Archive for the tag 'alan maisel'

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: retrofresh! via flickr

Source: retrofresh!/Flickr

Sixteen months have passed since Superstorm Sandy, and the damaged lights on the Belt Parkway from Knapp Street to Mill Basin remain in the dark. But not for much longer if the Department of Transportation keeps its word.

According to a Daily News item last week, the city will begin bringing lights back to the area in April. It’s a $400,000 project that should be covered with federal funds, and the project is slated to be completed in May.

“This is a huge problem, especially due to the potholes, which made it difficult for motorists,” City Councilman Alan Maisel told the paper. “It’s outrageous.”

Of course, the DOT’s word is hardly its bond. The DOT had previously promised then-Assemblyman Maisel and his Council predecessor Lew Fidler that the lighting situation would be permanently fixed by fall of 2013 – and that temporary lighting would be provided in the interim. Neither of those things happened.

Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo has stated at meetings the she was told by the DOT that the plan for temporary lighting was ultimately nixed because they required gas generators. The city did not want to dispatch employees to keep them stocked with gasoline.

It’s not often you see a member of one of the nation’s most dysfunctional legislative bodies appropriately shaming members of another dysfunctional legislative body, but that’s what we wake up to this morning.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke is calling on Albany lawmakers to send resources to those Brooklyn neighborhoods that are currently without representation in either the State Senate or Assembly. Locally, that includes Marine Park, Mill Basin and Gerritsen Beach, who are currently without an assemblyman.

In fact, there are currently five open seats in the two houses of state legislature that represent about 700,000 Brooklynites. Governor Andrew Cuomo has not called a special election to replace them, and those seats will be empty until January 2015.

That means that an entire budget season will come and go, and no one will be representing those districts in negotiations, depriving civic groups and community organizations of operating funds that are allocated annually.

“We cannot allow the failure to schedule a special election to prevent the allocation of resources to the people who lack representation. The legislators whose positions are now vacant supported many of the most important social service organizations and cultural institutions in Brooklyn. I believe we should continue that level of support,” Clarke said.

The Assembly seat representing Gerritsen Beach and Marine Park was vacated when Alan Maisel left the house to become city councilman. Some of the groups that depended on his voice for funding from Albany, according to Clarke, include the Marine Park Community Association and Amity Little League.

Clarke sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, urging them to keep these organizations in mind.

The letter, in full, is after the jump.

Source: retrofresh! via flickr

Source: retrofresh!/Flickr

When Superstorm Sandy struck the neighborhood in October 2012, it was lights out on the Belt Parkway near Plumb Beach’s exit 9. Literally.

And then those lights stayed out for 15 months, despite promises given by the Department of Transportation to local elected officials to install emergency lighting until permanent repairs could be made.

Now Councilman Alan Maisel, who replaces Lew Fidler, has picked up the torch, firing off a letter to the DOT demanding repairs be made and pointing out that the situation is made even more dangerous thanks to the “pitted … moonscape of potholes, cracks and uneven surfaces.”

I probably would’ve gone with the “Edward James Olmos of highways,” but maybe that’s why I’m not an elected official.

Here’s the letter in full:

February 18, 2014

Commissioner Polly Trottenberg
NYC Department of Transportation
55 Water Street
New York, NY 10041

Dear Commissioner Trottenberg:

Since Hurricane Sandy, a significant section of the Belt Parkway, in the area around Exit 9 and Plumb Beach, has been without regular road lighting of any kind. This is a dangerous situation that has only become more dangerous in the past month and is in need of both a temporary and permanent solution.

It is my understanding, based on correspondence with the office of your predecessor, that flood waters had damaged underground electrical cabling, the repair or replacement of which was being undertaken but that more time was needed. At the time, I had been told that these repairs would be completed before the fall of 2013. Therefore, I had requested, as did my predecessor in the Council, emergency lighting for the interim and we were told that such lighting would be provided. Yet, the highway remains dark – the repairs have not been completed and the interim lighting has not been introduced. That is an intolerably dangerous situation for motorists.

Yet, now the situation has actually become even more dangerous. After the recent cycle of snowstorms and plowing efforts, the surface of the Belt Parkway has become pitted in a moonscape of potholes, cracks and uneven surfaces. This alone is dangerous and, as I am sure you are already aware, in need of attention. However, when combined with the absence of lighting, so that a motorist might be unable to see or avoid upcoming road hazards, the danger to all concerned is multiplied.

