stephen levin

Participatory Budgeting Meetings Tonight & Next Week (9/20 & 9/27)

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!

Participatory budgeting has been going on in New York City for seven years now with District 33 joining during the second year. In short, “Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” Yes, voters directly decide which of the proposed projects they feel should be funded and the popular vote wins. Projects are funded until the available money runs out. Earlier this year, 3,789 turned out to vote with the winners including bus clocks along the B62/B32 bus routes; a STEAM Lab for Samuel Dupont Elementary School/P.S. 31 (75 Meserole St); and upgraded electrical wiring at Monitor School/P.S. 110 (124 Monitor St). Continue reading

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Have Your Voice Heard With Participatory Budgeting

Real Money, Real Power: Participatory Budgeting from PBP on Vimeo.

Cycle 7 of NYC’s Participatory Budgeting initiative has begun! And Council Member Stephen Levin is riding high after Cycle 6’s success in District 33. “Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” That is, you directly decide which of the proposed projects you feel should be funded and the popular vote wins. Projects are funded until the available money runs out. That funding comes directly from our district’s “discretionary funds” budget. Council Member Levin put aside $1.5 million for us last cycle and he’s doing it again this time.

Community members meet with District 33 Participatory Budgeting Coordinator Benjamin Solotaire last year.

Earlier this year, 3,789 people voted on which projects submitted by the community they would like funded. The winning projects include bus clocks with live, up-to-date arrival times at 12 stops along the B62/B32 bus routes; a STEAM Lab for Samuel Dupont Elementary School/P.S. 31 (75 Meserole St); and upgraded electrical wiring at Monitor School/P.S. 110 (124 Monitor St). With Cycle 7 ready to begin, there are a few ways to get involved. One is to submit your project idea–here are some winning ideas from other districts (26, 34, 35, 36, and 39). It’s an opportunity to get creative and really think outside of the box. What would make our community better for everyone? To begin that process, you can email District 33’s Participatory Budgeting Director Benjamin Solotaire ([email protected]). Or you can show up at 6:30pm tonight for the first Participatory Budgeting meeting at our district office, 410 Atlantic Avenue. Later on this year there will be opportunities to present your project to the Participatory Budgeting Committee with the top projects being voted on next spring. Here’s your chance to make a difference in the District 33 community.

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Artists And Art Friends Unite: Loft Law Rally Tomorrow Night!

Rally for a Better Loft Law | Thursday May 25 | 7-9pm
@ San Damiano Mission | 85 N 15th St

If you know any North Brooklyn artists in live/work spaces, you probably know someone who is affected by the Loft Law. Artists and creatives are being pushed out of many NYC neighborhoods, including our own Greenpoint and Williamsburg, and luckily you can support the local art community to help artists stay put. On Thursday evening, all are welcome to join tenants, artists, elected officials and housing advocates to show support for the 2017 Loft Law “Clean-Up” Bill. Speakers will include state and local elected officials, loft lawyers, artists and tenant advocates.

RSVP on Facebook Continue reading

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It’s Time for the Annual Participatory Budget Vote! (3/25 – 4/2)

Real Money, Real Power: Participatory Budgeting from PBP on Vimeo.

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

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Q&A With Stephen Levin on Tuesday, January 10th At Pete’s Candy Store

Stephen Levin
Stephen Levin

Join new local podcast The Hook next Tuesday, January 10 at 7pm at Pete’s Candy Store for their inaugural episode of a new, live, one-on-one talk show. The first episode will kick off with NYC City Council member Stephen Levin for an intriguing sit-down with questions like:

“Is there hope in politics?”
“Are there other cities you are envious of, politically?”
“What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?”
And… “When you played bass for an indie- rock darling of college-radio, named after a $10 toy synthesizer, was it awesome?”

Levin is one of the city council’s youngest members and part of the 33rd District which includes Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Recently, Levin was a key player in the city’s acquisition of the final parcel of land to complete Bushwick Inlet Park, a victory which took years of hard work and collaboration between residents and local government. Though, it should be noted that the process isn’t over, and we still have a long way to go until the day we see the park fully realized on our waterfront land.

According to The Hook, it is “a new political speakeasy, in which people of idealistic distinction are interviewed before a live audience, with ample space for interaction, surprise, and discovery. Moderated by former Open City Dialogues host Jamie Hook in the venerable back-room of Pete’s Candy Store, The Hook is an experiment in the politics of the local, an incubator for new community ideas, and a subscriber to the notion that all you have to do to belong is participate. Join us!”

Audience members will have ample opportunity to ask questions and participate, so bring your best inquiries for a chance to find out what’s what from a local politician in this era of political uncertainty.

