The new phenomenon of shutting down all roads, not just major highways, in anticipation of a snowstorm needs to be seriously re-examined.
I am the president of Glen Oaks Village, a co-op of 10,000 residents. The overreaction to the “blizzard” this past week by the governor and mayor in shutting down all local roads to nonemergency vehicles at 11 p.m. created enormous problems for us and other large co-ops. We have maintenance employees working the 4 p.m.-midnight shift who have been plowing our sidewalks and driveways to keep ahead of the heavy snowfall. These individuals need to drive home after their shift has ended and return in the morning to continue plowing and shoveling the front stoops of our 3,000 families. They will now be subject to $300 fines, according to the governor, should they be on the road after 11 p.m.
Our residents expect driveways to be plowed and walkways to be cleared, a responsibility that the Board of Directors of the co-op takes very seriously. Shutting down all local roads makes that virtually impossible. More thought should have been given to this. Because a few people don’t act res
ponsibly in a snowstorm is not a reason to shut down the entire transportation grid of the city, especially when individuals are employed in jobs that require them to be at work. Asking people to exercise caution and common sense during severe weather instead of infantilizing them is a better solution than a one-size-fits-all approach.
I urge our elected representative to raise this issue with the mayor and governor so that we may see a more reasoned approach with the next severe storm.
The case of United States of America v. Sheldon Silver speaks not only to the alleged corruption of one of the most powerful political figures in the State of New York but also the urgent need to truly reform a political system that again and again shows itself to be easily turned into a money-making machine for elected officials.
Silver is accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks over the years in exchange for steering business to a pair of law firms, one of them Weitz and Luxenberg, with which he was openly affiliated. He was arrested last week and charged in a five-count federal complaint that prosecutor Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said will lead to an indictment.
With the opening of the new session of the state Senate on Jan. 7, state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Hollis) was back doing what he loved in the City Council, and admittedly missed in his brief term as deputy Queens Borough president — the people’s business.
Comrie still is hiring staff, looking for new office space in the district and planning an aggressive agenda for 2015. Speaking Friday during a sit-down meeting with the editorial board of the Queens Chronicle, the veteran city legislator said a lot of the old is new again.
Old Man Winter's wrath will be unleashed on Queens and the rest of the New York City metropolitan area tonight and Tuesday.
A blizzard warning is in effect the five boroughs, Long Island, Connecticut and most of New Jersey ahead of a potentially historic Nor'easter that could drop up to 30 inches of snow on the area through Tuesday night.
Within a few days, Senate confirmation hearings will be held on Loretta Lynch concerning her nomination to the post of U.S. attorney general. Lynch is a seasoned U.S. attorney and highly professional, and she ought to be confirmed. Her hearing, however, must not ignore one very hard question.
The “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal reaches to the highest levels of the government. It is essential that, before the Judiciary Committee agrees to confirm her, Lynch must first promise to arrange for the appointment of a truly authentic independent investigation to get to the bottom of the matter. Since the independent counsel statute lapsed in 2000 (it did so after AG Eric Holder testified against its reauthorization before the committee), the question is, what legal mechanism exists to create such an authentically independent probe?
Our answer comes from the study of history. In the summer of 1930, the City Bar Association contacted Gov. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, informing him that there was something rotten going on in the magistrates’ courts in New York. Could the governor figure out a way to probe the internal mechani
sm of the courts? FDR then wrote a letter to the chief judge of the First Department, Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, asking the court to appoint a referee — an independent counsel — to probe the alleged corruption. The counsel was, of course, Judge Samuel Seabury, “the man who rode the tiger,” and his probe snowballed to eventually topple the Tammany Hall underworld. Note that there was no statute in New York authorizing or mandating the appointment of the Seabury commission; this was an ad hoc arrangement.
Similarly, today, there is no federal statute mandating the creation of a probe to investigate “Fast and Furious.” But there is no law preventing the creation of an ad hoc probe either. The Senate Judiciary Committee must ask Ms. Lynch: If we vote to confirm you, will you imitate FDR, will you write a letter to the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and ask him to ask the entire nine justices to select an independent counsel to probe this gun-running scandal?
