Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sensing danger on the tracks

From the NY Post:

The MTA is considering installing technology that would alert officials if a person is on subway tracks, the agency’s chief said yesterday.

Called “intrusion detection,” the system would use sensors to determine whether someone is in danger of getting hit by a train.

Alarms would go off at the Rail Control Center, which could tell train operators to brake, acting MTA chief Thomas Prendergast said.

Another option is to install a light on the platform that would flash when someone is on the track.

He dismissed a $1 billion proposal to install sliding doors that would separate riders from the tracks.

“There are technological issues we would need to overcome,” he said at the MTA’s transit committee meeting yesterday.

In 2012, 141 people were hit by trains — and 55 died.

Of those deaths, 38 percent slipped or fell, 23 percent went on the tracks intentionally, usually to fetch property, and 4 percent were pushed.

Swindled in LIC

From The Real Deal:

A would-be real estate developer stands accused of convincing the owners of a Long Island City taxi lot to invest millions in a development he never built, instead allegedly lavishing the funds on his personal expenses. The developer, Brent Carrier, was previously the president of Vernon Realty, a Long Island City-based development company, according to the site for Carrier’s current business, Laguna Beach-Calif.-based Laguna Pacific Development.

Carrier first approached Richard Wissak and Jerry Nazari, who own a garage down the street from the land they hoped to develop, in 2011, saying he had a tip on “the deal of the century,” according to a complaint they filed in July in New York State Supreme Court in Queens County.

Carrier relentlessly pursued the pair of prospective investors, saying he could take their capital and his supposed expertise in real estate development to redevelop the site, the lawsuit claims. Carrier allegedly said the group could buy the lot, at 45-40 Vernon Boulevard, at a steep discount, as the widow who owned the site wanted to be done with it.

Carrier claimed to have plans and relationships already in place to facilitate building a facility for the City University of New York on the site, the complaint says. He told the pair he had considerable experience dealing with sites like this one, a former paint factory in need of environmental remediation, the lawsuit alleges.

The website for Laguna Pacific states that Carrier’s “largest project [while] at Vernon Realty was the River East development in Long Island City, which Vernon Realty purchased for $24 million in 2004 and was placed under contract to sell for $183 million in 2006.”

A “Vernon Realty Holdings” bought the parcel at 44-02 Vernon Boulevard — where the River East condominiums were once slated to rise, according to published reports — for $26.1 million in 2003, city records show. Subsequent transfers of the property, the last of which was in 2009, show trades for $0 to an identically named limited liability company.
Alas, no development was built at the Vernon Boulevard site. Department of Buildings records show no permits, issued or in process, for construction at the address.

It's all about informing the public

Hi QC,

Just thought I'd let you know about the DEP notice I got in my water bill- In January 2013. After all it does say to share it with other people who drink this water. It does say to post notice in public places, etc. Funny how it I can't find it on DEP at - even when I type in the ID # or Kensico Reservoir, or Hurrincane sandy, etc.

Also it is interesting:

  • That its is about the quality of the water being compromised 2 month prior.
  • That there was no notice from notify NYC.
  • That I have not heard of this in any news media to date.

Here are a few paragraphs:
"On October 29,2012, the turbidity of the New York City Catskill-Delaware Water Supply at the Kensico Reservoir in Valhalla, New York in Westchester County exceeded 5 nephelometric turbidity units (NIUs) at approximately 6:30 PM. The turbidity returned to below 5 NTU at approximately 8: 15PM The highest recorded turbidity value was 11NTU.

Although this was not an emergency, and no action is required on your part, you, as our customer have a right to know the circumstances. There is no reason to stop using the water supplied to your home/businessas a result of this violation.

Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria. viruses, and parasites which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. These symptoms can have various causes and are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice from a health care provider.

Please share this information with other people who drink this water, especiaIly those who may not have received this notice directly. You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand. Landlords and building managers responsible for multi-family dwellings - please post this notice in a conspicuous place.
Public Water System ID#: NY7003493"

If you google or search on

"On October 29, 2012, the turbidity of the New York," you will find it.

But you need to have the notice to find it.

-Joe L.

Horses keep dying at Aqueduct

From the Daily News:

A 3-year-old gelding was euthanized at Aqueduct Racetrack Sunday after fracturing its right knee — the eighth horse to die in 27 days of racing at the Queens facility.

Formal Attire was trailing the leader on the rail entering the far turn at Sunday’s second race when the injury occurred. The horse was euthanized a short time later.

The state Racing and Wagering Board has declared five other horses race-day fatalities since Dec. 12. Two additional horses were put down due to infections, but the Racing and Wagering Board said Monday that one of the horse’s — Volition — infections had nothing to do with the injury on the track.

Last year at Aqueduct, 21 horses died in 74 days of racing.

“We continue to be very concerned about the equine fatalities at Aqueduct and are saddened by Formal Attire’s death,” the NYRA said in a statement Sunday night.

The rash of deaths has prompted calls for greater oversight of racing at Aqueduct, but the inner-dirt track has been inspected and declared safe and many jockeys and trainers have recently praised the condition of the winterized track.

A recent report by the Task Force of Racehorse Health and Safety, ordered by Gov. Cuomo, found that 11 of the 21 horses that perished last year could have been saved had they been more closely monitored.

Public employees need to pony up

From Crain's:

Public employees should contribute to their health premiums to help stem the steady increase in health costs for the city, a new report by the Citizens Budget Commission recommends.

Today, more than 90% of city workers are enrolled in health insurance plans that require no employee contribution toward the cost of the premium, the budget watchdog found. Requiring current workers and retirees to chip in for their health insurance would drive down the city’s deficit and bring New York in line with other large cities that have employee contributions.

“The city has an unusual arrangement as compared to the private sector,” said Maria Doulis, director of city studies at the CBC, and the report’s principal author. “Nobody is offering health insurance to employees and retirees on as generous a basis as the city of New York.”

The cost of health insurance for city public employees and retirees has skyrocketed in the last 10 years to $4.8 billion in 2012 from $2 billion in 2002. The CBC cites this growth as a major driver of projected budget gaps. While the total city budget is projected to grow 11% from fiscal years 2012 to 2016, health insurance costs will grow by almost 40% and comprise 70% of the projected budget gap in 2016.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Smoking gun?

