Tag Archives: Christine Quinn

Verizon heroes honored by City Council for stopping Flushing rape


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras

Three Queens-bred Verizon technicians who thwarted a rape in Flushing in October were honored by the City Council Tuesday for their gallant rescue. 

“No one should ever have to experience such an atrocious crime as rape,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, who chairs the Council’s Women’s Issues Committee.

Michael Popowich, Anthony Howley and John Gilday were on the job Oct. 30, when they said they saw a man push a woman down and pull down her underwear near 150-24 Northern Blvd.

The trio chased down the attacker and sat on him until cops arrived.

“I am proud that these courageous men stepped in and prevented a potential rape from occurring,” Ferreras said. “It is my hope that their example resonates with all New Yorkers everywhere to help those who are in need.”

The technicians were honored with a proclamation Dec. 10 by Ferreras, Councilmember Peter Koo and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

“It was a big honor. It was very humbling,” said Gilday, 53, of Douglaston.

 

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Weprin vies to become next Council speaker


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

It’s off to the races for six legislators looking to become the next City Council speaker.

Councilmembers Melissa Mark-Viverito, Inez Dickens, Dan Garodnick, James Vacca, Anabel Palma and Mark Weprin are vying to replace incumbent-Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is term-limited.

Quinn was voted to lead the Council, the city’s de facto second most powerful office, in 2005.

Weprin, the top Queens candidate in the race, was elected to the Council in 2009 after 15 years in the Assembly. He is campaigning on a promise that he will not run for higher office and is not term-limited in 2017.

“I am not running for the mayor of the City of New York,” Weprin told The Courier. “I can spend all my time being the best speaker I can be. I think one thing that has been lacking in previous speakers is they have all been running for higher office.”

Mark-Viverito, an ally to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, is considered a top contender for the seat.
Candidates have been taking part in forums throughout the city, though councilmembers will internally vote on a new speaker January 4.

 

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De Blasio elected mayor in landslide


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Lauren Epifanio

Bill de Blasio, in a landslide victory, has been elected as the city’s first Democratic mayor in two decades.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, de Blasio won Tuesday’s race with 73 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. His Republican opponent, Joe Lhota, had 24 percent.

“Today, you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city, united by a belief that our city should leave no New Yorker behind,” de Blasio said in his victory speech.

“Tackling inequality isn’t easy; it never has been and it never will be. The challenges we face have been decades in the making, and the problems we set out to address will not be solved overnight,” he added.

“But make no mistake: the people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together, as one city.”

As far back as late June, polls still showed de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, finishing fourth in the Democratic primary.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was the early front-runner, but when former Congressmember Anthony Weiner entered the Democratic primary in May, her lead shrunk in the polls.

Weiner, however, soon faced another sexting scandal, and he lost favorability with voters.

In July, de Blasio started to gain in the polls, and took the lead away from Quinn the following month.

De Blasio’s surge in the polls coincided with the release of a campaign ad starring his teenage son Dante, whose Afro took center stage.

His momentum continued until the primary, where de Blasio beat second-place finisher, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson by a significant lead.

But, with de Blasio still hovering around the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid an October 1 runoff, Thompson would not concede on primary night.

Thompson dropped out of the race six days later, and in late September the Board of Elections certified de Blasio the official Democratic nominee with just over 40 percent.

Lhota, the ex-MTA chairman and former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, easily secured the Republican nomination with 53 percent of the vote, topping grocery store mogul John Catsimatidis and Doe Fund founder George McDonald.

But Lhota’s success within his own party could not be replicated in the general election.

“We are five boroughs, but we are one city. We are one people and we want our city to move forward, not backwards. And I do hope our mayor-elect understands this before it’s too late,” said Lhota, conceding the race.

“It’s natural tonight to feel some disappointment. But tomorrow we must move beyond it. It was a good fight and it was a fight worth having,” he continued.

With a heavy Democratic electorate in the city, early on polls showed de Blasio beating Lhota by a wide margin.

