By Naeisha Rose
City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) was greeted with cheers as she made her return to the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center in St. Albans for a meeting with Community Board 12, a board she use to chair before taking up elected office.
Since winning the race to become District 28’s first councilwoman representing Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village and South Ozone Park, she has been keeping busy, becoming a member of seven committees and two caucuses.
Adams is the chair of the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Martime Uses, and a member of the Committees on Civil Service and Labor, Economic Development, Finance, General Welfare, Land Use and Rules, Privileges and Elections.
Adams is also on the Women’s and the Black, Latino/a and Asian caucuses.
At the community board meeting, Adams spoke about her first solo piece of legislation, Intro 613-A, which passed earlier this month and would require the city Department of Citywide Administrative Services to conduct an ongoing assessment of risk factors associated with sexual harassment to help provide a fair and safe environment for city workers.
The City Council approved the law April 11 and Adams credited the swift passage of the legislation to the backing of the #MeToo movement.
“They say it’s very early in the City council to for a Council member to pass legislation for the first time, but as you know, the #MeToo movement has been very, very prevalent and we didn’t want to be left out, so I introduced Intro 613-A,” Adams said.
Adams and her colleagues in the city also issued a response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s FY 2019 preliminary budget and FY 2018 management report a few weeks ago and asked the head of the city for a balanced budget for his preliminary plan and steps towards more budget transparency as they identified $211 million in surplus for the end-of-year 2019 budget.
One of the other items proposed in the response was the establishment of a half-fare Metrocard for low-income families living below the poverty level
“That would affect 800,000 low-income individuals,” Adams said.
Another proposal issued in her response was about property tax relief.
“This would affect 450,000 homeowners that have an income of $150,000 a year or less,” Adams said. “This will give you $400.”
The city council also wants to prioritize permanent housing over putting people in shelters and hotels for the housing insecure, according to Adams.
“We are proposing to reassess shelter spending and allocate funding to programs to [moving out the housing insecure] from the shelter system,” she said to applause. “Another highlight is to add $2.5 billion in capital investment to NYCHA.”
The NYCHA improvements will include $500 million for new senior housing on vacant NYCHA land and $950 million in upgrades for boilers, heaters, and critical infrastructure, such as mold remediation, according to Adams.
A separate $1 billion would be going toward other capital needs throughout the city, Adams said.
On a local level, Adams was incensed by a recent Public Health Solutions report.
The report called areas in Jamaica, Corona and Jackson Heights food swamps, because they were lacking healthy food options and had more stores selling junk food.
Adams admitted that there was a problem with the overabundance of unhealthy food in those areas, but it has been something the communities have been addressing, which was ignored when they tried to reach out to stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. They have also worked with the city’s Economic Development Corporation to address the issue too.
“We all know that phrases that are used to dehumanize communities, particularly communities of color… victimize communities of color.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose