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It is my opinion that most historians will rank the 113th Congress as the least productive in history. It will even outdo the one that prompted President Truman’s famous remark about that “good for nothing” 80th Republican Congress! Our Congress is truly not the top banana. In all polls, voters gave the 113th only a 9 percent approval rating.
Blame should go equally to both chambers, the Democratic Senate and GOP House. The Senate worked 99 days and the House 117 for the entire year in 2013.
In the Senate, Republicans stalled the approval of 93 presidential nominations. The logjam broke only after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, “Enough is enough!”
Let me briefly focus on the worst chamber, the GOP House of Representatives. These outstanding achievements occurred: 1) The House voted 45 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare to the GOP). 2) They voted to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. 3) They for
ced the government to “shut down” for 16 days last October at a cost of $25 billion. 4) They refused to extend benefits to long-time unemployed workers; ‘Takers’ to republicans. 5) Chairman Darrell Isa (R-Caliph.) and his oversight committee held a series of “witch hunts”: fast and furious, Benghazi, IRS vs. Tea Party. Chairman Issa invited “select” folks to his political circus, which resulted in lots of hearsay talk over many days of long hearings.
In Western Queens, 2013 was the year of development and affordable housing. Willets Point, Hallets Point, Hunters Point and 5Pointz became names commonly thrown around by politicians, community boards and civic groups throughout the area. There wasn’t a month that didn’t go by when residents, electeds and developers went head to head on major development projects, illegal apartments, a massive soccer stadium plan or even the possible closing of their neighborhood movie theater.
This year’s elections and a lawsuit filed this week against the city together demonstrate the need for two reforms in the electoral process.
First off, voters are entitled to privacy when voting, but under the system being used now, they’re not getting it. Mayor Bloomberg himself said that a poll worker had seen his ballot.
(NAPSI)—Good news for people concerned about employment in America today: Well-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector—actually, more than 600,000 of them—are waiting for workers who have been properly trained.
(NewsUSA) - The recent government shutdown inconvenienced many Americans -- from federal workers, to tourists -- but how did it impact those looking for work? The health care debate was among the main catalysts for the shutdown, with both parties claiming to be the voice of the public, but has the voice of the job seeker been drowned out as a result? A new national poll asked those very questions to find out what was more important to job seekers -- a paycheck or health insurance. The result? The majority of unemployed Americans (77 percent) would apparently take the job, even if it meant no health insurance. Online career network Beyond.com surveyed over 5,000 job seekers from across the country to find out how the government shutdown and the technical frustrations with the health care rollout impacted their employment search. The survey comprised a dozen questions to determine if healthcare was really the main concern for those seeking work, and most respondents, it appears, were just interested in a salary to support their family. * 61 percent of those who participated in the survey said that their top priority when it comes to a job is salary, not health care. * That's despite approximately 32 percent of respondents saying they currently don't have health insurance, with nearly 50 percent of those people citing they haven't had health insurance for more than a year. * 89 percent of respondents said they'd do just about anything to find a job, including working long hours and/or weekends. "With so much speculation about the job market, we decided to go out and ask job seekers exactly what they were thinking," said Joe Weinlick, VP of Marketing at Beyond.com. "A big part of finding a job is confidence, and while health care is certainly an important issue, we've found that those looking for work are more concerned about things like honing interview skills or updating their resume. Health insurance is one of many factors people need to weigh when considering a job offer, but you have to get the job offer first." Survey respondents included job seekers from the Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer generations. Surprisingly, the majority of respondents from each generation reported that they'd consider job offers even if they didn't include health insurance at all -- despite numerous reports citing the increased need for health care across the board, especially with Baby Boomers. What do you think people will be most thankful for -- a paycheck or health care?
While thousands of people lined up in schools, churches and synagogues to cast their votes for city offices and state proposals, another group stood huddled together in Jackson Heights to conduct an election of their own.
The New York Coalition to Expand Voting Rights conducted a mock election complete with mock voting booths, ballots, poll workers and ballot boxes in Diversity Plaza.
When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, those who aren’t political junkies may be surprised at some of the names on the ballot and propositions they’ll be making decisions on. Think the mayor’s race is between Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota? Sure it is, along with 13 other people. Ready to make a choice on a parcel of land in the Adirondack Mountains? You’ll be asked to. Here’s a comprehensive guide to what Queens voters will see on the ballot, according to the city Campaign Finance Board.
Transit union leader Daneek Miller topped a crowded Democratic field on Tuesday night, taking the party’s nomination for the 27th District Council seat now held by Councilman Leroy Comrie.
Unofficial totals posted by the Board of Elections on Wednesday had Miller atop the six-candidate field with 24.35 percent of the vote.
The old-fashioned lever voting machine made a comeback in Tuesday’s primary elections, replacing the electronic ones used last year.
While many Queens voters rejoiced at the return, some voters were upset with the technological relic.
While all the attention as of late has been on the mayoral and city comptroller races, due mostly to certain candidates running, there’s a much quieter campaign happening for the second highest-ranking job in the city — public advocate.
According to the New York City Charter, the public advocate serves as the ombudsman between City Hall and the public.
With the Senate session winding down in Albany, and about a thousand bills left to debate, the hydrofracking moratorium bill may not even hit the floor for a vote. Most Queens lawmakers oppose allowing the drilling process in New York State without conclusive scientific evidence that it can be done safely, without contaminating groundwater.
