Menchaca Rallies For Adult Literacy
City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (Sunset Park, Red Hook) today will lead a rally for inclusion of $16 million in the upcoming FY’17 City Budget for adult literacy services funding.
The City Council called for the $16 million investment in adult education, but no new funding was allocated for these services in the Mayor’s FY 17 Executive Budget.
“In immigrant households, literacy is key as individuals integrate and search for legal services to help adjust their legal status–and is actually a requirement for those seeking deferred action, work authorization or other relief. Ultimately, literacy helps lift our economy and our City,” said Menchaca.
Menchaca said there are about 1.8 million New Yorkers (23 percent of all residents) who speak English “less than very well,” or are Limited English Proficient (“LEP”). The City is home to excellent adult education programs but with capacity to serve only a tiny fraction of the people in need of classes. The NYC Coalition for Adult Literacy has surveyed programs and estimates that there are over 15,000 people on CBO education program waiting lists.
The rally is slated for 12 noon, today outside City Hall Park at Broadway and Barclays streets in Lower Manhattan.
Greenfield Leads Drive For Increased NYC Cleanup Funding
City Councilman David G. Greenfield (Midwood, Boro Park) held a rally yesterday on the steps of City Hall calling for renewed and enhanced funding to his popular NYC Cleanup Initiative, which provides funding for each City Council member to clean the streets and sidewalks of their districts.
Joining Greenfield in support of the initiative were several other City Council Members including Brooklyn Members Mark Treyger, Vincent Gentile and Antonio Reynoso. This year, Greenfield is calling for funding to the initiative to be increased by about $2 million to continue to build on the success it has demonstrated in previous years.
Greenfield launched the NYC Cleanup Initiative in 2014 with the aim of keeping neighborhoods throughout the city free of litter and graffiti. The program allows Councilmembers to decide which groups in their district should receive funding to clean up their neighborhoods, allowing them to make decisions based on which areas of their community have the greatest need.
The initiative has also provides thousands of good jobs for people who need them. Groups that have received funding through the initiative include ACE New York and The Doe Fund, which help to find jobs for the homeless and people battling substance abuse problems.
“The NYC Cleanup Initiative is about more than keeping our neighborhoods clean,” Greenfield said. “This is about creating good jobs for people who our society has too often left behind. The jobs created through the NYC Cleanup Initiative offer a path to sustainable success for those who need a hand up as they work to rebuild their lives.”
Five Brooklyn Lawmakers Sign Onto Bridge Toll Bill
Brooklyn Assembly Members James F. Brennan, Walter T. Mosley, Felix W. Ortiz, Jo Anne Simon and Annette Robinson were among 23 Assembly members co-sponsoring legislation in support of the Move NY Fair Plan, which would toll the East River Bridges with the money earmarked to upgrade the transit system and the road and bridge network.
The bill includes provisions that the $1.35 billion in estimated revenue generated through tolling the East River Bridges will be put in a “lockbox” where its use can only be spent on transit improvements.
“As Brooklyn moves forward into the 21st century our public transportation must keep pace with the increasing demand for fast, efficient, and reliable service. We have seen an exponential increase of new members to our communities of central Brooklyn which in turn has put higher stress on our aging transportation system. Crowded platforms, dirty stations, and delay in services can no longer define outer borough service. I am proud to work in collaboration with my colleagues in the State Legislature to implement the Move NY plan and ensure that our mass transit system is properly and equitably funded,” said Mosley.
“The Move NY Fair Plan is an ambitious proposal to help boost the City’s overwhelmed transit system and create a new revenue stream for the M.T.A.,” said Ortiz. “Bay Ridge would have expanded service and travel times should be improved across Brooklyn. Auto traffic can be reduced and air quality made healthier. Improvements in our quality of life could be enormous if this plan is enacted.”
“The improvement of the transportation system provides vital access to those who have been limited because of cost. Especially those living in two fare zones. I am pleased to support Move NY,” said Robinson.
“The Move NY legislation is a serious, thoughtful and comprehensive bill to address funding transit and surface transportation need in an equitable, fiscally responsible and constructive way. Move NY would both encourage better mass transit service to underserved neighborhoods while discouraging gratuitous traffic through our communities and fixing our roads and bridges, bringing much needed rationality and equity to our dysfunctional and inequitable toll system,” said Simon.
Gillibrand Presses Passage Of Military Justice Legislation
U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), along with a bipartisan group of Senators, yesterday called on the Senate to pass the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act, an amendment that will be offered to the National Defense Authorization Act that would establish an impartial, fair, and accountable military justice system to address the crisis of sexual assault.
The amendment would remove sole decision-making authority over whether serious crimes move forward to trial from the chain of command to independent, trained military prosecutors. The Senators are calling for another vote on the Military Justice Improvement Act after learning that the Senate held its previous votes under the influence of false and misleading information.
“We now know far more about the extent of the military’s sexual assault problem than we did a year ago when our bill was last filibustered, and it’s clear from the data and case files the Defense Department has given us that little has changed, despite their persistent claims that things are getting better,” said Gillibrand. “I’m calling for another vote on my bill because the Senate held its previous votes under the influence of false and misleading information. Not only did the Defense Department willfully mislead Congress in order to skew the debate, but they continue to do so by telling Congress that sexual assault survivors’ faith in the system is increasing – despite their own statistics showing the opposite.”
Gillibrand said In the last few months alone, it was confirmed that a top Pentagon official gave false testimony at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing; the Defense Department released annual data that included another 6,083 sexual assault cases.
“There continues to be overwhelming evidence that survivors don’t have confidence in the broken military justice system, are often unwilling to pursue justice when these violent crimes occur against them, and are fearful of retaliation if they do report. Congress must give the members of our military a justice system worthy of their service,” she added.