Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella Commending NYPD for Efforts in Carjacking Incident
Yesterday, a Staten Islander was carjacked at gunpoint while at a gas station in Richmond Valley. Due to the swift response of NYPD officers to the scene, a description of the criminal and the vehicle taken was shared with all Staten Island precincts and highway units.
It is important to note that within minutes, the NYPD were able to work with agencies across the bridge to track down the vehicle which was eventually recovered in Jersey City. This recovery also resulted in the arrest of one perpetrator involved.
This situation follows the increasing trend of crimes committed throughout New York City, specifically the recent assaults on a bodega worker, and a police officer in a Manhattan subway station.
These incidents endanger our neighborhoods and communities. We would like to take this opportunity to commend, and support, the men and women of the NYPD and surrounding agencies for their excellent work in this matter.
Borough President Vito Fossella Empanels S.I. Committee to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the United States
Borough President Vito J. Fossella announced today that he is empaneling a committee of Staten Islanders to help begin planning for our borough’s celebration of the 250th anniversary of the United States. Staten Island will join many counties across America that have already started planning for this milestone event, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. There is in fact a United States Semiquincentennial Commission helping to raise awareness about the anniversary which will officially be celebrated on July 4, 2026.
He has named Jessica B. Phillips, CEO of Historic Richmond Town, as Chairperson of the committee. He has asked that an executive committee be established followed by a larger committee enveloping a mosaic of opinions from elected officials, history teachers, civic leaders and historians.
“Staten Island is a patriotic community with deep roots in our nation’s history,” said Borough President Fossella. “We remember that it was here, on September 11, 1776, that John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Edward Rutledge met and negotiated with British Admiral Lord Howe, in a failed effort to stop the Revolutionary War. The Conference House is now one of the most celebrated historic sites in the United States. I am sure our borough will eagerly come together to plan ahead for celebrating this momentous and historic anniversary of our Nation’s birth.”
“In 2026, the United States will see the 250th year of its founding. This anniversary will be celebrated around the country,” said Jessica B. Phillips, CEO of Historic Richmond Town. “Over a third of the battles of the American Revolution were fought in New York State. Staten Island was a key instrument in the fight for independence. Staten Island will build a historic commemoration and celebration for this milestone in American democracy. It's an honor and privilege to chair this committee.”
Those who wish to submit comments and ideas to this committee can do so at America250SI@historicrichmondtown.org.
"As the author of two history books on Staten Island, I am excited for this commemoration,” said Councilman Joseph Borelli. “Few Staten Islanders are aware that our borough served as the front line of the conflict from 1776 to 1783, as was the settling of an intense political drama during its buildup. It is a story I enjoy telling, and a worthy milestone to celebrate."
“I applaud Borough President Fossella for organizing the committee celebrating the United States Semiquincentennial,” said Councilman David Carr. “Staten Island played an integral role during the Revolutionary War. Our Borough is deserving of having festivities commemorating the Declaration of Independence.”
"Love of country is at the very core of our borough and our great City,” said Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks. “I commend Borough President Fossella for taking charge in the commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the United States and I am confident that Jessica B. Phillips will lead the Committee successfully to celebrate this significant occasion."
“Staten Island is a microcosm of America in so many ways. We are a diverse borough, with people from across the globe calling Staten Island home. We have urban centers and we have rural landscapes. We are a borough of tradition and also a borough where new cultures and celebrations pop up each year,” said District Attorney Michael McMahon. “Yet perhaps most importantly, we are a borough of patriots, who have an unbridled passion for all that America has been, continues to be, and for the promises still unfulfilled. From the infancy of our nation, Staten Island has played a role in shaping America into what it is today, and I could not be more proud that our ever-spirited borough is embarking on a mission to make sure we celebrate a quarter millennium of the United States of America in true Staten Island fashion.”
“I am excited for the formation of this committee as we prepare for this momentous anniversary,” said Assemblyman Michael Cusick. In a quarter of a millennium, the United States of America has become a global leader and a symbol of the free world. I look forward to celebrating both our past and our future as a nation.”
“Staten Island is rich with Revolutionary War history, from its British occupation to the American patriots who worshipped at the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Port Richmond, to the peace talks that occurred at the Conference House in Tottenville,” said Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis. “Staten Island is a deeply patriotic community with a strong love for America. I can think of no better place, or people, to help commemorate the 250th Anniversary of our nation’s independence, celebrate the present day, and look forward to a more prosperous future."
Borough President Vito J. Fossella Urges New York To Follow New Jersey In Removing Mask Mandates For School Children
“With the Governor of New Jersey announcing that he is removing the mask mandate for school children in his state as of mid-March, I am once again urging New York State & City leaders to follow suit and eliminate the mask mandate for our school children, and allow parents to make the choice for their child.
For the last three years, Staten Islanders have gone to New Jersey for restaurants, to play youth sports, for entertainment, and other activities where there are less restrictive measures - taking their spending dollars with them which can be better spent on Staten Island.
COVID cases in New York have declined dramatically. We’ve passed the point where New York can eliminate the mandates, make masks optional, and give our kids back the freedom to learn, socialize, and enjoy being kids.”
Borough President Vito Fossella, Staten Island elected officials back Mayor Eric Adams’ position on changes to bail reform
BP Fossella, S.I Delegation Support Mayor's Position On Bail Reform
Borough President Vito J. Fossella and a bipartisan group of Staten Island elected officials announced, at a press conference Tuesday on the steps of City Hall, a united show of support to fix and improve the bail reform laws of New York State and work with Mayor Eric Adams to make the city safer.
