Queens Lawmakers on the Move Dec. 15, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Richards Meets with District Managers

City Council Member Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards will hold a roundtable discussion with the district managers representing the borough’s 14 Community Boards during a meeting of the Queens Borough Cabinet on Tuesday.

The district managers will have the opportunity to discuss the needs of their individual Community Board Districts with Borough President Richards, who took office as Queens Borough President on December 2, 2020.

The Queens Borough Cabinet is chaired by the Borough President under the New York City Charter and comprised of the district managers of each Community Board in the Borough and representatives from city agencies. It focuses on city service delivery and agency responsiveness across the borough and hears presentations on these issues from city officials and others.

The meeting will be conducted virtually, with Borough Cabinet members participating via videoconference. The meeting will also be live-streamed to the public on the Borough President’s website.

The virtual meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 15 at 9:30 a.m.

Sanders Discusses No-Knock Warrant Bill

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D–Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Edgemere, Bayswater, Arverne and Far Rockaway) is discussing no-knock warrants on the next episode of his podcast, “Let’s Be Clear!”

Sanders will discuss this controversial topic with top experts and explain a bill he will be introducing to address the misuse of no-knock warrants. 

“We need to stop the over militarization of our community,” Sanders said.

This week’s featured guests will be: Dr. Pete Kraska, Marquez Claxton and DeRay McKesson.

A recent high profile incident involving no-knock warrants was the case of Breonna Taylor, however the problems with these warrants first got attention way back in the 1980s and the number has ballooned by about 2,000% since then.

In 2003, Alberta Spruill, 57, of Harlem died of a heart attack after police broke down her door and threw a flash grenade into her apartment, looking for drugs. They were acting on bad information and no drugs were found. 

There are an estimated 20,000 no-knock warrants issued in the United States each year overwhelmingly against black and brown people. When the number of other types of warrants that are incorrectly executed as no-knock are factored in the number goes up to about 60,000.

The podcast episode is set to premiere on Wednesday, December 16 at 6 p.m. and can be viewed on YouTube.

AOC Asks City About Rikers COVID-19 Safety Measures

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Astoria, College Point, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, parts of the Bronx) asked the city in a letter to detail the safety measures they are taking at Rikers Island Correctional Facility, as New York faces another COVID-19 surge.  

The congresswoman’s office recently received calls from people detained at Rikers, detailing inadequate access to soap, facilities operating at high capacity, scarce healthcare resources, and poor air ventilation.

“The City has made valiant efforts to protect New Yorkers from COVID-19, particularly given they’ve received little help from the Trump administration. However, these disturbing calls necessitate further transparency,” said Ocasio-Cortez in a statement. “Many at Rikers stand only accused, not convicted, of a crime. And none of the detained individuals were sentenced to death by a deadly virus. The City has a responsibility to provide for the health and safety of everyone at Rikers.”

Rikers Island is part of the Congresswoman’s congressional district, New York’s 14th. 

Van Bramer Holds Oversight Hearing on Art, Cultural Educational Programming

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer/Facebook

City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations (D-Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills), and the rest of the committee are holding an oversight on the impact of COVID-19 on art and cultural educational programming in New York City.

For more information, see the meeting’s agenda. 

The remote hearing will take place in Virtual Room 3 on Tuesday, December 15 at 10 a.m.

Constantinides Discusses Climate Change in Hearing

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Councilmember Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside), and the rest of the committee are holding a hearing on Tuesday. 

The hearing will include an oversight hearing on Climate Change and environmental quality. It also includes discussion of a bill that would establish climate indicators and a resolution to join nations around the world to implement, the United States Senate to approve, and the president to ratify a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty. See the agenda for more details. 

The remote hearing will take place in Virtual Room 2 on Tuesday, December 15 at 11 a.m.

Holden Hosts Hearing on Cloud Computing Technologies

City Council Member Bob Holden

City Councilmember Robert Holden, Chair of the Committee on General Technology (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Woodside), and the rest of the committee are holding a hearing on Tuesday. 

The hearing will include an oversight hearing about the benefits and disadvantages of cloud-computing systems. They will also discuss legislation that would require the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to assess the feasibility of transferring city agencies’ electronic data to cloud computing systems. The department would also be required to submit a report of the results of the assessment to the council. For more information, see the agenda. 

The remote hearing will take place in Virtual Room 1 on Tuesday, December 16 at 1 p.m.