Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Message from Council Member James

Dear Friends:

What a great year of change it has been thus far. More change is definitely coming to Brooklyn and our country this fall. I was fortunate enough to witness this building of change and hope first-hand while attending the Democratic National Convention during August in Denver. I also want to congratulate participants of the West Indian Labor Day Parade on a successful event, which I marched in upon my return from the DNC.

Change is coming to urban communities like ours around the nation. For example, in Crown Heights, public officials and community members came together to request protection for senior citizens and placement of more security cameras in Brooklyn. An assailant of an 85-year-old woman was apprehended within days after the NYPD and the community united for this cause.

Change through City Council legislation to protect our neighborhoods is now happening within Brooklyn. I, along with Council Members Albert Vann and Bill de Blasio, introduced a resolution calling on the Mayor to halt the plan by the Department of Homeless Service to close the Manhattan central intake center for homeless men, and transfer its functions to the Brooklyn Bedford-Atlantic Armory. By moving the central intake center to Crown Heights, DHS would decrease access to shelter for homeless men throughout the City.

Change will come through continued protests of gun violence in our communities. The surge of crime and gun violence in Brooklyn is unacceptable, and sadly, our youth are being shot by each other. Once again, the community came together this summer to support a 9-year-old boy now recovering from a bullet wound. The issue ultimately is tied to quality education and more employment opportunities. And, please turn in guns to honor the sanctity of life.

Many Brooklynites (including myself) share similar goals as Barack Obama - improving our schools, affordable universal health care, ending the Iraq War as well as honoring our commitment to veterans, energy independence, and ending the genocide in Darfur. Barack Obama gives us hope for an improved America and a better world for all.

The Democratic national convention was filled with inspiring moments such as Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton passing the mantle to a new generation, and Michelle Obama moving thousands to screams and tears. Joe Biden and Barack Obama concluded the DNC with historic speeches, and a dialogue about a real plan to deliver change for this country. The time has come for everyone to get involved with moving the borough of Brooklyn, New York, and America forward.

Letitia James

Ebbets Field Middle School receives funding for a new Mac Lab

Tish accepting the plaque.

On Friday, September 26th the student council of Ebbets Field Middle School, along with teachers, parents, and Principal Marge Baker hosted a wonderful plaque unveiling/ breakfast to celebrate the new Mac lab. The ceremony brought tears to Tish's eyes with a video produced and edited by a lovely young 7th grader. If you would like to learn more about the school please check out: http://print.nycenet.edu/SchoolPortals/17/K352/default.htm. Once we get the clearance, we hope to be able to share the video with you all!

A student took the time to give Tish a little tutorial.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oppose Unjust Rent Increase!

We are writing to inform you of the Real Rent Reform Campaign’s (RRRC) rally on the steps of City Hall to take place on October 1, 2008 at 12:00 noon.

The RRRC strongly opposes the rent increases approved by the Rent Guidelines Board that will take effect on October 1, 2008. These new guidelines will grant "landlords who don’t charge their tenants for heating" the right to "hike the rents 4.5 percent on a one-year leave and 8.5 percent on a two-year lease" for stabilized apartment dwellers. [1]

For tenants that do pay for heat, rent increases would fall between 4-8%. "New Yorkers with smaller rents, like $450 a month, would pay a flat increase of $45 a month."[1]

The rent increases that are to become effective on October 1st will be the largest rent increases since 1989. The City approved rent increases of 3% on one-year leases and 5.75% on two-year leases, and 4.25% on one-year leases and 7.25% on two-year leases, in 2007 and 2006, respectively. [2]

As New York’s renters continue to struggle to pay rents that absorb the bulk of their salaries, it seems unfair to place the highest rent increases in almost two decades on the backs of stabilized rent dwellers.

Please join us in opposing this unjust rent increase.


1 WNBC. Rent Stabilized Apartments Get Rent Hikes. 20 June 2008. http://www.wnbc.com/news/16658708/detail.html
2 Seifman, David. New York Post. Rent Boost Adds to ‘Hike" Cost of Living. 27 June 2007. http://www.nypost.com/seven/06272007/news/regionalnews/rent_boost_adds_to__hike_cost_of_living_regionalnews_david_seifman.htm

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Council District 35 Elementary Schools

Download these images to get information about every public elementary and charter school in the district.

Council District 35 schools (part 2)

Higher Education for Latinos

Today, our office attended the New York City Council’s Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus (NYCC-BLA) presentation on the City University of New York Graduate Center’s Center for Latin-American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies (CLACLS). Our office is particularly concerned with education rates within these communities. For example, the CLACLS reports that although roughly 30% of undergraduate students at CUNY are Latino, only 8% of graduate students studying at CUNY are Latino. The CLACLS seeks to establish a fellowship program specifically for Latin-American, Caribbean, and Latino students who seek graduate-level education. Council Member James supports the efforts of the CLACLS, and continues her commitment of education, as well as her ongoing work to restore adequate funding to CUNY for both undergraduate and graduate students. The CLACLS maintains a Latino Data Project which studies the population reports and patterns within the Latino community. The CLACLS website can be found here: http://web.gc.cuny.edu/lastudies/

The office of Council Member James was represented last night (9/24) at the 79th Precinct’s Community Council Meeting. CM James would like to congratulate Deputy Inspector Donald V. Lyons on a crime decrease within the 79th Precinct, and extends her thanks to the hardworking police officers that serve the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. For further information on the 79th Precinct and its most recent COMPSTAT reports, see here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/precincts/precinct_079.shtml

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Team Tish for Teachers!!

Please share this with event with the teachers in your life...

A happy hour for teachers

Wednesdays from 5 to 7PM @ HABANA OUTPOST

This fall, Habana Works presents Winter Warm-Ups, a professional development series for teachers that's actually fun. Each Wednesday evening from October to December, a variety of Brooklyn institutions will present their tools for K-12 teachers during this cozy cocktail hour in the Lowpost at Habana Outpost. Teachers will receive a crash course on the best of what Brooklyn has to offer, while relaxing with their colleagues and a complimentary beverage.

Winter Warm-Ups begin October 1st with a presentation by the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Department of Education & Humanities

Series Presenters:
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Children's Museum
our host, Habana Outpost
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Prospect Park Alliance
...and more

For full info, directions and schedule, visit our website:
RSVP with Kate at 718 909 5580, kate@habanaoutpost.org

Relief for Haiti

Please continue to submit questions in the comments section below for "Ask Team Tish!"

Today was the Stated meeting, and CM James wants to remind those in the 35th District that the Republic of Haiti has suffered a number of hurricanes which have been devastating to those that live in the Caribbean nation.

The New York City Council Encourages New Yorkers to Help with Hurricane Relief for Haiti

The following items are in high demand:

• Bottled water (packed in cases) - No single bottles
• Rice (dried in bags)
• Beans (dried in bags)
• Sterno canisters
• Tarpaulin for roofing or flooring (preferably 10’x10’)
• Nylon cord (100’ rolls)
• Hygiene items limited to toothbrushes, toothpaste, mild soaps
• New underclothes (children sizes)
• New hand towels

Drop off Locations will be open from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm until September 26th

In Brooklyn- Bedford Armory
1579 Bedford Avenue at Union Street

In Harlem- Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building
163 West 125th at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.

For more information please contact (212) 681–4010 or relief@chamber.state.ny.us.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bail Out Main Street, Not Just Wall Street!

Three of our favorite community-based organizations are the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Pratt Area Community Council (PACC), and Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE). These organizations work hard from the grassroots level representing lower-income peoples in New York City in housing and other areas of economic and cultural inequality, and are especially active in the 35th District.

Today (September 23, 2008), ACORN held their rally “to protest the Bush administration’s failure to include lifelines for American homeowners facing foreclosures in its big Wall Street bailout proposal.”

