Tag Archives: Elizabeth Crowley

Maspeth street co-named George Gibbons Jr. Way


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

For the past few years teary eyes and frowns were a familiar sight when talking about the hit-and-run murder of Maspeth resident George Gibbons.

Gibbons, who owned Gibbons Home bar on 69th Street, was killed in a 2011 traffic accident and it took a month-long manhunt to catch his murderer, Peter Rodriguez.

But at a ceremony on Saturday to co-name the street where Gibbons grew up in his honor, there was a different emotion. Smiles and laughter spread throughout the crowd of family members and friends as Gibbon’s father, George Sr., tugged numerous times at the white sheet of paper covering the new street sign, but failed to pull it off. And then, with a big final heave, he jerked the sheet off the brand new George Gibbons Jr. Way sign to a roar of cheers from the audience.

“It’s a very special day for us, we’re very excited,” said Gibbons’ sister Siobhan McEntee. “We hope that this sign will be a reminder to people of a good community leader as well as the importance of traffic laws.”

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, who drafted legislation to get the street co-named, the Gibbons family and more than a 100 friends attended the ceremony to pay tribute to the memory of the late Gibbons, who many said had one of the kindest hearts the world had ever known.

“He was like a brother. He would give you the shirt off his back,” said Tony Kalpin, Gibbons’ friend. “If you’re emotional and you’ve got something on your mind, he was the person you could go and talk to.”

Gibbons was killed on October 15, 2011 when the livery cab he was traveling in was struck by a car that Rodriguez was driving the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway service road. Gibbons was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. But Rodriguez left the scene of the accident and was on the run before he was caught in Connecticut.

Rodriguez was sentenced to three and a half to up to seven years in prison in May 2012 after he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crime and negligent homicide.

Gibbons’ death brought the Maspeth community together and exposed dangerous loopholes in New York’s traffic laws. Since then the family and Crowley have been fighting to get tougher laws for leaving the scene of a crime.

“We’re just trying to make sure we are strengthening laws,” Crowley said. “[Rodriguez] was a coward and ran away, and had to be caught.”

Gibbon’s bar was closed down temporarily after his death, but reopened under family management. His memory runs through it and now his street sign as well.

“He’s definitely here,” McEntee said. “He’s definitely always around us, we know that.”


 

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Op-Ed: Ensuring the safety of our children


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMEMBER ELIZABETH CROWLEY

Drivers need to be more conscientious near schools. Just a few days ago, students of I.S. 73 in Maspeth got seriously injured by an out-of-control vehicle. As police investigate this accident, we owe it to those injured students and their classmates to make our streets safer.

Grand Avenue is a very busy street. The vehicular traffic is made worse during school arrival and dismissal time as P.S. 58, I.S. 73 and Maspeth High School are all located within six blocks of each other. I believe it is imperative to implement changes as soon as possible, and on Monday, along with PTA leaders, I met with Queens DOT Commissioner Dalila Hall on site to discuss how to make Grand Avenue safer.

The stretch of Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and I.S. 73 is in need of “Safe Routes to School” program and a slowdown zone where the speed limit is reduced to 20 miles per hour. The safe routes program redesigns streets, which include expanding sidewalks, new lane paintings and improved signal timing, to ease congestion around schools.

Recently, the DOT studied vehicle speeds around all schools in New York City, and they found that 98 percent of vehicles driving around P.S. 58, I.S. 73 and Maspeth High School are going over the speed limit. This is dangerous and simply unacceptable. A comprehensive study by the DOT to change traffic patterns and slow down drivers through its “Safe Routes to School” program would be a major help in reducing congestion around these schools.

There must be constant traffic enforcement by the NYPD and DOT today. I have called on both agencies to ticket trucks that are not making local deliveries, and speeding drivers who are endangering our children must be stopped. New York recently approved speed camera enforcement at 20 schools in the city. Placing one of these cameras at Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and I.S. 73 would certainly slow drivers down once tickets begin arriving in the mail.

Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our children traveling to and from school. I have brought the concerns of the community to DOT, and together, we must demand the DOT prioritize safety on Grand Avenue. Our most vulnerable and precious resource are our children, and we must do everything to keep them safe.

Elizabeth Crowley represents the 30th Council District, covering Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood and Woodhaven

 

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Vets get valuable info at forum


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Army veteran Henry Dumas knows the importance of military benefits.

The Queens native served in Korea, Germany and Panama. When he returned and needed a job, Helmets to Hardhats, which finds constructions jobs for veterans, helped him. Now he wants a house and hopes the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) can help with that.

“I have been thinking about it for a while and it would be good if the VA could assist me in doing that,” Dumas, 36, said.

Dozens of veterans attended a forum at Maspeth High School on July 15, which Congressmember Grace Meng and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley organized, to learn about available services and benefits.

“When you are physically separated from family, from jobs, it’s hard to come back,” Meng said. “And to have to get readjusted to society it’s something that’s very difficult for them. We want to make sure that our veterans are taken care of.”

The forum featured a lecture by Edward Perry from the VA’s New York office. Perry explained how former military personnel can apply for compensation. He also described stipulations for the VA pension and touched on veterans’ life insurance, home loans and the eligibility details of the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Various veterans’ groups also gave out information about their programs, ranging from assisting with unemployment to equal rights, education and legal services.

The Allied Veterans Memorial Day Parade Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale took time at the event to honor Crowley with a plaque. She was able to get funding to save the group’s parade several months ago.
Crowley said she hopes the forum can become an annual event, something Dumas agreed with.

“These things should happen more often,” he said. “There are benefits that are available to us and veterans should know about them.”

 

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Ex-councilmember Anthony Como replaces indicted Queens GOP vice chair Vince Tabone


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Former Councilmember Anthony Como will become the new executive vice chair of the Queens GOP, replacing indicted attorney Vince Tabone.

GOP chair Phil Ragusa confirmed Como would be taking over, saying the former city legislator would be a good fit.

“I know Anthony for a long time,” Ragusa said. “He was our City Council candidate we ran against Liz Crowley. I had extensive conversations with him.”

Ragusa said the agreement to install Como was mutual. His experience as an elected official would make him a good fit for the party, he said.

“I think he’s going to do a fine job,” Ragusa said. “He knows the political process like I know the political process.”

Tabone was arrested on April 2 in connection with charges that he took bribe money to help get State Senator Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, on the mayoral ticket as a Republican.

GOP Councilmember Dan Halloran is also accused of accepting $20,000 in bribes to sway party chairs to sign off on Smith’s Republican run.

Como served in the City Council for about six months, replacing disgraced Councilmember Dennis Gallagher in June 2008. He lost the general election to now-Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley for District 30 in December of that year.

He previously served as commissioner of the Queens Board of Elections, and then president of the New York City Board of Elections. He also worked as an assistant district attorney and was chief counsel to former State Senator Serphin Maltese.

In 2010, he made an unsuccessful bid at unseating incumbent State Senator Joseph Addaboo in District 15.

“I look forward to working with Chairman Ragusa to strengthen the organization to ensure that NYC has representation on both sides of the aisle,” Como said in a statement. “I will be contacting our district leaders, party members, and loyal Republicans to let them know that we are energized, motivated and moving in a direction in which we can all be proud.”

When asked if Ragusa believes Como and his years of government experience would breathe new life into the party, the chair said the GOP was still strong and functioning.

“We’re all here,” Ragusa said. “We’re working hard. Queens County is going to survive.”

Ragusa said he has not spoken to Tabone, who was arraigned in federal court yesterday.

The Queens GOP also appointed: Robert Beltrani, first vice chair; Anthony Carollo, vice chair; Deborah Heinichen, vice chair;  Samiha Makawi, recording secretary;  James McClelland and Pierre Alcantara, members at large

Faster flooding fix coming to Middle Village, Maspeth


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Middle Village and Maspeth residents will wave goodbye to water woes a year ahead of schedule.

A pair of Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) capital projects to help alleviate constant flooding in the neighboring communities was moved up after several discussions with Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. The first upgrade along Calamus Avenue is scheduled to begin construction next summer, with the other job under Penelope Avenue planned for the following spring, a year earlier than originally planned. Surveying for the projects has already begun.

Crowley’s calls for the DEP to investigate the causes behind the flooding picked up after a pair of summer storms flooded dozens of homes in the area.

“The storms in August and September showed that this area’s sewers are not equipped to handle major storms. It was simply unacceptable to ask residents to continue waiting before something was done,” said Crowley.

Under Calamus Avenue an additional 6-foot-by-8-foot pipe will be added in the $15 million project, according to a DEP official. New sewer mains and catch basins will be installed under Penelope Avenue and will cost $7 million. The flooding fixes will each take about a year to complete and will increase the system’s capacity by 80 percent.

Glendale residents who have also faced flood waters filling their homes will have to wait a little longer for relief.

“With the Glendale area, there isn’t a quick fix just yet,” Crowley said.

An investigation into the Glendale flooding and discussions regarding a solution are ongoing, said a DEP official.

Additional solutions to reduce the deluge of rainfall into the sewers are also being considered, according to Crowley’s office, including additional catch basins, green space and permeable surfaces.

After Sandy, a call to improve 9-1-1


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The city is facing an emergency, according to elected officials, but they may not want to dial 9-1-1.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, penned a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg calling for a review into 9-1-1’s failure during Superstorm Sandy, when many residents were unable to reach the emergency number.

“During the crisis, many callers experienced hold times of over an hour. Some gave up on 9-1-1 altogether, instead calling elected officials’ offices regarding evacuations and other life-threatening emergencies,” the letter read. “This is not the mark of a perfectly-run system.”

After the New York Post published report on the troubles callers faced, Bloomberg responded that the system “functioned perfectly” during the storm.

“Are you ever going to have enough operators to take all the calls when all of a sudden everybody calls? No, of course not,” he said at a press conference on November 19.

Officials urged residents to use 3-1-1 for non-emergencies during the storm, as 9-1-1 was receiving upwards of 20,000 calls per hour. The system usually handles approximately 30,000 calls per day.

“The city has asserted the current technology is capable of handling 50,000 calls per hour, and yet operators on hand were overwhelmed by the 20,000 hourly calls made during the storm’s peak. This is unacceptable,” de Blasio and Crowley wrote.

The 9-1-1 system was overhauled in 2009, receiving more than $2 billion in upgrades.

Sandy does not mark the first time the handling of 9-1-1 calls has come into question.

During the blizzard in December of 2010, many complained of slow response times after calling 9-1-1, prompting a review of the system.

In May, the city released a Winbourne Consulting report that was highly critical of 9-1-1’s inefficiencies.

“The city must seriously analyze the system’s shortcomings and seek answers that will help us better prepare for future disasters,” wrote de Blasio and Crowley.

Evergreen Park to be redesigned


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

Adjacent to a school and with a kindergarten theme, a Ridgewood park’s redesign aims to combine learning with play.

The Department of Parks & Recreation presented plans to renovate Evergreen Park, next to P.S. 68 on St. Felix Avenue, to parents and residents on Monday, September 24.

“Now, there’s really nothing for small children to do,” said Steve Whitesell, landscape architect for the Parks Department.

The area of the 3.3 acre park that will undergo changes currently consists of bocce ball and shuffleboard courts that residents said were rarely used and desolate.

They will be replaced by a play area designed for 2 through 5 year olds. Whitesell designed the area based on the original German kindergarten — the idea of play as educational experience and learning in a garden, he said. The area will contain a telescope, a “Talking Bob,” which is an interactive game, and a music panel that will allow children to learn as they play.

A water play area will also be relocated and will be installed with water-saving measures. Shrubbery at the park will be partially watered through the retaining of rain and sprinkler runoff ensuring Evergreen will be a green park.

Funding for the playground comes from $1.1 million secured from the City Council by Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

The grounds were designed after meetings and input from the community.

This is only the first of several phases to completely revamp the park.

“Glendale and Ridgewood residents will soon see their tax dollars hard at work as the Parks Department transforms Evergreen Park into a beautiful oasis for the community,” said Crowley. “I have stressed the importance of capital investments since being elected, and I’m proud to have worked with Parks to move this project forward.”

Construction will take approximately a year and is planned to begin next summer.

Call to co-name Maspeth block after George Gibbons


| brennison@queenscourier.com

DSC_0012w

Friends and relatives will never get George Gibbons back, but they believe his name should forever grace the Maspeth block where he was raised.

A measure was presented to the members of Community Board 5 to co-name 60th Drive in Maspeth after George Gibbons, who was killed last October when the cab he was in was struck by Peter Rodriguez’s vehicle, which was traveling the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway’s service road. The proposal passed the Board unanimously.

“We owe [Gibbons] and his family something. We can’t change what happened almost a year ago, but honoring Georgie by way of co-naming 60th Drive after him will show his family and the members of our community how highly regarded he was to all of us,” said Jennifer Terriberry, a neighbor of the Gibbons’ for more than 30 years.

The proposal must still pass a city council vote and receive approval from the mayor.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, who called Gibbons a good friend, said that she would introduce the co-naming to the council.

“As a member of the Maspeth community, he was loved by so many,” Crowley said. “I think not only because of the person he was, but also the way he was tragically killed, we should co-name the street.”

Gibbons, who DJed many local events, also owned a bar on 69th Street in the neighborhood, Gibbons’ home.

Bernadette Gibbons, George’s sister, called her sibling a prime example of a “Maspeth man” and “a brother to the whole community.”

“In years to come the children that live on 60th Drive won’t have the honor of knowing George, but if they were to look up at the street sign and ask their parents whose name was on the sign they would find out who he was, what he stood for and how he was tragically killed,” she said.

Glendale flood heroes honored


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley’s office

Two FDNY EMTs who helped save the life of three residents — including a nun — caught in a Glendale flash flood, were honored recently while Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley renewed calls for an investigation into the flooding.

Crowley feted EMTs Jimmy Guailacela and Marilyn Arroyo at the city council stated meeting on Wednesday, September 12 for coming to the aid of Sister Claudia Bradshaw and Mary and Joseph Lawrence last month as the Cooper Avenue underpass flooded with several feet of water, submerging the car.

“Jimmy Guailacela and Marilyn Arroyo displayed the bravery and selflessness that embodies all of our city’s first responders,” said Crowley, chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee. “I’m proud to recognize their hard work keeping our community safe.”

The rescue workers were joined at the ceremony by Uniformed EMS Officers President Vincent Variale, Uniformed EMTs and Paramedics President Izzy Miranda, as well as Bradshaw and the Lawrences.

“Being an EMT is definitely a calling and I love what I do,” said Arroyo. “I’m so thankful we were close enough to make it in time to help and do our jobs.”

The underpass and surrounding areas has flooded multiple times during storms recently, leading Crowley to pen a letter calling on the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to investigate the reasons behind the deluge.

The councilmember met with the agency on Friday, September 14, renewing the demand for an investigation and improved infrastructure in the area.

“It is clear that the system in Glendale and parts of Middle Village are not prepared to handle heavy rainfall, which has caused thousands of dollars in damage to residents throughout my district,” said Crowley. “The city needs to acknowledge these mistakes and reimburse homeowners for their damages, and the DEP needs to lay out a plan for both short-term and long-term improvements.”

Following the meeting, the DEP agreed to conduct an investigation into the community’s flooding.

Added room will help expand minds in Middle Village


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

Middle Village students will soon have more room to expand their minds.

Construction is underway on an extension at P.S./I.S 87 in Middle Village that will add a gym, music room and classrooms, among other amenities, to the school.

In 2002, the school — located at 67-54 80th Street — expanded to add grades six through eight, which meant the gym needed to be upgraded, said Nick Comaianni, president of Community Education Council 24.

Currently, the students are cramped into a lunchroom during gym, which parents and leaders have said for years needed an upgrade.

Then Chancellor Joel Klein was given a tour of the facilities in 2009 by Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. Klein again visited the school in 2010 for a CEC24 meeting where Comaianni, students and parents displayed the need for a new gym.

After that visit, Klein emailed Comaianni, informing him he would instruct the School Construction Authority to approve an extension for the school.

The project was added to the budget and approved by the city council in July of 2010.

The $21 million expansion will include the new gym with bleachers, a boys’ and girls’ locker room, a music room with storage, a practice room, four new air conditioned classrooms, a boys’ and girls’ bathroom in the basement and on the first and second floors and an elevator, the DOE said. The existing building will also receive a new fire alarm system, a new air conditioner in the existing auditorium and a new early child playground.

“Parents deserve to send their child to a local school with small class sizes and the resources necessary to ensure a quality education,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. “This new extension will help P.S./I.S. 87 meet these goals. Whether it’s working on their jump shots or learning the clarinet, students will finally have the proper facilities in smaller class sizes for a well-rounded education. I was proud to work with the Department of Education and the Middle Village community to get this project started.”

Because the school was originally intended for elementary students, many facilities were not suitable for middle schoolers, something this addition should change, Comaianni said.

“Now, it’s a real K to eight [institution],” he said

The construction, which began earlier this summer, is scheduled to be completed by the start of next school year, according to the Department of Education.

CB5 chair: Glendale homeless shelter could be environmental nightmare


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Community concern caused by a rumored homeless shelter in Glendale may have been premature.

The site in question, 78-16 Cooper Avenue, “does not meet Building Code requirements for residential occupancy and, due to the age and condition and previous occupancies, could be an environmental nightmare,” Community Board 5 said in a release.

Rumors began circulating last week that the owner of the property, Michael Wilner, was in talks with a nonprofit that could potentially use the site for a homeless shelter.

No application for a shelter has been submitted, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) said.

“The building, which currently has several active Department of Building violations, may contain lead paint, asbestos and various PCB contaminants. The cost and time to convert this structure to a residential facility would be extensive and possibly twice as much as new construction,” Vincent Arcuri, chair of CB5 said.

The vacant factory currently has nine open Department of Building violations.

Prior occupants included an aircraft parts manufacturer, knitting mills, machine shops and Eastern Cabinet Company, Arcuri said, while adding there are rumors the facility was also used as part of the Manhattan Project.

“The site is located adjacent to a known Brownfield site and, due to its low elevation and location, may contain underground pockets of PERC (dry cleaning fluid) from the many defunct knitting mills in the area,” Arcuri said.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley came out against the site being used for a homeless shelter, saying the nearly 3 acre space should serve the community.

Wilner would not return requests for comment.

If Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an emergency condition, the site may be able to be used, however.

Nine new shelters have opened in the city recently, prompted by the homeless population’s record numbers. There are 43,774 people currently in homeless shelters, according to the DHS.

 

Possible Glendale homeless shelter met with opposition


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

A potential plan to house a homeless shelter in Glendale may be evicted before it even moves in.

Michael Wilner, the owner of the proposed site at 78-17 Cooper Avenue, has been in contact with a nonprofit agency, said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, with the idea of turning the former factory into a homeless shelter.

“The councilmember does not support any attempt to put a multiple dwelling shelter on Cooper Avenue and will do everything in her power to prevent it from opening,” said Lydon Sleeper, Crowley’s chief of staff. “Elizabeth has been pushing for that space to be a recreation and community center that serves the public and we will keep pursuing that with the city and the community.”

A Facebook page has also been created in opposition to the proposal.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has yet to receive an application for the site and Community Board 5 said they have not been contacted regarding the shelter.

Wilner refused to answer questions at the site or when reached by phone.

Any plans to transform the factory into a shelter are still in its infancy, said a source with knowledge of the situation. The long-vacant factory would need significant work before it would be ready for occupants.

The factory, zoned M1-1 for manufacturing, sits on a nearly three acre plot of land south of Cooper Avenue. The zoning also allows for hotels, an exemption the city has used before for homeless shelters, Crowley said.

Nine new shelters have opened in the city recently, prompted by the homeless population’s record numbers. There are 43,774 people currently in homeless shelters, according to the DHS.

The city has maintained an open-ended Request for Proposal (RFP) since 2006 to meet capacity needs, a DHS spokesperson said. The proposals move forward based on the number of individuals seeking temporary shelter.

According to Department of Finance records, the estimated market value of the land is $1,160,000.

Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association, said she is still waiting on concrete information on the plans, which she believes may be further along than anyone is letting on.

“We really have no idea what’s in store for us,” Masi said. “Our direction right now is to find out exactly what’s going on.”

Masi said the best use for the land would be a park, noting its proximity to schools and the Atlas Park shopping complex.

$850,000 to improve courts at Middle Village park


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of the Parks Department

The bocce ball players that arrive at Juniper Valley Park rain or shine will no longer have to worry about the elements.

The city’s Parks Department announced a request for proposal for improvements to the Middle Village park’s bocce courts, including a shade structure covering the space.

Many of the area’s large Italian-American population descends daily on the 55-acre park to exercise, socialize and play bocce, often causing extended waiting times.

“When it’s hot, we have 100 men here,” said Sal Crimi, 87, of Woodhaven. “It’s healthy for us.”

The renovations include the reconstruction of the two existing courts as well as the addition of a third court. Each court will have a shade structure built to cover the court and additional trees will also be planted.

