Click for the latest Flushing weather forecast.

June 24, 2008

The Bigger Better Bottle Bill Prevails!

New Bottle Bill Expands Recycling Program

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney announced June 11 that the Assembly had passed a “bigger, better bottle bill” to alter the way the bottle deposit recycling system will function in New York State.

The bill, which was first initiated by students from Queens College a month ago, passed in the Assembly 98 to 40 after nearly two hours of floor debate.

The new program expands the current five-cent deposit system to include non-carbonated beverages like bottled water, iced tea, sports drinks and juices. It also requires unclaimed deposits to be turned over from distributors and bottlers to the state. The revenue will be used to fund and support environmental programs.
A big win for the Queens College New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG).

See my previous post on The Bigger, Better, Bottle Bill for more info.

June 20, 2008

Willets Point Owners Given In And Sell

City Makes First Buyouts at Willets Point

After months of trying to cut deals, the city has made its first two agreements to buyout landowners at Willets Point, the 61-acre site by Shea Stadium slated for redevelopment, the city announced today. The first to give in were Sambucci Bros., an auto salvage business, and BRD Corp.
Well the first question to ask is, is this a good thing or a bad thing for the area? Naturally there are pros and cons.

That is two less properties that the city has to deal with perhaps making the process from "blighted" to "properly utilized".

This shows good faith by the city that they are willing to negotiate in good faith.

The sooner these properties are acquired the sooner the clean up begins.
Unfortunately to rehabilitate this process will probably take years as the contamination is miles deep. The clean up will fair better to the environment surrounding Willets Point.

The more leverage the city has the more likely Eminent Domain will be used to remove the last standing businesses.

If this is so then a proper plan may not be in place, poor planning is not acceptable. Not in todays age with the information we have available to access what is most beneficial for the neighborhood.

Current Conditions:
  • Willets Point suffers from widespread petroleum contamination, with additional potential contamination from paints, cleaning solvents, and automotive fluids.
  • Environmental hazards are exacerbated by a high water table that spreads pollution throughout the site, endangering adjacent water bodies.
  • Most of Willets Point lies within the 100-year flood plain, necessitating a significant increase in grade across the site before modern infrastructure can be installed.
Current Plans:
  • Thousands of housing units serving a mix of incomes and demographics
  • Exciting new retail and entertainment amenities
  • A new, high-quality hotel
  • New York City’s first non-Manhattan convention center
  • Office space
  • Open space, parks, and playgrounds
  • A new public school to meet the needs of the growing community
  • LEED-certified green buildings and infrastructure
This is where I have a problem. We are talking about heavily polluted area, one of which no matter how many years of remediation will never return to a livable area. I also understand that dumping grounds and polluted landscapes are a number one candidate for public housing. In addition they proposed a school to be built on the area, endangering our youth and unfortunately given by the "mix income" housing the majority of children likely to become sick are the lower middle class and working class. New parks and playgrounds? same argument as before, and I guess Flushing Meadow Park is not big enough. In my opinion Willets Point should be turned into a commercial area. Perhaps similar to what Atlas Park has become. Bars and Restaurants within walking distance of Citifield would also be beneficial to the fans. Now if you want to make an argument that these bars in proposing would bring down the area or something along those lines, take a look at the "Pitch and Putt" golfing area which serves its own beer. If you think areas like Willets Point can be made reasonably safe for residents? take a look at other similar areas and the link to cancer. See Love Canal.

June 15, 2008

Find The Statistics Of Your Neighborhood

This site has more statistics about your neighborhood than you would ever even think to inquire about.

My Neighborhood Statistics

NY Harbor Tunnel A Drain

NY Harbor tunnel a drain on worthier transit projects

These futile projects are taking away money desperately needed to fund the four major mass transit projects that offer the biggest gains for the city--the extension of the No. 7 line to the far West Side, the new rail link between downtown and JFK Airport, the Second Avenue Subway, and East Side access to bring the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal.
Great article and responses from Juniper Civic.

June 13, 2008

Anonymous Donor Gives $60 Million

Anonymous donor gives $60M to NY arts, social service groups

The Carnegie Corporation of New York says the 542 grants are the latest in a string of gifts by the donor. Over seven years, the donor has given more than $175 million.

