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City Council analyst John Lisyanskiy officially threw his hat in the ring for Coney Island’s 47th District on December 16 with an e-mail blast to supporters, making him one of two candidates for the district to forego the political hand-wringing over redistricting and jump in the race. Meanwhile, others in what was expected to be a somewhat crowded field for the Democratic nod, are reconsidering their runs – and almost all are urging constituents to turn out to tomorrow’s Districting Committee hearing to oppose the plan.

Lisyanskiy is one of four Democratic contenders vying to replace term-limited Domenic Recchia that have registered committees with the Campaign Finance Board. Lisyanskiy is joined by activist Todd DobrinMichael Treybich, an attorney and deputy legal director for the New York State Young Democrats; and Brian Gotlieb, former chairman of Community Board 13.

Lisyanskiy, who serves as a legislative budget aide in the City Council under Speaker Christine Quinn, jumps in the race with tens of thousands of dollars collected for a 2009 run that ultimately fizzled after term limits were extended. The campaign’s announcement came weeks before the council’s district lines are set to be finalized, a process which could see a campaign’s key constituencies flung into a neighboring district.

But Lisyanskiy said the latest district lines were of little concern in determining whether or not to run.

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Back in August, we received several emails from concerned residents about the nasty state of Milestone Park at 18th Avenue between 81st Street and 82nd Street. One person, or several people, had been dumping household trash in the public park.

Now reader Carmen T. has sent us a photograph that showcases an individual using the park as a personal toilet.

While it is unclear whether or not this occurrence is common, it has certainly become apparent that Milestone Park needs some extra love from us and some extra patrolling from Parks Department officials.

So, have you been to the park lately? How would you describe the state of the park?

Source: Norbert Nagel via Wikimedia Commons

Just two days after the start of the new year, a man reportedly drove his car onto the Verrazano Bridge, got out and jumped. His body has not yet been recovered, though police have a lead on his possible identity.

The car that was recovered belongs to a Canarsie woman. Her information has not been released. They believe the jumper to be her 24-year-old son.

The mother, however, is in complete denial, according to a source that spoke with the Home Reporter News:

He is my daughter’s boyfriend. She is distraught and does not want to eat or sleep, said the woman, who also lives in Canarsie and wishes to remain anonymous. She added that the man reportedly drove his mother’s car, which is still in police custody.

His mother reported him as a missing person. She is in denial. It’s just so hard to deal with, she explained, adding that he was at her home on New Year’s Eve.

We received an email from an anonymous woman who implored us for answers as to the identity of the man who committed suicide. She said that the family and friends of the presumed jumper have no answers and they feel sad and frustrated.

“Well it’s now almost a week and we still have No news. Did he really jump, where is the body?? So many questions with no answer,” she wrote.

No other updates are available at this time.

Source: Google Maps

After a three-alarm fire set a Borough Park home ablaze early Friday morning, investigators have been sifting through a load of very bizarre allegations.

The three-story home at 1029 42nd Street began to burn at about 6:30 a.m. The blaze, which may have started in the basement, quickly engulfed the entire house. Fortunately, none of the residents suffered any major injuries. Further, of the hundreds of firefighters who put the flames out, only five were treated for minor injuries.

“It’s a very labor intensive fire, we have to pull all of the walls down, pull all of the ceilings down to expose the fire and get water into those voids,” said FDNY Deputy Chief Robert Long to NY1.

While investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire, residents of the home think they know what started the flames. They’re pointing the finger at neighbors who don’t want them in the neighborhood. They claim that several other homes have been burned down over the years for the same reasons.

“I’m just really hoping that this was not intentionally set. That all of us people are not homeless because somebody wanted the property,” stated Laura Gonzalez, a resident of the charred home.

Fire reps said they will investigate all possible leads. They assure that if foul play was involved, they will get to the bottom of it.

State legislators returned to Albany today, and Southern Brooklyn’s pols went with a message: when it comes to casinos, location matters.

Several legislators joined the newly-formed Stop the Coney Island Casino organization on Monday to say that Coney Island is off limits as a casino venue, and that any attempt to change the state constitution to expand gambling will be opposed unless it includes specific locations.

