Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move May 20, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

BP Adams Calls On State For Extended Rent Regulation, Expanded Tenant Protections

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams last week submitted testimony to the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development calling for an extension of the city’s rent regulations and an expansion of tenant protections.

Adams’ testimony, given as part of a larger public hearing last Friday, focused on an array of policy recommendations including partnering with his administration on Adams’ ongoing effort to secure the State’s full cooperation and collaboration on a real-time, transparency tracking mechanism of rent-regulated housing stock. At the hearing, Adams’ noted that a CompStat-like system for affordable housing “could visualize in real time all the available data impacting the potential for evictions and vacancies, which could then guide investigators and lawyers in triaging buildings at risk.”

The Borough President’s testimony also highlighted several proposals that he would like to see advanced by the State Legislature, including an end to the preferential rent and vacancy decontrol loopholes, the passage of “good cause” eviction legislation, the creation of the Home Stability Support (HSS) rent supplement, and the reform of the look-back rule for investigating rent overcharge complaints.

Adams is also calling on the committee to continue to examine how rent-burdened households can get unencumbered in the affordable housing lottery process, as well as to prioritize repeal of the Urstadt Law and restore home rule over rent regulation laws to New York City.

“We have a crisis of affordability at a wide range of levels, from extremely low to middle income, and we have a responsibility to solve the crisis for every level. It is imperative that we continue to maintain and strengthen our rent regulation laws so we do not lose the millions of existing affordable housing units, which would further extend the loss of families being displaced. Advancing legislation and policies being heard today are integral in ensuring families can remain in their affordable housing, and also make certain that more affordable housing is added to our growing city,” said Adams.

Reynoso, Speaker Demand $4.2 M For Litter Basket Collection In FY 2020 Budget

Antonio Reynoso
City Council Member Antonio Reynoso

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) and Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg, Bushwick), Sanitation & Solid Waste Management Committee Chair, rallied together on Saturday to demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio restore $4.2 million in funding for extra litter basket collection in the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget.

The group of lawmakers are looking to continue the funding of 14,000 additional trash pick-ups per week by the Sanitation Department (DSNY), that were funded in FY 2019 and have contributed to significantly cleaner streets. Nearly 96 percent of streets are rated acceptably clean this fiscal year, up from about 95 percent the previous year, according to the Department of Sanitation’s (DSN) testimony from the Council’s preliminary budget hearings.

The Mayor is looking to reverse the citywide improvement, which the Administration did not include in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

Lowest street cleaning rating per scorecard monthly ratings by Borough and Community Board – 2019 (Average as of April of the current fiscal year). The Scorecard Inspection program measures and reports on street and sidewalk cleanliness across the city’s five boroughs:

1.)    Community Board 3 in Brooklyn at 88.1 percent (CMs Levin, Ampry-Samuel, Cumbo)

2.)    Community Board 12 in Brooklyn at 88.8 percent (CMs Eugene, Lander, Menchaca, Yeger)

3.)    Community Board 1 in Brooklyn at 89.4 percent (CMs Levin, Reynoso)

4.)    Community Board 3  in the Bronx at 90 percent (CMs Salamanca, Gibson)

5.)    Community Board  9 in Brooklyn at 91.7 percent (CMs Cumbo, Eugene, Ampry-Samuel)

6.)    Community Board 1 in the Bronx at 91.9 percent (CMs Salamanca, Ayala)

7.)    Community Board 16 in Brooklyn at 91.8 percent (CMs Barron, Samuel, Espinal)

8.)    Community Board 12 in Manhattan at 92 percent (CMs Rodriguez, Levine)

9.)    Community Board 4 in the Bronx at 92.1 percent (CMs Gibson, Ayala, Salamanca, Torres)

10.)  Community Board 5 in Brooklyn at 92.3 percent (CM Espinal, Barron)

“Our committee is constantly fielding complaints from New Yorkers that there is too much trash on the streets. The solution is simple: More litter basket collection. Yet Mayor de Blasio says the city can’t afford to empty them as often as they do. The City Council knows the city can’t afford not to. We will fight to have this $4.2 million restored to the budget,” said Reynoso.

Cornegy To Call For Greater Mental Health Awareness, Access & Care Coordination

City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr

City Council member Robert Cornegy, Jr. (D-Northern Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant) alongside clinicians, service providers, advocates, and community residents to launch a white paper entitled, “Mental Health is Public Health,” today.  

