2018-12-05 / Political Page

I On Politics

MALONEY STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF PRESIDENT BUSH: Congress Member Carolyn Maloney released the following statement on the passing of President George H.W. Bush on November 30 at the age of 94: “As our nation mourns the loss of President George H.W. Bush, let us remember his faith in the American people. Above all, even if you disagreed with his policies, there is no denying that our 41st president served this nation with civility, dignity and honor. He was a patriot to his core who believed in the power of working together to lift up this nation and the world. Today I remember his words as we honor his legacy: ‘No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit.’”

MALONEY: PELOSI IS THE SPEAKER WE NEED: Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) released the following statement on why she voted for Nancy Pelosi to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi won the nomination for House speaker easily last Wednesday, getting the vast majority of House Democrats to vote for her. Prior to the vote, Maloney said she would “proudly” cast her vote for Pelosi.

Rep. Maloney said, “Leader Pelosi is a proven progressive fighter with an unparalleled record of delivering results for the American people. We saw this with her tenacious leadership in passing landmark laws like the Affordable Care Act, Wall Street reform, and the Recovery Act when Democrats last held the majority. And we saw that same leadership when she successfully outmaneuvered House Republicans in every bipartisan negotiation that required Democratic votes during the past eight years. Leader Pelosi has also been a great friend to the city and state of New York. It was Nancy Pelosi that kept Congress in session in the last days of 2010 to make sure we passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and without Nancy Pelosi there is no way we would have passed the Superstorm Sandy relief package. As we continue to fight back against attacks on women’s health, against sexual harassment and assault, for equal pay for equal work, and for the Equal Rights Amendment, we need a leader like Nancy Pelosi who has always been a champion on these issues.

“Just three weeks ago, Democrats picked up a historic number of seats in the House of Representatives. There is no way that could have happened without Nancy Pelosi’s leadership. As Democrats prepare to take over the majority in the 116th Con- gress, there is no one better prepared or more capable to be the Speaker of the House and serve the American people than Nancy Pelosi.” Maloney concluded voting for Pelosi would be an honor.

CROWLEY CONGRATULATES JEFFRIES FOR BECOMING CAUCUS CHAIR: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) issued the following statement on the election of Hakeem Jeffries as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus:

“I offer my congratulations to Hakeem Jeffries on his election as chair of the House Democratic Caucus for the 116th Congress. I’ve been honored to work alongside Hakeem as we both fought for the working and middle-class families of New York. As chair, I know he’ll continue that fight and serve as a champion for all Americans by protecting their health care, their voting rights, and their livelihoods. I am incredibly proud that a fellow New Yorker, and my friend, will help lead the Democratic Caucus. New York, and the country, are in good hands with Hakeem.”

SIMOTAS SUPPORTS REPORT, ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH AMAZON’: Assembly Member Aravella Simotas released the following statement in support of the report, “What’s Wrong With Amazon” issued on November 28 by the RWDSU and community groups:

“Amazon has so much wealth and power, it could treat its workers well and still maintain a healthy bottom line. But instead of fairly and humanely creating good conditions for its warehouse workers, it chooses to create a living hell. In Queens, we are working people and we are people who care about our neighbors, so a company like Amazon, oozing greed, pigging out on public money and feeding on worker exploitation, is not welcome here.”

LANCMAN ENDORSED FOR DA BY ABORTION RIGHTS PIONEER: City Council Member Rory Lancman, a candidate for Queens district attorney, has picked up an endorsement from abortion rights pioneer Merle Hoffman. Council Member Lancman said, “I’m honored to share with you my endorsement from Merle Hoffman, a national pioneer in the pro-choice movement and founder of Choices Women’s Medical Center right here in Queens. Merle has been a leader in providing reproductive health services to women for decades, since before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. I am incredibly proud of this endorsement and am dedicated to protecting a woman’s right to choose as our next Queens district attorney.”

“Rory is not only politically pro-choice, but has demonstrated time and again his willingness to support and defend the thousands of women a year who access reproductive health services, including abortions, at my clinic in Jamaica, Queens,” said Hoffman.

