Great ruling for Prospect Park Residence seniors: Judge refuses cynical effort to have their case dismissed.

In response to Justice Wayne Saitta's July 1 decision to deny the "motion to dismiss" in the case involving the seniors at the Prospect Park Residence, New York City Council Member Brad Lander issued the following statement:

“I’m thrilled with Judge Saitta’s wise and fair decision to allow the courageous seniors of the Prospect Park Residence to have their case heard at trial. The despicable owner Haysha Deitsch and the Cuomo Administration’s NYS Department of Health sought to have their case dismissed, but Judge Saitta has denied their motions. Read more »

A great day for the U.S. (and a good NYC budget, too)!

What a day! The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed what Meg and I – and the overwhelming majority of residents of our community – have long believed: that love is love, and that every state must recognize marriage of LGBTQ Americans equally with straight ones. 

I especially liked this part of Justice Kennedy’s decision: “The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.” Read more »

What’s next for the LICH site?

Together with so many of you, I fought hard against the closure and sell-off of Long Island College Hospital. We protested together in snow, heat, and rain, took over SUNY board meetings, engaged in civil disobedience, went to court to block a process that was rife with flaws and appeared rigged, and appealed over-and-over to Governor Cuomo.

Unfortunately, we were not able to block the sale. Governor Cuomo, the NYS Department of Health, and SUNY turned their backs on our neighborhood. They closed the hospital, and sold the site for the most money they could, without regard for our neighborhood’s needs. 

But Cobble Hill did come together as a united community – and we are going to need that unity even more in the days ahead.  Read more »

A safer Caton Avenue & Albemarle Road –> and more changes on the way

Back in January, hundreds of community members filled the PS 130 auditorium to address longstanding concerns about pedestrian safety in Kensington and Windsor Terrace – concerns made all the more pressing by the tragic death of a teenager, Mohammed Naiem Uddin, just a few weeks before. At the January meeting, the NYC Department of Transportation presented a comprehensive plan to enhance safety in the area. Since then, we have been steadily pushing forward to make sure Kensington and Windsor Terrace get the safety improvements that students, seniors, families, and all of us need.

To keep you up to date about DOT’s progress, my office has created the K/WT Street Safety Tracker on our website, which allows you to see the status of each of the elements in their plan. We’ve already taken some major steps forward together. I encourage you to check out the many improvements planned for our area. Read more »

Another victory for carwasheros

Through the winter, so many of you stood side-by-side with the carwasheros at Vegas Auto Spa in Park Slope. This spring – thanks to their courage and our community’s solidarity – they won a huge victory: a union contract with better wages, worker protections, and a $1,500 per-person signing bonus. 

This week, carwasheros across NYC (along with their partners at Make the Road NY, New York Communities for Change, and the RWDSU) won another big victory for fair wages, better working conditions, and basic worker dignity. Read more »

Why I support Mayor de Blasio’s 421-a reform proposal

(along with stronger rent laws, a mansion tax, and a real strategy for lifting up workers)

For more than a decade, I’ve been fighting to reform New York’s “421-a” property tax-exemption – which has long been a far-too-generous giveaway to developers, too expensive to NYC, unnecessary to encourage development, and generating far too little affordable housing. Read more »

The democratic promise of our public schools

Nothing is more important to our democracy than strong public schools that offer all kids a genuine opportunity to learn, grow, solve problems, imagine, create, work in teams, get ready for careers, and become citizens of NYC. In just a few short weeks – at 5th grade, 8th grade, and high-school graduations across the district – we’ll have a chance to see and celebrate the magic that happens daily in our public schools.

We’re lucky to have many great schools in District 15. And we’re making some strong steps forward: I’m especially excited about the continued expansion of Pre-K in our community. Next fall, I believe that the majority of four-year-olds in our neighborhoods will be served in free, high-quality, public Pre-K programs. 

Still, we’ve got a long way to go to fulfill the true democratic promise of public education. Across NYC, too many of our schools aren’t providing kids with the education they need. And as you’ve been reading in the news, we are still grappling with many public policy issues (though most of these are set, for better or worse, at the state level) from mayoral control to high-stakes testing to the charter school cap.

I won’t go into all of those here – but I did want to fill you in on some of the work my office has been doing in recent days to strengthen our City’s schools: confronting segregation & improving diversity, re-imagining the middle-school admissions process, the PTA 5k fun-run-for-schools, school crossing guards, and more: Read more »

City Council Passes “School Diversity Accountability Act”

New law will require NYC Department of Education to provide detailed demographic data & steps it is taking to advance diversity in NYC schools, Seen as strong tool for advocates confronting school segregation.

NEW YORK – Today, the New York City Council voted to pass new policies designed to confront segregation and increase diversity in NYC public schools. Read more »

City Council, Advocates Ask Mayor for School Crossing Guard at Every Dangerous Intersection

Elected Officials, Advocates, School Community Members respond to Mayor’s Lack of Attention for School Crossing Guards in Executive Budget, Demand Better Job Quality for City’s Valuable Public Servants

NEW YORK--Today on the steps of City Hall, City Council Member Brad Lander, and Chair of the Committee on Public Safety Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, along with other elected officials, labor leaders, street safety advocates and representatives from the school community called on Mayor de Blasio to address the lack of school crossing guards at dangerous intersections across the city, and poor job quality that makes it difficult to keep positions filled. Read more »

Talk Kensington’s parks, plazas, streets—and more

There are some great projects in the works for Kensington this summer – improved parks, plazas, streets and more. I’m writing with updates on a few of these projects, as well as an invitation to join me at a Brooklyn Community Board 12 meeting next week.

On Tuesday night, come make your voice heard at the Brooklyn Community Board 12 meeting in Kensington. Community boards are composed of fifty local volunteers, who work closely with government agencies to help New York City neighborhoods thrive. Kensington is part of Brooklyn Community Board 12, which also covers Borough Park and parts of Midwood. I encourage you to come out and share your ideas for ways Kensington could be better served by New York City government. Read more »

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