Joe Addabbo Tag All blog entries tagged as Joe Addabbo http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Sun, 30 Mar 2014 16:07:57 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb At Least One Senator Wouldn't Mind Returning to Albany This Year http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/06/25/at-least-one-senator-wouldnt-mind-returning-to-albany- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/06/25/at-least-one-senator-wouldnt-mind-returning-to-albany-

It may surprise some but even after a legislative session marred by arrests and scandal and a Senate session that came to an odd end with two marathon session days, one of which ended at 6:30 a.m., at least one Senator says he would like to return to Albany to get more done.

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"I believe the legislative session that ended at 6 AM Saturday morning should be categorized as a session that could have done so much more," said Addabbo in a statement.

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Addabbo praised the legislature's action on the budget, gun control, the minimum wage increase, hurricane Sandy assistance and a bill allowing for a speed camera program near schools. But he noted, "certain targets were missed badly."

"I don’t believe the session should have ended without addressing the need for stronger ethics and anti-corruption legislation," wrote Addabbo. "Campaign finance reform and hydrofracking were other issues we had the opportunity to work on, but didn't address.
The State Legislature might have another shot at hitting these targets before the end of the year. I am hopeful we'll give it our best efforts for the sake of our people and their government."

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 25 Jun 2013 17:56:16 +0000
Queens State Senator: #Sandy Recovery is 'Tale of Two Worlds' http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/29/queens-state-senator-sandy-recovery-is-tale-of-two-worlds http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/29/queens-state-senator-sandy-recovery-is-tale-of-two-worlds

State Sen. Joe Addabbo, who represents some of the hardest hit parts of Queens including Breezy Point and Howard Beach, saw his own office destroyed by flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy.

As the New York Daily news pointed out this morning, Breezy Point remains a ghost town after being ravaged by fire and flooding and the expedited help promised by officials has yet to appear.

Addabbo issued the following statement on the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy this morning:

As I reflect on the progress made six months after Sandy, I see it as a tale of two worlds. One world is just about back to normal. There are parts of my district where stores have returned, residents are back in their homes and back to work, while their children are back to their normal lives. Then there is the other world, which is far from being back to normal. In that world, the stores are still closed and possibly never coming back due to the damage from Sandy. Some of those residents who worked at those stores are out of work and some are out of their homes. I also know that there are children, and adults, who continue to have emotional issues caused by Sandy. Two totally different worlds, which six months after Sandy, still need a lot of attention, because while there has been much progress made, there is still so much work to do. As for working on Sandy-related issues, my work as an elected official will not be done until both of these worlds are one again. Over the coming months, I am hopeful that the federal funding filtering through our state and city will be able to help our neighbors, businesses and nonprofits. I continue to explore all possible means necessary to assist my residents in their time of difficulty. "My thoughts and prayers go out to all of my constituents in Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel, Rockaway and Breezy Point who continue to suffer through the ravages of Sandy."

Addabbo told the Gazette earlier this month that very few of his constituents are interested in home buyouts because of their deep roots in the community but that they need more support to reestablish businesses and return to a normal existence.

The state senator hasn't responded to requests for comments on Breezy Point or his other efforts.

Addabbo has pushed for Sandy recovery funds to come without a ton of red tape so that communities can use them how they see fit and so far it looks like officials have been listening.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Mon, 29 Apr 2013 17:59:26 +0000
Immigration Advocates Set Ambitious Albany Agenda http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/civil-rights/2013/02/27/immigration-advocates-set-albany-agenda http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/civil-rights/2013/02/27/immigration-advocates-set-albany-agenda The New York City Immigration Coalition may have its work cut out for itself this year: Its 10-point agenda is ambitious and will require action from Albany as well as cooperation from law enforcement.

The groups top policy priority is expanding access to college by passing New York State's version of the DREAM Act. The State's DREAM act which is backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn would open up tuition assistance to students regardless of their immigration status.

Despite massive grassroots pressure, Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not make the DREAM legislation a part of his State of the State Speech in January. The Democratic-controlled Assembly has passed a version of the DREAM Act in the past and seems poised to do so again.

The Senate is a different story. The breakaway Independent Democratic Conference has indicated major support for the legislation but Senate Republicans have generally been opposed to the measure and have prevented floor votes. To add to the difficulty advocates face, it is unclear how many in the Democratic conference actually support the legislation.

