The fight over the future of education in New York City headed up the Thruway Tuesday to Albany, where dueling rallies with some crossover support between them and high-profile speakers brought some heat to the frozen state capital.
Lobbying the state Legislature for his plan to raise taxes on high-income earners to fund universal prekindergarten citywide, Mayor de Blasio held a rally with several members of the City Council in Albany on Tuesday.
A crowd huddled in front of Starbucks on Friday in Jackson Heights and it wasn’t to sample a caramel macchiato.
According to city officials and residents, the Starbucks on the corner of 37th Avenue and 79th Street regularly leaves mounds of garbage on a residential street rather than in front of the store along the commercial corridor.
Democratic reaction to state Sen. Tony Avella’s decision to jump ship and join the Independent Democratic Conference in Albany is officially “disappointment,” but beneath the surface there appears to be anger and a desire for retribution.
Avella, of Bayside, last week joined the now-five-person IDC, which was organized in 2011 and runs the Senate with the Republicans in an unlikely coalition. He indicated he joined in an attempt to pass more legislation and that “at the end of the day, it will be helpful to my district and the Borough of Queens.”
Maverick Democrat Tony Avella has done it again. The Bayside state senator announced Wednesday he is joining the Independent Democratic Conference in Albany.
Never one to follow the party line, Avella’s move is seen as a plus for him. He is more likely now to be able to move his bills through the Senate.
Anyone who has watched the evening news over the last month has seen the dramatic images of the civil unrest sweeping through Ukraine.
Since the protests, known as Euromaidan, over now-ousted president Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to stop Ukraine from entering on the path to potentially joining the European Union in the future began last November, over 100 protesters and a dozen law enforcement agents have been killed.
An estimated 500,000 people who work in the city and never before had guaranteed paid sick leave soon will, as the City Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill mandating that their employers provide it.
Mayor de Blasio, who had championed the measure, the Earned Sick Time Leave Act, quickly issued a statement saying the Council had made history by passing it. The bill was designated Intro-1, the first new law of the year, reflecting its value to the mayor and the Council majority. It passed 46-5.
The lawyer who asked that a case involving his client, Vince Tabone, be delayed, saying it would be unfair to Republican candidates seeking office, has thrown his own hat in the ring to oppose Rep. Steve Israel.
Grant Lally, a Republican from Lloyd Harbor, LI, announced last week that he would oppose Congressman Israel for the 3rd Congressional District seat. The district covers parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties and a section of Queens, including Douglaston, Little Neck, Whitestone and Floral Park.
The federal case over the Police Department’s use of stop and frisk went before a new judge last week.
District Judge Analisa Torres will now rule on the lawsuit brought against the city by civil rights groups and people who say they were wrongly stopped by cops, in violation of their constitutional rights.
State Sen. Greg Ball (D-Patterson) slammed Mayor de Blasio’s municipal ID card legislation during a debate with Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) on “Up Close with Diana Williams” on Sunday morning.
The bill, which will be drafted by Dromm — a big advocate for immigration reform — was briefly discussed by the mayor during his State of the City Address two weeks ago.
While the debate over universal prekindgarten has been focused on how a plan would be funded, another issue is arising among parents and officials — where would these classes be held?
Queens schools are the most overcrowded in the city, and that is without most of the schools having a pre-K program, and some are wondering if the city Department of Education has a plan for where to put these students when and if universal pre-K is mandated citywide.
Major changes to city road rules are set to hit the five boroughs and not everyone is happy about it.
Mayor de Blasio released details for “Vision Zero,” an initiative that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities within 10 years.
If the Department of Environmental Conservation has its way, there won't be a single mute swan left in the State of New York by 2025.
If state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Whitestone) has his way, the birds just might be able to stay here unmolested.
Mayor de Blasio, who for most of his campaign criticized the severe economic inequality in the five boroughs, addressed how he plans to make the “Tale of Two Cities” into one of strength and unity.