“Mental Health is Public Health” aims to advance three goals:

Goal #1: Facilitate Access to Care

  • Rationale: Macro-level and micro-level barriers to access mental health treatment in our district can be addressed by raising awareness and weaving peer support into the fabric of the community.
  • Recommendations:
    • Train front-line people in the community to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness and connect individuals with primary care
    • Connect members of the community with culturally competent care
    • Create non-traditional points of access for mental health care
    • Refine efforts of, welcome, and hold accountable authorities on NYC Care initiative

Goal #2: Bolster Early Intervention and Community Involvement

  • Rationale: Pioneer a District-wide culture shift around mental health to abolish stigma and promote mental wellness
  • Recommendations:
    • Infuse the values of ThriveNYC in local agencies where our constituents seek services by organizing Thrive Talks
    • Improve mental health literacy in our constituent by offering Mental Health First Aid trainings at our district office

Goal #3: Improve Police Involvement and Response

  • Rationale: Limit unnecessary police involvement; reduce the criminalization of mental illness
  • Recommendations:
    • Ensure that first responders are informed of partnering providers of mental health services by  favoring the use of 1-888-NYC-Well Crisis Mobile Teams over the 911 system
    • Establish a permanent Health Engagement & Assessment team (HEAT) and co-response team at the 81st, 77th and 79th precincts

May is observed nationally as Mental Health Awareness Month since 1949. The month focuses on educating and de-stigmatizing mental health needs across all communities and backgrounds.

The event is slated for 10 a.m., today, May 20, at Brooklyn Borough Hall, Rotunda, 209 Joralemon Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

Treyger, Reynoso Call On City To Continue Funding Extended Learning Time

City Councilman Mark Treyger
Antonio Reynoso
City Council Member Antonio Reynoso

City Council members Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst) and Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg, Bushwick) today will urge Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor Richard Carranza to continue funding for Extended Learning Time (ELT).

At designated Renewal and Rise Community Schools throughout New York City, ELT is used to create robust, additional learning and enrichment opportunities for students either throughout the school day or as part of an extended day.

School faculty and students from M.S. 50, a Community School located in Reynoso’s district, has received ELT funding for the past four years, and uses the funding to extend their school day until 4pm, with time dedicated to many literacy development and extracurricular opportunities. The initiative has boosted the school’s enrollment and contributed to their improvement from a Renewal to a Rise school.

In early May, schools were notified that ELT funding would not be renewed in the FY 2020 budget.

The event is slated for 9 a.m., today, May 20, on the Steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

Persaud Brings Accessible Video Games To People with Disabilities

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

State Senator Roxanne Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill, Starrett City) held her inaugural G.A.M.E. (Game Accessibility Means Equality) Day with AbleGamers last week at Brookdale Hospital, as part of an initiative to bring video games to people with disabilities.

AbleGamers is a leading charity that advocates for the power of video games as a means to breaking down social barriers for people with disabilities. The organization brought the latest video-game related accessibility technologies to the community so those with disabilities could experience gaming despite their physical limitations.

Also present at the event was the team from NBA 2K League’s Knicks Gaming, a group of professional competitive gamers and the inaugural 2018 NBA 2K League champions.

“Video games are a mainstream form of entertainment today, so making them more accessible is important. They are not only enjoyable but also a beneficial activity from which players can derive a sense of well-being,” said Persaud.

“For those who cannot leave their homes, video games are a way to go on adventures without going anywhere, and they allow players to be on an equal playing field, regardless of their disabilities. My goal is to spotlight the fact that disability does not equal inability and shine more awareness on how accessibility should be considered in all endeavors, including video games,” added Persaud.

Rose’s Bill to Help Law Enforcement Address Threat of Untraceable ‘Ghost Guns’ Passes Committee

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

Congressman Max Rose’s (D-Staten Island, South Brooklyn) legislation aimed at cracking down on ghost guns by providing local law enforcement with annual updates on the threat posed by the availability of these weapons passed the House Committee on Homeland Security last Wednesday.

Rose’s legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis to develop and disseminate an annual terrorism threat assessment regarding the availability of ghost guns with state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials. Ghost guns—unregistered, untraceable weapons sold and assembled without a serial number—present a homeland security challenge. These weapons are sold or made in forms that evade existing federal restrictions on the sale and purchase of firearms, leaving the door open for terrorists and other bad actors to get their hands on guns—ranging from small pistols to AR-15s—and elude detection when law enforcement officials attempt to trace the weapon.

Currently City lawmakers are looking to ban the possession of the unfinished lower gun frames or receivers of firearms, which are then used to create the untraceable weapons. According to Rose, ghost guns not only pose a challenge on the front end, enabling prohibited buyers to purchase deadly weapons with just a few clicks online, but also on the back end, hamstringing law enforcement’s ability to investigate crimes committed with untraceable weapons.

The wide availability of ghost guns and the emergence of functional 3D-printed guns are a homeland security threat as terrorists and other bad actors may seek to exploit the availability of these weapons for dangerous ends.

“As the Committee charged with helping to prevent terrorism, it falls to us to take this emerging terrorism threat very seriously. … I’m proud that this bill is being considered during Police Week because it will help the fine women and men of law enforcement stay safe and keep us safe,” said Rose.