SUBWAY VOTE POSTPONED A Transit Authority committee has postponed a vote on proposed subway By MICHAEL O. ALLEN

May 16, 2001

Transit Authority committee has postponed a vote on proposed subway service changes, including the controversial plan to shorten the G line.

New York City Transit and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials will instead consider a new proposal that community groups opposed to the TA plan offered on Monday, leaders of the groups said yesterday.

The TA meeting, originally scheduled for tomorrow, will instead be held May 24.

The subway service changes had initially been on the agenda of the MTA board in March, but were taken off the table at the request of Gov. Pataki, and have been under discussion ever since.

John Leon, a consultant to the Noble Street Block Association in Greenpoint, which has led the fight over G train service, said the group had submitted a plan proposing the G train remain as it is, and the F train continue to use the 53rd St. tunnel between Queens and Manhattan.

“This should make the Queens riders happy and, of course, it would make Greenpoint-North Brooklyn G riders happy as well because their train would continue to go to Continental Ave.-Forest Hills,” Leon said. The MTA has proposed ending the G line at Court Square in Long Island City.

Tina Chan, transportation chairwoman for the Queens Civic Congress, said the communities’ proposal — which would have the new V line go through the new 63rd St. tunnel instead of switching the F to the 63rd St. tunnel— answers all of the agency’s concerns while keeping vital subway services to Queens.

“The F train needs to service quite a few important stations on the west side of Queens, such as the Queensboro Plaza, Court Square, and there are quite a few important facilities along the line such as Citibank, LaGuardia College, the School Construction Authority,” she said.

“Most important is that a lot of F train commuters transfer to the No. 6 train at the 53rd and Lexington Ave. station,” she said.

“If you reroute the F train to the 63rd St. tunnel, people would lose that transfer. In order for them to transfer, they are going have to walk out of the station from 63rd St., walk about four blocks to the 59th St. station. We feel that’s just not a viable transfer at all.”

Present at the meeting Monday where the proposals were presented were MTA Executive Director Marc Shaw, TA President Lawrence Reuter, and other TA and MTA staff.

Representatives of the Straphangers Campaign and the Regional Planning Association, an independent planning group, helped the opponents draft the alternate plan.

“The MTA representatives looked at it very objectively and the TA president said he would check it out,” Leon said. “He wasn’t as enthusiastic so we have to wait to see what his ultimate decision is.”

Tom Kelly, spokesman for the MTA, said the community groups made “suggestions” rather than a proposal at Monday’s meetings.

The TA will continue meeting with community groups and listening to their suggestions, he said.

HIGH-TECH BOOST FOR COLLEGE Kingsboro gets 425G By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

Sunday, May 6, 2001

Kingsborough Community College students will soon be learning in the “smart” high-technology classrooms of the future.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) secured the initial $425,000 in a federal appropriation for the equipment — high-resolution plasma screens — and recently went to the campus for a demonstration.

“This essentially allows the boundaries of the classroom to be extended beyond the four walls to the Internet, to distance learning, or just about anything a creative professor would possibly want,” Weiner said.

Three 52-inch screens should be installed this year, school officials said.

They hope to eventually have a total of 30 screens, if the school gets the $2.25 million it wants for the program.

Prof. Delores Friedman, who teaches early childhood education, demonstrated how the technology can be used to enhance the instruction of kindergarten teachers.

With cameras operated by remote, a kindergarten class session can be observed, filmed and archived so the teacher can return to it later and analyze the session, using it as a learning tool, for instance.

“We can observe unobtrusively the kind of discoveries that children make,” Friedman said.

“Things we learn theoretically about children we can now see come alive on the screen. This opens up so many possibilities.”

Although meant to be used primarily for students in the early education program at the school, the screens will have wide application for students in any subject area.

Biology Prof. Maria Ortiz, for instance, demonstrated cell division and 3-D DNA animation on the screen.

“The type of dynamic process that goes on in biology is most effective when you can actually show the student the process as it is occurring,” she said.

Provost Stuart Suss, who teaches history, said the equipment will enhance instruction of modern students who respond to visual presentations.

“If I was teaching about World War I and I wanted to demonstrate to my students what gas warfare was like, there are videos that dramatically and accurately portray that,” he said.

“This gives me another tool for teaching the subject matter.”

Original Story Date: 05/6/01

WOODLAND TO REPLACE LANDFILL Mother Nature getting back 400 acres of f ormer dumps By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

nullSunday, December 3, 2000

Forget a tree. Soon, a forest will grow in Brooklyn.

In East New York, to be exact.

Atop the former dumps on Pennsylvania and Fountain Aves. now grow mugworts, fragmites, some switch grass here and there and the occasional ailanthus, the tree that grows in Brooklyn.

The greenery doesn’t hide the rusted hulks of tire rims, the orphan gravel piles and stray dogs.

Nor can it eliminate the PCBs, other toxic wastes and pollutants, construction debris and household trash buried up to 130 feet high across the landfills’ 400-acre expanse before the dumps closed in 1985.

But onto this patchy landscape, ringed by Jamaica Bay’s splendor, an unlikely collection of interests has conspired to bring, of all things, a forest.

Starting in June and over the next four years, Brooklyn will host an experiment in landfill restoration, said John McLaughlin, director of ecological services for the city Department of Environmental Protection and the man behind the forest design.

