'Homicide' Finding Leads Maloney To Seek Review Of Other 9/11 Deaths
Seizing upon the city Medical Examiner's finding that a Staten Island women's death was a homicide because she had been engulfed in the Ground Zero plume on 9/11, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney called on the ME to reopen cases of other people who died of exposure to the 9/11 dust storm.
Maloney, who has been conducting a sixyear fight with federal and city authorities to aid WTC volunteer clean-up workers who became ill, also called for the reopening of the federal Victims' Compensation Fund. The fund has assisted the rescue workers poisoned by the Ground Zero air in getting their health problems funded.
Maloney said in commenting on the ME's homicide ruling, "We're asking the city to give the families of the fallen 9/11 responders the closure they need and the recognition that they deserve."
The Queens/Bronx lawmaker said she and Congressmember Vito Fossella (R- Staten Island) and other officials plan to meet with ME Dr. Charles Hirsch about changing his jurisdiction, which includes only the people living in the five boroughs who died as a result of exposure to the 9/11 aftermath.
Meanwhile, the Bloomberg administration was charged with being guilty of a "consistent failure of leadership" in the handling of Ground Zero issues in the aftermath of the ME's finding. Congressmember Jerrold Nadler (D) of Lower Manhattan made the charge as he called on the ME to reconsider many other dust-related deaths.
SMITH BACKS MAYOR'S 'CONGESTION' PLAN: Although 61 percent of Queens residents opposed Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan in a recent Quinnipiac poll, state Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith revealed to the Daily News editorial board last week that he favors the plan.
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and motorists in the borough oppose the plan because they feel borough motorists will be hurt by the $8 toll that will be charged to any car entering Manhattan below 86th Street.
Smith (D- Jamaica), who ran a construction business before becoming a state legislator, said he supported the plan because the heavy traffic congestion in Manhattan imposes
huge costs on the city's economy.
With so much opposition to the
mayor's plan from Queens and
other boroughs, Smith could
run into a lot of trouble
over his unpopular
stand. But it could help
Bloomberg in winning the
Albany support he needs to get
the controversial plan approved by the state legislature.
CROWLEY VOTES 'NO' ON BUSH IRAQ PROPOSAL: Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D- Queens/The Bronx) voted against President Bush's proposal for the continued funding of the Iraq war. "The American people want to bring their sons and daughters home... and I want them to return too," he declared.
Crowley voted "no" on the part of a resolution dealing with Iraq war funding, but "yes" on handling domestic responsibilities, such as Gulf Coast recovery, increasing the minimum wage and children's and veterans' health care.
On the Iraq war vote, Crowley explained: "In the four years since this war began, I have consistently voted to provide the equipment and body armor our service members need to remain safe and protected. But the time has come for us to provide our troops with more than equipment. It is time for the president to provide them with a plan for their safe return. Today's legislation fails to accomplish this, and that is why I opposed its passage."
Although the president used his veto power to get the money needed to continue the war without a deadline (which the Democrats wanted), there were reports over the Memorial Day weekend that the Bush Administration is involved in an internal debate over concepts for reducing the number of American troops in Iraq by as much as half next year.
The report said this was the first indication that growing political pressure is forcing the change in the White House position.
Following this report, a conservative U.S. Senator, Jeff Sessions (R- Alabama) said the president would start to pull troops out of Iraq if the U.S. position there doesn't change soon. Sessions stated his prediction on the "Face the Nation" weekly news show on Sunday.
WATER TAX FIGHT GOES ON: City Councilmembers James Gennaro (D- Fresh Meadows) and David Weprin (D- Hollis) met with Mark Page, director of the city Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last Friday to continue their campaign to reduce the recent "outrageous" 11.5 percent water rate increase facing homeowners.
They told Page the city should kill "an obsolete, secret water tax" which is imposed on water and sewer ratepayers and which amounted to $135 million collected by the Water Board this fiscal year. Of this amount, about $75 million will go into the city's general fund.
But under the Gennaro- Weprin proposal, the OMB should return the $75 million to the Water Board, which should then "slash the 11.5 percent rate hike".
As far as we know, there has been no answer from Page to the Gennaro- Weprin proposal.