Rep. Rice, Sen. Kaminsky Urge Trump Administration To Grant Major Disaster Declaration From Tropical Storm Isaias
In response to the cost of devastation by Tropical Storm Isaias, U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice and Senator Todd Kaminsky (NY-9th District) wrote to President Donald Trump, strongly urging him to grant New York State’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for affected areas on Long Island. The storm’s cleanup costs, especially for PSEG-LI, will be tens of millions of dollars and this necessary declaration will ensure that ratepayers alone will not bear the brunt of it. The federal funding will be necessary to ensure a full recovery for the region after Tropical Storm Isaias.
Faced with recovery costs of up to $48 million on Long Island, this critical declaration will allow the federal government to provide crucial financial assistance to LIPA and communities in the region as they manage the recovery process. The declaration of a major disaster would make available necessary funds through the FEMA Public Assistance program that could be leveraged to provide reimbursements to LIPA and state and local governments, of which otherwise may be passed on to Long Island ratepayers
Kaminsky Grills Realtors on LI Housing Discrimination Practices
Senator Todd Kaminsky participated in a joint legislative hearing focused on examining the illegal and unequal treatment of homebuyers on Long Island, and the legislative response to combat discrimination. During the questioning period, Senator Kaminsky grilled a Long Island real estate agent defending his statements, caught on video as part of a Newsday investigation, of telling a prospective homebuyer that “Hispanics had taken over the neighborhood” when discussing a Long Island community.
Upon the agents’ attempt to justify his comments as a positive descriptor and explain his position that his words were intended to mean that the community was “on the rise,” Senator Kaminsky took the opportunity to eviscerate the argument with the following statement:
“On behalf of people with brains everywhere, I want to let you know how ridiculous that sounds,” said Senator Kaminsky. “When someone says ‘The Jews took over a community, or X [ethnic group] took over a community’ it’s not meant in a positive way, you know that.”
The hearing, which included the questioning of realtors, brokers, and supervisors of realty companies, including that of RE/MAX and Douglas Ellison, was meant to give individuals who did not appear during the first hearing in December 2019 the chance to testify and provide information regarding housing discrimination on Long Island. The testimonials provided included an array of finger-pointing tactics and lack of accountability that signals a need for strong legislative action and government oversight to regulate the real estate industry on Long Island.
After the Joint Hearing on Housing Discrimination Practices on Long Island, Senator Kaminsky commented, “It is clear the real estate industry is unwilling to take responsibility for the housing discrimination crisis they created on Long Island,” said Senator Todd Kaminsky. “We deserve more than finger pointing. We must take action and establish strong government oversight. Our diversity is our greatest strength and all families deserve equal access to all Long Island neighborhoods.”