Former Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran and his former co-defendant Vincent Tabone will have new defense counsel on Tuesday as Halloran awaits sentencing on corruption charges and Tabone prepares for a new trial.
Halloran, Tabone and outgoing state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) were among six people arrested in 2013 in connection with an alleged plot for Smith, a lifelong Democrat, to bribe his way onto the city’s 2013 Republican mayoral ballot.
A Staten Island grand jury’s decision last week not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner has triggered nationwide anger, including among Queens congressional members who are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to slap a federal indictment against the cop.
At a press conference last week in Washington, moments after the announcement of the decision, lawmakers renewed their calls for the DOJ to launch a federal investigation in Garner’s death. The DOJ said it will probe the man’s death, including how the grand jury reached its decision.
I could not agree more with “Two salary tiers for legislators.” Consider that after our state Assembly and state senators have been re-elected, many are looking to pass legislation in a lame-duck session, which will give them a future salary increase.
The 2014 state Legislature session calendar covered a six-month period from Jan. 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014. There were 129 available weekdays. After subtracting New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day and Memorial Day, most ordinary New Yorkers worked 125 days. The Legislature was in session only 62 days. Not bad for a part-time job. Many members find the time to hold down second jobs paying even more.
Most members in the majority Democratic state Assembly and Republican state Senate-Independent Democrat coalition supplemented their base pay of $79,000 with lulus for chairing dozens of useless committees and subcommittees. These run up to $41,500, for a salary of $121,000 per year. This is supplemented by day-to-day meal expense accounts and reimbursement for travel to and from Albany.
Nobody was drafted to run for public office. Everyone knew of the salary, perks of office and limited work requirements. Members of the state Legislature are lucky to have their part-time jobs! There are plenty of out-of-work New Yorkers who would be more than happy to replace them. They would gladly show up for work full-time, not constantly complain or ask for a salary increase.
The epic battle between animal rights groups and Central Park horse carriage drivers has come to a head as Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) announced a bill that would ban the centuries-old practice from the city’s most iconic park.
“The morality of a nation can be judged by the way society treats its animals,” Dromm said in a prepared statement. “Horses don’t belong on New York City’s congested streets amid cars and pollutions. There have been too many crashes and too many horse deaths and injuries to justify the continuation of this industry.”
After residents of the 26th Council District went to more than 10 participatory budgeting meetings since the democratic process was introduced this summer, city Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) shared a list of community projects brainstormed by attendees.
Project ideas include a pedestrian footbridge over Queens Boulevard and Thomson Avenue in Long Island City, a rooftop farm and community garden in the Queensbridge Houses, a community boat launch and waterfront pocket park in Long Island City, a rooftop playground at PS 166 in Astoria and a new ferry along the East River waterfront that would connect Long Island City, Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Astoria.
(NAPSI)—As the 2014 election made clear to many pundits, Americans are as discontented with the president’s leadership as they are with the dysfunction provided by a divided Congress.
While the GOP had a great night on Nov. 4 — they won control of the 114th Congress! — to this writer, it was a hollow victory. Let’s look at what they won.
They exchanged roles in the Senate. Folks, remember when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent 400 bills to the Senate? What happened to them? The GOP minority invoked Senate rules to have them pigeonholed! What was good for the GOP, will be good for the Democrats in 2015. The GOP House will send many bills to the senate: repeal of Obamacare, Keystone pipeline approval, corporate tax cuts, restoring the Defense of Marriage Act … Gridlock will continue to tie up Congress.
If the GOP truly supports bipartisanship, let them prove it by having the House pass the Senate immigration bill, which has 14 GOP votes but has been denied House action for the past 502 days!
Republicans claimed voters repudiated President Obama. Barack Obama was correct on the issue of raising the minimum wage, as voters in four western “red” states approved. Another Obama issue? Governor Danel Malloy of Connecticut supported gun background checks. The NRA, a friend of the G
OP, spent huge sums hoping to defeat him. However voters re-elected him. GOP Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett fired thousands of teachers. He signed a very suppressive photo ID voter law. Commonwealth voters defeated him by a wide margin. Thousands of citizens will now be able to enroll in Obamacare.
