Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move April 17, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Adams Calls For Small Biz Loans To Boost City’s Mask Manufacturers

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams yesterday joined local mask manufacturers for a virtual press conference highlighting the variety of Brooklyn-based businesses creating face coverings for general consumption, and calling for the City to set up a small business grant program to help boost production.

The call comes after Governor Cuomo issued an executive order this week, which goes into effect on Friday, requiring all New Yorkers throughout the state to wear face coverings in public when social distancing isn’t possible. During the press conference, Joanne Yeung, product manager at MCM Enterprise, provided a brief video tour of a Sunset Park-based factory floor where cloth masks were being manufactured.

“As the demand for face coverings rises during the COVID-19 pandemic, we found it appropriate to connect with these local manufacturers, who are not only helping to boost the supply of masks in the city, but are also providing much-needed jobs right here in the borough of Brooklyn. It’s critical that the city offer grants to help defray the costs associated with production, which can be substantial. These businesses are putting public health above profits during this time of great need, and we should support them in their efforts,” said Adams. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued guidance recommending the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. The cloth face coverings recommended are different from surgical masks or N-95 respirators, which are considered critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders, according to the CDC. 

Cumbo COVID Update Focuses On Small Biz

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Downtown Brooklyn) yesterday sent out her excellent daily e-newsletter and one thing she focussed on yesterday was help for small businesses.

“Right now, many small business owners are hurting. As a result, employees are hurting. With information constantly circulating, it may be hard to determine whether or not you can benefit from the current government loan programs being offered to small businesses. I am pleased to see that the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has stepped up to provide a plethora of resources for our community’s small business owners while also communicating with those businesses that are still operating:

“Their business-centric, COVID-19 resources website allows you to fill out an intake form so that they can assist you based on your individual business needs, complete a survey on your experience with the government assistance programs, or fill out a form to report that your business is still operating.

“Furthermore, they are holding “Small Business Assistance Webinars” twice a week. If you have applied for Government Assistance, you can contact their “Business Solution Center” for updates on the status of your application,” Cumbo wrote.

Bichotte COVID Update Focuses on Gov Action

Rodneyse Bichotte
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte

Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte’s (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park) excellent daily e-newsletter focusses primarily on government action. 

ON the state level, Bichotte notes that this week Governor Cuomo extended New York States stay at home order until May 15th. In Addition:

  • Governor Cuomo’s mask executive order applies to all people 2 years old and older.
  • Individuals must wear mask when riding public transportation systems, private transportation and for hire vehicles.
  • All operators of public systems, private carriers, and for-hire vehicles must wear mask at all times.
  • For hire vehicles include Uber, Lyft, taxi cabs and other services.
  • This order is effective Friday at 8 p.m.

On the City level, Bichotte noted that Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday announced his Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21). Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the Mayor projects that we will lose $7.4 billion in tax over the current and next fiscal year.

The revised FY2021 is $89.3 Billion dollars for FY2021. It must be passed by June 30.

On the federal level, Bichotte noted the Paycheck Protection Program reached its lending limit after approving more than 1.6 million “small business loans valued at $339 billion. The remaining $10 billion is allocated for covering loan fees on approved small business loans. The Small Business Administration is unable to provide further funds and accept new loan applications until the federal government passes a bill to increase funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. For more information visit here.

Also, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the unemployment filing rate is now over 22 million. For more information visit here.

Colton, UPDC Pres Organize Relief Packages For First Responders

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D- Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) together with the United Progressive Democratic Club President Nino Magali has organized hot food and cleaning supplies donation delivery on April 15, 2020, to the three FDNY firehouses in the district.

“Today UPDC President Nino Magali and myself along with the owner of Ciao Pizzeria located on Bay Parkway and 71 Street and Daniel Shlesinger from eAuto Lease in donating and delivering hot food and cleaning supplies to our neighborhood firehouses in my district. I thank them for their kindness and gratitude, which is greatly appreciated. The FDNY is the first responder who is risking their lives on a daily basis to protect us all. At times like this, we need to stay together and be strong. God Bless America and us all,” Colton said.

“One thing I truly admire and love, when people have heart, is humble and ready to show their appreciation, especially, at a time we are living in today’s COVID -19 pandemic,” the lawmaker added.

