World Series Makes For Strange Bedfellows
It’s Mets vs. Yanks and Rudy vs. Pete and Claire vs. Fernando. The first-in-46-years Subway Series has everyone taking sides. Giuliani, after cashing in on two bets on the Yankees’ successes in the playoff and pennant series, donned his Yankee cap as City Council Speaker Peter Vallone popped on the Mets hat.
And talking about the World Series making strange bedfellows, Rudy and Hillary Rodham Clinton are in bed together as the First Lady declared she’s rooting for the Bronx Bombers. But still on the opposite side of the fence is Rick Lazio, a lifelong Met fan, he says.
The mayor, still keeping Hillary at arm’s length, said he’s going to make a bet with Lazio on the Series and hopes he makes it three straight after collecting on bets with the mayors of Oakland and Seattle.
Closer to home, Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, after raising a huge Mets banner over Borough Hall in Kew Gardens made a bet with her Bronx counterpart, Fernando Ferrer, that her beloved Mets will wipe out his Bronx Bombers.
Even Brooklyn, once the home of "Dem Bums", (the Dodgers), got into the act. Brooklyn/Queens Congressmember Anthony Weiner and a colleague from the Bronx, Eliot Engel, wagered cheesecakes made in their respective boroughs on the outcome of the Series. Said Weiner, a lifelong Mets fan, "The Mets are a lock."
FUNDRAISING REPORT: A recent report on fundraising by state Senator Frank Padavan (R–C, Bellerose) and his Democratic opponent in the eastern Queens area, Rory Lancman, misreported Lancman’s campaign cash, Lancman said.
The report said Lancman had raised $14,000.91 since January and had $34,573 on hand. "It should have said I raised $14,000 since July 15th," Lancman said. For the record, he stated, he has raised $120,000 at this point and has about $35,000 on hand. Padavan’s reported total of funds raised, $101,819 since the first of the year, is roughly what he told the Gazette he raised in a recent interview.
WEINER ON MIDDLE EAST: Reacting to the recent violence in the Middle East, Weiner has introduced legislation to cut $33 million of "non humanitarian aid" scheduled to go to the Palestinian Authority from the United States. The $33 million is part of $100 million in aid which Congress is expected to approve for the Authority in the 2001 budget. Weiner said his proposal would not affect $67 million in humanitarian aid ticketed for Palestine’s children, health care and water resources funding.
Referring to Palestinian "intransigence" at the peace negotiations and "the organized violence that has been turned on and off," Weiner declared, "the time has come to send a signal to (Yasser) Arafat that we will not stand idly by while taxpayer dollars fund acts of hatred against Israel."
Speaking in support of Weiner’s proposal, Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D–Queens/Bronx) commended Weiner "for introducing this crucial and timely legislation." Crowley said it was time for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Arafat to "get back to the bargaining table..."
PROGRAMS PROTECT SENIORS: As state Senator Serphin Maltese lauded a bill to protect senior citizen consumers and others, city Comptroller Alan Hevesi announced a series of forums "to curb the scourge of predatory mortgage lending."
Maltese (R–C, Middle Village) hailed two "landmark new laws: to protect consumers, particularly seniors, from unwanted telemarketing calls and potential telemarketing fraud. Consumers can place their names on a "Do Not Call" registry which forbids telemarketers to call them and to be subject to a fine if they do. The second bill protects consumers from potential fraud by strengthening and augmenting existing federal safeguards.
Hevesi joined with GreenPoint Bank and several other consumer and senior advocacy organizations to present a series of educational seminars throughout the city.
The Queens seminar is set for next Mar. 13th at the GreenPoint Bank branch at 41-60 Main St., Flushing.
Predatory lending is the policy practiced by some mortgage companies which grant mortgages to low-and middle-income home buyers at high interest rates which will likely cause foreclosures and result in borrowers losing large sums of money and their new homes.
Hevesi said, "the abusive practice of predatory lending harms neighborhoods and robs families of their savings. Educating the public is our best prevention. That is why we are sponsoring these seminars."
WANTS CELL PHONE BAN IN CARS: Citing their dangers to safety, Councilmember Sheldon Leffler (D–Queens Village) has introduced legislation that would prohibit the use of all phones while operating a motor vehicle in New York City.
Leffler complained in a letter to Councilmember Noach Dear (D–Brooklyn) that his requests for hearings by Dear’s Transportation Committee have been ignored.
Leffler cited studies which show that "the risk of vehicular accidents increases fourfold when drivers are on the phone and that driving while talking on the phone can be as dangerous as driving while drunk."
Vallone Launches Heart Disease Info Campaign: Calling attention to women’s vulnerability to heart disease, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D–Astoria) joined with Councilmembers Ronnie Eldridge (D–Manhattan) and Victor Robles (D–Brooklyn) last week to launch the "Women and Heart Disease" public awareness campaign.
"Most people don’t realize that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women," Vallone stated. "The city can and must do something about educating women about this deadly disease."
Vallone added that every year, over half a million women in the United States die of heart disease and the death rate for the disease in New York City is among the highest in the country.
As part of the kick-off, free heart screenings were offered and a brochure outlining preventive measures was issued.
New Law Helps Vet– Public Employee Pensions: Governor George Pataki has signed into law a bill which will make it easier for war veterans who work as public employees to increase their retirement pensions.
A 1998 law allowed veterans to get retirement credit for years served in the military during wartime by "buying back" or purchasing service credit. However, it proved to be too costly for most eligible vets, the governor said.
Under the new law, Pataki explained, the cost of purchasing service credit within the various public retirement systems is set at three percent of the veteran’s current annual salary for each year of military service up to a maximum of three years.
Individuals who bought back credit under the previous law, which required vets to pay the entire cost of the credit, will receive a refund of the difference they would have to pay under the two laws, Pataki said.
To be eligible, an employee must have served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam or the Persian Gulf wars, or participated in the Lebanon, Grenada or Panama conflicts and have at least five years in the retirement system.
Mayor Signs Street Name Change Bills: Mayor Rudolph Giuliani recently signed a bill naming a Jamaica Street in honor of well-known youth baseball mentor Joe Austin, who died two years ago at the age of 94. Among thousands of youths whose lives Austin touched was former Governor Mario M. Cuomo.
Councilmember Morton Povman (D–Kew Gardens Hills) introduced the bill renaming 84th Avenue between 164th and 168th Streets in Austin’s honor . Under another bill sponsored by Povman and Councilmembers Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Mike Abel (R-C, Bayside), the triangle bounded by the Horace Harding Expressway, 174th Street, and 64th Avenue in Fresh Meadows was renamed Christopher Postiglione Triangle in honor of the city construction worker killed by a hit-run driver in January 1999 while on duty with the Department of Environmental Protection.
Under a third bill signed by the mayor, which was sponsored by Councilmember John Sabini (D–Jackson Heights), the triangle formed by Broadway, 59th Street, and 34th Avenue in Woodside was renamed "Sergeant Collins Triangle" in honor of Sergeant Patrick F. Collins, a Woodside man killed in World War I.
The mayor also signed a Sabini-sponsored bill renaming 38th Avenue between 65th and 69th Streets in Woodside "Kevin Mahon Avenue" in honor of the man who founded Woodside On The Move. Councilmembers Walter McCaffrey (D–Woodside) and Abel also were sponsors of the bill. Mahon, a Vietnam War veteran, was behind the improvement of the Roosevelt Ave. corridor and the Woodside shopping district.