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Archive for the tag 'william colton'

The following is a press release from the offices of the Community Education Council of District 21:

Last Thursday’s announcement regarding the continuance of charter co-locations at I.S. 96, Seth Low, and I.S. 281, Joseph B. Cavallaro, is a major setback for our community.  There was such hope that Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina would finally listen to the voices of parents and community members.  Many of us now feel only disappointment and frustration. In the fall of 2013, the Community Education Council District 21 passed two resolutions opposing both co-locations, we have rallied, gone to both PEP meetings and still our voices were not heard.  2014 had such potential for parents and yet again, we have been pushed to the side.  We have been given a promise that they will do things better in the future.  What about the children and their families that are already attending I.S. 96 Seth Low, and I.S. 281, Joseph B. Cavallaro, don’t they count too?  I understand that they based their decisions on families that applied for seats for September 2014 and the deadline was coming.  Our children’s educations should not be about deadlines.  We provide excellent educational opportunities for all children in this district and have seats in our traditional public schools for the children who have applied.  More time should have been taken to visit and speak to schools, families, and community members regarding the co-locations. There is no need to rush putting two more elementary schools in our district. We have and always will supply a high quality education for every child in our district’s traditional public schools.   Mayor de Blasio’s plan is to provide full day, high quality Pre-K programs to 53,000 students in 2014. With two elementary Charter school co-locations opening in 2014 in our district, what middle school space can the Chancellor guarantee will be available for these students in the future?

It’s time to come together once again as a community! Let our voices be heard loud and clear “We say NO to the co-locations decisions on I.S. 96 and I.S. 281, Joseph B. Cavallaro”. The Community Education Council District 21 calls on Chancellor Farina and Mayor de Blasio to reverse the decision to implement co-location plan for I.S.96, Seth Low and I.S. 281, Joseph B. Cavallaro.

The Community Education council of District 20 & 21 invites all community members to join them at I.S. 96 Seth Low to Rally on Friday, March 7, 2014 at 2:30 PM.

Seth Low JHS will be the site of a rally against the proposed co-locations on Friday. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last Thursday that he will allow 36 public and charter schools to move into existing schools while giving the boot to other charter school co-location plans, prompting outrage from politicians and education advocates in Southern Brooklyn.

“I am very disappointed because the decision to co-locate Coney Island Prep with I.S. 281 does not square with the facts as we presented,” Councilman Vincent Gentile said in a press release that was cosigned by fellow councilmen David Greenfield and Mark Treyger. “I’ve said repeatedly that Cavallaro is already busting at the seams and there is no need for an elementary school in this area.”

Among the schools that de Blasio to see co-locations are Coney Island Prep (the charter school) with Cavallaro Intermediate School I.S. 281, and Success Academy Charter School with Seth Low Intermediate School I.S. 96.

The initiative to co-locate public schools with charter schools was created during the Bloomberg administration and according to the press release cosigned by the councilmen, many were hopeful that the co-locations would be reversed.

“Many of us who are part of the public school system were hopeful that with a new administration, we’d see a real, meaningful change that responded to the needs of the community. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, as both I.S. 96 and I.S. 281 are still slated for charter co-locations in September 2014,” members of  Community Education Council District 20 said in a statement.

Besides the harsh words, the education council announced that they will be holding a rally this Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Seth Low I.S. 96 (99 Avenue P) in an attempt to pressure the de Blasio administration to reverse their decision. If the co-location goes through, critics argue,  schools that already have a large student body will be forced to take on more students from the charter schools, resulting in overpopulation.

“I am extremely disappointed in the decision to allow the co-location of a charter school at I.S. 96 (the Seth Low School) that our district does not need or want,” Greenfield writes in the press release. “This co-location will come at the expense of the school’s dedicated staff and hard-working students. . . This proposal does not take into account the students’ needs or the impact this will clearly have on this important school.”

Joining the ranks of critics is Assemblyman William Colton – his area covers parts of Gravesend and Bath Beach – who calls for Cavallaro Intermediate School I.S. 281 and Seth Low I.S. 96 to not co-locate with charter schools. In a press release, he said he is “extremely disappointed that Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Farina did not reverse the decisions” to co-locate the two schools in Southern Brooklyn.

