Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move May 21, 2018

News Site Brooklyn

Gillibrand, Velazquez Urge Senate To Pass Small Business Legislation

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, LES) will urge the U.S. Senate to pass bipartisan legislation, the Main Street Employee Ownership Act today.

The bill would support small businesses that invest in their workers and communities by transitioning to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) or a cooperative (co-op). Additionally, the measure would expand opportunities available to employee-owned business concerns through Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs, and for other purposes.

The legislation would give the SBA new authority and tools to achieve this goal, including the following:  
– Updating the agency’s lending practices to better serve employee-owned businesses
– Facilitating SBA lending to cooperative businesses
– Empowering the SBA to assist small business owners in converting their companies to    employee ownership

According to the duo, there are more than 2.3 million companies, employing one in six workers nationwide, with owners who are at or near retirement, including an estimated 181,370 businesses in New York employing 1.6 million workers. As these business owners retire, local economies could experience a massive shift that could trigger the closure of small businesses and loss of jobs and investment.

Companies that transition to employee ownership see an increase in productivity by 4 to 5 percent the year the business becomes employee-owned. Employee ownership also rewards workers, paying 5 to 12 percent more and with workers having 2.2 times more in retirement savings as well as greater job stability. Furthermore, employee ownership helps prevent layoffs and creates locally rooted jobs.

The event is slated for 10:30 a.m., today, May 21, at IceStone – Building 12, at 63 Flushing Avenue (enter at the Sands Street and Navy Street Security Gate) at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Carroll Applauds Passage of Tenant Protection Package

Assembly Member Robert Carroll

Assembly member Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) applauded passage of a legislation package aimed at protecting tenants and strengthening rent regulations in New York State last week.

Part of the package included Carroll’s bills, A. 6285 and A.9815, that strengthen the state’s rent regulation system. The first measure will provide the opportunity for landlords and tenants to work off the same clear and fair lease, ending the current preferential rent system; and the second, would prohibit landlords from collecting a 20 percent increase in rent upon turnover, addressing one of the struggles families face finding affordable housing, accelerated by the loss of rent-regulated properties.

These bills join a host of other bills passed in the Assembly this week, including A.08886-A and A.1628 which together would address increases in rent in response to improvements to properties, A.00268 which would cap rent increases for rent controlled units, A.4003 which would expand a tenant’s ability to challenge a rent increase, A.9816 which would help protect tenants against rent overcharges, A.7992 which would protect renters from landlords seeking to force rent regulated tenants out of their housing by creating unsafe conditions, and A.6967 which would ensure that if a tenant has to break a lease, only actual damages are recoverable.

“This legislative package creates protections against some of the most egregious landlord abuses, including reforming preferential rent practices and Major Capital Improvements, and strengthens protections for tenants, helping to secure affordable housing in New York State,” said Carroll.

CM Williams Celebrates Haitian Flag Day

City Councilmember Jumaane Williams

City Council member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood), whose district is home to a large and vibrant Haitian community, issued the following statement in celebration of Haitian Flag Day last Friday.  

On May 18, 1803, Haitian leader Jean Jacques Dessalines created the flag by taking France’s flag and eliminating the white center. He then had his goddaughter, Catherine Flon, sew together the blue and red for the official flag. The blue was taken to represent Haiti’s black citizens and the red the “gens de couleur,” which translates to “people of color.”

“I’m proud to represent District 45, which is home to a vibrant Haitian community. New York boasts the second largest population of Haitians outside of Haiti and Miami. For decades Haitian Americans have called Brooklyn home, and have made significant cultural and economic contributions to the borough.”

“This past year, the Haitian community has faced threats and vitriol from the tyranny and bigotry of the Trump administration. In ending TPS for Haitians, Trump and his enablers revealed their cruel and irrational xenophobia, and their desire to create an ‘other’ at the expense of human safety and basic decency. In January, when this President referred to Haiti and other nations with vulgarity, he made his hatred explicit. This kind of callous, deliberate disregard for the well-being of hard-working immigrants, this disdain for our fellow human beings, is what we’ve come to expect from Donald Trump, and I will not stand for it. The vibrant Haitian community living in the United States will not stand for it, and their neighbors and communities will not stand for it.”

