Dromm Elected Council Finance Chair

 

 


I am honored to have been elected by my colleagues to serve as the next NYC Council Finance Committee Chairperson.

As Finance Committee Chairperson, I have oversight over NYC’s $86 billion dollar budget.  Additionally, my committee has jurisdiction over the city’s Banking Commission, Department of Design and Construction, Department of Finance, Independent Budget Office, and Office of the Comptroller, as well as reviewing and modifying the City Budget and municipal fiscal policy and revenue from any additional sources.

Being Finance Committee Chairperson gives me the opportunity to set priorities for the city using the vast resources that are available to us.  I intend to use this position to move a progressive budget forward working closely with Speaker Corey Johnson who I thank for giving me this opportunity to serve.

Sincerely,

 Daniel Dromm
NYC Council Member
25th District

NY Daily News: Speaker Corey Johnson fills leadership positions, awards top spots to Democrats who helped him

 

Corey Johnson speaks at a press conference on Jan. 5, 2018. (JEFFERSON SIEGEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

By Erin Durkin

Originally published by the New York Daily News on Thursday, January 11, 2018

New City Council Speaker Corey Johnson doled out plum committee posts Thursday — awarding powerful posts to allies of the county Democratic parties that helped him get the top job.

Queens and Brooklyn Democrats claimed some of the top spots — with Danny Dromm (D-Queens) tapped to lead the powerful finance committee, and Rafael Salamanca (D-Bronx) taking over as land use chair.

Conspicuously overlooked were two veteran Brooklyn progressives — Councilmen Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander, who did not get committee chairmanships.

“There was no vindictiveness. There was none. Zero. I tried to help as many people as possible,” Johnson said.

“Not everyone of course got exactly what they wanted, but I was as flexible as humanly possible to try to make everyone happy,” he said. “Whether you supported me or not, you’re going to be respected.”

The Council approved the assignments by a vote of 49-0 Thursday.

A deal struck by the leaders of the Queens and Bronx Democratic parties last month secured the necessary votes for Johnson to win the speaker’s race over seven other candidates.

There’s no longer cash at stake in the committee jockeying — since Council members voted in 2016 to give themselves a raise to $148,500 a year, and eliminate the “lulus” of $5,000 to $20,000 that used to go to committee chairs.

Councilman Danny Dromm speaks at a conference in Manhattan.

Councilman Danny Dromm speaks at a conference in Manhattan.  (JEFF BACHNER/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Still, pols prize the committee posts for their influence, and the vast majority of the 51 members were awarded a post.

Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres will lead a newly-created oversight and investigations committee dedicated to doing probes of city agencies.

Johnson created a new committee dedicated specifically to for-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft – and gave its chairmanship to Ruben Diaz Sr., who got at least $11,800 in campaign contribution from employees and owners of taxi, limousine and dispatch companies for his election last year. That panel may work on policies like slapping a surcharge on e-hail cars entering Manhattan.

The Council also carved out three separate committees on criminal justice issues – one for criminal justice, one for the justice system, and one for juvenile justice.

Bronx Councilman Andy King was re-appointed to his post as juvenile justice chair despite being under investigation for sexual harassment allegations. Johnson defended the move, saying there will be due process in the case.

Queens Councilman Donovan Richards got the top job on the public safety committee, Mark Treyger of Brooklyn got education, and Mark Levine of Manhattan got the health committee.

Williams, who previously chaired the housing and buildings committee, ran for speaker and objected to the selection of a white candidate for the post. He skipped the vote that elected Johnson speaker, instead traveling to Albany for Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State speech. Williams wasn’t at City Hall Thursday because he was arrested earlier in the day at an immigration protest.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Councilman Rafael Salamanca is seen on May 26, 2016. (ANTHONY DELMUNDO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Robert Cornegy of Brooklyn, who ran for speaker but later threw his support behind Johnson, will now chair the housing panel.

Lander, who previously ran the rules committee, is a leader of the progressive bloc of Council members that dominated the last Council and engineered the election of former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, but whose influence has waned more recently as the county parties reclaimed their traditional post as kingmakers.

“I don’t feel in any way overlooked. I feel thrilled,” said Lander, who will keep his job as deputy majority leader for policy, where he said he got the most done over the last four years.

