Friday, March 24, 2017

Private streets may be taken over by city

From Brooklyn Daily:

The city is taking a crucial step towards taking over responsibility for hundreds of unmapped streets — the private byways in many neighborhoods which homeowners are now burdened with maintaining.

Mayor DeBlasio has signed a new law requiring the Department of Transportation to identify and study all of the city’s unmapped streets with the aim of the city acquiring them in order to bring them into the normal system of municipal maintenance.

Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Canarsie) introduced the legislation because maintenance has become too burdensome for many of his constituents who live on such streets, he said.

Under the new law, the Department of Transportation must identify and study all unmapped streets citywide by June 30, 2018, to determine the feasibility of bringing them onto the city rolls, Maisel said.

But the process of adding a street to the city map isn’t always as straightforward as one might think. In many cases, it’s not clear which streets — or even which parts of a street — are outside the city’s purview. Hence the need for the study, Maisel said.

“What is and what isn’t, we don’t know, there are lots of them, every street has a different history and we want to know,” he said. “There’s a lot of confusion, and it requires a lot of research.”

De Blasio creates fake issue for press conference

From City Council Watch:

Mayor de Blasio held a press conference earlier this week at Tweed Courthouse to announce a major new policy directive. He was joined by Melissa Mark-Viverito, Zachary Carter, Carmen Fariña, Gale Brewer, Vanessa Gibson, Nisha Agarwal, Carlos Menchaca, Helen Rosenthal, and a number of other officials and advocates.

The announcement was that from now on ICE agents will not be allowed in DOE schools unless they have a warrant. Everybody took a turn at the mike to denounce fear and hate. Corporation Counsel Carter and the head of school security for the NYPD ran through all the new protocols and training, the chains of command and lines of authority, the phone trees and channels of communication. Who would authenticate the warrants, who would accompany the agents. What number to call when the children are arrested and where you can go to get help.

At question time I asked the obvious question: “How many incidents have there been so far of ICE agents trying to enter schools, with or without warrants.” Mayor de Blasio answered, “None, so far.” Hmm. Then I had another question for Chancellor Fariña.

Later I went on YouTube to review the video of the press conference. But when the video came to my question there was an odd skip: the first question was cut from the video, and picked up again about 15 seconds later with my question for Fariña.

Someone with authority in Mayor de Blasio’s communications department decided that his answer to my question was off-message, and edited the tape to erase the part where the mayor admits that his new policy directive addresses a problem that does not exist. Basically it was all for show.

I excerpted a clip from the video to preserve the evidence that the mayor’s press office redacted his comments. Here it is:

Greg Gutfield went off on the Dope from Park Slope. (This is a must watch.)

Dopey also leaves news conferences when the questions aren't to his liking.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Kew Gardens park to be returned to the people

From DNA Info:

...on Tuesday, the Parks Department said that the DA’s office had vacated the space and that the park would be restored in the coming months, weather permitting, without offering a specific timeline.

The department also said that it is currently working on a plan that will include removing gravel, aerating the soil and planting new seeds.

The DA’s office will be responsible for handling the renovations and footing the bill, the Parks Department said.

It was unclear who gave permission to ECCO III Enterprises, Inc. — which for the past six years has worked on the Interchange project seeking to widen the Van Wyck Expressway — to build the lot.

Chon family charged with tax evasion

From NBC:

The family owners of a popular spa destination in Queens have been indicted on felony charges for failure to pay $1.5 million in taxes over the course of three years, authorities announced Wednesday.

The owners of Spa Castle Inc., a 100,000-square foot spa facility in College Point, Queens, didn't pay the sales, withholding, corporate and MTA surcharge taxes they owed from 2010 through 2013, state officials say.

"The scale of theft alleged in this case is staggering," said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion, who announced the indictment along with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The investigation began when authorities executed a search warrant at Spa Castle Inc. in August 2015, and found records showing the spa owners underreported earnings and paid workers and vendors in cash.

Steven Chon, 57; his brothers Daniel Chon, 54, and Victor Chon, 50; and daughter Stephanie Chon, 29, were arraigned Wednesday in Queens Supreme Court. Bail has been set at $100,000 bond.

Queensboro Hill veterans getting runaround from DOB

From NY1:

The group of veterans at the VFW post says it has tried to correct the violations, but do not receive proper guidance from building officials to clear the liens. They say the bureaucratic red is putting its post in jeopardy of closure.

Stuck in bureaucratic red tape, a group of veterans say they're being unfairly fined for building violations. So much so that their community center is in jeopardy of closing. During a press conference Monday, veterans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 34-27 in Flushing say they feel like bureaucrats are attacking their post. The post has been dealing with building code violations for more than two years.

​"There is a lawless war being perpetrated against the veterans of new York city. And this post being fined out of existence is evidence of that war," says Marvin Jeffcoat, Sergeant First Class, U.S Army (Retired).

Building code violation fines have mounted against the VFW Post to the tune of $13,000.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

De Blasio announces he's moving forward with SBS

From Curbed:

In his latest Vision Zero push, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a series of road safety and traffic improvement projects set to take place place throughout the city—all part of a $1.6 billion initiative to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities.

This particular set of Vision Zero projects involves wider sidewalks, new crosswalks, new protected bike lanes, and pedestrian refugee medians.

Select Bus Service will be added to the Q52 and Q53 routes that run along the Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, passing through multiple neighborhoods in Queens. There are also plans for pedestrian safety improvements along this stretch, all of which is on schedule to wrap sometime this spring.

Smells like crap at Pomonok

From PIX11:

Janice Rodriguez says the smell inside the Pomonok Houses where she lives with her children is unbearable.

"It's smells like raw sewage in our lobby, in our elevator, in our hallways, and even inside our homes," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says she worries for the dozens of families who live inside the city complex, including her grandchildren.

PIX11 news reached out to the New York City Housing Authority.

A spokesperson says,"This situation is unacceptable and our residents deserve better. This morning, the clogged sewer line was cleared and the area was disinfected.”