Park Slope

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 »

Council Member Brad Lander, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and Street Safety Advocates Announce Driver Accountability Task Force

Council Member Brad Lander, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and Street Safety Advocates Announce Driver Accountability Task Force

Elected Officials Partner with Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets to Improve Prosecution of New Vision Zero Laws in Brooklyn

BROOKLYN, NY – New York City Council Member Brad Lander and Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson in partnership with Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets, announced the creation of a Driver Accountability Task Force for the Borough of Brooklyn. The task force is the first of its kind in New York City. Read more »

Prospect Park West Manhole Explosions

I have been in contact with the FDNY regarding the manhole explosions on Prospect Park West and 5th Street. Two individuals were injured. One hit by the manhole cover that was launched into the air by the pressure that had built from a fire under the street, and another from a broken window that shattered during the blast. Both are now in stable condition. Read more »

Update from the Car Wash Picket Line

The car wash workers at Vegas Auto Spa in Park Slope are still on strike – but today they have some good news to share. This afternoon (in an official election moderated by the National Labor Relations Board) the workers unanimously voted to unionize. This is an important step forward in their struggle for fair wages, better working conditions, and being treated with dignity. Read more »

Statement on New York Methodist Hospital and Preserve Park Slope Settlement

I am pleased that Methodist Hospital and Preserve Park Slope have reached a settlement that enables the expansion project to move forward and responds to community concerns by lowering the height, allowing for more community involvement, and working with my office to address the traffic issues that have been raised by the proposal. The expansion of Methodist Hospital is an important part of preserving quality health care in the neighborhood, especially in the midst of a shifting health care landscape, and I look forward to working with the hospital and the neighborhood to ensure the highest level of care for our residents.

You can read the full text of the settlement here or see press releases summarizing the details on both the New York Methodist Hospital and Preserve Park Slope websites. Read more »

Dark days, and brighter ones

The waning days of 2014 have been dark ones for New York City. The killing of Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu made real the worst imaginable fears for those who put their safety on the line to serve our communities. Reactions to their murders highlighted tensions among New Yorkers – around how we understand the challenges of public safety and policing – and have risked setting us against ourselves.

Just a few weeks earlier, here in the 39th Council District, we lost 14-year-old Mohammad Naiem Uddin in a traffic crash that reminded us that our efforts to improve traffic safety and reduce speeding have not yet done enough.

Still, as the year turns, I remain truly grateful for what we’ve done together. Democracy can be messy, even painful. We don’t all agree on how to understand the problems, and certainly not on the solutions. But I am genuinely glad about what we’ve achieved together in New York City in 2014. While much of the rest of the country is stuck in a place of political polarization, we have moved forward in tangible ways to make lives better for many New Yorkers. Read more »

Contribute to support the workers at Las Vegas Car Wash

The fight for dignity and fair pay for low-wage workers has made it to our doorstep – or at least to our neighborhood car-wash.

The car-wash workers (or “carwasheros”) at Las Vegas Auto Spa (on 19th Street & 7th Avenue) have been cheated out of $600,000 in overtime and wages by owner Marat Leshehinsky, threatened, and denied their right to organize and form a union. So they took the brave step to go out on strike, and have been on the picket line since Thanksgiving.

We have a very concrete role to play: I am asking every one of us who cares about workers' rights to make a contribution to the strike fund so these courageous workers can get through the holidays.

Read more »