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Monday, December 26, 2011

Whitestone eatery plan breaks Franco’s pledge

After part of a block was rezoned over the summer to accommodate the expansion of the White House restaurant in Whitestone, plans submitted to the city for the new eatery showed the maximum occupancy would be twice as large as the developer had told the community.

Despite receiving new zoning for the restaurant at the local and City Council level, the design plans were rejected by the city Buildings Department and the ambitious undertaking by restaurateur Joe Franco, former proprietor of Caffe on the Green in Bay Terrace, remains in limbo.

After the contentious rezoning was passed in June, which gave Franco the legal right to expand, architect Christopher Papa filed plans for the improved restaurant and catering hall with the city Department of Buildings. The plans were ultimately rejected, but the information supplied by the architect contradicted what Franco’s team said in public hearings.

One of those documents showed the maximum capacity would increase from 562 to 705.

But during a hearing by the Council Committee on Zoning and Franchises, Jessica Loeser, a lawyer representing Franco, said the new certificate of occupancy would not “come anywhere close” to exceeding the 562 in the previous certificate, according to transcripts from the hearing.

In addition, a lawyer for Franco had said the occupancy of the new restaurant would be around 300 people when he presented the plans to Community Board 7, according to minutes from the meeting. Franco’s representatives told the City Planning Department the capacity would remain unchanged at about 300 people, according to a report.

Franco and a lawyer who represented him, Steve Sinacori, both declined to be interviewed. Papa, the architect, did not return repeated requests for comment.

City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) said the plan is not a perfect one, but it could help the blighted block. The maximum occupancy in the plans does not necessarily mean that Franco would want to cram 700 people into the restaurant, he said.

According to state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) , who opposed the plan, Franco may or may not use the whole capacity. But nothing would be legally stopping him or anyone else who bought the property from doing so if the plans had been approved, he said.

Other people familiar with the development doubted the structure could physically hold that many people.

The inconsistencies do not represent any illegality, Nevertheless, Brian Garry, who lives next door, said it shows how Franco pulled a fast one on the neighborhood.

In another inconsistency, Garry did not want his home and property to be commercially zoned along with the restaurant.

But in-between the final public hearing and the final vote, the commercial overlay was extended to include a 5-foot strip of Garry’s property along the border of the White House without an explanation.

Garry said it was zoned that way to circumvent a requirement of an 8-foot buffer between a residential property and a commercial property. This was confirmed by a spokesman for Halloran.

Buildings ultimately rejected Franco’s plans in August because they were missing a substantial amount of information.Franco did not show how he would provide adequate parking for the restaurant, according to Buildings.

In the presentations made by Franco and his team, he had said he would create 110 parking spaces using an underground garage in another lot he owned behind the restaurant.

No plans were submitted to Buildings for that parking garage, the department said.

Franco also had said he would give up a cabaret license for the establishment. The city Department of Consumer Affairs could not locate a license for the White House at all. The last cabaret license at that address was for Moana Kai, which predated the White House, and expired in 1990.

Franco now plans to scale back the renovation and not add the expansive second floor that caused the uproar in the first place, according to Halloran.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group

Saturday, December 24, 2011



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Whitestone property brings overdevelopment fears
From Whitestone Times;

Whitestone residents are wary after a prime piece of real estate hit the market last week that offers developers a crack at the largest residentially zoned vacant property in Queens, but a lawmaker set up legal barricades to guard against overdevelopment years ago.

The 15-acre property, at 151-45 6th Road, is approved for 52 single-family homes, according to Stephen Preuss, of Massey Knakal Realty Services.

Pruess’ company is currently accepting offers on the site and has received dozens of bites from both local and national developers, he said, although he would not divulge how much the original mortgage was worth.

The area was formerly a trucking depot that was also used to store industrial materials, according to Preuss, and somewhere along the line the soil was contaminated and the area was declared a brownfield site.

Bayrock Group, a Manhattan-based developer, was the last owner of the site and performed remediation on the toxic soil.

Bayrock still has a rendering on its website from 2005 showing the 52 homes and public park it planned to build before a bank began foreclosure proceedings on the property several years ago, Preuss said.

Bayrock Group’s development plan for the property, which it estimated carried a pricetag of between $100 million to $200 million back in 2008, was approved by Community Board 7, Borough President Helen Marshall and ultimately the City Council Land Use Committee.

But Alfredo Centola, president of the Malba Gardens Civic Association, said now that the property was on the market, he was concerned about increased traffic in the neighborhood and the impact on local schools, which he said are overcrowded as it is.

“As we speak, there is a need for another school or an expansion,” he said. “What’s going to happen with all these new developments going on?”

Centola hopes that any developer that moves in builds responsibly.

Luckily for him, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) also had concerns about the impact of development on the community when plans were first proposed to build on the property several years ago.

Avella was a councilman in 2008 and sat on the Land Use Committee, where he oversaw the successful rezoning of the area for 52 homes when developers wanted to build more.

One plan pitched to him called for 400 units in multi-family dwellings.

Avella called the decision to go with single-family homes, which would complement the neighborhood’s existing character, a move that would set the precedent for the other projects down the line.

“We felt the end result was a landmark decision that would influence future developments,” he said.

Because of what Avella called a hard-fought battle to keep the housing stock less dense, he said any developer that purchases the property with ulterior plans should take heed.

“If they want to change that plan, they will get a huge fight from the community and from the [Department of City Planning],” he said

By: Joe Anuta

Now more than ever,with the probability of 52 new homes in our community.  We need to re acquire the remaining CYO property and build the fields so despeately needed.  For the current children of the community as well as those that will come with the ne homes.  The community needs to be involved and all impact studies must be made accessible to the public.  How are the traffic issues going to be remediated? Stay involved, this is our community.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Burglaries on the rise in Whitestone.

Dear Community Members,

The 109th Precinct has experienced an increase in burglaries. We urge you to read and share the information below with your civic members, community groups, neighbors family and friends.

1)Residential Burglaries

Whitestone and North Flushing Area

These burglaries are occurring during the day time between 11am and 3 pm by forced entry into rear windows and doors. Perpetrator is a male Hispanic, approximately 30 years old, medium build, 6 ft tall and possibly wearing gloves.

