Get Flooding & Insurance Info at Senator Sanders’ Community Meeting

In the years after Superstorm Sandy, New York State Senator Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) began hosting meetings to discuss and address the flooding issues experienced by many of our residents and to plan next steps, capital projects, and funding that supports flood mitigation.

The last meeting to update the community was held in October 2016 at the Macedonia Baptist Church on Beach 67th Street, drawing many homeowners/residents mostly from the immediate Arverne area. Another event, flood insurance training workshop was held at the Peninsula Library on April 7th 2016. Four related meetings have happened in the past year and a half.

We have consistently invited the following governmental agencies to assist in presenting to the community updates and information related to flooding, flooding insurance, etc: Federal Emergency Management Agency, United States Army Corp of Engineers, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Furthermore, at our last meeting, we provided information on steps that stakeholders could take to address potential issues relating to flooding, protecting their interests. At this meeting/event, we will seek to highlight the Senator’s legislative accomplishments and his role as it relates to insurance in 2017-2018 legislative session, while also addressing current issues of flooding in the Rockaways.

Local Electeds Visit Local Tutoring Center

By Jeffrey Williams-Maisonet

ARVERNE NY- Local Electeds Donovan Richards and Gregory Meeks visited the children of the Josephine Johnson Reading Program located at St. Johns Baptist Church on Beach 74th Street in Arverne.

The Children of Josephine Johnson Reading Program have worked weekend in and weekend out to improve their grades and daily lives.

young againAbove children of the Josephine Johnson Reading Program enjoying their new laptops 

Josephine Johnson Reading Program was spearheaded by Jondrea Williams-Graves who worked tirelessly to help kids in her program succeed to the highest level of achievement.  All children who participated in her program have been notified that they’ve reached all standards necessary for promotion into their next grade desired.

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Red Horse Updates

Primetime National


Yesterday, the resistance had its first big wins in Trump’s backyard, including a stunning victory that will cause national ripples in the political landscape and shatter the foundation of Republican extremism. As you can imagine, Red Horse Strategies was proud to be at the forefront of these massive victories.

We were especially proud of the resounding win by teacher Christine Pellegrino for State Assembly on Long Island. We developed a game-changing strategy and learned valuable lessons that will be instrumental as we expand Red Horse’s footprint and engagement in the upcoming Midterm elections. This race featured a shocking swing–a nearly 40-point turnaround in deep-red Republican turf. We were proud to work with NYSUT and their political team to guide an Independent Expenditure that literally made history! We couldn’t have done this without the expert analysis and guidance of Tulchin Research, who we know will be doing more to guide progressives to big wins over the coming years.

Closer to home, we were excited to elect the 32nd Democrat to the NY State Senate. Senator Brian Benjamin is a true champion of Harlem, the Upper West Side, and El Barrio. Red Horse’s Campaigns Director Aaron Hecht worked with the Senator for 3 years as he rose from community leader to become the progressive difference-maker in the State Senate. Our entire team is so grateful to have worked with his staff, supporters, family, and friends–and look forward to working with him in the future.


The Red Horse Team

Women of City Government Endorse Marjorie Velázquez in 13th District Race

Bronx community board 10 Treasurer and community advocate Velázquez earns endorsement of Manhattan BP and 9 women in Council, including Speaker Mark-Viverito and Women’s Caucus co-chairs Rosenthal and Crowley; announcement comes amid declining representation by women in city government

Leading city officials’ support builds momentum for only woman candidate in crowded Bronx race, contrasts with anti-choice voting record and ethics issues for opponent Mark Gjonaj

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Democrat Marjorie Velázquez, candidate in the race for the Bronx 13th Council District, has earned the overwhelming support of city government’s women elected officials with the endorsement Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and nine members of the City Council, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Council Women’s Caucus co-chairs Elizabeth Crowley (D – Maspeth) and Helen Rosenthal (D – Upper West Side). The major announcement comes as Velázquez continues to build momentum as the only woman and Latina in a crowded field of eight candidates, and further contrasts her inclusive, progressive candidacy with the anti-choice record of opponent Mark Gjonaj.