Joining BP Fossella in giving remarks were District Attorney Michael McMahon, Councilman Joe Borelli and Councilman David Carr who all specifically addressed the provision that would grant judges the ability to consider public safety and the dangerousness of an offender when deciding whether to remand or set bail in their case. Several Staten Island elected officials who could not attend in-person offered comments in support.
New York is the only state in the nation where judges are not permitted to consider these factors when making this crucially important decision.
The following are their full statements:
Borough President Vito J. Fossella
"We’re standing together as Democrats and Republicans, representing half a million people on Staten Island. We are sick and tired of seeing dangerous criminals being let go and end up back on our streets to commit more violent acts. We are symbolically bringing the borough of Staten Island to the doorstep of City Hall -- to give our full support to Mayor Adams' urgent plea to our Albany leaders -- give discretion to judges on potentially dangerous suspects. That singular change in the bail laws could help save lives. In neighborhood after neighborhood, in small businesses and schoolyards, in homes and apartments, it could help save lives. How many more must die? How many more widows shall we create? How many children must lose a parent? How many innocent people must be sacrificed? That is why we are compelled to speak out."
District Attorney Michael McMahon
"As Staten Island's highest ranking law enforcement officer, it is my duty to pursue justice and safety for the people of Staten Island. Yet our current bail system is wholly and uniquely inadequate in allowing law enforcement across this state to do our job as effectively as possible. When coupled with unduly burdensome and dangerous discovery laws, and the enormous flaws in the 'Raise the Age' law that allow young people to carry weapons without real consequences, it is a cocktail for chaos. It is long past time for New York to join the rest of the country in allowing Judges the discretion to consider public safety when deciding whether to set bail or remand a defendant facing charges, and long past time for the decision-makers in Albany to work with law enforcement professionals to construct a criminal justice system that is both fair and protects the law-abiding public. I commend Mayor Adams, Borough President Fossella, and my colleagues in government for raising their voices and that of our constituents on this critical issue.”
Councilman Joe Borelli, the Minority Leader
“A very small number of New Yorkers are committing the same violent crimes over and over again. And we know who they are, because we have the data, because they are arrested over and over again and they have criminal records a mile long. In these cases, we need judges to have the discretion to determine whether these individuals are too dangerous to allow back on the street. It’s way past time to change the laws in this state that restrain our judges, rather than violent criminals."
Councilman David Carr
“When laws do more to protect criminals than they do to protect the people who they victimize, there is something really wrong with the laws, and they have to be changed. Albany legislators must fix their mistakes and give our judges -- who the people elect -- the discretion to determine whether a defendant is too dangerous to be granted bail. We cannot allow the same violent criminals to victimize our residents again and again."
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis
“We are ready to work with Mayor Adams to restore public safety and are happy that he’s already reinstating the NYPD’s plainclothes unit to go after gangs and illegal guns, adding more cops to patrol our subways, and seeking changes to Albany’s botched bail law. This failed policy has led to tens of thousands of criminals being released back onto our streets to commit more crime and Governor Hochul and the state legislature must take immediate action to fix it.”
State Senator Diane Savino
"Mayor Adams has put forward a comprehensive plan to combat gun violence and reduce crime. We all have a part to play and as legislators we have a responsibility to review our laws and make changes when it is clear that public safety is at risk.”
Assemblyman Michael Cusick
“I am glad to see that Mayor Adams has made crime and public safety across the city his top priority from his first day in office. I will continue to work with the Mayor, Borough President Fossella, and the rest of my colleagues at all levels of government to address these issues together. On the state level, I have introduced legislation in the State Assembly, A6536, which would increase judicial discretion for crimes involving the possession of a firearm in New York State and allow judges to consider multiple factors when making pre-trial determinations, in an effort to address incidents of gun violence plaguing our city and state.”
Assemblyman Michael Tannousis
"Bad policy and lack of enforcement by tying the hands of our police has resulted in a public safety crisis in New York. Our skyrocketing crime and murder rates are absolutely unacceptable. As a prosecutor, I saw first hand what it takes to keep our communities safe and it starts with returning to common sense public safety policy and holding criminals accountable for their actions."
Assemblyman Charles Fall
“Legislating is all about trial and error -- especially when introducing new concepts/laws in our state. There was a need for bail reform in our state, being that black and brown communities were unfairly penalized by our criminal justice system without due process. After the implementation of bail reform, we have identified some adverse impacts and the state legislature needs to acknowledge and act in order to make sure we mitigate any possible reoffenders from being released back into our communities.”
Assemblyman Michael Reilly
“Far too often, Albany lawmakers are concerned with making New York the 'first in the nation,' but I’ve maintained from the beginning that we ought to be passing laws that make New York the 'best in the nation.' Criminal Justice Reform, which included the elimination of cash bail, is a product of that 'first in the nation' mentality. As a former Lieutenant with the New York City Police Department, I understand the consequences of Albany’s weak-on-crime policies far too well. This is what they’ve sacrificed public safety over. I’ve joined many of my colleagues over the past two years to advocate for the restoration of public safety. In fact, I’ve even introduced legislation that would address these concerns. If passed, these bills would allow judicial discretion based on dangerousness, extend the discovery period, permit immediate bench warrants for failure to appear for hate crimes, place restrictions on desk appearance tickets, and increase penalties for adolescent offenders caught in possession of a loaded gun. Each day that passes without action to address the matter at hand is a failure of this government’s primary responsibility to protect its citizens.”