Tag Archives: Assemblymember Francisco Moya

Is minimum wage going up?

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

In one of the country’s most expensive cities, workers have to make the most of every minimum – and New York politicians are now planning to “wage” war for their cause.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Labor Committee Chair Keith Wright introduced legislation on January 30 to raise the minimum wage in New York from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour. The bill would also index the minimum wage to inflation to ensure it does not erode if prices rise in the future.

“Raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation is a matter of economic fairness, and our plan progressively rewards hardworking men and women who are trying to make ends meet,” said Wright. “According to the U.S. Census, nearly half of all Americans have fallen into poverty or joined the ranks of the working poor. This is not the American Dream. New Yorkers who work full time shouldn’t be poor. It’s as simple as that.”

The increase would come into effect in January of 2013, and the minimum wage would be indexed beginning in January of 2014, requiring an increase each year to adjust for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The legislation would also increase pay for food service workers who receive tips to $5.86 an hour. This wage will also be indexed annually.
“No one who works full time should be poor and without hope,” said Assemblymember Francisco Moya. “We need to reward work and restore a sense of fairness. We need to raise the minimum wage. New York’s working families are seeing a decline in their purchasing power, and the question is no longer whether they can live on the minimum wage, it’s whether they can survive on the minimum wage.”

New York’s minimum wage has only increased by 10 cents over the past five years — rising along with the federal minimum to $7.25 an hour in 2009, before which it was $7.15. Currently, 18 states and the District of Columbia have higher minimum wage rates than New York. Ten states have also already passed legislation indexing the minimum wage.

The public appears divided regarding the increase, with some apprehensive about the potential effect on the employment rate.

“I don’t know how raising the minimum wage is going to affect jobs and job creation,” said Pete Gorynski, a paint manufacturer from Bayside. “In terms of minimum wage jobs I think of unskilled workers and high school and college kids. They are stepping stones. I think raising the minimum wage may make these jobs less available.”

Others believe a raise in minimum wage is belated, and the people require more financial boosts in these exigent economic times.
“I think it is good to raise minimum wage,” said Sid Curry, a resident of Bushwick. “America has suffered terrible wage depressions since the 1970s, so we are overdue for this kind of thing.”

Bill would expand taxis to outer boroughs

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

The New York City Assembly recently “hailed” legislation that may prove “golden” for livery cabs.

The bill — passed on January 23 and carried by Assemblymember Carl Heastie from the Bronx — will allow the city to issue 18,000 hail accessible inter-borough licenses (HAIL), which permit livery cab drivers to pick up pedestrians. Twenty percent of the licenses will go to accessible vehicles, in order to offer more transportation options to citizens with disabilities. The legislation has already been agreed upon with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state.

“For too long, persistent transportation problems within New York City have gone unanswered, leading to a nearly nonexistent taxi presence outside of Manhattan’s Central Business District and a troubling lack of vehicles for people with disabilities,” said Assemblymember Francisco Moya, who co-sponsored the bill. “This new plan will afford New Yorkers in underserved areas greater access to taxicab service in and around the city. This will also lead to more revenue for the city of New York, helping protect vital programs for seniors and hardworking families.”

Under the legislation, the city will issue the new licenses over the next three years. New York will also be authorized to issue as many as 450 new base permits, increasing the number of taxi dispatching services and generating $1.3 million in revenue.

In addition, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will issue 2,000 new taxicab licenses for vehicles that are accessible to people with disabilities. As part of the agreement, TLC will also be required to provide grants of up to $15,000 to retrofit HAIL vehicles to accommodate people with disabilities and establish a program to support the introduction of handicapped-accessible vehicles into the HAIL vehicle fleet.

Despite the vast support the bill reportedly received in the Assembly, Fernando Mateo, the founder and spokesperson for the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, is unsure if the increase in HAIL’s will have a positive effect.

“This is a bill that the governor has signed, and we expected some amendments to be made by the Assembly and Senate,” Mateo said. “We are no longer going to oppose what has been done. Instead we will assist those drivers who want to participate in the program. We believe the program has a lot of pluses and minuses. In the last 80 years, there have been only 13,400 yellow medallions issued, so it is questionable in my mind whether they can sell even near the 18,000 licenses they will issue. The math doesn’t add up, and it doesn’t make much sense. But let’s see what will happen.”

Reward offered for swastika perp

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Councilmember Daniel Dromm

The neighboring communities of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst are battling back against a string of hate crimes that recently rocked the region’s residents.

Beginning the night of November 2 and extending into the early hours of November 3, swastikas were drawn at three locations across the area — on the facades of the Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst branches of the Queens Library and on the door of the Congregation Tifereth Israel of Jackson Heights.

“A swastika should not be anywhere in public,” said Lana M., a Jackson Heights resident, who is Jewish on her mother’s side. “We need to spread peace, not hate. We want to enjoy life and we don’t want to be hated by anyone. You have to respect everyone’s religion. We have to make sure this doesn’t spread. We have to get the community together to wipe it out.”

A rally in response to the vandalisms was held on November 4, during which elected officials and local leaders spoke out against hate crimes.

“We stand here today to say no to hate,” said Councilmember Daniel Dromm. “We stand here today to say no to fear. We stand here today to say that hate and fear have no place in our community. We stand here today to say to those that committed these heinous crimes – you will be found, you will be prosecuted and you will not intimidate us. We will defeat you and your ugly ideas. We stand here today to fight back. We stand here today as Jackson Heights, a beautiful, diverse community of compassion, tolerance and understanding.”

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is currently investigating the incidents, which are believed to be related.

Dromm announced at the rally that he has raised a $3,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the capture of the perpetrator, consisting of $500 contributions from Borough President Helen Marshall, Senator Jose Peralta, Assemblymember Michael DenDekker, Assemblymember Francisco Moya, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras and Councilmember Karen Koslowitz.

“I represent one of the most diverse districts in the country,” said Moya. “I take great pride in our diversity and the respect and understanding our community has for every resident’s different heritage. It is critical that we come together as a community and denounce the recent hate crimes that have occurred. We must also help our local police precinct in whatever way possible to lead to the arrest of the individuals that committed these cowardly attacks.”
Leaders urge anyone with information regarding these sincidents to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

Effort to keep Roosevelt Avenue clean

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, Department of Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, Douglas Marsiglia, chief of cleaning operations, Assemblymember Francisco Moya and Senator Jose Peralta (left to right) stand around one of the 14 new litter baskets placed along the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras is trashing old garbage pails that permitted refuse to overflow onto the sidewalks of Roosevelt Avenue.

The councilmember joined New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Comissioner John Doherty on October 18 to announce the installation of 14 new, high-end litter baskets along the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor.

“Today’s announcement is just the beginning of a much larger plan for improving the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor,” said Ferreras. “The new litter baskets have a larger capacity to better meet the demand of this high traffic area.”

The councilmember, who is sponsoring the trash receptacles, is also funding extra basket collection service along the avenue, in the hopes of quelling the garbage problem faced by members of the community.

“I want to see a thriving Roosevelt Avenue,” Ferreras said. “Creating a cleaner, safer place is a top priority for us. These high-end litter baskets will help keep overflowing trash off the street and help create a better environment for the residents and businesses alike, as we work to make Roosevelt Avenue a safer, cleaner destination for all.”

The larger baskets will be placed along Roosevelt Avenue on the corners of 82nd Street, 90th Street, Junction Boulevard, 103rd Street and 111th Street.

The extra collection service, which began in July, increased pickups from every other Sunday to every Sunday.

“By funding these initiatives, Councilmember Ferreras provides a great example of how elected officials and residents, working together with the Sanitation Department, can make a real difference in helping to keep their communities clean,” said Doherty.

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras:

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, Department of Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, Douglas Marsiglia, chief of cleaning operations, Assemblymember Francisco Moya and Senator Jose Peralta (left to right) stand around one of the 14 new litter baskets placed along the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor.