Thursday, September 30, 2021

Governor Kathy hires the Blaz's former health commssioner who undermined lead toxicity in NYCHA buildings to run the state's health department 

Crains New York

Dr. Mary T. Bassett, former New York City health commissioner, has been appointed state health commissioner, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.

Bassett succeeds Dr. Howard Zucker effective Dec. 1, becoming the state's first Black health commissioner. Lorna McBarnette, who is Caribbean-American, was the first Black acting state health commissioner, in 1991.

Zucker submitted his resignation last week, amid growing calls for his dismissal over his involvement in the state’s much-criticized handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and its death toll in nursing homes.

“Our recovery from this pandemic requires tested leadership and experience to improve health equity and access across the state, and Dr. Bassett is perfectly equipped to lead the New York state Department of Health during this critical moment,” Hochul said in a statement Wednesday.

 Her departure as city health commissioner in 2018 coincided with a probe by the city Department of Investigation into her agency’s handling of lead-paint inspections in public housing. She denied any connection between the two.

While working for de Blasio's health department, Dr. Mary deliberately lowered the city's standard threshold of lead contamination in blood levels so NYCHA could pass inspections for toxicity levels, and then she ran to Harvard after the jig was up. Can't think of a more exemplary hire to promote,legitimize and protect Empress Kathy's authoritarian, punitive and counterproductive vaccine mandate.

Eric Adams is associating with another awful man named Banks

NY Post 

A former NYPD executive who abruptly retired amid a cloud of controversy is advising Eric Adams on the police department with his expected transition to the mayor of the Big Apple, The Post has learned.

Ex-police chief Philip Banks — who stepped down in 2014 as, it would later be revealed, the feds were eyeing him as part of a widespread bribery case that rocked the NYPD — has recently met with various members of police brass to help prep for the change of city leadership, sources said.

It was not known what was discussed in the meetings or who attended the meetings, only that he has met with some three-star chiefs.

Banks would not confirm his role in the transition when reached by phone Wednesday and referred questions to Adams’ camp.

“Mr. Banks is one of a number of policing experts who have offered their institutional knowledge of the department, including former Commissioner Bratton and other former chiefs of department,” a spokesman for Adams, Evan Thies told The Post. 

He refused to comment on Banks’ involvement.

Adams, who won the Democratic primary for mayor earlier this year, is the heavy favorite to take the rein in New York City come 2022.

Banks, once a rising star in the department, suddenly retired in 2014.

Governor Kathy taps former Van Bramer and Blaz aide for cabinet position

 NY Post

 Despite claiming that officials in her administration don’t support defunding police, Gov. Kathy Hochul has tapped a second person who does to a key post — a failed New York City Council candidate who wants to slash the NYPD budget by $3 billion.

On Friday, Hochul appointed Amit Bagga to be her deputy secretary for intergovernmental affairs. He lost the City Council primary in June for Queens’ District 26 seat despite support from Democratic socialist and defund proponent Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s political action committee.

Bagga’s archived campaign website, which was taken down last week, says he wants to cut the NYPD’s budget by $3 billion, or about a third, within two to four years. 

He also proposed reducing the size of the force by 5 percent, removing cops from public schools and mental health responses, and “decriminalizing all drugs.” 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

34th Avenue Open Street nearly kills a man, twice

Hope you're satifisfied Commissioner Gutman and Transportation Alternatives

Royal tweed services



NY Post

The waste hauler set to benefit from a proposed exemption to the Big Apple’s stringent caps on trash hauling employed the son of the lawmaker who led the fight to create the loophole, The Post has learned.

The company, Royal Waste Services, hired Councilman I. Daneek Miller’s son in August 2017 and he remained on the company’s payroll through at least 2019, according to records the company filed with city officials at the time.

That means that Miller’s son, Coron, was employed by Royal Waste as the lawmaker led the effort in 2018 to kill legislation that initially imposed the caps and for at least one of the years that Miller, himself, says he worked to weaken the reforms.

Those efforts controversially culminated in July when Council Speaker Corey Johnson fast-tracked Miller’s legislation, which would have lifted the caps for haulers in his Queens district for four years — before reversing course amid allegations of favor-trading.

Good government advocates called for the city’s ethics watchdogs — including the Conflict of Interest Board — to probe the connections between Miller and Royal.

“There’s enough here to warrant an investigation by COIB and the Department of Investigation,” said John Kaehny, the executive director of good government group Reinvent Albany.

In response to questions, Miller (D-Queens) said that his son left the company “more a year ago,” but could not provide an exact date. He denied that Coron’s employment had any bearing on his repeatedly efforts to undo the 2018 hauling caps.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Homeless service provider forms LLC to take over Trump golf course



 While Donald Trump battles Bill de Blasio over the mayor’s decision to dump the former president as operator of a Bronx golf course, the city is playing through — proposing a new firm to run the Ferry Point links.

A notice published Monday shows a company called Ferry Point Links LLC is set to be awarded a 13-year Parks Department deal to take over the Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole course at the foot of the Bronx-Whitestone bridge.

A firm incorporated under that name in late August, state corporation records indicate — sharing both an executive’s name and address with one of the city’s biggest homeless shelter operators, CORE Community Services.

An attorney for the former president vowed to fight the city — and the proposed new golf course operators — for control of the links, charging Trump is a victim of “political retaliation.”

A spokesperson for the city Department of Parks and Recreation said that CORE will be teaming up with Bobby Jones Links, an Atlanta company that will be “managing the operation of the concession.” CORE Community Services did not respond to requests for comment Monday, and Bobby Jones Links was not immediately reachable.

According to the notice posted in Monday’s City Record, Ferry Point Links, LLC will pay a minimum of $300,000 a year to the city — or a share starting at 7% of the gross proceeds and gradually escalating to 10% by year 13, whichever is higher.

Those terms are slightly more favorable to the operator than those granted to Trump in 2012, in a 20-year deal struck to salvage a troubled project. Trump also committed $10 million to build a clubhouse.

The Blaz, suffering from Weather Forecast Derangement Syndrome, is spending over two and half billion dollars for the city's own meteorlogists



  Remnants of Hurricane Ida dealt New York City a sudden, costly lesson in the effects of climate change — and city officials don't want to be caught unaware again.

