Espinal Introduces Package Of Bills Aimed At Improving City Gov’t
City Council Member Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, East New York, Cypress Hills) introduced four pieces of legislation aimed at increasing government transparency and improving communication between city agencies and New Yorkers yesterday.
Espinal introduced 3 bills aimed at bringing the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) into the 21st Century with digital documentation regulations.
Intro No. 1732, Intro No. 1734 and Intro No. 1735 require the three city agencies to take photographic evidence when issuing certain violations and document any subsequent inspection, including cures of the violation to hold agencies accountable when issuing violations, increase transparency and bring the city into the digital age.
“The city must come into the digital age to make any issue transparent. Whether you’re a business owner, building owner, tenant, or consumer there should be clear evidence of why you are receiving a violation and evidence of when it is fully remedied. We have heard from many New Yorkers of instances when they received violations for issues that didn’t even exist and we’ve also heard from consumers and tenants of issues that were never resolved, but the violations were cleared,” said Espinal.
“This package of legislation will hold city agencies accountable and increase transparency by requiring photo evidence of the violation at hand. In this smartphone era, our agencies should use the technology of our day to make their work crystal clear. No longer will there be ambiguity about what the owner did wrong. Instead, photo documentation will educate the recipient on how to correct the specified problem, cure the violation and prevent any future issues,” added Espinal.
Donovan To Present Flag To Family of Brooklyn WWII Soldier
Congressman Dan Donovan (R-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) will honor the service of Brooklyn Word War II soldier, U.S. Marine Private Joseph C. Carbone today.
Donovan will present Brooklyn resident Nancy Lewis with a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol Building in honor of her late uncle.
Private Carbone, who served in the 2nd Marine Division during WWII, was killed in the line of duty during the Battle of Tarawa in Japan. More than 1,000 American soldiers were lost during the encounter and many of their remains were never identified or returned to their families. After nearly 75 years, Pvt. Carbone’s remains were finally brought home to Brooklyn after Ms. Lewis reached out to History Flight, a group dedicated to locating and identifying servicemen who never returned home from combat.
Following the flag presentation, Ms. Lewis will tell her family’s story and highlight steps other people can take to find their loved ones lost in the line of duty.
The event is slated for 11 a.m., today, Oct. 18, at Donovan’s District Office, at 7308 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights.
PA James To Announce Neglect Of Homeless Students In NYC Schools
Public Advocate Letitia James will host a press conference to discuss how homeless students in the educational system have been neglected in New York City schools today.
James will discuss how the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) have failed to adequately provide support and resources for homeless students.
The event is slated for 11 a.m., today, Oct. 18, at the Steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan.
Hamilton, Cornegy Celebrate Brooklyn Public Charter Schools
State Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) and City Council member Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) will join parents and other local leaders to celebrate Brooklyn’s Public Charter schools today.
At the event, the group will celebrate the impact of charter schools on Brooklyn’s communities and families will demand education equality for every student. Additionally, the group will stand in support of undocumented students and will encourage attendees to support recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The first Brooklyn charter school opened its doors in 2000. Today, Brooklyn’s charter schools serve more than 43,000 students, with a focus on the borough’s highest need students and communities. Yet over 10,000 Brooklyn students remain stuck on public charter school waiting lists, along with over 37,000 other students citywide.
The event is slated for 9 a.m., today, Oct. 18, at Cadman Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn.
Walker Joins the MIT Mel King Fellowship Program
Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Brownsville) alongside other elected officials joined the 2017-2018 MIT Fellowship Program class last month.
The MIT Fellowship Program is an initiative that selects elected officials from Brooklyn to go to Spain as a MIT-CoLab Mel King Fellow.Walker was one of 13 elected officials chosen for the 12-month program which focuses on ways to advance equitable, sustainable, and inclusive local economies. The fellows examined Models of Community Planning and Development that advance urban sustainability and looked at Economic development approaches that have economically stabilized poor urban regions.
Additionally, as part of the program, Walker will explore successful policies and institutional tools that the Mondragon region in Spain has used to restructure its local economy to reach its success to date. The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation is a world-renowned federation based in Spain’s Basque region. It is one of the most successful models of equitable regional economic development in the world.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to discuss with the leaders of the Mondragon Community and learn approaches to micro-business development and business acceleration and product development. Programs such as the MIT CoLab Mel King Fellow allow me to intake new ways to enhance our district and the businesses in the community,” said Walker.
Colton Visits MS Students, Applauds Their Hard Work & Effort Ahead Of Exam Season
Assemblyman William Colton (D-Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) visited A+ Academy in Bensonhurst to congratulate students on their hard work and wish them good luck on the upcoming Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) last week.
The trip is an annual tradition for Colton, who goes around the school going from classroom to classroom with Principal Sherry, greeting students and encouraging them to do their best on the upcoming exams. NYC students in grades 8 or 9 are required to take the SHST in order to be admitted into a specialized high school.
Colton hopes that by visiting students with messages of encouragement, they will rely on faith in their hard work to carry them through the exam process that will be conducted later this week. A majority of students at A+ Academy have began studying for the SHSAT in July and many hope of gaining admission into Stuyvesant High School or another specialized school.
One student, when asked if he was nervous for the exam, voiced his concern that he will not do well on the exam and that all his studying would be pointless. Colton told the young man that even if students are not admitted due to limited seats, they should know that they have tried their best and that is courageous and worthwhile.
“The determination and perseverance that they have acquired through intensive study for the SHSAT will serve them in future endeavors. Studying hard is about trying one’s best. That is something the teachers and staff at A+ Academy also stress to their students to ensure that they take care of themselves and their mental health,” said Colton.
William’s Applauds Passage Of Construction Site Safety Violations Bill
City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood), Deputy Leader and Chair of Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee, applauded the passage of a new bill that puts in place more severe fines for safety violations on construction sites, today.
The bill, Intro 1404-A, passed unanimously in the City Council on Tuesday and will double fines imposed for ‘Immediately Hazardous’ violations from $1,000 to $2,000 as well as impose a minimum fine of $1,000 for ‘Major Violations.’ Previously, there had not been a minimum penalty set for that category of safety infraction.
The bill functions as a part of the wide ranging Construction Safety Act, a package of 21 bills designed to improve safety for workers on job sites. To date, 11 of the bills have passed, with four passing yesterday.The 21 bill package is aimed at correcting what is seen as an eroding culture of safety in the construction industry.
Recent deaths on construction sites, including two on Sept. 22, have highlighted the need to change construction safety culture. By increasing the fines imposed for safety violations, the City Council seeks to implore developers and builders to take safety violations seriously.
“Too often, those at the top view the penalties for code violations as simply ‘the cost of doing business.’ But as we have seen, these violations can lead to a tragic, human cost in injury and even death. Correcting this dangerous ambivalence toward violations requires making penalties more severe- this bill double the fines for immediately hazardous violations and creates a minimum for major violations. This key piece of the Construction Safety Act will help to change the eroded culture of safety in the construction industry,” said Williams.