Archive for the tag 'michael grimm'

Source: Recchia campaign

Source: Recchia campaign

Former City Councilman Domenic Recchia on Saturday officially announced his bid for the 11th Congressional District, the seat currently occupied by Republican Michael Grimm.

Recchia made the announcement before a crowd of supporters in front of his mother’s Staten Island home, where he and a host of lawmakers backing him took aim squarely at his opponent and the Republican party.

Politicker reports:

“I won’t be going to Washington to carry water for my party. I’ll be caring for the hopes and dreams of the people I’m there to represent–you,” Mr. Recchia told the crowd. “I’ll make you one more promise: I will continue to conduct myself honorably because my mom wouldn’t have it any other way. We all know that Mr. Grimm can be a little pugnacious.”

… “Well, starting now he has to pick on somebody his own size,” Mr. Recchia said.

… Mr. Recchia is looking to ride the demographic and ideological shifts underway in the traditionally Republican borough. While a Republican mayoral candidate won the borough in last year’s general election, President Barack Obama eked out a victory there two years ago. Left-leaning, minority voters are also increasingly populating Staten Island’s north shore, where Democrats like Mr. Recchia have performed well.

Although Grimm’s campaign has been the subject of a federal probe into fundraising improprieties, much of the statements at the weekend rally instead focused on recent headlines depicting Grimm as a short-tempered brute. They zeroed in on his well-publicized comments to a NY1 reporter, who he threatened to throw off a balcony in Washington after the reporter asked about the fundraising allegations. Former Congressman Michael McMahon targeted the allegations that Grimm had a sexual romp with a woman in a Bay Ridge bar.

Congressman Jerry Nadler said at the rally that the district needs a congressman who will be respected by his colleagues and the public.

“Nobody respects Grimm,” he said. “Nobody intelligent can respect Grimm.”

Grimm, meanwhile, had a campaign rally and fundraiser over the weekend, drawing approximately 240 supporters, SILive reports. There, he taunted Democrats for their weak showing in Staten Island, promised a ferocious campaign, and said that the seat would remain staunchly Republican for years to come.

SILive reports:

He predicted an outsized victory in November.

“But we’re not just going to win,” he said. “We’re going to run away with this election. We’re going to let them know this is a contact sport.”

For Democrats who say that the congressional district is in play, Grimm said, “Guess what? The Staten Island/Brooklyn seat is not vulnerable, is not up for grabs. It’s a Republican seat. So go home. Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your money. This one is ours.”

Grimm’s supporters also seemed to derive glee from the congressman’s apparent mistreatment of members of the fourth estate. On threatening physical harm against the NY1 reporter, former Staten Island GOP Chairman Robert Scamardella drew laughs when he mocked the national outcry.

“Oh, the inhumanity of it,” Scamardella said to laughter from the crowd.

It appears Grimm’s Staten Island supporters are not shaken by those headlines either. Both candidates marched in Staten Island’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, where SILive interviewed attendees.

Staten Island resident Chris Chiafullo told the outlet he would vote for Grimm, and didn’t see the threats being much of a concern in the borough.

“The balcony thing maybe made a difference outside Staten Island, but not here,” he said.

Although Staten Island surely remains the district’s base, the Brooklyn portion has grown in the latest round of redistricting. While the seat before covered Bay Ridge and a sliver of Bensonhurst and Gravesend, it has now swelled to include almost all of Gravesend and a hunk of Sheepshead Bay.

 

grimm

Congressman Michael Grimm has voted twice this week to suppress bringing a bill to the House floor that would delay hikes in flood insurance – even though he’s the sponsor of the bill.

The legislation would postpone increases in flood insurance premiums for four years to protect New York City homeowners from price increases of thousands of dollars. It would also allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to complete an affordability study based on the new maps, and create a possible new tier of low rates for homeowners placed into a flood zone for the first time due to remapping of at-risk areas.

The hikes were planned prior to Superstorm Sandy, but since the storm legislators have shared concern that it would cause undue harm to middle- and working-class residents of coastal communities, as well as add more suffering to those still recovering from the the October 2012 flood.

The bill passed the Senate last week,and other Brooklyn representatives in the House have demanded a vote.