Democratic Sen. Joe Addabbo said at a debate in October that he felt his constituents had a hard enough time finding money sending their children to college so he could not support the DREAM Act. His Republican opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich, said at the time that he supported "some version" of the legislation.

The DREAM Act could make its way into law as part of some grand bargain, but at the moment the governor's priority seems to be getting a minimum wage hike through the Legislature. But that will likely require concessions on progressive items.

The group's second policy priority for the year is improving public safety by limiting city and state police interaction with federal immigration enforcement activities. Advocates are celebrating success on that front today, with the City Council currently considering legislation that would further distance the city's Department of Correction and police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

Under the law, the city would not honor any detention requests where immigrants are youthful offenders, dont't have significant records and have only been accused of low-level offenses. The city will honor detainer requests for immigrants who are accused of or have been convicted of major crimes or who match descriptions of those on terrorist watch lists.

Earlier in his term Cuomo, withdrew New York State from the federal Secure Communities program that mandates local law enforcement agencies share digital fingerprints of arrested immigrants with US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Advocates said the practice lead to the deportation of numerous innocent immigrants.

However, federal authorities who had earlier suggested Secure Communities was voluntary insisted state involvement was not optional and Cuomo's withdrawal was meaningless.

A number of the issues in the top 10 also rely on funding and focus from the state budget.

The rest of the top 10 includes:

#3 Enhance Access to Health Care

#4 Protect and Expand Immigrant Services

#5 Protect Immigrant Workers

#6 Support Adult Education and Job Training

#7 Promote College Readiness For English Language Learners

#8 Support Immigrant Parent Engagement in Their Children's Future

#9 Protect Immigrants From Harsh Immigration Enforcement

#10 Provide Disaster Relief to Victims Regardless of Immigration Status and Provide Safe Working Conditions for Disaster Relief Workers

For more on #10, check out this National Public Radio story.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) Civil Rights Wed, 27 Feb 2013 20:06:35 +0000
Andrea Stewart-Cousins Elected Senate Minority Leader http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/12/18/andrea-stewart-cousins-elected-senate-minority-leader- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/12/18/andrea-stewart-cousins-elected-senate-minority-leader- Andrea Stewart-Cousins is the new head of the Senate Democrats. The Westchester Senator was elected by a 19-6 vote over Sen. John Sampson and is the first woman to head a legislative conference in New York State.

"I will work with my colleagues in the Republican and IDC Coalition to ensure that the progressive issues that both the Governor and our conference believe in are advanced. I want to thank Sen. Sampson for all his hard work and his dedication to the Senate Democratic Conference and to the people of New York," Cousins said in a statement.

Sampson took over as the head of the conference from Sen. Malcolm Smith in June 2009 after the Senate Coup. A number of Democrats expressed that they felt the vote would help move the conference forward from the association with the troubled period when the conference was in the majority.

Here are statements from a number of Senate Democrats: “I look forward to working with Leader Stewart Cousins as we move the Democratic Conference forward serving all New Yorkers. The people of New York want a progressive and democratic agenda and that is what the Democratic Conference under the leadership of Senator Stewart Cousins will provide,” stated Senator John Sampson.

Senator Eric Adams said, “New Yorkers deserve a state government that responds to them, not the special interests. That is why I am so pleased that Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins will lead our conference and together we will advance the progressive legislative agenda called for by the residents of this great state.”

Senator Joe Addabbo said, “I commend our new Democratic Conference leader, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, for her dedication to the conference and the hard working men and women of New York State. I look forward to working with her to advance the progressive agenda the voters sent us to Albany to achieve.”

Senator Tony Avella said, “The Senate Democratic Conference has been instrumental in the fight for common-sense, progressive legislation. Senator Stewart-Cousins will continue that proud tradition as she leads our conference into the upcoming legislative session.”

Senator Neil Breslin said, “I applaud Senator Stewart-Cousins on becoming the next leader of the Senate Democratic Conference. The people of New York expect progressive leadership from their state representatives, and under Senator Stewart-Cousins, that is exactly what we are going to ensure gets done.”

Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. said, “Senator Stewart-Cousins will be an excellent leader for our conference, and will be a powerful voice for good government. The residents of New York State need a leader like Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins to represent their interests, and I am honored to serve with her.”

Senator Martin Dilan stated, “I congratulate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and look forward to helping her stand up for the working men and women of New York.”

Senator Adriano Espaillat, said, “Under Conference Leader Stewart-Cousins, Senate Democrats will continue to be a powerful voice for New York’s working families. I look forward to working with Senator Stewart-Cousins to continue to grow the Democratic conference and apply progressive solutions to move our state forward.”