“Obviously people who were on [Johnson’s] team earlier, who were part of helping him become speaker, of course that is reflected in some of the plum positions. It will always be that way under any speaker. It was last term, it was the term before that, it was the term before that, and it is this time too. That’s how politics work.”

The committee on recovery and resiliency, which focused on Hurricane Sandy rebuilding, was eliminated. Another new panel will focus on the city’s hospital system, separate from the regular health committee.

Two Republicans got chairmanships — minority leader Steve Matteo at the helm of the standards and ethics committee, and fellow Staten Island Republican Joe Borelli leading the fire committee.

Read more here.

NY Law Journal: Social Justice Champions Debate

The Fortune Society’s Reentry Debate Team was joined by members of the New York State Legislature, The City Council, and the Mayor’s Office, for a parliamentary debate held on Dec. 19 at the Ford Foundation on ending pretrial detention and the cash bail system in New York state.

 

Photo courtesy of The Fortune Society.

By NYLJ Staff

Originally published by the New York Law Journal on December 21, 2017

The Fortune Society’s Reentry Debate Team was joined by members of the New York State Legislature, The City Council, and the Mayor’s Office, for a parliamentary debate held on Dec. 19 at the Ford Foundation on ending pretrial detention and the cash bail system in New York state. Pictured left to right from the winning team, which argued in favor of eliminating cash bail, were City Council member Daniel Dromm (District 25) and Fortune debater Felix Guzman, joined by Khalil Cumberbatch, Associate Vice President of Policy, David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy at The Fortune Society. The Fortune Society is a nonprofit social service and advocacy organization supporting successful reentry from prison and promoting alternatives to incarceration. The group and The Rikers Debate Project have been collaborating since August to host weekly workshops that help Fortune clients learn the art of debate while discussing issues critical to criminal justice system reform.

Read more here.

El Diario: Piden que próximo Canciller de Educación siga el legado de Fariña

La jefe del DOE dejará su cargo el próximo año con logros en las escuelas, pero activistas señalan que todavía hay muchos retos para fomentar la equidad, justicia y educación de calidad

 

La canciller de Educación Carmen Fariña deja el cargo después de cuatro años.

Por Edwin Martinez

Publicado en El Diario el 21 de Diciembre 2017

La canciller de Educación Carmen Fariña, anunció que deja el barco de la Administración De Blasio para disfrutar su jubilación. Y tras cuatro años a la cabeza del Departamento de Educación (DOE), que tiene a su cargo las 1,800 escuelas de la Gran Manzana, la funcionaria recibió elogios por su labor, pero también surgieron voces que piden al gobierno local que implemente más iniciativas y programas a favor de 1 millón 100 mil estudiantes que integran el sistema escolar.

Uno de los primeros en pronunciarse fue el presidente del Comité de Educación del Concejo Municipal, Daniel Dromm, quien destacó que Fariña “le devolvió la dignidad a la enseñanza”, pero al mismo tiempo manifestó que el próximo funcionario que ocupe el cargo de canciller tendrá en sus manos retos muy serios para que haya equidad, justicia, seguridad y educación de mejor calidad para todos en las escuelas.

“La canciller ayudó a cambiar la moral en el sistema escolar y cuando cambia la moral, la gente hace mejor su trabajo y eso se vio en mejores calificaciones, más estudiantes graduados, y también fue la primera en poner el asunto de los estudiantes LGBTQ sobre la mesa”, dijo Dromm. “Pero es necesario que el Departamento continúe robusteciendo los niveles de lectura y matemáticas, principalmente, asegurarse que las escuelas que están bajo el programa de Renovación, de verdad mejoren, que haya más apoyo a los estudiantes LGBTQ y que se trabaje en el involucramiento de más padres de familia”.

Natasha Capers, de la organización Coalition for Educational Justice, elogió la labor que Fariña ha realizado desde su cargo, pero mencionó que urge que se continúe promoviendo iniciativas a favor de la excelencia en la educación, la equidad y ante todo la promoción de la diversidad cultural.

