Tag Archives: Letitia James

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Cloudy with occasional light rain during the afternoon. High 54. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Wednesday night: Rain…changing to light snow overnight. Low 24. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 90%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Learn How to Build and Cultivate Relationships with Individual Donors

Queens Council on the Arts invites you to learn how to build and cultivate relationships with individual donors. Good fundraising is all about cultivating relationships to build deep connections. This two-part interactive workshop with fundraising consultant Dara Silverman is designed to help participants learn how to strengthen and grow their base of individual relationships for themselves, their arts organization, or art project – today and for years to come. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Cops arrest Ridgewood and Middle Village graffiti vandals

The next thing these vandals could be drawing is punishment.. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Mayor Bill De Blasio touts crime drop since he took office

Mayor Bill de Blasio is crowing about the city’s drop in crime under his leadership. Read more: CBS New York

Public Advocate Letitia James wants all NYC public school kids to receive free lunch

All public school kids should get free lunch, Public Advocate Letitia James said Tuesday — even those whose families can afford to pay. Read more: New York Daily News

Black & Hispanic pass rates drop in elite high school exams

More black and Hispanic students took the entrance exam to get into the city’s elite high schools this year, but their pass rates were as dismal as ever, officials said Tuesday. Read more: New York Post

Obama in NYC, joins Clinton ally to raise money for DNC debt

Melding 2014 needs with 2016 hopes, President Barack Obama teamed up Tuesday with an ally and fundraiser of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to help the Democratic Party erase a worrisome debt. Read more: NBC New York

De Blasio sworn in as 109th mayor of New York City


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos via NYC Mayor's Office Flickr/Official Photos by New York City Mayor's Office

Updated 1:30 p.m.

The Bloomberg era has ended and the de Blasio administration has begun.

New York City’s 109th mayor, Bill de Blasio, was sworn in during a ceremony at his Park Slope, Brooklyn home just after midnight Wednesday, followed by a formal inauguration on the steps of City Hall later that day.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman officiated the New Year’s Eve oath of office, which was also attended by the mayor’s wife Chirlane McCray, daughter Chiara and son Dante.

“From the beginning, this has been our family together reaching out to the people of this city to make a change that we all needed. I want to thank you for having brought us to this moment,” de Blasio said after taking the oath in front of his home.

“To everyone this is the beginning of a road we will travel together,” he added.

Former President Bill Clinton swore in de Blasio on the steps of City Hall with a bible once owned by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

De Blasio previously served as a regional director in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration and managed Hillary Clinton’s 2000 U.S. Senate campaign. Both endorsed de Blasio for mayor in the general election.

Before administering the oath, Clinton said it had been a “great joy” for his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and him to see de Blasio’s progress “because he has served with such passion and because he represents with his family the future of our city and the future of our country.”

Telling New Yorkers “our work begins today,” in his inauguration speech de Blasio pledged to expand the pay sick leave law, require big developers to build affordable housing, stem the tide of hospital closures, reform a broken stop-and-frisk policy and ask the wealthy to pay a little more in taxes to provide universal, full-day pre-k and after-school programs for middle schoolers.

“We won’t wait, we’’ll do it now,” he said.

“Let me be clear: When I said I would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it. And we will do it.” he added.

A thousand tickets were reserved for the general public to attend the public swearing-in ceremony, with de Blasio pledging that it would be an “inauguration for all New Yorkers.”

Several dozen New Yorkers from across the city were additionally invited to join the mayor on stage. The group included a Queens engineer who emigrated from Bangladesh, according to de Blasio.

Mayor de Blasio takes the subway with his family to his City Hall inauguration.

Queens resident and the 2014 New York City Youth Poet Laureate, Ramya Ramana, read an original poem at the inauguration, which she dedicated to de Blasio.

Ramana, a first generation Indian-American, grew up in the borough and recently won the New York Knicks’ Poetry scholarship to St. John’s University, where she is a first-year student, according to the mayor.

Letitia James, who is succeeding de Blasio as public advocate was also sworn in at City Hall Wednesday. The councilmember is the first woman of color to hold citywide office. Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President since 2006, was sworn in as city comptroller, replacing John Liu.

