Michael Gianaris's News items

Pols decry plan to close Ladder 128

Queens Times Ledger asked Senator Gianaris to comment on the closure of Ladder 128 in Long Island City.

[...]

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said that given the population boom and the increased number of high-rise condominiums being built in Long Island City, closing the firehouse would be “a horrible mistake.” He said when Long Island City previously lost Engine 261 in Long Island City, which closed in 2003, response times lengthened.

“The last thing we need is to lose a ladder company,” Gianaris said.

The senator also said he would work to make sure the city reverses its decision, and if anything the area needs more fire services.

May 26, 2011
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Electric rate hikes zapped after law passed

Queens Times Ledger wrote about the rescinded FERC rate increase and quoted Senator Gianaris in the article.

The threat of a spike in electrical rates died a two-pronged death last week.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had come under fire for its January decision to allow city power generators to enact a large increase for their rates during peak electrical times. The agency believed the power companies faced steep property taxes when in actuality they received significant abatements. The FERC ruling could have caused city residents’ electrical rates to shoot up by 12 percent.

Days after the state Legislature passed a law last week to prevent the planned hike from being passed to those residents, FERC undid its decision.

May 26, 2011
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Maloney Announces Jobs Created At Sunnyside Yards

Queens Gazette included Senator Gianaris' quote from Congresswoman Maloney's press conference last week announcing a new federal rail grant for Sunnyside Yards.

May 26, 2011
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Lawmakers Vehemently Oppose Fire Company Closings

Queens Gazette asked Senator Gianaris to comment on the fire company closures announced by Mayor Bloomberg. In Gianaris' district, Ladder 128 is scheduled to be closed.

The release last week of the city’s long awaited list of fire company closings has Queens lawmakers fuming, vowing to keep open as many of the targeted units as possible.

The list, released by FDNY officials on May 18, includes four Queens fire companies in neighborhoods scattered across the borough:

•Ladder 128, 33-51 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside

•Engine 306, 40-18 214th Pl., Bayside

•Engine 294, 101-20 Jamaica Ave., Richmond Hill

May 25, 2011
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Local district faces firehouse closing

Sunnyside Post asked Senator Gianaris to comment on the possible closure of Ladder 128.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to close as many as 20 firehouses – including one in Long Island City—has drawn the scorn of many of this district’s politicians.

Ladder Company 128, which serves Sunnyside, Woodside, LIC, Blissville and Greenpoint, is among those firehouses that face the chopping block.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris said that “the closure of ladder company 128 would increase response times and would have a detrimental effect on the safety of people in western queens.” Gianaris added that the closure made little sense at a time when the area is expanding and developers are building more high-rise buildings.

May 23, 2011
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Gianaris: Bring Gay Marriage To A Vote

State of Politics wrote about part of Senator Gianaris' interview on "The Capitol Pressroom," during which he said that a same-sex marriage bill must be introduced and brought to a vote.

Democratic Sen. Mike Gianaris today disagreed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to not introduce a bill supporting same-sex marriage unless the votes are available, saying the public deserves to know where individual legislators stand.

In an interview on WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom this morning, Gianaris, D-Queens, said not having a bill allows Senate Republicans to tease on where they and duck the issue on where they stand.

May 23, 2011
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Feds nix electric over'charge'

The Post wrote about FERC's rescinded rate hike for ratepayers' electric bills. In a formal statement, Senator Gianaris said, "I'm glad this misguided rate hike has been reversed and proud that the State took swift action to save ratepayers millions of dollars. Governor Cuomo deserves thanks for working closely with those of us who were alarmed by the FERC decision to resolve the problem."

Charges reversed!

Federal regulators yesterday officially overturned an order that would have zapped the city by boosting residential electric bills by 10 to 12 percent.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acted barely 24 hours after Albany lawmakers passed a law making property-tax breaks for electricity generators permanent.

May 20, 2011
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Street likely to be named in honor of Irish-American Athletic Club

Senator Gianaris sent a letter in support of re-naming a street that runs through the Celtic Park apartment complex in Sunnyside in recognition of the Irish-American Athletic Club.

Local legislators are getting behind a plan to co-name a street that runs through the Celtic Park apartment complex in recognition of the Irish-American Athletic Club.

The new street name, which would be called Winged Fist Way, would apply to 43rd Street — between 48th and 50th Aves. The name would recognize that the Irish-American Athletic Club, which enjoyed its heydays before World War I, was headquartered where the Celtic Park apartments are today. The Winged Fist was the emblem of the club, which had a raised fist, eagle wings, shamrocks and the US flag.

May 19, 2011
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MTA track work trouble for first LIC Arts Open

Queens Courier asked Senator Gianaris to comment on the closure of the 7 train this weekend, which could hinder visitors from attending the LIC Arts Open.

Richard Mazda is expecting thousands of people this weekend – and he’s afraid his guests will have no way to get there.

You see, Mazda is the director of the first annual LIC Arts Open, a celebration of the arts community in Long Island City, which runs through Sunday, May 22.

But with MTA New York City Transit planning work to address a recent increase in signal-related delays on the No. 7 line between May 20 and 23, there will be no subway service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza.

May 19, 2011
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Gianaris: No tax help for Big Electric

This article in the Times Ledger was written just after tax abatement legislation that hurt ratepayers passed in the Senate on Monday. On Wednesday, however, legislation that helps prevent drastic rate hikes was passed by the Senate. I am happy my fellow Senators and I were able to stand up for ratepayers across the state.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) condemned a bill passed in the Senate Monday to give tax abatements to power generators, saying it would provide them with an unfair tax benefit.

