While the death of Eric Garner in police custody is a tragedy that must be fully investigated to see if it warrants criminal charges or at least disciplinary action, it should not be exploited to stir up fear and division among city residents…
Criticism of Israel is one thing. The country is not perfect, though it stands as the only bastion of freedom and stability in its neighborhood. But, as usual, the attacks on Israel coming from so-called human rights activists and the like over the latest crisis embroiling the Jewish state are not so much criticism as they are good old anti-Semitism: hatred of the people who live there and a desire to see them all gone.
Think that’s an exaggeration? When protesters chant, “Netanyahu, you will see, Palestine from the river to the sea,” they’re describing their dream of an Arab state on the land that now is Israel. Not just the occupied territories, but Israel proper. An Arab state that likely would be ruled by the same group of Hamas terrorists in charge of Gaza.
With only a couple days left before a preventable, man-made disaster hits Queens, much of the rest of the city and Long Island, it’s time for Gov. Cuomo to exercise true leadership. He must prevent the Long Island Rail Road from shutting down due to a strike that will commence Sunday, and to do that, he needs to take a seat at the negotiating table.
The Metropolitan Transpor-tation Authority and its unions have been unable to reach a new contract agreement to replace the one that expired four years ago. As a state agency, the MTA answers to the governor. So it’s time he went beyond lamenting the damage a strike would cause and took an active role in preventing it. Even though the two sides returned to the table Wednesday, they’ve spent so much time at odds that it seems highly unlikely they can do it on their own. And history indicates that Congress, which could impose arbitration to force a contract resolution, is unlikely to do so unless a strike actually occurs. That leaves it in Cuomo’s hands.
We urge Congress to fufill President Obama’s request for nearly $4 billion to address the unprecedented crisis the United States faces on its southern border, where tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, including a wave of children never seen before, have been trying to make it into the country.
The border is the focus of the emergency, but its repercussions are or will be felt across the country, including here in Queens. Though they’re arriving illegally, most of those who get into the United States will never be deported, by the government’s own admission. They’re being dispersed all over the nation and surely many will end up here, where immigrants both legal and illegal make up a larger share of the population than just about anywhere else.
Most parts of Queens have been fairly lucky this year when it comes to gun violence. While the city overall has seen an 11.2 percent rise in shootings so far this year compared to last, going by the latest available police statistics, and some areas have been subject to much worse, Queens has not.
In the southern part of the borough, as defined by the Police Deparment, the number of shooting incidents has gone up only 3.8 percent, from 52 to 54, as of June 22. And in the northern part, they’ve actually fallen 29.4 percent, from 17 to 12. Compare that to the Bronx, where they have jumped 25.4 percent, from 118 to 148. And none of these stats include the mayhem of last weekend, when there were 21 shootings across the city, including a fatal one in Cambria Heights.
We dislike seeing a business close in Queens as much as anyone; after all, as a free newspaper, all of our revenue comes from advertising. And we of course support some government involvement in private businesses, such as the Affordable Care Act and increases in the minimum wage.
But there is a line at which the private business of a private business is just that. And we regret to see that state Sen. Tony Avella has just jumped way over that line with a piece of dangerous legislation that would give the state far too much control.
When you’re a private entity providing a municipal service, and get 90 percent of your funding from the taxpayer, and close ranks around your embattled leader when he becomes the target of a criminal investigation and other scrutiny, it’s only right that the people’s elected representatives vote to rein you in.
And that’s exactly what has now happened to the Queens Library administration and Board of Trustees.
Of course the city should do all it can to reduce traffic deaths, and of course it should have the right to reduce speed limits where advisable. The state has now granted it the power to do that.
But the planned 25 mph limit, a reduction from the standard 30, should not be applied everywhere. On narrow side streets, especially in residential districts, and in some hyper-congested commercial areas, yes. But not on major thoroughfares such as Queens, Northern or Woodhaven boulevards, Hillside Avenue or the Conduit.
Businesses cannot afford a near doubling of the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $15 in the city, as Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito of Manhattan is seeking, or to about $13 an hour, as Mayor de Blasio advocates. But workers here can’t afford to live on $8 an hour either.
What to do? Compromise.
While we understand the judge’s reasoning for granting a mistrial in the federal corruption case against state Sen. Malcolm Smith of Hollis and former Queens Republican Party official Vince Tabone, the move is a travesty for the people in the lawmaker’s district.
This trial should have been wrapped up before the September primaries, in which Smith faces a serious challenge from former Councilman and Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie, as well as bids by two other hopefuls. The people should have known if their senator really did try to bribe his way onto last year’s mayoral ballot, as alleged.
The people of Elmhurst and surrounding communities think the city misled them, and while officials deny it, it’s easy to see why the residents feel the way they do.
At issue is how the Department of Homeless Services has turned the former Pan American Hotel on Queens Boulevard into a shelter for undomiciled families. That happened last Friday, apparently with no advance notice to the area’s city councilman, Danny Dromm, or Community Board 4.
The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge was in the planning stages for decades, building it took years and 50 men were killed doing it. But in the end we had a majestic structure spanning the East River that runs 3,724 feet between its anchorages and totals 7,449 feet if you count its approaches. As it neared 80, it finally underwent a major renovation that took 15 years to complete, but it stands tall and strong today.
Compare that with the tiny 149th Street Bridge over the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Flushing. Four years ago a $7 reconstruction project began. Two years later the city determined it was not yet safe for cars. Then just a few days ago, after two more years of waiting, it was finally revealed that the work was a complete failure and the bridge will have to be torn down and replaced from scratch. How far we’ve fallen.
A slim majority of City Council members have gone off the deep end in their hatred of retail giant Walmart.
In a vicious letter dated Wednesday, 26 of the Council’s 51 members demanded that the company and its charitable arm stop donating to nonprofit organizations in the city. The signatories include Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito of Manhattan and Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer of Sunnyside.
With his self-declared goal of being the City Council’s most liberal member — no easy task with comrades such as Melissa Mark-Viverito and Jumaane Williams — Councilman Danny Dromm is not a fan of many of society’s institutions and traditions.
He opposes, for example, letting church groups meet in empty schools on weekends, and claims the Police Department had no role in thwarting any terrorist attacks here since 9/11. Strange.