Brooklyn Boro

What’s News, Breaking: Tuesday, March 28, 2023

March 28, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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#WHATSGOODNYC: TOURISM BUREAU DEBUTS ITS NEW NAME AND LOOK

CITYWIDE — NYC & Company Is Now New York City Tourism + Conventions. During its annual meeting on Tuesday, March 28, Fred Dixon, president and CEO of the City’s official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau, debuted its new name and brand identity. The new name and brand system was launched in conjunction with a social campaign, #WHATSGOODNYC, harnessing the “opinion power” of the City’s 8.5 million New Yorkers, and offering them a chance to share their points of view on “what’s good” and what to experience across the city’s five boroughs.

The new brand system, aimed at travelers from around the world, includes a new strategy and comprehensive visual identity system, with a new logo, color standards, typography, art direction, and graphic elements.

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GROUP OF YOUTHS BEAT OLDER MAN IN BAY RIDGE

BAY RIDGE — In the early morning of Monday, March 13, a 60-year-old man was walking in the vicinity of 8th Avenue and 70th Street when he was approached by three unknown male individuals, who pushed the victim to the floor while punching and kicking him and forcibly removed the victim’s keys, cellphone and approximately $650; two unknown female individuals also acted as a lookout during the incident. The group fled westbound on Bay Ridge Avenue, while the victim was transported to an area hospital for injuries to his leg and face.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); or, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.

Police released photos of the alleged perps.

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FDNY CHIEFS ACCUSE COMM. KAVANAGH OF AGE DISCRIMINATION IN LAWSUIT

CITYWIDE — The group of FDNY chiefs sparring with FDNY commissioner Laura Kavanagh on Thursday filed a stunning additional lawsuit alleging that the commissioner routinely engaged in age discrimination against FDNY employees approaching the age of 60, forcing them out of their positions through demotions, defamation and retaliatory actions. The chiefs are seeking reinstatement to their former posts as well as damages and fees; Kavanagh, prior to the new lawsuit’s filing on Thursday, defended her actions, stating she simply wanted “her own team,” reports the New York Post, in addition to her previously cited commitment to diversifying the fire department’s ranks.

The suit further alleges that, on top of forcing out senior staff members of color, Kavanagh in 2018 passed over a more-qualified female candidate to award a high-paying position to Lt. Jon Paul Augier despite his numerous discrimination accusations, including an incident in which he reportedly harassed African-American firefighters by hanging a noose in their firehouse — which, according to the suit, Kavanagh responded to by stating “he’s not like that anymore.”

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THE KING’S COLLEGE STUDENTS FACE EVICTION FROM LUXURY DORMS

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A group of students at Manhattan’s The King’s College dorm in a Downtown Brooklyn luxury highrise face eviction after the college failed to make good on rent, reports the Brooklyn Paper, despite each student having paid the school $7,200 per semester in “room charges” — money the students say was used to pay for other expenses, leaving themselves and their landlords high and dry. Students have begun receiving notices demanding payment from building management, which told the Brooklyn Paper that the college has not responded to any attempts made to reach out; King’s did not answer questions from the Brooklyn Paper but issued a statement earlier this month on its website asserting that a large budget shortfall might force it to close for good after this semester.

“The student body as a whole hasn’t felt the school has been very open and transparent with these financial troubles. I feel like they tried to downplay it as much as they could until it got too much,” sophomore Kayleigh Burrell told the Brooklyn Paper.

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NYPD NABS SIX IN ATM BURGLARY RING

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The NYPD has taken down a burglary ring of six men — all but one of whom are Brooklynites — for the alleged theft of 19 ATM machines and other property from stores and bodegas in this borough, Queens and the Bronx, Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced on Tuesday when he indicted the group. The 92-count indictment covers incidents from June 2022 until January 2023, when four of the defendants were arrested in LaGuardia Airport following a 30-minute high-speed chase. Many of the heists were captured on video surveillance; and during one incident, the defendants trying to flee apprehension instead drove into an occupied unmarked police car, injuring two officers.

Four of the defendants were arraigned on Tuesday, March 28, in Kings County State Supreme Court, with Justice Danny Chun presiding; the other two will appear in court on a date to be scheduled.