Recent Incidents

27Avenue/165 street
154 Street/ 25 Avenue
29 Avenue/ 168 Street
150 street/ Bayside Avenue

2)Commercial Burglaries

Offices/business - Flushing Area
Burglaries are occurring after close of business and over night.
Unknown Perpetrator
Method of Entry- Force/ entry door

Recent Incidents

33 Avenue/ 146 street
147 Street/ Sanford Avenue

3) Contruction sites/Factory/Warehouse Burglaries

Flushing/College Point Area

These burglaries are occurring in the evening and overnight.

Perpetrators- 3 male blacks/ 30-35 years old/ driving a black van in search of copper and metals.

Recent Incidents

120 street/ 31 avenue
28 avenue/ 120 street

How you can help and what you can do to protect your home and property

1) Call 911 for suspicious persons
2) Construction sites must secure their materials and tools in an enclosed area
3) If possible, a security guard should be used for large construction sites
4) Alarms and security cameras should be utilized for all residential homes and commercial places of business
5) Use extra locks and interlocking latch guards on all entry doors to prevent the door from being pried open.
6) Commercial properties should have plenty of lighting around the property.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Whitestone stop sign fight about the kids

Alfredo Molinari (far r.) stands with parents and just a portion of the kids who play on the block in front of the intersection he says cars speed through. By Joe Anuta

Alfredo Molinari is second-generation — as in the second generation of residents to fight for a stop sign on a Whitestone block teeming with children.

Molinari has taken up the helm of a two-decade battle to get a stop sign on the corner of 23rd Avenue and 157th Street, which he said will go a long way to protect the roughly 30 children that play there after school and on weekends.

“I want a stop sign only for the fact kids are playing outside and I want them to be safe,” said the father of three.

But the city Department of Transportation told residents that the intersection does not have enough traffic, nor accidents, to warrant a stop sign.

Molinari has lived his entire life on the block and said that cars shoot from Francis Lewis Boulevard down 23rd Avenue to get to the heart of Whitestone and vice versa. After getting off the boulevard and encountering two stop signs, Molinari said the two-block length before the next one becomes a dangerous mix of drag strip and playground.

“They speed down the block,” he said, adding that he sometimes has to take matters into his own hands. “I threw a ball at some guy’s car.”

The avenue runs across the entire neighborhood, and out of 12 standard intersections — where a two-way street intersects another two-way street at a 90-degree angle — it is the only one without a stop sign or stoplight.

The intersections on either side are a cookie-cutter match to 23rd Avenue and 157th Street, but even the older residents who had petitioned the DOT 20 years ago for one of the red octagons were unsuccessful..

But Molinari said children should be taken into account instead of just accidents.

“The most important of all is the population of children under the age of 15 or 13 that reside on both blocks,” he said.

On Monday evening, Molinari summoned the children out to the corner in question to demonstrate how many of them play in the area.

More than 20 youngsters emerged from houses along the street, carrying balls and gliding along the sidewalk on bikes and scooters.

There were accompanied by many parents who shared Molinari’s concerns.

Molinari has circulated a petition to the households surrounding the intersection and collected a lengthy docket of signatures.

Although this is the third time he has tried, he will submit the petition to Community Board 7 and ask, once again, for the city to put up the sign.

“We’re not going to rest and give up until something happens,” he said.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail or by phone 718-260-4566.

We at the Malba Gardens Civic extend our support and offer our help in this endeavor.  Mr. Molinari is correct, the CHILDREN, must be taken into consideration.  DOT needs to step up and protect our children. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

PS 209 to get One Way

Hopefully this will make it safer for the children.

One-way street OK’d by CB 7 near PS 20

Community Board 7 voted Monday night in favor of a one-way street conversion in Whitestone that would alleviate traffic congestion around an elementary school but also curb in appropriate behavior on the part of parents.

The proposal, which would be implemented by the city Department of Transportation, would convert 16th Road between Utopia Parkway and Willets Point Boulevard into a one-way, westbound road.

The idea is that by eliminating east-bound traffic, cars will more easily flow past PS 209, at 16-10 Utopia Parkway, which is on the eastern half of the road.

Residents like Wanda Young, who lives on the street, are in support of the plan. In fact, seven out of nine households on the block gave their support to the conversion, with the remaining two households not responding to a survey.

Each morning chaos ensues on the street outside PS 209, she said, speaking before the board.

School buses, parents and commuters converge on the street, she said, providing all the ingredients for a traffic nightmare.

“When there are no more legal parking spots, then parents will start to double park, block the driveways of the houses and even park in front of hydrants,” she said, urging the board to pass the measure.

Frustrated motorists, faced with the impasse of parents and buses, even pull U-turns by hopping the curb and driving on the sidewalk, she said. Young captured the mayhem in a video she posted on the Internet to prove her point.

The situation can be a dangerous one for children trying to cross the street, but it can also be a perilous one for educators and parents, according to Jacqueline Diaz-Fernandez, who works at the school.

“Our principal has been spit on, our assistant principal has been cursed at and parents have gotten into fights,” she said of the temporary turf war that breaks out as parents vie for parking spaces, park each other in and try and maneuver their cars and kids around the road.

The board overwhelmingly voted in favor of the proposal, which does not currently have a timeline for implementation, but some board members groused that making a street one way does nothing to change the bad behavior of parents.

Warren Schreiber voted in favor of the proposal because it only affected one block and the majority of the houses asked for it, but said he did not believe the conversion would completely alleviate the frustrating and possibly dangerous situation outside the school.

Another member foresaw double-, tripe- and even quadruple-parking by parents, who if given more space to flaunt traffic laws will expand into the unused portions of the road.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566

Now if only, they can help us on 5th avenue. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Francis Lewis Park to get some sort of traffic help

The following is a letter we recieved from the Queens Department of Transportation Commissioner.  While we are appreciative of the actions they plan on taking, we feel more needs to be done.  For example Speed Humps in front of the park would be helpful, especially since they were promised years ago.  Also, what about the intersection of the Whitestone Expressway Service road and 3rd avenue.  We would like to see Crosswalks painted white, with signage "Yeild to Pedestrians" on both intersections and the center entrance of the park. 

Again, we would like to thank the DOT Commissioner and hope she consider our suggestions for a safer passage to OUR park, for OUR children, and OUR families. 

Bellow is the letter recieved.  Baby steps are a great start.  

Alfredo Centola

Just recieved this letter. Baby steps are a good start.

