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Announcing the Spring 2015 Leadership Development Series!

With hundreds of new and reappointed members taking seats on Community Boards in May, the office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is pleased to announce the Spring 2015 Community Board Leadership Development Series. Sessions will cover topics useful to both newly-appointed Community Board members and experienced members. Two new courses, Landmarks 101 and Unlocking Open Data, are included in this spring’s trainings, along with old favorites like Land Use and Zoning 101, the NYC Budget Process. and Community Planning Tools. Sessions are open to the public, but registration is required. All sessions will be held at 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, from 6 – 8 pm. For more information, contact Paola Liriano at [javascript protected email address] or 212-669-2094. Register today.
NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, May 21st

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, March 19, 2015, at 8:30am in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y. Watch the meeting, livestreamed at 8:30am, here: http://bit.ly/MBPOLivestream
Borough President Calls on Senate Leader to Disavow "Guns for Rent Laws" Hostage-Taking

Manhattan B.P. releases seven-point slate of reforms for rent laws and affordable housing

For Immediate Release: May 18, 2015

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in response to a Daily News report indicating some upstate Republican legislators favor holding New York City’s rent laws hostage to win changes to the NY-SAFE Act:

“I was shocked and disturbed to read in today’s Daily News that some upstate Republican legislators are so obsessed with watering down our state’s gun laws, they are willing to hold a gun to New York City tenants’ heads by holding our rent laws hostage.

“There are roughly 285,000 rent-regulated apartments in Manhattan alone, and more than a million citywide. It is preposterous to threaten to throw these New Yorkers out on the street because elements of one party’s political base feel inconvenienced by a new law. On behalf of Manhattan’s 1.6 million residents, I call on Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to reject this kind of hostage-taking and negotiate the renewal of our rent laws in good faith.”

Brewer recently issued a policy paper outlining her office’s priorities for changes in the rent laws currently under negotiation in Albany.

“We should be having a rational conversation about what we can fix and improve in our rent laws, but Albany’s grown-ups need to get this conversation back on track,” said Brewer. “My office has identified key reforms that can make a difference, and loopholes that need to be closed. That’s what the legislature should be talking about for the next few weeks – not more hostage-taking.” Read more...

Brewer-Mendez Tenant Notification Bill Passes Council

Legislation will protect tenants’ quality of life and minimize disruptions from repair work

For Immediate Release: May 14, 2015

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Council Member Rosie Mendez today celebrated the Council’s passage of Int. 222, legislation requiring landlords provide tenants with advance notice for non-emergency repair work that will result in disruptions to building services. The bill establishes a general baseline of 24 hours’ advance notice for most work. For work affecting elevators, the bill requires 10 business days’ notice for major alteration work and 24 hours’ notice for any other work that will suspend all elevator service for more than two hours.

This legislation, sponsored jointly by Council Member Mendez and Borough President Brewer, closes a gaping hole in the city’s tenant-protection laws, which currently provide no such advance-notice requirements.

“Today, a wheelchair-bound tenant could leave for work in the morning and return in the evening to find the elevator offline for hours, having never heard a whisper about it. Tenants deserve fair warning and an opportunity to plan around disruptive maintenance work,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “It’s also no secret that no-notice quality-of-life disruptions labeled as ‘maintenance work’ are a frequent harassment tactic to push tenants out of rent-stabilized apartments. Our notice requirement will be easy for honest, everyday landlords and building managers to respect, but it will take another harassment tool away from abusive landlords.” Read more...

Borough President, Solid Waste Advisory Board, and Citizens Committee for NYC Award Community Composting Grants to Groups in All Five Boroughs

Resident-led composting projects will contribute to city’s “Zero Waste” goal by promoting organics recycling

For Immediate Release: May 8, 2015

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, the Citizens Committee for New York City, and the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board today jointly announced $20,000 in grant awards for 32 community composting projects in neighborhoods across the city. The announcement comes as International Composting Awareness Week draws to a close.

Through the Community Composting Grant program, schools, community gardens, urban farming programs, tenant associations, and other grassroots community groups can apply for micro-grants of up to $750. The awards are used to purchase equipment or materials in support of composting programs in local neighborhoods. By borough, 12 of this year’s grantees were located in Manhattan, with 12 more in Brooklyn, four in Queens, and two each in the Bronx and Staten Island.

The grant program’s goals are increasing awareness and adoption of composting among city residents, and helping groups engaged in composting to expand their current compost bin systems. Over $50,000 in micro-grants have been awarded to 86 grassroots groups in the last two years of this program, which is now in its fifth year.

“Zero waste going to landfills: that’s the ambitious, fifteen-year goal set in Mayor de Blasio’s One NYC plan, and a major increase in composting is one of the keys to getting there,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I am proud to partner with the Citizens Committee and the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board for the 2015 Composting Grant Program. These grassroots programs are helping us lay the groundwork today for dramatically more composting tomorrow.” Read more...

Statement on Mayor's FY16 Executive Budget

“After an initial briefing on the Mayor de Blasio's Executive Budget, I'm impressed that he has offered a true progressive proposal that is well balanced toward serving our city's most important needs.

“In particular, the Mayor was responsive to my requests last month for increased library funding ($300 million proposed), funding to help curb homelessness (an increase to $100 million), and directing new funding to mental health services ($78 million), including those in renewal and community schools.

“To be sure, libraries will still need more funding to be fully brought up to speed with 21st-century demand, homelessness is not a problem that is going to be eliminated overnight, and all schools need culturally appropriate mental health services-- but this year's budget is a welcome blueprint for a better New York City."

Celebrating 150 Years of the
New York City Fire Department

On Saturday for the New York City Fire Department’s 150th Anniversary, representatives from my office visited every open firehouse in Manhattan to present certificates of thanks for the FDNY’s incredible service to our city.

