Queens Lawmakers on the Move March 31, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Constantinides on Rescheduling Special Election to June 23

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Councilmember and Queens Borough President candidate Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, part of Long Island City, Woodside) issued the following statement on yesterday’s decision to reschedule the Queens Borough President’s special election to June 23. 

This comes after the widespread COVID-19 outbreak suspended the March 24th special election.

“Queens is the epicenter of this public health crisis. We are working to make sure each of our 2.3 million residents are safe and protected. Queens residents desperately deserve a democratically elected county executive now more than ever. We are focused on delivering the services our neighbors need, identifying more land for temporary hospital space, and fighting to protect the most at-risk communities. 

“The City should take the following measures to ensure the integrity of our democracy:

“One, we must count all the votes already cast. We cannot disenfranchise the thousands of voters who cast their ballots during early voting held from March 14th to March 15th. 

“Two, we must keep everyone safe. Voting by mail is the only safe option for Queens residents. The Board of Elections must automatically mail every registered Queens voter an absentee ballot with pre-paid postage. Requiring voters to first apply for an absentee ballot is an unnecessary obstacle to democracy at this moment. Governor Cuomo previously deemed all Queens residents as absentee eligible due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

“Three, we must protect our campaign finance system by having the Campaign Finance Board create a new matching funds cycle. Every candidate deserves the right to communicate with voters and educate them about this new election date. This election is in 85 days — three days longer than from the original special election timeframe when the mayor called for the March 24th special election in January. 

“I hope every Queens resident remains safe. Anyone who can stay home, should absolutely do so. We encourage everyone to remain vigilant with their health and the health of others. Our borough has faced challenges before, but we have overcome them by working together,” said Constantinides.   

Sanders Jr. Creates Comprehensive COVID-19 Small Business Resource Guide

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway), a fierce advocate for his constituents – both families and business owners – has created a COVID-19 Small Business Resource Guide.

The guide is designed to support our local businesses by providing them with a comprehensive compilation of information including where to access capital at the federal state and local level.

Click HERE to view Senator Sanders’ COVID-19 Small Business Resource Guide.

In addition, Sanders is letting constituents know the city’s Department of Education (DOE) Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) began also serving grocery, food and pharmacy workers.

“For our community members who are serving in these vital roles and have no other means of childcare, the DOE is setting up Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs). 

RECs are open and operate from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, and will ensure that students have access to remote learning as well as various art, music, and other activities.

If your child is a New York City resident and you would like to enroll in one of these centers, please complete this REC Enrollment Form. Please complete this form for each child you are seeking to enroll. You will then receive an email confirming your child’s center assignment.

BP Lee On Queens Community Board Appointments For 2020

Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee yesterday announced that the term for 2020 Queens Community Board appointees will now begin on May 31 instead of April 1, and last through March 31, 2022. 

Current Community Board members whose terms expire on March 31, 2020 will continue serving for an additional 60 days, pursuant to Chapter 70, Section 2800(a) of the New York City Charter, “Members shall serve until their successors are appointed but no member may serve more than 60 days after the expiration of his or her original term unless reappointed by the borough president…”

“Following a robust and extended application period, and in continuous consultation with the borough’s City Councilmembers in accordance with the usual community board application procedure, I will issue the 2020 appointments to the borough’s 14 Community Boards in the coming weeks,” said Lee.

“I thank those Community Board members for serving for at least an additional 60 days on their respective community boards, in light of the extraordinary circumstances. I also thank all 14 Community Boards for remaining operational and continuing to serve constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic.  At times of crisis and great uncertainty, any semblance of short-term predictability, continuity and steadiness is invaluable,” she added.

As of the March 13 deadline, the Queens Borough President’s Office had received 501 applications, including 246 applications from those who had never previously served on a Queens community board, and 255 from those with prior experience and/or who were re-applying at the conclusion of their 2020 term.

There are 59 Community Boards citywide, including 14 in Queens, and each hold monthly full membership meetings. 

Cruz, Weprin Demand Budget With No Bail Reform Rollbacks

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz.
Assemblymember David Weprin

Assemblymembers Catalina Cruz (D-Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights) and David Weprin (D-Richmond Hill, Fresh Meadows) along with dozens of legislators and advocates yesterday held a digital rally presenting a united front in opposition to bail reform rollbacks.

On the digital rally, survivors of pretrial jailing spoke in impassioned terms about how their experiences would have been different had the bail reform law been in effect during their cases.

Impacted people and legislators also noted that Rikers Island and other jails have become the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. Rikers has a COVID-19 infection rate of 7 times that of New York City and 73 times the rest of the U.S.

“There are legislators who are putting politics over people and we’re not going to let them do that. People over politics. It’s that simple,” said Cruz.