The heated battle between the two and their different visions for the city were evident throughout the general election campaign and the three debates between the candidates, where they clashed on a range of issues, including taxes, education and crime.

Though Lhota promised a safer city under his watch, suggesting crime would go up under a de Blasio administration, voters ultimately favored de Blasio’s progressive message and saw him as a break from the Bloomberg years.

-With additional reporting by Meaghan McGoldrick

Updated 2:12 a.m. 

 

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Christine Quinn endorses Bill de Blasio for mayor


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@deBlasioNYC

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn officially endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor Tuesday.

“It is time for Democrats throughout our city to put aside their differences and fight together for the progressive values we all share,” Quinn said in a statement. “By working together, we will build a stronger city where no New Yorker is left behind, and where working and middle class families have access to good-paying jobs, great schools, quality health care, affordable housing, and safe streets.”

De Blasio, thanking Quinn, who finished third in the primary last week, said it was “an honor” to receive her support.

“She is a tireless fighter for her constituents and she has always been a powerful voice on so many critical issues – from housing to fairness to fighting for the middle class. I look forward to working with her to move our great city forward.”

The announcement was made a day after and at the same spot that another former mayoral opponent, Bill Thompson, said he was dropping out of the race and supporting de Blasio.

“I’m proud to stand next to a great New Yorker and throw my support behind him. And I ask every single person who campaign for me, supported me and voted for me to do the same thing,” Thompson said Monday.

Governor Cuomo also expressed his support for the current public advocate to become the next leader of the city on the steps of City Hall yesterday.

“Bill is going to lead this city in the great, progressive Democratic traditions that made this the greatest city on the planet,” said Cuomo.

Since finishing first in the Democratic primary, with 40 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, de Blasio has been racking up endorsements, including, the Working Families Party and former backers of Thompson and Quinn.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 79. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SSE in the afternoon. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 68. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the NW after midnight.

EVENT OF THE DAY: “After Eternity” in the unFringed Festival at the Secret Theatre

After winning Best Play in the Venus Theatre Festival, “After Eternity” will be produced as part of the Secret Theatre’s unFringed Festival. Performances are Friday, August 16 at 9 p.m.; Saturday, August 17 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, August 18t at 3:00 p.m; Wednesday, August 21 at 8:00 p.m; and Friday, August 23 at 9:00 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens judge sues city for cop ‘chop’ 

A Queens Supreme Court justice who claims a cop “karate chopped” him in the neck without provocation has filed a $300,000 lawsuit against the city, the NYPD and the Queens district attorney’s office, alleging a coverup. Read more: New York Daily News

NYC Democratic mayoral race shuffles again as de Blasio, Quinn battle for lead: NBC 4 NY poll

The topsy-turvy race for New York’s Democratic mayoral nomination has shifted again, with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio surging to a statistical tie with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former comptroller Bill Thompson in striking distance, a new poll shows. Read more: NBC New York

Man, 48, who stole trains, buses since age 15, catches break while in court for swiping Queens Trailways bus

An obsessed transit buff — who took a subway train for a joyride when he was 15 and stayed on the same criminal track for three decades — caught a break in court Thursday. Read more: New York Daily News

NYC bus drivers plead for protection from assaults

Fare increases. Route cuts. General frustration over life. In New York City, there is no shortage of reasons why bus drivers are targeted for assault — an average of 88 attacks every year in the nation’s largest bus system. Read more: NBC New York

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year: report

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since 2008, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing an internal audit and other top-secret documents. Read more: Reuters

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain, then thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 88. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the North in the afternoon. Chance of rain 60%. Monday night: Overcast with thunderstorms, then a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 75. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Family Movies in the Park

A Better Jamaica screens Sister Act. After witnessing a mob murder, Reno lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier trades her sequins and feathers for a rosary and a habit to go incognito as Sister Mary Clarence. She then transforms a horrible church choir into a performing dynamo and saves a parish from being demolished. Free at 8:30 p.m. at Cabbell Park. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Drowning man suffers heart attack, but is saved at Riis Park in Queens

A 55-year-old drowning man was pulled from the surf on a Queens beach and rushed to the hospital in cardiac arrest Sunday, officials said. Read more: New York Daily News

33 hurt in 22 weekend shootings in New York City

Police are looking into several shootings in Brooklyn and across New York City in what turned out to be a very violent weekend. Read more: ABC New York

MTA being pushed by Christine Quinn to speed up no-swipe cards as MetroCard replacement

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is pushing the MTA to speed up a delayed plan to let straphangers get on to subways without swiping MetroCards. Read more: New York Daily News

Kelly’s possible nomination as DHS meets some opposition

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly is a potential candidate for the Director of Homeland Security but some groups in the city oppose the idea. Read more: Fox New York

Royal baby: Prince William’s wife, Kate, in labor

Prince William’s wife, Kate, is in the early stages of labor in a private wing of a central London hospital, palace officials said Monday. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers. High of 95F with a heat index of 100F. Breezy. Winds from the SW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Classic Film Fridays

A Better Jamaica presents The Spy Who Loved Me. James Bond joins forces with dangerous and sexy Russian agent Major Anya Amasova to battle villainous Jaws, a mad genius who plans to destroy the earth with a nuclear holocaust and rebuild it underwater. Free at Rufus King Park . Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Billions in debt, Detroit tumbles into insolvency 

Detroit, the cradle of America’s automobile industry and once the nation’s fourth-most-populous city, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, the largest American city ever to take such a course. Read more: The New York Times 

Reality (show) bites 

A Queens man who thought he won his own yogurt franchise on a Food Network reality show claims in a new lawsuit that he got stiffed on the jackpot. Kris Herrera, 34, of Corona said he signed off on letting the episode of “Giving You the Business” run only because he thought he would be getting his own outlet of the yogurt chain 16 Handles. Read more: New York Post

Billionaire John Catsimatidis shows diverse financial portfolio of companies

It’s no secret he’s a fat cat. But Republican mayoral contender John Catsimatidis’ first city financial disclosure report since announcing his candidacy reveals that the billionaire grocery magnate is also a real estate baron who owns an oil refining company and a charter jet business that’s flown rock stars like Paul McCartney and the Goo Goo Dolls. Read more: New York Daily News 

 Derailment to Hamstring morning commute for Metro-North Hudson Line customers 

Commuters who rely on the Metro-North Hudson line will likely have to find a different way to get to work Friday morning. A freight train derailment in the Bronx forced service on the Hudson line to be suspended indefinitely, the transit agency announced Thursday night. Read more: CBS

New poll shows Quinn leading dems in mayoral race 

A new poll released this morning finds City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is rising above former Rep. Anthony Weiner in the Democratic race for mayor, with undecided voters still likely to play a big role. The Siena College-New York Times poll finds Quinn getting the support of 27 percent of Democratic voters, compared to Weiner with 18 percent. Read more: NY1

 Hamill: Howard Beach mom who lost her son shares Trayvon Martin’s mother’s pain

The mother weeps for the mother. More than 25 years after her son was killed in Howard Beach, the mother of Michael Griffith grieves for the mother of Trayvon Martin. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain, then thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 88. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Wednesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers, then a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 75. Winds from the SW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Beatlemania: Maspeth Federal Summer Concerts 2013

The tribute band Beatlemania Now captures the excitement, mood and music of the Fab Four. Free, rain or shine. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Three Queens Borough President candidates slam $3 billion Willets Point proposal

Two City Councilmen — who happen to both be running for Queens borough president — are trying to block the plate against a proposed mega-mall next to CitiField. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens leaders shoot down home raising plan that could cost residents tens of thousands of dollars

Queens leaders shot down a city plan that could cost homeowners — still reeling from Superstorm Sandy — tens of thousands of additional dollars. Read more: New York Daily News

Documents on former Mayor Koch released by FBI

Documents released for the first time Tuesday from the FBI file on former New York City Mayor Edward Koch detail one of the more obscure chapters of his storied political career: an unsolved plot to paint the then-congressman as a racist by circulating a forged letter, warning the city would become a “ghost town” if voters elected a black mayor. Read more: AP

Quinn: Spitzer, Weiner haven’t earned second chance

Democratic mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn took some shots at the comeback efforts of Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer. Read more: CBS New York

Surviving suspect in Boston bombing due in court

Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing will watch as the young man who could face the death penalty for the attack appears in court for the first time since he was found bleeding and hiding in a boat in a suburb days after the April 15 explosion. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain, then a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 84. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible. Tuesday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. Low of 73. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: EcoHouse at Queens Botanical Garden

The Community Environmental Center EcoHouse, on display at the Queens Botanical Garden through August 31, is a mobile, cutting-edge and interactive exhibit that lets you see behind the walls and underneath the floor of a home. You will learn how your house or apartment really works. A 21st-century classroom for students of all ages, it helps you understand how to save energy, save money and protect the natural world around you. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Judge sets alleged Westchester ‘pot mom’ free on $500,000 bond

Andrea Sanderlin, the so-called Westchester pot mom, was released Monday on $500,000 bond secured by the financial assets of four casual acquaintances. Read more: CBS New York

City has new plans but no cash for Ridgewood Reservoir

Residents are irked that the latest scaled-back master plan to transform Ridgewood Reservoir to a park arrived without any cash to actually pay for it. Read more: New York Daily News

Quinn proposes Bloomberg-like plan for healthier kids’ meals at chain eateries

A grilled cheese with fries ordered off the kids menu at Applebee’s packs a punch. It contains 21 grams of saturated fat — three times as much as the federal government allows in elementary school meals. Read more: NY1

FDNY sending contingent of firefighters to assist with deadly Arizona wildfire

Five members of the FDNY’s incident management team are heading to Arizona to lend a hand after the stunning deaths of 19 firefighters. Read more: CBS New York/AP

On July 4, Statue of Liberty to finally reopen

Months after Sandy swamped her little island, the Statue of Liberty will finally welcome visitors again on Independence Day. Read more: NBC New York

Kremlin: Snowden gives up on plan to stay in Russia

Edward Snowden has abandoned his effort to seek asylum in Russia after President Vladimir Putin warned that he would have to stop leaking information about U.S. surveillance programs if he wanted to stay, a Russian official said Tuesday. Read more: CNN

 

Poll puts Weiner ahead in mayoral race


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

A new poll released Tuesday night shows Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner as the front-runner in the race one month after announcing his bid.

The NBC New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll found that 25 percent of registered Democrats would vote for the former congressmember in the primary. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn came in second with 20 percent, followed by former Comptroller Bill Thompson, at 13 percent, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at 10 percent and city Comptroller John Liu at 8 percent.

In earlier polls, Quinn was the candidate to beat.

A May 28 Marist poll showed Christine Quinn with 24 percent and Anthony Weiner with 19 percent.

But even with Weiner in the lead, a primary runoff, which is required if a candidate receives fewer than 40 percent of the vote, seems likely.

Though Weiner would lose in a runoff to Quinn, he still has gained ground since the May Marist poll.

Tuesday’s poll found that Quinn would win 44 percent to 42 percent, with 14 percent undecided.  Last month, the Marist poll showed Council Speaker beating him 48 percent to 33 percent, with 18 percent undecided.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Clear. High of 79. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 15 mph. Friday night: Clear. Low of 63. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: 2013 Summer Solstice Celebration

Bring the family and friends to join fellow New Yorkers in celebrating the longest day of the year. From 5 p.m. to dusk, Socrates Sculpture Park will be hosting the 2013 Summer Solstice Celebration. Get creative with solstice-themed art-making workshops presented in part by the Noguchi Museum and the Queens Museum of Art. There will also be face-painting, provided by Agostino Arts, as well as a special solstice ritual performed by Urban Shaman Mama Donna. Also featured will be a “silent disco” presented by Silent Storm Sounds Systems, a unique experience in which guests wear wireless headphones, entering  into a dance party like no other while the surrounding atmosphere remains completely quiet.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Scare in the air: 2 planes in near-miss above NYC

Two planes came dangerously close to each other in the air over New York City, NBC 4 New York has learned. Read more: NBC New York

MTA pick Tom Prendergast gets OK

Transit veteran Tom Prendergast is the new Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman. Read more: New York Daily News 

Glitch may delay some NYC graduating seniors from getting diploma on time

Graduation day has arrived for some New York City high school seniors, but some students may not get their diplomas on time because of an issue with the new Regents exam grading system. Read more: CBS New York

Quinn: If I’m mayor and Kelly wants to keep job, stop-and-frisk must come down

There was an abrupt about-face Thursday from one of the leading candidates for mayor, over policing and public safety. Read more: CBS New York

Students affected by Sandy get dream prom

200 kids from East Rockaway Junior Senior High did not know quite what to expect when they got out of their limos, but their prom night was beyond their wildest dreams. Read more: ABC New York

FAA to relax rules for gadgets in flight

Airline passengers irritated at having to turn off their devices could soon see some reprieve, with regulators set to allow wider use of gadgets in flight. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Candidates answer questions at Courier mayoral forum


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

The Democratic, Republican and independent mayoral candidates all came together on one stage for the first time since the race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg began.

The Courier hosted its Mayoral Forum on Friday, June 7 at Terrace on the Park with Democrats Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson and Anthony Weiner joined Republicans John Catsimatidis, George McDonald, Joe Lhota and independent Adolfo Carrion. Moderator and NY1 anchor Rocco Vertuccio asked questions pertaining to both borough and city issues.

Vertuccio kicked off the event with a question about handling labor contracts for city workers.

“The municipal work force is demoralized,” Albanese said. “Many haven’t gotten a raise in five years.”

The former councilmember said he would do his best to provide retroactive pay for the workforce without raising taxes.

Carrion suggested establishing a cost-sharing relationship with the city’s workforce, while Lhota said workers do not pay their fair share when it comes to healthcare costs.

“We don’t want to go backwards,” McDonald said, adding he would not sign a labor contract that did not include a cost of participation for healthcare by municipal employees.

He also said there are “too many city employees” and that the city should utilize available technology to fulfill the tasks of some jobs.

Weiner agreed the city needs to take control of spending, especially healthcare costs, and utilize local pharmacies and labs to keep “our healthcare money here in Queens.” He was the only candidate to stand while speaking.

The Major League Soccer (MLS) development in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was a source of disagreement, with some candidates taking a pro-development stance and others aiming to preserve as much parkland as possible.

De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, said he lived near the park and has a “personal sense” of how much Flushing Meadows means to people.

“Sports don’t necessarily help out the larger economy,” he said.

However, he said that finding a way to create a stadium that gives an opportunity to keep the same amount of parkland would be a “worthy discussion.”

“I’m all for having a stadium somewhere in the city, but we can’t burden Flushing Meadows,” Lhota said.

He added we should not be taking parkland and using it for other initiatives. Lhota suggested allocating the funds to renovate the New York State Pavilion instead.

City Comptroller Liu, a Queens native, said he wants to make sure there is no alienation of parkland and that it should not be sold to public interests.

Before leaving for another engagement, City Council Speaker Quinn said it is “critically important to have the utmost respect for the community and voice of the local elected officials.”

She added that is why she has been working with Councilmember Julissa Ferreras on the area’s proposed tennis center.

Former Congressmember Weiner said he is pro-development and would love to have MLS in the borough, but first, he joked, he’d “love to have major league baseball here in Queens.”

“I’m a Mets fan. I can say it,” he said with a laugh.