“Marjorie Velázquez is a fierce leader who will fight tirelessly for the 13th District and all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “At a time when we have seen declining numbers of women on the Council, Marjorie will bring the kind of representation and advocacy we need in city government. I proudly support her election to the Council.”

“It’s an honor to receive the support of such inspirational women, who each have blazed a trail to public office in the city,” said Marjorie Velázquez. “I would say that I’m proud to be the only woman running for office in the 13th district, but the truth is that far too few women have been given the means and the opportunity to follow the example of these leaders. This needs to change, and I look forward to playing a part in changing this by becoming the next council member for the 13th district.”

With the officials’ endorsements, Velázquez earns some of her highest-profile supporters to date. The 10 officials hail from every corner of the five boroughs, and include trailblazers who were the first woman elected to represent their respective districts.

This comes amid growing concern over the anticipated decline in representation by women in the council. Four of the 13 women currently serving in the legislative body, including the Speaker, are term-limited at the end of 2017. A fifth, former councilmember Inez Dickens, vacated her seat following her election to the Assembly in November.

The endorsements serve to further contrast Velázquez with Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, her principal opponent in the council race. Gjonaj has received criticism from women’s rights groups for sending taxpayer-funded mailers touting his support for the ten-point women’s equality agenda, a suite of bills he voted against. The Bronx pol has also faced scrutiny for his use of campaign funds and office resources in support of his businesses and family members.

The full list of endorsers is as follows:

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
Council Member Margaret Chin (D – Lower Manhattan)
Council Member Rosie Mendez (D – East Village)
Council Member Helen Rosenthal (D – Upper West Side)
Council Member Elizabeth Crowley (D – Maspeth)
Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D – Corona)
Council Member Karen Koslowitz (D – Forest Hills)
Council Member Laurie Cumbo (D – Crown Heights)
Council Member Deborah Rose (D – Staten Island)

The surfers want more of your beach for less the bargan

By Jeffrey Williams-Maisonet

ARVERNE N.Y- Apparently, some may argue that the surfers do not have enough beach to totally operate. Some, of course, say it is a war against swimmers in an area where people invested close to a million dollars raising a family in Arverne.

This has been a common fight for the past year and they don’t seem to be throwing in the towel as of yet on this matter. Early last year, the surfers demanded a large amount of beach from Beach 61st-73rd Street and other parts heading west of the peninsula.

The following is a letter written by Zoey Thorson, an advocate for more surfing beaches.

Hello Neighbors!

With summer upon I us I am really concerned about surfer safety. With all of the recent press (ranging from the NYT, to the Metro to Rolling Stone Magazine) as well as surfing being so much more popular
than ever before (even Arverne by the Sea is using surfing as a selling point for townhouses and well, it’s in the Olympics.) I am super concerned that we (surfers) will be so crowded this summer that there is going to be a major increase in injuries (currently trying to gather data from St.John’s from last summer.) Last summer numerous folks headed to the E.R. with gashes in their faces from surfboard fins, among other injuries and it is only going to get worse.

Specifically, we need

1)Signs that state information on ‘Surfer Etiquette’ which equates to ‘surfer safety’ I mean… Could you imagine driving in NYC with no lines on the street, no signs, no rules for right of way? Well, that’s what surfing in the summer is like in Rockaway. There are more brand new surfers than there are experienced surfers. Often their lack of knowledge of surf etiquette leads to dangerous situations.

