Free senior transportation program returns

Screen shot via Google Maps
Screen shot via Google Maps

Councilman Paul Vallone is bringing back the district’s free senior transportation program.

Thanks to a $90,000 funding allocation, as well as a $50,000 addition in partnership with Councilman Bob Holden and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, the program offers rides to areas within the five boroughs and western Nassau County.

To schedule a ride to an essential medical or vaccination appointment, eligible seniors should call the Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center at 718-224-7888 between 9 a.m. and noon, and leave their name and phone number in a voicemail to schedule a next-day ride.

The Selfhelp team will then return the call and arrange a ride.

All seniors who use the service must complete a basic application with demographic information and an emergency contact, and provide their destination.

The transportation program will be even more valuable for seniors who are on their way to get vaccinated during the pandemic.

Oakland Gardens woman charged with poisoning husband with ant/roach killer


A 70-year-old Oakland Gardens woman was arrested and charged with attempted assault for allegedly poisoning her husband with an ant and roach killer on more than one occasion.

Suncha Tinevra, who lives on 223rd Place, was charged with attempted assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted, she faces up to four years in prison.

According to Queens DA Melinda Katz, Tinevra was seen on surveillance video squeezing a white powdery substance from a bottle with a red cap and yellow label on January 12. She retrieved the bottle from the cabinet under the sink and tried to spike her husband’s coffee a few times.

Detectives recovered the bottle a few days later. The label indicated that the content was boric acid, which is used to kill ants and roaches.

“Domestic violence is not limited to mental and physical abuse,” Katz said. “The victim did become sick, but thankfully did not die.”

Ung ahead in fundraising in District 20 race


Taking a look at the fundraising numbers posted by the candidates in District 20, which includes Flushing and other portions of northeast Queens, City Council candidate Sandra Ung is leading the way with $87,00 and an additional $142,600 in matching funds.

According to Ung’s campaign, she raised over $45,000 since the last filing. Her total, including matching funds, is nearly $230,000, placing her campaign among the top fundraisers in Queens and the second-highest in Queens.

Ung, who most recently worked for Congresswoman Grace Meng, drew from 500 honors across the city.

“I am honored to have received the support of so many members of our community,” she said. “These funds are going to allow me to spend more time listening and speaking with voters to hear about their issues and priorities.”

She was recently endorsed by the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, Local 831 IBT, and also has the support of 21 in ’21.

Neng Wang, the former director of CPC’s Nan Shan Senior Center, has raised more than $65,000 for his campaign. That’s followed by John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce and CB7 member, who has raised over $50,000.

Hailing Chen, an Uber driver, has raised nearly $34,000 and received $72,000 in matching funds.

Another new entrant in the race is Dao Yin, who made two failed attempts running for Queens borough president. He has raised nearly $11,000.

Lee leads the way in fundraising for District 23

Screen Shot 2020-12-16 at 1.07.25 AM

On Tuesday, we shared the most recent fundraising numbers in the District 19 race. This time, we’ll take a look at the numbers for the 10 candidates running in District 23.

Leading the pack is nonprofit executive and community board member Linda Lee, who raised $61,000, according to the Campaign Finance Board. She has met the qualifying threshold for matching funds, and is the first candidate in the race to do so.

According to Lee’s campaign, Lee received more than 400 donors, including over 140 from within the district. She launched her campaign some three months ago.

“I am grateful for the incredible outpouring of support from neighbors, friends and members of the community who want to see a new type of leader in Eastern Queens,” Lee said.

Organizer Jaslin Kaur, who is backed by DSA and the Working Families Party, raised $35,000. According to her Twitter feed, Kaur’s campaign has received a whopping 1,132 donors, including 947 unique donors. The average contribution was $37.

Community Board 2 District Manager Debra Markell is third in the race in terms of fundraising after raising $26,000. Community activist Harpreet Toor raised $19,000.

Other candidates in the race include Sanjeev Jindal with $16,500, Steve Behar with nearly $9,000 and Seth Breland with $6,000. Three other candidates have raised less than $1,000.

District 19 candidates announce fundraising numbers


The numbers are in!

With the primary for local elections just months away, candidates faced a fundraising deadline on January 15th, providing observers a look into just how much support donors have for their campaigns.

In northeast Queens’s District 19, City Council candidate Richard Lee has raised over $60,000 to date, and has earned $168,888 in matching funds. He leads the pack in fundraising so far.

Lee, who most recently served as budget director at Borough Hall, has 142 in-district contributions.

Earlier this month, Lee was endorsed by Congressman Tom Suozzi, who represents a portion of the district in Washington.

“Richard has the dedication and experience necessary to ensure all residents of the 19th District have a voice in City Hall,” Suozzi said.

