2012-03-14 / Political Page

GOP Presidential Troop Headed For NYS Primary On Apr. 24

New York’s GOP does have 95 delegates to give away, so it does matter a lot who, between Romney and Santorum, can walk away with the majority of them at the New York political conclave. And that’s what makes the GOP convention competitive and interesting this year. New York’s GOP does have 95 delegates to give away, so it does matter a lot who, between Romney and Santorum, can walk away with the majority of them at the New York political conclave. And that’s what makes the GOP convention competitive and interesting this year. New York state’s Republican primary is only 41 days away, during which 14 other primaries will be held to choose a total of 400 delegates, so it doesn’t appear that our state’s primary can give Mitt Romney the delegates he needs to nail down his party’s nomination.

It also means that Rick Santorum, Romney’s closest competitor, would be able to make a dramatic move in the delegate count by April 24, the day set for the Republican primary in this state this year.

But New York’s GOP does have 95 delegates to give away, so it does matter a lot who, between Romney and Santorum, can walk away with the majority of them at the New York political conclave. And that’s what makes the GOP convention competitive and interesting this year.

According to a recent Siena College poll, Romney led Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul by 15 percentage points, indicating the former Massachusetts governor may be poised to capture a good share of the 95 delegates here, but not enough to shake loose from the pack. Romney presently has 454 delegates and needs 1,144 delegates to nail down the nomination. So he’s 690 short.

Yet he’s in a better position than Santorum, his only real competition. The former Pennsylvania senator has only 217 delegates presently, less than half of Romney’s count. Can a Tea Party favorite make much of an impression among New York Republicans? We don’t think so.

The delegate distribution is set up so that all of the candidates will be able to pick up some. Each of the state’s congressional districts will have two delegates, and the candidate who wins the most votes in a district will get both.

There are also 34 at-large delegates, and all will go to a candidate who wins more than 50 percent of the statewide vote. Otherwise it will be distributed proportionately among the candidates getting at least 20 percent of the statewide vote. So a candidate who catches fire in the statewide vote can gobble up a good portion of the delegates. A lot will depend on how much campaigning the candidates do here.

ACKERMAN SAYS HE’S READY TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION: Congressmember Gary Ackerman announced last week that if the new district lines drawn up by U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann become final, he intends to run for re-election in the new 6th Congressional district.

It’s very familiar territory for him, a “fantastic district…where I grew up and went to public school and college”, he said.

“It contains my political base and longtime roots” and he has represented “90 percent of it during my 34 years in the state senate and Congress.”

It runs from Central to Northeastern Queens and includes neighborhoods such as Flushing, Bayside, Fresh Meadows, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens, Elmhurst, Briarwood and Pomonok (where Ackerman was raised).

He said that “while the new district lines are subject to change and further action,” he is gratified and enheartened by them.

There’s still a possibility that the congressional lines drawn by the Assembly and state senate will be adopted, although Governor Andrew Cuomo has threatened to veto them.

For the past several years, Ackerman, a Democrat, represented a district partly in Bayside and Northeast Queens and the remainder in Nassau County.

MALONEY FINDS JOB GAINS “ENCOURAGING”: In a statement issued by Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) she said she found the most recent jobs report “continuing good news” and “encouraging”.

Maloney said “…we have completed three consecutive months of gains of over 200,000 jobs, and 24 consecutive months of overall private sector jobs gains. Just as important, many more people have entered the job market to seek work…”

The jobs news was also encouraging regarding New York City whose “economy grew twice as fast in 2011 as initially thought, adding 85,300 jobs last year and 31,600 private sector jobs in January alone, the second biggest one-month job gain since 1990.”

Maloney summed up, “This continuing good news should not lull those of us setting policy in Washington. We have a long way to go before we regain all the jobs lost in the recession that began in the last years of the Bush administration.”

