Queens Lawmakers On The Move June 13, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Koo, Moya On Board For More Public Wireless Connections

City Council Member Peter Koo
City Council Member Francisco Moya .

City Council Members Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone), and Francisco Moya (D-Corona) yesterday jumped aboard on the city’s plan to expand public wireless connectivity across the five boroughs.

That after the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) released a request for proposals (RFP) from firms to become franchisees and have granted the right to install technology on City-owned light poles and utility poles in order to provide wider coverage and better service to the millions of New Yorkers who rely on mobile service each day.

This Mobile Telecommunication Franchise RFP is part of a broader process being undertaken by the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO) with DoITT to maximize use of its relatively scarce infrastructure to serve all New Yorkers equitably. The RFP reserves the City’s authority to issue new solicitations in the future to further advance the goal of universal broadband.

“This expansion of mobile telecommunications shows that the City of New York is serious about expanding wireless networks across the five boroughs. As new infrastructure like LinkNYC continues to come online outside Manhattan, we must seek new ways to increase Wi-Fi access by optimizing this and other infrastructure throughout the city. Thank you to the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer for working on this worthy goal to increase broadband accessibility in underserved areas,” said Koo, Chair of the Committee on Technology.

“The Internet is a tremendous equalizer, providing the opportunity for people without the same resources or privilege to empower and educate themselves. Expanding access to high-speed, reliable WiFi is a fantastic service and one that promotes equality. I look forward to seeing what creative and innovative proposals emerge,” said Moya, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises.

Gillibrand Floats Legislation Supporting Workers Job Losses Due To Automation 

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced yesterday the TAA for Automation Act, new legislation that would provide Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits, including job training and reemployment services, to workers who are displaced due to automation.

According to a study released this week by the Center for an Urban Future, more than one million current jobs throughout New York could be lost to automation. Under the current TAA program, TAA benefits are limited to workers who face job loss due to increased imports and shifts in production outside of the United States. Gillibrand’s legislation would expand this program to help protect workers who lose their jobs due to automation, so that they can get the skills and training they need to be prepared for high-tech jobs of the future.

“More than a million New Yorkers have jobs that are at risk of being taken over in some way by automation, and we have to be ready for that change,” said Gillibrand. “Congress has a responsibility to make sure that if a worker loses their job because of automation, they land on their feet. We can’t leave anyone stranded. I’m proud to announce the TAA for Automation Act, which would update the TAA program so it protects workers whose jobs are lost because of automation.

“We have to recognize that automation is only going to increase in our state, and we have to be ready to respond when it happens. I encourage all New Yorkers to keep speaking out and demanding that our government is taking these changes to our economy seriously, and I will do everything I can in the Senate to pass this bill into law,” she added.

Kim on Trump/Kim Jong-un Meeting

Assembly Member Ron Kim

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, Murray Hill) yesterday issued the following statement after the meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore:

“These last few days have been an emotional roller coaster for millions of Korean Americans and Koreans around the world. From the brink of war just a few months ago to a historic meeting and handshake between our countries’ two leaders, the entire world has been on edge. The symbolic agreement is the first step of a longer journey, the harder part will be setting the right grounds for negotiations in the following few months,” said Kim.

“As stated before, I believe the next step should be to establish some presence in North Korea to build toward people-to-people diplomacy. There are thousands of divided families, as well as missing soldiers and unaccounted prisoners of war, who deserve some form of closure. I am confident that these and other human connections will inevitably bring North Korea forward into the 21st century.”

Peralta Supports Expansion Of NYC School Zone Speed Camera Program

State Senator Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) joined Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and advocates yesterday in urging the legislature to pass Peralta’s bill (S.6046-C) that will expand and extend the New York City school zone speed camera program.

The proposal will add 150 monitoring devices to the current 140 speed safety cameras operating under a pilot program approved in 2013. The program is set to expire next month unless the legislature acts within the next five session days scheduled.

The legislation will allow 290 speed cameras to operate within a quarter-mile from a designated school, beginning one hour before and running until one hour after a school day. Devices will also be operational during student activities and up to 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the activities.

Additionally, Peralta’s proposal calls for the installation of warning signs within 300 feet of a monitoring device, and prohibits the installation of a camera within 300 feet of a highway exit ramp.

The school zone speed camera has been tremendously successful. At locations with cameras, speeding violations declined on an average of more than 60%, pedestrian injuries decreased 23%, and the vast majority of drivers ticketed (81%) did not receive a second violation.

“This is about protecting children. Who does not want to protect children? Who does not want to save lives? We need to ensure streets are safe when New York City schoolchildren travel to and from school every day. My bill will make city streets safer for kids. If we do not act, the cameras will go away in July and our kids will return to unsafe streets when they go back to school in September. I would like to thank Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, all the co-sponsors of my legislation, and all the advocates for their tireless work to keep our streets safe,” said Peralta.

Ulrich Unveils Newly-Renovated Library 

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 joined students, faculty and representatives from the School Construction Authority (SCA) to celebrate and unveil the newly-renovated “Under the Sea”-themed library at PS 65 The Raymond York School,103-22 99th Street in Jamaica.

Ulrich’s office funded the nearly $1 million in upgrades include new technology, seating areas, furniture and even submarine-like windows near the library entrance.

“It is important that we continue to invest in our schools, which play such a vital role in our communities. This beautiful, newly-upgraded library will help students better enjoy their school and all the educational opportunities it has to offer,” said Ulrich. “I’d like to thank Principal Morales, the SCA, the architects and everyone who has turned this vision into a reality.”

The Councilman allocated $713,371 through the Reso-A program for the project in FY2016, and an additional $200,000 for its completion in FY2017.