Saturday, July 22, 2017

Dueling Willets Point press conferences are revealing

Hiram: “But he does call for the alienation of parkland. So what I’m doing is, I’m helping connect the dots. Trojan horse. This is the Trojan horse plan. He comes out here, he talks about affordable housing, he talks about a new plan, 100 percent affordable – well, 100 percent affordable of what? Is it 100 units? Is it 200 units? I’m saying 5,500 units, right? Point blank. Secondly, he’s already on the record supporting the building of a soccer stadium. In fact, if I recall correctly, I believe he was supportive of the Jets building another football stadium in this park. That’s even a few more years back. Probably around 2008, 2007. The fact of the matter is, that he is very stadium-friendly, and he is very developer-friendly. He is the candidate of political insiders and the rich corporate developers. That’s who he is. That’s not me saying it. I think that if we bother to look even at his campaign filings, both with the State and the City, we’ll see the trail of money that indicates clearly who’s pulling the strings on his back.”

Moya: [On campaign’s prior press release pledging to work with colleagues in Albany to alienate parkland as plan requires] “I’m not in support of any mall being built here. The parkland alienation will always have to go to the State. So we are following what the court has ruled, but I’ve never been in support of a mall. I’m on record for that. So what we have right now is what a court has ruled, saying that we will now have to vote for it in the State, for any type of parkland alienation which is the law.” [After follow-up question concerning campaign’s prior press release, pledging to support, as councilman, alienation legislation by State legislature:] “The alienation will have to go through Albany. We need to make sure that – What we are doing now is proposing a plan that is a plan that is about making sure that we are not bringing in retail here; that is a plan about making sure we’re building affordable housing; that we are building plan that is talking about public and open space; that we’re building a plan that has to do with the remediation and decontamination of this area. That’s what we’re talking about here.”

Moya completely misstated who's paying for remediation of Willets Point land. Speaking about his (Moya's) Willets Plan, he says: "This plan will continue the proposed remediation efforts for Willets Point at the original plan, which included $40 million put forward by the developers to remediate and decontaminate this area." However, the $40 million is merely included in the City's capital grant of $99+ million to Queens Development Group – In other words, QDG would only be "putting forward" taxpayer money given to them and earmarked for this purpose. There is no private $40 million from the developer, contrary to Moya's misleading statement.

The person who spoke at Moya's presser for Make The Road NY was Marta Gualotuna. Googling her name, one finds an article published by Make the Road, which begins: "After learning the Supreme Court deadlocked on an immigration plan that would protect her from being deported, Marta Gualotuna could barely speak through her tears." The implication from Make the Road's own article is that Marta Gualotuna is an illegal alien subject to potential deportation. And of all people, SHE is the sole "community" voice who speaks at Moya's press conference, advocating that everyone support Moya in the election? She cannot even vote! Gualotuna is standing on the left in blue MTR shirt in the photo of the Moya presser.

Queens politics. Just when you thought it couldn't get any dumber, it does.'s not Queens

From DNA Info:

Elected officials said they will bring a lawsuit against the city if it doesn't halt a trio of skyscrapers slated to rise on the Two Bridges waterfront.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilwoman Margaret Chin on Friday said they will urge the Department of City Planning to reject an application submitted by developers to build the residential towers within a three-block radius, urging the agency to instead put the developments through a more rigorous review process.

But if the city elects to approve the application, which is now making its way through a comparatively lax review, they will resort to legal action, said the politicians.

"To the members of the City Planning Commission, we have a simple message: if you rule against this community, we will use every tool at our disposal to make sure the voices of the people are heard," Chin said at a rally near the development sites.

JDS Development Group plans to build a 77-story tower at 247 Cherry St., while Two Bridges Associates plans two towers on a shared base at 260 South St. Starrett Development is planning a 62-story residence at 259 Clinton St.

Neighbors fear the collective developments will negatively impact their quality of life by blocking views and natural light, overcrowding an area with sparse transportation and open space options, and driving up property values by bringing hundreds of market-rate units to the largely low-income neighborhood.

Brewer and Chin last year urged DCP to put the towers through its rigorous, seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which would require a review from the local community board, borough board, city council and the mayor himself before going to a vote.

The agency shot down the request, stating the towers are considered "minor modifications" because they do not require new waivers or zoning actions.

Instead, the developments are subjected only to a city-mandated environmental review process aimed at identifying and mitigating potential impacts they may have on the surrounding area.