“Haitian Flag Day is a celebration of the pride, the perseverance, and the independence of the Haitian people. Throughout history, Haitians have faced persecution, prejudice, and xenophobia. Haiti’s national slogan proudly proclaims ‘L’Union Fait La Force,’ which means in unity there is strength. Let that message of unity be a reminder for us all to work together towards a common goal.”

“Map toujou kanpe avèk frè a sè Ayisyen mwen (I will always stand with my Haitian brothers and sisters).”

Donovan Mourns Loss of Students In Texas School Shooting

Congressman Dan Donovan

Congressman Dan Donovan (R-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) mourned for the loss of student lives that were taken during the Texas school shooting over the weekend.

On May 18, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, walked into a Santa Fe High School with a .38 revolver tucked under a trench coat and opened fire on the unsuspecting campus. Pagourtzis shot and killed 10 people including 8 students and 2 teachers in the rampage. The shooting comes just 3 months after the shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead.

Last month, Donovan voted to pass the Stop School Violence Act, which reauthorizes, modifies, and expands a Department of Justice program to award grants to state and local governments for improvements to school security.

“This morning, our nation suffered yet another tragedy at a school. As a father, my heart goes out to the families affected by today’s violence. Schools are supposed to be safe, welcoming environments for students to learn and grow; instead, parents are concerned when they drop a son or daughter off in the morning,” said Donovan.

“As we wait for more details to emerge about what happened in Texas, it’s clear that school safety requires urgent attention. I recently convened a panel of homeland security experts and New York City education officials to discuss local strategies to keep our kids safe, and I’m committed to implementing security ideas from industry experts,” added Donovan.

Colton To Honor Veterans, Launches Outreach Project

Assembly Member William Colton

Assembly member William Colton (D-Bath Beach, Gravesend, Bensonhurst) will join with his constituents in honoring Veterans as Memorial day approaches this week.

Colton will host a celebration in remembrance and honor of all veterans and servicemen and women this week. The event will feature guest speaker City Council member Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Midwood) chairman of the NYC Council Committee on Veterans.

Colton will also use the event to launch his outreach drive in his district office to provide information and assistance to veterans applying for benefits that they are entitled to receive, starting on Wednesday.

“We need to never forget those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the price of our freedoms. Only with the continued vigilance of our veterans will we continue to flourish,” said Colton.

“It is unfortunate that veterans often do not know about the services available or get the support that they deserve. I dedicate myself and my office to helping rectify that reprehensible situation and make their lives better in any way possible,” added Colton.

The event is slated for 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 23, at 29 Bay 25th Street in Bensonhurst.

Eugene Hosts Co-Naming Ceremony For Former Teacher, Community Activist

City Councilmember Mathieu Eugene Photo by Phoebe Taylor Vuolo

City Council member Mathieu Eugene (D-Prospect Park Lefferts Garden, Flatbush, Ditmas Park) hosted the co-naming ceremony in honor of a local teacher and community activist, Jessie Streich-Kest, over the weekend.

On Saturday, Eugene unveiled the “Jessie Streich-Kest Way” sign at the northeast corner of Argyle Road between Albemarle and Church Avenue.

Jessie Streich-Kest, was a young teacher and activist who lost her life in a tragic accident during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Ms. Kest, a graduate of Edward R. Murrow High School, pursued a career in education and became a strong advocate for her students at the Bushwick School for Social Justice, as well as a supporter of animal rights.

“Jessie Streich-Kest was a remarkable young woman, someone who exhibited such a strong passion and activism for causes that she believed in. Her legacy, which has been shaped through the support of her family, is one that will live on in the community for years to come. It is a great honor for me to join those who knew her best as we celebrate the unveiling of Jessie Streich-Kest Way,” said Eugene.