In Public Service – November 18, 2019

November 20, 2019 Paula Katinas
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Adams says Bloomberg apology the right move

Borough President Eric Adams, a former police captain, said former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s apology over the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy during his mayoralty was the right thing to do.

Adams, who sat down with Bloomberg prior to the former mayor’s public apology, said he appreciated the opportunity to speak with him. Bloomberg, who served as mayor from 2001 to 2013, had defended the policy for several years. He issued an apology on Nov. 17.

“Today, we reaffirm that stop-and-frisk is a lawful policing tool that was improperly abused in communities of color. An apology can never erase the humiliation and trauma that hundreds of thousands endured from abuses of stop-and-frisk. What it can do is provide a spark for greater healing along the long arc of history bending toward justice. Mayor Bloomberg’s apology moves in that direction, and I have further encouraged him to commit himself and his organization to the restorative justice and community engagement work needed both here and across our country,” Adams said.

Myrie to hold hearing on early voting

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, chairperson of the Senate’s Election Committee, has organized a joint hearing with the State Assembly on Nov. 20 to focus on the state’s new early voting system.

“The beginning of early voting marks a historic moment in New York. With this hearing, we have the opportunity to discuss what went right and what went wrong, ensuring that we are fully prepared for the most consequential election of our lifetime in November 2020,” said Myrie, a Democrat representing Crown Heights and parts of Park Slope and Sunset Park.

Myrie is organizing the hearing, which will take place in Manhattan, with Assemblymember Charles Lavine, chairperson of the Assembly Election Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said early voting will empower New Yorkers. “We have a responsibility to empower more eligible New York voters to have their voices heard in the halls of power and the rollout of early voting helped demonstrate how we can achieve that goal,” she said.

Levin responds to de Blasio homeless outreach

Councilmember Stephen Levin, chairperson of the General Welfare Committee, spoke out on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new initiative, Outreach NYC, a program designed to help homeless New Yorkers. 

“The de Blasio administration’s newly announced Outreach NYC program, which will train thousands of NYC agency staff to call 311 to report when they see a homeless individual and hire additional outreach workers, while well-intentioned, is not the solution we need to really make an impact on reducing the number of people sleeping on the street and in the subways,” said Levin, a Democrat representing Greenpoint, DUMBO and Downtown Brooklyn.

“The calls I get from constituents who live on the street are not concerns about talking to enough outreach workers. It’s that interactions with outreach staff can often be frustrating because they’re not able to provide what the person needs,” Levin said.

Lentol pushes for community mental health clinics

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol he has introduced a bill to establish mental health community clinics across New York State. The clinics will be set up to focus on issues like eating disorders, substance abuse, suicide prevention, anger management and depression. 

“We must treat mental health as comprehensively as we do physical health,” said Lentol, a Democrat representing North Brooklyn. “Expanding access to mental health services is not only the right thing to do, but it is a public health emergency. New York State must provide comprehensive and accessible means of mental health treatment for those who need it.”

Lentol’s bill would mandate that the New York State Department of Health create statewide integrated mental health community clinics in order to expand access to mental health treatment services so those who need it so that they can access it in their own communities.

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