Wednesday, August 23, 2017

De Blasio thinks he's doing more than Bloomberg did

From CBS 2:

Mayor Bill de Blasio has touched off a battle royal with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg over who is the biggest workaholic.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, it began with de Blasio insisting that he needs way more top-dollar special assistants because his agenda is bigger.

“It’s about getting the work done,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio was just back from vacation Monday and apparently feeling pugilistic, as he metaphorically bopped former Mayor Bloomberg on the noggin.

De Blasio was defending is decision to hire nearly three times more high-priced special assistants than Bloomberg had. The current mayor laid down the gauntlet, challenging Bloomberg on his work ethic.

“We’re trying to do a lot,” de Blasio said. “I can’t tell you all the intricacies of the Bloomberg administration. I can tell you in this administration, we’ve put together very ambitious goals.”

Bloomberg had 109 special assistants, while de Blasio has 298.

“I can say on a number of items, we’re trying to do things on a bigger scale,” de Blasio said. “We’re running this government very differently, and we’re doing a number of things that weren’t touched at all in those years, and we’ve got to have the personnel to make it work.”

But former Bloomberg director of communications Bill Cunningham was quick to fire back.

“It’ a joke, right?” Cunningham said. “He’s trying to fill in for Jerry Lewis and Dick Gregory since they passed away.”

BDB used personal email for city business

From CBS 2:

A city document indicated that Mayor Bill de Blasio and four of his aides used personal email accounts for city business, sources said late Tuesday.

Sources told CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer about the use of the personal email accounts, which the New York Times also reported on Tuesday night.

The Department of Investigation discovered the use of the accounts while investigating the mayor’s campaign fundraising last year, sources said.

De Blasio was not charged criminally in connection with the campaign fundraising but, the U.S. Attorney’s office said the mayor intervened on behalf of donors seeking political favors, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said the way the mayor raised money violated the “spirit” of the law.

The mayor used his personal email address at least 1,850 times for conducting city business, sources said. The actions could be in violation of some city guidelines, sources said.

Rufus King Park needs some attention

From DNA Info:

A Jamaica park that recently underwent a $2.2 million makeover is a "disaster" plagued by litter and filled with homeless people, locals say, but the Parks Department thinks the green space is clean enough.

The 11-acre Rufus King Park in downtown Jamaica, which is home to Rufus King Manor, is one of the most heavily used in the neighborhood that hosts numerous community events.

Last year, as part of the city's Jamaica Now Action Plan seeking to revitalize the once-overlooked area, a new lawn, trees and shrubs were planted, the park's pathways were repaved, a new spray shower was installed, and its gazebo was restored.

Locals said that while they hoped the overhaul would the improve park's conditions, trash continues to cover its lawns.

“It’s such a beautiful park, it has so much potential, but when you come there you see trash everywhere,” said Phil Lobato, 42, a registered nurse who works in downtown Jamaica and passes by the park every day.

“I’m absolutely appalled by what I see,” he said, adding that the park stays cleaner in the winter, "but when spring hits, it’s a disaster there."

The Parks Department said it has assigned two employees to the park who "maintain the grounds and pick up litter every day," according to agency spokeswoman Meghan Lalor. "Parks Enforcement routinely patrols the park to enforce Parks rules."

She also noted that when the green space was inspected through the Parks Inspection Program on March 7, it “was given an acceptable rating for cleanliness.”

But during a visit to the park on Thursday, about a dozen apparently homeless men could be seen in the park, with several of them sitting on benches while others slept on the grass and in the park’s pavilion. Litter could also be seen strewn about the green space.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Part 2 of Queens Tribune's city council debate

Can the Crapper call them or what?

Remember this silliness from 3 years ago? An arts center who is catering to the disabled but wants a liquor license...

Ah, Billy, their liquor license has been rescinded. Word on the street is that they got into some big trouble and now owe SLA thousands of dollars. And one of the co-owners is in really hot water over what he did over at the Market Hotel. Surprise, surprise! I wonder when the follow up "news" articles will come out?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Details released about Vallone petitions

Forgery - Garden Variety and the Real Deal - Part 1 by Paul Graziano on Scribd

WOW, and this is only part 1!

Good times.

Lobbyists basically run City Hall

From Politico:

As Mayor Bill de Blasio’s staff first learned to navigate the city’s vast bureaucracy, they sought regular help from an eager lobbying firm that had much to gain in return.

Commissioners and employees across city agencies solicited the advice of the firm Capalino + Company to shape policy, raise funds for events and answer technical questions on myriad aspects of municipal government, according to thousands of pages of emails reviewed by POLITICO New York.

The emails, obtained through a records request, show Capalino's stable of lobbyists was so entrenched in the minutiae of de Blasio's first term, they formed an unofficial, additional layer of government — sometimes instructing staffers how to do their jobs — all while advancing the interests of their paying clients.

Bureaucracy keeps small business in the dark

From CBS:

Anil Argawal, wiping away tears, explains the frustration of sitting in his dark Kew Gardens, Queens, grocery store, with no electricity, empty coolers and freezers, and no business for months.

“I came 30 years ago in this country hoping to make a bright future for my kids and my wife,” he told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer. “Now I feel like I got nothing to provide them.”

CBS2 first reported about Argarwal’s plight six weeks ago after the electricity was turned off as the result of a complicated series of events involving the MTA, which owns the property because the store is on a bridge over the Long Island Rail Road; the landlord, who has a deal with the MTA to sublease the 13 stores on the bridge; and Con Ed, which was called in to help upgrade the power lines, a move necessary to serve the freezers and coolers installed in the grocery.

Putting aside the blame game, an Aug. 4 letter from Con Ed to landlord Kunal Kapoor said he had to install something called a “sleeve” in the foundation before Con Ed could get started.

The landlord’s lawyer said he thought the sleeve came after Con Ed did the work. Now he knows differently. He said he expects the sleeve will be installed next week.

The real question is whether Argawal will ever be able to restock all the empty shelves

“I don’t even have the money to fill it up,” he said.