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For the past few years, it seems like New Yorkers have been dealing with one weather-related disaster after another. Unfortunately, climate scientists predict that extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy will become even more common if we don’t cut our global warming pollution.
As a New Yorker, I expect our legislators to do everything in their power to protect us from another Superstorm Sandy, but the state Senate, especially Sens. Dean Skelos and Jeffrey Klein, failed to expand clean and renewable solar power in New York. I can’t imagine how this common-sense issue failed to pass.
Gov. Cuomo laid out a simple plan to grow solar power that would have kept 120,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions out of our atmosphere and powered 400,000 homes. Many areas, including Skelos’ district on Long Island, were devastated by Sandy. Why couldn’t Skelos at least agree to pass the governor’s plan for solar? It’s time for our legislators to stop playing politics, and start solving global warming.
The writer is a student at Fordham University.
State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) has been kicked out of the small coalition of breakaway Senate Democrats who first joined forces a few years ago to break away from the short-lived Democratic majority leadership.
One of those leaders was Malcolm Smith.
Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) has been kicked out of a small coalition of breakaway Senate Democrats who first joined forces a few years ago to break away from then-Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith.
The Saratogan and Syracuse.com are reporting that Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) has booted Smith from the Independent Democratic Conference.
State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and his close associates, both political and personal, appear to be keeping a low profile since Tuesday morning, when the seven-term senator was arrested on federal charges that include bribery, wire fraud and conspiracy.
Smith, 56, was arrested at his home in Queens by FBI agents as the result of a 28-page federal complaint charging him with attempting to bribe two city Republican officials in an effort to secure the Republican nomination for mayor.
“Mixed martial arts bill moving forward” (by Domenick Rafter, March 21, multiple editions) is great news. Mixed martial artsisa rapidly growing sport already legal in other states. Itrivalsboth wrestling and boxing infans and attendance for Pay for View events. Why should wemiss out on the jobs,economic growth and new tax revenues?
If Gov. Cuomo, state Senate Leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver andmembers of the state Legislature cannotwork out their differences on issues of the day, send them tothe Octagon. They can settle their disagreements onthe mat! That would be one sporting event voterswould pay top dollar to see!
Port Authority Police Officers Mitchell Richter, center left, and Frank Misa were honored by the New York State Senate on March 5 in recognition of their rescue of a woman who jumped off the Whitestone Bridge on Feb. 7.
The officers were conducting routine marine parol in their boat off LaGuardia Airport when they received a call of a possible jumper.
State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) is now No. 2 in the upper chamber’s Democratic leadership, having led his party to what should have been a political victory in November.
“Should have been” because a group of rogue Democrats, including Sen. Malcolm Smith of Jamaica, formed their own caucus after the vote and aligned themselves with the Republicans, essentially keeping the GOP in power. Republican Leader Dean Skelos (R-LI) and Independent Democratic Caucus leader Jeff Klein (D-Brooklyn) say the two groups will share power, but the GOP vastly outnumbers the IDC and has held the Senate majority for decades, other than a one-term stint when the Democrats had it, in 2009-2010.
Allow me to add to the insightful reporting of “Sen. Smith jumps ship to join the Republicans” (Politics As Usual by Peter C. Mastrosimone, Dec. 6). Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelosreminds me of Don Corleone, who is not about to give up his power so easily. Like the Godfather, Skelos has all the politicians in his pocket, keeping him in charge. He haspurchased the votes of Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder and the Independent Democratic Caucus members, Sens. Jeff Klein, David Carlucci, David Valesky and Diane Savino, along with Malcolm Smith.
His offers of salary lulus, committee chairmanships, sponsorship and passage of favorable legislation promoted by their own pay-to-play campaign contributors, hidden earmarks buried under quasi state agencies, along with extra funds for additional staff, district offices and mailings, can’t be refused. All six are puppets while Godfather Skelos pulls the strings.
There are no politically pure virgins in Albany. Everyone has a price for selling out to the highest bidder.
Hollis and Jamaica voted Republican last month. Overwhelmingly. Surprised? So are the people of Hollis and Jamaica.
They of course did not vote Republican at all. The black community is by far the most reliable Democratic voting bloc there is, casting more than 90 percent of its ballots that way.
Democrats appear to have won a majority in the next session of the state Senate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be in control of the chamber, with all the perks that brings.
For one, two races remain undecided, the one for a new seat west of Albany that pits Republican George Amedore against Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, and the one between incumbent Sen. Steve Saland (R-Poughkeepsie) and Democratic challenger Terry Gipson. In the latter race, Conservative nominee Neil Di Carlo has taken votes away from Saland.
Long before Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), ran to unseat Democratic incumbent state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), received nearly $900,000 in campaign contributions, before Addabbo was endorsed by Gov. Cuomo, and before their district was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, Addabbo and Ulrich were just Eric and Joe, two parishioners at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church in Ozone Park.
Addabbo and Ulrich faced off Tuesday in what has been described as “the most closely watched and possibly most expensive state legislative race in the country,” for the 15th State Senate District which includes this neighborhood. Addabbo won by a wide margin.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) are engaged in one of the most closely watched — and most expensive — state legislative races in the country.
When the two men met in a debate last Thursday, they knew the balance of power in the New York State Senate could be greatly affected by the outcome of the vote in the 15th Senate District on Nov. 6.
Last week, the world saw the Republican Party on display at our party’s National Convention in Tampa. And though you might not have been able to see it on TV, there was a decidedly New York flavor.
Yes, our state was well represented at the RNC. New York isn’t in the mainstream with the national GOP, as we all know. But it’s worth remembering that New York has an incredible Republican tradition. We’re the home of the Rockefellers, Teddy Roosevelt and Rudy Giuliani. We bring an important perspective to the party, even if we’re in the minority. We don’t agree with the national party on every issue, and that’s okay. But we do agree with the most important GOP principles — cutting taxes, creating jobs and getting government out of the way of hardworking people and small business owners.
There’s so much about Queens politics that evokes the theater of the absurd, but perhaps nothing more so than the suicidal tendencies of what’s left of the Republican Party here.
One bright spot among the gloom of the weakened GOP is the rising star of City Councilman Eric Ulrich, the moderate, thoughtful 27-year-old lawmaker from Ozone Park. Ulrich is seeking to replace Democratic state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. of Howard Beach in the 15th District, and he would be a formidable opponent. But first he has to get over a ridiculous hurdle put in his way by the Republican leadership, with whom Ulrich and a cadre of like-minded insurgents have been at war for years.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is vowing to appeal a ruling last week that could strip it of more than $1.8 billion in funding per year.
The Payroll Mobility Tax, which is charged to almost all employers in New York City and the surrounding counties served by the MTA, was ruled unconstitutional by a judge in Nassau County Supreme Court on Aug. 22.
State Sen. Tony Avella has introduced Senate bills S.7276 and S.7335, which would create a new Lottery scratch off game, whose proceeds would be strictly dedicated to a new Community Grant Fund (“Avella seeks more aid for nonprofit groups,” Aug. 9). According to the senator, this fund would benefit community groups administering educational, recreational, cultural, senior or veterans programs, and those groups providing volunteer ambulance services in our state.
This would be a big help to nonprofits all over the state who have suffered over the last three years because of the loss of state funding. In Northeast Queens, vital community organizations like the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the Poppenhusen Institute, the Bayside Historical Society, the Queens Historical Society, the Queens Botanical Garden and the Queens Farm Museum would receive much-needed financial support to continue their important work and educational programs. In addition, our great volunteer community ambulance services would receive financial aid as well.
As a community and civic person, I applaud this innovative and creative approach sponsored by Sen. Avella. I also thank community leader James Trent, whose idea to use this kind of Lottery-generated money to sustain nonprofits helped to lead to Sen. Avella’s proposals.
We all need to encourage the enactment of this legislation. Our nonprofits cannot continue their important work without funding. Please call Gov. Cuomo at (518) 474-8390, state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos at (518) 455-3171, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at (518) 455-3791 and your local state senator and Assembly member to urge them to support Sen. Avella’s legislation. Call Sen. Avella at (718) 357-3094 to show your support for his legislation as well. Thank you.
Look at Juan Reyes’ resume and one sees what ordinarily would be impeccable credentials for a Republican seeking his first elective office.
The Forest Hills resident is a father of three and a partner at a prestigious Manhattan law firm.
It’s been three and a half years since Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) won a special election to replace Joe Addabbo Jr. after the latter’s ascension to the state Senate. Now, the 27-year-old Ozone Park native is running against his predecessor for the seat in Albany.
The district — which includes Glendale, Howard Beach, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ozone Park — was in Republican hands for decades before Addabbo won it in 2008. It was redrawn to include conservative-leaning neighborhoods like Kew Gardens Hills, home to a large bloc of Orthodox Jews, and Breezy Point. The new lines make the district more competitive, and that attracted Ulrich, who had been lobbied to run for the seat in 2010 and also for the seat vacated by former Rep. Anthony Weiner in 2011, which was won by Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village).
The co-op and condo community were abandoned this past week as the legislative season drew to a close. Three vital bills affecting the lives of every co-op and condo owner were left on the scrap heap of an adjourned legislature. The working class residents and seniors living on a fixed income who mostly live in these communities struck out by a legislature and governor that threw them nothing but curve balls.
Strike 1 was the failure to renew the decades-old J51 program that provides millions of dollars to co-ops to help build and maintain their aging residential infrastructure.
Strike 2 was the failure to renew the city co-op tax abatement program that provided co-ops with millions of dollars of tax relief as a way to partially correct the inherent unfairness of a tax system that taxes co-ops at significantly higher rates than single-family homes.
