Gowanus

Participatory Budgeting is Back

One year ago, we started an experiment: to give New Yorkers the power to decide how to spend $1 million of their tax dollars on projects in the neighborhood.

That experiment, Participatory Budgeting, was a huge success. Over 3,000 people participated, we received nearly a thousand ideas for projects in the community, and our small voting sites were overwhelmed with eager residents wanting to be part of what the New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action.” The seven projects with the most votes – projects for local schools, libraries, parks, and streets – received City funding and are moving forward.

Now we are starting again, with another $1 million and your great ideas. Read more »

Back to (Our) Schools

This morning, over 1 million kids (including my two) head back to New York City’s public schools.

Despite the often-contentious rhetoric surrounding education policy these days, our public schools for me remain the shining hope of American democracy: that we all work together – through government, with our tax dollars – to invest heavily in the idea that every single kid deserves an equal opportunity to learn and grow, that diversity is a core strength, that we help individuals achieve their potential through collective action, and that knowledge, ideas, and the search for truth matter. Those are not the values of the marketplace (though good education is certainly essential to a thriving economy); they are the values of democracy. Read more »

Better transit service - because we worked together

I’m very pleased to report that the MTA – in response to our advocacy – is improving transit service in our neighborhood.

As you’ve probably heard, the MTA has agreed to make the G train 5-stop extension to Church Avenue permanent. The G extension has increased the number of trains running along the Culver line through Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and connecting our neighborhoods to Downtown Brooklyn and North Brooklyn. Thousands of people raised their voice in support of Brooklyn’s “Crosstown Local,” and the MTA heard us. Read more »

A city budget we can be proud of

The City Council and Mayor Bloomberg reached an agreement this week on New York City’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget – one that invests in our kids and preserves funding for vital public services.

The City’s $68.7 billion budget is a statement of our priorities, and I am proud that those priorities reflect a deep belief in education (public schools continue to be the largest item by far), in core public services and infrastructure that make sure we have safe and vibrant communities, and in a strong safety net for those who need it (young, old, and in-between).

I’m also excited that, for the first time, the City’s budget includes items that you selected, through participatory budgeting. The seven items – totaling $1 million – that more than 2,200 of you voted for in March are being officially adopted as part of the City’s capital budget this week … and we’re launching a new webpage to keep you posted on their progress. Read more »

Running (and organizing) for our schools

What a blast! Last Sunday, hundreds of kids, parents, and teachers from more tha

What a blast! Last Sunday, hundreds of kids, parents, and teachers from more than three dozen schools came out for the Fifth Annual Brooklyn PTA 5k Run for Schools. Donations are still coming in, but we already know that the race raised more than $10,000 for the first time! Read more »

Remarks upon receiving Landmarks Conservancy Award

New York City Councilmember Brad Lander
Chair, New York City Council’s Landmarks Subcommittee
Remarks for Landmarks Conservancy’s Lucy G. Moses Award
Wednesday, April 26, 2012 Read more »

Video: Smart growth stories

Smart Growth America
04/25/2012

Where does change come from? Who comes up with the ideas and proposals needed to reinvigorate neighborhoods?

Ask New York City Councilmember Brad Lander and he’ll tell you.

“The community.”

Read more »

Michael Buscemi's Tribeca Film Fest flick pays rueful homage to Brooklyn's B61 bus

New York Daily News
04/18/2012

It’s a hated Brooklyn bus line - and now it’s a movie.

Actor Michael Buscemi has written and directed a wry little love note to the slow-poke B61 bus, with a Red Hook stop serving as the sole setting for “B61,” which premieres Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival. Read more »

Call for Better Gowanus Cleanup Coordination

Statement from Councilmember Lander on his call for Better Coordination of Gowanus Cleanup

“This is a critical moment for achieving the long-desired cleanup of the Gowanus Canal – not only the highly toxic sediment at the bottom, covered by the EPA’s Superfund process, which I strongly support, but also better water quality, reducing combined sewer overflows (CSOs), stopping the contamination still flowing from the manufactured-gas plant sites, and improving the canal’s bulkheads and shorelines. Taken individually, addressing each of these domains is important but incomplete. Taken together, they can be more than the sum of their parts: they can transform the Gowanus Canal from a toxic environment into a sustainable community resource for decades to come.

So it is critical that all three levels of government work together productively, in a comprehensive, coordinated, thoughtfully-sequenced process. That’s why I am calling on the NYC Department of Environmental Protection to accelerate its “Long Term Control Plan” for CSOs – currently not due until 2015, after Superfund remediation decisions are made – and on the US EPA, NYS DEC, and NYC DEP to better coordinate their separate processes. I’m grateful that the Brooklyn Community Board 6 Public Safety, Environmental Protection, Permits & Licenses Committee voted last night to support this effort. Together, we can achieve a once-in-a-generation cleanup of the Gowanus Canal, polluted so deeply over the past two centuries. Let’s work together to do it.” Read more »