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One would think The Mets ball club and the Related Companies would be more than gratified at receiving, for $1, the Willets Point property acquired by the City for tens of millions of dollars; a taxpayer subsidy of $99 million; and the right to construct a 1.4 million-square-foot shopping mall on the Citi Field parking lot, which is part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park without having to replace parkland and undergo a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure proceeding.
Predictably, not so.
In addition to all of the above, they now seek what they claim is a $43 million tax break from the city, but when added to the actual value of the Willets Point property of about $250 million; sewer construction cost of about $35 million; Van Wyck construction cost of $66 million; the total cost to the city for Willets Point will be about $400 million, a taxpayer subsidy that may well break all previous records.
At a time when city poverty and homeless levels are increasing, a demand by multibillionaires for a huge tax break, is outrageous.
If the Bloomberg Administration and the City Council agree to this raid on the City treasury, and if Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio and Queens Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz remain silent, it would be tantamount, in my opinion, to malfeasance in office.
Term-limited Councilman Leroy Comrie, left, is landing a job a lot closer to home come January. Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz, right, has designated him as her new deputy, citing his long and varied experience in serving borough residents.
For several years now, Dmytro Fedkowskyj, Queens’ representative on the Panel for Educational Policy — the Department of Education’s policy-making body — has convened parents and community education council members at Borough Hall several times a year to discuss education issues and concerns with him and policy advisors to Borough President Helen Marshall.
On Tuesday, they met one last time. With Marshall — and likely Fedkowskyj, who serves at her pleasure — leaving office at the end of the month, the parents, officials, former teachers and CEC members gathered to put together a list of concerns and suggestions they hope Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz, her future PEP appointee and the de Blasio administration will tackle.
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz has tapped a longtime associate and a former rival for key positions in Borough Hall come January.
Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who dropped out of the borough president race this past summer, will serve as deputy borough president, while Jay Bond, a former policy advisor to Katz during her tenure on the City Council and in the state Assembly, will be brought on board as chief of staff.
Elected officials, area clergymen and dozens of onlookers gathered on Sunday night to watch the lighting of a 16-foot-tall menorah at Federoff Triangle on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills.
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Chabad of Rego Park Rabbi Eli Blokh spoke to the crowd, which also included Congresswoman Grace Meng.
Elected officials, area clergymen and dozens of onlookers gathered on Sunday night to watch the lighting of a 16-foot-tall menorah at Federoff Triangle on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills. Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Chabad of Rego Park Rabbi Eli Blokh spoke to the crowd, which also included Congresswoman Grace Meng. Five of the menorah’s candles were lit to recognize the fifth night of Chanukah and Woodside resident Harry Bieber was also honored for his service in Israel’s War of Independence. — by Christopher Barca
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz takes her turn with the torch that lit the menorah.
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz has tapped a long-time associate and a former rival for key positions in Borough Hall come January.
Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who dropped out of the borough president race this past summer, will serve as deputy borough president, a job that traditionally has included supervision of the borough’s community boards.
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz, second from left, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, River Fund of New York Executive Director Swami Durga Das, and Jason Hilliard from the office of Congressman Gregory Meeks assist the needy in Richmond Hill on Saturday.
Queens elected officials gathered for a peaceful political event on Saturday at Queens College to raise funds for the groups Big Buddy and Women and Work.
The cast featured borough city, state and federal legislators, including the lone Republican, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), former Borough President Clare Shulman, her successor Helen Marshall, Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz, and City Comptroller John Liu. The variety show featured singing, dancing, parodies of cinema, television and Broadway and costumes, including Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) in a rainbow wig. Tickets were $100 each.
The end of the election season did not mean that Queens politicians would be sleeping on Saturday, when Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and former Congressman Anthony Weiner were in Richmond Hill handing out Thanksgiving groceries at the River Fund food pantry.
For the first time in two decades, the District 22 City Council seat will not be taken up by a member of the Vallone family.
Due to term limits, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) will be stepping down from the post he has had for 12 years.
As home to two of the country’s biggest airports, Queens owes much of its economic activity and jobs to JFK and LaGuardia. Airports sell merchandise, employ local residents and need support staff to keep things running around the clock. Those jobs used to pay decent wages that allowed Queens families to live nearby and raise their kids in our city.
