Archive for the tag 'scott stringer'

Source: Flickr/yourdon

Source: yourdon/Flickr

The city has approved a plan to replace a total of 7,600 outdated pay phone booths with sleek public WiFi kiosks in all five boroughs, including 586 in Brooklyn that will be completed by 2019.

The city’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee signed an updated version of their contract with LinkNYC Wednesday – which initially proposed a two-tier system for rich and poor neighborhoods – following a push from City Comptroller Scott Stringer to provide more equitable distribution of high-speed WiFi access throughout the city. (It was not the first time the city faced criticism for inequitable distribution of public WiFi locations.)

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports:

The LinkNYC system is funded by advertising revenue. As originally proposed, ad-supported kiosks in wealthy neighborhoods, mostly in Manhattan, would average super-fast Internet speeds of 1 gigabit — ten times faster than kiosks in most locations in the outer boroughs.

This disparity fed into concerns Stringer has expressed about unequal access to the Internet across New York City, as described in a Dec. 7 report.

The new contract increases the number of ad-supported hotspots throughout the city, and also requires more transparency and communication with communities about the locations of kiosks and performance issues.

Stringer expressed approval for the new plan yesterday.

“LinkNYC’s proposal to put high speed WiFi kiosks throughout the City will not by itself eliminate the digital divide, but marks an important step toward bridging that gap,” he said in a statement. “Just as the subways powered New York’s growth in the 20th century, high-speed broadband will drive our City’s economic competitiveness in the 21st century — and we need to make sure all our neighborhoods have the tools to meet that future.”

Here’s a map of the projected WiFi coverage, via I Quant NY:

Source: Flickr/rene-germany

Source: Flickr/rene-germany

Thirty percent of Brooklyn households lack high-speed internet at home, keeping residents from accessing crucial resources for school, work and business, with Kensington and Borough Park being the areas in Brooklyn most lacking when it comes to the digital divide, according to a new report from city Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Stringer’s report, “Internet Inequality: Broadband Access in NYC,” states that citywide, 27 percent of New York City households (meaning 730,000 homes) lack broadband internet, with 17 percent of households (533,000 homes) not having a computer at their residence. Bronx had the worst access compared to the rest of the city, with 34 percent of households lacking high-speed internet access, compared to 30 percent in Brooklyn, 26 percent in Queens, 22 percent in Staten Island, and 21 percent in Manhattan.

“New Yorkers who don’t have online access lack the tools they need to improve their education, employment and business opportunities,” Stringer said in a press release. “Just as the subway powered New York’s growth in the 20th century, high-speed broadband will power our City’s economic competitiveness in the 21st century.  If we are to remain the global city, we can’t allow our peers to speed by while New Yorkers are left on the shoulder of the information superhighway. Slow and steady does not win this race.”

Using data from the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey of households on broadband subscriptions and computer ownership, Stringer found that Kensington and Borough Park had the greatest number of homes, 47 percent, without high-speed internet access. Brighton Beach and Coney Island, had the second highest at 42 percent, and Brownsville and Ocean Hill had 40 percent.

As for the rest of Brooklyn, the percent of households without broadband connection at home are as follows:

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant – 38.7 percent
  • Crown Heights North and Prospect Heights – 34 percent
  • Bushwick – 33.4 percent
  • East New York & Starrett City – 32 percent
  • Flatbush & Midwood – 31.6 percent
  • Greenpoint & Williamsburg – 29.6 percent
  • East Flatbush – 29 percent
  • Crown Heights South & Prospect Lefferts – 26.9 percent
  • Sheepshead Bay & Gerritsen Beach – 25.3 percent
  • Bensonhurst & Bath Beach – 24.9 percent
  • Sunset Park & Windsor Terrace – 23.1 percent
  • Bay Ridge & Dyker Heights – 21.5 percent
  • Canarsie & Flatlands – 21 percent
  • Brooklyn Heights & Fort Greene – 17 percent
  • Park Slope, Carroll Gardens & Red Hook – 14.7 percent

Other findings included that individuals with a bachelor’s degree or more had far greater access to high-speed internet, with just 11 percent of college graduates lacking broadband access compared to 40 percent of individuals with less than a high school education.

The comptroller also noted that 27 and 26 percent of black and Hispanic households, respectively, lack broadband at home, compared to 21 percent of white households and 15 percent of Asian households. Younger people also appear to have greater access, with 21 percent of New York City youth (0-18 years) lacking broadband at home, compared to 45 percent of individuals over the age of 65.

Much of the lack of access stems from financial reasons, according to the report, with the Comptroller noting in a press release that consumers in cities across the country and around the world—from Seoul and Paris to Kansas City and Chattanooga—can spend less than $70 per month for a one gigabit connection, but the top speed available for most consumers in New York City is half the speed of those cities (500 megabits), at a cost of more than four times that ($299.99 a month).

