Queens Lawmakers On The Move April 10, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Vallone Floats Legislation to Create Director of Ferry Operations

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone) yesterday introduced a bill that would establish a Director of Ferry Operations within the Department of Transportation.

The director’s responsibilities would include the operation and maintenance of existing ferries, ferry route development and evaluation, identification and assessment of potential sites for expansion of ferry service, and public outreach and community engagement. The director would not be responsible for the Staten Island Ferry.

“Ferry service is an efficient transportation option for New Yorkers and a vital asset to our City’s economic development,” said Vallone, chair of the Council’s Committee on Economic Development. “As evident in areas of our City like Northeast Queens, which lacks subway access and oftentimes reliable bus service, it is clear that New Yorkers need better ways to travel between the boroughs.”

The company Hornblower currently operates ferry service with oversight from the city’s Economic Development Corporation. The bill would not change this overall operational structure and control of the system could lie under any city entity – namely either EDC or DOT. NYC Ferry currently operates 21 stops across the City with more stops in development.

According to a recent EDC report, NYC Ferry serves approximately 18,000 riders on an average weekday and approximately 28,000 per weekend day.

“As we continuously look for ways to meet the extraordinary demand for public transit, our city’s rapidly growing ferry service is quickly becoming a viable mass transportation option in the City of New York,” said Vallone. “A dedicated Director of Ferry Services to manage our waterways will ensure that our ferry system will continue to grow and improve.”

The bill is scheduled to be heard on April 17h at a joint hearing of the Committee on Governmental Operations and Committee on Economic Development. If passed, the Local Law would take effect after 120 days.

Lancman Bill Creating $1 Bail Notification System Passes City Council

City Councilman Rory Lancman.

City Council Member Rory Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica) yesterday saw the city council pass his legislation, Intro. 944, to require the Department of Correction (DOC) to notify eligible incarcerated individuals and their legal representatives when such individuals are detained solely because of $1 bail, or a total bail amount lower than $10.

Lancman’s legislation mandates that DOC produce a list of incarcerated individuals who are held solely due to a bail amount lower than $10 once before noon and once after noon every day of the week. DOC must notify eligible individuals three hours after the list has been generated, and attempt to contact legal representation within 90 minutes.

DOC reported that 149 individuals were held on $1 bail from August 2018 through December 2018.

“One-dollar bail is part of the nightmare of cash bail,” said Lancman. “We’ve heard too many horror stories of people stuck on Rikers Island because of confusion or a communication breakdown over $1 bail — and that ends today. My bill will ensure that the Department of Correction is promptly communicating with defendants detained solely for $1 bail and their attorneys to help reduce the unnecessary incarceration.”

Constantinides Bill Requiring More Oversight of NYC Water Tanks Passes City Council

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday saw the city council approve a measure he championed that will require New York City to have greater oversight on more than 10,000 water tanks throughout the five boroughs.

Under the measure, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) must conduct strict audits on inspection reports, as well as conduct surprise inspections on these tanks to ensure they’re free of debris, sediments, or harmful toxins.

“Clean drinking water is a fundamental human right, and New York City must ensure its citizens aren’t put at risk every time they open a faucet,” said Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “In the wake of disturbing news reports on what’s in these water tanks, the city council has responded to make sure no one is endangered when they go for a glass of water.”

Weprin Resolution Honors Birth of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem M. Schneerson

Assembly Member David Weprin

Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows, Richmond Hill) on Monday introduced a resolution in the assembly commemorating the 117th anniversary of the birth of the revered Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

Weprin introduces the resolution, which passed the assembly, each year in the Rebbe’s honor.

As a leader of the Chabad Lubavitch movement for 44 years, Schneerson established over 1,500 Lubavitch Centers throughout the world advancing the education of countless individuals. This year his birth marks the beginning of 117 Days of Education in tribute to his educational endeavors. Today, the Chabad Lubavitch movement has institutions in every State and operates over 5,000 centers in over 1,000 cities in 102 countries across the globe.

“The Lubavitch movement is international with thousands of followers and Chabad houses in every city throughout the world. Education is a priority and it’s very appropriate that we celebrate 117 days of education in honor of Lubavitcher Rebbe’s 117th birthday,” said Weprin. “I am proud to sponsor a resolution each year commemorating the life and accomplishments of revered Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson.”

Van Bramer Cuts Ribbon On Playground For Students With Special Needs

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) today will join administration, teachers, staff, and the entire student body at P4Q@Skillman, a K-8 school that serves children on the autism spectrum and those with special needs, to celebrate the ribbon cutting of a new sensory playground with customized equipment for children of all abilities.

Van Bramer allocated $250,000 toward the project after it received the most votes in his district’s 2015-2016 Participatory Budgeting cycle.

The ribbon cutting is slated for 1 p.m., today, April 10 at P4Q@Skillman; 24-30 Skillman Avenue in Long Island City.