What is going on in this town and why does this fringe open street cult seemingly have so much power?
Friday, September 30, 2022
Three Queens Councilmembers are co-sponsoring a bill that would abolish the NYPD’s gang database.
The bill, which is being co-sponsored by Queens progressives Tiffany Cabán, Julie Won and Shekar Krishnan, would end the database and prevent the police department from compiling a replacement.
The NYPD’s gang database is a police resource tool containing the names of alleged gang members and other intelligence relating to street gangs. It is estimated that there are around 18,000 people currently listed on the database.
In a 2021 report, the NYPD stated that the database is a “critical component of modern policing and an invaluable tool for detectives investigating crime.”
However, advocates for the bill say that police have abused the database by unfairly targeting people of color. They often point to former police commissioner Dermot Shea stating in 2018 that 99 percent of those on the database are people of color.
Supporters of the legislation also say that people with no ties to gangs have been placed on the database and there is no way for them to get their names removed. They say that this can often lead to intensive surveillance, police harassment, overcharging, increased bail, risk of deportation and prejudicial treatment in court.
“The gang database is nothing but a dragnet to surveil and criminalize Black and brown New Yorkers, especially youth,” Cabán said in a statement to the Queens Post.
“It does nothing to reduce violence and plenty to intensify the horrors of the criminal punishment system.”
Cabán, a former public defender, said she has witnessed prosecutors weaponizing the database to coerce false confessions from people.
“Kids on this list for as little as wearing the wrong colors in the wrong place are threatened with gang conspiracy charges, and more,” said Cabán, who represents the 22nd District in western Queens covering Astoria, Rikers Island and portions of East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside.
“We must eliminate the gang database and prevent the creation of a replacement.”
Cabán attended a protest in Brooklyn earlier this month to rally support for the legislation. She has previously called for the need to defund and disband the NYPD, as well as advocating for Rikers Island to be shut down without the construction of new jails. The Astoria resident has also opposed Mayor Adams’ decision to bring back plainclothes police teams — saying they are ineffective and unfairly target minorities.
Cabán is instead calling for a radically different approach to public safety which would include less policing and encouraging local business owners to get trained in de-escalation tactics should they encounter a conflicting situation.
“If we truly care about public safety outcomes, the evidence-based, data-driven way forward is crystal clear,” Cabán said. “We must invest in the supports our young people need: mental healthcare, high-quality education, restorative justice, employment opportunities, nutritious food, and more.”
An EMS lieutenant was stabbed to death in a random attack in Queens on Thursday afternoon, officials said.
It happened at around 2:15 p.m. while she was on duty at Station 49 on 20th Avenue and 41st Street in Astoria.
"While outside her station she was stabbed multiple times in a barbaric and completely unprovoked attack," said Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. "Members of EMS serve only to help and save other people's lives. To be attacked and killed in the course of helping others is both heartbreaking and enraging for our department in ways I can't describe.
"Our hearts go out to the family, her colleagues and the city of New York. We lost one of our heroes," Mayor Eric Adams said.
"This deadly, senseless, broad daylight attack on a uniformed EMT member is a direct assault on our society," Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. "We can never tolerate this violence in our city. It has to, and will, be stopped."
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said Russo-Elling was going to get food when she was "viciously attacked" by the 34-year-old suspect, "stabbing her numerous times about her body."
CBS2's Tim McNicholas spoke on the phone with a business owner who turned his security video over to police. He said he watched it and it shows Russo-Elling near 20th Avenue and 41st Street. He said a man walked out of an apartment building, ran towards her, and stabbed her multiple times.
The business owner said, "It was totally unprovoked. There was no rhyme or reason. There was no back and forth."
McNicholas asked that business owner if he'd ever seen the suspect before and he said he had seen him wandering around the neighborhood aimlessly and that he looked "unhinged" and "like he was on another planet."
This is basically the same type of senseless savage attack that led to the murder of two on-duty police officers nearly a decade ago. They also were on their lunch break like Lt. Russo-Elling. That also happened barely a year into de Blasio's first term in office.
Thursday, September 29, 2022
When Philip Banks was named deputy mayor for public safety in January, Mayor Eric Adams dodged questions about his longtime pal being named an unindicted co-conspirator in a high profile police corruption case.
While most big Adams announcements took place via well-attended news conferences, Banks’ appointment emerged via a press release sent out late on a Friday.
Since then, Banks has made few public appearances and has answered no questions.
Behind the scenes, however, he has been very busy.
As deputy mayor for public safety, Banks is officially responsible for overseeing agencies that include the Fire Department and Department of Correction. The NYPD is not in his portfolio because the police commissioner is supposed to report directly to the mayor.
But daily schedules obtained by THE CITY show his activities for the first five months of the Adams administration, from January through May, include six sit-downs with top NYPD chiefs — without Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
Separately, Banks has met regularly one-on-one with Sewell on Sunday afternoons at undisclosed locations.
Those schedules — obtained by THE CITY via the Freedom of Information Law and highly redacted by City Hall — also show Banks meeting with lobbyists from firms that sell law enforcement technologies, including weapons detection and drone surveillance systems.
