Archive for the tag 'government'

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger and Assemblyman Bill Colton:

Council Member Mark Treyger and Assembly Member Bill Colton are calling on the MTA to provide public notification within 24 hours of cases of confirmed bedbug sightings on any trains, buses or in stations. The proposal comes after a number of incidents involving bedbugs on several trains along the N line, in addition to trains on the Q and 6 lines. On Monday, an N train was taken out of service at DeKalb Avenue and a conductor received medical attention as a result of bedbugs. Currently, the MTA does not have a formal policy for informing the public about these incidents.

In response, Treyger and Colton are proposing state legislation, supported by a City Council resolution, requiring the MTA to take the same steps to inform its customers as it does for other emergencies or service delays, including social media outreach. In addition, the MTA would have to detail the steps it is taking to remedy these situations and protect the public’s health while using public transportation. This proposal has support from the Transport Workers Union (TWU), whose members have been impacted by the outbreaks. Council Member Treyger and Assembly Member Colton were joined at today’s press conference in front of the N train station on Kings Highway by District Leader-elect Nancy Tong and a number of residents who regularly use this line and are concerned about the lack of information from the MTA about the recent outbreaks. Council Member Treyger and Colton now plan to move forward with this legislation, putting a formal procedure in place to respond to outbreaks and notify the public.

“This is an important issue that the MTA has to take much more seriously on behalf of the millions of New Yorkers that ride its buses and trains, as well as its employees. The MTA has an obligation to inform the public of any bedbug sightings or outbreaks due to the health implications that are involved. However, the MTA must also consider the economic consequences of bedbug infestations in a home, especially for working New Yorkers who cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars in fumigation or cleaning bills. The MTA can easily inform the public in much the same manner it does for service delays, and we deserve to know exactly what steps it is taking to respond to bedbug infestations,” said Council Member Treyger.

”The public has a right to know if there is a confirmed detection of bedbugs on trains or buses. The families of riders and transit workers must be given the opportunity to take protective measures to minimize the chance of bedbug infestation being transported to their homes and places of work,” said Assembly Member Colton.

“Families are rightfully worried about the disruption and large economic costs that bedbugs can cause, if carried into their homes. Families have a right to be informed as to how to protect themselves from this risk,” said District Leader-elect Tong.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Nearly two years after Superstorm Sandy came ashore, many of our neighbors are still struggling to rebuild. Local pols are trying to make it a little easier by bringing in-office services to the community.

Council members Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch are both hosting reps at their offices from various agencies to help in the recovery.

Deutsch has a representative from Build it Back in his 2401 Avenue U office every other week, available by appointment only. After complaints from constituents that Build it Back was not readily accessible, even after the promises from the agency to ramp up its effectiveness, the rep is being made available to review cases one-on-one and cut through the red tape. Appointments can be made by calling the district office at (718) 368-9176, and the rep will provide help and insight, in addition to giving them a status update regarding their application.

Meanwhile, Treyger is working with The Legal Aid Society and the city’s Build it Back program to provide residents with free assistance at his 445 Neptune Avenue district office in Coney Island.

A representative from The Legal Aid Society will be at the office each Tuesday through mid-September to meet with residents still experiencing the impacts of Superstorm Sandy and to assist with the following issues: landlord/tenant disputes over repairs and rent abatements; Temporary Disaster Assistance Program (TDAP) vouchers or Section 8 vouchers received due to displacement by the storm; consumer debt collection; flood insurance issues; Small Business Administration (SBA) loans; and contractor fraud. The lawyer is available to meet confidentially by appointment or on a first-come, first-served basis on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition, a case manager from the city’s Build it Back program is available every other Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

To make an appointment at Treyger’s office for either service, call (718) 373-9673.

“Many storm victims still have difficult and important decisions to make, so it is imperative that they have someone they can turn to for reliable information and advice. I urge anyone who needs legal assistance as a result of Superstorm Sandy or help navigating the Build it Back program to take advantage of these programs available right here in the community,” said Treyger in announcing the service.

Source: Wikimedia Common

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mayor Bill de Blasio appears to be avoiding Southern Brooklyn neighborhoods that supported his electoral rival, Joe Lhota, including Sheepshead Bay and Bensonhurst, according to a report in the New York Observer.

The outlet reports that de Blasio has held press conferences in neighborhoods where he performed well in November’s elections, but has failed to appear at all in the more conservative enclaves of Southern Brooklyn.

