Tony Avella's News items

TimesLedger: Bayside Historical Society Awarded $100K From State

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) presented the Bayside Historical Society with a $100,000 grant Thursday. The grant, which was allocated from the recently adopted state budget, is to help cover the nonprofit’s operating expenses.

The award came as a surprise to the historical society, located at the Fort Totten Castle, as Avella worked quietly to recoup state money for programs and organizations he knew were struggling financially.

“I’m very happy to be here as a former president of the Bayside Historical Society many years ago to help the organization to continue its great work, on not only helping to preserve the history of Bayside and their landmark building, but also the cultural work they do for Bayside and the entire borough of Queens,” Avella said.

May 19, 2015
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NY1: Avella Proposes Bill to Require Consultants to Disclose Clients

After watching NY1's report last month about BerlinRosen, a public affairs firm with close ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio, state Senator Tony Avella says he was inspired to act.

"The bill that I'm introducing is called the consulting bill," Avella says.

Avella's legislation would require communications and consulting firms like BerlinRosen to disclose all of their clients.

Jonathan Rosen, who co-founded the firm, is a close adviser to the mayor. At the same time, he also advises clients with business before City Hall. Because he is not a registered lobbyist, he does not have to reveal the clients he represents.

May 19, 2015
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TimesLedger: Bayside Historical Society Rewarded $100k from State

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) presented the Bayside Historical Society with a $100,000 grant Thursday, allocated from the recently adopted state budget, to help cover the nonprofit’s operating expenses.

The award came as a surprise to BHS, located at the Fort Totten Castle, 208 Totten Ave., as Avella worked quietly to recoup state money for programs and organizations he knew were struggling financially.

“I’m very happy to be here as a former president of the Bayside Historical Society many years ago to help the organization to continue its great work, not only helping to preserve the history of Bayside and their landmark building, but also the cultural work they do for Bayside and the entire borough of Queens,” Avella said.

May 11, 2015
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TimesLedger: More Buses to be Added to Q28 Line

Changes are coming to the Q28 bus route this summer, with additional buses allocated to increase frequency and decrease crowding.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will implement changes to the bus route beginning in late June, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) announced last week.

The Q28 route, which runs from Main Street in Flushing to Bell Boulevard in Bay Terrace, will be scheduled to run every 3 1/2 minutes during peak morning hours, as opposed to the four-minute increments currently in place.

The MTA estimated the changes will reduce the average bus capacity from 109 percent to 97 percent in the morning.

May 11, 2015
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Legislative Gazette: 11-year-old Helps Draft Bill to Recycle Batteries

A state senator, who has been a long-time environmental advocate, is following the lead of an 11-year-old boy from his district in Queens on an important issue in environmental policy: recycling of batteries.

At a press conference on the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, Sen. Tony Avella, vice chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, announced the introduction of bill S.4522 that would require New York to establish a recycling program for everyday-use batteries.

At the conference Avella, D-Queens, introduced Eliot Seol who lives in Queens. Seol contacted the senator requesting he introduce a bill to address that batteries people use in common electronics are not recycled properly.

May 6, 2015
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Times Ledger: Traffic Measures Announced Ahead of 3rd Avenue Exit Reopening

The city Department of Transportation announced traffic calming measures in conjunction with MTA Bridges and Tunnels’ anticipated reopening of the Third Avenue exit ramp at the Whitestone Expressway.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, along with state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside), announced plans to install bollards, or short posts that identify an area to guide traffic and safeguard vulnerable spots, for additional traffic calming.

“Local intelligence is critical to creating smart, safer designs for streets,” Trottenberg said in a statement. “Our ongoing conversations with the community and these elected leaders led to this important safety upgrade which will make vehicles slow down as they approach residential streets.”

May 6, 2015
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Times Ledger: Mute Swan Bill Passes Senate a Second Time

A bill that seeks to protect mute swans from a state Department of Environmental Conservation plan to eradicate the population in the state passed the state Senate last week. An earlier version of the bill was vetoed last year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The bill, introduced by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), would impose a two-year moratorium on the DEC plan.

Since the DEC announced the plan in 2013, on the grounds that the species is “invasive,” both animal rights activists and numerous lawmakers have voiced their opposition.

Avella called on the DEC to consider a non-lethal method for controlling the mute swan population, which is currently about 2,200 birds throughout the state, including the Rockaways.

May 6, 2015
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Times Ledger: Avella, Park Advocates Appeal Willets Megamall Case

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and park advocates say they are hopeful after a panel of judges heard arguments last week in the case of a proposed megamall on the former site of Shea Stadium.

The appeal filed by Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), City Club of New York, Queens Civic Congress, several members of Willets Point United and nearby residents and business owners against the Willets West mega-mall proposal was argued before the state Appellate Division.

The Willets West mall project is part of the Queens Development Group’s $3 billion redevelopment of Willets Point into a new neighborhood with commercial, retail and residential space.

April 24, 2015
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Times Ledger: Avella, Homeowners Group Want Landmarking for Broadway-Flushing

Residents of the Broadway-Flushing neighborhood want the Landmarks Preservation Commission to recognize the neighborhood as a historic district.

The association has been fighting for the designation for the last 11 to 12 years, according to Robert Hanophy, the association’s president.

The designation would prevent the city Department of Buildings from letting developers take on projects in the neighborhood that violate the area’s restrictive covenants, which are deed restrictions put in place in 1906 that prevent the construction of walls or fences within 20 feet of the property lines and streets, prohibit flat roofs and mandate minimum lot sizes and construction costs for homes.

April 24, 2015
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Queens Chronicle: Poppenhusen Gets $100,000 Grant

Call it coincidence, but the $100,000 grant state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) was able to give the Poppenhusen Institute for expenses is the same amount it cost to build the historic site 147 years ago.

