Queens Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 30, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Van Bramer Announces $1.35 Million Funding For Queensbridge Community

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) yesterday announced that he secured over $1.35 million for the Queensbridge community in the City’s FY 2020 budget.

This allocation includes:

  •         $496,315 to Urban Upbound for youth development, financial counseling, and employment services;
  •         $430,740 to the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement for a wide array of services at the Queensbridge Senior Center, Friends of Queensbridge Park, adult literacy initiatives, and youth programming;
  •         $300,000 for the beautification of outdoor spaces around the Queensbridge grounds;
  •         $40,000 to CUNY Creative Arts Team for crisis management and school conflict mediation programs at I.S. 204, where many children from Queensbridge go to school;
  •         $38,500 to the Floating Hospital for primary and specialty health care services, health and lifestyle education, and transportation through its Good Health Shuttle;
  •         $20,000 to the Queens Public Library Tech Lab at Queensbridge for business and tech training for Queensbridge residents;
  •         $15,000 to the Queensbridge Tenant Association for family days and various programming for Queensbridge residents;
  •         $12,000 to Dances for a Variable Population for free dance programs for seniors;

“Queensbridge is the largest public housing development in the United States and its residents deserve the very best. I am thrilled to announce that I secured over $1.35 million in this year’s budget for our Queensbridge community,” said Van Bramer. “I am proud to help fund the various outstanding organizations that provide critical services to the children, families, and seniors of Queensbridge. From health care and tech training to career development and youth programming, this funding will expand opportunity and improve the lives of so many.”

Meng Demands Amazon Remove Unsafe and Banned Products

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) yesterday sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos urging him to remove recalled and unsafe products, and to implement critical safety reforms, following disturbing reports that items found on the Amazon Marketplace are non-compliant with federal regulations.

“These revelations about Amazon are shocking and deeply troubling,” said Meng. “The company must immediately remove items that are unsafe, banned or deceptively labeled, and create a plan to increase transparency and product monitoring. Most disturbing is the reported sale of toys and medications that lack warnings about health risks to children. Nothing is more important than protecting our kids. As a mother of two young boys and a founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Kids’ Safety Caucus, I believe that we must do everything possible to keep children out of harm’s way, and that includes stopping Amazon from selling these types of products. I await answers from Jeff Bezos.”  

The text of Meng’s letter is below and a copy of the correspondence can be viewed here.

Constantinides Announces Funding To Clean District Streets

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday announced a $299,000-plus investment over the next year to keep western Queens beautiful. 

The allocations include new support for efforts in the Jackson Heights portion of his district. 

“Litter and graffiti shouldn’t plague our streets on a daily basis,” said Constantinides. “Thanks to the Cleaner NYC initiative, we’ve been able to bring more cleanup resources to western Queens to keep our streets livable. These investments will continue our mission of keeping our communities clean for all.” 

Highlighting this year’s investment is a $9,000-plus allocation to the Jackson Heights Beautification Group to uplift its existing work in the district. For more than 30 years this non-profit has advocated for a greener, more sustainable, and healthier neighborhood. That includes organizing gardening events on Saturdays throughout the year to enhance areas surrounding the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. 

The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless — better known as ACE — got over $225,000 for sidewalk sweeping throughout Astoria. ACE, based here in western Queens, helps recovering homeless women and men by providing jobs as well as support services. Workers currently sweep parts of 30th Avenue, Ditmars Boulevard, Shore Boulevard, and Hoyt Avenue North. 

Another $35,000 went to the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC) for continued neighborhood beautification. CALDC has previously allocated these funds to beautification efforts, especially along 30th Avenue following an eight-month subway shutdown that left business along this thoroughfare to languish. 

Graffiti removal remains a top priority in keeping the district clean, which is why $20,000 was again granted to the Queens Economic Development Corporation. These funds will pay for services to scrub away graffiti whenever it’s reported. 

The Department of Sanitation also got another $10,000 from Constantinides’ office for extra garbage pickups near Ditmars Boulevard and 31st Streets.

Velazquez, Ocasio-Cortez Get United We Dream Endorsement 

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, Lower Manhattan) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D- Astoria, College Point, Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, Bronx) yesterday was among 11 congress members who received the first round of 2020 endorsements from the immigrant youth of United We Dream Action.

In 2018, immigrant youth and allies of United We Dream Action endorsed candidates, ran ads and knocked on doors to make the voices of our community heard and in the 2020 election cycle, they anticipate their voices to be heard even louder.   

Besides Velazquez and Ocasio-Cortez, the first members of the United We Dream Action 2020 Endorsement Class includes Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Chuy Garcia (D-IL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

“As the next election approaches, United We Dream Action members will get behind candidates like these, with proven voting records and leadership which points the nation in a new direction to protect immigrants, dismantle the deportation force and advance a wide range of core issues impacting our communities,” said United We Dream Executive Director Greisa Martinez Rosas.

City Planning To Vote On New Jail Plan

The City Planning Commission (CPC) next week will hold a special meeting and vote on the New York City Borough-Based Jail System application.

The plan stems from the city’s 2017 commitment to closing the jails on Rikers Island and creating a network of modern and humane borough-based jails. This smaller jail system, built upon a foundation of dignity and respect, would house a jail population of approximately 5,000, reflecting the reality that both crime and the number of people in jail have continued to fall.

According to the plan, this borough-based system would strengthen connections to families, attorneys, courts, medical and mental health care, and faith and community-based organizations. Being closer to home and transit would enhance the network of support systems for people who are detained, and help prevent future returns to jail.

For more information on the project: https://rikers.cityofnewyork.us/nyc-borough-based-jails/

The special hearing and vote is slated for 12 noon, Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 120 Broadway, Concourse Level in Lower Manhattan.