Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Sept. 27, 2017

News Site Brooklyn

Ortiz Asks Airlines To Waive Baggage Fees For Puerto Rico Emergency Supplies

Assembly Member Feliz Ortiz

Assembly member Felix W. Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) asked airlines flying into Puerto Rico to waive baggage fees so travelers to the island can deliver emergency supplies to families and friends on the devastated island.

Currently,  residents of the island are suffering from a loss of power, clean drinking water and lack of basic essentials as a result of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

However,  the PR has received an influx of emergency aid in the form of private individuals and organizations including Governor Andrew Cuomo. The island was hit by the Category 4 storm last week in a series of  natural disasters to hit the Caribbean that included Hurricane Irma and Jose.

“Please waive or heavily reduce your baggage fees for a period of time  to enable friends and family to deliver supplies to their families and friends on the island when they fly to Puerto Rico on your airline. Let’s  make “waive the baggage fees into Puerto Rico” a motto of honor for your airline,” said Ortiz.

After Call With Puerto Rico’s Governor, Schumer Calls for Immediate Aid

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-Brooklyn) is calling for immediate aid to Puerto Rico after talking with Governor of Puerto Rico (PR), Ricardo Rossello, who relayed the devastation of the damage of Hurricane Maria.

Schumer is demanding the Senate pass an emergency aid package for Puerto Rico to help the island recover and rebuild after the effects of a series of hurricanes including Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Schumer is asking that the Trump Administration give PR aid in the form of security personnel, first aid responders, fuel, generators, electrical workers, and help re-open Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, among other requests.

“A couple of hours ago, I spoke again with the Governor of Puerto Rico, as they and the US Virgin Islands are recovering from significant damage after Hurricane Maria. It is impossible, impossible, to overstate the seriousness of the situation on the island.  I’ve never seen any disaster take a toll on an area in my whole lifetime like it has on this one,” said Schumer.

“I asked the Governor what was needed. His requests were clear. We are calling on the President to have all hands on deck and give Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands the help they need and do it now.Mr. President, these are American citizens. They desperately need our help. We need all hands on deck in every relevant federal agency to help, and help now,” added Schumer.

Greenfield Hosts Hurricane Relief Event

City Councilman David Greenfield

Council member David G. Greenfield (D-Borough Park, Bensonhurst, Midwood) announced that he will be collecting donations to help those affected by Hurricane Maria yesterday.

Hurricane Maria has devastated the Caribbean, causing at least 56 deaths and leaving the entire island of Puerto Rico without power. Greenfield is working with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who has been coordinating relief events throughout the city.

Due to transportation difficulties to the island, resident donations are only being sought in the form of “critically-needed resources”: baby food, canned food, batteries, diapers and first aid kits.

“My neighbors in this community are the most generous people I’ve ever met. We’re making it easier from them to help our friends and neighbors in Puerto Rico. Please stop by this week and drop off these critical items. Our hearts go out to our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. We are now opening our wallets and donating goods to make a difference,” said Greenfield.

Residents can drop off their donations from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., this week through Thursday, Sept. 28, at Greenfield’s District office, at 4424 16th Avenue in Borough Park. Donations will still be taken on Friday, Sept. 29 until 4 p.m.

Treyger Holds Committee Meeting On Progress Of Sandy Recovery Efforts

City Councilman Mark Treyger

City Council member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Gravesend) yesterday chaired his Recovery and Resiliency Committee meeting focusing on the Superstorm Sandy’s Build It Back program.

The committee looked at the program’s progress to date, concerning statistics pointing to significant program disenrollment, and complaints from long-waiting program participants who have seen their program pathways – the end results promised them by the program – abruptly changed.

According to enrollment data from Build it Back, approximately 1,000 participants who had selected a grant pathway as of October 2016 were no longer enrolled in the program as of June 2017.

Following the City’s September 22, 2016 announcement that the program needed an additional $500 million (for a total cost of $2.2 billion to date), some remaining participants have been informed they no longer qualify for the program based on a new calculation. The new calculation is based on a “pre-storm structure value” derived from Build it Back’s interpretation of a new US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) directive. As a result of the directive, some homeowners who have been waiting years to see their homes elevated have been left with only the qualifications for moderate rehabilitations.

The Committee questioned administration officials regarding their interpretation of the HUD directive, the concerning Build it Back enrollment data, the self-imposed City deadlines and cost overruns that may have led the Build it Back contractors to completely rush and potentially lower-quality work. According to the program, at the end of 2016, 90 percent of program participants had received checks and/or commenced construction and 76 percent of City managed single family homes were complete.

Nadler Signs Discharge Petition to Bring DREAM Act to the House Floor

Congressman Jerrold Nadler

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan), senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined with House Democratic colleagues in signing a discharge petition to force a vote on the bipartisan DREAM Act (H.R.3440) yesterday. 

The bill would provide a permanent solution to allow young undocumented immigrants, brought here as children, to remain in the United States legally. The petition—if signed by a majority of House Members—would force a vote in the House on the legislation. The bill currently has 117 signatures out of a necessary 218 lawmakers as of yesterday. 

The bill is expected to help the nearly 800,000 young DREAMers now at risk for deportation as a result of President  Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  

“These young DREAMers have lived here nearly their whole lives – they are our neighbors, our children’s classmates, and members of our military. DREAMers are an essential part of building this country’s future, which is why President Trump’s decision to terminate the DACA program is so dangerous and immoral. Congress must do the right thing to uphold our highest American values, and I call on all my colleagues to support the bipartisan DREAM Act,” said Nadler.

CM Williams To ‘Take A Knee’ In Response To Trump Condemnation of NFL Players

City Councilmember Jumaane Williams

City Council member Jumaane Williams (D-East Flatbush, Flatbush, Midwood) will lead his fellow colleagues in “taking a knee” today in reaction to President Trump’s recent condemnation of NFL players’ peaceful protest.

NFL players in recent weeks, have taken to kneeling during the national anthem as a form of peaceful protest for the equal treatment of people in the United States. The behavior has caused Trump to lash out at the professional football players over twitter and in the news for their “un-american” behavior.

“Taking a knee” during the national anthem was started by former-NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick in September of 2016. Initially, Kapernick told reporters that the protest was in response “to the oppression of people of color and ongoing issues with police brutality.”

Last fall, Williams sat twice during the Pledge of Allegiance at two separate City Council stated meetings in protest of police brutality. Today’s event is expected to shine a spotlight on the issues of racial justice. Council Members will also remain seated during the Pledge of Allegiance in the Council Chambers.

The event is slated for 12-noon, today, Sept. 27, at the Steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan. Other Council members attending the event include: New York City Council Members Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Kensington Windsor Terrace), Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook), Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-Queens), Inez Barron (D-East New York), Andy King (D-Bronx), Annabel Palma (D-Bronx). 

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