Bklyn Lawmakers on the Move June 12, 2015

News Site Brooklyn

Hikind Disappointed With Assembly Passage Of East Ramapo Monitor Bill

Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind expressed his disappointment with the assembly’s passage yesterday of the East Ramapo Monitor Bill.

The contentious bill comes after a state report found that the Hassidic Jewish-controlled school board short funded the public schools. The district is made up by an overwhelming majority of Jewish students that attend private Yeshivas and more than 5,000 mostly black and Hispanic students that attend the public schools.

Hikind and many Hassidic and Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn feel the bill unfairly targets Hassidic Jews rather than addressing the real issue—the community’s lack of sufficient funding for its public schools.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind
Assemblyman Dov Hikind

“In my 32 years in office, I’ve never heard anyone suggest getting rid of a school board’s rights,” Hikind said on the Assembly floor. “If this school board has done anything wrong, anything illegal, then bring in the Attorney General. But that’s not the issue.

“This school district lacks funds. They are being cheated. So instead of addressing that, the people who are unhappy because certain non-mandated programs have been eliminated have made this a racial issue. They talk about the Jews and ‘the block vote.’

“The East Ramapo Monitor Bill establishes a very dangerous precedent. A monitor who has the ability to overturn decisions made by a duly elected board is clearly unfair. If an appointed monitor can make decisions for the East Ramapo school district, then other appointed monitors can do the same in other districts. Where does it end? There will be no point in even electing a school board anymore—those elected members will become a board of advisers as the appointed monitor becomes a dictator. We eliminate the democratic process.”

Sources say the Senate will bring the bill to the floor before the legislative session ends on Wednesday.

Walker Gets Love From UFT Allies

Brownsville Assemblywoman Latrice Walker will get a show of support, today, from education advocacy groups like the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) for her stand against the governor’s Education Tax Credit proposal, which gives tax credits to parents with children in nonpublic schools making $60,000 a year and less and to donors to  that give money to nonpublic schools.

Assembly member Latrice Walker
Assembly member Latrice Walker

Both supporters and detractors of the bill have poured money into ads and mailers advocating their views.

Walker believes that this bill will not support local schools, but instead will benefit the wealthy investors.

WHAT: Community rally for supportive Assembly Member Latrice Walker

WHO: Alliance for Quality Education, Make the Road NY, Clergy Campaign for Social and Economic Justice, Coalition for Educational Justice, and community members

WHEN: 9:30 a.m., today, Friday June 12

WHERE: Latrice Walker District Office: 400 Rockaway Ave

Williams On Hand For Unveiling Of Mural

East Flatbush City Council Member Jumaane Williams, today, will join elected officials and community leaders to unveil the Glenwood Art Gallery “Local Heroes,” painted by students of P.S./I.S. 109, in collaboration with Groundswell Community Mural Project.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams
City Councilman Jumaane Williams

These murals are the second instillation to help brighten up the once neglected underpass with a vibrant tribute to the heroes of Flatbush, including local, national, and international figures, included Dr. Una Clarke, Pastor Gil Monrose, Principal Dwight Chase, Assembly Member Helene Weinstein, Jackie Robinson, Congress Member Shirley Chisholm and others.

During the mural research and design phase, students studied cultural icons – past and present, citywide, national, and international – which enabled them to discover local heroes and underrepresented leaders of more color who have contributed to positive change within their community, the nation, and/or the world. The youth artists then painted 14 large panels featuring those leaders.

WHO: Council Member Jumaane D. Williams; Dr. Una Clarke; NY Assembly Woman Helene Weinstein; Amy Sananman, Executive Director of Groundswell Mural Project P.S. 109 Principal Dwight Chase; students of P.S./ I.S. 109; representatives from Groundswell Mural Project, Flatbush Flatlands Civic Group; representatives of local businesses and community members.

WHAT: “Local Heroes” Mural Unveiling Ceremony

WHERE: Glenwood Road between East 46th Street and Schenectady Avenue

WHEN: 10 a.m., today, Friday, June 12

Bichotte, Parker, Brennan, Williams Hold Housing Resource Fair

Flatbush/Ditmas Park Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte in partnership with the Neighborhood Housing Services Flatbush Development Corporation are holding a Housing Resource Fair tomorrow at Brooklyn college.

Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte
Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte

Flatbush State Senator Kevin Parker, Windsor Terrace/Kensington Assemblymember Jim Brennan and East Flatbush City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams are co-sponsoring the event.

Other sponsors and/or participants include the city’s Department of Health (DOH), Housing and Preservation Department (HPD), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Aging (DOA), Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and South Brooklyn Legal Services.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., tomorrow, June 13 at the Brooklyn College Student Center, 2nd Floor Campus Road (at the corner of East 27th street).

For more information about this or any other state or community issue or to RSVP please contact Assemblymember Bichotte’s district office at 718-940-0428 or email taylorr@assembly.state.ny.us.

 Cymbrowitz Bill to Ban Powdered Alcohol Passes Assembly

Sheepshead Bay Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, yesterday, saw his bill to ban the sale of powdered alcohol, known as Palcohol, pass the assembly.

The passage follows the Senate passing the measure on Monday.

Palcohol was approved earlier this year by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, part of the U.S. Treasury Department. But the powder packets that can turn water into a mixed drink have already been banned by several states amid fears that Palcohol can be easily abused.

Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina and Vermont are among the states that have already banned powdered alcohol or have pending legislation that would do so. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer on Sunday said he would introduce an emergency amendment to ban the production, sale, and possession of the crystalline product on the federal level.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

With Palcohol set to hit store shelves this summer in flavors like vodka, rum and cosmopolitan, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz cautioned that the product is a “disaster in the making” because it can be easily hidden and used by underage drinkers.

“Kids can just stash Palcohol in their pocket like it’s Kool-Aid powder and no one will ever be the wiser, including their parents,” said Cymbrowitz.

“As we devote our energies to addressing the substance abuse crisis that’s devastating our young people, it seems irresponsible to sell a product that makes it easier for kids to engage in dangerous and potentially addictive behavior,” he said.