Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move May 18, 2018

News Site Brooklyn

Mosley Increases Access to Affordable Housing

Assemblyman Walter Mosley

Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) this week announced the Assembly passed a packet of legislation to address gaps in rent regulation and stop landlords from pricing residents out of their homes.

The legislation fights landlord harassment, prevents sharp rent increases due to repairs and gives tenants options to challenge their rents.

“Far too many tenants in my district have been victims of harassment by their landlords. It used to be that landlords would force tenants out to collect steep vacancy bonuses and push apartments out of rent regulation. The bills passed by the Assembly will expand the definition of harassment, prevent apartments from being deregulated and eliminate the vacancy bonus. These measures will help protect our rent regulated tenants who have suffered at the hands of landlord harassment for far too long,” said Mosley.

The Assembly also passed A. 1628, which Mosley sponsored. The bill standardizes the rental adjustment landlords are allow charge tenants for individual apartment improvements. It also requires landlords to provide documentation on how the increase was determined. Instead of paying more rent with no visible improvements, tenants will have information about improvements made, and rent increases will be capped.

“All people deserve to live in updated and functional apartments, and I understand why landlords may need to charge extra rent on occasion. But the rental adjustments landlords typically charge are far too high, leaving many tenants priced out of their homes in the names of repairs they do not always benefit from. My bill will standardize this practice, making it fair for everyone, and helping people stay in their homes,” said Mosley.

Ampry-Samuel, Perry, Hamilton Laud Cumo’s Vital Brooklyn Start

City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel
Assemblyman Nick Perry
State Sen. Jesse Hamilton

City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-Brownsville, East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant) Assembly Member Nick Perry (D-East Flatbush) and State Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) yesterday applauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s announced start of construction on a new student-designed playground on the Winthrop School campus in East Flatbush. 

The community playground which will include new play equipment, a multi-purpose field with running track, a full basketball court, gardens and planted areas, shade trees and benches, is part of Cumo’s Vital Brooklyn initiative announced last month. By 2020, the Vital Brooklyn initiative will transform eight playgrounds, renovate 22 community gardens, and improve four recreation centers in Central Brooklyn.

“Playgrounds, community gardens, parks, and open spaces represent a key part of quality of life in our communities.  Thanks to Governor Cuomo, working in partnership with colleagues and neighborhood residents, we are addressing significant needs that are critical to our wellness. I welcome this first playground and look forward to Vital Brooklyn’s holistic approach meaning healthier communities for all our families, friends, and neighbors,” said Hamilton.

Perry, chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus said with the groundbreaking the ambitious Vital Brooklyn Initiative begins to come to fruition, and show tangible results which will benefit the families of the community.

“It will be particularly satisfying, later this year, to come back to visit the school and join the children in using the beautiful outdoor space which they had a hand in designing. I salute Governor Cuomo, the Trust for Public Land, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, Principal Horton-Bell and all others who helped make this extraordinary day possible,” said Perry.

Ampry-Samuel thanked Cuomo, State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey and all of the partners for engaging a discussion and implementing immediate action that will benefit the wellness of the Brooklyn community.

“Far too long our neighborhoods have fallen in disrepair and have been forgotten. Through Governor Cuomo’s Vital Brooklyn Initiative we are rising and reaching new heights like never before. I am especially excited about the new and critical open space for our communities. Thank you especially to our students for your inspiring playground design as it is sure to be one of the many centerpieces for all to gather and celebrate our close knit and family oriented community,” said Ampry-Samuel.

Donovan Joins Bipartisan Taskforce For Combating Anti-Semitism

Congressman Dan Donovan

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) yesterday announced that he joined the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism.

The group brings together House members from both sides of the aisle to develop effective strategies to address anti-Semitism and promote tolerance worldwide.

“The rise of anti-Semitic acts and threats is alarming, and it’s our responsibility as a democratic society to address this dangerous trend. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism to fight hatred and bigotry and help better ensure Jewish communities across the nation are safe,” said Donovan.