A city-penned new study — "The New Normal: Combatting Storm-Related Extreme Weather in New York City" — released Monday outlines $2.7 billion in steps to fight severe storms.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said many recommendations by the study's extreme weather task force, such as evacuation preparations and travel bans will go into effect, soon. Others, such as a $100 billion overhaul of the city's sewer system to accommodate previously unseen rainfall, will take longer and likely require federal help, he said.

"We know the climate crisis demands of us a lot of changes, a lot of new approaches," he said. "We also know it is manifesting as something that's shocking: more severe, more sudden. The type of weather that we've never seen before, literally in our lives — kind of stunning, brutal weather changes that have a horrible impact on our people."

Ida on Sept. 1 claimed 13 lives, broke a city record for the most rainfall in an hour and flooded streets, subways and basement apartments across the city.

De Blasio said the storm showed the need for the city to set up its own weather tracking and alert office. He said information currently provided by the National Weather Service, while appreciated, isn't specific enough for the city.

A new city-run weather system would be analogous to the NYPD's Counterterrorism Bureau set up after the Sept. 11 attacks — an added level of warning able to work more quickly for the city than federal agencies.

"So, my simple summary would be having a private forecasting capacity to just be that second set of eyes, just like you go to a second opinion with the doctor, to tell us if what we're seeing from the National Weather Service looks like the whole story, whether there's the possibility of things happening earlier, higher impact, what level of alert we should go to," he said. "Someone dedicated to thinking from the New York City perspective, not the whole nation perspective."

Monday, September 27, 2021

Caption The Blaz at Rikers Island 

The current mayor looks just like the grimacing face emoji. He should be because he's about to release thousands of inmates and the blowback is not going to be pretty.

Governor Kathy will deny unemployment insurance to non-vaccinated health workers


 Reclaim The Net

New York State employees who will get fired for not being able to show a vaccine passport will not access unemployment insurance, announced Gov. Kathy Hochul on Saturday, only two days before the deadline for all state workers to have to show a passport.

However, a judge temporarily halted the vaccine mandate for New York City workers on Friday.

New York state health workers in nursing homes and hospitals and teachers in New York City, were given up to Monday to show proof of at least one dose of the vaccine. While announcing contingencies to address a potential shortage of health workers, the governor said that those who could not show a passport and who lose their jobs will not be eligible for unemployment insurance.

Only those with a doctor-approved vaccine exemption will be unaffected from the new order.

On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that “thousands and thousands of vaccinated, experienced substitute teachers” were available to replace the unvaccinated teachers who will not report to work on Monday.

Union leaders urged the mayor to extend the deadline and criticized the substitute teachers plan, calling it “irresponsible.”

“CSEA is supportive of efforts to keep our state workplaces safer, but these changes must respect the legal bargaining rights of workers,” said CSEA spokesman Mark Kotzin.

Federal judge says no to The Blaz


 New York City’s vaccination mandate for education department employees was put on hold after a federal judge on Friday night temporarily blocked it, officials said.

The requirement to receive at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine was set to take effect close of business Monday, with unvaccinated staffers barred from entering schools on Tuesday and faced with unpaid leave. But a federal appeals court granted an injunction that is expected to remain in place until a panel of three judges reviews the case Wednesday.

Administrators have been bracing for staff shortages, since a sizable minority of teachers, school safety agents, and other staff still haven’t received the vaccine. At least 87% of teachers are vaccinated, according to city officials. Rates are thought to be much lower for other essential school staff, however, and the principals union said some large schools have dozens of unvaccinated teachers. As of Friday, about 30,000 education department staffers still hadn’t submitted proof that they had received their shot.

Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter wrote to principals on Saturday morning that the education department is confident the mandate will ultimately stand.

She reminded staff that the city’s vaccination-or-test requirement stands, which calls for unvaccinated staffers to submit weekly, negative coronavirus tests.

“We are confident our vaccine mandate will continue to be upheld; our students, school communities and colleagues deserve no less,” Porter wrote.

The city’s vaccination mandate faces challenges on multiple fronts. A coalition of the city’s labor unions have also sued to stop it. The judge in that case blocked a temporary injunction against the requirement.

The teachers union had also filed a labor complaint against the city, which ultimately led to the education department establishing a process for educators to receive medical and religious exemptions, and accommodations for those with medical conditions that could make it unsafe to return to classrooms.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said that the federal court ruling “gives the Mayor and city Department of Education more time to put together a real plan for dealing with the expected staff vacancies the mandate would create.”

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Restaurants week of reckoning

Solidarity frustration and loathing for Sunnyside's bike boulevard

 Sunnyside Post




Hole lotta floodin' goin' on 

Queens Chronicle

The residents of The Hole, a small neighborhood on the northwestern edge of Lindenwood that sits more than 10 feet below street level, are no strangers to flooding.

Overflows that continue to burble up from the ground over two weeks after a rainstorm, on the other hand, are a new phenomenon.

A neighborhood with a history of neglect, The Hole lies in a 12-block basin that lacks a sewage system and is largely without street drainage. Though the city has begun the process of installing limited drains in the neighborhood, it has stalled on taking the steps to connect the area to the sewer system for over 15 years. As city officials continue to reckon with the fact that the limited capacity of New York’s beleaguered, antiquated sewer system led to Hurricane Ida’s fatal flooding, residents in the neighborhood continue to live with the storm’s after-effects.

Some residents are hopeful that the newfound pressure on the city to modernize its sewer system could kickstart a focus on their neighborhood. Others, who have grown accustomed to having their infrastructure needs summarily ignored by city agencies as the surrounding area has developed, do not believe that the storm will help change conditions.

For its part, the Department of Environmental Protection did not recognize the instances of recent extended flooding as being related to the storm. The agency pegged the residents’ recent problems as resulting from systemic groundwater flooding, rather than the hurricane.

The residents beg to differ.

“It usually would go down quick if we got some water in there,” said Ruben Garcia, a homeowner who’s been living on the Queens side of the neighborhood for 52 years.