 

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


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photos

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.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

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.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Shop Alive Astoria ‘Pop Up’ Boutique

Local designers and vendors come together for a one night “Pop Up Market” at Veslo in Astoria. Complimentary cocktail to all that RSVP. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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.

 

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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


| 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.

 

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Candidates come out to Rockaway Beach


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang

BENJAMIN FANG

Political candidates recently spoke at the Friends of Rockaway Beach forum, where they affirmed their commitment to address the needs of the Rockaway community.

Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner headlined the forum for the district he once represented in Congress. Democratic mayoral candidates Comptroller John Liu, former Councilmember Sal Albanese and Republicans John Catsimatidis and Joe Lhota also made their cases to the voters.

Borough President candidates Melinda Katz and State Senator Tony Avella, Councilmember Eric Ulrich and his challengers Lew Simon and William Ruiz, and Public Advocate candidates Letitia James and Cathy Guerriero also addressed the packed room.

“We’re going to ask them to tell us their plans for our beaches, our boardwalk, our play areas,” said John Cori, co-president of Friends of Rockaway Beach and the organizer of the event. “We need to hold our elected officials accountable.”

The candidates talked about greater protection for the beach, improving transportation to and from Rockaway and giving the community a greater voice in City Hall.

Weiner, recently scandalized once more for “sexting,” slammed City Hall for creating “hipster-looking concessions” on the beach rather than restoring it. He also demanded extended ferry service, which is set to end by Labor Day.

“Rockaway might be this far away place to City Hall, but it won’t be if I’m mayor,” he said.
Katz then questioned the city’s readiness and response to Sandy, a topic the audience was hoping to discuss.

“Where are the double dunes that will protect the homes?” asked Katz. “Where’s the evacuation plan?”

She also talked about investing in the Rockaways and building it “better than it was.”
Avella blasted both Katz and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., two leading candidates for Borough President, for their voting records while in the City Council.

Avella’s plan for the Rockaways includes giving the area a railroad line, getting rid of tolls and 24 hours of bus service.

Ulrich touted his record in the City Council and stressed how participatory budgeting gave way to success.

“In those four-and-a-half years, I’ve been able to secure, with your help, millions and millions of dollars in capital improvements and programming for senior centers, for schools, for libraries, to keep our firehouses open,” he said.

His challenger, Simon, gave an impassioned speech about the devastated community and the need to rebuild it.

“There’s no boardwalk. There are no benches. There’s nothing here!” said Simon. “I want to be chair of the Parks and Recreation committee. I want to make sure our boardwalk is built.”

Other candidates for mayor and public advocate also courted the Rockaway vote and spoke about focusing on the Rockaways if elected.

 

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Community comes out to pray, walk for peace


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Johann Hamilton

JOHANN HAMILTON

Residents of Queens refuse to take crime in stride.

Dozens of New Yorkers gathered in front of Baisley Park in Rochdale to participate in the first of many prayer walks over the summer. The walks are intended to help end violence.

Residents from all over the city participated in the program, headed by Reverend Phil Craig of the Greater Springfield Community Church as well as politicians and organizations including the Women’s Committee of the National Action Network and the NYPD’s Explorer program.

“We’re going to make this at least an annual event,” Craig said at the Saturday, July 13 rally. “I think this is a really good thing for the community and the community agrees. We’re going to walk around this entire complex and pray for peace.”

“There’s too much killing and prostitution,” he added. “We’re gathering here so that we can get Jesus into our communities and get the enemy out.”

Saturday’s walk went through Rochdale Village, which Craig explained has seen a high amount of drug-related activity along with prostitution and robberies.

Councilmember and public advocate candidate Letitia James also participated in the walk. She came from a similar event in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

“If you want to change your life and the lives of others today, then march,” she told the attendees. “March on behalf of children and their mothers. March on behalf of schools, and march so that little boys and girls can know that they can one day be the next president of the borough of Queens, or the United States.”

The prayer walks are open to all. No RSVP is required. More information can be found at the Greater Springfield Church’s website, www.greaterspringfieldchurch.org/nan.html.

 

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Public Advocate candidate Reshma Saujani kicks off Queens campaign


| 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.

 

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