Tag Archives: Daniel Squadron

MTA increases G train service

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

G train riders can expect an easier commute starting Monday after local lawmakers and transit advocates pushed for better service.

The MTA is boosting weekday service on the subway line, which connects Queens to Brooklyn, between 3 and 9 p.m. Trains will now operate every 8 minutes instead of every 10 minutes.

“This added service will address increased ridership and demand along a growing corridor between Brooklyn and Queens,” the transit agency said.

The MTA is also adding public announcement systems to 12 G train stations that currently do not have them, according to an agency spokesman.

The G train changes are the result of the MTA’s full-line review of the subway line that was requested by state Senators Daniel Squadron and Martin Malavé Dilan.

“Today the G rarely means the beginning of a great ride,” Squadron said. “These improvements will help commutes on this important line—and hopefully make lives a little easier for the riders who depend on it.”

Other G train changes expected as a result of the review include stopping the four-car train at the same place on the platform at all times, marking where on the platform the train will stop with clear signage and running morning trains at more evenly spaced intervals, according to the Riders Alliance, a grassroots organization of subway and bus riders, which made recommendations that were incorporated into the review.

John Blesso, a Riders Alliance member who lives off of the Broadway G train stop, said the implementations are “a solid first step by the MTA and hopefully many more will follow.”

“The G train is increasingly becoming a major artery for Brooklyn and Queens residents, and we need to make sure that service keeps up with ridership on the line.”



James makes history with public advocate win; Stringer elected as comptroller

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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The city has elected its new public advocate and comptroller— Letitia James and Scott Stringer.

Councilmember James’ win makes New York City history. As the next public advocate, she is the first woman of color to hold citywide office.

“Yes, this is indeed historic because our government must be representative of all New Yorkers,” James said in her victory speech.

“Although history is important and I am incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished together, what I’m really proud of is of the fact that we ran a campaign centered on progressive ideals and a commitment to New York’s working families,” she added.

James, who faced no Republican in Tuesday’s general election, won with 84 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.

The November 5 election was the third time voters could cast their ballots for James in the public advocate race.

James placed first in the September Democratic primary with 36 percent of the vote, but it wasn’t enough to reach the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

In the October 1 runoff, James, who represents District 35, faced off against fellow Brooklyn politician State Senator Daniel Squadron. She won with 59.4 percent of the vote.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer did have a Republican opponent in the comptroller race, John Burnett, a former Wall Street executive, but easily won with 81 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.

“I want everyone in this city to know that I will be a comptroller who serves our city with honesty and integrity. A comptroller who listens to the voices of New Yorkers in all five boroughs so that we can work together in shaping the future of this great city,” Stringer said in his victory speech.

Like James, his biggest challenge came in the primary.

Stringer was looking at a guaranteed Democratic nomination until former governor Eliot Spitzer decided to enter the race in July.

Though Spitzer had the stigma of a prostitution scandal that forced him to resign as governor in 2008, initial polls showed him ahead. But in the days before the election, they rightfully predicted a close race. Stringer defeated Spitzer with 52.1 percent of the vote.

Updated 2:05 a.m.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 82. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 63. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph.

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Letitia James wins Democratic runoff for public advocate

Councilmember Letitia James defeated State Senator Daniel Squadron in the primary runoff for public advocate, clinching the Democratic nomination. Read more: The Queens Courier

Dozens of cellphone-using, red light-running MTA bus drivers pulled off road

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been cracking down hard on its own drivers — ordering dozens caught using cellphones or running red lights to pull over and immediately turn in their keys. Read more: New York Daily News

FEMA extends deadline for Superstorm Sandy insurance paperwork

Superstorm Sandy victims will have six more months to file critical paperwork for insurance payments. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Queens man accuses FBI of putting him on no-fly list after refusal to inform on Muslim neighbor

A Queens man is accusing the FBI of barring him from air travel in retaliation for his refusal to inform on his Muslim neighbors. Read more: New York Daily News

Court upholds settlement affecting NYC renters

A federal appeals court has upheld a settlement affecting 20,000 rent-regulated New York City tenants. Read more: AP

Government shutdown: No progress on ending stalemate

The political stare-down on Capitol Hill shows no signs of easing, leaving federal government functions – from informational websites, to national parks, to processing veterans’ claims – in limbo from coast to coast. Lawmakers in both parties ominously suggested the partial shutdown might last for weeks. Read more: AP

Letitia James wins Democratic runoff for public advocate

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Councilmember Letitia James defeated State Senator Daniel Squadron in the primary runoff for public advocate, clinching the Democratic nomination.

James received 59.4 percent of the vote in the election, and Squadron 40.6 percent with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.

“I ran for public advocate because all of my life I’ve seen New Yorkers persevere and I’ve seen the role that government can play in helping uplift working people. And as someone who comes from humble beginnings and never forgets that fact, I’ve experienced it myself,” James said in her victory speech.

