Tag Archives: Charles Schumer

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 81. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy skies. Low 62. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Moving the World to the 1964 World’s Fair

This photo exhibit will be on display at the AirTrain JFK Jamaica and Howard Beach stations until Nov. 12. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

State Controller Thomas DiNapoli to add anti-corruption division to office

State Controller Thomas DiNapoli is beefing up the anti-corruption efforts of his office. Read more: New York Daily News

NY to consider indoor e-cigarette ban

State lawmakers are looking at whether to include electronic cigarettes in New York’s indoor public smoking ban. Read more: NBC New York

Food truck permits issued in NYC flat over last few years

After years in the fast lane, the city’s food-truck industry is finding itself stuck in neutral, as owners look to move beyond the daily grind of gourmet street food for more stable and lucrative ventures like brick-and-mortar locations. Read more: New York Post

Sen. Charles Schumer calls for reward leading to kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the U.S. State Department to establish a reward for reliable information leading to the rescue of 276 missing girls in Nigeria. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Parking-ticket data can reveal hometown of driver: Pratt professor

Where drivers get parking tickets in the Big Apple says a lot about where they’re from. Read more: New York Post

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Sunny to partly cloudy. High 67. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy skies. Low 46F. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Zimriyah Israel Independence Day Celebration

Please join the Forest Hills Jewish Center for its annual Yom Ha’Atzmaut Zimriyah, on Monday at 7:30 p.m. The annual program is sponsored by the Avidor family in loving memory of Arie Avidor, and will feature a tribute to the music of Arik Einstein. The program will begin with evening prayer services and will include Israeli-style café foods. This program is free of charge. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Ex-NYPD cop from Queens arrested for Brooklyn anti-Semitic graffiti

A Queens man, who reportedly once worked as an NYPD officer, has been arrested for allegedly leaving anti-Semitic graffiti on buildings and vehicles in Borough Park, Brooklyn. Read more: The Queens Courier

Mayor de Blasio to announce affordable housing plan

New Yorkers are set to hear how Mayor de Blasio plans to achieve an ambitious goal: building or preserving 200,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years. Read more: NBC New York

Schumer calls for powdered alcohol ban

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is asking the Food and Drug Administration to prevent a powdered alcohol from reaching store shelves this fall, saying that it would become “the Kool-Aid of teen binge drinking.” Read more: Fox New York

Norwegian cruise ship tugged to pier after docking trouble in Manhattan

It is not the way you want to wrap up your vacation – in the hallways of a cruise ship hearing the captain saying that there are technical problems and strong currents. Read more: ABC New York

Former Knick World Peace wants legal battle against ex in Queens

Former Knick Metta World Peace wants to bring the legal battle against his ex over tuition for their son’s private school to his home court. Read more: New York Post

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Mostly sunny. Temps nearly steady in the mid 30s. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Monday night: Some clouds this evening will give way to mainly clear skies overnight. Low 22. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY:Thaw

Thaw, an exhibition at the Dorsky Gallery, features work of Janet Biggs, Micheal Brody, Blane De St. Croix, Vicki DaSilva, Elise Engler, Phyllis Ewen, Andrea Galvani, Elizabeth Jordan, Itty Neuhaus, Alexis Rockman and Scott Walden. The exhibition of the works of more than 30 artists from the WAVE tour depicts the diversity of the show. The show features ceramics, watercolor and oil paintings, glasswork, pencil and ink drawings, photography, wood carving, collage, fibre work, quilting, and jewelry. The Gallery is located at 11-03 45th Avenue in LIC. Through April 6. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Republican Rob Astorino to announce run for governor

Armed with “eight key issues” and guarantees of at least $15 million in funding, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has decided to run for governor, but will put off the announcement for another week, The Post has learned. Read more: New York Post

Alternate side parking regulations return Monday

If you’re one of the many New York City drivers who has left their car behind a pile of snow and ice, it’s time to start digging. Read more: ABC New York

