Putting my experiences of Life In NYC in a more personal perspective, and checking in with international/national, tech and some other news
Translation from English
Friday, October 21, 2016
Council Member Mark Levine
Like many New Yorkers, I am proud of the fact that we live in one of the most diverse cities in the world. New Yorkers represent all races, religions, nationalities, and gender identities. For centuries, New Yorkâ€™s diversity has made us a better, stronger city. However, where there is diversity, there can also be ignorance and intolerance. The results of this are sometimes manifested in attacks on innocent people. When these hate crimes occur, they are not just an attack on innocent victims, but on the values we share as New Yorkers.
Last week, the City Council passed my legislation that will enhance the way the New York City Police Department (NYPD) reports hate crimes.
My bill, Intro. 959-B, will require annual hate crime reporting from the NYPD to be disaggregated by the identity of the targeted group, and by the demographics of the arrestee. The NYPD would be required to report the data quarterly and annually and post the data on its website. Until now the public has had no real-time information on the trends in this ugly class of crimes, which often spike in response to current events. By passing this bill we are ensuring that we as a city are better prepared to fight back against all crimes targeting victimsâ€™ identity.
Modernizing the Street Vendor Industry
It seems every day in New York City brings fresh news of a beloved neighborhood business shutting its doors--too often replaced by a generic chain.
Happily, the ultimate mom and pop businesses--street vendors--are still adding life and character to neighborhoods all across the city. Â Â But the system for regulating this vital sector is decades out of date, and vendors and communities alike are paying the price. Itâ€™s time to bring street vending into the 21st Century. This is why I have introduced Intro. 1303, the Street Vendor Modernization Act (SVMA).
Since the 1980s there has been a strict and arbitrary cap placed on the number of vending permits issued by the city, which has effectively created a black market where permits are sold for upwards of $20,000. Moreover, the regulations governing street vendors are both confusing and often enforced inconsistently. To address these issues in a balanced manner, the SVMA will expand the number of permits issued, while also modernizing and enhancing how the industry is regulated. This legislation is a bold step forward in fixing the broken laws currently surrounding the street vending industry, and is a sensible, balanced approach that will benefit vendors and the City.
On Friday, October 28th, I will be hosting a free flu shot event for community residents at my district office, located at 500 West 141st Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Hamilton Place. This event, hosted in partnership with Duane Reade, will provide over one hundred flu shots to community residents. Thousands of New Yorkers are hospitalized every year due to the flu and complications that can arise afterwards. When it comes to healthcare, being proactive is the most important thing you can do. I hope you will join me at this fantastic event.
Fighting for a Tenantâ€™s Right to Counsel
Last month, thanks to your hard work, we took a tremendous step in advancing Intro. 214-A, my bill to provide legal representation for tenants in housing court. To see how successful we were, just take a look at some of the great press our hard work has received here:
The incredible turnout and testimonies of hundreds of tenants, elected officials, unions, housing advocates and legal experts at our hearing is a testament to the seriousness of the issue we are addressing. I am grateful for your relentless and fierce support of Intro. 214-A which made the hearing as powerful as it was -- Â and though it served as a big step, our work is not yet done. I am more convinced than ever that we must continue our fight to make the right to counsel a reality in NYC. With your support we can make history here and throughout our nation.
Participatory Budgeting for 2017 Gets Underway
Iâ€™m very excited to announce that my office has just completed our Participatory Budgeting assemblies for Fiscal Year 2017. Dozens of people attended meetings across the district to offer their ideas on ways to improve the community. I am proud to offer the residents of the 7th Council District the opportunity to decide how $1 million of their own tax dollars will be spent. Among the many ideas suggested by community residents were improvements to basketball courts and playgrounds, technology funding for local schools, and neighborhood beautification projects, just to name a few. I hope you will join me this Spring, when the voting for these projects will be held.
To view these projects and more, please visit my website. To register as a Participatory Budgeting volunteer, please visit marklevine.nyc/pbvolunteer.
Pushing for Access to North Brother Island
As Chair of the Parks Committee, I am also pushing to open up access to some of the hidden and forgotten wonders of New York City. One such space is North Brother Island off of Hunts Point in the Bronx. North Brother Island, the former site of Riverdale Hospital, is part of the fascinating medical history of New York City. Now a bird sanctuary, this historical treasure offers a unique window into our recent ecological past.
