Sanders Hosts Community Reinvestment Act Hearing

    State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

    State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, parts of far Rockaway) last week hosted a hearing in Manhattan to featuring subject-matter experts on the state of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a federal law that encourages banks to lend to members of the community in which they are located.

    The three-hour meeting follows an April 3 Treasury Department report, which makes recommendations on the modernization of CRA.

    “We need to move in a powerful fashion,” said Sanders. “The current status of lending in low- to moderate-income communities is suppressing a large part of the population’s access to capital. Under those conditions, it is a clear threat to Democracy and an economic crime.”

    Sanders believes the essence of CRA should remain intact, but highlighted that more needs to be done to increase lending in low- and moderate income communities. The hearing was the first step in a greater conversation that Sanders’ plans to continue in an effort to increase financial equity for all New Yorkers.

    “If CRA is reformed in a meaningful way,” Sanders said, “people can start believing in the American Dream again.”

    The four key recommendations made by the Treasury Department are: changing geographic assessment areas to reflect new technology and customer behavior, increasing the transparency and flexibility of the assessment process, providing incentives for banks to lend to communities that have otherwise been overlooked previously particular low- and middle-income customers, and increasing evaluation and accountability of banks so they can better plan for the effective implementation of the CRA.


    Addabbo Bill To Address Cocklofts Fire Hazzards Passes Senate

    Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

    State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) this week saw his legislation (S.3065) to provide financial assistance to homeowners who are interested in removing cockloft fire hazards from their buildings pass the senate.

    Cocklofts are often found in row houses and are generally defined as large concealed spaces between the top floor ceiling and the underside of the roof deck on homes.

    Addabbo initially introduced the legislation in the wake of a raging five-alarm blaze in Middle Village in 2013, which damaged seven homes, injured 11 firefighters, and may have been exacerbated by the existence of cocklofts in the structures.

    “In the wake of this terrible fire, I decided to introduce legislation to aid homeowners in making structural modifications to their properties to eliminate these serious hazards,” said Addabbo. “Here in Queens and elsewhere, there has been growing evidence that cocklofts lead to extremely fast-moving and hard-to-control flames that put both residents and first responders at serious risk. There is no question that we need to address these dangers.”

    Under Addabbo’s amended legislation, residents whose homes contain cocklofts would be able to apply for a tax credit equal to 25 percent of the cost of making improvements to eliminate the fire hazards. The increased maximum credit would be $5000.

    “If providing tax incentives to homeowners to repair cocklofts will help to save even one life from fire, it will be well worth it,” said Addabbo. “This bill seeks to lend a hand to homeowners who might otherwise be unable to afford the improvements, and may ultimately prevent devastating tragedies.”

    The measure now moves to the assembly.


    Ulrich Holds Street Co-Naming For Fire Chief Christian Hoobs

    City Council Member Eric Ulrich

    City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven) and the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department (BCVFD) yesterday co-named the Northeast corner of Church Rod and Noel Road in Borad Channel for the department’s late fire Christian Hoobs.

    Hoobs was a member of the BCVFD and was elected the BCVFD’s fourth Chief of Department in December 1912, holding the office until his untimely death on June 14, 1917, at the age of 48.

    While responding to a fire, Chief Hoobs had a heart attack. His death is the only Line of Duty Death in the BCVFD’s 112 years of service. 


    Van Bramer To Hold Annual Pride Month Brunch

    City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

    City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) next week will host his 8th Annual Pride Month Brunch.

    “The event is part of June being LGBTQ Pride Month – a time to celebrate the joy of being your beautiful, true self! As part of your celebration of Pride Month, join me,” said Van Bramer.

    The event is slated for 1 p.m., Saturday, June 23 at Manducatis Rustica, 46-35 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City. The brunch is free – all you have to do is RSVP! And of course, you don’t have to be LGBTQ to attend – allies and friends are welcome! It will be hours of fun and free food. 

    Please RSVP through this Facebook Event or by emailing jimmyvanbramer@gmail.com.

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