Tag Archive | "Congressman Tim Bishop"

Voters Go to the Polls Tuesday

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Congressman Tim Bishop addresses the Concerned Citizens of Montauk on Sunday, as his challenger, Lee Zeldin, listens. Michael Heller photo,

Congressman Tim Bishop addresses the Concerned Citizens of Montauk on last week, as his challenger, Lee Zeldin, listens. Michael Heller photo.

By Mara Certic

Although certain book tours and photo opportunities might suggest otherwise, the presidential election is still two whole years away. But this Tuesday, November 4, East Enders will have the opportunity to vote for several elected offices during the midterm elections.

The race to watch, however, is the same fight that took place six years ago. U.S. Representative Tim Bishop has once again found himself battling it out against Republican challenger Lee Zeldin.

Mr. Bishop, a Democrat from Southampton, was first elected in 2002. He has beaten out Republican challengers in every election since, including when he beat Mr. Zeldin in 2008 by a 58-to-42 margin.

Mr. Zeldin, who lives in Shirley, represents the 3rd District in the New York State Senate. He is a major in the United States Army Reserve who served in Iraq in 2006 with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

The politicians have faced off in dozens of debates in the past few months, and each time have offered up views that differ on practically every issue before them. Mr.  Bishop has stressed that his record of constituent service, his ability to work across the aisle, and the seniority he has achieved after 12 years in the House make him the better candidate.

Mr. Zeldin has railed against the size of the federal government, high taxes, Obamacare, and the slow pace of economic recovery and has suggested that Mr. Bishop is part of the problem.

At a candidates’ forum hosted by the Concerned Citizens of Montauk last week, Mr. Zeldin, who says he is in favor of states’ rights,  said he thought issues such as the groundwater problem on the East End would be better solved at the state and local levels while Mr. Bishop said the federal government is an essential player.

Mr. Bishop supports a woman’s right to choose and same sex marriage and Mr. Zeldin, on the other hand, voted against the Marriage Equality Act in 2011 and describes himself as pro-life.

Although Mr. Zeldin has called for spending cuts, Mr. Bishop has often pointed out that 75 cents of every federal dollar is already accounted for and that reducing spending is easier said than done and needs to be approached in a bipartisan way.

A poll taken by Newsday, News 12 and Siena College in early September showed Mr. Bishop  with a commanding 10 point lead over Mr. Zeldin, but the race is expected to be a close one.

First on the ballot this year is the race for governor and lieutenant governor where incumbent Andrew M. Cuomo and his running mate Kathy Hochul, both Democrats, will face off against Republicans Rob Astorino and Chris Moss.

Governor Cuomo, who was elected in 2010, has been criticized by his East End constituents for what they say are his unfulfilled promises and lack of leadership regarding certain PSEG and LIPA projects. Mr. Cuomo and Ms. Hochul were challenged by a pair of law professors in the Democratic primary in September.

Although Governor Cuomo won the Democratic primary, his opponent Zephyr Teachout proved to be very popular on the East End when 100 more voters in East Hampton chose the newcomer over the incumbent.

Nevertheless, polls have Mr. Cuomo with a 21-point lead over Mr. Astorino, who has been Westchester’s county executive since 2009. Mr. Moss, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, is the sheriff of Chemung County, and is the first black candidate on the GOP’s statewide ticket.

Voters will also choose the state senator and assemblyman, with incumbents Kenneth P. LaValle and Fred W. Thiele Jr. both running against opponents who have neither campaigned nor shown up to any candidate events.

Michael L. Conroy of Manorville is running against Senator LaValle on the Democratic ticket. Mr. Conroy is a member and former chairman of both the Suffolk County and Brookhaven Town Democratic Committees.

Senator LaValle, who is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party tickets, was first elected to the State Senate in 1976. A resident of Port Jefferson, Mr. LaValle has been involved in many local projects, recently has secured funding to fight Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses as well as money for other environmental and capital projects.

Sag Harbor’s Mr. Thiele has represented District 2 in the New York State Assembly since 1995 and is a sponsor of the Community Preservation Fund. Like Mr. LaValle, he has touted his ability to bring home state funding for important projects, just last week, announcing grants for the John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor and the construction of a roundabout at the five-corners intersection in East Hampton Village  A member of the Republican Party until 2009, Mr. Thiele is now a member of the Independence Party.

