Category Archives: Politics

Larry Silverstein, World Trade Center, Port Authority New York and New Jersey

NY Officials Consider Directing Millions to World Trade Center Site

Larry Silverstein, World Trade Center, Port Authority New York and New Jersey
Unused Incentives Would be Awarded to Developer Larry Silverstein

Governor David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg may direct tens of millions of dollars in unused incentives to World Trade Center site developer Larry Silverstein, who held the lease on the Twin Towers when they collapsed and who holds the rights to build three large office buildings on the site. The Wall Street Journal reports that the funds would be directed towards the office space being erected at the former site of the Towers.

Silverstein has already been the recipient of a string of financial incentives. Reports indicate that Silverstein has received public subsidies via low-cost financing and direct aid to the tune of $1.2 billion dollars.

What do you think about building office space at the former site of the Twin Towers?

James Cavanaugh Resigns from the Battery Park City Authority

Former BPCA President Hired By State Lobbying Firm

James Cavanaugh Resigns from the Battery Park City Authority
James Cavanaugh Stands Accused of Squandering BPCA Funds

Despite being accused last month of squandering $300,000 in Battery Park City Authority funds on superfluous things like extravagant parties and lunches, former BPCA president Jim Cavanaugh is now gainfully employed at Empire Strategic Planning, a state lobbying firm.

Cavanaugh’s term as president of the BPCA spanned five years, but he stepped down from the post a month before he was accused of mismanaging finances and playing favorites; he is still eligible for retirement benefits. Cavanaugh labeled the Inspector General’s report about his activities as “nonsense” when it was released.

DNAInfo reports that Empire Strategic Planning was launched by former Republican Senator Nicholas Spano in 2007. Spano and Cavanaugh’s relationship dates back to when Cavanaugh served as Spano’s communications director early in his Senatorial career.

“With new leadership in Albany on both sides of the political aisle, this is a good time for the firm to expand our expertise and our staffing,” Spano said in a statement. “This is a particularly critical time for those seeking to navigate state and local governments, and we intend to be in a strong position to provide assistance to those who need it.”

Spano said that he is aware of the Inspector General’s report regarding Cavanaugh’s issues, but told The Daily News that he was not having reservations about hiring Cavanaugh.

What do you think of the accusations levied at Cavanaugh?

Fireman in the wreckage of the World Trade Center

9/11 Healthcare Bill Supporters Look to Garner Support

Fireman in the wreckage of the World Trade Center
An NYFD fireman in the wreckage of the World Trade Center (Photo:US Navy)

The 9/11 health-care-for-aid-workers debate rages on.  According to NBC New York and The Associated Press, supporters of a bill that would offer health care aid to workers who came down with various illnesses after working in the wreckage of the World Trade Center are hoping to garner support by displaying the badges of 29 members of the NYPD who were immersed in rescue efforts and later died from 9/11-related sickness.

The badges were put on exhibit on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Monday.

The bill would provide free health care and compensation for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, who inhaled hazardous materials after the Twin Towers fell; workers subsequently suffered from ailments like asthma, sinuses and reduced lung capacity.

The bill passed the House during Congress’ lame duck session, yet a cloud of scientific doubt hangs over the bill, though. Doctors aren’t sure how many people are sick or how many of these illnesses are actually linked to the dust from Ground Zero.

Case in point: 34-year-old police detective James Zadroga, for whom the legislation is named. Some say he died from respiratory disease, which he contracted from working at Ground Zero; the NYC medical examiner posed a different theory, saying that Zadroga’s lung issues were the result of his abuse of prescription drugs.

Additionally, some Republicans oppose the bill, which would cost $7.4 billion over 10 years, deeming it a move that would increase taxes and eliminate jobs.

What is your opinion of this bill? Is it unfair to deny 9/11 rescue workers aid after they risked their lives to try and save others?


Dogs Banned From Running Free on Battery Park Lawn

Battery Park CIty dog owners are on a short leash

Manhattan Parks Commissioner Bill Castro will probably be in the dog house with Lower Manhattan pet owners, as he has announced that the city will not allow dogs to run free and off-leash on the lawn in Battery Park. The reason for putting the kibosh on canines? The dogs and their waste could prevent other users from enjoying the spacious, open grass area, which is set for renovation next summer.  The lawn at Battery Park was previously the only large and open space downtown where dogs were allowed to run off their leashes.

Despite banning dogs from the park’s grass, Castro did say that a temporary dog run will be created on one of the park’s asphalt paths. The city will provide movable barriers and mark off over 6,000 square feet of pavement where dogs would be permitted to run and play from 6 to 9 AM daily. The Downtown Dog Owners Association is attempting to fight this decision, garnering 800 signatures along with their request to use the park lawn to exercise their pups. The DDOA says dogs are also part of the local community, and that the asphalt is brutal on paws while natural grace is the perfect surface for running. Some residents also expressed confusion as to why the Parks Department allows dogs to run off-leash in other parks but not Battery Park; size was cited as the issue.