From the NY Times:

A senior aide to John C. Liu, the New York City comptroller, solicited campaign donations on his behalf from friends and family members and offered to reimburse them, according to statements by a lawyer and a prosecutor on Tuesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The aide, Sharon Lee, who once served as press secretary for the comptroller’s office, is expected to testify for the government under an order of immunity at the trial next week of Mr. Liu’s former campaign treasurer, Jia Hou, a federal prosecutor said in court.

Ms. Hou and a co-defendant, Xing Wu Pan, a former fund-raiser, have been charged with conspiring to defraud the city by using so-called straw donors on behalf of Mr. Liu’s campaign. In such a scheme, people contribute to a candidate with money reimbursed by others.

In the case of Ms. Lee’s solicitations, only one person, her mother, made a donation, and she was not reimbursed, according to a letter to the judge from Ms. Hou’s lawyer.

Ms. Lee, who still works for the comptroller’s office in a research and liaison role, has not been charged with a crime. Her lawyer, Andrew M. Lankler, declined to comment.

NYers welcomed in sunny Florida

From the NY Post:

The city’s hedge-fund executives are flying south — and it’s not for vacation.

An increasing number of financial firms, especially private equity and hedge funds, are fed up with New York’s sky-high city and state tax rates and are relocating to the business-friendly climate in Florida’s Palm Beach County.

And they’re being welcomed with open arms — officials in Palm Beach recently opened an entire office dedicated to luring finance hot shots down south.

There are other perks, too — like the fact that it was 77 degrees and sunny there yesterday.

Federal tax rates are the same in Florida and New York.

But there’s no state income tax in the Sunshine State. Compare that to New York, where the state and local governments took $14.71 of every $100 earned in 2010, according to state records.

The only state with a higher rate is Alaska.

New flood maps a rude awakening

From the Daily News:

A whopping 35,000 city homeowners whose dwellings were lashed by Hurricane Sandy will now be forced to raise their houses by several feet or face skyrocketing flood insurance premiums.

The federal government Monday added the startling number of buildings to its flood danger zone maps for Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Westchester County, exposing homeowners to new building codes, shrinking property values and other painful costs.

People whose homes are in the flood zone will have two years to elevate their buildings to protect them from surging seawater or begin to face huge spikes in their flood insurance premiums.

The increased premiums will be phased in over several years once the maps are adopted — likely in 2015.

Chunks of southern Brooklyn, the Rockaways and Staten Island not previously labeled at risk were added to flood zones on the new maps. Maps for Manhattan and the Bronx are due out next month.

Check them out here:

Weiner eyeing comptroller job?

From the NY Post:

It looks like Anthony Weiner is testing the waters for a possible run for city comptroller this year.

At least two politically-connected individuals in Manhattan have received calls from a pollster asking about a possible match-up between the former Brooklyn Congressman and Scott Stringer, the Manhattan Borough President who is considered the heavy favorite in the race.

"It was strictly about Scott and Weiner," said one woman who took the survey on Sunday.

She said the pollster asked if she could back Weiner in light of the infamous sexting scandal that drove him from office in 2011.

When the woman said she was a Stringer supporter, the questions turned negative.

"If you knew he wanted outer borough people to pay a fee to come into Manhattan would that change your mind?" the pollster asked, according to the woman.

"If you knew that he had the support of the corrupt Brooklyn Democratic machine would that change your mind?"

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Queens Plaza getting another tower

From Crains:

The two-story, neon Eagle Electric sign, a long-time landmark in Long Island City, that was replaced by a regular billboard over a decade ago, is slated to get a high-profile successor—a 40-story, 400-plus-unit rental tower.

Early this month a consortium of Property Markets Group, the Hakim Organization and Vector Group paid $37 million for 23-10 Queens Plaza South, a prewar Art Deco-style loft building that was once home to Eagle Electric's production facilities, and a neighboring building at 23-01 42nd Road. The plan is to demolish the latter building and, with the considerable air rights afforded by the adjacent factory, construct a brand new apartment tower.

Long Island City has seen a boom in residential development in recent years, but much of the building has been focused along the waterfront. What drew the investors to the Eagle Electric site was a shift in development away from the river—where most properties have been snapped up, if not built up, already—towards Queens Plaza.

Mayor an asshole in private life, too

From the NY Post:

It looks like Mayor Bloomberg isn't exactly a "leg man" judging by an off-color remark he made at a party.

"Look at the a-- on her," Bloomberg reportedly commented when he spotted a woman in a form-fitting dress at a Christmas party off Park Avenue.

New York Magazine reporter Jonathan Van Meter said he overheard the comment when he attended the party in a townhouse in the East 60s and his host introduced him to the mayor.

Quinn told the reporter that the mayor once joked about her hair coloring to the point where she told him off.

When he last teased her about adding a third color -- gray -- to her trademark do, she said she responded: "Did you wake up being this big an a--hole? Or did it take, like, all day to ramp up to it and insult me like that?"

City sends Sandy victims to unsafe housing

From CBS 2:

Victims of Superstorm Sandy who are staying in temporary housing aren’t expecting room service, but some say that they are living in shocking conditions.

“We’re victims of Sandy but we shouldn’t have to be punished because of that,” a man who identified himself as Monroe, told CBS 2′s Steve Langford.

Residents of these temporary lodgings have complained of a lack of heat and problems with infestation.

“The roaches, and a lot of it has to do with, the mice,” said one man.

Some Sandy victims have been lucky enough to be put up in hotels like the Holiday Inn and the Double Tree, but more than two dozen former residents of the Rockaways are living in a pair of run down rooming houses in the Longwood section of the Bronx.

Those two buildings have reportedly received dozens of housing code violations and have numerous fire safety problems. When CBS 2 stopped by, a smoke alarm appeared to be running on a low battery; the building’s super said that he would replace it.

And the rapid home repairs aren't what they're cracked up to be.

Avella only BP candidate to protect parkland

Letter to the Editor [Times Ledger]

In 1895, Frederick Law Olmstead, the genius who created Central and Prospect parks, said, “The survival of our park system requires the exclusion from management of real estate dealers and politicians and that the first duty of our park trustees is to hand down from one generation to the next the treasure of scenery which the city placed in their care.”

The huge increase in our urban population and the congestion in modern cities makes it clear Olmstead’s admonition more than 100 years ago is even more pertinent today. In the depths of the Great Depression, New York City did not sell or barter public parkland for so-called economic purposes.

Unfortunately, the wisdom of the 1930s is lacking in far too many Queens politicians on whom Olmstead’s admonition falls on deaf ears. A case in point is the continual destruction of Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the benefit of real estate moguls and private business interests.