ACORN called “on Congress to ‘Bail out Main Street, Not Just Wall Street’! ” Council Member James agrees with ACORN’s position that homeowners deserve same consideration that lending institutions do (…or more so). Please contact your Congressional Member to let him/her know your position on this issue, and continue to be informed on issues of economic inequality.

ACORN- http://www.acorn.org/index.php?id=2716&no_cache=1
PACC- http://pacc.publishpath.com/
FUREE- http://furee.org/

Ask Team Tish

In our ongoing efforts to provide you with information on the 35th Councilmanic District and the ongoing work of "Team Tish," we invite you to submit your questions in the comments section, and we'll try our best to answer...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tish testifies at NYS Assembly hearing

After the press conference and rally held on the steps of City Hall, a public hearing was held in the Assembly Hearing Room in which Council Members James and De Blasio were invited to testify on the relocation of the men's homeless intake center from Manhattan to Brooklyn:

"Maybe there would be merit if Bellevue was being closed for affordable housing... then maybe! Instead, it is going towards ANOTHER luxury hotel... How dare this administration put me and my colleagues in the center of having to choose between a recreational facility and an intake center."

In what Council Member DeBlasio dubbed 'a dangling carrot,' both council members argued passionately on behalf of the residents of Crown Heigts. Both reasoned that this part of Brooklyn is home to more services per square mile that any other area in New York City, and that the intake center would hamper the business improvements, economic development, safety, and rezoning efforts made by the local residents. Furthermore, it is illogical to have homeless men traveling to a Brooklyn intake center given that approximately 60% of the city's homeless are based in Manhattan.

This is the latest in a number of press conferences Letitia has held on this issue. Tish and others that hold her same stance hope to appeal to State officials as well as use Land Use laws (ULURP), and public outcry as a means to halt the proposed intake center.

In her own words, "Brooklyn will no longer serve as a dumping ground for Manhattan and this administration's elitism."

In Your Community

Last night (September 18, 2008), our office was represented at the Society for Clinton Hill's General Meeting. We are happy to report that the Society continues to do an spectacular job in regards to dispensing information and community organizing. Specifically, we acknowledge and appreciate the newly-developed Public Safety Task Force, which maintains the Neighborhood News Reporting Map, which maps illegal activities reported on the site. This information allows us to accurately view the occurrences of illegal activity to report to the local precinct(s), so please remember to report illegal events on the site and update your community. The Society for Clinton Hill website can be found here: http://www.societyforclintonhill.org/.

Personally, I have been a fan of the Society for Clinton Hill's Halloween Walk since I was a kid (and I'm a bit saddened at the reality that it's no longer socially acceptable for me to walk around dressed as a ghost asking people for candy). For this year's event, parents may pick up maps at the Society of Clinton Hill Garden at DeKalb/Hall, and must accompany their children throughout the evening. There's also the beloved Continuous Halloween Show and Haunted House. Further information can be found here at the A Child Grows In Brooklyn website (scroll down a bit): http://www.achildgrowsinbrooklyn.com/a_child_grows_in_brooklyn/2007/10/halloween-at-br.html, or through the Society for Clinton Hill.

Lastly, those interested may want to reach out the Society for Clinton Hill in regards to their seasonal House Tours, or the Fort Greene Park Conservancy for their full fall calendar of events (may be viewed here: http://www.fortgreenepark.org/pages/calendar.htm).


Today Council Member James, in her capacity at Chair of the Contracts Committee, held an Oversight Hearing in regards to recent contracting reforms for City Capital Construction Projects.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Fall Session

At the New York City Council, we have begun the Fall session. With a new session, we start a new period of policy, planning, and initiatives.

We are planning a number of information sessions regarding education and employment, as well as unrolling a heavy legislative agenda. We will keep this blog updated on these matters. In the meantime, I urge you to take note of our latest legislative bills-

Int. 685- A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the City of New York, in relation to the human rights law and housing. See here: http://webdocs.nyccouncil.info/textfiles/Int%200685-2008.htm?CFID=1814151&CFTOKEN=84343293

Int. 805- A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to providing paid family leave to private employees. See here: http://webdocs.nyccouncil.info/textfiles/Int%200805-2008.htm?CFID=1814151&CFTOKEN=84343293


And we're not the only ones getting to work this fall! The beloved Habana Outpost is hosting a Habana Work’s Park(ing) Day Spot on Friday, September 19. Habana Works is participating in Park(ing) Day, the international event that reclaims hundreds of parking spots in 50 cities around the world and transforms them into engaging public spaces for one day each year. Locally, this day is coordinated by Transportation Alternatives.

Where: NW corner of Fulton St and South Portland St., Fort Greene, Brooklyn (C train to Lafayette, G train to Fulton)

When: Friday, September 19, 11am to 5pm


"Team Tish" supports community growth and the quick and accurate distribution of community-related information. Please read about the 35th District's local community and development*:

-Atlantic Yards Report- http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/
-Brownstoner- http://brownstoner.com/
-Society for Clinton Hill- http://societyforclintonhill.org/
-Clinton Hill- http://clintonhill.us/
-Clinton Hill Blog- http://www.clintonhillblog.com/
-Downtown Brooklyn Partnership- http://www.dbpartnership.org/
-Fort Greene Association- http://www.historicfortgreene.org/
-Fort Greene Park Conservancy- http://www.fortgreenepark.org/
-Fort Greene Brooklyn- http://www.fortgreenebrooklyn.com/default.asp
-Easy Being Greene- http://easybeinggreene.wordpress.com/
-Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership BID http://www.myrtleavenue.org/
-Pratt Area Community Council- http://pacc.publishpath.com/
-Pratt Center for Community Development- http://www.prattcenter.net/index.php
-Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn- www.developdontdestroy.org
-Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation- http://www.restorationplaza.org/
-Bed-Stuy Gateway- http://www.bedstuygateway.com/
-Bed-Stuy Blog- http://www.bedstuyblog.com/
-Crown Heights Information Center- http://www.crownheights.info/
-Crown Heights Community Mediation Center- http://www.courtinnovation.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.ViewPage&PageID=601&currentTopTier2=true
-Crown Heights Revitalization Movement- http://revitalizecrownheights.org/index.htm
-The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council- http://phndc.org/node/37

*If we missed something important in this list, please leave a comment or email me at AWorthyDavis@council.nyc.gov to update.

Rally in protest of Men’s Homeless Intake Center Move

Media Advisory


September 17, 2008

Council Member Letitia James; Assemblyman Karim Camara; Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries; State Senator Eric Adams; Father Caleb Buchanon of St. Gregory the Great RC Church; along with representatives from offices of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; Congresswoman Yvette Clarke; and community groups including the Crown Heights Revitalization Movement (CHRM); Picture the Homeless; Coalition for the Homeless; Crown Heights North Association; as well as advocates for the homeless; plus neighborhood residents gather for a press conference and rally on the Steps of City Hall to oppose DHS’ plan to move the men’s homeless intake center to the Bedford-Atlantic Armory in Brooklyn

Rally in protest of Men’s Homeless Intake Center Move, Steps of City Hall on Friday, September 19th

This press event is in support of homeless individuals and the community; it is scheduled to take place this Friday (right before the Assembly Standing Committee on Social Services Public Hearing, on the Relocation of the Men’s Homeless Intake Center from Manhattan to Brooklyn). The press conference and rally is scheduled to begin at 9 AM on the Steps of City Hall, and the public hearing will be held at 10 AM in the Assembly Hearing Room, Room 1923, 19th Floor, at 250 Broadway (across the street from City Hall).

Please join us to fight DHS’ misguided plan that will not benefit the City’s male homeless population (over 60% live in Manhattan), and will harm an already overburdened community.

Advocates for the Homeless and the Crown Heights Community, Public Officials

Press conference to demand that Department of Homeless Services (DHS) abandon plans to close the Men’s Homeless Intake Center in Manhattan, and move it to the Bedford-Atlantic Armory Men’s Shelter in Brooklyn

Friday, September 19th, press conference/rally begins at 9 AM

Steps of City Hall

Contact: Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191