Working out of a 16th floor office in an anonymous tower a block away from One Police Plaza, this former cop has been immersed in shaping NYPD policy on hot-button issues including efforts to constrain overtime, improve the city’s 911 system, and reform police discipline.
The schedules suggest the mayor even tasked him with examining the use of police traffic stops.
Multiple people from inside and outside the government who have met with Banks told THE CITY that it’s clear the deputy mayor wields tremendous power in the administration.
On one rare occasion when Banks did make public remarks, at a City Council hearing on March 30, he spoke on Sewell’s behalf, as well as for Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Director Deanna Logan.
“Mayor Adams’ commitment to dedicated public safety resources is demonstrated by the creation of the leadership team that sits before you today,” Banks said of the trio. “We are working together collaboratively to execute the mayor’s comprehensive vision for safety in our city.”
THE CITY sent multiple detailed questions to Adams spokesman Fabien Levy, about Banks’ schedule and his role in the administration. Levy declined to comment.
Sprawling is a good word to describe Banks’ activities as the man behind the curtain.
His daily schedules for Jan. 1 through May 31 show the deputy mayor has interviewed many candidates for top political appointments, including the top FDNY job (currently held by Acting Commissioner Laura Kavanagh); positions on the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates police misconduct allegations; and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ), which promotes criminal justice reform efforts. All are under his official purview.
Banks has met multiple times with two high-powered Adams appointees with whom he has close personal ties: his brother, Schools Chancellor David Banks, and his brother’s companion, Deputy Mayor of Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright.
With his brother, Banks discussed school safety during a January meeting in the chancellor’s office at school headquarters and “physical education” during an April 21 meeting at an unknown location. The purpose of a third visit with David Banks at school headquarters on May 31 is not listed.
But no city agency has been subject to as much of Banks’ micromanaging as his former employer, the NYPD. His intervention complicates big promises Adams, also a former NYPD officer, made about police leadership under his administration. Adams promised he would appoint the first-ever woman to run the 35,000-member force, and followed through by appointing Sewell, who had been the chief of detectives for Nassau County on Long Island for little more than a year.
The daily schedule shows Banks meeting with Sewell at least 18 times since he joined Team Adams, including 12 one-on-one meetings. Most of these took place on Sundays at a location that City Hall blacked out before releasing the documents to THE CITY. Banks reportedly helped select her for the commissioner job, even before he formally joined the Adams administration.
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
It’s a cat and mouse game — but the mice drive too fast and recklessly and are not always held accountable, even when cops nab them.
“You can’t catch me. You’re stupid,” driver Oscar Malik, 28, allegedly taunted out-of-earshot cops in a police cruiser who spotted him as he roared on the Long Island Expressway in March 2021 at a speed police believe hit 117 mph.
They did catch him, but off the road. Police traced and arrested Malik with help from the Instagram feed that recorded his high-speed drive — which officers downloaded before he deleted his account.
Malik got the last laugh in August, when the charges against him were dismissed and his case was sealed because Queens prosecutors didn’t hand over evidence to his defense lawyer in accord with the state’s discovery reform law, said law enforcement sources. The Queens DA’s office did not comment on the matter.
“This is very disheartening,” said Insp. Sylvester Ge, head of the NYPD’s Highway Division. “And it’s an injustice.”
It was another blow to the NYPD’s unceasing race against organized reckless driving, which takes several forms —ranging from highway drag races to impromptu gatherings where drivers spin donuts at intersections, parking lots or traffic plazas.
There’s no data on how many people die from such driving, though it’s clear speeding — an element of drag racing — is a factor in numerous roadway deaths. Speeding factored in 31 of of 159 New York City traffic deaths in 2022 for which data is available — a rate of 21%.
A notorious death case involving drag racing occurred Nov. 20, 2020, when Daniel Crawford, 53, died on his way at Queens Hospital Center, where he worked as a phlebotomist. Crawford’s car was T-boned by one of two drivers drag racing each other.
Both drivers believed involved in the race that killed Crawford were indicted in February. Alamin Ahmed and Mir Fahmid, both 24, face murder and manslaughter charges. Prosecutors said the duo, out celebrating Fahmid’s birthday, were seen on video getting gas at a service station at Main St. and Union Turnpike, then drag racing down the turnpike. Their cases are pending.
Drag races and other gatherings are often organized on the internet. “Some of it is posted on social media — they talk about it beforehand, what they plan to do, which helps us,” Ge said. “And they post videos afterwards. So, some of it is organized, with rules, like no brakes allowed.
“Or it’s two drivers who see each other on the highway — one starts going and the other one decides, ‘Let’s have a race,’” Ge added. “They really have no regard for public safety.”
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Sunday, September 25, 2022
The Big Apple will begin setting up large tents to house intake centers and cots for the flood of migrants arriving daily as the months-long influx from the southern border has overwhelmed city shelters, Mayor Adams announced Thursday.
City Hall laid out the plan as officials revealed that more than 2,000 additional migrants — predominantly asylum seekers fleeing Venezuela — had streamed into the five boroughs over just the last week.
That brings the total number to an estimated 13,600, the bulk of which — 10,300 — are staying in city shelters.
