Sunday, July 12, 2020

22,000 votes got spoiled in Queens election results

Queens Eagle

New York’s arcane election laws are preventing some candidates and election observers from reviewing nearly 22,000 invalidated ballots, say a group of Queens political activists.
The Board of Elections only allows candidates and election attorneys to review copies of ballot envelopes deemed invalid if they receive a court order to do so. A spokesperson for the BOE, Valerie Vazquez, said people who request copies of the envelopes with a court order also receive a notation of the preliminary determination, which explains why an absentee ballot was tossed by election officials. It could be that the envelopes were filled out incorrectly or were not postmarked, she said. Campaigns, usually through election attorneys, can then challenge those disqualifications.
Overall, 21,980 ballots were preliminarily disqualified, according to a handwritten breakdown provided by BOE officials to members of the New Reformers, a political organization that represents a slate of candidates for Democratic district leader positions. 
  In an email exchange shared with the Eagle, BOE attorney Steve Richman told attorney Arthur Schwartz, who represents 20 Queens candidates, that the candidates did not submit a request to review ballots by a Wednesday morning deadline. Schwartz countered that the deadline applied to a review of registration records and not to observe invalidated absentee ballot envelopes.
“Why do you have to be Mr. Difficult. Let the observers look at the envelopes which aren't being opened. Maybe it will enhance your reputation of being open and transparent,” Schwartz wrote.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Trump wears the mask

Header media

W.W.R.D.? (What will Reynoso do?)

Hi folks,

One of the advantages of having a blog with longevity is that you get to follow the tweeding stories as they unfold. Then you get to call out the tweeders on their BS. Let's take a little trip down memory lane...

It was 2014, and a lot in Ridgewood close to the Bushwick border was being rezoned to allow a filthy eyesore truck lot to be transformed into a gleaming new residential project. Hopes were high that the developers would include affordable housing in their plans. The electeds got to work:

From the Times Ledger:

Some argued the rents described by developers — with studios going for about $1,000 and two-bedroom apartments renting for up to $1,800 a month — would not be affordable to most in Ridgewood and invite an influx of young, wealthier inhabitants...

Katz’s nod of approval came with two suggestions. She requested an unspecified number of apartments be reserved for those making 60 percent of the area’s median income and urged a different commercial overlay be used to recruit a wider array of businesses.

An applicant representative said the landlord would be willing to use the zoning suggested by Katz during the June 11 Planning Commission hearing, application documents show.

The spokesman also agreed to permanently offer eight units in the larger development as affordable housing. When prompted by the commission, he committed to increasing this to 20 percent of the building’s apartments provided the city permits a bulkier development than currently authorized by its Inclusionary Housing program.

From DNA Info:

The proposal for the 88-unit building originally had no affordable housing, but developers committed to 50 percent affordable units, along with the affordable community space after discussions with Reynoso's office and community members, the councilman's office said.

"Any project that runs through a ULURP process will need to meet demands of real affordability, and I’m pleased that we were able to achieve that here," Reynoso said.

The affordable units, of which 20 percent will be permanently affordable, will be distributed to people earning between $23,000 to $105,000 per year.

50% of 88 units is 44. 20% of 44 is 8. Eight units will be "permanently" affordable.

Now, let's take a look at what the community actually got, courtesy of Ridgewood Post:

Forty apartments in a newly constructed building in Ridgewood are up for grabs through the city’s affordable housing lottery — but only for those who make at least $61,000 a year.

The building, called the “The Strand,” is located at 18-81 Starr St. It has a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, which cost upwards of $1,797 a month through the lottery.

Residents must make 130 percent of the area median income to be eligible for the lottery.

Ok, so now we're at 40 affordable units instead of 44? Rent for a studio was supposed to be $1000, now it's starting at $1800? Instead of 60% of the median income, the applicants have to make 130%? Minimum income of $23,000 has now become $61,600?

So, Antonio Reynoso, what are you going to do about this developer pulling a fast one? Or is being complicit with this part of the overall plan?

JQ Update:

Another tidbit from that old DNA article mentions that the developer behind this was the Slate Property Management Group LLC.

You remember those guys right? They were the ones who bought Rivington House for a song from the city and then tried to flip the building to some "mysterious buyer" for luxury condo development for 10 times for what it's worth as de Blasio was busy with his pay to play Campaign for one New York fundraising shenanigans and meetings with his "agents of the city" in city hall.

And speaking of Ridgewood and longevity (you're welcome), the creative geniuses behind Slate joined forces with craft swill makers Rockaway Brewery and attempted to open a pop up beach when this fraudulent affordable housing building was a toxic dirt yard about 4 years ago, which I called out for weeks in my role as a muckraking commenter back in the day.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Small businesses in Queens get smaller PPP rescue loans

Queens Eagle

 Nearly 21,500 Queens-based businesses received a loan of less than $150,000 through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, newly released data from the federal government shows. 

