Responding to the controversy that has enveloped the Queens Library since the end of January, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) on Wednesday introduced a package of six bills meant to strengthen the oversight of and increase the transparency of all three library systems in the city.
The legislation would require:
New York City taxpayers paid more than $92,200 for each of the 11,408 inmates at Rikers Island between July 2013 and June 2014 — double the amount spent per inmates in Los Angeles, which has the country’s largest prison population at 18,710.
These findings were highlighted in a report released last week by city Comptroller Scott Stringer. The audit found that the city spent a record $1.1 billion dollars for the 2014 fiscal year, even though the inmate population has declined by 18 percent since 2007.
Mayor de Blasio has selected another trustee for the Queens Library Board, this time appointing James Haddad, a litigation attorney, Forest Hills resident and father of four.
Responding to the controversy that has enveloped the Queens Library since the end of January, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) will on Wednesday introduce a package of six bills meant to strengthen the oversight of and increase the transparency of all three library systems in the city.
They may call him “Your Honor,” but that doesn’t mean the trait has any value in Bill de Blasio’s City Hall.
At least it’s not a requirement for landing a $170,000-a-year position whose very necessity is questionable itself. Connections and favoritism matter. Honor, honesty, integrity — not required.
Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) is calling on voters to approve the Smart Schools Bond Act on Election Day and he went “back to school” to do it.
Recently, Moya attended class in one of PS 19’s temporary classrooms to expose the inadequacy of classroom trailers.
The Queens version of the High Line may actually happen after all.
The plan to turn the abandoned Rockaway Beach rail line into a linear park has a detailed proposal. A piece of it, in the northern end of the former Long Island Rail Road route, could even be built within the next year.
Peter C. Mastrosimone’s article “Queens Library spent money on luxuries, NYC comptroller says” (Oct. 3, qchron.com) highlights a massive problem within the Queens Library. Instead of funding literacy programs and hiring qualified teachers such as myself, staffers such as suspended President and CEO Tom Galante are allowed to spend money on $1,000 dinners and baseball memorabilia.
This is so upsetting to me. One reason is that even as a volunteer tutor at the Queens Library’s Long Island City center branch, I wasn’t even given reimbursement for the $10 per week I spent on subway fare.
Our libraries these days are little more than havens for homeless people, with obnoxious staff, dark lighting, and not enough space for children to sit and read. It is so disheartening when I compare Queens libraries to those in Manhattan, such as the one located at 328 East 67 St. That branch includes the latest books, a huge children’s library, and educated, polite staff who are more than happy to help the library’s visitors.
As a lifelong Queens resident, I help fund the Queens Library with my tax dollars. I would appreciate the opportunity to work to help make it better and a source of pride for those that use it. However, becoming a member of the staff has been very frustrating, with most applications seemingly going into a black hole. Those running the library are too distracted allocating funds for personal use. Perhaps Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and whoever takes over now should become more involved in picking those running the daily operations.
Worn, damaged stairs and platform edges, broken tiles, lights and peeling paint on walls are some of the problems that plague numerous subway stations in Queens, with the city’s effort to combat the problem lagging.
The problems were highlighted in a report published last week by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. He stated that New York City Transit does not make it a top priority to maintain the subway stations after they are renovated.
“I think this is what, quite honestly, I was always afraid of,” Borough President Melinda Katz told the Queens Chronicle last Friday. “There was no transparency, nobody had any idea what was going on — and that’s completely unacceptable for an institution that’s so much funded by the taxpayers.”
Katz was referring to documents newly provided to city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office, which show that the Queens Library under now-suspended President and CEO Tom Galante made what Stringer calls “a substantial number of questionable expenditures that may not be sufficiently related to the mission of the library.”
Borough President Melinda Katz is not on the Aqueduct soccer stadium bandwagon — at least not yet.
At Community Board 10 last Thursday in South Ozone Park, Katz said she “likes the idea” of a Major League Soccer stadium in Queens, but had “deep reservations” about siting it at Aqueduct, which she said is not easily accessible from other parts of the city.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer is finally getting access to Queens Library financial records he has sought for months — and he doesn't like all of what he's seeing.
Suspended CEO Tom Galante apparently spent Queens Library monies on some of the finer things in life, but whether the source was public funding or private donations is an open question.
What the critics suspected turns out to be true: Documents newly provided to city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office show that the Queens Library under now-suspended President and CEO Tom Galante made what Stringer calls “a substantial number of questionable expenditures that may not be sufficiently related to the mission of the library.”
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) is asking city Comptroller Scott Stringer to audit the funds the Parks Department received from the federal government to reconstruct the Rockaway Boardwalk, which was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy.
Several published reports said FEMA is expected to announce $480 million in federal reimbursement money to rebuild the boardwalk and related park amenities in Rockaway Beach, but Ulrich noted that the total far exceeds the $274 million Parks budgeted for the project, which isn’t due to be completed until 2016. Ulrich said he wants to know where the extra $206 million is going.
After a summer hiatus, the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association resumed its meeting schedule on Tuesday evening at St. Helen School cafeteria.
The more than 300 neighborhood residents who packed the meeting heard from elected officials and representatives of city agencies. Many expressed their concerns about area problems including rodents and traffic on residential streets.
State Assemblyman Bill Scarborough (D-Jamaica) was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with felony grand larceny, filing false campaign documents and fraud.
State Assemblyman Bill Scarborough (D-Jamaica) was arrested Wednesday morning and will be transported to Albany for a court appearance, the New York Post reports.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, center, took part in a town hall meeting Monday at the Pomonok-Electchester Library. With him are state Sen. Toby Stavisky, left, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz and Rep. Grace Meng.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer gave a brief talk on city business during his visit to Community Board 13.
(Re: Avella keeps seat by beating back, Queens Chronicle Sept. 11, 2014.)
In a petty and vindictive move, Boss Joe Crowley, county Democratic chairman, arranged for former New York City Comptroller John Liu to oppose incumbent state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) in a primary for the 11th State Senatorial District. This was unjustified because Avella was known for his attention to the welfare of his constituents and was not an errand boy for the fat cat real estate moguls who for too long run the Queens Democratic Party.
Avella’s win is a slap in the face to Crowley, who runs the party based upon nepotism and “Do as I say or else,” and all those Queens politicians who do his biding and the public be damned. Crowley and his cohorts do not speak for all the Democrats in Queens County.
With only days left in her 35-year tenure as district manager of Community Board 9, Mary Ann Carey received a high honor on Tuesday — on the floor of the legislative body that governs the city she has served.
Carey, who is retiring next week, was awarded a Council Proclamation for her service on CB 9.
When area residents were invited to a community town hall meeting at the Pomonok-Electchester Public Library on Monday evening to discuss issues of concern, they arrived in droves, filling the makeshift meeting space to beyond capacity and showed little inhibition in letting the elected officials in attendance know their displeasures.
Hosted by Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), in conjunction with state Sen.Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) and Councilmember Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), who was unable to attend, the event also featured brief presentations by city Comptroller Scott Stringer and several city agencies.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer stopped by Monday’s meeting of Community Board 13 in Queens Village to swear in its officers for the new year, and to give a brief overview of his first nine months in his new job.
Along with the audits and contract reviews, Stringer also has had one or two public run-ins with Mayor de Blasio on policy and regulations.