Mr. de Blasio, a Brooklynite, held press conferences in Democratic strongholds like Williamsburg, Bushwick, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York over the first seven and a half months of his administration. But along the southern swath of Brooklyn–in neighborhoods including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Boro Park, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Mill Basin and Bergen Beach–Mr. de Blasio has not scheduled a public appearance since becoming mayor in January.

Mr. Lhota bested Mr. de Blasio in those southern Brooklyn neighborhoods, in some election districts winning as much as 80 percent of the vote. Citywide, Mr. Lhota was crushed, winning only 24 percent of the vote to Mr. de Blasio’s 73 percent.

Prior to the elections, de Blasio sightings were fairly common in areas like Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach. After votes were cast overwhelmingly in favor of Lhota in those neighborhoods, he hasn’t been heard from. The Observer reports that some in the Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst neighborhoods are complaining of the same.

Public appearances are one measure of the mayor’s responsiveness to a community. Another could be the dispatching of high-ranking officials to those neighborhoods, and on that there appears to be mixed results. The Department of Transportation commissioner and Build it Back head have both engaged Southern Brooklyn communities and appeared responsive.

At the same time, the mayor’s office gave a last-minute denial to the Santa Rosalia Society’s request for a date change of the 18th Avenue Feast. The request was made to address community concerns about garbage pickup after the event, but the mayor’s office offered no explanation for the denial despite multiple requests.

Steven Cymbrowitz (l.) and Ben Akselrod (r.)

With two weeks to go before the September 9 primary elections, the Democratic candidates for the 45th Assembly District will attend a candidates night at the Manhattan Beach Community Group meeting on Wednesday.

The race is a reprise of the 2012 elections, with incumbent Steven Cymbrowitz fending off a challenge from Ben Akselrod. It’s been a particularly quiet race so far, although the candidates have traded barbs on such compelling issues as nominating petitions.

That could change during the 8:00 p.m. meeting at P.S. 195 (131 Irwin Street), where the two are both confirmed to attend and will face questions from the public about their views on various issues.

The group has hosted several debates and candidates nights for recent elections, and regularly asks tough policy questions submitted from group members and the broader public.

President Judy Baron emphasized to Sheepshead Bites that this event would be no different, and that all are invited to attend no matter where they live in the district. Questions can be submitted for consideration at the beginning of the event.

Sunny Skies

Source: Sunny Skies

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the preliminary recipients of $340 million in pre-kindergarten funding yesterday, including a couple in our area - Brighton Beach’s Sarah Winner Group Family Day Care and Sunny Skies Preschool.

Provided state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli approves the awards, Sarah Winner Group Family Day Care (2997 Ocean Parkway) will land $120,000 from the state and Sunny Skies Coney Island (2585 Coney Island Avenue) will receive $300,000 as part of a program that is awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for 81 school districts and community-based organizations across the state.

The funding, which is included in the 2014-15 state budget, is the first installment in the governor’s commitment to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years to build a statewide universal full-day pre-kindergarten program.

The city Department of Education is slated to land nearly $300 million to build its universal pre-kindergarten program for all 4-year-olds in the city – which stems from Cuomo’s promise to pay for such a program in lieu of Mayor Bill de Blasio raising taxes to pay for it, as the mayor had originally aimed to do upon taking office.

The funds slated for private daycare operators are to fill the gap in the number of seats required to meet the need, which the Department of Education alone does not have the space for.

“Training and educating young minds is one of the smartest investments we can make as a state, as studies demonstrate that pre-kindergarten has a long lasting, positive influence on our children’s education and future success,” Cuomo said in his press release. “The state budget this year included a major investment in early education, putting New York state on the path to become just the fourth state in the nation to establish universal full day pre-K. The awards we are announcing today will enable tens of thousands of children to attend pre-K classes, and represent another step in the State’s work to prepare our students to compete in the 21st century economy.”

As part of state and city officials push for a full-day pre-kindergarten program, numerous lawmakers and educators, including Cuomo and de Blasio, stressed that studies have shown that children who participate in early education programs are more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school than those who do not.

“We are proud to have Governor Cuomo as a strong partner in making pre-K for All a reality for the children of New York City,” de Blasio said in the same release. “This funding represents a powerful commitment by the State to build a new, stronger education foundation that will transform our schools. We are working tirelessly to make good on this opportunity to deliver new pre-K options, improve existing ones and build a high-quality system that lifts up every child.”

The full list of recipients of the $340 million is available here.

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Councilman Chaim Deutsch hosted his second community cleanup on Sunday, with volunteers turning out to sweep the sidewalks and gutters of Avenue U between Nostrand Avenue and Coney Island Avenue.

