Wednesday, March 30, 2011

REMINDER: Chase Multi-Day Event To Help Struggling BK Homeowners

Chase Sets Up Five-Day Event in Brooklyn to Help Struggling Homeowners
Advisors will work face-to-face to help keep families in their homes

WHAT: Chase loan advisors will set up shop at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott for five days to help struggling homeowners find the best solution.

Homeowners with Chase mortgages can receive the following services:
-Initial counseling to apply for a mortgage modification
-Counseling for those who are current on their mortgage but are struggling
-Short-sale assistance for those who cannot afford their home or don't want to stay in it
-Document signing and drop-off for modifications
-Collection of outstanding documents for those on trial modifications
-On-site execution of final modification agreements for customers who have completed their modification application

WHO: Chase loan counselors will assist borrowers with a Chase, EMC or WaMu mortgage.

WHEN: Thursday, March 31- Monday, April 4; 8AM to 8PM

WHERE: The Brooklyn Bridge Marriott, Salon E-1, 333 Adams Street, Brooklyn
(Free parking at the Adams Street Garage next to the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge; bring parking ticket to event)

HOW FAST: No appointments are necessary. Chase expects to sit down with most borrowers within 15 minutes of their arrival.

The event supplements Chase Homeownership Centers that help New York families every week, including locations at:
4 Chase Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, 718-242-2500 (open Monday-Saturday)

NYCC Progressive Caucus Starts Blog!

Did you know that the New York City Council's Progressive Caucus had a blog? The blog features important releases by the caucus- including responses to the NYS budget proposal, and Walmart's expansion into NYC- as well a link to the caucus' Twitter.

Council Member James is a proud member of the Council's Progressive Caucus, which seeks to create a more just and equal New York City, combat all forms of discrimination, and advancing public policies that offer genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.

CM James Suggests Early Retirement Incentive for City Employees

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** March 30, 2011

Contact Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191


(Brooklyn, NY) According to research and expert advice, I agree that a buyout or early retirement incentive is a tried and proven method to get salaried workers to voluntarily step aside, saving jobs of younger workers who can least afford to be out of work.

Simply put, it's the least painful way to reduce the work force. If Mayor Bloomberg is so adamantly opposed (at present, when he previously endorsed such a plan in 2002) to an early retirement incentive, let him release a detailed financial analysis as to why it is not viable option to be explored with the public and the unions. NYC employee's financial and emotional lives hang in the balance and all options should be aired openly and honestly to find the most effective way of dealing with the fiscal problems of today.

In a buyout, the rate of “back filling” or rehiring is the most crucial determinant for success or failure. At present, if a City worker leaves or retires the position or line is lost, there is no rehire, hence a shrinking workforce. Combined with hiring freezes controlled by the Mayor - who has strict governance over the city’s workforce and therefore payroll expenses - he could employ an early retirement incentive to maximize payroll savings, ASAP.

Unemployment insurance for up to 99 weeks for laid off workers, loss of city and state tax revenue, loss of health insurance for many families, possible foreclosures etc., as well as the emotional upheaval that ripples outward is a huge avoidable cost. This type of information (overall social cost) is rarely addressed when quantifying the overall success or failure of an early retirement incentive. For example, simple math - layoff teachers verses an early retirement incentive for all agencies: if you lay off 4,600 workers (teachers) and pay each unemployment insurance of $400 per week for 99 weeks that’s 400 x 4,600 = 1.84million x 99 weeks = a potential $182 million dollars. This does not include driving current and potential teachers from the profession, and the 4,600 former professional middle class New Yorkers who would join the expanding pool of the 9% unemployed.

In summary, an early retirement incentive would continue to reduce the City work force with immediate cost savings (rather than pension relief that would take decades to materialize and that the NYS Legislature appears reluctant to overturn), and have a lesser impact on career civil servants. It forces NYC agencies to do more with less, while negatively impacting society to a lesser degree, as opposed to sending thousands of workers into a very poor job market.

