Making Local Progress Toward Equity

I’m in Los Angeles this week, attending the conferences of Local Progress (our national network of progressive local elected officials) and the PolicyLink#Equity2015 Summit. I’m looking forward to joining over 100 local elected officials at Local Progress, and then 3,000 people from around the country at PolicyLink, committed to advancing issues of racial & economic equity, sustainability, and vibrant democracy in our cities and communities. Read more »

Give us your feedback on proposed Citi Bike locations

I wrote to you a few months back asking for your feedback on where you’d like to see Citi Bike stations in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, and Red Hook.

The NYC Department of Transportation has now released a preliminary map of Citi Bike stations in our area. Thanks to DOT for incorporating feedback from over 400 of you into the mapped sites. Before the stations are finalized, we’re asking for your comments again on the updated map. Read more »


For the many artists and friends of the arts in Gowanus, this is a month of both celebration and protest.

The celebration: This weekend will be the biggest-ever Gowanus Open Studios (produced by Arts Gowanus), with over 300 participating artists, special events, and tours. It has become one of the premier community arts events in NYC, and a real celebration of creativity and community. I hope to see you there.  

The protest: Many artists in the complex at 9th Street and 2nd Avenue (a haven of painters, musicians, graphic novelists, woodworkers, and much more) will be participating in Gowanus Open Studios for the last time, as they are being kicked out of their studios by landlords who care more about their profit than about creativity or community.   Read more »

Discuss Overcrowding in Our Schools Next Wednesday Night

I often hear from parents concerned about overcrowding in District 15 elementary schools. In light of the growing concerns about crowding, especially at PS 29, PS 32, and PS 58, next week on Wednesday night, several of your local Brooklyn elected officials will be holding a forum to discuss the issue. Read more »

Bring Back the B71 Bus!

When the MTA eliminated the B71 bus route that ran along Union Street in June 2010, they cut a vital transportation link for our neighborhoods. Students lost their route to school. Seniors lost the bus that took them to the grocery store and shopping on Fifth Avenue. The link up to Prospect Park, the Library, and the Brooklyn Museum, or down to Columbia Street and Brooklyn Bridge Park was severed.  

We fought hard at the time. Now -- with a growing number of families and businesses all along the route -- it's time to renew that fight.  

If you agree that we need the B71 back, sign this petition and join the campaign. Read more »

Composting is coming to Community Board 6!

Two years ago, the Department of Sanitation began a composting pilot program in a few neighborhoods around the city. Today I’m happy to share the news that the pilot has been so effective, it’s getting expanded again, this time to all of Community Board 6.

That means composting is now available in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, the Columbia Waterfront, and Red Hook.  And starting in two weeks, organics collection will start in Park Slope (now including streets north of Union) and Gowanus (now on both sides of the canal). To see if this new area includes your home, check out the map on the Department of Sanitation website.

Sanitation will collect all food scraps (including fruits and vegetables, meat, bones, grains, and prepared foods), food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings from the new curbside bin twice a week on your normal trash day. Your organic waste will be composted and become fertilizer for gardens, parks, and street trees. Organic waste accounts for a third of all garbage created in New York City, so composting will really help reduce how much we send to the landfill.  Read more »

Reflecting on compassion after the Borough Park tragedy

Earlier this week, a horrible tragedy shook 13th Avenue in Borough Park, Brooklyn, where a building collapsed following an explosion. Ligia Puello and Francisca Figueroa were killed in the blast, and we are grieving with their families. Three pedestrians and a dozen firefighters were injured. Four small businesses were destroyed. And nearly 50 of our neighbors were displaced from their homes, and lost everything they own.  Read more »

Hurricane Joaquin – what you need to know to be prepared

As you know, there’s a chance that Hurricane Joaquin is headed our way. We don’t know its exact path, and hopefully it will head out into the Atlantic, rather than make landfall, as the most likely current forecasts predict (you can stay up-to-date via the National Weather Service, and the NYC Office of Emergency Management).

But since there is a real chance that the storm could hit near NYC, we should be ready. If the storm does hit, it would likely be Monday or Tuesday, so please use the weekend to make sure you’re prepared: Read more »

Tired of lines at the 7th Ave. Station?

Good news for many Park Slope commuters!  The MTA is moving forward with plans to reduce crowding and improve flow at the 7th Avenue F/G Subway stop. That means a smoother commute for the station’s 12,000 daily riders--many of whom are tired of standing in line every morning on their way in/out of the stop. Read more »

Protecting Workers in the “Gig” Economy

More and more workers here in Brooklyn (and far beyond) are being paid “by the gig” – freelance graphic designers, writers, and film producers, Uber drivers, cleaners, day laborers, and many more.

In plenty of cases, freelancing and “gig” work makes sense. It can allow consumers to arrange for on-demand services in ways not possible before, allow workers to set flexible work hours or earn extra money, and generate new economic activity.

But there’s a very real dark side. Freelance workers too often get cheated out of the wages and fees they are owed. Day laborers get misclassified and denied their rights as employees. Uber drivers lack the right to organize and collectively bargain with their corporate employer. Working by-the-gig provides much less job security than a traditional career – and it almost never provides health insurance, paid sick days, paid family leave, workforce development, or retirement security.

We urgently need creative thinking, new models, and some new laws to provide for worker protection and security in the emerging economy. Read more »

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