By Nathan Duke
Friday, December 26, 2008 1:30 PM EST
Four members of the Queens delegation ranked in the top 10 best among all City Council members on a recently released report card on human rights issues, while three other Council members from the borough were listed in the top 10 worst.
On Dec. 10, Manhattan’s Human Rights Project released its annual human rights report, which analyzed which City Council members proposed the most legislation on environmental issues, health, housing, workers’ rights, democracy and advancing equality.
Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) was ranked third, making him the highest ranked member of the Queens delegation. Other Queens Council members who ranked in the top ten were Hiram Monserrate (D−East Elmhurst) at number six, John Liu (D−Flushing) at eight and David Weprin (D−Hollis) at nine.
Three Queens Council members ranked in the bottom top 10, including Helen Sears (D−Jackson Heights) at number 36, Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria) at 42 and Melinda Katz (D−Forest Hills) at 43.
The two lowest−ranked Council members were James Vacca (D−Bronx) at number 44 and Simcha Felder (D−Brooklyn) at 45.
“New York City has a long history of protecting the human rights of New Yorkers, but it has started to slow down,” said Ejim Dike, director of the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center in Manhattan. “The bread and butter issues that New Yorkers deal with every day are all human rights concerns. Health, food, housing, education, work, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination are just some of the human rights that the New York City government has a duty to respect, protect and advance.”
The study found that the Council has passed legislation during the past year that advanced the human rights of women, youth, immigrants, members of the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, the elderly and people of color.
But the Council scored lower on its record of advancing democracy and protecting workers’ rights, the study found.
The study cited Council members’ votes on term limits as one of its most defining in 2008. The report card gave 29 Council members an F grade for their vote in favor of extending term limits after city residents had voted in two previous elections to keep a two−term limit.
The Human Rights Project is a nonprofit that works to hold city government accountable to human rights laws and standards.