Tag Archives: Joseph Lhota

Post: Doe Fund founder to announce GOP mayoral run Thursday


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

George McDonald, an advocate for the homeless, is gearing up to run for mayor as a Republican, the New York Post is reporting.

McDonald, who according to The Post paid himself nearly $500,000 in 2011, is joining what is shaping out to be an unexpected Republican primary for City Hall. He is expected to make his formal announcement at Grand Central Terminal this Thursday.

Former MTA Chair Joseph Lhota is expected to make his official bid later this month, after stepping down on December 31 to explore a run for mayor. Lhota served as a budget director and deputy mayor during the Giuliani Administration. He is expected to have the full backing of “America’s Mayor.”

McDonald heads The Doe Fund, established in 1985 to help homeless men and women get back to work and on their feet.

The Daily News reported in August that McDonald was entertaining the idea of the run – but little came from the news. He’ll also join potentials like John Catsimatidis, a grocery chain store owner, and former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión as the best Republican candidate.

Whoever wins the race could face one of several Democrats vying for City Hall. This includes City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Comptroller John Lui; and former Comptroller and 2009 mayoral candidate Bill Thompson.

Despite an overwhelmingly Democratic City Council, the Republicans have virtually held the Mayor’s Office for 20 years. Giuliani won in 1993 and 1997; Mayor Michael Bloomberg won as a Republican in 2001 and 2005 before running as an independent in 2009.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain in the afternoon. Fog early. High of 61. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Monday night: Overcast with rain showers. Low of 45. Winds from the WSW at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NW after midnight. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.2 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY: Rapture Loung Open Mic Night

Monday nights at Rapture Lounge in Astoria, musicians, poets, writers, singers-songwriters, comedians and performance artists are invited to the bar’s open mic night. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Police gun down man after he flashes BB gun

Two undercover NYPD detectives shot and killed a career criminal Saturday night after he flashed a BB gun at the officers as they arrested a friend of his, an alleged drug dealer. Read more: New York Daily News

Woman found stabbed to death, man found wounded in Queens

Police Sunday night were investigating a stabbing that left a woman dead and a man injured in Elmhurst, Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long wants MTA boss Joseph Lhota to run for mayor

Add state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long to the list of those who want MTA boss Joseph Lhota to run for mayor. “He’d make an interesting candidate,” Long said. “He’s certainly head and shoulders above the potential (Democratic) candidates running right now.”  Read more: New York Daily News

Report: MTA to reduce minimum for MetroCard discount

The MTA reportedly plans to make it easier for bus and subway riders to get a discount. Read more: ABC New York

Court date in NY hotel maid’s suit vs Strauss-Kahn

The outcome of a New York City hotel housekeeper’s sexual assault lawsuit against former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn may soon be decided in court. Read more: Wall Street Journal 

As “fiscal cliff” clock ticks, Obama hits the road again

It’s just over three weeks until the first effects of the “fiscal cliff” kick in and this week begins with more politics, posturing, and partisanship dominating the negotiations between the White House and House Republicans. Read more: CBS

 

Tolls reinstated on Rockaway bridges


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Cross Bay Bridgew

Tolls on the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge, suspended since Sandy, went back into the effect on Saturday, December 1. Crossing once again costs $3.25 in the cash lane and $1.80 for E-ZPass users.

Since the bridge reopened a few days after the storm, fares going across the Cross Bay, along with the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge going into Brooklyn, were waived to allow people on and off the peninsula for relief efforts. But as the Rockaways slowly bounce back to normalcy, the decision was made to reinstate the fare.

Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the halt on tolls on Cross Bay through all of November, according to MTA spokesperson Judie Glave. Despite outsiders coming into the Rockaways to help with recovery efforts, the transit authority is required to collect tolls from everyone going in.

“MTA Bridges and Tunnels has a bond covenant, which requires us to collect tolls from everyone who goes through,” said Glave.

Rockaway residents, however, do get a break thanks to a program that tracks E-ZPass tags for residents within the region’s six zip codes. The Rockaway Rebate program went into effect earlier this year, pushed for by Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder. The program redeems tolls for these residents who are travelling in and out of mainland Queens, Glave said.

