Archive for the tag 'david greenfield'

Source: katerha via flickr

Source: katerha via flickr

The first City Council hearing on a proposed mandatory fee for plastic bags at grocery stores and supermarkets took place yesterday, and it’s already proving to be one of the most divisive issues to come before the usually lockstep Council body.

Capital New York reports:

The bill, Intro. 209, is being championed by Council members Brad Lander of Brooklyn and Margaret Chin of Manhattan and would impose the fee on all plastic and paper bags issued by grocery stores, bodegas, liquor stores and the like in city limits. The intent is to cut back on the estimated 100,000 tons of plastic bags that find their way to the rivers, streets and trees in the city and encourage New Yorkers to use reusable shopping bags. Plastic bags constitute 2 percent of the city’s waste stream.

… Supporters maintained the 10 cents does not constitute a tax as no money would go to government coffers. Store owners would keep the 10 cents on each bag.

That, of course, hasn’t stopped opponents from describing it as a tax. One of the most vocal opponents so far has been Councilman David Greenfield.

The Daily News reports:

“Quite frankly, I’m ashamed to sit here today and talk about actually raising taxes on New Yorkers,” said Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), who said he buys 30 bags of groceries for his family every Thursday night. “Now I’m going to have to pay three bucks extra a week.”

While proponents like Lander and Chin, who represent some of the city’s tonier districts, argue that such fees have successfully reduced the use of plastic bags in cities including Washington D.C., other elected officials say that it would unfairly hurt low-income families.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch is instead proposing a “recycling education campaign” to urge New York City residents to scale back on the roughly 9.37 billion disposable bags used in the five boroughs every year, most of which ends up in landfills.

“While our environmental goal should be to enhance programs which encourage recycling, the absolute wrong way to accomplish this worthwhile objective is by implementing a tax on plastic or paper bags,” said Deutsch in a statement. “I would rather support a recycling education campaign than support a tax, imposing an unfair financial burden on so many.”

Deutsch noted that though the bill’s provisions exempt food stamp recipients, not all of the city’s cash-strapped residents are on food stamps.

The de Blasio administration and Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have not taken a position on the bill.

Update (November 24, 11am) : Councilman Mark Treyger also objected to the bill when he spoke to us on Friday, November 21.

“I do not believe that 10 cents is going to change a behavior. It’s just going to place another burden on working class families in New York,” he told us. “I believe we should look at alternative types of bags that are biodegradable.”

Jamaica F Train

Local leaders are putting pressure on the MTA to restore express service on the F train in Brooklyn, last experienced by commuters in 1987, while the MTA remains a bit iffy on the issue.

In a letter sent to MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast today, a bipartisan group of 14 city, state, and federal leaders said that the “benefits of restoring the F train express service in Brooklyn would be felt throughout the borough with decreased travel time to Manhattan, decreased delays along the entire line, and a better quality of life for all subway riders in our communities.”

To that end, they’d like to see limited northbound F express service restored in the mornings and southbound F express service in the evenings, saying this could also help ease crowding caused by an increase in ridership over the past year at 19 of the 22 Brooklyn F stops.

The MTA has been studying the possibility, but says that track work on the Culver Viaduct would have to be completed before they could do it — and they don’t have an end date for that, reports AM New York. Additionally, there are other challenges to restoring express service — track space for when the rails merge between the Bergen St and Jay St stops, as well as figuring out how riders at different stations will be impacted by the change.

“The largest volumes are getting on at some of the stations closer in anyway,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told AM New York. “How much savings is there really? That’s why we’re doing the study, to find out.”

2009 review of the F line that State Senator Daniel Squadron created with the MTA cited those issues, and added that express service “would require additional trains and cars; such a service increase would increase operating costs.”

The elected officials who sent the letter are Borough President Eric Adams; Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, Jerrold Nadler, and Michael Grimm; State Senators Martin Golden, Diane Savino, and Squadron; Assembly Members James Brennan, Steven Cymbrowitz, William Colton, and Joan Millman; and Council Members Stephen Levin, David Greenfield, and Mark Treyger.

They all believe the benefits outweigh the costs — what do you think, do we need express service back on the F?

Source: FriendsofOceanParkway.org

Our friend Allen Shweky of Friends of Ocean Parkway notes that the Department of Transportation has kicked off the latest round of rehabilitation along the nation’s second oldest parkway.

The east mall of the corridor between Avenue N and Kings Highway is closed off to pedestrians, as the city preps to redo the asphalt, landscaping and benches. Shweky said there’s no timeline for the work.

