Queens Lawmakers On The Move Oct. 21, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Queens Lawmakers Support Striking JFK Airport Employees

City Council Member Adrienne Adams
City Councilmember Francisco Moya .

A bevy of Queens lawmakers including Council Member Members Adrienne Adams, Francisco Moya and Jimmy Van Bramer; and Assembly Members Brian Barnwell, Aravella Simotas and Alicia Hyndman will join local clergy, allies and 32BJ airports members will join wheelchair agents, passenger verification agents and other Eulen workers who are set to go on strike today to protest the company violating the workers’ right to organize by intimidating, coercing, disrespecting, and spying on workers on the job.

The strikers and their supports say the airline contractor, has a long history of mistreatment of their almost exclusively immigrant workforce, including allegations that it retaliated against workers for speaking out. Eulen America, a contractor that provides passenger services to American Airlines and other airlines, has an alarming history of unfair labor practice complaints, allegations of retaliation, unpaid wages and health and safety problems on the job. 

The strikers and supporters note that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the region’s airports, has committed vast sums to infrastructure improvements at Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports. In the last few years, airport workers allege they have not only seen upticks in their incomes.

Among the chief organizers is the 32BJ SEIU union, which has 175,000 members in 11 states, including 13,000 in New Jersey and 85,000 in New York.

Schumer Calls On Contaminated Baby Food Recipe For Disaster

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday demanded new federal action by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would force the baby food industry to address the presence of heavy metals in their products and alleviate concerns raised by parents for the health and safety of their youngest and most vulnerable.

Schumer’s demands come on the heels of a just-out report detailing the presence of toxic metals in a wide variety of baby foods.

“When it comes to the first foods we feed our children, we rightfully expect those foods to be undeniably safe, nutritious, and appropriately regulated. We do not expect to learn that those first foods might come with—even a chance—of lasting consequence that could sabotage the development of newborns,” said Schumer. “Simply put, when baby food ingredients across of a variety of brands are called into question, it is the job and charge of the FDA to be the cop on the beat making sure serious questions are answered and appropriate guidelines enforced. Right now, that’s not entirely the case, and it’s a fact pattern that needs to change, because parents are demanding answers.”

Schumer demanded the FDA investigate the findings of the aforementioned independent, but credible, report sparking worry and urged the agency to propose regulations parents and others have been waiting on. Schumer said the FDA’s inability to even comment on the new report leaves many people concerned, and so in addition, he urged the agency to issue a public statement regarding the findings of the report. 

Meng Attends Historic All-Female Spacewalk

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), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science—which funds NASA, last week attended the historic first all-female spacewalk at NASA’s Space Operations Center in Washington, D.C.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir performed a mission to replace a faulty battery charger on the outside of the International Space Station.

“Bravo to our fearless Astronauts Koch and Meir for proving to all the women and girls around the world that nothing is impossible, even in space,” said Meng. “They are an inspiration for young women and girls and we should celebrate their achievement. Today’s event demonstrates no ceiling can keep a woman down. My hope is that this historic moment in our history will build confidence in girls around the world to dream big. I can’t wait to see what else women and girls can achieve in space.”

Constantinides Co-Names Corner in Memory Of Rocco Moretto

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) along with members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, VFW Post 2348 and local residents last week of officially co-named the corner of 31st Avenue and 41st Street in Astoria as  “Staff Sergeant Rocco Moretto Way.” 

Moretto, a longtime Astoria resident, died in August 2018 at 94. He was drafted in 1943 to serve in the U.S. Army, where he was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division — a frontline force its members dubbed the “Big Red One.” Staff Sgt. Moretto was just one of two soldiers in a 219-man combat unit not wounded or captured during a grueling 11-month tour through western Europe. 

“Staff Sergeant Rocco Moretto put his life on the line during World War II in the fight for freedom because he always did what was right,” said Constantinides. “He never stopped hearing that call of duty, and continued to serve his community from the moment he came home until his passing last year. His legacy will live on this corner as a reminder of the sacrifice so many have made in the name of freedom.”

Addabbo Speaks With TSINY Reps On Respite Center

State Senator 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) recently met with administrators from Transitional Services for New York, Inc. (TSINY) to discuss their program, Miele’s Respite, named after the revered Howard Beach community leader Joel Miele, Sr.

Miele’s Respite Program, formerly known as Parachute NYC, is a community-based care service that is part of NYC Crisis Respite, which provides a soft landing for individuals experiencing an emotional or psychiatric crisis.

Miele’s Respite uses Intentional Peer Support to provide a warm and safe alternative to hospitalization as they assist in working with the patient, as well as a mixture of clinicians and peers, on their recovery.

“To learn about such an amazing program that was named after an even more amazing person, was a great experience,” Addabbo said. “Joel Miele, Sr. was firmly entrenched in the Howard Beach community, as the Chairman of Community Board 10 as well as Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner. I believe that through the respite program, Joel’s name remains associated with helping others in their time of need.”

Miele’s Respite, is located at 80-45 Winchester Blvd Building 20, in Queens Village, offers multiple services. In order to meet eligibility requirements, a person needs to be 18 years of age or older, have a safe and reliable place to return at the conclusion of their stay, be a resident of NYC, currently experiencing an emotional or psychiatric crisis, is not an imminent danger to themselves or others, medically stable, largely able to care for personal needs such as their hygiene and meals, voluntarily accept Respite services, and have no diagnosis of dementia or organic brain syndrome.

To make a referral to Miele’s Respite, an individual should call 718-464-0375.

Kim Champions Whitepaper On Public Payment Platform

Assemblymember Ron Kim/Facebook

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) last week celebrated and congratulated Professor Robert Hockett, Edward Cornell Professor of Law and Professor of Public Affairs at Cornell University, on the release of his historic whitepaper “The New York Inclusive Value Ledger: A Peer-to-Peer Savings & Payments Platform for an All-Embracing and Dynamic State Economy.” 

The lawmaker hailed the concept espoused by the paper as truly innovative solution to tackling poverty and addressing a widespread lack of cash flow in myriad neighborhoods and communities in America. He stated that the current proliferation of predatory payday lenders, extractive third-party payment platforms, and colossal credit card companies highlighted a serious need for an independent, democratic, and public digital system for New Yorkers to store, receive, and spend money.

Kim said the Inclusive Value Ledger (IVL) proposed would be a smart-device accessible, peer-to-peer (‘P2P’) savings and payments platform for all New York residents to use. It would function as a state-provided and administered payment infrastructure through which people can store, grow, and exchange money with zero exploitation or extraction. Such a system would ensure that a vast all people and businesses in New York can be ‘banked’, able to receive and circulate money hassle-free, and fully participate in New York’s economy. 

“Unless we redesign money to capture, store, and exchange values created by all people, we will continue to see the extraction of wealth out of our communities. For the first time, with modern financial technologies, we have a chance to create a complementary currency and public payment platform designed to capture unvalued work and reward people who help others and our environment. Simply put, our Inclusive Value Ledger will serve as a free and public ‘Venmo’ dedicated to leaving no value behind in our communities,” said Kim.

A copy of the whitepaper can be viewed here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vuz1d9x4szd4q4o/The%20New%20York%20IVL%20Whitepaper%20[final].pdf?dl=0