Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Sep. 8, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Gounardes, Abbate Pass Pandemic Preparedness Plan

State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes
Assemblyman Peter Abbate Jr.

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) last week released a statement on the passage of his and Assemblyman Peter Abbate Jr. (Bensonhurst/Sunset Park)  legislation to mandate that public employers develop  a pandemic emergency preparedness plan:

“Labor Day is a fitting day for the Governor to sign our bill to protect our essential workforce by mandating that all public employers create a preparedness plan in the event of another global health crisis. We owe it to our essential workers who have gotten our city through this crisis to guarantee that public employers are never again caught flat-footed without a plan. 

“Hundreds of government workers died due to COVID, and they deserved better. They deserved the PPE they needed, the ability to work remotely if they were able and safety conditions in place before the next outbreak, not after. This bill will help protect our essential workers to whom we owe so much, and help rebuild the trust between them and their employers. I am proud to work with our partners in labor to get this bill passed, and thankful to the Governor for signing this bill into law,” Gounardes said.

Colton Researches Fallen Sycamore Trees 

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) traveled the neighborhood during last month’s wind storms, inspecting the numerous trees which fell in the high winds and noticed that a high percentage of such fallen trees were Sycamore trees. This prompted him to have his staff research Sycamore trees.

“Sycamore trees can add scenery to the landscape, with their ashy white bark and lush green plants. The average Sycamore tree is 40-100 feet in height and the tree canopy can spread to 40-70 feet in width. It’s a fast-growing tree and can grow more than two feet a year. Sycamore trees are known for their root problems. They must be planted at least 15 feet from a house or sidewalk. Planting Sycamore trees too close to surrounding structures not only threatens the tree’s health but will also damage home water lines, sewer lines, foundations, driveways, and paved areas. Sycamore trees are also vulnerable to fungal diseases. As the tree ages, fungus attacks and consumes the heartwood, and the tree becomes weak and hollow. The tree starts to develop multiple trunks which provides food and nesting sites for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife,” Colton stated.

“Another problem with Sycamore trees is related to their seed balls, twigs, and bark strips. The tiny hairs on the seed balls that shed in the spring can irritate eyes and skin and can cause respiratory distress if inhaled, especially in people who have chronic asthma. Sycamore trees are native to lowland areas, they grow along streams, rivers, and flood plains and that’s where they belong, not in residential areas. In NYC Sycamore trees are planted on every residential block, and it is the Department of Parks’ responsibility to take proper care of them. Therefore, I am calling on the NYC Department of Parks to appropriately fertilize and regularly prune these trees. Diseased branches must be removed to avoid unnecessary problems and tragedies especially during storms and high winds,” Colton added.

Persaud to host Conversation on Gun Violence 

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D- Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Old Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill, Starrett City) will be hosting a virtual Town Hall Community Conversation on the Causalities & Casualties of Gun Violence. 

Panalists will include: Rabbi Avrohom Hecht, Canarsie Jcc, Rev. Timothy Taylor, Sr., Hebron Baptist Church, Dr. Jeffrey R. Gardere, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Brother Paul Muhammad, Muhammad Mosque 7c, Camara Jackson, Elite Learners, Digna Layne, 73rd Precinct Community Council, Gardy Brazela, 69th Precinct Community Council and Vincent Riggins, Brite Leadership Coalition/ENY. 

This event is slated to take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sep. 16, at  

Questions or comments can be submitted in the comments section. 

Simon Updates on Ballots and MTA 

Jo Anne Simon
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon

Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Park Slope, Boerum Hill, DUMBO) reminds everyone that they can now request an absentee ballot in order to vote by mail in the November 3rd General Election and the impacts of COVID-19 on the MTA. 

“Fill out this brief form ASAP to request an absentee ballot: The Board of Elections (BOE) will then mail you a ballot,” she wrote. 

“Over the past few weeks, I have participated in a series of joint legislative hearings on the impacts of COVID-19 on various sectors of our state. The final hearing on the impacts of COVID-19 took place on August 25, in connection with impacts to the MTA. The big takeaway from that hearing was the billions of dollars of federal money needed to keep the MTA operating.  We heard testimony from the MTA and also from the essential workers who kept the subways, buses and trains running throughout the worst days of the pandemic, the losses they sustained to their ranks and how we can better protect the workforce and customers going forward. We also heard from advocates for riders with disabilities for whom cuts to the capital plan will be most impactful.

“Our subways are indescribably inaccessible and the progress that has been made in recent years and that which is planned for the next five years is in jeopardy.  New Yorkers need to keep public transportation running as it is the life’s blood of our economy and the New York City metropolitan area produces 8% of the country’s gross national product.  Thus it is in the national interest that the MTA gets the help it needs to operate, achieve a state of good repair and be accessible to all riders,” Simon finished. 

Adams Joins Peace Walk 

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams participated in a Peace Walk on Sunday starting at Brooklyn Borough Hall to march against the violence that has plagued communities throughout Brooklyn and New York City in recent months. 

This year to date, the number of shootings citywide has surpassed 1,000 for the first time since 2015, and some are concerned that Labor Day may be an especially violent weekend due to a variety of factors.

Adams joined representatives from law enforcement, clergy, pop culture figures, community advocates, and called for an end to the bloodshed, and greater resources to protect the communities most affected by this surge in gun violence, which are predominantly Black and Brown.