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Brewer Hails Stop-Work Order on 180 E. 88th Development

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2016

The following statement can be attributed to be Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer:

"Last week, together with Councilmember Ben Kallos, I asked the city's Department of Buildings (DOB) to stop work on 180 East 88th Street. The developer there was using a loophole in the zoning code to circumvent contextual zoning. Kudos to the DOB for listening, and for issuing a stop work order today."

Background
The New York Times, "Developer Ordered to Stop Work on Upper East Side Luxury Apartment Tower,"

Brewer and Councilmember Chin Introduce Deed Restriction Reform Legislation to Prevent Next Rivington House

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2016

Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Councilmember Margaret Chin unveiled new legislation this morning to reform the city's practices concerning deed restrictions, the arcane process at the heart of the controversies surrounding the sale of Rivington House on the Lower East Side and a lot owned by the Dance Theater of Harlem in upper Manhattan.

The Brewer-Chin bill would create a public, searchable database of all properties with deed restrictions imposed by or on behalf of city, and would dramatically strengthen public notification requirements whenever the city considers changing or removing such a deed restriction. The bill will be introduced at today's Stated Council Meeting with the support of Councilmembers Rosie Mendez, Mark Levine, Brad Lander, and Ben Kallos as cosponsors.

"Across the city, there are properties that are preserved for public purposes with deed restrictions -- but we don't have even have a searchable database cataloguing where they are, and they can be given away with next to no public notice," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "A searchable database and robust public notice requirements are commonsense reforms. If they had been in place last year, the only discussion we'd be having about Rivington House today is what kind of nonprofit healthcare facility should be there."

"I will not stop fighting to restore Rivington House to the Lower East Side community that welcomed, fostered and preserved it. Together with Borough President Brewer and concerned neighbors, we will continue to demand answers from this administration about how our city failed to protect this incredibly important community asset," said Councilmember Margaret Chin. "This legislation may not be able to change what happened at Rivington House, but it will ensure that what happened here does not occur ever again – not to this or any other community. I thank my elected colleagues on this legislation for their commitment to transparency and accountability."

Brewer and Chin were spurred to craft the bill by the revelation that the city acted to remove deed restrictions at Rivington House on the Lower East Side with no public notice beyond a one-day listing in the City Record. This action paved the way for the former school building, long reserved for nonprofit healthcare uses, to be sold to a luxury condominium developer at a tremendous profit. Read more...

Letter of Concern to Board of Elections Regarding Voters' Problems During Presidential Primary

Brewer Statement on Beth Israel Closure Rumors

For Immediate Release: May 16, 2016

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in response to press reports suggesting Beth Israel Medical Center may close:

"My office is looking for answers to the questions raised by recent reports that Beth Israel might be closing. If true, such a closure would be a major loss to the downtown community.

"But it's my understanding that long-approved site plans for the hospital's location are restricted to a 'large-scale community facility' and can't be changed without a ULURP process. So I'm hopeful that a significant health care function there can be preserved -- and that's what I'll fight for."

Brewer, Levine, and Chin Call for Transparency in Wake of Newest Deed Restriction Revelation

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2016

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Councilmember Mark Levine, and Councilmember Margaret Chin jointly issued the following statement:

"Today's revelation that another deed restriction protecting a lot in Harlem was quietly lifted at the same time as the deed restriction at Rivington House on the Lower East Side hammers home the need for a complete, public accounting of all deed restrictions.

"City agencies must produce an accounting of all deed restrictions protecting property for public or nonprofit uses -- both those currently in effect, and those that have been lifted. We plan to introduce legislation to require the creation of a public deed restriction database and to require that notice be given to the relevant borough president, councilmember, and Community Board whenever the city considers lifting a deed restriction."

Brewer, Chin, and Levine plan to jointly introduce deed restriction reform legislation in the coming weeks. Levine's district includes the St. Nicholas Avenue lot that is the focus of today's New York Times story, and Chin's district contains Rivington House.

Brewer Convenes New Youth Council for First Meeting

Council of Young Leaders of Manhattan will advise Brewer, generate and pursue new policy ideas

For Immediate Release: May 12, 2016
Photos Available

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer convened the first meeting of Council of Young Leaders of Manhattan yesterday at the Harlem State Office Building. The council, comprised of 53 young people who live or study in Manhattan, is Brewer's new youth board, formed with the mission of empowering Manhattan youth to speak directly to government. The members were appointed by Brewer this spring through an open application process, much like Manhattan's 12 Community Boards and the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board.