James, with no Republican challenger, is expected to win the general election. She will be the first woman of color to hold citywide office if elected.

“All of us broke through that glass ceiling,” she said. “I am so proud of what we accomplished together, and yes, I’m proud that we made history tonight.”

Tuesday’s race was the only runoff to be held this year.

The election, which had a low voter turnout of about 188,000, according to unofficial results, drew criticism for its reported $13 million price tag. The cost led to calls for changes to the system, such as instant runoff voting.

The public advocate office, created in 1993 to serve as the city’s watchdog, only has a budget of around $2.3 million.

Currently, if any citywide candidate doesn’t get at least 40 percent of the vote, the top two vote getters must have a runoff election.

In the September 10 primary, where the two faced three other candidates, James received 36 percent of the vote and Squadron 33 percent.

With a close primary and the anticipated low turnout, the two Brooklyn politicians battled for votes during the last three weeks.

Both candidates traded criticisms over the other’s finances and ties to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The sparring continued through the day of the runoff.

Squadron confirmed on Twitter Tuesday that his campaign was the source of robocalls referencing a New York Daily News article challenging whether James donated her council stipend to charity as promised.

“We ran this campaign making the case that the public advocate’s office can be essential to our city – getting results for New Yorkers who need them,” Squadron said in a statement, conceding later that night.

“And I know that Tish will be their great advocate for New Yorkers across the city. She ran a great campaign.”

James, a councilmember for Brooklyn’s District 35, will be running against Green Party candidate James Lane and Libertarian candidate Alex Merced in the November 5 general election.



James, Squadron to vie for Democratic public advocate nomination in runoff

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photos

The race to determine the Public Advocate Democratic nominee is still not over.

Councilmember Letitia James, who received 36 percent of the vote and State Senator Daniel Squadron who received 33 percent, with 98 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results, will go on to a runoff next month.

If any citywide candidate doesn’t get at least 40 percent of the vote, the top two vote getters must face each other in another election on October 1.

“Over the next 21 days, we’ll keep talking about my record—about results, reform, and integrity. And we will talk about my plan to make the public advocate’s office essential to our city, getting results for New Yorkers who need them,” Squadron said in a statement.

“Thank you to all of our supporters. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without you. Now let’s bring it home.”

Going into the race, Squadron had an endorsement from the New York Times and Senator Charles Schumer, who Squadron once worked for as an aide.

James had the backing of numerous elected officials and unions.

Following the news of the runoff, James, on Twitter, also thanked her supporters, expressing that she was already looking ahead to the runoff in a few weeks.

The three candidates eliminated were Reshma Saujani, Former Deputy Public Advocate and founder of Girls Who Code, Cathy Guerriero, a professor of education and politics, and Sidique Wai, a civilian member of the NYPD.

Out of the citywide primaries, the public advocate race garnered the least attention and may have left the most voters undecided.

According to the results of a NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll poll released on August 16, 51 percent of registered Democrats said they were undecided about which candidate to support.

Established in 1993, the Public Advocate is not only the city’s “watchdog, ensuring that all New Yorkers receive the city services they deserve and have a voice in shaping the policies of their government,” but is also second in line to the mayor.

The winner of the October runoff will face Green Party candidate James Lane and Libertarian candidate Alex Merced in the general election on November 5.

Public advocate primary guide

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

public advocate primary

As the clock ticks closer to city primaries on Tuesday, September 10, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running. Here is a list of the public advocate primary candidates, who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

Name: Cathy Guerriero

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Professor of education and politics at Teachers’ College, Columbia University and the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University

Personal Info: Cathy Guerriero served as director of Government Relations for Catholic Charities and director of Strategic Planning for the Archdiocese of New York. As associate director, Guerriero coordinated Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 visit. Previously, she worked as a strategic planner for non-profits and small businesses. Guerriero graduated from Wagner College and obtained an MPA and a doctorate in educational administration from NYU.

Issues/Platforms: Our city faces key challenges. Unemployment is unbearable. People are losing their homes. The strength of our schools is at stake. Businesses are overwhelmed by paperwork. We are losing confidence in our leaders. Guerriero is running to give voice to everyone from each of our boroughs, from the threatened middle class to the most vulnerable New Yorkers – the poor, the newly arrived. The voices of all New Yorkers matter and Guerriero will make sure that they are heard so they all get the city services they deserve. That’s why she is the most endorsed candidate in the race, with support from faith leaders, law enforcement, firefighters and school employees – the people who build and serve our city.

Name: Letitia James

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: New York City Councilmember, 35th District

Personal Info: Councilmember Letitia “Tish” James was born and raised in Brooklyn. After graduating from Howard University, James began her career in public service, starting as a public defender with the Legal Aid Society. She later served as an Assistant Attorney General for New York State and was elected to the City Council in 2003.

