District 48
Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Madison, and Midwood

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District 48 - Michael Nelson
3810-A Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn 11235
City Hall: (212) 788-7360
District: (718) 368-9176
Fax: (718) 368-9160

Committee Assignments:
Senior Centers (Aging), Chair of Subcommittee
Aging, member
Governmental Operations, member
Higher Education, member
Land Use, member

Controlling The City's Destiny

By Michael Nelson

New York City has eight-and-a-half million people. It drives the state economy. But in many ways, the city can not control its own destiny.

Sometimes as a City Council member, I get frustrated that Albany controls so much of what happens here in the city. For example, we should be able to control rent stabilization. Even though it is primarily a city issue, the state decides it for us. We also find ourselves pleading with Albany saying, "Please give us back the commuter tax." When it was repealed back in 1999, the rationale was that the city did not need the money. The truth is that we did not; we had a $3 billion surplus at the time. But now that the city economy is struggling and we are trying to recover from September 11, I don't hear anyone saying that they will give it back. The City Council is going to push to get it next year. The commuter tax would bring in $450 million and the City Council is going to push hard for it next year. But the idea that we have to go begging is ridiculous.

Much of my legislative work in the past few months has been introducing resolutions calling on the state to give the city its fair share.

I have a resolution calling on Albany to raise the limits for who can apply for the
Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program. I have called on the state and federal governments to expand programs that give out September 11 grants to small businesses. And I have introduced a resolution calling on the state to put more money into the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program, which will help more seniors get affordable drug coverage.

As chairman of the City Council's Jewish caucus, I also believe it is important to weigh in on international issues. There are 10 members of the Jewish caucus and we get involved in helping any group we think is in trouble. I have co-sponsored resolutions condemning anti-Semitism in Europe. Even though we are the New York City Council, it is still important to speak out and we need to put a spotlight on injustice wherever it occurs.

In my district, I spend a good deal of energy working to improve conditions for senior citizens.

This year, I fought to save the senior centers that were slated for closure during the budget negotiations. I worked to ensure that homebound seniors would still get weekend meals. I have been able to install protective poles around the perimeter of the small park along Kings Highway, Avenue P, and Ocean Avenue, where many of our seniors sit on benches during the day, protecting them from reckless drivers who too often end up on the sidewalks. I have also been looking into handicap accessibility in my district, especially to ensure accessibility as part of the planned extensive renovation of the King's Highway Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, which is difficult to navigate in a wheelchair or with a walker. This fall, my subcommittee on senior citizen centers will be looking into the recent report from the comptroller's office concerning fire code violations in many of the centers across the city.

As a member of the government operations committee, I am considering a bill that would amend the current term limits law. The law states that each council member can only serve two terms in office, but because the district lines are redrawn every ten years, those terms are shortened from four to two years. Normally two terms in office equals eight years of service, but because of the redistricting this year, 8 of the 51 members who were elected in 1997 will only be able to serve for six years.

I support this legislation. I say this as someone who does not benefit from changing it; in fact, I stand to lose if it goes through. Under the current law, I would be the senior member of the council in 2003. I would most likely be up for some leadership position or get my own committee. But I support this measure because I believe that when New Yorkers voted for term limits they thought that meant two four-year terms. I also believe that the individual communities, not just the council members, will be shortchanged if their representatives have their time cut short. To me, it is a matter of fairness.

There is a consensus among many knowledgeable people in the city that this amendment is the right way to go. Former Mayor Dinkins testified in favor of it, as did many good government groups and political parties. Unfortunately, many people who are not familiar with the details will think that the council is trying to overturn term-limits and go against the will of the people. That is not true, but that perception may still hurt the council in the end.

My district is an amazing place that has sprung back to life in recent years. Our rat infested lots have become thriving places of business, with ice cream stores, bagel shops, and shopping. We have welcomed immigrants from China, Russia, and other countries that have helped build the community. All these great things make people feel great about themselves and where they live. Now more than ever before, we are proud to be New Yorkers.

Posted July 22, 2002.

Michael C. Nelson is City Council Member from District 48.

Community Boards for District 48
Community Board No. 13
2900 W. 8th St., Brooklyn, NY 11224
(718) 266-3001
Mr. Mitchell Wesson, Chair
Mr. Chuck Reichenthal, District Manager
Community Board No. 14
810 E. 16th St., Brooklyn, NY 11230
(718) 859-6357
Mr. Alvin Berk, Chair
Ms. Terry Rodie, District Manager
Community Board No. 15
Kingborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Blvd., F. Cluster, Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 332-3008
Ms. Anne M. Dietrich, Chair
Ms. Paula Lupka, District Manager
Community Board No. 18
5715 Ave. H, Apt. 1D, Brooklyn, NY 11234
(718) 241-0422
Mr. Saul Needle, Chair
Ms. Dorothy Turano, District Manager

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)