Strike 3 was the failure to resolve the property tax valuation debacle of the past two years that led to double- and triple-digit increases in valuations on co-ops and condos throughout Queens.
While Team Cuomo extolls the success of this legislative session and politicians embark on summer-long vacations, we will soon begin to hear self-aggrandizing stories of their legislative accomplishments via press releases and taxpayer-funded newsletters. When their failures are exposed, they will point fingers at others to blame.
The blame for this colossal failure must be shared by Gov. Cuomo and state Senate and Assembly leaders Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver — the proverbial “three men in a room,” and our elected officials whose “tireless efforts” on our part produced zero results.
In business, you accept responsibility for failure and work even harder to produce better results next time. In politics you never accept responsibility for failures and simply point fingers at others or blame partisan politics.
Where was the political leadership among our Assemblymembers to corral the Queens Delegation to march into Sheldon Silver’s office and demand action on these bills on behalf of hundreds of thousands of their constituents? These are not politically sensitive issues like abortion or same-sex marriage. They are simply extenders of existing laws which already have a wide range of support for their renewal. I can assure you that if the legislation had passed, each and every elected official would have issued a press release and taken credit for it. If they can take credit for success they must assume some responsibility for failure. Until we begin to hold legislators accountable and not allow them to redirect blame to others, the dysfunction of Albany will continue. Co-op and condo owners will be paying a steep price over the next few years when their monthly maintenance assessments are forced to rise as a result of Albany’s dysfunction.Thank you.
As Mayor Bloomberg presses forward with his proposal to close 26 public high schools, including eight in Queens, some state legislators are crying foul over his newest attempt to shutter the institutions and are looking to curb the leader’s power he has had over the city’s education system for the past decade.
State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Keith Wright (D-Manhattan) have introduced legislation that would change the makeup of the city Panel for Educational Policy, the decision-making body that votes on such matters as school closures, and decrease the number of mayoral appointees in the group.
After months of threatening to veto the incumbent-protected, gerrymandered legislative lines, the governor punted and sold us out.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, good government groups, and numerous civic organizations like Eastern Queens United called on the governor to veto the legislative lines that are drawn every 10 years after the Census. Hundreds of civic activists including myself attended public hearings asking that communities be kept together and not divided. These public hearings were nothing more than a well-orchestrated dog and pony show conducted by legislators whose contempt and disdain for the civics was manifested by their brazenly community-busting gerrymandered district lines.
The governor was afforded an opportunity to veto these lines and up until the last moment threatened to do so. That is until the three men in a room (Shelly Silver, Dean Skelos and the governor) crafted their secret deal. They called the governor’s bluff and he caved in.
Gov. Cuomo is now spinning this agreement on district lines as a permanent fix. The so-called “fix,” which is scheduled to take place 10 years from now after the next Census, simply replaces one panel of politicians with another panel of political appointees. Allowing the same folks that created this mess to appoint a panel of political cronies to draw up new lines is not reform but politics as usual! And if the Legislature doesn’t like the lines drawn by its own commission, members can simply vote no and draw the lines themselves.
This is a sham and a slap in the face to every civic organization that advocated for a process that would serve the needs of the communities rather than the interests of the politicians.
The governor could have refused to buckle and veto these community-busting lines, setting up a truly independent judicial panel to draw non-partisan lines. Instead, he chose the path of political expediency. He sold us out and will now count on the short memory span of voters.
As legislators were poised to pass redrawn lines for Assembly and state Senate districts on Wednesday, as this paper was going to press, Queens elected officials and civic leaders were urging Gov. Cuomo to do what he has been threatening for months — veto the lines many argue split apart communities and were gerrymandered to favor incumbents on both sides of the political aisle.
“All along we stood by the governor and said, ‘Veto these lines because of the process,’” state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said. “He said he’d veto them, and now we hear that he might not because of this compromise with redistricting reform that would take place 10 years from now. I’m voting no — not because of the lines, but for the process that created the lines.”
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your polling place, Assembly Democrats and state Senate Republicans are divided over just when they should hold primaries for their seats.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) has introduced a measure, A.9271-A, that would tie state law to a recent federal court decision setting the primary for congressional races on June 26, the fourth Tuesday of the month.
The president of the Empire State Development Corporation was in Queens on Feb. 2 promoting Gov. Cuomo’s budget proposal for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
And Kenneth Adams, who also serves as commissioner of the state’s Department of Economic Development, said the governor’s $132.5 billion proposal is not only a responsible budget, but a plan to transform New York State for the better.
Chanting “Veto the lines,” a group of leaders from Queens and Nassau County gathered for a rally in Elmont, LI, to voice their disapproval of the proposed redistricting lines that have been drawn in New York State, which some called “unfair” and “illegal.”
Every decade Census numbers are used to draw the state Senate and Assembly District lines with the goal of better representing the changing demographics of a particular area. However, critics say the maps often lead to gerrymandered districts that favor incumbents.