“En sus últimos meses como Canciller, esperamos que la canciller Fariña y el alcalde De Blasioadopten una postura audaz y eleven la educación culturalmente receptiva (CRE)”, dijo la activista, al tiempo que instó a la Administración De Blasio a que elija como sucesor de Fariña a un educador, con “visión de justicia racial” que luche contra el racismo y los prejuicios. “Es nuestro deseo que se solidifique el legado de la Canciller y que dejen el sistema escolar en un mejor lugar, al brindarles a las escuelas y maestros las herramientas que necesitan para enfrentar los prejuicios y apoyar a un cuerpo estudiantil diverso”.

Jenny Sedlis, directora ejecutiva de StudentsFirstNY, también destacó el trabajo de Fariña, pero señaló a la administración de no hacer su parte para que el sistema escolar mejore, especialmente entre los alumnos inmigrantes.

“La canciller Carmen Fariña es una educadora dedicada que luchó por lo que cree. Desafortunadamente, bajo el alcalde Bill de Blasio, solo el 6% de los estudiantes que aprenden inglés aprobó los exámenes estatales, y estos estudiantes no reciben la educación que merecen”, destacó Sedlis.

James Merriman, presidente de New York City Charter School Center, dijo que la Canciller forjó una buena relación de trabajo con ese tipo de escuelas, y exhortó a que el nuevo jefe del Departamento de Educación siga ese ejemplo.

“Esperamos que el próximo Canciller construya sobre esta base y establezca políticas que consideren a las escuelas charter como socios plenos en el esfuerzo compartido de brindar a cada niño la oportunidad de recibir una educación pública de primer nivel”, dijo Merriman.

Eva Moskowitz, presidenta de la Success Academy destacó que la jefatura del DOE es la posición más importante de la Ciudad, y pidió al Alcalde que elija con guantes de seda al sucesor de Fariña, de 74 años, poniendo a un funcionario que saque adelante los retos que enfrenta el sistema educativo.

“Entre las muchas personas que vienen, se van o se mudan en la administración De Blasio, ninguna tendrá un efecto más duradero en las vidas de los neoyorquinos que el nuevo canciller”, comentó la activista. “Los asesores del Alcalde dijeron anoche que la Administración de Blasio está llevando a cabo una búsqueda nacional del nuevo canciller. Los estudiantes de la ciudad de Nueva York y sus familias no merecen menos”.

“Supermujer sabia”

El alcalde De Blasio formalizó el anuncio de la partida de Fariña en una conferencia de prensa, en la que se refirió a la funcionaria como una “supermujer sabia” y comprometida, con “una energía y enfoque increíbles”.

“Ella probó que los 70 son los nuevos 40 porque tiene mucha energía y la gente sintió que estaba en buenas manos”, comentó De Blasio. “Ella pasará a la historia, no solo como una de las cancilleres que duró más tiempo sino una de las más efectivas que hemos tenido, con una lista enorme de logros”.

“Estamos comenzando una búsqueda a nivel nacional para un reemplazo. Esa persona ciertamente tendrá que tener grandes zapatos para llenar”, agregó De Blasio, al referirse al sucesor de la funcionaria.

Por su parte, Fariña, quien dejará su cargo posiblemente en junio del próximo año, cuando termine el ciclo escolar, se mostró satisfecha de la labor que ha realizado, aunque en ocasiones fue muy criticada.

“Yo nunca hice este trabajo para ser querida o para ganar un concurso de popularidad. Entré en este trabajo para ser respetada y comprendida y para que la gente se sintiera motivada a la hora de hacer lo que creo que es importante para los niños de Nueva York”, dijo la Canciller. “Acepté el trabajo con una firme creencia en la excelencia para cada estudiante, en la dignidad y la alegría de la profesión docente, y en la importancia de las relaciones de confianza donde la colaboración es la fuerza motriz”.

Leer más aquí.

El Diario: El adiós de Melissa Mark-Viverito

La presidenta del Concejo Municipal tuvo este martes su último día en el organismo legislativo al que perteneció por 12 años, y se despidió entre asomos de lágrimas y aplausos

 

Presidenta del Concejo Melissa Mark-Viverito durante su última audiencia en City Hall.

