Bronx Political Round Up: Sex Offenders Barred

Councilman Andy King

Council Ethics Committee Votes to Sanction CM King

The NY Post reports that Co-op City Councilman Andy King has been ordered to take sensitivity training after an ethics panel found Monday that he paid “unwanted attention” to a female staffer. The Council’s Committee on Standards and Ethics voted unanimously to sanction CM King, a Democratic lawmaker, following a two-hour session behind closed doors.

Klein Applauds Cuomo Sex Offender Proposal

On Monday, Sen. Jeff Klein released a statement praising Governor Cuomo for including prohibitions limiting sex offenders from living near preschools and inside family shelters in his 30-day budget amendments. “For years, I have worked on legislation and issued numerous reports to protect the state’s most vulnerable children from convicted, high level sexual predators who have been allowed to reside near preschools and inside family shelters. It is unbelievable that the law doesn’t protect all children through 1,000 feet residency restrictions because pre-kindergartens are not considered ‘schools’ under the law or continues to allow these ticking time bombs to reside next door to children in shelters. The Senate has passed my bills year after year to remedy these serious issues,” said Klein.

Gjonaj Under Fire for Hiring Distant Relative

Seven weeks into his gig as a city councilman, the Daily News and Common Cause slap at CM Mark Gjonaj for allegedly hiring someone he describes as a “fourth cousin” as a staffer. In the News report, Gjonaj is accused of hiring Lilyanna Pekic, “[who] he said is a fourth cousin without posting the job publicly — which ethics [watchdog Common Cause] said amounts to favoritism.” Gjonaj defended hiring Pekic because he “wanted someone who spoke both AlbaniaRubénn and English and could meet the needs of the community.” The story notes that the city’s conflict of interest law does not bar an elected official from hiring a cousin, though it does prohibit them from benefiting other relatives — spouses, domestic partners, children, parents or siblings.

CM Diaz Holds 1st For-Hire Vehicle Committee Hearing

For five hours-plus on Monday, rookie city councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr. held the first oversight hearing of the newly-created Committee on For-Hire Vehicles. The panel, chaired by Diaz, heard testimony from Taxi and Limousine Commission boss , Congressman Adriano Espaillat, and a score of livery car service owners, dollar-van operators and drivers on the topic of TLC enforcement. The hearing took place amid the backdrop of the suicide of a taxi driver outside City Hall last week. The driver — who wrote a lengthy suicide note about the “disastrous” conditions — claimed that the TLC was hounding drivers and that unregulated competition from Uber, Lyft and other ride-hail app firms devastated him financially. The NY Post reported that during a vigil for 61-year-old driver Douglas Schifter, a taxi union official revealed the suicides of two livery cab drivers in the Bronx.

Cuomo’s 30-Day Amendment Calls For Early Voting

Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed his commitment to funding early voting across New York by including it in his 30-day budget amendments. In response, NYC Votes and the NYC Campaign Finance Board’s Director of Voter Assistance Onida Coward Mayers called on voters to “visit Vote Better today to add their names to our petition and speak up for automatic voter registration and voting rights protections.” Cuomo’s office also send out an email blast urging New Yorkers to sign an online petition to tell the State Legislature to enact early voting.

AG Schneiderman Opposes Citizenship Question On 2020 Census

A coalition of attorneys general from 19 states, backed by the office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, are pushing for the rejection of a citizenship question on the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census form. Schneiderman warned the question could lead to an undercount in states like New York with large immigrant populations, thus hurting the state’s representation in Washington and lessening the federal aid the state would be due.

Speaker Heastie Says Moving Primary Election From Sept. 11 Likely

The Legislature is likely to once again move the state and local primary day from September 11, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters on Monday. The NY State of Politics blog noted that state lawmakers have in years past moved the state primary to the Thursday of that week when it falls on the anniversary of the terror attacks. This year, 9/11 is also the last day of Rosh Hashanah.

BP Diaz’s State of the Borough, Feb. 22

Bronx Borough President Rubén Diaz Jr.’s holds his 2018 State of the Borough Address in less than 10 days on Thursday, February 22, 2018, at The Bronx High School of Science. Doors open at 10:30 AM. The program begins promptly at 11:30 AM.
And if you haven’t done so already, RSVP at SOTBX 2018.

Where The Pols Are, February 13

10:00 AM – Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. joins Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. to launch the South Bronx Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, Via Verde Community Room, 700 Brook Ave., 20th floor, Bronx.

10:30 AM – The Assembly Committee on Judiciary led by Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz meets. Legislative Office Building, Room 832, Albany.

1:30 PM – New York State Legislature will begin the bi-partisan interview process of the New York State Board of Regents, Assembly Parlor, 3rd Floor Capitol, Albany.

7:00 PM – Mayor de Blasio will deliver his fifth State of the City address at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. Kings Theatre, 1027 Flatbush Av, Brooklyn.


Post updated to include lead item about the resolution of Councilman King’s ethics probe — 8:55 pm.

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