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A Sign of Our Times

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Grand Jury Report critical of Smithtown town
gover
nments supervision
of commercial
property demolition…

The Grand Jury Report is public record and available at the link below. It is 40 pages, but double spaced, and well worth the few minutes it takes to read it.

Please feel free to share your comments with us.

Click on link for Full Report

 

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Sign of our Times

By Eric Sailor

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Thursday
Mar232017

CBO Issues Report And It's Not What Republicans Want To Hear

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has presented to Speaker Paul Ryan budgetary information on the proposed American Health Care Act with its newest amendments. The CBO stands by its previous position that millions will lose their health insurance . One significant change from the previous report is that the billions in savings projected in the March 13, 2017 report has been slashed by almost half.

The following is the CBO report sent to Congressman Paul Ryan. 

March 23, 2017

Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 

 

Dear Mr. Speaker:

At your request, the Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have prepared an estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, as posted on the website of the House Committee on Rules on

March 22, 2017, incorporating manager’s amendments 4, 5, 24, and 25.

As a result of those amendments, this estimate shows smaller savings over the next 10 years than the estimate that CBO issued on March 13 for the reconciliation recommendations of the House Committee on1Ways and Means and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The estimated effects on health insurance coverage and on premiums for health insurance are similar to those estimated for the committees’ recommendations. read the CBO report

Sunday
Mar192017

County Executive Bellone Seeks Nominations For Human Rights Awards


Bellone Invites Nominations for Human Rights Awards

Individuals, Groups Eligible for Recognition

(SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY (March 13, 2017)—Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone invites nominations for awards that honor people for their work advancing human rights.

“The Human Right’s Awards provide an opportunity to recognize individuals who, either as professionals or volunteers, have made an outstanding effort to improve the lives of others,” the County Executive said. “We want to honor those who have done so much to make positive changes in people’s lives”

On May 17, 2017, the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission will present awards to Suffolk County residents nominated including recipients of  the Elizabeth Guanill Memorial Award for Volunteerism and the Lawrence Timpa Memorial Award for Professional Service. 

Elizabeth Guanill was a community activist, volunteering countless hours to work within the local Hispanic communities. Ms. Guanill served as chairperson of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission for many years. She was a lifelong role model for the young people and a mentor to many individuals within her community. This award will be given to honor an individual who, as a volunteer, exemplifies the pursuit of human rights for all people.

The Timpa Award honors a person whoin his or her professional life, has responded to violations of human rights and/or has sought to change institutional structures that have restricted full participation by all people.

The Suffolk County Human Rights Commission will also present the Human Rights Award for Making a Difference in Education award to a person, school group or organization for promoting human rights and social justice within the school and/or its surrounding community, and the Human Rights Community-Based Organizations Award will be given to a non-profit community-based organization for their support, commitment and dedication to the advancement of human and civil rights.

The organization will honor the winners at its human rights awards dinner May 17 at the Villa Lombardi restaurant in Holbrook.

All nominees must be located in Suffolk County, and nominations are due by March 22.

Nominators should include the following information:

 

  • Your name, address, telephone number, and email address
  • The name, address, and phone number of your nominee
  • The Award category
  • A description of accomplishments and reason for your nomination
  • By e
  • Subject Line: “Nomination”
  • By mail: Suffolk County Human Rights Commission
  • Hauppauge, NY 11788
  • By fax: (631) 853-547
Sunday
Mar122017

Senator Gillibrand Fighting To Stop Congress From Allowing Gun Silencers

 

 

 U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), representatives from law enforcement, and gun violence prevention advocates will announce a new push to block an effort currently underway in Congress to make it easier for criminals to obtain gun silencers. Gillibrand will fight to stop legislation introduced earlier this year in the Senate (S.59) and House of Representatives (H.R. 367) to eliminate gun silencers from the requirements of the National Firearms Act, making it easier for criminals to obtain these deadly weapons, making it harder and more dangerous for law enforcement to catch criminals. 

President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. one of the leading advocates for rolling back restrictions on gun silencers and explained in a recent video he supports the change because he doesn’t want to worry about wearing hearing protection while hunting and he wants to make it easier for kids to fire guns.   

Silencers cover the sound of a gun being fired, masking the location of a gunman, making it less likely that bystanders will report the sound of gunshots, thereby impeding law enforcement to respond quickly. According to Americans for Responsible Solutions the proliferation of silencers would also diminish the effectiveness of gunshot detection systems, such as Shotspotter. These systems are now deployed in nearly 100 cities nationwide including New York City and they provide police with real-time alerts to illegal gunfire, enabling them to more safely respond to and investigate gun crime.

