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Source: katerha via flickr

Source: katerha via flickr

The first City Council hearing on a proposed mandatory fee for plastic bags at grocery stores and supermarkets took place yesterday, and it’s already proving to be one of the most divisive issues to come before the usually lockstep Council body.

Capital New York reports:

The bill, Intro. 209, is being championed by Council members Brad Lander of Brooklyn and Margaret Chin of Manhattan and would impose the fee on all plastic and paper bags issued by grocery stores, bodegas, liquor stores and the like in city limits. The intent is to cut back on the estimated 100,000 tons of plastic bags that find their way to the rivers, streets and trees in the city and encourage New Yorkers to use reusable shopping bags. Plastic bags constitute 2 percent of the city’s waste stream.

… Supporters maintained the 10 cents does not constitute a tax as no money would go to government coffers. Store owners would keep the 10 cents on each bag.

That, of course, hasn’t stopped opponents from describing it as a tax. One of the most vocal opponents so far has been Councilman David Greenfield.

The Daily News reports:

“Quite frankly, I’m ashamed to sit here today and talk about actually raising taxes on New Yorkers,” said Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), who said he buys 30 bags of groceries for his family every Thursday night. “Now I’m going to have to pay three bucks extra a week.”

While proponents like Lander and Chin, who represent some of the city’s tonier districts, argue that such fees have successfully reduced the use of plastic bags in cities including Washington D.C., other elected officials say that it would unfairly hurt low-income families.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch is instead proposing a “recycling education campaign” to urge New York City residents to scale back on the roughly 9.37 billion disposable bags used in the five boroughs every year, most of which ends up in landfills.

“While our environmental goal should be to enhance programs which encourage recycling, the absolute wrong way to accomplish this worthwhile objective is by implementing a tax on plastic or paper bags,” said Deutsch in a statement. “I would rather support a recycling education campaign than support a tax, imposing an unfair financial burden on so many.”

Deutsch noted that though the bill’s provisions exempt food stamp recipients, not all of the city’s cash-strapped residents are on food stamps.

The de Blasio administration and Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have not taken a position on the bill.

Map of the coverage area for this NY Rising committee. Source: NY Rising

Map of the coverage area for this NY Rising committee. Source: NY Rising

Neighbors in Mill Basin, Mill Island, Marine Park, Bergen Beach, and Georgetown are invited to a public meeting tonight, Wednesday, November 12, to hear the latest from the state-sponsored NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program and provide input on projects proposed for funding, designed to meet the community’s recovery needs. This program aims to leverage local knowledge and build upon existing efforts and plans to help storm-impacted communities become more resilient through innovative community-driven plans.

When:          Wednesday, November 12 – 7pm-9pm
Where:         Saint Bernard School Auditorium, 2030 East 69th Street, Brooklyn NY 11234
Who:            Southeast Brooklyn Waterfront Planning Committee (including Bergen Beach, Georgetown, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Mill Island), NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program
Contact:       Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, info@stormrecovery.ny.gov

The NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program is one of several Storm Recovery Initiatives and was established to provide additional rebuilding and revitalization assistance to Communities severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. To facilitate community redevelopment planning and the resilience of Communities, the State has established the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program. For additional information, check out the website.

You can learn about the specific plans being drawn up for the Southeast Brooklyn area, including the presentation and minutes from past meetings, here.

grimm2

It was mostly a predictable day at the polls yesterday when it came to Southern Brooklyn races, including the reelection of two lawmakers currently facing federal charges.

The most high-profile race, of course, was that of the 11th Congressional District, in which incumbent Michael Grimm, who faces a 20-count indictment for tax evasion, staved off a challenge from Democrat Domenic Recchia.

Grimm came ahead with a 13-point lead, according to preliminary results provided by the Associated Press. He won 56,221 of the district’s Brooklyn and Staten Island votes, or 55.4 percent, to Recchia’s 42,786 votes, or 42.1 percent. A Green party candidate, Henry Bardel, picked up 2.5 percent.

Though the win itself was predictable – Recchia’s campaign gaffes became a national joke, and Siena polling showed Grimm with a 19-point lead in the days before the race – the margin is a significant victory for Grimm. In 2012, before the incumbent made headlines for the criminal charges, threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony, or having a romp in a bar bathroom, he had just shy of a six-point victory over then challenger Mark Murphy (the race was 52.6 to 46.4).

