Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 15, 2016

News Site Brooklyn

Cymbrowitz Gives Voice To Mute Swans

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

Sheepshead Bay Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz is once again going to bat for one of the Sheepshead Bay’s most beloved birds – the mute swans – that inhabits the waters of Sheepshead Bay off Emmons Avenue. 

That after he reintroduced his legislation (A.9289) last week to establish a moratorium on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s plan to declare the mute swan a “prohibited invasive species” and eliminate the birds by 2025. DEC’s methods of elimination include shooting and gassing.

Cymbrowitz, a member of the Environmental Conservation Committee, launched an outcry two years ago when DEC announced that it would kill the swans because of the damage they do to flora and fauna. But environmentalists have refuted DEC’s claims, making it imperative to examine the issue further, he said.

Cymbrowitz worked with the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee to review the legislation and decided to introduce it without any changes. Sen. Tony Avella has re-introduced the measure in the Senate. Gov. Cuomo has vetoed the bill twice.

Last year, DEC released a revised swan management plan that was widely criticized by many people including Cymbrowitz. He said the plan still called for the elimination of most of the mute swan population and tried to shift fiscal responsibility for non-lethal swan management methods to overburdened localities.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’ battle to save the swans has attracted the attention of animal advocacy organizations like GooseWatch NYC, the Regal Swan Foundation and Save Our Swans, whose members inundated Gov. Cuomo’s office with letters and phone calls asking for a reprieve for the swans.

“There is no hard and clear evidence that mute swans are the kind of dangerous and damaging presence that DEC suggests,” he said. “As far as my constituents are concerned, they’re beautiful birds and the official policy should be ‘live and let live.”

Golden Critical Of Mark-Viverito’s Plan to Close Rikers Island

State Sen. Marty Golden
State Sen. Marty Golden

Bay Ridge State Sen. Senator Martin J. Golden on Friday announced his opposition to New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s plan to  someday close Rikers Island as part of her Criminal Justice Reform plan as outlined in her Speaker’s State of the City speech lat Thursday.

“A top priority of every elected official is to enact measures that helps keep our constituents safe. Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito wants to reform the criminal justice system by vacating 700,000 warrants, turning a blind eye to certain offenses and dreams of closing Rikers Island. The Speaker’s dream will be a nightmare for law-abiding citizens,” said Golden.

“The reality is we live in a society where dangerous people commit crimes and pose a serious threat to society. Criminals and violent offenders need to be jailed in a facility that is far away from residences, businesses and schools. I pray for a day when jails are not needed but until then let’s do everything to protect our citizens,” he added.

Schumer Critical Of Obama Cuts For Anti-Terrorism Programs

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said yesterday that the ‎White House’s recently released budget‎ proposal makes dramatic and ill-advised cuts to funding for critical anti-terrorism programs that enable New York law enforcement‎ to prevent and respond to terror attacks.

The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), which helps cities to prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism, was recommended for a funding level of only $330 million in the President’s request for Fiscal Year 2017, after being funded at $600 million in Fiscal Year 2016. ‎

Schumer said that the budget request, which cuts UASI nearly in half, is ill-advised and far from adequate, and vowed to fight for an increase in UASI and related anti-terror funds for New York. The UASI program provides funding to address the unique needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas like the New York metropolitan area. Schumer noted that the President has been strong on security in general but this most recent funding cut by bureaucrats was a mistake.

“In light of recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and the vow by our extremist enemies to launch more attacks on our shores, it makes no sense for bureaucrats in Washington to propose cuts to vital terror-prevention programs like UASI,” said Schumer. “New York City remains terror target #1 and the NYPD relies on these programs to keep us safe — something they have done a very good job of since 9-11.”

“These proposed cuts are ill-advised and ill-timed and they must be reversed. End of story,” Schumer added. “UASI is the cornerstone of effective preparedness and prevention against terror attacks; it enables the NYPD to do all it can to keep New Yorkers safe and secure. With ISIS-inspired attacks and terrorism on the rise all across the globe, we must make sure that America has the resources it needs to remain protected. I will fight tooth and nail in Congress to make sure that UASI funds are increased in New York City and across the country.”  

Donovan, Schumer On Passing Of Supreme Court Justice Scalia

Southern Brooklyn/Staten Island Congressman Dan Donovan and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer mourned the sudden death of U.S. Supreme Court Justics Antonin Scalia yesterday.

Scalia, 79, was found dead on a Texas Ranch  Bay Ridge yesterday. He was appointed to the Supreme Court By President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and although he maintained conservative views of the constitution, he was recognized as an honroable, smart and very capable Supreme Court Justice.

Congressman Dan Donovan
Congressman Dan Donovan

“Justice Antonin Scalia was a titan on the U.S. Supreme Court, a brilliant legal mind whose opinions will continue to resonate through America’s judicial system for decades to come. Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, we can all agree that today our country lost a passionate voice and gifted scholar,” said Donovan, a Republican, and former District Attorney of Staten Island.


“This is sad news indeed,” said Schumer. “While I disagreed with him on so many issues, Justice Scalia was a brilliant man with a probing mind. He was a great son of Queens with a genuine joy for life.”

Adams Expands Participatory Budeting Borough Wide

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams on Friday announced a trailblazing expansion of participatory budgeting (PB), a democratic process in which local residents directly decide how to spend part of a public budget, that will increase the number of community-driven projects funded in city council districts that encompass more than 60 percent of Brooklyn.

Adams, the first local elected official or agency head outside of the City Council to commit to PB, pledged to allocating $1 million in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) capital funding, to be apportioned equally to winning projects from the votes conducted by the 10 council members in Brooklyn who are participating in PB this year.

Additionally, Adams will be opening Brooklyn Borough Hall as a universal voting site for Brooklynites living in participating council districts, working in partnership with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s office.

“I’m excited to bolster the voices of Brooklynites and help amplify their power to shape their tax dollars are spent in our borough,” said Adams. “PB is a revolutionary approach to growing democracy from the ground up, and this partnership with the City Council will cultivate that growth even further, funding more capital projects and engaging more potential voters.”

The $100,000 designated by Adams for PB in each participating council district will expand that council member’s committed PB allotment, resulting in additional projects winning funding in the upcoming fiscal year.

The borough’s PB participants this year are Council Members Robert Cornegy, Jr., Laurie A. Cumbo, Mathieu Eugene, David Greenfield, Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Carlos Menchaca, Antonio Reynoso, Mark Treyger, and Jumaane D. Williams.

“Residents of District 36 contributed more than 200 ideas for projects to be funded through participatory budgeting,” said Cornegy. “Their interest in the capital funding process and improving the community they know so well has blown me away. I’m so pleased that Borough President Adams’s support will allow more of these excellent ideas to come to fruition.”