Local pols shoot to kill weaker gun restrictions

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is fighting for proposed legislation. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

In response to the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, local elected officials joined Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in trying to push tighter federal gun restrictions.

“Congress’s first priority should be to keep people safe, but when it comes to gun violence we are failing miserably,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, while at a press conference on Saturday near Union Square Park’s Gandhi statue.

She added, “We need to pass common sense, effective reforms like universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and stricter gun trafficking laws. These will help save lives, while at the same time respect the Second Amendment.”

The House was scheduled to consider legislation that would reduce current restrictions on buying silencers last week but postponed bringing it up because of the massacre the previous weekend.

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Mendez mulling a run for Kavanagh’s Assembly seat

Councilmember Rosie Mendez (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh having recently secured the party support he needed to secure the Democratic nomination for Daniel Squadron’s downtown seat, term-limited Council Member Rosie Mendez said she’s looking into the possibility of running for Kavanagh’s Assembly seat.

Prior to the primary for City Council and other citywide races, Mendez said she hadn’t had time to focus on the race. But now, she said, she can.

“It’s something I will look into now that we are through with the primary,” she said on Sunday afternoon, after the unveiling of Children’s Court Way street co-naming in Gramercy.

In September, Kavanagh secured the nod to get on the ballot through support of Brooklyn and Manhattan party bosses, rather than individual county committee members having their votes counted — or even getting to vote at all in Brooklyn, which makes up part of the Senate district. This strong-arm tactic, while criticized by more than a few people, was the legal alternative to a primary, which Squadron’s hasty departure from the legislature left no time for.

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Mendez hosting town hall with the mayor on October 12

Council Member Dan Garodnick with Mayor Bill de Blasio at a recent town hall (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

If you missed the recent town hall with Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted by Council Member Dan Garodnick, you can still share your thoughts with the mayor at another town hall on October 12 at 7 p.m. to be hosted by Council Member Rosie Mendez.

The event is intended for residents of the Council District 2, encompassing the neighborhoods of East Village, Gramercy Park, Kips Bay, Lower East Side, Murray Hill and Rose Hill. Along with Mendez, co-sponsors are Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Community Boards 2, 3, 5 and 6, Grand Street Settlement, Henry Street Settlement and the Loisaida Center. Along with the mayor, commissioners and NYPD representatives will be present.

To attend, RSVP by October 10 at 5 p.m. via email at manhattantownhall@cityhall.nyc.gov or by calling (212) 788-2781. Space is limited. Doors open at 6 p.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. at P.S. 188 The Island School, 442 East Houston Street. (Enter on corner of East Houston Street and Baruch Drive.)

Mendez, in an email to constituents, has also mentioned the following rules: Each constituent who is called on to ask a question will be able to ask one question. No signs will be permitted into the event. Chanting is not allowed.

 

Democrats fight Graham-Cassidy as legislation dies in the Senate

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and other elected officials blasted the latest effort to repeal the ACA. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Local Democratic elected officials gathered at City Hall to protest the latest efforts from Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Monday morning, a day prior to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scrapping the planned vote.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who was joined by City Councilmember Corey Johnson, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and other healthcare advocates, said that the latest iteration of the bill, dubbed “Graham-Cassidy” for its co-sponsors, Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, was just as harmful as previous attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Maloney noted that although local elected officials oppose the bill, it would still negatively impact New Yorkers if it passed because the state would lose funding.

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ST Republican runs for boro prez

For Frank Scala, pictured at his barber shop, priorities are tackling homelessness and helping businesses stay in place. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Frank Scala, at the age of 78, is a veteran in more than one sense of the word. Along with having served in the Italian Navy, the Sicily native has also worked as a barber for decades at his own shop, La Scala, and he also has a history of running for office in New York City.

Being a Republican hasn’t stopped him from attempting to defeat popular Democrat incumbents. He’s challenged former Assembly Member Steven Sanders, current Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman.

And now Scala, a resident of Stuyvesant Town, has set his sights on the Manhattan borough president’s office, running against Gale Brewer.

Last year, when running against Kavanagh, Scala at first said he was just doing it out of a sense of obligation to the Republican Party since no one else had stepped up. He’d begrudgingly done the same thing two years earlier to give Republicans someone from their own party to vote for, when challenging Hoylman. But Scala later changed his mind, saying he wanted to run “legit.” This time, he’s running a mostly inactive race — he isn’t fundraising and has no website.

But he was still happy to do an interview to discuss the issues he thinks are a priority for the borough and the campaign.

