Tag Archives: Governor Cuomo

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 75. Winds from the NW at 10 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 59. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Taste of LIC

Come experience the diverse flavors of Long Island City at the 8th annual Taste of LIC food festival. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Gantry Plaza State Park,, the event, hosted by The Chocolate Factory Theater, will feature food and beverage samples from some of the borough’s culinary forerunners such as The Astor Room, Sweetleaf, and the Rockaway Brewing Company. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYPD deploys additional officers, resources in wake of weekend shootings

Following multiple shootings across the city this weekend, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has ordered additional police resources to prevent more violence, Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said in a statement. Read more: The Queens Courier

Cuomo to propose bill allowing for later-term abortions in New York State

An abortion battle could be brewing in Albany, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to propose a major change to abortion laws in New York State. Read more: CBSNewYork/AP

Statue of Liberty visitors to be screened in Battery Park

The federal government has changed plans and will screen Statue of Liberty visitors in lower Manhattan instead of letting them board boats to be checked later on Ellis Island, officials announced Monday. Read more NBC New York

New NYC ad campaign targets sweetened teas, fruit drinks

New York City’s campaign to cut consumption of sugary drinks now features ads warning people about sweet teas, sports and energy drinks and fruit-flavored beverages. Read more: CBSNewYork/AP

Radio ad campaign to use Ramones hit ‘Rockaway Beach’ to lure visitors back to the shorefront devastated by Hurricane Sandy

The Ramones are back (sort of). And with their help, visitors to Rockaway Beach should be back this summer, too. Read more: New York Daily News

Christie faces major decision in NJ Senate choice

In filling a vacant Senate seat, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faces a significant choice fraught with political implications for his re-election campaign and, perhaps, a future presidential run. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 68. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SSW in the afternoon. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 54. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Holocaust Memorial Day Talk by Holocaust Survivor

At 1:30 p.m. at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills, writer, artist and civil rights activist Marione Ingram will discuss her memoir on her experiences during the Holocaust. Following World War II, Ingram emigrated to the U.S. and set up a Freedom School in Mississippi during the 1960s. $6 suggested donation. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Gov. Cuomo considering ousting Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver over Albany scandals

Gov. Cuomo and his top aides are looking to use last week’s round of embarrassing scandals in Albany to oust Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — and they’re already eyeing an upstate lawmaker to replace him, The Post has learned. Read more: New York Post

Missing cab driver found in Jamaica Hospital bed days after cracked skull, memory loss

A seriously injured livery car driver lay in a Queens hospital for nearly a week before his family — who feared he was dead — finally was notified of his whereabouts, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News

Queensboro Bridge open again following oxygen tank explosion

Traffic is back to normal on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge after an oxygen tank explosion created a fireball and shut down the span Sunday evening. Read more: ABC New York

Activists petition against ‘abusive practices’ in the NYPD

Members of an activist group circulated a petition at posts around the city Sunday — with the goal of ending what the group called “abusive practices” in the New York City Police Department. Read more: CBS New York

Queens Community Board 9 looks to boot member for ‘non-attendance’

A Queens community board is looking to boot a member for playing hooky too often — a move that civic leaders said is quite rare for the volunteer panels. Read more: New York Daily News

Lhota lashes Quinn over pals’ $lush

Gop mayoral contender Joe Lhota yesterday blasted Democratic front-runner Christine Quinn for what he called her poor oversight of how City Council members spend discretionary taxpayer dollars known as member items. Read more: New York Post 

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female PM, dead at 87

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died Monday following a stroke, her spokeswoman confirmed. Read more: CNN

 

State passes budget ahead of deadline


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

Lawmakers in Albany, for the third straight year, passed an on-time budget last night when the Assembly approved the 2013-14 fiscal plan.

Governor Andrew Cuomo in a video to New Yorkers touted its early approval as a sign that New York was on its way back after years of dysfunction.

“My friends, it is springtime and things long dormant show new life and rebirth,” he said. “That’s how I feel about our great state. New York is coming back. New York is rising and we are building on our strengths.”

The budget was approved well ahead of the April 1 deadline, which is the start on the 2013-14 Fiscal Year. In past years, the budget was often weeks, if not months, behind schedule.

Senators approved the budget during a late night session that carried into Wednesday morning. After a day’s worth of debates, the Assembly voted to approve the budget just before midnight Thursday.

Middle class families will get their second year of tax cuts, Cuomo said. This, along with public-private partnerships, is part of New York’s low-tax, business friendly initiatives, he added.

“Not since Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers have taxes in this state been so low,” he said.

 

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State Senate approves budget


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

It may be on time.

After Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders reached an agreement last week for  a tentative 2013-14 state budget, the Senate approved all bills in the budget during a late night session Tuesday. It will go to the Assembly next for approval.

Tax cuts and enhanced education are some of the highlighted outlines of the bill, released by Cuomo’s office upon the agreement.

The budget includes gradually raising the minimum wage from its current $7.25/hour to $9/hour by 2015. Wages would go up to $8/hour by the end of this year under the plan. It would also cut taxes for middle class families and small businesses.

If a family makes anywhere from $40,000 to $300,000, it will be eligible for a $350 child tax credit for three years, which would start in 2014, according to Cuomo’s office. The small business cut would give almost $800 million in tax eases to merchants statewide.

Workforce training, on a related note, would help fill an estimated 210,000 unfilled jobs in New York.
Expanded Pre-K programs and a bar exam style test for teachers would also be covered under the budget, and would reward teachers who get high performance ratings.

If approved by the April 1 deadline, this would be Cuomo’s third straight on-time budget since coming into office two years ago.

“This budget symbolizes the tremendous progress that has been made in Albany and demonstrates that the new New York government is once again working for the people of this state,” Cuomo said in a statement.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with rain showers. High of 48. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 36. Winds from the NW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Ashley Garrett – Slate House

Acumen Project Space is proud to present Ashley Garrett’s solo exhibition Slate House. Garrett’s new body of work explores uncanny qualities in common household objects. Growing up in a small rural town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, a slate mining town with its now silenced quarry holes and obsolete tools, her work is infused with a sense of still contemplation and memory. These paintings and drawings reflect that stillness and weight and objects take on a totemic-like power when pressured through Garrett’s imagination. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. Exhibition ends April 7. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Far Rockaway residents and officials call Verizon tone deaf to prolonged phone outage

A group of Rockaway residents without phone service since Superstorm Sandy say the only open line of communication has been the monthly bills. Read more: New York Daily News

Vulcan Society wants FDNY EMT fired following series of ‘racist’ tweets

A veteran of the FDNY has been suspended and the association representing black emergency medical technicians and firefighters says he should be fired. Read more: CBS New York

NY cuts cancer programs in state budget

New York is cutting funding for cancer screenings for the uninsured along with programs to curb teen smoking in a state budget that expands spending to help the Buffalo Bills and Hollywood. Read more: NBC New York

Poll strike at drones

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans — 79 percent — oppose drone strikes on US soil, but they are much more accepting of doing it abroad, a Gallup poll released yesterday found. Read more: New York Post

Italy high court overturns Amanda Knox acquittal

Italy’s highest criminal court on Tuesday overturned Amanda Knox’s acquittal in the slaying of her British roommate and ordered a new trial, prolonging a case that has become a cause celebre in the United States. Read more: ABC New York/AP

Supreme Court takes up gay marriage

The Supreme Court is wading into the fight over same-sex marriage at a time when public opinion is shifting rapidly in favor of permitting gay and lesbian couples to wed, but 40 states don’t allow it. Read more: Fox New York/AP

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with rain. High of 41. Windy. Winds from the NE at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.2 in. possible. Monday night: Overcast with snow, then a chance of snow after midnight. Low of 34F with a windchill as low as 27. Breezy. Winds from the North at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Chance of snow 70% with accumulations up to 2 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: BubbleMania 

From March 25 to March 31, at the New York Hall of Science, enjoy the humor and spectacular science of comic bubble-ologist Casey Carle, who has been featured on The Science Channel. See how science can turn the ordinary soap bubble into something extraordinary. Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the show. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Spring storm heads towards New Jersey, Long Island

A spring storm that buried parts of the midwest in snow is now dropping a sloppy mix on part of our area. Read more: ABC New York

N.Y. State Senate Holds Sunday Session To Advance Budget Bill

New York state lawmakers were expected Sunday to take much of the week to pass the $135 billion budget they negotiated with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. CBSNewYork/AP

LIRR resumes normal service after derailment, but broken rail suspends branch

The Long Island Rail Road has resumed normal service Monday after a week of disruptions due to a derailed freight train and a broken rail that suspended service on the Port Washington branch. Read more: ABC New York

Hundreds rally for gay rights at Washington Square Park

Elected officials joined hundreds of demonstrators in Greenwich Village on Sunday afternoon for a march and rally for gay marriage rights. Read more: CBS New York

Ellis Island Museum not likely to reopen in 2013

The National Park Service says the Ellis Island Immigration Museum “will not likely be open in 2013″ as damage from Hurricane Sandy is repaired. Read more: NBC New York

NY Mayor Bloomberg predicts success for expanded gun checks

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg predicted on Sunday that pressure from the American public would eventually force the Congress to expand background checks for gun buyers, even though the measure faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. Read more: Reuters 

Cuomo, state lawmakers reach budget deal


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Office

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature have reached a deal for the 2013-2014 budget and expect to pass it before the April 1 deadline.

