2017-11-08 / Political Page

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CROWLEY: ATTACK IN MANHATTAN AN ‘ACT OF TERROR’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan:

“America is heartbroken after a needless act of terror took the lives of innocent men and women. This was a cowardly attack designed to inflict fear upon us. But no act of terrorism will break our resolve or our spirit. We stand united as a city and as a country in the face of terror and with the victims of this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of the victims and those injured. All of America grieves with you tonight.

“My deep appreciation and prayers are also with all the members of the NYPD and the first responders on the scene. Their bravery is unmatched, and we are thankful for their efforts to ensure the safety of our city and its people.”

MALONEY: TERROR ATTACK IN MANHATTAN ‘PRE-PLANNED’: Following the terrorist attack in which a truck was used to kill eight and injure 15 more people in Lower Manhattan, Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), released the following statement:

“Today’s terrorist attack was a preplanned, barbaric act of violence against innocent civilians that deserves the condemnation of every citizen of every nation. Yet even in the face of such savagery, I know that our city is too strong, too resilient, to let terrorists dictate how we live. We intend to carry on with the same vigor and determination that lights up our city every day, even in the darkest of times.

“I am incredibly grateful for the swift response of New York’s finest and our first responders, and for the abundance of caution the NYPD is exhibiting with their stepped-up presence to keep our city feeling safe. I am confident that the NYPD and FBI will conduct a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrator to justice.

“Our hearts break today for the families of the eight people killed by this madman and I send my hopes for swift recoveries to all those injured. We will stay New York strong and get through this together.”

VALLONE ANNOUNCES START OF PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING: Council Member Paul Vallone announced the fourth consecutive year of Participatory Budgeting (PB) in northeast Queens. Through Participatory Budgeting, residents of the 19th Council District will directly decide how to spend at least $1 million of the district’s capital funds, which can be used for improvements to schools, streets, parks and other community spaces.

For the past two years, Council Member Vallone’s district has garnered the most votes of any district in Queens. Some of the projects funded in previous years include a new music studio for Bayside High School, technology upgrades for Whitestone Library, NYPD security cameras, and auditorium upgrades for P.S. 169.

As the process begins for the fourth year, Vallone’s office encourages all district residents to submit their ideas for projects. Over 50 ideas have already been submitted, which include sports and exercise equipment upgrades for local parks and technology upgrades for public libraries. Vallone’s office will soon release the dates and locations for upcoming neighborhood assemblies to discuss local needs and brainstorm ways to address them. As is done each year, volunteers will develop these ideas into concrete proposals before a public vote is held to determine which projects will be funded. Vallone encourages anyone who has a vested interest in District 19 to get involved with this year’s cycle of Participatory Budgeting. The more people who get involved, the more input there will be to create an even greater list of projects, Vallone (D-Bayside) stated.

Vallone encourages anyone interested in submitting a project idea to come to one of the neighborhood assemblies or do so on the Council’s interactive Participatory Budgeting Map. The interactive map allows you to submit project ideas as well as review what projects are being proposed throughout New York City. The map can be found by visiting ideas.pbnyc.org/place/new.

Vallone said, “Participatory budgeting is a great way to get the pulse of the community and see what everyone believes city dollars and resources should be spent on. The enormous success and participation in previous cycles clearly shows that the district overwhelmingly supported the process, and we are proud to commit to participatory budgeting for every year I am privileged to represent this great district.”

