Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Nov. 15, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Adams, Brannan Introduce Bill Banning Biz Linked to Amazon Fires

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in partnership with City Council Members Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst) and Costa Constantinides (D-Queens) yesterday demanded the City cease ties with any businesses linked to the horrific Amazon wildfires, which have been driven by animal agriculture.  

A resolution officially making the call, co-sponsored by the elected officials, was introduced simultaneously with a motion by the Los Angeles City Council to condemn the destruction of rainforests around the globe. Loss of Amazon’s vital resources means a blow to the first line of defense against climate change and requires cities to take local action against this global crisis. Rallies were held in both New York City and Los Angeles to call for residents and governments to change behaviors and policies that contribute to this existential threat.   

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

“We are facing a climate emergency, and we can’t continue business as usual while the planet burns. Today, we urge both city agencies and local businesses to cut ties with any company linked to the multinational corporations responsible for the fires still raging throughout the Amazon Rainforest. Each individual consumer choice, each corporate decision, and each specific legislative policy must be geared toward making our planet more sustainable and habitable for generations to come. But we can only achieve this together. What we eat matters. Who we do business with matters. This resolution is a first step in opening a broader conversation about how we overcome one of the most significant challenges humanity has ever faced,” said Adams.

 “Amazon fires and deforestation give new meaning to the phrase ‘Meat is Murder,’” said Brannan. “In this case, the victim is also our planet. New York City must be a leader and divest from this organized destruction of our environment for short-term profit. It’s time to get real about the destructive effects animal agriculture and meat production have on our planet.”

Montgomery Congratulates Brooklyn Queens Land Trust

State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Gowanus, Park Slope) this week honored Brooklyn Queens Land Trust (BQLT) at their 10th Annual Celebration of Gardens. 

BQLT is a 501 c(3) non-profit with a unique grassroots structure where the gardens are the members and garden representatives act on behalf of their gardens in an official capacity (either on the BQLT board or as voting members). Montgomery presented both BQLT and their former President, Demetrice Mills a proclamation in appreciation of the vital work they do.

Senator Velmanette Montgomery photographed by tracy collins
Senator Velmanette Montgomery

“Today I see and celebrate community gardens playing an even larger role in our communities and especially in my district. They host events, encourage civic engagement and activism, engage our youth and seniors and provide affordable fresh produce even in the middle of food deserts,” said Montgomery. “I truly remain committed to supporting and preserving these important spaces. I hope to continue to strengthen our community gardens and organizations like BQLT that are dedicated to doing this work.”

Community gardens began as a grassroots beautification and community engagement movement and provided a safe, green, open space often in underserved neighborhoods. BQLT is now the owner of 35 community gardens and the lease-holder of one additional garden. BQLT-owned gardens cannot be sold or developed and are permanently saved as open spaces. Located in 20 different neighborhoods through Brooklyn and Queens, BQLT gardens provide opportunities for diverse groups of people to meet and work together cooperatively.

Treyger Passes Affordable Housing, School Staffing Transparency Bills 

City Council Member Mark Treyger (Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Gravesend) this week saw two of the bills in which he was the prime sponsor pass the city council.

The first measure, Intro 564-A, requires the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to report on housing lottery outcomes. This includes reporting on an applicant’s race or ethnicity and applicant preference category at the citywide and borough-wide levels, and on applicant household size and applicant household income at the citywide, borough and community district levels.

In addition to reporting on applicant demographic information, HPD would also be required to report on the number of applicants who applied for affordable housing units, the number of applicants who were selected for affordable housing units, and the number of applicants who signed leases for affordable housing units.

Council Member Mark Treyger

“I’m proud to have this piece of legislation moving forward today at the Council Stated Meeting. With the passage of Introduction 564-A, we will finally know exactly who qualifies for affordable housing, who doesn’t and why. This bill will help shed light on the demand for affordable housing units in New York City, and create transparency for residents who apply to the affordable housing lottery,” said Treyger.

The second measure, Introduction No. 1554-B, mandates the City’s Department of Education (DOE) to report on the demographics of school staff, including leadership, teaching staff and other professional and paraprofessional staff. The required reporting would include gender, race or ethnicity, length of employment at the school of employment and years of experience in that position.

