Cobble Hill

Hey, did you hear it might snow?

You might have heard somewhere these past few days, but we’re expecting a bit of snow this weekend. We’ve seen what happens when we under-prepare, as well as what happens when we over-prepare. But the bottom line is we just don’t know how much snow we’re going to get – so it’s best to be ready.

Side note: For those of you who want to learn more about the surprisingly fascinating world of weather forecasting, Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise has a great chapter on the topic that I recommend while you’re sipping your hot cocoa this weekend.

Since the Snowpocalypse of 2010 the City Sanitation Department and the City Council have done a lot to make sure NYC is ready for whatever winter weather comes our way.  New York City has set up a great Severe Weather Update website which is the best source for up to the minute information on city operations (and you can even track the progress of City snow plows). Read more »

Protecting Freelancers from Getting Stiffed

New York City is the freelance capital of the world, with over 1.3 million freelancers, so many of them right here in Brooklyn. More and more people are working “by the gig” (as graphic designers, film producers, for-hire drivers, nannies, and much more), rather than for a regular paycheck.

But despite the rapidly growing percentage of workers who are paid this way, our laws have not kept up with our changing economy. As a result, gig economy workers don’t have the protections and benefits of traditional employees.

One consequence: more than 70% of freelancers report having been stiffed out of payments they were owed – by being paid too late, too little, or not at all – to the tune of $6,390 every year, on average. I’ve heard stories from individuals who were cheated out of tens of thousands of dollars they were owed.

Everyone deserves to be paid for their work, on time and in full. So on Monday, in partnership with the Freelancer’s Union, I introduced the “Freelance Isn’t Free Act.”  Read more »

Gratitude, 2015

There’s a lot to be anxious about these days.

Terrorism around the world punctures our sense of security, and prompts xenophobic backlash against our neighbors and those seeking protection from this very sort of terror.

Climate change threatens the world we will hand our kids.

Growing inequality makes it harder for people just to get by.

We struggle across racial divides, as we see video of yet another young African-American man killed needlessly in an encounter with police, and violence comes to those protesting peacefully to change an unfair system.

And at times, the changes in our communities – new development, skyrocketing rents, rising homelessness – make us feel we are losing our neighborhoods.

So I’m glad that Thanksgiving is here, to remind us of all we have to be grateful for. Read more »

Caring for our Seniors – Community events coming up!

From facing hard decisions about care giving needs, to finding enough money to pay rent and medical bills on a fixed income, life can be challenging for our senior citizens and those who care for them. Fortunately, there are policies and programs that can help our elderly neighbors and loved ones make the most of their later years.

Next week some great senior focused organizations in our community are putting on informative events to help you make sure you or your loved ones know how to take part in these programs and get the highest level of care possible. Read more »

Hope, Not Hate

The following are remarks from Council Member Brad Lander at the Brooklyn Vigil for Paris, November 15, 2015:

Article 1. Men are born free and remain free and equal in rights.

Article 4. Liberty consists in the power to do anything that does not injure others.

Article 9. Every man being presumed innocent until he has been pronounced guilty.

Article 10. No one should be disturbed on account of his opinions, even religious, provided their manifestation does not upset the public order established by law.

Article 11. The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man.

Article 12. The guarantee of the rights of man and citizen requires a public force; this force then is instituted for the advantage of all and not for the personal benefit of those to whom it is entrusted.

We defeat terrorism by re-asserting our values. As we mourn the victims of Paris, Beirut, and Kenya, and remember those of Lower Manhattan, there’s no place better to start tonight than the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, written in Paris in 1789. Read more »

NYC ID card sign up coming to our area!

Almost a year ago New York City made history by launching IDNYC, our city’s new municipal ID card program. Since then, over half a million New Yorkers have signed up, and IDNYC is now the largest municipal ID program in the country.

If you haven’t had time to get your card yet – I’ve got some great news for you! IDNYC is coming to us. Read more »

LICH: Please tell me what you think

As you know, Cobble Hill is faced with a painful choice -- between two wildly out-of-scale options -- over future development by the Fortis Property Group on the Long Island College Hospital (LICH) site.

We've fought hard, together, over the last few months to try to make the situation better. The Cobble Hill Association, the other elected officials, and I have talked to hundreds of you, held meetings large and small, considered architectural alternatives and legal options, and pushed Fortis to make changes.

I'll be honest. We have not had much luck in persuading Fortis to listen to our community and reduce the massive size of their out-of-scale plans. We will keep pushing. But now, we are nearing a moment of decision.

So, I am very eager to hear what you think. I’m asking you to fill out the short web-form below to give me your opinion, in your own words. Even if you've already filled out the earlier Cobble Hill Association survey and/or the Fortis survey, attended meetings, or signed something else, we really need to hear your voice right at this moment. Please scroll down and take a minute to let me know what you think. Read more »

Discuss Overcrowding in Our Schools Next Wednesday Night

I often hear from parents concerned about overcrowding in District 15 elementary schools. In light of the growing concerns about crowding, especially at PS 29, PS 32, and PS 58, next week on Wednesday night, several of your local Brooklyn elected officials will be holding a forum to discuss the issue. Read more »

Bring Back the B71 Bus!

When the MTA eliminated the B71 bus route that ran along Union Street in June 2010, they cut a vital transportation link for our neighborhoods. Students lost their route to school. Seniors lost the bus that took them to the grocery store and shopping on Fifth Avenue. The link up to Prospect Park, the Library, and the Brooklyn Museum, or down to Columbia Street and Brooklyn Bridge Park was severed.  

We fought hard at the time. Now -- with a growing number of families and businesses all along the route -- it's time to renew that fight.  

If you agree that we need the B71 back, sign this petition and join the campaign. Read more »

Composting is coming to Community Board 6!

Two years ago, the Department of Sanitation began a composting pilot program in a few neighborhoods around the city. Today I’m happy to share the news that the pilot has been so effective, it’s getting expanded again, this time to all of Community Board 6.

That means composting is now available in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, the Columbia Waterfront, and Red Hook.  And starting in two weeks, organics collection will start in Park Slope (now including streets north of Union) and Gowanus (now on both sides of the canal). To see if this new area includes your home, check out the map on the Department of Sanitation website.

Sanitation will collect all food scraps (including fruits and vegetables, meat, bones, grains, and prepared foods), food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings from the new curbside bin twice a week on your normal trash day. Your organic waste will be composted and become fertilizer for gardens, parks, and street trees. Organic waste accounts for a third of all garbage created in New York City, so composting will really help reduce how much we send to the landfill.  Read more »