Tag Archive: Albany

Nov 02 2013

Senator believes his colleagues have low IQs

latimer_0A veteran Albany lawmaker believes his fellow legislators wouldn’t pass the Common Core curriculum.

From Capital NY:  ALBANY—Could New York lawmakers pass a high school exam in language arts or mathematics?

One state senator wants to know.

Sen. George Latimer, a Westchester Democrat, told City & State he’s not sure if he would pass a high-school level state exam based on the new, more difficult Common Core curriculum standards, and he bets not all of his colleagues would pass it, either.

“Does that mean we are deficient as adults?” Latimer said in a video posted Thursday by the newspaper.

Supporters tout that if students can master the rigorous Common Core learning standards, they’ll be ready to successfully complete college coursework or thrive in the modern workforce. Latimer’s not sure if the state Legislature would show proficiency in the skills that, according to the standards, are necessary for success.

For full article: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2013/10/8535336/senator-legislators-should-have-take-common-core-test

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/11/senator-latimer-skeptical-of-colleagues-iq/

Oct 22 2012

Candidate urges investigation into possible cover-up linked to Avella

 

Joseph Concannon pictured with Rep. Bob Turner

Eyebrows are being raised as Joseph Concannon, a former NYPD Captain running for state senate against Tony Avella, is questioning his opponent’s role in regards to the recent firing of a staff member involved in a sexual harrassment claim.

Press Release:  CALL FOR ALLEGED AVELLA HARRASSMENT VICTIM TO COME FORWARD

Last month State Sen. Tony Avella made headlines once again by breaking with his colleagues when he called for Speaker Silver to step down in the face of an apparent cover up of sexual harassment charges involving Assembly Member Vito Lopez.

No stranger to capturing media attention with gimmicks and protest, Avella seems to have gotten this one right when he stated, “The culture in Albany of ‘What happens in Albany stays in Albany’ has to stop… Assembly Member Silver… is now seen as the classic example of the dysfunction and back room deals that has plagued Albany for decades. If ever that was a time for change – it is now.”

However, as with many of Avella’s calls for action there is no follow through.

Avella’s own office was the subject of sexual harassment and discrimination claims with expense records that indicate the state Senate paid a Manhattan law firm $22,444 in taxpayer funds earlier this year to investigate allegations of harassment made by a female member of Avella’s district office staff.

Apparently Avella has provided enough information to satisfy the journalistic concerns of the Daily News who to their credit broke this story. However, had they not unearthed it even what little we know would never have been disclosed and even now we only have Avella’s side of the story.

Accordingly, we are calling on the staffer in question to contact us and tell us her side if the story. Too often Albany politicians use their power and influence to advance their careers at the expense of those without such resources and it would not be the first time the pot called the kettle black.

News reports indicate that the staffer was eventually fired for so-called performance issues and that supposedly the allegations did not involve Avella directly but rather “management staff” but given Avella’s own claims regarding Albany’s culture of corruption and predilection to cover things up can we really rely on this? How do we know this staffer did not get a raw deal when by Avella’s own admission Albany has a corrupting “circle the wagons” culture?

A spokesman for Concannon stated,

We are not alleging any wrong doing on behalf of Senator Avella. However Joseph Concannon is a former NYPD Police Captain and highly trained investigator with over 25 years in law enforcement. We would therefore welcome speaking to the young lady affected by these allegations and providing her with an opportunity to share her side of the story. Even if Senator Avella has no personal culpability and did nothing wrong as an employer and supervisor he has a legal and moral obligation to ensure his office is not a hostile work environment. This can’t be taken lightly or just papered over. One has to ask when did he personally first become aware of the allegations? What actions did he take to correct the situation? Where any similar allegations made by or against him or his “management staff.” Also was the law firm hired by the Senate really hired to investigate or was it hired to defend?
Concannon stated,
As a husband and as a father of daughters I am appalled when I hear about allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace but doubly so when it is alleged to have happened in the offices of one of our elected representatives. I applaud the Daily News for having unearthed this but gather that the Daily News did not have the opportunity to interview this young lady and obviously Newspapers do not have subpoena powers. This warrants another look and I just want this young woman to know she has a place to turn for help and a place to share her side of the story. If these allegations prove unfounded or overstated so be it but I am committed to running an office that I would be comfortable having my daughters work in.  
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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/10/concannon-questions-possible-avella-cover-up/

Oct 04 2012

Behar says two years later and Albany is still a mess!