I ask the Bloomberg Administration to address this viable alternative and statistically explain the resistance to such a course of action. There appears no opposition from the workers, the unions, the City Council, the NYS Legislature - only the Mayor stands opposed.


NYC Mayor's Cup Basketball All-Star Games; 4/3; City College

You are invited to attend the NYC Mayor's Cup Basketball All-Star Games this Sunday, April 3, 2011 at City College.

This fantastic sporting event will showcase the City's best male and female high school basketball players from the Public School Athletic League (PSAL). You can check to see if students from your local schools are competing by checking the Boys and Girls team rosters.

Please find the details of the event below:
What: NYC Mayors Cup 2011– PSAL Basketball All Star Games
When: Sunday, April 3- 1PM (girls); 3PM (boys)
Where: City College of New York, Nat Holman Gymnasium
160 Convent Avenue (at 136th Street)
New York, NY
Admission: Free, limited tickets at the door

If you have any questions, please visit

Things We May Have Neglected To Mention

The New York City Department of Finance wants you to know that you can now contest Parking and Environmental Control Board tickets on-line!

U.S. Representative Ed Towns invites you to join him at the JP Morgan Chase Homeowner Assistance Program from March 31st- April 4th. Representative Towns will be present at the third session between the hours of 12noon- 2PM on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at the Brooklyn Marriott.

Reverend Michael Bacchus and the Full Gospel Assembly Church invite you to a health event where you may obtain FREE mammogram and blood pressure screenings.

WHEN: Saturday, April 2, 2011
9AM- 3PM
WHERE: Full Gospel Assembly Church
131 Sullivan Place
Brooklyn, NY 11225

Friday, March 25, 2011

CM James Responds To Deputy Mayor Goldsmith Daily News Op-ed; Outsourcing IT Jobs

March 25, 2011

Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081

Council Member Letitia James Releases Statement In Response To Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith's Daily News Op-ed On Outsourcing IT Jobs
Commends Efforts to Increase Positions for City Workers, Cites Additional Need for Oversight

New York, NY— “On Thursday, March 24, 2011, the New York Daily News covered an op-ed by New York City Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith concerning the outsourcing of IT positions to private contractors.

Deputy Mayor Goldsmith asserted that the issue at hand was not the outsourcing itself, but rather that the administration needed to place more attention towards employing City workers to perform IT duties. It seems plain to me that if City workers could be trained to perform these IT duties for less money, then much of this outsourcing constitutes unnecessary and wasteful spending.

That said, training City workers to perform contracted IT duties, and strengthening oversight of contractors, are excellent steps to addressing the ballooning costs of City contracting positions well within the scope of municipal workers. I commend the administration for taking positive steps in centralizing the City’s data server, as well as using public workers to manage the City’s wireless network and Business Express tool.

In fact, the Emergency Communications Transformation Program (ECTP) project, and the $286M contract that was originally proposed to New York City Comptroller John Liu, is a fair example of where the administration needs to increase oversight. The ECTP project seeked to upgrade the City’s 9-1-1 system by establishing two unified 9-1-1 emergency call center systems.

As was the issue with the Citytime contract, the cost of the ECTP project mushroomed from an initial $380M to $666M without significant changes. In fact, six years after the ECTP contract was originally awarded, the Brooklyn 9-1-1 Center was still not fully operational and one year behind schedule. For these reasons, Comptroller Liu’s rejected renewal of the contract for $286M, citing such issues as lack of transparency over time and expense billing arrangement, multiple layers of subcontractors, and significant cost overruns. On March 15, 2011, Comptroller Liu registered a $95M fixed-price contract for the project, with an agreement of increased communication with his office on ongoing budget matters.

If the administration is truly committed to addressing the oversight and management of private contractors, then there must be a mechanism in place to examine these contracts before they reach the Comptroller’s desk.

Again, I commend the administration on taking initial steps to address the fiscal and transparency issues associated with private contractors, and I hope that the outsourcing of positions other than IT will be addressed. I also hope that these administrative changes will include the recommendations of the Council’s Committee on Contracts as well as unions. I look forward to working together to address these issues.”


