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Archive for the tag 'politics'

Source: Colton's office

Source: Colton’s office

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

In a historic swearing-in ceremony, Mrs. Nancy Tong became the first Asian-American elected official in the borough of Brooklyn. On Sunday, September 21st, Nancy Tong was formally sworn-in by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams as the Female District Leader/State Committeewoman for the 47th Assembly District at the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst (JCH).

Mrs. Nancy Tong ran unopposed as the new Female District Leader and State Committeewoman for the 47th Assembly District in September 9th Democratic Primary. Since she was running unopposed for this position, Nancy automatically became the Female District Leader and State Committeewoman for the 47th Assembly District when the polls closed on primary election night. The position was previously held by Jeannette Givant, who retired after serving for ten years.

However, Mrs. Tong is celebrated this very important milestone in Brooklyn and Chinese-American history with a formal swearing-in ceremony to commemorate this historic occasion. She now is the first Asian American elected official in Brooklyn, the largest borough in New York City. Many elected officials and community leaders from across New York City and State are attended this momentous swearing-in event, including Assembly Member William Colton, Council Member Mark Tregyer, District Leader Charles Ragusa, Council Member David Greenfield, Kings County Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio, District Leader Ari Kagan, President of the United Chinese Association Steve Chung, and Bay Democrats President Ben Akselrod.

After coming to Bensonhurst twelve years ago, Nancy continued a family tradition of volunteering in schools and in the community, eventually becoming a volunteer at Assemblyman William Colton’s 47th Assembly District Office. Due to her hard work and dedication, Assemblyman Colton hired her as a part time Community Liaison in his office. Every year, Nancy helps more than 2,000 men and women from different cultural backgrounds in a variety of issues that affect her constituents’ quality of life.

Nancy believes she will be able to help more people and bring people of different cultural backgrounds together to improve the quality of life for individuals living in the 47th Assembly district.

District Leader Nancy Tong affirmed, “I truly enjoy helping people. It gives me great joy when I am able to help someone and make their life a little better or easier. Of course, I have to thank my family, especially my husband and my son, for all their love and support. I also have to thank Assemblyman Colton and the United Progressive Democratic Club for supporting me in becoming the first Asian-American elected official in Brooklyn. This is a historic occasion for the Asian-American community and the people of Brooklyn. I am proud of my heritage and I look forward to continue serving the people of southwest Brooklyn with my new position.”

Assemblyman Bill Colton asserted, “Nancy has a long track record of serving people in our communities. When the position opened up, I knew Nancy was the right person to become our next Female District Leader. She helps thousands of people in my office every year. Her dedication to our community is unwavering. I know she will do great things as our new Female District Leader.”

Councilman Mark Treyger stated, “Our community is incredibly fortunate to have someone like Nancy Tong fighting for us and helping to improve the quality of life for thousands of residents each year. Not only is this great news for the people of southern Brooklyn, but it is a truly historic moment for the entire borough and residents of all backgrounds who value the importance of hard work and giving back to their community. I look forward to joining the community on Sunday as Nancy is sworn into office as the first Asian-American elected official ever in Brooklyn, and to continuing my great work with her in the coming months and years on behalf of all residents of Bensonhurst, Gravesend and beyond.”

cloudyThe following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:

Council Member Mark Treyger and NYC Parks Department are hosting the final free movie in the park event of the year on Saturday with a showing of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on the big screen at Kaiser Park in Coney Island. The movie will begin once it gets dark, so residents are urged to bring a chair or blanket and arrive at around 7:30 p.m. The park is located at the intersection of Neptune Avenue and Bayview Avenue in Coney Island and the event is free and open to all residents. In addition, the Parks Department will have a barbeque grill available so that children can make their own s’mores.

“This is a great chance for the community to enjoy one last movie in the park event before the outdoor weather comes to an end for the year. Come on out to Kaiser Park this Saturday for this great free event, and be sure to bring your family, friends and neighbors. My thanks to the Parks Department for their help putting together one more event as we conclude a wonderful summer of movies in the park in southern Brooklyn,” said Council Member Treyger.

This marks the second movie night that Council Member Treyger has hosted at Kaiser Park this year, in addition to two other screenings that he held in the northern portion of the district with Council Member David Greenfield. Based on the popularity of these events and the feedback from residents, Council Member Treyger plans on working with NYC Parks to host more of these free movie nights throughout the district next summer. Please contact his office at (718) 307-7151 for more information about Saturday’s showing of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

Source: Gentile's office

Source: Gentile’s office

Hey everybody, we’re all gonna get lai– okay, it’s probably not that kind of a party.

Councilman Vincent Gentile is inviting everybody to check out his new digs and enjoy some free treats from local restaurants this Saturday.

The local pol is celebrating the grand opening of his new district office at 8018 5th Avenue, and he wants neighbors from every part of the district to join him.

The party begins at 11am and lasts until 3pm. There will be free food and drinks from local businesses, according to the announcement.

Gentile’s office moved out of 8703 3rd Avenue in late June and into the new location, and they’ve spent the time in between putting on the finishing touches.

You can call the new office at (718) 748-5200 with any questions.

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Councilman Vincent Gentile requested this week that the MTA drop the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge’s $15 toll on the 50th anniversary of the span’s dedication.

The pol asked the agency to give drivers a free pass on November 21, or least give a significant reduction, to honor the occasion.

According to the New York Post:

“Or at the very least, roll the toll back to 50 cents,” which was the price when the 2½-mile bridge opened in 1964, Gentile told The Post.

“It would be the right thing for the MTA to do, considering all the money motorists have put into the bridge in tolls for decades,” Gentile said. “And it would really be the greatest way to celebrate the 50th anniversary.”

The agency’s response? Thanks for the idea. Now bugger off.

The MTA’s spokesperson said the authority is “legally prevented from” reducing or suspending the toll from a day, saying that a state-bond requirement mandates that the toll is collected in full.

It’s the agency’s latest bridge-related snuff of Gentile, who earlier this month blasted the MTA for planning a spectacularly one-sided celebration of the 50th anniverary. While several events are scheduled to honor the semicentennial, all but one are on Staten Island. The exception is at a museum in downtown Brooklyn; no observances were planned at the bridge’s Brooklyn base in Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights.

grimm2

Embattled Congressman Michael Grimm is holding a lead, though just barely, against Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia, according to a new poll from NY1 / Capital New York/ Siena.

Grimm, who faces an embarrassing 20-count indictment on tax evasion and perjury charges, hold a four-point lead on Recchia among likely voters, with a 44-40 split. The poll’s margin of error is 4 percent, according to Capital New York.

The outlet reports:

“To see an incumbent six points below 50, that’s not a good sign,” said Steve Greenberg, a pollster for Siena College.

Grimm has the support of 73 percent of Republicans, and 27 percent of Democrats, and leads among independents, 47-33.

But 54 percent of voters said Grimm’s indictment makes them less likely to vote for the second-term congressman, including 39 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of voters who said they’re currently supporting Grimm.

“He cannot afford to lose a fifth of his voters right now,” said Greenberg.

… A near-majority of likely voters—49 percent—said they view Grimm unfavorably, compared to 39 percent who said they had a favorable opinion of him. Those opinions were split along party lines, with 60 percent of Republicans holding a favorable opinion of Grimm, and 30 percent unfavorable—numbers that were reversed among Democrats.

Predictably, Grimm is performing better in Staten Island, where the majority of the district’s voters live, while Recchia is outperforming the incumbent in Brooklyn, which the Democrat represented in the City Council.

Notably, nearly half of the district’s voters said they know little or nothing about Recchia.

To see the full results of the poll, look here, and also check out Capital’s analysis.

Grimm faces criminal charges for tax evasion, fraud, conspiracy and illegal hiring practice, all in connection to an Upper East Side restaurant he once owned. The pol has denied wrongdoing.

Long before those charges, the congressman was dogged by probes of his fundraising for the 2010 campaign. While no charges were filed against the pol, two associates including an ex-girlfriend face charges.

His trial is scheduled for after the November elections.

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement.

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement. (Source: Adams’ office)

Several local schools are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars each for repairs, upgrades and improvements as part of a $3.1 million allocation by Borough President Eric Adams to education institutions across the borough.

The beep today unveiled 16 school-related capital projects that will benefit from the allocation, which was packed into the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

“If you look around Downtown Brooklyn, something new is rising up every day and this is an exciting time for the borough and this area, as education and schools represent the vibrant energies of what’s coming up at this time,” said Borough President Adams. “This budget spans the far reaches of the borough; from Metrotech to Midwood and from Bed-Stuy to Bath Beach, we are leaving no school behind. Our goal is education, education, and education.”

The allocations are largely for technology upgrades, although some schools are receiving it for more general improvements.