(Congressman Lee Zeldin is a cosponsor of this legislation)

Wednesday
Mar082017

Legislator Rob Trotta's Statement On Retroactive Promotion Of Elaine Barraga

Legislator Rob Trotta released the following statement on the retroactive promotion of Elaine Barraga. 

Nepotism at Its Best… 

Suffolk Legislator Trotta Denounces Approval of Legislation to Promote Daughter of County Legislator Retroactively for Last Six Years

When I was sworn into office as a Suffolk County Legislator, I took an oath to uphold the laws of the State of New York and Suffolk County, as did my colleagues on the Legislature and the County Executive. Apparently this oath has meant little to my fellow legislators and the County Executive as they think they are part of an elite ruling class who can make their own laws when it suits them for their own purpose. 

The law in question is the failure of the County Executive, the County Attorney and Legislator Tom Barraga to file the required legislation to promote and provide a pay raise for Elaine Barraga, in the Department of Law, who is the daughter of sitting Legislator Barraga. 

Ms. Barraga’s employment history with the County is as follows: 

  • 2010 hired, with legislative approval,  as Senior Assistant County Attorney ($89,314)
  • 2011 promoted, without legislative approval,  to Principal Assistant County Attorney ($95,030) 
  • 2014 promoted, without legislative approval, to  Deputy Bureau Chief ($115,205)
  • 2016 promoted, without legislative approval, to Bureau Chief ($150,540)  

“While I have nothing against Elaine Barraga and do not know her, I am appalled that the County Executive and County Attorney would now, when caught, introduce legislation to approve her promotions retroactively. Furthermore, I am disappointed that my colleagues see fit to support this legislation rather than uphold the laws of the Suffolk County,” said Legislator Rob Trotta. “I would expect this type of political scheming in Russia or a Third World country, but not in Suffolk County. What message does this send to the taxpayer? If you do something wrong you pay a fine, if the “ruling class does, we just change the law,” added Trotta.

“Furthermore, I find it troubling that the promotions of Ms. Barraga appear to coincide with at least two votes where Legislator Barraga voted along with Democrats on important bills,” said Trotta. “Legislator Barraga’s latest vote increased mortgage fees by $300, contradicting his previous vote in opposition to the budget that called for the increases. His vote for the fee increases enabled two Democratic legislators, who may face a tight re-election race, to vote against the fee increases even though they previously voted in support of the budget containing this and other fee hikes. The day before the vote, legislation was introduced by the County Executive to formally promote Ms. Baraga to Bureau Chief. What more can I say?” Trotta added.

During the discussion at the March 7 legislative meeting about the resolution to retroactively confirm the three promotions of Elaine Barraga, one Democratic legislator who had also voted against the mortgage increase conveniently left the room and was absent for the vote which passed 14 - 1 with Legislator Trotta voting no. 

Monday
Feb272017

Congressman Zeldin Releases Results Of One Survey Question From Telephone Town Hall

Congressman Lee Zeldin’s spokesperson Jennifer DiSiena released the results of the first of five survey questions asked during the February 23 Telephone Town Hall meeting. 

According to Ms. DiSiena the Telephone Town Hall meeting had 9,116 participants. 1,341 people responded to the first survey question asking callers to identify their priorities. The results show that health care was the number one priority for callers receiving 23 percent of the response, second was the environment receiving 18 percent, followed by immigration and border security which received 16 percent.

Ms. DiSiena has indicated that question one, about priorities, is the only result that will be publicly released. 


 

The remaining survey questions included:

Do you agree with the job I’m doing in Congress?

Do you approve of the job President Trump is doing?

Do you believe our country is on the right track or the wrong track?

What do you believe should be done with the Affordable Care Act?

Sunday
Feb262017

WWII Veteran Andrew Bongiorno Of Hauppauge To Join Congressman Zeldin's At Joint Session Of Congress

Rep. Zeldin Announces His Guest for Feb 28 Presidential Address at Joint Session of Congress

Patchogue, NY – Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) announced that he has selected Andrew Bongiorno of Hauppauge, New York, a WWII veteran, to be his guest at the President’s Address at a joint session of Congress this upcoming Tuesday, February, 28, 2017.

Mr. Bongiorno joined the Marine Corps at the age of 17. He served from 1945 – 1949, during the last year of WWII and the following three years in the Pacific, where he was stationed in China, Guam, Philippines and Pearl Harbor. Throughout his time in service, Mr. Bongiorno served in the infantry and rose to the rank of Sergeant. After returning home to New York, Mr. Bongiorno joined the Marine Reserve Air Wing in Brooklyn, NY, where he served for four more years. Unfortunately, last summer, Mr. Bongiorno was diagnosed with Stage IV Stomach cancer. He has been undergoing cancer treatment at Georgetown University Lombardi Cancer Center.

