Tag Archives: Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo delivers 2012 State of the State [Watch Video of Speech]


| smosco@queenscourier.com

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In his second State of the State speech since taking office, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he plans to straighten out the state’s fiscal problems while expanding job growth and strengthening education.

In front of hundreds of lawmakers, policy leaders and other New Yorkers, the governor delivered his vision for 2012 – a vision that seeks to spin stagnation into governmental action.

“New York State is on the way to coming back stronger than ever before,” the governor said during his speech from Albany on Wednesday, January 4. “By working together in a bipartisan manner and putting the people first, we have established the credibility to govern and to lead. Now we must build on what we have already accomplished to begin to undo decades of decline. We have big problems, but we are confronting them with big solutions. Now is the time to get to work, building a New New York together.”

Cuomo revealed his “Economic Blueprint for New York” and issued a challenge to the state and to himself: “Our challenge for 2012 is this: How does government spur job creation in a down economy while limiting spending and maintaining fiscal discipline? The answer is forging public-private partnerships that leverage state resources to generate billions of dollars in economic growth and create thousands of jobs.”

Some of the governor’s major points included:

- Building the largest convention center in the country at the Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park
-Revamping the Jacob Javits site
-$1 billion economic development package for Buffalo
- A second round of Regional Economic Development awards
- Utilization of casino gaming
- New York Works Fund and task force to create private sector jobs and rebuild the state’s infrastructure.
- An “Energy Highway” system to power New York’s economic growth
- Invest in solar energy

Cuomo said that in order to tackle his agenda for 2012, the state government would have to be reimaged in a way that it performs better at a lower cost. To accomplish this, the governor proposed:

- Long term commitment to fiscal discipline by holding the line on spending and closing the remaining $2 billion budget deficit with no new taxes or fees.
-Mandate Relief, which will reform the pension system. The governor said he will ask the joint legislature and executive mandate relief council to hold public hearings.
- Transform public education by appointing a bipartisan education commission to work with the legislature to recommend reforms in key areas including teach accountability, student achievement and management efficiency.
-Redesigning New York’s Emergency Management System by calling for a statewide network of municipal and regional emergency responders.

Cuomo also lauded New York for its progressive history and said that history will be built upon with these initiatives:

- Foreclosure Prevention Assistance
- Tenant Protection Unit
- Continued commitment to Minority and Women-Owned Businesses
- Additional SUNY Challenge Grants
- Increase participation in food stamp programs
- Create an all-crimes DNA database
- Establish a tax reform and fairness commission
- Implement campaign finance reform

Eastern Queens joining together to be less divided


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Eastern Queens is uniting in a fight to make district lines dividing the community disappear.

A group of civic associations, local leaders and concerned residents from Glen Oaks, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Bellerose and Queens Village have joined forces to form Eastern Queens United, a coalition demanding their neighborhoods be rejoined in the same congressional and assembly districts.

“We need district lines that will unite us, not divide us,” said Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village. “Regardless of color, nationality, religion or cultural identity, we all care about our families, our schools, our jobs, our safety and our community. This is the glue of commonality that keeps us together.”

Eastern Queens United is urging the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) to undo what the group calls the “gerrymandering” of the neighborhoods between Assembly Districts 24,26 and 33 and unite the area into a single district. The coalition also wants the division of the community between Congressional Districts 5 and 6 to be resolved. The neighborhoods are currently united in a single state Senate and city council district.

“We are a single ‘community of interest’ that needs to stay united in all legislative districts,” said Ali Najmi, an attorney, lead organizer and counsel to Eastern Queens United. “LATFOR must not divide us.”

To gather supporters for their cause, Eastern Queens United is planning a community meeting and rally in the near future.

The group argues that the dividing lines are detrimental to the community, separating residents and preventing them from improving the standard of living in the neighborhoods.

