(Albany, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris hailed the Senate passage of the Gianaris/Aubry Queens Library Reform Bill (S.6893-B), which will now move to the desk of Governor Cuomo, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
“I am thrilled the Senate so overwhelmingly passed my bill and look forward to it becoming law so we can end the abuses that plagued our library system,” said Senator Gianaris. “Once enacted, my bill will rein in the excesses revealed in recent reports and provide a long-term blueprint for an efficient, transparent and accountable library system of which every Queens resident can be proud. I am thankful for the way just about everyone in Queens came together to fight for these much-needed reforms, which says a lot about our borough’s desire for transparency and accountability when it comes to public funds.”
Following the news that the Steinway Mansion has been sold, Senator Gianaris told the TimesLedger that “the Steinway Mansion is an integral part of our neighborhood’s rich cultural history. Like many of my neighbors in Astoria, I hope that whoever made this purchase has an appreciation for the Steinway Mansion’s importance to the community and bearing that in mind, finds a way to allow public access to the neighborhood landmark.”
(Astoria, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris took pride in announcing a major step forward in the deconstruction of the Charles Poletti Power Plant in Astoria. For the first time in recent memory, smokestacks have been eliminated from western Queens after the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has removed the second of the power plant’s two smokestacks, as deconstruction of the entire facility continues. The deconstruction of the aging, inefficient and less clean power plant, which used outdated technology from the 1970s, is the result of an agreement between the community and NYPA reached after years of tireless work by Senator Gianaris, Queens leaders and community groups.
“The smokestacks of the Poletti power plant were symbols of the pollution that haunted our neighborhood for too long, and I am happy to see them go,” said Senator Gianaris. “The progress we have made improving our air quality is a key reason so many New Yorkers are coming to western Queens to live and work. More remains to be done in terms of rooting out pollution, but the deconstruction of the Poletti plant is a major milestone in taking our neighborhoods from being plagued by smokestacks to the family-friendly communities full of green space and parks to which we aspire.”
Senator Gianaris applauded the State Liquor Authority's decision to deny an alcohol permit for the Knockdown Center following months of working with local residents to help voice their concerns over planned shows and concerts. "I am glad the SLA listened to our community and denied this application. The residents of Ridgewood and Maspeth deserve to have their questions answered and their concerns addressed before the Knockdown Center is ever granted a liquor license, and I thank the SLA for preserving the community's quality of life with this decision," said State Senator Michael Gianaris.
Senator Gianaris joined the Senate Democratic Conference in introducing a comprehensive ethics reform package with the goal of cleaning up Albany. Senator Gianaris, who sponsored a bill regarding campaign finance reform, said “for too long the voices of everyday New Yorkers and the candidates that seek to represent them have been drowned out by campaigns that rely on enormous donations from wealthy donors acting in their own best interests. To preserve the integrity of democracy in New York State campaign contribution limits must be dramatically reduced.”
(Astoria, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris, elected officials, and cultural institutions from Astoria and Long Island City urged the MTA to adopt a proposed plan under consideration at its Monday meeting that would institute increased service on the Q103 Bus line. Under this plan the Q103, which connects the two Queens waterfront neighborhoods along Vernon Boulevard, would see expanded weekday service hours and would finally run on weekends thanks to an MTA trial program that would begin in June. The plan, long advocated by local leaders, still requires final approval from the New York City Transit and Bus Committee of the MTA Board on Monday April 28th.
“At long last, weekend service on the Q103 bus line is in sight,” said Senator Gianaris. “I urge the MTA to approve this service increase and recognize that our community’s need for better mass transit is pressing. The need for more public transportation in our area will only continue to grow, especially on weekends, as more people flock to our waterfront to visit our restaurants, parks, and cultural institutions. Astoria and Long Island City have become hubs for the arts, and New Yorkers should finally be able to travel between them on the Vernon Boulevard bus lines on Saturdays and Sundays.”
Mr. John D. Smith, Sr. is 86 years young and a long-time engaged and committed resident leader in the Queensbridge, Long Island City area. He is a veteran and a great-great-grand father who continues to serve as a role model for the generations that have followed him. He has been living in the New York City Housing Authority’s Queensbridge development for over 60 years.
Earth Day Poster Contest. This year we received many outstanding posters that exemplify the creativity of the young people in the 12th Senatorial District.
Each entry from my District displayed tremendous originality and vision as well as obvious concern for the ecological future of our communities and our state. I am proud of your work and that of your classmates, and encourage you to continue to study and learn more about the serious challenges that face our environment.
