NY Lawmakers on the Move May 31, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Mayor Adams, DIFTA distribute 1,000 free tablets to older Asian New Yorkers

Mayor Eric Adams

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez on Friday announced the distribution of an additional 1,000 free wi-fi equipped mobile tablets to older New Yorkers in an effort to bridge the digital divide and help connect them with city services. 

To close out Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and Older Americans Month, Friday’s tablet distribution was held at the Benjamin Rosenthal Innovative Senior Center in Flushing, Queens, which services a large Asian American community, and is part of a program that has now distributed 11,000 tablets to seniors across New York City, approximately 3,700 of which have been distributed since Adams took office in January.

“Age should not stand in the way of staying in contact with loved ones, or attending online social and educational programs, which is why giving away an additional free 1,000 tablets will help limit the social isolation that many older New Yorkers feel while narrowing the digital divide,” said Adams. 

“As we close out both AAPI Heritage Month and Older Americans Month, I know these tablets will help our elderly New Yorkers access the city resources that are vital to their health and well-being. The Department for the Aging should be commended for their good work, connecting 11,000 seniors across our city to tablets.”

Vernikov cuts 50K in CUNY funding due to pervasive Antisemitism

City Councilmember Inna Vernikov

City Councilmember Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn) has cut $50,000 in funding to CUNY School of Law Justice and Auxiliary Service due to the continued antisemitism that has permeated the City University of New York.

The program, which operates out of CUNY School of Law and is staffed by its alumni, has been receiving funding from the city of New York at the discretion of Councilmembers. Vernikov is the largest funder of the program out of all council members and had planned to continue allocating $50,000.00 due to the wide use of it by her constituents.

In recent years, City University of New York campuses have become hot beds for Antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment. Visibly Jewish and pro-Israel students no longer feel safe to express their views at their colleges, and many are concerned about their physical safety. CUNY School of Law, has become an egregious example of that reality.

For their graduation ceremony, the law school’s student body has elected a radical, antisemitic activist Nerdeen Kiswani to deliver this year’s commencement speech. Kiswani has previously called for the “death of Zionists” and Israel’s destruction. The content of her speech is similar to displays of Nazi propaganda that can be found in Yad VaShem, Israel’s major Holocaust museum, said Vernikov.

“It seems as if Antisemitism is the only politically acceptable form of racism which exists. We must stop handing out free passes to antisemites like candy,” said Vernikov.

“Last night, I pulled funding from the program and redirected it to Legal Services NYC. There is a direct link between antisemitic speech and violence that follows. I cannot, in good conscience, continue to allocate $50,000.00 to a program affiliated with ardent antisemites and haters of the State of Israel. We hope CUNY and all universities hear this message loud and clear: there should be ZERO tolerance for hate and antisemitism on every university campus.”

Clarke, Gillibrand introduce Affordable Housing Area Median Income Fairness Bill

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brooklyn) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will hold a joint press conference today on the introduction of their bicameral Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act of 2022, a multi-pronged approach to address some of the core challenges that have led to a severe lack of affordable housing in our nation’s urban areas. 

The members will deliver remarks on their landmark legislation, followed by a tour of an affordable housing unit at Flatbush Central’s Caton Flats, formerly Flatbush Caton Market. 

The Honorable Dr. Una S. T. Clarke – former NYC council member and Rep. Clarke’s mother – sponsored the market’s creation, reflecting a historic mother-daughter legacy of public service and community building through this fair housing legislation. 

Caton Flats is a 14-story, mixed-use development containing 255 units of 100 percent affordable housing and over 20,000 square feet of community space in Flatbush, Brooklyn, above the newly opened market. Homes range in size from studios to three-bedroom and are available to a range of incomes from very low-income to middle-income households.

The event is slated for 1:30 p.m., today, May 31 at Flatbush Central/Caton Flats, 2123 Caton Ave, Brooklyn.

Rajkumar mourns passing of Dominick Andrea Rubino Brienza

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D-Queens) on Friday joined all of Woodhaven in mourning the passing of their beloved neighbor Dominick Andrea Rubino Brienza. 

A neighborhood fixture for over six decades, Dominick came to America from Monteleone di Puglia in Italy as a child, finding his true home of Woodhaven at age 9. Over the years, he operated a delicatessen, laundromat, and the beloved Sal’s Pizza. Besides his small business ventures, Dominick also served the community as a social worker for Catholic Charities, where he specialized in assisting seniors who were the victims of crimes.

“Like many others, I will remember Dominick most for the many hours I spent in his pizzeria, including when I brought Mayor Adams to meet him. I will also never forget the time I came to Sal’s Pizza, only for Dominick to remark, ‘Where’s your red dress?’ Dominick, you will be missed by us all,” said Rajkumar.