Running against Mr. Thiele on the Republican ticket is Heather C. Collins, a Suffolk County Board of Elections official. Also vying against Mr. Thiele is Brian J. De Sesa, on the Conservative line. Mr. De Sesa is an attorney at Edward J. Burke and Associates in Sag Harbor and also sits on the Zoning Board of Appeals in Southampton Town.

Races for state comptroller and attorney general both will see incumbents, Thomas Di Napoli and Eric Schneiderman, on the Democratic ticket facing off against Republican candidates Robert Antonacci and John Cahill. East Enders will also get a chance to vote for justice of the Supreme Court in the 10th judicial district, county court judge, family court judge, county clerk and county comptroller.

East Enders will also have to cast their votes on five different propositions on their ballots, Tuesday, with Southampton Town residents being asked to vote on a sixth.

NYS, Proposal Number 1: An Amendment, Revising the State’s Redistricting Procedure, has been written in an attempt to prevent gerrymandering. The proposed amendment would establish a new redistricting commission, on which neither legislators nor other elected officials could serve. The new procedure would also involve more public hearings and would aim to establish principles to be used when creating election districts.

NYS, Proposal Number 2: An Amendment, Permitting Electronic Distribution of State Legislative Bills, would do just that. It would allow the state to electronically send bills to legislators at their desks, instead of giving out hard copies. The amendment stipulates all legislators must be able to print out the bills, if they so choose, and that no changes can be made to the bills electronically without leaving some sort of trace.

NYS, Proposal Number 3: An Amendment, The Smart School Bond Act of 2014, would authorize the sale of up to $2 billion in state bonds in order to improve technology in schools. The money would go toward providing better access to classroom technology and high-speed internet-connectivity as well as installing smart security features in schools and modernizing classrooms.

Suffolk County Proposal Number 1: A Charter Law To Consolidate Financial Management Functions In The County Department Of Audit And Control would abolish the office of the Suffolk County Treasurer and with that, the Department of Finance and Taxation. If this proposal is approved, the county comptroller would assume all of those powers and duties on January 1, 2018.

Suffolk County Proposal Number 2: A Charter Law Amending the 1/4% Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Program (DWPP) for Enhanced Water Quality Protection, Wastewater Infrastructure And General Property Fund Tax Relief for Suffolk County would restore funds taken from the DWPP and put in place strict guidelines for future borrowing.

Residents of Southampton Town will be asked to vote on a proposition that would allow the town to swap a parcel of parkland purchased with Community Preservation Fund money for a piece of adjoining land twice the size owned by Suffolk County. This swap will allow the county to use town land to put in safety improvements at the Riverside traffic circle.




Krupski Backs Bishop

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Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, a Democrat who represents the North Fork, announced last week that he would endorse U.S. Representative Tim Bishop in his bid for a seventh term in Congress.

“I am honored to receive this endorsement from my friend and colleague, Legislator Al Krupski, a man who knows North Fork Long Island better than anyone I know,” said Mr. Bishop in a release, “Just as we share a lifelong commitment to Long Island, we share the common belief that for the farmers, fisherman and families of the East End, the environment is more than just beautiful surroundings—it’s their livelihood.”

“Congressman Bishop has done a good job fighting for the middle class and protecting the East End’s natural resources,” said Legislator Krupski.  “He understands the fragile balance between economic growth and maintaining those things that make the East End such as special place, like our farms, wineries, open space, creeks and bays.  I am happy to give Congressman Bishop my endorsement.”

Al Krupski was born and raised in Peconic. He owns and operates Krupski’s Pumpkin Farm, a fourth generation farm. Before joining the legislature, he served for 20 years as a Southold Town Trustee and seven years as a Southold Town Councilman.


Elected Officials To Pressure East Hampton Town on Ending Helicopter Crisis

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Congressman Tim Bishop answered questions about helicopter noise at a very well-attended meeting of the Noyac Civic Council on Tuesday, August 12. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Mara Certic

It was a full house at the Noyac Civic Council’s August meeting on Tuesday, as residents from all over the East End perched on desks and hovered outside open doors to hear Congressman Tim Bishop and other elected officials address the ongoing issue of helicopter noise at the East Hampton Airport.

