Issues: Community Development

A slap on the wrist for illegal millions?

The Queens Chronicle investigates the alleged prixe-fixing scheme employed by Morgan Stanley and KeySpan that overcharged New Yorkers for electrictity while garnering Morgan Stanley and KeySpan $21.6 million. Senator Gianaris believes that the Department of Justice's recommended fine of $4.8 million is inadequate.

A price-fixing scheme allegedly concocted by Morgan Stanley and KeySpan, and involving Astoria Generating Co., may have overcharged New Yorkers for electricity while garnering Morgan Stanley and KeySpan millions, according to published reports and two area politicians outraged at the scheme: Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria).

January 20, 2012
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Just say no to gerrymandering

An editorial written by the Queens Chronicle highlights a 2012 New York Redistricting Project where students were able to propose ideas for state Senate maps and express their opinions on how political lines should be drawn in order to meet the needs of groups with similar interests. Senator Gianaris believes that this demonstrates how excellent redistricting proposals can be made in a short period of time.

And the winner is ... districts that are not gerrymandered.

January 20, 2012
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State Liquor Authority rejects Long Island City strip club’s bid for license

NY Daily News reports that the State Liquor Authority has rejected the Gypsy Rose gentlemen club's bid for a liquor license, following protests from Long Island City residents and community leaders. Senator Gianaris believes the decision was an important step in establishing the neighborhood as a wholesome, family friendly environment.

For the second time, the State Liquor Authority has rejected an application by the owners of a Long Island City strip club for a liquor license.

“I believe that there is sufficient good cause for us to deny this application,” Dennis Rosen, chairman of the authority, said Wednesday.

Community leaders who are opposed to the club, known as Gypsy Rose, have flooded the board in recent weeks with petitions and testimony.

January 20, 2012
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LIC employer Fresh Direct eyes N.J. move

The Times Ledger wrote an article that talks about Fresh Direct's potential move to New Jersey and New York's attempt to keep them in the city. Senator Gianaris agrees that it would be disappointing if the online grocer were to leave New York.

A Long Island City online grocery company has filed for a large tax incentive program in New Jersey, but New York state and city agencies are hoping that Fresh Direct stays — if not in Queens, then at least in the city.

“It would certainly be disappointing if they left,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria). “I think it’s important that the business climate in New York continues to be welcoming.”

January 20, 2012
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Fresh Direct Ponders Move

The Queens Gazette wrote an article that talks about New York City's push to keep the online grocer Fresh Direct from making a move to New Jersey. Senator Gianaris believes that it is crucial to remain welcoming to local businesses, like Fresh Direct, in order to keep jobs in our neighborhood.

Fresh Direct, an online grocer that delivers to residences and offices in the New York City metropolitan area and one of the largest employers in Long Island City and Queens as a whole, has become a prize in a bidding war between New York City and New Jersey. The business, which bowed in New York City in 2002, is rapidly expanding and expects to outgrow its Long Island City facility in a few years.

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January 20, 2012
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P.S. 234 Elementary School Gym Repaired

The Queens Gazette article announces that the P.S. 234 School Gym, which has been closed since September due to flood damage, was finally repaired as a result of the efforts made by parents and elected officials.

Following a joint effort by Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr. and state Senator Michael Gianaris, the gymnasium at the Astoria Elementary School, P.S. 234, which suffered substantial flood damage, has been repaired and is now in use.

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January 20, 2012
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Pols’ power play

The New York Post wrote an article about community leaders from Queens who are complaining that a $4.8 million fine issued to Morgan Stanley for a price-fixing scheme is not enough. Senator Gianaris feels that such an insignificant fine would continue to permit the bank to reap the benefits of its illicit profits.

Two local lawmakers have asked a judge to pull the plug on a deal that leaves victims of a huge electricity price-fixing scheme out in the cold.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris and City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., both Queens Democrats, wrote Manhattan federal Judge William Pauley asking him to order Morgan Stanley to refund millions of dollars to Con Ed customers.

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January 20, 2012
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Strip club Gypsy Rose causes a stink

The Queens Chronicle wrote an article about Long Island City residents and elected officials opposing the opening of a new strip club, the Gypsy Rose, in the neighborhood. Senator Gianaris believes that the presence of a new strip club will undermine efforts to establish Long Island City as a family-friendly, safe environment.

Area politicians and residents are fighting the opening of a strip club called Gypsy Rose in Long Island City, located at 42-50 21 St.

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“When we’re trying to establish Long Island City as a family-friendly, safe environment, where parents can feel free to walk down the street with their children, having a sex-based business staring them in the face is not the best message,” Gianaris said.

January 20, 2012
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Queens Officials Protest New Strip Club

NY1 posted a video of protesters gathered outside the Gypsy Rose Cabaret, rallying against the opening of a new strip club in Long Island City. Senator Gianaris attended the protest and believes the effects of the strip club on the neighborhood would be detrimental. 

