Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 15, 2021

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Adams Comments on Subway Stabbing

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams yesterday joined elected leaders and the Transit Workers Union Local 100 (TWU) to demand a series of steps to uphold public safety in the subways while ensuring those experiencing severe mental health issues get the help they need. 

The calls come after a stabbing spree, believed to be related, on the A line Friday evening into Saturday morning left two dead and two others injured. The alleged culprit was arrested over the weekend.

“Last night, two people were killed and two others injured in a horrific series of subway stabbings across our city. These attacks, which are believed by the NYPD to be related, come amid a surge in violence on our subways. The perpetrators of this violence are often struggling with some form of severe mental illness, and their targets are frequently some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including our homeless neighbors who seek out the subway system as a refuge during the winter months.  

“It’s clear that the City’s current approach to subway safety is failing. That’s why I am calling for several steps to ensure we stop these senseless assaults, stabbings, and related violent crimes.

“First, we need to immediately reorient our outreach program, balancing public safety with the need to increase more proactive outreach to people experiencing mental health crises. Teams of trained mental health professionals must conduct routine inspections to engage with people suffering from mental illness, focusing on our most highly trafficked stations. They must work in collaboration with deployments of police officers currently assigned to desk duty, who need to do their own routine inspection routes of subway stations within their sectors and report to mental health professionals of people in need of crisis care. Second, the NYPD must ensure greater coordination between transit patrols and street patrols, in order to proactively enhance manpower in the subways. Any non-violent emotionally disturbed person they encounter should be referred to a mental health professional. Third, we need to amend our 311 system to facilitate the deployment of appropriate responding professionals to specific subway stations, as a recent City Council hearing revealed was not currently possible. Finally, we should strengthen our use of Kendra’s Law as a tool to provide court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment, and engage in an immediate dialogue with State lawmakers on potential reforms to justly expand how it can be applied.   

“As this recent rash of violent subway crimes shows, far too many people still aren’t getting the mental health treatment they need. We must be committed to an approach where public safety and public health go hand in hand, where New Yorkers feel confident using our mass transit system, and where compassionate care is our priority. We cannot let subways become dangerous again for New Yorkers,” he said. 

Gillibrand Statement to Convict President Trump

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement addressing her vote to convict President Trump under the article of impeachment charging him with “incitement of insurrection,” 

“The evidence is irrefutable. For months, President Trump laid the groundwork for the insurrection, actively promoting conspiracy theories about election fraud to his supporters. On January 6th, he incited violence against Congress and his own vice president. Finally, even as his violent supporters stormed the Capitol, causing untold destruction and several deaths, President Trump refused to take action to protect members of Congress, the vice president, Capitol Police and law enforcement officers, staff and those working in the Capitol.This shameful incident has left a stain on our nation that can never be removed—nor should it. 

As a United States senator, I swore an oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution. Today, I upheld that oath by voting to convict President Trump under charges of inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government. I thank the other senators, including seven of my Republican colleagues, who had the courage to do the same,” she said. 

Colton Speaks Against Proposed Homeless Shelter

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D – Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) spoke out against the proposed 2147 Bath Avenue homeless shelter and the education budget at the recent CB11.

“The Mayor’s plan is to open homeless shelters in neighborhoods like ours throughout the city. There was absolutely no community input on the placement of the shelter at 2147 Bath Avenue and that has enraged me and the community. The City Comptroller’s report has identified that the DHS has a systematic tendency to bypass the procedures and avoids community input when opening new shelters. The DHS almost never responds to questions about the site procedures. I was also informed that there are two general types of homeless shelters, congregate and non-congregate. In congregate shelters, individuals share amenities like bathrooms and living space. The DHS failed to provide information about the array of services like will there be case management and job training on-site. Spending millions of dollars on a project that doesn’t have a real solution to the problem of helping the homeless is ineffective and unacceptable. I strongly believe that the real solution to the problem is to build more affordable housing for low-income families. I am not against helping homeless people and believe that they need help from our Government, but I am totally against this project and will continue to fight for our community,” said Colton.

“The Congress will be voting on the Stimulus Package next week which will include $50 billion in emergency funds for New York State. From that money, $10 billion dollars will be allocated to use for education and that is good news. We must make sure that these monies will be spent wisely. The New York State owes under CFE $4.5 billion. Under the current State Budget, the foundation aid for education is flat as last year. I strongly believe that as soon as the State receives an emergency stimulus package they must repay the $4.5 billion toward CFE. That money can be used to reduce class size, recommending and initiating enrichment programs like remedial, gifted and talented, special education, and bilingual needs of the children. I’m alerting all parents that the expected federal billions are an opportunity to start demanding needed aid so that the opportunity will not be lost,” Colton added.

Tannousis: We Have to Find Answers For Elderly

Assemblyman Michael Tannousis

Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R 0 Bay Ridge, Staten Island) last week was sharply concerned regarding finding answers for those suffering with COVID-19 in nursing homes. 

 “Last night, troubling information came to light that the governor’s office admitted that the state downplayed COVID-19 data regarding nursing home deaths from the Legislature in an attempt to avoid federal investigation,” said Tannousis.

“If this is true, we must launch a full investigation into those culpable in the attempted cover-up. Too many nursing home residents suffered great loss during the pandemic, and we owe it to them to investigate what happened and let their stories be heard.”