Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 12, 2018

Queens County City Council News

De Blasio, Cumo, Katz, Nolan On Board With Amazon Community Advisory Committee

Mayor BIll de Blasio
Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, with support from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Astoria, Woodside, Long Island City, Maspeth, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Dutch Kills, Blissville) yesterday announced the formation of a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to share information and solicit ongoing community input about Amazon’s planned headquarters project in Long Island City.

Members of the CAC will work through three subcommittees to develop plans for the headquarters and onsite public amenities, investments in neighborhood infrastructure to benefit the surrounding communities, and training and hiring programs to ensure that homegrown talent fills the 25,000 to 40,000 new jobs at the headquarters.

The CAC is comprised of community and citywide stakeholders recommended by local elected officials. Past CACs have significantly shaped development projects led by Empire State Development (ESD) helping ensure that community priorities and needs are considered throughout the process.

“Amazon’s new headquarters will bring more than 25,000 jobs benefitting all New Yorkers from NYCHA residents to CUNY students,” said de Blasio.The Community Advisory Committee will bring together stakeholders of all backgrounds to help shape this important plan. Robust community engagement is critical to ensuring that the investments and resources generated from this project serve the needs of everyone in Long Island City and beyond.”

“Amazon’s new headquarters in Long Island City is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our economy and community input will be a critical part of the development process,” said Cuomo. “We look forward to working with local elected officials, community organizations and residents to ensure their voices are heard as we work to create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs, generate billions in revenue that will be reinvested in the region, strengthen our infrastructure, and expand opportunity for New Yorkers.”

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

“It is imperative for stakeholders to seize an active role in this process and directly shape how the community will benefit from this historic deal,” said Katz.”The process should include infrastructure investments to enhance capacity, support for existing housing developments and, in a union town like New York, agreements with labor. The Community Advisory Committee is designed to ensure community insights and concerns are incorporated into the ultimate outcome.”

“I am grateful to the activists who have agreed to serve on a diverse community advisory committee to provide important direction and feedback to guide this plan. It will be important to make sure that affordable housing, transportation improvements, and anti-displacement efforts become reality over the course of this effort.  This project can provide important benefits to infrastructure and workforce development that reflect our longtime desire for a sustainable, mixed use community,” said Nolan. “I am particularly grateful to Bishop Mitchell Taylor and LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow for agreeing to chair the workforce development subcommittee.

Vallone, Johnson Hold Council’s First Amazon Oversight Hearing

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston), chair of the council’s Economic Development Committee, along with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) today will hold an oversight hearing on the Amazon HQ2 project.

This hearing, entitled “Amazon HQ2 – Stage 1: Exposing the Closed-Door Process,” is the first in a series of public oversight hearings on this deal. The Council’s Economic Development Committee will examine Amazon’s deal with city and state officials to establish its second headquarters in Long Island City.

The public is invited to attend the hearing but will not be submitting public testimony. There will be a separate hearing devoted to public testimony at a later date. The public is invited to participate in tomorrow’s hearing by submitting public comment on the Council’s website or by using the hashtag #AmazonAnswersNYC on social media.

The hearing is slated for 10 a.m., today, Dec. 12 at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

Sanders Picked to Chair Senate’s Banking Committee

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) today announced that Senate Democratic Leader Andrea-Stewart Cousins (D-Westchester) and the Democratic Conference named him as the new Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks. 

“I will use my position to ensure that banks are held accountable while protecting homeowners,” Sanders said. “New York is the financial capital of the world and we need to support smart legislation that prevents misfortune caused by greed and speculation. I look forward to working with my colleagues in government to better the lives of all New Yorkers.   

Senator Sanders was a member of the Senate Committee on Banks for two years, before becoming the ranking Democrat on the Committee in 2017.

In his capacity as the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s Committee on Banks, Sanders began addressing the disparities in lending particularly in low- and middle-income communities by supporting the modernization of the Community Reinvestment Act, a federal law that aims to accomplish this goal. This will continue to be one of his priorities.

“The Senate Committee on Banks is crucial in ensuring the financial stability and strength of our state’s economy and in my role as Chairman,” Sanders said. “I will be fully committed to be a strong voice for the people.”

Stewart-Cousins also names Queens State Senators Leroy Comrie as chair of the Corporations Committee, Toby Stavisky as chair of the Higher Education Committee, Jessica Ramos as chair of the Labor Committee, Joseph Addabbo as chair of the Racing Committee and John Liu as chair of the subcommittee on NYC Education.

Gillibrand Calls On Senate To Give Benefits To Navy Vietnam Veterans

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), alongside U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Steve Daines (R-MT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), yesterday called on the Senate to pass the bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act.

The legislation would ensure that thousands of Navy veterans, and their families, exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War are able to receive the death and health care benefits they earned. This legislation already passed the House with unanimous support. The Senate only has a few days to pass this bill before the end of this legislative session.

“It is unacceptable that for the past sixteen years, the VA has denied health benefits to our Blue Water Navy vets just because of an arbitrary rule blocking veterans who served on boats off Vietnam’s coast from the benefits they have earned and deserve. It’s outrageous that a couple of Senators are now blocking these benefits too by refusing to pass the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act,” said Gillibrand.

“The current policy for Blue Water Navy veterans is preventing thousands of veterans from getting the support and treatment they desperately need for their exposure to Agent Orange. Our veterans are heroes and deserve nothing less than the very best care and treatment available, and our Blue Water Navy vets should not wait another second to get the benefits they have already earned. The House has already passed this legislation with no objection, and the Senate must act immediately to pass this bill and send it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

Lancman Committee To Examine Bail Issues

City Councilman Rory Lancman.

City Council 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, today will hold an oversight hearing to examine what happens when New York City courts are forced to set bail that people can actually afford.

The Committee will seek insight into the status and results of three initiatives designed to make the bail payment process fairer and more efficient:

The Vera Institute of Justice’s Bail Assessment Pilot Project, funded by the City Council and championed by Lancman, which gives criminal court arraignment judges in the Bronx and Queens information about a person’s ability to pay bail and the forms of bail that should be considered in each case.

The Vera Institute of Justice’s three-month experiment in New York City arraignment courts examining what happened if alternative forms of bail were used more often.

The recently expanded Bail Expedition (BEX) Program that helps facilitate the payment of bail by contacting potential sureties and placing holds with DOC to prevent unnecessary transports to Rikers Island.

The hearing is slated for 1 p.m., today, Dec. 12 at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

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