LAWMAKERS HAIL ‘IMPORTANT COOP LEGISLATION’: State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Whitestone) and Assemblymember Edward Braunstein (D–Bayside) have introduced legislation which would protect co-ops from incurring excessive legal fees when they successfully challenge an inaccurate city tax assessment. They have also introduced a second bill which would stabilize assessments in the two years following a successful challenge.

The lawmakers were joined as they made the announcement by Warren Schreiber, president, Bay Terrace Community Alliance, James Goldstick, managing agent for Bay Terrace Section 8 Co-Op; Maddy Hacken, president, Bay Terrace Section 8 Co-Op; and Janet Feldberg, copresident, Bay Terrace Section 8 Co-Op.

“As a co-op shareholder, I understand this problem first hand,” Stavisky stated. “Inaccurate assessments and the high taxes they bring can cause serious problems for co-op boards and residents. This legislation could encourage the city to be more careful when preparing projected assessments by having them pay 25 percent of the legal fees in a successful challenge.”

Braunstein declared: “We have received complaints from many of our constituents who have repeatedly experienced problems with erroneous and unfair assessments. That is why we have introduced this legislation which would help to alleviate the financial burden placed on co-op owners for mistakes made by the New York City Department of Finance. It is outrageous that Northeast Queens residents not only have been hit with monstrous assessment hikes during this difficult fiscal period, but that they also have to continue to bear the burden of inaccurate decisions made by the Department of Finance.”

DENDEKKER TO GOV: ‘MAKE DREAM FUND A REALITY’: In a letter to Governor Cuomo, Assemblymember Michael DenDekker (D–Jackson Heights) urged the governor to make the DREAM Fund legislation or the DREAM Act a reality by including it in the 2012-2013 New York state budget.

DenDekker pointed out that his Assembly district has the most diverse immigrant population in New York state and “many of the undocumented youth in this community would love to be able to attend college, but do not have the financial resources to do so”.

Under the DREAM Act, children of immigrants would be able to attend college. But, DenDekker said, “Due to current restrictions, they cannot qualify for TAP funding. It seems logical to me that funding for the DREAM Act or creating the DREAM Fund would not only allow these students the opportunity to go to college, but would also put them in a position to obtain better paying jobs in the future.”

DenDekker said that Assemblymember Francisco Moya (D–Corona) has introduced a bill to establish a DREAM Fund using a private funding scenario to make education loans to Hispanic youths. Also, Assemblymember Guillermo Linares (D–Manhattan) introduced a bill, known as the DREAM Act, which would use public funds to finance additional educational opportunities. DenDekker has co-sponsored both pieces of legislation because each would give thousands of young adults the opportunity to get a college education.

VALLONE JR.: ‘ BOYCOTT GCB TV SHOW’: In a short but blunt statement, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. (D–Astoria) is calling for a boycott of a new TV show called GCB by Christians and people of all faiths.

“The title of the show alone is yet another outrageous attack on the Christian faith,” said Vallone. Charlie Sheen will be back on Two and a Half Men before we see a similar title targeting another religion,” said the lawmaker.

The show is named after a book entitled Good Christian B*tches, Vallone notes. But he adds that ABC claims that the title now stands for Good Christian Belles.

That doesn’t do anything to change Vallone’s mind that the show should be boycotted. “No one is fooled by that ridiculous claim,” he insisted. “The original intent is clear, and changing the title of a show in your head doesn’t count.”

STAVISKY DISAGREES WITH DOE RE FLUSHING H.S.: Flushing H.S. was among several Queens high schools that the Department of Education will close and institute changes. State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Whitestone), among several lawmakers who have publicly disagreed with the move, had this to say about it:

“Shuttering Flushing H.S. only to replace the principal and half the staff does not provide a winning formula for our students. Just when Flushing H.S. has been improving its graduation rate and appears to be on the road to improvement, it’s as if the Department of Education decides to derail it. How can we expect consistent student improvement year to year with the mayor’s inconsistent policies?”

Stavisky last week also passed a bill in the senate which protects firefighters from being prohibited from performing emergency medical care. Under the proposed law, anyone interfering with a firefighter in such a situation would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, she said.

