Archive for the tag 'jumaane williams'

Local pols are joining forces to host the “Pre-Labor Day Summer Senior Concert” tomorrow, August 27 at Amersfort Park, located on Avenue I between East 38 Street and East 39 Street. The concert will run from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., sponsored by Councilman Jumaane Williams, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Golden Crust, Chef’s Choice, caribBEING, Millenium Development, Emblem Health, and Sesame Flyers.

Free and open to the public, the concert will feature musical performances by East Flatbush Village Performers, Remsen Zumba Dancers, the IET Band, and the Sesame Flyers Steel Pan Orchestra. Each year, this concert has been a way to thank elders of the 45th District.

“Our elders are the backbone and the brain trust of this community,” Williams stated in a press release. “This concert is but one expression of how much we care and how committed we are to their well-being. It’s even better that we were able to do so with the music of our shared Caribbean heritage, a heritage that fills my Grenadian heart with deep pride.”

For more information about the concert, contact Farah Louis, director of community outreach for Williams at (718) 629-2900.

We apologize for the totally inappropriate video, but we just couldn’t resist.

Williams with some fans.

Aw, man. The love fest over the newly minted City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was going so well. But it looks like the honeymoon is now over.

Midwood-Flatbush Councilmember Jumaane Williams made the curious move yesterday of wondering aloud, in the presence of a reporter, whether the committee chairmanships sufficiently represented black council members.

“My hope was that diversity would be considered a little bit more,” Williams told Politicker. “I am concerned about blacks in powerful leadership positions actually across the city, particularly with the role that they play in getting a lot of the issues forward and getting people where they were … So it concerned me that we haven’t achieved that. But I decided that I have faith in madam speaker … and I am looking forward to what we’re going to do.”

Williams was appointed the the Council’s leadership team and seven committees. That includes a spot as chair of the notable Housings & Buildings committee. So he certainly wasn’t griping about his own position.

Williams was joined by councilmembers Inez Barron, wife and successor to firebrand Charles Barron, and Ruben Wills also questioned the status of blacks in the Council, although both received appointments.

Mark-Viverito’s leadership style is yet to be fully seen. But the power of the speaker is, well, powerful, and gave previous leaders like Christine Quinn a channel to dole out vengeance to disobedient members. Sometimes that meant smaller discretionary budgets or killing key bills that made the rep look good.

Although Mark-Viverito said she was open to the question, an anonymous insider suggested to Politicker that, with that kind of criticism coming out of the gate, it’s likely to incur the speaker’s retribution.

“For those members to take it public in such fashion is not the best strategy. They are testing the waters and pushing the boundaries. I am certain it will be handled–I can’t tell you how but it will be, but the speaker cannot be admonished like that publicly,” the insider said.

Some of that vengeance is already on display. One of Mark-Viverito’s fiercest critics during the speaker race was Bronx Councilwoman Annabel Palma, who received no appointments.

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.

The B44 SBS debuts along Nostrand Avenue. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

The B44 SBS debuts along Nostrand Avenue. Source: Patrick Cashin / MTA / Flickr

Beginning this Sunday, December 8, the MTA will deploy members of its Eagle Team, the unit dedicated to identifying and fining fare evaders, along the newly launched Nostrand Avenue B44 SBS line.

The new buses launched on November 17 featuring off-board fare collection, meaning riders pay at a curbside machine before the bus arrives. When they board the bus, there is no requirement to display your receipt, but inspectors will do occasional spot checks to provide enforcement. If you cannot provide your receipt, you will be subject to a $100 summons which must be paid within 90 days.

If you do receive a summon, you can still appeal by following directions on the MTA’s Transit Adjudication Bureau website.

Our thanks to Councilman Jumaane Williams and Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo for keeping us posted on this.

Source: ah zut/Flickr

The man believed to be behind the Friday morning attack of a Jewish man on the Midwood – Kensington border was not charged with a hate crime, despite calls from local elected officials who say that perpatrators of the so-called “knockout game” are specifically targeting Jewish victims.

The 2:00 a.m. attack on 18th Avenue and East 5th Street saw four men arrested, but Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office only filed charges against Amrit Marajh, who allegedly took the swing. He has been charged with misdemeanor assault, menacing and harassment charges, and has posted $750 bail. Police initially arrested him for a hate crime, a charge the district attorney did not press.

The assault is believed to be the latest incident of the violent “knockout game,” in which thugs take down unsuspecting passersby with a sucker punch before running off. The victim in this case was a 24-year-old Orthodox Jewish man.

Although it appears to be a national phenomenon, local leaders say the Brooklyn version has taken on an ugly racial edge, with the victims being Orthodox Jews living in Crown Heights, Midwood and Kensington.

CBS News reports:

One of the suspects, identified as Amrit Marajh, 28, was charged with aggravated assault as a hate crime, among other counts.

The other three suspects were released without charges.

… “I came across a group of people who were walking towards me, and I was able to hear them speaking loudly about this knockout game,” he said.

