Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CMs James, Levin, & State Sen. Montgomery Release Neighborhood Protection Plan for Barclays

On May 29, 2012, Council Members Letitia James and Steve Levin, along with NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery and community leaders, released a Neighborhood Protection Plan addressing Barclays Center traffic management methods, as well as (long.standing.) quality of life concerns. NPP FINAL The plan calls for measures that include the institution of residential parking permits, increased garbage can placement, and an early cutoff for alcohol sales. It also institutes an additional charge for parking, similar to the system at Newark's Prudential Center. And it would designate policing of the arena area to the 78th Precinct.

Help Us Make Kindergarten Mandatory in NYC

The New York City Council has been working with the New York State legislature to pass legislation (S7015 and A9861) authorizing New York City to make kindergarten mandatory.

We are very happy to report that the Senate Education Committee recently passed this legislation, putting us one step closer to our goal of ensuring that all NYC families have access to an early childhood education. However, additional action is still needed from the Senate and Assembly before they break for the summer.

Please spread the word and sign the "Kindergarten is a Right" petition to ensure that the State Legislature swiftly passes these bills.

Groundswell and BK Navy Yard Present "Here Goes Something"

Groundswell and the Brooklyn Navy Yard invite the community to celebrate the unveiling of "Here Goes Something", created in part by students from PS 307.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 30

WHERE: Sands Street at Navy Street

To RSVP, contact (718) 907-5965.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ATTENTION: SLA Public Hearing On Barclay's Liquor License; 6/12 & 6/20

The New York State Liquor Authority has scheduled their public hearing on the Barclays Center liquor license application for 11:00AM on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 AND 7:00PM on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 317 Lenox Avenue, 4th floor, New York, NY.

The hearing notice may be viewed here. Brooklyn Community Board 6 (representing the Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Gowanus, and Red Hook areas) recently voted to support the Barclay's Liquor License.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn Speaks has created a public petition directed towards New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen to demand public accountability for Barclay's Center alcohol sales, something Council Member James has long called-on.

The Coop School Presents "Little Red Riding Hood”

The Coop School presents an interactive theater performance of "Little Red Riding Hood” by the Gali Theater Company on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at the Putnam Triangle, at Grand and Fulton.

FREE and open to the public.
Arts and Crafts start at 10:00 am and show begins at 11:15 am sharp.
Please bring a picnic blanket or lawn chair!

Support for this performance was provided by the LEGO Children's Fund and Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Moving Pictures: Kilimanjaro

On Monday May 28, 2012 the independent film “Kilimanjaro” is scheduled to film interior and exterior scenes at--

- St. John’s Place between Classon and Franklin Avenues
- Eastern Parkway between Plaza Street and Underhill Avenue
- Bergen Street at Vanderbilt Avenue


If you have further questions you can contact their Locations Department at 212-956-3270

Monday, May 21, 2012

ATTENTION: Town Hall Meeting on Tenants' Rights and Housing Affordability; 5/23; 6PM; Lafayette Presbyterian

(click picture to expand flyer)
For more information, please contact Juanita Edwards at Pratt Area Community Council at (718) 522-2613 ext. 024.

CMs Letitia James and Melissa Mark-Viverito Urge City Not To Appeal Federal Lawsuit Regarding Stop-And-Frisk

May 17, 2012

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

Council Members Letitia James and Melissa Mark-Viverito Urge City Not To Appeal Federal Lawsuit Regarding Stop-And-Frisk

(New York, NY)— On May 16, 2012, a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, saying she was disturbed by the “deeply troubling apathy towards New Yorkers’ most fundamental constitutional rights.”

In 2011, the statistics showed that 87% of the NYPD’s almost 700,000 stop-and-frisks involved Black and Latino persons; only 12% of those stops resulted in arrests, and less than 1% of those stops resulted in an arrest for weapon possession or an otherwise violent crime. Council Member Letitia James has joined many of her colleagues in criticizing the stop-and-frisk policy as one that forges distrust between the department and minority communities.

The NYPD recently disclosed that there have been more than 200,000 stops from January to March of 2012, a number that would exceed previous records if it were to hold steady. The administration had previously taken the position that a court-ordered injunction banning stop-and-frisk would constitute “judicial intrusion”, a position the federal judge strongly disagreed with (calling the City’s attitude about the policy “cavalier”).

“The fact that the NYPD has made some recent reforms, including more training for cops and closer scrutiny from supervisors, would suggest that they recognize that abusive stop-and-frisk policies have no place in a civil society,” said Council Member Letitia James. “These changes are a step in the right direction, but do not go far enough; although they may negate the need for an appeal.”

