2012-12-05 / Political Page

Crowley Advances In Congress’ Dem Ranks

Congressmember Joseph Crowley, fresh from being elected to a new term in Congress, was also unanimously elected by his Democratic colleagues to serve as Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus for the 113th Congress.

This places Crowley in the fifth ranking party position among Democratic congressional leaders, behind Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Party Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, and Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra.

Following election to the prestigious position, Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx), who serves as Queens County Democratic Chairman, issued a statement declaring:

“It is truly an honor to have received the support of my colleagues, and I look forward to serving them as the Vice Chair of our caucus. A new Congress gives us a fresh chance to present our ideas for the nation, and I am eager to work alongside Leader Pelosi, Whip Hoyer, Assistant Leader Clyburn and Caucus Chairman Becerra as we fight to advance an agenda focused on promoting economic growth, creating jobs, strengthening and expanding America’s middle class, and building a better, stronger country for all Americans.”


Congressmember Joseph Crowley, fresh from being elected to a new term in Congress, was also unanimously elected by his Democratic colleagues to serve as Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus for the 113th Congress. Congressmember Joseph Crowley, fresh from being elected to a new term in Congress, was also unanimously elected by his Democratic colleagues to serve as Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus for the 113th Congress. Crowley also extended his thanks to Congressmember John Larson “for an outstanding job leading our caucus.” He stated, “John’s dedication to our caucus is unmatched, and he has worked tirelessly to make sure the caucus is a place where all our members come together and work collaboratively. I know I will look to him for guidance and advice as I take on this new role, and I am incredibly grateful for his service and his friendship.”


President Barack Obama last week signed legislation to allow a proposed pipeline to cross parts of the Gateway National Recreation Area in Jamaica Bay. President Barack Obama last week signed legislation to allow a proposed pipeline to cross parts of the Gateway National Recreation Area in Jamaica Bay. Crowley was nominated as Vice Chair by Congressmembers Charles Rangel (D–Manhattan), Anna Eshoo (D–CA) and also Congressmembers Grace Meng (D–Flushing), who was just elected to her position, and Joaquin Castro (D–TX).

OBAMA OKS JAMAICA BAY PIPELINE: President Barack Obama last week signed legislation to allow a proposed pipeline to cross parts of the Gateway National Recreation Area in Jamaica Bay. The new pipeline would pass beneath Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and under Jamaica Bay to a meter and regulator station on Floyd Bennett Field in nearby Brooklyn.

The president’s action follows legislation which was passed, sponsored by Congressmembers Bob Turner (R–C Queens/Brooklyn) and Gregory Meeks (D–Southeast Queens) and Michael Grimm (R–Staten Island).

The new pipeline will replace existing pipelines 40 to 60 years old and not geared to meet growing demands for natural gas. If approved by energy regulators, it’s expected the pipeline project will spark $265 million in construction activity and 300 jobs, also $8 million in annual city tax revenue, the lawmakers said.

CUOMO IN WASHINGTON, PURSUING HURRICANE RECOVERY $: Governor Andrew Cuomo was scheduled to be in Washington December 4 to meet with President Obama and Congressional leaders regarding securing $42 billion to cover the costs created when Superstorm Sandy visited the New York region about a month ago.

Cuomo’s trip follows Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s visit there last week for the same purpose, but U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) has been acting already as an advance man, turning up the heat on Washington leaders, softening them up before Cuomo gets there.

On December 2, Schumer was making the TV rounds, reminding the leaders in the nation’s capital that whenever some other part of the country suffered the same sort of calamity as when Hurricane Sandy struck New York, we were always prepared to reach into our pockets to help the aggrieved party to get back on its feet again.

“When there were fires out west and tornadoes in the midwest, New York taxpayers helped those regions,” Schumer said at a news conference. “Now we need the help.” He reasoned, “We were there when you needed us, and we hope you’ll be there now that we need you.”

The governor, making his first visit back to Washington in two years, since he took office, will probably make the same pitch. Cuomo will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. He will also huddle with House Speaker John Boehner.

On November 28, Mayor Bloomberg had a whirlwind trip to the nation’s capital, squeezing in a dozen meetings in seven hours to make the case for the $15 billion NYC is seeking to rebuild the areas smashed by the storm.

According to The New York Times coverage of the mayor’s visit, Bloomberg told his listeners:

“There’s every reason for Congress to provide us with the assistance we need, given New York’s importance to the health of the entire nation.

Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten

Gillibrand joined the mayor at several stops on the visit. There were questions as to why the governor was not there with the mayor to press the case, but Cuomo decided to go to Washington on his own, so Monday’s trip was planned.

GIULIANI LIKES LHOTA FOR MAYOR: Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in an interview in The Daily News on December 3, said he would “like to see” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota run for mayor on the Republican line next year.

Giuliani said Lhota, who worked in his administration years ago, will announce any mayoral plan by Christmas. to why the governor was not there with the mayor to press the case, but Cuomo decided to go to Washington on his own, so Monday’s trip was planned.

GIULIANI LIKES LHOTA FOR MAYOR: Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in an interview in The Daily News on December 3, said he would “like to see” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota run for mayor on the Republican line next year.

Giuliani said Lhota, who worked in his administration years ago, will announce any mayoral plan by Christmas.

In the interview, Giuliani stated: “I’d like to see him run for the city and for the Republican Party. (Lhota is a registered Republican), but I want him to be aware of the fact that it’s a very tough road.”

But Lhota has some decisions to make before he takes the big step. For one thing, he must retire from the MTA job to run for mayor, and another big question he faces is whether he can raise the millions of dollars necessary to tackle such an important job. Also he has to look over the Democratic competition and feel confident he has the stuff to beat whomever wins that party’s nomination.

At present, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn tops the list, followed by (not in any order): Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, and present City Comptroller John Liu.

Also facing a possible Republican primary, Lhota must decide he can win over former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, who quit the Democratic Party to campaign as an independent and also get the backing of three of the five GOP county leaders.

Lhota surfaced recently as a possible Republican mayoral candidate, but in a recent poll he fared very poorly, losing to any Democrat by 60 to 90 percent.

BUSY WEEK FOR VALLONE: Speaking out on behalf of gifted and talented school students in New York City, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. proposed last week that students who graduate from elementary school gifted and talented program should continue to have seats in the gifted and talented middle schools also.

“We have a lot of gifted and talented kids in New York City, and they all deserve the opportunity to continue with the same level of education they received in elementary school. Drastically altering the teaching methods and speed at which children learn could be detrimental to their development.”

To assure that his proposal is followed through, Vallone (D–Astoria) introduced a resolution in the City Council calling upon the Department of Education (DOE) to provide enough seats in middle school gifted programs to accommodate the gifted kids as they graduate from their elementary school programs. His resolution provides that the middle school program would have to be in the same borough as either the student’s elementary school or residence.

Vallone said he has also written letters to the DOE seeking additional gifted seats in Community School Board 30, which covers Astoria and Long Island City, and added that he’s “actively working” with the department to create a middle school program at I.S. 126.

The lawmaker explained that District 30 has only one gifted and talented middle school program with just four classes, causing many kids to be rejected when they reach the middle school level. In 2012 alone, he said, 600 students applied for the 60 middle school seats that were available in the school district.

Also last week, Vallone introduced legislation banning the renaming of city property after someone who is still living. It’s a follow-up to his lost battle about a year ago to prohibit naming the Queensboro Bridge in honor of ex-Mayor Edward Koch.

Vallone says he believes that renaming city property in such cases “could be used to garner political support, earn favors, collect donations or appease a powerful elected official”. He said there are currently at least six cases where public property was named after former state senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno in Upstate New York.

“The Queensboro Bridge has already been taken from the people of Queens,” Vallone summed up, “so there is no telling what landmark could be next. At a minimum, renaming property after someone’s death helps to ensure the honor is bestowed for the right reasons.”

On another topic, Vallone called for the deportation of Milan Rysa, a convicted animal abuser who killed his 50-pound shar-pei, named Brooklyn, by tossing the dog out of his Astoria apartment window in September 2011. Rysa got a 364-day prison sentence for killing his dog, and he will be appearing in court next May to determine whether he will be deported from the United States.

Vallone suggests that anyone else who thinks Rysa should be deported, should send a letter saying so to: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement and Removal Operations, 26 Federal Plaza, 9th Floor, Suite 9-110, New York, N.Y. 10278.

