Kensington

Steps Forward Toward More Diverse Schools

Last spring, our community held a forum at John Jay Educational Campus to address issues of segregation in our public schools – and to look at what steps we can take toward schools that better reflect the diversity of our city. Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, we learned that New York’s schools are the most segregated in the country. But we also learned that schools, districts (especially District 1, 3, and 13), and advocates across New York City are working hard to make change.

At that meeting, the District 15 Community Education Council (who co-sponsored the event with Council Member Carlos Menchaca and me) announced its new CEC 15 Resolution on Diversity. That resolution called on the DOE to prioritize diversity, especially when establishing the admissions policy for new schools.

So I’m pleased to report that this week, we made a small but meaningful step forward. The DOE agreed to an admissions plan – suggested by the community – for the new “PS/IS 437” (in Kensington) that will strengthen diversity, include a new middle school, and promote collaboration.

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What to know before it snows

If weather predictions are correct, we are in for a lot of snow this evening and tomorrow. I wanted to share what I know about city services to help you prepare.

My staff has been in communication with the Sanitation garages in our district. They have begun salting our streets and are preparing to plow once the snow starts. When many of us will be at home and warm, Sanitation and many other City workers will be on the streets keeping us safe. Thank you to each of them. Read more »

A safer Albemarle Road

You asked. They listened.

The stretch of Albemarle Road in Kensington (between Ocean Parkway & McDonald Avenue) is a big safety concern for our community. Speeding is prevalent, putting pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers at risk. This year alone, there have been ten crashes on this corridor, including a two-car collision at East 2nd Street just last week.

After a year of community advocacy, I am happy to announce that New York City Department of Transportation has put forward a plan to improve safety along the street. Read more »

What We're Thankful For

It’s easy to be cynical about Thanksgiving – to get lost in excesses of turkey and pumpkin pie and “black Friday” consumerism.  The holiday’s history is complicated (as my daughter, who is studying Westward Expansion, keeps reminding me), rooted in a moment when our young country was disenfranchising Native Americans who were already here. Read more »

We want your ideas

Two years ago, we tried something new. New Yorkers were given the power to decide how to spend tax dollars on projects in their neighborhood.

That idea, Participatory Budgeting, has been a huge success. Thousands of neighbors have given ideas, joined committees to develop proposals, and come out to vote. Based on your votes, we’ve funded 15 projects. And, even more importantly, we’ve seen a new excitement for local democracy. The New York Times called it “revolutionary civics in action.” And now participatory budgeting has spread to nine City Council districts across the city. Read more »

A big week at City Hall

It’s been an exciting week at City Hall, and I wanted to let you know some of what we’ve been up to.

Community Safety Act
Yesterday, we had a momentous vote to overturn Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the Community Safety Act. This legislation, of which I am a lead co-sponsor (along with my friend and colleague, Council Member Jumaane Williams), will create an NYPD Inspector General (just plain good government) and strengthen the City’s ban on discriminatory policing. The stronger ban will be truly enforceable and will cover all New Yorkers, including LGBTQ residents, immigrants, and the homeless. Read more »

Residents Bring Ocean Pkwy Petition to Governor

NEW YORK, NY - Earlier today, Council Member Brad Lander, Kensington neighborhood residents, and transportation safety advocates, delivered the ‘Our neighborhood is not a highway’ petition directly to Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office. The petition calls on the New York State Department of Transportation to sign-off on a safety plan to address crash-prone intersection at Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway, where a pedestrian was killed earlier this summer. Read more »

Great steps forward for the G train

If you’re like me, you’ve often had to make the “G train shuffle,” sometimes with your kids or packages in tow. Because G trains are shorter than the platform, and stop in different locations, somehow I’m never in the right place when the train arrives.

Thanks to smart advocacy and hard work by advocates and elected officials, the “G train shuffle” will soon come to an end. And we’ll see other much-needed improvements to the G (aka the “Brooklyn Local”) as well. 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 »