Garcia has had flooding in his basement before but nothing quite like what Ida caused. Years ago Garcia’s daughters slept in the bottom floor of his house, which has intermittently been flooded by groundswells of water for two weeks after the recent storm.

“The last 10 years it’s gotten worse,” he said of flooding on his block.


Saturday, September 25, 2021

A great job by all agencies involved!

This is the location:

I really hope everybody got checked for vaccinations...for their safety- JQ LLC

Black Lives Matter calls The Blaz's vaccine mandate racist


Fox News

A leader of the Greater New York chapter of Black Lives Matter says Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is targeting Black people with his mandate requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter certain businesses in the city, and warned that continuation of the dictate could spark an "uprising" similar to last year's George Floyd protests.

The threat comes from chapter co-founder Chivona Newsome, who unleashed on city leaders during a demonstration earlier this week outside a restaurant that allegedly denied service to a group of Black would-be patrons.

"Seventy-two percent of Black people in this city from ages 18 to 44 are unvaccinated," Newsome shouted into a megaphone. 

 "So what is going to stop the Gestapo, I mean the NYPD, from rounding up Black people, from snatching them off the train, snatching Black people off the bus?" she added.

"We’re putting this city on notice. Your mandate will not be another racist social distance practice," Newsome went on to say. "Black people are not going to stand by, or you will see another uprising. And that is not a threat. That is a promise. Because it is our job to defend liberty, and that is what we are here to do."

The mandate, announced by de Blasio in early August, requires that both workers and customers of certain categories of businesses like restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters provide proof that they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to enter.

But since the rule went into effect, there have been reports of disputes at several establishments, which have also been burdened with manning the front lines of its enforcement.   

 Besides the other outlandish claims this duo is making, the NYPD is not tasked with enforcing the fascist and discriminatory vaccine mandate. Yet.

Positvely 118 Street

Impunity City 


This scene is in South Richmond Hill, 118th Street and 103rd Avenue. Back again.

The sinking hole is “repaired”. Just like the other ones on the ave.

 Another great shit job D.O.T Commissioner Gutman, fucking asshole, a bulbous waste of flesh Blaz crony hire who has 0 experience about city road infrastructure and traffic issues, who is using his shyster skill sets in “intellectual property practice” to “re-imagine” city streets.


Community board approves luxury public housing building on Van Wyck service road

Queens Chronicle

 Community Board 10 gave the greenlight to a developer in South Ozone Park hoping to build a new four-story apartment building along the Van Wyck Expressway on Thursday, Sept. 2.

At the meeting a representative of the developer proposed changing the plot’s zoning map amendment from strictly residential to a mix of residential and commercial. It would be taller than the other buildings on the block.

The new building would be 22,000 square feet at 103-16 Van Wyck Expy. The ground floor would be a small retail store and the second, third and fourth floors will contain 18 apartments ranging from studios to two-bedrooms. Five or six of them will be permanently affordable.

The development would include 13 spots for cellar parking, five more than the zoning requires.

The community board’s Land Use Committee, having met prior to the meeting, was in favor.

“The recommendation of the committee was that it was an appropriate use along the Van Wyck and Liberty Avenue. None of the adjacent owners had expressed any opposition. In fact some of the adjacent owners would like to do the same thing at some point,” said CB 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton.

This is what's getting plowed. Can't think of a better place to drop a dense luxury public housing tower on an accident prone service road. Coming out of the garage of this building will be a daily adventure.

And the views of the expressway and daily detritus from those floor to ceiling windows will be exquisite.



de Blasio's D.O.T. imposing busways in Jamaica that residents do not want
D.O.T Commissioner Gutman: Asshole





















Queens Chronicle

A “Better Buses” busway pilot will continue on schedule in Downtown Jamaica despite backlash from a previous initiative on Merrick Boulevard that was implemented last year and led to a recent modification of bus enforcement times as a result of a petition and complaints from community leaders and elected officials. 

“I saw [the announcement],” said Candace Prince-Modeste, the Southeast Queens activist who created a petition for a modified enforcement period of the bus lane on Merrick Boulevard. “It feels like they’ve moved onto the next project without fully bringing the Merrick one to a resolution. And I don’t believe that enough residents are aware of these proposed changes to the Downtown area.”

The city’s Department of Transportation, however, said it launched a community outreach process with a series of open houses and nearly 20 events with community advisory board to gather feedback on its proposal throughout 2020 and 2021, according to the Sept. 15 announcement. 

Prince-Modeste’s “Demand Rush Hour Only Bus Lanes on Merrick” petition, has 875 signatures out of its target goal of 1,000 as of Sept. 16 and brought enough attention to the Springfield Gardens and surrounding Southeast area of the bus lane that elected officials have chosen not to support similar changes in Downtown Jamaica on Jamaica and Archer avenues and the DOT modified its 24/7 bus lane enforcement, which led to excessive ticketing and lack of foot traffic to small businesses in the area. Instead, there will be a 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. enforcement period. 

“Despite vocal opposition from the Southeast Queens community against the Merrick Boulevard bus lane, the DOT implemented it anyway,” said Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) to the Chronicle via email. “The agency has once again ignored the voices of our community, leading to numerous issues and worsening traffic conditions along this busy corridor.”

Adams also feels that the DOT should have addressed problems with poor street lighting, ill-fitted two-way streets in dire need of one-way conversion and washed out or missing street signs throughout City Council District 28 and surrounding districts first. 

“Therefore, I must oppose the new busway pilots on Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue,” said Adams. “Until the DOT can truly address our community’s concerns, we stand against this ill-advised pilot program.”

The DOT, however, said that is committed to installing new and improved bus lanes by fall to improve bus speeds for thousands of riders in Southeast Queens. 

“Keeping New Yorkers moving is essential to getting our friends and neighbors back to work as New York City’s recovery continues, and these new busways will speed the commutes of 250,000 daily riders through downtown Jamaica,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman in a prepared statement.

 Queens Chronicle

Drivers who find themselves behind or ahead of the Q4, Q5, Q84, N4 or the N4X buses on Merrick Boulevard between Hillside Avenue and Springfield Boulevard have a 60-day warning period for bus lane violations starting Sept. 21.

