Ghebreghiorgis takes the virtual route


Jessica Haller, who is trying to succeed Andrew Cohen to represent this community on the city council, isn’t alone about taking her campaign virtual.

Andom Ghebreghiorgis, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel for his congressional seat, has also decided to take a virtual path, as he was scheduled to host a digital town hall on March 17.

“The coronavirus has demonstrated our need to implement a high-quality, single-payer health care system that works for everyone,” Ghebreghiorgis said, in a release. “Health care is a human right and a moral necessity. As non-essential movement and the ability to work becomes limited, the government must provide basic income to all and freeze rents, mortgages, evictions and taxes.”

Ghebreghiorgis also said he would suspend petitioning — a decision he did even before Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order that would halt the process used to get candidates on the ballot.

Also challenging Engel is school administrator Jamaal Bowman.


Johnson: City must shut down, but not fully

Council Speaker Corey Johnson has made his position clear that the city must shut down as the world fights the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but he has held steady on calls to protect as much business as possible, and to ensure that essential goods are still getting out to people.

“We need to make sure impacted businesses like bars are able to survive and employees are taken care of until we get back to normal,” Johnson said in a statement over the weekend. “Businesses have costs that need to be covered no matter what — rent, utilities, loan payments, insurance and taxes. We need to help them stay afloat. The city needs to do what it can immediately, including suspending payment of fees, penalties and taxes.”

Johnson also warned that paid sick leave and unemployment insurance may not be enough. That includes bar workers, independent contractors, domestic workers and others who may not have the type of benefit packages typically afforded to full-timers.

“We’re all in this together,” he said.