Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Sept. 25, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Adams Up With Birds In Busy Morning

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams was at Borough Hall this morning at 4 a.m. to see elected officials, advocacy organizations, and Brooklyn students off to Washington D.C. for the National Rally to #EndGunViolence.

The National Rally to #EndGunViolence, co-sponsored by The Faith Community of Saint Sabina from Chicago, Purpose Over Pain, Newtown Action Alliance, and numerous other local and national organizations, is scheduled to take place today from 1 -3 p.m., on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Marchers will demand an end to gun violence, and urge Congress to pass comprehensive gun control legislation.

Adams will then join City Council Member Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, East New York, Cypress Hills) and members of Transport Workers Union Local 100 to demand the immediate removal of asbestos found at MTA’s East New York bus depot and for NYC Transit to test all workers for exposure. 

The asbestos was discovered earlier this week that air vents at the depot are lined with asbestos-laced cloth, posing a possible health crisis for employees.

The demands are slated for 9 a.m., today, Sept. 25 at the MTA’s East New York Bus Depot, 25 Jamaica Avenue in East New York.

Adams, Lander, Eugene Break Ground On New Prospect Park Entrances

City Council Member Brad Lander
Mathieu Eugene
City Council Member Mathieu Eugene

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Council Members Brad Lander (D-Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington) and Mathieu Eugene (D-Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Park, Prospect Lefferts Gardens) were among the officials who broke ground last Friday on construction of new entrances to Prospect Park along Flatbush Avenue – the first new entrances to the park since the 1940s.

With overwhelming support from the community, Prospect Park Alliance received $3.2 million in funding for the project through the Parks Department’s Parks Without Borders initiative, which seeks to make parks more open by improving entrances, transforming underutilized areas and creating vibrant public spaces.

A major entrance will be created in the northeast section of the park near the park’s former Rose Garden, and a minor secondary entrance will be created just north of the Prospect Park Zoo. 

The entrances will feature new lighting, seating and trees, as well as new plantings. The major entrance will align with a future DOT traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalk, intersecting a berm retained by a three-foot-high granite wall. This will open onto a small public plaza with two levels of terraced seating that provides views of the surrounding woodlands. Stepping stones will lead to an informal running trail atop a berm. The plaza will also feature a rock scramble of boulders sourced from the building site of nearby NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Settees will be installed along the paths and between the boulders. 

“The Parks Without Borders project on Flatbush Avenue perfectly complements my administration’s multi-million dollar investment in revitalizing the eastern and southern borders of Prospect Park, the crown jewel of our borough’s open space,” said Adams. “I am excited to see us progress toward increased access for recreation and relaxation opportunities, which will offer a safe and welcome entrance for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, and anyone who wants to enjoy the park.”

“I’m excited to see Prospect Park open its doors wider and create more welcoming spaces. I’m grateful to the Mayor’s office for investing in making the park more accessible and glad to contribute to preserving and strengthening the long tradition of horseback riding in the Prospect Park,” said Lander.

“I want to commend the NYC Parks Department, the Prospect Park Alliance, and Mayor Bill de Blasio for their advocacy on behalf of Prospect Park,” said Eugene. “We are so privileged to have such a wonderful green space in our borough, and I am delighted that by working together, we are going to make Brooklyn’s Backyard even more vibrant and accessible for the next generation of New Yorkers. I am proud to support the Parks Without Borders initiative because it is an investment in the future of our city. We will be transforming the entrances of Prospect Park along Flatbush Avenue into new public spaces for all New Yorkers to use. It is my hope that through this initiative we will continue to improve Prospect Park for years to come.”   

The projects are slated for completion next summer (2020).

Myrie, Richardson Launch Census 2020 Complete Count Committee

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie
Assembly Member Diana Richardson

State Sen. Zellnor Y. Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) and Assembly Member Diana Richardson (D-Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Garden, Flatbush) held the first gathering of a Census Complete Count Committee this past Monday evening at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights. 

Complete Count Committees are volunteer committees established by local governments, community leaders, and organizations to increase awareness and motivate residents to respond to the 2020 Census.

“A lot of the problems our community faces, from the lack of resources for affordable housing, the lack of resources for education, and so much more, can be traced to our being undercounted in the Census,” said Myrie. “Ten years of our community’s future will be determined by less than 10 questions. A lot of people ask me what the solutions are to the problems our community faces. If there’s one thing we all need to do to address our problems, it is to get everyone counted in the 2020 Census.”

At the meeting, Myrie and Richardson, and the committee members discussed the challenges to achieving a full count in Brooklyn and how they can be overcome. 80 percent of Brooklynites live in hard-to-count neighborhoods, and according to the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Brooklyn had the lowest mail return rate in the country among counties with populations of 500,000 or more.

Billions of dollars in federal funds for the programs that many Brooklynites depend on are determined by the census. In 2016, New York received $73 billion in federal funds for programs like Medicaid, SNAP, Section 8, and more. If residents in Brooklyn are undercounted in 2020, the borough could lose funds for these programs.

Community organizations and local leaders are the most trusted and effective voices on why the Census is important. Complete Count Committees are designed to serve as state and local “census ambassador” groups that play an integral part in ensuring a complete and accurate count of the community in the 2020 Census.

The committee includes representatives of more than 20 organizations.

Rose Statement on Ukraine Whistleblower Reports

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

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) yesterday expressed disgust with the political system and the Trump Administration on the reports and allegations surrounding the whistleblower complaint against the President regarding Ukraine:

“The American people are absolutely disgusted with our politics to the point it’s assumed that corrupt behavior is so widespread that it’s part of the process—not something that can ever be erased. It’s assumed that Republicans and Democrats will always put winning ahead of the country. And it’s now assumed that it doesn’t matter who’s in the White House, the opposing party will try to impeach them. That there is such a lack of trust is a damning indictment of both parties and why I ran for office in the first place. It’s also why I have opposed a partisan impeachment process that would only deepen those divisions, not solve them,” said Rose.

“However, a President attempting to blackmail a foreign government into targeting American citizens is not just another example of scorched earth politics. It would be an invitation to the enemies of the United States to come after any citizen so long as they happen to disagree with the President.

“The American people deserve the truth and Congress needs the facts. That’s why I’m calling on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and my Republican colleagues to put country over party and join me in demanding that the Trump Administration release all documents related to the whistleblower case. This is a serious crisis, all options must be on the table, and it’s time Republicans are as interested in the truth as the American people.”

AG James Supports City’s Retirement Security for All Plan

Attorney General of NY Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James

New York State Attorney General Letitia James yesterday expressed her full support of the legislative proposal to enable New Yorkers in the private sector to automatically enroll in an employee-funded retirement plan.

In 2015, then-Public Advocate James led the charge for Universal Retirement Security, introducing legislation to create a Board to issue recommendations for the creation of a private-sector retirement security plan. 

In 2017, she authored, along with City Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the bills currently under consideration, which would cover all employers with more than 10 employees that did not already offer a retirement plan. At no cost to the employer, private sector employees would be automatically enrolled, with an option to decline, in a payroll deduction pre-tax retirement savings plan administered by the City.

“The looming retirement security crisis for middle-class and low-wage workers demands immediate and decisive action, but time and again Washington has failed to step up. In New York City, where a staggering 60 percent of private-sector workers today are without access to any form of a retirement plan, we simply cannot afford to wait any longer. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, as well as Council Members Miller and Kallos, for moving forward with a plan that would make New York City a national leader in the quest for Universal Retirement Security,” said James.

“As an original sponsor of this vitally important legislation, I wholeheartedly support this effort and urge the swift passage of these bills into law,” she added.