“In past decades, working people built our city, and for their hard work they were rewarded, not always with great wealth, but with a fundamental assurance … the knowledge that hard work could pull them from modest means into a growing middle class” de Blasio said before a packed crowd of government officials and community members at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City on Monday. “Today, that assurance is missing … that sense of economic justice is gone. And that’s what we aim to address.”
After dozens of business owners rallied with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) and other lawmakers in protest of No. 7 train weekend service cuts, the MTA said it is willing to give in to some of the demands, just not the ones the community was hoping for.
During a meeting held last week, the MTA said it would develop an advertising campaign to market Long Island City — particularly the Hunters Point area — to offset the expected business lull.
Community Board 9’s leadership is letting bygones be bygones.
Chairman Jim Coccovillo and District Manager Mary Ann Carey both offered olive branches to each other at Tuesday night’s meeting after months of quarreling that often led the board’s monthly meetings to descend into uncontrolled chaos.
With one of the largest projects in the city slated to be built in her district, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) has made a point of prioritizing development in region.
During her State of the District Address, held last week, Ferreras took time to reflect on the changes she has brought to areas like Roosevelt Avenue and Corona Plaza, regardless of how controversial some of her ideas are.
Mayor de Blasio’s press office is denying that he wielded any influence whatsoever this week when he called top NYPD brass following the arrest of a member of his transition team.
What is known is that the Rev. Bishop Orlando Findlayter, head of the New Hope Christian Church in Brooklyn, was pulled over after 11 a.m. on Monday night by officers in the NYPD’s 67th Precinct when he made an improper turn.
After news came out that Queens Library President Tom Galante agreed to renovations of his offices in the Central Library branch, including an outdoor “smoke deck,” elected officials were quick to support Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s (D-Sunnyside) decision to conduct an oversight hearing.
The meeting started off calm Wednesday as Galante opened with the number of accomplishments the Queens Library has achieved since he was appointed — including being named the best library system in the country in 2009 — but soon escalated into a tense back and forth between Galante and Council members who called his salary excessive and his outsourcing of custodians in need of reform.
The city Department of Education released its five-year capital plan last week, the first under Mayor de Blasio, that shifts $210 million in charter school funds to other priorities, including expanding pre-K.
The proposed budget, which is slated to be voted on by the Panel for Educational Policy in March, would boost capital spending for schools by $800 million to $12.8 billion.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was ceremonially sworn in for his second term Jan. 30 in the packed auditorium at PS 63 in Ozone Park, where he was a student from kindergarten through fourth grade.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James joined Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx) and several more of Ulrich’s colleagues to speak at the swearing in, which was conducted by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), standing in for Justice Augie Agate, who was under the weather. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also made an appearance, as did Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica), and prominent Republicans, including former Rep. Bob Turner, former mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and former Councilman Tom Ognibene.
Mayor de Blasio gathered community members in Brownsville, Brooklyn, on Thursday to announce that he has reached an agreement with the civil rights lawyers who challenged the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices, allowing some of the reforms ordered by federal District Judge Shira Scheindlin last summer to be carried out.
The reforms including the appointment of a federal monitor were appealed by former Mayor Bloomberg when Scheindlin found that the city’s policies were unconstitutional and often led the NYPD to resort to “a policy of indirect racial profiling.”
“Ready to Launch” — a detailed plan for full-day universal prekindergarten in New York City — was released last week, and business leaders and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Sunnyside), the chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee, have shown a great interest in Mayor de Blasio’s plan.
Nolan paid a visit to Sunnyside Community Services’ pre-K program, which will be applying for full-day funding under de Blasio’s plan.
Each year, the New York League of Conservation Voters puts out a scorecard that grades all Council members on environmental issues and for the 2012-13 City Council year, Queens had some of the highest scores and the lowest.
The scores are based on voting and sponsorship records on 17 bills that cover recycling, composting, clean energy, biodiversity, transportation, air quality, energy efficiency, resiliency and more.
