Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move August 7, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Velázquez Stongly Opposes Industry City

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Northern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens) released the following statement regarding Industry City: 

 “It’s come to my attention that several City Council Members who do not represent the Sunset Park community, or even the same borough, have seen fit to advocate on behalf of the Industry City rezoning application.  It would be extraordinarily shortsighted for City Council Speaker Johnson and other members of the Council to pay these misguided views undue heed.

 “While this application may look good from ten miles away in the Bronx or Queens, the actual residents of Sunset Park and South Brooklyn have meaningful concerns about how this application would affect their waterfront and community.  It is important to remember that this proposal is unprecedentedly large for a private rezoning application. The rezoning application encompasses six million square feet in New York’s largest Significant Maritime Industrial Area. 

 “My office and the local City Council Member have worked tirelessly to engage the community and ensure any path forward is fair, transparent, inclusive and equitable. We’ve had multiple conversations with community residents, activists and stakeholders who are now struggling with caring for their neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their views should not be cast aside and ignored in the interest of expediting an enormous private rezoning during a public health emergency and unprecedented economic crisis.

 “Likewise, on multiple occasions, we’ve implored the City and its various agencies to take a more proactive role in laying out a plan and strategy for the growth of a green industrial waterfront district. At the very least, the City must engage further to ensure there is accountability in the areas of anti-displacement, commercial rent control, space for manufacturing jobs and environmental sustainability and resiliency. Instead, the City has all but abdicated that responsibility to private property owners.

 “Proponents of the application never tire of citing the promised creation of 20,000 jobs. There are reasons to be skeptical of that highly speculative number. Previous development projects throughout New York City have been pushed through with similarly lofty promises, only to see, at most, a small fraction of anticipated job creation. As it stands, the current application has no meaningful enforcement mechanism to ensure significant job creation materializes – and that those jobs will be the type to benefit the working-class residents of this walk-to-work community. These concerns are compounded by the fact that the current owners could sell the property after rezoning. A future owner would likely not feel bound by previous assurances made during the rezoning application process. An ironclad mechanism to require any future owner lives up to previous promises would require much more participation from city agencies. 

 “What we do know about projects like these is they inherently fuel a spike in local residential and commercial rents accelerating gentrification and displacing immigrant and other vulnerable families from their homes. If this massive project goes forward, what assurances do we have that long-term residents of Sunset Park won’t see their rents spiral further? The answer is none. How will nearby small businesses on 4th and 5th Avenue see their rents and livelihoods affected? They also have no guarantees they will not be left behind.

 “At the end of the day, this issue is not about Industry City or a development plan or a vision for jobs. It’s about land use and development rights being conferred onto a very large waterfront property without adequate accountability to or benefit for the community. A blank check to property owners – issued during a historic pandemic – will not result in a more equitable and environmentally just future for Sunset Park and South Brooklyn,” she wrote. 

Myrie Updates on Resources and COIVD-19

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) sent a few important reminders about important resources available for the public and events coming up.

  • COVID-19 NYS Rent Relief Program: the deadline to apply is TONIGHT, August 6 at 11:59 p.m. Act now! For more information and to apply, click here.
  • Fill out the census in front of our office: Every Thursday in August, from 3:00-6:00 p.m., the Myrie Census Corner event will be happening in front of 1077 Nostrand Avenue. Come by and fill out the Census if you haven’t already, and spread the word!
  • NYC Students 2020-2021 Learning Survey: If you would like your child to opt into 100% remote learning for this coming school year, fill out the survey by tomorrow. Any student who does not complete the survey will have the Blended Learning option by default.
  • NYC Department of Finance Lien Sale Virtual Info Sessions throughout August: The deadline to resolve debt on homes before the city’s lien sale is September 3rd. Find out if your property has a tax lien and sign up for an info session here. Feel free to contact our office with questions or for assistance.

