Political Potpourri: French Shooting Fallout
Pols Demand Increased Protection for Jewish Institutions
By Paula Katinas
Councilman Domenic Recchia was one of several city officials expressing shock and outrage over the terror attack in Toulouse, France in which an Al Qaeda-trained suspect shot and killed a rabbi and three children.
“I was very devastated to learn of the tragedy that has befallen the French city of Toulouse where a rabbi, his two sons, and the daughter of the school principal have been murdered and a young 15-year-old student lies gravely wounded,” Recchia said.
The councilman called on the U.S. government to step up protective measures here in New York City.
“I am calling on the United States Congress to restore the $9 million they cut in security funding for synagogues and nonprofits that are at great risk for terrorist attacks. This is vital funding that assists qualified institutions, synagogues and nonprofit organizations in updating and addressing security concerns, especially related to terrorist anti-Semitism,” Recchia said. “The New York Police Department, under the leadership of Commissioner Raymond Kelly, deserves to be commended for its vigilance and precautionary efforts of patrols and heightened observance around Jewish neighborhoods and institutions throughout our city. We cannot take any chances.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind was joined by Council members and leaders of the Jewish Community in Brooklyn in condemning the terror attack.
“What kind of individual can walk up to a 3-year-old, grab him by the hair and put a bullet in his head? You can’t educate people not to do things like that — you can only prepare for them,” Hikind said. “We cry for the victims and their families. And at the same time we must express our gratitude to Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD, who have done an exemplary job of keeping our streets safe from terror in the wake of Sept. 11 and the random acts of terrorism that have followed worldwide. Those who criticize the Commissioner and the NYPD should be ashamed! We need more security, not less.”
Standing with Assemblyman Hikind were Council members Mathieu Eugene, Lew Fidler, David Greenfield, Michael Nelson, and leaders of the Borough Park and Flatbush communities.
“I get to go home and hug my child tonight,” Fidler said. “This tragedy is felt by all of us.”
Hikind said law enforcement officials must be unrestrained in their efforts to track down terrorists and stop attacks before they happen.
“It’s clear: The government must step in and intelligence gathering can’t be restrained. There’s no guaranteed way to stop terrorists and maniacs from perpetrating their sick acts of violence, but there are certainly better ways of curtailing them, as our law enforcement officers have demonstrated quietly since Sept. 11,” he said.
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Councilman Vincent Gentile joined forces with Council Speaker Christine Quinn to fight against discrimination against unemployed people.
Gentile is a sponsor of a bill that would prohibit employers from advertising for jobs with the caveat “only the currently employed need apply.”
Those who are unemployed often find themselves at a loss because employers only want to hire people who are already employed, Quinn and Gentile said.
“It’s a Catch-22 situation,” Gentile said.
“While there are encouraging signs that our economy is beginning to improve, the recovery is still fragile and we must do more to help New Yorkers find work. Prohibiting employers from discriminating against the unemployed will end a practice that has kept too many of our city’s residents from applying for work they are qualified to do,” Quinn said. “The long-term unemployed face some of the bleakest job prospects in our economy and we can’t stand by and watch them be needlessly held back. That’s why we are introducing this legislation.”
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U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm is continuing to help Republicans in Congress chip away at the Affordable Health Care Act, the health care bill championed by President Barack Obama.
Last week, Grimm voted for a bill passed by the House that would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a provision of the health care law.
“Today, I voted to repeal one of the most contentious pieces of Obamacare, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). This panel of 15 unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats has been tasked with cutting Medicare and given the power to ration care for our seniors,” said Grimm, who spoke on the day of the bill’s passage. “Putting the health and well-being of our nation’s seniors in the hands of Washington bureaucrats with essentially limitless power is unacceptable. In addition, simply making cuts to Medicare, without sustainable reforms, will limit our seniors’ access to care, as doctors will no longer be able to afford to see patients with cuts to reimbursements. In order to preserve the level of care for our current and future seniors, Medicare must be reformed, not cut by the IPAB.”
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State Sen. Marty Golden, a retired police officer, said he’s pleased with the passage of legislation to expand New York State’s DNA databank.
The new legislation requires anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor to provide a DNA sample — dramatically expanding the information pool used by law enforcement and prosecutors, Golden said.
“This is a huge victory for all New Yorkers concerned about protecting our communities and keeping our loved ones safe and free from harm,” Golden said. “By dramatically expanding the DNA databank, we are providing police and district attorneys with a powerful tool to solve crimes, prosecute sexual predators, and keep dangerous criminals off our streets.”
Since its inception in 1994, the state’s DNA databank has helped criminal investigations and prosecutions by making evidence more accurate, according to Golden, who said the DNA has also helped exonerate the innocent.
Up to now, however, the law did not include certain crimes. This enabled some criminals to remain free to commit additional acts of violence, Golden said.
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Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis has good news for consumers.
She announced the launching of an appliance rebate program. Consumers will be able to recover $250 for washing machines and $350 for refrigerators for new appliance purchases if they qualify.
“People want to do their part to reduce home energy consumption, but sometimes the costs of upgrading appliances to high-efficiency models can be daunting,” Malliotakis said. “In order to help New Yorkers make the transition, the state has set up the ‘Save Green NYS High-Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program.’ It’s good for our wallets, our electric grid and our environment.”
The program has already started and rebates will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. Homeowners will see overall reductions in their electric bills due to the high-efficiency appliances, Malliotakis said.
A full listing of qualifying clothes washers and refrigerators, as well as full details on the program, can be found at the website www.NYSApplianceRebates.com. Residents can also call (877) 697-6278 for more information.
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