The city will denude this acreage of its poor excuse for vegetation, cover the land with an environmentally approved plastic liner to cap the old landfills, then ship or truck in more than 1.3 million cubic yards of sandy soil.

The new soil – from a foot to 4 feet in depth – will provide the base for the forest.

McLaughlin’s design calls for 20 species of trees – 18,000 in all – 25 species of shrubs – up to 23,000 of ’em – and 30 species of grass and wildflowers across the two landfills.

All will be plants that grew on the coastline before European settlement.

In place of the landfill stench that used to waft over East New York, the aroma of hollies, birch, cedar, hickory, maple, oak and pine trees should fill the air.

There also will be trails for hiking and bicycling, picnic areas and perches for bird watching.

The price is expected to be $221 million.

McLaughlin, 40, was born in Astoria, Queens, and raised in Brooklyn. While other kids wanted to grow up to be Presidents or ballplayers, McLaughlin knew from the time he was about 10 or 11 that he would devote his life to horticulture.

“My aunt had a house on Long Island, and every summer I would go out there and plant a vegetable garden and do the shrubs and the trees,” he said. “I loved it.”

He has lived in Brooklyn since his family moved to Greenpoint when he was 2 years old. Today, he’s married and lives in Bay Ridge.

He said the East New York forest is by far the biggest project of its kind ever tackled in New York City.

“It’s a legacy to leave on to future generations,” McLaughlin said. “I’ll never get to see the final picture of what it’ll look like because it’ll take many, many years for the trees to grow to real appreciable size. But, if I could leave it on to my children or somebody else’s children to see, then that’s a wonderful thing.”

The forest, said Leander Shelley, a community leader who served on the citizens advisory committee that oversaw the restoration of the landfills, is a dream come true.

“I grew up here in East New York in the 1950s,” said Shelley, 57. “I remember the odor and the stench from the landfill, all the garbage being processed out there and dump.

“Now, people will be able to interact with nature here, in a setting like Central Park.”

The parties in this environmental reclamation are the residents who suffered because these landfills were their neighbor, the city DEP, the National Park Service, which owns much of the land as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

DEP will be responsible for monitoring gas emissions and maintaining the closed landfills for up to 30 years.

A century ago, Brooklyn did not reach as far as the spot where the landfill is located, McLaughlin said. The city’s growth led to the filling in of salt marshes in the area, first for human use, then for waste disposal that began in the 1950s and 1960s.

“We’ll just set the table, then have nature do the rest,” McLaughlin said. “We can’t duplicate it 100%. If you put [in] the scaffolding of the primary species, then through nature on its own, dispersal of seeds from wind or migrating birds, other species that go with that community would also come in.”

The hollies and other plants will provide food and nesting places for mammals and other wildlife such as hawks, owls and migratory songbirds.

“If they plant a forest that is available for people to use, it would be a beautiful spot to hike and look over Jamaica Bay,” said Steven Clemants, vice president of science at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “With the height of that landfill and the view, it would be gorgeous. There’d be an amenities value to people.”

Shelley can’t wait.

I’ll be the first one walking up there when it opens up, or try to be, anyway,” he vowed.

GRAPHIC: TARA ENGBERG John McLaughlin (l.), director of ecological services for the Department of Environmental Protection, and Geoffrey Ryan stand on what used to be a trash dump. TARA ENGBERG Bird’s-eye view of 400-acre landfill that was shut in 1985 and is being converted to forest.

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY No One Likes To Think About Dying, But Estate Planning Is Your Most Important Financial Obligation By MICHAEL O. ALLEN

nullSunday, April 25, 1999

It wasn’t long ago that Gerald and Toby Sindler thought estate planning – setting up trusts so heirs are not hard hit by inheritance taxes – was something that only the wealthy needed to worry about.

“And we do not consider ourselves to be wealthy,” said Gerald, who owns Career Objectives, a Mt. Kisco, N.Y., personnel agency, with his wife.

But a brief course in financial planning opened their eyes.

“Even with modest assets, you’ll be surprised how quickly things mount up,” he said, “what with the house and life insurance, in addition to anything that we’ve managed to accumulate over the years.”

Gerald Sindler is now 59 years old. His wife is 56. The Westchester home they bought for $ 65,000 27 years ago, and now own outright, is now worth at least $ 450,000. And that’s just the beginning. So one day about a year ago they made an appointment with the Ettinger Law Firm, which specializes in trusts, estate and elder law.

What they found out shocked them.

“Our estate was in jeopardy not only from the government and the inequitable tax system, but if one or both of us became chronically ill, the absolute cost of long-term care would virtually eat up any finances we have,” Sindler said. In which case they could also forget about any inheritance they might want to pass on to their two grown children.

Today, with a will, revocable trusts that allow the couple to split their assets in equal halves (by law, each is allowed to protect up to $ 650,000 from inheritance tax), and a long-term health-care insurance policy, they are breathing a little easier.

The Sindlers are not alone.

A generation ago, planning your estate and writing a will was easily put off until much later in life. But changes in tax laws – and in the way Americans accumulate money and plan their retirement funds – have estate lawyers and financial advisers saying that everyone, no matter the size of their estate, should work out a financial plan and write a will.

A DREADED TASK

But estate planning is not something most people do easily.