The PPP loans totaled $602,995,888 and enabled those Queens businesses to retain 72,765 employees, according to the data. The loan program, designed to help small businesses continue paying employees during the COVID-19 economic slowdown, passed as part of the federal CARES Act in April.

The data is included in two massive spreadsheets released Monday by the federal Small Business Administration in response to Freedom of Information Act requests and pressure from elected officials.

One spreadsheet lists companies that received more than $150,000. Despite the intention that the PPP loans go to small businesses, some of the country’s largest corporations received funding, including McDonalds and Wendy’s franchises. The SBA named all businesses that received more than $150,000.

A second spreadsheet included companies that received less than $150,000, but the federal government did not name them. Instead, the spreadsheets include the loan amount, business zip code and the town — or in the case of most Queens businesses, the neighborhood. The spreadsheet also includes each firm’s North American Industry Classification System number, a code used to classify a company’s type of business.

The data dump shows that 21,480 companies with Queens zip codes received PPP payments of less than $150,000. They range from a South Ozone Park information services firm that received $2 to a Whitestone construction firm that took in $149,990, according to the data.

The average loan amount was about $28,072 and the median loan was $16,710, according to an analysis of the data, but some of the data may be flawed, said Tom Grech, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

Extremely low loan amounts, like the $2 listed for the South Ozone Park company, may have been typos by the SBA, Grech said.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The 71% and the 75%



The 25%


The New York City housing market is in crisis as tenants are unable to pay their rent due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from Bloomberg Businessweek.

A quarter of the city's renters have not paid rent since March, the report said, citing information from the Community Housing Improvement Program, which represents landlords of rent-stabilized buildings.

As renters fail to pay, landlords are lacking funds to pay their own bills, so the city could see hundreds of millions of dollars in delinquent property tax payments, according to the Bloomberg report.

More than 735,000 households in New York City have lost income due to the pandemic, according to the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. An estimated 526,000 of these households filed for unemployment insurance and one in four households now face eviction, according to the center.

Despite the pandemic and budget cuts, plans to build the borough tower jails still proceed


Officials at a senior citizens’ residence next to a Lower Manhattan jail say they were told by city officials that they’ll have a few extra months before demolition starts next door.

The Manhattan Detention Complex’s knockdown is being delayed from next March to June or July, according to Charlie Lai, executive director of the Chung Pak building for seniors, which is adjacent to the jail and is scheduled to receive protective upgrades before the demo work starts.

“That will give us only 12 months or so to complete everything,” he said, including shielding for a rooftop solarium and new windows. “I am extremely anxious about, you know, getting it started so that the building has its own envelope of safety.”

The call to Lai last week from the city’s affordable housing agency marked one of the latest signs that the de Blasio administration’s 10-year, $8.7 billion plan to replace Rikers Island with smaller jails in every borough except Staten Island has hit some early snags.

Another sign: some recent pandemic-spurred funding changes, which prompted one Lower Manhattan community group to crow this week: “We have saved Chinatown for now.”
But city officials said the plan to demolish and replace the 24-story jail tower known as The Tombs is still a go — along with the rest of the planned new lockups.

“There have been no cuts to funding for borough-based jails and the city remains committed to closing Rikers and building a jail system that is smaller, safer, and more humane,” said Maggie Halley, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Neir's perseveres

NY Post

Before the pandemic, things were looking dire for the historic watering hole Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven, Queens. It nearly closed due to a threatened rent increase  — the bar was paying around $2,000 a month, which was going to go to $5,400, according to owner Loycent Gordon — until 

*Mayor Bill de Blasio stepped in and helped strike a deal with the new landlord to keep the doors open. But when the city went into lockdown in March, the bar seemed like a goner.

“When this happened after we got Neir’s a new lease on life, it felt a punch in the gut just as we were catching our breath,” Gordon, who is also a lieutenant in the FDNY, told The Post.

But once again, the Lazarus of saloons is back slinging burgers and beers — now with outdoor seating and a range of creative ideas to engage regulars, who Gordon said really saved the place.

“People came out for the first weekend despite us not having the most sophisticated set-up. We are focusing on our strengths and have whittled down our menu to fries, sweet potato fries, burger and wings,” said Gordon, 40, who bought the bar in 2009 when it was under threat of being turned into a convenience store.

Founded in 1829, Neir’s houses a 150-year-old mahogany bar and has provided a scenic backdrop for movies including “Goodfellas and “Tower Heist,” and was featured in an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.” It also, Gordon points out, survived the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

City defunds the police by abolishing placard abuse enforcement

NY Post

City Hall has pulled the plug on its latest effort to tackle rampant placard abuse by municipal employees, shutting down the NYPD unit meant to enforce the most recent crackdown.

