Queens Lawmakers On The Move March 19, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Vallone Blasts Mayor’s Job Plan For Lacking Details

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) yesterday lashed into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ’s New York Works Jobs Plan at a joint council hearing of the Economic Development and Oversight and Investigations Committees.

Since the plan was announced two years ago, there have been concerns about whether the Administration would be tracking job creation and the lack of a defined outline for how low-income New Yorkers would be able to obtain access to these jobs. James Patchett, President of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) was present at the hearing to address these concerns.

“We just had a hearing on the progress of a jobs plan that revealed that there is no conclusive data on the jobs created by that plan,” said Vallone. “How can we rely on projections and job pathways when there is no tracking to ensure that they actually materialize into real jobs for New Yorkers?”

During questioning Vallone said it became clear that the Administration lacks a proper tracking methodology. Instead, estimates and projections have been provided in annual updates in lieu of reliable data on job creation. The numbers released are also artificially bolstered by the practice of counting jobs before they actually materialize. When the city takes an action aimed at creating jobs, such as funding a new initiative or development, estimates of the number of jobs that will be created are considered as actual jobs for data purposes.

“It seems like the Mayor is simply taking existing work that EDC has done for our city, and rebranding it as a plan for middle class jobs,” said Vallone. “We need a clear plan that defines how the City is going to build on the great work that EDC has been doing for years. If this jobs plans had never been announced, these three thousand jobs would have been created anyway. Taking the status quo, putting a mask on it and calling it progress will never be enough for the City Council or our New Yorkers.”

Van Bramer Hails Funding For Cultural Organizations

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) hailed the de Blasio Administration for its announcement yesterday that $2.8 million in additional funding will be allocated to over 175 cultural organizations in underserved communities in all five boroughs.

The new funding is being made available thanks to an agreement allowing the Metropolitan Museum of Art to charge mandatory admission to visitors from outside of New York State in exchange for sharing a portion of the new revenue with the City. The city’s Departmnet of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) committed to use this revenue to support the goals from the CreateNYC cultural plan, which identified cultural funding equity as one of its top priorities.

“I am thrilled to see an additional $2.8 million invested in over 175 outstanding cultural organizations across NYC,” said Van Bramer, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs. “This will empower them to expand programming and reach greater audiences from all backgrounds. We must continue to fight for even more funding to ensure the diversity and accessibility of the arts and culture in our city.”

Among the organizations in Queens getting extra funding include Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning.

Moya Workers Rights Bill Gets signed Into Law

City Councilmember Francisco Moya .

City Council Member Francisco Moya (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Flushing Meadows, LaGuardia Airport) yesterday saw Mayor de Blasio hold a hearing and sign into law his legislation requiring trade waste companies to provide workers’ rights information to certain employees.

Under this law, the city’s Business Integrity Commission (BIC) will require all companies post and share information about workers’ rights, including the maximum number of hours employees are allowed to work in a 24-hour period, the minimum wage they must be paid, safety training requirements, safety equipment required, and information about how to file a complaint, including the list of agencies a worker can approach to file such complaint. 

All this information will also be posted on BIC’s website.

“Worker’s rights are a fundamental privilege promised to every man and woman who clocks in for work. But for the private sanitation workers charged with picking up the majority of this city’s commercial waste, it’s not just their business that can be dirty — many of their employers are as well,” said Moya.

“The private carting industry is littered with companies that consider workers rights open for dispute, some going so far as to dispatch sham unions into their ranks like Trojan horses, to do their bidding and provide them cover. This bill will take the necessary step requiring the city and their employers educate workers about their rights, empowering them to inhibit greedy employers and these sham unions,” he added.

Katz, Queens Borough Commission Meets New Borough Parks Commissioner

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) and the Queens Borough Cabinet tomorrow will meet and hear a presentation from Michael Dockett, the newly-appointed Queens Commissioner of NYC Parks.

In addition, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) will offer an overview of its programs designed to alleviate the effects of poverty and to provide opportunities for New Yorkers and communities to flourish.

The meeting is slated for 9:30 a.m., tomorrow, March 20 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.

Lancman Chairs FY 2020 Preliminary Budget Hearing

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 council’s Committee on the Justice System, today will hold the committee’s FY 2020 preliminary budget hearing.

The Committee will hear testimony from the City’s District Attorneys and Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Office of Civil Justice, Public Defenders, Civil Legal Services Providers, and members of the public.

The public meeting is slated for 2:30 p.m., today, March 19 at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.