For his part, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz  is commending Mayor de Blasio and Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Farina for withdrawing the co-location plan for John Dewey High School (50 Avenue X), one of the nine locations the de Blasio administration offered a reprieve. Critics of charter schools want every school’s co-location to be withdrawn.

“I intend to work with my colleagues to fight this decision tooth and nail,” Greenfield said in the press release.

Correction: The original version of this article mistakenly identified the charter school to be co-located with I.S 96 Seth Low. The correct name of the charter school is Success Academy Charter School, and the post has been amended. We regret any confusion this may have caused.


Store manager Tom Valerakis with Assemblyman William Colton.

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton. We might have done an original article on it, but no one offered us any cake.

On Saturday Februrary 15, Assemblyman William Colton (D-Brooklyn, New York) attended the 110th anniversary celebration of Waldbaum’s Supermarket at one of the chain’s local stores, located at 83rd Street and 18th Avenue in Bensonurst.

While the Waldbaum’s company celebrated 110 years of serving quality products at inexpensive prices, the local supermarket on 18th Avenue, which is officially store #296, has been serving the neighborhood for over thirty years.  The store also employs dozens of local residents.

Assemblyman Colton celebrated the anniversary with store manager Tom Valerakis. Colton cut the anniversary cake at the celebration, and the cake was then given out to customers with cups of apple juice.

At the celebration, the Assemblyman stressed, “Neighborhood supermarkets are a vital part of our community in that they employ neighborhood people and provide affordable shopping for neighborhood families, especially seniors. Local supermarkets are at the heart of our communities, providing services and products familes need at prices which are inexpensive. It is important that we recognize our neighborhood businesses and their hardworking employees.”

Source: alancleaver_2000/Flickr

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

Every year, too many working families miss out on thousands of dollars in tax savings because they fail to claim several federal and state tax credits that are available to them. These tax credits, along with the lowest state income tax rates in over 60 years, are intended to provide southwestern Brooklyn families with much-needed tax relief.

Current tax credit programs you may qualify for include:

  • the Empire State Child Credit, a refundable tax credit worth up to $330 per child for ages 4-16;
  • the Child and Dependent Care Credit, a tax credit for working parents who pay for child care based on a sliding scale depending on income and the number of dependents;
  • the federal Child Tax Credit, a partially refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 per child;
  • the Real Property Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit worth up to $375 for eligible homeowners and renters; and
  • the New York City School Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit of up to $125 for qualifying taxpayers.

In addition to those tax credits, you may also be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Created to offset Social Security taxes, the EITCs on the federal, state and city level can reduce your tax burden and keep more money in your pocket – in fact, it could total up to $8,159 in savings. This often overlooked tax break can go a long way toward helping working families cover day-to-day expenses and save for the future.

To qualify for the New York State and federal EITC, you must:

  • have worked full or part time at some point during the calendar year;
  • be a single or married person raising qualifying children at home;
  • have income below $37,870 ($43,210 if married) with one child;
  • have income below $43,038 ($48,378 if married) with two children;
  • have income below $46,227 ($51,567 if married) with three or more children; or
  • be a worker between the ages of 25 and 65, earning less than $14,340 ($19,680 if married) with no children.

To be eligible for the New York City EITC, in addition to the above requirements, you must be a resident of New York City, for a part of the year or the entire year, claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and file a New York State income tax return.

Tax season can be a stressful time of the year. However, tax preparation assistance is available for individuals and families who earn $52,000 or less and need assistance preparing their taxes. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers low- to moderate-income families free tax preparation services, done by committed IRS-certified volunteers. Another resource, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program, helps people age 60 and older with their tax returns at no cost. To find the nearest VITA or TCE site,, or call 800-906-9887.

I urge all families to see what tax credits they are eligible for. If you’d like to learn more about the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit, visit the IRS website at

For information or questions on New York State taxes, the state EITC and New York City tax credits, visit New York City residents may also visit for additional assistance.

As always, please feel free to contact my community office with any questions on tax credits or other community issues at 718-236-1598 or at

Photo Courtesy Of Justin Brannan

Photo Courtesy Of Justin Brannan

State Senator Marty Golden and Republican City Council candidate John Quaglione are renewing their calls for a restoration of weekend bus service on the X28 line from Bath Beach to Manhattan.

