2018-07-25 / Political Page

I On Politics

CUOMO CALLS ON TRUMP TO RESCIND NEWSPRINT TARIFFS: Governor Andrew Cuomo called on President Trump to rescind a tariff of up to 30% he has imposed since March for newsprint paper that comes from Canada. Gov. Cuomo said in a statement: "President Trump's tariffs on newsprint are an obvious economic attack on the First Amendment from an administration unable to hide its contempt for the media. These tariffs, which are widely opposed even by paper mills in this country, have raised costs exorbitantly on a newspaper industry already struggling in today's changing economy. The president has repeatedly attacked the press, and now his tariffs are putting journalists out of jobs and jeopardizing the future of local newspapers that are pillars of our communities.

"In New York, we believe that the freedom of the press is sacred and that there is no greater calling than the pursuit of truth and justice. In the words of John Adams, 'The liberty of the press is essential to the security of the state.' I call on the Trump administration to rescind these tariffs and protect the future of our free press for generations to come."

MALONEY SLAMS REPUBLICAN VOTE TO BLOCK ELECTION SECURITY FUNDING: Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement after House Republicans refused Congress Member Mike Quigley’s amendment to restore $380 million in funding for Election Assistance Commission grants to states to enhance their election equipment, counter cyberattacks and defend against future intrusions.

“While our intelligence agencies are warning us that Russia has plans in motion to interfere with our elections again, House Republicans continue to stick their heads in the sand and put party over country. By refusing to renew election security funding, Republicans are refusing to face reality and give our states the resources they need to protect our democratic process against this cyber-warfare launched by the Russians. It is beyond shameful. I will continue to fight to protect our democracy, our elections, and the soul of this nation,” Congress Member Maloney said.

Maloney voted to increase funding for the Election Assistance Commission by $380 million to match FY18 levels in order to help state and local election officials upgrade outdated election technology, address vulnerabilities in voting and registration infrastructure, and prevent future intrusions by Russia and other foreign and domestic entities determined to undermine the integrity of the US election system. The attempt to increase funding failed by a vote of 182 to 232, with all Democrats voting in favor.

ADVOCATING FOR RESIDENTS FIGHTING TO STAY IN THEIR HOMES: NYS Senator Michael Gianaris and residents of the Citylights building rallied outside City Hall on July 17 to urge the administration to address their massive increase in taxes. The property, one of the first major residential developments in Long Island City, is subject to a tax abatement agreement ending this year. Gianaris explained that Citylights tenants are facing major increases in taxes as a 20-year abatement on their building expires. Monthly charges for some tenants may increase by $1,000 or more. The city must give consent for them to negotiate a new agreement with Empire State Development, the original signatory to their abatement deal. “Citylights residents are the pioneers that helped make Long Island City so desirable. It would be an outrage to allow them to be priced out of the neighborhood they helped build. All levels of government must work together to find a solution to this crisis,” said Senator Gianaris.

Assembly Member Catherine Nolan commented, “Over the last four years, I have advocated for a resolution to this very serious problem. Representatives from city and state agencies must come up with a solution to help the residents of Citylights. An 87 percent increase in the assessed value is simply unacceptable.

“NYS and the Queens West Development Corporation have proposed a possible resolution but New York City and the Department of Finance need to either support it or put forward their own proposal.

“It is my understanding that the state and the city have proposed an individual tax abatement program for the residents of Citylights but the NYC Department of Finance has still not signed off on this proposal. In addition, we are still awaiting a further review of the excessive valuation of the building. I urge Mayor de Blasio and the NYC Department of Finance to act favorably so we can start to bring real relief to the co-op owners of Citylights. They have been treated unfairly, promises made when they first moved into Long Island City must be kept. Not resolving this hurts our community. As the elected representative of this district I stand totally and completely with my neighbors, the residents of Citylights and pledge all my efforts to resolving this unfortunate and unfair situation.” Nolan said.

DEVELOPERS SCRAP 82ND STREET REZONING PLAN IN ELMHURST: Catalina Cruz, Democrat for State Assembly (39th District), released the statement below on the withdrawal of the 40-31 82nd Street rezoning plan proposed by developers Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group.

“Our community came together to fight against a rezoning proposal that would have put our safety at risk and compromised the essence of what makes Elmhurst and Jackson Heights a great place to live. The developers proposed a plan that clearly did not include community input. As proposed, the new construction would have endangered the lives of the people in our community by blocking ambulances from getting to Elmhurst Hospital, jeopardized small businesses, and potentially raised the rent on tenants in the surrounding area. I am proud to have fought alongside Queens Neighborhoods United, local residents, small business owners, and medical professionals. The people spoke loud and clear and we prevailed. Our community remains in dire need of affordable housing, but it should never come at the expense of our safety. The developer now has the responsibility of engaging the community moving forward. We must ensure that the voices of our neighbors and small business owners are heard.”

