Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bloomberg bans Easter eggs

From Sodahead:

“Personally, if I had it my way I would ban them all,” stated a stern-faced Michael Bloomberg to reporters Thursday morning.

But New York’s Mayor is not talking about soft drinks this time. He is not talking about salt shakers, guns, cigarettes or headphones. No, this time Mayor Michael “The Ban Man” Bloomberg is speaking of Easter eggs. Yes, Easter eggs and the famed 400-year-old hare that delivers them, the Easter Bunny.

The New York City mayor signed an executive order Thursday forbidding the bouncing, buck-toothed icon of Easter from leaving the city’s children with plastic Easter eggs no longer or wider than one inch, thereby reducing with amount of candy that can be stored in them.

Happy Easter to all, and don't be an April Fool! - QC

Still waiting for new LPC website

From Crains:

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has come under fire from one of its staunchest defenders, Brooklyn City Councilman Brad Lander, who chairs the Council's landmarks subcommittee. He accuses the commission of repeatedly breaking its promise to launching a $5 million website designed to bring transparency to a process by which the commission selects landmarks.

The site would not only provide a comprehensive and easily accessible list of the city's 1,323 individual landmarks and 109 historic districts but also a clear catalog of what would-be landmarks have been submitted for consideration and where they stand in the review process.

"If you're a neighborhood group filing a request or a business owner who wants to know the fate of your building, there is no easy way to track that now from the LPC's website," Mr. Lander said. "Transparency is at the heart of good government, it's at the heart of a thriving democracy."

Mr. Lander said that when he first took over the landmarks subcommittee, he had a meeting with LPC chairman Robert Tierney. It was at that point that Mr. Lander suggested the agency come up with a better website and was told by Mr. Tierney that one was in the works and it was only months away from completion. When Mr. Tierney repeated that statement last week at a Council hearing on the agency's budget, Mr. Lander was ready for him.

"You've been telling us the same thing, that it was months away, going on three years now," Mr. Lander shot back.

Delays may well continue.

"Until we get a system that meets our standards, we're not going to implement it," Mr. Tierney responded. When asked if that might be before the Bloomberg administration leaves office at the end of the year, Mr. Tierney responded that he did not know.

"Because we're working through these complex issues, it's not as simple, perhaps, as we once thought it was, for whatever reason, and the complexities have produced these issues that we have," Mr. Tierney said.

Red-tailed hawks near Rufus King Park

From DNA Info:

Seven years ago, when Thomas Crater looked through the bedroom window of his sixth-floor apartment in Jamaica, he saw a big bird sitting on his fire escape.

“At first I thought it was an owl,” he said.

The unusually large bird, which turned out to be a red-tailed hawk, was sitting and watching the surrounding buildings and streets from the rail on the top floor. The raptor must have liked the location and has continued coming back, keeping Crater company.

Last fall, the bird, now even bigger, found a mate and the pair hangs out on his fire escape on 164th Street, near 89th Avenue, about seven blocks from the popular Rufus King Park, where the hawks have also been spotted.

It’s a love-hate relationship, jokes Crater, who said he both admires and fears the birds. He watches them with a wary respect as they sit on his fire escape for up to an hour, searching for prey below.

Tiffany Studios, 1893-2013

From Forgotten-NY:

In 1893, Louis Comfort Tiffany and his business partner, Arthur Nash, founded the Stourbridge Glass Company in Corona next to the railroad tracks.

In March 2013, bulldozers were busy wrecking the old Tiffany buildings; presumably the site was sold.

Demolition photos by Jerry Rotondi

All about Vito

From the Daily News:

Embattled Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez is facing a major new health crisis, he told the Daily News.

Already fighting cancer, Lopez said doctors have found two new growths on his brain and are trying to determine if those growths are cancerous.

Doctors are looking for a way to do a biopsy without opening the veteran assemblyman’s skull, he said.

From the Daily News:

Assemblyman Vito Lopez refused to testify before a state ethics commission probing allegations of his pervy behavior because of a related criminal probe, a source close to Lopez told the Daily News.

The source insists Lopez did not testify before the Joint Commission on Public Ethics at the urging of his lawyer because the interviews were being done in conjunction with the criminal probe by Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan.

The source said Lopez’s lawyer told the ethics commission that the assemblyman would “come in and talk to JCOPE only, but they said ‘no.’”

From the NY Post:

Under fire for sex-harassment charges, State Assemblyman Vito Lopez is planning a political strategy session with allies next week that could propel him toward a run for City Council — or retirement by the end of the year.

At the state Capitol yesterday to vote on the new state budget, the ex-Brooklyn Democratic boss — who is battling thyroid cancer and two new growths on the brain — strongly hinted he’ll either run for City Council in November or retire from the Assembly by the end of the year.

“It is increasingly more difficult for me to travel back and forth to Albany,” said Lopez (right), facing ethics and criminal investigations into allegations that he sexually harassed female Assembly aides last year.

“In the last eight months, I’ve gotten pneumonia twice,” Lopez said in the Assembly. “I’m continuing to have cancer-related problems, and I find it extremely difficult to sustain even another year here.”

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bathroom project cuts off bike access

"I went to check out the post Sandy damage I was told about at the bike path by Fort Totten. And I was surprised by a HUGE fenced off section, including the parking lot and the whole width of the bike path. I tried walking to other side of the lot by walking along the outside edge of the fence along the waters edge but, I think as you can see in photo, there's a point it goes right to the cliff's edge and I couldn't go any further. I had to turn around, cross the entrance ramp roadway onto grass on other side then to the other section past 212 street.

Can't they leave the path, or at least part of it so people can get from the one section to the other section on the marina section area. Its totally useless now. I'm guessing its going to take most of, if not all of, the summer to complete this construction of bathrooms." - Frustrated in Bayside

Some people can't take a joke...or the truth

From DNA Info:

A mysterious mock website that took jabs at the members of Queens Community Board 1 took most of its content offline recently, posting only a brief message stating the site had been threatened with legal action.

" is a parody and protected free political speech. Needless to say, it does not have any relation with any actual community board or governmental agency," a message on the site currently reads.

"But based on the threat of legal action from the City of New York, the site is temporarily being taken down," the site states.

It's unclear if legal threats were indeed made against the site. An email sent to the site's designers was not immediately returned, and CB1 district manager Lucille Hartmann was not available for comment Thursday.

The city's Law Department did not immediately respond to questions.

