Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move May 15, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Cumbo Announces Stroud Playground Ribbon Cutting

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

Majority Leader City Council member Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights) yesterday announced the upcoming ribbon-cutting for the Elijah G. Stroud Playground.

The 1.19 square foot playground underwent a $5 million face-lift in February, after breaking ground September 2017. The new recreational space will feature a new track, basketball and handball courts, new swings and play areas for children of all ages, according to the Bklyner. The opening will also include a roller skating and a film screening event.

Stroud playground and the adjacent schools, P.S. 316 (Elijah G. Stroud Elementary School) and M.S. 353, are named after slain Police Officer Elijah J. Stroud. The officer, who patrolled the area, died in the line of duty in 1972.

The opening comes a little less than two months after students at the adjacent schools saw an unusual amount of shelter-ins due to gun-related instances. Following community outcry, law enforcement beefed up security and placed additional lighting in the area.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cumbo funded the renovation project while Prospect Alliance designed the playground. 

The event is slated for 2 p.m., Friday, May 17, at Park Place (between Washington & Classon Avenue) in Fort Greene.

Kavanagh, Myrie Host Joint Event On Rent & Tenant Protection Laws

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Brian Kavanagh
State Senator Brian Kavanagh

State Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Northern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan), Senate Housing Committee Chair, and Zellnor Myrie (D-Central Brooklyn) this week will rally together with housing advocates to call for comprehensive rent Reform ahead of a State Senate Housing Committee Public Hearing.

At the event, the group will discuss the need to reform rent laws and increase tenant protections in their districts and across the state.

The state lawmakers are inviting tenants from a variety of housing backgrounds to speak about their experience and their vision for the future of rent laws in New York. The event comes as rent laws are expected to expire next month.

The rally will be followed by the Senate Housing Committee public hearing across the street at Medgar Evers College (1650 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225) from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Senate is slated to hold two more public hearings on the topic next week in Albany and Newburgh as rent law discussions continue ahead of legislation renewal in June.

The event is slated for 11 a.m., Thursday, May 16, at Ebbets Field Apartments, 1720 Bedford Avenue in Flatbush.

Gounardes Bill Expanding Veteran Benefits Passes State Senate

State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes

State Senator Andrew Gounardes’ (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend) legislation expanding credits for civil service appointments passed the New York State Senate yesterday as part of a historic benefits package.

The bill allows anyone who served in the armed forces to receive credits for civil service appointments and promotions. Currently, the state only provides additional credits for veterans who served during wartime. Gounardes’s bill will provide parity among all armed force veterans.

In addition to Senator Gounardes’ credit expansion, the Senator voted for a host of other veteran benefits bills as part of his commitment to the men and women who serve in the armed forces. Included in the legislative package are bills that will:

  • Provide active duty personnel with property tax exemption.
  •  Increase the Alternative Veterans Real Property tax exemption when two qualifying veterans reside in the same household.
  • Allow full-time undergraduate students enrolled at state-operated institutions will be able to receive academic credit for their military service or training.
  • Provide military voters the opportunity to vote in school district elections by allowing them to return their absentee ballot by postal mail.

The legislation was passed on the annual 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day, which highlights the contributions made by the men and women of the North Country’s military installation to the region and state.

“We must honor all the brave men and women who served in our military and choose to continue their public service by working in government. Passing this constitutional amendment will eliminate the barriers that help some veterans but hold others back. We should reward their service and give them every opportunity and benefit we can to help them succeed when they come home,” said Gounardes.

Montgomery Honors Brooklynite With 2019 Women of Distinction

Senator Velmanette Montgomery photographed by tracy collins
Senator Velmanette Montgomery

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Gowanus, Park Slope) recently honored lifetime Brooklyn resident, Bessie R. Edwards as her 2019 Women of Distinction.