Contrary to Fox and Friends, the hollow GOP victory gave Obama a major role in legislative matters. For years, the GOP tied Obama’s hands. The next Congress will send GOP radical bills to the White House. Obama will have the strongest left hand in DC. He will either sign executive orders or veto bills. Hey Republicans, have fun trying to get 67 senators to override a veto.
When the American people elected Barack Obama as the country’s first African-American president, Republicans denied it was a mandate. But now when the GOP has their largest majority in 85 years thanks to the lowest voter turnout in 72 years it’s (according to Rush Limbaugh) “the biggest and perhaps the most important mandate a political party has had in the recent era and it is very simple what that mandate is. It is to stop Barack Obama. Republicans were not elected to govern.”
Absolutely amazing! But not surprising in the least. Conservative magazine The National Review says in an editorial titled “The Governing Trap” says, “If voters come to believe that a Republican Congress and a Democratic president are doing a fine job of governing together, why wouldn’t they vote to continue this arrangement in 2016?” Four years of competent governing? Who would want that? Not Republicans.
Prior to the recent midterm elections Republican Mitch McConnell (next head of the Senate) said this regarding the Senate, which still had a Democratic majority. “There are still enough Republicans to block the Democratic agenda, as long as they all march in “lockstep” (a prison te
rm) and as long as Republicans refuse to follow his lead, Americans will see ‘partisan food fights’ and conclude that Obama has failed to produce change”. But that was then, right? Wrong. The National Review goes on to say “The GOP should focus on the future by building the case for Republican governance after 2016, and explaining what Republicans “would do” if they had the White House”. And they’re absolutely right. It’s time to show the American people that Republicans are capable of bold, decisive action! But later in the future, maybe, if in that future Republicans have the House, the Senate, and the presidency. Or maybe Republicans will wait until they have an all-Republican Supreme Court, 50 Republican governors and 50 Republican state legislatures.
However, refusing to govern at all might be hard to sell to the American people. Perhaps they’re waiting until there isn’t an America anymore. Well, if they refuse the responsibility to govern, that reality will be right around the corner.
President Obama’s executive order to provide certain undocumented residents with deferred action in case of future reform legislation as a possible pathway to citizenship or deportations was debated over and over again on the news and in legislative offices around the country.
Many activist groups, including Make the Road New York, hosted viewing parties of the president’s speech and tweeted about being excited to hear Obama’s plan.
A federal judge has denied a motion to postpone the Jan. 5 retrial of former Deputy Queens Republican Chairman Vincent Tabone due to his lawyer being unable to participate because of a difficult pregnancy.
Tabone is scheduled to be tried beginning Jan. 5 along with outgoing state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) as part of a government corruption case centered on the lawmaker.
Monday night’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo. Police Officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown has filled up any openings in the Rev. Phil Craig’s normally busy schedule.
“I’ll be in Staten Island tonight,” said Craig, pastor of The Greater Springfield Community Church in Jamaica on Tuesday afternoon. “I’ll be at the press conference in Manhattan on Wednesday.”
Many Queens lawmakers back President Obama’s executive order on undocumented immigrants, which says that many who have lived in the United States for at least five years without a criminal record can apply to legally work in the country and be protected from deportation. Up to five million may qualify.
Officials here largely said the move will not alleviate all the problems that exist in the nation’s “broken immigration system,” but is a “welcome step” that will move the country in the right direction.
While I strongly support increases in both mass transit and in park areas, one has to consider what is possible and what is highly unlikely. There are no budget plans for a Rockaway Beach rail line and Gov. Cuomo is looking to halve the proposed transit funding. The Republican state Senate is not going to approve funding for the rail line and even Democrats will not be thrilled to spend $700 million. The fact that the Queens College survey could not even get a majority of Rockaway residents (the people who would most gain by the rail) to choose it over parkland indicates that there is less support for this option. But let’s say that at some point a rail line were to be approved. Given the way transit projects progress, I doubt that many of us will be around to see it reach completion.
The Rockaways have more transit options than many other areas of Queens. Ferry service can be extended and expanded as an alternative. If we’re going to spend $700 million dollars, spend it evenly to a greater part of our borough.
