Issues: Constituents Corner

Eight Queens high schools could lose up to half of their staff under city plan

An editorial by the New York Daily News reports on the proposal by New York City's Deptartment of Education to overhaul struggling schools. Under the plan, schools face options that range from having to replace 50% of their staff to having to shut down completely.

The future of eight large Queens high schools — and the hundreds of educators who work there — are in jeopardy as the city plans to overhaul the struggling institutions.

 

The schools could lose up to half of their staff and receive a new principal and name this fall after the city and teachers union failed to reach an agreement on teacher evaluations.

 

The move could help the city get up to $60 million in federal funds.

 

February 13, 2012
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Cuomo preemptively blames the new calendar for protecting incumbents

Capital wrote an editorial that talks about the Senate Republicans' attempt to strike a deal that would put off redistricting reform until the next census in 10 years. Senator Gianaris is calling this deal a sham.

Democratic state senator Michael Gianaris set a clear, and high, benchmark yesterday when he spoke out against a rumored comprise that would allow the gerrymandered redistricting maps to stay in place, in exchange for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing new lines will be drawn by an independent group next time—which means 2022.

 

Gianaris called it "a sham" and said, "thank God Governor Cuomo is insisting on reform now, and we're going to stand with him."

February 13, 2012
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Proposed redistricting lines target Queens Democrats

An editorial by the New York Daily News discusses the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and how they have purposely targeted districts in Queens as a means to disrupt the Democratic county.

Queens has emerged as a key locale in the redistricting war between Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature.

 

Under the proposed lines released last week, four Queens lawmakers would be merged into two districts and a powerful Democrat would be gerrymandered out of his district.

 

Another Democrat saw his district oddly reconfigured to include more Republican-leaning neighborhoods.

 

February 13, 2012
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New western Queens districts create faux state Senate fight

An editorial by the Queens Campaigner talks about the Senate Republicans' newly drawn district maps, which Senate Democrats' say have been manipulated in order to set Democrats against each other.

The new proposed state Senate district lines would set Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) against Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), but the longtime friends say they have no plans to duke it out at the polls.

“This actually makes it very amusing,” Peralta said.

Both senators characterized the new districts, drawn by Senate Republicans, as politically inspired. In the past, Gianaris’ district, the 12th District, encompassed most of Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside with a thin tentacle extending down to take in parts of Maspeth and Ridgewood.

February 13, 2012
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LIC HS Drops From Transformation To Turnaround Status

The Queens Gazette investigates the Department of Education's classification of Long Island City High School, along with many others, as a "Turnaround" school, which would require the school to close and rehire 50% of the staff before reopening. Senator Gianaris believes that negotions need to continue in order to avoid hurting students as the city tries to improve schools.

February 13, 2012
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Drawing New District Lines Starts Albany Brawl

An article written by The Queens Gazette highlights some of the key issues concerning the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal.

Assembly Democrats and state senate Republicans issued their new district maps for this year’s congressional and state legislative elections and they’re everything most reformers expected—self-serving exercises tailored to get most incumbents re-elected and keep the Assembly under Democratic control and enhance the Republicans’ chances of capturing the senate again.

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February 13, 2012
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Don’t play Senate’s game

Times Union wrote an editorial that criticizes the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal, saying that New Yorkers should not tolerate such an unfair process and should focus their attention on the Senate Republicans' broken promise to bring about fair and independent redistricting reform.

New Yorkers shouldn’t go along with a rigged redistricting process. They should demand that lawmakers honor their word to make it fair and independent.

 

Arguing about the boundaries of a new state Senate district and the finer points of redistricting theory, like whether the city of Albany has more in common with Troy than Westerlo, is missing the point: We should not be having this discussion at all.

 

February 13, 2012
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Redistricting heads to court

YNN wrote an article about the lawsuit filed by Senate Democrats against the Senate Republicans' proposed district maps, which Senator Gianaris believes are partisan and intolerable.

The contentious redistricting process is moving to the courts. Senate Democrats filed suit Tuesday against legislative boundaries drawn by Senate Republicans they say don't follow the law. In particular, the Democrats take aim a proposed new Senate district carved out of the Albany area.

“Thank God we have a court process that passes judgment on these things because we're confident it's going to be overturned. It's ridiculous,” said State Senator Mike Gianaris.

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February 13, 2012
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Redistricting plan spurs lawsuit

The Ithaca Journal reports that New York Senate Democrats have filed a lawsuit over the Senate Republicans' plan to add a 63rd Senate seat, calling their proposal unconstitutional.

Senate Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday over Senate Republicans' decision to add an additional seat in the chamber, claiming the move is unconstitutional.

The 53-page lawsuit claims that the creation of the 63rd Senate District through the Hudson Valley is unconstitutional, saying it was created clearly for political purposes. The district would run from Montgomery County near Albany to Kingston, Ulster County.

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February 13, 2012
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Gianaris: Pairing lines with amendment is ‘surrender’

Capital Confidential wrote an editorial about a potential deal by Senate Republicans that would delay redistricting reform until the next census in 2022 in exchange for allowing the Republicans to carry out their current redistricting proposal and help them gain an extra state Senate seat. Senator Gianaris criticizes the deal for not providing a solution to the current redistricting problems.

In something of a preemptive strike, Sen. Mike Gianaris blasted the idea of redistricting reform based mostly on a constitutional amendment that, while improving on the set of draft maps released last week, would leave redistricting in the hands of legislators until 2022.