“More than 100 years ago, Ellis Island opened its doors to welcome in those ‘yearning to breathe free,’ ” said Hizzoner in an accompanying statement. “Now, more than ever, it’s clear that we are again dealing with a humanitarian crisis created by human hands.”
He added, “While other leaders have abdicated their moral duty to support arriving asylum seekers, New York City refuses to do so.”
The first of the emergency shelter facilities will consist of five tents set up in a parking lot at Orchard Beach in The Bronx.
It will have enough beds to house up to 1,000 adults, who officials say will stay there for one to four days as they do initial assessments of their health and welfare before placing them into the city’s shelter system.
So Adams went from destroying homeless people's tents in public spaces earlier in the year to building big tents in public spaces. This is going to blowback big time into more encampments on the streets and green areas.
CBS New York
The rough conditions inside a Queens congregate men's shelter with about 180 residents have sparked a city investigation.
It comes after a 27-year-old man experiencing homelessness became a whistleblower, sharing photos, videos and his personal ordeal exclusively with CBS2's Dave Carlin.
"I never saw myself in a position like this, ever a day in my life, no," said the man, who wished to remain anonymous.
He moved to New York from Texas a year ago, landed a job in hospitality working fancy events, but the very opposite of that is where he's been sleeping.
"I make about $27 an hour with that company alone," the man said.
"And it's still too hard to find a place?" Carlin asked
"Yep," the man said.
So, he is experiencing homelessness, surrounded by apparent squalor, drug use and violence inside Glendale's Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center with a population of more than 180 men.
He started taking videos and photos of what goes on inside after being harassed and attacked.
"I do identify as queer," the man said. "I was assaulted multiple times. The police came out, they said it wasn't really their issue, it's something that has to be dealt with internally."
He says he can confirm what many neighbors are claiming about crime spilling out of the shelter and into the community.
"A lot of drug dealing happening around the area, people doing sexual activity over by the school right behind the shelter, and I've seen this all first hand," the man said. "I did my due diligence in finding my local city councilman and I reached out to him."
On Wednesday, Councilman Robert Holden made sure the young man was reassigned elsewhere to a hotel room.
"He's talented. We want to help him. He did a service to everyone in New York City, showing the conditions of the shelters," Holden said. "Get him an apartment, that's my goal, to get him an apartment."
"I know that something good will end up coming out of this," the man said.
Something good, according to Holden, is the city shutting down the Cooper Center.
"The mayor is looking at it. So is [New York City Department of Homeless Services] Commissioner [Gary] Jenkins," Holden said.
"This is supposed to be a working men's shelter, but time and time again, we have people that have severe mental illness ... that really don't fit with what the shelter was for," Glendale resident Dawn Scala said.
Holden favors facilities with smaller groups of residents so their needs can be handled more effectively.
"It's a de Blasio leftover. We need to change it ... I don't believe that we should put 200 men in one location," Holden said.
Saturday, September 24, 2022
Friday, September 23, 2022
Mayor Adams is starting a pro-over-development caliphate to supersede City Council powers and community interests
Mayor Eric Adams Blasting
His Way Into Your Community!Mayor Eric Adams directed a commission to create a blueprint that would allow development projects to happen faster and cost less to developers. The NYC Economic Development and Housing committee, working with Citizens Budget Commission (CBC), a nonprofit organization organized a report to address Adams’ agenda. They made recommendations for changes in both the law and City and State administrative policies regarding applications for development requiring rezonings. Their main justification is an economic model of supply and demand, the more supply (increase heights of buildings) the lower and more affordable the rents will be.
Of course they are ignoring all of the evidence which shows the opposite. That increase development has in fact caused rents to increase and homelessness to sky rocket, as a recent study just revealed.
13 Points of Change to the Rezoning Process of New York City and New York State
- No more court cases brought against developers or the City, instead the rezoning project will be reviewed by the City Planning Commission.
- The elimination of the New York State's Environmental Review process for all development projects.
- In the alternative, the Environmental Review Process, does not have to be completed until the end of the Uniform Land Use Review Process "ULURP".
- In addition, New York State will reduce the number of environmental impact categories.
- The Community Board’s and Borough Presidents review of a rezoning application during the ULURP process, will be eliminated.
- In the alternative, only the Borough President should review rezoning projects.
- The Community and Borough President review of a rezoning application should take place before an application is certified and starts the ULURP process.
- The City Council Deference (the power to say no to a rezoning project in their district) should be eliminated.
- In the alternative, when the City Council disapproves a project, immediately an alternative group of decision makers would convene with the power to overturn the City Council’s vote. The group would consist of the Mayor, Public Advocate, Borough President and Council Speaker.
- Additionally, the City Council would need to have a Super Majority, not just a majority to overrule the City Planning Commission’s recommendation on a project.
- All development projects that are not near or in sensitive wetland and greenfield sites (not brownfields) should be “as of right”.
- Instead of focusing on environmental concerns and their impact upon a community’s land, air and water, the focus should be on negative consequences vs. benefits.
- Streamline the Environmental Process by not interacting with other government agencies that specialize in a particular environmental impact concern. Instead, have one agency – i.e. the City Planning Commission – conduct all of the environmental impact analyses.