The duo sent a letter, along with “hundreds of petitions,” to the MTA calling for a full restoration of weekend service on the line, according to a press release issued yesterday.

“I vowed to help fight for this service to return, and that is why I, along with Senator Golden, visited many of the bus stops along the route on weekday mornings, to garner support for our petition efforts.  This would be a great victory for the community and a quality of life improvement for all,” Quaglione, who is also an aide to Golden, said in the press release.

“I am proud to be working with John and strongly support efforts to restore the X 28 weekend express bus service. So many people depended on this service at the time of its elimination and it is time to revive this service. There is a real need in the community to have this service restored, and I look forward to continued support from the community in the fight to bring this bus back,” said Golden.

Weekend service on the line was terminated as part of the June 2010 service cuts, with the MTA saying that the low ridership on the line did not justify the expense. When the MTA restored several bus lines in January of this year, the X28 was not on the list, despite outcry from the community.

Quaglione launched the petition drive in September, echoing a similar initiative by a coalition led by Assemblyman William Colton and Councilman Vincent Gentile. Although the elected officials are united in their request to restore service, they are working independently.

In June, the MTA told Bensonhurst Bean that there remains insufficient demand for the line, and they consider the Bensonhurst and Bath Beach portions redundant, given that commuters are also serviced by the D subway line. They said restoration is unlikely.

“The weekend X28 route had low ridership (760 customers) and duplicated D subway service,” MTA spokesperson Deirdre Parker wrote in an email to Bensonhurst Bean. “Many other former X28 customers have started using the DFNQ subways on weekends, in some cases transferring from local buses.”

Overall, though, the service is just too expensive to restore when riders have other options.

“On a cost per passenger basis, express bus service is far more costly to operate than either local bus service or subway service,” Parker noted.

Source: Facebook

New York City Council Candidate Mark Treyger (right) (Source: Facebook)

Democratic City Council Candidate Mark Treyger’s name in politics is on the rise, as City & State added him to their exclusive “40 Under 40″ list of New Yorkers worth watching.

The 31-year-old Treyger, who recently secured the Democratic nomination for the 47th Council District, praised Assemblyman William Colton as his political mentor:

“[Colton] stressed to me that public service begins with an honest desire to help people,” Treyger said. “He said, ‘If you’re in this field because you want to help people and do the right thing, this is a field you can grow in; if you’re in this field because you want to see your name on a poster or make money, it’s better off if you go into the private sector.’ ”

Treyger also stressed that his priority is to help rebuild Coney Island for families devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

“So when people always said, ‘Coney Island is back’, I would say, ‘Coney Island isn’t back until the families are back,’ ” Treyger told City & State.

Treyger’s in good company. Bensonhurst Bean’s editor and publisher, Ned Berke, received the same honor in 2012.

(source: Michael Appleton for NY Times)

Mayoral candidate John Liu (Source: Michael Appleton for NY Times).

Queens-based Comptroller John Liu has gained the support of prominent Southern Brooklyn Democrats in his bid to for mayor. Politicker is reporting that demographics and Liu’s popularity among Asian communities in Southern Brooklyn have led to endorsements, despite Liu’s flagging campaign.

Liu’s campaign for mayor is not going so great, with most polls placing him in fifth place. Despite the long odds, Liu is enjoying the support of Assembylmen William Colton and Peter Abbate and prominent City Council candidates Mark Treyger and Ari Kagan. Politicker described the ringing endorsements expressed by Colton at a recent event:

“When you listen to the people, when you listen in the schools, when you listen in the senior centers, when you listen in the houses, you find you hear something very different than what these polls are saying,” boomed Assemblyman Bill Colton yesterday at a small Bensonhurst park, as Mr. Liu, the comptroller, stood at his side. “Don’t listen to polls, don’t listen to the propaganda that is put forth by those who want to keep power for themselves.”

At the event, Mr. Colton and Mark Treyger, a former Colton staffer running for a Coney Island-based City Council seat with a mass of labor and official endorsements, both announced their support for Mr. Liu, who in turn backed Mr. Treyger.

