District 34
Williamsburg and Bushwick

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District 34 - Diana Reyna
444 South 5th Street, Brooklyn 11211
City Hall: (212) 788-7095
District: (718) 963-3141
Fax: (212) 788-7296

Committee Assignments:
Economic Development, member
Housing & Buildings, member
Transportation, member
Women's Issues, member
Youth Services, member

Real Community Development

By Diana Reyna

The people of Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, a predominantly low-income and minority community, are often those hurt the most by a recession and deep budget cuts. In this grim economic climate, I believe the best way to protect my district is to provide resources that will make community development possible. I am committed to improving education, creating more affordable housing, and providing a climate for economic development.

Our children represent the next generation of our community's work force, and if we do not prepare them to get -- and keep -- well paying, dependable jobs, our community will continue to have one of the lowest median incomes in the city for years to come.

Improving education in New York City is no easy task, especially when the city faces mammoth budget deficits. But we can improve our children's schools without the luxury of appropriating millions of more dollars for education. First, we must get parents more involved in their children's education. Too many parent-teacher associations lack the membership and organization to effectively work with school administrators, principals and teachers to create an agenda and get results. Parents need to unite and be active in order to set priorities, command respect, and hold the school system accountable for its performance.

I helped organize parents and increase parental involvement when I developed the Bushwick Parent Coalition, a group that has a membership of almost 200 parents who meet once a month to discuss problems in the schools and possible solutions with teachers, principals, local elected officials, and special guests. I intend to help other parents organize and empower themselves based on this model.

We must also find creative ways to teach our children how to use computers and other new technologies. Because of the fiscal troubles New York is experiencing, we must seek partnerships with private companies and non-profit organizations that are willing to donate computers to our schools. We must develop programs where professionals from new technology fields make themselves available to train teachers so they may effectively teach their students, give extra help to struggling students, and help curriculum makers incorporate technology into lesson plans.

Despite our budget woes, we must also increase teacher pay over time to makes sure that we keep the good teachers we have and attract good teachers in the future. Given the higher cost of living in New York, teachers' salaries must be competitive with those of surrounding areas. At the same time, because many students in low-income, immigrant neighborhoods need extra help to catch up to their peers, teachers' and principals' responsibilities should be expanded to include more after school and summer programs and greater community involvement.

Building quality, affordable housing is also necessary to create stable communities and a stable economic future. We must not make the same mistake as we made in the 1970's and 1980's, when a lack of affordable housing preservation and construction led to deterioration of the housing stock and massive disinvestment in our low-income neighborhoods. When families moved away from the area it produced an economic drought, loss of jobs, and reduction of our tax base. Homelessness and joblessness has reached their highest levels in years, and we must recommit ourselves to the construction of affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers.

There are two obstacles to developing more affordable housing in New York lack of funding and a scarce amount of city-owned land on which to build. To make housing truly affordable for low-income New Yorkers, subsidies to offset the costs of development must be available in order to reduce rental and sales prices. Since the Department of Housing Preservation and Development faces the largest cuts of almost any city agency, and nearly all city-owned land has been transferred to private ownership and developed, we must find creative solutions to our affordable housing crisis.

One solution is to create programs for the development of large swaths of formerly industrial land called brownfields. These mildly polluted areas are some of the only city-owned land left. I intend to create a mixed-use development program that would clean up these brownfields and build housing, commercial and retail space, and community facilities in an organic way.

We must also fight the proposed 26 percent cut to the housing budget. As the housing stock deteriorates, owners will abandon their buildings and stop paying taxes, and the city will take over the title to these buildings. Our tax rolls will shrink, and the city's maintenance expenses will rise, costing the city more money over the long run than it saves by slashing the budget today. We have already lived through this scenario, and we should never do it again.

My final top priority is economic development and making sure that new businesses come to our neighborhood, creating jobs for our residents. One way of attracting businesses to our neighborhood is by encouraging both business and residential development. Businesses get a regular customer base and residents get access to goods and services they need in their neighborhood. Moreover, residents receive sources of employment in their community. The different components of mixed-use development sustain and complement each other, creating a stronger whole.

We also must give small businesses and minority-owned and women-owned businesses the resources and technical assistance they require to achieve sustained growth. This means giving low interest loans, grants, and tax credits and disseminating information about these programs in a more effective manner.

Diana Reyna represents the City Council district 34 in Brooklyn. Updated February 25, 2002.

Community Boards for District 34
Community Board No. 1
435 Graham Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 389-0009
Mr. Vincent V. Abate, Chair
Mr. Gerald A. Esposito, District Manager
Community Board No. 3
1360 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY 11216
(718) 622-6601
Ms. Sharonnie Perry, Chair
Mr. Lewis A. Watkins, District Manager
Community Board No. 4
315 Wyckoff Ave., 2nd Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 628-8400
Ms. Anna Gonzalez, Chair
Ms. Nadine Whitted, District Manager

Community Plans for District 34 (PDF format)
197-a [groundwork] (Community Board 3)

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)