Category Archives: Politics

New Bill Curbs Clothing Collection Containers

The City Council has passed a bill that takes aim at particular eyesores that proliferate during the holiday season. Last Thursday, the council approved legislation that would regulate clothing collection bins that are illegally placed on public property. The law allows the city Department of Sanitation to immediately remove any illegally placed collection bin located on public property. Currently, the DSNY is authorized to remove bins 30 days after posting a notice on them; however, bin owners are able to … Continue reading

Queens College Marks “Kristallnacht” with Personal Stories

Hundreds gathered at Queens College on Sunday to commemorate “Kristallnacht,” or Night of Broken Glass, which was a series of coordinated attacks against Jews, Jewish-owned businesses, and synagogues in Germany and Austria in November 1938. The attacks, carried out by Nazi paramilitary officers as well as civilians, resulted in hundreds of deaths; 1,000 synagogues burned, 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged, and at least 30,000 people arrested and sent to concentration camps, where later many would be killed as the … Continue reading

Ideas Emerge from Initial WRBA Budgeting Session

Members of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association last weekend churned out dozens of ideas during the first participatory budgeting brainstorming session. This is the fourth consecutive year that City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has let constituents decide how to spend $2 million of taxpayer money on district capital needs. Ulrich was one of the initial four council members to implement PB in 2011. “Participatory budgeting encourages a greater partnership between communities and elected representatives to find creative solutions for … Continue reading

Borough President Names New Communications Director

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz last week announced the appointment of Sharon Lee as communications director. Immediately prior to joining Borough President Katz’s office, Lee, a borough resident, served as campaign manager for Assemblyman Ron Kim’s (D-Flushing) successful re-election bid. Previously, Lee served as senior advisor and press secretary to former Comptroller and City Councilman John Liu. “I’m honored to join Team Katz at Borough Hall,” Lee said. “It’s an absolute privilege to work with a dynamic leader of such … Continue reading

Borough Community Parks Initiative On Schedule: Parks Dept.

Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the ambitious Community Parks Initiative, a multi-faceted program to invest $130 million in under-resourced public parks located in the city’s densely populated and growing neighborhoods with higher-than-average concentrations of poverty. And this week, the city Parks Department reiterated the project’s objective and indicated that it is running on schedule. In a presentation Monday evening to the Queens Borough Board at Borough Hall, Queens Parks Commissioner Dottie Lewandowski and Jennifer Gardner, senior project planner … Continue reading

Goldfeder Calls on Cuomo to Use Part of Surplus on Rail Line

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) this week ramped up efforts to help fund the revitalization of the defunct Rockaway Beach Rail Line by penning a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, urging him to direct a portion of the $5 billion in state dollars from the budget surplus, created by settlements and fines from major financial firms, to restore the line. Last week, Goldfeder helped detail the findings of a Queens College study that surveyed thousands of residents and researched available … Continue reading

Ulrich Honored by Helmets to Hardhats Group

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) received the Freedom Award from New York City Helmets to Hardhats this week at their second annual luncheon. The Freedom Award is the highest honor given by the organization and is awarded specifically to individuals who show exemplary service to city veterans. Helmets to Hardhats assists transitioning service members with job placement in the city’s construction industry. The organization works with 15 trade organizations citywide, representing approximately 100,000 working people. Since his appointment as Chair … Continue reading

DOC Outlines Plan to Reduce Rikers Island Violence

With Rikers Island wracked by a slew of headline-grabbing scandals over the past year, the commissioner of the Department of Correction this week outlined a package of reforms aimed at reducing jail violence, and enhancing the safety of staff and inmates. Commissioner Joseph Ponte, speaking in front of the city Board of Correction on Tuesday, announced that the department’s reforms call for installing security cameras in every DOC facility on Rikers Island within the next 18 months. Cameras, Ponte noted, … Continue reading

De Blasio Boots ICE From Rikers

Mayor Bill de Blasio travelled to Astoria on Friday and before a large crowd, signed Introductions 486A and 487A, bills that will dramatically reduce the measures of cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement practices. Introduction 486A mandates that the NYC Department of Correction will no longer honor requests by ICE to detain an individual for up to 48 hours beyond a scheduled release unless 1) ICE provides a judicial warrant as to probable cause and 2) the … Continue reading

Katz Honors Borough Veterans for Continued Service

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz last Thursday honored three borough veterans for their continued advocacy on behalf of the nation’s military service members. Katz presented official citations to John Rowan, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and Dr-Fritz Fils-Aime, founder and president of the Haitian American Veterans Foundation during Borough Hall’s inaugural Veterans Day Observance Ceremony. World War II hero and veterans advocate Rocco Moretto was also honored on Thursday, but could not attend due to health issues. “It’s … Continue reading

De Blasio, Bratton Detail New Lenient Marijuana Policy

After consulting with all five city district attorneys, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, and the courts, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton this week rolled out a change in the NYPD’s marijuana policy. According to Bratton, beginning next week, the new protocol allows police officers to issue criminal-court summonses, in lieu of arrest, to people found in possession of a small amount of marijuana, 25 grams or less, in a public place open to public view—that is not … Continue reading

Bratton Taps New NYPD Deputy After Banks Abruptly Resigns

City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton this week picked a former President Obama appointee as his first deputy commissioner—the NYPD’s second in command—after Bratton’s first choice abruptly resigned three days before he was scheduled to be promoted. According to a published report, Benjamin Tucker, 63, the department’s deputy commissioner of training, will succeed Rafael Pineiro, who retired last month after 44 years on the force. Tucker, who in 2009 was appointed by Obama to run the U.S. Office of National Drug … Continue reading

Mayor’s School Space Task Force Weighs-in on Overcrowding

Space issues such as chronic overcrowding, the use of mobile classrooms and problems with co-located schools, whereby charter and public schools occupy the same building, have long plagued schools across the city. So, in an effort to tackle these problems, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s School Space Working Group, formed earlier this year to address space issues, recently released a set of guidelines and recommendations to help make space decisions both more equitable and transparent. The group, co-chaired by Schools Chancellor … Continue reading

City Investing $150 Million in Struggling Schools

In a move that seems to further establish an educational policy philosophy that is in sharp contrast to that of the 108th mayor of the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday unveiled the School Renewal Program, a new strategy aimed at turning around the Big Apple’s most challenged public schools. Unlike his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, who sought to cut the city’s losses by phasing out or shuttering failing institutions, de Blasio said the SRP will invest $150 million into changing … Continue reading

Addabbo Earns Another Term but GOP Takes State Senate

Cuomo cruised, but the state Senate Democrats were bruised on Tuesday night as control of the Legislature’s upper body shifted to the GOP. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo earned his second four-year term by beating Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino by nearly 500,000 votes. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, both Democrats, also won reelection. And in what came down to the only area race for state office, Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) survived a national … Continue reading