Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move June 27, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Brannan Introduces Bill Creating Five-Borough Resiliency Plan

Justin Brannan
City Council Member Justin Brannan

City Council members Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst) and Costa Constantinides (D-Queens) yesterday introduced a bill requiring a five-borough resiliency plan that will ensure every neighborhood from Riverdale to Rockaway is protected from rising sea levels, violent weather and coastal erosion brought about by climate change. 

The legislation comes amid dire warnings from the New York City Panel on Climate Change, which noted coastal parts of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx are most at risk of flooding. An estimated 500,000 New Yorkers live near the City’s 300 miles of shoreline and are constantly at risk of climbing sea levels, which are on pace to rise one foot by 2050. 

Despite billions of dollars in damages by Sandy, the City of New York has so far only used 14% of the $473 million in federal aid dedicated to resiliency projects along its coast, according to the Comptroller’s Office. Barely half of the city’s overall federal disaster relief — close to $15 billion—has been spent overall. Additionally, the City is at risk of losing some grants if projects aren’t completed within the next three years. According to the lawmakers, investing in resiliency projects is crucial because for each federal dollar dedicated now, as construction and property values continue to rise, saves $6 in flood mitigation when the next Sandy pummels New York City.  

Warnings from the New York Panel on Climate Change’s latest report appear to show that low-lying and coastal communities around Jamaica Bay — including Howard Beach and the Rockaways — along with Brooklyn’s southern shore could see monthly flooding beginning in the 2050s. Some scenarios projected climbing seas will “raise daily tidal flooding to levels even more severe than that which occurred during Hurricane Sandy.” By 2100, the panel noted in some projections, John F. Kennedy International Airport could be underwater. 

“Seven years after Sandy, the worst natural disaster in our city’s history, many communities in the outer boroughs are still rebuilding and recovering. As we continue to contend with the rising effects of climate change, we owe it to all New Yorkers to make sure their neighborhoods are resilient, no matter what their zip code is,” said Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Resiliency.

Rose Denounces Social Media Companies Failure To Keep Terrorist Content Off Platforms 

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

Congressman Max Rose (D-South Brooklyn, Staten Island), Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, blasted top social media companies for continued failures and the shortfalls of artificial intelligence (AI) in combating terrorism on their platforms in back-to-back Homeland Security hearings this week. 

Rose again highlighted that not only has Facebook’s AI failed to stop terrorist content like the Christchurch massacre shooting, but it has also created auto-generated community and business pages of terrorist groups. Earlier this month, Rose took to the House floor to highlight a similar auto-generated Facebook page of an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization that remained active weeks after first being reported by the Associated Press—and remained active until just this week after additional follow up from Rose.

In back-to-back hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday, Rose blasted the industry’s anti-terrorism forum as ‘a joke’ and highlighted shortfalls of social media AI in combating terrorism.  The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) is an industry-led initiative formed by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube in 2017 with the mission to curb the spread of terrorist content online. Rose pointed out, and confirmed on the record with the social media executives, that GIFCT has no full-time employees, no brick-and-mortar headquarters, and prior to the Christchurch shooting had no public points of contact. Additionally, the GIFCT’s website remains out of date, including listing last year’s chair.

Rose also chaired a Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism hearing yesterday with AI experts, including the former Chief Security Officer of Facebook, titled “Artificial Intelligence and Counterterrorism: Possibilities and Limitations.”

Rose previously called on the top social media companies to provide information on their annual budgets for counterterrorism related programs, and blasted unsatisfactory responses from the companies. Additionally, Rose called on social media companies to work more closely with law enforcement to prevent the spread of terrorist content on their platforms.

“How is anyone supposed to think that you all take this collective action problem seriously, if you have no one working full-time [at the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism]? This is not something technology alone can solve. And there are the smallest of associations in this town and throughout the country that do so much more than you do and it’s insulting—it is insulting that you would not at least apologize for saying that there were no established [points of contact] prior to the Christchurch shooting. It was a joke of an association, it remains a joke of an association, and we have got to see this thing dramatically improved,” said Rose.

Cumbo Announces Lien Sale Outreach Session To Protect Homeowners 

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

Majority Leader City Council member Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights) yesterday announced an upcoming Lien Sale Outreach Session for local homeowners. 

The event will give attendees an opportunity to talk to Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (DOF) representatives about tax, water or emergency repair lien(s). 

The event will provide an opportunity for homeowners and their families to take control of their debt and to avoid future lien sales that may lead to the seizure of their homes.

Lien sales are the result of a property owner failing to pay their property taxes or utility bills, which then become tax liens that can be sold in a lien sale. Each year, DOF sells tax liens, selling qualified unpaid debt to an authorized buyer.

The event is slated for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, July 10, at 671 Prospect Place in Crown Heights.

Clarke Votes To Pass Border Legislation To Protect Children

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Park Slope) voted Tuesday night in favor of H.R. 3401, a $4.5 billion emergency border supplemental appropriations bill to address the urgent humanitarian situation at our Southern border. 