Senator Mike Gianaris said, “I want to give my immense thanks to John Sampson for his leadership and I look forward to working with Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Her historic election will help move our conference forward and help us pass the progressive agenda that we successfully ran on and the people of New York have demanded.”

Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson said, “I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues on this historic occasion in applauding our new Conference Leader, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Senator Stewart-Cousins has been an excellent public servant, and I am confident she will be an exceptional leader for our conference.”

Senator Tim Kennedy said, “Senator Stewart-Cousins has been a voice for the underserved and a champion for working families. Today she earned her place in history by becoming the first female, African-American Minority Leader in New York State history. I look forward to working with her and continuing to move this state in a new direction by championing issues that are important to Western New Yorkers.”

Senator Liz Krueger said, “Senator Stewart-Cousins will ensure that New York remains committed to a progressive agenda. She has been a great Senator and I know will be a great Conference Leader.”

Senator Velmanette Montgomery said, “Senator Stewart-Cousins will be an excellent leader for the Senate Democratic Conference and I commend her on her new position. I look forward to working with her, and all of my Democratic colleagues to protect the interests of all New Yorkers, not the privileged few.”

Senator Kevin Parker said, “I commend Senator Stewart-Cousins and join with my colleagues in supporting her as our new Conference leader. Under Senator Stewart-Cousins we will continue to be outspoken advocates for those New Yorkers who need a progressive state government the most.”

Senator Jose Peralta said, “I am proud to support Senator Stewart-Cousins as Democratic Conference Leader. This next session will be extremely important and we must work together to ensure the people of New York have a strong voice fighting for them in Albany to increase the minimum wage and enact common sense gun laws.”

Senator Bill Perkins said, “I look forward to working with our new leader, Senator Stewart-Cousins, and all of my colleagues in the State Senate to ensure that New Yorkers receive the effective state government they deserve.”

Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “As someone who helped work to elect Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, I am particularly proud today to join my colleagues in the Democratic conference in selecting Andrea Stewart-Cousins as our new leader. Together, we will fight to advance the progressive agenda New Yorkers so clearly have called by overwhelmingly voting for Democrats this past election.”

Senator Jose Serrano said, “I commend Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and look forward to serving with her as our new Democratic Conference leader. The residents of New York have repeatedly called for progressive leadership, and that is exactly what Senator Stewart-Cousins, and the entire Democratic Conference, will provide.”

Senator Daniel Squadron said “Today we made history, electing the first woman leader of a New York legislative conference. I look forward to working with Senator Stewart-Cousins’ leadership to continue to move forward the progressive foundation that Senator Sampson has built.”

Senator Toby Stavisky said, Senator Stewart-Cousins will be the first female legislative leader in New York State history, and I am honored to serve with her. Senator Stewart-Cousins will be an excellent leader for the Democratic conference and I commend her for her dedication to the conference and residents of New York.”

Senator-Elect Terry Gipson said, “I am eager to get to Albany and fight for my constituents. I am honored to support Senator Stewart-Cousins as Democratic Conference Leader.”

Senator-Elect George Latimer said, “I served with Democratic Leader Stewart-Cousins in both the State Legislature and the Westchester County Legislature and I know that she will be a strong voice for Democratic values.”

Senator-Elect Brad Hoylman said, “I look forward to taking my place in the State Senate this January to begin representing the interests of all my constituents. I am proud to be part of an historic first for New York State Government. With Senator Stewart-Cousins as our leader, I am confident that together with my Democratic colleagues we will give New Yorkers the progressive government they deserve. I commend Senator Sampson for laying the groundwork for our conference’s further success.”

Senator Elect Ted O’Brien said, “It is an honor for me to take my place alongside my Democratic Senate colleagues to select Senator Stewart-Cousins as our conference leader. I look forward to serving under her leadership and working to represent my constituents, and all New Yorkers, in the State Senate.”

Senator-Elect James Sanders, Jr. said, “Senator Stewart-Cousins has a distinguished history fighting for those who need state government the most. I look forward to joining the Democratic Conference under her leadership, and together we will continue the struggle to give New Yorkers the government they deserve.”

