Tag Archives: Rory Lancman

New CTE and STEM initiatives coming to NYC public schools


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Rory Lancman

Strengthening core curriculum in public schools that gives students a head start on preparing for college and careers is a major focus of the New York City schools chancellor this year.

The General Electronic (GE) Foundation gave a $3.2 million investment to the school system that will support a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) pilot program and an enhanced Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teacher training program.

“CTE and STEM programs provide an innovative way to motivate students and prepare them for future success,” said Councilman Rory Lancman, who joined Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña at Thomas Edison Career and Technical Education High School in Jamaica on Monday to announce the new programs. “The training provided at schools such as Thomas Edison ensures students graduate high school with skills they need to succeed in college and their careers.”

Schools participating in the CTE pilot program will work with higher education and industry partners to satisfy all portions of their CTE program. They will also establish professional development and assessment materials that are aligned to their respective programs, according to Fariña.

The GE Foundation’s funding will support the CTE pilot at 10 schools and the STEM training for up to 200 schools through new multiday STEM Institutes. CTE schools, programs and schools that wish to establish a CTE program can apply through a competitive process this fall and selected schools will begin implementation later in the 2015-2016 school year, according to Fariña.

The STEM investment will consist of the DOE’s first-ever intensive, three-day citywide STEM Institute, which will take place next month. At the STEM Institutes, teachers and school leaders will have professional learning opportunities, and be able to work directly with experienced STEM partner organizations.

Nearly 300 teachers and school leaders will attend this institute, according to Fariña, and the first cohort will participate in two additional STEM Institutes in summer 2015 and spring 2016.

“Rigorous CTE and STEM programs have a tremendous ability to engage our students and prepare them for success in college and careers,” said Fariña. “It is so critical to have industry and higher education partners on board for this important work. These initiatives also provide more opportunities for teachers and school leaders at ‘Renewal Schools’ to change the dynamics in their building, and we will encourage them to take advantage.”

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Five Jamaica small businesses to receive $95K city grant to upgrade facades


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

It’s well noted that there are many major projects that indicate Jamaica will be one of the next thriving Queens areas for development and business, but local advocacy groups don’t want to look past small merchants already doing business downtown.

For that reason, the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District (BID) announced it will divide a $95,000 grant from the city’s Small Business Services department (SBS) among five businesses on the boulevard for projects that revitalize storefronts.

The Sutphin BID was one of 80 citywide organizations to apply for a grant from SBS, and only one of seven to win. It was also the only Queens group to receive funding.

By helping small businesses upgrade their facades, the BID hopes it will improve the look of the neighborhood and subsequently increase economic activity by attracting shoppers.

“Jamaica has been going through a metamorphosis for years and often people focus on the big, majestic projects, but if you look around here, the heart and soul of Jamaica is the mom-and-pop stores,” Councilman Rory Lancman said. “If we can help those small businesses improve their appearance, we can increase traffic to Jamaica, making it more of a destination for people from outside this area.”

The idea to apply for the grant from SBS began after a 2013 consumer survey, which pointed out the need to upgrade the look of businesses, according to Simone Price, executive director of the BID.

Sutphin Sign

“Many of the businesses on Sutphin Boulevard are unappealing, lack consistency in character or quality of signage, awnings and window displays,” Price said. “This pilot program will demonstrate the significance of financial investment as it relates to the positive experience when visiting the area.”

The grant will cover 80 percent of construction costs for the five businesses for projects that include revitalizing signage, lighting, windows and other parts of storefronts.

The initiative will roll out in three phases. In phase one, which will run from January through March, the BID will collect applicants and select the businesses.

During phase two, which is expected to be from April through June, the businesses will sign contracts for their projects and designs will be selected. The BID will also begin marketing the initiative and construction will begin. The final phase will finish in December with the completion of the projects’ construction.

Elizabeth Pilarte, who owns Party Moments, a store dedicated to selling party supplies, plans to apply for part of the money to get improved lighting and upgrade her storefront.

“This will definitely bring more customers and make our business stay here and grow in Jamaica,” she said.

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Proposed carriage horse ban finds strongest opposition among city lawmakers from Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Ricardo Zappala/Flickr Creative Commons

Opponents of a controversial bill that would ban carriage horses in the city can count on lawmakers from Queens as their biggest group of allies in the City Council.

Among the 14 council members from Queens, six have announced they will be voting against the bill that was introduced on Dec. 8 at City Hall. Only two Queens lawmakers are backing the bill and the other six remain undecided as of the night of Dec. 9.

“We are not going to be fooled by those who say that banning horse-drawn carriages is an animal rights issue. This is about political promises and money,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who joined a rally by carriage drivers and union leaders on City Hall steps on Dec. 8 before the bill was introduced.

“Banning the horse carriage industry would harm tourism, leave hundreds of families without jobs, and condemn these beautiful horses to join the tens of thousands of unwanted American horses that are sold each year to slaughterhouses and glue factories,” Crowley said.

Lawmakers from Queens who oppose the bill are Costa Constantinides, Mark Weprin, Rory Lancman, Daneek Miller, Karen Koslowitz and Crowley.

Supporting the bill to ban carriage horses are Paul Vallone and Daniel Dromm, who is one of the co-sponsors. Peter Koo, Erick Ulrich, Ruben Wills, Donovan Richards and Jimmy Van Bramer have yet to make up their minds.

Dromm repeated his support of the measure, issuing a joint statement with Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, after the bill was introduced in the Transportation Committee, saying the measure “will increase the welfare of our horses by taking them off of our streets and to a safe haven where they can thrive.”

The effort to ban carriage horses is being fought tooth and nail by the roughly 350 drivers and other workers involved in the business and several labor unions.

If approved, the legislation would ban the use of horses in the city by 2016. In a bid to create new jobs for the carriage drivers, the city would offer free training and the right to get at the front of the line for a green-cab license, without having to pay the $6,000 fee.
The bill also would fine any of the horse owners $25,000 if they sell their horses for the “purpose of slaughter.”

But Crowley says the measures aren’t enough to help drivers and stable hands who would be out of work.

“We need to be realistic about what is being proposed: 300 New Yorkers could be unemployed at the stroke of a pen,” she said in a letter released this week. “Not only are these good jobs, they are union jobs. We cannot forget that labor unions have been an essential force in increasing and protecting the middle class.”

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South Asian senior center opens in Jamaica


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Rory Lancman

New York City’s first facility to serve senior citizens from South Asia three days a week at a single location opened in Jamaica this week.

The “Desi Senior Center,” located at the Jamaica Muslim Center, was born out of a $100,000 grant from Councilman Rory Lancman. The center will provide culturally relevant programming and daily meals adhering to religious dietary restrictions three days a week. It will also be the first program of its kind to offer activities like exercise classes, lectures, arts and crafts and special celebrations for the South Asian seniors.

“I am proud to announce the opening of the Desi Senior Center, a program that will positively impact the lives of so many area seniors,” Lancman said during a ceremony marking the opening on Dec. 1. “Providing accessible, culturally significant activities for all of our residents is of the utmost importance to me, and I hope this program only grows from here.”

Over 23,000 residents of South Asian descent live within Lancman’s congressional district. It is also the home of the largest Bangladeshi community in New York City.

The senior center is operating in collaboration with “India Home,” which is “a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of the Indian and larger South Asian senior citizen immigrant community.”

“I am truly happy to see this happening in our community,” said Imam Shamsi Ali, director of the Jamaica Muslim Center. “This entire process has enabled the Jamaican Muslim Center to positively collaborate with our communities, particularly the South Asian community, which has been eye-opening and productive.”

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Op-ed: New Inspector General has a tough job ahead


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMAN RORY LANCMAN

Philip Eure, New York City’s first New York Police Department Inspector General, has a tough job ahead of him — to make sure that the New York City Police Department is using best practices to keep us safe from a myriad of threats without compromising our civil liberties. I intend to work closely with my fellow members of the City Council to monitor his work and ensure that he is helping the police department accomplish both of these objectives.

As the new IG, Mr. Eure will provide oversight of some of the City’s most controversial policing practices, in order to build mutual respect between citizens and the police. The City Council voted to establish the Inspector General’s role last year, shortly after it became clear that the breadth of the City’s stop-and-frisk and Muslim surveillance programs were both divisive and, in the case of stop-and-frisk, unlawful. Appointed by the Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters, Eure’s role is to act as an independent monitor to the NYPD, reviewing the department’s policies, procedures and practices in broad strokes.

Mr. Eure, who headed the District of Columbia’s Office of Police Complaints, has a balanced record of oversight. During his tenure there, he addressed warrantless searches, convinced the District’s police department to adopt a one-week training program to teach officers best practices for interacting with the mentally ill (a relevant problem to New York’s own growing population of mentally ill offenders), and tightened up on “contempt of cop” cases (frivolous claims brought against police just trying to do their job).