The drilling process known as hydrofracking is used to obtain natural gas from rock formations, such as the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from New York’s Southern Tier to West Virginia. Fracking involves injecting millions of gallons of water along with a slurry of sand and about 600 chemicals into a narrow horizontal pipe at high pressure to induce “mini-earthquakes,” which release the natural gas.
For years, Walmart has tried to open a location in the five boroughs, but pushback from workers unions and the City Council have cast the superstore behemoth back to the suburbs.
Most recently, the retail giant intended to open shop in Brooklyn but was shot down by the Council in the fall of 2012, and it seemed as though the company had largely abandoned Operation: Get into New York City, for good.
Superstorm Sandy’s impact could be felt everywhere in the weeks following the hurricane. And of course it left its mark on politics.
There were long lines on Election Day and it wasn’t just because people were anxious to do their patriotic duty as Americans. Many people had been displaced, their homes badly damaged or destroyed by Sandy, while others couldn’t travel because the fuel shortage had left their cars with little or no gas.
A poll worker assists a voter.
Three days before Election Day, Isabel Valencia rang a doorbell on Roosevelt Avenue in Corona. When there was no answer, she glanced at her partner, Fausto Gara, and rang again. After a minute, Roger Davila answered the door.
In Spanish, Valencia immediately launched into an introduction that she had made hundreds of times since Sept. 8: she works for a faith-based organization; she hopes you will vote on Nov. 6; and please join thousands of others in telling Congress to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which would grant deportation deferral and temporary work permits to qualifiying illegal residents.
Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) defeated Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) for the newly drawn 6th Congressional seat, becoming the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress.
The second-term Assemblywoman won by nearly 54,000 votes, defeating Halloran by a 36-point margin with all but one of the district’s 409 election precincts reporting.
Politics as usual indeed.
Tuesday’s elections confirmed what everyone already knew: people cheat. Even when they don’t need to.
Missing wheelchair ramps, blocked paths and locked doors at accessible entrances are some of the barriers that have prevented disabled persons from voting, according to one advocacy group, and now a federal court has ordered the Board of Elections to adopt a plan that would eliminate such obstructions.
The BOE must have one Americans with Disabilities Act poll worker at every city voting location in time for the Nov. 6 general election. The person will be trained on poll-site accessibility by the Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York.
This week the Council of Municipal Retiree Organizations of New York City, which represents more than 250,000 retired city workers, announced that three candidates for office in Queens had signed its pledge to oppose any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance. The candidates all pledged in fact to spend more on those programs, agreeing to “adjust them to the rising cost of living.”
The three are all Democrats, office holders already, one seeking higher office, one defending his seat against a tough challenge and one running for re-election unopposed. They are, respectively, Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), who’s running for the 6th Congressional District seat against City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone); state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), who’s running to retain his seat against Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park); and Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck), who has no opponent.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) went to Albany after ousting a 20-year Republican incumbent in 2008. With him came a Democratic majority for the first time in more than four decades.
But four years later, that majority is gone and Addabbo is fighting for his seat in a newly redrawn district facing off against his successor on the City Council.
In at least two recent cases, public affairs have clashed with a belief of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish religion, prohibiting followers from attending a public hearing and almost stopping them from voting.
The issue is that entering the sanctuary space of a church is prohibited for them.
PS 20 in Flushing was one of the polling places used by voters who initially were misdirected to another location by the Board of Elections. Here a campaign worker passes by the school on Primary Day.
Just when I thought the Board of Elections couldn’t get any dumber, they proved me wrong. On primary election day — Sept. 13 — they screwed up big-time, offending most Kew Gardens Hills Democratic voters and Jewish voters. Here’s what happend. The regular polling place — PS 164 at 77th Avenue & 135th Street — was deemed inaccessible to the handicapped by the U.S. Justice Department. They were wrong, but more on that later.
The BOE replaced PS 164 with St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church at 150-75 Goethals Ave., which is in Hillcrest, not Kew Gardens Hills. This outraged Orthodox Jewish voters who refused to set foot in a Catholic church. After state Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz intervened, the BOE announced that it was
shifting the polling place to the Kew Gardens Hills Library at 72-33 Vleigh Place. Everything seemed satisfactory, until election day. When I arrived at the library, a BOE poll worker told me that only registered Republicans could vote at that location. Democrats had to vote at St. Nicholas of Tolentine. Many voters were furious and didn’t vote. Whoever heard of separate polling places for Democrats and Republicans? This tops a rotten record of performance by the BOE, including faulty electronic voting machines and archaic vote tabulation procedures.
Fortunately, there was a light voter turnout on primary day. If this disaster is repeated on election day in November, most Kew Gardens Hills voters will be disenfranchised. You can count the number of registered Republicans on one hand. The solution is to restore PS 164 as the polling place for everyone. That can be done by opening the school’s entrance just off 77th Ave., allowing unimpeded access to the gym, where voting took place.
We had an expression in the Air Force for this kind of screw-up: FUBAR, for Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition. You can substitute another F-word for “fouled.” The BOE should change its initials to BOI — Band Of Idiots. They must shape up or ship out.
It was expected that there would be confusion among some voters in last Thursday’s primaries due to redistricting and the resultant shifting of some people’s polling places to new locations. But all across Queens, voters also reported being given bad information by the Board of Elections, prompting some to forget about voting altogether.
At PS 113 in Ridgewood, Republicans were voting in the primary race for the 15th state Senate District between City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and Forest Hills attorney Juan Reyes, while Democrats were casting ballots in the 38th Assembly District race between incumbent Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) and challenger Etienne David Adorno, a City Council aide.