• December 11, 2019
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Queens Chronicle


NYS can’t afford a tax hike

New York has already lost its status as the third most populous state in the union to Florida. And we’re sure to lose at least one congressional seat after the next Census because although the population continues to grow, the rate of increas…

Racial hatred, soon erased
Posted: December 05, 2019

Our thanks and respect go out to the good people of Lindenwood, who, when faced with a vile act of hate-filled graffiti vandalism, immediately took action and cleaned it up.

They saw no need to wait for the city to come in and help, though among those who did was an auxiliary police officer with the 106th Precinct. The quick cleanup was an act of neighbor helping neighbor. People coordinated on Facebook pages and made runs to Home Depot for solvent until the cleanup job was done.

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Thankful and not so thankful
Updated: December 05, 2019 - 12:39 pm

There’s plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and in keeping with longstanding reverent tradition, that’s what the uniquely American holiday is all about.

Here in Queens, we’re thankful that life is generally good for most people who play by the rules and don’t engage in self-destructive behaviors. Of course bad things happen to good people all the time, but looking at the big picture here, jobs are plentiful, unemployment is low and the streets are safer than they used to be. But not all is rosy. Here’s just some of what’s on our mind.

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Yes to flavored vape ban
Posted: November 27, 2019

The addiction of smoking is such a horror to those in its thrall that people have long recognized that tobacco warrants far more regulation than other commodities. The industry is, after all, just about the only one whose products, when used correctly, bring a miserable death.

Along comes the vaping industry, with its promises of a somewhat less-destructive alternative. That’s great, if it can genuinely help people get off cigarettes.

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The overuse of stop-and-frisk
Updated: November 27, 2019 - 12:33 pm

Mike Bloomberg was wrong about stop-and-frisk, and so were we. The practice of police accosting people on the street, questioning them and patting them down was used far too often, and while we don’t think the issue was as clear-cut as some critics said, its benefits were not worth the costs.

The worst of the costs were the damage the overuse of stop-and-frisk did to innocent people, mostly young black and Hispanic men, who were the main targets of the practice. The reason for that was the sad fact that young black and Hispanic men commit the vast majority of violent crime in the city, specifically more than 90 percent of all homicides. The main goal of stop-and-frisk was to get guns off the street, so it seemed only natural that proportionately more blacks and Hispanics would be subjected to it than whites or Asians. But the fact is that the vast majority of those patted down were not guilty of anything. And that understandably fueled resentment against the NYPD among many in the minority community, which already had good historical reasons to be distrustful of police. Don’t forget that lawmen elsewhere were committing violence against black people on a massive scale only a few decades ago. Black people certainly haven’t forgotten. Nor should they.

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Thursday 11/21/2019
A shelter and a sex assault
Posted: November 21, 2019

Credit Councilman Eric Ulrich, for one, with calling it right about the new homeless shelter for men in Ozone Park: “Housing single adult men near a school is a recipe for disaster and threatens the safety of our children.”

But it wasn’t even a child going to school who became the first victim of an alleged sex attack by a resident of the shelter on 101st Avenue. Instead it was a 3-year-old boy sitting in the Woodhaven laundromat where his mother works.

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Thursday 11/14/2019
De Blasio must stop thwarting students’ Success
Updated: November 21, 2019 - 12:30 pm

Among all the bad policies Mayor de Blasio has directed, encouraged or allowed during his mixed-bag tenure, one of the most egregious has to be his treatment of the children enrolled in the Success Academy charter school network.

In the past, de Blasio has tried to get Success Academy secondary schools shut down. Luckily for the mostly minority students who attend them, he failed.

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Thursday 11/07/2019
A new top cop in trying times
Updated: November 14, 2019 - 12:06 pm

New York City police commissioner has never been anything but a tremendously demanding job, involving incredible responsibility, fraught with dangers physical and political. Every move is met with criticism, every Twitter twit with a smartphone is a critic and every day could bring the next blackout, drug scourge or 9/11.

Into this cauldron of constant crisis and chaos now steps one Dermot Shea, until Dec. 1 the NYPD’s chief of detectives. Mayor de Blasio calls Shea “a proven change agent.” Wanting stability in our police force, we’ll take more comfort in Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s calling him “a cop’s cop” (though we also take comfort in Vance being district attorney somewhere other than Queens). We’re happier to know that Shea is a 28-year veteran of a department that has driven crime down at a barely imaginable rate over his time on the job, and in the fact that he’s a son of Queens — raised in Sunnyside by a pair of Irish immigrants who built a solid middle-class life for their family at a time of rapid change, not always for the good, in the Big Apple. Now their son has reached the apex of his noble profession.