“[The proposed legislation to expand gambling] must include specifically where the casinos are being planned,” said Assemblyman William Colton during the press conference. “Then we will know whether we can support or oppose such legislation. Because if we do not include that in what is going to be passed … we will be leaving the decision of whether Coney Island gets a casino not to the people of Coney Island, and not the people of Brooklyn, but to special interests.”

The press conference at the Kings Bay Y (3495 Nostrand Avenue) was the formal debut of Stop the Coney Island Casino, and featured Assemblymembers Colton and Steven Cymbrowitz, State Senator Eric Adams, Councilman David Greenfield and 45th Assembly District Leader Ari Kagan. The bi-lingual press conference drew Russian-language media outlets and about 40 attendees from Russian-American and Russian-Jewish organizations. The organizations and elected officials said they stand united in opposing a Coney Island casino, claiming it will increase crime rates, depress the community’s economy and obliterate quality of life.

“If you want to see crime go up, if you want to see traffic go up, if you want to see small businesses go out of business, then support the casino,” said Councilman Greenfield. “But if you care about the community, join together with us and stop the Coney Island casino.”

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State Senator Marty Golden. Photo by Erica Sherman

State Senator Marty Golden wants to reinstate the death penalty in New York, particularly for those who kill cops, according to a recent press release.

Golden put forward the bill in light of three cop shootings this past week.

“As a former New York City Police Officer, I know there is evil walking on the streets of the City and State of New York, endangering the lives of every single police officer…It is our responsibility to re-establish the death penalty,” Golden said in the release.

This isn’t Golden’s first attempt to bring back the death penalty, having sponsored bills that passed in the Republican Senate but failed in the Democratic Assembly.

New York State hasn’t officially executed anyone since 1963, and while Governor George Pataki in 1995 signed a statute into law allowing for lethal injections, it was declared unconstitutional in 2004 by New York’s highest court.

The practice of state executions was officially put to an end by former Governor David Paterson via executive order in 2008.

Source: joestrouth1 via Wikimedia Commons

The recent toll hike on the Verrazano Bridge was a major financial jump for many motorists. Now,  an Advance analysis of the MTA’s toll hikes through the years shows that if the increase in rates doesn’t change pace, those same motorists will be paying upwards of $20 in just five years.

Here’s the breakdown of the most recent increases according to SI Live:

Those numbers are based on the cash toll of five, 10 and 20 years ago. In other words, those numbers are based on the on the 150 percent hike since 1993, when the cash toll was $6; on the 87.5 percent hike since 2003, when it was $8; and on the 50 percent hike since 2008, when a new $10 cash toll was put in place.

A Staten Island representative for the MTA board, Allen Cappelli said that the cost might be closer to $25 in 2018.

Going further into the future, the Verrazano toll could be as high as $28 in 2023 and $37.50 in 2033. Motorists experienced four toll hikes since 2008.

“Those things are going to continue to put pressure on the MTA, and they’re going to be an excuse to raise fares and tolls,” said Capelli of health care costs, debt payments and other continued triggers for MTA’s increasing revenue needs. “This is unsustainable, for the riders and the drivers. We need to change the way the system is financed … to create sustainable revenue streams that don’t put us in that position.”

Image courtesy of Assemblyman William Colton

From the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

Declaring the B64’s return to Southwest Brooklyn a “victory we can all be proud of,” Assemblyman William Colton (D-Bensonhurst) and his Transportation Improvement Coalition Co-Chairs Mark Treyger and Priscilla Consolo have organized a Celebration Rally to mark the first day of the bus line’s return to Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Coney Island. The community celebration is scheduled for Sunday, January 6, 2013, at 11 A.M., on the corner of Bay 50th Street and Harway Avenue. Colton’s coalition is celebrating the MTA’s July 2012 decision to completely restore B64 service in Southwest Brooklyn, which was partially eliminated in 2010 due to budget cuts and sparked community uproar. The 2010 MTA cuts eliminated B64 service from 25th Avenue in Bensonhurst to Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, which negatively impacted thousands of riders and the local economy.

The Brooklyn legislator is helping organize the victory gathering to show his appreciation to the enormous support the successful B64 fight received from community leaders, groups, and residents. “Together with the help of countless individuals and community organizations who fought hard to restore B64 service in Southwest Brooklyn, we proved that there is truly strength in numbers,” asserted Assemblyman Colton. “Our formula of success was having families, children, seniors, small businesses, community groups, and concerned residents work together toward accomplishing a common goal, added Colton. “This victory marks the beginning, not the end, of our work ahead to ensure further transportation improvements in Southern Brooklyn,” Colton went on to say.

