New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York County Politics MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 28, 2020 by New York County Politics

MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 28, 2020

Chin to Host COVID-19 Testing Event

Council Member Margaret Chin (Photo credit: council.nyc.gov)

Council Member Margaret Chin

This Sunday, Councilmember Margaret Chin (D-Battery Park City, Chinatown) will be hosting a community COVID-19 testing event in Chinatown.

Chin is hosting the event alongside the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center (CBWCHC). Testing is free, but pre-registration is required, and patrons must be at least 18 years of age.

The event will take place on Sunday, Aug. 30 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 268 Canal St. To register, call 929-362-3020.

Kallos, Van Bramer: It’s Time to Open the Queensboro Bridge to Pedestrians

Council Member Ben Kallos (Photo credit: council.nyc.gov)

Council Member Ben Kallos

Yesterday, Councilmembers Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens) wrote an op-ed for amNY calling on the City to open more pedestrian paths on the Queensboro Bridge.

As of now, the Queensboro Bridge has nine lanes open to car traffic, but only one narrow path open to cyclists and pedestrians. This is particularly problematic in the era of COVID-19, since it impedes social distancing. The Department of Transportation currently has plans to open the South Outer Roadway to pedestrians in 2022; however, Kallos and Van Bramer insist that New Yorkers can’t wait that long.

“The conditions on the bridge are dangerous, plain and simple,” they wrote. “As cyclists and pedestrians jockey for space on a path as narrow as nine feet, there have been frequent crashes, including some serious injuries. We have both heard from seniors and parents of young children in our districts who avoid the bridge entirely. And we know that New Yorkers who don’t feel safe crossing the East River by subway, bike, or foot will turn to cars. Many already have. This is leading to gridlocked streets, polluted air, and crashes. 

“We know the South Outer Roadway could be opened to foot traffic because it already was, during the 1980s and 1990s, before it was returned to cars. We know its reopening will require some immediate safety improvements, and we’re here to advocate for them. In fact, we’ve pledged to use some of our discretionary capital funding to help install fencing along a new South Outer Sidewalk. All we need is for the City to respond to our determination with their own.”

Read the full article here.

Powers Introduces Legislation to Overhaul School Admission Process

Council Member Keith Powers (Photo source: New York City Council)

Council Member Keith Powers

Yesterday, Councilmember Keith Powers (D-Carnegie Hill, Yorkville) introduced two bills to reform New York’s discriminatory school admission system.

The first bill would repeal the 1971 Hecht-Calandra Act, which established the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test the sole metric by which students can be admitted to specialized high schools. Instead, the City would take control of admissions, allowing students to enroll in specialized high schools based on other merits.

The second bill would prevent schools from using a student’s attendance history as a criterion for admittance. Currently, schools can reject students based on their history of latenesses and absences, which is often affected by factors beyond their control.

“This is about fairness and creating a more equal playing field for New Yorkers,” said Powers. “As we rebuild the greatest city in the world, we have an opportunity to change its antiquated practices that limit diversity and prevent qualified students from attending the school of their choice.”

Rosenthal Introduces Bill to Address Gender Discrimination in NYC Hospitals

Council Member Helen Rosenthal (Photo: Emil Cohen/ NYC Council)

Council Member Helen Rosenthal

Yesterday, Councilmember Helen Rosenthal (D-Central Park, Lincoln Square) introduced legislation to establish a Gender Equity Advisory Board for NYC hospitals.

Rosenthal seeks to address the pervasive gender-based discrimination, harassment and assault that healthcare workers experience. The issue affects workers of both genders, but affects women disproportionately. The new advisory board would advise the Mayor and City Council on how to create a safe, equitable workplace.

“Women make up close to 80% of the healthcare workforce,” said Rosenthal. “Their mistreatment in the workplace endangers not only their personal well-being, but also the safety and outcomes of the patients they serve. My bill brings healthcare professionals and students from diverse disciplines and across the city together, to shine an ongoing spotlight on gender discrimination and overall working conditions for women on the healthcare frontlines.”

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