“Since the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the families of Gerritsen Beach and Sheepshead Bay have dedicated themselves to the revitalization of their homes and small businesses, with much hard work and at considerable expense. An increase in flood insurance premiums would only increase the difficulty of their efforts, and would almost certainly force some homeowners – especially families living on a fixed income – to move elsewhere,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke in a press release last week. “I urge my colleagues to continue supporting for their efforts to rebuild the community and to remain in their homes.”

Grimm is the primary sponsor of the House version of the bill, having introduced it in October 2013. But he has since fallen in line with his Republican colleagues, voting with almost every other member of his party against the Democrats’ motions to force a floor vote.

According to the Daily News, which first reported on the congressman’s turnaround, it was this bill that Grimm referenced when explaining why he lost his cool and threatened to throw a NY1 reporter off a balcony. The congressman said he had lost his temper after a long day “fighting for flood insurance.”

nypd-appreciation-1

Members of the community gathered to recognize the efforts of the officers of the NYPD’s Brooklyn Borough South, 60th Precinct, 61st Precinct and 62nd Precinct and the FDNY at the Be Proud Foundation’s annual appreciation luncheon on Friday.

“We’re so happy to share with you this celebration of those who keep us safe,” said Be Proud Foundation Executive Director Raisa Chernina, who noted that it’s also the 10th anniversary of the community booster organization. “I’m so happy to do this for you,” she said to the approximately 20 local officers attending the event.

It’s the eighth year of the event, and was held at the newly opened Signature Restaurant at 2007 Emmons Avenue. Officers were treated to lunch and a live musical performance by Nutsa, a well-known Georgian performer, as well as a barrage of praise from local elected officials.

“I’m so very thankful to see all our defenders, who we’re so grateful for keeping us safe every night,” said Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, who emceed the luncheon. “We need to build upon the institution of the Community Affairs officers if we want to build a relationship between community and police.”

The event drew other elected officials, including Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch, Comptroller John Liu, Assemblyman Alan Maisel and representatives for Councilman Lew Fidler, Congressman Michael Grimm, and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein.

A member of the Be Proud Foundation’s board also offered a touching thank you, describing how a family member had fallen in with a bad crowd and became addicted to drugs. With the help of officers from the 60th Precinct’s Community Affairs Unit, the family member is now in rehabilitation and on the right path.

The officers in attendance said they were thankful for the show of support.

“We appreciate things like this,” said Inspector Schell, a former commander at the 60th Precinct who now works out of Brooklyn South. “It’s a sign that our work is beneficial and you like the cops. We’re here to serve you.”

View photos from the event.

Source: Brian Hedden via Bay Ridge Odyssey

Source: Brian Hedden via Bay Ridge Odyssey

Republican Congressman Michael Grimm is asking the federal government to earmark $600 million for the Build it Back program, the housing recovery project designed to help Superstorm Sandy victims, and take control over Sandy funds out of the hands of of local authorities, reports SILive.

While the money is already on its way as part of a larger package, Grimm wants the government to earmark that amount specifically for Build it Back and not permit New York City or state authorities any flexibility with the funds.

“The City of New York needs to take a better look at how they’re allocating their resources. It’s not their money to just allocate as they see fit. This is the people of Staten Island’s money — that was the intent of Congress. And they need to be stewards to that money,” Grimm said.

Thus far, the billions in federal aid money flowing into city coffers has come in the form of Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs) and has allowed the city to be flexible in the way it spends it. In a letter to Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Grimm advocated that the city needs an additional $600 million just for housing alone, and that the city should have no say in how this cash is spent.

“I don’t have faith that the city will do the right thing for the people that I represent in Staten Island,” Grimm said.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

As the lone GOP representative of a city dominated by Democrats in the federal legislature, Congressman Grimm has a unique position and voice when it comes to relating to his GOP colleagues. The New York Daily News is reporting that Grimm used his special platform to denounce his own party leaders for inviting Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to a Manhattan GOP fundraiser in August.

As the race for the 2016 presidency inches closer, battles are breaking out in the Republican Party. On the one side, you have more traditional conservatives like Arizona Senator John McCain and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. These types of Republicans have moderate streaks and are unafraid to bargain with Democrats on key issues of national security and federal emergency responses to disasters like Superstorm Sandy. On the other side, you have a growing libertarian movement, led by Texas Congressman Ron Paul and his son Senator Rand Paul. These Republicans preach isolationism, a reduction in military intervention and a dramatic reduction of federal spending that eclipses your standard conservative.

