Good Morning Brooklyn: Friday, September 24, 2021
BETTER CONDITIONS FOR DELIVERY WORKERS: Food delivery workers now have legal protections, after the New York City Council yesterday passed a groundbreaking package of legislation, the main sponsor of which was Councilmember Justin Brannan. One component of this was Councilmember Carlos Menchaca’s payment bill that will set working conditions for delivery workers currently working for app-based food delivery services like GrubHub, DoorDash, Uber.
As of press time on Thursday, the legislation was awaiting Mayor de Blasio’s signature.
DIOCESE LAUNCHES NEW SOCIAL JUSTICE CURRICULUM: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn has implemented a social justice curriculum as a new component of religion classes at all Catholic schools and academies, and religious education programs. The first theme of the curriculum, “Solidarity,” was issued this week to all teachers, principals and religious education instructors as the basis for this month’s lessons. Developed in part through the efforts of the Diocesan Commission on Racism and Social Justice, formed by Bishop DiMarzio in 2017, in the wake of racial unrest and loss of life in Charlottesville, Virginia, the program launches with students sharing personal stories to establish a greater sense of connection.
Every month throughout this academic year, educators will be provided with a new theme, educational materials, and book suggestions focused on the topic.
DENOUNCING US POLICY ON HAITIANS: Following the resignation of Ambassador Daniel Foote, Special Envoy to Haiti, a member of Congress who represents Brooklyn’s Haitian community issued a statement on US policy toward the besieged Caribbean nation. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY 9th District) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), co-chairs of the House Haiti Caucus, said, “The Haitian state is still reeling from a series of compounding and emergent crises. It is unconscionable the Administration would choose to deport refugees to Haiti in its current capacity, and it must immediately reverse course and halt these cruel deportations indefinitely.”
The co-chairs added, “We must reimagine our approach and policies to supporting our Haitian neighbors.”
ANOTHER PERFECT SCORE ON THE ENVIRONMENT: A day after Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz received a perfect score for his environmental voting record, so has State Senator Andrew Gounardes, who represents much of southwest Brooklyn. The New York League of Conservation Voters’ 2021 Environmental Scorecard gave Sen. Gounardes a score of 100, after identifying priority bills that have passed and those the NYLCV believes have a chance of becoming law, and scoring the legislators based on their support of these bills.
The scorecard examined 15 bills in the Assembly and 16 bills in the Senate that addressed issues of environmental justice, public health, clean water, clean energy, and transportation emissions.
$19 MILLION FOR THOSE WHO TREAT ADDICTION: New York State has secured $19 million in federal funding through the SAPT Block Grant program to support the addiction prevention and treatment workforce in New York State, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced this week. Prevention, treatment, and recovery providers certified by the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) will receive this funding to support initiatives such as loan repayment, scholarships, and other incentives to recruit, retain and strengthen the addiction support workforce in their eligible programs.
Governor Hochul was a member of the NYS Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which in 2016, recommended new, non-traditional services that have since been implemented, including recovery centers, youth clubhouses, expanded peer services, and open-access centers, which provide immediate assessments and referrals to care.
INVESTIGATING LOSS IN SAVINGS: Taxpayers could have saved more than $25 billion on just seven drugs over a five-year period if Medicare had been able to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices the way other federal health care programs do, according to a new staff report from Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-12), chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform. The report underscores the urgency of enacting reforms in the Build Back Better Act to empower Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies and rein in skyrocketing drug prices.
The Committee’s eighth report in its investigation into pharmaceutical pricing and business practices analyzes new internal data from drug companies.
FINANCIAL LITERACY FOR ARTISTS: THRIVE TALKS, a financial literacy and empowerment initiative, offers joint presentations with several Brooklyn organizations this fall, starting on Monday, Sept. 27. Brooklyn Arts Council joins friends at the NYC Business Solutions Center For Brooklyn, TD Bank, the Brooklyn Coop Federal Credit Union, and POWRPLNT have joined forces to development seminars and conversations with Brooklyn artists and cultural entrepreneurs. Webinar topics include business financing, developing a business plan, building a website, self-employment tax and business expenses for freelancers.
Each event requires separate registration via the initiative’s main page, https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/#search/THRIVE+TALKS/FMfcgzGljvSwThkHLNZhVjtjgCwcQkdC, via the Brooklyn Arts Council:
PROPOSED NEW SIDEWALK CAFÉ ZONING: Citywide zoning text amendment allowing the DOT to administer the Permanent Open Restaurant program (POR) is a proposal on the table with the New York City Department of Transportation and Department of City Planning. The proposal, for which New Yorkers’ input is requested, ([email protected].) will remove sidewalk café regulations from the Zoning Resolution.
Moreover, the city will move administration of the sidewalk café program from the Department of Consumer Affairs and Workforce Protection to DOT, streamline the application process and create rules for a permanent roadway dining program, offering what they hope is a clearer set of design guidelines on what is allowed.
PETER PAN FLIES BETWEEN NEW YORK AND MARYLAND: Students and other New Yorkers who have sheltered-in-place may be glad to know that Peter Pan Bus service is now offering an Express NYC-to-Washington DC route. The new service, which replaces the routes that Bolt Bus and Greyhound discontinued, offers CDC-safe and sanitized rides and contact-free boarding to key destinations.
This new EXPRESS service runs in both directions between New York City and Washington DC, via Silver Spring-Greenbelt-and-Baltimore, Maryland