Kelly also told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin, “Just prior to it, (the assailants) were talking about the knockout game.”

The victim told investigators he heard one of the attackers say, “I’ll do it to this guy,” right before he was surrounded and punched, sources told CBS 2.

Marajh, through his lawyer, claims that the incident had nothing to do with the knockout game.

The Daily News reports:

Amrit Marajh, 28, had just left a bar on McDonald Ave. on Friday with four friends and was talking about boxing when the knockout game came up, police sources said.

“You can’t do that,” one member of the group said as they came upon Shmuel Perl, 24, according to a source.

Marajh allegedly said, “Yes I can, I’ll do it to this guy right now!” before punching Perl in the face, leaving him bruised.

Perl was not knocked out. According to news reports, all four appeared  intoxicated when they were arrested.

Authorities across the country have begun to question if the game even exists, or if the media is simply connecting a number of random acts that can occur on any given day.

The New York Times reports:

Yet police officials in several cities where such attacks have been reported said that the “game” amounted to little more than an urban myth, and that the attacks in question might be nothing more than the sort of random assaults that have always occurred.

And in New York City, police officials are struggling to determine whether they should advise the public to take precautions against the Knockout Game — or whether in fact it existed.

“We’re trying to determine whether or not this is a real phenomenon,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Friday. “I mean, yes, something like this can happen. But we would like to have people come forward and give us any information they have.”

Still, a diverse set of local elected have come forward to denounce the attacks. As we’ve already reported, Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch and Councilman David Greenfield have condemned the attacks, as has Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Later today, Congressmembers Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke, District Attorney-elect Ken Thompson, and Borough President-elect Eric Adams will hold a press conference doing the same.

Reverend Al Sharpton is also urging his supporters to speak out against the attacks, and is organizing a media campaign.

“If someone was running around talking about knocking out blacks, we would not be silent,” Sharpton said, according to CBS. “We cannot be silent.”

Sharpton aims to kick off a celebrity-driven public service announcement campaign to denounce the attacks.

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.

Source: SuperFantastic via Flickr

A new law raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old has been kicking around the City Council for more than three years, but most New York City residents didn’t hear about it until yesterday, when the legislative body gave its seal of approval.

If Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs the bill, as he’s expected to do, smokers younger than 21 years old will be banned from purchasing tobacco products in New York City. It’s among the highest age limits in the nation.

The bill passed 35-10, and includes e-cigarettes.

When the new law takes effect, shops found selling to people under age will face a $1,000 fine. On second offense, fines go up to $2,000, and the store may have its license revoked if additional offenses are committed within a three-year period.

Of the 10 Council members opposed to the new law, all were representatives from boroughs outside of Manhattan, and five were from Brooklyn.

With the exception of Charles Barron, who represents East New York, all of the Brooklyn opponents hailed from Southern Brooklyn.

Here’s how they voted:

  • Vincent Gentile (Bay Ridge – Bensonhurst): Against
  • David Greenfield (Bensonhurst – Borough Park): For
  • Jumaane Williams (Midwood – Flatbush): Against
  • Lew Fidler (Marine Park – Canarsie): Absent
  • Domenic Recchia (Coney Island – Gravesend): Against
  • Michael Nelson (Sheepshead Bay – Brighton Beach): Against

Although Fidler was absent for health reasons, we believe he would have voted against the age increase. Fidler previously opposed expanding the smoking ban to beaches and parks, as well as banning flavored tobacco products.

That means David Greenfield is the only Southern Brooklyn Council member to support the bill, and had Fidler voted (the way we think he would have), more than half the opposition would have hailed from our end of the borough.

Do Southern Brooklyn residents love smoking more than the rest of New York City? You tell us.

Councilmen Lew Fidler and Jumaane Williams together. (Source: NY City Council via the Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

A terrible photo of councilmembers Lew Fidler and Jumaane Williams together. (Source: NY City Council via the Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

First term Councilman Jumaane Williams has been a rising star in the New York City Council and his introduction into the world of politics can be partly attributed to local Councilman Lew Fidler. A report in the New York Daily News tracks Williams’ interesting path to political success as well as the unlikely bond the councilman shares with Fidler.

Williams, 37, was elected to the City Council in 2009 as a Democrat representing parts of Midwood, Canarsie, Flatbush, East Flatbush and the Flatlands. The Daily News described Williams’ childhood challenges as well as his early career path as an actor:

Williams, who wears his hair in dreadlocks, spent his early years labeled a problem child, prone to verbal outbursts. It wasn’t until his teens that he was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“I thought it was just a behavioral problem,” his mother, Patricia Williams, a native of Grenada, told the Daily News. “But he was always a caring person, which I think drives him to achieve what he does.”

He gravitated towards acting in his 20s, landing small roles in rap duo EPMD’s video for “Da Joint” and Solo’s “Touch Me.”