On another topic, Vallone issued a statement expressing disappointment with the recent ruling to relocate the Triumph of Civic Virtue statue from in front of the Queens Borough Hall building in Kew Gardens to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

He said he believes “it should be restored, along with its fountain in its current location” in Queens. He has written multiple letters to both the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the City Design Commission urging for the statue “to be renovated and kept in place to beautify Queens Boulevard”.

The lawmaker reiterated: “This great work of art belongs to the people of Queens and it should be kept in place and restored to its former glory here. A statue in Central Park would never be allowed to fall into disrepair and then be taken away from Manhattan.”

Vallone charged that the agencies involved held no public hearings on moving the statue, thus denying him and others from expressing their desire to have it remain in Kew Gardens. Then the Design Commission held the hearing two weeks after Hurricane Sandy and “informed elected officials and community boards of the meeting with a generic, citywide email sent one week after the storm—when City Council and other e-mails were still not working”.

Vallone concluded: “First DCAS denied this decision had been made, and then the decision is secretly ratified two weeks after one of the worst natural disasters in the city’s history—their next step is probably to throw a black bag over Civic Virtue’s head and take him to Brooklyn in the back of a van.”

STAVISKY: $27.7 M IN FEDERAL DISASTER AID: New York state has received $27.7 million in Disaster National Emergency Grant funds to hire workers to clean up communities affected by Hurricane Sandy in Queens, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky announced.

“Since Hurricane Sandy devastated our state last month, many are still trying to get back on their feet,” Stavisky (D–Flushing) said. “This aid will help these New Yorkers back to work and rebuild our damaged infrastructure.”

To apply by phone for jobs covered by the grant, she said, contact the Department of Labor at 1-888-4 NYSDOL (1-888- 469-7365). To apply online, fill out and submit the online registration form, https://labor.ny.gov/secure/reg/2012-hurricane sandy-form.asp or apply in person at any local Disaster Recovery Center or One-Stop Career Center.

On another issue, Stavisky applauded a ruling upheld by the Federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals that New York state’s concealed carry law requiring applicants to show proper cause to carry a concealed weapon.

LAWMAKERS: FEMA OFFICE NOW IN HOWARD BEACH: In response to the November 20 storm-related meeting held by state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D–Howard Beach) and Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder (D–Rockaway), they have announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has now set up a local office at 159-55 102nd St., Howard Beach for the convenience of residents of that devastated community, nearby Hamilton Beach and other South Queens areas.

The new FEMA office is right next door to Addabbo’s Howard Beach district office, which is now being rebuilt after sustaining extensive flood damage. The FEMA reps will be in their Howard Beach office seven days a week, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to answer any storm-related questions from South Queens residents, the lawmakers said.

CITIZEN APPLICATION ASSISTANCE: Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D–Jackson Heights) will officiate at a free Citizenship Application Assistance Day tomorrow from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Queens Center Food Court, Lower Level-JCPenney Wing, 90- 15 Queens Blvd. (92nd St. and 59th Ave. entrance), Elmhurst.

Experienced lawyers and immigration professionals will assist you with your application. For directions, visit hopstop.com or call 718-330-1234.

KOSLOWITZ HOSTS FIRST ANNUAL COMMUNITY FORUM: Councilmember Karen Koslowitz will be joined by the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), the 112th Police Precinct and CUNY Now-Immigration Advocacy tonight when she hosts her first annual community forum December 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Central Queens YM-YWHA at 69-09 108th St., Forest Hills. The event is open to the public.

Koslowitz will discuss issues ranging from immigration, housing, general welfare and quality of life concerns. Both English and Russian speaking representatives will be present.

HOLIDAY EVENTS: Assemblymember Mike Miller (D–Woodhaven) and the Glendale Volunteer Ambulance Corps are holding a toy drive throughout the holiday season that will continue until December 22. Toys can be dropped off at Miller’s office at 83- 91 Woodhaven Blvd. in Woodhaven. Anyone who wants to donate or has any questions can contact Miller’s office at 718-805-0950.

Assemblymember Edward Braunstein (D–Bayside) is again sponsoring a holiday gift drive for hospitalized veterans, and a toy drive for needy and hospitalized children and young victims of Hurricane Sandy.

All gifts should be delivered by Wednesday, December 19 to Braunstein’s office at 213-33 39th Ave., Suite 238, Bayside or to Dr. William M. Duke’s office at 35-01 202nd St., Bayside, or the Community Board 11 office at 46-21 Little Neck Parkway, Little Neck.

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