Whether it is the misconception that they do not have enough assets to merit a proper will, or the too- common belief that they are invincible, many people put off dealing with it until “later.” Someone else will handle it, they say to themselves.

The main reason is fear. “This is always a hard conversation to have with clients because most people are not eager to talk about their own mortality,” said Betsy Dillard, an American Express financial adviser based in Manhattan.

“I feel obligated to have that discussion with my clients because wealth preservation is a critical element of financial planning,” she continued. “Think about it, you save and you save and you save throughout your life. Ultimately, it all comes down to who are you saving for.”

David Dorfman, a Manhattan estate lawyer, said one of the main advantages of estate planning is that it can help you stay out of probate court, or avoid costly guardianship hearings if the surviving spouse – or other heirs – should become seriously ill.

“If you don’t have a will, the court will appoint a public administrator to administer the estate and then the family will be paying unnecessary lawyer fees and other fees to strangers,” he said.

Most people want someone they love, or a charity or organization of their own choosing, to inherit that money, no matter how large or small the amount.

AFTER DEATH, TAXES

Another compelling reason to put your finances in order, according to Arden Down, Chase Manhattan Bank’s director of financial planning services, is the ravenous federal tax system, which imperils unprotected estates.

All a person’s assets at the time of death – cars, houses, jewelry, 401(k) and other retirement accounts, life insurance policies, savings and personal investment accounts – are counted as part of the gross estate and may be subject to taxes at a rate of 37% to 55%, regardless of the fact that taxes may have already been paid on many of these items, in one form or another.

“Isn’t that a dirty trick?” Down said. “If I’m aware of what’s going on from the other side of the grave, I’m now pissed off. I can’t take it with me, but I don’t like what’s happening to it either.”

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 gradually increases the size of an estate that is exempt from federal estate taxes. This year’s limit is $ 650,000, and it is supposed to be raised to $ 1 million by the year 2006. The value of the estate above that amount at the time of a person’s death is subject to inheritance tax.

This has nothing to do with me, you say. I don’t have a million dollars to leave to my family, I don’t even have $ 650,000. Think again, says Michael Ettinger, head of the law firm the Sindlers are using. The strong economy is transforming households in the Northeast Corridor, especially those of the so-called baby boomers, and their attitude toward wealth preservation. And the effects of the long-running Wall Street bull market on the New York region, and in particular on real estate values, find even modest wage-earning homeowners with a net worth beyond $ 1 million.

And even those with assets well below the million-dollar mark need to think about their future, said Sandra Busell, a Nassau County estate attorney with clients in Brooklyn and Queens. An estate that consists of a house worth $ 200,000 and another $ 100,000 in various savings accounts needs estate planning too, she said.

A TAX-FREE GIFT

One of the ways to reduce the size of an estate – and any potential tax liability – is for both spouses to give each of their children an annual tax-free gift of up to $ 10,000.

The experts say it is better to act sooner, rather than later. Consult a financial adviser and a lawyer when drafting your estate plan – each has a valuable role to play.

Taking these steps was how Gerald Sindler and his wife discovered their financial house was not in order.

“Not only did we have to worry about some distant future time,” he said, “it brought it into the very real present for us.”

GRAPHIC: timothy cook illustration

U.S. Serbs Saddened and Angry By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

Sunday, April 04, 1999

Lana Todorovich was on the phone to Belgrade with an urgent message for her parents: “Get out. Now.”

In the early hours of March 24, U.S. NATO warplanes bearing bombs were on their way to Yugoslavia.

Milan and Yela Simic, 62 and 57 years old, heeded their daughter’s warning. They made the hair-raising journey through the city of Novi Sad, northwest of Belgrade, as the first bombs began to fall.

“They saw bombs and rockets fall on Novi Sad, everywhere just fire and destruction and fear and disbelief,” said Todorovich, a fashion executive from Westchester.

They traveled first to Budapest under cover of darkness, then took a flight on CFA Czech Airlines to The Hague, Netherlands. The paradox of this war and their flight from it: The United States was their ultimate haven from the fighting.

“So the very country that was bombing them,” Todorovich said, “was also their way out of this terrible situation.”

That ambiguous dynamic in which the pain of U.S. attacks was felt along with the comfort of sanctuary in America has played out with many Serb immigrants in the last two weeks.

They love America, they say, but they hate what American-led NATO forces are doing to them.

More than 2 million Serb immigrants live in the U.S., predominantly in Midwestern cities, such as Chicago and Cleveland. In the greater New York area, some 50,000 Serbs live in Paterson and Elizabeth, N.J., and in Astoria, Queens.

Many express disbelief at what they see as the unfairness and injustice of the NATO attack on their homeland. Todorovich, 33 and the mother of a 6-year-old girl, arrived in the U.S. about 10 years ago and is an American citizen. She said the bombing campaign left her disillusioned, frustrated and angry.

“I just believed that we would do the right thing, and we didn’t.” she said. “It is a violation of my American sense of morality, to go ahead and commit aggression, provoke death and atrocities in the name of protecting people from the very same thing,”

Todorovich is not alone in feeling betrayed by U.S. actions in the Balkans. Serbs interviewed in the city said they blame President Clinton, not the American people, who they do not believe support the assault on their nation.