There are arguments to be made for and against either the QueensWay or the status quo, and those should be further discussed. Let’s limit the debate to those two options and drop the one that would be nice but will never be.
The de Blasio administration has secured $10 million in commitments toward the city’s bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
The money was pledged by the 101 businesses, civic and labor leaders that make up the Host Committee, officials said.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) is remaining mum on which party he will caucus with in Albany during the next session.
Last February, Avella joined the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of five lawmakers who joined with the minority Republicans to prevent Democrats from leading the Senate and, they said, to stop the logjam in the body. The move angered Queens Democrats, who ran former City Comptroller and Flushing’s favorite son John Liu to oppose him in September’s primary.
Mayor de Blasio signed two bills into law last week that mandate the city to reject most requests from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to detain undocumented immigrants for deportation, except in limited circumstances.
Intro. 486-A bars the Police Department and the city Department of Correction from honoring detainer requests without a judicial warrant. Other exceptions include if the immigrant is on the U.S. terrorist watch list, has been convicted of a violent crime or has committed a serious crime in the past five years.
Now that the election results have been finalized, many voters and officials have high expectations for the re-elected Gov. Cuomo, specifically on social issues.
“The first term was about balancing the budget and developing trust between the state government and the public,” state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said. “Now he can sort of get back to social issues and his Democratic base.”
Two days after the Republicans took control of both chambers in the United States Congress and the New York state Senate, York College hosted a post midterm election talk, which highlighted the implications it has on the nation going forward.
Bad messaging, focusing on the wrong issues and lack of communication are some of the reasons why the democrats lost a large number of their seats across the nation, even in deep-blue states, according Errol Louis, host of the NY1 News political program “Inside City Hall.”
Carolyn Scarano has lived in Astoria all her life, and there’s nothing that could ever change that.
“I just love it. It’s such a diverse community with so much culture,” she said.
On a night when Republicans won control of the U.S. Senate and held it in the House, state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) had to wait until the late hours of Tuesday to find out he would stay in the Legislature for another two years.
“This has been a journey for me,” Addabbo told his supporters at the Woodhaven House in Rego Park.
Long Island Rail Road officials told area elected officials last week that the improvements proposed for the Flushing station are proceeding, with construction expected to begin late next year.
Last January, LIRR officials announced that land at 40-36 Main St., north of the train trestle, would be purchased so that the railroad could install elevators on both sides of the tracks. It is now occupied by a supermarket.
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and four Latino city lawmakers sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton last week outlining their “deep concern” with the large number of low-level marijuana possession arrests that they said “unfairly” target black and Latino youths.
The letter came in response to a recent report from the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York-based advocacy group that promotes policy alternatives to the drug war. The report concluded that in the first eight months of the de Blasio administration, the Police Department exceeded the number of low-level marijuana arrests made during the same period last year, under the previous administration of Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
If Tuesday’s Republican election victories across the nation were the wave many in the media like to call them, the breakwater around Queens held firm for Democrats, even as the GOP tide rose in some districts as close as eastern Long Island and Staten Island.
In most cases the election was a done deal for Queens Democrats running for the Assembly, state Senate and U.S. House of Representatives before a single vote was cast, as they had no Republican opponents. Where they were challenged, they won.
In June, I wrote my member of Congress, Democrat Grace Meng, urging her to initiate House action to restore the sanctions against Iran in the July negotiations. On her reply, she detailed the initiatives she had taken in this regard, working with House Republicans, which resulted in HR 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, being passed by the full House in 2013. However, since the Senate didn’t pass a companion bill, new sanctions couldn’t be signed into law.
I believe that the Senate, through this inaction under Majority Leader Harry Reid, bears heavy responsibility in the president’s decision to ease sanctions — which is making it easier for Iran to develop nuclear weapons capability.
It may be noted that, in addition to the Iran act, hundreds of other bills passed by the House have not been acted upon by the Senate. A great number have not even been allowed to come to the Senate floor for a vote because Reid believes a vote might be politically difficult for the Democratic members of the Senate. (This is most unfortunate, as many of these bills would boost economic growth and create jobs.)
As regards Grace Meng, I believe that through her demonstrated service to the nation in the House, she certainly deserves my vote for a second term in November.