However, New York is a city of unique challenges. New York employs a substantially larger police force than the District of Columbia (35,000 to 4,000, respectively), and serves what is the most diverse and concentrated urban population nationwide. The City has already taken positive steps to mend fences in communities affected by racially charged policing. Use of stop-and-frisk has dramatically receded from past years. Last week, Commissioner Bratton dissolved the police force’s Demographics Unit, which spied on Muslim citizens for no basis other than their religious affiliation. Sufficient oversight will be needed to ensure that information collected from the Unit is appropriately handled with respect to privacy and that the blanket surveillance of Muslims won’t be diffused into other units.

As IG, Mr. Eure’s ability to apply oversight is not confined to any one issue. Other review institutions, such as the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates individual complaints, or the federal monitor, whose primary purpose is to offer oversight in ending stop-and-frisk practices, have a much more narrow scope. Although public debate on the IG role gave most of its consideration to curtailing the use of stop-and-frisk and Muslim surveillance, the law establishing the IG office authorizes it to examine any and all policies the NYPD employs. For example, state law currently requires police to investigate every crash where a serious accident happens, a standard that Mayor de Blasio has promised to meet as a part of his “Vision Zero” initiative. However, advocates for pedestrian and cyclist accident victims argue that the investigations don’t always happen. The IG has the authority to examine NYPD training and protocol to make sure collision units are properly handling such accidents.

It’s up to Mr. Eure to apply his influence creatively and collaboratively, working with Commissioner Bratton and the Police Department to strive for good relationships and the safety of New Yorkers. We on the City Council will be watching closely to ensure the highest quality oversight is administered.

 

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Cheap Shots on the rocks: SLA to vote on liquor license


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) will vote next Tuesday to either cut off a problematic college bar in Queens or let the drinks keep flowing.

Cheap Shots, at 149-05 Union Tpke., has racked up numerous noise complaints and at least 10 violations since it opened in March 2010, mostly for disorderly conduct and alleged underage drinking, SLA records show.

Rowdy customers constantly break out in fights outside, and some have even been spotted urinating and vomiting on the street, 107th Precinct Community Council President Carolann Foley said.

The SLA’s licensing bureau will decide the bar’s fate on March 11 — either approving or rejecting Cheap Shots’ request for a license renewal — after a full board meeting, an authority spokesperson said. Its current liquor license expired Feb. 28.

“I fully expect the SLA to protect our community and revoke Cheap Shots’ liquor license,” said Councilmember Rory Lancman, who called the site near St. John’s University a “magnet for criminal activity.”

In January, Community Board 8’s Liquor License Committee unanimously shut down Cheap Shots’ renewal application during a heated meeting with bar owners. The advisory vote was meant to urge the SLA to follow suit.

Bar boss Louis Abreu said he has since hired another security guard to keep a handle on commotions on weekends, bumping the total detail to five.

“I’m a small business owner trying to do the best I can,” he said. “We’ve been keeping the noise down. I’m still willing to work with the neighborhood.”

 

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EXCLUSIVE: Officials tweak contentious T Building plan


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A controversial plan to turn the historic T Building into housing for mental and chronic health patients has slightly changed, but it is still on the table, The Courier has learned.

In late 2012, Queens Hospital Center (QHC) was in talks with Comunilife, a nonprofit human services agency, to develop the dilapidated 10-story building on its Hillcrest campus into 251 units of affordable housing for people with low-income and chronic health conditions.

Residents would include veterans and people suffering from psychiatric diagnoses or a range of illnesses, from diabetes to AIDS.

The bid was met with fierce opposition from a coalition of civic leaders and elected officials, who said the “questionable population” could put children at nearby schools in danger.

Now a new version of the project is being bandied about, said sources close to the hospital and confirmed by local leaders.

Hospital officials hope to compromise and house fewer patients than originally proposed. The number is still up in the air, but a source said there would still be more than 100 patients.

“The plan keeps changing, but never actually gets formally introduced,” said Councilmember Rory Lancman, who learned of the new concept last week. “I don’t know if this idea will gel into a plan more than the last one.”

Several proposals are on the table, said Celia Dosamantes, a spokesperson for Assemblymember David Weprin, though the Comunilife plan is still front and center.

“There is room for discussion, which is good news,” she said.

