Michael Gianaris's News items

Law counting prisoners towards population in home community could redraw districts in Dems favor

LATFOR should use the results of the Assembly's study as they continue the redistricting process. The Daily News wrote about the study on how to count prisoners for purposes of redistricting.

ALBANY - Prisoners in New York can't vote, but they may decide which party controls the state Senate next year.

A new law now requiring prisoners to be counted toward the population of their home community - rather than where they are serving time - could dramatically alter the political landscape of more than a dozen upstate districts.

That's because state officials will redraw legislative and congressional districts based on 2010 Census Bureau population figures in time for the 2012 elections.

September 6, 2011
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Big line shift likely

Prison-based gerrymandering is illegal and must not be used when redrawing district lines. The Times-Union wrote about a study conducted by the State Assembly which counts prisoners at there home address for purposes of redistricting.

ALBANY -- Several Senate districts in upstate New York would lose more than 5,000 constituents, according to newly analyzed data that may guide district lines.

The datasets, released Monday by Assembly Democrats, change Census figures normally used to draw districts for the Senate, Assembly and Congress so as to count prison inmates at their last known address -- not in their cells.

September 6, 2011
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Power station to build new unit

Western Queens already produces the majority of New York City's power. We should not have to live in a community whose air is becoming increasingly polluted.

From Queens Chronicle:

U.S. Power Generating Co. plans to expand its Astoria station by building a new 500-MW unit some 2,400 feet away from its existing site in northwest Queens. The plan, called the Luyster Creek Energy Project, has raised fears that total emissions from the station could rise.

The project involves retiring one of four old units at the station in addition to building the new one, and is undergoing a formal community review period until Dec. 9, as required by the Department of Environmental Conservation, according to John Reese, senior vice president of U.S. Power Generating.

September 2, 2011
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Gianaris pulls his support for Luyster Creek

Queens Times Ledger wrote about the Luyster Creek Energy Project planned by USPowergen. Senator Gianaris cannot support power generation unless we are guaranteed an overall emissions reduction.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) withdrew his support for a new green power plant project after learning that despite an upgrade meant to reduce emissions, the company will be allowed to create pollutants at a higher rate than it had been allowed previously. 

“My issue has always been that I will not support new power generation unless we’re guaranteed an overall emissions reduction,” Gianaris said. 

September 2, 2011
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GOP gets slammed in LI redistricting

Capitol Confidential wrote about Nassau's overruled district lines, which exemplifies New York's need for a bipartisan redistricting process.

Senate Democrats are already hailing this as a precursor for the broader statewide redistricting battle. That remains to be seen, but today’s Court of Appeals ruling against the Republican-dominated plan for redistricting the Nassau County legislature is a defeat for the GOP.

Dems also note that this is quite a defeat for the GOP’s election lawyer, John Ciampoli.

More than a half million Nassau Co. residents would have been in new districts, they noted.

Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy issued the following statement. Below that is the opinion.

August 30, 2011
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Court Of Appeals Rejects Nassau County Lines

State of Politics wrote about a Court of Appeals rejection of Nassau county district lines. Legislative district lines must not be drawn in a manipulated, partisan manner.

A Court of Appeals decision for Nassau County could have statewide implications for the redrawing of legislatively boundaries next year.

Or, at least that’s what Senate Democrats hope.

The Court of Appeals ruled 7-2 7-0, with two judges dissenting in part (whoops!), this morning rejected boundaries drawn by the Nassau County Legislature, which the judges claim ignored a three-step process as laid out in a county charter.

August 30, 2011
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State Sen. Gianaris: few power outages/downed trees

Senator Gianaris checked out the downed tree in Sunnyside and is working to rectify the situation.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris said that there were between 100 and 200 power outages scattered throughout Western Queens but only a handful of outages in Sunnyside and Woodside. Long Island City was where most of the power cuts occurred.

Gianaris said that he got very few reports of downed trees in Sunnyside/Woodside; however, a resident did e-mail him a picture of a troubled tree on 41st Street (bet. Queens Blvd. and 43rd Ave)—which at that point leaned over the road and blocked oncoming cars, causing authorities to close part of the street.

August 30, 2011
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An upgrade downer: Power plant's $750 project may allow more toxins

The Daily News wrote about the Luyster Creek power plant project that is supposed to generate energy more efficiently. There is no reason why western Queens has to be responsible for most of the city's power production.

[...]

The Luyster Creek plan would swap out one old generator for two cleaner-burning ones, and lower emissions of two other generators that are about 50 years old, Perri said.

But regulatory permits could actually allow the company to produce more pollution overall in Astoria.

For example, the plant would be allowed to increase its overall carbon monoxide output by almost 89 tons a year, Perri said. Nitrogen oxide could go up by almost 25 tons annually.

August 26, 2011
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Man Allegedly Fondles 7-Year-Old Girl’s Feet In Queens Library

A Queens minor was forcibly touched in a library. CBS 2 did a story on the incident and mentions legislation ISenator Gianaris is introducing, along with Assemblymember Simotas, which increases the penalty for those who forcibly touch minors.

Click on here to watch the video.

August 25, 2011
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Queens Gazette: GIANARIS PRAISES NEW ETHICS LAW

Queens Gazaette wrote about Senator Gianaris' support for the new ethics legislation that Governor Cuomo signed into law.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law last week the new Public Integrity Act of 2011, drawing heavy praise from state Senator Michael Gianaris (D–Astoria), who was strongly in favor of the new ethics reform statute as it made its way toward passage in the senate during the regular senate session earlier this year.

