Sunday, January 18, 2009

Baldeo vs. overdevelopment

by Albert Baldeo

Overdevelopment has radically altered the traditional appearance and character of our neighborhoods. Illegal construction, non-compliance with zoning rules, and poor quality construction-this scourge is compounded with our failure to landmark historic buildings.

The results are increased population density, overloading community resources, congestion, pollution, parking and mass transit service problems. Schools are overcrowded and public utilities and services are overburdened, including sewer systems and garbage removal. The beauty of our tranquil neighborhoods is being destroyed. This epidemic has reached such proportions that there are few issues that cry out for governmental action more than overdevelopment in Queens.

The issues are encapsulated in this larger question: “How can we enforce and promulgate laws relating to zoning infractions, illegal conversions, McMansions, lack of land marking of historic districts, concreting over lawns, out-of-character structures, permanent fencing, teardowns and self-certification by engineers and architects?”

Abuse after abuse, eye sore after eye sore, buildings of this nature crop up block after block, like a cancer destroying our communities. Some have been completed, and others have been absolutely abandoned, presenting additional security and sanitation problems of their own.

Down zoning, the solution to the problem, curbs overdevelopment and stops out-of-character development in Queens' residential neighborhoods. Changes in zoning regulations will align new construction with the character of the borough's neighborhoods and will ensure that communities can gracefully accommodate new development.

City Planning, in consultation with the Queens Borough President's Zoning Task Force, is supposedly conducting neighborhood zoning studies throughout the borough of Queens with the goal of preventing further overdevelopment in each neighborhood. But why, after four years, we are still waiting for City action? Do we have to wait until the monstrosities completely overwhelm our neighborhoods? Why has it been stalled by the Department of City Planning over the last several years?

We must get the rezoning process moving again, as real estate investors continue to break ground on large-scale construction projects, putting up condominiums and four and five-story buildings with increasing frequency.

Clearly, City Planning and the Department of Buildings have dropped the ball. The City needs to complete the Down zoning Phase II process, and add personnel who are better trained, properly inspect violation complaints and respond quickly and efficiently.

Historic landmarks must also be preserved. The City must carry out the mandate of its residents. Enough is enough!

Albert Baldeo, Esq.
Community Advocate and Attorney at Law


georgetheatheist said...

Doesn't Baldeo look like Dick Clark?

Anonymous said...


Stick to the script:

georgetheatheist said...

Anonymous. Try Beano. It'll help.

Anonymous said...

What gall this guy has. Out of one side of his mouth he wants to stop overdevelopment and enforce building codes and out of the other he supports legalizing illegal conversions in Richmond Hill as he has said repeatedly at any gathering of Indians regarding the enforcement efforts there. He called Addabbo a racist over a neighbor battle that had to do with violations of a stop work order and work without permits. His own brother has collected violations on houses he's built in the neighborhood and used a guy who was later arrested for self-certification shenanigans to self-certify work on his own home.

Anonymous said...

To the previous poster:

Thank you.

Queens Crap, your where its at!

Queens Crapper said...

Two things:

1) He won't stop sending in these letters.

2) He does look like a tanner version of Dick Clark.

Anonymous said...

Anon, you are confusing Baldeo with Trevor Rupnarain and Mike Duvalle. Baldeo's platform against Maltese in 2006 was that Maltese took the side of developers and special interests, and allowed our communities to be overzoned by the monstrous houses.

Baldeo also critized Maltese for sponsoring a bill to legalize profiling, which is unconsitutional. I think he took issue with Addabbo when the family told him that they were harassed and singled out, instead of getting both sides to sit down as neighbors and work their boundaries out as per the city plans, which showed that the family had the City's blueprints on their side.

Anyone can be conned by these architects and engineers, so if what you are alleging is true, we need to regulate them. I think that is what I heard Baldeo calling for at a meeting in RH.

Anonymous said...

Great advocacy, Albert. Keep your eyes on the ball....

Anonymous said...

I Love how Baldeo answers any and all comments against him by submitting comments which defend him anonymously. This guy does not stop. Baldeo is a Real Estate Attorney, a crook who is Narcissistic and has a Napoleon complex. He can not and will not get elected to any office, he does not have my support or any one I know. The community does not support him. This needs to stop. He has been at this for already 6 years and has had no progress. For our community sake research this guy or meet him, he is fake and transparent.

Anonymous said...

One word- Sleezy Ball he makes me sick. I rather vote for a 2 year old.

Anonymous said...

