Thursday, December 31, 2015

'I'm Scared These Home Health Aides Will Kill My Mother'


Daughter Captures Alleged Abuse, Incompetence and Criminal Activity
on Video, Says No State Agencies or Elected Officials Have Provided Help


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My special guest is Ms. Monica Arroyo-Horne. The Brooklyn resident was raised in a single family home in Jamaica, New York, with her mother Naomi Davis. She spent most of her teenage years there and attended Bayside High School. Her passion for the legal field led to a position with the New York City Law Department.  After three months, she was promoted to Executive Level II Secretary and worked directly with the Corporation Counsel, Michael D. Hess. 

She is currently employed with the City of New York and attends John Jay College of Criminal Justice, as well as the College of New Rochelle, in pursuit of her Master’s Degree in Communications. During her tenure as a city employee, she held discussions with a number of New York City officials, including former mayor David Dinkins, Congressman Charles Rangel, former City Council member Charles Barron, Eric Adams, who currently serves as Brooklyn Borough President, and retired First Deputy Police Commissioner Howard Safir. She also devotes much of her time to the daily care of her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The interview was conducted on December 19, 2015.

Family photos and video footage courtesy of Monica Arroyo-Horne.

Information pertaining to this episode is available through the following links:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Governor Cuomo and Family to Honor His Late Father on Jan. 1


Statement from the Governor

“Traditionally, on the first day of each year, New York’s governors often chose to host an open house at the Executive Mansion. However, this January 1st also marks the anniversary of my father’s passing, and my family and I wish to commemorate his loss. However we would also like to continue the open house tradition, therefore, we will move the open house to Easter Sunday. At that time family and visitors will be welcome to experience the Mansion and also participate in an Easter Egg hunt which will commence a new activity and tradition that we are excited to initiate.” 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

National Security Council Notes: The Arrest of Journalists in Ethiopia

The following statement was issued today by National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price.

Having welcomed developments in Ethiopia earlier this year--including the release of several detained bloggers--that suggested increased protections for the fundamental right of free expression, we are deeply concerned by the recent arrests of other journalists in Ethiopia. We continue to urge the Ethiopian Government to build on earlier developments by strengthening free speech protections and broadening democratic progress, and note that the continued stifling of independent voices will only inhibit such progress as well as development and economic growth. 

The United States has consistently applauded Ethiopia for being a model and a voice for development in Africa, but such gains must rest on a foundation of democratic governance and respect for human rights if they are to be sustainable.  We urge the Ethiopian Government to release journalists and all others imprisoned for exercising their right to free expression, to refrain from using its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation as a mechanism to silence dissent, and to protect the rights of journalists, bloggers, and dissidents to write and speak freely as voices of a diverse nation. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Minimum Wage Increase for New York's Fast Food Workers

Three increases in the minimum wage in New York will take effect tomorrow. Workers in the fast food industry, tipped positions, and all other industries will each receive a higher wage beginning December 31 as the Governor continues to push for a $15 statewide minimum wage.

“No one who works full time should ever be condemned to a life of poverty,” said Governor Cuomo. “As we prepare to ring in the New Year, we are making a fundamental difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers across this state. I am proud to mark these milestones in the fight for fair pay for workers in fast food, tipped industries, and others – but too many home health care workers, airport workers and so many others continue to be left behind. That’s why we will continue fighting for a $15 minimum wage so that all workers can afford a decent life and a decent opportunity in New York State.”

Minimum Wage Increases

The following minimum wage increases will take effect December 31, 2015:

Overall Minimum Wage: In the third of three annual changes secured by Governor Cuomo in 2013, New York State's minimum wage will be $9.00 per hour.

Tipped Hospitality Workers: All tipped workers in the hospitality industry (food service workers, service employees and service employees in resort hotels) will be moved to the same category and rate for tipped cash wage. Effective December 31, 2015, the tipped cash wage amounts will increase from their current rates of $4.90, $5.00 and $5.65 to $7.50 per hour.

Fast Food Workers in fast food chains: In New York City, the minimum wage for workers in fast food chains (30 or more locations nationally) will be increased to $10.50 on December 31, 2015. For fast food chain workers in the rest of the State, the minimum wage will be increased to $9.75.

Minimum Wage Enforcement

Failure to comply with increased minimum wages can result in fines, charges and civil or even criminal punishment.

The Department of Labor, which enforces the minimum wage law, has fact sheets, frequently asked questions and additional resources for all employers and employees on its website:

“The Department of Labor works with employees to help them understand their rights and also works with businesses to ensure they know their responsibilities,” said Acting State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “I strongly encourage anyone with questions to use our Department’s resources to make sure they’re being paid the right wage, or paying workers properly and won’t be penalized.”

The Department will also provide one-on-one support and a streamlined reporting process to help businesses understand and come into compliance with the new rate.

A business in need of assistance or a worker with questions or who is looking to file a complaint should call: (888) 469-7365.

