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Archive for the tag 'peter abbate'

Election Day

Bensonhurst appears to have had a strong turnout at the polling booths this morning, thanks, in part, to sunny skies.

There were folks out campaigning for Assemblyman Peter Abbate, and Democratic candidate James Kemmerer,  Congressman Michael Grimm and State Senator Marty Golden. A dog (and his owner) even trekked out from Windsor Terrace to lobby for the Democratic ticket.


“The turnout has been pretty brisk and the weather has a lot to do with it,” said Steven Depace, voting coordinator at P.S. 186 on 19th Avenue. “During the primaries only 20 to 30 people came out, but now we have more than double that and it’s still the slow part of the day.”

Similarly, P.S. 205 on 20th Avenue saw a really strong turnout. By 10am, there was already a 175 percent increase in voters from the numbers the school saw during the primary elections, according to volunteer Elisha Petito.


Some folks were still confused by the new fangled voting machines, though they’ve been around for two years, and at Brooklyn Studio Secondary School on 21st Avenue, two machines had technical difficulties and were not up and running until 9am. Luckily the crowds were pretty thin at that location and people weren’t waiting too long to cast their vote, according to one volunteer.

Still haven’t made it out to the polls? Here’s everything you need to know to cast your vote.

MTA MetroCard Bus. Photo by Trevor Logan, Jr. Source: TransitTalk / Transportation Media Group

MTA MetroCard Bus. Photo by Trevor Logan, Jr. Source: TransitTalk / Transportation Media Group

Assemblyman Peter Abbate. Photo by Erica Sherman

Assemblyman Peter Abbate. Photo by Erica Sherman

Assemblyman Peter Abbate will be bringing the MTA MetroCard Bus to his Community Office, 6605 Fort Hamilton Parkway, tomorrow, October 29 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

If you are 65 years of age or older or have a disability that qualifies, you are eligible to receive Reduced-Fare MetroCard discounts (a reduced fare is half fare).

The MTA Reduced-Fare MetroCard is personalized with your name and photograph and works the same as a regular MetroCard. You can buy unlimited rides or you can pay-per-ride.

Reduced-fares are also available with any of the following forms of identification: NYC Department of the Aging ID card, Access-A-Ride ID card, Medicare card, or an MTA Reduced-Fare ID card (pre-1995).

You can apply for the Senior Half-Fare MetroCard and receive one right on the spot, provided you are the proper age (65 years and older) and have the appropriate forms of identification with you.

For further information, call Assemblyman Abbate’s Community Office at (718) 232-9565.

(source: Michael Appleton for NY Times)

Mayoral candidate John Liu (Source: Michael Appleton for NY Times).

Queens-based Comptroller John Liu has gained the support of prominent Southern Brooklyn Democrats in his bid to for mayor. Politicker is reporting that demographics and Liu’s popularity among Asian communities in Southern Brooklyn have led to endorsements, despite Liu’s flagging campaign.

Liu’s campaign for mayor is not going so great, with most polls placing him in fifth place. Despite the long odds, Liu is enjoying the support of Assembylmen William Colton and Peter Abbate and prominent City Council candidates Mark Treyger and Ari Kagan. Politicker described the ringing endorsements expressed by Colton at a recent event:

“When you listen to the people, when you listen in the schools, when you listen in the senior centers, when you listen in the houses, you find you hear something very different than what these polls are saying,” boomed Assemblyman Bill Colton yesterday at a small Bensonhurst park, as Mr. Liu, the comptroller, stood at his side. “Don’t listen to polls, don’t listen to the propaganda that is put forth by those who want to keep power for themselves.”

At the event, Mr. Colton and Mark Treyger, a former Colton staffer running for a Coney Island-based City Council seat with a mass of labor and official endorsements, both announced their support for Mr. Liu, who in turn backed Mr. Treyger.

In their remarks, Mr. Colton and Mr. Treyger cited their long-standing ties to Mr. Liu, whom they said, as a councilman, had lent his assistance to quell racially-motivated violence at a local school even though Mr. Liu served in Queens.

The endorsements of Colton, Abbate, Treyger and Kagan come as no surprise considering the strong and growing Asian presence in districts these politicians operate in. In August, we reported on a map, based on the latest census data, that color-coded Brooklyn based on race and ethnicity. Based on the map, the concentration of Asian community members in the 43rd, 47th and 48th districts are clearly strong.

district-census-overlay2Politicker broke down the numbers and explained the importance for Southern Brooklyn politicians in courting the Asian vote:

Mr. Abbate and Mr. Colton’s districts, roping in parts of Bensonhurst, are 51 and 32 percent Asian respectively, according to Census data. The district Mr. Treyger is seeking to represent is a quarter Asian. Even Mr. Kagan’s district, predominately Russian and Orthodox Jewish, has a 14 percent chunk of Asian voters.

“John Liu is enormously popular in Chinese-American and Asian neighborhoods. It is a community notoriously difficult to poll,” Michael Tobman, a consultant who works with Messers. Colton, Treyger and Kagan, told Politicker. Still, he stressed that personal ties had superseded political motivations in the cases of their endorsements. “Whatever the numbers are, they’re low.”