Dear Mr. Centola:

This is in response to your July 8th e-mail regarding the traffic controls at the intersection of 147th Street and 3rd Avenue.

We completed our analysis last month. Factors such as vehicular and pedestrian volumes, vehicular speeds, visibility and signal spacing were all taken into consideration in making our determination. Based upon our evaluation of the data collected, it is our judgment that Multi-Way Stop controls are not recommended at this time.

However, we have issued orders to install Pedestrian Crossing signs on 3rd Avenue to enhance motorist’s awareness of pedestrians at the intersection.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.


Maura McCarthy
Queens Borough Commissioner


November 16, 2011


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sound Barriers on Whitestone Bridge approach.

Now that the construction on the Whitestone Bridge has begun and all the trees have been removed, we ask you our neighbors how is the sound level affecting your Quality of Life? 

We have been promised new trees once construction is completed in two or more years.  Problem is, they are going to add a "Breakdown" lane 18 feet.  This will bring traffic 18 feet closer to the homes and our community. So the young trees they plant will do nothing to reduce the noise that will be 18 feet closer to our homes.

We at Malba Gardens have been advocating for Sound Barrier Walls as well as landscaping in front of the wall once the project is complete.

Please share with us you thoughts , suggestions, and ideas.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank a Veteran

We are free to blog
Free to express our opinion
Free to agree and disagree

Free to decide the Military is not for Me
Free to be who and what you want to be

All this Free, comes with a price

Thank you Veterans, for our FREE.

God Bless America, and God Bless all Veterans.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Permanent Lane Closure Lifted At Bronx-Whitestone Bridge

Permanent Lane Closure Lifted At Bronx-Whitestone Bridge

Three Lanes Open In Each Direction During Peak Drive Times

Beginning Mon., Oct. 24th

As the fall and winter holiday season gets underway there is good news for motorists who use the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. Work requiring a round-the-clock lane closure of one of the bridge’s six lanes has been completed and three lanes in each direction will once again be available during peak drive times.

The permanent lane closure, in effect since June 2010, will be lifted over the weekend and three lanes will be available in each direction starting with the Monday morning commute on Oct. 24th. Three lanes will be maintained using newly constructed safety shoulders.

Please note: The transition required to re-open the bridge roadway to full capacity will necessitate one final period of closures in both directions, as follows:

 Fri. (10/21), 6 PM-9 PM: southbound & northbound: one lane closed; two lanes open;

 Fri. (10/21), 9 PM-6 AM (Sat 10/22): southbound & northbound: two lanes closed; one lane open;

 Sat. (10/22)-Mon. (10/24), 6 AM-3 AM: northbound: one lane closed; two lanes open; southbound: three lanes open.

“As we move closer to completing this project, which will result in wider approach roadway lanes, safety shoulders and a completely rehabilitated approach roadway deck, we appreciate the patience shown by motorists,” said Bronx-Whitestone Facility Engineer Christopher Saladino. “The project is essential in allowing us to keep the 72-year-old bridge a vital regional transportation link for many years to come.”

While lane by lane demolition and rehabilitation work was done, a reversible, movable barrier was used to maintain three traffic lanes to the Bronx during peak morning hours and three lanes to Queens in the evening and on weekends.

The nearly $200 million project, awarded to Conti Inc., began in December 2008. The work has included construction of new foundations and 15 new double-arch concrete piers beneath the bridge to support the rehabilitated, wider 12-foot lanes and the new safety shoulders.

Work on the center lane of the bridge will continue through early 2012, and the entire project is expected to be finished later that year once the old piers are removed and landscaping and drainage upgrades are completed.

A similar $109 million project to rehabilitate and widen the Bronx-Whitestone Queens approach was recently awarded jointly to E.E. Cruz, of Manhattan, and Tully Construction Co., of Queens. The work includes reconstruction and widening of the 1,010-foot-long Queens approach roadway structure, adding emergency breakdown lanes, and moving and rebuilding a local playground beneath the bridge.

“We will continue our practice of reaching out to local elected officials and community groups to help keep them informed as the Queens approach roadway project progresses and work is completed on the Bronx project as well,” said Bronx-Whitestone General Manager Ray Webb.

Similar to the Bronx approach work, the project will require a permanent lane closure, which is expected to begin in mid-2012. The reversible, movable barrier will be used again to maintain three lanes of traffic in peak directions. The northbound Third Avenue exit ramp will also be closed for approximately two years while the roadway is rebuilt.

In 2010, some 41 million vehicles used the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, which connects the Bronx to Queens and Long Island. The bridge opened to traffic the day before the New York World’s Fair in Flushing, Queens on April 30, 1939.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Attempted burglaries

Neighbors stay alert.  It has been reported that there was a burglary attempt this afternoon  October 18th, on 6th avenue.  Three men wearing hooded sweatshirts were seen near a home acting suspiciously.  When they were approached they ran away toward Francis Lewis Park.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More neglect from DOT
By Connor Adams Sheets
Residents of one Whitestone neighborhood say they are fed up with recurring car crashes at what they describe as a dangerous intersection, and the city announced Tuesday that it will undertake a new study to evaluate whether to take steps to address their concerns.

The intersection of 149th Street and 10th Avenue has been the site of at least 30 car accidents in the past decade, neighbors say, and the damage is not limited to the vehicles involved in the incidents.

Barbara and Victor Castellano live with their family in a home on the corner in question, where two of their brood’s cars were crushed while parked by vehicles speeding through the residential area in separate incidents three years ago.

“People think it’s a four-way stop-sign, and they don’t realize it’s not and they just blow right by,” Victor Castellano said Oct. 6, the day after the most recent crash sent a driver to the hospital. “People don’t even slow down, they just fly past here.”

The Castellanos and other nearby families, including that of neighbor Janet Smith, have taken a number of avenues to get signs installed on 149th, from calling and writing the city Department of Transportation and elected officials to threatening more drastic measures.

“I’m ready to paint a yellow line and paint ‘stop’ out there and get arrested for it because I’m fed up,” Barbara Castellano said.

In September 2009, the DOT denied a request for two new stop signs at the intersection, but a spokesman said Tuesday that the DOT will initiate a new 12-week study of the location. The spokesman said there were only two injuries and no deaths to motor vehicle occupants recorded there between 2006 and 2010, and no pedestrian injuries or deaths.

Neighbor Monica Rubin’s said her fence was destroyed when an errant vehicle drove through it, and a motorcyclist was killed near the corner several years ago after colliding with a vehicle at the intersection.

"We have kids walking home from school,” Rubin said last week, a day after the Honda van and Infiniti sedan crashed. “Yesterday my son was riding his bike right near here, and the car was up in their yard. Imagine if he had been there. It’s insane.”

Photo courtesy the Castellano family


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Whitestone Bridge Lane Closures

Evening lane closures tomorrow (Tues 10/4) at the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge to allow for a concrete pour. On Tuesday starting at 6pm, we will have 2 lanes open to the Bronx and 2 lanes (rather than 3) open to Queens. There may be delays in the Queens-bound direction during this time because that is the more heavily traveled direction for evening rush hour at the BWB. (You may recall that during our current Bronx approach project, we have a permanent lane closure in place for the ongoing construction so we normally only have 5 of the 6 lanes available for traffic, but 3 lanes are always open in the peak direction.) We apologize for any inconvenience!  The work is weather-permitting.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Arrest made in attempted rape

Friday, September 30, 2011

From the Daily News:

Police have arrested a man they say was the pervert who tried to sexually assault a woman alongside a Queens highway before he was scared away by a former Marine.

Kenneth King, 41, was charged with attempted rape, police said Friday afternoon.

Police officials did not immediately say how they tracked down and collared King.

Suspect caught

The suspect in the attempted Rape in our community has been caught.  Details are still coming in , Thank You all for your help.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Former Marine foils rape in wooded area on side of Queens road

PLEASE READ THIS STORY.  IF YOU SEE HIM, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY. clean-cut white man, 45 to 55 years-old, weighing about 220 pounds, with salt-and-pepper hair and a goatee.

BY Jennifer H. Cunningham AND Corky Siemaszko
Wednesday, September 28th 2011, 3:50 PM
DelMundo, Anthony freelance NYDN

Bryan Teichman, 31, saved a woman from getting raped in a secluded area off a Queens roadway. Take our PollCrime in the Big Apple
Racing to rescue a helpless woman from the clutches of a would-be rapist, Bryan Teichman had just seconds Wednesday to decide whether he should start yelling - or revert to his Marine training and attack the man.

"My gut said to scream first, to avoid the conflict," said the 31-year-old Queens resident. "So I screamed, you know, some profanities, but basically: 'Get off her!'"

That was enough, police said, to send the suspect running - and for Teichman to be hailed as the city's newest hero.

"If I would have caught him, I would've felt like that," the self-deprecating dad from Fresh Meadows said.

Police are now looking for the burly man, who Teichman said was dressed like a construction worker.

In an interview with The Daily News, Teichman gave a stirring account of how he suddenly found himself coming to the aid of a stranger who had been accosted in broad daylight.

"It blows my mind that someone has the audacity to do that at 9 o'clock in the morning," he said.

Police officers search the bushes along Cross Island Expressway near 148th St., the scene of the attempted rape. (Anthony DelMundo for News)

Teichman's brush with fate came as he was dropping off his daughter at the babysitter's house in Whitestone, which sits across the street from a small wooded area that abuts the Whitestone Expressway at the Cross Island Parkway service road and 148th St.

Most days, Teichman said, he leaves his daughter with Dawn Ottaviano at noon. On Wednesday, he dropped her off early so he could study for a physics exam at Nassau Community College, where he is an engineering major.

"I was in the house, and I heard some muffled screams," he said.
Outside the window, they saw a surreal scene unfold.

"At first, it looked like they were running," Ottaviano told The News. "When I looked closer, it looked like he was hoisting her, grabbing her, pushing her."

"When I saw him throw her over the guardrail, that's when I knew it wasn't play," added Teichman.

"I looked back at Dawn and I said 'Something's not right. I'm going over there.'"
Ottaviano told him, "Be careful, be careful," he said.

Heeding her warning, Teichman said he jogged across the street. "I didn't run over there," he said.

When he got to guardrail, Teichman said the man was "straddling her." He had one hand over her mouth and was "ripping at her jean jacket" with the other.

Teichman said the man must have been powerful because the woman's screams were completely muffled.

"He was strong enough to hold her mouth shut," he said. "It was silent. I had to pause there and think, 'Do I run after him first or do I scream first at him?'"

Teichman decided to fill the void with lots of noise.

"If Dawn didn't say, 'Be careful, be careful,' my instinct would have been to attack, because I have a wife, and a daughter, a two year old daughter," he said.

Startled, the attacker looked up and Teichman said he got a clear look at his face.

"Then he started running down the hill," he said. "I ran over to her."

By that point, the attacker had already reached the highway and was running northbound along the shoulder, he said.

Within minutes, police, alerted by the babysitter, began arriving and hunting for the suspect.

Teichman said he tried to comfort the weeping woman, who spoke very little English.

"She was saying, 'Thank you,'" he recalled. "That seemed like all she could say.'"

"She was frazzled," Ottaviano added. "Her whole back was full of dirt."

Another witness, Lisa Chianese, said the woman was there waiting for her carpool ride into the city.

"God bless him," she said of Teichman. "He saved her."

Teichman described the attacker as a clean-cut white man, 45 to 55 years-old, weighing about 220 pounds, with salt-and-pepper hair and a goatee.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Francis Lewis Park

As of September 26th the old Playground will be will be closed as construction on the new playground begins.  Hopefully this will be the begining of wonderful things for our park, our community, and our children.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions, comments and or complaints.

Friday, September 23, 2011

DOE school bus fiasco Whitestone Highlight

By ERICA PITZI Staff reporter 8:35 p.m. EDT, September 22, 2011

WHITESTONE, NY (PIX11)— Parents with children who go to Junior High School 194 in Queens are scared to death for their kids new school commute.

And the kids are scared too.

"We shouldn't be able to go on the buses at our age because you never know, somebody might pick us up and steal us," 8th grader Megan Hall told PIX 11.

Parent Susan Garcia said, "I don't think they're really safe on the buses, something could happen to them."

Garcia is one of many College Point parents in this predicament since the Department of Education cut school bus service to thousands of junior high school students, including Garcia's daughter Bella.

"It is really dangerous," said Bella.

Not to mention, their school commute can take up to two hours when they live only 15 minutes away.

6th Grader Melanie Dobular explained her route to us, saying, "I go on the 76, then get on 20b, then take the 25 rest of the way."