I believe it is imperative that emergency lighting, run off generators, be introduced to this section of the highway until permanent repairs to the lighting system can be made. This is now more urgent than ever and I ask that it be addressed as expeditiously as possible. Thank you.

Sincerely,
ALAN MAISEL
Councilman-46th District

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Two people were arrested in connection with yesterday’s mayhem at Kings Plaza Mall, in which at least 100 teenagers created chaos as they ran through the complex in the second such incident in as many months, Councilman Alan Maisel informed Sheepshead Bites today.

The two busted were charged with disorderly conduct, according the councilman, who was briefed on the situation this morning by the NYPD’s 63rd Precinct Community Affairs division.

The NYPD’s 63rd Precinct has not returned calls from this outlet for confirmation. The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information at 1 Police Plaza had no information regarding arrests in connection with the incident – but such a discrepancy could be caused if the arrests did not happen at the mall’s address.

According to the councilman, as well as accounts from leaders of local civic associations who were also briefed by the precinct, the 63rd Precinct knew about the planned disorder in advance. The mob was organized on Facebook under an event titled “Kings Plaza Maddness Part 1.”

“[The police] knew about it happening because apparently they were the same group [that organized the mob in December], or the same person that posted it last time. So the police department was prepared to be there. They made a couple of arrests,” Maisel told Sheepshead Bites.

Maisel added that this week’s disruption included about 150 culprits, scaled back from the 400 or so estimated by mall security following the December riot. Police told him that there was no damage, larceny, injuries or any other criminal behavior evident during yesterday’s incident other than the disorder created by the sheer number of unruly teenagers.

bergen-beach

The councilman met just last week with mall security and the 63rd Precinct’s Deputy Inspector John Rowell about beefing up the shopping center’s security.

“This is the kind of thing that’s going to happen time and time again because apparently this is like the hoot for these kids. I don’t understand it, but this is what they like to do,” said Maisel.

Maisel said he’s trying to convince the mall to bring in a paid detail – NYPD officers commissioned specifically to keep order within the mall.

“Kings Plaza is spending a lot of money to upgrade the mall. They’re going to spend millions. We asked them to put in a paid detail. They claim the mall security is well trained, but they weren’t very forthcoming about their security arrangements,” he said. “A paid detail would seem like a very good thing for them. If you’re going to spend millions of dollars on upgrading the mall, you want people to come.”

City Hall (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The City Council rules committee announced the committee appointments today, helping determine the influence Council members will wield over the next few years.

Committee appointments are important posts, helping to write and usher through legislation to be voted upon, or delaying their passage (sometimes indefinitely). They can also hold hearings, taking city agencies to task. Oh, and there’s perks, too, including bonuses as high as tens of thousands of dollars on top of their $112,500 base salaries (not bad for a part time job, eh?).

During the race for City Council speaker, in which Melissa Mark-Viverito emerged victorious, many political observers wondered if there would be a quid-pro-quo for support. The Brooklyn delegation was predicted to be the biggest benefactor of this largess, having been a key supporter of Mark-Viverito and delivering the votes that put her over the top.

That support appears to have paid off, with five out of Southern Brooklyn’s six City Council members appointed chairmanships, and two of them on the powerful leadership committee. David Greenfield, now a senior member of the legislative body, may not have landed on the leadership committee, but he did win chairmanship of the Land Use committee, a very influential post where he’ll preside over hearings and legislation that will determine the fate of some of the largest development projects in New York City.

Notably, Chaim Deutsch has boasted at public meetings that he expected to benefit from his early support for Mark-Viverito, who he aligned himself with even before the rest of his Brooklyn colleagues. While it didn’t pay off with any chairmanships, Deutsch, a fierce supporter of the NYPD and controversial practices like stop-and-frisk, did win appointment to the public safety committee. A subcommittee on non-public schools was also created, and he is its only member.

With eight committee appointments, Jumaane Williams also made out well. He’s the chair of the housings and buildings committee, a timely post as advocates call for major reforms in the New York City Housing Authority, of which he’s also been critical. His district also suffers from high foreclosure rates, an issue he’s now in a better position to tackle. (Clarification: It’s been pointed out to us that Housings & Buildings doesn’t oversee NYCHA. However, it does have a role in affordable housing and so Williams will still be a key player in that conversation, which is also gaining momentum in the city.)

