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Archive for the tag 'eric adams'

Photo by William Alatriste

Photo by William Alatriste

Elected officials, community and labor leaders celebrated the 12th anniversary of the Bay Parkway Community Job Center on Friday, honoring it for its history of helping immigrant laborers attain the American dream through education, jobs, safety training and grassroots organizing.

We’ve written about the job center before, and the role it plays in providing services for day laborers and undocumented workers out of its red and yellow shack near Ceasar’s Bay. Operated by the Workers’ Justice Project, it has evolved over the year with support from elected officials, including Councilman Vincent Gentile, former Councilman Dominic Recchia and others. It took a beating from Superstorm Sandy, and the shack was replaced by a trailer – and organizers got back to work.

“While this job site has had its ups and downs over the 12 years, amazing things have happened here thanks to the Workers Justice Project – an organization whose goal is to give low wage immigrant workers a voice and protection in the labor workforce,” said Gentile in his remarks at the anniversary celebration. “I personally have met so many wonderful and interesting people here, many with great backgrounds and training in various fields in their mother country but now here to work and pursue a piece of the American Dream.”

The center, open since March 2002, keeps their more than 7,000 clients informed of their rights, and also connects them with small businesses and those in need of skilled workers. The center also secures them a better living wage of $22.50 per hour – the highest among similar organizations in the region.

In addition to Gentile, Borough President Eric Adams, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny and councilmembers Carlos Menchaca and Mark Treyger were in attendance.

Vision ZeroThe Vision Zero initiative to reduce traffic-related fatalities has been met with mixed reviews in car-dependent neighborhoods like those in Southern Brooklyn. Many applaud the city’s intention, but share concerns that it will unfairly penalize drivers.

Now there’s an opportunity to let legislators know how you feel about various elements of the plan, and where they can do better.

There will be a town hall meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon Street) on Tuesday, April 1, at 7 p.m., where Brooklyn residents are invited to discuss the action plan outlining how to eliminate traffic-related fatalities.

Among the initiative’s proposals is an increase in police enforcement for moving violations, implement speed and red-light cameras and reduce the citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour. The plan also calls for closer scrutiny of accidents that result in critical injuries or death, and to re-engineer street designs to make them safer for pedestrians. You can see a more complete list of the Vision Zero proposals here.

Local pols have pushed for the opportunity to give voice to residents, hoping to collaborate on the implementation of proposals rather than have them handed down from up high.

“Nobody knows the streets in your community better than you do,” said Councilmember Chaim Deutsch in a press release. “This town hall meeting will give residents an opportunity to voice their concerns and speak out on potentially dangerous traffic locations.”

According to his release:

Community members who attend the meeting will be provided the opportunity to point out specific problem locations throughout the borough where they perceive hazards or additional safety concerns to exist. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and other city council members representing Brooklyn neighborhoods will also be in attendance.

 

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

The campaign to pressure the Metropolitan Transit Authority to expand the multi-trip discount toll discount plan on the Verrazano-Narrows bridge to Brooklynites has kicked up a notch, with Senator Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis launching a petition and website to that end.

The petition is hosted at TheTollsAreTooDamnHigh.com, It reads:

In 2012, in response to public outcry, the Port Authority created a bridge discount program, providing Brooklyn residents traveling over the Goethals Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing, and the Bayonne Bridge three times or more a month with a 58% discount.

Senator Golden has proposed that the MTA provide the same plan for Brooklynites who frequently use the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Assemblywoman Malliotakis has joined him to create this petition to help residents facing skyrocketing tolls when crossings the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Under the plan, residents traveling over the Verrazano Bridge would receive a 58% discount from the $15 cash price to be applied to EZ-Pass holders who travel over the bridge 3 or more times a month. This means that an EZ-Pass holder would see their toll price reduced from roughly $10.50 to $6.30.

Residents can sign the petition by visiting the website, or one of the elected officials’ district offices.

In February, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a deal giving Staten Island EZ-Pass holders a toll break on the Verrazano Bridge. The plan grants Island commuters the discount laid out in the Golden-Malliotakis petition, but denies it to residents of other boroughs.

