Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 10, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Eastern Queens Lawmakers, Civic Groups Demand Answers about 188th Street Water Leaks

Assembly member David Weprin
Assembly Member Nily Rozic

Assemblymembers David I. Weprin (D-Richmond Hill, Fresh Meadows)) and Nily Rozic (D-Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside, Douglaston), and City Councilmembers Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village) and Rory I. Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica) this weekend will join local civic groups and residents to press the Public Service Commission and Verizon for information on the 188th Street water line leaks.

At least 32 private water service lines along the east side of 188th Street between 73rd Avenue and the Grand Central Parkway have failed, apparently because of stray voltage beneath the street, since 2017. Some homes have had their service lines fail more than once in this short period.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which oversees New York City’s water system, has informed the residents that repairing or replacing the affected pipes is the responsibility of the home owners, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in costs for local residents. At this time, the DEP has indicated that Verizon is likely the responsible party.

Since 2017, the DEP has been utilizing the services of an independent consultant, Corr-Tech, to identify the source of the leaks. In a 2018 report, the consultant stated that the leaks were not caused by city infrastructure but rather by stray voltage from a private utility. Specifically, the report indicated that Verizon infrastructure was the probable cause of the water line failures. Since then, the New York State Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities state wide, has requested additional testing from Verizon and DEP, in a letter to the company’s general counsel, has called for a concrete course of action.

All the elected officials involved strongly urge Verizon to responsibly address this matter in a timely manner for both the safety of the community and the financial wellbeing of the residents.

The lawmakers will further bring this to light at 10:30 a.m., this Sunday, Jan. 13 at the Intersection of 188th Street and 81st Avenue

Lancman Introduces Bill to Create Task Force to Combat White Supremacist Violence

City Councilman Rory Lancman.

Council Member Rory I. Lancman (D), chair of the Committee on the Justice System, yesterday introduced legislation, Intro. 1324, to establish a task force to develop strategies to prevent white supremacist violence.

The task force is charged with studying white supremacist organizations and acts of violence encouraged by these organizations, and making recommendations to the mayor and the city council for improving safety procedures.

Lancman’s call for a task force to combat white supremacist violence comes months after members of the “Proud Boys,” a hate group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center, attacked individuals in Manhattan in full view of the police. No members of the “Proud Boys” were arrested that evening. Lancman believes that a task force is needed to ensure that the city’s key law enforcement stakeholders develop a comprehensive strategy for identifying white nationalist organizations and thwarting any attempts to cause violence in New York City.

“What prompted the bill is that the city seemed to be caught completely by surprise that the Proud Boys would instigate an assault on the streets of New York City,” said Lancman. “This scourge of white nationalist terrorism demands that the city is prepared with a comprehensive law enforcement strategy. It is my hope that the formation of this task force is the start of that.”

Ulrich Decries De Blasio Proposal Mandating All Private Sector Workers Get Two Weeks Paid Vacation 

City Council Member Eric Ulrich

City Council Member and Public Advocate candidate Eric Ulrich (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica) yesterday decried Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s announcement to pursue local legislation that would require private employers with five or more employees to offer 10 annual days of paid personal time for all employees.

“Mayor de Blasio simply doesn’t get it! Small businesses in our city are already being crushed by burdensome regulations and unfunded government mandates. Now the Mayor wants to force them to provide two weeks of paid vacation at their own expense. It’s no wonder New York has become one of the least business friendly cities in America,” said Ulrich.