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Tolls existed at New York City’s East River crossings until 1911, and reinstating them in some form has long been a topic of conversation.
Now state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) wants to end the discussion — permanently.
Astoria resident Michael Naess argued in last week’s Chronicle that he shouldn’t be prevented from renting out a spare bedroom in his condo on Airbnb (“Airbnb empowers New Yorkers,” Opinion, Dec. 12, multiple editions). But as one of the authors of the 2010 state law that enabled the city to take enforcement actions against illegal short-term rentals, I’d just like to make it clear: What Mr. Naess is doing isn’t illegal!
Mr. Naess wrote in his op-ed that he rents out his spare bedroom on Airbnb — as long as he’s home when that happens, it doesn’t violate the illegal hotel law. As far as the city and state are concerned, Mr. Naess, and the many other New Yorkers hosting guests in spare bedrooms, aren’t violating the illegal hotel law.
Airbnb has put its PR machine into overdrive to scare the New Yorkers hosting Airbnb guests, hoping they will push their elected officials to change the law in ways that will benefit Airbnb’s biggest source of revenue in New York: illegal hotel operators, the folks who take entire residential apartments and turn them into illegal hotel rooms.
The reality is, the illegal hotel law isn’t the real threat to everyday New Yorkers who occasionally host Airbnb guests. For one thing, if you’re just renting out part of your apartment and you’re home the whole time, then you’re not violating the law. (The law also does not apply to one- and two-family homeowners.) For another, the enforcement system is complaint-driven, and designed to target the worst offenders who are creating safety and quality-of-life problems for neighbors in their buildings.
The real threat to tenants and co-op/condo owners who host Airbnb guests is the fact that much of the time, they’re violating their leases or co-op/condo bylaws, and they can be evicted if they’re caught by their landlord or building management. I’ve asked Airbnb to clearly explain this risk to potential hosts in New York — it’s the responsible thing to do! Unfortunately, but maybe not surprisingly, they’ve refused.
This week, Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) wrote Mayor Bloomberg about the potential closure of the Corona Health Center.
“I am deeply distressed to hear that you are again trying to close the Corona Health Center,” the letter reads. “Your administration has been marked by bold public health measures, so it is perplexing why you would weaken our city’s immunization program during your last days in office. Effective immunization requires total coverage of all of our communities. Considering the nature of communicable diseases, gaps endanger all of us, here in New York and, considering the nature of global travel, everywhere else.”
Gov. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption quoted a recording purported to be embattled City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) last week as it reported preliminary findings on the state of money and influence in New York politics.
“Not about whether or will, it’s about how much, and that’s our politicians in New York, they’re all like that,” Halloran is alleged to have told an undercover investigator. “And they get like that because of the drive that the money does for everything else. You can’t get anything without the f---ing money.”
A public watchdog group is raising questions about how embattled state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) is spending his campaign money.
The New York Public Interest Research Group, citing documents filed by members of the state Legislature, said Smith charged more than $100,000 to his campaign fund to offset the cost of leased cars, bridge tolls and related expenses.
“I know they call us ‘Hollywood East’ but soon they’ll be calling Hollywood ‘New York City West’,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) joked in Kaufman Studio’s Stage K on Tuesday.
The senator, joined by founder George Kaufman, Kaufman Astoria Studios President Hal Rosebluth and city and state representatives, cut the ribbon on Kaufman Studios’ new outdoor lot — the first backlot ever in New York City.
The City Council’s Public Safety Committee, chaired by Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), held a hearing on the councilman’s proposed law that would require the Police Department to submit reports of crime in all parks and playgrounds that are greater than one acre in size to the Council.
As it stands, the NYPD only discloses crime data from the city’s 31 largest parks.
Austin Shafran, who ran unsuccessfully for the District 19 City Council seat in September’s Democratic primary, has been named New York legislative director of the Working Families Party.
Shafran, 32, of Bayside, lost to Paul Vallone by only 193 votes in a five-person race. It was the first time he ran for office, although his career has centered around working for Democratic Party officials.
Forty-seven million Americans, including approximately one million in Queens, are now seeing a reduction in food stamp benefits, after a temporary boost implemented by the 2009 stimulus package expired.
Half of those in Queens who depend on the program are children, according to the social service organization The River Fund, which is based in Richmond Hill.
Queens residents who are tired of loud airplanes flying over their homes too frequently are actually happy about Gov. Cuomo’s veto of a bill that would have required the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to conduct a noise and land use compatibility study — if an identical measure passes in New Jersey — because he doesn’t want to wait.