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BROOKLYN COMMUNITIES COLLABORATIVE APPOINTS DR. TORIAN EASTERLING TO ITS BOARD

Dr. Torian Easterling. Photo: NYC Health Department.

SUNSET PARK — Dr. Torian Easterling, a senior administration official at One Brooklyn Health, has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors at Brooklyn Communities Collaborative (BCC) – a non-profit focused on strengthening health and wealth in Brooklyn. Currently the senior vice president of Population and Community Health and the Chief Strategic and Innovation Officer for One Brooklyn Health, Dr. Easterling, brings years of experience as a leader in health care and public health to BCC’s board, and previously served as Chief Equity Officer at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

Dr. Easterling’s addition to the board formalizes a long-standing relationship with BCC, both as an ally for health equity and an early collaborator on participatory action research. Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan last September told Bloomberg News that Easterling “has been a steadfast champion for health, equity, and justice.”

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RIBBON-CUTTING FOR NEWLY-UPGRADED RED HOOK PARK’S GYM

RED HOOK — A ribbon-cutting was celebrated on Tuesday, March 28 for the Red Hook Recreation Area’s gymnasium, which received a major upgrade thanks to an anonymous donation of $115,000 made through the Adopt-a-Park program. NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue joined funder representative John P. L. Kelly and Councilmember Alexa Avilés for the ribbon-cutting on the gym, which now has a new maple wood floor, furnished with a new scoreboard, wall padding, rubber flooring, paint, and decals. New lockers will arrive by this summer.

The wider Red Hook Recreation Area also contains handball courts, baseball fields, a soccer and football field, picnic tables, the adjacent Olympic-sized pool, and new trees and plantings.

Photo: NYC Parks-Malcolm Pinckney.

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BROOKLYN REP. GOLDMAN DEMANDS THAT PRESIDENT NOT REGRESS TO IMMIGRANT FAMILY DETENTIONS

NATIONWIDE — Congressmember Dan Goldman (D-10/Brooklyn) is demanding that President Biden maintain his commitment to not reinstate the cruel and inhumane practice of detaining immigrant families and children, and instead to continue expanding legal pathways and invest in community-based alternatives to detention. In his letter to Biden, Goldman wrote, “The Biden Administration has made incredible headway towards repairing our immigration system through new legal pathways for migrants and community-based alternatives to detention and we cannot go backward on that progress.”

Pediatric psychologists hold their ground on the point that no amount of time in detention is safe for children.

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TENANTS AND ADVOCATES ALSO RALLY HERE TO PASS ‘GOOD CAUSE’ BILL IN ALBANY

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Meanwhile, tenants, advocacy groups and elected officials in favor of the Good Cause bill will also be rallying in front of “Brooklyn Eviction Court” (NYC Housing Court in the Civil Court Building at 141 Livingston St.) on Thursday morning, March 30, to get this legislation passed before the next day’s budget deadline. Good Cause would protect tenants from unjust evictions and unconscionable rent hikes, and statewide tenant Right to Counsel would guarantee tenants legal representation in eviction cases. Kings County had 30,480 evictions filed last year, and rents in Brooklyn have spiked more than 30% since last year.

The group will also rally in support of a longtime tenant activist Fidele Albert, demanding that her own eviction case be dropped in what they call an abusive and retaliatory-landlord case. Following the rally, community members will occupy Brooklyn Housing Court in support of Ms. Albert.

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LANDLORDS URGE GOVERNOR AND STATE LEGISLATURE TO PASS ‘GOOD CAUSE’ EVICTION PROTECTION BILL

STATEWIDE — More than 100 landlords — many of them in Brooklyn —who collectively manage at least 5,000 properties across New York State have sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders urging them to pass the Good Cause eviction protections, on the grounds that they help tenants and smaller landlords alike challenge steep rent hikes and unjust evictions. The letter, which some of the Goo’Sd Cause proponents see as a rebuke to corporate property owners and absentee slum landlords, declares that Good Cause would be an asset for small landlords, leveling the playing field for those struggling to compete in a market increasingly dominated by corporate investors and private equity firms.

However, Governor Hochul has thus far refused to take a position on the Good Cause Bill — even though tenant constituents have confronted her on it and even though it remains a top priority for Albany.