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Limit the vendors
Posted: November 07, 2019

Could we use more street vendors selling everything from falafel and hot dogs to umbrellas and clothing? Maybe. Maybe not. There are about 4,000 operating legally, but activists who want to ease up on licensing rules say there are at least 10,000.

Periodic calls to increase the number of permits and to legalize many of the illegal carts have failed to gain widespread support. Manhattan Councilwoman Margaret Chin’s bill that would do so has been stuck in committee since April 11. But now we have Queens state Sen. Jessica Ramos proposing that there be no limit at all. So while the city won’t raise the cap on permits, the state might just eliminate it? We say no.

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Thursday 10/31/2019
Students in homelessness crisis
Updated: November 07, 2019 - 1:00 pm

Common sense and studies agree: If there’s one thing students need in order to succeed, it’s a stable home life. But for 114,085 New York City public schoolchildren — about 10 percent of the total — such an environment is impossible to achieve. That’s because they’re homeless.

Until this year, the number of homeless students in the public school system had been steadily increasing since the 2014-15 academic year, according to Advocates for Children, the group reporting the numbers based on state data. Last year it peaked at 114,659. We can only hope this year’s minimal decrease turns out to be more than the blip it appears to be and starts a trend.

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Can’t we build right?
Posted: October 31, 2019

Not only does it take forever to get most major public projects built these days, it seems like once they’re done, too many of them have serious structural problems — especially those hailed as innovative architectural marvels.

First it was the $3.9 billion Oculus, the bizarro-world structure atop the new World Trade Center transit hub, which looks like a cross between a dinosaur skeleton and a first draft of the truly groundbreaking (and well-built) TWA Flight Center at Kennedy Airport. The Oculus still leaks, while the 1962 terminal has been reborn as the heart of a chic hotel.

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Thursday 10/24/2019
Don’t wait — vote early
Updated: October 31, 2019 - 1:31 pm

Election Day is less than two weeks away — but you don’t have to wait. Election Day for you can be just two days away, and you don’t even need a promo code or to call right now!

All you need is to be a registered voter, and you too can enjoy our newly won right to early voting. Work on weekdays and find it hard to get away? Vote on Saturday. Observe the Jewish sabbath and can’t vote then either? Vote on Sunday. Face a changing schedule and aren’t sure when you’ll be off? Play it by ear and go when you can.

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No story too large or too small
Posted: October 24, 2019

We’re glad to say it’s been one of those weeks at the Queens Chronicle when we’re reminded of the value of hyperlocal, pothole-style reporting and the difference it can make in people’s lives.

First it was the abandoned SUV that was parked on Woodhaven Boulevard at 64th Road, at the edge of Rego Park and Middle Village, since July. Markings showed it was supposed to be towed away, but apparently it slipped through the cracks. Its presence inconvenienced the patrons and employees of businesses in the area, and cost the city as much as $1,000 in parking revenue. After a few days of calls and emails from the Queens Chronicle, it finally was towed. Area Councilman Bob Holden is now thinking about legislation that would ensure a faster resolution of such cases.

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Thursday 10/17/2019
That risky Rikers closure
Updated: October 24, 2019 - 12:25 pm

As you read this, the city is about to embark upon its next great experiment in criminal justice, jail decentralization, a key part of its mission to reverse many of the policies that have driven down crime for the last three decades.

When crime was at its peak, the focus was mostly on getting bad guys off the street for as long as possible. That worked, so with crime now at historic lows, many officials have adopted new beliefs: that the system is too hard on the accused and radical changes are needed to make it fair.

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A new idea for LIC’s waterfront
Posted: October 17, 2019

With the collapse of the Amazon deal for Long Island City well behind us, a group of area developers is looking to come up with a new, commercially focused plan for the 28 acres of land on the East River at Anable Basin where the online giant planned to build one of its new headquarters.

And the best thing about their nascent consortium is that it was put together at the behest of city officials, including Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, one of Amazon’s biggest opponents. A public-private partnership is clearly needed from the start — one that embraces all stakeholders, which is what the developers appear to be seeking.

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