Dept. of Homeland Security’s UASI Program Provides Funding to Address Needs of High-Threat Urban Areas, Like NYC, and Protects Against Acts of Terrorism

State Homeland Security Program Provides Funding to Support Implementation of Homeland Security Strategies

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced today that New York is set to receive more than $263 million in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). First, Schumer and Gillibrand announced $178,123,000 in Fiscal Year 2017 funding for the New York City area through the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI). In total, FEMA is providing $580,000,000 in UASI funds nationwide and therefore, New York has been allocated approximately 30 percent of the total UASI funds. The UASI program provides funding to address the unique needs of high-threat, high-density Urban Areas. The funding assists these localities in building sustainable capacity to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism.

In addition, $6,724,346 in UASI funding has been awarded to the New York City area for use by 91 nonprofit organizations that are high-risk of attack to improve their security. In total, FEMA is providing $25,000,000 in these funds and therefore, New York City has been allocated more than 25 percent of the total NSGP funds. Schumer and Gillibrand have long advocated for robust UASI funding for New York City.

The Senators also announced $76,930,000 in the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and $1,822,000 for Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) for New York. SHSP funding supports the implementation of the strategies to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events. OPSG funding enhances coordination between local, state, and federal law enforcement for security purposes.

“With ISIS-inspired attacks becoming more and more frequent across the globe, top terror targets like New York City must remain proactive and well-protected,” said Senator Schumer. “Federal security funds, like UASI, are the cornerstone of effective preparedness and prevention against terror threats and enable local law enforcement, like NYPD, to do all they can to keep New Yorkers safe and secure. I have been a strong supporter for counter-terrorism funds in New York City and I will do everything in my power to continue fighting for these funds and make sure that New York is protected.”

“New York is the number one terror target in the world, so we must continue to be vigilant,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These anti-terror funds remain critical for our law enforcement to have the resources they need available in their efforts to protect and save lives. I will always fight in the Senate to make sure they are given the support they need to keep New Yorkers safe.”

The purpose of the Homeland Security Program is to provide funding to assist state and local governments in obtaining the resources needed to increase law enforcement terrorism prevention capabilities. Funds will be used to address identified planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events.


Pheffer Amato Welcomes Madyson Middleton, Age 10, Rising Sixth-Grade “Assemblywoman-for-a-Day”

Last week, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach) hosted incoming sixth-grader Madyson Middleton, who for the second year in a row served as “Assemblywoman-for-a-Day,” shadowing Pheffer Amato and her staff to learn about the process of representing the 23rd Assembly District in South Queens. Madyson, an aspiring physician, helped file papers, attended to constituent concerns, and was generally helpful with all aspects of serving the South Queens community. At the end of the day, Pheffer Amato presented Madyson with a proclamation congratulating her on her position and on her second full day of service to the District.

“Madyson is truly a bright light – one of those kids who makes you feel like the future of our community is in very good hands,” said Pheffer Amato. “She really listened and soaked up every word about the unique challenges and opportunities of representing a district in the State Assembly. She asked good questions, she jumped in to help wherever she could, and she was clearly excited about the next year of school and about the future. All in all, I think she more than amply demonstrated she has the right mindset to sit in this seat one day, or be a doctor, or whatever she winds up doing. And we in the office will be following her career earnestly!”

Pheffer Amato, Addabbo, Ulrich: Ensure Child Safety Now

At “Unacceptable” Crossing, Urge DOT, NYPD to “Think Back-to-School”

Pheffer Amato, Addabbo Push for Legislation Boosting Crossing Guards

This coming Monday, August 21st at 11:00AM, NYS Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach), NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Ozone Park) and NYC Councilmember Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) will hold a press conference at the intersection of Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 102nd Streets in Rockaway Beach, Queens.  The three elected officials, who jointly represent what they say is a “poorly-marked, poorly-organized intersection that hundreds of students walk across every day,” will be joined by students and parents from the schools, who “cannot wait any longer for the intersection to be made ready for school, which starts in two weeks.”

Specifically, the officials, students and parents will highlight the need for adequate signage, properly painted crosswalks, directional signals to improve the flow of traffic, and expanded crossing guard coverage.  Pheffer Amato and Addabbo will highlight a bill they introduced this past year and intend to rally support for this year, which would bring crossing guard levels in the blocks around high schools up to the expanded level already provided for streets around K – 8 schools.