Instead, he’s taking executive action.
It was in 2008 that Hiram Monserrate won the Senate seat for the 13th District in Western Queens unopposed. It was also the year that led to his downfall.
On Dec. 19, Monserrate’s then-girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, showed up at North Shore-LIJ Medical Center needing 40 stitches for cuts to her left eye. According to doctors, she claimed that Monserrate had slashed her face in anger, leading to his arrest. He pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree assault and three counts of third-degree assault.
Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced this week that New York State is set to receive an estimated $6.3 billion in further Sandy-relief funding in 2014.
The money is allocated from the $61 billion Sandy aid package that was approved earlier this year by Congress. According to Schumer, less than one-third of the money has been spent.
A bipartisan deal has been struck in Congress that aims to avoid the hikes in flood insurance rates under a 2012 law that could lead to some residents paying thousands of dollars a year in flood insurance premiums.
The bill, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, was introduced this week by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) in the House of Representatives and Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) in the Senate. Waters is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and co-sponsor of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, the law the new bill seeks to change.
On any particular day, whether I’m working, getting a cup of coffee, shopping or having dinner in the district, people detail their experiences involving Superstorm Sandy in many different ways. A year later, many still get tears in their eyes, others remain frustrated about the lack of progress, while some see it as a chance to make improvements and some are optimistic about community improvements. One storm, a year later, still causes many emotions.
While we can’t control the weather, we can take steps to control the level of our preparedness and what direction our government takes in addressing the next storm. We’ve learned a lot from Sandy, and I would urge my constituents to think ahead and make sure they have detailed emergency
plans in place: Know how to contact one another in case of an emergency; have adequate supplies of canned goods, medicines, batteries, flashlights and water on hand; know what to do to help secure your homes and properties to minimize risks during a storm. Useful hurricane preparedness information may be found at this New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/event/hurricane-safety.cfm.
Woodhaven resident Florence Seiken celebrated her 100th birthday on Sept. 18.
The life-long New Yorker was born the year before World War I began and currently still lives on her own in Woodhaven. She was married to her husband Abe for 71 years until he passed away in 2005. She has one daughter, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Before he announced his campaign for mayor, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was all about helping the small business owner. He attacked the Bloomberg administration relentlessly for raising hundreds of millions of dollars, more and more each year, through fines levied for even the most minor of violations. He sued the mayor for details on the fines, issued a report and vowed to ease the burden on the job creators who own the mom-and-pop shops so critical to life in places like Queens.
But when he launched his campaign — a tactically brilliant race in which he came from way behind to win without even having to go through the runoff election so many predicted would be necessary, given how many candidates were running — de Blasio’s focus changed sharply. He decided to run as the most liberal candidate in a field of progressive Democrats, strongly staking out that position as his own.
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is upping the ante in his fight against political corruption in the state, telling the governor’s Moreland Commission that his office will start going after the pensions of public officials who are convicted of crimes.
And an unscientific survey of elected officials from Queens elicited that legal changes and legal challenges will be forthcoming.
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) coasted to victory Tuesday night in a three-way primary for the Democratic nomination for the 31st Council District.
Voters gave the freshman legislator a 15-point margin over community activist Michael Duncan.
A scathing report issued by the New York State Inspector General’s Office blasts actions taken by the Indian Cultural and Community Center — and inaction by the New York State Dormitory Authority — in connection with the sale of more than four acres of property on the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center site in Queens Village.
The ICCC was before the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals on Tuesday in continuing its effort to construct a pair of nine-story towers on the property.
The crowded District 19 City Council race in the Tuesday Democratic primary will pit seasoned veterans against first-time candidates.
Only one will be named the winner and face Republican Dennis Saffran in the November election.
A Middle Village fan of horse racing is still being denied access to the track by the New York Racing Association, even after enlisting the help of state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) in his cause.
But John Stalzer, a disabled retiree, isn’t going away without continuing the fight.
The environmental group Clean Ocean Action is urging the corporations that seek to build and operate Port Ambrose, a facility planned to import liquified natural gas delivered by ships, to speak openly about their intentions for the port, which would be located about 20 miles from the Rockaways and include a pipe linking to the existing Transco pipeline, 2.2 miles offshore.
LNG is natural gas that has been cooled and condensed to one-six hundreth of its usual volume so that it can be shipped.