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Embattled Councilman Dan Halloran says he will not seek reelection.
The Queens Republican was indicted in a scheme to bribe GOP party heads as a means to secure a mayoral ballot line for Democratic State Sen. Malcolm Smith. Currently facing federal corruption charges, Halloran said that he would instead focus on clearing his name and restoring his reputation.
"After much thought, I have concluded that it is impossible for me to properly do these things and take on the enormous demands of a political campaign," Halloran wrote in a statement.
Halloran thanked the community and his Council staff, adding that he would continue to "discharge my sworn duties as a member of the New York City Council."
In early April, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said that Halloran was stripped of all committee assignments. Soon after, the Council's standards and ethics committee began a review of Halloran's role in the scandal.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn called Councilman Dan Halloran's press release celebrating his district's participatory budget "stupid" and "outrageous."
Quinn spoke about the embattled Republican councilman during a press conference in City Hall today, referencing one of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's oft-used turns of phrase.
"I don't usually quote Mike Bloomberg, but it's one of the stupidest things I have ever seen," Quinn said, adding that Halloran would have no say in how discretionary funds would be allocated for the projects his residents voted on last week.
"I don't care how many stupid press releases he issues," she said.
Halloran, who is accused in a bribery scheme to get Democratic Sen. Malcolm Smith on the Republican mayoral ballot line, sent out the press release yesterday in which he congratulated the winners.
State Looks For Quick Action on Gun Laws
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to toughen New York's gun laws and according to The Times Union Cuomo wants to do it as soon as next week. A source told the times union that a gubernatorial aide presented Senate Republicans with a draft of proposed gun legislation on Wednesday but Republicans turned it down. Republicans deny turning down any legislation. A myriad of Assemblyman have confirmed they were asked to stay in Albany on Wednesday in case a special session came to fruition this week but now all eyes or on Dec. 28. Cuomo has said he will address the issue of gun violence in his Jan. 9 State of the State Address but with the action in Albany it seems like something could happen much sooner. Cuomo has said he wants to eliminate loopholes in the state's assault weapons ban. Meanwhile, the Times Union reports that the same venue Cuomo will give his State of the State address in next year will also scheduled to host a gun show two weeks after the speech.
In the Press...
Fear, Death and Rumors in Queens High Rise (NY Times)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a new free shuttle service dubbed the H train will begin providing service to residents of the hard-hit Rockaway Penninsula at 4 a.m. tomorrow.
â€śThe A train tracks from Howard Beach to the Rockaways were almost completely destroyed by the storm, and replacing them is a tremendous undertaking,â€ť Cuomo said in a statement. â€śWhile that work continues, this new shuttle service will help improve travel for people in the Rockaways who are still recovering from Sandyâ€™s effects.â€ť
According to Cuomo's office, the cars that make up the new service were trucked to the Rockaways after the A train tracks were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
â€śMTA New York City Transit has responded with unprecedented creativity to restore subway service to Rockaway customers,â€ť said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. â€śThis partial restoration of service is an important step for the Rockaways, but our work wonâ€™t be done until the A train is fully restored.â€ť
The Rockaways are still in need of basic relief aid like shelter, food and heat.
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.