Issues/Platforms: As Public Advocate, James wants to expand the office by creating a Citywide Advocates Network, Crisis Intervention Center, Parental Education and Empowerment Program, Cyber Awareness and Protection Unit, Immigrant Support Unit, and a Public Advocate at “Your Doorstep Initiative.” James will stand up for poor people and working families who are being squeezed out of the city. She will fight for women’s rights and immigrants’ rights. She will take on power interests on behalf of everyday New Yorkers. She will keep fighting to reform stop and frisk and end racial profiling. James has done all of these things throughout her public service career and will continue to do so. She will continue to be the fighter for all New Yorkers as NYC Public Advocate.

Name: Reshma Saujani

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Former Deputy Public Advocate; Founder of Girls Who Code

Personal Info: Reshma Saujani is the daughter of immigrant refugees who grew up in a middle class home where her parents struggled to make ends meet. Since then, Saujani has dedicated her life to public service and standing up for our most vulnerable. She previously served as Deputy Public Advocate and founded the national non-profit Girls Who Code to teach teenage girls, many from Queens, the skills to get jobs in technology.

Issues/Platforms: Saujani is running to create more opportunity for all New Yorkers at a time when the American Dream seems continually harder to realize. She is not a product of the corrupt culture of Albany or City Hall, but rather an independent voice who knows how to use the office of Public Advocate to find real solutions to real problems. Saujani has also been a lifelong advocate for women and communities of color, and she will continue to fight for equal treatment and to end racist practices like stop-and-frisk. She will fight to ensure that the opportunities that this city has given to so many, including herself, are available for every New Yorker.

Name: Daniel Squadron

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: State Senator (Brooklyn/Manhattan)

Personal Info: Daniel Squadron is a lifelong New Yorker. First elected to the State Senate in 2008, Squadron unseated a 30-year incumbent in a grassroots campaign for change and has gotten results as a progressive reformer.

Squadron’s dedication to public service began at an early age. His grandfather came through Ellis Island and his father, Howard Squadron, rose through poverty to become the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Squadron now lives with his wife and son in Brooklyn.

Platform/Issues: Squadron has a proven track record of getting results for everyday New Yorkers — fighting corruption in Albany, writing landmark new gun laws and advocating for affordable housing, parks and public transportation. He has a plan to make the public advocate’s office more effective for children, seniors and regular families who need a voice in City Hall.

Squadron has been endorsed by New Yorkers across the city, including U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, both former Public Advocates Mark Green and Betsy Gotbaum and Queens leaders like Senators Joe Addabbo, Tony Avella, Michael Gianaris and Jose Peralta and Assemblymembers Phil Goldfeder and Nily Rozic.





MTA makes recommendations to improve G train service

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo


There could be relief at the end of the tunnel for frustrated G-train riders.

State Senators Daniel Squadron and Martin Malavé Dilan sent a letter to the MTA in January requesting a full-line review of the G train’s performance. In February, the transit agency agreed.

With the review completed, the MTA has made several  recommendations to improve commuters’ experiences.

Those include increasing G train service by 25 percent in the afternoon and evening, running trains at more even intervals, stopping the train at the same place on the platform at all times, clearly marking where on the platform the train will stop and rearranging “benches and other station elements so that riders wait at the right place for the train.”

Further recommendations call for adding public announcements at the 12 G-train stations that currently lack them and making changes to train operations such as letting trains wait “with all the doors open longer so that passengers can spread throughout the train instead of bunching together near the one open door,” according to Senators Squadron and Dilan.

“Now G-train riders will be en route to much-needed relief that may one day lead to the G meaning great,” Squadron said. “These recommendations will allow the G to keep pace with skyrocketing growth in Brooklyn and Queens — and make the notorious ‘G-train sprint’ a thing of the past. Increased frequency, shorter wait times and better communication will go a long way for many riders.”

The MTA said that increasing the frequency of the G train — which runs from LIC to Kensington, Brooklyn — in the afternoon and evening will be “contingent on identifying $700,000 in additional funding for that service.”



Public Advocate candidate Reshma Saujani kicks off Queens campaign

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Reshma for New York

New York City Public Advocate candidate Reshma Saujani kicked off her Queens campaign on the steps of Flushing Town Hall.

Saujani was joined by Councilmember Peter Koo as she launched a five-day tour of the boroughs. Of her campaign, Saujani said she wanted to speak for all New Yorkers and ensure everyone had fair opportunities.

“We have a responsibility to make sure that all New Yorkers who work hard and play by the rules have access to the American Dream,” she said. “We need a voice loud enough to speak for everyone, driving the change we need to create good-paying jobs, give our kids the education they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and make sure all New Yorkers have access to safe, affordable housing.”

Saujani is running in a five-way race against State Senator Daniel Squadron, Councilmember Letitia James, Cathy Guerriero and schools advocate Noah Gotbaum.