Residents from Sag Harbor, East Hampton, North Haven, Noyac and Mattituck gathered at the Bridgehampton Community House on Tuesday, August 12 and expressed their frustration with the seemingly endless helicopter traffic that continues to plague eastern Long Island.

Elena Loreto, president of the Noyac Civic Council, played a recording of helicopter noise taken at her house to the FAA representatives who had come to answer questions and listen to grievances at Tuesday’s meeting. “This is what it’s like when you’re having company, or having a birthday party,” she said over the sound of whirring blades and engines.

Ms. Loreto complained about the “B-team” of FAA representatives who had been sent to the meeting, asked where FAA administrator Michael Huerta was, and accused them of being mute.

FAA representatives responded that Mr. Huerta was in Washington D.C. and that they would report back to him. “A lot of what we’re doing is listening to what your concerns are,” said Mark Guiod of NY TRACON. He was the only FAA official to express sympathy to the crowd and said, “what you’re experiencing just shouldn’t happen.”

“The issue we’re going to focus on is what’s in the best interest of the people that we represent,” Congressman Bishop said on Tuesday. He added that he has reached out to the senior leadership of the FAA inviting them to a meeting with Senator Charles Schumer and supervisors from the five East End towns. “We hope to have that meeting in the next week to 10 days,” he said.

Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Doherty announced loudly, “Shelter Island cannot take it anymore.” The island recently banned the taking off or landing of any helicopters other than emergency services. “What has been our reward?” he asked. “We’ve become a dustbin.”

“We’re fed up and we’re with you all the way,” he said to the crowd.

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. encouraged the masses.  “Our goal is to get the federal government to act as soon as possible,” he said, adding that they need to identify exactly what changes need to be made. “It’s not good enough to rearrange the furniture on the Titanic,” he said to great applause.

There was much discussion and some confusion throughout the meeting of the various helicopter routes, but it became apparent that no new route could provide a satisfactory result. Wainscott resident Barry Raebeck said, “Shifting helicopter routes does not solve the problem of noise and pollution. It does not even lessen the problem. It simply shifts the problem to other people. There is no such thing as an all-water route to a land-locked airport.”

The way to solve the problem, he said, “is to eliminate commercial operations at East Hampton Airport.”

Kathy Cunningham of the Quiet Skies Coalition, and countless other speakers, implored the citizens of neighboring towns to attend the next East Hampton Town Board meeting on Thursday, August 21. “They need to see this support,” she said.

When asked what chance the East Hampton Town Board had of imposing regulations on the airport, Congressman Bishop directed that question to the amassed FAA representatives. Mary McCarthy from the FAA answered that until the grant assurances expire on December 31, 2014, the town board would not be able to restrict the use of the airport except for safety reasons.

After that point, however, if the town board decided not to take anymore FAA money, the airport would be able to impose flight restrictions. Frank Dalene, who serves on the airport subcommittee of the town’s finance advisory committee, said they have found that if helicopter traffic were eliminated from the airport, it would still be able to support itself without the help of FAA money.

“The decision maker on January 1, 2015 will be the town board,” he said. He added that East Hampton lawmakers needed to know there are people who would support new regulations.

All those who spoke about the East Hampton Town Board mentioned the encouraging changes that they have seen in the new administration, including North Haven Mayor Jeff Sander. The next step, he said, is to get the board to regain control of the airport from the FAA.

“But I think there’s a much larger problem here. I’ve seen letters from the other side, and I’ve seen the distribution of those other letters,” he said, adding that every billionaire on the East End is on that distribution list, and that an expensive lawsuit will ensue.

“This is a regional problem. We’ve got to make it a regional fight,” he said.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst at this point announced that the board was planning to have a special meeting on Thursday, July 14 to pass a memorializing resolution that would support East Hampton in a decision to refuse money from the FAA. She added they are encouraged by the change in town board, and addressed the representatives of the FAA, “We should not have to worry about getting sued for making decisions that should be happening on your level,” she said.

When asked if they would support the East Hampton Town Board if they were to make this decision, both Congressman Bishop and Assemblyman Thiele said that they would support whatever decision the town makes.

“When the people lead, the leaders will follow, and I think that’s what it’s about here tonight,” Mr. Thiele said.

Editor’s note: Barry Raebeck is the father of Sag Harbor Express reporter Tessa Raebeck.

