Jose Peralta's News items

Peralta lands crossing guard for dangerous intersection

As reported by The Times Ledger: 

It took more than a year and a half and dozens of letters and phone calls, but state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) will finally get a crossing guard replaced near PS 206 in Rego Park.

The NYPD Transportation Unit announced last Friday the 112th Precinct had finally assigned a crossing guard to the dangerous intersection of Junction Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway, just south of the Long Island Expressway.

“There’s simply no substitute for the direct, hands-on traffic control and help that a crossing guard provides,” Peralta said. “There’s no question that there are a number of dangerous intersections in the area, with the LIE, Queens Boulevard, Junction Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway all intersecting or running parallel to each other in close proximity.”

Peralta explained that hundreds of children and parents navigate the dangerous crossways, making their way from LeFrak City to PS 206, at 61-02 98th St. The intersection saw 24 pedestrianinjuries between August 2011 and February 2014, according to Juan Martinez, of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

“It’s very heartening to see the city respond with a crossing guard there,” Martinez said. “The mayor’s Vision Zero plan should lead us to expect immediate action at these problematic intersections.”

The new crossing guard will be hired in early June, according to a Peralta spokesman.

For full article, click here

May 2, 2014
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Dangerous school intersection finally gets new crossing guard

As reported by the New York Daily News:

Rego Park can cross this safety measure off its list.

The NYPD will finally reinstate a crossing guard at an unsafe Rego Park intersection near an elementary school as part of its “Vision Zero” plan, The News has learned.

“There’s simply no substitute for the direct, hands-on traffic control and help that a crossing guard provides,” said state Sen. Jose Peralta, who has been lobbying for help at Horace Harding Expressway and Junction Blvd. since 2012.

The intersection — the closest major crossway near Public School 206 — drew the ire of the school’s principal, who penned a letter in February seeking a review of the site.

The intersection saw 24 injuries between August 2011 and February 2014, according to Transportation Alternatives.

A spokesman from Peralta’s office said the new crossing guard would be hired by early June.

For full article, click here

April 30, 2014
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Local Merchants Discuss New Regulations at Queens Forum

As reported by NY1 News:

State Senator Jose Peralta hosted a forum for restaurateurs and small business owners to learn about proposed changes to the restaurant letter-grade and fine system, the new paid sick leave law and securing access to capital.

For full video, click here.

April 23, 2014
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Peralta discusses bills to fight sex trafficking

As reported by The Times Ledger:  

Few politicians aspire to bring the ambiance of Times Square to their districts, but state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said a stretch of Roosevelt Avenue that has grown saturated with prostitution could use some of the sterilization that transformed Times Square in the 1980s.

While speaking at Queensborough Community College April 3, Peralta described various legislative endeavors to crack down on sex traffickers and prostitution businesses and fund organizations that provide pathways out of the industry for victims.

The senator said afterward he believed recruiting Disney to open a store in Times Square anchored commercial development and ushered in an era of strict policing.

“We don’t need to bring in the big, big box store on Roosevelt Avenue — a mid-size box store,” Peralta said, noting he wanted to “keep the flavor of the mom-and-pop shops” nearby.

But the senator emphasized that wooing Disney took assistance from federal, state and local officials, and he is hoping Mayor Bill de Blasio would join him and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) in scouting for a Roosevelt Avenue anchor.

As Times Square spurned prostitution, the industry migrated along the No. 7 train line, and Peralta said businesses began offering free car service to patrons from midtown to Corona and Jackson Heights.

For full article, click here 

April 14, 2014
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Peralta decries human trafficking

As reported by The Queens Chronicle:  

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) addressed an audience of over 200 students and faculty at Queensborough Community College in Bayside last Thursday on “Human Trafficking in Our Own Backyard,” drawing a near-capacity crowd.

The talk was the culminating event of a three-week-long ongoing series of related activities, all part of the college’s Common Read Initiative, inspired this year by the featured text, “The Road to Lost Innocence,” the true story of a Cambodian woman who overcame great obstacles and used her experiences to help others stand up for human rights.

