Tag Archives: Assemblymember Mike Miller

Pols: Point the way to the precinct

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Local councilmembers are proponents of a plan requiring a public posting pointing to local police precincts.

Councilmembers Elizabeth Crowley and Diana Reyna announced legislation that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install signage directing residents to the local police station.

The 104th Precinct, which polices Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth, is located on Catalpa Avenue, tucked away from any major thoroughfares and may be difficult to find for those unfamiliar with the area.

“Every resident should be able to easily find their local police precinct, and being unable to do so poses a serious public safety risk,” said Crowley. “The DOT already installs many directional signs. Adding signage for police precincts should be a no-brainer.”

Residents often need to visit police precincts to file complaints and receive police reports. Locals and leaders have requested the DOT to install the sign, but were denied, Crowley said.

“Just as we indicate to the public where local hospitals are located, so should we inform the public where their local police precincts are located,” said Reyna. “This legislation addresses an essential public safety issue by providing greater access to information about law enforcement.”

Assemblymember Mike Miller called the signage an important, logical step in helping increase the safety of the community.

The 104th Precinct did not return calls for comment.

According to a release from Crowley, signs are installed at the request of the community, but the DOT said the signage does not meet their criteria.

The DOT said that it does not comment on legislation prior to a city council hearing.


Sun News Briefs

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Pol: Save Jamaica Bay from runway expansion


Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder recently sent a letter to Port Authority executives, urging them to reject proposals to expand the runway at JFK International Airport into Jamaica Bay.

Port Authority executives introduced a plan back in February 2011 which included filling in a significant part of Jamaica Bay.

“This plan has the potential to affect local neighborhoods and a wildlife refuge,” Goldfeder said. “Air traffic has greatly increased in recent years, and I understand the need for expansion, but this proposal has too many negative implications.”

Goldfeder said runway expansion into the bay has both environmental and economic risks. The area, he said, serves as one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the northeast and is home to more than 60 species of butterflies and an array of reptiles and fish. In addition, many local businesses rely on the bay, he said, and residents who enjoy the park would see the space reduced.

“The public has really made their opinion quite clear on the issue. They do not want any part of Jamaica Bay destroyed,” Goldfeder said.

Instead, the assemblymember urged the agency to explore different, potential solutions that he said would “accomplish the same goal with less impact on our local families and environment.”

According to Goldfeder, the 400-acre parcel of wetlands and shoreline in question was designated as a wildlife refuge, park and recreation area in 1972 by the National Parks System. Congressional approval would be necessary to fill it in, as federal law specifically prohibits any airport expansion in the protected zone, he said. An environmental study of the area stated that any further man-made incursion would “diminish a national environment asset for future generations,” said Goldfeder.

“Jamaica Bay is an incredible natural resource that deserves our protection,” he said.


Night of comedy at Church Hall


The Nativity BVM and St. Stan’s Parish will present a “Night of Comedy” on Saturday, March 24 at 8 p.m. The show will take place at Nativity Church Hall, located at 101-41 91st Street, and doors will open at 7:30 p.m. There will be hot dogs, snacks and an available bar. Tickets go for $20 per person. Show officials said some material may not be suitable for minors. For more information, call Steve Jasiak at 718-551-2333.


Gas price gouging tactics thwarted


The assembly has recently passed a bill that would allow victims of gas price gouging to sue violators. According to Assemblymember Mike Miller, the rising costs of oil have led to serious competition between gas distributors, causing many stations to charge outrageous amounts for a gallon of gasoline.

Miller said price gouging occurs when gas merchants continuously raise their prices over the course of a 24-hour period, dramatically increasing consumer costs without the actual price of gas going up. The “predatory practice,” he said, “allows a deceitful gas distributor to make unreasonable profits at a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet.”

“As gas prices constantly fluctuate, we must make sure Queens’ families don’t fall victim to price gouging at the pumps,” said Miller. “This legislation would ban gas stations from adjusting their prices multiple times daily.”

As of March 13, the average price of gas in New York is $3.98 a gallon — 22 cents higher than the national average, said Miller, adding that in many places around the state, gas prices have exceeded $4 per gallon.

However, before the law passed, only the state’s attorney general had the power to fine or prosecute violators. Now, consumers may seek justice and compensation from dishonest merchants, Miller said.


Bill encourages open government


Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder announced a new package of bills recently passed by the assembly that encourages transparency in government.

“This package of bills allows New Yorkers to have greater access to state government by increasing openness and accountability,” Goldfeder said.

Among the changes, the legislation bars government agencies from inappropriately using the copyright law to deny access to a public record and limits the time in which state agencies would have to appeal court decisions that order the release of documents, the assemblymember said.

“We need to restore the public’s trust in government. Southern Queens and Rockaway families deserve an open government that works for them,” Goldfeder said.

Historic Rudy’s Pastry Shop celebrates grand reopening

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

For around 70 years, Rudy’s Pastry Shop in Ridgewood has displayed the German word “Konditorei” on its awning, which roughly translates to “pastry shop with a place to sit and eat.” But for much of those seven decades dining was difficult — Rudy’s only had room for a single table.

Now, with bakery owner Toni Binanti recently redesigning the famed bakery, expanding the shop to include a dining area and espresso bar, this is a problem no more.

The historic bakery celebrated its grand reopening on Saturday, March 10, drawing crowds of residents and politicians who came out to commemorate the Seneca Avenue pastry shop’s return — and to dine on some confectionaries.

Councilmembers Diana Reyna and Elizabeth Crowley, Assemblymember Mike Miller, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez and State Senator Joe Addabbo were in attendance. They, along with Binanti, eschewed the standard reopening ceremony for a more appetizing alternative.