It appears the bad headlines has made Grimm even more popular among voters, or Recchia was just that much more unlikable than Murphy.

Once the dust has settled, we’ll take a look at how the vote broke down geographically to see just how much Brooklyn factored into Grimm’s reelection.

Sampson (File photo)

Sampson (File photo)

But Grimm was not the only Southern Brooklyn pol facing federal indictment to win re-election. After besting several challengers in the Democratic primary, State Senator John Sampson, who represents parts of Sheepshead Bay, Mill Basin and Canarsie, took in 86.1 percent of the vote in last night’s general election.

Sampson is facing embezzlement charges, accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of foreclosed homes. Just days before the election, the pol’s legal team practically admitted to the swindle in a pre-trial hearing, but argued that it occurred outside the statute of limitations. It apparently did not hurt his electoral prospects, as he took home more than 10 times the number of votes as the second place contender, Republican Elias J. Weir.

Source: Brook-Krasny’s office

Source: Brook-Krasny’s office

If there were any surprises in local races on election night, it might be the showing of Republican Stamatis Lilikakis, who challenged Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny. The district, which spans Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Dyker Heights and a sliver of waterfront connecting those neighborhoods, churned out a nail-biter as returns came in from poll sites. For the first half of the count, Brook-Krasny hovered between 50 and 51 percent. But as the night wore on, he took a dramatic lead, with 58.3 percent of the vote to Lilikakis’ 41.7.

This is another race we’ll be checking the geographic breakdown of, as it’ll be interesting to see which parts of the neighborhood snubbed Brook-Krasny.

Here’s how the rest of the races in Southern Brooklyn shook out:

Congressional

  • Congressman Hakeem Jeffries took home 91.9 percent of the vote, to Republican Alan Bellone’s 8.1 percent. Bellone did not actively campaign.
  • Yvette Clarke took home 89.5 percent to Republican Daniel Cavanagh’s 10.5 percent. Cavanagh did not actively campaign.
  • Jerrold Nadler won 87.6 percent of the vote to Conservative Ross Brady’s 11.9 percent.

State Senate

  • Senator Martin Golden had a strong showing against Democratic challenger James Kemmerer, with 69-to-31 percent of the vote. That’s significant growth compared to results in 2012, when Democrat Andrew Gounardes pulled in 41.9 percent to Golden’s 58.1 percent.
  • Senator Diane Savino did not have a challenger.
  • Senator Simcha Felder did not have a challenger.

State Assembly

  • Sheepshead Bay’s Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein took in 87.3 percent of the vote to Conservative challenger Sura Yusim’s 12.7 percent.
  • Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz bested his challenger, Ben Akselrod, with 54.4 percent of the vote to Akselrod’s 42.3 percent. This is the fourth race in a row that he’s defeated Akselrod, after winnin in both the 2012 primary and general (Akselrod ran as a Democrat, then as a Conservative) and this year’s primary and general (he ran as a Democrat, then as a Republican).
  • Bensonhurst Assemblyman Bill Colton beat Republican challenger Joseph Baranello 71 to 29 percent.
  • Borough Park and Midwood Assemblyman Dov Hikind defeated Republican Nachman Caller 78.4 to 21.6.
  • Assemblyman Peter Abbate, representing Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst, received 76.2 percent of the vote to Republican Henry Lallave’s 23.8 percent.
  • The 59th Assembly District, representing Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park and Mill Basin, and vacant since Alan Maisel resigned to take a seat in the City Council, was secured by Democrat Roxanne Persaud, who bested Republican Jeffrey Ferretti 73.8 to 26.2.

For all results from last night’s general election, check out WNYC for AP results.

voting

Alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations will be suspended Tuesday, November 4 for Election Day. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

You can check out the rest of the 2014 parking calendar here.

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): Here are some of the big stories you may have missed this week. You can keep up with what’s going on in the neighborhood all week long. Just follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] bensonhurstbean[dot] com.