Area pols immediately criticized the deal, calling it unfair that Brooklynites were left out. Golden, Councilmember Vincent Gentile, State Senator Diane Savino and Borough President Eric Adams all spoke out against it. Gentile later introduced a resolution to the City Council calling for the MTA to give Brooklyn residents a matching deal.

Golden and Malliotakis launched their petition Friday.

“The rising cost of the Verrazano Bridge toll has become prohibitive not only for Staten Island residents, but for Brooklyn residents as well,” said Golden in a press release. “Even though people who live in my district are going the opposite way of those who live in Staten Island, the cost is the same, and therefore, the discount should be the same.”

On the news of the petition’s launch, Gentile and Adams released a joint statement praising the effort and calling for unity in the fight for toll equity:

We thank State Senator Golden and Assembly Member Malliotakis for joining our community’s fight to address disparity in the new tolling plan for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. We cannot stand for the unfair penalizing of Brooklynites that work, go to school or have family members on Staten Island, Brooklynites that use this bridge every day. In this spirit, we are jointly introducing a City Council resolution calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority to consider the impact of the current pricing scheme on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on both the residents of Brooklyn and Staten Island. Both boroughs, as well as the elected officials who represent them, need to stand in unity on this issue. That is why we will be proud to be among the first to sign the new petition calling for toll relief for Brooklynites, and that is why we look forward to furthering our efforts to achieve a truly ‘fair fare’ on this thoroughfare.

Eric Adams

Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams issued a statement yesterday afternoon urging fellow Brooklynites to “take extra precautions” for their safety. The statement came hours after a second death in Brooklyn to be caused by a snow removal vehicle in just 10 days.

“Today, Brooklyn mourns the passing of Min Lin, who was fatally struck by a snowplow vehicle in Bay Ridge, as well as prays for the health of her newborn child. Death is always a tragic occurrence, and it is heightened here because, just ten days ago, our borough lost Stanislav Chernyshov when a backhoe pushing snow fatally struck him in Brighton Beach,” said Adams. “These incidents underscore the need for motorists, as well as cyclists and pedestrians, to take extra precautions in hazardous weather conditions, such as we have experienced this winter. Additionally, we must further impress the importance of safe driving and operation of snow removal vehicles, which must include proper training for operators.”

Both incidents occurred in Southern Brooklyn, and the vehicles were both privately operated plows clearing snow from private property. In yesterday’s incident, 36-year-old Min Lin, who was pregnant, was hit by a plow clearing the parking lot of Fei Long Market at 6301 8th Avenue. The unborn child survived the accident but is in critical condition at Maimonides Hospital.

On February 3, Stanislav Chernyshov was killed by a CAT vehicle removing snow from the Oceana condominium complex in Brighton Beach.

In another incident on February 5, a man suffered minor injuries after being knocked down on Coney Island Avenue by a wall of snow as a speeding Department of Sanitation snow plow passed - an incident caught on video that went viral. The driver has been disciplined by the agency, according to reports.

gentile

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Vincent Gentile:

At a press conference this past Saturday, Council Member Vincent J. Gentile and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced that they are introducing a City Council resolution to address disparity in the proposed new tolling plan for the Verrazano Bridge, which was publicized last week by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The resolution, which Gentile will co-sponsor with Borough President Adams in the New York City Council, calls on Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature to ensure community equity in the setting or adjusting of bridge and tunnel tolls.

Council Member Gentile, who represented parts of Staten Island as a New York State Senator from 1997-2002, commended Governor Cuomo for the sweeping discount plan, which will provide a significant discount from current toll rates for Staten Islanders, while expressing his feeling that it doesn’t go quite far enough.

“I’m all for lowering tolls for hardworking Staten Islanders but the fact is this deal is one sided and does not include Brooklyn,” said Council Member Gentile. “We cannot pit borough against borough. This is one bridge with two sides. To recognize the toll burdens for residents on one side of the bridge, we must recognize the toll burdens for the residents on the other side of the bridge. To do anything less would give a new definition of highway robbery for Brooklynites. That is why, through a City Council resolution, I am calling on the State to ensure community equity in the setting and adjusting of bridge and tunnel tolls. There are many, many Brooklynites who commute to Staten Island on a daily basis and that needs to be addressed.”

