Schumer Calls on Trump to Designate Senior Military Officer as Distribution & Production Czar
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), yesterday sent a new letter to President Trump calling on the administration to immediately appoint a senior military officer to complete and rapidly implement a government-wide plan for the increased production, procurement and distribution of critically-needed medical devices and equipment, with full and complete authority under the Defense Production Act (DPA) he originally pushed to invoke.
Schumer emphasized that as the coronavirus spreads rapidly and its toll grows more severe, a state of affairs further compounded by the administration’s tardy response to the crisis, the immediate appointment of a senior military officer to help remedy the country’s well-documented shortage of protective equipment, tests, and medical supplies is paramount.
“That officer should be given full authority under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to complete and rapidly implement a plan for the increased production, procurement and distribution of critically-needed medical devices and equipment,” Schumer wrote.
Trump responded quickly with a tweet, saying “we do have a military man in charge of distributing goods,” in reference to Rear Admiral John P. Polowczyk, who is overseeing the supply chain task force at FEMA..”
Van Bramer Issues Coronavirus Update
City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) yesterday listed a number of important resources and facts in his newsletter to constituents regrading the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have been calling on the City to close playgrounds for nearly two weeks. I am pleased that the Governor closed playgrounds yesterday and the Parks Department quickly ordered that people are not to use them,” he wrote.
From the Parks Department:
- NYC Parks’ playgrounds and the amenities contained within, such as basketball courts, handball courts and restrooms, are closed until further notice.
- The citywide enforcement effort to encourage social distancing among parkgoers remains in place, involving multiple City agencies, including NYPD, OSE, the Sheriff’s Office, DEP, DSNY, DOB, and FDNY.
- The City will continue to monitor conditions and determine if more severe restrictions are necessary.
- For all updates on park service changes and closures, please refer to the NYC Parks website: https://www.nycgovparks.org/about/health-and-safety-guide/coronavirus.
“We are still awaiting guidance regarding dog runs. However, I want to make sure that people who use them, as long as they are open, keep a safe distance from fellow park goers. This is not a time for idle whispering between friends and neighbors,” Van Bramer wrote.
New Tools to Track the Pandemic
- The City has developed a COVID-19 engagement portal for those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, those who have tested positive or those who are quarantined.
- The Department of Health has created a new and helpful tool to look at the cases of people infected, hospitalized and killed by Coronavirus. The website will be updated daily. NYC Department of Health Data
- The NYTimes also has a helpful visualization of New York City cases by zip code. Find the map here.
“Our local business organizations continue to put together helpful information for businesses and local residents alike. I particularly like the very helpful map put together by constituent Alan Baglia with help from Sunnyside Shines that shows which businesses are open,” the lawmaker wrote..
- Long Island City Partnership update page
- Sunnyside Shines BID update page
- Central Astoria LDC update page
- Who is Open – Sunnyside/Woodside/Astoria
Furthermore, Little Friends Daycare is open if you need emergency childcare as a first responder, please call/Text Tammy at 718.786.4644 or email her at email@example.com.
Sanders Talks Winners & Losers in State Budget
State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) and his Majority Conference colleagues, along with Governor Cuomo, passed a $177 billion Fiscal Year 2020-21 state budget yesterday.
“This virus has affected all aspects of society and the legislature is no different,” Sanders said. “It has weakened the budget in many ways, but we still took many positive steps forward given the circumstances. This is a situation, under which none of us has had to work before. We were building the plane as we were flying and under those conditions, the results can be classified as satisfactory.”
Among the winners in the spending plan, according to Sanders, were education, which thanks to a federal funding infusion allows for all school districts to receive the exact same amount of funding as it did in 2019-2020, offsetting the Pandemic Reduction Cut of the same amount.
Other winners included the new prevailing wages law wherein the budget included language which states that any private construction projects which receives public subsidies must pay their workers prevailing wages.
Additionally, Sanders sited the new paid sick leave law as a winner. The law now requires employers to provide its employees with sick leave and the amount of days depends on the size of the employer. An employer with four or less employees must provide its workers with 5 days of unpaid sick leave. Employers with 5 to 99 employees must provide its employees with 5 days of paid sick leave. Employers with 100 or more employees must provide its employees with 7 days of paid sick leave.
Sanders listed medicaid cuts and criminal justice reforms as among the losers.
Velazquez Updates on Her Well-Being
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-Queens, Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan), who has been ill with the coronavirus, yesterday, released the following statement on her current state of well-being.
“First, I want to profoundly thank everyone who has so kindly supported me in myriad ways the last few days. I’ve heard from countless friends, neighbors, New Yorkers and people around the country. I’ve been deeply touched by kindnesses large and small from cards, to calls and texts – to people leaving groceries at my door without anyone asking. Thank you so much. Your compassion inspires me. I always say, ‘New Yorkers take care of one another’, and I’m being reminded of that, again, firsthand,” said Velazquez.
“Today’s the first day since Sunday that I can say with some confidence I think I’m turning the corner. I’ve been resting a lot and, while still very tired, I feel stronger. The last few days have been physically tough. I will also say, as a member of Congress, you grow accustomed to interacting with people every day and the loneliness of self-isolating, while ill, has been its own challenge. I urge everyone: continue to practice social distancing, stay home and be safe. Believe me, you do not want to contract coronavirus.
“As I continue watching the news and monitoring social media, I feel immensely proud of how New Yorkers are helping one another in this difficult time. My heartfelt thanks goes out to the medical workers, first responders, grocery store employees, postal workers, pharmacists and so many other working people who are on the front lines of this crisis. You are the true heroes and our city and nation owe you a deep debt of gratitude. I will continue recuperating at home, self-isolating and following the guidance of the Attending Physician. I hope to be fully healthy soon and will provide further updates,” she said.