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Street co-named in honor of MS 104 teacher

(Pictured L-R) Will Weder, Suzanne Jacobson, Greg Lambert, Michelle D. Winfield, Louise Dankberg (District Leader), Laura F. Koestler, State Senator Brad Hoylman (at the event but not spictured) Pat Levenson, Angie Perkins and Claude L. Winfield, son-in-law. (Photo by Patrick Julien)

By Michelle D. Winfield

On Sunday, September 17, members from the Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club and other community residents gathered at the northwest corner of West 71st Street and Columbus Avenue to unveil a street sign co-named for the late MS 104/Simon Baruch Middle School teacher Ponsie B. Hillman. New York State Justice Robert R. Reed moderated the program inside the Hargrave Senior Center. Students from the National Dance Institute, members of the Celebration Team, danced to the theme “Spanish Harlem.”

Hillman was a mathematics teacher at Simon Baruch for 10 years. She died in 2008. Hillman was being honored for her work in the civil rights movement as an educator and labor leader at the United Federation of Teachers and the NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. At the ceremony, letters were received by former Mayor David N. Dinkins, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and former President Barack Obama. Congress Member Jerry Nadler prepared extension remarks in honor of Hillman.

The great-granddaughter of Hillman, Sophie Amara Ponsie, helped unveil the street sign, Mrs. Ponsie B. Hillman Way.

Michelle D. Winfield is the State Committeewoman from the 74th Assembly District and the daughter of Ponsie B. Hillman.

Hoylman hopes to unmask LLCs

State Senator Brad Hoylman

By Sabina Mollot

State Senator Brad Hoylman is hoping to shine some light into the shadowy world of limited liability corporations which, under current New York law, do not have to provide names or addresses of their owners when the companies are registered. Because of the mysterious nature of LLCs, they can be used to give seemingly endless campaign contributions as well as hide illegal activities like tax evasion and money laundering. To combat the money laundering issue, which has also been linked to terror funding, legislation has already been introduced at the federal level by Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, and Hoylman said his own bill is modeled after that one.

Hoylman’s legislation, announced, on Monday, would:

  • Make it mandatory for LLCs organized in New York or that do business in the state to disclose who their owners as well as provide a current residential or business address
  • Require the creation and maintenance of a publicly available database of those LLCs and their owners
  • Impose penalties that range from ten thousand dollars in fines to three years in prison for LLC owners who knowingly provide false, incomplete or outdated information.

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Mayor grilled on garage

Council Member Dan Garodnick and Mayor Bill de Blasio at a town hall on Tuesday (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

On Tuesday, the mayor was grilled about the proposed sanitation garage for East 25th Street by neighbors who attended a town hall.

The hotly-contested issue was the topic of discussion at numerous Community Board 6 meetings when it was first announced in 2012 but the plan has stalled in the last two years, and Mayor de Blasio said at the town hall, which was also hosted by Council Member Dan Garodnick, that the issue will be reviewed again once the next term for City Council begins.

“The fundamental problem is that the facilities are concentrated in Lower Manhattan so we need some kind of facility to serve this area and so far this seems like the most viable site,” he said. “But there should be a real conversation about what the community needs.”

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City Council candidate Honig still on ballot

Rachel Honig, who placed third in last week’s primary, is still on the ballot as a Liberal Party candidate. (Photo by Kristy Ye-Ling)

By Sabina Mollot

While Peter Cooper Village resident Keith Powers handily won the City Council Democratic Primary race for District 4, voters have not seen the last of one of his eight Democrat opponents.

Rachel Honig, who placed third in the race, after Marti Speranza, is actually still in the running, because she ran on the Liberal Party line as well as on the Democratic line.

Honig, who got 8.59 percent of the vote (Powers got 41.24 percent and Speranza 22.78) reminded her followers of this fact via an email blast last week that also asked for continued financial contributions to her campaign.

She also told supporters she considered her third place showing a victory since she’d entered the race later than other candidates, in April, while Powers and Speranza had been running for over a year.

Reached on the phone, Honig said she wasn’t the only candidate who’d run on more than one party line. Republican Rebecca Harary, who Powers and Honig will face in the November general election, also ran on the Stop De Blasio line, despite a ballot challenge.

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Kavanagh gets Dems’ nod for Senate in back room deal

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Democratic leaders in the Brooklyn and Manhattan on Sunday chose Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh as the nominee for the State Senate seat Daniel Squadron resigned from in August. The contentious nominating process pitted Kavanagh against district leader Paul Newell, who received the majority of the votes from county committee members in Manhattan but was not nominated because the block of votes from Brooklyn went to Kavanagh.

Since State Senate District 26 spans two boroughs, Manhattan and Brooklyn, party bosses in each were allowed to determine how to nominate a candidate, either by a convention, vote from committee members or a block vote.

The process in Manhattan included a convention on Sunday in which 100 county committee members took a vote, Gothamist reported. The vote was only advisory but members hoped that Keith Wright, the leader in Manhattan, would heed the results, in which members voted overwhelmingly for Newell.