Watch the video here

January 20, 2012
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The Capitol Pressroom for January 10, 2012

WCNY posted Senator Gianaris' interview with Susan Arbetter discussing redistricting and the Senate GOP's attempt to add a 63rd Senate seat. 

Listen to the interview here

January 20, 2012
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LATFOR site subtly announces 63rd Senate seat

The Empire wrote an editorial that discusses the letter posted by LATFOR, which intends to justify the addition of a 63rd Senate seat. Senator Gianaris says that the attempt by Senate Republicans to add a 63rd seat represents "everything that's wrong with state government."

Below is the letter that LATFOR has posted on their website justifying the increase of the State Senate from 62 to 63 seats. The move had been anticipated after Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos indicated last week that there was “a good chance” the Senate would add a 63rd seat.

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In a phone interview, Democratic State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens said Senate Republicans have reached “a new low in old Albany partisan politics.”

January 20, 2012
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Politics don't always add up

An editorial written by Times Union investigates the matter of Senate Republicans' wanting to add a 63rd Senate seat, despite the fact that New York is losing two seats in Congress. Senator Gianaris and Senate Deomcrats are opposed to the addition of a 63rd seat on the grounds that the Senate Republican ploy is unconstitutional.

New York is losing two seats in Congress, so how in the world can it add another state senator?

Under the current and much-maligned redistricting process, the Republicans who control the state's upper chamber hold the pens in the once-a-decade exercise that draws district lines. Late Friday, they released an analysis explaining why they will draw 63 Senate districts, adding a member to the chamber.

January 20, 2012
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Senator Gianaris speaks to students at Long Island City High School

Senator Gianaris speaking to seniors and JROTC students at Long Island City High School about state government.

January 20, 2012
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Over 150 Small Businesses Participate in MWBE Training Sponsored by Senator Adriano Espaillat and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Businesses assisted on various fronts including MWBE certification, license/permits, workers’ compensation, and doing business with the state

(New York, NY) – Over 150 small businesses, representing a cross-section of local economic activity in Manhattan and the Bronx, participated in an important training for Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) organized by State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, and other local officials.

January 19, 2012
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Senate Dems, GOP Spar Over Constitutionality Of 63rd Seat

Capital Tonight reports on Senate Democrats Martin Malave Dilan, Senator Michael Gianaris, and State Senator Liz Krueger speaking out against the Senate Republicans' unconstitutional addition of a 63rd Senate seat.

If one thing is clear, it’s that Senate Democrats and Republicans understand the complexity of the state constitution when it comes to redrawing district lines. Where they diverge is a matter of mathematics.

Last week, The Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment confirmed the district lines to be drawn for the next round of redistricting would include a 63rd seat. Democrats say the move is politically motivated so Republicans can strategically form lines to retain the majority.

January 18, 2012
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Same Republican tricks

The Timesunion.com editorial calls Senate Republicans out for betraying their promise to voters for an independent redistricting process.

Now here’s a map for you, New York. It’s the entire state, 54,556 square miles in all, every one of them ripe for exploitation by state Senate Republicans who will do seemingly anything to maintain their tiny majority.

First they betrayed all those voters to whom they promised, just 14 months ago, that the district boundaries for the 62 Senate seats up for grabs in this fall’s elections would be drawn by an independent commission.

January 18, 2012
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State Senate’s top Republican predicts addition of 1 member

BuffaloNews.com wrote an article about the redistricting process and the Senate Republican's unreasonable effort to maintain their thin majority, which Senator Gianaris believes is despicable.

Despite the state’s anemic population growth, the Senate’s top Republican said his legislative chamber is likely to grow by one senator, to a total of 63, during this year’s redistricting process.

Senate Democrats immediately dismissed the move as an illegal bid by the Republicans merely to maintain their thin majority. Senate Republicans pushed through a similar one-seat increase 10 years ago to help keep control of the Senate.

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January 18, 2012
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Cuomo's State Address May Touch On Budget Gap, Expanded Gambling

This NY1 video includes comments from Senator Gianaris on how Senate Republicans are attempting to submit an unconstitutional plan to add a 63rd Senate seat. 

Watch the video here.

January 18, 2012
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Skelos: 63rd legislative district likely result of redistricting

NCPR's Karen DeWitt speaks to Senator Michael Gianaris about redistricting and the unconstitutional attempt by Senate Republicans to keep in control of the chamber. 

Listen to the audio here.

January 18, 2012
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Call them on it, Mr. Cuomo

Timesunion.com wrote an editorial that exposes the Senate Republicans broken promise on independent redistricting and urges Governor Cuomo to take action.

When state Senate Republicans were asking voters in 2010 to restore their majority, they unanimously and unambiguously promised to support creating an independent body to draw new legislative district lines. Even the most casual observer of state government might have rightly asked, “What’s the catch?”

It turns out the catch was as obvious, not to mention cynical, as any escape clause one could imagine: They lied.

Read the full article here.

January 18, 2012
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