After a busy week, here’s a chance to catch up on some of the news happening outside of our neighborhood! We’ve pulled together some of our favorite recent stories from our site and our sister sites, as well as some other fascinating pieces that are worth a read this weekend:

Locals are barking mad over a DOH ban on dogs at the bar The Gate, and have started a petition. [Park Slope Stoop]

Firefighter ordered to take diversity class after racist assault. [Sheepshead Bites]

Dogzilla, dog Ira Glass, “Shih Tzu in a toilet,” and other hits from this year’s Great PUPkin doggie Halloween costume contest. [Fort Greene Focus]

Jon Kest was remembered as a leader who worked tirelessly for social justice in the city. [Ditmas Park Corner]

Oh, F train, why are you always so crazy? [KensingtonBK]

Metal bar Lucky 13 Saloon has moved to Gowanus. [South Slope News]

“The NYPD is engaged in a wide-ranging social experiment in the mass criminalization of poor non-white New Yorkers.” [Gotham Gazette]

A Sheepshead Bay cafe has the scariest Halloween decorations ever. [SB]

A look inside Brooklyn’s newest bar, comfort food restaurant, and ping pong hall. [FGF]

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts kicks off 60th anniversary season with concert by Bobby McFerrin. [DPC]

Citi Bike is spreading south into more of Brooklyn…well, more of Park Slope. [PSS]

“The Following” apparently ruins life in Clinton Hill, attempts to make amends with ice cream truck and sad letter. [FGF]

You’re going to want to adopt every single one of these dogs. [DPC]

There are a few problems with that 10 hour catcalling video. That’s no reason not to discount the impact of street harassment. [Salon]

The ultimate soundtrack to NYC. [Brokelyn]

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Source: shveckle/Flickr

D LINE

From 11:45pm Friday to 5am Monday, Manhattan-bound D trains are rerouted via the N from Stillwell Av to 36 St.

  • To Bay 50 St, 25 Av, Bay Pkwy, 20 Av, 18 Av, 79 St, 71 St, 55 St, 50 St, Fort Hamilton Pkwy, and 9 Av, take the 205 St-bound D to 62 St-New Utrecht Av or 36 St and transfer to a Coney Island-bound D or N.
  • From these stations, take a Coney Island-bound D or N to 62 St-New Utrecht Av or Stillwell Av and transfer to a 205 St-bound D.

From 10:45pm Friday to 5am Monday, 205 St-bound D trains run express from 145 St to Tremont Av.

N LINE

From 11:45pm Friday to 5am Monday, Coney Island-bound N trains are rerouted via the D from 36 St to Stillwell Av.

  • To 8 Av, Fort Hamilton Pkwy, 18 Av, 20 Av, Bay Pkwy, Kings Hwy, Avenue U, and 86 St, take the Coney Island-bound N to 62 St-New Utrecht Av or Stillwell Av and transfer to a Manhattan-bound D or N.
  • From these stations, take a Manhattan-bound D or N to 62 St-New Utrecht Av or 36 St and transfer to a Coney Island-bound N.
  • To/from 59 St, take the R instead. Transfer between trains at 36 St.

R LINE

From 6:30am to 12:15am, Saturday to Monday, 71 Av-bound R trains run express from Queens Plaza to Roosevelt Av.

F LINE

From 11:45pm Friday to 5am Monday, Jamaica-bound F trains are rerouted via the A from Jay St-MetroTech to W 4 St.

A reader submitted photo from Halloween 2011.

Trick or treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat. Just leave the poisoned candy and razor-blade apples in the pantry.

This Halloween, as all Halloweens, we should take extra precautions to be safe. While it’s the biggest, bestest holiday for the kiddos, it’s also open season for creeps, pervs, thieves and vandals. Here are a few tips we’ve cobbled together to ensure you have a safe and happy Halloween.

  • Trick-or-treaters should always have adult supervision, even if they are traveling with a group of friends.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times; be familiar with the neighborhood you plan on visiting.
  • Avoid poorly-lit areas and homes of people you do not know.
  • Avoid displaying your valuables or electronic devices.
  • Thieves will use this holiday to hide behind a mask to commit crimes.
  • Do not use your cellphones when crossing streets.
  • Place emergency identification information discreetly inside clothing of small children, in case of accidental separation.
  • Halloween treats should only be consumed if they are packaged appropriately in their original, unopened packages. Avoid homemade or unpackaged treats.
  • Avoid hallways and deserted areas that are dimly lit.
  • Do not enter a stranger’s home or car.
  •  Walk on the sidewalk and not in the street.
  • Do not wear costumes that block your view.
  • Do not wear clothing or accessories that suggest that you are affiliated with a gang.
  • Carry flashlights and wear reflective clothing at night.
  • Explain to children of all ages the difference between tricks and vandalism which could be a criminal offense.

