2016-09-07 / Political Page

Dealing With ‘Dreamers’

Let’s get right to the point. The part of Donald Trump’s immigration speech in Phoenix last week that we were most concerned about was how the several hundred thousand immigrants that came here to make a new life, or that were born here and have grown up to be law-abiding residents – how they would be dealt with.

Trump appeared to be referencing this huge group toward the end of his speech when he talked about establishing a “new immigration system.” He went on to say, “then and only then will we be in a position to consider the appropriate disposition of those individuals who remain.”

Addressed later by a radio reporter who said she had expected to be surprised, that there would be a softened position on these cases involving hundreds of thousands of innocent persons. Trump reiterated:

“We’re going to make a decision at a later date once everything is stabilized. I think you’re going to see there’s really quite a bit of softening.”

As we indicated at the start of this column, we were especially concerned how the innocents would be dealt with in solving this huge immigration problem. Judging from Trump’s answers, there’s no indication of a promise offered, no sort of welcoming, and God knows how long the anxiety might last.

Previously, there was talk that people in this group would be given a choice (if you could call it that) to allow them to return to their homeland and, after a time, be allowed to return and start all over again. This didn’t appear to be such a great offer either, considering, among other things, the disruption in people’s lives, maybe leaving a job, and then the financial cost of disruption. Worse, still is how children’s lives would be disrupted.

Our thought was that there was no reason to punish these people who, after being judged as “good citizens,” would be given such an unnecessary choice to prove how much they would be tested before they could return. There was no necessity to subject them and their families to such stern tests to prove their loyalty and their desire to live here, which they had already done.

Trump made his choices here and we frankly think they were wrong as judged by any humanitarian standard. And they are also wrong, judging from a political point of view. Shortly after the speech, the group of Hispanics he had on his National Hispanic Advisory Council resigned in protest. Any chance that his trip to Mexico, followed by his Phoenix speech, which were obviously undertaken with the idea of bolstering his Hispanic vote, seemed to have missed their mark. One has to wonder what ever gave them the idea that his Mexico and Phoenix trips would attract Hispanics to his side? As we’ve said, the opposite reaction was triggered among his own staff of Hispanic advisors, and the same reaction can be anticipated by most Hispanic voters.

ADDABBO TOUTS HIGH ENVIRONMENTAL SCORE: In a report released last week by the Environmental Advocates, of New York, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) was recognized as one of New York state’s leading legislators fighting to protect the environment from harmful waste and pollution.

Addabbo, a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, was given a score of 81 out of 100 for his support of more than 20 pieces of legislation that the Senate voted on during the 2016 legislative session. Of the nearly two dozen bills, Addabbo was proud to be the co-sponsor of key environmental efforts, including the Child Safe Products Act (S.5995), which aims to increase transparency regarding toxic chemicals used to make toys or other products used by children, as well as a bill (S.884) that would require waste from oil and natural gas products to be treated as hazardous waste.

The Senator also sponsored or voted to approve important pieces of legislation that would protect New York’s environment from harmful chemicals and cut back on waste that contributes to landfills, including bills to reduce food waste by donating leftover food from school lunch programs to charitable meal organizations (S.854), establish a paint stewardship program that provides consumers with an opportunity to safely recycle paint (S.4926), and a bill that would require any organization using capital improvement funds to complete a project to purchase only energy-efficient appliances (S. 3034).

“New York State has cemented its position as a national leader in the fight to help preserve our planet and cut back on unnecessary pollution and waste, and I am proud to be at the center of that as a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee,” said Addabbo. “These bills, along with the many others we were able to pass this year to help protect our Earth, send a strong message that our state values conservation and is ready to lead the way toward a more environmentally friendly way of life. From removing dangerous chemicals in drinking water to providing incentives to consumers who are gravitating toward the use of renewable energy, the bills highlighted in this report are some of the most important pieces of legislation my colleagues and I worked on this year, and I am proud to have sponsored many of them and voted to approve several others. I look forward to continuing New York’s work to protect and preserve the environment in any way possible.”

In addition to these bills, Addabbo was the prime sponsor of a bill (S.8043) that seeks to prevent sediment that has been contaminated with harmful waste from being used to fill pits in Jamaica Bay, a process known as dredging. That bill, which passed both the Senate and Assembly, is awaiting approval from Governor Cuomo. The Senator also firmly opposed the Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas project, “a dangerous proposal,” Addabbo said, to construct a pipeline off the coast of Rockaway “that would have put the entire peninsula in danger of pollution and many other harmful effects.” Addabbo was pleased last November when Governor Cuomo vetoed the project, and the Senator has since continued his support for an offshore wind farm off the coast of the Rockaway Peninsula “that seeks to supply renewable energy to New York City and Long Island, while significantly reducing the amount of harmful emissions released into the atmosphere.”