One citywide issue concerned government’s alleged use of violation fines as a source of revenue. The Bloomberg administration has come under criticism by some who fines placed upon small businesses are unfair. Vertuccio asked the candidates what they would do.

Catsimatidis, once a small business owner himself, proposed a “business advocate group” within the city. When business owners are fined and believe it is unwarranted, they would not need to hire a lawyer. In Catsimatidis’ proposal, the advocacy group would fight on the owner’s behalf.

“New York City is at war with its small businesses,” Thompson said.

McDonald said his city sweeping company cleans the streets outside of merchants’ sites and “saves [them] millions of dollars a year in fines.”

When it came to city cultural institutions and the yearly “budget dance” that such organizations experience, all the candidates agreed there needs to be more control over the mayoral budget, saying the confusion should end.

Thompson said the city should put more money into cultural institutions and place art and music education back in the public school system.

PHOTOS FROM THE MAYORAL FORUM

Some candidates briefly showed their claws during the forum’s closing remarks. Albanese made reference to Weiner’s controversial fall from office.

“Weiner is interesting,” Albanese said. “He’s very political and articulate. But I believe it’s important if you want to be the mayor of New York City to have credibility. He’s betrayed the public trust on several occasions. I think that disqualifies him from running for mayor.”

The remark was met with sounds of disapproval from the panel, with McDonald tapping loudly on his microphone.

Moving on, de Blasio described his proposal to tax the “wealthiest New Yorkers so we can have full day pre-kindergarten programs for our kids.”

Catsimatidis called himself “the balance,” saying he has not taken any campaign donations from political contributors.

Carrion said he is running as an independent to “ensure this city of promise gives this opportunity to our generation and future generations.”

Candidates will continue to blaze down the campaign trail until the primary election in September, followed by the mayoral election in November.

 

 

Northeast Queens residents disappointed by possible pool closure


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Rosa Kim

Oswald Egas spent summers as a boy practicing to swim and escaping the heat at the Fort Totten Pool. He later took his own children to the same outdoor spot, telling them “that’s where I grew up.”

But Egas’ kids may not be able to share the same sentiment with their children.

If the City Council cannot restore $1.5 billion in funding, it will close the Fort Totten Pool and three other outdoor pools in the city.

“Our decision was based on several factors, including attendance figures, proximity to other pools, access to public transit and the location of the pools relative to residential communities,” the Parks Department said in a statement.

The budget issue could also force the department to end the outdoor pool season, which traditionally runs from the end of June to Labor Day, two weeks early this year.

The pool “is a relief to many citizens. I think it’s terrible that they’re possibly not going re-open it,” Egas said.

Other local residents were also disappointed by the news.

“It’s a loss to the area,” said Joe Maron, who prefers the pool to the beach.

“I just think it’s so sad that this pool is at risk because it’s such a great thing for this community. And there are a lot of people who don’t have pools or can’t afford pools, said Cheryl Cummings.

City pools on the chopping block have been saved from a shut down in the past.

“As the only free pool in Northeast Queens, the Fort Totten Pool is a tremendous resource to our community, and as such, the Parks Department should not annually propose its closure as a budget negotiating tactic,” said Assemblymember Edward Braunstein.

“As we have done for the last three years, the New York City Council fully expects to find the funds necessary to ensure that all of New York City’s families are able to enjoy a full season at all of the city’s pools again this year,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

 

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As family mourns teen, community expresses outrage over bus shooting


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

What community leaders are calling a “senseless act of violence” has left a 14-year-old girl dead, a family devastated and a neighborhood outraged.

D’aja “Asia” Robinson was shot and killed on Saturday aboard a Q6 bus near Sutphin Boulevard and Rockaway Boulevard. Robinson was on her way from a sweet 16 birthday party when a shooter allegedly fired multiple times into the bus from the sidewalk, police said.

“That was my only child. My heart. My everything,” Shadia Sands, the teen’s mother, said through tears. “I don’t know how to deal with this.”