In its Dec. 20-26 issue (“Beep candidates wary of soccer site”), TimesLedger Newspapers wrote about people seeking the office of borough president and their views on allowing Major Soccer League, a private, for-profit business, to construct a stadium in FMCP, which would add another nail in the coffin of desecration of this important and needy park for the underprivileged.

Those seeking office are state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst).

A review of the article makes it clear the only person who understands what Olmstead was saying is Avella. There is no ambiguity in his position. He opposes the MLS stadium in the park. At the bottom of the list is Grodenchik, who, while he claims he needs more information, says he does not oppose private business development in the park — a rejection of Olmstead’s admonition and a slap in the face to the legitimate users of the park.

This should come as no surprise, since he is a clone of Helen Marshall, the current borough president, who for years has participated in the gradual destruction of the park.

Comrie claims he cannot make a decision until he knows the opinions of Council members whose districts abut the park. FMCP is a public park supported by tax dollars and its fate is not just in the hands of a few Council members. His indecision should be cause for concern.

As to Katz and Vallone, their claim to need more information is political nonsense. The only information that is relevant and already on the table is the fact that we are talking about public parkland, a non-renewable resource.

Peralta has already gone on record saying there is nothing wrong with selling off parkland to private, for-profit business interests, another park enemy. Would he dare suggest a stadium in Central, Prospect or Bronx parks for economic purposes?

For anyone who cares about preserving FMCP not just for themselves but for their children and generations as yet unborn, the choice for borough president should be Avella. I believe his election would once and for all signal that FMCP is off limits to real estate moguls and private business interests.

Benjamin M. Haber

Nightmare neighbors still hoarding

From the Queens Chronicle:

The property at 243-14 132 Road is littered with seemingly worthless items including broken furniture, buckets, pieces of wood, old cosmetics, tools and more.

“They use a U-Haul all the time, and they dump the stuff right on the lawn, and in the middle of the street, and then, I guess, they return the truck,” said neighbor H. Gardner, who asked that her first name not be published because she is embarrassed by the conditions next door. “With the U-Haul and all this garbage, that means they have to drag it up, past my driveway, so I had to get a rake and clean the debris because I need to pull my car out and I’m not sure if there’s nails and stuff.”

The property is an eyesore that neighbors say they are tired of looking at, especially when all the other homes on the street are rubbish-free with finely manicured lawns. They claim the property has always looked that way, ever since homeowner Elaine Ranger moved in about 10 years ago.

When the Chronicle first reported on the house back in April, Ranger and her daughter, who would not give her name, said they were in the process of spring cleaning and maintained that most of the items on the property were useful and the rest was just awaiting pickup by the Department of Sanitation.

Last Thursday, another woman who also claimed to be Ranger’s daughter but would not give her name, said the clutter was scattered about because she had recently emptied a storage unit and needed time to photograph the items as evidence in a pending lawsuit.

“I am not saying it’s excusable, but that’s the reason why it’s here,” she said. But she later noted, “I collect stuff. Things come in and out.”

Ranger faces eight alleged Environmental Control Board violations for construction work without a permit and quality-of-life infractions with fines totaling $6,900, and two Department of Buildings construction violations, just as she had in April, when the Chronicle first reported the story.

The city Department of Health issued a violation to Ranger in 2011 for improper storage of items and harborage conditions conducive to rats, a spokesman for the agency said back in April. The DOH and the Department of Sanitation did not respond to emails requesting information about any new violations.

Click on the DOB link provided. This one is a real doozy...

Monday, January 28, 2013

It has to be seen to be believed

Click photo for story.

Avella formally announces Queens BP candidacy

LPC eyeing Forest Park carousel

From the Queens Chronicle:

The Forest Park Carousel, which reopened last year after three years out of service, may be spinning into a long future.

Now, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is eyeing the attraction for a potential landmark designation.

“We’re actively considering it as a potential landmark and are working closely with the Parks Department on a timeline for a public hearing,” said Lisi de Bourbon, the spokeswoman for the LPC.

The confirmation from the agency comes after a representative of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) told Community Board 9 that the LPC said a landmark designation for the carousel was not on its agenda.

That Liz Crowley is a very effective representative, isn't she? Just so full of accurate information...among other things.

Cuomo vs. Silver on casino in Queens

From the Queens Chronicle:

Gov. Cuomo reiterated his support for full casino gaming — including table games — in New York State, but under the plan he outlined in this week’s State of the State speech, Queens residents will have to drive a good long while on the Thruway to get to roll real dice at a real craps table or sit with an actual blackjack dealer.

In his speech, Cuomo said the idea behind limiting full gaming to upstate is to boost tourism and economic development in upstate counties, while New York City already has 50 million tourists a year. Under his plan, up to three casinos would open to full gaming in upstate counties should the state Legislature and New York voters approve a constitutional amendment to allow table games.

“I believe casinos in upstate New York could be a great magnet to bring the New York City traffic up,” he said. “They now go to New Jersey, they go to Connecticut — why don’t we bring them to upstate New York?”

The plan was unveiled as piece of a larger part of the governor’s agenda that focused on economic development upstate, including promoting New York agriculture and farming and opening the Adirondacks to a national whitewater rafting competition.

But legislators who represent the communities near Resorts World Casino New York City — the only casino in the five boroughs — said the plan to not allow full casino gambling at Aqueduct Racetrack will prevent much-needed jobs and tourism from coming to Queens.

From the NY Times:

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Thursday that he was open to a Las Vegas-style casino in some parts of New York City, as he continued to soften his opposition to the idea of casino development within the five boroughs.

Mr. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, said he remained opposed to a casino with table games in Manhattan, but would be open to the idea in other areas of the city, specifically naming Coney Island and Willets Point, as well as the Aqueduct racetrack — sites that he has reportedly been considering for some time.

He also said Thursday that the Legislature wanted to have a say in the siting of any full-scale casinos, challenging a plan by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to put the power in the hands of a new gambling commission.

“The Legislature would like to have a role in geographic selection,” he said in comments outside his Albany office.

Mr. Silver has historically been the biggest opponent of casino gambling in New York City, and has been reluctant to consider casino development even on the city’s fringes. But his tone has been moderating over the last several months.

Stormproofing our electric system

From the Queens Courier:

If a Sandy-esque storm were to come in the future, power company Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) wants to be prepared.