“This budget agreement puts New York on track to have the third consecutive on-time, balanced budget that holds increases in spending under two percent, while investing in our economy to create jobs and cutting taxes for middle class families and small businesses. This budget symbolizes the tremendous progress that has been made in Albany and demonstrates that the new New York government is once again working for the people of this state,” Cuomo said.

In a release, the governor outlined the agreement, which includes a new $350 tax credit for  middle class families and an increase in the minimum wage to $9 per hour:

  • A Balanced, On-time Budget that Invests in Creating Jobs and Cuts Taxes: The Budget closes a $1.3 billion gap with no new taxes or fees. New York State has not had three consecutive on-time or early budgets since 1984 and has not had a budget on track to pass this far before the April 1 deadline since 1976.
  • Cutting Taxes for Middle Class Families: Recognizing that New York’s taxpayers have been overtaxed for too long, the Budget includes $1.125 billion in new tax cuts to middle class families over three years. Families with incomes between $40,000 and $300,000 will be eligible to receive a new child tax credit of $350 per year for three years, beginning in 2014.
  • Tax Cuts for Small Businesses: To provide tax relief to New York’s job creators, the Budget includes nearly $800 million in tax relief for New York businesses over three years. With this tax relief, the Budget recognizes that cutting taxes sends a positive sign to the private sector that New York is pro-business and helps reverse New York’s longstanding reputation as the tax capital of the nation.
  • Hiring Tax Credits: To help New York’s returning soldiers and young people find work, the Budget includes a permanent tax credit for the hiring of Veterans, and $181 million in tax credits over three years for businesses that hire youth.
  • Reducing Costs and Red Tape for Businesses: To reduce the crushing burden of unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation, the Budget modernizes and simplifies both systems to provide employers $1.3 billion in savings without affecting workers’ benefits.
  • Investing in the Economy of Tomorrow: The Budget provides the initial funding to launch the Innovation Hot Spots program that will create or designate ten high-tech innovation incubators at locations affiliated with higher education institutions to encourage private-sector growth; a $50 million Innovation Venture Capital Fund that will provide critical seed and early-stage funding to incentivize new business formation and growth in New York State and facilitate the transition from ideas and research to marketable products.
  • Workforce Training for Job Openings: New York’s workforce training is from a different era and a generic job training program does not fit today’s economy. The Budget capitalizes on the opportunity of an estimated 210,000 unfilled jobs in the state by including $5 million for the Next Generation Job Linkage Program that works with employers to: identify the job; define the skill; and provide the training for it.
  • Protecting the Environment and Creating Green Jobs: The Budget increases support for the Environmental Protection Fund and the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, to launch new projects across the state that both create green jobs and protect New York’s natural environment.
  • Building on the Success of the Regional Councils: The Budget includes a third round of the Regional Economic Development Councils including $150 million in new funding and $70 million in tax credits.
  • Promoting Upstate Tourism and Agriculture through Market NY: To bolster tourism and better market NY-made foods and produce, the Budget launches the Market NY initiative.
  • SUNY and CUNY Campuses Driving Private Sector Job Creation: The Budget includes a third round of the SUNY 2020 program and launches the CUNY 2020 program to provide competitive grants for projects that connect economic development and academic excellence. ($110 million)
  • Increasing Funding for Education: The Budget reflects New York State’s focus on creating a world-class education system that will fully prepare all of New York’s students to compete in the 21st Century economy. To accomplish the goal, the Budget includes an increase of nearly $1 billion in education aid.
  • Pre-kindergarten Program Expansion: Recognizing that quality early education is critical for long-term success and that children who attend full-day pre-k often outperform their peers, the Budget provides additional investments in pre-kindergarten with an emphasis on high quality, full-day pre-k. Funding is targeted toward higher need students in lower wealth school districts via a competitive process. ($25 million)
  • State Increases Tied to Teacher Evaluations: To maintain New York State’s leadership in holding teachers accountable for student achievement, the Budget continues to tie increases in funding for education to the implementation of a teacher evaluation system. No teacher evaluations means no state increase.
  • Extended Learning Time: Our existing education calendar is still based on an agrarian system and the United States lags behind other nations in terms of how much time students spend in the classroom. In order to provide increased learning opportunities, the Budget supports high-quality extended school day or extended school year programs, with academically enriched programming. Schools that apply to participate in the program must agree to expand learning time by 25 percent. The state will cover the full cost of expanding learning time for students. ($20 million)
  • Community Schools: Recognizing that a school is not just a “school” in distressed communities and that the demands of schools in wealthier districts are different than demands in lowest wealth districts, the Budget supports an innovative program designed to transform schools into community hubs that integrate social, health and other services, as well as after-school programming to support students and their families. ($15 million)
  • Reward High-Performing Teachers: To improve results and incentive high-performance, the Budget implements a program that will offer $15,000 in annual stipends for four years to the most effective teachers beginning with math and science teachers. ($11 million)
  • Early College High School Programs: To improve college access and success, the Budget provides new state funding to expand Early College High School programs. ($4 million)
  • Bar Exam for Teachers: To ensure the best and brightest are teaching our children, the State Education Department will increase the standards for teacher certification to require passage of a “bar exam,” in addition to longer, more intensive and high-quality student-teaching experience in a school setting.
  • Raises the Minimum Wage: Recognizing that New York’s minimum wage is unlivable and that 19 other states have higher minimum wages than New York, the Budget raises the minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $9.00/hour over three years, beginning with $8.00 by the end of 2013, $8.75 by the end of 2014, and $9.00 by the end of 2015.
  • Lowering and Phasing Out the 18-a Utility Assessment: The Temporary Utility Assessment on electric, gas, water and steam utilities would be phased out over three years beginning in 2014-15.
  • Pension Stabilization Program: The Budget includes a Pension Stabilization Program that has been agreed to by the State Comptroller’s Office for local governments to access short term relief as the savings of Tier VI begin to take effect.
  • Public Service Commission Reform: The Budget includes a number of reforms that were recommended by the Moreland Commission to give the Public Service Commission greater authority over the state’s utilities.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast with a chance of snow. High of 39 with a windchill as low as 27. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 30%. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 30 with a windchill as low as 21F. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Spring Peepers with the National Park Service

