Category Archives: Politics

City pols threaten to pull plug on UPS contracts

City and state officials fired back against the United Parcel Service’s firing of 20 Queens drivers this week by threatening to cut contracts that save the company tons of cash. The delivery service notified 250 of its workers of their pending termination last month and passed out its first 20 pink slips on Monday, with potentially more to follow. City Public Advocate Letitia James helped lead a booming rally on the steps of City Hall Thursday morning in protest of … Continue reading

UPS fires 20 Maspeth workers for February walkout

  The United Parcel Service provided 20 Maspeth employees with pink slips this week with potentially more to come, the company said. Workers staged several protests, including a walkout Feb. 26, in response to what they say was an unjustified firing of 24-year driver Jairo Reyes that same month. UPS fired back with threats of termination to nearly 250 employees and followed through this week after firing 20 employees and not ruling out more in the near future. “We have … Continue reading

Katz Appoints Koerner to Queens Library Board of Trustees

The Queens Library’s 19-member Board of Trustees just received its first appointee under Borough President Melinda Katz. Katz tapped Carl Seldin Koerner to help oversee the library system’s strategy and operations. He will replace Lillian Gavin, who stepped down from the board last month for personal reasons. Koerner’s appointment came at a turbulent time for library, after several weeks of media reports scrutinizing library CEO Thomas Galante for earning a nearly $400,000 salary while overseeing the widespread outsourcing of union … Continue reading

Queens Reps Botch Human Rights: Report

Only one borough recorded a lower human rights record than Queens, according to the Urban Justice Center’s annual report card surveying the city. The Human Rights Project, which serves as one of 10 initiatives to come out of the Urban Justice Center, released its sixth annual human rights report card grading the entire City Council, basing its findings on legislative trends, votes and sponsorship and legislation.  Only one member of the Queens delegation made the top-13 citywide to receive an … Continue reading

State Fails to Make DREAM Act Come True

State legislators fell two votes shy of passing the comprehensive Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, but not all lawmakers saw it as a loss. While the state Senate last week was ultimately unable to pass the legislation, which would have granted thousands of students whose parents are undocumented immigrants access to college tuition assistance, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said it was not a total loss. Peralta said the close 30-29 vote could also be … Continue reading

Maspeth workers rally to save hundreds of jobs at UPS site

The United Parcel Service’s self-proclaimed “appropriate and justifiable action” of firing nearly 250 employees sparked protests outside its Maspeth facility Friday with elected officials and union leaders who thought otherwise. Disputes arose after UPS fired Jairo Reyes, a company driver for 24 years, last month. Workers with Teamsters Local 804 argued that Reyes was not given a proper termination hearing, as stated in his contract, and 248 of them walked out on the job for about 90 minutes in protest … Continue reading

Ridgewood Residents Divided Over Residential Development Proposal

Plans to create an upscale apartment building in the heart of Ridgewood put some residents at odds with one another at a rowdy rezoning public hearing. There was a clear divide among those who spoke at last week’s Community Board 5 meeting. While some Ridgewood residents said the 176 Woodward Ave. apartment proposal would help uplift a community eyesore, others sounded off against a complex they felt would only cater to the more financially comfortable. Aufgang Architects designed the proposal … Continue reading

Queens residents don’t give big thumbs-up for mayor, poll reports

Three months after taking office, Mayor Bill de Blasio has not received a stellar report card from his Queens constituents, the majority of whom are not overwhelmingly pleased with the job he has been doing, according to a poll released last week. The Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll, released March 7, reported that just 36 percent of voters in Queens say the mayor has so far done an excellent or good job – and only 39 percent say … Continue reading

City Must Expedite Street Project Preventing Broad Channel Sandy Recovery, Pol Says

The city Department of Design and Construction’s slow movement on a repaving and sidewalk repair project is keeping the Parks Department from being able to replant trees damaged by Superstorm Sandy 17 months ago, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) said in a recent letter urging the DDC’s commissioner to turn things around. “With warmer weather quickly approaching, residents will be spending more time outside, and they deserve to have the appearance of their neighborhood in top shape,” Goldfeder said. “It … Continue reading

Queens Civic Leaders Praise Meng’s Outreach in First Congressional Term

Civic leaders in the borough said freshman U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) has been both receptive and engaged since taking office last year – welcome news for the lawmaker who just launched her re-election bid. The former state assemblywoman replaced retired U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman in 2013 and was elected into the freshly drawn sixth district encapsulating new parts of the borough, including neighborhoods like Forest Hills and Rego Park. Her district also covers Bayside, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew … Continue reading

Small Businesses Need Lending Hand, Leaders Say at Congressional Hearing in Queens

When it comes to bridging the gap between federal assistance and Queens’ small business owners, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) said there was no better way than bringing the debate to her home borough. The freshman member of Congress, who also serves as a ranking member of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, sat in on a field hearing at Queens College looking into why borough business owners were not taking advantage of their accessible federal benefits. … Continue reading

Astorino’s Campaign for Governor Sparks Interest Among Queens Republicans

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Republican challenger has caught the eyes of the Queens GOP. The twice-elected Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino rolled out his run for governor last week with a plan that runs parallel to his party’s core goals: lowering taxes, strengthening businesses and creating more jobs. His intentions to run in such a Democratically leaning state sparked some interest amongst borough Republicans who said he had the potential to be a big political player in years to come. “We … Continue reading

Katz calls on mayor to seize Queens Library’s contracting control

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz called on the mayor to seize control over the Queens Library’s construction contracting power until an investigation of the system is completed. Library CEO Thomas Galante has been under the microscope for weeks since reports exposed his annual salary of roughly $390,000, which was earned at a time when the system was expanding its Jamaica headquarters and outsourcing union custodian jobs. Katz was just one of the many borough leaders in support of a system … Continue reading

City to host homeless shelter sit-down with Queens leaders

The city’s Department of Homeless Services has reached out to various Queens officials with hopes of setting up a face-to-face meeting before making any final decisions on a controversial homeless shelter proposed in Glendale. The city has been mulling over a bid to open a 125-family temporary housing spot at 78-16 Cooper Ave. in the footprint of a former sewing mill and airplane part manufacturing warehouse for months. But a spokeswoman for the DHS said the agency would likely meet … Continue reading

Boro boards sound off at Katz’s first budget hearing

For Queens civic leaders, the annual budget dance brought more of the same at this year’s Borough Board budget hearing. For the first time since assuming office, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz welcomed the borough to recommend various discretionary spending items to be considered in the city’s annual budget that is expected to top $70 billion. Representatives from more than 180 community groups along with district managers from the borough’s 14 community boards delivered their testimony in an 11-hour marathon. … Continue reading