The electric company recently submitted plans that detail major investments to protect “critical equipment and customers from devastating storms” like Sandy, according to a Con Ed statement.

Long-term projects such as putting flood-proof equipment in low-lying areas, building higher flood walls around facilities, reinforcing overhead equipment and putting overhead lines underground to limit outages were proposed so that in the case that the Greater New York area is struck by another storm, Con Ed customers will be that much more protected.

However, the plans do not come without a price, and Con Ed estimates that price to be about $1 billion, which could be acquired through 2016, partly through federal funding. Also, Con Ed itself has committed $250 million to spend this year and next year on storm protection measures.

To provide the remaining initial funding for this storm-protection effort, Con Ed proposed one-year delivery rates for electric, gas and steam services. This would raise a Con Ed customer’s electric bill only by 3.3 percent and gas by 1.3 percent. Due to fuel cost saving efforts, steam bills would decrease.

Crapper for Little Bay Park a long time coming

From the Times Ledger:

Residents of northeast Queens took some comfort in hearing that one long-awaited project at Little Bay Park would be moving forward soon.

In an e-mail to his community last week, Bay Terrace Community Alliance President Warren Schreiber said he was cautiously optimistic to report the city Parks Departments’ intention of breaking ground on a new comfort station at Little Bay Park in March.

“I am hopeful, but also skeptical,” Schreiber said. “I just don’t want to see the community disappointed again if they come up with another reason why the project cannot move forward.”

According to a Parks spokesman, the project should be finished by fall 2014 and will include a new comfort station, trees, plantings, and an expanded 100-car parking lot equipped with the ability to clean and absorb storm water runoff, reducing the burden on the area’s drains. The bidding process for the project is nearly finished and the project’s contracts are awarded, or soon to be awarded, the spokesman said.

Photo from Bayside Patch

Sunday, January 27, 2013

BSA shoots down parking plan!

From the Times Ledger:

The city has shot down a grocer’s plan to put a parking lot on the roof of his store in parking-starved downtown Flushing.

The owners of New York Mart, at the corner of Bowne Street and Roosevelt Avenue, sought permission from the city to turn their roof into a lot that would hold 49 cars. But the city Board of Standards and Appeals recently denied the request, TimesLedger Newspapers learned.

The BSA confirmed that the application had been denied, but has not yet written a report detailing the reasons for turning down the application, known as a special permit. Palatnik said his client is considering all options in the wake of the decision. One of those options would be to appeal the BSA’s ruling, according to board policy.

In October, the owners presented plans to CB 7, which voted to approve the application on several conditions.

The application was then approved by Borough President Helen Marshall before moving on to the BSA.

LIRR fence fix needed

From the Times Newsweekly:

Children in Elmhurst have been taking advantage of a hole in a fence across nearby Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) tracks, according to a local resident—and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has informed the Times Newsweekly that it is investigating the hazardous condition.

Elmhurst resident Paul Neuendorf, who lives near the fencing, contacted the Times Newsweekly regarding an 80-foot hole in the fence separating the south end of the street at 45th Avenue and 90th Street from the railroad tracks which he claims has existed since October 2012.

The tracks are part of the LIRR’s Port Washington branch; in fact, the old Elmhurst station, which closed in 1985, is two blocks west of the location.

“We have a chronic condition of kids running on the tracks,” Neuendorf stated.

He noted that those youngsters include students from Newtown High

-CONTINUED FROM PG. 1- School, located only a few blocks south of the location.

Neuendorf claimed that Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) representatives had been notified of the hole several times, yet the agency has yet to make repairs.

He went where the money was

From the NY Post:

A month after state Sen. Malcolm Smith bolted the Democratic Party to join the Independent Democratic Conference, seven of his staffers have gotten raises as high as 27 percent.

The extra staff cash in the Queens Dem’s budget is a reward for his defection, an Albany insider told The Post.

Smith and the four other breakaway Dems in the IDC made it possible for Republican Dean Skelos — who doles out staff budgets — to remain as Senate majority leader.

Best buddies

From DNA Info:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg singled out City Council Speaker Christine Quinn Friday as the only "rational" Democratic candidate to succeed him — because she's the only one who refuses to criticize his policies, he claimed.

“I will say, you know, the one aspirant that we know of on the Democratic side that really hasn’t engaged in any of this — most of this foolishness — is Quinn," said Bloomberg, speaking during his weekly radio show with WOR's John Gambling.

"She’s much more rational and understands there’s no simple solution to complex problems,” Bloomberg said.

Quinn has a difficult balancing act to play when it comes to positioning herself vis-à-vis the mayor. While she can benefit from his endorsement, she has also been criticized from the left for not challenging him on a range of issues, including term limits.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gropez to represent Queens?

From Crains:

Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s interest in running for the New York City Council appears to be renewed. On Friday afternoon, Mr. Lopez told The Insider that he would make a decision about a run in “two or three weeks.” And after several weeks of trudging to Albany, Mr. Lopez, who said he skipped this week’s legislative session to keep a series of doctors appointments in New York City, is strongly looking at a position closer to home.

“I will be evaluating whether I want to retire or whether I want to continue in politics and run for the City Council,” Mr. Lopez said, adding that he did not enjoy the cold weather in Albany. Previously, Mr. Lopez has cited poor health as a reason he may not run for the council.

If he does run, Mr. Lopez said, he would have support, noting that “600″ people showed up at his Christmas party this year. Mr. Lopez said a run would be for the seat currently held by Councilwoman Diana Reyna, which would require that he move into the district if he won.

Which would mean he would represent part of Queens should he win. God help us.

Long Island Sounds like B.S.

From the NY Times:

New York City’s health commissioner ardently defended the city’s decision not to evacuate hospitals and nursing homes before Hurricane Sandy, facing down withering questions Thursday from City Council members who contended that some old people may have died as a result.

The commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, said that the city and state health commissioners — ultimately reporting to the mayor — had made the best decision they could using information from the National Weather Service, which he said initially showed the brunt of the storm hitting Long Island Sound.

By the time on Sunday that it was clear the storm was threatening the city more directly, he said, “We couldn’t have accomplished the evacuation of everybody in Zone A before zero hour,” which appeared to be as early as midnight.

Part of Long Island Sound lies between Queens and the Bronx, so a storm surge should have been expected regardless of where along the Sound the storm touched down. Plus, the hurricane would obviously have had to pass over land before reaching Long Island Sound. (Makes me wonder if the health commissioner, city council and NY Times know where LI Sound actually is, since this was not explored further.) And how is it that City officials got different information from the National Weather Service than every media outlet that reported on the storm? I recall phrases like, "storm of the century" and maps showing the amazing width of the storm well before midnight, all of them showing a direct hit on NYC.

