Brooklyn Political Roundup, March 28: Nixon visits NYCHA in Crown Heights with Adams
In Public Service, From The Political Staff Of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nixon visits NYCHA in Crown Heights with Adams
Democrat Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary, accepted an invitation from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to tenants at the New York City Housing Authority’s Albany Houses in Crown Heights yesterday morning.
Adams had reached out to Nixon on Twitter days earlier, inviting her to come with him to a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) development “to hear directly from tenants who’ve lived through years of government neglect, caught in the endless back-and-forth between Albany lawmakers.”
There are 99 public housing developments in Brooklyn, according to Adams, who said the developments contain more than 58,000 apartments.
Nixon declared her candidacy for governor on March 21. The NYCHA visit might be the first of many visits Nixon will pay in Kings County. She also accepted an invitation from Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red-Hook) to visit his district to talk to immigrants. – PK
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Golden fires aide over Facebook post
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) fired a longtime aide in the wake of a controversy that erupted because of the staff member’s posting on Facebook.
Anthony Testaverde, who worked for Golden for more than 10 years, shared a post on his personal Facebook page featuring a photo of Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor David Hogg with his arm raised next to a photo of Adolf Hitler giving a Nazi salute. The two pictures were featured under a headline reading, “I knew something was off about this kid.”
The juxtaposition of the two photos, coupled with the headline, made it appear to many observers as if Hogg was being compared to Hitler.
Democrats expressed outrage and demanded that Golden fire Testaverde.
On Tuesday, Golden issued a statement confirming that he had let his aide go.
“Anthony Testaverde is no longer employed by my office. While freedom of speech is a right, that all citizens enjoy, what occurred in this instance was wrong and cannot be tolerated,” Golden said in the statement.
Golden is running for re-election in November. The two Democrats running against Golden issued statements following Testaverde’s dismissal.
“The Marty Golden staffer who shared the vile memes comparing a survivor of the Parkland shooting and gun control advocates to Nazis has been fired. I am glad, for once, common sense prevailed,” stated Ross Barkan.
Andrew Gounardes called the firing “unequivocally the right thing to do,” and said he was pleased to see that Golden “heeded our call to terminate this employee for such reprehensible behavior.” – PK
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Levin urges passage of Child Victims Act
Councilmembers Stephen Levin (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg-DUMBO) and Helen Rosenthal (D-Upper West Side) introduced a resolution calling on the New York State Legislature to pass the Child Victims Act, a bill that would make it easier for adult survivors of child abuse to pursue legal action against their abusers.
The Child Victims Act would:
Eliminate the statute of limitations going forward.
Create a one-year window to allow survivors who are currently outside of the statute of limitations to bring civil litigation against the offender and the institution that enabled the abuse.
Eliminate the 90-day notice of claim currently required for civil actions against public institutions.
“It is difficult to imagine the burden victims of child abuse carry throughout their lives,” Levin said in a statement. “Beyond the trauma of the abuse itself, too many survivors are further burdened by being deprived the right to pursue justice in our courts. By the time many survivors are ready to confront their abusers, time has run out on the statute of limitations. This is unacceptable.”
The resolution is nonbinding, but Levin and Rosenthal said it is important for the City Council to take a stand. – PK
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Espinal hosts new nightlife mayor
Councilmember Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick-East New York), the architect of the city’s updated Cabaret Law, welcomed Ariel Palitz, the new nightlife mayor, to Bushwick on Monday for a tour during which the two talked to club owners.
Following the tour, Espinal and Palitz held a panel discussion with nightlife advocates, artists and local residents.
Palitz’s position as nightlife mayor was created earlier this year by Mayor Bill de Blasio in the wake of legislation crafted by Espinal, chairman of the council’s Consumer Affairs Committee, to overhaul the city’s nightlife regulations. There is now an Office of Nightlife as well as a 12-member Nightlife Advisory Board to oversee the city’s vibrant neighborhood entertainment scene.
Palitz’s duties include regulating the nightlife industry, assisting small, do-it-yourself clubs, reviewing 311 complaint calls and holding public hearings.
Her visit to Bushwick was part of a listening tour she will be conducting throughout the five boroughs. – PK
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Cumbo, Mosley host teen job fair
Councilmember Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene-Clinton Hill) and Assemblymember Walter Mosley (D-Prospect Heights-Fort Greene-Clinton Hill) recently welcomed more than 200 students to a Summer Youth Resource Fair the lawmakers presented along with community organizations.
The fair, which took place at the University Settlement Ingersoll Community Center, was designed to inform young people in Brooklyn about summer jobs, internships and summer camps that will be available this year.
