Archive for the 'News & Features' Category

Members of a City Council committee are pushing a resolution introduced last week that calls for the city’s 59 community boards to adopt sweeping reforms, including term limits.

The council’s Committee on Governmental Operations met on March 3, drawing up the list of recommendations to improve the recruitment and function of the boards.

The local boards, each made up of 50 unpaid, volunteer members, have long drawn criticism for their appointment processes, which many say are politically motivated. Boardmembers are appointed by the borough president at the recommendation of local councilmembers, leading some to criticize their independence.

According to the Daily Eagle, the recommendations include:

  • Term limits of five consecutive two-year terms for board members.
  • Online application and technology infrastructure.
  • Conflict of interest disclosure by all applicants.
  • Requiring reappointment applications with evaluation of attendance, service and participation.
  • Ban on political appointments; specifically staffers of elected officials and executive board members of a political party.
  • Filling vacancies within 30 days.
  • Improved outreach and recruitment focusing on diversity, geography and experts.
  • Youth representation by 16- and 17-year olds as public members of youth committees and as full board members.

While the existence of the community boards are mandated by the City Charter, each board maintains its own bylaws dictating how they function. Some boards, such as Community Board 13, representing Coney Island and Brighton Beach, have term limits for its officers, while others, like Community Board 15, representing Sheepshead Bay, do not.

In Sheepshead Bay, community board recruitment and membership became an issue during the recent City Council race. At a September debate, the Democratic candidates discussed the local board’s diversity as well as term limits and the ways to depoliticize the appointment process.

Chaim Deutsch, who went on to win the election, said he hoped to strengthen and diversify the board, but didn’t offer details. He did note that he was opposed to term limits for board members.

“If you have board members that are there and following the processes and going to meetings and following up, and where you have various issues like zoning issues and they actually go down and look at the homes they’re having a hearing on – that person should stay,” Deutsch said at the time.

Source: Henry campaign.

A candidate hoping to unseat State Senator John Sampson, who is mired in legal trouble, is touting his support from district residents.

Sean Henry announced today that more than 300 voters have pledged support for his campaign, just a week and a half after campaign operations got off the ground.

“The 19th District deserves better and I’m honored the community has rallied around my campaign for State Senate over the week and a half. With the support of these first 300 residents, I look forward to building a campaign that focuses on what the community truly deserves from an elected official – results,” said Henry in an e-mail statement.

Henry is looking to take out State Senator John Sampson, who currently represents the 19th District, which spans a chunk of Sheepshead Bay, as well as Brownsville, East New York, Canarsie, Bergen Beach and Mill Basin. Sampson has been facing troubling headlines since May 2013, when he was charged as part of a far ranging corruption scandal, and he’s currently facing embezzlement charges from his role in the sale of foreclosed homes.

Henry, who last year ran unsuccessfully for City Council in the 42nd District, is a Chicago native who faced homelessness as a teenager. He joined the U.S. Army in 1995, and attended Southern Illinois University. He moved to Brooklyn in 2000 to earn a master’s in Public Administration at New York University.

In addition to homeless issues, Henry is building a campaign around affordable housing, adding seats in local schools, improving mass transportation, and securing promises to residents for Superstorm Sandy-related aid.

Henry isn’t the only one looking to unseat the embattled incumbent. Leon Miles, an advocate for the disabled, is also in the running.

Two other candidates have yet to formally announce, but are widely rumored to be seriously considering the seat: Samuel Pierre, who heads a nonprofit and is a former staffer of Sampson’s, and Dell Smitherman, a political director with healthcare workers’ union 1199 SEIU. Both are members of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club that’s closely aligned to the county party leadership, which has not yet said if they will support Sampson’s reelection or the campaigns of one of his opponents.

Henry, Miles and Smitherman all have registered campaign committees with the state Board of Elections. Pierre does not.

Source: Luke Redmond/Flickr

Several local representatives to the City Council said yesterday that they support a proposal to throw a ticker-tape parade in Manhattan’s Canyon of Heroes for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The idea reemerged over the weekend, when U.S. Senator Charles Schumer stood with veterans to urge the Department of Defense to work with the city in planning the event, which would welcome home returning troops from the post-9/11 battlefronts. The proposal was first floated in 2012, but was opposed by the Pentagon.

“With the war in Afghanistan winding down, now is the time to keep with long-standing American tradition and kick off a campaign for the first New York City welcome home parade for troops that served in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Senator Schumer in a press release.

The Iraq war came to an official end on December 31, 2011. The combat mission in Afghanistan is expected to be complete by the end of this year. The Department of Defense will not condone a parade until combat operations are complete, but Schumer said the planning should begin now.

The Canyon of Heroes has long been the venue for the most iconic processions for returning veterans. Several parades were held during World War II, culminating with a massive procession for the troops in 1946, after the war ended. A parade was held honoring veterans of the Vietnam War in 1985, and in 1991 the city welcomed home Gulf War veterans.