Mayor de Blasio’s decision to not march in Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade over organizers’ opposition to allowing LGBT groups to march is leading to a wide range of reactions in Queens.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) called the decision unfortunate and said he hoped the mayor would reconsider.
Mayor de Blasio this week released his plan to implement universal prekindergarten citywide, and called on Albany to give the city the authority to fund it by raising taxes on those making more than $500,000 a year.
But his campaign has been blunted somewhat — or augmented, depending on whom you ask — by Gov. Cuomo’s announcement that he would seek to bring universal pre-K statewide and not use any tax hikes to fund it.
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association said it will meet with Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) to encourage her to adopt participatory budgeting, a process in which public input is sought on some spending items from money allocated to a specific member of the City Council.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who was one of the first members to adopt participatory budgeting a few years ago, in the Rockaways, has brought it to the parts of his district in Community District 9 this year, including Woodhaven. Though geographically most of the neighborhood is in Ulrich’s district, the western part is represented by Crowley.
Citing a “broken promise” to rehire union workers, Jackson Heights residents, union members and elected officials staged a protest on Wednesday outside a new supermarket on 37th Avenue set to open this week.
Standing next to a giant inflatable rat, protesters pledged to boycott Global Supermarket at 75-07 37 Ave. over the choice of the new owner, Mohammad Haque, not to rehire union workers of Local 338 and Local 342 who were unexpectedly fired two weeks before Christmas by Frank Jaber, the owner of the former Trade Fair.
The state DREAM Act has been dragged along like a loose shoelace for years as time after time the legislation is not voted through.
This year marks state Sen. Jose Peralta and Assemblyman Francisco Moya’s fourth attempt to pass the act that would provide tuition assistance to undocumented noncitizens applying to college on a needs basis.
In November, Queens voters sent four new members of their City Council delegation to City Hall. They replaced members who had key positions in previous Council sessions.
When the four new lawmakers — Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) — received their committee assignments last week, they all found themselves in different levels of power.
Thirteen people representing various Queens Republican clubs gathered at Borough Hall during the snowstorm on Jan. 22 to protest Gov. Cuomo’s recent anti-conservative remarks.
However, a press release sent out by the Queens Village Republican Club after the event proclaimed that a much bigger protest was held.
Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) took the oath of office Sunday before a packed auditorium of jubilant and optimistic community members and politicians at Long Island City High School.
A native of the district where he lives with his wife, Laurie, and son, Niko, Constantinides is the first Greek-Cypriot American to hold elected office and is the first councilman who is not of the Vallone family to hold the position in more than 30 years.
With the election of a progressive mayor and now the elevation of a progressive city council speaker in Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York has the rare and exciting opportunity to finally address the city’s dysfunctional development process. Emulating the concept of participatory budgeting now used by several City Council members and long championed by the new speaker in which constituents get a binding say in how discretionary funding is spent, the city should begin reforms of its planning and zoning processes to better include local community input. Such changes could usher in a new kind of open, transparent and citizen-based democracy that confronts the equity issues the mayor and speaker hold dear, while simultaneously addressing very real sustainability and resilience needs.
Pols say ‘Adoptee Bill of Rights’ is key for medical records –
A bill pending in Albany that was sponsored by a Queens assemblyman would allow adopted New Yorkers to access their birth certificates and medical records, which they are barred from doing.
Despite the brutal race for City Council Speaker that left the chairman of the Queens Democratic Party at odds with Mayor de Blasio and the ultimate winner, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan), the borough was not left out when key committee chairs and other powerful posts were doled out Wednesday.
In fact, it will be a Queens member, second-term Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who will be the new majority leader, the second most powerful job in the body and second-in-command to Mark-Viverito.
Hordes of angry airport workers gathered on a hill near the 94th Street bridge that extends into LaGuardia Airport. Their requests were simple: fair wages for fair work, paid sick leave and paid holidays.
Not so coincidently, the rally was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, meant to honor the civil rights activist who spent his last days fighting for better pay for sanitation workers.
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association kicked off 2014 on Saturday with new leadership and a full agenda.
