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Statement by DSNY regarding Organics Collection

To: Borough Presidents, Council Members, Community Boards:

A newspaper article reported that over the last few days the organic material collected in the Department of Sanitation curbside organics collection program is being sent to landfill as a result of the closure of the Peninsula compost facility in Delaware. The article is not correct. To be clear, residential Brown Bin material is being composted and will continue to be composted. The Department of Sanitation is proud to see the pilot program expanded to more than 100,000 homes, including some high-rise apartments in Manhattan. The Department of Sanitation continues to work to improve the pilot program. Material collected on Staten Island is composted at our Staten Island compost facility, while material collected in other boroughs is sent to private composting facilities in Connecticut and upstate New York. Material in most residential organics trucks is good quality and relatively low in contamination.
 
The material collected at city schools is our primary challenge at this time. Contamination in the organic material collected from some NYC Schools forces DSNY to tip the entire load as refuse at the transfer station. The now-closed Peninsula compost facility had mechanical preprocessing technology that could handle a some of the contamination in these school trucks.
 
In addition, contamination is not an across-the-board problem in all city schools, and we are working with the Dept. of Education to zero in on those schools in need of extra assistance in reducing contamination. System wide, the Dept. of Education is pursuing an innovative multi-city procurement for compostable trays, utensils and packaging, and is increasing its intensive outreach to educate students and school staff about proper source separation. While the closure of Peninsula is a short-term setback for composting programs across the region, New York City has adequate capacity for our program at this time and we continue to look at various processing technologies to handle NYC organic waste streams.
 
Thank you for your continued interest and support. 
 
Henry  A. Ehrhardt
Director, Customer Relations
Division of Customer Service and Government Relations
New York City Department of Sanitation – DSNY

Statement on Cuomo administration's decision to ban fracking in New York State

For years, I have been speaking out about the growing mountain of evidence that fracking is unsafe for both people and our environment. I commend Governor Cuomo for letting science and prudence guide him to the right decision and refusing to allow fracking companies to threaten New Yorkers' health and natural resources.
NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, December 18th

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, December 18, 2014, at 8:30 A.M. in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y.
Finance Board approves plan for public Wi-Fi hotspots

Today, all five borough presidents cast a yes vote together at the city’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee for the LinkNYC plan to create a system of free public WiFi kiosks, after we secured an agreement on improvements to the plan. Specifically, today’s agreement meets the goals that I and the other Borough Presidents were fighting for by requiring community input on the siting of WiFi kiosks, and introducing more high-speed hotspots in neighborhoods outside the core of midtown Manhattan.

I have been involved in the process of redesigning and updating NYC’s payphones for a number of years, and from the beginning my goals have been ensuring wider access to WiFi for as many New Yorkers as possible and ensuring communities have robust opportunities for input on siting.

With today’s agreement, every local community board and the five borough presidents will have access to the proposed sites for WiFi hotspots and will be able to propose alternatives when they feel siting choices can be improved. This makes sense: robust community input will help ensure these kiosks are put where they can best be used. Today’s agreement also includes additional high-speed, 1-gigabit connections for neighborhoods in northern Manhattan and the other boroughs – ensuring more neighborhoods get the full benefit of this new service.

I have been excited from the beginning about the planned LinkNYC project, and with these adjustments, there is no doubt that LinkNYC has become a plan worth voting for. I’m glad that, working together, we could deliver this win for all New Yorkers!

Statement on the Landmarks Preservation Commission's withdrawal of decalendaring proposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2014

“I'm delighted that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has decided to delay implementation of its plan to drop almost 100 items from landmarks consideration.

“Everyone can agree that the LPC backlog is large and significant, but the abrupt announcement and lack of transparency by the LPC in this instance was disturbing.

“We need a proper public hearing on proposed decalandaring of items older than five years, and I will introduce such legislation in the Council shortly. Read more...

Misguided proposal from Landmarks Preservation Commission means lost NYC landmarks

I was disappointed to learn of the LPC’s announcement of a massive, short-notice, arbitrary “decalendaring”—i.e., removal from landmarks consideration— of 96 sites or districts citywide, including 36 in Manhattan. My staff and I visited all 36 on Thanksgiving weekend, days after the LPC announcement, and there are at least eight that deserve further consideration, not elimination—including the magnificent Loew’s 175th Street Theater, the former IRT Powerhouse on West 58th Street and an 1855 farmhouse on East 85th Street.