“Everyone has a ribbon cutting, but not everyone has a pastry store like this,” said Paul Kerzner, president of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation.

Instead of yielding oversized scissors, officials dined on fresh, homemade apple turnovers to mark the bakery’s grand reopening.

A neighborhood mainstay since the 1940s, Rudy’s harkens to a time when the area was the heart of the city’s German community and featured Deutsch establishments Zum Stammtisch, Niederstein’s, Gebhardt’s, Von Westernhagen and Gottscheer Hall, among others. Only Rudy’s, Zum Stammtisch and Gottscheer Hall remain.

Planting its roots in the community for the better part of a century, the bakery has established personal connections with many of the area’s residents, including Miller, whose father worked as a baker at Rudy’s more than three decades ago.

“It was a big part of our community then, it still is now,” the assemblymember said. “We look forward to [it] being here forever.”

“When I celebrated my inauguration, I went to the greatest bakery in town,” said Crowley. “And that was Rudy’s Bakery.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was unable to attend, sent a letter of congratulations to Binanti who also received a city council citation from Reyna and a certificate of special congressional recognition from Velazquez.

Woodhaven opposed to redistricting, traffic changes

| ecamhi@queenscourier.com

Woodhaven residents continued to show solidarity against recent rezoning and redistricting issues within their community.

During the Woodhaven Residents Block Association’s (WRBA) monthly town hall meeting, Ed Wendell, president of the civic group, urged residents to attend Community Board 9’s (CB 9) upcoming meeting to vote on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) much criticized traffic change proposal.

The proposal, which Wendell said most residents oppose, would convert 89th Avenue to a one way street while changing 84th Street from a one-way northbound to a one-way southbound street between Liberty and Atlantic avenues.

CB 9 was slated to vote on the proposals during a public hearing on February 14 in Kew Gardens, but they postponed it due to complaints from the community about the meeting’s “inconvenient” date and time. They will now be meeting on March 13 to vote at the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps, located at 78-15 Jamaica Avenue.

Meanwhile, Maria Thomson, WRBA financial secretary, asked residents to voice their opposition to recent redistricting plans drafted by Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR). She said the plans would unfavorably split one square mile of Woodhaven amongst three separate Senate districts.

“This is a very, very big deal,” Thomson said. “We don’t want to be sliced and diced. It weakens our strength at the state level.”

Thomson and Assemblymember Mike Miller advised residents who attended the February 18 meeting to act with urgency in voicing their opposition to the redistricting plans.

“You don’t have much time to do it,” Miller said. “The vote is at the end of the month.”

Sons of Italy seeking new members

| mchan@queenscourier.com

The Order Sons of Italy in America, Fiorello Laguardia Lodge, is looking to expand its members in the Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven area, though residents from any neighborhood are welcomed to attend.

The Sons of Italy is the largest organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the country. Its missions include the encouragement and study of Italian American traditions and culture and promoting closer cultural relations between the United States and Italy.

The Fiorello Laguardia Lodge meets on the third Thursday of each month at Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach. For more information, call Rosemary Ciulla-Frisone at 917-734-2411 or email rcfrisone@hotmail.com.

Legislation cuts taxes and creates jobs for working families

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Assemblymember Mike Miller announced that the assembly has passed “historic legislation” that will help working families in New York by cutting taxes and creating jobs.

Miller said the agreement ensures millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, something the assembly majority has fought for.

“Working with the governor, we have progressively reformed the tax system so that we have the revenue to allow us to continue delivering crucial services in education and health care,” Miller said.

The bill includes a tax cut for the middle class that will benefit approximately 4.4 million taxpayers, who make up more than 99 percent of those filing statewide, Miller said. The middle-class tax cut will be paid for by creating a new tax bracket for high-income earners making over $2 million per year — less than one percent of all taxpayers. A commission will also be established to review and make suggestions for improving the state’s tax system.

The assembly also passed legislation permanently eliminating the MTA payroll taxes for qualifying small businesses with annual payrolls of $1.25 million or less per year and for those who are self-employed and earn less than $50,000 per year. Other small businesses will see a significant decrease in their MTA payroll taxes as well.

In addition, the legislation exempts schools, both public and private, from having to pay the tax and also aims to strengthen the housing market by earmarking $1 million for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program.

Tax credit to create jobs for youth

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Businesses now have a $25 million incentive to hire and train at-risk or disadvantaged youth, thanks to the new youth tax credit signed into law by the governor and legislature early this December.

“In our current economic climate, it is very important that our young people have opportunities to gain valuable work experience to prepare for the future and, in many cases, provide for their families,” said Assemblymember Mike Miller.

The assembly’s legislation grants a tax break to companies in the clean energy, health care, advanced manufacturing and conservation fields that hire at-risk or disadvantaged youths between the ages of 16 and 24 during the first six months of 2012.

The companies will be eligible to receive up to $3,000 during the six-month training period for the new hires and could earn an extra $1,000 if they retain these new employees for an additional six months after the training has ended.

The tax credit program will be administered by the Department of Labor, with employment beginning before July 1, 2012.

Additionally, the state will provide $12 million in grants for critical job programs for inner-city youths. These grants will aid in youth-employment readiness training, occupational training, workplace mentoring and job placement. Participating youths will receive a $300 stipend per month to help with the costs faced when trying to enter the job market.

The legislation will also provide the Summer Youth Employment Program, which provides summer employment and educational experiences that enable youth to acquire skills, earn an income and work toward meeting their occupational goals.

“It is vitally important that we take steps now to make sure that the future of our state is in good hands,” Miller said. “This new legislation will provide our young people with the proper job training to make sure that the future is bright.”