Tragedy Again cancels Brooklyn Dems Endorsement of De Blasio
The Kings County Democrats canceled their mayoral endorsement for the second time yesterday because Mayor Bill de Blasio was called to the site of the tragic Times Square accident that killed an 18-year-old woman and injured dozens of others.
Despite 90-degree weather, Democratic Party Chair Frank Seddio Jr., City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights) and a host of other Democrats met on the steps of Borough Hall to endorse de Blasio. Seddio told the audience that terrorism was suspected in the Time Square accident and as a result, the mayor was pulled away to the scene of the accident. He then assured the crowd of 20-25 people that those suspicions had been disproved, thanked the audience for coming and reemphasized his continued support of the mayor.
On April 27, Seddio had planned a similar event to endorse de Blasio to include the borough’s top Democratic elected officials, but had to cancel it as de Blasio was attending the funeral of FDNY firefighter William Tolley, who lost his life protecting all New Yorkers.
Seddio said he wasn’t sure whether there would be a third attempt at making a formal endorsement of the mayor.
– Kadia Goba
McCray Strengthens Initiative To Help Maternal Depression
New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray yesterday announced that all NYC Health + Hospitals locations citywide will now provide maternal depression screenings for pregnant women and new mothers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 9 women experience maternal depression. Yet too often, maternal depression goes undiagnosed because many providers do not regularly provide screenings and women are afraid of the stigma associated with the condition. Universal screening ensures that pregnant women and new mothers get the support they need to recover and fully bond with their new babies.
“Maternal depression is common. It’s also treatable – but only if women know to get help,” said McCray, who spearheads the city’s efforts on mental health and substance misuse. “Too often, women are afraid to admit that they’re struggling because they don’t understand that their pain is a real, clinical condition and they don’t want to be labeled a bad mom. Universal screening for maternal depression reminds women they should never feel ashamed for needing help.”
Every year, over 18,000 newborns are delivered in city hospitals, and since the April 2016 they have screened over 6,500 pre-natal patients and over 2,700 post-partum patients. Through hospitals expects to screen 15,000 patients over the next year through the expansion of the program.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said screening for maternal depression has been an important part of his Family-Friendly Brooklyn vision, a vision that promotes a borough that raises healthy children and families.
“I have been proud to partner with organizations like the Seleni Institute to help train practitioners, and I’m pleased that NYC Health + Hospitals is expanding screenings across its system. I call on the State to fully fund maternal depression screening, as we look to support every pregnant woman and new mom in New York,” said Adams.
Donovan Hails House Bill Supporting Law Enforcement Officers
Congressman Dan Donovan (R-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) and the U.S. House of Representatives this week voted to pass two bills to support law enforcement officers. The Thin Blue Line Act (H.R. 115), which toughens penalties against criminals who harm or kill law enforcement officers, and the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017 (H.R. 1428), which bolsters law enforcement job opportunities for veterans.
“The brave men and women who protect and serve our communities deserve our gratitude and appreciation. These bills are critical to deterring threats against police officers, and to easing the transition into civilian life for returning service members. New York City is home to the greatest first responders in the world, and I will continue my work in Congress to support them,” said Donovan.
The Thin Blue Line Act toughens penalties against those who kill or attempt to kill police officers, firefighters, or other first responders. The bill expands considerations for the federal death penalty to include the killing of state and local law enforcement officers and first responders.
Under current law, the death penalty can only be considered for murdering federal law enforcement officers. Stricter penalties for those who harm or target law enforcement will deter violence against officers and ensure criminals face appropriate punishment for their crimes.
H.R. 1428 incentivizes state and local governments to hire military veterans for law enforcement jobs. The bill prioritizes the receipt of funding from the U.S. Department of Justice COPS grant program to localities that hire and train veterans for law enforcement positions.
The bills’ passage coincides with National Police Week and now move on to the Senate for consideration.
Velazquez Hails Appointment Of Mueller As Special Counsel
Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens) yesterday hailed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of former F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller to independently investigate alleged ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.
“I am pleased the Deputy Attorney General appointed a Special Counsel, something I have been calling for since December. Mr. Mueller is well suited for this role and brings the necessary impartiality and commitment to upholding the law. He certainly has a large task ahead of him. I will be watching carefully to ensure he has the resources he needs and that there is no political interference in his investigation,” said Velazquez.
“The events of the last week have made clear that our nation needs as much credible, independent investigative scrutiny as possible. In that regard, I will continue to call on Speaker Ryan to allow a vote on legislation creating an independent commission to investigate. There are enough threads here to merit multiple investigative tracks. After all, these issues go to the heart of our democracy and we must use every possible tool to unearth all relevant facts,” she added.
CM Williams Statement On Haitian Flag Day
City Council Member Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood), whose district is home to a large and vibrant Haitian community, issued the following statement on Haitian Flag Day:
“For the past several months, many New Yorkers have fallen prey to the Trump Administration’s assault on immigrants. I have been committed to providing access to information and resources to my Haitian brothers and sisters through Know Your Rights forums and town halls, so that they are informed about their rights. I have also stood by the Haitian community and advocated with them in calling for Trump to renew Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation. It’s also not a surprise that African Immigrants with TPS are facing the same issue.
“Truth be told, it is no accident that Haiti, long before Trump, has been a target of those afraid of what Black pride and freedom looks like. As a Black man, I am forever reminded of what this small country of slaves was able to accomplish through determination and unity. I’m sure many said 210 years ago that a group of Black slaves could not overthrow one of the most powerful Western nations of that time, and yet that’s precisely what they did. As an American, I thank Haiti for doubling the size of the United States, which is only one of their many contributions to this country.
“I urge everyone, Haitian and non-Haitian, to look back at was accomplished through perseverance, and let that serve as inspiration for what we can accomplish today in resisting against Trump’s version of America.
“Haiti’s national slogan proudly proclaims ‘L’Union Fait La Force,’ which means in unity there is strength. Let their message of unity be a reminder for us all to work together towards a common goal.”