The independent counsel must be appointed by the high court, not the Justice Department. Since Mr. Holder has surely done nothing illegal, he will undoubtedly welcome this suggestion, for he will, one presumes, be exonerated.
How about it, Ms. Lynch?
The Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach last Friday honored Stephen Sirgiovanni, a member of the club and past lieutenant governor of the Queens West divison for the Kiwanis.
Sirgiovanni, seen center in the above photo, oversaw recruitment goals for Kiwanis posts across much of Southern Queens from January 2013 to earlier this month.
A third-world facility, no more.
In a move that would surely please Vice President Joe Biden, who compared LaGuardia Airport to a third-world country last year, a new AirTrain may be shuttling commuters back and forth between the airport and an area near Citi Field by the end of the decade.
Mets fans were understandably disappointed that Mike Piazza fell just a tad short in the Hall of Fame voting conducted by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Piazza was listed on roughly 70 percent of the BBWAA ballots, and 75 is the magic percentage for election into the Cooperstown baseball museum.
There is no argument that Piazza is the greatest hitting catcher of all time, and that’s no small feat when you think of names such as Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Carlton Fisk and Johnny Bench, who all have plaques in the Hall of Fame. What is often overlooked is that Mike was a fine defensive catcher as well. While he was average at best at throwing out baserunners who were trying to steal, he was superb at preventing wild pitches, snagging countless balls in the dirt. Pitchers also credited him for calling the right pitches at the right times.
Gov. Mario Cuomo with the author, left, his colleague Rosemarie Castanza and his award-winning students from August Martin High School, in 1986.
“Fox & Friends” loves to boast that it’s “fair and balanced.” Really? Let me illustrate how Fox gives na•ve viewers distorted news … And you readers decide — is Pilla right?
1) Fox said, under Obama gas prices would soar to $6 per gallon. Now they’re $2.50 — notice the silence from Fox?
2) Remember when Fox said, every night, “Mr. President: Where are the jobs?” With Obama’s leadership, America created nearly 11 million jobs! Again, total silence.
3) Under Bush-43, our debt grew at $1 trillion per year. In the first three years of Obama, our annual federal budget deficit continued at $1 trillion (due to Bush-43’s recession). During Obama’s past three years the annual debt rate has dropped to $300 billion. Fox … Why no credit to Obama?
4) During the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney boldly said, “At the end of four years as president, I will drop the unemployment rate to 6 percent.” Folks, under Obama’s two years since his re-election – the rate fell to 5.8 percent. Did Fox recall Romney’s remark? Of course not.
5) When Obamacare launched its first enrollment, Fox & Friends laughed at the computer glitch, which caused slow growth. The hosts said forget Obama’s goal of seven million, he’d be lucky if three million signed up. Well, Fox News was “outfoxed.” If you add both federal and state exchanges, Obamacare grew to 10 million! It would have been more, but some GOP governors blocked state exchanges.
6) Remember when Fox & Friends howled every night … Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! The GOP House conducted, at great expense, dozens of “witch hunts” on alleged scandals including the IRS and the VA.
7) On Christmas Day Fox News showed portraits of presidents 41 and 43. “Being fair and balanced” or as I like to call Fox, “Spin & Twist,” will they show a portrait of 42 and 44? Folks, I think not.
Beware there is a sly fox in the media woods.
The death of Gov. Mario Cuomo made me go back and listen the keynote speech he gave at the 1984 National Democratic Convention. I watched that speech as a young college political science student and it shaped me politically into the person I am today.
In response to Ronald Reagan’s proclamation about America being a “shining city on a hill,” Cuomo worried about those in that shining city who were left behind by the American Dream. Cuomo mused:
“But there’s another city; there’s another part to the shining city; the part where some people can’t pay their mortgages, and most young people can’t afford one; where students can’t afford the education they need, and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate.