Edwards is a lifetime resident of Brooklyn, born in Bedford-Stuyvesant and has made a tremendous impact on her community. With an interest in community issues, education and professional development, Edwards reinvented herself to match her evolving interests and workforce needs. She began her professional career as a clerical skills teacher for OIC, a jobs training program, and within just a few months, she saw how people’s outlook on life turned from hopelessness to life with a future.

Edwards co-founded Pizzazz Meeting and Events Planning Group, a special events management company that planned non-profit and corporate conferences and events throughout the United States. Then, to share her entrepreneurial experiences, she created a course in Special Events Planning, serving as an adjunct at New York University and Kingsborough Community College.

Additionally, Edwards has been a real estate professional since 2000 and founded B.R. Edwards Associates Real Estate (BREA), an independent boutique real estate firm specializing in residential, condos, coops and investment sales in 2006. She is past president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Real Estate Board, where she served from 2011-2013 and remains an active member of the board to this day.   

Edwards is also one of the founding board members and Executive Director of Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium (CBJC) where she works to preserve jazz as an art form through the development of audiences and the nurturing of institutions and individuals throughout Brooklyn. This year CBJC is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a renewed purpose to effect Jazz as well as other cultural expressions: dance, theater, visual arts, comedy, and poetry  by engaging young people and getting music into the schools. She is a member of the Age Friendly Advisory Committee of Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, and a Board member of Brooklyn Neighborhood Housing Services, President of the New York Club at Bridge Street AWME Church and is active in Bedford Stuyvesant community organizations.

“Bessie Edwards is a longtime sister, friend, constituent and community leader. She is absolutely committed to serving the needs of the community and meets people where they are. It has been an honor to work with her on so many issues over the years,” said Montgomery.

AM Williams Celebrates Mother’s Day With Seniors

Assemblymember Jaime R. Williams
Assemblymember Jaime R. Williams

Assembly Member Jaime Williams (D-Canarsie, Georgetown, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Bergen Beach, Gerritsen Beach) last weekend spent some time visiting Senior Center’s in her district in honor of Mother’s Day.

Williams brought gifts and cheer for special day to attendees of the JASA Senior Center, the Mill Basin Senior Center, Glenwood Houses, and the Midwood Senior Center. All of the individuals in attendance received wonderful gift bags and walked away with a special appreciation for the importance of motherhood and parental figures in general.

“We must cherish those people in our life that have helped us overcome obstacles or even discover strength we did not know we have, it may not a mother per s but a person who cares  and that when all is said and done the true definition of a mother.”, remarked Williams.

Rose Applauds Increase In House Funding For Opioid Treatment & Prevention

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

Congressman Max Rose (D-Staten Island, South Brooklyn) applauded the recent approval of the House Committee on Appropriations passage of legislation to increase funding for opioid treatment and prevention through funding the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The legislation passed by the House Committee on Appropriations funds SAMHSA at $5.9 billion, $115 million above the current funding and $179 million above the President’s budget request. The funding includes $3.8 billion for substance use treatment, an increase of $14 million, including continued funding for opioid prevention and treatment, and three new behavioral health programs to enhance treatment efforts; and $212 million for substance abuse prevention, an increase of $7 million above current funding.

SAMHSA plays a critical role in fighting the opioid epidemic through funding and grant programs to state and local governments, and other institutions to help ensure Americans receive the prevention, treatment, and recovery services they need.

Rose, a member of the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction, has made combating the opioid epidemic and raising awareness around the disease of addiction a top priority. In light of the dramatic rise in devastating fentanyl overdose deaths, Rose introduced the bipartisan Fentanyl Sanctions Act that would apply pressure on the Chinese government to honor their commitment to make all fentanyl illegal and provide the United States with more tools and resources to go after illicit traffickers in China, Mexico, and other countries.

“Increasing funding for critical treatment and prevention efforts is essential, but we also have to stop the supply of fentanyl coming from China, increase awareness and education programs, and encourage coordination between law enforcement, healthcare, and local institutions. Beating this public health crisis will truly take a coordinated and comprehensive approach—but I have hope we can get this done, because frankly, we have no other choice,” said Rose.

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