Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move June 15, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Colton Outraged with Anti-Chinese Leaflets 

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) is outraged with the anti-Chinese leaflets which have been pasted on light poles all around the streets in the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

“I remember when my grandmother from Italy and her children were subjected to so similar ethnic smears that Italian Americans were dirty stupid, and not loyal to America. It is revealing that these derogatory smears are now once again repeated against another ethnic group.  It was wrong then and it is wrong now, ”Colton stated.

Colton sent a letter to the NYS Office of the Attorney General and asked to launch an investigation into the distribution of this Anti-Chinese leaflet.

“Hate has no place in our community and it should not be put up with. These posters are being used by racists groups to exploit our nation’s greatest core value-Diversity. Their agenda is to plant racial and ethnic bias seeds in our society and pass on to the next generations.  Just to remove these postings is not enough. This must be stopped and social justice must be served for all people we have sworn to represent. We must remember such an attack against one group is an attack against us all. Everyone in the community I represent must be assured that they have my full support and such heinous acts will not be tolerated,”  Colton concluded.

Velazquez Urges Mayor for Funding for BACPP

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez  (D-Northern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens) has written to Mayor Bill de Blasio urging him to restore full funding to the Basement Apartment Conversion Pilot Program (BACPP).

“The Basement Apartment Conversion Pilot Program was a promise from the city to the people of East New York,” stated Velázquez. “If the city cuts this program, we break that promise.  This initiative was urgently needed prior to the pandemic. During the crisis, the BACPP proves even more critical to those at risk of living in overcrowded places or facing the possibility of homelessness. We need to use every tool possible to expand the stock of affordable housing, yet this budget goes in the opposite direction.”  

The BACPP, launched in 2019, aims to assist 40 East New York homeowners in the conversion of their basements into rental units. This initiative aims to provide affordable and legal rental units to the neighborhood, both stabilizing homeownership and increasing the number of affordable residences. The administration made a commitment to the East New York Community to engage in the BACPP four years ago. The Fiscal Year 2021 budget for the city, however, almost completely cuts all funding to this program.

Elected Officials and CUNY Faculty Union: Protect CUNY

City Comptroller Scott Stringer
State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Senators Andrew Gournardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) and John Liu, Assemblymembers Epstein, Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant) and Niou, and City Council Higher Education Chair Inez Barron joined Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen on a virtual press call Friday to urge the CUNY administration not to go through with plans to lay off potentially thousands of adjunct faculty and part-time staff during the pandemic. 

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

“We cannot allow the City and State to balance the budget on the backs of our educators and scholars amid the COVID-19 crisis. A couple months ago, I sent a letter to the Chairman of CUNY urging him not to hike tuition on students this coming semester. I stand with PSC/CUNY in urging CUNY not to lay off staff. Furthermore, it’s not clear whether such a move would be legally tenable: CARES Act aid to CUNY from Congress was conditioned on keeping staff on the payroll. Difficult budgetary choices are ahead for us, to be sure. But we cannot take steps that would be detrimental to our public higher education system, which is the envy of the nation,” said Adams.

“Our students deserve the best and we have to do everything we can to give them a brighter future, because we know a quality education is crucial to reaching that next step – it’s the key to success,” said Stringer. “That’s why we must continue fighting against cuts to the CUNY system, and I’m proud to join the broad coalition of students, educators, elected officials, and advocates in calling on CUNY to prevent thousands of layoffs this month. We have to make our CUNY students the top priority they should be—investing in our kids means investing in our future.”  

Rose to IRS: Extend Tax Filing Deadline Three More Months


Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) is calling on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to extend the federal tax filing deadline three more months, to October 15.  

As the newly imposed deadline for filing and paying federal taxes approaches, taxpayers are distressed, and reasonably so,”Rose wrote in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig today. “Not only has this pandemic affected every facet of their lives, but for constituents in New York’s 11th Congressional District who live in one of the most COVID-19-affected cities in the world, revenue streams are still dry, free in-person tax preparation resources are impossible to secure, and many have not received their federal tax refunds after filing months ago. The prospect of paying the entirety of taxes owed by July 15, or incur interest and penalties should they file an extension, is daunting. That is why I urge your agency to further extend the deadline to file and pay all federal taxes by three months to October 15, with no penalty to taxpayers for filing or paying prior to the new deadline.”

Rose cites concerns he’s heard from constituents and small businesses that due to the coronavirus pandemic and limited revenues and tax preparation services, the July date is still far too soon.

Felder, Eichenstein, Yeger Urge Mayor to Open Playground

Sen. Simcha Felder
Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein
Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein
City Councilman Kalman Yeger

Senator Simcha Felder (D-Borough Park, Midwood, Flatbush, Ditmas Park, Kensington), Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein (D-Borough Park, Midwood) and Councilman Kalman Yeger (D-Borough Park, Bensonhurst, Midwood) have been fighting to give NYC kids summer. 

“Everything essential to children and healthy development is shut down. Playgrounds-not essential. Camps-not essential. Schools-not essential. It’s outrageous not to prioritize their reopening considering how essential they are. Keeping children isolated and cooped up can only be described as a necessary evil,” said Felder. “Baruch Hashem, we flattened the curve. Now open these playgrounds!” 

“Playgrounds and schoolyards are essential to our children. They need a place to play that is safe.” said  Eichenstein. “I look forward to standing with Senator Felder and Councilman Yeger this Sunday in Kolbert Park to demand Mayor de Blasio end the madness and reopen our playgrounds immediately. Mr. Mayor, don’t leave our kids behind.” 

“Kolbert was my childhood park; the place my siblings and I, and later our children, spent thousands of hours. Former Councilman David Greenfield and I devoted years to ensure its much needed $4 million renovation. But for nearly three months we’ve endured the heartbreaking sight of a chained park, with children longingly looking through the gates.  Enough is enough.  Not everyone lives near Prospect Park or Central Park. Our neighborhood parks are small oases in a concrete city. It’s time to restore New York City’s parks to New Yorkers and to take the chains off our parks,” said Yeger.

Families raising children in cramped urban living spaces have responsibly heeded shelter in place orders over four long months. They need relief-NOW! This week Governor Cuomo lifted the order keeping playgrounds closed, but Mayor de Blasio has yet to open them.  

Clarke, on the Discrimination Against  Journalists of Color 

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

U.S. Reps. Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Park Slope), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) and Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement in response to the uptick in violence and attacks on journalists of color:

“As the co-chairs of the Congressional Multimedia Caucus on Capitol Hill and as Members of Congress of color, it is crucial that we work together to protect our vital journalists of color in the United States and globally during this time of civil unrest. It is unacceptable that journalists like CNN Correspondent Omar Jimenez have endured abuse and arrests at the hands of the very same people who took an oath to protect ALL American people. We have also witnessed an uptick in racism against Asian-American journalists in the face of coronavirus. This obvious display of hatred and bigotry cannot stand.

“In the face of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as the civil unrest impacting this nation and beyond, it’s crucial that we do not silence or attempt to censor our journalists, no matter what guidance the bigoted Trump Administration gives. Journalists of color have a crucial role in keeping our democracy afloat, as they have been responsible for sharing the voices of the unheard and the overlooked. In a time of unprecedented attacks on the media and journalists, the Congressional Multimedia Caucus stands in solidarity with American journalists who are reporting the REAL news that impacts millions of Americans. We vow to continue to push for diversity in aspects of media and tech because our voices matter. Communities of color deserve to be heard and protected on the world stage. We will not give up this fight,” they said.