Subscribe for FREE with:

Archive for the tag 'hurricane sandy relief'

Image via

Image via

City Council candidates John Lisyanskiy is outraged over the latest mailer distributed by the Small Business Coalition, one of several PACs throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race to replace term-limited Domenic Recchia, which claims that he profited from Superstorm Sandy price gouging.

The mailer, seen above, claims that Lisyanskiy took contributions from a gas station owner who allegedly jacked up prices in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The group is backed by a collection of Sephardic Jewish business owners who have spent nearly $20,000 in support of Lisyanskiy’s rival, Mark Treyger, and nearly $8,000 to bash Lisyanskiy.

Lisyanskiy expressed anger in a press release over the political ad pictured above and highlighted his post-Sandy works in response:

“I am disgusted and angered by a recent mail piece that accused me of profiting at the expense of Hurricane Sandy victims,” John Lisyanskiy, 47th District City Council Candidate said. “It is sickening that anyone would stoop so low as to insinuate that I exploited the families I had just helped in return for a few bucks. After hurricane Sandy Hit on October 29th 2012, lives hung in the balance. These were real people, seniors, children and families without electricity, heat, running water or medical supplies. For ten days, I lived and worked out of my car to organize hundreds of volunteers to help bring food, water and medical attention to those in need. Afterwards, I was appointed by the City Council to be the official envoy to the devastated areas of Southern Brooklyn where I had spent four months without a day off. In that role, I was overseeing the relief and recovery efforts and making sure that the City, State and Federal resources were being delivered to those in need. Additionally, I helped organize and coordinate the largest relief site in Coney Island at MCU Park, which served thousands of people on the Coney Island peninsula.”

Last week, we reported that Lisyanskiy attacked opponent Mark Treyger, saying that Treyger is in the pocket of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), a powerful real estate interest. REBNY is supporting. Treyger through the Jobs for New York PAC, in an effort Lisyanskiy has characterized as misleading to voters. In his release, Lisyanskiy again attacked Jobs for NY and the Small Business Coalition in his statement, and cautioned voters on the groups’ interest in the race.

“Jobs for New York, the political action committee for the billion-dollar real estate industry and the Small Business Coalition are responsible for these attacks. Corporate Tycoons don’t care about the larger civic good, or constructive ideas that move our community forward. They are interested in two things only, getting richer and instilling fear and blame. That is how they win elections. There have been countless times qualified and dedicated candidates have been destroyed by machines like these,” Lisyanskiy said.

Business-backed PACs, or independent spenders, are a recent phenomenon in City Council races, having poured more than $10 million into races across the five boroughs. The groups can raise and spend an unlimited amounts of funds, but are legally barred from communicating or coordinating with campaigns. Lisyanskiy and others have called on those candidates receiving their support to denounce the ads. While one local candidate in a neighboring district has done just that, Treyger remains silent on the issue.

Assembly members Matthew Titone, Nicole Malliotakis, Michael Cusick and Joe Borelli during yesterday’s press conference. Source: Malliotakis’ Office

Three Southern Brooklyn Assembly members joined a bipartisan group of colleagues during a press conference yesterday to demand that Governor Andrew Cuomo waive registration fees and up to $1,000 worth of state sales tax on vehicles purchased by those whose previous vehicle was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Nicole Malliotakis, William Colton and Alec Brook-Krasny — also joined by Staten Island Assembly members Michael Cusick, Joe Borelli, Matthew Titone, Joseph Saladino and Brian Curran — are also pushing for rebates on sales tax already paid on such purchases.

Malliotakis, whose district covers both Bay Ridge and a swath of Staten Island that was devastated by Sandy, said that, “The victims of Hurricane Sandy have been left in personal and financial ruin. We must do all we can to ease the long rebuilding process.” The Transportation Committee member went on to explain that: “By eliminating registration fees and up to $1,000 worth of state sales tax for vehicle purchasers whose car was destroyed by the storm, we are extending a helping hand to those who need it most. We are creating incentives for consumers to shop in-state, helping dealerships that were also impacted by the storm and avoiding any state budget shortfalls as this revenue could not have been anticipated prior to the storm. Helping our neighbors rebuild is the right thing to do, and this measure will ease the crushing burden that so many of our families are feeling.”

Her partners in government concurred.

Borelli explained that “the rebuilding process is one that will not happen over night” and that “Anything we can do to help make the rebuilding process easier must be done,” while Lopez pointed out that “These storms have united upstate and downstate with a common understanding of how fragile our communities are.” He has urged for movement on the issue, “to provide the same benefit to those devastated by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.”

Much of Brook-Krasny’s Southwest Brooklyn district, which covers parts of Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Sea Gate and Bay Ridge was also heavily affected by the October superstorm.

To see Malliotakis’ comments during the press conference, click here.

(ltr) Mark Treyger, Coney Island resident and Sandy victim John Quintana and Assemblyman Colton. Source: Assemblyman Colton’s office.

From the office of Assemblyman William Colton:

Brooklyn Assemblyman William Colton (D-Bensonhurst) and community leader Mark Treyger are asking Governor Cuomo to issue an executive order requiring the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles to waive and refund costly registration and plate transfer fees that have socked thousands of Hurricane Sandy victims. Assemblyman Colton penned a letter to the governor asking him to proceed with this proposal as part of the state’s overall response plan to assist victims who have been severely affected by the wrath of Sandy.

In addition to the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy evidenced across the tri-state region, it is estimated that over 200,000 cars were lost in the NY area alone due to the salt-water packed storm surge that pummeled the Northeast during Sandy’s landfall.