Dan still shoveling it

From the Times Ledger:

In an attempt to set the record straight as he runs for re-election to a second term, City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) has blamed Mayor Michael Bloomberg for distorting his claims about a Sanitation Department slowdown in the aftermath of the 2010 blizzard.

After the most recent snowfall, the councilman reflected back on his claims and pointed the finger at Bloomberg for taking his remarks out of context.

“Mayor Bloomberg was clearly trying to distract the public from his lack of hands-on governance during that storm and his growing troubles with DSNY supervisors, who were illegitimately targeted for summary demotions by his administration,” Halloran said. “At the time, my statements were unfortunately distorted into criticism for the hardworking DSNY employees and I was wrong to not fight more forcefully to clear up the record.”

Bloomberg and other top city officials were criticized for being out of the city for the Christmas holiday weekend when the blizzard hit.

As he faces a field of five Democrats seeking the spot to challenge him in November, Halloran said he hoped to set the record straight by saying he regretted the collateral damage caused by the political whirlwind.

“I never intended to criticize the rank-and-file workers of the DSNY or the vast majority of hardworking supervisors. I know how hard they work. The issues I raised were directed at the policymakers in the top management positions, based on what I’d heard at the time,” Halloran said. “While locker-room talk and outside agency griping were at the heart of my commentary, my intention was not always communicated as clearly as it should have been.”

City not protecting manufacturing anymore

From the Queens Chronicle:

In 2005, Mayor Bloomberg announced that specific areas of city land would be preserved for industrial purposes solely and called Industrial Business Zones. To go along with the IBZ, the mayor also created the Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses to support the city’s ailing industrial sector.

But eight years later, the OIMB has been dismantled and slowly, more and more of the IBZs are losing manufacturing businesses, which are being replaced by residential buildings and superstores.

“Creating these zones was the correct strategy for the city,” Adam Friedman of the Pratt Center for Community Development said. “The mayor recognized that manufacturers needed stability and said they would discourage nonindustrial uses and even created an office and conducted studies on the infrastructure of the industrial areas to better implement discouraging of nonindustrial uses. Those groups have gone steadily down and now have been eliminated.”

Since Bloomberg took office, the city has lost 1,800 acres of M-zoned industrial land.

In 2009, the New York Industrial Retention Network, which has since been consolidated to the Pratt Center, studied commercial uses invading IBZs. The 10-page document lays out every commercial superstore or chain hotel to move into each of the eight zones over several years.

“I don’t believe the city is doing everything the can to protect these companies,” Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D-Maspeth) said. “In my tenure as a council member, I’ve always had a specific interest in the industrial sector which dates back to the fact that my mother was a seamstress when the textile industry was predominately immigrants. She eventually had to change careers because of the shrinking industry buildings.”

Reyna and others cite real estate prices as one of the key reasons that more and more buildings are becoming residential. Building owners have found that commercial and residential companies are more likely to pay higher prices than manufacturers. So when leases come up, the owners hike up rents so high that industrial companies cannot afford to remain in the area.

This year, the IBZ fund that grants industrial businesses tax incentives for remaining in the zones has been zeroed out.

Ozone Park up for rezoning

From the Forum South:

A massive city proposal to rezone hundreds of blocks in Ozone Park would maintain the neighborhood’s residential character and be a major boon to the area’s economy, allowing for such businesses as bookstores and larger restaurants to move into shopping hubs like Liberty and 101st avenues, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and other civic leaders said this week.

The city Department of Planning’s proposal – the first of its kind since 1961 which stemmed from concerns from community boards 9 and 10, elected officials and civic organizations – would rezone about 530 blocks in an effort to “reinforce the area’s predominant one- and two-family residential character and direct moderate amounts of new residential and mixed-use development to locations along the area’s main commercial corridors and near mass transit resources,” according to a city statement. The department recently launched its public outreach portion of the proposal process, which will include presentations to various civic groups and community boards 9 and 10, and Ulrich said he expects the City Council to vote on the proposal by the end of the year.

Prior to a vote by the City Council, the proposal would go before community boards 9 and 10.

“This rezoning is long overdue and will definitely have a positive impact on the community for many years to come,” said Ulrich, who in 2010 asked the city to conduct the study. “Ozone Park demands a more flexible blueprint that allows for responsible development but also protects the character and integrity of the neighborhood.”

The proposed area for the rezoning is generally bounded by Rockaway Boulevard, Atlantic Avenue and 101st Avenue to the north, the Van Wyck Expressway and Lefferts Boulevard to the east, the Belt Parkway to the south, and the Brooklyn borough line to the west.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Peter Vallone says CitiField area is not parkland

Video from

From A Walk in the Park:

City Council Member Peter Vallone doesn't believe the mapped parkland in Flushing Meadows the City and developers want to build a mall on is parkland.

Mr. Vallone, one of six candidates running for the office of the Borough President, said last night he supports the Willets Point project, including taking 40 plus acres of Flushing Meadows parkland currently used for Citi-Field parking, in order to build the city's largest mall.

"It"s not parkland, and anyone saying that Willets Point is parkland is relying on some technical definition from the 60's," Vallone said.

"You know what Willets Point is….It also involves the Mets parking lot. I want to see that development happen," he said.

"I want to make sure what goes there is what you want but that needs to be developed. That can't stay the way it is, and it's not parkland," Vallone claimed.

The Councilmember was a bit confused last night as candidates squared off.

It is the City, in fact, that is desperately trying to rely on a 1961 bill that it used when it took over the parkland to build Shea Stadium.

The City and Bloomberg-preferred developer the Related Companies in partnership with Sterling Equities, the real estate firm controlled by the owner of the Mets - are attempting to use the parkland without seeking State Alienation legislation as is required under state law to use parkland for non-park purposes.

The City and the developers are also attempting to bypass City Council approval.

Critics of the plan argue that if the 40-plus acres being proposed for mall use are no longer needed for baseball parking then it should revert back to its original recreational use.

Mr. Vallone's Bloomberg-esque moments came last night during the Bay Terrace Borough President Candidate's Night.

And Peter is considered to be the "smart" brother...

Staten Island is sinking

From CBS New York:

It’s gone from bad to worse for some storm-weary Staten Island residents who are trying to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy.

Now, they’re coping with a sinkhole nightmare. And as CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported Tuesday, not even insurance coverage may help.

On the recently renovated ground floor of Diane Spoto’s Sandy-battered home, there’s a sinkhole.

“According to the engineer, he said the floor could collapse if not fixed properly,” Spoto said.

Beyond the obvious fear that her home might cave in, Spoto said she’s getting stuck with the repair bill.