The entire length of the mall has seen major construction over the last few years, with the most recent stretch being completed in 2012. Work stopped then until fresh funding was allocated through Councilman David Greenfield’s office.

Shweky writes that the section most in need remains untouched:

The real immediate work that really needs to be done on the west mall between Avenue U and Avenue X remains a dangerous hazard especially to bike riders.  Seems that that critical part of the entire mall renovation project is still a long way off.

Seth Low JHS will be the site of a rally against the proposed co-locations on Friday. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last Thursday that he will allow 36 public and charter schools to move into existing schools while giving the boot to other charter school co-location plans, prompting outrage from politicians and education advocates in Southern Brooklyn.

“I am very disappointed because the decision to co-locate Coney Island Prep with I.S. 281 does not square with the facts as we presented,” Councilman Vincent Gentile said in a press release that was cosigned by fellow councilmen David Greenfield and Mark Treyger. “I’ve said repeatedly that Cavallaro is already busting at the seams and there is no need for an elementary school in this area.”

Among the schools that de Blasio to see co-locations are Coney Island Prep (the charter school) with Cavallaro Intermediate School I.S. 281, and Success Academy Charter School with Seth Low Intermediate School I.S. 96.

The initiative to co-locate public schools with charter schools was created during the Bloomberg administration and according to the press release cosigned by the councilmen, many were hopeful that the co-locations would be reversed.

“Many of us who are part of the public school system were hopeful that with a new administration, we’d see a real, meaningful change that responded to the needs of the community. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, as both I.S. 96 and I.S. 281 are still slated for charter co-locations in September 2014,” members of  Community Education Council District 20 said in a statement.

Besides the harsh words, the education council announced that they will be holding a rally this Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Seth Low I.S. 96 (99 Avenue P) in an attempt to pressure the de Blasio administration to reverse their decision. If the co-location goes through, critics argue,  schools that already have a large student body will be forced to take on more students from the charter schools, resulting in overpopulation.

“I am extremely disappointed in the decision to allow the co-location of a charter school at I.S. 96 (the Seth Low School) that our district does not need or want,” Greenfield writes in the press release. “This co-location will come at the expense of the school’s dedicated staff and hard-working students. . . This proposal does not take into account the students’ needs or the impact this will clearly have on this important school.”

Joining the ranks of critics is Assemblyman William Colton – his area covers parts of Gravesend and Bath Beach – who calls for Cavallaro Intermediate School I.S. 281 and Seth Low I.S. 96 to not co-locate with charter schools. In a press release, he said he is “extremely disappointed that Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Farina did not reverse the decisions” to co-locate the two schools in Southern Brooklyn.

For his part, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz  is commending Mayor de Blasio and Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Farina for withdrawing the co-location plan for John Dewey High School (50 Avenue X), one of the nine locations the de Blasio administration offered a reprieve. Critics of charter schools want every school’s co-location to be withdrawn.

“I intend to work with my colleagues to fight this decision tooth and nail,” Greenfield said in the press release.

Correction: The original version of this article mistakenly identified the charter school to be co-located with I.S 96 Seth Low. The correct name of the charter school is Success Academy Charter School, and the post has been amended. We regret any confusion this may have caused.

IMG_0095

A woman attempts to pass beneath the B/Q line at Avenue Y, a daunting task.

New York City residents and business owners are required to clear their sidewalks after snow storms or face heavy fines from city authorities. But city agencies have failed to clear many public sidewalks and those abutting government property, suggesting a double standard that puts pedestrians at risk.

With 48 inches of snow falling over the course of 22 days since January 1, deadbeat landlords who’ve failed to shovel paths have become a reviled caricature in New York City. Currently, they could face fines of $150, and a local City Council member has introduced new legislation that would direct city workers to clear private sidewalks and forward the bill to the property owner.

But while city workers may one day be deployed to clear private sidewalks, Sheepshead Bites has found a number of government-owned sidewalks that those same city workers have failed to clear.

Among the worst spots this publication surveyed yesterday are the underpasses of the B/Q Brighton line, all located between East 15th Street and East 16th Street. From Sheepshead Bay Road to Kings Highway, not one of the half dozen underpasses without a subway station had clear paths shoveled on both sides of the street, and even some of those with a subway station were left uncleared. In most locations, the northern side of the street was partially shoveled, while the southern side remained untouched.

Keep reading to learn whose responsibility it is, and view the pictures of their neglect.