Officials said Friday they are axing all 116 positions that were dedicated to placard enforcement through attrition and zeroing out the unit’s $5.4 million annual budget — just a little more than a year after Mayor Bill de Blasio rolled out the effort to great fanfare.

“A dedicated unit is no longer needed because we are enhancing enforcement coverage by introducing new technology and other advancements that allow any TEA to do this work more seamlessly,” said City Hall spokeswoman Laura Feyer, explaining away the budget cuts.

The cuts are projected to remain in effect for at least the next four years — effectively permanently disbanding the effort.

 The de Blasio administration also admitted in response to questions submitted early Friday that officials had yanked just five placards from city employees under de Blasio’s three-strike policy for placard abuse, which was another highly touted policy announced in City Hall’s February 2019 crackdown.

DeBlasio & Council screw community out of better police protection

From the Queens Chronicle:

Residents of Southeast Queens thought 40 years of advocacy and hard work had come to fruition in July 2017 when Mayor de Blasio joined them along with NYPD brass and elected officials in Rosedale, next to the land that was finally going to become the NYPD’s new 116th Precinct.

But with a stroke of his pen, de Blasio transferred the $92 million in capital funding to other projects, including a community center in Roy Wilkins Park in St. Albans.

NYPD critics, including those on the City Council, had advertised that they were looking to cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s operating budget, and much of that was switched to other departments for social service programs.

The NYPD last week told the Chronicle that it was committed to fulfilling its promise to the residents of Southeast Queens.

But the mayor and Council also agreed on more than $530 million in cuts to the NYPD’s capital budget, and the 116th Precinct proved to be too tempting a target.

And one of the most ardent proponents of police reform on the Council — Public Safety Committee Chairman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) — also was the biggest supporter of the precinct in City Hall.

“I voted against the budget,” Richards told the Chronicle in an interview.

See what they lost out on by caving.


See where all that money that was snatched from the 116th of which it's still being spent on the NYPD is actually going to. What is the "special expense"?

One thing's for sure, the city and the NYPD (and the protesters of Occupy City Hall) feels the residents of Southeast Queens lives aren't that special and don't matter much.



Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Birthday America

A hard rain's gonna fall...

Queens Chronicle

A march to support New York’s besieged Police Department ended with an angry confrontation last Sunday night between pro-cop demonstrators and a group of Black Lives Matter activists.

The march, which ended at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village, looked like a repeat of a similar, peaceful walk earlier in the week — a display of solidarity with cops who have been the target of mass demonstrations in New York and around the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer May 25 in Minneapolis.

But as the approximately 60 marchers entered the park after a mile-and-a-half walk through the neighborhood and along Metropolitan Avenue, they were met by about 20 counterprotesters. The counterprotesters carried signs calling for the defunding of the Police Department and accusing the NYPD of protecting “bad cops” on the force.

Heated words were exchanged and the two groups flipped middle fingers at each other, but there was no physical altercation.

“I saw the BLM people walking towards us” at the end of the march, said Phil Wong, one of the organizers of the pro-cop walks. “They were clearly there to start an exchange.”

Police who had been accompanying the march in order to control traffic and keep the walk orderly quickly rushed from the edges of the park when they saw the confrontation shaping up. The cops stationed themselves between the groups, working to calm the potentially serious situation. The two groups exchanged chants. “Black lives matter” drew a response of “All lives matter” from the pro-cop marchers.

No arrests were made.

The weather put a damper on the confrontation. A sudden, heavy downpour sent both groups scurrying out of the park after about 15 minutes. A handful of die-hards remained in the park to hash out their differences in the soaking rain.

Friday, July 3, 2020

And the award for outstanding pyrotechnics goes to...

From NBC:

A neighbor’s security camera shows a group of people standing in a driveway on East 51 Street, setting off fireworks when a roman candle gets fired directly into a bedroom window. Those outside didn’t seem to notice, and continued to light more off for more than five minutes while flames grew inside the house, the fire department said.

The fire grew quickly, soon swallowing the whole back of the house and a car in the driveway. After the group finally saw the smoke and flames, one man could be seen on security footage trying fruitlessly to put out some of the flames using a garden hose.

Fire marshals arrested Damien Bend and charged the 36-year-old with arson after allegedly starting the inferno when he accidentally shot the illegal fireworks into his own home. The FDNY said that Bend only discovered the fire after going inside to get more fireworks to shoot off.

Friday, June 26, 2020

REBNY and the City wants to turn your neighborhood hotel into a cheap substitute for "affordable housing"...

...but probably not this one


 City officials are looking to capitalize on a distressed tourism industry by converting commercial hotels into affordable housing — including creating single room occupancy units known as SROs.

The exploration of cheaper alternatives for affordable housing and supportive housing — offering health care and social services for people with mental illness or substance abuse disorders — comes as the city struggles to overcome a fiscal crisis prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The effort, which also comes as thousands of homeless people are staying in hotels, highlights just how hard a near-halt in business travel and tourism is slamming New York City.

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a tremendous hit to our hotels because of the reduction in tourism, because of the lack of travel — and hopefully most of that will come back. But some of it may not,” Vicki Been, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, said this week during an online roundtable on economic development hosted by the Real Estate Board of New York and the law firm Greenberg Traurig. 

...and probably (and definitely) not this one either

“So we’ve been looking hard at — are there hotels that we could acquire to turn into supportive housing rather than having to build from ground up?” she added. “We’re looking both at, are there assets that we own that we can make available to affordable housing or other needs — and are there private market buildings that we could acquire to convert into affordable housing at a cheaper cost.”

Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Louise Carroll, who also participated in the event, said hotels are also under consideration for a shared housing model — which includes SRO-like units that have common areas for residents.
The agency has been testing shared and co-living spaces as affordable housing since 2018.

“Maybe hotels are good for rehab in that way,” Carroll said of SROs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

New York City's New Bad Days are here as more shootings and illegal fireworks are reported

Impunity City

 During the last two months of the lockdown of the five boroughs and with a sizeable amount of cops stricken by COVID-19, home and commercial property burglaries and vehicle theft shot up in massive numbers in May as murders and robberies show higher incremental ticks. Crime in the subway made significant gains even though service is cut and commuting went down nearly 90%.  

Shootings went up by a lot (especially in Brooklyn) which shouldn’t be surprising considering you can be more than six feet to hit your target. Drag racing also went up in the last 3 months as the city was mostly barren from mass isolation.
As May began Governor Cuomo gave the order to kick the homeless off the trains including banning every other commuter from the subway at 1 am until the clock struck 5 so the trains can get thoroughly cleaned..Which had no effect with the homeless who prefer to sleep during the morning and noon hours as the lower paid contractors deftly cleaned around them. 

 And that's only a sample of NYC's Spring of chaos and disorder...

NY Post

 Bullets are whizzing around New York this month at a rate not seen in nearly a quarter-century, according to the NYPD — and police sources warned that the recent rate of gunplay may be the new normal.
Through the first three weeks of June, which came to a close Sunday, city streets echoed with 125 shooting incidents, Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri told The Post on Monday.
“We have to go back to June of 1996 to get a worse start for June,” said LiPetri. “That is a telling stat.”
Twenty-four years ago, Rudy Giuliani was mayor and, while the city had made strides in tamping down crime, Gotham still saw 2,938 people shot and 984 killed.
Although overall crime citywide remains down 2.5 percent for the year, shootings, already trending up this year, exploded in June.
From Monday, June 15, through Sunday, there were 53 shooting incidents across the city, the highest mark for a single week since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office.
The last time the city recorded that many shootings in a week was around July 4, 2012, according to police sources.
But to find a nonholiday week — which tends to be quieter — with that many shootings, the department had to look all the way back to 2005, according to LiPetri.
“This weekend we also saw real challenges out in our streets in terms of gun violence,” said de Blasio in a press briefing, remarking on the blood-soaked stretch that included 24 people shot citywide Saturday.
“We are not going to allow gun violence to continue to grow in this city,” vowed Hizzoner.


 As thundering firework displays continue to shoot through New York City's skies, they're trailed by a boom in complaints about the illegal use of pyrotechnics. From Washington Heights to Ditmas Park, weary residents say they've been pushed to the brink by screeching explosions that begin before sundown and last well into the morning.

According to city data, 849 complaints about fireworks were logged with the city's 311 hotline in the last two weeks alone. That's a nearly 4,000 percent increase from the same period in 2019, which saw just 21 recorded complaints. In the first two weeks of June during the previous five years, there were less than 50 complaints related to fireworks in total.

As with other 311 data, it's not clear that the figures reflect an actual spike in activity. In many cases, the growth of nuisance calls is a better barometer of gentrification than any specific change in behavior. But while illicit fireworks have long served as the sonic backdrop to summer nights in NYC, some residents say the intensity and frequency has been noticeably greater in 2020, with many of the late-night displays appearing strangely professional.

"There’s something louder, longer, and crazier about it that’s weird," said Phoebe Streblow, a Flatbush resident. "Just the sheer cost alone of these productions is suspect. They're about the size of fireworks at a minor league ballpark."

City sneakily sent 100 prisoners from Rikers to Fresh Meadows hotel to shelter in place from COVID-19

Queens Eagle

More than 100 people released from Rikers Island are being housed at a Fresh Meadows hotel as part of a city initiative that local leaders say lacked any community input.

