District 16

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District 16 - Helen Foster
1377 Jerome Avenue, Bronx 10452
City Hall: (212) 788-6856
District: (718) 588-7500
Fax: (718) 588-7790

Committee Assignments:
Aging, member
Education, member
Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse & Disability Services, member
Parks & Recreation, member
Public Safety, member

Fighting for Equality

By Helen Foster

As the representative for the 16th district in the South Bronx and the co-chair of the Black and Latino Caucus of the City Council, I feel I have a special responsibility to fight for equal treatment and services for communities of color in our city.

For me, this fight begins with education. It is clear that our city schools are not working and must be changed. The mayor wants to abolish the Board of Education and community school boards to gain control of city schools. However, this is not an automatic solution. In fact, if community school boards are abolished, it will take us back to the 1960's when local communities had to fight for decentralization and a greater role in education.

I support more parent involvement in education decisions. Parents have shown their competence by serving on school-based management teams in each school. I have proposed that the parent association president of each school district be placed on the local school board, and that the citywide president of all of the parent associations be placed on the Board of Education. However, we can not expect the parents to become more involved unless we financially support the office and work of the parents in the schools.

Also the Black and Latino Caucus plans to file a lawsuit charging that the current structure of the Board of Education violates the constitutional principal of "one person - one vote." Currently, each Borough President appoints one member on the board, which means that a less populous borough like Staten Island has that same power as a bigger borough like Brooklyn. The "one person - one vote" principle was applied to abolish the Board of Estimate in 1989, and the Board of Education should meet the same standard.

I also call on Governor George Pataki to drop his appeal of State Supreme Court Judge Leland DeGrasse's decision on school financing and provide the equal and fair amount of money that New York City children deserve. Judge DeGrasse ruled that New York State discriminates against New York City school children by not giving them an equal amount of money per child that is given to the children outside of the city.

I recently took issue with Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his statement that Black and Latino parents "don't understand how poor a job is being done by the schools and how their children, unfortunately, are condemned to a life of not participating in the great American dream." I found this statement to be racist and demeaning to parents. Parents understand better than anyone the obstacles their children face due to the lack of quality education. I hope that Mayor Bloomberg will recognize the place parents ought to have when it comes to decision-making in our schools.

Further, I have called for placing our best and most experienced teachers in schools with the worst reading and math scores. The city must offer incentives to recruit and send the best teachers to the schools where they are most needed. The best teachers also have to be trained to be sensitive to the diversity of cultures in our city.

Another major issue for my district is policing. To help community-police relations, the police need to be walking the streets of our neighborhoods in order to meet and get to know our young people and the leaders of our tenant and block associations, community organizations, and churches. I also believe police should live in the city where they work and have introduced legislation calling for New York City residency requirements for all police officers. I believe this will help maximize police understanding of the diversity of culture, race, ethnicity and religion of the city.

I am calling for a special prosecutor to be appointed in cases of alleged police misconduct and brutality. The police and district attorneys have to work closely together in the prosecution of criminal cases. Therefore, an independent prosecutor needs to be in place to deal with cases of police brutality.

I want to end the "48 hour rule" that allows for a police officer not to be questioned in cases of an alleged crime committed. Police officers are already protected, as is everyone else, by the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

I sharply disagree with the mayor's proposed $1.8 billion in budget cuts to city agencies. These cuts will have a catastrophic impact on vital and necessary services to our seniors, youth, children, families, and schools. I believe that we must consider new sources of revenue, including the raising of taxes, so that we do not deny basic services to our communities. The city showed that we can overcome the September 11 tragedy; now we must summon that same spirit to restore these cuts and take on the full responsibility of caring for all of our citizens.

One example of the kind of cuts that will hurt New York is the mayor's proposal to cut 3,500 park workers. These skilled workers are part of a program set up by the Parks Department to help them work their way up through the agency. They currently make $9.38 per hour, but are scheduled to be removed from their jobs, placed with other agencies by a temp agency, and have their wages dropped to only $7.95 an hour. It does not make sense to cut this program that helps workers and leave our parks without the skilled workers who already know how to clean and maintain them.

Posted April 1, 2002

Community Boards for District 16
Community Board No. 3
1426 Boston Rd., Bronx, NY 10456
(718) 378-8054
Ms. Gloria S. Alston, Chair
Mr. John Dudley, District Manager
Community Board No. 4
1650 Selwyn Ave., Ste. 11A, Bronx, NY 10457
(718) 299-0800
Mr. Ade A Rasul, Chair
Ms. Margarita Hunt-Tejada, District Manager
Community Board No. 5
Bronx Community College, Philosophy Hall-Basement 5
University Ave., and W. 181st St., Bronx, NY 10453
(718) 364-2030
Mr. Kenneth Fogarty, Chair
Mr. Xavierl Rodriguez, District Manager

Community Plans for District 16 (PDF format)
197-a plan - Partnership for the Future Plan (Bronx Community Board 3)

Comprehensive Community Plan - Claremont Village: Creating a Public Housing Community (The Residents of Claremont Village)

Comprehensive Community Revitalization Plan - Crotona Park East CCRP (Mid-Bronx Desperados Community Housing Corp. CCRP)

Housing Revitalization and Open Space Plan - Achieving a Balance: Housing and Open Space in Bronx Community District 3 (Design Trust for Public Space, in partnership with Bronx Community Board 3 and the Trust for Public Land)

Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration

Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration

Public Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports

Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.

City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).

Community Gardens

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Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City

Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.

The Waterfront

map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)