2016-05-25 / Political Page

End Of Primaries In Sight!! Dems Convention Ahead – Scary!!

I on Politics

As we read the morning newspapers, preparing to write this column today, May 25, there are two weeks left for the 2016 presidential primaries which produced twins – Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – in the Democratic box, but only one on the Republican side, Donald Trump.

But there continues to be great unrest among the Donkeys, with the uneasy realization that, as we look forward to the pending presidential conventions, Sanders is having a hissy fit and refuses to leave the Democratic state to Clinton in Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love – until the June 7 primary in California (and elsewhere) runs its course.

Meanwhile, the smiling, over-fed fat cat in the Republican cage Donald Trump, slyly inquires, “who’s for dinner?”

Trump has already used the division on the left to good advantage. He has moved past Mrs. Clinton in the Washington Post ABC News Poll, 46% to 44%. Meanwhile Clinton retained a 46% 43% over Trump in the NBC - Wall Street Journal Poll, also published last Sunday. Trump surged 42% - 37% in a third survey, the Rasmussen Poll published May 19.

Newspaper reports have reported that Sanders has run better against Trump than Clinton is doing. A May 20 Rasmussen poll has Sanders ahead of Trump, with Sanders 45% and Trump at 41%.

Analysts offered temporary explanations of the survey capturing a blip in the fast-moving scene. Veteran Prof. Larry Sabato, University of Virginia commented: “Of course, she [Clinton] should be worried. I doubt Trump is actually in the lead, and I’d need to see more good national polling. But these surveys suggest a close, tough race is ahead.”

That sounds serious enough to us, but as far as the activities of Clinton and Sanders are concerned, going forward to June 7, how will their actions in the last-chance do or die California and New Jersey be concerned? On June 7, the Democrats will have to deal with how California’s 476 delegate field and New Jersey’s 126 package get divided. That’s a total of 602 to the winners on the Democrats’ side – Clinton and Sanders.

Clinton can be hurt by Sanders if he has a great day; but Clinton can’t hurt Sanders if she does well, it will get her over the hump, so to speak, and make it Trump vs Clinton, and may the best contestant win. This doesn’t have to erupt into a history making brawl depending on the outcome although many Trump opponents have expressed fears of him winning in November.

ADDABBO TO HOST SENIOR JOB FAIR: As part of his continued effort to help individuals find work, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. will host his annual Senior Job Fair next month for job seekers ages 55 and over.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, June 3, employers will be present at Queens Community House, located at 80-02 Kew Gardens Road, to meet with seniors looking for work in various fields including health care, retail, sales, security and other areas. Representatives from each company will accept résumés and meet with potential job candidates to discuss openings within the organization, said Addabbo (D–Howard Beach).

“Finding a job is always an uphill battle, but the task is even more difficult for our senior population,” said Addabbo. “The cost of living continues to rise, and more and more people over 55 find themselves coming out of retirement or having their circumstances change and needing once again to search for a way to make ends meet. It is important that we provide these individuals with the resources they need to succeed in their job search. I am proud to once again host my annual Senior Job Fair and look forward to meeting the eager job seekers at this event next month.”

Addabbo frequently hosts job fairs and hiring events throughout the year, including a general job fair with around 100 vendors for candidates of all ages to attend in October.

The job fair on June 3, is free to attend for both employers and for those looking for a job. Job seekers who plan to attend should dress professionally and bring plenty of copies of résumés.

For more information about the job fair or for any businesses that currently have job openings for seniors and wish to participate, contact Addabbo’s Howard Beach Office at 718-738- 1111.

CUOMO STATEMENT REGARDING TICKET RESALE LEGISLATION: Governor Cuomo issued the following statement in this issue:

“Recent reports, including findings from the Attorney General’s Office, document a series of unfair and illegal ticket selling and reselling practices that deceive New York State consumers and leave them paying prices well above face value for tickets to concerts and other events. These include the withholding of huge portions of ticket inventory from primary sale, and the use of specialized computer software that allow ticket speculators to purchase large chunks of premium tickets, which they then resell at huge markups.

