Another one of our state legislators is in trouble and that only reinforces the belief that the great majority of our elected officials are interested more in garnering money and power than in representing their constituents. Last week, two close associates, including a niece and two others, were indicted in a Nassau County court for using a phony non-profit backed by State Senator Shirley Huntley to fill their own pockets. Whether Huntley also filled her own pockets is still under investigation. It appears, at least to us, that since Huntley’s niece lived at the same address as Huntley and the money was funneled through member items funded by the Senator, that she may have been complicit, but that is something for the state and city investigators to ferret out.
The Little North Pole, hosted by local defense attorney Joe Mure at his Neponsit home, was once again a large success, drawing at least 2,000 people for the opening on December 3, and many more throughout the following week. The event earns tens of thousands of dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and for local hospitals that focus on that disease.
The Bayswater community is fighting an out-of-scale yeshiva that the Orthodox Jewish community is attempting to foist on that eclectic community. The community’s civic association voted against the plan, as did Community Board 14 and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. That has not stopped the developers of the yeshiva, however, who say that they have the right to build the intrusive building on religious grounds. The Board of Standards and Appeals, which has the final say, was to vote last week, but has continued its decision. Unfortunately, the BSA does not always vote the way the community wants it to vote.
The large mounds of sand on the beach from Beach 117 to Beach 119 Streets have become a popular venue for local kids. They have been seen playing “King of the Mountain” and Ring-alevio on the sand mountains. The city says that they will soon be used for grooming the beach and replenishing some of the sand lost to Hurricane Irene. Meanwhile, as long as the weather remains mild, they will remain a playground of sorts for kids of all ages.
The plans for the city to put a park on the old Long Island Railroad tracks, called the White Pot Junction line, would put an end once and for all to Rockaway’s dreams to reopen the line. Before the LIRR trestle over Jamaica Bay burned down and was turned over to the city for rapid transit, Rockaway residents could go to Manhattan two ways – “The long way,” through the Five Towns and Jamaica or “The short way,” over the trestle and through central Queens to Manhattan. The tracks for the short way still exist as it wends its way through backyards and empty lots, and there are many in Rockaway who would like to see that short way used by either the LIRR or the A Line for a 45-minute commute from Rockaway to Manhattan. Now, that right-of-way may soon become a park, if the city gets its way and that will end any talk of resurrecting the short way.
The word was all over the west end that a Muni-meter had been lifted by crooks from Beach 129 Street. It turns out, however, that the meter was removed for maintenance because it was not printing correctly.
So, the monitor appointed by federal judge Nicholas Garaufis wants to charge the city $750 an hour for his firm’s work. The cash-strapped city is laying off school workers who don’t make $750 a month and he wants the city to pay through the nose just because he believes that the firefighter test discriminates against minorities. Perhaps the monitor should be paid out of the judge’s salary. His decision really creates an unfunded mandate that will be difficult for the city to fulfill without taking money from a more worthy pursuit.
The Queens Republican Party is split on many issues, and The major problem focuses on who should be the Republican candidate for President in the coming 2012 election. City Councilman Eric Ulrich, who represents the western end of Rockaway, was recently tapped to chair Mitt Romney’s campaign in New York City. Just a few days later, the Queens organization sent out a press release and photo touting Newt Gingrich for President. There are other issues splitting the party faithful as well, with Ulrich locked in a bitter battle with Queens Republican Leader Phil Ragusa and had dueling county meetings earlier this year. The matter of who rules the county is now in the courts. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said ten years ago that he wanted his City Hall administration to be the most transparent in history, has refused a court order to turn over the Emails sent and received by him and his administration about the appointment of Cathie Black as schools chancellor. He plans to appeal the order.