CM James Joins WFAC Faith Leaders In Denouncing Domestic Violence; 3/28; 11AM; BK Supreme Court

March 25, 2011
Contact: Reverend Cheryl Anthony

‘The Women of Faith Advocating Change’ Takes Action to Denounce the Escalating Incidences of Domestic Violence

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK —The Women of Faith Advocating Change in conjunction with Judah International Christian Center, Church of God of East Flatbush, the Historic Rugged Cross Baptist Church, Agape Tabernacle International Fellowship, Women Organizing, Mobilizing and Building (WOMB), Council Member Letitia James, Assemblywoman Annette M. Robinson, TOP Development Corporation (Domestic Violence Prevention Program), the 77th Clergy Precinct Council, the 73rd Clergy Precinct Council and other prominent leaders and organizations are taking action against the rising incidences of Domestic Violence.

On Monday, March 28, 2011 at 11:00 am, The Women of Faith Advocating Change will hold a Press Conference denouncing the escalating incidences of Domestic Violence in our city and to lend support and prayers for Deputy Inspector Juanita Holmes, Commander of the 81st Police Precinct, here, in Brooklyn, New York. Female faith leaders, community leaders, elected officials and police colleagues will gather to send a strong message that Domestic Violence is a rising issue throughout our city and the nation, however, its impact on urban communities is devastating.

The Reverend Dr. Cheryl Anthony, Pastor of Judah International Christian Center and President of Women of Faith Advocating Change was quoted as saying “Domestic Violence in our homes, houses of worship, schools and community at large will not be tolerated or ignored. We are grieved that our sister and community colleague has suffered immensely (physically, emotionally and spiritually) because of a recent vicious domestic attack. We are in prayer for everyone involved.”

WHEN: Monday, March 28, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: The Steps of Brooklyn Supreme Court

Monday, March 21, 2011

CM James Supports Video Report Exposing Vendor Exploitation of Women of Color

March 21, 2011

Contact Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191, (646) 201-8183


(Brooklyn, NY) As a member of the New York City Council, and an advocate for the well-being and progress of women and girls, I stand alongside Black and Brown News in requesting the enforcement of laws to protect this segment of New York City from the exploitation of Newsstand Vendors. I am currently drafting legislation to increase penalties for offending vendors. Please watch the video for more information about this issue, as well as read the law included below.

(Original Video Report) New York City Newsstand Vendors: Exploiting Some, Protecting Others (see link below). Through the course of travels around the city by BBN, they report noticing a disturbing pattern of disparity in how New York City newsstand vendors take liberties in their display cases with the image of Black and Latino women, who model for covers of sexually provocative magazines. BNN found shopkeepers (of all backgrounds) who exploited the images of Black and Latino women, while going to great lengths to protect the image of White women on similar magazine covers. New York City newsstands are licensed by city government and they are bound to state law. According to New York Penal Code Penal Law Sections:

--245.10 Public display of offensive sexual material is defined as showing of the female genitals, pubic area or buttocks with less than a full opaque covering, or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any portion thereof below the top of the nipple.

-- 245.11 And a person is guilty of public display of offensive sexual material when he with knowledge of its character and content he displays or permits to be displayed in or on any window, showcase, newsstand, display rack, wall, door, billboard, display board, viewing screen, moving picture screen, marquee or similar place, in such manner that the display is easily visible from or in any: public street, sidewalk or thoroughfare; transportation facility; or any place accessible to members of the public without fee or other limit or condition of admission such as a minimum age requirement.

Please view these links:
-- Video on You tube
-- New York City Newsstand Vendors: Exploiting Some, Protecting Others

I thank you in advance for joining this important cause and sharing the message with others. We must do everything we can to protect women and girls from exploitation, specifically as we lift up all women during this March in honor of Women’s History month 2011.

-Letitia James, Member of City Council
35th District, Brooklyn


CM James and Elected Officials Rally In Opposition to Senior Center Closings


Council Member James urged the community, all seniors and advocates to mobilize against severe threats to senior services

(Brooklyn, NY) – Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg have joined forces to cut funding for New York City’s senior centers, many who rely on these centers for meals, social activities, and companionship. The Bloomberg Administration announced its plan to close over 100 centers throughout the five boroughs, putting as many as ten thousand seniors at risk of hunger and social isolation.

“This potentially devastating loss of state funding would profoundly affect senior centers across New York City. We are working hard to have this action reversed, but unless the state dollars are restored, DFTA will be forced to close up to 105 of its 256 senior centers,” said Christopher Miller Director of Public Affairs, NYC Department for the Aging.

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery said: “Our Seniors built this country and this city with their work and dedication, and we will not balance the budget on their backs. The Legislature has identified funding for these programs, and these programs will be saved!”

“The reduction in state funding for ‘mandated’ services and the consequent diversion of financing used for ‘discretionary’ services will drastically weaken a necessary support system for our seniors that has been in place for more than twenty years,” said State Senator Eric Adams. “After decades of hard work providing for their families, senior citizens deserve fundamental services and protections so that they can continue to lead healthy and active lives. The dire economic condition of the State of New York requires severe budgetary constraints, but it is imperative that our senior citizens do not bear the brunt of this fiscal retrenchment.”

“Long before I was old enough to use one, I was the president of a senior center from 1973 to 1978,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “So, I know firsthand the central role they play in seniors’ lives. Cutting $25.2 million of funding would force 105 centers to close in New York City, 31 in Brooklyn alone. With our economy and aging population, not only is this the wrong time to cut funding we should be increasing funding for senior centers. For seniors, the ‘social network’ isn’t about Facebook or Twitter—it’s about the people they meet and socialize and interact with at the neighborhood senior center.”

“I believe there are only two reasons that any of us are here, God and our seniors, and we’ll be judged by how we treat them. The State wants to close two out of the three centers in my district. How can one center serve all of my seniors? What about the millionaire’s tax extension or the "421A" tax abatement program? Yankee’s player, Alex Rodriguez, practically gets a free ride while our senior centers are decimated,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams.

Igal Jellinek, Executive Director, Council of Senior Centers and Services, CSCS, said: “On behalf of thousand older New Yorkers, we are proud that Brooklyn’s elected leaders are standing with them to protect senior centers. However, the fight is not over until it is over. Senior centers are still in danger of closing by April 1. Older New Yorkers, elected leaders, service providers, and advocates must continue to place pressure on the governor and tell him to stand up for seniors by standing with Brooklynites. Our elected leaders must make senior center funding mandatory so that older New Yorkers and their senior centers are not faced with this devastating cut every year.”

“A loss of $25 million to DFTA's senior center budget, or approximately 1/3 of funding for senior centers is reprehensible. We stand on the shoulders of these seniors; they are the backbone of society and I’m going to fight this with every fiber of my being,” said Council Member Letitia James. “Our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have paid their dues, and their lifelines will not close on my watch. New York City senior centers are a vital source of community life.”

WHO: Council Member Letitia James
NYS Senator Eric Adams
U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke
NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery
NYS Assembly Member Annette Robinson
NYS Assembly Member Karim Camara
NYS Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries
Council Member Jumaane Williams
Council Member Lew Fidler
Council Member Mathieu Eugene

WHAT: Rally to Oppose the Closing of Senior Centers in New York City

WHERE: Steps of City Hall, Lower Manhattan

WHEN: Friday, March 18
11:00 AM


ATTENTION: Crown Heights Parking Meter Installation

The Office of Council Member Letitia James has recently learned that in accordance with the New York City administrative code, an upcoming installation of parking meters will affect the 35th Council District.

Beginning May 2011, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC-DOT) will install single-space parking meters on both the east and west sides of Troy Avenue from Empire Boulevard to Crown Street, The meter rate will be $.25 per 20 minutes.

