Archive for the tag 'president obama'

Source: Brook-Krasny’s office

Following President Barack Obama’s lead, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny is leading the State Assembly’s initiative to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 per hour, according to a report by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Last year, the Assembly passed a bill that raised the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour, but are now planning to amend the bill to match the raising rate of inflation and Obama’s national missive. Brook-Krasny stressed the importance of New York State taking the lead in this matter.

“While the national attention to this vitally important issue is encouraging, it’s essential that we don’t wait for Washington to take action. With overwhelming public support to increase the minimum wage here in New York State, we have to act now,” he told the Daily Eagle.

If the legislation is passed, the minimum wage will be raised to $9 per hour starting in January 2014. Food service workers who rely on tips will see their base pay increased to $6.21 per hour. The legislation will also index the minimum wage starting in 2015, so that every year, it’s adjusted to reflect the rate of inflation according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

While the bill is expected to pass in the Assembly, its future in the Senate will be tested by Republicans who argue that an increase in the minimum wage will limit job growth and weaken the economy. Brook-Krasny doesn’t agree.

“By increasing the minimum wage, working families will see a rise in their purchasing power and are likely to spend the money from their hard-earned paychecks at local businesses, helping strengthen our economy,” he said.

Via Facebook

For those watching the Presidential Inauguration yesterday it was hard not to notice the soaring and powerful solo delivered by a member of the incredible Brooklyn Tabernacle Chorus. It turns out that the young woman belting out her stunning section of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was Marine Park’s Alicia Olatuja, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

The 30-year-old from Marine Park soared above the escalating refrains of the expert choir, mixing elements of classical, jazz, gospel and pop into her fluid lilts.

“It was just so surreal,” Olatuja said. “It was such a privilege to be a part of that event, with all the members of the choir. At many moments I had to ask myself, ‘Is this really happening?’ ”

… Olatuja’s solo turn hardly ranks as her first. After graduating from music school at the University of Missouri in 2005, the St. Louis-born singer came straight to New York to plow a career.

After getting her master’s degree, she began playing city clubs from Joe’s Pub to the 92nd Street Y. Along the way, she has performed at venues as prestigious as Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Olatuja also plays in an Afro-jazz band called The Olatuja Project with her husband, Michael.

Source: Williams

The reality of the proposed Rockaways natural gas pipeline project came one step closer to fruition this week as Williams Transco, the company looking to build it, officially filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to begin the project, according to a report by Natural Gas Watch.

As we’ve previously reported, opposition to the pipeline was heated, but federal legislation signed by President Obama last month made it legal for companies like Williams Transco to do construction in Gateway National Recreational Area, a federal parkland that includes Floyd Bennett Field. The filing is only the latest formal action; Williams has been providing FERC with pre-filing reports and documentation for several years – and locals have been filing statements of opposition, too.

The pipeline, officially known as the Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project, is set to run through the Jamaica Bay wetlands, underneath Jacob Riis Park and ending at Floyd Bennett Field where a new meter and regulating station will be built in two of the park’s historic hangars.

Environmentalists and local residents have voiced opposition to the project due to fears  of the proposed new regulating station at Floyd Bennett Field being flooded in the event of another storm like Hurricane Sandy, as well as other safety, environmental and security concerns.

Williams Transco claims that the pipeline will provide much needed extra energy to New York and “supply flexibility and increased capacity to meet future incremental demand growth.”

Source: Williams

As we recently reported, the proposed construction of the Rockaways Pipeline Project crossed another hurdle towards reality when President Obama recently signed H.R. 2606, approving the measure that would connect a 3.17-mile natural gas line from the Atlantic Ocean underneath Jamaica Bay to a meter and regulating station in Floyd Bennett Field. The proposed project, which still needs the approval of the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, is still facing harsh and growing concern from residents, environmentalists, and local politicians, especially in the light of the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy, according to a report in the Gotham Gazette.

The report, which details much of what we’ve previously covered, highlights the new argument against the pipeline, growing from concerns over the risks and dangers of building a natural gas pipeline in an area already devastated by Sandy.

The damage Sandy visited upon Jamaica Bay was summed up by Dan Mundy, vice-president of Jamaica Bay Eco-Watchers,

“The Bay has taken a big hit,” [Mundy] added that “tremendous amounts” of fuel oil and debris had entered Jamaica Bay as a result of the storm, and that two freshwater ponds had breached “in a very dramatic fashion.” Mundy explained that tides had flushed out much of the oil, but he added that the post-storm period was a “critical time for mitigation”.

Local politicians have also begun speaking out against the project since the events of Superstorm Sandy. U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke emailed the Gotham Gazette stating, “Our need for independent energy cannot precede the safety of our community and environment.” State Senator Joseph Addabbo stressed the importance of  helping people of the local community recover from Sandy over starting a massive new pipeline project saying, “Doing this simultaneously with Sandy becomes a daunting task. People are trying to get their lives back.”

Another major concern are the changes that will be heading to Floyd Bennett Park should the project proceed. Karen Orlando, a local resident and member of the Floyd Bennett Garden Association told Gotham Gazette that, “This bill puts a pipeline under a popular beach and introduces private industrial use of a federal park, and it does so with no public input,” and that an “industrial infrastructure,” placed in Floyd Bennett field itself, “a couple hundred of feet from a community garden used by four to five-hundred members and their families,” would have negative impact as well.