Por Elena Astorga

Publicado en El Diario el 19 de Diciembre 2017

Hace casi 12 años Melissa Mark-Viverito llegó por primera vez al Concejo Municipal, representando al distrito de East Harlem, y aunque ya era una activista social conocida que defendía a los inquilinos y a “los viejitos”, de política no tenía mucho.

Eso lo confesó la propia puertorriqueña este martes, durante su discurso de despedida, con el que le dijo adiós al organismo legislativo, en el que hizo historia al convertirse en la primera mujer hispana en ser presidente del Concejo durante los últimos cuatro años.

Y con asomos de lágrimas en los ojos, Melissa le dijo “adiós” a sus colegas y se fue con el sabor del deber cumplido.

“Me voy sin arrepentimientos, porque así haya cosas que no nos dejen totalmente felices, cada oportunidad que tenemos nos sirve para crecer… logramos hacer una ciudad más equitativa”, comentó la ahora expresidenta del Concejo Municipal, quien para presidir su última plenaria llegó muy elegante, en un vestido rojo y un cinturón de cuero, que acompañó con unos sencillos zapatos de tacón negros.

“Yo no he logrado todo lo que he querido, pero no tengo razón para quejarme, pues sé que esta ciudad hoy es una mejor ciudad, por el trabajo que hemos hecho nosotros, y que yo he liderado, y quiero que eso siga hacia adelante y que siga siendo una ‘ciudad santuario’ y adelantando proyectos de ley que sigan apoyando a los inmigrantes y la reforma al sistema de justicia”, dijo la boricua de 48 años, visiblemente emocionada.

Pero la emoción no invadió solamente a Melissa, sino también a la gran mayoría de sus colegas, quienes en varios momentos le entregaron aplausos que parecieron interminables, con ella en el centro de la plenaria. Muchos hasta se salieron del protocolo para manifestarle su admiración.

Presidenta del Concejo Melissa Mark-Viverito durante su ultima audiencia en City Hall.

“Gracias por todo. Te amo”, le dijo el concejal Ritchie Torres, uno de los pupilos favoritos de la boricua, y el concejal Ben Kallos agregó: “No hay nadie como usted y nunca va a haber otra como usted”.

El concejal de Jackson Heights, Daniel Dromm, no pudo esconder su tristeza ante la partida de su amiga y colega, y la definió como “una mujer que le dio voz a quienes antes no la tenían”. “Ella defendió los derechos de los inmigrantes, de la comunidad LGBT y de los prisioneros y eso es importante. Además lo que hizo, le nació del corazón”, dijo Dromm.

Y con el rostro compungido, tratando de hacer un evidente esfuerzo para que su corazón no se reflejara en el rostro, al caer la noche y luego de decenas de abrazos y besos de sus colegas, Melissa Mark-Viverito le dijo “adiós” al Concejo y se fue, no sin antes promover una resolución a favor de los jóvenes de DACA, cuyo futuro ahora está en manos del Congreso, a cuyos miembros les pidió actuar con responsabilidad y compasión.

“Queremos reconocer los valores que nosotros tenemos como ciudad para decir que estamos pidiendo que ese proyecto (el acta de los soñadores) se pase a nivel federal”, dijo la política, a quien muchos de sus simpatizantes esperan ver de regreso muy pronto, tal vez en una futura contienda por la Alcaldía de la Gran Manzana. “Uno nunca sabe, pero no cierro ningún camino”, dijo Melissa, dejando el camino libre a un nuevo presidente del Concejo que se elegirá el 3 de enero entre 8 aspirantes.

Leer más aquí.

El Diario: Concejo de Nueva York prohíbe las terapias de conversión

Concejales neoyorquinos aprueban legislación que ahora pasará a las manos del alcalde Bill de Blasio

Muchos niños y adolescentes que muestran tendencias gays a corta edad son sometidos a las llamadas terapias de conversión que pueden resulta traumatizantes.

Por Pedro S. Frisneda

Publicado en El Diario el 4 de Diciembre 2017

El Concejo Municipal de la Ciudad de Nueva York aprobó el jueves un proyecto de ley que prohíbe la llamada terapia de conversión que apunta a cambiar la orientación sexual de una persona. El Comité de Derechos Civiles del Concejo ya había aprobado la misma legislación el miércoles.

