Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ridgewood Residents for Grover Cleveland Park by John Perricone

Grover Cleveland Park - Photo from Forgotten-NY

My name is John Perricone and I am working with the Citizens for a Better Ridgewood Community Organization in hopes of ultimately cleaning up Grover Cleveland Park. This park has had its unfair share of illegal activity which has, unfortunately, obscured it from serving our Ridgewood community. It is finally time to see change at this location and I am asking for everyone to show their support.

Since September, there have been two meetings in which the public, the community board, and the local 104th precinct participated in. I raised the chronic issue of permit validity. The major problem at the Park deals with the fact that it is consistently occupied by athletic groups. These groups seem to be rather formal and have the look of athletic leagues, which require permits in order for them to patronize the athletic fields. Issues with food vendors are also of importance, as we found out that no food cart can conduct business within seventy-five feet of any public park as well as in a residential area. Finally, illegal double parking, garbage dumping, and noise pollution continue to plague our residents and fuel their complaints.

It is in our interest to finally arrive to a solution. Grover Cleveland Park has been under assault for years and now is the time for our residents to utilize its multi-recreational abilities. Especially now that our park has been renovated, we are all concerned that due to the constant illegal activity, it will be damaged and unfit to use. I am in full support of welcoming everyone to use the park, however it must be patronized in accordance with New York City law as well as NYC Department of Parks and Recreation rules and guidelines. Finally, I would also like to encourage everyone to support this cause. Even if you do not live in Ridgewood, remember that if this park can be abused in this matter, then any park can. We need to curb this problem now and ensure that our quality-of-life is preserved and not trampled upon.

If anyone has a complaint that they would like to address, please email me at After I collect a significant amount of complaints, I will send them to the Parks Department in hopes of getting a daily patrol car to drive through the park. For all Facebook users, be sure to join my group Ridgewood Residents for Grover Cleveland Park.

Breaking News - Anthony Como Finally Tells the Truth!!!!

Anthony Como makes major news in this video. He finally tells the TRUTH about this election... Wow! The truth! Knew it was somewhere in there.

It can be viewed in Fullscreen 1080 HD by viewing it YouTube...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Look Who Is Voting -

One factor will determine the outcome on Nov. 2: Who votes. That's why and teamed up to make this video, reminding us of all the people who will be going to the polls on Tuesday -- and why you should be one of them.

This year people are telling Latina/os and our allies to stay home. We need to make sure that doesn't happen. Please check out this powerful video and then join me in pledging to vote on November 2nd.

It's only 2 minutes long, but when you watch we're sure you'll see the reason why we need to make it out to the polls.

Man and Woman Found Shot to Death Execution-style in Car Outside Linden Hill Cemetery in Ridgewood Queens -One Bullet Each to Back of Head -

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Like a scene from a gangster movie, a man and woman were found shot to death execution-style in the front seat of a car that was left parked and running outside a Queens cemetery yesterday, cops said.

The balding man, Lenny Archipolo, 47, was found still strapped into the driver's seat of the 1997 Chevy Lumina at 10:08 a.m. outside Linden Hill Cemetery in Ridgewood.

His girlfriend, Yomarya Santiago, 23, was slumped next to him in the passenger seat, leaning against the door with her hair flowing out of the open window.

Both had single gunshot wounds to the backs of their heads, police sources said.

"[They were] motionless. The man's head was turned on one side, kind of limp, ashy color, off-color," said Stephen Chee, 73, a retired nurse who lives nearby and made the 911 call to cops.

"The hair covered the woman's face. [She was] slumped to the left side," Chee said. "The guy was shot in the back of his head. The guy had blood on the front of his shirt . . . I'm shocked at the way they died."

A family friend said that Santiago's jealous ex-beau had threatened Archipolo over the relationship -- and that the ex was about to get out of jail.

Police sources said they were looking into the possibility that the slayings might have been part of a love triangle.

"He loved her. He would give her money all the time, buy her clothes, take her out to dinner," said Archipolo's friend Dominik DeRosa, who added that Santiago had a child by the man in prison.