“We must have a fair decrease of the fare on the Verrazano Bridge,” said Borough President Adams. “This is an important pocketbook issue. Many people don’t know that Borough Presidents can introduce legislation; I’m happy this is the first piece of legislation that I will be co-introducing with Council Member Gentile. It sends the right message that we must use government to alleviate the burdens that impact everyday Brooklynites. What we’re asking the Governor and our legislators to do is we want to have a fair fare on the Verrazano Bridge; that’s what this resolution is about. We are not going to create a two-tiered system where we’re allowing one side of a waterway to be treated differently than another side.”

Gentile and Adams were joined by elected officials, Community Board 10 leadership and local affected residents, all of whom joined in the unified message of equity in lowering tolls for Brooklyn and Staten Island commuters alike.

“I am proud to stand with my colleagues in Brooklyn on the issue of toll relief,” said State Senator Diane Savino. “We saw what happen in Staten Island when both sides of the aisle work together for a common goal. Together we were able to achieve the first-ever toll reduction for Staten Island residents; it was difficult, but we did it. Those Brooklyn residents that use the Verrazano often should be able to get some relief also.”

Borough President Eric Adams and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in December.

Newly sworn-in Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams probably had the easiest job of any new candidate in the 2013 election season. He had successfully lined up support long before the primaries and faced only token opposition in the race.

While it was one less campaign for voters to follow, it also meant Brooklyn residents had little opportunity to learn about the next big borough booster, and how he’ll fill Marty Markowitz’s out-sized shoes.

The Borough President doesn’t hold much power when it comes to legislation or services, but does have an influential role in the land use review process that oversees major developments. Although the beep’s say is only advisory, his word can help usher through lucrative and transformative development plans quickly – or stop them in their tracks.

At a borough president roundtable hosted by Crain’s New York Business, all five beeps came together to discuss their policy plans. Among other things, Adams is pushing a plan to sell air rights in the borough and establish land banks for affordable housing. Crain’s reports:

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams broached an idea to sell air rights in the borough—presumably, in downtown Brooklyn—with the money then used for “land banks” that would fund affordable housing. “Brooklyn must remain affordable,” said Mr. Adams, who is hoping to revitalize poorer neighborhoods such as East New York and Brownsville. He also said he planned to look at developing armories in the borough, and to continue to develop Coney Island, which was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, “to draw people through the borough.” Development boomed in Brooklyn under his predecessor, Marty Markowitz, but some African-American communities in the central and eastern parts of the borough missed out on the renaissance.

Selling air rights means that if a building owner has not built to the vertical limit allowed by zoning laws, the owner can sell the remaining development potential to an adjacent property owner. If a developer can build up to six stories, for example, but only builds three, he can sell the remaining three stories to his neighbor, who can then build nine stories.

Meanwhile, to form a land bank means the creation of a quasi-governmental agency that will obtain blighted properties or tracts of land to be repurposed for other uses – in this case, the creation of affordable housing.

Both proposals have the potential to transform the Brooklyn real estate landscape, and both will need strict oversight to combat corruption.

What do you think of the new beep’s plans?

Source: ah zut/Flickr

The man believed to be behind the Friday morning attack of a Jewish man on the Midwood – Kensington border was not charged with a hate crime, despite calls from local elected officials who say that perpatrators of the so-called “knockout game” are specifically targeting Jewish victims.

The 2:00 a.m. attack on 18th Avenue and East 5th Street saw four men arrested, but Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office only filed charges against Amrit Marajh, who allegedly took the swing. He has been charged with misdemeanor assault, menacing and harassment charges, and has posted $750 bail. Police initially arrested him for a hate crime, a charge the district attorney did not press.

The assault is believed to be the latest incident of the violent “knockout game,” in which thugs take down unsuspecting passersby with a sucker punch before running off. The victim in this case was a 24-year-old Orthodox Jewish man.

Although it appears to be a national phenomenon, local leaders say the Brooklyn version has taken on an ugly racial edge, with the victims being Orthodox Jews living in Crown Heights, Midwood and Kensington.

