2016-11-23 / Political Page

Trump Showing Unpresidential Side

It seems like the pressure from the ongoing formation of a staff and the steady presence of protesters is getting under president-elect Donald Trump’s skin, judging from his reactions to some of the incidents occurring.

Last week, he got into a public squabble with the cast of “Hamilton” on Broadway after some cast members addressed Vice President-elect Mike Pence when he went to see the hit musical.

Trump admonished cast members on Twitter for having been “rude” to Pence.

Last Saturday, a group from Astoria, led by City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D–Sunnyside) and Speaker Melissa Mark- Viverito marched to Trump Tower in Manhattan to protest what one newspaper described as “the racist, sexist and anti gay” views of Trump.

There were no direct untoward incidents directed at the 500 or so protesters led by Van Bramer and Mark-Viverito, and joined by Comptroller Scott Stringer. But Van Bramer commented that he had received “death threats” on social media when he announced the protest march.

Van Bramer was quoted as saying in the newspaper report of their visit, “There is incredible hatred, and for some reason it’s coming out now. The openly gay lawmaker added, “People are taking this election as a free pass to hate again. No one will stop me or any of you from raising our voices.”

The story said Mark-Viverito told the group that New Yorkers are “fearing a return to dark times.”

GIANARIS CONDEMNS MUSLIM HATE-SPEECH IN ASTORIA: Senator Michael Gianaris condemned a video which surfaced on the Internet, displaying a racist interaction in western Queens targeting a Muslim man. With a surge in recent hate crimes. Senator Gianaris denounced this hateful rhetoric and the violence it inspires.

“In this community, we pride ourselves on our diversity and tolerance. Hateful rhetoric should not be tolerated in a neighborhood where all races and different beliefs are welcome. More than ever, now is the time to unite and organize. We will stand together against cowardly attacks and show that our values and vision for our country will triumph over hate.”

The following is a link to the incident which occurred on Crescent Street in Astoria, http://bitJy/2eNFRNW

MAYOR OPENS REELECTION CAMPAIGN: Without any fanfare, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced endorsements for reelection from two labor unions last week, in effect opening his campaign for next year’s reelection bid.

An early poll by Quinnipiac shows his chances of winning a new term are 50-50 (47 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove) and identifies his main threat as former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whom de Blasio defeated in the 2013 Democratic primary.

The early endorsements of de Blasio came from the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

MALONEY TO TRUMP: MAKE CLINTON UN AMBASSADOR: New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said Hillary Clinton “would make an excellent Ambassador to the United Nations,” and feels “President-elect Trump should consider her for the position.”

A close friend of the former Secretary of State, Maloney believes that Clinton “will never stop working. She will always make a difference, and will always be a part of the dialogue in a positive way to advance the values of America.”

Maloney was one of Clinton’s closest friends in Congress and served as one of her strongest surrogates during the campaign.

Trump Tower in Manhattan is a part of Congresswoman Maloney’s district, the home of President-elect Trump.

SCHUMER’S MESSAGE TO TRUMP: US Senator Charles Schumer, who was elected Senate Minority Leader last week, has put President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans on notice to keep New York City’s interests in their thoughts during the upcoming session.

Schumer’s message? Don’t undo President Barack Obama’s major legislative achievements (such as Obamacare), and don’t forget NYC when you fund anti-terrorism programs. Regarding Obamacare, Trump has already taken it off his hit list because he has voiced support for sections of the healthcare program, and there is no way Trump can keep those parts of Obamacare that he likes without keeping the whole thing, Schumer reasons.

As for including NYC in a major infrastructure stimulation program which Trump has spoken about, Schumer stated in a published interview, “He’ll be sensitive to New York’s needs because he’s from New York.” What Schumer’s thinking about here is building two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River connected to New Jersey – at a cost of $23 billion.

Schumer’s wedge to get action? His new position as Senate Minority Leader can provide or deny any Senate votes necessary to approve Trump’s master plan which will create many jobs he promised during his successful presidential campaign.

ADDABBO HOSTS METROCARD VAN IN DISTRICT: Later this month, the MetroCard Van will make two appearances in Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.’s district in order to assist his constituents with their public transportation needs, Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) announced.

On Wednesday, November 30, the van will be stationed in two different locations throughout the day, allowing residents to purchase and refill MetroCards in spots that are convenient for them. The MetroCard Van will be stationed in front of the Howard Beach Senior Center, located at 155-55 Cross Bay Boulevard, from 10 a.m. to noon, and will then relocate to the Broad Channel Library, at 16-26 Cross Bay Boulevard, from 1 to 3 p.m. The staff on board will be selling unlimited and pay-per-ride MetroCards and will also be equipped to add money to regular or reduced fare cards.

