Political Potpourri: Morning Oatmeal With Michael Grimm

By Paula Katinas

Want to know how U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm spends a Sunday morning?

The New York Times set about to answer that question and came up with interesting results.
Grimm, the freshman Republican lawmaker, was the subject of the Times’s weekly feature, “Sunday Routine” in the Metropolitan section of the Jan. 8 edition of the newspaper. Each week, the Newspaper of Record asks famous and non-famous New Yorkers how they spend their Sundays.
Grimm, who lives on Staten Island, attends Mass at Our Lady of Pity Catholic Church and then has breakfast at a restaurant, usually ordering oatmeal.
The congressman also spends his Sundays going to the gym to work out, calling his mother, and looking at his e-mails.
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Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny said he wants to make residents aware of new laws that went into effect on Jan. 1.
“Many of us ring in the New Year with a fresh set of goals and resolutions for a promising year to come. This year, Jan. 1 marked not only the beginning of 2012, but the day that a number of important laws in New York went into effect,” he said.
The new laws include a restructuring of the tax code. Brook-Krasny said the new law provides the lowest rate for middle-class families in more than 50 years and reduces tax rates for 99 percent of New Yorkers.
Other laws that went into effect at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1: dentists’ offices are now required to have a defibrillator on hand, and health insurance companies are required to cover orally-administered chemotherapy, at a cost similar to intravenous or injected cancer treatments.
Brook-Krasny was the Assembly’s main sponsor of a new law banning stores from selling shisha and hookah-related items to anyone under the age of 18. State Sen. Marty Golden sponsored the bill in the Senate. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law during the summer.
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A proposal by two Republican City Council members to have the city host a victory parade for returning Iraq war veterans appears to be gaining steam.
U.S. Rep. Bob Turner has come out in favor of the idea. 
“Ever since our troops returned home from Iraq, a discussion has been occurring about the best way to honor them for their service. Given the sacrifices our troops have made, with many of them doing several tours of duty, a parade in the ‘Canyon of Heroes’ is the least we can do,” Turner said, responding to the proposal put forth by Council members James Oddo and Vincent Ignazio.
“Today, I would like to urge the president and Pentagon to work with Mayor Bloomberg and other local officials to make this parade a reality. We should seize this opportunity to publicly say thank you to the brave men and women who serve our country,” Turner said.
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New prescription pain relievers that are 10 times as strong as Vicodin may become available at drugstores, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, who said he is concerned about the impact of the medications.
Schumer, who noted that the drug makers are seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), wrote a letter to the FDA to urge the agency to proceed with caution.
In the face of an epidemic of prescription drug abuse and its related crime, and the immediate aftermath of five deaths on Long Island directly related to pharmacy robberies, Schumer said he is calling on the FDA to move extremely cautiously in approving these new “super drugs” and not allow them on the market until serious questions are answered about the potential impact.
“It’s tremendously concerning that at the same time policy makers and law enforcement professionals are waging a war on the growing prescription drug crisis, new and more powerful ‘super drugs’ could well be on their way, flooding the market,” Schumer said. “The FDA needs to grab the reins and slow down the stampede to introduce these powerful narcotics. We’re facing a public health crisis that needs to be the major consideration before any of these powerful drugs hit pharmacies.”
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Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a member of the Assembly Committees on Transportation and Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, is expressing her frustration with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Malliotakis charged that the agency is wasting money, while, at the same time, milking residents dry with unfair toll increases.
She pointed out that in 2004, the Port Authority gave $2.7 million to the Greater Jamaica Development Corp., a nonprofit neighborhood improvement group, to purchase and develop commercial property. An agreement was made that if the construction project did not begin by 2008, the money would be returned to the Port Authority. But four years after that deadline, the only “development” has been the purchase of a dilapidated building that formerly housed a supermarket, according to Malliotakis.
Great Jamaica Development Corp. offered to transfer this property to the Port Authority, as per their agreement, only to be refused, Malliotakis said.
“It’s sad to say, but nothing surprises me from the Port Authority anymore.  They hit us with an unreasonable toll increase, and then mislead the public on the reason for that increase. Next, we learn that they’ve lost millions of dollars on investment in nonessential real estate. And now they’re choosing not to collect millions of dollars to which they’re rightfully entitled,” Malliotakis said.  
Malliotakis has called on the Port Authority to consider selling off costly real estate holdings.
“It’s truly a shame that, as the Port Authority loses $5.2 million in real estate investment, residents in the surrounding communities must pay the balance through ridiculous toll increases. These real estate projects are hemorrhaging money and it is the toll payers who are forced to subsidize them,” she said.
January 12, 2012 - 3:23pm



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