Velazquez, Nadler Rescue Refugee From Trumps Executive Order
Congress Members Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn/Queens/Manhattan) and Jerry Nadler (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan) Saturday heroically went to JFK Airport and won the release of an Iraqi refugee that was detained under the President Donald Trump’s Executive order issued Friday.
The order bars entry to refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days and from Syria indefinitely. It blocks any visitors for 90 days from seven designated countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Department of Homeland Security initially said the order would bar permanent alien residents, also known as green card holders, from those seven countries from returning to the United States. It has since recanted that part of the order.
The order immediately stranded hundreds of green cards holders that were traveling abroad in those countries as well as refugees – some in mid-flight – all detained either by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials, and in some cases, in the seven aforementioned countries.
The order sparked massive protests at JFK Airport and cities across the country and the world. Velazquez and Nadler were the first among many elected officials to arrive at JFK in protest. After meeting with officials from the Custom and Border Patrol agency, the two Congress members succeeded in getting one of the refugees, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, release. Darweesh is an Iraqi translator, who put his life on the line in helping the United States government and its military in Iraq.
“Today, we saw in real human terms the damage and the absurdity of Trump’s policies. The president’s executive order is mean-spirited, ill-conceived, and ill-advised. The order almost banned a man from entering the country who has worked for the United States government for 10 years, who risked his life to help us and to help our troops, and who loves our country. Thankfully, we did not sit idly by. We took action. We demanded his release, and the release of the others who are being unlawfully detained. We are pleased to announce that Hameed Khalid Darweesh has been released and can now be reunited with his family,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.
“This should not happen in America. We shouldn’t have to demand the release of refugees one by one. We must fight this executive order in the streets, in the courts, anywhere, anytime. We must resist. We must fight. We must keep working to keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave.
– Jose Negroni
Jeffries Talks National Politics In State Of The District Address
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Central Brooklyn, Coney Island/Queens) discussed the “unthinkable presidency” and lack of “presidential etiquette” at his State of the District Address delivered last week at Long Island University’s Paramount Theater in Downtown Brooklyn.
Jeffries took a hard-line against Republicans in Washington, D.C. for looking “to turn back the clock” and repealing the Affordable Care Act. He also criticized President Donald Trump for attacking Representative John Lewis (D-GA) a veteran icon of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
“John Lewis did more in one day on Bloody Sunday than you-know-who did in his entire lifetime,” said Jeffries to about 3,500 supportive attendees.
“When I first got to Washington, Rep. Lewis told me to stay out of trouble, unless it’s good trouble,” Rep. Jeffries recalled. “Well, the Montgomery bus boycott was good trouble. Letters from a jail in Birmingham was good trouble. The Democrats’ sit-in on the house floor last year, which I was proudly a part of, was good trouble. The women’s march was good trouble.”
Rep. Jeffries predicted that Democrats would bounce back against Republicans who now controlled all three branches of government: “We got knocked down. But we’re weren’t knocked out.”
Further to that, a vociferous Jeffries turned his attention from Washington to GOP voters calling some of them “racists.” “Not all of Donald Trump’s voters are racist,” he said. “But all of America’s racists voted for him.”
– Jose Negroni
Carroll Inauguration Draws Schumer, Heastie, Gonzalez
Newly elected Assembly Member Robert “Bobby” Carroll (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) was officially sworn into office last night at PS 130 the Parkside School in Kensington.
The ceremony drew a host of other elected officials including U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Carroll attended P.S. 230 and graduated from Xaverian High School, SUNY Binghamton (where he studied History and Theatre) and New York Law School. Before being elected to the Assembly he was a practicing attorney specializing in contract law, election law, trusts and estates, and real estate law.
He replaces longtime Assemblyman James Brennan, who retired.
Adams Alerts Brownsville Church Congregants On Early Signs Of Abuse
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Ama Dwimoh, founder and former chief of the Crimes Against Children Bureau in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, yesterday attended the service at the New Life Cathedral Church, 110 Junius Street in Brownsville to alert parishioners on identifying the early signs of child abuse.
