Addabbo Gets Earful On Education At Budget Hearing
State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth) the ranking member of the Senate Education Committee, reported yesterday results of a Albany public hearing examining the impact of the proposed state budget on a wide variety of educational programs and services.
“With the many economic uncertainties associated with federal tax reform, health care cuts and other actions expected to negatively impact our state’s fiscal condition, this will be a tough budget year in Albany as we face down a $4.4 billion deficit,” said Addabbo.
Addabbo noted the governor is now proposing a 3% increase in statewide public school funding, specifically $769 million, for 2018-19, including $338 million in necessary Foundation Aid.
Addabbo also discussed the issue of Renewal Schools at the hearing, noting that two Renewal Schools in his district – P.S. 42 and M.S. 53 in Rockaway – are slated to close and that John Adams High School in Ozone Park has been upgraded to a “RISE” school based on its continuing improvements.
Another topic discussed was the City’s continued use of trailers for classrooms, with Chancellor Farina noting that 159 out of 354 trailers have been removed since the 2014-15 school year, and that 75 more will be removed with help from the NYS Smart Schools Bond Act approved in 2014.
“We obviously have more challenges ahead in improving the performance of individual schools in New York City, ensuring our children are taught in safe environments, and increasing the number of classroom seats across the City,” Addabbo said, noting that some of his local schools are the most overcrowded in the City. “But it appears that progress is being made, and I hope we will be able to provide the resources our schools need to keep moving forward.”
Avella Dog Protection Bill Passes Senate
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) saw his legislation increasing the penalties for dog owners failing to provide appropriate shelter to a dog left outdoors unanimously pass the senate this week.
The legislation, which has received support from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), New York State Animal Protection Federation, and The League of Humane Voters of New York, has passed the Senate each year since it was introduced in 2016. Unfortunately, the Assembly has yet to move it out of the Agriculture Committee.
Currently, the penalty for failure to provide adequate shelter for dogs left outdoors is a fine of $50 to $100 for the first offense and $100 to $250 for the second offense. Avella’s legislation would increase the penalties to $100 to $250 for the first offense, $250 to $500 for the second offense, and up to $1000 for a third violation.
“The current law lacks sufficient penalties to provide adequate shelter for dogs left outdoors. Increasing the monetary fines for this harmful act would create a more efficient deterrent to violating this law. Our state needs to provide guidance and assurance that dogs have adequate protection while outdoors. My bill will also provide law enforcement with the tools they need in order to enforce this law and protect dogs from being neglected in this manner,” said Avella.
Meng Hails Elevator Plan For Murray Hill LIRR Station
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth) yesterday hailed plans to install elevators at the Murray Hill Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station in Flushing.
Under the initiative, the LIRR will install two new elevators to make the station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The elevators, which will cost $8.6 million, will connect riders from the street level to the platforms below. One elevator will be located at the westbound entrance and the other will be situated on the eastbound side. Construction is set to begin in early March.
“The planned elevators for the Murray Hill LIRR stop will be a tremendous benefit to those who use this facility,” said Meng. “It will greatly improve the accessibility of the station and finally make it handicap accessible. I thank the LIRR for undertaking this important and much-needed project, and I look forward to its expected completion in the spring of 2019.”
The project will also include the installation of new security cameras throughout the station, new communications and fire alarm systems, needed electrical service upgrades, new LED lighting in the areas of both elevators, and the repainting of existing retaining walls.
The Murray Hill station, which is located at 150th Street and 41st Avenue, is part if the LIRR’s Port Washington branch.
In addition to the Murray Hill stop, Meng has worked to secure an overhaul of the Flushing-Main Street LIRR station, a $24.6 million project – that also includes the installation of elevators – which is scheduled to be completed in the first half of this year. She has also worked and advocated for the rebuilding and reopening of the shuttered LIRR station in Elmhurst.
Richards Convenes Public Safety Committee
City Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Bayswater, Broad Channel, Cambria Heights, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Howard Beach, Jamaica, JFK Airport, Laurelton, Rockaway Beach, Rosedale, South Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens), chair of the council’s Committee on Public Safety will convene his first meeting today.
The agenda will examine the NYPD’s crowd control and protest procedures.
The meeting is slated for 1 p.m. today, Feb. 7 at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.