Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Build It Back is broke

NY1

 Last summer, several contractors told NY1 they were owed millions of dollars by the city's Hurricane Recovery Program build it back, and weren't getting paid because the program was out of money.

The city responded saying that was categorically false.

But now the de Blasio administration is doing an about face, seeking $92 million dollars to close out the beleaguered program.

"It's a shame that last year they felt the need to say everything is good when obviously it wasn't,” said Roque Schipilliti, a contractor for Build It Back.

Roque Schipilliti is one of the nearly two dozen contractors believed to be waiting for payment with debts first reported last summer by NY1.

Build It Back had blamed the late payments on the lengthy audits required before cutting final checks to contractors.

But in seeking new funds this week, Build It Back says the additional cash will be used in part, to pay contractors and close out construction permits.

"We were misled. Something wasn't right, and if there's new funding, you connect the dots. You have new funding; now you're paying. So that must have been the issue, right?" said Schipilliti.
Build It Back once hailed the rebuilding work at MaryLou Barcia's home as a success story. Mayor de Blasio visited four years ago to celebrate its completion.

But she says she's had to spend $25,000 of her own money since then to fix faulty work done under the city program,

And the contractor hired by Build It Back placed a lien on her home because he still hasn't been paid by the city.

"Where did that money go? It should have been there! Not now you're begging for money all over. That don't seem right," said Marylou Barcia, a Build It Back participant.

This isn't the first time Build It Back has asked for more money.

In 2016, the city requested and received an additional $500 million in an attempt to complete its recovery work.

That brought the total cost of the troubled program to $2.2 billion.

A little more than half of the additional $92 million needed would come from the U.S. department of housing and urban development; the rest from city taxpayers.

In addition to paying contractors, the money would be used to buy properties damaged by Sandy, and to build 37 flood-resistant homes on acquired lots in Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens.



Comptroller Stringer rejects federal seawall plan for city


http://theforumnewsgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/StringerStormBarrier1.jpg

The Forum

 City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Friday fired off a four-page letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers condemning their plan to construct offshore storm surge barriers in New York Harbor.

In the letter, Stringer castigated the corps’ proposal for not adequately protecting coastal communities from the threat of sea level rise and associated flooding. The Comptroller’s letter also highlighted the long construction timeline associated with the storm barriers and their high cost estimate — noting that the largest of the options outlined in the proposal would take a quarter of a century to build out, cost six times that of shorefront resiliency options, and endanger the delicate ecosystem of the harbor including the region’s network of marshes and wetlands that are critical to mitigating storm surge.

Stringer said he is calling on the agency to implement an integrated and environmentally-conscious approach that’s focused on onshore resiliency measures including localized floodwalls, dune and wetland restoration, living shorelines, reefs, and levees. Stringer’s missive noted that this approach was the only way to protect the city from rising sea levels, storm surge from non-catastrophic weather events, and increasingly catastrophic storms in the future.
 

The letter follows a May 2019 report published by the comptroller, “The Costs of Climate Change: New York City’s Economic Exposure to Rising Seas,” which exposed substantial underspending of federally-appropriated Superstorm Sandy recovery funding that the City had not yet allocated to protect vulnerable coastline communities including only 57 percent of a combined $14.5 billion in federal funds. The report concluded that lagging spending posed a threat to the 520 miles of coastline citywide, which is estimated at a combined property value of $101.5 billion within the city’s current 100-year floodplain map — marking a more than 50 percent increase in value since 2010.

“There’s no question about it — a future Superstorm Sandy will come and New York Harbor will bear the brunt of it. Too many of our waterfront communities are all too vulnerable to the next storm, or even the next high tide,” Stringer said Friday. “I am urging the Army Corps of Engineers to get shovels in the ground on shorefront resiliency options like floodwalls, dune systems, wetlands, and levees that can protect New Yorkers and their livelihoods. Lives are at stake, homes and businesses are on the line, and futures hang in the balance. We need to act with urgency, plan strategically, and build out resiliency efficiently in the era of climate change, because time is not on our side.”

