Queens Lawmakers on the Move June 25, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Koo, Grodenchik Call for reallocation of Funding From NYPD to Park Enforcement

City Council Member Peter Koo
City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik

City Council Members Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) and Barry Grodenchik (D-Bayside, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Jamaica Estates, Little Neck Oakland Gardens, Queens Village)  yesterday joined City Council Members Andrew Cohen (D-Bronx) and Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) in sending a letter to Mayor de Blasio urging for a reallocation of NYPD funding to preserve and maintain the City’s Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) team, tasked with maintaining safety and rule enforcement in parks. 

Reinvesting NYPD funding to support PEP officers operating under the jurisdiction of the NYC Parks would ensure parks and green spaces remain safe and welcoming as the City begins to reopen. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a safe reopening, the letter also calls for the additional funding to support PEP officers taking on a larger role in managing increased activity in parks. Prioritizing the presence of PEP officers in parks rather than NYPD officers reinforces the City’s commitment to reduce funding for the NYPD and policing across the boroughs and supports a de-escalation strategy aimed at positively reducing interactions between residents and the NYPD.

“During this time of unprecedented hardship, it is more important than ever that we invest in our parks across the city to ensure they are well maintained and safe for all New Yorkers. Unfortunately, police are too often made to fill gaps in enforcement because the Parks Department is perpetually short-staffed and underfunded,” said Koo, chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee. 

“As our parks have remained open throughout the pandemic as the only means of rest and relaxation for New Yorkers, I join Council Member Cohen and my colleagues in the City Council in calling on the mayor to prioritize the presence of Parks Enforcement Officers who are more readily able to maintain park security, enforce the rules and ensure our parks are safe and welcoming.”

Grodenchik said shifting this funding from the police department to parks enforcement patrol makes sense. “The additional parks patrol officers help to keep our parks safe and open to all, a critical function as New Yorkers seek open spaces that provide a respite during this ongoing pandemic,” he said.

Vallone’s Economic Development Committee Hearing Focuses on COVID Recovery

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul A. Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) chaired a hearing of the Committee on Economic Development focused on the city’s City Economic Development Corporation’s (EDC) COVID-19 response, job development, and small business support in the “new normal.” 

Representing the EDC at this hearing was James Patchett, President and CEO.

As New Yorkers continue social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19, thousands more NYC businesses reopened their doors at the beginning of this week for Phase Two.  Vallone acknowledged that large-scale testing and a plentiful PPE supply are a critical part of sustaining a safe reopening. 

By establishing a local production chain, EDC reported to-date facilitating the production of 3.2 million medical gowns through partnership with 14 local manufacturers. In addition, a new supply chain with local biotech companies and small manufacturers are now producing 50,000 COVID-19 testing kits per week, per EDC.

“As our City’s streets begin to bustle and our businesses reopen their doors to welcome back the local community, it is important to recognize the extraordinary local efforts that helped make that happen, while at the same time proactively planning ahead for the long term to ensure safety and prosperity for our mom and pops, whose success will be a critical part of a strong economic recovery,” said Vallone.

Southeast Queens Lawmakers Host Queens Juneteenth Celebration Protest March 

City Council Member Adrienne Adams
State Senator Leroy Comrie

Southeast Queens lawmakers including State Senators James Sanders Jr. and Leroy Comrie, along with Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman and City Council Member Adrienne Adams on Saturday will host a Queens Juneteenth Celebration Protest March.

The goal is to bring members of the divine 9 organizations, friends, and family together for a protest march and rally for Black lives. This will also be an opportunity to highlight Black liberation and our continued fight for freedom. 

This march/rally aims to highlight local black businesses and artists.

The march is slated for a 1:30 p.m. meet up and 2 p.m. step off at PS 270, 233-15 Merrick Blvd and end at Roy Wilkens Park in Jamaica.  

De Blasio Announces Public Beaches will Open for Swimming on July 1

Mayor BIll de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday announced that swimming will be allowed at the city’s eight public beaches starting on July 1. 

“New Yorkers have worked hard to fight back this virus and to put us back on the path to a safe reopening,” said de Blasio. “This summer is still unlike any in our history, but now, we will all have the opportunity to cool off and swim at our cherished beaches.” 

City beaches span a total of 14 miles and include Orchard Beach in the Bronx; Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Rockaway Beach in Queens; and Midland Beach, South Beach, Cedar Grove Beach, and Wolfe’s Pond Park Beach on Staten Island. To stay safe, New Yorkers must follow all directions from NYC Parks staff and beach signage.

To encourage social distancing, NYC Parks Ambassadors will continue to staff the beaches, handing out masks and educating patrons about maintaining safe distancing. If certain sections of the beach become too crowded, visitors will be directed to different less crowded areas. All New Yorkers should continue to wash and sanitize their hands, wear a face covering, and maintain distance between individuals and small groups.

Lifeguards will be on duty daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Swimming is unsafe and strictly prohibited at all other times. 

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