Archive for the tag 'politics'

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.

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

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) is urging the Board of Standards and Appeals to reject a special permit application by a Sheepshead Bay ambulatory health care facility that would severely impact residential parking.

The applicant, Eric Palatnik, P.C., for 2464 Coney Island Avenue, wants BSA to reduce the facility’s required number of parking spaces in the building’s indoor garage. Thirty-four spaces are currently reserved but BSA can reduce that number to 17. BSA is conducting a hearing on the matter tomorrow at 10 a.m. [Ed. -- The meeting has now passed.]

Community Board 15 has already voted against the proposal.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz says eliminating indoor parking spaces will cause parking woes for people on East 9th Street, located around the corner from the facility, in addition to other nearby streets. “East 9th Street consists of attached homes with no garages. Residents here must rely solely on street parking, which is already in short supply,” he said in a letter to BSA.

Curb cuts have been installed on East 9th Street for the health care center’s underground parking garage, limiting parking for residents even further, he said.

Exacerbating the situation is a car rental business on the first floor of the same building, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. The car rental business will use the underground garage spaces when necessary, meaning that patients at the health care facility will need to look for available street parking when the indoor spots are occupied.

“In order to minimize the impact on residents’ quality of life, it is essential that BSA vote against the application to reduce the required number of parking spaces for the ambulatory health facility,” he said.

Sampson (File photo)

Another allegation has surfaced against indicted State Senator John Sampson, with a former top aide admitting to federal prosecutors that he swiped $100,000 from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and forked most of it over to a senator believed to be Sampson.

The Post reports:

Melvin Lowe admitted during confidential meetings with prosecutors that he defrauded the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee out of $100,000 – and gave $75,000 of the money to “Senator #1,” the filing says. A source said “Senator #1” is Lowe’s ex-boss, Sampson (D-Brooklyn), who is fighting charges that he, himself, also committed fraud and tax crimes.

… Prosecutors also said they have a witness who’ll testify hearing Lowe and Sampson discuss the cash exchange.

Lowe is facing tax evasion charges, as well as allegations that he swindled the DCSS out of the cash in 2010. He faces 80 years in prison if convicted.

Sampson was indicted last year for corruption. Among the list of charges is that he stole nearly half a million dollars from the sale of foreclosed homes.

Despite campaign debt stemming from the legal charges, Sampson is still a formidable contender in this year’s state elections. An incumbent since 1996, it remains to be seen whether union organizer Dell Smitherman or homeless advocate Sean Henry will be able to overcome his name recognition.

He also continues to have the backing of the Kings County Democratic Party chair, Frank Seddio, and an associate of the Gambino crime family.

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.

cameras

Manhattan Beach now has some eyes in the sky after two NYPD security cameras were installed last month in the beachfront community.

The cameras were made available with state funding, initiated by Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who pushed for them after the tragic abduction and murder of Leiby Kletzky in 2011. While most of the cameras were placed in Borough Park and Midwood, Councilman Chaim Deutsch said he worked with the state pol to ensure some funds would be set aside for Manhattan Beach.

The cameras are on lightpoles on West End Avenue, one on Oriental Boulevard the other on Shore Boulevard, covering the two most utilized exits and entrances for the community.

Although the neighborhood is not a high-crime hotspot, Deutsch said it was important for Manhattan Beach to have the cameras, since it’s a heavily trafficked area with seniors and children using the parks, as well as thousands of Kingsborough Community College students coming and going every day.

“If a child leaves a house and is missing, or an Alzheimer’s patient, we can go back and look at it and see if they left or came in,” said Deutsch. “It’s not really for the high crime area. If there’s a missing person, child, patient, at least we have some kind of direction.”

The cameras are not monitored in real time, and will only be accessed by NYPD personnel, the pol said.

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