Backstage with Esperanza Spalding at the White House

The President and First Lady host an all-star music tribute celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act that was signed into law by President Johnson in 1965. Before taking the stage with the likes of Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Smokey Robinson, Trombone Shorty, James Taylor and more, Esperanza Spalding gave a special backstage interview and preview of her performance. Check out the full "In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of American Creativity" on PBS. 


Hillary Clinton in Portsmouth, New Hampshire


Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Donald Trump Campaign Rally in Hilton Head, South Carolina

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Bernie Sanders Campaign Rally in North Las Vegas

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

$10 Million Grant Awarded to Support Emergency Service Dispatching in New York


$10 million in Public Safety Answering Points operations grants have been awarded to municipalities across New York State. The funding, administered by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, will support 57 counties and the City of New York in improving 9-1-1 response and emergency dispatching.

“In an emergency, every second counts,” Governor Cuomo said. “With these investments we’re helping to ensure our first responders have resources they need and access to the most-up-to-date technology available in order to better respond to New Yorkers in their moment of need.”

“It is important that all New Yorkers can get the help they need quickly and easily in any type of emergency situation,” DHSES Commissioner John P. Melville said. “These grants will help counties invest in their emergency communications infrastructure and give local residents quality service and peace of mind that help will come quickly when they need it.”

The grant funding is administered by DHSES through the Public Safety Answering Points Operations Grant. PSAPs are public safety facilities where incoming calls for help are received and the process for emergency services dispatching is initiated. Throughout New York State, counties provide the majority of 9-1-1 answering and dispatching operations, and coordinate services among municipal, county and state responders. The annual grant allows for state reimbursement to counties for eligible public safety call-taking and dispatching expenses. All counties and the City of New York are eligible to apply. 

The Public Safety Answering Points Operations Grant was initiated by Governor Cuomo in 2014 and all 57 counties and the City of New York have chosen to participate again this year. The grant not only helps county operators offset their day-to-day expenses, but can also foster upgrades in call-taking and dispatching technology and investing in new services such as text messaging, data communication and improved geo-location for emergency response. Funding is non-competitive and formula-based. Monies are distributed among participating counties based on statistics reflective of a county’s operational scope, demographic factors, and emergency services call metrics. By participating in the program, counties affirm their adherence to state and national guidelines for emergency communications.

The listing of the 2015-16 PSAP Operations Awards can be viewed here.
Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Senator James Sanders Jr. Donates More Than 2,000 Web Cams to District 29 Schools

Senator Sanders is joined by District 29 Presidents' Council President, Yvette Small, District 29 Presidents' Council Recording Secretary, Karine Lawrence, the former President of the PTA Presidents' Council of District 29, Lorraine Bridges, and a young student. 
State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village) yesterday donated more than 2,000 web cams to schools in District 29, presenting the technology to the parent leadership for the district during a meeting at his office. In the future, Senator Sanders would like to expand the distribution to include other schools in Southeast Queens and the New York City area.

“We sat and dreamed together of what we want our children to be like in the 21st Century,” Sanders said. “We have said that we want to get them ready for that future mission to Mars.  Sooner or later humans are going to walk on Mars and we wanted our kids among them. With that in mind, we are going to use STEM technology, and everything else we can as a step towards that. We are going to start communicating in a 21st Century fashion.”

Sanders said the audio visual equipment could be used in many ways. A parent could get their child’s homework assignment from a teacher when they are absent from class, and teachers could show parents when their children are behaving poorly.

“Some teachers may feel bold enough to have it on all day, so that a parent can tune in at any time and see how their child is doing,” Sanders said. “That does raise a privacy concern, however, so the school has to work that out with the teacher and the parents of everyone in the classroom.”

Sanders met with District 29 Presidents' Council President, Yvette Small, the Council’s  Recording Secretary, Karine Lawrence and the former President of the PTA Presidents' Council of District 29, Lorraine Bridges.

Small explained that in the days to come the council would be creating a method for distributing the cameras which would include having parents sign a consent form taking responsibility for the equipment, and stating that it would be used for educational purposes only. “We will be periodically surveying the parents to see how it is working for them,” Small said. “We will also be surveying the children to find out how it is being used to improve their education.”

In addition, Small said, the District 29 Presidents' Council will be meeting with the District Leadership Team, to discuss the plan in greater detail. The idea for the cameras came out of a discussion at the Partnership Dinner, an annual public forum that takes place in December and provides an opportunity for District 29 principals, School Leadership Teams, superintendent,
parents and students to meet with their elected officials and discuss any educational needs the schools may have. 

“This is part of a higher level relationship we are going to have in the days to come, where my job is to help you get the resources you need to be successful, as we jointly start talking about how we are going to get our kids to Mars,” Sanders said.  “To get there, you have to have a healthy body and a healthy mind. You have to eat right and all of that, but you also have to understand math and science and technology. We want our kids to be at the cutting edge of all these things as we dedicate ourselves to creating our mission to Mars in our own district.” 

Source: The Office of New York State Senator James Sanders, Jr.