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The completely unnecessary wars over education launched by Mayor de Blasio continued this week, with the specter of dueling rallies in Albany.
One was a protest against de Blasio’s decision to undercut charter schools at every turn. The innovative public schools, though not without problems, are providing wonderful educational opportunities to many students, especially hard-working minorities in poor neighborhoods. But they are anathema to de Blasio’s allies in the teachers union because they are not subject to their rules, and he apparently would rather see those students forced back into substandard traditional schools than be given such a great chance to succeed.
Democratic reaction to state Sen. Tony Avella’s decision to jump ship and join the Independent Democratic Conference in Albany is officially “disappointment,” but beneath the surface there appears to be anger and a desire for retribution.
Avella, of Bayside, last week joined the now-five-person IDC, which was organized in 2011 and runs the Senate with the Republicans in an unlikely coalition. He indicated he joined in an attempt to pass more legislation and that “at the end of the day, it will be helpful to my district and the Borough of Queens.”
Councilman Danny Dromm and residents gather in front of Starbucks Coffee in Jackson Heights. The coffee chain reportedly leaves mounds of trash on residential 79th Street resulting in foul odors and vermin.
A crowd huddled in front of Starbucks on Friday in Jackson Heights and it wasn’t to sample a caramel macchiato.
According to city officials and residents, the Starbucks on the corner of 37th Avenue and 79th Street regularly leaves mounds of garbage on a residential street rather than in front of the store along the commercial corridor.
As charter school supporters, left, protested in Albany against Mayor de Blasio’s cuts to their financial support, backers of his plan to provide universal prekindergarten also rallied. Gov. Cuomo was a star speaker at the charter protest, while de Blasio led the pre-K event. The two have been at odds over both issues.
Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio spoke at rallies in Albany Tuesday for charter schools and pre-K respectively, both endorsing a position the other opposes.
The fight over the future of education in New York City headed up the Thruway Tuesday to Albany, where dueling rallies with some crossover support between them and high-profile speakers brought some heat to the frozen state capital.
Lobbying the state Legislature for his plan to raise taxes on high-income earners to fund universal prekindergarten citywide, Mayor de Blasio held a rally with several members of the City Council in Albany on Tuesday.
St. Patrick’s Day came early in Sunnyside. Children wearing bright green shamrock-shaped hats waved and smiled to the rainbow of people parading down Skillman Avenue in the St. Patrick’s Day for All Parade on Sunday. Though it was a cold March day, the spirit of love and equality fueled the crowds of dancers, marching bands, bagpipers, activists, politicians and spectators.
Many of the participants, including Mayor de Blasio, will not be marching up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on March 17 because lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people have been barred from openly partaking in the event with banners and as organized groups since 1991.
Though the contracts have been signed and the variance has been approved by the City Council, business owners in Willets Point are not giving up. They want action to be taken by the city, and they want it now.
A handful of owners told their stories while supporters sat with melancholy looks on their faces, somberly nodding when their peers pointed out the hardships they all face.
Former city Comptroller John Liu, who hails from Flushing, gave a thumbs-up Monday to the re-election bid of Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing).
Speaking at Meng’s Flushing headquarters, Liu dispelled the notion that he would run for her seat but did not rule out running elsewhere.
Grant Lally wants to oppose Rep. Steve Israel.
The National Football League generated backpage headlines this past weekend when it was learned that the league is pushing for penalties and possible game suspensions for players who use the “N-word” slur during a game. The NFL was acting primarily in response to such lunkheads as the Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Riley Cooper, who brought shame to themselves and the NFL last year by using that disgusting term.
Sorry, ACLU supporters, I support the NFL’s decision in this matter. What wasn’t clear, however, was if NFL referees will have the power to issue penalties for slurs made against other ethnic groups, races or differing sexual orientations. If you are trying to take a principled and responsible stand against prejudice, then you can’t have situations where some groups are protected and others are not.
Since November, demonstrators have taken to the streets of Ukraine to protest now-impeached President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to not move forward with potential membership into the European Union. Dozens have been killed in the clashes thus far.
