Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move July 28, 2017

News Site Brooklyn

Persaud Calls For Action On Flooding at Canarsie intersections

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown) this week reached out to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to do something about the constant plugging of sewer drains in Canarsie during storms that are flooding many of the local streets.

Although the recent heavy rainfall has abated, there is still flooding several inches deep at the intersection of Williams Avenue and Glenwood Road and at Glenwood Road and East 108th Street, said Persaud.

Persaud noted that tenants have said flash flooding is not the only issue, and that the water persists for days because it is trapped by catch basins clogged with trash. This forces people to walk dangerously in the middle of the street to avoid crossing through the water – and blocking those who use wheelchairs from the crosswalk, said Persaud in her weekly newsletter.

Deutsch Drafting Legislation To Clarify Parking Regulations Around Schools

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest) announced he is drafting legislation to clarify parking regulations around schools, in order to free up parking spots during times that school is not in session.

Most public and nonpublic schools have restricted parking spots that indicate “No Parking School Days”. For local residents, there can often be confusion as to when they are permitted to park adjacent to a school. For example, a driver may be unaware if a specific school is in session during the summer, or if a public or nonpublic school is closed on a particular holiday. Deutsch’s bill would simplify this issue by requiring the Department of Education to work closely with other City agencies to compile a publicly accessible list of when every school is in session.

Currently, a motorist wondering about parking around a school is instructed to check out the City’s website to contact the school directly, or to call 311. However, most schools do not have an active summer office and 311 operators will tell a caller that this information is not available to them. Deutsch’s legislation requires the information to be available online, to 311 operators, and to NYPD traffic agents.

“Parking is a constant struggle in New York City and every spot matters. This simple clarification to the rules surrounding each school’s parking regulations will make it easier for drivers to park without worrying about receiving an expensive summons. This bill is another step forward in my ongoing effort to enhance the quality of life of my constituents and all New Yorkers. Increasing parking in my district continues to be one of my top priorities,” said Deutsch.

Velázquez Announces Multi-Million Dollar Grants for Local Head Start Programs

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Northern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens) announced yesterday that multiple local early education centers within her 7thCongressional district have received multi-million dollar grants to boost their Head Start programs.

The Head Start Program is a federal initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, and nutrition services to low-income children and their families.

“Studies consistently show that when children receive the educational, emotional and nutritional support they need early on, they succeed later in life,” said Velázquez. “Each of these educational institutions serve as community anchors that provide vital services to our working families.”

Among the federal grants awarded to Brooklyn non-profits include $2,221,379 to the United Academy in Williamsburg to ensure the organization can continue making important health and educational programs available to Williamsburg’s children; $1,072,409 to Yeshiva Kehilath Yakove, a Jewish learning center also in Williamsburg to continue to grow their Head Start program; and $5,938,043 to Catholic Charities Neighborhood Service to continue to provide high-quality educational services to local children in Brooklyn.

“For many busy working families, locating affordable, quality educational resources can be challenging,” said Velázquez. “Programs like Head Start address the most basic and important needs of a child. At a time when such programs are threatened with cuts, I will continue to advocate for these children and their families. It is our duty to ensure that our children have equal access to a fair and nurturing early education.”

Cornegy Calls On City To Step Up Funding For MTA

City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr

City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) yesterday said the city should step up and pay their fair share for much-needed upgrades to the subway.

“I am proud to help represent the greatest city in the world. But I am not proud of its aging and broken transportation infrastructure,” said Cornegy, a leading candidate for NYC Council Speaker next year.

“Governor Cuomo has called on us to change our attitude to ‘Our MTA.’ In that same spirit, I am calling for New York City to do its fair share and invest in the MTA immediately. It’s time for city government to step up and do what is right for its citizens,” he added, “this may be the summer of hell, but city government has a big bucket of water to throw into the fire.”

Lander On MTA’s Emergency Rescue Plan

City Council Member Brad Lander

City Councilmember Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) yesterday called MTA Chairman Joe Lhota’s emergency plan to fix the city’s aging subway system with a focus on fixing the signals that most frequently fail, putting more cars on a few lines and hiring transit workers to help reduce delays a good start, but nowhere near enough to confront the ongoing crisis straphangers are facing.

“At long last, the voices of millions of anguished New York City transit riders are starting to be heard. After decades of deferred maintenance, five years of growing delays, and many months of dangerous incidents, the MTA is beginning to mobilize to confront the crisis we face. And it truly is a crisis: our subways (and buses) are the lifeblood of our city. We cannot succeed if they fail,” said Lander.

“It’s a good step to fix the signals that cause the most problems – but we know that the real solution is to get modern, communications-based signals on all 22 lines. Right now, we have them on oneline, with one more underway. The rest are functioning on 1930s technology. London has replaced 40% of theirs, and have another 40% underway. Here it NYC, at the current pace, it won’t be done in my lifetime,” he added.

However, Lander agreed with a Streetsblog article, which put more culpability for the subway problems on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the media, and less of the blame on Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city to come up with more money.

“New York City is not a piggybank for the MTA. And this is not just a political game. Money from the City would likely have to come from one of two places: By taking away money we are using for other critical services (schools, police, homelessness, etc). Or by increasing the property tax, which is the only tax that the City can raise without State approval,” said Lander.

Lander suggested three ways to fund significant increases in transit investment. They are:

  • Congestion pricing: Whether we follow London’s model, or rationalize our toll system, implementing some form of congestion pricing will both reduce traffic and generate significant new revenue, over $1 billion per year.
  • Millionaire’s tax: While NYS has some of the highest inequality in the country (and it has increased significantly since 2010, when Governor Cuomo was elected), our tax system continue to be regressive. The wealthiest households pay a lower share of City and State taxes than middle-class or low-income families. A modest increase on the wealthiest 1% of New York could generate an additional $2 billion per year.
  • Close the “carried interest” loophole: Across the political spectrum, from Bernie Sanders through Mike Bloomberg to even Donald Trump, there is broad agreement that it is absurd to give a special tax break to private equity and hedge fund managers. New York State could close this loophole and generate over $3 billion every year.

Golden Lauds Cuomo Signing Of Senior & Disabled Homeowners Tax Exemption

State Sen. Marty Golden

State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Marine Park) yesterday commended Governor Cuomo’s signing of legislation to expand the Senior Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE) and Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE). 

The legislation raises the income cap for SCHE/DHE to $50,000 for a full 50% property tax exemption and to $58,400 for a partial exemption, which will provide much-needed relief to New York City homeowners. The eligibility levels have not been raised since 2006. The current income limit for a full 50% reduction is just $29,000. 

“Our seniors and those with disabilities deserve to live without worrying about the financial burdens of property taxes,” said Golden. “As legislators, it is important that we provide financial relief to those who truly deserve our help. Senior and disabled New Yorkers are valued neighbors of our community and deserve to be financially able to live where they choose.” 

The law will take effect soon after the New York City Council passes legislation to enable the raised income levels, which is supported by Mayor de Blasio and was included in his executive budget.