Stavisky explained:

“Firefighters have to perform at break-neck speed, and lives are literally on the line. We can’t afford to have their efforts hampered. By passing this legislation we can now put the victim first and hold accountable the individual who obstructs the said firefighter.”

MARSHALL BRIEFS BABY BOOMERS ON MEDICARE: Noting that many Queens residents will be among the 77 million U.S. citizens who were born shortly after World War II and will soon be reaching age 65 and Medicare eligibility soon, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall invited them to Borough Hall last Tuesday for a seminar on the Medicare program.

Marshall said the city Department of Aging (DFTA) held the session and presented an overview of the nation’s healthcare program covering hospital coverage and doctors’ services, as well as the Part D drug prescription coverage.

“Information about Medicare and related programs is essential to make the right choices,” said Marshall.

GOLDFEDER SPREADS WORD OF SALES TAX EXEMPTION: According to Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder (D–Rockaway), state lawmakers have granted “some much needed” sales tax relief beginning April 1. It applies, he said, to any clothing, footwear or other related items sold for less than $110 and will be exempt from the state’s four percent sales tax.

Goldfeder pointed out that “the qualifying amount for the exemption has doubled from last year, when it applied only to apparel or below $55.”

He also said the changes “couldn’t come at a better time” for businesses selling clothing and apparel and footwear. It will attract shoppers from New Jersey and Pennsylvania and provide a boost to the local economy. It will cover items purchased in person, by phone and over the Internet, he said.

For more information on this, visit the state Department of Taxation and Finance Web site at www.tax.ny. gov. Or contact Goldfeder’s office at 718-945-9550 or email him at goldfederp @ assembly.state.ny.us.

REPEAT SEX OFFENDER LAW TIGHTENED: State Senator Michael Gianaris’ (D–Astoria) bill to reinforce the law dealing with repeat sex offenders has passed the senate. It closes a loophole in the existing law so that individuals who commit persistent sexual abuse crimes are held fully responsible for their actions.

The Gianaris bill, co-authored by Assemblymember Aravella Simotas (D–Astoria) would exclude time spent in prison from the 10- year period in which the actions of a sex offender would be deemed “persistent sexual abuse”, Gianaris explained.

Gianaris added, “Repeat sex offenders must be punished to the full extent of the law. By specifically directing the exclusion of any time during which a person was incarcerated from the 10-year ‘look back’ period, this bill would more effectively hold the offender accountable under the law.”

Gianaris further emphasized that the crime of persistent sexual abuse is intended to impose harsher penalties on criminals who commit certain sex crimes on multiple occasions during a 10- year period. Under current law, that 10-year period may include time during which the offender is in jail and unable to commit any crime. By discounting periods of incarceration, Gianaris said, this bill would allow law enforcement to more fully comprehend the criminality of any sex offender.

Gianaris explained, “This bill is intended to prevent sex offenders who repeatedly target women and children from finding leniency in any legal loopholes. The legislation’s passage in the senate is an important first step towards ensuring that individuals who commit persistent sexual abuse face the full consequences of their crime.”

The bill now goes to the Assembly for consideration.

MARAGOS ENDORSED FOR U.S. SENATE BY RAGUSA: The Queens County Republican Committee has endorsed Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, against U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democratic incumbent, in the November election, it was announced by Phil Ragusa, the Queens Republican Party chairman.

“Gillibrand has consistently worked against the best interests of our middle class families, our immigrant communities and our seniors,” Ragusa charged. “She has consistently voted for bills that have destroyed or sent thousands of jobs overseas, many from right here in Queens.”

Maragos added, “Gillibrand has also failed to address the decline in our children’s education, the high cost of gasoline and home heating fuel, or to defend the security of Israel. I am confident that as your next U.S. Senator, I will provide a better tomorrow and greater opportunity for our families and our children.”

Gillibrand is running for a full six-year term. She was appointed to replace then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton when she ran for president in 2008 and lost the nomination to Barack Obama. Clinton is presently the U.S. Secretary of State.

