2005-07-13 / Political Page

Olympic Village May Be Built In Queens West Even Without The Games

Although the city’s Olympic 2012 plans died when London was awarded the games last week, Congressmember Anthony Weiner thinks the Bloomberg mayoral administration should continue plans for Olympics related projects in Queens.

Weiner, a candidate for the Democratic mayoral nomination, singled out the Olympic Village in the sprawling Queens West development along the East River in the Hunters Point section of Long Island City. Plans called for housing to be built for 15,000 Olympic athletes and trainers; afterward, the facilities were to be converted into housing for New York City residents.

Weiner said the Olympic Village and other Olympic-related projects that could be salvaged “might not help javelin throwers” but they could help Queens and other boroughs.

According to an article in the June 10 edition of the Daily News , Bloomberg campaign strategist Bill Cunningham said, “The projects listed by Weiner are still going ahead.”

These included the cleanup of Newtown Creek and a “fast ferries” plan which was to have run from the Olympic Village to Manhattan and the Rockaways, with construction of new ferry landings in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.

As mayor, Weiner said, he would move forward with the ferry plan using $15 million in federal funds he secured for it.

Plans to go ahead with building the Olympic Village were confirmed by Borough President Helen Marshall in a statement praising Bloomberg’s Olympic effort even though New York City didn’t get the games.

Marshall said, “Queens is a winner—with or without the Olympics because the Mets will get a new stadium and Willets Point will be revitalized.”

And, she added, “Construction will also move forward on the Queens West development along the East River and much-needed housing will be built. I am committed to achieving these goals and the momentum needed to reach them is still here.”

However, in another story following London being named to host the Olympics, it is reported that the Queens West Development Corporation plans to hire a consultant to study whether the Olympic Village can be fitted into the overall development plans, which call for luxury apartments and high-rise office and commercial towers. The statement is attributed to Charles Gargano, chairman of the state Economic Development Corporation, which oversees the Queens West development project.

Meanwhile, Weiner, who opposed construction of a football stadium in Manhattan as the centerpiece for the failed Bloomberg bid and pushed for a Queens stadium instead, urged that plans begin immediately for New York City to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

MIKE’S RE-ELECT BID KEEPS ROLLING: Meanwhile, a Daily News poll on the race for mayor, taken after the city lost the bid for the 2012 games, shows Bloomberg the candidate was not hurt at all by the defeat in Singapore.

The third poll in as many weeks showed Bloomberg comfortably ahead of top Democratic candidate Fernando Ferrer and the mayor’s approval rating soaring.

In the News survey, Bloomberg led Ferrer, 50 to 36 percent. Also the mayor’s approval rating was at a stellar 61 percent.

The poll also showed Ferrer’s constant closest pursuer, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields running second to Bloomberg, 53 to 32 percent; Miller trailing him, 51 to 29 percent and Weiner last in both packs in a 51 to 28 percent matchup with the mayor.

The poll didn’t report Democratic matchup results for their party’s candidates in the September 13 primary. Ferrer has consistently topped the list, followed by Fields.

On other issues, 48 percent of those polled approved the way Bloomberg handled the Olympic bid; 47 percent said they were glad the Olympics will not be held here and 58 percent said let’s try for the 2016 games.

Asked how they felt about the way the mayor handled the recent Howard Beach racial incident, 42 percent said they approved.

LAFAYETTE IDENTITY THEFT BILL PASSES: Legislation sponsored by Assemblymember Ivan Lafayette (D–Jackson Heights), which would help significantly to reduce identity theft, passed both houses and is on the governor’s desk for consideration, the lawmaker reports.

The bill would make it unlawful for any person to mask their actual identity and/or phone number that appears on the caller identification box in computer software programs. The software was intended to help bill collectors and law enforcement officials to get through to people who are using caller ID to avoid them, Lafayette explained.

“The problem arises in the criminal usage of this software as a way to trick innocent people into answering their phones under the assumption that they are receiving a call from someone that they may actually know,” Lafayette explained. He cited banks as an example. The person would feel free to give out privileged information under the impression a legitimate source was the recipient.

Lafayette’s bill establishes a civil penalty for anyone who, with intent to defraud, utilizes this type of software, Lafayette said.

GAME TIME: The second annual softball game between Democrats, headed by Assemblymember Brian McLaughlin (Flushing) and Republicans, captained by Senator Frank Padavan (Bellerose) is scheduled for this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at Alley Pond Park, Field 7, in Northeast Queens.

The announcement said both lawmakers are confident of victory. A non-partisan lunch will follow the epic battle, but there will be no crow on the menu.”

QUEENSBRIDGE YOUTH OPEN 4TH SEASON: Councilmember Eric Gioia (D–Long Island City) last Sunday kicked off the fourth season of the Gioia/YMCA All-Stars Youth Baseball League in Queensbridge Park, Vernon Boulevard at 41st Avenue in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City.

Gioia said he founded the league in 2002 when he noticed that the children of Queensbridge and Ravenswood had little to do. The league has been an unqualified success, he said, and quality of life crimes in the community have dropped 23 percent. In the works are plans for youth basketball and soccer leagues as well.

LIU ON WATER BILL ‘DELINQUENTS’: Commenting on a story that the city plans to shut off water service to some home and business owners who are delinquent in paying their bills, City Councilmember John Liu (D–Flushing) said, “The problem exists because the city’s measurement procedures and billing practices for water usage leave much room for improvement. Residents and small business owners trapped in this dilemma are threatened with additional fines and property liens, all while having no real recourse to dispute the usage levels claimed by the DEP [Department of Environmental Protection].”

SABINI APPOINTED: Senator John Sabini (D–Jackson Heights), the ranking Democrat on the council Transportation Committee and a longtime advocate for mass transit, has been appointed to the senate Task Force On High Speed Rail, which will study linking the state’s cities with modern, high-speed trains.

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