The city is putting up the formerly incarcerated New Yorkers at a Wyndham Garden Hotel on 186th Street to prevent the spread of COVID-19 behind bars and in homeless shelters, officials said. The Office of Emergency Management and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice are overseeing the program.

The city paid for rooms in the hotel because the individuals did not have stable housing and would have otherwise become homeless, said MOCJ spokesperson Colby Hamilton. A handful of other hotels around the city have served the same function.

“This and other hotels have provided an invaluable network of stable, reliable lodging for those in need, keeping people departing the jail system out of congregate housing, while we work with them to find more permanent living solutions going forward,” Hamilton said.

The individuals were released from Rikers Island because they have pre-existing medical conditions that put them at particular risk of COVID-19, he said.

Local Councilmember Barry Grodenchik said he was blindsided by the city’s plan.

“We found out because people started calling the office from the community,” Grodenchik said. “We didn’t get advance notice. At all.”

Grodenchik said he and members of Community Board 8 will tour the facility Wednesday.
The employee who answered the phone at the Wyndham Gardens hotel directed questions to City Hall Tuesday.

“This information is confidential and we cannot give information about who is staying with us and if you want more information you can call the Mayor’s Office,” the official said.

Board of Elections kills democracy stupidly
NY Post

Major election snafus shortchanged democracy in New York City on Tuesday when poll workers failed to distribute the proper ballots — preventing some voters from taking part in both the Democratic presidential primary and local races.

The problem was apparently so widespread that the Board of Elections tweeted out a warning shortly before noon that said, “In the Democratic primary, voters may have a 2 page ballot!”

“Please check to view your sample ballot,” it added.

In Queens, where Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim is being challenged by NYPD Sgt. Steven Lee, a poll worker at Junior High School 189 in Flushing said some voters only got one ballot.

“There were two ballots, we didn’t know that. Early this morning, we just gave one ballot. So some people didn’t get two,” the worker said. “We found an hour into it. We didn’t get training because of the virus.”

The worker’s disturbing revelations were cut short by a BOE supervisor, Stella Lu, who insisted everything was fine. “There was just confusion because we are short people. We have half the staff today,” she said.

“The people who had this issue actually got the ballot. It was only because people had to wait a little bit longer.”

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Condos are getting pretty vacant


Bummer summer for city kids

NY Post

For NYC kids, this summer will be a bummer.

With the last day of school next Friday, the city has ended outdoor, recreational, and job programs for youths of all ages.

“Hundreds of thousands of NYC kids who have been cooped up for three months may have nothing fun to do,” said education consultant David Rubel. “Kids need outdoor play if they’re going to come back to school in September ready to learn.”

Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s budget cuts and coronavirus restrictions, the popular Summer Youth 
Employment Program, which gave jobs to nearly 75,000 teens and young adults in 2019, has been been eliminated as of now. Officials are scrambling to find funding.

The dire news comes after students have been stuck at home since mid-March amid the Covid-19 shutdown, with laptops and iPads replacing in-person classes.

The Department of Youth and Community Development has wiped out an array of programs that offered arts, sports, games, and field trips enjoyed by 100,000 young people last summer.

REBNY proxy PAC gives Donovan Richards a mad dash cash advance days before election

Seagirt in Far Rockaway in Donovan Richards district

Queens Eagle

A Real Estate Board of New York-backed political action committee is spending big for Donovan Richards in the final days before the Democratic primary for Queens borough president.
Jobs for New York, a PAC founded by REBNY officials and funded by the city’s largest development firms, spent $66,411.68 on mailers and live phone calls promoting Richards, a Southeast Queens councilmember. 

“Donovan Richards has devoted his life to serving Queens County and creating economic opportunities for our families,” the mailers read. “Donovan Richards is a leader who stands on principles and convictions. Not politics.” 

The literature and phone calls, independent expenditures unaffiliated with Richards’ campaign, were purchased June 17.

In addition to promoting Richards, some of the literature goes negative. The reverse side of one mailer specifically targets Richards’ opponent Costa Constantinides, listing how the Astoria councilmember has “failed” condo and co-op owners.

“This year, we are facing the most important election of our lifetimes,” the mailer states. “Some of our leaders seem tone-deaf.”

Jobs for New York also funded live phone calls and provided scripts for operators to read to homeowners and REBNY members. A third script is labeled “Low Efficacy Absentee Chase.”

“It is clear from Council Member Richards’ lengthy track record of working to improve NYCHA, creating affordable housing and good jobs and serving as a consensus builder that he is ready to be the next Queens Borough President,” Jobs For New York said in a statement.

