Sun News Briefs

Pol: Save Jamaica Bay from runway expansion


Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder recently sent a letter to Port Authority executives, urging them to reject proposals to expand the runway at JFK International Airport into Jamaica Bay.

Port Authority executives introduced a plan back in February 2011 which included filling in a significant part of Jamaica Bay.

“This plan has the potential to affect local neighborhoods and a wildlife refuge,” Goldfeder said. “Air traffic has greatly increased in recent years, and I understand the need for expansion, but this proposal has too many negative implications.”

Goldfeder said runway expansion into the bay has both environmental and economic risks. The area, he said, serves as one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the northeast and is home to more than 60 species of butterflies and an array of reptiles and fish. In addition, many local businesses rely on the bay, he said, and residents who enjoy the park would see the space reduced.

“The public has really made their opinion quite clear on the issue. They do not want any part of Jamaica Bay destroyed,” Goldfeder said.

Instead, the assemblymember urged the agency to explore different, potential solutions that he said would “accomplish the same goal with less impact on our local families and environment.”

According to Goldfeder, the 400-acre parcel of wetlands and shoreline in question was designated as a wildlife refuge, park and recreation area in 1972 by the National Parks System. Congressional approval would be necessary to fill it in, as federal law specifically prohibits any airport expansion in the protected zone, he said. An environmental study of the area stated that any further man-made incursion would “diminish a national environment asset for future generations,” said Goldfeder.

“Jamaica Bay is an incredible natural resource that deserves our protection,” he said.


Night of comedy at Church Hall


The Nativity BVM and St. Stan’s Parish will present a “Night of Comedy” on Saturday, March 24 at 8 p.m. The show will take place at Nativity Church Hall, located at 101-41 91st Street, and doors will open at 7:30 p.m. There will be hot dogs, snacks and an available bar. Tickets go for $20 per person. Show officials said some material may not be suitable for minors. For more information, call Steve Jasiak at 718-551-2333.


Gas price gouging tactics thwarted


The assembly has recently passed a bill that would allow victims of gas price gouging to sue violators. According to Assemblymember Mike Miller, the rising costs of oil have led to serious competition between gas distributors, causing many stations to charge outrageous amounts for a gallon of gasoline.

Miller said price gouging occurs when gas merchants continuously raise their prices over the course of a 24-hour period, dramatically increasing consumer costs without the actual price of gas going up. The “predatory practice,” he said, “allows a deceitful gas distributor to make unreasonable profits at a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet.”

“As gas prices constantly fluctuate, we must make sure Queens’ families don’t fall victim to price gouging at the pumps,” said Miller. “This legislation would ban gas stations from adjusting their prices multiple times daily.”

As of March 13, the average price of gas in New York is $3.98 a gallon — 22 cents higher than the national average, said Miller, adding that in many places around the state, gas prices have exceeded $4 per gallon.

However, before the law passed, only the state’s attorney general had the power to fine or prosecute violators. Now, consumers may seek justice and compensation from dishonest merchants, Miller said.


Bill encourages open government


Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder announced a new package of bills recently passed by the assembly that encourages transparency in government.

“This package of bills allows New Yorkers to have greater access to state government by increasing openness and accountability,” Goldfeder said.

Among the changes, the legislation bars government agencies from inappropriately using the copyright law to deny access to a public record and limits the time in which state agencies would have to appeal court decisions that order the release of documents, the assemblymember said.

“We need to restore the public’s trust in government. Southern Queens and Rockaway families deserve an open government that works for them,” Goldfeder said.