More of Albert Baldeo published found on the web

Peoples Of Indian Origin And Other Minorities Can Achieve More
Through Unity And Empowerment In The USA

By Albert Baldeo
Attorney At Law

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive." – Thomas Jefferson

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
"If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live." – Martin Luther King, Jr.

"National injustice is the surest road to national downfall." – William Ewart Gladstone

"The great can protect themselves, but the poor and humble require the arm and shield of the law." – President Andrew Jackson

"A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness ... the oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity." – Nelson Mandela

“The Presidency is only a means to an end, to attain a sane and safe world, to bring an end to exploitation, suffering and misery, to construct a New Global Human Order. The struggle will continue.” – Cheddi Jagan

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse...the homeless...I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" – Emma Lazarus

A few years ago, on 1/24/00, then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and a caucus of Florida legislators put in motion a process to give citizenship to 6-year old Elian Gonzalez, the adorable Cuban boy who made his way to the USA clinging bravely to a raft. It was an extraordinary move. It was previously used to bestow citizenship in very rare causes, most notably on international statesman Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa and Raoul Wallenberg. The first two need no introduction. The latter was a Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews from Hungary in World War II. The genesis of this bill to grant this hitherto unknown Cuban coveted citizenship of the USA epitomizes the political system which confronts and challenges Peoples of Indian Origin (PIO’s) and other minorities living in the USA – political recognition as a people, or as a group on the radar screen of the USA.

Again, why is there such a glaring difference in the way the city has failed to act favorably in resolving the basement issue which affects many tens of thousands of Indo Caribbean homeowners in New York city and the way the most powerful decision maker in the country, the US Congress, rushed to the aid of a single Cuban 6-year old? Or why do we have to endure comparatively ever widening draconian immigration legislation, police harassment, ethnic profiling, governmental hostility and brutality, prejudices, over crowded classrooms for our children, miniscule returns on our tax dollars, and such other evils, when we work harder and pay more taxes than others? Why is our existence as a people such a token one? Why are we kept out of the mainstream?

The answer is precisely the same reason why the city did not harass homeowners and their kosher kitchens in Borough Park and "mother and daughter apartments" in Howard Beach whilst orchestrating a terrifying campaign against our minority community for illegal basements – UNITY AND POLITICAL EMPOWERMENT, or the lack thereof. The political machinery of Cubans in the USA, with its nucleus in Miami, is a strong and unified lobbying force and has been able to get its agenda on the national stage of American politics as a matter of seeming urgent national importance. This scenario is a guide to what any community can achieve in the USA if it is as resilient and as motivated. The result? Whereas three (3) war heroes from Italy, Ireland and Germany received citizenship, posthumously in 1968, for fighting and dying with American units in Vietnam, and whereas lawn tennis great Ivan Lendl was rejected in his bid despite his many glorious international victories, this Cuban, with comparatively little or nothing to offer, excited the seat of power in America. The lesson of this is clear: Our ability to unite as a people will determine what political attention we muster and quantify what concomitant progress we will make in the USA.

The sine qua non of achieving political recognition is effective political representation, and the formation and growth of alliances with other groups to show strength in numbers. Politicians who do not wholeheartedly and consistently represent our needs as their constituents should not be elected, nor re-elected. We should not be taken as token contributors to anyone’s campaign to power. In this endeavor, we should all stand up for and endorse politicians who will represent us at every level, starting from the community boards, the city, state and federal levels, and yes, even at the international level. We must raise our level of political consciousness. Concomitantly, our people should galvanize and mobilize themselves more, register and vote, and have a say in every level of government, like Martin Luther King Jr. said, "from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city." UNITY AND EMPOWERMENT should be our mantra. We should all put our support behind those who would represent our causes, not those who would use us as a stepping stone to realize their dream of getting elected and then suffer amnesia thereafter about who we are, and where we reside and what our problems are.

It is not by mere coincidence that the Declaration of Independence provides: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Thirty-nine independent thinkers signed the American Constitution. Today, it governs millions. It inspires the world. That was the first step to the world's most important document, as Lao Tze, the famous Chinese philosopher would say, “the longest journey begins with the first step." We should all make that important first step. This step will determine the quality of our lives hereafter. We need to become more politically aware and active. Many of us left our native lands in search for a better way of life, (our native lands where we were second class citizens at certain periods in our collective and individual histories) but have condemned ourselves to living that way, inert and invisible in America. Democracy is the bedrock for a better way of life, upon which rights and recognition are built. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, "Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one. This is the most valuable and sacred right – a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world." Having been robbed of our civil rights in Guyana, the Caribbean and wherever Peoples of Indian Origin have fled from at certain times in our deprived histories, this diaspora should not make the same mistake again.

