Queens Lawmakers on the Move Dec. 2, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Maloney Endorses Jain for City Council

11.23.19 – Carolyn Maloney Photo Shoot

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria and Long Island City, parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan) endorsed Democrat City Council candidate Dr. Neeta Jain as she runs to fill the vacancy in the 24th Council District left by Rory Lancman. 

The special election will be held on February 2 and will be the first election to use Ranked Choice Voting.

“Dr. Neeta Jain has been a dedicated community leader for decades, and she has worked tirelessly to expand access to mental health resources, support victims of domestic violence, and connect people with the resources they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I am excited to support her as she runs for City Council,” said Rep. Maloney. “Our city faces numerous challenges as we head into 2021, and I know that Neeta will be a strong advocate for all Queens families in the City Council.”

A trailblazing activist, Dr. Neeta Jain is New York’s first Indian-American woman Democratic District Leader, an elected DNC Delegate for Biden-Harris, an accomplished educator, and founder and President of the International Ahimsa Foundation. With 30 years of experience as a practicing psychologist, Dr. Jain understands how to run a business while helping those in crisis. Dr. Jain’s long history of activism includes serving as President of Daniel Patrick Moynihan Democratic Club, Senior Vice President and Trustee of Hindu Center Inc., Chair of the Community Advisory Board of India Home, and member of the Parent Council of Barnard College of Columbia University. She lives with her husband in Flushing, where she has resided for the last 30 years.

Adams to Review Land Use Applications

City Council Member Adrienne Adams

City Council Member Adrienne Adams, Chair of the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings and Dispositions (D-Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, South Ozone Park), and the rest of the committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday about two land use applications. 

The committee will discuss the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of Public School 48, now P75Q at P.S. 48, the Robert E. Peary School in Queens as an historic landmark. They will also discuss a land use application for a property in Brooklyn. For more details, see the agenda. 

The remote hearing will take place on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Virtual Room 1.

Vallone Works to Improve Safety at Harvey Park

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul A. Vallone (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone) and 109th Precinct have teamed up to target illegal parking of commercial trucks, tractor-trailers and waste removal vehicles around a local park.

Commercial trucks, parking day and night around Harvey Park, located between 144 Street and the Whitestone Expressway service road, has become a chronic issue, preventing park goers from enjoying the park safely. 

This issue was brought to the council member’s attention by the Dwarf Giraffe Athletic League, whose members frequently use the fields at the park for their youth sports. According to local law, street storage of commercial vehicles is prohibited in a residential area in excess of three hours, and parking a commercial vehicle on a residential street between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. is prohibited. At a meeting with the Precinct’s new commanding officer in November, Vallone relayed details of the ongoing issue and swift action was taken by local officers, who have now issued 15 truck/trailer parking summonses in the immediate area.  

“Commercial trucks constantly lined up along the perimeter of the park decrease visibility and pose a risk to pedestrians seeking safe access to this popular greenspace,” Vallone said. “I thank Commanding Officer John O’Connell and the 109th Precinct for their attention to this issue and look forward to our continued partnership.”

AOC Livestream Raise $240k For Local Relief Organizations

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Astoria, College Point, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, parts of the Bronx) raised over $240,000 for NY-14 constituents experiencing food and housing insecurity, raising $208,000 of that sum during a five hour Twitch livestream on Friday evening. 

The congresswoman played the popular online game Among Us with Canadian Member of Parliament Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, and viewers were encouraged to donate via a shared fundraising link. The beneficiaries of the funds are Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities, the Jewish Community Council of Pelham Parkway, Legal Services NYC, Make the Road NY, Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens, and The Street Vendor Project. These organizations have been active in the congresswoman’s district and New York City, feeding families and providing legal guidance for years. 

Ocasio-Cortez and Singh were joined throughout Friday’s livestream by several online gaming celebrities, including Natalie ‘ContraPoints’ Wynn, Hasan ‘HasanAbi’ Piker, Ryan ‘NorthernLion’ Letourneau, and Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel. The stream reached over 1.9 million viewers in total. 

This is the second Among Us livestream that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has participated in –  the first, alongside Representative Ilhan Omar, was to raise voter awareness ahead of this year’s general election. The October 20 livestream became one of the largest GOTV efforts of 2020, with a peak concurrent viewership of 439,000 viewers and approximately 5.2 million viewers in total.

Addabbo Calls for Reopening Plan in Case of 2nd Shutdown

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) with the future of local businesses in a state of uncertainty as the city faces the threat of another shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 

is seeking information regarding financial assistance for such businesses from the offices of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Addabbo has worked closely with the Queens Chamber of Commerce to understand the challenges local businesses faced during the first shutdown, and what they will need in order to survive another one.

“While I understand the need to ensure the safety of our people first and foremost,” Addabbo said. “We cannot just force a business and its employees to shut down without having the proper resources in place to help them survive an extended closure. The two must go hand-in-hand.”

Addabbo noted that the aid from the federal government might not be available in time to allow employers to retain their employees throughout an extended shutdown.

Another point Addabbo wants to make to Cuomo is that if there is going to be another shutdown of local businesses, it should be postponed for after the holidays.

“The holiday season brings the possibility of a number of businesses recouping some of their economic losses from earlier in the year. Also, many businesses — especially those in the food industry — need time to prepare and order items specifically for the holidays,” Addabbo said. “If another shutdown is imposed, these businesses must be given significant notice in consideration of their holiday orders. We should not leave these businesses out in the cold.”

Addabbo will also urge the governor and mayor to provide a reopening plan, should a continued pandemic spike cause local stores to close again.

“These businesses need to know what is happening in regards to a shutdown and when they will be able to open up again. There should be a detailed plan in place that has specific metrics we must meet in order to reopen,” Addabbo contends. “The original plan back in the spring and summer with the phased reopenings was an ideal plan, but once we got to Phase 4 and our businesses weren’t allowed to reopen, there was minimal guidance going forward from there. We can’t let our business owners twist in the wind while decisions are made on which businesses can open and which cannot.”