“There could not have been a Gregory Meeks if there wasn’t a Malcolm X,” the congressman who represents Southeast Queens on Capitol Hill said.
Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau) was looking directly at Ilyasah Shabazz, a daughter of the slain civil rights leader, when he said that, citing the deep effect her father had had on his early life.
It doesn’t happen often in government that we get a golden opportunity to broadly improve the education of our children, but with the expiration of mayoral control of our school system and the pending negotiations to extend it, we have only one clear mission – let’s get it right for the sake of our children.
Mayoral control over New York City’s education system is up for renewal in June of this year. In this situation, my fellow government colleagues and I in the state Legislature can vote to pass, amend or cancel the 2002 law that gives the mayor and his administration the power to appoint a schools chancellor, oversee the system’s operating budgets and make decisions about how the city will try to lift student achievement across thousands of schools. The law also created the Panel for Educational Policy, in which eight of 13 members are selected by the mayor.
Our city is protected by the greatest police department in the world. The men and women of the NYPD have driven crime down to historic lows and have made New York the safest big city in America. Despite the phenomenal job cops have done in fighting crime, many police officers feel like they receive little support from elected officials at City Hall. And they’re right!
Mayor de Blasio campaigned on the theme of ending the so-called “tale of two cities.” Ironically, under his administration our city is more divided than ever. Before the assassinations of Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, de Blasio publicly praised police protesters, rolled out the red carpet for Al Sharpton, even giving him equal footing with Commissioner Bill Bratton at a press conference, and condoned the nearly two dozen members of the City Council who staged a “die-in” demonstration on the steps of City Hall. Sadly, the rift between the mayor and the rank-and-file was on full display at the funeral of Rafael Ramos when hundreds of police officers turned their backs on him as he spoke.
The Queens Jewish Community Councilheld its legislative breakfast at Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills this past Sunday morning as planned, but the event took on an even more urgent feel than might have originally been expected, as the focus shifted to include the recent terrorist attacks in France.
Originally, the central issue was to be security at area synagogues, a concern that has grown following recent incidents in Jerusalem and Crown Heights in Brooklyn.
The message was loud and clear.
The NYPD deserves better than this.
Year in review compilations are very popular with people around Jan. 1, and Community Board 4 is no different.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) both spoke at length about their 2014 accomplishments and 2015 goals to the board, which didn’t have a quorum until a few members trickled in late, on Tuesday.
“Let’s hear it for public schools!” city Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said before a passionate crowd last Thursday evening.
Dromm, chairman of the Council’s Education Committee and a former teacher of 25 years, was among fellow electeds, parents, school administrators and other advocates at the State of Our Schools Town Hall, which took place in the auditorium of PS 69 in Jackson Heights.
The message was loud and clear.
The NYPD deserves better than this.
Over 150 supporters gathered in the cold on Tuesday at Borough Hall to take part in a pro-police rally, organized by retired Capt. Joe Concannon, with multiple city and state civic, religious and political groups declaring their unconditional support for the NYPD.
The Central Queens neighborhoods of Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and Briarwood are mostly made up of quiet, residential streets that, when you look around, can make you forget about the hustle and bustle of city life.
But that doesn’t mean news was sparse there in 2014.
It was a tense 2014 in the City of New York. And that was especially true in the largely residential Queens neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Glendale and Elmhurst.
Whether it was the stealthy opening of a homeless shelter in Elmhurst or the continued fight over placing one in an abandoned factory in Glendale, southwest Queens residents found themselves battling city government at different times throughout the year.
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.
Southeast Queens had a year with a new mayor and old problems with accusations of political corruption, and possibly lost ground in its fight to keep airplane noise under control.
Many South Queens residents rang in 2014 with a lot of questions still on their mind. When would the city begin restoring homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy? When would the city address flooding issues in Lindenwood? Would Mary Ann Carey give in to pressure and resign as the district manager of Community Board 9?
Some of those questions, and others, were answered throughout the past 12 months, but still even more questions have been raised or have yet to be answered.
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.
The epic battle between animal rights groups and Central Park horse carriage drivers has come to a head as Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) announced a bill that would ban the centuries-old practice from the city’s most iconic park.
“The morality of a nation can be judged by the way society treats its animals,” Dromm said in a prepared statement. “Horses don’t belong on New York City’s congested streets amid cars and pollutions. There have been too many crashes and too many horse deaths and injuries to justify the continuation of this industry.”
A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit brought against Borough President Melinda Katz by six former Queens Library trustees who had sought to have their dismissals overturned by the court, Katz announced Sunday.
The six were members of a faction that had shielded now-suspended library President and CEO Tom Galante from attempts by a minority of the board to put him on leave while investigations into alleged financial mismanagement played out, and that had refused to provide City Comptroller Scott Stringer with all the documents he sought for an audit of the system.
Residents of Hamilton Beach are taking their fight to have a street in the community repaired to the highest level of City Hall.
Roger Gendron, president of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association, has started a petition asking Mayor de Blasio to direct the Department of Transportation to repave 104th Street, which has been neglected for years.
Plans are in place to reduce the size of the pedestrian plaza at City Line and add parking spots to the area, less than a year after the public space was officially opened.
It’s been two weeks since the City Council held a hearing for the latest project in Astoria Cove and after several days of confrontation with activists and elected officials, the proposal was approved by the zoning subcommittee on Wednesday.
As part of a last-minute deal, the development team, Astoria 2030, agreed to dedicate 27 percent of the residential units for affordable housing, up 7 percent from the original proposal.
With Election Day around the corner, residents across Queens are firing up to cast their votes Tuesday.
In the race for governor, incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo is challenged by Republican Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive.
Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli faces Republican Robert Antonacci, the Onondaga County comptroller.
Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is up against John Cahill, former chief of staff to Governor George Pataki.
Public and private schools across the city and state could be getting updated technology into the classroom, if a $2 billion bond referendum is approved by voters during the Nov. 4 midterm election.
The referendum, formally known as the Smart Schools Bond Act, is proposed to place advanced technology and high-speed internet connectivity in classrooms across the state, according to the ballot language.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the Republican candidate for governor, has some advice for anyone looking at the polls showing him far behind incumbent Democratic Gov. Cuomo: Don’t believe them.
“This race is going to be a lot closer than people think,” Astorino said.
After more than a year of setbacks and financial woes, the Department of Transportation, Alta Bicycle Share and Citi announced what residents in Western Queens have been waiting years for — the Citi Bike program is being expanded into Uptown Manhattan and Brooklyn and being brought to Queens for the first time.
Plaza College and the Forest Hills office of Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) will soon have two more reputable neighbors planting their flags a few floors away.
The New York City Board of Elections and Regus, an office suite provider with more than 2,000 locations in 100 countries, have signed leases totaling nearly 50,000 square feet with Muss Development and will soon be moving the real estate firm’s Forest Hills Tower at 118-35 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, according to Regus’ website and published reports.