Queens Lawmakers On The Move June 8, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Koo Floats Bill Addressing Street Vendor Pollution & Sidwalk Obstructions

City Council Member Peter Koo

Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone ) yesterday introduced a pair of bills that look to address two major quality of life issues in downtown Flushing and throughout the city – street vendor pollution and sidewalk obstructions.

Intro 969 will prohibit all sidewalk obstructions in downtown Flushing and stoopline stands in certain areas of downtown Flushing.

Intro 970 will prohibit the use of under-fired char broilers at mobile food vending units citywide.

Last year, the Flushing community celebrated the completion of up to nine feet of widened sidewalks on Main Street. The new space was intended to provide critical relief to the hundreds of thousands of commuters who use the transportation hub’s more than 20 bus lines, subway, LIRR, and others who visit Flushing for its restaurants and shopping.

“Unfortunately, the widened sidewalks gave rise to an increase in illegal street vendors and stoopline stands – people who are taking advantage of the new space to sell everything from health insurance, counterfeit handbags, bed sheets, pots and pans, fruits and vegetables, cell phones, and even socks,” said Koo. “We are overrun with sidewalk obstructions, and our sidewalks have become an obstacle course. As a small business owner, I have no objection to people innovating in order to turn a profit, but I wholeheartedly object to those who do so at the expense of their community.”

The bill would prohibit stoopline stands at the following locations:

  • Main Street between Northern Boulevard and Sanford Avenue
  • Roosevelt Avenue between College Point Boulevard and Union Street
  • Kissena Boulevard between 41st Avenue and Barclay Avenue
  • 40th Road between Prince Street and Main Street
  • 41st Avenue between Main Street and Union Street
  • 41st Road between Main Street and Frame Place.

General and food vending would be prohibited within the following boundary:

  • North: Northern Boulevard
  • East: Union Street
  • South Sanford Avenue
  • West: College Point Boulevard.

Licensed veterans and vending protected by under the Constitution’s freedom of speech provisions would be exempt from these restrictions.

The other bill, Intro 970, would prohibit the use of under-fired char broilers in mobile food vending units throughout the city. According to recent testimony by the Department of Health, one food vendor grilling meat for a day emits the same amount of particulate pollution as a diesel truck driving 3,500 miles – the distance from New York City to Denver and back.

“The under-fired char broilers used by street vendors are responsible for a significant amount of particulate matter in our air. Not only are the grillers breathing this in, but it also impacts nearby residents, businesses and others who must endure the clouds of smoke blowing in their windows and hanging over the street. Making these vendors more environmentally safe will reduce particulate matter and significantly improve the air quality of our city,” said Kim.

The legislation would not restrict flattop grills, such as the griddles used in Halal trucks.

Peralta: Senate Should Approve Council’s Home Rule On School Zone Cameras

State Senator Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) yesterday implored his senate colleagues to approve the city council’s home rule request to install more school zone speed camera.

It is time for the Senate to act now that the New York City Council has approved the home rule request required for the State Legislature to pass my bill (S.6046-C) that will expand and extend the New York City school zone speed camera program. This life-saving program expires in July. We cannot allow the City’s children to return from summer vacation to unsafe streets,” said Peralta.

“We now have 33 co-sponsors: including the entire Democratic Conference plus Republicans Marty Golden and Patty Ritchie. I urge my colleagues to bring my bill to the Senate floor and to do right by the city’s schoolchildren. It is our obligation to protect them when they travel to and from school every day.”

Addabbo Bill To Help Municipalities Hire Vets Approved In Senate

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgwood, Woodside, the Rockaways.) this week saw the bill he co-sponsored that would encourage local governments to hire former military members by creating a state grant program to cover part of their salaries pass the senate.

“New York has made progress in encouraging private employers to hire former servicemen and women through its Hire-A-Vet program, which provides tax credits to businesses that provide jobs for veterans,” said Addabbo, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs. “This new legislation goes further: offering state grants to municipalities that hire vets for local government jobs.”

Under the proposal, municipalities that hire veterans for at least one year and for at least 35 hours a week would be eligible for the funding.  Grants would range from up to $5,000 for a qualified veteran, and up to $15,000 for a disabled veteran. Qualified veterans are defined as those who served on active duty in any branch of the armed forces or state militia and who were honorably or generally discharged any time after September 11, 2001. Eligible veterans must also begin working for the municipality between January 1, 2019 and January 1, 2021.

“While the employment picture has improved for many of our veterans, there are still many former servicemen and women seeking employment,” said Addabbo. “We already offer incentives to private businesses to hire veterans, and it makes good sense to provide grants to local governments that would benefit from the many talents and skills these military men and women bring to the table.”

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it moves to the assembly.

Avella’s Bill Designating January 13 as Korean American Day Passes Senate

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) this week saw his bill (S.1930) designating January 13 as Korean American Day pass the senate with a vote of 62-0 and now awaits action in the Assembly where Assemblymember Edward Braunstein (D) carries the Assembly companion of the bill.

In December of 1902, 56 men, 21 women and 25 children left Korea and traveled across the Pacific Ocean on the S.S. Gaelic and landed in Honolulu, Hawaii, on January 13, 1903. Since their arrival, Korean Americans have taken root and thrived in the United States through strong family ties, community support and hard work.

In 2005, a resolution was introduced and passed by the United States Senate and House of Representatives to commemorate the arrival of the first pioneer immigrants from Korea and recognize January 13 as Korean American Day. A number of states, municipalities and cities have since declared January 13 as Korean American Day.

According to the 2010 United States Census, there are over 153,000 Korean Americans living in New York. The State of New York has been richer, culturally, economically and intellectually, as a result of many contributions of its vibrant Korean American community. Therefore, itis appropriate to designate January 13 to commemorate the meaningful contributions of Korean Americans.

 “I have the pleasure of representing a very active and thriving Korean community that has provided so much to New York. It makes sense for New York to pay respect and honor the first pioneer immigrants to the United States. I am proud that my bill establishing Korean American Day as January 13 has passed the Senate and hope that the assembly will soon pass their companion bill before the end of session,” said Avella.