The visit came just a few days after four-year-old Zamair Coombs was fatally beaten with a broomstick by his mother in the same neighborhood.
In partnership with Archbishop Robert Rochford, they spoke with congregants as part of Operation C.A.R.E. (Child Abuse Response and Engagement), their aggressive multilingual outreach campaign to educate and empower residents across Brooklyn on identifying the signs of child abuse in their communities.
The effort was launched last month following the death of three-year-old Jaden Jordan of Gravesend, six-year-old Zymere Perkins of Harlem, and similarly horrific abuse suffered by children across the city.
Harris demands MTA toll hikes relief for Brooklyn residents
Assemblywoman Pam Harris (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge) on Friday called the recent toll hike passed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) outrageous.
As of March 19, tolls on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge are expected to rise from $16 to $17 for cash tolls and from $11.08 to $11.52 for Brooklyn residents with an E-ZPass.
“For those who depend on this bridge for work or school, these increases rack up quickly,” said Harris.
“The MTA needs to take the financial burden placed on Brooklyn residents more seriously. It’s nearly impossible for hardworking families to keep up with these constantly increasing tolls. We’ve got to be looking for ways to make life more affordable or we’re going to push out the great people who built this city and call it home.”
Cymbrowitz Sheds Light On Dangerous Intersection
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach) Friday joined South Brooklyn elected officials including Congressman Daniel Donovan, State Senators Diane Savino and Marty Golden, and City Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch, along with police and Department of Transportation officials for a site visit at Avenue X and Ocean Parkway, an intersection that has been plagued by an alarming number of accidents over the last decade.
Cymbrowitz requested the site visit after an 88-year-old Brighton Beach man, Feliks Dadiomov, stepped off the curb and was fatally struck by a motorist on January 10. Another deadly accident occurred two months ago. Since 2009 the intersection has been the site of three fatalities and 38 injuries.
Cymbrowitz said the DOT will study the timing of the traffic signal as well as lighting conditions at the busy corner with an eye toward alleviating the safety risks. He credited the local news blog, Bklyner for tagging him and the other elected officials in a Facebook post following Mr. Dadiomov’s death.
“This is an accident-plagued location that is in urgent need of remediation and I thank the media for bringing it to our attention,” Cymbrowitz said. “I’m hopeful that changes will be made to keeping pedestrians and drivers safe.”
Williams Wishes all A Happy Lunar New Year
City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood), this weekend sent his warmest wishes to Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and all who celebrate the Lunar New Year.
“As we celebrate the Year of the Rooster, which is characterized as confident, honest and hardworking, let us all embrace those traits as we work to resist challenges facing our country,” said Williams.
“Across America, those of Asian and Pacific Islander descent will carry on the traditions of their heritage, reminding us that this country’s strength lies in the richness of the diverse cultures that make up the American people. To everyone celebrating the Lunar New Year, I wish you a Happy Year of the Rooster. May the year be marked by peace, prosperity and good health.”
Kagan Celebrates his 50th Birthday In Style
Popular Brighton Beach Democratic District Leader and journalist Ari Kagan, yesterday celebrated his 50th birthday in style with an excellent lunch celebration, complete with live music, at the National Restaurant on Brighton Beach Avenue with friends and family.
Kagan who works in City Comptroller Scott Stringer‘s office is very popular among colleagues in government as well in Brighton Beach and around the borough. Among the elected officials on hand to help Kagan celebrate his birthday were Assembly Members Rodneyse Bichotte, Bill Colton and Pamela Harris and City Council Members Chaim Deutsch, David Greenfield and Mark Treyger.
Also on hand were Kagan’s colleague Democratic District Leaders Margarita Kagan, Cory Provost, Joseph Bova, Jacob Gold, David Shwartz, Sue Ann Partnow, Nancy Tong, Charles Ragusa, Josue Pierre as well as Kings County Politics Editor Stephen Witt.
“Ari Kagan has been a supportive friend and mentor to me since my days covering South Brooklyn for Courier Life Publications in Sheepshead Bay,” said Witt. “I wish him a very happy and healthy birthday.