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Elected officials share 2007 accomplishments

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall
I am very proud that I provided the funding for “CUNY on Wheels,” a state-of-the-art mobile classroom and information center with Internet access that has already been boarded by more than 13,000 visitors interested in pursuing an education within the City University system.
City Councilmember Melinda Katz
My proudest moment for 2007 was when the Department of Education rescinded their proposal to place a school within Stephen A. Halsey JHS 157. That was a great victory for the community and a true testament of what could be accomplished when people come together to work for a common goal. Everyone in the community gave so much of their time to fight for a decision that would ensure that Principal Vincent Suraci and his staff continued to excel in teaching students and creating future leaders for many years to come. I am proud to represent a community that is steadfast in their resolve and who fight for what they believe is right. In the coming year, I look forward to continue working with the community and local schools to make sure our children get the quality education they deserve.
State Senator George Onorato
As a public official who has introduced legislation for many years aimed at increasing benefits for New Yorkers injured on the job, I was very proud to stand beside Governor Spitzer earlier this year when he signed comprehensive workers’ compensation reforms into law. This law should not only provide injured workers with the financial assistance they need to keep roofs over their heads and food on their tables, but it is also designed to ease costs for employers. Beyond this major policy breakthrough, I am always proud when I am able to secure funding for area organizations that offer services for youth, aid for the elderly and other programs that have a positive impact on our community.
Assemblymember Nettie Mayersohn
The most important moment was when we passed the HIV rape bill. The bill, which allows rape victims to receive an HIV test of her alleged assailant, after indictment, was signed by Governor Spitzer in August and took effect on November 1.
The legislation passed the Assembly in late June by a vote of 124 to 21. The law allows the court - at the request of the victim - to require the accused be tested for HIV within 48 hours of an indictment. This is particularly urgent when the person requesting the testing may have been exposed to blood or bodily fluids of the defendant during the commission of the crime.
It is critical that a rape victim be given the information on the HIV status of the alleged rapist as soon as possible. Victims are counseled to begin taking the medication immediately after the rape. When the victim then receives information on the rapist’s HIV status, she and her doctor can make an informed decision on whether or not to continue the treatment.
Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry
In a year of many changes and much controversy, the accomplishment of which I am most satisfied, is the reduction of the cost of telephone calls to the families of the incarcerated. These families were paying upward of 600 percent higher costs to stay connected to their family members. Governor Spitzer, based on a grassroots campaign and legislative proposals, eliminated this unfair practice last January, and, to ensure that such a policy is never instituted again, the legislature passed my bill to ban such practices legally. This has put million of dollars back in the hands of families least able to pay. In addition, the state has negotiated a better contract with the company who runs the prison telephone system further reducing the cost. My thanks to all the organizations and individuals who made this happen in the true spirit of giving.
Assemblymember Rory Lancman
My proudest accomplishment is my work on getting New York City to focus on lowering class size. My ‘Class Size Reduction Act’ had over 55 Assembly sponsors and the essence of the bill was included in the state budget. When the city still resisted using the money we allocated toward lowering class size, we persuaded the State Board of Regents to refuse to approve the city’s class size reduction plan until the city agreed to meaningfully reduce class size. Francis Lewis High School in my district is one of the most overcrowded in Queens, so this is an important issue in our community.
City Councilmember Leroy Comrie
The capital funding we were able to give to the borough this year for cultural institutions. Also, the money I was able to allocate to park repairs in my district; the $1 million for psychiatric and other services for veterans. I was also able to put more money into York College and the non-profits in my district so that they could do their work.”
City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.
This year was very active for us. I’m proud to have written so many laws that give the police the tools they need to keep our streets safe and clean.
State Senator Frank Padavan
This year, my colleagues and I in the State Senate were able to secure passage of a number of key reforms and legislative initiatives. Through hard work, persistence and support from families throughout Queens we secured a record increase in state education funding for New York City schools and took significant steps to reduce overcrowding in the classroom. We were also able enact a long overdue civil confinement law that will help protect our children by providing stricter oversight of sex offenders. I am also pleased by my comprehensive legislation to combat the scourge of human trafficking by increasing criminal penalties for individuals who engage in the crime, and which will provide victims with the essential services to help heal the scars associated with their order.
City Councilmember Eric Gioia
I am extremely proud that we were able to open a bank at Queensbridge Houses this year, after a long push to bring a bank to the neighborhood. There had been no bank within a mile of the development, and many residents had never even had a bank account and were storing money under their mattresses and paying outrageous fees to check cashing places. Amalgamated Bank opened up this April, and families are already buying their own homes and leaving public housing.
State Senator Serphin Maltese
There are many things I have worked on in 2007 that I think are beneficial to Queens residents, in particular the Eliot Avenue reconstruction project that is virtually completed. The Eliot Avenue area has been a dangerous place for 50 years, and soon, a new roadway will be opened that will be wider and safer for both pedestrians and vehicles.
