Following up from the Climate Change Town Hall

Thanks to many of you for attending last week’s Town Hall Meeting on Climate Change. We had a great room, full of engaged community residents, who came eager to work together on the steps NYC must take to confront one of the great challenges of our generation.

As we heard, the problems we face are daunting. New data from the NOAA shows that the global warming trend continues, with May, March, and June of 2015 all breaking previous records. Leading climate scientist James Hansen and a team of experts have put out a new study (not yet peer-reviewed, but still alarming) that resulting multi-meter sea-level rise could come much faster than previously thought.

The good news is that the scale of response – by global activists (like the 350,000 of us who took part in the People’s Climate March last fall), in public policy, and now even from Pope Francis –  is growing as well. Hopefully, and with all of our help, it will become commensurate with the challenge we face.  Here are some steps you can use to stay connected and continue to take action. Read more »

Statement from Council Member Brad Lander on Pavilion Theater Project

“I appreciate and support Hidrock Realty’s commitment to preserve a movie theater as part of their redevelopment of the Pavilion. 

When news broke this spring that Hidrock was planning to eliminate the movie theater – and replace it with generic ground-floor retail as part of their conversion of the building into condominiums – I voiced my concern loudly. There’s been a movie theater on the spot for over 100 years, and a neighborhood movie theater is one great part of Park Slope. My family has enjoyed countless movies there, and the idea of losing a theater altogether was painful to so many of us. Read more »

Town Hall Meeting on Climate Change: Wed, July 22nd

We are at a critical juncture for the future of our planet. Climate change threatens to wreak havoc on the world that we’ll be passing on to our kids, unless we make significant changes. During Hurricane Sandy, we got just a small taste of what sea level rise (just one consequence of climate change) can do to our city. I don't want to tell our kids and grandkids that we utterly failed to learn the lesson.

That’s why I’m working with environmental and community groups to organize a town hall meeting on climate change on July 22nd. We’ll have the chance to learn more about what NYC is doing, and how we can take even more ambitious steps to promote and use renewable energy. Read more »

My Statement On The Lawsuit Against NYC’s 50% Community Preference Policy for Affordable Housing

As a strong supporter of fair housing and a more inclusive city, I believe NYC’s policy of 50% community preference for affordable housing is an important tool in our efforts to create diverse affordable housing and fight segregation.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve helped lead campaigns for mandatory inclusionary zoning to require affordable units where we build market-rate ones, for the School Diversity Accountability Act to identify and confront segregation in our schools, for a stronger ban on racial and bias-based profiling by the NYPD, and for a renewed NYC Human Rights Commission with a robust testing and investigation program to combat discrimination in housing and employment.

In many of those efforts, the Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York has been a valuable ally. But I strongly disagree with their lawsuit against the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s community preference policy, in which 50% of the units in new affordable housing lotteries are reserved for residents of the local community board, with the other 50% going to applicants from the rest of the city. Read more »

Google Maps: Please add "reduce left turns" and "stay on truck routes" options

Last week, I wrote a letter -- together with Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Council's Committee on Transportation -- asking Google Maps to add "reduce left turns" and "stay on truck routes" features to their application. These simple steps will help reduce crashes, make our streets safer and more livable, and even save lives.  You can view a copy of our letter below (and check coverage by WNYC here).

Read more »

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 »

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