Statement on Pacific Street Library

The recent agreement between the City Council, Mayor Bloomberg, and the Brooklyn Public Library system has given a reprieve to the Pacific Street Branch, at least through the end of the Bloomberg Administration. BPL issued a statement committing to “working with elected officials and community stakeholders to develop an appropriate plan for the Pacific Street building through an open community process.” Read more »

Take action for a safer Church Ave & Ocean Parkway

One week ago, there was an awful crash at Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue, near the entrance to the Prospect Expressway, which took like the life of our neighbor, Ngozi Agbim. The news was truly heartbreaking. We’ve been working for years to fix that intersection. But we were too late to prevent the tragedy that took Ngozi’s life.

Please help make sure we make this intersection safer before there are any more tragedies there. Sign our petition to New York State DOT today. Read more »

Our City's budget, and our values

Last week was a busy one at City Hall. We passed two important police reform bills (more on those here), overrode the mayor’s veto of legislation that will guarantee paid sick days for a million more New York workers, and we passed the City’s FY2014 budget, for the fiscal year that begins today (for good measure, we also passed a bill to “save brunch,” which had apparently become threatened due to an outdated law).

In budget negotiations, we were able restore the essential public services proposed for cuts by Mayor Bloomberg. Libraries will keep their full hours. Low-income families will keep their childcare. Our neighborhood firehouses, parks, and pools will remain open. You can access all the details of the City’s FY2014 budget here, and on those areas where the Council focused on restorations and additions here. Read more »

The power of our students’ imagination

With the end of each school year, I am moved by what extraordinary places our public schools are.  To me, there is no better celebration of democracy than a fifth grade graduation: rooted in the idea that every single student has the potential to achieve their goals and has the right to get a real opportunity to try, that equality and diversity matter, and that we get there by organizing ourselves together, in shared, common, public schools. Read more »

It's not a crime to be who you are

Early Thursday morning, well past midnight, the New York City Council passed landmark legislation – known as the Community Safety Act – to establish long-needed independent oversight of the NYPD (an Inspector General) and to strengthen the City’s prohibition on bias-based profiling by the police. Read more »

Kensington Residents Demand Ped Safety Improvements

With cars whizzing by this morning, Kensington residents, transportation advocates, and City Council Member Brad Lander called on the New York State Department of Transportation to sign-off on safety improvements at the dangerous Church Avenue - Ocean Parkway intersection. 

One year ago, residents voted in Council Member Lander’s “participatory budgeting” election to allocate $200,000 to safety upgrades at the notorious intersection – but that money has gone unspent because the New York State Department of Transportation has not approved a plan from the New York City DOT that would make it safer to cross.

The death earlier this week of Ngozi Agbim, 73, who was hit and killed by a semi truck at the intersection on Monday, has left the neighborhood sad and angry. Read more »

In the Press: NYC Council Passes Plans for New Police Oversight

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The most expansive plans in years to impose new oversight on the New York Police Department passed the City Council early Thursday, as lawmakers voted to create an outside watchdog and make it easier to bring racial profiling claims against the nation's largest police force.

Both passed with enough votes to override expected vetoes, marking an inflection point in the public debate and power dynamics that have set the balance between prioritizing safety and protecting civil liberties here.

Proponents see the legislation as a check on a police department that has come under scrutiny for its heavy use of a tactic known as stop and frisk and its extensive surveillance of Muslims, as disclosed in a series of stories by The Associated Press.

"New Yorkers know that we can keep our city safe from crime and terrorism without profiling our neighbors," Councilman Brad Lander, who spearheaded the measures with fellow Democratic Councilman Jumaane Williams, said at a packed and emotional meeting that began shortly before midnight and stretched into the early morning. Read more »

In the Press: 2 Bills on Police Oversight Advance Amid Objections From Bloomberg

New York Times

Shortly before a key vote on two policing bills in the City Council, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stood at Police Headquarters, flanked by Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, a dozen other law enforcement officials and Robert M. Morgenthau, the 93-year-old former Manhattan district attorney.

With the mayor playing a solemn M.C. for nearly an hour, each man spoke forcefully against the bills on Monday, warning of the dangers they would pose to the city — some invoking Al Qaeda, others the bad old days of rampant crime — and urging council members to vote no.

Their pleas went unheeded for now.

With the support of Speaker Christine C. Quinn, the Council overwhelmingly approved twin motions — each by a vote of 41 to 8 — to bypass a committee where the bills had stalled and bring them up for a full hearing and vote as early as Wednesday. Read more »

Fatal Crash at Church and Ocean

I was truly heartbroken to hear about the fatal crash at Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue, near the entrance to the Prospect Expressway, that took the life of Ngozi Agbim this morning. I have been working with many community advocates to fix that intersection—which we all know to be dangerous—for years. But we are too late to prevent today’s tragedy. Read more »

Statement on City Council Vote to Bring CSA to the Floor

Council Members Williams and Lander’s Statement Following City Council Vote to Bring Community Safety Act to the Floor

NEW YORK, NY, June 24, 2013: Council Members Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), co-chair of the Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, and Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), co-chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, jointly released the following statement following the City Council’s passage of a “Motion to Discharge” for the Community Safety Act (Intros 1079 and 1080), a package of bills to increase accountability for the NYPD and strengthen the City’s ban on police profiling to cover all New Yorkers. With the passing of the Motion to Discharge, the City Council will vote on the legislation later this week. Read more »

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