Last month, Community Board 8 approved a resolution to demolish the T Building after a request from State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblymember Nily Rozic.

“This building is in serious disrepair,” Avella said, adding that it costs the hospital $2 million a year to maintain. “Money that is going into that building is taking away from patient care. That building should come down.”

But Queens preservationists are appealing to the city and state to save and landmark the former tuberculosis clinic.

“This hospital is part of a great war against disease, poverty and hardship,” Queens Preservation Council Chair Mitchell Grubler said.

The next step for the site heavily depends on money.

Funds for the multi-million dollar housing unit have not been secured yet, sources said, and it was unclear how much it would cost to dismantle.

“It’s hard to distinguish between a plan and merely an idea that isn’t going anywhere,” Lancman said. “Last time, there was all smoke and noise and nothing ever came of it.”

Queens Hospital Center spokesperson Cleon Edwards said officials are still working to find a resolution that “seeks to balance concerns” of the community with the hospital’s “obligation to provide high quality healthcare services to its patients.”

Comunilife did not respond to a request for comment.

 

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Rory Lancman celebrates landslide City Council victory


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Twitter photo courtesy of Dominic Panakal

Former Assemblymember Rory Lancman is headed to City Hall. 

Lancman, 44, won the open District 24 seat in a landslide victory on November 5. He also swept his opponents during the Democratic primary in September. 

“I’m feeling great,” he said. “It’s very, very gratifying and humbling to not just win but win by such a huge margin.” 

The Fresh Meadows attorney beat out Republican Alexander Blishteyn and third-party candidate Mujib Rahman with 73.7 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election results. 

More than 11,850 votes went to Lancman, early tallies show. Blishteyn took in 3,205 votes and Rahman, who lost his bid for the Democratic nominee, received 1,020 votes, according to preliminary results. 

Lancman will replace term-limited Councilmember James Gennaro in a district that represents parts of northeast and central Queens. 

Lancman was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2006. He pledged not to seek re-election last year while running for Congress — later losing his bid for Capitol Hill in the Democratic primary.

City Council incumbents Weprin, Crowley miss DC 37 union endorsement


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photos

Two City Council incumbents from Queens were not endorsed by the city’s largest public employee union because they did not apply for the nod, the union said.

DC 37 released its endorsements for the November general election last Wednesday, which included multiple sitting councilmembers in the borough and candidates who won primaries in September.

Left off the Queens list were Speaker-hopeful Mark Weprin and Elizabeth Crowley — both who are Democrats, facing fairly easy challenges for re-election in a blue-dominated borough.

The pair joins a handful of city incumbents who were not endorsed because they did not apply to be part of DC 37’s long-established screening process, according to Wanda Williams, the union’s political and legislative director.

The list includes City Council incumbents Dan Garodnick, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Annabel Palma, Brad Lander and David Greenfield.

“The lack of an endorsement should not be construed as a commentary on their performance but as a reflection of their decision not to submit themselves to our rigorous screening process,” Williams said.

“Only the kind of transparent and rigorous screening process we have adopted assures we give all candidates a fair hearing they have initiated,” she added.

Weprin said he was unaware of the union’s screening policy. He was also running unopposed until August.

“We didn’t really reach out since I didn’t have an opponent until the summer,” he said. “This year, I certainly would have loved their endorsement. They are certainly a valuable and important union to me. I don’t take offense at it. I just wasn’t aware of the process. No hard feelings.”

Crowley did not comment.

Contested Queens incumbents who enjoy the union’s backing this year include Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz, Eric Ulrich, Ruben Wills and Donovan Richards.

DC 37 also endorsed unchallenged incumbents Julissa Ferreras, Danny Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer and primary winners Paul Vallone, Rory Lancman, Daneek Miller and Melinda Katz.

The municipal workers’ union, which has 121,000 members and 50,000 retirees, said it sends out an army of volunteers to work phone banks and do door-to-door “Get Out The Vote” operations.

 

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Rory Lancman wins landslide victory in District 24


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Twitter

Former Assemblymember Rory Lancman swept his Democratic primary race Tuesday and moved one step further to winning an open City Council seat.

Lancman, 44, won the District 24 Democratic primary in a landslide victory on September 10.

The Fresh Meadows attorney beat out his opponents, Andrea Veras and Mujib Rahman, with nearly 62 percent of votes, according to unofficial election results.

“It’s very satisfying that so many people who I represented when I was in the State Assembly thought I did a good enough job there to give me the chance to serve them in the City Council at a time when all of New York City government is turning over,” Lancman said.

He will face off with Republican candidate Alex Blishteyn, who is also a Fresh Meadows attorney, in the November general election.

The winner will represent parts of central Queens in City Hall. The seat is being vacated by term-limited Councilmember James Gennaro.

Lancman was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2006. He pledged not to seek re-election last year while running for Congress — later losing his bid for Capitol Hill in the Democratic primary.

Primary guide: City Council District 24


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

24

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 candidates in City Council District 24 (Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Hillcrest Estates, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Utopia Estates, and parts of Forest Hills, Flushing, Jamaica and Rego Park), 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: Rory Lancman

Party: Democrat, Working Families

Current Occupation: Attorney

Personal Info: Prior to being elected to the New York State Assembly in 2006, Rory Lancman served on Community Board 8 for 16 years. For five years, he chaired the Queens Hospital Center Community Advisory Board, during which time he led the community’s successful fight to rebuild the hospital and stop its privatization. In the Assembly, Lancman chaired the Assembly Subcommittee on Workplace Safety, and his legislative agenda in the Assembly focused on issues related to workplace safety, homeland security, public safety and government reform.

Issues/Platforms: The city faces enormous challenges in keeping the American Dream alive here in New York.  Residents confront a rising cost of living and a hollowed out job market that leaves regular New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet, a hit-or-miss education system that leaves too many kids unprepared for college and the 21st century workplace, and an across-the-board increase in crime after two decades of falling rates.  After six years in the State Assembly, and 16 years on the local community board before that, passing important legislation and delivering for constituents, Lancman can help meet these challenges.

Name: Andrea Veras

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Legal support staff at The Legal Aid Society

Personal Info: Andrea Veras arrived in the U.S. in 1990, and raised and educated three children as a single parent.  After her children became independent, she followed her lifelong passion for social justice and became a paralegal in 2004. Last year, she received a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs.

As a grassroots community organizer, she has already made an impact in her community and has a proven record of producing results. Since 2010, she has brought the issues of public safety and environment to the forefront. As a direct result of her involvement, the 107th Precinct increased patrols in the neighborhood. In 2012, Veras was awarded with the John and Yolka Linakis Scholarship for Outstanding Community Service.

Platforms/Issues: Veras would fight for higher wages and work to find community-based solutions to health care needs.  On education issues, she supports emphasis on increased parental involvement, the expansion of Pre-K services and will motivate high school students to learn different trades. She will work to foster economic development through the expansion of tax credits to businesses and the creation of job opportunities.  On affordable housing, she is committed to fight for rent regulations and create incentives to first-time home owners.

 

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Flushing millionaire Isaac Sasson drops out of 24th City Council District race


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A lottery millionaire from Flushing has scratched himself off the City Council ticket.

Isaac Sasson, 72, has dropped his bid for the 24th District and will instead “focus his efforts on his philanthropy and his related positions in the Orthodox Jewish community,” his campaign said in a statement.

The Democrat announced in January he would gamble to replace outgoing Councilmember James Gennaro in the district that stretches from Fresh Meadows to Jamaica.

Sasson, a former organic chemistry professor at Queens College and retired cancer researcher, won a $13 million lottery jackpot in 2007. But his luck turned in 2009 when he lost his first bid for City Council and then again in 2010 for State Senate.

He is not the first to drop out of the District 24 race. Democratic District Leader Martha Taylor terminated her campaign in February due to health concerns.

The race’s front-runner, former Assemblymember Rory Lancman, was endorsed by the Queens Democratic Party and most recently by former Councilmember Morton Povman, who used to represent the district.

According to the city’s Campaign Finance Board, other candidates Alexander Blishteyn, Andrea Veras and Mujib Rahman have filed funds for the district race as of last month.

 

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NYC Housing Authority residents outraged over parking hikes


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Rory Lancman

Queens residents are outraged over a price hike in the city Housing Authority’s annual parking rates.

“Raising the cost to park in public housing . . . is a slap in the face to all,” said Monica Corbett, president of the Pomonok Residents Association. “These fee increases hurt all residents, especially our seniors and fixed income population.”

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has spiked parking costs for some residents from $75 to $340 for non-discounted drivers, $60 to $272 for seniors and handicap, and $150 to $650 for on-site employees.

The agency has two types of parking facilities — reserved spaces for renters with assigned designations and non-reserved ones for motorists with no specific spots.

