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Joint Statement on Fatal Hit-and-Run Along Brooklyn Trucking Route from Council Majority Whip Brooks-Powers and Council Member Gutierrez
In response to the death of 56-year-old Eugene Schroeder at the corner of Morgan and Johnson Avenues in Brooklyn, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair, Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, and Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez released the following statement:
Once again, another family has been irreparably broken by the scourge of preventable traffic violence. Eugene Schroeder was blocks away from his home on a bike when he was struck and killed by a turning truck driver who then fled the scene. Our thoughts are with the impacted family and their loved ones during this difficult moment.
Each and every single time life is lost on our streets, impacted families need access to swift justice. Last year, about one third of all traffic fatalities were hit-and-runs and yet the NYPD only solved a fraction of them. We have legislation on the table that would offer a reward to those who help us find individuals wanted for questioning following hit-and-run traffic violence.
Outside of the courtroom, our communities also need us to pursue justice by looking at where targeted street safety interventions can help save lives. Next month, the Council will consider legislation to comprehensively redesign truck routes in our city like the one on Morgan Avenue. This includes looking at how daylighting and other street safety measures can protect the lives and well-being of all New Yorkers.
Council Majority Whip Brooks-Powers
Council Member Gutiérrez
March 10, 2023
Council Member Gutiérrez will be holding a Community Workshop with DOT on March 30th, 2023. For details see her councilmember page on NYC.gov.
Earned Income Tax Credit: You earned it – and NYC will help you get
My mission as Mayor of New York City is to focus on the needs of working people of this city. One of the best ways we can do that is to get money back in your pocket – money you have earned, money you need to support your family.
Last year we went to Albany to get the Earned Income Tax Credit, better known as the EITC, expanded for the first time in 20 years. The EITC is a refundable tax credit provided to working New Yorkers and families. And I am proud to say that together with our state partners we got it done.
Promises made, promises kept.
The enhanced EITC put $350 million dollars in the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers. That means more money for the essentials: food, groceries, bills & rent. It is a lifeline for so many working people and families across New York City. This tax credit has helped 800,000 New Yorkers and this year we want to reach even more.
And last week we launched a $1.5 million television, print, subway, social media and radio marketing campaign on the enhanced EITC to spread the word to New Yorkers.
This tax season, we want to help more working people get the support they need through the Earned Income Tax Credit.
New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/getcredit to see if they qualify for this cash back. If you do, you can apply for this credit while filing your taxes. It is that simple. New Yorkers can file their taxes for free at any one of our NYC Tax Prep locations across the five boroughs or online at getyourrefund.org/nyc
The EITC is a simple and straightforward way to make sure working New Yorkers get their fair share.
Under the enhanced EITC a single parent with one child with an income of $14,750 has seen their benefit increase from $187 to $933. And a married couple with two children and an income of $25,000 has seen their New York City benefit increase from $308 to $925 under the city payment.
I come from a working-class background. My mother worked a double shift as a cleaner to support my siblings and me. There are thousands of New Yorkers doing the same today in our city.
We know many New Yorkers are struggling right now. Rent is going up and inflation is driving up the cost of living. People are worried about whether they can keep a roof over their heads. And due to the pandemic, many have lost wages and childcare.
I know the hustle is real. And I want every hardworking New Yorker to know: We’re looking out for you.
The EITC is one of the most effective support programs in history, helping low-income families and workers get a boost as they climb the ladder of success.
Through the EITC we are putting more money in working peoples' wallets and helping lift some of the burdens they face. Working New Yorkers deserve their fair share and credit, and we are giving it to them.
Mayor Eric Adams
March 6, 2023
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Keeping New York The Safest Large City in America
A year into my administration, New York City remains the safest large city in America. We are following through on a 360-degree approach to fighting crime that includes both strategies for investing in our communities and excellent policing.
Thanks to two years of tireless efforts and coordination between the NYPD Gun Violence Suppression Unit and the Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau, on February 14th, we announced an 85-count indictment that charges 23 gang members in Queens with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment, and gun possession. Eight of the men had fired a weapon previously. All of them had no regard for others’ lives or safety.
The indictment covers eighteen acts of gun-related violence that took place in and around the Astoria Houses and the Woodside Houses. The gang members fired their weapons in broad daylight next to an ice-cream truck, in a courtyard and at a playground. Children were present and on one occasion, an innocent bystander was injured. The senseless violence was the result of feuds on social media and threatening rap videos—but the online activity spilled over into real life with real consequences. I have said this before: gangs plus guns equals graves. No one should have to fear for their life as they go about their daily life. No one should have to fear for the safety of their children while they are playing in a playground or courtyard or buying ice-cream.
Along with the NYPD’s units and Commissioner Sewell, we are grateful to the office of the Queen’s District Attorney, Melinda Katz, for also playing a crucial role in bringing about the charges.
My goal in tackling crime is to be proactive—to take guns and dangerous individuals off our streets, as well as offer alternative solutions like jobs, education, and violence prevention programs to neighborhoods that are most affected by gun violence. This is intervention, and prevention.
And our efforts are bearing fruit. Shootings are down, murders are down, and major crimes were down last quarter for the first time in six quarters. We have the highest murder clearance rate since 1998, and the third highest clearance rate in 32 years. So far this year, shootings are down 20.9%, and between January 1, 2023, and February 12, 2023, we’ve seized nearly 900 firearms.
This is no coincidence. These numbers are the result of a strategic, data-driven enforcement plan, and the NYPD has also utilized existing resources to increase patrols in key neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs and strengthened detection efforts. By the time guns get into the wrong hands, we are too late, so we are also investing in systems of community care like mental health care, childcare, affordable housing, and parks. Addressing these basic necessities goes a long way toward solving the root causes of crime and suffering. A recent study shows that New York City spends more on this kind of care relative to criminalization than any nearly every other major city in the nation.
Creating a safe city requires excellent policing as well as a system of support that provides hope, opportunity, and meets our most vulnerable New Yorkers’ needs. Our administration is taking all the steps necessary to tackle comprehensively tackle crime and create an even safer New York for everyone.
Mayor Eric Adams
February 17, 2023
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Cannabis Justice for All
Legalizing cannabis was a major step forward for equity and justice in our city. But legalization is about following the new laws, not a free pass to sell unregulated cannabis products.
Over the last few months, illegal cannabis retailers have taken advantage of decriminalization efforts, with unlicensed smoke shops popping up all over the city. This “Wild West” attempt to gain market share will not be tolerated. New York City has changed the laws, but we intend to enforce them — fairly, equitably, and thoroughly.
For many years, people of color in our communities were routinely targeted when it came to cannabis law enforcement. Cannabis criminalization was used to harass, arrest, and prosecute our brothers and sisters.
Advocates rightly pushed for an end to these practices, and fought hard to put racial equity at the center of New York's cannabis legalization
efforts. Past convictions were automatically expunged or suppressed. People with past convictions for marijuana and their family members are being given priority for these licenses. 50 percent of licenses have been set aside for social and economic equity applicants.
An open and democratic process resulted in the progress so many wanted to see — an end to the “war on drugs” mentality, the establishment of a safe and sanctioned cannabis industry for adults, and a pathway to restorative justice for those who were unfairly prosecuted in the past.
Legal cannabis is expected to be a $1.3 billion industry that will create thousands of jobs and generate approximately $40 million per year in tax revenue for our city. And 40 percent of the tax revenues from legal cannabis will be invested back in the communities that were most harmed by prohibition.