In their remarks, Mr. Colton and Mr. Treyger cited their long-standing ties to Mr. Liu, whom they said, as a councilman, had lent his assistance to quell racially-motivated violence at a local school even though Mr. Liu served in Queens.

The endorsements of Colton, Abbate, Treyger and Kagan come as no surprise considering the strong and growing Asian presence in districts these politicians operate in. In August, we reported on a map, based on the latest census data, that color-coded Brooklyn based on race and ethnicity. Based on the map, the concentration of Asian community members in the 43rd, 47th and 48th districts are clearly strong.

district-census-overlay2Politicker broke down the numbers and explained the importance for Southern Brooklyn politicians in courting the Asian vote:

Mr. Abbate and Mr. Colton’s districts, roping in parts of Bensonhurst, are 51 and 32 percent Asian respectively, according to Census data. The district Mr. Treyger is seeking to represent is a quarter Asian. Even Mr. Kagan’s district, predominately Russian and Orthodox Jewish, has a 14 percent chunk of Asian voters.

“John Liu is enormously popular in Chinese-American and Asian neighborhoods. It is a community notoriously difficult to poll,” Michael Tobman, a consultant who works with Messers. Colton, Treyger and Kagan, told Politicker. Still, he stressed that personal ties had superseded political motivations in the cases of their endorsements. “Whatever the numbers are, they’re low.”

Liu dismissed the endorsements as being purely political.

“It’s because of these particular individuals I have worked with for a very long time,” Liu told Politicker.

Photo Courtesy Of Justin Brannan

Photo courtesy Of Justin Brannan

City Council Candidate John Quaglione has created a petition with State Senator Marty Golden aiming to convince the MTA to restore weekend x28 bus service in Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Dyker Heights. Quaglione wrote an editorial to various media outlets in an effort to help his petition gain steam.

Previously, we reported on a similar effort to bring back the x28 led by Assemblyman William Colton and Councilman Vincent Gentile. Despite these efforts, we reported that it was unlikely for the MTA to restore the x28. The MTA said there wasn’t enough demand for a return of the service, considering that a large portion of the x28′s ridership is handled by the D line. The MTA also noted that along the western stretch of the route, former X28 weekend passengers were also served by an X17 bus stop at 86th Street near the Gowanus Expressway, a stop created specifically to compensate for the loss of X28 service.

Quaglione is hoping that his petition changes the MTA’s thinking:

So far, more than 500 people have signed the petition who believe in this service restoration, and I hope many more will.

As time has gone on, since the MTA made the drastic cuts of 2010, much of the service that our community lost has been restored.  However, the X28 weekend service, that serves the residents of Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst has not, and the fight goes on. I know that Senator Golden and I will not rest until we see those buses again on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you would like to see the x28 bus service return, you can sign Quaglione’s petition by clicking here. Of course, the whole mess would probably be more effective if all the elected officials (and would-be elected officials) simply teamed up to get the job done. But, no, of course not…

Source: azipaybarah via flickr

Mayoral candidate Sal Albanese (Source: azipaybarah via flickr)

The proposed construction of the Gravesend Bay waste transfer station (1640 Shore Parkway) is becoming a local talking point for numerous candidates running for mayor. According to a press release, Democratic candidates Sal Albanese  and Erick Salgado, Green Party candidate Tony Gronowicz and Republican candidate John Catsimatidis all signed a pledge saying they would oppose the waste transfer station.

Last week, we reported that in a visit to the Santa Rosalia Feast on 18th Avenue, Catsimatidis expressed his opposition to station, joining the chorus of other local politicians like Assemblyman William Colton and City Council candidates Mark Treyger and John Quaglione. These politicians believe that dredging parts of Gravesend Bay could bring harmful toxic chemicals to the surface, buried from an incinerator that previously occupied the site.

While the petition, dubbed the Pledge To Stand With Southern Brooklyn, has thus far attracted the signatures of somewhat long-shot candidates for mayor, according to the release, more prominent figures in the mayoral campaign, including Democrats Bill Thompson, John Liu and Anthony Weiner have also suggested support of the goals of the petition. While not every major candidate has gotten behind the opposition to the proposed Gravesend Bay station, the release noted that opposition to the proposed East 91st Street station in Manhattan is robust, possibly leading to greater enthusiasm against the Gravesend Bay station in the future.