For interesting and thought provoking political commentary check out www.boycottevil.com

Steve Behar, a former candidate for Assembly and campaign manager for James Sanders’ primary victory, is calling shenanigans on so-called “independent reform” candidates.

Behar’s blog, www.boycottevil.com is a must read for political enthusiasts. In his most recent article (which caught my eye), names were omitted, however I’m willing to bet the farm he was referring to State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (and other candidates too) who rode into office touting reform platforms and two years later have failed to deliver on any of their promises.

Legislative reform bills are also suggested and worth further exploration. I know they are mere suggestions but it’s more than most politicians have done in their first term(s).

Anyway, hope is not lost as another essay contest from disgraced ex-Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza’s protege may very well clean up the cesspool in Albany.

Check out the article below:

From BoycottEvil: Very soon voters in New York State will once again head to the polls to vote in the upcoming Election.  While I am NOT a candidate for office this year, the season brings me back to 2010 when I was a candidate for the New York State Assembly.  It also reminds me of how dysfunctional our state government still is and how hard it will be to fix it.

In the two years since I ran for the Assembly, our state government in Albany has once again been a miserable failure and remains a cesspool of corruption.  Two years ago nearly every candidate from Montauk to Buffalo was a self-proclaimed “Independent Reformer.”  These charlatans promised to reign in the lobbyists and special interests, to institute independent redistricting and pass ethics laws to curb the corruption in Albany.  None of that happened in the last session of the legislature.

Lobbyists and special interests still buy and own our politicians.   Many times it’s not the most informed candidates who win an election.  It’s also not the most well-intentioned candidates who win elections.  Instead, most of the time it’s the candidate who is best at selling his or her soul to the monied lobbyists and special interests who get elected.  Once these rascals get to Albany, instead of writing and passing legislation for the betterment of their communities and our state, they push legislation and push contracts that support their financial backers.

Regarding independent redistricting, while in 2010 nearly every candidate signed Mayor Koch’s pledge to pass an independent redistricting law, once they got to Albany the same folks forgot their pledge and saddled our state with hideous, politically motivated districts for the next ten years. Instead of having an independent commission draw district lines that are concise and compact and keep communities together, we once again have politically motivated districts that snake through and divide communities in order to protect the incumbent representative’s re-election prospects.

The worst act of insult was the legislatures passage of a joke of an ethics law.  The law did nothing to stop the corruptive influence of dirty money in Albany.  No one cared to pass campaign finance laws to stop the corruption.  No one cared to close the loopholes that monied interests use to by-pass the current campaign finance laws.  No one passed any laws to stop the revolving door between government officials and the lobbyists.

My suggestion to the winners of the 2012 state elections is to go to Albany and actually do something!  I suggest you start with three important pieces of legislation.

1.     It’s time to pass real campaign finance reform that eliminates the strangle hold that lobbyists and special interests have on our politicians. Arizona, Maine and Connecticut each have enacted public financing of elections laws that have worked.   It is time to create such a program for New York.  It’s time that politicians answer to the people that vote for them and not the people who finance their political campaigns.

2.   While it won’t help for until the next decade, Albany must pass an independent redistricting law now so that we don’t have to deal with the political shenanigans that we witnessed this year.

…. For the full article visit the site.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/10/behar-says-albany-is-still-a-mess-reform-is-dead/

Oct 01 2012

Halloran Blasts Mayor For Endorsement of Opponent

In response to Grace Meng’s recent endorsement by Mayor Bloomberg, her opponent Dan Halloran sent out a press release calling the endorsement another one of Mayor Mike’s ill conceived ideas. Full context in the official communication below.

Press Release: Mayor Bloomberg Advocates Soda Ban, Congestion Pricing, and now Grace Meng for Congress

Nanny State Mayor’s Bad Ideas Just Keep Coming

Not surprisingly, the Mayor who bought himself a third term by disregarding the will of the People and overturning elected official term-limits, now moves to endorse Assemblywoman Meng for Congress.  It’s no wonder this Super Nanny-State advocate, who champions feel good measures with no shot of fixing real problems, has made this choice. Whether it’s the soda ban, his congestion pricing schemes, or the bike lanes to nowhere, Mayor Mike has found another bad idea for New Yorkers: Grace Meng in Congress.

