Queens Lawmakers on the Move September 18, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Meng Resolution to Denounce Anti-Asian Sentiment Because of Coronavirus Passes

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng’s resolution that denounces the anti-Asian sentiment that has occurred since the outbreak of the coronavirus passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday. 

The measure, which Meng introduced in March, passed by a vote of 243 to 164.

“Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Asian Americans have been forced to endure demeaning and disgusting acts of bigotry and hate, consisting of everything from verbal assaults to physical attacks,” said Meng. “The House needed to take a strong and public stand against this appalling intolerance, discrimination, and violence that has taken place all across the country during this public health crisis, and today it did just that. The rise in anti-Asian rhetoric and the blaming of Asian Americans for the spread of the coronavirus has been shameful and reckless, particularly when it comes from our nation’s leaders such as President Trump, Minority Leader McCarthy and many others who have used terms like ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus,’ and ‘Kung-flu,’ to stoke people’s fears of COVID-19, scapegoat Asian Americans, and fan the flames of hate. But these are more than just hateful and irresponsible words. This language has fueled the increase of threats and attacks against those of Asian descent, and many Asian Americans continue to live in fear.”

“When the first cases of coronavirus were reported in the U.S., I had advised the public about not singling out or stereotyping the Asian American community,” Meng added. “But unfortunately, those efforts have not stopped acts of ignorance and bigotry from rearing their ugly heads. It’s time for this hysteria and discrimination to end, and I hope that with the passage of my resolution, our nation will work its way towards that goal. I thank and commend all who supported my resolution and joined me in sending a message to the American people that we reject this unacceptable racism, xenophobia, and violence. This measure is about condemning hate and violence and attacks on innocent individuals. We’re talking about people’s lives and their right to feel and be safe.”

Meng’s resolution has 157 cosponsors and has been endorsed by over 500 organizations and entities from across the country. 

A Senate version of Meng’s resolution is pending in the Senate. It was introduced in May by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). The resolutions in each chamber are independent of each other and do not need the signature of the President.

The text of Meng’s resolution and additional legislative details on the measure can be viewed here.

Vallone’s Bill to Explore Use of Drones for Building Facade Inspections Passes

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Councilmember Paul A. Vallone’s (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone) bill that will require the Department of Buildings (DOB) to study the safety and feasibility of permitting building façade inspections to be conducted by unmanned aircraft systems, or drones passed on Wednesday. 

This bill, co-sponsored by Vallone, is an important first step toward making positive changes to the city’s outdated technology laws and has the potential to improve safety, reduce costs and save time. 

“An outdated local law, drafted decades before the advent of what are popularly known as ‘drones,’ is leaving New York City on the ground while other cities are already using rapidly advancing technologies to support business and improve safety,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, who also chairs the Committee on Economic Development. “Clearing the way for building industry firms, property managers and other companies to save both time and money through the use of drones could certainly benefit the city, particularly when it comes to ensuring our buildings are built safely and properly maintained.”

Formerly known as Local Law 11, under the Facade Inspection and Safety Program owners of all buildings over six stories tall must conduct a facade inspection, and make the needed repairs, every five years. Drone use in New York City is currently prohibited under a 1948 local law, which restricts the take off and landing of any “aircraft” to airports and Port Authority-designated locations.

This bill takes effect immediately and the study will be completed and submitted no later than October 31, 2021. 

De Blasio Releases Mayor’s Management Report for F2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio released on Thursday the Mayor’s Management Report for Fiscal 2020, an analysis of city agencies’ performance from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. 

The MMR presents more than 2000 indicators from 45 city agencies that measure the city’s performance in providing services to New Yorkers.

“Every year, the Mayor’s Management Report holds us accountable and tells New Yorkers how we’ve performed for them,” said de Blasio. “This data tells the story of how the city has delivered, despite a year unlike any other. As trust in government becomes more important than ever, we’re proud to maintain our commitment to open access and transparency.”

This year, in addition to other chapters highlighting inter-agency collaboration on initiatives such as ThriveNYC or Vision Zero, the MMR has a short chapter on the city’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The MMR, which grew out of the 1970’s fiscal crisis, is a national model for holding city government accountable. Both MMR and Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (PMMR), which covers the first four months of the fiscal year and is released in January, are mandated by Section 12 of the New York City Charter.

To view this year’s report, visit: http://www.nyc.gov/mmr.