The Queens borough president is tasked with making advisory recommendations on land use proposals, including projects backed by major developers. In Queens, large-scale projects at Sunnyside Yards, Willets Point and the Flushing Creek Waterfront are in the works, as development continues to surge in Western Queens, Flushing and Jamaica. 

Wear a mask and show John Ciafone

Note how the first responder wears his PPE....

Also that yahoo email address just screams I'm a professional.

Just a reminder...

Thanks to NY Shitty for tweeting me this (wherever she got it from)

Better know Gregory Meeks challenger for the 5th District in Congress


 Democrats in southeastern Queens will get to cast a ballot this month in a collection of local, state and federal primary races — including the 5th Congressional District, where U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks will have to defend his seat against challenger Shaniyat Chowdhury.

The primary election, slated for June 23, is open to registered Democratic voters. All New York voters may request a mail-in ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ballots must be postmarked by the date of the election for the vote to get counted.

 Why are you seeking elective office?

I want to continue serve my community as their representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. It is a tremendous honor, and a position I take extremely seriously. Over my tenure, my district has seen tremendous change, and working with my colleagues in government and leaders in the community, we have been able to work together to improve the quality of life for the residents and increase opportunities for their children. Our work is far from done. I want to continue to fight for what the 5th District needs. What have come so far, yet we have some ways to go.

JVB: Champion of the Working Class and dutiful cog of the Queens Machine

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Governor Cuomo: What deaths from coronavirus? I don't know


New York is one of several large states in America that is still not counting probable deaths, even though federal public health officials have been recommending states do so since April.

A review by the Washington Post found that New York was among 24 states, including California, Florida and North Carolina, that have not complied with the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 The lack of probable deaths is "one reason government officials and public health experts say the virus’s true toll is above the U.S. tally as of Sunday of about 1.9 million coronavirus cases and 109,000 deaths — benchmarks that shape policymaking and public opinion on the pandemic," the Post story says.

According to the CDC, a probable death or case is defined as a person who meets certain clinical or laboratory criteria for the virus but does not have confirmed testing for COVID-19.

At news conferences, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been repeatedly asked why the state is not following CDC guidance in counting probable deaths. When it comes to nursing home fatalities, both New York and New Jersey have included probable deaths at nursing homes, but have not included them in their states’ overall death totals.

 “Probable is different than confirmed,” Cuomo said on May 22nd. “Probable is ‘probable, but I have to check, I don’t know, I have to do further testing.’ We’ve had many cases that were probable coronavirus and turned out not to be coronavirus and that’s why they call them probable.”

Monday, June 8, 2020

The battle for Queens civil court: John "The Canopy" Ciafone vs. Jessica "ex Machina" Earle-Gargan

6th Municipal Court District, Queens 

City Limits

Judge of the Civil Court: Queens

Jessica Earle-Gargan: A St. John’s Law School grad like her opponent, Jessica Earle-Gargan is a former Assistant District Attorney who specialized in prosecuting domestic violence crimes, according to her campaign site. A Bayside resident, Earle-Gargan’s other law experience includes serving as court attorney for two Supreme Court justices, where she worked on divorce and child custody cases.

John J. Ciafone: A trial attorney and lifelong Queens resident, John Ciafone studied at St. John’s Law School and has worked as an hearing officer for the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) and as a small claims court arbitrator. In a campaign ad posted to YouTube, Ciafone described himself as “independent” and criticized the current judicial establishment as beholden to special interests. He made headlines last year when he was fined for advertising his legal services on buildings he owns without a city permit.

Everybody knows about The Canopy as Crapper came back to remind you. But Jessica has, um, quite a machine backing her up.

 Queens County Democratic Organization

Congressman Gregory Meeks

Former Congressman Joe Crowley 

 Found "Qualified" by the Independent Judicial Qualifications Commission

State Senator Toby Stavisky

State Senator Leroy Comrie

Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal

State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein

State Assemblyman Michael DenDekker

NYC Council member Francisco Moya

NYC Council Member Rory Lancman

NYC Council member Danny Dromm

District Leaders: Ari Espinal, Ellen Raffael, Carol Gresser, Deirdre Feerick, Martha Taylor, Jacqueline Boyce, Yanna Henriquez

Supreme Court Justice Jeremy Weinstein, Ret. Former Administrative Judge Civil Term, Queens County.

Supreme Court Justice, Agustus Agate, Ret.

"Better Call" Saul Weprin Democratic Club

I know I have a proclivity to refer and defer to the Simpsons when I see shit like this, but another one won't hurt. (Yes I know it's one party, but it's still two bad choices)

Vote your conscience comrades.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

New York City is back open

NY Post

The Big Apple will enter Phase One of reopening Monday amid the coronavirus — with retail shops set to start curbside or in-store pickup service as construction and manufacturing rev up again.

“It’s a big day for New York City,’’ Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday, adding that the Apple “has met all the [health] metrics,’’ including the one involving its number of new infections, which dropped to 781 cases, or around 1 percent of those tested, Saturday — the lowest rate since March 16.

The city’s subways should be at 95 percent of their pre-pandemic service by Monday to help get people around, officials have said.  Masks are required and will be handed out to straphangers as needed, although ridership is expected to be no more than 15 percent of its usual level.
New York City is the final region in the state to go to Phase One.

In addition to retail curbside service and in-store pickups and drop-offs, construction is allowed to resume, as is manufacturing, wholesale trade and agriculture work under the state guidelines.

Retail-industry groups have predicted a trickling of city businesses starting up again Monday, as they begin to maneuver the new normal of social distancing and heightened health concerns amid the deadly pandemic.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that he is still “cautious’’ about moving into Phase Two, which would allow many workers to return to their offices, restaurants and bars to offer outdoor seated service, retail shops to operate in-store business and other places such as hair salons to reopen, although at 50 percent capacity.

While Phase Two could occur as soon as two weeks from Monday, or June 22, under state guidelines, Hizzoner repeated that he wasn’t ready to commit to that date, instead saying, “Think about the beginning of July as the target.

“I want to keep expectations low on that,” he said of Phase Two.

“We are not like other regions of the state. We were the epicenter, and we remain the epicenter,” the mayor said.

Get this fucking straight; The only reason de Blasio killed his dumbass curfew is because the city is reopening tomorrow. And as this article shows, the city isn't fucking ready at all.

And get this also straight; because de Blasio's daughter got arrested protesting against the NYPD, he decided to ground the whole city for a week.


Just say NO on June 23rd!

Hi folks,

Crapper here. If you've been following the blog for all these years, you are aware that John Ciafone has been somewhat of a problem, and has been in the news for his corruption as late as last December. I just wanted to call your attention to the fact that he is on the Democratic primary ballot, running for a judgeship.

So before you mail in your ballot, early vote or head to the polls on the 23rd, I thought I'd give you the heads up, so you can be prepared to Vote ABC: Anyone but Ciafone!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Mayor de Blasio defunds affordable housing

The Real Deal

  City Council members are fighting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed cuts to the city’s capital budget, saying it will mean a loss of 21,000 affordable apartments over the next few years.

Based on an analysis by the New York Housing Conference, officials estimate that the mayor’s proposed $2.3 billion reduction in the city’s capital budget will delay financing for 5,000 new affordable units and 15,000 affordable and supportive housing units that would have been preserved.

Under the mayor’s proposal, $583 million would be slashed from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s capital budget in fiscal year 2020 and $457 million in fiscal year 2021, a nearly 40 percent reduction.

“While the subsequent three years are projected to offset these losses, they are beyond the term of the de Blasio administration,” Council members Vanessa Gibson and Brad Lander wrote in a report released Monday.

The mayor proposed the cuts to help balance the city budget, due July 1, after the pandemic wiped out what is now estimated as $9 billion in city revenue over two years.

But the report calls the planned capital budget cuts a “misguided application of austerity economics” that have “little benefit for immediate budget savings.” According to the report, proposed cuts will also result in the loss of more than 9,000 construction jobs.

During a press conference Monday, Gibson noted that demand for supportive housing is only going to increase in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

“Housing has to be prioritized,” she said, adding that minority communities have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic. “They have felt this pandemic the most, and they are going to feel this capital budget the most.”

Monday, June 1, 2020

At 11 PM, remain indoors



NYPD deploys cops to Queens Center Mall to stop looters



Traffic has been delayed near Queens Center Mall due to the presence of emergency personnel in response to reported looting.

Video that surfaced on social media Monday afternoon shows a group of people running around the mall attempting to kick through boarded up windows.

The situation does not seem to be a protest related to the death of George Floyd and the continuation of police violence against black men and women across the country, but rather a previously planned  “loot out” that had allegedly been scheduled to begin at the mall, located at 90-15 Queens Blvd., around 1 p.m., according to a notice obtained by QNS, which has been cropped to remove derogatory language.

 An NYPD spokesperson confirmed with QNS that the 110th Precinct had received several calls regarding the situation and had sent officers to the area, but, as of 4 p.m., could not offer confirmation of any violence, vandalism or arrests made at the scene.

Another video surfaced on Twitter showing police vehicles following a group of people who seemed to be running away from the mall.
The city’s official emergency notification system sent out a Tweet warning of expected traffic delays due to the incident.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Clash

NY Daily News

 Outraged activists returned to the city’s streets Saturday in a second night of protesting and rioting over the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis.

Protests took place during the day and night in all five boroughs — but mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where protesters burned police cars and disrupted traffic.