“Disconnected youth are often at a higher risk of dropping out of school, unemployment, incarceration and gang recruitment. The fair provides expert counseling on a one-on-one basis with representatives from various organizations to help participants identify a pathway to immeasurable opportunities for personal, academic, and professional advancement to improve their quality of life,” said Cumbo, who is the council’s majority leader.
The event helped young people in many ways, according to Mosley.
“There are so many internship programs and jobs available to youth over the summer, and this resource fair will not only help people find a job, but can give our community members the skills they need to begin a long and fruitful career,” he said.
State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Fort Greene-Boerum Hill-Red Hook) said teenagers need a helping hand.
“It is more important than ever to provide our youth with positive outlets of expression, especially when school is out for the summer. All levels of government need to do more to invest in our children and support opportunities for them to succeed,” she said in a statement. – PK
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Brannan: Recent storms underscore risks of overhead power lines
Citing snowstorm and safety concerns, City Councilmember Justin Brannan wants all overhead power lines in Dyker Heights to be moved underground. He pledged to support infrastructure improvements across the district and will work with local merchant groups and community leaders who have also been calling for this effort for a long time.
“The heavy snow [last week] should serve as a reminder that we need to take action to protect our power lines,” Brannan said. “It’s now over five years since Superstorm Sandy and city infrastructure is still lacking, leaving us vulnerable to powerful storms.
“Moving the power lines underground is a common sense move that will save us time and energy and limit the potential for trees and powerful winds from knocking out power. Additionally, downed wires are a safety risk for residents and emergency responders. It’s time we get serious about preparing our neighborhood for major storms.”
To illustrate his point, Brannan cited an incident that occurred last August when a mother and daughter in Dyker Heights were shocked as a result of downed wires.
“We need to start prioritizing solutions to solve problems like this,” Brannan said. “While most of New York City uses underground power lines, Dyker Heights and other parts of Brooklyn shouldn’t get left in the dark during bad weather. It’s 2018 and its time that 100 percent of New York City has underground power lines.” – JA
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New legislation would hold drug dealers accountable for overdose deaths
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) announced last Thursday that the New York State Senate has passed “Laree’s Law” to strengthen enforcement and combat growing drug abuse. The bill, co-sponsored by Golden, would allow law enforcement officials to charge a drug dealer with homicide if a death results from the sale of heroin or an opiate controlled substance.
“New York state continues to be a leader in increasing drug prevention and education efforts, making treatment more accessible in every community and ensuring strong support services for those in recovery,” Golden said.
“However, we need to tackle the heroin epidemic from all sides and that includes properly punishing the big business dealers that are bringing this poison into our communities. They will continue to prey on our most vulnerable until there is a punishment that properly fits the crime.”
Currently, a person who provides an illicit drug that results in the death of a user can typically only be charged with the criminal sale of a controlled substance. As a result, those involved in the illicit drug trade can escape prosecution for the death they caused.
Laree’s Law is named in honor of Laree Farrell Lincoln, an Albany County teenager who died of a heroin overdose in 2013 and whose mother, Patty Farrell, has been a strong advocate for holding drug dealers accountable for the true cost of their crimes. – JA
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Malliotakis: City shouldn’t move forward with drug injection sites
Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis has strongly opposed to the establishment of supervised injection sites for heroin and other drug users. She is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to outright reject the idea. Malliotakis was responding to New York Health Commissioner Mary Bassett’s testimony last week in front of the City Council calling for the establishment of drug injection sites.
Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island), who has been vocal about ways to address the growing opioid use and overdose rates in her district, was outraged at the health officials’ suggestions.
“Providing addicts with a place to inject and feed their drug dependency instead of a place to recover and overcome their addiction is patently irresponsible and completely misses the mark in solving the opioid epidemic,” Malliotakis said. “City officials need to stop and ponder what kind of message such a facility will send to our community and its children.”
Malliotakis believes that the City should instead be more proactive by expanding drug education and increase the number of beds for long-term rehabilitation.
“Just like I don’t believe hardened drug dealers should be mingling with addicts in treatment centers, I don’t believe taxpayer funded injection sites are needed in communities that are attempting to fight an epidemic,” Malliotakis added. “Give us community centers, senior centers and after-school programs, not a heroin center.” – JA
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In a previous In Public Service column, we incorrectly reported that Councilmember Mathieu Eugene sponsored a Participatory Budgeting training session.
The training sessions are sponsored and organized by the nonprofit organization Participatory Budgeting Project with funding provided by City Councilmembers Brad Lander and Carlos Menchaca.
The Eagle regrets the error.
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