It was our own hero, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, who reflected, "I don't live in the past but we must never forget the past. The past must be a guide to us on how we move in the future. We must remember the past in seeing what was good, and what was bad, to have no more of the bad." Let us unify and empower ourselves, register to vote, and have a say in our lives – on basic bread and butter issues, police brutality, hate crimes, amending the draconian immigration laws to alleviate hardship on immigrants and granting amnesty, the present illegal basement issue, a better education for our children, better social services, city services, family services, health issues, fiscal reforms, etc.

As a result of empowerment, those basic rights of the US Constitution, which we call fundamental human rights, were enshrined. We take them for granted, but there were fought for and won with blood, sweat and tears – from the abolition of slavery, to the right to vote, to the end of segregation. "United we stand, divided we fall." Unlike Guyana, the Caribbean and other places where PIO’s migrated from, where voting was rigged, be assured that your vote will be counted. Your vote will make the difference. We must seek solutions to common problems facing our community, and we must demand representation for us at every level of government in the United States from our elected representatives. Yes, we must have the dream and live the dream! Founding Fathers, Politicians and Civil Rights leaders like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Cheddi Jagan, and such great men have always stressed the need for historical and political awareness and action, and gave their lives for the upliftment of their fellow beings. Let us run with the torches they passed to us. Immortal poets like Rabindranath Tagore and Khalil Gibran, and Guyana's Martin Carter have made independence and freedom a frequent theme in their works. Let us gather inspiration from them. Tagore’s is worthy of repetition anywhere:
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free,
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where tireless thriving stretches its arms towards perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action,
Into that heaven of freedom, let my country awake.”

Our local factions, whether it be the mandirs, the masjids, the churches, and all civic, social and political organizations, must take nurture and counsel from Rabindranath Tagore and not "break up into fragments by narrow domestic walls," but instead, "by tireless striving stretch our arms towards perfection," and "lead our mind forward by ever widening thought and awake in that heaven of freedom." Dr. Basdeo Mangru, a leading Guyanese historian, in his work, "Indians in Guyana," wrote: "While Caribbean Indians generally have improved their economic status, the community is hopelessly divided and factionalism is widespread. The community suffers from a lack of honest, sincere, dedicated leaders, who are poor role models, are jostling for power, position and prestige.… Even 'spiritual' leaders have become 'little Caesars'..." We have to unite in our focus and approach in tackling issues affecting our community. Factionalism, back biting and downright pettiness must be eradicated. Like all minorities hoping to succeed, we must rise above trivialities and narrow mindedness.

Our political choices must put the community's interests above their own, must be motivated to serve us as part of their constituents, must understand the history and heritage of our peoples, must bring valuable resources to our community, stand up for our rights, impassionately represent us and further our causes. They must be strong advocates for human rights and be willing to listen and act on our behalf. We have to mobilize ourselves behind them and build bridges and promote harmony in our society. In so doing, we will be doing for ourselves and for future generations. Let us unite and empower ourselves!

It is only then that we will make progress in the USA and truly live the American Dream!

Like the Mahatma said, "Voting is a sacred duty." Lincoln endorsed that when he said, "The ballot is stronger than the bullet." Appropriately, President Johnson emphasized that "Voting is the first duty of democracy." Surely, there is wisdom in these great minds?

If not us, who? If not now, when? Let us not deny ourselves the lessons of history. Just remember this: If we were politically empowered, there would have been no basement crisis, no immigration abuses, no police brutality, no hate crimes, no victimization and no exploitation. We would be in the mainstream, where the grass is indeed greener.

It is my fervent hope that Congress will look at the millions of immigrants who deserve relief. Are we still "a nation of immigrants?" The time is ripe for Congress to help immigrants realize the "American Dream" by granting them a long awaited amnesty. If immigrants are given such an opportunity, it will benefit America in no uncertain terms. The Dream will be of mutual benefit for both America and immigrants. Increases in tax and other revenues, employment, skills, talents, patriotism are only a few of the political, economic and social gains of amnesty while eradicating the many evils which are nurtured by an underground economy. Emerson was right when he said, "A nation, like a tree, does not thrive well till it is engraffed with a foreign stock." It is crystal clear that America will continue to reap the benefits wrought from its long history of immigration. America was built by immigrants. Statistics in every conceivable area confirm that the benefits far supersede any perceived negatives. In fact, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has said that increasing immigration will help ensure that the economic boom continues. He opined that labor shortages are threatening the economy, and that taking a look at easing immigration laws could solve this potential problem. President Bush recently proposed guest worker visas to certain immigrants, a drop in the ocean, a mere proposition, but a thought in the right direction. Many categorize it as pandering to a new generation of immigrants, who empowered themselves by becoming an effective lobbying group to catch the attention of immigrants! Politicians should stop the hypocritical charade and act positively.