Congressman Zeldin said, “I am honored to invite Mr. Bongiorno to attend President Trump’s Address as my special guest. Mr. Bongiorno is a true patriot and fighter, and he can never be thanked enough for his service to our country as a member of our greatest generation. I look forward to the President’s Address next week as he outlines his agenda over the next four years.”

Thursday
Feb232017

Notes From Congressman Zeldin's Telephone Town Hall Meeting

Notes from Congressman Zeldin’s Telephone Town Hall meeting Feb. 23. The word from the Congressman’s staff was that the meeting would start at 7 pm. The actual start time was 7:12pm.  In a press release Wednesday, the congressman’s spokesperson Jennifer DiSiena said that 100,000 constituents in the 1st CD would receive a call inviting them to participate in the call. People were also invited to register for the call or to follow online. 

After the Telephone Town Hall meeting, Ms. DiSiena said that 9,000 plus people participated in the event.

Twelve questions were asked and answered from people on the call or online.  There were also five poll questions the Congressman asked the audience to respond to. 

Tina questioned Mr. Zeldin about the Affordable Care Act (ACA)  which he would like to repeal. Zeldin supports allowing young people to stay on their parents plan and supports coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. He talked about other areas where those covered under the ACA were limited in the number of insurers to chose from. The Congressman spoke about NY’s program Health Republic and stated that many lost coverage when Health Republic was denied rate hikes and withdrew as a provider. When questioner Jacquline asked about the challanges of repealing and replacing the ACA requirement that all people are insured, Zeldin acknowledged that it is a a difficult issue.

On the VA Zelding said he supports allowing Veterans to use their VA benefits to go to private providers.

The Congressman was asked by Meridith about his support for HR38 The  Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 - This bill amends the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms. A qualified individual must: (1) be eligible to possess, transport, or receive a firearm under federal law; (2) carry a valid photo identification document; and (3) carry a valid concealed carry permit issued by, or be eligible to carry a concealed firearm in, his or her state of residence. Additionally, the bill allows a qualified individual to carry or possess a concealed handgun in a school zone and in federally owned lands that are open to the public. He stated his support for the 2nd Amendment and spoke of the many uneforced rules on the books that make more stringent background checks unnecessary. He acknowledged that many disagree with him saying “that he will not be all things to all people.”

A woman named Cynthia asked his position on legislating that presidents must release their tax returns. Zeldin never really answered the question but went through a discussion where he said Democrats on committees are “hyper-partisan” and making this proposal every day. He expressed the sentiment that the Government Oversite Committee would treat concerns about President Trump the same way they treated concerns about President Obama. Zeldin expressed his view that many were looking to impeach the president “right out of the gate.”

A caller named Joe asked “As an American, as a Jew, how do you condone Donald Trump’s belated condemnation of the rise of anti-Semitism? The same caller asked about President Trump’s seeming anti-semetic appointment of Steve Bannon and lack of leadership on both Holocaust Day and the missed opportunity to visit the members of the burnt out mosque in Texas. Zeldin reminded the caller of a statement he issued which addressed his position.

 

Sunday
Jan292017

Congressman Zeldin Issues Statement Of Support For Pres. Trump's Executive Order


Rep. Zeldin Statement on Executive Order Temporarily Halting Entry from Certain Nations

Patchogue, NY – Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today regarding President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily halts entry from certain countries:

“I support the temporary entry restriction from certain nations until the administration, Congress and the American people know with confidence that any individual being granted admission does not pose a threat to our security. As the Executive Order correctly states, “Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.” Additionally, lawful permanent residents and green card holders should not be adversely impacted by this Executive Order. Every American has sympathy for the innocent person who is looking to come to America for a better life, but the process must without exception prioritize America’s national security first. We cannot allow someone entry until we know for sure they will not pose a risk. The ultimate humanitarian victory is to assist with efforts to stabilize these nations and eliminate the threats there to peace. With all that being said, I will be closely monitoring the execution of this EO to make sure that any misapplication is corrected immediately.”

 

Rep. Zeldin Provides Update on Stony Brook Univ Grad Student Detained at JFK Airport

Patchogue, NY – Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement providing an update today on Stony Brook University graduate student, Vahideh Rasekhi, who has been detained at JFK Airport: 

“My office and I have been directly involved in the case regarding the Stony Brook University graduate who is being detained at JFK Airport after returning to the United States from a visit to Iran. We have received confirmation that she should be released this afternoon. We will continue to monitor this situation closely to ensure that she is released.”

Lawful permanent residents and green card holders should not be adversely impacted by President Trump’s Executive Order. Additionally, the Executive Order specifically states regarding others, “Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.”