Since the incident, there has been an outpouring of grief from the community. Friends and family covered a bulletin board near the bus stop with hundreds of messages to Robinson. They described her as a charismatic, sweet girl who was a gifted singer and dancer.

Her grandmother, Cheryl Sands, stood at the board, stroking pictures of “her baby.”

“I’d die myself for [her] to come back here and live [her] life,” she said. “My heart is bleeding. She was a good girl.”

The southeast Queens community came together on Tuesday to call on the shooter or shooters to come forward. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police are looking for a suspect between the ages of 18 and 25 who was last seen wearing a black sweater, according to reports.

“South Jamaica is standing unified behind this family,” said Councilmember Ruben Wills.

Wills noted that prior to the shooting, the area went 255 days without a violent incident and said that South Jamaica is “not a hyper-violent community.”

The City Council announced it allocated $4.8 million to initiatives such as Cure Violence to put an end to shootings. Wills said there will be a meeting next month to discuss directing resources to the community.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the city hopes to “make this a summer where we don’t have to ever gather again to talk about the end of a child’s life.”

“What we do know is that we failed [Robinson]. The United States Congress in particular failed to protect her,” said Congressmember Gregory Meeks.

Meeks called on the Congress to “enact meaningful gun control legislation to help stop the carnage in communities and homes and now buses across the nation.”

Students at Robinson’s school, Campus Magnet High School, wore purple, pink and blue earlier this week in memory of their classmate.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637) and entering TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Queens Democratic endorsements: Party backs Katz for borough president, Quinn for mayor


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Melinda Katz: File photo; Christine Quinn; Photo William Alatriste

The Queens Democratic Party doled out its endorsements for this year’s elections Monday, giving key backings in multi-candidate primaries.

The party backed Council Speaker Christine Quinn for mayor, former deputy public advocate Reshma Saujani for public advocate; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for comptroller and Melinda Katz for Borough President. Stringer’s son was born earlier that morning.

Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, who nearly won the mayor’s race in 2009, only received three votes in his favor. Upon Quinn’s formal nomination, she received a standing ovation. The candidate promised better conditions for the middle class in terms of jobs and education.

Katz served in the Assembly from 1994 to 1999. After that, she went on to oversee Queens’ 14 community boards under former Borough President Claire Shulman. Katz then served in the City Council for two terms, and lost the 2009 Democratic primary for comptroller.

She is running against Councilmembers Leroy Comrie and Peter Vallone Jr., State Senators Jose Peralta and Tony Avella and former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik.

“It was not an easy choice,” said Congressmember Joseph Crowley, chair of the county party. “But we believe that Melinda has all the assets necessary to become the next borough president.”

Katz said she’s excited for the nearly four months of primary campaigning that still lie ahead.

“Over the last year, I have come into your districts,” she said. “We have spoken with constituents together. I’ve gotten to know the issues that surround this entire borough.”

Comrie was considered a likely pick for the nomination in the days leading up to the endorsement. But he has had trouble raising funds and was snubbed earlier this year in a key endorsement from the Reverend

Floyd Flake. Flake’s congregation is in Comrie’s council district, but the religious leader backed Katz.
Vallone, who has been leading in polls and in fund raising, said he was not disappointed by the party’s backing for Katz, adding he did not expect to get the endorsement. His brother Paul was endorsed for City

Council District 19, beating out Austin Shafran. Shafran has received a slew of endorsements since January, one of the biggest being from the AFL-CIO.

“The endorsement is not something I was expecting,” Vallone said. “And I’m just very happy they went with my brother Paul, because I’m going to need him in City Hall if, God willing, I’m borough president.”

In her endorsement for Saujani, Crowley cited Saujani’s advocacy for housing and work in the public advocate’s office under incumbent Bill de Blasio.

She is running in a four-way Democratic primary against State Senator Daniel Squadron, Cathy Guerriero and Tish James.

 

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