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.
(QUEENS, NY) State Senator Tony Avella announced today that his bill that would allow homeowners to apply for a “green buildings tax credit” unanimously passed the Senate.
The legislation (S.3945) would make “green building tax credits” more accessible to homeowners whose homes have been certified as “green” by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). These tax credits would provide an incentive for more homeowners to build environmentally-friendly houses.
(QUEENS, NY) Today, State Senator Tony Avella praised New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s decision to deny a contract that would have established a permanent homeless shelter at the former Pan-Am Hotel. In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Avella also formally called on the Mayor to immediately replace City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Commissioner Gilbert Taylor due to his inaction and inability to take charge of the City’s increasing homelessness and shelter problems.
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.
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.
(QUEENS, NY) Today, State Senator Tony Avella, Vice Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, commended Lumber Liquidators’ decision to immediately halt the sale of certain Chinese-made laminate flooring that was recently found to contain dangerously high levels of formaldehyde.
The company announced Thursday that it was suspending the sale of the controversial flooring that caused them to come under fire after a “60 Minutes” report aired in March showed that the product contained extremely high levels of the chemical. Formaldehyde can pose serious health risks – including coughing, nausea and dizziness – and has been linked to certain types of cancer, if exposed for long periods of time.
(BAYSIDE, NY) Today, State Senator Tony Avella was joined by Paul DiBenedetto, President of the Bayside Historical Society, to present the organization with a $100,000 grant.
Senator Avella obtained the money for the Bayside Historical Society from this year’s state budget and will help the group cover operating costs. The funding is part of more than $1.3 million Senator Avella secured for programs and organizations through his district and across the borough of Queens. The historical society was in desperate need of additional funding in order to continue operating, and the money provided by Senator Avella will allow the organization to continue serving the community.
(QUEENS, NY) Today, State Senator Tony Avella announced that 11th Avenue in College Point will be reopened to the public Friday after months of construction to repair sewer pipes.
The stretch of roadway between 130th and 132nd Streets has been closed to residents for more than a year as the City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) made improvements to the sewer system for residents along 11th Avenue and to the Tallman Island Water Pollution Control Plant. When the project began, DEP anticipated the work to be completed by the fall of 2014, but the opening of the roadway was pushed back by several setbacks in the process.
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.
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.”
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.
(QUEENS, NY) On Saturday, April 25th, State Senator Tony Avella was proud to present a check for $210,000 to the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee.
The money was allocated by Senator Avella from this year’s state budget and is part of more than $1.3 million he secured for programs and organizations throughout Queens. The money will allow the organization to purchase another portion of the wetlands reserve, further protecting the area from destruction or development.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(ALBANY, NY) Today, State Senator Tony Avella was joined by Eliot Seol, an 11-year-old student from Queens, to introduce a bill (S.4522) that would require New York State to establish a recycling stewardship program for all “single use” batteries. The bill was drafted by Senator Avella, who serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, after Eliot brought the idea to the Senator’s attention.