Addabbo also frequently sponsors numerous events throughout his district each year to promote a healthy environmental lifestyle, including multiple recycling events that allow residents to safely discard of electronics, paper and other household items, as well as rain barrel giveaways that help homeowners cut back on the use of fresh water for everyday tasks such as watering plants or washing a car.

The full report, “Environmental Advocates Cite Villains, Heroes in Legislature” can be seen at : www.blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/266757/environmental-advocates-...

CROWLEY SUIT VS. HOMELESS PLAN: Crowley, Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. and Assembly Member Marge Markey join together to take legal action, in hopes to keep the city from converting Holiday Inn Express into homeless shelter

Earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration presented a proposal to convert the Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth into a 115- bed homeless shelter. After review, local elected officials found this proposal to be shortsighted, fiscally irresponsible, and completely inadequate for not only the homeless population but for the Maspeth community. In response, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley is taking action and suing the City of New York, declaring the administration is in violation of the city’s administrative code.

The Council Member is joined by State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. and Assembly Member Margaret Markey, who have filed in Queens Supreme Court to prevent the City from moving forward with its plan to convert the Holiday Inn Express, at 59-40 55th Rd., into a homeless shelter for adult families. The lawsuit seeks to uphold a City law that requires that units housing homeless families be equipped with cooking facilities. As the hotel rooms do not contain stoves and other amenities that would constitute cooking facilities, the lawsuit challenges the legality of the City’s proposed conversion.

“The mayor himself, as well as Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks, has said converting hotels into homeless shelters is an unacceptable solution to the city’s homelessness crisis. Yet time and time again, we hear of the city moving more people into hotels and motels,” Crowley said.

“Hotel conversions should not be used to create shelter capacity, while phasing out the use of legal cluster site shelters, in which families are housed in apartments, in privately owned buildings, with kitchens and other home appliances,” the Council Member continued. “Letting these sites go is irresponsible.”

Addabbo said, “Queens residents, including myself, are fed up with our communities being targeted for inappropriate homeless shelter sites. These individuals and our communities deserve better from the city. I have continued to stand behind the idea that hotels are not the proper venue for shelters and offer almost no long-term assistance to homeless families who need help to get back on their feet. Instead of shuffling large populations of people from one horribly run shelter to the next, the city should be focusing its billion-dollar homeless prevention plan on finding more permanent housing for those who need it most. I remain firmly opposed to the shelter proposal for Maspeth and will strongly support this and any other credible plan that aims to stop this inadequate proposal from moving forward.”

“This proposal is wrong for Maspeth; it is wrong for the city of New York; and it is wrong for the homeless families the city says it is trying to help. Mayor de Blasio has insisted that using hotels is a bad solution to the problem of homelessness and he was seeking to avoid it. Instead, however, his administration has opened several new shelters in hotels this year and brought this proposal to Maspeth. Our lawsuit is a reminder that this policy is wrong, it violates the Mayor’s own policies and city regulations, and we stand firmly against it,” Markey said.

“This lawsuit seeks to enjoin the City from moving forward with a commercial hotel conversion. Council Member Elizabeth Crowley and other elected officials have commenced this action on the basis that the conversion would not be in compliance with a City law that requires that homeless families be housed in units that have cooking facilities. This hotel does not have such cooking facilities and the Plaintiffs intend to proceed with the lawsuit,” said Jeffrey Mailman, Counsel and Legislative Director for Council Member Crowley.

MENG RENEWS EFFORTS TO CREATE ZIP CODE FOR GLENDALE: Congress Member Grace Meng (D–Queens) renewed her efforts to create a ZIP code for Glendale, Queens.

In a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Meng urged that her bill to create a zip code for Glendale be included in any postal-related legislation that the panel may pass by the end of 2016 (when the current session of Congress ends). Meng’s bill (H.R. 657) would require the United States Postal Service to designate a single, unique ZIP code for the area that encompasses Glendale. Presently, Glendale shares its 11385 zip code with the neighboring community of Ridgewood.

“Glendale deserves its own zip code and it’s time for the Postal Service to provide the community with one,” said Meng. “Creating a ZIP code for Glendale is critical to the neighborhood’s identity, efficient mail service in the community, and locating area addresses on GPS devices. I respectfully call on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to act on my legislation.”

Meng introduced her bill in 2014 and again in 2015. The measure is pending before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee since the panel has jurisdiction over the Postal Service.