Senator Paul, who has ambitions to run for president in ’16, has gone on record opposing the $60 billion Congressional Sandy Aid package. In a recent interview, Paul bashed Republicans like Christie and Grimm, who requested federal funds following Sandy saying that they had a “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie” attitude. As a result of Paul’s stance on Superstorm Sandy funding, Grimm urged the Manhattan GOP not to invite him to an August 13 fundraiser.

Despite Grimm’s plea for the Manhattan GOP to show Paul the door, the Daily News is reporting that they are inviting him anyway:

But Manhattan GOP chair Daniel Isaacs said he has no plans to back down. “My inclination” is to hold the event, he said, adding that he had been assured by Paul’s staff that the “gimme, gimme, gimme” quote was taken out of context.

Paul, however, said his statement “came off exactly” as he’d meant it and he reiterated it again Tuesday.

Paul’s brazen defense of beliefs that would have left the Tri-State area without funds to rebuild following the immense destruction of Sandy has irked other local GOP members, especially Christie. According to a New York Times report, Christie bashed Paul for his views on national security, invoking September 11.

“These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation,” Christie said. “And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have…The next attack that comes, that kills thousands of Americans as a result, people are going to be looking back on the people having this intellectual debate and wondering whether they put —” Mr. Christie said before cutting himself off.

Needless to say, if Paul ends up being the Republican nominee for president in 2016, there is little danger of New York turning red.

Source: sba.gov

Source: sba.gov

Did you apply for a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy only to realize that you could have received free cash months later through Community Development Block Grant recovery funds? If so, you probably think it is unfair that you have to pay back a loan to the government when your neighbor is getting a free ride.

SI Live is reporting that politicians are petitioning the SBA to forgive debts of people who took out loans that would have otherwise qualified for the Community Development Bock Grants.

A letter drafted by Congressman Michael Grimm, pleads for those caught in between the various federal bailout plans.

“For months after the storm, residents who went to FEMA for assistance were referred to the SBA to address needs that could not be met by FEMA’s individual assistance program,” Grimm wrote.

Some people were offered SBA disaster loans but declined because they worried about taking on more debt, and a recent decision by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development allows them to receive assistance under New York City’s “Build it Back” program, he wrote.

“It is critical, however, that we not overlook individuals who qualified for and accepted SBA loans because they felt they had no other options in their quest to recover,” Grimm wrote.

Grimm went on to write about the inherent unfairness of the situation.

“[I]ndividuals who acted precisely as the government suggested — use SBA loans to cover unmet disaster-related needs — are the ones who (are) being punished with additional debt.”

Well, I have to say that the situation does seem unfair. Did you qualify for an SBA loan and accept it? Do you wish you hadn’t? Let us know.

mold

Mold.

The scourge of mold spreading outside of homes abandoned by Superstorm Sandy victims has local residents expressing fear and demanding action. WPIX is reporting that while the city is professing that mold isolated to abandoned homes is relatively safe, neighbors of said homes are getting sick and don’t want to take any chances.

As homes rendered unlivable by the destruction brought upon by Sandy rot with festering mold, residents neighboring these homes believe that they are getting sick as a result. New Dorp Beach resident Dee McGrath, who came down with pneumonia for the first time ever, is a resident who has raised alarms.

“Everyone is getting sick.  There are many cases of pneumonia, many cases of infection. People are saying it’s allergies. But it is the same symptoms of toxic mold syndrome,” McGrath told WPIX.

McGrath’s neighbor Nicole Romano-Lev also has blamed mold for increasing health problems in her own family claiming that her oldest son developed allergies for the first time after Sandy.

“He ended up with hives and welts over his body, for a good six weeks after the torment because high concentration of mold.  We had him skin tested and he had severe allergy to mold,” said Romano-Lev.

In response to the concerns of residents living near abandoned homes covered in mold, the New York City Health Department issued the following statement:

“Mold in an abandoned home does not generally pose a health risk to neighbors,” the agency said.

