Schumer Urges Marriott To Pay For Renewed Passports

    U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

    U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday called on the Marriott hotel chain to foot the bill for a new U.S. Passport to anyone whose personal data was breached following news that their was a massive 500 million-person data breach involving Marriott’s Starwood properties, including its brands of Westin and Sheraton hotels.

    “The experts will tell you, there is an art to identity theft and it lies in the ability to paint the most complete picture of the person whose information you’re looking to steal or sell,” said Schumer. “Unfortunately, for many travelers who have stayed in one of Marriott’s Starwood hotels, they’ve provided the company with an array of personal color—like their passport information—that thieves can now access to complete the canvass and assume or sell an identity.”

    Schumer said that the Marriott breach is unlike many other breaches in that this one impacts half a billion people, of which millions could have compromised passport information. Schumer says this Marriott breach could create an even bigger identity theft headache for people simply because the information that was compromised involves so much varied and personal detail on guests. 

    “One of the rarer aspects of this latest breach with Marriott is that hackers gained access to U.S. passport numbers and information. In combination with other personal information compromised during the breach, victims of this specific attack could be more vulnerable than victims of other massive breaches. That is why Marriott must personally notify customers under the greatest security risk immediately and then foot the bill for those folks to acquire a new passport and number should they request it. Right now, the clock is ticking to minimize the risk customers face and one way to do this is to request a new passport and make it harder for thieves to paint that full identity picture,” Schumer added.


    Lancman to Hold Council Oversight Hearing on Bail

    City Councilman Rory Lancman.

    City Council Council Members Rory Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica), chair of the Committee on the Justice System, and Keith Powers (D-Manhattan), chair of the Committee on the Criminal Justice System, today will hold a joint hearing to examine the difficulties inherent to paying bail, and ways to implement effective reform.

    Over the past year, there have been recurring issues with compliance to bail laws that the Council previously passed regarding release, posting bail, and making information available on how to pay bail. Non-compliance with these laws results in incarceration for individuals who could have avoided jail time altogether.

    From April to September of this year, the Department of Correction (DOC) was required to release incarcerated individuals within 4 hours of posting bail. As reported by the Bronx Freedom Fund, the average time of release for their clients was over 13 hours, including 21 people who were released over 20 hours after their bail was posted. 

    There are also wealth-based inequities plaguing the bail system. Individuals in 41 percent of felony cases and 38 percent of non-felony cases could not afford to post bail throughout the entirety of their case. The City’s Independent Budget Office estimated that the cost of incarcerating individuals who were unable to pay bail is approximately $116 million. 

    The hearing is slated for 10 a.m. today, Dec. 3 in City Hall’s Council Chambers in Lower Mnahattan.


    Braunstein Announces Halloween Essay & Drawing Contest Winners

    Assembly Member Edward Braunstein

    Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) on Friday announced the winners of his Halloween Essay & Drawing Contest for students in grades two through five:

    • 2nd Grade Grand Prize award: Augustina He, who attends P.S. 115: The James J. Ambrose School in Floral Park.
    • 3rd Grade Grand Prize award: Annette Mary Ajai, who attends P.S. 115: The James J. Ambrose School in Floral Park.
    • 4th Grade Grand Prize award: Lucas Jin, who attends P.S. 209: The Clearview Gardens School in Whitestone.
    • 5th Grade Grand Prize award: Kyle Qu, who attends PS 221: The North Hills School in Little Neck.

    “Congratulations to all of the winners. Nearly 200 students from schools throughout Queens participated in my office’s Halloween Essay & Drawing Contest and I was extremely impressed with their outstanding creative and artistic entries,” said Braunstein.

    All winners received a gift card and all participants received a New York State Assembly Certificate of Merit.


    Weprin Sponsors Holiday Fire & Fraud Seminar

    Assemblymember David Weprin

    Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows, Richmond Hill), the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau, the FDNY, the FDNY Phoenix Society, the American Red Cross, and Con Edison last week held an an informational Fire & Fraud Seminar at the Hillcrest Jewish Center.

    Community residents were given important tips on how to stay safe this holiday season which included fire safety demonstrations by both the FDNY and American Red Cross as well as fraud prevention demonstrations by the NYPD and Con-Edison.

    In addition, residents were able to sign up to receive free smoke/carbon monoxide alarms and installations from the Red Cross and receive a senior safety kit from the NYPD. With recent mail fishing incidents throughout Queens and upticks in fires during the holiday season, safety was on the minds of many of those gathered in the Hillcrest Jewish Center ballroom.

    According to data from NYC Open Data, the Jamaica/Hollis neighborhoods in Queens Community Board 10 had the highest rate of fire incidences in New York City. 

    “As the holiday season approaches and Queens residents prepare to celebrate we must also remember to be extra vigilant. Fires often increase this time of year due to the presence of lit candles and Christmas trees and scammers often tend to target people as well,” said Weprin. “These presentations and free tool kits make our communities safer and more importantly, have the potential to save lives.”


    Ulrich Collaborates with DOT and Constituents to Identify the Most Problematic Streets in the District

    City Council Member Eric Ulrich

    City Council Member Eric Ulrich (R-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach, Woodhaven) joined with Queens Borough Commissioner of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Nicole Garcia Friday to announce $2.125 million in funds for street resurfacing projects slated for next year.

    Ulrich, who secured funding for the initiative, will collaborate with DOT and constituents to identify and repave the most problematic streets throughout the district.

    “I am thrilled to again work with the Department of Transportation to improve road conditions throughout the community. I’d like to thank Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia – and the entire DOT team – for their continued partnership,” said Ulrich. “I encourage my constituents to call my district office and submit their suggestions, which will be reviewed by DOT.”

    The DOT estimates Ulrich’s allocation will repave approximately 10 miles of roads throughout several neighborhoods in the district. The Councilman’s extra funding will supplement the millions of dollars that were previously allocated to DOT for various projects around the City.

    Ulrich’s office will be accepting road repair suggestions from constituents through the end of the year. To make a suggestion, residents may call the Councilman’s Ozone Park District Office at (718) 738-1083.


    Queens Village Republican Club To Hold Holiday Party

    The Queens Village Republican Club will once again hold their annual Christmas–Chanukah Party with the traditional delicious holiday dinner prepared by Bassett Caterers. Don’t miss the great menu we have ordered.

    The mandatory charge is $40 per person, which includes dessert and beverages. Vegetarian options are available as well. This is a popular annual event with a full capacity crowd. To guarantee a seat make your reservations now and please get to the meeting on time. Doors open at 7:30 and buffet tables will open shortly after.

    The party and general meeting is slated for 7:30 p.m., This Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Knights of Columbus/St. Anne’s Council, 263-15 Union Tpke. in Glen Oaks.

    For reservations contact Jim Trent at 718-343-8830 or jtrent8830@aol.com.

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