Issues: Constituents Corner

Your Voice with Senator Ranzenhofer - March 1

An update from the State Capitol for residents of the 61st Senate District in another edition of Your Voice with Senator Ranzenhofer.

March 2, 2012
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Finger Lakes Region Can Take Pride in Accomplishments of Coaches Coughlin and Boeheim

Throughout my life, I have been very proud to have been born and raised in the Finger Lakes Region.  Growing up here and educated in our local schools, I have always held a deeply-felt pride in our community. That pride only intensified after graduating high school, and attending two outstanding universities right here in our region- Cornell and Syracuse.

March 2, 2012
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Details emerge on possible redistricting amendment

An editorial by The Empire talks about the discussed ammendment to the constitution that would bring about change to the redistricting process. Michael Gianaris and other critics, however, point out that the proposed ammendment would still allow legislatures to have final say, which defeats the purpose of redistricting reform.

The Times-Union’s Casey Seiler has a piece up today about the emerging details of a possible deal between Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature for a constitutional amendment to change the state’s redistricting process.

 

March 2, 2012
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Details emerge on possible constitutional change

Times Union reports on negotiations between the Governor, Assembly, and Senate for a possible constitutional ammendment that would create an independent redistricting body. Many believe the new ammendment will not keep legislatures from influencing the redistricting process, including Senator Gianaris, who believes that "if the final product still leaves the Legislature with the final say, we’ve achieved nothing.”

A possible constitutional change to New York’s redistricting process would create a 10-member independent panel to draw the state’s political lines beginning in 2021, but would allow the Legislature to make final tweaks to the plan if the Assembly and Senate fail to pass it after two tries.

[...]

March 2, 2012
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Veto the map, Gov. Cuomo

Former New York Mayor, Ed Koch, wrote an editorial for the New York Daily News that calls out the current redistricting proposal for being blatantly partisan and urges Governor Cuomo to veto any redistricting bill proposed by the legislature.

About two years ago, I felt the same way as most New Yorkers — our state government was dysfunctional, self-serving and an embarrassment. Along with a group of like-minded reformers, I decided to do something about it, forming New York Uprising, an advocacy effort to change the way legislative and congressional district lines are drawn.

 

Our goal, simply, was to return power to the people.

 

March 2, 2012
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Senator Kennedy Honors L. Nathan Hare, Community Action Organization for Dedicated Service to WNY

As African American History Month comes to a close, Senator Tim Kennedy honored a local man who has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for men and women throughout Western New York and New York State. Kennedy sponsored a resolution honoring L. Nathan Hare for his dedicated service to Western New York. Hare leads the Community Action Organization of Erie County, an organization that works every day to prevent and combat poverty in our community. 

March 1, 2012
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Senator John Bonacic Meets with Monticello Native

Senator John Bonacic met with Monticello native, Bobbijo McCauley, a fourth year graphic design student at FIT during SUNY’s Discovery Expo in Albany. Bobbijo and Senator Bonacic discussed Bobbijo’s project which was on display as well as her internship with MTV’s on-air design department.

February 29, 2012
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Don't make bad deal for bad maps

Newsday reports that a compromise suggested to the Governor that would validate the proposed redistricting maps, in exchange for promises to reform the process by 2022, would not fix the current redistricting problems and should not be considered.

Several observers of the once-in-a-decade redistricting of the State Senate and Assembly, including former Attorney General Robert Abrams and the nonpartisan good-government group Citizens Union, called on the governor yesterday to compromise on the new lines in exchange for a state constitutional amendment taking this process out of the hands of the legislature -- for the next round, in 2022.

February 29, 2012
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A farce, by any other name

An editorial written by Times Union highlights the degree to which New York's redistricing process is flawed, pointing to the fact that the proposed lines were so partisan, court judges were forced to intervene.

There may not be enough bad words in a thesaurus to fully describe the state Legislature’s handling of redistricting. But a court decision on Monday to take over the drafting of congressional lines in New York speaks volumes about how badly this state’s self-interested lawmakers have failed (see: completely, utterly, dismally).

 

February 29, 2012
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SQUADRON ANNOUNCES SWIMMING POOL AT BBP THIS SUMMER

Squadron, Colleagues Secured Pool As Part of Agreement to Complete Park, Reduce Housing

BROOKLYN -- Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron welcomed the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation's board of directors' approval of the design and installation of a pool at Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer. Senator Squadron and Assemblymember Millman, supported by Councilmembers Levin and Lander, secured the pool for at least five summers as part of their August 2011 agreement to move the park forward and reduce housing. 

"We were so pleased to secure this pool at Brooklyn Bridge Park - and this summer, families can dive right in! Brooklyn Bridge Park has already made waves, and this pool is certain to make a splash," said Senator Squadron. "A pool and other active recreation are critical to the long-term success of Brooklyn Bridge Park for the next five summers and beyond. I look forward to working with BBPC and my colleagues to make this and other active recreation permanent parts of the park."

February 29, 2012
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Cuomo must demand a permanent gerrymandering ban — or else

NY Daily News wrote and article about redistricting, saying that the Governor should enact reform that would put an end to gerrymandering.

Gov. Cuomo holds the ultimate weapon in the battle against gerrymandering — his threatened veto of district maps drawn in ridiculously partisan fashion by the Legislature.

 

He must void the absurd boundaries drawn by the Assembly and Senate and turn map -making over to the courts — except in the unlikely event that lawmakers radically alter their work and establish long-term reforms.

 

As things stand, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ Republicans conspired in drawing districts with grossly uneven populations that maximize incumbent protection.

February 29, 2012
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SQUADRON, HSS SECURE CLOTHING DONATIONS FOR LES FIRE VICTIMS

Family Still In Need of Donations

NEW YORK -- Yesterday evening, State Senator Daniel Squadron's office and Henry Street Settlement presented the victims of last week's fire at 388 Pearl Street with a donation of three large bags of clothing. Senator Squadron's office worked with Henry Street Settlement and the Smith Houses Tenant Association to secure the clothing donation and ensure that it got to the victims of the fire.

February 29, 2012
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SQUADRON, ELECTEDS TO CITY: WHY WERE NYPD PUBLIC HOUSING OFFICERS REDEPLOYED TO OWS, OTHER NON-NYCHA OPERATIONS?

Electeds: NYCHA Pays Over $70 Million to NYPD For Dedicated Officers, Should Be Compensated When Officers Taken Away

NEW YORK – State Senator Daniel Squadron and his East Village colleagues in government have asked the City to provide clarity on the dedicated New York Police Department officers that are assigned to public housing developments but have recently been redeployed to other unrelated operations, such as Occupy Wall Street.

In 1994, the New York City Housing Authority and the City reached a memorandum of understanding that requires NYCHA to pay the NYPD for ongoing law enforcement services for NYCHA residents through "Police Service Areas" (PSAs). Currently, NYCHA pays over $70 million a year to the NYPD for these “special police services,” making it the only residential landlord in the City that is required to pay for police protection.

However, both NYCHA and PSA officers report that the dedicated officers have been regularly redeployed to non-NYCHA operations, taking critical protection away from public housing developments that need it most.

February 27, 2012
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SQUADRON, MENG REITERATE CALL: ALLOW STUDENTS TO CELEBRATE LUNAR NEW YEAR WITH THEIR FAMILIES

Legislators Urge Mayor to Swap Former Brooklyn-Queens Day Professional Development Day for One on Lunar New Year

NEW YORK – Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Grace Meng reiterated their call for a New York City public school holiday or professional development day on the Asian Lunar New Year, urging Mayor Bloomberg to swap the professional development day on what was formerly Brooklyn-Queens Day for one on the first day of the Lunar New Year.

February 22, 2012
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Down to the Wire on Redistricting

An editorial by the The New York Times reports that judges are expected to decide this week on whether or not a special master will be appointed to fix the redistricting debacle. Senator Gianaris believes that court intervention is the best hope for having fairer district lines drawn.

It is crunch time for New York lawmakers, who are required to draw new maps for Congressional and legislative districts in time for the 2012 elections. The Congressional primaries are supposed to take place June 26, and as usual, the mapmakers are extremely late. It’s possible that they will release the Congressional maps, which have been drawn up in secret, this week since the Legislature is hoping to approve the new district lines by March 1.

February 22, 2012
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Judges must fix redistricting mess

The Queens Chronicle wrote an article that further delves into the problems of the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and how federal judges may need to step in.

Gov. Cuomo is reforming the state government in leaps and bounds, but many members of the Legislature haven’t gotten the memo yet. So the redrawing of lawmakers’ districts for the Assembly, Senate and U.S. Congress following the Census has been typical of the Albany of years past: behind schedule, nonsensical in many respects and, of course, utterly politicized.

February 22, 2012
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New York Legal Assistance Group Mobile Help Center

The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is partnering with Senator Jack M. Martins to bring a mobile legal help center to the Westbury Memorial Library, located at 445 Jefferson Street, in Westbury on Friday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. NYLAG will be providing two services for the event:

Consumer protection legal counseling in the areas of creditor harrassment, identity theft, collection actions and debt management;
Financial counseling for those facing debt

 

Call Senator Martins' District Office for an appointment at (516) 746-5924.

March 2, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
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Senator Martins Tours Special Black History Month Art Exhibit

Senator Jack Martins was given a special tour of the Elmont Memorial Public Library’s “Black History Month” Art exhibit this past weekend where he viewed national artist Charles Winslow’s Black History Collection. Senator Martins toured the exhibit with Winslow whose showcase was part of the annual Black History Month Celebration. The internationally known “thread" artist developed his unique art style in the 1960’s. Mr. Winslow is a self taught artist and is a member of the Long Island Black Artist Association. “It was a real honor to be given this tour by Charles and to hear his story. He showed me each of his pieces and their unique historical backgrounds. I especially liked his thread pieces that have been displayed around the country.

February 22, 2012
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Senator Martins Teaming With NYLAG to Bring Mobile Legal Help Center to Westbury March 2

Senator Jack M. Martins is teaming with New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) to bring a mobile legal help center to the Westbury Memorial Library, located at 455 Jefferson Street, in Westbury on Friday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

NYLAG will be providing two services for this event:

- Consumer protection legal counseling in the areas of creditor harassment, identify theft, collection actions and debt management.

- Financial counseling for those facing debt.

NYLAG is a not-for-profit law office founded in 1990 to provide free civil legal services to New Yorkers who would otherwise be unable to afford or receive legal assistance. The mobile legal help center is a way to bring legal services to the community.

February 21, 2012
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SQUADRON AND AVELLA APPLAUD TWC-MSG RESOLUTION, WARN OF FUTURE BLACKOUTS UNLESS IMMEDIATE ACTION IS TAKEN TO FORCE ARBITRATION

NEW YORK -- Today, Senators Tony Avella and Daniel Squadron cautiously applauded Time Warner Cable and MSG Networks for finally coming to a resolution that would end the months long blackout of MSG programming for Time Warner Cable subscribers, while warning that similar cable channel  versus provider battles will continue to occur in the future unless action is taken to force arbitration to resolve disputes. 

Avella and Squadron called for immediate passage of Avella’s legislation (S.6230), co-sponsored by Squadron, in the State Senate that would require all cable providers to negotiate fairly and, if necessary, submit to binding arbitration through the Public Service Commission to determine the terms and conditions under which independent cable channels will be carried by cable providers.

Senator Daniel Squadron, who co-sponsors S.6230, said, "As Linsanity has taken hold in the City, I'm glad that the insanity between Time Warner and MSG has come to an end.  Now, we need to pass this bill and prevent future impasses that benefit companies at the cost of fans.  Jeremy Lin is a once in a lifetime story. Let's ensure these cable standoffs are too."  

February 17, 2012
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