Tag Archives: Vito Lopez

Districting Commission withdraws map, will hold new round of public hearings


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Map courtesy of NYC Districting Commission

Opponents of the city’s new district maps got their wish for another round of public hearings thanks to Assemblymember Vito Lopez, though confidence significant changes will be made remains low.

When the city’s Districting Commission unveiled the maps on November 16, District 34 was redrawn to include the residence of the embattled assemblymember, reportedly at the request of Councilmember Erik Dilan, allowing Lopez a path to run for City Council. Following a letter from Council Speaker Christine Quinn to withdraw the map, the commission announced at a public meeting on Tuesday, December 4, that Lopez would be moved back into District 37, though he was not mentioned by name, and a new round of public hearings would take place.

“We wanted a third round of hearings, we demanded a third round of hearings, so it’s good we have an opportunity to make further changes to the map. It is in sort of an unexpected way, but here we are,” said Jerry Vattamala, attorney with the Asian American Legal Defense Fund (AALDEF), who added he’s not convinced any adjustments will be made.

The apparent reason for the map’s withdrawal, placing Lopez back in District 37, does not preclude him running in District 34. Lopez would only have to move within the district’s boundaries prior to Election Day to be eligible to run for the seat.

Mitchell Gardens and the Linden Houses were also voted to both be placed in District 20 at the meeting after an error separated them.

While former state Senator Frank Padavan agreed with the two changes made, he questioned voting on only portions of the map.

“Why are we doing the vote piecemeal? It doesn’t make sense to me. If we take a vote it should be what we end up with because a vote here implies that’s all we want to do,” he said at the meeting.

Woodhaven advocate Ed Wendell also wondered whether the commission will actually go back to the drawing board.

“We’re not optimistic at this point, but we’re going to do our best so our needs are heard loud and clear,” he said.

Lack of transparency has led to the lowered expectations people have in the process, said Rachael Fauss, policy and research manager for Citizens Union.

“Any process suffers from legitimacy and public perception when you have political actors who seemingly are circumventing the process,” she said.

New public hearings have yet to be announced, though they will likely be held in January. The commission will then approve and submit a new map to the City Council which will have three weeks to object to it.

Though confidence is lacking, Vattamala said the commission has one last chance to produce a well-crafted map.

“Regardless of what’s happened thus far, if they can pull it together and correct the districts that need correcting, I think we’ll be in good shape and it will restore people’s confidence in the commission and the process,” Vattamala said.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 93. Southwest wind 8 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. West wind 8 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Doctor Zhivago at the Museum of the Moving Image

Take in the 1965 classic at the Museum of the Moving Image.  Based on Boris Pasternak’s novel, this tale of a love triangle set against the Bolshevik Revolution is an astonishing feat, as emotionally involving as it is visually spectacular. Highlights include Freddie Young’s Oscar-winning cinematography and Maurice Jarre’s iconic score.

Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Stavisky and Messer face off in 16th Senate District debate

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and opponent John Messer agreed job creation was a priority in the 16th State Senate District as the two stated their platforms and fielded questions at a Wednesday, August 29 forum before hundreds of residents in the district. Despite agreeing on general issues such as employment, energy and bilingual signage, the six-time incumbent and Senate hopeful found themselves on opposite sides on gay marriage and charter schools. Read more: Queens Courier

Huntley probe widens

The criminal probe into indicted state Sen. Shirley Huntley has expanded to include every earmark she secured for nonprofits that employed her campaign staffers, Senate aides and family members, The Post has learned. Huntley, a Democrat, is facing up to 12 years in prison for allegedly covering up the misuse of $30,000 in “member item” funds by her niece and an aide to the bogus Parent Workshop charity. Read more: NY Post

Romney vows to deliver country from economic travails

Mitt Romney accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday by making a direct appeal to Americans who were captivated by President Obama’s hopeful promises of change, pledging that he could deliver what the president did not and move the country from its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Read more: NY Times

Women employed by lawmaker describe sexually hostile office

Five women who worked for Vito J. Lopez, the assemblyman at the center of a broadening sexual harassment scandal, described in interviews an atmosphere of sexual pressure and crude language in his office, with frequent unwanted advances by him and others, requests for provocative dress, personal questions about their boyfriends and fears of reprisals if they complained. Read more: NY Times

New program at sprawling public housing complex offers farm fresh foods for $10 a bag

Farm fresh produce is a scarce commodity in the Queensbridge Houses, where diabetes rates are high and junk food is cheap and plentiful. A new program — which kicks off next week — is offering residents a bag full of fruits and vegetables for just $10 a week. Read more: Daily News

Hip-hop manager Chris Lighty dead after shooting himself outside his Bronx apartment

Hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty died Thursday morning after he shot himself after an argument with his estranged wife at his Bronx apartment, sources told the Daily News. Lighty, 44 — a longtime manager of 50 Cent, Diddy, Ja Rule and Mariah Carey — stepped outside his South Riverdale apartment about 11:30 a.m., after a spat with his wife, Veronica, police sources said. Read more: Daily News

MTA kicking more trash cans at subway stations

Starting Sunday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is removing more trash cans from subway station platforms. The agency is expanding a pilot program that is aimed at reducing the rodent population in the subway system. The MTA says it has more trash than it can collect at subway stations. Read more: NY1