A large percentage of the prestigious Nobel Prize laureates are descendants of immigrants. Why stop that flow? Many immigrants have unrequitedly shed their blood and given their lives for America. They have revitalized depressed areas and energized flagging communities, with little or no help from the government, accomplishing their goals only by sacrifices, industry, resolve, dedication and, yes, with blood, sweat, tears and prayers. Many have worked two and three jobs concurrently and struggled long hours to achieve the elusive American Dream. Immigrants spin the proverbial straw into gold by taking jobs Americans refuse. America abounds with many places such as Richmond Hill or "Little Guyana," and “Little Trinidad,” the home of many Guyanese and Trinidadian immigrants, where immigrants comprise a living testament and an inspiring microcosm of the single-minded success of how immigrants can benefit the larger USA. Peoples of Indian origin, like so many other minorities, have a reputation as dedicated and faithful workers, second to none.

Large sums of taxpayers' money have been spent, for example, on wars and operations in Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, towards the preservation of endangered species in countries a world away, and in space exploration, whereas, at our own doorsteps, and in our backyards, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free are suffocated. C’mon America!
Liberty, like charity, must begin at home." – James B. Conant, 1942.

Editor's Note:
The author, Attorney at Law Albert Baldeo, does extensive work in Accidents, Real Estate and Business Closings...

Anonymous said...

I don't see what is wrong with Baldeo calling for equal treatment in the enforcement of our laws...What have those in office done to help the overdevelopment crisis? Give Baldeo some kudos. He deserves praise for fighting for the issues that affect us. That's why he almost won a State Senate seat-he's fighting for everyone. Most politicos fight for themselves and family. Go criticize them. Keep on fighting for us, Albert! Bravo!

Anonymous said...

I am 1 of the 17,000 who voted for Baldeo against you Serf Maltese in the last contested election between you and him. And we will vote for Baldeo again, because he is the reformer, and not a member of the old boys club. So get a life, loser!

Anonymous said...

There's a difference between a summer kitchen or a kosher kitchen and the illegal conversion of a home to make a cellar a dwelling unit. The basement issue is all about illegal conversions of cellars and attics all over his area.

Anonymous said...

Hey Stop Albert Bloggers are suppose to comment on your articles not your self...

Anonymous said...

Don't criticize him, he'll point a gun at you!

Anonymous said...

Baldeo has taken a stand. Let us support him. Quit the personal attacks. We don't do this to those who have sold us out! We get what we deserve.

Anonymous said...

Baldeo is a sick man when he ran in 2005 he pointed a gun at a rival candidate.. scary stuff google it,,, we can not and must not have him in office he is a thug who lies and cheats.

Anonymous said...

You should be ashamed to peddle vicious lies against this decent man. Those were false allegations from a sick rival, similar to your peurile mind.

That's why the DA kicked the allegations for what they were.

Serf used those lies the last time against Baldeo, and we voters almost defeated him. People are sick of dirty campaigns, evil posters and small minds-like yours.

Anonymous said...

NRA endorses Baldeo nevertheless as a true patriot!

indiaprincess said...

I have lived in South Ozone Park for 32 years. I was appalled when the Mandir was difiled by a display of this Meeks fellow. He has never been here and done anything when introduced he was questioned about the ever eroding condition of our community and what he was going to do instead he spoke about immigrants and how great we are.

To add insult to injury he was bought there by Albert "Sell Out" Baldeo. Here is a word to the wise Baldeo is not our leader he is a self-serving modern day Judas.

This Meeks is a political lungayrah, I am researching and didn’t have to dig too much to see how honorable he is.

We need real help!

I will be posting this on every blog I can find.

Anonymous said...

This is a bit of a late comment, to say the least...but Baldeo is an opportunist in the Southeast/west Queens Community. There are more good articles about him than bad because he writes them! Local newspapers are bombarded by his self written, narcissistic press releases at least 3 times a week!

Even here, you see he won an award for outreach empowerment (first name of honorees)...but if you look closely, he himself sponsored the event!

The man is a facade and is doing no more for his community than the local stray cats that reside in the hood.