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The race for the 19th Council District has a set candidate for the Republican Party. Well, it had one up until Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) was arrested on corruption charges in April.
The incumbent has since announced he will not seek re-election, leaving the door open for a fresh-faced Republican to enter a field that is seemingly growing in number by the week.
A group that began seven months ago with a few people venting their complaints while eating at the Terrace Diner has evolved into a neighborhood movement, a force dedicated to making the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority work for the residents of Northeast Queens to alleviate the noise and pollution from planes flying out of LaGuardia airport.
Approximately 200 people with similar frustrations attended the first Queens Quiet Skies community education meting on May 2 in the Bayside High School auditorium. While planes rumbled overhead, leaders and experts presented residents with legal and technical information and encouraged them to get more involved.
The remnants of Queens history are strewn across the borough, in the expected forms of historic houses and landmarked sites.
But a bucolic stretch of the borough next to the Flushing cemetery is home to a living anachronism: a rural and thriving horse stable in an urban setting.
The responsibilities of a borough president have recently become the subject of debate. While some have said these borough-heads who cannot make any decisions on legislation are irrelevant, Queens borough president candidate Barry Grodenchik says the position is about more than rules and regulations.
“The job is about bringing people together,” Grodenchik said in a sit-down with the Queens Chronicle editors last Thursday. “We live in the most diverse place in the country and probably the world, and while it’s easy to scream and rant, the tougher job is to work with the people.”
Residents and elected officials from Southeast Queens on Friday took what they hope is not a last look at about 700 trees in the Idlewild Park Preserve.
Nearly 400 of the trees have been marked by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as being potential hazards to planes landing at or taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), who was arrested last month on accusations that he took part in a scheme to bribe Republican officials in order to get state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) onto the mayoral ballot as a Republican, announced Wednesday that he will not run for a second term.
Halloran, who was first elected in 2009, was arrested April 2, along with Smith and Vince Tabone, former vice chairman of the Queens Republican Party, for an alleged plot to solicit bribes to acquire a Wilson Pakula for Smith, a Democrat, in order for him to get a place on the GOP primary ballot for mayor. He was indicted late last month.
The chattering classes like to characterize state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) as the outspoken, fuming-red lawmaker from Northeast Queens who puts good government ahead of political gamesmanship; a sort of Stunt Pol who tackles Hurricane Sandy damage with a chainsaw and considers dicing his state-issued parking placard as an act of valor.
Well, to Tony Avella ... That sounds like just the guy to be the next borough president.
Sometimes planes fly over Janet McEneaney’s house in Bayside every 20 to 40 seconds. “The planes are so loud that we can’t even talk to people in the same room,” she said.
McEneaney is a member of Queens Quiet Skies, an organization formed to combat the flight path changes at LaGuardia Airport, which have increased and concentrated noise pollution in Northeast Queens since last year. The group’s immediate goal is to form a community roundtable with the FAA, the Port Authority, residents and civic leaders to solve the problem, as the Federal Aviation Administration has done in other parts of the country.
State Sen. Tony Avella promises the same free-wheeling political reputation that precedes him will continue, should he become borough president.
Civic leaders and park activists joined state Sen. Tony Avella in protesting the United States Tennis Assocation’s planned expansion within Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Even though a revision to the City Charter in 1990 reduced the borough president position to a largely ceremonial one with a limited advisory role, there are no lack of candidates for the job in Queens.
Four of the six hopefuls came to the Old Mill Yacht Club in Howard Beach last Thursday during a forum hosted by the South Queens Democratic Club, to outline their visions for Queens in the first public forum for beep candidates in South Queens so far.
Residents, civic leaders and activists on Sunday rallied against the proposed expansion of the United States Tennis Association’s presence in Flushing Meadows Corona Park ahead of the City Planning Commission’s scheduled hearing on the plan this Wednesday.
State Senator Tony Avella was joined by Transportation Alternatives’ general counsel Juan Martinez, right, in dicing his parking placard and calling upon the state legislature to issue boards with barcodes.
Avella has introduced in the state Senate a bill that would require all parking placards issued by the state of New York have a barcode to allow traffic enforcement agents to confirm their validity.
State Sen. Tony Avella, left, Community Board 11 member Steve Behar and City Council candidate Austin Shafran taking jump shots on a recent tour of the MS 158 Beacon program.
Elected officials and area education activists toured MS 158’s Beacon program to raise awareness of the after-school program’s proposed demise at the hands of a budgetary ax.
It is the second consecutive year the school’s Beacon program has been slated to be shut down at the end of the school year by the mayor’s budget. Seven in total around the city are facing cuts.
The dispute over the proposed installation of cameras at corners to photograph speeding drivers intensified after state Senate co-Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) announced on Monday that he would support the passage of legislation that would finance the plan.
The proposed bill, which is slated to be introduced and voted on by the Senate before June, is backed by the Assembly. A nonbinding resolution advocating for the state to allow the cameras was approved by the City Council on March 20.
State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) were both arrested in an alleged plot to bribe GOP officials in an attempt to gain support for a potential Republican primary candidacy by Smith for mayor this year.
“The more you’re in politics, the more corrupt you are,” then-Congressional candidate and Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) said during a meeting with the Queens Chronicle’s editorial board last fall. “I don’t care if you’re the best person on the planet. You make deals, the line becomes blurry.”
That was Oct. 19. One day earlier, he allegedly left an unnamed Queens eatery $800 richer in exchange for promising someone a no-show job and other favors, according to a criminal complaint leading to Halloran’s April 2 arrest at his Auburndale home.
Candidates for the Democratic primary for borough president: state Sen. Tony Avella, left, former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, state Sen. Jose Peralta and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.
At a forum held in Astoria on March 14, as the Queens Chronicle reported in its March 21 edition (“Schools, jobs top boro pres forum”), the six Democratic candidates for the office of Queens borough president said small businesses must be nurtured if they are to provide the jobs needed for the borough and the city. On the small business issue alone. the only credible candidate is state Sen. Tony Avella. The others, Councilman Leroy Comrie, former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, state Sen. Jose Peralta and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., not only lack credibility but exhibit hypocrisy that negates qualification for the office they seek. Only Avella has come out against Mayor Bloomberg’s ill-advised Willets Point proposal, the others all support the proposal, and therein lies the hypocrisy.
For decades the city collected sewer rent and real estate and other taxes from Willets Point owners notwithstanding there were no sewers and a failure to address the area’s infrastructure needs. Ignoring its own culpability, the city declared the area a blight that must go. The development wil
l require millions of dollars in cleanup and infrastructure costs, most of which will be borne by taxpayers and not the developer chosen by the city. The city could of course do the cleanup for the benefit of the current businesses in the area, but that would not fit with Bloomberg’s romance with fat-cat real estate developers.
Implicit in the Willets Point proposal is the destruction of 225 small businesses — that is correct, 225 small businesses — the loss of jobs for 1,000 employees and the fallout on their thousands of dependents. The development will not include a mom-and-pop grocery store or small manufacturing business. It may well include a Gucci store and all kinds of upscale establishments. It will also destroy the small businesses on Northern Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue, 108th Street and the 20th Avenue and Rego Park malls.
To support redeveloping Willets Point does not make one interested in small businesses, but on the contrary a supporter of big business and an enemy of the small business owner. For most of the above candidates, claims to care about the importance of small business are empty words. There is a real choice, and if one cares about small businesses, the choice should be Avella.
This is a tale of two agencies, both of them suffering constant criticism from those they serve, both of them suffering constant meddling by those who think they know how they should be run. Both of their most recognizable employees wear blue, both do their work in all kinds of conditions, both have a well-known motto, both are absolutely crucial to civilization, both are being forced to make do with less.
Early signs in the Democratic primary for borough president point to a love-fest. Not necessarily among the candidates, but between the six Democrats and Queens itself.
Five of the six candidates vying for the seat attended last Thursday a candidates’ forum at the Hollis Hills Jewish Center, co-hosted by the Saul Weprin and Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic clubs. Each touted experience in at least one niche where government intersects with life, pointing to personal experience and past work as part of his or her bona fides.
The city’s Parks Department broke ground this week on the much sought-after Little Bay Park restroom, setting a course to finally replace the port-a-potties that became the heart of contention among many park-goers.
“Next week’s groundbreaking will mark the much-anticipated start of construction at Little Bay Park, as well as the end of our planning process for this complex coastal project” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.
A bill to allow mixed martial arts events to be held in New York may finally be headed for approval after years in limbo.
The full contact sport that includes elements of boxing, judo, jiu-jitsu and other martial arts is banned in New York, but is legal in nearly every other state in the country and has a growing fan base. The sport’s top promotion company, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, regularly holds sold-out events in arenas across the country and the world, including in Britain, Canada and Brazil.
The suggested landmarking of the remainder of Douglaston, five years after it was originally put on the city’s agenda, has re-emerged as a house on the border of the proposed historic district has been slated for alterations.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) was joined in a press conference on Friday by members of various civic associations demanding the Department of Buildings and Landmarks Preservation Commission prevent the home at 38-60 Douglaston Parkway from being transformed into something completely anathema with the calendared historic district that covers the area. Avella fought for the designation of the Douglaston Historic District Extension during his councilmanic tenure.