What started as a routine contract dispute between Cablevision Systems and the News Corporation has become one of the longest and most talked about blackouts of television programming in years.
About three million households in the New York metropolitan area were left without Fox programming on Saturday and Sunday, preventing sports fans from watching a Phillies game on Saturday night and a Giants game on Sunday afternoon. After months of negotiations, the two companies cannot agree on a price for retransmission of the Fox network.
State Senator Jose Peralta, chair of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee, released the following statement:
“Millions of New Yorkers are being held hostage in the retransmission consent negotiations between News Corp and Cablevision. On their behalf, I am asking News Corp and Cablevision to leave the game-playing to the Yankees and Giants and submit to binding arbitration if they cannot resolve their disagreement in time to bring Glee—and football, baseball and the Simpsons—to loyal fans.
“Rest assured, that, if millions of consumers lose access to programming on News Corp channels, I will call on both News Corp and Cablevision to appear before the New York State Senate Consumer Protection Committee, of which I am chair, to account for their abuse of consumers.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in New York State. This is the third year the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is working to “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” by turning the State purple. For the past two years, landmarks such as Niagara Falls, skyscrapers, bridges, and storefronts were illuminated purple for a day, a week or the whole month. Organizations held special awareness days and encouraged staff to dress in purple.
Senator Peralta encourages you to join the effort this year, in one or more of the following ways:
A state senator from Queens is calling on state officials to pass legislation that would require street food vendors and food vendors at stadiums and arenas to undergo a grueling inspection by state health officials and to display a “grade” indicating the condition of their food carts and workspaces.
State Senator Jose Peralta recently introduced the measure that would require food vendors to undergo the same strict inspection as city restaurants and to display a “grade” issued by the state Department of Health (DOH) on their carts or workplaces.
More than 500 New Yorkers participated in Make the Road New York’s (MRNY) Walk for Justice, a walkathon to raise money and promote justice for low-income and Latino immigrant communities in the five boroughs.
The walk on Sunday, September 19 started at the Northern Playground on 93rd Street and Northern Boulevard in Corona at 10:30 a.m. The walkers travelled through Elmhurst and Corona, two of the most diverse immigrant neighborhoods in Queens.
Elected officials, union members and city employees ripped into Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a rally Monday, saying his decision to cut funds to the city Department of Health will mean rats will run rampant throughout Jackson Heights and Queens.
“We feel he’s allowing the dirty, rotten rats in our neighborhood,” said City Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights).
Dromm, Council members Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and members of Local 768 Health Services Employees Union protested the $1.5 million cut from the city budget when it was passed in June, which eliminated the jobs of 63 of the city’s 84 pest control aides.
Politicians, pest control workers and community members gathered in a trash-strewn area of Jackson Heights on Friday to protest the layoff of around two-thirds of city pest control aides, responsible for fighting rats on private properties.
Without the aides to clean lots, officials worry that the rat problem in Queens and around the city will get worse.
“Rats endanger the health and welfare of our residents,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside). “I have a block in my district in Long Island City that is just overrun with rats.”
In honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Day and Hispanic Heritage Month, State Senator José Peralta and Alzheimer’s Association’s NYC Chapter sponsored a forum in Jackson Heights to educate residents about the disease.
More than 50 people attended the forum, which was held in English and Spanish, to discuss the disease, symptoms and treatments.
With the recent layoff of 63 out of 84 of the city’s pest control workers to save $1.5 million, some local elected officials worry that a pest crisis is on the way.
“Pest control defines a civilized society. Cutting back on these valuable city workers will diminish the quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras. “We cannot allow the front line in the war on pests to be ripped apart in the interest of saving a small amount of money.”
The cut comes at a time when rat sightings citywide have increased by 8 percent this year alone. Other officials like City Councilmember Daniel Dromm accuse the city of being reluctant to take measures to prevent it.
Business owners near Corona Plaza, upset over what they contend is unfair competition from vendors who operate on the streets and moving vans which take up parking spaces for customers, have asked elected officials for help.
“They are taking the bread and butter from the other people,” said Ruben Pena, president of the Corona Community Action Network.
Pena, who operates Cristal Liquors on 40-28 National St., said moving vans park along Corona Plaza — a small, triangle-shaped park under the No. 7 train stop adjacent to Roosevelt Avenue and National Street — from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., feeding the one-hour meters with quarters.
More than 80 neighborhood residents and activists expressed their concerns at a community meeting organized by several Queens-based organizations about the new Secure Communities program (S-Comm) directed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The meeting at P.S. 19 in Corona on Wednesday, October 6 focused on S-Comm. Under S-Comm, local law enforcement agencies are required to forward the fingerprints of every arrested person to the Department of Homeland Security’s biometric identification system. Police then transfer those suspected of being deportable into the detention and deportation system.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) joined Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Safe Horizon’s CEO Ariel Zwang and Queens clergy last Thursday to announce $50,000 in aid to combat domestic violence throughout the borough.
“I am committed to finding solutions to break the cycle of domestic violence in our community,” Peralta said, as he stood next to two giant checks written out to Queens programs. “While it is true that females are the victims in most instances of abuse, the effects of domestic violence are felt throughout every segment of our society,” he added.
Advocacy groups and elected officials in Corona last week denounced U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Secure Communities, an initiative aimed at modernizing how the organization identifies criminal aliens but one which the groups say will breed distrust of the police in immigrant neighborhoods.
“We cannot trust this system or trust ICE,” said Josh Epstein, staff attorney for the Immigrant Defense Project.
Nineteen family-related homicides and 6,500 arrests in Queens alone last year. More than 250,000 police responses and 140,000 calls to a city hotline.
These are only some of the startling statistics related to domestic violence, an everyday occurrence for far too many people living throughout the city.
During the past few years, the city and Queens have responded to more domestic violence calls with more arrests taking place.
In 2007, police responded to approximately 230,000 domestic violence incidents and approximately 235,000 in 2008. The roughly 15,000 increase from 2008 to 2009 may be attributed to factors beyond just more incidents taking place.
In the only scorecard that grades lawmakers on their environmental votes, the EPL/Environmental Advocates crowned state Senator Jose Peralta (D–Corona) with the top senate score. Other Queens Democrats in the senate to earn high scores were Shirley Huntley (D–Jamaica) and Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Whitestone). Republican Padavan received a low grade of 66 for this year.
Assemblymembers from Queens who got 90 grades were Grace Meng, Audrey Pheffer, David Weprin, Rory Lancman, Nettie Mayersohn, Andrew Hevesi, Margaret Markey, Barbara Clark, Jeff Aubry and Catherine Nolan, while Michael Gianaris and Michael DenDekker each got 89 and Michael Miller got an 84.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Senator Peralta will be holding a breakfast with clergy members to discuss identifying, treating and preventing domestic violence in our community.
Representatives from Safe Horizon, Queens District Attorneys' Office, New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and others will provide information concerning resources and services available for victims of domestic violence.