Brooklyn Lawamkers On The Move June 11, 2018

News Site Brooklyn

Wright, Montgomery Pass Construction Notification Bill

Assemblywoman-elect Tremaine Wright
Senator Velmanette Montgomery photographed by tracy collins
Senator Velmanette Montgomery

Assembly member Tremaine Wright (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Boerum Hill, Sunset Park) applauded passage of their Construction Notification Bill (A5823-B/S4519-A) last week in the state legislature.

The measure will require the New York City Department of Buildings (NYC DOB) to provide written notification to adjoining property owners when an application for approval of construction is submitted to NYC DOB. The legislation also requires NYC DOB to provide proof of such permit and a copy of insurance to owners of adjoining property thirty days before construction, or demolition work begins except in the event that emergency work is authorized.

The bill was first introduced after a building collapse in the community several years ago in which a lack of safety precautions during a building renovation led to multiple injuries and over a dozen homeless individuals. the Prior notification required by this legislation could have prevented the incident from occurring because tenants would have been able to alert the contractors about the potential threats from the visible vertical cracks to the building, present at the time of the collapse.

“This legislation has been a long time coming! In light of the record construction boom taking place in Brooklyn and New York City, this win will help to safeguard our neighbors and strengthen our communities,” said Wright.

“This is such a win for New York City residents and especially homeowners in our districts. As our neighborhoods change we have seen a major increase in construction and homes are being gut renovated and flipped every day,” said Montgomery.

Colton Demands NYC Schools Head Apologize For Ethnically Sensitive Comments

Assembly Member William Colton
Democratic District Leader Nancy Tong

Assemblyman William Colton (D-Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend) and District Leader Nancy Tong (47th AD) called out NYC School Chancellor Richard Carranza for his divisive statements regarding his agreement with the Mayor’s plan to eliminate the Specialized High School Admissions (SHSAT) test last week.

Carranza’s statement last week in response to claims that the proposed plan to increase diversity will harm a particular ethnic group, was “I just don’t buy into the narrative that any one ethnic group owns admission to these schools. Either we believe the kids – black kids and brown kids – can’t compete, or there’s something wrong with the system that’s not casting a wide enough net.”

The Asian American community in particular has been pushing back against the plan they feel would take away academic opportunities for their children. Currently, the eight SHS enroll 15,540 students, of which an overwhelming majority are Asian. According to city data, SHS student population is 62% Asian, 24% white, 6% Latino and 4% black.

Additionally, the duo are calling for an emergency meeting in the 47th AD to devise a plan to save specialized high schools and improve education for all students in NYC.

“Rather than acknowledging that the DOE has failed its obligation to provide a quality education to prepare all children, including those in poorer neighborhoods, to compete in objective academic tests, such as the SHSAT, he has joined in a political scheme to draw attention away from these failings and to pit one group of children against another. He should apologize, the irony that he is disrespecting one community in the name of diversity is lost on him,” said Colton.

“Seats in these schools are not owned, they are earned by hard work and achievement. Lowering the standards of admission for any reason defeats the purpose of specialized schools entirely,” said Tong.

The event is slated for 11 a.m., Saturday, June 16, at  29 Bay 25th Street (between 86th Street & Benson Avenue) in Bensonhurst.

Menchaca Demands City Expand Legal Aid To All Immigrants

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

City Council member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) Chair, Committee on Immigration, is demanding Mayor Bill de Blasio change a city policy to provide legal assistance to all individuals and immigrants.

In a letter sent to de Blasio last week, Menchaca called for fairness and equity in City funded services, in response to the City’s policy of preventing any immigrant convicted of a crime from receiving access to free legal counseling. The de Blasio administration announced the policy back in December, defending the measure by saying the city’s finite resources for legal help require narrowing down the kid of people who can access them, according to Politico.

Under current law, low-income people in immigration detention do not have a right to an attorney if they can’t afford one. Studies have found that 97% of detained immigrants without legal representation are unsuccessful in challenging their deportation. Access to counsel, on the other hand, can improve the chance of winning a deportation case by as much as 1000%.

New York City already mandates universal appointment of counsel in Family Court and Housing Court. Appointed counsel in those courts is based on financial need, not on a person’s criminal record.

“Let’s be clear: under Mayor De Blasio, not all NY immigrants have access to justice. He is restricting due process by his policy to exclude immigrants with certain convictions from qualifying for presentation through the city’s legal defense programs. Our legal defense programs do not determine who gets to stay in the country and who doesn’t. Instead our publicly funded programs help all immigrants understand their rights. Stripping immigrants out of their due process only fuels Trump’s deportation machine. We must restore our legal defense programs so we can protect due process for all New Yorkers,” added Menchaca.

Brooklyn Electeds, New York Delegation Meet with Deputy Postmaster General

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Congress members Yvette Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Brownsville, Sheepshead Bay) alongside Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, Lower Manhattan) and other members of the New York City Congressional Delegation met with the United States Postal Service (USPS) Deputy Postmaster General last week to discuss ongoing postal issues.

Democratic District Leader Geoffrey Davis (Crown Heights) first brought up this issue of declining postal service last year and has long been lobbying for Brooklyn’s Congressional delegation get involved.

The meeting with USPS Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman featured a discussion on the systemic issues plaguing the USPS including delivery, efficiency, and service. The delegation also expressed their concerns over suspension of mail service, misdelivered and in some cases, stolen mail throughout the city.

The delegation sent a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan back in February calling for a detailed course of action to mitigate the multitude of ongoing postal issues facing several communities across New York City. Clarke led the effort in reaching out to Brennan in a letter stating, “Delivery methods have not proved a dependable means of communication for our residents and the small businesses that rely on this service. As part of our duty to ensure that our constituents are attended to and that their needs are met, we write to express our deep concerns over the fragmentation of this important public service.”

“I also specifically raised concerns about unique issues faced by residents of affordable housing buildings. Our constituents expect their government to meet their needs and it is our duty as their representatives to hold any and all splintered government agencies accountable,” said Clarke.

“Residents of New York and many of our local small businesses have for too long suffered from postal delivery that is slow and characterized by poor customer service.  I’ll continue working with my colleagues to see these issues remedied and postal service improved in these communities,” said Velazquez.