Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Aug. 27, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Frontus Says Ferry Plan Must Include Creek Clean Up

Mathylde Frontus
Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus

Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Gravesend) announced yesterday that the proposed Coney Island Ferry landing should not go forward without a plan to clean up Coney Island Creek while filing her opposition with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“I share the community’s enthusiasm for bringing ferry service to Coney Island, but I join with local activists and environmental experts who have serious concerns about construction at the proposed location,” Frontus said in her letter to the DEC.

“Yes to the ferry, no to the creek!” Frontus chanted with local activists who gathered at the proposed site. Frontus was joined by Pamela Pettyjohn, president of the Coney Island Beautification Project, activists Steven Patzer, Debra Greif, Anne Valdez, and local homeowners and residents. 

Frontus was joined by environmental activists and community groups who said the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which applied for a permit to build the ferry landing at Kaiser Park, did not have a plan to mitigate the project’s potential environmental harm and public health risks. Construction at Kaiser Park would require dredging the notoriously polluted Coney Island Creek, which is being considered for designation as a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Rose for Oversight of Organ Donations

Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) is leading a bipartisan push with 23 other Members of Congress urging the Administration to finalize regulations to quickly issue a strong rule to bring greater oversight and accountability to Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the private organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system.

 “Each successful organ donation is a life saved and yet there is almost zero accountability or oversight into these networks, leading to incredible inefficiencies and tragically, lives lost,” Rose said “It’s encouraging that this Administration understands action is needed, because this isn’t about politics, it’s about righting a wrong and doing so without delay.”

 Since Kaiser Health News and the Center for Investigative Reporting sounded the alarm in January on this issue, another 20 kidneys failed to be transplanted after transportation problems. The bipartisan effort follows an Executive Order President Trump issued on July 10, 2019 that requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “revise Organ Procurement Organization rules and evaluation metrics” and a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on December 17, 2019 from HHS which has yet to be finalized—and is under pressure by industry groups to be further delayed due to COVID-19.

Colton Calls for Restaurant Plan 

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D – Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) yesterday called on Mayor de Blasio and City health officials to come up with a detailed safety guideline for restaurants to resume indoor dining in NYC.

“Restaurant indoor dining has been prohibited since March 2020 due to COVID-19. Food service and dining industry took the hardest hit during this crisis. Although, NYC entered phrase 2 of the NY State reopening plan which allowed outdoor dining on June 22, 2020, without indoor dining, an overwhelming majority of restaurants are struggling to survive, and 200,000 industry workers are left jobless,” Colton stated.

“Restaurants are an important part of the economy of NYC, providing jobs for neighborhood people, purchasing power for wholesale suppliers and meals for families, as well as income for the owners, workers and their families. Outdoor dining will not be a sustainable model, especially in colder weather. NYC must start meeting with stakeholders to begin planning now as to how indoor dining can be safely accomplished before the colder weather comes,” Colton said.

 “My office will be prepared to assist restaurant owners and workers with any specific concerns related to a safe reopening of indoor dining by calling my office at (718) 236-1598,” Colton added.

Velázquez Calls for Higher Education Funding from Senate

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Northern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens) has led New York City House members in writing U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), calling for emergency funding for institutions of higher learning in the next phase of Coronavirus relief legislation. 

“Without this significant federal assistance, local governments such as New York City will be forced to balance their budgets on the backs of students and teachers. It is vital that this emergency funding is included in the next Senate package to save hundreds of thousands of jobs and help avert devastating cuts to funding for public education,” the lawmakers wrote.

 Due to reduced state funding, several colleges across the nation have already begun mass layoffs of faculty. Without federal assistance, public institutions will continue to furlough thousands of employees to offset the losses incurred due to current economic instability. In total, the lawmakers requested $135 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), as well as the $915 billion in emergency relief for states, localities, territories, and tribes specified in the HEROES Act.