Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move April 29, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Schumer Pushes For More Funding To Fight Foodborne Bacteria

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling for critical strengthening with robust federal investments into the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) food safety program that can help the agency better inspect, detect and do away with bad foods before they wind up on store shelves or kitchen tables.

The call comes just days after the FDA unveiled a major study showing serious foodborne bacteria was found in ice cream production plants across 32 states, including New York. Schumer is pushing for a plan to better protect meats, vegetables, and even ice cream from serious bacteria, germs and diseases like Salmonella, Listeria, E. Coli and other pathogens.

Specifically, Schumer’s plan hones in on former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s budget request for millions in federal funds to “improve food safety” and reduce the risks of foodborne illnesses. Over the weekend, Schumer announced his intention to push for an increase of at least $32 million in federal dollars in the 2020 budget in order to give the FDA additional resources to invest in the latest tools and technology it says it needs to prevent the spread of foodborne illness and beat back an uptick in pathogen spread. Schumer is pushing to include this level of federal spending in the upcoming final budget he is negotiating with Congressional leadership.

According to reports, the FDA spent 2016 and 2017 inspecting and taking environmental samples from 89 ice cream plants in 32 states, spurred by two foodborne illness facts: There were 16 ice cream product recalls for pathogens from 2013 through 2016, and three people died in the 2015 Blue Bell Ice Cream listeria outbreak.

“We see the headlines, almost daily, of another foodborne illness outbreak. And the fact is: we should do more to prevent these outbreaks, because they sicken hundreds a year and too many people succumb to far worse. While ice cream calls attention to the issue, the cold, hard truth is that this is about all foods and all consumers. Prior to his departure, Commissioner Gottlieb announced that the FDA needed to act, and now Congress has got to follow through and make it happen,” said Schumer.

BP Adams Battles Obesity In Brooklynites

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams alongside New York City’s top doctors, nutrition experts, health care advocates, and community leaders joined forces over the weekend to provide health resources and services about better nutrition to diverse, lower-income communities, who experience the effects of health crises brought on by poor diet.

The event “SOMOS Fest: Vegan in the Hood” brought members of the community together to sound the alarm on the growing obesity rate and provide free food preparation and cooking demonstrations, organic grocery giveaways, health screenings, and health education and awareness during National Minority Health Month.

According to the State of Obesity, New York’s adult obesity rate is currently 25.7%, up from 17.1% in 2000 and 9.3% in 1990. In addition, the 2017 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report found that New York had one of the lowest overall quality score for overall quality of care and the most racial and ethnic health disparities overall in the U.S.

Last fall, SOMOS’s State of Latino Health report also detailed the growing crisis in access to care, health education, and health perception challenges faced by millions of Latinos living largely in poverty in New York City – finding that 79 percent of Latino-community health care providers see cultural understanding as a major barrier for care for Latino patients.

“Preventive care is the right care, and that is an expression of love. When we empower our neighbors with affordable, nutritious food and the knowledge to prepare, we give them the ability to prevent and reverse chronic diseases,” said Adams.

Cornegy Partners With OATH To Launch Resource Initiative In Brooklyn

City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr

City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-Northern Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant) will partner with the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) to hold its first-ever OATH Resource event in the Brooklyn.   

OATH is the City’s independent administrative law court and where nearly every City agency files summonses for hearings. The new initiative aims to help individuals with any questions about summonses from a City agency, such as the Sanitation Department, Health Department, Buildings Department, Fire Department, NYPD, among many others City agencies that issue summonses and notices of violation.  

OATH staff will be able to provide the following services through this new outreach  initiative: check to determine if someone has an outstanding summons; check the status of summonses; help people understand the rules about how a summons can and should be responded to when one is received; help people submit online defenses to summonses that are eligible to be responded to remotely; help people reschedule upcoming hearings or request new hearings if summonses were previously ignored; and explain what may be required after a hearing has been held.  

OATH Resource staff will be bi-lingual and will be able to communicate with visitors to the library in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.

“For many New Yorkers, receiving a City summons and having to figure out how to interact with City government to address it can be daunting. That’s why I’m pleased to again partner with Commissioner Del Valle and the team at OATH to bring valuable information and resources about addressing City-issued summonses to the constituents of my district. I hope everyone stops by the Macon Library next Wednesday to take advantage of this great event,” said Cornegy.

The event is slated for 10 a.m., to 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 1, at Brooklyn Public Library – Macon Branch, 361 Lewis Avenue in Bed-Stuy.

Menchaca Announces Update To 59th Street N/R Station Closure

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

City Council member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) announced last week an update from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) regarding work at the 59th Street N/R train station.

Updates include:

  • The one staircase closure at 59th Street due to construction for ADA accessibility will be permanent starting tomorrow, Monday April 29. The remaining staircase on the west side will be upgraded to double capacity. This is necessary because the new elevator pit will be located below ground, necessitating the closure. The remaining staircase on the west side will have its capacity doubled by the time construction is complete.
  • Entrance Closure at 60th Street: Next weekend, starting from 10:00am on Friday, May 10 until 10:00pm on Monday, May 13, the entrance at 60th Street and 4th Avenue will be closed. Riders can still use the three staircases remaining open at 59th Street and 4th Avenue.

Colton, South BK Coalition Continue Fight To Keep Specialized High School Test

Assembly Member William Colton

Assembly member William Colton (D-Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) over the weekend announced the formation of another coalition aimed at keeping the controversial SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test), “The Education Equity Campaign.”

The new coalition is being led by minister and former Brooklyn Technical alumnus Kirsten John Foy and has been funded by Robert Lauder, chairman of the Clinique Laboratories a former Bronx High School Science alumnus, and by a former Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons.

The new coalition joins Colton and the South Brooklyn Coalition for Quality Education (SBCQE) in their fight to keep the standardized test including holding an upcoming meeting.

Colton has introduced Bill A 4818 in the Assembly requiring gifted and talented classes be provided in every school district throughout the city. Colton says the SHSAT is not the problem but is the failure of the Department of Education (DOE) to give children the opportunity to do well on the test.

“I have been and will be continuing to oppose the Mayor’s proposal to eliminate the SHSAT until I prevail. We can’t let bureaucrats destroy the future of our children, simply because they are the future of our great country,” Colton said.

The meeting is slated for 11 a.m., Saturday, June 1, at 29 Bay 25th Street in Bath Beach.