Residents dealing with nearby mold problems aren’t buying it and non-profit “Where To Turn” leader Dennis McKeon cited the government’s spotty history when it comes to health warnings, citing the events of 9/11.

“The Health Department says there’s no problem because they want the people back in their houses. They want everybody to think everything is fine.  Same thing happened after 9/11. [The city] came out seven days after the towers fell and told everybody that ‘everything was fine, there was no danger with people going down there to work.’  Hundreds of people have died since 9/11 because of cancers they got because air quality was so bad,” McKeon said.

Congressman Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and parts of Southern Brooklyn, sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg today, urging him and the city to get active in fighting the mold problem.

“We have reached a point where the health and recovery of our constituents in these neighborhoods are being seriously jeopardized by these still-neglected structures … it is my understanding, that the City may be able to take stronger action if the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene classified these abandoned, mold-infested homes to be a threat to public health,” Grimm’s letter reads.

We were wondering how Sheepshead Bites readers were dealing with mold issues. Do you live next to an abandoned structure that is crawling with mold? Have you suffered symptoms of toxic mold syndrome? More generally, is your own home suffering from mold since Sandy? Let us know.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The company seeking to run a gas pipeline under Floyd Bennett Field and build a meter and regulating station in a historic airplane hangar there commissioned a report that found a .2 percent chance the planned facility would be flooded, even amid rising sea levels.

The Williams Transco pipeline company’s report came in response to an April 4 letter from the New York Department of State seeking reassurance that the station couldn’t be breeched after the Federal Emergency Management Agency updated its flood maps, post-Hurricane Sandy.

“Infrastructure in general was severely impacted by Sandy and NYDOS would not be adequately addressing coastal policies if we did not try to ensure that new infrastructure projects were able to withstand coastal impacts, including flooding,” Laz Benitez, an NYDOS spokesman said in an email.

Keep reading to find out Transco’s response.

Source: Free Press Pics via Flickr

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, many business and homeowners were left with tough financial decisions as to how to rebuild their lives. Many were offered loans by the Small Business Association (SBA) but rejected them because they didn’t want to incur more debt.

Because of complex bureaucratic rules, business and homeowners who rejected the SBA loans are now being denied some resources, leading politicians like Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Michael Grimm to press the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) into changing their rules, according to a press release.

Current HUD policy now demands that the amount of approved loans, including those who didn’t even accept them in the first place, are to be counted against the potential grant amounts they are eligible for in the upcoming distribution of the Community Development Block Grants. The justification of the complex rule that Schumer and Grimm are battling against was explained in the release:

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which comes in the form of a grant, not a loan, is intended to supplement other forms of available aid, and cover only “unmet need.” In determining the amount of “unmet need,” HUD regulations provide that any SBA loans for which a homeowner is approved are counted against the of unmet need.

The problem with this regulation is that it does not take into consideration the circumstances that might have led someone to reject a loan in the first place. Schumer expressed concern that this policy will hurt people who need it most.

“This policy will punish these homeowners and HUD should do everything in it power to make sure these individuals are eligible for additional federal assistance,” said Schumer.

Schumer’s concerns were shared by Grimm, according to SI Live.

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Wikipedia

Congressmen Michael Grimm and Gregory Meeks were joined by colleagues Charles Rangel, Jerrold Nadler and Eliot Engle to introduce the Flood Victim Premium Relief Act 2013 (H.R. 960), a bill which aims to delay flood insurance hikes for Superstorm Sandy victims, according to a report by SI Live.

In a release issued by Congressman Grimm, the bill extends “the premium increase timeline for primary residences in areas that have been declared a federal disaster area after July 6, 2012 from 5 years to 8 years.”

Grimm expressed the importance this bill will play in helping homeowners make it through these tough times.

“If we allow flood premiums to increase on their current schedule, based on the new maps, homeowners are going to be in an impossible position of trying to both pay their mortgage as well as increased flood premiums that may rise over $10,000 in some cases. This situation will almost certainly lead to a surge in defaults and foreclosures and cost the taxpayers vast sums via the government’s exposure to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA. Allowing an extra three years to increase premiums will give both homeowners and localities time make smart, long term flood mitigation and rebuilding plans.”

The bill, a bipartisan effort, has received support from Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.

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