Queens Lawmakers On The Move June 19, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Meng Issues Statement On Xiuqing You Case

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, and Maspeth) yesterday issued the following statement on Xiuqing You, the Queens father who was recently detained when he appeared for his green card interview.

“This case is the latest example of how the [Trump] administration’s cruel immigration policies are destroying lives. Xiuqing You is a hardworking individual who wants nothing more than to better the life of his family, and have his shot at the American dream. Detaining him as he appeared for his scheduled adjustment of status interview is unjust, and I will be leading a letter to ICE on his behalf,” said Meng.

“You has no criminal history and poses no threat to our city or nation. His wife and four and six-year-old daughters are distraught by his absence and will suffer financial hardships if they are not reunited with him.

“In the wake of Father’s Day, I renew my call for the administration to stop separating families. Destroying the lives of families and removing parents from young children is mean-spirited and wrong. I will be closely monitoring You’s case in the days ahead.”

Avella Helps Rescue Battered Swan from Kissena Park 

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) recently reached out to the 109th Precinct, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the Wild Bird Fund after receiving a call from a concerned constituent about possible neglect of a swan in Kissena Park.

The constituent stated that the swan, a female, which could have been a victim of foul play, looked battered, had discolored feathers and her eggs were missing.

Thankfully, the Urban Park Rangers reached the swan in time and brought it to the Wild Bird Fund where they aptly named it Kissena. The swan had oil on her feathers, substantial lead poisoning and a bacterial infection of the gut.

Avella is pleased to report that, while in critical condition when it arrived, the swan is doing much better and should be able to return to the park in about a month.

“Without this constituent reporting the swan’s condition to me, it may have met an unfortunate end. I thank the Urban Park Rangers and the Wild Bird Fund for taking swift action and look forward to seeing the swan return to the park in the near future,” said Avella.

Van Bramer Lauds City Budget Passage

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D) yesterday said he is thrilled with the city’s $89.1 billionFiscal Year 2019 budget passed last week.

“As Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries, I led the effort to dramatically increase historic levels of funding. We further increased the Cultural After School Adventure program (CASA), which means that 765 schools Citywide will have after school cultural programs from this Council Initiative alone. This funding will serve the tens of millions of New Yorkers who will see a show, experience a piece of art, check out a book, or take part in an English as a Second Language class at a library as a result of these increases,” said Bramer.

“With this budget, we have seen an infusion of well over $300 million (expense and capital) added for libraries, culture and the arts. This year, nearly $200 million in capital funding is invested in expanding and improving the cultural footprint of our City. This includes significant projects that will build the cultural footprint of Queens as well as the City at large.

“We secured nearly $100 million in capital funding for New York City’s three public library systems to make needed repairs and facility upgrades so that our libraries can remain open – six days a week – to all seeking enrichment and a sense of community,” the lawmaker added.

Van Bramer noted the Department of Cultural Affairs is the largest cultural grant giving organization in the country.

“This budget increases that funding by $20 million, including $6.25 million that was added to the Cultural baseline budget. That is why the heartbeat of the arts is so strong in our City – because we, as a City and the City Council, are deeply devoted to capturing the creativity and diversity of our residents,” he said.

Addabbo Legislation Looking At Electronic Waste Passes Senate

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspethand parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) this week saw his bill (S.6463) to create a task force within the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct an in-depth examination of New York’s existing e-waste program and recommend improvements pass the senate.

The aim of the proposal is to improve the effectiveness of the 2010 Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act law, which took full effect in April of 2011.

“Eight years ago, New York moved forward to keep outdated computers, televisions and other e-waste out of our landfills and to set up a structure for the safe disposal, recycling and reuse of old electronic devices,” said Addabbo, a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “These electronics are hazardous to our environment, and it is time to reexamine our e-waste law to find out how and where it’s working well, and to find ways to improve it in circumstances where it’s simply not living up to expectations.”

Addabbo noted that the e-waste recycling and reuse law, which is intended to allow consumers to work with municipalities and manufacturers to keep electronic devices out of the waste stream, has been subject to a number of pitfalls. The DEC recently issued its first report on electronic waste collection, reporting that 300 million pounds of electronic waste was recycled between 2013 and 2015, but noting that significant obstacles remain to its overall success.

“Here in New York City, our e-waste recycling efforts have fallen short, especially for senior and disabled residents who cannot transport their electronic waste to collection sites,” Addabbo said. “Legislation I have co-sponsored in the past with other City colleagues to provide for scheduled curbside pick-up has not been approved, and it’s clear we need to make it more convenient for people to recycle e-waste and protect our environment. Creating a special panel in DEC to specifically look into this issue and come up with viable solutions may help.”

Gillibrand Announces Passage Of Resolution Designating “Juneteenth Independence Day

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) yesterday announced the passage of their resolution designating June 19, 2018, as “Juneteenth Independence Day,” in recognition of June 19, 1865, the day slavery legally came to an end in the United States.

The resolution recognizes that African-Americans, particularly from the southwest have been celebrating Juneteenth Independence Day for the past 150 years as the day slavery ended in the United States.

The history of the holiday holds that even though President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the news that the slaves were freed did not reach the frontier areas of the United States, in particular the State of Texas and the other Southwestern States, until months after the conclusion of the Civil War.

Then on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were free.

“Every year on Juneteenth we celebrate Emancipation, recognize the work left to do, and continue our commitment to a more equal future for all. Juneteenth is a holiday for all of us to observe the end of slavery, and to joyfully celebrate freedom with a shared sense of responsibility, inspiration, and encouragement,” said Gillibrand. “I am proud to have worked in the Senate with over 45 of my colleagues to pass my resolution commemorating ‘Juneteenth Independence Day’.”

Peralta Secures $110,000 Allocation for Queens Legal Services to Assist Immigrants

State Senator Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D) yesterday announced that he was able to secure $110,000 in this year’s state budget for Queens Legal Services to support the organization’s programs to fight for social and economic justice.

The grant will help Queens Legal Services provide a package of legal assistance services to immigrants across the Senator’s district and the borough.

“Here, in the United Nations of all senatorial districts, we welcome everyone and stand against discrimination and hate. I am not going to tolerate any type of attacks against my constituents. Sadly, there is a hostile environment toward immigrants, but I am at the frontlines defending and protecting them. I am glad I was able to secure these funds for Queens Legal Services and deliver for my constituents,” said Peralta.

The grant will help the organization fund its Immigration and Advocacy Project, which assists Queens residents naturalize, secure immigration relief involving asylum, removal and deportation defense, U-visas for victims of crimes, T-visas (trafficking victim), domestic violence-based applications, family-based petitions, Special Immigration Juvenile Status, and green card applications and renewals, among others.

In 2017, Queens Legal Services helped about 24,000 people. The Immigration and Advocacy Project assisted more than 4,000 residents living in poverty with immigration matters.