The Real Estate's Dream
Overall, these proposed changes reflect the real estate’s industry’s determination to escape any and all requirements for environmental reviews, with 99% of their projects being considered “as of right”. This terms means developers can build what they want, where they want with no one having a say or being able to stop them.
All of these proposals would require New York State to make changes to its legislation, for NYC to make revisions to the New York City Charter, as well as an unknown number of administrative changes in both the State's and the City's regulations.
The importance of this Commission’s report and the creation of the*“BLAST” commission to engage in some of these changes lies not only in its revelation regarding the intent to drastically reduce the power of the community to protect itself against developers, but what it reveals about Mayor Eric Adams’ plans for the next four (to eight!) years of his administration.
*We don't remember exactly what "BLAST" stands for but it hit us how arrogant and powerful the Mayor and the Developers believe that they are in even naming a commission BLAST. They are sending a clear message of their intention to BLAST there way into any community, any neighborhood and harming any environment that they see fit.
Note: Please take this commission's report seriously. There are already "opinion” pages popping up everywhere stating the ULURP process is broken, that what we need is more development projects and that the New York City Council's powers need to be reduced. Even Brooklyn Borough President Reynoso is proposing a "borough wide" rezoning, based upon his failed rezoning process in his council district when he was its councilperson. He is claiming that the 99% success rate of developers’ ULURP applications and 100% success rate for City sponsored district wide rezonings are not working for developers and/or the City!
Six Things You Can You Do!
1. Please forward this email by clicking on the link above and spread the word.
2. Testify at the CB9's hearing on these proposed changes.
Community Board 9 Hearing on City Citizens Budget Commission Proposal for Rezoning
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Dial In: 1(646) 558-8656
Webinar ID: 848 5839 6883; No Password
This hearing will only last for half an hour so please come on time!
3. Read a more detailed description of the changes along with their rationale and MTOPP's position by clicking on this link.
4. Read the upcoming emails coming within the next couple of days and pass those along to others.
5. Write your own opinion pages in local media outlets etc...
6. Ask your Community Board to conduct its own hearing on the proposals.
New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris announced Thursday that Queens residents will soon receive a new planetarium that will cost roughly $1 million to add to a new building that will be constructed.
The new science facility will be built as part of the expansion of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, a nearly 70-year-old institution in Astoria created to offer a safe learning and playing environment for the community’s children. The institution is undergoing a complete renovation that will include a new zero-emissions building that will house the new planetarium. Gianaris is holding a launch event at the club Thursday afternoon.
“I’m an astronomy buff,” Gianaris said. “It's nice to have the big one [Hayden Planetarium] at the Museum of Natural History, but the kids in Queens have to travel far away to enjoy that kind of education, and we thought it would be terrific to bring it right here in Queens.”
The new planetarium will seat approximately 70 people and is expected to serve up to 10,000 people annually. The funding has already been secured through the state budget for fiscal year 2022-2023. The project came out of the senator’s love of science and the need to provide more resources for kids to engage in that field, hands on.
Gianaris said ideas for who will narrate the new planetarium's feature programs are still being floated. His favorite suggestion so far is actor Christopher Walken because of his very distinct voice and his roots in Astoria.
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
“New York City is in the throes of a housing crisis, with Astoria families feeling that crush harder than most, but we have an incredible opportunity before us to reverse this tragic trend. I stand by my recommendation that certain commitments be made by the Innovation QNS development team to meet this moment, such as significantly increasing the number of affordable housing units and expanding the lowest affordable income band to those earning 30 percent of the area median income,” Richards said.
“I have a deep respect for the City Planning Commission and its work, and I am hopeful today’s vote will lead to a healthy dialogue and community-first solutions as Innovation QNS proceeds to the City Council,” he continues. “I remain in close contact with the developers, my fellow elected officials, and all our community stakeholders, and will continue to push for true community-first solutions on the issues of affordability and equity.”
The project will now go to the City Council in the coming weeks and then on to Mayor Eric Adams for the final decision in the process. In his remarks prior to the vote, City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick said the five-block development would bring thousands of jobs across a range of sectors, but it was the promise of affordable housing that was the difference maker to him.
“The affordable housing component of this project – that will be created without public subsidy – would be considered the largest privately financed affordable housing project in Queens in generations,” Garodnick said. “At a time when our housing crisis is more pronounced than ever, that is a big deal and a big opportunity to take the pressure off the rents in this and surrounding communities.”
In casting one of the three dissenting votes against the Innovation QNS proposal, Commissioner Leah Goodridge said the amount of affordable housing promised by the developers came up short.
“While the number of apartments may be privately financed, it’s still the same 25 percent that we see here every day,” Goodridge said. “And secondary displacement is real.”
Students who participate in a range of extracurricular activities including sports will no longer face a COVID vaccine requirement, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday, ending the only mandate that applied to public school students.
In August 2021, the city announced that students participating in “high risk” extracurricular activities must be vaccinated against the coronavirus, a policy that covered roughly 20,000 students in the Public School Athletic League who play sports ranging from bowling to basketball. It also included students in chorus, band, and musical theater programs that weren’t part of their regular course loads.
Adams scrapped that requirement on Tuesday along with the vaccine mandate for private employers just before receiving the latest bivalent booster in front of reporters. But other vaccine requirements affecting public schools still stand: All staff must be vaccinated, including coaches who are employed by the city, and so must any visitors to school buildings, a policy that some parents have criticized.
City officials did not present a clear explanation about why the vaccine mandate is being peeled back in some contexts but not others.
“I don’t think anything dealing with COVID is — makes sense,” Adams said when asked about dropping the vaccine mandate for private employees but keeping it for public ones. “You make the decisions based on how to keep our city safe, how to keep our employees operating by taking the vaccine.”
Sounds like Adams knows how stupid, spiteful and wrong this vaccine mandate is but doesn't have the guts to abolish it entirely. Truly the most compromised elected official in this town.
The Department Of Transportation Alternatives are attempting to usurp parking spaces from residents in Far Rockaway
MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 718-945-9550
Pheffer Amato Joins Community Opposition To Seagirt Blvd. Project
South Queens, NY - Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-South Queens) met with school administrators and parents to discuss the hazards of the potential Seagirt Boulevard redesign. The city-based project has garnered extreme pushback from local and non-local residents and has been openly opposed by Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato.
During dismissal the other week, the Assemblywoman saw firsthand how this project would cause an extreme backlog and increase traffic up and down the whole boulevard. “I acknowledge the need for safety measures, as that is something we all wish to see. However, any changes to Seagirt Boulevard cannot come at the price of accessibility or safety of the students from numerous schools who traverse the boulevard on a daily basis, yet alone hinder motorists in and around the community in their daily lives,” said Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato.
Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato, along with parents and community members have expressed disappointment and opposition to this project because of the lack of outreach and the expected problems the redesign would cause. The removal of a vehicle lane, yet alone over 60 parking spots, will cause an inevitable increase in traffic disruptions and mass congestion which would negatively impact the community on an enormous level.
The Assemblywoman referred to the plan as “nuts” and insisted that the NYC Department of Transportation must “go back to the drawing board and create a plan that reflects the will of the community” as the project was moved ahead without community support."Nutty" Nicole Garcia is trying to do over here what she's doing with inducing citibike docks on street curbs to steal parking spaces in Robert Holden's district instead of on ample sidewalk space. The entire DOT needs an enema starting with Adams moron buddy Ydanis Rodriguez, who can't even ride a citibike more than one block to do an ad encouraging more cycling.
The DOT Commissioner couldn't even ride one extra block to do an ad about biking in NYC. What a farce.— JQ LLC (@ImpunityCity) September 20, 2022
You know this guy hopped into a big taxpayer funded SUV after one of his aides docked that @CitibikeNYC. https://t.co/4pa6qSwXLL pic.twitter.com/socQrLoD2y
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Vaccine extortion mandates continue for city workers but ends for private sector workers a week before Election Day
The city’s coronavirus vaccine mandates for private sector workers and student athletes are ending, but the inoculation requirement for municipal workers will remain — at least for the time being.
Mayor Adams announced the rollback Tuesday at a City Hall press conference, stressing the need for New Yorkers to get their COVID booster shots.
Implemented by former Mayor Bill de Blasio, the private sector and student mandates have been in effect since late last year.
The workforce rule, which was the first of its kind in the country when rolled out by de Blasio in December, required that all private sector employees in the city be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That mandate will sunset on Nov. 1.
The second policy, which mandated high school students be vaccinated to engage in sports and other extracurricular activities, ended Tuesday.
Adams attempted to temper his announcement with another message: that New Yorkers should get new booster shots aimed at protecting against highly transmissible COVID variants. To reinforce that, he got his second booster shot from the city’s Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan in front of a roomful of reporters.
“It is time to move on to the next level of fortifying our city,” Adams said. “It’s imperative to send the right message and lead by example as I’m doing today by getting my booster shot.”
Adams framed the rescinding of the mandates as providing more “flexibility” to parents and businesses regarding vaccines.
He noted that his shot Tuesday is just the first step in a new citywide digital and print vaccination campaign to encourage booster shots.
But even as Adams and Vasan announced the new campaign and the end of the two mandates, they struggled to explain the rationale behind enacting the one rollback while continuing to keep in place the mandate that city employees must be vaccinated — a contentious rule that led to workers being fired, lawsuits and political protests.
“We’re in a steady phase of pivot and shift,” the mayor said when asked if he plans to peel back the mandate on city workers. “We do things. We roll things out slowly. Right now, that is not on the radar for us.”
When asked how he can justify his decision, Adams said: “I don’t think anything dealing with COVID makes sense, and there’s no logical pathway of [what] one can do You make the decisions based on how to keep our city safe, how to keep our employees operating.”
Vasan responded that it’s important to not view “any of these decisions in isolation.”
“They’re all connected,” he said, referring to the city’s COVID policies. “We’re looking at all of our policies and thinking about a glide path towards normal, whatever the new normal looks like.”
Keeping the city worker vaccine extortion mandate, which looks like it's indefinite, is brazen discrimination and these two assholes are blatantly telling the public not to question it because they are not smart enough to comprehend while doing the worst gaslighting about justifying this policy that has done major damage to city services. And they did this hours after President Biden said the pandemic was over. When will the press finally question why this farcical unscientific mandate is allowed to continue and who is benefiting off it?
This looks like a nice place for a family to rent in Rockaway Beach, but prospective tenants might want to have the entire place and backyard powerwashed before they move in. For this previously was one of the Rockaway Hideaway lodgings that were being rented out for a ludicrous fee of $600 per guest during the pandemic.
Monday, September 19, 2022
One of Mayor Eric Adams’s closest advisers, who has helped formulate and work out some of the mayor’s thorniest policy challenges, has informed administration officials that he will resign at the end of the year.
The adviser, Frank Carone, a former power broker in the Brooklyn Democratic Party who helped fuel Mr. Adams’s rise in politics, had served as his chief of staff since January.
His exit is the first major departure of the Adams administration. Emma Wolfe, the last chief of staff for Mayor Bill de Blasio, stayed in that role for nearly all of his second term and worked in his administration for eight years.
Mr. Carone served as a gatekeeper and a negotiator for Mr. Adams, meeting with business leaders and working on projects like vetting casino operators vying for casino licenses in New York City and examining whether to use cruise ships to house migrants.
Mr. Carone said in an interview that he had always intended to stay in government for only one year and that he planned to serve as a chairman on Mr. Adams’s re-election campaign in 2025.
“I wanted to recruit the team, take a deep dive into agencies and build a culture for that team of no drama and getting things done,” Mr. Carone said.
Some of Mr. Carone’s past business dealings have drawn scrutiny, including his representation of landlords involved in an affordable housing deal and his involvement with a group of doctors accused of insurance fraud. Mr. Carone was also criticized for having a financial stake in a police tool that Mr. Adams promoted as Brooklyn borough president, and for failing to disclose his legal work for a homeless shelter provider.
As the mayor’s chief of staff, Mr. Carone has largely avoided controversy, helping Mr. Adams behind the scenes to respond to one crisis after another: the pandemic, the killing of two police officers in January, high crime rates, an influx of asylum seekers from Latin America, a staffing crisis in city government and concerns over the city’s economic recovery.
Sunday, September 18, 2022
The city turned a blind eye for years while a Queen’s tow company monopolized services on many Big Apple highways and ripped off thousands of drivers in the process, a bombshell new lawsuit alleges.
The class-action suit, filed Saturday in Manhattan Supreme Court, seeks more than $58 million in damages for the duped motorists from the NYPD, the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection and Runway Towing Corp. It alleges city officials let the company run an illegal “racketeering enterprise” at the expense of unsuspecting motorists.
The suit also accuses the NYPD of repeatedly extending Runway’s contract since 2013 without competitive bidding and, in the process, ignoring many complaints the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection was getting about the company’s alleged lawbreaking, which included underpaying workers and illegally compensating them with cash off the books.
The two city agencies “conspired … to allow Runway to operate … even though at least six years ago motorists were telling them that Runway is overcharging consumers,” said lawyer Gary Rosen, who represents Runway customers and ex-staffers in the lawsuit.
The suit claims Runway has earned more than $200 million since 2010 off its NYPD contract to provide roadside assistance and towing services on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway; Kosciusko Bridge; the Cross Island Parkway in Queens; sections of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn and Queens; Brooklyn’s Gowanus Expressway and Prospect Expressway; and the Staten Island Expressway, West Shore Expressway, Korean War Veterans Parkway and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway on Staten Island.
It also alleges the company relies on shady practices to drive up its profits, including instructing tow operators to bring vehicles they pick up to the company’s office in Ozone Park — no matter where they break down.
It’s a move that generates hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of extra dollars in unnecessary towing and storage costs for the public per vehicle, former Runway workers and customers told The Post.
Mary Olsen, 62, said she had no choice but to give away her 2000 Nissan Altima to Runway after it was rear-ended and totaled on the Staten Island Expressway two years back. She said a Runway tow truck brought the car to the Ozone Park storage facility more than 20 miles away without her consent — and without providing a cheaper option, such as towing it to a parking space off the nearest exit or a nearby auto body shop.
New York City first responders are taking longer to get to fires, medical emergencies and crimes in progress.
Critics blamed the potential deadly surge in response times on serious staffing shortages in the NYPD and FDNY.
As the Police Department continues to deal with spikes in major crimes and a mass exodus of cops, response times to all “crimes in progress” during the past fiscal year ending June 30 increased from 11 minutes and 40 seconds to 12 minutes and 44 seconds – or 9.1%, according to Mayor Adams’ first management report.
In fiscal 2019, which predated the COVID-19 pandemic and the many new challenges it to brought citywide, the average response time was 9 minutes and 55 seconds.
The Fiscal 2022 Mayor’s Management Report released late Friday – which covers the highs and lows of all city agencies during the final six months of ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and the first six of Adams’ – also highlighted a serious uptick specifically in response times to armed robberies, burglaries and other “critical crimes.”