El proyecto de ley, que la presidenta del Concejo, Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) y el concejal Daniel Dromm (D-Queens) presentaron en junio, prohíbe a cualquier persona cobrar por servicios de terapia que intenten alterar la sexualidad de una persona (por lo general gay) o cambiar su identidad de género para que coincida con su sexo asignado al nacer.

De ser convertido en ley por el alcalde Bill de Blasio, el proyecto, que fue aprobado con 43 votos a favor y dos en contra, impondría multas a los infractores por un monto de $1,000 por la primera ofensa, $5,000 por la segunda ofensa y $10,000 por cada ofensa subsiguiente.

“Nos aseguraremos que todas las personas vivan sin temor a la coacción para convertirse en alguien que no son. La terapia de conversión es bárbara e inhumana, y aquí mismo, en la ciudad de Nueva York, seguiremos siendo el modelo de aceptación en todo el país, ya que prohibimos la terapia de conversión de una vez por todas”, dijo Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Por su parte, el concejal Dromm, quien es abiertamente gay aseguró que “la terapia de conversión es una forma de tortura psicológica, claro y simple”. “Tan ridículo como pueda parecer, la práctica aún persiste incluso en Nueva York”, agregó Dromm.

En febrero del 2016 el gobernador del estado de Nueva York, Andrew Cuomo, tomó medidas para prohibir que las compañías de seguros cubran la terapia de conversión, pero los esfuerzos para prohibir la práctica en sí se han estancado en la Legislatura estatal.

Actualmente, nueve estados en el país y el Distrito de Columbia han prohibido la terapia de conversión de alguna manera, según el Centro Nacional para los Derechos de las Lesbianas. Otros 21 estados están preparando normas o proyectos de ley en el mismo sentido que buscan proteger principalmente a niños y adolescentes.

No es un problema mental o emocional

Según explica la Asociación Americana de Psicología (APA), en su portal de internet, más de 35 años de investigación científica objetiva y bien diseñada han demostrado que la homosexualidad, en sí misma, no se asocia con trastornos mentales ni problemas emocionales o sociales. Esto es apoyado por la mayoría de psicólogos, psiquiatras y otros profesionales de la salud mental en EEUU.

En 1973, la Asociación Americana de Psiquiatría confirmó la importancia de una investigación nueva y mejor diseñada y suprimió la terminología “homosexual” del manual oficial que detalla los trastornos mentales y emocionales. Dos años después, la APA promulgó una resolución apoyando esta supresión.

Durante más de 25 años, ambas asociaciones solicitaron a todos los profesionales de la salud mental que ayuden a disipar el estigma de enfermedad mental que algunas personas todavía asocian con la “orientación homosexual”

También, el Colegio Americano de Médicos (ACP), la segunda mayor organización médica de EEUU, se posicionó en contra de estas terapias.

No cambian la orientación sexual

“Aún cuando la mayoría de los homosexuales viven vidas felices y exitosas, algunas personas homosexuales o bisexuales pueden buscar un cambio en su orientación sexual a través de la terapia, a menudo como resultado de coacción por parte de miembros de su familia o grupos religiosos. La realidad es que la homosexualidad no es una enfermedad. No requiere tratamiento y no puede cambiarse”, indica la Asociación Americana de Psicología.

Leer más aquí.

NYC Conversion Therapy Ban To Get Council Vote

The bill would outlaw therapy that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

rainbow_flag_shutterstock_115334458-1511995620-6885

By Noah Manskar

Originally published by Patch on November 29, 2017

NEW YORK, NY — The City Council will vote Thursday on a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy that aims to change someone’s sexual orientation. The Council’s Committee on Civil Rights approved the legislation Wednesday.

The bill, which Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) and Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens) introduced in June, would ban anyone from charging for therapy services that try to alter a person’s sexuality or change their gender identity to match their sex assigned at birth.

Violators would get a $1,000 fine for the first offense, a $5,000 fine for the second offense and a $10,000 for each subsequent offense.

Conversion therapy is widely assailed as an unscientific, anti-gay practice. Many lawmakers across the nation have taken steps to outlaw conversion therapy on minors, but the City Council bill would ban the treatment for adults too.

“Vulnerable individuals, including minors, are susceptible to the hucksters and scammers who are eager to earn a quick buck in this insidious way,” Dromm said at Wednesday’s committee hearing.