Honoring Jordan

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An anonymous online petition drive begun late last year with the goal of obtaining the Congressional Medal of Honor for Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter and his fellow marine, Corporal Jonathan Yale, who were killed in Iraq 2008 as they defended their position from a suicide truck bomber, is gaining traction.

On Sunday, U.S. Representative Tim Bishop was in town to announce at the Sag Harbor American Legion that he and Representative Robert Hurt of Virginia, who represents Corporal Yale’s family, had introduced legislation seeking a presidential review to determine whether the two marines, who have been credited with savings the lives of 50 other marines, as well as a number of Iraqi police officers, should be posthumously awarded the nation’s highest military honor.

Despite the fanfare that came with Mr. Bishop’s visit, both he and Jordan’s dad, Christian Haerter, made it clear they were not holding out a great deal of hope that the process, which must wind its way from the House Armed Services Committee to the Pentagon and finally the White House, will ultimately result in the medal being awarded.

But Mr. Haerter made it very clear that the effort has already been a success because it has helped keep the memory of his son alive. That was evident at the turnout on Sunday, just as it has been evident every July when the Wounded Warrior’s Soldier Ride passes through the village, and just as it was evident on a sad April day when Jordan’s funeral procession passed through the village.

Sag Harbor has always remembered those who have served this country in time of war, with monuments commemorating conflicts from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam scattered from Otter Pond to Marine Park, and on Windmill Beach where a memorial was erected for Jordan. And just off Jermain Avenue, in Oakland Cemetery, Jordan’s neatly tended grave, with its flags, photo and mementoes, has become something of an unofficial monument to the bloodshed in Iraq. Anyone wanting to honor his memory would do well to pay it a visit.

Sagaponack and Bridgehampton Residents Criticize Proposed Changes to Bridge Lane Bridge

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By Tessa Raebeck

Some 30 residents of Sagaponack and Bridgehampton came to the Bridgehampton Community Center last Wednesday night to express their concerns over a project they say will change the face of their home — the rehabilitation of the bridge that gives Bridge Lane its name.

Alex Gregor, highway superintendent for Southampton Town, hosted a public forum on the bridge restoration project, a multi-faceted restoration to improve safety. The project, residents say, has unnecessary changes that, in addition to altering the character of the bridge, will pose greater risk to the pedestrians who use it for crabbing, fishing and swimming.

“That bridge is part of our rapidly vanishing hometown,” said Marilee Foster, a Sagaponack farmer who serves on the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).

Lisa Duryea Thayer, a Sagaponack Village trustee, called the project “very offensive to the character of our area.”

Built in 1923, the bridge is not new to controversy. When Suffolk County owned the bridge and attempted to demolish it and replace it with a modern steel structure in the 1980s, residents fought a five-year battle to keep it, culminating successfully in 1988.

“This whole battle,” recalled Donald Louchheim, mayor of Sagaponack Village, “was fought out for exactly the same reasons that you are giving today…now in effect, the town is reneging on the commitment that it made 25 years ago.”

Costing between $890,000 and $1 million, the project would widen the two traffic lanes, repave the roadway approaching the bridge on either side, replace the guardrails, put in drainage, replace the seawalls on either side and install leaching pools — pits that absorb liquid into the soil.

“Please believe me,” Gregor told the disgruntled crowd, “I don’t like to spend a million dollars on something unless we have to.”’

The travel lanes, currently at about 8.5 feet, need to be widened to today’s standard of 10 feet, Gregor said, which would leave no room for a sidewalk on the bridge.

“I grew up next to that bridge,” said Sagaponack resident and former mayor Bill Tillotsen. “I’ve swum off of it, I’ve jumped off of it, I’ve fished off it … the sidewalk there is inadequate but without it you’re going to create a real funnel for traffic.”

Town officials began looking into funding for this project back 2005, before Gregor was in office. In 2006, an average of about 1,200 vehicles crossed over the bridge each day, according to the town.

By the time Gregor took office in 2010, he said, the town had already bonded close to half a million dollars for the rehabilitation project.

A federal grant for $500,000 was “one of the last Congressional earmarks that [Congressman] Tim Bishop got out in 2008,” Gregor said.

By accepting the federal aid, the town is required to keep the project consistent with federal and state regulations, which mandate many of the project’s elements which residents are highly critical, such as the widened lanes and new guardrails.