Many neighborhoods across the city do not have subway stops, where MetroCard machines are located, and have few places where residents can even purchase a card, let alone refill an existing one. The mobile van provides these commuters with the opportunity to easily purchase and refill cards in places they normally would not be able to.

“It is an unfortunate reality that there are still a great number of neighborhoods, in Queens especially, that are underserved by public transportation and lack subway stops, which are frequently the only places where MetroCard kiosks are located,” said Addabbo. “For people who live in these neighborhoods, or for those who only use the bus as part of their daily commutes, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a place to buy and refill cards. In addition, residents who are elderly or disabled may not be able to travel far to get a MetroCard, but they should not have to suffer because of that. The MetroCard Van brings these services directly to the residents of my district and offers another outlet for people to conveniently take care of their MetroCard needs.”

For more information, contact Addabbo’s Howard Beach office at 718-738-1111.

DA BROWN, OTHER DAs TARGET ‘BIAS AND HATE’ CRIMES: A statement issued by District Attorneys Richard A. Brown, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Darcel D. Clark, Michael E. McMahon, and Eric Gonzalez regarding bias and hate crimes which are on the rise nationwide.

“As the District Attorneys who serve all of the residents of New York City, we want to reaffirm our commitment to prosecute vigorously crimes that are motivated by bias and hate.

“We have never and will never tolerate such acts -particularly those involving violence, intimidation, and destruction of property. As demonstrated by yesterday’s FBI report on national hate crime statistics, these crimes are becoming more commonplace. Within the past week our offices have become aware of multiple incidents where New Yorkers received threatening messages related to their race or religion, and we are carefully monitoring these reports.

“Crimes of bias are intolerable, and tear at the very fabric of our society. Crimes committed against individuals because of their race, national origin, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation do not just inflict physical and emotional damage, but threaten the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers.

“The US Constitution equally protects the rights of all Americans, and we are dedicated to enforcing the laws that uphold those rights. New York State law enables the criminal prosecution of those who commit crimes against anyone in New York, whether or not that person is a US citizen.

“We urge anyone in the five boroughs who may have been a victim of a hate crime to contact our offices, regardless of immigration status. In the case of an emergency, call 911 for immediate assistance. We are here to protect you, and we have the resources to do so.”

MENG BILL TO COMBAT PHONE SCAM PASSES HOUSE: Last night, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by US Rep. Grace Meng (D–Queens) that seeks to combat a widespread telephone scam known as “spoofing.”

Under the scheme, criminals disguise their caller ID to make it appear that they’re calling from a government agency, financial institution, law enforcement agency or other official entity. They then steal large sums of money from those they call by tricking them into wiring cash or providing personal information such as Social Security or bank account numbers, Meng explained.

“Millions of unsuspecting Americans continue to get ripped off through this unconscionable scam,” said Meng. “We must do all we can to combat it and my bill would go a long way towards accomplishing that critical goal. I’ve heard heartbreaking stories of individuals losing thousands of dollars because scammers duped them into believing that they would be arrested or fined if they failed to immediately pay up. We cannot allow these con artists to keep preying upon innocent consumers. I applaud the House for passing my legislation and I call on the Senate to immediately approve it as well.”

Meng’s bill, entitled the Anti-Spoofing Act (H.R. 2669), would crack down on spoofing by strengthening the Truth in Caller ID Act. The measure would:

• Broaden the law to prohibit spoofing from abroad. Presently, spoofing to defraud Americans is not against the law if the calls originate from outside the U.S.

• Broaden the law to include new internet-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services that enable callers to make outgoing-only calls from computers and tablets to mobile and landline phones, a practice that has contributed significantly to the spoofing problem.

• Broaden the law to include text messaging, a spoofing method that fraudsters use with increased regularity.

Meng’s bill passed 382 to 5. Her legislation is also sponsored by Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ).

MANY CITY HOUSING TENANTS EXEMPTED FROM HUD RULE: US Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D–NY) and Senator Charles E. Schumer (D–NY) announced that, after their push earlier this year, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be exempting New York City from the agency’s new Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) rule for Section 8 voucher holders. Under HUD’s original proposal, New York City housing experts estimated that rental assistance payments under the Section 8 program would decrease for more than 55,000 voucher holders across New York City. Under HUD’s revision of the rule, metropolitan areas with a vacancy rate of 4 percent or lower will be exempted, including New York City which has a vacancy rate of 3.45 percent.

“This plan was a terrible fit for New York City all along, and I am pleased we worked with the Secretary to find a solution,” Velázquez said. “More New Yorkers are going to be able to stay in their homes because of this exemption and that’s no small victory for working families in our City.”