According to official rules, Brooklyn did not have to hold a convention, although Democrats encouraged party boss Frank Seddio to do so. Seddio ultimately announced on Sunday that he would be backing Kavanagh without a convention or vote from committee members, which he said was because Kavanagh had the most support from elected officials in Brooklyn as well as the Working Families Party.

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Garodnick doesn’t want Kavanagh’s Assembly seat

Council Member Dan Garodnick

By Sabina Mollot

With Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh expected to get the downtown Senate seat he wants, it remains to be seen who’ll be replacing him in the Assembly if he wins in November. One thing is for sure though — it won’t be Dan Garodnick.

The popular City Council member, who’s being term-limited out, told Town & Village he believes there won’t be any shortage of candidates though.

“I think there will be lots of worthy candidates,” he said, “and I will look for other ways to serve New York City.”

 

ST/PCV residents list their demands for next council member

Al Ng and Lillian Hsu want to see more affordability for mere mortals. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A day before the primary, we asked around in Stuyvesant Town for voters’ opinions on what the newly elected City Council member, who’ll be determined in the general election, should focus on.

In response, they gave answers that wouldn’t shock anyone in this city, stressing a need to prioritize affordability, saving small businesses, transit improvements and improvements to public education.

Read on for more on the aforementioned issues that need fixing in District 4, which covers Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village, Waterside, East Midtown, part of Times Square and the Upper East Side.

Sue Kershbaumer, while strolling through the Oval with her daughter, said her biggest concern was schools — specifically lack of resources and classroom seats for kids with special needs like hers.

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Trump, Sanders voters unite to protest Clinton book signing

The former presidential candidate waves to fans while leaving her book signing at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, not far from the small protest. Behind her is longtime aide Huma Abedin. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Supporters of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were out in very small but very vocal numbers to protest Hillary Clinton’s book signing at the Union Square Barnes and Noble on Tuesday.

Howard Caplan, a Trump voter who traveled from Philadelphia to protest the signing, said that he voted for Sanders in the Democratic primary and for President Obama in the previous two elections but “would’ve voted for a three-legged monkey” instead of Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

“To write a book about why you lost takes a lot of hubris,” Caplan said. “She just keeps the anti-Trump contingent going.”

He also handed this reporter a pamphlet titled “Investigate #Pizzagate,” referring to a debunked report of Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor.

Brooklyn native Ayton Eller said he was protesting the signing because he is a supporter of the president.

“I voted for Trump because he’s pro-Israel and pro-USA,” said Eller, who also addressed this reporter with shouts of “You lost, we won” before being asked any questions.

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Powers and Rivera crush competition in primary

Unlike the sun, Council candidate Keith Powers was up bright and early, along with Council Member Dan Garodnick, to cast his vote in Peter Cooper Village. (Photo by Chris Carroll)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Peter Cooper Village resident Keith Powers and Lower East Side resident Carlina Rivera each won their respective primary races for City Council on Tuesday, following major endorsements for the candidates in the days leading up to voting.

With about 93 percent of the votes counted on Wednesday morning, Powers was declared the winner in the District 4 race with 41.24 percent of the vote and Rivera won the primary for District 2 by a wide margin, receiving 60.76 percent of the vote.

Powers’ closest competitor, Upper East Sider Marti Speranza, received 22.78 percent of the vote. None of the other seven candidates received more than 10 percent of the vote but Rachel Honig and Bessie Schachter came the closest, receiving 8.59 and 8.26 respectively. Vanessa Aronson received 6.68 percent and Maria Castro got 4.74 percent of the vote. Peter Cooper Village resident Barry Shapiro received 2.10 percent and Alec Hartman got 1.04 percent.

Kips Bay resident Mary Silver was Rivera’s closest competitor but still only received 16.41 percent of the vote. Former Obama staffer Ronnie Cho received 8.5 percent of the vote, community organizer Jasmin Sanchez got 5 percent and attorney Jorge Vasquez received 7.58 percent. East Village resident Erin Hussein technically dropped out of the race prior to the election but still received 1.9 percent of the vote.

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ST-PCV tenants meet District 4 City Council candidates

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By Kristy Ye-Ling

On Saturday afternoon, crowds came out for a meet and greet in Stuyvesant Oval with nine City Council candidates hoping to replace Dan Garodnick next year.

The representatives at the event, which was organized by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, were Rachel Honig (D), Jeffrey Mailman (D), Keith Powers (D), Bessie R. Schachter (D), Marti Speranza (D), Maria Castro (D), Barry Shapiro (D) and Vanessa Aronson. Republican Rebecca Harary, who’s an Orthodox Jew, couldn’t travel on the Sabbath but had a representative there.

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