Good Morning, Brooklyn: Monday, September 20, 2021
BILL TO STABILIZE COMMERCIAL RENTS: An unprecedented number of organizations and merchants showed up at a NYC Council Small Business Committee hearing to testify about the importance of commercial rent stabilization that many consider a long overdue reform. The hearing, which marked the first one that this Council has held on commercial rent stabilization, focused on Intro 1796, a bill that Brooklyn’s City Councilmember Stephen Levin (D-33) has sponsored to establish commercial rent stabilization in New York City.
This bill, with 23 co-sponsors in the council —and 12 of those signing on in the past few months — also has the growing support of community organizations, small businesses, and City Council members across New York City.
“ONLY ONE STEP OF MANY”: Several law enforcement and legal advocates have spoken out about the Less Is More Act, which Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law on Friday (see back page). Calling the new law “an important component of the decarceration strategy that is critical to alleviating the crisis conditions on Rikers,” NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said, (in part) “This is but only one step of the many that must be taken, and the pace of action is far too slow for the immediacy of this human rights disaster.
“We need the city to grant low-level offenders supervised release, and early and compassionate release options should be exercised,” Williams said.
‘IMMEDIATE IMPLEMENTATION’ ON NEW LAW: “Governor Hochul is taking a critical first step towards meaningful and safe decarceration by signing the Less Is More Act,” said Judge Jonathan Lippman, chair of the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and a former Chief Judge of the State of New York and Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. “We hope to see its immediate implementation to help address the dire situation at Rikers.”
Lippman added, “We also must continue to act swiftly and safely to close Rikers, which continues to be a shameful stain on our City.”
‘ANOTHER LIFE SPARED’: “People are suffering in New York City jails, and every single person freed from this escalating humanitarian crisis is another life spared,” Jackie Gosdigian, senior policy counsel at Brooklyn Defender Services, said in a statement on Friday. “Hundreds of New Yorkers jailed at Rikers Island and many more across the state are currently incarcerated simply because of ‘technical’ violations of parole, such as missing a curfew or being late to an appointment with a parole officer.
“The enactment of this law is just one vital step towards much-needed decarceration, and we demand our elected leaders, prosecutors, and judges take further action to reduce the jail population before another life is lost,” wrote Gosdigian.
NYU TANDON PROTOTYPING FUND CONTEST DEADLINE NEARS: A Sept. 24 deadline approaches for competing in the NYU Prototyping Fund, a collaborative program offered by the Design Lab @ NYU Tandon MakerSpace, the Technology Management and Innovation Department, and New York City Future Manufacturing Collective (NYC-FMC). The Fund awards teams of students up to $500 in the first round of funding and up to $2,000 in the second to be used to build hardware or software prototypes.
The students are also connected with the resources, tools, and mentors they need to bring their ideas to life. All applications are welcome (https://nyu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bskVybwnnOf78BU) but multi-disciplinary, multi-program, or multi-school team applications are being prioritized first.
ENFRANCHISING GREEN CARD HOLDERS: The Municipal Voting Rights Bill, which has the support of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Councilmember Brad Lander and more than 30 elected officials, will be the subject of a hearing today, Sept. 20, with a rally and conference taking place in City Hall Park. Intro 1867, The Municipal Voting Rights Bill seeks to expand voting rights for green card holders and individuals with work authorization.
If the bill is passed as expected, New York City would become the largest city in the U.S. to give almost a million immigrants the opportunity to elect their local city leaders.
NEW LABS FOR LIBERATION DIPLOMA PLUS HIGH SCHOOL: Councilmember Mark Treyger, known for his commitment to the city’s public schools, has secured $455,000 in Fiscal Year 2022 City Council capital funding for a brand new hydroponics lab and newsroom classrooms at Liberation Diploma Plus High School on West 19th St. in Coney Island. Once the city funds are released to the school, which had sustained heavy damage a decade ago during Superstorm Sandy, Principal April Leong will work with the NYC School Construction Authority to develop designs for the newsroom and hydroponics lab.
Principal Leong envisions a podcast space for students with the technology funds secured. With the harvest from the hydroponics lab, the school plans to share fresh produce with the Coney Island community to provide access to affordable and healthy food.
LA’S ONE WATER PLAN AS MODEL FOR NEW YORK: The Department of Environmental Protection is embarking on a planning effort called “One Water” to evaluate integrated, sustainable, and resilient water, wastewater and stormwater systems, according to announcement from Brooklyn Community Board 11. DEP will host a virtual workshop next Tuesday, Sept. 28 at noon, with peers from the City of Los Angeles to better understand what One Water might benefit New York City; register via Eventbrite.
The virtual workshop will focus on LA’s path to One Water—from its initial vision and objectives to the implementation of the final LA One Water 2040 Plan.
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