The NYC-DOT expects that inconvenience to motorists will be minimal; however, should you have any further questions, you are encouraged to contact the Brooklyn Borough Commissioner’s office at (718) 222-7259.

Monday, March 14, 2011

ATTENTION: GMHC Presents Club 1319 Youth Program

GMHC has launched a new youth program focused on LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 and 19. Club 1319 challenges young men to produce extraordinary results through engaging in social media and group workshops that assist with tutoring, financial planning, college exploration, and job placement.

For more information, contact GMHC Leadership In Action at (212) 367-1017 or

CM James On Protecting Our Seniors

Dear New Yorker:

As you well know, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s FY 2011-2012 budget would allocate a cut of over $25M in Federal Title XX funding to senior centers. Title XX is funding administered by the Social Security Act of the United States Department of Health and Human Services: Administration for Children and Families, and the Office of Community Services.

This dramatic cut in statewide funding would close 105 of 256 senior centers throughout New York City; two within the 35th District that I represent. An estimated 7,000 to 10,000 older New Yorkers would lose their local senior center. It is a fact that senior centers keep older adults healthy, engaged, and active as they progress into their golden years. Many seniors also rely on these centers for meals, social activities, and companionship.

This proposed loss of $25.2M in the Department for the Aging (DFTA) senior center budget equates to an estimated 1/3 of overall funding for senior centers. This is a completely unacceptable proposal, and I stand strong with my colleagues in the New York City Council, as well as on the state level, in opposing a budget cut that would put thousands of seniors at risk of hunger and social isolation.

I ask you to join me by contacting Governor Cuomo by phone at (518) 474-8390, or by mail at:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Letitia James
Member of the City Council

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ATTENTION: 2-11 NYC Civic Corps Application Open

The 2011-2012 NYC Civic Corps Host Site Application is now open!

Apply now to be an NYC Civic Corps Host Site for the 2011-2012 Program Year.

The NYC Civic Corps, an AmeriCorps program run by NYC Service, unites a diverse group of professionals to assist organizations and City agencies in increasing their organizational capacity to engage volunteers and building sustainable volunteer initiatives. NYC Service dispatches 150 NYC Civic Corps members to serve full-time with partnering nonprofits and City agencies, who work to build and support host organization’s capacity to engage and manage volunteers. As an AmeriCorps program, NYC Service reimburses partner organizations (host sites) for the cost of providing stipends to NYC Civic Corps members for the duration of their term of service.

Organizations selected to receive a team of NYC Civic Corps members will be assigned a group of at least two corps members trained in volunteer management. Organizations will be required to manage their corps members' progress toward attaining of a minimum of 1700 service hours. Corps members will serve at their host organizations full-time for a ten month term of service, from September 2011 through June 2012.

Please note that this project is contingent on receiving federal funding administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the New York State Commission for National and Community Service.

Potential applicants who are interested in attending an upcoming informational reception should notify NYC Service at Email or call 212.788.7550 with questions. The request for application can be found here.

CMs Hold Rally In Opposition to Senior Center Closings; 3/11; 1PM

March 8, 2011

Contact Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191, (646) 201-8183


Council Member James urges the community; all seniors and advocates to mobilize against threats to senior services

(Brooklyn, NY) – Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg have joined forces to decrease funding for New York City’s senior centers, many who rely on these centers for meals, social activities, and companionship. The Bloomberg Administration announced its plan to close over 100 centers throughout the five boroughs, putting as many as ten thousand seniors at risk of hunger and social isolation.

“This potentially devastating loss of state funding would profoundly affect senior centers across New York City. We are working hard to have this action reversed, but unless the state dollars are restored, DFTA will be forced to close up to 105 of its 256 senior centers,” said Christopher Miller Director of Public Affairs, NYC Department for the Aging.

“A loss of $25 million to DFTA's senior center budget, or approximately 1/3 of funding for senior centers is reprehensible. We stand on the shoulders of these seniors; they are the backbone of our community. These parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have paid their dues, and their lifelines – New York City senior centers will not close without a fight,” said Council Member Letitia James.