Topping that list of items was participatory budgeting, the process by which members of the public pick capital projects in the community to be funded in the city budget.
A group of Republicans from all over Queens gathered on the steps of Borough Hall on Tuesday to protest what they believe was hate speech aimed at conservatives from Gov. Cuomo last week.
About a dozen Republicans representing organizations like the Queens Village Republican Club and the Rockaway Republican Club held anti-Cuomo signs and took turns speaking against his “kingdom” despite the snowfall and cold temperatures.
The residents and business owners of Long Island City are not happy with the MTA and they’re not afraid to shout it from the rooftops.
The transit agency recently announced renovations that will be made to the No. 7 train starting in February that will leave riders with disrupted service for up to 22 weekends this year.
Twenty-first Street, a major corridor from Queens Plaza to 20th Avenue, is home to major senior and youth developments, including Long Island City High School and The Queens View housing development.
For his first press conference in office, Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) called on the Department of Transportation to address the safety concerns as part of Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative.
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton was quoted recently in published reports as saying that the city’s stop and frisk problem has been solved, given the dramatic drop-off in the number of stops in 2013.
The numbers do appear to bear Bratton out — the NYPD reported 194,000 stops citywide in 2013, down from about 533,000 in 2012 and more than 694,000 in 2011 — but local leaders who called for changes to the NYPD’s procedure told the Chronicle that they still are taking a wait-and-see approach.
State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) formally kicked off his re-election campaign last week.
But the senator, under federal indictment on corruption charges that also cover former Republican Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), now will face at least two experienced campaigners, including one who will be very well-financed.
During one of his first visits to Queens since entering office, Mayor de Blasio announced his “Vision Zero” initiative to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in the city to zero within 10 years.
The project was announced just days before a study reported Queens having the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the city.
When Helen Reddy sang, “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore,” on her 1971 debut album, the words became a call to arms for women everywhere.
Although women have come a long way since then in achieving parity with men, they are still fighting for an equal place in society, a point driven home loudly at last Saturday’s panel discussion, “Standing with Women,” at Temple Beth Shalom in Flushing.
After years of dealing with overcrowding, IS 125 in Woodside will finally get some relief.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo, state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria), Principal Judy Lynn Miller, students and community leaders gathered in front of the trailers that have been home to fifth-grade classrooms for some time now.
“You may see a number of challenges against incumbents this year,” the insider said, noting that those candidates could have the support of groups that backed de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito last year, which have long champed at the bit at taking on the Democratic Party leadership and are emboldened by the results of the 2013 elections.
Democrats hold every state legislative seat in Queens and few, if any, are competitive in general elections. That leaves the Democratic primary the real race in many districts. Republicans haven’t held an Assembly seat in Queens since 1996.
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) announced her plans to introduce legislation to protect the right for women to make their own end of life decisions, an idea she got after reading an article in The New York Times.
“The article was about a woman in Texas who was in a vegetative state and who is being kept alive to this date because she’s pregnant and Texas doesn’t acknowledge a pregnant woman’s request to be taken off of life support,” Simotas said.
Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) was officially elected speaker of the New York City Council Wednesday afternoon.
What was expected to be a contentious vote ended up being a scene of unification and reconciliation as the new Council walked on the floor around 1 p.m. After being greeted by thunderous applause, Mark-Viverito’s last opponent, Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), formally conceded, praising the new speaker with a hug and congratulations.
Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday called for continued reform of education, taxes and government ethics in his annual State of the State address in Albany.
Reviewing the last year, Cuomo pointed to things like an increased minimum wage, property tax caps, health insurance for 265,000 people and the formation of a Moreland Commission to root out public corruption at the state level.
Hundreds gathered in Sunnyside on Sunday to watch the St. Patrick’s Day for All Parade where…
New York Families for Autistic Children held its 16th Annual Dinner Dance and Awards Celebra…
Children from the five boroughs came to the Police Athletic League Edward Byrne Center in So…