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  • Staten Island Ferry bill moves out of committee — and won’t face a veto

    By Jillian Jorgensen/Staten Island Advance 

    CITY HALL — A bill to increase Staten Island Ferry service is slated for a City Council vote Wednesday — and Mayor Michael Bloomberg won’t veto it, Councilman James Oddo told the Advance.

    The mayor won’t sign the legislation, either — instead, he’ll let the legislation lapse, meaning that 30 days after it’s sent his way by the City Council, it will become law, said Oddo, citing City Council staff.

    The mayor’s office told the Advance last week that it was reviewing the legislation, and they were sticking by that Monday.

    The mayor has previously let legislation regarding the Department of Transportation and other agencies lapse into law. It avoids the big fight and publicity of having the Council override a veto, but also signals the mayor doesn’t support something enough to sign it.

    The legislation, which increases weekend evening service within six months and boosts service to at least every 30 minutes 24/7 in May 2015, was passed out of the Transportation Committee with a vote of 11-0 Monday.

  • Staten Island Advance Editorial: Setting the record straight on Staten Island development

    By Staten Island Advance Editorial

    We do not intend to get in the middle of the Mid-Island Council battle between candidates Steve Matteo and Lisa Giovinazzo. We’ll leave that to voters in the Mid-Island district on Primary Day, Sept. 10.

    But we will weigh in on an implication made in an advertisement published in the Advance this week, in which the Giovinazzo campaign suggests that Councilman Jim Oddo is cozy with builders in New York and encouraged overdevelopment on Staten Island during the boom years

    To put it simply: Wrong.

    Mr. Oddo raged against overdevelopment on Staten Island, making enemies of many builders along the way.

    He partnered with this newspaper in a plan urging Mayor Mike Bloomberg to convene a task force to stop the reckless, rampant development, where one house was being torn down as plans were being drawn to build multiple homes in its place.

    Mr. Oddo wrote an impassioned letter to the mayor, decrying overdevelopment and pleading for his attention.

  • Oddo kicks off his campaign for Borough Hall

    By Tom Wrobleski/Staten Island Advance 

    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — It’s official: GOP City Councilman James Oddo wants to be Staten Island’s chief executive.

    “My name is Jimmy Oddo, and I am running for borough president,” Oddo told close to 500 people in the Monsignor Farrell High School gym on Sunday. “I’ve been waiting to say that for a while.”

    Speaking in front of a large banner that proclaimed “It’s A New Day,” Oddo said, “I will cherish the privilege. I will make the sacrifices. I will relish the responsibilities. I want the burden.”

    James Oddo Borough President Campaign AnnouncementOddo is a 1984 Farrell graduate, and holding the announcement event there was a homecoming for him.

    Looking to hit the ground running on Jan. 1, Oddo has assembled a think tank, led by Staten Island Economic Development Corp. head Cesar Claro and Stanley Friedman, to work up issues and initiatives.

    The group will reach out to Islanders for input.

    “There are lots of talented Staten Islanders who can really be part of this process,” said Oddo.

    Oddo has also prepared a draft list of “100 Ideas for Staten Island’s Future.”

    Among the proposals: Building 1,000 units of senior housing; creating a Borough Betterment Corps, and hiring an unpaid “surgeon general” to advise him on health issues.

  • “At last, Island’s 2 hospitals may get much needed help from City”

    Staten Island Advance, Sunday, August 30, 2009

    “Health care on Staten Island, riding a wave with the recent christening of Staten Island University Hospital’s new emergency room, may soon receive another big boost — with the city’s help.

    “Officials here are buoyed by recent meetings with the Bloomberg administration, so much so that they think there’s a good possibility that the city will soon put up collateral for the borough’s two hospital systems to obtain multi-million-dollar, low-interest, long-term loans.

    “The cash would bankroll sorely needed capital improvements, such as upgrading Richmond University Medical Center’s (RUMC) emergency room, expanding University Hospital’s health clinic on Bay Street in St. George and enhancing the hospitals’ information technology systems. It could also bolster comprehensive medical care for psychiatric patients both inside and outside hospital settings and free money for operating expenses.

    “”This has been a major goal for us,” Dr. Vincent J. Calamia, president of the Richmond County Medical Society, said. “We think it’s very important.”

    “”It’s the most confident I’ve felt walking away from any conversation I’ve had with the administration on health care,” said Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island/Brooklyn), referring to talks earlier this month.

    “Nothing’s been guaranteed, Oddo said; however, with the mayoral election just over two months away, he’s hopeful Bloomberg will give the thumbs-up — perhaps as early as next month…”

    At last Island’s 2 hospitals may get much needed help from the city

  • Oddo and Ignizio Fight Pharmacy Translation Legislation

    Council Members Oddo and Ignizio advocated against recent City Council legislation requiring certain pharmacies to provide interpretation and translation services on-demand in seven languages or face a $5,000 fine.

    They issued the following statement:

    “We can’t help but wonder when it all ends.  In the past, some in government have sought to force city agencies to provide such translation services.  Now, some are seeking to put the government’s overbearing hand into private businesses by forcing them to provide such services for free to anyone who asks.  No wonder New York is considered such an unfriendly place for businesses to operate.  What’s next?  Should we also require restaurant owners to provide menus in dozens of languages for patrons upon demand?   Should we force salons to employ translators to explain how much it costs to get a hair cut in seven different languages?  Why not force private physicians to provide such free services in their offices?

    “Ultimately, this bill will only create new avenues for the city to use its regulatory powers to fine and harass businesses.  Business owners know that once the government finds a new way to fine them that the government will gleefully take advantage of those opportunities to fill the city’s coffers.

    “We are also voting against this bill due to the negative effects it will have on consumers.  Pharmacies will do what any other businesses would do, which is pass the additional cost onto their customers.  It is ironic in a day when our representatives in Washington are arguing about how to make health care more affordable for all that New York City will institute a new law that will have the effect of raising the cost of prescription drugs.

    “While we are not generally believers in the slippery slope argument, our colleagues are starting to make us believers by endlessly proposing these counterproductive schemes.

    “The fact is that businesses will provide such services even without government fiat if doing so will help their bottom line and there is a demand for it in the community.

    “At a time when we as a city government have created a regulatory review panel to make our city a friendlier place for businesses we should not be taking one step forward and five steps back.

    “We respectfully urge Mayor Bloomberg to veto this legislation.”

    Staten Island Chain Pharmacies to Provide Translation Services

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