On the record: Evelyn Herbert

By Jessica Defreitas

Evelyn Herbert, 62, of Richmond Hill is the administrative assistant at the Academy Charter Elementary School on Long Island.

Herbert, who is past her retirement age, believes that work stops when your ability to do so does. 

The mother of three has five grandchildren, who she adores more than anything in the world. 

As a principal’s assistant, her week is filled with developing relationships with the children at her school and keeping them in a nurtured environment.

“I take my administrative position seriously, but I also love to give counsel,” Herbert said.

When she is not taking care of office duties, she loves to listen to the students’ troubles and offer comfort.

She feels very happy that the students come to her when they need help. 

Herbert believes that being among children every day is her calling.

She said, “Before working at the school, I never worked anywhere that felt like a family, and it makes me feel appreciated.” 

Herbert thinks of her job as more of a life calling than a source of income. 

She and her husband are the backbone of their family, according to her.

She insists on teaching her kids and grandkids to be grateful for the simple things in life.

When she is off from work, she loves to go for walks and go shopping.

Because of her passion for taking care of others, she hopes to see her kids and grandkids model that same behavior.


Progressive Caucus debuts policy platform

By Matthew Fischetti


The New York City Council Progressive Caucus unveiled their formal policy platform, dubbed the “Progressive Agenda” last Thursday: focusing on issues related to criminal justice reform, zero waste, providing affordable housing and economic reform.

On the steps of City Hall, members of the 35 member caucus (which represents a majority of the 51 person body) stood with advocates to support their agenda which is comprised of bills already introduced this year.

“We are the largest Progressive Caucus in New York City History. 34 members deep. You know what’s special about the number 34? Veto proof,” said Lincoln Rester, co-chair of the caucus (City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams is a technical member of the caucus, due to her position as speaker.)

The caucus was originally formed in 2009 with only 12 members but now represents a majority of the council. It ranges in ideological identity from members of the Democratic Socialists of America to more traditional Working Families Party style liberals – which Restler referred to as “big tent” progressive caucus in a previous interview with the Brooklyn Downtown Star.

At the top of the agenda is banning solitary confinement,which was introduced by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. The issue has been a wedge between members of the council and the Mayor who has defended the program since before he was even sworn in.

The next two items of priority in the agenda are two sets of bills introduced by former vice chair of the caucus and current Majority Leader Keith Powers. 

The first bill would prohibit would prevent housing discrimination on the basis of a criminal record while a second group of bills would help lay the ground work for establishing a public bank – an issue progressives have fought for years, arguing it would better allow them to better invest money in accordance to issues like racial justice and finance projects that the commercial sector may not engage in.  In order for the city to set up a public bank, the state would need to pass legislation giving municipalities the authority. 

The next major plank of the agenda are a suite of six bills dealing with police transparency. The bill package would require reporting of use of force incidents by police using motor vehicles (introduced by Councilwoman Crystal Hudson); preventing the police from using the strategic response unit, which is used for civil unrest and counterterrorism for non violent protests (introduced by Councilman Chi Ossé); requiring the police to submit reports on complaints of police conduct (introduced by Councilwoman Cabán); requiring the NYPD to report on instances in which an individual denied an officer consent to a search; requiring cops to report on police-civilian investigative encounters (introduced by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Councilwoman Alexa Avilés); and abolishing the gang database (introduced by councilwomen Carlina Rivera and Althea Stevens.)

The next set of five bills aims to achieve the Zero Waste initiative, which aims to prevent waste going to landfills by 2030. Former Mayor Bill de Blasio spearheaded the initiative but fell dramatically short of his goal as POLITICO reported. The legislation includes establishing a citywide residential curbside organics program, mandating that the 2030 goals are achieved and enforced, as well as requiring the Department of Sanitation to establish at least one community recycling center in each community district. The pieces of legislation are sponsored by co-chair of the caucus Shahana Hanif, Sanitation Committe Chair Sandy Nurse and Majority Leader Keith Powers. 

Another three bills in the agenda look to to create permanently affordable housing. The first of three are the Community Opportunity Purchase Act, introduced by Rivera, which would give qualified entities the opportunity to submit the first offer on residential buildings ; the second is the “Public Land for Public Good”, introduced by Restler, which would give non-profits and community land trusts first priority when the city seels land for affordable housing; the third bill, introduced by City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, would establish a land bank tasked with acquiring land with property on it to develop and rehabilitate affordable housing.

The last piece of the agenda, sponsored by co-chair Hanif, would expand New York City’s paid sick leave law to gig workers depending on whether they meet criteria such as working over 80 hours a calendar year among others. 

Brooklyn art exhibit honors victim of gun violence

By Billy Wood


The Melquain Jatelle Anderson Foundation (MJAF)  held the “Disrupting the Hate” art exhibit at the Central Brooklyn Library from Oct. 21-25. 

The event is held on those days because Anderson was born on Oct. 21 and was murdered on Oct. 25 outside Faragut Houses at  26-years-old.

“I wanted to do an art exhibit to show people disrupting the hate through artistry because you can actually heal through art, whether you are the observer or the artist,” said Michelle Barnes- Anderson, his mother, founder, and chief executive officer of MJAF. 

