• September 22, 2014
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Queens Chronicle


Soccer at Aqueduct could be a win-win

Last year this page was proud to stand with the civic community in Queens against the Bloomberg administration’s misguided plan to give away a large chunk of Flushing Meadows Corona Park so a soccer stadium could be built there. It would have…

The anti-teacher tenure lawsuits
Updated: September 18, 2014 - 11:49 am

Today, Sept. 11, a state Supreme Court justice in Staten Island will hold a hearing on two recently filed lawsuits that have the potential to drastically change how schools across New York State operate.

The suits, which were filed separately but at their core are essentially the same, claim that the laws surrounding teacher tenure and other job protections should be reformed because they enable bad educators to keep their jobs, thus denying children the right to a “sound basic education” guaranteed them by the state Constitution.

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You can’t bar all bars
Posted: September 11, 2014

Having too many bars in one area obviously can pose problems for nearby residents, with all the noise, recklessness and sometimes criminality that alcohol consumption can bring.

But they are legal businesses, and the people who own them invest a lot of money before they even apply for the required liquor licenses. Their customers have a good time. And some — think Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven — become neighborhood icons.

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A disgusting case of animal cruelty
Updated: September 11, 2014 - 12:13 pm

All over Queens you see them, furtively jogging down alleyways, sunning themselves on sidewalks, dodging across the streets that often spell their doom. They’re housecats, at least as far as their DNA is concerned. Really they’re former pets who somehow parted ways with their owners, or, more often, they’re descendants of those who did, reverting somewhat to the ways of wild animals, albeit in an urban environment.

You may scorn or ignore them; you may have become friendly with them. Or you may be among the growing number of people who do their best to care for them even while letting them live their own lives, by feeding them, providing them with shelter or by trapping, neutering and returning them in hopes of reducing their population.

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Get out and vote Tuesday
Posted: September 04, 2014

Tuesday is primary day for state elections, and there are several races for the Democratic nomination being held across Queens. This being Queens, the winners are virtually assured of election in November.

The hottest races are those between 14th District State Sen. Malcolm Smith and his two challengers, Leroy Comrie and Munir Avery, in Southeast and Central Queens; and between 11th District State Sen. Tony Avella and John Liu in northern and northeastern Queens. The results could heavily impact how the state Senate operates come January.

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Thursday 08/28/2014
On policing and race, good news and bad
Updated: September 04, 2014 - 11:50 am

Events of recent weeks show that we New Yorkers have reason to be proud of our city, and of ourselves. That does not mean we don’t also have cause for concern.

A tragedy occurred July 17 on Staten Island when Eric Garner died, apparently of a heart attack, while resisting arrest for an alleged petty crime. Police and emergency service personnel stood idly by and let him die, when there was a chance he could have been saved.

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Thursday 08/21/2014
Questionable wage subsidies
Updated: August 28, 2014 - 11:41 am

Mayor de Blasio’s plan to subsidize the wages of private school bus drivers with $42 million in taxpayer funding is worrisome for the precedent it could set. It’s also legally suspect.

Some members of the City Council seem to realize this, but they’re likely to vote to approve the plan today, Aug. 21, anyway, because they believe the workers who will benefit are underpaid.

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A salute to Carey
Posted: August 21, 2014

South and Central Queens are about to see the end of an era, when Mary Ann Carey retires as district manager of Community Board 9 on Oct. 1.

Carey is the longest-serving district manager in all of Queens. Hired 35 years ago during the Koch administration, she served under five mayors and four borough presidents. She began her tenure when Jimmy Carter was president, M*A*S*H was a hit show and the only Star Wars movie anyone had seen was “Star Wars.”

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Thursday 08/14/2014
No to Sharpton, yes to the law
Updated: August 21, 2014 - 11:55 am

R abble-rousing tax cheat and reverend Al Sharpton, a man with blood on his hands from Brooklyn to the Bronx, cannot be allowed to dictate NYPD policy. Mayor de Blasio never should have given the race-baiting charlatan a seat on a dais between himself and Commissioner Bill Bratton to publicly discuss policing.

There’s some worry, well reported Tuesday by DNAinfo, that de Blasio will soon have to pick whose side he’s on: Bratton’s or Sharpton’s, the law or the lawless — and that he’s likely to go with Sharpton.

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Come to Queens, Dems!
Posted: August 14, 2014

Like U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, and many others, we’d be thrilled to see New York host the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

But unlike Schumer, we’re not pitching for the delegates to stay in Manhattan hotels and take a lower East River bridge or subway line to the Barclays. We say, stay in Queens!

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Thursday 08/07/2014
For fairer elections
Updated: August 14, 2014 - 12:15 pm

Everyone who pays attention to politics and governance knows New York State’s reputation for dysfunction and corruption. Yes, the situation does appear to have improved somewhat under Gov. Cuomo — though recent revelations about how his own anti-corruption commission was hampered are troubling — but too many decisions are still made in the shadows, and far too many officials are found to be criminals.

What may be less known is how dysfunctional the system is for those people just trying to run for office against incumbents or those who otherwise are part of the establishment. New York almost stands alone in this respect too, as it is one of only a few states that prevents people from running through an overly cumbersome ballot access system. While the stated goal of the system is to ensure that only genuine candidates with at least a shot of winning get on the ballot, the effect is to give the establishment an unfair means by which it can perpetuate itself.

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James Brady and gun control
Posted: August 07, 2014

The horrific injuries suffered in 1981 by James Brady during the attempted assassination of then-President Ronald Reagan were a wakeup call to many about the dangers of America’s gun culture, including Brady, who became a gun control advocate. Though it took 13 more years, a federal law imposing background checks for many gun purchases finally passed, and that law bears Brady’s name. One can only guess how many killings and maimings the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act has prevented.

But especially over the last decade, the country has largely been going the opposite direction, toward less gun control. Loopholes in the Brady Law, like those allowing easy gun sales between individuals, remain open. A ban on certain multiple-round rifles imposed during the Clinton administration expired and has never been renewed. More and more people in the South and West are openly carrying guns in public. There are nearly as many firearms in America — about 300 million — as there are people.

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Thursday 07/31/2014
Upstate casinos: a bad bet
Updated: August 07, 2014 - 11:51 am

When Gov. Cuomo announced his plan to allow more casinos to be built upstate — but none in the city or on Long Island — this page called it a “foolish scheme” because, simply put, downstate is where the people are, and where most of the money is.

And what appeared foolish in May 2013 looks even more so in July 2014.

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Katz’s purge and Queens’ pavilion
Posted: July 31, 2014

Just seven months into her term, Borough President Melinda Katz is making serious progress on major issues.

Two matters stand out — one that she planned to tackle from the start, and one that got dumped in her lap. In both cases she has demonstrated strong leadership.

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MTA announces 4-year, $363M safety program
Posted: July 31, 2014

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has included $363 million for across-the-board safety improvements in a four-year financial plan announced on Monday.

The news came four months after the Federal Railroad Administration found “a deficient safety culture” in its investigation of the MTA’s Metro-North division following a train wreck in the Bronx last December that killed four people and injured more than 70 others.

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