Sen. Schumer calls on feds to regulate ‘smart car’ technology

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on federal regulators to set guidelines to protect consumers as car companies collect personal information through “smart car” technology and sell it to third parties. Read more: AP

State tax haul up over 4 percent, but lower than expected

New York tax collections for the first 10 months of the fiscal year total $58.3 billion, up 4.2 percent from the same period last year, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Read more: New York Post

Jason Collins, openly gay player, signs with Nets

History? Pressure? Jason Collins would have none of it after becoming the NBA’s first active openly gay player. Read more: AP

Op-ed: Let’s be their voice


| oped@queenscourier.com

U.S. SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER

The heartbreak and agony that Avonte  Oquendo’s family has had to endure is one that I can’t even begin to imagine. Over the course of the past few months, Avonte became more than just a face on a missing poster. New Yorkers came together to search for Avonte and pray for his safe return; we felt like he was a child we knew personally. While we cannot change the past, we must take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening again—and that’s why I am introducing “Avonte’s Law.”

Avonte’s running away was not an isolated incident; running away or wandering among children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder is more common than one may think. In fact, nearly half of children with autism over the age of four have attempted to wander. Often times, these children wander due to being over-stimulated by loud noises or bright lights – something that is a particular challenge for children with autism in New York City.

I recently met with Vanessa Fontaine and Doris McCoy, Avonte’s mother and grandmother, as well as Michael Rosen, the Executive Vice President of Autism Speaks. Mr. Rosen shared personal stories about his son, Nicky, who has autism and is nonverbal. He spoke about Nicky’s experience with wandering. I listened intently when Mr. Rosen said that Nicky once ran out of the house and made his way into the neighbor’s living room to watch Disney movies—a fascination of Nicky’s. Thankfully, Nicky was found safe.

Our children are too precious for us to wait another day when life-saving technology and precautionary measures are right at our fingertips. Technology such as GPS or Radio Frequency(RF) tracking is on the market now, and they allow parents, schools and law enforcement to locate a child if he or she wanders or goes missing. The Department of Justice runs a very successful program that provides tracking devices to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease who have similar wandering tendencies. So, after Avonte went missing, I urged the Department of Justice to use their existing grant funds to allow children with autism access to these life-saving tracking devices – this past week, they did just that.

The program would be completely voluntary for parents, but it would be a major stress reliever for the thousands of parents of children with autism. Most importantly, though, this technology has the power to save lives.

That is why when the world learned of the tragic fate of Avonte Oquendo, I drafted legislation that will create a permanent program with dedicated federal funding to provide tracking devices for children with autism, as well as training and education for parents and communities. The legislation, “Avonte’s Law,” will allow Avonte’s memory to live on while helping to prevent any more children with autism from going missing.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice will allow existing DOJ grant funds to be used for children with autism. This is terrific news, as it means that localities can soon put federal funds towards these life-saving tracking devices as well as education for law enforcement that deal with this issue on a daily basis. This is a major step in the right direction, and I will continue to work on this very important issue until “Avonte’s Law” is passed, which would provide a more solid stream of funding to help children across New York and the rest of the country.

We must be the voice of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Schumer was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998. Following the elections of 2006, Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed him to serve as Vice Chair of the Democratic Conference, the number three position on the Democratic Leadership team and a position he continues to hold. In 2009, Schumer was selected as the Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, which oversees federal elections, voting rights, campaign finance, and the operation of the Senate complex. He also sits on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; the Judiciary Committee, where he is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security; the Joint Economic Committee, where he is the Vice Chairman; and the Joint Committee on the Library.

 

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Senate passes bill to delay flood insurance hikes, urges Congress to follow suit


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Following the threat of significantly raised flood insurance rates, the Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would ensure residents in flood zones get a chance at a reasonable premium.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which received the bipartisan majority vote in the Senate, would require FEMA to enact an affordability study to ensure flood insurance is accurate and affordable.