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Introducing Rodneyse Bichotte, the new leader and money bundler of the Democratic Brooklyn Machine



THE CITY

Five years after she joined the state Legislature, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Brooklyn) is all but set to take over the cash-strapped Kings County Democratic Party.


And she’s bringing with her a campaign fundraising record unusually prolific for a junior lawmaker — fueled, in part, by donations from groups her bills have aided.


Bichotte pulled in more cash than all but one Brooklyn Assembly Democrat in the first half of 2019 — beating out 17 other lawmakers, many of them senior to her, with a haul of $112,095 in an off-election year.


Overall, Bichotte had $411,702 in her campaign coffers as of July. The party she’s expected to soon lead, meanwhile, has only $32,833.95 in the bank, state filings show.


Key to her numbers are entrepreneurs who benefit from her actions as chair of the Assembly’s minority- and women-owned business subcommittee. She’s also drawn support from anesthesiologists battling to preserve their place in the operating room and players in Brooklyn courthouses with a stake in the county Democrats’ nods for judgeships.


Bichotte, who would become the first black woman to head a county Democratic party in the city, told THE CITY that repairing the group’s finances is essential — and she vowed to pursue “big donors and small donors.”


“I’d certainly like to raise money for the county to help our candidates, to help the Democratic Party,” said Bichotte, who became the first Haitian-American elected to the New York state Legislature when she arrived in 2015.


“I’m very particular about making sure that the treasury is healthy for the purpose of helping out candidates and also getting more civilians more engaged and included in our processes,” she added.

She was also the only elected official in New York to endorse Mayor de Blasio's farcical presidential run 



Eric Adams' gaffe exposes media hypocrisy

Surely by now you all have heard about the controversial remarks that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams made on MLK Day about wealthy white transplants. If not, here's a summary:

Now, of course, Adams was going to feel blowback from this, and it has gone on for a week now. But for the wrong reason! As my friend Miss Heather succinctly pointed out:

Now THIS is what the media should have been focusing on in their criticism. Instead, they tried to make the issue about foreign immigration and people coming here for work, which is not who Adams was talking about. We have all been affected by the latest trend of prom queens and bros that have infiltrated NYC and turned it into chain store heaven. These folks leave lily-white suburbs and come here to remake NYC into an urban version of what is familiar to them, and do it with general disdain for the people who were born and raised here. They don't contribute anything to the city's culture except upzonings, gentrification, virtue signaling politics and shitty, overpriced pizza.

So why has the media gone so apeshit over Adams' comments? Well, if you recall, back in 2009, the newspapers were tripping over themselves to endorse - for money - billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg for a third mayoral term, aka the grand wizard of forced gentrification and pimp daddy of corporate welfare for real estate companies. So the reaction from the press now is pure defense. They helped gentrify this city with not only this, but by framing any and all opposition as kooks standing in the way of progress and basically printing developer press releases word for word. Can't piss off your advertisers!

Check out this "rebuttal" opinion piece in today's Daily News:
I loved my childhood here but also see again reflected in my kids’ eyes what a profoundly unnatural place it is to grow up in. It’s a way station for people and money coming in or out of America, and everyone building a life in the midst of the tumult and transit and trade knows it.
Hmm. It may be a way station for some people. But everyone reading this knows scores of native New Yorkers who don't feel this way. If this reflects the media's opinion of NYC, then it's no wonder they cover it the way they do, like everything politicians propose is inevitable. Sad. Just sad.

Yes, Adams deserves criticism for his remarks because of his hypocrisy, but the media deserves the same. And that's a big reason why this blog and others, like Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, exist. - QC


And mine too,
JQ LLC ,Impunity City

D.A. Vance's assistant prosecutor hid trial evidence to protect developers and contractors


THE CITY 

 The head of the Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.’s vaunted Construction Fraud Task Force left her post this week after allegations surfaced that she withheld damaging evidence about a key cooperating witness in seven major bribery cases, THE CITY has learned.

