Golden Disappointed On De Blasio Plan To Raise Cigarette Prices
State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach) yesterday expressed disappointment in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans to raise the price of cigarettes in New York City, among other proposals, in an effort to expand anti-smoking efforts throughout the five boroughs.
“It is disappointing to see that Mayor de Blasio’s proposal aimed at reducing tobacco use in New York City fails to address the underground cigarette industry. If this plan is truly about reducing smoking and saving
lives, we must intensify our efforts at both the City and State level to get our untaxed, illegal cigarettes off the streets.
“I continue to advocate for legislation that will increase the penalties for the sale of bootleg cigarettes coming to New York from other states and Indian reservations. It is critical that the State Assembly follow the Senate and pass legislation this year, that I sponsored, that would create a special task force targeting untaxed cigarettes funded by the recovered State tax revenue. At a minimum of $13 per pack, there is no
doubt in my mind that illegal cigarettes will flood New York City streets.
“The Mayor’s plan to raise the price of a pack of cigarettes will only strengthen the black market cigarette industry. The addition of more illegitimate cigarettes to our City and State puts New York in a position
to lose even more tax revenue and fails to reduce smoking. The focus should be on cracking down on the sale of illegal cigarettes, which can bring down the number of smokers in New York, and will additionally prevent this money from being funneled to support organized crime and terrorist organizations.”
De Blasio, Espinal On One Year Anniversary of East New York Rezoning Passage
Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Councilmember Rafael Espinal (D-East New York, Bushwick) yesterday issued a progress report on the one-year anniversary of the City Council’s approval of the de Blasio’s rezoning of the neighborhood also called the East New York Neighborhood Plan.
East New York is the first of de Blasio’s ‘Housing New York Plan’ (Mandatory Inclusionary Housing) to undergo a neighborhood-wide rezoning. Among the significant progress the two lawmakers reported include:
HOUSING: The city opened an Request for Proposal (RFP) for development of city-owned site for up to 200 units of 100% affordable housing, applications are currently in review by the Housing Preservation Development (HPD). Phipps Houses, the not-for-profit affordable housing developer won the RFP to build up to 1,000 units of affordable housing on adjacent vacant land and are slated to break ground Summer 2017.
EDUCATION: The School Construction Authority (SCA) delivered plans for development of 1,000 seat public school and completed the public comment period in conjunction with Council Member Espinal’s office.
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: NYC Small Business Services (SBS) officially opened a Workforce1 Center to connect residents to job opportunities, already seeing clients 5 days a week and hosting daily on and off-site recruitment and training events.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: SBS conducted and completed a Commercial District Needs Assessment to identify, develop, and launch customized, place-based commercial revitalization programs and services in partnership with local community-based organizations
COMMUNITY RESOURCES: The New York Police Department (NYPD) has held community visioning sessions in partnership with Espinal for a state-of-the-art community center, open to all ages with a focus on police-community relations and extra-curricular activities for youth.
TRANSPARENCY: De Blasio and Espinal publish commitment tracker and progress report to deliver on promises made under the ENY Plan. The first of its kind tracker, is the result of legislation sponsored by the NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James and Espinal and is a major step toward transparency for all future land use projects.
“One year after the City Council adopted the East New York Plan, we have seen amazing progress and significant resources devoted to job creation, affordable housing, improving community facilities, roadways, schools and playgrounds, said de Blasio.
“The East New York Neighborhood Plan has moved from words on a paper and plans on a drawing board to a living and breathing reality,” said Espinal. “In only one year we have seen extensive progress on major commitments made by the plan that is benefiting long time residents, with zero market rate development, I should add. With ground breaking this summer on 900 units of 100% affordable housing, a new day has come for our us as we see the realization of long overdue investments and much-needed protections for our longtime residents.”
Cumbo On Stopping Two Crown Heights Developments
City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) yesterday took some credit for stopping two mega-residential projects in Crown Heights.
Nearly two years ago, Cornell Realty proposed two residential towers over 15 stories tall with 565 apartments at 40 Crown Street and 931 Carroll Street in Brooklyn. Area residents were concerned by the levels of affordability for low-income residents and the height of the buildings. Following local outcries, Cornell Realty withdrew their ULURP application this week for the for two development projects.
“Through a series of negotiations, I was successfully able to work with local elected officials, tenant leaders and the community in order to have Cornell Realty withdraw their ULURP application. Collectively, we stood firm that large-scale market rate housing does not represent our community’s need for real affordable, low-income housing. We have shown that we can win as a community when we work together. This victory should inspire and resonate with communities throughout New York City,” said Cumbo.
Schumer, Gillibrand Get Over $25 Million To Combat Opioid Epidemic
U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand yesterday announced $25,260,676 in federal funding to the State of New York to combat opioid addiction.
The funding was allocated through the Department of Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants. Specifically, the funding administered through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will support prevention, treatment, and recovery service programs.
“The opioid and heroin crisis in New York is a symptom of a national emergency that’s taken the lives of far too many Americans,” said Schumer. “This federal funding, made possible by the 21st Century Cures Act, will help combat this national crisis by supporting prevention, treatment and recovery programs. I pledge to continue to fight for federal funding that will help us turn the tide against this tragic scourge.”
“Too many lives have been destroyed, too many families have been torn apart, and too many communities all over New York are suffering because of this tragic epidemic,” said Gillibrand. “These federal funds would allow New York State to fight the opioid epidemic by investing in treatment and services programs. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Senate to fight for the health and wellbeing of all New Yorkers.”
Last year, Gillibrand introduced the bipartisan legislation Preventing Overprescribing for Pain Act, legislation that would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue guidelines for the safe prescribing of opioids for the treatment of acute pain.
Williams Announces Three Projects Funded Through Participatory Budgeting
City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) yesterday announced the three capital projects that won his 45th Council District’s Participatory Budgeting vote after a week-long election.
Williams will submit the projects, totalling $750,000, for allocation in the upcoming fiscal year.
The three winning projects include:
– P.S. 152 / P.S. 315 & Midwood High School Schoolyard Upgrade
– Technology Upgrade at P.S. 109
– STEM Lab at Brooklyn College Academy
“Participatory budgeting is an empowering tool that puts power back into the hands of the people. The budget process is one of the most important things I do as an elected official,” said Williams. “Participatory budgeting gives people the opportunity to be engaged and learn about the budget process. I’m proud to have been a part of this process from its inception and am excited the people of District 45 have continued to show their support of the process. I would like to thank Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC) and our PB Coordinator Nathoue Noel for working with the District 45 PB Chair and volunteers to ensure a thorough process. The winning projects reflect the priorities of almost 2000 community members and will improve our neighborhood in very real ways.”
Ernest Skinner Political Association Meets Monday
The Ernest Skinner Political Association will hold their general monthly meeting on Monday.
The special guest speakers include The Edelman Financial Instruction Team. The topics being discussed include “Preparing For Retirement,” and include:
* Benefiting from Retirement Accounts and IRAs
* Understanding Social Security
* Things to consider about your old 401(k)s
The meeting is slated for 7 p.m., Monday, April 24 at the Clarendon Road Church, 3304 Clarendon Road (Corner of Clarendon Road & New York Avenue). For more information, contact [email protected].