Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/make-the-road-new-york 2017-12-17T21:12:43+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Now More Than Ever, the City Must Invest in Adult Literacy 2017-05-24T04:00:00+00:00 2017-05-24T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6951:now-more-than-ever-the-city-must-invest-in-adult-literacy Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/dromm_2.jpg" alt="dromm 2" width="600" height="338" /></p> <p>Council Member Dromm, one of the authors (photo: Make The Road NY)</p> <hr /> <p>Three million immigrant New Yorkers currently call our city home, adding to its vibrancy and vitality. Since Donald Trump’s election, immigrant communities have been fearful: hate crimes have gone up, immigrant workers face more exploitation, and families are scared of separation and deportation. For those of us working as community advocates and elected officials, we are now driven more than ever to find the policy solutions that will help our immigrant communities thrive and remain resilient, rather than live in fear.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio and City Council leaders have taken policy positions that do just that: committing to non-cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), pioneering an IDNYC program, maintaining strong worker protections, and increasing funding for universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) and the Community Schools initiative. Now, to more effectively protect and support our communities, we also need to deepen our investment in adult education and baseline in into the city budget.</p> <p>Just a year ago the Mayor and Council invested $12 million for adult literacy, an increase that advocates called historic at the time. City leaders invested because the need is great, and for the thousands who study every year, the English classes offered by adult literacy providers give immigrants a pathway to economic mobility, social integration, parental support of children’s academic success, improved health outcomes, and greater civic engagement.</p> <p>As immigrant communities live in fear and anxiety over federal immigration policy, it is essential that they are able to read and understand English—even as our city government is defending their rights and providing some protective services. Without English proficiency, many immigrants are left isolated and at risk of being taken advantage of by unscrupulous “notarios” who promise immigration relief for a fee, but never deliver. They are even more fearful than ever of accessing health and social services, challenged when applying for or improving work, and less able to support their children’s learning, or to report or stand up against employer, landlord, or police abuses.</p> <p>Under the Trump administration, New York City’s largest source of federal adult literacy dollars (WIOA) is at risk of significant cuts. Even if the funding is maintained at a reduced level, current policy will likely make it more difficult to serve undocumented and low-level learners over time. For all of these reasons, this is the moment for the Mayor and Council to build on the momentum from last year’s investment and use their leadership to make New York City a model of adult literacy service provision. It is not too late, despite the fact that the Mayor’s most recent Executive Budget did not renew last year’s $12 million investment in adult literacy. A budget deal must be reached by July 1. The time is now.</p> <p>Without the $12 million again this year, spots will be lost in literacy classes for over 5,500 adult students throughout the city, and an opportunity to deeply support immigrant New Yorkers will be lost. Last fiscal year's investment was critical to providers and students, and should be transformed into a baselined, multi-year investment in the field of adult education, allowing the city to update reimbursement rates for community based providers offering cost effective and critical services. In order to make our city a true 'sanctuary' city, we need to make it a city of opportunity for immigrants by ensuring that they have access to the literacy classes they need to thrive now.</p> <p>***<br />Daniel Dromm is a member of the New York City Council. Theo Oshiro is the Deputy Director of Make the Road New York. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/Dromm25" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@Dromm25</a>&nbsp;&amp;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/TheoOshiro" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TheoOshiro</a>.</p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/dromm_2.jpg" alt="dromm 2" width="600" height="338" /></p> <p>Council Member Dromm, one of the authors (photo: Make The Road NY)</p> <hr /> <p>Three million immigrant New Yorkers currently call our city home, adding to its vibrancy and vitality. Since Donald Trump’s election, immigrant communities have been fearful: hate crimes have gone up, immigrant workers face more exploitation, and families are scared of separation and deportation. For those of us working as community advocates and elected officials, we are now driven more than ever to find the policy solutions that will help our immigrant communities thrive and remain resilient, rather than live in fear.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio and City Council leaders have taken policy positions that do just that: committing to non-cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), pioneering an IDNYC program, maintaining strong worker protections, and increasing funding for universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) and the Community Schools initiative. Now, to more effectively protect and support our communities, we also need to deepen our investment in adult education and baseline in into the city budget.</p> <p>Just a year ago the Mayor and Council invested $12 million for adult literacy, an increase that advocates called historic at the time. City leaders invested because the need is great, and for the thousands who study every year, the English classes offered by adult literacy providers give immigrants a pathway to economic mobility, social integration, parental support of children’s academic success, improved health outcomes, and greater civic engagement.</p> <p>As immigrant communities live in fear and anxiety over federal immigration policy, it is essential that they are able to read and understand English—even as our city government is defending their rights and providing some protective services. Without English proficiency, many immigrants are left isolated and at risk of being taken advantage of by unscrupulous “notarios” who promise immigration relief for a fee, but never deliver. They are even more fearful than ever of accessing health and social services, challenged when applying for or improving work, and less able to support their children’s learning, or to report or stand up against employer, landlord, or police abuses.</p> <p>Under the Trump administration, New York City’s largest source of federal adult literacy dollars (WIOA) is at risk of significant cuts. Even if the funding is maintained at a reduced level, current policy will likely make it more difficult to serve undocumented and low-level learners over time. For all of these reasons, this is the moment for the Mayor and Council to build on the momentum from last year’s investment and use their leadership to make New York City a model of adult literacy service provision. It is not too late, despite the fact that the Mayor’s most recent Executive Budget did not renew last year’s $12 million investment in adult literacy. A budget deal must be reached by July 1. The time is now.</p> <p>Without the $12 million again this year, spots will be lost in literacy classes for over 5,500 adult students throughout the city, and an opportunity to deeply support immigrant New Yorkers will be lost. Last fiscal year's investment was critical to providers and students, and should be transformed into a baselined, multi-year investment in the field of adult education, allowing the city to update reimbursement rates for community based providers offering cost effective and critical services. In order to make our city a true 'sanctuary' city, we need to make it a city of opportunity for immigrants by ensuring that they have access to the literacy classes they need to thrive now.</p> <p>***<br />Daniel Dromm is a member of the New York City Council. Theo Oshiro is the Deputy Director of Make the Road New York. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/Dromm25" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@Dromm25</a>&nbsp;&amp;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/TheoOshiro" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TheoOshiro</a>.</p> <p>

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</p>
New York Must Take Action Against Corporate Backers of Hate 2017-05-21T04:00:00+00:00 2017-05-21T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6945:new-york-must-take-action-against-corporate-backers-of-hate Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/moya_profits_pain.jpg" alt="moya profits pain" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Assemblymember Moya, the author, speaks at a rally (photo: Make The Road New York)</p> <hr /> <p>Make the Road New York and the Center for Popular Democracy recently exposed President Trump’s corporate “<a href="http://www.backersofhate.org/en/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">backers of hate</a>,” companies that stand to profit off an agenda so steeped in hate, prejudice, and greed, you would have to be willfully blind not to see it.</p> <p>Nothing is more dangerous than business as usual when it is conducted in a moral vacuum, and these companies have been more than happy to go along for the ride: Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Blackrock, Boeing, IBM, Uber, and Disney all seem eager to cash in on the Trump agenda.</p> <p>Whether it's financing or investing in the detention centers necessary for Trump’s immigration crackdown, bidding on contracts with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection, supporting Trump’s campaign and inauguration, or spearheading an anti-worker agenda, the corporations share one commonality: they enable the most destructive and hateful policies of this White House.</p> <p>Because Trump is great for business when that business is locking up people of color behind bars for petty crimes, and standing to gain from their imprisonment - as it is for JPMorgan Chase. A Trump White House is great for business when you stand to profit from breaking up unions, rolling back workers’ rights, and squeezing more from the middle-class. As for the overwhelming majority of Americans, those living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to afford their kid’s college education, or bracing for the sharp cuts to their health care, they are on the opposite side of that transaction; their pain is another’s profits.</p> <p><a href="http://www.backersofhate.org/en/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Backers of Hate campaign</a> urges these corporations to reverse course, until they are no longer accessory to the crimes against the disappearing middle class, against the Muslims targeted by Trump’s travel ban, and to the immigrants living in constant anxiety that today will be the last day they’ll see their family.</p> <p>And although these companies may not be swayed by the moral argument, they will listen when it comes to their almighty dollar. The Trump resistance must expand to include resisting his enablers. Consumers will need to apply the pressure where they can until condoning the Trump agenda is no longer a profitable business model.</p> <p>But they don’t need to fight goliath alone.</p> <p>As the finance capital of the world, New York not only has an obligation to pressure these companies, it has leverage. Our state pension fund is the third largest in the United States, with assets totaling $178.6 billion. In the weeks to come, I will introduce legislation in the state Assembly to divest that pension fund from companies guilty of the most egregious corporate complicity.</p> <p>New York needs to lead the effort and draw a line in the sand. If you choose to benefit from the broad net Trump has given immigration enforcement agencies, from the deregulation and right-to-work campaigns that will bleed the middle class, or from the environmental degradation that endangers all of our futures, you’ve chosen to build upon a morally dubious house of cards. If New York is to truly stand in resistance to the Trump agenda, it’s time to put its money where its mouth is and disassociate itself from the backers of hate.</p> <p>***<br />Francisco P. Moya is a New York State Assemblymember representing the 39th District in Queens and is the prime sponsor of the NYS Liberty Act and the NY DREAM Act. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/FranciscoPMoya" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@FranciscoPMoya</a>.</p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/moya_profits_pain.jpg" alt="moya profits pain" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Assemblymember Moya, the author, speaks at a rally (photo: Make The Road New York)</p> <hr /> <p>Make the Road New York and the Center for Popular Democracy recently exposed President Trump’s corporate “<a href="http://www.backersofhate.org/en/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">backers of hate</a>,” companies that stand to profit off an agenda so steeped in hate, prejudice, and greed, you would have to be willfully blind not to see it.</p> <p>Nothing is more dangerous than business as usual when it is conducted in a moral vacuum, and these companies have been more than happy to go along for the ride: Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Blackrock, Boeing, IBM, Uber, and Disney all seem eager to cash in on the Trump agenda.