“For those of us on the front lines fighting for quality-of-life issues, reduced property taxes and other issues that affect us every day, we know how important these district lines are,” said Angela Augugliaro, president of Queens Colony Civic Association. “We have a unique community that can only have its interest served if we are united within the same legislative districts.”

LATFOR will make recommendations to the New York State Legislature regarding district lines early next year, after which its proposal must be voted upon and approved by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The neighborhoods were separated roughly 10 years ago, and Friedrich says if the group is unable to foster change, the communities will remain divided for another decade. “We want to make sure they don’t do to us what they did 10 years ago,” he said. “These lines were drawn for political considerations only, and not for what is best for the community. District lines run right through some communities, which is confusing and detrimental to the neighborhood. We will not accept district lines that slice and dice us as if we are on some legislative committee’s chopping block.”

Suspects Held Without Bail In Alleged Murder Of NYPD Officer


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Suspects Held Without Bail In Alleged Murder Of NYPD Officer

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Lamont Pride didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on NYPD Officer Peter Figoski. “He was targeted for homicide because he wore the uniform of the NYPD,” said Ken Taub, chief of homicide at the Brooklyn district attorney’s office. Prosecutors say Pride and four accomplices went to a basement apartment on Pine Street in Cypress Hills early Monday to rob a drug dealer, but when police arrived, the alleged robbers were cornered. Pride allegedly shot Figoski once in the face, killing him. Read More: NY1

Cop-slayer suspect’s gun came from same Virigina store as 1990 killing

Twenty-one years separate the fatal shooting of Officer Peter Figoski from the senseless murder of 9-month-old Rayvon Jamison, but they are linked by a terrible history. The guns that killed them both came from the same Virginia store. And that store is still owned by the same man, Marlon Dance. In August 1990, little Rayvon became the poster boy for victims of senseless gun violence when he was felled in his Bronx apartment by stray shots that pierced a metal door and cut him down in his walker. Now, Figoski — a 47-year-old father of four — has become the face of New York’s futile fight to stop the flow of deadly guns from Virginia’s gun dealers up the so-called Iron Pipeline to the city. Read More: Daily News

Five charged in killing of Officer Peter Figoski: Lamont Pride, Kevin Santos, Nelson Moralez, Ariel Tejada and Michael Velez

The five men who took the life of decorated NYPD Officer Peter Figoski in a botched robbery have spent much of their lives pulling the kinds of crimes Figoski dedicated his life to stamping out. The five petty crooks in their have lengthy rap sheets stretching back a dozen years. “Even though they’re relatively young people, they still have significant experience in crime,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Their criminal resumes are littered with larcenies, muggings, drug possession and trespassing raps. Read More: Daily News

Two sanitation workers make life-saving catch in Rockaways

Two sanitation workers made life-saving grabs as they caught five children who leapt from a burning house in the Rockaways. Joseph Maneggio and Semi Nkozi saw a house ablaze on McBride Street while on their route at approximately 6:15 a.m. this morning.  The sanitation workers raced over and caught the children as they jumped from the roof.  A woman, also on the roof, suffered a broken foot from the jump. Read More: Queens Courier

Jet fan’s vicious ‘chief’ beatdown

A diehard Jet fan was savagely beaten on his own turf by a drunken gang of Kansas City Chiefs fans after their team was trounced on Sunday — with one of the assailants barking “F–k New York” and “You all deserved what happened on 9/11!” the victim’s distraught family told The Post. James Mohr, 23, a physical-education teacher at the Bronx Guild vocational high school, was wearing his Jets gear after the team’s 37-10 victory as he walked through Parking Lot J at MetLife Stadium when a woman standing with a pack of thugs screamed the vile taunts. Mohr took offense and told the rowdies their 9/11 insult was “disrespectful,” said his sister, Anna Mohr, 28. Read More: New York Post

Jury slams cage door on SoHo’s ‘Cat Woman Burglar’