Assistant District Attorney Diana Florence had prosecuted most of the high-profile cases involving construction wage theft, bribery and worker deaths brought by Vance in the last few years.

He appointed her “attorney-in-charge” of the task force when he formed it in August 2015 to crack down on wrongdoing in the industry.

Florence stepped down Tuesday shortly after allegations emerged in court papers that she kept secret a 38-minute audiotape in which the key informant in a series of construction bribery cases denied under oath to city investigators that he’d accepted any bribes.

Ifeanyi “Manny” Madu, a former city Department of Environmental Protection manager who was involved in picking vendors, was Florence’s star witness in cases she prosecuted against several contractors who’d received millions of dollars in city work.

Madu cooperated with the DA and claimed that in exchange for steering work to favored vendors, he received bribes of hotel stays, Broadway show tickets, gifts, extravagant meals and work for a subcontractor he secretly controlled.

He was the sole cooperating witness in seven criminal cases that were announced at an April 2018 news conference in which Florence stood next to Vance.

Unknown to the defendants, on Feb. 13, 2015, Madu made an audiotaped statement to city 
Department of Investigation agents involved in the bribery case, during which he was placed under oath.

According to court papers reviewed by THE CITY, Madu told DOI “among other things that he broke no laws, and that he did not take gifts, things of value or bribes from contractors.”

In court papers, Florence denied deliberately withholding evidence in the bribery cases, but did not address the allegation regarding the Madu DOI tape. She did not immediately return a phone message from THE CITY.

The allegations threatened to unleash a stampede to throw out cases and convictions involving Madu and Florence.

The accusations also marked the latest strife for Vance, who faces calls for his resignation over his handling of some high-profile cases involving the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and family members of President Donald Trump.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

High school teacher and dean fired from Maspeth High School that is under investigation by the feds

sepulveda-maspethhttps://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/sepulveda-maspeth.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=618&h=410&crop=1

NY Post

A Maspeth High School math teacher and dean who students say gave them answers on Regents exams and texted with them has been removed, The Post has learned.

Danny Sepulveda was escorted out of the Queens school in late December “due to an ongoing investigation,” the city Department of Education confirmed.

DOE officials said the investigation was “unrelated to academic fraud.”

But Sepulveda, 30, is one of several teachers who gave kids answers during Regents exams, according to statements given to investigators.

One student wrote last year that Sepulveda re-read the questions at the end of the exam: “But while he was reading it he was only saying the right answer choice, and this made me uncomfortable because it showed he didn’t believe in me to pass the exam.”

Another student wrote that during a math Regents exam in June 2018, Sepulveda and math teacher Chris Grunert “helped me and other kids in my room with answers.”

Grunert and others accused of academic misconduct have not been removed from the school.

NY Post

The feds have started looking into allegations of widespread academic fraud in New York City schools, a Queens lawmaker says.

City Councilman Robert Holden met this month with officials in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York after his call for a federal probe of “deep-rooted fraud” in the city Department of Education.

“I’m encouraged by my meeting with the US Attorney. His team is taking this seriously,” Holden told The Post.

FBI agents have already contacted several whistle-blowing teachers whose names he provided, Holden added.

A spokesman for US Attorney Richard Donoghue declined comment.

Holden sent a letter in November to Donoghue in Brooklyn and US Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan, saying “an apparent pattern of conspiracy to cover up” grade-fixing, cheating and other wrongdoing might warrant an investigation under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which covers criminal enterprises.

In Atlanta, eight educators were convicted under a RICO statute of manipulating student test scores and sentenced to prison in 2015.

Holden turned over records compiled by former and current faculty members at Maspeth High School in Queens, where teachers say administrators encouraged cheating on exams, enforced a “no-fail policy,” and retaliated against staffers who didn’t play ball.