</p> <p>Whether it's financing or investing in the detention centers necessary for Trump’s immigration crackdown, bidding on contracts with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection, supporting Trump’s campaign and inauguration, or spearheading an anti-worker agenda, the corporations share one commonality: they enable the most destructive and hateful policies of this White House.</p> <p>Because Trump is great for business when that business is locking up people of color behind bars for petty crimes, and standing to gain from their imprisonment - as it is for JPMorgan Chase. A Trump White House is great for business when you stand to profit from breaking up unions, rolling back workers’ rights, and squeezing more from the middle-class. As for the overwhelming majority of Americans, those living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to afford their kid’s college education, or bracing for the sharp cuts to their health care, they are on the opposite side of that transaction; their pain is another’s profits.</p> <p><a href="http://www.backersofhate.org/en/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Backers of Hate campaign</a> urges these corporations to reverse course, until they are no longer accessory to the crimes against the disappearing middle class, against the Muslims targeted by Trump’s travel ban, and to the immigrants living in constant anxiety that today will be the last day they’ll see their family.</p> <p>And although these companies may not be swayed by the moral argument, they will listen when it comes to their almighty dollar. The Trump resistance must expand to include resisting his enablers. Consumers will need to apply the pressure where they can until condoning the Trump agenda is no longer a profitable business model.</p> <p>But they don’t need to fight goliath alone.</p> <p>As the finance capital of the world, New York not only has an obligation to pressure these companies, it has leverage. Our state pension fund is the third largest in the United States, with assets totaling $178.6 billion. In the weeks to come, I will introduce legislation in the state Assembly to divest that pension fund from companies guilty of the most egregious corporate complicity.</p> <p>New York needs to lead the effort and draw a line in the sand. If you choose to benefit from the broad net Trump has given immigration enforcement agencies, from the deregulation and right-to-work campaigns that will bleed the middle class, or from the environmental degradation that endangers all of our futures, you’ve chosen to build upon a morally dubious house of cards. If New York is to truly stand in resistance to the Trump agenda, it’s time to put its money where its mouth is and disassociate itself from the backers of hate.</p> <p>***<br />Francisco P. Moya is a New York State Assemblymember representing the 39th District in Queens and is the prime sponsor of the NYS Liberty Act and the NY DREAM Act. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/FranciscoPMoya" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@FranciscoPMoya</a>.</p> <p>

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</p>
Community Group Endorses Four Women of Color for ‘Open’ City Council Seats 2017-02-23T05:00:00+00:00 2017-02-23T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6775:community-group-endorses-four-women-of-color-for-open-city-council-seats Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/rivera_vazquez.jpg" alt="rivera velazquez" width="600" height="449" /></p> <p>Carlina Rivera, left, &amp; Marjorie Velazquez, center (photo: @CarlinaRivera)</p> <hr /> <p>In an effort to promote women’s representation on the City Council, the political arm of one of New York’s largest grassroots immigrant advocacy organizations has endorsed four women of color running for “open” Council seats this year.</p> <p>Make the Road Action (MRA), the political affiliate of Make the Road New York, a group that represents about 20,000 Latinos in New York City and Long Island, will announce its endorsement on Friday for four progressive City Council candidates - Carlina Rivera, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Diana Ayala, and Marjorie Velazquez. Each is seeking to fill a seat that is being vacated due to term limits.</p> <p>“These four powerful women offer the powerful progressive leadership that our communities and our city need,” said Maria Cortes, an MRA member, in a statement. “They stand with working-class people of color like me on issue after issue including preserving and building truly affordable housing, reforming the NYPD, protecting immigrant families, standing up for workers’ rights, and making sure that all people’s voices are heard in our democracy.”</p> <p>There are only 13 women currently on the 51-seat City Council, down from 18 in 2009, and four of them face term-limits this year, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Council member Inez Dickens recently stepped down after being elected to the state Assembly, and she is being replaced by State Senator Bill Perkins, who just won a special election.</p> <p>With male candidates overwhelmingly represented in races across the board, there has been a push to ensure the success of women candidates. Mark-Viverito, Council Members Elizabeth Crowley and Margaret Chin, along with good government groups and women’s organizations, recently launched the “21 in ’21” campaign to encourage women to run for City Council and bring the total number of women members to at least 21 through the 2017 and 2021 city election cycles.</p> <p>“It is shocking that in the most progressive city in the United States, only one quarter of our City Council members are women,” Mark-Viverito said in a statement <a href="http://effectiveny.org/2017/01/13/new-effort-to-elect-more-women-to-new-york-city-council/" target="_blank">announcing</a> the initiative. “All New Yorkers suffer when we don’t have equal representation in government and I intend to do everything I can to bring true equity to the Council at long last.”</p> <p>MRA has identified this issue and intends to mobilize its members, numbering in the thousands, to back women candidates who have shown support for progressive causes. Friday’s announcement is its first wave of endorsements and more are expected to follow in the coming months, leading up to the September primaries when most City Council races are actually decided in Democrat-heavy New York City. (Make The Road New York receives discretionary funding through the City Council and individual Council members, for a variety of community programs and services it performs.)</p> <p>The group has similarly endorsed progressive candidates in prior elections. In 2013, MRA’s sister PAC, Make the Road Political Action, even <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/searchabledb/IndependentExpenditureSearchResult.aspx?ec_id=2013&amp;ec=2013&amp;IndepName=Make+The+Road+Political+Action&amp;IndepName_id=Z48" target="_blank">spent</a> $27,323 for independent mailings supporting Antonio Reynoso for the District 34 Council seat, and opposing Vito Lopez, Reynoso’s primary competitor. Reynoso was victorious.</p> <p>The four candidates now being backed by MRA, in statements accompanying the announcement, noted the importance of MRA’s advocacy at a time when immigrant communities face a volatile political climate at the national level.</p> <p>Carlina Rivera, who is running to replace Council Member Rosie Mendez in Manhattan’s District 2, said she was “honored” to receive MRA’s endorsement. Citing the “despicable and dangerous” policies of the Trump administration, she said, “Make the Road Action has been a leading force in the city’s resistance and through organizing they have built power and self-determination in neighborhoods everywhere. Throughout my career in service, I have strived to achieve these same goals in my own community. The issues we fight for are both important and personal to me.” Rivera, who is Mendez’s legislative director and was endorsed by the Council member, is currently <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6743-the-early-money-race-in-open-city-council-seats" target="_blank">leading</a> the race in fundraising, ahead of five <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller" target="_blank">opponents</a> so far, four of whom have no funds to their name.</p> <p>“In these times of fear and uncertainty for our immigrant communities, the work of MRA is more important than ever,” said Diana Ayala, deputy chief of staff to Mark-Viverito, who is running to replace her boss in District 8, which covers East Harlem and the South Bronx. Mark-Viverito <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6427-mark-viverito-identifies-successor-for-council-seat" target="_blank">endorsed</a> Ayala last year, writing in a Facebook post, “Diana is a reflection of who I fight for each [and] every day [and] what motivates me to do what I do. There is no better person to represent this district.” Ayala currently has three competitors for the seat, but has far surpassed them in fundraising so far.</p> <p>In District 13 in the Bronx, a crowded field of candidates has declared a run for Council Member James Vacca’s seat. Marjorie Velazquez, a Democratic district leader, has Vacca’s endorsement but will face an uphill challenge. She is second in fundraising, trailing behind state Assembly Member Mark Gjonaj. Velazquez said she was “proud and humbled” that MRA had endorsed her. “This incredible organization helps give a voice to so many people and provides valuable assistance to New York families in need,” she said, in a statement. “Now, more than ever, their services for immigrants, women, senior citizens, tenants and members of the LGBT community have the potential to make real, positive changes in the lives of millions.”</p> <p>The race for Council Member Darlene Mealy’s seat in Brooklyn’s District 41 has seen little action so far. Alicka Ampry-Samuel is one of six candidates in that race, and none of them have posted much in the way of campaign fundraising. “In our current national climate, local municipalities must now become the stewards of protection for all people of color; no matter their country of origin,” Ampry-Samuel said. “I will always fight for New York City to remain a safe haven for the freedoms and rights upon which our country was founded.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller" target="_blank">Candidates for 2017 City Elections</a></p> <p>Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6743-the-early-money-race-in-open-city-council-seats" target="_blank">The Early Money Race in ‘Open’ City Council Seats</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller" target="_blank"></a></p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/rivera_vazquez.jpg" alt="rivera velazquez" width="600" height="449" /></p> <p>Carlina Rivera, left, &amp; Marjorie Velazquez, center (photo: @CarlinaRivera)</p> <hr /> <p>In an effort to promote women’s representation on the City Council, the political arm of one of New York’s largest grassroots immigrant advocacy organizations has endorsed four women of color running for “open” Council seats this year.</p> <p>Make the Road Action (MRA), the political affiliate of Make the Road New York, a group that represents about 20,000 Latinos in New York City and Long Island, will announce its endorsement on Friday for four progressive City Council candidates - Carlina Rivera, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Diana Ayala, and Marjorie Velazquez. Each is seeking to fill a seat that is being vacated due to term limits.</p> <p>“These four powerful women offer the powerful progressive leadership that our communities and our city need,” said Maria Cortes, an MRA member, in a statement. “They stand with working-class people of color like me on issue after issue including preserving and building truly affordable housing, reforming the NYPD, protecting immigrant families, standing up for workers’ rights, and making sure that all people’s voices are heard in our democracy.”</p> <p>There are only 13 women currently on the 51-seat City Council, down from 18 in 2009, and four of them face term-limits this year, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Council member Inez Dickens recently stepped down after being elected to the state Assembly, and she is being replaced by State Senator Bill Perkins, who just won a special election.</p> <p>With male candidates overwhelmingly represented in races across the board, there has been a push to ensure the success of women candidates. Mark-Viverito, Council Members Elizabeth Crowley and Margaret Chin, along with good government groups and women’s organizations, recently launched the “21 in ’21” campaign to encourage women to run for City Council and bring the total number of women members to at least 21 through the 2017 and 2021 city election cycles.</p> <p>“It is shocking that in the most progressive city in the United States, only one quarter of our City Council members are women,” Mark-Viverito said in a statement <a href="http://effectiveny.org/2017/01/13/new-effort-to-elect-more-women-to-new-york-city-council/" target="_blank">announcing</a> the initiative. “All New Yorkers suffer when we don’t have equal representation in government and I intend to do everything I can to bring true equity to the Council at long last.”</p> <p>MRA has identified this issue and intends to mobilize its members, numbering in the thousands, to back women candidates who have shown support for progressive causes. Friday’s announcement is its first wave of endorsements and more are expected to follow in the coming months, leading up to the September primaries when most City Council races are actually decided in Democrat-heavy New York City. (Make The Road New York receives discretionary funding through the City Council and individual Council members, for a variety of community programs and services it performs.)</p> <p>The group has similarly endorsed progressive candidates in prior elections. In 2013, MRA’s sister PAC, Make the Road Political Action, even <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/searchabledb/IndependentExpenditureSearchResult.aspx?ec_id=2013&amp;ec=2013&amp;IndepName=Make+The+Road+Political+Action&amp;IndepName_id=Z48" target="_blank">spent</a> $27,323 for independent mailings supporting Antonio Reynoso for the District 34 Council seat, and opposing Vito Lopez, Reynoso’s primary competitor. Reynoso was victorious.