Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians must come together to curb reckless behavior
Posted by Our Town on February 23, 2011
Op-ed By Liz Krueger
When you’re on a small island with millions of people living, literally, on top of one another, problems with sharing space are bound to occur. Add to that the fact that New Yorkers are often racing to get from one destination to another, and you are faced with the reality that the streets of New York can be dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Sadly, this reality has been displayed recently, as six people have been struck and killed by automobiles while walking or cycling on the Upper East Side: a fact both startling and heartbreaking.
On Thursday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will unveil New York City’s preliminary budget for the next fiscal year. On Wednesday, if you listen very closely, you can hear people throughout the city holding their breath, bracing for deep cuts.
One very nervous group represents advocates and others who work in the child care industry serving poor and low-income women.
With the city budget ax expected to fall on a variety of programs, advocates and child care providers say information that has dribbled out of City Hall makes them fearful that as many as 16,000 of the 100,000 city-subsidized slots could disappear.
State Senate Democrats unveiled a comprehensive ethics package today and called on it to pass quickly in order to reinsure voters that an election season promise is being honored.
Minority leader John Sampson said that the Democrats' six-part bill that will cover a variety of ethically-dubious areas including client disclosure requirements, proper use of campaign funds, the need to eliminate the existing 'pay to play' attitude, and the creation of an independent redistricting commission.
"We need to make these changes because they have lost faith, trust and confidence in us," Sampson said. "If we ask them to tighten their belts, we have to tighten our belts."
East Siders may have grown used to delivery guys on bicycles hopping sidewalks and dangerously whizzing in and out of pedestrians as they rush to drop off Chinese food or pizza. But they seem to have finally reached a breaking point. The debate over whether to restrict bicyclists may not only be about these riders and alleged misdemeanors; rather, it could be part of a growing hostility toward the increasingly bike-friendly city that New York is becoming...
Guy J. Velella, a former state senator from the Bronx who died last week, was bidden farewell at a funeral service on Monday. His legacy, however, lives on. Among other things, Mr. Velella will be remembered for having turned a career of public service into one of public shame by taking bribes and going to jail for his corruption.
He will also be remembered as someone who pocketed public money even after pleading guilty in 2004. Every year, his conscience unburdened, Mr. Velella collected a state pension of more than $75,000. “The law says I’ve earned it,” he told The Daily News a few months ago. “I’m entitled to it. I take it.”
ALBANY -- Public officials convicted of corruption would be stripped of their pension benefit under legislation introduced Friday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
New York has long been criticized for allowing convicted lawmakers -- even those sentenced to prison -- to collect their public pensions. But the state constitution prohibits reducing or taking away benefits from any current official or public servant.
DiNapoli's proposal would skirt the constitutional issue in that it would apply only to future members of the New York State and Local Retirement System who are state or local elected officials, officers and appointees...
On Nov. 2, 2010, New Yorkers elected candidates for state government and in doing so, probably unbeknownst to themselves, they reduced the number of female state legislators. Women hold no major leadership posts in the legislature and none of the four statewide offices, although one of New York's U.S. senators -- Kirsten Gillibrand -- is a woman.
New York State gave women the right to vote in 1917 -- three years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enacted -- and has had many leaders for women's suffrage such as Susan B. Anthony and the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention. Today, however, New York lags behind other states in terms of the representation of women in government, both in elected and appointed positions.
ALBANY - Apart from party affiliation, there may be no more decisive factor in determining how the legislature works than its rules.
Those rules have been softened in the last couple of years, removing some of the absolute power formerly wielded by the Senate Majority Leader, but there is much more Democrats would like to see put into effect.
"Better rules in the legislature will make us more able to solve the problems that we have in the state," said Senator Daniel Squadron (D - Brooklyn/Manhattan). "Getting better rules immediately means that we can immediately start facing the terrible challenges that the state faces."
Elected officials are trying to find a tougher way to punish bad landlords who don’t provide heat to their tenants.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, State Senator Liz Krueger from Manhattan and members of the New York City Council are bringing awareness to the fact that many landlords are neglecting to provide tenants with basic services like heat and hot water.
They vowed to take necessary steps to ensure negligent landlords are compelled by harsher penalties and increased enforcement.