2)A better surfer beach layout. This winter I saw more surfers in the water than ever before. To clarify, 2 years ago I would be out in January and see 1 maybe 2, if it was really good 4 people out… This winter there were days that there were 20+ surfers on just beach 62. That is in below freezing temps… Can you imagine what it will look like once it’s warm out? and worst of all, in the winter if we have a collision, we are all adults, but in the summer there are plenty of young kids in the water learning to surf. God forbid one of them gets hurt! There needs to be more beaches for surfing, ones that surfers will surf on. Everyone in our community deserves to have access to and enjoy the ocean, and to feel safe at the beach. Surfer’s don’t need all the beaches, but a better balance needs to be worked out.
Currently the breaks from b68 to b71 barely break, and the majority of the surfers are surfing between b61 and b69, the majority of which are not surf beaches in the summer. In the summer there are schools taking up all of the beaches from 68-71 (where there are proper surfing waves) and because you can barely surf on the ones that are left, everyone crowds in at 68-71. It is a recipe for disaster. Can you imagine 20 brand new surfers in class, squished in with 20 experienced surfer, squished in with another 20 children, all between 2 jetty’s? My suggestion is either extending the ‘surfing hours’ at the other beaches. i.e. Instead of surfers having to leave the water at 10am on weekdays, maybe noon which is when other beach goers show up anyways, as well as changing the surf beaches to every other beach from 60 to 73. This would allow for all to have access to a surfing and a swimming beach within 2 blocks. As opposed to the swimmers from 68-71 not being allowed to swim at a beach near them, as well as surfers having access to a beach as well. There are over 100 beaches in Rockaway and easily 1000’s of surfers – not including the visitors… and there are only 10 surfing beaches. This just does not compute.

What Can we do?

I attended the Civic meeting for RB last month, and am curious when/where etc for our civic meeting is in Arverne? What else can we do to change this? I have emailed parks dept. but this is an urgent and pressing matter.

ROCKAWAY. You be the judge, and sound off.

  1. Should the surfers get more beach and push swimming out?
  2. Should a deal be made by the residents and surfers again to see what can be adjusted?
  3.  Forget the surfers and tell them to find another place?
  4.  This is a bad deal period.

Huge EDC Updates Concerning Rockaway


NYC Ferry
This week, City Lab highlights New York City’s push to return to the water with the launch of NYC Ferry, and features other cities’ initiatives to transport commuters via water. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reminds Brooklynites how easy NYC Ferry makes the trip from Sunset Park to the Rockaways!

The first ocean-ready vessel, which will be utilized on the Rockaway route, is expected to arrive by the end of the month! Read more in The Wave.

Rockaway Boardwalk Set to Open Next Week
This morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio and local officials toured the now completely rebuilt Rockaway Boardwalk today for a final check of the $341 million project before its opening on Memorial Day weekend. Completed under budget and on-time in three years, the new boardwalk sets a global standard for resilient shoreline design alongside the iconic Rockaway Beach!

Learn more about the project here!

New York Design Destinations You Can’t Miss This Month
NYCxDesign is underway! Don’t miss the first-ever NYCxDESIGN Tech+ Expo happening Wednesday, May 23 at 639 West 46th St and two major shows featuring all-female designers.

As part of NYCxDESIGN, the de Blasio administration announced the winners of the 35th Annual Awards for Excellence in Design, which includes the Downtown Far Rockaway Streetscape. Cornell Tech and NYCEDC received special recognition to restore and relocate three Works Progress Administration (WPA) abstract murals. Read more in the Gotham Gazette.

Interior Design offers a cool way to plan your visit to some must see designs while Azure and the New York Post offer handy guides to NYCxDESIGN 2017 events.

Also, check out Interior Design’s list of finalists for the second annual NYCxDESIGN Awards.

Senator James Sanders Jr. Hosts Legal Assistance Program For Women

State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) in partnership with the Legal Aid Society will be hosting a Legal Clinic for women at his Far Rockaway office, 1931 Mott Avenue (Suite 305), Far Rockaway, NY 11691 on Friday, June, 2, 2017 from 10 am – 2 p.m.

Many female constituents came to Sanders’ office seeking help with various legal issues related to housing, child support, legal guardianship, tenant landlord disputes, pensions, land trusts, and property taxes.

Please call Lisa George at Sanders’ Far Rockaway office at 718-327-7017 to make an appointment today. Walk-ins are welcome.

Mike Scala Announces Run For City Council

Howard Beach, NY — Michael Gennaro Scala, First Vice President of the Queens Public Transit Committee, announced early Monday morning that he will be running to represent the 32nd District of the New York City Council.