“This one is from FEMA, which you can see personal property total grant zero, and the other letter is from Allstate, which is also a denial,” Spoto said.

The estimate to repair the sinkhole is $12,000, money Spoto said she and her husband no longer have after struggling to pay to repair their flooded home.

There’s no telling how many homes in the Sandy-ravaged neighborhoods may have developed sinkholes without their owners knowing.

Engineering expert Joseph Pasaturo said in his experience insurance doesn’t cover sinkholes.

Bushwick ready for rezone

From DNA Info:

Spurred by the rapid boom of new housing developments and businesses, local community leaders are asking the city to rezone Bushwick to help stop high-rise buildings, bars, liquor stores and storage facilities from taking over the neighborhood.

Bushwick Community Board 4 members believe the rezoning is necessary "to preserve the unique character of Bushwick," they wrote in a letter to elected officials.

"To help manage the growth and rebirth of the Bushwick neighborhood we feel the time is right to begin rezoning," the members wrote to City Council Member Diana Reyna and other officials. "We want to be able to decide and identify which areas of the district are suitable for higher density housing."

The rezoning, the letter said, should also require "down-zoning" to ensure that high-rise buildings not spring up on residential streets. And the city should address "recent community concerns regarding the proliferation of bars, nightclubs, liquor stores on the main streets and avenues, and box storage warehouses," members wrote.

Proponents of the zoning changes say the new rules for buildings — which the city's Department of City Planning would ultimately decide — are needed to save Bushwick from exploitation by developers, affordable housing advocates say.

Paul Graziano, Candidate for the 19th Council District and an urban planning/historic preservation consultant, stated this to me: "Bushwick is about to become the perfect storm. Because of the wrong-headed zoning changes that happened in 2005 in Williamsburg - where thousands of people and businesses were displaced due to massive upzonings along the waterfront and conversion of industrial to residential zoning - many people packed their bags and moved east into "East Williamsburg," otherwise known as Bushwick.

While Bushwick has had severe disinvestment and poverty due to a horrendous lack of interest from subsequent administrations - and collusion with non-profit organizations connected to powerful politicians created to fill the gap in what should be the City's responsibility - the kind of 'turning point' that Bushwick is facing, with a substantial influx of young people, bars, clubs that is radically changing the composition of the neighborhood is setting up this area for another push from the moneyed real estate interests to allow them for MORE development, not less, which will again - force - many people from their homes and livelihoods, just like the Williamsburg rezoning did.

From my experience, downzoning is a reasonable strategy to stop this from happening, but it has to be paired with other controls: landmarking, particularly along Bushwick Avenue, which has significant historic resources; educational improvements to the public schools, not more private charter schools that use public money; business retention programs and the creating of a merchant's association (if there isn't one already) along Broadway; and true re-investment in this community, instead of handing over tens of millions of dollars to politically-connected private social service agencies."

Elevator woes at Hollis building

From Eyewitness News:

Residents of a Queens apartment building are frustrated.

Many of them who are elderly are living without a working elevator.

It's been broken for nearly three months.

For those with serious medical conditions getting up and down the stairs is agonizing.

Tenants say the building's super posted a sign back on January 7th saying it would take four to six weeks to repair the elevator.

Now going into week 12, they say their complaints are falling on deaf ears.

More broken promises at city construction site

From the Daily News:

Unions and community groups are calling on the Bloomberg Administration to halt construction work at the City Point mega-project.

The city should stop the massive downtown Brooklyn development at DeKalb and Flatbush Aves. while it does a new study of the impact of low wages developers are paying, the groups said.

“We know that construction workers are being paid poverty wages at City Point and they are not getting any benefits,” said Terry Moore of Metallic Ironworkers Local 46.

Workers are being paid $15 per hour at the 1.6 million-square-foot residential and commercial development, the advocates charged — which adds up to $22,500 per year, below the city’s poverty level for a family of four.

“Brooklyn’s middle class is under attack and this project is a major portion of the assault,” the groups’ lawyer Thomas Kennedy wrote in a March 4 letter to Deputy Mayor Robert Steel.

Bloomberg Adminstration spokeswoman Julie Wood called City Point “a linchpin for revitalization in downtown Brooklyn” but did not address charges of poverty-level wages.

You may recall this was another eminent domain deal that was supposed to provide great jobs, parkland, etc.  It's funny how the outcome is NEVER what's promised?  When will we stop believing the hype?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Paul Vallone's non-voting record

February 13th CB7 Parks Committee meeting
As many of you know, City Council District 19 Democratic candidate Paul Vallone sits on Community Board 7 and the Vice Chair of CB7, Chuck Apelian, was Vallone's campaign manager for his 2009 failed run for office and is intimately involved in his current race. What you may not realize is that Mr. Vallone is a member of the Parks Committee of CB7.

CB7 recently took up the topic of the USTA expansion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. There were 3 meetings concerning this issue.

On February 13th, there was a Parks Committee meeting where the USTA was unprepared to answer questions. That meeting was rescheduled for March 4th to allow the USTA to come back with answers, and the Parks Committee ultimately voted that night. The full board meeting and vote then took place March 11th.

So how did Paul Vallone vote?

He didn't.

Paul Vallone was absent for the February 13th meeting. He was present for attendance but left the March 4th meeting before the vote. After conferring with Chuck Apelian on March 11th, Paul was present for attendance but left before the full board meeting and vote (this was the night of his brother's Borough President campaign kickoff).

Based on Paul Vallone's lack of voting - and phony CB7 attendance - on one of the most important Queens-wide issues in recent memory, one must wonder how Vallone would vote in the City Council were he to be elected to public office.

(It's interesting to note that when Joe Franco's rezoning for the White House came before CB7, Paul made sure to stay long enough to vote "yes".)

Do CD19 residents want a representative that walks into a hearing room for 5 minutes, just long enough to be recorded as "present," and then runs off to be interviewed for TV, talk on the phone, meet with lobbyists, attend parties, etc? In fact, the current CD19 council member is well known for doing this but stops just long enough to post photos on Facebook to show his constituents that he was there. Which usually leads to comments like, "You're so busy looking out for us!" "You're the hardest working member of the council!" "We're so lucky to have you representing us!" and other vomit-inducing, ass-kissing platitudes.

The Willets Point project will soon be the topic du jour at CB7.  Let's see how Paul gets out of voting on this one.

Bayside High School gets new crappers

From the Times Ledger:

New porcelain thrones have been sitting well with administrators at Bayside High School, where a new city initiative has helped save energy one flush at a time.

