Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Oct. 19, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Adams & Treyger Demand Changes in Remote Learning 

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
Council Member Mark Treyger

Borough President Eric Adams joined City Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend), education advocates, parents, and students in front of Tweed Courthouse yesterday to demand sweeping changes on behalf of the city’s Department of Education (DOE) students who have been left behind by the new blended and remote learning models.

At a City Council Education Committee hearing on Friday, representatives from the DOE revealed that 77,000 students still lacked learning devices such as tablets and computers, and thousands more are still struggling to fully participate in remote learning due to connectivity issues.

Adams and other participants called for greater transparency from all relevant City agencies on the administration of virtual learning, and greater commitments from internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure every student can log on to their device, particularly those in shelters and temporary housing. 

“The students we fail to educate today, we are more likely to incarcerate tomorrow. It is a disgrace that almost seven months into remote learning, there are still thousands of students waiting to get learning devices so they can participate in classes. This failure will only widen the achievement gap, which falls hardest on students of color and those with unstable living situations. We need transparency from the DOE, and we need greater buy-in from our internet service providers, which have been raking in record profits during this time and must give back to the community. Continued delay is unacceptable. It’s time for action,” said Adams. 

“These are numbers that we know of. The number is likely higher since many immigrant families face barriers in obtaining devices and many kids are still using shared devices with their siblings. The only thing worse than 77,000 kids not having access to technology and the internet is knowingly starting the school year with this alarming data. This instructional loss is quickly shifting from temporary to generational. The City administration must immediately account for every child from every ZIP code having the technology, internet, and quality education they deserve and are constitutionally entitled to,” said Treyger. 

Gounardes & Abbate Introduce Job-Saving Early Retirement Incentive

State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes
Assemblyman Peter Abbate Jr.

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) and Assemblyman Peter Abbate Jr. (Bensonhurst/Sunset Park)  announced that key legislation has been introduced to address New York City’s fiscal crisis without layoffs: An early retirement incentive for public employees. 

The legislation, S. 9041/A11089, would allow certain eligible members of city retirement systems to retire with extra pension credit or to retire at age 55 with 25 years of service without an early age reduction. Normally there is a substantial benefit reduction for early retirement. 

“A public health crisis has caused a fiscal crisis, and to fight it, we need to be resourceful and use every tool available to us to prevent layoffs. Our dedicated public employees got us through this crisis and they deserve to have job security. An Early Retirement Incentive saves jobs and while providing public employees an option to retire early that they may wish to take. This is good policy that will protect the financial future of our great city while protecting the jobs of the public workers who make New York City run,” said Gounardes.

This program has similarities to New York’s 2010 Early Retirement Incentive program, estimated to have saved state and local governments $681 million over two years. The city is facing massive budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 crisis and this is an important first-resort option to avoid any layoffs of public employees.

Colton on NYC Garbage 

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D–Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) is outraged with the deplorable garbage conditions throughout the city of New York.

“In the past few weeks, my office has been bombarded with complaints about disgusting garbage conditions in the neighborhood. I’ve been observing and fighting this issue for a while. Numerous times I brought it to the attention of the city government where there was practically no response. Yesterday I attended the CB11 meeting where I had blasted these deplorable garbage conditions.  An angry resident attended the meeting telling Community Board 11 that rats are now overrunning 86 Street. I commend our local Community Board 11 for acting by passing a resolution to send a letter to the New York City and the New York State Departments of Health denouncing these conditions and demanding swift action,” Colton stated.

“New York City is horrendously infested with rats, raccoons, and other rodents. These conditions are forming a real health issue for the public. This is disgraceful that in the 21 century our city is facing deplorable garbage conditions, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. How do we know that garbage conditions are not one of the factors that virus cases are on the rise?” Colton continued.

 “Under the current City Government, the wonderful New York City that once use to be is now greatly mismanaged. The city has failed greatly and it’s awful. We cannot just stand by and let it continue to happen. If the city government is unable to manage the city properly, then I believe that it’s time for the Governor to take over,” Colton added.

Rose Demands Accountability for Purdue Pharma

Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) is urging the Department of Justice to hold Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and members of the Sackler family that owns it, accountable for intentionally addicting millions of unsuspecting people to powerful painkillers for-profit and directly contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans.

“I don’t know how anyone who’s seen firsthand the pain that Purdue Pharma has inflicted on thousands of families like we have in our community could ever dream of letting them off the hook—they should be facing criminal charges” Rose said. “It’s about damn time Purdue and the Sacklers face the consequences of their decades of lies and destruction– not only to bring justice to the families who lost a loved one, but to send a clear message that no one will ever be allowed to profit off of killing our kids.” 

Rose’s push comes following reports that Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family are nearing a plea agreement with the Department of Justice, which would resolve all their federal criminal liability without a single person serving a day in prison.

Senators Announce Millions for Diesel Emissions Reductions

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced $4,358,000 in federal funding for diesel emissions reduction programs in New York City and Long Island.

The funding was allocated through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) National Grants Program and will be used to replace commuter ferries, school buses, trucks and tractors with less polluting alternatives. Additionally, the funding will add dollars to New York State’s DERA program.

 “Reducing harmful diesel emissions – which worsen climate change and contribute to asthma and other lung ailments – by upgrading commuter ferries, school buses, trucks and tractors with cleaner technology is another step in the right direction to reduce air pollution, protect our environment and improve the health of our communities,” said Schumer. “I’m proud to support this critical federal funding to reduce harmful emissions from New York City and Long Island’s commuter and cargo vehicles. I’ll continue to fight for funding for diesel emissions reduction programs and other environmental protection measures needed to improve the air we breathe, to attack climate change and to protect human health.”

“Access to clean air is a right that we must fight to protect,” said Gillibrand. “By investing in clean and modern technology, we will reduce pollution and congestion throughout New York City and Long Island, protect the health of our communities, and create new economic opportunities. I will continue fighting to ensure New York State maintains its strong tradition of environmental stewardship and works toward a healthier, more sustainable future for all.”