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“I think we let Iran off the hook,” said City Councilman-Elect Rory Lancman, echoing similar reactions other Jewish leaders representing Queens had about the new nuclear agreement between the United States and Iran.
On Saturday, President Obama announced the Joint Plan of Action a deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China) to greatly reduce Iran’s nuclear activity for the next six months. Iran will have to permit inspectors daily access to its facilities while the P5+1 countries will curtail its sanctions in certain areas including the auto industry, oil and gold exports.
As a member of Congress who represents a large population of Americans of Indian descent, I am deeply troubled by the outrageous remarks aimed at the winner of the 2014 Miss America Pageant: fellow New Yorker Nina Davuluri.
Ms. Davuluri embodies the American dream—the daughter of immigrants who graduated from a prestigious university and plans to pursue a medical degree. She is American in the truest sense, and the fact that this would be questioned is despicable.
Embracing diversity is an American value, and one that I have always cherished. I am the product of grandparents who fled Russia due to persecution and found an accepting home here in America. I have spent my life honoring their memory by fighting against hatred, bigotry and persecution. When I heard of the vitriol being directed toward Ms. Davuluri, I felt compelled to respond.
I join with the voices of the many Americans who have cried out against these hateful remarks. And I will continue to work in Congress to fight against hatred.
Editor’s note: The writer’s congressional district includes much of northern Queens.
As one plane after another flew overhead, sometimes drowning out their words, several elected officials, along with area residents, expressed concern over environmental issues facing the borough as a result of proposed changes to flight procedures at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports.
At a press conference at Little Bay Park in Bayside on Tuesday, Representatives Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Grace Meng (D-Flushing) were among those who called on the Federal Aviation Administration to exempt the two airports’ flights from a new rule that would allow the agency to make changes to flight procedures without conducting an environmental review to study the impact of the changes.
The opinions of Queens’ federal lawmakers on whether the United States should launch an attack on Syria in response to its government’s apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians run the gamut.
Some support the action, at least one is opposed, at least one admits he is undecided and several of the others issued varying statements before President Obama announced that he would seek congressional authorization for military action last Friday.
The United States should not rashly attack Syria over its government’s apparent use of chemical weapons, and President Obama should ask Congress to approve any strike on the country before launching one, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) said in a statement issued Friday.
Maloney’s statement appears to be the first released by any of Queens’ federal representatives on the possibility of the United States launching air strikes against Syria.
City offers more data on campaign finance
The entire Queens delegation in Congress, along with U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), have signed a letter urging the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to create a regional Airport Advisory Committee.
The Port Authority operates John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports in Queens, and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey along with smaller regional fields.
I’m proud to represent an area of Long Island that has been the location for many famous movies and TV shows, including “Citizen Kane,” “Annie Hall” and the hit television series “Boardwalk Empire.” It’s even the setting for “The Great Gatsby.” Shamefully, it’s also now the location for a show whose characters are disgraceful, misleading, and fuel anti-Semitic stereotypes: “Princesses: Long Island.”
Full disclosure: I kind of enjoy reality TV. “Storage Wars” and “Pawn Stars” are among my guilty pleasures. So the idea of watching a reality show taking place in my own backyard wasn’t so far-fetched. I knew little about “Princesses” before sitting down to watch it.
Much to my dismay, the characters on the show spewed gross generalizations about the living and dating habits of unmarried Jewish women. And the stereotyping didn’t stop there. In one episode, the characters get together for a Shabbat dinner, an important tradition in the Jewish faith and cult
ure. As a Jew, I can say with confidence this dinner was exactly the opposite of what the sacred Sabbath dinner is supposed to be. It was shown in the worst way possible, with excessive drinking and fighting.
The characters do not shy away from any Jewish stereotypes and portray both Jews and Long Islanders in the most unflattering light possible. Yes, I know this is reality TV, but it’s still unacceptable. Jews have spent thousands of years trying to dispel stereotypes. We’ve been repeatedly persecuted based on falsities and gross generalizations. I’ve worked my whole life to combat this type of hatred. And I’m the product of grandparents who came here to escape the hate-driven pogroms of Russia.
Therefore, I will not silently tolerate a show that paints Jewish women as stereotypes — money-hungry, superficial Jewish-American princesses. The characters on the show are welcome to live their lives however they choose, but I don’t want viewers to think they are, in any way, representative of Jews or Long Islanders.
I, for one, will not be watching “Princesses: Long Island.” I hope others will join me in deciding this show is not the type of TV we should support.
Jennifer Manley, the Queens Library’s vice president for government and community affairs, was honored at the White House Tuesday as a “Champion of Change” for her service to the community.
Manley was one of just 12 people from libraries and museums across the country who received the honor.
Championing their constituents’ gripes about airplane noise over their homes, elected officials from Northeast Queens headed down to Washington, DC last Wednesday to convince the Federal Aviation Administration that its environmental review process was insufficient when it changed the procedures for planes departing from LaGuardia Airport last year.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), and Reps. Grace Meng (D-Bayside) and Steve Israel (D-Melville) agreed with federal and regional FAA representatives to meet again with lawyers and technical experts to discuss the legal arguments over implementing new flight paths without a cumulative environmental impact study. The first meeting is not scheduled yet.
Rep. Grace Meng, left, and Rep. Steve Israel join students Grace Segers and Gabriel Yoon to call for a continuation of the cut rate on Stafford loans.
