Assemblywoman Margaret Markey Assemblywoman
Margaret
Markey

reports to the
people
FALL 2008

A Message from Assemblywoman Margaret Markey

Dear Neighbors:
As we gear up for another busy fall season of community, school and civic activities, I want to report to you about my work and achievements at home and in Albany to benefit New York taxpayers and families and communities in Queens. Here are some of the positive things that I’ve helped accomplish this year:

photo Assemblywoman Margaret Markey and Maspeth Federal Savings provided support for the Grand Avenue street maintenance program that is sponsored by the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce. Here, Marge Markey, Chamber President James O’Kane and David Daraio from Maspeth Federal with Doe Fund workers and their supervisor.

NYC Schools – We continued to keep the state’s commitment to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity by providing an extra $644 million to city schools, bringing this year’s funding to $8.3 billion. Reimbursement to private schools also increased by an additional $12.5 million. Support for City University of New York helped ensure there will be no tuition increases at local CUNY schools this fall.

Health Insurance – We expanded the number of new families eligible for the Child Health Plus Program to benefit uninsured children across the state. We also prevented a premium increase for those already in the program, saving needy families $24 million.

Food Safety – Three of my bills to increase the safety of the meat that is sold in our markets were adopted by the Legislature and two have already been signed by the Governor.

Stopping Sexual Predators – We adopted the e-STOP Law to make youngsters safer by regulating Internet use by sex offenders.

Protecting Our Seniors – I helped pass a new law that will protect the elderly from violence by increasing penalties for assaulting a senior. The Legislature also enacted a number of measures to protect seniors from unscrupulous debt collectors and landlords.

Summer Activity in Parks – Kids and families had months of fun in local parks and playgrounds thanks to $125,000 in state funding I provided for summer programs in the 30th Assembly District.

Traffic and Transit – After extensive deliberations, the Legislature declined to address a proposal to impose fees for traffic heading into Manhattan because it failed to deal with traffic concerns in Queens neighborhoods and other regional congestion. An MTA proposal to raise transit fares and tolls next year is a reminder that we need to continue to work to find a solution to both transit funding as well as traffic congestion

Improving Grand Avenue – There are now cleaner streets and sidewalks in the Grand Avenue commercial district thanks to the work of a Doe Fund maintenance crew, financed in part with my state funding. Our most urgent goal for this prime regional shopping area is to achieve success in our long-running campaign to get unwanted trucks off this street.

Stopping the Flooding – Since the intense flooding we suffered after torrential rains last year, I have worked closely with other officials and community leaders to force city and state officials to identify and address the underlying causes. We will continue to press these agencies to meet the commitments they are making for short and long-term solutions to the problem.

Cell Transmitters – The latest “quality of life” assault on our residential neighborhoods has come in the form of a plan to install a flagpole-style transmitter atop a residence in Maspeth. I’ve joined neighbors and community leaders to fight this plan and will continue to work with them to defeat it.

Child Sex Abuse – My bill, the Child Victims Act of New York, was overwhelmingly approved by the Assembly in June, but failed to get action by the Senate. I hope to be able to re-introduce this legislation in a new session to see that the greater justice it provides will give victims of childhood sexual abuse their day in court.

As I work on these and other issues that affect the people and the quality of life in the neighborhoods of the 30th District, my highest priority is to make life better for the residents of New York and the people of Queens.

Sincerely,
signature
Margaret Markey




Margaret Markey Provides Support for Vital Community Needs

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey

I am proud to have provided more than $1 million in state funding over the years so that local schools, community institutions and non-profit service organizations in the 30th Assembly District can provide vital programs and activities to benefit residents of all ages and needs.

These are just some of the recent programs and the committed organizations who are delivering important services in every neighborhood in my district as a result of this funding.


Providing Important Services for Seniors
  • Support for educational and recreational programming at senior centers, including Church of St. Sebastian, Maspeth Town Hall, Samaritan Village, St. Mary’s Golden Age, Maspeth Senior Center, among others.