Liu dismissed the endorsements as being purely political.

“It’s because of these particular individuals I have worked with for a very long time,” Liu told Politicker.

From left to right, Assemblyman Peter Abbate, honoree Qinq Chen, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilman Vincent Gentile (Photo by Kathryn Kirk via Stefan Ringel)

From left to right, Assemblyman Peter Abbate, honoree Qing Chen, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilman Vincent Gentile (Photo by Kathryn Kirk via Stefan Ringel)

When baby Ayana was spotted crawling on an awning on 18th Avenue, Qing Chen sprung to action, climbed out onto the awning and grabbed the 18-month-old child. Chen was honored yesterday for his heroics by a slew of public officials with a ‘Qing Chen Recognition Day’ proclamation.

As we reported last week, a baby had slipped through an air-conditioning unit, landing on the awning of Computer Tenda Tech (8015 18th Avenue). The 27-year-old Chen, who works at Pure Health Pharmacy (8014 18th Avenue) across the street, sprinted to the apartment and grabbed the baby before she was seriously hurt.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz was proud to honor Chen for his deeds.

“Qing Chen’s quick thinking, determination and compassion saved little Ayana’s life. He is an example of the courage that resides in all of us to help our fellow Brooklynite in their hour of need. I join all Brooklynites in applauding his courage,” Markowitz said in a press release.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate and Councilman Vincent Gentile joined Markowitz, and doled out their own honors.

A hearty congratulations to Chen from the staff of Bensonhurst Bean.

Source: krissikes/Flickr

Lawmakers in Albany aren’t subjected to term limits and the Conservative Party wants to change that. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle is reporting that Conservative Party chairman Mike Long is pushing an effort to bring term limits to the New York State Senate, Assembly and governor posts.

The call to ask legislators to limit the amount of time they can serve in office is a tough sell. Besides the power and prestige that comes with being a New York State lawmaker, entrenched senators and assemblymembers make $79,500 a year plus a per diem ($171 per full day, $61 per half day). Governors get $170,050 plus a mansion. Combined with access to taxpayer funded healthcare benefits, that is a decent chunk of change. Oh, and did we mention, it’s the legislators who have to write their term limits into law?

Still, party leaders like Long believe it is an effective way to weed out corruption and keep politicians more focused.

“We hear a lot of talk about fixing Albany and about getting rid of the corruption. But nothing they’re doing is going to address the problem,” Long told the Daily Eagle. “If legislators knew they only had a limited time to serve, they would concentrate on getting things done for the benefit of New Yorkers, instead of putting all of their focus into getting re-elected.”

Long’s plan would call for limiting the governor to two terms (eight years) and a maximum of 12 years for Assembly and Senate members (six terms). Long acknowledged that the effort to install term limits would not be popular with the lawmakers themselves and he is considering other options, even if that means ending the careers of some of the most powerful members that his party has endorsed:

Long knows that his party is facing an uphill battle on the term limits front. “It’s pretty hard to get legislators to term limit themselves,” he said. If appealing to the lawmakers’ consciences doesn’t work, the Conservatives will consider pushing for a public referendum to be put on the ballot, similar to how the term limits law was passed in New York City.

Long said he is also aware that the entire legislator would be painted with the same broad term limits brush. If it passed, lawmakers the party has endorsed, like state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) would be term limited. “It would apply to everyone,” he said.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D), who has served the Bensonhurst for 26 years, came out against Long’s plan.

“The people should make the decision. Look at the mess term limits have caused in the city,” Abbate told the Daily Eagle. “You have people trying to move up to higher offices because they know they can’t run for re-election. And you have people running for office who are not ready. They’re running just because the seat is open,” he said.

Personally, I think term limits are a good idea considering the general sorry state of the country’s campaign finance laws. Politicians, desperate to to get reelected season after season, sell their judgement and their votes to keep their campaign chests filled. This never ending cycle is ultimately unethical, turning the most senior lawmakers into jaded hypocritical husks all while tainting the democratic process, opening doors to graft and corruption.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate (from

Assemblyman Peter Abbate (from

It is sort of incredible that with all the bills and spending passed by the New York State Legislature this year that taxes were not raised. This is an accomplishment that Assemblyman Peter Abbate is especially proud of in what he describes as a fairly good year for the legislature as a whole.

In summarizing the legislative year for 2013, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that Abbate , who is a 37-year veteran of the Assembly, was mostly pleased with all of the action in Albany this year, especially that the Senate and Assembly did not raise taxes while expanding education spending.

“The state budget turned out okay. We increased funding for education, not just at the local school level, but at the state and city university levels. It’s a major part of my legislative agenda – making sure we have enough money for education,” Abbate told the Daily Eagle.

Abbate was also satisfied with a bill that strengthened rules that banks have to follow in foreclosure proceedings.

“The banks were getting away with murder,” Abbate said.

Not everything was rosy this year for Abbate. He expressed disappointment in a job creation bill that offers huge tax breaks to businesses who start operations on college campuses and hire over 25 people.

