Adams, Williams Hold Prayer Vigil For Murder Victim
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Council Member Jumaane Williams (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) tonight will hold a prayer vigil together with community activists and clergy following the murder of 16-year-old Shemel Mercurius, who was killed last night in East Flatbush while babysitting her three-year-old cousin.
The shooting death came on this first day of Gun Violence Awareness Month. Adams and Williams will also join with family members of the Guyanese-born Mercurius to mourn her loss and urge civic leaders to take action in her memory.
“My prayers and thoughts are with Shemel Mercurius’ family. Let’s all offer prayers of peace and comfort for them during this time of mourning, over a senseless death. It’s sad and disheartening that I am issuing a statement on yet another fatal shooting, and worse that another family is in unimaginable pain and distress. Much more, we lost a 16 year old child who was at the beginning of her life,” said Williams.
“Less than 24 hours ago, I stood with what seemed the entire city’s elected officials and advocates speaking out against senseless gun violence and to launch Gun-Violence Awareness Month. We stood there, urging the City to take this epidemic seriously and to help us, help those on the front lines fighting this viral war on gun violence. And now, here we are mourning the death of a young girl, who had her life taken from her before she could experience what it really had to offer.
“This statement is not enough; the anger is not enough, and certainly words are not enough. We must continue our efforts to address the root causes of this epidemic. That includes putting all resources available to combat this pandemic. Until we are doing all we can on the federal, state, city and community level to stop this disease, our words begin to ring hollow. While this city should rightfully own the fact that murders and shootings are down, those statistics don’t help Dexter Mercurius, Shemel’s father. No more condolences or words. We need action. We needed years ago, but we would settle for now.”
The prayer vigil is slated for 7:30 p.m., tonight at 1406 Brooklyn Avenue in East Flatbush.
Treyger Gets More Parking In Gravesend
The Department of Transportation has informed City Council Member Mark Treyger (Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Gravesend) that No Parking signage located at East 2nd Street and Avenue S in Gravesend, along one side of elementary school P.S. 215, will be removed.
Treyger asked the D.O.T. to remove the sign, which reads “No Parking, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. School Days,” after he and his staff received numerous complaints from parents who faced difficulty when picking up their children after school, as well as teachers and residents who routinely faced difficulty finding parking.
The announcement comes just days after Treyger introduced new legislation in the City Council to protect drivers from parking fines and violations when relevant signage is difficult to read, damaged, or improperly installed. Treyger also successfully advocated on behalf of P.S. 101k in Gravesend last year, when he requested the DOT remove several No Standing signs around the school.
“Parents and teachers have enough on their plates. I worked with the DOT to find a common sense way to help teachers save time on their morning commute, and make sure they don’t have to wait around after school because parents cannot find parking when trying to pick up their kids. Likewise, life should not be more difficult for residents just because they live near a school,” said Treyger.
Golden, Malliotakis Laud Gov Signage of Veterans Equality Act
Bay Ridge State Senator Martin J. Golden and Bay Ridge Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis yesterday lauded Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing the Veterans Equality Act into law.
This bill provides up to three years of service credit to members of public retirement systems of the state for military service and removes the requirement that such military service occur during specified periods of hostilities.
“Equality Act. Every veteran no matter when they served deserves the respect and thanks of our State. By allowing all our veterans the opportunity to strengthen their pension will help them to enjoy their retirement years. We owe a great debt to our veterans and must continue to find ways to show our gratitude,” said Golden.
Malliotakis, who co-sponsored the measure in the assembly, said after vetoing the Veterans Equality Act for two consecutive years, she was pleased to see that the governor has finally listened to the demands of the Legislature, the public, and our veterans, and has signed it into law.
“This past weekend we paid tribute to the many brave servicemen and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect our families and our freedoms,” said Malliotakis. “There is no better way for New York to give back to these selfless heroes than allowing them to receive the benefits that they so have so honorably earned. All of our veterans should be treated equally and with the utmost respect. This law will fix a flaw that only allowed certain veterans to purchase pension service credit.”
Harris NORC Bill Passes Committee
Assemblymember Pamela Harris (Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights) saw the bill she introduced making it easier for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) to qualify for state funding pass the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.
Harris’ bill would assist NORCs by lowering the amount they are required to raise in order to secure state funding. During the 2016 state budget process, many changes were made to this important program to bring needed updates as well as support the long-term viability of individual projects. Unfortunately, the match requirement was not included in those changes.
Harris stepped in with her bill to correct this oversight. Currently, projects need to raise an amount equal to the state funding allocated in their contract. Under the proposed measure, the projects would need to raise only 25 percent of that amount.
NORCS serve low- and moderate-income seniors in communities across the city and state. Many projects cannot meet such a high match requirement and most now seek administrative waivers from Albany that take up staff time and valuable resources, noted Harris.
“These programs should not be penalized for being unable to raise huge sums of money from the building and residents they serve. The expectation to match every dollar of state funding when serving such low-income communities is concerning, and I am correcting that with this bill,” Harris said. “NORCs are a necessary lifeline for many seniors across the city. They empower seniors to be active in their communities and provide important services to those in need.”
Malliotakis Calls On Albany To Pass Opioid Abuse Legislation
Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis (Bay Ridge, Staten Island) and colleagues from the GOP Assembly Minority Conference joined parents and representatives from advocacy organizations yesterday to call on the Legislature and governor to take immediate action and pass heroin and opioid abuse legislation during the remaining nine days of legislative session.
“There is not a Democrat or Republican in the Legislature whose district has not been affected by this crisis. It is killing our youth, devastating our families and tearing our communities apart,” said Malliotakis. “We must ensure that by the end of session, June 16, we adopt legislation that provides the tools needed to save lives and put drug dealers behind bars where they belong.”
Earlier this year, the Task Force on Heroin Addiction & Community response issued ‘The Heroin Epidemic – A Report on Heroin Use, Treatment, Prevention & Education Efforts in NYS’ which included, in part, the HELP (Heroin ELimination & Prevention) Plan and several recommendations. Through these recommendations, the Assembly Minority Conference developed the following legislation:
- Creating the class E felony of criminal possession of fentanyl, a highly-addictive painkiller that has been linked to heroin overdoses (A.9098, Graf);
- Requiring the Department of Health to establish limitations on the amount of certain Schedule II controlled substances, most notably opioids, that can be prescribed during a course of treatment (A.9585, Giglio);
- Requiring insurance companies to cover at least seven days of detoxification treatment and 30 days of rehabilitation services for substance abuse disorders (A.9604, Giglio);
- Enabling family members to help their loved ones who are suffering from addiction by creating involuntary admission procedures (Marchman Act) through the courts (A.9619, Graf);
- Providing that possession of 40 or more individual packages of heroin or a heroin mixture is presumptive evidence of a person’s intent to sell, thereby increasing the severity of the crime (A.9749, Graf); and
- Improving the operations of sober homes by requiring their certification and requiring inspections to ensure adequate conditions for individuals residing in them (A.9794, Graf).
Additionally, Malliotakis co-sponsored legislation (A.9778, Malliotakis) known as “Officer Randolph Holder’s Law” which aims to honor the memory of fallen NYPD Officer Randolph Holder by making necessary reforms to keep drug dealers with multiple felony convictions behind bars.