Queens Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 14, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Gillibrand Questions Immigrant Detainee “Volunteer” Work

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) led a group of five other U.S. Senators in calling on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to immediately take action to end the practice of utilizing immigrant detainees from doing “volunteer” work.

The call follows multiple reports that federally contracted, privately run detention centers are withholding food, hygienic supplies, and contact with loved ones from immigrant detainees in order to force them to perform tasks that include scrubbing toilets, mopping, waxing floors, and cleaning medical facilities.

Gillibrand and the other five lawmakers wrote Nielsen to immediately take action to end these practices and ensure that these facilities comply with existing laws.

“It is unacceptable that private companies are forcing labor upon detainees, in the name of the U.S. government, to take advantage of detainee voluntary payment levels, rather than hiring employees to operate their facilities, and further highlights the lack of oversight at federally contracted detention centers,” the Senators wrote.

“This type of illegal behavior should not be allowed to occur under any circumstance, especially under a federal contract funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars. Our immigration detention system should be run by the highest standards; instead, it appears private companies have been allowed to deprive individuals of basic needs in order to provide billion dollar operations with a ready supply of cheap labor to operate their facilities. Our government should be working to protect families that need our help, not to line the pockets of private security companies that fail to meet our federal detention standards.”

Joining Gillibrand in inking the letter were Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Lancman: Time To Pass Legislation Banning Police Chokeholds

City Council Member Rory I Lancman

City Council Member Member Rory I. Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica), chair of the Committee on the Justice System, yesterday said it is time for the city council to finally pass his legislation that will ban the New York City Police Department from utilizing a chokehold to subdue a suspect.

Lancman’s remarks came in response to a video published in a media outlet yesterday showing a detective using a banned chokehold against a man after being called to address a noise complaint.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. While chokeholds are against the NYPD’s rules, there are no criminal consequences for performing this deadly maneuver, and they continue to happen year after year even after the tragic killing of Eric Garner,” said Lancman.

“Police chokeholds will not stop unless there is true accountability and transparency, which can only be accomplished through legislation. It is time to pass the chokehold bill, and for the Mayor to commit to sign it,” he added.

Kim, Koo Support De Blasio Initiative To Access To Funding For Women Entrepreneurs 

Assemblymember Ron Kim
City Council Member Peter Koo

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) and City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill) yesterday supported the de Blasio Administartion’s announcement the city is seeking venture capital partners to invest in companies founded by women entrepreneurs

That after the city’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) released a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) in an effort to address the disparities related to raising capital experienced by women entrepreneurs, especially in the tech industry.

WE Venture will seek out venture capital partners who not only acknowledge the disparities these entrepreneurs face, but also demonstrate a track record of raising and deploying capital to companies owned by these often-marginalized groups.

With $10 million in seed capital, the city will create a venture capital investment consortium in partnership with selected firms. The consortium will be a part of Women Entrepreneurs NYC, which has worked with over 5,000 women to start and scale their businesses.

“This RFP represents a unique chance to address the gap in business opportunities for undeserved New Yorkers, especially women and people of color working in the tech sector. We are one of the most diverse places in the world, but for many of our communities a fair shot at the American Dream still feels just out of reach,” said Kim.

“I applaud Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for their consistent efforts to provide more opportunities to marginalized, working-class entrepreneurs,” he added.

Koo said if New York is going to continue to be the flagbearer of forward-thinking entrepreneurship, it must be sure to uplift and support the innovations of women entrepreneurs.

“We NYC will go far to level the playing field for women and provide new opportunities for quality jobs. Thank you to NYCEDC for looking to bring parity on our city’s burgeoning tech industry,” said Koo.

Proposals for the City of New York Venture Capital Investment Consortium are due by 4 p.m., Oct. 26. The RFP can be downloaded here. An information session will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20 at NYCEDC. Those who wish to attend should RSVP by email to VCC@nycedc.com no later than 5 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 19.  The specific location and directions to the information session will be emailed to those who RSVP for the information session.

Van Bramer Kicks Off Annual School Supplies Drive

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer/Facebook

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills) announced his office is kicking off its  9th Annual Back to School Supplies Drive until Sept. 7.

“Every year, we collect supplies for children in need at schools throughout the 26th district. You can help out by donating pens, pencils, backpacks, lunchboxes, binders, paper, rulers, calculators, markers, protractors, highlighters, crayons, or any other items that will be useful to children as they go back to school,” said Van Bramer.

All supplies will go directly to students in need. Any donation, big or small, is appreciated. You can bring supplies to Van Bramer’s District Office between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at 47-01 Queens Boulevard, Suite 205 in Sunnyside. You can also drop them off at the following Queens Library Locations.

Please feel free to contact Kenny Medrano in Van Bramer’s office at (718) 383-9566 or at kmedrano@council.nyc.gov with any questions.