May 19, 2011
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Third car slams into barriers at Queensboro exit

Queens Times Ledger spoke to Senator Gianaris about the accident that happened last weekend at Queensborough Plaza.

Yet another car smashed into a Long Island City commercial block early Saturday morning after careening down an off-ramp of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

The Volkswagen crashed into a line of concrete barriers along Queens Plaza South between Crescent and 27th streets that was installed by the city Department of Transportation after the second fatal crash at the same spot.

“This ongoing situation is intolerable and inexcusable,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said in a statement. The lawmaker held a news conference after the second accident to call on the city DOT to fix the off-ramp.

May 19, 2011
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Third VW Accident At QB Bridge Exit Ramp

Queens Gazette included a quote from me about last weekend's Queensborough Bridge accident.

The Queensboro Bridge exit ramp that claimed two lives in the last two months last weekend was the scene of a third crash that left two men injured.

The driver was speeding and lost control of his Vokswagen at an exit turn on the lower level off-ramp of the Queensboro Bridge at Bridge Plaza South near Crescent Street at about 5:30 a.m., Saturday morning, May 14, sending the car airborne onto the roof of a livery cab parked nearby, police said.

Driver, Kristy Miles, 33, managed to jump from the cab just seconds before the impact, police said.

May 18, 2011
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Motorists Face Tougher Driving Laws - Next Edition!

A package of driving law enhancing bills were passed by the Senate in early May. Queens Gazette wrote about the bills and quoted Senator Gianaris on one of them.

[...] State Senator Michael Gianaris said about the legislation that was passed May 3, “Funerals should be given the respect of an uninterrupted procession. I was pleased to vote in favor of the legislation to end traffic interference of a funeral procession as we must be able to honor the deceased members of our community while maintaining safety on our roadways.”

Read the full article here.

May 18, 2011
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State elections

Redistricting, calendar up in the air

State lawmakers' penchant for procrastination could leave up to the courts key decisions governing the 2012 elections.

In the coming months, the Legislature has to confront two vexing issues: redistricting and changes to the start of the election cycle to comply with federal law. However, lawmakers have yet to act on either one individually, and a convergence of the two will make it even more difficult to resolve either in the coming weeks.

May 17, 2011
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GOP shocker for city electric rates

New York Post wrote an article about the legislation that Senate Republicans passed that expands giveaways for electric-generating companies. We should be standing up for ratepayers not huge corporations.

ALBANY -- Last-minute legislation to head off a threatened 12-percent rate hike for New York City electricity customers was in danger last night as Senate Republicans unexpectedly passed a different measure that could cost the city nearly $2 billion.

Outraged lawmakers and city officials accused the Senate GOP of seeking a massive give-away for electric-generating companies that already are receiving city tax breaks on their property taxes.

May 17, 2011
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N.Y. redistricting talks bog down

Ithaca Journal wrote an article about redistricting reform. We must to rally together in order to get this inportant reform passed.

ALBANY -- With just five weeks to go before the Legislature breaks for the summer, talk at the Capitol has been driven by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's legislative priorities: a property tax cap, an ethics overhaul and legalizing gay marriage.

Noticeably absent, however, has been much talk on redistricting reform, a major campaign issue that garnered significant attention earlier this session, but is still unresolved.

May 16, 2011
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Officials Demand Change After Third Bridge Accident

Senator Gianaris was interview by WCBS 880 on the latest accident at Queensborough Plaza.

Click here to listen to connect to the audio.

May 16, 2011
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DOT blames span drivers

New York Post followed up on the latest Queensborough Plaza accident.

In the wake of a third crash at the dangerous hairpin-curve offramp of the Queensboro Bridge, the city Department of Transportation continued yesterday to blame bad driving as the cause of the accidents -- two of which were fatal.

"NYPD reports suggest excessive speed appears to be the dominant factor," said DOT spokesman Montgomery Dean, adding that the city has already installed speed-limit signs, flashing lights and rumble strips in an effort to slow drivers as they exit onto Queens Plaza South.

But two politicians questioned the agency's commitment to safety in light of Saturday's crash, when a speeding Volkswagen Rabbit careered into scaffolding and a livery car.

May 16, 2011
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Bridge toll mounts

New York Post asked Senator Gianaris to comment on the recent accident that occured on the Queens side of the Ed Kick-Queensborough Bridge.

A treacherous Queensboro Bridge offramp that has already claimed two lives was the scene of another spectacular crash early yesterday.

A speeding Volkswagen lost control on a hairpin turn at the lower-level offramp at about 5:30 a.m on Queens Plaza South -- ping-ponging between barriers before it went airborne and landed on the roof of a parked livery cab.

The smashup took place at the exact location of two other Volkswagen crashes -- both fatal -- in the last two months.

THE QUEENSBORO BRIDGE'S TREACHEROUS OFFRAMP

May 16, 2011
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City hearing sheds light on Census challenge

Queens Chronicle wrote an article on the latest developments regarding the Census and its flawed results. This is a serious problem and must be fixed.

At a City Council hearing on Monday, the Census Bureau’s New York regional director, Tony Farthing, testified that a processing error may have caused the agency to undercount city residents.

Farthing reportedly brought up the potential error in response to a comment by Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Brooklyn), but did not explain exactly what type of error he was referring to.

May 12, 2011
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