The NYC Council just helped protect freelancers from getting stiffed

Over one million New Yorkers work as freelancers or independent contractors. Unfortunately, most of them -- over 70% according to a Freelancers Union survey -- have been cheated out of payments that they’ve earned.

People like Elizabeth McKenzie, a freelancer in film production who lived on rolls and water, and worked in the dark because she couldn’t pay her utility bills after getting stiffed for $2,500 she had earned.

Like Mauricio Niebla, part of a group of 30 writers and editors cheated out of a total of $400,000 by a national publishing company.

Like Just Raymona, a pattern-maker from the Bronx, who paid the people she owed out of her savings when she was stiffed, but couldn’t pay her own rent or phone bill.

Like Ellen Sandles, who told us of persistent problems facing freelance court reporters, and Jessica Perez, who described rampant abuses in the modeling industry.

Today at the New York City Council we made history by passing new a law to make sure they get paid on-time and in full for their work. Read more »

In Landmark Victory, Millions of NYC Gig Economy Workers Win Wage Theft Protections

Historic Law First in the Nation to Extend Social Safety Net to Growing US Independent Workforce

Supported by Freelancers Union & Introduced by NYC Council Member Brad Lander, ‘Freelance Isn’t Free’ Act Could Serve as Model for Cities Across Country

New York – In a landmark victory for the nation’s 55 million independent workers, the New York City Council today passed the “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act – first-of-its-kind legislation that extends the social safety net and provides millions of NYC freelancers with unprecedented wage theft protections. The bill (Intro. 1017-C), supported by Freelancers Union and introduced by NYC Council Member Brad Lander, is a milestone moment for the gig economy and freelancers’ rights. The law could have national implications by serving as a model for other cities to follow. Read more »

Senior discounts (and more) for Park Slopers

This week was the official kick-off for Age Friendly Park Slope a new partnership to make Park Slope a more welcoming community to age-in-place. We launched this project by recognizing 60 small businesses throughout our neighborhood that offer age-friendly shopping experiences. That includes features like accessible entrances, available bathrooms, and in many cases new discounts for seniors. You can read more about this new initiative, and hear from some of the businesses participating in News 12DNA InfoBKLYNER, and Patch.

To see the list of small business that have been recognized, and the discounts being offered download the full brochure here (or scroll down), and keep an eye out for “Age Friendly Park Slope” window stickers at local businesses throughout our neighborhood. Read more »

Ennis Playground Reconstruction

Ennis Playground is a well-loved neighborhood park in the heart of Gowanus -- between 11th and 12th Streets, and Second and Third Aves -- but it hasn't seen public investment in many years. Thanks to the advocacy of many neighbors, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, and the Gowanus Alliance, Ennis Playground will be getting a full upgrade. I was happy to allocate $1.85 million to make a renovation possible, together with Borough President Eric Adams. Read more »

From the depths of the Gowanus Canal...

Yesterday afternoon, the EPA dipped their toes—or, more accurately, a 100,000-pound hydraulic excavator—into the depths of the Gowanus Canal, and began removing the decades of debris that has accumulated there.

Looking into those dark waters, we’ve all wondered what lies beneath. This week we'll start to find out: from sunken vessels, to discarded tires and bikes, and at least one very wet art project. (For more detail, here is a fact sheet from the EPA.)

Here on dry land, we are moving forward to answer questions about the Gowanus Canal area by coming together to shape its future. This Thursday evening, the NYC Department of City Planning will hold a kick-off meeting to introduce their Gowanus neighborhood planning study (or “PLACES” study), which will build upon the ground work our community laid together through the Bridging Gowanus community planning process. Read more »

Announcing “Age-Friendly Park Slope.” Better for seniors, and for all of us.

Park Slope is a great neighborhood for people of all ages. And we work hard to stand up for our seniors, as we did in the fight to protect our elderly neighbors at Prospect Park Residence.

But there’s more we can do to make our neighborhood welcoming and accessible to older residents.   