“We need culturally responsive curricula, and our school system should reflect the rich diversity of our student populations. Thank you Speaker Corey Johnson for your leadership in advancing this important bill,” said Treyger.

Lander’s Public Schools Demographic Data Bill Passes Council

City Council Member Brad Lander (D-Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington) this week saw his legislation requiring the city’s Department of Education (DOE) to report currently collected student demographic data on a grade level to provide more granular data pass the city council.

The DOE is already required to report on the diversity of students in public schools and its efforts to encourage diversity within schools from grades kindergarten through twelve. They are currently required by law to report collected student demographic data for each community school district, each school within a district, and each program within a school. 

The measure passed also requires the DOE to report on a side-by-side comparison of the racial and ethnic demographics of each school or special program with the racial and ethnic demographics of the larger attendance zone and community school district. This will make the existing reporting requirement more robust and allow the Council, advocates and others to drill down deeper into the segregation that exists in our schools and the Department’s efforts to remedy that.

City Council Member Brad Lander

“James Baldwin taught us that ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’ After many years of willfully ignoring the reality of our segregated schools, we are finally starting to face it. Having the data helps. In District 15, an honest look at segregated enrollment patterns helped us move forward as a community with the most ambitious middle-school integration effort in NYC, and the results so far are great,” said Lander.

“This legislation will expand the reporting of school demographics to include data by class year and comparisons to the school zone as a whole. The expanded School Diversity Accountability Act will help us track the progress we are making to bring more equity to our schools and build classrooms that foster diverse learning communities,” he added.

Brannan, Louis Introduce Bill Expanding Protections for DV Survivors

City Council Member Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst), Farah Louis (D-East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park, Midwood) and Diana Ayala (D-Manhattan, Bronx) this week introduced INT.1975, legislation that would expand legal protections for survivors of domestic violence to include economic and financial abuse. 

Nearly half of all domestic violence survivors have been victims of economic abuse where abusers are ruining credit, committing identity theft, heaping coerced debt onto survivors, and preventing them from getting their own apartment or obtaining a job.

Financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases. It is an insidious tool used by abusers to intentionally manipulate and intimidate the victim in order to entrap that person in the relationship for as long as possible. This law will give survivors a form of recourse when they are denied a job or housing due to a financial condition that their abuser caused and ultimately help survivors establish independence more quickly.

Justin Brannan
City Council Member Justin Brannan

“New York City has a strong track record of protecting domestic violence survivors,” said Brannan. “But a loophole has allowed survivors of economic and financial abuse to experience discrimination in housing and employment because their abuser ruined their credit or bankrupted them. This bill will ensure survivors of economic abuse are protected. Closing this gap in the law will help survivors establish their independence from their abusers more quickly, giving them the safety and stability they deserve.”

“Economic and financial manipulation are common tools in the abuser’s arsenal,” said Louis. “It’s simply another method of control. They render survivors just as helpless as any other form of abuse—without funds to support themselves, survivors remain trapped in situations that often endanger their lives. I am so proud to co-sponsor this bill that will extend protections under our city’s Human Rights Law to victims of this specific, but unfortunately not unique, method of manipulation. We will be one step closer to ensuring survivors of gender-based violence and abuse have all the resources they need to take a stand.”

Persaud Roundtable Discussion Centers Around Curbing Youth Violence

State Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Ocean Hill, Starrett City), Chair of the New York State Senate Social Services Committee, this week hosted a roundtable discussion with the community in Brooklyn on youth violence.

Joining Persaud in the discussion were Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senators Velmanette Montgomery and Jamaal T. Bailey, youth in Brooklyn and community, NYPD and education leaders for an open conversation titled “Examining the Prevalence of Youth Violence.” 

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

The event, held at the Spring Creek Educational Campus auditorium, 1065 Elton Street in East New York, featured a two-part discussion allowing Persaud and her colleagues to hear directly from 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. 

“Hearing from the youth in our district describes the myriad of impacts violence has had on their lives reminds me that we still have much to achieve in making our neighborhoods safe for everyone,” Persaud said. “I thank the young men and women who came to speak today at this roundtable. Your experiences and courage will help us focus our efforts and create better outcomes for all in the community.”

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