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Things are different.
Less than 100 days into her tenure as New York City schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña came to Flushing to try to prove that point to parents, teachers and administrators.
In an attempt to identify hazards and improve pedestrian safety, Community Boards 7 in Flushing and 11 in Little Neck have submitted the most dangerous intersections in their areas to the Borough President’s Office.
Each community board has been asked to submit four problematic corridors based on police reports, high traffic volume and the number of turning lanes. In turn, Borough President Melinda Katz will collect the data and send it to the Mayor’s Office.
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.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson generated headlines when he told fellow team executives that he expects the Mets to win 90 games in 2014. Alderson’s remark generated understandable guffaws from even optimistic types because the Mets have come closer to losing 90 games in a season the last five years than they have to winning that many.
Even if Sandy knows he’s just blowing the kind of smoke now legal in Colorado, I can’t really fault him. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t guarantee a parade down the Canyon of Heroes in late October or early November. The name of the game this time of year is to energize the Mets fan base, which has been understandably lethargic. Having five straight losing seasons, and going into this one with what Metsblog.com is reporting as the seventh-lowest payroll in the majors, will tend to depress ticket sales even among the diehards.
We never hopped on the anti stop-and-frisk bandwagon, believing that while the police tactic warranted some reform, it was not the mass violation of constitutional rights its detractors claimed. And we were among those who worried that drastically reducing stops would lead to a rise in gun violence because criminals would be more inclined to carry, and thus more likely to blast away in the heat of the moment.
But though it’s too early to say anything definitive, the numbers so far this year show that violent crime continues to fall even as the number of stop and frisks drops off the cliff. According to DNAinfo, citing police sources, murders are down 18.5 percent so far this year, with 44 people killed compared to 54 to the same point last year. Shootings are down 13.5 percent. Meanwhile police stops continue to drop, down nearly 90 percent from their peak in 2011.
Eyesores and community terrors were the main topics of discussion at last Thursday’s Juniper Park Civic Association meeting, with positive news being delivered by authorities on both fronts.
As an angry JPCA President Bob Holden held up an image of a graffiti-covered commercial box truck illegally parked in the driveway of a residential building, Department of Buildings Queens Community Liaison Ken Lazar reported to the crowd of around 60 people that the agency is continuing to issue summonses to the owners of such properties.
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.
St. Patrick’s Day came early in Sunnyside. Children wearing bright green shamrock-shaped hats waved and smiled to the rainbow of people parading down Skillman Avenue in the St. Patrick’s Day for All Parade on Sunday. Though it was a cold March day, the spirit of love and equality fueled the crowds of dancers, marching bands, bagpipers, activists, politicians and spectators.
Many of the participants, including Mayor de Blasio, will not be marching up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on March 17 because lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people have been barred from openly partaking in the event with banners and as organized groups since 1991.
Panti Bliss, the famous drag queen from Dublin, sits atop a red convertible, waving to onlookers at the 15th annual St. Patricks Day for All Parade on Sunday in Sunnyside. Mayor de Blasio, who will not march in the Manhattan parade, was also in attendance.
Queens Library Executive Director Tom Galante may now be the target of a federal probe into his spending of taxpayer funds.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the city Department of Investigation came to the Central Library in Jamaica last Friday with subpoenas for both Galante and the library’s construction management consultant, the Daily News reported Wednesday.
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.
Hundreds gathered in Sunnyside on Sunday to watch the St. Patrick’s Day for All Parade where Mayor de Blasio, City Council members and other electeds marched.
Unlike the Manhattan parade, St. Patrick’s Day for All allows the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning and other groups to march openly. De Blasio has already stated he will not march in the Manhattan parade.
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.
Hundreds gathered in Sunnyside on Sunday to watch the St. Patrick’s Day for All Parade where Mayor de Blasio, City Council members and other electeds marched. Unlike the Manhattan parade, St. Patrick’s Day for All allows the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning and other groups to march openly. De Blasio has already stated he will not march in the Manhattan parade. — Tess McRae
Mayor de Blasio and Public Advocate Letitia James share a laugh as they lead the parade marchers on Skillman Avenue.
Commissioner Bratton greets Det. Steven McDonald. McDonald has been paralyzed since 1986 when he was shot three times by a 15-year-old gunman in Manhattan’s Central Park. His wife, Patti Ann, is mayor of Malverne on Long Island. Their son, Conor, is an officer with the NYPD.
Our Mayor de Blasio preaches street safety and pedestrian safety and yet can’t walk the walk. He himself walked against the light while talking on his cell phone and was caught on camera doing so in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. It is like he is saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Now if I did that and was caught under the new guidelines the mayor has set up, I would surely get a ticket. Added to that, Mayor de Blasio’s SUV was caught on video blowing through two stop signs in Queens and twice going 15 mph over the speed limit. Does that mean Mayor de Blasio doesn’t have to set an example and is above the law?
(An open letter to Mayor de Blasio)
What do we have to do to get our garbage and recyclables picked up by the Sanitation Department? When we’re told to put them out, we do; take them in, we do. Dig them out from the snow, we do. And what happens? Nothing. They remain uncollected. Sanitation trucks pass through, but don’t pick up.
In any other city, the mayor knows what’s going on, and if employees don’t do their job, they get fired. Today, Friday, Feb. 21, is a recyclable day and garbage pickup day. Much of the snow has melted, so we were hopeful that we would have pickups. We’ve only had three in the past two months!
At 8 a.m., a Sanitation truck appeared. It sped down 97th Street, without picking up anything, so that nobody could read the number on the truck or the license number. At other times, they stop at only even-numbered houses! Or when somebody makes a complaint. And then only that house! If they come around, it is at night, or Saturday, or Sunday. All overtime shifts. Then they pick up only here and there.
A couple of Saturdays ago, a “sanding” truck came around and sanded the road. This was followed by three more trucks in the next three hours, which did nothing but drive through. What a waste of money. The Sanitation budget will soon be depleted, and a filthy city will remain.
What we have is stray cats pawing garbage bags, pigeons pecking at garbage bags and scavengers opening up all bags looking for 5-cent redeemable cans and bottles.
Mr. Mayor, get your priorities straight, and take care of essentials first before you launch new programs. Right now, it’s revolting. A health epidemic could be brewing: rats breeding and expanding their turf.
You’re supposed to know what’s going on in all boroughs ... not just Manhattan and Brooklyn. Sanitation workers are quick to see if there’s no leadership. In the 12 years that Mayor Bloomberg was in office, we only had to call about nonpickups three times.
And yes, we had snow then too.
Mayor de Blasio, center, when he first announced his Vision Zero plan in Woodside, where the greatest number of pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2013. He stands with Borough President Melinda Katz, second from right, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, right.
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.
Members of the Queens Smoke-Free Partnership and some allies recently traveled to Albany to join other antismoking activists in reminding lawmakers how important it is to reduce tobacco use.
The activists from Queens said that while the adult smoking rate has fallen 35 percent in the city since 2002 — when former Mayor Mike Bloomberg took office and launched a series of efforts to reduce the addiction — it remains unchanged among those with the lowest incomes.
Winter hasn’t just been brutal on the residents of Queens, the borough’s streets have borne the brunt of this year’s record-setting snowfalls and cold snaps.
Potholes are common occurrences during and after tough winters, and on Thursday, Mayor de Blasio visited Maspeth to help fill a troublesome hole and announce his plan to repair the city’s cracked and cratered roads over the coming weeks and months.