Greenpoint Assembly District Lines Approved

New Maps Restore Original Boundaries


By Matthew Fischetti

Greenpoint is no longer on the chopping block!

On Monday, Gov. Kathy Hochul approved the “newly” redrawn lines for the state assembly, which in large part represent the same boundaries.

As the Greenpoint Star has previously reported, the Independent Redistricting Committee had proposed lines back in February that would have split Assembly District 50 in half along McGuinness Boulevard. Nearly a dozen Greenpoint residents showed up to a redistricting town hall, vehemently opposed to the IRC’s proposed lines, saying that the bifurcation of the district would dilute their representation for critical community issues.

Now the current boundaries practically mirror the original district, besides two blocks (Division Place and Beadel Street along Porter Avenue.)

“Greenpointers spoke up and New York’s Independent Redistricting Commission listened! With final approval by the legislature on April 24, it’s now official: Greenpoint will remain whole and in one Assembly District, as it should be and has been for decades,” Assemblywoman Gallagher said in a statement to the Greenpoint Star. “This simply would not have happened without the hundreds of residents and organizations who submitted testimony or attended a hearing. Once the Redistricting Commissioners were able to hear about our history, our shared problems and vision for the future, they couldn’t not be persuaded. I am so excited and honored to continue representing every single Greenpointer.”

Restler Rallies for Stalled Bike Legislation

Citizen enforcement of blocked bike lanes and notice requirements discussed in hearing

By Matthew Fischetti

Greenpoint and Downtown Brooklyn Councilmember Lincoln Restler rallied for two pieces of transit related legislation that have stalled in the council, prior to a hearing on the potential laws on Monday.

The first piece of legislation, Intro 417 would reform the notice requirements for bike lanes in order to eliminate 90 day delays, the byproduct of a 2011 law that safe street advocates say purposely delays the implementation of bike lanes.

Intro 501-A would create a $175 fine for illegal parking in bike lanes and sidewalks and would allow citizens to report the impediments via an app, similar to the vehicle idling program – where citizens can report vehicles that idle for more than three minutes. The original legislation, introduced last year, would have created a bounty system where citizen reporters could receive a 25 percent commission of the fines but has been nixed from the current version of the legislation.

Both bills have a majority of the council as co-sponsors.

“The sausage making process of getting legislation through isn’t always pretty. And we definitely made some compromises, to move it forward and to secure the hearing that we have today. But I think that the compromises that we’ve made make it a stronger bill,” Restler said at the press conference.

During the hearing, Restler highlighted the NYPD’s lack of self enforcement regarding parking violations as a reason for the creation of the civilian reporting program.

“If the NYPD officers are not following the law – and they are not – how can we expect there to be enforcement against the public?,” Restler said.

NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell refused to accept the framing that the NYPD is doing nothing regarding the issue, highlighting how the issue is a personal “pet peeve” and it a “top topic” in his borough commander meetings and has instituted over 5,000 inspections. Chell also noted in his testimony that he has issued 39 command disciplines for violations, a punitive action that can result in up to ten days of lost vacation time.

Restler questioned the utility of the inspections due to the ubiquitousness of the issue across the city.

“The idea that there is any enforcement around this issue is a joke,” Restler quipped, highlighting how he personally sees the issue everyday in his district.

According to a recent study, 70 of the 77 precincts the author visited had illegally parked vehicles on the sidewalk by officers.

At the City Hall testimony, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez signaled support for Intro 417 but held off on whether the agency supports Intro 501-A.

NYPD brass expressed concern regarding Intro 501-A, citing assaults and harassment against Transit Agents. Restler questioned the framing, highlighting the difference of highly visible uniformed officers issuing ordinances versus citizens taking photos from a distance.

Transportation Chief Kim Royster noted that she was not aware of any complaints filed for harassment or assaults of citizens recording idling trucks, when pressed by the Councilman.

“I think considering the, frankly, failure of the police department to enforce on these issues,” said Restler. “It’s clear that it’s time for citizens to step up and make our streets safer.”

Progressive Caucus Debuts Budget Priorities

By Matthew Fischetti

The Progressive Caucus is putting up a fight.

Last Wednesday, the 20 members of the left leaning city council caucus debuted their budget priorities: which include building and preserving affordable housing, expanding mental health and substance use support as well as blocking education cuts.

Back In January, Mayor Eric Adams unveiled his preliminary $103 billion budget for Fiscal year 2024. Recently, Eric Adasm has suggested $1 billion in annual budgets cut for four years citing the migrant crisis, slowing economic growth and proposals in the state budget, per the New York Post. The cuts would reportedly impact  government services such as library hours and education.

The Progressive Caucus has dubbed Mayor Adams’s proposals as “fear-mongering” and a “manufactured crisis”, saying that the city is expected to end the current fiscal year with a surplus of $4.9 billion and substantial reserves.

“In a month-long discussion and a process that entailed a survey, we asked our members of the caucus: what will our fight this cycle look like? And so in collective collaboration, we determined these three urgent priorities that also pushed back against the mayor’s austerity budget,” Progressive Caucus Co-Chair and Park Slope Councilwoman Shahana Hanif said at the rally.

In terms of housing, the caucus’ budget would invest $4 billion to expand and preserve affordable housing, including $2b in capital funding for the Housing Preservation and Development Department as well as the New York City Housing Authority. Additional funding for housing would come in the form of $351 million for Right to Counsel to ensure legal representation for people facing eviction in Housing Court and increasing supporting housing funding by $60 million.

In order to expand mental health and substance use support, the Progressive Caucus would like to see $4 million added to Crisis Respite Centers – which are alternatives to hospitalization for people experiencing emotional crises where people can stay for up to a week – to increase the quantity from eight to 16 across the five boroughs. The caucus also wants to open 24/7 overdose prevention centers in every borough with wraparound services. Specifically, the budget priorities say that the budget should add $20 million to expand two existing centers in East Harlem and Washington Heights to operate 24 hours a day, and open 4 additional centers in each borough.

The caucus’s final priority is to block education cuts by fully funding Universal 3K and prevent any cuts to individual school budgets.

“Our budget proposal is upstream thinking, investing in housing, education and mental health services are the solutions that we need to keep our community safe. Do you want to know what the definition of downstream thinking is? Cutting education, cutting houses, getting access to food – this is how we drive crime in New York City,” Progressive Caucus Co-Chair and north Brooklyn councilman Lincoln Restler said at the rally. “By failing to address the root and invest in the root causes that prevent violence.”

In an interview with the Brooklyn Star, Bushwick Councilwoman and Progressive Caucus Vice Chair Jennifer Gutiérrez said that the diminished caucus size (15 members of the progressive caucus had previously left over language in their statement of principles regarding reducing the size and scope of the NYPD) allowed them to have more robust conversations about budget priorities.

Last year several members of the Progressive Caucus voted no on the final budget for Fiscal Year 2023 while a majority of the caucus voted for the budget.

“We haven’t had the conversation in that way,” Gutiérrez said regarding whether the priorities represent a red line for how the caucus would vote on the upcoming budget. “But absolutely, I think every single caucus member who participated in these priorities, has strong convictions around what we need to do.”

Mayor Adams has yet to release the executive budget, which is an updated proposal after the council provides their response. The final city budget must be approved before July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year.

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing