NYC Councilmember Brad Lander 39th District, Brooklyn

Report to the Community January, 2011

As a deep believer in democratic accountability, I believe it is essential to report back to the community.

One year into my tenure in the City Council, I’m pleased to share this first annual report on some of what we accomplished in 2010, what we learned, and what we’re hoping to do in the year to come.

Councilmember Brad Lander

Significant Accomplishments and Developments – By Issue
Public Education Affordable Housing & Community Development Public Safety Transportation & Livable Streets Environment & Sustainability Livable Neighborhoods & Quality of Life Community Engagement Social Justice Budget Process Constituent Services

Public Education
Parent organizing
District-wide parent leaders meeting to launch public schools work Helped organize PTA 5k run (500+ participants) Hosted “School Food Rocks” conference (150 participants, 25 schools)
Helped several schools get salad bars and take next steps to healthier food Developed resource guide & strengthened advocacy network
PTA 5k Run with over 500 participants

Helped organize rallies against public release of “teacher data reports” & overreliance on high-stakes testing Hosted end-of-year parent leader social, with director of DOE’s Office of Family Information and Action

Community members participate in School Food Rocks conference

Public Education
Individual schools
Secured $35,000 technology grants for each public school in D39 Helped PS 39 maintain use of Camp Friendship for P.E. classes Allocated funds to complete the PS 29 playground and arranged a “playstreet” with the 76th Pct during construction Arranged for school crossing guards at 3rd & 4th Ave for MS 51 Began listening and organizing process at John Jay campus

Students, parents & teachers rally against release of data reports

Helped save AMICO Day Care Center on Court Street

Affordable Housing & Community Development
Stalled development
Launched www.stalleddevelopment.com Achieved safety/aesthetic improvements at
4th Ave & 6th Street 31-35 Church Avenue 174 Garfield Place 824 Friel Place 23 Caton Place 455-459 Smith Street (Abadi Warehouse)

Affordable housing
Helped secure $200m+ in long-promised funding from Battery Park City for affordable housing Worked with allies to get Section 8 vouchers restored for 2,600 families Worked with allies to prevent the City from charging rent for homeless shelters Introduced and advocated for foreclosure legislation Secured $70,000 capital grant for energyefficiency improvements to affordable housing units in our community
Map of stalled development in Brooklyn

Affordable Housing & Community Development
Development policy
Leader in (not yet successful) efforts for living wage and paid sick days policy Earlier work led to HireNYC program that helps low-income NYC residents get jobs at City’s economic development projects Helped preserve manufacturing jobs 13 of the city’s 16 industrial business zones in modification of NYS Loft Law
Rally of support for living wage legislation

Helped lay groundwork for NYC Responsible Banking Act

Culver El Rezoning
Modified Culver El rezoning in Borough Park
Increase term of housing affordability Laid groundwork for more open space Retain industrial and commercial jobs
Culver El rezoning changes

Public Safety
Established strong relationships with the four precincts the overlap the 39th District (66th, 72nd, 76th, 78th) and NYPD leadership Worked with 66th Precinct to restore beat cop restored to Church Avenue in Kensington Organized a press conference to call attention to anti-Semitic flyers found in Park Slope Organized a rally against an anti-LGBT hate crime in Carroll Gardens Helped secure NYPD permit for Eid-ul-Fitr celebration in Prospect Park Worked with Boro Park Shomrim after four of their members were wounded in a shooting Worked with 66th Precinct to increase enforcement at Brizzi Playground in Borough Park Secured domestic violence grant for local DV organization and took part in annual vigil to combat domestic violence and support survivors
Vigil for victim of anti-LGBT hate crime

Transportation & Livable Streets
Worked with local residents, other elected officials, EDC, the Port Authority, Phoenix Beverage, American Stevedoring, and Teamsters Local 812 to keep Phoenix Beverage trucks off neighborhood streets Worked with Columbia Waterfront residents on traffic calming measures for Columbia Street, before and after opening of Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 Active participant/supporter of “Fix-the-Ditch” effort, to address the problems created by the BQE in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront

Transportation & Livable Streets
Played a strong community outreach and leadership role around the Prospect Park West bike lane
Organized community survey completed by over 3,000 respondents Compiled survey findings report with extensive feedback on improvements suggested by community members

Played a strong community outreach and leadership role around the installation of the Fort Hamilton Parkway pedestrian safety islands Count-down clocks are installed at 4th Avenue & 9th Street (many more soon) Was the runner-up for the “Streetsie” award for elected officials (awarded by StreetsBlog for advancing safe and livable streets)
Councilmember Brad Lander, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and local civic organizations unveil countdown clocks at 4th Ave and 9th St

Environment & Sustainability
Promoting Energy Efficiency
Launched Reduce-Your-Use Challenge, together with NYSERDA and Con Ed, encouraging community residents to reduce energy consumption

Cleaner Air, Greener Ports
Organized successful green ports hearing, to explore measures to make the Port of NY more sustainable and neighborly
Councilmember Brad Lander, NYSERDA and ConEdison Lauched the Reduce-Your-Use Challenge

Authored and passed green ports resolution in support of federal legislation for cleaner port trucking, better job quality Played strong role in legislation mandating cleaner oil heat in NYC

Environment & Sustainability
Gowanus Canal Cleanup
Began working with EPA, Community Advisory Group, and partners on Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup investigations

Clean, Safe Drinking Water
Took part in City Council’s hydrofracking town hall meeting and efforts to support a moratorium

Increasing Recycling
Secured recycling cans for parks
Cobble Hill Park Carroll Park Washington (JJ Byrne) Park Prospect Park

Recycling cans were installed in several City Parks in the district

Photo: William Alatriste

Livable Neighborhoods & Quality of Life
Improving our Neighborhood Parks
Secured funding for
DiMattina dog run Dome Playground Prospect Park ballfield renovation

Convened meeting to begin process of improving Brizzi Park Preserved Kensington Stables and horseback riding in Prospect Park Supported new Prospect Park wildlife management plan to control geese population without killing, and introduced legislation for citywide wildlife plan Worked with Parks and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure snowshoveling and other maintenance at the Fort Hamilton F stop and surrounding areas

Introduced legislation that would enable neighborhoods meeting cleanliness standards to opt for 2-day/week alternate-side parking Urged residents to “shop local” at small businesses in several e-blasts, blog posts, and other communications Many more specific neighborhood accomplishments (listed below)

Community Engagement
Organizing efforts sponsored by our office
Habitat for Humanity Build (January 23) Volunteer fair with Assemblymembers Millman and Brennan (May 13) School Food Rocks (October 23) Kensington Worlds Fair (October 24) Ongoing work with parent leaders and livable streets advocates Back-to-school backpack drive for needy students

Kensington engagement
Hosted Kensington leaders meeting Kensington Worlds Fair Organized first Kensington Bangladeshi service workshops Supporting efforts for Beverly and E. 2nd Street plaza
Councilmembers Lander and Williams at MLK volunteer event with Habitat for Humanity

Community Engagement
Innovative crowd-sourcing and online campaigns sponsored by our office
Interactive bradlander.com website promoted substantial real time feedback from constituents Stalleddevelopment.com helped residents achieve tangible improvements at numerous stalled sites PPW bike lanes survey filled out by over 3,000 people Progressive Caucus budget survey filled out by thousands of people Hundreds of residents took online action (save universal school meals, put the Bush-era tax cuts to work for New York)

Honored Heart of Brooklyn and GAP for their cultural education Public service website launched with district-wide newsletter
Honoring winners of a national arts award with Ed Norton

Photo: William Alatriste

Social Justice
Helped to organize Progressive Caucus, serve as founding co-chair Strong supporter of (as yet unsuccessful) fight for paid sick days legislation Organized community vigil after anti-LGBT hate crime in Carroll Gardens and a strong ally of Brooklyn Community Pride Center Arrested as part of New York Immigration Coalition civil disobedience for comprehensive immigration reform Ally in successful Domestic Workers Bill-of-Rights campaign Released report highlighting the City’s failure to meet goals for contracting with minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) One of the prime co-sponsors of a City Council resolution in support of New York State legislation to prevent wage theft Helping lead the effort for living wage economic development policy Led Progressive Caucus in advocating for fairer taxation, including a New York surcharge to counteract the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts

Budget Process
Progressive Caucus surveyed over 2,000 people, and used the results to advocate for closing the private equity tax loophole, and avoiding devastating cuts to libraries, ESL, education, etc. Led (successful) effort to save Court Street Day Care, and (unsuccessful) effort to prevent cuts to Universal School Meals. Transparent, outcomes-oriented approach to member items, led to support for dozens of high-quality organizations, including:
CAMBA (including the first social service program for the Kensington Bangladeshi community) Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID Groundswell Community Mural Project Masbia for a kosher soup kitchen in Boro Park Hentrick-Martin Institute for services for at-risk LGBT youth

Capital projects funded include:
Technology grant to all schools in the district Prospect Park ball field renovation Dome Playground renovation, DiMattina Dog Run

Constituent Service
Assisted over 1,400 constituents
408 transportation issues (stop sign, speed bump and traffic signal requests, PPW bike lanes) 392 following the December 26 blizzard (mostly street-plowing) 124 housing and building cases (evictions, landlord tenant issues, affordable housing) 50 quality of life complaints (including noise complaints) 43 education issues (admissions, special needs, individual school issues) 43 sanitation cases (trash pickup) 41 public safety cases 40 environmental issues (sewer backups, water bills) 37 parks issues (including trees) 28 finance cases (including tickets) 26 utilities issues 25 general welfare cases (problems with social security, food stamps, etc) 25 health department issues (animal control, public health, etc) 15 land use and zoning issues (parking, landmarks, etc) 13 consumer complaints 8 jobs issues (unemployment, etc) 5 aging issues (SCRIE, etc)

Constituent Service
“Jessica, thank you so much for your assistance with getting our son’s speech therapy problem resolved. Because of your involvement he will be receiving the speech therapy he really needs.” -Maurice & Hindy, Kensington

“Were it not for Michael’s intervention as I sought to resolve a serious repair issue with my landlady I'm sure I would still be trying to navigate the impenetrable HPD complaint system. Instead, I am happy to report that an inspection was made and repairs have been completed. I extend my sincere thanks to Michael for his time and invaluable assistance” -Sam, Park Slope

Constituent Service
Natural Disasters
September 16th Tornado Provided real-time information to neighborhood residents on City’s response and cleanup efforts Accelerated FDNY response to family trapped in their home by debris Connected volunteers with area residents who required extra help Responded to 37 reports of downed or damaged trees; helped expedite Parks Department replacement of those trees

December 26th Blizzard Responded to 392 complaints about unplowed streets and other snowrelated concerns Communicated extensively with Sanitation, NYPD, and other agencies about problem areas Compiled “39th District Blizzard Cleanup Report” on the City’s failures during the storm Took part in City Council hearing’s on failed snow-removal & MTA response; leading to policy changes in both areas

Significant Accomplishments and Developments – By Neighborhood
Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens/Gowanus/Columbia Waterfront Park Slope/Windsor Terrace Kensington/Boro Park

Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, and Columbia Waterfront
Mediated community discussions, leading to successful preservation of the Hannah Senesh courtyard Secured funding to improve DiMattina dog run Helped save Court Street/AMICO Day Care Center from closure Organized vigil against anti-LGBT hate crime Worked with other electeds, community leaders, and stakeholders to get Phoenix beverage trucks off of Columbia Street Worked with Columbia Waterfront leaders on traffic calming measures Helped lead advocacy effort for shore power at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (hopefully on next year’s list!)
Vigil for victim of anti-LGBT hate crime Phoenix Beverage truck before the route shift

Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, and Columbia Waterfront
Organized successful green ports hearing and passed City Council Resolution in support of federal green ports legislation
Allocated funds to complete the PS 29 playground and arranged a “playstreet” plan with the 76th Precinct during construction

Active participant/supporter of “Fix-theDitch” effort Secured recycling cans for CB 6 parks Began working with EPA, Community Advisory Group, and partners on Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup investigations Testified at Brooklyn Bridge Park hearings against new luxury housing in the park, for viable alternatives

One proposal for fixing the BQE “ditch” by adding more pedestrian connections

Park Slope and Windsor Terrace
Achieved site improvements at 4th Ave & 6th Street Helped get the noisy Vue nightclub closed Vanderbilt Playground open Park Slope Historic district expansion advancing smoothly Connected residents with tornado damage to relevant agencies Park Slope Armory opened; Brad helped ensure 6 am opening, free walking hour for seniors, turning the lights off at night Helped maintain PS 39’s lease at Camp Friendship Press conference after distribution of anti-Semitic flyers in Park Slope
The Park Slope Armory opened to the public January 2010

Park Slope and Windsor Terrace
Helped persuade School Construction Authority to make the fence in the PS 39 courtyard safer Played a strong community outreach, feedback and leadership role in support of the Prospect Park West bike lane Count-down clocks are installed at 4th Ave & 9th Street Secured recycling cans installed in CB 6 parks Sponsored urban wildlife forum to help residents with challenges from raccoons, etc. Worked with Parks and DOT to ensure show-shoveling and other maintenance at the Fort Hamilton F stop and the Prospect Expressway green strips
Recycling cans installed in CB 6 Parks

Photo: Maulin Mehta

Kensington and Boro Park
Achieved safety/aesthetic improvements at 824 Friel Place (including identifying a homeless shelter bed for the squatter), 31-35 Church Avenue, and 23 Caton Place Preserved Kensington Stables & horseback riding in Prospect Park Worked with 66th Precinct to restore beat cop to Church Ave Hosted Kensington leaders meeting Co-hosted Kensington World’s Fair
Puppets made by PS 230 students on parade at the Kensington World’s Fair

Kensington and Boro Park
Ensured changes to Culver El rezoning to address affordable housing, manufacturing retention; laid groundwork for more open space in the area Secured funding for Dome Playground renovation Convened meeting to begin process of improving Brizzi Park Played a strong community outreach and leadership role around the installation of the Fort Hamilton Parkway pedestrian safety islands. Initiated Kensington Green/Youthmarket planning effort

Disappointments
Cancellation of the B23 and B71 bus lines Failure to pass Paid Sick Days legislation Challenges advancing a fairer tax approach / influencing City budget Cancellation of Priority 7 vouchers for thousands of Brooklyn families Difficulty finding affordable housing options for the many constituents who asked for help with housing Polarized nature of “safe streets” debate (PPW bike lane, Fort Hamilton Parkway islands, etc) Still many “stalled development” sites in the district, including 23 Caton Place, 31-35 Church Avenue, 4th Avenue & 6th Street, etc. Many requests for speed bumps and stop signs denied by DOT

Looking Forward to 2011
Public policy/legislation
Living wage/prevailing wage legislation “Fair share” siting of infrastructure (oversight hearings) Budget advocacy (Bush-era tax cuts) Rent laws renewal

District-wide
“Share-the-road”/safer streets community roundtables Expanded web “shop local” efforts Advocate for a “Age-friendly D39” Community service events

Public education
Support educational justice, stronger schools, collaboration at John Jay Strengthen network, development resources to strengthen PTAs

Looking Forward to 2011
Neighborhood Projects
Achieve “shore power” at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal Kensington Greenmarket, Beverly Road Plaza Park Slope Historic District Expansion Windsor Terrace dog run Planning workshops for Dome Playground reconstruction First social service workshops for Bangladeshi residents Continue work to make Brizzi Playground safer and cleaner Advance modifications/permanence for the Prospect Park West bike lane Next steps toward long-term plan for “Fixing-the-Ditch” Gowanus watershed / green infrastructure efforts with DEP

Thank You
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