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From his office on Bell Boulevard and 73rd Avenue, City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) says he can hear his frustrated constituents at the former Q75 bus stop swearing, yelling, and literally crying out for someone to restore the cancelled bus route.
The Q75, which ran from Oakland Gardens to the F train stations in Jamaica, was eliminated along with 32 other bus routes, 570 bus stops and two subway lines on June 27, 2010, a $93 million service reduction.
The United States Tennis Association, three Queens elected officials and some parks advocates this week lauded a deal with the city that would have the nonprofit “replace” land it wants so it can expand its National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The accord reached between the nonprofit and city represents a unique bargain: according to a press release sent by the USTA, it replaces the 0.68 acre of parkland needed for its expansion with 1.56 acres of what looks like, is used as and mapped as existing parkland already within Flushing Meadows.
City Comptroller John Liu continues to run for mayor as if confident he can overcome the embarrassment of a campaign finance scandal that could send one of his top former aides and a contributor to prison for decades.
How much impact the case will have is an open question. But according to two political science experts in Queens, the Liu campaign faces multiple challenges arising from the convictions last week of Jia “Jenny” Hou, his former treasurer, and Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, a fundraising “bundler,” who secured donations from other parties that then went to the campaign.
The former treasurer of City Comptroller John Liu's campaign for mayor and one of his fundraisers were convicted of attempted fraud and other federal charges yesterday for their roles in accepting illegal contributions and attempting to rip off the taxpayers of New York City.
Jia "Jenny" Hou and Xing Wu "Oliver" Pan were each found guilty of playing a role in taking campaign contributions from straw donors — people whose names were entered as contributors even though someone else had provided the money — and could each face decades in prison.
Major League Soccer’s proposal to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park has re-emerged this week, jangling a borough that has spent the better part of three months focused elsewhere.
The league once again contends it’s weeks away from finalizing a deal with the city, as it did last fall. This time, the league may have found an oil-rich owner for the proposed franchise: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a billionaire member of the Abu Dhabi royal family and deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.
Residents and elected officials from Southeast Queens on Friday took what they hope is not a last look at about 700 trees in the Idlewild Park Preserve.
Nearly 400 of the trees have been marked by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as being potential hazards to planes landing at or taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Shot in Southeast Queens, “Let’s Get Bizzee” is a feature film that is said to truly inspire youngsters to make a change and be a part of the political process, according to director Carl Clay.
Clay’s re-released film will be featured on May 10 at the Black Spectrum Theatre followed by a panel discussion hosted by state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) on “Attack on Black Leaders: Corruption or Conspiracy?” at the event.
It’s been done before, he says. A longshot candidate can win the mayoralty of New York City. Just look at the race in 1977.
At this point in that year, former City Councilman Sal Albanese says, there were two candidates polling about where he is now —in the single digits. But their name recognition improved, and in the end, one of them won. That was Ed Koch. The other lost that election but did all right in politics in the end. His name was Mario Cuomo.
And now there are three.
Astoria lawyer John Ciafone has entered the race for the District 22 seat held by term-limited Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria).
“The more you’re in politics, the more corrupt you are,” then-Congressional candidate and Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) said during a meeting with the Queens Chronicle’s editorial board last fall. “I don’t care if you’re the best person on the planet. You make deals, the line becomes blurry.”
That was Oct. 19. One day earlier, he allegedly left an unnamed Queens eatery $800 richer in exchange for promising someone a no-show job and other favors, according to a criminal complaint leading to Halloran’s April 2 arrest at his Auburndale home.
This is a tale of two agencies, both of them suffering constant criticism from those they serve, both of them suffering constant meddling by those who think they know how they should be run. Both of their most recognizable employees wear blue, both do their work in all kinds of conditions, both have a well-known motto, both are absolutely crucial to civilization, both are being forced to make do with less.
Manny Caughman lets out a small chuckle when asked why a longtime community activist would want to assume the responsibilities and headaches that would come with being elected as the City Councilman in New York’s 27th District.
“If you have a passion for what you do, it isn’t really work,” he said.
The United States Tennis Association’s proposed expansion within Flushing Meadows Corona Park began its public review hearings this week on the heels of a 32-page report blasting the nonprofit’s plan and history as a tenant in the park.
By Friday, six community boards will have voted on the proposal. But as of Tuesday evening, Community Boards 4 and 9 voted against the plan in contentious hearings, while Community Board 7 approved it with little fanfare by comparison.
I do not understand what has happened in the “city so nice they named it twice.” We used to be a city of people who stood up for what was what and made no bones about it. When did that change?
Now here in Queens we have our elected “representatives” (I use the term lightly) selling out the very people they swore to represent. There are three large projects undergoing public review, which would significantly sacrifice acreage of parkland within Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Yet several elected officials are on board with the developers. They are in effect speaking for the developers instead of their constituents.
They tell us that the theft being perpetrated upon all of us is exactly what we need and want. They speak of “public-private partnerships.” They speak of the wretched conditions of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, yet they do not speak of their incompetence, inability or unwillingness to fu
nd the very same park. They tell local business owners that these projects are a good deal. They do not tell the local merchants that there will be no increase in business. Every stadium has its own restaurants that cater to all types of clients and this one will be no different. These stadiums are built as cities unto themselves, complete with pro shops, restaurants, fast food joints and vending machines.
