2015-12-09 / Political Page

Crowley Again Files ‘Silent Skies’ To Curb Noise

Congressman Joseph Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, has reintroduced The Silent Skies Act, aimed at improving the quality of life for communities heavily impacted by aircraft noise pollution. It requires airlines to begin stocking fleets with newer, quieter aircraft.

Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx) explained the bill, which was originally introduced in the 113th Congress, instructs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue regulations by the end of 2016 requiring all U.S. commercial airplanes to meet Stage 4 noise standards, which, he said, “is a significantly lower decibel level than those currently in use.

Crowley stated: “While airplanes can never be truly silent, making their engines quieter will go a long way toward providing the relief residents who live nearby our airports deserve. That’s why I’m reintroducing the Silent Skies Act, which will require older, noisier airplanes to be phased out. But it will also require the FAA to adopt newly developed noise standards for all new airplane designs. Aircraft noise pollution isn’t merely a nuisance – it impacts our ability to sleep, learn and enjoy daily life.”

DROMM, MOYA DENOUNCE SEX ATTACKS: Councilmember Daniel Dromm and Assemblymember Francisco Moya have denounced two recent sex attacks which they said occurred in Jackson Heights on Sunday, November 29.

Dromm (D–Jackson Heights) identified the victims as a transgender woman and a gay man. Moya (D–Jackson Heights) did not make mention of sex attacks, saying “at least one of those incidents is being investigated as a hate crime.”

Dromm stated: “I am shocked and outraged by these two atrocities that occurred just hours apart early Sunday morning in Jackson Heights. The survivors of these attacks may have been targeted because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. If true, these assaults are attempts to strike fear in the heart of the LGBT community and the neighborhood at large.

“We will not tolerate hate. I am confident that the NYPD is aggressively pursuing this case. I await the results of the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force investigation which is currently underway and will continue to do all that I can to ensure that violence against LGBT people is eliminated once and for all.”

Moya stated: “I am both saddened and appalled by two recent violent incidents that have touched our community. In two separate recent incidents, members of our community were violently attacked, and at least one of those incidents is being investigated as a possible hate crime. There is no space for violence in our community, and such abhorrent behavior will not be tolerated. In Jackson Heights, we pride ourselves on our culture of diversity and acceptance. We must never let hate or violence win out over tolerance and peaceful resolution of differences. Although the details of these two incidents are still being investigated, it is safe to say that we must condemn such acts of violence. We must always remain committed to maintaining the peace and culture of acceptance for which our community is known.”

ADDABBO: ‘BURNING OF HINDU FLAGS IN WOODHAVEN UNACCEPTABLE’: State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D–Howard Beach) issued the following statement following an incident involving the burning of Hindu flags in Woodhaven:

“The burning of these Hindu flags near someone’s home is an unacceptable act of hatred that our community will not tolerate. Queens is one of the most diverse places in the world, and we as a borough should be extremely proud of that. My support is with the family whose culture and beliefs were targeted by this inexplicable crime and I thank the NYPD for not only naming this a hate crime, but for working diligently to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”

VAN BRAMER’S BILL TOUGHENS PENALTIES FOR HIT-RUN OFFENDERS: For the first time in the City of New York, legislation has been introduced by City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer which would penalize repeat offenders found guilty of hit-and-run offenses by virtually doubling the civil penalty called for under the present law.

During the session of the Transportation Committee, Van Bramer’s questioning of Inspector Dennis Fulton, of the NYPD’s Transportation Bureau, revealed that thus far in 2015 there have been 38,000 hit-andrun crashes in NYC, with 4,000 of them involving injuries and 31 resulted in deaths. Only 28 arrests were made.

Van Bramer stated: “The NYPD’s shocking statistics really show just how important it is for our City to punish the 4,000 people who hit another human being with their vehicle this year, left them to die on the street, and thought they could get away with it.”

The lawmaker also explained, “This legislation is not meant to measure the value of the lives lost, but to act as a forceful deterrent to our city’s most dangerous drivers. We are sending a message directly to hitand run drivers: if you hit someone and leave the scene of the crash, we will find you and punish you to the fullest extent of the law.”

