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 »

Elected Officials & Families of Seniors Denounce NYS Department of Health for Abandoning 90-Year-Olds, Seeking to Force Their Eviction

NYS DOH Refusing to Advance Funds Needed for Safe Building Operation to Receiver Whose Appointment They Requested

BROOKYLN, N.Y. – Monday morning, Council Member Brad Lander, Public Advocate Letitia James, families of seniors living at Prospect Park Residence, and concerned community residents gathered outside the Brooklyn Supreme Court to denounce the failure of the NYS Health Department and Governor Cuomo to protect the elderly residents remaining in the building. For the past year, NYS DOH has failed to protect residents – despite repeated court orders – from the contemptuous management of owner Haysha Deitsch, who has consistently worsened building conditions (including downgrading security, firing all cleaning staff, and serving spoiled food) while attempting to force residents out, in order to sell the building for luxury housing.

Read more »

Schools, Libraries, and Our Charity

As one of the "spirited Brooklynites" who spent last weekend running (and even helping to organize) the Brooklyn PTA 5K Fun Run for Public Schools, and then Biking the Branches in support of the Brooklyn Public Library, I completely agree with Liza Featherstone's critique in this article: that we must not come to view our schools and libraries as "charities," but as fundamental public institutions that we have a duty to robustly (and more equally) support with our tax dollars. AND that we are not doing so. AND especially not in the case of NYC's public libraries. AND that this is a real shortcoming of the budget that Mayor de Blasio put forward this week (which cuts the expense budget of the 3 library systems $10 million from last year, and includes only a scant & largely illusory increase of capital funding).

For what it's worth, though, I do think events like the PTA 5K, and Bike the Branches -- and even more participatory budgeting (PBNYC) -- can be a fundamental part of efforts to "fight privatization, not revel in it," as Featherstone rightly demands. Read more »

Support for Mayor de Blasio's Proposal to Reform 421-a Tax Breaks & Strengthen the Rent Laws

Statement of City Council Member Brad Lander, Deputy Leader for Policy (and a member of NYC's 421-a Task Force in 2006):

"For far too long, despite our prior efforts at reform, the 421-a tax break has been far too big a giveaway of our tax dollars, for far too little affordable housing in return. New York City simply cannot afford to continue to subsidize market-rate development with no affordability.

So I embrace Mayor de Blasio's proposal for reform (outlined this morning in The New York Times). By requiring affordable housing in exchange for any 421-a tax break, increasing the amount of affordability required, eliminating condos, expanding the options to fit different neighborhoods, and broadening the mansion tax, 421-a can become a program that truly supports the creation of affordable housing for New Yorkers who need it. Read more »

Results are in…PBNYC Project Winners!

During Participatory Budgeting (“PBNYC”) voting week close to 2,700 people showed up to take part in expanding democracy and supporting our neighborhood.

Residents from across our district turned out by the hundreds to vote at schools and community spaces and at pop-up locations in parks and plazas. We held polling places at senior centers, the mosques in Kensington, the Little League Parade, and Mayor de Blasio even dropped by PS 282 in Park Slope to cast his vote. Best of all, we opened up the process to 14 year olds this year too!

Without further delay, the 2015 winning Participatory Budgeting projects are … Read more »

In the Press: How Cities’ Funding Woes Are Driving Racial and Economic Injustice—And What We Can Do About It

The Nation
04/28/2015

It doesn’t stop with Ferguson—common underlying problems create conflict and tension across the country.

In August 2014, the municipality of Ferguson, Missouri erupted onto the national scene. In the wake of the killing of Michael Brown, we learned much about economic and political life in Ferguson and greater St. Louis County. Read more »

Breaking Ground at Dome Playground

The kids of Borough Park and Kensington need more room to play – so I’m very pleased that our renovation of Dome Playground (at Dahill Road and 38th Street) will double the size of the children’s play area, and make the whole park better for families. Today the City broke ground on this exciting renovation that will include a new spray shower area, a seating plaza, an open lawn, and planting beds. The renovation is expected to be finished in about a year. Check out the rendering to see the changes that are in the works.

Read more »

Earth Day 2015: Toward a more sustainable NYC

This Earth Day, I’m relieved that spring is finally here, after such a long and harsh winter.

But even as the weather lifts our spirits, we urgently need the reminder – the inconvenient truth – of the enormous work we must do to confront climate change if we want to have a safe planet to hand over to our children and grandchildren. The evidence is ever-more incontrovertible.   

Today, New York City took some strong steps in the right direction. I’m enthusiastic about Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of the City’s new One NYC Plan for a sustainable and resilient city, and one that works for all New Yorkers. Income inequality and climate change are the twin crises of our generation – so it is smart, urgent, and morally compelling to fight them together. Read more »

Statement on Development Plan for the Pavilion Theater

I am distressed by Hidrock Realty’s plan – reported this morning in the Real Deal – to close our neighborhood movie theater, the Pavilion, for luxury housing. The Pavilion is a long-time local fixture, open to neighbors of every generation. My family has enjoyed countless movies there, and our kids have been able to walk there with their friends. Even in its somewhat-faded glory, the Pavilion is a part of growing up and being a family in Park Slope. Read more »

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