Santiago's neighbor Emma Anderson said the young woman called Archipolo "her big fat teddy bear."

Sources said investigators also were eyeing a possible drug connection, given Archipolo's long rap sheet involving narcotics.

Cops said Santiago did not have a record.

The brutal murders shattered the peace of the quiet neighborhood

"I'm in shock. I can't believe it," said Mary Gervino, 78, a neighbor of Archipolo. "He was such a nice guy."

Cops differ with that assessment. Archipolo had eight prior arrests, including busts for rape, robbery and drugs.

"When you talked to him, he was charismatic," another neighbor said. "But he was not a nice guy. Leonard was always in trouble."

When police found the maroon car, which belongs to Archipolo's brother, it's engine was still running and the lights were on.

Cops last night were looking at a surveillance video from a camera on a home across from the cemetery.

Sources said investigators are treating the killings as a double homicide and not a murder suicide, mostly because no gun was found at the scene.

Additional reporting by John Doyle, Jessica Simeone and Matthew Nestel

Pols Cheer After Aqueduct Racino Groundbreaking, but Vendors Jeer, Saying They're Being Sold Short by Kate Nocera - NY Daily News

I find the Daily News headline to be misleading..In addition to the politicians at the groundbreaking, I think the over 1000 members of the community (me included) who attended the premier event were cheering, as well...I believe the Genting New York's new World Resorts New York will provide much needed jobs and provide financial stability to Ozone Park, Aqueduct Racetrack and the surrounding areas...

Read original...

About 100 merchants from the Plain and Fancy flea market protest Thursday's Aqueduct groundbreaking ceremony.

Vendors who operate a flea market in Aqueduct race track's parking lot say odds are they'll be the big losers now that developers have broken ground for a new casino.
A group of 100 vendors from the Plain and Fancy flea market protested yesterday's groundbreaking ceremony, which was attended by dignitaries and elected officials, including Gov. Paterson. The vendors say they have not been told where they will be able to move when the market's lease expires in December.
"The flea market has been here for over 25 years," said food vendor Alfredo Goyochea, 42. "These are good local jobs. If the market is not here I don't know what I will do."
Casino developer Genting New York has said the project will create nearly 1,300 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs for the community.
Dan Silver, a spokesman for the New York Racing Association, which runs Aqueduct, said the association and Genting "are discussing what will happen next" for the displaced vendors.
But the merchants who sell from the South Ozone Park market three times a week said the construction will cost them their livelihood if they don't find a similar site.
"We are not against the casino," said clothing vendor Michael Aziz, 34. "But there are 1,000 vendors here who hire at least one or two workers. Those are permanent jobs. For many of us this is our only source of income."
It's not just the vendors who are upset about the market's potential shuttering.
"I'm on a fixed income so I buy everything I need here," said Georgia Bynes, 72, of South Ozone Park. "I buy my food here, my clothes, all my children's clothes. It's what I can afford. This is a great thing for this low-income community."
It was unclear to many of the vendors whether NYRA or Plain and Fancy's management is responsible for finding the market a new home. NYRA is under no obligation to renew the market's lease, an official said.
"We just want someone to tell us something," Aziz said. "There has been no communication. We just want to be able to sit down and discuss our future with them."
The management of Plain and Fancy has not told the vendors their plans for moving the flea market, and discouraged vendors from protesting the groundbreaking, vendors said. Plain and Fancy did not return repeated calls for comment.

A New Blog by the NYC Council Parks & Recreation Committee

Check out the blog...

A new blog was launched on October 4th by the Office of Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Chair of the NYC Council’s Parks & Recreation Committee.

You will be able to find updates on what the Council's Parks committee is up to, as well as general news and updates on our city’s parks.

You will also be able to check the blog for new information relating to hearings and legislation being considered by the Parks and Recreation Committee.

In my personal dealings with Council Member Mark-Viverito I have found her to be extremely responsive to constituents in addressing the needs and conditions of our parks.

I would encourage anyone interested in our parks to subscribe to the blog to receive e-mail updates each time an article is posted.

