2008-11-12 / Political Page

Mayor Blasted On Taxes, Tolls And Term Limits Suit

assisting those fighting on the front lines of the war on cancer". Crowley (D- Queens/The Bronx) thanked the caregivers of US Oncology for everything they do for the thousands of New Yorkers who suffer from cancer. "I am proud to stand with the medical community and I will continue to support cancer care here at home and across the nation while we all work together to find a cure," he declared. GIOIA, LIU IN ADVOCATE RACE: Following Public Advocate Betsy assisting those fighting on the front lines of the war on cancer". Crowley (D- Queens/The Bronx) thanked the caregivers of US Oncology for everything they do for the thousands of New Yorkers who suffer from cancer. "I am proud to stand with the medical community and I will continue to support cancer care here at home and across the nation while we all work together to find a cure," he declared. GIOIA, LIU IN ADVOCATE RACE: Following Public Advocate Betsy City Councilmember John Liu took a hefty swipe at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to charge tolls on the East River bridges, saying the scheme "should not be imposed only on a narrow cross-section of working New Yorkers".

The mayor, looking to run for a third term next year after scuttling the term limits law recently, also took a hit last week from several city councilmembers after he announced the $400 real estate tax rebate would not be paid out this year and a 7 percent tax increase would be levied.

The mayor said he was imposing the harsh measures because the city faces a $4 billion budget shortfall over the next two years.

Opposition to Bloomberg's tax plans and bridge toll proposals has been quick to arise. In addition, the mayor is facing a lawsuit to overturn the term limits changes.

The reemergence of the bridge toll idea, put forth by the mayor to bail the MTA out of a hole, was also blasted by motorists from Brooklyn and Queens, who for many years have had a free ride on the East River bridges.

Drivers from the two boroughs would be virtually the only ones to be saddled with the extra burden—at a time when they can least afford it.

Liu (D- Flushing), chair of the council Transportation Committee, stated, "At this point, there isn't any question that the MTA is in need of a bailout. However, the costs should not be imposed only on a narrow cross-section of working New Yorkers through a most divisive of approaches pitting borough against borough. A fair solution can only be found in a broad-based revenue source."

Also blasting the proposal was Congressmember Anthony Weiner, who's planning to run against the mayor next year. The Queens/Brooklyn lawmaker called it a "regressive tax on middle class and working New Yorkers".

"The idea should stay dead," Weiner declared.

Meanwhile, City Comptroller William Thompson, another possible mayoral candidate next year, on Monday announced the filing of a federal term limits lawsuit.

In doing so, he stated, "Today's court action is necessary to correct an injustice. We are stepping forward on behalf of those New Yorkers who were denied a voice when self-interest prevailed over the public good. Today's action aims to restore democracy.

Also supporting the federal court suit was a former supporter of the mayor from across the aisle—former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari, a Republican. Molinari helped elect Bloomberg, but said the mayor's overthrow of term limits was "a mockery".

The federal suit was based on constitutional grounds, Molinari said, but did not explain it further.

CROWLEY GETS CANCER CARE AWARD: Congressmember Joseph Crowley yesterday received the 2008 U.S.

Oncology Cancer Care Leadership Award "for his leadership and continued support of community-based cancer care and the patients and families they serve". The award from US Oncology, a cancer fighting organization, is given to recognize America's most dedicated policymakers

Gotbaum's announcement that she will not seek re-election next year, Queens Councilmembers Eric Gioia and John Liu have emerged among her possible successors.

Gioia (D- Long Island City) had announced his intention to run for the citywide post some time ago, when it was expected to become available when Gotbaum's term would end under term limits at the end of next year. Term limits no longer apply since the law was changed to give an extra term to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and all other citywide officials and councilmembers.

Liu (D- Flushing) had also made it known he was eyeing the future vacancy in the Public Advocate post. If he goes through with plans to seek the post, his candidacy will be watched to see if an Asian-American can win a citywide office.

Among others mentioned as possible entrants in the race are Brooklyn Councilmember Bill de Blasio, civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, and Assemblymember Adam Clayton Powell IV. All are Democrats.

WFP APPLAUDS ADDABBO VICTORY: The Working Families Party (WFP), which placed City Councilmember Joseph Addabbo on its ballot line, although his main thrust was from the Democratic Party line, applauded Addabbo's victory over Republican incumbent Senator Serphin Maltese in last Tuesday's election.

WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor said his members knocked on 120,000 doors for Addabbo and five members joined Addabbo's campaign full-time in the months before November 4 and worked to get out the vote on Election Day.

"Joe Addabbo has always stood with us in the city council, so we're thrilled to know he'll be fighting the good fight in Albany," Cantor said. Cantor also blasted senate Republicans for "blocking progress on reforms working families [have needed] for years".

MEDICARE FORUM: Assemblymember Mark Weprin (D- Little Neck) is sponsoring a forum on the Medicare Part D prescription drug program at the Samuel Field Y, 58-20 Little Neck Parkway in Little Neck on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. There will be a presentation by Betty Duggan, director of Community Services, Medicare Rights Center. Weprin said the forum is free and open to the public.

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