The Taskforce educates members on the dangerous rise of anti-Semitic incidents and engages with the administration, foreign leaders and other stakeholders to put forth solutions to combat hate and intolerance. Additionally, the group promotes Holocaust remembrance and education initiatives.

In his first action on the taskforce, Donovan signed onto a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for the appointment of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department. This position, which is currently vacant, is responsible for leading important diplomatic efforts to fight anti-Semitism and bigotry.

Golden Celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month

State Sen. Marty Golden

State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Sunset Park, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach) yesterday announced his 16th Annual Asian Pacific Heritage Festival is coming this weekend.

The program, which is held in conjunction with May being the national celebration of Asian American Heritage Month, will include musical performances, the lion dance, and a martial art demonstration. A wide array of ethnic food, arts and crafts will be available as well.

“It is important that each year we celebrate as a community the month of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Millions of Americans living in Brooklyn trace their origins to nations in the Asian Pacific region and they have enriched our neighborhood, our City, State and Nation. I look forward to hosting this annual event that recognizes the many important contributions that Asian Pacific Americans have made to our community,” said Golden.

The event is slated for 12 noon, this Sunday, May 20 at Leif Ericson Park, 67th Street, between 8th Ave. and Fort Hamilton Parkway.

Johnson, Levin Host “Call the Mayor” Fair Fares Digital Day of Action

City Councilman Stephen Levin

City Council Member Stephen Levin (D-Northern Brooklyn) joined City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) and the city council yesterday hosted a digital day of action urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to include the Fair Fares proposal in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

Fair Fares is a campaign to distribute MetroCards to low-income New Yorkers at a reduced rate. Fair Fares has the support of 47 out of 51 Council Members, the majority of citywide elected officials and borough presidents and over 60 community organizations.

“We need to make New York City more affordable, and we can do that by reducing travel fares for low-income citizens. This digital day of action is a 21st century way to show support for this life-changing proposal. I thank my colleagues in the Council, the advocates and fellow elected officials for joining us in this movement and demanding the Mayor include Fair Fares in this year’s budget,” said Johnson.

“It’s a message so simple and common sense that it’s no surprise to see it resonating with New Yorkers. Fair Fares means giving greater access to transportation. And in our city, transportation is synonymous with opportunity. We can’t have one without the other. People don’t care about politics — they just want a system that works for everyone,” said Levin.

Reynoso Bill Protects Non-Profits With Yeger’s Support

City Councilman Antonio Reynoso
City Councilman Kalman Yeger

City Council Member Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg, Bushwick) yesterday joined with fellow council members and nonprofit advocates to rally for his bill, Intro 245, which will help to protect non-profits by providing exemptions from the tax lien sales list and requiring the city to better inform non-profits about how they can stay off in the future.

Each year, hundreds of non-profit organizations are included on the tax lien sales list as a result of unpaid tax and water bills. This debt is then sold to third party collectors. However, according to state law, nonprofit, charitable, and certain other social service organizations qualify for tax exempt status. But because of opaque and complicated tax exemption policies, many nonprofits have difficulty coming into compliance, or are simply unaware that they need to register for an exemption, and are therefore included in the city’s annual tax lien sale.

“It is time that we take legislative action to protect our non-profits,” said Reynoso. “Non-profit organizations are invaluable assets to our communities— they help to provide social services, build affordable housing, and offer religious sanctuary to residents. Yet often times, they are inhibited or shut down because of our arcane tax laws and debt they should not have even been charged.”

City Councilman Kalman Yeger (D-Boro Park, Flatbush, Midwood) is also a big supporter of the bill.

“I’m grateful to Council Member Reynoso for introducing this common-sense legislation to protect our community charities and houses of worship from bureaucratic bungling,” said Yeger. “While it is incredibly easy for a charity to lose its exempt status with the city’s Department of Finance, it is far too difficult to reclaim the status – even if the error is the city’s. This bill will protect our organizations from being forced into debt over taxes, which should have never been imposed in the first place. I urge my colleagues to join us in passing this important bill.”