Michael Gianaris's News items

Redistricting reform down to the wire

The Legislative Gazette wrote an article about redistricting reform and the fact that a majority of New Yorkers support a nonpartisan redistricting process.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last Thursday indicates a majority of New Yorkers think creating a nonpartisan redistricting process for drawing state Senate, Assembly and Congressional lines is important, and those who have fought in Albany for years to achieve that end think it is closer than ever. However, a possible early primary next year could mean reform would have to be passed sooner, rather than later, to make a difference in the 2012 redistricting process.

June 7, 2011
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Citi Field ready for transformation from baseball field to soccer pitch for Ecuador-Greece match

The Daily News wrote about the Greece-Ecuador soccer game to take place on Tuesday, June 7. The article included a photo of Senator Gianaris and Assemblyman Moya from the press conference they participated in to promote the game.

For David Wright, the dimensions of Citi Field may be overwhelming.

But for a soccer game, there's just enough warning track.

Without having to move any walls or cut out any seats, the Mets groundskeeping crew will begin to transform the diamond and outfield into a FIFA-regulation-sized soccer field following Sunday night's game against the Braves.

June 6, 2011
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Queens Subway Transfer Station 20 Years In The Making

NY1 did a segment on the Court Square Station Complex opening. Senator Gianaris' remarks are included in the video.

It took a little more than 20 years from inception, but the new Court Square Subway Station complex in Long Island City is finished, and should make transfers quicker, cheaper and more comfortable.

The elevators and escalators complement the moving sidewalks and allow free transfers among the E, M, G and 7 lines, and the Northeast corner of Jackson Avenue and 23rd Street without having to hit the street.

"Previously, customers wanting to make this transfer would have to leave the system, use city sidewalks and re-use their Metrocards to enter the system," said New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast.

June 3, 2011
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Soccer Comes To Citi As Mets Host Match

Queens Tribune wrote about my participation in Mets press conference on the Greece-Ecuador soccer game.

Queens will host the national soccer teams of two of its biggest ethnic groups on June 7, when Greece faces off against Ecuador in an international friendly match at Citi Field.

About 25,000 tickets have already been sold for the Tuesday night match.

"National pride will be in abundance," said Mets Executive Vice President of Business Operations Dave Howard.

The foray into soccer is a long-anticipated one for the Mets organization. Despite having fallen on hard times, hosting the world's sport has always been the Mets' intention, according to Howard.

"We want to use Citi Field all year round," he said.

June 2, 2011
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Last Ditch Push On Redistricting

Gotham Gazette wrote about ReShape NY's Lobby Day event to push for redistricting, which Senator Gianaris attended. Senator Gianaris said, "Promises were made and it is time those promises were kept. Now is the time to discover who is a genuine Hero of Reform and who was just spouting empty campaign rhetoric."

June 2, 2011
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Soccer Comes To Citi Field

Queens Gazette wrote about and included photos of the Mets press conference that Senator Gianaris participated in. 

Soccer fans across the borough and the globe will soon come to Citi Field in Flushing to witness the historic inaugural soccer game between Ecuador and Greece. In a special preview at the home of the New York Mets, state Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Assemblymember Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) came to represent the Greek and Ecuadorian communities respectively.

June 1, 2011
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Teams from Ecuador, Greece set to kick off soccer tradition at Citi Field

New York Daily News wrote about the Mets press conference Senator Gianaris participated in along with Assemblyman Moya and Mr. Met to promote the Greece-Ecuador soccer game on June 7 at Citi Field.

Ecuador and Greece will square off in the first-ever soccer match at Citi Field next week, and a second game isn't far behind.

Two "major" international soccer clubs will play each other sometime this summer, Mets officials said.

David Howard, executive vice president of business operations for the Mets, said team officials have been looking for ways to expand the use of Citi Field, and decided soccer is the way to go.

May 31, 2011
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Maloney touts rail project at Sunnyside Yds.

Queens Times Ledger quoted Senator Gianaris from Congresswoman Maloney's press conference on the new federal rail grant.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) visited Sunnyside Yards last Thursday to tout not only a federal grant to fix the bottlenecking of trains at the yards and prepare the yards for high-speed rail, but also the jobs and economic boost expected to come from the construction work.

“The first high-speed rail project in America is going to be this one,” Maloney said.

May 26, 2011
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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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