“The B64’s complete restoration is a victory that solely belongs to the families and small businesses of Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Coney Island,” insisted Co-Chair Mark Treyger, who along with Co-Chair Priscilla Consolo, assisted in organizing residents against the MTA cuts. “The MTA often loses sight of the impact its reckless decisions have on families, children, disabled persons who rely on public transportation, and small businesses. To have cut service from Bensonhurst to Coney Island, especially at a time when Coney Island’s amusement district is being revamped, was an unconscionable decision made by the MTA. I am so proud of our community for coming together and successfully pressuring the MTA to reverse course,” added Treyger.

“The restoration of the B64 is a victory for the entire neighborhood to celebrate. With the return of this vital bus line, the lives of many people, ranging from students to senior citizens to the disabled to working people, will have their quality of life improved. Restoring the B64 will mean residents will be able to travel easier and more people will have access to public transportation,” stated Co-Chair Priscilla Consolo.

From collecting thousands of petition signatures, to holding rallies, to even requesting the federal Justice Department’s intervention on behalf of people with disabilities, Colton and his coalition did not relent in their successful fight to restore bus service for Southwest Brooklyn residents. Additionally, they are determined to keep this alliance in tact to make further transportation improvements that are greatly needed.

Some of the organizations involved in helping make this victory possible include; Most Precious Blood Roman Catholic Church, Transport Workers Union, United Progressive Democratic Club, Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, Bensonhurst West End Community Council, Harway Terrace Apartments Board of Directors, Contello Towers residents, Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church, Castellammare del Golfo, Aidone Social Cultural Association, ASU of New York, Community Education Council – District 21, NIA Community Services Network, Southern Brooklyn Democrats, and the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn.

The next CEC 20 meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 9, at The Fort Hamilton School P.S. 104 at 9115 5th Avenue at 7 p.m. There will be a presentation that focuses on safety in our schools given by Community Superintendent Karina Costantino.

Source: Jim.henderson via Wikimedia Commons

The two officers shot in the January 3 gun battle at the Fort Hamilton N train station are expected to survive. The suspect, however, was killed.

The plainclothes policemen were riding a Manhattan-bound N train that had pulled  into the Fort Hamilton stop when they noticed a walking man between the cars, according to DNA info. The officers approached the man and asked for his identification. He stood up, reached into his waistband and pulled a 9-millimeter Taurus gun on the cops. Then, he fired.

Officer Lukasz Kozicki, was hit in the legs and groin, and Officer Michael Levay, a Bensonhurst resident, took a hit in the back. Levay had on a bullet-proof vest.

Levay then returned the shot and killed the suspect. A straphanger in the same cart was injured when one of the bullets grazed his leg.

Witnesses on the scene said that everyone on the train was panicked. People ran from the subway platform and many fell as they scrambled to hide out.

The shootout in the subway car took place only an hour after Officer Juan Pichardo was shot in The Bronx. He is expected to live as well.

Senator Marty Golden responded to the incidents by focusing attention on re-establishing the death penalty. On his Facebook page he writes:

In the wake of the shooting of three New York City Police Officers this week, and the killing of a Nassau County police officer last fall, today I have renewed my call to reinstate the death penalty for criminals who kill police officers.

As a former New York City Police Officer, I know there is evil walking on the streets of the City and State of New York, endangering the lives of every single police officer. We only have to look at yesterday’s headlines for the latest tragic incidents. It is our responsibility to re-establish the death penalty. We can no longer sit back and watch ruthless murderers take the lives of police officers. New York needs the death penalty to protect our society and our police officers who risk their lives every day for our safety and well-being. We must not let danger rule our streets.

In 2004, the Court of Appeals overturned death penalty sentences, saying that judges were improperly required to instruct jurors in capital cases that if they deadlocked and failed to reach a verdict during the penalty phase of a trial, the judge would impose a sentence that would leave the defendant eligible for parole after 20 to 25 years.

The identity of the man who shot the officers on the train is being withheld until his family has been notified. Police did say that he has a lengthy rap sheet from New York and Los Angeles, which includes a bust for possession of a deadly weapon.