Friday, January 30, 2015

Congratulations to the New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie




  In what has been a quick turn of events after (now former) Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested by the U. S. Attorney we can say with 99.9 percent accuracy that Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie will become the next speaker of the assembly. Assemblyman Silver has tendered his resignation as speaker to take effect on Monday  February 2nd at 11:59 PM. 

  As for candidates seeking the vacant seat of speaker which was down to 3, it is now down to 2 as the interim speaker Joe Morelle has announced that he is supporting the candidacy of Assemblyman Heastie. This leaves only Assemblywoman Nolan of Queens as the only other announced candidate for speaker. Nolans chances were weakened when her county leader Joe Crowley announced that the Queens Democratic County organization was supporting Carl Heastie for speaker of the assembly. 

  It is expected that Nolan will drop out soon to have a united assembly for new Speaker Carl Heastie. There have already been stories about the skeletons that may be in Heastie's closet, but I can say that I know for a fact that the U. S. Attorney's office sent in a mole to try to get something on Heastie, and couldn't. Do not underestimate Speaker Heastie, because as Bronx Democratic County Leader Heastie got things done. He also was able to work with those who did not like him when he became the county leader as was evidenced by last years Bronx Democratic County Committee meeting. Heastie not only was re-elected county leader unanimously, but drew praise from those who questioned him becoming the new county leader in 2008. It is expected the same will happen in the assembly, and don't think the Governor or Senate Majority Leader are going to take advantage of Heastie. There is always Heastie's good friend State Senator Jeff Klein for advice if things get a little tough at budget time.

   

Assemblyman Dinowitz urges parents to get children vaccinated against measles


  U.S. facing serious measles outbreak; unvaccinated individuals at risk

    In light of what appears to be the most serious outbreak of measles in the United States in the past decade, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz urged parents to ensure that their children have received measles vaccines to protect themselves and others. While no cases of measles have been confirmed in New York State, the outbreak has spread quickly in recent days, comprising nearly 100 confirmed cases across 14 states.

Assemblyman Dinowitz said, “It is imperative that parents get their children vaccinated against measles. Opting out of this vaccine puts your child, as well as others, at serious risk. Thanks to a highly effective vaccine and the efforts of countless medical professionals, the United States has successfully kept incidences of this dangerous, contagious disease at record lows over the past 15 years. However, with more and more parents opting out of giving their children this vaccine, measles appears to be on the rise again, with potentially devastating effects.”

“Officials in Arizona have already asked students who are not vaccinated to remain at home. I support this measure. No parent should have to worry about their child contracting a serious, potentially deadly disease at school, especially when an effective cure is readily available. I urge all parents to be responsible and do their part to prevent the spread of this serious disease by giving their children all recommended vaccines,” concluded Assemblyman Dinowitz.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children receive measles vaccinations at ages 1 and 4. For more information on measles outbreaks in the United States, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html#outbreak


Earned Income Tax Credit “PHONE-A-THON”


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DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS HOLDS FIRST-EVER
“PHONE-A-THON” IN ALL FIVE BOROUGHS WITH MORE THAN 2,000 VOLUNTEERS REACHING OUT TO TENS OF THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS ELIGIBLE FOR REFUNDABLE TAX CREDITS

Unprecedented Push in Three Languages to Inform Families they may be Eligible for up to $10,000 in Tax Refunds

City Officials Expect to Increase Filers by 50 Percent, Putting $90 Million into the Pockets of Low-Income New Yorkers, and an Estimated $135 in the Local Economy

On Saturday, January 31, 2015, at 11:00 a.m., Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin will join more than 2,000 volunteers at phone banks throughout the five boroughs to call New Yorkers and inform them in English, Spanish and Chinese about refundable tax credits that will put money back in their pockets, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and NYC Child Care Tax Credit (NYC CCTC). Families may be eligible for up to $10,000 in refundable credits. Volunteers will also inform New Yorkers about the 200-plus tax prep sites that are or will be available, free of cost, throughout the city for New Yorkers who meet the income criteria.


WHO:
Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin
WHAT:
EITC Awareness Day 2015
WHEN:
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.
WHERE:
New Settlement Community Center
1501 Jerome Avenue (between Goble Place and W. 172nd Street)
Bronx, NY 10452

Other phone bank locations include: Hunter College (695 Park Avenue, 3rd floor Cafeteria) in Manhattan, New York City Fire Department (9 MetroTech Center, Auditorium) in Brooklyn, York College (94-20 Guy R Brewer Blvd, 1st Floor Dining Room) in Queens, and Make the Road New York (161 Port Richmond Avenue) in Staten Island.


And the New Speaker of the Assembly Is -




  When the state assembly meets on Monday it is a forgone conclusion by Monday afternoon the speakers seat will be vacant either by current speaker Sheldon Silver stepping down or being voted out by the assembly body. The field of replacement candidates have dwindled down as some candidates have taken their name out of the running for one reason or another. 
  