"This is completely unacceptable - all sorts of safety issues," said NYC Councilman Dan Halloran who is trying to help change this situation for his constituents.

"We're working hard with the Department (of Education) to get waivers for some kids, and we've gotten some of these variances through but the bottom line is the city needs to take better care of these kids as a whole. Our 12-year-olds should not be worrying about how getting to school."

Councilman Halloran says his office will hold a press conference on Monday to raise even more awareness to this issue in hopes of creating change for the affected communities.

The DOE told PIX 11 the cuts came "because of the tight budget" but says it is providing eligible students with Metro Cards.

That does not address the student safety issue, so for some parents, that response is not enough.

"I don't think it's even close to enough," said Garcia.

Even the kids can tell the DOE what is good enough.

"I want them to bring back the yellow school buses," said Hall.

Copyright © 2011, WPIX-TV


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whitestone Bayside fields neglected for too long

By Connor Adams Sheets

Thursday, September 22, 2011 11:09 AM EDT

Community leaders and elected officials are working through a number of avenues to improve Little Bay Park in Bayside, saying the park has been neglected for too long.

Located in the shadow of the Throgs Neck Bridge, the 55-acre beachside greenspace offers sports fields, a bike path and a roller hockey rink, but it has seen little in the way of improvements since 1999, when $1.2 million in city money funded the creation of the path and rink.

On Monday afternoon, City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and Malba Gardens Civic Association President Al Centola met with representatives of the city Parks Department at the park — bounded by the beach, Cross Island Parkway, Utopia Parkway and Totten Avenue — to discuss ways to fix the soccer fields, which suffer from poor drainage and other woes because of their location near the salty waters of Little Bay.

Centola hopes at least one of the park’s two soccer fields can be fixed in time for next year’s season, but the cost to do the needed work is proving prohibitive. Halloran said it costs $2.3 million per field to outfit them with artificial turf, or $1.5 million for sod. The price tags are so high because of the need to do extensive drainage upgrades before undertaking such work.

“We’re trying to get that redone because the field is a mess there. There’s no real field, there’s dust and dirt that turns into mud when it rains,” Centola said. “We’re pushing for turf but it’s more expensive, so we’ll settle for sod if it’s done right.”

Halloran’s office allocated $300,000 in city funds last year that can be used to pay for improvements at the park, and he told Centola Monday he may be able to get at least partial matching funds this year if the civic leader can convince Borough President Helen Marshall to dedicate money for the project. Centola said he and his fellow community members will lobby her to put $750,000 toward the field work, and that he and Halloran are hoping to enlist landscape contractors to help foot the bill.


“There hasn’t been a lot of attention to Little Bay Park,” Schreiber said.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Little Bay Soccer Fields

We had a meeting today with Councilman Halloran, his Chief of Staff, St. Luke's CYO Athletic group, and the Parks Department about Little Bay Fields under the Throgs Neck Bridge.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What we are about

This blog is for the community.  We take great pride in our dedication to the safety and security to our children and the community. 

If you are serious about getting involved in your community, get out and do something.  Go join a Civic association, anyone you like, there are 3 in the immediate community.  All we ask is that you take the best interest of the community at heart, be it your block, your children's school, the local youth group, Boy scouts, Church Group, Sports Group, whatever you decide is fine, just get out there and be active..  Give back to the community.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Due to the large response from the Community, and in order to bring you information in a more timely fashion we are updating our site.




Friday, July 29, 2011

Crime heating up in Whitestone

On 160th street in Beechhurst a Red Nissan Maxima had all the tires stolen, car was left on cyder blocks.  The other day ‎2 Bicycles have been STOLEN from 2 separate houses on 11th ave between 154th street and 152nd street.

Keep your eyes open and gates locked.  If you see something or someone that you have never seen before, keep your eyes open, alert your neighbors, turn your houselights on (so they know people are up and about), and if necessary, call 911.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Proposal for Community Space at the remaining CYO site.

Whitestone may get a new place to play ball if some community leaders have their way.

Alfredo Centola, president of the Malba Gardens Civic Association, has floated the idea of converting 6 vacant acres next to the Waterside Estates at the Cresthaven development into a community space featuring possible amenities such as sports fields, a clubhouse and more.

The site, with a sweeping view of the Throgs Neck Bridge, was formerly owned by Catholic Charities — the nonprofit arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn — which operated a summer camp and country club there for nearly four decades.

But ever since 1988, when the camp closed amid declining membership, it has sat unused, overgrown with tall grasses and empty except for a couple of cement foundations left over from the days when it hosted area children as a camp with a pool, hiking, playgrounds and other offerings.

Centola sees the site, bounded by Powells Cove Boulevard, 6th Avenue, 150th Street and the homes of Waterside Estates, as a rare chance for the community to come together to create something to benefit local residents.

“It would be ideal if you could take the remaining 6 acres and turn it into something for the kids,” Centola said while gazing out over the neglected lot. “The options are open right now. This is just an idea and a seedling. This is a concept that can grow and help the community.”

So he and Malba Gardens Civic member Dan Barton are looking into how best to pursue such a plan. The site was approved for construction of 55 homes before the economic downturn, so Centola and Barton want to work fast to purchase the property before the market rebounds. Barton said a real estate firm estimated last year that the land was worth $25 million. He and Centola say they hope it could sell for 50 percent to 70 percent less than what it was once worth.

A coalition will be needed to support such an effort and outlay of funds, they say, so the civic is working with elected officials, local sports leagues and private companies to try to build a coalition to bring it to fruition.

“There’s no reason why the residents of a place like Whitestone can’t come together and preserve a piece of property for the youth in the community rather than build more houses and cause more traffic,” Barton said. “We’re going to contact corporations, we’re going to get together with people who’ve done this before, whether colleges or the YMCA or other groups, plus we could collect some private donations.”

Avella said this may be the time to revisit his plan and that he will direct his office to research possibilities for the site. “There aren’t enough sports fields in northeast Queens for all the teams and kids who want to play,” Avella said. “I’ll have my staff start to look into it, and if theres an opportunity here, I’ll set up a meeting with [area civics] and see where we can go from here.”

But City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) said the plan may be hard to pull off.

“The Council member is concerned about costs,” Halloran spokesman Steve Stites said via e-mail. “The city just saved 20 firehouses and many teachers’ jobs, and we are still in a recession. Six privately owned acres in Whitestone won’t come cheap.”