They also do not tell these merchants that the added traffic, without added roads and parking, will only force a crackdown on parking, possibly eliminating valued parking in front of their establishments. Think about it, Northern Boulevard already has no parking westbound for the morning rush hour, and no parking eastbound for the evening rush. What is going to happen on all the other streets when the roads become blocked!
Julissa Ferreras represents the district that will be impacted the most. Most of her constituents use the park on a daily basis during the summer. They play soccer and cricket and have picnics, festivals and a myriad of other events in this park. Yet, she is leading the charge to take the parkland away. Borough president candidates Barry Grodenchik, Melinda Katz, Leroy Comrie and Jose Peralta have all remained silent on this issue. They want the seat of borough president, yet remain silent while the borough gets robbed. This is not acceptable!
Are we to stand by and allow our park to be taken from us? Are we to stand by and allow our “representatives” to represent businesses instead of us? Has it become OK to accept whatever it is they give us because they do it with a smile and a nod? They only feign care and concern when we get upset. Just because they speak to us in a calm manner in the pretense of being civil does not mean they are being civil.
Enough already. The time is now. Stand up, New York. This is our park! There is no deal to be made — our families, our children have rights to this park. Not USTA, not MLS, not Mr. Wilpon and Sterling and Related Companies! This is our land.
I urge you to call your representatives, and tell them “No, to the land theft at Flushing Meadows Corona Park!”
They have gone through years of damaged homes, destroyed possessions and tens of thousands of dollars in costs that may never be recoverable.
Now there’s a Category 5 storm brewing up in Southeast Queens, and both elected officials and residents in and around Jamaica vow that the Department of Environmental Protection has placed itself squarely in its path for landfall on March 22.
Call it the story of a local boy trying to do well for his hometown.
A familiar face to the corridors of power, Bayside native Austin Shafran kicked off his run for the City Council’s 19th District on Feb. 19, touting years spent working within the bounds of the political system, at the local, state and federal levels.
The race to serve out the last 10 months of now-state Sen. James Sanders Jr.’s term on the City Council is down to the wire, with only a couple dozen votes separating the top two contenders, according to the candidates and reporting in the Daily News.
“As Local 1181 has always said, our top priority is the safe transport to and from school of our City’s children. With that in mind, our Executive Board voted earlier this afternoon to suspend the five week strike, and return to work on Wednesday, February 20t
Candidates in the 31st District City Council race tackled tough questions about job creation, education and crime at a debate held Feb. 7 at St. Luke’s Church in Laurelton.
The event, sponsored by the Federated Blocks of Laurelton, was the second of its kind to be held before the Feb. 19 special election. The winner will fill the post vacated by James Sanders Jr. after he won a bid for state Senate, and will serve out the rest of his term, which ends on Dec. 31.
The ongoing civil war between two factions of the Queens Republican Party is flaring up again — just in time for the 2013 city elections.
It all began when Queens Republican leaders failed to appropriately renominate Judith Stupp as the borough’s GOP commissioner on the Board of Elections by the Jan. 31 deadline. Stupp, a district leader from Bayside, is a key ally of Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa.
State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) defended his decision to join the Independent Democratic Caucus at a packed town hall meeting in Cambria Heights on Jan. 30 at the Alpha Phi Alpha Senior Center.
But activist, minister the Rev. Charles Norris was not satisfied with the explanation being offered, and the exchange between the two became heated. Smith accused Norris of seeking media attention. Norris called Smith a bad senator before the lawmaker cut him off and abruptly ended the meeting.
It was supposed to be an evening for the community to hear the positions of candidates in the 31st District City Council race, but a lot of the forum, held Tuesday night in Laurelton, was spent grilling one contender for his decision to sue several of his opponents, challenging the validity of their signatures and attempting to get them thrown off the ballot.
Rosedale attorney Jacques Leandre filed, and later dropped, lawsuits against his opponents Mike Duncan, Donovan Richards, Earnest Flowers, Allan Jennings and Selvena Brooks. He pursued the action against Marie Adam-Ovide, but a judge decided in her favor. He did not challenge the remaining candidates, Saywalah Kesselly and Pesach Osina.
Three candidates in the special election for the 31st District City Council seat have taken a stand against what they call unfair tactics employed by one of the competitors, who has gone to court to keep them and others off the ballot.
Rosedale attorney and candidate Jacques Leandre has filed lawsuits in Queens Supreme Court challenging the validity of the signatures of six of the other eight candidates in the race — Mike Duncan, Marie Adam-Ovide, Earnest Flowers, Donovan Richards, Selvena Brooks and Allan Jennings — for the Feb. 19 special election to replace James Sanders Jr., who was elected to the state Senate. The candidates needed to submit 450 signatures by the Jan. 15 deadline to get on the ballot.
Five individuals connected to contentious development projects in state Sen. Jose Peralta’s (D-East Elmhurst) district have donated to his borough president campaign, though his disclosures with the city’s Campaign Finance Board do not reveal the connection.