Mark Treyger similarly received an appropriate role as chairman of the recovery and resilience committee. His district, which includes Coney Island, was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, and he’ll hopefully bring his constituents’ concerns to the forefront in this role.

Without further ado, here’s how appointments shook out for Southern Brooklyn’s City Council members:

Vincent Gentile

  • Oversight & investigations, chair
  • Leadership committee 
  • Consumer affairs
  • Economic development
  • Education
  • Public safety

David Greenfield

  • Land use, chair
  • Government operations
  • Technology
  • Transportation
  • Youth services

Jumaane Williams

  • Housing & buildings, chair
  • Leadership committee
  • Education
  • Higher education
  • Land use
  • Public safety
  • Rules, privileges & elections
  • Zoning & franchises

Chaim Deutsch

  • Aging
  • Contracts
  • Education
  • Oversight & investigations
  • Public safety
  • Waterfronts
  • Non-public schools (subcommittee of education)

Mark Treyger

  • Recovery & resiliency, chair
  • Aging
  • Education
  • Land use
  • Parks & recreation
  • Planning, dispositions & concessions

Alan Maisel

  • Standards & ethics, chair
  • Community development
  • Education
  • Parks & recreation
  • State & federal legislation
  • Veterans

Politicker has the comprehensive list for all Council members here.

brigham

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: After many years, proposals, battles and studies, the plans to begin work on Sheepshead Bay’s newest green space, Brigham Street Park, are finally unveiled.

The park will be sited at Brigham Street, sandwiched between Emmons Avenue and the waterfront. The current site is now a rubble-filled lot abutting the entrance to the bike path and greenway leading out to Plumb Beach. That entrance is about to get a whole lot more appealing with what looks like might be the new gem of Emmons Avenue’s eastern terminus.

The park will feature a playground, walking path, picnic tables and lots and lots of greenery.

Let’s take a closer look at the plans currently being circulated to local leaders by the Parks Department, and which will go for approval by the Public Design Commission later this month.

Check out the plans!

nypd-appreciation-1

Members of the community gathered to recognize the efforts of the officers of the NYPD’s Brooklyn Borough South, 60th Precinct, 61st Precinct and 62nd Precinct and the FDNY at the Be Proud Foundation’s annual appreciation luncheon on Friday.

“We’re so happy to share with you this celebration of those who keep us safe,” said Be Proud Foundation Executive Director Raisa Chernina, who noted that it’s also the 10th anniversary of the community booster organization. “I’m so happy to do this for you,” she said to the approximately 20 local officers attending the event.

It’s the eighth year of the event, and was held at the newly opened Signature Restaurant at 2007 Emmons Avenue. Officers were treated to lunch and a live musical performance by Nutsa, a well-known Georgian performer, as well as a barrage of praise from local elected officials.

“I’m so very thankful to see all our defenders, who we’re so grateful for keeping us safe every night,” said Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, who emceed the luncheon. “We need to build upon the institution of the Community Affairs officers if we want to build a relationship between community and police.”

The event drew other elected officials, including Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch, Comptroller John Liu, Assemblyman Alan Maisel and representatives for Councilman Lew Fidler, Congressman Michael Grimm, and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein.

A member of the Be Proud Foundation’s board also offered a touching thank you, describing how a family member had fallen in with a bad crowd and became addicted to drugs. With the help of officers from the 60th Precinct’s Community Affairs Unit, the family member is now in rehabilitation and on the right path.

The officers in attendance said they were thankful for the show of support.

“We appreciate things like this,” said Inspector Schell, a former commander at the 60th Precinct who now works out of Brooklyn South. “It’s a sign that our work is beneficial and you like the cops. We’re here to serve you.”

View photos from the event.

kings-plaza

Eleven people turned out at a rally in front of Kings Plaza on Saturday to protest what they’re calling “Justice Reversed,” following the news that hate charges were dropped in a recent case in which black teens allegedly assaulted a white couple while shouting racial epithets.

It was a subdued protest that drew far fewer participants than anticipated, with more than 100 people saying they would attend the event on Facebook, yet less than a dozen showed. The group stood by the Flatbush Avenue entrance, guarded by nearly as many police as there were protesters, and commiserated about the perceived injustice and the safety of the community.

