Velázquez Supports Obama Trip To Cuba
Northern and Central Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez yesterday released a statement of support for President Obama’s trip to Cuba – the first by an American president in over 50 years.
“The President’s visit to Cuba is another historic step toward normalizing relations between our two countries. Engaging with Cuba in a manner that helps open the country economically and politically is long overdue and I applaud the President for moving U.S. policy in that direction,” said Velazquez.
“In that regard, it is important we look at ways to foster access to capital for budding entrepreneurs on the island. Helping small businesses and the self-employed in Cuba secure financing for their ventures will improve the lives of the Cuban people and accelerate positive changes that benefit both our nations.”
In February of 2015, Velázquez joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democratic House Members as part of a Congressional delegation visiting Cuba. A member of the Cuba Working Group, Velázquez has long advocated normalizing relations with Cuba, cosponsoring legislation that would reverse the longstanding U.S. policy aimed at isolating the country.
Savino Gets Tough On Serial Subway Perverts
Coney Island State Sen. Diane Savino yesterday saw her bill to stiffen penalties for serial subway perverts (S-3243A) overwhelmingly pass the senate.
“Subway grinding and lewdness are serious sex crimes meant to threaten and humiliate victims. We have seen this happen, and I have said over and over again that these disgusting crimes must be met with appropriate punishment to protect straphangers. I’m proud that the State Senate passed my legislation to increase penalties for this deviant behavior and I hope that the New York State Assembly will also act swiftly,” said Savino.
“Subway grinders” earned the moniker for sidling up to victims on crowded subway cars and rubbing against them. Under Savino’s legislation, forcible touching on public transportation would become a Class-D felony punishable by up to one-to seven years imprisonment. This crime currently carries an impotent misdemeanor penalty of one-year in prison and most offenders wind up with little to no jail time.
The penalty for an act of public lewdness on public transportation, a new provision of Savino’s legislation, would increase from three-months to one-year in prison.
Between 2014 and 2015 sex crimes, including forcible touching and public lewdness on public transportation, rose 19%. Sex abuse on public transportation is up nearly 33%.
Victims of these crimes hailed the passage of Senator Savino’s legislation.
In February, Brooklyn resident Tiffany Jackson captured a man on tape masturbating in front of her while riding the #3 train. She warned other women on Instagram about the pervert and police caught the deviant thanks to her video.
“This is a step in the right direction. It shows that the legislature is starting to pay attention to the countless stories of personal violations and not brush them under the rug. This will help send a stronger message to those out there who think they can do this and just get a slap on the wrist. Hopefully this will help other women feel more secure in coming forward when these attacks occur and that their complaints will be taken seriously. They should never feel powerless,” said Jackson.
Golden Measure Highlights Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety
Bay Ridge State Senator Martin J. Golden announced yesterday that legislation he sponsored, S.452, adding bicycle and pedestrian safety to the driver’s education course taught throughout the State passed the senate.
The legislation seeks to build upon the lessons taught pertaining to driver safety by requiring topics on bicycle and pedestrian safety be a part of the pre-licensing course. Current required lessons cover various subjects such as road rage, driving while impaired and exercising due care to avoid collisions.
“Today, the New York State Senate has sent a strong message that we need to do a better job at protecting the bike riders and those walking on our streets. By teaching about pedestrian and cyclist safety, and how better to share the road, we will save lives and prevent injuries. The safety of pedestrians and bicyclists is key to safe streets for all New Yorkers and I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to approve this bill this session,” said Golden.
According to the City’s Department of Transportation, in Brooklyn alone in 2014, 3,559 pedestrian injuries and 48 pedestrian fatalities were recorded, as well 1,511 bicyclist injuries and 6 fatalities.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly. Assemblyman Walter Mosley (Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights) is the sponsor.
Adams Urges Disciplinary Action Against Alleged Errant Cops
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams today will urge the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to take swift disciplinary action against the police officers responsible for a questionable arrest of an on-duty postal worker that occurred last week in Crown Heights.
The incident was captured on a newly uncovered cell phone video and will be shared with the media today. Adams will be joined by the postal worker arrested as well as members of his union, National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 41.
The event is slated for 12:30 p.m., today at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
Hikind Holds Appreciation Luncheon
Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind hosted an appreciation lunch yesterday on Monday as a token of gratitude for those who played a role in resolving the traffic-sanitation dilemma in Boro Park.
Hikind praised everyone in attendance at the event for playing a vital role in resolving the predicament including: NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia; Deputy Boro Chief Jack Ryan; Head of the Sanitation Workers Union John Talmadge; Community Board 12; Councilman David Greenfield; Head of the Yeshiva Bus Association Isaac Wallner; Sanitation Department employees and Yeshiva bus drivers. Hikind also praised Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was not in attendance, for his cooperation on the matter.
Commissioner Garcia announced weeks ago that the sanitation trucks will be picking up garbage during on Wednesdays and on Saturdays (Shabbos). The schedule shift, slated to take effect on April 4, was made in an effort to alleviate rush hour traffic within the neighborhood.
“I commend everyone for their efforts in working together to reach a solution,” said Hikind, pointing out to the crowd of NYC Sanitation employees and Yeshiva bus drivers. “This is about saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who worked tirelessly on working toward such a necessary resolution. These guys sitting before me make it all happen. We were told that this day would never come, and that resolving traffic congestion in the neighborhood was a long shot. However, we pushed, fought and persevered for the people of Boro Park. It just goes to show what may seem impossible, is never truly a lost cause—just a great win for the entire community.”