Celebrate the first full day of spring with a National Park Ranger on a stroll to Big Johns Pond. Evening will begin with a short indoor presentation. Bring a flashlight. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Quinn, rivals at odds over paid sick leave at mayoral candidates forum

There wasn’t much the five candidates disagreed on at a mayoral forum for Democratic candidates Wednesday night, except for Christine Quinn’s resistance to bringing paid sick leave up for a vote in the City Council. Read more: NY1

Cuomo, state lawmakers reach budget deal 

Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders said Wednesday evening that they have reached a state budget agreement, which would include raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour over three years. Read more: CBS New York

Vice President Biden in NYC to talk gun control

The Vice President of the United States will meet with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the families of the victims of the Newtown, Conn. massacre to discuss toughening gun control laws. Read more: Fox New York

Cops act out proper stop-and-frisk procedures in new NYPD training

Cops-turned-actors are showing police officers a better way to stop and frisk in new NYPD training on a city-block stage set in the Bronx. Read more: New York Daily News

‘Tonight’ headed to Apple

Work is under way to bring the “Tonight Show” back to New York. Read more: New York Post

President Obama meets Palestinians as rockets hit Israel

U.S. President Barack Obama is meeting Palestinian officials on the second day of his Mideast tour to emphasize the importance of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, a message underscored Thursday when Palestinian militants in Gaza launched rockets into southern Israel. Read more: ABC New York/AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Labor Strike Threat Hovers Over Belmont Stakes

It’s been 34 years since horse racing’s last Triple Crown. This Saturday, I’ll Have Another will try to break that streak and win the Belmont Stakes, to add to his Kentucky Derby and Preakness victories. Read more: [NY1]

Police identify suspect in three Queens sexual assaults

A knife-wielding rapist who is believed to have attacked three young women in as many weeks in one Queens neighborhood is on the loose, police said. The suspect has been identified by authorities as Ibrahima Ragis, 20, who is 5-feet-5, weighs 160 pounds and has black hair. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Renewed hope for barren Far Rockaway Shopping Center