“It makes no sense to raise flood insurance rates before we consider how homeowners will be able to afford to pay them,” said Senator Charles Schumer, who co-sponsored the bill.

Now, Schumer is urging Congress and ultimately President Barack Obama to follow suit and make the bill law.

The act would additionally require real solutions be proposed to address insurance affordability issues before rates can be raised.

Schumer called it an “an important step in the fight to prevent tens of thousands of New Yorkers from facing crippling flood insurance premium increases and loss of property value.”

These regulations will help protect homeowners from increased premiums set to be imposed by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act, Schumer said, which would require the National Flood Insurance Program to raise flood rates to reflect “true flood risk” for a policyholder, according to FEMA.

In November, Congressmembers Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries co-sponsored the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Care Act of 2013, legislation also meant to address the flood insurance rate increase and “keep residents from being priced out of our community,” Meeks said.

The act imposes a four-year delay for certain primary residences. It also mandates FEMA complete an affordability study, which will take two years.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Cloudy skies this morning will become partly cloudy this afternoon. High 44. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph. Monday night: Mostly cloudy skies. Low 21. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Flight of the Butterflies in 3D

Join millions of real butterflies on an amazing journey to a remote and secret hideaway at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI). Follow the monarchs’ journey to the remote mountain peaks of Mexico in a 3D film. For the first time ever, witness the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly inside a chrysalis, thanks to advanced MRI and micro CT scans. The award-winning production team, including Oscar-winner Peter Parks, followed the year-long migration cycle of the butterflies. The New York Hall of Science is located at 47-01 111th Street in Corona Through April 11.

Mother, two children found stabbed to death in Jamaica apartment

A woman and her two young daughters were discovered fatally stabbed inside their Jamaica home Sunday night, cops said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Snow, deep freeze headed for tri-state Tuesday

Just a few weeks after a polar vortex brought record-shattering cold to the tri-state, another blast of arctic winter weather is expected to freeze the region for nearly a week and dump up to half a foot of snow on the coast. Read more: NBC New York

Noise tops New Yorkers’ quality-of-life complaints

No wonder they call New York the city that never sleeps. Who can get any shuteye with all the noise?! Read more: New York Post

Gov. Cuomo promises $2 billion in technology upgrades for schools — rich and poor

Casting himself as New York’s progressive leader bent on reform, Cuomo kicked off Martin Luther King weekend in Harlem by speaking to the issues affecting poor, minority communities. Read more: New York Daily News

Schumer calls for safer children’s medicine bottles

Sen. Charles Schumer on Sunday called for safer packaging for children’s medicine bottles in order to help prevent an estimated 10,000 emergency room visits a year. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Animal-cruelty cases get brushed aside after NYPD given task

Animal-cruelty cases are being brushed aside because neither the ASPCA nor NYPD is taking the reins on enforcement. Read more: New York Post

Howard Beach’s P.S. 207 receives nearly $2M in storm recovery funds


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Twelve feet of water rushed into the basement of P.S. 207 during Sandy, leaving the Howard Beach school with over $2 million worth of damages.

Senators Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder announced Monday roughly $1.82 million is on the way for repairs.

“It’s been over a year since Sandy tore apart our schools in southern Queens and while we have all made significant progress there is still work to be done,” Goldfeder said. “This new funding will enormously help P.S. 207 rebuild and ensure our children receive the quality education they deserve.”

The FEMA federal funds will go to the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) and will reimburse 90 percent of the cost of repairs throughout the building.

The bulk of the damage was in the flooded basement, where a fuel oil tank rolled and spilled about 3,000 gallons of oil. Two boilers, electrical panels, lights, ductwork and the fire alarm system were also damaged.

The damage left the school without electricity, heat and water, and closed in the months following the superstorm. Nearly 90,000 gallons of water and oil was removed from the building before it could reopen.