A group that began seven months ago with a few people venting their complaints while eating at the Terrace Diner has evolved into a neighborhood movement, a force dedicated to making the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority work for the residents of Northeast Queens to alleviate the noise and pollution from planes flying out of LaGuardia airport.
Approximately 200 people with similar frustrations attended the first Queens Quiet Skies community education meting on May 2 in the Bayside High School auditorium. While planes rumbled overhead, leaders and experts presented residents with legal and technical information and encouraged them to get more involved.
The nation’s collegiate students are staring down the barrel of a doubling interest rate on academic loans on July 1, but two Queens lawmakers have sponsored legislation that could extend the reduced rate for another two years.
Interest rates on Stafford loans will double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent, as a reduction in rates signed in 2007 and extended last year is set to expire.
The Center for the Women of New York will honor Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside) as its “Woman of Distinction” during its 26th Annual Luncheon on Saturday, April 17 at Douglaston Manor, 63-20 Commonwealth Blvd. in Douglaston.
At the annual fundraising event, which will begin at noon, the organization celebrates men and women in leadership who are committed to women’s rights and who have made major contributions.
Flushing native Steve Chubin spent his childhood playing on the basketball courts of Queens parks with his neighborhood friends. He went on to play for Forest Hills High School’s varsity basketball team before capturing the all-time scoring record at the University of Rhode Island. Now Chubin will join 15 former student-athletes and coaches to be inducted into the Atlantic 10 Conference’s Inaugural Men’s Basketball Legends on March 16 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
My husband and I recently vacationed in Aruba. Yesterday we received our bank statement. It was a rude awakening. We felt we were robbed and had no place to turn.
On our first visit to an ATM in Aruba we withdrew $800 and were informed there would be a $3 fee for using the ATM. We agreed to that fee. However, our bank charged us another 4 percent fee for that withdrawal, amounting to $32. To add insult to injury, we were charged $6 for using the ATM. Therefore, we were charged $38 for withdrawing $800. Our total cost for using the ATM in Aruba amounted to over $200.
I called our new congressman, Steve Israel, and spoke with his representative Alonso Lara. I suggested that notification on ATMs overseas should alert the public that banks charge 4 percent for their withdrawal. I was extremely impressed with Mr. Lara’s knowledge and demeanor during his explan
ation as to why that cannot be done. For instance, if the person withdrawing is from Canada, there is a different fee, and some banks in the USA charge different fees. My bank informed me that a notification was recently sent informing their customers that the international fee went from 3 percent to 4 percent. I must admit I didn’t read the small print from their three-page communication. The banks and Wall Street sure do have a hold and power in Washington.
I suggested that in Congressman Israel’s next mailing, he should alert his constituents to call their banks and ask what their protocol is when using an ATM internationally.
Kudos to Alonso Lara for his knowledge, professionalism and pristine representation on behalf of our new congressman. It was a pleasure to talk with him.
The recent announcement of a grant meant to help co-op and condo owners affected by Hurricane Sandy has been met with gratitude and caution. It’s needed help, but there’s still work left to be done.
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development will give Community Development Block Grants Disaster Recovery funding to co-ops and condos affected by the storm.
The new Queens Artists’ Alliance will be hosting an Emerging Artists Show and reception at GEAR Gallery, 61-08 Myrtle Ave., Glendale, on Friday, Feb. 8 from 6-9 p.m. and on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 1-6 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. All Queens artists are encouraged to attend and to bring photos of their work with contact info on the back to leave with the alliance for possible inclusion in upcoming shows in Queens. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congressman Steve Israel, left, holds a toy Dania and Nick Mavros bought for their prospective adopted Russian son, Ari, who is stuck overseas while the U.S. and Russia bicker.
When Nick and Dania Mavros went to Russia in December to meet their soon-to-be son, Ari, the 1-year-old won their hearts immediately. The Little Neck couple brought toys and did their best to bond during the week spent with Ari.
“I think my husband and I saw the brightest light in the world,” Dania said.
A new exhibition at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, Re-Forming the Image in the Dutch Golden Age, on view through March 23, results from a student seminar. The works on display include paintings, prints, sculpture and historical artifacts form 16th and 18th century Europe and colonial New York. Friends and family of the students will be invited to view their work at an opening reception on Tuesday, Feb. 5 from 6-8 p.m. The public is also welcome. Museum hours are Monday-Thursday, 11a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Area legislators met with Federal Aviation Administration officials on Jan. 18 to express ongoing concerns over plane noise resulting from new flight patterns over the borough. They left empty-handed but promised to continue fighting.
Congressional reps Steve Israel (D-LI) and Grace Meng (D-Bayside), state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) relayed community concerns over new flight patterns into and out of LaGuardia Airport that have increased the number of planes flying over Northeast Queens.
The Queens Jewish Community Council on Sunday welcomed former Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Queens) as a Congresswoman, and veteran Representative Steve Israel (D-Queens, LI) to the neighborhood.
The group hosted its annual legislative breakfast at Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, an event that has become a popular stop with those in Queens either holding or seeking public office.
Longtime Democratic Congressman Steve Israel, second from left, shares a laugh and some breakfast with freshman Congresswoman Grace Meng on Sunday at the annual legislative breakfast hosted by the Queens Community Jewish Council.
The borough’s congressional delegation added three new faces to its roster on Jan. 3 with the swearing in of Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Steve Israel (D-Long Island)
Queens’ new legislators entered the 113th Congress at a time of deep partisan division and mounting fiscal headaches. All three promised to ignore the Democrat-Republican divide in the House of Representatives so as to put their constituents first.