Brooklyn Lawmakers On the Move April 18, 2017

News Site Brooklyn

IDC Calls On City to Start Removal Of Juveniles From Rikers

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton
Sen. Diane Savino

State Senators Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) and Diane Savino (D-Coney Island, Staten Island)  alongside his colleagues from the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), will join together with  Akeem Browder (Kalief Browder’s older brother) and other criminal justice advocates today to call on the city to plan to remove juveniles from Rikers Island within a year as required by  the recently passed Raise the Age legislation.

The landmark legislation raises the age of criminal responsibility to 18 in New York State. This bill will now protect 16- and 17-year olds from being viewed as adults in the criminal justice system.

According to the legislation, all misdemeanor charges faced by 16- and 17-year-olds will be dealt with in Family Court now and non-violent felony charges will be dealt with in a new “youth” section of Criminal Court. Starting in late 2018, juveniles will no longer be kept with adults in county jails.

The event will take place at 1 p.m., today, April 18 at 250 Broadway, 20th Floor in Lower Manhattan. 

Assembly and Council Members Barron  Call Governor Cuomo’s “Free” Tuition Plan A Failure

Assembly Member Charles Barron
City Council Member Inez Barron

Assembly member Charles Barron (D-East New York/Brownsville) and Council Member Inez Barron (D-East New York, Canarsie, East Flatbush, Brownsville), along with the Alliance for Quality Education, the University Student Senate of CUNY, other elected officials and education advocates will gather on the steps of City Hall today to condemn the education priorities of Governor Cuomo in regards to his new free tuition announcement of the Excelsior Scholarship program.

The group believes the program is anti-public education because the *Free* Tuition plan includes a $200 a year tuition hike for four years for SUNY/CUNY students not enrolled in the Excelsior Scholarship. Groups are also criticizing the Excelsior Scholarship for leaving behind students most in need.

This is similar to his policies for pre-k thru 12 students. Though his initial proposal to gut Foundation Aid ( the State funding program which supplements local funding for school districts to help provide sufficient resources for an adequate education for students pre-k through 12 grade), a  which helps to ensure an adequate education for New York’s neediest did not pass, the enacted budget features only half of Board of Regents recommendations with no phase in.

The group is criticizing Governor Cuomo for touting a mantle of progressivism while continuing New York’s legacy of systemic racism and economic inequity in public school funding pre-k through college.

The newly announced free tuition program for New York residents, allows for eligible students from middle-to-low income families, families with adjusted gross incomes of $125,000 or less, to attend a four year state college or community college for “free”. This includes all CUNY and SUNY two and four-year colleges.

The event is slated for 1 p.m., today, April 17 at the Steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan. 

Borough Presidents Call On De Blasio To Fully Fund Free School Lunch

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams yesterday partnered with his four borough president colleagues on a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio calling for the full funding of universal free healthy school lunch for every New York City district school student for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18).

This is the first time that the elected leaders of all of the city’s boroughs have come together to make this particular budgetary request. A number of major American cities successfully offer universal free school lunch, including Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Detroit, Michigan, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In New York State, the program is offered in Buffalo, Hempstead, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, and Syracuse. The borough presidents urged de Blasio to add New York City to the ranks of these metropolises.

The letter states, “There are few, if any, line items in the budget that can do so much for so many at such a small cost.” As elected officials, we continually discuss the problems of hunger, bullying, and the economic challenges facing families every day. Universal free school lunch cannot, by itself, solve these issues, but it can have a significant impact on all of them immediately. That fact alone should make this program a priority for any government.”

Universal free school lunch currently exists in nearly 35 percent of New York City’s public schools. The borough presidents noted that those schools have seen an increased participation rate across all grade levels, including a 15 percent difference in high school, 20 percent difference in middle schools, and 10 percent difference in elementary schools. They additionally highlighted the “immeasurably positive impact” that the program’s expansion would have due to the reduction in stigma for students facing hunger, as well as the role a healthy, nutritious school lunch plays in academic performance, student health, and lifestyle beyond the school cafeteria.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

“Quality nutrition is foundational to academic achievement, which is why our desire to raise our City’s education standards must be coupled with a commitment to meeting the needs of students combating hunger,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “The time has come for universal school lunch in New York City.”

Federal and state reimbursements cover 92 percent of the total universal free school lunch costs. As a result, the borough presidents noted that City costs for the program would be a “miniscule fraction of the New York City Department of Education (DOE)’s budget.”

The full letter is available to read here,

Cumbo’s Easter Egg Hunt For Families At Fort Greene Park

City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo (D- Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) held a community egg hunt at Fort Greene Park in partnership with several community-based organizations on the eve of Easter Sunday.

The event which was held on Saturday was attended by hundreds of children of all ages across the district who got to hunt for 2,000 decorative eggs and were able to enjoy a wide range of family-friendly activities including live entertainment, storytime with the Brooklyn Public Library, arts and crafts with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, face painting, a magic show, and a special visit from the Easter Bunny.

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

“I want to thank the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, Fort Greene Conservancy, the Brooklyn Public Library, and Brooklyn Academy of Music for working in collaboration with my office to host our first ever Easter Egg Hunt. With spring in full bloom, it was incredible to see so many families of all backgrounds gathered in Fort Greene Park to enjoy a wide array of free, kid-friendly activities. The beautiful smiles and brightly-colored faces of children hopping to live music with new friends made this eggs-traordinary day picture perfect,” said Cumbo.   

“We are thrilled to partner with CM Cumbo and the Fort Greene Park Conservancy to hold the first annual Easter Egg Hunt at the park.  We know this event will become a beloved annual tradition for families living nearby,” said Meredith Phillips Almeida, Executive Director of Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership.

“BAM is pleased to partner with Council Member Laurie Cumbo and her team to bring this wonderful event to our community. We look forward to welcoming spring with our neighbors,” said Dewonnie Frederick, Community Affairs Manager of BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).

“The Fort Greene Park Conservancy is delighted that Council Member Laurie Cumbo and Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership invited the Conservancy to help bring this wonderful holiday event to our neighborhood. Free, fun family events like this are precisely the kind of programming the Conservancy provides for our neighborhood all year long and we are very grateful to the Council Member for continuing support of Fort Greene Park and service to the surrounding community,” said Julian Macrone, Program and Development Manager of The Fort Greene Park Conservancy.

“Story Time brings families and communities together to experience the joy of hearing a book come alive as it is read aloud. We were so pleased to add a library experience to Council Member Cumbo’s community egg hunt at Fort Greene Park,” said Janet Conton, neighborhood library supervisor at Brooklyn Public Library’s Walt Whitman branch.