Archive for the tag 'rallies'

kings-plaza

Eleven people turned out at a rally in front of Kings Plaza on Saturday to protest what they’re calling “Justice Reversed,” following the news that hate charges were dropped in a recent case in which black teens allegedly assaulted a white couple while shouting racial epithets.

It was a subdued protest that drew far fewer participants than anticipated, with more than 100 people saying they would attend the event on Facebook, yet less than a dozen showed. The group stood by the Flatbush Avenue entrance, guarded by nearly as many police as there were protesters, and commiserated about the perceived injustice and the safety of the community.

“I missed the [assault] by five minutes. I was walking home with my daughter and it could have happened to anyone,” said Linda Baker, the Mill Basin native who organized the rally. “It’s a hate crime. They screamed racial slurs and it goes both ways. In this neighborhood and in society it just seems to be only recognized when hate is against a minority and hate is not recognized against the white race. It’s ridiculous already.”

The protesters quietly and peacefully handed out fliers to passersby of all backgrounds about the attack, declaring in big, bold font “HATE CRIMES HAVE NO COLOR!!!!”

The group took issue with the news the week before that a grand jury decided to drop hate crime charges against Kashawn Kirton, 18, and Daehrell Finch, 17, two suspects that police arrested in connection with an assault of a couple near Kings Plaza on October 14 that authorites believed was racially motivated.

Kirton and Finch, along with two minors, were arrested shortly after the attack, in which Ronald Russo and his wife, Alanna, were attacked by a large group of black teenagers. The couple, both white, were reportedly subjected to racial epithets, with the suspects allegedly yelling “Get those crackers!” and “Get that white whore!”

The incident happened as the victims, stopped at the intersection of Avenue U and East 58th Street in their car. The group of African-American teenagers was crossing the street against the light, and Russo honked his horn. After one of the teens kicked the car Russo got out to assess the damage, and that was when he and his wife were attacked.

Although frustrated by the dropped charges, Baker and others at the event agreed that the details of the case were unclear, and that the grand jury may have had good reason to drop the charges. But they said they were bothered more by the lack of media coverage and outrage from elected officials about similar cases, and said it was indicative of what they believe is an unfair application of bias charges.

“We don’t know the whole story. Maybe they dropped the case because the guy got out of the car and started screaming racial epithets. And if he did then all bets are off as far as I’m concerned,” said John Lore, a Marine Park resident. “I’m very disappointed towards the lack of coverage. This Barney’s thing,” he said, referring to the tabloid frenzy over alleged discrimination at Barney’s and Macy’s retail outlets, “as far as I’m concerned, nothing’s been proved, everything’s an investigation. But what happened with these two people was real, that was very real, and it was deeply personal.”

“If the roles were reversed I’m quite sure this would’ve made headlines and it would have been on the cover of the Daily News. That Barney’s situation is minuscule compared to this,” Lore said.

Many at the rally said they had hoped elected officials would attend. Assemblyman Alan Maisel walked past the protest and talked to police officers, but did not stop to speak with protestors. Sheepshead Bites caught up with him, and he said he was unaware of the group, noting that he was there to attend a rally for Bill de Blasio that occurred earlier in the day. He was not recognized by the protesters.

Asked about the case, Maisel expressed confusion at its cause, or why protesters wanted to hear from elected officials.

“I didn’t bring the case to the grand jury. I didn’t see the evidence. I recommended they try to reach out to the district attorney,” Maisel said. “But what the police say is that the individuals that were attacked did not report any bias when they were questioned initially.”

He added: “I’m not sure what they’re protesting against. Certainly, I don’t know why they’re protesting here. They should protest on Joreleman Street or Adams Street,” where the courthouse and district attorney’s offices are located.

The victims in the case, Ronald and Alanna Russo, were invited to the protest. Baker said she was told through others that they did not want any publicity in connection to the case.

Calls to the district attorney’s office had not been returned as of this writing.

