Monday, May 23, 2016

Nope, no conflict here!

From the Daily News:

Mayor de Blasio's Campaign for One New York fund hit a trifecta on May 27, 2015 — courtesy of lobbyist extraordinaire James Capalino.

The group first received a $10,000 check from Capalino. That same day, identical checks arrived from two of the lobbyist’s deep-pocketed clients, RAL Development and Cipriani USA, for a total of $30,000.

And the very next day, Capalino was on the phone with the man himself — Mayor de Blasio.

Not bad for a guy who, as a lobbyist doing business with the city, is barred from giving more than $400 to a candidate per election.

The mayor’s website and Capalino insist the phone chat concerned a proposed (and ultimately failed) helicopter ban, and Capalino says donations to the mayor’s cause never came up.

Whether anything else came up remains a mystery as City Hall refuses to say whether notes of these lobbying chats exist.

Cars pelted with eggs in eastern Queens

From CBS 2:

Queens car owners are waking up to a sticky, slimy mess as their vehicles were the targets of eggings.

CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported residents in Whitestone are getting heated over the destructive spree that has been going on for the past two weeks.

Police said most of the complaints have come from owners of parked cars, but video posted on YouTube can show how dangerous it can be for the driver to be hit by a hurled egg.

Learning a lesson from Brooklyn

From the DNA Info:

The Department of Transportation has tabled a controversial proposal to add a two-way protected bike lane to Clinton Avenue following fierce backlash from longtime residents uneasy about mounting change in the neighborhood.

At the request of the DOT, Community Board 2’s Transportation and Public Safety Committee removed the proposal from the agenda of a Thursday night meeting — a continuation of Tuesday’s meeting held to accommodate a lengthy list of speakers from the public.

The committee did not vote on the proposal, which would turn Clinton Avenue, now a two-way street, into a one-way northbound street, with one travel lane, two parking lanes, a pedestrian island and the bike lane.

But the withdrawal didn't stop residents from airing out their frustrations — often yelling and booing at the DOT as representatives tried to answer questions.

Several residents faulted the DOT for not consulting community members before drafting the proposal.

The DOT said Thursday it would go back to the drawing board and continue to gather input from local community groups in drafting a revised proposal before returning to the community board next month.

Communities that hold the government accountable by showing up to complain and have no problem voting the bums out get listened to. Meanwhile, Queens Blvd gets bike lanes that the community didn't ask for because everyone here is too busy posing for photos with worthless pols and fighting over a couple of hundred dollars of discretionary funding.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

City prefers that Flushing stay dirty

From the Queens Tribune:

A business-led solution to address illegal dumping and garbage on Flushing streets was canned by the NYC Department of Sanitation on Monday.

Crown Container, a private contractor for commercial garbage pick up, announced on Friday that they would remove trash from a pedestrian triangle at the intersection of 37th Avenue and Prince Street, where illegal dumping is common.

But on Monday, the company was told they had to pack up the five industrial-strength garbage receptacles they had placed on the triangle, or face fines and violations.

Crown had volunteered to empty the bins once a day free of charge, in the hopes that those who were dumping would use the receptacles and therefore keep the area neater.

They had specifically ordered the bins, which cost upwards of $600, from Wisconsin.

But Sanitation believes private containers on public property were against the rules and probably a bad idea.

“Private trash containers cannot be placed out on public property without the City authorization. Placing private trash containers there would more than likely attract more bags and illegal drop offs,” a spokeswoman for the agency said.

(It's more likely that they are planning to give a contract to one of de Blasio's donors to remove the trash.)

City ticketed trucks illegally, now paying them instead

From the Daily News:

The city Law Department has agreed to pay a whopping $14 million to resolve a federal lawsuit alleging that commercial delivery trucks were improperly issued parking tickets, according to court papers.

The money will be deposited in a fund to be divvied up by hundreds of companies that are members of the New York Trucking and Delivery Association, which filed the class action suit nearly five years ago in Brooklyn Federal Court.

The suit alleged that city officials had cooked up a scheme to raise revenue by skirting a little known "Stipulated Fine Program" launched in 2004 that essentially allows trucks to legally double park outside the boundaries of 14th St. to 60th St. and First Ave. to Eighth Ave. while making deliveries.

Under the program, a double parking ticket can only be issued if there is an open parking space within 100 feet of the truck or if it is double parked for more than 30 minutes without visible activity.

But in May 2006, traffic agents began plastering double-parked trucks with more costly tickets for obstructing a traffic lane, which is a violation not covered under the program — and the Trucking and Delivery Association cried foul.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Employers and landlords now forced to use made-up pronouns

From NY1:

Businesses and landlords across the city must now refer to transgender people by their preferred pronouns or risk a big fine.

The guidelines, issued by the city's Commission on Human Rights in December, list some of the acceptable, gender-neutral pronouns.

They include "ze", which stands in for "he" or "she."

Another example is "hir," which is similar to "they".

The city says employers and landlords will violate the guidelines if they repeatedly or intentionally refuse to use someone's preferred pronoun.

They can also face fines as high as $250,000 if the refusal is considered malicious.

It's only a matter of time before not using these weird words will get you charged with a hate crime. When exactly did we lose our collective minds?

Shocking news: Developers head streetcar organization

From LIC post:

Some of the names behind the push for a new streetcar system between Queens and Brooklyn will sound familiar to western Queens residents, due to major projects they are developing here.

The Friend of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) – which has been working on the Connector plan since 2014 – has released its board of directors list (online here).

That list includes some big players in Astoria and Long Island City development.

Tishman Speyer is represented on the Friends of the BQX board by public affairs managing director Michelle Adams, who is also a member of the Long Island City Partnership board. Tishman Speyer is the developer behind 2 Gotham Center at Queens Plaza South and 28th Street and is also working on a two-tower commercial building next door.

Jordan Barowitz of the Durst Organization, which is developing the Hallets Point megaproject on the Astoria Waterfront, also sits on the BQX board. The $1 billion project involves more than 2,000 units of housing, plus a supermarket and a school. The development broke ground in January.

More houses in flood zone

From the Queens Chronicle:

Community Board 10 unanimously gave conditional approval to a developer looking to build a series of homes on a vacant lot in Hamilton Beach, with only one of the members abstaining from the vote.

The group of six houses would be listed as 102-04 to 102-24 Dunton Court and would all be semidetached structures on a block that only has one existing home.

John Calcagnile, the board’s Land Use Committee chairman, said the conditions of the approval hinge on the owner addressing drainage and runoff problems on the lot, as well as seeing if the block closer to the existing house can be widened. An architect representing the owner, listed on city documents as Edward Sze, said at the hearing the block near the proposed developments will be widened from 19 feet to 30, which would allow emergency vehicles to drive around the homes with no difficulty. Sze is under no legal obligation to widen the street near the house there now.

The proposed semidetached homes may face another obstacle, as some Hamilton Beach residents earlier this year voted to support a rezoning initiative that would only allow for detached one- or two-family homes to be built in the neighborhood and prohibit the ones proposed by Sze.

The Uniform Land Use Review Procedure for the rezoning has not yet kicked off. Should Sze want to avoid running into problems with it, he would have to have the foundations in place before any rezoning passes the Council.

So we're continuing to overdevelop in the flood plain? Great work.