Archive for the 'Commentary' Category

WHAT EXACTLY IS MARTY GOLDEN TRYING TO “PULL”?

In Julianne Cuba’s recent article, “Marty Golden says he’s pulling for Trump,” [http://www.brooklyndaily.com/stories/2016/16/pl-golden-trump-2016-04-15-bk.html] NYS Senator Marty Golden stated that he is “leaning Donald, so let’s see what happens, whoever the Republican party supports, that’s who I will support.”

This attitude is certainly not an indication of leadership, but only an inclination towards his own interest and to make sure that he covers his bases while “waiting for things to happen,” during this very important and historic Presidential campaign.

One would expect that the only person who is supposed to represent all Republicans in Brooklyn in the State Senate in Albany would lead the charge with so many divided Republican voters. Why isn’t he choosing the Republican candidate that he believes to be helpful to the Republican Party? Does he believe that none are beneficial to the Party? OR Is he waiting to see which Presidential candidate will be more beneficial to Marty Golden?

In our opinion, Marty Golden’s convenient lack of choice, by not choosing any of the three candidates for President who are battling for delegates in NY State and in Brooklyn, is another divisive tactic that clearly indicates insecurity and lack of conviction, especially for his Republican constituents. Apparently, lack of conviction for the betterment and growth of the Brooklyn GOP has become a familiar modus operandi for our esteemed State Senator. He has become the role model for taking advantage of a situation, like many dysfunctional Albany politicians, and he is obviously looking for the best “deal,” not just for April 19, but for his own political future.

We of the Fiorello LaGuardia Republican Organization have already come out with an endorsement supporting Donald Trump. No one else has taken a definitive stand.

We are not “waiting and seeing” what will happen, nor are we waiting for opportunistic circumstances to give an endorsement to a candidate that will not imply any political risk

All the Brooklyn Republican Leaders that support the endorsement of Donald Trump for President are working very hard to send their message to all the Republicans in the districts they represent.

We are not waiting

We are taking action and do what leaders do: LEADING THE WAY!

Our message is loud and clear, We Endorse Donald Trump for President!

Lucretia Regina-Potter

Republican District Leader 46 AD

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Mr. Mayor Comes to Bay Ridge

Mr. Mayor Comes to Bay Ridge

 

By Lucretia Regina-Potter

As the Republican District Leader of the 46 Assembly District, I was compelled to attend the recent densely packed town hall meeting with Mayor de Blasio in Bay Ridge, the heart of my Assembly District. What follows are my observations and opinions of the well attended meeting. While I recognized the usual politicos and their staff filling the room, it was refreshing to see that actual concerned citizens and residents of Bay ridge were there in full force. I strongly recommend that the Mayor include the District Leaders of all political parties be invited to attend such meetings in the future. After all, District Leaders are the closest representatives of their community, and are well aware of the needs and concerns of their area. Too bad the current Assemblymember of the 46 Assembly District did not present her views on the topics discussed, and opted to sit quietly. I am sure the Bay Ridge community would have liked to know of her positions, if any, on these issues. From her lack of participation, one would assume that either she was not familiar with the topics that affect the Bay Ridge community, or she does not think that these issues are relevant. However, I feel it is my responsibility to my community to voice my concerns.

Some of the issues discussed at the meeting were the illegal conversions in Dyker Heights, sex shops posing as Spas, and the Waste Transfer station being built upon our shoreline.

A question was posed to the Mayor about property tax rates and assessments. While he stated that he would look at the tax rates, and request the City Council not raise tax rates, he skirted the assessment issue. Let us clarify the fact that property assessments are based upon the property’s market value. Market value is how much a property would sell for under normal conditions. The property’s assessment is one of the factors used by our city government to determine the amount of the property tax. Property tax rates are set by the City Council by determining the amount of taxes it needs to raise in proportion to the amount of money it needs to spend to maintain city programs.

I go into detail about this issue because the reform of illegal conversions was one of the main platforms in my recent campaign for the NYS Assembly in the 46 Assembly District. Property tax rates and assessments are important points that pertain to illegal conversions of one and two family homes, especially in Dyker Heights, into multi unit dwellings. The main bone of contention is the lack of enforcement by the city and their inaction to alleviate this burgeoning problem. In my opinion, I believe that city agencies remain inactive in dealing with illegal conversions because illegal conversions generate high profit margins to those who invest in certain areas. Homeowners are offered and paid very large sums for their one and two family homes, increasing the market value of these homes, which result in higher assessments. Thus, the higher the assessment, the higher the tax rate for the neighborhood, resulting in more money for the city’s coffers. While the Mayor stated he is aware of the situation, and has hired some new building inspectors, he also pointed out that not every complaint is a true illegal conversion. The Mayor also placed the burden of accessing these illegally converted properties onto the shoulders of the NY Fire Department. Mr. Mayor, the New York City Fire Department is there to save lives, not to generate income for the city through inspections resulting in fines and violations.

Quality of life issues regarding “Spas” acting as illegal sex shops were brought up. A resident pleaded with the Mayor to close down these “Spas,” and shut down at least one avenue of human sex trafficking. While a “follow the money” approach was the Mayor’s cookie-cutter answer for this problem, clearly more needs to be done to close these sex shops. In addition, the proliferation of Hookah lounges in Bay Ridge leads to the problems of exposing minors, especially teenagers, to the dangers of smoking. There are smoking bans throughout the city of New York, I am curious as to how and when these Hookah lounges became exempt from this law. Other quality of life issues raised were the large number of sanitation and waste treatment plants in our area, including the Waste Transfer station under construction on our neighboring shoreline. The shoreline of Brooklyn is not a dumping ground and our concerns need to be addressed and not be brushed aside. The Sanitation Commissioner clearly stated that Bay Ridge is one of the better areas in the city that follows recycling rules, and that garbage tonnage is down 5% in our area. Obviously, no good deed goes unpunished!

Many other issues and concerns of Bay Ridge still need to be addressed and discussed. It is only through participation and awareness that they can be resolved. Town Hall meetings should be more common, proliferate, and not be an occasional occurrence.

Lucretia Regina-Potter is the Republican District Leader of the 46th Assembly District and the Secretary of the Kings County Republican Party

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Illegal Conversions

Illegal conversions are not new to Brooklyn. The conversion of one and two family homes to multi family dwellings or single room occupancies have been around for almost thirty years.

In the 46 Assembly District, these conversions have been taking place on a daily basis for the past two to three years in abundance. Investors and business entities see a strong return on properties that they illegally convert to single rooms to turn a fast profit, which is driving up the cost of housing in the 46 Assembly District. This is making it almost impossible for people, especially those with young families, looking to settle and raise families in our area.

 

I attended a very crowded, standing room only, town hall meeting last March and heard many agencies shift the blame regarding responsible solutions to this ever-growing problem. Those in attendance were very angry at what they felt were the indifference and lack of real interest to illegal conversions affecting the community from these agencies. The excuse the crowd received repeatedly was that if an agency cannot gain access to the property in question they could not inspect it. While I agree that everyone has the right to privacy regarding his or her home, especially law-abiding citizens, no investor should be allowed to circumvent the law in order to turn a profit, especially at the safety and expense of their neighbors.

 

Some measures that I would enact through legislation as the Assembly member of the 46 Assembly District would be to allow easier access for inspectors to gain entry to a property in question, with fines and violations placed on the building owners that either refuse or ignore repeated inspection attempts. These fines and violations would be added to the property tax bill of the building, with cooperating legislation from the City Council, instead of just a mere violation, which must be paid in a timely manner, or the property will go into arrears. I also believe that the illegal conversions should be denied Certificate of Occupancies, prohibiting anyone from actually taking residence in the building, thus diminishing any personal injury someone may suffer in or around the property in question. Creating new building code violations is a great start, but enforcement is the key. I will introduce legislation that will empower the State of New York to step in and review all matters pertaining to the illegally converted building, and allow inspectors more powers to protect communities regarding public health and safety due to this burgeoning problem.

 

Overcrowding in Brooklyn is due to the rising costs of homes and apartments. Property value has soared in recent years because of the inflated prices investors are willing to pay for one and two family homes. The highest bidder wins out, leaving many unable to afford a decent home. As an effect, the over-assessment of the tax base of many properties due to the high sale price of these homes results in exorbitant increases in the real estate tax itself, thus pricing families out of neighborhoods and forcing some to move out or move in together resulting in overcrowding. In addition, the more people living in an area causes a strain on resources that overwhelm city services including fire, police sanitation, schools, water, and electric usage. Not to mention ever being able to find parking! I am a property homeowner in this district, I have felt, first-hand, the result of these price gauges from illegal conversions, and I have experienced it in my district hitting neighbors, friends, and families equally as hard.

 

As the Assembly member of the 46 Assembly District, I would put forward legislation for more affordable housing by increasing incentives with first time buyer programs, offering low cost financing, and focusing more on the needs of all families, immigrant or otherwise, who wish to become the pillars and foundations of the communities they live in. I would also introduce legislation regarding the over assessment of properties, basing it on the average income mean of the area rather than the sale of one single overpriced home that has detrimental financial ramifications in the community.

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