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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.
Mass transit advocates took issue with how Gov. Cuomo would like to redirect $40 million in next year’s budget for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
But the governor’s office is responding by saying that the money will help the MTA pay down debt and still keep the agency flush with increased cash.
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.”
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.
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.
A new bill introduced by Congressman Steve Israel (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens) on March 4 would allow those caring for elderly relatives who do not live with them to receive a tax credit of up to $1,200 for qualified elder-care expenses.
Many of those caregivers — who, according to Israel, spend on average $5,530 out-of-pocket each year on expenses for their aging relatives — cannot claim their parents as dependents because they live elsewhere.
When the NYS Education Department announced that a new data program, InBloom, would replace the controversial ACRIS, many parents had no complaints.
A few weeks later, Leonie Haimson and her group Class Size Matters informed parents that the nonprofit group would store students’ information in a cloud and share it with corporations, people were naturally up in arms.
The House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday that would roll back the flood insurance rate hikes caused when legislation passed two years ago removed some subsidies that aim to make premiums more affordable.
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.
Hurricane Sandy damage to a seawall at LeHavre co-ops in Whitestone has left owners of the 28-acre upscale waterfront property overlooking the Long Island Sound wondering who will pay.
Described as “luxury waterfront co-ops” by the real estate industry, LeHavre was built as rental units in 1958 and converted to co-ops in 1984. Damage to the seawall was discovered after the 2012 storm and the development’s insurance does not cover repair costs.
(BPT) - Have you ever felt that new technologies, from smartphones to Internet apps, are moving so fast that it’s hard to keep up?
State Sen. Greg Ball (D-Patterson) slammed Mayor de Blasio’s municipal ID card legislation during a debate with Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) on “Up Close with Diana Williams” on Sunday morning.
The bill, which will be drafted by Dromm — a big advocate for immigration reform — was briefly discussed by the mayor during his State of the City Address two weeks ago.
If the Department of Environmental Conservation has its way, there won't be a single mute swan left in the State of New York by 2025.
If state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Whitestone) has his way, the birds just might be able to stay here unmolested.
Like most city parks these days, Bowne in Flushing is snow covered and its lake frozen, but burst pipes in a Parks Department maintenance building may have affected cleanup there following the recent storms.
Bags of garbage had been spotted in the park and cans thrown onto the lake. But the Parks Department said Monday that mobile crews clean up Bowne five days a week, with the only snafu the flooded building.
(An open letter to Gov. Cuomo)
As the Democratic district leader of the 23rd Assembly District and chairman of the Rockaway-Broad Channel Bridge Toll Committee, I have been on record as requesting that the Crossbay Veterans Memorial Bridge toll should be free for all Queens residents.
This is the only place in New York City where there is a toll to move from one part of a community to another. We share a community board, school district, Council district, Assembly district, state Senate district, police precinct and ZIP code, but our guests and potential visitors must pay this toll or be deterred from coming to our community.
We have been blessed with a body of water called Jamaica Bay and our roadway runs from Rockaway through Broad Channel. You have been gracious enough to maintain the Crossbay Bridge toll rebate program. Now we are asking that you do the right thing for other Queens residents and the delivery trucks that regularly serve our community.
Rockaway residents pay more for goods and services because the cost of bridge tolls is passed on to the consumer. The toll serves as a deterrent to the revitalization of local business that we are all trying to help.
When the bridge was built and then when it was rebuilt, we were told that all tolls would be ended when the construction costs were paid. Now is the time to move toward redeeming that promise.
We love New York and especially Rockaway. We want other Queens residents to be able to spend a hot day at our beaches and walk on our rebuilt boardwalk. We are confident that you will find a way to help all of us.
In another attempt to put a wrench in the behemoth development plan for Willets Point, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and others filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming the shopping mall portion proposed for the Citi Field parking lot in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is illegal under state law.
The plan, submitted by the Queens Development Group — a partnership between Sterling Equities and The Related Companies — was given approval by the City Council last October.
State Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) said he won’t allow a vote on Mayor de Blasio’s request to permit New York City to raise its taxes on residents with incomes over $500,000 a year to fund universal pre-kindergarten in the city.
“This isn’t just a home-rule issue,” Skelos told reporters Monday. “It infected the entire state in terms of revenues, in terms of the finance industry. The last thing we need to see is high earners leave New York State.”
State Sen. Malcolm Smith of Jamaica is entitled to a fair speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. He is not entitled to delay the trial over the felony corruption charges he faces until after the voters decide to renominate him or not in a primary.
Yet that’s what’s the senator’s attorney will formally ask a federal judge to do tomorrow. Smith faces conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion charges in a case in which he allegedly sought to run for mayor as a Republican. He was charged almost a year ago, along with five other co-defendants, two of whom have reached plea deals. Naturally Smith doesn’t want the trial to be going on while he’s running for re-election, but it should.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill that would delay hikes in flood insurance rates for residents living in flood zones, including Howard Beach, seen here the day after Hurricane Sandy.
Back in December, the New York City Housing Authority entered into an agreement with a federal judge and advocacy groups that requires the agency to address claims of mold in public housing within 15 days.
State Sen. James Sanders (D-South Ozone Park) liked the idea, but felt it did not go far enough, and has introduced a bill that would codify the terms of the court settlement in state law.
An unscientific survey of Queens transit riders finds that while none are happy with the prospect of bus and train fare hikes in 2015, they also don’t think employees of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority should be forced to go without at least a small raise at the end of current contract negotiations.
MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast last week told state officials that a 4 percent fare increase planned for next year could balloon to 12 percent, including a $2.75 fare for buses and subways should the agency be forced to give pay raises to the 62 unions now working on expired contracts.
It’s that time of year again: the annual slicing of the state-issued parking placard by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
A major proponent of cracking down on the use of phony state-issued parking placards, Avella sliced a copy of his valid one on Friday at his office in Bayside to inspire action by the state and city governments.
The lawyer for state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) will ask a federal judge to postpone the senator’s federal corruption trial until after this year’s Democratic primary.
In a hearing in federal court in White Plans on Friday morning, Attorney Gerald Shargel told federal Judge Kenneth Karas that he will submit his request to the court in writing on Feb. 7.