If you feel that you are in any kind of danger, look for houses of worship, stores or places of business where you can go in case of an emergency, and where you can access help and information. Try not to be alone at any time.

As usual, one more: if you’re the parent of a teenager in Gerritsen Beach, lock up the hammers and potatoes this year.

Not sure if I should vote for the Giant Douche Or the Turd Sandwich - Not sure if I should vote for the Giant Douche Or the Turd Sandwich  Futurama Fry

Source: QuickMeme.com

One candidate is facing a 20-count indictment on charges of tax evasion. His campaign is mired with allegations of illegal contributions. Friends are likely going to prison. His associates, from mobsters to porn kings, leave much to be desired.

The other one is an empty suit of the highest order, unable to even bullshit his way through some of the simplest policy questions. He has focused instead on calling his opponent names (to be fair, a trick they’ve both used).

The race, of course is between incumbent Congressman Michael Grimm and Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia.

Faced with the prospect of endorsing one or the other, newspaper editors would be best to sit this one out. Admittedly, that’s easy for us to say – we don’t do endorsements. We think you can make up your own mind… even though voters surely face a doozy this coming Tuesday.

The Staten Island Advance is made of sterner stuff than us, I guess. They issued their endorsement this morning to Congressman Michael Grimm. It was a bit of a surprise, given that the paper has thoroughly and aggressively reported on Grimm’s woes. But the endorsement was one for the ages, as the editorial team churned out 990 words to thinly mask what was little more than a reluctant, “Mrrrph, this one I guess. Sure, whatever.”

Here are some of the highlights (paragraph breaks may have been removed to fit the list format):

  • There are, on occasion, electoral races in which both candidates are of high quality and high integrity and conduct a tough but fair campaign about the issues … The election for the House of Representatives seat in the 11th New York Congressional District is nothing like that.
  • That choice for us is Michael Grimm. Surprisingly, if a choice is to be made, Mr. Grimm should be that choice, even under these circumstances.
  • [Recchia] doesn’t bring much else to the table. His campaign strength, it would seem, is to say he’s not Michael Grimm.
  • To have Staten Island’s congressman under federal indictment has been a black mark on this borough and has made it the laughingstock of the nation … Unfortunately, his opponent’s astonishing incoherence in public statements only adds to the ridiculousness.
  • Stories about Mr. Grimm’s extra-curricaular activities are numerous. We learned that he spent considerable time in the ladies’ room of a Brooklyn tavern with a female friend, who he claimed to be counseling.  We heard he pulled a gun during a melee in a dance club in Manhattan. We heard him threaten to throw a reporter off a balcony because he didn’t like a question posed.
  • As distasteful as this contest may be on a number of levels, we have a choice to make, as do the voters. On Tuesday, Mr. Grimm is still the best practical choice for Staten Island. Our system of justice calls for us to wait until February, when he faces trial, to discover the rightness or wrongness of that decision.

It’s pretty clear the venerable editors over at the advance know their choice is between two lumps of coal. Or, rather, as South Park once so well depicted the modern American electoral system, between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. And if that sounds like a reach, just watch this clip between the two fictionalized candidates and tell us if it really is any less substantial than the two televised debates between Grimm and Recchia:

We don’t know about you, voters of the 11th Congressional District. But we’re writing in Hypnotoad.

La Casa Bella (Source: Google Maps)

La Casa Bella (Source: Google Maps)

When Superstorm Sandy struck and Gravesend Bay poured into the neighborhood, it took six days to pump the water out of La Casa Bella at 2579 Cropsey Avenue.

“[It] was very crippling. Financially, mentally, physically—it was trying,” owner Rosemary Picarello told NY1.

The business wasn’t in a Zone A flood area that required evacuation, but it got the water anyway. They were closed for a month, with the saltwater wiping out electric, plumbing, heating, restaurant equipment and supplies.

Like most small businesses, which were told to seek government-back loans, they received no financial help.

“FEMA, the state—there was no help whatsoever from them. We had to get back on our feet by ourselves, and from the support of the community and going into our own funds. That’s how we were able to reopen,” says Picarello.

Reopen they did, and now they’re celebrating 21 years in business, doling out Italian staples, seafood, pizza, heros and more.

Congratulations to our neighbors at La Casa Bella, and here’s wishing you many more!

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