MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Dec. 4, 2020

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Rodriguez Speaks in Favor of Intro 312

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (Photo credit:
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Last Wednesday, Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights, Inwood) delivered a statement in support of Intro 312, a proposed amendment to New York’s fire code.

He delivered his statement at a joint hearing on a package of rental housing-related bills. The bill, of which he is a sponsor, would require all residential buildings to have fire extinguishers on each floor with at least one occupied unit. He wrote the bill in response to a recent fire at a residential building in his district, which claimed the lives of a mother and her daughter.

“We know that everyone is going through a tough financial situation,” said Rodriguez. “But we need to invest to save lives. Recently, we lost two lives in my district in a residential building in a fire. I believe that the City should work with the private sector to help install these fire extinguishers, if necessary. But our priority has to be the safety of New Yorkers, especially during these upcoming colder months.”

James Responds to Trump’s Unfounded Attacks

Attorney General of NY Letitia James (Photo by KCP)
Attorney General of NY Letitia James

Last Wednesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a statement in response to an inflammatory speech from President Donald Trump (R).

During the speech, Trump reiterated his assertion that “tremendous voter fraud” took place during the 2020 National Election. He also attacked James for her ongoing investigation into the Trump Organization, which began last year in response to congressional testimony from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.

“As the independently elected attorney general of New York, I have a sworn duty to protect and uphold state law,” said James. “Last year, after Michael Cohen’s testimony, our office opened an investigation into the financial dealings of the Trump Organization. That investigation continues today. Unlike the president and the unfounded accusations he hurled today, we are guided by the facts and the law, and the politics stop at the door. Period.”

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce $5 Million in Funding for Housing Support

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (Photo credit:
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer

Last Wednesday, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D) announced the allocation of $4,842,051 in federal funding to prevent youth homelessness and support disabled tenants.

The funding will go towards direct assistance for tenants at risk of homelessness. In particular, it will provide assistance to youth who are either homeless or in the child welfare system, protect Section 8 tenants from being displaced due to housing repairs, and support disabled persons living in independent housing.

“Every New Yorker deserves a safe and secure place to call home and this federal investment gets us one step closer to that goal,” said Schumer. “New York faces a cresting second wave of COVID and we need to do all we can to support affordable housing for our most vulnerable residents, especially the disabled and at-risk youth. As we ask people to stay home and socially distance, access to safe and reliable housing will determine whether or not New York can avoid the sort of tragedy we saw earlier this year. I will always fight tooth and nail for resources that keep New Yorkers safe, especially during these challenging times.”

Espaillat, Maloney, Velázquez Lead NY Delegation Request for MTA Relief

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (Photo credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Yesterday, U.S. Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx), Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) and Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) led a bipartisan group of New York delegation members in requesting the inclusion of emergency MTA relief in the next legislative package.

In November, the MTA announced its intention to implement heavy austerity measures – including a 40 percent cut in weekday service and over 9,000 layoffs – in order to cope with their budget crisis. These austerity measures, they wrote, would “paralyze” commuters by slowing service. They would also have the effect of forcing more passengers onto fewer trains, making social distancing more difficult.

“These reductions in service would paralyze New York Metro Area commuters by adding up to several hours to riders’ travel times,” they wrote. “Moreover, these policy changes would force more riders onto fewer trains, compromising social distancing protocols and further increasing the risk of heightened COVID infection rates throughout the region. The significant hikes in fares and tolls would disproportionately harm low-income communities and those who have already been hit the hardest economically by this pandemic. These changes, though necessary to keep the MTA alive, would be absolutely catastrophic for the New York metropolitan region.

“We sincerely thank you for the $4 billion for the MTA included in the CARES Act, which was critical in helping New York City to overcome the first wave of the pandemic. However, the situation has become more dire than ever. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is the lifeblood of New York City, and the desperate financial situation that MTA is in puts every single one of New York City’s nearly nine million residents at risk. On behalf of our constituents, we implore you to provide immediate federal assistance to MTA.”