Senator-Elect Cecilia Tkaczyk said, “As I stand ready to complete the election process and take my place in the State Senate, I look forward to serving with Senator Stewart-Cousins as she leads the Senate Democratic Conference into the next legislative session and beyond.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 18 Dec 2012 00:24:27 +0000
Addabbo: Sandy Recovery Too Important For Political Differences http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/12/10/addabbo-sandy-recovery-too-important-for-political-differences- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/12/10/addabbo-sandy-recovery-too-important-for-political-differences-

Senate Republicans and members of the Independent Democrats will gather in Queens today for the first meeting of the Bipartisan Senate Task Force on Hurricane Sandy — and they have invited a couple of members of the Democratic conference as well.

"There isn't any room for poltical differences," said Queens Sen. Joe Addabbo who is a member of the Demcoratic conference. "We have no room for that when there are still 10,000 without power in the Rockaways."

Addabbo will be just one of a number of legislators who have seen their districts ravaged by the storm. From Staten Island to Long Island, the senators who will gather in the Rockaways today represent areas that need immediate attention.

Sens. James Sanders, Dean Skelos, Diane Savino, Andrew Lanza, Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, Martin Golden and Charles Fuschillo have been confirmed for the gathering. The group will tour the Rockaways and then meet with community leaders.

Addabbo says it will be the task force's job to keep the Legisalture connected to the areas and constituents that need the most help.

"We have to have a constant dialogue while listening to the needs of people and we need to feed what we arehearing into that task force," he says. "The people need to understand there is a way of getting in touch with there legislators."

Addabbo says he expects there will be many more taskforce meetings in areas hit hardest by Sandy in the coming months.

Sen. Joe Addabbo at a hearing. Photo from NYS Senate Democrats.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Mon, 10 Dec 2012 16:31:56 +0000
Thanksgiving in the Rockaways http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/11/21/thanksgiving-in-the-rockaways- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/11/21/thanksgiving-in-the-rockaways-

Representatives of Occupy Sandy say they are in desperate need of one resource this Thanksgiving in their effort to help residents of the hurricane-ravaged Rockaways recover: Volunteers.

"We just need bodies," says Kei Dowea, a volunteer who has been helping out with the recovery effort in the Queens community for about two weeks. "We have had such an incredible response it just needs to be maintained. I've seen a slight decline in turnout in the last few days and what we really need are people in vehicles or in groups."

Dowea says volunteers can head to Saint Jacobi Lutheran Church at 5406 4th Street in Brooklyn where Occupy Sandy has a supply station to pick up goods and bring them out to the Rockaways.

Don't have a vehicle? Dowea says that isn't a problem.

"We just got two semis that delivered supplies to the church, so people are welcome to buy things and bring them out, but what we need desperately are the things we already have to be brought out there," she says. "Just come up here and we can get them a ride out to Queens."

Occupy has a list of specific goods that are needed in Queens.

Meanwhile, Greater New York For Change is championing a Change.org petition that is asking officials to deploy "red horse tents" in the Rockaways to give displaced residents a place to sleep, be warm and receive medical attention.

"Since Hurricane Sandy tore through New York City over two weeks ago, tens of thousands of people in the Rockaways have been living without heat, electricity, or running water — and now freezing temperatures could threaten their lives," reads the pettion.

Kate Linker, a board member of Greater New York for Change, says her group took part in a recent assessment of the conditions in the Rockaways with state Sen. Joe Addabbo's office.

"We were seeing what people needed," Linker says. "Some had electricity but no heat because their boilers had been destroyed by the flood. Some have torn out the flooded areas that are moldy, but they haven't gotten the money to make the units dwellable."

She says these warming tents would give people a safe place to stay after they have exhausted the charity of relatives, hotel money or other arrangements." She also thinks it would be a great way to bring centralized medical care to the people who need it most.

"A lot of people need medical help," she says. "Some of them have life threatening conditions that are not being treated. Other people have had their prescriptions run out or are suffering conditions due to being exposed to the weather."

Linker says she met a displaced Queens resident who is nine months pregnant and whose husband speaks no English. "These are the kinds of situations where people need help," she says.

Linker is calling on FEMA, the governor's office and anyone else in authority to get these warming stations deployed as soon as possible.

"FEMA has only been present to get people registered for claims that are secondary to flood insurance," Linker says. "They don't deal with larger issues. Things are quite uncoordinated and a lot of the public needs raised by this situation aren't being addressed. People are living in situations that people shouldn't live in."

Sen. Joe Addabbo says that his office has been assessing living conditions and trying to provide medical care and connect people with resources.

"We are assessing when LIPA can bring power back to some of these areas," he says. "If it's not in the short term and we are talking weeks away, we are going to have to do more about providing secure living situations."

Addabbo says even in areas where things are returning to normal his office is hearing about increased health problems due to the storm. "If these living conditions stay the same, the health problems are going to worsen," he says. "We are hearing about kids who are back in school who are facing increasing asthma problems because of the debris leftover from the storm."

Addabbo says he is on near daily conference calls getting updates from the mayor, governor, FEMA, as well as the utilities and other agencies, but he knows that despite his best efforts his community needs more.

"Lots of constituents say they don’t see their comunity in the news. I tell them it isn't about being in the news but about getting the services you need to rebuild," he says. "Let's just make sure all the agencies know what we need because the needs are different for Breezy Point to Howard Beach. Some places are worried about getting in contractors to do work while other places don't even have power."

Council members including Christine Quinn and Eric Ulrich were in the Rockaways today handing out turkeys. They issued these statements:

“At a time when we should be giving thanks, too many New Yorkers, are still without basic essentials in Sandy’s aftermath,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Today’s turkey distribution will make sure New Yorkers can enjoy Thanksgiving and have a delicious holiday meal. The Council is proud to stand with the Met Council and do our part to help.”

“The Jewish community is a weave spoke in the rich cultural fabric of Far Rockaway, and too many of our Jewish brothers and sisters are suffering in the wake of Sandy,” said Councilman Sanders. “I thank Speaker Quinn and the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty for working with us to ensure that all the members of our community can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal this Thursday.”

“The Rockaway Peninsula has been devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and I thank Speaker Quinn and the Met Council for coming out and supporting the community during its time in need, especially during the holidays,” said Council Member Eric Ulrich.

Photo: Gov. Andrew Cuomo helps distribute goods at the Far Rockaway Distribution Center. Provided by the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) City Wed, 21 Nov 2012 17:17:49 +0000
Ulrich Concedes; Dems Look to Add Seats http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/11/07/ulrich-concedes-dems-look-to-add-seats http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/11/07/ulrich-concedes-dems-look-to-add-seats

Councilman Eric Ulrich announced via Twitter this morning that he has conceded to Sen. Joe Addabbo in the race for the 15th Senate District in Queens.

“This morning I called Joe Addabbo to congratulate him on a decisive victory & pledged to work w/him to unite our community," he tweeted. He followed that tweet up saying, "This was a hard-fought campaign and while I truly appreciate the strong support I received on election day, its time to get back to work."

This was a bitter contest between two men who went to the same school, attended the same church and are beloved and respected figures in their neighborhood. Hurricane Sandy ravaged the district and saw both men drop their campaigns to focus on the recovery. But Ulrich's camp complained that the response to damaged polling places was detrimental to their campaign. Ulrich is still seen as a bright star for the Republican Party and holds his seat on the Council.

Meanwhile, it seems that Senate Democrats have defended their turf and can only add seats depending on the outcomes of the races in the 41st and 46th districts. Senate Dems still have to contend with the Independent Democratic Conference if they want to hold a majority but even if they don't take control, as Nick Reisman of State of Politics pointed out this morning, the enrollment numbers favor them so strongly that it seems to be only a matter of time before they take control for good.

Senate Democrats became increasingly confident of pickups in the days leading up to the election. It looks like their confidence was justified.

____

Image of Ulrich by William Altriste, courtesy of the City Council.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Wed, 07 Nov 2012 17:33:55 +0000
Cuomo Allows Hurricane Victims to Vote Anywhere in State http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/11/05/cuomo-allows-hurricane-victims-to-vote-anywhere-in-state- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/11/05/cuomo-allows-hurricane-victims-to-vote-anywhere-in-state-

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order allowing voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote at any polling place in the state.

Voters from the five boroughs can fill out an affidavit ballot at any polling place in the state and the local Board of Elections will then mail their ballots to the correct county.

However, ballots will only be available for local elections, so voters who are displaced out of their Senate or Assembly districts will only be able to vote for the statewide races.

"We want everyone to vote. Just because you're displaced doesn't mean you should be disenfranchised," Cuomo said at a press conference this evening.

The move could drive down turnout in lower-ballot races. The contest between Sen. Joe Addabbo and Councilman Eric Ulrich in Queens could be severely impacted.

The NYC Board of Elections has set up multiple alternative polling places to replace sites rendered unusuable by Hurricane Sandy.