The legislation would not impact therapy services for transgender people or counseling for people exploring their sexual orientation, as long as it doesn’t aim to change the person’s sexuality, the bill says.

Conversion therapy, often supported and performed by religious groups, can harm young people by wrongly making them think their normal sexuality is an immoral psychological disorder, the American Psychological Association says.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have outlawed conversion therapy in some way, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Gov. Andrew Cuomo took steps last year to prohibit insurance companies from covering conversion therapy, but efforts to ban the practice itself have stalled in the state Legislature.

Read more here.

WNYC – New York Funds New Anti-Bullying Measures After Fatal School Stabbing

New York City is expanding anti-bullying programs, following a fatal stabbing and reports of bullying at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx.

By Mara Silvers and Yasmeen Khan

Originally published by WNYC on October 30, 2017

New York City education officials said on Monday they would commit $8 million system-wide to expand anti-bullying measures and create new programs, including devising an online complaint portal for families and providing targeted support for 300 schools with high rates of bullying.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced the initiatives at a City Council oversight hearing on bullying, harassment and discrimination in the public schools. The issue of safety and bullying, specifically, came under scrutiny since a student was fatally stabbed in a classroom at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation last month.

“Today’s hearing was prompted in part by the tragic incident,” said City Council Member Daniel Dromm, “in which one student lost his life, another was seriously injured, and a third had his life forever altered.”

Dromm chairs the Committee on Education, and called specifically for better anti-bullying programs that protects LGBTQ students.

“Anti-bullying education is worth nothing unless the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer words are used at every grade level,” Dromm said in his opening remarks. “Not to do so actually contributes to the problem by sending the message that being LGBTQ is so bad that it can only be discussed at certain times.”

The City Council voted to advance legislation that would require the Department of Education to provide additional support for LGBTQ students, as well as release data about bullying and which schools maintain Gender and Sexuality Alliances.

Other new programs announced by the department Monday included more anti-bias and anti-bullying training for all school-based staff; workshops in mental health support for students, school staff and parents alike; and a new protocol that requires schools to create an action plan for a student who is accused repeatedly of bullying (and when those claims are substantiated).

“We also recognize that all members of a school community have vital roles to play in preventing bullying,” said Fariña. “We are seeking greater input from parents, and building robust accountability systems.”

Starting in 2019, families will be able to file complaints about student bullying or discrimination through an online portal, officials said. The tool will also help the city track which schools need additional help.

The chancellor came under an intense line of questioning in regard to the specific high school where the stabbing occurred last month. Council Members Rafael Salamanca and Ritchie Torres said they spoke to the former principal of the Urban Assembly School For Wildlife Conservation after the attack, who alleged that the department did not provide the school with help in the months proceeding the stabbing.

“She said that she made various requests to increase the amount of school safety agents and she also made a request for scanning, and that request was denied,” said Salamanca.

“That principal did get an additional school safety agent,” countered Fariña. “She got them last spring.”

Superintendent Fred Walsh announced Friday that Astrid Jacobo would no longer be principal of the Urban Assembly School For Wildlife Conservation, citing the need for a “new leader to stabilize the school.”

Council Member Torres pressed Fariña to say that the Urban Assembly School For Wildlife Conservation was facing a “systemic problem” of bullying.

“There is obviously a problem, we’re going to get to the bottom of it. But systemic is a very big word and I think right now until the investigation is complete, I really want to reserve judgment on it,” said Fariña.

Torres countered that a 2016-17 schools survey, 92 percent of the teachers at the Urban Assembly School For Wildlife Conservation said that students were bullied, intimidated and harassed either “most of the time or some of the time.”

“And so even though the D.O.E. cannot acknowledge that there might be a systemic problem, your own teachers claim otherwise,” Torres said.

The family of 15-year-old Matthew McCree, who was fatally stabbed by 18-year-old Abel Cedeno, has said they will sue the city for his death. Cedeno’s lawyers and family have said he was bullied. McCree’s mother has said her son never bullied anyone.

The Department of Education said it is conducting a thorough investigation of the incident.