Despite his dreams of becoming an actor, Williams was always interested in politics, joining the student government when he was a student of Brooklyn College. The Daily News described how Fidler helped put Williams on the path towards a different kind of stardom, that of the political nature:

Ironically it was Fidler — the councilman who heaped praise on Williams when voting no on his Council bills — who helped bring him into politics. A friend who knew Williams from his time in student government at Brooklyn College recommended him to Fidler, a Democratic district leader.

The woman recommended him even though Williams and Fidler had been on opposing sides of issues.

Fidler ended up appointing him to the community board, and he became deeply involved in Brooklyn politics.

Williams has made waves recently for leading the charge against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy, successfully sponsoring legislation that allows residents to sue the NYPD for profiling people racially, for sexual orientation, suspected immigrant status, gender or homelessness. Williams scored praise for his handling of the measure, diplomatically arguing his case without resorting to divisive rhetoric.

An example of this is when Williams heard the news that a federal judge ordered reforms on the stop-and-frisk policy, he tweeted a photo of himself with Howard Wolfson, Bloomberg’s deputy mayor, stating that, “It’s about disagreeing without being disagreeable.” Needless to say, such an act would be a touch out-of-character for Councilman Charles Barron.

Even though Fidler sided with Bloomberg’s subsequent veto attempt of the measure, the Daily News noted the councilman heaped praise on Williams, saying that Williams changed his “perspective” on stop-and-frisk.

Yoseph Robinson, Source: haaretz.com via facebook

Yoseph Robinson, Source: haaretz.com via facebook

Yoseph Robinson, the fallen Jamaican hip-hop artist turned Orthodox Jew, will be honored with a street conaming at the intersection of Avenue J and Nostrand Avenue. According to a press release issued by Councilman Jumaane Williams, the legislation to honor Robinson was passed unanimously by the City Council and signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

We’ve previously reported on Williams’s effort to honor Robinson, who was murdered on August 19, 2010, while working as a liquor store clerk in Midwood. As a teenager, Robinson was an aspiring hip-hop artist caught up in gang related activity like drug dealing. Looking to change his life, he converted to Orthodox Judaism at age 23. Robinson was murdered at MB Vineyards located at 2388 Nostrand Avenue while trying to protect his girlfriend from armed robber Eion Klass.

The Robinson legislation was passed alongside a bill to honor murdered teenager Christopher Rose, who was stabbed to death while being robbed. Rose is given the sad distinction as being the first person killed for their iPod. Williams recognized both Robinson and Rose at a press conference at City Hall.

“The legacies of Christopher Rose and Yoseph Robinson will live on in this community through these street co-namings,” said Council Member Williams. “Both of these individuals have had lasting impacts, and the fact that their names will be forever attached with our streets ensures that future New Yorkers will share in their history. I look forward to joining Yoseph and Christopher’s families and friends, along with the rest of our community, when we unveil their signs and celebrate their stories.”

Photo by Lisanne Anderson

The homeowners living in the Victorian Flatbush section of Brooklyn who now seek to have their area designated as a historic district to preserve the large, beautiful 100-year-old homes has a new ally on their side: Councilman Jumaane Williams.

Williams sent out a press release this morning announcing that he joined advocates and community leaders on Sunday in calling for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to accelerate the process of landmarking Victorian Flatbush.

The release said:

“Victorian Flatbush is one of the most unique residential areas in Brooklyn, a borough that has a rich and varied architectural history,” said Council Member Williams. “However, many people are unaware of these beautiful homes right in the center of south Brooklyn, as they often associate Brooklyn architecture as either brownstones or warehouse lofts. Due to the fact that these neighborhoods are not protected as landmarks, many of these homeowners have made alterations to these residences that often times do not resemble the original architectural designs or style, and thus are unintentionally altering history. Additionally, landmarking these neighborhoods will have a positive impact on civic pride that cannot be measured. As such, I strongly encourage the LPC designate the entirety of Victorian Flatbush as historic landmark districts in order to preserve these immaculate homes and communities for generations to come.”

The statement goes on to point out that the landmarking process began more than 35 years ago, when several sections of Victorian Flatbush won historic designation. Along with the Flatbush Development Corporation, Williams and neighbors are looking to see Beverley Square East, Beverley Square West, Caton Park, Ditmas Park West, South Midwood and West Midwood join the already-designated sections to create a complete Victoriam Flatbush historic zone.

In March, the advocates sent a 437-page application to Landmarks, and the LPC has announced a survey team will be dispatched this summer to assess the homes in the area.

Borough President Marty Markowitz and Assemblymember Rhoda Jacobs are also both behind the plan.

“More than 100 years ago, New Yorkers looking to escape the ‘outer borough’ of Manhattan began building a beautiful suburban community in the heart of Brooklyn. And to this day, every time visitors come to Victorian Flatbush, they ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ because they can’t believe such an architectural gem exists in the heart of America’s biggest, most cosmopolitan city,” Markowitz said. “There’s no question that we must do everything in our power to ensure generations to come can appreciate these beautiful homes and communities.”

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