They scoff, however, at the notion that the U.S. quarrel is with Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, not with the Serb people. In protests across the city and all over the world, Serbs have taken to wearing bull’s-eyes on their shirt fronts and backs, suggesting they are also targets of the bombs.

George Bogdanich, 50, of the upper East Side, decried what he sees as President Clinton’s bungling of the conflict.

“These obnoxious references to Hitler and Nazis and so on Clinton ought to be aware that Serbs provided the first resistance to Hitler on the mainland of Europe during World War II,” Bogdanich said.

Americans just don’t understand what is at stake in Kosovo, he said. For Serbs to give in to the Kosovo Liberation Army, many said, is tantamount to a violent separatist movement wanting to secede from Texas and Russia or China saying, “Give them what they want or we’ll bomb you.”

“It’s just a sad situation,” Bogdanich said. “But Clinton does nothing but create ill will and bad policies by demonizing Serbs.”

By bombing and threatening Serb sovereignty, he said, Clinton and NATO did for Milosevic what the Serb strongman had not been able to do for himself: wipe out opposition to him in his own country.

Bogdanich bristled at reports of fresh Serb atrocities against Kosovo Albanians since the NATO bombing began. He insisted there is no evidence of such incidents.

Like many other Serbs, he blamed the reports on a biased Western media that have taken complex issues and created a simplified picture of good and evil.

“As a result of the selective press coverage, Serbs have been demonized,” Bogdanich said.

The media, Serbian-Americans argued, tagged the Serb people as genocidal for the killing of 200,000 Bosnian Muslims. But they fail to report that many Serbs have suffered ethnic cleansing at the hands of other warring Balkan ethnic groups, they said. They cited, correctly, the 190,000 Croatian Serbs routed from their homes in 1995 by Croat soldiers being advised by retired U.S. generals under the cover of NATO air strikes.

Mark Milich, 46, a third-generation Serbian-American who lives in Port Washington, L.I., said Clinton’s arrogance was responsible for a debacle.

“Our action is not the way to free people from oppression. America, the land of the free, is now responsible for driving these people deeper into their oppression,” Milich said.

“These are the days of infamy,” said Tatjana, 32, of Bernardsville, N.J., an economist for a telecommunications company who did not want her full name used. “I just don’t believe Tomahawks [cruise missiles] can bring peace.”

Todorovich’s parents are happy to be alive. But their worldly possessions have been reduced to the two suitcases they hurriedly packed when they left Belgrade.

“My parents are just recuperating now,” she said, “trying to get over the fear, the treacherous ride through bombs, through the furnace.”

GRAPHIC: CLARENCE DAVIS DAILY NEWS RALLY: Pro-Serb protesters sporting bull’s-eye look popular in Yugoslavia march outside Grand Central Terminal last week.

ISLAM ON THE RISE Converts, a Boom in Births Help Swell Rank of Muslims By MICHAEL O. ALLEN

nullSunday, November 09, 1997

NADIA BARNES RECITED the shahada, or central principle of Islam.

“La ilaha illa Allah, sa Muhammadun rasulu Allah,” Barnes said after Imam Muhammed Salem Agwa: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammed is the messenger of Allah.”

The 23-year-old fashion designer and finance student descended from the balcony, where women pray apart from men, into the main hall of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York for a ceremony as old as time itself.

Under the copper dome of the nation’s most resplendent mosque, a gilded crescent pointing to Mecca as she was encircled by a dozen men, Barnes pledged belief in eternal life and hellfire, that “Jesus is a prophet, not a god,” that Muhammed is the “last prophet” of Allah and that Islam is the one true religion. Also, she vowed to give alms to the poor, pray five times a day and one day go to Mecca.

With that, Agwa welcomed her into the umma, or community.

“Good,” Agwa said. “Now you have faith; now you are a Muslim.”

Barnes is part of the dramatic rise for the religion of Islam in New York and in the nation.

Fueling the growth is immigration from predominantly Islamic nations, a high birthrate in Muslim families, and conversion to the religion by African-Americans and women, such as Barnes, who marry Muslims.

Immigration from countries with large Muslim populations, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, has been rising.

And, more recently, Muslims have come here from Indonesia, Africa, and, with the breakdown of the former Soviet Union, new nations like Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Many of the newcomers are highly skilled workers doctors, engineers, pharmacists who have been able to come because of less restrictive immigration laws.

The impact of Islam on New Yorkers’ lives is hard to miss, from the mundane changes, like alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules, to the most heartfelt.

The star and crescent moon now are displayed alongside Christmas trees and Chanukah and Kwanzaa candles during the winter holiday season.

Eid Al-Fitr, a feast that follows the Ramadan month of daylight fasting, was added to the 29 holy days of various religions for the estimated 100,000 Muslim students in city schools.

Mosques and traditional Muslim modest clothing now are commonplace in many city neighborhoods.

As Nadia Barnescompleted forms in a basement office of the nation’s most resplendent mosque at 96th St. and Third Ave., she spoke about the spiritualism of Islam and the calm and peace it has brought to her.

“I just felt the most strength of my life, that I was doing the right thing, that I was meant to do this,” she said.

Not only was Barnes converting to Islam, she was bringing a stray back to the flock: her husband, Muhammed Gundel, 33, a Pakistani immigrant who said he allowed his faith to lapse about 21/2 years ago.

As their ranks have grown, Muslims have done like other religions and established parochial schools for religious and cultural education.