WHEN:   Monday, August 21st, 2017, 11:00AM

WHERE:  NW Corner, Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 102nd Street
Rockaway Beach, NY

WHO:     NYS Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato
NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
NYC Councilmember Eric Ulrich
Students and parents from nearby school campuses

VISUALS:Elected officials, students and parents pointing out unsafe road markings and traffic patterns, students speaking

Pheffer Amato: Ferry Shouldn’t Double-Charge Reduced Fare

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach) today called on NYC’s Economic Development Corporation, which administers the new Citywide Ferry, to immediately switch from a proprietary-only fare system to honoring NYC MetroCards, so that senior and disabled citizens and students don’t get double-charged for using the Ferry system.

“Mass transit is supposed to be most helpful to those who have the hardest time getting around,” said Pheffer Amato. “I know for a fact that the Ferry would allow our seniors and students to reengage hugely with everything the City has to offer. But right now, if they make use of this great new option, they have to pay double for a monthly pass and get certified twice. That’s unfair, and it makes no sense.”

The system that the EDC rolled out offers a monthly Senior / Disabled pass, but the program requires that the purchaser mail in their proof of disability or existing MTA reduced-fare eligibility in order to be certified, and that they pay the same amount (50%) for the extra Ferry pass that they do for their MTA pass. Students, meanwhile, get special MTA passes based on their distance from school; but those passes cannot be used on the Ferry, which, though a part of the NYC Transit system, uses a proprietary fare process.

“The Ferry is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said Pheffer Amato. “For the students, Seniors and disabled folks who have needed this option for the longest, they can finally do what everyone else in the City does – but now, they’re being double-charged for it. That’s why I’m calling on the City to accept the MetroCard on the Ferry immediately, especially for reduced-fare folks.”


Council Member Richards and NYPD to Host Street Co-Naming Ceremony for Det. Randolph Holder in Far Rockaway

WHO: Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Far Rockaway); NYPD Representatives; other local elected officials; Family and friends of Det. Randolph Holder

WHAT: Council Member Donovan Richards and the NYPD will be joined by the family and friends of Det. Randolph Holder to unveil the newly co-named Briar Place as Det. Randolph Holder Way. In 2015, Det. Holder was shot and killed while on duty in East Harlem. Det. Holder was a family man and resident of Far Rockaway, who helped make the community and the city a better place. This event will immortalize his sacrifice in the Far Rockaway community where his family calls home.

WHERE: 409 Briar Place, Far Rockaway, NY 11691

WHEN: Friday, August 4, 2017 at 11 a.m.

Council Member Richards Hosts Street Co-Naming Ceremony For Walter Kelly Jr. Way in Springfield Gardens

Springfield Gardens, N.Y. – On Saturday morning, July 29, Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) joined the family and friends of Walter Kelly Jr. to unveil the newly co-named intersection of 132nd Avenue and Farmers Boulevard in Springfield Gardens as Walter Kelly Jr. Way.

Mr. Kelly played in the United States Army Band during the Korean War where he earned the rank of Sergeant. He later received a Certificate of Recognition for his service in promoting peace and stability for the United States of America, from Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, and a Certificate of Merit for his dedication and service to the United States Military. Afterwards he attended the Harnett Music School. He then played with the United States Post Office Band by day and by night was engaged playing for concerts and various nightclubs in New York City.

He was an integral member of the great musicians of those “Jazz Heydays” in Harlem during the 50’s and 60’s. His style was heavily influenced by his friend and mentor, the late, great Clifford Brown. Dizzy Gillespie once commented that Walter’s style and sound was unparalleled by any other trumpeter of his time.

Until his death, Walter was an active band leader, trumpet and flugelhorn player where he often performed at the Robert Couche Senior Center, where his wife, Eleanor, is the Executive Director.

“Co-naming streets is an important way to connect our community leaders and veterans from the past with our residents of the present and the future,” said Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton). “The service and dedication of Walter Kelly Jr. should never be forgotten since his life helped improve our communities and our country for the better. It is critical that we honor the service and sacrifice of brave men and women of the armed forces, who dedicated their lives to protecting our country and our freedom.”