The book, written by Somaly Mam based on her own life of abuse in Cambodian brothels, had become a shared reading experience by some 1,300 students and over 35 faculty members from across academic disciplines.

The senator focused on problems relating to human trafficking which, he indicated, runs rampant along Roosevelt Avenue, particularly between 69th and 112th streets.

So-called chica cards, featuring what Peralta described as “degrading pictures of women,” are commonly distributed in the area, so commonplace that “children trade them like baseball cards.”

Peralta indicated that “many women from around the world are brought to Queens and enslaved. The victims are very afraid,” and sometimes seen by the law as criminals. He pointed out that some members of the taxi industry are known to have been “involved in moving these women along. There are those bad apples that perpetuate this crime.”

He said that often these women who come to this country to live the American dream instead “live that American nightmare.” There is a need, he said, to “toughen laws.”

For full article, click here.

April 11, 2014
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State Senate not discussing DREAM Act in budget talks

As reported by The New York Daily News:

State Senate leaders are balking at efforts to give the DREAM Act a second life as part of the state’s budget.

The measure, which came two votes short of approval in the Senate earlier this week, is not being discussed in budget negotiations, said Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein, leader of the Independent Democratic Conference.

The DREAM Act would enable the children of undocumented immigrants to receive state tuition assistance. After the bill failed in the Senate, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said he would push to include as part of the budget.

Students and activists rallied outside Gov. Cuomo’s office Thursday pushing for him to include the DREAM Act in the budget.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) also sent a letter to Cuomo urging him to push for the measure in the budget.

For full article, click here

April 9, 2014
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Schools must expand for charters and pre-K

As reported by The Queens Chronicle:

By State Senator Jose Peralta 

There has been a great deal of heated debate recently about the place of charter schools in the public education system and how to best pay for making full-day prekindergarten available to every eligible child.

Often lost in the rhetorical bomb throwing and lawsuit filing is this: Adding charter schools and finally making prekindergarten truly universal calls for more school buildings. Lots of them.

If all children, no matter where they live or how much money their parents have, are to get a genuine chance to succeed in school, we need to provide them with real classrooms in which to learn.

For decades — not years, but decades — the children of hardworking immigrant families in the Corona and Elmhurst neighborhoods I represent have had to try to learn in deplorable facilities no one would expect to find in the wealthiest city in the richest country on the planet.

Forget state-of-the-art technology, the dilapidated “temporary” classroom units many of our kids are stuck in do not even have bathrooms. Stories of elementary schoolchildren straining to “hold it in” for hours — not always successfully — are not unusual.

How can a poor kid feeling as if his bladder is about to burst possibly pay attention to anything a teacher says? That kind of situation is as unacceptable as it is disgraceful for a great city like ours.

As a state legislator, charter school parent and graduate of the city’s public school system, I have an enormous stake in the ongoing debate on prekindergarten and charter schools.

For full article, click here.

April 9, 2014
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Despite lower penalties, fines are set to rise

As reported by Crain's New York Business: 

Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned on a promise to lower fines against small businesses, criticizing what he deemed the punitive, "revenue-focused" enforcement of city laws.

But his preliminary budget indicates that his administration plans to collect even more in levies than city agencies did under Michael Bloomberg last year.

Revenue from fines soared 72% during the Bloomberg administration, to $799 million in 2013 from $467 million in 2002. The initial de Blasio budget unveiled last month indicates that fine revenue will grow to $807.5 million this year. That's just $5 million less than the Bloomberg administration had projected for 2014.

"There was a sigh of relief among small business owners when this mayor was elected," said Queens state Sen. Jose Peralta. "There hasn't been much to show so far, though, and a lot of business owners are getting nervous. You have to give the mayor time to breathe and soak it all in, but it's now time to tackle this in a positive way."

A day after Mr. de Blasio signed the legislation, the City Council issued rules putting into effect a law signed by Mr. Bloomberg to reduce fines against restaurants. Those changes are part of a wider overhaul of the city's letter-grading system for eateries and the suspected quota system that has led to an outcry from inspectors and restaurateurs. 