PERALTA CALLS FOR RESIDENTIAL PARKING PERMITS IN LAGUARDIA AREA: In response to the lack of on-street parking spaces throughout the city, State Senator Jose Peralta introduced Senate bill S. 6931 calling for the establishment of a residential parking permit program in Queens. According to the legislation, the city will create a one-year parking pilot zoned for the area covering a two-mile radius of LaGuardia Airport. Additionally, the legislation requires that the parking permit system make 20 percent of the spaces available to non-residents. The parking program will not affect commercial thoroughfares. Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) explained:

“Finding a parking spot in New York can be an impossible task. Commuters, travelers, visitors, workers, all look for a curbside space for their cars, leaving residents without too many options to park their vehicles,” said Peralta. “Residential parking permits have been implemented in many cities across the nation, and according to a poll, New Yorkers would be willing to pay a reasonable fee to (make it) easier and faster to find a parking space. I would, since sometimes it takes me 30 minutes or longer to locate a spot. This is a pilot program, if it works, then we can expand it to other areas of the city, and if it doesn’t, we will definitely study other alternatives,” Peralta stated.

Under the proposal, the City Council will set the fees and fines for the program. Fees will be sent to the general fund of the city. Drivers will have to display the parking permit on their vehicles.

In addition, the bill requires the City Council to hold a public hearing on the program before implementation. Under the proposal, the parking program establishes short-term 90-minute parking.

As occurs with all residential parking programs, the State Legislature will have to first approve the measure before the city implements it, Peralta noted.

VALLONE SECURES SCHOOL SLOW ZONE, PARKING REGULATIONS FOR PS 376: Council Member Paul Vallone announced several changes being implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to improve pedestrian safety around P.S. 376, the new Bayside school that opened this September. After meeting with the DOT and Principal Clara Kang, the DOT announced that they will be installing “School Slow Zone” signage on 48th Avenue between 210th and 211th Streets. This slow zone will be installed as soon as possible and will reduce the speed limit from 25 miles per hour to 20 during school hours and provide other enhancements to protect the safety of parents and children attending this school. Additionally, the DOT has just finished installing “No Standing School Days 7AM-4PM” regulations on the west side of 211th Street between 46th Avenue and 48th Avenue as well as the north side of 48th Avenue between 210th Street and 211th Street.

“Working with Principal Clara Kang and the DOT has been critical in identifying and implementing positive changes that will improve the overall safety for students and residents of the surrounding area,” said Vallone. “The safety of our kids always comes first and I applaud the DOT for their responsiveness to the concerns of the teachers and parents of this new and growing school,” Vallone (D-Bayside) stated.

“Safety is our number one priority and we are grateful for what will be implemented by the DOT, thanks to Councilman Vallone’s part in bringing us all together to work on our community’s behalf,” said Principal Clara Kang. “There are still additional safety measures we are waiting to be approved and installed, such as crossing guards and crosswalks, but we are thankful for this immediate next step at this time. It will benefit not just our school, but our neighboring middle school, M.S. 158, since many of these students also cross 48th Avenue to take the MTA buses.”

BELL BLVD AND 40TH AVE TO BE CO-NAMED FOR SKALA: The New York City Council has unanimously passed Council Member Paul Vallone’s bill to co- name the northeast corner of Bell Boulevard and 40th Avenue as “Frank Skala Way,” in honor of the late community activist. Skala, a civic leader, was awarded the State Senate’s Liberty Medal, one of New York’s highest civilian honors. Skala, a retired teacher, founded the East Bayside Homeowners Association and created the first series of alumni books and an alumni association for Bayside High School. He also co-founded the Friends of Bayside High School and was a former member of Community Board 11. In addition, Skala organized the Bell Boulevard Restoration coalition and was a member of the Coast Guard Restoration Advisory Board at Fort Totten. Vallone will soon host a co-naming ceremony to unveil the street sign in coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Frank Skala’s family.

Vallone recalled, “Frank Skala was a fiercely dedicated community activist and civic leader. His enormous and lasting impact on the community is clearly evidenced by the City Council’s and Community Board 11’s unanimous votes to have 40th Avenue and Bell Boulevard co-named in his honor. I look forward to hosting a co-naming ceremony in the coming months so that Bayside will forever remember Frank and the enormous impact he had on our history and quality of life.”