Mayor de Blasio excuses and condones Brooklyn BP Eric Adams and his aides illegal plaza parking

Placard Corruption/Twitter

Friday, January 24, 2020

Andy Byford quit his job with the MTA


https://s7d2.scene7.com/is/image/TWCNews/010719_nyc_andy_byfordpng

Business Insider


Andy Byford, a globally renowned transit expert hired in 2017 to help reinvigorate New York CIty's aging subway system, has resigned.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a state agency responsible for city subways, buses, and commuter rails, confirmed his departure in a statement. 

"Andy Byford will be departing New York City Transit after a successful two years of service and we thank him for his work," Pat Foye MTA chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Andy was instrumental in moving the system forward, enacting the successful Subway Action Plan and securing record capital funding with the Governor and the Legislature, and we wish him well in his next chapter."

Before New York, Byford previously worked in London, Toronto, and Australia. His arrival in New York largely signaled a seismic shift for the aging subway system following decades of underinvestment.

During his tenure as transit chief, New Yorkers were treated to improvements in subway communication as well as several high-profile projects designed to speed up commutes and replace aging parts of track, signals, and more.

Byford also became a popular figure among New York transit aficionados, earning the nickname 
"Train Daddy" after an anonymous resident began posting stickers of Byford's face superimposed on a subway car with the text "Train Daddy loves you very much." A photo of the sticker quickly spread on Twitter, and the moniker became widely used across social media. The MTA seemingly embraced the term for its subway chief, with Byford himself joking about the title.

 I don't have time to write about what I saw coming two years ago, so enjoy my prophecy from Impunity City for now.

 Andy Byford may have just realized he is in way over his head and out of his league in his well-paid state service leadership position (yeah it’s redundant, I’m writing about the MTA again so fuck off).
 
President Byford is trying really hard though. He did come up with that budget study assessing that it would take $37 billion dollars to overhaul the mega-shitshow mass transit system, despite having no current idea or plan how to pay for it. I mean, he is not a bad bloke, he kind of resembles a mixture of Moby and Thom Yorke and he is a big fan of legendary new wave band The Smiths, so big that he thought it was prudent to mention and discuss fave tracks by them during a live social media style town hall with frustrated commuters complaining about consistent shitty service a while back (my personal fave by the way, is the WLIR extended remix of “This Charming Man”), but at least he has been apparently honest and straightforward.

It didn't take long for Mr. Byford to realize that the worst fucking transit system in the universe couldn't be fixed with that moron tyrant Governor Cuomo up his ass.

Just walk away, Train Daddy

Brand new costs have appeared in Kew Gardens borough tower prison


 https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qchron.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/2c/52c9a9e1-cc0c-57a8-a0e5-181840c674b4/5e29d21110b4e.image.jpg?resize=760%2C506

Queens Chronicle

 
The cost of building a new jail in Kew Gardens could zoom past initial estimates of $2 billion, it was revealed last week.

Already unpopular in the neighborhoods surrounding the proposed site, the 19-story jail is to be funded by municipal bonds whose interest costs were not figured into the projected $2 billion price, civic leaders said after emerging for their first meeting with city officials since the plan was approved by the City Council last November.


“We are not happy campers,” said Sylvia Hack of Community Board 9, who has led the two-year fight to stop the jail from being built.

Hack, CB 9 Chairman Kenichi Wilson, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Kew Gardens Civic Association President Dominick Pistone were among about a dozen local leaders summoned to a meeting Jan. 16 of a newly formed Queens Advisory Committee in an office building across the street from Borough Hall.

“This is a big deal,” said Wilson, whose board voted unanimously last year to reject the proposal.

“We’re just spinning our wheels trying to get answers,” said Hack.

Hallets Point development suspended until de Blasio is gone so it can exclude affordable housing


https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/KKyMmVObps252osqdgJPP_4Cecs=/0x0:1820x1213/920x613/filters:focal(765x462:1055x752):format(webp)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/66152891/CPX_HLP_N356.0.0.jpg

Politico


A long-simmering feud between one of the city’s most prominent real estate dynasties and the de Blasio administration has boiled over on the Queens waterfront.