I am pleased to announce that the winner of the 2014 Earth Day Poster Contest from my District is:
(Queens, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris invited local residents to nominate veterans from the community whose service on behalf of our nation warrants induction into the New York State Veteran’s Hall of Fame.
This online Hall of Fame is designed to pay tribute to New Yorkers whose gallantry in the U.S. Armed Forces is complemented by service to their communities.
“Each year one of the greatest privileges I have as a member of the New York State Senate is to honor a member of my community who has not only served our nation but returned home and worked to improve the lives of our neighbors,” said Senator Gianaris. “Though all of us are eternally grateful to our nation’s veterans, the Veteran’s Hall of Fame allows us to say a special thank you, and I urge anyone with a veteran in mind to come forward with a nomination.”
Following recent revelations regarding questionable spending and a lack of effective oversight at the Queens Borough Public Library, Borough President Melinda Katz, Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry today announced they have crafted and introduced legislation to reform the operations of the Library’s Board of Trustees and improve the Library’s overall governance (A.9217/S.6893).
Senator Gianaris joined transit safety advocates and local leaders to enlist the public's help in tracking down a hit-and-run driver who took the life of Kumar Ragunath and fled the scene. Senator Gianaris also doubled down on his calls to improve traffic safety on Northern Boulevard and bring reckless drivers to justice.
Each year the residents of western Queens, and Long Island City in particular, wonder anxiously how many weekends the MTA will shut down the No. 7 train. In past years, the MTA did not even provide advance warning, adding insult to injury. All the prior notice in the world, however, cannot ease the pain of the 22 weekend closures we face in 2014.
Western Queens is home to the fastest-growing, most exciting neighborhoods in the five boroughs, and Long Island City continues to set the pace. People from all over flock here to live and raise their families, visit our wonderful cultural attractions, sample our world-class restaurants and enjoy our beautiful green spaces. Long Island City, and all of western Queens, deserves increased mass transit options, not ones that are being slashed.
Senator Gianaris was thrilled to see Mayor Bill De Blasio at this year's St. Pat's For All Parade in Sunnyside and Woodside. “One of the great joys of representing Sunnyside/Woodside is watching this grow each year. And I don’t think I have seen a crowd this big before,” said Senator Gianaris.
State Senator Michael Gianaris, a proud graduate of Long Island City H.S. (LICHS), joined students, teachers and parents in celebrating the reversal of a Department of Education (DOE) colocation plan that would have negatively affected his alma mater. The plan would have co-located a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) school within LICHS, adding to the problem of classroom overcrowding and sapping resources from current students. This plan followed successive attempts by the DOE to close down the school altogether, plans against which Gianaris also fought tirelessly.
Senator Michael Gianaris, a strong supporter of LIC Flea, celebrated the planned backdoor market Astoria Flea & Food that will be coming in May.
“LIC Flea is a very successful part of the Long Island City Community and its expansion to Kaufman Astoria Studios is a welcome addition to our neighborhood,” said Senator Gianaris. “Astoria Flea & Food will bring together the great food and artistic flair that put Astoria on the map and made it a destination for people all over the world. This new weekend attraction will embody the mix of history and modern influence that helps our community grow more vibrant each day.”
Senator Gianaris stood with parents, students and his fellow elected officials to urge the DOE not to change a plan that would negatively affect the PS 11 community.
“The planned expansion for PS 11 is a giant step in the fight against school overcrowding, but the DOE seems intent on making the worst out of a great situation by ignoring the concerns of students and parents,” said Senator Gianaris. “All of us here today are ready to work together to find a solution without making parents’ lives harder, but the DOE does not seem interested in listening.”
State Senator Michael Gianaris, Councilmember Costa Constantinides and Assemblymember Cathy Nolan hosted a celebration of Black History Month in collaboration with the Astoria Houses Tenants Association (TA) at Reality House in Astoria. The event celebrated community leaders TA President Claudia Coger, Bishop Mitchell Taylor, TA Vice President Renee Edwards, Pastor Dwayne Jackson, Detective Darryl Johnson, Minor Miracles Vice President Eric Mathews and Minor Miracles Executive Director of Public Programs Aiysha Mayfield.
Following the release of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero Report, Senator Michael Gianaris issued the following statement in support of the Mayor’s Vision Zero efforts.
“I am pleased Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero Report includes support for my bill to increase penalties on suspended and unlicensed drivers,” said Senator Gianaris. “Too many lives are needlessly lost at the hands of reckless drivers who should not be on our streets. I look forward to working with the Mayor to make our streets safer for all New Yorkers.”