Of course, the decision to not evacuate had more to do with piss-poor planning: there was no place to send the evacuees and it cost a lot of money that the administration didn't want to spend. And despite the nonsense Farley spewed during this dog-and-pony show, people DID die after being evacuated, because the places they were sent were not prepared to take care of them. Here's what some of them are going through now. Sad, isn't it?

Huntley to plead guilty

From the NY Post:

Former New York state Sen. Shirley Huntley is planning to plead guilty to mail fraud charges in a new federal case leveled against her, The Post has learned.

The Queens Democrat is expected to admit that she used funds from a non-profit organization to benefit herself and family members, a source said.

The embattled ex-legislator was indicted originally on Aug. 27 by state authorities on charges that she falsified documents to conceal the fact that her niece and an aide allegedly siphoned $30,000 from a sham charity she created. She pleaded not guilty to those state charges.

But Brooklyn federal prosecutors working in the US Attorney's Office's public corruption unit quietly opened a mail fraud case against Huntley — and now she is poised to surrender to authorities soon with the intention of entering a guilty plea, sources said.

A spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Brooklyn declined to comment on the case against Huntley.

Parking problem on Roosevelt Avenue

From the Daily News:

Woodside merchants are urging the city to lift a weekday parking restriction on Roosevelt Ave. because they say it’s unnecessary and bad for business.

Donovan’s Pub owners launched a petition this week appealing a 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. “No Parking” regulation on Roosevelt Ave. between 51st and 59th streets.

“It has a really negative impact on our business and others along the avenue,” pub co-owner Dan Connor, 45, said of the regulation.

“It’s metered parking all day except those three hours and not everyone knows that,” Connor said. “There are no traffic issues here that we would need the zone.”

Connor and his business partner, James Jacobson, took over the bar on Dec. 28 and said they will be recruiting fellow merchants in their petition.

Donald Zarchy, 58, who owns Zarchy Pharmacy, across the street from the pub, said he would sign the petition.

“People come in for prescriptions and then have their cars towed,” he said. “Some have no idea it’s a tow-away zone. It’s been a problem for a long time. It’s just to get revenue for the city but I don’t think it’s necessary.”

A spokesman for the city Department of Transportation said the agency would be unlikely to change the rules.

Developers clearly favor Katz for BP

From the Times Ledger:

One of the powers entrusted to a borough president is to review and make recommendations on land use applications for development projects in Queens.

The real estate industry has been backing certain candidates in the race to replace current Borough President Helen Marshall, and it seems to be firmly behind former Democratic Councilwoman Melinda Katz, according to an analysis of campaign finance data from the city Campaign Finance Board.

The current Democratic field also includes state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Director of Community Boards Barry Grodenchik, Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria).

Both Katz and Comrie, who was unable to file because of a technical difficulty, have served as head of the Council’s powerful Committee on Land Use.

Each candidate’s filings were examined for donations from real estate firms, developers, architects and real estate lawyers. The filings cover the period up to Jan. 15. Because some of the data was incomplete, the numbers are only rough estimates, but Katz is clearly preferred.

Katz stepped down as a lobbyist from Greenberg & Traurig in November and her filings date back to August. About $109,000, or about 38 percent, of her funds for the borough president race have come from real estate interests.

High-ranking employees of major Queens developers, like Cord Meyer, Tully Construction and the Hemmerdinger family’s ATCO, were all represented in the filings, but some of the biggest developers from across the city chipped in as well.

Katz received at least 15 maximum donations of $3,850 from real estate interests, including the spouses of company executives. Only one other candidate received a maximum donation from a real estate interest.

Friday, January 25, 2013

56 acres and 400+ trees will be lost to FMCP projects

Information concerning three large projects proposed by private business interests, that threaten more than 50 acres of Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York City.

Gov wants to buy up waterfront property

From the Daily News:

Gov. Cuomo wants Hurricane Sandy victims who live along the coast to consider rebuilding their homes on stilts or selling their houses to the state and relocating.

“At one point, you have to say maybe Mother Nature doesn’t want you here. Maybe she’s trying to tell you something,” Cuomo said in a phone interview with the Daily News Editorial Board.

Cuomo said he hopes more Sandy victims will choose to have the state buy them out rather than rebuild in areas that are at risk of future storm damage.

It would relieve the government of having to pay to rebuild the same houses multiple times.

The state will offer “fair market” appraisals of people’s properties that he expects will be “on the generous side.”

“We give you a check and you move on,” he said. “We take the property.”

'Under Cuomo’s plan, the properties would stay “fallow” — with nothing built on it.

Under Cuomo’s plan, the state would have to decide what to do with the bought-out properties. One possibility is giving them to the city or state parks departments.

You can get there from here, but it'll take a while

"I think we can sometimes see how interested members of Congress are by judging how accessible they make their district offices.

Congresswoman Grace Meng has opened her district office in Bayside at 218-14 Northern Boulevard. That's six blocks from the eastern edge of the district. It's also an hour and fifteen by perfectly functioning public transportation from Juniper Valley Park (in the district). It's 3 1/2 miles from the nearest subway station (Flushing Main St) and 4 1/2 from 179th Street on the F Line. It's only a half mile from Bayside on the LIRR. There were plenty more centralized options closer to the subway she could have picked, considering the district includes 16 subway stops.

Even Joe Crowley found a way to be more accessible to constituents in both Queens and the Bronx." - anonymous

This was probably done in homage to Gary Ackerman. This is where his office was.

The tax man cometh

From the NY Post:

New York’s a tax hell — according to Gov. Cuomo’s own budget proposal.

The state and localities took $14.71 of every $100 New Yorkers earned in 2010 — second most in the nation after Alaska and 42 percent above the $10.38 national average, according to Cuomo’s budget division and census data.

Budgeteers suggest taxes paid by high-earning out-of-state commuters and tourists inflate New York’s numbers.

And Cuomo aides noted that since he took office in 2011, he limited property-tax growth to 2 percent a year, cut middle-class income-tax rates and approved a state takeover of future local Medicaid cost increases.

But critics faulted him for increasing income-tax rates for high earners, extending some taxes and fees and failing to provide enough relief to localities from unfunded state mandates.

