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Archive for the tag 'marty golden'

State Senator Marty Golden will be hosting two annual Easter egg hunts for the children and families of his district. Each Easter Egg Hunt event, in Marine Park and Bay Ridge, includes games, music, and activities for the whole family, as well as prizes for the children.

The first one will be held April 6 at 2:00 p.m. in Marine Park, at Fillmore Avenue and Madison Place, followed by the second one, which will be held April 12 at 2:00 p.m. in Shore Road Park, at Shore Road and 79th Street.

To learn more, call Golden’s District Office at (718) 238-6044.

Source: Nathan James/Flickr

Legislation aimed at reducing auto insurance fraud in New York State passed the Senate on Monday, bringing the bill which allows insurance companies to retroactively cancel the policies of fraudsters one step closer to law.

The Senate bill was sponsored by State Senator Marty Golden, who describes it in this press release:

Today the New York State Senate passed S1959A, sponsored by Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), which allows insurance companies to retroactively cancel policies taken out by people who commit auto fraud. These criminals often take out policies and pay for them with bad checks or stolen credit cards just before they stage accidents. Under current law, insurance companies cannot cancel the policy and policyholders wind up paying for it through higher premiums. This bill would take that burden off honest consumers and therefore lower the insurance rates.

“Auto insurance fraud is costing New Yorkers millions of dollars, and it’s time that fair and honest members of our community stop paying for the crimes of others,” stated Senator Golden. “This legislation will give insurance companies the right to revoke insurance policies for those who try to game the system.”

This measure would bring New York in line with the other large no-fault states and remove any incentives for staged accidents. In fact, only seven other states (AZ, CO, KS, ME, MD, NC and SD) do not allow for retroactive cancellation. Innocent victims of uninsured drivers would be covered under their own policy or the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation.

The bill, which you can read here, now moves onto the Democratic-led Assembly, where it has support from a number of Democrats, including local Assembly members Steven Cymbrowitz and Dov Hikind.

Previous versions of this bill – and two others passed by the Senate to combat auto fraud – died in the Assembly.

Auto fraud continues to be an ongoing issue in Southern Brooklyn. The longest-running and largest auto insurance scam ring in history ended in April 2012, when authorities busted 36 individuals – many of them Southern Brooklyn residents – using anti-Mafia RICO laws. The individuals were accused of exploiting New York’s “no-fault” insurance law, which allows drives and passengers to obtain up to $50,000 for accidents injuries regardless of fault.

Prior to that, another ring was busted in Brooklyn, leading to the arrest of 16 people for allegedly ripping off companies for $400,000 between 2009 and 2011.

A smart chip-equipped credit card. (Source: DennisSylvesterHurd/Flickr)

State Senator Marty Golden, citing a rise in credit card fraud in his district and beyond, is touting legislation he co-sponsored last month that would require credit card companies to install smart chip technology in every card issued to a New York State resident.

Golden held a press conference in Bay Ridge on Friday to advocate for the legislation, saying that merchants in his district have reported a spate of credit and debit card fraud, as well as “hackers” who have stolen data from local businesses. He was joined by Third Avenue Merchants Association President Robert Howe as well as Dimitri Akhrin, president of the Bank Associates Merchant Services.

“This legislation would require smart chip technology to be incorporated in our debit and credit cards to help protect against identity theft. Over the past few weeks, my district has been targeted by hackers who have been able to break through the security walls of some local stores. The false charges reported to my office have been made in Brooklyn, Long Island, Connecticut and event [sic] Puerto Rico,” said Senator Golden in a press release.

The senator cited Bureau of Justice Statistics reports estimating that 16.6 million people have suffered from identity theft in 2012 to 2013, 15.3 million of whom had an incident involving a debit or credit card.

According to tech site NerdWallet, manufacturers and advocates say smart chips are a safer alternative to magnetic stripe cards. Smart chips store encrypted account information and cannot be read by swiping. Instead they’re scanned into a terminal that reads the chip and can require a pin number to decrypt the chip’s information. They are not susceptible to common data scamming techniques as are magnetic strips, such as swiping, which allows fraudsters doubling as waiters or cashiers to discreetly pass your card through a handheld device that stores the card’s data.

Smart chips do have their own vulnerabilities, but the website notes that implementation in Europe has seen dramatic decreases in fraud.

The bill, which can be read here, was introduced on February 14 by upstate Senator Joseph Griffo with Golden as a co-sponsor. The Assembly version was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny.

