Michael Gianaris's News items

Please Be Seated!

The Queens Gazette wrote about the installment of new benches along Steinway Street, for which Senator Gianaris attended the ribboncutting event and thanked the Steinway Astoria Partnership for continuing to improve the experiences of shoppers and visitors through these eco-friendly additions.

Members of the Steinway Astoria Partnership, elected officials and local community leaders attended a ribboncutting celebrating the new benches now lining Steinway Street.

 

September 22, 2011
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Smokers at record lows in New York City

Queens Courier wrote about the decrease in New York City smokers over the last ten years and included Senator Gianaris' comments.

More New Yorkers than ever have put out their last cigarette.

The number of New York City smokers has reached all-time lows, officials recently announced. In the past decade nearly half a million New Yorkers have put out their cigarettes, with 100,000 smokers quitting between 2009 and 2010. Smoking is down 35 percent throughout the city over the past eight years.

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable, premature death in New York City and the nation today and we’re proud that a record number of New Yorkers are saving their own lives by quitting,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

September 22, 2011
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Kids can learn and grow in new garden

Queens Courier wrote about the unveiling of the 'Learning Garden' at P.S. 84:

[...]

Senator Michael Gianaris, who attended P.S. 84 as a child, secured funding for the original garden, which was renovated to create the modernized “Learning Garden.”

“This garden is an excellent tool for students to learn in a more hands-on capacity and enhances their understanding of the environment,” said Gianaris, who attended the unveiling. “It is a great example of community members, advocacy groups and government pulling together to make productive use of this space. We are always in need of more avenues to teach children about the environment, how it works and how we can benefit from it.”

September 19, 2011
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Solemnity Rules At Blvd’s Co-naming

Queens Tribune wrote about the renaming of the "Boulevard of Bravery" at 65th Street and Queens Boulevard. Senator Gianaris spoke at the event. 

Bagpipes and beating drums brought 65th Street and Queens Boulevard in Woodside to a solemn silence on Sept. 9. The “Boulevard of Death” turned silent.

Honoring the firefighters of Rescue 4 who lost their lives in the line of duty and on Sept. 11, 2001, local elected officials and community members gathered with the families of the fallen to enshrine the bustling thoroughfare as “The Boulevard of Bravery.”

Although the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks rehashed the devastation caused that day, some elected officials paused to ensure that the memory of each first responder will live on.

September 15, 2011
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Avella, Gianaris call for state independent redistricting

Queens Campaigner wrote about the Queens LATFOR meeting and the need for an independent commission to redraw district lines.

If any teacher wanted to instruct students about gerrymandering, a field trip to state Sen. Tony Avella’s (D-Bayside) district might be a good place to start.

The lawmaker represents an unpopulated, rocky stretch of sand that forms a border around — but does not encroach upon — the neighborhood of Bay Terrace. It connects the neighborhood of Whitestone to the rest of his district by winding around the coast of Little Bay near the Throngs Neck Bridge — but only during low tide.?

September 15, 2011
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Marshall Calls For In-Borough Congressional Districts

Queens Gazette wrote about the redistricting hearing that took place in Queens, in which Senator Gianaris participated:

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Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he would veto any plan that does not meet his criteria for fairness. Cuomo proposed the creation of an independent commission, but legislation introduced in the Assembly was not approved in the senate. LATFOR consists of six members, four from the state legislature and two non-legislators.

September 14, 2011
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GIANARIS BILLS STRENGTHEN VOTING PROCESS

Queens Gazette wrote about the bills Senator Gianaris has introduced that enchance the voting process:

Four bills which would result in increased voter participation, a more efficient Board of Elections and make ballot casting more convenient have been introduced by state Senator Michael Gianaris (D–Astoria).

The lawmaker said, “The upcoming special elections remind us of the importance of voting. As we quickly approach 2012, it is vital that we make voting an accessible and convenient process in order to maximize turnout. Every ballot counts and New Yorkers must be able to exercise this valuable right as easily as possible.”

The four bills do the following:

September 14, 2011
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"Learning Garden" Teaches Queens Kids About Rainwater Collection

NY1 did a feature story on the opening of a new outdoor classroom for P.S.84 in Astoria. Senator Gianaris, who attended theschool when he was young, participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Watch the video here.

September 13, 2011
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Gianaris: Not Voting On Health Exchange ‘Foolish’

State of Politics wrote about Senator Gianaris' comments regarding the healthcare exchange from his interview on "The Capitol Pressroom." Senator Gianaris believes that we should not refuse large amounts of federal aid that would benefit New Yorkers simply for political reasons.

Not voting on a measure that would create a health-insurance exchange in New York is “foolish” Sen. Michael Gianaris told Susan Arbetter earlier today.

Gianaris, who has increasingly become the public face of the Senate Democratic Conference, blamed Senate Republicans for obstructing the bill.

September 13, 2011
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Woodside Mural Pays Tribute To 9/11 Victims

NY1 did a story on the commemoration ceremony of a mural in Woodside to the tenth anniversary of September 11. Senator Gianaris participated in the ceremony, hosted by Woodside on the Move and Councilmember Van Bramer.

Watch the video here.