Castro, however, will continue to meet with the DDOA about this issue. The next meeting is slated for December 13.

Do you think this Battery Park ruling is unfair to dogs and dog owners?

Defining Ground Zero beyond the footprints of the Twin Towers

9/11 Rescue Workers Accept Settlements

Defining Ground Zero beyond the footprints of the Twin Towers
Payouts for 9/11 Rescue Workers Could Total $815 Million (Credit: FEMA)

Consumer Affairs reports that 95% of the 10,000 rescue workers from the 9/11 attacks accepted a settlement providing payouts for health-related claims that were a direct result of their service for the months, even years, after the terror attacks. The rescue workers spent years entangled in litigation, but their resolve should pay off, as the agreement payout could total between $625 and $815 million when all is said and done.

A ranking scale was devised in order to determine which workers got how much. Depending on the severity and nature of their injuries and ailments, the rescue workers are divided into four tiers  and will receive payments ranging from $3,250 to$1.8 million. The lower end of the scale represents workers who endured no injury but who are forced to live with the mental and psychological trauma and stress over the fact that will eventually get sick, whereas the higher end of the scale is reserved for those with more severe health issues. Of the four tiers of injury ranking,  more than half of the plaintiffs fall into the most severely injured category and will account for 94 percent of the payout.

How much a plaintiff is financially rewarded depends on how closely their condition can be correlated to exposure to toxins present at the Ground Zero site; in what would seem counterintuitive on the surface, someone with asthma could be awarded a larger sum than someone with cancer, but that’s because asthma is a condition more closely linked to the site’s contaminants.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg deemed the settlement “a fair and just resolution of these claims, protecting those who came to the aid of this city when we needed it most.”

Does the settlement sound fair to you? Do you think the scale of injury and ratio of payout is fair or is it not scientific enough for your liking?

park 51 rendering

Park51 Developers File For $5 Million in Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Funds

park 51 rendering
Architectural rendering of Park51's planned futuristic design

Despite their efforts to educate Lower Manhattan dwellers about their plans for the Islamic community center and mosque that will be situated just two blocks from Ground Zero, Park51 developers applied for nearly $5 million in federal grants, according to The Daily Beast. The government set aside $20 billion in funds under a “community and cultural enhancement grant” program overseen by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation with the specific purpose of redeveloping lower Manhattan after the Twin Towers collapsed nearly a decade ago. Given the divided nature of New Yorkers regarding Park51, the fact that the developers filed for funding that they may or not need is expected to incite the ire of on-the-fence locals.

While the LMDC board and Park 51 officials refused to comment on the application due to confidentiality issues, Park 51, which is aiming to provide a community center for Lower Manhattan’s Muslims population, are well within their rights to apply for the grant, as the application stats that religious groups are permitted to make requests as long as they submit “for a facility or portion of a facility that is dedicated to non-religious activities or uses.” A source familiar with the application claims that Park 51 omitted the prayer room from their request.

Park51 maintains that its overarching goal is the “change the conversation about Muslims in America,” but sources speculate that while most Lower Manhattanites are okay with the community center being located in their backyard and a community board approved Park51 in two separate votes,  the request for public funds to develop a private property could anger residents.  Other sources indicate that Park51 doesn’t meet the funding requirements.

What do you think of Park51 requesting federal funding?

Battery Park City Spent Big on “Frivolous and Superfluous Items”

If the Battery Park City Authority is closed down, Mayor Bloomberg could take over.

Chairwoman of Community Board 1, Julie Menin, has called for the Battery Park City Authority to be “sunsetted,” according to DNAInfo.  Control of the neighborhood could be handed to Mayor Bloomberg. A state-led shut down of the organization was also suggested.

New York State Inspector General Joseph Fisch issued a press release last friday, saying the Battery Park City Authority “spent more than $300,000 on parties, lunches and gifts from 2005 to 2008, including $30,000 on employee meals, $13,000 for annual catered summer picnics and $14,000 for annual holiday parties for a 60-person staff and guests.” The release, available for download here, also notes questionable charitable donations. Between 2004 and 2008, over $4 billion was given to the Yonkers Puerto Rican Day Parade and the Queens Botanical Gardens, which “had little or no connection to BPCA’s mission.”

With such lavish spending practices in the past, and the planned rise of ground rent, should the Battery Park City Authority be closed down and the neighborhood handed over to Mayor Bloomberg?