JUDGE ORDERS GOP PRIMARY: Syracuse U.S. District Judge Frederick Scullin has ordered a more special October 6 Republican primary between State Senator Jack Martins and Philip Pidot for the 3rd District Congressional seat being vacated by Congress Member Steve Israel.

According to the Newsday story, the decision raises the chance of a possible conflict with earlier federal court rulings that military ballots be sent out 45 days before Election Day, which is on November 8.

The Democratic candidate seeking the seat is Thomas Suozzi, who won a Democratic primary to get nominated. The district covers the Nassau, Suffolk north shore and a portion of Northeast Queens. Pidot had won a case holding that he had 1,250 petition signature to be on the ballot in the June 28 GOP primary federal primary, but it was too late to be on the ballot, so he appealed the decision.

ADDABBO URGES: ‘SPRAY US TO COMBAT MOSQUITOES’: Amid growing concerns surrounding harmful diseases that can potentially be spread by mosquitoes, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. is continuing to urge the city to spray parts of his district with treatments to manage the bugs.

Two communities in Addabbo’s district – Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach – are surrounded by bays, canals and marshland where mosquitoes gather, causing them to be present in many residential parts of these two neighborhoods as well. The Senator has requested multiple times over the last several months that the Health Department spray pesticide treatments to combat the mosquito populations in these parts of southern Queens and he intends to continue his demand until the spraying occurs.

“In many parts of my district, homes are surrounded by water and undeveloped parkland that serves as the optimal breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Addabbo said. “The mosquito infestation in certain sections of Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach is so severe that residents sometimes cannot even leave their homes without being met by a swarm of bugs. These insects could possibly be carriers of serious, even potentially deadly, viruses such as Zika and West Nile, yet despite the several requests I have made to have treatments sprayed in my district, these two communities are still waiting for the relief they desperately need.”

Throughout the summer, Addabbo has been in contact with the city Department of Health and has made multiple written requests to have mosquito treatments carried out in Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach. In early August, after being told these two neighborhoods do not qualify for city treatments and that Gateway National Park was responsible for spraying this area, the Senator sent another letter to the Health Department to continue his push to bring treatments to southern Queens.

“We should never let bureaucracy stand in the way of public safety,” said Addabbo. “The city has sprayed mosquito pesticides in Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach in the past, and these residents deserve to have it done again now in order to prevent a potential serious public health crisis. It is important to act before someone is seriously harmed by a diagnosis that could have been prevented. I strongly urge the city to reconsider and to provide my district with the proper treatments to prevent against mosquitoes.”

MARKEY OPPOSES MASPETH SHELTER: Community Board 5 convened a meeting to address the proposed homeless shelter at The Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth. Assemblywoman Margaret Markey spoke out against it in the following statement:

“This shelter proposal is wrong for homeless families and it is wrong for Maspeth.

“Mayor de Blasio said that using hotels is wrong for dealing with homelessness. He said he was seeking to avoid it. But his administration is doing just the opposite. Earlier this month, we first heard about the Mayor’s plan for Maspeth. There weren’t many details, but there was a firm October timetable.

“We elected officials reached out to City Hall to get a face-to-face meeting with the Mayor to explain our opposition, but he has ignored us. We are hearing from Commissioner Banks tonight with more details about the Mayor’s plan, but it seems clear that the original October timetable is still in place.

“I think that is wrong – and I continue to oppose this plan. Since Comptroller Scott Stringer has a role in permitting this project to go forward, I reached out to see if he could help us. Unlike the Mayor, he was willing to meet with us to discuss his role and our options. But he was not encouraging. The Comptroller pledged to carefully examine any contract for this shelter, and to hold the Mayor accountable to his own guidelines.

“Of course, there is no contract. So there is nothing for anyone to review. This is wrong. The brief Department Homeless Services outline we just received for this project does not give us much of a picture of the programs that will be offered at this facility. There is no information about the proposed shelter operator and its track record. There is also nothing about the financial arrangements between the city, the operator and the hotel owner. We don’t know what the cost will be to the taxpayers.

“From what we know now, it is not clear how this shelter will get residents back on their feet, get them jobs and get them into permanent housing.

“Twice now, I and other elected officials have pointed out that this Maspeth shelter plan violates the city’s own rules. First, it is being illegally located in an Industrial Business Zone. Now, we are also going to State Supreme Court to try to stop it. We say: it is wrong to put homeless families in hotel rooms not equipped for living. It is wrong, too, that there is no proposed contract to examine for this project.

“Without better answers, I will continue to do all I can to oppose this facility.”

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