The school installed 102 new toilets to serve its more than 3,200 students in August and has saved roughly 3 gallons per flush ever since, according to school engineer Richard Fricione. In these new toilets, a straight path allows the water to drain directly out of the bowl instead of following its predecessors’ more twisty tubes.

“We have been monitoring our water usage all year and have seen it gone down quite a bit,” Fricione said of the new 1.2-gallon toilets, which replaced older equipment that used 4.5 gallons per flush.

The city tapped Bayside as well as Hillcrest HS in Jamaica to participate in its pilot program that aims to conserve water with new low-flow toilets, according to the city Department of Environmental Protection. By the program’s completion in five years, a DEP spokesman said 500 city schools will have received 40,000 new energy-saving toilets with the goal of draining their water usage by 70 percent, saving roughly 4 million gallons per day.

The $31 million city initiative also preps for something greater, when the Delaware Aqueduct is temporarily shut down in 2020 for repairs. The aqueduct has supplied the city with more than half of its public water and its closure will demand that administrators find alternative sources while it is repaired, the DEP said.

Bikini bar near sewage plant upsets locals

From the Daily News:

An Astoria bikini bar that local leaders fear will turn into a strip joint is facing an uphill battle for a liquor license.

Racks, at 19-26 Steinway St. on the outskirts of residential Astoria, withdrew its state liquor license application Wednesday. The bar then re-applied under a different license category.

“I’m going to fight against an establishment that doesn’t fit the character of our family-oriented community,” said Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), who has led the charge against area adult entertainment venues.

Racks is less than 400 feet away from a playground, she pointed out, and on the same block where a residential building is going up.

“These types of businesses are harmful to residential communities,” Simotas said.

Community Board 1 unanimously voted against supporting Racks’ liquor license application at its September meeting.

But District Manager Lucille Hartmann pointed out that the neighborhood has changed since the area was zoned for adult entertainment.

“When that zoning was created, the new housing wasn’t there,” she said.

And why did CB1 approve the variance application for the new housing in an industrial zone? I'm not a fan of strip clubs and no one wants them in their neighborhood, but where should they go if not in the manufacturing area? Furthermore, do you really think the electeds here are trying to protect Astoria, or protect the bottom line of the developer that is building the apartment complex?

Landlord arrested for illegal conversions

From the NY Times:

A Queens landlord who authorities said had packed nearly 50 people in illegally converted apartments, some in garages and cellars, was charged with reckless endangerment and other crimes on Wednesday, reflecting a growing concern about the kind of overcrowded housing that has been cited in several fatal fires in recent years.

The landlord, Segundo Chimbay, 48, was accused of turning four houses in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst into fire hazards, with subdivided apartments, illegally installed utilities and rooms without required exits, according to Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney.

In the absence of any fire or other disaster in the buildings, Mr. Chimbay’s arrest indicated an increased enforcement of laws banning illegal conversions by the district attorney’s office and other city agencies.

“This property owner sacrificed public safety for his own profit,” said Robert LiMandri, the commissioner of the Buildings Department, in an e-mailed statement. “And his arrest demonstrates that there are serious consequences for creating such dangerous living conditions in New York City.”

Mr. Chimbay, who charged rents from $850 to $1,400 for the illegal dwellings, had been under scrutiny by the Buildings Department since about 2007, when he refused orders to vacate his buildings or bring them up to code, according to the district attorney’s office. There are dozens of violations attached to his name on the Buildings Department’s Web site, including a citation for turning one two-bedroom home into apartments for 13 families.

So it takes 6 years to arrest someone for this? What a joke.

How the Hasids overdeveloped Williamsburg

From the NY Observer:

How the ultra-Orthodox have succeeded in building thousands of units and keeping the neighborhood affordable for families—on private land, and without public money—is a testament to their strongly pro-development attitudes and a bloc voting strategy reminiscent of the ethnic politics patterns of the Tammany Hall era. In a city slow to accommodate new development, they have managed to keep on building in a way that the city’s storied real estate interests can only dream of.

In a city slow to accomodate new development, the Satmars have managed to keep building.

So during the 1990s, private Hasidic developers, seeking to house their multiplying masses, began asking for—and receiving—variances to build apartment buildings, without subsidies, on land around the edges of South Williamsburg that was otherwise zoned exclusively for industrial and commercial use.

At the time, the city was freely granting these one-off exemptions, but was not willing to rezone entirely, said Sheldon Lobel, a land use attorney whose name shows up on many of the applications. “But about 10 years ago,” Mr. Lobel told The Observer, “getting variances became more difficult.”

So it was in the late 1990s that the current building boom kicked into high gear. Hasidic leaders lobbied for—and won—the right to build housing on industrial land around South Williamsburg, including a large swath in northern Bed-Stuy, around Bedford and Flushing Avenues, in 2001. No longer did the Hasids need to beg the Board of Standards and Appeals for permission on each individual project—new six- and seven-story residential buildings were now allowed as a matter of right.

A solid wall of buildings rose in northern Bed-Stuy, in an area some in the community now call “New Williamsburg.” The development was not the piecemeal building that takes place in the rest of the borough, but an entirely new neighborhood, anchored by beige apartment blocks, embellished with faux classical touches and served by new synagogues, schools, grocery stores and shops.

And it didn’t stop there. In the early 2000s, outgrowing their new territory in northern Bed-Stuy, the Hasidic community began to apply pressure to the Bloomberg administration to rezone the Broadway Triangle, an industrial enclave wedged between Bed-Stuy and South and East Williamsburg. It took the better part of the decade, but the Satmar eventually got their wish: the right to strike out to the east.

The rezoning had both a public and private component, and it’s the public portion of the project—an affordable housing complex that was to be built in part by the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, the secular wing of the largest Satmar faction—that attracted the most controversy. Black and Latino leaders claimed that the affordable housing complex—to be built on city-owned land, some of which would be seized by eminent domain—would give a disproportionate number of units to the ultra-Orthodox, as traditional public housing projects nearby had in the past.

A judge halted the mixed-income housing development in 2009, but resentments linger. While nothing has happened on the city-owned land, the stay on private development has been lifted, and Hasidic developers are closing in fast.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Electeds want rail line restored

From DNA Info:

Two Queens congressmen said they are backing a plan to restore an abandoned Queens rail line, instead of turning the tracks into a High Line-style public park called the QueensWay — and want to to use Hurricane Sandy funds to make it happen.

