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.
In the span of just two days last week, the Queens Library Board of Trustees has taken further shape.
One day after Mayor de Blasio’s naming of Forest Hills resident and litigation attorney James Haddad to the board of trustees — the mayor’s third appointee since he and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz expunged eight board members in July — Katz selected Lenore Gall, who most recently served as dean of students and academic services at CUNY’s New York City College of Technology.
Thanks to a funding increase of $2.8 million for the 2015 fiscal year from Mayor de Blasio and the City Council, the Queens Library will be adding 50 full-time unionized workers to its staff by next year.
The nonprofit corporation announced last Thursday the financial boost enables the library to lift a hiring freeze and employ new custodians, librarians and clerks.
They were several months in the making, but City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) says the six reform bills he just laid on the table are worth the wait and crucial to the Queens Library’s future as it recovers from the controversy over its governance and finances.
The scandal already had led Van Bramer, who is the majority leader and chairman of the main library oversight committee, to hold hearings on the issues, even as it also prompted an audit, state legislation tightening oversight of the system, a purge of the Board of Trustees, removal of the institution’s leader and a joint city-federal probe into any possible criminality.
Preparations are in full swing for the annual family-oriented College Point Street Fair on Sunday, Oct. 26.
And Tom Palma of the College Point Board of Trade said their aim and the appeal of the fair is no secret — to bring families and friends together and to showcase what the community has to offer.
Responding to the controversy that has enveloped the Queens Library since the end of January, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) on Wednesday introduced a package of six bills meant to strengthen the oversight of and increase the transparency of all three library systems in the city.
The legislation would require:
Mayor de Blasio has selected another trustee for the Queens Library Board, this time appointing James Haddad, a litigation attorney, Forest Hills resident and father of four.
Responding to the controversy that has enveloped the Queens Library since the end of January, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) will on Wednesday introduce a package of six bills meant to strengthen the oversight of and increase the transparency of all three library systems in the city.
The Queens version of the High Line may actually happen after all.
The plan to turn the abandoned Rockaway Beach rail line into a linear park has a detailed proposal. A piece of it, in the northern end of the former Long Island Rail Road route, could even be built within the next year.
Peter C. Mastrosimone’s article “Queens Library spent money on luxuries, NYC comptroller says” (Oct. 3, qchron.com) highlights a massive problem within the Queens Library. Instead of funding literacy programs and hiring qualified teachers such as myself, staffers such as suspended President and CEO Tom Galante are allowed to spend money on $1,000 dinners and baseball memorabilia.
This is so upsetting to me. One reason is that even as a volunteer tutor at the Queens Library’s Long Island City center branch, I wasn’t even given reimbursement for the $10 per week I spent on subway fare.
Our libraries these days are little more than havens for homeless people, with obnoxious staff, dark lighting, and not enough space for children to sit and read. It is so disheartening when I compare Queens libraries to those in Manhattan, such as the one located at 328 East 67 St. That branch includes the latest books, a huge children’s library, and educated, polite staff who are more than happy to help the library’s visitors.
As a lifelong Queens resident, I help fund the Queens Library with my tax dollars. I would appreciate the opportunity to work to help make it better and a source of pride for those that use it. However, becoming a member of the staff has been very frustrating, with most applications seemingly going into a black hole. Those running the library are too distracted allocating funds for personal use. Perhaps Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and whoever takes over now should become more involved in picking those running the daily operations.
Chairman of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance Arthur “Jerry” Kremer was the keynote speaker on Sept. 24 at the first meeting of the Queens Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Committee in East Elmhurst.
“New York has become No! York on energy matters,” warned Kremer, a former state assemblyman. Queens is home to more than 50 percent of the energy manufacturing in New York City, but increasing numbers of electronic devices, smartphones and tablets have created a critical energy issue.
“I think this is what, quite honestly, I was always afraid of,” Borough President Melinda Katz told the Queens Chronicle last Friday. “There was no transparency, nobody had any idea what was going on — and that’s completely unacceptable for an institution that’s so much funded by the taxpayers.”
Katz was referring to documents newly provided to city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office, which show that the Queens Library under now-suspended President and CEO Tom Galante made what Stringer calls “a substantial number of questionable expenditures that may not be sufficiently related to the mission of the library.”
The new executive director and president of the Queens Museum says the institution is at a key point in its development “and we’re going to do great things. It’s a gem.”
Laura Raicovich, 41, was named last week to head the art museum located in Flushing Meadows Park. A native of Roslyn, LI, Raicovich now lives in Manhattan with her husband and 5-year-old son.
What the critics suspected turns out to be true: Documents newly provided to city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office show that the Queens Library under now-suspended President and CEO Tom Galante made what Stringer calls “a substantial number of questionable expenditures that may not be sufficiently related to the mission of the library.”
“Japan — An Island Nation: 1870-1890,” Resobox Gallery, 41-26 27 St., Long Island City. Exhibition thru Oct. 10. Info: (718) 784-3680, resobox.com.
State Assemblyman Bill Scarborough (D-Jamaica) was arrested Wednesday morning and will be transported to Albany for a court appearance, the New York Post reports.
When word leaked out that the Mets had fired Leigh Castergine, their senior vice president in charge of ticket sales, the joke going around was that the team had finally pinpointed the cause of why they haven’t had a winning season since President Obama took office.
Any jokes about Castergine’s dismissal, which most assumed was a case of common corporate politics, quickly ended when she filed suit against the Mets in Brooklyn federal court charging that Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon had humiliated her at an executive meeting. According to Castergine, Wilpon had stated at a Mets executives meeting that he was as morally opposed to her having a baby out of wedlock as he would be accepting advertisements from electronic cigarette companies for Citi Field.
The Board of Trustees for the Queens Library placed CEO Tom Galante on administrative leave effective immediately on Sept. 11.
Chief Operating Officer Bridget Quinn-Carey was named interim CEO.
The eyes have it!
In keeping with the ethnic diversity of the neighborhood, GVS/Lens Lab Express, located at 163-34 Jamaica Ave., offers, among other amenities, a staff that speaks multiple languages, including an on-site doctor who alone speaks English, Spanish and Creole.
CBS has been broadcasting the US Open ever since its inception in 1968 at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills. The men’s final, which will take place Monday at 5 p.m. at Arthur Ashe Stadium, will mark the end of CBS’s broadcast rights for the Open. The Tiffany Network, which usually goes all out to retain its heritage sports properties, decided that it did not want to match ESPN’s very high bid for exclusive rights.
Aside from cost, CBS executives were concerned about the lack of success for Americans at the Open who are not named Serena Williams. The failure of American men and women to even make it to Labor Day at the Open (Serena aside), as was the case again this year, has hurt ratings.
There are a lot of misconceptions about El Paso, Texas. This summer there were plenty of news reports about refugees from Central America overwhelming Texas border towns. President Obama even met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry about it in June. What wasn’t said was that the problems were contained to basically Brownsville and McAllen, Texas, which are nearly 800 miles from El Paso.
There is also the mistaken notion that El Paso, being a border town, is seedy and dangerous. The 2008 Academy Award-nominated film “No Country For old Men” certainly played up that myth even though it wasn’t filmed there. The reality is that El Paso is quite modern and is considered to be one of the safest cities in the United States.
Another of the many empty seats around the Queens Library boardroom table was filled Tuesday, when Mayor de Blasio named Martha Baker of Fresh Meadows as the system’s newest trustee.
Baker is a longtime advocate for women and served as a city official in the Dinkins administration.