2017-06-07 / Political Page

I On Politics


House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) issued the following statement after President Donald Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the historic Paris Climate Agreement:

“This reckless decision is among the worst from President Trump’s short tenure in the White House. It will cause our global standing to fall. Abdicating leadership on an issue so important to the American people, and ignoring the views of leaders in the U.S. military and the science and intelligence communities, makes America more vulnerable and isolated. This decision is bad for jobs, bad for the economy, bad for our national security, and bad for future generations.”

MENG BILL REQUIRES COMPENSATION FOR LOST TRAIN, BUS LUGGAGE: With the busy summer travel season having begun on Memorial Day weekend, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D–Queens) introduced legislation that would require train, ship and bus companies to refund baggage fees for luggage that is lost or delayed.

Last year, Meng said, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act that was enacted into law included a provision which requires airlines to refund checked baggage fees if luggage is lost or delayed after a domestic or international flight. But because the legislation was an aviation-related bill, it did not mandate lost luggage reimbursements for passengers who travel by other means.

Meng’s measure, entitled the No Fees for Lost Baggage Act (H.R. 2715), would fix the problem by extending the same refund requirements to all common carriers, including cruise ships, railroads and bus lines.

“Until last year, airlines could refuse to reimburse checked baggage fees to customers whose luggage was lost or significantly delayed after a flight’s arrival, and correcting this problem in the FAA bill was a long overdue victory for air travelers,” said Meng. “But those who travel by rail, road and sea should be entitled to the same protections, and my legislation would make that happen. All passengers who pay to check bags should receive refunds for lost or delayed luggage regardless of their mode of transportation. I urge my colleagues in Congress to quickly pass this bill as the busy vacation and tourism season gets underway.”

Meng’s bill has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where it is awaiting further action.

STAVISKY, SENATE DEMOCRATS FIGHT TO PROTECT ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN NY: Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and members of the State Senate Democrats this week unveiled legislation addressing the Trump Administration’s plan to drastically cut the federal Superfund program. The current federal program creates jobs and protects New Yorkers by removing toxic chemicals from contaminated sites around the state, and any cuts will dramatically harm communities. The Senate Democratic plan also includes efforts to provide New York State and localities with essential tools to help prevent future illegal dumping and hold polluters accountable.

Senator Stavisky (D–Flushing) introduced Senate Bill S.6467 to significantly increase penalties on illegal disposal and fund additional enforcement staff. Many communities are facing increasingly severe problems with illegal waste disposal, including the dumping of often-contaminated construction and demolition debris. This type of disposal has been especially prominent in public areas, creating illegal “dumping grounds” that imperil residents and ruin local quality of life by destroying precious environments.

In light of recent enforcement actions, Stavisky said, “The Department of Environmental Conservation and local law enforcement discovered nine illegal dumping sites in the Hudson Valley, as well as numerous violations related to the transport of waste. These illegal activities only hurt our communities while enriching big business. It is time that our laws truly go after the offenders who are destroying the environment and endangering the health of our families.”

The Senate Democratic Policy Group put together a report entitled, “Protecting Jobs, Health and Our Communities: Enhancing New York’s Superfund in the Age of Trump.” You can read the full report and analysis here: www.scribd.com/document/349343665/Protecting-Jobs-Health-and-Our Communities-Enhancing-New-York-s-Superfund-in-the-Age-of-Trump

SENATE OK’S GIANARIS BILL EYEING DANGEROUS DRIVERS: The New York State Senate passed Senator Michael Gianaris’ bill (S2484A) to crack down on drivers who kill or seriously injure others while driving with revoked, suspended, or otherwise invalid licenses. The bill would make such an event a felony and is included in the Vision Zero agenda. Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas carries the bill in the State Assembly.

E. CROWLEY BILL TRIPLES HOMELESS HOUSING VIOLATIONS: Last week, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D–Glendale) introduced new legislation (introduction 1614) in the City Council to triple the fines for violations in city homeless shelters, as well as make more efficient the process in which the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) contracts with homeless shelter providers.

