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Brooklyn Political Roundup, January 31: Gold Star Father Khizr Khan supports Rose

January 31, 2018 By Paula Katinas & John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Photo courtesy of Rose’s campaign

In Public Service, From The Political Staff Of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Gold Star Father Khizr Khan supports Rose

Gold Star dad Khizr Khan, who delivered a memorable rebuke to then-candidate Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, has endorsed Democrat Max Rose in the race for the 11th Congressional District (Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island).

Rose’s campaign released a fundraising letter from Khan. Rose is a U.S. Army veteran running in a crowded field of candidates hoping to win the Democratic Party’s nomination in the congressional race. Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan is running for re-election. He is facing a challenge from former congressman Michael Grimm in a GOP primary.

Khan’s letter praises Rose and pays tribute to his late son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan.

“I’m standing with Max Rose in his race for Congress and I’m asking you to join me. My son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, gave his life to defend this country and its Constitution. He paid the ultimate price in the name of this country’s enduring promise: that we are all equal, endowed with inalienable rights, and that anything is possible. Sometimes, when we look at Washington, D.C., our faith in that promise can be shaken. It does not have to be that way. We can restore America to what it once was; to what generations of immigrants looking for a better life saw; to the country my son served proudly, to the country we know is possible. But, we need new leadership. That’s why we need Max Rose,” Khan wrote.

Khan also lauded Rose’s military service.

“Like my son, Max stepped up and put everything on the line for our country. As a combat platoon leader in Afghanistan, Max led his soldiers with dedication, determination, and commitment and I know he will bring the same proven leadership to Congress,” Khan wrote. – PK

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Malliotakis demands Verrazano toll amnesty

Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) is demanding that MTA establish a toll amnesty program on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to help motorists who are unfairly hit with toll violations due to glitches in the bridge’s cashless toll system. 

Malliotakis, who was joined by motorists at a press conference on the Staten Island side of the bridge on Friday, said she has received complaints from drivers who have been slapped with violations of $100 a trip because of MTA mistakes. 

In a space of four days, more than 1,100 commuters were hit with toll bills totaling $49,000, she said.

Many drivers did not have enough money in their EZ-Pass accounts but never received notice from MTA, Malliotakis charged. 

An amnesty program similar to the one Malliotakis is seeking for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was instituted by the New York State Thruway Authority for the Mario Cuomo Bridge. 

“Cashless tolling has its benefits, such as improving traffic flow and easing congestion at toll plazas, however there are clear glitches within the system that need to be addressed,” Malliotakis said in a statement. “The MTA should not be making a windfall on commuters if violations are due to glitches in the tolling system.” 

Malliotakis also called for a crackdown on the real toll evaders; drivers remove or alter their license plates, or use covers that make the number appear illegible. 

She urged drivers to sign up for email and text alerts at www.ezpassny.com. By using that program, drivers will receive notification if their EZ-Pass balance is low. – PK

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Carroll leans toward backing congestion pricing

Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope) said the congestion pricing plan the Fix NYC Advisory panel convened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo came up with deserve serious consideration.

“This plan is not perfect or without pain, but it is currently the only plan that creates a dedicated revenue stream to fix our subway system, eases congestion in Manhattan’s central business district and reduces our city’s carbon footprint,” Carroll said in a statement.

The plan, which Cuomo unveiled earlier this month, calls for a toll to be charged to motorists who drive into Manhattan below 60th Street on weekdays. The funds raised by the toll will go toward repairing New York City’s subway system.

“It’s unpopular to ask someone to pay for something that has always been free, but it has been widely documented that similar plans have worked around the world in easing congestion and providing much needed revenue for mass transit systems. The fees that will be imposed will fall mostly on trucks, taxis and those who drive five days a week into Manhattan’s CBD,” Carroll stated.

Carroll also recently took part in an assembly budget hearing where he questioned MTA Chairman Joe Lhota on the agency’s progress in updating signals in the subway system. – PK

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Jeffries, Clarke urge cable TV dispute be resolved

The ongoing dispute between Altice USA and Starz Inc. is showing no signs of letting up, leaving cable television viewers in Brooklyn and elsewhere to “Power,” “Outlander” and other popular shows on the Starz Network. 

Cable television customers who are Optimum subscribers have lost all of their Starz and StarzEncore channels as a result of the dispute. 