At the Al-Iman School at the Imam Al Khoei Islamic Center in Jamaica, Queens, Masooma Hussain, 13, and her 11-year-old sister Fatima typify the emerging generation of Muslims.

Now of Elmont, L.I., they came to New York from Pakistan with their parents seven years ago.

The girls, wearing scarves to cover their hair, were outspoken about their place here, belying the stereotype of Muslim women as docile, compliant and oppressed.

Fatima, who wants to be a doctor, said she feels at home in New York.

“It’s not like I’m from another planet,” she said.

Marc Ferris, who teaches in the general studies program at New York University and has written about the city’s Muslim communities, said mosques bring a welcome brand of tolerance.

“In New York City, we’ve got the most international and cosmopolitan Muslim community in the world,” Ferris said. “Africans, Guyanese, Asians, Americans.”

And Muslims from countries that are mortal enemies somehow find a way to worship together in the same mosque when them come to New York, he said.

“At an Albanian mosque in Brooklyn, Turks and Albanians, who are historic enemies, pray side by side. The same with Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims. They seem to be more united here in religion because they are minorities. A lot of the Old World stuff gets buried,” Ferris said.

A source of anguish to them is when Islam is equated to terrorism. They complain that the phrase “Islamic terrorist” unfairly taints their religion for nationalistic acts by groups and individuals who happen to be Muslims.

Numan Okuyan, 42, owner of Metropolitan Graphic Art, a gallery on 82d St., notes that no one referred to Timothy McVeigh as a Christian terrorist when he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma.

And, like many Muslims interviewed by the Daily News especially non-Arabs Okuyan, who was born in Turkey to Uzbek parents, blames the media for defining his faith by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Okuyan pointed out that his mosque has worshipers from all over the world; others note that Arabs make up just 20% of the faithful.

Dr. Abdul Rehman, who immigrated here in 1968 from Pakistan, recalled some of the early struggles finding a place to worship or the proper food to eat. Today, he is chairman of the board of trustees for the Al-Noor Mosque in Staten Island, which was started by Pakistani immigrants like him but now has a largely African-American congregation.

By far the largest number of Muslims in the United States are African-American converts.

The Chicago-based Nation of Islam opened a temple in Harlem in 1946 and saw membership soar when Malcolm X arrived eight years later as the imam. But its emphasis on black empowerment and exclusion of whites has been controversial.

M.T. Mehdi, secretary-general of the National Council on Islamic Affairs, said members of the Nation of Islam are not genuine Muslims because they are in a political movement, not a religious movement.

Traditional Islam is a color-blind religion, and the Nation of Islam is reacting to white racism in this country, Mehdi said. Of special concern to Muslims, he said, is the baggage Louis Farrakhan brings in his history of statements that have been deemed anti-Semitic.

But Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan reacted angrily to that characterization of his movement.

“I’m a Muslim,” Farrakhan insisted. “Don’t try to make me a politician. When we say that the Nation of Islam will be more political, it is out of our spiritual underpinning, our faith in Allah that we challenge the forces of evil in this society.”

GRAPHIC: MARK BONIFACIO JON NASO DAILY NEWS JON NASO DAILY NEWS MARK BONIFACIO BENEATH DOME of Manhattan’s Islamic Cultural Center, worshipers, including Nadia Branes and her husband, Muhammad Gundel, pray and study (photos opposite and top). Dr. Abdul Rehman and daughter Naheed (above) worship at Al-Noor Mosque in Staten Island, where he serves as chairman of the board of trustees.

Rudy Pooh-Poohs Dem Bigs’ Digs By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and LISA REIN Daily News Staff Writers

Sunday, October 26, 1997

With a comfortable lead in the polls, Mayor Giuliani yesterday refused to engage in a war of words with Democratic challenger Ruth Messinger — even allowing harsh comments from his predecessor, former Mayor David Dinkins, to go unchallenged.

Dinkins, who spent the better part of a rainy afternoon campaigning with Messinger in Brooklyn and Queens, accused Republican Giuliani of running an “out-of-control” campaign that would “self-destruct” before Election Day.

“I predict that Mayor Giuliani has a great capacity to self-destruct, and I think he’s going to do that in the next 10 days,” Dinkins said, at times stealing the spotlight from Messinger yesterday.

“He’s out of control right now,” Dinkins continued, recalling the mayor’s blistering attack on Messinger for not attending Mass on Columbus Day. “He seems to think that the whole world started on Jan. 1, 1994, when he became mayor.”

But Giuliani, crisscrossing the city with campaign stops in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Harlem and Throgs Neck in the Bronx, refrained from attacking Dinkins, saying only, “The best thing for me to do with a question like that is to say, ‘I’m not going to respond.’ ”

When asked if he thought Dinkins could rescue Messinger’s flagging campaign, the mayor said he “couldn’t evaluate the other side.”

The mayor’s comments came at Sylvia’s Restaurant, a Harlem landmark where he capped a swing through clothing stores along W. 125th St., receiving warm greetings from proprietors.

Earlier, the mayor tasted meatball calzones and onion rings on his first-ever tour of a superstore, the Costco in Sunset Park. The visit came a day after he pledged to mount an aggressive campaign to revive his failed proposal to speed up the opening of more megastores if he wins reelection.