Negotiations broke down recently over the stalled Halletts Point project in Astoria following the latest in a string of pointed and occasionally bizarre disputes between City Hall and the Durst Organization. The development firm, now in its third generation and run by Douglas Durst, said this week it plans to hold off on the remainder of the 2,002-unit rental complex rather than stay at the bargaining table.

“We are postponing the project until the next administration in the hope they will share the enthusiasm that the local community and we have for the development,” Durst spokesperson Jordan Barowitz said in an interview.

The point of contention is a $21.6 million city financing package promised in 2015 to offset infrastructure costs at the sprawling, seven-building project on the East River waterfront. Between the time the project was planned and now, changes to a state tax abatement baked into the project’s financing required an additional 5 percent of units to be enrolled in the city’s affordable housing program.

Barowitz said the developer and city officials came to an understanding years ago that the additional requirement would throw the project’s balance sheet into the red, and that an alternate way of awarding the financing was needed to get the money without having to provide the added affordable housing.

But when Durst proposed such a mechanism last year, the city declined to move forward with it.

“A project as large and complex as Halletts Point requires a partnership between the developer and the city,” Barowitz said. “Unfortunately, we have never been able to forge this partnership, and without it, the project is impossible to build.”

City Hall, however, said it was always understood the developer would have to comply with existing requirements under the tax break, in whatever form the program ended up. City officials still reviewed Durst’s proposed financing method last year, but determined the additional affordable housing requirement wouldn’t have as dire an effect on the project as the developer claimed, per the mayor’s office.

“We will not cut special deals that result in more profit for developers and less affordable housing for New Yorkers,” mayoral spokesperson Jane Meyer said in an email.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Massive Flushing development foments discord with area residents


https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qchron.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/dd/edd797b1-d507-5256-8d78-6609c72899c0/5e29d20ed7b9f.image.jpg?resize=749%2C760

Queens Chronicle
 
Special Flushing Waterfront District protesters returned brandishing “Housing justice for all” and “The massive waterfront giveaway” signs for the developers’ presentation at Community Board 7’s Land, Buildings and Zoning Committee hearing Tuesday, Jan. 21.
 

“You have your signs and that’s great, it’s no problem. March around with your signs, but please kindly control the tone,” District Manager Marilyn McAndrews said at the start of the meeting, begging the protesters not to repeat their chants of the Jan. 13 public hearing meeting that disrupted the nursing home the meeting took place in.

“Flushing community members are concerned with increased congestion, pollution, construction hazards and mass displacement resulting from new luxury development,” MinKwon Center, the advocacy group that organized the protest, said in a statement.


The Brownsfield Opportunity Area plan, which allows for redeveloping the 29-acre stretch of waterfront industrial property and surrounding land in Downtown Flushing, aims to extend the district to the waterfront, improve pedestrian flow and vehicular movement, add affordable housing and improve the water quality of Flushing Creek. As the meeting progressed, CB 7 members, who hold the power to make an advisory vote, scheduled for Feb. 10, on the implementation of the plan, found themselves voicing similar concerns to the protesters.


“This is a vacant site. Other than U-Haul there is no activity,” said Ross Moskowitz, the attorney representing the project owners in response to a question about displacement, “The increase in this project should not have an impact on the local businesses ... these are local developers. They are long-established owners, operators, tenants, residents. They have invested in this community and will invest in this community.”

This post is for all you readers of Queens Crap that pay property taxes in this state

076
Gothamist


Governor Andrew Cuomo's latest pitch to expand Penn Station is an overflowing grab bag of promises to commuters and city residents to improve what the governor called in his budget speech yesterday the station’s “seven levels of hell”. The governor is proposing 40 percent more train capacity, airier concourses and unspecified new development in a "cohesive transit-oriented district." 

The plan also boasts an accordingly mammoth price tag: $8 billion to buy up an entire block of Midtown property, according to one estimate, most of which Cuomo hasn't yet identified specific funds for beyond the idea of siphoning off future retail rents and property taxes.