The “Cat Woman” burglar — whose cat-masked wanted poster became an Internet sensation last year — was convicted today of armed robbery charges from heists at two high-end SoHo boutiques. It took a Manhattan Supreme Court jury just 30 minutes to reach their verdict against Shana Spalding, 29, of Astoria, Queens. She is to be sentenced Jan. 18, and faces a maximum of 15 years on the top armed robbery charge against her. Read More: New York Post

City fined owner of  building where cop was shot for illegal apartments

The rundown Brooklyn house where a police officer was shot to death Monday has long been on the city’s radar screen as a trouble spot. The city has spent $6,500 in taxpayer money on emergency repairs at 25 Pine St. in Cypress Hills and has repeatedly cited the owner for running an illegal single-room occupancy hotel in what is supposed to be a two-family home. Neighbors believed it was a drug den. Read More: Daily News

Cuomo To Seek Deal On Livery Cab Bill

Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking to reach a deal on the controversial livery cab bill Wednesday. He will be holding a summit with the stakeholders involved in the legislation negotiations. The proposed bill would allow the city to issue 30,000 livery cab medallions so drivers can pick up street hails in Upper Manhattan and the other four boroughs. Cuomo said he will veto the bill unless it includes a provision to make more cabs wheelchair-accessible. Read More: NY1

City eyes site in Jamaica for new Animal Care and Control receiving center in Queens 

A plan to convert a veterinarian’s office into the new Queens drop-off point for stray animals has raised the hackles of some animal lovers. Community Board 8 is set to review the proposal Wednesday night as part of a promised city effort to expand animal control services in Queens and the Bronx. The city wants to move its animal receiving center, operated by NYC Animal Care and Control, from its current spot in Rego Park to the veterinarian’s office at 185-17 Hillside Ave. in Jamaica. Read More: Daily News

Ex-NBA player Kenny Anderson charged with leaving scene of Miramar crash

Retired NBA point guard Kenny Anderson was charged with leaving the scene of an accident Sunday after Miramar police say his Cadillac Escalade failed to negotiate a curve and crashed into two trees along a swale.
No one was injured, Miramar police said, and Anderson, 41, was charged with the misdemeanor offense after the early evening crash. The Queens, N.Y.-born Anderson, who played for nine NBA teams, left the scene on foot, according to a Miramar police complaint affidavit. Read More: Sun Sentinel

Post Offices To Remain Open Until May Under New Deal

The United States Postal Service is holding off on plans to close 3,500 facilities across the country, including 34 in New York City. The moratorium was announced Tuesday as part of a deal with the Senate. No post offices or mail sorting facilities will be closed until at least May 15, giving Congress more time to come up with a cost-cutting plan. “When it’s all said and done, this is a challenge to Congress: put up or shut up. If you don’t like what the postal service has put forward, in terms of closing processing facilities and post offices and eliminating jobs, come up with a better approach,” said Illinois Senator Richard Durbin. Read More: NY1

 


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

On Sunday, November 13, a new law went into effect that bans smoking in outdoor areas of ticketing, boarding and platforms on stations operated by the MTA. This law was passed by the State Legislature with bipartisan support and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in August 2011.

Everyone has the right to breathe clean air, and this legislation is good public health policy that protects New Yorkers from secondhand smoke. The North Shore LIJ Health System, Queens Smoke Free Partnership, Senator Toby Stavisky and Senator Andrew Lanza applaud this initiative.

There is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. Just 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can increase the risk of blood clots and lead to more frequent asthma attacks in children. Secondhand smoke contains more than 250 chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic. Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons as smokers. Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and adults who do not smoke.

Now that the law is in full effect, we would like to encourage Queens and Staten Island residents to quit smoking. Did you know that the Rockaways has the highest percentage of smokers (22 percent), followed closely by northwest Queens (20 percent), northeast Queens (18 percent) and central Queens (17 percent)? Staten Island residents have a smoking rate of 17 percent, while the New York City resident rate is 14 percent.