“There’s no place like home, and today’s win will keep it that way for thousands of New Yorkers,” Schumer. “Under HUD’s revised rule, thousands of working families can now breathe a sigh of a relief because New York City will be exempt from a rule that really made no sense here; a rule that could have raised rent costs and displaced people who loved their neighborhoods. In a place like New York City, where the vacancy rate is below 4 percent, the outcome of the SAFMR rule could have been detrimental. I am pleased that HUD heeded the call by going back to the drawing board and hammering out a new plan that works for our tenants, families and seniors, as well as the affordable housing community.”

In August, Schumer and Velázquez led the New York City delegation in writing to the Department calling for fixes to the new “market rate” system of distributing vouchers that the agency was developing. In their letter, the two argued that the plan would have a devastating outcome for New York City.

ADDABBO URGES SHOP SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: As the holiday shopping season soon gets into full swing, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. is reminding residents across the borough to avail themselves of their local shops by participating in Small Business Saturday, November 26.

Addabbo (D–Howard Beach), added that the special day is celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, one day after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to buy from local small businesses rather than major retailers. This year marks the sixth year of the nation-wide tradition since it was started in 2010 to help draw more economic attention to smaller businesses trying to compete with national chains.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of what the major chain stores have to offer during this time of year, but it is important to also remember that we have so many wonderful shops and restaurants that are locally owned, right here in our backyards,” Addabbo said. “Every dollar spent at a local small business is a dollar that goes back into the economy here in Queens, preserving local jobs for our family members and neighbors, while helping small businesses to stay open. Small businesses are the backbone of New York City, and this is a great opportunity for us all to support our city’s economy while exploring the unique products and services these shops have to offer us.”

Addabbo’s 15th Senatorial District contains thousands of small businesses, many of which are located along major corridors such as Woodhaven- Cross Bay Boulevard, Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Beach 116th Street, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, 101st Avenue, Jamaica Avenue and Grand Avenue.

CROWLEY HAILS KAREEM ABDULJABBAR’S AWARD: Congress Member Joe Crowley (D–Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, released the following statement following basketball great Kareem Abdul- Jabbar being selected as one of 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. In May, Crowley led over 100 members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama urging him to award the medal to Abdul-Jabbar in recognition of his impressive mark on the sports world, as well as his commitment to social justice, philanthropy, and education.

“The legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a towering figure on the court, but he stood even taller off it. Kareem’s dedication to fighting intolerance, strengthening communities and making our world a better place is an inspiration to us all. I’m thrilled President Obama will recognize Kareem with this prestigious award, and I congratulate Kareem, and all of the other deserving recipients, on this remarkable honor.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is America’s highest civilian honor, and is presented to distinguished individuals from throughout the public service and cultural arenas, including leaders in arts, sports, and science. Abdul-Jabbar will receive the award during a White House ceremony on November 22.

Crowley and Abdul-Jabbar both graduated from Power Memorial Academy high school in New York City in 1980 and 1965, respectively. In 2011, they were both in the inaugural class inducted into the now-closed high school’s Hall of Fame.

MENG SETS UP ‘VETS HELPLINE’: US Rep. Grace Meng (D–Queens) announced that she has arranged for the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to hold regular office hours in her Northeast Queens District Office so that borough veterans can receive assistance without traveling further distances to VA facilities.

Under the program, a representative from the Department of Veterans Affairs will be available once a month to meet with local veterans and/or their beneficiaries to address any issues or concerns that they may have such as questions about VA benefits and services, information on pending claims, and assistance with filing claims. The first day for these special VA office hours will be Friday, December 2nd.

“I am very excited to partner with the VA on this important initiative,” said Meng. “Now, local veterans will not be forced to hike to a VA facility in order to receive help or information about their benefits or claims. It will be a great convenience to area veterans and I’m proud to offer it. In the wake of Veterans Day, we are once again reminded about the tremendous debt of gratitude we owe to those who served in the armed forces. We can never thank them enough for their service and sacrifice to this great nation. I urge all my constituents who are veterans to take advantage of these special VA office hours.”

Those seeking to meet with a VA representative in Meng’s office must make an appointment at least four days in advance. The Congresswoman’s office is located at 40-13 159th Street, corner of Northern Boulevard, in Flushing. The phone number is 718-358-MENG.

GIANARIS INVITES STUDENTS TO INTERN WITH HIM: Senator Michael Gianaris offered current high school students an opportunity to apply for a spring internship. The program is intended to provide a unique, meaningful experience to individuals with an interest in government service.

“My first steps in public service involved working for our local legislators, where I gained experience and learned how to better serve my community. Today, I use those same skills to represent our district and have the privilege of offering the same opportunities to today’s young students. I encourage anyone with an interest in government to get involved and learn the ropes early in life,” Gianaris (D–Astoria) stated.

Interested applicants will be interviewed. Resumes must be emailed to gianaris@nysenate. gov. During the internship, students will work with staff to coordinate events, handle office tasks and participate in public service activities that will help enrich their future aspirations.

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