“We urge the City not to waste precious taxpayer dollars to defend its out-of-control stop and frisk agenda,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We are not calling for softer policing, but smarter and more effective policing; and stop and frisk has been shown to be an ineffective, wasteful policy. On top of the social costs of damaged police-community relations, we are now facing the fiscal costs of legal challenges against the NYPD for its practices. This week’s court decision was clear: these suspicionless stops are unconstitutional and those who have suffered the humiliation that comes with being stopped and frisked deserve to seek legal recourse as a class. As we seek to enact measures that will strengthen oversight over the police in our city, the courts stand as an important vehicle to hold the NYPD accountable. The City should not be obstructing efforts by plaintiffs to challenge the NYPD’s stop and frisk practices.”

In April 2012, multiple media sources reported that a “working group” has been formed inside New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office, with the purpose of reviewing the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) stop-and-frisk policy. Council Member James has further urged Mayor Bloomberg to appoint an independent commission to investigate corruption within the NYPD, and relocate the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau to the NYC Department of Investigations.


Friday, May 18, 2012

ATTENTION: Elected Officials & SCA Host MWBE Informational Session; 6/15; Medgar Evers College

Council Member Letitia James, Elected Officials, and the NYC School Construction Authority will host a MWBE Informational Session. Attendees will get information on--

- How to become Certified MWBE
- Current City and State Contracting Opportunities for Minority-Owned, Women-Owned Business Enterprises
- Build Productive New Business Relationships

WHEN: Friday, June 15th, 2012
10:00am – 2:00pm

WHERE: Medgar Evers College
1650 Bedford Avenue (Between Crown Street and Montgomery Street)
Brooklyn, NY 11225

Please RSVP by June 12th to email: or call (718) 752 – 5049.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

CM James Calls on State Legislature To Re-Authorize Tax Abatement For Co-op/ Condo Owners; Sponsors Tax Information Session in Fort Greene, BK

**For Immediate Release**
Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081

Council Member Letitia James Calls on State Legislature To Re-Authorize Tax Abatement For Co-op/ Condo Owners; Sponsors Tax Information Session in Fort Greene, Brooklyn 

(New York, NY)— As Brooklyn apartment-owners begin to grow alongside their Brownstoner counterparts, it becomes imperative that co-op and condo owners educate themselves on the property tax associated with their purchase. Every year, the NYC Department of Finance releases preliminary figures for the coming fiscal year's property-tax assessments. And almost every year, property-owners object to the department’s assessment, and in a standard process called tax certiorari, eventually receive a refund.

However, the concern over high property tax rates is especially worrying for co-op and condo owners who in 2011 saw increases in market value of up to one-hundred fifty percent. In fact, market values for co-ops, condos, and rental apartment buildings (Class 2) rose $6.8 billion (or 3.6%) to a total of $196.3 billion Citywide, according to the property assessment roll for FY2013. The Department of Finance is not allowed to use sales prices to value co-ops and condos, and instead must be value these properties as if they were rental buildings. The fact that co-ops and condos are taxed not as private residences, but effectively as commercial properties that bring in rental income, presents serious concerns to owners.

The tax break authorized for co-op and condo owners in New York City will soon be expiring. If the State Legislature doesn’t reauthorize the tax abatement, roughly 365,000 New York City co-op and condo owners could see their property tax bills jump.

Council Member Letitia James will be hosting a 35th District Co-op and Condo Tax Information Session. The session will provide insight into co-op and condo real-estate taxation process, and NYC Department of Finance representatives will be available to answer questions—

WHEN: Thursday, May 24, 2012

WHERE: 210 Clinton Avenue (Community Room)
Clinton Hill Co-ops
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

ATTENTION: ESDC and Community Boards Review Barclays Arena Transportation Plan At Hearing; 5/22; BK Boro Hall

The NYS Empire State Development Corporation and Brooklyn Community Boards 2, 6, & 8 will be holding a joint meeting on the Barclay's Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan. The proposal aims to reduce vehicular traffic to the arena and minimize the effects of the cars. Representatives of the developer will make a presentation and answer questions from the public.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
WHERE: Brooklyn Borough Hall
Brooklyn, NY

For more information contact: Arana Hankin at

See NYT-Local's coverage here. Council Member Letitia James co-sponsored a Downtown Brooklyn Community Transportation Workshop that explored transportation issues with the up-coming arena in March 2012.

