2016-12-21 / Political Page

As Prez Electors Vote, Cries To Widen Hack Probe

Even as the Electoral College was getting ready to elect Donald Trump our next president last Wednesday, there were demands to extend the investigation into the reported cyber attack on the November 8th presidential election which Russia brazenly performed and which Donald Trump was declared the winner over Hillary Clinton.

Coincidentally, the buzz over Russia sticking its nose into our presidential election was still going on everywhere, as the Electoral College was expected to take its vote a month before Trump would be sworn into office on January 20th.

The bipartisan discussions for a Congressional hearing into the alleged Russian spying were suggested by US Senate Democratic Minority Leader Charles Schumer, of Brooklyn, and veteran Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona. They had announced their call for the congressional hearings last Sunday morning.

However, Trump was opposed to the far-reaching hearings being proposed by the well-respected lawmakers, both of whom had opposed Trump’s election. Trump charged, through a spokesperson, that the proposed hearings were “just another excuse” by Democrats to attack his victory over Clinton.

But Schumer declared, “We want to find out what the Russians are doing to our political system,” and he added that other countries would follow the Russian lead and start spying on us. But Trump battled back, saying through a spokesperson: “Where is the evidence? Why, when the CIA officials were invited to an intelligence briefing last week, did they refuse to go?”

Obama had brought the Russian snooping charges to light at his final presidential press conference.

(The lead to this column was written before the Electoral-College vote, which was held on the past Monday, so the column couldn’t report on it. Also for the same reason there was no follow up to the Schumer proposal for Congressional hearings on Russian cyber attacks.)

GOOD NEWS FOR GOVERNOR: Governor Andrew Cuomo had (hopefully) good news for New Yorkers over the past weekend – the nearly completed Second Avenue Subway will be open for business by January 1st, he announced last Sunday.

ADDABBO URGES LEARN BEFORE BUYING PETS AS HOLIDAY GIFTS: As the holiday season approaches, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. is encouraging those individuals thinking of buying an animal as a gift for someone this holiday to learn all the details of caring for that pet before taking them into their home.

Many young children wish for dogs, cats, rabbits, birds or other small pets as a holiday present without much knowledge about what caring for an animal truly entails. This often leads to pets being abandoned soon after the holiday or not being properly cared for once the new owner realizes the time-consuming tasks and costs associated with taking care of the animal, Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) said.

“While a pet may seem like the perfect gift for someone, there are other things to consider before agreeing to adopt a pet into your family,” said Addabbo. “The cost of a pet goes far beyond the initial purchase price – with food, vaccinations, medical care, grooming, toys, boarding and other expenses potentially rising upwards of $1,000 per pet every year. It is important that all costs and responsibilities are carefully considered before committing to years of caring for an animal.”

In order to be properly educated on what to expect when caring for a pet, Addabbo encourages people to research the needs of the particular animal they intend to adopt before bringing it home. The Senator urges those wishing to buy a pet to consider the schedule and responsibilities of the person receiving the gift before giving it to them.

In addition, the ASPCA suggests that if the recipient is under 12 years old, the schedule of the child’s parent should also be taken into account, since the adult will do most of the tasks to care for the pet as the child grows and learns.

“In many homes, pets are part of the family, and bring much joy to children and adults alike, while also teaching kids about responsibility and caring for another living creature.” Addabbo added, “But owning a pet is not always all fun and games, and it is important to remember the work involved also. I encourage all families who wish to give a pet as a gift this year to do so responsibly by learning about the animal beforehand and making sure the pet goes to a loving owner who will know how to keep it safe and healthy for years to come.”

CROWLEY SPEAKS OUT AGAINST MTA FARE HIKES: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) held a public hearing on its proposal to increase fares once again. City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley attended and gave testimony on her opposition to this price hike.

“All New Yorkers, no matter what community they come from, rely on the MTA and public transportation every day. Everyone is affected by a fare hike. We pay fares for subways and buses, and tolls for bridges and tunnels. Instead of imposing these constant increases, it’s important we look to what else we can do to generate revenue,” Crowley (D–Glendale).

Addressing the MTA Board, the Council Member noted a policy change amongst for-hire vehicles that could subsidize costs for the agency. Crowley introduced a City Council Resolution that would extend the same sales tax to all taxis, livery cabs, Ubers and Lyfts, creating parity across the board and sending more revenue to the MTA.

Council Member Crowley also insisted the MTA “take advantage of the city’s existing infrastructure, and expand public transportation” to accommodate the city’s growing population. Crowley’s proposal for light rail would reactivate commuter transit along the Long Island Railroad’s Lower Montauk branch, and would generate more riders, and therefore revenue, through what is right now a transportation desert in Queens.

“Before we rush to impose another hike on the backs of hardworking New Yorkers, let’s look to these measures and any others that will be just as effective in subsidizing MTA costs,” Crowley concluded.

ADDABBO WELCOMES NEW JFK AIRPORT HOTEL: Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. released a statement on the JFK Hotel groundbreaking. “All great endeavors start with a vision and initiative. JFK airport is a major hub in our borough and my district, not only for transportation but for retail, restaurants, tourism and all the other industries that operate at the airport. With the groundbreaking of the new hotel at JFK – keeping one eye on the current potential of the airport and the other eye on the future – this new destination stands for new jobs and economic growth. I thank our governor, Tyler Morse and others for being the guiding force on creating this new hotel site and for having a positive vision for New York’s future.”

ADDABBO PARTNERS WITH FREE LEGAL SERVICE ORGANIZATION: Senator Jospeh P. Addabbo Jr. announced a new partnership with a local organization aimed at assisting individuals interested in becoming United States citizens.

The Queens Coalition for Social Justice – founded by Rosa Celeste-Astuto, Esq., Christi Tai-Gelo, Esq. and Nhan C. Vo, Esq. – provides free legal help with obtaining US citizenship. The organization will hold a series of workshops to assist with applications for those wishing to become citizens, where representatives will be available to help with explaining the process, completing forms, providing legal advice for any barriers along the way, as well as other assistance with citizenship or immigration issues.

“I appreciate any individual who wants to become a US citizen. I know it can be a very daunting process, especially if you don’t know where to begin,” said Addabbo. “That’s where the Queens Coalition for Social Justice comes in. These workshops will help change the lives of people looking to better their situation by becoming a US citizen. The events provide an easier course to legally entering the United States and becoming a citizen, and I am grateful to the Queens Coalition for Social Justice for their dedication to not only helping people improve their lives, but to making sure it is done accurately.”

The workshops will be held weekly on Saturdays from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm next to Addabbo’s Howard Beach Office, at 159-55 102nd Street. Free interpreters will also be provided for several languages, including Italian, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi and Tagalog.

Those who wish to meet with a representative regarding citizenship or immigration issues must make an appointment prior to the event date. To schedule an appointment, contact 662-727-5692 or info@qcsjnyc.org.

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