So I’m proud to announce a new partnership with Heights & Hills, the Park Slope Center for Successful Aging, and Good Neighbors of Park Slope: “Age-Friendly Park Slope.”

We are joining “age-friendly” cities around the world, and neighborhoods around NYC, that are taking concrete actions to make communities better places to grow old. Read more »

Is your school #TooHotToLearn?

Long after summer ends, in many NYC schools (especially during weeks like this one), it's just plain #TooHotToLearn!

Students can't learn in sweltering classrooms. Unfortunately, many public schools in NYC lack air conditioning in their classrooms, auditoriums, gym, and cafeterias. As climate change brings more days in June, September, and now even the middle of October when rising temperatures make it too hot to learn, we need to get serious about getting A/Cs in all our classrooms and critical public spaces.

In June, the City Council required the NYC Department of Education & School Construction authority to produce a report outlining which schools need air conditioning. 

Unfortunately, the new report (available on my website) fails to provide critical information. It identifies 17% of schools with full air-conditioning, and 5% of schools (90 schools) that lack A/C entirely. However, 78% of schools (1,590) are simply identified as “Partial A/C” -- which means only that they have at least 1 A/C unit somewhere in the building -- without any information about how many classrooms, auditoriums, gyms, or cafeterias remain to be covered. (Meanwhile, just 4 schools are currently having A/Cs installed.)

So we are asking for help from parents, students, and educators to fill in the missing information. We’ve launched a new #TooHotToLearn campaign – which you can read more about in DNA Info. Read more »

City Council to NYC Department of Education: “It’s October, and it’s still #TooHotToLearn!”

New DOE/SCA Report Fails to Provide Useful Information or a Plan to Get Air Conditioners in Schools as Temperatures Continue to Rise

Council Members Turn to Parents, Students, and Teachers to Crowdsource Data on A/Cs in Schools: 

City Hall, N.Y. – As temperatures are projected to reach 82 degrees in New York City today, City Council Members Brad Lander, Margaret Chin, Daniel Dromm, and Julissa Ferreras-Copeland criticized a new report from the NYC Department of Education and School Construction Authority on air conditioning in schools for failing to provide useful data, and for the lack of planning to install A/Cs in NYC public schools where it is too hot to learn.

The report (attachment available for download here) was required by the City Council as a term and condition in the FY 16-17 budget, passed in June. At the time, the DOE and SCA expressed a willingness to work with the Council on a plan to install air conditioning in schools that need it. The first step was to identify and prioritize the schools most in need.

Unfortunately, the report fails to provide critical information. It identifies 17% of schools with full air-conditioning, and 5% of schools (90 schools) that lack A/C entirely. However, 78% of schools (1,590) are simply identified as “Partial A/C” -- which means only that they have at least 1 A/C unit in the building -- without any information about how many classrooms, auditoriums, gyms, or cafeterias remain to be covered. Meanwhile, just 4 schools are currently having A/Cs installed. Read more »

Community Meeting on Revised Plan for 5th Ave Key Food

You are invited to a community meeting to learn about the revised proposal for the 5th Avenue Key Food at 120 5th Avenue in Park Slope. On Tuesday November 1 at 6:30 pm, a group of community organizations and elected officials will present the results of our months-long negotiation with the developer, Avery Hall Investments (AHI). Come ask questions, share your feedback, and get involved: Read more »

Community Board 6 meeting on Citi Bike expansion next Thursday

It’s no secret that the recent expansion of Citi Bike to our community has brought out strong feelings.

Many of you have told me how thrilled you are about the expansion, and that the bikes have become part of your daily commute, or a good new way to run errands and get around our neighborhoods.

Others have shared with me your deep unhappiness with the bikes and stations that have appeared on your blocks, with the loss of parking and other impacts.

No matter how you feel about the issue, I want to let you know that Community Board 6 will be hosting a public hearing on the Citi Bike expansion next week, on Thursday, October 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the 78th Precinct station house at 65 6th Avenue (details here & below). Read more »

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