Cops on average responded off 911 calls to these crimes in 8 minutes and 26 seconds, compared to 7 minutes and 52 seconds a year ago. In fiscal 2019, they arrived on average in 6 minutes and 38 seconds after a 911 dispatcher fielded the call for help.
Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Queens), who chairs the fire and emergency management committee, blamed de Blasio’s progressive policies for helping nudge many cops who felt “disrespected” into early retirement and leaving the NYPD short-staffed.
We are PLEADING for your help! Residents of 34th Ave & First Responders are in danger. A fire truck can’t navigate through the cement bricks & planters! @GovKathyHochul @communityboard3 @votejgr @jessicaramos @voteshekar @NYCMayor @RPachecoJH @DOEChancellor pic.twitter.com/yj1R2nxvc8— Gloria (@Gloria69NY) September 17, 2022
Once again from Jim Burke's letter to Donovan Richards about his scurrilous accusatory lies about homophobia directed towards him and his group. This may have been the biggest and most dangerous lie of all. Time to remove that crappy version of stonehenge on the road and abolish these open streets now.
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Over this past summer, the Long Island Railroad & the Metropolitan Transit Authority, announced that the LIRR East Coast Corridor,
with service to the new Madison Station Platform at Grand Central
Terminal, will commence by the end of this year - winter 2022.
Initially this was great news and that which LIRR commuters have been awaiting to hear for two decades. Unfortunately for us, with the release of the LIRR's proposed new train schedules for service, we now see that the LIRR-MTA is actually taking away vital service between Kew Gardens and Forest Hills.
Click here to view the draft LIRR schedule for Kew Gardens and Forest Hills, which eliminates all train stops between the two, in either direction! Thus one would no longer be able to take the train at Kew Gardens and get off at Forest Hills, and vice versa. However, this two-minute ride provides a CRITICAL LINK between our two communities which MUST BE MAINTAINED.
The MTA & LIRR want to hear from communities how they feel about the new schedule. This is our chance to tell them!
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO COMMENT AND LET THE LIRR-MTA KNOW THAT SERVICE BETWEEN KEW GARDENS & FOREST HILLS IS ESSENTIAL TO US AND MUST BE RETURNED TO THE SCHEDULE.
IN DETAIL HERE'S WHY:
1. This link between the two stations enables Kew Gardens residents, especially the elderly, young families and the differently abled, to reach quickly and easily healthcare facilities and businesses unavailable in Kew Gardens.
Forest Hills is the hub for many medical facilities, especially ones that are UNAVAILABLE in Kew Gardens, e.g, specialized medical offices, medical labs, radiology services, hospital, clinics etc. In addition, the Kew Gardens community both needs and supports the many Forest Hills small businesses which have no counterpart in Kew Gardens.
2. Given the new alternate Manhattan destinations, i.e., Penn Station and Grand Central, the destination link between Kew Gardens & Forest Hills helps to move traffic. For example, if you miss the KG train to the Eastside, you may be able to switch at Forest Hills for their next train to the East side, etc. and arrive in good time.
3. Such links between stations/communities continue to exist on many, if not all other LIRR lines - just not for Kew Gardens. Moreover, those using LIRR to access those local stations even have a special reduced fare, while Kew Gardens riders pay the full fare (as much as $6.50) to just Forest Hills, the same as if they were going to Manhattan or the Hamptons. In just one example, the two-minute ride between Manhasset and Plandome LIRR stations, remains on the new schedule, costs seniors and the disabled $1.50, regular-fare payers also pay just a small percent of the final destination fare to and from Manhattan.
The link between Kew Gardens and Forest Hills is critical to our community, and now especially with the stifling of Queens Blvd for local motorist and public buses with under utilized bike lanes, the underground Subway stations in constant disarray - the massive jail structure and all the chaotic traffic it will bring, looming heavy - it is essential that the LIRR link between our two, interdependent neighborhood eco-systems, must be maintained.
Mayor Eric Adams on Friday unveiled an investment of $35 million to begin phase one of QueensWay, a new linear park planned for Queens.
The funding includes $2.5 million from the City Council, a press release said.
“We are moving from a city of no to a city of yes and QueensWay is the way we are going to go throughout this entire city,” Adams said at news conference in Forest Hills. “And ensure that open space, green ways, good clean environments for children and families will continue to grow in this city.”
The first phase of the project will help transform a section of an abandoned Long Island Rail Road line in Forest Hills, known as the Met Hub, into a five-acre park.
Once complete, the 47-acre QueensWay will provide the 2.4 million residents living in the borough with a new open space that will give them access to recreational amenities, outdoor educational programs and an alternative transportation to schools, businesses, and 10 bus lines, the release said.
“QueensWay improves quality of life, improves the air quality and it promotes both physical and mental well-being and it gives more visibility to businesses along the route,” Adams said. “And so this is an economic stimulus as well.”
But some residents were hoping get more transit options.
Last month, state, local and federal officials signed onto a letter calling for Adams and Gov. Hochul environmental impact study on the prospect of a subway line being extended into the area.
“QueensWay improves quality of life, improves the air quality and it promotes both physical and mental well-being and it gives more visibility to businesses along the route,” Adams said. “And so this is an economic stimulus as well.”