Devon O’Connor, founding president of the Welcome to Whitestone Commercial and Residential Civic Association, said he is willing to pursue the project anyway.

“It’s a nice, open field, it’s about 6 acres and it’s a great spot,” O’Connor said. “Whatever I can do to get something like that going, I’d love to help, whether it be fund-raising or getting grants from the city, whatever I can do. I’d love to see something like that.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Here you have it, the last piece of land in Whitestone.  Fitting that it once belonged to the Children and the Community.  Developers came, and made a profit, leaving nothing for the community.  If this were Manhattan, they would have been required to incorporate Community accessible space. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Civic Mindedness in Whitestone

Also from Whitestone Times:

Whitestone’s civic leaders are clashing and local politicians are taking sides.

The Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Association will likely soon be facing new competition from the Welcome to Whitestone Commercial and Residential Civic Association proposed last month by Devon O’Connor, founder of the year-old Welcome to Whitestone community group.

The possibility of a new game in town has instigated divisive reactions by Whitestone’s local legislators and its other, smaller civic, the Malba Gardens Civic Association, which was reactivated several years ago by Al Centola after more than a decade of inactivity.

City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) has said he supports the creation of any new groups that will advocate for his constituents, while state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has argued emphatically that the creation of a new civic would divide Whitestone.

“It’s unfortunate there will be another civic that is in competition with the Taxpayers,” Avella said earlier this month.

Marlene Cody, a vice president for the Taxpayers, and Avella did not return repeated requests for comment.

Avella ruffled O’Connor’s feathers earlier this month when he contended that the 20-year-old may find himself in legal trouble by raising money for the Welcome to Whitestone community group while it is still under consideration for official nonprofit status, according to Avella spokesman Ed Fleming and O’Connor.

“Tony Avella told my grandparents that someone should look into Devon’s finances, that maybe [I] was doing the organization wrong,” O’Connor said. “I haven’t done anything wrong, my lawyer says I haven’t done anything wrong, so I have no idea what the problem is.”

O’Connor said he wants to start the civic to help the community, which he says is not being fully represented by the Taxpayers.

“To say the Taxpayers represent the community, I’m not saying they don’t, but I’m not saying they do either,” he said. “A lot of people I’ve spoken to don’t even know who the Taxpayers are.”

Cody has not commented publicly on the new civic, but she has taken a chilly tone toward Centola’s group. Both O’Connor and Centola have expressed dissatisfaction with the efficacy of the Taxpayers.

An e-mail Cody sent Centola May 11 about a community issue revealed a new contempt for the community, according to Centola.

“We received your e-mail. You are not a member of our civic. If our members have questions, they can contact us,” the e-mail began before failing to respond to his concerns. ( Cody's email was posted on a previous post)

Centola believes that the group feels it is under assault by new blood.

“They’ve had a lock with the politicians and now there are other groups making a stink and mixing things up and they’re worried,” Centola said. “Anything that’s going to come out for the betterment of the community and is going to open dialogue and discussion I think is good. The Whitestone Taxpayers have had a stranglehold on the community for too long, and they’ve become complacent.”

O’Connor and Centola planned to meet Tuesday to discuss ways they can work together.

Halloran said he supports the creation of new civics.

“We want to preserve and protect the neighborhoods, but at the same time we need to represent the small-business owners in the community,” Halloran said. “It’s a big enough community, there certainly could be more than one civic association here.”

An open letter to City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone): As well as Avella, and Braunstein

From Whitestone Times

We are getting a lot of feedback with regards to the Community Board 7 meeting Malba Gardens Civic Association President Alfredo Centola attended last month. As per our conversation with your chief of staff, we were told the councilman spoke to city Department of Transportation Queens Commissioner Maura McCarthy about the trial one-way westbound conversion at 5th Avenue from 147th Street to the Whitestone Expressway service road. It was to be on a trial basis and that she had no objection to it.

Then at the meeting, as you know, CB 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty announced that McCarthy was not in favor of a trial one-way. In speaking with several of our members, who are also members of other local civic associations, there are several questions being raised that need to be answered and/or clarified.

We do not understand how McCarthy would not contact the councilman about her “sudden change” in position. We appreciate the letter the councilman was about to send McCarthy in order to make the “formal” request and trust he is still willing to send out the request.

As you are aware, state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) was at the meeting and said he would speak to the councilman about requesting the trial one-way. Kelty suggested that the assemblyman and councilman contact the commissioner’s office, as it may sway her back to her original agreement with the councilman.

Your attention to this dangerous situation on 5th Avenue is greatly appreciated, as is all the hard work and time your office has put into this issue.

We look forward to meeting with you in order to get some insight as to what actualy transpired and what the next course of action will be.

Laurie Reegan
Second Vice President
Malba Gardens Civic Association

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The colaborative community response to our open letter to GWTCA

Below is the response to our letter from the GWTCA.  As we reach out to the largest civic group in our community with the words "Greater Whitestone" in its name, we are confused with the lack of willingness to work as a community to resolve a serious problem in Whitestone.

The previous post has the original letter if you want the background , and this is their response, you decide.

From: GWTCA (
Sent: Wed 5/11/11 12:49 PM

Dear Malba Gardens,

We received your e mail. You are not a member of our civic if our members have questions they can contact us. You where informed at the CB 7 meeting of our decision on the 5 th ave one way. The 109 has there meeting tonight at 730 hope you can attend to discuss the enforcement issue.As for working together we do with civics you only care about 5 th ave. we have many problems in the area but you are never hear from you.

Marlene Cody

Vice President
Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association



Sunday, May 1, 2011

An open letter to Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Association, Waterside Estates, and Whitestone Boosters Beach

The Following is a letter our group sent out to Greater Whitestone Taxpayers, Waterside Estates, Whitestone Boosters, Community Board 7, and all our Elected Representatives, in the hopes of creating a true Community based effort to remedy a serious Traffic Problem.

After meeting with our members last night, several of which belong to Whitestone Taxpayers as well. There were several concerns that were voiced regarding the problem on 5th avenue. While the discussion of getting enforcement was a good start, it is unfortunately a temporary fix, as the minute PD is not present for more than a day the trucks will be back. There is also the fact that as per DOT 107 cars per hour travel on our small residential street with 33% of those cars speeding . This too needs to be addressed, as it creates a seriously dangerous situation.

