In an effort to help families affected by Superstorm Sandy rebuild their homes, the city’s Build it Back program is seeking a new construction manager for Queens.
“Since the mayor’s overhaul, this has been a year of significant progress,” Amy Peterson, director of the mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery, which oversees the Build it Back program, said in an email to the Queens Chronicle. “And we expect the onboarding of new construction firms — who will deploy new strategies to target entire neighborhoods — will continue to accelerate the city’s Sandy recovery.”
Mayor de Blasio on Monday announced that 94 low-performing schools throughout the city, including 12 in Queens, would be designated “Community Schools” in an effort to improve test scores of struggling schoolchildren and move away from a policy of closing struggling city schools.
“We believe in strong public schools for every child,” de Blasio said at a press conference at the Coalition School for Social Change in Manhattan.
Douglas Avenue in Jamaica is not featured in glossy real estate ads or in the tours or literature offered by the Queens Borough President’s Office or the Greater Jamaica Development Corp.
The seven-block street, heading east between 168th and 175th streets, is uneven and seemingly is barely paved.
Ask what is at stake in the Sept. 9 primary for the 14th Senate District and most will say the political future of state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis).
Ask Smith, and he says what is at stake is the immediate and long-term future of funding, programs and representation for the people of Southeast Queens when Democrats go to the polls.
The Rockaway Ferry may be slated to end in two months, but residents, civic leaders and elected officials from the peninsula are not yet defeated.
Supporters took their fight right to the steps of City Hall, as they have before when the service started after Hurricane Sandy was in jeopardy.
Mayor de Blasio’s plan to subsidize the wages of private school bus drivers with $42 million in taxpayer funding is worrisome for the precedent it could set. It’s also legally suspect.
Some members of the City Council seem to realize this, but they’re likely to vote to approve the plan today, Aug. 21, anyway, because they believe the workers who will benefit are underpaid.
Borough President Melinda Katz and Mayor de Blasio made it very clear the dismissal of nearly half of the Queens Library Board of Trustees was entirely due to the scandal enveloping the library’s CEO Tom Galante, who allegedly misused capital funds.
Jacqueline Arrington, the 2013 board chairwoman, Joseph Ficalora, William Jefferson, Grace Lawrence, Terri Mangino and George Stamatiades received letters from Katz notifying them of their termination on July 23. Mayor de Blasio sacked two mayoral appointees, Patricia Flynn and Stephen Van Anden.
The city’s Office of Emergency Management last month published updated hurricane evacuation zones.
And while adjustments are slight from ones prepared in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, OEM has been spending the last few weeks getting the message out about the new maps, and precautions Queens residents should exercise before a storm hits.
Today, the New York Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision that the Bloomberg administration exceeded its authority by passing a ban on large sugary beverages in 2012.
In basketball terms, Queens Head Coach Melinda Katz deployed a full-court press on Tuesday in her effort to revitalize Jamaica in any way a government or quasi-government agency can help.
The borough president brought together an all-star team for a four-hour working breakfast at York College with leaders in government, planning, education, transportation, infrastructure and economic development.
Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) last week were singing the praises of an agreement on an approximately $75 billion budget.
Now the rest of the city, including Comptroller Scott Stringer, is waiting for the Council to vote on final adoption to see just how the city intends to spend the money, and where it will come from.
Thirty-two members of the City Council have signed a letter to Gov. Cuomo and state legislators urging them to pass bills that would mandate employment protection provisions for experienced bus drivers and matrons as part of all future school bus contracts. The session ends this week.
The city removed EPPs from contracts following a 2011 ruling from the New York State Court of Appeals which found EPPs to be illegal. The case was brought by bus company owners.
Parents from IS 59 and local officials are fuming over what they say was less than 48 hours’ notice from the Department of Education about a meeting related to the co-location of a charter school in their building in September.
The meeting, which was not technically a public hearing, was meant to discuss how IS 59, PS 176 and the new Success Academy charter school will coexist and share facilities in the same building for the next two years before 176 returns to its own site.