There are 16,000 violations in New York City homeless shelters today, Crowley (D–Glendale) explained. These range from no peephole in a unit’s door (non-hazardous), to inadequate lighting or no smoke detectors (hazardous), to peeling lead paint, rodents and broken radiators (immediately hazardous). In December, two baby girls, ages 2 and 1, were killed when a broken radiator let off excessive steam, tragically and fatally burning them inside a Bronx homeless shelter, she stated.

“We have a homeless crisis on our hands. The mayor wants to build 90 more shelters, but far too many existing shelters are in dire need of repair,” Crowley said. “These violations are essentially causing our homeless shelter infrastructure to crumble, and the city is not doing enough to hold property owners accountable.”

Right now, she continued property owners are required to pay anywhere from $10 to $150 per violation, depending on its severity, Crowley’s bill would increase that from $30 to $450.

“Higher fines would maintain more pressure on property owners and landlords to make repairs. Many homeless families are living in a dangerous environment, and they shouldn’t be risking their safety or their children’s safety by entering the shelter system,” Crowley said.

Introduction 1614 would additionally require the city to enter into a contract directly with the property owner for any building used as a homeless shelter. Currently, DHS contracts with nonprofit providers for the homeless, who then contract with property owners to house the homeless. This procedure, Crowley noted, doesn’t allow city officials to directly engage with the building owners.

The bill now awaits a hearing in the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings. Earlier this month, the Councilmember introduced a separate bill to create an Inspector General charged with rooting out corruption, fraud and waste within the Human Resources Administration and DHS.

MALONEY APPLAUDS NEW DEDICATION FOR 9/11 RESCUE AND RECOVERY: Following news from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum that a permanent dedication will be erected in honor and memory of rescue and recovery at Ground Zero, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), lead House sponsor of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and its reauthorization, released the following statement:

“Thousands of 9/11 heroes still carry the wounds from their work on the pile in the form of rare cancers, pulmonary diseases and more. In the years since the attacks, 94 police officers have reportedly died of 9/11 illnesses – more than died on 9/11 – as well as 128 firefighters. We just recently lost Firefighter Ray Pfeiffer, a man who personified dignity and grace in the face of a horrible disease, and who did so much to ensure that Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to care for our 9/11 heroes. This monument to the responders and survivors impacted by the toxins at Ground Zero is for Ray and the thousands of other 9/11 heroes who sacrificed so much for so many.”

After the worst terror attack in our nation’s history, tens of thousands of rescue and recovery workers descended on Ground Zero. Their selfless acts of heroism saved lives and helped our country heal, and this memorial will be an important tribute to their service and sacrifices. On September 10, 2016, Maloney, along with Reps. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and Peter T. King (NY-02), appealed to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, requesting their support for such a memorial.

Reps. Maloney, Nadler and King were the lead house sponsors of The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, which was passed by Congress in December 2015, an $8.1 billion bill that fully funds the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) for five additional years and makes the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program effectively permanent.

SCHUMER COMMENTS ON TRUMP’S DECISION TO WITHDRAW FROM THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT: U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer released the following statement following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement:

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is a devastating failure of historic proportions. Future generations will look back on President Trump’s decision as one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st century because of the huge damage to our economy, our environment and our geopolitical standing. Pulling out of the Paris agreement doesn’t put America first, it puts America last in recognizing science, in being a world leader and protecting our own shoreline, our economy and our planet. It’s now crystal clear President Trump is comfortable both ceding the moral high ground and the economic upper hand to countries like China, and endangering the future of our planet.

“The idea of searching for a new deal is a fig leaf. If you truly believe in improving the Paris Agreement, you don’t back out – you work with our allies and partners around the world. This has the same hollow ring as President Trump’s and Congressional Republicans’ false assertion that repealing the Affordable Care Act will improve health care. Democrats will do everything we can to undo what President Trump has done and prevent further regression; I seriously hope the President reconsiders this awful decision.”

MALONEY ON TRUMP’S DECISION TO PULL U.S. OUT OF PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT: Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan), released the following statement after President Trump announced that he will be pulling the United States out of the landmark Paris climate accord:

“The President’s decision to pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement is a huge mistake that will cause significant and lasting damage for the U.S. and the world. Climate change is the single greatest threat to humanity. Sticking our heads in the sand and deliberately ignoring the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change will only hasten and worsen the damage that climate change will cause.

“Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement puts the U.S. in the company of Syria and Nicaragua as the only two nations who did not sign the agreement and will significantly harm our country’s standing with the rest of the world. The U.S. should be leading the effort to combat climate change, not standing in the way.

“Pulling out of this deal ignores our country’s moral responsibility to leave a sustainable planet for our children and future generations to come. I remain committed to doing everything I can to combat climate change and will work with my colleagues in Congress to use every tool at our disposal to prevent this administration from undermining the worldwide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “

CONSTANTINIDES ON TRUMP WITHDRAWING FROM PARIS PACT: City Councilman Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, said “Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement will have destabilizing effects for the agreements and devastating effects for our planet. Not combating climate change, or even acknowledging its existence, means that we won’t be ready for its destructive environmental, ecological, national security and financial effects. Our country should invest in green jobs and renewable energy rather than protecting the fossil fuel industry. I am appalled that Trump is dismantling the protections and regulations that had already been in place to keep our planet safe. This will not deter our city from leading the way on environmental protection by maintaining our commitment to the Paris Agreement’s provisions and passing legislation that encourages the use of renewable energy.”

MEET MAYORAL CANDIDATES MALLIOTAKIS, ULRICH & OTHERS: The Queens Village Republican Club (QVRC) had the following guests speak at their June 1 general club meeting:

Nicole Malliotakis is a Republican Assemblywoman who represents parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island and, is a Republican mayoral candidate for New York City. Assemblywoman Mallotakis is the daughter of Greek and Cuban immigrants, her mother a Cuban exile of the Castro regime. QVRC described Malliotakis as a recognized rising star in 2012 she was selected to speak at CPAC in Washington, D.C. as one of the nation’s “Top 10 Under 40” rising stars. She has “fearlessly stood up to expose the corrupt practices of disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Governor Cuomo, and recently Mayor de Blasio, who defies federal laws by harboring many classifications of criminal aliens under the city’s sanctuary policies,” the club stated.

QVRC also released a statement on Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Republican New York City Councilman representing District 32, Southern Queens, Rockaway, Ozone Park, Howard Beach. Ulrich was elected to the City Council in a non-partisan Special Election in 2009. QVRC said he quickly established a reputation as an honest, outspoken and independent voice at City Hall. The club stated, “He has also been a strong advocate for Superstorm Sandy victims, delivering rapid relief and resources following the storm and helping cut through the bureaucratic red-tape on behalf of his constituents, who are still struggling to rebuild their homes. He is one of the three current Republicans on the City Council and will discuss how to change that dynamic and win more Republican city council seats this year!”

The QVRC’s meeting was held at Knights of Columbus/St. Anne’s Council in Glen Oaks.

MENG CITES MTA’S POSSIBLE DEMOLITION OF BUSINESSES IN KEW GARDENS: U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D–Queens) issued the following statement on the MTA’s possible demolition of businesses located on the Lefferts Boulevard Bridge in Kew Gardens. The bridge, located over the Long Island Rail Road tracks near the Kew Gardens LIRR station, is home to approximately 12 local businesses.

“The bridge on Lefferts Boulevard has long been a fixture in the Kew Gardens community, and the businesses there have been the livelihood for many individuals. Any attempt to kick these hard working entrepreneurs to the curb is unacceptable.

“Such a move would put these business owners right out of business. It would also cause the loss of area jobs, and negatively impact the neighborhood. These business- es must be allowed to remain open.

“In addition, I oppose any high-rise development that would change the character of Kew Gardens.

“I look forward to working on this issue with Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz and all stakeholders, including other area elected officials, entrepreneurs, MTA, civic leaders and community residents.”

FERRERAS- COPELAND’S DECIDES NOT TO SEEK REELECTION; VELÁZQUEZ REACTS: Marjorie Velázquez, who is a candidate for City Council, reacted to Council Member Julissa Ferrera-Copeland’s decision not to run for reelection:

“Women face many challenges juggling family needs and professional obligations, in spite of the recent progress New York has made in securing paid leave and flexible scheduling. I commend Council Member Ferreras-Copeland for standing up for the needs of her family and making what I’m sure was a difficult, personal decision.

