives this week with two star-studded swearing-in ceremonies. Comments (2).
Government

Bloomy blasts UFT in budget proposal

Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented his preliminary budget plan Tuesday for the next fiscal year and spent much time discussing the loss of hundreds of millions in education funds due to the impasse between his administration and the teacher’s union. Comments (2).

January, 2013

Glen Oaks

Boro welcomes tax break for condos, co-ops

A long-fought battle to secure a partial tax abatement for co-op and condominium owners was won after the state Senate and state Assembly made good on their word and passed new legislation. Comment.
Government

New York state passes nation’s toughest gun laws

Lawmakers in Albany moved swiftly this week as the state Legislature passed a set of reforms to the state’s gun and mental health laws that Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged to make a priority in his State of the State speech a week earlier. Comments (4).
South Jamaica

Former councilwoman dies

Flags outside schools and city buildings flew at half staff earlier this week in remembrance of former City Councilwoman Juanita Watkins, who died last week at the age of 79. Comment.
Howard Beach

Addabbo bill would give Sandy victims tax relief

A newly formed bipartisan task force is taking aim at Hurricane Sandy’s collateral damage as it looks to give property owners a tax break. Comment.
Jamaica

Judge temporarily lifts stop-and-frisk ban in Bronx case

A Manhattan federal judge Tuesday temporarily lifted a ban she had ordered earlier this month prohibiting the NYPD from using questionable stop-and-frisk practices outside certain buildings in the Bronx, but reasserted that she will consider even stricter restrictions in March. Comment.
Government

Rapid Repairs restores 3,000 buildings in boro

NYC Rapid Repairs, a first-of-its-kind program intended to pair people displaced by Hurricane Sandy with contractors and skilled workers who can make needed electrical, heating system or other repairs, has helped make it possible for 6,500 families to return home to Queens, city officials said Wednesday. Comment.
Rockaway Beach

LIPA needs change: Panel

Almost three months after the Rockaways were plunged into darkness for weeks following the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, a commission investigating the ability of the Long Island Power Authority, the peninsula’s main supplier of power, to deal with devastating storms found the utility is severely dysfunctional with little oversight and in desperate need of change. Comment.
Government

Rep. Israel puts pressure on 3-D gun printing

While New York may have passed sweeping firearms reform, one northeast Queens lawmaker said not even the toughest gun laws in the country go far enough to combat a different under-the-radar kind of weapon. Comment.
Bayside

Boro leaders fight flight noise at FAA meeting

Lawmakers from northeast Queens met with the Federal Aviation Administration last week and issued a joint statement Tuesday citing progress in their talks to address flight noise in the area. Comment.
Kew Gardens Hills

Marshall gives State of Boro

When Borough President Helen Marshall gave her first State of the Borough speech in 2002, Queens was still reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and as she delivered her final address Tuesday the borough was in the midst of recovering from Superstorm Sandy. Comment.
Forest Hills

Obama picks Forest Hills man for treasury position

President Barack Obama’s cabinet might soon have a Queens section. Comment.
Long Island City

Boro clashes over maps at redistricting hearing

The city Districting Commission held its third round of public hearings in Queens Monday night, and two Queens neighborhoods were the subject of a verbal tug of war. Comments (2).
Bayside

Meng gets committee assignments

Newly sworn-in U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside) will serve on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. Comment.
I Sit and Look Out

NRA has no right to dictate who should live and die

I fired a weapon twice in my life, on two successive days. Comments (12).
Government

Albany first to pass tough firearms reform

Queens lawmakers who worked to pass the state’s speedily approved gun reforms this week cautiously praised the legislation, saying it still needed to be tested and there was more work to do to prevent further violence. Comments (5).
Breezy Point

House approves aid for hurricane relief

The political tempest stalling hurricane aid to parts of Queens and the Northeast subsided Tuesday night when the U.S. House of Representatives approved disaster relief to Sandy victims. Comment.
Bayside

ELected officials slated to meet with FAA about plane noise at LaGuardia

A meeting has been set between the Federal Aviation Administration and lawmakers in northeast Queens with hopes of grounding residents’ concerns about new flight noise booming throughout their communities. Comments (1).
Letters

Everyone must come together to solve nation’s problems

Mr. President, now is the time to deal with all the issues that we, as a country and a people, have been ignoring and stop kicking the can down the road for future generations to deal with. Comments (1).
St. Albans

Queens senator dedicates Albany gun measure to mothers

State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) Monday dedicated two parts of the Senate’s gun control bill to two southeast Queens mothers who lost their sons to gun violence. Comment.
Letters

U.S. must abolish Electoral College

Now that the presidential race has been decided, we should re-examine the way this particular contest is conducted in our country. Comments (4).
Laurelton

Sanders’ old Council offices still open for biz

The City Council is divided into 51 districts that serve as points for constituents to access their municipal government on a local level, but for the time being that number stands at 50 — sort of. Comment.
Cartoon

Tip of the week

South Jamaica

Anti-gun task force focuses on S. Jamaica

If gun violence is a disease, then South Jamaica’s 113th Precinct is experiencing a public health crisis, and a citywide task force has a plan to treat it as such. Comment.
Editorial

Shame on Congress

There is no excuse for the delay in approving federal aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Comment.
Bayside

Baysiders vow FAA flight fight just beginning

Baysiders sounded off over flight noise at this week’s Community Board 11 meeting, declaring the fight was only beginning. Comment.
Government

City ushers in simplified curbside parking signs

Meter maids beware. Comment.
South Jamaica

Cuomo lays out gun agenda

In his State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a seven-point plan to address “the plague and scourge of gun violence” during the upcoming legislative session. Comments (1).
South Jamaica

Judge orders hold on stop-and-frisk tactic

A Manhattan federal judge overseeing two lawsuits challenging the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies issued an opinion Tuesday that for the first time during the Bloomberg administration found the controversial police practices to be unconstitutional. Comment.
Rockaway Beach

Cuomo seeks to abolish LIPA in his state address

After absorbing flak for the way it handled the post-Hurricane Sandy recovery process, the Long Island Power Authority must now accept the consequences. Comments (1).
Rockaway Beach

Obama signs storm relief bill as Queens slams slow aid pace

Queens elected officials expressed outrage that Congress has stalled on approving the $60 billion in funds needed to begin the serious recovery from Hurricane Sandy but welcomed the scaled-back aid bill members of the House passed before returning home last weekend. Comment.
Letters

American firearms need regulation

The Second Amendment calls for regulation, not a blanket absence of common sense. Comments (7).
Long Island City

Districting Commission gives boro third chance

The commission in charge of redrawing City Council districts for the next 10 years scheduled a public hearing in Queens for early January to discuss changes made to the 51 seats — a meeting that a little more than a month ago seemed nearly impossible. Comment.
CNG: Community Newspaper Group