The specified bus lanes are a part of Mayor de Blasio’s Better Buses initiative to improve bus speeds by expanding automated camera enforcement, according to the city Department of Transportation.

Initially, the DOT intended on having 24/7 enforcement, but after pushback from the Community Advisory Board and members who live along the Southeast Queens area, the hours were adjusted to 6 a.m. to 7 p.m Monday to Friday, according to the agency. With the activation of bus lane cameras, the mayor’s 30th Better Buses corridor will have signage indicating that the bus lanes are camera-enforced to inform drivers about the program. Since violations will be issued against the vehicle, not the driver, points are not added to motorists’ licenses.

However, a single violation will cost drivers $50 and fines will increase for bus lane violations incurred in a single year to upwards of $250 after a fifth offense, according to the agency. The DOT will work with the NYPD to enforce bus lanes citywide and will add additional camera-enforced routes over time.

”Community residents and I remain up in arms about DOT’s woefully inadequate efforts and blatant disregard for course correction,” said state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans). “DOT’s wrongheaded policy has made it nigh impossible for a full flow of traffic along Merrick Boulevard particularly between Baisley Boulevard and Liberty Avenue where there are illegally long-term parked vehicles stored by auto body and repair shops.”

Comrie said that he understands that the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists are paramount, but he finds the measure to be unnecessarily punitive and that it fails to reimagine public transit granularly.

“Commuters, drivers and anyone trying to travel along the corridor are frustrated at the now lengthy time that it takes to get from one point to the next because of this unwanted restriction,” said Comrie. “Despite the adjustments made after the recently conducted review of the 24/7 Merrick Boulevard bus lane, DOT has still not made a reasonable move to peak hour traffic enforcement as suggested by many local advocates. It is truly unfair to residential drivers to have to suffer through overreaching enforcement when the bad actors are not being regulated consistently.”

Friday, September 24, 2021

City approves luxury public housing development on Gowanus Canal while it's still being dredged of toxicities



 With nearly unanimous approval Wednesday from the City Planning Commission, the long-in-the-making rezoning of Gowanus heads to crucial negotiations between key City Council members and Mayor Bill de Blasio over the Brooklyn neighborhood’s future.

The final result will be key to the de Blasio legacy: It’s the administration’s first effort to use rezoning to spur racial and economic diversification of one of the city’s whitest and increasingly wealthy neighborhoods.

The proposal is also the linchpin of efforts to clear up the polluted area, home to the infamous Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site. And the rezoning bid comes as a similar de Blasio-sponsored effort in SoHo and NoHo in Manhattan appears bogged down by intense opposition.

“The status quo is not one that tends toward inclusion or remediation and open space,” said Michelle de la Uz, head of the nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee, which will build 950 units of affordable housing under the Gowanus plan. “People have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that more development can improve the neighborhood.”

Opponents, though, are pressing environmental concerns, from toxicity to the flooding brought by climate change.

“New York City may want to push this through as quickly as possible,” said Linda LaViolette, co-chair of the outreach committee of the opposition group Voice of Gowanus. “However, City Planning has yet to answer many important questions regarding the environmental impact statement.”

The plan to both rezone the area and clean up the pollution from decades of industrial activity has been in the works for years. The current proposal targets an 82-block area, from Atlantic Avenue to 15th Street, bounded by Fourth Avenue on the east and stretching west variously to Bond and Smith streets.

 he rezoning would allow the construction of more than 8,000 new apartments, open space and public amenities like schools. About 3,000 of the apartments would be deemed “affordable,” with many set aside for low-income New Yorkers.

City usurps free parking from residents as Transportation Alternatives says people have no right to park their cars

Brooklyn Reader 

 Brooklyn drivers could lose 680 free parking spaces under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway if plans by the Department of Transportation to increase bike lanes and pedestrian paths are fulfilled.

The plans call for the removal of the spots between Apollo St. and Metropolitan Ave. to make way for a new two-lane bike path, extended pedestrian space and 400 parking meters.

Although hundreds of parking spaces will remain intact, they will be transferred to metered parking which will cost $1.50 per hour from 7:00am to 10:00m Monday to Saturday.

The DOT says the new plans are designed to increase street safety, build bike path connections and activate space under the BQE. According to the plans, the upgrades reduce conflicts with new, safer crossings and increase safety for all road users.

Currently, the department says, the area is a high crash corridor with 11 people killed or severely injured in a five year period, ranking in the top third of Brooklyn corridors. It adds that there are no dedicated spaces for cyclists or pedestrians and the area has become an underutilized space with abandoned vehicles underneath and illegal dumping.

Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit that promotes public transport, walking and cycling, backed the project, according to Greenpointers. Juan Restrepo, a Senior Organizer at Transportation Alternatives told the publication that free parking was not a right.

“The car-centric status quo has failed New Yorkers, and we are proud to have worked on this plan with a broad coalition of local community groups and elected officials,” he said.

“This investment for Meeker Ave has been in the works since 2015 and was unanimously approved by the local community board this past May”

He said as the community cleaned up after the climate crisis-fueled flood and faced the deadliest year for traffic crashes since 2014, “we need to redesign streets to get people out of cars and keep New Yorkers safe.”

However, not all community members back the plan.

Meeker Ave. Neighbors has launched a petition that says the plan “is bad for the environment, bad for working people, and bad for our neighborhood” and that it will create more congestion and increase emissions as residents circle blocks “searching for parking that doesn’t exist.”

It also argues that the plans would limit transportation options for people who relied on personal vehicles for their daily commute in transit-poor areas, the elderly, the disabled, and blue collar workers, and displaces the homeless population residing under the BQE without any plan. So far the petition has attracted 1,030 signatures.

Cojo the derelict

NY Post 

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wouldn’t say how much time he spent on Cape Cod over the summer as he defended his job performance amid findings that lawmakers posted their least productive summer in two decades.

“I was spending some time with my family this summer and I hadn’t seen my mother since before the pandemic,” Johnson said in his first public remarks about The Post’s story since it published Tuesday. “I’m not ashamed of me taking some personal time, while at the same time the Council was continuing the hard work.”

