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Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:42 am, Thu Aug 28, 2014.

Plan to shift Rikers cases to Queens DA is criticized by many

A bill that would move the prosecution of crimes committed on Rikers Island from the Bronx to Queens is under fire from everyone from the New York Civil Liberties Coalition to the district attorneys in both counties.

The measure is backed by the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, which claims its members do not get a fair shake in the Bronx when they are attacked by inmates. Its supporters also say it would cost less to transfer defendants to Queens than to the Bronx for court.

The measure passed the state Assembly 131-0 and the Senate 55-4 but has not yet gone to Gov. Cuomo for signing. The NYCLU came out against it Tuesday, calling it “an ill-advised special interest bill that slipped through the legislative process on false pretenses” in a letter to the governor, according to the New York Law Journal, which said Mayor de Blasio, Queens DA Richard Brown, Bronx DA Robert Johnson and the Legal Aid Society all oppose the bill.

Queens tree-trimming best in city, audit says

Residents of Queens may complain that the Parks Department does a poor job of pruning street trees here, but things are actually worse in the other boroughs, according to a new audit from City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

The department “has inadequate controls over its street tree pruning process,” the audit says. “Four of the five Borough Forestry Offices — the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island — have weaknesses that increase the risk that trees requiring pruning will not be pruned which increases the risk of injuries to people and property from falling limbs.”

A woman from Flushing was killed by a falling tree in Kissena Park a year ago, but the audit focused on street trees. It looked at four particular flaws in how the Parks Department manages them: not keeping accurate lists of the trees that need pruning, failing to follow up to see that trimming was done correctly, not reviewing invoices before paying contractors and not ensuring that trees considered too small for pruning were avoided. At least one of the problems was present in every borough except Queens, the audit found, and all four were found in Manhattan and Staten Island.

Maloney’s opponent was stoned in Israel

Nick Di Iorio, a Republican first-time candidate running against Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Bronx), got a firsthand look at the animosity felt by Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank earlier this month.

During a trip to Israel and the West Bank, Di Iorio was headed to Jerusalem with Ken Abramowitz, chairman of the American Friends of Likud group, when several Arab youths pelted their car with rocks, according to an article in Israel National News, aka Arutz Sheva. The Di Iorio campaign sent the article out to the media on Monday.

The Palestinian boys “hurled rocks at us and laughed,” the article quoted Di Iorio as saying. No one was hurt in the incident.

Di Iorio claims he would be a stronger defender of Israel than Maloney, though the congresswoman voiced her support for the Jewish state during its conflict with Hamas, which she called a terrorist organization.

Mental health expert heads veterans office

Mayor de Blasio on Monday named former Army Brigadier Gen. Loree Sutton as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs. A psychiatrist with more than 25 years of civilian and military leadership experience, Sutton brings a deep commitment to rehabilitating and supporting veterans to the office, de Blasio said.

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), chairman of the Veterans Committee, praised the choice, saying Sutton “is uniquely qualified to address the many needs and challenges facing local veterans and their families. New Yorkers will be well served with her at City Hall.”

— compiled by Peter C. Mastrosimone

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