MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Dec. 17, 2020

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Schumer, Gillibrand, Espaillat Pass Legislation Renaming USPS Facility After Normandia Maldonado

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

Yesterday, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) announced the passage of their bill to rename the USPS facility at 511 West 165th St. after the late Dominican activist Normandia Maldonado.

“Normandia Maldonado was a tireless community activist and organizer who devoted her life to sharing the rich cultural heritage of Dominican people,” said Schumer. “She showcased the accomplishments of Dominicans in the arts and public life through the Cassandra Damirón Hall of Fame; she fought for the Juan Pablo Duarte statue; and she helped establish the Dominican Day Parade. Ms. Maldonado relentlessly pursued her dreams and ideas for the Dominican American community and her work created a great sense of pride among Dominicans here in New York.”

“Ms. Maldonado was a true pioneer – she advanced and elevated the Dominican culture tenfold through her creative work, activism, and community organizing,” said Espaillat. “Her fingerprints can be found across the diaspora – and, especially in New York City, where her memory still looms and her work continues to flourish and inspire. As an organizer, she was instrumental in erecting the statue of Juan Pablo Duarte statue in New York City, which stands as an eternal reminder of the sacrifices made during the island nation’s quest for independence.”

“Normandia Maldonado is a true giant among New Yorkers,” said Gillibrand. “A Dominican visionary, she dared to inspire her community to dream bigger, to celebrate all that binds us together, and to use the arts as a tool to empower Dominicans across the diaspora here in New York and back on the island. I am proud to celebrate this recognition in the community she once called home.”

Johnson Issues “Planning Together” Report

Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)
Council Member Corey Johnson

Yesterday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) issued a report which details the failures of New York’s long-term strategic, budget and land use planning processes and offers recommendations on how to improve them.

The report details several key issues with the City’s planning processes, including a lack of coordination between City agencies and unrealistic long-term goals. To remedy the issues, Johnson proposes several recommendations – such as streamlining planning mandates into a single process – which serve as the basis for a piece of legislation that the Council will introduce today.

“Our planning process is completely broken,” said Johnson. “As we seek to recover and rebuild in the wake of COVID-19, our increasingly contentious and unproductive planning regime will continue to undermine our ability to equitably respond to the challenges we face. We must adapt and grow It’s time for a new approach. Comprehensive Planning will bring a cyclical and fully integrated framework for us to work with that balances citywide and community needs to take on our challenges together. This is how we get things done.”

Espaillat Demands Congressional Relief for MTA

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

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) pledged his support for the Twitter campaign #SavePublicTransit, which seeks to persuade Congress to increase funding for the MTA and transit systems across the nation.

Espaillat and his peers are calling on Congress to provide at least $32 billion in aid to help transit agencies recover from the pandemic. Earlier this year, Congress provided $15 billion in aid to transit agencies via the CARES Act. An even larger sum is included in the HEROES Act – which, unfortunately, has yet to be called to a vote in the Republican- controlled Senate.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the MTA has been essential in our efforts to combat this disease,” said Espaillat. “New York City was able to overcome the first wave of the pandemic thanks to the MTA’s 75,000 employees and the continued operation of its subways, buses and railroads. The transit agency is essential in our fight to recover and I urge my colleagues to work to save the MTA and transit systems around the country.”

Gottfried: It’s Time to Do Right by New Yorkers on Healthcare

Richard N. Gottfried (Photo Credit:
Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

Yesterday, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea, Midtown) wrote an op-ed for the Gotham Gazette, making the case for universal healthcare.

Gottfried asserted that, while the Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the glaring flaws that still exist in the American healthcare system. A huge percentage of Americans rely on their employer for health coverage; when unemployment spiked, millions were left without health insurance in the middle of a pandemic.

The only solution, wrote Gottfried, is a system that guarantees coverage for all – which is exactly what his bill, the New York Health Act, would provide.

“We need to deliver a health plan that by law guarantees everyone complete coverage; complete choice of doctors, hospitals, and other health-care providers; and is funded based on ability to pay,” wrote Gottfried. “It should include long-term care (home care and nursing home care), which can be a frightening cost that can wipe out a family’s lifetime savings.

“In New York, this means the New York Health Act to establish universal single-payer health coverage. It’s more comprehensive than any health plan available. Having us all in the same boat – rich and poor alike – is the best way to guarantee it’s the best possible plan.”

Read the full article here.