Gale Brewer Tag All blog entries tagged as Gale Brewer http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:35:58 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Literacy Advocates Rally Against NYC Budget Cuts http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/06/11/literacy-advocates-rally-against-nyc-budget-cuts http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/06/11/literacy-advocates-rally-against-nyc-budget-cuts

By Maya Miller and Latima Stephens

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As the budget dance enters its final steps, advocates still have some moves left for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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At least 200 adult literacy advocates congregated at City Hall Park today to protest cuts to at least three education programs. Joined by Comptroller John Liu as well as Council members Gale Brewer, Sara Gonzalez and Matthieu Eugene, those in attendance said they are in it for the long haul.

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“It’s a fight every year to get the City Council and the mayor to work together to put funding back in the budget,” said Sierra Stoneman-Bell, co-director of the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition.

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The most recent budget put forth by the Bloomberg administration would cut approximately $7 million from the adult literacy programs. As a result, the cuts would eliminate 7,000 seats saved for helping New Yorkers learn English, which those at the protest said is vital to their and their families' livelihoods.

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“We need to speak more English to help our children with their homework and to get a better job,” Maria Beroa, 35, said.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Beroa now lives in Brooklyn and takes English as a Second Language classes at Borough of Manhattan Community College.

“Maybe if they see the people here they will know we truly need the program,” she added.

The programs at risk include: the Department of Youth and Community Development’s adult literacy program, which teaches adults the reading and writing skills to get a job; the Adult Literacy Services Initiative, which offer programs in basic education and English as a second language; and the Immigrant Opportunities Initiative, which provides affordable legal services and English classes to immigrant communities.

The Bloomberg administration and the Council have until June 30 to finalize the 2014 budget.

Liu, whose People’s Budget project ranked adult literacy as the number one budget priority, expressed his support for the restoration of money to the programs, especially those that cater to immigrant communities.

“This is a city that if you come here, you work hard, you dream big and then you work a little harder, you can achieve great success,” said Liu, also a Democratic mayoral hopeful. “But not if they cut off the funding. Not if they don’t allow our people to get the education they need.”

Amy Mereson, director of Youth Education and Arts Programs at University Settlement, echoed Liu’s call for comprehensive support for education.

Things are moving in the wrong direction,” Mereson said before criticizing Bloomberg’s record. “The ‘education mayor’ cannot limit his definition of education to young children. The city is full of immigrants where English is a requisite to jobs. It is a necessity.”

Those in attendance said that they are more than familiar with the budget dance, this being the third year of budget cuts to adult literacy programs in New York.

Mae Dick, 62, retired last year after having spent over 40 years in the adult education field and said she has seen it happen again and again.

"I've been in this field forever. We're here every year," Mae said, "and we always have to fight."

Photo by Latima Stephens/Gotham Gazette.

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guest@gothamgazette.com (Guest) City Tue, 11 Jun 2013 22:55:16 +0000
Paid Sick Leave Vote Delayed, Again http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/24/paid-sick-leave-vote-delayed-again http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/24/paid-sick-leave-vote-delayed-again The City Council has once again delayed a vote on paid sick leave despite an earlier goal of a vote tomorrow.

After working to move the controversial bill to the Council floor for three years, Manhattan City Councilwoman Gale Brewer said yesterday that she hopes the bill will come to a vote in early May after negotiating the final language.

She added that only small, auxiliary verbs like "may" or "must."

"I think we'll be fine," Brewer said. "I still feel ecstatic."

Whatever language is eventually adopted into the bill is a result of weeks of negotiation between City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, labor advocates and the city's business leaders.

Changes to the original bill were made to satisfy critics who worried about a negative impact on the city's small businesses. Leaders from the groups, including the Partnership for a Better New York and the five borough's Chambers of Commerce, thanked Quinn after the new bill included a trigger that would prevent the bill from becoming law next year if the city's economy falters.

The bill now also exempts business with less than 20 employees from the law in the first year after being enacted, whereas labor advocates asked that it apply to businesses with five or more. The bill will also make it illegal for any business to fire employees for taking unpaid sick days.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Wed, 24 Apr 2013 17:48:30 +0000
Paid Sick Leave Bill Likely To See Vote Next Week http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/16/paid-sick-leave-bill-likely-to-see-vote-next-week http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/16/paid-sick-leave-bill-likely-to-see-vote-next-week

After three years of waiting and debating, Councilwoman Gale Brewer said the controversial paid sick days bill could go to a vote as early as next week.

"April 25 -- that's the goal," Brewer said this afternoon. She said the language was still being finalized, but was confident it would go to a vote sooner rather than later.

The bill, Intro 0097, would be introduced through the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, which will convene the day before the bill heads to the Council's floor. It already has several cosponsors, including Speaker Christine Quinn, who held back a vote on the measure since Brewer first introduced the bill in 2010.

Quinn came under pressure in recent months as supporters of paid sick leave -- including unions and fellow mayoral candidates, most notably Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson -- demanded that the bill go to a vote. Quinn had long held that she didn't oppose the spirit of the bill, rather that the city's economy was too fragile to expect small business to offer paid sick leave to their employees.

However, despite initial opposition from chambers of commerce from all five boroughs and various business leaders, Quinn was able to draw up a compromise version of the bill that would not got into effect until next year, and only if it meets a minimum measure of a financial index released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The bill will reportedly provide five sick days to all business with 20 or more employees, eventually expanding it to those with 15 or more.

Under the new law, all employees -- regardless of the business' size -- are also protected from being fired and can file violations with the city's Department of Consumer Affairs. Employers who are exempt from paid sick days must still offer workers at least five unpaid sick days a year.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already promised to veto the bill, which Quinn similarly promised to override.

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Photo by William Alatriste.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 16 Apr 2013 21:12:50 +0000
Searchlight: Council passes bill to increase fines for illegal hotels [VIDEO] [UPDATED] http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/09/12/searchlight-council-passes-bill-to-increase-fines-for-illegal-hotels-video-updated http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/09/12/searchlight-council-passes-bill-to-increase-fines-for-illegal-hotels-video-updated

The City Council is taking up the fight against illegal hotels with legislation that would set fines at $1,000 to $25,000.

At a news conference organized to announce yesterday's Council vote on the bill, Speaker Christine Quinn spoke about how resident Charles Seelig, 64, was having to deal with rude transients staying at his brownstone in the Village.

Seelig later told the Gazette that the building had people coming in and hout all hours of the night. "It was really strange," he said. "It gave you a lot of insecurity."

The primary sponsor of the bill, Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan), says the bill will help to end illegal hotel use in the city that displaces permanent residents, reduces affordable housing stock and can be a nuisance for neighbors.

Tourists have also been victims of scams where they book an illegal hotel room and arrive only to find that no hotel exists at the address they were given, councilmember say.

[UPDATE: The bill passed at yesterday's stated meeting, 38-5.]

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Wed, 12 Sep 2012 21:32:48 +0000