Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, Apr. 24, 2020

COVID-19 molecule
COVID-19 (Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS)

Seawright May Be Ineligible for Reelection

Three-term Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright (D-Upper East Side, Yorkville) may be unable to run again for office. The city Board of Elections removed her from Democratic and Working Families party line after omitting cover sheets on her ballot petitions, the New York Post reported Tuesday. 

Seawright explained that she had a viral infection with coronavirus-like symptoms during the March filing period, though she did submit relevant documents after the filing deadline. She has taken the case to Manhattan’s Supreme Court in the hopes of being allowed to run again. 

“COVID-19 has turned the entire world upside down — but it’s business as usual due to New York’s antiquated, arcane, and outdated election laws in desperate need of reform,” Seawright told the Post.

“Now more than ever we must protect every voter’s right to choose! More than 1,000 supporters signed my nominating petitions, nearly eight times more than the requirement. But the myopic election laws disenfranchise each and every voter of the Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island. My Republican opponent’s backdoor effort to sabotage my supporters will not prevail. I am already in court to have the board’s ruling thrown out and to reinstate me to the ballot.”

Levine Proposes Hart Island Coronavirus Memorial

Council Member Mark D. Levine
Council Member Mark D. Levine

City Councilmember Mark Levine (Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights) called for a memorial to those who have died and who will die from the COVID-19 pandemic on Hart Island, Pix11 reported Tuesday.

Located in Long Island Sound off the coast of the Bronx, the island serves as the city’s potter’s field. Rikers Island inmates maintain the grounds, and visitors require Department of Correction supervision. 

However, the Department of Parks and Recreation will take control over Hart Island in 2021, and Levine wants to invest in renovations to make it more visitor-friendly.

“Hart Island is a place of profound meaning for our city,” said Levine. “Let’s once and for all stop treating it as a taboo place of shame,”

Niou Proposes Legislation Package to Protect Renters

Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou
Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou

Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Financial District, Chinatown) introduced three bills to aid renters and their landlords amid the financial hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday, amNY reported.

The bills’ provisions include waiving rents for commercial and residential tenants and allowing landlords to postpone mortgage payments, suspension of rent for those who lost their businesses or other financial security amid the crisis, and emergency funding for minor landlords. 

“For the people who have lost their jobs and the small businesses that have been forced to shutter, this is an immediate crisis – their income has been cut off, but rent is still due on the first,” said Niou. “Our action to help them needs to be just as immediate.”