“My family is thrilled by this honor. Dad lived in Bayside for over seven decades. It was never his goal to be popular. It was to be remembered. Remembered for doing what was right for his beloved hometown,” said Bonnie Skala Kiladitis. “Anyone who knew my father knew that there was only one way, the Frank Skala Way.”

KOO STATEMENT ON ‘RACIST POLITICAL MAILERS’: Council Member Peter Koo stated the following regarding an anonymous political mailer circulating in Edison, New Jersey that calls for the deportation of Asian candidates.

“This is true cowardice. Sadly, the bigoted toxicity of anonymous internet message boards has made its way to these political mailers in Edison, New Jersey. I strongly encourage the voters of Edison turn out in force on November 7 to beat back this intolerance by exercising their rights to vote.”

AVELLA: ‘BIKE LANE CAUSED CAR CRASH’ INVOLVING SPECIAL NEEDS ADULTS: Yesterday afternoon, the commute home for a group of special needs adults took a scary turn when their school bus was involved in a crash because of difficulty exiting the Cross Island Parkway (CIP) “caused by the Northern Boulevard bike lane,” said NYS Senator Tony Avella. He added that this type of crash is exactly what he and the community feared would happen when construction of the bike lane was rushed through two months ago in order to circumvent the Community Board.

Avella noted, “Thankfully, no one was seriously injured in the crash, but the number of crashes along Northern Boulevard since the bike lane’s installment have left community members worried that the next incident will not be so lucky.’

Following the incident, Avella sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg asking, “How many accidents have to occur before you realize that this was not a good idea? Not only does this bike path reduce the amount of lanes for motorists, it forces drivers exiting the Cross Island Parkway and entering Northern Boulevard to stop short to see oncoming traffic, increasing the likelihood of crashes.”

Avella, community residents, and Community Board 11 still request that the board’s bike lane plan be implemented and the current DOT bike lane be scrapped.

CROWLEY SLAMS GOP TAX PLAN, WILL ‘DECIMATE MIDDLE CLASS’: House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on House Republican’s tax bill that “increases taxes on middle class families, while saddling future generations with massive debt” Crowley stated.

“The Republican tax plan is little more than a political scam. It would levy considerable debt onto our children in order to provide lavish benefits to the wealthy, well-connected, and special interests. It is not tax reform, but instead a corporate giveaway that would decimate the middle-class and working families.

“The decision by House Republicans to remove critical provisions like the state and local tax deduction and levy new taxes on homeowners punishes my constituents in Queens and the Bronx and stops everyday Americans from finding and maintaining financial security. This plan strips away the ability for Americans to deduct medical costs, imposes new taxes on seniors and disabled veterans, and rewards the offshoring of jobs.

“This is simply unacceptable to Democrats.

“Democrats have said time and time again that we are eager to work with Republicans on a tax reform plan that boosts hardworking families, expands economic opportunity for all Americans, and spurs job growth. House Republicans turned us down. Democrats will continue to fight for real reform that will lift up our middle class and strengthen our economy.”

Regarding the October jobs report Crowley added, “Yesterday, House Republicans released a tax plan that would decimate the middle class, put seniors and disabled veterans at risk, and further shackle college students to the burden of loan debt. This is not sound economic policy that will create lasting, good-paying jobs or bring financial stability to the Americans who need it most. Today’s job report shows how fragile our economic progress is, and how much more must be done to create a prosperous economy that works for all Americans – not just special interests.”

MALONEY: ‘GOP TAX PLAN WILL INCREASE NATIONAL DEBT’: Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement after House Republicans released their new tax plan.

“The GOP’s tax plan is a complete and total disaster. It would raise taxes on the middle class, double tax New Yorkers, increase the national debt, and lay the ground work for devastating cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

“Right now, New York is the largest donor state in the nation. In 2015 alone, we sent $48 billion more in taxes to the federal government than we received back. Under this new GOP plan, that inequity will become even worse. That is because the GOP bill eliminates the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction while also capping property tax deductions.