We have a moral obligation to make sure that the people who were adversely affected by marijuan criminalization get their fair share of this emerging market. That’s part of the mission of the new CannabisNYC Office. his is a city agency that will make New Yorkers aware of opportunities to participate in this industry, promote equity, and help applicants navigate the licensing process.
In the last month, the first licensed cannabis dispensaries in our city have opened for business. One is owned by a not-for-profit that supports people living with H.I.V. and A.I.D.S., the other by a formerly incarcerated entrepreneur who received priority for a license because he is one of countless Black men who was harmed by the drug war in the 1990s.
But these legitimate businesses are facing stiff competition from shops that are not following the rules. Instead of respect for the law, what we have seen recently is the proliferation of storefronts across New York City, selling unlicensed, unregulated untaxed cannabis products.
Those who flout the cannabis tax laws and regulations are robbing the very communities that are finally on the cusp of benefiting from a just and equitable system.
We cannot allow that. We’re not going to take two steps back by letting illegal smoke shops take over this emerging market, especially when so many of them are selling unlawful and unlicensed products that could seriously harm consumers.
It is time for the operation of illegal cannabis dispensaries to end.
Sheriff Miranda and our partners at the N.Y.P.D. recently took direct action to counter this trend. Over a two-week enforcement blitz, the Sheriff's Office issued 566 violations and seized $4.1 million worth of product at 53 locations.
And this week, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office sent letters to approximately 400 unlicensed smoke shops in Manhattan. The letters state that the city will commence legal eviction proceedings against commercial tenants who are engaged in illegal business activity. That includes the unlicensed sale of cannabis, the sale of untaxed cigarettes, and the sale of adulterated products. If owners and landlords fail to initiate timely eviction proceedings against these commercial tenants, the Sheriff's Office will take over and pursue eviction proceedings.
While we are not ruling out criminal prosecutions for tax evasion, money laundering, or the sale of cannabis to minors, the focus of this initiative at this time is civil enforcement. We want to give New York's legal cannabis market a chance to thrive — and deliver on the vision of safety, equity and justice that advocates fought for so long.
February 13, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams
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Composting for All
New Yorkers know that rats love trash bags full of food waste. And they know that I hate rats. This week, our Administration declared that Restaurant Week for rats in this City is finally over.
For too long, New Yorkers have had to bring their compost to neighborhood drop off sites, or deal with one-off collection programs that weren’t designed to reach everyone. This meant mountains of trash bags on our sidewalks, attracting rats day and night.
New Yorkers have been saying loudly that they want a compost program across the City – they want the rat food out of the black bags and out of the landfills once and for all. For over twenty years, New York City has been trying to achieve citywide curbside composting that actually WORKS for everyone.
We are finally getting it done. By the fall of next year, New Yorkers in all five boroughs will be able to put their yard waste and food scraps out on the curb year-round, in the simplest, easiest, most efficient curbside composting program ever.
No more carrying your banana peels to neighborhood drop off sites or bagging up fall leaves to be thrown in the garbage. New Yorkers across all five boroughs will be able to compost kitchen scraps and yard waste every week on their recycling day. What could be more convenient for us, or more upsetting for the rats?
Starting March 27 of this year, composting service will restart in Queens after a brief winter pause. It will never take a seasonal break again. On October 2, we will roll out a composting in all of Brooklyn, followed by service in Staten Island and the Bronx in March 2024. And on October 7, 2024, we will expand composting to all of Manhattan, creating the largest citywide composting program in the country.
This is a new, free, universal service for New Yorkers, and we’re making it as easy and straightforward as possible. You can use our Brown Bin or your own bin – no more complicated rules. And you can compost everything from vegetable scraps to coffee grounds and chicken bones. We like to say, "If you cook it or you grow it, you can throw it."
Our pilot program in Queens kept nearly 13 million pounds of kitchen and yard waste out of our landfills in just three months. That’s more than the weight of 300 city busses! Imagine the impact when we expand that to 8.5 million New Yorkers across all five boroughs.
This is about more than making life easier for families and homeowners – and worse for rats. It’s about improving our environment and quality of life across the board. New York City produces over a million tons of food waste every single year. Right now, we know that 1/3 of all material in our refuse stream is compostable material, which goes to landfill and decomposes over YEARS, releasing harmful methane gas.
Instead, we’re going to capture and use that waste ourselves to make usable soil, biosolids, and renewable energy. Under this new program, some of the material will be composted at our facility on Staten Island and other places around the country; other material will be turned into usable natural gas and biosolids by the Department of Environmental Protection right in Brooklyn.
And all of that compost can be used by New Yorkers to grow healthy food. The soil will return to our parks, planters, and personal gardens. People will be able to pick this up for free. And those who love gardening or growing urban farms can grow fresh, healthy food right here in New York City.
I want to thank everyone who has made this possible, including the Queens residents who led the way, separating their compost and making the pilot program a success.
We are making composting easy in every corner and in every neighborhood in New York City.
This is huge win for cleanliness, a huge win for sustainability, and the environment we all share as New Yorkers. The only ones that lose are those rats.
February 6, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams
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Governor Hochul Undermines Historic Investment in Public Schools by Pushing for a Permanent & Massive Expansion of Charters Schools in NYC
ALBANY, N.Y. (February 1, 2023) — In response to Governor Hochul’s Executive budget address on Wednesday, the public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education [AQE] released the following statement:
“We applaud Governor Hochul for keeping her promise to New York’s children by fully funding the Foundation Aid formula at 100 percent for the first time since its creation nearly two decades ago,” said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education. “The Foundation Aid formula was created to ensure equity and to strategically drive state resources to the students that need it the most. This means that districts with high populations of students in poverty, students that are English Language Learners and students with disabilities will see a significant increase in state aid.”
“Unfortunately, this historic investment may not reach many of the children in New York City due to the Governor’s proposal to drastically expand the number of charter schools in New York City by removing the regional cap and reauthorizing ‘zombie charters’. Allowing a drastic increase in new charter schools in New York City will siphon off millions of resources that would otherwise be going to public schools, which educate 80 percent of the student population there.
“New York City currently spends about $3 billion per year on charter schools, a price tag that will continue to increase because it is the only district in the nation required to pay rent for charter schools, and the only school district in the state that does not receive charter school transition aid to offset those costs. At a time when New York City is grappling with a declining population of school age children due to a number of factors, there is no justification for increasing the number of charter schools in New York City.
“We urge the New York State Senate and Assembly to completely reject the Governor’s proposals to remove the regional cap on charters and reauthorize ‘zombie charters.’”
Alliance for Quality Education
Received February 2, 2022
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Assemblymember Carroll’s First Take on Governor Hochul’s 2024 Executive Budget
“Governor Hochul’s $227 Billion Executive Budget proposal isn’t all bad, but some of it is, and there is a lot missing. While the promise of fully funding Foundation Aid is being fulfilled, the Governor’s expansion of Charter Schools is misguided, and only distracts from the challenges so many of our students face. The Governor had a chance in this budget to acknowledge the literacy crisis facing our children – two thirds of New York City Public School students in grades three through eight read below grade level and are at risk of reading failure. She did not and that will unfortunately perpetuate the grave harm being done to our children. Her refusal to acknowledge this crisis, and her previous veto of my dyslexia task force legislation, will only further deepen this crisis and imperil the academic success of hundreds of thousands of New York students.
I commend the Governor for her proposal to increase the payroll mobility tax and utilizing tax revenue from casinos to help fund the MTA, but the specter of raising fares is disconcerting and unnecessary, especially if we fully implemented congestion pricing, a policy the Governor refuses to embrace.