Contaminated Whitestone soil came from Brooklyn

From the Times Ledger:

Months after a state agency fined two companies working on a brownfield site in Whitestone for importing unauthorized soil onto the property where a high-end residential development is planned, TimesLedger Newspapers has learned that some of the soil in question came from a former Superfund site.

The property in question is called Waterpointe, a proposed development of expensive homes near the corner of 6th Road and 151st Place.

...well before Edgestone acquired the property, additional soil was dumped on top of the DEC-approved material under Barone and EBI’s watch. This eventually led the agency to fine the two companies a total of $150,000, half of which will be nixed if the problems are corrected, and prompted a cleanup of the unauthorized material. Some of that material included soil from a former electroplating facility in Brooklyn, Gordon said Tuesday night.

Documents obtained from the DEC via a Freedom of Information Law request showed that the soil she was referring to came from 154 N. 7th St. in Brooklyn.

That is the same address where in 1997 a company called All Plating Corp. was abandoned and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency later cleaned up leaking hazardous materials under its Superfund program, according to the EPA. A Superfund site is a hazardous waste site that poses harm to surrounding communities and is cleaned up under the EPA.

In two instances, Barone told TimesLedger Newspapers that the fine from DEC and subsequent required cleanup were due to a paperwork error. In essence, Barone Management and EBI did not do enough testing on the material it brought in to satisfy DEC requirements, he said.

A new environmental company overseeing the site estimated that removing the unauthorized material would take between weeks and months and would cost at least about $500,000.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Another hospital closure?

From the NY Post:

Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn faces closure -- just two years after the state approved a merger to save the financially ailing 155-year old facility, source told the Post.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which acquired LICH in 2011, has sent out word that its eying shutting down the Cobble Hill hospital — the only one that provides emergency room service in Brownstone Brooklyn.

A New York State Nurses Association rep visited the hospital to warn staffers that the hospital could close as soon as March 15.

Historic theater to be restored

Mystery line

Does anyone know why there would be a yellow line painted on the sidewalk? There's a school on the right.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The rent is too damn high

From the NY Post:

Data obtained by The Post found that 19 of the 27 senators representing parts of New York City — 70 percent — submitted rental bills that exceeded their $40,000 annual allotment for 2011-12.

Among the budget busters was Democrat Jeff Klein of The Bronx, one of the new co-leaders of the Senate. He spent $49,821, although his spokesman said he moved in October 2011 to a cheaper office — which is still over the limit on a yearly basis.

Malcolm Smith of Queens, who spent $50,000 on a Jamaica Avenue office, is one of the five members of Klein’s Independent Democratic Conference, which formed an unprecedented power-sharing coalition this year with the Senate GOP.

Republican Martin Golden of Brooklyn was also among the transgressors, billing taxpayers $48,000 for his district office in Bay Ridge — the same amount Senate Democratic Campaign Committee Chairman and deputy Democratic leader Michael Gianaris of Queens paid for his district office in Astoria.

And Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) paid $49,723 for his district office at 38-50 Bell Blvd. He insisted the Senate Republicans negotiated his lease — claiming he didn’t even know he was over the limit.

Even imprisoned ex-Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) and indicted former Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) got in on the fun, despite having represented lower-rent neighborhoods, spending $45,000 and $47,452, respectively.

Has Bloomberg dropped the education ball?

From the NY Post:

Remember the time Mike Bloomberg jetted off to sunny Bermuda as a monster snowstorm bore down on the five boroughs? Never again, he said afterward, woefully, while the city ever-so-slowly dug itself out of the drifts.

Well, some tigers just can’t change their stripes.

For there he was last week, down in Maryland giving America a firearms intervention while the United Federation of Teachers and his own crack Department of Education negotiators pulled his pants down on teacher-quality reform.

Transforming the city’s public-school system into a national model for quality and effectiveness was once right at the top of Mayor Mike’s personal legacy list.

But then came the third-term blahs, the departure of Joel Klein as schools chancellor, the ensuing Cathy Black debacle, the ascendancy of the thuggish United Federation of Teachers boss Mike Mulgrew — and the now-pervasive sense that Bloomberg no longer much gives a damn about the city’s 1,400 schools.

Fact is, he’s always been long on big ideas and short on follow-through (congestion pricing, anyone?). The schools seem to be no different.

Alley Creek meeting

From Bayside Patch:

In an ongoing effort to limit the amount of storm runoff draining into Alley Creek in northeast Queens, the city Parks Department is holding a community forum to bring residents into the decision-making process.

At the end of this month, Parks will host a meeting in Douglaston to discuss Alley Creek’s watershed management plan to protect and enhance the area’s ecological resources, a spokesman said. The meeting, scheduled for Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. at Alley Pond Environmental Center, will focus primarily on open space parkland surrounding Alley Creek, where storm water runoff naturally drains into the creek and nearby Little Neck Bay.

The city Parks Natural Resources Group will seek community input as it develops its goals for a watershed-wide management plan to keep water at Alley Creek clean, Parks said. Residents of northeast Queens will have their chance to weigh in on issues of flooding, sewage runoff, environmental habitats and water quality.

The discussion comes more than a year after the city Department of Environmental Protection announced the completion of a $130 million Combined Sewer Overflow facility at Alley Creek, which keeps sewage from running off into the nearby waters.

Cuomo's regs may backfire on mentally ill

From the NY Post:

The city’s population of mentally deranged street people may explode because of new regulations signed by Gov. Cuomo last week that forbid privately run adult homes from accepting new residents, advocates warned.

“Hospitals can’t discharge to us,” said Jeffrey Edelman, who runs adult homes in Queens and The Bronx. “Within a week, the hospitals will be starting to get backed up, and they are going to have big problems.”

The change is part of the state’s efforts to comply with a federal court ruling that found institutionalizing the mentally ill in adult homes wrongly segregates them.

An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 mentally ill people, the majority in New York City, could be affected.

“My residents need reminders several times a day to take their medications and see their doctors,” Edelman said. “My residents used to be in homeless shelters and went from hospital to hospital.”

New hospital building is causing problems

From DNA Info:

A group of Astoria neighbors says the construction of a massive eight-story medical facility in the neighborhood is putting their buildings on life support and might endanger residents' health.

The 53,993-square foot building at 23-25 31st St. abuts the backyards of several houses on 32nd Street, and a portion of it was mistakenly built 10 feet closer to the properties than zoning regulations allow, according to city records.

For the last several years, residents on 32nd Street have fought against the project, saying construction errors have caused damage to the foundations of their homes, which they say shifted and cracked.

Neighbors say their latest trial is the discovery that the developer, Pali Realty, has confirmed plans to install mechanical equipment — including exhaust vents for a 134-car parking garage — in the space directly behind their backyard patios and gardens.

According to the developer, the building was mistakenly built according to outdated zoning.

The developers are now applying for a special city permit to legalize the rear yard and continue construction of the site, with their application set to be reviewed by the Board of Standards and Appeals in the coming months.

So what does Vallone have to say about this?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Push for development company to clean up its act

From the Times Ledger:

A limited liability company called 151-45 Sixth Rd. Partners LLC was fined $150,000 in November by the state Department of Environmental Conservation for importing unapproved soil onto the site, on the waterfront near the intersection of 151st Place and 6th Road, as a part of the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program.

The program provides incentives such as tax breaks to developers who clean up toxic properties by entering into an agreement with the environmental agency. The partnership did not abide by all of those regulations and is now in the process of removing a portion of the soil it imported.

That partnership includes Massachusetts-based Enviro Business, also known as EBI Consulting, which was appointed by a bankruptcy court to oversee cleanup of the property, and Barone Management, a Whitestone firm hired by EBI to actually replace the soil. EBI paid $75,000 of the fine, and when it removes the unauthorized soil DEC will waive the second half of the fine.

The new owner of the property, a company called Edgestone Group LLC, is seeking to renew a permit that will allow it to build 52 single-family homes on the plot.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and civic leaders are asking the City Planning Commission to delay considering the application until the partnership cleans up the site.

“I respectfully submit that the above-referenced application be held in abeyance until such time as DEC has notified City Planning that the requirements of the Brownfield cleanup have been properly complied with, including the removal of all ‘unapproved materials’ that were wrongfully dumped on the site and all the fines have been paid in full,” Avella said in a Jan. 8 letter to the commission.

But Edgestone contends no construction can begin anyway until DEC determines that the site has been properly cleaned and issues a certificate of completion for the Brownfield Cleanup Program, and thus delaying the permit only delays an asset to the community.

“Edgestone is looking forward to building 52 beautiful, single-family homes and a 3 1/2-acre public open space,” said spokesman Bill Driscoll.

Bill Driscoll AND the Vallones are involved in this? Sheesh.

Mad cash dash

From the NY Post:

State lawmakers are scrambling to rake in as much cash as possible before Gov. Cuomo’s overhaul of campaign laws is enacted.

Cuomo’s proposal would target Albany’s “pay-to-play” culture by limiting contributions fat cats and lobbyists can make to lawmakers.

And now politicians are acting like pigs running to the trough.

At least 17 lawmakers, including party leaders, have held or scheduled fund-raisers in the first weeks of the legislative session.

Backers of Cuomo’s reform plan say pols realize change is coming.

Democratic Queens Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos are hosting events Wednesday at Albany’s posh Fort Orange Club blocks from the Capitol.

Donors giving $500 at Hevesi’s breakfast are called “friends,” and those who give or collect $1,000 are “sponsors.”

Skelos is asking $1,000 a person for his evening soiree at the club.

Same old song and dance

From DNA Info:

Backing the building of a new Major League Soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, State Assemblyman Francisco Moya predicted the addition would be successful for a very specific reason — the soccer-mad population.

He said the area has a lot of Hispanic residents, and Hispanic cultures treat soccer "like a religion."

"We live and breathe the sport," Moya said recently. "It becomes a sense of pride for the team and the city, and that's exactly how it would be for Major League Soccer and Queens. That whole surrounding area is just a soccer community."

This has become the prevailing wisdom: Because of the cultural impact of the sport in Spanish-speaking countries, Corona's largely Hispanic, immigrant population will overwhelmingly support a new stadium if it is built in the nearby park.

But the stadium's opponents are disputing this narrative. The truth, they say, is more nuanced.

"This is the storyline they want: 'Latinos want soccer, and [protesters] don't want to give it to them.' That's a false argument," said Will Sweeney of the Jackson Heights Green Alliance, one of the groups opposed to park development.

"They're trying to make this false choice. We shouldn't have to choose between jobs and parkland. We shouldn't have to choose between having soccer and not having soccer. Let's have soccer in the right place."

Exactly. Since MLS and the pols who they bought support them can't justify the alienation of yet more parkland for private business, they have to create the illusion of racial animosity. This is an old trick from the Book of Tweeding. See previously: Ridgewood Reservoir.

Don't take heat and power for granted

City planning strikes again

From the NY Times:

Though there are plenty of start-ups that favor Williamsburg and Greenpoint, developers, local officials and real estate brokers say there is a dearth of office space. Most landlords, lured by the promise of building lucrative apartments in the increasingly popular residential area, are reluctant to devote space to commercial tenants who can pay little and might wither as quickly as they bloom.

For some longtime residents and younger champions of north Brooklyn, the shortage raises the specter of a creative, economically diverse neighborhood turning into just another bedroom community. Will entrepreneurs follow the lead of Kickstarter, which is renovating an old factory in Greenpoint to serve as its long-term headquarters, or will the area’s booming residential market squeeze out everything but wealthy commuters?

Part of the problem is zoning: though parts of Williamsburg and Greenpoint are zoned for mixed commercial and residential use, the zoning tilts residential. The bigger issue is supply, or as developers might see it, demand. was not uncommon for the owners of old factories or warehouses — the kind of industrial building every developer wants — to refuse to sell because they are holding out for their properties to be rezoned for residential use.

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's an epidemic

From the Daily News:

The sudden collapse of a 380-foot construction crane in Queens this month surprised laborers working below.

But the image of the huge device crumpled across a Long Island City construction site on Jan. 9 was depressingly familiar — part of a recent spike in crane accidents that has plagued the city, a Daily News investigation has found.

Records reveal owners who aren’t maintaining the huge machines and crane operators who aren’t using them safely.

The News found multiple examples since 2010: A laborer lost fingers because a crane job wasn’t properly supervised. A worker’s leg was crushed when a crane knocked a load of concrete onto him. A worker was knocked off his perch by a swinging load and fell 32 feet.

In the past few years, cranes have tipped over, smashed into buildings and dropped huge payloads. Operators have swung bundles of steel over busy city streets and picked up loads much heavier than their machines can handle.

And it’s getting worse.

You are who your friends are

From the NY Post:

A number of Congressman Gregory Meeks’ friends are now in jail or under indictment, as prosecutors ramp up a federal probe into the New York Democrat.