The move by Reps. Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries, who represent Brooklyn as well as parts of Howard Beach and Ozone Park, could be a setback to the QueensWay project, which has been gaining supporters during the past several months and received a $467,000 grant for a feasibility study from the state last year.

The derelict Rockaway Beach Rail Line, which closed in 1962, used to connect Forest Hills, Rego Park, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park, but it has since become home to mostly trush and graffiti.

The elected officials argue that restoring the line would revitalize local economy and offer faster commute options to the area devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

“Restoring the rail line would speed up the pace of recovery for residents and local businesses and create hundreds of jobs while laying the foundation for a transportation network that accommodates our future growth,” said Meeks, who represents Far Rockaway and Jamaica, at a press conference held on Sunday in Ozone Park.

He was against park housing before he was for it

From the NY Post:

State Sen. Dan Squadron took in more than $65,000 from supporters of a residential development at Brooklyn Bridge Park — after he struck a deal that enabled housing at the site.

Squadron, a Democrat who’s running for public advocate, promised during his 2008 Senate campaign to fight all housing in the park, but his 2011 deal with the Bloomberg administration allows for some residential development there, albeit less than originally planned at the site.

He has received cash from members of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and Brooklyn Bridge Development Corp., which support housing in the park as it undergoes renovation.

“Apparently, if the money comes from the right ZIP code, with the right connections, Squadron is just your average old-school pol,” said a source familiar with the deal.

Vito's non-profit still rolling in state dough

From the Wall Street Journal:

A Brooklyn social-services network that has been the subject of investigations by the city, state and federal governments and has close ties to Assemblyman Vito Lopez is poised to receive nearly $2 million under New York's latest budget deal.

The $1.9 million grant to the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council is part of an Albany tradition known as a "member item," an earmark with an anonymous sponsor slated for a nonprofit group. The grant would pay for the council's "community youth capital construction program," the purpose of which isn't described in the budget.

Lawmakers plan to vote this week on the item, part of a 1,023 page Aid to Localities budget bill. The grant's sponsor wasn't disclosed.

The last member-item funding was approved in 2010 under Gov. David Paterson, but all of the money wasn't spent right away, and there was $136 million still left to be spent for member items when Mr. Cuomo took office in 2011. After he and lawmakers couldn't agree on a plan to shift that money elsewhere, Mr. Cuomo and lawmakers have been drawing down the funding gradually for member items.

Mr. Cuomo proposed spending the last of the $57 million in that pot of money. Matt Wing, a spokesman for the governor, said the budget doesn't include "new funding for Ridgewood Bushwick" and said the money was approved before Mr. Cuomo took office. The $1.9 million earmark for Ridgewood Bushwick wasn't made until this year, according to state budget records.

Representatives of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos and Senate Democratic leader Jeff Klein didn't respond to messages.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's public integrity bureau is investigating Ridgewood Bushwick, a person familiar with the probe said. The inquiry's scope hasn't been disclosed.

Ridgewood Bushwick has received member items in the past, including a $150,000 grant in 2011 and more than $800,000 of economic development funding from the Cuomo administration that same year."

Hmmm. Why wasn't the sponsor disclosed? Why were we told there was no member item funding for the past 3 years when there was?


Atlas Park still hanging on

From the Daily News:

A struggling shopping mall in Glendale is getting a facelift — but neighbors aren’t too happy about how they found out about it.

Macerich, which owns The Shops at Atlas Park, unveiled plans Tuesday for new stores and an outdoor performance space after inquires from the Daily News prompted by concerned calls from neighbors.

The company recently erected a fence around the parking lot and workers began chopping down trees there — the first sign of an overhaul since Macerich acquired the moribund mall in a foreclosure sale in January 2011.

After staying mum about its plans for months, Macerich officials said Tuesday the mall will get a Forever 21 and a Charlotte Russe retail store by this summer, in addition to a 10,000-square-foot area to host performances.

Macerich will also start construction in the coming weeks to create 100 additional parking spots, mall officials said.

Concern over floodplain development

From SI Live: While neighbors plead with the government to buy and raze their flooded homes, one developer has plans to build 20 new semi-attached houses in the middle of wetlands that were swamped by Hurricane Sandy -- something Councilman James Oddo is asking the city and state to reconsider allowing. "What we're asking for is to have the city and state say, 'Time out, let's look at the specifics of this project,' and ask ourselves: Does it make sense to build more homes in this area, even if the homes are built almost in accordance to the new standards?" Oddo asked beside the property Monday. The plans call for eight homes along Seaview Avenue, near Patterson Avenue in Ocean Breeze -- a stone's throw away from Quincy and Buel avenues where people drowned in their homes. Another 12 units would be built behind them by extending Liberty Avenue into what is now a marshy area filled with phragmites. The architect for the project, Stanley Krebushevski, has not yet returned a call requesting comment. The property owner is listed on permit applications as Shalom Property, based in Scarsdale, but the phone number listed for the company goes to an accounting firm. A message left at the firm was not returned. The homes would be built to current base flood elevations -- not the advisory ones -- but the first floor wouldn't be living space, which would minimize the impact on flood insurance. The homes would have basements, Oddo said. "I don't want to say that they are building drastically outside of what the [advisory base flood elevations] are, or what we expect for the final flood elevations to be, but when you look at the overheads and you look at how they're building in the wetlands, it is problematic to me," Oddo said. Even if the proposed homes survive the next storm unscathed thanks to their elevation and new construction, the removal of the 481 square feet of natural wetlands on which they sat -- which will be mitigated by adding about 9,000 square feet of new wetlands and preserving another 34,000 square feet -- could impact other, older homes, Oddo said. "We've seen that across the Island, when there's more development and less natural area to drain, it exacerbates the problem," Oddo said. Oddo said even though new wetlands would be added, removing the wetlands that have always existed -- and to which water naturally flows -- could be a problem.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Co-workers say Christine Quinn is a truly horrible person

From the NY Times:

As she pursues a high-profile bid for mayor, Ms. Quinn, a Democrat, has proudly promoted her boisterous personality, hoping that voters will embrace her blend of brashness and personal charm.

But in private, friends and colleagues say, another Ms. Quinn can emerge: controlling, temperamental and surprisingly volatile, with a habit of hair-trigger eruptions of unchecked, face-to-face wrath.

She has threatened, repeatedly, to slice off the private parts of those who cross her.

She is sensitive to slights: When a Queens councilwoman neglected to credit Ms. Quinn in a news release, the speaker retaliated by cutting money for programs in her district.