American companies have been slow to adopt the technology because of the cost of replacing existing systems, including in-store point-of-sale systems and ATMs. The legislation does not address who will foot the bill, suggesting the business-owners will have to invest in new hardware if the law passes.

The suspects (via Gothamist)

The suspects (via Gothamist)

Prosecutors charged six men for operating three phone delivery services that allegedly provided clients with narcotics, steroids and marijuana to locations in Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Sunset Park.

The charges came after an undercover investigation and wiretaps conducted by the NYPD and the Brooklyn district attorney that recorded the suspects taking orders and sending deliverymen to meet customers in bars and street corners.

Vincent Alfonso, Vincent Felix, Adam Veit, Francesco Lozado, Victor Moreno and Robert Kollbeck were all arrested last week as part of the investigation.

“As this investigation demonstrates, careful coordination with the NYPD allowed us to break up this delivery-by-car drug dealing network. We will continue to work day and night with the NYPD to fight drug dealing that occurs anywhere in Brooklyn. The cost in lives is too high not to make this a priority,” said District Attorney Kenneth Thompson in a statement.

Alfonso, Felix and Veit were under investigation since July 2012, and, according to the district attorney, operated a sophisticated drug delivery service with a “one stop shopping” model, through which they sold cocaine, marijuana and MDMA. A search of their property turned up all three drugs, as well as scales and packaging materials.

Lozada and Moreno operated a separate cocaine and crack cocaine distribution service, according to Thomspon. A search of Lozado’s properties turned up cocaine, a loaded 9mm pistol, a loaded .45 caliber pistol and approximately $20,000 cash.

Kollbeck allegedly dealt in ketamine – or Special K – and anabolic steroids at least as far back as September 2013. A search of his property turned up a large quantity of anabolic steroids.

According to the district attorney, the investigations kicked off after neighbors and community leaders complained about the presence of drug dealers, and several overdose deaths occurred in the neighborhood.

Local pols praised investigators for the bust.

“I commend the NYPD and Kings County District Attorney Ken Thompson for their swift and decisive action in taking these dealers off the street. Thanks to tips from active and concerned residents from Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst, along with a strong joint law enforcement effort, today we are sending a clear message that drugs and drug activity of any kind in our neighborhoods and on our residential streets will not be tolerated,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile.

“I commend the work of the New York City Police Department, and hope that the Brooklyn District Attorney charges these individuals to the fullest extent of the law, so that they are not back out on our streets in no time, destroying our quality of life,” said State Senator Marty Golden. “The war on drugs is not over and we must remain vigilant in reporting drug activity, and I encourage residents to continue to work with me to eradicate this problem.”

Prosecutors have started civil proceedings to seize the suspects’ property, including vehicles and bank accounts.

The tattoo given to a sedated dog that sparked outrage last week. (Source: Instragram via Post)

After a news story went viral last week about a Prospect Heights tattoo artist who gave his elderly dog some ink while he was still under anesthesia from an unrelated surgery, State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis have reintroduced a 2012 bill to ban animal piercings and tattoos statewide.

A joint press release issued by the Republican lawmakers directly attributed the bill’s revival to the New York Post news story about Mistah Metro.

“Animals should not undergo cosmetic surgeries, tattoos and piercing, not only because it is cruel, but general anesthesia puts them at a tremendous health risk. Seeing this practice become more and more common is incredibly disturbing. These animals can not give consent and end up suffering from the pain of recovery and possible infection, or post-surgery complications,” said Malliotakis in the release.

The dog in the Post story was under general anesthesia because it was having its spleen removed. The tattoo artist said he received the veterinarian’s blessing to do the artwork. But pet piercings and tattoos smack of abuse, the pols argued.

“As an owner of two dogs, I am horrified by how people mistreat animals that have long have been rightly named ‘man’s best friend’. Tattooing a dog is a form of abuse, and New York State should not stand for it,” Golden said.

Malliotakis first introduced the bill in 2012 after viewing “Pet Crazy,” a 20/20 segment about pet owners who tattoo and pierce their animals.

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

The campaign to pressure the Metropolitan Transit Authority to expand the multi-trip discount toll discount plan on the Verrazano-Narrows bridge to Brooklynites has kicked up a notch, with Senator Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis launching a petition and website to that end.

The petition is hosted at TheTollsAreTooDamnHigh.com, It reads:

In 2012, in response to public outcry, the Port Authority created a bridge discount program, providing Brooklyn residents traveling over the Goethals Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing, and the Bayonne Bridge three times or more a month with a 58% discount.