  • Health care education and services at Selfhelp Maspeth, Selfhelp Big Six Towers, Ridgewood Gardens, Woodside Senior Center.

  • Support for senior programs and meals at New York Irish Center (LIC & Astoria).

  • Legal services, preventive law for the elderly by Community Advocacy Center.

  • Provided new van for transportation and Meals on Wheels at Woodside Senior Assistance Program and support for Selfhelp/NORC van at Big Six Towers.

  • Department of Motor Vehicles Outreach Program.


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Summer Fun in Local Parks

Assemblywoman Markey and neighborhood kids pose with one of the costumed characters who made Strawberry Field Day such a delight in Frontera Park as a summer-long program of activity began that included children’s performances and an adult fitness program. Similar programs took place in Windmuller Park, Principe/Maurice Park, Dutch Kills Playground, Bush Park and Reiff and Dutch Kills Playground.


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Assemblywoman Margaret Markey and some of the young audience show their delight after a Frontera Park performance by Puppets in the Park, one of the many activities that were presented this summer thanks to $125,000 in funding the Assemblywoman obtained so that the NYC Parks Department could bring children’s events to local parks.

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Joining Assemblywoman Markey for the entertaining summer evening concert in the Sunnyside Gardens Community Park were members of the Board of Directors of Sunnyside Gardens, including, from left: Heather Waldon, Penny Lynch, Stephen Martin, Assemblywoman Markey, Ciaran Staunton, Peter Coyne, and Scott Sorenson.



Providing for Our Children and Students
  • Early Intervention Programs for the Autistic Community by QSAC, Inc.

  • Pre-School classroom materials at Towers Play ‘N Learn.

  • Sound system for Tony Bennett Concert Hall at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.

  • Early Education, After School and Summer Youth Programs at Maspeth Town Hall.

  • Tennis instruction for elementary students at IS 204 (Dutch Kills) and PS 58 (Maspeth) through NY Junior Tennis League.

  • Youth Development Training at Woodside on the Move and Maspeth Town Hall.

  • Educational School Class visits to the State Capitol.

  • Music Education at PS 229 (Woodside) presented by Midori Foundation.

  • Queens Summer Tutoring Program by International Dyslexia Association.

  • Summer activities for youngsters and families in local parks, expanded to more than 45 different programs in 2008.

  • Affordable Performing Arts Productions presents free programs at Astoria Performing Arts Center.

  • Dental health van provided free services at PS 151 (Woodside).

  • Operation Safe Child at St. Adelbert’s School.

  • Vocational training program for mechanics with Greater American Auto Dealers.

  • Drug Prevention Programs through the RC Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.




Improving the Quality of Life in Our Communities
  • Beautification of Grand Avenue with antique light posts, flower baskets, signage and decorative street furniture, in conjunction with the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce. That work was enhanced this summer with my state funding for a street maintenance team from the Doe Fund.

  • Construction of the BQE environmental shield between 61st and 64th Streets in Woodside; now pursuing plan for environmental shield along west side LIE locations, 61st to 64th and Maurice Ave, 69th Lane to 69th St. and Grand Avenue.

  • Instrumental, along with other elected officials, in acquisition of the Brooklyn Union “gas tank” property to provide future open spacefor our community.

  • Support for housing revitalization and preservation activities by Woodside on the Move and Central Astoria Local Development Corporation.

  • Vigorously opposed proposal to sell Woodside Houses.

  • Creation of “Green Street” spaces to beautify blocks in Western Maspeth.

  • Worked to ensure that co-op and condo tax abatement was extended for four years.

  • Renovation of Windmuller Park, with new bandshell, benches, equipment, plantings.

  • Improvements at Sunnyside Gardens Park including biking/walking/jogging path and outdoor equipment.

  • Funding for Roosevelt Avenue regional transportation hub, heavily used by 30th District residents.

