This year we pay our respects to the 13th anniversary of September 11. For over a decade now, my office has hosted a memorial event on the American Veterans Memorial Pier, in the shadows of where the Twin Towers once stood, commemorating the lives lost and heroism we saw that day.
We remember those we lost in our community, our city and our nation, both civilian and first responders, and salute the brave men and women who protect our freedom by serving in the armed forces.
Last week we all read the horrific story of a motorcycle gang who viciously beat Alexian Lien, and terrorized his family, on the West Side Highway. This incident has made national headlines, and captured the attention of every New Yorker. This type of brutality, coupled with the recent acts of gun violence throughout the city, reminds us all of one important fact: Crime and violence in all forms only remains under control when we are vigilant.
This week, we learned that the MTA board will be meeting next week to discuss this restoration of the B37 bus route. This is great news for riders, residents and businesses, and for our community as a whole. While this news is not official until the board votes, I believe, due to our efforts, that the B37 will return. Rest assured I will continue to press the MTA until this is a done deal.
Last week, we heard the news that the MTA will be closing the Montague Street Tunnel, which connects the R line to Manhattan, this August until October of 2014. Unfortunately, that means 14 months of hardships on all of us that use the R train to get to and from Manhattan. The repairs, which are Sandy related, must take place and I am not criticizing the MTA for doing these repairs. Our infrastructure was badly damaged during this storm, and it must be fixed so our transportation system can function properly. But the MTA must make accommodations to our residents.
When it comes to pedestrian safety, and specifically the safety of our children, the focus must be on traffic calming methods that result in an increased level of safety. Logically, curbing speed in the immediate area surrounding schools is the most effective.
New York City schools are vast and numerous. In South Brooklyn alone, they are located on both major thoroughfares, like 4th Avenue, New Utrecht Avenue, and Bay Ridge Parkway, as well as less traveled streets, like 85th Street, Ridge Boulevard, and Benson Avenue. With thousands of students coming and going each day, we must look at concise and appropriate measures to curb speeding that may take place around schools.
Matthew Gary, Jason Williams, and Amjad Barakat. All three of these individuals were victims of hit and runs in Brooklyn. Matthew is currently in Long Island Hospital due to injuries. Jason and Amjad were laid to rest. In December of 2012 alone, there were over 2500 hit and runs in New York City. 2500 individuals fled the scene of the accident. Just in one month. Last year there were more than 26,000 hit and runs in New York City. 26,000 drivers hit people or property, causing damage, injuries, and in some cases loss of life, and drove off without a second thought.
As a former New York City Police Officer and Senate sponsor of the bill New York and our nation were shocked and offended when they learned of a loophole that prevents the appropriate prosecution of individuals who view child pornography. Our children, families and all citizens are safer because of this new law that puts in place stricter penalties against this wrongful behavior. New York now conforms with federal regulations and rightly classifies viewing child pornography as a crime.
It wasn’t that long ago that the words “dysfunctional” and “Albany” were always connected to one another. Out-of-control spending, late budgets and a government unable to make even the most routine of decisions had become business as usual. I expected that one day I would be driving up to Albany and find that the Thruway Exit sign had been changed to read “Dysfunctional Albany.”
Things are beginning to change. For the second year in a row, we have a budget that is on time.
The budget does a lot of good things for New York City; so much so that we can say that New York City and the New York Giants are the winners this year.
Last November, millions of New Yorkers were offended and a community was terrified by the seemingly anti-Semitic car fire bombings in Midwood, Brooklyn.
I pledged $1,000 towards the reward for information leading to the arrest of the individual involved in such a hateful act, as I maintain a zero tolerance policy for such behavior.
But now, according to law enforcement officials, the crime that rattled our neighborhoods has turned out to be just a smoke screen to conceal more auto insurance fraud - a crime that costs New Yorkers millions of dollars a year and puts lives at risk.
I recently joined my colleague Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis in calling upon the New York State Legislature to approve legislation that will increase the penalties for predators who attempt to lure or entice a child by various means.
The bill, S. 2210, which I sponsored in the State Senate, would enhance penalties for those who solicit youths for criminal activity or sexual encounters by using a vehicle, arranging to meet in a secluded area, or through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, e-mail, text messaging and more.
I am officially throwing down the gauntlet! For too long this community been divided. For too long this community been torn. For too long every resident of our great community has lost sleep looking for the answer to the following question: who best represents Bay Ridge in sporting and athleticism?
That’s why my colleague Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis approached me to join her, and we officially challenged our friends across the aisle, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny and Councilman Vincent Gentile, to a Ping Pong match to decide once and for all who is the best of the best of the best of Bay Ridge.
For the last two years, the Democrat-controlled State government has launched a merciless assault on the quality of life of our State residents.
Under their leadership, the Democrats took more of your hard earned money through higher taxes while at the same time killing over 245,000 jobs in 2009 alone.
They eliminated our STAR rebate checks, which were given to every homeowner to feed the super-sized state budgets that increased spending by over 14 billion in two years. Additionally, their infamous MTA bailout saddled every church, charity, school and small business with a job-killing payroll tax while leaving upstate bridges and roads to crumble.