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Brooklyn Political Roundup, February 21: Kavanagh to Florida students, we support you

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

February 21, 2018 By Paula Katinas & John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Brian Kavanagh. Photo courtesy of Sen. Brian Kavanagh’s office
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Kavanagh to Florida Students: We Support You

In response to students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School speaking out against gun violence after a gunman shot 17 people to death inside their school, state Sen. Brian Kavanagh (D-Brooklyn Waterfront-Lower Manhattan) had a message of support for the teens.

“Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and students across the country are standing up, saying that enough is enough and demanding that their elected representatives take action to stop gun violence. The students’ courageous activism during a time of immense grief is incredibly inspiring, and I want them to know that state legislators across the country share their sense of urgency,” said Kavanagh, who is the chairman of the American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention.

Kavanagh said there are many steps legislatures across the country could take. He called for enhanced background checks on gun buyers, protection orders to keep guns out of the hands of people likely to harm others and community-based intervention programs. – PK

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Nadler demands action against gun violence

In the wake of the massacre in Parkland, Florida, Congress should take action to curb gun violence, according to U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Upper West Side, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst), who spoke about the tragedy on the House floor the day after it took place.

“Before we discuss the bill before us today, I want to address the horrific school shooting in Florida yesterday. We mourn the deaths of those shot and killed, and we support those who were injured and the families of the victims, but we must also do more to prevent future shootings in our schools and on our streets. There have been 18 school shootings in this country so far this year, and it is only February. We cannot allow this to continue,” Nadler said.

“Congress did nothing after Columbine 20 years ago and nothing after Sandy Hook five years ago. Inaction is unacceptable, and moments of silence are completely inadequate. Our citizens demand that we act without delay,” Nadler added. – PK

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Felder: My bills would increase safety

State Sen. Simcha Felder is also speaking out in the wake of the Parkland school shooting.

“I am sickened as I write these words, but how long can we stay silent? We wait for emotion to die down, for public attention to focus elsewhere, and then we wait for the next horrible, unspeakable tragedy; children and teachers massacred at school,” said Felder (D-Borough Park-Midwood), who issued a statement the day after the shooting.

Felder said two pieces of legislation he sponsored deserve a second look.

“Yesterday’s tragedy, the 40th since 2000, highlights once again why we need to take a cold, hard look at my two bills, languishing in Albany, that would safeguard our schools and protect our children,” he said.

One bill would require that the entrance of every school be manned by a trained, armed police officer. The second bill would mandate that all schools conduct emergency response drills to prepare for all situations, including situations involving active shooters. – PK

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Adams praises efforts to create artist workspaces

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who issued a report two years ago on the need for the city to create affordable spaces for artists to work in, said he is pleased to see that the city is taking steps in that direction.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCLA) have started the process of assessing how affordable workspaces can be created.

“I applaud DCLA and NYCEDC for launching a citywide assessment on the need for affordable artist workspace through CreateNYC. This initiative follows a report my administration compiled in 2016 recommending the use of the ULURP process to secure affordable cultural and studio spaces for artisans and artists,” Adams said, referring to the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

It’s good policy for Brooklyn to help artists, according to Adams.

“Workspaces are often costly and out of reach for many artists just starting out in their careers or working to climb onto the next ladder of their careers. These spaces will undoubtedly serve to be new homes for talent across the borough, further cementing Brooklyn’s reputation as a cultural and entrepreneurial haven for the creative sector while helping to maintain neighborhood residency for artists who have invested years in making our communities more distinct and dynamic,” he said in a statement. – PK

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Treyger Bill Would Provide Free Diapers

Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) is pushing legislation that would require the city to provide free diapers to parents at domestic violence shelters, childcare centers and other city facilities.

Treyger said his bill is necessary because diapers are expensive and low-income families have trouble paying for them. The cost of diapers can especially be a hard on single parents, according to Treyger, who said studies have shown that mothers who struggle to afford diapers are more likely to suffer from depression.

On Feb. 22, Treyger is scheduled to join elected officials, high school students and advocates on the steps of City Hall to advocate for a public hearing for his bill. – PK

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Brannan meets with NYC Dept. of finance about property tax reform

On Tuesday, City Councilmember Justin Brannan met with the NYC Department of Finance to discuss what he termed “our labyrinthine property tax system.”

Brannan, a proponent of property tax reform, said that he was glad that the calls for reform have grown louder.

“This was something I campaigned on and a promise I intend to keep,” Brannan said in statement on Facebook. “Homeowners deserve a system that is clear, consistent and fair and that’s what my colleagues and I are fighting for!” – JA

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Carroll applauds Cuomo’s announced funding for early voting

Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope-Kensington) said he is pleased with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announced funding for early voting. According to Carroll, the early voting legislation proposed by the governor will require every county to offer residents access to at least one early voting poll site during the 12 days leading up to Election Day.

Voters will have at least eight hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends to cast early ballots. Counties must have one early voting poll site for every 50,000 residents and the bipartisan County Boards of Elections will determine the specific location of early voting polling places, subject to standards of accessibility and convenience. 

“I applaud the governor for his intention to fund early voting in the FY 2019 executive budget,” Carroll said.  “This piece of funding is needed to make early voting a reality in our state.  New York is one of only 13 states that does not offer early voting and because of that and other antiquated laws we have some of the worst voter participation in the nation.”

Carroll views early voting as a first step in modernizing our voting systems, but feels that there is so much more to do, “from allowing same day registration, no fault absentee voting, allowing for party enrollment changes to take place 10 days before an election and more.” – JA

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Golden responds to Mayor’s comments about smart scanners

With the recent tragedy that occurred in Florida this past week, state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) issued a statement in response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s comments on “The Brian Lehrer Show” regarding his efforts to have “smart scanners” funded in schools: 

“Earlier today, the mayor was specifically asked about the ideas of ‘smart’ scanners and law enforcement officers being deployed in all of our schools,” Golden said.  “The mayor pointed to a series of drills the city is going to implement in schools to educate students and teachers what to do in case of a threat-based attack.  He also noted the high-quality intelligence capacity of the NYPD.  After that, the mayor reminded listeners that there are 36,000 officers ready to be deployed in the case of an incident.”

Golden agreed with the mayor regarding the high-quality counterterrorism expertise and training of NYPD officers, however he disagreed with the mayor on the issues of “smart” scanners and law enforcement officials being deployed in every public school.  

“We have the technology available to prevent a tragedy,” Golden added. “Each student being educated in our schools deserves to be learning in an environment free from fear.  ‘Smart’ scanners and law enforcement in every school will go a long way in giving parents and students’ peace of mind.” – JA

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