Big News about the Carroll and Columbia Street Intersection

I’m writing to let you know that our efforts to improve pedestrian safety at the intersection of Carroll and Columbia Streets have paid off. Thank you to those of you who signed our petition. 

Today, NYC DOT announced their plan to install a traffic signal at the intersection. DOT has said they tentatively plan to install the traffic signal in September.

This is great news for everyone in Columbia Waterfront who is tired of risking their lives every time they cross the street, and will go a long way towards getting cars to slow down when they speed off the BQE and into our residential neighborhoods. Read more »

Date Change for PTA Fun Run --May 14th

Due to a permit mishap, we need to move the Brooklyn PTA 5K Fun Run to Saturday May 14th. The race will start at 10 am (8:45 am check-in).

I’m terribly sorry for the last minute switch... and I hope that many families and school teams can still join us on Saturday the 14th. We know how hard so many of you have worked to build your teams! 

Registrations that have already been made will count toward school team totals even if you cannot make the new date.  We hope everyone will keep their registration in order to benefit our PTAs, but if you have questions please email vsell [at] council [dot] nyc [dot] gov  and PTArunfortheschools [at] gmail [dot] comRead more »

Springtime in Gowanus: Big steps forward toward a healthier canal

At the end of 2015, I wrote to you with a (rather in depth) update on the Gowanus Canal cleanup. I’m happy to report that, this month, we took another big step forward toward a healthier canal. We are also working hard to involve community members in the cleanup efforts

As part of the Superfund cleanup process, the EPA has required that the City of New York construct two large sewage retention tanks in Gowanus—in order to dramatically reduce the amount of sewage that flows into the canal when it rains. On April 15, the EPA and the City announced a proposed agreement on the location of those tanks: an eight-million gallon tank will be built on privately-owned property along the Canal, between Butler and Degraw Streets, and a smaller four-million gallon tank will be located on a City-owned property at 2nd Avenue and 5th Streets. Read more »

Local Elected Officials Welcome EPA/DEP Agreement on Gowanus CSO Retention Tanks

For Immediate Release                                                                                              April 22, 2016


Local Elected Officials Issue Statement Welcoming Agreement between U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and NYC Department of Environmental Protection on Gowanus CSO Retention Tanks:

Will Dramatically Reduce Sewage Flowing Into the Canal While Fully Preserving Thomas Greene Park and Increasing Open Space

BROOKLYN, NY -- In advance of a public meeting on Monday, April 25, New York City Council Member Brad Lander, New York City Council Member Stephen Levin, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, and New York State Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, issued the following statement:

"We welcome the agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on the location of two sewage and stormwater retention tanks in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Construction of these two large retention tanks is an essential component of the Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup, to reverse over a century of environmental degradation and neglect that made the Gowanus Canal one of the most contaminated water bodies in the country. Together, the two retention tanks will achieve an estimated reduction of 58 to 78 percent of the combined sewage discharges (CSO) that flow into the Gowanus Canal today. Read more »

And the winners are … the 2016 PBNYC results

The PBNYC vote results are in! I’m pleased to announce that we had our highest turnout in five years of PBNYC voting -- both here in District 39 and across New York City. In our district, 3100 people voted this year, coming out to take part in expanding democracy and support our neighborhoods.

Residents from across our district turned out in big numbers to vote at schools and community spaces and at pop-up locations in parks and plazas. We held polling places at the mosques in Kensington, at the senior-centers, at a very rainy Little League parade, and at the First Saturday event at the Brooklyn Museum. We even had a mobile station making its way around our neighborhoods hooked up to the back of a bike! And with a whole second ballot of “programming” projects, we opened up an entirely new voting opportunity for the first time this year. 

After five very successful years of PBNYC in our district, it’s remarkable to see how this idea has taken off across the city. This year 28 districts participated (up from just four when we started) and tens of thousands of New Yorkers voted citywide. It was a great year for PBNYC. Read more »

Majority of City Council Members Join Climate Justice Leaders, Community-Based Groups and Students to Support Amended Bill to Reduce Plastic Bag Waste


Charge for single-use bags reduced to 5 cents. Broad coalition now in support of passing amended legislation for Earth Day 2016

CITY HALL - A majority of City Council Members have signed onto Intro 209-A, a bill to dramatically reduce single-use plastic and paper bag waste in New York City. The bill’s co-sponsors, Council Members Brad Lander, Margaret Chin and Antonio Reynoso, joined fellow elected officials, environmental leaders, climate justice groups, community-based organizations, and elementary school students from neighborhoods across NYC to rally for passage of the amended bill.

New Yorkers throw away more than 9 billion plastic bags each year, over 91,000 tons of solid waste sent to landfills, at a cost of over $12.5 million. The bags, which are made of petroleum and take millions of years to decompose, get stuck in trees, litter streets and beaches, clog storm drains and recycling equipment, and become part of giant islands of plastic sludge in our oceans

Read more »

On your mark, get set...REGISTER for the Brooklyn PTA 5K!


DATE CHANGE: This year's race will be Saturday, May 14th, 2016 at 10AM

Due to a permit mishap, we need to move the Brooklyn PTA 5K Fun Run to Saturday May 14th. The race will start at 10 am (8:45 am check-in).

We're terribly sorry for the last minute switch... and we hope that many families and school teams can still join us Saturday the 14th. We know how hard so many of you have worked to build your teams! 

NEW DATE: Brooklyn PTA 5K Fun Run/Walk
Saturday, May 14
Race at 10 AM
Number Pickup begins at 8:45 AM
Bartel-Pritchard Square, Prospect Park



We’re less than a month away from the 9th Annual Brooklyn PTA 5K run/walk/scooter/bike/roller-blade/wagon pull. Join us Saturday, May 14 in Prospect Park for a spring day of students and parents running, and school communities coming together to support one another. You can learn more on my website, or register for the race directly here. Be sure to spread the word in your school and community about this important and fun spring event: Read more »

NYS tests start tomorrow – what you need to know

Tomorrow, students in our public schools will begin taking the New York State tests, with English Language Arts (ELA) this week, and Math next week.

As the father of two public school students, I know that our kids deal differently with testing, and that it can be a very stressful experience for some of them.

Thanks to strong advocacy, we are making progress in the effort to reduce the over-reliance on high-stakes testing, and the negative consequences it has – not only stressed-out kids, but “teaching to the test,” incidences of cheating, erratic teacher evaluations, and a loss of time and focus on arts and music and creativity and teamwork.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a real shift in attitudes. We elected a Mayor committed to more holistic education. He and Chancellor Fariña replaced the single, mostly test-based letter-grade that schools used to receive, with the “Framework for Great Schools” – that considers trust, supportive environment, community-family ties, and other non-traditional metrics (if you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to look at your school’s Quality Report under the new framework). DOE has also reduced the use of State tests for grade promotion decisions in favor of an approach using multiple measures and professional judgment. Read more »

This weekend: Your final chance to vote in PBNYC

This weekend is your final chance to vote in Participatory Budgeting (PBNYC)! It really is not complete without your vote.

If you haven’t voted already, I hope you'll visit one of the locations below, on Saturday and Sunday from 10-6 to cast your vote. Remember that any resident of Council District 39, age 14 or older, can vote in PBNYC (you don’t need to be registered to vote in regular elections).

If you've already voted, forward this e-mail to a few friends ... we'd love to get as many people as we possibly can out to vote this weekend.

Poll Sites for Saturday, April 2, 10 am - 6 pm

Carroll Gardens Library
396 Clinton St at Union St
The Old Stone House at Washington Park
Between 3rd and 4th St. and 4th and 5th Ave.
Windsor Terrace Library
160 East 5th St at Ft. Hamilton Pkwy

We will also have a mobile poll-site set up in Prospect Park, at the end of the little league baseball opening day parade, on the Long Meadow Ballfields (near Field 1, where the Opening Pitch ceremony will be taking place), from 10:30 – 12 noon.

Poll Sites for Sunday, April 3, 10 am -6 PM

Carroll Park House
Smith St between President and Carroll Streets

Park Slope Armory
361 15th St between 7th and 8th Ave

PS 230 Upper School
1 Albemarle Rd at McDonald Ave

Help the NYPD identify this attacker of seniors

The suspect who police believe robbed a 91 year old Park Slope woman at gunpoint in March has been linked to four other recent attacks involving elderly women in their 70’s and 80’s from Kensington, Prospect Heights, Park Slope and Ridgewood, Queens. The most recent attack happened Saturday afternoon near the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Beverly Road in Kensington, and involved an 83 year old woman. Together the 66th Precinct and 78th Precinct are asking for help identifying the man pictured in this wanted poster

Anyone with information should call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). You can also submit your tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential. Read more »

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