“Still, I am concerned about what this means for the future of the City Council. Council Member Ferreras-Copeland’s departure means that we could potentially have even fewer women and not a single Latina representing us in the Council. The Bronx Democratic Party failed to recognize this when they selected an anti-choice, ethnically-challenged candidate for the 13th Council District, neglecting the voices of countless Bronxites of color who form the majority of the district.

“I’m proud to run as the only woman and Latina in the race for the 13th District, and to count as supporters nearly all the women currently serving in the City Council. As our next council member, I will work to continue the legacy of Council Member Ferreras-Copeland and these trailblazing women. At a time when Donald Trump threatens the rights of women, minorities, immigrants and the LGBTQ community, I will stand strong and raise my voice on behalf of our families.”

MOYA DECLARES CANDIDACY FOR CITY COUNCIL: Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D–Corona) issued the following statement:

“I’m excited to officially announce my candidacy for the 21st District in the New York City Council.

“For the last 7 years, I have worked tirelessly in Albany to stand up for working families in Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and across this city. I have seen the challenges we face in providing a quality public school education to our children, encouraging the small businesses that drive economic growth in Queens, and standing up for the rights of immigrants, women and members of the LGBTQ community at a time of mass deportations, fear and Donald Trump.We see the hardworking men and women who build this great city and make it run struggle to receive the fair wages and workplace protections they need and deserve.

“These are the issues I have spent my life fighting to address. For everything I have accomplished in the State Assembly, I believe I can do even more for our families in the City Council. As our next council member, I look forward to continuing the tremendous efforts of Council Member Ferreras-Copeland, and fighting for the progressive values that define our city. We know all too well how corruption and a lack of accountability can harm our community, and the last thing we need is to follow Council Member Ferreras-Copeland’s tenure with the kind of failed leadership of the past.

“Over the coming months, I intend to meet with voters to build support for my candidacy and speak to my vision for securing a better future in the World’s Borough.”

SCHUMER ON TRUMP’S DELAY IN MOVING EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM: U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer released the following statement after President Trump signed a waiver delaying the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:

“As someone who believes that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel, I am deeply disappointed in President Trump’s decision. Will those who criticized President Obama for not moving the embassy make their voices just as loud and just as strong when it comes to President Trump’s failure to move the embassy?”

BUDGET WIN: CROWLEY, FIRE UNIONS APPLAUD GEAR ENHANCEMENT ALLOCATION: After a crucial push from the City Council and fire union members, the city will provide crucial funding for a second pair of boots for New York City firefighters.

Every day, when firefighters of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) are called to a scene, they don’t know entirely what to expect. To combat this, “New York’s Bravest” are equipped with gear to prepare for the unpredictable. They have two jackets, two pairs of pants, two of everything – except for their boots. Firefighters are currently given just one pair of boots to walk through debris, puddles, contaminants and more. But that changes with this budget handshake for Fiscal Year 2018.

“I’m pleased to see this budget allocation because our firefighters need to be quick and steady on their feet, and must have adequate protection while working in an emergency,” said City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, Chair of the City Council’s Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee. “The FDNY responds to hundreds of calls every day, and this second pair of boots will ensure they can perform their best to protect New Yorkers. I’d like to thank City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the City Council’s Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland for their leadership and commitment to the people of New York City.”

The second pair of boots were included in the City Council’s Preliminary Budget Response, but excluded from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Executive Budget reports. After negotiations, the Council allocated the $4 million for the necessary expense.

“The UFA would like to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee members and Chair Elizabeth Crowley, as well as Finance Committee members and Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and the entire council for their tremendous work in securing the funding for our second pair of boots. This is a matter of safety. So many times, firefighters need to work through poor weather and endure dangerous environments and conditions while on the job. This leads to firefighters wearing boots that are often wet and contaminated multiple times during a single shift. This second pair of boots will ensure that New York’s Bravest will continue to do the excellent work our city has come to expect,” said Uniformed Firefighters Association President Gerard Fitzgerald.

“I would like to thank all of the City Council for providing the members of this Department with the necessary personal protection equipment for our safety. I would especially like to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and her staff, Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee Chair Elizabeth Crowley, and Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. When it comes to the safety of the citizens of New York and the safety of New York City’s Bravest, we can have no better advocates than the City Council,” said Uniformed Fire Officers’ Association President Jake Lemonda, on behalf of the union’s executive board and members.

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