Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move April 11, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Lander Releases Desegregating NYC Progress Report

City Council Member Brad Lander

City Council Member Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) yesterday issued a “very modest” one-year progress report identifying 12 concrete steps New York City could take toward integration, to build a more inclusive, multiracial democracy.

The report comes a year after Lander issued Desegregating NYC: 12 Steps Toward a More Inclusive City, on the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, New York City.

According to the report the city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development’s (HPD) Where We Live NYC fair-housing planning process, the Department of Education’s (DOE) School Diversity Advisory Group’s Making the Grade report, and School District 15’s middle-school integration plan reflect more attention to issues of segregation in public policy than New York City has seen in decades.

However, no step received more than 25% completion, and many steps received 10% or less towards completion of the goal. Perhaps more important, there is not yet evidence of a meaningful commitment to the effort by Mayor de Blasio himself, or by a deputy mayor or senior leaders at City Hall.

As a result, agencies lack a strong mandate or structure to align their efforts. Without high-level City Hall leadership and coordination, it will not be possible for these first steps to grow into a more transformative effort to integrate a segregated city, according to the report.  

“For the past 50 years, we have ignored the cancerous segregation of our neighborhoods and our schools,” said Lander. “Thanks to persistent organizing by activists, and agency leadership at HPD and DOE, we’ve begun to see some halting but meaningful steps to reckon with our city’s segregation, and to start to plan, modestly, for fair housing and school integration. If these steps allow us the illusion of progress, they are worthless. But if they give us courage to do much more, they could be a good start.”

Gounardes Lobbies For More MTA Transparency To The Local Community Boards

Andrew Gounardes
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) yesterday lobbied for Senate bill S3610, requiring the MTA to notify community boards of disruptions in transit service.

Gounardes co-sponsored the measure and represents a district often considered a mass transit desert, with such subway lines as the R train often running on delays.

“Reductions in transit service have the potential to severely disrupt the Iives of thousands of commuters reliant on public transportation to travel to school, work, medical appointments, and more. Community boards serve as a crucial mediator between their districts and various levels of city government and are fundamental in helping to disseminate information and responding to fallout when cuts are made,” said Gounardes.

“It is vital that the MTA be compelled to relay information about impending service issues to our community boards in a timely and consistent manner. This piece of legislation is a critical step forward, demanding that the MTA finally take its accountability to riders seriously,” he added.

Weinstein Announces $150K For Haitian-Americans United For Progress

Helene Weinstein
Assemblymember Helene Weinstein

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Sheepshead Bay, Flatlands, East Flatbush, Midwood and Canarsie), Chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, yesterday announced the inclusion of $150K in Legal Service Assistance for Haitian-Americans United for Progress (HAUP).

HAUP a community-based organization with offices in Brooklyn and Queens, is dedicated to empowering and serving New York’s immigrant community. The money was included as part of the Civil Legal Services Funding portion of the FY19-20 State Budget. This grant was also strongly supported by, among others, Assemblymembers Clyde Vanel, Alicia Hyndman, Michaelle Solages, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Ellen Jaffee, Mathylde Frontus, and Rodneyse Bichotte.

Over the years, HAUP has joined and led campaigns on behalf of Haitian refugees and immigrants, which include securing shelter, food, clothing, employment, and other types of support. But, with the Trump administration’s policies against immigrants, HAUP has added over 2,000 new cases to their legal roster. Ninety percent of these clients are Caribbean immigrants seeking to adjust their status to that of legal permanent resident or petitioning for relatives.

“Now more than ever, we need to make sure that our immigrant populations are able to obtain culturally sensitive representation,” said Weinstein. “These funds will allow HAUP to deliver robust legal assistance, and help their clients – many of whom speak English as a second language – understand their options. HAUP is uniquely equipped to assist Haitians with Temporary Protection Status, given its language and cultural sensitivity, expert knowledge of country conditions and its reputation as an experienced and trusted community champion.”

Brannan Named Chair Of Resiliency & Waterfronts Committee

Justin Brannan
City Council Member Justin Brannan

City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst) yesterday saw Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) appoint him chair of the Council’s Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts.

The newly created committee will take a deep dive into efforts to make New York City more resilient in the face of climate change.

“I intend to hold oversight hearings on the administration’s current climate resiliency efforts across the five boroughs. These days you hear a lot about Lower Manhattan but not much about Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Meanwhile, seven years after the worst natural disaster in the city’s history, many on Staten Island are still recovering and rebuilding,” said Brannan.

“ We are a city of waterfronts – and of the five boroughs, four of them are islands. This committee will be about investigating what the city has – and has not – done to protect New Yorkers for when the next Sandy-like storm strikes our shores. We will be laser-focused on our city’s ability to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to events and trends related to climate change,” he added.

Brannan said he will also work with his colleagues on crafting responsible legislation that reduces the city’s carbon footprint while creating good-paying green jobs that will prepare the city as much as possible for the future because it’s not a matter of if but of when.