The Hook at Pete’s Candy Store (709 Lorimer Street)
7-9pm, Tuesday January 10th

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Mayor de Blasio Helps Community Celebrate Bushwick Inlet Park Victory

Mayor de Blasio

This past Saturday, December 17th, Mayor de Blasio came to Bushwick Inlet Park to praise the community activists who after ten years of struggle finally prevailed and forced the city to purchase the twenty-seven acre site for the park. De Blasio continually referred to the community’s victory and praised the local group Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park for their tireless advocacy for the park. In his remarks the Mayor laughed about the persistence of local City Councilman Stephen Levin, who incessantly nagged him until the park was purchased. The Mayor spoke of the high cost of acquiring the land ($150 million just for the final piece), but said that the city was fulfilling its promise to the community to acquire the waterfront site.

Stephen Levin and Carolyn Maloney

A number of other local politicians spoke. Borough President Eric Adams mentioned that the park was proof of the city’s commitment to provide waterfront access to all the people of Brooklyn, not only those with the means to purchase luxury waterfront real estate. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney also addressed the gathering saying that the actions of community groups in gaining the park would serve as a future model. State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol reminded people that he had been an advocate for the park for a decade.

Joe Lentol

The mood at the gathering was celebratory, almost euphoric. Many of the people in the crowd had done the hard work of advocating for the park for years. They had made phone calls, signed petitions, and even slept out in the rain to gain the parkland, and they were in the mood to celebrate. As they walked home to Greenpoint, Stephen Chesler, Scott Fraser and some of the other people who fought the hardest to gain the park posed for pictures by the fence, which recently read Where’s Our Park? but now reads triumphantly, Here’s Our Park. Those words said it all.

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Coming Together: North Brooklyn Community Meeting This Thursday

Coming Together - North Brooklyn Community MeetingThis Thursday at the Automotive High School Auditorium (50 Bedford Avenue) from 6:30–8:30pm, local City Council Member Stephen Levin has organized a meeting in response to community members’ post-election concerns. The purpose of this meeting is to keep momentum going by connecting local organizations with folks who are ready to get involved. Levin says, “We need to reassure our community that if the new administration tries to roll back the progress we’ve made as a city that we are prepared to fight back!”

Here’s the organizations that will be attending the 12/15 meeting:
Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund
Make the Road New York
Brooklyn Community Pride Center
Central American Legal Assistance NY
Showing Up for Racial Justice – SURJ, NYC
Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn
Newtown Creek Alliance

Coming Together: Organizing For A Better Brooklyn
Thursday, December 15 | 6:30-8:30pm

Automotive High School Auditorium, 50 Bedford Avenue

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The Participatory Budgeting Results Are In!

Councilmember Stephen Levin discusses participatory budgeting.
Councilmember Stephen Levin discusses participatory budgeting.

Earlier this spring, the office of Stephen Levin, Greenpoint’s council member, provided the opportunity for residents to vote for how the district’s money would be used for community projects during the upcoming year.

The results from the community vote are in! Below are the projects that District 33 chose. The ones directly affecting Greenpoint are in bold. As construction information unfolds, check back with Greenpointers for more details. All quotes courtesy of Stephen Levin’s newsletter. Continue reading

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Speed Metal Speed Dating & the G Train Shocker — The Hook-Up 4/8

Photo via Nicole Disser, Bedford + Bowery
Photo via Nicole Disser, Bedford + Bowery
What are you doing next Saturday? If you can stomach planning more than two days ahead, come help clean up the neighborhood with Curb Your Litter and NAG on April 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you like your environmentalism with a touch of interactive data, check out this cool map.
 
What are you doing this Sunday, actually? If you’re single and metal as hell, come to Speed Metal Speed Dating at St. Vitus. This, from the same people who brought you Morrissey-themed speed dating night at Black Rabbit.
 
Transparency could soon be imposed upon the film industry thanks to a bill sponsored by Councilman Stephen Levin, which would require the city to provide monthly reports detailing when and where filming goes down (as well as the companies involved).
 
Via MTA
Via MTA

Do we smell another passive-aggressive Cuomo/de Blasio standoff? A state audit found that the MTA fudges its numbers on how often subway trains show up on time, and that service sucked more in 2015 than it did in 2014. But wait! Want to know the real shocker? The G Train performed better than any other line in terms of meeting target wait times: a rate of 81.3%.

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with the Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce, allowing all BCC programs to trickle down to GPC members.
 
Have you met the North Brooklyn Democratic District Leader? He can serve you a drink at 151 on the Lower East Side, where he tends bar.
 
Jonesing for a tree? You have until May 5 to register for the Greening Greenpoint Tree Giveaway. It’s free! And it’s a tree!
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Greenpointers Can Vote Today on How District 33 Spends Its Money in Neighborhood Election

Councilmember Stephen Levin discusses participatory budgeting.
Council member Stephen Levin discusses participatory budgeting.

From March 28-April 3, Greenpointers can vote for or against many proposed neighborhood projects for District 33—which includes Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Williamsburg, DUMBO, and Vinegar Hill—giving residents a say in how the district uses its yearly budget.

The ability to vote on how the district uses its money is called Participatory Budgeting, and it gives residents the opportunity to speak out about which projects are important to them. Greenpointers will vote at the Greenpoint Library on Norman Avenue. You only have to be a resident of the neighborhood (not necessarily registered to vote) to cast your ballot. Continue reading

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