</p> <p>The four candidates now being backed by MRA, in statements accompanying the announcement, noted the importance of MRA’s advocacy at a time when immigrant communities face a volatile political climate at the national level.</p> <p>Carlina Rivera, who is running to replace Council Member Rosie Mendez in Manhattan’s District 2, said she was “honored” to receive MRA’s endorsement. Citing the “despicable and dangerous” policies of the Trump administration, she said, “Make the Road Action has been a leading force in the city’s resistance and through organizing they have built power and self-determination in neighborhoods everywhere. Throughout my career in service, I have strived to achieve these same goals in my own community. The issues we fight for are both important and personal to me.” Rivera, who is Mendez’s legislative director and was endorsed by the Council member, is currently <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6743-the-early-money-race-in-open-city-council-seats" target="_blank">leading</a> the race in fundraising, ahead of five <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller" target="_blank">opponents</a> so far, four of whom have no funds to their name.</p> <p>“In these times of fear and uncertainty for our immigrant communities, the work of MRA is more important than ever,” said Diana Ayala, deputy chief of staff to Mark-Viverito, who is running to replace her boss in District 8, which covers East Harlem and the South Bronx. Mark-Viverito <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6427-mark-viverito-identifies-successor-for-council-seat" target="_blank">endorsed</a> Ayala last year, writing in a Facebook post, “Diana is a reflection of who I fight for each [and] every day [and] what motivates me to do what I do. There is no better person to represent this district.” Ayala currently has three competitors for the seat, but has far surpassed them in fundraising so far.</p> <p>In District 13 in the Bronx, a crowded field of candidates has declared a run for Council Member James Vacca’s seat. Marjorie Velazquez, a Democratic district leader, has Vacca’s endorsement but will face an uphill challenge. She is second in fundraising, trailing behind state Assembly Member Mark Gjonaj. Velazquez said she was “proud and humbled” that MRA had endorsed her. “This incredible organization helps give a voice to so many people and provides valuable assistance to New York families in need,” she said, in a statement. “Now, more than ever, their services for immigrants, women, senior citizens, tenants and members of the LGBT community have the potential to make real, positive changes in the lives of millions.”</p> <p>The race for Council Member Darlene Mealy’s seat in Brooklyn’s District 41 has seen little action so far. Alicka Ampry-Samuel is one of six candidates in that race, and none of them have posted much in the way of campaign fundraising. “In our current national climate, local municipalities must now become the stewards of protection for all people of color; no matter their country of origin,” Ampry-Samuel said. “I will always fight for New York City to remain a safe haven for the freedoms and rights upon which our country was founded.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller" target="_blank">Candidates for 2017 City Elections</a></p> <p>Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6743-the-early-money-race-in-open-city-council-seats" target="_blank">The Early Money Race in ‘Open’ City Council Seats</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller" target="_blank"></a></p>
The Next Step to Helping Immigrant Families Thrive 2016-03-28T16:40:48+00:00 2016-03-28T16:40:48+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6247:the-next-step-to-helping-immigrant-families-thrive Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/menchaca_idnyc.jpg" alt="menchaca idnyc" height="472" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Council Member Menchaca, a co-author, promotes IDNYC (photo: @IDNYC)</span></p> <hr /> <p>In recent years, New York City has taken tremendous strides forward in supporting immigrants. Many of Mayor de Blasio's signature initiatives—particularly universal pre-kindergarten (UPK), IDNYC, and community schools—have offered vital new services to New Yorkers across the city that have been tremendously beneficial for immigrants seeking to fully integrate themselves into our society and see their families thrive.</p> <p>Now, there's another critical step that New York City can take to build on these immigrant integration successes: investing in adult education.</p> <p>New York City has the largest immigrant community of any city in the United States, with three million immigrants from all over the world—that's more than the entire population of Chicago. Immigrants help drive our city—accounting for 45 percent of the workforce and 49 percent of small business owners, and endowing the Big Apple with much of its incredible cultural vibrancy.</p> <p>New York City has led the way in offering vital services to immigrant communities, in particular to children from immigrant households. But it's critical that we now move forward to ensure that immigrant parents are equally equipped to take advantage of new path-breaking city programs, and that means supporting adult literacy initiatives that help immigrant New Yorkers learn English and ensure basic reading and writing skills.</p> <p>Adult literacy is crucial for helping parents know how to navigate the city and unlock the power of major policy achievements. To make UPK, IDNYC, and community schools live up to their potential, for example, we need to make sure parents are equipped with the tools they need to access them. English-speaking parents have a much easier time ensuring their children's educational success—for example, by being able to fully engage during parent-teacher meetings—and being able to proactively seek out the indispensable services provided at community schools.</p> <p>Adult literacy is necessary for our immigrant communities, and more broadly, it's important for the economic well-being of our city. As <a href="https://populardemocracy.org/news/publications/teaching-toward-equity" target="_blank">a new report</a> by the Center for Popular Democracy and Make the Road New York has found, directing additional resources toward adult literacy will raise immigrant New Yorkers' wages and increase tax revenues.</p> <p>Take the example of Yanilda, a Dominican immigrant enrolled in English classes at Make the Road New York in Bushwick. Since beginning her classes, Yanilda notes, "I can help my niece with her homework. She's in kindergarten now and when I help her read her books, I learn too." Yanilda is also confident that her steadily improving English will help her get a better job. For her and thousands of others citywide who are lucky enough to have a spot in a free English class, adult literacy programs offer a win-win.</p> <p>There are 1.7 million and 2.3 million Limited-English proficient residents like Yanilda, in New York City and New York State, respectively, according to the Census, and many others in need of basic literacy courses. Within immigrant communities there is a tremendous unmet need for English classes and adult basic education, with state funding now only sufficient to accommodate one of every 39 New Yorkers who need ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) classes. Simply put, adult literacy funding has not kept pace with the need.</p> <p>That's why we need New York City to dedicate $16 million in its upcoming budget to new investments to help 13,300 students access adult literacy programs, including ESOL, Basic Education in Native Language (BENL), Adult Basic Education (ABE), and High School Equivalency Preparation (HSE).</p> <p>We've made so much progress in expanding services to immigrant New Yorkers since Mayor de Blasio took office. It's time for New York City to take the next step in full immigrant integration by investing in adult literacy.</p> <p>***<br />Carlos Menchaca is a member of the New York City Council. Theo Oshiro is the Deputy Director Make the Road New York. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/cmenchaca" target="_blank">@cmenchaca</a>&nbsp;&amp;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/MaketheRoadNY" target="_blank">@maketheroadny</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/menchaca_idnyc.jpg" alt="menchaca idnyc" height="472" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Council Member Menchaca, a co-author, promotes IDNYC (photo: @IDNYC)</span></p> <hr /> <p>In recent years, New York City has taken tremendous strides forward in supporting immigrants. Many of Mayor de Blasio's signature initiatives—particularly universal pre-kindergarten (UPK), IDNYC, and community schools—have offered vital new services to New Yorkers across the city that have been tremendously beneficial for immigrants seeking to fully integrate themselves into our society and see their families thrive.</p> <p>Now, there's another critical step that New York City can take to build on these immigrant integration successes: investing in adult education.</p> <p>New York City has the largest immigrant community of any city in the United States, with three million immigrants from all over the world—that's more than the entire population of Chicago. Immigrants help drive our city—accounting for 45 percent of the workforce and 49 percent of small business owners, and endowing the Big Apple with much of its incredible cultural vibrancy.</p> <p>New York City has led the way in offering vital services to immigrant communities, in particular to children from immigrant households. But it's critical that we now move forward to ensure that immigrant parents are equally equipped to take advantage of new path-breaking city programs, and that means supporting adult literacy initiatives that help immigrant New Yorkers learn English and ensure basic reading and writing skills.</p> <p>Adult literacy is crucial for helping parents know how to navigate the city and unlock the power of major policy achievements. To make UPK, IDNYC, and community schools live up to their potential, for example, we need to make sure parents are equipped with the tools they need to access them. English-speaking parents have a much easier time ensuring their children's educational success—for example, by being able to fully engage during parent-teacher meetings—and being able to proactively seek out the indispensable services provided at community schools.</p> <p>Adult literacy is necessary for our immigrant communities, and more broadly, it's important for the economic well-being of our city. As <a href="https://populardemocracy.org/news/publications/teaching-toward-equity" target="_blank">a new report</a> by the Center for Popular Democracy and Make the Road New York has found, directing additional resources toward adult literacy will raise immigrant New Yorkers' wages and increase tax revenues.</p> <p>Take the example of Yanilda, a Dominican immigrant enrolled in English classes at Make the Road New York in Bushwick. Since beginning her classes, Yanilda notes, "I can help my niece with her homework. She's in kindergarten now and when I help her read her books, I learn too." Yanilda is also confident that her steadily improving English will help her get a better job. For her and thousands of others citywide who are lucky enough to have a spot in a free English class, adult literacy programs offer a win-win.</p> <p>There are 1.7 million and 2.3 million Limited-English proficient residents like Yanilda, in New York City and New York State, respectively, according to the Census, and many others in need of basic literacy courses. Within immigrant communities there is a tremendous unmet need for English classes and adult basic education, with state funding now only sufficient to accommodate one of every 39 New Yorkers who need ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) classes. Simply put, adult literacy funding has not kept pace with the need.</p> <p>That's why we need New York City to dedicate $16 million in its upcoming budget to new investments to help 13,300 students access adult literacy programs, including ESOL, Basic Education in Native Language (BENL), Adult Basic Education (ABE), and High School Equivalency Preparation (HSE).</p> <p>We've made so much progress in expanding services to immigrant New Yorkers since Mayor de Blasio took office. It's time for New York City to take the next step in full immigrant integration by investing in adult literacy.</p> <p>***<br />Carlos Menchaca is a member of the New York City Council. Theo Oshiro is the Deputy Director Make the Road New York. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/cmenchaca" target="_blank">@cmenchaca</a>&nbsp;&amp;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/MaketheRoadNY" target="_blank">@maketheroadny</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