Avella announced the grant at the College Point building Monday. The funding, which is the largest single expense grant the institute has ever received, will help Poppenhusen cover operational costs.

The money was obtained by the senator as part of more than $1.3 million he successfully allocated for programs and organizations throughout his district and across Queens.

April 24, 2015
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Times Ledger: Briarwood Gets Subway Stop Named Solely for Neighborhood

After decades of confusion, Queens residents can now rejoice in the clarification of the Briarwood subway station. State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) , Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) and Seymour Schwartz announced the renaming of the Briarwood-Van Wyck subway station to simply Briarwood after a 14-year battle.

Avella and Weprin both introduced legislation that required the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to remove “Van Wyck Boulevard” from all signage at the stop. The bill was passed but later vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. MTA was then directed to make the changes.

Avella recognized what a victory this was for Briarwood residents.

April 24, 2015
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NBC New York: NY Senator Proposes New Law to Clarify Sex Offender Residency Rules

New York State Sen. Tony Avella has introduced new legislation demanding more uniform sex offender residency laws after NBC 4 New York's I-Team discovered a discrepancy in how far from a school offenders can live.

Last week, the I-Team exposed a legal loophole that allowed level 2 and 3 sex offenders on parole or probation to live at the Bellevue Men's Shelter over the last several years, despite a state law saying they must live at least 1,000 feet from any school.

The private Churchill School and Center is just around the corner from the shelter, and depending on how someone measures the distance from the men’s city shelter on 30th Street, that distance can be above or under the mandatory 1,000-foot rule.

April 23, 2015
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Legislative Gazette: Senator Avella worried about lobbyists in consultants' clothing

According to the new chair of the state Senate's Ethics Committee, Tony Avella, and a recent news report, public relations firms are playing two positions in the field of government influence.

The Queens Democrat says the dual-role these firms are fulfilling is an ethical issue that needs to be addressed.

A member of the breakaway Democrats in the Senate, Avella, is drafting legislation that would hold public relations firms to the same disclosure standards as lobbyists.

Avella released a statement April 2 expressing concern about the possibility that some PR firms may have extra pull over elected officials.

April 14, 2015
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Capital NY: Avella proposes lobbying ban for political consultants

ALBANY—In light of a report that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has met with a political consultant and campaign strategist who also represents organizations that lobby City Hall, State Senator Tony Avella has introduced a bill that would bar lobbyists from also being political consultants.

“If you're a lobbyist, you can't be a campaign consultant because there's an inherent conflict of interest when you have people who are running elected officials' campaigns and then representing clients who are lobbying that same legislator,” Avella, a Queens Democrat, told Capital.

April 10, 2015
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CBS New York: Proposed Bill Would Ban Import, Sale of Five Endangered African Species in NY

Legislation has been introduced in New York that would ban the import, possession, sale or transportation of the remains of five endangered species native to Africa.

State Sen. Tony Avella was joined Wednesday by animal rights advocates on the steps of City Hall to announce the bill, which covers elephants, leopards, lions, black rhinoceroses and white rhinoceroses.

All five species are currently facing extinction and are further threatened by illegal poaching and sport hunting, advocates said.

“We’re supposed to be the stewards of these species and shame on us if we allow them to become extinct because of sport hunting,” Sen. Avella told 1010 WINS.

April 10, 2015
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New York Observer: Senator Says He Will Push Bill to Require More Disclosure From Political Consultants

State Senator Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, said today he will push legislation that would require disclosure for all political consulting firms that have “substantial contact” with both elected officials and other clients.

April 3, 2015
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TimesLedger: City seeks to modernize rules to bolster affordable housing

Community leaders are up in arms about the city’s plans to update existing zoning regulations to accommodate its affordable housing goals, which they say will undo more than a decade of progress in zoning.

In May, the city released the Housing New York plan, which identified the need for 200,000 affordable housing units over the next decade.

Among the issues identified in the plan is the need to upgrade outdated zoning regulations that impede the production of affordable housing, according to the city Department of City Planning.

“Certain units may be too large at the moment,” said city planner Stephen Everett.

March 31, 2015
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NY1: Queens State Senator Proposes Bill Heightening Charges for Resisting Arrest

A State Senator from Queens wants those who repeatedly resist arrest to face harsher punishment. 

Resisting arrest is, right now, just a misdemeanor.

State Senator Tony Avella has introduced a bill that would allow people who've been charged with resisting arrest twice before to face felony charges the third time, however. 

The felony would be known as "aggravated resisting arrest." 

The previous two charges would have to have happened within the last decade. 

Whether a person is actually charged with the new proposed felony charge would be up to the prosecutor. Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz is introducing the bill in the other chamber.

 

March 23, 2015
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New York Post: State senator proposes harsher penalties for resisting arrest

Resisting arrest will lead to harsher penalties under legislation proposed by a Queens Democrat.

State Sen. Tony Avella is behind a bill that would create a felony charge — “aggravated resisting arrest” — for people who have been convicted of resisting arrest twice in a 10-year period.

The legislation is in response to protests last December following a Staten Island grand jury decision not to charge a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

The bill is based off a letter the Lieutenants Benevolent Association sent to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton in January requesting an “aggravated resisting” charge.

“This helps everybody,” LBA President Louis Turco told The Post. “Civilians don’t get hurt and officers don’t get hurt.”

March 23, 2015
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CBS New York: State Lawmaker Calls For Signage Instructing People Who See Someone On Subway Tracks

A state lawmaker on Monday launched a plan to get the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to put up new subway signage, in an effort to help save lives.

Commuters know the subways can be dangerous – riders can fall or get pushed onto the tracks for waiting a train.

March 17, 2015
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