In addition to the anti-bullying measures, department officials released suspension data from the 2016-17 school year. The report shows total number of suspensions declined 6.4 percent, compared to previous school year. There were also fewer school arrests and summonses issued by school safety agents.

Read more here.

$3.1 million revamp of C.C. Moore Park to start in spring

CCMoore-rendering

By Tara Law

Originally published by the Jackson Heights Post on October 27, 2017

A $3.1 million renovation to a park in Elmhurst is likely to begin this spring, a spokeswoman from the Parks Dept. said Friday.

C.C. Moore Park, located between 45th Avenue, 82nd Street and Broadway, will be closed for a year once the work begins. The revamp will change the park’s layout, triple the size of the playground section and make the park entrances more welcoming.

Project bids for the park are due on Nov. 3. Construction will begin in 2018 if the bids are successful, said Parks Dept. spokeswoman Meghan Lalor.

The upgraded playground will have all new equipment, including equipment that is handicap accessible. A spray shower and pavement games such as hopscotch and four square will be added. The play areas for children ages 0 to 5 and 5 to 12 will be separated.

The sports courts on the lower level of the park will remain, but another volleyball court and two pingpong tables will be added to the area.

The new design will reduce the number of stairs and open up more space for pedestrians and seating, according to the Parks Dept. The additional open space is intended to give park users more space to practice tai chi or dancing, and to encourage farmer’s markets and concerts.

Although the plans will restructure the park, Lalor said that the designs are intended to preserve as many of the park’s mature trees as possible.

Funding for the renovations was allocated by Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman Daniel Dromm.

The park has not been renovated since 1995, when the playground, perimeter fencing, and other amenities were installed.

Read more here.

NY Times – M.T.A. Will Ban Alcohol Advertising on Buses and Subways

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board on Wednesday voted to ban alcohol advertising from its properties, beginning Jan. 1. Credit Jason Decrow/Invision for Zevia, via Associated Press

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board on Wednesday voted to ban alcohol advertising from its properties, beginning Jan. 1. Credit Jason Decrow/Invision for Zevia, via Associated Press

By LUIS FERRÉ-SADURNÍ

Originally published by The New York Times on October 25, 2017

The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday banned advertising of alcoholic beverages on New York City buses, subway cars and stations, contending that the social benefits of deterring underage drinking outweighed the loss of revenue.

After years of pressure from grass-roots organizations, the board voted unanimously in favor of the ban, which will go into effect in January.

Advocates have long said that alcohol advertising is a public health issue and that the proliferation of such advertising increases the likelihood of underage drinking.

“Alcohol advertisements on the M.T.A. are disproportionally targeting communities of color, lower-income communities and also young people,” said Jazmin Rivera, a spokeswoman for Building Alcohol Ad-Free Transit.

The authority’s ad space has long been a battleground for debates over free speech and decency. After Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office complained about a breast enhancement ad in 2014, officials worked with advertisers to make sure ads were not too racy.

“When advertisers understand that we have approximately 1.6 million people every single day through the system — it’s a fabulous place to advertise,” Mr. Lhota said.

Effective immediately, the agency will no longer accept new alcohol-related ads; existing contracts for such ads will be honored until the contracts expire at the end of the year.

The decision disappointed alcohol trade associations, which have confronted a growing number of alcohol advertising bans in cities across the country.

“Science and research show that there is no benefit to banning this type of advertising,” said Jay Hibbard, vice president of government relations for the Distilled Spirits Council.

Mr. Hibbard said the majority of the American population, about 71.6 percent, was above the legal drinking age. Parents, not advertisements, are the greatest influence on preventing underage drinking, he said.

“This is not advertising on school buses,” Mr. Hibbard said. “This is advertising on a public transportation system.”

The board is still discussing how the measure will affect the partnerships it has with Connecticut on Metro-North Railroad trains, and with New Jersey on New Jersey Transit.

Underage drinking leads to over 7,000 emergency-room visits in New York City hospitals a year, said Councilman Daniel Dromm, a Democrat representing Jackson Heights, Queens.

“I’m 26 years clean and sober, and it’s a personal issue for me,” said Mr. Dromm, who introduced a resolution in the Council urging the authority to ban alcohol ads. “I know the detrimental effect this type of advertising has on young people.”

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