In the meantime, Mr. Peralta has called on the mayor to adopt an amnesty program under which proprietors can seek to have fines incurred during the Bloomberg administration dismissed by the new mayor.

For full article, click here.

April 9, 2014
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State Senate's 30-29 vote against DREAM Act is hardly a 'fatal blow' for bill to grant state tuition aid to undocumented immigrants

As reported by New York Daily News:

By State Senator Jose Peralta

I would call them the legion of gloom and doom, but that would greatly exaggerate their numbers and significance.

I am talking about the people trying to sell the idea that Monday’s state Senate vote on the DREAM Act — 30 in favor, 29 opposed — was somehow a “near-fatal blow” or an “enormous setback” because the bill, which would grant state tuition aid to undocumented immigrants, fell two votes short of passing.

That prognosis is entirely blind to political reality or is the product of wishful thinking.

The conventional wisdom back in the summer, when planning for the current legislative session began, was that election-year dynamics would keep the DREAM Act from making any kind of progress during the 2014 legislative session.

What nobody saw coming back then was the wave of progressive zeal that would be ushered in by the election of Mayor de Blasio.

For full article, click here

March 20, 2014
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Sen. Jose Peralta Urges NYS Senate Republicans To Act Like Rick Perry--On DREAM Act

As reported by New York Daily News:

Sen. Jose Peralta, a Democrat and prime sponsor of a bill to create a state DREAM Act, invoked conservative Texas Gov. Rick Perry in urging his Republican colleagues to support the measure.

"We have an opportunity here in New York to build on the growing national consensus, among business, labor and Republican and Democratic leaders, on both the need for immigration reform and the obvious economic benefits of reform.”

The Peralta DREAM Act bill would allow allow state financial assistance to go to the college kids of illegal immigrants.

Perry signed a different version of the DREAM Act that allows the kids of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Texas state colleges.

For full article, click here 

March 13, 2014
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Two Senate Dems Call for DREAM Act Funding to be Included In Senate Budget Resolution

As reported by Daily Politics:

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) sent a letter Thursday to the co-leaders of the chamber asking they include funding for a state DREAM Act in their upcoming budget resolution.

The Assembly, which recently passed legislation to create a state DREAM Act to provide state financial assistance to the college kids of undocumented immigrants, is expected to include funding for the measure in its one-house budget resolution next week.

Stewart-Cousins and Peralta, the Senate DREAM Act sponsor, asks Senate co-Leaders Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County) and Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) to follow suit., saying it would signal the support needed to keep the issue in the upcoming budget talks.

For full article, click here.

March 10, 2014
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Peralta Pushes for More Pedestrian Safety Near PS 206

As reported by The South and West Forum:

Pedestrian safety has become a hot topic in Queens, and state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) used the opportunity to renew his push for safer streets outside a public school in Rego Park.

Peralta has been calling for safety reforms, such as speed cameras and assigning a new crossing guard to PS 206, for the better part of the past year. And with recent launching of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative to curb traffic fatalities throughout the city, the senator said he hoped his requests would gather more traction.

For full article, click here.

March 10, 2014
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Senator Peralta Continues the Push for DREAM Act

As reported by Capitol Tonight:

Catholic bishops in New York are calling the DREAM Act one of the church’s top priorities for this year’s legislative session. The Church also supports immigration reform on a national level. But with those efforts stalled, attention is shifting to the states, and in this case, the state senate, where it looks like there are not enough votes to pass the bill.

Senator Jose Peralta is trying to convince his colleagues to change their minds. He joined us to discuss.

To view interview, click here. 

February 12, 2014
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Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Catholic bishops back state DREAM Act for financial aid

As reported by the Daily News:

ALBANY — Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the state's Catholic bishops have come out strongly in favor of creating a state DREAM Act allowing state financial aid to go to the college kids of undocumented immigrants.

"It's one of our top priorities this year," state Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust said.

The Catholic Conference, a strong advocate for national immigration reform, views the DREAM Act legislation sponsored by Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) and Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens) as something the state can do in the interim.

For full article, click here.

