Velázquez Calls for Postponement of 2020 Tax Lien Sale
Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-parts of Queens, Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan) along with Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-parts of Brooklyn and Queens) and Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) called on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to postpone the city’s 2020 Tax Lien Sale, currently slated for September 4.
In a letter to the Mayor, Velázquez, Jeffries and Meng argued that conducting this year’s lien would be disastrous for New Yorkers given the economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the city previously decided to postpone this year’s lien sale, originally scheduled for May, the city is currently scheduled to begin selling off property owners’ debt this Friday.
“Unfortunately, we remain in unprecedented times,” the lawmakers wrote. “Our city’s homeowners and property owners continue to suffer the economic effects related to the COVID-19 outbreak and our communities of color have been the hardest hit. Therefore, we request that you again delay the City’s 2020 Tax Lien Sale until a date that is at least one year from the date that Governor Cuomo declares the pandemic emergency over.”
New York City’s Department of Finance annually sells liens of residential properties that have unpaid debts on property taxes, water bills, and other costs. When liens are sold to entities like collection agencies, this can result in homeowners’ fees and interest of up to 18 percent. These difficult terms often lead to foreclosure for property owners who are in arrears.
Sanders Hosts School Reopening Community Conversation
State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) hosted a community conversation on the subject on Facebook Live on August 26 in response to growing concerns by the community that city schools are not properly prepared to re-open in September.
All stakeholders including parents, teachers, administrators, students and labor unions were invited to participate, express their concerns and ask their questions.
The consensus among the school superintendents from School Districts 27, 28, 29 and 75 as well as the Executive Superintendent for Queens South and the Superintendent of Queens South High Schools was that they would serve the students and ensure the safety of the students to the best of their ability given the resources at their disposal and following the guideline set forth by the Mayor’s Office and the NYC Department of Education. They remained cautiously optimistic that things would go smoothly.
The Labor unions who participated in the discussion, Local 372 and the United Federation of Teachers, were not so positive. In fact they believe that schools are dangerously unprepared to open in the fall, claiming that the city has no real concrete plan for re-opening safely, and that they are gambling with the student’s safety.
Sanders said he would be speaking with the mayor in the coming days to convey the communities concerns, which included a lack of windows and sinks in schools, a lack of nurses, outdoor learning in neighborhoods where shootings have recently occurred, a lack of preparedness to enforce social distancing among kindergarten age children and students with special needs, and much more.
De Blasio Pledges to Address Use of Force in Policing
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday New York City’s plan to fulfill The Obama Foundation pledge to address use of force in policing.
“We’ve shown we can change this city these past nearly seven years. Now we are showing it again,” said de Blasio. “Reform goes beyond just changing policies. It means improving transparency, increasing accountability, and ensuring community engagement is centered in our approach.”
The mayor took the pledge in June of this year, which included a commitment to review police use of force policies, engage communities by including a diverse range of input, report the findings of the review, and reform police use of force policies. The mayor’s plan focuses primarily on areas that have a critical impact on use of force: community, transparency and accountability.
The plan to fulfill The Obama Foundation pledge builds off of major NYPD reforms already undertaken throughout the mayor’s tenure.