Archive for the tag 'judy baron'

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.

by Vanessa Ogle

Members of the Manhattan Beach Community Group were briefed by representatives of the state-run New York Rising program at their meeting last night, contributing proposals and feedback and asking questions about the project’s next steps. The presentation also elicited a few uncertain murmurs and misguided questions that suggested the program, now four months into its public phase,  is anything but widely understood.

NY Rising is a state program to funnel millions of federal rebuilding dollars to local communities, with projects determined by neighbors at public meetings and through committees comprised of local leaders. Brooklyn has four reconstruction zones, including a newly added Canarsie zone, and Manhattan Beach belongs to a coalition that includes Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Seagate. Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach are part of a second committee. According to the New York Rising presenter, Manhattan Beach is expected to receive approximately $5.5 million dollars in a first round of funding for its project proposals.

“We have been trying to impress upon NY Rising that the most important thing that we have here is to get infrastructure fixed,” MBCG President Judy Baron, who also represents the group in the NY Rising local committee, told her members. “Because if we don’t have water coming into our basements, we can talk about anything else.”

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MBCG boardmembers, including new president Judy Baron (left) and outgoing president Ira Zalcman (right) pose with Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer

MBCG boardmembers, including new president Judy Baron (left) and outgoing president Ira Zalcman (right) pose with Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer

The Manhattan Beach Community Group met earlier this month for their 72nd annual general membership meeting, an end-of-year celebration where new officers are installed and the year’s accomplishments celebrated. This year’s event carried extra weight as the group’s president, Ira Zalcman, said goodbye after seven years of leadership, and the group passed an amendment to its bylaws intended to create peace with its rival neighborhood group.

The December 4 event – which we must note with regret has taken far too long to find its way to our website – drew nearly 200 neighbors, as well as a broad swath of incoming and outgoing elected officials.

Most significantly, the group passed an amendment to its bylaws that they hope will end a bitter six-year feud with the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association, a rivalry that many say has divided the community, and diminished its power to effect positive changes in the area.

The new bylaws create an exception for members of the “other group” to rejoin the MBCG as directors without having to wait the requisite two years. Passed with only one objection, by MBNA member Ed Eisenberg, the motion provisions for the group’s president to appoint as many as four members of the MBNA to the MBCG’s board, so long as the MBNA agrees to dissolve.

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Source: Markowitz's office

Using tonight’s State of the Borough address, Borough President Marty Markowitz is expected to revive plans to establish ferry commuter service between Manhattan and Southern Brooklyn neighborhoods including Sheepshead Bay. Markowitz’s push comes less than a year after a city study determined Southern Brooklyn unworthy of such a costly service.

Markowitz will take to the podium at Brooklyn College tonight for the 2012 State of the Borough address. The address begins at 6:45 p.m. and can be viewed live here.

According to a Daily News report, Markowitz plans to “push for the expansion of city ferry service to connect Manhattan to Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, the Canarsie Pier and the 69th Street Pier in Bay Ridge.”

If that proposal sounds familiar, it’s because it is.

Way back in 2009, the New York City Economic Development Corporation unveiled the Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study, which identified possible landing locations for an expansion of commuter ferry services around the city and weighed the costs and benefits.

When the EDC rolled into the Sheepshead Bay – Manhattan Beach area for a public hearing on the plan, they got an earful.

“It’s romantic. It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. But practically speaking, it’s not practical,” Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison said at the hearing.

Critics of the plan blasted it as an impractical way to make the commute. At an estimated 45 minutes for the trip to Manhattan, it would cost approximately $6.00 per rider, offering little incentive for those paying $2.25 for a trip of the same duration on the subway. They also worried about the effects of parking in the area, and noted that any ferry service in the area would require the Bay to be dredged.

Keep reading, and find out what the EDC concluded.

With a tainted history of traffic accidents and the death of a 4-year-old boy, Oriental Boulevard is now sporting brand new bike lane signs courtesy of the New York City Department of Transportation. The agency hopes the signs will provide a safer street, but local leaders are incensed, saying the signs indicate the agency is backtracking on community-led initiatives that the agency had previously appeared to support.

Keep reading to find out what locals have to say, and how the DOT defends its actions.

Leaders of the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) launched a three-pronged political offensive last night, two against familiar enemies – the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association (MBNA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) – and a third against the neighborhood’s only representative to the City Council – Councilman Michael C. Nelson.

While topics during the group’s monthly meetings bounced back and forth between security, traffic safety and beachside barbecuing, the tone remained consistently hostile. They lashed out against the MBNA for their attempt to ban charcoal grilling in Manhattan Beach and they threatened a civil uprising against the DOT. But some of the choicest words were reserved for Councilman Nelson, who MBCG President Ira Zalcman said has broken promises, ignored the community and plays the politics of division in the neighborhood’s leadership struggles.

The publicity the neighborhood has received lately – whether it be from the feud between groups, the shenanigans of politicians, or some residents’ “exclusionary” proposals – has Zalcman feeling “humiliated” as a resident.