Dozens turned out, including volunteers from Homecrest Community Services and local schools like Sheepshead Bay High School and Midwood High School.

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The clean-up came on the heels of the announcement that Deutsch had secured $68,000 for additional litter basket pickups on Avenue U and Sheepshead Bay Road, increasing pickups to five times a week on each strip. It’s also two weeks after a Sheepshead Bay Road cleanup.

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The pol acknowledged that cleanups only go so far, and that often the streets are filthy again within days. But he said it’s about creating awareness, and showing would-be litter bugs that their neighbors are putting in the effort.

“It’s not just a clean-up,” he said. “We don’t want to waste anybody’s time. So it’s an ongoing effort.”

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Aside from the funding and the cleanups, Deutsch’s team and volunteers have been passing out fliers in various languages to neighbors, letting them know that public bins are not meant for residential garbage.

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He said that the Sanitation Department is also ramping up enforcement at his request, with overnight stakeouts of public bins happening on several nights on Avenue U and Sheepshead Bay Road. Those caught dumping at the public bins are issued hefty fines.

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The pol said the biggest struggle is with businesses, who due to language barriers don’t always understand that local laws require them to keep the sidewalks in front of their stores clean.

“We’re reaching out to all the stores to get them to comply with the local laws,” he said. “A lot of times, it’s just a language barrier, and once we get through that we see they make the effort.”

 

Source: Lisanne Anderson

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

Community-minded volunteers will gather on Sunday, August 17th to participate in Council Member Chaim Deutsch’s Community Cleanup event. The event will promote civic awareness as well as the idea that clean streets are the responsibility of everyone, including residents, store-owners, elected officials, and the Department of Sanitation. The volunteers will meet at 10 o’clock in the morning at the Council Member’s District Office, 2401 Avenue U, where they will be armed with brooms, rakes, shovels, and other cleaning supplies provided by the Department of Sanitation.

“Cleaner streets promote social and economic improvement, while giving our children and families a clean and safe place to live,” said Council Member Deutsch. “I have chosen to allocate funding through the Cleanup NYC initiative to the Department of Sanitation for additional street litter basket collections. More frequent basket collections will make a favorable impact on the trash problem that currently affects the neighborhood.”

The event is in conjunction with the “Keep Our Neighborhood Clean” outreach program, an ongoing effort by Council Member Deutsch to clean up our streets, something that will benefit all residents of the district. The Council Member and his staff have reached out to business and residential areas to educate residents and merchants about illegal dumping of household and commercial trash in and around public receptacles, as well as other sanitation rules and regulations. Street litter baskets are placed on business corridors with heavy foot traffic, where there is a need to prevent littering, but that does not solve the entire problem.

“Thanks to the many hard working volunteers, my first Community Cleanup event, that took place along Sheepshead Bay Road, was a huge success,” said Council Member Deutsch. “Keeping our streets clean on a daily basis is a difficult task, but communication and education are crucial. In addition to the Community Cleanups and extra basket collections, I am working together with Sanitation Enforcement through the evenings to monitor and control illegal dumping and littering at corner wastebaskets. These are just the beginning stages of my ongoing mission to provide a better environment for my constituents.”

Some additional details from Sheepshead Bites’ follow-up:

Deutsch allocated $68,000 for the additional basket pickups. This will bring Sheepshead Bay Road to five times a week (adding one additional day) and Avenue U to five times a week (adding three additional days).

The volunteer cleanup begins at 10 a.m. at 2401 Avenue U.

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

A large crowd of Brooklynites young and old, cheering and waving Israeli flags, united in Asser Levy Park in Brighton Beach [Wednesday] night for an emotional and music-filled concert/rally in support of Israel.

The event was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Zionist Organization of America, RAJE, DaNu Radio, American Forum of Russian-Speaking Jewry, Kings Bay Y, Jewish Community Relations Council of NY, JCH of Bensonhurst, Shorefront JCC, Hadassah, Emunah, One Israel Fund, Jewish Press, JCC of Canarsie, Jerusalem Chai, Coalition for Israel, Simon Wiesenthal Center and COJO of Bensonhurst.

In addition to Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, the array of notable guest speakers included Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Michael Miller, CEO of JCRC-NY; Assemblyman Dov Hikind; IDF Brigadier General Ari Tesler; Andrew Gross, Political Advisor to the Deputy Consul General; Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America; Leonard Petlakh, Executive Director of the Kings Bay Y, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Rubin Margules, President of the Zionist Organization of America Brooklyn Region; and Eugene Shkolnikov, Russian-American philanthropist and board member of the Kings Bay Y.

