New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York County Politics MANH Lawmakers on the Move, May 19, 2020 by New York County Politics

MANH Lawmakers on the Move, May 19, 2020

Brewer Congratulates American Idol Winner Just Sam

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) released a statement yesterday congratulating the newest American Idol winner, Samantha “Just Sam” Diaz.

Just Sam, a native Manhattanite, learned of her victory virtually while in Los Angeles, where she stayed when filming of Idol shut down due to the pandemic. She opted not to return to her home in Douglass Houses, out of fear of infecting her grandmother.

“I have enjoyed organizing New Yorkers to vote for her every week and have been so honored to lend a hand in uplifting her journey so that we as a borough and a city could come together to witness her powerful story and her stellar talent as she rose through the ranks to become the next American Idol,” said Brewer. “Thank you to the residents of Douglass Houses, particularly TA president Carmen Quiniones who has spearheaded much of the local energy and support for Just Sam.”

Stringer to MTA: Subway Cleaners Are Owed Prevailing Wage

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Yesterday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) called on the MTA to ensure that their contractors pay their employees prevailing wages and benefits.

The New York City Transit Authority (NYCT) has partnered with private cleaning companies to clean and disinfect subway trains and stations. In a letter to MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye, Stringer expressed concern that these contractors may not be paying their employees prevailing wages.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is putting tremendous economic strain on New York City’s workforce and vulnerable communities,” wrote Stringer. “These workers are risking their own health and that of their families to ensure that New Yorkers – especially our frontline workforce – can use our transit system safely. I urge you to ensure that the contractors providing these cleaning services are paying prevailing wages and benefits to their employees immediately, and if not, to see to it that they provide retroactive pay to them from the time they commenced work on this important public project.”

Read the full letter here.

Kallos, Powers, Brewer Urge de Blasio to Open Streets, Sidewalks to Restaurants

Council Member Ben Kallos

Council Member Ben Kallos

Yesterday, Council Members Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) and Keith Powers (D-Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill) and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) wrote a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), urging him to open streets and sidewalks to restaurants to facilitate social distancing.

The letter followed reports that Upper East Side bars have been serving patrons who were gathering outside the establishments without regard for social distancing guidelines. The lawmakers suggested that to fix the problem, the City’s streets should adapt to make following those guidelines easier.

“We are all in this together,” they wrote. “It is not working to confine New Yorkers to narrow sidewalks and rely on enforcement to prevent crowding. The best way to keep New Yorkers safe is to reorder our streets for social distancing.”

Read the full letter here.

Rodriguez: City and State Need to Work Alongside Latino Institutions

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights, Inwood) released a statement yesterday arguing that New York needs to work alongside Latino institutions to help the communities hit hardest by COVID-19.

In particular, he cited SOMOS Community Care, a network of over 3,000 Latino and Asian doctors which has played a critical role in the City’s COVID-19 response. He also argued that, since Latinos account for a large percentage of New York’s COVID-19 deaths, they should be included in any task force the City creates to fight the pandemic.

“One of the communities most severely impacted by the novel coronavirus has been the Latino community, comprising almost a quarter of all those infected,” said Rodriguez. “We need to have adequate representation amidst this pandemic. We must include those that have lost so much at disproportionate rates across the City in the decision making process. This is about reclaiming the space that Latino, Black, and Asian Communities deserve. They must have a seat at the table when it comes to discussing New York City’s future.”

Read the full statement here.

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