In Public Service – February 21, 2020

February 21, 2020 Paula Katinas
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Rose worries about Coronavirus vaccine price gouging

U.S. Rep. Max Rose joined with dozens of fellow House members in calling on the Trump administration to avoid awarding exclusive licenses for the production of a potential coronavirus vaccine that would allow drug manufacturers to monopolize drugs and engage in price gouging.

“The American taxpayer has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars into developing urgently needed Coronavirus vaccines and treatments,” said Rose, a Democrat representing Southwest Brooklyn and Staten Island. “We cannot then turn around and allow big drug manufacturers to exploit this public health emergency to price-gouge and rip off consumers.”

Rose and 45 lawmakers wrote a letter to President Trump on the issue. “We write to ask you to ensure that any vaccine or treatment developed with U.S. taxpayer dollars be accessible, available, and affordable,” the letter reads in part.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Frontus secures $22,000 for library

Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus recently visited the Fort Hamilton Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library to present a symbolic check for $22,000 to represent the real funding she was able to secure for the branch.

The funding will be used to support various workshops and to upgrade the children’s area.

“Communities come together in our libraries,” said Frontus, who called the branch a beloved staple in Southern Brooklyn.

“These programs not only enrich those who participate, they are a point of pride that strengthens our neighborhoods,” said Frontus, a Democrat representing parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Coney Island.

The funds will go toward art and jewelry classes for older adults, children’s chess workshops and Bilingual Birdies, a program that uses music to teach toddlers second languages. Monies will also be used for new children’s furniture at Fort Hamilton Library.

The Fort Hamilton library was founded in the 1890s, using a small donation of books, near the U.S. Army’s Fort Hamilton. It moved to its current location in 1905 after Andrew Carnegie sponsored the construction of a new building.

Gounardes holds civil service hearing

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, chairperson of the Committee on Civil Service and Pensions, was scheduled to hold a joint hearing with the Higher Education Committee, focusing on establishing a civil service pipeline to ensure that the next generation of civil servants is robust, as well as to help provide a pathway for students from New York’s public and private colleges.

Gounardes and his fellow senators heard testimony from college administrators, students, officials from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and members of public sector unions.

Twenty percent of New York State’s civil service workforce is expected to retire over the next five years, Gounardes wrote on Twitter, citing statistics from State Civil Service Commissioner Lola Brabham.

“We need to ensure that these roles get filled and there’s no better place to look than NY’s highly qualified students,” wrote Gounardes, a Democrat representing several neighborhoods in Southwest Brooklyn.

Adams reviews affordable housing plans

Borough President Eric Adams signaled his approval of proposals to build affordable housing units and housing for the formerly homeless in Bedford-Stuyvesant, DUMBO and Weeksville.

Under the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process, borough presidents get the opportunity to review and make recommendations on proposals for major construction projects.

“Brooklyn’s growing popularity as a place to live, work and raise a family has put upward pressure on housing prices throughout the borough, forcing out many long-time residents and leaving many more households severely rent-burdened. These changes have fallen particularly hard on our seniors, who are often living on fixed incomes. These 100 percent affordable projects are important to advancing affordability in Brooklyn for people of all ages, for generations to come,” Adams said.

To view the borough president’s recommendations, visit

Hochul announces funding for Kingsborough

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced that Kingsborough Community College’s Maritime Technology Apprenticeship Program has been awarded $857,543 as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York State Workforce Development Initiative.

Kingsborough’s MTAP is the Department of Labor’s first approved apprenticeship program in marine mechanics.

“The number one issue I hear from employers across the state is that they can’t find workers with the skills they need for 21st century jobs. That is why we are investing $2.3 million in nine New York City-based job training programs that will benefit hundreds of New Yorkers as part of our historic $175 million Workforce Development Initiative,” said Hochul, who recently took a tour of Kingsborough’s maritime facility.

“Whether it’s home care, the culinary arts or marine engineering, we are investing and working to close the skills gap and prepare New Yorkers for jobs today and in the future,” Hochul said.

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