For the first time in decades, a new store is opening at the barren Far Rockaway Shopping Center. Food Dynasty is replacing the smaller associated supermarket that had anchored the ailing strip mall. And local officials are hoping the large, bright store will pave the way for new tenants and big improvements. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Minor Injury Reported After Car Sideswipes Queens School Bus

At least one Queens student suffered a minor injury Tuesday morning after the bus they were riding on was struck by a car. Department of Education officials say 35 students from the Yeshiva of Central Queens were on the bus when it was broadsided by a car at 76th Avenue near 174th Street. Read more: [NY1]

State To Offer Job Fairs In Each Borough

Governor Cuomo announced Tuesday that 11 job fairs will be held in the state this month, including one in each borough on Thursday. The events will bring together more than 375 employers statewide and feature more than 10,000 job openings. Read more: [NY1]

Bryce Harper’s single in 12th pushes Nats past Mets

You might think 19-year-old Bryce Harper would savor the moment after his first game-winning hit with two outs to give his team an extra-inning win. Instead, after lifting the Washington Nationals to a 7-6 win against the New York Mets in 12 innings Tuesday night, Harper was upset with his line in the box score. Read more: [ESPN]

Health Exchange will make insurance more accessible


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The governor issued an executive order recently establishing a statewide health insurance exchange after the state legislature failed to pass the bill last year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo established the New York Health Benefit Exchange on Thursday, April 12 saying, “The bottom line is that creating this health exchange will lower the cost of health insurance for small businesses, local governments and individual New Yorkers across the state.”

The statewide health care exchange will allow individuals and businesses to purchase health insurance through a state marketplace, and will comply with President Barack Obama’s health care plan. If a state did not institute one by January 2014, it would be enrolled in the federal program.

More than 2.7 million New Yorkers are uninsured, costing the state and local governments more than $600 million per year — this adds an additional $800 in premiums to a family’s average cost every year, the governor’s office said.

“The sky-high cost of insurance in New York is driving businesses out of the state and preventing lower income New Yorkers from being able to afford needed coverage,” Cuomo said. “Establishing the health exchange will bring true competition into the health care marketplace, driving costs down across the state.”

Twelve other states have established health insurance exchanges since the president enacted the Affordable Care Act in March 2010; two of the dozen states’ exchanges were also instituted through an executive order.

The Democratic-controlled Assembly passed the New York Health Benefit Exchange in June, but the Republican-controlled Senate did not vote on the measure prior to the ending of the year’s legislative session.

The exchange will be created within the state’s Health Department as opposed to as a separate entity, as was originally proposed in the legislation.

“During these tough economic times, access to quality, affordable health care is more important than ever,” said Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action of New York. “By creating New York’s Health Insurance Exchange, over 1 million people who don’t have health coverage will.”

Shot cop slays gun fiend


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane
Shot cop slays gun fiend

An NYPD detective was shot in the arm during a wild gun battle in a Harlem subway station yesterday — but he was amazingly able to return fire and kill the suspect, officials said. Career criminal Michael McBride and Queens Detective Kevin Herlihy exchanged 19 shots during the 4:20 p.m. violence — sending terrified straphangers running for cover in the crowded station at St. Nicholas Avenue and West 145th Street. McBride, 52 — who was wanted for shooting his ex-girlfriend’s daughter in the head Monday — died at the scene with a bullet to the chest. Read More: New York Post

Husband back in Queens after wife-slay bust

A Queens man accused of stabbing and beating his wife to death with a baseball bat before fleeing to Connecticut was hauled back yesterday to face a murder rap. Jordan Hawes, 32, killed Tara Hawes — a special-education teacher in Williamsburg — in their Astoria home earlier this month and then tried to pawn a wedding band, authorities charged. Cops said he tried to cover up the crime by sending texts to relatives from the victim’s phone saying she wasn’t going to work because of a family emergency. Hawes was found sleeping in his wife’s Jeep on Feb. 4 in a Fairfield parking lot. He surrendered to Connecticut cops, telling them, “I did something wrong,” sources told The Post. Read More: New York Post

 

Man gets 24 years in prison for killing ex-girlfriend in Queens
A jealous ex-boyfriend who “stole” a vibrant young woman from a loving Queens family was sentenced today to 24 years in prison for the horrendous murder. Segundo Penafiel, 28, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this month, was sentenced to 24 years in prison by Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter for repeatedly stabbing his ex-girlfriend, Ebony Garcia, as her 3-year-old daughter, Chloe, stood nearby. “You stole Ebony from us! You should rot in hell you bastard!” Garcia’s heartbroken mother, Julie Perez, shouted at the killer as tears flowed down her face. Read More: New York Post

