Good Morning, Brooklyn: Friday, November 5, 2021
THANKSGIVING FOOD DRIVE: The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association is resuming its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive to assist the needy, following a year’s COVID-19 hiatus. Next Saturday, November 13, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the MMHCA will have a table outside of the Key Food Supermarket on Gerritsen Avenue and Avenue U to collect non-perishable, Kosher and non-Kosher, food items. Collection boxes are also located at: Michael’s Bakery, JoMart Chocolates (on Avenue R at Nostrand Avenue); Tom’s Cleaners (on Avenue S at Nostrand Avenue); Roosevelt Savings Bank, G & S Pork Store, Ave. U Fish Market, and T & D and Vito’s Bakeries (all on Avenue U).
The food drive is taking place now through the civic association’s meeting on Thursday, November 18, 7:00 p.m., at the Carro Center in Marine Park. Proceeds will be given to the nearby St. Thomas Aquinas Church’s food bank.
CELEBRATING HER 105TH BIRTHDAY: Carmen Jones, a resident at Concord Nursing & Rehabilitation on Madison Street in Brooklyn, celebrated her 105th birthday last Friday, October 29, with her family, fellow residents and staff. Born on October 29, 1916 in Barbados, Carmen has been a resident at Concord since July 2014. Previously, she lived alone in her Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment.
Carmen loved attending her church parish, St. George’s Episcopal Church, only one block from the 140-bed facility where she now resides. Equally, she also loved attending the services in the Day Room at Concord Nursing and Rehabilitation and did this before the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to these gatherings.
EQUITABLE REDISTRICTING: The Unity Map Coalition, a group of the leading legal voting rights advocacy organizations representing New Yorkers of color, has unveiled its proposed redistricting plan for New York City. In contrast to the maps proposed that the Independent Redistricting Commission has proposed, the Unity Map demonstrates that fair and equitable districts for all New Yorkers are possible, ensuring that all communities, particularly those most vulnerable, have full and fair political power and representation.
Among the key distinctions between the IRC maps and the Unity Map are the Senate district designations. The Coalition claims to have bolstered New York State’s current State Senate districts by expanding the number of New York City Senate districts from 26 to 28, correcting the historic dilution of New York City’s voting strength.
IN PUBLIC SERVICE: BROOKLYNITE IS NEW U.S. AMBASSADOR: Following President Biden’s nomination of Assemblymember Nick Perry as U.S Ambassador to Jamaica on Wednesday, Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY-9th District) has released a congratulatory statement: “Mr. Perry’s deep cultural and political ties to his Jamaican roots, as well as the broader Caribbean communities, makes his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica the right choice at the right moment in our progressive trajectory as a nation. I was honored to nominate him for this important service to the country, and I am confident he will represent the United States and Jamaica well.”
Rep. Clarke said, “Mr. Perry brings a host of experience and the cultural background necessary to successfully fulfill his new mission. He possesses the utmost integrity, a commitment to service, and a unique perspective and personal understanding of the Jamaican socio-political landscape that will further strengthen the ties between both our nations.”
IN PUBLIC SERVICE: CALL TO STOP ISSUING EASIER-TO-FIRE GUNS: Two elected officials have called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea to halt the issuing of easier-to-fire weapons to new NYPD recruits until several concerns are addressed. Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams and Council Member Brad Lander sent the mayor and police commissioner a letter rejecting the notion that these new weapons are either necessary or an improvement, saying, “Guns with triggers that require only five pounds of pressure to fire are unlikely to enhance public safety in our city.”
Williams and Lander also question both the cost of the new guns and the decision-making process to authorize them, a process which did not include community input or involvement.
IN PUBLIC SERVICE: A bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate is seeking a new review of the FBI’s whistleblower protection rules as well as reports of retaliation against whistleblowers from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The request comes after the bureau’s and the Justice Department’s failure to implement new regulations to comply with more stringent protections that Congress enacted in 2016. The group is seeking information on a broad set of questions, including the relative weakness of protections extended to FBI employees compared to counterparts across government, and the use of security clearance revocation as retaliation to the appeals process for those who face retaliation.
Signing the request were: Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.-12), chair of Committee on Oversight and Reform, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California-14), Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairperson Gary Peters (D-Michigan.) and Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
NYC MARATHON, TRAFFIC REROUTING, RETURN after a year’s pandemic-related hiatus. The TCS New York City Marathon will take place this Sunday, November 7, beginning at 8 a.m. and necessitating numerous citywide street and highway closures throughout the five boroughs. The Verrazzano‐Narrows Bridge will be closed to all vehicular traffic between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The New York City Road Runners Club website https://www.nyrr.org/tcsnycmarathon, provides the route map for the 26.2 mile race. Motorists having to travel to work, church or other venues on Sunday should plan their commute in advance.
LABOR UNIONS, CITY REACH AGREEMENT ON VACCINE MANDATE: Four municipal labor unions have reached agreements with the City of New York regarding the city’s vaccination mandate, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday. The unions who have signed the agreement are DC 37, Teamsters Local 237, Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association Local 831 and SEIU Local 300, who collectively represent approximately 75,000 employees (excluding members employed at the departments of Education or Health & Hospitals). Under this agreement, as at the DOE, employees who have applied for an exemption from the vaccine mandate for medical or religious reasons will receive an initial decision from the agency, then have the option to appeal that decision to an arbitrator who will decide the exemption based upon the same criteria used at the DOE.
Employees also retain the option of appealing to an internal city panel who would decide the exemption as required by applicable law.
MORE CAPITAL TO STRENGTHEN MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM: The New York State Office of Mental Health has secured $4 million in workforce recruitment and retention funds that will help strengthen the state’s mental health system. The funds will help increase access to peer services that support individuals and families in a wide array of treatment and service options.
The Federal funding was secured through time-limited expansions of the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant and the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage share of funds for Medicaid programs.
IN PUBLIC SERVICE: FIGHTING FOR BENEFITS OF CITIZENS IN U.S. TERRITORIES: New York Attorney General Letitia James, visiting Puerto Rico for a conference, joined the Hispanic Federation in urging the U.S. Department of Justice and the Biden-Harris Administration to stop denying life-saving assistance and federal programs to U.S. citizens who live in that U.S. territory in the Caribbean. AG James; Frankie Miranda, president and CEO of the Hispanic Federation, and other local and visiting leaders are raising awareness on the potentially-landmark case now before the Supreme Court, U.S. v Vaello-Madero, which will determine whether it is constitutional to deny otherwise eligible Americans access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits — based solely on their status as residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or American Samoa.
Earlier district and circuit court rulings found that excluding Puerto Ricans and residents of other territories from accessing these benefits is a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The federal government has appealed the case, and arguments are scheduled to take place at the Supreme Court next Tuesday, November 9.
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