Queens Lawmakers On The Move July 22, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Meng Condemns Attack On Hindu Priest In Queens

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) on Friday condemned the reported brutal attack on a Hindu priest in Glen Oaks.

The attack occurred at about 11 a.m., last Thursday when Hindu priest, Swami Ji Harish was walking down the street near the Shiv Shakti Peeth in his religious garb. A man then allegedly came up from behind and started hitting him, repeatedly. He was beaten so badly, he had to be rushed to the hospital.

Police arrested 52-year-old Sergio Gouveia in connection to the attack. He’s being charged with assault, harassment and criminal possession of a weapon. Police say they’re looking into whether this is a potential hate crime.

“I am disgusted over the violent attack on a Hindu priest in our borough. This type of brutal act is un-American and the person who committed this heinous crime is a coward. People from across the globe call Queens home and we are proud to embrace this rich diversity that exists in our communities and neighborhoods. I commend the NYPD for making a swift arrest in this case and I’m confident that justice will be served. I stand with the Hindu community and wish the victim a full recovery,” said Meng.

Van Bramer Announces City Allocation To Woodside On The Move

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) on Friday joined Woodside on the Move (WOTM) and kids from its summer program at P.S. 152Q in Woodside to announce that $191,730 has been allocated to WOTM in this year’s city budget. 

Nearly $152,000 of this allocation is specifically for WOTM’s efforts to assist tenants and residents with housing-related issues and to preserve affordable housing in the greater Woodside community.

“I am proud to announce the nearly $200,000 I secured for Woodside on the Move in this year’s budget,” said Van Bramer. “Woodside on the Move is an indispensable resource for our Woodside community and I am so thankful for its tireless organizing and advocacy on behalf of local tenants and immigrants. This allocation will help fund essential programming for youth and families, ranging from summer camp and cultural performances to tech training and housing assistance.”

Woodside on the Move’s diverse curriculum of programs and services includes: after school programs and summer camp for youth, tenant advocacy and case management, adult computer classes, immigration counseling, free tax services, monthly legal clinics, and cultural programming.

Addabbo Continues Push To Bring Mobile Sports Betting To The State 

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) Chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, said Friday that New Jersey made history back in May by taking in more money from sports betting for the first time ever than Nevada.

According to their individual states’ gaming controls, New Jersey books took in $318.9 million in bets for the month of May, while Nevada took $317.4 million in wagers during the month.

On May 8, 2019, Kip Levin of Fan Duel and Lindsay Slader of Geo Comply, both stated in front of Addabbo at his hearing of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, that approximately 25% of New Jersey’s sports bets come from New York residents. That would mean New Yorkers placed over $79 million in sports bets in New Jersey during the month of May.

Addabbo, who penned legislation to legalize sports betting with a mobile component in New York State that passed the Senate, but failed to be brought to a vote in the Assembly during the 2019 legislative session, points to those figures as lost revenue for the State.

“It’s frustrating to see those numbers and realize that money — and more — could be coming to New York to help our students and citizens,” Addabbo said. “80% of tax revenue generated from gaming goes directly to educational funding, which means without having legal sports betting in New York with a mobile component, our children are losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Constantinides Holds Public Session on ConEd’s $695 million Proposed Rate Hike 

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) today will host a public input session on Con Edison’s controversial rate hike, which would raise the average monthly electric bill by $4.45 to $81.78. 

Overall, ConEd wants to raise $695 million from ratepayers starting in January 2020, including $210 million from natural gas customers. Gas customers’ portions of that money are expected to pay for new gas lines, that will marry New York City to fossil fuels for another 50-plus years instead of investing in renewable energy. While wealthier customers will likely switch to heat pumps, the costs will overwhelmingly fall on low- and middle-income households. 

The public is invited to come speak about the proposed rate hike. Anyone who wishes to speak may do so for up to three minutes and submit a written copy of their remarks.  

The public session is slated for 7 p.m., today, July 22 at The Mamie Fay School, 21-21 Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria.

Cuomo, Stavisky, Lancman Laud Completion Of Jewel Avenue Bridge

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Central Queens) and City Councilmember Rory Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica) on Friday lauded the announcement that major construction is complete on a $13 million project to rehabilitate the Jewel Avenue Bridge over the Van Wyck Expressway, as well as the exit and entrance ramps that connect Jewel Avenue to the southbound expressway. 

The project has enhanced safety and mobility along a key thoroughfare in Central Queens and improved access to one of the borough’s major traffic arteries.

“New York State is investing in infrastructure like never before, and the completion of this project is proof positive that we are committed to investing in the safety and efficiency of our roads and bridges,” said Cuomo. “Motorists and pedestrians alike will benefit from the increased ease of travel and other critical improvements made by this project.”

The project included the repair of the bridge deck and structural steel, the repaving of the bridge’s road surface and the reconstruction of its sidewalks. Structural repairs were also made to the exit and entrance ramps leading to and from Jewel Avenue to the southbound Van Wyck.

Additional improvements include new LED streetlights, traffic lights, drainage scuppers and fencing. Signage along the roadway was upgraded to meet current standards and provide better reflectivity and readability. 

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky
City Councilman Rory Lancman

“Over the years, Queens has had several bridges and overpasses in need of long-overdue repair, and I am delighted that the Jewel Avenue Bridge is being reopened. Bridges are vital to connecting communities and this project is an important addition to Queens County. I thank Governor Cuomo and all those responsible for making Queens a more habitable neighborhood,” Stavisky said.

“The revamped Jewel Avenue Bridge will make commutes safer and smoother for pedestrians and motorists, and that is great news for our community. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo and the Department of Transportation for making the rehabilitation of Jewel Avenue Bridge a reality,” said Lancman.

The bridge serves as a connector between the Forest Hills neighborhood on the west side of the Grand Central Parkway and the Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood to the east of the Van Wyck Expressway. It’s also part of the routes of the Q4/Q44 express buses and the Q64 local bus.