Senator Golden has proposed that the MTA provide the same plan for Brooklynites who frequently use the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Assemblywoman Malliotakis has joined him to create this petition to help residents facing skyrocketing tolls when crossings the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Under the plan, residents traveling over the Verrazano Bridge would receive a 58% discount from the $15 cash price to be applied to EZ-Pass holders who travel over the bridge 3 or more times a month. This means that an EZ-Pass holder would see their toll price reduced from roughly $10.50 to $6.30.

Residents can sign the petition by visiting the website, or one of the elected officials’ district offices.

In February, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a deal giving Staten Island EZ-Pass holders a toll break on the Verrazano Bridge. The plan grants Island commuters the discount laid out in the Golden-Malliotakis petition, but denies it to residents of other boroughs.

Area pols immediately criticized the deal, calling it unfair that Brooklynites were left out. Golden, Councilmember Vincent Gentile, State Senator Diane Savino and Borough President Eric Adams all spoke out against it. Gentile later introduced a resolution to the City Council calling for the MTA to give Brooklyn residents a matching deal.

Golden and Malliotakis launched their petition Friday.

“The rising cost of the Verrazano Bridge toll has become prohibitive not only for Staten Island residents, but for Brooklyn residents as well,” said Golden in a press release. “Even though people who live in my district are going the opposite way of those who live in Staten Island, the cost is the same, and therefore, the discount should be the same.”

On the news of the petition’s launch, Gentile and Adams released a joint statement praising the effort and calling for unity in the fight for toll equity:

We thank State Senator Golden and Assembly Member Malliotakis for joining our community’s fight to address disparity in the new tolling plan for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. We cannot stand for the unfair penalizing of Brooklynites that work, go to school or have family members on Staten Island, Brooklynites that use this bridge every day. In this spirit, we are jointly introducing a City Council resolution calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority to consider the impact of the current pricing scheme on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on both the residents of Brooklyn and Staten Island. Both boroughs, as well as the elected officials who represent them, need to stand in unity on this issue. That is why we will be proud to be among the first to sign the new petition calling for toll relief for Brooklynites, and that is why we look forward to furthering our efforts to achieve a truly ‘fair fare’ on this thoroughfare.

State Senator Marty Golden. Photo by Erica Sherman

State Senator Marty Golden said he won’t support the New York Dream Act, legislation that would allow undocumented residents in New York to have access to tuition assistance for higher education.

Up until recently, Golden wouldn’t have even needed to address this issue because the bill seemed all but dead. The bill was first introduced three years ago by Senator Bill Perkins and had never gained much steam, according to an article by NBC New York. But with the support of New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio and several Democratic lawmakers, the bill has gained momentum.

It passed in the Democratic-led Assembly and now waits approval in the Senate – where Republicans and conservative Democrats are stalling. Golden is among those opposed to the bill.

NBC New York writes:

Advocates for the Dream Act say they hope to convince Republican Sens. Martin Golden, Lee Zeldin and Andrew Lanza to back the legislation. Golden said he doesn’t support the Dream Act, but would back a “Dream Fund” to provide scholarships through private sources. Zeldin and Lanza didn’t return calls seeking comment.

If passed, the bill would include a budget of $25 million through the Tuition Assistance Program for illegal immigrant students in public and private colleges.

It’s unclear how many students would be able to access this fund but according to a report  by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, 8,300 such students in the CUNY and SUNY systems would qualify. Currently, New York’s laws are more lenient than many other states when dealing with such students. It is among 16 states that  allow those students to pay in-state tuition, which is significantly cheaper than paying out-of-state rates.

John Gangemi

John Gangemi

State Senator Marty Golden will see a challenge in this year’s state election from former Democratic City Councilman John Gangemi, Politicker reports.

Gangemi most recently made news when he ran an unsuccessful and largely unfunded primary campaign for Brooklyn borough president, although he was booted from the ballot before election day.

“Yes, I’m running,” Mr. Gangemi told Politicker. “Why not? Listen, I have 50 years of experience. I’m a former elected official, a former prosecutor … I don’t agree with [Mr. Golden's] philosophy, I don’t agree with his legislation. I think it’s time for a change. He doesn’t reflect the neighborhood and community he was elected to represent.”

Gangemi, a Bensonhurst resident with a law practice in Bay Ridge, served as a councilman-at-large in the 1970s, representing the entire borough before that office was eliminated.