Two Brooklyn lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Canarsie-Sheepshead Bay-Coney Island) and U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Central Brooklyn), are urging both sides to come to the negotiating table and resolve the dispute. They have written a letter to both parties.

“This programming is of particular importance to the African-American community, and we are disappointed that such content is no longer available to Optimum subscribers. Given the importance of Altice and Starz, we urge both sides to engage in good faith negotiations and come to a mutually agreeable resolution that allows the people in our districts to experience the content they have paid to receive,” the letter reads in part. 

Both Jeffries and Clarke are members of the House Multicultural Media Caucus. – PK

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Yeger says Big Pharma lawsuit a good idea

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $500 million lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies involved in the distribution of opioids is a good idea, according to Councilmember Kalman Yeger (D-Borough Park-Midwood-parts of Bensonhurst), who said drug manufacturers should be held accountable for their part in the opioid crisis.

“The opioid epidemic has plagued our communities, our families and our city for too long. We will hold accountable those who put profit over people’s lives. I’m grateful that Mayor de Blasio is taking this vital step, and I’m proud to support his efforts. In addition, I pledge to use my own office in every way I can to combat this crisis,” Yeger said in a statement.

In announcing the lawsuit de Blasio said that more than three New Yorkers die every day due to opiates and opioids. The mayor said the deaths are linked to an oversupply of opioids and what he called deceptive marketing of pharmaceutical companies. 

Between 2014 and 2016, 2.7 million opioid prescriptions were filled by doctors in New York City, according to Yeger, who said the overdose death of a 20-year-old Borough Park man brought community attention to the drug crisis. – PK

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Capano elected chairman of Brooklyn Reform Party

Bob Capano, who recently ran for City Council on the Reform Party ticket, was named chairman of the newly formed Kings County Reform Party on Saturday.

Capano, who manages a Gristedes supermarket, will be responsible for interviewing and selecting candidates to run on the Reform Party line throughout the borough.

“I am honored to have been elected chairman of the Brooklyn Reform Party by our members,” Capano said. “The Reform Party has a big tent philosophy and we welcome all. Our committee will focus on running a full slate of Reform Party candidates this year, continuing to increase our voter enrollment and holding community forums on important issues.”

Curtis Sliwa, chairman of the NYS Reform Party who attended the meeting, said, “Bob Capano has worked in senior positions for Brooklyn’s top elected Democrats and Republicans. He has run for office and campaigned for many others. Bob knows where the political bones are buried and who buried them in Brooklyn. As less and less people participate in the political process, Bob will welcome the disenfranchised into the NYS Reform Party’s tent. He will promote our three key principles: term limits, initiative and referendum, and nonpartisan elections. Chairman Capano will empower Brooklyn voters and be a strong counterweight to the entrenched party machines.”

Capano told the Brooklyn Eagle, “In Brooklyn, we expect to have a number of high profile, competitive races. Specifically, the 46th Assembly Race, where Pam Harris was just indicted, and the 22nd state Senate race, where Marty Golden has two Democratic challengers. The Brooklyn Reform Party looks forward to interviewing all of the candidates for our line, and playing a key role in these races.” – JA

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Eugene, prideful of Haitian roots, sworn into office

On Sunday, Jan. 28, Haitian City Councilmember Mathieu Eugene (D-Kensington-Flatbush) was sworn into office for his third term representing Brooklyn’s 40th District.  The ceremony took place at Erasmus Hall High School at 911 Flatbush Avenue.

Among those attending was Public Advocate Letitia James, New York City Council Speaker Cory Johnson, 35th District City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene-Clinton Hill), 48th District City Councilmember Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay-Brighton Beach), 44th District City Councilmember Kalman Yeger (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst) and New York City Clerk Michael McSweeney.

Eugene thanked God for the opportunity to gather together for what he called a historic moment. “You all know that I was born and raised on a beautiful island,” said Eugene.  “And I came to this country and I stand before you today as one of the City Councilmembers of the great city of New York because of the grace of God.” 

Eugene made history by becoming the first Haitian-born official elected to the New York City Council. He was also the first to win his seat overwhelmingly in two special elections just a few months apart, causing some to dub him “The Haitian Sensation.”

Eugene made it a point to thank all his brothers and sisters from the Haitian, Jewish, Pakistani and Spanish communities. “To all of you my brothers and sisters, regardless of what community you belong to thank you so much for your support, your trust and everything you’ve done for me and for giving me the opportunity to serve you one more time for four more years.” – JA