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The completely unnecessary wars over education launched by Mayor de Blasio continued this week, with the specter of dueling rallies in Albany.
One was a protest against de Blasio’s decision to undercut charter schools at every turn. The innovative public schools, though not without problems, are providing wonderful educational opportunities to many students, especially hard-working minorities in poor neighborhoods. But they are anathema to de Blasio’s allies in the teachers union because they are not subject to their rules, and he apparently would rather see those students forced back into substandard traditional schools than be given such a great chance to succeed.
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.
Though the contracts have been signed and the variance has been approved by the City Council, business owners in Willets Point are not giving up. They want action to be taken by the city, and they want it now.
A handful of owners told their stories while supporters sat with melancholy looks on their faces, somberly nodding when their peers pointed out the hardships they all face.
This has been a “roller coaster” winter with heavy snowstorms, rain and warm, beautiful days as we enjoyed this last weekend. Now the forecast is for more frigid weather and snow this week.
As I stated in my last article in regard to the collapsed building at 78-19 Jamaica Ave. — which is next to the home to the Woodhaven Richmond Hill Ambulance Corps and the Woodhaven Senior Citizen Center — we are thankful that this property has not collapsed further with all the heavy snow. Before it does it should be demolished.
Queens Library President and CEO Tom Galante, under fire from some city officials and at least one state lawmaker for making nearly $400,000 a year, told members of the borough’s press corps that he probably works close to 100 hours a week.
Galante makes $392,000 a year as head of the library, a private, nonprofit group that contracts with the city to provide services. His salary was revealed earlier this month by the Daily News, prompting the City Council to hold a hearing and the city comptroller to launch an audit of the library.
City agencies’ defense of Industrial Business Zones — areas set aside to promote industrial growth — has become somewhat of an affectation as more and more pieces break off of the IBZs to accommodate residential and commercial uses.
Almost one year ago, a plan to erect a 90,000-square-foot residential building was presented at a Citizens for a Better Ridgewood meeting. Many were thrilled at having a new residence on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Starr Street but urban planning and IBZ advocates said the building is a blatant contradiction of City Planning’s “iron-clad commitment” to preserving manufacturers and industrial businesses.
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.
The snow keeps falling on the city and slushy corners on local streets continue to be a thorn in the side of Community Board 6, which discussed that and other issues at its monthly meeting on Feb. 12.
“One of my major concerns is the bus stops,” said CB 6 Chair Joseph Hennessy, also noting that snow removal was “not happening” due to the extreme cold.
A proposal by a city councilman from the Bronx may lead to a whole new way for local community boards to share information and get area residents involved.
But exactly who is going to foot the bill for any incurred costs remains a primary concern.
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras speaks to constituents during her State of the District Address which laid out the improvements that were made in 2013 and the plans she has for her second term in office.
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras’ aide, Ivan Acosta, in suit, defends the lawmaker’s position on the Willets Point-Flushing Meadows project while fellow aide Joel Santos, Borough President Melinda Katz and Community Board 4 Chairman Louis Walker look on.
The New York State Pavilion is now 50 years old, and for far too many of those years the iconic Tent of Tomorrow and Observation Towers from the 1964-65 World’s Fair have been left to pretty much just rot away.
But with the fair’s anniversary around the corner, the push has been on to restore the landmark buildings, and last week that push got verbal support from a key player, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
In another attempt to put a wrench in the behemoth development plan for Willets Point, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and others filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming the shopping mall portion proposed for the Citi Field parking lot in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is illegal under state law.
The plan, submitted by the Queens Development Group — a partnership between Sterling Equities and The Related Companies — was given approval by the City Council last October.
A normally calm Community Board 4 got unusually testy at its Tuesday meeting.
During the legislators’ reports, the topic of the controversial Willets Point development plan prompted one board member to quarrel with an aide for Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst).
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.
From top left, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras and former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. scored the lowest grades in the city while Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Councilmen Eric Ulrich, Ruben Wills, Peter Koo, Jimmy Van Bramer and Danny Dromm had some of the highest
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.
It may be a new year with a new city government, but change apparently is not coming to the former Parkway Hospital site anytime soon, according to two area civic leaders and the Borough President’s Office.
The land containing the vacant building at 70-35 113th St. in Forest Hills has been the subject of complaints and frustration since it closed in 2008.
It is the Civic Virtue statue site no more.
Borough President Melinda Katz is in the process of organizing a meeting between Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and herself to discuss the renovation of the location, and the area has a new name, according to Katz spokesman Michael Scholl.
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.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is being asked to bring participatory budgeting to Woodhaven.
After watching Angela Hurtado die in the street when she was run over by an unlicensed driver, enough is enough for community activist Dmytro Fedkowskyj.
“She was a wife, a mother and a grandmother. And as a witness to this accident, it has changed my life forever,” Fedkowskyj said during a Tuesday rally at 69th Place and Grand Avenue in Maspeth, the very intersection where Hurtado, 68, died. “We can’t sit around and continue to wait for change. Change needs to happen now.”
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.
Mayor de Blasio’s multifaceted approach to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade is ambitious and, many agree, noble.
But one of the ways he plans to attain that goal has Queens civic leaders up in arms.
Learning how to say “Happy New Year” in Chinese could prove more useful than ever, as the wheels are in motion to recognize the Asian Lunar New Year as a legal holiday, meaning schools would be closed.
Nearly a dozen elected officials representing all levels of government were on hand at a press conference on the steps of the Flushing Library last Friday, in a show of growing support for recognizing the cause.