Borough Boards and NYC Comptroller Slam Mayor’s Plans

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Courtesy of TheRealDeal.com

A report was released last week on real estate news site, The Real Deal, pointing out that borough boards in 4 out of 5 boroughs rejected Mayor deBlasio’s Mandatory Inclusion Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability plans.

No shocker there seeing as community boards all across the city have been publicly protesting the plans for months. According to the report, “The Zoning for Equality and Affordability plan would allow architects more flexibility in designing buildings.” The plans also focus on providing affordable housing. But residents see past the idealistic promises of affordability and right into the future where the very real threat of displacement exists.

On the same day that The Real Deal released their report, The New York City Comptroller’s office released one too. Stringer’s report was a full analysis of the Mayor’s plans which concluded, “the city’s own data shows  that the current plan could inadvertently displace tens of thousands of families in East New York, the vast majority of whom will be unable to to afford the relatively small number of new units that will be built.”  The report goes on to talk about the 84 percent of residents who won’t be able to afford market rate apartments and the 55 percent who won’t even be able to afford the affordable units.

When asked about the opposition to his plans back in November, deBlasio told the Gotham Gazette, “Those objections should be heard and we should, you know, think about them, and where we see the need to make certain modifications we will,” de Blasio said.

“But in the end, the community boards aren’t the final decision makers. The mayor and the City Council make the decisions, in some cases, obviously, with the City Planning Commission.”

How considerate of the Mayor to include us in his plans.

 

The “threat of terrorism to the country is real,” said President Obama On the San Bernardino Shooting

From the White House, President Obama addressed the nation on the San Bernardino shooting that occurred last Wednesday in California, “it was an act of terrorism.” Mr. Obama said and remarked that the “threat of terrorism to the country is real.”

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The president’s objective was to bring calm to the nation after the attack that left 14 dead last week in California. Obama said that his government will do its best to win against the terrorist threats from the Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

Obama tried to calm the state of paranoia that many may have against ISIS considering the Paris attacks that occurred last month. He said that the war against the Islamic State doesn’t “depend on tough talk or abandoning our values or giving in to fear. Instead, we will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless.” He also urged people not to have prejudices against the Muslim community, because that will only help to grow the propaganda used by ISIS.

 

By Gabriela Lira

 

de Blasio Defends his Plans

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Photo Courtesy of wnyc.org

Mayor de Blasio’s attempts to deal with the housing issue in the city has been widely criticized. Many communities have actively protested against his proposed rezoning plans.

In an interview on the Brian Lehrer radio show last week the Mayor said, “Gentrification is a complicated issue and a double edged sword. Of course it means something good is happening on one level and it often leads to strengthening of neighborhoods…but it also can lead to the displacement of neighborhood residents.”

Listen to the full interview on the WNYC website.

Public Hearing to discuss the Mayor’s Zoning Plan

Taken from NYC Department of Planing

A public hearing will be held at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Nov. 23 to discuss the Mayor’s controversial rezoning plans. The Mayor markets his plan as something that will “strengthen East New York, Cypress Hills, and Ocean Hill as vibrant, inclusive neighborhoods of opportunity with affordable housing, Economic Opportunities, and new community resources.” There has been much opposition to the Mayor’s proposal throughout the five boroughs.

According to published reports, Community Board 8 in the Bronx voted against the plans due to “the lack of community input that went into their formation.” Their complaints included mention of measures in the plan that would allow developers to cram senior citizens in units as small as 250 square feet.

Community Board 15 in Brooklyn also opposed the Mayor’s plans, coming to a unanimous vote in a  meeting last month. The Sheepshead Bay area in Brooklyn is not currently included in the Mayor’s proposed Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Plan that promises affordable housing units. The same goes for Community Board 2 and the list goes on and on.

At a meeting held in Brownsville, residents, community leaders, and elected officials gathered last month. Residents were urged not to fall for false promises. “They’re going to tell you it’s affordable — affordable to who?” said Assemblyman Charles Barron at the meeting. “You should reject this plan…Don’t let nobody come in here trying to turn this into Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights.”

Changes are happening all over Brooklyn. Plans are proposed to change things for the better and enrich the neighborhoods. But the unanswered question remains, for who? When the neighborhood becomes better, who will be living there to enjoy it?

Foreclosure Scams in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams has taken an active role in offering support to prevent homeowners from becoming victims to foreclosure rescue scams.

After teaming up with Attorney General Eric T. SchneiBP_Warning_Scamsderman, the duo sent out warnings to Brooklyn homeowners in prime areas like Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, and other neighborhoods near the Barclays Center — areas that are being threatened by increasing rents and predatory developers.

“To help homeowners avoid these scammers, our offices are joining forces to raise awareness about this issue,” they wrote. The letter sent to homeowners also offers assistance and more information on how to recognize and report scammers.

The last few words of the letter are an invitation to a Mortgage Scam & Foreclosure Prevention Workshop at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The workshop will be held on Oct. 13 and more information can be found on The Peoples Website.

Mental illness insurance in the US

Ever since the somewhat controversial Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”, was signed into law in 2010, there have been some changes along the way. Last week, for example, the Obama administration announced that they will have insurers cover the costs of mental health. This also expands to the aforementioned Obamacare, which will provide more services such as screenings to people who are covered by it.

One large reason for this is the rash of shootings in the United States in recent months. Some of these incidents have occurred in New York City, such as a shooting at a skating rink in Bryant Park (Manhattan), or a murder-suicide involving several band members in Brooklyn. Whenever such an event occurs, there is generally an outcry from people, sometimes victims or their relatives, who believe that the suspects should have received more mental help. However, few of them do so because illnesses like depression carry stigmas in our society.

As these measures were introduced just last week, it is difficult to tell how well they will pan out, how many people they will help, and so on. Part of handling a mental illness is admitting that one has one, after all, and this can be difficult, with “mental illness” frequently being seen as something to be ashamed of. But since there have been a lot of shootings and other violent incidents, as already mentioned, this may very well be more urgent than it was five years ago.

Melinda Katz: Queens Borough President-Elect

bp_melinda-katzMelinda Katz is the next president of the most diverse borough in NYC, Queens. She acknowledges this diversity in her acceptance speech: “We represent 160 languages in the borough of Queens. It is my job to represent them at City Hall.”

She plans to work on bringing more businesses  to the borough and to keep growing Queens for future generations, “because that is what we deserve here.”