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Rafael Espinal, Jr

Rafael Espinal, Jr

  • The East New York Rezoning, One Year Later

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    Council Member Espinal and Mayor de Blasio (photo: Jeffry W Reed)


    About a year ago, the City Council approved a comprehensive rezoning plan for East New York, the first of a dozen neighborhoods that the city targeted for new land use rules in an effort to develop more housing, including affordable housing, and improve community amenities. As with any rezoning, the plan approved in April 2016 was many months in the making and negotiated in close consultation with the local City Council member, in this case Rafael

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  • The Holiday Season Opportunity to Bolster Our Local Businesses

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    Council Member Espinal, the author (middle), tours a local market


    The holidays are my favorite time of year: a time when we can open ourselves up to one another and reflect on what makes us grateful. Whether through wishing a stranger a happy holiday, participating in charity, or simply sharing traditions with friends and family, the holidays are a time for community.

    Yet, amid the joy and cheer that accompany the holiday season, the pressure to find perfect gifts for our loved ones while also balancing our checkbooks can be daunting. Especially when

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  • Part of Rezoning Plan, City Opens New Career Center in East New York

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    Mayor de Blasio & CM Espinal (photo: Jeffrey Reed for the City Council)


    After serving jail time in 2014, Anthony McGlashan, a resident of East New York, Brooklyn, struggled to find employment for three years. While he had a certification from the Anthem Institute in the field of Information Technology, he continued to be rejected by employers due to his lack of experience and his criminal background. McGlashan then turned to one of New York City’s Workforce1 Centers, a city initiative that provides free career services by pairing employers with workers, holding

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  • Serving the Last Generation of Holocaust Survivors in New York

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    Mrs. Klein, a Holocaust survivor, with Council Member Levine (William Alatriste)


    “If our stories do not survive when we are gone, then six million Jews were murdered in vain.” That sobering call to action from Mrs. Klein, one of the 4,700 Holocaust survivors served by Selfhelp Community Services each year, rings especially true as we marked Yom HaShoah, the annual commemoration of Jewish survival through last century’s great tragedy.

    At this time of the year, we are once again reminded to share the stories of

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  • Legislation Aimed at Holding City Accountable for Rezoning Commitments

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    Announcement at City Hall (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    With the recent passage of the East New York rezoning and community development plan, the city committed to revitalizing the neglected Brooklyn neighborhood by creating affordable housing, investing in community infrastructure, and promoting economic development. The first among 15 neighborhood rezonings planned by Mayor Bill de Blasio, East New York ushers in a new era of planned change and city promises.

    As these rezoning and

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  • East New York Deal Sets Precedent for Wave of Rezonings

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    City Council Member Rafael Espinal (second from left) (photo: William Alatriste)


    Colleagues heaped praise on City Council Member Rafael Espinal last week as the deal he negotiated with the de Blasio administration to rezone a portion of his Brooklyn district was passed through committee. The process and the agreement were being watched closely by Council members, especially those whose districts are in the pipeline for rezonings under Mayor de Blasio’s larger housing plan.

    Espinal, who represents most of the area being rezoned, which includes part of East New York,

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  • With Clock Ticking, East New York Negotiations to Heat Up

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    City Council Member Espinal (photo: William Alatriste) 


    With only two weeks left for the City Council to vote on the proposed rezoning of East New York, all eyes are on City Council Member Rafael Espinal, who is leading negotiations with the de Blasio administration and whose approval of a revised plan will determine its fate. Espinal has promised significant improvements to the plan put forward by the city and community organizers and

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  • Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Change

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     Mark-Viverito at an East Harlem planning session (photo: William Alatriste)


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    Community calls for community planning
    City officials have not yet presented a timeline, much less a plan, for rezoning East Harlem, but that hasn’t stopped residents from preemptively organizing against “upzoning” that they believe will accelerate displacement of

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  • Questioning Importance, Council Members Spend Limited Time at Hearings

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    Council Member Van Bramer starts a hearing (photo: @JimmyVanBramer)


    On March 1, at perhaps the most important City Council hearing of the year, just three of the finance committee’s eleven members were present when the session began. The Council’s first hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion fiscal year 2017 preliminary budget began nine minutes after its scheduled time, at 10:09 a.m., more prompt than typical Council hearings. The City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, arrived three minutes later, just after the finance chair, Council Member

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  • The New Yorker's Guide To The New City Government

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    Photo by Bill Alatriste/City Council

    NEW YORK — The historic overhaul of New York City government this year goes well beyond the mayor's office.

    There are 21 new members of the City Council, four new borough presidents, and fresh, yet familiar, faces in the offices of Brooklyn district attorney, comptroller, and public advocate. With the city’s politics taking an increasingly liberal turn, there are few outright conservatives left in city government.

    “Reapportionment and term limits combined to make the City

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