Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 16, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Adams Statement On Police Suicides, Holds Senior Event

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams this week continued to advocate that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) implement meditation and mindfulness practices in light of the recent suicides of Officers Jonny Rio and Robert Echeverria – the eighth and ninth NYPD officers to take their own lives this year.

“It seems like each day, we hear of another officer who has taken their own life. We are losing members of New York’s Finest to this epidemic faster than we can count, and we need to address it immediately. I know from personal experience how powerful meditation can be for those grappling with trauma and other mental health issues. When I left the NYPD after 22 years on the force, I was dealing with undiagnosed PTSD. I used meditation to bring myself into emotional equilibrium,” said Adams.

“I, along with the PBA, am calling on Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill to implement training for officers on meditation and mindfulness practices, the same way we train them to use weapons. Police departments across the country are beginning to introduce mindfulness practices to help their members. It’s time we do the same,” he added.

On another note, Adams, today will host his sixth annual “Seniors by the Sea,” a free celebration featuring a catered lunch, photo booths, and senior-targeted resources from service providers.

The event is slated for 11 a.m.-2 p.m., today, Aug. 16 at Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard in Manhattan Beach.

Levin, Constantinides Introduce Bill To Further Monitor Construction Sites

City Councilman Stephen Levin

City Council Members Stephen Levin (D-Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, Fulton Ferry, Greenpoint, Vinegar Hill, Williamsburg) and  Committee on Environmental Protection Chair Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) this week introduced legislation to require environmental monitoring data at construction sites be made public. 

The lawmakers say the measure is needed as the city works to achieve environmental justice for all communities and address past environmental harms.

Environmental monitoring is the analysis conducted of environmental conditions both on and around a construction’s worksite to ensure safety and compliance with environmental plans. However, these measurements are not currently made public, and so nearby residents are often left in the dark about what construction impacts may exist and what mitigations are needed.

The measure, Int 1667 would require all environmental monitoring completed during construction to be thoroughly tracked and posted publicly online. 

“Given the history of environmental negligence and direct harm to communities in my district, we cannot allow increased construction to continue without full transparency and information on environmental assessments and plans for mitigation,” said Levin. “I am proud to sponsor this legislation to improve our understanding of what’s happening at every construction and demolition site and help right some of the environmental wrongs too many communities have faced.” 

Cymbrowitz Urges Investigation of Damaged Trees In Holocaust Memorial Park

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach) Brooklyn) is asking the city’s Parks Department and the 61st Police Precinct to investigate the systematic damaging of trees in Holocaust Memorial Park on Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard in Sheepshead Bay.

Cymbrowitz’s request follows a constituent, Tatyana E., who came into his office with photos of the damage, which she alleged has taken place over the last month. So far one tree has had its limbs gradually torn off from the bottom up. It is now lifeless and ripped in half. Another tree is in the process of being similarly killed. 

“Judging from the pictures, the damage wasn’t caused by nature or animals,” said Cymbrowitz. “Any act of suspected park vandalism needs to be taken seriously — and given the purpose of Holocaust Park, an investigation, in this case, is certainly warranted.  

Cymbrowitz said the constituent reported the damage to 311, but was simply advised that if the trees die they will be replaced. The lawmaker immediately referred the matter to Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Marty Maher and the 61st Precinct to investigate. Just as quickly, both Parks and NYPD began a cooperative effort to investigate.

Cuomo Advances First-In-The-Nation Domestic Terrorism Law

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) yesterday advanced a first-in-the-nation domestic terrorism law to include mass violence motivated by hate. 

Under this proposal, mass shootings against a group of people based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation would be punishable by up to life in prison without parole. This change would effectively treat these acts as they should: as terrorist crimes, carrying the same penalty as other terrorist crimes. 

Cuomo also called on the federal government to enact a new federal domestic terrorism law that would finally define acts of homegrown terror committed on United States soil as terrorism. He also called on the federal government to ban the weapons most often used to perpetrate these mass killings — military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines – and to enact universal background checks.

“We still treat terrorism as an act committed by foreigners,” said Cuomo. “It is, but only in part – it is now a two-front war on terrorism. It’s fed by hate: hate from abroad and hate right here at home. White supremacists, anti-Semites, anti-LGBTQ white nationalists – these are Americans committing mass hate crimes against other Americans and it should be recognized for what it is: domestic terrorism,” said Cuomo.

“American citizens who are radicalized not by a foreign ideology but rather radicalized by hate for other Americans are still terrorists. Today, our people are three times more likely to suffer a terrorist attack launched by an American than one launched by a foreigner. It is not just repulsive, immoral, and anti-American – it is illegal and we must confront it by enacting a new law to fit the crime,” he added.

Menchaca Supports City Grants For Small Construction Businesses

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) yesterday threw his support behind the city’s Small Business Services announcement that applications are now open for small construction firms to apply for a one-time grant to offset the cost of Site Safety Training.