Maragos has 35 years of senior management experience in the private sector and holds an MBA in Finance and a degree in engineering. He has been married for 38 years and has two children.

The state Conservative Party candidate for U.S. Senator against Gillibrand and Maragos is Wendy Long, who was active and supported the confirmations of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Sam Alito to the Supreme Court. Long served as chief counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network and has been an outspoken judicial activist.

ADDABBO REPORTS ON SCHOOL CLOSURES: State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D–Howard Beach) reports that, according to the Department of Education’s (DOE) report on school closures in his district issued last week:

“Regrettably, the DOE has now decided that data from all three schools’ (John Adams H.S., Grover Cleveland H.S., and Richmond Hill H.S.) most recent Progress Reports showed that the pace of change was not quick enough to meet their challenges, so they now propose to replace all three with new schools that implement more intensive interventions, including allowing new faculty to be put in place who can accelerate the pace of improvement, along with new programs and school supports intended to improve student outcomes.

The DOE report, he added, “also cited the continuing lack of a teacher evaluation system that led them to propose other available options to improve teacher quality.”

On the positive side, Addabbo also reported that “according to Monday’s official announcement, the closures are not expected to yield a net loss of seats in

Queens or in any of the three buildings (i.e. three schools).

“If this proposal is approved, the schools will close at the end of this school year, all current students who have not graduated before school starts in September will be guaranteed a seat and automatically enrolled in the new schools in the same buildings.”

Addabbo said he had also requested of the DOE that since two presidential-named schools, John Adams H.S. in Ozone Park and Grover Cleveland H.S. in Ridgewood, “have played an integral role in the character and history of our communities, I’ve been promoting that any new name should take into consideration and incorporate each school’s current name.”

Addabbo said that when the school turnaround plan was announced last January, he wanted to make sure “that each student has a seat in the school they currently attend and that parents’ concerns were answered.”

The lawmaker said oral comments on the proposedYess!!

Turnaround Plan can be made by calling 212-374-7621 to reach its city representative, Elaine Gorman, Division of Portfolio Planning. Written comments should be sent to D24 Proposals @ schoolsnyc.gov for Grover Cleveland or sent to D 27 Proposals @ schools.nyc.gov John Adams and Richmond Hill H.S.

The dates, times and locations of joint public hearings for this DOE proposal are:

•Grover Cleveland H.S., 21-27 Himrod St., Ridgewood, N.Y. 11385, April 2 at 6 p.m.

•Richmond Hill H.S., 89-30 114th St., Richmond Hill, N.Y. 11418, April 5, 6 p.m.

•John Adams H.S., 101-01 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park, N.Y. 11417, April 19 at 6 p.m.

WEPRIN CAMPAIGNS AGAINST STAGED ACCIDENTS: Recently, Assemblymember David Weprin (D–Great Neck) was joined by the NYSAIF group (New Yorkers Stand Against Auto Insurance Fraud) to demand passage of “Alice’s Law”, which would amend the penal law in relation to staging a motor vehicle accident and impose tougher criminal penalties on those who engage in staged accidents.

This will mark the ninth anniversary of the death of 71-year-old Alice Ross in a staged auto accident, thus using her name to dramatize staged accidents, which are akin to murder for profit schemes because perpetrators stage accidents to set up a phony claim to an insurance company.

Weprin says, “The loss of revenue to taxpayers resulting from this type of fraud is staggering, but the loss of human life is simply unacceptable.”

Weprin also explained that the Alice’s Law bill would establish a new crime of staging a motor vehicle accident. A person found guilty of this crime would be subject to being punishable of a class D felony.

ULRICH SPEAKER: Councilmember Eric Ulrich (R–C–Ozone Park) will be the guest speaker at tomorrow evening’s meeting of the Queens County Conservative Party, Party Chairman Tom Long announced. Ulrich is expected to speak on goings-on at City Hall and also his choice in the Republican presidential primary on April 24, Long said.

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