Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cuomo aide under investigation

From the Daily News:

Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to Gov. Cuomo now under federal investigation, might have pocketed as much as six figures from entities with business before the state, the Daily News has learned.

"It was a significant amount of money," said one source familiar with the situation. "It was not the $4 million (disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver) took, but it is at least tens of thousands and could be upwards of $100,000, if not more."

The payments officials know about occurred while Percoco was on leave from the state in 2014 to serve as Cuomo's campaign manager, the source said.

But those close to the situation aren't ruling out the possibility there might have been more outside payments once he went back to work as Cuomo's $169,000-a-year executive deputy secretary.

"You just don't know," the source said.

Elderly lady ticketed for non-hazardous sidewalk


From CBS 2:

An elderly homeowner in the Bronx has been ordered to fix her sidewalks due in part to a tripping hazard.

But as CBS2’s Raegan Medgie reported, the woman is confused – and wants to know why she is the one responsible.

Rosa DeBartolo has lived in her Throggs Neck home for 43 years. In March, she received a violation notice from the Department of Transportation reading, “The sidewalk has the following defects: broken, trip hazard, patchwork.”

DeBartolo called 311 for a second opinion, when another DOT inspector issued her even more violations.

According to the city DOT, property owners are responsible for fixing sidewalks next to their properties. Blue chalk marks were placed on DeBartolo’s sidewalk show where repairs are needed.

But the question DeBartolo had was, where’s the damage?

Slashing incidents on the rise

From NBC 4:

Slashings and stabbings are up more than 20 percent in 2016, according to NYPD figures.

There had been 1,325 slashings and stabbings in 2016 through Sunday, compared with 1,088 over the same period in 2015. That represents a 21.78-percent increase in the category of the violent crime, which has been the focus of intense scrutiny by both the media and NYPD brass.

Subway crime, likewise, is up this year. There were 719 crimes on the city's subway system through Sunday, according to the NYPD. That's up more than 6 percent from 2015, which saw 674 crimes on the mass transit system over the same period.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Abandoned corner house becomes a problem


Even the "nice" areas have problems with abandoned/vacant houses - this is on the corner of Union Turnpike and Commonwealth Blvd.

If you drive past it now, the front door is bent down and the front door is wide open. Since it's right next to both Creedmoor and the school complex on former Creedmoor land, I wonder if any kids hang out inside; or if squatters are living there. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

BTW, found a complaint made about it on 7/15/2015.

07/15/2015 - I AM CALLING BECAUSE THERE IS A VACANT BUILDING THAT HAS BROKEN WINDOWS AND IS NOT GUARDED.
07/16/2015 - I2 - NO VIOLATION WARRANTED FOR COMPLAINT AT TIME OF INSPECTION
Comments: 2- STORY FRAME BUILDING. SECURED. 5-0 CHAIN LINK FENCE INSTALLED.

Bag tax coming soon

From Crains:

On Thursday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito backed an effort to reduce plastic bag use and waste.

Councilman Brad Lander, D-Brooklyn, championed the legislation, which will charge a nickel for each plastic or paper bag New Yorkers use at supermarkets and shops. The fee is meant to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags to stores instead of taking plastic ones.

The city spends more than $12 million a year dumping 91,000 pounds of plastic bags in landfills, according to the council. Lander had already amassed majority support for the bill, but it could be the tightest vote of the council's legislative season, he told Crain's.

Opponents of the bill say its yet another tax on city residents and burdens the poor. The proposed fee was reduced to 5 cents from 10 cents to address such concerns.

Mark-Viverito's support for the bill guarantees its passage next week by the City Council.

Christine Quinn wants more shelters

From the Daily News:

The number of families living in the city’s shelter system is now at record levels, with 12,302 parents and kids calling a city shelter home.

The city quietly reached the sad milestone Wednesday, according to stats from the Department of Homeless Services.

The previous high was in December 2014, when an average of 12,281 families a night slept in shelters.

Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is now president of the non-profit homeless advocacy group Women in Need, said the “troubling” surge showed the need for more shelters.

“The problem is growing and therefore the capacity of the system as it exists today is not sufficient,” she said.


(Women in Need runs shelters throughout the city.) The mayor is doing a bang up job on this issue, as usual.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Life in the fast lane


From CBS 2:

A proposed plan could add fast lanes to some bridges and tunnels around New York City that would let drivers bypass traffic for a price.

During a transportation panel discussion in Albany, Queens Assemblyman David Weprin said he would like to add express lanes on bridges and tunnels for drivers willing to cough up the dough for the quick convenience.

The plan would charge motorists for faster travel on bridges and highways that are already tolled, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

“Say right now they’re $7.50 to go through the Midtown tunnel. Maybe we could reduce that to $5 or $6 and have the express lane for maybe $10 where people can pay more to have that fast service,” he said.

Trib notices that Flushing is dirty

From the Queens Tribune:

...as the area’s population has surged and business is booming, infrastructure and city services have hardly kept pace with the growth. The MTA’s 7 Train, which terminates in Flushing, is severely overcrowded. Traffic is constant and parking is scarce, many roads are in poor condition and the sidewalks are hardly wide enough for the pedestrians that live, work and play in the area.

And the problems aren’t just transportation related. Schools in the area’s District 25 are among the most overcrowded. The sewer system regularly exceeds its maximum capacity and dumps untreated waste water into Flushing Bay.

Flushing residents will say that their quality of life does suffer as a result of some of these problems. And one of the most unsightly of them may be commercial garbage from some of the many restaurants overflowing into the street ahead of pick up time.

One of the worst areas is on 40th Road and Main Street, near the entrance of the Long Island Rail Road station. The high density of restaurants on the narrow street allowed the Queens Tribune, on two occasions, to photograph garbage or recyclables in that area spilling over into from the sidewalk into the street, blocking parking spots.

Elected officials and community leaders have taken note of the issue.

“It’s on our radar every day,” Scott Sieber, a spokesperson for Councilman Peter Koo, said. Sieber said he personally was once driving behind a trash compactor truck that picked up commercial waste when one of the bags popped and juice exploded over his car and several others.

“If the juice leaks out it collects on the potholes in the street,” he added.


They also noticed the overcrowding! Will wonders never cease?

DOB may revoke Garaufis house permits

From the Queens Chronicle:

The Department of Buildings has issued a 10-day notice of revoking permits to the owners of the property that used to host the house formerly owned by federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Bayside.

Issued on April 20, the notice informs the homeowners of the Buildings Department’s objections to the construction and gives them 10 days to respond. If the property owners do not resolve the agency’s objections, the permits are revoked.

The objections at the construction site, according to the DOB, are “Garage must be demolished,” “2nd floor joists to roof were demolished — revise demo and floor plan to match field conditions,” “Revise first floor layout,” “Revise asbestos report to ensure consistency with scope of work,” and “Aggregate width of balcony shall not exceed 50% of the width of the building wall it protects.”

The ALT-1 permit that the property’s owners were using to build requires that 50 percent of the original structure be maintained, a rule that has clearly been violated, as the house was torn down.

According to Flushing-based zoning expert Paul Graziano, the property’s owner will have trouble fighting the 10-day notice.

“The more likely scenario is that they will have their permits revoked and they will have to file for a new building,” Graziano said.

The new building permit, he added, is more expensive to apply for than the ALT-1 permit.


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