Political Potpourri: Gentile Asks, ‘What About the Real Giants?’
By Paula Katinas
Councilman Vincent Gentile said he was delighted that the city gave the New York Giants a ticker tape parade after the team’s Super Bowl win. But Gentile said he also thinks war veterans deserve the same treatment.
Gentile joins a growing chorus of Council members calling on the Bloomberg administration to host a parade for veterans returning home from the war in Iraq.
“I think we can all agree that the New York Giants deserve a parade for winning the Super Bowl. But if a football team gets a parade, shouldn’t our veterans? Do they not deserve their own day in the sun down the Canyon of Heroes?” Gentile asked.
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Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis has been named one of the 40 Under 40 Rising Latino Stars by the Hispanic Coalition of New York (HCNY).
The assemblywoman’s mother is a Cuban exile who fled the Castro dictatorship. Her father hails from Greece. Her parents met in New York after both had left their home countries to come to the U.S.
Malliotakis said the designation from the HCNY means a great deal to her.
“I am honored to have been named a rising star by such an important organization as HCNY. As the daughter of two immigrant parents, it is truly an honor to be among an outstanding group of young professionals selected from the areas of business, education, politics, and community service,” she said.
Speaking of Malliotakis, she is earning a lot of praise from New York State Republican Party leaders for her fund-raising prowess. The New York Daily News reported that the freshman lawmaker has raised an impressive $114,000 for her re-election campaign.
Could the state GOP be looking at Malliotakis as a possible candidate for higher office?
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Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr. helped cut the ribbon at the opening of the new technology center at the Mark Twain School for the Gifted and Talented in Coney Island. The center bears Recchia’s name. Recchia, chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee, worked to obtain much of the city funding for the new center.
“It is an honor and a great pleasure to provide a new technology center that will allow the students of Mark Twain to truly become citizens of the world with a renewed access to the web and all of its educational resources,” Recchia said at the ceremony, which took place on Feb. 3. “The technology center at Mark Twain is just the beginning. I hope to see more schools throughout my district and other boroughs follow suit and help out our city at the forefront of technology.”
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Andrew Gounardes, the Democratic hopeful trying to unseat incumbent Republican-Conservative state Sen. Marty Golden, has written Golden a letter urging him to make good on a pledge he signed to support the idea of having an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission redraw the maps for all of the state Senate and Assembly districts.
Golden, according to Gounardes, was one of several lawmakers who signed the pledge from New York Uprising, a group founded by former mayor Ed Koch to take politics out of the redistricting process.
Instead, the district lines were drawn by a commission put together by the Senate and Assembly. Politics being what it is, the GOP pretty much draws the maps in the Senate, since it is the majority party in that house. Assembly Democrats, the majority party, take care of the district lines in that chamber.
“As you know, the recently proposed state Senate district lines are drawing criticism, far and wide, for their blatantly partisan and constitutional nature,” Gounardes wrote in his letter to Golden.
Of course, Gounardes makes no mention of criticism that has been leveled at the Assembly district lines. But people in his own party have complained that Bay Ridge has been carved up into separate Assembly districts, diluting the community’s power in Albany.
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Golden recently met with leaders of the Bay Ridge Middle Eastern community at the Arab-American Association of New York to discuss various issues, including reports of police surveillance of religious institutions in Muslim communities.
“I must say that recent reports about police surveillance unfairly profiling individuals based solely on religion are alarming. The Muslim American members of my district, like those of all faiths whom I represent, are committed to keeping all houses of worship free of violent extremism,” Golden said.
Golden, a founding member of the Bay Ridge Unity Task Force, met with leaders of the Yemeni American Association of Bay Ridge, the Beit al Maqdis Islamic Center, the Moroccan American House Association, the World Lebanese Cultural Union, the Egyptian American Community Foundation and the Arab-American Association of New York.
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Bay Ridgeites may remember Bob Capano, the affable politico who was born and raised in the community and who worked for the likes of Borough President Marty Markowitz and former U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella. Capano is now the district director for U.S. Rep. Bob Turner, the Republican who won Democrat Anthony Weiner’s old seat last year. Turner’s congressional district runs from Queens into Brooklyn and includes neighborhoods like Sheepshead Bay.
Capano reports that Turner, who has a district office in Middle Village, Queens, is opening one up in Brooklyn. The office will be located at 1733 Sheepshead Bay Road.
“We expect to open in the middle of next month. We’ll have four staff members and an intern. I’m looking forward to serving the people of Brooklyn even better,” he said.
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Assemblyman Dov Hikind is giving out safety reflectors to his constituents for free to help protect them on the streets at night. The reflectors help make pedestrians and bicyclists more visible to motorists at night, Hikind said. They work by reflecting the light from the headlights in oncoming traffic.
Between 2005 and 2010, there were 119 pedestrian accidents on 13th Avenue in Borough Park, according to the New York City Department of Transportation.
“Protecting and helping my constituents is my utmost priority,” Hikind said. “If the life of even one child, adult, or senior citizen is spared because they were wearing these reflectors, it more than outweighs the cost to purchase them,” he said.
Hikind said he purchased the reflectors at the suggestion of Rabbi Yitzchok Fleischer, a community liaison aide to state Sen. Diane Savino.
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