Bklyn Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 22, 2021

BKLYN Image (corrected)-2

Adams Reveal New Urban Agrarian Report

Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams yesterday joined the New York University (NYU) Stern Center for Sustainable Business and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, along with leading urban agriculture advocates, to release a new report on the untapped potential of urban agriculture, titled “The New Agrarian Economy.” 

The report lays out concrete proposals to encourage the growth of urban agriculture in New York City. The economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need to identify new and burgeoning industries that can drive a sustainable, equitable recovery. 

If scaled up citywide, urban agriculture can not only provide good employment opportunities in the city, but can also help provide locally-grown produce to underserved communities and combat diet-related illnesses, which have been found to be leading co-morbidities associated with COVID-19. 

“The New Agrarian Economy” ​outlines several areas where the City can work in concert with advocates and industry leaders to expand urban agriculture opportunities across the five boroughs, with priority given to historically underserved communities,” said Adams.

“Its recommendations focus on clearing regulatory hurdles to establishing and growing urban farms, expanding hands-on educational opportunities for students, reimagining existing infrastructure such as City-owned land to make it greener, promoting environmental preservation measures, and investing in workforce development for the urban agriculture sector,” he added.

Schumer: Puts Out Fed Plan To Help NYC Restaurants

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday detailed plans for his restaurant relief fund, modeled on the widely supported, bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act, which will provide flexible grants as a lifeline for New York’s restaurant industry, one of the hardest hit by the economic effects of the COVID pandemic. 

Schumer explained that the restaurant grant assistance he wants included in the next COVID relief bill would be administrated by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and provide much-needed relief to New York City restaurants. This plan would provide comprehensive support to local restaurants and grants from the fund could be used alongside first and second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit. 

Foodservice or drinking establishments, including caterers, brewpubs, taprooms, and tasting rooms, that are not part of an affiliated group with more than 20 locations would be eligible for the grants.

“New York City restaurants, their employees and the city economy need immediate federal relief to weather COVID because too many of the places we know and love could close without the help, leaving a giant hole in our local economy,” said Schumer. “That is why this plan to get our restaurants ‘cooking’ again centers on getting them the dollars needed to absorb the huge losses and survive this pandemic. Including restaurant relief in the federal COVID relief plan not only makes sense, but it’s the recipe needed to keep small businesses like Dirt Candy going.”     

Eichenstein Lashes Into Common Cause Exec Director 

Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein
Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein

Assemblyman Simca Eichenstein (D-Borough Park) yesterday called on Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner to apologize for calling the city’s Orthodox Jewish community an “extremist bloc.”

Lerner made the statement to Gothamist last week in reference to ranked choice voting and mayoral candidate Andrew Yang defending yeshiva education and accused the candidate of pandering to the Orthodox community.

“Labeling Orthodox Jews, or any other minority community, as ‘extremist’ is reckless,” said “Policy differences and diverse perspectives are legitimate and should be debated in an open and transparent forum. There is no excuse for denigrating or scapegoating an entire community through a hateful lens. Every New Yorker should be outraged and offended at this insensitive and divisive statement.”

Common Cause New York is a non-profit organization. According to its mission statement, the nonpartisan, grassroots organization works to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.  

Colton Rallies to Oppose Homeless Center

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D–Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights), tomorrow will gather with other elected officials to hold a press conference at Bath Avenue and Bay 29 Street in front of the site upon which the City proposes to build a homeless shelter for 150 single men.

The city’s Department of Homeless Services announced their intention to open a homeless center at 2147 Bay Avenue without any public meeting, community input or other information.  A group of community people formed community organizations to oppose this location because it is in a residential area with numerous schools, daycare centers, rehab nursing homes, and parks in the immediate vicinity. 

Also, there has not been any specific information as to what social work and mental health staff will be hired to provide quality services to those who need it.

The rally is slated for 11 a.m., tomorrow, Feb. 23 on Bath Avenue at corner of Bay 29 Street in Bath Beach.