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Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said yesterday that she wants the city to control the Metropolitan Transportation Authority which is currently run by the state. "The MTA chair is appointed by the governor. The mayor has a minority of the appointments on the MTA board. The majority of the new members are appointed by the governor and county leaders outside of our city," Quinn said. "This has resulted in an MTA that doesn't respond quickly enough to the needs of New Yorkers and the changing face of our city." Transportation advocates have criticized Quinn's plan. Quinn also said that by 2023 no New Yorker should have a commute of more than an hour in any direction.
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg got personal yesterday with state legislators he blames for failing to enact a speed camera program around schools that he says would stop children from being hit and killed by speeding cars. After the next tragedy Bloomberg suggested: “Why don’t you pick up the phone and call your state senator and ask why they allowed that child to be killed?” Bloomberg named Sens. Martin Golden, Dean Skelos and Simcha Felder as legislators parents should call to complain.“Maybe you want to give those phone numbers to the parents of the child when a child is killed,” Bloomberg said. “It would be useful so that the parents can know exactly who’s to blame.” The speed camera plan was in the Assembly's budget plan but did not make it to the final product. When approached on Sunday during budget votes Golden told the Gazette "I have no idea," when asked why speed cameras weren't part of the budget. He told The New York Times on Wednesday that other areas that use speed cameras have found them "unreliable." Republican spokesman Scott Reif issued a statement saying that, "no one has fought harder or longer" to promote safety in New York City.
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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 â€” 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.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has endorsed Andrew Gounardes for the 22nd State Senate District, saying the Democratic challenger "will fight to create jobs and raise the minimum wage."
â€śI have lived in Brooklyn my entire life, and rarely have I seen a candidate who works as hard as Andrew,â€ť said Schumer, in his endorsement of Gounardes, who wants the seat now being held incumbent Republican state Sen. Marty Golden.
â€śMiddle-class families from Marine Park to Bay Ridge deserve a State Senator as hardworking as they are,â€ť Schumer said in a statement. â€śMost of all, they deserve someone who represents todayâ€™s Brooklyn, which is more dynamic than ever. I know that Andrew Gounardes will be that person.â€ť
Gounardes is challenging one of the few remaining Republican state Senators in the five boroughs in a district that although Democratic in registration leans conservative.
Golden has made a number of gaffes including crossing a Verizon picket line and holding an "ettiquette" forum for women but defeating the long-term incumbent will certainly be no easy task.
Sen. Martin Golden and his Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes faced off last night in front of a raucous crowd of their own supporters. It wasn't the most civilized debate. Zingers were exchanged and the men got uncomftorably close to each other at a few points but they did discuss the issues including: energy, gun violence, fair pay for women and emergency contraception.
The Bensonhurst Bean has full video of the debate.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Marty Golden and Democrat Andrew Gounardes, his challenger for the 22nd State Senate District, will debate at Saint Phillips Episcopal Church at 1072 80th Street in Dyker Heights at 8 p.m. tonight.
The debate is sponsored by the Dyker Heights Community Council.
Gounardes' campaign has been fairly relentless in attacking Golden on his voting history on housing issues, gun laws and Golden's cancelled ettiquette workshop for women that stirred up a bit of controversy.
Golden's campaign has steadily announced a number of endorsements, including from SEIU 1199 and the state's Public Employees Federation.
Andrew Gounardes introduces himself to voters. Picture provided by the Gounardes campaign.