“In this part of the city there are more poor than ever, more families in trouble, more and more people who need help but can’t find it. Even worse: There are elderly people who tremble in the basements of the houses there. And there are people who sleep in the city streets, in the gutte
r, where the glitter doesn’t show. There are ghettos where thousands of young people, without a job or an education, give their lives away to drug dealers every day.”
Governor Cuomo could give that speech today and it would still ring true. After spending decades as an attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission, as a Wall Street attorney and as the Corporate Counsel of a Fortune 500 company, I understand how important it is to have a vibrant economy with high corporate profits. However, I also understand that we as a nation are better off when everyone participates in our nation’s success. The conservative ideology of “trickle-down” economics has repeatedly failed us. Making the rich richer and letting Wall Street police itself does not lead to a better economy. It just makes the rich richer and, sooner or later, it will lead to the type of financial crisis we experienced under George W. Bush. The Great Depression, the Savings and Loan Crisis and the Great Recession were all the end result of failed “trickle-down” economic theories.
Thirty years later, Governor Cuomo’s speech can still teach us. Yes, we must ensure that our capital markets are strong and investors are willing to put their capital at risk. However, we must also make sure that the largest amount of people can participate in the success of our economy. The working-class and middle-class must believe their children can do better. Parents need to know that their children can get a good public education and that their children will be prepared to compete in the global economy of the 21st century. Seniors should not have to decide whether to buy their prescriptions or pay for the heat in their home. People should be able to walk in the street and not have to worry about being stopped by police simply because of the color of their skin. We must keep working so that everyone believes in that shining city on the hill.
Rest in peace, Gov. Cuomo. You were an inspiration to me and to many in my generation. You made me proud to be a Democrat and proud to be from Queens.
Mario Cuomo speaks to legislators in Albany during his time as governor. The Queens native held the state’s highest elected position from 1983 to 1994.
To many Queens elected officials, Mario Cuomo was more than a governor — he was a political inspiration.
“A native of Queens, Governor Cuomo was an inspiration to me and to many borough residents who entered public service in the hope of following his example and building on his legacy of achievement,” Borough President Melinda Katz said in a statement.
When I heard of the passing of Mario Cuomo last week, I was immediately transported back to a day in January — the 17th, I believe — of 1986, when my path briefly intersected with that of the governor, then entering his fourth year as head of our state.
Meeting anyone in that position would have been an honor, but the fact that he was a native of Queens — one of us — made the encounter all the more meaningful, as did the circumstances under which the introduction took place.
(NAPSI)—The Guard is a component of the Army that is composed of men and women who serve their country, state and community on a part-time basis. These Citizen-Soldiers—sons, daughters, students, neighbors—tend to hold civilian jobs or attend college when not serving and training.
Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo
Mario Cuomo, a three-term Democratic New York governor, a Queens native and father of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, died on New Year's Day just hours after his son was sworn into his second term.
2014 began with tragedies in Western Queens. From the death of a 7-year-old to the discovery of Avonte Oquendo’s remains, it was a difficult winter. But not all of 2014 was bad. Many traffic-calming measures were installed throughout the borough to make Queens streets safer and a huge chunk of affordable housing was set aside in the Astoria Cove project. Here’s a look back at the top stories from the past 12 months.
The year started out with the installation of two new city councilmen — Paul Vallone of Bayside and Rory Lancman of Fresh Meadows. Vallone replaced Dan Halloran, who did not seek re-election following his indictment on federal bribery charges. Lancman replaced Jim Gennaro, who was term-limited out of office.
For a group of undocumented students at the City University of New York called the CUNY DREAMers, it boils down to one thing: Pass the DREAM Act.
That was the message they brought to Albany recently, urging Gov. Cuomo to include funding for the DREAM Act in his executive budget proposal next year. The act would allow undocumented students who meet in-state tuition requirements to access state financial aid and scholarships for college. It would also open 539 tuition savings accounts for all New York youth and establish a commission to raise private funds for a college scholarship program.
2014 will go down in the record books as the FDNY’s busiest year in its very active century and a half history, according to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York and Fire Department data.