It's easy to do by entering your e-mail at the top of the right-hand column of the blog and responding to an email sent to you confirming your subscription request.

The members of the committee are as follows:

Melissa Mark-Viverito - Chairperson
District 8 Manhattan

Elizabeth Crowley
District 30 Queens

Danny Dromm
District 25 Queens

Julissa Ferreras
District 21 Queens

Vincent J. Gentile
District 43 Brooklyn

James Vacca
District 13 Bronx

James G, Van Bramer
District 26 Queens

Queens 4-year-old Girl Hit by Jaguar is Doing a 'Little Better' Since Accident by Joe Kemp - NY Daily News

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Nilay Zaman, 4, and brother Arman were injured in a crash in Queens Wednesday night.

A 4-year-old gravely injured by a car gave signs she may be winning her battle to live, relatives said.
Nilay Zaman was crossing 101st Ave. in Woodhaven (Editor note: actually Ozone Park) on Wednesday with her mother and 5-year-old brother when a Jaguar turned from 81st St. and struck the family, cops said.
Nilay was critically hurt, suffering skull fractures and chest trauma.
"There's so much broken bones," said her father, Hasan Zaman, 30, a cabbie.
"We're praying to God that he will help us."
But there was good news yesterday.
"She's a little better," he said. "She's improving. She can hear us."
Zaman is keeping vigil for his daughter in the intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell. His wife and son are out of the hospital.
Deborah Johnson, 53, the driver of the 2003 Jaguar that hit the child, remained at the scene, and no charges are expected.

Friday, October 29, 2010

In with the New at Ozone Park Kiwanis Club - Queens Chronicle

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The Kiwanis Club of Ozone Park conducted its installation dinner and swearing in of new officers last week at Prima Pasta on Cross Bay Boulevard.

Here Kiwanis Queens West Division Lt. Gov. Joe Aiello, left, hams it up with Jonah Cohen, the newly minted Kiwanis president for the Ozone Park chapter. The service organization has chapters throughout the borough.

Photo by: Nick Beneduce

New York Senate Dems: No More Republican Bull - Volunteer and Help Senator Joe Addabbo..!

Volunteer Now - 4 Days Left Until Election Day..!

Contact Senator Addabbo's Office Campaign Office 

718-848-111 (Howard Beach Office)

718-417-4783 (Glendale Office)

Working Families and Conservative Parties Agree: New Ballot Favors the Political Establishment by Dan Cantor and Mike Long - NY Daily News

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Anyone familiar with New York politics knows that there isn't much the Conservative and Working Families parties agree on. But one idea we both hold dear is that voters should have the right to have their votes for minor parties count. That's why we're extremely concerned about a judge's recent decision to let stand a policy that will penalize voters and minor parties alike by disregarding votes cast on minor party lines when a voter makes a mistake at the ballot box.

By now, many voters know that New York has replaced its lever machines with optical scanners. This November will mark the first general election in which all New Yorkers will vote on paper ballots that will be read by the scanners. What is less well known is that the state has set up these scanners to favor the major parties - Democrats and Republicans - at the expense of minor parties.

Here's how it works. New York's "fusion" voting system allows for the same candidate to run on both a major party as well as a minor party line. For instance, this year voters can cast their ballot for Andrew Cuomo on either the Democratic, Independence or Working Families Party line and Carl Paladino on either the Republican or Conservative line. This allows voters to vote for a major party candidate while expressing their support for a minor party.

With the lever machines used in New York until this year, voters could not vote for the same candidate on both major and minor party lines. With the new system, voters can "double-vote" in this way, without any warning that their vote will only be counted for the major party and without any opportunity to correct their ballot.

In other words, this November, if you happen fill in the oval for Andrew Cuomo under both the Democratic and Working Families Party lines, the machine will not alert you to your mistake - nor give you an opportunity to correct it. It will simply count your vote for Cuomo on the Democratic line and disregard your vote on the Working Families Party line. Same if you filled in the bubble for Paladino on the Conservative and Republican lines. The Republicans get the vote, while the Conservative ballot is cast aside. The state ignores the fact that the voter has expressed intent to support a minor party.

So what, you might say. At least my vote for Cuomo or Paladino got counted. Not so fast. By cross endorsing-candidates, minor parties are able to advance the issues they care about by forcing politicians to acknowledge an additional constituency. It is critical for minor political parties to be able to measure the support that they receive at the ballot box in order to attract new candidates, raise money and advance their agenda.

Unfortunately, the new voting method places the very existence of minor parties in New York in jeopardy. Under state law, a party must receive at least 50,000 votes for its gubernatorial candidate, or it will lose an automatic spot on the ballot in the future. Not only that, but the parties appear on the ballot in an order determined by the number of votes that their previous gubernatorial candidate received.

With the obstacles that already exist for minor parties, it is anything but a level playing field to compete with the major parties. The gears of the political system in Albany have been set for too long to benefit them. And now, there is yet another obstacle to third parties earning the voters' attention.

A double vote is an honest mistake. The state should choose to recognize it as such by returning the ballot and giving the voter an opportunity to choose which party they intend to support. The state should never make this choice on behalf of the voter - especially if that choice might cost a political party recognition and support.

While we lost the first round of our challenge to this law in court, we will continue to work to overturn it in court and in Albany, through legislative means. Until then, voters who support a minor party should take extra care to mark their ballot only once for each office on Nov. 2.

Cantor is executive director of the Working Families Party. Long is chairman of the Conservative Party.


Touts Gillibrand’s Work to Bolster Clean Energy, Green Jobs, Environmental Conservation

The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) today formally endorsed Kirsten Gillibrand for U.S. Senate, touting her work in the Senate to bolster development of clean-energy technology, create jobs in the renewable-energy sector, and protect New York’s precious natural resources.

“Kirsten Gillibrand is the voice we need in Washington,”
said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn. “She’s fighting to hold corporate polluters accountable, and protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. She knows what’s at stake when it comes to climate change, and she has what it takes to help transition our economy from the foreign fossil fuels of the last century to the wind, solar and clean energy of the 21st century.”
“I am honored to have the support of the New York League of Conservation Voters,” Senator Gillibrand said. “From the shores of the Great Lakes, to the banks of the Hudson Valley and the peaks of the Adirondacks, New York is blessed with great natural beauty that I will always fight to protect. If we can beat Russia in the race to the moon, then we can beat China in the race to green energy. I look forward to continue working with NYLCV so we can finally pass comprehensive clean-energy legislation, stop spending $1 billion a day on foreign oil from hostile nations, and start investing that money here at home producing clean energy and creating green-energy jobs.”

NYLCV joins a broad and growing coalition of community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, civil rights leaders, elected officials and advocacy groups all standing with Kirsten Gillibrand. Click here for the latest information about who has endorsed Kirsten’s campaign.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rainbow Over Glendale...

Click on image to enlarge

Photo taken at Myrtle Avenue and 70th Street...

Photo by Frank Kotnik

Public Advocate De Blasio Demands Disclosure from Gov. Pataki’s 501c(4): Revere America...

De Blasio Challenges Former Governor Pataki to Publicly Debate Why Revere America’s Contributors are Hidden from the Public

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, along with Representatives Yvette Clarke, Carolyn Maloney, Gregory Meeks, Jerrold Nadler, José E. Serrano, Nydia M. Velázquez, and Anthony Weiner, today demanded that former New York State Governor George Pataki disclose what corporations are funding his 501(c)(4) organization, Revere America. The request sent to Governor Pataki, who is the Chairman for Revere America, highlighted his past public commitments to restrictions and disclosure on unlimited spending by outside interest groups.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Revere America has spent $2,184,212 nationwide, including $695,054 in New York State this election cycle under Pataki’s chairmanship, all while refusing to disclose any of its contributors to the public. The Public Advocate challenged Governor Pataki to participate in a public debate about his decision to keep the source of Revere America’s funding secret.

As Governor, George Pataki defended our democracy, now he’s undermining it,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “Revere America is funneling millions of dollars into our elections, all while hiding any corporate contributions from the public eye. If Governor Pataki refuses to reveal the sources of his funding, he should at minimum be willing to participate in a public debate so he can explain why he is keeping shareholders, consumers and the New Yorkers he used to serve in the dark.”

Demand Disclosure: Revere America from Bill de Blasio on Vimeo.

The Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United was an astounding example of judicial activism,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler. “The justices answered a question they were not asked and struck down a century of law prohibiting independent expenditures by corporations and unions using their general funds in favoring or opposing particular candidates. And as predicted we have seen corporations draw on general treasury funds to finance candidate advertising without any transparency, this is bad for our country and democracy. I join with my colleagues in government and demand accountability and disclosure of all contributions that have been used to support election-related advertising.”

Take action NOW...send an email to Pataki demanding disclosure

Last week, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio sent formal requests to sixteen non-profit organizations and trade associations on all sides of the political spectrum, including Revere America, requesting disclosure of any corporations that are contributing to their electioneering efforts. From September 1st to October 8th, these organizations have spent over $22 million, according to electioneering reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Governor Pataki’s actions as Chairman of Revere America stand in sharp contrast to his initiatives and statements as Governor. While serving as Governor he publicly stated, “You have to restrict what individuals can do with unlimited amounts of their own money or what interest groups can do in a way that now is completely unaccountable.” Additionally, following through on a campaign pledge, Pataki also introduced a campaign finance reform package that included dramatically lowering contribution limits, enhancing disclosure and cracking down on sham issue ads.

Today’s action is part of an ongoing campaign by Public Advocate de Blasio to reduce the impact of the Citizens United decision on the electoral process. It builds upon the work the Public Advocate has done over the past several months – most notably using public actions or negotiations to persuade corporations like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley to adopt policies against spending treasury dollars in elections.

The New York City Public Advocate is the second highest citywide elected official and serves as a trustee for the New York City Employees' Retirement System, which manages more than $30 billion in assets, one of the largest funds of its kind in the nation. Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United eliminated longstanding restrictions on corporate spending in elections, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has been pressuring corporations to reform their political spending practices to reduce the impact of the decision.

102nd Precinct CO Reflects on First Year by Stephen Geffon - Queens Chronicle

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Capt. DeLeon has been commanding officer of the 102 Pct for about a year. In that time felony crime complaints have dropped significantly. File Photo

As he reflects on his first year as commanding officer of the 102nd Precinct, Capt. Armando DeLeon has a lot to be proud of.

His use of focused enforcement to reduce crime and quality of life violations in the community appears to have been successful, at least according to the latest NYPD crime statistics for the precinct.

NYPD CompStat statistics for the 102nd Precinct for the year to date show that felony crime complaints have dropped almost 6 percent compared to last year, the largest reduction in all of the Patrol Borough Queens South region.

In addition, the figures also show that for the week ending Oct. 10 major felony complaints fell by almost 25 percent compared to the same week in 2009. Auto thefts dropped 54 percent, burglaries fell 37 percent and felonious assaults went down 25 percent as well.

DeLeon said that using his focused enforcement concept means problems are identified early and are tackled right away.

“We still have a lot of work to do and there are still areas that we need to address and focus on,” he said. “But as of now I’m very happy with what we have done so far.”

Focused enforcement also relies on assigning officers with a special interest in tackling certain areas, such as noise, illegal auto dealing and loitering, for example. Those officers address the problem right away and are responsible to ensure that they do not reoccur, he said.

DeLeon also attributed the crime drop to listening to the community and their complaints and addressing them in an expeditious manner.

He added that residents believe in the 102nd Precinct, and that the police will address their complaints.

“It helps us combat crime and quality of life [violations],” said DeLeon.

Deleon said that his officers visit first-time offenders and their families and offer referrals to agencies that can help them in an effort to guide them away from a life of crime.

DeLeon said that although noise is still the number one quality of life problem in the precinct, specifically Woodhaven and Richmond Hill, it has gotten better. He said that his approach is to take it one house and one block at a time.