The Post revealed this summer has been the Council’s least productive in two decades — with committees and its other bodies meeting or scheduled to meet just 61 times between July 1 and September 30.

That’s the lowest number over the three-month period since 2003, an analysis of Council records shows.

It’s also a dramatic drop in the meetings and hearings when compared to the numbers posted in the summers of 2017, 2018 and 2019 — and even a decline from the number during the pandemic-ravaged summer of 2020.

The decline was especially notable this summer as the Council failed to hold an oversight hearing on the reopening of schools until Sept. 1, days before students returned to classrooms; and didn’t hold an oversight hearing on the crisis at the Rikers Island lockup until Sept. 15.

A half-dozen Council insiders and observers pinned the plummet in productivity on Johnson’s trips to Provincetown, Massachusetts, a summer hot spot renowned for its art galleries and beaches.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The author of the Cuomo's nursing home edict steps off

NY Post

Embattled state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker will step down from his position as soon as a replacement can be found, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.

Zucker was a key figure in the administration of disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo, where critics charged he played a central role in its efforts to minimize and disguise the pandemic’s death toll across the state and in its nursing homes.

“He understands that, in this time, I’ve wanted to take the first 45 days to assemble a new team going forward,” Hochul said, announcing Zucker’s departure. “That process is ongoing, and he understands and he respects that.”

She added: “He also has an opportunity to move on to new ventures and I appreciate his service.”

Hochul said that a search for a replacement is underway.

“I think it’s the first step; but, just like with Andrew Cuomo, a resignation does not equate to accountability and Howard Zucker and all of Cuomo’s enablers must be held accountable,” said Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), a progressive lawmaker who was among Cuomo’s most vociferous critics on the handling of nursing homes.


Tenants displaced by Jackson Heights apartment building fire sues LLC and the city



More than 60 of the hundreds of tenants displaced after a massive fire at a Jackson Heights apartment building in April are now suing the property’s owners and management, as well as city agencies.

They’re demanding that the building’s owners repair their homes so they may return — and let them back in soon to retrieve possessions from the still heavily damaged and inaccessible block-long complex.

The building remains surrounded by scaffolding and caution tape, with many windows boarded up. The eight-alarm blaze crumbled ceilings and destroyed interior walls, exposing wooden beams in their place.

Tenants allege that in the five months since the fire, Kedex Properties and city officials have provided little sense of when repairs will be completed, if any belongings can be salvaged and when residents might be able to return to their apartments.

Access to the building has been “unreasonable and severely limited,” according to the complaint filed Sept. 10 in Queens Housing Court targeting the owner, along with the city Department of Buildings and Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Several dozen tenants in one wing of the two-address, 133-unit building have been allowed scheduled visits to retrieve personal items. but former residents of more than 60 apartments in the other wing have not been granted that same privilege, said Andrew Sokolof-Diaz, the building’s tenant association president and a plaintiff in the suit.

“We have exercised our rights as displaced rent stabilized tenants to bring this lawsuit forth after so many delays and denial of access to our own belongings,” he added. “Our goals remain the same: to mitigate our displacement from home in Jackson Heights and to protect what salvageable belongings we have left inside while ensuring we have a dignified and sensible timeline for repairs until we are able to return.”

Legal Aid attorney Amee Master, who is representing the tenants, said the landlord is required under state law to repair the building promptly.

“Kedex Properties can no longer ignore its obligation to undergo the necessary work to ensure the building is safe, habitable, and up to code for the residents to return,” Master said.

Kedex Properties declined to comment.

Ida homeowner victims getting desperate and organized

A group of Queens homeowners bandied together on Tuesday in front of Queens Borough Hall to call on the city to address longstanding flooding issues in their neighborhood.

Three weeks after the remnants of Hurricane Ida unleashed torrential rains that wrecked portions of their homes, a group of Queens homeowners are accusing the city of failing to address decades-long complaints about flooding issues that have rendered their properties worthless.

On Tuesday, roughly 20 homeowners who live on three blocks in a low-lying section of Hollis assembled a protest in front of Queens Borough Hall. They argued that climate change, coupled with the marshy environment of southeast Queens, had created a massive infrastructure challenge that demands higher expertise in the form of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Even then, they conceded, their problems with flooding dates back decades and may ultimately not be solvable through even the best engineering fixes. In 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio committed nearly $2 billion in sewer improvements to alleviate flooding in southeast Queens. But many homeowners were skeptical of how long it would be before they felt the impact of those ongoing projects. One by one, they took turns telling horror stories of water damage they had suffered over the years. When it rains, neighbors collectively rush outside to clear the gutters. Most own their own sump pumps.

"If they can't fix it, buy out the homeowners. I don't think anybody would have a problem with that," said Amit Shivprasad, whose family owns a home on 183rd Street near 90th Avenue where two tenants, a woman and her son, drowned in the basement.

A buyout would not be unprecedented. In 2013, following Hurricane Sandy, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a program to buy out flood-prone homes, mostly in Staten Island. The state has gone on to spend $655 million in federal relief aid to buy more than 600 homes.

Shivprasad said part of the cost of owning homes vulnerable to flooding is the constant stress.

"You cannot go on a vacation. You cannot sleep at night when it rains. This is how sad it has become," he said.

MTA announces congestion austerity tax hearings

Yellow cab drivers protest congestion pricing infront of Gov Andrew Cuomo's office in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S, February 3, 2019. 

NY Post

The MTA’s official review of the environmental impacts of its congestion pricing program gets underway this week with virtual meetings Thursday and Friday for residents of the five boroughs and New Jersey.

The two-hour Zoom forums will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday “focused on” the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island; at 6 p.m. for the proposed Manhattan toll zone below 60th St.; and 10 a.m. on Friday for New Jersey.

More meetings focused on Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, the northern New York suburbs and Manhattan above 60th St. are scheduled for later in the month.

Toll backers expect big turnout from opponents like N.J. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who has encouraged his constituents to attend.