Ortiz Introduces Bill Creating COVID-19 Essential Workers Award Fund

Assembly Member Feliz Ortiz

Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) is introducing legislation that will create a fund to award essential workers in the retail industry who have served New Yorkers bravely during the Coronavirus crisis.

“Essential workers such as grocery store, convenience store and other types of retail employees have bravely put their health in jeopardy by providing essential services to the public. We owe them a great deal of gratitude,” Ortiz said. “The fund will be endowed through a percentage of the profits retailers are collecting during the Coronavirus crisis. The Essential Workers Appreciation Fund will provide financial awards for the frontline workers and provide some assistance to families who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 who was deemed an essential worker.”

The bill also creates a Task Force that will develop the eligibility and award criteria.

“All frontline workers deserve our deepest gratitude. It would be impossible to stop the spread of the Coronavirus in New York without these workers coming to work every day,” Ortiz said. “This program allows us show our appreciation for their efforts and dedication.”

Lander Newsletter Gives Info on Local Mutual Aid Networks 

City Council Member Brad Lander

City Councilmember Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Gowanus, Borough Park) sent out his excellent daily e-newsletter with some solid mutual aid information for constituents in and around his district.

“The mutual aid networks in our neighborhoods take various forms, but all are available to help connect neighbors to each other to help with immediate needs. Many are collecting donations as well to help provide groceries and other needs,” Lander wrote.

Here is contact information, by neighborhood: 

Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Columbia Waterfront, Williamsburg): Brooklyn Mutual Aid Facebook Group or [email protected] or 929-314-0899‬

Park Slope and Gowanus: [email protected] and 929-333-4389

Windsor Terrace: Friel Friends (4 block radius around Friel Place): 904-502-4249

Kensington: Kensington/Windsor Terrace Mutual Aid Facebook Group

And People in Need, started by neighbor extraordinaire Nowshin Ali, is taking donations for groceries that local volunteers deliver. 

Borough Park (and more of South Brooklyn): South Brooklyn Community Mutual Aid  

To get connected to other mutual aid networks across the city visit:

Menchaca Lauds Soros Foundation Emergency Relief For Undocumented Workers

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Red Hook, Sunset Park), chair of the Council’s Committee on Immigration, yesterday lauded the Soros’ Open Society Foundation multi-million grants to nonprofits linked to the government of New York City that will help undocumented immigrants.

“I commend the George Soros foundation and other individual New Yorkers who have donated their time and financial support to our most vulnerable New Yorkers, including undocumented workers. As the data comes in, it is clear that our immigrant neighbors are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis, both in terms of testing positive and in financial hardship,” said Menchaca.

“Further, thousands of immigrants were left out of federal cash relief. That is why I am working with everyday New Yorkers who are helping in various ways, including donating their stimulus checks, to help others. The truth is that the responsibility to help New Yorkers shouldn’t fall on individuals. The governor and the mayor must step up to provide undocumented workers immediate cash relief. California is leading the way in providing cash assistance to their undocumented residence. New York must meet that threshold.”

Jeffries, Clarke, Meeks Host Conference Addressing Black Community Needs During Pandemic

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

U.S. Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens), Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) and Gregory W. Meeks (D-Queens) this week hosted the first New York Black Elected Officials conference, creating a forum for black lawmakers to discuss the needs of their community in light of coronavirus, and coordinate action across all levels of government.

They issued the following statement:

“We’ve seen across America that Black and Brown communities are bearing the brunt of coronavirus, especially in New York where our communities are an epicenter within the epicenter of this pandemic.  Black elected officials in the federal, state and local government must work together to address COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on African American communities, ensuring that the essential workers coming from our neighborhoods are properly protected as they take care of our sick, keep our trains running, and our grocery store shelves stocked. We must ensure that emergency federal funding is distributed by need, and that the health care system that hasn’t always worked as well for the Black community is prepared to take care of our particularly vulnerable population.

“Black lawmakers must work collectively across borough and county lines in order to prevent the inequalities that have always existed for minorities from exacerbating an already deadly pandemic. This is an all-hands-on-deck crisis, and everyone is rising to the occasion to address the many needs our front-line heroes and families need.”