In Our Opinion: Suspending Kyrie is right move

The Brooklyn Nets have suspended Kyrie Irving for at least five games after he failed to apologize after sharing an anti-semitic documentary on Twitter – it’s the least they could do.

“Hebroes to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” is a three-hour “documentary” that espouses the philosophy of extremist Black Israelites: promulgating beliefs that Jewish people stole the true identity of being the descendants of Black Israelites, that there is a global Jewish conspiracy theory to defraud black people and that the Holocaust was falsified in order to conceal their own power, per the Anti-Defamation League. 

The anti-vax, flat-earth-believing point guard is not new to controversy, but his bullheadedness to double down on hateful conspiracy theories – while repping Brooklyn of all places – is a new low. 

On Oct. 30 Iriving doubled down in a press conference, saying “There’s things being posted every day. I’m no different from the next human being so don’t treat me any different. You guys come in here and make up this powerful influence that I have over top of the adultery of, you cannot post that. Why not? Why not?”

The deflection was beyond childish and neglected to take any responsibility. Saying “there’s things posted every day” negates his power and influence as one of the world’s best-known players and shows his inability to take the issue seriously.

On Nov. 2, The Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie and the Anti-Defamation League released a joint statement, announcing that both Kyrie and the Nets will each be donating $500,000 to “eradicating hate and intolerance in our communities.” 

When there was an actual cost to his actions, Kyrie took some ownership.

“I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day,” Kyrie Irving said in the statement. “I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility.”

It reads nothing more than damage control, and Kyrie should have to demonstrate true evolution on the issue before getting back on the court.

Meyers Leonard, an NBA player for the Miami Heat at the tim,e who lacks the star power Kyrie has, was suspended indefinitely for using a jewish slur in a livestream.

In Brooklyn, the home to many Jewish people, shouldn’t the punishment be at least equal to Leonard’s? 

People should be able to grow, and careers shouldn’t be wiped away from a single comment, but amidst the rise in anti-semitic hate crimes, the Nets need to tread carefully and actually demonstrate that Kyrie has legitimately evolved – not just a slap on the wrist and a donation.

North Brooklyn electeds rally for Prop 1

By Matthew Fischetti

North Brooklyn pols have two things in common: they want you to vote for the Environmental Bond Act and want you to vote for Kathy Hochul.

At a Friday November 4th rally, North Brooklyn electeds and advocates like the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance and Newtown Creek Alliance, stumped for the ballot measure and Governor Hochul at Bushwick Inlet Park.

If passed, Proposition 1 on voters’ ballots would unlock $4.2 billion in spending, by taking on debt, for 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. 

“This is a great investment for families to be able to enjoy our waterfront, to come to these areas, clean up brownfields throughout the state, and develop and construct and build beautiful parks like this one, we deserve better,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.

Brownfields are former industrial areas potentially damaged by industrial pollution. The state has been studying ways to remediate the potential damage in North Brooklyn since at least 2017, in order to give them new life and possible devlopment in the future. 

“We are the first generation to really truly feel the effects of climate change,” Governor Hochul said at the rally, emphasizing the importance of the bond measure. “We’re also the last generation to do anything about it before it’s too late.”

Brooklyn Beep Antonio Reynoso highlighted the long-term fights North Brooklyn politicians have had to go to bat for: like the decade-plus years of advocacy for Bushwick Inlet Park in an area with one of the highest asthma rates in the city. 

“It’s an unfortunate reality, that we grow up needing to fight for the environment, that you need to fight for North Brooklyn. But it is who we are. It’s what defines us,” Reynoso said.

Reynoso emphasized that the measure would help North Brooklyn by gaining more greenspace without having to spend as much time fighting and advocating for it.

“So prop one means so much to us, because we don’t want to have to fight for these things for environmental justice and equity in North Brooklyn,” he continued. “Why do we have to come out every single time to fight for these things? Voting prop one takes a little bit of a burden away from our advocacy, and allows us to focus on other things like enjoying the parks that we fought for.”

“In the Assembly I have been so grateful to have an ally like the Governor in office, she is really standing firm on climate,” Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher said. “And I’m really looking forward at what needs to happen to move us away from fossil fuels and towards a resilient New York State.”

Schools won’t lost money due to enrollment declines: officials

By Matthew Fischetti

City officials announced this week that education budgets are not going to be facing further cuts, despite mid-year enrollment declines.

In a joint statement on Monday Nov. 7, Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks announced that the budget would be offset by the use of COVID-19 stimulus funds.

“The decision to hold school budgets harmless is about prioritizing the needs of the nearly 1 million children served by New York City public schools every day,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. “We know that our entire school community was and still remains deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But under our administration, we are committed to ensuring that every school has the resources needed to provide the highest quality education for students to thrive.”

Mid-year adjustments are part of the city’s Fair Student Formula Funding process, which gives more money to schools with increased enrollment rates and institutes cuts to schools with decreased enrollment rates. New York City public schools have lost over 130,000 students over the last five years according to a June 2022 report from the Department of Education.

While stimulus funds will be used to cover the budget shortfalls for this upcoming year, the administration said in a statement that schools should plan to the typical mid-year adjustment period if enrollments decline or increase. Schools that were projected to receive an increase in funding this year will still gain them.

The funds will result in a $200 million increase in school budgets and the adjustment process will begin later this month and continue through midwinter, according to a release from the New York City Department of Education.

Comptroller Brad Lander released a statement on Monday, commending the decision by the administration after criticizing the decision by hizzoner and the city council to approve cuts back in June. The city council has since passed a resolution back in June, calling on the administration to restore the cuts by using federal funds.

“Holding schools harmless for enrollment declines so that they can provide the instruction and support our students need after these hard pandemic years is exactly the purpose of COVID relief funds,” Comptroller Brad Lander said in a statement. “I’m glad that the administration and the Chancellor have finally come to the same conclusion.”

Advocates and parents groups across the city decried the decision back in June, which the Comptroller’s office has estimated to total $469 million.

“While this commitment to hold school budgets harmless from mid-year cuts for enrollment declines is a step in the right direction, it does nothing to repair the damage and restore the funding that was cut from public schools in the city’s budget last summer,”  Matt Gonzales of New Yorkers for Racially Just Public Schools (RJPS) said in a statement.

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