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Mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota and former State Senator David Storobin teamed together to represent the Republican Party as candidates for New York City Mayor and City Council Representative, respectively, during a Sunday rally drawing Republican voters from across Southern Brooklyn.

Lhota and Storobin met a team of approximately 30 supporters during the steamy Sunday afternoon rally on the Brighton Beach Boardwalk, off Brighton 5th Street, to rally support for their campaigns from the local community. It was the first campaign event for Storobin, who many have assumed would seek the Republican line for the 48th District of the City Council, currently represented by term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson.

Lhota, a former New York City Deputy Mayor under Rudolph Giuliani, and Storobin, a former New York State Senator who was in office for just 11 days of the legislation session after replacing Carl Kruger, both expressed concern about the Southern Brooklyn areas (including Brighton Beach, Seagate, Gravesend, Mill Basin and Sheepshead Bay) noting that they are too often forgotten by politicians.

“People will tell you, ‘Brooklyn is just Brooklyn Heights.’ We are the real Brooklyn and we also matter,” Storobin said. “[Lhota mayorality] is going to be the third term of Rudy Giuliani, maybe even better…this is the progress that we need.”

Together, Lhota and Storobin have a reform agenda focused on promoting local business growth, lowering crime rate, and bettering the school systems. Lhota has already come out in strong support of increasing charter schools, while Storobin based much of his Senate campaign on proposals to direct taxpayer funds to religious and private schools through vouchers and reimbursements.
“I grew up in the Bronx and was always amazed by Little Odessa. It’s such a vibrant, exciting community. But we can do better. I want more community involvement, a greater quality of life for our locals,” Lhota said.

Brighton neighbors, familiar with Storobin, began to cheer on Lhota, too.

“People here know his [Storobin’s] name. They love him. Character means everything. He does what he says he’s going to do. Storobin lives by his word,” Nanci Roden, a longtime Storobin supporter, said.

Leon Ofman, a registered Democrat, said that he could agree, on some points, with the politicians.

“I like that [Storobin] is pushing to diversify recovery money from FEMA,” Ofman said. “There’s been a lot of fiscal corruption after Sandy. I want to see if the two of them can fight it.”
Storobin does not yet have any primary challengers, and has also been endorsed by he Conservative and Independence parties. Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo, 45th Assembly District Leader Ari Kagan, Nelson-aide Chaim Deutsch and attorney Igor Oberan, in addition to others, are all seeking the Democratic line.

See photos and video from the event.

The Oceana. Source: Google Maps

Residents of the Oceana condominium complex (50 Oceana Drive West) took to the streets to protest the  city construction of a public bathroom that they claim obstructs their million dollar view of the ocean, according to a report by The New York Times.

Last week, we reported on how the city’s late night repairs to the boardwalk and beach had been driving residents crazy by keeping them up late at night. Oceana residents were less concerned with the noise and more annoyed at the planned public restrooms being installed right in front of their fancy condominium.

“People pay this much money because they want some luxury,” Irina Nesterenko, 43, told the Times. “What kind of luxury will we have if we have this monster-sized bathroom?”

Oceana residents want the bathroom station moved to a busier part of the boardwalk, fearing that the facility will bring the homeless and rambunctious teenagers to a spot where their children normally play. Other residents expressed fears of public nudity and people washing their unmentionables in plain sight of their normally stunning ocean view.

“I personally don’t want to see people washing themselves nude, washing their underwear,” Eileen Trotta told the Times.

Source: Igor Khodzinskiy via Daily News

As the city rushes to repair the beach and boardwalk after Superstorm Sandy in time for Memorial Day, Brighton Beach and Coney Island residents are getting fired up over late night construction, and now they’re planning a protest.

The city is making repairs to the boardwalk and beach, as well as improvements like three new public restrooms and lifeguard stations. But residents say that work, including thunderous pile driving, is being done as late as 3:00 a.m.

Daily News reports:

“It’s this constant banging deep into the ground. It’s like a boom sound,” said Marian Rosenfarb, 79, who lives a block away from the beach. “With this noise I don’t know if I’ll reach 80.”