February 10, 2014
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Time for action on driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants

As reported by Irish Central:

On February 4, the Massachusetts State Legislature will begin considering driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.

In New York State, Senator Jose Peralta is about to introduce legislation in Albany to make this happen also.

We believe New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should act swiftly if the bill makes its way through the legislature and indeed, should be an advocate for it from day one.

“This legislation will also help make all New Yorkers safer by allowing us to identify everyone who drives on our roads and ensure that they are properly credentialed, educated and operating registered, inspected and insured vehicles,” Peralta said.

For full article, click here.

February 3, 2014
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Protesters rally at 37th Ave. opening

As reported by the Queens Chronicle:

Citing a “broken promise” to rehire union workers, Jackson Heights residents, union members and elected officials staged a protest on Wednesday outside a new supermarket on 37th Avenue set to open this week.

Standing next to a giant inflatable rat, protesters pledged to boycott Global Supermarket at 75-07 37 Ave. over the choice of the new owner, Mohammad Haque, not to rehire union workers of Local 338 and Local 342 who were unexpectedly fired two weeks before Christmas by Frank Jaber, the owner of the former Trade Fair.

On Dec. 10 Jaber fired 50 employees and sold the store to Haque on Dec. 11.

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), who attended the protest said, “The new owner said he planned to hire at least some of the old workers back. Not a single one of them has been hired. We’re here to let the new ownership know that, with our voices and our wallets, we will be seeking justice for the exploited workers.”

For full article, click here.

January 31, 2014
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Lawmakers Call For Beefed-Up Enforcement On Roosevelt Avenue Corridor

As reported by the Gazette:

A pair of western Queens lawmakers last week called on Police Commissioner Bill Bratton to bring his “Zero Tolerance” crime strategies back to the Roosevelt Avenue corridor by re-establishing a Roosevelt Avenue Task Force to police the commercial strip.

State Sen. Jose Peralta and City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras made the plea in a January 14 letter to the city’s top cop, asking Bratton to commit additional resources to “rescue the economic heart of the community” from the pimps, prostitutes, counterfeiters and others who have stymied efforts to revive the struggling strip.

Peralta and Ferreras made mention in their letter of the highly effective Task Force established in November 1993 by Bratton and then-NYPD Queens Borough Commander Asst. Chief Robert Burke. The enforcement effort was described in a July 1995 New York Times article as “one of the most visible and effective assaults on criminal activity in Queens – and in the city.”

For full article, click here. 

January 31, 2014
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Sen. Jose Peralta: It's Up to Senate Independent Dems To Bring DREAM Act To The Floor

As reported by the Daily News:

Sen. Jose Peralta, a member of the mainstream Senate Dems, actually sent a verbal bouquet the way of the four breakaway Democrats who help control the chamber with the Republicans.

Peralta (D-Queens) thanked the four for signing on to his bill to create a state DREAM Act.

But he also tried to put the pressure back on the four to secure whatever Republican votes are needed to ensure its passage.

“I look forward to working with them in helping our  Republican colleagues understand that the DREAM Act is the smartest investment that we can possibly make in workforce development and our state’s future, one that would pay for itself many times over.," Peralta said. “Their help in getting my bill to the Senate floor for a vote when the time comes will be critical to making the DREAM Act a reality.”

For full article, click here.

January 23, 2014
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Advocates push to give undocumented New York immigrants driver's licenses

As reported by the Daily News:

Believing the political climate is now in their favor, advocates are launching a major push to allow undocumented immigrants to get New York State driver’s licenses.

Members of more than 50 organizations met Tuesday with an umbrella group known as the New York Immigration Coalition to set their campaign in motion.

 “We have really decided to go forward, and go forward full steam,” said Steven Choi, the coalition’s executive director. “We are hearing from our members, from Brentwood in Long Island all the way to Buffalo, that driver’s licenses are a major issue.”

For full article, click here. 

January 9, 2014
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Senator Peralta on licenses for undocumented immigrants

As reported by Capital Tonight:

To view full interview, click here. 

January 6, 2014
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