What: Rally to Oppose the Closing of Senior Centers in New York City
Where: Steps of City Hall, Lower Manhattan
When: Friday, March 11
Time: 1pm


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ATTENTION: AABE Scholarship Program

The American Association of Black in Energy (AABE) is a professional organization of African Americans in the energy industry. Through its scholarship program, the AABE seeks to increase the number of African Americans and other minority groups in energy-related fields. Applicants should be entering an accredited college or university, and have a 3.0 GPA. Application due March 11, 2011.

For more information, or for the application, please call (212) 788-7081 or email

Monday, March 7, 2011

ATTENTION: Rally To Stop School Budget Cuts; 3/17; BK Boro Hall

On Thursday, March 17, 2011, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will join New York Communities for Change, Alliance for Quality Education, and New York Charter Parents Association at "A Rally To Organize: No Budget Cuts to Our Schools" at Brooklyn Borough Hall. All Brooklyn parents (and advocates) are invited.

Brooklyn Borough Hall is located at 209 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn, NY.

Please call (347) 410-6919 x240 for more information.

ATTENTION: BK Boro President Markowitz Hosts Summer Employment Program!

Brooklyn Summer HEAT (Help Employ Ambitious Teens) is the Borough President’s summer youth employment program, which encourages Brooklyn businesses to invest in our youth through employment. In the last few years, hundreds of teens between the ages of 16 and 18 have been hired through HEAT.

Applicants must be 16-18 years of age, and reside in Brooklyn. Application due March 15, 2011. For more information, contact the Borough President Marty Markowitz's office at

ATTENTION: City Council Hearings to Discuss Weather Legislation; 3/9; 1PM

Council Member Letitia James would like to extend a special thanks to everyone who wrote in and participated in the City Council's joint hearings on the City's and MTA's response to the December 2010 blizzard.

The Council got significant and meaningful feedback from hundreds of New Yorkers who know their communities and their organizations best. This, together with the nearly 25 hours of public testimony we received at our hearings, has provided many worthwhile legislative and policy ideas for improving future emergency weather responses.

Next Wednesday, March 9th, beginning at 1 p.m. in the 14th Floor Committee Room at 250 Broadway in Lower Manhattan, the City Council will be holding a public hearing on these ideas with the goal of improving planning, preparedness, coordination and communication.

Legislation establishing a transparent snow planning and management process, ensuring private sector resources are sufficient and available when needed, addressing problems in emergency management, and improving communication between the Administration, public officials and the public are among the legislation that will be discussed.

Please contact the Office of Council Member Letitia James at (212) 788-7081 for more information.

ATTENTION: 2011 NYC National College Fair

2011 New York City National College Fair

WHEN: Sunday, April 10, 2011
11AM- 4PM

WHERE: Jacob Javits Convention Center of New York
Hall 1A
655 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001

For more information, contact (212) 216-2000

Thursday, March 3, 2011

NYCDOE: Brooklyn UPK Enrollment Info Session

Starting Monday, March 7, pre-kindergarten directories and applications will be available at elementary schools with pre-k programs, borough enrollment offices, information sessions and online at The deadline for families to submit an application is Friday, April 8.

Families are invited to attend a pre-kindergarten information session during the week of March 7. These sessions will provide families with a great opportunity to learn more about pre-k programs and the admissions process. Staff members from the Offices of Early Childhood Education and Student Enrollment will be there to answer questions. Translation and interpretation services will be provided. See below for more details about the Brooklyn session.

Tuesday, March 8 - Brooklyn
Sunset Park High School
153 35th Street
6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

If you have any specific questions regarding the Pre-K admissions process, visit or call the Office of Student Enrollment at 718-935-2009.

ATTENTION: FGA Hosts Annual Tree Giveaway

The Fort Greene Association's next tree giveaway is March 26, 10-12.

Those interested in assisting should contact Shertease Wheeler at

For more information contact Jed Marcus, or (718) 643-6555