“I love the idea of job creation, but I don’t know if this will work. In the past, companies have done all sorts of things to get out of the commitment to hire people. They pay reduced taxes and they don’t live up to their end of the bargain,” he said.

Overall, Abbate painted a positive view of the legislature, comparing their work favorably to the popularity of representatives working in Washington DC.

“We’re a lot better than congress!” Abbate exclaimed, perhaps forgetting about the rampant corruption scandals plaguing Albany lawmakers all year.

From the offices of Assemblyman Peter Abbate:


Peter Abbate Source:

Assemblymen Peter Abbate and William Colton introduced eight new bills that would increase pensions and retirement benefits for government workers, according to a report by the New York Daily News – and that’s got the paper’s editors fuming.

The cost of the new bills would total $1.35 billion dollars a year, a figure that opponents of the legislation feel are too high and irresponsible during the ongoing economic slump. The Daily News jumped over the news of the proposed legislation in a scathing editorial:

 As overgenerous public employee pensions hammer taxpayers and push governments to the edge of bankruptcy, Assembly Democrats are dreaming up ways to make retirements richer.

They filed no fewer than eight pension-fattening bills on Valentine’s Day eve — pitching woo to their labor sweethearts at huge public expense. The potential cost to taxpayers, as calculated by the Citizens Budget Commission: $1.3 billion.

Labor lovebird-in-chief Peter Abbate of Brooklyn, head of the Governmental Employees Committee, sponsored seven. The eighth was authored by fellow Brooklynite William Colton.

… The most outrageous of Abbate and Colton’s proposals would boost payouts to workers with more than 30 years’ service, adding $1.1 billion to the taxpayers’ tab. Other schemes enable various groups of employees to retire even earlier than they already do, or make it even easier for them to qualify for disability benefits — whether or not they were actually injured on the job.

Abbate, was quick to try and stem the outcry from conservative voices opposed to the legislation.

“No one is saying they are going to pass, but you give everybody a chance to be heard and to explain the bills,” Abbate told the Daily News.


Pre-Sandy seawall. Source: Retrofresh! via Flickr

Almost four months after Superstorm Sandy, the city will soon kick off repairs to the 2.5-mile Shore Parkway promenade, where waves battered sections of the seawall into rubble.

The Department of Parks and Recreation awarded a nearly $2 million contract to a Queens firm for repairs to the Shore Parkway Greenway – the seawall, bike path and pedestrian path that line the Belt Parkway from Ceasar’s Bay to Bay Ridge – according to a report on NY1. The repairs will include fixing seawall caps, pavement, benches and debris removal.

“We’re putting up a construction fence to allow the public basically a six-foot area to walk through, which is going to be covered with temporary asphalt and make it a lot safer for them,” project manager Bill Simpson told NY1. “They won’t be exposed to falling into the ocean over here, or they won’t be subject to trip hazards.”

In October, Superstorm Standy ripped open the bulkhead walls at about 10 locations, crumbling pavement and flooding the Belt Parkway. But leaders say more long-term fixes are necessary, as Sandy was only the latest storm to cause a problem for parkway commuters and the path’s cyclists and joggers.

“What we’re seeing now after every storm, we’re getting significant damage here, and the Belt Parkway is flooding out,” said Marnee Elias-Pavia, district manager of Community Board 11. “And basically, emergency services can’t use that area.”

It’s been nearly four months since the storm, but State Senator Marty Golden began calling for repairs almost immediately after Sandy’s waters receded. He sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers in November, and Congressman Michael Grim followed shortly after, with a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo. In January, it was finally announced that the project would be put out to bid, and repairs would begin in February.

The repairs are expected to be completed by Memorial Day weekend.

Pre-Sandy seawall. Source: Retrofresh! via Flickr

The Shore Parkway seawall was all but destroyed when Hurricane Sandy hit. Local pols and leaders have been rallying since to get the seawall repaired as soon as possible. Luckily, it has been announced that the seawall will undergo emergency repairs by the Parks Department.

At Community Board 11’s most recent meeting, district manager Marnee Elias-Pavia stated that the seawall will be repaired starting in February, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

The hazardous conditions of the damaged seawall were a great concern for many in the neighborhood. Senator Marty Golden has been sending letters to FEMA officials and other leaders to urge not only a repair of the seawall, but an overview of the entire structure.

In a letter to Colonel Paul E. Owens of the Army Corps of Engineers, Golden wrote, “It is imperative that work on the damaged section being immediately to prevent further erosion as well as to protect the safety of the community and use of the Belt Parkway.”

Congressman Michael Grimm has also echoed the same sentiments. Both pols want the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild the entire section of the damaged wall and assess it for safety in the case that another major storm hit the area.

About 250-feet of the seawall saw the greatest damage near 17th Avenue. Many residents use the walkway path adjacent to the seawall for exercise and outdoor activities, and now parts of it are in dire need of repair.

“The district manager of Community Board 10 and I have requested a meeting with the Parks Department so that we can review the plans,” said Elias-Pavia at the CB11 meeting.

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