Ms. Quinn’s staff, concerned that angry tirades could be overheard by outsiders, added soundproofing to her City Hall office. Wary of her temper, they are known to ask one another: “Did she throw up on you today?”

More than two dozen current and former city officials, lobbyists and political operatives recounted being berated by Ms. Quinn, but few would speak for the record, citing a fear of retaliation. They offered nearly identical accounts of their altercations, describing a rapid escalation of voice and vitriol, occasionally laced with vulgarity.

“Her eyes get really wide, she points her fingers,” one official said. “She gets really close to you. It’s really in your face.”

A former campaign donor who had been called to Ms. Quinn’s office to discuss a legislative proposal said: “She screamed at me for 10 minutes, uninterrupted, and used the ‘F’-word at least 20 times. I was just so startled, I didn’t know what to do.”

On telephone calls, Ms. Quinn can begin unexpected diatribes, her voice growing so loud that callers often have to hold their phones away from their ears.

You can hear Christine Quinn rant on an answering machine here.

More on Quinn's record here.

UPDATE:  Original recording here.

Silverstein bows out of council race

From the Queens Courier:

Matthew Silverstein, one the five candidates running in the District 19 Democratic primary race to defeat the incumbent councilmember, Dan Halloran, announce he is dropping out of the race.

In a statement, Silverstein confirmed he will be ending his campaign for City Council after going through one of the most difficult years of his life last year with his mother passing away in December.

“My Mom was an amazing woman who wanted me to continue fighting for the issues I care about. However, after consulting with my friends and family, I have decided to suspend my campaign,” said Silverstein.

Although he will no longer be running, Silverstein hopes to find a candidate in the race who represents his ideals and could work together with him to put “this city back on the right path.”

Meanwhile, it appears that Mr. Graziano has lined up quite a list of civic & community supporters.

Plan to build on project lands

From the NY Times:

The New York City Housing Authority has posted on its Web site new details of its plan to lease lands for private development at eight Manhattan projects, with the caveat that much of the plan is subject to revision.

Housing officials have been releasing the information piecemeal at tenant meetings over the last few weeks, but faced criticism from both tenants and elected officials that they had not disclosed enough information about the proposal.

In all, New York City housing officials expect some 14 residential towers to be built in the eight housing projects, with mostly market rate apartments.

The officials said the plan could yield more than $50 million a year to help them defray $6 billion in unmet capital improvements and repairs.

The new construction would replace parking spaces, garbage compactor yards, recreational areas and community centers. Housing officials said some of those facilities would be relocated.

Liu may not get matching funds

From the NY Post:

Operating largely under the radar, Comptroller John Liu has pulled off an amazing feat in the race for mayor by filing claims that would entitle him to $3.4 million in public matching funds.

Liu’s accomplishment is impressive on several fronts.

The $564,400 he has amassed for matching purposes is second only to the $637,038 rounded up by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who leads in the polls and has raised twice as much overall as her less successful rival.

Liu has concentrated on smaller contributions and has tapped donors outside the wealthy Manhattan core — particularly in Asian-American strongholds that include his base in Flushing, Queens — to haul in about $3.2 million. He’s got $2 million left.

“That was our whole fund-raising strategy,” confided one Liu ally.

Donations from city residents are matched on a generous six-to-one basis, up to $1,050 for every $175 contributed.

So the more small donations, the higher the match.

Liu hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing himself.

But the CFB rules cover staffers as well as candidates.

In Chapter 5 of the CFB regulations, one reason cited for an “ineligibility determination” would be “if the participant or an agent of the participant has been found by the Board to have committed fraud in the course of the program . . .”

If [Jenny] Hou gets convicted, the Campaign Finance Board will be in a difficult position with regards to Liu.

As a guardian of the public funds, it’ll have to decide if there was enough evidence to trigger the ineligibility provision. At the same time, the agency doesn’t want to be accused of disenfranchising voters who are supporting one of the four major contenders in the Democratic race.

College Point has oldest service station in NYC

From the NY Post:

A historic gas station in Queens has been in business for so long that when it first opened, the only mustangs and broncos it serviced had stirrups, not seatbelts.

Farrington Service Station in College Point opened in 1868 — just three years after the Civil War ended. And while other gas stations have come and gone, remarkably, Farrington’s has been owned by the same family on the same street corner for 145 years.

“My father and my grandfather before him always said, ‘Never sell your luck,’ ” said John Farrington, 56, who co-owns the station at 15th Avenue and 126th Street with his brother, Michael.

“That gas station has been our luck in this family for five generations. We would never get rid of it.”

The station has undergone numerous face-lifts as it’s gone from servicing horses to fueling automobiles — first with Sinclair Oil, then BP and, finally, with Gulf.

BP candidates are in the money

From Crain's:

A political action committee funded by New York City's real estate titans has trained its focus on a rather unlikely target in 2013: the city's borough president races.

Taxpayers for an Affordable New York, which is administered by the Real Estate Board of New York, has given to three candidates in the Queens borough president's race: $3,850 to former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, $2,000 to former Queens Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik and $3,850 to Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.

The PAC has also given $3,850 to Manhattan borough president candidate Jessica Lappin, who is a member of the City Council, and $1,000 to Brooklyn borough president frontrunner Eric Adams, who serves in the state Senate. In 2011 and 2012, the group gave $2,750 to Councilman James Vacca, who at that time was a potential candidate for Bronx borough president.

Otherwise, the PAC has only given a few scattered contributions to council campaigns, and none to citywide candidates this election cycles. A source close to the group explained its gifts to borough president candidates this way: "We make donations to candidates who share our desire for economic development."

Borough presidents review all public and private land-use projects in their boroughs that are subject to the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure and issue recommendations. Their opinions are not binding, but can be very influential.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Centreville may actually get sewers soon

From the Forum South:

Councilman Eric Ulrich confirmed the news that Ozone Park residents have been waiting to hear for more than three decades—the city will begin construction on the capital project known as HWQ411B in March of 2014.

Tell a Centreville resident that the city will soon launch a sewer and roadway construction project first proposed more than three decades ago, and it is not unlikely they will scoff – loudly – and say their final demise is expected sooner than the city making good on its plan.

“This is ongoing since the 1980s – every time they tell me they’re going to be digging, it’s like the story of the boy who cried wolf,” Ozone Park Civic Association President Howard Kamph said of the HWQ411B construction project. “I’ve been here since 1982, and my neighbor told me then to not bother doing the sidewalks because we’ll be getting new sidewalks, streets, everything. That hasn’t happened, and most of my neighbors said they’re going to be dead before this happens.”