Performance spaces in Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx are among the groups receiving grants, as are a Queens community center and a job training group.

The Carnegie Corporation says it has been selecting small and medium-size New York City-based organizations to receive the donor's funds since 2002.
Philanthropy is a beautiful thing. Happy Friday everyone

Current Events: The Turmoil

This was a rant I wrote up and never posted, but still relevant.

I will start this post quite different than most you are used to; I want to begin by saying " What the hell is going on around here?".
Apparently we can't eat safely due to the Salmonella contaminated tomatoes.
Health officials confirmed cases in New York State of salmonella-tainted tomato poisoning Thursday.

That brings the total number of affected states to 23, and the toll of affected people has risen to 228.
The FDA blames the salmonella outbreak on uncooked red tomatoes, of the plum, Roma, and round-grown varieties.
We can not get the medicine we need with out worry about it being expired.
"Drug products have expiration dates for good reason. A drug's effectiveness can diminish over time as chemicals lose their potency," said Arthur Levin, executive director of the Center for Medical Consumers.
The godforsaken MTA can't get its act together and are planning on squeezing the shit out of mass transportation users when mass transportation is supposed to be pushed as the cheaper alternative, does anyone remember congestion pricing? Meanwhile the MTA has bled out over a billion dollars over the past 10 years due to personal injury cases, it being cheaper to pay out than to make needed changes to hundreds of train cars. Nassau county owes the MTA a nice chunk of millions for bus and train service, and obviously instead of doing something to assess the situation properly they just had the costs right back down to the same people who are suffering from inflation and outrageous gas prices (which super has passed $5 per gallon) the national average being $4.22. All of this meanwhile you have these big shots and ex-employees costing the MTA 14 million in lost revenue yearly.

Today we have prostitution rings with in walking distance of elementary schools.
We have corruption of politicians in both the local,state and federal government. We are becoming over-developed in the quiet communities, and we can't put together a coherent plan to fix Willet's Point.
We have Con Edison who holds onto property worth millions while they increase utility rates.
We have suffered greatly as the quality of live erodes, crime increases and we witness the destruction of the middle class.
We have people who are struggling to make ends meet while working far beyond the 9 to 5 and will still lose their house to foreclosure.
What can be done for the 4 family household who can not afford to spend 500 grand on a house, $2000 a month for an apartment and has too high an income for "affordable housing".
We live in an age where we need to speak up, in a way much louder than any blog or news publication can carry, an initiative if you will to carry beyond the lines of sex, race,language and economic class.

If you, like myself have had enough let your voice be heard. Whether it is a blog, a letter to congress, a sign posted on your front lawn, a brief mention at a community board meeting it will make a difference. The same way this post may instill a desire for change, and even if it has not you have still become more conscious of the current demise of our beloved borough. We need to avoid recession to the mean, because lets face it we deserve better than that.

Our voice is our most creative and musical instrument. It has great power to touch our lives and the lives of others.- Ted Andrews

June 8, 2008

Waldheim Rezoning Meeting

Subject: Waldheim rezoning General Meeting at 6:30pm on Monday, June 16th
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2008 10:45:55 -0400

SEEDear Members and Friends: (Please note time change to 6:30pm)

CB7 has informed us that on Monday, June 16th at 6:30pm, CB7 will have their General Meeting to start the process of public review of the rezoning of our Neighborhood, herewith known as the Waldheim Rezoning. Boundaries of rezoning are 156th St. - Colden St. - Sanford Ave. - 45th Ave. This will result in CB7 voting on this rezoning. The location of the meeting will be:

The Union Plaza Nursing Home
33-23 Union Street
Ground floor

We need a good turnout from our Civic, residents interested in preserving the neighborhood and our neighboring Civics to join us in speaking in favor of the Waldheim contextual rezoning. This is your opportunity to speak in favor of the Contextual Zoning prepared by City Planning, which we believe will stabilize our area and spare our Neighborhood from any further devastation that has already occured because of the prevailing zonings. Now is the time to come out in numbers.


The Waldheim Neighborhood Association