CBS News reports:

One of the suspects, identified as Amrit Marajh, 28, was charged with aggravated assault as a hate crime, among other counts.

The other three suspects were released without charges.

… “I came across a group of people who were walking towards me, and I was able to hear them speaking loudly about this knockout game,” he said.

Kelly also told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin, “Just prior to it, (the assailants) were talking about the knockout game.”

The victim told investigators he heard one of the attackers say, “I’ll do it to this guy,” right before he was surrounded and punched, sources told CBS 2.

Marajh, through his lawyer, claims that the incident had nothing to do with the knockout game.

The Daily News reports:

Amrit Marajh, 28, had just left a bar on McDonald Ave. on Friday with four friends and was talking about boxing when the knockout game came up, police sources said.

“You can’t do that,” one member of the group said as they came upon Shmuel Perl, 24, according to a source.

Marajh allegedly said, “Yes I can, I’ll do it to this guy right now!” before punching Perl in the face, leaving him bruised.

Perl was not knocked out. According to news reports, all four appeared  intoxicated when they were arrested.

Authorities across the country have begun to question if the game even exists, or if the media is simply connecting a number of random acts that can occur on any given day.

The New York Times reports:

Yet police officials in several cities where such attacks have been reported said that the “game” amounted to little more than an urban myth, and that the attacks in question might be nothing more than the sort of random assaults that have always occurred.

And in New York City, police officials are struggling to determine whether they should advise the public to take precautions against the Knockout Game — or whether in fact it existed.

“We’re trying to determine whether or not this is a real phenomenon,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Friday. “I mean, yes, something like this can happen. But we would like to have people come forward and give us any information they have.”

Still, a diverse set of local elected have come forward to denounce the attacks. As we’ve already reported, Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch and Councilman David Greenfield have condemned the attacks, as has Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Later today, Congressmembers Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke, District Attorney-elect Ken Thompson, and Borough President-elect Eric Adams will hold a press conference doing the same.

Reverend Al Sharpton is also urging his supporters to speak out against the attacks, and is organizing a media campaign.

“If someone was running around talking about knocking out blacks, we would not be silent,” Sharpton said, according to CBS. “We cannot be silent.”

Sharpton aims to kick off a celebrity-driven public service announcement campaign to denounce the attacks.

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.

Source: Glennschuck via twitter

A worker removing the graffiti (Source: Glennschuck via twitter)

A demented vandal defaced the Jackie Robinson statue outside of MCU Park (1904 Surf Avenue) with racial epithets and a swastika. The New York Daily News is reporting that the act of vandalism was discovered on Wednesday morning around 8:30 a.m.

The Daily News described horrible content scrawled on the statue:

Among the hate-filled messages written in black marker on the monument to Robinson and his Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese were: “Heil Hitler,” “Die n—-r,” “F–k n—-r” and “F–k Jackie Robinson.”

Cyclones official Billy Harner was rightfully aghast at the discovery of the hate infused garbage covering the monument to one of America’s greatest civil rights heroes.

“The statue is a symbol of tolerance. It’s an absolute tragedy that someone would deface it the way they did,” Harner told the Daily News.

While graffiti written on the bronze part of the statue was removed, workers are having trouble removing the black marker from the stone base.

Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. Meanwhile, according to a report, local politicians including Councilman David Greenfield, State Senator Eric Adams and City Council candidate Mark Treyger have offered a $1,500 cash reward for anyone who provides information that leads to a police arrest.

Greenfield, Adams and Treyger all expressed outrage over the continued rash of hate graffiti being scrawled across Southern Brooklyn.

“I am very concerned about the rise of hateful and anti-Semitic incidents here in Brooklyn and throughout New York City. The fact that a statue celebrating the historic friendship of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese was vandalized with anti-black and anti-Semitic graffiti makes this incident even more despicable. We must once again come together as a community and a city to send a clear message that this cowardly behavior will not be tolerated and that we will support the NYPD in bringing those responsible to justice,” Greenfield said.