I’ve written to LPC Chair Srinivasan asking that the LPC delay this action (announced with just two weeks’ notice!) and hold a public hearing on the sites they propose for decalendaring. The large backlog at the LPC is partly of their own making—but simply erasing scores of locations in one swoop is no way to solve the problem. I’m working on legislation that would introduce clarity and certainty to the landmarks process, and will keep you informed.

If you would like to object to LPC’s move, please take to Twitter and Facebook and demand a public hearing before any action is taken on December 9. Here are some things you can do:

  1. Share my posts with your friends and family to spread the word about LPC’s actions as quickly as possible. You can find my posts on Facebook, Twitter, and my letter to the LPC on Tumblr.
  2.   
  3. Write a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NYCLandmarks
  4.   
  5. Take a screenshot of your letter and Tweet the photo to @NYClandmarks: https://twitter.com/nyclandmarks. Here's one of my tweets as an example.
  6.   
  7. Tweet to @NYClandmarks using one of the suggested tweets below, or write your own. Tell them you don’t want any more #lostlandmarks in NYC.

 

New York’s history lives in its buildings. @NYCLandmarks please let us weigh in on #lostlandmarks http://nyti.ms/1FKoqzJ via @galeabrewer

 

.@NYCLandmarks, these sites have waited years for recognition. Don’t make them #lostlandmarks for efficiency's sake. http://on.nyc.gov/12AiyNe

 

Please @NYCLandmarks delay the decalendaring of potentially #lostlandmarks. This is OUR history and we deserve a say.

Statement on the death of Herman Badillo

"Herman Badillo was a friend who embodied all that New York City represents. A trailblazer who achieved much, he became the first Puerto Rican Member of Congress, the Bronx Borough President, a Deputy Mayor, and a CUNY Trustee. His persistence, his dedication and his independence inspired many, and he will be missed."

Statement on the Staten Island Grand Jury decision in the death of Eric Garner

"The Staten Island Grand Jury's decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner is a decision that I disagree with, but will respect.

"This is yet another instance where the outcome is utterly, tragically out of proportion to the offense-- in this case, for selling loose cigarettes on a commercial strip on Staten Island.

"As I said after the Ferguson Grand Jury's decision, we need reforms, we need training, but mostly we as a country need to address our racial disparities and the very real and devastating actions that are the result. We need to demonstrate our outrage peacefully and constructively and move ahead to make change."

BP Brewer, DCAS Commissioner Cumberbatch launch winter Food Box program for city employees in cooperation with GrowNYC

Program allows week-in-advance ordering of full bag of freshest produce from area growers for $10

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 2, 2014

NEW YORK, NY-- GrowNYC, the nonprofit which manages the city’s Greenmarket program, is beginning the winter season of its Fresh Food Box program, and Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, City Department of Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch, and GrowNYC Executive Director, Marcel Van Ooyen, today announced a new Civic Center outpost of the program for City employees, located under the arch of the Municipal Building this and every Thursday through the winter. The program has also begun at four other locations.

“I’m so proud to help expand the Food Box program downtown to city workers, in cooperation with DCAS,” Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said. “GrowNYC has created a win-win for both local growers and local eaters: a selection of fresh, locally sourced fruit and vegetables, in a manageable quantity and for a great price-- ready to pick up near your office-- is hard to beat.” Read more...

Manhattan Community Board applications are now available!

Manhattan’s 12 community boards are local organizations composed of 50 volunteer members serving staggered two-year terms. Community boards are tasked with being the independent and representative voices of their communities—the most grass-roots form of local government. The boards are pivotal in shaping their communities and work to enhance and preserve the character of the city’s many unique neighborhoods.

If you would like to be considered for appointment to one of Manhattan's Community Boards, please submit your application and resume before 5:00 PM on Friday, January 30, 2015.

To apply online, click here. Please note: It is advisable that you prepare your answers in advance, as this application must be completed in one sitting. Creating an account to save and continue the application later is not an option. Additionally, please have your resume ready for upload.

After submitting, you will receive a confirmation email that includes details on the next steps in the screening and interview process. The email will also contain a copy of your submitted application for your records. All applicants, including current Board members, are required to complete the entire process, from submitting an application to participating in the group interviews. Thank you for your interest in serving and representing your neighborhood.

Statement on President Obama's executive action on immigration

On November 20, President Obama announced a plan to suspend deportations for some 3.7 million undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for at least five years and have children who are legal citizens or permanent residents. If these individuals pass a background check and pay an administrative fee, they will be allowed to apply for work permits valid for three years, after which they must reapply for suspended deportation status.

In addition, the President is:

  • expanding a program for foreign students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM);
  • creating more options for foreign entrepreneurs who can obtain funding to start a business here;
  • making the process easier for those who are waiting to become legal permanent residents (allowing them to travel home more easily, for example).

