Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 23, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Ulrich Demands Answers From USPS For Bad Service Complaints

City Council Member Eric Ulrich

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven) yesterday demanded answers from the United States Postal Service (USPS) following a series of complaints from constituents about its unreliable service.

At least 20 community residents have contacted Ulrich’s office in January alone, with grievances ranging from late and missed deliveries, to careless errors in which mail – oftentimes containing important and sensitive information – is delivered to the wrong address.

Even the Councilman’s Ozone Park District Office has been impacted by the increasingly unreliable service, with time-sensitive and important mail being delivered after office hours – or not delivered at all.

“It is completely unacceptable that the community – and even government offices – have had such abysmal postal service. Sensitive mail – including checks, tax documents, bills and medicine – is often missing or delivered to the wrong address,” Ulrich said. “Constituents have gone an entire week without a delivery – some of whom rely on USPS to deliver checks so that they can afford to eat.”

Ulrich’s office reached out to USPS in the beginning of January, following up on a number of occasions, but is still awaiting a response or an explanation.

“I understand there are certain circumstances, like this month’s snow storm, that can cause delays,” Ulrich said. “But the majority of complaints are completely unrelated to weather conditions.The snow has long melted and service continues to worsen. My constituents need answers.”

Kim Bill Protecting Immigrant Families Passes Assembly

Assemblymember Ron Kim/Facebook

Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, Murray Hill) last week saw his New York State Reuniting Families Act (A00339) was once again pass the state assembly.

The bill, aimed at protecting families navigating the federal immigration system, prioritizes keeping children with their families and out of the public welfare system.

Enforcement activities conducted by federal agencies too often result in unnecessary harm to children, families, and communities.  When a parent has a child in the foster care system either prior to or because of immigration enforcement, it is very difficult for the parent to fulfill their court requirements to reunify with their child or in the alternative for child to be placed with relatives. Upon entering the detention system, parents frequently have tremendous difficulty navigating the system in order to visit their children, participate in family court proceedings, or fulfilling their required court mandated services.

When a child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, the local social services districts are required to file a petition to terminate parental rights unless certain exceptions exist. These exceptions are designed to recognize circumstances preventing a parent from reunification that may be outside his or her control, such as incarceration and participation in a drug rehabilitation program. Like wise, a parent involved in an immigration proceeding may be unable to resume custody despite efforts to do so.

Upon conclusion of the proceeding, the parent may be fully able to care for his or her child with it being in the best interest of the child to return home. To terminate parental rights, in the midst of such proceeding, would prematurely and permanently separate the parent and child, resulting in trauma and hardship to the family. In such situations, the local social services district should have the flexibility to consider the circumstances and delay the filing of a petition to terminate parental rights.

“In today’s anti-immigrant environment, now more than ever, we must dedicate ourselves to keeping families whole,” said Kim. “Parents navigating the lengthy immigration process should not have to face another legal battle to keep their family together. This bill recognizes that parents should not be penalized for something outside of their control. With countless New Yorkers living in fear during a time of great uncertainty, I implore the Senate to take this bill up and protect the people of our great state.”

Avella: City Must Acquire Private Streets

Sen. Tony Avella

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) is calling on the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to stop stonewalling on a study that would allow the city to acquire privately owned streets throughput the city.

Avella’s call comes on the heels of his standing with residents of Willow Place and Stuart Lane in Douglaston last week to call on the city to take control of these two small streets and all other privately owned streets throughout the city.

Avella said the DOT previously announced plans to release the study, but every time he calls for updates or details on the study, they don’t get back to him.

Avella sent three separate letters to the DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg regarding the privately owned streets such as Willow Place and Stuart Lane as well as the continuation of 116th Street that connects 115th and 116th Streets in College Point.

“All of these streets are actively used by residents and some are even used heavily by City agencies but are in deplorable conditions and littered with large potholes, limiting motorists’ ability to drive safely,” said Avella.

Avella also announced plans to introduce legislation in the senate requiring the city to obtain ownership of each private street and is asking residents who live on privately owned streets to contact his district office so he can include their street in his legislation.

More from Around New York