World Trade Center bombing scene in 1993

Homeland Security Cuts to Lower Manhattan Lambasted

World Trade Center bombing scene in 1993
World Trade Center bombing scene in 1993 (Credit:

As Lower Manhattan is the only United States community to become victims of 2 terrorist attacks, Homeland Security funding cuts to our neighborhood makes little to no sense.

In light of yesterday’s admission from Feisal Shahzad proclaiming his intent to bomb the Ground Zero and/or the World Financial Center, it’s quite clear our community still stands to be a target even a decade after the 9/11 terror attacks.

In response to the continued Homeland Security cuts, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Chairperson of Community Board 1 Julie Menin have joined forces to make a public outry against the cuts.

According to an article published in this week’s Downtown Express the pair asks, “Why does New York City, one of the top terrorist targets in the world, continue each year to face cuts to its homeland security funding? Just this year, the Obama Administration, several days after the attempted plot to bomb Times Square, cut New York City’s transit security by 27% and its port security by 25%.  While the Administration argued that the $53 million in budget cuts to the city’s homeland security funding would be made up by stimulus dollars, those are one-shot funds. When the stimulus money runs out in two years, replacing those missing dollars will be a Herculean task.”

Both claim that controversy surrounding the Park51 Islamic community center has taken away the focus and concentration towards general safety in our area.

“Instead of arguing about the precise location of the Islamic center, why don’t we put aside our differences and focus on the common goal of keeping our children and all of us safe?” asks Stringer and Menin.

We can’t help but agree. The rest of the article can be read here.

Candidates on the ballot for tomorrows primary

New York City Primaries: The Who, What, When and Where

Candidates on the ballot for tomorrows primary
Some of the candidates on the ballot for tomorrows primary

Tomorrow is primary day citiwide, where several candidate seats are up for grabs.

For our district, candidates will find out who makes the ticket for the Governor, Senate and Attorney General seats in November’s general elections.

The candidates for these positions are:

Democratic Primary Ticket
Attorney General – Citywide
Richard L Brodsky
Sean Coffey
Eric R Dinallo
Kathleen M Rice
Eric T Schneiderman
United States Senator – 2 Year Unexpired Term – Citywide
Kirsten E Gillibrand
Gail Goode

Repulican Primary Ticket
Governor – Citywide
Rick A Lazio
Carl P Paladino
Lieutenant Governor – Citywide
Gregory J Edwards
Thomas V Ognibene
United States Senator – 6 Year Full Term – Citywide
Gary Berntsen
Jay Townsend
United States Senator – 2 Year Unexpired Term – Citywide
Bruce Blakeman
Joseph J DioGuardi
David Malpass

Independent Primary Ticket
Governor- Citywide
Rick A Lazio
Ralph C Lorigo
Attorney General – Citywide
Richard L Brodsky
Sean Coffey
Eric R Dinallo
Kathleen M Rice
Eric T Schneiderman
United States Senator – 2 Year Unexpired Term – Citywide
Kirsten E Gillibrand
Gail Goode

Another new addition at the polls are the voting machines themselves.

Don’t expect to pull the levers of your voting’s past as new electronic voting machines are being rolled out for tomorrow’s primary.

Introducing new voting booths have been notoriously rocky nationwide, but New York is the last state in the nation to implement the new machines as part of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) responding to Florida’s presidential voting debacle.

Polls open at 6am to find out your exact polling location (as our neighborhood as several) Visit the official NYC Board of Elections site.

Imam Feisal Abdul Raif is leading the Ground Zero mosque building efforts

Pastor Jones Falsely Alleges Imam Will Move Park51

Imam Feisal Abdul Raif is leading the Ground Zero mosque building efforts
Imam Feisal Abdul Raif is leading the Ground Zero mosque building efforts


Park51 spokesperson confirms allegations made by Pastor Jones is false on Twitter.

“Official: It is untrue that Park51 is being moved. The project is moving ahead as planned. What is being reported in the media is false.”


5:53PM UPDATE: According to the NYTimes:

Mr. Jones claimed that Mr. Rauf “has agreed to move the location.” He added:

That cannot of course happen overnight, but he has agreed to do it…. The imam has agreed to move the mosque and we have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday. And on Saturday I will be flying up there to meet with him.”

Confirmation has not been received from Park51 spokespersons or the Imam himself. Story is still developing.


We have just received word that Imam Feisal Abdul Raif has just indicated that he will move the Park51 Community Center away from its initial local at 45-51 Park Place. The location was located 2 blocks from the World Trade Center site.

In light of the nationwide call for Koran burning, Imam Feisal Abdul Raif had asked what it would take to stop the burning, and thus agreed he will be move the planned Islamic community center and mosque.

Pastor Jones made the announcement in front of nationwide media, but has not yet been confirmed by the Imam himself.

Details are pending, please stay tuned to Eyewitness News right now for their breaking coverage.