Category Archives: Politics

Graffiti Removal Initiative Declared Success

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and the Queens Economic Development Corporation this week touted the success of their joint graffiti removal initiative implemented this past October. For FY2015, Ulrich allotted $25,000 in discretionary funds to QEDC to eliminate graffiti at six major corridors:  Woodhaven Boulevard, Jamaica Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, 101st Avenue, Liberty Avenue, and Rockaway Boulevard. According the NYPD, graffiti complaints are on the rise in New York City.  There have already been over 4,000 complaints this year, up about … Continue reading

City Implements Ban of E-Waste Disposal

Beginning in January 2015, it will be unlawful to use curbside trash collection as a means to dispose of certain electronic equipment by any individual or household.  This is the third and final phase of the NY State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act law, governing annual statewide recycling starting in 2011. The law covers electronic items including but not limited to: computers, e-readers, televisions, printers, VCRs, DVRs, DVD players, video game consoles, and portable MP3 players.  Those who violate … Continue reading

De Blasio Appoints City’s First Female Chief Medical Examiner

She’s a pioneering forensic pathologist. Mayor Bill de Blasio last week appointed Dr. Barbara Sampson the city’s chief medical examiner, the first female head ME in the agency’s history. Sampson has been the acting chief medical examiner since Dr. Charles Hirsch, who was appointed by then-Mayor Ed Koch in 1989, stepped down early last year. Widely considered an expert in forensic pathology, Sampson has served the OCME in a variety of roles over the past 16 years, including first deputy … Continue reading

Expert: Juvenile Justice Report Will Spur Reform at Rikers Island

Perhaps Mark Soler has a future in soothsaying. The executive director with the Center for Children’s Law and Policy last week said that a bombshell summer report by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on juvenile justice on Rikers Island would spur real reform at the nation’s largest jail system. On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte announced the end of punitive segregation for adolescents in city jails. As of Dec. 4, the DOC had … Continue reading

Mayor Signs Bills into Law

Mayor Bill de Blasio last week signed into law Intro 361-A, in relation to shelter eligibility, Intros 493-A, in relation to voter registration, and Intro 216-B, in relation to accessible pedestrian signals. Intro 361-A requires the Department of Homeless Services to grant a presumption of eligibility for applicants to the shelter systems who are exiting Human Resources Administration domestic violence shelters.  The legislation allows, by granting a presumption of eligibility, a smoother and quicker transition to permanent housing for New … Continue reading

Ulrich, Catholic Charities Seniors Deliver Knits to Veterans

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Chair of the Veterans Committee, joined seniors from Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Ozone Park Senior Center this week for a visit to the Department of Veterans Affairs – St. Albans Community Living Center in Jamaica, Queens. Seniors from the Catholic Charities Knitting Club have been making hats and scarves for St. Albans Veterans every year for a number of years – but this time, they wanted to make the delivery in person.  Councilman Ulrich … Continue reading

City Publishes Municipal ID Rules to Ensure Privacy, Fraud Protection

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks, and Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal announced this week the publication of the municipal identification card program eligibility and privacy policies, establishing broad access for all New Yorkers to apply for the card. The policies also include strong measures to ensure applicant privacy and prevent against fraud and identity theft. The official name and logo of this initiative is IDNYC. “A great deal of analysis and care went into … Continue reading

City Touts ‘Significant’ Drop in NYPD Misconduct Complaints

Mayor Bill de Blasio, sharply criticized in some places for his comments following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to press charges against a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, last Friday praised the police department as he announced a “significant” drop in all categories of misconduct complaints filed against NYPD cops over the past five months. De Blasio and Richard Emery, chairman of the city Civilian Complaint Review Board, said that from July 1 through Nov.30, … Continue reading

Bill Calls for Planning Commission to Work With Communities on Shelter Locations

The 2015 state Legislative Session will feature a bill that proposes to dramatically change the process by which the locations of homeless shelters and facilities are chosen and implemented, according to state Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach). The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) and co-sponsored by Addabbo, calls for the City Planning Commission to work with the affected communities before plans for a new shelter location are finalized. Currently, city guidelines and the homeless crisis allow the … Continue reading

De Blasio Administration, Principals Union Reach Contract Agreement

A little more than seven months after striking a pact with the city’s largest teachers’ union, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina last Saturday announced a tentative contract agreement with the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the union that represents over 6,000 public school principals, assistant principals, supervisors and education administrators. The proposed nine-year, one-month, 15-day contract would begin, retroactively, on March 6, 2010 and expire on April 20, 2019, and include an average of 2 percent per … Continue reading

DOT Repairs Conduit Fences Near School

  The Department of Transportation has begun work to repair gaps in the fences along North and South Conduit Avenues near Middle School 202 in Ozone Park, after Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) wrote a letter calling on the agency to do something about the problem. Students were using the fence holes as shortcuts to cross dangerous highways, and in his letter, Goldfeder stressed that the situation was an accident waiting to happen. “No parent should have to send their … Continue reading

Sanitation Commissioner Says Ticketing Policy Won’t Change

Despite pressure from the city comptroller’s office and a powerful civic organization, enforcement practices, specifically overnight ticketing protocol, will not change, according to a letter sent late last month from Sanitation Department Commissioner Kathryn Garcia to Comptroller Scott Stringer. The missive was in response to one sent by Stringer on behalf of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, urging the agency to review its “overnight ticketing policy concerning trash that is dumped by third-parties and leads to violations being issued to … Continue reading

Council Members Challenge Horse-Carriage Ban

Animal rights activists have long awaited the bill introduced this week to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City, legislation that fulfills a campaign promise by Mayor Bill De Blasio, who said he would get rid of the carriages “on day one.” But the proposal, which would take horses and carriages off the roads by May 2016, has already sparked a rally at City Hall and a lot of debate. The Taxi Workers Alliance, against the City’s plan to offer … Continue reading

Affordable Housing, Pedestrian Plaza Dominate CB 9 Meeting

Aspects of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, and the latest developments surrounding the 101st Avenue pedestrian plaza dominated Tuesday night’s Community Board 9 meeting in Richmond Hill. The board voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution regarding “Mayor’s Proposals and Laws re: Use and Occupancy of Basement and Attic Apartments.” Proposed by the board’s Land Use Committee, the resolution shows that CB 9 officially opposes legalizing basement and attic apartments, which is a tenet of de Blasio’s “Housing … Continue reading

New MTA Report Calls for Expansion of City Rail Capacity

A recently released Metropolitan Transportation Authority Reinvention Commission report calls for the “aggressive expansion” of the city’s rail capacity through means including the reactivation of unused rail rights-of-way. And Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) this week seized on the development as support for the reactivation of the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line. The report recommends seven strategies for improving transportation in the city. Among these is the recommendation for expansion of the existing transit system to meet the needs of … Continue reading