“I’m embarrassed when I go places and tell people I’m from Manhattan Beach,” he said. “I sometimes say I’m from Sheepshead Bay because I don’t want to get into it.”

Keep reading for the MBCG’s criticism of Nelson and the MBNA, and their threat to DOT – as well as more video.

For Manhattan Beach residents, asking the city to implement increased traffic safety measures is a lot like shouting “Give me water!” into a well. The words bounce around, hit the other end, and then come back at them. But they never get what they want.

Manhattan Beach Community Group has been pushing an ever-expanding set of proposals for years. The other neighborhood civic – Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association – has a similar set of proposals. And the Community Board and locally elected pick up on the demands and relay them to city officials. But in the end, all they ever hear is each other. With the exception of the planters – a rather minor improvement – the city has yet to deliver on any of the requests.

For the first time, MBCG has published on its website a list of all its demands for traffic safety reform neighborhood-wide. It’s addressed “To The Honorable Mayor Bloomberg – Stop the Accidents” and rattles off requests from residents for all three major avenues and several side streets.

Keep reading to see highlights from the list.

The Parks Department has yet to move all of the 31 massive concrete planters lining the Oriental Boulevard median, despite promises to have the effort completed by November 30.

Two days after the agency’s deadline, at least 16 planters still remain between West End Avenue and Girard Street. The remaining planters were moved onto the Kingsborough Community College campus after the school offered to provide the machinery and manpower needed to make the move, and the city greenlighted storing those on campus. Kingsborough completed the transfer on November 24.

But despite inaccurate media reports that all of the planters were moved, the fate of the remaining 16 is still up in the air.

“Does that surprise you? The city said they’d do something and then they didn’t,” said Judy Baron, the traffic committee chair of the Manhattan Beach Community Group. “I always said when I see it I’ll believe it.”

The problem appears to be that the city cannot decide where to redistribute the rest of the planters, said a source involved in the effort. Officials are considering places nearby, like Manhattan Beach Park or Shore Boulevard, but locations as far as Bill Brown Park on Bedford Avenue and Avenue X are also being considered. The college is awaiting directions from the city, and affirmed that they’ll keep to their word to do the legwork wherever the city decides to place them.

Parks Department has not yet returned calls for comment on the issue.

Since they were placed in 2005, the community has fought for removal of the planters, which has vegetation that grows as tall as 4 feet during spring and summer. Residents say that their height blocks the view of oncoming traffic for drivers attempting a turn, causing several accidents along the busy strip.

Though the city stubbornly denied their requests for years, they finally made the concession to traffic safety after a 4-year-old boy was struck and killed in a tragic accident this October. The city, though, said they did not have the equipment to move the planters, which weigh several hundreds of pounds, leading Kingsborough to make the offer.

Since the planters lack drainage holes, the added weight of water caused the concrete on some to crack when the school attempted to relocate them. Kingsborough will coordinate with the Sanitation Department to have broken planters removed.

Manhattan Beach residents berated a representative for the Mayor on Wednesday night, as they distributed a petition and contemplated civil disobedience to tackle the city’s neglect of their traffic safety issues.

It was an emotional evening at the Manhattan Beach Community Group meeting, with the mother and neighbors of the child recently killed by a bus on Oriental Boulevard in attendance.

Irina Liberman, the mother who was also injured in the October 7 accident, had eyes brimming with tears as she and neighbors told NYPD representatives that the streets need more than Oriental Boulevard’s blinking yellow light, especially near the park entrance on Falmouth Street. She said ice cream trucks regularly line up at that area, and children dart away from parents in between the trucks, and into the street where drivers can’t see until it’s too late.

“There’s no indication,” she said. “I speak for all mothers. This is a tragedy and there’s no indication but a yellow light and people are speeding. A blinking light. That’s it. Always speeding.”

Mayor’s rep becomes target of ire; possible unity between quarreling groups; and civil disobedience after the jump.

The changes to Coney Island Avenue intersections as proposed by DOT

The changes to Coney Island Avenue intersections as proposed by DOT

Local leaders  are looking for ways to put the brakes on what they say are dangerous and complicated changes around the Coney Island Avenue Belt Parkway overpass being proposed following a Department of Transportation study.

The changes are part of the Coney Island/Gravesend Sustainable Development Transportation Study, a proposal seven years in the making that aims to clear up roadway confusion and improve safety at major intersections between Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, and Bensonhurst.

The changes proposed for Coney Island Avenue between Guider Avenue and Neptune Avenue are as follows:

  • Southbound cars on Coney Island Avenue will no longer be able to make a left turn on Guider Avenue, and instead will have to go to Neptune Avenue.
  • On the northbound side of Coney Island Avenue, parking will be eliminated altogether between Neptune Avenue and Guider Avenue.
  • Also on the northbound side: a left turn lane will be implemented for the westbound Belt Parkway entrance; a no-turn lane for those continuing on Coney Island Avenue; and a lane for those accessing Belt Parkway East, taking drivers past the car wash.

But the plans have sparked anger from civic group leaders and Community Board 15 for overlooking simple solutions and instead embracing complicated changes that are dangerous to drivers and threaten businesses.

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