Finally, the Governor’s embrace of a ban on fossil fuels in new buildings is something I have long supported, however, her proposal that relates to the Build Public Renewables Act, of which I am the prime sponsor, doesn’t go far enough. The Assembly should proceed to pass the BPRA in full to ensure the labor provisions and other critical elements related to democratization and oversight are preserved.”
Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-WF)
Brooklyn’s 44th Assembly District
Representing Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Victorian Flatbush, Borough Park, Ditmas Park, and Midwood
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RJPS Responds to Eric Adams' State of the City 2023
In response to Mayor Adams' State of the City address, education justice coalition New Yorkers for Racially Just Public Schools (RJPS) released the following statement.
"New Yorkers for Racially Just Public Schools is outraged about the continuing cuts to necessary components of public education and our social safety net. New York’s 3K program, K-12 public education, libraries, and CUNY face existential operational threats while “uniformed agencies” such as the NYPD remain untouched. Rather than heeding the calls of communities and advocates for deep investments in human services, the Adams Administration, has chosen to
balance the budget, once again, on the backs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers while deceitfully naming this a “Working People’s Agenda.” This Administration frames these cuts as“fiscal responsibility” and “strong fiscal management” to neutralize the ugly truths of the Mayor’s policy choices. In addition, there is nothing responsible about austerity - it destroys lives in the present, and weakens the entire economy for the future. A city full of struggling families is not a thriving city and a Mayor who is pretending to be a progressive by co-opting language will not make it into one," said Amshula Jayaram, Campaigns Director for the Alliance for Quality Education, an RJPS coalition member.
"Cuts to the budget aren’t about the numbers on a spreadsheet, but the people whose lives this administration proactively disinvests from. Public schools are still reeling from the cut of $469 million to fair student funding this past summer, followed by additional cuts to the DOE central staff who are essential to running our vast school system, and now, a proposed cut to education in the FY24 budget of close to $300 million dollars, $168 million from CUNY and over $40 million to public libraries. These cuts will be disastrous for our young people. By disinvesting in young people and our public school system, which continues to educate the vast majority of students, we are guaranteeing that future generations of New Yorkers will be poorer than their parents, and the city’s economic growth will suffer as a result. The Mayor’s proposals for job training and dyslexia screenings are important, but cannot and do not compensate for seismic cuts of millions of dollars to the overall public education budget. We also acknowledge and appreciate the work of the Fair Student Funding task force, and the new weights allotted towards students in temporary housing and high needs districts, but the reality is, once again, that in the larger context of millions of dollars in cuts, all students will continue to struggle to get the education and support they need and deserve."
"Shame on this Mayor and this Administration for going after people who have already endured unimaginable suffering. We soundly and unequivocally reject the blatant scapegoating of migrant families, many of whom have already been through more than most of us can imagine in a lifetime - walking hundreds of miles through mountains and jungles, watching people die along the way, leaving loved ones and homelands behind, all for a chance of a life of safety and
dignity. This is not what decency, much less leadership, looks like. A year ago, the Mayor made grand statements about New York City being a “sanctuary city,” one that welcomes all immigrants. Now, he targets them as the reason for the city’s economic downturn."
"New York City is not broke. We call on the Adams Administration and the City Council to find real policy solutions, not cuts to essential services for the people that need them the most. We are home to over 100 billionaires. A recent report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that NYS has the most concentrated wealth in the entire country. The Mayor repeatedly emphasized his work with Governor Hochul and the “synergy” between city and state. If revenue is what we need, we encourage the Mayor to use that synergy and work with leaders in Albany to raise taxes on the ultra rich and the corporations they run, rather than going after services for migrant families. It’s time for meaningful, lasting policy solutions for all families and communities, especially the ones the Mayor claims to represent."
Alliance for Quality Education, AQENY.org <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Brooklyn OpEds / Opinions NYC
Preliminary Budget Address
Every year, the Mayor presents a budget to the people of New York City. This budget is about much more than what we are spending and what we are spending it on. It is a statement of values and a declaration of purpose: Creating a safer, more prosperous and equitable city for all.
This is the city that our responsible and focused Fiscal Year 2024 Preliminary Budget continues to make possible.
Since Day One, fiscal discipline has been the hallmark of this administration. We are focused on governing efficiently and getting results. Over the past year, we have made our city safer and continued our economic recovery. We have funded and will continue to support programs that benefit everyday New Yorkers — including public safety, affordable housing, and clean streets.
It can be tempting to add a bunch of new spending, and certainly there are many who will call for us to spend beyond our means. But we can’t put the future of our city at risk by overextending ourselves today. It will just force deeper cuts and greater pain down the line.
With lower tax revenues, rising health care costs, and the continuing crisis of asylum seekers being bused into New York City, we must proceed with caution and clarity. And thanks to strong fiscal management, we were able to save $3 billion over this fiscal year and the next. And we accomplished this without laying off a single employee or reducing services, especially when it comes to the NYPD and public safety.
I am proud that, despite the many challenges I’ve mentioned, our budget protects funding for the transformative programs we’ve rolled out over the past year, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, which directly benefits working families, the largest summer jobs program in City history, and violence prevention programs for communities most affected by the epidemic of gun violence. And we’re not waiting any longer to invest in the housing our city needs, starting in Willets Point, where we will transform the neighborhood with thousands of units of affordable housing and a world-class soccer stadium.
In addition, we have continued to invest in our students and schools. This includes more
resources for students with disabilities, literacy and dyslexia screenings, summer enrichment, healthy food, career pathways, and the gifted and talented programs.
Even with federal stimulus money running out, we’ve kept per student funding at a higher level than before the pandemic, adding an additional $80 million to that funding pool for Fiscal Year 2024. This keeps the total at $160 million for another academic year. We were also able to increase the capital funding our city uses to build and maintain the infrastructure we all rely on, including affordable housing, health care facilities, parks and other public spaces.
And as every New Yorker knows, it’s important to be prepared for change. Whether it’s new labor contracts, asylum seeker costs, or the next unexpected event—the bills will come due.
That’s why this Preliminary Budget maintains reserves at a record $8.3 billion, an amount that will allow us to respond effectively to any unforeseen events. Our disciplined and efficient budget keeps us safe and allows us to continue to provide the essential services New Yorkers rely on.
This is just the beginning of a process, and we look forward to working with our communities and our Council colleagues on the final budget. There may be those who say that we should do things differently, that we should extend ourselves further, save less and spend more. But as mayor, the buck stops with me. It is my responsibility to keep our city strong and resilient, prepared for whatever lies ahead.
Mayor Eric Adams
Brooklyn OpEds / Opinions NYC
As Democrats Celebrate Averting Election Disaster, We Can't Ignore the Voters We're Losing
Election Day is over. And though Americans did not speak with one voice, working-class voters sent a clear message: They are deeply concerned about the economy, crime and inflation. They are also increasingly looking for leadership that acknowledges their concerns and defends their interests, regardless of party.
Because for America’s working-class voters, elections aren’t about their identity – they are about their survival.
A majority of Americans are in a precarious economic position, many just one illness or job loss away from financial ruin. They will vote for candidates who acknowledge those problems, even if the solutions on offer are less than effective.
So, despite an overall better-than-expected showing for Democrats on Tuesday, working people continued the long trend of voting more often for Republican candidates. We cannot ignore the continued erosion of their support while we celebrate avoiding electoral disaster.
Democrats' support – and base – is wavering.
Many of these voters are from previously reliable voting blocs for Democrats, including Black voters, Latinos and Asians. Those groups seem to be increasingly unenthusiastic about Democrats, and many voters have already switched teams.