Our goal is to work together with your group as in the past with Pat Carpentiere and Barbara Ellenberger. With that being the goal, we are asking you what suggestions your group may have that would rectify the problem before it is too late.

We have proposed the following:
1) Bollards running from the exit down to just past 4th avenue (Proposed by Whitestone Taxpayers).

2) Talking to MTABT about stationing the officer that is to be under the Bridge at the corner of 3rd avenue allowing them to enforce truck restrictions and slowing down cars (Proposed by GWTCA).

3) Removing the extended concrete divider back past 6th avenue as it was pre 1994 ( a little further back for slowdown before turn), thus allowing cars the option of turning onto 6th avenue as well as 5,4,3rd avenues
(as it was from 1939 - 1994).

4) Getting the exit pushed back to the original design of 7th avenue which, as we all know is a 70 foot street that leads to a commercial part of the neighborhood. It was designed by Robert Moses to be the exit street and handle exiting traffic.

5) Turning 5th avenue to a one way westbound operation.

6) Turning both 5th and 4th avenues to a one way westbound operation (Proposed by GWTCA).

7) Keeping the 3rd avenue exit closed permanently except for Emergency Vehicles as on the Cross Island Parkway by the BayBridge complex. This would alleviate all traffic problems in the entire area, would alleviate much of the crime issues by eliminating the easy access to the community, increase property value, and many more benefits that we can discuss at a later time.

With the 3rd avenue exit being closed for a two year period, this will give us in the community an opportunity to see how we are affected and if it can work. For the benefit of the entire community, we should utilize this closure as a "trial period" before we make any decisions against permanent closure. This is a gift being given to us in the community and we should not let it be wasted.

We still feel that converting both 5th and 4th avenues to a one way on a trial basis (until exit is closed) would be a good test to see how it affects the community and give us the ability to reconvene and work out any issues that may arise. This would allow us all in the neighborhood to have an educated say in how we the community members are affected. Instead of pushing ahead for a permanent conversion with no recourse after.
These are our suggestions and concerns regarding the 5th avenue problem we await your suggestions and working with your group to make our community safer for all the families that live in it, especially their children.

Malba Gardens Civic Association

We will be emailing our letter to PD requesting enforcement, and highlighting the lack of enforcement within our entire community. With your input we hope to send a detailed Group letter.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We welcome come your imput

If you are a resident of the Malba Gardens community , we would love to hear from you.  Please email us your concerns, comments, and or anything you would like to see posted on the blog.  You can even submit annonymously.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More Hazardous conditions on 5th avenue

These are pics of DEP removing hydrant because it was leaking. Our concern is with the fact that it now stinks like Diesel on the block (did they get it all?) and if hydrant was leaking, why did they back fill yesterday

Over two weeks after a serious Haz Mat situation occurred on 5th avenue in Whitstone Queens. DEP was on scene once again today to replace the Hydrant that was run over by a Tractor Trailer illegally turning onto our residential street. At that time it was reported that after the truck hit the hydrant, he attempted to back out of the street, in effect running the hydrant over twice. IF THIS WAS A PERSON , IT WOULD HAVE INSURED DEATH!!! In his attempt to back out he ruptured his gas tank and spilled approximately 75 - 100 gallons of Diesel fuel on our street, our sewer system, and our soil.

A company apparently hired by the trucking company came yesterday to remove soil and back fill with sand. They left four large rocks that were under ground above ground, around the hydrant? Today DEP had to dig out the Hydrant because it was leaking. Could this have been a danger if one of the homes on the block caught fire? Has this Hydrant been leaking since March 6th, the date of accident? How is it that those digging and back filling yesterday did not notice the leak? Have lives been once again placed in danger by jeopardizing a Fire Hydrant?

Now that DEP dug out the hydrant, the smell of diesel has neighbors crying foul. "Our entire block smells like Diesel", a DEP worker was seen coming out of the hole and overheard complaining "it should never have been back filled , it stinks down there, they need to get more out!".

This is of great concern to us, as you can imagine.

This traffic problem needs to be resolved.

View IMG00374-...jpg in slide showView IMG00371-...jpg in slide showView IMG00372-...jpg in slide show

Did this compromise homes , residents, and Firemen if their was a fire?

Did they get all the Diesel?

What about the Diesel that went into the Sewers?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our Forgotten Waterfront Park




While the MTABT has been very responsive to our community and the cleanup of the play ground during the warm months, many of our neighbors feel the Parks Department has been asleep at the wheel with regards to the rest of the park.




Hundreds if not Thousands of Newlyweds come to our park yearly to get their wedding photos taken in Our park. Scores of young families take their children to the park .

Should your children have to play in this park?
Are we not deserving of the same services other communities receive?

You Decide.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Monday, March 7, 2011
Truck causes Haz Mat situation in Malba

All of the pictures I sent you were taken tonight March 6th, 8PM, as another Tractor Trailer attempted to turn onto our small residential street. This driver struck the hydrant, and ruptured his gas tank as his cab completely jumped the sidewalk spilling Diesel fuel all over the street. According to witnesses he then attempted to back out of the block. What if the hydrant was a person? or worse, a Child? HE ATTEMPTED TO BACK UP? IN ESSENCE RUNNING THE BODY OVER AGAIN?

Now tragedy was averted this time as it was only a hydrant. It did however become a HAZ MAT CONDITION which the Fire Department handled quickly (Albeit a Haz Mat condition of this magnitude should not be occurring on a 24 ft wide residential street, especially when we forewarned them over and over). Our organization has been trying to get our dangerous street converted into a one way westbound in order to avoid such happenings.

Today a Hydrant, tomorrow ? Yet if you ask Maura McCarthy of Queens DOT the traffic on 5 th avenue is not a safety issue, it is just a mere inconvenience. You look at these pictures and tell me, is it an inconvenience or a tragedy waiting to happen? Gene Kelty Community Board 7 chairman claims that his other group, Boosters Beach is against the change as it would be an inconvenience.

This is not the first time a Tractor Trailer has turned on our residential street, along with the scores of box trucks, on top of the 107 cars per hour all day every day (As per DOT traffic survey). For FIFTEEN YEARS the Malba Gardens Civic Association has been fighting to make this street safe for the residents, especially the 18 children under the age of 16 living on the first block of 5th avenue alone.