But now, there’s a disturbing trend. According to a recent report by researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, wages from airport jobs are falling rapidly as families find themselves struggling just to pay the bills and keep up. That’s because loopholes and outside contracting exempts many of these employees from the wages and benefits that come with being an official employee of a major airline company. As a result, one out of three airport workers lives in poverty and relies on taxpayer assistance to feed and shelter their families.
All over Queens, residents say that increased plane noise is affecting their quality of life. However, the neighborhoods of Maspeth and Middle Village have not been known to have this problem because they are located south of LaGuardia Airport, away from departing routes.
Representatives from the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration sought to address the community’s complaints at a Maspeth Town Hall public information meeting hosted by Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) on Nov. 6.
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz on Wednesday released the outlines of a nine-point economic development plan she said she will implement to create jobs and sustainable development in Queens while also rebuilding areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
The former city councilwoman and state assemblywoman said her experience in government will be key in getting the job done.
At one of the law firms she applied to, Geraldine Ferraro made it through five rounds of interviews before hearing a “no.” The simple and acceptable reason back then: They weren’t hiring any women that year. But as 1984 Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale said, this wife, mother, teacher and lawyer “had a lot of fire” and wasn’t about to let that stop her. Her drive led her to become the first female vice presidential nominee on a major party ticket.
Ferraro kept her mother’s surname in the public eye in her honor. Her widowed mother worked as a seamstress to make sure Geraldine went to college at a time when women were largely expected to be housewives. She became the first female in the family to receive a degree and used it to teach at PS 85 in Astoria.
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz thanks a room packed with supporters at Democratic Party headquarters in Forest Hills on Tuesday night following her big win over Republican Tony Arcabascio.
Queens Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz, right, celebrates her victory with outgoing BP Helen Marshall and Democratic Party Executive Director Michael Reich in Forest Hills Tuesday night. Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio, inset, also has plenty to smile about.
Queens Borough President-elect Melinda Katz stands tall, on a chair, as she addresses supporters including an applauding Democratic Party Executive Director Michael Reich in forest Hills Tuesday night. She won 80 percent of the vote.
Tuesday’s elections turned out just as the pollsters and political junkies said they would.
Following a tough primary battle, Democrat Bill de Blasio strolled into the mayoralty of New York City, taking 73.4 percent of the general election vote compared to 24.3 percent for Republican rival Joe Lhota, according to preliminary Board of Elections figures.
Melinda Katz spent her early years in public service under the tutelage of former Borough President Claire Shulman,
Come January, the former councilwoman and member of the state Assembly will move up to the chair Shulman filled for more than a decade.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) appeared to prevail over his Democratic rival, District Leader Lew Simon 53 percent to 47 percent in the 32nd Council District — a margin of about 1,100 votes — in what ended up being the closest race in the entire city
Queens Borough President-elect Melinda Katz, right, celebrates her victory with outgoing BP Helen Marshall and Democratic Party Executive Director Michael Reich at the party's offices in Forest Hills Tuesday night.
Tuesday's elections turned out just as the pollsters and political junkies said they would.
Democrat Bill de Blasio strolled into the mayoralty of New York City, taking 73.3 percent of the vote compared to 24.3 percent for Republican rival Joe Lhota, according to preliminary Board of Elections figures reported by NY 1.
All these former Republican officials: Gov. Pataki, former Mayor Giuliani, former City Council members Mike Abel, Anthony Stabile, Tom Ognibene, Anthony Como and Dennis Gallagher, state Assemblyman Doug Prescott, state Sens. Frank Padavan and Serf Maltese and Congressman Bob Turner; along with current Councilman Eric Ulrich and Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa have all collectively failed to assist Aurelio “Tony” Arcabascio in raising sufficient funding to run a competitive race against Democrat Melinda Katz (“I’m the ‘real Queens” candidate, Arc says,” by Peter C. Mastrosimone, Oct. 24).
As of April 1, 2013 there were more than 1,076,000 active voters in Queens, including 703,202 Democrats; 128,335 Republicans; 206,770 “blanks” (with no declared party affiliation); 27,556 Independents; 5,862 Conservatives; 3,280 Working Families and 1,235 others.
Arcabascio needed to raise a million dollars months ago to pay for direct mail, telephone banks and newspaper, radio and television advertising to overcome these overwhelming odds if he was to be taken seriously. This was necessary to level the playing field against Katz.
No wonder the last Republican Queens borough president was James A. Lundy, who served from 1952 to 1957. Ditto for Nat Hentel, who served as the last GOP district attorney in 1970.
By comparison, the odds of winning any million-dollar lottery are greater!