Addressing NYC's School Overcrowding Crisis 2016-03-07T19:27:28+00:00 2016-03-07T19:27:28+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6210:addressing-nycs-school-overcrowding-crisis Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/img2424.jpg" alt="img2424" height="401" width="600" /></p> <p>Protesting school overcrowding in Queens</p> <hr /> <p>All parents in New York City deserve the peace of mind that their children will be able to attend a school where they can thrive and grow. Unfortunately, following years of neglect from the Bloomberg administration, our city's school system is plagued by school overcrowding and excessive class sizes, where hundreds of thousands of our children simply don't have adequate space to learn.</p> <p>With education a top priority for the city, it's critical that our leaders take strong action to address the chronic underfunding of our city's school infrastructure. Key to addressing this issue is investing sufficient capital resources in the city budget, as well as improving the current school planning process, which is broken.</p> <p>Recently, we've had some good news. When the city Department of Education (DOE) released its school capital plan, it included a commitment from Mayor de Blasio to invest nearly $900 million in additional resources to build more school seats. In the same plan, the DOE raised its needs assessment to 83,000 additional seats, given enrollment projections and existing overcrowding. This is closer to the 100,000-seat figure that Class Size Matters estimated in its recent report, "<a href="http://www.classsizematters.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SPACE-CRUNCH-Report-Final-OL.pdf" target="_blank">Space Crunch</a>." Together, these two adjustments are a welcome acknowledgement of the crisis in school overcrowding, and we applaud them.</p> <p>But more should be done. The number of new seats in the capital plan is 49,000—only about 59 percent of the DOE's own admitted need—and New York City's population is growing faster than any other large city in the nation. The mayor is now urging the City Council to adopt rezoning plans to accelerate the construction of thousands of new affordable and market-rate housing units, which will increase pressure on our school system. At this critical moment, the city has a real opportunity to address housing and education together.</p> <p>Right now, more than half a million students are crammed into over-utilized schools, according to DOE data. In many cases, this means excessive class sizes of 30 or more, a loss of art, music, or science rooms, and a lack of dedicated spaces for students to receive counseling or mandated special education services – no less the wraparound services inherent in the community school model.</p> <p>According to the analysis in a recent report by Make the Road New York—"<a href="http://www.maketheroad.org/report.php?ID=4178" target="_blank">Where's My Seat?</a>"—immigrant communities have especially egregious overcrowding problems and even greater unmet needs in the DOE capital plan. In many of the schools in these neighborhoods, children are forced to eat their lunch as early as 10 a.m. or are bused to schools far away from their homes. Many do not have adequate opportunity for physical education because there is not enough space in their gyms.</p> <p>We need to build, lease, and expand more schools. At least the 83,000 seats that the DOE projects are necessary. In addition, the process of school planning and siting must be made more efficient. There are many communities, like Sunset Park, which have suffered from extreme overcrowding for a decade or more, even though funding to build more schools in the neighborhood has existed in the capital plan, because the School Construction Agency has not been able to site a single one.</p> <p>According to the DOE, only 15 percent of the school seats needed by 2019 have sites identified and are in the process of being designed. In seven districts, that percentage is zero. The city will fall even further behind in creating seats if the mayor's rezoning proposals are adopted, unless much more is done to build and site schools. A recent Environmental Impact Statement for the East New York rezoning proposal found it would exacerbate school overcrowding, and, along with other changes, drive high school overcrowding in the borough to 109 percent of capacity. Yet the DOE capital plan does not include a single Brooklyn high school to be built.</p> <p>That is why we are urging the City Council, along with the mayor, to create a commission or task force of experts and stakeholder groups, to propose reforms to the school planning process, so that schools must be built along with housing, instead of decades afterwards. Among the issues to be considered would be reforms to the zoning process, including whether the threshold to consider the need for a new school should be lowered – especially when the schools are already overcrowded; whether the formula used by City Planning to estimate the impact of new housing on schools needs to be updated; whether the city should require impact fees from developers and/or use eminent domain more frequently; and how the trends in lost seats, utilization rates, and enrollment could be made more transparent and more accurate through regular reporting by the DOE.</p> <p>As Mayor de Blasio repeated in his recent State of the City speech, the goal across our city must be to ensure that neighborhoods thrive. There cannot be successful neighborhoods unless there are schools with enough space for the children in every community across the city to learn and prosper. It's time to invest all the necessary resources and improve the school planning process to ensure the bright future that all of our children deserve.</p> <p>***<br />Leonie Haimson is the Executive Director of Class Size Matters. Javier H. Valdés is the Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/leoniehaimson" target="_blank">@leoniehaimson</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/javierhvaldes" target="_blank">@javierhvaldes</a>.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/img2424.jpg" alt="img2424" height="401" width="600" /></p> <p>Protesting school overcrowding in Queens</p> <hr /> <p>All parents in New York City deserve the peace of mind that their children will be able to attend a school where they can thrive and grow. Unfortunately, following years of neglect from the Bloomberg administration, our city's school system is plagued by school overcrowding and excessive class sizes, where hundreds of thousands of our children simply don't have adequate space to learn.</p> <p>With education a top priority for the city, it's critical that our leaders take strong action to address the chronic underfunding of our city's school infrastructure. Key to addressing this issue is investing sufficient capital resources in the city budget, as well as improving the current school planning process, which is broken.</p> <p>Recently, we've had some good news. When the city Department of Education (DOE) released its school capital plan, it included a commitment from Mayor de Blasio to invest nearly $900 million in additional resources to build more school seats. In the same plan, the DOE raised its needs assessment to 83,000 additional seats, given enrollment projections and existing overcrowding. This is closer to the 100,000-seat figure that Class Size Matters estimated in its recent report, "<a href="http://www.classsizematters.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SPACE-CRUNCH-Report-Final-OL.pdf" target="_blank">Space Crunch</a>." Together, these two adjustments are a welcome acknowledgement of the crisis in school overcrowding, and we applaud them.</p> <p>But more should be done. The number of new seats in the capital plan is 49,000—only about 59 percent of the DOE's own admitted need—and New York City's population is growing faster than any other large city in the nation. The mayor is now urging the City Council to adopt rezoning plans to accelerate the construction of thousands of new affordable and market-rate housing units, which will increase pressure on our school system. At this critical moment, the city has a real opportunity to address housing and education together.</p> <p>Right now, more than half a million students are crammed into over-utilized schools, according to DOE data. In many cases, this means excessive class sizes of 30 or more, a loss of art, music, or science rooms, and a lack of dedicated spaces for students to receive counseling or mandated special education services – no less the wraparound services inherent in the community school model.</p> <p>According to the analysis in a recent report by Make the Road New York—"<a href="http://www.maketheroad.org/report.php?ID=4178" target="_blank">Where's My Seat?</a>"—immigrant communities have especially egregious overcrowding problems and even greater unmet needs in the DOE capital plan. In many of the schools in these neighborhoods, children are forced to eat their lunch as early as 10 a.m. or are bused to schools far away from their homes. Many do not have adequate opportunity for physical education because there is not enough space in their gyms.</p> <p>We need to build, lease, and expand more schools. At least the 83,000 seats that the DOE projects are necessary. In addition, the process of school planning and siting must be made more efficient. There are many communities, like Sunset Park, which have suffered from extreme overcrowding for a decade or more, even though funding to build more schools in the neighborhood has existed in the capital plan, because the School Construction Agency has not been able to site a single one.</p> <p>According to the DOE, only 15 percent of the school seats needed by 2019 have sites identified and are in the process of being designed. In seven districts, that percentage is zero. The city will fall even further behind in creating seats if the mayor's rezoning proposals are adopted, unless much more is done to build and site schools. A recent Environmental Impact Statement for the East New York rezoning proposal found it would exacerbate school overcrowding, and, along with other changes, drive high school overcrowding in the borough to 109 percent of capacity. Yet the DOE capital plan does not include a single Brooklyn high school to be built.</p> <p>That is why we are urging the City Council, along with the mayor, to create a commission or task force of experts and stakeholder groups, to propose reforms to the school planning process, so that schools must be built along with housing, instead of decades afterwards. Among the issues to be considered would be reforms to the zoning process, including whether the threshold to consider the need for a new school should be lowered – especially when the schools are already overcrowded; whether the formula used by City Planning to estimate the impact of new housing on schools needs to be updated; whether the city should require impact fees from developers and/or use eminent domain more frequently; and how the trends in lost seats, utilization rates, and enrollment could be made more transparent and more accurate through regular reporting by the DOE.</p> <p>As Mayor de Blasio repeated in his recent State of the City speech, the goal across our city must be to ensure that neighborhoods thrive. There cannot be successful neighborhoods unless there are schools with enough space for the children in every community across the city to learn and prosper. It's time to invest all the necessary resources and improve the school planning process to ensure the bright future that all of our children deserve.</p> <p>***<br />Leonie Haimson is the Executive Director of Class Size Matters. Javier H. Valdés is the Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/leoniehaimson" target="_blank">@leoniehaimson</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/javierhvaldes" target="_blank">@javierhvaldes</a>.</p> A Budget for Immigrant New York 2016-03-03T03:28:17+00:00 2016-03-03T03:28:17+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6204:a-budget-for-immigrant-new-york Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/MTR_15.jpg" alt="MTR 15" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>photo via Make The Road New York</p> <hr /> <p>Growing up in Puebla, Mexico, I was raised to believe that all families, and all communities, deserve their fair share.</p> <p>Since immigrating to New York, however, I've seen clearly that immigrant communities here often get far from their fair share. Immigrant communities like Woodside, Queens, where I live, too often lack the basic infrastructure and opportunities that residents need—good schools, safe and affordable housing, access to good-paying jobs, and more. We just get the short end of the stick relative to better-off neighborhoods.</p> <p>As I've followed recent political debates in our state, I've learned that a lot of that has to do with the state budget. The budget, more than anything else that happens in our state each year, has an enormous bearing on shaping the priorities of our state government and determining which programs and regions will get the funding that they need. The budget determines funding for everything from education to housing to health care. And, with more and more policy decisions getting inserted into the budget in recent years as a way of getting around Albany's dysfunction, the budget is actually now the biggest policy-making vehicle in our state.</p> <p>That's why, this year, my fellow members of Make the Road New York and I are calling for immigrant communities across the state to get our fair share of the state budget. In a new report that we released this week, "A Budget for Immigrant New York," we call for greater equity across the budget, so that immigrant communities can thrive as they deserve.</p> <p><a href="http://www.maketheroad.org/report.php?ID=4246" target="_blank">The report</a> highlights 25 items, but my own story shows why three are so important.</p> <p>First, we call for the state to include in its budget an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour as soon as possible, with indexing to inflation. As a minimum wage earner, my dream has been to improve the lives of my four children, but the wages I earn are too low for me to do that. The truth is, on my wages it is impossible to get ahead in this expensive state. Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour for me is an issue of survival. A $15 minimum wage would mean enough food in my house at night for my family, and peace of mind that I could begin to meet all of our other needs.</p> <p>Second, we call for an increase of $2.9 billion in new school aid. As a parent of four, I worry every day about my children's education, and it pains me to see them attending schools that don't have all the resources they need. Under-resourced schools like theirs are not the exception—they are the rule. We need billions of dollars in additional school aid, and it must prioritize high-needs school districts.</p> <p>Third, immigrant adults need the opportunity to fully integrate themselves in their communities through adult literacy programs. I'm currently enrolled in an English class that I know will help me engage better with my children's teachers and find a better job, but too many other immigrants can't access classes because there is not enough state funding. We need $17 million in adult literacy funding in this year's budget.</p> <p>On these issues and so many more, this year's budget offers an opportunity to do more for immigrant communities in desperate need. We need leaders in Albany to step up to make sure that we get our fair share.</p> <p>***<br />Cristina Molina is a member of Make the Road New York, the largest grassroots community organization in New York offering services and organizing the immigrant community. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/MaketheRoadNY" target="_blank">@maketheroadny</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/MTR_15.jpg" alt="MTR 15" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>photo via Make The Road New York</p> <hr /> <p>Growing up in Puebla, Mexico, I was raised to believe that all families, and all communities, deserve their fair share.</p> <p>Since immigrating to New York, however, I've seen clearly that immigrant communities here often get far from their fair share. Immigrant communities like Woodside, Queens, where I live, too often lack the basic infrastructure and opportunities that residents need—good schools, safe and affordable housing, access to good-paying jobs, and more. We just get the short end of the stick relative to better-off neighborhoods.</p> <p>As I've followed recent political debates in our state, I've learned that a lot of that has to do with the state budget. The budget, more than anything else that happens in our state each year, has an enormous bearing on shaping the priorities of our state government and determining which programs and regions will get the funding that they need. The budget determines funding for everything from education to housing to health care. And, with more and more policy decisions getting inserted into the budget in recent years as a way of getting around Albany's dysfunction, the budget is actually now the biggest policy-making vehicle in our state.</p> <p>That's why, this year, my fellow members of Make the Road New York and I are calling for immigrant communities across the state to get our fair share of the state budget. In a new report that we released this week, "A Budget for Immigrant New York," we call for greater equity across the budget, so that immigrant communities can thrive as they deserve.</p> <p><a href="http://www.maketheroad.org/report.php?ID=4246" target="_blank">The report</a> highlights 25 items, but my own story shows why three are so important.</p> <p>First, we call for the state to include in its budget an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour as soon as possible, with indexing to inflation. As a minimum wage earner, my dream has been to improve the lives of my four children, but the wages I earn are too low for me to do that. The truth is, on my wages it is impossible to get ahead in this expensive state. Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour for me is an issue of survival. A $15 minimum wage would mean enough food in my house at night for my family, and peace of mind that I could begin to meet all of our other needs.</p> <p>Second, we call for an increase of $2.9 billion in new school aid. As a parent of four, I worry every day about my children's education, and it pains me to see them attending schools that don't have all the resources they need. Under-resourced schools like theirs are not the exception—they are the rule. We need billions of dollars in additional school aid, and it must prioritize high-needs school districts.</p> <p>Third, immigrant adults need the opportunity to fully integrate themselves in their communities through adult literacy programs. I'm currently enrolled in an English class that I know will help me engage better with my children's teachers and find a better job, but too many other immigrants can't access classes because there is not enough state funding. We need $17 million in adult literacy funding in this year's budget.</p> <p>On these issues and so many more, this year's budget offers an opportunity to do more for immigrant communities in desperate need. We need leaders in Albany to step up to make sure that we get our fair share.</p> <p>***<br />Cristina Molina is a member of Make the Road New York, the largest grassroots community organization in New York offering services and organizing the immigrant community. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/MaketheRoadNY" target="_blank">@maketheroadny</a></p> Real Affordable Housing for Our Communities 2016-02-09T02:51:13+00:00 2016-02-09T02:51:13+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6156:real-affordable-housing-for-our-communities Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/24323097475_1eee850d3f_z.jpg" alt="de blasio housing constituent" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>photo:&nbsp;Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office</p> <hr /> <p>When I think about my family's future in New York City, I wonder: will there be an affordable, safe, and healthy apartment where I can raise my children and still be able to provide them with everything else that they need?</p> <p>This is the question that our city government has to address if it wants to protect low-income and working class New Yorkers.</p> <p>My husband and I live in Bushwick in a one-bedroom apartment with our three children—one of whom has special needs—and my sister. We pay more than $1,200 per month—more than half of our income, which comes from my husband's job in a fruit and vegetable store. For the last two years, we've been looking to find somewhere better—somewhere more affordable, with more space for our children. Our landlord wants us out, too, because he wants to renovate and charge new tenants more as Bushwick gentrifies.</p> <p>But there's nowhere for us to go. Even studios near where we live are now renting for $1,400-$1,500—too much money, and too little space, for our family of six.</p> <p>In recent weeks, the city has heard much debate on how to create and preserve affordable housing. The most talked-about item has been the Mayor's Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) plan, which would exchange zoning changes to allow more housing construction for, in most neighborhoods, the requirement that 25–30 percent of apartments be affordable to people earning 60 to 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).</p> <p>The problem with the plan is that it won't solve the problem for working class New Yorkers like me.</p> <p>Sixty percent of Area Median Income is almost $47,000 for a family of three, and many New Yorkers are far from earning that. My family of six earns about half that much.</p> <p>As a recent Real Affordability for All (RAFA) report found, in many of the neighborhoods that are being rezoned—like East New York, the South Bronx, and East Harlem—the average income is far below 60 percent of Area Median Income. So, when I look at the MIH plan, I wonder: "affordable" housing for whom? Certainly not for local residents like me.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio stood on the right side with our communities in the Fight for $15, to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for the 3.2 million low-wage workers in our state who currently earn less. But the reality is that, even once our families win the $15 per hour that we so desperately need, the vast majority of the housing being proposed in the MIH plan will not be affordable to us.</p> <p>We ask the Mayor to reconsider his plan and expand affordability to preserve and build genuinely affordable housing.</p> <p>***<br />Susana Salas is a member of Make the Road New York, the largest grassroots community organization in New York offering services and organizing the immigrant community. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/MaketheRoadNY" target="_blank">@maketheroadny</a>.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/24323097475_1eee850d3f_z.jpg" alt="de blasio housing constituent" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>photo:&nbsp;Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office</p> <hr /> <p>When I think about my family's future in New York City, I wonder: will there be an affordable, safe, and healthy apartment where I can raise my children and still be able to provide them with everything else that they need?</p> <p>This is the question that our city government has to address if it wants to protect low-income and working class New Yorkers.</p> <p>My husband and I live in Bushwick in a one-bedroom apartment with our three children—one of whom has special needs—and my sister. We pay more than $1,200 per month—more than half of our income, which comes from my husband's job in a fruit and vegetable store. For the last two years, we've been looking to find somewhere better—somewhere more affordable, with more space for our children. Our landlord wants us out, too, because he wants to renovate and charge new tenants more as Bushwick gentrifies.</p> <p>But there's nowhere for us to go. Even studios near where we live are now renting for $1,400-$1,500—too much money, and too little space, for our family of six.</p> <p>In recent weeks, the city has heard much debate on how to create and preserve affordable housing. The most talked-about item has been the Mayor's Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) plan, which would exchange zoning changes to allow more housing construction for, in most neighborhoods, the requirement that 25–30 percent of apartments be affordable to people earning 60 to 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).</p> <p>The problem with the plan is that it won't solve the problem for working class New Yorkers like me.</p> <p>Sixty percent of Area Median Income is almost $47,000 for a family of three, and many New Yorkers are far from earning that. My family of six earns about half that much.</p> <p>As a recent Real Affordability for All (RAFA) report found, in many of the neighborhoods that are being rezoned—like East New York, the South Bronx, and East Harlem—the average income is far below 60 percent of Area Median Income. So, when I look at the MIH plan, I wonder: "affordable" housing for whom? Certainly not for local residents like me.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio stood on the right side with our communities in the Fight for $15, to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for the 3.2 million low-wage workers in our state who currently earn less. But the reality is that, even once our families win the $15 per hour that we so desperately need, the vast majority of the housing being proposed in the MIH plan will not be affordable to us.</p> <p>We ask the Mayor to reconsider his plan and expand affordability to preserve and build genuinely affordable housing.</p> <p>***<br />Susana Salas is a member of Make the Road New York, the largest grassroots community organization in New York offering services and organizing the immigrant community. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/MaketheRoadNY" target="_blank">@maketheroadny</a>.</p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 26 2015-10-25T05:00:00+00:00 2015-10-25T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5949:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-26-2015 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>This week will be dominated by the World Series, we know that. The New York Mets begin their quest for the title against the Royals in Kansas City on Tuesday night, followed by another game in KC on Wednesday and then games in Queens on Friday, Saturday, and, if necessary, Sunday. If the series continues, games six and seven would be the following Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 3 and 4) back in Kansas City. On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a wager over the series, with the loser having to wear the jersey of the winning team to work for a day. There are other aspects of the bet, too, with significant home-state items to be sent from loser to winner.</p> <p>Now, on to politics sans sport.</p> <p>It was a quiet political weekend. Mayor de Blasio, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, and others touted the new Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village sales deal to the complex's tenant association on Saturday afternoon. [Read CM Garodnick's thoughts on the sale <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/5947-the-future-of-stuyvesant-town-a-peter-cooper-village-garodnick" target="_blank">in this Gotham Gazette op-ed</a>]</p> <p>On Monday, de Blasio has no public events scheduled.&nbsp;Governor Cuomo is in New York City Monday, though, to make an announcement at 1:30 p.m. at Chelsea Piers.</p> <p>There is a lot happening Monday and beyond. Services will occur this week to honor Police Officer Randolph Holder, who was killed on October 20. As has been the case since Holder was shot and killed, criminal justice reform and policing are sure to be sources of significant attention this week.</p> <p>Thursday is the three-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy hitting New York; there are sure to be both rememberances of the people and property lost, as well as assessments of progress made in recovering from Sandy and preparing for the next big storm.</p> <p>See our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet to discuss a bill that would ban the sale of personal care products or over the counter drugs that contain microbeads, as well as pass a resolution on the Microbeads-free Waters Acts.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Environmental Protection will meet to discuss bills related to the use of biodiesel.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning, current and former elected officials and others will honor recently-retired former Assemblymember Joan Millman. Comptroller Scott Stringer is among those who will speak.