De Blasio Administration Announces $32 Million Rat Reduction Plan; BK Lawmakers Applaud Quality Of Life Improvement
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $32 million, multi-agency plan to reduce the city’s rat population that targets the three most infested parts of city: the Grand Concourse area, Chinatown/East Village/Lower East Side and Bushwick/Bedford-Stuyvesant, yesterday.
This interagency initiative aims to reduce rat activity by up to 70 percent in the targeted zones by minimizing food sources and available habitats. The City plan will also include cementing dirt basements in NYCHA, purchasing better waste containers, increasing trash pickup and increasing enforcement of rat-related violations in these area. The plan is scheduled to launch by the end of 2017.
“All New Yorkers deserve to live in clean and healthy neighborhoods. We refuse to accept rats as a normal part of living in New York City. This $32 million investment is a multi-pronged attack to dramatically reduce the rat population in the City’s most infested areas and improve the quality of life for residents,” said de Blasio.
“It is particularly good to see the commitment to pest mitigation being made to ten NYCHA developments in these neighborhoods, which will improve the quality of life for more than 20,000 residents. This coordinated approach to rat abatement will hopefully have a lasting impact that makes Brooklyn a more livable borough for all,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“Improving quality-of-life in and around public housing in my district is a big priority for me, and this is going to make a big impact. Also, encouraging residents and businesses to participate in the organics collection program will keep our streets cleaner and help further our goal of reducing waste that goes to landfills,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso (D-Bushwick, Williamsburg), Chair of Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee.
“Rat infestations have been an ongoing nuisance in our city for a long time and the problem has only gotten worse because there has never been a real plan in place to eradicate them. Eliminating these pesky vermin from our streets and buildings will make the city cleaner and healthier,” said Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr. (D-Cypress Hills, Bushwick, City Line, Oceanhill-Brownsville, East New York).
Levin Joins PA James In Highlighting Failure of DOE To Support Children With Disabilities
Public Advocate Letitia James yesterday released a new investigative report detailing the Department of Education’s (DOE) failure to serve children with disabilities through Related Service Authorization (RSA) vouchers.
RSAs are given to parents of children with disabilities when the school cannot fulfill the requirements of their specialized Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Nearly 200,000 children, or 19 percent of public school students, require an IEP. IEPs specify what individual services a child needs, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, mental health counseling, and Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS).
Under federal law, the DOE must provide these services. When a school is unable to provide these services on site, it issues an RSA, passing the burden to parents to coordinate their child’s services. However, the investigation found that up to 91 percent of the time, RSA vouchers were going unused due to lack of providers. Resulting in students going with their needed services.
City Council Member Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Williamsburg, Boerum Hill) supported the report calling for better educational services for children with disabilities.
“Education is supposed to be a gateway to better opportunities. Unfortunately, these findings show the system is not doing enough to support the children and families that need it the most. In my own local district, District 13, RSAs went unused 66% of time — that’s unacceptable. We must do better when it comes to our children’s future,” said Levin.
Donovan, House Pass Bills To Combat Human Trafficking
Congressman Dan Donovan (R-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) is applauding the passage of two bills to combat human trafficking across the country.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Act and the Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act. The new bills, both co-sponsored by Donovan, will authorize $130 million to fund prevention, protection and prosecution efforts and grants the Department of Justice more accessibility to law enforcement agencies for programs to combat sex trafficking.
Human trafficking includes both sex trafficking and forced labor. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, human traffickers coerce, threaten, and manipulate their victims – often woman and children – to prevent them from communicating with law enforcement.
Sex trafficking happens in several potential contexts, including street prostitution, escort services, and massage parlors. Forced labor generally occurs in low-skilled or temporary-worker industries such as agriculture and food service.
Since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has received 145,764 reports, including 7,572 in 2016 alone.
“My heart goes out to the voiceless victims of human trafficking whose tragic circumstances fall below the public radar. They’re women forced to work in brothels and children pushed to do heinous acts. We can’t imagine that human trafficking is a problem in our own community, but it is. The bills passed today will help create a better system to dismantle trafficking networks,” said Donovan.
Gentile To Hold Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Unveiling Benson Playground Renovations
City Council Member Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) today is joining the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) to unveil new renovations to the Benson Playground.
The renovations include improvements to the basketball courts. Gentile allocated $1.5 million for the renovations in FY2015. NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Borough Parks Commissioner Marty Maher will also be in attendance for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The event is slated for 11 a.m., today, July 13 at Benson Playground at Bath Avenue (between Bay 22nd and Bay 23rd Streets) in Bath Beach.
Menchaca Calls On City To Increase Immigrant Protections
City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) today will join with the immigrant community and advocates to call on the city to take further action to protect immigrant New Yorkers from deportation and family separation.
The group will highlight the need for legislation to protect immigrant New Yorkers, including codifying strong confidentiality provisions into law, limiting access to city property and to students and their information, and expanding the role of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to meet the tremendous needs of immigrant communities.
Immigrant communities have been under increased scrutiny from the Trump Administration, who signed a pair of executive orders within his first 100 days tightening border security and cracking down on sanctuary cities. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has also made it clear that they will use every tool at their disposal to separate immigrant families.
The event is slated for 11 a.m., today, June 13, at “Cinco de Mayo Place”, Fifth Avenue at 43rd Street, on the steps leading to the park in Sunset Park.
Committee On Rules, Privileges & Elections To Hold Hearing On Sorrentino Appointment
City Council Member Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Kensington, Windsor Terrace) will oversee the City Council’s Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections hearing on the appointment of Thomas Sorrentino to the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) today.
The hearing will be to provide advice and consent on the mayor’s nomination of Thomas Sorrentino to the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
TLC is the agency responsible for licensing and regulating New York City’s medallion (yellow) taxicabs, for-hire vehicles (community-based liveries, black cars and luxury limousines), commuter vans, and paratransit vehicles.
The event is slated for 10:30 a.m. today, July 13, at the Council Chambers in City Hall in Lower Manhattan.
Hamilton To Host MEC All Day Hack-A-Thon
Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) will host an all day Hack-A-Thon at Medgar Evers College today.
The event will feature a volunteer organization, CodeEd introducing 30 Pipeline Program students to the world of “Computer Science Hacking Technology.”
The event kicks off the Pipeline summer program. The Pipeline Program is a holistic approach to academic and career success. It is a “whole child, whole community” system by which students from underserved Central Brooklyn neighborhoods are guided through a strong K-12 experience, transitioned into college, and provided high-quality opportunities to enter the professional world. Parents and educators also receive training and support through the program. Students in the program range from ages 10 to 13 and from grades 5 to 8.
“This Tech Challenge at MEC serves as a key part of ensuring that young people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to participate, excel, and fully develop their talents,” said Hamilton.
The event is slated to start at 11 a.m. today, July 13, at The Medgar Evers College Library, in the Bedford Building at 1650 Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights.