Political Odds & Ends, Nov. 17, 2021


Hochul Allocates $40 Million For Homeless Supportive Services 

Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced yesterday that $40 million is being awarded to 128 nonprofit organizations and local governments to provide services to residents of supportive housing developments in communities across the state. 

The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance with oversee the allocation through the New York State Supportive Housing Program, which will provide 136 permanent supportive housing developments as well as 141 sites overseen by the New York City Department of Homeless Services with operating funding used to deliver the assistance their residents need to break cycles of homelessness.

“As the pandemic continues, we must continue to strengthen our supportive services networks, which provide vulnerable New Yorkers with the assistance they need to live a safe and stable life,” said Hochul. “By coupling affordable housing with supportive services, we are helping vulnerable New Yorkers address and overcome the complex root causes of their housing instability, so they can break the vicious cycle and move forward to live independent, fulfilling lives.”

In total, the funding will provide services for 17,539 single adult beds, 2,542 family units, and 372 young adult beds in supportive housing developments in 45 counties throughout the state. View a list of the awards.

Malliotakis Applauds Cancellation of Plan to Give $450k Payments to Illegal Immigrants

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. Photo from her Congressional website.

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn), an outspoken leader in the fight against President Biden’s border policies, and sponsor of legislation with Sens. McConnell and Cotton that would prevent $450,000 settlement payments to illegal immigrants, yesterday applauded the Department of Justice’s announcement that the Administration is calling off plans to give settlement payments:

“The Administration’s plan to give $450,000 in settlement payments to those who entered our country illegally was a terrible idea, a slap in the face to hard-working citizens, and only further incentivized illegal migration,” said Malliotakis.

“This is our second border security victory in two weeks. Shortly after I and other Republicans hammered the Biden Administration for not resuming the Supreme Court ordered ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, the policy was fully reinstated. This is another win for taxpayers and proof that when Republicans stick together and fight we can stop bad policies from coming to fruition and protect the interests of American citizens. It’s just a shame that we have to fight so hard for just a little commonsense,” the lawmaker added.

Kaplan Presents Empire Award to Trellus Same-Day Delivery & Marketplace

State Sen. Anna Kaplan

State Sen. Anna M. Kaplan (D-Long Island) yesterday presented the “New York State Senate 2021 Empire Business Award” to Trellus Same-Day Local Delivery & Marketplace, a Nassau County based startup that offers same-day delivery for small retail and home-based businesses. 

The award was presented to co-founders Adam Haber and Brian Berkery in recognition of the company’s outstanding contributions and dedication to the community and NY State.

“Even as a new startup that just began operations in 2021, Trellus has quickly emerged as a force for good in our community, and a lifeline to small businesses struggling to compete with big online retailers like Amazon. We all know that small businesses are the backbone of our community, and by helping them to grow and thrive, Trellus has become a driving force for our local economic recovery,” said Kaplan.

Recipients of the New York State Senate Empire Award are businesses that excel in their field while playing an active role in supporting their community.

SI Borough President-elect Fossella Slams Mask Mandate

Staten Island Borough President-Elect Vito Fossella

Staten Island Borough President-Elect Vito Fossella yesterday slammed Gov. Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mandate requiring people to wear masks indoors.

“All around the state, from Nassau County to Saratoga to Orleans County, elected leaders are standing up and saying ‘NO’ to enforcing a mask mandate that makes no sense for their communities. In Staten Island, we are burdened to labor under the dictates of both a State and City government that doesn’t distinguish our needs from the other four boroughs. Staten Island is not even an afterthought In the minds of decision-makers in City Hall, we are the forgotten borough,” said Fossella.

“The plain truth is that these never-ending Covid dictates are seriously hindering our economic recovery. Staten Island businesses have suffered mightily over the past 20 plus months under a series of mandates pronounced from on high with no discussion or deliberation with anyone who has been affected in our community.

“This latest mandate, requiring everyone to mask indoors, is simply unenforceable. Furthermore, it is abundantly clear the state has no intention of enforcing it or even maintaining a pretense that it should be enforced. The order is causing our already struggling small business owners more confusion and concern as they have been cast in the role of enforcer of a mandate many of their customers and employees don’t want or need,” he added.

Suozzi Calls for a Gas Tax Holiday

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi

U.S. Rep. and candidate for governor Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island/Queens) yesterday called for an immediate, three-month rollback of the New York State gas tax to help address the dramatic increase in inflation. 

Suozzi noted that New York’s gas tax, at .49 per gallon, is currently the ninth highest in the US. The “holiday” would cost the state approximately $130 million and could be paid for out of the billions that have been received from the federal government to address the pandemic.

Suozzi’s plan would have the state implement a gas tax “holiday” from January 1 to March 31. 

“New Yorkers need relief, and they need it now. I am very proud of the billions in federal aid that we worked so hard to get for New York, but now some of that money needs to go back to the people. We have the funds so the interim Governor should implement a gas tax holiday that would help New York families,” Suozzi said.

Suozzi noted that according to the US Department of Labor, inflation rose 6.8% in November, the fastest pace since 1982. This has put a strain on many families, especially as we continue the pandemic recovery.

“This holiday season is time to help families pressured by inflation, it’s not a time to sit by and do nothing,” Suozzi said.

Koo Lauds Council Approval Requiring Report on City Algorithmic Tools Use

City Council Member Peter Koo

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Queens) yesterday lauded the city council for passing his legislation requiring an annual report on algorithmic tools used by city agencies.

This measure requires an annual report by agencies to the Mayor’s Office of Operations on automated decision systems used by those agencies at least once in the prior year, except when such a disclosure would endanger public safety. The Mayor’s Office of Operations would be required to compile the information disclosed by city agencies and submit a report to the Mayor and the Speaker of the Council every year.

“[This bill] will shine a light on something that the City has kept mostly hidden to date. The City uses algorithmic tools to determine everything from what school your child attends to which hospital EMS brings you to. These tools even determine what interpretation services are available at your poll site and are used in facial recognition technology,” said Koo.

“The wide-ranging impact that these algorithmic tools have on our everyday lives makes it imperative that these tools – and the information used by them – are vetted through the light of transparency, to ensure accountability. By requiring reporting on which algorithmic tools are used each year and how they are used, along with what information is collected and analyzed, we are taking another step towards providing the public with more insight into how our government actually operates,” the lawmaker added.

AG James Files Lawsuit Against Pet Store

Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James yesterday filed a lawsuit against pet store Shake A Paw for unlawfully selling numerous sick or injured puppies to unaware consumers at both of its Long Island locations. 

An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that both Shake A Paw locations on Long Island — in Hicksville and in Lynbrook, which serve the broader tri-state area — falsely advertised sick pets as healthy, fabricated health certificates, failed to disclose the animals’ legitimate medical conditions, misrepresented puppies’ breeds, and refused to reimburse consumers for veterinarian bills when they lodged complaints with Shake A Paw. 

James also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against Shake A Paw in an effort to protect the puppies in danger at the two Long Island locations, as well as to freeze funds that are in bank accounts managed by Shake A Paw for restitution.

“Shake A Paw’s actions of deceiving consumers into purchasing sick or injured dogs is unconscionable and illegal,” said James. “My office’s thorough investigation uncovered a series of violations by Shake A Paw that defrauded consumers and found sick puppies that came from dangerous puppy mills. When New Yorkers purchased puppies from Shake A Paw, they did not expect to bring home dogs in such heartbreaking and horrifying conditions. Today, we are holding Shake A Paw accountable for their unlawful and inhumane actions by filing a lawsuit to permanently ban the company from selling puppies any longer, as well as to recoup what consumers paid. Animal mistreatment is despicable and will not be tolerated.”