Speaker after speaker took the stage and described why the concert/rally was so important.

“As so many around the world gather to condemn Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorists, it is imperative that we all stand together to show our support for the people of Israel,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. “Israel uses painstaking restraint not to harm citizens. We finally need to tell the world: Enough,” he said.

Rubin Margules, President of ZOA Brooklyn Region and chief organizer of the event, said, “We put this event together because it was important to show our support, to be counted and to stand together for the people of Israel.”

Morton Klein, President of ZOA, said, “What would America do if 80 percent of its citizens were forced to run into bomb shelters twice a day from rocket fire from Mexico or Canada? That’s the situation in Israel where over six million of the eight million Israelis are given 15 seconds to run into bomb shelters due to the 3000 missiles launched by Hamas. The world now condemning Israel for Arab civilian deaths is a diplomatic Kristallnacht.”

Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents said, “Hamas exists to kill. Israel sometimes has to kill to exist.”

Assemblyman Dov Hikind said, “”Thank G-d there are no sirens going off on 5th Avenue or 13th Avenue. Americans don’t know what it’s like to run for cover.”

A line-up of internationally known Israeli musicians performed free of charge. They had the crowd singing along to favorites like “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold)” and swaying along to “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Performers included Galit Burg Michael, Benny Elbaz, Sandy Shmuely, Ron Eliran and Gershon Veroba.

Throughout the evening the crowd vocalized its support with frequent shouts of “Am Yisrael Chai (The People of Israel Live!).” At the end of the night, with the moon shining as bright as the crowd’s spirits, community and Jewish leaders danced the hora onstage and led everyone in “Hatikvah (The Hope),” Israel’s national anthem.

One familiar song performed by Ron Eliran, “Kol Ha’olam Kulo,” based on a quote by Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, seemed to sum up the exuberant mood. The song’s message speaks of the importance of moving forward with confidence despite prevailing uncertainty: “All the world is a very narrow bridge. The most important thing is not to be afraid.”

Councilman Mark Treyger

Councilman Mark Treyger

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:

To help make sure that every parent has an opportunity to enroll their child in a pre-kindergarten program for this coming school year, Council Member Mark Treyger is hosting a NYC Department of Education enrollment specialist at his Bensonhurst district office (2015 Stillwell Avenue) this Monday, August 11, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The enrollment specialist will help provide parents with information needed to enroll their children in free pre-kindergarten programs in local public schools or community-based organizations for the 2014-2015 school year. In order to serve the entire community, interpreters will be available to assist parents who speak Spanish, Russian or Chinese. All New York City children who were born in 2010 and turn four years old by December 31 are eligible to enroll this year. As a former public school teacher for eight years before taking office, Council Member Treyger is urging all parents of eligible children to take advantage of this great chance to have their child enrolled in a free program right in the community.

“As a former educator, I am thrilled that our city is making these vital pre-kindergarten programs a priority for our children. This is a great opportunity to give your child a head start and a great foundation for their education. I am hosting this service to make sure that every family has the information needed to make an informed decision for their child and get them enrolled in a program for the coming school year. Anyone who hasn’t yet located a suitable program should stop by Monday’s information session for information about the different options available for local families,” said Council Member Treyger.

In addition, Council Member Treyger is publicly thanking Assembly Members Bill Colton and Alec Brook-Krasny, Senator Diane Savino and all of his colleagues in state government for passing a budget that provides funding for this critical city initiative.

For more information, please visit www.nyc.gov/prek or contact Dilyora Rahimova in Council Member Treyger’s office at (718) 307-7151.

Source: MyTudut/Flickr

The following is a press release from the offices of State Senator Marty Golden:

State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) today is announcing that he has joined forces with Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens to host a back to school collection drive for local students in need.

Residents are being encouraged to donate new school supplies including notebooks, crayons, back packs, pens, pencils, crayons, rulers, highlighters, washable glue sticks, 2-pocket folders, 3 x 5 line Index cards, etc.

Senator Marty Golden stated, “As we turn the calendar on the month of August, we begin to prepare our students and families to go back to school. For some families, the need to get their kids ready to learn and participate in another school year poses a financial challenge, and so we are being asked to help out and make a donation of some essential items. This year I hope that this community will again come together to support our neighbors in need so their children can have the same opportunities this year in the classroom. I hope you will join me in making a donation.”

Those wishing to make a donation of items can drop them off on or before Friday, August 15th at either of Senator Golden’s district offices at 7408-5th Avenue or at 3604 Quentin Road. For more information, please contact the Senator Golden’s office at (718) 238-6044.

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