Dromm Street Naming In Honor of Beloved Jackson Heights Elected Official

    City Council Member Daniel Dromm/via Facebook

    City Council member Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights) will host a street co-naming ceremony this week in honor of former Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette.

    Ivan C. Lafayette was a beloved civic leader and elected official who left an indelible mark on the community he served for many years. Lafayette was elected to the New York State Assembly in November 1976 where he served the people of the 34th Assembly District (Jackson Heights and Woodside) until his retirement in 2008.  He also served as Deputy Speaker of the NYS Assembly and was the Dean of the Queens Delegation.

    In addition, Lafayette also served as Speaker Pro Tempore, Majority Whip and Chairman of the NYS Assembly’s Committee on Standing Committees.  Prior to those positions he was the Chairman of the Assembly’s Majority Steering Committee.

    The longtime state legislator was born in Monticello, Sullivan County, New York and attended public schools in Brooklyn before going onto Brooklyn College. He served in the U.S. Army from December 1952 until December 1954.

    Of note, Lafayette received national acclaimed for his his political work including Truth in Testing Law for college applicants as well as his Uninsured Motorists Law which creates penalties for driving without insurance. Other accomplishments include the law that requires banking institutions to be responsible as to interest obligations. The Queens politico also sponsored laws that provided co-ops with veterans’ property tax exemptions and removed parking tax obligations to the shareholders in co-ops.

    The event is slated for 11 a.m., Saturday, July 28, at the corner of 92nd Street between 34th Avenue and Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights.


    Avella Demands Republican Majority Return To Albany, Pass Speed Camera Legislation

    Sen. Tony Avella reports the highest out of all the candidates for the upcoming primary races.

    State Senator Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) called on the Republican State Senate majority to return to Albany to pass life-saving speed camera legislation, S.6046-C, yesterday

    The measure, of which Avella is a sponsor, has a key amendment that requires “Speed Camera Ahead” signage to be installed with the cameras. The school safety program expired on Wednesday due to a lack of bi-partisan support on any legislation aimed at preserving and expanding the pilot program across the city.

    On Wednesday, 140 cameras were shutoff across the city including halting of another 150 cameras that were set to be installed later this year. Mayor Bill de Blasio, with help from the state legislature, rolled out the cameras in 2014 on a trial run. The photo equipment has been used to ticket drivers going at least 10 mph above the speed limit during school hours.

    “I am calling upon the Republican Majority to bring us back to Albany to pass this very important piece of legislation, lives are hanging in the balance. Speed camera programs are a critical tool to slow down drivers, thus saving lives. It is in the best interest of all New Yorkers for the Senate to return to Albany and vote on this legislation,” said Avella.  


    Meng Secures Key Appropriations Bill To Help PR Disaster Victims, Families Separated At Border

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

    Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth)  a member of the House Appropriations Committee, secured three key amendments in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would require a review of the federal response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and help those who have been detained and separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Meng’s amendment regarding Puerto Rico would require the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General to issue a report on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) response to Hurricane Maria which struck the island last September. The report would specifically require an assessment of how FEMA could improve its response to appeals for housing aid.

    Another one of Meng’s amendments would require all Department of Homeland Security (DHS) forms that detained individuals must sign to be printed fully in Spanish and English. These include forms used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Meng introduced the amendment after hearing stories about parents separated from their children being asked to sign forms pertaining to their parental rights, and even their own immigration status, that are not in Spanish, the language that most of these detainees speak or read. In addition, a final amendment would allow detained parents who have been separated from their children to make free phone calls to their kids. The measure would also allow these parents to confer with counsel over the phone at no cost as well.

    The bill is currently on it’s way to the House floor for approval. The Homeland Security Appropriations bill provides funding for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2019 which begins in October.

    “It is critical to have a detailed review of how FEMA conducted its response, and that we learn what improvements can be made going forward. There were many mistakes and failures with the agency’s performance – from disbursing aid to addressing appeals for housing assistance – and these problems must not repeated for future disasters,” said Meng.

    “It is unconscionable that parents who had their kids ripped away from them at the border remain separated from their children. But my amendments would provide them with needed assistance while they are detained by ensuring that they know what they’re signing, and making sure they can speak with their children and counsel. I’m hopeful that this legislation will soon be passed by the full House,” added Meng.

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