Exit polling by The Associated Press showed that people of color seemed to have voted at lower rates for Democrats on Tuesday, the latest dip in a trend of decline. Just 6 in 10 Hispanic and Asian Americans voted Democrat, down from 7 in 10 and 8 in 10 respectively just four years ago, according to the data.
As the working-class Black mayor of New York City, I hear it over and over again: My street is not safe. I can’t find work. I lost my job, my apartment, my health care. What are you going to do about it?
And I can do more than listen – I can empathize. I am the son of a single mother, who grew up not knowing if I would come home to food on the table or an eviction notice on the door.
On Tuesday, Republicans from those communities in Queens and Brooklyn – traditionally deep blue areas – made very strong showings, capturing seats that are traditionally Democrats’.
One thing I learned during my campaign for mayor last year, though, was that just addressing basic concerns is not enough. Public officials need to be able to say what they will do today for those who are struggling and not just make promises for tomorrow.
Republican Party asking the right questions
Republicans do this well. The Republican Party asks the right questions even as they supply the wrong answers.
Democrats have the right answers, but the wrong attitude.
New York is the safest big city in America, but this statistic means nothing to a mother mourning a child lost to gun violence. We might have nearly two jobs available for every American who is unemployed, but that doesn’t help the person laid off from the only job they’ve ever had.
That’s why my administration adopted the mantra of "Get Stuff Done," and my team has embraced it. When working people say they want safer streets, we put more officers on them. When they say they want more housing, we move heaven and earth to start building. We’ve immediately helped working families by expanding the earned income tax credit and creating a massive new child care initiative.
None of this is radical. It’s practical. It’s radically practical. And that’s what Democrats should be, too. Voting is an act of emotional trust, not straightforward logic. It’s about acknowledging peoples’ needs, their emotions, their reality – and doing something about it.
Democrats, put working people first
Democrats have to put working people and their communities first, which includes three critical actions we seem to have forgotten how to do: listening, responding and organizing.
The Democratic Party has the right policies, but it must focus its messaging on immediacy, not grand plans. We must put “right now” solutions – such as investments in income tax credits, child care, housing, health care and public safety – front and center and keep them there.
If we fail to hear what working people are saying, to empathize with their concerns and take action on their behalf, we will lose that bond of social trust that holds small towns, big cities and multicultural democracies together.
Republicans will also continue to press their advantage in congressional maps, controlling more seats with fewer votes than we can as we become the party of only upper middle class urban and suburban residents, relegating us to long-term irrelevance.
My fellow Democrats: This is our mission going forward. We’re not here to tell people how to feel. We are here to show people they are being heard. The people – working people – are our north star. Their priorities must be our priorities. Their values must be respected. Their voices must be heard.
And following their lead is not just our responsibility; it is our future.
Mayor Eric Adams
Applying the Principles of Resource Management to Airspace Conservation
Fisheries management is heavily scrutinized in the media and by stakeholders in commercial fishing communities. The general public seems to play a dual role in fisheries management, by lamenting the loss of historic fishing ports but also steadfastly determined to restore our aquatic marine resources. Having worked on the management side for 10 years, mostly as a freelance biologist, I have heard compelling arguments from both sides. Our ocean resources are a public resource with multiple user groups, and arguments are usually centered on how to fairly distribute an increasingly limited allotment of that resource. A fisherman's allotment, or quota, is his livelihood, and management decisions can put his livelihood and community on the line.
Our airspace is also a public resource with multiple user groups. But unlike fisheries resources, when changes to our airspaces are implemented, you'll find few public meetings, comparatively little scientific data and almost no stakeholder involvement. The allotment of our airspace is divided up among business and government interests with a bare minimum left for noise and pollution mitigation. Airspace is allotted in a one directional way, with no public dialogue, and not even a hint of a willingness to have one.
And our airspace is getting very crowded. Air travel demand will double by 2050, and airport operators from New York to London are calling for extra runways, reduced vertical and horizontal separation between planes and a condensing of flight routes. All this, and we'll still have to make space for drones. These airspace changes have become necessary, we're constantly told, to ensure our economic survival.
On the other side of the issue, as yet unheard, is the noise and particulate pollution burden that airspace overutilization has already caused. From Queens to Phoenix, many thousands of people are quietly realizing they cannot live amicably underneath the new superhighways in the sky. With a predisposition to expand and almost no space to do it, the aviation industry effectively cleaves off a small section of human habitat with every new route.
When it comes to our nation's airspace, perhaps it's time to take a cue from other conservation disciplines: we are over utilizing this resource, to the detriment of the general public, and it's going to get worse. Like fisheries and many other public resources, airspace can and should be carefully managed and conserved. Equal stakeholder involvement should be incorporated into management decisions, and land use studies should be used to determine an equitable balance of airspace usage between all the relevant user groups.
If the general public would demand airspace management with the same fervor that they demand management of other resources, we might prevent the degradation of potentially hundreds of communities. Looking up at the sky 10 years from now, and finding that every open patch of air is filled with an aircraft or drone, it will have already been too late.
Queens Quiet Skies was established in 2012 to fight aviation noise pollution problems related to the FAA's NextGen project. The group lobbied intensively for a community aviation roundtable, Part 150 study, and a dramatic increase in noise monitors.
The group can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/QueensQuietSkies/ or directly via email at email@example.com.
Brian F. Will
Biologist & Vice President of QueensQuietSkies.us
Submitted February 22, 2016
The Great Evaporation - An Ozone Hole Parable
Short Story Fiction.
Once Upon a time ... on Another Planet
... in another solar system, there was a paradise that resembled planet Earth. Over a long period of time a certain species was blessed with the intellect and the physical capability of manipulating the world around them. In time this species came to completely rule the planet, although they were never quite able to put in place the methods and processes to rule themselves.
During the height of their planetary supremacy, there were ruling elites who controlled the primary sources of energy for the planet. An insidious by-product of using that energy, was that it began to change the environmental balance that enabled that species, and those species with which they co-existed, to originate and thrive.
What's Going On?
The general population of the ruling species began to realize that imbalances were occuring in their ecosystem, and some scientists on the planet began to make the case that one of the primary causes of the changes was the primary fuel sources used on the planet.
But the powerful ruling energy elite was able to stall the arrival of a general consensus to corrrect the problem, by leveraging their influence in efforts to conceal and discredit the evidence that linked the use of their energy products to the life-threatening, planetary environmental damage. Nonetheless, over time, the general population slowly began to realize what was really happening.
Private Profits Trump Communal Well Being
There were prior examples of similar ruling elites on this planet concealing health information from their customers, so they could sell their products to make more money. They concealed this information in spite of the fact that their products significantly shortened the life span of their customers. Thus, on this planet, it wasn't an unusual practice for some ruling elites to sacrifice the lives of others in order to enrich themselves.
The Great Evaporation
The ruling elites knew that they would lose a lot of money if the planetary population woke up to the fact that over time the planetary warming wouldn't just melt the planetary polar ice caps and wreak havoc with the weather patterns, but that it would ultimately lead to the Great Evaporation, wherein within years after the polar ice caps melted, all of the planetary bodies of water would quickly evaporate into thin air.
You see, the melting polar ice caps were releasing huge amounts of moisture into the eco-system, which hid the fact that the Great Evaporation was already well underway. Without the moisture from the melted polar ice caps, the plantary desiccation would have become more apparent, more quickly, to the planetary scientists and general population. And while the scientists continued predicting a wetter world, with huge rains and flooding, over time they continued to lower their estimates of higher sea levels, because their models failed to include a metric for the Great Evaporation that was going on simultaneously with the polar ice cap melting.
