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Brooklyn Political Roundup, March 14: Jumaane Williams gathers support for Lt. Gov. run

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

March 14, 2018 By Paula Katinas & John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jumaane Williams is running in the Democratic Primary for lieutenant governor, at the recent Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club Dinner. Eagle photo by Mario Belluomo
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Williams gathers support for Lt. Gov. Run 

Councilmember Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush), who is running to unseat New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, is continuing to solidify his support from progressive groups.

Among those in his corner is The New York Progressive Action Network (NYPAN), an organization that was formed out of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vermont) presidential campaign in 2016. 

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“Jumaane is not just a part of the resistance to Trump, he is the face and symbol of that resistance. And he is one of the very rare breed of Democrats who is not scared off by the Cuomo/Hochul horde of millions of campaign dollars collected almost exclusively from the one percent of corporate polluters, hedge fund billionaires and other rich special interests. It is so refreshing to back a candidate who is more an activist than a politician, who believes in something other than their own self-interest, and who, like Bernie, will certainly mobilize thousands of enthusiastic voters to rally behind his candidacy,” NYPAN Co-Chairman George Albro said in a statement. – PK

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Ortiz pushes plastic bag ban

Assemblymember Felix Ortiz (D-Sunset Park-Bay Ridge) said he is making progress in his effort to ban plastic shopping bags.

In his weekly newsletter, Ortiz said a bill he is sponsoring to institute a ban has gained the support of both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

And there is progress coming from Corporate America, according to Ortiz, who said McDonald’s plans to stop using plastic bags for take-out in its restaurants by 2020 in the U.S. and by 2050 around the world.

Ortiz found an unusual way to show his gratitude to the fast food chain. “I visited and prepared a hamburger at a district McDonald’s,” he said. – PK

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Bay Ridge Democrats Club endorses Rose 

The endorsements keep coming for Democrat Max Rose, the U.S. Army veteran running in the Democratic primary in the congressional seat that includes parts of Southwest Brooklyn and all of Staten Island.

Rose has picked up the support of the Bay Ridge Democrats Club.

“We need a member of Congress with the courage to take on Washington, D.C. and solve the challenges Bay Ridge has struggled with for far too long. Whether it’s securing funding to improve the R-Train, passing laws to protect our children from gun violence, or fighting for universal and affordable health care, Max will be leading the charge. That’s the kind of bold leadership we deserve,” Club President Chris McCreight said in a statement.

Rose is one of several Democrats vying for his party’s nomination. 

Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, who is running for re-election in November, is facing a primary from former congressman Michael Grimm on June 26.

The general election is Nov. 6. – PK

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Former candidate DeCillis backs DeVito

Michael DeVito Jr., who like Max Rose, is running in the Democratic Primary for Congress in the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, seems to have a knack for winning support from former rivals. 

Two former candidates who dropped out of the race have announced that they are now supporting DeVito.

Mike DeCillis said he is endorsing DeVito because of his record of service.

“I believe he is going to be a responsive representative that this district deserves. He has spent his entire life in service, both in his community and to this country. He is a marine, educator, mentor, community leader and a union guy. Michael has already accomplished so much for us,” DeCillis said in a statement. 

Former candidate Boyd Melson had earlier announced his endorsement of DeVito. – PK

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Donovan’s campaign touts promising poll numbers 

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island), who is locked in a primary race with former Congressmember Michael Grimm, has a large lead over his rival in a new poll, according to his campaign. 

In a poll conducted by Zeplowitz and Associates, 60 percent of voters in the congressional district said they would vote for Donovan, while 21 percent showed a preference for Grimm. Eighteen percent of the respondents were undecided.

Among Republicans, Donovan has a 63 percent favorable rating and a 13 percent unfavorable rating, according to the poll. Grimm, who resigned from Congress in early 2015 after pleading guilty to tax fraud, had a favorable rating of 30 percent and an unfavorable rating of 46 percent. 

“We are enormously gratified by the results of this poll showing voters have every intention of re-electing their Congressman who has delivered meaningful results for Staten Island and South Brooklyn,” Donovan campaign spokeswoman Jessica Proud said. “We won’t take anything for granted, but these results are proof Dan Donovan is the chosen candidate of Republicans and Conservatives.” – PK

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Eugene praises Girl Scouts

Councilmember Mathieu Eugene (D-Kensington) attended the Girl Scouts of Greater New York’s Troop 6000 at a recent celebration of “World Thinking Day” at Saint Francis College, where he praised the work the scout troop does to improve the lives of girls. 

Troop 6000 is a first-of-its-kind Girl Scout program, according to Eugene. The troop was created to serve girls living in New York City’s shelter system. 

The “World Thinking Day” event brought together girl scouts from all over the city to learn about nations and cultures from around the world. – PK

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Nadler: Senate should reject Trump’s CIA pick

The U.S. Senate should not confirm President Donald Trump’s pick for the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler.

On Tuesday, shortly after it was learned that the president had fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and planned to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him and have Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel replace Pompeo, Nadler (D-Bensonhurst-Bay Ridge-Upper West Side) released a statement.

“The Senate owes it to the American people to take a hard look at Deputy Director Haspel, whose career at the CIA coincides with some of the darkest moments in recent American history. She oversaw a ‘black site’ prison in Thailand.  She approved interrogation techniques that were clearly unlawful at the time, and ordered the destruction of evidence of those practices. Torture is not only abhorrent, torture is a crime. The Senate should not confirm Deputy Director Haspel to lead the CIA,” Nadler said. – PK

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Golden supports measure to prevent overpaying for prescriptions

State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-I-Brooklyn) announced that the New York state Senate this week gave final passage to a bill that helps fight the high cost of prescriptions by preventing consumers from overpaying for medications.

This measure was sponsored by Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau) and helps consumers become better informed about the price of drugs and prohibits two costly practices — gag clauses and clawbacks — used by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Each have come into question recently as prescription drug prices continue to rise. 

“With the cost of prescription drugs continuing to skyrocket, this legislation is necessary to ensure people are being afforded the opportunity to pay lower drug prices when possible,” Golden said.

Co-pays should not exceed the cost of a drug and pharmacists should be allowed to tell a consumer when the cost of a drug is in fact cheaper if they pay out of pocket. We are sending a clear message that clawbacks and pharmacy gag practices are unacceptable here in New York.”

The measure prohibits PBMs from imposing “gag clauses” in their contracts with pharmacies. Gag clauses prohibit pharmacists from telling consumers information regarding the price of medication, the availability of alternative medications, or that the drug may actually cost less if they pay out of pocket.

The bill has passed the Assembly and will be sent to the governor. – JA

* * * 

Carroll promotes legislation for safer streets

After the tragic crash on Monday that took the lives of two young children, Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope-Kensington) believes that the State must do more to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Miles’ 4-year-old daughter Abigail Blumenstein and Joshua Lew, the 1-year-old son of her friend Lauren Lew, were killed in a collision in Park Slope on March 5. The children were with their mothers when they were killed at the intersection of Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue.

“I offer my deepest condolences to the Lew and Blumenstein families for the tragedy that they endured earlier this week,” Carroll said. “It is with them on our minds and in our hearts that Sen. Hamilton and I introduced two bills in the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate today to hopefully make our streets safer so that future tragedies like the one this week can be avoided.

The first bill would require medical professionals to report to the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Health any chronic impairing ailment that would suddenly cause a driver to lose control of their car. Currently there is no mandatory reporting system in place.

The second piece of legislation would offer a system that would suspend motor vehicle registrations for 15 days after a car has received six traffic control signal violations within a 12-month period. The suspension would last for 30 days if there are 9 infractions within 24 months and for 90 days if there are 12 infractions over a 36-month period. – JA

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Deutsch secures bulletproof vests for NYPD auxiliary officers

City Councilmember Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay-Manhattan Beach)

has helped secured a commitment from NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill to outfit the City’s 4,000-plus auxiliary police officers with new bulletproof vests.  

The optimal lifespan of a bulletproof vest is five years, but many auxiliary police officers are utilizing vests that are far older. After several conversations between Deutsch and O’Neill, the NYPD pledged to purchase and distribute the new vests to auxiliary officers over the course of the next 18 months. 

At a Public Safety Committee hearing on Monday, Deutsch stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of auxiliary officers, who are volunteers that patrol and assist with special details on their own personal time.

“New York’s Finest do a phenomenal job keeping our city safe,” Deutsch said. “Auxiliary police officers are an invaluable asset for the department, who dedicate their personal time to serving the people of their communities.

It is important that we support their work and provide them with the tools and resources that they need to get the job done. I thank Commissioner O’Neill and Auxiliary Police Section Commanding Officer Inspector Phylis Byrne for their partnership and commitment to our City’s Auxiliary police officers.” – JA



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