“I missed the [assault] by five minutes. I was walking home with my daughter and it could have happened to anyone,” said Linda Baker, the Mill Basin native who organized the rally. “It’s a hate crime. They screamed racial slurs and it goes both ways. In this neighborhood and in society it just seems to be only recognized when hate is against a minority and hate is not recognized against the white race. It’s ridiculous already.”

The protesters quietly and peacefully handed out fliers to passersby of all backgrounds about the attack, declaring in big, bold font “HATE CRIMES HAVE NO COLOR!!!!”

The group took issue with the news the week before that a grand jury decided to drop hate crime charges against Kashawn Kirton, 18, and Daehrell Finch, 17, two suspects that police arrested in connection with an assault of a couple near Kings Plaza on October 14 that authorites believed was racially motivated.

Kirton and Finch, along with two minors, were arrested shortly after the attack, in which Ronald Russo and his wife, Alanna, were attacked by a large group of black teenagers. The couple, both white, were reportedly subjected to racial epithets, with the suspects allegedly yelling “Get those crackers!” and “Get that white whore!”

The incident happened as the victims, stopped at the intersection of Avenue U and East 58th Street in their car. The group of African-American teenagers was crossing the street against the light, and Russo honked his horn. After one of the teens kicked the car Russo got out to assess the damage, and that was when he and his wife were attacked.

Although frustrated by the dropped charges, Baker and others at the event agreed that the details of the case were unclear, and that the grand jury may have had good reason to drop the charges. But they said they were bothered more by the lack of media coverage and outrage from elected officials about similar cases, and said it was indicative of what they believe is an unfair application of bias charges.

“We don’t know the whole story. Maybe they dropped the case because the guy got out of the car and started screaming racial epithets. And if he did then all bets are off as far as I’m concerned,” said John Lore, a Marine Park resident. “I’m very disappointed towards the lack of coverage. This Barney’s thing,” he said, referring to the tabloid frenzy over alleged discrimination at Barney’s and Macy’s retail outlets, “as far as I’m concerned, nothing’s been proved, everything’s an investigation. But what happened with these two people was real, that was very real, and it was deeply personal.”

“If the roles were reversed I’m quite sure this would’ve made headlines and it would have been on the cover of the Daily News. That Barney’s situation is minuscule compared to this,” Lore said.

Many at the rally said they had hoped elected officials would attend. Assemblyman Alan Maisel walked past the protest and talked to police officers, but did not stop to speak with protestors. Sheepshead Bites caught up with him, and he said he was unaware of the group, noting that he was there to attend a rally for Bill de Blasio that occurred earlier in the day. He was not recognized by the protesters.

Asked about the case, Maisel expressed confusion at its cause, or why protesters wanted to hear from elected officials.

“I didn’t bring the case to the grand jury. I didn’t see the evidence. I recommended they try to reach out to the district attorney,” Maisel said. “But what the police say is that the individuals that were attacked did not report any bias when they were questioned initially.”

He added: “I’m not sure what they’re protesting against. Certainly, I don’t know why they’re protesting here. They should protest on Joreleman Street or Adams Street,” where the courthouse and district attorney’s offices are located.

The victims in the case, Ronald and Alanna Russo, were invited to the protest. Baker said she was told through others that they did not want any publicity in connection to the case.

Calls to the district attorney’s office had not been returned as of this writing.

de Blasio (Source: Streets Blog)

Well, if you’ve managed to stay away from the television, radio, newsstands, social media or any website geared towards New York residents, here’s the list of citywide and borough winners from last night’s election, as well as those in Southern Brooklyn races:

  • Bill de Blasio (Mayor)
  • Letitia James (Public Advocate)
  • Scott Stringer (Comptroller)
  • Eric Adams (Brooklyn Borough Presidnet)
  • Kenneth Thompson (Brooklyn District Attorney)
  • Chaim Deutsch (CD48)
  • Vincent Gentile (CD43)
  • Mark Treyger (CD47)
  • Alan Maisel (CD46)
  • David Greenfield (CD44)
  • Jumaane Williams (CD45)

What do you think? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Or a whole new era for Brooklyn and New York City?

Let us know in the comments below.

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