One old pal, Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, is already in federal prison; another, Edul Ahmad, is facing sentencing in a $50 million mortgage scam; and Albert Baldeo was recently charged with campaign-finance fraud.

Baldeo, the latest of Meeks’ pals to be arrested, is a Queens immigration lawyer whom the congressman described as a “good friend.”

Baldeo was arrested by federal authorities in October, charged with using straw donors in his failed 2010 City Council bid. He was accused of giving friends and associates money to donate to his campaign in their own names in an attempt to boost contributions and gain city matching funds.

Meeks, 59, had a satellite district office in a building owned by Baldeo from 2002 to 2004.

Baldeo told The Post he gave Meeks a break on the rent because he wanted the congressman to have a presence in his Richmond Hill community. House rules prohibit representatives from receiving below-market rent.

Baldeo is negotiating a possible plea deal with the feds. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the four charges.

Squatter killed in abandoned Richmond Hill garage

From the Times Ledger:

A homeless man who was squatting in the detached garage of an abandoned Richmond Hill home was found dead after the place caught on fire early Saturday morning.

Firefighters found the garage on 120th Street near Liberty Avenue engulfed in flames when they arrived just before 1 a.m. and after the fire was extinguished they discovered an unidentified body inside, according to the NYPD.

Neighbor Shafqat Wasi said that for the past few years a group of five to 10 vagrants have been living in the garage.

“I saw them using candles in there,” he said. “I told them don’t do that. It’s not safe.”

Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire.

John Liu: Twice a liar

From the NY Post:

John Liu hasn’t officially announced, but he’s already recycling an old — and debunked — tale about working in a sweatshop while growing up in Queens.

In a video released for his recent birthday, Liu put it this way: “My mom worked for a long time in a garment factory, and when I was seven I got my first job working in the same garment factory, and I learned first-hand why they called the place a sweatshop.”

The last time he used this story was in his successful 2009 race for city comptroller. The recycling of this tear-jerker is a signal that he now has his eye on Gracie Mansion.

Don’t go reaching for the Kleenex, either. Liu’s own mom says the story is fiction.

After Liu began blanketing the airwaves with his startling claim four years ago (“By seven, I had to work in a sweatshop to make ends meet”), his mother corrected him.

“I never go to the factory,” she told a reporter. “I just go there and pick up some material and bring home, because I had to take care of my kids.” She says John used to help her with garment work back at home to earn a few extra dollars.

That was New York’s bizarre introduction to John Liu. Soon, voters will likely be asked to consider him as a candidate for mayor. What does it say that he’s repeating a tale his own mother says is a lie?

Maybe he hopes that if he tells a story often enough, voters will simply believe him.

Maybe he’s a bit confused in the head.

Whatever the case, Liu may want to figure out his own past before he asks New Yorkers to trust him with their future.


Made me think of this...

But if someone doesn't act soon, the result won't be so funny.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Junky Jamaica

Dear Councilman Leroy Comrie, Councilman James Gennaro, Councilman Ruben Wills, Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, Senator Malcolm Smith, Assemblymember Rory Lancman, Assemblymember Vivian Cook, Assemblymember William Scarborough, Iggy Terranova, Community Board #12 Members, Community Board #8 Members and Other Concerned Individuals:

It has been awhile since I have written to all of you, but I am still around and keeping an eye on my community of Jamaica.

You folks need to really start to do something about this garbage problem here in Jamaica. You need to really enforce littering laws for businesses and individuals. You need to really crack down on property owners of vacant lots and slum lord buildings. It seems that Jamaica has such poor leadership and political figures (past and present) who are either corrupt (former Senator Shirley Huntley), lazy (Assemblymember Vivian Cook) or plain useless as Queens Borough "piece of shit" Helen Marshall, who has practically sold out Queens like some cheap crack whore to the highest bidder. Some of you other Rogue Gallery politicians seem to be just plain lazy and not give a shit. I see that Senator Malcolm Smith is going to have a couple of town hall meeting (which I attended one last year), but they just seem to be a great photo opportunity, saying things that sound good to the people but actually not accomplishing anything and not addressing or solving our problems. As far as local politicians who have actually reached out to me and help me with the garbage problem have been Assemblymember Rory Lancman and Councilman James Gennaro and they are not even in my district. I do have to say that Laurel Brown from the Jamaica Bid has done an excellent job in improving the downtown area, especially as far as garbage/litter.

Sorry but I don't have much faith for pretty much the rest of you jokers. Why you have all let Jamaica for decades go down the drain is beyond me. This community can be such a great place to live but not with all the bullshit that is going on. For example the brick road area on 164th Street with all the shops there are just plain shit. One ghetto crap place after another with junk shops and beauty supplies stores thrown into the mix. If this street was anywhere else, this would be a very hip place with outdoor cafes/restaurant, boutique shops, etc. As it stands it is just a mishmosh of shit, it does not even have a African-American flair. What a waste. So why is nothing being done to change that or are you all happy attracting low class ghetto people and low class 3rd world immigrants who add to the garbage problem and bring NOTHING to the table. Don't believe me take a look at the stretch of Hillside Avenue between 168th Street and 171st Street, one big filthy third world piece of shit.

As far as garbage below are places that I have been complaining about for a couple of years that are still not being taken care of (pictures are attached):

1. 170-19 89th Avenue (Empty Lot): There is always garbage piled in the front of it and on the sidewalk as well as the wooden fence has been falling apart for some time. Of course the owner bought the property a few years ago, torn down the house there and has done nothing with it and does not take care of it.

2. 168-07 89th Avenue (apartment building): I have been complaining about this notorious slum lord building for a couple of years. They always have overflowing garbage cans without lids on the sidewalk, garbage all over the place. I have seen live rats and dead rats all over there. I just recently reported this for the 100th time to Sanitation and this was their response:

Request #: 2013WB5254405
168-07 89 AVENUE
The Department of Sanitation investigated this complaint and found no violation at the location.

Really, because the photos I took say another story.

3. 88-24 170th Ave (house with junk car with no license, no tires on a slanted driveway. I have reported this a few times and NOTHING.

I noticed on Hillside Avenue going west of Sutphin where there are a lot of empty car places, another big metal part of a gate was just lying all over the sidewalk. Who knows how long this has been. I rarely go in that area but was driving by the other day and saw it.

So what are you all doing to do about this???????????????

Joe Moretti