As predicted, days after the Democratic primaries, the Queens County Democratic Organization elected Congressmember Joseph Crowley as its new chair. We say Bravo.
Crowley succeeds his mentor Thomas Manton who Crowley says “Brought us from the lowest depths of Queens County politics to some of its highest heights including helping to elect Bill Clinton President of the United States.”
His first priority, Crowley said, would be focusing on the elections in November and making sure that Democrats win the elections in the upcoming races.
Additionally, Crowley promises to “establish an independent judicial screening panel for next year,” addressing the fears of those who feel that party bosses have too much influence in the selection process.
We congratulate Crowley in his new position and expect great things from him because of his experienced leadership.
Federal Wage Too Small
City Councilmembers David Weprin, Chair of the Finance Committee, Leroy Comrie, Joseph Addabbo and Inez Dickens are calling on Congress to increase the Federal Minimum Wage which has remained at a $5.15 an hour since 1997.
Congress is due to adjourn for campaign season on Friday, September 29. Weprin hopes their Council resolution will spur Congress to follow New York's lead in recently raising the state minimum wage from $6.75 to $7.15 an hour as of January 1, 2007.
Members of Congress must stop playing politics with people's lives and reward America's labor force with a livable wage which is long overdue. We hope that in their rush to the exits, Congress will do the right thing and pass an increase to help working families across the country.
Trial Balloon Deflated
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on Wednesday September 20 announced proposed bus and subway service cuts of $20 million for next year. Reductions in service would adversely affect 65 percent of the system's 181 local bus routes. Millions of Queens riders would face longer waits for buses and trains which would be more crowded. They added that there was a looming budget deficit of more than $1 billion. Based on that bad news the MTA tossed in the scary prospect of a 5 percent fare increase too.
That trial balloon was part of package of budget measures being considered by New York City Transit, the agency that runs the buses and subways. It was totally deflated the next day by transit boss Peter Kalikow who vowed that the MTA will not raise fares and tolls next year and that there will be no bus and subway service cuts.
We will be watching to see how long this reprieve lasts.
We will take February in the pool.