Under Van Bramer’s bill, civil penalties for repeat offenders for leaving the scene of an incident without reporting it more than once would be: up to $1,000 if property damage occurs; $2,000 to $5,000 if a person is injured; $5,000 to $10,000 if there is serious injury to the victim; and $10,000 if the victim dies.

If the new law is enacted, the NYPD would be required to expand its existing hit and run reporting to the City Council by including data on civil penalties are levied and the amounts paid.

Speaking in favor of the proposed new law, Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives said. “It will lead to a uniform, predictable application of existing penalties for leaving the scene of a crash” and “will also give the public comprehensive data about the scale of the hit-and-run problem in New York City, which is essential for developing evidence-based policies to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries.”

NYPD Inspector Fulton stated the bill would strengthen existing laws by increasing civil penalties for repeat offenders. He added: “The bill would hold the most irresponsible drivers accountable for the basic decency that one would expect from those operating motor vehicles on our crowded streets.”

OBAMA SIGNS INTO LAW CROWLEY’S AMENDMENT RECOGNIZING DIVERSITY OF ARMED FORCES: President Obama has signed into law the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included an AMENDMENT authored by Congressman Joseph Crowley which recognizes the diversity of members of the US Armed Forces, including a variety of national, ethnic and cultural backgrounds as well as religious traditions.

Crowley, the Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, noted that the provision also calls for ongoing promotion of diversity in our armed forces. Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx) is a leading voice in Congress calling for an end to the presumptive ban on Sikhs serving in the US military; and he led a successful, multi-year effort to secure greater hate crime protection for religious minorities.

Crowley stated: “At a time when some political leaders have been all too quick to scapegoat religious and national minorities, this provision is a good reminder that every single day Americans of diverse backgrounds – including Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims, and Jews as well as those with roots in many countries throughout the world – put on a uniform and defend this great country. I hope my provision sends a message to all the aspiring armed forces members from diverse backgrounds, both in my district and across the country, that we honor and respect our brave service members no matter their religion, their family roots, or their background.”

The text of the Crowley provision follows:

Sec. 528. Sense Of Congress Recognizing The Diversity Of The Members Of The Armed Forces.

(a) Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1) The United States military includes individuals with a variety of national, ethnic and cultural backgrounds that have roots all over the world.

(2) In addition to diverse backgrounds, members of the armed forces come from numerous religious traditions, including Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, non-denominational, non-practicing, and many more.

(3) Members of the armed forces from diverse backgrounds and religious traditions have lost their lives or been injured defending the national security of the United States.

(4) Diversity contributes to the strength of the armed forces, and service members from different backgrounds and religious traditions share the same goal of defending the United States.

(5) The unity of the armed forces reflects the strength in diversity that makes the United States a great nation.

(b) Sense Of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that the United States should

(1) continue to recognize and promote diversity in the armed forces; and

(2) honor those from all diverse backgrounds and religious traditions who have made sacrifices in serving the United States through the armed forces.

VAN BRAMER GIVES BAD MARKS TO AIRBNB: After the City Council and the press gave Airbnb, the apartment rental outfit poor marks on a recent report, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D–Sunnyside) issued this commentary:

“What Airbnb’s data doesn’t show is that the company facilitates the illegal rental of rent stabilized and rent regulated apartments, thus taking away valuable affordable housing from regular New Yorkers. In my district, we have already cracked down on Airbnb in a building where 90,000 people applied to live in 924 rent regulated units. Airbnb should spend its time kicking out their customers who have no regard for the law, rather than finding out creative ways to spin an illegal business model.”

HOUSE PASSES BILL REMOVING TERM ‘ORIENTAL’ FROM FEDERAL LAW: Legislation sponsored by Congresswoman Grace Meng to remove the term “Oriental” from federal law has been passed by the House of Representatives. In its place, the term “Asian Americans” will be used, Meng said.

