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Congressional Primary Election - Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tuesday, June 28 is New York's primary election for Congress, and the second of four elections scheduled this year. Remember to vote! Every district in Manhattan has a primary for at least one party line.

New York City polling locations are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. To find your polling place, click here.

On eve of second 2016 primary election, Brewer and CIDNY survey puts spotlight on barriers to voters with disabilities

For Immediate Release: Monday, June 27, 2016

On the eve of New York's Congressional primary, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and the Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York (CIDNY) issued the results of their survey of voters in the April 2016 presidential primary. In the survey, Brewer's office and CIDNY gathered feedback from 128 New Yorkers on their experience in the April Primary, with a focus on issues affecting equal access and voting rights for New Yorkers with disabilities.

The survey results show a number of serious concerns that need to be addressed by the City's Board of Elections, including:

▪ More than 70 percent of poll sites surveyed by CIDNY had at least one kind of accessibility barrier.
▪ 20 percent of respondents reported their poll site was overcrowded, a significant problem for voters who use wheelchairs or who live with other mobility impairments.
▪ Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of voters who attempted to use an accessible Ballot Marking Device reported that they were unable to vote privately and independently, in some cases because poll workers were not trained on how to properly assist voters without violating their privacy.


See the full survey results...


Pride Weekend Updates

Friday-Sunday, June 24-26 is LGBT Pride Weekend!

March with Gale and the Brew Crew in Sunday's Pride March! Sign up to march here; click here for more details.

A great start to Pride Weekend: President Obama has designated the site of the Stonewall Rebellion as the country's newest national monument. It is the first dedicated to the LGBT community and the struggle for LGBT rights.

Tuesday, June 21, 5-8pm: Make Music NY Concert at Carl Schurz Park

Join Gale, the Borough President's Office, and the Friends of Carl Schurz Park Tuesday evening for a concert featuring local musicians and students performing jazz, soul, pop, rock, and more!

The concert, part of Make Music NY, will be held in beautiful Carl Schurz Park (East End Avenue at 86th Street), from 5-8pm. The run of show:

Sarah DeLeo
5:00 PM - 5:45 PM
Jazz, Pop, Standards

City Bandits
5:45 PM - 6:30 PM
Rock, Pop

Noel Simone Wippler
6:30 PM - 7:15 PM
Funk, Jazz, Soul

LaGuardia High School Senior Jazz Sextet
7:15 PM - 8:00 PM

Brewer greets parents at P.S. 125 in Harlem to promote free summer meals for kids, part of borough-wide Day of Action

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2016

On Friday, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer led a borough-wide Day of Action to provide parents and children with detailed information about free meals available this summer through New York City’s Summer Meals Program. Brewer flyered at the Ralph Bunche School (P.S. 125) in Harlem this morning, and about 100 volunteers and staff from her own office, Councilmember Ben Kallos' office, FoodCorps, and Hunger Free America fanned out to spread the word at Manhattan’s 82 Title One elementary schools.

“Families need to know: free Summer Meals for kids are available all across Manhattan. That's why we're spreading the word today, with specific times and locations on flyers available in up to six languages,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The sooner we can get this information to students and parents, the better. That's why we're spreading the word today, and that's why I hope we can get this information out even earlier next year, so we have more time to spread the word.”

See photos...


Brewer statement on Florida mass shooting


For Immediate Release: June 12, 2016

The following statement was issued by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer:


"I am horrified and outraged by news of the Orlando mass shooting, and my heart goes out both to Floridians and to the LGBT community nationwide. Whatever is revealed as this tragedy is investigated, this much is clear: we must rid ourselves of hate and we must act to end gun violence."

Letter to Mayor's Office of Sustainability Regarding the DEIS for Citywide Ferry Service

June 6, 2016

Brewer to Mayor, Council: Boost Community Board Budgets

For Immediate Release: May 27, 2016

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council to raise Community Board operating budgets to $400,000 (excluding rent), an average increase of roughly $167,000.

"The people who really know New York City government know how important Community Boards are. Whether they are pushing neighborhood priorities with city agencies like Sanitation or the Police Department, or they're vetting and negotiating major land use deals, the Community Boards are our neighborhoods' first, best advocates," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Community Boards make our enormous city government work for our local neighborhoods, but they can't do that without resources to keep pace with their increasing responsibilities."

Brewer pointed to the flurry of major land use proposals as factors in the boards' increased need for resources, as well as the boards' increased need to use new technologies in their work. These include Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other specialized software used in land use and planning, as well as the Open Meetings Law's mandate that government bodies videorecord and livestream public meetings, which requires new equipment, training, staff, and technical assistance.

The roughly $9.9 million required to increase Community Board funding to Brewer's recommended levels is minuscule against the backdrop of the city's $82 billion operating budget, but it would revolutionize local Community Boards' capacity to work on behalf of their neighborhoods.

Brewer called for the funding increase in her testimony earlier this week at a New York City Council Finance Committee hearing on Mayor de Blasio's proposed Executive Budget.

Testimony of Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer before the New York City Council Committee on Finance, May 24, 2016. (See pp. 1-2 for remarks on Community Board funding.)

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."

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."

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, May 19

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, May 19, 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
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.”

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

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