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February 13, 2012
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Senate Redistricting plan is divisive

An editorial written by The Queens Courier calls out the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal for compromising the needs of voters and for diminishing New York politics.

Newly-drawn district lines may pit Senate Democrats against one another in a political dogfight.

Under the proposed plan, which was designed by the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) — made up largely of Republican senators due to their current control of the chamber — Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chair Michael Gianaris would face off with Senator Jose Peralta for the right to represent a single, heavily Hispanic district.

February 13, 2012
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Shooting The Messenger

Capital Tonight talks about the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and Senator Gianaris' response against their attempt to avoid the current redistricting problem by promising an amendment to the constitution that would only bring reform to the next redistricing process in 10 years.

Sen. Mike Gianaris is pushing back very strongly against the growing belief that a deal is in the works for a constitutional amendment that would reform redistricting in time for the 2022 election cycle, but leave the current partisan process in place for this year’s elections.

February 13, 2012
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In Lawsuit, Senate Dems Decry “Blatantly Unconstitutional” Redistricting

Capital Tonight talks about the lawsuit filed by Senate Democrats against LATFOR's redistricting lines.

Senate Democrats this morning filed a lawsuit against LATFOR’s redistricted lines, arguing that the proposed maps are “blatantly unconstitutional.”

In the suit, filed in state Supreme Court, Democrats take aim at the proposed 63rd Senate seat that’s being placed in the Capital Region area and the mathematical formula Republicans use to justify the extra seat.

And the conference blasts LATFOR writ large for lacking transparency.

 Read the full article here.

February 13, 2012
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New lines, same game

This New York Post editorial reports on the Senate Republicans' redistricting plans, calling them out for blatantly promoting the Republicans' agenda by giving them control over appointment of state Senate seats.

Every state goes through reapportionment following each federal Census, when changes in political district lines must be made to reflect population shifts.

It’s never a pretty process, but rarely does it get more ugly than in New York — suffering a decades-long decline in population and burdened, as it is, with a particularly odious political class.

Each time, legislative bosses draw lines that essentially protect their incumbent members as well as their respective majorities in each house.

February 13, 2012
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Albany Redistricting Plan Faulted as Unfair to Minorities

The New York Times wrote an editorial about the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and some of the critics of the proposal who say the maps are overly partisan and that they undermine the needs of minority communities.

A proposed redrawing of New York State’s political districts came under intense criticism on Monday, as civil rights leaders said the maps did not fairly represent blacks and Hispanics in an increasingly diverse state, and Democrats said they would file a lawsuit asking a judge to intervene.

February 13, 2012
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SQUADRON, KAVANAGH ANNOUNCE NEW LEGISLATION TO STRENGTHEN HAYLEY AND DIEGO’S LAW AND CRACK DOWN ON CARELESS DRIVING

New Bill Gives Law Enforcement Tools to Better Enforce Law and Hold Careless Drivers Accountable

NEW YORK – Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh announced new legislation to give law enforcement better tools to crack down on careless drivers who injure pedestrians and bicyclists. The bill strengthens “Hayley and Diego’s Law” (Vehicle & Traffic Law 1146), which was introduced after the tragic deaths of Hayley Ng, 4, and Diego Martinez, 3, who were killed in 2009 in Chinatown when a delivery van that was left in reverse jumped the curb and hit the children.

February 10, 2012
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Senator Squadron, Speaker Silver, Secretary of State Perales Welcome New York's First Benefit Corporations

Silver-Squadron Bill Allowing Businesses to Pursue Socially Responsible Practices as well as Profit Became Law Today

Businesses Line Up to Become First Benefit Corps in the State

NEW YORK – State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Secretary of State Cesar Perales today welcomed New York's first benefit corporations, as legislation allowing businesses to pursue socially responsible practices as well as profit went into effect. Secretary Perales accepted the paperwork to register the businesses as New York’s first benefit corporations.

The Squadron-Silver legislation (S79-A/A4692-A), signed into law in December, makes New York the seventh state in the country to allow benefit corps, which are companies that have a “double bottom line” of profit and socially or environmentally responsible practices. 

February 10, 2012
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SQUADRON WELCOMES APPROVAL OF NEW P.S. 8 MIDDLE SCHOOL: GREAT NEWS FOR BROOKLYN

For Immediate Release: February 9, 2012

BROOKLYN -- Tonight, State Senator Daniel Squadron released the following statement upon a vote to approve the expansion of P.S. 8 to include a middle school:

Tonight's vote to approve the new P.S. 8 middle school is great news for Brooklyn! By heeding our calls and formalizing the new middle school, DOE is helping to ensure the continued success of P.S. 8 and creating better options for all District 13 students. Now we must work to get the new P.S. 8 middle school ready to go for next school year and continue to work for more options for District 13 students.

February 10, 2012
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SQUADRON APPLAUDS INCLUSION OF HIS PROPOSAL FOR MIDDLE CLASS CHILD CARE IN QUINN STATE OF CITY

NEW YORK – State Senator Daniel Squadron heralded a proposal for a middle income family child care program, included in City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s State of the City address today.

Currently, middle class families have an extremely difficult time providing their infant and toddler children with high-quality care, unable to afford high-quality programs but not qualifying for free child care programs. Middle class families have enormous financial burden during the years before school starts and while their children are in college. That is why Senator Squadron proposed spreading those costs out over time to make child care more affordable for more middle class families.

February 9, 2012
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