“The SALT deduction is the most widely used benefit in the tax code in New York. If Congress approves this partial elimination of the SALT deduction, it will create tremendous pressure on state and local governments to cut back funding for schools, infrastructure, health, local law enforcement, and first responders. This tax plan penalizes New Yorkers for taking care of our own. That is totally unacceptable.

“I will be voting against this harmful GOP tax hike plan and urging my colleagues to do the same. Our country needs and deserves a far better deal that protects New Yorkers from this outrageous double taxation plan.”

MENG: ‘HOUSE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL DEVASTATING’: Congress Member Grace Meng (D-NY) issued the following statement in response to the House Republican tax bill.

“The Republican tax plan is a giant giveaway to the wealthiest Americans on the backs of middle class families, and it will be catastrophic for our economy. The plan eliminates and reduces critical tax breaks for the middle class, such as the state and local income tax deduction that is particularly significant for New Yorkers, in order to pay for massive tax breaks for the wealthy. This plan will punish households in my district, 30 percent of which rely on the state and local income tax deduction which averages $11,000 per year, while phasing out the estate tax for billionaires. This plan is callous, fiscally irresponsible, and will be devastating for our country if implemented.”

CROWLEY ON THE START OF OPEN ENROLLMENT: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) released the following statement on the start (November 1) of the open enrollment period for 2018:

“Today marks the beginning of the open enrollment period – the window of time where Americans can purchase health care coverage through state and federal exchanges. It is imperative that those who need coverage take the time to enroll.

“Congressional Republicans and President Trump have attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and now the Trump administration is attempting to sabotage the open enrollment period by slashing outreach funding. But this sabotage will not stop Democrats from fighting to ensure that each and every American can get covered.

“The Affordable Care Act has done what it set out to do – provide more Americans with access to quality and affordable health insurance. What we need now are bipartisan efforts to strengthen health care in this country, and I urge my Republican colleagues to join us in this effort.”

CROWLEY: ‘WHITE HOUSE ONCE AGAIN ATTACKING DREAMERS’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the announcement from the White House and congressional Republicans that they would not support relief for DREAMers this year:

“Unless Republicans can keep the government open without Democratic votes, this is not their decision to make. I have yet to see any evidence that they will be able to do that.”

ADDABBO APPLAUDS HOWARD BEACH POST OFFICE CONTINUANCE: NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. released a statement on the future of the Howard Beach Post Office:

“My office was pleased to learn that the Howard Beach Post Office will remain open and at its current site for the next 10 years. I know this post office is an integral part of the community and plays an important role in the quality of life for my constituents. The service that the Howard Beach Post Office provides is important to so many aspects in the lives of our people. My thanks to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and his staff, along with the advocacy of local community leaders and residents, the U.S. Postal Service and property owner for working towards keeping the Howard Beach Post Office open.”

CROWLEY: ‘DOES FED NOMINEE PUT AMERICAN FAMILIES FIRST?’: House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement after President Trump nominated Jerome H. Powell as the next chair of the Federal Reserve:

“The chair of the Federal Reserve plays a vital role in our economy, serving as a major regulator of our nation’s financial institutions. Given this immense responsibility, it is imperative that the Senate reviews Mr. Powell’s background and vision for the country. The next chair must prevent a return to the days where banks operated without regulation, which caused the worst recession in a century. As we review Mr. Powell’s record, we must ensure that our next Federal Reserve chair is committed to providing a strong and stable economic system that puts America’s hard-working families first.”

MENG DENOUNCES ‘RACIST MAILER’: Congress Member Grace Meng (D-Queens), Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), condemned the “racist Make Edison Great Again” mailer in Edison, New Jersey. The mailer says among other things that “the Chinese and Indians are taking over our town,” and calls for the deportation of Chinese and Indian American candidates running for Edison’s school board, Meng said.

