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Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick Begin East Midtown Steering Committee Process

Team of facilitators selected, labor representative from Build Up NYC added to making recommendations for area

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2014

NEW YORK, NY – The East Midtown Steering Committee, a planning group co-chaired by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and City Councilmember Daniel R. Garodnick to set the framework for a new greater East Midtown area, has finalized the group's membership and will proceed with its first formal session today, aided by a team of facilitators.

A facilitation team has been hired to help the committee conduct its discussions. The team will be led by John Shapiro, Chair of the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment at Pratt Institute. The team will also include Geoffrey Wiener, formerly the Assistant Vice President of Facilities Planning at Columbia University; David Burney, former Commissioner of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) from 2004 to 2014; and Jonathan Martin, who was the facilitator for the South Street Seaport Working Group, the first pre-ULURP planning group created by Borough President Brewer.

“These highly experienced planners, facilitators, and land use experts will assist the Steering Committee throughout this process,” Borough President Gale A. Brewer said. “I believe robust community participation is necessary with any significant rezoning and this experienced facilitation team will help us get the plan right for East Midtown.” Read more...

Raising awareness about the
NYC Organics Collection Program

My office, in coordination with the NYC Departments of Sanitation (DSNY) and Education (DOE) sponsored “Day of Action” today to help raise awareness about the NYC Organics Collection Program, an effort to cut the solid waste produced by city public school cafeterias and produce nutrient-rich compost in the bargain.

During today’s morning school drop-off period, my staff and I fanned out to distribute flyers explaining the program at targeted schools across Manhattan.

The Organics Collection Program grew out of a pilot program that I helped launch with a group of parents in eight West Side schools two and half years ago. The program now has over 100 participating schools in Manhattan, and by October, all 114 DOE schools in Manhattan (and hundreds more in the other boroughs) will be part of the Organics Collection Program.

In addition, as part of a pilot project to expand the program beyond schools, the DSNY is already collecting compostable waste from over two dozen residential buildings along the school pickup routes—adding about 17,000 households to the composting flow. If you’d like to see if your building qualifies, apply here.

Since food waste comprises 40% of a typical school’s waste output, this program has a potential to significantly reduce the city’s solid waste expenses, and produce a beneficial product too. What’s more, by cutting down on the amount of food scraps in trash bags that sit on sidewalks, we can help reduce rodent population and have cleaner sidewalks.

But the biggest challenge to the effectiveness of the program is keeping “contamination” to a minimum—making sure that food and food-soiled paper goes into one bin, and recyclable materials into another, and NON-recyclable materials into a third. High contamination in the food-related bins can render that bin unusable for compost.

To help ensure this program’s success in Manhattan schools, in August I called together representatives from DC 37, 32 BJ, Local 891, and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators CSA) to sit down with DSNY and DOE to explore how best to support union members working in school cafeterias and kitchens.

With the help of everyone—parents, students, cafeteria staff and school administrators—we can help our kids achieve something great from the results of thousands of simple individual actions: separating food trash and recyclables from non-recyclables. That’s a lesson worth learning (and it all grew from a handful of parent/activists on the West Side!).

CUNY Service Corps students to help communities navigate NYC data

Government transparency and open data have remained an important concern during my years of public service. As a City Council member, I was proud to sponsor NYC’s Open Data Law, which unlocked a treasure trove of data about our streets, crime, restaurant inspections, and other information gathered by city agencies.

But that law was only the first step, as “open” data doesn’t automatically mean “useful” data. More work needs to be done to make data usable and actionable for the average New Yorker.

That’s why I’m welcoming 15 technology interns from The City University of New York (CUNY) to help my office and Manhattan’s Community Boards navigate city data in ways that help neighborhoods make informed decisions and ensure that our government is truly transparent.

Funded with a CUNY Service Corps grant, the interns will help us create effective ways to visualize vital city information—through spreadsheets, graphs, neighborhood mapping, and other means. They will also help us deliver this user-friendly data to Community Board chairs, district managers, and committee chairs to aid their decisions about planning, development, and land-use. Read the press release...

9/11 survivors and responders
deserve a monument

As New York City and the nation remember the lives tragically lost and the incredible heroism displayed thirteen years ago today, we must not forget the New Yorkers from all walks of life who responded to the attacks.

I’m talking about those who rushed to Ground Zero to dig for survivors through smoky, dust-filled rubble; those who worked round-the-clock on cleanup; and those who returned to the surrounding neighborhoods when officials declared the air safe to breathe when it was not.

Almost 55,000 New Yorkers and nearly 5,000 New Jerseyans are participating in the World Trade Center Health Program. Some 30,000 responders, workers, and residents have at least one illness or injury caused by the attacks or their aftermath and are receiving treatment. As a result of exposure to the toxins released by the attacks, at least 2,900 have been certified with a cancer by a medical panel created under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (a five-year program that must be renewed in 2016). Included in those who are ill are over 800 FDNY and 550 NYPD personnel who have had to leave their jobs. Over 70 firefighters and 60 police officers have died from their illnesses since 9/11; in fact, more NYPD officers have died from their injuries after 9/11 than died that day. 

These men and women deserve their own monument—a permanent recognition of their courage, service, and personal sacrifice in and around Ground Zero in the weeks and months after the attacks. Such a monument is a valuable and utterly necessary addition to the experience provided by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

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...

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, August 21st

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, August 21, 2014, at 8:30 A.M. in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y.
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...


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