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.

Avenue L and East 5th Street, where the woman was attacked. (Source: Google Maps)

Avenue L and East 5th Street, where the woman was attacked. (Source: Google Maps)

Back in November we reported that a 78-year-old Midwood woman was punched in the head on Avenue L and East 5th Street by a  teenager playing a “knockout” game. The police have arrested a suspect in connection with this and six other assaults in Brooklyn.

According to police reports in a CBS story, the 78-year-old Midwood woman was the first victim. Barry Baldwin is accused of attacking Jewish woman and the attack in Midwood occurred around the time of eight other attacks in Crown Heights. It is unclear which of these other attacks he is being charged with. Out of the seven assaults Baldwin is being charged for, six of them carry hate crime charges since the victims were Jewish women.

Here is more from our post back in November,

While the “game” has surfaced as a possible national trend, it’s taken an ugly racial aspect in Brooklyn. This victim’s case comes on the heels of eight similar attacks in Crown Heights. None of the victims were robbed as part of the attack.

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating, as all the victims are Orthodox Jewish.

On the same day the incident became public, Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, Councilman David Greenfield, and Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch came forward offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the eight previous attacks.

A truck wedged under the Sheepshead Bay Road overpass. Photo submitted by Craig S.

Neighborhoods along the elevated portion of the B/Q Brighton Line are no strangers to the thunderous crash of a truck whacking into the train line’s overpasses. South of Avenue J or so, the elevated line is relatively low to the ground, unlike the towering els of Brighton Beach Avenue or 86th Street, and many a trucker makes the misguided attempt to get by despite standard signs indicating clearance.

We’ve covered quite a number of such collisions here on Sheepshead Bites.

Now Councilman David Greenfield is requesting that the MTA install flashing yellow warning signals at all railroad underpasses in Midwood, Homecrest and Sheepshead Bay. The hope is to prevent the collisions, which cause traffic accidents and backups. In a letter to MTA Acting President Carmen Bianco and Brooklyn Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Palmieri, Councilman Greenfield asks that these signals be installed along avenues that cross beneath the railroad tracks, which run between East 15th Street and East 16th Street and serve the B and Q trains. Greenfield is calling for the lights at all underpasses from Avenue J south.

“This is a simple and inexpensive step that the MTA can take to improve safety and help prevent traffic jams throughout our community. Aside from causing headaches for other drivers, these incidents of drivers ignoring the existing signs and becoming stuck beneath the bridge can cause serious accidents or significant damage to the overpass. With that in mind, I hope the MTA will agree that it makes sense to install clearer, more visible flashing signals at those locations,” Greenfield said in a press release.

Source: Indy Trendy Skits/Flickr

The following is a press release jointly issued by Councilman David Greenfield, State Senator Simcha Felder and Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch:

Following yet another ‘knockout’ assault targeting an innocent pedestrian this past Saturday, Councilman David G. Greenfield, Senator Simcha Felder and Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch are calling on the NYPD to drastically increase its presence throughout the community, especially during Shabbos, which is when two of the most recent attacks targeting Jews have occurred. This request includes additional officers, temporary lighting at trouble locations and other measures to help prevent these attacks and catch the person responsible should another assault occur. In addition, the elected officials are reminding the public to be especially vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times and to immediately report any suspicious activity to the NYPD.

The request for additional NYPD patrols and other measures comes after a young Jewish woman was punched in the head and knocked to the ground by an unknown young black male while waking near McDonald Avenue and Avenue M in broad daylight on Saturday afternoon. In response, Councilman Greenfield and Councilman-elect Deutsch met with officers from the 66th Precinct in Boro Park on Sunday to discuss the NYPD’s ongoing response and investigation into the series of unprovoked attacks, which now total approximately a dozen in Brooklyn over the past two months.

“More aggressive measures on the part of the NYPD are needed to stop this wave of brutal attacks targeting innocent victims. It is especially disturbing that people of all ages have been assaulted recently, including several elderly women. In addition, two of the recent attacks have occurred in our community on Shabbos, adding to the concern that the community is being targeted by these cowardly individuals. As a result of my meeting with NYPD officials, I am confident this pattern is being taken seriously and that we will have the resources necessary to finally put an end to this baseless violence,” said Councilman Greenfield.