“This action is not in the spirit of Brooklyn or in the spirit of Jackie Robinson or Pee Wee Reese. And to desecrate the statues that represent their memory and legacy is unforgivable. When the perpetrator(s) of this hate crime are caught — and I’m confident they will be, they should face the maximum penalty under the law,” said Senator Adams.

“The vandalism of the statue of civil rights icon and hero Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in the borough we are proud to call home, is a sad reminder that those who hate, hate indiscriminately. We cannot – and will not – be intimidated by such vile individuals. Everything that is great about Brooklyn, and New York City, comes from its diversity. For this to occur in Coney Island – a neighborhood known for its rich diversity – is particularly outrageous and despicable. Make no mistake, whoever committed this act of vandalism has committed a crime, and the District Attorney should prosecute this individual to the fullest extent of the law. We are offering a reward of $1,500 for any information leading to the arrest of those responsible,” said Treyger.

The New York Daily News has also put out a $10,000 cash reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the individual or individuals responsible for the crime.

Anyone with knowledge of the incident can also call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Source: mikealex / Flickr

Bensonhurst captured the bronze medal for most speeding tickets issued in all of Brooklyn, according to a report by the New York Daily News.

The 62nd Precinct issued 182 speeding tickets this past year, good for third most in the borough.

Overall, combined with tickets handed out by highway cops, about 15,000 speeding tickets were issued in Brooklyn this past year, far fewer than the 43,920 tickets issued for talking on cell phones or the 37,010 tickets issued for illegally tinted windows.

The tracking of speeding tickets has become a hot-button issue in recent months as multiple hit-and-run tragedies have dominated headlines across the city. As we’ve previously reported, State Senator Marty Golden has been at the forefront of trying to stiffen penalties for reckless drivers, and more local politicians are following his lead.

“This data shows that Brooklyn needs more resources and clearer enforcement goals to deal effectively with dangerous drivers,” said state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Crown Heights), a former police captain and frontrunner to become Brooklyn’s next borough president. “Until these speedsters know that they’ll be caught and harshly prosecuted for their reckless behavior, they will continue to put lives at risk on our streets day-in and day-out.”

To fight speeders, officials and lawmakers have begun pushing for a program that would install speed enforcement cameras.

According to the Daily News, NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Republican Temporary President and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Senator Jeff Klein all sent nearly identical letters to Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for installation of the cameras.

“Motorists know that there will never be a sufficient number of police officers to catch everyone who violates the traffic laws,” Kelly wrote in a letter to Cuomo, “but the presence of speed cameras can create a strong deterrent effect, serving to reduce speeding and the collision and physical injury that it causes.”

Opponents of speed cameras point to the holes they create in law enforcement such as being able to tell if a driver is drunk, if a driver is unlicensed or if a motorist is carrying weapons while fleeing a crime scene.

Speed enforcement cameras are used in more than 120 cities across the country, but in some instances they’ve prompted lawsuits and efforts by state legislatures to ban them.

The City of Baltimore recently moved to replace its entire network of speed enforcement cameras after an investigation found numerous errors in their speed readings.

A 2011 study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety credited speed enforcement cameras with reducing fatal crashes by 24% in 14 large cities where they were used.

Here is a full breakdown of the tickets issued last year, courtesy of the Daily News via the NYPD:

Top five speeding ticket precincts

94th Precinct (Greenpoint) – 555

61st Precinct (Sheepshead Bay) – 198

62nd Precinct (Bensonhurst) – 182

79th Precinct (Bed-Stuy) – 180

60th Precinct (Coney Island) – 173

Bottom five speeding ticket precincts

83rd Precinct (Bushwick) – 8

67th Precinct (East Flatbush) – 45

88th Precinct (Clinton Hill/Fort Greene) — 46

84th Precinct (Brooklyn Heights) — 48

68th Precinct (Bay Ridge) – 63

Top Brooklyn tickets

Cell phone – 43,920

Safety belt – 37,010

Disobey sign – 29,889

Tinted windows -28,815

Uninsured – 18,954

Brake lights – 9,981

Speeding – 2,873*

(Excluding the 13,535 tickets issued by highway officers covering the borough and parts of Queens)

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