As countless victims are still trying to pick up the pieces of their lives following Sandy, many are being forced to confront unfair and costly fees to replace their lost vehicles. New York State residents who purchased or leased another car to replace a car they lost because of the storm are being charged hefty registration and plate transfer fees. One Coney Island resident, John Quintana, who along with suffering extensive damage to his home, was hit with an exorbitant fee totaling over $800 to replace three vehicles lost to Sandy’s wrath. Mr. Quintana is one of the thousands of Sandy victims that is grappling with financial burdens as he tries to recover and move on with his life after Sandy.

That is why Assemblyman William Colton (D-Bensonhurst) and community leader Mark Treyger are urging the DMV to act swiftly and waive all registration and plate transfer fees for Sandy victims. “Victims of Hurricane Sandy are going through too much in their lives to be told to pay up a lot more. The DMV needs to do the right thing and exempt Sandy victims from these exorbitant fees,” asserted Assemblyman Colton, who is a member of the New York Assembly’s Ways and Means committee. “This is the least that the government can do to help struggling Sandy victims recover and move on with their lives,” added community leader Mark Treyger, who has been working closely with Assemblyman Colton on advancing this relief plan.

Their proposal would also retroactively apply to those victims who have already replaced their vehicles and paid either new registration or plate transfer fees since the storm. Once verified by insurance claim paperwork, the state would reimburse or waive the hefty fees levied against New York victims.

The DMV is currently waiving the fee to replace lost registration documents and license plates due to Sandy, which can add up to $28. However, the agency is not waiving the more hefty cost of registering a newly acquired vehicle or transferring plates from the replaced vehicle, which can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars. “Since it is estimated that over 200,000 cars were lost in NY due to Sandy, New Yorkers are not asking the state to mail them a replacement registration for their lost vehicle. Instead, New York victims are being told by the DMV to pay up the cost of registering a new vehicle or transferring plates to a new vehicle,” insisted Colton.

As Assemblyman Colton and community leader Treyger await word from Governor Cuomo on their relief proposal, they are urging Sandy victims, who have had to pay these costly DMV fees to replace their lost vehicles, to contact the assemblyman’s office at 718-236-1598 and ask for Mark Treyger. They will make note of all cases and present them to state leaders while urging them to expeditiously implement the proposed relief plan.


Michael Sciaraffo’s Secret Sandy Clause toy collection. Image courtesy of
Sciaraffo’s Facebook page

When it comes to making sure that the youngest victim’s of Hurricane Sandy have a great Christmas, there is no shortage of bighearted locals.

Gravesend resident Michael Sciaraffo has been a one man Sandy relief machine. He started by collecting essential supplies for relief efforts with Facebook appeals and eventually moved on bringing holiday gifts to kids whose families are struggling.

“This was my home, and I felt compelled to do something about it,” Sciaraffo said to NY 1.”I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing. So I said ‘You know what? I am going to mobilize.”

Michael Sciaraffo’s Secret Sandy Clause event. Image courtesy of
Sciaraffo’s Facebook page

He collected over 200 toys from a Secret Sandy Claus event he hosted. Then, instead of just dropping the toys off at centers, he decided to don a Santa suit and deliver them himself to bring that extra bit of cheer to kids.

His first stop was the McGowan family on Bevy Court in Gerritsen Beach. The family has been living out of a trailer on their lawn because their home was completely destroyed by Sandy.

“A lot of times, they ask, they want to go home and they want their toys,” said Mom Elizabeth McGowan. “I’m telling them that Santa Claus is coming and they are going to get toys. And he showed up and that will mean the world to them.”

Sciaraffo is nowhere near done. His list includes hundreds of kids from all over the five boroughs. He said that personally recalls the importance toys play in a child’s life and wants to make sure that these kids have a joy-filled Christmas in spite of their difficulties.

To donate toys, call 646-623-7542 or email

An emergency meeting. Photo courtesy of the Workers Justice Project/Proyecto Justicia Laboral

For more than 12 years, a center in Bensonhurst provided a myriad of services for day laborers and undocumented workers. The laborers depended on the center to keep them off the streets and help connect them to employers. Officials depended on the center because it helped to ensure the safety of the laborers and employers.

When Hurricane Sandy destroyed the space, it forced everyone to start from scratch.

Continue Reading »


Councilman Domenic Recchia will be joining Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to create and manage the Brooklyn Recovery Fund, a fiscal response for those battered by Hurricane Sandy.

The Brooklyn Recovery Fund collect donations and and distribute donations among communities that need it most after Sandy.

Thus far, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Forest City Ratner Companies, the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center donated $100,000, for a total of $400,000.

“Hurricane Sandy made a devastating impact on Brooklyn, one that unfortunately is going to have a long-lasting impact on our friends, neighbors, and communities. I am proud to join the efforts of the Brooklyn Community Foundation in establishing the Brooklyn Recovery Fund to help provide aid to those in our community who need it most,” said Recchia to

Anyone interested in donating to the Brooklyn Recovery Fund can do so at 100 percent of every donation will go to supporting Brooklynites in need after Sandy.

A shelter volunteer has given the following update regarding the FDR shelter location (20th Avenue and 58th Street): Evacuees will be relocated throughout today to different locations because school is due to start on Wednesday.

Volunteers are needed to help in the relocating process. This includes, but is not limited to, assisting city workers with Russian translations in filling out FEMA forms for the elderly and helping ease the transition of those moving from the shelter.

Also, clothing is discouraged as it takes up too much manpower to sort through. However, large and extra large sizes will still be accepted. Heavy coats and jackets are needed too. As well as new undergarments, socks, and baby clothes and supplies.