Rosenfarb says the vibrations from the construction causes her building to shake. the noise is impossible to drown out, she added.

… Three new buildings are being constructed along the boardwalk, at West 2nd St, Brighton 2nd St. and New Brighton St.

The modern modular structures – which are also being added in Queens and Staten Island – will replace old lifeguard stations and public bathrooms that were destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.

All three stations will be wheel chair accessible, designed with green features like solar power and skylights, and constructed above flood levels.

Pile driving into the sand is expected to last until next week and the new structures should be completed by the start of beach season.

“Work is going on 24 hours a day in order to finish the project as quickly as possible,” said spokeswoman Meghan Lalor.

“While we acknowledge that this may present an inconvenience, we ask for the community’s patience while this important restoration work is being done.”

Residents, though, are not happy with mere acknowledgement. They want the city to cut out the late night work, and the noise it generates.

Neighbors in the Oceana condominium complex (50 Oceana Drive West) are organizing a rally this Sunday, April 7, at noon on the boardwalk at Coney Island Avenue. The rally isn’t just against the construction; the residents of the posh complex are hoping to kill plans to install a new public bathroom in what they claim is their yard.

“No one ever gave a thought that there is no need to build yet another filthy anti-sanitary condition in our front yards. In the past this bathroom attracted many strangers and caused much destruction to the neighborhood,” resident Ella Rabinovich wrote to Sheepshead Bites.

Residents have also organized a petition, which they’ve sent to the Parks Department. Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz also sent a letter to the Parks Department in opposition to placing the bathrooms by Oceana.

Sheepshead Bay High School students protesting the city’s closure attempts in the last school year. (Photo: Robert Fernandez)

The third time’s the charm? New York City’s school administrators seem to hope so.

For the third time in three years, the Department of Education has again set its sights on closing Sheepshead Bay High School (3000 Avenue X), including it in a list of 24 high schools slated for closure as early as the end of this school year.

The “early engagement” list, reported on yesterday by Gotham Schools, is comprised of schools that the Department of Education says comes up short on student test results, attendance rates, graduate rates and college preparedness. In addition to high schools, it contains 36 elementary and middle schools.

Sheepshead Bay High School is one of seven high schools on the list that the city tried to close last year using the “turnaround” plan, which mandates closing the school, firing the staff, reopening under a new name and hiring a maximum of 50 percent of the teachers from the previous administration. Courts threw the brakes on the plan, though, after the teachers’ and principals’ unions successfully sued, claiming that it violated their collective bargaining agreement with the city.

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Irate workers rallied in front of Hi-Tek Car Wash in Brighton Beach on Thursday afternoon, claiming management cut their  work hours and reduced pay after employees, former employees, and union activists began targeting the local business.

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The proposed placement of new natural gas pipelines from Williams and National Grid. (Source: Williams)

It’s no secret that many locals are riled up about the plan to allow National Grid and the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company (TRANSCO) to install a natural gas pipeline beneath the nation’s oldest – and one of its largest – urban national parks.

In a one-month period, the project racked up 60 comments to the federal agency tasked with approving the project – all opposed. And, as soon as the plans became public, neighbors were outraged at local congressional leaders pushing the plan, as well as the National Parks Service for failing to seek community input.

The plan is to connect a primary natural gas artery in the Atlantic, just off the coast of the Rockaways, to a National Grid hub in Brooklyn. The pipe will go under the Rockaways, across the Rockaway inlet and underneath Floyd Bennett Field. There, Transco Williams will install a gas metering station in the two currently-unused hangars off Flatbush Avenue, which will be monitored remotely from their Texas headquarters. The line will then continue up Flatbush Avenue and into National Grid’s main system.

Though it appears the companies and government have been developing the project clandestinely for years, the public revelation of the proposal is spurring on activists who want to see it stopped for environmental and safety reasons – and also because it flies in the face of a new management agreement between the federal government and New York City meant to revitalize the park, capitalize on its resources and increase access to the public.