The law increases transparency, Gianaris noted, establishes more stringent disclosure requirements, and creates a new independent ethics panel to oversee elected officials.

August 24, 2011
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Groping Attack Victims Host Rally; Safety Seminar Held

Queens Gazette wrote about the Astoria Against Violence rally Senator Gianaris attended in response to recent groping incidents in the neighborhood. It is important that we work together to keep our streets safe.

What started out as a single post on a local Web site WhyLeaveAstoria.com (WLA) about a woman who was groped by a man riding a bicycle, culminated in 45 women coming out with their shared experiences, two arrests and a rally organized by two of the victims to speak out against sexual harassment and abuse.

August 24, 2011
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They're in the Back Room

New York Times editorialized the need for the Governor to veto any legislative district lines not drawn in a bipartisan manner. We need to create an independent redistricting commission now.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has taken a strong stand against gerrymandering. He put forward a good bill that would create an independent commission to draw political districts and promised to veto any new maps that are “partisan.” Albany’s pols are not giving up.

Mr. Cuomo’s bill went nowhere, despite the fact that a hefty majority of legislators signed a pledge in 2010 to support such a commission. The old-style task force is now drawing up maps, and the business-as-usual crowd is trying to figure out how to get around the veto threat.

August 24, 2011
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NYC’s TV boom

NY Post editorialized on the state's film tax credit, which creates thousands of jobs for New Yorkers and helps boost our economy.

Hollywood it ain’t, but New York now has 23 prime-time TV shows filming inside the city -- a record for the Big Apple.

And it’s not just cop dramas: Even shows set in other cities are taping here, including HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” (Atlantic City) and CBS’ “The Good Wife” (Chicago).

The trick?

Producers have been pouring in since the state first offered a 30 percent tax credit to TV and film studios in 2004.

It’s a welcome twist in a city where high taxes have been driving residents and businesses away for decades.

August 24, 2011
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Call lawmakers back to Albany to vote on redistricting

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle editoriliazed on the need for lawmakers to keep their promises and pass independent redistricting. We need a special session to vote on this issue and establish a fair process.

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo returns from his summer vacation at an undisclosed location somewhere in New York state, he should move swiftly on critically important post-session loose ends such as redistricting.

On page 17 of his 2010 campaign handbook, The New NY Agenda: A Plan for Action, Cuomo made it clear that he would "fight" for an independent redistricting commission.

August 22, 2011
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Meeting Demand

The Capitol transcribed parts of the energy panel Senator Gianaris participated in earlier this month.

All the pieces are in place to develop a sustainable and efficient energy supply in New York State except one: leadership.

That was the consensus from a panel of experts, advocates and government officials who said New York has the capacity to grow its wind, solar and natural-gas energy production, while also conserving more power and improving the electric grid—as long as there’s a plan for doing so.

August 19, 2011
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Queens pols challenge census

Queens Times Ledger wrote about our challenge of the census numbers. 

Astoria and Jackson Heights officials praised Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s formal challenge to the results of the 2010 U.S. census filed last week, which singled out what he called a severe undercount in two of the borough’s fastest-growing neighborhoods.

The lawmakers said that while the challenge could not bring back the two congressional seats the state will lose, it could bring needed federal money to the state if successful.

“If the consequences were not so serious, the census numbers for Astoria would be laughable,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria).

August 18, 2011
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Sunnyside Merchants Urge DOT To Rethink Parking Rules

Senator Gianaris spoke to NY1 on the need to change parking regulations in Sunnyside to better serve local businesses and residents.

Watch the video here.

August 18, 2011
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Cuomo Signs Gianaris-Simotas Bill

Queens Gazette wrote about joint-legislation, sponsored by Senator Gianaris and Assemblymember Simotas, that Governor Cuomo signed into law. The bill further protects law enforcement personnel during investigations.

State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill they sponsored cracking down on criminals who attempt to impede felony investigations through the use or installation of explosive devices and other hazardous materials.

August 17, 2011
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New York’s Energy Policy Lacks Leadership, Experts Say

City Hall News hosted an energy panel to discuss New York State's energy future. Senator Gianaris was invited to participate in the panel since his Senate district is home to more than 60% of New York City's power generating plants.

[...]

Moving forward will require a range of new initiatives, panelists said – including conservation measures such as retrofitting buildings to be more efficient, and installing smart meters to let electric customers monitor and control their power use more closely.

“We have to balance all of these resources,” said Sergej Mahnovski, senior advisor and director of the Office of Energy Policy and Infrastructure at the city Department of Environmental Protection. “There is no magic bullet, so we have to be careful.”

August 16, 2011
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Sunnyside leaders want city to reconsider parking rules

Queens Times Ledger wrote about the need for revised parking regulations in Sunnyside, which would alleviate much of the congestion and make it easier for residents to travel through their neighborhood streets.

Sunnyside business owners and western Queens officials want the city Department of Transportation to change the parking rules along Queens Boulevard, saying the rules benefit commuters at the expense of local businesses.

Ciaran Staunton, who opened the pub and coffee shop Molly Blooms at Queens Boulevard near 43rd Street in Sunnyside in March, said his morning business has been hindered because of a no-standing rule on the boulevard from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. between 39th and 49th streets Monday through Friday.

August 15, 2011
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