“Jersey residents, you all have an important opportunity to make your voices heard! Starting on September 24th, the MTA is hosting a series of public hearings so you can share their views on NY’s proposed $3,000/yr congestion tax on NJ commuters,” Gottheimer tweeted Sept. 16. “Sign up to attend these critical hearings to put a stop to this ridiculous tax on hard-working Jersey residents!”

“Haters are definitely going to hate,” said Danny Pearlstein of the pro-tolling Riders Alliance. “At the end of the day we have a traffic crisis and a transit crisis and congestion pricing goes a long way towards solving both.”

 Haters going to hate? Real mature. Working people are going to get fleeced, jerk.

Anyone who wishes to speak can register on the MTA’s tolling program website or by calling 646-252-6777. Comments can also be submitted online and by email.

Here is the full list of scheduled public meetings:

  • Thursday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to noon: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island
  • Thursday, Sept. 23, 6-8 p.m.: Manhattan Central Business District (60th Street and below)
  • Friday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to noon: New Jersey
  • Wednesday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. to noon: Northern New York City Suburbs
  • Wednesday, Sept. 29, 6-8 p.m.: Long Island
  • Thursday, Sept. 30, 6-8 p.m.: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island
  • Friday, Oct. 1, 1-3 p.m.: Connecticut
  • Monday, Oct. 4, 6-8 p.m.: New Jersey
  • Tuesday, Oct. 5, 6-8 p.m.: Northern New York City Suburbs
  • Wednesday, Oct. 6, 6-8 p.m.: Manhattan Outside the Central Business District (61st Street and above)
  • Thursday, Oct. 7, 6-8 p.m.: New York “environmental justice communities.”
  • Tuesday, Oct. 12, 6-8 p.m.: New Jersey “environmental justice communities.”
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13, 6-8 p.m.: Connecticut “environmental justice communities.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Across 118th Street


 Impunity City

 This scene takes place in South Richmond Hill on 118th Street and 103 Ave.

In the middle of the road yeah. 




All signs indicate that current mayor de Blasio’s Department of Transportation, which is run by one of his Brooklyn aristocrat city planning buddies Hank Gutman, did a major less than half ass job laying the blacktop on this. Because this is what it looked like a week before some creative type did a near approximation of Homer Simpson’s rage motivated contemporary art piece.

Truly a WTF FUBAR in process.


Although this is another embarrassingly abominable display of city neglect and incompetence and another example of the city infrastructure dilapidation, this will eventually be remedied with a better and hopefully more thorough renovation, because this evolving crater is not to first to infect 103rd Ave. For their were similar former and potential cave-ins discovered on numerous blocks west from this current blight.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Eric Adams's hotels reset



Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for New York City mayor, called for tens of thousands of shuttered hotel rooms to be turned into housing to ease the city’s housing insecurity.

Adams, speaking at a campaign event on Monday, said the city has a chance to reverse years of bad planning and convert hotels that have become eyesores. The Brooklyn borough president and former cop said he was looking to turn 25,000 rooms into housing, adding that the city should foot much of the bill.

“The combination of Covid-19, the economic downturn, and the problems we're having with housing is presenting us with a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Adams said in remarks outside of the Phoenix Hotel, a vacant property in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. “We can use this moment and find one solution to solve a multitude of problems.”

Adams echoed other recent initiatives to bolster housing security across the U.S. Earlier Monday, Bloomberg CityLab reported that the White House is launching a new national initiative, “House America,” to combat rising homelessness. In August, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that would finance the purchase of distressed hotels and commercial office properties by nonprofits to convert them into affordable housing.

The need for such housing remains urgent in New York City, where more than 45,000 people were being housed in city shelters at last count, and thousands more are grappling with unsheltered homelessness.

The new state law would address, at best, a small slice of Adams’ target of 25,000 units. It sets aside $100 million to help finance building purchases, splitting units evenly between low-income households and people experiencing homelessness. But converting hotels is pricey in New York City. Manhattan hotels sold at a median price of $275,000 per unit in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to data from PWC’s Manhattan Lodging Index. The 100-room Z NYC Hotel in Long Island City, a Queens neighborhood, sold for $384,000 a room in May.

Fire ride with me 

NY Post

A Citi Bike exploded on the tracks of a Queens subway station on Sunday night after being “rolled” onto the roadbed and hit by a train, according to police and video of the collision.

Footage posted on Instagram showed the blue rent-a-bike strewn along the tracks at Steinway Street in Astoria while the person filming mutters, “Oh no no no” as the R train enters the station.

The train hits the bike once, then twice — then the two-wheeler erupts into flames.

The clip ends with the train stopped as the tracks and platform becomes engulfed in smoke. Straphangers can be seen fleeing the scene to avoid the breathing in the muck.

An NYPD spokesperson said the incident occurred at 10:25 p.m. when an unidentified male “rolled” the bike onto the southbound track.

Women's Plaza needs a shave

 NY Post

You’re sneezing for a good cause.

Outrage over a “sexist” statue in Queens prompted its removal and a nearly $1 million project that transformed its base into a planter — but neglect has led to a bumper crop of allergy-causing ragweed right outside Borough Hall.

The centerpiece of the 1922 monument “Triumph of Civic Virtue” — a nude man with a sword standing over two female figures representing vice and corruption — was exiled to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery nearly a decade ago.

The move came in response to complaints of sexism from activists and pols, including since-disgraced, then-US Rep. Anthony Weiner, who proposed selling the 17-foot, white marble statue on Craigslist.

But following the statue’s removal, the fountain on which it stood fell into disrepair until the city spent $960,000 to restore its stonework and add lighting and benches to create the “Women’s Plaza in Queens” in 2017.

The fountain was also turned into a planter.

At the time, former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman — who had called for the statue’s removal while in office — said the renovation work created “a beautiful space at Borough Hall where people can relax and women will now be celebrated rather than denigrated.”

But since then, it’s again suffered from a lack of upkeep that includes ragweed growing in the former fountain.

Borough President Donovan Richards on Monday called the conditions “shameful” and said he wanted to finally replace the original statue with a new one.