Those opponents have scheduled a rally on Saturday at Jacob Riis Park, slated to coincide with the city and fed’s open house session about the new General Management Plan for Jamaica Bay’s overhaul.

Activist Karen Orlando, who is also a gardener at Floyd Bennett Gardens Association and blogger at Outside Now, wrote to us about the protest:

It’s the beginning of a movement to stop the pipeline through Gateway and sale of our park to the Natural Gas Industry. NYC Audubon has put up a petition and a call for citizens to come down to Jacob Riis this weekend to participate in Gateway’s General Management Plan information sessions. We are a few years into the process and the GMP will be the guiding document for the park’s future.

http://www.nps.gov/gate/parkmgmt/index.htm

There is a coalition that has just formed. It has come out of one of the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee’s Environmental Impact Statement meetings. Anti-frackers/pipeliners are joining forces with a motley crew of others (me included). We are looking to get people down on the beach this weekend to participate/protest.

We want a lot of people to come down to the beach to let their voices carry about NPS testifying for the bill that will put a pipeline and industrial facilities in this park.

NYC Audubon is also calling for people to come on down. They have a petition on their site. (Also a pretty good writeup about the GMP and their appeal for NPS to prioritize wildlife).

Don’t know how many people will show up. But there will definitely be a few. And we have a sign.

http://www.nycaudubon.org/home/

The rally will be held at Jacob Riis Park, Queens, on August 4, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Source: Google Maps

Disgruntled workers, bolstered in number by union-backed activists, will hit the pavement this evening in front of Hi-Tek Car Wash in Brighton Beach to protest what they say is unfair employment practices.

Hi-Tek (2981 Coney Island Avenue) is currently being sued by 17 of its workers who claim they were not paid minimum wage or properly compensated for overtime.

In observance of July 24 as a national day of worker’s rights and fair wages, Low-Wage Workers, members of “New York Communities for Change,” and those affiliated with “Make the Road New York,” will rally this evening in support of workers advocating for higher pay, better conditions, and additional rights.

Groups will first gather together at Union Square and East 16th Street for a large demonstration at 5 p.m. Buses will then depart at 6:30 p.m. to Hi Tek, a Brooklyn supermarket, and a Queens car wash business, where demonstrations will continue.

The three establishments at which the rallies will take place are:

  • Golden Farm Supermarket: 329 Church Avenue
  • Hi-Tek Car Wash: 2981 Coney Island Avenue
  • LMC Car Wash and Lube: 36-21 21st Street, Queens

Workers at all three of these businesses have stated that they receive very low wages, and reported instances of wage theft.

After deciding last month to shutter Sheepshead Bay High School, as well as 23 other high schools, the Department of Education chose a name this week for the new school in the old building: Academy of Career Exploration of Sheepshead Bay.

John Dewey High School – also slated for closure – will be renamed Shorefront High School of Arts and Sciences at John Dewey Campus.

Both schools will close doors in June as part of a federal “turnaround model” – which requires firing at least half the staff. The plan has spurred condemnation from parents, teachers and students as we’ve previously reported.

The schools will reopen under the new names in September, flooded with as much as $1.5 million each in federal funds to get the schools back on track.

We didn’t think the DOE could make it any more difficult to report on school issues, but, alas, they found a way to nearly double the number of characters to type. That’s city efficiency at its very best!

Regardless, we think it’ll be known colloquially as Sheepshead Bay High School and John Dewey High School for years to come. What do you think?

Sheepshead Bay H.S. students protest the DOE's plans before a March hearing (Photo by Robert Fernandez)

Sheepshead Bay High School and John Dewey High School will close doors in June, a city panel decided last night despite objections from those closest to the schools.

The schools are both targeted for reform using a federal “turnaround model” – which requires firing at least half the staff. The plan has spurred condemnation from parents, teachers and students as we’ve previously reported.

The Panel for Education Policy made the final decision last night, when they voted to close all 24 high schools on the agenda at the five-hour meeting.

The schools will reopen under new names in September, flooded with as much as $1.5 million each in federal funds to get the schools back on track.

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