What does the First Amendment mean to you? Not since 1971 have we seen the government so blatantly attack the freedom of the press. Working for local news organizations most of my life, I have a strong affiliation to the principles that should guiâ€¦
While the marriage equality debate has been depicted as pitting social conservatives against same-sex couples, the argument that children do best when raised in “traditional” households is an implicit indictment of all alternative family arrangements. As a Family Court attorney who is involved in a single-parent household, I am disturbed by the flawed notions of domestic life being advanced by opponents of gay marriage.
Eighteen months ago I began a relationship with a woman named Brenda. When we met she was in the process of adopting a toddler from Russia. Being a 53-year-old childless male, I had no interest in helping raise a toddler, but when Brenda brought 18-month-old Marta to her New York City home from Moscow, I quickly became attached to her. Brenda, Marta and I have been a trio ever since.
Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the Forest Hills Democrat, may or may not have launched a campaign for mayor this week when he released a plan called “Keys to the City: 64 Ideas to Keep New York the Capital of the Middle Class” — and started a new Twitter account.
Weiner was forced from office a little less than two years ago when it was revealed that he had been sending lewd photos of himself to young women around the country, many via Twitter, and then lied about it for weeks. Until the scandal hit, he was a darling of the Democratic Party for his take-no-prisoners approach to political discourse, advocacy for the needs of his Central and Southwestern Queens district and staunch support of Israel, among other things. He was, for example, a foremost cheerleader of President Obama’s healthcare bill, without which, Weiner said, the economy couldn’t recover from the recession.
The Queens Smoke-Free Partnership conducted a workshop for high school students in Jamaica that focused on how the tobacco industry markets their products to youth. The students were able to tell me the cost of a pack of cigarettes, but they couldn’t tell me the cost of a gallon of milk. Why is this?
Youth in Jamaica and across Queens and the city are bombarded by tobacco advertisements every day just when walking to the subway on their way to school or buying a pack of gum at their local convenience store. The tobacco industry spends $1 million a day on marketing across New York City and State.
Good and responsible government does not exist in the absence of transparency, and in particular when it involves land use matters which have been notorious in favoring real estate interests and those with political connections. Years ago Daniel Doctoroff, then Mayor Bloomberg’s economic czar, bragged before a group of real estate moguls that under the Bloomberg administration they received about 90 percent of all zoning requests they wanted.
When it comes to transparency the Bloomberg administration earns a failing grade. A case in point is Willets Point. For decades, and most of Mayor Bloomberg’s term in office, the city collected sewer rent from the owners of property in Willets Point, notwithstanding there were no sewers. It collected real estate and other taxes and did not spend any money on the area’s infrastructure.
This is a tale of two agencies, both of them suffering constant criticism from those they serve, both of them suffering constant meddling by those who think they know how they should be run. Both of their most recognizable employees wear blue, both do their work in all kinds of conditions, both have a well-known motto, both are absolutely crucial to civilization, both are being forced to make do with less.
We hear a lot about the “shrinking middle class” in America. The Pew Research Center set out to measure the erosion. It found that, since 2000, “the middle class has shrunk in size” and “fallen backward in income and wealth.”
For the past decade, Woodhaven Boulevard has been a traffic nightmare. The daily commute during the morning and evening rush hours is sluggish at best. Whether you’re in a car or on a bus, the slow and painful crawl up and down Woodhaven is sure to make your daily commute even more stressful and time consuming.
Since taking office, I have been working with the Department of Transportation to alleviate traffic congestion along Woodhaven Boulevard and have suggested a number of measures which I believe would make a big difference. Here are just a few: