• November 13, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

Columns

I’ll use Red Flag gun law to help keep Queens safe

Warning signs often blink bright red just before a mass shooting.Ominous threats made against co-workers. A history of domestic violence. Eerie social media posts with individuals showing off their guns and ammunition. Nasty tirades against c…

PS 221’s new playground should open on weekends
Updated: November 07, 2019 - 2:19 pm

The City Council just voted to spend $8 billion on four new jails; yet, our elected officials can’t find the funds to keep brand-new playgrounds open to the community. What gives?

A new $1.5 million, state-of-the-art playground at PS 221 in Little Neck officially opened on Oct. 21. It is the product of many partnerships including The Trust for Public Land, the Department of Education, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the School Construction Authority, as well as public funding from Borough President Melinda Katz and City Councilman Barry Grodenchik. It features a three-lane running track, areas to play volleyball and basketball, a junior tennis court, benches, trees and other play equipment. Sounds like a homerun for the entire community doesn’t it? Not so fast.

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Ranked-choice voting vs. traditional runoffs
Updated: October 31, 2019 - 2:48 pm

On Nov. 5, voters will be asked to make a fundamental change to the City Charter and the way we vote. Ranked-choice voting or RCV will be Question 1 on the ballot, and as with every issue, there are two sides to the coin.

According to its supporters, RCV creates a fair process to elect a candidate in a single election without the need for a costly, low voter turnout runoff election. It works by allowing voters to rank their favorite candidates in numerical order of preference. If there are five candidates, you rank all five, favorite to least favorite. In the first round of numerical counting, if a candidate gets a majority of first-choice votes, that candidate becomes the winner and the election is over. If there is no majority in the first tabulation, then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. If the eliminated candidate was your first choice, then your second-choice candidate now becomes your first choice. This process of multiple rounds of counting and candidate eliminations repeats until the candidate with a majority of the remaining top preference votes that has not been previously eliminated emerges to become the winner. Many think this system is fair since every voter has been given an opportunity to rank the candidates in order of preference and a candidate wins only when he or she has risen to the top of the preference list.

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Mr. Mayor, give us a school for our scholars
Updated: October 31, 2019 - 1:36 pm

I am a kindergarten teacher, but this fall I have also become an advocate. I teach at a school in Rosedale that is committed to giving kids in the community a K-12 education that will prepare them to graduate from college. Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carranza inexplicably want to cut this education off at fourth grade. As someone who grew up in the neighborhood and attended schools here, I know how badly this area needs great schools and I am compelled to speak out on behalf of my kids.

My college success was largely thanks to one great teacher who cared about me, believed in me and helped me. Ms. Brown, my English teacher at the High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety in Jamaica, went out of her way to make sure we knew she was on our side. She opened up her classroom after school to help me and others with our college applications. Because of her, I know what a difference an educator can have on the lives of children. Her impact on my life inspired me to give back to my community. Because of her, I’m a teacher at Success Academy Rosedale.

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The power of ‘we’ must take on climate change
Updated: October 24, 2019 - 12:32 pm

Greta Thunberg learned about climate change when she was 8, and she felt isolated. Neither her relatives, her classmates nor her parents acted in ways that were commensurate with the situation. Climate change is too big for any individual to solve. It requires the collective power of “we.” Now Greta is the leader of a global movement, School Strike for Climate, that is mobilizing people on every continent, even Antarctica, to unite and take action to save our future.

Like many, I’ve known of climate change for a long time, but thought it was a distant problem. Bill McKibben’s article “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” worried me, and I sought a deeper understanding of climate change. Mitigating climate change became a fixation. The things that once gave me purpose became dependent on maintaining a livable future. Greta overcame her loss of purpose, and she’s inspiring me to do the same.

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Thursday 10/10/2019
Undocumented NYers can now apply for college aid
Updated: October 10, 2019 - 12:55 pm

College application season is in full swing this month, and after almost a decade into the fight for a more inclusive and equitable higher education system for DREAMers in our city, an estimated 47,000 undocumented New York City residents are eligible for state financial aid for the first time — with nearly 40 percent of these eligible NYC DREAMers residing in Queens.

Thanks to the incredible leadership shown by the late Sen. Jose Peralta, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymembers Marcos Crespo and Luis Sep˙lveda, The JosÈ Peralta New York State DREAM Act passed the state Senate in January 2019 – unlocking access to financial aid for undocumented immigrants statewide.

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Thursday 10/03/2019
A cost-effective and new train for our borough
Updated: October 10, 2019 - 12:15 pm

The next time you’re riding the subway, take a look at the MTA map that’s in every subway car. Look closely at Queens. Start at Hunters Point Avenue and roam your eyes eastward, past Greenpoint Avenue and through Maspeth, Ridgewood and Middle Village. Keep going until you’ve reached 121st Street in Jamaica.

Do you see the light gray cross-hatched line that winds through the borough? It’s faint, but once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it. And it is smack in the running between the 7 and L trains.

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