Queens Lawmakers on the Move April 23, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Comrie Leads Effort to Deliver Food to Queens Hospital and Essential Workers

State Senator Leroy Comrie

State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Briarwood, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hillcrest, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Laurelton, Queens Village, Rosedale, South Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans) is leading an effort to deliver food to frontline healthcare workers at Queens Hospital Center and to struggling residents who are disabled and/or elderly with the help of community members who are eager to give back. 

Volunteers will pack, sort, and deliver hundreds of both hot meals and groceries to community residents and workers at Queens Hospital Center today via a Grab & Go operation outside his district office.

Like many hospitals throughout the downstate region, Queens Hospital Center, a part of the city’s Health + Hospitals network, has experienced a significant influx in COVID-19 patients over the past four weeks. Despite the significant challenge, hospital workers, from maintenance faculty to ER doctors, have risen to the challenge of providing the highest quality care possible to New Yorkers suffering from COVID-19 and other illnesses.

Comrie said that while his office is closed to the public in observance of social distancing guidelines, he and his staff have been working remotely and continue to field inquiries from constituents. Among the most common questions is how people can help.

“Residents reach out every day asking how they can help, they want to give back to the frontline workers,” said Comrie. “There is a significant population in Southeast Queens that wants to volunteer their efforts and time in a safe and effective way and we want to continue to harness that positive energy by partnering with our veterans, SEQ UP Front and our small businesses like Maxine’s on the Boulevard Remax Realty and the Door Restaurant.”

If you would like to learn how you can support frontline and other essential workers, please contact Senator Comrie’s office at (718) 765-6359.

Koo announces Council Approves Flushing BID Expansion

City Council Member Peter Koo

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) yesterday announced the passage of Intro 1854, an expansion of the Downtown Flushing Transit Hub Business Improvement District. 

The expansion comes as the small business needs of the downtown Flushing community continue to grow due to the impact of the coronavirus. Expanding the BID will provide critical supplemental services to this affected community, including sanitation, advocacy, retail and marketing assistance, traffic management, pedestrian safety, and public space management. The expansion comes with an additional $1 million annual expense budget for these purposes.

The existing BID includes properties primarily along Main Street from Northern Boulevard to Sanford Avenue. Additional properties are included along Roosevelt Avenue from College Point Boulevard to Union Street.

The proposed expansion will extend the boundaries to include properties along Main Street between Northern Boulevard and Franklin Avenue. Additional properties are included generally along College Point Boulevard from 37th Avenue to 41st Road and along Union Street from 37th Avenue to Roosevelt Avenue. 

“Even before the coronavirus landed on our shores, the Flushing business community was feeling its ill effects in declining business and even outright xenophobia. After this crisis is over, we will need to act quickly to revitalize those businesses through marketing and other support services,” said Koo.

“That is why public/private partnerships like our community BIDs are more important than ever. While this expansion has been 10 years in the making, it is needed now more than ever. By significantly expanding the footprint of the downtown Flushing Transit Hub BID service area, we will allow for more many additional benefits and services to downtown Flushing.”

Meng Calls For Student Civil Rights Protections During COVID-19 Crisis

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 announced that she sent a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urging her to ensure protections during the coronavirus pandemic for students with disabilities, English language learners (ELLs), and other school kids who require special accommodations.

In her correspondence, Meng called on DeVos to exercise high levels of scrutiny when issuing waivers of requirements under civil rights and education laws. The letter specifically urges the Secretary to ensure that states, colleges and universities, and local educational agencies (LEAs) meet student needs within the flexibilities that exist in current laws.

Over 55 million students at over 124,000 public and private schools across the nation are engaged in online remote learning. As educators, administrators, and students adjust to this new learning environment, guidance from the Department of Education carries an extraordinary influence on schools’ and teachers’ adherence to landmark civil rights laws, like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

“Civil rights protections for students with disabilities, English language learners, and others that require special accommodations must be protected during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Meng. “Current laws already offer flexibility to schools to ensure they meet the needs of even the most vulnerable student populations. Secretary DeVos must ensure that all students can continue to succeed academically.”

Constantinides Resolution Supports NYS Bill to Cancel Rent

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Members Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, part of Long Island City, Woodside) and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) yesterday announced a resolution in support of the State bill to Cancel Rent for struggling New Yorkers who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The last thing New Yorkers struggling through this pandemic should worry about is where they’ll live,” said Constantinides. “Rent is due in just nine days for thousands of our neighbors who don’t have a job now. This should be the last of anyone’s concerns as they try to stay safe, care for their families, and access healthy food. I call on Albany to pass Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Niou’s bills to Cancel Rent.” 

The resolution specifically calls on the state legislature to pass A.10224-A, introduced by Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan), and its State Senate counterpoint S.8125-A, introduced by Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens).

It additionally calls on Governor Cuomo to sign the legislation if enacted, which would cancel rent for certain New Yorkers who have lost their jobs or for small businesses forced to close over the coronavirus.