Queens Lawmakers on the Move May 21, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Kim Distributes Masks For First Responders and Local Military Personnel

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) yesterday stood alongside Peter Tu, Executive Director of Flushing Chinese Business Association, to distribute 300,000 KN95 masks and other critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to first-responders and local military personnel. 

With the support of Kim, local Fijianese and Fuzhouese Chinese American businesses helped raise over $800,000 worth of PPE for front-line workers.

The Assemblyman has been extremely active in reaching out to local business leaders to help secure life-saving PPE for health care providers. Last week, he appeared alongside CAIPA staff officials to open the second community-based mobile testing site in Queens, as well as, donating 15 ventilators, and other large quantities of PPE to Elmhurst Hospital.

“I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I’ve received from the Chinese American business community. Their leadership has made a tremendous impact on the health and safety of my district. It is with this continued love and care we have for one another that will help us recover from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Kim.

Koo Announces PPE Donations to Increase City’s Supply Amid Pandemic 

City Council Member Peter Koo

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone), City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) andthe  Flushing Chinese Business Association (FCBA) yesterday announced FCBA donated 200,000 KN95 face masks and 2,000 infrared thermometers to the New York City Emergency Management Department (OEM). 

This donation has been delivered to the warehouse of OEM in Brooklyn today and will increase the City’s supply amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The City Council was proud to work with FCBA and connect the association with OEM to ensure the donation helps New Yorkers who need it.  

“FCBA’s generosity is well known in Flushing, and it is no surprise that this group of dedicated business leaders is proactively seeking new ways to lend assistance throughout the rest of the city. During this time of unprecedented hardship, New Yorkers are relying on the bravery and capabilities of our first responders and essential workers like never before,” said Koo. 

“This PPE donation will help ensure they have the supplies they need to get the job done. I join Speaker Johnson, OEM, and all New Yorkers in expressing my deepest gratitude their help during these difficult days,” he added.

Constantinides Calls for Robust Open Streets Plan 

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member and Borough President candidate Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, part of Long Island City, Woodside) yesterday announced a plan that the city, the MTA, and other stakeholders can implement to create a holistic open streets system in Queens. 

This will create safe and efficient ways for Queens residents to travel, cycle, and take public transit while social distancing, as the weather improves and the borough gradually reopens. 

“Queens residents deserve open streets, so they may get fresh air and get back to work while keeping a safe distance from others,” said Constantinides. “But this needs to be a holistic plan that allows people to connect from one neighborhood to another as well as get restaurants back open. We are ready to work with the City in making this happen.” 

The plan includes:

  • Close streets to cars around public parks and along the waterfront, which will drastically expand the amount of open space. This includes opening the roads around green spaces such as Flushing Meadows, Forest, and Baisley Pond Parks. Constantinides has already been able to secure the closure of Shore Boulevard, an underused street between Astoria Park and the East River.
  • Identify 10 miles of commercial corridors to create European-style sidewalk cafe space, so the borough’s independent restaurants can thrive. Constantinides called on the New York City Department of Transportation and the Department of Small Business Services to identify commercial strips that could be closed to create more outdoor eating space. This will enable countless independent restaurants to not only reopen, but serve enough people to keep their business alive.    
  • Create 20 miles of protected bikeways to give those who can cycle a safe way to commute. Constantinides called on the DOT to identify 20 miles of new routes, as well as close the Queensboro Bridge’s southern outer roadway to cars, which would enable separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians. 
  • Implement busways, so transit workers and riders can stay safe. The DOT and MTA should immediately identify whether parts of Queens, Astoria or Northern Boulevards can be used as busways. 

Meng Announces Loan Forgiveness Application For PPP

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) announced yesterday that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has released its loan forgiveness application for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the Congresswoman encouraged Queens small businesses that received PPP loans to immediately fill out and submit the form.

Created under the recently enacted Coronavirus Relief, Aid, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the PPP provides forgivable loans to small businesses provided that 75 percent of the loan is used to keep employees on the payroll. The remaining 25 percent could be used for rent, utilities, or mortgage interest.

To apply for loan forgiveness, applicants must complete and submit their application to the financial institution servicing their loan. The loan forgiveness application includes a summary of costs eligible for forgiveness, the loan forgiveness calculation form, the PPP Schedule A form, the PPP Schedule A Worksheet, and an optional PPP borrower demographic form. Applicants must submit the loan forgiveness calculation and PPP Schedule A forms.

“I’m pleased that the SBA has released the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness form so that entrepreneurs can seek the relief they need,” said Meng. “Many small businesses in Queens continue to face an uncertain future due to the impact of the novel coronavirus. But with this application now available, eligible PPP recipients can get more certainty and stability regarding their businesses. I encourage everyone who has received a PPP loan to complete and submit the forgiveness form to their lender.”

A link to the PPP forgiveness form can be found here. Local small businesses requiring further assistance can contact Meng’s office at 718-358-MENG.

Addabbo, Pheffer Amato Reintroduce Bill to Further Protect Jamaica Bay

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) and Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, the Rockaway Peninsula) announced yesterday they will introduce their bills, S.4165/A9595 aimed at increasing the protection of the Jamaica Bay waters after Gov. Cuomo vetoed the measures late last year.

These Jamaica Bay bills would permanently extend the current law that was put into place in 2014, which corrected the longstanding problem of using sub-quality dredging material to fill in the borrow pits of Jamaica Bay. That law is set to expire on June 30, 2022.

“In the past, the waters of Jamaica Bay were polluted and devoid of much marine life. The bill that was implemented in 2014, as well as the incredible work by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), helped to create a drastic change in the health of the water, so much so that wildlife — such as dolphins and whales — has been sighted there for the first time in decades,” Addabbo explained. “Because of the success of the 2014 bill, I want to see the sunset clause removed so the bill would be permanent and we would not need to renew the protections every few years.”

“We have made so much progress protecting Jamaica Bay – the bill passed by the legislature in 2014 and partnership with the DEC have turned the Bay into an ecological miracle,” Pheffer Amato said. “We cannot dial down the efforts, or compromise our standards, and relinquish all the hard work that’s put in to get us here. These bills are only going to strengthen and further protect the Bay, and we must remove the sunset clause permanently, so we don’t have to renew them. Senator Addabbo and I will continue to work with the DEC and the community activists to further protect the Bay.”