But, Kamph said residents may soon be whistling a new tune – not to mention live to see the completion of the $45 million, three-year project, which would include the replacement of streets, sidewalks, curbs, pedestrian ramps, water mains, and sanitary sewers, as well as the installment of new storm drains in the Centreville area. According to a Feb. 27 email from the city Department of Design and Construction to Kamph, the city said it expects to break ground on the now infamous project in February or March of 2014.

The project is slated to occur in the area included in 135th Avenue and Linden Boulevard South to Albert Road and North Conduit Avenue, and bounded by Cross Bay Boulevard to the west and the railroad right-of-way along the Aqueduct Racetrack to the east.

“Please be advised that the final design for this project is nearing completing, and we anticipate completing the design in early spring 2013,” the DDC representative wrote in the email to Kamph. “Thereafter, the construction contract will be bid in summer.”

First announcing plans for the project in the early 1980s, the city has since “given excuses all the way down the road” as to why it could not begin, including a lack of funds and difficulty acquiring property, Kamph said. Ultimately, the city had to use eminent domain to acquire some property, such as sidewalks. No houses were taken as part of the eminent domain process, and the city said it expects to pay owners for the property used in the project around November 2013 to February 2014.

Still no resolution to Astoria med building damage

From the Queens Chronicle:

The Board of Standards and Appeals decided for the second time on Tuesday to not vote on a zoning variance for a medical facility in Astoria.

The eight-story edifice at 23-25 31 St. was partially erected when five homeowners who abut the construction started seeing cracks in their foundations, resident Robert Draghi said. They first asked the developer, Pali Realty, to assess the damage. No one showed.

Then in July the Draghis demanded the Department of Buildings conduct an audit. When the department came out, it saw the facility and 135-car parking garage was being built 20 feet from its property line instead of the legal 30. The DOB then issued a stop-work order that is still in place. The board asked for more information from Pali Realty. The vote will come before the board again on April 23.

If the BSA votes in favor of the zoning variance to allow the 10-foot reduction in the setback, Pali Realty will be able to restart construction.

Community Board 1 and the Queens Borough President’s Office recommended the variance with four stipulations: the gray brick wall separating the structure from the homes be finished with a desirable stucco finish; a barrier be installed in front of the air-conditioning unit to modify noise; the developers mitigate the problems with the adjacent homes using a third party; and the front of the building be lit for security reasons.

“We’re begging them to leave the stipulations,” Draghi said of the BSA. “We had a house, we want a house.”
The stipulations would require the developer to resolve the issue with the five owners.

Some Jamaica garbage cleaned, some not

Here are some before and after photos of 5 places that have recently be cleaned up, some after the NY1 4-part series on the Jamaica Garbage Problem. My sources tell me that a few of the horrendous places around the Sutphin Blvd/107th St area were also cleaned up. The before/after photos attached are:

1. Notorious apartment building at 168-07 89th Ave. Although I have a photo of the side of the building, where there is even more garbage than from the day that the building was filmed.

2. House (which according to DOB is a 1 family house but has three meters on the side) at 168-15 89th Ave. The garbage is all removed, but still has the refrigerator with doors attached (illegal) and an industrial container of some liquid.

3. Empty lot at 91-26 175th Street, which had tons of garbage and a collapsed fence.

4. Empty Lot at 170-19 89th Ave (although the sides of the fence are all falling down and has been reported to DOB).

5. Empty lot at 169-23 90th Ave (corner of 170th St & 90th Ave). Although sidewalk which is in poor condition has not been fixed even though I reported it twice, last year and this year to DOB).

It is obviously that many of these places, which have been like this for a very long time, only got cleaned-up due to Ruschell Boone's great 4-part Jamaica garbage series that aired on NY1. All of you folks "got booned" and a very hard slap of reality in the face. Some of the politicians came out to speak in the series (but where have they been all this time on this horrendous issue affecting the quality of life in Jamaica. Why does it take the media exposing an issue for them to come out and say something, when they should have been speaking out about this and coming up with solutions a long time ago. It is our elected officials' jobs to make sure our community is properly taken care of, especially when there is an issue such as the garbage problem which has been going on for years. It is also the community as a whole who has the responsibility as well but it is our elected leaders who need to be held accountable just as President Obama held himself accountable for the Benghazi incident. That is what makes a leader a true responsible leader, one who holds himself or herself accountable. If you look up the word leader the following appear:

1. Any person or thing that leads.
2. One who goes first.
3. A person or thing that leads in a certain field in terms of excellence, success, etc.

I feel that our present and past Jamaica elected officials have not shown the true meaning of the word leader. All one has to do it take a look at Jamaica for the last couple of decades to realize that very little leadership has taken place.

As I walked to the gym on Saturday morning, where ever I walked, I saw empty liquor bottles, cups, cans, small bags of garbage and dog shit all over the place. And who is doing this, well, of course the low class ghetto people and the low class third world immigrants (which some of you do not like when I say this, GET OVER IT). I also went to Forest Hills that morning, a community that has a very diverse population, but I did not see the conditions there that exist in Jamaica. Why, well one is very little to no low class ghetto/low third world immigrants there, notice I said LOW CLASS. Also their elected leaders and the community as a whole make sure the conditions there do not become like Jamaica, they take a vested interest in their community unlike many in Jamaica and they will not tolerate that type of behavior and you will be called out on that and elected officials will be held accountable. I was talking to an individual who lives in Forest Hills and is very familiar with Queens and Jamaica. I was telling him that I live in Jamaica and the problems we are having there especially with garbage. Know what his response was. "I would never live in Jamaica, it is filled with ghetto people, low class middle easterners, Pakistanis, Bengalis, (insert the n word here) and young females popping out babies left and right. They do not care about their community and never will. The whole place needs to be torn down and started all over again." Want to know his race................African American.

Well wake up and face reality, because it is these low class people who are causing the problem along with a lack of good leadership in our current and past elected officials, who have done very little to nothing in regards to this issue, along with some of our city agencies and community boards that have unfortunately been dragging their feet too long on this problem. My question: if you all have been doing your jobs and doing them properly, why has this been going on for so long? Why is the garbage problem getting continually worse? Why are property owners of vacant lots, abandoned homes, filthy apartment buildings, dirty businesses and homes doing the same things over and over again with very little consequences to them. The majority of these property owners do not even live in our community but yet they are one of the main causes of this issue and they seem to be getting away with it on a daily basis. Where is the enforcement, why are not laws changed to make it is extremely difficult for property owners to continue this, why aren't zoning laws changed to see that one or two family homes are not destroyed so that some low class third world immigrant with money can put up some shit hole apartment building that looks like one from his shit hole country and then fill it with low class people who do not give a shit while the owner, who lives in another community, is laughing all the way to the bank because he got over on the Jamaica leaders and pretty much fucked over the community.

