Queens Lawmakers on the Move June 19, 2020

Queens County City Council News

CM Adams, Miller, Speaker Johnson Call For Removal of Jefferson Statue 

City Council Member Adrienne Adams
Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

City Councilmembers Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, South Ozone Park) and I. Daneek Miller (D-Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens, co-chairs of the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC), joined Council Speaker Corey Johnson and City Council Member Inez Barron (D-Brooklyn) yesterday called for the removal of the Thomas Jefferson Statue located in the council chambers of City Hall.

Jefferson was the third president of the United States, and as a founding father of this country, was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and also a mentor to James Madison, a driving force behind the 1787 Constitutional Convention. However, like most of this country’s founding fathers, he was also a slave owner.

“The statue of Thomas Jefferson in the City Council Chambers is inappropriate and serves as a constant reminder of the injustices that have plagued communities of color since the inception of our country. It must be removed. Jefferson is America’s most noted slaveholder, a man who owned more than 600 Black women and men and a scholar who maintained that Blacks were inferior to whites,” the lawmakers wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio in asking for his support in removing the statue.

“The City Council Chambers is a place where we vote on bills to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and build a more fair and just city. It is not a suitable place for a statue of Thomas Jefferson. Keeping it in City Hall sends a terrible message to the people who are counting on us to work towards a more equitable New York City. We urge you to support our efforts as we go to the design commission to expeditiously remove this statue,” the letter adds.

Meeks, Vallone, Joins Republic of Korea Official for Donation of PPE

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks
City Council Member Paul Vallone

U.S. Rep. Representative Gregory W. Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, JFK Airport) and City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) today will join Consulate General for the Republic of Korea, Ambassador Won-Sam Chang, and President of the Museum of Korean American Heritage (“MOKAH”) Minsun Kim to welcome a generous $100,000 donation of PPE to health facilities. 

Joining them will be representatives of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center and Elmont Family Health Center, the recipients of the PPE donations.

The donation is slated to be made at 10:30 a.m., today June 19 in the parking lot of Kings Manor Museum in Rufus King Park, 153-03 Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica,

Schumer Lauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision on DACA

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) yesterday hailed the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling against the Trump administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

“I cried tears of joy when thinking about the weight lifted off the shoulders of over 700,000 Dreamers. This is a life-altering decision not just for them, but also for their families, our communities, and our country. Today, these wonderful young immigrants can breathe an enormous sigh of relief, knowing they are safe from deportation and from having their lives uprooted,” said Schumer.

“The highest court in the land has ruled in favor of DACA, and the vast majority of Americans across party lines agree that we should protect Dreamers. This should send a loud and clear message to President Trump that we will stand united in the fight against his anti-immigrant policies or any future attacks on DACA. 

“While we celebrate this positive decision by the Court, we know the work is far from over. We reiterate our support for Dreamers and reassure them that this is only the beginning. We’ve witnessed the courage, contributions, and constant battles they have fought throughout so many years to stay in the country they love. We will not stop until all Dreamers become American citizens.”

DA Katz Announces Summer Internship Program

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced yesterday the start of her inaugural summer internship program titled Brave Justice. 

The internship kicked off this week with the students being welcomed to the Office by the DA and Chief Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Naiburg, via video conference.

“We are very excited to have these aspiring lawyers join us for a summer of experiential learning. Sadly, due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic, many students across the country lost out on important internship opportunities. Not only are we going forward with an engaging program, we are also paying our interns. We are living through an extraordinary time and we know this summer internship will be an enriching experience for the participants that will both inform and inspire,” said Katz.

The Brave Justice Legal Summer Internship Program will provide the students with a front-row seat to learn how a bold and transitioning prosecutor’s office operates. This inaugural summer of 2020 class – the most diverse group of students in the history of the Queens District Attorney’s Office – was carefully selected to reflect the “World’s Borough.” 

The students represent 15 different law schools and 11 colleges. Many of them are bilingual, speaking Spanish, Mandarin, Urdu, Farsi, German, Haitian Creole, French, Serbian, Bosnian/Serbo-Croatian and Russian.

Lancman Bill Criminalizing Chokeholds Passes City Council

City Councilman Rory Lancman,

City Council Member Rory I. Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica) yesterday saw the city council approve his legislation that would criminalize the use of restraints that restrict the flow of air or blood by compressing another individual’s windpipe or arteries on the neck, or by putting pressure on the back or chest, by police officer making an arrest. 

This would cover chokeholds, as well as maneuvers like placing a knee on a person’s neck. Any officer found guilty of using such a restraint could be found guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Such an act would be criminalized only if used while the officer is trying to make an arrest – not, for example, acting in self-defense.

“The NYPD banned chokeholds decades ago, but tell that to Eric Garner and the hundreds of men and women choked by police officers ever since his death,” said Lancman. “Today the Council does what the NYPD has failed to do: police the police by making it an actual crime for a cop to put someone in a chokehold or to sit, kneel, or stand on them so they can’t breathe.”

Richards Bill Requiring NYPD to Develop Disciplinary Matrix Passes City Council

City Councilmember Donovan Richards

City Council Member Donovan J. Richards (D-Arverne, Bayswater, Broad Channel, Cambria Heights, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Howard Beach, Jamaica, JFK Airport) yesterday saw the city council approve his legislation that would require the NYPD to develop a “disciplinary matrix,” which gives a recommended range of penalties for each type of violation. 

Under the measure, the NYPD Commissioner would retain the ultimate discretion to override the recommendation of the matrix, but the Department would be required to report on how often the Commissioner deviated from the matrix. The bill would also require public reporting on the development of the matrix, including the factors that were considered.

“Today’s package of [police reform] bills sends a clear message to New Yorkers as well as every NYPD officer that no one is above the law, even if you’re enforcing it. For far too long, communities of color have endured injustice and fought in the battle for equal protection and civil liberties under the law,” said Richards. “While we still have more work to do, I would like to thank Speaker Corey Johnson, the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus and my colleagues for working to restore confidence and trust between the public and NYPD.”

Holden Legislation Requiring Cement Trucks Safety Passes City Council

City Council Member Bob Holden

City Council Member Robert F. Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, and parts of Woodside, Woodhaven) yesterday saw his legislation requiring cement truck to be equipped with chute closure devices pass the city council

Under the measure, all concrete mixer trucks driving through the city will have to be equipped with chute closure devices during the transport of liquid concrete by June 30, 2021.

“Cement trucks have too often spilled materials all over the roadway when making a sharp turn or driving up a hill, and the debris can create extremely dangerous situations,” said Holden. “I am tremendously proud to see this legislation pass and improve the safety of our streets for all commuters. I’d like to thank all of my colleagues who signed on or voted in favor of this bill as it will make a significant difference in all of our neighborhoods across the five boroughs.”

CFB Issues Public Matching Funds to Queens BP Candidates

At their regularly scheduled meeting yesterday the NYC Campaign Finance Board (CFB) issued public matching funds payments to five candidates in the primary election for Queens Borough President. 

This is the seventh and final public funds payments prior to the Queens Borough President election. In total, this election cost taxpayers over $4 million. 

Below is the breakdown.

QUEENS BOROUGH PRESIDENT – PUBLIC MATCHING FUNDS PAYMENTS

CandidateJun. 18Total
Costa Constantinides$50,035$770,789
Elizabeth Crowley$47,271$1,224,411
Anthony Miranda$25,084$405,608
Jim Quinn *$440,361
Donovan Richards$59,419$810,703
Dao Yin$39,891$448,072
Total$221,700$4,099,944

*Not on ballot for the June 23 primary election.

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