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Borough President Issues Plan to Expand Urban Agriculture

Brewer announces up to $1 million in funding to promote gardening and hydroponics in schools

Urban Farming Symposium announced for fall

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2015

NEW YORK – At City Hall today, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer released “How Our Gardens Grow, Strategies for Expanding Urban Agriculture,” a report with recommendations for expanding urban agriculture in Manhattan’s schools, senior centers, and public housing facilities. Brewer also announced that her office will allocate up to $1 million in capital funding for innovative school gardening projects – such as hydroponics labs – in the next fiscal year.

“Our rooftops, schools, and senior centers aren’t the first places that come to mind when you think of agriculture – but Manhattan is home to an array of urban plots, hydroponic farms, greenhouses, and more than 170 community gardens,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Urban agriculture yields tremendous benefits for our neighborhoods, our economy, and the environment: it teaches valuable skills and produces fresh, healthy, locally-grown food. That’s why my office will reserve up to $1 million next year to support gardening programs in Manhattan schools – for less than $50,000 a classroom can be outfitted as a state-of-the-art hydroponics lab.”

Brewer also announced that her office will sponsor an Urban Farming Symposium in the fall of 2015 with Cornell University Cooperative Extension, bringing urban farming participants and experts together to share their knowledge and lay the groundwork for a support network. Read more...

Discovering Manhattan's Neighborhoods, One Community Board at a Time

This year, my office’s Land Use team is walking through all of Manhattan's Community Board districts to see the rich and varied architecture, history and people that make up Manhattan’s neighborhoods. By better understanding what makes these neighborhoods great, our Urban Planners can better serve the needs of the community.

The team has already visited Community Boards 1, 10, and 12 (See highlights from their visit to CB 10 below), and as the warmer weather approaches they will make their way through all of Manhattan’s districts. Is there somewhere you think the Land Use team should check out? Tweet @galeabrewer and use the hashtag #landusewalkingtour!

Statement on Comcast Decision to Abandon Merger With Time Warner Cable

"As one of a number of New York officials who expressed deep concerns about a Time Warner-Comcast monopoly, I am glad that those responsible for proposing this merger have bowed to reality. I thank the FCC and the Department of Justice for its careful review of the proposal. A single entity with a dominant position in broadband and programming would hurt both consumers and content creators.

"New Yorkers and all Americans are already paying too much for broadband service that is too slow, due to a lack of competition in the marketplace. In places where Google is rolling out gigabit fiber— Austin, TX and soon Charlotte, NC — Time Warner is now dramatically raising internet speeds at no extra charge."

Borough President Appoints 316 to Community Boards, Including 90 New Members

16- and 17-year olds join boards in first year under new law

For Immediate Release: April 20, 2015

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today announced a slate of 316 appointments to Manhattan’s twelve Community Boards. The appointments will take effect on May 1, 2015, and include 90 new members, more than a quarter of the total appointments.

“On zoning, land use, and how government interacts with our communities, Manhattan’s Community Boards are at the center of it all,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “It’s exciting that so many New Yorkers want to volunteer their time, their energy, and their skills to help our borough and our city. With a great mix of new members, veterans, and more young people, we can expect great things from Community Boards this year.”

Brewer’s office continued its revamp of the Community Board application process by making Manhattan the first borough to accept community board applications online, scoring applications in a formal review process, and evaluating applicants’ participation in structured group problem-solving and discussion scenarios rather than one-on-one interviews.

The complete list of Community Board members is available here: http://bit.ly/ManhattanCB

You can also download a list of newly appointed Community Board members here: http://bit.ly/NewCBMembers2015

Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of a 2015 appointment process that ushered in another major change: the inclusion of 16- and 17-year olds as regular applicants under a new state law passed in 2014 and supported by Brewer. The Borough President’s office received 25 applications from teens aged 16-17, and appointed six of these applicants to Community Board seats.

300 members were appointed to regular two-year terms and an additional 16 one-year vacancies were filled, out of a pool of 722 total applicants. New applications for Community Board membership increased by 43 percent in 2015, and applications increased by 21 percent overall through a combination of traditional community outreach tactics and a targeted Facebook ad campaign. Read more...