The FDNY celebrated by opening their doors to all New Yorkers for tours, fire safety instruction, career inquiries, and demonstrations with local firefighters, paramedics and EMTs. I joined Mayor Bill deBlasio to meet the firefighters at the Engine 58 firehouse at 1367 Fifth Avenue and I can say that everyone had a wonderful day. Take a look!

Statement upon the Death of
NYPD Officer Brian Moore

"I mourn the death of Officer Brian Moore with all New Yorkers. He grew up with blue blood in his veins, and was only beginning his service to our city. We must remember that service with gratitude, and honor his sacrifice with a renewed commitment to work together to get illegal guns off the street and build a safer, united city."
Borough President Issues Plan to Expand Urban Agriculture

Brewer announces up to $1 million in funding to promote gardening and hydroponics in schools

Urban Farming Symposium announced for fall

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2015

NEW YORK – At City Hall today, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer released “How Our Gardens Grow, Strategies for Expanding Urban Agriculture,” a report with recommendations for expanding urban agriculture in Manhattan’s schools, senior centers, and public housing facilities. Brewer also announced that her office will allocate up to $1 million in capital funding for innovative school gardening projects – such as hydroponics labs – in the next fiscal year.

“Our rooftops, schools, and senior centers aren’t the first places that come to mind when you think of agriculture – but Manhattan is home to an array of urban plots, hydroponic farms, greenhouses, and more than 170 community gardens,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Urban agriculture yields tremendous benefits for our neighborhoods, our economy, and the environment: it teaches valuable skills and produces fresh, healthy, locally-grown food. That’s why my office will reserve up to $1 million next year to support gardening programs in Manhattan schools – for less than $50,000 a classroom can be outfitted as a state-of-the-art hydroponics lab.”

Brewer also announced that her office will sponsor an Urban Farming Symposium in the fall of 2015 with Cornell University Cooperative Extension, bringing urban farming participants and experts together to share their knowledge and lay the groundwork for a support network. Read more...

Discovering Manhattan's Neighborhoods, One Community Board at a Time

This year, my office’s Land Use team is walking through all of Manhattan's Community Board districts to see the rich and varied architecture, history and people that make up Manhattan’s neighborhoods. By better understanding what makes these neighborhoods great, our Urban Planners can better serve the needs of the community.

The team has already visited Community Boards 1, 10, and 12 (See highlights from their visit to CB 10 below), and as the warmer weather approaches they will make their way through all of Manhattan’s districts. Is there somewhere you think the Land Use team should check out? Tweet @galeabrewer and use the hashtag #landusewalkingtour!

Statement on Comcast Decision to Abandon Merger With Time Warner Cable

"As one of a number of New York officials who expressed deep concerns about a Time Warner-Comcast monopoly, I am glad that those responsible for proposing this merger have bowed to reality. I thank the FCC and the Department of Justice for its careful review of the proposal. A single entity with a dominant position in broadband and programming would hurt both consumers and content creators.

"New Yorkers and all Americans are already paying too much for broadband service that is too slow, due to a lack of competition in the marketplace. In places where Google is rolling out gigabit fiber— Austin, TX and soon Charlotte, NC — Time Warner is now dramatically raising internet speeds at no extra charge."

Borough President Appoints 316 to Community Boards, Including 90 New Members

16- and 17-year olds join boards in first year under new law

For Immediate Release: April 20, 2015

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today announced a slate of 316 appointments to Manhattan’s twelve Community Boards. The appointments will take effect on May 1, 2015, and include 90 new members, more than a quarter of the total appointments.

“On zoning, land use, and how government interacts with our communities, Manhattan’s Community Boards are at the center of it all,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “It’s exciting that so many New Yorkers want to volunteer their time, their energy, and their skills to help our borough and our city. With a great mix of new members, veterans, and more young people, we can expect great things from Community Boards this year.”

Brewer’s office continued its revamp of the Community Board application process by making Manhattan the first borough to accept community board applications online, scoring applications in a formal review process, and evaluating applicants’ participation in structured group problem-solving and discussion scenarios rather than one-on-one interviews.

The complete list of Community Board members is available here: http://bit.ly/ManhattanCB

You can also download a list of newly appointed Community Board members here: http://bit.ly/NewCBMembers2015

Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of a 2015 appointment process that ushered in another major change: the inclusion of 16- and 17-year olds as regular applicants under a new state law passed in 2014 and supported by Brewer. The Borough President’s office received 25 applications from teens aged 16-17, and appointed six of these applicants to Community Board seats.

300 members were appointed to regular two-year terms and an additional 16 one-year vacancies were filled, out of a pool of 722 total applicants. New applications for Community Board membership increased by 43 percent in 2015, and applications increased by 21 percent overall through a combination of traditional community outreach tactics and a targeted Facebook ad campaign. Read more...

Brewer and NYC & Company Foundation Announce Manhattan Cultural Tourism Grant Awards

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2015

NEW YORK -- Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and the NYC & Company Foundation have announced this year’s Manhattan recipients of the Borough Cultural Tourism Development Grant Program.

This program is designed to promote tourism in all parts of the borough and raise domestic and international travelers’ awareness of the wide range of cultural opportunities available in Manhattan. The grants will fund the cultural organizations’ development of programming and production of marketing material to reach new audiences.

“Manhattan is the most diverse 23 square miles in the world, and this year’s grantees are part of a constellation of neighborhood institutions that make our borough one of the world’s most interesting destinations,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “When visitors experience what our whole borough has to offer, it’s a win-win for our neighborhoods and for New York City tourism as a whole.” Read more...

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