Cathy Gandel, co-chair of the Bridgehampton CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee), told Gregor, “you keep talking about safety — which we all want — but what makes you think that two 10-foot lanes with that guardrail [would improve safety]? People slow down now over that bridge because it’s narrow.”

“Tell the mayor and the trustees to get the cop there and write some tickets on the bridge,” Gregor responded.

Following the forum, Gandel’s husband, Earl Gandel, recalled a time in the late 1940s when international road races were held in Bridgehampton, with racers crossing over the bridge.

“We’re getting ready to change the nature of a bridge that I think a lot of people are really attached to,” Foster said. “I just feel really kicked in the face by this project because people love this place, people love the bridge.”

“I don’t think,” replied Gregor, “a 1923 bridge makes it historic, but I’m not going to insult historians in that.”

Several residents, along with Sagaponack Village’s consulting engineer Drew Brennan, asked Gregor to consider an alternative option that would make the basic repairs to the bridge without taking the federal grants that mandate the most aesthetically altering — and controversial —components of the project.

Brennan estimated that option would cost the town up to $700,000 and those in attendance asked Gregor to commit to looking into it.

“Our boards every month,” said Louchheim, “are struggling mightily to preserve as much as possible the rural and historic and scenic character of the Town of Southampton and quite frankly, the bridge is a vital part of that.”

Gregor said he and his team would consider the residents’ input and “regroup.”

“But,” he said, “I would be wrong in telling you I’m not still leaning forward.”

Linda Franke asked whether the public forum was just hosted as a gesture.

“It’s a condition and a gesture,” Gregor replied.

Bishop: Unemployment Should be Extended

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Last week, Congressmen Tim Bishop and Steve Israel called on the House Republican leadership to extend unemployment insurance benefits. The two further demanded leadership hold a vote immediately upon the House returning to session in early January.

“It is absolutely unconscionable that the leadership in the House would allow is to adjourn for the holidays while leaving so many families in danger of not being able to keep a roof over their heads or put food on the table,” said Bishop in a press release issued Friday. “The time to deliberate about extending unemployment insurance benefits has long since passed. It is time for us to act, and act swiftly to ensure that Long Island families are protected.”

“As our economy continues to recover from the worst economic downtown since the Great Depression, it’s crucial that we provide those New Yorkers who lost jobs through no fault of their own with the vital relief they deserve as they look for new employment,” said Israel. “It is unconscionable that 1.3 million people around the country are out in the cold especially during the holidays. That is why I’m standing with Rep. Bishop today to call on Congress to immediately extend Federal Unemployment Insurance.”

Without an extension, 1.3 million Americans could lose access to unemployment insurance benefits on December 28. An additional 3.5 million could lose coverage in 2014.

Southampton Rally Remembers Sandy Hook Victims, Protests Lack of Federal Legislation a Year After Tragedy

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Gun control advocates in front of Congressman Tim Bishop's Southampton office at Sandy Hook Remembrance Rally Saturday.

Gun control advocates in front of Congressman Tim Bishop’s Southampton office at Sandy Hook Remembrance Rally Saturday. (Tessa Raebeck photo).

By Tessa Raebeck

A year after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut took the lives of 20 first graders and six school employees, New York State has some of the toughest laws on gun control in the country.

But with no legislative action yet taken on the federal level, groups advocating for gun control are continuing their fight for safety laws.

Chanting “We will not forget!” members of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, States United Against Gun Violence and Organizing for Action, an advocacy group supporting President Obama’s legislative agenda, held a Sandy Hook Remembrance Rally outside Congressman Tim Bishop’s Southampton office Saturday afternoon.

Decked in hats, gloves and posters, a group of 17 advocates for gun control braved the snow to honor the victims, survivors and families of the Sandy Hook tragedy, commemorate the actions of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Congressman Bishop in the past year and call on legislators — particularly at the federal level — to do more.

Sue Hornik from States United Against Gun Violence and Sag Harbor’s Jackie Hilly, of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, spoke at the rally. They called for closing background check “loopholes,” banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, making schools safer and increasing access to mental health services.

“While sadness can be unbearable,” Hilly told the crowd, “it should also serve to embolden us to speak out against gun violence.”

The event marked the one-year anniversary of the school shooting at Sandy Hook. After Hilly and Hornik spoke, those in attendance read the names of the 26 victims, along with personal anecdotes, and rang a bell after each reading.

