Students participate in March For Our Lives

Protesters on Central Park West (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Young students and gun control advocates participated in the March For Our Lives on the Upper West Side this past Saturday, calling on Congress to pass stricter gun laws. Mayor Bill de Blasio posted on Twitter following the march that 175,000 New Yorkers had participated in the protest.

The rally prior to the official march along Central Park West to Columbus Circle included survivors from the Parkland shooting, as well as survivors from the Las Vegas and Sandy Hook shootings. Volunteers for the march were also wandering through the crowd encouraging participants, especially high school students about to turn 18, to register to vote and helping them fill out the appropriate paperwork.

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Maloney trying to pass women’s equality bill… for the 12th time

Congress Member Carolyn Maloney (center) with Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Girl Scouts of Greater New York CEO Meridith Maskara (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Maloney)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is calling on her colleagues to pass a federal and state Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which despite having been introduced at the federal level 11 times by Maloney, has yet to even get a vote.

Alongside Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and the New York Girl Scouts at the Fearless Girl statue in Lower Manhattan on Saturday, Maloney emphasized that the only right guaranteed to women in the Constitution is the right to vote. The amendment, she argued, would prohibit denying equal rights to women under the law by ensuring that government programs and federal resources benefit men and women equally and would guarantee equal footing for women in the legal systems of all 50 states.

While the bill was passed by Congress in 1972, it was three states short of ratification and has still not been brought to a vote. Maloney noted on Saturday, however, that her legislation has 28 new co-sponsors as of last Friday, for a total of 144, and Nevada ratified the amendment just last year, bringing the number of states needed for ratification down to two.

The bill needs to pass two successive legislatures and be brought to an election in New York to pass on the state level.

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Maloney’s former opponent writes book about race

By Sabina Mollot

Two years ago Robert Ardini, a marketing executive, was running a campaign against Carolyn Maloney for her long-held seat in Congress. The Republican political outsider ultimately only got 16.08 percent of the vote, but said he learned a number of lessons from the race, which he has since outlined in a new book called Running for Congress in Trump’s Backyard.

Ardini, formerly a Manhattanite who now lives in Long Island City, spoke with Town & Village about the book, which was semi-self-published through CreateSpace. This means while the book faced editorial scrutiny from the South Carolina-based publisher, Ardini still held most of the control. He also said he wanted to do the promotion for the book himself, which he’s just begun.

He said he wrote the book for the following reasons.

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As students protest, gun safety legislation languishes

Congress Member Carolyn Maloney with student protesters in Washington (Photo courtesy of Congress Member Carolyn Maloney)

By Sabina Mollot

State Senator Brad Hoylman, who’s been pushing for stronger gun laws for years, was in Albany on Wednesday negotiating Republican-proposed budget measures as the walkouts were taking place. His own second-grade daughter Silvia Hoylman-Sigal was participating in one of them at her school.

However, when reached on the phone, Hoylman said that gun control bills, including his own, have recently been blocked by the Republican majority before they could even be heard on the floor.

This includes his own legislation, co-sponsored with State Senator Brian Kavanagh, which would allow families and law enforcement officials to intervene when a person known to be dangerous has a gun.

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Candidate blasts Maloney on Israel, Middle East

Sander Hicks

By Sabina Mollot

In the race for the Congressional seat occupied by Carolyn Maloney, one of two of her Democrat challengers believes there’s a lot she’s wrong about.

Sander Hicks, a political activist who runs a carpentry businesses based in Maspeth, openly admits to being on the offensive. This is after having been advised by supporters, including his father Norman Hicks, a former World Bank economist, to “stop being so nice,” he explained.

Additionally, Hicks, 47, said, although he insisted he is trying to run a positive campaign based on “respect for all religions” (he identifies as Quaker and interfaith) he has also found Maloney to be unresponsive to concerns from constituents like himself.

Maloney, he noted, never directly responded when he called her office about long-classified documents from a Congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks that were finally released in 2016, known as the “28 pages.” Instead, Hicks said, he was passed around from one office employee to the next until, finally a year later, he got a form letter response. However, it wasn’t even on the issue he’d brought up, but about Maloney’s Zadroga Act for 9/11 responder healthcare.

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Maloney’s opponent focused on immigrants’ rights, gun control

Suraj Patel, pictured at his campaign office in the East Village, has raised over $550,000. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who’s easily held her seat for 25 years, will be facing two challengers in the June primary. One of them is Suraj Patel, an East Village resident and entrepreneur, who insists that it’s not the incumbent he’s challenging, but the status quo.

