Elected Officials, Advocates Demand Increased Funding for School Crossing Guards to Keep NYC’s Students Safe

 Improved Working Conditions Necessary to Achieve City’s Vision Zero Goals and Safer Pre-K Expansion

Today on the steps of City Hall, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Member Brad Lander, City Council Member and Chair of the Council’s Committee on Public Safety Vanessa Gibson, along with parents, students, elected officials, and safe-streets advocates from across New York City called for a significant increase in funding for school crossing guards in the City’s FY 2016 budget.

The funds are necessary to expand the number of crossing guard positions, better target dangerous intersections, and improve working conditions. Crossing guard jobs pay poorly, are part-time, and only last 10 months per year, with workers furloughed in the summer months and forced to pay to continue their health care. As a result, the NYPD has a difficult time keeping positions filled, with hundreds of positions currently vacant.

These changes are needed to achieve the City’s Vision Zero goals to eliminate preventable deaths from traffic crashes, ensure a safer Pre-K expansion, and keep NYC’s kids safe. Read more »

What will you vote for? Watch the PB project videos

We are coming up on the vote for Participatory Budgeting, April 14 – 19. If you haven’t already, please Pledge to Vote today.

Now is the time to start deciding which projects you want to vote for. To help you learn a little bit more about them, we’ve just updated our website with new videos featuring each of the projects on the ballot. There are projects that will affect our schools, libraries, parks, subway stations, streets, and other community spaces. Watch the videos to learn more about them. Read more »

Victory at the Carwash!

I’m very excited to share with you some good news from the carwasheros at Vegas Auto Spa. Earlier today, they announced a landmark new contract and the end of their four-month long strike. The workers will be off the picket line and back at work on Monday.

The new contract includes wage hikes, strong worker protections like paid time off, sharing of hours and overtime, protections for immigrant workers, and a $1,500 per-person signing bonus. The owner also agreed to settle a suit the workers filed for wage and hour violations. It’s an all-around win for the brave workers who so courageously put their jobs on the line, and another win for low wage workers everywhere. When workers stand up for better treatment, their actions have echo effects that stretch far beyond their shop. Read more »

Continuing Our Fight Against Discrimination

When we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery earlier this month, we were reminded of the scourge of discrimination, and of the historic work of the civil rights movement to make fundamental change. And we were called – by Congressman John Lewis and President Obama – to continue that fight today. While we are not called to risk our very lives as the Selma marchers courageously did, we are called upon to do all that we can to root out discrimination.

While we’ve made real progress, there is a long way to go– even here in New York City. NYC’s Human Rights Laws provides some of the strongest civil rights protections anywhere in the country against discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. But for the past 20 years, we have too often failed to enforce them. NYC’s Human Rights Commission has been allowed to shrink to a shadow of its former self, leading New Yorkers facing discrimination to wait a year or more for meager investigations, and with no pro-active investigations to combat systemic discrimination. Read more »

Statement on Incident at Park Slope Collegiate

Statement from Council Member Brad Lander on Incident Involving Park Slope Collegiate and Student Safety:

"I'm deeply distressed by last Thursday's incident at Park Slope Collegiate on the John Jay Educational Campus. I reached out immediately to the Police Commissioner’s office, and was assured that the incident is being investigated by the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau and the Investigative Unit of the School Safety Division. I’ve also been assured that it has also been referred to the civilian complaint review board. I will be following up to make sure that there is a thorough investigation and real accountability.

I have long been opposed to the placement of metal detectors on the John Jay campus, and this incident shows once more why it is time for them to go. Our schools must be a place where our kids are safe, but we can't achieve that by treating students like criminals, especially when there is already a deep disparity between which schools have scanners and which don't. Read more »

Connecting Brooklyn to Governors Island

Governors Island has become a great NYC destination – with magnificent parks, historic forts and buildings, a vibrant arts and culture scene, the Harbor School (a NYC public high school), and some delicious food – right in the heart of New York Harbor. Last summer, for the first time ever, the island remained open 7 days a week.

Unfortunately, for most Brooklynites, it still wasn’t very accessible. If you want to change that, please sign our petition.   Read more »

13 Projects That Could Transform Your Neighborhood

The participatory budgeting vote is only a few weeks away, and I hope we can count on you to be part of it. Pledge to vote between April 14th and 19th and decide which of the outstanding projects, developed by your neighbors, will help transform your community. (Voting times and locations are on my website.)

After months of working hard to turn your ideas into reality, our volunteer budget delegates have put forth 13 projects for this year’s participatory budgeting ballot– from new public art, to fixing dangerous intersections, to upgrades at schools, parks, and subway stops.  Read more »

Participatory Budgeting – Our Biggest Year Yet

If your neighbors gave you $1.5 million dollars, what would you change about your neighborhood? Safer streets and sidewalks? Subway station upgrades? Improvements to one of our much-loved parks or public libraries?It’s almost your time to decide.Over the last several months, your neighbors have been considering these questions. Our volunteer “budget delegates” have reviewed hundreds of ideas that you suggested and put together a slate of a dozen potential projects. Now, we’re turning it over to you to decide which ones will be funded and implemented in our neighborhoods.This year I’m increasing my commitment to “participatory budgeting” from $1 million to $1.5 million – more funds than ever before. But the process only works if you take part.So make sure you pledge to vote in this year’s election, between April 14th and April 19th. Read more »

Why I was arrested today

Over the past few months, our community has supported the struggle of the carwasheros at Vegas Car Wash on 19th Street in Park Slope. We have stood with them as they have demanded repayment of $1 million in wages stolen from them, organized to form a union, and demanded a simple, fair contract (to read about the unfair practices these workers are protesting, read my previous post or this  WNYC article).

They aren’t demanding anything extravagant. Even with a contract, these will still be low-wage jobs. They just want – no, they just insist – on being treated like human beings, with some basic dignity.

After seeing the carwasheros newly-formed union denied, their conditions worsen, and their presence day-in-and-day-out at the picket lines throughout a freezing cold winter, I can no longer remain on the sidelines. Read more »

Holding Reckless Drivers Accountable

Across our neighborhoods, we’ve witnessed too many tragedies where reckless drivers have killed or seriously injured neighbors and loved ones. The three young teens who were students at MS 51 (Sammy Cohen-Eckstein, Joie Sellers, and Mohammed Naiem Uddin) are not the only pedestrians killed in our district over the past few years. Others have been seniors, workers at local businesses, and young people just starting their careers.

We’ve made a lot of progress since Mayor de Blasio launched “Vision Zero” last year. Pedestrian deaths in 2014 were the lowest in a century. But there’s still a long way to go, toward our goal of a city without senseless traffic deaths. Read more »

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