Katz Launches “Know Your Rights” Week

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) and her Immigration Task Force will announce details of their upcoming “Know Your Rights Week,” a series of free informational workshops and confidential legal clinics in various neighborhoods throughout Queens.

    The first series will take place this month and focus on immigrants, who make up nearly half of the borough’s 2.3 million residents.

    The announcement and details of the launch is slated for 11 a.m., tomorrow, June 7 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.


    Kim Introduces New York Community Currency Act

    Assembly Member Ron Kim

    Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, Murray Hill) has announced new legislation (Bill A11018) he is introducing to foster regional economic growth and incentivize local consumption.

    The New York Community Currency act would create up to ten pilot programs across New York State, working in junction with local businesses and community leaders, to establish a complimentary community currency.

    Based on the success of similar programs begun across the country, around the world, and in New York, local community currencies have been proven to keep hard-earned money in the communities they serve. Local currencies spent at small businesses will flow to other institutions and businesses in the area, stimulating regional commerce and creating incentives for greater intra-community development. Participating regions would receive up to $300,000 in grants and flexible funding to create their local economic ecosystem.

    Community currencies are designed to boost and support local commerce and institutions while imbuing consumer spending with a greater purpose. The measure  would also incentivize civic action and volunteerism by partnering with local nonprofits and community groups. Under his proposed legislation, they would be able to participate by offering civic-based rewards for actions like volunteering, participating in community meetings, and helping seniors or mentoring children.

    “As more and more small businesses flee New York State, we are confronted with the need and the opportunity to find new and innovative solutions. Community currencies are the next step in fostering regional economic growth and local civic participation. Every local dollar spent in a mom and pop store stimulates local job growth and economic development while ensuring a steady stream of revenue for the people and businesses in that community. Every dollar spent at a chain store flows into the pockets of shareholders across the country. We have the opportunity to do more with our money, to support our local businesses and ensure the future development of our communities. I believe this is an issue that transcends partisan divisions, and urge all of my colleagues to support this measure,” said Kim.


    Sanders Hosts Informational Session For MWBE Contracts At JFK Airport

    State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

    State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, parts of Far Rockaway), Friday hosted an informational session on access to capital and bonding to prepare Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WMBE) for the more than $10 billion dollars in development slated for John F. Kennedy Airport.

    The senator brought together dozens of people of various MWBEs including those in construction, energy, and professional services for a breakfast meeting at Port Authority JFK headquarters. He also assembled an expert panel to discuss procurement (the action of obtaining contracts), and bonding (having a business license, proper insurance and making payments to a surety company for protection by a bond) in his mission to increase MWBE capacity certification and utilization.

    “Our goal is to prepare existing MWBEs with the information needed to scale and secure contracts specifically with the JFK redevelopment,” said Sanders. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and one must take advantage of an opportunity within its lifetime.”

    An MWBE is a business that has a specific ownership composition of minimally 51 percent. Increasing the utilization of MWBE firms in state contracting is key to the success of the MWBE program. In 2014, Governor Cuomo set New York States’s goal for MWBE procurement at 30 percent, the highest in the nation.


    Vallone Announces Fourth Annual Independence Day Celebration

    City Council Member Paul Vallone

    City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) yesterday announced the details of the Fourth Annual Independence Day Fireworks Show & Concert set for Wednesday, June 27 at Fort Totten.

    Over the past three years, this event, which Vallone and the Bayside Historical Society hosts, has drawn thousands to celebrate a night of fireworks and family fun. This year’s event promises to be another incredible night with fireworks by Grucci being launched from a barge on Little Neck Bay.

    Admittance to Fort Totten will begin at 5 p.m., and the event will feature musical performances from 6 – 9 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs and picnic related items to the event. Numerous vending trucks will be on site with a variety of foods, snacks and beverages. The 15 minute Fireworks by Grucci show will begin promptly at 9:15 p.m.

    This is a non-alcohol event. All bags, coolers, backpacks, etc. will be inspected before entering the park. Parking will be available at the Little Bay Parking Lot, underneath the Throgs Neck Bridge and along Bell Boulevard west of Fort Totten with additional parking at the Clearview Golf Course (beginning at 5 p.m.) and the Bay Terrace Shopping Center.

    Shuttles provided by Vallo Transportation will bring guests to and from the offsite parking locations beginning at 6pm. Due to the number of people expected to attend, guests are encouraged to bike, walk or bus to the event. (Please see attached slides for a parking map, transportation information and other important information).

    “There’s no better way to kick off the summer than with a fireworks show and concert in Fort Totten. For a fourth straight year, residents in Northeast Queens won’t have to travel far to enjoy world class fireworks with friends, family and neighbors,” said Vallone. “These types of family events really bring the community together in celebration and I thank everybody who has worked tirelessly to organize the event, as well as everybody who will be working and volunteering on June 27 to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.”


    Dromm Outraged Over Anti-Gay Attack On Eve Of Queens LGBT Pride Parade

    City Council Member Daniel Dromm

    City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights),  chair of the council’s LGBT Caucus, yesterday expressed outrage at the anti-gay attack occurred in the wake of the Queens LGBT Pride Parade last Sunday.

    According to published reports, the attack occurred at about at about 10 p.m., June 3 in the vicinity of 83rd Street and 37th Avenue. Two individuals, who remain at-large, beat up a 25-year-old man in an assault that’s now being investigated as a possible bias crime.

    “My heart goes out to Brandon Soriano, the survivor of the attack. It is horrific that a member of the LGBTQ community experienced such violence after Queens Pride, a celebration of who we are,” said Dromm.

    “I founded the parade in 1993 as a way to fight back against such anti-LGBTQ oppression.  While the fight for equality and justice for LGBTQ people in Queens has come a long way since then, sadly, attacks like these still occur.  They are in no way representative of Jackson Heights or our borough, and we will continue to resist attempts like these which seek to force us back into the closet.  Queens Pride is about LGBTQ visibility, our greatest asset, and will remain so.”

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