Gounardes Wants Greater Public Input Brooklyn Bus Redesign
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park), a member of the Better Buses Advisory Group, yesterday called for the MTA [Metropolitan Transit Authority] to deepen its community engagement for the Brooklyn Bus redesign.
As part of its outreach plan, the MTA announced 10 accessible, evening open houses and a number of “pop ups” at well-trafficked bus stops. However, Gounardes maintains this plan leaves large portions of the borough without an open house in the neighborhood or nearby. In a letter sent to New York City Transit officials on Monday, he suggested that open houses be held in all 18 of Brookyn’s Community Districts.
“The Brooklyn Bus redesign is long overdue, and it’s so important that we get this right. To ensure that the redesign prioritizes riders’ needs, the MTA must hear from people in every community and every part of the borough. Here in southern Brooklyn, our neighborhoods lack transit options and sometimes rely heavily on buses. Yet many communities will not have an open house within a reasonable distance and therefore will not have the chance to engage with the redesign plan.
“I urge the MTA to hold an open house in every single community district to guarantee that the redesign takes into account perspectives from every part of Brooklyn. I thank NYCT President Byford for his work thus far and efforts to engage the public, and I hope that NYCT will add more open houses,” said Gounardes.
Rose VA Transparency Bill Moves To Full House Vote
U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) week saw his VA Reporting Transparency Act pass the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs yesterday, sending it to the full House for consideration.
“This is an important step towards more transparency and accountability at the VA for our veterans’ community,” said Rose, an Army combat veteran and Member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. “This is a commonsense proposal that has received clear, bipartisan support—and I hope to see quick action both in the House and Senate to get this across the finish line.”
Congress often mandates the VA to issue reports on service and accessibility, including reports on nurse staffing, fraud prevention efforts, and the activities of the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower protection.
Rose’s VA Reporting Transparency Act, which he introduced with U.S. Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-CA), a U.S. Navy veteran and fellow member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, would require these Congressionally-mandated reports to be made available on VA’s website (after redactions), and mandates VA provide Congress with a list of reports that are no longer useful, in an attempt to improve efficiency for both Members and VA.
Salazar, Van Bramer Oppose City’s Plan To Create Borough-Based Jails
In a joint statement, Brooklyn State Sen. Julia Salazar (D-D-Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Greenpoint, Williamsburgh, parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York) and Queens City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) expressed opposition to the city’s $8.7 billion plan to shutter the Rikers Island prison and build four borough-based jails.
“Build new jails or keep Rikers open is a false choice. We know that if more jail cells are built, those cells will be filled, and it will predominantly impact black and brown communities. The City should be focused on decarceration, not investing $10 billion back into the failed, racist prison industrial complex,” the lawmakers said.
“That $10 billion dollars would be better spent on vital community resources like public education, housing, and job training that are proven to expand opportunity and reduce crime. We must seize the opportunity to close Rikers and invest in programs and services that provide incarceration alternatives and prevent others from entering the criminal justice system in the first place,” they added.
The matter is expected to come to a vote today at the city council’s stated meeting.
Espinal For Closing Rikers, Opposes Building New Jails
City Council Member Rafael Espinal Jr. (D-Bushwick, Cypress Hills, East New York) yesterday said he supports the closing of Rikers Island prison, but opposes the idea of building four borough-based jails to replace it.
Espinal’s statement comes as the city council is expected to vote on the $8.7 billion plan at today’s stated meeting.
“I firmly believe that we need to close Rikers, but this plan misses the mark. I cannot approve spending $8.7 billion on new jails, without a plan that would match that investment dollar for dollar in at-risk communities like the one I represent. I am voting no because I was elected to ensure that young people in my district don’t end up in prison. This plan addresses how people are incarcerated, but it doesn’t address why people are incarcerated. We can do better,” said Espinal.
Lentol Bill Closing Pardon Power Loophole Signed Into Law
Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol (D-Greenpoint, Williamsburg) announced yesterday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law his bill, (A6653/S4572), closing the loophole by allowing pardoned individuals with personal ties to the president to be charged by the state for the same crime.
“Closing the double jeopardy loophole will help to prevent the possible abuse of the pardon power by creating mechanisms to ensure pardons are properly used and that New York can hold individuals accountable for their actions. We never thought we would have to worry about a state needing to review the president’s pardon power. However, actions today remind us that presidential powers can be used with bad intentions. When there is an abuse of power and inaction at the federal level to check that abuse, a state must be prepared to act to ensure individuals are held accountable,” said Lentol.
“I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill that sends a clear message: New York State will not tolerate the whitewashing of illegal behavior,” he added.
Eugene Partners To Provide Free Citizenship Applications
City Council Member Mathieu Eugene (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Gardens) in partnership with CUNY Citizenship NOW! will be providing Free Citizenship Application Assistance this weekend.
“I want to commend CUNY Citizenship NOW! and the leadership of Kings County Hospital for their advocacy on behalf of our hardworking immigrant population,” said Eugene. “The Citizenship Application Assistance event is a vital resource in this community for residents who have come to the United States in pursuit of the American dream. They are hardworking people who make a significant contribution to the economy and deserve the stability and opportunities that come with citizenship. By providing free application assistance, we are allowing our immigrant residents to build upon their success and ambitions in this country and create a foundation for the next generation.”
Eugene sponsors the Citizenship Application Assistant event is one of many free legal resources as part of his ongoing advocacy to support members of the immigrant community.
The event is slated for 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19 at Kings County Hospital, 451 Clarkson Avenue in East Flatbush. For an appointment, call 646-664-9400.
Carroll To Hold Moviehouse Fundraiser
Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Ditmas Park) announced he is holding a re-election birthday celebration and fundraiser next month at the new Nitehawk Cinema in Park Slope.
The bash will include an open bar and hors d’oeuvres, which means it is likely that KCP Schnorrer-In-Chief Stephen Witt will likely cover the soiree.
The event is slated for 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14 at the Nitehawk Cinema – Prospect Park Upper Bar & Mezzanine, 188 Prospect Park West in Park Slope. Email all RSVP’s to [email protected] To purchase tickets online, please follow this link: www.robertcarroll.nyc/nitehawk.
If you wish to purchase a ticket with a check, please make the check out to Friends of Robert Carroll and mail it to: Friends of Robert Carroll, 243 East 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11218.
Myrie Spearheads Clergy Breakfast With Other Lawmakers
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, and Sunset Park) today will spearhead a clergy breakfast with Central Brooklyn’s spiritual leaders, who will play an essential role in making sure the #MakeBrooklynCount in the 2020 census goes smoothly.
“We’ll talk about how we can work together to count all members of our community and secure the resources and representation Brooklyn needs and deserves,” said Myrie in an email.
The breakfast is being held in conjunction with colleague Central Brooklyn lawmakers including U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, Assemblymember Diana C. Richardson and City Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel.
The event is slated for 9 .m., today, Oct. 17 at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, in the Lillian Minkin Ballroom, 585 Schenectady Avenue in East Flatbush.