“I have vocally fought the Mayor‘s social engineering pet projects and spending excesses.  I’ve called out the Mayor on the City Time scandal long before the others piled on, back when it was “just” a question of being ten-times over budget.  I fought to keep Queens free from the Mayor’s Congestion Pricing Plan, which would have cost local residents millions.  And despite the Mayor’s billions, I will continue to speak truth to power.   Meng, a go-along Democrat won’t stand up for New Yorkers’ right to think for themselves, has voted 99.7% with Shelly Silver in Albany. She certainly isn’t rocking the boat here in New York, and we can’t expect her to in Congress,” Halloran said.

In the past, Halloran has also warned the Mayor’s office of many unconstitutional city plans, such as the so-called Crisis Pregnancy Center Bill that Bloomberg signed into law and was struck down in Federal Court three days after he signed it, which curtailed the free-speech rights of Catholic institutions.  He spoke out against the City’s proposed taxi medallion sale, which Halloran pointed out violated the State Constitution and now jeopardizes the NYC Budget revenue projections with a $1.5 billion dollar shortfall.  Council Member Halloran also stood up for churches and other religious institutions when the Mayor sought to prevent them from renting off-hours space in publically owned buildings.

“Bloomberg’s latest suggestion for the City of New York, voting for Grace Meng, is just as detrimental to New Yorkers’ freedom and prosperity as the rest of the Mayor’s ill-conceived ideas.  This reminds Queens residents of why New York City is already faced with above average unemployment, high taxes and a huge cost of living along with ever-increasing tolls and subway fares.  Our small businesses are struggling more than ever with exorbitant fees and aggressive city ‘revenue’ programs. Our voters need Meng in Congress like they needed the soda ban,” said spokesman Kevin Ryan.

Dan Halloran will continue to fight for New York in the United States Congress, because he’s one of us.  We know we aren’t better off today than we were four years ago; we wish the Mayor and Grace Meng knew that, too.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/10/halloran-blasts-mayor-meng/

Mar 30 2012

Budget Talk With Jay Jacobs & Charlie King

We recieved this email regarding budget news in Albany. Enjoy!

Dear Fellow Democrat,

We had some important news coming out of Albany on Tuesday. Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos announced an agreement on a landmark budget for 2012-2013. The Legislature has been passing the bills and we are on course for an on-time or early budget.  The budget builds on the Governor’s record of fiscal responsibility by closing a multi-billion dollar deficit with no new taxes, fees or gimmicks. For the second year in a row, the budget holds growth to two percent or below.  The cornerstone of the budget is the Governor’s blueprint for economic growth and job creation in our state, the New York Works program. Key components of the program include:

  • A $15 billion initiative to invest in the state’s infrastructure and create tens of thousands of jobs; this fund will leverage an array of funding sources and uses only $743 million in new state appropriations;
  • A second round of funding for the Regional Economic Development Councils to support job development  efforts throughout the 10 regions of the state;
  • The first phase of a multi-year $1 billion economic development package for Buffalo;
  • Initial funding for planning of an energy highway to facilitate billions of dollars in private sector investments and ensure the availability of energy across the state; and
  • An expansion of the Governor’s NY SUNY 2020 program to increase the quality of education for our students and ensure our university system becomes a driver of economic development and jobs.

The budget also brings help to our local governments and school districts throughout the state. It contains the four percent increase in education that the Governor pledged for this year, including a $125 million appropriation for a competitive education performance grant program to facilitate student achievement and school accountability. The costs of Medicaid growth will be assumed by the state on a phased in basis and will save counties and New York City $1.2 billion over five years. This follows the historic pension reform enacted last week that will save the state, local governments and school districts $80 billion over the next 30 years. Furthermore, the Governor’s budget makes important investments to build and protect our local communities. Among a few of the highlights are:

  • A first-of-its kind Office of New Americans to help legal residents prosper in their community and in the business world;
  • Continuation of the reforms to the juvenile justice system started last year to reduce crime and promote healthy lives for young people;
  • A 10% increase in public assistance, as well as the preservation of child care subsidies for low-income working families;
  • Mortgage foreclosure counseling services to help New Yorkers keep their homes; and
  • Greater funding for community colleges to give students the opportunities they deserve.

Click here to learn more about the budget agreement. This is a budget that all New Yorkers can stand behind and is an important next step in fulfilling the Governor’s promise to build a new New York. Again we congratulate the Governor and the Legislature for their outstanding efforts on behalf of the people of New York. We thank you for all that you do for the Democratic Party and for helping to make these successes possible.

Thank you,
Jay Jacobs and Charlie King

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/03/budget-talk-with-jay-jacobs-charlie-king/

Dec 08 2011

Egalitarian Bill Moving Forward In Albany, Queens Set For Job Growth

 

New legislation that passed both houses in Albany is being hailed as an early Christmas present for the stagnant state economy.

The new plan includes something to appease everyone from Long Island Republicans to inner city Democrats. Parts of Queens are set to benefit. Below is a statement from the Governor on the initiative even though the actual language of the bill is still under consideration:

”The agreement includes support for a comprehensive New York Works Agenda that will create thousands of jobs with new investments in New York’s infrastructure; passing a fair tax reform plan that achieves the first major restructuring of the tax code in decades, resulting in a tax cut for 4.4 million middle-class New York taxpayers; approving $50 million in additional relief for areas devastated by recent floods; and reducing the MTA payroll tax to provide relief for small businesses.” 

The plan was backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which the state Senate passed 55-0 Wednesday night and the Assembly approved 130-8 early Thursday.

The new tax breaks will go to most households with annual earnings of $40,000 to $300,000, or single filers making $20,000 to $150,000 a year.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/12/jobs-bill-reached-in-albany/

Oct 11 2011

Controversial Ex-Pol Is Ready For Another Round…In Long Island!

Where Are They Now? Ann-Margaret Carrozza

AMC is the former State Assembly Member for Queens AD 26 (Bayside). She’s an elder law attorney and she lives in Glen Head, Long Island. Rumor has it she’s mulling a run for Assembly…and get this: where she actually lives this time in posh Nassau.

AMC did not run for reelection in 2010 amidst a residency scandal, and her exit opened up the books for now state Assembly Member Ed Braunstein who has a fake Twitter feed in his likeness of nearly 400 followers.

Ann-Margaret Carrozza is rumored to be making another run for Assembly... In Nassau County

Ed even kept AMC’s staff on board and took her old office. You know, in the name of reform. But I digress. What will AMC do now? Hmmm she was Deputy Whip, and never made a peep in Albany, so I presume she left on good terms with the powers that be.

I wonder was this part of a larger, long-term, calculated plan of Democratic strategy? You decide.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/ex-pol-is-back-for-another-round/

Oct 01 2011

Senator Avella Feels Comfortable Being Called Senator

In an interview with Howard Koplowitz, Senator Tony Avella sits down to explain the progress he’s made since leaving City Council for his seat in the state capitol.

Avella laments that it’s still mostly “The fix my pothole problem,” but he discusses a few tough as nails state-wide issues he’s tackled including fighting for a Millionare’s Tax.

The article doesn’t mention Tony’s advocacy to ban hydro-fracking, a dangerous method of extracting energy by pumping chemicals into the depths of the Earth. My gut tells me that this bill may prove to be the most important bill for the future of the environment.   Early in March 2011, Tony introduced Bill S4220-2011 which bans all future hydro-fracking in the state of New York.

Tony received a crash course in intergovernmental affairs and admittedthat as Senator he has noticed much more power to see through his agenda for the District. Of course Tony!  This is a great thing for the neighborhood. Unfortunatly everyone thinks you’re still the City Council Member and they swamp your office with calls to fix street lights and potholes.

I’ve even heard some very obtuse people call you a quack for taking up hydro-fracking. ”What’s this got to do with me?” They ask. Everything, I tell them. I’m glad you are looking at the bigger picture for the future of New York and what you can do for us in the Senate. Keep it up, especially with your plans for campaign finance reform.

Read: Avella says Albany suits him

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2011/10/senator-avella-feels-comfortable-being-called-senator/


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