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GANG MEMBER CONVICTED FOR ARMED CARJACKINGS

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Gang member Dieuverson Caille, 22, was convicted on Monday by a federal jury in Brooklyn on all counts related to a year-long carjacking spree: one count of conspiracy to commit carjacking, three substantive carjacking offenses, and three instances of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of those carjackings. The trial determined that on at least four occasions, between Aug. 28, 2020 and June 20, 2021, Caille and his co-conspirators robbed and assaulted victims at gunpoint; one victim was pistol-whipped, while another was mowed down by Caille, who was driving a stolen vehicle and fleeing from police.

The verdict followed a one-week trial before United States Circuit Judge Denny Chin sitting by designation; when sentenced, Caille faces a mandatory minimum of 21 years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment.

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MAN SCALES BURNING BUILDING TO SAVE KIDS

EAST NEW YORK — Onlookers on Friday captured video of local hero Juan Dilone climbing the outside of an East New York townhouse to rescue children from a fire, reports CBS News, ultimately managing to get three children — one a three-month-old baby — to safety, before firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze. Dilone climbed up to a third-story window to ferry the children from their parents to helpers on the ground below; rescue workers were later able to save the parents and a fourth child, after which the entire family was taken to a hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

“I’ve been climbing since I was a baby back home, you know. Climb trees, jumping around, so it was like normal,” Dilone told CBS, crediting his childhood in the Dominican Republic for his Spiderman skills, as well as thanking God for putting him in the right place at the right time.

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WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH STORY NIGHT AT BORO HALL

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — This Thursday, March 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso will celebrate the “Women Who Tell Our Stories” with an evening of comedy and storytelling at Brooklyn Borough Hall in honor of Women’s History Month. Comedians Chanel Ali and Sara Hennessey from the Brooklyn Comedy Collective will perform stand-up sets, followed by a workshop led by artist Kira Joy Williams from the Laundromat Project honoring the radical history of the Black women storytellers who used quilting to preserve cultural memory and communicate across physical distances and generations.

Williams will first share her oral history and visual storytelling project, Home is in the Stories, highlighting stories shared with her by Black women in Brooklyn; participants will then be invited to partake in an interactive version of this project, sharing their stories of home and capturing portraits of one another before working with the artist to fashion a collective, photo-based story-quilt.

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SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND: $2M FOR VISION-IMPAIRED TRANSIT APP

CITYWIDE — Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday announced that the MTA will receive $2 million in funding to expand a pilot program that helps blind and low-vision riders, as well as commuters with limited English proficiency, better navigate the NYC bus and subway system. The grant, funded by last year’s landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure bill, will go toward adding more bus stops and subway stations capable of using the NaviLens and NaviLens Go phone apps, which use an algorithm to translate colorful, unique QR-style codes into audio or text and allow customers to determine key information, including real-time arrival data, the accurate location and distance to the nearest stop, crowding levels and boarding areas.

While NaviLens helps visually impaired commuters by reading out signs and providing train arrivals in audio to help blind or low-vision users navigate the station, the NaviLens Go app provides sighted users visual in-station navigation, trip planning information, train arrivals and service status information in up to 34 different languages; so far, the program has been tested at the Jay St-MetroTech Station in Downtown Brooklyn and along the M23 SBS Manhattan bus route.

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SCHOOLS PARTNER WITH SPECIAL OLYMPICS TO EXPAND ACCESS

CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams, Schools Chancellor David C. Banks and Special Olympics NY President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman on Monday announced an expanded partnership between NYC’s public schools and Special Olympics New York, ensuring access to Special Olympics sports at all city special-needs public schools. Through this partnership, more than 1,700 students with disabilities will now be able to participate in Special Olympics track & field, volleyball and basketball during their school day, while an additional 200 high school students with and without disabilities will participate in an after-school unified basketball league and 200 middle school students with and without disabilities will participate in a unified bocce league.

Special Olympics NY has committed to giving $50,000 in funding, as well as supporting the training of educators and coaches and providing sports equipment and team uniforms, while the City of New York is contributing an additional $300,000 to fund these initiatives.

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BROOKLYN MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO WEGMAN’S HACKING

ROCHESTER — U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced on Monday that Brooklyn man Maurice Sheftall, 24, has pleaded guilty to fraud and related activity in connection with computers and was sentenced to three years probation and payment of restitution totaling $41,441. An FBI investigation uncovered that between January and July 2021, Sheftall obtained the Wegmans grocery store website log-in credentials of more than 50 people and used the customers’ saved credit card information, without their knowledge, to order groceries and have those groceries delivered to himself and his associates, ultimately placing 25 fraudulent orders with a value of $9,297.05; Sheftall’s restitution payment reflects the costs of reimbursing his victims, as well as those of credit monitoring services for victims and dark web monitoring to determine where and how Sheftall obtained the customer account information.

Wegmans was ultimately hit with a $400,000 payment of its own last year after an investigation concluded it had been lax in its approach to safe data storage and had exposed millions of customers to identity theft risks; state AG Letitia James at the time remarked, “Wegmans is paying the price for recklessly handling and exposing millions of consumers’ personal information on the internet. In the 21st century, there’s no excuse for companies to have poor cybersecurity systems and practices that hurt consumers.”

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DEVELOPERS SQUABBLE OVER DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN HOTEL

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Private equity loaner Cingulate Group has filed suit against the owners of an unfinished hotel in Downtown Brooklyn, reports The Real Deal, alleging that the owners defaulted on a loan and failed to disclose important information, and is seeking a $5 million judgment from the courts. The hotel, which features a distinctive black-and-white-striped mural on its side, is no stranger to controversy after a second lender moved to foreclose on the property in November of last year, a process currently under negotiation.

The hotel is currently 80 percent complete and remains so reportedly due to pandemic-related shortages of materials and labor, as well as cost overruns.

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DUMBO CONDO SELLS FOR $4.8M

DUMBO — A DUMBO condo in the high-end Olympia building was the priciest home sold in Brooklyn last week, according to a report from Compass, reports the Real Deal. The unit features two bedrooms and two bathrooms and sold for $4.8 million, but the buyers will have to wait to move in as the building is still under construction, expected to finish up later this year.

Sales began at the building, which sits immediately adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge, in October 2021, with sky-high asking prices soon earning it the title of the most expensive building in Brooklyn — although one frequently contested by other luxury projects, such as the Pierhouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park or the celebrity-favored Standish building in Brooklyn Heights.

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RALLY FOR STATE WORKING FAMILIES TAX CREDIT

STATEWIDE — Support is building for the New York State Working Families Tax Credit, as State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-26/western Brooklyn) joined other legislators, the Working Families Party and a major city union in Albany on Monday, March 27. They urged passage of three key policy proposals from Gounardes’ Working Families Tax Credit: the expansion of the Empire State Child Tax Credit (ESCTC) to include children under age 3; expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to all New York State taxpayers, regardless of their citizenship status; and elimination of these programs’ regressive phase-ins, which deny the full credit amounts to the lowest-income filers.

This expansive tax credit bill, which has the support of more than 90 organizations from across the state, addresses the federal government’s failure to renew the successful expanded child tax credit, which lifted 2.9m children out of poverty and drove the national rate of child poverty to a record low in 2021.

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TREES, VERTICAL GARDEN, TO BE INSTALLED AT WILLIAMSBURG DOMINO SUGAR FACTORY

WILLIAMSBURG – The building that once contained the renowned Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, at one point the largest sugar manufacturing producer in the world, is being outfitted with trees and a vertical garden, announced Two Trees Management on Monday. The office will have a whopping 17 30-foot trees craned in and upon completion the new flora will be visible to residents in the vicinity of Domino Park. The lively and naturalesque aesthetics will be implanted by the Domino Park design team, who also created “pandemic circles,” which allowed for social distancing and safer park enjoyment during the pandemic. 

 On April 5th, Brooklyn-based place-maker Two Trees Management will perform an incredible task literally craning massive trees up and over the historic brick facade and surgically dropping them inside the narrow 12-foot space between the old brick and new glass building within.

Renderings of the vertical gardens at the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg. Photo: Two Trees Management.
Renderings of the vertical gardens at the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg. Photo: Two Trees Management.