Several Southern Brooklyn City Council representatives said they support bringing back the tradition, including Councilman Vincent Gentile who said he has previously called for honoring the veterans in such a way.

“If a sports team gets a parade, so should our veterans!” said Gentile. “Not only is it the right thing to do and it’s the least we can do for these brave men and women to honor the sacrifices they’ve made to protect our freedom abroad.”

Councilmembers Alan Maisel and Chaim Deutsch agreed.

“For all their dedication and sacrifice, it’s only fitting that we hold a ticker-tape parade in honor of the hard-fighting men and women of Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Deutsch. “Therefore, I’ll support the campaign to revive this time-honored tradition and give our veterans a grand, New York City welcome.”

Councilman Mark Treyger said he’s on-board with the idea, but urged his colleagues not to forget about providing the support these returning veterans will need beyond a celebration in the streets.

“I am in full support of the idea to honor our veterans with a parade down the Canyon of Heroes out of recognition of their incredible service to our nation. I applaud Senator Schumer for taking up this worthy campaign and I look forward to assisting his efforts,” said Treyger. “However, our obligation and responsibility to our returning servicemen and women extends far beyond a single event. We must also ensure as a city and nation that each returning solider receives assistance with employment, health care, counseling and anything else needed to help transition back into civilian life.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said yesterday that he will “do whatever it takes” to give returning veterans a parade in the Canyon of Heros.

Source: Austin King/Flickr

B LINE

From 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday to Friday, Manhattan-bound B trains run local from Sheepshead Bay to Prospect Park.

Q LINE

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday, there are no Q trains between 57 St-7 Av and Ditmars Blvd – take the N.

From 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, Coney Island-bound Q trains run express from Newkirk Plaza to Sheepshead Bay.

All times until summer 2014: Coney Island-bound Q trains skip Parkside Av, Beverley Rd, and Cortelyou Rd.

F LINE

From 12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m., Tuesday to Thursday, 179 St-bound F trains run local from 21 St-Queensbridge to Roosevelt Av.

2007 Surf Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

Marcell Dockery, the 16-year-old who confessed to setting a mattress on fire in the hallway of a Coney Island public housing building last week, has been charged with an additional count of felony murder after one of the two police officers critically injured in the blaze passed away.

If convicted, Dockery faces a maximum sentence of 25 years-to-life in prison.

“The senseless act of setting that fire tragically led to the death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra. His partner Officer Rosa Rodriguez suffered critical injuries. Both dedicated and courageous officers did not hesitate to risk their lives to save others. We will bring the Defendant to justice for these terrible and horrific crimes,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson in a statement Friday evening.

Guerra, 38, a married father of four, succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday morning. His partner, Rodriguez, remain in critical condition but has a more optimistic prognosis.

The two were the first emergency responders to respond to the Sunday fire at 2007 Surf Avenue. They rode the elevator to the 13th floor, where the fire was believed to be. As the doors opened, they were engulfed in thick black smoke, and collapsed due to lack of oxygen.

Funeral services were held this morning for Guerra, and a wake was held over the weekend.

His death broke a three-year streak during which no police officer had been killed in the line of duty.

The NYPD is now overhauling its fire response protocol, including basic fire training that could have saved Guerra’s life. Officers are being instructed to take the stairs when possible. If they must use the elevator, they’re being told to check open shafts for smoke and to stop at least two floors below the fire.

Source: Dara Skolnick/Flickr

Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Tuesday through Friday, April 15 to 18 for Passover, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday. Wednesday is the anniversary of the Rush-Bagot Treaty, establishing the border between the United States and Canada, and we think the Department of Transportation is also looking to honor this, although they have not said so.

All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

You can download your own 2014 Alternate Side Parking Suspension calendar from the NYC DOT’s website.

Source: AshtonPal/Flickr

Q LINE

From 10:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound Q trains run express from Newkirk Plaza to Sheepshead Bay.

All times until early summer 2014: Coney Island-bound Q trains skip Parkside Av, Beverley Rd, and Cortelyou Rd.

F LINE

From 11:15 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the E from Roosevelt Av to 5 Av/53 St.

From 11:15 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the A from W 4 St to Jay St-MetroTech.

From 12:15 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday, Jamaica-bound F trains skip 75 Av, Van Wyck Blvd, and Sutphin Blvd.

EMT3.jpg

An FDNY EMT was arrested at his Brighton Beach apartment yesterday for owning a cache of high-powered weapons including pipe bombs, after police responded to a domestic dispute between him and his wife.

The New York Post reports:

Victor Cadicamo, 29, was arrested when police showed up to his home near Brighton 10th Terrace and Coney Island Avenue at around 9 a.m. Thursday after the FDNY worker’s wife said he threatened her with a gun, cops said.

When cops searched Cadicamo’s home, they found five firearms and a rifle before cuffing him and dragging him down the the 60th precinct. Police said the couple’s 2-year-old child was home at the time.

During interrogation, Cadicamo confessed to also having bombs hidden in the home, which sent the NYPD’s bomb squad back to the location. The bombs were brought to the NYPD’s Bronx firing range for detonation.