The captain said that when he came to the precinct there were an average of 67 noise complaints per block for a Friday to Sunday period. Now, his analysis showed that it had dropped to between 16 and 22 complaints.

Explaining the noise complaint drop, DeLeon said that police officers knock on the doors of chronic noisemakers and hand them a letter.

“That letter and that knock sometimes sends a message that ‘maybe I have to tone it down a bit,’” he said.

Graffiti is another quality of life complaint that has been addressed by 102nd Precinct officers, he said.

According to DeLeon, graffiti arrests throughout the precinct are up. He said that graffiti unit officers are able to identify tags, take photos, do research and question and debrief individuals that are arrested for graffiti violations.

Discussing scams, DeLeon gave credit to the precinct detective squad for their investigation and apprehension of two women who he said were preying on elderly men in their 70s and 80s and defrauding them out of tens of thousands of dollars.

DeLeon said his relationship with the community is great, “even better than when I first came here.”

Looking forward, DeLeon said he would like to reduce crime further in the area and continue to build a bridge to the community, a process he says has been growing daily.

DeLeon further said he will continue to use crime strategies that have shown to be successful, while implementing new ones in the 102nd Precinct.

Women Stand With Joe Addabbo for State Senate...

Female elected officials in Queens—Assembly Member Audrey Pheffer, Assembly Member Cathy Nolan, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, and Council Member Diana Reyna—and members of the community joined at a rally to support State Senator Joe Addabbo, praising him for his advocacy on important women’s issues, including social and economic rights, childcare, and health. The “Women for Addabbo” rally was held this Saturday in front of Europa Hair Design, a small business owned and run by local resident Filomena Scalcione.

Senator Addabbo said, “Small businesses are a significant employer of women in our state, and it is critical that we support them through these tough economic times and beyond. I am committed to fighting for reform that levels the playing field for women in business. This means increasing access to quality, affordable childcare, healthcare, and education, and making sure that our laws protect women’s rights at home and in the work place. I am honored to have the support of Assembly Member Pheffer, Assembly Member Cathy Nolan, Council Member Crowley, and Council Member Reyna, and I look forward to continuing to work with them on issues that are important to women. I also thank the staff of the Europa Hair Design and the community members who came out to show their support today.”

Senator Addabbo has been a strong advocate for increasing women’s participation in small business ownership, passing laws in the Senate that support Minority and Women Business Enterprises. Senator Addabbo has also fought to help families reduce childcare costs by sponsoring legislation that allows safe, effective childcare providers who operate out of their homes to increase the number of children they can serve. Because most of these childcare providers are women, this legislation also serves to support small businesses owned and operated by women.

In addition, Senator Addabbo has made women’s health issues a top priority, sponsoring mobile mammography vans at various community boards and sites throughout his District. And he has supported laws that help protect victims of domestic violence, including the law creating no-fault divorce in New York, which makes it less difficult for abuse victims to escape harmful marriages.

Resorts World New York Groundbreaking Ceremony at Aqueduct Racetrack - October 28th, 2010 Slideshow

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baldeo Offers More Detailed Plans than the Others by AnnMarie Costella - Queens Chronicle

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Albert Baldeo, an attorney from Ozone Park, says he’s not running for City Council because he wants a new job, but because he has the skills to effect change and the experience to understand the community and its problems.

"We share common issues — a lack of city services, jobs and resources,” Baldeo said. “We all suffer similarly. And just as we have common issues, we have common dreams and goals. There is more that unites us than divides us.”

Baldeo will face off against Ruben Wills, Allan Jennings, Charles Bilal, Nicole Paultre Bell, Harpreet Toor, Martha Butler and Victor Babb for the 28th District seat formerly held by the late Tom White Jr.

Among his top priorities are job creation, healthcare, crime and seniors and he has plenty of ideas on how he will improve those areas if elected. Implementing his plans will take additional funding, and with a looming budget deficit, Baldeo says he will get the money by curbing Medicaid fraud, eliminating ineffective programs, increasing taxes on big corporations and cutting “unnecessary bureaucracy.”

To improve education, Baldeo says parents must be more involved in shaping policies and the way their children learn. He plans to fight for more funding to increase after-school programming, reduce class sizes and ensure that more quality teachers are hired. He believes that every pre-kindergarten student should have access to free all-day programming to increase the likelihood of long-term academic success. And he is advocating for added security measures to keep students safe.

“I want to make sure that all children get an equal opportunity to improve their quality of life,” Baldeo said. “I want to lift children out of poverty and give them a chance to reach their full potential. I have the ideas and the vision to make that happen.”

With the recent closures of three hospitals in Queens — Mary Immaculate, St. John’s, and Parkway, access to affordable, quality healthcare is on many resident’s minds. Baldeo hopes to partner with private agencies, doctors and medical volunteers to find out how to bring new hospitals and clinics into the district.

He would also like to expand health insurance coverage by getting more individuals to enroll in programs like Child Health Plus or Medicaid. He believes more people should be encouraged to purchase long-term care insurance by making matching funds, subsidies, tax credits and other incentives available.

Baldeo also supports the Paid Family Leave Act, which would let employees take up to six weeks off a year with limited pay to care for a new child or a sick relative.

Baldeo would combat Medicaid fraud by sponsoring legislation that would grant city enforcement agencies increased access to insurance files and expand their ability to prosecute cases to serve as a deterrent to other criminals.

Baldeo plans to expand the powers of the attorney general to investigate and prosecute more cases, providing extra staff if necessary. But that’s not the only type of illegal activity Baldeo plans to aggressively fight — sex crimes and gun violence are also high on his list.

“We need to build a better relationship between the police and the community,” Baldeo said. “We need to form neighborhood watch groups. People should feel comfortable going to the police and they should know that the information will be kept confidential.”

To curb gun violence, Baldeo says there should be more police officers patrolling the district, but in addition to that he would ban convicted felons from obtaining firearms, expand the ballistics identification data bank to assist law enforcement officers in tracking down guns used in crimes and require law enforcement officers to enter data regarding guns, bullets and shell casings found at crime scenes into the system.

Baldeo is in favor of life sentences for those who have perpetrated sex crimes against multiple victims and for those who have a previous felony sex crime conviction. He would prohibit offenders from working in all jobs that involve contact with children.

Seniors are an important group that Baldeo believes should not be neglected. He says he will work to keep senior centers open and offer more elder programming. “These people have spent a lifetime working and giving to the community,” he said. “They deserve improved access to services.”

Though a federal issue, Baldeo also weighed in on the St. Albans Veterans facility redevelopment plan, stating that he stands with those who oppose letting a developer build private housing on part of the site in exchange for modernizing the medical center there.

“People who have fought for our country should be treated with dignity and respect,” Baldeo said. “They need affordable housing, healthcare and hot meals.”

Baldeo is no stranger to politics. In addition to being an attorney he is a community advocate, democratic district leader, delegate to the Judicial Convention and county committeeman. He lost a Democratic primary challenge to White in 2005 and was defeated again the following year in a race against then-state Sen. Serphin Maltese, but he is confident that he will be victorious this time around.

“I am a breath of fresh air, because my candidacy is not controlled by special interests and lobbyists, but by a passion to serve our district,” Baldeo said. “Our district has been neglected for too long, and I will work hard for everyone in this district, so that we can have a better standard of life, and everyone can truly live the American dream.”

Anthony Como - Wrong for the State Senate

Like the video says... I'm sick of the negative mailers... I can't send out mail in response, but I can send out a message over YouTube.

Unemployment Benefits: The 99ers - 60 Minutes - CBS News

Watch original...

"60 Minutes" and correspondent Scott Pelley went to several communities in search of the 99ers, but we didn't expect to find such a crisis in Silicon Valley, the high tech capital that many people hoped would be creating jobs.

If you want to understand why the economy is stalled, come to San Jose, Calif., and talk with 99ers like Marianne Rose. "I remember it coming close to like six months. I was saying, 'I can't believe I'm out of work this long.' Then the year mark hit. And I just started just panicking seriously. Now that it's over two years I can't believe it. I just, I can't believe it," she told Pelley.