Meanwhile, sitting atop the now-buried train station is one of the state's biggest poster children for corporate tax giveaways: Madison Square Garden, which thanks to a state law passed at the behest of then-mayor Ed Koch in 1982 has now gone 37 consecutive years without paying property taxes

The total cost in lost revenue to the city over that time period is now $555 million, according to the latest calculations by the city's Independent Budget Office. If current property value trends continue, MSG's total tax break could clear $1 billion by 2030.

It's an alarmingly high figure, made even more so by the fact that the tax break, first proposed by Koch in order to encourage the Knicks and Rangers to renovate rather than moving to New Jersey, was, according to the mayor, initially supposed to end after just ten years. ("I went to bed at night believing it was a 10-year abatement," Koch told the Times years later.)

In the decades since, MSG's eternal tax break has become a white whale for budget reformers and enraged Knicks fans alike; possible repeal has become a recurring feature of IBO's annual budget options documents offering ways to saving the city money.

Asked for an explanation of the continued need for the tax break, a Madison Square Garden spokesperson provided this statement to Gothamist: "We appreciate that people have their opinions about our location, but the truth is that Madison Square Garden’s tax abatement pales in comparison to the billions in public benefits received by the other New York sports venues.”

 The decades-long inaction can partially be explained by the odd nature of the tax break: It's the city losing tax revenue as a result, but the city council has no say over state law. While the state legislature could repeal the law at any time, it's under little pressure to do so given that none of the money would go toward filling state budget holes.

And then, there is the considerable pressure the legislature is likely under from Cuomo, who has long counted MSG owner James Dolan and his family as major campaign donors, though that seems to be on the wane since they sold off Cablevision to Dutch telecom giant Altice for $17.7 billion in 2016. (Then-MSG business partner Irving Azoff did give $10,000 to Cuomo's reelection campaign in 2017, and MSG itself is a regular donor to both Democratic and Republican state legislative campaign committees.)

 

MTA bus route remix gets the ire of 15 angry councilmembers


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/MTA_Hoffman_Drive_21.jpg

Queens Eagle

 All 15 city councilmembers from Queens say they oppose the MTA’s draft plan to overhaul the borough’s bus network, unless significant changes are made to ensure better, more extensive service, particularly in public “transportation deserts.” 

The entire Queens delegation issued a joint press release condemning the plan Thursday, citing criticism and concerns from constituents across the borough. Queens residents have specifically complained about a lack of express bus service and proposed route cuts in neighborhoods that do not have subway service, as well as alterations that would severe bus services in specific locations.

“We are deeply concerned about losing bus service on Little Neck Parkway and Braddock Avenue as well as throughout Glen Oaks,” said Northeast Queens Councilmember Barry Grodenchik, whose district does not include a subway line. “We need the bus redesign to provide better, faster, more expansive bus service.”

Councilmember Robert Holden called for an express service line in Maspeth, one of the neighborhoods he represents. 

“In District 30, we only have access to two stops on one subway line, so my constituents rely heavily on the bus network,” said Holden, whose district includes the end of the M train line. “Maspeth is in desperate need of an express bus route, but this plan actually reduces the current express routes.

 The Queens delegation called on the MTA to revise the plan and commit more money to making an equitable transit system in a borough home to more than 2.3 million residents.

“The goal of public transit should be to take New Yorkers from point A to point B expeditiously,” said Councilmember Adrienne Adams, who represents a swath of Southeast Queens. “The plan in its current form would make this goal unattainable for many residents of Queens especially commuters with limited public transit options.”


The agency hosted community forums on the bus plan in Ridgewood on Tuesday and Flushing on Wednesday. Six additional sessions will take place at 6 p.m. on the following dates:

Jamaica 
Jan. 23
Queens Educational Opportunity Center
15829 Archer Ave.
Kew Gardens 
Jan. 28
Queens Borough Hall
120-55 Queens Blvd
Ozone Park
Jan. 29
JHS 202 Robert H. Goddard
138-80 Lafayette St.
Corona
Jan. 30
Langston Hughes Library and Cultural Center
100-01 Northern Blvd
Long Island City
Feb. 4
Jacob Riis Settlement
1025 41 Ave
Rockaways
Feb. 5
RISE/Rockaway Waterfront Alliance
58-03 Rockaway Beach Blvd.
Bayside
Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
Korean Community Services
203-05 32nd Ave.
Bellerose
Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.
Cross Island YMCA, 238-10 Hillside Ave.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Dead man found tied up after abandoned house fire in Queens Village


https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/burned-body-95.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=915

NY Post

A man’s scorched body was found with his hands tied behind his back after firefighters put out a blaze that erupted inside an under-construction Queens home early Monday, police and law enforcement sources said.