“This infusion of federal money is helping P.S. 207 put the damaging effects of Hurricane Sandy in the rear-view mirror and enabling the school to get back to educating New York City’s children without crushing back-bills,” Schumer said.

 

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Cuomo veto fast-tracks aircraft noise studies


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Governor Andrew Cuomo shut down a Senate bill last week and instead demanded the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey conduct a noise study and establish a community roundtable.

The governor vetoed a two-state bill last Wednesday that would have required the authority to determine the effects of aircraft noise with a one-time noise and land use compatibility study at all five Port Authority airports.

The legislation, passed by the New York State Legislature, would have needed approval from both Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Cuomo’s veto bypasses the need for New Jersey’s companion legislation and directs the Port Authority to meet with the community and conduct noise studies at LaGuardia and JFK Airports.

“I recognize that aircraft noise has been a concern for residents of Queens County and Nassau County,” Cuomo wrote in his veto note.

The push for noise control comes after the Federal Aviation Administration approved a new flight pattern last December that brought on a barrage of low-flying planes over parts of northeast Queens.

“Residents living among the highest air traffic in the country should have every opportunity to present their views to the appropriate authorities and a vehicle to gather information and hold people accountable,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.

 

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Political Roundup: Schumer backs Vallone


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ROUNDUP

Senator Schumer endorses Paul Vallone 

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer endorsed City Council candidate Paul Vallone for the District 19 seat on Monday.

“I have known the Vallone family for decades and their respected name and commitment to public service have made the people of Queens proud to call them their own,” Schumer said.

Vallone was recently endorsed by former Congressmember Gary Ackerman.

He faces Republican challenger Dennis Saffran in the November general election.

 

HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WEB

Lhota, de Blasio speak on stop-and-frisk ruling appeal

A group of elected officials spoke out Monday against the city’s legal challenge to the recent stop-and-frisk lawsuit ruling. Read more: CBS New York

Obama says he expects Congress will raise debt ceiling before deadline

President Barack Obama said he does not expect to have to take any unusual steps to prevent the United States from defaulting on its debt because he believes Congress will raise the debt ceiling before a looming October 17 deadline. Read more: Reuters

Cuomo freezes new state contracts involving the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty

The Cuomo administration is putting a hold on new state contracts involving the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, whose CEO was recently fired and charged with stealing funds, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News

Joe Lhota plans to push more funding for the city buses and subways

Mayoral candidate Joe Lhota says he will boost city funding for the bus and subway network he ran as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Read more: New York Daily News

Supreme Court term begins amid government shutdown

The Supreme Court is opening for business in the midst of a partial government shutdown. Read more: AP

200 homes in Bayside, Flushing file airplane noise complaints last month


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Almost all the noise complaints filed last month at three major airports came from Queens, according to data obtained by The Courier.

More than 700 calls about airplane noise flooded LaGuardia Airport this June, while 348 grievances came in about John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to statistics from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Out of 1,061 total complaints that poured in last month, only 18 complaints were made to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

The complaints came from almost 200 homes in Queens, mostly in Flushing and Bayside, according to Port Authority data collected June 1-30.

About 500 complaints to LaGuardia were from those neighborhoods, with a majority of calls coming from residents near Travis Triangle and Bowne Park.

Residents from across the Queens border in nearby Floral Park made most of the complaints to JFK, a total of 200.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved a new flight pattern last December, much to the dismay of residents who say the procedure causes nonstop noise from low-flying planes.

The Port Authority and the FAA said they expect upcoming projects to reduce noise.

Representatives from both agencies addressed the Queens Borough President’s Aviation Advisory Council on July 22.

They said plans to soon rebuild and modernize the Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia would allow for larger planes on the runways. With more passengers per plane, that would mean fewer aircraft in the sky.

Officials also said by 2016, airports will be mandated to only use planes with engine sound-absorbing designs.

Planes going in and out of New York airports, with the exception of corporate aircraft, are currently “Stage 3” planes. The designation means engines are moved further into the interior of the plane to lessen noise.

Propellers are also shaped to deaden sound.

Barbara Brown, chair of the Eastern Queens Alliance, said larger planes would not be helpful.

“Even if flights are getting quieter, that won’t mean anything if there are more flights taking place in general,” she said.

Port Authority officials said they are also in the process of replacing 22 noise monitoring terminals and should be done by spring 2014.

They added that a public website will soon launch for people to monitor noise decibel readings and file noise complaints.

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and multiple congressmembers from the city and Long Island have called for more action. They recently sent a letter to Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye urging his agency to create an airport advisory committee.

“It is simple common sense to say that the largest metropolitan area in the country should have an airport advisory committee like the one we are proposing,” Schumer said, “a body that would help increase quality of life for locals.”

The New York state legislature passed a bill this year that would require the Port Authority to conduct a one-time study to determine the effects of aircraft noise on Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and Jersey residents.

It awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature in New York and ultimately needs New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s approval as well.

Additional reporting by Johann Hamilton

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain. High of 59. Winds from the SE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 52. Winds from the SE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: The Queens Slur at Alewife

It’s the Slow Food NYC monthly Happy Hour! It’s fun, social, and informal. But it’s also your opportunity to talk to the leadership of Slow Food NYC and let us know what you think. Want to learn more about Slow Food? Just looking to have a relaxing drink with other “Slow” minded people? The Slur is your opportunity – free and open to everyone. Alewife will be extending their happy hour draft and wine specials for our Slur, as well as offering a $16 Burger ‘N Beer special. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

M.E. to begin searching for human remains near WTC site where landing gear was found

The New York City medical examiner’s office is expected to begin searching for human remains this week near the World Trade Center site after a piece of landing gear believed to be from a Sept. 11 hijacked plane was found. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Queens high school students injured in Ohio bus crash

Several children and adults suffered minor injuries after a charter bus carrying students from a Queens High School overturned in central Ohio. Read more: NBC  New York

Focus of Boston Marathon bomb investigation shifts to suspects’ mother

The focus of the Boston Marathon bombings investigation has shifted to the suspects’ mother, who was apparently recorded by Russian intelligence talking on the phone with one of her sons and discussing jihad last year.  Read more: ABC New York

Schumer: FBI ‘may have messed up’ in handling 2011 Tsarnaev investigation

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Congressional leaders were demanding answers Sunday, saying the FBI should have done a better job in sharing information about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Designer working on horseless carriage for NYC

A car designer is building a prototype of an electric “horseless carriage” that animal advocates hope will replace New York City’s horse-drawn carriages. Read more: Fox New York/AP

Mississippi man to appear in federal court in ricin letters case

A Mississippi martial arts instructor is expected to appear in a federal court on Monday to face charges in connection with the mailing of letters containing the deadly poison ricin to President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials. Read more: Reuters

U.S. Senate gun control vote disappoints New York lawmakers


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

The build-up lasted a full four months.

From the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School to the State of the Union and rallies afterward, tougher laws on gun control were debated and pored over until U.S. Senators finally voted 54-46 in favor of an amendment to strengthen background checks at gun shows and online.

However, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 needed 60 “aye” votes to pass.

In New York, many state officials were deeply disappointed when the news came out of Washington on Wednesday, April 17.

“I was embarrassed,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “Our New York delegation did terrific work, but I was embarrassed by the U.S. Senate. They couldn’t even do the simplest reform which itself was a far cry from what we really needed.”

City Councilmember Donovan Richards echoed the sentiment.

“It’s a crying shame. I would urge these individuals who voted down the bill to come visit the parents of the countless lives that were lost. Blood is on their hands.”

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand voted in favor of the amendment.

Gianaris was one of the first state senators to push for tougher gun laws last year when he put forth legislation expanding background checks and banning assault rifles.

Background checks were eventually incorporated into the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013.