The gaslighting by every elected official at this announcement about the lack of park space and how it's a transit desert is mind blowing. Forest Park is by there and spans 4 neighborhoods. Numerous bus lines go around there. This also throws any plan to restore the rail transit line in the garbage.
And here's another thing. Why are two members from Transportation Alternatives there? That's Peter Beadle on the left who was at that hilarious parody protest against Jenifer Rajkumar by the rail line last year and fellow bike zealot and shameless anti-car fascist Juan Restrepo. Does that "non"-profit "public streets advocacy" organization have a government office we are not aware of? Their presence is also heinous because their Queens chairman Jim Burke recently defamed a community group led by a gay man as homophobes and racists with absolutely no evidence with the help of one of their fellow elected officials in City Council!
It's astounding how this plan just materialized from thin air after
Adams made budget cuts to every municipality only a few days ago and
city council found money to fund this fantastical project. This isn't the city of yes like Swagger Adams says, this is the twilight zone.
Friday, September 16, 2022
A major shakeup is coming to the leadership structure of the city’s public housing authority.
Mayor Eric Adams’ office announced Thursday the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) current chair and CEO Greg Russ will step back as the authority’s chief executive, following an arsenic contamination scare at the Jacob Riis Houses on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Russ will stay on as chair, according to a release, as the roles of CEO and chair that have typically been held by one person are split into two separate jobs. The authority’s general counsel Lisa Bova-Hiatt will serve as interim chief executive until they find a permanent replacement.
“We cannot wait any longer to make transformational changes so NYCHA can provide safe, high-quality homes for New Yorkers,” Adams said. “I am determined to work with my partners in government to identify the right leaders and the right structure for NYCHA to deliver on our promises to public housing residents. I want to thank Lisa Bova-Hiatt for her dedicated service to our city and for stepping up at this critical time to put NYCHA on the right path.”
The news comes after a rough couple of weeks for the embattled public housing authority. Nearly two weeks ago, NYCHA and the mayor’s office told Jacob Riis residents their tap water had tested positive for arsenic and advised residents not to drink or cook with the water for nearly a week.
But late last week, the city reversed course, sharing that the lab who’s tests yielded the positive arsenic results – Environmental Monitoring and Technologies – retracted those results and released revised results that were negative for the toxic substance. A day later, Adams announced the water at Jacob Riis was safe to drink and cook with again, posting a video of himself and city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan drinking cups of water from the development’s taps.
Adams’ office says it wasn’t notified about the positive arsenic test until several days after NYCHA was aware of the results. During an unrelated press conference Monday, Adams said the delay in notifying his office was “unacceptable” and hinted at the leadership change announced Thursday.
“We were notified on Friday, they were notified on Monday, it’s unacceptable,” Adams told reporters. “And so we know there’s new leadership that’s about to take place at NYCHA and we’re looking at exactly what happened here.”
New York City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán on Tuesday announced her support for a proposed rezoning that will allow a three-tower, 1300-unit housing development in Astoria known as Halletts North, in a shift from how other progressive lawmakers have approached recent land use decisions.
Cabán’s support for Halletts North likely ensures the full City Council’s approval of the project, since the council traditionally follows the lead of the local councilmember in deciding whether to give the go-ahead.
One in four units in the development will be earmarked for affordable housing. Cabán and local community organizations negotiated with the developer to increase the number of two- and three-bedroom apartments in order to accommodate local families, she said.
The most deeply affordable units will be the 10 percent reserved for tenants making 30 percent or less of the New York City area median income, or $35,790 for a family of four. Overall, the development will nearly double the number of local units available to renters making less than 50 percent of the area median income, Cabán noted.
The developers have also invested $16 million in cleaning up the site from toxins left by its former industrial use, and agreed to contribute $1 million to the neighboring public housing development, build a community space that local nonprofits will be able to use rent-free, and incorporate a public waterfront green space into the development, Cabán said.
Cabán framed her choice to support Halletts North as “harm reduction.”
“The best we can hope for without rezoning this lot is a last mile [trucking] facility where some massive corporation like Amazon would pay our neighbors garbage wages for backbreaking work,” Cabán said. “A no vote today would be a vote for that.”
In recent years, New York has built less housing per capita than almost any other large city in the country. Cabán’s support for the project comes as various factions of New York’s left attempt to work out their approach to housing supply, and decide how to respond to developers seeking city approval to build largely market-rate housing on privately-owned land.
“There’s currently no consensus on what a progressive land use approach should be,” said Samuel Stein, housing policy analyst at the anti-poverty nonprofit Community Service Society. “Because there’s a debate or diversity of approaches, that leaves individual council members with a bit of latitude in terms of defining their own position.”
Cabán’s decision to support the Halletts North rezoning sparked significant and heated debate among members of the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), said DSA member and housing organizer Andrew Hiller. The Queens DSA housing working group tweeted that the decision “is an insult” to nearby public housing residents who likely won’t be able to afford the new units. Cabán is a DSA member and received the group’s coveted endorsement during her 2021 run for city council.
By supporting the Hallets North development, Cabán is taking a different approach from other progressive members of the City Council who in recent months have blocked, opposed, or threatened to block major developments in their districts.