 

Never a doubt guard’s legend would grow with game-winner

Around the arena, inevitability ruled the moment. Among 20,092 people inside Air Canada Centre, all of them on their feet. Among the Toronto Raptors, who could sense they were being set up as patsies. Among the Knicks, of course, who have come to believe that there is nothing their point guard can’t do. And, yes: Watching Jeremy Lin, you could see it in him, too. “My teammates trust me with the ball at the end of the game,” Lin would say. Trust him? It takes everything they’ve got not to stand up and applaud him at the end of these games now. Read More: New York Post

 

Governor Cuomo gets high approval rating in Quinnipiac poll; voters support casinos in New York

Gov. Cuomo got some strong pre-Valentine’s Day love from New Yorkers, while casinos and a mammoth gambling-convention center at Aqueduct Racetrack received a peck on the cheek, according to a new poll. The Quinnipiac University survey released today also found President Obama with 50 percent approval and re-election ratings in the Empire State, while U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand dipped below the magic mark. But despite the love for Cuomo, voters by 58-42 said they were dissatisfied with the way things are going in New York. Read More: New York Post
Whitney Houston’s Newark funeral to be invitation-only

Fans wishing to pay their last respects to pop icon Whitney Houston will have to be on the VIP list. Attendance at Houston’s Saturday afternoon sendoff is by invitation only after Houston’s mom, Cissy, insisted the ceremony be held in her home church in Newark instead of the nearby Prudential Center. Instead of mourners being accommodated at the 19,000-seat arena, friends and family will have to squeeze into one of New Hope Baptist Church’s 1,500 spots. Read More: New York Post

Assemblymembers address 111th Precinct


| ecamhi@queenscourier.com

“For the first time in five years, people think that New York is headed in the right direction.”

That’s the word from Assemblymember Edward Braunstein, who spoke at the 111th Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday, October 4. Both Braunstein and Assemblymember David Weprin discussed various hot-button policy issues as well as bills they have passed, and are pushing to pass, in Albany.

Braunstein, a lifelong Bayside resident, called his first year in Albany and the overall political year a success.

He gave much of the credit to Governor Andrew Cuomo “who was very impressive in his performance” in his timely balancing of New York’s 10 billion dollar budget, although Braunstein did express disappointment that the millionaire’s tax will expire at the end of year.The tax, which he and other Democrats fought to renew, was blocked by both Governor Cuomo and Senate Republicans.

“Sometimes it takes courage to recognize you’re not in the majority and you have to compromise,” he said. “We acted like adults and passed Governor Cuomo’s budget.

Braunstein said we should see another heated battle next year in Albany over the tax

Another showdown which may soon occur involves the controversial drilling method called hydrofracking which uses water, sand and chemicals to release natural gas from rock.While both the governor and state legislators expect the hydrofracking plan to revive upstate New York’s struggling economy, many environmentalists are worried about its safety.

Braunstein believes the hydrofracking plan will pass and will include rules that “they don’t drill anywhere near New York City’s water supply.”

Some of the year’s successes cited by Braunstein include an ethics reform package and a ban on the sale of the Meth-like drug known as “bath salts.” He is also pushing legislation which would require state colleges to immediately notify authorities of on-campus felonies anda bill to cap property taxeson co-ops at six percent.

Weprin also declared his support of the millionaires’ tax noting that “anyone making over a million a year can afford to pay that extra 1 percent.”

Weprin discussed his bill which seeks to curb water rate hikes by restructuring New York City’s Water Board. The bill, if passed, would end mayoral control of the board.

“As you can imagine, the mayor opposes the bill,” he said.

Weprin also discussed his new proposal to outlaw smoking in cars occupied by passengers under the age of 16 and an “adoptee bill of rights” which would grant adoptees access to their birth certificates when they reach 18.

He concluded his talk by thanking the community for their support during his campaign for the 9th District’s Congressional seat which he lost to Republican Bob Turner by a narrow margin.“I just wanna thank everybody that wished me well,” Weprin said.

“It was about seven weeks, but it felt like seven years, he chuckled.

Both Braunstein and Weprin gave hearty thanks to the 111th Precinct for its responsiveness and active partnership building.

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.