“The word ‘Oriental’ is an offensive and derogatory term that should no longer be used by the federal government,” Meng (D–Flushing) said. “Nobody in our country, regardless of ethnicity, should be referred to in an insulting manner by the government. It’s well past time to strike the legal use of this outdated term. It no longer has a place in federal law, and I look forward to the day when it’s finally gone for good.”

Congressman Ed Royce (R–CA), Meng’s co-sponsor on the bipartisan measure, stated: “‘Oriental’ is an offensive and antiquated term, especially so when referring to America’s vibrant Asian-American community. Using the term in federal law lends it a legitimacy it doesn’t deserve, which is why Congresswoman Meng and I have moved to remove it.”

The Meng-Royce legislation, which was approved unanimously by voice vote, is included in the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act. In 2009, Meng – when she was a member of the New York State Legislature – passed legislation into law that eliminated the use of “Oriental” in all official New York State documents.

CLINTON ENDORSED BY WOMEN’S C OF C: For the first time, the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce (USWCC) has endorsed a candidate for President of the United States…and the nod has gone to Hillary Clinton.

Many have probably expected that that organization, which is considered the economic leader for women in the US, would spring to the Democratic standard bearer’s side. But it’s not done until it’s officially done, and Clinton can rest comfortably that her expectations of having the nation’s women’s vote in her pocket is now affirmed by the organization which includes half a million business owners throughout the US.

Clinton, upon “earning the endorsement” (her words) of the USWCC responded:

“The US Women’s Chamber of Commerce has spent over a decade helping women entrepreneurs succeed and grow their businesses, and today I’m proud to have their support. Women are important to our economic growth. They are opening about 1,200 new businesses per day and USWCC has been a key partner in helping them succeed.

Clinton also pointed out that women are often the breadwinners of their families, so if she becomes president, she promised to do everything in her power to help more women to get “access to start-up capital and professional mentoring.”

The candidate concluded her one-page thank-you, saying: “The bottom line is: what’s good for women is good for America. When women are strong, families are strong – and when families are strong, America is strong. I’ll fight for more opportunities for women to develop their talents and pursue their dreams. I’ll always put families first, just like I always have. That’s a promise. I’m excited to join USWCC in the fight to lift up women entrepreneurs.”

CROWLEY BILL OK’D, GIVES NAT’L SECURITY TRAINING GRANTS TO HISPANIC SERVING COLLEGES: Legislation that funds the nation’s intelligence programs has been approved by the House, which includes a bipartisan provision authored by Congressman Joseph Crowley authorizing national security training grants to Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) of higher education to prepare students for careers in national security. The bill is now headed to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

Crowley’s provision was co-signed by Congressmembers Jose Serrano (D–The Bronx) and Carlos Curbelo (R–FL). It allows the Director of National Intelligence to provide grants to HSIs to offer advanced foreign language education and study abroad and cultural immersion programs to increase diversity in the national security and Intelligence community. The goal is to prepare America’s fastest-growing minority for careers in national security.

Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx), the Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, stated: “National security and intelligence are fast growing fields that will require a steady stream of talented professionals in the coming years. These training grants will help ensure Hispanic students have the opportunities to explore careers in these critical fields, better prepare them for jobs of tomorrow, and ensure that our intelligence community accurately reflects the diversity of the American people.

“I’m proud to work with Congressmen Serrano and Curbelo in leading this provision that will go a long way in opening doors of opportunity for Hispanic students.”

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) offered its “sincerest appreciation to Crowley for introducing the original amendment to the FY 2016 Intelligence Authorization Act.

Dr. Antonio Flores, HACU President/CEO added: “The grants will help HSIs to offer advanced foreign language education and study abroad …for the over three million students they serve. The 409 HSIs are highly diverse colleges and universities educating more minority and first-generation students than any other cohort of similar institutions in the United States. Access to these new resources will allow HSIs to significantly contribute to the growth and development of the country’s national security workforce.”

Crowley and the others have long supported grant opportunities for HSIs. In May, Crowley, Serrano, Curbelo, Lujan (D–NJ) and Hurd (R–TX) successfully led an amendment to the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act to require the National Science Foundation to establish a grant program to support undergraduate STEM education at HSIs. The amendment was the latest move in the longstanding effort to establish this program, including recent legislation introduced by Crowley, Serrano and Lujan in April.

ADDABBO PRAISES CHURCH’S FOOD DRIVE, URGES MORE: State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. visited Sacred Heart Church in Glendale last week to thank officials there for serving Thanksgiving dinner to many needy families in that community and to urge residents in the parish to continue their donations “not just throughout the remainder of the holiday season, but year-round.”

Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) stated, “It’s easy to understand why people may need help getting through the holidays and the big feasts that typically go along with them, but unfortunately for too many families, their food shortage does not end when the holiday season does.

The lawmaker explained that the Sacred Heart Church and parish had begun their food drive last month in connection with his Middle Village district office to collect nonperishable food donations, as well as toiletries, napkins and storage bags, that were used to serve Thanksgiving dinner. As part of this drive, Addabbo opened up his office, he said, as a drop-off site to encourage more people to donate at their convenience.

Addabbo said he is continuing to keep his Middle Village office at 66-85 73rd Place open to accept collections for Sacred Heart Church’s Christmas food drive. Items in need, he said, include canned goods, boxed goods, rice, soup and pasta. For more information, contact the office at 718- 497-1630.

Speaking of the communities of Middle Village, Glendale, Ozone Park and others which are in his Senate district, Addabbo said:

“Many people in our community need help finding food all year long, and it’s important that we remember to help out even when it is least expected. Food drives such as this one mean so much to the families they benefit, and I am proud to have the hardworking people of the Sacred Heart parish in my district to help pay it forward each and every day. I thank the church for their continued dedication to this cause and I look forward to working with them in the future.”

NEW BUS LINE IN QUEENS PRAISED, CRITICIZED: On November 29, members of a group called the Riders Alliance gathered for a celebratory bus ride to mark the first day of the new Q44 Select Bus Service (SBS), which will serve 42,000 daily passengers along its route from Jamaica to The Bronx.

At the end of the inaugural ride, Riders Alliance members were singing the praises of the new bus route. The group’s organizer and Queens resident Josselyn Atahualpa, declared:

“The Q44 marks an important time for bus riders who have worked for a year to make this a reality. For Riders Allianca members who ride the Q44, SBS isn’t just about better commutes. It also shows that when bus riders speak up, we can make change happen.”

However, Councilman Peter Koo (D–Flushing), expressed a view which is diametrically opposite that expressed by the Riders Alliance members saying, “I still have serious concerns about Select Bus Service. In particular, questions still abound about when drivers are allowed to travel in the bus lanes (on Main Street, Flushing).”

Koo says he has been discussing his objections to the Q 44 route with the city Department of Transportation (DOT) and will continue to do so.

Koo stated: “While I believe there needs to be a multi-pronged approach to alleviating the various traffic problems in downtown Flushing, I still have serious concern about Select Bus Service again raising the question regarding when drivers are allowed to travel in the bus lanes. “He had been informed by DOT, he said, that “restrictions now exist from 7 am to 7 pm in offset lanes, and during rush hours (6 am to 10 am and 4 pm to 7 pm) for curbside lanes. My office was informed by the NYPD that officers are currently issuing tickets to cars driving in the bus lanes, however, the DOT told us there will be a grace period as SBS gets off the ground.”

Sounding a little annoyed by the snafu, Koo noted, “This sort of conflicting information further marginalizes and frustrates the driving public who must now navigate Main Street as a one-way street in both directions. My office is still awaiting clarification to this discrepancy, but to be safe, I advise drivers to steer clear of the bus lanes…”

Koo continued,” I have repeatedly asked the DOT to work more closely with the local precinct so that all enforcement agencies are on the same page, and that the public can know what to expect. Unfortunately, two days after the implementation of SBS, these questions still persist. If SBS is to succeed the community need a clear understanding about the rules and regulations as they affect everyone who commutes on Main Street, not just Q 44 riders. Anyone with questions or concerns about SBS is welcome to contact my office.”

Return to top

Copyright 1999-2018 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.