Queens Crap: Truck causes Haz Mat situation in Malba#links

Queens Crap: Truck causes Haz Mat situation in Malba#links

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shame on CB 7

Letter to the Editor (Times Ledger):

With regards to Chuck Apelian’s comments that Feinstein Iron Works take out a full-page ad in two local newspapers apologizing to him and Community Board 7 for his honest comments (“CB 7, Feinstein make amends after Willets clashes,” Jan. 20), it is amazing he would have the audacity to make such demands. After all, he is a public official in his roles as vice chairman of CB 7 and the CB 7 land use chairman.

Our organization has had the misfortune of dealing with CB 7 with regards to a public safety matter, which it quickly turned into an inconvenient matter. Marilyn Bitterman, district manager of CB 7, was responsible for writing a survey that was to be sent out to our community regarding the dangerous situation. The manner in which she wrote the survey was biased and stressed the “inconvenience” of driving an extra two blocks.

We immediately sent out a letter requesting to have more time to review the survey in order to come to a more non-biased wording and, objecting to the wording as shown to Alfredo Centola, we received no response and the survey went out anyway. We then requested to see the surveys under the Freedom of Information law; they illegally refused us. We obtained a decision from Robert Freeman from the state Committee on Open Government; they still refused.

A couple of months later, we received an e-mail from an MTABT official quoting Bitterman and her ill feelings to the president of our civic association. This e-mail quotes Bitterman as saying “she would step over his prone body and refuse to call for help.” Our organization immediately sent Apelian a letter calling on him to act, as the CB 7 vice chairman, to address Bitterman’s unprofessional and biased comments. He replied, “It will be reviewed,” but then never responded.

Several months ago, some members of our organization received a call from a man claiming to be on the board in regards to conducting an investigation. CB 7 investigating itself? To date we have heard nothing about the results, if any, to the investigation. City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) has refused to get involved, saying he is not responsible for oversight of CB 7, but we only asked he inquire about the outcome of the investigation as our elected official.

We do not know what Apelian is looking for. If he has such a thin skin, maybe he should exclude himself from the vice chairmanship. For the most part, he has a much calmer and respectful tone than his counterpart Eugene Kelty. But to ask for an apology and take out a full-page ad in two local papers? Maybe CB 7 should take out ads in two or three papers to apologize for violating the FOIA law, refusing to acknowledge the Committee on Open Government’s decision and especially for Bitterman’s comments to an MTABT official showing her disregard for Centola’s life.

After all, what is right for CB 7 should be right for the community it represents.

Malba Gardens Civic Association

Queens Crap: CB7 has some nerve! (part 1)#links

Queens Crap: CB7 has some nerve! (part 1)#links

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Annual "Reassessment" increase from the Department of Finances

It is official, the Whitestone Jewels property just received a 70.6% "Reassessment" decrease while all of our residential Homeowners just got in the mail their "Reassessment" increase of on average 25%.

As many of you are aware our organization in a pre-emptive move informed our Councilman that the Whitestone Jewels tax break seemed excessive and unfair. The Councilman informed our group that they did not get a "Tax Break" but a "Reassessment". Well, a "Reassessment" has direct impact on our annual Real Estate Taxes, and now that we all received our "Reassessments" in the mail, why did the small individual residential homeowner get an increased "Reassessment"?

This does not seem fair to us at Malba Gardens Civic, Why do the Homeowners have to foot the bill once again? The small local working class family who actually live in the community, why did they get an increase?


Friday, January 28, 2011

Our Letter to the Whitestone Times regarding CB 7s request for apologies.

Malba Gardens civic cries foul over survey review

Friday, January 28, 2011 11:07 AM EST

With regards to Chuck Apelian’s comments that Feinstein Iron Works take out a full-page ad in two local newspapers apologizing to him and Community Board 7 for his honest comments (“CB 7, Feinstein make amends after Willets clashes,” Jan. 20), it is amazing he would have the audacity to make such demands. After all, he is a public official in his roles as vice chairman of CB 7 and the CB 7 land use chairman.

Our organization has had the misfortune of dealing with CB 7 with regards to a public safety matter, which it quickly turned into an inconvenient matter. Marilyn Bitterman, district manager of CB 7, was responsible for writing a survey that was to be sent out to our community regarding the dangerous situation. The manner in which she wrote the survey was biased and stressed the “inconvenience” of driving an extra two blocks.

We immediately sent out a letter requesting to have more time to review the survey in order to come to a more non-biased wording and, objecting to the wording as shown to Alfredo Centola, we received no response and the survey went out anyway. We then requested to see the surveys under the Freedom of Information law; they illegally refused us. We obtained a decision from Robert Freeman from the state Committee on Open Government; they still refused.

A couple of months later, we received an e-mail from an MTABT official quoting Bitterman and her ill feelings to the president of our civic association. This e-mail quotes Bitterman as saying “she would step over his prone body and refuse to call for help.” Our organization immediately sent Apelian a letter calling on him to act, as the CB 7 vice chairman, to address Bitterman’s unprofessional and biased comments. He replied, “It will be reviewed,” but then never responded.

Several months ago, some members of our organization received a call from a man claiming to be on the board in regards to conducting an investigation. CB 7 investigating itself? To date we have heard nothing about the results, if any, to the investigation. City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) has refused to get involved, saying he is not responsible for oversight of CB 7, but we only asked he inquire about the outcome of the investigation as our elected official.

We do not know what Apelian is looking for. If he has such a thin skin, maybe he should exclude himself from the vice chairmanship. For the most part, he has a much calmer and more respectful tone than his counterpart Eugene Kelty. But to ask for an apology and take out a full-page ad in two local papers? Maybe CB 7 should take out ads in two or three papers to apologize for violating the FOIL law, refusing to acknowledge the Committee on Open Government’s decision and especially for Bitterman’s comments to an MTABT official showing her disregard for Centola’s life.

After all, what is right for CB 7 should be right for the community it represents.

Malba Gardens Civic Association

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Councilman Hallorans Response

We have received a response from the councilman regarding the 50% tax break given to the old CYO property as well as some other issues we brought to his attention. We will be reviewing his response and posting the results shortly. Unfortunately we did no receive an electronic copy of his response so we can not post it at this time. We are acquiring a scanner and will be scanning and posting all future correspondence shortly.

We thank the councilman for looking into the issues and responding.