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Letter to Mayor Bloomberg Regarding Public Comment Opportunity on Community Safety Act

Letter to Mayor Bloomberg Regarding Public Comment Opportunity on Community Safety Act

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Published by alex_moore_51
Council Members Jumaane D. Williams, Brad Lander, Robert Jackson, Fernando Cabrera, Rosie Mendez, and Melissa Mark-Viverito called on Mayor Bloomberg to hold a hearing for public comment on the recently passed Community Safety Act. The Council Members highlighted the importance of a public hearing, particularly in light of recent nationwide discussions and protests focused on the need to ban profiling.

It has been common practice under the Bloomberg administration to hold such hearings, so that New Yorkers can speak directly to the mayor about their support or opposition to legislation.
Council Members Jumaane D. Williams, Brad Lander, Robert Jackson, Fernando Cabrera, Rosie Mendez, and Melissa Mark-Viverito called on Mayor Bloomberg to hold a hearing for public comment on the recently passed Community Safety Act. The Council Members highlighted the importance of a public hearing, particularly in light of recent nationwide discussions and protests focused on the need to ban profiling.

It has been common practice under the Bloomberg administration to hold such hearings, so that New Yorkers can speak directly to the mayor about their support or opposition to legislation.

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Published by: alex_moore_51 on Jul 18, 2013
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10/28/2013

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THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

July 18, 2013 Mayor Michael Bloomberg City Hall New York, NY 10007 Dear Mayor Bloomberg, We write regarding the Community Safety Act (Intros 1079-2013 and 1080-2013), which the City Council passed on June 27, 2013. As you know, this legislation establishes independent oversight for the NYPD at the NYC Department of Investigation, and strengthens the City’s existing ban on bias-based profiling by the NYPD. We appreciate that it has been common practice in your Administration to hold hearings for public comment before you sign legislation passed by the City Council. We ask that you give New Yorkers that same opportunity for public comment, and that you listen to them before you decide whether to sign or veto these two bills. You have made no secret of your concerns about this legislation. But the fact remains that both of these bills passed the Council by wide majorities, and they are supported by many New Yorkers. We believe it would improve the public process if you would listen to some of them before you make a final decision. As sponsors of the Community Safety Act, we spent many months in dialogue with supporters and opponents of the legislation. Through hearings before the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, Oversight and Investigations Committees, including testimony from your administration, conversations with elected officials and law enforcement, public hearings in Brooklyn and Queens, and other input from the public, we were able to substantially improve the legislation. For instance, the final Intro 1080-2013 prevents plaintiffs from seeking monetary damages to prevent frivolous lawsuits, has stronger protections for individual officers, and utilizes the “determinative factor” language that you signed into law in 2004 which insures that police officers can continue to use race, gender, age and similar items in suspect descriptions. Similarly, the final Intro 1079-2013 locates NYPD oversight at the Department of Investigation, the same as every other mayoral agency (an arrangement that causes no confusion about lines of authority).

Too often in debates like these, policymakers from some of the city’s wealthier and safer neighborhoods decide what is best for low-income communities and communities of color without actually listening to the members of those communities. Public discourse helped us carefully craft these bills so that they both effectively protect New Yorkers from crime and insure that their civil rights are protected. We hope you will allow New Yorkers to give you their thoughts directly, for or against the legislation, before you decide whether to sign or veto it, as has been the case for most other bills signed in your tenure. When we listen to members of the public in open discourse on contentious issues like these, our city and our democracy are better served. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,

Council Member Jumaane D. Williams 45th District, Brooklyn

Council Member Brad Lander 39th District, Brooklyn

Council Member Fernando Cabrera 16th District, Bronx

Council Member Robert Jackson 7th District, Manhattan

Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito 8th District, Manhattan

Council Member Rosie Mendez 2nd District, Manhattan

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