Could you imagine a Queens elected official even threatening something like this? Usually they just say, "Oh well, I tried" while they pocket scads of dough from the developer.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Queens lady lets de Blasio have it in photo op gone wrong

Give 'em hell, Vickie!

Wills guilty, booted from City Council

From NY1:

A jury Thursday has found Queens City Councilman Ruben Wills guilty on five of six counts against him in his corruption trial.

Wills was accused of stealing more than $30,000 in taxpayer money, funneling it through his nonprofit group, then using it, among other things, on clothes, fast food, gas and, in one case, a $690 Louis Vuitton handbag.

After the verdict, he was upbeat and defiant. "I'm just going to sit here and make sure that my community knows that I'm innocent," Wills said to reporters. "I didn't steal any money. I'm disappointed in the verdict."

A city councilman representing southeast Queens since 2011, Wills now automatically loses his council seat.

Wills faces up to seven years in prison. His attorney plans to appeal.

Let's recall that the Queens Machine endorsed him while he was under indictment.

Now what happens? Do they pick his successor?

Whitestone asks FAA to reroute helicopters

From PIX11:

Neighbors in Queens are sounding an alarm after a helicopter with two people inside made a water landing off the south shore of Long Island on Wednesday.

"We Love Whitestone" is a group created a number of years ago. Members joined with some other neighborhoods and people in Astoria, Queens to bring attention to the air traffic above their homes.

Alfredo Centola is a founding member of the Whitestone group. He has shared videos with PIX11 of helicopters flying over their homes. They run a website where neighbors can file reports and they also say they have set up sensors that track aircraft.

They're asking the Federal Aviation Administration to review the official flight plan that brings choppers and sea-planes over northwestern Queens. The neighbors point out the same path requires aircraft to fly along the water farther south in certain parts of Long Island's North Shore.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Flushing & Jamaica Stations to undergo renovations

From NY1:

As renovations continue at Penn Station, the state announced Wednesday an improvement plan for dozens of Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) stations, including two in Queens.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is investing $5.6 billion to transform 39 LIRR stations.

He said the much-needed improvements will strengthen transportation infrastructure and increase rider capacity by 80 percent.

The Jamaica Station will undergo a major face lift, as it will be upgraded with higher speed switches and new signals.

Aging platforms are expected to be replaced, and some will be expanded to accommodate full-length, 12-car trains.

The station is also projected to be equipped with heated waiting areas and Wi-Fi.

Meantime, Flushing Station is expected to undergo general improvements.

Moya to publicly pledge his allegiance to the Queens Machine today

CORONA, N.Y. - On the heels of an appellate court rejection of a prior development project, Assemblymember and Council candidate Francisco Moya has issued a community-minded high bar for negotiations on the future of the redevelopment of Willets Point. These essential guidelines come in the face of a failed attempt to bring affordable housing to the area by scandal-tarred Hiram Monserrate, the former Councilmember whose deals with Mayor Bloomberg led to a decade of inaction and stagnation.

Moya's proposal comes shortly after a decision last month by the New York State Court of Appeals striking down the Willets West phase of the proposed redevelopment. The plan, which would have brought a shopping center and movie theater to the 30-acre site immediately west of Citi Field, was intended to be the first phase in the two-part redevelopment of the Willets Point Site. However, the Court of Appeals struck the plan down on the grounds that the land, which is technically parkland pertaining to the adjacent Flushing-Meadows Park, would first require state lawmakers' approval. Moya has pledged to work with colleagues in the legislature to secure the required parkland alienation provisions if his proposal moves forward.

...the leading City Council candidate will join Make the Road Action, Jackson Heights Green Alliance, Fairness Coalition of Queens, and local community leaders to rally in support of Moya's plan, and urge Mayor Bill de Blasio to join in support. The press conference and rally will coincide with the Mayor's week-long stint in Queens, working out of Queens Borough Hall.

Who: New York State Assemblymember Francisco Moya (D - Corona), Make the Road Action, members of Jackson Heights Green Alliance and the Fairness Coalition of Queens, as well as local community leaders.

What: Rally and press conference in support of Moya's Willets Point proposal

Where: Willets Point, 126th Street and Willets Point Blvd., Corona, N.Y. 11368.

When: Tomorrow, Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.

Nice collection of tweeder groups, Francisco! He also wants a soccer stadium in the park.

I'm kind of hoping Hiram shows up...