Schumer Demands FAA Probe Into “Doors Off” Sightseeing Flights
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-Brooklyn) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called for an Inspector General and National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the “doors off “ policy of helicopter sightseeing tours yesterday.
The call comes off the heels of the deadly East River helicopter crash last week, that claimed the lives of five people who were wearing harnesses that had not been approved by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) and heavy duty safety belts attached behind them during the fatal open-door flight, according to reports.
The federal lawmakers want an examination of exactly how “doors off” helicopter sightseeing flights and dangerous harness systems ever received FAA approval in the first place. The FlyNYON “doors off” helicopter tour that crashed was operated by Liberty Helicopters and offered passengers a “custom photo experience” in which they could hang out the side of the aircraft to take social media worthy photos. Passengers onboard these helicopters are strapped in with a metal loop attaching the back of the harness to the helicopter. The passengers also have a seatbelt on. While there were reportedly knives onboard the flight, past passengers have said there is inadequate training about how they are to be used.
“These ‘doors-off’ helicopter tours may have offered an Instagram-worthy experience but their harnesses appear to put passengers in insta-danger. While I applaud the FAA for quickly moving to halt these types of helicopter flights, I am demanding to know how they were allowed to take off in the first place,” said Schumer.
“Doors- off flights and this questionable restraint system should have been grounded from day one. The Inspector General and the NTSB should immediately launch an investigation to examine how exactly these flights were ever given the green light and ensure that helicopter operators across the country are adhering to modern safety regulations,” added Schumer.
BP Adams Addresses Small Biz, Traffic Issues On Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams addressed the small business and traffic congestion concerns along Flatbush Avenue on the first day of the Clear Curbs pilot program yesterday.
The program which is from the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), will restrict rush hour truck deliveries on Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and Tillary Street. According to DOT, approximately 90 percent of goods are moved by truck in Brooklyn, and the increased number of truck deliveries has led to more double parking, reduced mobility for vehicle traffic, slower bus speeds and declining ridership, greater risks for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as slowdowns in commerce.
Standing with members of the North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) at the intersection of Flatbush and sixth avenues in Park Slope on Monday, Adams called on DOT, as well as the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and New York City Police Department (NYPD), to engage in proactive communication and education with impacted businesses along Flatbush Avenue. He also asked DOT to address and monitor the community’s concern of trucks loading and unloading on residential side streets.
Additionally, Adams asked the City to scrap the Stipulated Fine Program (SFP) established under the Bloomberg Administration, which enrolled small businesses in a program that waives their right to challenge parking tickets and establishes a pre-set, reduced fine amount for each offense. In a letter he wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio last month, he noted that the initiative, in practice, has effectively codified double parking fines as a cost for doing business, including parking in accessible pedestrian ramps, bike lanes, and crosswalks. He urged the City “to develop a more comprehensive set of policies to accommodate businesses’ needs while also ensuring the protection of those who use our city’s streets every day.”
“If we’re going to take on the chronic obstruction on our streets, we need to resolve the chronic obstruction of communication between government and small businesses. Mayor de Blasio is right to take on congestion, and piloting a program to restrict rush hour truck deliveries makes sense. For this pilot to be successful, it needs to be dynamic and sensitive to the needs of the commercial corridor. We all share our streets, and we all need to adjust our usage of these streets if we are going to continue to grow as a city,” said Adams.
Malliotakis Named Chair of National Foundation For Women Legislators
Assembly member Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn/Staten Island) was named New York State Director of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) for the year 2018 yesterday.
The NFWL aims to empower and inspire elected women to become thought leaders who shape America’s future by providing strategic resources to elected women for leadership development, an exchange of diverse legislative ideas, and effective governance through conferences, state outreach, educational materials, professional and personal relationships and networking.
As a State Director, Malliotakis will serve as a point of contact for elected women in New York, and work to bring more elected women the opportunities and resources that NFWL has to offer. This year she is concentrating her efforts on recruiting a co-chair to help expand the presence of NFWL within the state of New York. Malliotakis has begun serving in her new position and will hold this office through the end of 2018.
The announcement was made on March 19, which also marked National Women In Public Office Day. On Monday, the State Assembly also adopted Malliotakis’ Women In Public Office Resolution.
“I want to thank NFWL for selecting me to coordinate their efforts in the State of New York. I am honored to serve my colleagues as State Director and will focus on growing the membership of this remarkable organization and encourage women to step into elected positions across our state,” said Malliotakis.”
Menchaca Decries Dems Lack Of Dreamer Protections In 2018 Budget Negotiations
City Council member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) decried Congressional Democrats’ decision to back off from Dreamer protections for the 2018 budget negotiations yesterday.
On Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders signaled a new stance for legislation aimed at protecting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The federal lawmakers are no longer demanding Republicans secure protections for the hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who came to the country illegally as part of the omnibus government package. The 2018 budget bill is one of the last must-pass bills ahead of a government shutdown of March 23, when funding expires.
Democratic leaders now want appropriators in both parties to drop all contentious “riders” for the sake of easing passage of the funding bill, according to reports.
“Our national voice is unified: Dreamers must be protected, today (not tomorrow). This is no longer a partisan issue; it’s a moral one with a majority of support from Americans. It enrages me that our Democrats in Washington are backpedalling on protecting our Dreamers. It’s time that people’s voice be demonstrated in Washington,” said Menchaca.
“In New York, we look to you, our congressional delegation. Make something happen or go home,” added Menchaca.
Donovan Applauds Trump’s Opioid Abuse Initiative
Congressman Dan Donovan (R-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) applauded President Donald Trump’s Opioid Abuse Initiative announcement yesterday.
On Monday, Trump announced the new initiative aimed at addressing the driving forces of the opioid crisis. The 3-pronged approach will reduce drug demand through education, awareness and preventing overprescription; cut off the flow of illicit drugs across borders and within communities and save lives by expanding opportunities for proven treatments for opioid and other drug addictions.
“President Trump’s three-pronged approach to combating the opioid epidemic is the right strategy,” said Donovan.
“I’ve long said that appropriate attention and resources for education, treatment, and enforcement will beat back a crisis that tears apart families in every part of this country, and particularly Staten Island and South Brooklyn,” added Donovan.
Persaud Hosts Inaugural SD19 College Fair
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill, Starrett City) in partnership with NYC Department of Education and Uncommon Schools will be hosting the inaugural Senate District 19 College Fair.
Persaud’s event will provide a unique opportunity for high school students within Senate District 19 to obtain relevant information and resources they need to succeed. The event will feature over 75 colleges including all 64 SUNY Colleges, 18 CUNY Colleges, 11 Senior Colleges, each with a rigorous baccalaureate degree program and enriching campus experience, 7 Community Colleges provide high-quality associate degree programs that prepare students for senior colleges or entry into professional careers.
Additionally, Federal Student Aid Outreach Team will be on site to help parents and prospective students apply for Free Federal Aid, Grants, and Scholarships, as well as other family resources like, Job Corp, youth summer camp registrations and summer camp scholarships.
“Our students deserve every opportunity to obtain a college degree so that they can reach their full potential. For some students especially those in certain ethnic populations and lower socioeconomic status, access to a tertiary education is extremely limited,” said Persaud.
“I am proud to offer this type of intervention in the 19th senatorial district because the research has proven that college preparation is a key factor in determining whether a student attends college,” added Persaud.
The event is slated for 12-noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 14, at the South Shore Educational Campus, at 6565 Flatlands Avenue in Canarsie.