Stringer’s report was released just before the Franchise & Concession Review Committee held a hearing on Monday on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to convert pay phones across the five boroughs into free Wi-Fi kiosks. While a number of civic and tech leaders have thrown their support behind the plan, others, including Stringer and the city’s borough presidents, previously criticized the proposal, saying they were concerned it would unequally provide high-speed Wi-Fi, with more attention being paid to Manhattan than Brooklyn or Queens – as well as allocating very few resources to the Bronx.

It does, however, appear that some of these concerns have been addressed in the interim between a Daily News report that said the mayor’s plan would shortchange poorer neighborhoods and yesterday’s hearing. The Gotham Gazette reported that, “a representative from Stringer’s office read a statement from the comptroller at the hearing which mentioned—without going into specifics—some ‘flagged issues,’ but including that his office was ‘working with City Hall to resolve’ them. He did not recommend voting against the contract.”

The Franchise & Concession Review Committee will meet tomorrow, December 10, to vote on the Wi-Fi plan.

Treyger and 61st Precinct Commanding Officer Carlos Valdez at the scene. (Source: Conor Greene)

Treyger and 61st Precinct Commanding Officer Carlos Valdez at the scene. (Source: Conor Greene)

After Sheepshead Bites’ report yesterday about a swastika appearing on the American Legion building at 300 Avenue X, elected officials condemned the hateful act and authorities rushed to have it investigated and removed today.

Members of the Marlboro Memorial Post 1437 American Legion chapter were apparently unaware of the graffiti. Councilman Mark Treyger’s office visited the site to inform them, and the pol called the NYPD’s 61st Precinct commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez, to the scene to report the incident as a hate crime.

The pol then called the mayor’s office to dispatch the Economic Development Corporation’s graffiti removal service. As of 1:45pm today, police and the EDC were on the scene. When the police wrapped up their investigation, the graffiti was immediately removed.

Treyger said he spoke to members of the American Legion post, which included World War II veterans who were glad to see the symbol of hate eliminated.

Source: Michael S.

The swastika before it was removed. Source: Michael S.

“A swastika is not just offensive to the Jewish community, it’s offensive to everybody,” Treyger said. “An attack against one part of our community is an attack against us all. We have a zero tolerance policy on that.”

He added: “I do want to commend the precinct for coming down quickly, and the mayor’s office for sending the graffiti removal van immediately.”

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz expressed his outrage at the vandalism on Facebook yesterday evening.

“I condemn the spray-painting of a swastika on American Legion Marlboro Memorial Post 1437, whose members include World War II veterans who saw the Nazi atrocities firsthand,” he wrote. “I will continue to work with authorities to ensure that the perpetrator of this hate vandalism is swiftly brought to justice. As the son of Holocaust survivors, I believe we must continue to educate people about this terrible period in our history. Ignorance is no excuse for spreading messages of hate.”

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer also reached out to Sheepshead Bites by e-mail following our report, also to condemn the graffiti. He wrote:

I condemn hate crimes—from the five boroughs of New York City to every corner of the globe. Our extraordinary diversity is one of our greatest strengths. As such, any and all acts against people based on their sex, race, religion, color, or creed are attacks that cut to the very core of who we are as New Yorkers and what this City has meant and always will mean to people around the world. We stand united against these crimes, confident that the light of peace and justice will always triumph over the darkness of hate and prejudice.

While Treyger and others expressed gratitude to Sheepshead Bites for bringing attention to the anti-Semitic vandalism, the real credit goes to tipster Michael S. who was the first to speak up about it.

If you see an issue in the neighborhood that’s not getting the attention it deserves, send details and, if available, photos and video to editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

A home in Seagate after Sandy. (Photo by Erica Sherman)

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced the formation of a Sandy Oversight Unit this morning, with its first task slated to be an audit of the Build it Back recovery program.

Stringer is targeting the program in the wake of headlines earlier this year that noted money has been distributed and construction started in only a handful of cases nearly a year after Build it Back’s launch, despite nearly 20,000 homeowners on the wait-list.

The unit will be looking to see if the Housing Recovery Office – the program that oversees Build it Back – has set goals and timetables for the delivery of services and established procedures to reduce the backlog of applications. It will also look at the quality of the service and review fraud prevention procedures, with a focus on the Single Family Program.

The Oversight Unit will draw from the Comptroller’s Audit, Contracts, Budget and Policy Units, with an overall goal of reviewing how federal aid has been spent, making recommendations to reduce fraud, waste and abuse, monitoring the progress of Sandy projects and proposing policy recommendations for managing the financial tracking in future emergencies.