“The recent ‘knockout’ attacks in our community are unacceptable and must be acted upon immediately. Inflicting violence on unsuspecting people is a cowardly act and a crime that must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. As a strong and united community, we need to show those responsible that these heinous crimes will not be tolerated. We cannot allow anyone to create unnecessary fear. We should walk the streets with our heads held high and not worry that anyone is being targeted. I have spoken with the NYPD and been assured that they are taking all necessary steps to bring these perpetrators to justice,” said Councilman-elect Deutsch.

“It is deplorable that people are still being terrorized by these knockout attacks. Every person has a right to feel safe walking in their neighborhoods, without worrying whether or not they will be bashed in the head for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The best thing people can to do to protect themselves from these heinous attacks is to be cognizant at all times of their surroundings. This means not being distracted by electronic devices and to also trust their instincts. Most importantly, if you are a victim of an attack or any crime, report it to the authorities immediately. Don’t allow yourself to be victimized twice by remaining silent,” said Senator Felder (D-Brooklyn).

As a result of the attacks, Deutsch, who founded Flatbush Shomrim 20 years ago in response to street crime, Greenfield and Felder are reminding the public of the following safety tips to help avoid becoming a victim of this senseless pattern of street violence, which has occurred in neighborhoods around Brooklyn, including Boro Park and Midwood. Residents are reminded to always be alert while walking around and to be cautious of suspicious individuals or large groups. Whenever possible, do not walk alone and try to use well-lit and populated areas with a lot of foot traffic. Always know your location in case you need to call for help, and do not hesitate to contact 911 if necessary.

“One of the great things about living in our communities is the safety that we all enjoy and take for granted. By coming together and working with the NYPD, we will reclaim our streets and ensure that residents can once again walk around the neighborhood without constantly looking over their shoulders,” said Councilman Greenfield.

“We stand together as one community of peace and harmony. Violence and hate crimes of any time are not acceptable. We must continue to join together to fight such vicious crimes so that we can continue to live without fear,” added Councilman-elect Deutsch.

Source: formulanone/Flickr

The New York City Council is considering legislation that would cut the speed limit citywide from 30 mph to 25 mph, and the legislative body’s leadership is hoping to see it passed before the end of the year.

The new bill took shape last week, evolving from legislation originally proposed by Councilman David Greenfield that called for 20 mph limits “on all streets fewer than 60 feet wide in areas zoned for residential purposes.” It would only affect single lane, one-way streets.

A state law, though, interfered with the lower limit. Streetsblog writes:

DOT told the council in October that state law permits the city to set speeds at 15 to 24 miles per hour only if other physical traffic-calming treatments are also implemented, or if a street is within a quarter-mile of a school.

To set speed limits at 20 mph citywide, DOT suggested lobbying Albany to change the state law before passing a local law.

(WNYC created a map showing that most streets are close enough to a school. Still legislators sought to up the limit.)

In addition to slashing the speed limit, the bill will require the Department of Transportation to introduce at least seven new “slow zones” every year, each covering five blocks. Slow zones are areas of reduced speed limits to 20 mph on roadways selected for a history of accidents, proximity to schools and community concerns.

According to the New York Times, Council Speaker Christine Quinn is hoping to see the bill passed before the end of the year, when much of the Council’s members will be ousted by term limits. The paper also reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is supportive of the effort and waiting for the final bill. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is likely also in favor, given that he has called for an expansion of slow zones, but a spokeswoman said it is still being considered.

Some in the taxi industry are apparently opposed to the bill, reports the Daily News. One representative testified to the Council, saying that changing the speed limit would cause confusion for drivers and give the city an opportunity to dole out more revenue-generating tickets. (Updated)

UPDATE (December 4, 2013): A representative for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade e-mailed to say that not all in the taxi industry are opposed to the proposal. The MTBT is the largest taxi trade group in the city, and issued the following statement of support:

For over 60 years, MTBOT has made safety a priority for the thousands of drivers it represents and the millions of passengers they serve. That is why we strongly support Int. 535, a life-saving measure that would reduce the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph exclusively on residential side streets, making the City safer for our drivers, passengers and neighbors.

This important bill should not be used as an excuse to target drivers for tickets, but rather it should bring all New Yorkers together for a common goal, to make our streets safer, especially for our children and elderly residents. Research shows that 20 mph residential speed limits work—including in London and Tokyo, where reduced speed limits have cut the number of fatal crashes on residential streets by as much as half.

It’s time New York joined other major cities in passing this sensible, life-saving legislation. MTBOT calls upon the Department of Transportation to support Int. 535 and make our streets safer for all New Yorkers.

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