Queens Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 15, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Kim On Sentencing Of Jia Jia Liang Slashers

Assemblymember Ron Kim/Facebook

Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, Murray Hill) issued the following statement Wednesday after the sentencing and guilty pleas of Devon Berkley and Wilson Lai, who brutally attacked teenager Jia Jia Liang in December of 2015.

Liang, a Chinese exchange student, was walking to high school near 147th Street and 13th Avenue in Whitestone, when Berkley, 36, slashed her in the face and neck with a box cutter The 16-year-old needed more than 200 stitches to close slashes on her face and neck. Lai, 25, hired Berkley to do the slashing of another girl, 15, with whom he was romantically linked. Liang was not the intended victim.

“Today, Devon Berkley and Wilson Lai were sentenced to 18 and 19 years in prison, respectively, for their coordinated assault and slashing of Jia Jia Liang. Three years ago, after she was attacked, I was by her and her family’s side as they worked hard to recover and pushed our authorities to catch the suspects. Now, I am relieved to see that justice was served for the perpetrators of these ruthless acts,” said Kim.

“We still need to do more to protect young students who come to our country in pursuit of a better education. I have sponsored pending legislation (A.3321) that would register and monitor all individuals who are in the business of overseeing students in situations like Jia Jia’s,” he added.

Lancman Calls Anti-Israel Sentiments Of Former Queens Museum Head Deplorable

City Council Member Rory I Lancman

City Council Member Rory I. Lancman (D-Briarwood, Cunningham Park, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Holliswood, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Richmond Hill) said yesterday that the report issued by Katten Muchin Rosenman detailing the findings of its three-month investigation into cancellation of the Israel Independence Commemoration event at Queens Museum showed an anti-Israel sentiment that was even worse than he thought.

The Queens Museum Board commissioned the independent investigation into the handling of an event sponsored by the Israeli government. It concluded that “the president and executive director of the museum, Laura Raicovich, and deputy director of the museum, David Strauss, exercised poor judgment,” adding that they “knowingly misled the board, and otherwise failed to comport themselves with the standards consistent with their positions.”

The report further revealed that Raicovich is an ardent supporter of the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) against Israel movement. A good many Jews and non-Jews feel the movement is considered not only anti-Israel, but inherently anti-Semitic.

“This was an extraordinary abuse of not just Laura Raicovich’s administrative authority, but of her moral authority as well. Her personal support for the anti-Semitic BDS movement and her anti-Israel animus guided her efforts to block the commemoration of Israel’s independence in the very building in which it was realized, and this is a profound intellectual and moral failing,” said Lancman.

“The Executive Director of the Queens Museum is supposed to represent Queens’ values and interests. Ms. Raicovich’s behavior was a breathtaking breach of that responsibility to us, and for us,” he added.

Koo Pushes To Suspend Alternate Side Of The Street Parking For Lunar New Year

City Council Member Peter Koo/via Facebook

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) yesterday appealed to his colleagues to sign onto his bill Intro 497, which would suspend alternate side parking in New York City on the eve of Lunar New Year.

Koo introduced the bill yesterday, two years after the Lunar New Year became a school holiday, in order to provide for an easier commute on the eve of the holiday for the thousands of Asian Americans living and visiting in New York City.

“Lunar New Year is a time for families to come together, often from across the world, to celebrate and spend time with one another. The days leading up to the New Year is a time of a great commuting for people returning home and those visiting relatives,” said Koo.

“Suspending alternate side parking on the eve of Lunar New Year will make this arduous commute easier for the thousands of Asian American families living and visiting New York City. Likewise, easing these regulations will reflect the city’s understanding of this important cultural holiday, and I encourage my colleagues to join me in codifying this effort into law,” he added.

Meeks, Meng, Maloney, Velazquez, Jeffries Meet with USPS Officials  

Democratic U.S. Reps. Gregory W. Meeks, Grace Meng, Carolyn Maloney, Nydia Velazquez and Hakeem Jeffries – all of whom represent only or part of Queens – met this week with officials from the United States Postal Service (USPS) about the ongoing postal crisis in Queens and Brooklyn.

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

“This meeting was a productive first step, though it falls far short of a full and adequate resolution of the postal service crisis in Queens and Brooklyn. In our meeting, I was very candid about the shortcomings of USPS’ service in my district. I retold my constituents’ stories about delayed and non-delivered mail, lost packages, and mailbox manipulation,” said Meeks. “Our constituents should never have to worry about the many postal service issues plaguing our boroughs. The postal service assured us it will hire additional staff—including letter carriers—to resolve delays and discrepancies in mail delivery; station USPS staff on phone lines to respond to comments and concerns from the public, and to ensure every postal matter is handled in a timely manner; and, retrofit 3,000 P.O. Boxes in Queens and Brooklyn to prevent ‘mail fishing. I’ll continue to hold USPS accountable as it attempts to fix outstanding mail issues in my district.”

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

“Complaints about the Postal Service in my district have reached an all-time high,” said Meng. “Problems are a regular occurrence and continue to grow. Throughout my district, constituents have complained about missing mail, untimely delivery, receiving wrong mail, packages not being picked up or delivered, and poor customer service at several post office branches. These constant problems are unacceptable. Queens residents are entitled to reliable and timely mail service. During this meeting, we made our complaints loud and clear, and Postal officials clearly heard about the problems impacting our constituents. It is imperative that the agency now follow through on its commitment to resolve these issues, and we will keep the pressure on until they do. I do want to commend the Postal Service for agreeing to my request to retrofit collection boxes in order to combat mail fishing. I look forward to these upgrades occurring soon.”

U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney

“I’m pleased to work with my colleagues to address postal concerns facing Queens residents.  Changes in the way people use the post office has had a major impact, with many more packages and fewer letters.  What’s more, over the last decade, Western Queens and North Brooklyn has grown enormously, and the increased density has negatively impacted mail delivery service. I have written to the postal service repeatedly about the need for a new full-service post office in Dutch Kills, which would help ensure that residents and small businesses have reliable postal service, and my staff reiterated those concerns during the meeting,” said Maloney.

“Mail service in America is a right. Every single one of my constituents deserves to receive mail regularly at their home, without delay. The non-delivery of mail, chronically late mail and other poor customer service issues that people may have experienced is absolutely unacceptable,” said Jeffries. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the New York Delegation and the United States Postal Service to ensure that every New Yorker receives dependable service from the USPS.”

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