But as he marched in the small Parade of Flags along Fifth Ave. just a few miles away, some merchants told the mayor that superstores would decimate their mom-and-pop stores.

Messinger campaigned in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, getting thumbs-ups from shoppers and merchants along Broadway.

She then took the stage with Dinkins at the Panamanian Day parade in Brooklyn, where she accused Giuliani of positioning himself for a run for national office, a move she insisted would push him to the right politically and divert his concerns from the city’s schools.

Giuliani denied the charge, calling it an “irrelevant issue” and calling his “sole focus” his race for reelection.

Original Story Date: 102697

FBI’s Most Vaunted By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

nullSunday, October 5, 1997

The Most Wanted List, an icon of a seemingly bygone era, started innocently enough.

A wire service reporter asked the FBI in 1949 for a list of the toughest guys it would like to capture. The resulting story in newspapers around the nation generated so much publicity that then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made it a permanent list.

The Most Wanted Lists of the ’50s featured bank robbers, burglars and car thieves. By the ’60s, radicals made it onto the list. Revolutionaries, serial killers and mobsters hit the list in the ’70s.

Since the late 1980s, the FBI has been using tabloid television shows, such as “America’s Most Wanted,” to generate publicity.

That program’s first show in 1988 profiled David Roberts, an prison escapee who had been serving six life terms, two of them commuted death sentences.

After the show, New Yorkers tipped off law enforcement that Bob Lord, a homeless man who quickly worked his way to director of Carpenter Men’s Shelter in Staten Island, was none other than Roberts.

New York has been a favorite haunt of the famed list’s fugitives. At least 37 of 451 suspects that the FBI has put on the list have been nabbed here.

Gerald Watkins was profiled on “America’s Most Wanted” in 1995. In 1994, his girlfriend turned down his marriage proposal; he shot her, her son and their 18-day-old daughter. He then came to Harlem, his boyhood home.

Cops caught him trying to duck out of the window of an apartment.

Even serial killer Andrew Cunanan came this way once.

The current list includes Queens hoodlum Paul Ragusa.

“What the numbers might lead you to conclude is that fugitives think New York is a good place to come, to sort of blend in, be anonymous, disappear,” FBI Agent Jim Margolin said. “We think otherwise.

“What the numbers also indicate is that we and the NYPD are very good at finding people who don’t want to be found,” he said.

Even beyond the city limits.

Before his late son Tupac branded himself an outlaw rapper, Mutulu Shakur was a black revolutionary who masterminded a string of armored car robberies, including a 1981 Brink’s holdup in Nanuet, in Rockland County, that went haywire and led to the deaths of three people.

After 3 1/2 years on the Most Wanted List, Shakur was captured by two New York cops on a Los Angeles street corner in February 1986. One of the cops stopped Shakur with a flying tackle.

Mutulu Shakur is serving a 60-year prison sentence.

SAL WHO? Runs Strong 3rd By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and JERE HESTER, Daily News Staff Writers

Wednesday, September 10, 1997

Maverick City Councilman Sal Albanese surprised the experts again last night with a strong third-place finish in the Democratic mayoral primary.

The 47-year-old Brooklyn lawmaker had 21% of the vote with 99% of ballots counted — a good showing by a candidate who was met with responses of “Sal who?” when he announced his candidacy in March 1996.

“We came up short in . . . a tremendous battle for the soul of New York,” Albanese said in his concession speech at the New York Hilton last night, as his supporters chanted, “Sal! Sal! Sal!”

He said he hadn’t decided whom to support in the run-off. “I’m a Democrat, I’m a strong Democrat, but tonight I’m not going to make any decision,” said Albanese (pictured, with his daughter), who left the door open to a potential run as an independent candidate in November’s general election.

Albanese, who ran his grass-roots, citywide campaign on a shoestring budget of less than $900,000, blamed money woes for not being able to take out TV advertisements until the race’s final days.

“We ran hard and we ran against all the odds. But we never gave up,” said Albanese, who made labor and wage issues the centerpiece of his campaign.

“It’s clear that we began to connect with the voters,” he said. “We just could not reach enough people. We shook a lot of hands. But you have 8 million people in this city, you have 2 1/2 million registered voters. You have to get on the air.”

Still, for Albanese, the third-place showing marked a high point in his quirky political career.

It wasn’t the first time that the Italian immigrant and former public school teacher has surprised naysayers.

“Sal has always fooled the experts,” said his campaign manager, Don Crouch.

A graduate of John Jay High School in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn and York College in Queens, Albanese launched his political career in 1982 by ousting Brooklyn City Councilman Angelo Arculeo, a 29-year incumbent.

He quickly made his mark as a maverick who often defied Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D-Queens) and his conservative Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst constituents by backing liberal causes such as gay and abortion rights.

On the campaign trail, he hammered Mayor Giuliani for doling out tax breaks to big corporations that pay low wages to nonunion laborers.

His mayoral platform called for cutting taxes for small business. But he also pushed to raise income taxes for families earning more than $150,000 and for suburban residents who work in the city.

He wrote and worked with fellow council members long enough to pass a popular piece of legislation requiring city contractors to pay prevailing union wages.

Original Story Date: 091097

KIDS ON PARADE Get jump on grownups By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, TARA GEORGE and DON SINGLETON, Daily News Staff Writers

Sunday, August 31, 1997

Eastern Parkway boomed with Caribbean music and bloomed with bouquets of colorful feathers and flowers yesterday in a warmup for tomorrow’s 30th West Indian American Day Carnival Parade.

