City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is following in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s health-crusading footsteps, announcing a new crackdown today–on kiddie meals.
Ms. Quinn said that, if she wins the mayor’s race, she wants to force chain restaurants that already post their calorie counts to set new restrictions on kids’ menus and happy meals, more in line with the standards the USDA sets for school lunches.
On Wednesday, Anthony Weiner became the latest official to embark on the “Food Stamp Challenge,” where privileged politicians live on just $31.08 a week–or $1.48 per meal–to raise awareness of the hardships faced by those living in poverty.
“In New York City, there’s an enormous amount of need right under our nose,” said Mr. Weiner, who intends to participate for a week, and said he started the day with nothing but a cup of tea for breakfast–which he’d dunked repeatedly to try to capture maximum caffeine.
That might explain why Mr. Weiner–usually brimming with confidence and at no loss for words–seemed strangely unprepared, requesting a press release from his spokeswoman and reading directly from the page until he found his groove in the midst of the pricey green market in Union Square, surrounded by $6 pints of strawberries, $8 rhubarb pies and artisanal cheeses that likely wouldn’t last him through the day.
oh no he didn't
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has staunchly defended New York City’s practice of fingerprinting low income residents as a prerequisite for receiving federal food stamp benefits, but it looks like Governor Andrew Cuomo will be implementing a new set of regulations to end the practice.
“There is never an excuse for letting any child in New York go to bed hungry,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement released this afternoon. “For too long, requiring finger imaging from those eligible for food stamp benefits has created an unnecessary barrier to participation in the program, causing a negative stigma and keeping food off the table for those in need. By removing this barrier, additional New Yorkers in need will be able to access the benefits they deserve without having to submit to this unneeded and burdensome requirement.”
At his executive budget presentation in Queens this morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo reiterated his call to stop New York City from requiring food stamp applicants to submit to fingerprinting. Governor Cuomo’s push to stop fingerprinting is one of his only plans that has drawn opposition from Mayor Michael Bloomberg who argued fingerprinting isn’t a deterrent to prospective food stamp applicants and is necessary to prevent fraud. In his speech today, Governor Cuomo said that argument hasn’t swayed him.
“Flipside of the argument is, well, fingerprinting helps detect fraud. I understand that, I understand that. My position is this; there are many ways to detect fraud, especially nowadays, you don’t need fingerprinting,” Governor Cuomo said in his speech. “If fingerprinting is stopping people from applying for foodstamps so children are going to bed hungry, let’s do away with fingerprinting and let’s do away with fingerprinting now. Let’s make sure no child goes to bed hungry in New York.”
Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. defended Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s policy of requiring food stamp applicants to submit fingerprints in a Facebook post this afternoon. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he wants to stop food stamp fingerprinting in his State of the State address Wednesday arguing that it deters some people from signing up for the program. Councilman Vallone took issue with the idea people feel stigmatized by fingerprinting.
“I was fingerprinted to be a prosecutor,” wrote the Councilman, who worked for several years as an assistant district attorney. “I havent needed therapy at all to get over the stigma. Most city workers are fingerprinted.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave his verdict on the ambitious slate of plans for New York Governor Cuomo presented in his annual State of the State address in a press conference following the speech today. Overall, the mayor called it a “very good speech.”
“I thought the governor’s speech left us all walking out thinking it was a great hope for the state, the state is going in the right direction and it’s a challenge to all of us to put our nose to the grindstone and actually do the work,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
Mayor Bloomberg expressed support for most of Governor Cuomo’s ideas, but he did take issue with Governor Cuomo’s plan to end New York City’s program of fingerprinting food stamp applicants. Despite the disagreement, Mayor Bloomberg once again insisted the rumors of tensions between City Hall and the Governor’s Mansion are greatly exaggerated.
In his annual State of the State address today, Governor Cuomo outlined his ambitious vision for the future New York State including sweeping campaign finance reform, massive construction projects, an entirely new neighborhood built from scratch on the West Side of Manhattan, legalized casinos and a slew of new social programs. Governor Cuomo described his strategy for 2012 as an effort to build on a first year in office where he changed the culture of Albany from partisanship to constructive cooperation.