ATTENTION: NYC Council Overrides Mayoral Veto of Prevailing Wage Legislation

At yesterday's Stated Council hearing, the New York City Council voted to override a mayoral veto on legislation that will require recipients of city subsidies pay building service workers a prevailing wage, which will be set by the New York City Comptroller. The prevailing and living wage legislation has been heavily-supported by the Council's Progressive Caucus. Living wage was initially approved by the Council on April 30, 2012.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CM James Submits FOIL Request to ACS for EarlyLearn NYC RFP Information

May 15, 2012

Contact Simone Hawkins at (212) 788-7081 or

Council Member Letitia James Submits FOIL Request to ACS for EarlyLearn NYC RFP Information
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) released a concept paper and Request for Proposal (RFP)– EarlyLearn NYC- that aims to improve educational standards, raise supports for families, strengthen professional and instructional development for teachers, and encourage socio-economic diversity among participating centers.
On May 4, 2012, ACS released their recommended awardees for EarlyLearn NYC. The 149 selected sites are a combination of existing private and public early care and education services providers. The Administration for Children’s Services evaluated each proposal using three major criteria, which included multiple considerable factors: Demonstrated Quantity and Quality of Successful Relevant Experience (20%), Demonstrated Level of Organizational Capability (40%), and Quality of Proposed Approach (40%). These criteria were pre-approved by the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, better known as MOCS. 

“While I support ACS’ vision for EarlyLearn NYC, I believe the selection methodology and funding formulas set forth in the RFP is contrary to its goal and has ultimately led to the decimation of community staples formerly supported by the City. Centers that served communities for thirty plus years were not selected as ACS devalued a proposer’s relevant experience in the community and its commitment to diversity and culturally sensitive practices as only being worth a sixth of 20% of their total score.

Several centers in my district will be closed as a result of this RFP and many others have been significantly downsized as slots have been diverted to lesser known centers in and around the community. The citywide effect is even more detrimental. Over 6,500 children will be left without a slot come this November as a result of EarlyLearn. I believe something is extremely wrong with this picture and it is our time now to stand up and say enough is enough.

I requested under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Request for Records that ACS release any and all scored proposals to the EarlyLearn NYC RFP, justification for specific scores and its relative rank for each proposal, as well as, any and all records of the conduct of negotiations with Agency Chief Contracting Officer and the basis for every determination to continue or suspend negotiations. I expect to receive a response within five business days of ACS’ receipt of my request.

In the interim, I ask that all non-awarded centers request a debriefing date and appeal accordingly. I urge community members to attend the upcoming public hearing and families to participate in the parent forums. The salvation of our communities begins with us.”


Monday, May 7, 2012

ATTENTION: BK Speaks Petition On Barclay's Alcohol Sales

Brooklyn Speaks has created a public petition directed towards New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen to demand public accountability for Barclay's Center alcohol sales. You may review Council Member James' community board testimony on the matter here.

The petition states that Barclays’ license must be limited to serving drinks during ticketed arena events only, and must mandate an end to liquor sales after half time at an NBA game, 45 minutes before the end of an event, or at 10:00PM—whichever comes first. In comparison, Chicago's Wrigley Field is allowed to host only 30 evening events a year, liquor sales must end no later than 9:30PM, and any changes to that policy have to be approved by the Chicago City Council.

Please support accountability on the part of Barclay's, and fair liquor service that considers public safety. The petition is available here:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ATTENTION: NYPD Summer Youth Police Academy

The NYPD Youth Services Section will be accepting applications for the NYPD Summer Youth Police Academy 2012 now through June 22, 2012. The Summer Youth Academy provides youth with an unique opportunity to interact with law enforcement professionals, learn life skills and more. The
 program is for youths between the ages of 10-16, and takes place five
 days a week for six weeks during the summer, culminating in a 
graduation ceremony at One Police Plaza.

The application is available here:

For additional 
information, please contact the NYPD-Youth Services at 
718 834-8855 or 
646 610-5323.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

ATTENTION: NYC Council Approves Living Wage Legislation

The New York City Council approved the living wage legislation on Monday's (April 30th) Stated hearing. The legislation would mandate minimum pay of $11.50 per hour— or $10 without benefits— for employers receiving public funding with gross revenues over $5 million dollars a year. Mayor Bloomberg has been highly critical of the legislation.

Council Member James has been an active voice— along with much of the Progressive Caucus— on achieving living wage in New York City.

“With a growing number of New Yorkers unemployed or underemployed, I have difficulty interpreting the opposition to living wage as anything more than a divisive scare tactic,” said Council Member Letitia James. “New York City’s unemployment rate is at 9.6%, and we have seen the issue of income inequality become a nationwide discussion. It’s long past time we take this step towards fairer wages for employees.”