It was Children’s Day, and thousands of youngsters paraded up the broad thoroughfare in costumes that were smaller versions of the ones their parents, uncles and aunts will be wearing tomorrow. Everywhere you looked, folks were dancing to reggae and calypso and soca beats.

“The adults are going to have their parade Monday, but today’s our day,” said Dennis White, 18, who was dancing with a group of relatives at Eastern Parkway and Kingston Ave. “It’s a chance for us to show pride in our West Indian culture.”

Andrew McKenzie, 38, of Jackson, N.J., was standing with his daughters, Melissa, 5, and Kimberly, 6, who were dressed as queens of Sheba with gold crowns and lots of gold glitter.

As Melissa’s mom encouraged her to dance, her dad beamed with pride and moved to the beat of the music. “This is my culture,” he said. “I did this myself, and I want my kids to enjoy it, too.”

Iwojima Lewis, 49, was there with his 7-year-old twin daughters, Vanessa and Denise. Vanessa was having a ball. “I love the costumes,” her mom said, “and I love to see the children in a parade. It’s good to know where you come from and hear all the different music.”

More than 2 million people are expected to turn Eastern Parkway into a sea of color and calypso tomorrow in one of the city’s largest annual events.

“This is what we live for,” said performer Harriet James, 38, of Queens. “This is carnival!”

Months of planning and rehearsing will bear fruit as thousands of dancers in sequins and feathers sashay to the pulsating sounds of steel and brass bands.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. at the corner of Utica Ave. and Eastern Parkway. Floats will move west down the parkway to Grand Army Plaza, where they will turn onto Flatbush Ave. and proceed to the finish at Empire Blvd.

Original Story Date: 083197

Don’t Sell Cops Short, Says Rudy By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and PAUL SCHWARTZMAN, Daily News Staff Writers

nullSunday, August 31, 1997

A day after thousands protesting police brutality marched on City Hall, Mayor Giuliani yesterday sought to refocus attention on cops’ accomplishments while his chief rival took the day off.

Eleven days before the Democratic primary, front-runner Ruth Messinger spent the day out of sight with her family, while opponents Sal Albanese and the Rev. Al Sharpton reached for votes in Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens.

Of the Democratic candidates, only Sharpton invoked the rally and the alleged police torture on Abner Louima, as he has since the reports of the incident first surfaced three weeks ago.

Greeting a cheering Latino crowd in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Giuliani said it was time for the public to cease castigating cops.

“Yesterday, over a 24-hour period, there was one murder in New York City,” Giuliani said. “That didn’t happen because the Police Department aren’t doing its job.

“They are saving lives in New York City while some people have been spending time excessively bashing them. That’s a big mistake. That has to stop.”

Giuliani also praised the cops for enduring during Friday’s demonstration a torrent of curses and taunts that they are racists and Nazis.

“That’s a lot of people who are calling you names, rushing up towards you, using words like Nazis and fascists — things that should just not be said,” he said, adding that the cops’ restraint showed that they are the “finest police department” in the country.

Although protesters castigated Giuliani during the march — at which Messinger, Sharpton and former Mayor David Dinkins spoke — one political analyst said the mayor would not suffer politically from the event.

“The real story — that the police and the marchers were able to maintain civility — is a plus for him,” said Mitchell Moss, director of the Taub Urban Research Center at New York University.

Approaching the final week before the Sept. 9 primary, Messinger today plans to speak at a Brooklyn church service and campaign in Riverdale. Yesterday, she was nowhere to be found.

“She is spending it with her family,” said campaign spokesman Lee Jones, adding that it was the Manhattan borough president’s last chance for a respite before “eight weeks of solid fun and games with Uncle Rudy.”

Sharpton, for his part, sought to seize on the protest’s aftermath to attack Giuliani at a rally of approximately 200 supporters in Harlem.

“It gives people the idea that he can’t deal with issues other than his own pat issues,” Sharpton said afterward. “He can’t deal with unemployment, he can’t deal with schools and he can’t deal with police brutality. He’s a good law enforcement guy, but that’s the end of it.”

Touring Queens, Albanese said, when asked, that he hopes Friday’s demonstration focuses attention on what he said was Giuliani’s failure to deal with police brutality.

“You can’t lay the [Louima] incident at his doorstep,” he said, “but everyone is focusing on abuse. It focuses attention on the department and how it has addressed abuse.”

Cub Scout Leader Held in Slay: Female victim found in Queens rec room By ANNE E. KORNBLUT and MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writers

nullSunday, June 22, 1997

A respected Queens cub scout leader was charged with murder yesterday, one day after the body of a woman was found in a room where the suspect ran scout meetings.

Perry Buckley, 44, of Corona, who is also a local school board member, was arrested after he was questioned at the 110th Precinct stationhouse about a family dispute yesterday morning, police said.

Buckley was the only person known to have a key to the basement recreation room at 5525 98th Place in Sherwood Village. He lives in a nearby Sherwood Village building with his family.

“I love you, Pam, Carla, Corey,” Buckley shouted to his wife, daughter and son as he was led from the stationhouse last night.