“It’s time to wage an aggressive battle for better transportation,” Scala, a South Queens attorney with experience in the private and public sectors, said. “This means working to improve and expand ferry service. It means diligently and dutifully advocating against Select Bus Service on Cross Bay and Woodhaven Boulevards, a plan that every community along the proposed route rejected. It means forcefully promoting the QueensRail to reduce the commutes working people are making to and from Midtown Manhattan by up to 45 minutes. It means never giving up the fight, even in the face of resistance.”

Aside from issues of transportation, Scala plans to focus on holding the city more accountable to communities, citing the Build It Back fiasco; stopping the warehousing of homeless families without input from local leaders and elected officials; as well as contending for better education and health care access for his constituents. His record and background prepare him well for these challenges.

As a civil litigator, Mike has successfully argued cases throughout the New York court system. Clients of his practice have included local homeowners for whom he has been able to provide legal relief. Prior to his admission to the New York State Bar, he worked for the legal department of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) as well as for the healthcare non-profit National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).

During the 201st New York State Legislature, Mike served as legal counsel and legislative director in the New York State Senate. His duties included drafting, managing and negotiating proposed laws. Several of them, including an initiative to help veterans find work in the state, passed the Senate due to his effort and pertinacity.

One such bill, requiring police reports of missing adults, was signed by the governor on September 9, 2016, and has become Section 837-F-2 of the Executive Law.

In this capacity, Mike was also involved in the state budget process, which included a $12.94 million allocation for transportation improvements in Rockaway and $10.15 million for St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.

While Scala believes the incumbent Councilmember has done an estimable job in certain respects, term limits as adopted by the people of New York City should be followed. Under current law, city officials can serve two consecutive terms. The incumbent seeks to take advantage of a loophole that allows officials elected prior to 2010 to run for an extra term — a loophole the councilmember once said we had a “moral obligation” to close.

“It comes down to what you think is right. I could easily run for three terms. But it’s about the people. They voted for term limits three times already. This is what they obviously want,” he said in a press conference as reported by The Wave newspaper.

The 32nd District covers the neighborhoods of Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach and Woodhaven.

Rep. Meeks Votes Against AHCA

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Gregory W. Meeks released the following statement after voting against the Republican’s American Health Care Act, which passed without a single Democratic vote.

Here are statements that were made from the Congressman that states the reasons behind the vote.

“Yesterday, I voted against the heartless Republican bill that would rip healthcare away from millions of Americans, including the poor, the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions. This bill would be devastating for so many and would implement what amounts to an age tax on the twenty-five millions of Americans aged 50 to 64 who have deniable health conditions. While robbing $800 billion from Medicaid and those who need it, this legislation would also discourage individuals from receiving preventive care, which we know improves health outcomes and saves us money in the long run.

“That Republicans didn’t care to wait for a score from the Congressional Budget Office sheds light on the fact that it didn’t matter to them exactly how many million Americans would suffer because of this cruel bill. It shows that Republicans prioritize giving tax breaks to billionaires while throwing millions of hard-working Americans to the wolves. This bill is wrong and I hope it will be dead on arrival in the United States Senate.”


Congressman Meeks ‘I’ve got real concerns about a cover-up’


Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) says that he has “real concerns about a coverup” surrounding the ouster of FBI Director James Comey.

“I’ve got real concerns about a coverup here,” he said Friday on MSNBC. “A coverup. [It’s] when you are asking the FBI director whether or not you’re involved in it, under investigation.”

“You have an attorney general who had to make sure that he recused himself but yet still participating in this process. It then seems to me that you try to cover up one thing, one story, from another.”
Meeks added that President Trump’s firing of Comey casts doubt on the president’s interest in understanding Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.

“The dots clearly say no, that’s not true,” he said. “It shows clearly that [Trump] does not want to get to the bottom of it and in fact he may be covering it up.”

Trump told NBC News on Thursday that he would have fired Comey regardless of a recommendation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that he dismiss the FBI chief.

Lawmakers raised questions about the timing of Comey’s ouster, giving the ongoing probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump has said he wants the FBI’s investigation to “be absolutely done properly.”

Watch video here