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 12:30 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will visit the High School of Fashion Industries to kick off College Application Week and make an announcement.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1 p.m. at City Hall, Congressional Rep. Nydia Velazquez will announce new legislation aimed at reducing the number of guns in New York and nationwide. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries; Public Advocate Letitia James; Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams; Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Leah Gunn Barrett, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; and NYC families impacted by gun violence will also participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3 p.m. Monday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/news/2015/10/22/-hometown-rally--for-mets-fans-monday-at-queens-borough-hall.html" target="_blank">Hometown Rally</a> to cheer on the Mets as they start Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night in Kansas City. Other elected officials, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Later, Mark-Viverito will speak at the 2015 Roy &amp; Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, where she and the City Council are receiving an award for their Participatory Budgeting program. [Read more about the award and the participatory budgeting program in <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5946-participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it" target="_blank">our new in-depth report</a>: Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn't Every Council Member Doing It?]</p> <p>Then, Mark-Viverito "speaks at 2015 Shine Event for LGBT Immigration Equality."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. Monday the Bronx Young Democrats will discuss the achievements and current initiatives of young female Bronx leaders. The <a href="https://twitter.com/vanessalgibson/status/654191195590160384" target="_blank">event</a> will feature Darcel Clark, Democratic candidate for Bronx District Attorney; City Council Member Vanessa Gibson; State Assemblymember Latoya Joyner; and Marsha Michael, Attorney &amp; Law Clerk.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7:15 p.m. the Immigration Equality event “<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1706785126218100" target="_blank">SHINE</a>”, celebrating women’s leadership in in the LGBT community, will honor City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and &nbsp;Denise Chambers, Immigration Equality client and asylum winner from Trinidad.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, several uptown Manhattan Democratic clubs <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/894423727260973/" target="_blank">are hosting</a> Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for a discussion of relevant issues. City Council Member Mark Levine will also participate in the dialogue.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday evening is the Riders Alliance gala. Public Advocate Letitia James is among those set to attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a>: CM Mark Treyger (District 47, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>On Tuesday, at 8:30 a.m., Stroock, the public affairs law firm, will host a Government Leadership forum &nbsp;<a href="http://colreaction.stroock.com/Reaction/RSGenPage.asp?RSID=fIqA7tbEiXYreT0_7kSPHQ&amp;RSTYPE=RSVP" target="_blank">“What is the Future of Organized Labor?</a>” Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council; Gregory Floyd, President of Local 237 Teamsters; Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers; and Harry Nespoli, President of the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association will be on the panel. Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General and Chair of Stroock's Government Relations Practice Group, and Alan M. Klinger, Co-Managing Partner and Co-Chair of Stroock's Litigation Practice Group, will moderate.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is in Westchester County meeting with elected officials and touring different areas.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) will <a href="http://www.jcope.ny.gov/public/agendas/Public%20Meeting%20Agenda%2010.27.15%20for%20website.pdf" target="_blank">meet</a> on a number of matters including its ongoing search for a new Executive Director.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. Vocal-NY, City Council Member Jumaane Williams, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and others will hold the <a href="https://twitter.com/VOCALNewYork/status/657622574965391360" target="_blank">Fair Chance Rally</a>. The purpose of the rally is to raise awareness about the Fair Chance Act, which makes it illegal for New York City employers to ask about one’s criminal record until after a job offer is made, and is going into effect.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Tuesday: the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and Assembly Climate Change Work Group will have a roundtable discussion on Climate Change.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Tuesday: at 11 a.m. the Committee on Women’s Issues; the Committee on Health; and the Committee on Education will meet for a joint oversight hearing on sex education in NYC schools. They will discuss three bills that would: require the Department of Education to provide a report on student health services to the Council; require the DOE to report annually on information about health education and HIV/AIDS education for students in grades six through twelve; require the DOE to submit an annual report on the sexual health education received by instructors in public middle and high schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prior to that City Council hearing, at 10 a.m.,&nbsp;there will be a "press conference to call for comprehensive sex education in NYC schools" led by Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women's Issues; Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education; and Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health; as well as representatives from Planned Parenthood of New York City; NARAL Pro-Choice New York; New York Civil Liberties Union; and Reproductive Healthcare Advocates.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 2 p.m. at 250 Broadway,&nbsp;"State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), together with Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Member Annabel Palma and Make the Road New York, will release a bombshell investigative report "The American Scheme: Herbalife's Pyramid 'Shake'down.""</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Safe Passage Project will hold an <a href="http://www.safepassageproject.org/event/representing-immigrant-children-one-year-later/" target="_blank">event</a> composed of two parts. The first will be discussing the unmet needs of recent migrant children and young parent from Central America. City Council Member Rory Lancman will make opening remarks. There will be multiple related panel discussions thereafter.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday evening, Governor Cuomo is set to deliver remarks at the Business Council of Westchester’s <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/money/business-in-the-burbs/2015/10/05/business-burbs/72982700/" target="_blank">Annual Dinner</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. the city Panel for Educational Policy will have a <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/schedule/2015-2016/20152016PanelforEducationalPolicyCalendar.htm" target="_blank">public meeting</a> in Manhattan. At the event the Chancellor will give an update on current policies and the panel will discuss a number of important topics including: Race and Diversity in School Admission, Aggregation of Community District Budgets Together with a Proposed Budget for Administrative Expenditures of the City Board and the Chancellor, and more; while also taking public comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. during <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyVanBramer/status/654009551277195264" target="_blank">The Hispanic Leadership Awards</a>, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer will lead a celebration honoring several people for their outstanding leadership in the Latino community, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will receive a Distinguished Public Service Award. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. City Council Members Donovan Richards and I. Daneek Miller will hold a Southeast Queens Transportation Town Hall. Representatives from DOT, MTA, TLC, and NYPD will attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Wednesday: The Assembly Standing Committee on Aging along with the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities, the Assembly Subcommittee on Community Integration, and the Assembly Subcommittee on Outreach and Oversight of Senior Citizen Programs, will hold a joint public hearing regarding the “New York State Office for the Aging’s study on the benefits of creating an office of community living”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. several groups host <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/why-she-ran-a-conversation-with-women-in-politics-tickets-19020356398" target="_blank">“Why She Ran: A Conversation With Women in Politics”</a> discussing the challenges women face in New York politics and encouraging women to run for office. Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras, and Council Member Helen Rosenthal will speak at the event. Sponsors of the event include the Working Families Party, Eleanor's Legacy, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Higher Heights for America, Ladies of Labor, Shirley Chisholm Institute, NOW-NYS, Women's Organizing Network, and WIN NYC.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 6:30 p.m., school district 3 will host a <a href="http://insideschools.org/calendar/event/3450-d3-town-hall-w-chancellor" target="_blank">Town Hall</a> meeting with Chancellor Carmen Fariña.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Ritchie Torres (District 15, Bronx) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Jumaane D. Williams (District 45, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. the Urban Land Institute will hold <a href="http://newyork.uli.org/event/save-date-uli-tri-state-infrastructure-summit/" target="_blank">a conference</a> about the best new practices to help fund public transportation infrastructure in the New York metro area in the face of withering public funding, including solutions through partnerships with the private sector.</p> <p>At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will meet to hear communication from Orlando Marin of the City Planning Commission</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 p.m. will be a City Council Stated Meeting; prefaced, as always, by the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. United States Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates will <a href="http://web.law.columbia.edu/public-integrity/current-state-criminal-justice-conversation-us-deputy-attorney-general-sally-yates" target="_blank">discuss</a> the administration’s top goals and priorities at the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School; following the speech will be a Q&amp;A session.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. The Hopkins-Hunter Forum for Education Policy, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and The Hunter College Gifted and Talented Program will host “<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-excellence-gap-the-state-of-gifted-talented-education-tickets-17894759708?aff=mcivte" target="_blank">The Excellence Gap: The State of Gifted and Talented Education</a>,” an event that will discuss the income based education gap among students, and talk about suggestions on how to address the issue in the future.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio will be hosting a <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8579632/de-blasio-kick-2017-campaign-midtown-fundraiser" target="_blank">fundraiser</a> for his 2017 campaign, as reported by Politico New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 4:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Donovan Richards (District 31, Queens) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>On Saturday and Sunday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will hold two <a href="http://gothamist.com/2015/10/22/deblasio_halloween_spooky.php" target="_blank">Spooky Parties</a> at Gracie Mansion, inviting families with children 5-10 years old to come tour their haunted house. Families must have tickets through the ticket giveaway being held prior to the event.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday at 2 p.m. a large group of Democratic political clubs and progressive organizations will hold a <a href="http://www.presidentialforumnyc.com/" target="_blank">Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Forum</a>. Representatives from the Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley and Lessing campaigns will participate.. The forum will be moderated by Ronnie Eldridge.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>This week will be dominated by the World Series, we know that. The New York Mets begin their quest for the title against the Royals in Kansas City on Tuesday night, followed by another game in KC on Wednesday and then games in Queens on Friday, Saturday, and, if necessary, Sunday. If the series continues, games six and seven would be the following Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 3 and 4) back in Kansas City. On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a wager over the series, with the loser having to wear the jersey of the winning team to work for a day. There are other aspects of the bet, too, with significant home-state items to be sent from loser to winner.</p> <p>Now, on to politics sans sport.</p> <p>It was a quiet political weekend. Mayor de Blasio, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, and others touted the new Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village sales deal to the complex's tenant association on Saturday afternoon. [Read CM Garodnick's thoughts on the sale <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/5947-the-future-of-stuyvesant-town-a-peter-cooper-village-garodnick" target="_blank">in this Gotham Gazette op-ed</a>]</p> <p>On Monday, de Blasio has no public events scheduled.&nbsp;Governor Cuomo is in New York City Monday, though, to make an announcement at 1:30 p.m. at Chelsea Piers.</p> <p>There is a lot happening Monday and beyond. Services will occur this week to honor Police Officer Randolph Holder, who was killed on October 20. As has been the case since Holder was shot and killed, criminal justice reform and policing are sure to be sources of significant attention this week.</p> <p>Thursday is the three-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy hitting New York; there are sure to be both rememberances of the people and property lost, as well as assessments of progress made in recovering from Sandy and preparing for the next big storm.</p> <p>See our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet to discuss a bill that would ban the sale of personal care products or over the counter drugs that contain microbeads, as well as pass a resolution on the Microbeads-free Waters Acts.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Environmental Protection will meet to discuss bills related to the use of biodiesel.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning, current and former elected officials and others will honor recently-retired former Assemblymember Joan Millman. Comptroller Scott Stringer is among those who will speak.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 12:30 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will visit the High School of Fashion Industries to kick off College Application Week and make an announcement.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1 p.m. at City Hall, Congressional Rep. Nydia Velazquez will announce new legislation aimed at reducing the number of guns in New York and nationwide. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries; Public Advocate Letitia James; Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams; Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Leah Gunn Barrett, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; and NYC families impacted by gun violence will also participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3 p.m. Monday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/news/2015/10/22/-hometown-rally--for-mets-fans-monday-at-queens-borough-hall.html" target="_blank">Hometown Rally</a> to cheer on the Mets as they start Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night in Kansas City. Other elected officials, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Later, Mark-Viverito will speak at the 2015 Roy &amp; Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, where she and the City Council are receiving an award for their Participatory Budgeting program. [Read more about the award and the participatory budgeting program in <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5946-participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it" target="_blank">our new in-depth report</a>: Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn't Every Council Member Doing It?]</p> <p>Then, Mark-Viverito "speaks at 2015 Shine Event for LGBT Immigration Equality."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. Monday the Bronx Young Democrats will discuss the achievements and current initiatives of young female Bronx leaders. The <a href="https://twitter.com/vanessalgibson/status/654191195590160384" target="_blank">event</a> will feature Darcel Clark, Democratic candidate for Bronx District Attorney; City Council Member Vanessa Gibson; State Assemblymember Latoya Joyner; and Marsha Michael, Attorney &amp; Law Clerk.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7:15 p.m. the Immigration Equality event “<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1706785126218100" target="_blank">SHINE</a>”, celebrating women’s leadership in in the LGBT community, will honor City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and &nbsp;Denise Chambers, Immigration Equality client and asylum winner from Trinidad.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, several uptown Manhattan Democratic clubs <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/894423727260973/" target="_blank">are hosting</a> Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for a discussion of relevant issues. City Council Member Mark Levine will also participate in the dialogue.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday evening is the Riders Alliance gala. Public Advocate Letitia James is among those set to attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a>: CM Mark Treyger (District 47, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>On Tuesday, at 8:30 a.m., Stroock, the public affairs law firm, will host a Government Leadership forum &nbsp;<a href="http://colreaction.stroock.com/Reaction/RSGenPage.asp?RSID=fIqA7tbEiXYreT0_7kSPHQ&amp;RSTYPE=RSVP" target="_blank">“What is the Future of Organized Labor?</a>” Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council; Gregory Floyd, President of Local 237 Teamsters; Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers; and Harry Nespoli, President of the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association will be on the panel. Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General and Chair of Stroock's Government Relations Practice Group, and Alan M. Klinger, Co-Managing Partner and Co-Chair of Stroock's Litigation Practice Group, will moderate.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is in Westchester County meeting with elected officials and touring different areas.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) will <a href="http://www.jcope.ny.gov/public/agendas/Public%20Meeting%20Agenda%2010.27.15%20for%20website.pdf" target="_blank">meet</a> on a number of matters including its ongoing search for a new Executive Director.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. Vocal-NY, City Council Member Jumaane Williams, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and others will hold the <a href="https://twitter.com/VOCALNewYork/status/657622574965391360" target="_blank">Fair Chance Rally</a>. The purpose of the rally is to raise awareness about the Fair Chance Act, which makes it illegal for New York City employers to ask about one’s criminal record until after a job offer is made, and is going into effect.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Tuesday: the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and Assembly Climate Change Work Group will have a roundtable discussion on Climate Change.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Tuesday: at 11 a.m. the Committee on Women’s Issues; the Committee on Health; and the Committee on Education will meet for a joint oversight hearing on sex education in NYC schools. They will discuss three bills that would: require the Department of Education to provide a report on student health services to the Council; require the DOE to report annually on information about health education and HIV/AIDS education for students in grades six through twelve; require the DOE to submit an annual report on the sexual health education received by instructors in public middle and high schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prior to that City Council hearing, at 10 a.m.,&nbsp;there will be a "press conference to call for comprehensive sex education in NYC schools" led by Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women's Issues; Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education; and Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health; as well as representatives from Planned Parenthood of New York City; NARAL Pro-Choice New York; New York Civil Liberties Union; and Reproductive Healthcare Advocates.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 2 p.m. at 250 Broadway,&nbsp;"State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), together with Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Member Annabel Palma and Make the Road New York, will release a bombshell investigative report "The American Scheme: Herbalife's Pyramid 'Shake'down.""</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Safe Passage Project will hold an <a href="http://www.safepassageproject.org/event/representing-immigrant-children-one-year-later/" target="_blank">event</a> composed of two parts. The first will be discussing the unmet needs of recent migrant children and young parent from Central America. City Council Member Rory Lancman will make opening remarks. There will be multiple related panel discussions thereafter.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday evening, Governor Cuomo is set to deliver remarks at the Business Council of Westchester’s <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/money/business-in-the-burbs/2015/10/05/business-burbs/72982700/" target="_blank">Annual Dinner</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. the city Panel for Educational Policy will have a <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/schedule/2015-2016/20152016PanelforEducationalPolicyCalendar.htm" target="_blank">public meeting</a> in Manhattan. At the event the Chancellor will give an update on current policies and the panel will discuss a number of important topics including: Race and Diversity in School Admission, Aggregation of Community District Budgets Together with a Proposed Budget for Administrative Expenditures of the City Board and the Chancellor, and more; while also taking public comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. during <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyVanBramer/status/654009551277195264" target="_blank">The Hispanic Leadership Awards</a>, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer will lead a celebration honoring several people for their outstanding leadership in the Latino community, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will receive a Distinguished Public Service Award. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. City Council Members Donovan Richards and I. Daneek Miller will hold a Southeast Queens Transportation Town Hall. Representatives from DOT, MTA, TLC, and NYPD will attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Wednesday: The Assembly Standing Committee on Aging along with the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities, the Assembly Subcommittee on Community Integration, and the Assembly Subcommittee on Outreach and Oversight of Senior Citizen Programs, will hold a joint public hearing regarding the “New York State Office for the Aging’s study on the benefits of creating an office of community living”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. several groups host <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/why-she-ran-a-conversation-with-women-in-politics-tickets-19020356398" target="_blank">“Why She Ran: A Conversation With Women in Politics”</a> discussing the challenges women face in New York politics and encouraging women to run for office. Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras, and Council Member Helen Rosenthal will speak at the event. Sponsors of the event include the Working Families Party, Eleanor's Legacy, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Higher Heights for America, Ladies of Labor, Shirley Chisholm Institute, NOW-NYS, Women's Organizing Network, and WIN NYC.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 6:30 p.m., school district 3 will host a <a href="http://insideschools.org/calendar/event/3450-d3-town-hall-w-chancellor" target="_blank">Town Hall</a> meeting with Chancellor Carmen Fariña.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Ritchie Torres (District 15, Bronx) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Jumaane D. Williams (District 45, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. the Urban Land Institute will hold <a href="http://newyork.uli.org/event/save-date-uli-tri-state-infrastructure-summit/" target="_blank">a conference</a> about the best new practices to help fund public transportation infrastructure in the New York metro area in the face of withering public funding, including solutions through partnerships with the private sector.</p> <p>At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will meet to hear communication from Orlando Marin of the City Planning Commission</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 p.m. will be a City Council Stated Meeting; prefaced, as always, by the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. United States Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates will <a href="http://web.law.columbia.edu/public-integrity/current-state-criminal-justice-conversation-us-deputy-attorney-general-sally-yates" target="_blank">discuss</a> the administration’s top goals and priorities at the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School; following the speech will be a Q&amp;A session.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. The Hopkins-Hunter Forum for Education Policy, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and The Hunter College Gifted and Talented Program will host “<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-excellence-gap-the-state-of-gifted-talented-education-tickets-17894759708?aff=mcivte" target="_blank">The Excellence Gap: The State of Gifted and Talented Education</a>,” an event that will discuss the income based education gap among students, and talk about suggestions on how to address the issue in the future.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio will be hosting a <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8579632/de-blasio-kick-2017-campaign-midtown-fundraiser" target="_blank">fundraiser</a> for his 2017 campaign, as reported by Politico New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 4:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Donovan Richards (District 31, Queens) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>On Saturday and Sunday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will hold two <a href="http://gothamist.com/2015/10/22/deblasio_halloween_spooky.php" target="_blank">Spooky Parties</a> at Gracie Mansion, inviting families with children 5-10 years old to come tour their haunted house. Families must have tickets through the ticket giveaway being held prior to the event.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday at 2 p.m. a large group of Democratic political clubs and progressive organizations will hold a <a href="http://www.presidentialforumnyc.com/" target="_blank">Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Forum</a>. Representatives from the Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley and Lessing campaigns will participate.. The forum will be moderated by Ronnie Eldridge.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> Council Bills Aimed at Clarity, Improvement Around School Discipline and Support 2015-04-13T17:31:04+00:00 2015-04-13T17:31:04+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5681:council-bills-aimed-at-clarity-improvement-around-school-discipline-and-support Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/torres_alatriste.jpg" alt="torres alatriste" height="409" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">CM Ritchie Torres at a recent event (photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>At a joint hearing of the City Council's Committees on Public Safety and Education on Tuesday, council members will discuss and hear testimony on <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=394210&amp;GUID=70585980-F356-4AA9-8E49-9DA1236D12A5&amp;Options=info%7C&amp;Search=" target="_blank">three bills</a> addressing school safety.</p> <p>One bill, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would require the city Department of Education (DOE) to report the ratio of school safety officers to guidance counselors in each school.</p> <p>The bill, Torres said, has the support of the Council's Coalition of Young Men of Color, which includes Torres and his colleagues Council Members Antonio Reynoso, Donovan Richards, Rafael Espinal and Carlos Menchaca.</p> <p>The legislation is an attempt to gauge the "imbalance of resources" in the education system, Torres told Gotham Gazette. "In order to solve the problem, we need to diagnose the problem," he said, indicating concern over there being too many police agents and not enough counselors in the city's schools.</p> <p>The information gleaned from the DOE will help determine how resources are allocated toward punitive or restorative practices. Torres said he wants to address the "school-to-prison pipeline" created by <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5439-with-announcement-expected-students-a-advocates-continue-push-for-change-in-school-discipline-code" target="_blank">disciplinary policies</a> where suspensions lead to dropouts; with both leading young people to the criminal justice system. "Our public education system is defeating it's own purpose instead of putting [youth] on a path to a career," he said.</p> <p>"The people to blame are not the teachers and administrators, but the politicians and bureaucrats who create these policies," Torres said.</p> <p>Torres does commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for making a genuine effort toward reform. In February, the administration <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/14/nyregion/suspension-rules-altered-in-new-york-citys-revision-of-school-discipline-code.html?_r=0" target="_blank">revised the school discipline code</a> and established more careful punishments for certain student behavior, including the new requirement of approval from the Department of Education for student suspensions. "But it's important to match changes in policy with the investment of resources," said Torres. "A key part of the equation is access to restorative resources. It's about reforming the criminal justice system. If ever there was a time for reform, it's now."</p> <p>A second bill to be discussed on Tuesday, introduced by Council Member David Greenfield, requires the police department to assign school safety agents to public and nonpublic schools that request them. And the third bill, sponsored by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, requires the schools chancellor to submit an annual report to the Council, also made available on the DOE website, on the discipline of students and the referral to emergency medical services for incidents related to disruptive behavior.</p> <p>For advocates of reform, the package of bills is a move in the right direction. A number of groups including Make the Road New York and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) are expected to testify at the hearing to show their support for both Torres' and Gibson's bills.</p> <p>"[Council Member Torres' bill] gets at the heart of where schools are allocating resources," said Karen Farkas, senior staff attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services. Farkas deals with issues related to education and counsels students between 16- and 19-years-old.</p> <p>"It's a knee-jerk reaction in communities and among lawmakers that safety is equated with the presence of safety agents," she said. "But my clients and students of color don't equate that with safety. It detracts from a positive community and school culture. It makes it harder for schools to be schools."</p> <p>Many of her clients, Farkas said, come from communities that are already over-policed. "Schools should be a place where kids are given the benefit of the doubt, not considered bad or criminal."</p> <p>Farkas believes Torres' bill could reveal the effects that fewer police agents and more positive counseling would have. She also praised the administration's recent steps for laying the groundwork and initiating discussions on restorative justice practices, whereby instead of being suspended from school, students work to make damaged relationships whole again. But, Farkas insisted that "Unless there's a whole school reform model, and it's done well, little piecemeal measures won't change the whole problem."</p> <p>Shoshi Chowdhury, coordinator of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, said the bills would help provide more data and transparency, shedding light on school discipline. "The Student Safety Act of 2010 was the first time in New York City history that we started getting data on suspensions. But there was some data missing," she said. The amendments proposed in Gibson's bill are aimed to address these. At <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5680-the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-13" target="_blank">the hearing</a>, members of Chowdhury's organization will testify along with students, parents, and educators.</p> <p>Nick Sheehan, staff attorney at Advocates for Children, shares Chowdhury's view. Torres' bill, he said, would increase transparency "about how the City chooses to allocate its resources."</p> <p>He went further, saying the bill should also add ratios of social workers and school psychologists to school safety agents, and the ratio of those staff members to students. He also agreed that Gibson's bill would address the limitations in the Student Safety Act. "They're technical tweaks, but they're important," he said.</p> <p>***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/samarkhurshid" target="_blank">@samarkhurshid</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/torres_alatriste.jpg" alt="torres alatriste" height="409" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">CM Ritchie Torres at a recent event (photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>At a joint hearing of the City Council's Committees on Public Safety and Education on Tuesday, council members will discuss and hear testimony on <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=394210&amp;GUID=70585980-F356-4AA9-8E49-9DA1236D12A5&amp;Options=info%7C&amp;Search=" target="_blank">three bills</a> addressing school safety.</p> <p>One bill, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would require the city Department of Education (DOE) to report the ratio of school safety officers to guidance counselors in each school.</p> <p>The bill, Torres said, has the support of the Council's Coalition of Young Men of Color, which includes Torres and his colleagues Council Members Antonio Reynoso, Donovan Richards, Rafael Espinal and Carlos Menchaca.</p> <p>The legislation is an attempt to gauge the "imbalance of resources" in the education system, Torres told Gotham Gazette. "In order to solve the problem, we need to diagnose the problem," he said, indicating concern over there being too many police agents and not enough counselors in the city's schools.</p> <p>The information gleaned from the DOE will help determine how resources are allocated toward punitive or restorative practices. Torres said he wants to address the "school-to-prison pipeline" created by <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5439-with-announcement-expected-students-a-advocates-continue-push-for-change-in-school-discipline-code" target="_blank">disciplinary policies</a> where suspensions lead to dropouts; with both leading young people to the criminal justice system. "Our public education system is defeating it's own purpose instead of putting [youth] on a path to a career," he said.</p> <p>"The people to blame are not the teachers and administrators, but the politicians and bureaucrats who create these policies," Torres said.</p> <p>Torres does commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for making a genuine effort toward reform. In February, the administration <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/14/nyregion/suspension-rules-altered-in-new-york-citys-revision-of-school-discipline-code.html?_r=0" target="_blank">revised the school discipline code</a> and established more careful punishments for certain student behavior, including the new requirement of approval from the Department of Education for student suspensions. "But it's important to match changes in policy with the investment of resources," said Torres. "A key part of the equation is access to restorative resources. It's about reforming the criminal justice system. If ever there was a time for reform, it's now."</p> <p>A second bill to be discussed on Tuesday, introduced by Council Member David Greenfield, requires the police department to assign school safety agents to public and nonpublic schools that request them. And the third bill, sponsored by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, requires the schools chancellor to submit an annual report to the Council, also made available on the DOE website, on the discipline of students and the referral to emergency medical services for incidents related to disruptive behavior.</p> <p>For advocates of reform, the package of bills is a move in the right direction. A number of groups including Make the Road New York and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) are expected to testify at the hearing to show their support for both Torres' and Gibson's bills.</p> <p>"[Council Member Torres' bill] gets at the heart of where schools are allocating resources," said Karen Farkas, senior staff attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services. Farkas deals with issues related to education and counsels students between 16- and 19-years-old.</p> <p>"It's a knee-jerk reaction in communities and among lawmakers that safety is equated with the presence of safety agents," she said. "But my clients and students of color don't equate that with safety. It detracts from a positive community and school culture. It makes it harder for schools to be schools."</p> <p>Many of her clients, Farkas said, come from communities that are already over-policed. "Schools should be a place where kids are given the benefit of the doubt, not considered bad or criminal."</p> <p>Farkas believes Torres' bill could reveal the effects that fewer police agents and more positive counseling would have. She also praised the administration's recent steps for laying the groundwork and initiating discussions on restorative justice practices, whereby instead of being suspended from school, students work to make damaged relationships whole again. But, Farkas insisted that "Unless there's a whole school reform model, and it's done well, little piecemeal measures won't change the whole problem."</p> <p>Shoshi Chowdhury, coordinator of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, said the bills would help provide more data and transparency, shedding light on school discipline. "The Student Safety Act of 2010 was the first time in New York City history that we started getting data on suspensions. But there was some data missing," she said. The amendments proposed in Gibson's bill are aimed to address these. At <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5680-the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-13" target="_blank">the hearing</a>, members of Chowdhury's organization will testify along with students, parents, and educators.</p> <p>Nick Sheehan, staff attorney at Advocates for Children, shares Chowdhury's view. Torres' bill, he said, would increase transparency "about how the City chooses to allocate its resources."</p> <p>He went further, saying the bill should also add ratios of social workers and school psychologists to school safety agents, and the ratio of those staff members to students. He also agreed that Gibson's bill would address the limitations in the Student Safety Act. "They're technical tweaks, but they're important," he said.</p> <p>***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/samarkhurshid" target="_blank">@samarkhurshid</a></p>