Supporting our small businesses

Our small businesses are a real treasure of our communities. They are a big part of our daily lives, the places where we see our neighbors, so much of what make our neighborhoods feel like home.

We all know what a difference it makes to be able to find the things we want and need, from small businesses, owned by real human beings, located a short walk from home – rather than having to rely on chain stores and strip malls.

But our “Mom and Pops” face many challenges. It’s never easy to start or run a small business. And today – with rising rents, and competition from big-box stores and online retailers – it's harder than ever. As our much-loved local businesses get priced out, our communities suffer, with long-vacant storefronts (even in thriving neighborhoods), and the loss of supermarkets, laundromats, and stores we’ve come to rely on. Read more »

Council Members Lander and Williams Host Racial Justice Town Hall

Brooklyn, NY -- On Sept. 14, Council Members Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, and Brad Lander, Chair of the Committee on Rules, hosted the Racial Justice Town Hall at Congregation Beth Elohim, where attendees explored racism, privilege, and the idea of what it meant to be an ally with people of color. The community event, which was hosted in Council Member Lander's district, was created in partnership with Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC) and Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ). Read more »

Statement of NYC Council Member Brad Lander on Resolution 1058-A Opposing the Global BDS Movement

As a proud, active, progressive Jew, I feel deeply invested in Israel. The extraordinary history of our people returning after two millennia of exile and persecution, still in the shadow of the Holocaust and refugee camps, to courageously build a Jewish homeland, while also striving – as the Israeli Declaration of Independence set out – for “equality of social and political rights irrespective of race, religion, and sex” is a powerful inspiration to me. Read more »

How we remember - 15 years on

On the 10th anniversary on 9/11, I worried we hadn't lived up to the sense of "shared fate" that we felt so powerfully in the days after the attack. I'm afraid it's even worse now. Today, as I again join the Children of Abraham Peace Walk, and the families of lost Windows on the World Workers at the Restaurant Opportunity Center memorial, I pray, as I did five years ago, that "we can remember and build upon that sense of shared fate, that we are all New Yorkers now as we were then, that we honor our first responders individually and also as a symbol of the beauty of serving community, that we should dream and work together for a city where healing is bigger than killing, that honors the work and sacrifice of firefighters, investment bankers, and dishwashers, that recommits us not simply to a memorial, but to a living city that honors their memory." Read more »

Statement on Children of Abraham Peace Walk in Solidarity with Muslim Americans, Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of September 11th

Council Members Stephen T. Levin, Brad S. Lander, and Carlos Menchaca issued the following statement on the Children of Abraham Peace Walk in Solidarity with Muslim Americans, Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of September 11th:

On the 15th anniversary of September 11th, we stand alongside people of all faiths as well as secular communities to commemorate those who were lost on September 11th and demonstrate the power of solidarity in creating positive social change. In the face of toxic xenophobia, racist rhetoric, a rise in hate crimes and anti-Muslim violence—like the tragic killing of Mosque leader Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin—the annual Children of Abraham Peace Walk is a reminder of our commonalities and our strength as we work together toward peace, liberty, due process, and equality under the law.

The annual Children of Abraham Peace Walk falls this year on the eve of Eid al-Adha, a time for remembrance, thanks, and reflection on our blessings. On this holiest day in the Islamic Calendar, we recognize and thank the American Muslims that serve their communities. Muslim Americans are 9/11 first responders and survivors. They are the teachers, students, organizers, and soldiers that strengthen our communities every day. Read more »

First Day of School, 2016

It’s a big first-day-of-school in our office!

Our chief-of-staff Rachel Goodman’s son Max is starting his first day of Pre-K.

Our education liaison Vicki Sell’s daughter is starting middle school.

My daughter Rosa is starting 8th grade, and my son Marek is starting his senior year in high school.

Pretty emotional, all around. So you can be sure my team and I have both a deep appreciation for the New York City public school system – and many of the same same anxieties that all parents feel. Read more »

Joint Statement on NYPD Response to the Inspector General’s Report on Quality-of-Life Enforcement

Council Members Brad Lander, Jumaane D. Williams and  Vanessa L. Gibson issued the following statement on the NYPD Response to the Inspector General’s Report on Quality-of-Life Enforcement:

“We are disappointed with the NYPD’s response to the Inspector General’s (IG) recent report on Quality-of-Life Enforcement. The City Council created the Office of the Inspector General to ensure that NYPD policies and procedures are operating effectively and consistently with the law -- with the understanding that everyone in NYC, including the NYPD, will benefit from a more accountable, efficient police force. Read more »

Some great news about the Pavilion Theater

The Pavilion Theater at the corner of Prospect Park – previously known as the Sanders, and before that the Marathon Theater – has been a site of first dates, family movies, and waiting in lines for blockbusters for over a century (even as it has deteriorated pretty badly in recent years).

So many of us were distressed last year when we learned that our neighborhood theater might be replaced with – what else? – luxury condos. It symbolized the loss of places that make our community, well, a real community. 

So today, I’m happy to pass on some good news: our community’s movie theater will be preserved – and made far better. Nitehawk Cinema (one of the best theater operators in NYC) will convert the entire Pavilion building into a completely renovated 7-screen, 650-seat movie theater (and accompanying restaurant and bar). Read more »

Next City: NYC Takes Steps to Protect Gig Economy Workers

By Oscar Perry Abello originally posted on Next City September 6, 2016

Jessica Perez is CEO and founder of Tycoon, a smartphone app for freelancers to track jobs and make sure they get paid. With over a decade of experience freelance modeling in the fashion industry, Perez has lived through the challenge of juggling multiple jobs, clients, agents and money.

“One of the problems I always struggled with was just knowing how much money I was actually making,” says Perez. “Fashion is an industry that tends to have long payment terms. I created Tycoon to give our population a better method of following up on checks that are owed to us.”

Perez is hardly alone. In a nationwide survey of more than 5,000 freelancers, respondents reported they lost an average of $5,968 in unpaid income in 2014, detracting 13 percent of the average respondent’s annual income. Half of freelancers said they had trouble getting paid in 2014, and 71 percent said they have had trouble collecting payment at some point in their career.

Read more »

Press Release: Raising the Floor for Workers in the Gig Economy

New report highlights innovative policies the New York City Council can adopt to strengthen rights, protections, and benefits for gig workers

City Hall, NY -- For Labor Day 2016, New York City Council Member Brad Lander released a new policy report identifying challenges facing workers in the gig economy, and outlining concrete steps that New York City can take to protect gig workers from wage theft and discrimination, as well as longer term efforts to offer portable benefits and a framework for worker organizing.

Since 2005, the “gig economy” has grown dramatically, as companies have sought to shed costs and employer responsibilities. From 2005 to 2015, the number of workers engaged in “alternative work arrangements” (independent contractors, freelancers, temps, on-call, and contract workers) grew by 9.4 million, while the number of traditional employees declined slightly. From graphic designers, to models, to temps, to for-hire drivers, studies show that between 16% and 40% of all workers earn their checks “by the gig” rather than by a traditional hourly or weekly wage. There are an estimated 1.3 million freelance workers in NYC alone.

While these arrangements can bring flexibility, convenience, and lower prices, it is too often workers who bear the cost. Typically classified as independent contractors, gig economy workers lack the rights, protections, and benefits of traditional employees, making it far more difficult to piece together a decent standard of living. More than 70% of freelancers report that they have been victims of wage theft or late payment. Others face discrimination with little recourse. And the IRS estimates that millions of workers have been misclassified as independent contractors when they are truly employees, and thus denied health benefits, retirement security, or paid leave. Read more »

Sign up for updates!

Follow Me on Social Media