Another candidate for District 19, Austin Shafran, announced that he raised more than $45,000 in just three months. He also has qualified for matching funds.

His January 15th filing includes nearly 350 individual donors, which includes local residents, civic association leaders, community board members, small business owners, seniors and more.

Shafran, who ran for the same City Council seat eight years ago, is a Bayside resident who has 15 years of government experience. For the past seven years, he’s been president of Metropolitan Public Strategies.

“I’m sincerely humbled by the outpouring of support for our campaign that will give us the deep resources needed to reach and mobilize voters across the district,” Shafran said.

Other candidates in this race include former Councilman and State Senator Tony Avella, who has raised $29,000 and received $84,000 in matching funds, CEC 26 President Adriana Aviles, who raised almost $11,000, KC Nabaraj, who has raised nearly $15,000, and former State Senate candidate Vickie Paladino, who has raised almost $18,000.

Little Neck man stole victims’ identities, went on buying spree


A 47-year-old man from Little Neck has been charged with grand larceny, identity theft and other crimes for allegedly stealing the identities of multiple victims and purchasing or leasing 11 cars between July 2019 and March 2020.

Yong “Jason” Jeon, 47, actively offered his services to non-English-speaking Koreans to help them buy or lease a car. According to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, he allegedly used their personal information as if his own, including their names, dates of birth and social security numbers.

Jeon drove off the lot with Kia cars, including Sorentos, Sedonas and Optimas. He collected nearly $60,000 in finder’s fees from the dealership that sold the cars.

According to the charges, in every purchase, Jeon forged the buyers’ signatures on documents.

If convicted of the crimes, Jeon faces between 3.5 to 7 years in prison.

“Using forged documents, fake identification and double-talk, this alleged conman swindled the car dealership out of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Katz said. “The other victims are the seven individuals who had their personal information stolen, and in some instances, their credit ratings ruined.

“Many of the victims didn’t realize they had been conned until they received big bills in the mail for cars they didn’t purchase or lease,” she added.

Assemblymember Ron Kim officially endorses Andrew Yang for mayor

Assemblymember Ron Kim officially endorsed Andrew Yang for mayor in Flushing on Friday. (Photo: Jacob Henry)

Assemblymember Ron Kim welcomed Andrew Yang to his district on Friday in Flushing, and officially endorsed the candidate for mayor of New York City.  

“He’s a leader of principle of character and a vision,” Kim said.  “It is time for bold policies that center around New Yorkers closest to the pain and that’s why I’m proud to endorse Andrew’s policies.”

Yang visited NYCHA’s Bland Houses with Kim, where many residents were left without gas for months over the summer.

“No one should be living without heat in the 21st century in New York City,” Yang said. “There are resources we can activate to invest in these complexes to help make them safer, more modern, and make repairs that should have been made years ago.”

Kim and Yang followed this by a walking through La Jornada, Queen’s largest food pantry, where the mayoral candidate spoke about how it was designed to feed thousands, but “is now being asked to feed ten times that many.”

“That should not be the case in the richest city in the world,” Yang said. “We can do better than that.”

Kim also brought Yang to the site of where immigrant sex-worker Yang Song jumped to her death in 2018 after harassment by New York police officers.

“There are many people working as migrant workers in the sex industry that have been victimized and harassed,” Yang said. “We need to decriminalize sex work here in New York City to show a model for what the better approach is.”

Kim said that he is endorsing Yang for mayor because the candidate is not just here for a photo, but to see the community’s real struggles, which have been made even worse due to the pandemic.

“Our poverty and pain cannot remain invisible to the top executive of our city,” Kim said. “I am proud to endorse Andrew Yang for mayor.”

Yang also spoke about how New Yorkers are frustrated with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, and even wished that workers at the food pantry could be vaccinated.

“I wish that the protocols were more reflective of the situations and realities that people are facing everyday,” Yang said. “A lot of us want the state and the city to get on the same page. As mayor, I will be intent on working very closely to make sure that New Yorkers are not frustrated.

Throughout all this, the mayoral candidate was seen taking pictures and saying hello to dozens of Flushing residents who seemed excited about the prospect of having Yang running their city.

“We will alleviate extreme poverty in New York City and have a guaranteed minimum income,” Yang said. “that is my pledge as mayor.  That was championed by Martin Luther King and many others.  It is decades and generations overdue but we will make it happen.”

Read more: Queens Ledger

Andrew Yang meets BP Richards for lunch in Flushing

Andrew Yang and Queens BP Donovan Richards at Szechuan House in Flushing, Queens. (Photo: Jacob Henry)
Andrew Yang and Queens BP Donovan Richards at Szechuan House in Flushing, Queens. (Photo: Jacob Henry)

After Andrew Yang announced his official run for mayor of New York City, the former 2020 presidential candidate met with Queens Borough President Donovan Richards on Thursday for lunch in Flushing.