Protect yourself and those you love by helping someone quit smoking today. Why not? It’s free. Call the New York Smokers’ Quitline at 866-NY-QUITS (697-8487) or visit nysmokefree.com.

If you would like more information on cessation or smoke free outdoor policies, please call the Queens Smoke Partnership at 718-213-1550or visit www.nycsmokefree.org/Queens.

 

Sincerely,

Nancy Copperman, MS,RD,CDN                                                                                        Director of Public Health Initiatives                                                                                        North Shore LIJ Health System

 ANDREW J. LANZA
Senator, 24th District

 Toby Ann Stavisky                                                                                                               Senator, 16th District

Will new MTA chair steam ahead?


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

It will be interesting to see if the new Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair Joe Lhota will be any more successful than Jay Walder and his predecessors in dealing with the challenges ahead. 

The original proposed $29 billion Five Year Capital Plan was cut to $24 billion, but still faces a $9 billion shortfall.  Proposed plans to borrow another $9 billion will just increase the MTA’s long term debt from $30 to $39 billion. Yearly service payments on the debt will take an even bigger chunk out of the budget, leaving even less money for routine capital improvements, let alone any system expansion.  

Only Uncle Sam, New York State, New York City, California and several other states carry more long-term debt than the MTA.

For decades, under numerous past MTA Five Year Capital Plans, both the city and state collectively cut billions of their own respective financial contributions.  They repeatedly had the MTA refinance or borrow funds to acquire scarce capital funding formerly made up by hard cash from both City Hall and Albany. 

Will Lhota be able to convince his benefactor – Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg – to contribute their fair share?  Time will tell.

 

 

Larry Penner

Great Neck

 

Politics Aside: Time for pink slips to fly


| RHornak@queenscourier.com

Nobody likes to see anyone fired; especially when times are tough and jobs are hard to find. But the fact remains that one of New York’s biggest problems is a bloated public employee force, with generous pay and benefits compared to what is found in the private sector.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is approaching the end of his first year in office and has received high marks across the board for his make-no-excuses approach to dealing with our budget problems. This has been a crises going back over 20 years to the last Governor Cuomo, and every governor since has addressed the problem the same way, raise taxes and raise spending even more.

This has created a structural problem, where our budget increases at a rate faster than we can keep up with. Much of this has been driven by Big Labor, which has not only refused to make concessions in the past, but instead has kept up pressure for bigger and more outrageous increases that have driven New York to the top of the highest taxed state list.

To his credit, Cuomo has refused to engage in the tactics of the past, namely passing the buck for another year while resorting to class-warfare/soak-the-rich campaigns that always ended up with higher taxes on the middle class (often disguised as fees). This was the modus operandi during the Mario Cuomo, Pataki and Spitzer years.

Now almost 10 months in, it’s time for the governor to make some tough decisions. CSEA, the largest union in N.Y., has worked out a five-year agreement with Cuomo to cut costs with no layoffs. However, that deal doesn’t seem to be acceptable to PEF, the 56,000-member public employees union. Union leaders agreed to the deal over the summer, but now the members have voted to reject the contract.

Cuomo promised that if they didn’t ratify the contract, he would be forced to lay off 3,500 members. Now PEF wants to renegotiate, complaining about the five-year term of the contract, among other things. But after more than 20 years of riding the gravy train, more than five years of austerity will be required to get our house in order.

This should be a non-negotiable point. CSEA already set the standard by agreeing to a five year deal. If Cuomo caves on this with PEF, he will be far weaker when dealing with other unions. Nobody wants to see anyone fired now, but Cuomo must make good on his promise. Fire the 3,500 PEF employees, who the union clearly didn’t feel were a priority, and let’s make New York’s budget structurally sound once and for all.

Robert Hornak is a Queens-based political consultant, blogger, and an active member of the Queens Republican Party.