Source: Williams

Issuing what appears to be the final nail in the coffin for opponents of the proposed natural gas Rockaway Pipeline Project, President Obama signed the New York City Natural Gas Supply Enhancement Act (H.R. 2606) this past Tuesday. Obama’s signature paves the way for the commencement of the project, which now only needs the approval of the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, according to a report by WYNC.

The proposed construction of the pipeline has faced fierce criticism from environmentalists who gathered thousands of signatures in opposition to the pipeline, and led dozens of protests.

The plan calls for a 3.17-mile pipeline connecting an existing line in the Atlantic through an underground path that cuts through the bottom of the Rockaways and Jamaica Bay to Floyd Bennett Field.

Chris Stockton, a representative of the Williams Companies, which is constructing the pipeline, promises that they will take great care in protecting Jamaica Bay telling WNYC that, “We’re not only burying it underground, but they put concrete mats over the pipe to make sure it doesn’t float to the surface, because you’re filling it with a gas. You want to make sure it doesn’t float.”

Environmentalists are concerned about the a meter and regulation station that will be built on Floyd Bennett Field. They warn that if another storm with Sandy’s power strikes the area, the field and station would be flooded.


The flag of the great state of Texas. Source:

BETWEEN THE LINES: I truly intended to steer clear of politics for this column. However, when I read about the secession effort set in motion this week in states that, by and large, voted for Mitt Romney, and then quickly spread in a few days, it induced me to stick my two cents into the fray as our nation becomes more sharply divided.

Have you heard about this post-Obama re-election foolishness? It’s even more outrageous than the lame excuses offered by embittered losers Mitt Romney, who said Obama gave gifts to liberal constituencies, and Paul Ryan, who said the urban vote hurt them. It’s even crazier than when Karl Rove went ballistic on election night and stubbornly refused to accept the Ohio voting results on the Fox News Channel.

The secession movement started in Texas — the reddest state — and, as of November 15, approximately 100,000 Lone Star residents had reportedly signed petitions requesting the peaceful withdrawal of their state from the union. Small numbers of citizens from every other state, including New York, quickly joined the movement and signed similar petitions asking to secede. Residents of a few states without a petition cheerfully signed one from another state.

They may do everything big in Texas, but this secession movement is hardly one of ’em. One hundred thousand is a drop in the bucket compared to the 26 million people in the nation’s second most populous state.

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Source: DonkeyHotey / Flickr

BETWEEN THE LINES: The presidential campaign stretched out for 18 months, yet it seemed longer — a lot longer.

I’ve had my fill of annoying attack ads. At least we won’t have to see those fact-skewing, derogatory commercials — until local campaigns emerge less than a year from now.

I’m also fed up with constant robocalls. Why is it that political calls are exempt from “Do Not Call” lists? And don’t give me that free speech explanation. That’s just a flimsy excuse when self-serving representatives fashion expedient legislation to exempt themselves, yet block solicitations from private businesses.

One thing this election demonstrated was that the nation’s melting pot population is more diverse than ever — and must be given attention. While the Democratic Party got an overwhelming majority of the minority vote, it’s going to have to work hard to maintain that base and not just count on it as their base for years to come. On the other hand, though the Republican Party is far from being washed up, as long as the GOP adheres to its horse-and-buggy manifesto, it’s likely to remain losers for years to come.

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BETWEEN THE LINES: For habitual readers of this column, it should come as no revelation as to who my preference is in Tuesday’s presidential election.

Over the last three or four months, there’s nothing former Governor Mitt Romney or Rep. Paul Ryan did to convince me to change my mind. (I’d still rather be blue than red.) As a matter of fact, most of what they or their obstructionist Republican colleagues uttered only solidified my incentive for President Barack Obama to serve another four years.

Barack Obama is the only choice, if we hope to move forward and not revert to stale Republican policies that generated the chaos — overseas and nationwide — that we’re in today.

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Source: AP Photo

BETWEEN THE LINES: When Mitt Romney became the Republican’s designated presidential nominee following his victories in the spring primaries, the party’s conservative wing seemed as lukewarm about the former governor as they were four years ago for maverick Senator John McCain. In a calculated move to counterbalance his moderate credentials, and emulating what McCain did four years ago, Romney chose Congressman Paul Ryan, a Tea Party favorite, as his vice presidential running mate.

But even that didn’t seem to matter much because, after weeks of campaigning, until the first presidential debate, Romney trailed or was tied in nearly every poll. As a matter of fact, in the days leading up to the Denver debate, a lack of enthusiasm clouded the GOP.

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The following op-ed is submitted by Alan Bellone, the Republican candidate running for Congress against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Green Party candidate Colin Beavan in the 8th Congressional District.

If you listen to the media and the news, you will hear that you do not have a choice in the upcoming election for the 8th Congressional District. This is entirely untrue. You do have a choice, and that choice is Alan Bellone.

I have lived in Brooklyn all my life. I have had the luxury of doing business in all areas of our expansive district; from Manhattan Beach to Howard Beach, from Bed-Stuy to Canarsie, from Starrett City to Clinton Hill. I have worked with people in almost every area within the district. I have watched areas go through good times and bad. Recently, I have noticed more difficult times for business owners and home owners. It’s time for a change for the better.

I worked in the corporate world for 20 years before venturing into my own business. I started as a help desk analyst and worked my way up to director of technology at a law firm. Because of the enormous responsibility that was placed in my hands, I had to quickly transform my attitude towards work. I adopted the strategy of getting my jobs done in the best and most efficient way possible.

Now, the question is “Why politics?” What makes me think that I can start in corporate politics, advance to owning my own business, and ultimately settle in Congress?

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