Political Potpourri: Greeks Name Malliotakis One of ‘40 Under 40’ To Watch

March 15, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis has been named to the Greek America Foundation’s “40 Under 40” list, a roster composed of up-and-comers from across the state.

The group of rising, young Greek-American leaders will be honored at the organization’s National Innovation Conference in New York City on April 28.

“I am very proud of my Greek heritage and am honored to be recognized by the Greek America Foundation,” Malliotakis said. “Greek culture and ideals have left an indelible mark on the fabric of American society, and this organization does a terrific job of keeping Greek tradition alive. I look forward to an exciting and informative celebration during the National Innovation Conference in April.”

Malliotakis’s father hails from Greece. Her mother is a Cuban exile of the Castro dictatorship, and her parents met in New York while in search of the “American Dream.” Malliotakis said her parents’ work ethic and sense of ambition inspired her to pursue a life in public service.

The Greek America Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that was founded by Gregory C. Pappas in 1997. The foundation seeks to bring elements of Greek culture, history and heritage — also known as Hellenism — to the forefront of mainstream America.

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U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm said he’s doing his best to bring back jobs in this country.

On March 8, he voted for the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a legislative package he said is designed to jumpstart the economy by restoring opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The JOBS Act includes six pieces of pro-jobs legislation that have all received bipartisan support, according to Grimm. It passed the House, 390-23.

“The JOBS Act cuts the red tape and over-regulation, creating a more viable environment for our entrepreneurs and small businesses to grow and create jobs. By getting big government out of the way, this bill will increase access to capital and reduce the uncertainty from Washington that has been stifling economic growth,” Grimm said. “The JOBS Act sends the message that ‘America is open for business,’ and I am proud to support it.”

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Speaking of job creation, Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr. is teaming up with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and officials of the New York City Economic Development Corporation in an effort to get 450 summer jobs for residents in the Coney Island section of his district.
“The city’s plan to fill over 450 jobs this summer in Coney Island is proof that the city is making good on its promise to bring new employment opportunities to the 50,000 residents who live in Coney Island all year round. This summer, as local residents become an even more integral part of Coney Island’s rich history, together we will usher in a new era, one that will add a new layer to the colorful legacy of Coney Island and breathe new life and prosperity into our community,” Recchia said.       
The jobs include park service, ride and game operations, customer service and retail service. There will be recruitment events at MCU Park, 1904 Surf Ave., to find suitable candidates for jobs, Recchia said.
Two of the recruitment events will take place on Tuesday, April 24, and Thursday, April 26, from noon to 6 p.m.

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Veterans helping veterans. That’s the theme of a piece of legislation being proposed by Sunset Park Assemblyman Felix Ortiz.

Ortiz’s bill calls for a peer support services program to serve veterans throughout New York state. The program would allow peer counseling services for mental illness, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and alcohol and substance abuse. The program would also provide family support services to veterans, according to Ortiz.

Ortiz is the chairman of the Assembly Mental Health Committee, and is the former chair of the Assembly Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“It is vital that our veterans are provided with counseling. This peer-to-peer program will allow veterans to support one another through one of the most difficult times in their lives,” Ortiz said. “The support of peers, or individuals who have had similar experiences, is valuable for people in all walks of life, but especially with veterans in helping them heal from the scars of war.”

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Shockingly, there is no law on the books that specifically prohibits a parent from exploiting his or her children for the purposes of prostitution.

State Sen. Marty Golden said he wants to change that.

Golden said the state Senate passed legislation that would establish the crime of promotion of child prostitution by a parent or guardian.

“In New York state, there have been several high profile cases where parents exploited their children,” Golden said. “Violating the trust between parent and child is an inexcusable offense and those that do so need to be held accountable. This bill puts teeth into the paper tiger, ensuring those that exploit our children receive justice.”

The legislation establishes the crime of promotion of a child less than seventeen years of age by a parent or guardian as a Class B felony. This bill ensures that parents who are convicted of such crimes are unable to have access to the children they exploited, Golden said.

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The traditional brick-and-mortar shops are taking a beating and losing their customers to the restaurants on wheels who do not play by the same rules.

That’s the view held by Councilman Vincent Gentile, who is on the warpath against sidewalk food vendors operating in Bay Ridge’s business districts.

Back in 2008, Gentile, along with Community Boards 10 and 11, called for the New York City Department of Small Business Services to add mobile food carts to the existing “Vendor-Free Zone” within the confines of the 86th Street Business Improvement District.

“Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst were all built on independent retail stores and mom-and-pop businesses. I hear what they’re going through with city agencies trying to wring them dry with fines and they are not happy — then a food cart pulls up outside their store and competes for their business,” Gentile said.

“How can a brick-and-mortar business owner — who is already paying a premium to rent a storefront on a main strip while covering business and property taxes, water bills and private sanitation — compete with a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ food cart?” he asked. “At the very least, to level the playing field, food vendors should be held to the same standards as the city’s brick-and-mortar restaurants.”

Gentile is supporting a Council bill that would require mobile food vendors to display letter grades similar to the ones posted in restaurants throughout the city.

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