Political Arena

With Prez in NYC, Obamacare targeted


Donald Trump made his first official visit as president to his hometown over the weekend, fulfilling one post-election promise that he’d spend time at both his Trump Tower residence and the White House. 

But, while he and his detail were busy causing traffic jams throughout Manhattan, the House of Representatives passed measures to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. 

Efforts to replace the bill, widely considered one of the most comprehensive domestic policy victories of President Barack Obama’s administration, were stalled in March when congressional Republicans could not agree on the proposed replacement, the American Health Care Act. 

Democrats, like U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, called the bill “even worse than its predecessor,” lambasting the measures, which narrowly passed by a four-vote margin. 

“Last month, when House Republicans failed to pass the first iteration of Trumpcare, I’d hoped that the embarrassment of that failure would mark a turning point,” the 40-year congressman said in a statement. “Sadly I was wrong.”

Among the provisions of the bill that passed the House are calls for an elimination of state funding for Planned Parenthood, cost-sharing reductions for low-income consumers, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions including pregnancy, mental disorders and autism.

“Their plan is simple: pay more and get less. Not an appealing alternative,” Engel said. “How anyone can claim to be a ‘compassionate conservative’ while actively working to take health care away from another human being — and for a political end, no less — is beyond me.”


Cohen wants a new light at intersection 

The intersection of West 231st Street and Riverdale Avenue has posed an issue for pedestrians for years. 

The intersection actually features three streets: West 231st, Riverdale and Tibbett Avenue, at a “T” intersection. 

The corner began to gain some attention in February 2016 when Elisha Bird was struck by a car while walking the intersection. After a year of advocacy on the part of Bird and Councilman Andrew Cohen, the city transportation department finally made some changes to the spot where Bird was struck, installing “school safety signs” designed to slow drivers down. 

But it seems even that is not enough to calm traffic concerns at West 231st and Riverdale where 13 people — including five pedestrians — have been injured since 2010, according to the city’s Vision Zero website, which offers an interactive map of motor accidents and injuries throughout the city. 

So Cohen wrote a letter to the transportation department last week asking them put a left turn signal at the intersection to make is safer for cars to turn on the busy street. 

“The addition of a left turn signal for southbound traffic turning onto West 231st Street will make the intersection safer for drivers and pedestrians,” Cohen said in a statement. “Given how busy the intersection is and its proximity to so many public areas, I hope that the Department of Transportation will consider adding a dedicated left turn signal.”


Board members say ‘adieu’

Five members of Community Board 8 will not return this coming year after the deadline to apply for reappointment to local community boards came and went earlier this month.

They are Sergio Marquez, Arturo Guzman, Phil Friedman, Noah Friedman and Anthony Creaney, according to CB8 chair Daniel Padernacht. 

As of 2017, only Creaney was a member of more than two committees on CB8, according to the board’s website, and Guzman and Noah Friedman were not listed as members of any committees. 

Bronx borough president Rubén Díaz Jr., is expected to announce new appointees later this month.