Officials, Shema Kolainu Advocate for Autism Initiative


Parents, youngsters, teachers, and a tandem of City Council members gathered outside City Hall on Wednesday seeking continued $1.5 million funding for important autism services. More than 75 representatives from a variety of organizations attended, led by Shema Kolainu-Hear our Voices, a school and center for autistic children. Nine of the 51 Council members attended the event on Wednesday and expressed support for “1 in 150” funding. City Councilmen David Greenfield, Brad Lander and Jumaane Williams, democrats from Brooklyn, and Mark Weprin (D-Queens) were among them. Read more »

Combating trucks we were promised would not be on Columbia Street

Photo by Adam Armstrong
New York Daily News

Beer distributor Phoenix Beverages is driving its trucks down Columbia St. to move cargo between waterfront piers - and neighborhood residents are hop-ping mad. Residents say the trucks tie up traffic on the narrow residential stretch, spew fumes, and present a safety hazard. "The street's narrow and not at all suited for truck traffic," said Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn). "Truck traffic is going to lead to accidents ... We do ... want a working waterfront, but [it has to] coexist with its neighbors." Read more »

Report: Brooklyn Leads in Derelict Construction Sites

The Brooklyn Paper

Brooklyn is pockmarked by a disproportionate number of abandoned development sites compared with the rest of the city, according to a report released last week by Eastern Consolidated, an investment services firm in Manhattan. Fallow sites might do little for the local economy, but they can also pose serious health hazards, according to Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), who created an interactive Web site,, to track the zombies lurking in his district. Read more »

Joining the PS 124 Kindergartners on a "Bridge to Hope"

The kindergartners of PS 124 are an inspiring group. Today, I had the honor of walking over the Brooklyn Bridge with them, as part of a Walk-a-Thon in honor of their classmate Alexandria Snyder, who has leukemia.

Brad's Bike-to-Work Day

I had a fun bike-to-work day today that turned out to be more of a bike-for-work day, biking from one end of the district to the other!

Write a Letter Calling for a Stronger, Better Child Nutrition Act

For over 40 years, the federal Child Nutrition Act has guided the way in which New York City and other municipalities around the country address hunger and childhood nutrition. This critical piece of legislation includes five major federal programs: school lunches, school breakfast, summer meals, child and adult care food, and the women with infant children (WIC) programs.

We have much to gain, or lose, as a result of changes to this legislation. The New York City Council is calling on Congress to make critical changes to the Child Nutrition Act. The Council believes, and we agree, that the changes to this law must support healthy meals for our children and high need adults.

Together, we can work together to get our elected officials to do good by our kids. Follow this link to send a letter to your Congressional representatives a letter calling for them to support a stronger, better Child Nutrition Act. Read more »

Making things a little easier for our small businesses

The small, independently-owned businesses that line our commercial avenues are - as we so often say - a key part of what make our neighborhoods, well, real neighborhoods. We are lucky to live in a place where we can walk to do so much of our weekly shopping, where we are likely to see neighbors, where we know the proprietors, where we have a choice to support local businesses instead of only global chains. So I was proud this week when the City Council passed the "Small Business Owners Bill of Rights," an important first step towards ensuring that small businesses in the city are able to survive and thrive in these difficult economic times.

Progressive Caucus Statement on Mayor Bloomberg's Budget

New York City is facing tough economic times, with unemployment and foreclosures stuck at very high levels, and so it is necessary to ask all New Yorkers to share in the sacrifice. We will need to make difficult decisions – including painful budget cuts – as we negotiate the City budget over the next two months. But Mayor Bloomberg’s Executive Budget is asking children, seniors, students, and hard-working families to do all the sacrificing. The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council believes we must pursue smart, progressive revenue options, rather than focusing solely on cuts to essential City services. We call on the Mayor to use his bully pulpit and his Wall Street relationships to lobby the State Legislature and Congress to make sure that Wall Street does its part.

A Great Event for Our Schools

I want to report back on the fantastic results of the Brooklyn PTA 5K Run/Walk for Schools which took place in Prospect Park on Saturday. Over 500 parents, teachers and students from 17 different Brooklyn public schools joined us for the event and their efforts raised over $6500 which will be split up amongst the schools.

I have to give a huge thank you to everyone who came out and joined us for the run. Saturday was a great day to be in the park - whether you were running, walking, strolling OR scooting - and I hope that all of the participants had as much fun as I did.

Legislative Update: Responding to Arizona and Fighting for Juvenile Justice Reform

I'm pleased to let you know about two City Council resolutions that passed the Council at our meeting last Thursday.

Smarter, fairer funding for juvenile justice alternatives:  Right now, the State of New York essentially bribes the City to send young people who present little or no risk to public safety to juvenile jails (officially, "secure detention facilities") like Spofford - even when judges, the City, and prosecutors believe that treatment, rehabilitation, and alternatives programs would produce lower rates of recidivism and therefore a safer and better city.  The State pays half the cost of detention, but nothing for community-based alternatives. Councilmember Sara Gonzalez and I co-sponsored Resolution 201, which passed the City Council last week, calling upon New York State to develop a more equitable method of billing New York City for the placement of young offenders, so we can choose strategies that work best. State Senator Velmanette Montgomery is leading the effort to change the funding formula in Albany.

Just and comprehensive immigration reform
: When last week Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the harsh, mean-spirited, and likely unconstitutional new immigration law, the City Council moved quickly. We passed Resolution 162-A, sponsored by Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, which criticizes the new Arizona law, and calls on Congress and President Obama to pass a just, humane, and comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2010. All around the city, New Yorkers have been taking part in actions to decry the Arizona law and call attention to the need for immigration reform now.


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