Small construction firms located in New York City with 1-15 employees, and NYC-certified M/WBE construction firms with 1-15 employees in the region, are eligible for the one-time grant.

These grants help businesses to comply with Local Law 196 of 2017, requiring most construction workers to obtain Site Safety training by September 1, 2020. Up to 40,000 construction workers can benefit from Site Safety training through this program as employees of small businesses. This initiative is expected to save small businesses tens of thousands of dollars – the cost of training a single worker can be as much as $1,500.

How it works:

  • Businesses may choose a training provider that is best for their business by selecting from a DOB-approved list
  • Eligible construction firms may apply for the grant online or obtain more information by dialing 311. Businesses are required to submit information that demonstrates their eligibility and completion of training with an authorized provider.

An analyst will review the application and SBS will provide up to 100% reimbursement within two months after the application is finalized.

“We know that construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in New York City. We also know that many workers die because they do not get adequate safety training, especially at smaller businesses. These grants are not just good for business, but will literally save lives, and I am heart warmed knowing that so many families will avoid tragedy because of these grants,” said Menchaca.

Rose Supports Yemeni-American Family Impacted by Travel Ban

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

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-South Brooklyn, Staten Island), a U.S. Army combat veteran and strong opponent of the War in Yemen, will hold a press conference today on the devastating impact the Travel Ban is having on the Yemeni-American community. 

Rose will be joined by a Brooklyn family that he recently helped secure a waiver to the travel ban, allowing their wife and mother who was undergoing serious medical issues to obtain a visa to return to the United States to see her family and receive critical medical treatment.

Rose is an original co-sponsor of the NO BAN Act which would repeal the Travel Ban and has been a strong advocate in supporting Yemeni-American citizens in his district who have faced roadblocks from the Travel Ban as they seek to bring family members home and out of harm’s way.

The press conference is slated for 2:45 p.m., today, Aug. 16 at the Yemeni-American Merchants Association, 6740 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge.

Espinal Criticizes National Grid For Denying Service To Local Businesses

Council Member Rafael Espinal
City Council Member Rafael Espinal

City Council Member Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, East New York, Cypress Hills) yesterday decried gas company National Grid for denying gas service to new businesses, like Empanada City in Bushwick.

The gas company has been denying the service following the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) rejecting the company’s Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE) pipeline extension, citing water quality concerns.

“As Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing, I am especially aware of how New York’s local businesses are what keep our city moving forward. The city should be doing everything in its power to support new businesses in opening and allowing them to thrive. National Grid is standing in our way from doing so, by holding businesses hostage, putting family business owners in debt, and using an environmentally irresponsible project as an excuse to do so,” said Espinal.

“NESE, the proposed pipeline project, has been deemed a detriment to our waterways by DEC and Governor Cuomo. Instead of respecting this smart decision on behalf of our health and our environment, National Grid decided to punish new businesses that are relying on National Grid’s services to open their doors.

“National Grid stated that it would begin servicing customers as soon as the problematic project is approved, meaning they already have the necessary gas to service new establishments. This rash embargo is devastating to real New Yorkers, who are not being treated as people, but as pawns in the game National Grid is attempting to play to get what they want.

“I am proud of community members in Brooklyn, like the owners of Empanada City, who make the courageous move in opening up their own businesses and National Grid should be ashamed for their actions against these hard-working New Yorkers,” he added.

Nadler Condemns Israel Refusal To Let In Two Congressmembers

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Borough Park, Kensington, parts of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Midwood) yesterday condemned the Israeli government’s decision to deny entry to U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

“It is utterly egregious for the Israeli government to deny entry to two sitting members of the United States Congress. The close relationship enjoyed by the United States and Israel should extend to all its government representatives, regardless of their views on specific issues or policies. This decision undermines the ability for our two allied countries to have the frank, open and, at times, difficult discussions that we must have in order to ensure Israel remains a secure and democratic nation,” said Nadler.

“I strongly condemn this decision and urge the Israeli government to allow entry to these Congresswomen and welcome them in the respectful, dignified manner to which they are entitled as official representatives of the United States,” he added.

Malliotakis Reminds Parents to Vaccinate Their Children Before School Starts

Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) yesterday reminded parents that they must provide proof of vaccination within 14 days of the first school day, Sept. 5.

School vaccination requirements have changed for the 2019-20 school year. All children attending daycare and Pre-K through 12th grade in New York State must be vaccinated unless they obtain a medical exemption. This new rule applies to students in all public, private, and religious schools. Students who already have all required school vaccinations, and students with a valid medical exemption from a physician, are not affected by this change.

“Vaccinations are important to protect New York’s children and families from the spread of infectious diseases. Following the Measles outbreak in Brooklyn, Staten Island and other communities in New York and throughout the world, the state took action recommended by public health officials and mandated that all Pre-K through 12th-grade students be vaccinated to attend school,” said Malliotakis, a member of the Committee on Education. “Public health is paramount and vaccinations save lives.”

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