For up-to-date information on polling place locations, voters can text "NYCVOTES" to 877-877. Spanish speakers can text "DONDE" to 877-877 for information in Spanish.

Polls open at 6 a.m. tomorrow and close at 9 p.m.

Cuomo briefs the press on executive order, earlier today. Photo provided by The Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Mon, 05 Nov 2012 23:07:30 +0000
Tuesday is Election Day — Sandy Be Damned [Updated] http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2012/10/31/tuesday-is-election-day-nsandy-be-damned-updated http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2012/10/31/tuesday-is-election-day-nsandy-be-damned-updated

Editor's Note: This post has been updated with statements from the city's Board of Elections.

"Election day will be on Tuesday, that is not going to change," John Conklin, spokesman for the New York State Board of Election, said earlier today.

He said county boards across the state are currently assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to polling places and trying to determine what alternate arrangements need to be made to make sure everyone who wants to vote can.

"The local boards impacted by the storm are assessing damage to the polling places right now," Conklin said. "We have been in meetings with the governor's office and local boards to work on these assessments. We have to see if power still remains at the polling site, if they remain accessible to the public, the board and the machines. We also need to make sure the sites are safe. Once that is done, we will check on alternate polling sites and make sure they have tents, generators and whatever else they need."

Conklin said he hopes that all polling sites will have power, but he admitted, "Some might not." In that case, paper ballots will be made available for voters. The ballots will be put in a lock box and then scanned at county BOE headquarters.

There isn't a firm deadline on when the poll site evaluations need to be completed. "We didnt give a deadline," Conklin said. "I dont know how to put a deadline on a thing like this. We hope to have it done by the end of the day."

Obviously, with the damage done by Sandy, voting may not be on the top of everyone's to-do-list. Conklin said turnout for the primary election last year was depressed in the parts of the state that were effected by Hurricane Irene.

"I hope turnout is not siginificantly impacted," said Conklin, adding that "some people's homes also were burned down, some are under water and voting is not their biggest concern ... But we want to make sure that when they choose to vote that they have a place to do it."

City Board of Elections Commissioners Maria Guastella and Frederic Umane said in a statement on the agency's website that the BOE staff "has been working diligently to make sure that we are prepared for Election Day."

They said they have been assessing damage to poll sites caused by the storm. Meanwhile, poll workers are being trained and a temporary Manhattan office has been opened.

The BOE's usual Manhattan office is in lower Manhattan, where power is still being restored.

The commissioners also said that the "processing of absentee ballot applications has been delayed."

"But our staff are working diligently to process all absentee ballots that will be distributed by USPS overnight mail," they said. "Other NYC agencies have assigned some of their workers to assist in our efforts and we appreciate their assistance."

Sen. Joe Addabbo of Queens issued this statement in response to questions about how voting in his district might be affected.

“As of now my main priority and that of my campaign staff is to focus on assisting my district in the clean up and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as many areas of my district were hit incredibly hard by the storm," said Addabbo, who is in a battle to retain his seat from his main challenger, Councilman Eric Ulrich. "The safety and well-being of my constituents is the most important to me, and I will not focus my attention elsewhere until the recovery is well on its way.”

____

Aerial photo of Breezy Point, Queens provided by the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) Elections Wed, 31 Oct 2012 20:04:07 +0000
Addabbo Attacks on Fracking http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/10/10/addabbo-attacks-on-fracking http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/10/10/addabbo-attacks-on-fracking

Sen. Joseph Addabbo is holding a news conference tomorrow at Russo's on the Bay in Queens to discuss hydrofracking and "its adverse affects, and what it would mean for the district and state if hydrofracking is legal."

Addabbo used his opponent Councilman Eric Ulrich's support of hydraulic fracturing as a way to paint him as falling in line with the wishes of the mostly upstate Republican Senate Majority in a recent interview with Gotham Gazette. Ulrich has used his cash advantage over Addabbo to air a blitzkrieg of television spots focusing on small business in the district.

The Addabbo camp has responded with events dealing with small business across the district but this event may be an attempt on their part to dictate the issues of the campaign. A recent Siena Poll showed Addabbo only two points over Ulrich and also found that jobs and the economy are a major concern across the district.

Both men will debate at Our Lady of Grace Church, at 100-05 159 Ave. in Howard Beach on Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

The debate will be co-hosted by The Queens Chronicle and Citizens Union, the sister organization of Gotham Gazette. Members of public can send questions for the candidates to mark@qchron.com.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Wed, 10 Oct 2012 18:43:09 +0000