Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 19, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Meng Statement On Vote To Impeach Trump

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 issued the following statement after voting yes to impeach President Donald Trump.

“I did not come to Congress to impeach the President of the United States. I came to fight for the betterment of the lives of my constituents in New York’s 6th congressional district. This is an honor and duty I do not – and will not ever – take lightly.

“Today, I voted to impeach President Donald Trump. I voted yes on two articles of impeachment against the President that charge him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. I did so with a heavy heart for our country, but a clear conscience. I did so, because, above all, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I did so, because no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States.

“The impeachment inquiry findings make clear that the President’s actions support charges of high crimes and misdemeanors. The President put his personal political interests above the interests of the American people. He compromised the public trust, undermined our national security, and jeopardized our democratic process. He schemed and conditioned official acts to get dirt against his domestic political opponent. Time and again, he continued to thwart Congress’s constitutionally-mandated power of oversight by blocking testimony and refusing to comply with House subpoenas. He failed to provide any exculpatory evidence. His actions are unprecedented and unapologetic. Ultimately, the President’s actions left the House of Representatives no other option, but to exercise the ‘sole Power of Impeachment,’ vested in it by the Constitution. These charges warrant the President’s removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under our nation.

“We cannot allow the President of the United States to continue cheating and offending our democracy. Rather than defending the Constitution, the President has chosen to defy it. I vote today out of duty to our nation, and my oath to the Constitution.”

Gianaris Calls MTA Vote To Hire More Cops A Wrong Priority

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) yesterday criticized the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board’s decision to spend $250 million on new police officers amid the agency’s ongoing service crisis.

“Subway crime is at a low point – and so is service quality. The subway system desperately needs more elevators, more reliable service, and fair fares. It does not need 500 new police officers,” said Gianaris. “This decision reflects the MTA’s continuing misplaced priorities.”

Gianaris has fought the proposal to hire 500 additional MTA officers, co-signing a letter with U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-North Central Queens, Bronx) to the governor opposing the additional officers. Most recently,  Gianaris appeared at a rally outside MTA headquarters denouncing the planned vote.

Koo Officially Announces New Loading Zones In Downtown Flushing

City Council Member Peter Koo

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) yesterday joined with officials from the NYC Department of Transportation and the Flushing Business Improvement District to announce the installation of five new loading zones in downtown Flushing. 

Known as one of the busiest transportation hubs in New York City, the new installations effectively double the current number of loading zones available in the downtown Flushing area, a commercial corridor with more than 20 bus lines and hundreds of thousands of daily visitors.

The new loading zones are a result of multiple meetings over the past year between Koo’s office, the Downtown Flushing Transit Hub Business Improvement District, the DOT and Community Board 7, which looked to address traffic congestion and loading/unloading challenges experienced by the area’s small businesses. 

Many of these issues arose due to recent traffic pattern changes and competition with bus, vehicular, and pedestrian traffic. Working with the DOT, the local business community identified these five locations to help alleviate delivery double parking and traffic congestion.

“These five new loading zones should dramatically decrease the burden on our small business community while helping to decrease double parking, traffic congestion, and improve bus travel times in downtown Flushing. For too long, delivery trucks have double parked on major thoroughfares in downtown Flushing, and by doubling the number of loading zones in this transportation hub, we are looking to improve the travel experience for all in our community,” said Koo.

“Today’s efforts are a direct result of conversations between local businesses, the BID, the Community Board, my office, and the DOT, and it illustrates that the city can be receptive to our community’s needs when they’re appropriately engaged,” he added.

Grodenchik Helps Queens County Farm Grow 

City Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Bayside, Queens, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Jamaica Estates, Little Neck Oakland Gardens, Queens Village) recently helped secure a lease agreement for the Queens County Farm Museum. The farm, one of the longest continuously operating in New York State, will now use 1.6 nearby acres that are owned by the New York State Office of Mental Health.

“Each year, the Queens County Farm Museum provides fresh produce to feed New Yorkers,” said Grodenchik. “This additional land will allow the farm to increase crop production by more than 30 percent.”

The Queens Farm donated nearly 400 pounds of fresh food in the past year and formed a partnership with Jamaica Hospital to bring fresh produce to its service area, which has traditionally faced limited fresh food access.

The partnership comes as the popularity of urban agriculture in New York rises, noted  Grodenchik. The addition of the plot of land will enable the farm to expand on the 200 varieties of crops it currently produces, including garlic, potatoes, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and corn.  Nearly 14,000 pounds of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers are cultivated and grown each year on the farm, which is also home to 270 farm animals.