"Government needs to involve and listen to young New Yorkers. Young people can be relied on to generate new ideas adults wouldn't have thought of, and they have even more of a stake in what government does than we do, because our decisions today shape the future they will inherit," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "For decades I've involved students and interns in my work, and I've consistently seen them come up with ambitious, creative ideas. It's been my pleasure to appoint great groups of teens to our Community Boards, and through the Council of Young Leaders, we will give even more of our borough's young people the tools and access they need to speak to their government." Read more...

Broadway-Sherman Compromise Shows Mandatory Inclusionary Program Can Work When Tailored to Neighborhood Needs

Building will be shorter and include more apartments actually affordable to local residents

For Immediate Release: May 10, 2016

Today, Borough President Gale A. Brewer announced her office has negotiated a framework for residential development at 4650 Broadway in Inwood, Manhattan's first private application considered under the new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. Under the framework deal announced by Brewer, the developer committed to a shorter building with a significant number of apartments that will actually be affordable to Inwood residents. Brewer lauded the compromise as a victory for Inwood residents and proof that the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program can work as intended.

"The original plan for Broadway-Sherman would have created a huge tower with 'affordable' units targeted to income levels 50 percent higher than the median income of Inwood residents. The new plan will create affordable units at deeper levels of affordability that this community can actually use," said Manahttan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "If we upzoned as high as we could just to build lots of 'affordable' units without thinking about who they're affordable to, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing's critics would be justified in their fears. But what we've shown today is that the program can work as intended when elected officials, the community, and developers all buy into its goal and negotiate. I want to thank the developer for being a good partner and working with us to craft a precedent-setting plan."

The site at the corner of Broadway and Sherman Avenue, commonly called "Broadway-Sherman," is the subject of an upzoning application submitted by Acadia Sherman Avenue LLC.

The developer's original proposal was for a 27-story tower with 30 percent affordable housing targeted to 80 percent of the New York City region's Area Median Income, meaning a family of three would have had to earn approximately $62,000 per year to get one of the affordable apartments – 50 percent more than the neighborhood’s average median income of $41,000. Under the site's current zoning, a developer could build a tower of 17 or more stories with no affordable housing at all. Read more...

Statement on Attorney General's Criminal and Civil Actions Against Steve Croman

For Immediate Release: May 9, 2016

The following statement can be attributed to be Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.

“Harassing and threatening tenants is a widespread crime, but its perpetrators are too rarely investigated and prosecuted. Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation, indictment, and civil suit against Mr. Croman are all good news for tenants, and together they send a clear message to abusive landlords. I thank the Attorney General for his leadership and hope this is just the beginning.”

Background
Daily News, "Manhattan landlord Steve Croman hit with indictment charging he threatened, sued rent-protected tenants to force them out," May 9, 2016.

As "Fresh Foodbox" Program Resumes Outdoors, B.P. Brewer Honors Volunteers and Invites Lower Manhattan Workers and Residents to Take Advantage

$12 buys $20 worth of fresh, local produce

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2016
Photos Available

Borough President Gale A. Brewer and GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel van Ooyen marked the return of the 1 Centre Street "Fresh Foodbox" program to the archway outside the Municipal Building by honoring the volunteers who pack the program's fresh food bags. The program operates year-round, but is housed within the Municipal Building during the winter.

Shortly after noon, Brewer joined more than a dozen volunteers to help pack produce bags and present them with certificates of appreciation in an informal ceremony. The volunteers included eight local Chinatown seniors active with ArchCare's TimeBank program.

"As the Foodbox program moves back outside for the spring and summer, everyone living or working in Lower Manhattan should stop by and take advantage," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "This successful program serves hundreds now thanks to the support of GrowNYC, DCAS, and most of all, the volunteers who make this program possible."

The 1 Centre Street Foodbox program, popular with city employees working near the Municipal Building and City Hall, is fully open to the public, offering bags of locally-sourced fresh produce for just $12. Local eggs, honey, and bread are available for order as well. Orders are taken a week in advance on a pay-as-you-go basis, with no ongoing commitment or subscription required. Cash, credit, and SNAP benefits are all accepted as payment.

The 1 Centre Street program is the product of collaboration between Borough President Brewer, GrowNYC, and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

To Clear Manhattan Congestion, Brewer Boosts Night Deliveries, Expanded "City Ticket", Tourist Bus Cap, Higher Gas Tax, and Move NY Plan

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2016
Report Available

Citing statistics showing average surface travel speeds in Manhattan decreased by 9 percent between 2010 and 2015, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer called for a mix of new policies to reduce peak street traffic and improve public transit. Aside from long-sought infrastructure investments like new cross-harbor rail tunnels, Brewer’s plan includes lower-cost, outside-the-box ideas like expanding “off-hours” truck deliveries, taking advantage of MTA’s commuter rail routes for intracity commuters, and capping the number of “hop-on, hop-off” sightseeing buses allowed to clog city streets.

“Manhattan is the heart of our city and the entire region, and that heart is clogged,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Manhattan street travel speeds have plummeted in recent years. No more excuses: we need to seriously think through any and all outside-the-box ideas that can ease the burden on our streets and get more value out of our existing transit infrastructure.”

Brewer’s announcement coincided with the release of "Unlocking the Grid," (PDF) her office’s report on Manhattan’s street congestion and transit needs. This followed Brewer’s public hearing last summer on these topics, at the height of public debate around street congestion and the increase in for-hire vehicles driven by e-hail services including Uber and Lyft. Read More...

More Than 100 Business Owners Attend Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Open House

For Immediate Release: May 4, 2016
Photos Available

Today, Borough President Gale A. Brewer hosted an open house for community-based business owners to learn about government contracting and New York City's programs for Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Brewer sponsored the event in conjunction with the Mayor's Office and the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services.

"New York City has one of the largest municipal budgets in the world, and we have the most minority-owned businesses of any city in America -- so we have a tremendous opportunity to leverage our city's business to empower communities of color and women," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "My colleagues in the administration are hard at work creating new opportunities for MWBEs, but we need to get the word out for them to succeed. That's why events like this one are so important -- connecting business owners to the information and contacts they need to get started."

The event featured keynote remarks from Borough President Brewer, Counsel to the Mayor Maya Wiley, and Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop, followed by a brief information session led by staff from the Department of Small Business Services and other agencies.

Before and after the speaking program, procurement officers and representatives from more than a dozen city and state government agencies answered local businesses' questions about city and state contract opportunities, and experts shared information on MWBE purchasing programs, official certifications, and the bidding process. Read more...

Borough President Brewer Announces 312 Community Board Appointments, Including 81 New Members

For Immediate Release: April 27, 2016

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today announced this year's slate of appointments to Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards. The appointments took effect earlier this month and include 81 new members, more than a quarter of the 312 appointments.

“Manhattan's community boards are at the center of negotiations and decisions on the size and character of new real estate development, how our parks and public spaces are used and cared for, and what government can do for our neighborhoods,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “As our applicant pool continues to grow, we will keep striving to build Community Boards that are fully reflective of our neighborhoods.”

The complete list of Community Board appointees for the 2016-2018 term is available here.

Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of the 2016 appointment process, which saw 785 applicants for Manhattan Community Board seats. Applications for Community Board membership from those not currently serving increased by 12 percent in 2016, while total applications increased by 9 percent.

Following this newest round of appointments, more than 20 percent of Community Board members identify as African-American or black, 16 percent identify as Latino or hispanic, and nearly 4 percent identify as Asian or Pacific Islander.

Community Board members reflect a diverse set of career paths as well. 28 percent of Community Board members report they are self-employed and nearly 10 percent are business owners, while private sector workers (19 percent), nonprofit employees (16 percent), city government workers (12 percent), and retirees (14 percent) each make up a significant chunk of the boards' membership. Read more...

Brewer, Manhattan Borough Board Call on City to Erect Zero Net-Energy Building in Manhattan, Endorse 'Passive House' Green Building Standards for Incorporation in Building Code

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2016

Video of the Borough Board meeting is available here, and the Borough Board resolution can be viewed here.

At a meeting led by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, the Manhattan Borough Board adopted a resolution endorsing ‘passive house’ building standards for ultra-energy efficient buildings and called for the city to undertake construction of a public project in Manhattan that complies with passive house standards.

“Manhattan is the center of the universe and our real estate is priced like it – but that means there’s nowhere that investments in smarter, greener construction are more prudent,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “We should promote the newest and best construction methods to lower our energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and counteract the urban heat island effect in our city. We can start by building a public ‘passive house’ project right here in Manhattan as an example to the real estate industry and the public that a greener, more energy-efficient tomorrow is possible today.”

Passive house standards are a rigorous set of design standards for buildings that require little to no energy for heating or cooling. The standards can apply to both new construction and renovations of existing structures, and can be adapted to residential, commercial, and other uses. Read more...

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, April 21

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, April 21, 2016, 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
Primary Day Voter Information

April 18, 2016

This Tuesday, April 19, 2016 is the Presidential Primary – the first of four election days in New York this year.

Many polling locations have changed – please double check where you should vote by visiting the NYC Poll Site Locator and entering your address or by calling 1-866-VOTE-NYC. (If you find your polling location has changed, please share this new location with your neighbors!)

For more information on the New York Presidential Primary or the other election days happening this year, visit the MBPO Voter Information webpage.

Once you do vote, please take a few minutes to complete this short survey about accessibility conditions at polling places, created in partnership with the Center for the Independence of the Disabled-NY. The Americans with Disability Act requires that people with disabilities are provided a full and equal opportunity to vote in all elections. The results of this survey will be used to draft recommendations for the Board of Elections to implement in future elections.

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Letters Department of Buildings Regarding After-Hours Variance Violations

 

Response Letter From Department of Buildings Regarding After Hours Variance Violations

Brewer and Chin Demand Compensation for Loss of Rivington House and Propose Deed Restriction Reform Plan

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2016

This morning, Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Councilmember Margaret Chin, and Community Board 3 Chair Gigi Li called on the de Blasio administration to compensate the Lower East Side community for the loss of Rivington House, a building housing an AIDS patient hospice that has sold for $116 million to a private developer and is likely to be converted to luxury condominiums because of the actions of city agencies tasked with managing and protecting community assets.

Brewer, Chin, and Li were joined by State Senator Daniel Squadron, who fought to keep healthcare beds in the Lower East Side Community, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, and affected community members.

At the press conference, Brewer and Chin also proposed a reform plan to prevent similar losses of community assets by creating transparency requirements for city-imposed restrictions in real property deeds.

"Mayor de Blasio has said he'd have blocked the city actions that led to the loss of Rivington House if he'd known about them, and I take him at his word -- but admitting to a mistake is only the first half of owning up to it," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "The mayor must make this community whole by investing millions to create a new community facility and replace the beds lost in the sale of Rivington House, and we must all work together to reform how the city handles deed restrictions, so this never happens again." Read more...

Statement on U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Athletes' Equal Employment Opportunity Complaint

For Immediate Release: March 31, 2016

The following statement can be attributed to Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer:

"Last year the U.S. Women's National Team set an emphatic example on the field, proving they're the best in the world. Now, by standing up and demanding fair pay, these five players are setting a critical example off the field as well.

"Gender-based pay gaps exist at every rung of the economic ladder. Whether it's at a leading national newspaper, a big-box retailer, or the most dominant team of athletes our nation has ever fielded, too many women are facing discrimination at work. I fully support the U.S. Women's National Team players in their fight for fair pay, and thank them for their leadership. Our young women need to know it's never wrong to demand fairness.

“The U.S. Women’s National Team is in many ways the driving force of soccer in the U.S. The fact that even these athletes, at the pinnacle of the game, cannot receive fair pay and equal treatment shows there is something wrong with how women are treated in sports. I applaud these players for speaking out.” Read more...

Brewer to Con Ed, AG, City and State Agencies: "Manhattan's Residents Must Have Cooking Gas"

For Immediate Release: March 30, 2016

In a letter to Con Edison, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and city and state regulators, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer decried an increase in gas service shutoffs in Manhattan, which has left tenants without the ability to cook for months in many cases.

"I'm hearing from all sides that there's been a spike in long-term gas service shutoffs. What I want to know from Con Ed and our regulators is exactly where, why, and how to fix it," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "One building my office is assisting in West Harlem has been without gas for more than eight months. That's unacceptable, and I want to find out why this is happening."

According to Straus Media's reporting, NYC Department of Buildings records indicated that there were only 67 gas shutoffs in 2014, which skyrocketed to 343 total in 2015, and 157 just in the first two months of 2016. In her letter, Brewer cited Straus' and DNAinfo's reporting in addition to the experiences of her office's constituent service staff, who have noted an uptick in gas shutoff complaints and are working with multiple buildings that have been without gas service for months.

"Manhattan's residents -- especially those with low or fixed incomes -- must have cooking gas to feed themselves affordably," wrote Brewer in the letter. "Hot plates are not an acceptable long-term substitute. There must be clear standards and a robust process to ensure...customers' service is restored without undue delay."

Brewer's letter requests a full report of all buildings currently without gas service, the steps that are being undertaken by Con Ed and the relevant government agencies to restore service, and recommendations on additional legislation, regulation, or enforcement actions that could cut down on the number and length of gas service outages. Read more...


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