I was disappointed these issues were not addressed in the legislation (S7181/ A9773), passed by the Assembly and the Senate. However, vetoing this legislation would cause significant market disruption, inconvenience to consumers, and could potentially cost jobs. For these reasons, I was compelled to sign the bill.

It is clear steps must be taken to properly inform consumers about ticket availability, and protect them against the intrusion of unfair technology employed by unscrupulous speculators for profit.

I will be forming a working group representing stakeholders, including advocates, regulators, and industry representatives, to study and make recommendations to be acted on before the law next expires on June 30, 2017.

Absent these reforms, I will not be signing similar legislation next year.”

ADDABBO BACKS BILL FOR COMMUNITY INPUT BEFORE NEW SCHOOLS ARE SITED: State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., a member of the Senate Education Committee, recently voted to approve legislation (S.5387) that would require New York City education agencies to notify local residents about land purchased for the siting of a new school and to hold a public forum to gather input from the community on the pros and cons of locating new classroom facilities in the area. The lawmaker (D–Howard Beach) stated:

“Although new classroom space is always needed in New York City, with many schools filled beyond capacity, care needs to be taken when land or other real property is acquired by the City with the intent of opening a new facility. Local communities that would be home to the new school – and any accompanying traffic congestion, construction impacts, parking issues and safety concerns – should be consulted before the first shovel enters the ground.”

Addabbo also stated that he had the issues regarding the new proposed elementary school, P.S. 335 in Ozone Park, in mind when voting in favor of the bill.

Under the bill, the New York City Board of Education or Panel for Educational Policy, together with the New York City School Construction Authority, would be required to notify the local community board about real property acquired for a new school. Within 45 to 90 days of the notification, the agencies must hold a community forum to gather input from local residents on whether the proposed location is appropriate to the purpose. The time, date and location of the forum would be decided in conjunction with the local community board to help ensure it is being held in a way most convenient for residents of the neighborhood.

The legislation was approved by the full State Senate on May 9. In the Assembly, the bill is under review by the Education Committee.

STAVISKY, COLLEAGUES CALL ON CONGRESS TO LESSEN AIRCRAFT NOISE: State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Flushing), in partnership with senators from New York City and Long Island and aircraft noise and pollution awareness group, Quiet Skies, wrote a letter to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand regarding loud and disruptive airplane noise.

The bipartisan letter called for a change to the noise threshold from 65 Day/Night Noise Level to 55 Day/Night Noise Level. The lower figure being requested reflects an acceptable sound level determined by a number of organizations and agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, World Health Organization and Harvard School of Medicine.

“It is easy to dismiss airplane noise as a non-issue if you are not one of the thousands of families being affected day in and day out. But we now know the current threshold of 65 DNL is obsolete. Having been created in the 1970s, it could not take into account the numerous studies that suggest the negative health impact. The seven senators who signed onto this letter and I are calling on Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer to address the issue of aircraft noise, especially now, when Congress is drafting legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. With the Port Authority now conducting the Part 150 Study, we must take things a step further by reducing the noise threshold.”

“Residents of Queens and Nassau county are thankful that Senator Stavisky has taken the lead in the State Senate to help show our US Senators that we need their help to change the noise threshold from 65 to 55 DNL using legislation currently in the congress,” Quiet Skies President Len Schaier said. We are not against progress, a healthy aviation industry nor are we trying to deny a place for aircraft to land. We do believe, however, that along with safety and efficiency, people’s health and quality of life on the ground also matters. Lowering the threshold will allow the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the FAA to justify noise mitigation for many of those currently suffering.”

The letter was signed by the following State Senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties from Queens, Long Island and other districts:

Toby Ann Stavisky, Kemp Hannon, Michael Gianaris, Martin J. Golden, Jose R. Peralta, Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., Leroy Comrie, Gustavo Rivera.

HOUSE PASSES DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION WITH CROWLEY BILL FOR NEW ACAD. SHIP: On Wednesday, May 18, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes a provision spearheaded by Rep. Joe Crowley (D–Queens, The Bronx) Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, authorizing the nation’s six State Maritime Academies to pursue new National Security Multi-Mission vessel to train future generations of maritime workers.

