On the brief side...
On the brief side...
Wants R.E. Tax Hike Hearings
City Councilmember Tony Avella (D–Bayside) has filed a bill which would require the city council to hold public hearings in every borough at least 120 days before voting on a property tax increase.
Mindful that within a few weeks last November a 25 percent real estate tax increase was introduced and an 18.5 percent increase was passed and signed into law with very little public input, Avella said, "The days of rushed deals and private negotiations—with the taxpayer stuck paying the bill—must come to a end."
1st Queens Child Advocacy Center
The first Child Advocacy Center in Queens was dedicated yesterday at ceremonies with Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, Administration for Children Services Commissioner William Bell and Councilmember Melinda Katz (D–Forest Hills) participated.
The new center will occupy the basement and third floor of the Queens Medical Society Building at 112-25 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills. It’s expected the facility will serve more than 2,000 clients annually.
Queens, which has the second highest rate of child sexual and severe physical abuse in New York City, had 11,625 cases reported in 2002. The center will include the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the New York Police Department, District Attorney’s office representatives, medical services, community volunteers and child family advocates.
Homeland Safety Seminar Held
The Forest Hills Action League (FHAL) and HSBC Bank USA will sponsor a Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness Program today from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the HSBC Bank branch at 107-15 Continental Ave., Forest Hills.
Participating in the seminar will be police, fire, health agency, hospital, transportation and Red Cross representatives, according to Estelle and Norbert Chwat, co-presidents of the FHAC.
"The people want to try to help themselves and it is absolutely necessary that the agencies involved get their messages to the public," the civic leaders stated.
Environmental Cleanup Bill Passes Senate
A bill establishing a new, comprehensive program that sets clear standards for the cleanup and revitalization of brownfields and provides $138 million annually to cover the work has been passed by the state senate.
Brownfields are abandoned or underused industrial or commercial areas where re-use of the land is complicated by environmental contamination. Over 14,000 exist in New York state, many in Queens.
Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Flushing) said, "These blighted areas need to be cleaned up so we can reclaim this land once again and use it in ways that positively benefit our communities."
The bill is expected to pass the Assembly.
Requests $500 G For Queens Blvd. Project
A $500,000 appropriation has been requested by Congressmember Nydia Velazquez (D–Queens/Brooklyn/Manhattan) for the Queens Boulevard Safety Project, a program intended to identify pedestrian safety and traffic issues.
Velazquez explained, "This major east west artery is used by both vehicles and pedestrians, but several locations along the boulevard have a high incidence of accidents. There have been more than 100 fatalities in the last 10 years, 79 percent of them pedestrians."
Help For Small Business
Small businesses would get help from the state Department of Economic Development by receiving priority consideration for economic development assistance, deferring payment of certain start-up costs and getting assistance in meeting environmental standards under a package of bills introduced by Assemblymember Ann Margaret Carrozza (D–Bayside), passed by the Assembly.
"Small businesses create eight out of 10 jobs in New York," Carrozza explained. "During these difficult economic times we must do all we can to keep these vital businesses growing."
Peralta Helps Little League
The Asopec Little League and its more than 1,000 members—children from Corona, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Flushing—received some financial assistance last Saturday when Assemblymember Jose Peralta (D–Corona) and Health Plus donated $5,500 to the league.
Peralta said there will be other donations to Asopec during the season to keep costs at a bare minimum for the families of league members.
Housing Court Unit Cites Supporters
Borough President Helen Marshall, Queens Legal Aid attorney April Newbauer, the Queens Office of the City Commission On Human Rights and the Forest Hills Community House were honored last Saturday by the Queens Task Force on Housing Court for their support and assistance to the Queens housing community. Since 1983, the citywide task force of which the Queens Task Force is a unit, has prevented thousands of evictions and saved landlords and the city thousands of dollars by providing unrepresented litigants with free legal information on Housing Court.