Queens County Politics Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 17, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Avella Demands De Blasio Answer On Fort Totten Jail Plans

Sen. Tony Avella

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Floral Park, Willetts Point, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst) recently fired off a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio demanding to know the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Fire Department (FDNY) plans for Fort Totten Park along the Cross Island Parkway off Totten Avenue between Totten and 15th Roads in Bay Terrace/Willets Point.

“It has come to my attention that your administration is planning to expand the existing Fort Totten footprint of FDNY and also allow DOC to occupy space on the Fort as well,” wrote Avella.

Avella’s letter noted that in October he submitted Freedom of Information (FOIL) requests to de Blasio’s office as well as to the FDNY. DOC, and the Departments of Parks and Recreation (DPR), Design and Constriction (DDC) and the Police Department (NYPD).

“To-date. I have only received copies from DDC of a study to be paid by the City to Smith-Miller & Hawkinson. Architects for the supposed purpose of DOC and FDNY training lhcilities. The documents seem to indicate that the study will cost over $1 million,” wrote Avella.

Avella wrote that additional attempts to contact the mayor’s office and agencies involved have been thwarted.

“I hope this is not a hidden plan to place a jail on the Fort. Such an attempt would be fought vigorously by the whole community. I await your response,” wrote Avella.

Schumer Seeks End to JFK Airport Chaos

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday revealed more details about last week’s chaos at JFK Airport that left many travelers still without their luggage.

Schumer said that while there were many factors that led to the situation, clearly the lack of communication between foreign airlines and the Port Authority intensified the chaos, doubling down on what was an already hectic scene.

The lawmaker also made a formal push for the U.S. Department of Transportation to take an active role in bringing foreign airlines to table, along with the Port Authority and it’s terminal operators, to come up with a coordination and communication plan to prevent the chaos and dysfunction from ever happening again.

“Make no mistake, there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to what happened at JFK, but some of that blame squarely lands on a lack of communication between foreign airlines that flooded JFK with flights and the entities that manage the airport,” said Schumer.

“It was this lack of communication that helped to create the chaos at Kennedy and it is only through improving this system that we will prevent this from happening again. So, I am asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to take an active role here and make sure people aren’t put through travel-hell again. Federal pressure on foreign airlines to work with the Port Authority to come up with a better communication plan for the airport can help prevent this kind of winter chaos from snowballing in the future,” he added.

Valone Hails City, Rockefeller Foundation “CareerLift” Launch

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) yesterday lauded the announcement that the city and the Rockefeller Foundation will partner on a pilot program targeting opportunities for formally out-of-school and out-of-work young adults to help them stay employed and advance in their careers. 

The $1.5 public/private initiative dubbed “CareerLift” the city and the private sector will support vulnerable youth by working with private-sector employers to help reduce employee turnover rates and improve productivity. This project will also evaluate the feasibility of a “Pay for Success” model, in which employers assume the cost of job retention services only if proven successful — a first-of-its-kind funding model in the U.S. for employment retention services.

“I applaud this program which will play an enormous role in helping many young adults ensure their financial independence and security. Keeping a job and developing a career are some of the biggest hurdles facing young adults and by targeting these issues, Careerlift is poised to be very successful,” said Vallone, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “The success of young adults in their jobs will further help employers’ bottom line and ultimately help drive growth in our city.”

Addabbo Partners With Food Pantries For Valentine’s Day Drive

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) announced yesterday he is spearheading a Valentine’s Day food drive for the Zion Tabernacle Food Pantry in Ozone Park and the Sacred Heart Food Pantry in Glendale.

Addabbo will be collecting items for the food drive at his District Office in Howard Beach, located at 159-53 102nd Street, and his Middle Village office located at 66-85 73rd Place, until Tuesday, February 13. On Wednesday, February 14 — Valentine’s Day — Addabbo will go to both pantries and drop off all of the donated items.

Both the Zion Tabernacle Food Pantry and the Sacred Heart Food Pantry are in need of traditional food pantry items such as canned goods, dry foods like pastas, sugar, flour, food seasonings, and other nonperishable food items.

In addition to food, both Zion Tabernacle and Sacred Heart are also in need of household items, cleaning supplies like detergent to wash clothes, diapers, and toiletries to help the Puerto Rican refugees from Hurricane Maria in the area and local residents who are in need of assistance.

“The community is great at coming together to help the less fortunate during the holiday season, but now that the holidays have passed, there is still a need. That is why I partnered with these local food pantries for this Valentine’s Day food drive,” Addabbo said. “We will be collecting food donations as well as cleaning supplies and toiletries at my district office in Howard Beach and my Middle Village office. There will be no better day to spread the love to those in need than on Valentine’s Day.”

For more information on the food drive, call Addabbo’s Howard Beach office at 718-738-1111 or the Middle Village office at 718-497-1630.

Kim Holds 6th Straight Year Of Free Tax Prep

Assemblymember Ron Kim/Facebook

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, Murray Hill) and Urban Upbound will once again be offering free tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

For the sixth year in a row, they will be continuing a vital community partnership to ensure countless residents, especially seniors, those with disabilities, and those with limited English proficiency, have access to this important service during the 2018 tax season.

“I am happy to announce that my office will once again be serving as a VITA site in partnership with Urban Upbound. This is the most popular annual program at my office, and it will be available from Monday through Thursday for the next few months – up to the very last day to file your taxes,” said Kim.

“The program at our office has now helped thousands of qualifying New Yorkers file their taxes for free, and I urge anyone who would like to do so this year to call my office and schedule an appointment,” he added.

To schedule an appointment, please call Assemblymember Kim’s office at (718) 939-0195 or visit his office at 136-20 38th Ave, Suite 10A Flushing, NY 11354.