  • Graffiti Removal Program by Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corp.


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MEMORIAL COMMEMORATION:
Assemblywoman Markey presented a State Assembly Proclamation to Commander John R. Pesca of the Boulevard Gardens American Legion Post No. 1836 as part of the Woodside community’s annual Memorial Day program.
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TRIANGLE HONORS HIS SERVICE:
Assemblywoman Markey joined the family and friends of the late Bruce Sapienza as they renamed a public space in front of his home on 62nd Street to honor his life and his extensive community service on behalf of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce and its many special events. Here, from left are: Cathy Sapienza, Assemblywoman Markey, Kristen Sapienza and Anthony Vitacco, a long-time friend.

Making Life Better for Adults and Families
  • Free flu shots at my local 30th Assembly District Office.

  • Parenting workshops at Maspeth Town Hall.

  • Legal awareness clinics and services for low-income clients by Community Advocacy Center and Polonians Organized to Minister to Our Community (POMOC).

  • Cultural events at Senior Centers, Schools and Parks.

  • Women’s health education and services in conjunction with SHAREing and CARing, Inc. and American Cancer Society.

  • Services for immigrant residents by Emerald Isle Immigrant Center; English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for parents of Head Start students.

  • Support to Catholic War Veterans, St. Sebastian’s Post #870, to honor American veterans.

  • Veteran Resource Center and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder assistance programs through Queens Chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America.




Support for Vital Community Resources

Community institutions are vital building blocks as we all work to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. I am pleased to have provided funding, advocacy and other support to ensure that these vital institutions get the support they need to help knit our families and our blocks into communities.

  • Queens Public Library
    Our public libraries are important resources for education and pleasure for readers of all ages so I am pleased to have channeled $6 million in state funding to Queens this year. Over the past few years it has been a high priority for me to see that our local Queens Public Library branches have the most up-to-date technology and materials and I have provided funding for these projects:

    • Renovation and expansion of services at the Maspeth Library.

    • Renovation and expansion of services at the Woodside Library

    • New technology and check-in facilities at the Broadway Library.

  • Maspeth Town Hall
    This historic building has been an important community hub since 1897 and I am proud to support its wide ranging programs for all ages that serve the Greater Maspeth community. Some of the current activities my funding supports include:

    • Parenting workshops

    • After school programs

    • Holiday camp and summer camp for kids

    • Senior programming, including Art, Yoga classes and trips

    • Concert series




Positive Achievements
During 2008 Session in Albany

The Assembly achieved many important goals during the 2008 Legislative Session that ended in June. It was a time of economic challenge and political change, but we stayed focused on addressing the needs of working families and all New Yorkers.

We worked with Governor David Paterson to achieve a balanced and on-time budget, and we enacted important legislation that expands health coverage for uninsured children, provides funds to improve education, increases investment in affordable housing, prevents foreclosures, saves OTB jobs, and keeps guns out of the hands of criminals.

Despite the good work of this session, all of us in Albany are aware that there is still unfinished business on a number of other important subjects. Chief among them is the looming State budget crisis and how to deal with an increase in transit fares and tolls that has been threatened by the MTA. You can be sure these subjects will be addressed before the end of the year.

Among the legislative measures that were approved by both the Assembly and Senate and backed by the Governor during this session were:

Sub-prime Lending Protections
We faced up to the challenge of the national sub-prime mortgage crisis by passing comprehensive legislation to modify the foreclosure process. Homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments will be provided a 90-day pre-foreclosure notice and be advised of any assistance available to them. The legislation clearly defines a subprime home loan and sets standards for lenders issuing them, as well as mandating that all businesses servicing loans be registered with the state. We also addressed the need to preserve existing housing stock and the quality of our residential neighborhoods by providing funding for Woodside on the Move and the Central Astoria Development Corporation.

Funding to Ensure Quality Education in New York Schools and Support for Libraries
We secured historic school funding increases in the new state budget. The $21.4 billion education budget contained an increase of $1.75 billion over the previous year, including $450 million to expand universal Pre-K across the state. Funding also provided $78 million across the state for adult literacy education programs and libraries, including $6 million for the Queens Public Library.

World Trade Center First Responder Benefits
As a part of our commitment to ensuring adequate benefits and care for those who participated in rescue and recovery work at the World Trade Center site, first responders have now been added to the list of those eligible for health benefits. This includes state and county corrections officers, deputy sheriffs, 911 dispatchers and first responders who worked for any period of time at Ground Zero within the first 48 hours of the attack. I have provided funding to honor these brave survivors and those who were lost on that tragic day at a 9/11 memorial to be erected in New York City.

An End to Mandatory Overtime for Nurses
Occupational and patient safety in hospitals and medical facilities is enhanced by eliminating mandatory overtime for nurses, an action that will help hospitals and medical facilities retain and attract nurses, would still permit a nurse to voluntarily work overtime.

Preventing Abuse of Children and Adults in Residential Care Facilities
A legislative package to prevent abuse in state-licensed residential mental health facilities establishes clearer guidelines on what type of actions constitute abuse. The package included a bill that would create a workgroup to examine issues relating to the work hours for direct care workers including stress and overwork.

Facing Up to Child Sex Abuse Issues
As a means of ensuring safe and secure learning environments for students, a bill was adopted to require the state Education Department to revoke the applicable licenses of any teacher, teaching assistant, psychologist, social worker, administrator or supervisor convicted of a sex offense requiring registration with the state Sex Offender Registry. The Governor signed another important piece of legislation I sponsored into law earlier this year that is designed to regulate the use of the Internet by registered sex offenders. My own bill to provide justice for victims of childhood sexual abuse passed the Assembly by an overwhelming margin during the session, but was not presented for a vote in the Senate.

Preserving New York City Off-Track Betting
Our efforts to assist the struggling New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation were successful and saved 1,500 jobs, including nearly 400 in Queens, by authorizing the state to take over its board of directors and betting operations. The NYC OTB will continue operating as a public benefit corporation and its employees remain in the New York City Employee Retirement System. The city will also continue to receive a percentage of the surcharge issued on bets placed on races at Aqueduct and Belmont race tracks.

Increasing Home Care for Disabled Children
The number of significantly disabled children eligible for home-based medical care through the state’s Care at Home I/II Medicaid waiver program will be increased. This is thanks to changes in the income eligibility standards for home-based care that would otherwise be provided in a hospital or facility, including ventilator-assisted respiration, gastrostomy tube feeding and continuous monitoring.

Assisting New York’s Growing Veteran Population
To assist the growing number of New Yorkers returning from active military duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, a package of bills was adopted that will provide additional services, job training and educational programs to the state’s veterans. They include a measure authorizing the state Division of Veterans Affairs to evaluate the number of military personnel anticipated to return to New York from recent deployments and establishing a veteran program consolidation council to improve services and outreach programs for men and women who have served in foreign military operations.

Windfall Profit Tax on Big Oil Companies
Even though the Assembly passed a comprehensive legislative package to address consumer concerns over the rising cost of oil, the measures were not passed by the Senate. The Assembly wanted to recapture lost tax revenue currently being withheld by large oil companies. Under our bill, they would have been redirected to the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which helps low and moderate income New Yorkers, including elderly residents living on fixed incomes, to obtain home heating oil. We thought this could have generated as much as $406 million in revenue and included provisions prohibiting oil companies from passing along additional costs through price increases. As the summer driving season ends and the home heating season begins, the high cost of oil will continue to affect people throughout New York and is certain to continue to be an issue for the Legislature.


Assemblywoman Margaret Markey
DISTRICT OFFICE: 55-19 69th Street, Maspeth, NY 11378 • 718-651-3185
ALBANY OFFICE: Room 654, Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12248 • 518-455-4755
E-mail: markeym@assembly.state.ny.us

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