Monday, September 20, 2021

Ida flood homeowner victims and basement tenants got shafted by Biden



 President Joe Biden and a contingent of federal, state, and local officials toured flood-ravaged sections of Queens earlier this month in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ida, promising speedy relief to homeowners and renters. Impacted residents were told about the $32,000 maximum payout they could expect to receive to help them recover.

But two weeks later, many are realizing it's far less simple than they were promised.

Officials are now telling residents that funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency aren’t intended to cover all of the damage caused by Ida. Instead many residents are being directed to apply for low-interest loans they’ll eventually have to repay through the U.S. Small Business Administration to defray any costs FEMA won’t cover.

“What the f--k?” said Erika Kasouto, 41, when she was told to apply for a federal loan in one of several calls to FEMA agents. The Woodside home she lives in with her parents took in five feet of water on the ground level. “It’s ridiculous. It’s disheartening.”

Despite assurances from elected officials in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, FEMA representatives have since tried to clarify on their hotline, through email, and at the city’s disaster service centers set up after Ida that grant funding is only intended to cover the essential costs of someone staying in their damaged home.

Several residents from hard-hit areas like Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Hollis told WNYC/Gothamist about similar correspondence with FEMA. And federal officials confirmed as much, adding that homeowners would likely qualify for the maximum $32,000 payout if their home was destroyed. People can qualify for a loan and still receive a FEMA grant, officials said.


 Two weeks after the remnants of Hurricane Ida tore through the city, killing 13 people, basements across the city are still drying out as many New Yorkers struggle to recover from the punishing storm.

With millions of dollars in federal assistance now unlocked for the city, some households that saw rivers of rain and sewage pour in will have a lifeline to begin repairing and rebuilding.

But that help isn’t for everyone.

Left out of Federal Emergency Management Agency aid are undocumented immigrants — many of whom live in the Queens neighborhoods that were pummeled hardest.

“I’ve lived in this country for four years and this is the first time I’ve lived in a basement. I was looking for affordable housing,” MarlĂ©n Romero, a 32-year-old Corona resident, told THE CITY in Spanish.

Her home and belongings were drenched as Ida dumped more than seven inches of rain in an hour on parts of the city, flooding her apartment with about two feet of water.

“I had no idea that living in a basement would be so dangerous,” she said.

A native of Mexico, Romero and her husband are both undocumented, which would shut them out of federal disaster assistance. But her family may still qualify for assistance because the couple’s 4-year-old daughter is a U.S. citizen.

“It’s not fair for all of us who are undocumented who don’t have someone ‘legal’ in their households. We live in basements so we can save some money because rent in this city is so expensive. Our income doesn’t stretch that far to get a better home,” she said.

She only learned that there was financial aid available for flooding victims through a local community group, Familias Unidas, when a school social worker mentioned it as her daughter began preschool earlier this week.


Eric Adams games the DOB and the IRS



Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for mayor, is also a landlord who owns a four-unit red-brick Brooklyn townhouse where he says he rents out three apartments and, since 2017, has lived on the ground floor.

But tax and city records show potentially serious irregularities tied to his management of the Bedford-Stuyvesant property.

The city Department of Buildings is investigating a complaint alleging an illegal conversion of an apartment in the Lafayette Avenue building — and hasn’t heard from Adams since an inspector plastered a notice on his door more than a month ago, demanding a response.

Meanwhile, amended personal income tax documents Adams released following his June 22 primary victory clash with his claim that he uses the building’s ground floor as his residence — reporting zero days living at the property.

The filings could have allowed him to reduce his taxable income by tens of thousands of dollars, accountants who reviewed the records at THE CITY’s request say. After amending three years of tax returns once already, he will be refiling for 2017, 2018 and 2019 yet again after THE CITY pointed out irregularities to his campaign.

And THE CITY has learned that the accountant who signed Adams’ tax returns was fired from his job four years ago managing a Harlem co-op building following accusations of embezzlement.

Adams purchased the Lafayette Avenue building in Bedford-Stuyvesant from the federal government for $361,000 in 2003 when he was an NYPD captain. Last summer, after POLITICO NY raised questions about where he actually lives, Adams gave the press a tour of what he said was his apartment there.


Green Party candidate slams Crescent St. bike lane and Citibike racks as counterproductive to residents safety and the environment

Queens Post 

I am a healthy 24-year-old man who commutes to work on a bicycle, and I love it. I think it’s a great alternative mode of transportation. However, I understand that there is a huge community of people who cannot or prefer not to bike around the city.

I have spoken with many local residents who feel ignored by the rollout of bike lanes and Lyft-owned Citi bike docking stations in northwest Queens. The major rollout of docking stations throughout 2021 has been uncareful and unsafe. It does not align with the interests of our community.

The 2-way bike lane on Crescent Street is dangerous because it runs against oncoming traffic on a busy street near Mt. Sinai hospital. Last Sunday marked 10 months since Alfredo Cabrera Licona was killed by a reckless driver in this bike lane – a collision that could have been avoided with proper bike lane placement.

Protecting bike lanes is necessary; however, the majority of cycling-related accidents occur at intersections. A bike lane going the opposite way never belonged on Crescent Street. There are better side streets for DOT to allocate its resources within Astoria, Woodside, Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst.

Many of us are in favor of making the streets safer. Recently, I was almost hit by a car while I was trying to access Citi bike parking on 29th Street and 24th Avenue, near the Triboro Bridge. Not only is it dangerous to dock a bike in the middle of a street, it is reckless of large corporations like Lyft to normalize not wearing a helmet.

I recently met Aubrey Manfredi, a lifelong Astoria resident who is disabled. She told me the following about living near the Crescent Street lane: “It’s good for bike riders but not for people like me, who are going to the store. It’s very hard. Trucks get stuck in the bike lane because there is no room. Parking space is so limited. Cars are waiting for a spot every morning.”

Manfredi’s family is now paying $225 each month to reserve a private parking spot a few minutes away from her apartment. “It really has affected my health. In the snow, I have to walk to the corner to get into the car. I can’t get into the car in front of my house because of the parking, and it’s painful for me to walk.”

A lack of parking space results in overcrowded streets, which makes it difficult for ambulances to reach hospitals like Mount Sinai, and difficult for delivery vans to serve our families in Astoria. Ultimately, workers are forced to idle in the bike lane, causing further danger and noise pollution.