The MJAF is a community service organization in Brooklyn where they provide both support and comfort to victims of gun violence along with their loved ones. 

Black Boy Magic by Monae Benet

There is also a scholarship and fund in support of undergraduate students at John Jay College of Criminal Studies in the memory of Anderson. He was a Brooklyn Knight and John Jay Student.

The foundation did a one day art exhibit in 2019 at the Brooklyn Museum. This year’s event had about 33 different forms of art from painting, drawings, poems, and lyrics. They received artwork from daycare children all the way to more established artists.

While all of the art resonates with her because it reminds her of her son from his early ages of drawing in grade school to him becoming a fashion designer, there was one exhibit that she felt was important and that was done by the daycare called “My King and I.” 

It shows pictures of the fathers with their children surrounded by their young ones’ paintings. 

“It’s really about the fathers. And I wanted to uplift our black young fathers in the neighborhood,” Barnes-Anderson said. “That was so important to me to make sure we have the daycare because they need to know that their love, they’re needed in the community.”

This year’s exhibit took place at the Central Brooklyn Library and throughout the five day event there have been over 400 people that have attended.  

“I wanted the experience for people being in the art exhibit and also utilizing other things that the library has because it’s a wealth of information,” said Barnes-Anderson. “We need to exploit that with the library so people can know this is not something that you just come to for research.”

The library hosts a full slate of different exhibitions, marquee and signature programs; however, this one was unique.

“We really feel like it’s important to give back to the community,” said Cora Fisher, the curator of visual arts program at the Central Brooklyn Library.  

“There’s a lot going on in the world relating to these issues, which feels very timely,” Fisher said.  “I mean it’s been really a special, a special experience.”

She is always advocating that visual arts is a form of material knowledge and this exhibit is an example of that. She is excited by the whole spectrum of this showcase  as it is  multi-generational. 

“To see babies and toddlers all the way up to elders making work in a responsive way I think is very powerful,” Fisher said.

Barnes-Anderson said she honored and blessed for the library to have hosted the event for her this year. She is hopeful that she will be able to do it again there next year if there is space available. 

The MJAF will be hosting an event on Oct. 30 to celebrate their fifth annual scholarship recipients, NYPD and honorees award ceremony.

For more information on that event and the MJAF organization please visit their website at https://mjascholarship.org. 

“Untitled Self Portraits” — artwork from Fort Greene Preparatory Academy


Pol Position: Zeldin is making the race close

While New York is traditionally seen as a blue state, Long Island Representative Lee Zeldin seems to be making a real push for the governor’s race against Democratic incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Zeldin came out strong in the first half of last Tuesday’s NY1 debate against Governor Kathy Hochul – sticking to his usual stump of “saving the state” by repealing bail reform and instituting tax cuts. 

For the first twenty or so minutes, Hochul seemed asleep at the wheel, playing the defensive while Zeldin acted like he shotgunned a can of Monster.

The debate focused on major issues like crime (which multiple polls ahve shown is the top concern on New York’s mind), abortion, affordable housing, gun control and more. 

While Zeldin came out strong in the first half, Hochul was able to bounce back putting Zeldin in a bind over whether he supported Donald Trump (his answer waffled on working with Donald Trump on issues) and attacking Zeldin on his abortin record (which is smart politics for Hochul, trying not to hemorrhage support of liberal women concerned about crime.)

Overall Zeldin stayed on the offensive all night and it worked for him – clearly winning the debate.In recent years, there have been questions about the effectiveness of polls and if they have any real bearing on swinging undecided voters. While Zeldin can make clips out of them to post to social media, it’s not clear whether it will help move the needle for him. 

Regardless of the debate’s effect, polling has shown that the race is tighter than most would have imagined over the last two months. While the polls differ in voting spreads, they all show a tightening race.

Emerson College had Hochul leading by 15 percent in September, while their October poll had her only up by 7 percent. Sienna College had Hochul leading by 17 percent in September but their October poll has Hochul leading by 11 percent. And Quinnipiac’s sole October poll has Hochul only leading by 4 percent. 

Even though the polls differ they all show that Zeldin is making a closer play than republicans have in recent years, where they fell behind 20 plus percent in the statewide vote. 

Guest Op-Ed: Lessons never learned; Protect our children

By John J. Ciafone, Esq.

Almost weekly, we hear about gun violence in our schools.

The massacres that have occurred in our schools whether it be Uvalde, New Mexico or Sandy Hook, Connecticut – not to mention college incidents, have not raised the eyebrows of our elected officials to move forward toward action.

Gun control legislation is not enough. We need metal detectors in all our schools. 

Whether you go to a sports game, a concert or any major event, you are expected to go through metal detectors as a matter of course.

Yet, why don’t we have metal detectors in our schools? Metal detectors are relatively inexpensive and extremely effective in catching guns and knives.

Gangs that prey on our children bring these weapons into our schools to further initiate and recruit naive children. 

