Queens Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 11, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Schumer: Put Sanctions On China For Fentanyl Trafficing

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday announced a new bill that would put economic pressure and possible sanctions on China and other countries that turn a seemingly blind eye to the manufacturing and trafficking of the deadly drug fentanyl to this country.

Under Schumer’s Fentanyl Sanctions Act, the law enforcement and intelligence community would be given more tools to combat the opioid epidemic, empower the President to call-out foreign traffickers and use economic sanctions, similar to the kinds used to respond to Putin and Russian oligarchs, to cripple foreign labs and apply economic pressure to countries turning a blind eye to fentanyl drug production and trafficking.

“For years, Chinese laboratories have been cooking-up formulas of death and freely trafficking lethal fentanyl across New York, and to many other places across America, where it is killing tens-of-thousands of people—and it has to stop,” said Schumer.“When it comes to taking genuine action to address this crisis, China continues to kick the can down the road while American lives are kicked to the curb, enveloped by addiction or cut all too short by tragedy.”

The most recent deferral of action came during the G-20 summit, where China made a verbal commitment to act on the trafficking of fentanyl, but nothing has happened since.

“Since the G-20 summit, when it concerns the export of fentanyl, we have failed to see a signed and enforceable agreement, a solid plan or genuine commitment from China. We cannot be satisfied with handshakes and group photos, or we will not wait forever. Instead, we must present China with a tough but fair consequence when it comes to the wave of fentanyl flowing into the United States,” Schumer added.

Dromm, Council LGBT & Women’s Caucus Demand Diaz Sr. Resign For Homophobic Remarks

City Council Member Daniel Dromm

City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights), chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus, issued a joint statement on behalf of the caucus along with the Council’s Women’s Caucus condemning Bronx City Council Member Ruben Diaz Sr’s recent statement saying the city council is “controlled by the homosexual community.”

“We are appalled by Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr’s most recent hateful remarks about this body, Speaker Corey Johnson and the greater LGBTQ community. This is by no means the first time Council Member Diaz has attacked LGBTQ people. From his opposition to marriage equality to his denigration of transgender individuals, he has made many outrageous statements about our families, our neighbors, and our lives over the years,” said the joint statement.

“Just last month, the Women’s Caucus Co-Chairs condemned Council Member Diaz for his disgusting comments during a rally in opposition to the Reproductive Health Act.  Council Member Diaz’s comments this week show that he is only doubling down on offensiveness and bigotry.

“We demand he resign from his position effective immediately. It is time that we stick by the pledge we have made to our communities that hate and fear have no place in New York City. Furthermore, we call upon the NYC Council Committee on Standards and Ethics to open an investigation into this matter and act swiftly. All New Yorkers, especially Council Member Diaz’s LGBTQ constituents, need to know that such hate has no place in our city.”

Constantinides To Hold Hearing On ‘Astoria Borealis’

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights), chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, today will hold a hearing on ‘Astoria Borealis,’ legislation to close New York City power plants

The ‘Astoria Borealis’ is the name given for the blown transformer at a Con Edison substation in western Queens that exploded last December that sent a vibrant blue light throughout the night sky, creating a nationwide spectacle that also briefly caused panic locally.

“The Astoria Borealis’ light may have been the talk of Instagram, but many residents who live near this substation were rightfully concerned about their safety,” said Constantinides. “We should consider this the milestone moment in which we make our electricity grid not only greener, but safer for all New Yorkers. We have powered the City off the backs of low- and middle-income communities for far too long.”

The hearing is slated for 10 a.m., Today, Feb. 11, inside the City Hall Council Chambers in Lower Manhattan.

Statement From Van Bramer, Johnson On Amazon Reconsidering NYC Headquarters

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) and Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) issued the following statements on the Washington Post story on Friday that online retail giant Amazon is reconsidering moving its second headquarters to Long Island City.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.

“Since the Governor and the Mayor announced the Amazon deal, I have joined many to fight it. We rose up and held the line. When a corporation is anti-union, pro-ICE and seeks billions in corporate welfare, we must fight back. It’s not over, but I’m proud of the values we fought for,” said Van Bramer.

“It is the Council’s job to ask questions, and to make sure that a nearly $4 billion deal involving public land is in the best interests of the New Yorkers who elected us. No company is entitled to public land and subsidies without tough public scrutiny. The Council is looking forward to our next hearing with Amazon,” said Johnson.

Katz, Borough Board Review Proposed Amendment On Flood Resilience

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and the Queens Borough Board today will hear a presentation from the city’s Department of City Planning regarding its proposed zoning text amendment intended to promote flood resilience.

As part of DCP’s ongoing climate resiliency initiatives, the city is working with coastal communities to update the special zoning regulations that apply in the city’s floodplain.

These regulations promote flood-resistant building design to ensure that neighborhoods are more resilient to flooding and climate change. However, they were adopted on a temporary, emergency basis following Sandy, and DCP believes they need to be made permanent through a new zoning text amendment to ensure buildings do not lose the zoning flexibility that enables resilient design.

The hearing is slated for 5:30 p.m., today, Feb. 11 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.

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