Over time the general population woke up to the fact that the evaporating planetary water no longer condensed, and thus didn't gain mass, and hence didn't return to the planet via planetary gravity - like it normally did. Instead the vapors became permanently dispersed or exited through the ozone hole. And so it was, that in time, the water evaporated and never returned because the ruling energy elites had warmed the planet too much, and concealed the problem for far too long. By the time the general population took notice and started to act, it was too late to fix the problem, which could have been corrrected by migrating the planetary energy sources to renewables.
The Great Desiccation
Nature recycles everything, but this species did not learn that lesson in time. As anyonewho's traveled in the desert knows - it's very hard to stop water from evaporating, especially on a planetary scale.
No Fairytale Ending
Thus our story has an unhappy ending as the surface of this planet dried up. It wasn't long after the Great Evaporation that this planet's surface looked very similar to its barren dry moon and nearby deserted planets.
The Great Desiccation followed the Great Evaporation. As food cannot be grown without water, most of the creatures on the planet perished due to starvation and dehydration and asphyxiation - as all of the planetary vegetation was destroyed.
Of course some of the ruling elites that had caused this terrible planetary genocide survived, but they had to move into controlled air and water environments, similar to the ones found at some of the Texas conference centers.
by Michael Wood - (c) Copyright 2016 / All Rights Reserved
- The last four graphic images link to four different stories by highly respected information sources about the changing ecological system of planet earth. And here's another just in 3/4/16 NYT
- Anchorage receives less than half its normal snowfall and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that warming in Alaska is happening twice as quickly as in the Continental United States.
- One has to ponder whether continuing our current practice of using non-renewable energy sources, is worth the risk of possibly being wrong about what can happen.
- I hope you enjoyed this little planetary parable.
Need For Straight Talk From FAA & Government Officials
Something that continues to frustrate members of the Queens community is the evasive dialogue of the FAA. It hasn't changed a whole lot in the 3 years since the FAA first implemented NextGen technology at both airports. FAA Administrator Carmine Gallo has appeared in Queens several times during that span, including a recent town hall meeting in Jackson Heights. Still, he has yet to engage in a transparent conversation about the drastic airspace changes that are taking place. When it comes to the FAA, it's always about the weather (or construction).
The reality is that there is a lot more going on above our heads than just weather. Here I will try to summarize some of the more important changes that Administrator Gallo and the FAA often neglect to mention:
1. The Recategorization of Wake Turbulence Separations (RECAT)
This initiative was implemented at LaGuardia airport in February of 2015. It was tied to the NextGen project, thus avoiding a proper environmental analysis. RECAT reduces the separations of planes on the same route, such as planes arriving over Jackson Heights into LaGuardia's runway 4. The separations reduction under RECAT has gone from a standard of 5 miles of separation to as little as 2.5 miles.
The FAA maintains that LaGuardia will handle growth of passenger demand with larger aircraft, but the FAA's RECAT fact sheet lists capacity increases as a benefit of RECAT. From the FAA's website: "The new standards are significantly improving the efficiency of operations at Memphis, Louisville, Cincinnati and Atlanta. FedEx boosted capacity by 20 percent"
Yes, FedEx boosted capacity by 20%. And the Memphis airport increased its slot limit from 72 to 99 flights per hour. LaGuardia's current restriction is at 71 flights per hour.
2. Lifting of the "Perimeter Rule"
The perimeter rule mandates that all LaGuardia destinations be within a 1,500 mile radius, thus keeping the airport's planes of an equitable size and weight. Currently, there are no four engine jets at LaGuardia, largely because of the perimeter rule.
A lifting of the rule would likely bring A380's and B787's to LaGuardia. This is something that the Port Authority will decide, likely when the Part 150 study is near completion and can't be included in the data. The FAA would also like the perimeter rule to end, and have consistently maintained that they will meet passenger demand with "larger aircraft". The FAA has said this, even before lifting of the rule was being openly debated, which makes one wonder.
The larger aircraft would bring more engines lower to the ground, thus increasing noise. Heavier planes also have a lower takeoff trajectory and cannot turn efficiently, which brings us to the next new FAA initiative...
3. Optimum Profile Descent (OPD)
Above is an FAA rendition of how the NextGen satellite navigation system which will guide aircraft into LaGuardia's runway 4 in the near future. Whether or not planes will slam into the runway at a 35 degree angle, as implied above, remains to be seen. The plane in the drawing doesn't look like an Airbus.
Optimum Profile Descent could potentially bring heavier arriving planes closer to Jackson Heights than they already are. The FAA asserts that Optimum Profile Descent will reduce noise because it allows planes to glide right in.
The JUTES Climb is the route that terrorizes Jackson Heights on most weekends. It is a NextGen RNAV, thus it has never been studied for impact on the human environment. The Port Authority maintains that when capacity enhancing runway construction is finished, the route will subside. We'll see.
But if it doesn't, please know that there is an entry in the current LaGuardia Standard Operating Procedure which states: "avoid departing runway 22 to the maximum extent possible". Runway 22 points directly at Jackson Heights and is the source of JUTES. The statement is in the runway selection guidelines and not the noise abatement section, which leads to the assumption that the FAA is weary of departing too many planes over the area's very tall structures.
5. The FAA's "hidden" noise data
A 2013 FAA funded study "Residential Exposure to Aircraft Noise and Hospital Admissions for Cardiovascular Diseases", published by Harvard University's School for Public Health, revealed that the FAA produced noise contours for 89 U.S. airports out to 55 DNL in the year 2010.
MSP Fair Skies investigated the possibility of acquiring all of this data through FOIA requests, as the FAA had never publicized the data. Using the FAA noise data that they received, they produced a map for LaGuardia Airport. The map is available here, in one of MSP Fair Skies superb documentaries: http://mspfairskies.com/videos/
It is the first map of our area that shows noise exposure out to 55 DNL (average decibel level over a 24 hour period). It clearly shows 55 DNL extending from runway 4 all the way into Brooklyn!
Below are two additional noise exposure maps, shown side by side for comparison. Prepared by Boeing and the Port Authority, the maps show the growth of our 65 DNL noise burden over a ten year period.
6. Lastly, a word about "quieter engines"
When the perimeter rule disappears, the number of engines on many planes will increase from two to four. With RECAT, the frequency of noise events will increase. Optimum Profile Descent and larger aircraft could bring the noise source, the engines, closer to the receiver. With the number of slots poised to increase and LaGuardia inching towards 24 hour operations, there is a potential of:
(24 hours) X (81 planes per hour) X (4 engines) = 7776 engines per day.
Quieter engines are great, and should be supported, but not without putting other noise abatement scenarios in proper perspective. Quieter engines are not a cure all, and industry will have to make some concessions. Whether it be noise mitigation flight routes, curfew, late night exceptions, maintenance of slots, altitude restrictions or something else, technology alone will not bail us out.
Brian F. Will
November 3, 2015
Editor's Note: This was sent to us in response to a story we published about a meeting held in Queens to address airplane noise in NYC.
Re-Generative Energy Will Solve Many Of America's Biggest Problems
Transitioning to re-generative energies such as wind, water and solar has the potential to narrow America's trade deficit, reduce America's government deficit, increase America's employment, reduce the probability of trade or military wars with China, and reduce America's carbon footprint.