You know that broken iPod you’ve got sitting around? Those busted flip phones, or that laptop with the hole in the screen?(How on Earth did that get there?) Well they’ve all got batteries in ‘em and those batteries are no good for mother nature. Thanks to new legislation, signed yesterday by Gov. David Paterson and sponsored by Sen. Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, electronics manufacturers will be required under state law to work with retailers to set up convenient recycling programs for those sorts of batteries. The goal is to keep those toxic batteries out of landfills.
NEW YORK—The governor is between a rock and a hard place—some would say, between big money and clean water.
On Saturday, Governor Paterson opened up what environmental advocacy groups are calling the “Paterson loophole” to companies wanting to expand their hydro-fracking activity. Hydraulic fracturing, or hydro-fracking, involves pumping a solution of water, sand, and a relatively small portion of toxic chemicals (0.5 percent) into the ground to bust through shale for the prized natural gas within. Many worry about contamination of the watershed that services all of New York City.
“The legislature can be proud of themselves,” declared State Senator Liz Krueger at a gathering in front of the governor’s office at 633 Third Ave. on Monday.
Dec. 10, 2010 — Some years ago, the satirical group Chicago City Limits presented a sketch in which two tough-talking neo-Nazis forced a confession out of a frightened prisoner. The gag? He was a co-op applicant. The image of co-op boards hasn't changed much since: power-hungry prima donnas, arbitrary and capricious, who give benefits to themselves that they don't give to others.
In response to this perception, State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) this past May offered up the latest version of a legislation that has been introduced regularly since 1988. Her bill, S7958, which is now before the finance committee, would create an "Office of the Cooperative and Condominium Ombudsman."
Elected officials plan this week to redouble efforts to toughen penalties on landlords who violate city heat laws, breaking the economic incentive for building owners to withhold heat and hot water from tenants.
Officials confirmed Tuesday that the measure—targeting repeat and long-time offenders—has the backing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, giving the chances of passage a boost.
More than 114,000 New Yorkers filed complaints with the city about a lack of heat or hot water during the fiscal year that ended June 30. Such complaints have fluctuated between about 111,000 and 128,000 in recent years.
Earlier this month, a fledgling organization of New York City apartment owners launched a modest website with an Olympic-sized ambition:
“The Alliance of Condo & Co-op Owners aims to help owners achieve fair play, transparency, and accountability in condo and co-op governance and operations.”
Intrigued, we caught up with the ACCO’s president--Larry Simms, a 59-year-old ex- condo board president who consults with co-ops and condos on fiscal planning, communications, governance and ‘problem avoidance’—to find out more about the grassroots movement and its tactics.
Having lived in a co-op for the past 15 years, I cannot speak out enough on supporting bill 7958-A, introduced by state Sens. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) and George Onorato (D-Astoria). This bill would create a government agency that would hear the cries of hundreds of thousands of residents who own shares in co-ops.
Presently, our only course of action in the event of a conflict between shareholders and the board or management is to hire an attorney and be at the mercy of a corporate checkbook and the numerous ways of abusing the judicial system to protect what may not be in the best interest of shareholders.
Opponents of natural gas drilling in the Southern Tier’s Marcellus Shale formation today are cheering the state Senate’s approval of a short-term moratorium late Tuesday night.
The measure sailed through the Senate, 48-9. If approved by the Assembly and Gov. David Paterson, permits to drill for natural gas in the formation would be delayed until May 15, 2011. Now focus turns to the Assembly, where supporters of the drilling moratorium believe it could be taken up soon.
The campaign to crack down on illegal hotels is coming to a head. State Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried will join tenants, housing rights advocates and other state and city officials at a rally tomorrow to urge Governor David Paterson to sign into law the illegal hotel bill they sponsored. The bill aims to free New York City agencies to enforce the law against illegal hotels -- apartments designated as permanent residences that are improperly used as transient hotel rooms. The legislation already passed the Senate and the Assembly. Krueger and Gottfried talked to The Real Deal about how illegal hotels have threatened the city's tenants, affordable housing stock and tourists, where they've spread and how this bill is designed to cease their expansion.
The Web sites show happy young travelers bunking within a few blocks of Broadway. And they offer a place to stay in such a glamorous, expensive city for only $15 a night. The problem is that a growing number of these “hotels” are unsafe, unsanitary and illegal.
Rogue hotels offer a quick buck for the landlords and a problem for almost everybody else — other residents who need affordable housing, the neighborhood that needs stability, the city that loses on hotel taxes and often even the visitor who goes home grumbling.