“People say competition is great for democracy, but technically it’s required for it to have any meaning,” he told Town & Village this week. “A lot of people ask, ‘Why are you challenging an incumbent?’ I’m challenging a party. I couldn’t wait my turn anymore.”

Patel, who’s also an attorney (though he doesn’t practice much), has some experience in politics, having worked as an advance associate for former President Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. These days, he’s an assistant adjunct professor of business ethics at New York University’s Stern Business School and also hosts a lecture series on voting rights called “Talks on Law.” He also owns, with his family, Sun Group, a company that owns motel franchises around the country. At this time, he said there are 12 motels operated by the hospitality group, some of them with partners, though none are in New York City.

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Johnson inaugurated as Council Speaker

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and other elected officials at his inauguration (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Chelsea Councilmember Corey Johnson was inaugurated as Speaker at FIT’s Haft Theater last weekend, becoming the first openly HIV-positive elected official in the position. Johnson pledged to fight for affordable housing, small businesses and fixes for the MTA.

“These problems are incredibly complex and by confronting them, we will ensure that New Yorkers have good paying jobs, healthcare and good schools,” he said. “The city, state and federal governments have to work together to fix the subways. No person should be stopped and frisked. It’s our responsibility to stand up for immigrants, women, people who are transgender, seniors and the poor.”

Johnson especially stressed the importance of renewing the rent laws in state capital.

“We need to press Albany to renew the rent laws,” he said. “We need to close the loopholes that give landlords the ability to deregulate thousands of apartments a year.”

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Maloney: Government shutdown would hurt economy and it’s all GOP’s fault

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday at noon, after the government was technically shut down for two days, the Senate agreed to end the stalemate over a spending bill, with the Congress expected to follow, according to multiple reports.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has been in Washington, where she spent the weekend prepping for the Monday vote.

Earlier that morning, the representative of Manhattan’s East Side spoke with Town & Village on how government shutdowns hurt the economy, and why she, like other Democrats, blame Republicans for the mess (who in turn blame Democrats).

Reached on the phone at around 10 a.m., Maloney said, “Right now we are trying to get the government open again. You have to continue funding it.”

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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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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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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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Pride Parade was part celebration, part protest

Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The annual Pride Parade marched down Fifth Avenue from 36th Street down to the West Village at the end of last month, with the event doubling as a protest against the Trump administration.

Although the organization also had its usual presence as a group later in the parade, the American Civil Liberties Union’s appearance as one of the grand marshals at the very beginning set the tone early as representatives carried “Resist” signs, which appeared throughout the march from various other participants and groups.

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Maloney hopes Fearless Girl will save women’s rights in Washington

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is hoping that the momentum surrounding the Fearless Girl statue will encourage members of Congress to pass legislation beneficial to women. The Congresswoman shared the wish at City Hall this past Monday after announcing that the artwork will stay in its place in front of Wall Street’s Charging Bull until 2018.

“It empowers women in so many fields and now with all the energy around the Fearless Girl, hopefully we can pass my legislation,” she said. “I’m hoping this will spark a movement in Congress to pass legislation I support that focuses on women, like the National Women’s Museum and the Equal Rights Amendment. It inspires us to get out and get things done.”

Maloney said that the statue’s extension was thanks to the mayor and commissioner of the Department of Transportation because the piece was officially accepted into the DOT’s art program.

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Maloney’s tips for women candidates

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, pictured at center campaigning last June in Stuyvesant Town, said candidates need to be prepared for constant battle. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, pictured at center campaigning last June in Stuyvesant Town, said candidates need to be prepared for constant battle. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the presidential election still a recent memory and New York City races for mayor and the City Council now heating up, Town & Village turned to Carolyn Maloney, who’s represented Manhattan’s East Side in Congress for nearly a quarter century, for some advice for would-be elected officials.

Note: While this article was actually supposed to be a guide for women seeking office, all the tips that were shared by Maloney would work just as well for male candidates. For some background, prior to first getting elected in Washington in 1992, the Upper East Side Democrat served for 10 years as a member of the City Council.

Read on for her guide to success at the voting booth and upon getting elected, success as a lawmaker.

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Maloney warns seniors about possible repeal of ACA

Crowd at the Stein Center (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Crowd at the Stein Center (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is putting seniors on alert about how a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) would affect their drug prices.

“(The ACA) is helpful to seniors and it would be dangerous to repeal it,” Maloney told seniors at the Stein Center on Friday. “It would threaten the economy, children and seniors. Healthcare is better under the ACA and seniors have more protections.”

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