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.”
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.
As Senator Gianaris continued to fight for better 7 train service in western Queens, he attended a meeting with the MTA about upcoming 7 train weekend closures. Senator Gianaris discussed the meeting with the LIC/Astoria Journal; read the full story here.
Senator Gianaris joined Councilman Costa Constantinides, Assemblymembers Aravella Simotas and Mike Dendekker and New York Cares to host a coat drive to help those in need this winter. Read about how the coat drive helped New Yorkers in need stay warm in the Queens Courier.
Senator Gianaris joined his fellow elected officials, transit safety groups, and local residents to call for Mayor Bill de Blasio to focus his Vision Zero efforts on Northern Boulevard after four pedestrians were injured in an accident at a Woodside bus stop. “Here we go again,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who introduced a bill in the Senate, which would charge drivers who continue to drive without a valid license and are in an accident that causes serious injury or death with vehicular assault. “Until we begin taking pedestrian safety seriously, we are going to keep standing at more and more press conferences
Senator Gianaris joined neighborhood residents in celebrating a decision by the Landmarks Preservation Commission keeping the Aluminaire House out of Sunnyside Gardens, saying “today we stand as a united community to express our satisfaction that our voices were heard. I joined my neighbors in opposing the Aluminaire House from the start and testified against it before the Landmarks Preservation Commission because it would be inconsistent with the unique beauty of this part of our neighborhood. Victories like this one cannot be understated as we seek to preserve the character of our neighborhoods as more and more people flock to western Queens.”
In celebrating an expansion at IS 125 in Woodside, Senator Gianaris said, “I am glad that after years of bringing attention to the overcrowding at IS 125 the School Construction Authority listened to our community and funded a much needed expansion. However, my joy pales in comparison to that of the students who will no longer have to go to class in run-down trailers. As our neighborhood continues to grow, fighting overcrowding and ensuring every child has access to a quality education is of paramount importance. This expansion marks a giant step in the right direction, and I will continue working with Principal Mittler, parents, students, and teachers here to make sure this project is completed as soon as possible.”
After yet another deadly crash on the Queensboro Bridge exit ramp, Senator Michael Gianaris demanded the city act quickly to make the area safer. His efforts produced results immediately, as the Department of Transportation closed the deadly off-ramp at night.
Though Senator Gianaris hopes DOT will do more in the future to prevent crashes at this site, he was proud to have brought about change so quickly.
Days after a crash involving a truck driver with a suspended license tragically took the life of an 8 year old in Woodside, Senator Michael Gianaris introduced legislation that would make it a felony for drivers who drive with suspended licenses and kill or seriously injure someone in the process. Currently, drivers like the one involved in the recent tragedy can get away with only a misdemeanor. Senator Gianaris also proposed the immediate impoundment of the license plate of a vehicle being operated by someone with a suspended license.
Senator Gianaris applauded the extension of East River Ferry Service, saying “The extension of East River Ferry service through 2019 is welcome news for western Queens, an area in dire need of better mass transit due to woefully inadequate service on the 7 subway line. Hopefully, this step in the right direction will lead to continued attention to the mass transit needs of the growing community of Long Island City.”
Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Councilman Peter Vallone and Councilman-elect Costa Constantinides joined community leaders, parents, teachers and students from PS 85Q at a rally to demand the MTA and DOE address noise problems created by passing trains.
“No one else should have to die before the city realizes that this exit ramp is fundamentally unsafe. We stood here two years ago asking for a complete redesign of the off ramp, and instead we got new signs and a couple barriers. The time for half measures is gone. We need a safer exit ramp before another tragedy occurs,” said Senator Gianaris.