It is doing away with non-reserved lots and changing them to reserved ones starting May 1, said NYCHA spokesperson Zodet Negrón.

Expenses will rise only for drivers who currently pay for non-reserved slots.

NYCHA began a new partnership with Greystone Parking Services last month. New parking rules include police ticketing and towing of unauthorized vehicles.

“These changes to the Resident Parking Program will help ensure cleaner and safer parking lots for all residents,” Negrón said.

Conversion plans were released last December, according to the agency. But Queens residents said the news was sudden.

“NYCHA’s massive parking fee hike is unfair enough, but springing it on residents with next to no notice and requiring payment in full up-front really adds insult to injury,” said former Assemblymember and City Council candidate Rory Lancman. “NYCHA needs to focus on fixing its many shortcomings, from backlogged repairs to inadequate security, and not gouging residents.”

Assemblymember Mike Simanowitz said the change would force people to look for parking on public streets.
“The idea that our city streets will be further choked with vehicles is simply unacceptable,” he said.

 

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Flushing millionaire making bid for City Council seat


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Isaac Sasson

A lottery millionaire from Flushing has thrown his hat in the ring to fill a vacant City Council seat in northeast Queens.

Isaac Sasson, 72, said he is running to replace outgoing Councilmember James Gennaro in the 24th District, which stretches from Fresh Meadows to Jamaica.

“I’ve been involved in the community for quite some time now. I’d like to do more. I feel very strongly about serving the people,” said Sasson, a former organic chemistry professor at Queens College and retired cancer researcher.

Sasson, who was born in Syria and raised in Lebanon, is no stranger to running for public office. The Democratic hopeful ran unsuccessfully for State Senate in 2010 and City Council in the 20th District in 2009.

His scientific background, he said, sets him apart from the pack of contenders who have already declared their intent to run, including lawyer Martha Taylor, 72, from Jamaica Estates, and attorney and former Assemblymember Rory Lancman from Fresh Meadows.

“I’m not the typical politician with a lawyer background,” Sasson said. “I’m a person with integrity.”
Since winning a $13 million lottery jackpot in 2007, Sasson said he has doled out nearly $250,000 to civic organizations, temples, churches, veterans and ethnic societies in Queens. An army veteran, he is president of the Holly Civic Association.

The philanthropist may have to dig deep into his pockets to match Lancman, who has already raked in $85,339 in campaign contributions during a six-month period, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB).

Lancman collected funds from 29 unions, his camp said, including the United Federation of Teachers, Hotel Trades Council, UFCW Local 1500 and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association – groups that did not back him during his recent failed bid for Congress.

Taylor, the Democratic district leader in the 24th Assembly District, has filed $55,310, according to the CFB.
Andrea Veras of Briarwood is also reportedly running for the seat. She could not be reached in time for comment. Filing reports for her and Sasson were unavailable as of press time.

Lancman to vie for Gennaro’s City Council seat


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A state lawmaker is looking to take his legislative know-how to City Hall.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman officially announced his candidacy for City Council on Monday, November 19. The Democratic hopeful will seek to head the 24th Council District, which currently stretches from Fresh Meadows to Jamaica and is led by outgoing Councilmember James Gennaro.

“The city faces tremendous challenges in terms of the economy, the education system,” said Lancman, 43. “There’s going to be a real need for people who have legislative experience and the energy to try to tackle these issues head on, so I’m throwing my hat in the ring.”

Lancman, who decided not to seek re-election after serving the assembly for six years, had been on the fence about making a run to join the city’s lawmaking body since his failed congressional bid back in June.

But the “tremendous turnover in city government” next year — including the mayor and half of the City Council — made the decision easier, Lancman said.

“It’s going to be a very, very exciting time for the city, where the slate of government is going to be wiped clean,” he said.

Lancman said shaping city policy outweighed other options he considered for the “next chapter” of his life, which included going back to being a full-time lawyer or working in the nonprofit world.

“I really thought about what I really wanted to do in the next chapter of my life, what would give me satisfaction,” he said. “What really excites me about getting up every morning is being in public service. That is the most exciting thing for me.”

The lure of the open seat has already drawn in Martha Taylor, 72, who has declared her candidacy in the race to replace Gennaro. The lawyer from Jamaica Estates is also the Democratic District Leader in the 24th Assembly District, president of the Jamaica Estates Association and vice chair of Community Board 8.

City Council elections take place next November. A primary date has not yet been set.