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in response:

“The President’s brave and much-needed plan comes as a great sigh of relief to millions of immigrants to our country and city. The incredibly hard work of these residents strengthens our economy, and their U.S.-born children deserve to be treated as the citizens they are without the constant threat of deportation breaking up their families.

“Immigrants are the lifeblood of New York City. They start small businesses, create vibrant communities, and shape our city’s culture, just as Jewish, Irish, and Italian immigrants did in past generations. That’s why the President’s actions are cause for celebration.

“There is much more to do, of course—and we must pressure our representatives in Washington to make the American Dream a reality for many millions of immigrants who have not become parents while living here.”

Statement on proposed tower
at South Street Seaport

NEW YORK, NY – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement after the South Street Seaport Working Group meeting at which the Howard Hughes Corporation presented its proposal for a tower to be developed at the South Street Seaport.

“I question whether the proposal from Howard Hughes for a huge tower on the New Market site meets the Seaport Working Group’s guidelines developed over many months of discussion with the community, urban planners and other stakeholders.

“Historical context, building heights, and maintaining the vitality of the area are all elements which must be factored in to any final project in this crucial Manhattan neighborhood—the neighborhood where, in many ways, New York City began. As I’ve said before, building a tower at the South Street Seaport is like building a tower at Colonial Williamsburg.

“Council Member Chin and I have requested that the Seaport Working Group convene a meeting right after Thanksgiving to discuss the HHC proposal presented tonight and evaluate it against the Guidelines and Principles the working group developed. I will withhold final judgment until after discussion by the working group.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and NYC & Company Foundation announce grants to support cultural institutions and tourism in New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2014

NEW YORK, NY – 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 awareness of domestic and international travelers 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.

“These groups each represent a single facet of Manhattan’s vast cultural diversity,” said Borough President Brewer. “From egg creams to poetry slams, from Afro-Latin jazz to Native American drums, these events are unique to us and add to our attractiveness as a tourist destination. The groups my office has selected offer the full range of underappreciated Manhattan attractions.”

"Culture is an enormous part of New York City’s appeal to visitors," said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company. “Investing in culture supports New York City’s vitality as well as the visitor spending and job creation essential to the City’s economy.”

This year’s recipients are:

  • Afro Latin Jazz Alliance – Grant will support marketing and promotion of the Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra season at Symphony Space.
  • Big Apple Greeter – Grant will support an upgrade of Big Apple Greeter’s website.
  • Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corp. – Grant will help fund the printing and distribution of Map Through Chinatown’s History and Culture Campaign.
  • Harlem Week, Inc. – Grant will provide support for the marketing and promotion of Harlem Week event.
  • Lotus Music and Dance – Grant will support the marketing and promotion of Drums along the Hudson: A Native American Festival and Multicultural Celebration.
  • Museum at Eldridge Street – Grant will provide funding of marketing and promotional materials for Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival.
  • New York Scandia Symphony – Grant will support marketing and promotional materials for the Scandinavian Music Festival.
  • Nuyorican Poets Café, Inc. – Grant will support marketing and promotion of Nuyorican Poets Café’s Poetry Slam.
  • NY African Ensemble – Grant will support development, production and distribution of the marketing materials for the Harlem and the Heights Tourism Project.
  • Pan American Musical Art Research – Grant will support promotion and publicity expenses for the Latin American Cultural Week.

Borough Cultural Tourism Development Grants are privately funded by donations to the NYC & Company Foundation, whose mission is to support tourism and economic development in all five boroughs by promoting local cultural events and institutions. The grant program is administered by the Borough President’s Office, and cultural groups are invited to apply for funding annually. Recipients are selected by the Borough President based on the merit of the program. Get the full release...

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, November 20th

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, November 20, 2014, at 8:30 A.M. in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y.
Public School Town Hall with Chancellor FariƱa

Over a hundred people-- Parents, CEC members, teachers, principals, and community board members--  joined me and DOE Chancellor Carmen Fariña at my Public School Town Hall November 12th at John Jay College. 

We heard her discuss new education initiatives, including the just-announced School Renewal Program,  parent engagement, capacity framework, and school quality “Snapshots.”

I raised my concerns about introducing and improving technology in schools-- now that Proposal 3, the $2 billion bond issue has passed-- and getting more & better arts partnerships into schools, and we were able to get through over a dozen questions from the audience after the Chancellor spoke.

Check out the Twitter hashtag #MBPOTownHall to follow what happened!


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