Schools in our area are slated to receive the following:

  • $350,000 to James Madison High School for upgrades to the school’s library and media centers;
  • $225,000 for improvements to the library at Sheepshead Bay High School;
  • $200,000 for classroom technology purchases at Joseph B. Cavallaro I.S. 281;
  • $100,000 for classroom technology purchases at P.S. 169;

Local elected officials joined Adams during the announcement this morning to celebrate the funding.

“School libraries and media centers are essential to the success of today’s high school students,” said Assemblymember Helene Weinstein. “I thank Brooklyn Borough President Adams for this funding, which will enhance these services at Sheepshead and James Madison High Schools, and allow students to reach even greater heights.”

“Investing in education is the best investment we can make for the future of our state and country,” said Assemblymember William Colton. “These capital improvements will help bring much-needed technological advancements to our local Brooklyn schools that will better our children. This $200,000 capital grant for I.S. 281 will allow for the school to make technology improvements, including by purchasing smartboards and computer laptops, that will benefit our students by enhancing their learning experience, and provide valuable resources for our educators.”

munimeters

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:

In response to reported incidents involving suspected identity theft at Muni Meters in Brooklyn earlier this year and to better protect the public moving forward, Council Member Mark Treyger introduced legislation today requiring the Department of Transportation to notify cardholders in writing following incidents of security breaches. Under the proposal, the DOT must provide written notification to all affected individuals within ten days after a Muni Meter machine has been compromised and credit or debit card information has been stolen from the system. In addition, the DOT would also be required to post information about the breach on its website.

“Having your identity or personal banking information stolen can lead to costly unauthorized charges, headaches and serious financial issues for victims, and it is clear this problem is on the rise in New York City. I have long been concerned with the lack of urgency on behalf of agencies like the DOT and MTA, and with their failure to take proactive steps to protect the public and inform customers when an incident does occur. The public has a right to know when a machine has been compromised, and the DOT has an obligation to better inform residents that their information might have been stolen,” said Council Member Treyger.

Council Member Treyger has been pushing for greater public notification of breaches and other security concerns by the DOT and other agencies including the MTA since before taking office in January. He publicly called on the MTA and DOT in April to take greater precautions to protect the public and better secure its vending machines after reported instances of card skimming devices and hidden cameras found at stations including 59th Street Columbus Circle. In addition, the NYPD reported in June that Muni Meters along Kings Highway in Brooklyn were targeted by criminals. At that time, the 61st Precinct investigated at least three incidents of people reporting that their credit cards were compromised after using local Muni Meters.

The legislation was introduced at today’s City Council Stated meeting and referred to the Committee on Transportation for review and hearings.

Primary Day is upon us, so we’ve compiled some information to make voting as easy as possible.

  • Polls are open from 6am to 9pm. You can find where you should vote, as well as see a sample ballot, here. For example, neighbors living on 86th Street near Stillwell Avenue are going to see a ballot that looks like this.
  • If you need further help locating your polling place, you can call the city’s voter phone bank at 866-VOTE-NYC.
  • The city Campaign Finance Board also has a good resource page, detailing how and where to vote, who your candidates are, district maps and more.
  • The city Board of Elections has said that polling places should be accessible to handicapped voters, but if you find barriers to voting, you can call the Brooklyn Board of Elections at (718) 797-8800.
  • Additionally, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his office will operate a statewide election day hotline, at which you can speak with attorneys about problems at the polls, which will be open until the polls close at 9pm. Schneiderman is encouraging voters to report issues or problems at polls by calling (800) 771-7755 or emailing civil.rights@ag.ny.gov at any time until 9pm.

And, of course, if you encounter problems at the polls, you can let us know in the comments below or by emailing nberke@bensonhurstbean.com.

Every Democrat in New York State has the opportunity to vote in today’s primary, in which Governor Andrew Cuomo is being challenged for the party’s nod on the left by both Zephyr Teachout and Randy Credico. Cuomo is expected to win by a wide margin, but the race is being seen as a measure of dissatisfaction against the incumbent. Teachout, a Fordham professor who lives in Fort Greene, has been embraced by the city’s progressives for criticizing Cuomo as a lackluster economic moderate who has failed to come through on a promise to clean up Albany. The third candidate, Credico, who is also running on the Green line, is prioritizing reforms in the criminal justice system primarily by legalizing marijuana and releasing non-violent offenders.