Until his bid for borough president, his career in politics remained dormant for more than 30 years, with the exception of support for Mark Murphy’s failed bid to unseat Michael Grimm, according to the Daily News.

Golden last faced an opponent in 2012, when upstart Democrat Andrew Gournardes scored 41.9 percent of the vote – a significant amount considering Golden’s far superior name recognition and fundraising.

gentile

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Vincent Gentile:

At a press conference this past Saturday, Council Member Vincent J. Gentile and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced that they are introducing a City Council resolution to address disparity in the proposed new tolling plan for the Verrazano Bridge, which was publicized last week by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The resolution, which Gentile will co-sponsor with Borough President Adams in the New York City Council, calls on Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature to ensure community equity in the setting or adjusting of bridge and tunnel tolls.

Council Member Gentile, who represented parts of Staten Island as a New York State Senator from 1997-2002, commended Governor Cuomo for the sweeping discount plan, which will provide a significant discount from current toll rates for Staten Islanders, while expressing his feeling that it doesn’t go quite far enough.

“I’m all for lowering tolls for hardworking Staten Islanders but the fact is this deal is one sided and does not include Brooklyn,” said Council Member Gentile. “We cannot pit borough against borough. This is one bridge with two sides. To recognize the toll burdens for residents on one side of the bridge, we must recognize the toll burdens for the residents on the other side of the bridge. To do anything less would give a new definition of highway robbery for Brooklynites. That is why, through a City Council resolution, I am calling on the State to ensure community equity in the setting and adjusting of bridge and tunnel tolls. There are many, many Brooklynites who commute to Staten Island on a daily basis and that needs to be addressed.”

“We must have a fair decrease of the fare on the Verrazano Bridge,” said Borough President Adams. “This is an important pocketbook issue. Many people don’t know that Borough Presidents can introduce legislation; I’m happy this is the first piece of legislation that I will be co-introducing with Council Member Gentile. It sends the right message that we must use government to alleviate the burdens that impact everyday Brooklynites. What we’re asking the Governor and our legislators to do is we want to have a fair fare on the Verrazano Bridge; that’s what this resolution is about. We are not going to create a two-tiered system where we’re allowing one side of a waterway to be treated differently than another side.”

Gentile and Adams were joined by elected officials, Community Board 10 leadership and local affected residents, all of whom joined in the unified message of equity in lowering tolls for Brooklyn and Staten Island commuters alike.

“I am proud to stand with my colleagues in Brooklyn on the issue of toll relief,” said State Senator Diane Savino. “We saw what happen in Staten Island when both sides of the aisle work together for a common goal. Together we were able to achieve the first-ever toll reduction for Staten Island residents; it was difficult, but we did it. Those Brooklyn residents that use the Verrazano often should be able to get some relief also.”

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Vincent Gentile. Earlier this morning, State Senator Marty Golden issued a similar demand

Today Governor Andrew Cuomo announces a long-awaited deal which will give Staten Island E-ZPass holders a big toll break on the Verrazano Bridge – a deal that has left Councilman Vincent J. Gentile once again demanding, “What about Brooklyn?!”

Councilman Gentile, who represented parts of Staten Island as a New York State Senator from 1997-2002, commended Governor Cuomo for the sweeping discount plan which will provide a significant discount from current toll rates for Staten Islanders but feels it doesn’t go quite far enough.

“I’m all for lowering tolls for hardworking New Yorkers but the fact is this deal is one sided and does not include Brooklyn – perhaps someone forgot that the bridge has two sides!,” Councilman Gentile said. “This is a tale of two boroughs!”

“My council district surrounds the Brooklyn end of the Verrazano Bridge and every day residents travel across that bridge to and from the College of Staten Island or Wagner College, or to see their parents or loved ones in nursing homes or to work or shop at the mall,” Gentile continued. “These residents in the zip-codes surrounding the Verrazano have to pay considerably more than their Staten Island neighbors every time they use this bridge. At $15 a pop, this is completely unjustifiable not to mention a serious burden on the wallet.”

Gentile is once again calling on the Governor to extend the same discount plan for residents on the “other” side of the bridge in southwest Brooklyn.

“For local people who need to cross the Verrazano Bridge on a daily or frequent basis, the same discount on the bridge should apply as the discount given to Staten Islanders. If the Port Authority can work this out for the bridges they operate, so can the MTA!”

Councilman Gentile has offered several times to convene a meeting of state legislators and MTA officials to work out an equitable discount plan for Brooklynites.

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