What we have here is a very dire extreme situation which needs very extreme actions to take care of this. For instance, many of the body shop places are parking cars all over the neighborhood with For Sale written all over the windows, some without license plates and all without inspections stickers. Some are even covered in gray tarp. Many litter blocks of streets. Well last week one of those vehicles, with F/S and a phone number written all over the windows (which by the way is illegal) and no inspection sticker (which is also illegal) was parked in my block taking up a parking space for someone who actually needed it. A police officer told me that they cannot give a ticket if it does not have a plate and then by the time a tow truck comes to tow it, they have already moved it. Well I guess some angry individual who is tired of all the crap going on, broke off completely the windshield wipers, put key marks all over and then placed a sign on it, "You are not welcomed in this community". Guess what, I bet they do not park anywhere in my neighborhoods area again.

See, we do not need kind words or we do not need to "educate them" (hell if they do not know now they will never know), we do not need the powers to be sticking their heads in the sand or saying we have a wonderful group of diverse people so let's sing Kumbayah and put on our rose colored glasses. NO NO NO, what we need is extreme action and people speaking the truth and getting things done. But for some of you the truth is a very bitter pill to swallow.

Well, open your mouth and say AH and shove that pill all the way down, because the situation is not going to get better by doing the same old methods over and over again, which is pretty much little to nothing.

The few photos show what can happen, but we are far from winning this battle for people of quality, for the people who own property and take care of it, the people who have a vested interest in their community, the people who actually care what goes on, the people who no longer want to tolerate this bullshit, the people who want to spend money in their community but do not since there are very little businesses of quality here. It seems no one in power is speaking on our behalf and they seem to have forgot about us, but yet are willing to say with a smile, "We have such a diverse population". Well that is just fine and dandy if the diverse population is bringing something to the table instead of trashing and tearing down our neighborhoods.

The total neglect of Jamaica by our past and present elected officials, city agencies and community boards for decades is a total disgrace. Jamaica was once a great and magnificent place to live with a very rich history, but you have all, along with the low class people, helped to turn it into a shit hole by your actions or lack of actions. Jamaica still has the potential to be turned around with the right leadership and it should. Jamaica is close to several modes of transportation, 3 subways (E,F & J), the LIRR and every major highway. Our community has the most landmarked buildings in all of Queens, over 15, including the magnificent former Lowes Valencia Theatre (one of the 4 NY Lowes Wonder Theatre, now home of the Tabernacle Church of Prayer, and the only one still completely intact), King Mansion (home of Rufus King, one of the signers of the Constitution), J. Kurtz & Sons Store Builder (Applebees is on the 2nd floor) and the Jamaica Savings Bank to name just a few. We have many arts venues, including Jamaica Center for the Performing Arts (located in a landmarked building, the Queens Register of Titles and Deeds Building), Afrikan Poetry Theatre, York College Performing Arts Center and the Black Spectrum Theatre. The biggest thing that you never hear talked about is all the jazz greats who called Jamaica their home, a list of some of the greatest, Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, John Coltrane, Count Basie, Lena Horne and Milt Hinton, just to name a few. They lived in the landmark historic district of St. Albans. But you would never know. There are no jazz clubs or jazz venues here and very few memorials to these giants of jazz. There once was a mural on the northern side of Linden Boulevard as it passes under the Long Island Railroad which depicted many of the jazz and entertainment giants who resided here. But due to years of neglect it faded and chipped and was replaced by a totally different mural in 2004. How could you so-called leaders let such a mural showing the great history of Jamaica just fade away. A total disgrace and you all are to blame for it. So when you say you are dealing with the problem, no you are not, because this would have never happened if you were actually doing something. Any other community in the country who has such a rich history has taken so much advantage of this and make their community a destination, but no you have all contributed to the decline of Jamaica, so please do not tell me you are doing something. I still dare any of you elected officials to have an open forum debate with myself and community activist Pamela Hazel to discuss what you have all done and why Jamaica has been neglected for decades.

The above paragraph about the rich history of Jamaica and how it has been pretty much been discarded and replaced by litter, dirty abandoned lots and houses, destruction of beautiful homes to be replaced with shitty third world apartment buildings, Jamaica Avenue littered with cheap, shitty looking stores with horrible customer service, a total lack of quality eateries and GARBAGE, GARBAGE and more GARBAGE makes me very sad and very angry, especially since so little has been done. So go ahead and get pissed off about the way I talk, what I call people, how I speak to elected officials, how some of you have called me a racist-bigot-redneck-George Zimmerman type and so, well FUCK YOU because you are to blame for the destruction of Jamaica. When you begin to actually do something, make changes, then I will show you respect, but in the meantime you do not get a damn ounce of respect from me, especially the Shirley Huntleys of the community. May her crooked ass rot in prison for what she has done. For those who have told me to clean up my language because no one should be subjected to that, that you want off the email, FUCK YOU. We the people of Jamaica should not have to be subjected to all the garbage piled everywhere, the health risks it brings, the destruction of our community and having to live in a barbaric environment, because you have been too busy padding your pockets and doing very little to help the community that you are supposed to represent.

If it were not for people like myself and Pamela Hazel, Jamaica would have never had a 4-part series on the garbage problem, would never have WPIX or newspapers come out and do stories on this issue. Because people like some of you do not want to see the truth exposed in the media and want the same old status quo and do not want to be held accountable. Well people like myself, Pamela Hazel and others are bringing this issue to public attention and we are actually doing something to help clean-up our community and we are not going to back down. You want a revolution, well you are going to get one, whether you like it or not. You have turned Jamaica into the Wild Wild West where anything goes and now is the time for this bullshit to stop. It is funny how some of you criticize me for my language or what I call people, but yet you obviously have no problem letting the Jamaica people live in filth. You have a problem of me calling some of these people low class ghetto people, but you certainly have no problem with all of us living in a ghetto. So who is really the vulgar one here.

So take the truth pill, no matter how bitter it is going down, if you really want to see reality and do something. Otherwise Jamaica will stay in this sorry state for more decades and eventually the people who actually care will have moved on and then you are really left with a ghetto and no hope.

Joe Moretti
Jamaica, NY 11432