Brewer and NYC & Company Foundation Announce Manhattan Cultural Tourism Grant Awards

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2015

NEW YORK -- 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 domestic and international travelers’ awareness 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.

“Manhattan is the most diverse 23 square miles in the world, and this year’s grantees are part of a constellation of neighborhood institutions that make our borough one of the world’s most interesting destinations,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “When visitors experience what our whole borough has to offer, it’s a win-win for our neighborhoods and for New York City tourism as a whole.” Read more...

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, April 16th

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, April 16, 2015, at 8:30am in Community Board 7's Office, 250 West 87th Street, 2nd Floor. There will be a vote on the statement of Budget Priorities for the borough.
Statement on Equal Pay Day

More than 150 years since Seneca Falls, 95 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment, and 20 years since the Beijing Declaration, we are still fighting for women’s equality. In New York women make 83 cents on the dollar compared to men – barely ahead of the national figure of 77 cents. Both at home and around the globe, the wage gap persists. And while we make progress in the professions and white-collar workplaces, women continue to be disproportionately represented in low-wage jobs.

According to Oxfam International, it will take more than 75 years to achieve equal pay worldwide at the current pace – this is unacceptable, and on ‪‎Equal Pay Day‬, we come together to say we will not wait.

Statement Calling for Increased Capital Funding for NYCHA Housing

"I stand with Council Member Ritchie Torres, Comptroller Scott Stringer, our colleagues in the City Council and tenant advocates in calling for a much-needed investment in NYCHA in the 2015 NYC budget. 800,000 New Yorkers live in NYCHA. For far too long we have heard the horror stories of long-neglected repairs, mold infestations, and unpredictable access to heat and hot water. Our city has made a commitment to provide clean, safe, affordable housing to these tenants, and we must live up to that promise."

Borough President Unveils Legislative Package to Clarify and Improve the City's Landmarks Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 8, 2015

NEW YORK –Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today announced a legislative package to improve New York City’s landmarks review and preservation process, to be introduced in partnership with Councilmembers Dan Garodnick, Brad Lander, and Stephen Levin.

“This month we are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “What better time to add more transparency and predictability to the landmarks process – so it can serve us even better in the decades to come.

“We know that Meenakshi Srinivasan, the Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and improved processes during her tenure at the Board of Standards and Appeals, and is beginning to do the same at the LPC. We look forward to working with her on these proposals to improve the landmarks process." Read more...

Elected Officials, Advocates Demand Increased Funding for School Crossing Guards to Keep NYC’s Students Safe

Improved Working Conditions Necessary to Achieve City’s Vision Zero Goals and Safer Pre-K Expansion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 8, 2015

NEW YORK—Today on the steps of City Hall, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Member Brad Lander, City Council Member and Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee Vanessa Gibson, along with parents, students, elected officials, and safe-streets advocates from across New York City called for a significant increase in funding for school crossing guards in the City’s FY 2016 budget.

The funds are necessary to expand the number of crossing guard positions, better target dangerous intersections, and improve working conditions. Crossing guard jobs pay poorly, are part-time, and only last 10 months per year, with workers furloughed in the summer months and forced to pay to continue their health care. As a result, the NYPD has a difficult time keeping positions filled, with hundreds of positions currently vacant.

These changes are needed to achieve the City’s Vision Zero goals to eliminate preventable deaths from traffic crashes, ensure a safer Pre-K expansion, and keep NYC’s kids safe. Read more...

Statement on the Death of Victor Gotbaum

"Victor Gotbaum was truly a larger-than-life figure – a leader who helped see our city through one of its toughest times and a visionary who knew that organized labor had a moral and not just an economic mission. Victor was a great New Yorker, and my thoughts are with Betsy, Noah, and the entire Gotbaum family."
Borough President and 26 Manhattan Elected Officials Urge Changes to Mayor's Zoning Proposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Download the letter: PDF

NEW YORK, NY – Today, Borough President Gale A. Brewer and 26 other Manhattan elected officials-- Members of Congress, State Senators, State Assembly Members, City Council Members-- sent a letter to Carl Weisbrod, Chair of the City Planning Commission, calling for changes to the zoning text amendment which the de Blasio Administration has proposed to expand development in the City, including reforms to the city's inclusionary housing policies.

