Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move April 9, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

BP Adams Unveils Results of Participatory Budgeting Vote Focused On School Safety

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams  and the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP), a leading non-profit facilitator of participatory budgeting (PB), yesterday highlighted the growing success of PB in New York City by unveiling the results of the first-in-the-nation PB elections focused on school safety.

In the last few months, high school students at the Acorn/Gotham Campus in Crown Heights and John Jay Educational Campus in Park Slope got to decide how to spend more than $1 million on ways to make their schools more safe and supportive, including capital projects funded by $500,000 per campus from Adams’ Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget and $10,000 per campus in expense projects funded by their school administrations. Adams is the only elected official or agency head outside of the City Council to participate in PB, committing $6.1 million of capital funding to date to support PB processes citywide, including the first-such funding granted to his native community of Brownsville.

Additionally, for the first time, students were able to craft and vote on policy proposals to be implemented campus-wide that advanced school safety.

At Acorn/Gotham Campus, students voted to allocate $350,000 toward a new basketball court and $150,000 toward the renovation of a new all-gender bathroom, cited if possible at a location that is mutually used by both schools. Regarding expense projects on their ballot, winning votes went toward academic support services, bathroom supplies, games to “de-stress,” as well as a shared school event to be planned for the future. Students also approved two new policies, opening up clubs to the entire school campus and creating a campus safety council.

Students from John Jay Educational Campus elected to award $400,000 toward bathroom renovations and $100,000 for new filtered drinking fountains. The winning expense projects on their ballot were a career day, carnival block party, movie nights, and sports clubs. Additionally, like their counterparts at Acorn/Gotham Campus, their votes authorized new policies for campus-wide clubs and a campus safety council.

“My administration has continued to push the envelope in engaging Brooklynites, especially on young people, in having an active hand and voice on the decisions of their government. Principals did not make these decisions, nor did the administration at DOE. Students decided. It’s a very empowering feeling when you no longer feel as though someone is dictating to you, and it has a real impact on the future of a young person’s democratic participation as well as how they interact with their peers,” said Adams.

Myrie Announces Senate Committee Passage of Bill To Protect Minority Voters

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie

State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Central Brooklyn), Chair of Elections, yesterday  introduced and the Senate Elections committee passed, a law that will safeguard all New Yorkers’ right to make their voices heard at the ballot box.

The measure, Senate Bill S4032, ensures that any locality wishing to make changes to voting procedures must first clear it with the New York State Attorney General to ensure that the changes do not infringe on New Yorkers’ voting rights on the basis of race, color, language, or minority status.The bill, which has also passed in the Elections Committee (Walker A3420) of the New York State Assembly, and will codify into State Law a key provision of the federal Voting Rights Act that was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013.

In Shelby v. Holder (2013), qualifying jurisdictions no longer need to seek pre-clearance for changes to voting laws or policies. This has resulted in laws and policies restricting voting rights throughout the U.S. including Brooklyn where in just the past two years, Boards of Elections (BOE) have purged hundreds of thousands of voters from voter rolls and attempted to block interpreters from accessing poll sites, according to Myrie’s office.

The submission for pre-clearance approval must be made in writing and submitted to the AG’s Civil Rights Bureau, with a copy provided to the state board elections if the submission is made by a county board of elections. The NYS AG must indicate objections or approval of the submission within 60 days of receiving the submission.

“While the federal government has unleashed attacks on minority voting rights not seen since the civil rights era, New York is stepping up. Our communities will never see justice if they cannot count on their right to vote,” said Myrie.

Rose, Pushes For Increased Funding To Support NYC Counterterrorism Programs

Max Rose
U.S. Rep.-Elect Max Rose

Congressmen Max Rose (D-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) and Peter King (NY-3) joined by the entire New York City delegation, are leading a push to fully fund Homeland Security programs that support New York City.

The Representatives are specifically calling for:

  • $662 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative, compared to current funding level of $640 million, and $426 million requested in the Administration’s budget proposal;
  • $250 million for the Port Security and $250 million for Transit Security Programs, compared to current funding level of $100 million for each program, and $36 million requested in the Administration’s budget proposal for each program;
  • $562.9 million for the State Homeland Security Grant, compared to current funding level of $525 million, and $331 million requested in the Administration’s budget proposal;
  • $35 million for the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant, compared to current funding level of $10 million, and zero funding in the Administration’s budget proposal;
  • $50 million for the Presidential Residence Protection Grant, compared to current funding level of $41 million, and zero funding in the Administration’s budget proposal; and
  • $50 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which is part of the Urban Area Security Initiative listed above.

The push comes as the Trump Administration looks to cut $587 million from current homeland security spending, including $36 million that went to guarding his own building near the United Nations, according to the New York Daily News. The cuts were proposed as part of the White House spending plan released last month.

“We write to urge the committee to support full funding for programs critical to protecting America’s cities in the FY2020 Homeland Security appropriations bill. New York City continues to be the nation’s top target for terrorists seeking to inflict damage on the American people, as well as its economy and infrastructure. Prevention requires the collaboration of local agencies and federal partners to deter threats in an ever evolving landscape. Federal investment is a crucial component to the success of these efforts,” wrote the New York Representatives in a letter to committee leadership.

Joining Rose and King in this effort are New York Representatives Grace Meng, Jerrold Nadler, Kathleen Rice, Hakeem Jeffries, Adriano Espaillat, Thomas Suozzi, José Serrano, Gregory Meeks, Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velazquez, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Gounardes Kick-Offs “3 For Community,” Community Initiative

Andrew Gounardes
State Sen.-Elect Andrew Gounardes

State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend) launched a new community initiative, “3 for Community,” on April 6th at three events across southern Brooklyn.

The “3 for Community” initiative is derived from the idea that a community of individuals performing three acts of service, big or small, each week can make a measurable and lasting impact.

This past weekend, Senator Gounardes alongside more than 150 volunteers:

  • Scraped & painted 14 benches, 4 tables and 1 turtle water sprayer at Lenape Playground
  • Raked & bagged more than 100 bags of leaf litter & garbage
  • Pruned approximately 25 bushes along Shore Road Park

“Throughout my campaign I spoke about the notion of philoxenia, the act of kindness to one another, and that continues now as a State Senator with my initiative 3 for Community. It is the belief that if we all pledge to commit at least three acts of kindness every week we will become more connected as a community,” said Gounardes.

“I was overwhelmed by seeing the initial response from volunteers who showed up to those who committed to three acts of kindness on our website. Now we must carry it forward—this isn’t just one day, weekend or week, but a commitment that I’m asking of everyone to make every day,“ added Gounardes.