Tag Archives: Charles Schumer

Preventing another Sandy


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/PHOTO BY TERENCE M. CULLEN

With climate change entering the common lexicon, politicians and environmental advocates believe preventative measures are necessary to ensure New York City is protected from future storms.

Last week, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proposed a series of mechanisms to shield the city against flooding and storms by strengthening buildings, energy and sewer systems, mass transit and gasoline distribution – priced at about $20 billion.

“We stand in a unique moment that carries with it a unique opportunity,” said Quinn. “The future of our planet, the world our grandchildren inherit, depends on what we do in the months and years ahead. At this moment the need for action cannot be ignored – the cost of this enterprise cannot be dismissed as too great.”

One of the front-runners in the 2013 mayoral race, Quinn detailed her proposed plan to protect the city, including an agreement with the Bloomberg administration to fast track two studies, analyzing climate-related threats against New York, to be completed by April 2013. The plan also included reinforcing Con Ed and burying power lines in vulnerable neighborhoods.

Quinn announced that Senator Charles Schumer will head an initiative to obtain an Army Corps of Engineers study to conclusively determine the necessity of constructing storm surge barriers.

A spokesperson for Quinn said there is no time frame in place for the project.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also spoke about the future changes to review of New York’s emergency weather preparedness.

Tactics to increase the state’s protection include fortifying transportation, energy and environmental systems, replacing damaged infrastructure with structures designed to withstand a tempest and integrating long-term plans regarding infrastructure planning, protection and development into New York’s economic development strategies.

“Over the past two years, New York State has been hit by some of the most destructive storms in our state’s history, causing untold damage and the tragic loss of many lives,” said Cuomo. “Regardless of the cause of these storms, New York State must undertake major reforms to adapt to the reality that storms such as Sandy, Irene and Lee can hit the state at any time.”

Kaufman Astoria Studios extends lease by 99 years


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

File photo

Keep the reels rolling!

Senator Charles Schumer and Congressmember Carolyn Maloney announced the approval of Kaufman Astoria Studios’ 99 year lease term extension under the Historic Surplus Property Program by the National Park Service (NPS). Early this month, Schumer and Maloney requested that NPS approve this application, stating the extension would allow business expansion in the studio by providing long-term investments and make it easier to access the capital Kaufman needs to grow and expand.

“This lease term extension will give Kaufman Astoria Studios the security and predictability it needs to grow, create more jobs and expand its business in Queens,” said Schumer. “This studio is full of history and with New York City’s growing film industry, I am pleased that the National Park Service has said ‘lights, camera, action’ for this new extended lease.”

The legendary studio opened in 1920 and became the home to Paramount Pictures. Stars like Harrison Ford, Meryl Streep and Al Pacino have worked on productions at Kaufman Astoria Studios. Sesame Street is also filmed at the renowned studio. Kaufman Astoria Studios was designated as a National Historic District in 1978.

Its extended lease will end in 2099.

Pols push for improvements to Charles Park


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

Piles of trash in tall grass are just yards away from baseball fields where the pitcher’s mounds have nearly leveled with home plate. Behind home plate, there are cracks in the sidewalks that are overgrown with grass and weeds. Not much further from this scene is a picnic table, worn from years of use.

These are just some of the images of Frank M. Charles Memorial Park in Howard Beach, which officials and residents say has been neglected for years by the National Park Service (NPS).

Assemblymember Philip Goldfeder and Senator Charles Schumer recently sent a letter to NPS with concerns about upkeep of the park that residents claim has been inconsistent and underfunded for years.

“Frank M. Charles Memorial Park, a treasured resource for the residents of Howard Beach, has long been a popular location for youth sports games and family outings. But the park has seen better days,” Schumer said. “The level of deterioration at the park is unacceptable, and that’s why I’m urging the National Park Service to step up to the plate and clean it up so local residents get the park they deserve.”

Goldfeder said he and Schumer decided to urge for better maintenance now as summer heats up and pollution in the park has increased.

“I think it was time we sort of formalize our request that we’re serious about it and we’re not going to stop until we see some improvement,” Goldfeder said.

The assemblymember said NPS typically focuses its spending on West Coast parks and will sometimes forget about eastern areas.

He added that “Howard Beach is a beautiful community and we deserve a beautiful park.”

In the past, Goldfeder said he’s led cleanup efforts throughout the greenspace, but it needs consistent maintenance and not quick fixes.

Dorothy McCluskey, who heads the Friends of Charles Park group, has worked for nearly two decades to ensure the park is clean.

The Parks Service, she said, had not been allocating funds to, or regularly caring for, what she calls “the jewel of Jamaica Bay.” She cited poorly repaired tennis courts and baseball fields as some of the problems reported to the NPS.

John Warren, an NPS spokesperson for the area, said the agency was working the city to improve all parks near Jamaica Bay. Warren said plans with the city were “still in the early stages, but it’s going to help us pool our resources together…to provide better services to people at all of our parks in the Jamaica Bay area.”

Garbage, he said, is a problem endemic to all greenspaces, and NPS is continuing to clean the park.

“Trash is an issue at any park,” he said, “and it’s something we’re working on further improving.”

Oh, the hypocrisy


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

So Senator Charles Schumer wants a “Bill of Rights” for Long Island Rail Road commuters. Great sound bite!

How about a taxpayers’ “Bill of Rights” for voters? Hold Schumer and colleagues accountable for doing their job and passing the federal budget on time. Dock them all one day’s pay for each day the budget is late. By the way, just how did Schumer arrive in Mineola for his press conference announcing his “Bill of Rights?” Did he ride the Long Island Rail Road? Does he own a MetroCard to ride the subway from his expensive condo in trendy Park Slope, Brooklyn to work in his midtown office? Has anyone ever seen him take a MetroCard out of his wallet and use mass transit like millions of his constituents do on a daily basis? Perhaps he prefers his staff member to drive him around town rather than soil himself by using public transportation.

 

 

 

Larry Penner

Great Neck