Currently, our nation’s Maritime Academies, which are charged with developing highly skilled maritime workers, are stuck training officers on an outdated and aging fleet of ships. While the average age of the ships is 35, SUNY Maritime College’s Empire State VI, which serves as the training ship for other maritime schools, is over 50 years old – well past its useful lifespan. A new training vessel will help ensure we continue to develop a strong maritime workforce,” said Crowley.

“We can’t train the mariners of tomorrow with the ships of yesterday. Our State Maritime Academies, including SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx, play a critical role in producing the next generation of maritime leaders and in protecting our national security interests,” said Rep. Crowley, whose district includes SUNY Maritime College, which is next in line for an updated training ship. “Today, we are one step closer to securing a new training vessel for our Maritime Academies, but our efforts won’t stop here. I will continue my fight to secure the needed funding to make the dream of a new training ship a reality,” Crowley stated.

Crowley emphasized, “The maritime industry is an essential part of our nation’s economy, in addition to playing a critical role in national security. Each year, the industry generates over $100 billion, employs 1.5 million Americans and pays tens of billions in wages and benefits. The United States has long maintained a strong maritime industry because of concerted investments in the sector, including in the nation’s six State Maritime Academies and the ships they use for training,” Crowley declared.

Crowley has long-championed funding for new training vessels for our nation’s maritime academies, spearheading multiple bipartisan letters to the Administration as well as relevant House committees. In 2014, Crowley led a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget with the initial request that the agencies develop and support a plan to replace the aging ships used by our nation’s State Maritime Academies. In February 2015, President Obama designated $5 million in his budget to design and replace aging ships and a few months later, Crowley announced that the bill to fund the Department of Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development would include these funds, which was signed into law as part of the larger bill funding the entire government for fiscal year 2016.

ADDABBO BILL PROVIDES VETS ACADEMIC CREDIT FOR MILITARY EXPERIENCE: In an effort to help New York State veterans earn college credit for their military experience, the full State Senate recently approved legislation (S.4233) sponsored by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. last week that would allow servicemen and women to pursue service-related academic credit at State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) institutions.

“Our veterans develop new skills and knowledge every day while serving in the military,” said Addabbo, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs. “My bill will help to make sure they can get academic credit for all they have learned and complete their college degrees more quickly. This will also help to ensure that our veterans are even better equipped to reenter the workforce once their tours of duty are completed,” Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) explained.

Addabbo’s bill was one focus of a roundtable discussion held by the Senate Veterans Committee at the State Capitol in late February.

In order for veterans to receive academic credit for their military training or service, the college courses in which they are enrolled would need to meet the standards of the American Council on Education (ACE) or otherwise adhere to equivalent standards for awarding credit to students for life experience. While the ACE is already engaged in efforts to award credit to veterans for their service and training, Addabbo’s bill would make it clear that SUNY and CUNY could accept military transcripts as a source of transfer credit, Addabbo said.

Veterans would need to be enrolled full-time in college as undergraduates and have been honorably discharged. There would be no cap on the number of credits, and qualifying veteran students would not be charged fees for tuition for the credits, the lawmaker explained.

Addabbo noted that such veterans’ organizations as the Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Department of New York and Ladies Auxiliary, have identified this bill as a priority for action during the 2016 legislative session, he said.

“I am very pleased that my Senate colleagues have joined me in moving this legislation forward,” said Addabbo. “While employment opportunities may be slowly improving for veterans as our economy continues to recover from the deep recession we suffered several years ago, I believe it is very important that we do whatever we can to help our servicemen and women better prepare themselves for the job market when they come home. It’s the least we can do for veterans who often put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe and uphold our country’s most cherished principles and values.”

“However, it’s important to remember that this welcome low of 3.9 percent unemployment for all veterans in the United States still means that about 422,000 former members of the armed forces are still looking for jobs,” he pointed out. “We have more work to do to boost employment opportunities for our former servicemen and women.”

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