Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Nov. 8, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

De Blasio Increases Target for M/WBE to $25 Billion by 2025

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, the Mayor’s Office of Minority & Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE), and the Department of Small Business Services announced yesterday that the city’s 10-year target for contracts awarded to certified M/WBEs will be increased to $25 billion by 2025. 

“New York City was built by women and people of color, but for decades, the doors of opportunity were shut to them,” said de Blasio. “We set out to fix that longstanding injustice and invest back into our communities, and now we’re committing to doing even more.”

De Blasio created the Mayor’s Office for Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) to address the disparity between city contracts awarded to certain ethnic and gender groups and their overall representation in city contracting. It serves as a one-stop-shop for M/WBEs interested in doing business with the city and its agencies.

Since the creation of the program 2016, one of the organization’s primary goals has been to increase the dollar value of city contracts awarded to certified M/WBEs in NYC. The office launched with a goal of $16 billion in contracts by FY25, which was raised to $20 billion last year. But having already awarded $13.2 billion in contracts to M/WBEs, the city is currently $3.2 billion ahead of schedule, allowing for a new, more ambitious goal. In FY19 alone, the city awarded $3.8 billion in contracts to M/WBEs.

“I would like to commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and his M/WBE team on the exceptional progress that has been and continues to be made to propel the NYC M/WBE program forward. It is a breath of fresh air when you see results from planning efforts put forth,” said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Midwood). “Working together on a state level in collaboration with the NYC Mayor’s M/WBE leadership, Deputy Mayor Phillip Thompson;  Senior Advisor and Director Jonnel Doris; and SBS Commissioner Greg Bishop has been fruitful as we see access to opportunities and growth be utilized within the M/WBE community.”

BP Adams Announces $15 Million Capital Investment for Brooklyn Schools

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams joined with local Brooklyn schools and students yesterday at PS 158 Warwick to announce a $15 million capital investment in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education. The money will fund the construction of multiple hydroponic labs as part of Borough President Adams’ “Growing Brooklyn’s Future” initiative. It will also go toward the creation of new spaces where students can engage in experiential learning.

“When we invest in our students, we invest in the future of our borough and our city,” said Adams. “This $15 million capital allocation will help prepare students for jobs in emerging industries, while also advancing our goal of making Brooklyn healthier using cutting-edge technologies to grow food in schools. We’ve already seen what these types of investments mean to schools like PS 158, with their new labs – when children are exposed to new ways of learning, it can change their lives. All students deserve educational environments where they can explore their curiosity with experiential, hands-on learning, and this year’s capital budget shows we are committed to making that happen.”

Adams has invested over $140 million in Brooklyn schools in the past six years. His efforts have moved other elected officials to follow in suit.

Council Member Mark Treyger

“By investing in STEAM education, we are ensuring our city’s young scholars have access to every opportunity to prepare our students to thrive in the 21st century economy. I’m proud to announce that I secured over $13 million in the FY2020 Adopted Budget in capital investments for schools in Southern Brooklyn, including STEAM initiatives at P.S. 188, P.S. 721, Mark Twain Middle School, John Dewey High School, William Grady High School, Abraham Lincoln High School and Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies,” said Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Gravesend, Sea Gate), Chair of the Committee on Education. “I thank Borough President Adams for the supplementary funding for STEAM education at additional schools throughout Brooklyn. The STEAM initiatives will expose students to real-life problem-solving skills through project-based learning, which will help prepare them to tackle the challenges of today, and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.” 

Sen. Persaud to Host Roundtable Discussion on Youth Violence

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

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), Chair of the New York State Senate Social Services Committee, will host a roundtable discussion next week: “Examining the Prevalence of Youth Violence”

This two-part discussion will begin with Sen. Persaud and colleagues speaking directly with high school-aged youth about experiences with or perspectives on the pervasive culture of violence, including but not limited to violence in the community; violence among peers, kin or in relationships; and violence in the media. 

During the second portion, Sen. Persaud and colleagues will continue the discussion with youth development advocates, youth service providers, anti-violence organizations, various government representatives and educators.

The roundtable discussion will take place Wed., Nov. 13 at 1:30 p.m. at the Spring Creek Educational Campus auditorium in East New York.

Espinal & Menchaca Agree Fares Should Be Fair

New preliminary survey data from Riders Alliance shows how the Fair Fares program improves transportation, and New Yorkers are excited for the full implementation of the program in January. Currently, 89,000 people participate in the Fair Fares program. But Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to make reduced transit fares available to all 750,000 New York adults living at or below the poverty line this January. 

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

“Public transportation means transportation for everyone, not just those who can afford it. Yet instead of investing millions of dollars to make our subways and buses affordable, the MTA is investing in transit officers to unnecessarily police our neighbors,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook, Greenwood Heights, and portions of Borough Park, Dyker Heights, Windsor Terrace), Chair of the Immigration Committee. “Thankfully, the City continues to do what it does best, and created the Fair Fares program last year to deal with this State failure. I am proud to stand with transportation activists, like the Riders Alliance, whose foresight guided the creation of this program and will ensure its continued rollout is successful,” 

The Riders Alliance Fair Fares survey began last month in front of City Hall. So far, the online questionnaire has garnered over 150 responses, including 26 from current Fair Fares users and 88 from New Yorkers living at or below the federal poverty line. Respondents who use Fair Fares overwhelmingly (75%) report that the program has helped them save money, pay bills, and avoid the harsh choice of a meal or a MetroCard.

Additionally, people who have used the program report taking 30% more transit trips, are more likely to use transit to reach medical and social services appointments, but ride transit at off-peak hours, alleviating any potential, additional strain on heavily taxed infrastructure. More than half of Fair Fares users say the program has afforded them greater access to their jobs and the ability to seek new employment opportunities.

Council Member Rafael Espinal
City Council Member Rafael Espinal

“We need true accessibility to our public transportation system, a system that all New Yorkers should have access to, regardless of their income, age or employment status. Fair Fares enables our most vulnerable communities to be able to access the MTA without the worry of affordability,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal (D-Cypress Hills, Bushwick, City Line, Ocean Hill, Brownsville, East New York). “We must continue to increase equity in our public transportation system and decrease the inequality gap that still exists in NYC. With the Fair Fares program expanding, qualified New Yorkers need to know that this opportunity is available to them. I’m thankful for Riders Alliance’s outreach work and community-based survey that ensures our City is doing the most in supporting all New Yorkers.”