A middle school in my neighborhood, IS 126 in Long Island City, housed a cache of confiscated guns and knives in the principal’s office, under lock and key, all in an effort to keep it secret. How many more children have to be slaughtered and sacrificed by our leaders who fail to protect our most precious assets – our children and the future generation. 

I proudly served on Community School Board 30 as a member, treasurer and president.

During my time, we fought for more school safety officers, security cameras and police presence outside troubled schools. 

Through the devastation of the Sept. 11 attacks, we have learned the importance of metal detectors and screening within our airports that have resulted in a huge success in thwarting hijacking and terrorist attacks on our planes. 

The same efforts must be employed in our schools to prevent guns and knives from threatening the lives of our children, staff and teachers.

What’s more alarming is that some City Councilmembers, who have police protection and metal detectors in City Hall, want to remove school safety officers in our schools. 

I am shocked that the Teacher’s Union, which is perhaps the strongest lobbyist in New York, has no interest in protecting our children or their own members. 

We have a major upcoming election ahead of us and yet no candidate is speaking about protecting our children and our schools. 

At a minimum, our elected officials have an obligation and duty for the position that they were elected for and that is to protect our children, who are our future.

Elected officials need to wake up and do their jobs to be proactive and prevent any future tragedies. 

Guest Op-Ed: Polls are now open! Vote today in this critical election

By Mayor Eric Adams


Tuesday, Nov. 8 is Election Day in New York City – your last chance to join millions of New Yorkers in making your voices heard and casting your ballots in these critical elections.

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If you can’t vote on Tuesday, you can also vote early in-person. Early voting polls will be open through Sunday, Nov. 6.

Your poll site may have changed, so it’s important to check your poll site location and its hours before you vote at nycvotes.org.

This year, voting is more important than ever. The outcome of these elections will affect you and your family’s future, our economy, education, healthcare and more. And in every single race, your vote matters – from the Governor and Attorney General, to your Congresspeople and State Representatives.

We’re deciding who will lead our state into the future, and what kind of future we want for our state.

Also, four ballot proposals are on the back of your ballot, so remember to flip yours over.

I’ve made my plan to vote – and it’s critical that you do, too.

And not just yourself; bring your friends and family along, too. All U.S. citizens aged 18 and older who have registered are eligible to vote.

I hope that you will join me and millions of your fellow New Yorkers in going to the polls and getting the change you want to see done.

For more information on where and how to vote, as well as who and what issues are on the ballot, check out nycvotes.org.

If you are not currently registered to vote, you can register for next year’s election on that website as well.

All New Yorkers have the right to vote in their language.

You may bring an interpreter to the voting booth – it can be a friend, a family member or a poll worker, but it can’t be your employer or union representative.

The Civic Engagement Commission will be providing interpretation services in select languages and poll sites on Saturday, Nov. 5, Sunday, Nov. 6 and on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8.

For more information on interpretive services, please visit participate.nyc.gov. And if you run into any problems when you try to vote, call 311.

Our democracy relies on individuals with different opinions coming together to find solutions.

Voting is one crucial way we do this, and having discussions with each other is another.

Recently, my Administration held a summit on criminal justice. We brought experienced defense lawyers, judges, district attorneys, advocates and law enforcement officials together in search of solutions to a goal we all share: keeping New Yorkers safe and ensuring justice for all.

There is a lot that this group disagrees on, and each individual group will keep pursuing their individual goals. But there is also much we agree on.

Both public safety and justice are prerequisites to prosperity, and we need to do a better job on both.

No one should be afraid of crime on the subway, and no one accused of committing a crime should have to wait for months to get a hearing.

Our discussion helped us find common ground on important improvements to our system, and over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be continuing our conversations and turning them into actionable solutions that will make New York a safer city. And I will never stop fighting for the steps we need to keep us safe.

Working toward a more perfect city and country is never easy.

It takes all of us engaging in good faith conversation, expressing our views, and casting our ballots.

See you at the polls on Tuesday.

Why you should vote ‘Yes’ on Environmental Bond Measure

Voters across the state will have a question on their upcoming Nov. 8 ballot about whether the state should pass the Environmental Bond Measure. And we implore you to vote yes.

The Environmental Bond Measure would help unlock $4.2 billion for critical environmental spending by taking on debt, for issues including: at least $1.1 billion for flood risk and restoration, up to $1.5 billion for climate change mitigation, up to $650 million for land conservation and at least $650 million for water quality improvement. 

It’s a hefty cost, but a necessary one.

According to a 2020 report from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, New York has the second highest debt burden behind California.

But the costs of doing nothing could reach a projected $10 billion per year (in 2010 dollars) by 2050, according to state reports.

We need to invest every dollar we can into fighting climate change.

It is an existential threat that requires long-term thinking and inaction will only make the situation worse.

With the surmounting costs of climate change, it would be better for the federal government to step in.

The Inflation Reduction Act brought some advancements in terms of federal dollars to help states battle climate change like tax credits for heat pumps and solar panels.

But due to the sniveling coward of a Senator Joe Manchin is, it was a compromise deal. 

We have very few options with how to deal with this issue. Inaction cannot be one of them.

So while adding more debt can be concerning to voters, the bigger costs are too big to ignore or delay.

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing