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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.
Riders advocates and Gov. Cuomo have diverging opinions on the best way to spend $40 million.
Mass transit advocates took issue with how Gov. Cuomo would like to redirect $40 million in next year’s budget for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
But the governor’s office is responding by saying that the money will help the MTA pay down debt and still keep the agency flush with increased cash.
Two more public workshops on the proposed QueensWay plan will be held this month.
The two events, hosted by Friends of the QueensWay and The Trust for Public Land, will provide some insight on proposed ideas for the High Line-like park along the right of way for the former Rockaway Beach Branch of the LIRR.
Community Board 11 voted Monday to recommend that the city Board of Standards and Appeals disapprove the plan of a new owner to finish developing four attached brick houses on 47th Avenue off 198th Street in Auburndale, despite a longstanding effort to resolve what residents and board members have regarded for years as a potentially dangerous eyesore.
The site has access on 47th Avenue but uses a 198th Street address due to the configuration of the houses.
As charter school supporters, left, protested in Albany against Mayor de Blasio’s cuts to their financial support, backers of his plan to provide universal prekindergarten also rallied. Gov. Cuomo was a star speaker at the charter protest, while de Blasio led the pre-K event. The two have been at odds over both issues.
Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio spoke at rallies in Albany Tuesday for charter schools and pre-K respectively, both endorsing a position the other opposes.
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.
The Howard Beach New York Rising Community Planning Committee’s public meeting on Sandy reconstruction has been rescheduled for March 10. The meeting had been planned for last Monday, but the bad weather forced its cancellation.
The meeting will allow for public comment on Gov. Cuomo’s task force’s plan for post-Hurricane Sandy recovery in the neighborhoods of Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach. There will be an open house and presentations will be offered to the general public from 3 to 9 p.m. at Russo’s On The Bay at 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd.
CFE-style lawsuit launched to raise school spending
TA coalition of advocates and individuals, including Community Education Council 28 in Central and Southeast Queens, and a parent from Far Rockaway, are suing the state to increase its funding for education.
The Department of Environmental Conservation may not try to capture or kill every mute swan in the state after all.
There’s plenty of room for prekindergarten in New York City, at least according to Mayor de Blasio.
City Hall released a report Tuesday that said the capacity exists for universal pre-K to be implemented this September.
Aqueduct Race Track is not getting its fair share, one official is arguing, and he has a plan to force the state to focus on the dilapidated South Ozone Park venue.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) has introduced legislation that would force the New York Racing Association to use capital funds paid for with tax revenue specifically from Resorts World Casino New York City to pay for maintaining and fixing up Aqueduct Race Track’s grandstand and course.
The New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program will be having a public meeting in Howard Beach on Mar. 3 to allow for public comment on Gov. Cuomo’s task force’s plan for post-Hurricane Sandy recovery in the neighborhood.
A presentation will be held for senior citizens at 1 p.m. at the Peter J. Striano Residence at 155-55 Cross Bay Blvd. Then, an open house and presentations will be offered to the general public from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Russo’s On The Bay at 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd.
While the debate over universal prekindgarten has been focused on how a plan would be funded, another issue is arising among parents and officials — where would these classes be held?
Queens schools are the most overcrowded in the city, and that is without most of the schools having a pre-K program, and some are wondering if the city Department of Education has a plan for where to put these students when and if universal pre-K is mandated citywide.
If the Department of Environmental Conservation has its way, there won't be a single mute swan left in the State of New York by 2025.
If state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Whitestone) has his way, the birds just might be able to stay here unmolested.
Community Board 10 elected a new 2nd vice chairman at last Thursday’s meeting.
John Calcagnile was voted into the position by a vote of 19-11 over Donna Gilmartin. The position was left open by the death of Robert Ruffin in December.
(An open letter to Gov. Cuomo)
As the Democratic district leader of the 23rd Assembly District and chairman of the Rockaway-Broad Channel Bridge Toll Committee, I have been on record as requesting that the Crossbay Veterans Memorial Bridge toll should be free for all Queens residents.
This is the only place in New York City where there is a toll to move from one part of a community to another. We share a community board, school district, Council district, Assembly district, state Senate district, police precinct and ZIP code, but our guests and potential visitors must pay this toll or be deterred from coming to our community.
We have been blessed with a body of water called Jamaica Bay and our roadway runs from Rockaway through Broad Channel. You have been gracious enough to maintain the Crossbay Bridge toll rebate program. Now we are asking that you do the right thing for other Queens residents and the delivery trucks that regularly serve our community.
Rockaway residents pay more for goods and services because the cost of bridge tolls is passed on to the consumer. The toll serves as a deterrent to the revitalization of local business that we are all trying to help.
When the bridge was built and then when it was rebuilt, we were told that all tolls would be ended when the construction costs were paid. Now is the time to move toward redeeming that promise.
We love New York and especially Rockaway. We want other Queens residents to be able to spend a hot day at our beaches and walk on our rebuilt boardwalk. We are confident that you will find a way to help all of us.
Persistence is beginning to pay off for contract workers at LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports, with the Port Authority and Delta Air Lines agreeing to grant pay increases.
The workers are employed by companies who contract out services such as security, maintenance and custodial and cleaning services for the PA and individual airlines.
State Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) said he won’t allow a vote on Mayor de Blasio’s request to permit New York City to raise its taxes on residents with incomes over $500,000 a year to fund universal pre-kindergarten in the city.
“This isn’t just a home-rule issue,” Skelos told reporters Monday. “It infected the entire state in terms of revenues, in terms of the finance industry. The last thing we need to see is high earners leave New York State.”
Community Board 10 got its first briefing last Thursday on Gov. Cuomo’s plan to reconstruct Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach to create a better flood barrier and a more user-friendly greenspace, and members had a laundry list of questions for representatives from the state Department of Environmental Conservation for what it would mean on the quality of life in the neighborhood.
The parkland, which frames the western and southern parts of the “new side” of Howard Beach, is underutilized, unkempt and inadequate as flood protection, according to the DEC and reconstruction work, which will be funded by Sandy relief money, would reconstruct it to allow for better flood protection and make it a more usable space for parkgoers.
Mayor de Blasio delivered his first preliminary budget on Wednesday with few surprises but far more detail than before on how he expects to pair his governing agenda with challenges that include uncertain state and federal economies and more than 150 unsettled municipal labor contracts.
“This is a progressive administration,” he said “Our budget will be a progressive budget, one that will put us on the road to giving hardworking New Yorkers a fair shot. There’s nothing mutually exclusive about being both fiscally responsible and economically progressive.”
Mayor de Blasio fired his opening salvo in the war on charter schools last week, cutting $210 million that was slated for their expansion and redirecting it to his prekindergarten program, as well as the addition of more space to traditional schools.
While we support full-day pre-K for all 4-year-olds, we do not want to see it established by undercutting charter schools, which are largely providing an excellent education to the children they serve.
“Ready to Launch” — a detailed plan for full-day universal prekindergarten in New York City — was released last week, and business leaders and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Sunnyside), the chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee, have shown a great interest in Mayor de Blasio’s plan.
Nolan paid a visit to Sunnyside Community Services’ pre-K program, which will be applying for full-day funding under de Blasio’s plan.