  Manhattan Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Keith Wright who many (including myself) thought was the front runner for the speaker's seat has decided to throw his support behind Carl Heastie. The reason, Wright wants to replace Charlie Rangel in the 15th Congressional district which has about 26 percent of the Bronx. This way the Bronx Democratic County organization should be backing candidate Wright for the vacant 15th Congressional district in 2016.   . 

  Assemblyman Joe Lentol of Brooklyn has also withdrawn his name to back Heastie for speaker. Lentol is currently chair of the Assembly Codes Committee, so it is unclear what Lentol will gain from the endorsement.

  Queens Democratic County Leader Joe Crowley has announced his support of Heastie for speaker which now drains Queens Assemblywoman Kathleen Nolan's bid to be the next speaker. This leaves only the interim speaker to be Assemblyman Joe Morelle in the way of Carl Heastie. As of this morning it is rumored that Heastie has or is very close to securing the 74 needed votes to become the next speaker of the New York State Assembly.

  Our congratulations to the next speaker Carl Heastie. 

  However as it goes in politics "One never knows what will happen next".


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Silver’s Golden Parachute


  I found this on the Empire Center NY Torch Blog.

  Based on his 38 years as a state assemblyman and the speaker’s salary of $121,000, Silver is now eligible for a pension of $87,120 — $7,620 more than the base pay he will collect as a mere Assembly member with no leadership title.

  But Silver’s pensionable “service credits” may add to that amount. If he was enrolled as a full-time member of the New York City pension system when he began working as a Civil Court clerk in 1971, he could have Tier 2 status, boosting his benefit to as much as $98,010.

  Both of these figures assume Silver chooses the “single life option” and doesn’t owe the system money for loans against his pension.

  Under current state law, Silver can continue to collect his pension even if he is convicted on the charges filed against him by federal prosecutors last week.
  Here is the link to this entire article.

3 Put Names Into Assembly Speaker Race


  While his seat is still warm 3 assembly members have announced their intentions to be the next speaker. 

  1 -   Queens Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, (the assembly Education Committee chair) who would be the first woman to lead either legislative chamber in Albany, launched her campaign to replace Silver. Nolan's only possible shot at being the next speaker would have Queens Democratic County Leader Joe Crowley go to bat for her. There is good relations with the Bronx, but Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie has also thrown his name into the speakers race.

 2 -   Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie (the Bronx Democratic County Leader)  is the chair of the Labor Committee, and would be the first African-American speaker. Heastie wrought the Bronx Democratic County Leadership away from the previous Bronx county leader in the infamous 'Battle at the Paradise Theater' in 2008. There was a possibility of a coup at the 2014 Bronx Democratic County Convention, that was squashed before it could gain any momentum. Heastie  is saying that he would fight for all New Yorkers and increase accountability and transparency, but he could be another Sheldon Silver type of leader.

2 -   Assemblyman Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn the chair of the Assembly Codes Committee threw his hat into the ring as well, saying he would “liberalize the operations” of the Assembly as speaker. Right now it is unknown if Lentol has the backing of the Brooklyn Democratic organization.

  Also expected to throw his name into the mix is Manhattan Democratic County Leader Keith Wright. Wright chairs the Housing Committee. 

  The interim Speaker will be the Majority Leader of the Assembly Joseph Morelle who must also be considered for the permanent speaker position. The state assembly will choose a new permanent speaker on February 10th. 



Any Possibility of Reform in Albany - Now With the departure of Sheldon Silver


  In an interview with City and State  a diverse group of assembly members from New York City and upstate have held a series of meetings to discuss the best way to ensure that there is reform to Assembly operations going forward. C&S states that this group of 20 - 25 members had talked reform, even before 'SILVERGATE'. 

  “Our angle is to present a set of reforms that we’re going to formalize to all the candidates that put their names out there as potential speaker and see how they stand on these reforms,” said Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda. “We want to open [the process] up and make it more democratic and not invest so much power in one person.”

  Members of the reform movement have not yet thrown their support behind a particular candidate for speaker, but Sepúlveda said that any contender who didn't express interest in discussing these reforms would be a “non-starter” for him.

  Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer stressed that the movement has not been formalized in any way—it is not yet a conference or a caucus—and that the list of reforms is still being drafted. “There’s a range of issues in which we have a difference of opinion, but I think in general our interest is in making sure these interests are fully vetted before the next speaker is elected and that there’s both some short-term changes and a long-term commitment,” Mayer said.

  Both Mayer and Sepúlveda said challenging the Assembly's seniority rules will be paramount. Traditionally, influence and leadership roles—such as chairmanships or speakership—are gained largely through seniority. Currently, about 40 percent of the Assembly is made up of members who have been newly elected in the past 6-8 years.

  “This is a once in a lifetime—at least for us new members, 42 percent of the body is relatively new—this is an opportunity for us to reflect change,” Sepúlveda said. “No one person should have this much power.”

The entire City and State article can be found at this link.