In January, the New York State Legislature passed the SAFE Act, which includes some of the toughest gun laws in the country. The bill initially limited magazine capacity to seven bullets, banned assault rifles and tightened background checks. Critics viewed it as a radical, knee-jerk reaction by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the Sandy Hook shooting while legislators were chastised for the rush to pass the bill.

Cuomo later backtracked on the magazine limit as a compromise to reach this year’s budget on time.

Federal background checks under the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 would have been lighter than checks outlined in New York’s SAFE Act.

The New York bill allows mental health professionals to alert the state if a patient has the potential to be violent. If the threat is deemed viable, the state can revoke the patient’s gun license.

While New York is traditionally viewed as a liberal state, Gianaris said the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) lobby here is as prominent as in Washington. However, he said New Yorkers generally supported the SAFE Act despite the NRA presence.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic, a co-sponsor of the SAFE Act, traveled to the nation’s capital last month as part of the Assembly’s Black, Latino and Asian caucus to lobby for the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act.

She and Assembly colleagues from across the state pushed for a wide package of gun control bills, which she described as the first step in better nationwide gun laws.

Rozic said she was disappointed the Senate could not get the amendment to pass, but is hopeful looking forward.

“We had some great conversations,” she said. “I’d be happy to go back to D.C. and continue the fight.”

Richards, a proponent of gun buyback programs, said the goal is to take away criminals’ opportunities to get their hands on weapons.

“If we’re not doing what we can to ensure that these individuals don’t have gun access,” he said, “we’re doing a disservice to our children, to our community.”

All New York legislators, however, have not been in favor of the SAFE Act and gun legislation.

State Senator Greg Ball, who represents parts of Duchess and Putnam Counties, has actively opposed the bill, citing the loss of rights to people who legally purchased assault rifles.

Addressing the senate debate on the bill in January, Ball said making assault rifles illegal did not compensate for the help mentally ill people in the state really need. To make his point, he described a constituent with a bipolar, schizophrenic son who Ball said did not get proper state care.

“She fears for her life and the lives of her neighbors every day,” he told his fellow Senators. “And the mental health system in the state of New York has failed her repeatedly. It’s a kangaroo system where that child will be treated like a number, and a ticking time bomb to go off. And that single mom doesn’t have the support of the state, or that system, to care for that child.”

Instead, the Republican alleged the SAFE Act was a ploy to help Cuomo one day become president, and that it and would make criminals out of otherwise law-abiding gun owners.

Ball was not available for comment by press time.

In Richards’ southeast Queens district, gun safety is of utmost concern. He mentioned several individuals among his constituency who lost their lives due to gun violence, including his friend Darnell Patterson. Patterson was murdered in South Jamaica.

“The list goes on and on,” he said. “As government officials, we’re supposed to [...] do as much as we can to protect everyday citizens.”

-BY TERENCE M. CULLEN & MAGGIE HAYES

 

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Queens congressmembers get mixed results on environment


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Some Queens congressmembers aced their green test last year. But some were average, and one was at the bottom of the class.

That is according to the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) latest national environmental scorecard.

Congressmembers Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney were tops, with each scoring a 97, followed by Joseph Crowley with a 91. Both of the state’s U.S. Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, scored 93 percent. Nydia Velázquez trailed slightly with an 86 percent and Gregory Meeks pulled a 77 percent.

Former representative Gary Ackerman scored a 74. But another retiring congressmember, Bob Turner, had an abysmal 3 percent, a low matched by Tea Party Republicans representing Big Oil districts in Texas.

The scores are based on 14 Senate votes and 35 House votes on public health, clean energy, land and wildlife conservation issues.

“In the face of unprecedented attacks on laws protecting water, air and land, environmental allies like Steve Israel, Caroline [sic] Maloney … stood up for our values and put New Yorkers first,” said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn in a statement. “While Americans were seeing the historic impacts of extreme weather right outside their window, members like … Bob Turner continued to ignore the reality of climate change.”