NYC Council Member Rodriguez, NYS Assemblyman Dinowitz, NYC Public Advocate James, Riders Alliance, TWU & More Will Travel Subways to Hear About Riders’ Concerns Prior to Aug. 8 City Council Hearing on Subways

New York, NY – Elected officials are ready to ride the rails to hear directly from subway commuters in advance of a City Council hearing on August 8th. After months of delays, derailments, power outages, track fires and more, officials and advocates will take to the tunnels to get feedback, suggestions and concerns from riders, while getting a full picture of the system that sustains our city.

The 24 Hour Riders Respond Transit Tour will take place from 7 AM to 7 PM on Thursday August 3rd and Friday August 4th, touching all five boroughs. The tour is organized by NYC Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, in conjunction with NYS Assembly Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Chair Jeffrey Dinowitz, who each have oversight over the city subway system.

This event is supported by a growing list of elected officials and advocates, including NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, U.S. Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Brooklyn and Manhattan Borough Presidents Gale Brewer and Eric Adams, NYS Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Riders Alliance, Straphangers Campaign and TWU Local 100.

They will be joined by volunteers travelling from station to station to document feedback about riders’ commutes, assess the state of the system’s infrastructure and gain a feel for each line in the city. Tour participants will gather on Monday at a press conference at 12:00 noon at the City Hall R Train stop to release details about the tour, including the route and more.

“Lost over the past few months of subway woes has been the point of view of riders,” said NYC Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “It is our duty as representatives of those who take the subway each day to learn about what they’re going through and hear their suggestions for improving the system. As we prepare for our subways hearing at the Council on August 8th, this tour will help to gather information and data crucial to getting a more complete picture of the system. I’m glad so many of my colleagues and interested organizations have signed on to this effort and I’m expecting a very informative tour.”

“New Yorkers are fed up with the burden shifting between New York City and New York State. Councilman Rodriguez and I, as leaders of two committees that have oversight of the MTA at both levels of government, are working together to identify problems and create solutions. There are many issues with our city’s transit including ADA accessibility, platform overcrowding, fire-causing trash on the tracks, derailments, and other problems that have combined to create the crisis we are in today,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chair of the NYS Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions.

“New York commuters have spoken and it’s far time we take note and heed their concerns regarding our subway system,” said U.S. Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “I commend MTA Chairman Lhota on yesterday’s release of the MTA Subway Action Plan, this is a first step. Unfortunately, however, the plan excluded escalator and elevator services in some of the deepest stations in New York City, many of which are within my district. When escalator and elevator services are out of order, riders are often left without resolve and must find last minute alternate means of transportation, which is of grave concern for seniors, persons with disabilities, and families with young children. It is critical that we take a comprehensive approach and find solutions that address all parts of our system’s infrastructure. I commend Councilman Rodriguez and each of the elected officials who are responding directly to the needs of commuters throughout the city and hearing their concerns firsthand.”

“Every day, millions of New Yorkers are experiencing unprecedented delays and problems with our subway system, yet feel that their concerns are ignored,” said NYC Public Advocate Letitia James. “The Riders Respond Transit Tour is a critical opportunity to connect with subway riders and see concerns firsthand because we can no longer sit by and allow these daily failures to go unaddressed. In order to facilitate real change and improvement, we must first hear from those who ride our trains everyday and I look forward to the progress that will come from this.

“There’s no silver bullet that will fix the subway overnight, but putting the focus back on subway riders and what they’re being forced to cope with will help build support for the investment of money and political will that’s going to be needed,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.

“As the Summer of Hell continues, riders are demanding solutions-and their elected leaders are paying attention. The transit tour demonstrates powerfully that our representatives are taking on transit as issue number one,” said Nick Sifuentes, Deputy Director of the Riders Alliance.