Most armed conflicts take place in locations that are in or adjacent to large oil production locations or along strategic passageways for oil. It's worth noting that there are rising tensions in the South China Sea over signficant oil & gas resources there. Some believe these rising global tensions may lead to WWIII. As is true in all wars, many innocent men, women and children die. This is going on right now, as as fighting continues in Crimea, Gaza, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Nigeria & D.R. Congo.
Most of these Middle Eastern, African and impending Asian conflicts would likely be resolved if solar and wind energy were the nation's / world's primary energy sources. Instead of fighting over the remaining fossil fuels on the planet and their safe transit into use; let's use the solar and wind technologies we have already mastered, to prevent future military conflicts and mitigate the current ones.
Reduction of our reliance on oil / fossil fuels should be the nation's primary goal as it will:
1) reduce our trade deficit by enabling us to produce more or all of our own energy, thus cutting our reliance on imported oil,
2) enable us to reduce our military spending and hence overall government spending, deficits and taxes by reducing our need to guard oil production and transit ways around the world,
3) keep us out of other people's wars - which would be far easier to settle - if the riches and strategic importance associated with oil began and continued to decline,
4) provide a cleaner environment and slow climate change by reducing our consumption and hence the pollution of fossil fuels and
5) provide more domestic jobs as we could become a clean and net energy producer.
So why don't we do it?
Because those who profit from the current state of affairs will do whatever they can to slow or prevent this change from occurring because it will reduce their wealth and the future value of their holdings.
These not-so-special interests primarily consist of: a) those who profit from wars or the perceived threat of wars like the defense contractors; and b) those who profit from the heavy American reliance on fossil fuels like the big oil companies.
Both the oil companies and the defense contractors use American taxpayer dollars to fund their wealth by: a) collecting hundreds of billions of tax dollars for defense equipment investments and b) demanding that a signficant portion of American Armed Forces budgets [time, manpower and equipment] be directed toward the protection of American oil company transit ways and holdings abroad. They argue that this is because oil is a strategic asset. That is currently true, but it wouldn't be if America transitioned to solar and wind energies.
So in summary, we can mitigate some of the inhumanity of war, lower our trade deficit, lower our government spending, lower our taxes, become energy self-sufficient, pollute less, slow global climate change and increase domestic employment by accelerating our transition to solar, water and wind energies.
We can transition from fossil fuels to regenerative energy sources by using the same approach used to curb smoking nationally. Educate the public about how to transition and put economic incentives in place to support the transition. This means slowly, like cigarette taxes, commit to increasing taxes on oil consumption by some dollar or percent amount every year. Then take these tax receipts and use them to provide tax deductions and business incentives to move to renewable / regenerative fuels and energy conservation through more energy efficient autos, solar powered homes, windmill and water powered energy and the like.
Posted July 11, 2015
Open Memo to New York State Assembly and Senate
The Library Trustee Association (LTA) is chartered by the New York State Regents to represent, assist, educate and honor public library boards of trustees as providers of free and universal library service. LTA advocates for all of New York's approximately 6700 public library trustees and categorically opposes proposed legislation S.6893-B/A.9217-B.
Libraries and their trustees are a vital link in the expression of and maintenance of the basic freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Interjecting politics and potential political interference into the library world sets a dangerous precedent.
This action potentially affects more than the Queens Library. It endangers the basic freedoms libraries provide for their patrons and the freedoms of association libraries
which constitute nearly 50 percent of all New York State public libraries.
This legislation would place a cloud of fear over library boards as they preside over the strategic mission and direction of their libraries. Library boards are charged with basing decisions on what is in the best interest of their community. The proposed legislation could allow local politicians and state lawmakers to impose political biases on otherwise non-partisan local decisions appropriately made by independent library boards of trustees.
New York State Libraries are recognized for their excellence throughout our nation and the world. New York State library boards of trustees are looked upon as models because of their organizational structure and how they implement their fiduciary responsibilities.
Many of the issues addressed in these bills are already covered by state regulations. LTA's highest priority is to educate trustees about the requirements, standards and regulations that they are obligated to meet. Arbitrarily reducing the length of terms from five years to three years, as this legislation would require, will greatly diminish the ability of trustees to gain experience and to become well versed in the laws, regulations and standards they are responsible to uphold.
LTA strongly opposes these legislative bills which would set a precedent for Albany
lawmakers to interject political influence upon library trustee boards and their community libraries.
LTA Association Manager
and LTA's Board of Directors
Posted June 24, 2014
Click here to read more about the Queens Library lawsuit on our sister web magazine Queens Buzz.
Legislation Threatens Independence of Local Libraries in New York State
Our community libraries are rooted in the concepts of free inquiry, free expression and the free and fair pursuit of information. Dating back to our country's first lending library, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731, libraries have served as guardians of free speech and intellectual discourse. However, recently proposed state legislation threatens these core tenets by injecting politics into the day-to-day operations of our local libraries.
Legislation proposed by State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry (S.6893- B/A.09217-B), as well as by Senator Tony Avella (S.7015-B) creates a dangerous precedent for our state's eleven-hundred libraries - comply with political demands from elected officials or risk having your community-based organization targeted with reactionary, heavy-handed state legislation. That colleagues are jockeying for position on this issue demonstrates that there are political points to be scored.
The library community has always been a strong leader for good governance, oversight and transparency, particularly where public dollars are involved. That's why local libraries, including the Queens Library, have many of these proposed measures already in place, and supported the Nonprofit Revitalization Act signed by Governor Cuomo last year.
This current legislation, though well-intentioned, is proffered as reform, but actually accomplishes the opposite.
The Gianaris/Aubry legislation would reduce trustee terms from five years to three, and thereby deprive the library board of the experience needed to engage in effective oversight, budget analysis and longrange planning. Coupled with a provision that would allow unilateral removal of trustees with little or no cause, these bills allow politicians to unjustly compel action from library trustees on any issue, including what content patrons could access and what community organizations could use the library as a meeting space. This legislation threatens the independence of every library in the state, and seeks to bring the Queens Library, a private not-for-profit corporation, directly under political control. It would open the door to patronage hires, politically-driven programming and censoring of content. In fact, this legislation sets the truly menacing precedent that any private, not-for-profit corporation receiving public funding is vulnerable to political persecution unless it complies with the demands of politicians.
The noted American author Norman Cousins once said that a 'library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas.' Independent thought and leadership at our libraries are absolutely necessary for those ideas to take shape. Our elected officials are supposed to defend our cherished institutions, not threaten them.
This legislation must be shelved.
By Mike Neppl - General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs for the New York Library
June 10, 2014
Click for Queens Buzz coverage of the Queens Library Controversy.
Open Letter To NYS Assembly & Senate Regarding Queens Library Charter Changes
ALA / AmericanLibraryAssociation
The Honorable Sheldon Silver
Legislative Office Building, Room 932 Albany, NY 12248
The Honorable Dean G. Skelos
Legislative Office Building, Room 909
Albany, NY 12247
Dear Representative Silver and Senator Skelos,
On behalf of the American Library Association (ALA) and two divisions of ALA, the Public Library Association (PLA) and United for Libraries, we are writing to express our concerns with recently proposed legislation affecting library trustees. As the presidents of national organizations, we have a unique opportunity to observe and learn from the experiences of public libraries across the nation, and we know that Queens Library is an award winning library system that serves as a national model for excellence in library services.
Public libraries are a public good, providing impartial information and services to all, and should be held by the public, beyond the reach of undue political influence. Recently proposed legislation would negatively affect the independence of these public libraries, imposing a process from Albany that is clearly not in the best interests of the library or the community. Public libraries must be as independent as is possible if they are to impartially and effectively support, rather than be at the mercy of, the political process. This concept is central to our democratic system and to public libraries throughout the country.
The vibrant system of trusteeship in public libraries in New York is one that is renowned and respected around the country. Proposed bills S. 7015 and S.6893/A.9217 threaten this standing not only in Queens but throughout the state of New York. By reducing trustee terms from five years to three, combined with a proposed unilateral removal provision, these bills would threaten the ability of libraries to provide unencumbered access to information, values core not only to libraries but to our country as a whole. Freedom of information and freedom of thought cannot exist in a system where undue political influence can be brought to bear arbitrarily.
The proposed bills threaten the ability for Queens Library to operate free of political influence, and will serve as a dangerous precedent for libraries and library boards around the nation. We urge you to reject this legislation.
American Library Association
Carolyn A. Anthony
Public Library Association
United for Libraries
cc: New York State Assembly; New York State Senate
June 6, 2014
Click for Queens Buzz coverage of the Queens Library Controversy.
Keep Politics Out Of The Library
As we [the Queens Tribune on June 5th, 2014] detail elsewhere in this issue [Queens Tribune not Queens Buzz], the Queens Library system is the subject of two separate bills in the State Senate, calling for reforms to the way the Library does business. While the Senators behind these bills say they are trying to do what is best for the system, and the Borough President's office calls for reforms and the City Comptroller's office investigates the books, the Library's Board of Trustees has publicly stated that its practices are fine, and no reforms are needed.
But no one seems to be saying these things to one another.
The Queens Library system is one of the best in the world, offering more than just books. Educational and language programs, computer and job training and afterschool events for kids are all offered throughout the Library's branches. The more political games get played with the proposed reforms, the higher the chances that these programs can be lost.
While the continued barking about the needs for reforms makes for a great story, it is time for a sensible end to these public negotiations. It is time for the Queens Library's Board of Trustees to stop playing defense, for the elected officials calling for reforms to halt their offensive. Instead of going back and forth behind separate closed doors, the two sides need to come together and negotiate a plan that works for all involved - especially the people that rely so heavily on the library for its services.
As far as anyone knows, there have been no meetings with all the principle players in this drama. We call on those individuals who say they are protecting the library - the members of the Board of Trustees, the Borough President and members of the Queens delegation in the State Legislature - to meet, not to argue over who is right and who needs to go, but to determine how best to go forward to ensure the future of the Queens Library is protected.
The political games need to stop. The time for talking is now.
June 5, 2014 / Queens Tribune Editorial
Click for Queens Buzz coverage of the Queens Library Controversy.
QUEENS LIBRARY STATEMENT REGARDING NY STATE LEGISLATION
"The Queens Library values the input of all our stakeholders, including our elected officials. The Library believes in good governance and is constantly committed to being better tomorrow than we are today. Over the last six weeks, the Board of Trustees has adopted a series of reforms aimed at improving upon existing policies, increasing transparency and strengthening the library and its governing practices.
The proposed State Legislation includes several specific measures that are already in place. Measures already in place at the Queens Library include an Audit Committee and a Labor Relations Committee of the Board of Trustees as well as a Conflict of Interest Policy for Senior Officers.
Several other measures are currently under consideration by the Board of Trustees.
We look forward to working with all our stakeholders to continue to enhance and strengthen the Library."
Queens Library Announces Series of Reforms
As part of its continued commitment to ensuring the library's standing as a premier, nationally recognized library system, the Queens Library is pleased to announce that its Board of Trustees has adopted a series of reforms to its governance and operating policies and procedures.
"Every organization needs to continually monitor and, when needed, to adjust its governing structure, policies and procedures to stay current and to adopt industry best practices. Thanks to the leadership of the Board of Trustees, its management and its entire dedicated staff, Queens Library is a model that other library systems from across the globe seek to emulate. These changes will help ensure that the library remains transparent, accountable and effective. " said Board of Trustees Chair Gabriel Taussig.
In the last six weeks, the Board of Trustees has moved very swiftly to implement a series of significant changes in policies and governance that strengthen the institution.
The adopted actions include:
· CREATION OF AN AUDIT COMMITTEE: The Audit Committee will assist the Board in improving oversight of the internal and existing external audit function, including the appointment of both internal and external auditors who will report directly to the Board and monitoring the implementation of audit recommendations. Members of the Audit committee have been appointed and their work has already begun. This committee will add an additional level of oversight.
· A PROCESS AND TIMELINE FOR REVIEW OF EXECUTIVE CONTRACT: The Board is undertaking an independent and thorough review of the President & CEO's employment contract. Evaluation will be made of the compensation and all contract terms of the Chief Executive Officer as compared to those of similar sized not-for-profit institutions . The work of the consultant is underway.
· GOVERNANCE REVIEW: To include the views and expertise of the entire Board of Trustees on critical governance matters, a Special Committee on Governance has been formed; its work is already underway to review several serious matters recommended for consideration, including the current committee structure of the Board.
· NEW CONFLICTS OF INTEREST POLICY: A revised Conflict of Interest Policy for senior officers is in place to limit outside employment; to clearly define conflicts of interests for such employment and require senior officers to disclose any outside employment prior to accepting outside employment. Additional reviews have been authorized by the Board to determine if additional limits exist in comparable positions at similar non-profit organizations.
Additional proposals to further increase transparency, accountability and governance are under review by the Board of Trustee Committees and we expect additional actions to be announced in the coming weeks.
The mission of the Queens Library is to provide quality services, resources, and lifelong learning opportunities through books and a variety of other formats to meet the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs and interests of its diverse and changing population.
Posted on April 9, 2014
Click for Queens Buzz coverage of the Queens Library Controversy.
Charter School Owner Closes Her 22 NYC Public Schools To Bus Her Students To Albany To Serve Her Purposes
Statement by Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of New York City Council Education Committee
Capital New York reports that Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz "is closing all 22 of her schools for the day to attempt to rally support in Albany, and has asked teachers to provide instruction to students on buses up to the Capitol."
I am deeply concerned about the legality of a school leader closing schools for entirely political purposes. As chair of the New York City Council Education Committee, I intend to hold an oversight hearing to investigate whether any laws or Chancellor's regulations have been violated by Moskowitz unilaterally closing schools to effectively force children to lobby on her behalf.
This is the second time that Moskowitz has closed her schools for what seems to have been political purposes. In October, Moskowitz closed her Success Academy charter schools to lead a political march across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest Bill de Blasio. This must stop. No educator should be allowed to use children as pawns for their political agenda. Serious questions arise about closing schools for political gain.
As the recipient of public funding, I am also troubled by reports of the Success Academy paying administrators extraordinary salaries.
I also intend to use my oversight powers to investigate Moskowitz's extensive marketing campaigns costing millions of dollars.
Field trips can be an important part of the educational experience. Dragging children to Albany to further Moskowitz's political agenda serves no public or pedagogical purpose.
Statement by Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of New York City Council Education Committee
Published March 1, 2014
Editor's Notes: Moskowitz Actions, Charters & School Performance, & DOE Actions In Astoria
What would you think if the United Federation of Teachers Union [UFT] closed all NYC public schools and used the school children for a union rally [aka their own political purposes], like Eva Moskowitz / Success Academy appears to have done above in Albany on March 4th, 2014? The photo above links to the NYT story.
In a report we did a couple years ago, a Stanford University Study showed that the inclusion of charters in a school system improves overall performance, although over time the charters in their study underperformed the non-charters.