Circling the block or idling to wait for a parking spot results in higher emissions and defeats the green objective behind the ramping up of bike lanes citywide. Furthermore, our city should have compassion for the many families who lack the financial means to afford a driveway.

Street parking is a necessity during a deadly pandemic, especially for immunocompromised folks who must avoid public transportation. We need to be much smarter and more class conscious in determining the location of bike lanes.

The development of new infrastructure must incorporate common sense. In particular, we can move Citi bike docking away from alternate side parking onto wider sidewalks, and add mini-stations near schools and bus stops.

If we are going to reimagine the relationship between motorists and cyclists, there must be some compromise involved. For example, instead of creating rush hour congestion with a bike lane on the 59th Street bridge, the city could significantly expand ferry service between Queens and Manhattan for cyclists’ benefit.

This is not a battle between motorists and cyclists. This is a result of corporate greed and corrupt politics which are failing us. We must hold our leadership accountable for systemic issues due to a lack of consideration for the most vulnerable. As a community, we ought to stand in solidarity; we must make it clear to city leaders when new transportation initiatives are hurting New Yorkers.

Unfortunately, both Democrat and Republican politicians care more about re-election and their resume than doing the right thing. A selfish City Council member would boast, “I placed X amount of bike lanes during my tenure” without considering the impact on residential and commercial streets. That is no way for a representative of the people to think and behave.

We must push for a smarter rollout of bike lane placement which preserves street parking, reduces congestion and maintains quality of life for seniors, students, veterans and the disabled. Bike lanes should be approved by the community and only implemented if appropriate safety guidelines are met. Above all, we ought to design a system of decision making that works for everyone in Astoria.

Caption these 3 Queens politicians


Costa really likes that water.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Governor Hochul will continue Cuomo's High Line boondoggle

Cuomo's proposed extension of the High Line. Hochul has not discussed the second phase 


The Empire State Development Corporation — the state's main development arm — will pay $20 million of the estimated $50 million price tag, a spokesperson for Hochul confirmed. The rest will be privately funded by Brookfield Properties and Friends of the High Line, with the Port Authority contributing the land.

Like much of Cuomo's developer-friendly plans for Midtown, the extension has attracted scrutiny. It will bring the High Line directly into the arms of Brookfield's new seven-million-square-foot mixed-use development, likely benefitting the developer substantially.

In a statement, Brookfield Properties Executive Vice President Sabrina Kanner praised the "vibrant gateway connecting Moynihan Train Hall directly to the entirety of the High Line and the new West Side."  

The state has also been accused of prioritizing the posh park, while ignoring critical safety and quality-of-life issues on the pedestrian-hostile streets below. The Port Authority has long used the area for construction staging and parking.

de Blasio yearly mayoral shitshow report released



NY Post 

New York City has come undone in Bill de Blasio’s final year as mayor, with even his big-ticket initiatives proving disastrous while Hizzoner continued to focus on his public image with daily briefings about a pandemic even he acknowledged the city was ready to put in the rear-view, stunning new statistics show.

The Mayor’s Management Report, released late Friday and covering the period from July 1, 2020 and June 30 of this year, reveals a city that is fundamentally unsafe due to police cuts and failure to enforce laws already on the books — all against the backdrop of a big dip in school enrollment amid a push to scrap advanced classes for gifted children.

The revelations in the report, prepared by City Hall, include:

  • Major felony crimes increased for a third consecutive year
  • City streets — the mayor’s No. 1 priority under his keystone initiative, “Vision Zero,” are less safe as 275 people – including 133 pedestrians – were killed in traffic accidents, a 30-percent jump over the previous year and the most since 2014
  • Meanwhile, the NYPD managed to arrest just 13 drivers for striking pedestrians with their cars, despite recording nearly 1,800 such collisions. And the number of speeding and failure-to-yield summonses issued by cops dropped by more than 27 percent and more than 63 percent, respectively.
  • Despite the mayor’s frequent pronouncements about the urgency of fighting climate change, the city added no new Select Bus Service miles this past fiscal year – and the number of new bike lanes was the lowest since 2016.

Presiding over the chaos is de Blasio, whose daily briefings, begun amid the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, have often devolved into sideshows seemingly aimed at bolstering his personal brand as he weighs his political future — to the point of reportedly mulling a run for governor next year.

Chancellor Porter allows assistant prinicpals who fostered culture of cheating at Maspeth High School to remain at their positions

NY Post 

 Let them work at Taco Bell.

Maspeth High School created fake classes, awarded bogus credits, and fixed grades to push students to graduate — “even if the diploma was not worth the paper on which it was printed,” an explosive investigative report charges.

Principal Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir demanded that teachers pass students no matter how little they learned, says the 32-page report by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools, Anastasia Coleman.

“I don’t care if a kid shows up at 7:44 and you dismiss at 7:45 — it’s your job to give that kid credit,” the principal is quoted as telling a teacher.

Abdul-Mutakabbir told the teacher he would give the lagging student a diploma “not worth the paper on which it was printed” and let him “have fun working at Taco Bell,” the report says.

The teacher “felt threatened and changed each student’s failing grade to a passing one.”

The SCI report confirms a series of Post exposes in 2019 describing a culture of cheating in which students could skip classes and do little or no work, but still pass. 

Kids nicknamed the no-fail rule “the Maspeth Minimum.”

Chancellor Meisha Porter, who received the SCI report on June 4, removed Abdul-Mutakabbir from the 1,200-student school and city payroll in July pending a termination hearing set for next month.

But she left Maspeth assistant principals Stefan Singh and Jesse Pachter — the principal’s chief lieutenants — on the job.

Singh and Pachter executed the principal’s orders, informants said, and helped create classes to grant credits to students who didn’t have to show up — because the classes weren’t even held, according to the report. 

Abdul-Mutakabbir, Singh and Pachter all refused to answer questions by investigators, citing a right to remain silent, SCI says.

In addition, three teachers in the principal’s “clique” – a favored few who followed orders and got lucrative overtime assignments — also remain.