Colton expressed optimism that his cause against the proposed station would be heeded by more mayoral candidates:

“Some of the mayoral candidates have announced their opposition to this dangerous garbage station, which will hurt the quality of life of the people of our community in southern Brooklyn. We have also spoken to several other mayoral candidates who have not yet signed the Pledge To Stand With Southern Brooklyn, but who have expressed interest in joining our fight against this toxic garbage plan. I remain optimistic that more candidates will sign our pledge and protect the families of our neighborhoods.” Colton continued, “Southern Brooklyn has made their voice loud and clear: we do not want this dangerous garbage station built and operated along Gravesend Bay. The city could not have picked a worse location for this garbage facility, which was proven when the site was severely flooded by the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy. We will continue fighting against this dangerous garbage plan until we are successful.”

Quaglione speaking at the rally. (Source:

Republican City Council candidate John Quaglione is firing back at Assemblyman William Colton and Councilman Vincent Gentile, who last week condemned Quaglione for turning the Southwest Brooklyn Waste Transfer Station into a “political football.” Quaglione told Bensonhurst Bean that the two local pols are the ones playing politics.

Our report on Friday included an all-caps statement from the assemblyman, who denounced Quaglione for remarks he made during the rally that appeared to target his council opponent, incumbent Gentile. But Quaglione said he neither named Gentile nor was he speaking as a candidate; but, as a resident, he was slamming the 50 Council members who voted in favor of the project. However, since the duo raised the topic, he has no qualms pointing out Gentile’s vote or what he claims is Colton’s selective denouncement of partisanship.

Quaglione said that, although he was invited to the event, he was strictly barred from mentioning his candidacy, although the rule didn’t seem to apply to Democratic mayoral candidates.

“Colton invited me [to the rally] at National Night Out,” Quaglione said. “I wasn’t allowed to be introduced as a candidate, though the mayoral candidates were, but I spoke as a parent, who has family in Dyker Heights, who went to school in Bensonhurst, and I just came to speak my piece and now they’re calling it a political football and I’m getting attacked.”

Quaglione said “his piece” wasn’t an attack on Gentile, but rather a condemnation of the 2006 City Council vote to permit construction of the facility, a vote that was supported by all but one councilmember.

“Every Brooklyn City Council member voted for this proposal, except for Domenic Recchia. Remember that when you vote in November,” he said at the rally.

However, Quaglione singled out Gentile on his Facebook page, which is what Colton’s statement addressed.


Still, Quaglione notes that he wouldn’t be the first candidate at one of Colton’s rally to use the issue to attack an opponent.

“It’s funny because he’s saying that it’s a political football at this time. But almost a year ago to date, on your blog, there was a story about Andrew Gounardes and the waste transfer station and its relation to [State Senator] Marty Golden and how he wasn’t there. So there was politics at the rally last summer. For [Colton] to be raising concern now [saying] that it isn’t a political issue, which it’s not, is unfair,” Quaglione said.

Gounardes, a Democrat, ran to unseat Republican State Senator Marty Golden, for whom Quaglione works. Like Quaglione, Gounardes did not name his opponent.

“I also find it interesting that certain people in South Brooklyn have not joined us today,” Gounardes said in our recording of the event, at approximately 41:00. “Certain allies of the mayor and his administration, are not here uniting with the community to join us in this fight. Because they’d rather put politics ahead of community.”

It cannot be said at this time whether Gounardes named his opponent on social media or elsewhere in regards to the issue, but the perceived exception still has Quaglione crying foul.

On Gentile, though, he doubled down on his Facebook attacks in talking to us, claiming that Gentile’s change of heart didn’t come from revelations of new information, as Gentile claims, but rather on a change to his district lines.

“You don’t need much info to know that a waste transfer station is a bad thing in our neighborhood. Quite honestly, it’s going to destroy that whole portion of waterfront in terms of businesses and property values,” Quaglione said. “[Gentile] changed his mind? You know what the reality is? Vinnie Gentile didn’t represent Bath Beach back then. Now he’s running in that area and he sees this isn’t what they want. This is what it’s all about … If he’s had a change of heart, fine, but you can’t change your vote.”

Assemblyman Colton could not be reached for comment on this story, but will be updated if we hear back from him.

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