There is also a Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, where Cuomo’s handpicked choice Kathy Hochul is being challenged by Teachout’s running mate, Tim Wu. Hochul, an upstate moderate and former Congressional representative, has been on the ropes for most of the campaign, defending her liberal record to progressives. Both Wu and Teachout have used her as a prop to suggest Cuomo is more conservative than he lets on. Wu’s priorities are fighting corruption and dismantling corporate monopolies, while Hochul is focusing on the NY DREAM Act and the Women’s Equality Act.

For more on these candidates, check out the League of Women Voters’ Vote411.org project and WNYC’s Election Guide, both of which include questionnaires and profiles of each.

For an insider’s view of primary day, check out the guides from the New York Observer and Capital NY.

– Additional reporting by Ned Berke.

grimm2

Congressman Michael Grimm’s trial on fraud and tax evasion charges is set to begin on December 1 after a federal judge yesterday denied a request from the lawmaker’s defense team to delay it.

The trial will take place after the November election, but not long enough after it to satisfy Grimm’s defense who worry the jury will be tainted by campaign ads focused on the pol’s alleged misdeeds.

Capital New York reports:

“We’re obviously in the heart of an election cycle right now,” Jeffrey Neiman, an attorney representing Grimm, told the court. He noted that the DCCC has begun featuring ads attacking Grimm that showcase his corruption trial, including a new one that began airing locally yesterday, which includes a clip of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch announcing the 20-count indictment against Grimm.

“We’re concerned about ensuring Mr. Grimm has a fair trial, and if the jury sees these repeated ads, we’re concerned that there may be prejudice,” Neiman said, asking for “a bit of a cooling-off period post-election” that he said would “more than ensure a fair trial for Mr. Grimm.”

Neiman requested a one month postponement, but the judge assured him that the court was capable of ensuring a fair trial for a high-profile defendant.

Grimm was slapped with a 20-count indictment for tax evasion, fraud, conspiracy and illegal hiring practices earlier this year, all in connection to an Upper East Side restaurant he once owned. The pol has denied wrongdoing.

Long before those charges, the congressman was dogged by probes of his fundraising for the 2010 campaign. While no charges were filed against the pol, two associates including an ex-girlfriend face charges.

Diana Durand, the reported former flame, is accused of using straw donors to steer more than $10,000 in illegal donations to Grimm. She is scheduled to enter a plea deal in court today.

Grimm faces a challenge from former councilman Domenic Recchia, who is trouncing the incumbent in fundraising with help from national Democrats.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger and Assemblyman Bill Colton:

Council Member Mark Treyger and Assembly Member Bill Colton are calling on the MTA to provide public notification within 24 hours of cases of confirmed bedbug sightings on any trains, buses or in stations. The proposal comes after a number of incidents involving bedbugs on several trains along the N line, in addition to trains on the Q and 6 lines. On Monday, an N train was taken out of service at DeKalb Avenue and a conductor received medical attention as a result of bedbugs. Currently, the MTA does not have a formal policy for informing the public about these incidents.

In response, Treyger and Colton are proposing state legislation, supported by a City Council resolution, requiring the MTA to take the same steps to inform its customers as it does for other emergencies or service delays, including social media outreach. In addition, the MTA would have to detail the steps it is taking to remedy these situations and protect the public’s health while using public transportation. This proposal has support from the Transport Workers Union (TWU), whose members have been impacted by the outbreaks. Council Member Treyger and Assembly Member Colton were joined at today’s press conference in front of the N train station on Kings Highway by District Leader-elect Nancy Tong and a number of residents who regularly use this line and are concerned about the lack of information from the MTA about the recent outbreaks. Council Member Treyger and Colton now plan to move forward with this legislation, putting a formal procedure in place to respond to outbreaks and notify the public.

“This is an important issue that the MTA has to take much more seriously on behalf of the millions of New Yorkers that ride its buses and trains, as well as its employees. The MTA has an obligation to inform the public of any bedbug sightings or outbreaks due to the health implications that are involved. However, the MTA must also consider the economic consequences of bedbug infestations in a home, especially for working New Yorkers who cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars in fumigation or cleaning bills. The MTA can easily inform the public in much the same manner it does for service delays, and we deserve to know exactly what steps it is taking to respond to bedbug infestations,” said Council Member Treyger.

”The public has a right to know if there is a confirmed detection of bedbugs on trains or buses. The families of riders and transit workers must be given the opportunity to take protective measures to minimize the chance of bedbug infestation being transported to their homes and places of work,” said Assembly Member Colton.

“Families are rightfully worried about the disruption and large economic costs that bedbugs can cause, if carried into their homes. Families have a right to be informed as to how to protect themselves from this risk,” said District Leader-elect Tong.

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