As part of our Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment was based on the right to keep and bear arms as stated in the English Bill of Rights (1689). These rights supported the natural rights of self-defense and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of country.
Our Supreme Court has made various interpretations on the meaning of this amendment. In 1939, the court, in United States v. Miller, ruled that the federal government and the states could limit any weapon types not having a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.”
In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the court handed down a landmark decision, expressly holding the Second Amendment to protect an individual’s right to possess and carry firearms. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, stated, “The right of the whole people, ... and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon …”
Justice John Paul Stevens, in dissent, said, “When each word in the text is given full effect, the Amendment is most naturally read to secure to the people a right to use and possess arms in conjunction with service in a well-regulated militia. So far as appears, no more than that was contemplated by its drafters …”
Folks, I believe Justice Stevens got it right.
This 2008 ruling launched a storm clash between gun-control and gun-rights groups. All polls show a vast majority of Americans want gun safety laws. I salute former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his crusade to elevate gun safety in America.
The outcome of the May 29 vote that gave Mayor de Blasio 10,400 universal pre-K seats in September was never really in doubt; nevertheless, the mayor was jubilant the next day when he discussed passage of his signature initiative in Queens Village.
De Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James and Deputy Mayor Richard Buery spoke excitedly on a visit to the A to Z Center Too, one of 204 community-based prekindergarten providers approved last week by the Panel on Educational Policy.
The deal is done.
The United Federation of Teachers general membership approved their proposed contract with the city, the first in five years, on Tuesday. The union said the deal passed with more than 77 percent of the roughly 90,000 votes cast in favor.
The executive budget presented by Mayor de Blasio on May 8 was the first one in 20 years that was almost universally embraced by a heavily Democratic City Council upon receipt.
But it also wipes out a $2 billion surplus; increases projected deficits by $5 billion through 2018; and was the first one in memory to have to undergo a radical adjustment in less than a week after the city Comptroller’s Office raised serious questions about de Blasio’s intentions to spread retroactive pay raises for retiring school teachers over four years, an apparent violation of state-mandated Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures, or GAAP.
The NYPD’s new inspector general will likely have the ability to track police-related lawsuits against the city with data that will be required reporting from several city agencies.
The City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations held a public hearing on Introduction 119, which would require IG Philip Eure to submit quarterly reports of all civil actions filed against the NYPD to the Council, the office of Comptroller Scott Stringer and the Civilian Complaint Review Board after he takes office on May 27.
A five-year-long battle between the city and the teachers union may have finally come to an end.
The de Blasio administration and the United Federation of Teachers announced an agreement on a nine-year contract retroactively dated to 2009.
The old St. Pius X school in Rosedale will be the site of the new Success Academy Jamaica this September under an agreement announced by the de Blasio administration this past weekend.
First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris also announced two sites of Catholic schools in Manhattan will be leased for Success Academy charters, schools that were approved for co-location in existing schools by the Bloomberg Administration but initially halted by de Blasio.
They were a long time in coming.
So when the New York City Housing Authority began installing security cameras at the crime-ridden Hammel Houses in Rockaway Beach on April 4, Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and his predecessor, state Sen. James Sanders (D-South Ozone Park), made sure to be on hand.
A public hearing on co-locating another school in August Martin High School on Tuesday evening produced some unusual numbers for a Department of Education co-location meeting.
Only about 20 audience members.
Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg came under heavy criticism for his handling of the city school system in his final years in office.
But a gathering in South Jamaica last Friday, hosted by state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park), showed that many parents and education advocates have similar or new concerns with the policies of Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo.
When the union representing school bus drivers and matrons called off a one-month strike in February 2013, then-Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio was among the many political supporters who said they would, if elected, re-examine the issue that led to the picket lines — employee protection provisions.
Local 1811 of the Amalgamated Transit union on March 27 organized a rally outside City Hall prior to a City Council Education Committee hearing on EPPs.
Ever hear a talk about investments and audits get applause?
City Comptroller Scott Stringer managed to deliver just that speech on March 19 — his 76th day in office — at the monthly meeting of Community Board 12.