NY Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 24, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Rajkumar brings together citywide and national leaders to vandalized Gandhi statue

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D-Queens), the first Hindu-American elected to New York State Office, today will bring together citywide and national leaders at the Shri Tulsi Mandir, a Hindu temple  in South Richmond Hill to address hate crimes against the Hindu community after the mandir’s statue of Mahatma Gandhi was vandalized twice this month. 

The first vandalism was on August 3, when a group of people toppled the statue. Less than two weeks later, what appeared to be a different group totally destroyed the statue with a sledgehammer and graffitied it with obscene names. They also graffitied the temple grounds and 111th Street asphalt.

The event continues Rajkumar’s work to address hate crimes. She previously convened the community on August 9 to denounce the first vandalism incident, and educate the public on Hinduism’s Gandhian belief in actively loving people from different backgrounds like they’re from your own. The Assemblywoman also denounced the assault of a white MTA bus passenger by women professing a hatred for white people, multiple hate crimes against the Sikh community, and hate crimes against Muslims in South Queens.

“Since the targeting of the Gandhi statue and the Hindu Temple, I have received an outpouring of support not just in Queens, but from people all around the world,” said Rajkumar. “I have spoken with government leaders across the country. All are committed to re-doubling our efforts to combat anti-Hindu hate. We always knew that defeating hate would not be accomplished in one day, one week, or even one year.  We are committed to this fight for the long term, and will use the Hindu principles of ahimsa (non-violence) and satyagraha (soul force) that guided Gandhi himself and later the great American civil rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The event is slated for 1 p.m., today, Aug. 24 at the Shri Tulsi Mandir, 103-24 111 Street, South Richmond Hill, Queens. The event will also be broadcast online at facebook.com/jenifer.rajkumar.

Ung lauds city for crackdown of illegally parked commercial vehicles

City Council Member Sandra Ung

City Council Member Sandra Ung (D-Queens) yesterday lauded the city for Monday night’s targeted action against illegally parked commercial trucks in Queens.

Mayor Eric Adams and the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced operation “Heavy Duty Enforcement,” an overnight enforcement action against illegally parked commercial vehicles in neighborhoods of southern Queens. 

The multi-faceted effort is in response to community-generated complaints and consists of three teams utilizing heavy tow operations, booting, and summonsing enforcement, and spans several NYPD commands, bureaus, and city agencies.

“I am pleased that the city is serious about addressing the issue of illegally parked commercial trucks in our residential neighborhoods,” said Ung. “This is a serious issue for constituents in my district who live on or near the Horace Harding Expressway, where tractor trailers park for long periods of time. My office has received multiple complaints regarding these large trucks and 18 wheelers, including idling trucks, which can increase air pollution and affect the health of residents, especially children and older adults. While I appreciate that these drivers have long routes and are mandated by federal law to take breaks, we can’t allow our residential streets to be turned into illegal parking lots. I look forward to working with the mayor and my colleagues in government to address this issue.”

Reichlin-Melnick, Zebrowski to announce legislation addressing congestion pricing

State Sen. Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick
Assembly Member Kenneth Zebrowski

Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick (D-Rockland/Westchester) and Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski (D-Rockland) today will be joined by local officials and residents to announce legislation related to congestion pricing–the MTA’s plan to charge drivers additional tolls to enter parts of Manhattan which is proposed to go into effect in 2023.

The lawmakers have been vocal opponents to congestion pricing for Rocklanders and have urged restoration of passenger service on the West Shore Rail Line or other means to get a one-seat ride to Manhattan.

When the MTA recently announced plans to move forward with congestion pricing last month, the Senator blasted them for unfairly taxing Rockland residents who do not have a quick or easy mass transit option to get to NYC, unlike most other suburban counties. 

The lawmakers are aligned with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC), a regional council for New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley (Rockland/Putnam/Westchester). There are nine voting members, including the County Executives of the five suburban counties. 

The lawmakers will announce the legislation at 11 a.m., today, Aug. 24 at the Intersection of 9W & New Main Street in Haverstraw, Rockland County.