To aid the review, Stringer is holding Town Hall meetings across Sandy-stricken neighborhoods to hear from residents about the problems they face. The following locations and dates have been set:

  • April 30 in Breezy Point from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Bay House, 500 Bayside Drive, Breezy Point, NY
  • May 6 in Coney Island from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Coney Island Hospital, 2601 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY
  • May 20 in the Rockaways from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, 348 Beach 71st Street, Arverne, NY
  • May 28 in Staten Island from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Olympia Activity Center (OAC), 1126 Olympia Blvd., Staten Island, NY

Mayor Bill de Blasio is already seeking to increase the efficiency of the program, announcing today that his office has completed a report that will kickstart the process, getting money out to homeowners faster. Details of those reforms will be made public later today.

Meanwhile, the mayor is also seeking to slash the property tax bills of 1,500 city residents who have rebuilt or repaired their homes since Superstorm Sandy. He announced yesterday that his office is pushing for support in Albany to provide a property tax credit for Sandy victims.

Construction and renovations to a home can trigger a higher assessment value, even if it’s solely for Sandy recovery. The bill would allow the city to grant partial property-tax abatement to nullify the higher assessed value from those repairs.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

To be eligible, homeowners would have to meet three criteria. First, the city had to reduce the valuation of the homeowner’s property in fiscal year 2014 from the value in 2013 because of Sandy damage. Second, the city would have had to increase the assessed value of the property for fiscal year 2015 compared with 2014. And, lastly, the 2015 assessed value of the building must exceed 2013′s.

While the city controls its property-tax rate, the Legislature and governor must approve special abatements like this.

The mayor has six weeks to gather support and pass the reforms before city property tax bills are delivered.

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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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.

Local Assemblymembers Alec Brook-Krasny and Steven Cymbrowitz, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released the Russian-language edition (pdf.) of the Immigrant’s Rights and Services Manual on Friday at the Shorefront YM-YWHA in Brighton Beach.

This pamphlet serves as a resource that educates New York immigrants on their rights, government benefits, and programs. New York City already provides translations in Chinese, Spanish and Korean.

“I am proud to stand here today with my friend, Borough President Scott Stringer as we present this amazing and much needed resource to the Russian-American community,” said Brook-Krasny. “As an immigrant myself I first hand understand the trials and tribulations of assimilating into the mainstream American community, it is my hope that this guide will serve as a stepping stone to many others who are striving to reach the American dream.”

Brook-Krasny himself is the first Russian-born, Russian-language speaker elected to public office in America. He emigrated from Moscow in 1989, and was elected to represent to 46th District in the New York State Assembly in 2006.

A community education effort led by Stringer’s office along with Brook-Krasny will help distribute the pamphlet to those interested. Workshops will also be held to hand out and clarify aspects of the manual.  Organizations that wish to host a community workshop should call the Borough President’s office at (212) 669-8300.

The following op-ed was written by mayoral candidate and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

The future looked rosy 100 years ago, when New York undertook a revolutionary plan to build a vast network of subways and elevated trains. But it looks considerably different today, as we struggle to meet urgent transit needs.

Transit deserts dot the Brooklyn landscape, from Mill Basin and Marine Park – where an “express” bus takes over an hour to reach Midtown – to East Flatbush and Greenpoint, a burgeoning neighborhood that relies on the G train as its sole subway link. While our 100-year-old system is designed for connectivity between Brooklyn and the Manhattan core and back, it does little to connect Brooklynites to other Brookynites. Want to get from Williamsburg to Bay Ridge? Better head into Manhattan and back out again. We can and must do better. Our system must reflect where people live and work today, not 100 years ago.

One million more people will be living in our City by 2025 and to put it bluntly: We are not ready. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority – the central nervous system of our regional transportation network – is a fiscal house of cards.

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Manhattan Borough President – and mayoral contender - Scott Stringer sent out the following statement shortly after our report on Friday about the Avenue Z Jewish Center (875 Avenue Z) being vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti. He wrote:

I am outraged by the news that the Avenue Z Jewish Center in Brooklyn has once again been defaced by anti-Semitic vandals, with graffiti on the entrance door to the center, as well as a sidewalk and nearby synagogue windows. There is no place in our community for this kind of vulgar and cowardly attack—and memories are still fresh of the February, 2011 vandalism at the center which looted a donation box and destroyed a large menorah and a Torah. I urge anyone with knowledge of this incident to contact the NYPD immediately, and I have no doubt that through their great work these perpetrators will be caught.

To our knowledge, the Manhattan politician is the only elected official to issue a statement relating to this incident.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer spent a lot of time in Brooklyn this week, leaving the taller borough behind to spend time talking about his solutions to citywide problems.

The Manhattan beep made it as far south as Manhattan Beach, where he spoke to the Manhattan Beach Community Group during their 70th Anniversary celebration this Wednesday.

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