The bill provides significant funding for priorities to meet the needs of vulnerable children, including food, water, medical services, legal assistance, support services for unaccompanied children, alternatives to detention and refugee services. The bill also contains important oversight provisions to hold the Administration accountable and to insist the Administration start to protect the rights of immigrants.

In addition to providing humanitarian aid, the measure also contains oversight provisions to hold the Administration accountable, and to protect the rights and dignity of migrants, including: 

  • No funding for a border wall or barriers, or for ICE detention beds;
  • Prohibits the use of funds for any purpose not specifically described;
  • Places strict conditions on influx shelters to house children by mandating compliance with requirements set forth in the Flores settlement;
  • Protects sponsors and potential sponsors from DHS immigration enforcement based on information collected by HHS during the sponsor vetting process;
  • Ensures congressional oversight visits to facilities caring for unaccompanied children without a requirement for prior notice;
  • Requires monthly reporting on unaccompanied children separated from their families;
  • Requires additional reporting about the deaths of children in government custody;
  • Ensures CBP facilities funded in the bill complies with the National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search.

“Each day that passes, this Trump-created crisis of holding kids in cages and without proper human essentials, like toothpaste, diapers and soap, becomes more and more severe. I voted for the Strong Border Legislation to fight for these young people, who have no opportunity to fight for themselves,” said Clarke.  

“Separating kids from their families is in itself appalling and heartbreaking–making matters even worse, the treatment of these young, innocent humans is simply inhumane, disgusting and un-American. Congress has a pressing moral responsibility to protect children and families, and defend the health, dignity and lives of those in need. The Senate must take this bill up immediately and fulfill our constitutional responsibility to end this tragic, unnecessary crisis at the border,” added Clarke. 

Persaud Honors 19 Community Members At Annual Award Ceremony

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill,  Starrett City) hosted her third annual Power 19 Award Ceremony this week, where she honored 19 individuals from her district, Senate District 19.

On Tuesday, June 25 at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, Persaud recognized 19 individuals who have made significant contributions in transforming their communities and institutions in and around the district. The honorees this year are firefighters, EMTs and students, as well as a government official, a social worker, a librarian, an engineer and an author. 

Before presenting each honoree with a New York State Senate Proclamation, Senator Persaud expressed appreciation and gratitude for the honorees’ selfless passion in promoting change and inspiring hope in the community.

The 2019 Senate District 19 Power 19 Honorees:

Emily Cabrera – Academic Excellence Award

Francis A. Valerio – Community Champion Award

Shamika Cousar – Community Empowerment Award

Iyana Curtis – Community Empowerment Award

Wayne Harris – Community Empowerment Award

Tom Mueller – Community Empowerment Award

Lieutenant Krystal S. Hayes – Community Engagement & Service Award

Walter Hochbrueckner – Community Engagement & Service Award

Michelle Singh – Humanitarian Award

Brandon Bloomfield – Innovative Leadership Award

Lieutenant Ricardo Otero – Innovation Leadership Award

Brittany Coleman – Scholastic Achievement Award

Jada Edmunds – Scholastic Achievement Award

Peter Haggerty – Service and Bravery Award

Robert Puckett – Service and Bravery Award

Edward Rodriguez – Service and Bravery Award

Cherise Birchwood – Youth Community Empowerment Award

Javon Hawker – Youth Community Empowerment Award

Malyka Bailey – Youth Leadership Award

“It is always our privilege and honor to recognize members of the community. Too often do we pass by people doing great things, the work that you all do, day in and day out; and that’s why we are here, to say thank you. Some of you may live here, some of you may not, but all of you have invested interest in the community. You are all a part of this community,” said Persaud.

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $7.9M In Federal Funds For SUNY Pre-Apprenticeship Program

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday announced $7,999,226 in federal funds for the Research Foundation for The State University of New York System (SUNY). 

The funding will be used to create the SUNY New York College Apprenticeship Network (NYCAN), a pre-apprenticeship and on-the-job training program in advanced manufacturing. NYCAN will prioritize services for unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers, with a focus on veterans, women, communities of color, and historically underrepresented populations in advanced manufacturing. These federal funds are administered through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies program. 

NYCAN will help unemployed New Yorkers attain the basic technical and math skills needed to succeed in advanced manufacturing. The program is set to create 3,200 job opportunities, with an emphasis on providing more New Yorkers with pathways to good-paying jobs, meeting the needs of advanced manufacturing companies and strengthening the state’s economy.

“This $8 million federal investment is great news for the 30 SUNY community colleges throughout New York State. With these crucial funds, the SUNY system will be able to rev up its new apprenticeship program and help New York students throughout the state get on-the-job training and more importantly, good-paying jobs,” said Senator Schumer. 

“Pre-apprenticeship and work-based learning programs create pathways to the workforce through hands-on experience and on-the-job training. This helps ensure that New Yorkers have the skills to compete for the jobs of today and tomorrow and helps bring local development to our communities,” said Senator Gillibrand.