Last week I visited the island with my colleagues NYC Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Member Salamanca of the Bronx, and NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. This island has the potential to be a way for groups of students and people who care about the history of the city and the incredible ecology in this region to discover it for themselves.
It is my hope that one day, New Yorkers, especially students and young people, will get the chance to experience and learn about this island in an environmentally sensitive way.
Raising Awareness About Domestic Violence
Tragically, domestic violence affects everyone. In fact, one in three women have faced some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. New Yorkers should never feel unsafe, especially not in their own home. Â On the morning of October 6th, I hit the streets for #NYCGoPurple with Her Justice and the NYC Commission On Human Rights to raise awareness about Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Throughout the morning weÂ let people know about the life-changing programs available from the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence and other non-profits that offer assistance to those who have been victimized by domestic abuse.
Abandoned School Comes Back to Life
Yesterday, I attended the ribbon cutting of the completely transformed and rehabilitated P.S. 186 school house. The evolution of P.S. 186 from a struggling school into a state of the art hybrid complex is an innovative example of how we can create affordable housing that benefits the entire Harlem community. This trailblazing effort represents a model for community development by integrating multiple benefits aimed at creating opportunities for community families.Â
Serving local children since 1980, the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem will now be able to double its reach throughout West and Central Harlem â€“ expanding its programming from 500 to 1,000 local youth served.Â This new clubhouse for the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem will be home to countless programs that will benefit children in Harlem for decades to come. And for 79 families this new facility will simply be home.
It's fantastic that we found a way to both preserve this historic structure and utilize it for the things our community needs most: youth programming and affordable housing. Let this be a lesson to countless other underutilized spaces in the art of the possible. It took the collective efforts of a huge number of community leaders and local officials to make this a reality. I am proud to have been an early supporter of this project and look forward to seeing the countless benefits it brings to the community in the coming years.
Bringing Free Breast Cancer Screenings to the Community
In commemoration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am proud to be partnering with the American Italian Cancer Foundation (AICF) to sponsor aÂ critical, potentially life-saving breast cancer screening event on Wednesday, October 26th from 10am - 4pm in front of my District Office, located at 500 West 141st Street between Hamilton Place and Amsterdam Avenue.Â
In partnership with my office, the AICF Mobile Care Clinic will be offering no-cost mammograms and clinical breast exams to community residents aged 40 and older. These examinations are critical to detecting and treating breast cancer at an early stage. Though there is much we don't know about cancer, one thing the medical community is certain of is the importance of testing and early detection - which could save your life. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with AICF, bringing free screenings to the community this October, so that any woman - regardless of insurance or economic standing, can have access to quality medical care.Â
Space is limited, so to RSVP please call Manuel Belliard at (212) 928-6814 by Wednesday, October 5th, 2016.Â
Bloomingdale School of Music Hosts Free Concerts for the Community
The Bloomingdale School of Music will be hosting two free musical concerts this month that are open to the public:
Friday, October 21st, 7:00pm Haydn and Brahms: Trios and Quartets Chamber music for piano and strings is central to the works of Haydn and Brahms. This program features one of the final piano trios by Haydn, followed by the last piano quartet of Brahms. Free and open to the public. Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street).
Friday, October 28th, 7:00pm The Frog, the Cat & the Fiddle: Music in 17th century Germany Join us for a fascinating concert of rarely heard baroque music from Germany that combines cheerful animal noises and highly virtuosic and vivid string writing. Free and open to the public. Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street).
Hamilton Heights Running Group Halloween Events
2nd Annual Halloween 3-Mile Costume Fun Run Saturday October 29th, 3:30pm Start: Convent Garden // Finish: Bo No Trattoria The Fun Run will be supporting local businesses and community organizations. Prize for best costume will win a $100 Foodtown Harlem gift certificate! For registration info, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1st Annual Halloween Pet Costume Parade Saturday October 29th, 12:30pm Start location: Convent Garden A $10 donation is required.Â Best costume wins $100 Harlem Doggie Day Spa gift certificate. For registration info, email: email@example.com
What: WE ACT would like to get your input as we develop and design a climate-proof, locally managed communications system that will be a resource during a climate crisis, such as heatwaves, power outages, and floods. Join us in creating a more resilient Northern Manhattan!
When: Saturday, November 5th, 10:30AM - 1:30PM
Where:Â 3333 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
West Harlem Restaurant Week
October 31st through November 18th, WeekdaysÂ 4pm - 8pm