Queens Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 22, 2021

Queens County City Council News

Grodenchik Helps Secure Vaccine Site

City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik

City Councilmember Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village) said his persistent advocacy has paid off with a new vaccine site now planned for Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village.

The much-needed location – the first of its kind in City Council District 23 – was supposed to open this week, but a winter storm, which dropped six to eight inches of snow on the city, exacerbated vaccine shortages, causing city hall to announce a delay. Vaccine supply levels remain low, threatening the ability of this and other sites across the city to open as planned.

“Martin Van Buren High School is a perfect location for a vaccine site here in Eastern Queens,” said Grodenchik, who has joined local leaders to call for a nearby site and has been vociferous in his advocacy on behalf of residents. “After working with city hall for weeks, I am encouraged by the selection of this school and look forward to seeing the site in operation.”

The telephone lines in the council member’s office have been ringing off the hook as local residents – particularly seniors – call to express frustration with the process of getting appointments and the difficulty in finding a site close to their homes. Many have traveled outside the borough because the vaccine was not available locally.

Grodenchik’s district and most of Eastern Queens have been a vaccine desert, leading the councilmember to personally contact the mayor’s office for assistance. He also suggested possible locations, including Martin Van Buren High School.

Addabbo Delivers Student Valentine’s Day Cards to Vets

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) delivered the Valentine’s Day cards last week made by students from P.S. 88 in Ridgewood and P.S. 316 in Ozone Park for veterans, to The St. Albans VA Medical Center. 

Addabbo would like to thank the students, the school’s administration and faculty, and of course to the veterans for their dedicated service.

“I am very grateful to the students, teachers and administrators at P.S. 88 and P.S. 316, as well as the personnel at The St. Albans VA Medical Center, for keeping this respectful tradition alive for our veterans, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Addabbo said. “While I couldn’t hand-deliver the cards to the veterans like I usually do, I thought it was still very important to bring these cards the students made for the veterans, who truly appreciate being acknowledged on Valentine’s Day.”

AOC Calls for Investigation into Cuomo’s Handling of Nursing Homes During COVID-19

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-AstoriaCollege PointCoronaEast ElmhurstElmhurstJackson HeightsWoodside, parts of the Bronx) issued the following statement last week in solidarity with elected officials asking for a full investigation of the State’s handling of the nursing homes during the pandemic:

“I support our state’s return to co-equal governance and stand with our local officials calling for a full investigation of the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during COVID-19. Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic. Their loved ones and the public deserve answers and transparency from their elected leadership, and the Secretary to the Governor’s remarks warrant a full investigation.”

Gianaris Pushes for NY Hero Act in Op-Ed

Senator Michael Gianaris

State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) cowrote an op-ed with Assemblymember Karines Reyes (D-Bronx) for the Buffalo News pushing the NY HERO Act, their legislation to protect essential workers.

The NY HERO Act, or the New York Health and Essential Rights Act, would require the Departments of Labor and Health to implement enforceable minimum standards for workplace safety. The regulations must include protocols on testing, PPE, social distancing, hand hygiene, disinfection, and engineering controls. Workers would also be given a direct role in monitoring and reporting violations through workplace health and safety committees and employees are protected from retaliation for utilizing their rights under the law. The NY HERO Act is supported by more than 100 labor, community, and safety organizations, including the AFL-CIO. The legislation passed the Senate Labor committee in January.

Read the full op-ed here.