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CONEY ISLAND USA WILL HOST TWO WEEKEND-LONG CELEBRATIONS OF UNUSUAL ARTS AND PERFORMANCES

CONEY ISLAND – South Brooklyn’s premier not-for-profit organization, Coney Island USA, will be hosting a peculiar series of artistic performances for 2023’s “Congress of Curious Peoples – A Gathering of Unique Individuals,” featuring unusual performances and personalities in a circus- and sideshow-style theme April 7 through April 9, as well as April 15 and 16. The debut performance will be on April 7, revolving around the categories of performances: “Born Different”, “Self-Inflicted”, “Working Act”, “Attraction” and “Show Folk.”  April 8 will feature an “oddities market” with free admission to the Freak Bar and Arts Annex. Brianna Belladonna, a special performer who will be shown throughout the Congress of Curious Peoples, will conduct sword swallowing, fire eating, glass walking and other fantastic displays. 

 Since the 1860’s, Coney Island has been a beacon for interesting performances. For generations, it has attracted the curious and the enlightened in both the onlooker and the performer. This long-standing tradition continues with this gathering of unique individuals at Sideshows by the Seashore and the Coney Island Museum. 

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WORKSHOP HELPS PARENTS INITIATE ‘THE TALK’ WITH THEIR KIDS

PARK SLOPE — Parents who have anxiety about sitting their pre-teens down for “The Talk” may be interested in a workshop taking place this Thursday, March 30 that the P.S. 321 PTA is co-sponsoring with Park Slope Parents and hosting in the school auditorium. During the workshop, running from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and titled “The Talk: Sex Ed 2.0,” Sexuality Educator Rachel Lotus will discuss ways to initiate conversations with elementary-school age children on personal boundaries, respect for gender and identity, puberty, confidence and other matters with which 21st-century families deal.

The workshop, open to the community with suggested $10 donation, is designed to equip parents with actionable steps, practical help with language, and developmentally-appropriate resources.

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OLD STONE HOUSE HOSTS A CELEBRATION OF SEEDS AND PLANTING

PARK SLOPE — A festival of a new planting and gardening season takes place this Sunday, April 2 at the Old Stone House and Washington Park. This free event from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., titled Celebration of Seeds, will include a neighborhood seed swap that the Old Stone House’s Director of Gardens Sam Lewis & Garden Coordinator Angela Lombardo will facilitate, with participants being encouraged to diversify their home gardens by bringing seeds or cuttings from favorite plants to trade.

The Celebration of Seeds will conclude with a planting ceremony that New York artist Dario Mohr will lead.

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SOUTHERN PORTION OF BOROUGH LEFT OUT OF PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING PROCESS

SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — Because some Brooklyn Councilmanic Districts are not listed as taking part in this year’s Participatory Budgeting, a large swath of southern Brooklyn voters, from Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst to Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach, are being left out of the Participatory Budgeting process.

The Brooklyn City Councilmembers not on this year’s roster are Darlene Mealy (District 41), Justin Brannan (District 43), Kalman Yeger (District 44), Mercedes Narcisse (District 46); and Ari Kagan and Inna Vernikov, both Republicans, who currently represent Districts 47 and 48, respectively.

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LAW FIRM REPRESENTING BROOKLYN MEDICAL CENTERS MUST PAY RESTITUTION FOR LAX DATA SECURITY

CITYWIDE — Several Brooklyn medical facilities that are clients of a Manhattan law firm were affected by a 2021 data breach for which New York Attorney General Letitia James has secured $200,000 as restitution. The Office of the Attorney General reported on Monday, March 27, that law firm Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy & Bach, LLP (HPMB), which represents hospitals including Maimonides Medical Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, NYU Langone and NY Presbyterian, had failed to protect New Yorkers’ personal and health care data and that the firm’s poor data security measures made it vulnerable to the data breach comprising the private information of approximately 114,000 patients, and violating both HIPAA and state law.

HIPAA required the law firm to adhere to certain advanced data security practices. As a result of the agreement, HPMB must pay $200,000 in penalties to the state and strengthen its cybersecurity measures to protect consumers’ personal and private health information.

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DEMAND FOR WORKING ELEVATORS

CITYWIDE — Working MTA elevators and transit accessibility are the demands that several advocacy groups will make during a rally at MTA headquarters in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday morning, March 29, before a scheduled board meeting.  The Rise and Resist Elevator Action Group, coalition partners and elected officials will rally to demand that Governor Kathy Hochul improve subway elevator reliability, alert riders to breakdowns and fix them promptly. While several ADA construction projects are in progress at stations around Brooklyn, this group is emphasizing the need for elevators’ consistent and ongoing reliability throughout the transit system.

Constant elevator and escalator breakdowns make subway travel dangerous and unpredictable for wheelchair users, caregivers with strollers, older adults, workers with deliveries and travelers with luggage. The group will urge Gov. Hochul to commit to stationing MTA personnel at broken elevators and escalators to help riders, as they say is the policy in other cities.

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PUBLIC ADVOCATE URGES CITY COUNCIL TO PASS BILLS ON POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY

CITYWIDE — New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams pushed to pass his police accountability bills, first introduced last year, and having the sponsorship of several Brooklyn City Councilmembers, at a hearing of the City Council Committee on Public Safety. Intro 586, one half of the How Many Stops Act, would require the NYPD to report in-depth on all levels of police stops and encounters, including the factors leading to the encounter; this bill expands on the Right to Know Act passed in 2017.

Moreover, Williams’ Intro 781 would require the NYPD to include in vehicle encounter reports the justification used by an officer to conduct a vehicle stop; and Intro 585, would require the NYPD to share all body-worn camera footage with the Department of Investigation’s Inspector General for the NYPD and the Department of Records and Information Services within 5 days of the recording.

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VOTING FOR NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

CITYWIDE — New Yorkers are urged to make their voices heard during Participatory Budgeting Vote Week, which runs through next Sunday, April 2 and which gives people as young as age 11 in certain City Council Districts the chance to have a say in getting vital projects funded. Vote online or in person (through one’s City Councilmember’s office) to decide how nearly $30 million in capital funding will be spent in the Fiscal Year 2024 city budget to improve neighborhood schools, parks, libraries, and local infrastructure This year, 29 districts across Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhattan, are participating. For the full list, visit the aforementioned website.

All projects are capital budget proposals, which are significant neighborhood infrastructure investments. They were crafted and refined in conversation with relevant city agencies and facilitated by participating Councilmembers’ offices.

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TWO-THIRDS OF ELIGIBLE PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS NOT RECEIVING BILINGUAL SPECIAL ED. SERVICES

CITYWIDE — Nearly two-thirds of New York City students who are entitled to bilingual special education services are not receiving all their mandated support, according to new figures that the city’s education department has released and that the website Chalkbeat New York covered on March 27. At the end of the 2021-22 school year, just 36 percent of children who were assigned bilingual special education services received the correct amount of instruction from a certified bilingual teacher and in a classroom with the proper ratio of students and staff.

Although state officials have for years criticized New York City for failing to provide bilingual special education services, the situation became more urgent with the influx into the public schools of about 14,000 children from families seeking asylum in the United States and for whom the lack of English proficiency is still a barrier.

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CITY LAWMAKERS PUSH FOR FASTER BUSES

CITYWIDE – New York wants the buses to go faster, according to an open letter to the legislature made by city councilmembers on Monday. Lawmakers asked Albany for the proper maintenance and enforcement of the Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) program to boost speeds and reduce traffic collisions, expanding MTA and NYC DOT authority to enforce additional traffic violations where MTA buses operate. Governor Hochul’s additional proposals (Part A of 2.4008-A/A.4008-A) would allow the MTA and NYC DOT to enforce double-parking, bus stop violations, bike lane violations, and bus lane violations that impede bus operations.

“More than a million riders rely on buses and every day many of them end up stuck on slow buses, behind private vehicle traffic that needlessly blocks out city’s dedicated bus lanes,” said Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “Camera-protected bus lanes significantly speed up commutes for riders and create safer streets for all by decreasing traffic collisions.”

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HOUSING ADVOCATES HEAD TO ALBANY TO PUSH FOR EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE

CITYWIDE — Charging that New York was the only state in the nation to deprioritize tenants of subsidized housing for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) leaders and residents will head to Albany on Tuesday, March 28 to urge government to fund emergency rental assistance for public housing tenants who have fallen behind in their payments.

Rent payment arrears in NYCHA alone totaling $454 million as of the end of the 2022 calendar year and have since grown to $466 million in the first three months of 2023.


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