What: Elected Officials, Advocates to hold 1st Ever 24 Hour “Riders Respond Transit Tour”

Who: NYC Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, NYS Assembly Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Chair Jeffrey Dinowitz, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, U.S. Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Brooklyn and Manhattan Borough Presidents Eric Adams and Gale Brewer, NYS Assembly Members Carmen De La Rosa, Brian Barnwell, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Riders Alliance, Straphangers Campaign and TWU Local 100 (List in Formation)

When: Rally/Press Conference – Monday, 12 Noon
Tour: Thursday/Friday, 7 AM – 7 PM

Where: Rally/Press Conference – City Hall R Train Station
Tour – Citywide (Thurs: Manhattan/Bronx/Staten Island; Fri: Brooklyn/Queens)


This Wednesday, August 2nd at 6:30 PM at the intersection of 165th Ave and 85th Street in Howard Beach, Phil and Cathie Vetrano, parents of Karina Vetrano, will be hosting the first-anniversary walk dedicated to Karina who was horrifically murdered last summer. Following the walk, there will be a memorial service at St. Helens.

WHEN:     WednesdayAugust 2nd, 6:30 PM

WHERE:       164th Ave and 85rd St, Howard Beach, NY



Council Member Richards to Chair Downtown Far Rockaway Neighborhood Rezoning Hearing

WHO: Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Far Rockaway); Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises

WHAT: The New York City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will hold a hearing on the Downtown Far Rockaway redevelopment plan. Council Member Richards is the chair of the subcommittee and the representative of the Far Rockaway community. His office led the Downtown Far Rockaway Working Group, a group of local stakeholders, which has been working with city agencies to shape this plan since 2015. The proposal has already received a $91 million commitment from Mayor de Blasio.

WHERE: Council Chambers, City Hall, New York, NY 10007

WHEN: Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 11 a.m.


Despite Bipartisan Agreement On Need To Take Immediate Action To Address Opioid Epidemic, Fed Opioid Commission Enacted By White House Has Now Missed Its Second Deadline To Lay Out Plan To Combat Crisis; Schumer Asks ‘Why?’ & Makes The Case For Actions That Could Provide Faster Relief; Cites NYC & LI Drug Data
Schumer Releases Letter To White House Office Of Drug Control Policy Urging Action Before Overdose Numbers Keep Climbing
Schumer: Missing Deadlines & Gutting Existing Opioid Abuse Treatment & Prevention In Rotten Health Care Bills Is No Way To A Solution

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, along with other Senators, called on the acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, expressing concern that the White House’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is wasting valuable time by delaying steps that could provide immediate relief to those suffering from the opioid crisis, in favor of conducting more hearings and literature reviews. Already, the commission has missed its self-imposed deadline to outline an effective strategy to combat the opioid epidemic for a second time this year.

“More and more, we hear stories about young adults in New York City or Long Island dying from the drug abuse epidemic and we owe it to the American people to do everything we can to get this horrendous epidemic under control,” said U. S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Already, the White House’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis has missed two self-imposed deadlines to provide action and relief to those suffering from the opioid crisis. It’s time we sound the alarm on this epidemic, which now qualifies as a national emergency. I’m urging the federal opioid commission to take immediate action and finally lay out a comprehensive strategy to stop the opioid surge that has wreaked havoc across New York City, Long Island and elsewhere.”

On top of this, the commission has delayed the implementation of existing recommendations from health experts that could help save lives today, including those mentioned in the first ever Surgeon General’s report released in December 2016. Schumer is calling on this commission to immediately take action, particularly when it comes to already existing recommendations and prioritizing the successful implementation of bills passed by Congress that would ensure strong investments in opioid abuse research, recovery, and appropriate intervention measures.

In the letter, Schumer said that the commission must put forth the resources and staff necessary to carry out the 21st Century Cures and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Acts (CARA), two important laws recently passed by Congress to help ensure strong investments in research, recovery and appropriate intervention measures. Schumer also said that Former Surgeon General (SG) Vivek Murthy outlined recommendations for providing multi-faceted treatment for Americans struggling with opioid use disorder in, “Facing Addiction in America.” This report, released in November 2016, was the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. However, Schumer explained that instead of acting on these recommendations, the commission is working on even more reports.

According to the NYC Department of Health, there were 1,374 unintentional drug overdose deaths in New York City in 2016, compared to 937 unintentional drug overdose deaths in 2015—an increase of 437. Approximately four fatal drug overdoses occurred each day in New York City last year. More than eight in ten overdose deaths involved an opioid and heroin was involved in 751 (55 percent) fatal overdoses in New York City last year. According to the New York State Department of Health, in 2015 there were 172 opioid overdose deaths in Nassau County and 213 opioid overdose deaths in Suffolk County. According to the New York Daily News, Nassau and Suffolk Counties reported 493 opioid overdoses in 2016. Overall, the number of fatalities could have been even worse, if not for the life-saving antidote, naloxone.