Ann Howard from Cutchogue read the name of Dylan Hockley, a six-year-old killed in his classroom who had “beautiful eyes and a mischievous grin” and “a love of bouncing on trampolines.”

Hilly thanked Governor Cuomo for making New York the first state to take decisive action after Newtown. The AR-15, the assault weapon used at Sandy Hook, can no longer legally be purchased in New York. Banning such weapons was one of the provisions of the New York SAFE Act, which was proposed by Governor Cuomo and adopted by the state legislature in January, less than a month after the tragedy.

“Now with the new regulations that were adopted in New York State,” explained Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., “if we don’t have the most stringent gun control measures, we’re in the top two.”

State Senator Kenneth LaValle agreed New York has some of the strongest gun control laws in the nation.

“Right after Sandy Hook I think there was a sense of purpose, because young people were killed — senseless murder — in an elementary school by an individual who had mental health issues,” said LaValle, “ and indeed in every one of these mass shootings, the shooter has a mental health issue.”RaebeckSandyHookRally2

The SAFE Act established provisions to help identify individuals with mental illnesses and correlate reporting of such illnesses with reporting of firearm ownership. Under the new law, a gun owner living with someone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness has a responsibility to make sure his or her guns are not available to that person.

“That’s kind of a good balancing, we believe, between rights and responsibilities,” said Hilly, “because you know, the other side is always talking about rights and rarely are they mentioning responsibilities.”

Additionally, mental health professionals are now required by law to alert police if they believe one of their patients is likely to hurt themselves or others — and that patient has a gun permit.

The SAFE Act also standardized the time period for renewal of permits across the state. Previously, Long Island and Westchester required gun owners to renew their permits every five years and New York City had a three-year requirement. Now, all of New York — including areas upstate that required renewal less frequently — has a maximum five-year permit renewal requirement (New York City can keep their three-year restriction). This sanction requires permit holders to reaffirm the facts of their permit, for example that they have not been convicted of a felony or diagnosed with a mental illness.

The SAFE Act enhanced the breadth and prevalence of background checks, limited the capacity of magazines from 10 rounds to seven and expanded the definition of assault weapons, such as the AR-15.

The law also aims to end the anonymous purchasing of large stocks of ammunition on the Internet. Rather than going online and having weapons delivered to your home with no regulation, ammunition must now be delivered to a gun dealer, who will then ask for identification (a permit is not required for ammunition).

Although the SAFE Act is a huge victory for gun control advocates, proponents say the state measures are limited by the lack of similar federal legislation. Although criminals are faced with these restrictions in New York, they can easily travel across state lines to purchase weapons and ammunition.

Since Sandy Hook, according to Congressman Bishop, on the federal level, “the short answer is nothing has happened.”

Of a number of bills introduced in the House of Representatives to help provide for gun safety, “none of them have moved at all,” said Bishop, who sponsored most of them.

In the Senate, an effort to bring up a bipartisan bill to expand background checks for people who wish to purchase firearms failed to garner the 60 votes necessary for it to be considered.

“You can still go on the Internet and buy firearms,” Bishop said Monday, “you can still go on the Internet and buy mass quantities of ammunition, you can still purchase a gun at a gun show without undergoing a background check, so basic things that ought to be put in place are not being put in place.”

“It pretty much breaks down on party lines,” added the Democratic congressman, “Democrats want to pass gun safety legislation, Republicans refuse to.”

Bishop said much of the proposed legislation has bipartisan support, “but the leadership of the House of Representatives refuses to move any of them.”

“I don’t want to say that there’s no hope,” he said, “but I do think that the track record of the house thus far does not give cause for optimism.”

Feds Issue Disaster Declaration for New York Fishermen

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Photography by Michael Heller

On Thursday, the United States Department of Commerce declared a federal groundfish fishery disaster for New York’s fishing community after lawmakers called for action in the wake of a preliminary report that projects up to 70-percent cuts in catch limits for New England in 2013.

The cuts, to multispecies fishery such as cod and yellowtail flounder, will hard both Long Island businesses and fishermen, said lawmakers, the latter being an industry already squeezed by the catch limits and tighter regulations. Declaring a disaster allows Congress the right to appropriate funding to ease the hardships faced by New York fishermen.

The action comes after an August letter by New York Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Tim Bishop urging Department of Commerce Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank to take action.

“It is vitally important that New York is included in any disaster declaration and that our fishing communities are provided with sufficient disaster assistance to stem the adverse economic effects of potentially devastating cuts to already reduced catch limits and years of restrictive management measures,” the lawmakers wrote. “While recent reports have focused on New England states, we must emphasize the harmful impact these potential reductions will have on New York.”

“Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Bishop have fought to keep New York’s groundfishermen viable in this disaster declaration process, and have not allowed our lack of fishery council representation to silence the needs of our fishing communities,” said Bonnie Brady, Executive Director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association. “We are grateful for their voices as the bridge to disaster relief for all ground fishermen.”

The lawmakers pushed to include New York in a federal fishery disaster declaration, noting that New York’s fishing interests in New England stocks are often ignored due to its underrepresentation on the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC). Many of New York’s fish stocks are regulated by this council, which will weigh in later this year on catch limits for 2013.

Bishop to Hold Deferred Action Seminar

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On Friday, September 14 at 7 p.m. Congressman Tim Bishop will host a forum on the new immigration policy giving some undocumented youth relief from deportation from of the United States.

The forum will be held in the community room of the Bridgehampton National Bank at 2200 Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. It will feature a presentation from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Field Office in Holtsville on the new policy, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Under the policy, which was enacted by President Barack Obama on June 18, certain youth who were brought to the United States as young children will be considered for relief from deportation proceedings, providing they do not present a risk to national security or public safety and meet several key criteria. Those who are eligible will qualify for work authorization for a renewable period of two years.

Nearly 30 undocumented young people eligible for relief attended a recent information forum at the Patchogue Fire House hosted by Congressman Bishop this summer.

Lawyers are not needed or required to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals and Bishop’s office urged that anyone with questions or those wishing to RSVP for the September 14 forum to contact his office at 289-6500.

Bishop Outraises Altschuler; Secures Labor Party Endorsement

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Incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop has outraised his Republican challenger Randy Altschuler, according to federal campaign finance documents released last week.

Bishop’s campaign has nearly twice as much cash on hand as Altschuler’s and the two are preparing for a rematch this fall of one of the closest Congressional races of 2010.

According to a release issued by Congressman Bishop’s camp, he outraised Altschuler by $65,000 between June 7 and June 30, collecting $192,635 in donations compared to Altschuler’s $128,383.

But Altschuler outraised the incumbent Congressman in the first three filing periods. However, Bishop currently has $1.53 million cash on hand compared to Altschuler’s $798,000.

“I’m honored and humbled by this outpouring of support,” Congressman Bishop said in a statement. “The middle class families of this district know that I am an honest, independent voice for them in Congress, and I couldn’t be more pleased by their backing.”

The news was the second solid break for Bishop, who also picked up the endorsement of the Long Island Federation of Labor last week.

In a press release issued on July 12, Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, praised Congressman Bishop’s work towards creating and retaining jobs.

“Congressman Tim Bishop knows that there is only one way to strengthen our economy, and that is through the creation and retention of good jobs,” said Cilento. “He has stood up for Project Labor Agreements and collective bargaining rights, not because it’s the politically popular thing to do, but because he understands that they ensure quality work and protect the economic well-being of workers. We need to reelect Tim Bishop, so that he can continue to fight for jobs and middle class families throughout Suffolk County and our country.”

“I’ve always put working middle class families first,” Bishop said in a statement. “Standing shoulder to shoulder with labor will help this country and this district grow from the middle class out — not the top down. I will continue to support efforts that allow workers to bargain together to improve their working conditions, improve their standard of living, and ensure quality work.”

John Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor, said Congressman Tim Bishop has worked hard to support working families of Long Island.

“We will reach out to our union membership directly and let them know the importance of keeping Tim Bishop on the job in Washington, D.C.,” Durso said.

In other campaign news, a luncheon hosted by the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce featuring Altschuler as a guest speaker on July 26 at the Hamptons Players Club has been rescheduled, according to East Hampton Chamber of Commerce Director Marina Van. The event has been rescheduled for September 20 with a location yet to be determined.

The East Hampton Chamber will host a luncheon with Congressman Bishop on August 14 at The American Hotel in Sag Harbor.