“One of our country’s greatest strengths is its vast diversity, and this hateful rhetoric has no place in our democracy and runs contrary to everything the Garden State stands for. More than one in five New Jersey residents is an immigrant, and nearly half of Edison, New Jersey’s residents are Asian. These include hard working business owners, taxpayers, teachers, mothers, children and neighbors who love their communities. This racist mailer is shameful and disgusting and was produced for no other intention than to empower divisive forces of bigotry and hate.”

“I hope that the good citizens of Edison will reject this disgraceful mailer and I urge officials to do all they can to find out who is behind it,” added Meng.

MALONEY LEGISLATION INCREASING PENALTIES FOR FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION PASSES JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The House Committee on the Judiciary approved on November 2 the Stopping Abusive Female Exploitation (SAFE) Act, bipartisan legislation from Representatives Dave Trott (MI-11) and Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) that would increase the federal penalty for female genital mutilation from 5 years to 15 years in prison and encourage states to implement reporting requirements for suspected genital mutilation. Following the Committee’s unanimous approval of the bill, Congress Member Maloney released the following statement:

“Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a far too common, outrageous assault on women and girls, not just around the world, but also here at home. It is up to us to stop and properly punish this illegal exploitation,” said Maloney. “The SAFE Act would significantly increase the penalty for someone found guilty of FGM, a reform that is long overdue. Over the last 30 years, this form of torture against women has actually increased in the United States while decreasing abroad. I’m grateful that my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee recognize that we need to crack down on the monsters that would commit this crime and I urge House leadership to quickly bring this bill to the floor.”

Under current federal law, female genital mutilation is punishable by 5 years in prison. The Stopping Abusive Female Exploitation (SAFE) Act would increase the punishment to 15 years imprisonment. Additionally, it encourages states to enact into law reporting requirements for suspected female genital mutilation.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates more than 500,000 females in the United States have undergone or are at risk of female genital mutilation.

Compared to other developed countries, the 5-year penalty for perpetrators of female genital mutilation in the U.S. is significantly shorter. For example, the penalty in the United Kingdom is up to 14 years imprisonment and in France up to 20 years imprisonment.

CROWLEY: SHOOTING ‘SENSELESS’ GUN VIOLENCE: House Democratic Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) released the following statement on the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas that killed at least 26 and injured 30 individuals:

“Another senseless act of gun violence occurred today, this time while parishioners gathered to pray. I am heartbroken by this tragedy and stand with those mourning the men, women, and children whose lives were cut short.

“We must grieve for the victims, but we also owe them and all those whose lives have been damaged by gun violence more. We must find ways to prevent these atrocities from occurring and better protect our communities.”

MALONEY: SUTHERLAND SPRINGS SHOOTING ‘AN ATROCITY’: In reaction to the news of the mass shooting at a Sutherland Springs, Texas church on Sunday, Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) issued the following statement:

“My heart is broken by this horrific mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. I grieve and pray for everyone murdered and injured today.

“To violently target so many innocent people in a place where they gather for prayer is inexcusable and inhuman. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have seen such an atrocity and until this nation decides to enact common-sense gun safety reforms, tragically, it won’t be the last.

“No one person should be able to inflict so much pain, and be responsible for so much violence. More than 20 people were murdered today and at least 20 more injured by a man with a gun. Enough is enough. It is far past time for Congress to escape the grip of the NRA and to act to prevent gun violence in this country.”

CROWLEY: ‘REPUBLICANS PLAYING POLITICAL GAMES WITH CHILDREN’S HEALTH’: House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the House vote on the Children’s Health Insurance Program:

“Millions of children and their families are desperately waiting for congressional Republicans to abandon their political games and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP is a lifesaving initiative that ensures sick children receive care – regardless of their income. Instead of simply extending CHIP, which has repeatedly received bipartisan support over the last two decades, Republicans tacked on a number of provisions that would strip health coverage from thousands of vulnerable Americans. My Democratic colleagues and I will not be forced to choose between Americans who have fallen on hard times and children. We believe all Americans have the right to have access to quality and affordable health care.”

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