The Daily News adds that authorities found two pipe bombs made of PVC, with caps on the ends and a black cord attached.

Cadicamo, 29, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and harassment. Additionally, his union has kicked off a separate investigation to determine if the six-year EMT will lose his job.

Cops came to Cadicamo’s home after his wife, Christina Liskowitz, also an EMT, called police saying that he had threatened her with a gun.

Yasir Ullah, 34, who lives above the couple’s apartment, said Cadicamo and his wife are constantly fighting.

“We always heard loud voices. In the morning time, they would slam doors,” Ullah said.

He said the couple had what sounded to be a loud argument Wednesday night.

The burning of the chametz. Source: Dudy Tuchfeld / Flickr

The burning of the chametz. Source: Dudy Tuchfeld / Flickr

Beginning next week, in advance of the Jewish commemoration of Passover, there will be special Sanitation collections for residents who live within Community Board (CB) 15. You can find out if you live within the boundaries of CB15 by clicking on this link.

Next Monday, April 14, all of CB15 will receive regular garbage and recycling collection. You should place all your garbage out for collection on Sunday evening, April 13, after 5:00 p.m. Recycling and regular garbage need to be separated.

For your convenience, a public Dumpster will be located at the following locations on the morning of Monday, April 14, and will be removed before nightfall:

  • James Madison High School Sports Field on the south side of Quentin Road between East 27th Street and East 28th Street
  • In front of 2810 Nostrand Avenue, corner of Kings Highway and Nostrand Avenue

Burning Chametz

People in charge of burning Chametz (food deemed unkosher for Passover), either in front of a home or a synagogue, must ensure that the fires are small and controlled so that the Fire Department does not need to be called to respond to an “out of control fire.” Here are some rules that must be observed for the burning of chametz.

  • All fires must be supervised by a mature, responsible adult
  • No paint thinner, aerosol cans, sprays, lighter fluid or any other flammable liquids are to be used to ignite the fire. These items have caused accidents and are extremely dangerous
  • Water, fire extinguishers, or sand should be readily available at the site of the chametz burning
  • Do not burn chametz enclosed in aluminum foil
  • Chametz should be put at the curb in plastic bags. This will eliminate the necessity for retrieving and washing out garbage cans
  • Do not park cars on smoldering embers

Your cooperation in following the schedule and observing these safety precautions will expedite the pickup. The chametz burning should end at 11:36 a.m., Monday, April 14.

Source: sincerelyhiten via flickr

Source: sincerelyhiten/Flickr

The following is a press release from the offices of State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

A bill introduced by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) to commission a comprehensive study on the social impact of problem gambling has gained a valuable sponsor in the Senate and was cited during expert testimony at a New York State Gaming Commission Forum today in Albany.

The legislation (A.7836), which authorizes and directs the commissioner of mental health to commission a statewide evaluation regarding the extent of legal and illegal gambling by New York state residents, has attracted the sponsorship of Senator Marty Golden and on April 1 was reported to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

James Maney, Executive Director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling, gave the bill a positive mention this morning during the forum on “Addressing Problem Gambling in the Era of Expanded Gaming.”

According to Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, who is Chairman of the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the purpose of this bill is to mitigate the social costs related to problem gambling.

A survey conducted by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) found that five percent of adults, or 668,000 individuals, exhibited problem gambling behaviors within the past year. Another survey of seventh through 12th grade students revealed that 10 percent, or 140,000 students, showed signs of problem gambling in the past 12 months and another 10 percent of those students were in need of treatment for problem gambling. Of those students in the survey who were identified as in need of chemical dependency treatment, 45 percent were at risk or in need of treatment for problem gambling.

Research has found that proximity to casinos increases the rate of problem gambling among the local population, said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission showed that casinos within a 50-mile radius of an individual’s home can double the prevalence of problem gambling.

The Buffalo Research Institute on Addiction, in its own study, claimed that having a casino within 10 miles of a home has a significant effect on problem gambling. Currently, New York State has five casinos operated by Native Americans and nine independently operated racinos; combined they operate approximately 29,000 electronic gambling machines, which is more than any state in the Northeast or Midwest. New York continues to expand its existing gaming market and if non-tribal casino gaming is legalized, permitting up to seven new casinos to be established, the risk of more individuals developing a gambling problem could increase significantly.

“While it is important that New York State continue to conduct surveys that determine the prevalence of problem gambling and illustrate the need for prevention and treatment services, additional research that measures the social impact of problem gambling is sorely needed,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. Directing such research would allow the state to pinpoint which social costs associated with problem gambling are most predominant among New York’s identified problem gamblers and have also been detected in communities impacted by the presence of a casino, he noted.

“By having this information, New York State and its public officials will be able to develop a comprehensive plan comprising precise policies and regulations that aim to mitigate the social costs related to problem gambling,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. The information would also enable the problem gambling service providers and the casino industry to implement strategies and interventions that target the specific problem gambling needs of each local community and its citizens, he said.

« Prev - Next »