The state’s average House score in the most recent review was 65 percent, falling drastically from 97 percent in 2010.

“The U.S. House of Representatives sided with Big Oil and corporate polluters time and time again in 2012, cementing its status as the most anti-environmental House in our nation’s history,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the country’s League of Conservation Voters.

“The best that can be said about this session of the 112th Congress is that it’s over,” Karpinski said.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 48. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday Night: Clear. Low of 36. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Indians in the Caribbean

A photographic exhibition of arts, culture and nation building (1900-1950) at the Rajkumari Cultural Center in Richmond Hill, Indians in the Caribbean shows the life of arts and culture, scholarship and commerce, politics and civics in countries like Guyana, Suriname and Caribbean Islands like Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Rockaway beaches to open Memorial Day weekend: officials
Residents in the Sandy-ravaged Rockaways packed into a community board meeting Tuesday night to discuss the future of their wrecked boardwalk. Read more: NBC New York

Park advocates slam U.S. Tennis Association expansion plan

Park advocates aren’t showing much love to a plan for a $500 million expansion of a premiere tennis center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Read more: New York Daily News

Cuomo to press for wider curbs on gun access

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, pushing New York to become the first state to enact major new gun laws in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., plans on Wednesday to propose one of the country’s most restrictive bans on assault weapons. Read more: New York Times 

Quinn brushes off report that Bloomberg is eyeing other mayoral candidates

For some time now, it was unquestioned that New York City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn would have the backing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But that’s not a sure thing, according to a report. Read more: CBS New York 

More anti-Muslim ads go up in NYC subways

The group that equated Muslim radicals with savages in advertisements last year has put up another set of provocative ads in dozens of New York City subway stations. Read more: Wall Street Journal 

Brooklyn Nets player questioned in Philly sex assault claim

Philadelphia police are investigating reports of a sexual assault that may have involved a Brooklyn Nets team member. Read more: NY1 

2012 was hottest year on record in U.S., climate agency says

The year 2012 was the warmest on record for the contiguous United States, beating the previous record by a full degree in temperature, a government climate agency said on Tuesday. Read more: Reuters

Preventing another Sandy


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/PHOTO BY TERENCE M. CULLEN

With climate change entering the common lexicon, politicians and environmental advocates believe preventative measures are necessary to ensure New York City is protected from future storms.

Last week, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proposed a series of mechanisms to shield the city against flooding and storms by strengthening buildings, energy and sewer systems, mass transit and gasoline distribution – priced at about $20 billion.

“We stand in a unique moment that carries with it a unique opportunity,” said Quinn. “The future of our planet, the world our grandchildren inherit, depends on what we do in the months and years ahead. At this moment the need for action cannot be ignored – the cost of this enterprise cannot be dismissed as too great.”

One of the front-runners in the 2013 mayoral race, Quinn detailed her proposed plan to protect the city, including an agreement with the Bloomberg administration to fast track two studies, analyzing climate-related threats against New York, to be completed by April 2013. The plan also included reinforcing Con Ed and burying power lines in vulnerable neighborhoods.

Quinn announced that Senator Charles Schumer will head an initiative to obtain an Army Corps of Engineers study to conclusively determine the necessity of constructing storm surge barriers.

A spokesperson for Quinn said there is no time frame in place for the project.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also spoke about the future changes to review of New York’s emergency weather preparedness.

Tactics to increase the state’s protection include fortifying transportation, energy and environmental systems, replacing damaged infrastructure with structures designed to withstand a tempest and integrating long-term plans regarding infrastructure planning, protection and development into New York’s economic development strategies.

“Over the past two years, New York State has been hit by some of the most destructive storms in our state’s history, causing untold damage and the tragic loss of many lives,” said Cuomo. “Regardless of the cause of these storms, New York State must undertake major reforms to adapt to the reality that storms such as Sandy, Irene and Lee can hit the state at any time.”