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Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, former B.P. Virginia Fields, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Liz Abzug, and women leaders "Take the Pledge" to register women voters

-- In honor of Women's Equality Day, August 26, anniversary of passage of 19th Amendment --

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2014

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, former Borough President C. Virginia Fields, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, attorney and daughter of former Manhattan Congresswoman Bella Abzug Liz Abzug, Executive Director of the NYC Campaign Finance Board Amy Loprest, President of the National Organization for Women NYS Zenaida Mendez, Hunter High School student Sarina Gupta, joined other women leaders today to urge New Yorkers to “Take the Pledge” to register five women as voters by the October 10, 2014, registration deadline in honor of Women’s Equality Day, marking August 26 as the anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote in 1920.

“Today is formally recognized as Women’s Equality Day thanks to Bella Abzug,” said Brewer. “And thanks to her and thousands of our foremothers, women have made giant strides in the fight for equal treatment and opportunity. But much remains to be done, and if women don’t register and don’t vote, it will take even longer. That’s why New York women should work to register other women—and make sure they turn out!” Read more...

Brewer Appoints Lucille Songhai Director of Community Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 25, 2014

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer announced today her appointment of Lucille K. Songhai as Director of Community Affairs.

“I‘m proud to welcome Lucille to our office. Together, our Community Affairs team will go the extra mile to provide community support and proactively take on issues affecting our borough – from encouraging smart development to improving city services, and so much more,” Brewer said.

Songhai will report to Deputy Borough President for Community and Borough Operations Aldrin Rafael Bonilla. She will manage the office’s five community liaisons and develop new community outreach strategies in collaboration with Manhattan’s Community Boards and local stakeholders. Read more...

Brewer Heralds New Law Allowing 16 & 17 Year Olds to Serve on Community Boards, Announces Recruitment Drive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug 12, 2014
 
New York, N.Y. – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today congratulated Gov. Cuomo and State Legislators on a new law allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to serve on local Community Boards – and announced a recruitment drive to attract young people to this new opportunity to have a voice in civic affairs.

The law signed by the Governor stems from legislation introduced by Gale Brewer into the City Council and years of her work promoting youth leadership.

“I have had the honor of working with literally hundreds of interns over the years and have seen first-hand the meaningful role that young people can play in shaping policy and enhancing our neighborhoods,” Brewer said. Read more...

Brewer Calls for Strict Scrutiny of Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

In comments submitted to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) on Friday, August 8, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer continued her strong advocacy on behalf of New York consumers in the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. In her comments, Brewer expressed concern about the potential size and scale of the newly created telecom giant, and urged the PSC to demand concessions from Comcast in the following areas prior to approval of the proposed merger:

- Improve internet speeds: New York State continues to lag behind international leaders in average internet speed, and as a condition of the merger, Comcast should be required to meet infrastructure investment and speed benchmarks with regular progress reporting to state and local authorities. Verizon's recent struggles with its own FiOS network installation in New York City highlight the need for strict oversight and standards in these areas.

- Expand the Internet Essentials program: While Comcast should be praised for recent improvements to its low-cost Internet Essentials program for low-income families with children, more must be done to improve speeds offered through the program, and to extend availability to all low-income New Yorkers.

- Expand free public Wi-Fi: Comcast must commit to expand on Time Warner's existing public Wi-Fi hotspots, making these networks free for all users. Comcast must also seek out partnerships to expand free Wi-Fi, including leveraging New York City's upcoming payphone franchise which will turn thousands of pieces of street furniture into Wi-Fi hotpots.

- Protect community access channels: Local community access channels such as Manhattan Neighborhood Network must be grouped together in channel locations that are accessible by the average viewer, and Comcast must commit to publicize these channels and facilitate HD broadcasting when possible.

- Commit to firm Net Neutrality rules: Comcast must reaffirm its commitment to Net Neutrality principles. Brewer joins Mayor de Blasio and others in calling on Comcast to drop its opposition to classifying broadband as a Title-II regulated telecommunications service, which would allow for better Federal oversight of these principles.

- Improve customer service: Using her own recent experience with Time Warner customer service as an example, Brewer calls on the PSC to set firm standards in customer satisfaction that Comcast must uphold as a condition of any merger.

End the "Poor Door"

Relegating low- and moderate-income residents of new, mixed-income developments to a “poor door” is wrong and must stop immediately.

Today, July 25, 2014, I stood on City Hall steps to demand revisions to the city’s Inclusionary Housing Zoning Text and to rebut developers’ claims that separate entrances are needed to obtain financing.

New York City thrives on fairness and diversity. Creating a two-tier system in the same building is anathema to everything that makes Manhattan great. I consider any separate-but-equal rationalization an offensive relic of history.

As New York City ramps up construction of affordable housing within mixed-income developments, it is imperative that these developments uphold the values of our inclusive city. Read the full press release.

UPDATE: Brewer urges reforms to Inclusionary Housing rules to close the "poor door"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 1, 2014

New York, N.Y. – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today called on the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and City Planning Commission to swiftly close a loophole in the City’s Inclusionary Housing rules to prevent developers from creating separate entrances for lower-income tenants in new developments – the so-called “poor door” – among other reforms. Read the full press release.

 

Manhattan Cultural Tourism Development Grant Application Available Now

It is my pleasure to announce the Manhattan Cultural Tourism Development Grant Application is now available. Thanks to the support of the NYC & Company Foundation, we have a small amount of funding available to support non-profits providing tourism marketing and audience development initiatives to expand audiences’ awareness of the various neighborhoods throughout Manhattan and their cultural offerings.

Full details on the grant application can be found here but please note that grant applications must be submitted by 5PM on Thursday, July 31, 2014. If you are a non-profit organization providing cultural programming for tourists in Manhattan, I encourage you to apply!

Fresh Food for Seniors at $8 a bag

In 2012, as a member of the City Council, I partnered with GrowNYC, the Department of Aging, and more than a dozen senior centers on the west side to provide fresh, local produce to seniors at an affordable price.

Packing Fresh Food for Senior bags at Goddard Riverside.

This year as Borough President, I’ve helped expand the program to include Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea and the West Village with the help of Councilmember Corey Johnson.

Today, I was delighted to join forces with Corey and my successor, Helen Rosenthal, at the Goddard Riverside Senior Center to pack more than 100 bags of local produce for distribution to Manhattan seniors.

The Fresh Food for Seniors program offers a twice-monthly assortment of fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruit through the summer and fall.

The produce is sourced by GrowNYC from farmers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania – and provides seniors a bag of produce for $8 that typically retails for $18-$20.

All New Yorkers need access to healthy food that is locally sourced whenever possible. I am committed to increasing access to fresh and local food for vulnerable and low-income populations and Fresh Food for Seniors is a great start.

See this week's selection of fruit and vegetables, try new recipes, and learn how to sign up: http://on.nyc.gov/1rKGzZh

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, July 17th

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, July 17, 2014, at 8:30 A.M. in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y.
Borough President Brewer, Councilmember Garodnick announce East Midtown Steering Committee

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick on July 9 announced the formation of the East Midtown Steering Committee. Made up of stakeholders and chaired by the Borough President and Council Member Garodnick, this commences the second phase of the East Midtown rezoning proposal, with phase one focusing on the Vanderbilt Avenue corridor.

The East Midtown Steering Committee will conduct a ground-up process to study and identify the area’s needs and to develop a framework for the rezoning. The group will help define future policy changes and make recommendations to the City Planning Commission.

"I am pleased to be co-chairing this steering committee with Councilmember Garodnick in response to the process outlined by Mayor de Blasio," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "The steering committee’s community-based planning process will be thorough and involve all stakeholders in as open and transparent a process as possible."

"East Midtown needs an upgrade, and we now have a chance to do it right," said Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick. "This steering committee will help us make sure that decisions are made in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders."

"The East Midtown Steering Committee, under the leadership of Borough President Brewer and Council Member Dan Garodnick, will bring together key stakeholders to advance a critical conversation on the future of East Midtown, ensuring that the multiple interests of this complex community are included in the formation of recommendations for zoning and other actions, including coordinating new development with appropriate infrastructure and city services," said City Planning Chairman Carl Weisbrod. "I congratulate the Borough President and Council Member for their leadership and look forward to providing the support of the Department of City Planning."

With the help of a facilitator hired for the purpose, the steering committee will begin meeting in September and hold meetings twice a month with the goal of delivering a final set of recommendations to the Department of City Planning by Spring 2015.

The committee will review a wide range of topics, including the need for updated commercial building stock in East Midtown, the appropriate density for the area, historic preservation, transit and other infrastructure priorities, and environmental concerns.

The steering committee membership will include one representative from each of the following:

  • Community Board 5
  • Community Board 6
  • The East Midtown Multi-Board Task Force
  • Municipal Art Society
  • Landmarks Conservancy and Historic District Council
  • Regional Plan Association
  • Real Estate Board of New York
  • Grand Central Partnership
  • East Midtown Partnership

The steering committee will also meet with other stakeholders who will be impacted by the rezoning including religious institutions and individual property owners.

The committee will have technical support as needed provided by relevant city and state agencies.

The conversation about rezoning East Midtown began in 2013, when Mayor Bloomberg’s administration offered its own plan for the area. That plan was thwarted by lack of support from the City Council, in hopes of restarting a more deliberative process under the new Mayor’s term. Mayor de Blasio, Council Member Garodnick, and Borough President Brewer announced the new two-part redevelopment approach for the area in March 2014.

Brewer statement on Mayor's expansion of arts education

"The arts are essential, and I applaud the Mayor and Council for adding $23 million for arts education to ensure more in-school programs for underserved schools. Key steps must include improving the Department of Education’s Annual Arts Survey to fix inaccuracies – so that we know what is really going on in our schools and can guarantee that schools have equal access to the resources they need. My report ‘Arts Forward’ looks at ways to close the gaps at the City’s public schools and improve funding formulas. In particular, we need to do more to raise the prominence of arts in middle schools as we have done with the sciences, and integrate arts education with English Language Learner (ELL) programming."

Background:

BP Brewer on Tuesday called for more and better arts education in City schools in a new report – while also announcing $20,000 in grants to help fund in-school arts partnerships and a series of arts mixers to connect the borough’s public schools with the City’s top museums, cultural institutions and programs.

Click here to see the full report.

Brewer statement on deaths of three Israeli boys

"For these past 18 heart-wrenching days, we have all held out in hope that Gilad, Naftali and Eyal would be brought back to their families speedily and without harm. Now that our worse fears have been confirmed, I wish comfort for all those who mourn – from all of us who share in this incredible loss."
Brewer points way to better arts education with new report, announces $20,000 in grants and series of arts mixers

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer called for more and better arts education in City schools in a new report released June 30 – while also announcing $20,000 in grants to help fund in-school arts partnerships and a series of arts mixers to connect the borough’s public schools with the City’s top museums and cultural institutions.

The new report, "Arts Forward," calls into question the reliability of the Department of Education’s Annual Arts Survey, which is used to monitor compliance with mandated arts requirements. The report recommends ways to fix the survey’s inaccuracies and ensure that schools have equal access to the resources needed to enhance arts education.

The report further recommends putting added focus on middle school arts education, fixing arts education funding, implementing collaborative arts programming, providing new opportunities for teacher certification in the arts, and expanding arts education outreach.

"The degree to which the City’s immense cultural capital is reflected in schools varies considerably, and it’s essential for us to strengthen the tools for evaluation to formulate an accurate idea of what schools need – and then help our students receive integrated, sustainable arts education in their classrooms," Brewer said.

Click here to download the full report.

Brewer also announced $20,000 in grants to fund arts partnerships at two middle schools: MS 328 Manhattan Middle School for Scientific Inquiry in Washington Heights and MS 332 University Neighborhood Middle School on the Lower East Side. The grants of $10,000 each are for in-school arts education targeted for English Language Learner (ELL) and special education students – two underserved groups.

Brewer further announced a series of mixers, or meet-and-greets, for school administrators to connect with the City’s cultural institutions – one in the fall and one in the spring, one uptown and one downtown.

"I look forward to working in partnership with the Mayor and Chancellor to ensure that all the arts are for all our students, and I hope this report helps move that effort forward," she said.


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