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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union

Elections

NY State Senate District 11

«NY State Senate District 34 NY State Senate District 14»

Overview 

 

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Tony Avella (D)

John Liu (D)

Paul Gilman (G)

Avella (D)

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Tony Avella (D)

Campaign Website
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On the Issues

Endorsements

Record in Office

Currently: NYS Senator for the 11th District (2010-Present)

Previous Work: City Council (D-19) (2002-2009)

Education: BA, Hunter College-CUNY


On the Issues

Budget

Introduced legislation in 2011 to keep the "millionaire's tax" through 2012, yet amend it so that:

  • only those who are actual millionaires are taxed at the 8.97%
  • those who make over $250,000 are not taxed at higher rates, so as not to impact "tens of thousands  of businesses that report business income through personal income tax"
  • NYS takes in an additional $4.2 billion. Albany Business Review

Economy

Introduced legislation "to provide stricter oversight of federally-chartered banks by the State Department of Financial Services (DFS)." Press Release

Education

Arranged funding:

  • $2 million for renovations to a Queens College teaching laboratory. Forum News Group
  • $705,000 for yearlong after-school programming to be administered by Project BOOST, for schools in State Senate District 11 to provide tutoring and museum trips. Queens Chronicle

Election Reform

Introduced legislation to increase state legislators' terms from two years to four. This legislation passed the State Senate. Press Release

Environment

"[T]he most pressing [environmental issues facing NYS] are the related concerns of our continued dependence on fossil fuels and hydrofracking natural gas. New York State must be a leader in fostering and actively pursuing the development of new and environmentally sound energy options. What this means is we have to move away from promoting harmful energy options like hydrofracking of natural gas." NY League of Conservation Voters' Eco-Politics Daily

"[T]he specific legislation that is currently at the top of my priorities list:

  • Hydrofracking - including keeping dangerous fracking fluids and drill cuttings out of our state for purposes of disposal or processing (Bill #S448)
  • Child Safe Products Act (Bill #S4614 - Sen. Boyle)
  • Standing for Individuals to bring legal action in regard to the State Environmental Quality Review (Bill #S675)
  • Prohibiting Cadmium-Added Products in jewelry, toys or ornaments (Bill #S6729)
  • Prohibiting Microbeads used in Cosmetic Products (Bill #S7018 - Sen. Grisanti)
  • Ivory Ban in NYS (Bill #S7040)" NY League of Conservation Voters' Eco-Politics Daily

"I am currently actively working on the noise and air pollution in relation to the increase in air traffic from the two major NYC airports in Queens - JFK and LGA.

In addition, I am also fighting for reclamation of the waterfront, stopping illegal dumping on planned development sites." NY League of Conservation Voters' Eco-Politics Daily

Sponsored legislation to require that residents are charged only for water they use, eliminating the 49 cent daily charge that is paid to NYC:

  • "Charging residents only for the water they use would both provide an incentive to conserve water and ensure fairness for those who don't use a lot of water."
  • "I personally think that government has to be fair and if it will cost a little more money in the budget, so be it." Queens Chronicle

Filed a lawsuit to prevent construction of a shopping mall in Willets Point on property within Flushing Meadows Corona Park, within the Citi Field parking lot:

  • "The city simply does not have the authority or the right to seize this parkland for these nonpark purposes without the consent of the state Legislature. ... Parks belong to the people and not to private developers."
  • "We are asking you [Mayor Bill De Blasio] to intercede and stop this project from happening and set a precedent that we believe is the law of this city and this state, that you just cannot give away parkland." Queens Chronicle

Opposes hydrofracking and praised the NYS Court of Appeals decision to uphold the rights of municipalities to prohibit hydrofracking through local zoning ordinances. Press release

Housing

Supports tax relief for small homeowners: "The city has been hit with increasing taxes each year and it's hit the hardest on owners of one-to-three-family households. ... Co-ops and condos have to be treated the same as everyone else. It's unfair to not give the same tax breaks to small property owners and it's about time they got one." Times Ledger

Recreation and Culture

Filed a lawsuit to prevent construction of a shopping mall in Willets Point on property within Flushing Meadows Corona Park, within the Citi Field parking lot:

  • "The city simply does not have the authority or the right to seize this parkland for these nonpark purposes without the consent of the state Legislature. ... Parks belong to the people and not to private developers."
  • "We are asking you [Mayor Bill De Blasio] to intercede and stop this project from happening and set a precedent that we believe is the law of this city and this state, that you just cannot give away parkland." Queens Chronicle

Transportation

Encouraged the MTA and unions to negotiate rather than escalate to a strike, but called for the MTA to have a contingency plan in case of a strike. Press release

"I am currently actively working on the noise and air pollution in relation to the increase in air traffic from the two major NYC airports in Queens - JFK and LGA.

In addition, I am also fighting for reclamation of the waterfront, stopping illegal dumping on planned development sites." NY League of Conservation Voters' Eco-Politics Daily

Regarding bill 6496, to reduce the speed limit in NYC to 20 mph: "The concern I have about the way the current bill is constituted is making it the default 20 miles per hour across the entire city, and making communities then have to petition the city to raise the speed limit in certain areas, whether it's Northern Boulevard or Queens Boulevard, back to 30 miles per hour. I actually met with [Families for Safe Streets...], and I basically told them the same thing. It's so difficult to get the Department of Transportation to approve anything these days, I can't see making communities go back to them to get a speed limit which they already have on major thoroughfares. I'm in total agreement of lowering the speed limit around schools, on quiet residential streets, but I think this is not a cure-all to the problem itself, and I think we need to have a much more comprehensive approach." Streetsblog


Endorsements

Organizations: New York League of Conservation Voters; Communications Workers of America; Service Employees International Union 1199; International Union of Elevator Constructors; Plumbers Union Local 1; Retail Workers Union; Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; Independent Democratic Conference; Uniformed Firefighters Association of NYC; Empire State Pride Agenda; The Patrolmens Benevolent Association; Sergeants Benevolent Association; Sierra Club; Citizens Union; The Queens Ledger/Queens Examiner; Local 246 SEIU Automotive/Mechanical; Motor Vehicle Operations Union Local 983; Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors – Local 2507, FDNY; Fire Alarm Dispatchers Benevolent Association, FDNY; New York State Troopers; Council of Administrators and Supervisors; Nassau County Sheriff's Correction Officer Benevolent Association; Public Employees Federation; New York State Supreme Court Officers; New York State Nurses Association; Clean Up Jamaica; NYS Nurses Association; NY Daily News

Individuals: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Congressman Steve Israel


Record in Office

NYS Senate Committee Assignments: Chair, Social Services Committee; Vice-Chair, Environmental Conservation Committee; Member  of the Transportation, Education, Codes, Housing, NYC Education, Insurance, Judiciary and Banks Committees

NYC Council Committee Assignments: Chair, Zoning and Franchises Committee

Independent Democratic Conference Membership:

Liu (D)

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John Liu (D)


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On the Issues

Endorsements

Record in Office

Currently: Adjunct Professor, Baruch College-CUNY

Previous Work: Candidate, NYC Mayor (2013); Comptroller, (2010-2013); NY City Council (D-20) (2002-2010)

Education: BS, SUNY Binghamton


On the Issues

Civil Rights

Supports passage of the Women's Equality Act.

Economy

"Why should a police officer, a teacher, or a firefighter have to pay nearly the same income tax rate as a billionaire like [former] Mayor Bloomberg? A tax that is basically flat makes no sense. New York City needs a progressive local income tax that restores fairness and puts money in the pockets of low- and middle-income families." Huffington Post

"Tax competition among jurisdictions is something we do have to consider when setting tax policies. But do we really believe that high-income earners care so little about New York City that an effective tax increase of less than 1 percent will make them leave? Most high-earning residents love the city and would not abandon it just because our tax system is re-tuned to be more equitable. Moreover, the wealthy want safe streets, clean parks, and good schools just as much as the rest of us do. ... By providing tax relief to middle- and low-income families we can strengthen the city's economy, build up our middle class, and narrow the divide between rich and poor." Huffington Post

Education

"The education policies of the Senate status quo are holding our kids back. When I get to Albany, I'll work with partners like [the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which recently endorsed Liu] to relentlessly pursue reforms that will make our schools better for students, parents, teachers, and administrators." Press Release, Liu Campaign, June 16, 2014

 On specialized high schools, via Huffington Post in 2012:

  • "First, the City should examine the effectiveness of current support programs like the Specialized High School Institute and the summer Discovery program, which are directed at low-income students who want to prepare for entrance into the Specialized High Schools. Secondly, the Specialized High School Test should be analyzed by an objective third party to see if the exam shows any signs of predictive bias. Third, the City needs to boost math education among minority students and do it as early as third grade, rather than playing catch up in middle school when performance gaps have already widened. Fourth, the City should market the Specialized High Schools in communities of color to ensure that more students and their parents know about the great opportunities these schools present. Finally, we should expand the number of Specialized High Schools by creating new ones like the Math, Science, and Engineering School at City College of New York."
  • "Entrance to the New York City Specialized High Schools should be dependent on a well-rounded assessment of a student's knowledge and skills, rather than on the ability to perform well on a single test. The exam as it is encourages the widespread ""teaching to the test"" that so many educational experts deplore."
  • "Another factor that ought to be considered in the admissions process is geography. Specialized High Schools should serve students from every neighborhood -- even the most economically disadvantaged. Geographic diversity could be achieved by reserving a seat for the Valedictorian and Salutatorian, or the top five percentile, of every public middle school graduating class in the City."

Proposes a Community Education Reform Plan to:

  • Reform implementation of the Comon Core by requiring annual reporting from the commissioner of the State Education Department, establish an appeals process of test scores, and develop accomodations for English language learners and students with disabilities.
  • Reduce overcrowding and eliminate trailer learning
  • Change mayoral control to mandate increased input from parents and communities. Press release

Government Accountability

As former NYC Comptroller, created My Money NYC, which includes several tools to track city government spending:

  • CheckbookNYC.com, launched in 2010, is a searchable database of NYC government's contracts and expenditures.
  • Open Audit, allows members of the public can propose audots for the Comptroller's office to undertake.

Supports greater checks on the Queens Public Library system:

  • "I applaud our Public Advocate, Letitia James for calling into question the actions of the trustee board, again proving herself a fierce watchdog for this city. Public Advocate James is exactly right – we need judicial intervention to halt the proposed vote, that if passed, would represent another flagrant abuse of taxpayer funds."
  • "By shining a light on recent revelations of excessive expenditures by the Queens Public Library Director, Borough President Melinda Katz has shown a steadfast commitment to protecting taxpayer money for the people of our communities. President Katz is doing the right thing by holding Galante accountable and leading the fight to protect our Borough's scarce resources."
  • "It is time for the courts to step into this mess. The Queens Public Library is not a personal piggy bank."

Endorsements

Organizations: Queens County Democrats; Village Independent Democrats; Hotel & Motel Trades Council (HTC); NYC Coalition of Operating Engineers; United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1500; IBEW Local 3; NYC School Prinicipals and Administrators; United Automobile Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of Amerca (UAW) Region 9A; International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 1; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3; NY Machinists Union; Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC; Amsterdam News; Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 46; Daily Kos; NY Communities for Change; NY Daily News; Tenants PAC; Steamfitters Local 638; Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York and Long Island; National Organization for Women PAC; Teamsters Joint Council 16; People for Quality Education; New York Times; Queens Tribune; Queens Courier; Queens Times; Queens Gazette; New York CaribNews; Queens-Politics; The New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board, the Laundry, Distribution and Food Service Joint Board and the New York-New Jersey Regional Joint Board of Workers United SEIU

Individuals: NYS Assemblyman Sheldon Silver (D-65), Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Congresswoman Grace Meng; Congressman Joseph Crowley; Congressman Gregory Meeks; Former Congressman Gary Ackerman; State Senator Liz Krueger; Candidate for Lieutenant Governor Tim Wu; 


Record in Office

NYC Comptroller:

NYC Council Committee Assignments: Chair, Transportation Committee; Member, Education, Consumer Affairs, Health, Land Use, Contracts, Oversight & Investigations, and Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Committees

NYC Council Caucus Membership: Black, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus

Disqualification of Mayoral Campaign: Liu associates were convicted for illegally eliciting donations during Liu's mayoral bid. No charges were brought against Liu himself. Liu appealed on the grounds of personal damages to his repuation and career prospects. The court has not yet made a decision.

Gilman (G)

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Paul Gilman (G)

Campaign Website
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Currently: 

Previous Work: 

Education: 


On the Issues

Economy

Proposes raising the minimum wage to $15. Twitter


Endorsements

Organizations:

Individuals: 

 

Candidates' statements taken from their respective websites and press releases, unless otherwise noted.

 



For more on this race:

Rebellion vs. Redemption: Candidates with Something to Prove — Including What It Means to Be a Democrat, Brigid Bergin, WNYC, September 8, 2014