Peter Glasgow, superintendent of the seven-story Nebraska apartment building, made the grisly discovery of the decomposed body — which was in a plastic bag in the recreation room — about 2:30 p.m. Friday, police said.

The unidentified victim had been dead about a week, cops said.

Neighbors in the Sherwood Village housing complex near Lefrak City, who had been complaining since Sunday of a foul odor coming from the drab, gray room, said yesterday they were shocked by the gruesome find.

Some called Buckley a kind and caring neighbor and said they didn’t believe he was capable of killing.

“Everybody knows him,” said Winston MacKenzie, 51, who said he has known Buckley for at least 15 years.

“He’s a neighborhood celebrity. Nobody can understand what’s happening.”

MacKenzie added, “I’m totally confused by the situation.”

He said that when Glasgow told Buckley about the odor last week and asked him for the key to the room, Buckley replied that he had lent it to a “girlfriend.”

“He claimed she had the key,” MacKenzie said. “He said he didn’t have it and would get it back, but we’ve never seen it since. . . . I was saying: How could she get in there? Who could she be? He never gives the key to anybody. He had full autonomy in the room.”

Buckley is the leader of Cub Scout Pack 239 and a member of Community School Board 24. He was Parent Teacher Association president at Public School 14 before gaining the board seat.

His world started unraveling Friday morning, when his wife told 106th Precinct cops that he had assaulted her at 137-27 Cross Bay Blvd.

Police later pulled him over as he drove along Junction Blvd. near 55th Ave. and brought him in for questioning.

He faces a charge of third-degree assault on the complaint filed by his wife. He faces an additional charge of tampering with evidence in the murder case.

“He’s nice, he’s caring; he takes care of the kids,” said a 16-year-old boy who lives in Buckley’s building.

The teen said Buckley’s 15-year-old son, Corey, was told by a relative yesterday that his father had been accused of killing the woman.

The boy later came downstairs where other kids were playing.

“We just saw it in his face,” the teen said. “One of my friends blurted out, ‘He was charged with it wasn’t he?’ and Corey just looked away.”

Raid Bags 2 in Holdup; Shootout suspects nabbed By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and PATRICE O’SHAUGHNESSY, Daily News Staff Writers

Sunday, May 11, 1997

Lying in wait outside a Queens hideout, police yesterday captured two of the suspects in the wild 50-shot ambush that wounded a retired cop and a moonlighting detective during a payroll heist in Queens.

A third suspect — believed to be a twin brother of one of the two arrested — still was on the loose, cops said.

Shortly after 1 p.m., officers recovered a duffel bag that contained weapons, believed to be those used in the holdup, and thousands of dollars, believed to be part of the $50,000 cash stolen.

The identities of the suspects were not immediately released, but police said they have criminal records.

Cops staked out a house at 53-18 Junction Blvd. in Elmhurst after they developed information leading to occupants of the house, said Deputy Inspector Michael Collins, a police spokesman.

One suspect drove up in a van, accompanied by a child, and entered the brick and vinyl-sided house, emerging with a bag, which he threw into the van.

He drove on Junction to 55th Ave., and when he turned the corner, officers in a patrol car pulled him over and arrested him.

Within seconds, another suspect came out of the house, walked down Junction to 55th and started running. Cops tackled him.

He was carrying a bag stuffed with money, police said.

Believing that the third member of the vicious robbery team — the twin of the second suspect — was in the area, cops roped off the neighborhood for three hours. Emergency Service Unit cops flooded the area, as sharpshooters patrolled the roofs of nearby houses.

They fired rubber bullets into the house, and then entered. It was unoccupied.

The suspects were taken to the 109th Precinct stationhouse. Charges were pending.

Meanwhile, the retired officer critically wounded in Flushing Friday was due to undergo a second operation today, while the detective was in stable condition.

The police had been looking for three or four men in the bloody holdup outside a printing company on 168th St. and Station Road Friday morning.

The suspects — masked and armed with AK-47s and 9-mm. pistols — sprayed more than four dozen bullets at Joseph Bellone, a retired Bronx police officer, and off-duty Detective Arthur Pettus, who were working as security guards delivering a payroll.

The suspects fled with cash and checks and jumped on a city bus when a flat tire disabled their van, which had been stolen last month.

Bellone, 45, of upstate Newburgh, was in critical condition in the surgical intensive care unit of New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens and under heavy sedation.

His left arm and leg were riddled with bullets, but the wounds to his abdomen are “really serious,” and doctors were still working to repair them, said Brian Salisbury, a spokesman for the hospital.

Salisbury said Pettus, a 38-year-old cop assigned to Bronx robbery, was still in the recovery room in stable condition, alert and awake.

Pettus was shot in the legs and abdomen before he rolled under a van to escape the gunfire. Bellone returned nine shots, but one of the gunmen stood over him and fired at close range.

Police said the robbers fired immediately, aiming low, assuming their victims were wearing bulletproof vests, which they were not.

Late Friday, Bellone’s wife, Catherine, and his sister visited Pettus, who had been asking for Bellone.

Yesterday, Pettus was able to visit with his family.

A woman who lives across the street from 53-18 Junction said police had noticed the twin suspects before.

“Every weekend they come with different, very expensive cars,” said Vanessa Otero, 20. “A few months ago, cops came here, probably because of the cars, but they were not arrested.”

Original Story Date: 051197