COVID-19 Updates:

  • Traditional Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits are now extended for up to 59 weeks: Traditional UI lasts for 26 weeks in New York, and has been extended by both the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which adds 13 weeks, and the Extended Benefits (EB) program, which adds an additional 20 weeks. 
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits are now extended for up to 46 weeks: Under Federal law, those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are not eligible for PEUC or EB, but are now eligible for up to 46 weeks of benefits in New York – up from the original 39 weeks.
  • COVID TESTING IN BROOKLYN: All New Yorkers are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms or are at increased risk. Free walk-in testing offered by New York City or New York State does not require an appointment and is available regardless of immigration status (tests offered at clinics, pharmacies or non-profits may require an appointment and/or charge a fee). Click here to find a free, NYC-run testing location near you.
  • AMERICAN DEBATE LEAGUE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE: The American Debate league is offering 100 FULL SCHOLARSHIPS for children from 4th-12th grade to participate in the 4th Annual “Public Speaking, Debate & Speech Summer Camp” hosted by the American Debate League in partnership with Queens College. Due to COVID-19, the summer camp will be online this year. To register please click on ADL Speech & Debate camp. 

Persaud on Hurricane Season and Other Updates

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D- Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Old Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill, Starrett City) warns everyone about hurricane season and knowing where to get assistance and about other COVID-19 related issues. 

“I want to remind everyone to please check in on your elderly family members and neighbors.  NYC Emergency Management (OEM) has created a new cooling center locator website, which is regularly updated and can be accessed HERE.  These cooling center listings are under strict COVID-19 social distancing protocols to ensure everyone’s safety. Opening times vary by location and new centers will continue to open throughout the summer, so please check this site often for new locations near your home.  

“People are traveling again and adherence to self-quarantine from out-of-state visitors has often been ignored.  Governor Cuomo’s office has required travelers from over half the country to self-quarantine for two weeks when coming to New York.  For the complete list of States, please click HERE

“Additionally, New York City is taking a step to help the state crack down on quarantine orders. Mayor de Blasio announced that the city would implement checkpoints at key entry points in the city, including bridges and tunnels. The New York City Sheriff’s Office will operate the daily moving checkpoints. The checkpoints will stop cars randomly.  To read more about this new quarantine measure, please click HERE,” she wrote. 

Rose: Stop Playing Political Games with National Guard  

Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) joined with more than 30 lawmakers in urging the Trump Administration to extend the activations of men and women in the National Guard for the entire duration of the declared disasters and emergencies so they can continue to assist with the nation’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic uninterrupted.

“This Administration continues to discount the gravity of the pandemic and the critical role the National Guard plays in the response,” said Rose. “It undermines the Guard’s mission to wait till the last moment to extend orders, and disrespects their incredible service and contributions to slash federal funding. Our soldiers deserve better.”

 The letter demands the Administration explain the change in the federal cost-share of National Guard deployments which will force cash-strapped states to cover a quarter of the cost, resulting in states being burdened with millions in unforeseen expenses. The lawmakers also raised concerns about why Florida and Texas are the only states exempt from the new cost-share agreements.

Bichotte Commemorates Voting Rights Act of 1965

Rodneyse Bichotte
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte

Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park) yesterday remembered and commemorated the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 being signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.

“This landmark legislation made discriminatory voting practices, which were employed across the south, illegal. The act abolished literacy tests and contained enforcement provisions to ensure that Black Americans would be able to exercise the right to vote. Though many systemic injustices prevail, the act legally secured voting rights for Americans, regardless of the color of their skin.

“The late [U.S.] Representative John Lewis‘ (D-GA) activism led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. On March 7, 1965, just months before the act was signed, Lewis marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, with 600 peaceful demonstrators to advocate for voting rights. The demonstrators were met and confronted by state troopers as they attempted to cross to the other side of the bridge. Many activists, including Lewis, were gravely injured by the troopers, who wore helmets and masks and brandished nightsticks and clubs. The day is now known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. Although he sustained injuries, Lewis continued to champion voting rights and stood up to racial injustice over the course of his life and career.“Suffrage was earned at a great cost, and is still in jeopardy today. We must not take this right for granted,” said Bichotte.

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