In the months leading up to the citywide primary and general elections, the Times Newsweekly/Ridgewood Times will feature in this column press releases and statements sent by the campaigns of the candidates on the ballot.
The statements in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Times Newsweekly/Ridgewood Times or its staff. Mud-slinging statements which include personal attacks on candidates are omitted.
Quinn’s Vision For Future Of MTA
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn presented a series of proposals for the future of mass transit in New York City. Together, the Speaker’s proposals formed a five-point strategy that uses mass transit as a tool for economic development. Vowing that by 2023, no New Yorker will spend more than an hour commuting to any neighborhood in the City, Speaker Quinn announced a series of significant ideas – Fair Ride NYC – including:
• Establishing New York City Control of the MTA
• Creating 10 New Select Bus Service Routes in Staten Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens
• Instituting Mayoral Control of the MTA Board
• Using Public Transportation to Fuel
• New Development
• Extending Metro-North and Ferry Service in the City
Speaker Quinn’s proposals were presented in a speech delivered at La- Guardia Community College.
The vast majority of the dollars that fund New York City Transit come from the five boroughs through fares, tolls and taxes but New Yorkers have little say in how that system is run.
Recognizing that local government is the most directly responsive to the needs of individual citizens, Speaker Quinn proposed instituting local control of the City’s transportation system to speed up commute times and close gaps in the transit system.
Speaker Quinn proposed establishing Mayoral majority control of the MTA Board and giving the mayor authority to directly appoint the President of New York City Transit, two steps toward bringing accountability to the MTA and to making sure majority stakeholders have a majority voice in decisions that impact the City’s trains and buses.
Speaker Quinn also proposed adding a voting representative of the riding public to the MTA Board to give riders real, meaningful input on their transit system.
New York City’s population has grown exponentially, but the City’s public transportation system has been unable to keep pace with population growth in the boroughs outside of Manhattan. To better serve communities in all five boroughs, Speaker Quinn proposed expanding transit access in the City through increased bus, waterway and rail service.
Speaker Quinn proposed the immediate extension of the East River Ferry service and exploring new opportunities to invest in ferries. The expanded service would lower commute times for tens of thousands of New Yorkers and reduce crowding on the roads and subways. The additional Ferry Service would create new transportation hubs and play a pivotal role in spurring additional economic development in New York City. Speaker Quinn also called for keeping the Rockaway Ferry active after the shuttle damaged by Hurricane Sandy returns to service, and adding a “park and sail” facility to encourage even greater ferry use.
In her speech, Speaker Quinn proposed extending select bus service in Staten Island, the South Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens to connect neighborhoods, increase job opportunities and reduce commute times. The proposed new bus service routes would mark the beginning of a major expansion of Select Bus Service throughout the five boroughs that would connect countless neighborhoods to each other, providing new opportunities for the New Yorkers who live and work in these communities.
Additionally, Speaker Quinn proposed bringing Metro North rail service to Penn Station, including four new station stops at Co-Op City, Parkchester, Morris Park and Hunts Point, with additional stops along the West Side of Manhattan.
Presenting her innovative vision for the future of mass transit, Speaker Quinn emphasized that the MTA must dramatically rethink how it plans for new transit routes. Instead of focusing on existing demand, Speaker Quinn said the MTA must begin to treat mass transit as a tool for further economic development.
By connecting with business leaders, communities and developers, Speaker Quinn noted the city can more effectively develop communities and meet their economic needs. Demographic trends, residential and commercial development data and the input of local stakeholders can all help guide transit planning toward comprehensive and powerful economic growth, similar to what is happening in Brooklyn’s Tech Triangle.
Several advocates voiced their support and enthusiasm for Speaker Quinn’s proposals, including: • NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign • Gene Russianoff, staff attorney, Transportation Alternatives • Paul Steely White, executive director, Riders Alliance • John Raskin, executive director, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance • Roland Lewis, president and CEO, Pratt Center for Community Development • Joan Byron, director of policy and Elena Conte, senior organizer for planning and policy, The City College of New York • Dr. Robert Paaswell, distinguished professor of civil engineering
Queens Borough President’s Race
Mason Tenders Pick Katz For BP
The Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York and Long Island today endorsed former City Council Member and New York State Assembly Member Melinda Katz for Queens Borough President, Apr. 10.
Political Director Mike McGuire said: “Melinda is the Queens Borough President we need for these tough economic times when worker rights continue to come under attack. Throughout her decades of public service in the state assembly and city council, she has fought tirelessly and consistently to create jobs and protect the rights and dignity of the working men and women of New York. We proudly endorse Melinda Katz for Queens Borough President.”
Katz said: “I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Mason Tenders District Council. The Mason Tenders represent the backbone of New York’s middle and working classes, the very populations who have always been foremost in my policies. During my tenure as City Council Land Use Chair, we created more than 100,000 jobs, strengthening our city’s middle class. As Queens Borough President, I will stand with the Mason Tenders to ensure safer work conditions and decent wages for all.”
The Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York and Long Island is one of the most progressive and active labor organizations in the nation. Its nearly 15,000 members include construction workers and Catholic high school teachers, as well as handlers of asbestos, hazardous materials, recycling and waste.
Katz has also been endorsed for Queens Borough President by Assemblymember
Jeff Aubry, the Rev. Floyd Flake, the Rev. Evan Gray Sr., the Rev. Dr. Dwayne Sleet, the Rev. Larry Shell, Sr., the late Mayor Ed Koch, EMILY’s List, the Women’s Campaign Fund and Eleanor’s Legacy. She has also been endorsed by UFCW Local 1500.
Mark Green Backs Grodenchik
Former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik (D-Queens), a candidate for Queens Borough President, accepted the endorsement of Former NYC Public Advocate and Democratic Party Nominee for Mayor, Mark Green, and both leaders called for a more honest and transparent city government.
“These have been a difficult few weeks for New York City politics,” said Green, who is the author of Who Runs Congress? and Losing Our Democracy as well as of the smalldonors, multiple-matching funds provision of the City’s campaign finance law. “Given the explosion of political corruption, Barry Grodenchik has just the integrity and character that Queens and the City now needs. He is deeply experienced, reformminded, immensely likable—so I’m proud to throw my full support behind his candidacy.”
“Mark Green has been a champion for working people and consumers for over forty years. I am proud to have his endorsement and carry the banner of good government in my campaign to be Queens Borough President” said Grodenchik. “This campaign for hands-on, visible leadership is growing and the momentum is swinging in our direction.”
Labor Union, LGBT Group Pick Peralta
Jose Peralta picked up two key endorsements Apr. 11 and 12: the Laborers Union Local 78, a 4,000-member union representing asbestos, lead and hazardous waste handlers across New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey, and Marriage Equality USA, New York’s oldest and largest grassroots LGBT rights organization. Both organizations plan aggressive outreach programs to communicate with their members and supporters in Queens to recruit volunteers for the campaign.
“With Jose Peralta, the people of Queens will gain an accomplished, dedicated leader, and the working women and men of New York City will have a true fighter in their corner,” said Edison Severino, Business Manager for LIUNA Local 78. “As a member of the Assembly and Senate, Jose has created real, positive change in the lives of the people of his district and for people all over the city. Jose will be the effective, proactive and accountable Borough President that the people of Queens deserve,” said Severino.
The union’s endorsement was based on Peralta’s proven track record in the State Assembly and Senate, as well as the sincerity of his commitment to issues of importance to the union’s membership, such as quality jobs, safety in the workplace, immigration rights, and responsible development.
“We need leaders who will stand up for human rights in New York City now more than ever,” said Cathy Marino Thomas, President of Marriage Equality New York. “Throughout his career, Jose Peralta has fought for the rights of LBGT New Yorkers and he will make an excellent advocate for all Queens residents as the next Borough President.”
“We have made tremendous strides for LGBT New Yorkers, but there is still so much work left to do,” said Jose Peralta. “As Borough President I will work every day to make sure that no Queens resident faces discrimination or abuse because of who they are, how they identify, or who they love.”
Peralta’s campaign has also been endorsed by the Brooklyn-Queens chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) PAC, SEIU Local 32BJ, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assemblymember Karim Camara and a diverse group of clergy leaders from across Queens.
For more information on voting or to obtain a voting registration application, contact the New York City Board of Elections at 1-212-VOTENYC or visit www.vote.nyc.ny.us.
Press representatives of candidates may send their information to this paper by fax to 1-718-456-0120 or e-mail to info@times newsweekly.com. All releases are subject to editing.