“We need the cover,” said 72-year-old Middle Village resident Enrico Gangi. The reconstructed courts are also a welcome addition, Gangi said, because the original ones were not built correctly.

The $850,000 project will be funded through allocations from Borough President Helen Marshall ($800,000) and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley ($50,000). The Parks Department submitted a request for proposal July 18.

“The planned bocce courts will be another great addition to Juniper Park,” said Crowley, who represents the area. “I’m thrilled for the local bocce players, who will be able to play on a new court with an awning enabling the sport in all kinds of weather. The players and the court are an asset to the park.”

William Isoldi, 84, who plays daily on the Middle Village bocce courts, said he looks forward to the improvements.

“I’m excited about what’s going to happen,” Isoldi said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall.

Traffic plan divides Glendale


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Glendale neighbors are at odds over a plan that will divert one block’s traffic to neighboring streets.

For years, residents and officials have pleaded with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to put the brakes on vehicles speeding down Doran Avenue.

Though DOT studies determined that cars were in fact speeding down the block, speed humps were unable to be installed due to the prevalence of driveways and utilities.

At the Community Board 5 meeting on Wednesday, July 11, Queens Borough DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy presented a plan to curb the speeders — reverse the direction of Doran Avenue between Woodhaven Boulevard and 89th Street.

“We believe by splitting it in the middle, it will give the community better circulation to get to their homes,” McCarthy said.

Currently, the street runs westbound from Woodhaven Boulevard, and residents complain drivers rush down the block to beat the light situated on 88th Street.

“We have a problem on our hands, I see it and I live it every day,” said Regina Crowley, who lives on Doran Avenue and is the sister of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

More than a dozen locals spoke at the meeting that had more than three times as many attendees as normal. The speakers were split nearly 50/50 on the plan.

“The proposal flies in the face of basic equity,” said Toby Sheppard Bloch who lives on Rutledge Avenue. “These changes will cause more traffic on Rutledge and 74th Avenue than is currently on Doran Avenue.”

Traffic that now travels on Doran would be diverted to the neighboring two-way streets, Rutledge and 74th avenues.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley agreed that the burden of traffic should not be dumped from one block to another.

“What we do need is to come up with a plan that the community board can accept and the surrounding streets can also agree with that will help decrease the speed of vehicles coming down Doran Avenue,” she said.

McCarthy said that the DOT anticipated residents on other streets would be concerned about increased traffic as a result of the change. The department surveyed the surrounding streets and found speed humps can be installed, but the blocks would have to wait for studies to be done after the plan is put into place.

“We don’t put a speed hump on a street unless there is speeding,” McCarthy said.

The plan went before the community board’s transportation committee, which met after the paper went to press.

 

Budget bias


| letters@queenscourier.com

Once again, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has removed the veil of her Manhattan liberal independent reformer image to reveal that she is a seasoned Democratic party machine leader. She follows in the fine tradition of her predecessors, former Council Speakers Gifford Miller, Peter Vallone and the late Tom Cuite of Brooklyn.

In January 2010, Quinn announced her appointments of various Council committee chairpersons. Councilmembers loyal to their respective county organizations (the ones that endorsed her candidacy for speaker) were rewarded with salary increases known as lulus ranging from $4,000 to $28,000 to chair Council committees. These were raised again in January 2011 and 2012. The average salary for a New Yorker is $41,000 per year. A councilmember’s base salary is $112,500 plus bonuses, for a part-time job.

Under Quinn’s reign, it continues to be the usual political quid pro quo with councilmembers. Vote as instructed by the speaker and members will continue to receive the perks of office. These include salary bonuses for chairing Council committees, extra cash for local district offices, staff and mailings, along with your share of several hundred million dollars available for funding local neighborhood pork-barrel projects to grease the wheels of re-election.

There are clear consequences when you vote against the wishes of Quinn and speak your mind on behalf of constituents, taxpayers and common sense as Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley has on numerous occasions. Quinn sent a clear message to Crowley when discretionary spending for her district was cut from $660,000 to $378,321 in the recently adopted 2012 municipal budget.

The five county Democratic political bosses don’t care if you are liberal or conservative, gay or straight, man or woman — just play ball like Quinn and you’re welcome to the smoke-filled clubhouse back rooms!

Larry Penner