Goldfeder, who has sought several means to ease the intra-borough toll burden since coming into office last September, said he would communicate with MTA chair Joseph Lhota and Cuomo to see what steps can be taken going forward for inexpensive transportation across Jamaica Bay.

“I was responsible in working with the governor in working to eradicate the toll for the last month,” he said. “I will absolutely talk to Joe Lhota at the MTA and the governor to discuss possible options for further discounts and rebates.”

MTA says Q41 changes stay despite complaints


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Geraldine Bruccoleri

The MTA does not have any plans to revisit the new route of the Q41 bus line, a spokesperson said, after several South Ozone Park residents took their complaints before the board of directors.

“It’s not just black and white,” said Geraldine Bruccoleri, who lives on 109th Avenue. “There’s the gray shades of life.”

Bruccoleri was one of the several who asked MTA chair Joseph Lhota on Wednesday, July 25, for something to be done about the line and the effects it has had on the street. The Q41’s path was shifted on July 1 from its original route down 111th Avenue, which residents two blocks away said is significantly wider than their narrow street.

Richard Krepin, a retired Port Authority police officer, appeared before the board representing his niece, who lives on the street. Krepin told board members that when he visits his niece, parking — as a result of the new bus line — is nearly impossible. He highlighted other residents’ concerns, such as riders sitting on residents’ stoops or littering in the area.

“Are we going to have the cops there all the time to break up these fights?” he asked.

Krepin also noted this was a plan that was heavily opposed by the community, mentioning that Community Board 10 voted nearly unanimously against the change in direction.

“It’s just … something’s wrong here,” Krepin said in closing.

After waiting, Bruccoleri, Krepin and others who spoke decided to leave, they said, as a representative told them they wouldn’t hear a response that day.

Although the residents did not get a direct answer from board members, Bruccoleri said she and her neighbors are hopeful their appeal to the MTA would be heard.

“We hope that [Lhota] took us seriously and comes to look at this mess,” she said. “Because whoever figured out how to do this must have had the flu that day.”

“As fast as these bus stops came up, that’s how fast we hope they go away,” she added.

The MTA spokesperson said the agency had spent time in the neighborhood, and had carefully mapped out the adjustments to the line in order to streamline service. There were no plans to revert to the original route, the spokesperson said.

 

Stabbed MTA officer John Barnett released from hospital


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Mike Stavisky

MTA officer John Barnett, who fended off an attacker that stabbed him in the eye, was released from the hospital last night.

Despite an injury that could potentially take sight from one of his eyes, Barnett was able to fire four shots into his attacker, who police say assailed the veteran transit cop for no reason, at the Jamaica LIRR station.

Barnett, who has served the MTA for almost 13 years, was attacked by a knife-weilding Edgar Owens on Wednesday, July 4 when Owens confronted the officer, and proceeded to stab him in the eye. After repeated warnings, the officer shot at Owens four times — hitting him thrice, MTA officials said.

Both were brought to Jamaica Hospital, where Owens was later pronounced dead, officials said.

Barnett was released last night, though no prognosis was made on his eye’s recovery.

Had the stabbing been one inch deeper, it would have made contact with Barnett’s brain, an MTA spokesperson.

Service was not interrupted during the investigation, except for some temporarily-blocked staircases.

MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota rushed to Jamaica Hospital after hearing about the altercation, according to an MTA release.

Lhota said that hopes were high for Barnett and commended him for his bravery.

“The entire MTA family is praying for Officer Barnett to make a full recovery,” Lhota said. “He did exactly what we expect of all of our officers: In a split second, confronted with a violent individual who posed a threat to everyone around him, he took action without regard to his personal safety. We are all in awe of his bravery.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo also called Barnett and likewise recognized his heroics in the statement.

“Today we are reminded once again of the bravery and sacrifice of our men and women in law enforcement, and the many dangers that accompany the important job of keeping our state’s residents safe,” Cuomo said. “We applaud Officer Barnett’s bravery and pray for a full recovery.”

Barnett served one year with the NYPD before moving over to the MTA in 1999, according to the MTA. He has also served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as an officer in the Naval Reserves.