Smoke-eaters made the gruesome discovery on the first floor of the two-story colonial home on 217th Street near 104th Avenue in Queens Village once the fire was extinguished around 3:15 a.m., police said.

The victim, whose identity was not immediately released, was found bound and lying face down on the ground with severe burns on his body, sources said.

Emergency responders pronounced the man dead at the scene.

The city medical examiner will determine his cause of death.

Neighbors said the home, which used to house a deli on the ground floor, has been under construction for about a year.

“It’s very creepy,” neighbor Robin Bishop, 55, said of the disturbing incident. “It’s very shocking because I know things happen but not this close to home.”

Bishop noted that the area is a “quiet neighborhood.”

Jimmy Van Bramer campaigns to spend more time with his family

 https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gaystarnews.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F11%2FNYC_Councilman_Jimmy_Van_Bramer.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

NY Post

 Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announced Tuesday that he is ending his campaign for Queens borough president, citing family reasons.

“Family circumstances have been weighing on me for some time, causing me to reconsider the timing and feasibility of this campaign,” the Queens Democrat said in a statement.

“Prioritizing my responsibilities as a son and brother is where my attention needs to be right now. While this is a difficult decision, this is the right one for me and my family at this time.”

A special election will be held March 24 after former Borough President Melinda Katz was elected Queens district attorney.

Van Bramer helped lead the controversial fight against Amazon building a new headquarters in Long Island City — a deal that was ultimately scuttled due to the backlash.
The Queens pol had previously complained about getting threatening texts over his opposition, but told The Post that his decision to pull out of the race “has nothing to do with anything other than my mom and our family.”

Van Bramer was a front-runner and had already scored some key endorsements, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and actor-turned-progressive darling Cynthia Nixon.
Others still vying for the beep job include fellow term-limited Councilmen Donovan Richards and Costa Constantinides, and former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. The Queens Democratic Party is backing Richards.

Van Bramer as of last week had raised $463,701 for his campaign and had $203,185 on hand. His fundraising efforts have exceeded both Richards’ and Constantinides’, but slightly trailed those of Crowley, the cousin of longtime Queens power broker and former Rep. Joe Crowley.

If Jimmy was so weighted with these thoughts for "some time", why did he show up and passionately pleaded for voter support at that ridiculous two mic forum last week?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Big rigs hogging Grand Central Parkway service road space is another persistent problem the city avoids


CBS NY

  Trucks are taking over another Queens neighborhood.

CBS2 found around two dozen parked Sunday night in Forest Hills, some idling for hours.
Residents said they are begging the city to help. Reporter Lisa Rozner first reported on the problem two years ago. On Sunday, she went back to speak with residents who said the situation has only gotten worse.

Truck fumes filled the air, but she wasn’t at a truck stop.

It was actually the Grand Central service road spanning several blocks starting at 64th Road. For the last three years, Rafy Yusupov and his neighbors say it’s what they come home to every night — and it’s especially bad on weekends when trucks are left for days.

“Always noise, always smell, traffic,” Yusupov said.

Here's an idea. Since the MTA did a transit ad campaign with Comedy Central and Forest hills resident and Golden Globe winner and viral rap star Awkwafina having her doing station announcements, have the NYPD make the same integrated advertising/public service arrangement with the network and have her order the removal of these pig parking big rigs.

Catch Awkwafina is Nora from Queens premiering on Comedy Central on January 22nd.

 AFN-TV | We Bring You Home