Queens Lawmakers On The Move July 23, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Miller, Fellow Electeds Co-Name Street For Cardinal S. Sandford

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

City Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens), other elected officials and community members joined the family of the late Cardinal Sandiford over the weekend as they unveiled the street sign for Cardinal S. Sandiford Way on the corner at Anderson Road and Sidway Place in memoriam to the revered former civic leader.

Cardinal Sandiford lead an accomplished life over his 84 years, and survived a life threatening eye-infection in 2010, before passing away three years later. The U.S. Army veteran served as Civil Service Division director of the now defunct Local 144 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and later rose to the rank of Vice President before it merged in 1998 with leading healthcare worker union 1199SEIU. 

Sandiford also served as President of the Octagon Neighborhood Association, and board member of the Robert Couche Senior Citizen Center, but is remembered best for his 14 years as a member of Queens Community Board 12, including nine years as Chair of its influential Land Use Committee.

“Cardinal Sandiford embodied service to community, and today’s co-naming ceremony acknowledges the many life contributions of this civic giant,” said Miller. “Future generations will see the name Cardinal S. Sandiford Way and learn how Sandy preserved our community from overdevelopment but promoted a responsible transformation of Downtown Jamaica that would modernize the landscape, build an engine that created new sources of wealth for our businesses, and make Southeast Queens the world’s gateway to New York City.”

City Council Member Adrienne Adams
Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman

Other Southeast Queens lawmakers also praised the memory of Cardinal Sandiford.

“Queens is a better place thanks to the hard work and devotion of Cardinal Sandiford,” said City Council Member Adrienne Adams. “I had the pleasure to know Mr. Sandiford as my colleague and advisor, so it is a truly momentous occasion to honor his legacy of selfless dedication with a street co-naming. He was a pillar of the community and the significant contributions that he made to Queens will not be forgotten. I thank Councilman Miller for his efforts to secure this memorial to a legendary citizen.”

State Senator Leroy Comrie

“Cardinal S. Sandiford devoted himself to uplifting others. Through his service on Community Board 12Q, as Chair of Land Use, and President of the Octagon Block Association—his civic dedication was unmatched,” said Assemblywoman Alicia L. Hyndman. “I am proud to join Councilman Miller in honoring Mr. Sandiford’s legacy, and hope this street co-naming serves as a reminder of his accomplishments.”

“Cardinal S. Stanford Way now adorns the intersection of Anderson Way and Sidway Place in the heart of the neighborhood that Cardinal S. Stanford adored so dearly,” said Senator Leroy Comrie. “A consummate public servant, Cardinal S. Stanford dedicated his life and career to working for the good of all in the Army, in labor, and in civic life. His example will continue to inspire folks throughout Southeast Queens for generations to come. I thank Council Member Miller for stewarding this co-naming throughout the City Council.”

Meng Introduces Bill To Improve Community College Graduation Rates

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) announced yesterday that she introduced the Community College Student Success Act, which seeks to ensure that under-resourced public community colleges with high percentages of low-income and minority students, have the necessary funding to develop and implement support services that help students thrive and graduate.  

The goal of the legislation is to replicate nationwide the proven success of the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP). This acclaimed initiative, which CUNY launched in 2007 at its then six community colleges including those in Queens, helps students earn associate degrees within three years by offering a range of financial, academic, and personal assistance. 

The program has been found to consistently double the graduation rates of participating students. The community colleges in Queens consist of Queensborough Community College in Bayside and LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City.

Specifically, Meng’s legislation would provide:

Academic Advising: Advisors would provide ongoing academic and personal advising to students including helping to clearly lay out a three-year graduation plan and creating strong transfer pathways for students interested in continuing their education.

Academic and Career Support: Students on academic probation or those have been referred to developmental courses would be required to meet weekly with a tutor. Students would also meet with an on-campus career counselor or participate in career services events at least once a semester to promote career planning and success.

Financial Support: Students would receive a tuition waiver to cover the gap between tuition and fees and financial aid. Additionally, students satisfying all of the above meeting requirements would receive a financial incentive, such as a gas card or pass for transportation, at least once per month.

“Community colleges play a critical role in American higher education. Of the over 40 percent of undergraduates who are enrolled at community colleges across the United States, a large portion are first-generation, low-income college students, and half are from minority communities. Unfortunately, many of the institutions they attend are under-resourced. In addition, access to college means little without degree completion,” said Meng.

“That is why I am proud to reintroduce the Community College Student Success Act, which is a holistic, student-centered approach to ensuring that community college students have the financial, academic, and career support they need to obtain their degree. If Congress truly values the importance of educating our next generation, we must increase our investment in these colleges and the students they serve. Everybody deserves a quality education, no matter their background, because education is a civil right.”

Nolan Writes De Blasio, Cuomo About Court Square Subway Station Flooding

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Long Island City, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria, Woodside, Maspeth, Dutch Kills, Blissville) recently fired off a letter to both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging them to stop construction and at the Court Square Subway Station and fire the contractor doing work there.

The letters followed a terrible accident that occurred at the subway station on the E/M train MTA line on Wednesday, July 17. A social media user captured flooding that almost swept a commuter onto the subway tracks. 

“It has been reported that this dangerous incident was a result of a contractor not having proper permits, pumping and fencing. Additionally, there have been permits and permissions granted because of construction of additional entrances and other so-called enhancements that many in our community and community board were unaware was in progress,” she wrote to de Blasio and Cuomo.

“On Wednesday night in the Court Square subway station, a flood of water from a nearby construction site broke through a wall and flooded the station, carrying one man across the platform and frighteningly close to an oncoming train. This was a completely unacceptable incident, and the practices which led to this outcome must be ended immediately.  We must all call upon Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Buildings to shut down this construction site, and to see that the responsible parties are held accountable for their unbelievable disregard for the public’s safety,” she said in a statement.

Weprin Mourns Passing Morgenthau 

Assemblymember David Weprin

Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows, Richmond Hill) yesterday mourned the passing of former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

Morganthau, Manhattan’s longest-serving district attorney died Sunday after a short illness. He was 99.

“It is with great sadness that I join New York and the legal community to mourn the passing of former District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. It was my pleasure to serve under D.A. Morgenthau as an intern during his 35-year tenure and get to know him personally over the years. Serving the public since 1961, first as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Robert Morgenthau prosecuted some of the City’s most infamous cases and inspired many in the legal field to pursue careers in public service. His passing is a great loss to our City. His tenacity and dedication will be missed and my condolences go out to his wife Lucinda Franks, children, and loved ones,” said Weprin.

Vallone Announces Long-Awaited Traffic Control in Whitestone

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) announced he was informed that a long-awaited all-way stop was installed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) at the intersection of 163rd Street and 24th Road. 

Vallone first contacted the DOT on this issue in 2014 and in December of last year penned a letter to DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia asking the agency to conduct a traffic study at this location.

“This long-awaited traffic control is a win for Whitestone and the residents of 163rd Street who have been petitioning for safety measures for over a decade,” said Vallone. “I thank Cyrille Kousiaris and Salvatore Cippo for their advocacy and Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia for working closely with my office on this issue.”