Ortiz on DSA Israel Question: Hateful
Assemblymember and Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) released a statement on the DSA Israel question.
“I deplore the effort by the NYC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America to ask candidates to pledge not to visit Israel as part of organized educational and cultural missions. This anti-semitic and hateful action runs against everything we believe in as Americans. We must have zero tolerance for organizations that seek to create barriers that run contrary to our values.
“New York is home to one of the world’s largest Jewish communities. I am proud to represent sections of Borough Park, home to a large Jewish community. There is sadly enough ant-Semitism and racial hatred evident in our country. We do not need a so-called “progressive” organization to promote backward and discriminatory positions to make things worse,” he said.
Gounardes, Brannan Call for Indoor Dining Guidelines
City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) and State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to prioritize issuing guidance on indoor dining for the five boroughs. Indoor dining has been allowed to resume with guidelines elsewhere in New York State.
“Right now, New Yorkers can travel a few miles to Long Island or Westchester for indoor dining and then come right back to New York City,” Brannan and Gounardes said in a joint statement. “We need an explanation as to how that is any safer than allowing indoor dining in New York City… Local small business owners deserve to know what COVID-related metrics need to be met in order for them to seat customers inside. Workers deserve to know if their jobs are coming back or if they should start looking elsewhere.”
Restaurants are among the many businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have already closed. Others are hanging on by a thread thanks to outdoor dining, but no plan appears to be in place for when outdoor dining ends or when the weather gets colder. Brannan and Gounardes believe the state owes business owners and employees more transparency about when they can expect to open their doors again.
“We all want New York to get back to business as usual. We all want a return to some sort of normal. We also know that it must be done safely and based on science. But we are nearing September and there are still no details on how we will resume indoor dining at New York City restaurants, even though through hard work we’ve met, sustained, and exceeded the metrics that have allowed restaurants throughout the rest of New York State to reopen indoors. So let’s get everybody on the same page so we all know what to expect,” they finished.
Colton Wants Mayor to Own Up to School Failure
Assemblyman William Colton (Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) demands that Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Carranza do something about the current state of our New York schools.
“We can only open schools if our children and staff will be safe. This is sad, but again there is no confidence among the important parties in our school family that our children and staff will be safe on September 10. The Mayor and the Chancellor must immediately own up to their failure to do the necessary detailed work to assure the safety of our children and staff. The Chancellor and Mayor must immediately listen to those voices inside the schools to do the work necessary to reopen schools safely,” Colton stated.
“Even though not much time is left until September, we are New Yorkers and we can still get the job done and avoid a delay in the reopening of schools on September 10. We demand that they do this now,” he added.
Eugene to Host Free Food, Mask and Hand Sanitizer Distribution
City Council Member Mathieu Eugene (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Garden), a longtime advocate for the health and well-being of all New Yorkers, today will host a free Food, Mask, and Hand Sanitizer Distribution.
The event is one of several initiatives Eugene has spearheaded to help provide critical supplies and personal protective equipment to underserved residents who are facing health and financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is a great honor to provide food, masks, and hand sanitizer to the community as we work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide assistance to families in need,” said Eugene. “This is a very dangerous disease and it has created extremely difficult circumstances for so many New Yorkers who are facing health issues while struggling to support families. The infection rate has gone down in New York State, but we must remain vigilant and continue to protect ourselves from further illness.
The distribution is slated for 3 p.m., today, Aug. 20 in front of Eugene’s district office, 900 Rogers Avenue in East Flatbush. It is free and open to the public. Masks and social distancing required.
DA Gonzalez Announces Resumption of Grand Juries, Creation of Gun Violence Suppression Bureau
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez yesterday announced that 36 individuals have been indicted for various violent crimes since grand juries, which have not been impaneled since mid-March due to the Coronavirus pandemic, reconvened last week.With three panels currently hearing cases, the DA’s Office obtained indictments on homicides, gang shootings, attempted murder, rape and other serious felonies. All of the defendants in these cases were previously held on bail or remanded and are still detained.
“With the resumption of grand juries, we are able to redouble our efforts at fighting violent crime in Brooklyn. The dozens of indictments we obtained over the past week ensure that dangerous offenders remain in custody as we seek to bring them to justice. I am grateful to the NYPD, to our other partners in law enforcement and to the prosecutors in my Office who were ready to quickly present their cases,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez also announced the creation of a Gun Violence Suppression Bureau. The new Bureau will improve the borough’s response to gun violence by consolidating resources and expertise under a single umbrella, more expeditiously collecting and enhancing the evidence necessary for successful prosecutions, reducing gun recidivism and training assistants who are assigned to firearm cases to help overcome hurdles in prosecuting these often-difficult cases.
In addition, the Bureau will collaborate with police to focus on drivers of crime, track patterns of gun violence and identify likely retaliations. It will also enhance fairness by formulating and ensuring consistent plea offers to all defendants.