I also secured funding for rehabilitation of the Metropolitan Avenue Station on the MTA M Line. This station serves thousands of residents every day and it had become overcrowded, dilapidated and sorely in need of improvement. The result has helped reduce congestion at this station and made it an easier commute for community residents.
I am also very happy to have recently conducted my 15th Veterans Awards Ceremony. Over the years, I have helped over 1,000 Queens-area veterans obtain medals and certificates they earned while serving our nation. With the average age of both World War II and Korean War veterans becoming increasingly older, this last ceremony was most poignant, as many proud families were able to watch their grandfathers receive medals. Most of these families have no idea how brave and patriotic their loved one truly was.
City Councilmember Joseph Addabbo
Every day I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of my constituents. That is why I believe being elected was my biggest accomplishment. Being able to fund capital improvements for our schools, improving transportation, renovating a park, addressing senior issues, and any other work that I do in the district for my residents all starts with me being elected.
Assemblymember Jose Peralta
Recently, our international community has been hit with the wrath of Mother Nature. My district is composed of a diverse group of individuals from all parts of the world. When a calamity occurs in some part of the world, there is always a complementary community In my district that is affected. I organized two events to raise funds and help those affected. A concert was held at Queens College Colden Center and an art exhibition at the Queens Museum of Art.
In November, Hurricane Noel devastated a large part of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico and Colombia. I joined my Dominican colleagues in Washington Heights for a telemarathon to raise funds for the victims. I also orchestrated a supply drive in Corona, which eventually sent truck-loads of supplies to areas that were most affected.
Also, in November, Cyclone Sidr killed thousands of individuals in Bangladesh. I quickly summoned The Red Cross of Greater NY and together with local businessman and organizations, called on the community for help and assistance. Several fundraisers were set up in the local community for this cause.
Assemblymember Michele Titus
My theme for 2007 was “Community Empowerment.” Through my work as a member of the New York State Assembly, I was able to be involved with many projects that helped strengthen my district. Some of my proudest accomplishments appear below.
I helped fund the Eastern Queens Alliance Summer Science Program, which taught youths about the environment and wetlands. I brought into the district an ATTAIN Lab, a computerized job training laboratory. I earmarked $500,000 for the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce to build a Minority Women’s Business Enterprise Business Incubator and help fund the Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation with a van to transport senior citizens throughout Rockaway peninsula. I provided funding for a children’s library at Auburn Library, as well as a children’s park at Beach 17th Street. I helped provide the Rosedale Jets Football League with a school board, and provided funding to the United Hindu Senior Center for a new kitchen.
Two accomplishments I am especially proud of are my role in helping fund the South Ozone Park Street Festival, and the public hearings I held on the issue of foster care. I look forward to another successful year in 2008.
State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky
As a Senator for Flushing, I’m proud of the fact that Flushing is undergoing a renaissance. I’m gratified that together with intelligent planning, our work with our colleagues in Albany and City Hall has got it moving along nicely. What gives me the most pleasure, however, is doing the little things to help people with their problems. It makes all the mundane tasks worthwhile. What is most satisfying to me is when a constituent stops me in the supermarket or on the street and tells me that I have done something that was good for them. Communities are important, but they’re made up of individuals.
State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky
As a Senator for Flushing, I’m proud of the fact that Flushing is undergoing a renaissance. I’m gratified that together with intelligent planning, our work with our colleagues in Albany and City Hall has got it moving along nicely. What gives me the most pleasure, however, is doing the little things to help people with their problems. It makes all the mundane tasks worthwhile. What is most satisfying to me is when a constituent stops me in the supermarket or on the street and tells me that I have done something that was good for them. Communities are important, but they’re made up of individuals.
City Councilmember Helen Sears
This task force was formed to look at healthcare and come up with recommendations for the entire city, which affects Queens very much. The task force issued a preliminary report and the Berger Commission took some of the recommendations from the task force.
The task force held roundtable discussions with the health care industry, met with every part of what makes health care, hospitals, academics and labor advocates and listening to everyone throughout the city.
It affected Queens a great deal. It was quite an accomplishment, and we actually had a major impact on health care.
Assemblymember Audrey Pheffer
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy and healthy holiday season. This past year has been an exceptional one for all New Yorkers and especially Queens’ residents. In the 2007 legislative session, many new laws and initiatives were passed, helping the residents of our community.
In this year’s State budget, we were successful in including the new Contract for Excellence, a $412.6 million funding allocation to help reduce class sizes and create incentives and initiatives for improving our schools.
I, along with my colleagues in the New York State Legislature, worked to create almost 700 new State laws this year. In addition, as Chair of the New York State Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee, I am especially proud of our efforts on behalf of consumers. I was successful in championing the new Airline Bill of Rights, which protects passengers from abusive airline practices. I also passed new laws that increase the penalties for Consumer Law violators and to help Identity Theft victims obtain police reports.
As we approach the New Year, please be assured that I will continue to peruse my goal of protecting consumers throughout Queens and fighting for tougher consumer protection laws.
Congressmember Gregory Meeks
I made sure that the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) at York College got funding — we secured $200,000 in 2007. We also established an export assistance center at the Jamaica Business Resource Center; it will help a number of local businesses to expand. Also, the way we organized and began to come together after the unfortunate shooting of Sean Bell. We met bi-monthly to address the concerns of the community. I also swore in a number of new citizens at an Immigrant Town Hall meeting.
Assemblymember Michael Gianaris
This year, I was proud to author New York’s first-in-the-nation law that provides an “Airline Passengers Bill of Rights” to protect the flying public. Our new law requires all airlines whose flights are delayed on the tarmacs of New York airports for more than 3 hours to provide their passengers with basic amenities such as water, snacks, fresh air and a clean bathroom during these extended delays.
Throughout the year, and especially during the holiday season, we rely on airlines to bring us closer to our family and friends. Our “Airline Passengers Bill of Rights” gives me comfort in knowing that during a delay, our loved ones will be cared for and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
I look forward to a wonderful 2008 and wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a healthy New Year.
City Councilmember David Weprin
I’m proud of the budget we hammered out with Mayor Bloomberg. As chair of the Finance committee, I managed to set aside $1.5 million for after-school and summer programs for the one in 150 children with autism.
We also ended the ritual budget dance by “base lining” important programs so they don’t have to be re-introduced every year. Things like more sanitation pick-ups in the so-called “outer boroughs,” summer youth programs, minimum five-day Library service and funding for the Administration for Children’s Services should have a place in every budget year after year - now they do.
In addition, standing with Councilmember Gennaro to protect homeowners, the elderly and disabled by preventing an 18 percent water rate increase by putting teeth into the collection process was another high point.
Congressmember Carolyn Maloney
In 2006, people were outraged to discover that management of our ports was sold to the government of Dubai by a secretive government process called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS. As Congress looked into the matter, it became clear that the administration avoided investigating national security concerns surrounding the deal and withheld information from Congress and the public. The Dubai ports debacle highlighted the need to reform CFIUS to ensure that foreign acquisitions of U.S. interests don’t pose a national security threat.
I introduced bipartisan CFIUS reform legislation in the last Congress, right after the Dubai Ports deal became known. I was proud that my bill was one of the very first to pass the new Congress in 2007. This important new law will help keep our country secure and encourage safe foreign investment, which is good for our economy.”
State Senator John Sabini
The accomplishment I am most proud of from 2007 is helping to craft New York State’s new law on human trafficking. Despite the large number of human trafficking cases in New York, the State never had a law designed to address the specific problems created by this form of modern-day slavery.
For years, different bills in the State Legislature competed with each other on the issue; one focused on increased penalties for the traffickers, while another focused on providing the victims with social services. In an effort to make these two worthy goals a reality, I introduced a compromise bill that combined the best elements of both. It treats victims like human beings with rehabilitative needs rather than just crime scene evidence, and empowers local law enforcement with the information and tools they need to recognize human trafficking when they come across it. The spirit and language of my bill was adopted in a historic agreement shepherded by Governor Eliot Spitzer this year, and it is now the law in the State of New York.
From enslaved domestic workers in Dix Hills to brothels on Roosevelt Avenue, human trafficking is a shame that is too dramatic to ignore. I’m proud to have been the catalyst for a law that will undoubtedly protect thousands of people in New York in years to come.
City Councilmember James Gennaro
As Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection committee, I’m very proud of the New York City Climate Protection Act, signed into law December 5 by Mayor Bloomberg. This legislation mandates a 30 percent reduction in citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a 30 percent reduction in city government emissions by 2017.
I’ve also taken great steps to safeguard the health of Jamaica Bay and prevent its salt marshes from disappearing, helped shield NYC’s few remaining wetlands and planted more than 500 trees in my district to beautify the neighborhood, boost the local economy and clean the air.
In addition to this, I’m proud of what Councilmember David Weprin and I did to prevent an 18 percent water rate hike in January and to protect vulnerable New Yorkers from being subject to water lien sales.
The environment in NYC has never seen a better future, and it couldn’t have been done without the help of environmental groups and hardworking New Yorkers who care about their environment.
Assemblymember William Scarborough
My proudest moments were being able to provide about $400 worth of toys for a Christmas toy giveaway, providing a full Thanksgiving meal to needy families over Thanksgiving and putting on my first back-to-school extravaganza - giving scholarships to a junior high student and a student entering college.

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