In researching the story on school closings, the one thing we learned is that there are no easy answers and that there are many factors at play in measuring school performance. However, according to the summary results of a National Education Longitudinal Study published in Education Week, the most critical factors in determining the success of a school are the children and families who enroll in the school. Parental supervision and participation in their children's academic performance is critical to both the child's and school's success.
The Bloomberg Department of Education [DOE] began an attempt to partition one of Queens most successful schools [PS 122 in Astoria] while Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy was making plans to open a charter in Queens. Many parents of the school did not find this to be coincidence. After a public outrage, the DOE quickly backed down.
It's not a big stretch to surmise that this sort of coincidence may have occurred previously. Some believe that the Bloomberg DOE may have facilitated Moskowitz's success by enabling Success Academy to make targeted enrollments at the expense of the surrounding schools / students.
Eva Moskowitz caught the public's attention during the Bloomberg Administration second and third terms, for opening a record 22 charter schools in the NYC public education system in less than seven years. This represents between 1% and 2% of all NYC public schools [there are approximately 1700 in total] and 12% of all NYC public charter schools [there are 183 as of 2013 / 2014 school year].
March 1, 2014
Editor's Update - NYC Co-location Approval Criteria / Success Academy Funding / LIC H.S.
In late February Mayor de Blasio approved 35 of 45 school co-locations. He said that he turned down the school co-locations based on the following criteria: 1) not put any elementary schools in with high schools, 2) not open schools with less than 250 students because they wouldn't receive enough resource to provide a proper education, 3) no co-locations requiring heavy construction and 4) no co-locations requiring the dislocation of the neediest kids.
De Blasio approved five of eight co-locations for Eva Moskowitz / Success Academy charter schools. Three of eight of Success Academy's co-locations were not approved because they did not take into account the needs of kids with special needs.
Moskowitz's Success Academy is funded in part by many NYC hedge fund operators. These hedge fund operators are in the tax bracket targeted to fund NYC education. Many of the public advertising campaigns launched by Eva Moskowitz / Success Academy / Charterswork.org are funded by them, pushing their point of view.
Mayor de Blasio drew attention to the fact that some charter school programs, like those funded by private sources [aka high net income / net worth individuals] at Success Academy, cannot be replicated in the remaining public schools, without receipt of the additional funding.
Editor's Suggestion: If these privately funded charter school programs are successful, perhaps the city can ask these wealthy donors to Success Academy, to increase their investments in the NYC school system to enable these programs to be replicated throughout the entire NYC public school system.
LIC High School was one of the schools targeted for a co-location that was nixed. LIC High School is one of the remaining large high schools in the city.
April 6, 2014
Editor's Update - NYS Court Bars NYS Comptroller From Auditing Charter Schools
Thomas Di Napoli, NYS Comptroller, sent us this link to a story / editorial about how the Supreme Court barred his office from auditing NYS charter schools.
Eva Moskowitz / Success Academy sued the NYS Comptroller when he made an attempt to audit them. According to Mercedes Schneider, a blogger of the Huffington Post, in 2011, just nine schools of Success Academy received about $50 million in public funding. As mentioned above, Success Academy currently operates 22 charter schools in the NYC public school system.
According to the Times Union Editorial [the Times Union is a newspaper in Albany], New York State currently has 233 charter schools, with an enrollment of 87,000 children and costs taxpayers over $1 billion per year.
March 22, 2014
Thomas Di Napoli, NYS Comptroller, sent us this link to a story about a special education audit showing financial abuse of public funds.
DiNapoli: Special Education Provider Pleads Guilty to Felony Charges. The executive director of special education provider IncludED Educational Services pleaded guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court Friday to grand larceny charges stemming from an audit and investigation by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Morton Kramer agreed to pay $418,000 in restitution as part of his plea agreement and is banned for life from providing special education services for the state.
May 24, 2014
Universal Pre-Kindergarten Now
Study after study has shown that children who receive early childhood education perform demonstrably better later in life than those who don't receive it.
To give this benefit to our children, New York City needs a dedicated source of funding for universal prekindergarten.
The state's plan doesn't allocate enough money. Also, in the past, state educational money was promised to the city and now a decade later more than $4 billion of those funds have never made it to our public schools.
It's right to ask 1.5 percent of city taxpayers, those who make $500,000 or more a year, to pay their fair share of tax dollars.
To voice your support email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-788-6687.
Submitted by NYC City Councilmember Danny Dromm Chair of Committee on Education & NYC City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
Posted March 1, 2014
Click here to view the Queens Buzz section on Queens Schools.
Questioning Proposed Banking Rules
November 15, 2012 / Flushing / Letters To The Editor
Our community and economy are at risk again, this time due to potential new banking rules that could affect the ability of banks to lend and communities to rebound. These proposed regulations, called "Basel III", define how banks measure risks and their level of funds, or "capital" levels, that they would need in order to cover those risks. It works like your decision on savings: you can choose to save everything and not have any money to spend on goods and vacations. If all consumers did the same, then you can imagine the impact on the local communities. If all banks must set aside more capital, then they do not have that money available to lend in the community, resulting in reduced economic activity.
There are restrictions and costs related to regulatory requirements. These proposed rules are applied against many kinds of loans, including residential 1-4 Family mortgage loans, development and construction loans, business lines of credit and home equity lending. The rules ultimately have an effect on communities because it will be more difficult for the banks to lend to both consumers and businesses, and still to meet the regulatory capital levels. In addition, banks may need to increase the price for other products and services. In turn, borrowers who relied on those products and services would be deprived of affordable credit for homeownership or business activities.
The rules present key challenges and one such area is mortgage lending. At a time when the government lacks a long-term solution to housing finance, the proposed framework would impede mortgage lending that banks have offered successfully for decades. Basel III puts mortgage loans into two "Categories", with the more favorable Category I defined very narrowly. In many cases, lenders offer substantially below-market interest rates to borrowers in exchange for the borrowers' acceptance of future risk in rising interest rates; known as adjustable rate mortgage loans or "ARMS". The proposal would make it much more difficult for many local banks to meet the new capital levels, causing them to decrease their ARMs lending, which again would reduce economic activity.
Category II is so tough that banks will have a very difficult time extending loans secured by home equity. The proposed rules on home equity lending are a double effect, because your first mortgage must be reassessed by banks using the new rules when you have a home equity loan. Banks must determine if it is possible to continue to offer home equity loans, absorb the related impact from the first mortgages, and still meet all of the regulatory requirements. These are only two examples. The rules run on for hundreds of pages, and so there are more examples that impact lending at current levels. Other government agencies are questioning whether Basel III is a good idea. On July 17, 2012, Peter T. King, U.S. Congressman from the third congressional district, and other members of the House Financial Services Committee raised their concerns in a letter to the regulators. They agreed that "Certain steps are necessary to restore confidence in our capital markets. However, we want to make sure any response to the financial crisis does not needlessly hamper economic recovery in our communities." I support this level of questioning by the House Financial Services Committee. The Committee had heard from the community bankers, that their ability to lend and provide liquidity in the local markets would be curtailed. That is where our communities could be impacted.
The proposed rules are applied not just on new loans, but all loans, so there would be an immediate impact on the banks and our communities. They are retroactive, so, if banks made a decision to create a loan years ago under old regulations, this stricter set of rules must be applied against that loan as well.
The deadline set by the regulators was October, 22, to accept comments on the proposed rules. In light of the volume of comments received and the wide range of views expressed during the comment period, the regulatory agencies are holding hearings and have announced that they do not expect that any of the proposed rules would become effective on January 1, 2013.
John R. Buran, CEO and President, Flushing Bank
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