Saturday, August 27, 2016

Well this should be interesting

Katz FOILed again!

From the Queens Chronicle:

A Whitestone resident and media producer is suing the Office of the Queens Borough President and the borough president herself, Melinda Katz, alleging repeated violations of the state’s Freedom of Information Law for failing to respond to his requests for information concerning records related to the Willets Point neighborhood.

Robert LoScalzo, who says he has been working on an independent documentary about the Willets Point area since 2007, says he requested records concerning meetings held by Katz on Jan. 29 and March 3 of this year to discuss the deteriorated streets in the area, a possible city Department of Transportation contract to repave the streets for $9.1 million, waste-hauling tractor-trailers that park in the neighborhood and the status of its redevelopment.

LoScalzo says he made his initial FOIL request on May 12 and an appeal on June 4, and didn’t receive a reply to either one.

State law requires one within five business days, and a lack of response is tantamount to a denial, according to the state Committee on Open Government, which monitors compliance with the FOIL and Open Meetings Law. The only recourse available is to sue an agency.

A copy of the lawsuit says it was filed on Aug. 12 in state Supreme Court in Queens.

Katz’s office said it has not been served with any suit and wouldn't comment on pending litigation if it had, but that it has responded to the FOIL request. The office did not respond to a question about when the response was sent, and as of press time, LoScalzo said he hadn’t received a response.

In a sharply worded press release, LoScalzo accused Katz of hypocrisy and duplicity with the public.

“Just before this past Fourth of July weekend, Melinda Katz sent an email to her list, quoting loftily from the Declaration of Independence and imploring everyone to read America’s founding documents and get acquainted with our hard-won rights,” the release said in part.

“Ironically, when those of us who know our rights attempt to exercise them at Borough President Katz’s office by requesting public records, those rights are denied.”

Untidy tree pit tripping hazards

Hi Crapper,

On my way home from the Met game Friday night waiting to board the Q16 bus I could not help but notice some serious sidewalk trip hazards.You can see in my attached pictures how dangerous the sidewalk is. There are a total of six empty tree pits in the middle of 39th Ave between Union street and 138th street. Most are filled with litter including broken glass and cans along with commercial garbage from the local establishments. It just angers me why some home owners in Queens are being nickel & dimed with fines over minute sidewalk and curb conditions while these serious trip hazards are allowed in the middle of a busy transportation hub.

Thanks... The Queens Sentry

New anti-corruption law doesn't go very far

From NY1:

In the final hours of the legislative session in June, lawmakers passed what they called "ethics reform." But some believe it's more notable for what wasn't included.

"The ethics bill is a major step forward," said Governor Andrew Cuomo. "Is it everything? No. Ethics, in many ways, is like other activities in life. It's an ongoing pursuit."

But critics say the legislation does little to pursue actual corruption. In the last year and a half, the leaders of both legislative houses were tried and convicted on federal corruption charges.

"The legislature and the governor missed a huge opportunity in responding to the outcry," said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union. "Ninety percent of New Yorkers wanted action on ethics reform that basically dealt with preventing corruption, and they did nothing."

"Certainly, Albany had a bad year in terms of trust. You have members of the legislature who were indicted, went to jail. So, they needed an ethics reform," Cuomo said.

The ethics reform requires more stringent separation between campaigns and independent expenditure groups that advocate for specific causes. It also appears to target nonprofit and good-government groups by forcing them disclose their donors.

Coyotes living at Astoria Mountain

From PIX11:

A group of coyotes was spotted lurking around a temporary employee parking lot set up because of construction at LaGuardia Airport Thursday.

A PIX11 reporter spotted the animals in the roadway of the parking lot near 45th Street and Berrian Boulevard in Astoria.

Employees dodge the critters every night.

“As you’re coming through they’re waiting for you to say good night,” said one airport employee.

The Port Authority built the parking lot in 2015 atop Ingraham’s Mountain, a man-made “mountain” built excavated materials from construction of the third tube of the Lincoln Tunnel, according to documents obtained by PIX11 News. It’s situated about 0.2 miles west of the airport and bounded by the Rikers Island Bridge.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A break from building

From Crains:

The demise of the controversial 421-a tax break hasn’t eliminated interest in residential building in the city, but it has reduced it to a level not seen since the financial crisis.

That’s the bottom line on this week’s release of the latest building-permits data by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Here are the numbers through July.

LaGuardia traffic nightmare

From PIX11:

A massive construction project at LaGuardia Airport is creating massive traffic tie ups.

A $5.3 billion project to overhaul a terminal at the airport has travelers bailing from their cabs, luggage in hand, to walk to the airport.

"It was horrendous," said livery cab driver Cecil Craffy. "It’s the worst I’ve ever seen anywhere in the city. It took me an hour plus from the Grand Central to the corner and the customer had to come out of the car to walk to reach there."

The Port Authority's new temporary road ways, which are on the way this fall, will alleviate the worst of the traffic problems. But in the meantime, trips to the airport are taking a lot of time.

The scaffolding that won't come down

From NBC:

Scaffolding covers buildings, protects sidewalks -- and it's often an eyesore. In some cases, they have a serious effect on nearby businesses. Andrew Siff reports.

From NBC:

Some 'zombie scaffolding' are staying up around buildings across the city for nearly a decade, creating eyesores for neighbors. As Andrew Siff reports, many landlords do it for cost-effective purposes. Watch Part 1 of the zombie scaffolding report here.

Fun Friday Caption Contest

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Queens targeted with homeless shelters thanks to Joe Crowley deal

With each passing day, this is becoming more clear. Someone I know from Borough Hall broke this down for me yesterday:

Congress Member Joe Crowley is the head of the Queens Machine. A political kingmaker. He endorsed Christine Quinn when she ran for mayor against de Blasio in the primary. De Blasio was very unhappy with that, as Queens was the only borough that did not back him. Queens therefore is going to relentlessly be dumped on, including the placement of 10+ homeless shelters in 2 years.

It all makes sense once you connect the dots.

Now, where the hell is Queens Borough President Melinda Katz while the borough she represents is getting dumped on? Painting the NYS Pavilion?

Queens preservation's situation summed up in one photo

And there we have it.

Photo by George the Atheist

Interesting old Woodside house to make way for crap

Sunnyside Post
From Sunnyside Post:

Plans were filed with the Dept. of Buildings Tuesday for a six-story mixed use building at 54-21 Roosevelt Avenue. The structure will consist of ground floor retail, second floor health care facilities and four stories of apartments. The development would include seven dwelling units.

Demolition permits were filed in March.

The owner of the building, Al Zhu Lu, did not want to comment for this story.