In addition to Schumer, the letter was signed by: Senators Patty Murray, Ron Wyden, Dianne Feinstein, Heidi Heitkamp, Bob Menendez, Jeanne Shaheen, Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, Debbie Stabenow, Jack Reed, Kamala Harris, Sheldon Whitehouse, Maggie Hassan, Tammy Baldwin, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Ed Markey, and Chris Van Hollen.

A copy of the letter appears below:

Dear Acting Director Baum:

As the office tasked with administrating the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, we urge you to consider important initiatives that could help deliver faster relief to millions of Americans. As the Commission is taking steps to address drug addiction, we are concerned that essential components, such as action on already existing recommendations, are being delayed. As such, we urge you to include action steps that can be immediately implemented.

For far too long, opioids have ravaged communities nationwide. Fatal drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. Death rates from the drug and opioid epidemic now rival those of HIV/AIDS during the 1990s, with overdoses killing more than 50,000 people a year. In the last year alone, nearly 60,000 Americans died of drug overdoses – the largest annual increase in deaths ever recorded. At this point, it is clear that the epidemic has become a national public health emergency.

In spite of these tragic statistics, the Administration is choosing to offer more talk, and less action. We know that law enforcement alone cannot deter addiction. The fact of the matter is that addiction, like any other chronic condition, is a disease that requires multi-faceted treatment. Former Surgeon General (SG) Vivek Murthy outlined recommendations for providing such multi-faceted treatment for Americans struggling with opioid use disorder in, “Facing Addiction in America.” This report, released in November 2016, was the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, and was a milestone achievement to advance a broader, federal level effort to address the opioid epidemic.

Despite this landmark report, which helped establish the scientific evidence of the opioid epidemic, the Administration appears to be turning its back on these findings and continues to take steps that ignore the nation’s growing drug addiction and opioid problem. In supporting a health care policy that would strip health care from millions, the Administration will eliminate coverage for millions of Americans with substance use disorders (SUDs) who now have access to medication and treatment. This comes on the heels of the Administration’s recent budget proposal, which proposes cutting nearly $400 million in funding for drug and mental health programs under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Finally, during his opioid epidemic “listening tour” across the nation, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Tom Price, voiced skepticism about the value of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in effectively managing opioid use disorders. Rather, he vouched for methods that would “cure” people of their opioid addiction. Such rhetoric is archaic and out of line with the well-accepted fact that opioid addiction may require life-long management as a chronic condition.

At the same time that the White House is pushing these devastating cuts, the Department of Justice has chosen to ignore the fact that addiction is a public health disease, choosing instead to treat it solely as a criminal justice issue. This approach fails to take into account the realities of addiction and the need to treat the disease rather than punish the individual. History teaches us that a punitive one-size fits all approach is ineffective. Instead of wasting limited resources on seeking punitive measures for low-level offenders, we should concentrate our efforts on the kingpins who are responsible for putting this poison out on the streets.

It is well past time we treat SUDs as a public health emergency. This means ending the attack on access to health care, providing necessary resources to initiatives, and grounding our efforts in hard evidence that will expand access to proven methods such as MAT. According to the report issued by SG Murthy, these treatments meet the highest standard of clinical evidence for safety and efficacy. It also means strengthening community-based prevention programs designed to stop drug use before it starts, and harm reduction programs, which are proven to reduce stigma and decrease the risks associated with SUDs. Furthermore, it includes supporting the resources and staff necessary to carry out the 21st Century Cures and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Acts (CARA), two laws recently passed by Congress to help ensure strong investments in research, recovery and appropriate intervention measures. We urge the Commission to use these existing solutions as a starting point for taking immediate action to address the opioid crisis.

We must act now. For the millions of Americans currently suffering from addiction or abuse, another day could be a matter of life or death. They cannot afford to wait for the Commission to finish, yet another report, before action is taken. We stand ready to work with our Republican colleagues here in Congress on productive solutions that could provide immediate relief. The American people need coordinated action and investment in proven solutions now.

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