Queens Lawmakers on the Move August 14, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Gianaris Fights to Save Union Jobs at Grocery Store

Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris called on Jenel Real Estate on Thursday to protect jobs and access to a neighborhood supermarket for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With numbers issued today by the US Department of Labor showing nearly 1 million new unemployment filings in July, Gianaris is fighting back against the real estate conglomerate’s plans to remove the Key Food on 31st Street in Astoria in favor of a big box retailer, forcing layoffs of union workers at the store, the release said.

“Despite our community’s legitimate concerns, Jenel Real Estate has decided it is going to forge ahead with its plans to displace a union-friendly supermarket in the midst of a pandemic,” said Gianaris. “By dismissing the needs of our neighborhood, it has demonstrated a disregard for the people it supposedly wants to serve. It rejects the value of organized labor, of providing food access throughout the pandemic, and most importantly, of listening to the very people it wants as customers. Before a shovel even hits the ground, Jenel Real Estate has shown it has much to learn about being a responsible neighborhood business.”

Gianaris has been active in the fight to protect the Astoria Key Food, pushing back against the real estate developer’s plans to close the neighborhood institution, which would result in layoffs of its union employees, the release said.

Schumer, Gillibrand Call Out Con Ed

Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a letter to Consolidated Edison CEO John McAvoy expressing deep concern over the prolonged power outages facing hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers after Tropical Storm Isaias. 

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

Last Tuesday, Consolidated Edison recorded a total of 257,000 customers without power, its second largest power outage since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

More than one week after the storm tore through the New York region, nearly 600 Consolidated Edison customers were still without power on Wednesday morning.

“New Yorkers are rightfully frustrated with the lasting power outages caused by Tropical Storm Isaias, and so am I,” said Schumer. “Though crews on the ground are working hard, many customers throughout the state are getting inaccurate or insufficient information about the situation. Con Ed needs to get the power back on and provide accurate information to its customers. The bottom-line here is we need to know why so many New Yorkers have been left in the dark, both literally and figuratively—a week after the storm—and get New Yorkers’ power back on ASAP.” 

“New Yorkers deserve answers immediately. It has been a week since Isaias tore through our communities, and since then thousands of residents have had to battle dangerous conditions in unbearable heat as their food and prescription medicine went bad,” said Gillibrand. “During the best of times this problematic response would be inadequate, but during a pandemic, it is completely unacceptable.” 

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and Winter Storms Riley and Quinn in 2018, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) launched investigations to review electric utility companies’ responses to outages that occurred during the storms, as well as ongoing power utility infrastructure issues. The PSC subsequently directed the utility companies to implement and incorporate recommendations based on the Commission’s findings into their Emergency Response Plans (ERP), yet these problems continue to occur.

Read the full text of the letter here.

BP Lee Launches Free Drive-In Movie Nights

Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee announced “Free Wednesday Movie Nights at the 2020 Queens Drive-In” — a series of seven free, drive-in film screenings on the grounds of the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Acting Borough President Sharon Lee.

A Queens native’s box office blockbuster, classic kids flicks and the timely tale of a civil rights icon are just some of the films to be enjoyed by Queens families this socially distant summer at the drive-in.

“It certainly has been an unusual New York summer without concerts and other large-scale events at our beloved city parks, like the ‘Only in Queens Summer Festival’ in prior years,” said Lee. “Together with key partners, we’re delighted to bring this series of free movie nights at the 2020 Queens Drive-In as a fun throwback for the Borough of Families, while prioritizing safety in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.”

Part of a larger, comprehensive, multi-borough drive-in film festival, the series of free screenings in Queens will run for seven consecutive Wednesdays, beginning August 19 with a screening of “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” a newly-released documentary chronicling the life of The Honorable John Lewis, the civil rights champion and longtime member of Congress who passed away last month.

Space is limited with a capacity of approximately 200 vehicles. Pre-registration is required for each screening of the “Free Wednesday Movie Nights at the 2020 Queens Drive-In”, and opens two weeks prior to each showing via www.queensdrivein.com. Upon registration, guests will receive a confirmation, which must either be presented via printed copy or mobile device upon arrival. 

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