VALLONE CONTINUES FIGHT AGAINST COLLEGE POINT SHELTER PROPOSAL: Council Member Paul Vallone continues to demand that the city Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and property owner David Levitan and Liberty One Group immediately rescind their plan to establish a 200-bed men’s homeless shelter at 127-03 20th Avenue in College Point. Council Member Vallone released the following statement: “Establishing a 200-bed men’s homeless shelter along 20th Avenue would be misguided and irresponsible. A facility of this nature, serving the city’s most vulnerable populations, should be positioned in a location that has the appropriate infrastructure, transportation options and medical facilities, and not in a neighborhood that is already overburdened with municipal services. The administration’s failure to deal with the homelessness epidemic should not allow one corrupt owner to sell out College Point.”

In recent weeks, many constituents have echoed the Council member’s concerns with the proposal. Dozens of residents attended a rally organized by Vallone on Monday, Oct. 29 and listed a host of quality of life, safety and overcrowding concerns. Vallone also created a petition to stop the shelter on Nov. 16; the petition already has over 2,400 signatures.

On Nov. 14, the Department of Homeless Services provided notification that they would move forward with the proposed shelter, which could open as early as September 2019. In subsequent conversations, Vallone has informed DHS officials that he will continue to fight this proposal.

ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING ON LUNAR NEW YEAR’S EVE SUSPENDED: On November 27 the New York City Council’s Transportation Committee unanimously passed Intro 497-A by Council Member Peter Koo to suspend alternate side parking on Lunar New Year’s Eve – one of the most important cultural days of the year for Asian Americans.

The bill adds Lunar New Year’s Eve to the city’s existing list of special religious and cultural holidays in which alternate side parking rules are suspended throughout the five boroughs.

Council Member Koo stated, “New York City takes enormous pride in the cultural traditions of its diverse populations. Lunar New Year’s Eve is a time when Asians from all over the world travel home, often across countries and continents, to be with their loved ones. Here in New York, it is also an intense travel time when families reunite, eat at restaurants, and prepare to celebrate the holiday. Suspending alternate side parking on Lunar New Year’s Eve is a simple way for the City of New York to respect this important cultural holiday by allowing more communities to share in the great patchwork of cultures, values, traditions that make up New York City. It allows us to learn from one another and to celebrate together, and I’d like to thank the Council’s Transportation Committee for its unanimous approval, and Speaker Johnson for supporting this effort. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill in the City Council.”

“I would like to thank Councilman Peter Koo for working hard on Intro 497-A. Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays for the Asian Community. The Council wants to make sure Asian families can honor their culture without worrying about cars being towed. And I look forward to participating in some of the celebrations,” said Corey Johnson, speaker of City Council.

GILLIBRAND: PROVIDE FUNDING TO CDC TO FIGHT POLIO-LIKE DISEASE: With an increase in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a debilitating, polio-like disease that has been affecting children in New York and across the country, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on Congress on November 27 to immediately provide emergency funding for research, treatment, and prevention efforts against this disease. AFM is a rare condition that targets the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, and can cause serious muscle weakness or paralysis. There is no known cause or treatment for this disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed or are investigating hundreds of suspected cases of AFM in 46 states and in DC. Ninety percent of cases have been in children under the age of 18, with the majority of patients between the ages of two and eight.

On November 13, the CDC announced a new task force to investigate AFM. As Congress finalizes the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill, Gillibrand will call on Congressional appropriators, who include both the Senate and House appropriations committees’ leaders, to provide the emergency funding necessary to give the CDC the resources it needs to investigate, treat, and prevent this debilitating disease.

“As a mother and as a senator, I am taking AFM extremely seriously. I’ve been disturbed to read reports about this debilitating disease that has been affecting children in New York and across the country. Parents are extremely worried about what this disease means for their children, but doctors still don’t know what causes AFM or how it spreads,” said Senator Gillibrand.

The number of cases of AFM are growing year after year. This increase in AFM cases over the last year is the third spike of AFM cases since 2014. In 2014, there were 120 confirmed cases of AFM, and two years later in 2016, there were 149 cases. Many of the affected children have had long-term paralysis or ongoing care needs. Gillibrand noted in her letter that despite some correlation with respiratory viruses, this trend is particularly alarming given that the CDC has been unable to conclusively link AFM to any specific cause.

In the past, Congress provided emergency funding to support investigation and response efforts related to other serious diseases, such as Ebola, Zika, and Avian Influenza. As the number of cases of AFM continue to rise, Gillibrand calls on the Senate to do the same for this serious disease to help protect all children from AFM.

NOLAN ON NEW SCHOOLS FOR LIC: Assembly Member Catherine Nolan released the following statement on new schools in LIC and western Queens: “As the chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee, I have urged the city to make the necessary investments in new schools and infrastructure for the Long Island City community. As seen in LIC: An Investment Strategy (www.lic.nyc, page 38), the city has responded with a number of schools that will be coming online over the next several years, including the groundbreaking of a new school building for Academy of American Studies.” The groundbreaking took place with the School Construction Authority on December 3.

“I am proud to see the Academy of American Studies finally get a proper school building. Together with Principal William Bassell, our community has advocated for this school for a long time.” Nolan went on to express gratitude to Lorraine Grillo, president of the SCA.

Nolan concluded, “More schools and additional investments are needed for Long Island City, Dutch Kills and portions of western Queens. I will continue to advocate for the city to make these investments so we can keep our quality of life and communities strong.”

For more information, visit www.lic.nyc

FUNDRAISER FOR JIMMY VAN BRAMER: A fundraiser for Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer is being held on Wednesday, December 12. Join Agnes Gund, Kadie Black, Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, Meghan & Thomas Cirrito, Moitri Chowdhury Savard, Pedro & John Gomez-Kelly, Helen Ho, Evan O’Neil & Debra Hampton, Scott Quasha & Khalil Hymore, Sheila Lewandowski, Scott & Chadwick Parrish, Tony Richardson, April Simpson Taylor, Michael Son, and Mary Torres. Contribution levels are $25, $50, $100, $175, $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500, and $3,950. You can contribute online at secure.actblue.com/donate/ jvb121218. The December 12 event will take place from 7 – 8:30 pm at Manducatis Rustica (46-35 Vernon Blvd., LIC, between 46th Rd. & 47th Ave.). RSVP at allegra@culverplace.com if you would like to attend.

SCHUMER RE BREACH: MARRIOTT MUST PAY FOR NEW PASSPORTS: Amid news of a massive 500 million-person data breach involving Marriott’s Starwood properties, including its brands of Westin and Sheraton hotels, US Senator Charles Schumer is urging the famous hotel company to help minimize the personal exposure of some of its breach’s most vulnerable victims by footing their bill for a new US passport, should they make the request. “It’s $110 for a new passport and hack victims shouldn’t have to foot the bill to try and minimize exposure,” Schumer said.

“The experts will tell you, there is an art to identity theft and it lies in the ability to paint the most complete picture of the person whose information you’re looking to steal or sell,” said Senator Schumer. “Unfortunately, for many travelers who have stayed in one of Marriott’s Starwood hotels, they’ve provided the company with an array of personal color – like their passport information – that thieves can now access to complete the canvas and assume or sell an identity.”

“One of the rarer aspects of this latest breach with Marriott is that hackers gained access to US passport numbers and information. In combination with other personal information compromised during the breach, victims of this specific attack could be more vulnerable than victims of other massive breaches. That is why Marriott must personally notify customers under the greatest security risk immediately and then foot the bill for those folks to acquire a new passport and number should they request it. Right now, the clock is ticking to minimize the risk customers face and one way to do this is to request a new passport and make it harder for thieves to paint that full identity picture,” Schumer added.

According to a New York Associated Press report, “The data stolen from the Marriott hotel empire is so rich and specific that it could be used for espionage, identity theft, or even home burglaries.”

“Combined with names, addresses and other personal information, passport numbers are a greater concern than stolen credit card numbers because thieves could use them to open fraudulent accounts,” the AP report said.

The New York State attorney general has also opened an investigation into the Marriott breach and Schumer has asked the company to provide him with information on how many New Yorkers have been impacted directly. The data breach of the company that was identified on November 19 is one of the largest on record and reportedly may involve millions of compromised passports.

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