September 11, 2011
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New districts cannot divide immigrant neighborhoods in Queens, advocates say

The Daily News wrote about how redistricting could affect various immigrant groups in Queens.

State officials must draw new district lines that give growing Queens immigrant groups a stronger voice, advocates demanded this week during a nearly six-hour public hearing.

A joint Senate-Assembly body that oversees redistricting has held public sessions throughout New York since July - and the meeting Wednesday in Queens drew one of the largest crowds in the state.

September 9, 2011
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Bedbugs found in Astoria school

Queens Chronicle wrote about Senator Gianaris'  Bed Bug Notification Bill, passed last year, a measure to prevent incidents such as the one that occurred at P.S. 70.

Bedbugs have infested PS 70, an elementary school in Astoria, according to reports published last week, which said the school has the worst bedbug problem in the city.

The Department of Education discovered the infestation last December, including evidence the bugs were breeding, but never told anyone at the school about it.

For the first time, the DOE has admitted the problem came from within the school itself. In the past, the department has claimed bedbugs were brought into schools by students.

Residents and area politicians are incensed with the agency’s oversight.

September 8, 2011
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State Sen. Gianaris criticizes NY's redistricting system

Queens Times Ledger wrote about Senator Gianaris' fight for an independent redistricting process:

The state agency responsible for redrawing legislative district boundaries was set to hold a forum this week to solicit input from the public.

The boundaries for districts of the state Legislature and Congress will be redrawn in 2012 in response to the 2010 U.S. Census. The boundaries of the City Council will be redrawn in 2013.

Since the populations in each district have either risen or fallen, the boundaries need to be adjusted so each legislator represents a similar number of people.

September 8, 2011
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Astoria leaders fuming over bedbug find

Queens Times Ledger wrote about Senator Gianaris' demand that DOE investigation the bed bug incident at P.S. 70.

Elected officials from Astoria were furious after the news broke that PS 70 on 42nd Street had the worst bedbug problems in the city and did not inform administrators or students.

“This type of negligence puts students and teachers at risk, and prevents families from taking necessary steps to protect their children,” state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) said in a statement.

September 8, 2011
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Queens Residents Fear Divided Neighborhoods Through Gerrymandering

NY1 reported on the redistricting public hearing that took place in Queens.

Every 10 years, a task force draws new district lines for state politicians based on census results, and at a Wednesday hearing today in Kew Gardens, Queens, critics alleged that lawmakers do it first and foremost with keeping their seat in mind.

Watch the video here.

September 8, 2011
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Pols remember 9/11: SENATOR MICHAEL GIANARIS

Queens Courier asked Senator Gianaris about his memories of September 11th:

Where were you when you heard that planes had struck the World Trade Center?

September 11th was an Election Day for municipal offices. I was campaigning with Peter Vallone Jr., who was a candidate for the City Council that day. After the attacks, we went to the rooftop of our polling place and saw the Towers burning with our own eyes. It is an experience I will never forget.

What was your initial reaction to the attack?

September 7, 2011
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GIANARIS LAUDS FILM/TV PROGRAM JOBS

Queens Gazette wrote about the thousands of jobs the film industry, aided by the film tax credit which was championed  by Senator Gianaris, has brought to New York. 

State Senator Michael Gianaris (D–Astoria) had high praise and satisfaction for a program he supported which has created many jobs in his district and elsewhere in New York state.

Gianaris pointed out that the New York State Film Production Credit, which rewards companies that produce films and TV shows in the state with a tax credit, also creates jobs. Gianaris was a lead supporter when the legislation was created and later expanded.

September 7, 2011
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Bedbugs Ignored In Local School

Queens Gazette wrote about the bed bug infestation in P.S. 70.Children must be able to learn in an environment that is not hindered by bedbug infestations.

Parents and elected officials are furious at Astoria’s P.S. 70 for failing to notify them of a bedbug infestation that has been ignored since last winter.

An inspection was performed at the school in December, in which several bedbugs were found in one of the school’s closets with signs of breeding. No notification was given to the parents, students or teachers. Even Principal Donna Gellar was left in the dark; she was unaware an investigation took place to begin with.

September 7, 2011
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Prison count numbers show big shifts in upstate districts

Politics on the Hudson wrote about the data found by the Assembly study on how to count New York State prisoners. Senator Gianaris believes that the use of these numbers to redraw district lines would allow New Yorkers to be represented fairly.

With a court battle still pending, Assembly Democrats have released updated population figures for use during the redistricting process, counting prisoners at their last-known address rather than where they are incarcerated.

September 6, 2011
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Prisoner-adjusted Senate/Assembly districts (UPDATED)

Capitol Confidential wrote about the Assemly's study on counting prisoners. This data will help clear the air around the redistricting process.

I have an article in today’s paper about Assembly Democrats releasing new population figures for state legislative districts, showing which ones increased and decreased when inmates (per a 2010 law) are counted at their last known address — not in their jail cells.

As we all expected, the biggest losers are rural, upstate Republicans. Only one Senate Democrat — Suzi Oppenheimer of Westchester County — had a significant population loss as a result of the recounting. As Ken Lovett noted today, districts in New York City pick up the gains.

September 6, 2011
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