Councilman Stephen Levin was arrested outside of City Hall on Wednesday morning. Levin, who chairs the General Welfare Committee was arrested along with other protestors during a demonstration urging Mayor de Blasio to release the results of a study on supervised opioid consumption spaces.
Safer Consumption Spaces (SCS) are Supervised Injection Facilities where opioid addicts can consume pre-obtained drugs under medical supervision. The Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for drug policy based on “science, compassion, health and human rights,” sees SCS as one of the most successful approaches to the opioid epidemic, with the potential to save thousands of lives. Continue reading →
Democratic City Council Member Stephen Levin was re-elected to represent Greenpoint and the rest of the 33rd District on the New York City Council this Tuesday, November 7th. Levin received more than 18,600 votes, or over eighty-eight percent of the ballots cast. His opponent was a native Greenpointer, Victoria Cambranes, a novice politician who received some two thousand seven hundred votes, or about eleven percent of the vote. Cambranes cut into Levin’s victory total in 2013 when Levin received over ninety-one percent of the vote. Cambranes attracted some support because of her Polish and Latina background, but still fell far short of the very popular Levin.
The City Council is set to repeal New York’s “No Dancing” law today. Formally known as the “Cabaret Law,” the 1926 statute forbids dancing in bars without a cabaret license. The Law law is widely considered to be discriminatory since it was primarily used to police jazz clubs in Harlem during Prohibition, and has a broad history of violating New Yorkers’ civil liberties.According to the New York Times, music was not permitted in unlicensed bars at all until 1936, and from 1940-1967 the city required performers and employees in cabarets to be fingerprinted and cary “cabaret cards” which were denied to those with a police record. As a result, artists including Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Ray Charles could not work in New York. Frank Sinatra simply refused to sing in New York rather than be fingerprinted. The law showed its teeth again during the Giuliani Administration, when the city targeted gay bars and shut down clubs in response to ’90s rave culture.
For the past few years, City Council Member Stephen Levin has allowed the residents of District 33 to decide how to allocate at least $1 million of discretionary funds. And it’s time to submit ideas for next year! Need some inspiration? Here are winning ideas from other districts (26, 34, 35, 36, and 39). Or you can help Stephen Levin and his team brainstorm ideas at one of the upcoming neighborhood meetings!
Cycle 6 of the annual Participatory Budget voting begins Saturday, March 25th, and goes until Sunday, April 2nd. “Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” Our City Councilman, Stephen Levin, chose to give us the voice on how to spend our tax dollars. In this vote, you have the opportunity to vote for as many as five project proposals; funding is granted based on which proposals receive the most votes and our district’s annual discretionary fund budget. The vote is open to anyone over the age of 14 who lives within our district (33), and this year, we can vote online! Of the 15 projects this year, here are the ones proposed for Greenpoint and Williamsburg: Continue reading →
Citizens of North Brooklyn looking to ameliorate their community have three opportunities this week to directly affect some change through New York City Council’s Participatory Budgeting program. As described on the City Council’s website, Participatory Budgeting is “a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” Each year, NYC council members decide whether they want their districts to participate in the PB process, and then spend a year organizing public meetings, speaking to members of their communities and getting an idea of what sorts of projects citizens need and want most.
Thanks to City Council Member Stephen Levin, the opportunity is being afforded to District 33, which includes Greenpoint and Williamsburg. This year, there’s $1.5 million dollars allocated. You’ve got three opportunities this week to go pitch your own ideas and hear ideas of fellow community members. The schedule for the remaining meetings is as follows:
Monday, Sep. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Spanish Church (161 South 3rd St.)
Tuesday, Sep. 20 at 6:00 p.m. at The Greenpoint Library (107 Norman St.)
Thursday, Sep. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at The Actor’s Fund (160 Schermerhorn St.)
Tuesday, Sep. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at WeWork Brooklyn Heights Office (195 Montague St.)
Wednesday, Sep. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Independence Towers Community Center (114 Taylor St.)
In the past year covering Greenpoint happenings, I have written about more local businesses closing than I care to remember. A simple peek on Manhattan Avenue shows a smattering of empty store fronts–some shuttered for more than a year—waiting to be taken over by some business with deep enough pockets able to afford a new tier of astronomical rents. Out you go mom and pop. Adios working artists. Sayonara small fry.
Each MONTH an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 NYC small businesses lose their leases due to profiteering rent increases. And as we’ve bared witness, the only ones who can truly afford to occupy these newly priced spaces usually come strapped with shareholders, millions of dollars in equity, and a black bottom line.
In fact, the crisis is so dire, under the Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure 83,211 commercial tenants received eviction notices, an estimated 240,000 small businesses closed, and NYC saw more than 2 million jobs lost.
Real estate speculation is nothing new, but when it finally swoops in like that long lost relative no one ever wanted to deal with, the affect can be devastating as it takes over our lives.
So you might ask: Is there any real way to stop this? The answer is yes, but you have to keep reading to find out how.
Tax season has come and gone, and hopefully by now, your nasty W2’s and 1099’s have been neatly filed away until next year. While you are sitting pretty, dreaming of all the different ways to spend that refund check (or pay the IRS back), what if I told you there was a way to spend a million dollars of city tax money instead? You’d be excited, right?
Welcome to the wonderful world of Participatory Budgeting, where a cool $1 million dollars is placed into our delicate hands to help fund neighborhood projects within the City Council’s 33rd district.
Last year, over 2,000 of you casted your vote and roped in a whopping $1.6 million dollars for the 33rd! McGlorick Park Playground got a much needed makeover, the BOOKlyn Bus shuttle drove around inspiring kids to read, and even our fellow toxic hood Gowanus saw their community center, ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, get much need repairs.
It’s time to spread the love again, and if Greenpoint wants to get a slice of that million dollar pie, we need to put our mouths where the money is and vote for our favorite projects. Continue reading →