Rose was a financial analyst at a real estate firm. Age 54, she's single with a grown daughter. After being laid off with about 100 co-workers, she spent her savings, lost her home and finally found herself sitting in a truck with her dog and all of her possessions.

She made a desperate call to a friend and found refuge upstairs in the home of strangers, her friend's brother and sister-in-law.

"How long did you think you would be in here?" Pelley asked.

"Two weeks really. That's all I thought," she replied.

But she told Pelley it has been six months. "And not really an end in sight, yet."

"What sort of things would you be willing to do at this point?" Pelley asked.

"Well, I can say that probably the lowest level position for me has been now to apply for a clerk, a county clerk and I just realized the competition is pretty stiff out there," she replied.

Asked what she meant by stiff competition, Rose explained, "There's a lot of people, speaking of the county. I had applied to those clerk positions. There's actually four positions that were open. I found there were over 2,000 people that applied for those four positions."

Rose is one of at least a million and a half Americans who've exhausted their unemployment checks.

Matt Damon's Birthday Wish - Working Families Party

There's one thing Matt Damon wants New Yorkers to give him for his 40th birthday...

You probably know Matt Damon from films like "Good Will Hunting" and the Bourne trilogy (or maybe for his recent cameos on "30-Rock"). But he's also a thoughtful and committed political activist who believes in the Working Families Party's ability to get real results from our elected officials on issues from health care to hydrofracking.

Mr. Damon recorded this video to encourage New Yorkers to cast votes on the Working Families Party line (row E of the ballot) this November 2. As you'll see in the video, he's even added a little extra incentive to vote WFP.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Queens High Schools Still Crowded by Beth Fertig - WNYC

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Queens is always growing and it seems its schools are, too. The United Federation of Teachers says several high schools in the city's second most populous borough seem more crowded than usual this fall.
James Vasquez, the UFT's representative for Queens high schools, says principals are working hard to keep classes from getting too large by reprogramming schedules and adding more teachers. But he says Bayside, Benjamin Cardozo and the new Metropolitan High School are all still crammed with students.
"You have situations in which not only the hallways are crowded but the days are extended," he says. "Because kids are staying later or coming in earlier than they may have before."

The Department of Education confirms that Metropolitan High School, which opened in September, currently has 411 students -- 61 more than the target. Benjamin Cardozo in Flushing has about 40 more kids than expected.
Vasquez attributes the problem to poor planning and says the city should send more students to under-utilized schools. But a Department of Education spokesman says it's too early to make any determinations on class size or enrollment because they're still fluctuating daily. The state gathers final enrollment data on October 31.
Crowded schools don't always correspond with overcrowded classrooms, and vice-versa. Many schools in Queens and throughout the city still have class sizes that are above the contractual limit of 34 in high school subjects and 50 for gym. Vasquez says the Queens High School of Teaching was especially hard hit with dozens of classes above the limit. In early September, the union estimated that 1900 high school classes in Queens were above contractual limits. But that number has since been cut down by more than half. As in previous years, the city resolves many of the disputes just before or during arbitration hearings.
Meanwhile, the union says the situation at Francis Lewis High School - which has more than 4000 students - seems under control. The city and the union went to arbitration hearings over the past few years because of overcrowding. Though it's still packed, the union says no classes are beyond their contractual limits.

Comment by Arthur Goldsten

If the union says Francis Lewis is "under control" that's only because they haven't bothered to consult with anyone who actually works there. Lewis is open 14 periods a day, six sessions, and has classes in trailers with chronically failing heat and AC and half-classrooms that are absolutely unfit for teaching and learning. Our students run around outside in the cold and the dark, and eat lunch at 9 AM.
During peak times, you can barely make it down the hall. 61 more than the target? At Lewis we've been thousands above the target, and for years.
Hardly a "Mission Accomplished" moment by me.
Arthur Goldstein, UFT Chapter Leader
Francis Lewis High School