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Brooklyn Political Roundup, December 20: Donovan votes no on tax bill, Harris blasts net neutrality repeal

December 20, 2017 By Paula Katinas & John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember Pamela Harris. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

In Public Service, From The Political Staff Of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Treyger bill would put social workers in precincts

Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) has introduced a bill that would mandate that a social worker be assigned to wok in every police precinct in the city.

Treyger, who pointed out that the city has social workers at schools and hospitals, said the social workers at precincts could offer assistance with cases involving immigration, gender and identity status, child care and the procurement of medical care.

As a result, cops also have more time to focus on matters of law enforcement rather than dealing with bureaucratic issues, he said.

“My legislation will place a licensed social worker in every police precinct at all times to ensure that these needs do not go unmet, allowing our men and women in uniform to focus on keeping our city safe. We already have social workers in our schools and hospitals; police precincts are a similar front-line service area. Stationing social workers at precincts is a common-sense move that benefits New Yorkers and our police officers,” Treyger said.

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Parker, Harris blast FCC vote to revoke net neutrality

State Sen. Kevin Parker and Assemblymember Pamela Harris both had strong opinions in the recent vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to get rid of net neutrality.

Parker (D-Flatbush-Ditmas Park-Midwood), the ranking member on the Senate’s Energy and Telecommunication Committee, said he was “totally dismayed” by FCC’s move. “By doing away with net neutrality, not only has the FCC done the bidding of big business and the rich, but also armed them with the capability of blocking free speech entirely or promoting the speech of people depending on their ability to pay or if they like what an individual has to say,” he said in a statement.

But Parker added that he’s ready to fight back.

“Therefore this week, I will introduce a bill in the state Senate that will protect the millions of internet users, artists, entrepreneurs and small businesses alike, that the FCC has now abandoned by making it legal for Internet Service Providers (ISP) to charge and regulate broadband speed and other internet services,” he stated.

Harris (D-Coney Island-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights) charged that FCC ignored “the millions of comments urging them to protect net neutrality and instead voted to allow internet service providers (ISPs) to section off the internet, throttle speeds as they see fit and determine how you use the internet.”

It would have been better to leave the Obama-era net neutrality rule in place, according to Harris.

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Donovan bucks GOP, votes ‘No’ on tax-cut bill 

Saying he “wanted nothing more than to vote for a tax plan that would put more money in the pockets of overburdened taxpayers and spur job creation,” U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, the only Republican in New York City’s congressional delegation, bucked his party and voted against the Republican-led tax cut bill on Tuesday.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed the House by a vote of 227-203. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of and the measure was sent to President Donald Trump’s desk to sign into law.

Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) charged that final version of the bill will bring a tax increase to many of his constituents. “My priority always has and will continue to be the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn who sent me to Congress to represent them. Their interests come before Washington, always,” he said in a statement. 

“With the state and local tax deduction nearly eliminated, this tax bill doesn’t equal relief for far too many New Yorkers. New York is a high-tax state, and this legislation should serve as a wakeup call to politicians who have been taxing and spending with little regard for the taxpayer. But that still doesn’t make it right to penalize people even more,” Donovan stated.

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Schumer says bomb-detecting technology needed in NYC 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has developed technology that can detect strapped-to-the-body explosive devices before they detonate. And he is pushing for the technology to be brought to New York City to be tested and put into use. 

“The fact that we have this new, potentially life-saving technology at our fingertips, an ability to detect concealed explosives worn by cowards looking to do us harm, demands the federal government put both the testing and the perfecting of this technology on the fast track. We not only want these devices in America’s busiest cities, like New York, but we need them here,” said Schumer. 

Schumer urged TSA to bring the bomb-detecting devices to New York City so that they can be test them in subways, commuters rail lines and at airports “and, if they work as well as touted, pursue an expedited seal of approval that gives all of us another layer of security to fend off would be lone wolf terror.”

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Greenfield offers tax reminder to nonprofits

Councilmember David Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst), who leaves office at the end of the month, issued a reminder to nonprofits in his district, including yeshivas and shuls, to renew their tax exempt status to avoid being issued tax bills in 2018. 

The deadline for nonprofits to file for exemption for the upcoming tax year is Wednesday, Dec. 27.

“Tax law is difficult, especially for small charities and nonprofits. But this part is simple: Every nonprofit that owns property needs to renew their text exempt status, and they need to do it as soon as possible,” he said in a statement. 

At one time, the city allowed for uninterrupted tax-exempt status, but not anymore. Greenfield has worked with nonprofits that missed the tax exemption deadline, helping them to negotiate with the Department of Finance. But it can be a time-consuming process that can cost thousands of dollars in late fees, he said. 

For more information, visit http://www1.nyc.gov/site/finance/benefits/benefits-not-for-profit-organizations.page.

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Lentol: End of year brings minimum wage hike

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D- North Brooklyn) says the New Year will bring an increase in the minimum wage in New York.

On Dec. 31, the minimum wage in New York City will increase to $13. For workers employed by small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, the rate will increase to $12. And workers will continue to see minimum wage increases for the next few years.

“New York state is home to some of the hardest workers, and they should not struggle because the minimum wage has not kept up with the rising cost of living. It is time that New Yorkers are fairly compensated for their work,” Lentol said.

Lentol predicted that the minimum wage hike will contribute to the health of state and local economies. Lentol said North Brooklyn district is home to many small businesses that will be positively impacted by legislation raising the minimum wage. Workers will have more money in their pockets to buy goods and services, which in turn will increase profits, he said.

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Brannan boots transition team member for racist comments

City Councilmember-elect Justin Brannan didn’t waste any time firing a member of his transition team for making vulgar and offensive comments on social media.

Bensonhurst Chinese-American community leader Warren Chan posted racist comments on Facebook as part of a thread discussing the Alabama election turnout during the controversial battle between incumbent U.S. Sen. Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones.

Chan was fired shortly after the incident.

A number of women had accused Moore of sexual misconduct, with some claiming they were underage at the time of the alleged abuse. Moore denied the allegations, but Jones won the race becoming the first Democrat to be elected to the Senate from Alabama in 25 years.

“I don’t understand why so many politically connected Chinese people like to suck black c–k,” Chan wrote on Facebook, in response to a social media thread from Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou regarding the demographics of voters in the Alabama Senate race. The comments were first reported on the website Kings County Politics.

Former Republican City Council candidate Liam McCabe, whom Kings County Politics called a Facebook friend of Niou, posted his own response calling on Brannan to “rebuke this racist remark and take Mr. Chan off of the ‘transition team.’”

The next morning Brannan removed Chan from his team, calling Chan’s comments both “reprehensible and vile.”

According to Kings County Politics, Chan confirmed the Facebook posts as his own and offered an apology for anyone offended by his comments, adding, “I want to re-emphasize the social media post is my opinion and statement only.” He said that he would issue a further statement in the weeks ahead.

Brannan was elected in November to take over the 43rd Council District seat (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) currently held by Vincent Gentile.

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Carroll addresses members of the Bangladeshi community

Earlier this week, Assemblymember Robert Carroll (joined more than 100 members of the Bangladeshi community in his district for a discussion about the Port Authority incident and its aftermath. 

The isolated attempted terrorist attack involved an explosion in a walkway below authority Bus Terminal. Suspect Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi man who lives in the Flatlands, reportedly set off the pipe bomb that injured five individuals.

At the meeting, we all agreed that the individual who committed this act deserves our condemnation and punishment,” Carroll said. “We had a wide ranging conversation about making sure that Bangladeshi and Muslim New Yorkers are not maligned because of the acts of this one individual and that as community we stand together against any form of violence and hatred.”

Carroll, who represents Borough Park, Ditmas Park, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Park Slope, Victorian Flatbush and Windsor Terrace, said that he is proud to serve the largest Bangladeshi population in the borough, and one of the largest Muslim populations.

“I know many of the men, women and children of this community and they, like all of my other constituents, condemn this act and wish only to live in a city that affords all of us safety and prosperity,” he said.

Carroll commended the police officers and first responders who appeared on the scene immediately and were able to mitigate the situation quickly.

“I am thankful that only a few New Yorkers were injured and that those injuries were not life threatening. I hope that we take this moment and remain vigilant that these actions will not divide us, make us change our lives, nor encourage us to embrace cynicism so that all New Yorkers can be proud to share this community,” Carroll added. 

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