A public scoping meeting is being held today on the "Zoning for Quality and Afforability" zoning text amendment at the City Planning Commission, before a final version is certified by the Department of City Planning and the official ULURP clock starts ticking.

While 100 percent supportive of the overall goal of increasing housing in the city, the officials write that, "We fear... that in the rush to solve the problem of housing supply we are both leaving behind the principle of sound neighborhood planning and forgoing an opportunity to fix the voluntary Inclusionary Housing program without truly gaining affordable units." Read more...

New MBPO Small Business Report Presents Ideas to Help Manhattan’s Storefronters

March 23, 2015

Small businesses are the economic heart of New York City, especially the street-level retail stores and restaurants that keep things running 24/7 and provide the everyday necessities and comforts New Yorkers rely on. But with high rents, corporate competition, and real estate development, these businesses—what we call “storefronters”—are facing serious challenges over and above the ones small businesses typically grapple with.

To help more small businesses succeed and thrive, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office today released a report—Small Business, Big Impact: Expanding Opportunity for Manhattan’s Storefronters—at the Upper West Side storefront of The Halal Guys, small business entrepreneurs who’ve worked hard to become a stunning success story.

Our report makes recommendations that would help storefronters by taking the pressure off lease renewals, modernizing policies governing street vending, helping established small businesses threatened by rent increases by encouraging “condo-ization” of storefront space, and creating “low-intensity” commercial districts.

I was joined by Council Member Robert Cornegy, our ally in developing small-business-friendly legislation, and Noel Hidalgo, co-founder the NYC Transparency Working Group. We also heard from Halal Guys co-founder Mohamed Abouelenein, who spoke of New York City’s essential role in the expansion of his successful food cart chain into storefronts in Manhattan and around the nation and the world. He and his partners could not have done it anywhere else. Read more.

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, March 19th

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, March 19, 2015, at 8:30am in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y.
Virtual Town Hall: 2015 Borough Budget Priorities Survey

Each year, the Manhattan Borough President requests input and recommendations from the public regarding the needs of the borough, to be included in the annual Borough Budget Priorities Report. This year, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer is holding a “virtual town hall” to find out which issues are of most concern to borough residents. Fill out this short survey by March 17th at 5pm to help create a report that truly reflects Manhattan’s budgetary needs.

See how participants shaped Manhattan’s priorities for Fiscal Year 2015 in the 2014 Borough Budget Priorities Report.

Composting Grant Deadline March 27

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Citizens Committee for New York City and the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB) have partnered to offer grants to start, expand and grow composting programs in all five boroughs of New York City.
 
Grants of up to $750 are awarded to community groups working on neighborhood composting programs and increasing awareness on composting.  Groups eligible for funding include community associations, community gardens, friends of park groups, housing developing groups, non-profits, schools, colleges and universities, hospitals and private small businesses.  I would like to encourage groups working on composting efforts and initiatives within NYCHA to apply.  Grants can be used to purchase materials to start or expand upon a composting program.
 
For more information on grant guidelines and to download the application, visit the Citizens Committee for New York City website.

Borough President Stands with NYC Tour Guides and Condemns Tour Bus Operator's Layoff Threat

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Photos Available: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk8TSEY9

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer joined licensed New York City tour guides affiliated with the Guides Association of New York City and Transport Workers Union Local 225 on the steps of City Hall today for a rally supporting live tour bus guides and opposing the Gray Line tour bus operator’s scare tactics in contract negotiations.

In February, the Daily News reported on a leaked internal memorandum from the Gray Line tour bus operator, threatening a “mass layoff” of 150 tour guides on March 11. This layoff threat comes amid contract negotiations between Gray Line and TWU Local 225, which represents the tour guides.

Gray Line, which merged with competitor City Sights in 2009, is also the subject of an antitrust lawsuit filed by the United States and New York attorneys general, alleging the merger violated multiple state and federal antitrust laws, restraining competition and enabling monopolistic price-fixing. Read more...


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