Richards joked that he tried to get Yang to “endorse the Knicks,” while discussing the many challenges that Queens has faced during the pandemic, including adding more hospitals, protecting residents from evictions and improving transportation.

“Many of the issues that have really been exacerbated by this pandemic,” Richards said.  “We were the epicenter of the epicenter of this crisis.”

He would not officially endorse Yang for mayor, but said he is “looking for ideas” from all the candidates in the race.

“I am looking for someone who’s going to have a vision, that’s going to move this city forward, but also, an individual who’s going to make sure that Queens is front and center in this recovery,” Richards said.

Yang said that Richards is someone that everyone admires, and the candidate who receives the Borough President’s endorsement should be “very grateful.”

“He’s someone who works with anybody,” Yang said.  “That’s exactly the kind of leadership this city needs.”

Yang also touched on the issues facing the city as a whole, bringing up a conversation he had with a restaurant owner in Queens who had to close up shop after 35 years in business.

“That decision is playing out over and over again here in Queens and around the city,” Yang said.

He talked about how he has lived in New York City with his wife Evelyn for 25 years and called it “the greatest city in the world.”

“I’m running because we are in the midst of a historic crisis,” Yang said.  “I believe I can help.”

He is running on a platform that involves Universal Basic Income (UBI), which comes with the promise of giving direct cash payments to people in poverty.

“If you’re in extreme poverty, you’re trying to survive, you’re having difficulty keeping a roof over your head, or feeding yourself or your family,” Yang said. “If you have a little bit of money in your hands, it’s going to give you a much better chance at actually potentially finding a job.”

While there are critics of the UBI program, Yang said that these much-needed resources will be essential in helping New Yorkers to get back on their feet.

“Anyone who thinks that getting a little bit of money in the hands of the extremely poor is going to somehow curb their work ethic, in my opinion, has never actually spent time with people who are poor, and should do so before they have that kind of critique,” Yang said.

With the insurrection at the Capitol last week still fresh in every American’s mind, Yang also brought up Donald Trump, and said the president’s name on buildings in New York needs to go.

“It has bothered me even before he incited a riot that took multiple lives in our nation’s Capital,” Yang said.  At a minimum, we should be excising Trump’s name so that New Yorkers do not have to see it and think that somehow he’s associated with our city.”

Andrew Yang may be a buzzworthy candidate, but he still has to face off with established New York politicians like Comptroller Scott Stringer, Wall Street favorite Ray McGuire, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and many more.

The New York City Mayor race is crowded, with multiple candidates vying to win the Democratic nomination, with the primary officially taking place on June 22, 2021.

Read more: Queens Ledger

Eastern Queens pols announce new committee leadership posts

2021-01-07 Rozic Appointed Chair of Consumer Affairs and Protection

With the legislative session in Albany starting back up, local elected officials have been assigned new leadership positions.

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic was appointed chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection. It is her first appointment as chair of a standing committee. Rozic is serving her fifth term in the Assembly.

The committee is responsible for safeguarding consumer’ rights, including health and safety, personal privacy and regulation of business practices.

“In the weeks ahead, I look forward to engaging consumers, advocates, businesses and government agencies to map out an inclusive agenda responding to our most urgent needs,” Rozic said.

She also serves on the Committees on Ways & Means, Labor, Correction and Corporations, Authorities and Commissions.

Assemblyman Ron Kim, meanwhile, has been appointed as the chair of the Committee on Aging, where he will focus on the elderly and nursing home residents, particularly as COVID continues to affect older New Yorkers.

He says his immediate focus will be making sure the elderly receive their COVID vaccinations as soon as possible.

He will also fight for a new bill of rights for nursing home residents this legislative session.

“During this pandemic, my team and I saw firsthand how dysfunctional our care system is toward our elderly,” he said. “We worked hard to ensure the plight of our seniors, especially those living in nursing homes, was no longer ignored.”

The Shops at SkyView opens new Starbucks, Adidas


The Shops at SkyView has welcomed two new stores: Starbucks and Adidas.

Starbucks is located on level two next to Haagen-Dazs and Coco Tea, while Adidas, expanded to nearly 10,000 square feet, is on level four.

The new Adidas store has 78 percent more space than its previous space and will offer new collections for runnings, football, training and more.

“These strong retailers complement other businesses at SkyView and contribute to the culture that makes the neighborhood special,” said Rishika Mahtani, regional marketing manager at ShopCore Properties.