For months, Cruz has been outspoken in her opposition to the proposal and she was the first candidate to do so. In March, she led a coalition of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights residents at a press conference to urge Queens Community Board 4 to vote down the rezoning. Most recently, she co-organized a rally with Queens Neighborhoods United in front of the Elmhurst Hospital ambulance dispatch bay to highlight the public safety hazards of the project including the blockage of ambulances and emergency vehicle access to the hospital.

BOROUGH PRESIDENT KATZ RAISES OVER $415K CITYWIDE: Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, exploring a run for citywide office in 2021, has raised $417,550 since opening her committee in December 2017. This strong filing includes over $23,000 qualifying for matching funds of $138,246.

“I have devoted my life to serving New York City, and I am proud of my record of delivering for Queens families. With Trump in the White House and radical Republicans in Congress, our local leaders must stand up for our values, defend women’s rights, advocate for immigrants, and fight for our environment. We need strong, effective leaders who can produce results when it comes to our schools, our housing, and our transportation. These numbers demonstrate that New Yorkers know I will be a leader they can trust in 2021,” said Borough President Katz.

Katz has served as Queens borough president since 2013. In her over 20 years of service, she has also represented Queens in the City Council and the State Assembly. She is a product of New York City public schools and a graduate of University of Massachusetts, Amherst and St. John’s University School of Law. She is raising her two children in the same Forest Hills house where she grew up.

MALONEY ON ‘ALEC-INVOLVED’ CENSUS DIRECTOR NOMINEE: Following the announcement that President Trump will nominate Dr. Steven Dillingham to serve as the Director of the Census Bureau, Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12), co-chair of the House Census Caucus, released the following statement:

“President Trump and his administration have already shown their desire to politicize the census. Now, after leaving the bureau underfunded, in serious jeopardy and without a director for more than a year, the President has finally nominated someone less than two years from Census Day 2020.

“Given this administration’s reported attempt to nominate the partisan and unqualified Thomas Brunell as director, then as deputy director, and Dr. Dillingham’s past involvement in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), I have serious concerns about this nomination.

“Dr. Dillingham needs to reject the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question and if he does not, I believe the Senate should reject his nomination.”

RUBEN DIAZ JR. ENDORSES PERALTA: Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has announced his endorsement of NYS Jose Peralta for his reelection to the State Senate. Borough President Diaz said, “We need people like Jose Peralta in the New York State Senate, and I urge my fellow Democrats to support him in the Democratic Primary for the 13th State Senate District.”

“Over the years, he has shown me what it takes to be a transformational and devoted civil servant, so I can think of no greater honor than being endorsed by him,” said Peralta, adding “I look forward to more joint efforts to support our constituents through progressive and smart policies. President Diaz symbolizes the ideal leader, and I look forward continuing the strong relationship our boroughs share.”

For more information, visit peralta4queens.com

MENG ISSUES STATEMENT ON FREIGHT NYC: Congress Member Grace Meng (D-Queens) issued on July 18 the following statement on Freight NYC, the $100 million plan unveiled on July 16 to overhaul the city’s freight distribution system:

“Reducing traffic congestion and pollution from our streets is of course a critical goal. We must do all we can to make New York a cleaner and healthier city. But any plan to overhaul freight distribution must not negatively impact the communities where freight rail is located, and that includes areas in my congressional district. We must be assured that these neighborhoods, which are already overburdened with rail traffic, will not be forced to endure even more idling, noise or air pollution, and that trucks will not clog local streets. The city claims that this project will decrease truck traffic and improve air quality. This must be true for all neighborhoods. Investments in freight infrastructure are critical, but must not be made on the backs of my constituents. I will be watching this project closely, and will express my concerns to the mayor and his administration.”

MOYA: CLEAR CURBS INITIATIVE DESTRUCTIVE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: On July 16 NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop, Council Member Mark Gjonaj and Leslie Ramos from the 82nd Street Partnership toured Roosevelt Avenue to hear from small business owners who are “being crushed under the thumb of Clear Curbs initiative,” said Council Member Francisco Moya. He explained that this was a follow-up to the Roosevelt Avenue tour he arranged for Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, whose agency implemented the pilot program. “We must stay vigilant to make sure the mayor’s office knows how destructive this initiative has been for small businesses and residents in our community,” Council Member Moya concluded.

—With contributions by Annette Hanze Alberts

Return to top

Copyright 1999-2018 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.