State Sen. Toby Stavisky has moved and she is now making her residence in Forest Hills.
The senator told the Chronicle on Monday that the area she previously covered was redistricted last year and her Whitestone residence is no longer in her district.
Maverick Democrat Tony Avella has done it again. The Bayside state senator announced Wednesday he is joining the Independent Democratic Conference in Albany.
Never one to follow the party line, Avella’s move is seen as a plus for him. He is more likely now to be able to move his bills through the Senate.
Anyone who has watched the evening news over the last month has seen the dramatic images of the civil unrest sweeping through Ukraine.
Since the protests, known as Euromaidan, over now-ousted president Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to stop Ukraine from entering on the path to potentially joining the European Union in the future began last November, over 100 protesters and a dozen law enforcement agents have been killed.
Rocky Sanabria was seen as different for much of her life.
On the outside, she appeared to be a normal girl who was a bit boyish but otherwise nondescript.
An estimated 500,000 people who work in the city and never before had guaranteed paid sick leave soon will, as the City Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill mandating that their employers provide it.
Mayor de Blasio, who had championed the measure, the Earned Sick Time Leave Act, quickly issued a statement saying the Council had made history by passing it. The bill was designated Intro-1, the first new law of the year, reflecting its value to the mayor and the Council majority. It passed 46-5.
The lawyer who asked that a case involving his client, Vince Tabone, be delayed, saying it would be unfair to Republican candidates seeking office, has thrown his own hat in the ring to oppose Rep. Steve Israel.
Grant Lally, a Republican from Lloyd Harbor, LI, announced last week that he would oppose Congressman Israel for the 3rd Congressional District seat. The district covers parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties and a section of Queens, including Douglaston, Little Neck, Whitestone and Floral Park.
The federal case over the Police Department’s use of stop and frisk went before a new judge last week.
District Judge Analisa Torres will now rule on the lawsuit brought against the city by civil rights groups and people who say they were wrongly stopped by cops, in violation of their constitutional rights.
Mayor de Blasio stands with representatives from the NYPD, Department of Transportation and other city agencies at PS 75 in Manhattan to announce his Vision Zero plan.
Let’s not read too much into what was a mistaken but not malicious judgment call to keep the schools open on a particular bad-weather day recently. We lucked out that no school-related disasters were reported under these harsh conditions, but let’s see the big picture. Chancellor Fari–a’s decision was perhaps thoughtless but not insensitive. It wasn’t mean-spirited, conceived in spite or as a political power play. Maybe she didn’t have all the facts or the facts were still unfolding when a determination had to be finalized. The chancellor made a good-faith decision with the perceived interests of parents and students in mind.
And certainly Chancellor Fari–a’s calling it a “beautiful” day was flawed public relations etiquette, but it was not a character-defining moment, unlike the heartlessness displayed by Bloomberg-appointed Chancellor Cathie Black, who essentially blamed overcrowded schools on the failure of inner-city parents to practice birth control.
By all means let’s hold Chancellor Fari–a’s feet to the fire over policies related to the seminal issues of quality public education, but let’s not get bent out of shape over this event. The snow didn’t lighten up on that day but critics should lighten up looking back. Chancellor Fari–a’s education forecast is worthy of encouragement. Let’s hope she doesn’t quit her day job to become a meteorologist.
Between Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, in the nucleus of the most diverse region on Earth, Queens doctor and entrepreneur Freddy Castiblanco has created a hub of cultural and political collaboration, that also sells a killer Pisco sour, at Terraza 7.
He wanted it to be a bar for and composed of the community. He remembers discovering, after moving from Colombia to Queens in 2002, both the diversity and the cultural isolation of the borough.
State Sen. Greg Ball and Councilman Danny Dromm.
Supporters of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to bring universal prekindergarten to New York City rally in Jackson Heights on Wednesday. Although the plan has a lot of support, some are concerned that the city has not considered if adequate space exists for such a plan.