Police arrested dozens of protesters on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge — where instead of taking the walkway, numerous protesters took to the vehicle lanes, blocking car traffic and seemingly putting themselves in harm’s way.

A Daily News reporter saw looters Saturday night in SoHo, location of high-end boutiques, and protesters also tried to disrupt traffic on FDR Drive in lower Manhattan.

Several videos emerged online of protesters and police vehicles getting in each others’ way — as the vehicles, often with sirens and lights flashing, menaced protesters who in turn threw garbage, rocks and bottles at them.

Crowds were reported outside Trump Tower on Fifth Ave. in Midtown, in Times Square, and in Union Square, among other locations.

Cops were still sorting out the chaos on Saturday night, and could only say that more than 50 people were arrested.

Earlier in the day, A crowd marched through Harlem, and then blocked traffic on the highway along Manhattan’s East River. And posts on social media showed cops amassing to control the chaos at Union Square.

By nightfall, protesters trekked across the Brooklyn Bridge, where cops met them with vans for those arrested — and blocked entrance to the footpath.

In one disturbing Twitter post, a crowd at Flatbush and St. Mark’s in Brooklyn pushed a single barricade in from to NYPD cruiser, until another cruiser pulled alongside and pushed the protesters aside.

Mayor de Blasio just recently blamed all the chaos that's unfolded during this protest on President Trump, saying that he created the atmosphere following repeated questions of two NYPD patrol vehicles running over a bunch of people on the street

No, you stupid idiot, this is the guy who created the atmosphere along with his three accomplices.

Friday, May 29, 2020

City Council criminalizes a word.

NY Post

The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly Thursday to replace all mentions of “alien” in city documents, regulations and local laws with “noncitizen,” a move that critics derided as political correctness run amok.
“It’s like the speech police is out again,” said Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens), who was one of four votes against the measure. “Alien is a term used for someone who is from another area, another land. That’s a term used in Congress and in the government.”
He added: “We’re overstepping our bounds here prohibiting certain terms.”

Council Speaker Corey Johnson celebrated the 46-4 vote with an afternoon tweet that claimed the Big Apple “just became the first major U.S. city to prohibit the use of the dehumanizing and offensive term ‘alien’ in local laws, rules, and documents. From now on, the term will be ‘noncitizen.’”

The measure was introduced by Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Queens) in January, who argued the change would help promote better treatment of immigrants in the Big Apple.

Funny, non-citizen sort of sounds worse.

It sounds close to non-person. Bigots will weaponize this too.

The prototype for the nursing homes immunity law was made in New York and it's being disseminated to other states


In recent years, lawmakers have been caught stealthily copying and pasting identical corporate-friendly provisions into law in states across the country. It appears that is now happening again as politically connected hospital and nursing home executives seek to shield themselves from civil litigation and government prosecution during the COVID pandemic.

A review of New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina’s controversial new liability shield provisions shows that nearly identical immunity language benefiting nursing home and hospital executives was inserted into law by elected officials whose political apparatuses received significant campaign contributions from the nursing home and hospital industries.

The spread of the corporate immunity provisions — which appear to have originated in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration — comes amid a spate of coronavirus deaths that critics say was preventable and made worse by the liability shields. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is currently pushing a broader, national version of immunity for corporate executives.

"Our legislation was the ‎product of negotiations between the chamber and the legislature and while we always engage with stakeholders no one else wrote the final product -- which, again, was to help ensure we had the expanded health care apparatus needed to fight this pandemic,” said Cuomo’s spokesperson, Rich Azzopardi. “I have no information about how other states may have adopted this publicly available language."  

To date, 19 states have enacted some form of immunity for the hospital and nursing home industries during the pandemic. In general, these new policies shield nurses, doctors and other frontline health care workers from liability when they are treating COVID patients. 

However, New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina go further: unlike other states, the identical language added to their laws explicitly define health care providers as including “a health care facility administrator, executive, supervisor, board member, trustee” or other corporate managers. 
That exact word-for-word clause appears in emergency legislation in all three states. In practice, it extends immunity to corporate officials who are not on the medical frontlines, but who are making life-and-death decisions across their companies.

“The new measures granting immunity to health care providers and professionals go well beyond protecting front-line workers from lawsuits -- many also provide immunity to administrators who make unreasonable and dangerous, even lethal, decisions,” said Syracuse University law professor Nina Kohn. “New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina take protection for corporate owners and executives to a whole new level by explicitly granting immunity to board members, trustees, and directors.” 

“This is extraordinary protection which is in no way in the public interest,” Kohn said. “These states are explicitly and unabashedly giving for-profit corporations and corporate executives the green light to make unreasonable decisions that put vulnerable people in imminent danger, and letting them know that they don’t have to worry about being held legally accountable for the avoidable human damage that results.”