Quicklink: 2015 City Council Budget

July 15, 2014 ·
Filed under: New York City 

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Ever wondered how your city councilman spends our tax dollars? Click here and find out!

Quicklink: By Their Friends Ye $hall Know Them…

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Ever wondered who this fellow is? I know I have. This is because I see his mug all over north Brooklyn.

QCscreencapCIAFANOWell, Queens Crap has the low-down. Here’s a teaser:

Astoria attorney John Ciafone is running for City Council District 22 (Astoria) to replace outgoing Peter Vallone, Jr. He has run previously for the council as well as for the assembly… What you may not know is that Ciafone currently appears on Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio’s slumlord list (for a property located in Greenpoint no less — Ed. Note). To his credit, he is on the “most improved” list, having reduced his violations from 195 to 2. He tried to donate to DeBlasio, but it was returned. Local council member/Vito Lopez protege Steve Levin and Queens BP candidates Peter Vallone and Melinda Katz apparently have no qualms about keeping his money, however…

Read it for yourselves here.

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Otherwise, I will leave you with this footage from a campaign event from Christopher Olechowski’s campaign for 50th Assembly District Democratic Party Male Leader. At 0:28 you can see John J. Ciafone, Esquire, himself…

I encourage you all, gentle readers, to give ALL these videos (there are five total) a watch. They’re, um, interesting.

(Image Credit: Ciafone making aluminum siding look good comes courtesy of Queens Crap)

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Word From Stephen Pierson

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I know what a lot of you are thinking, fellow Garden Spotters:

Who the hell is this guy?

Well, registered Democrats of the 33rd City Council District listen-up. He’s running against “our” incumbent: Steve Levin. And here’s what he has to say to us. Actually, Mr. Pierson wants to hear from us— which is even better. I do not recall Mr. Levin doing this. But I am getting ahead of myself…

Dear North Brooklynites,

pierson2My name is Stephen Pierson and I am running (as a Democrat) for City Council in our district (the 33rd) against the incumbent, Steve Levin. The election is September 10. I am a 15-year Brooklyn resident, a CB2 member, a (very lucky) husband, the father of a two-year-old daughter (with another on the way), and the Director of a nonprofit that runs an after-school tutoring program for at-risk youth and produces several arts/literary publications.

For too long I’ve watched with dismay as our local politicians cut backroom deals that benefit themselves at the expense of our community. Steve Levin is the very embodiment of this unethical culture and represents the continuation of Vito Lopez’s dynasty. His symbiotic relationship with Vito—which dates back to his time as Vito’s Chief of Staff—has had been detrimental to our community. Among other things, Levin has taken money away from North Brooklyn, sending over six million of our tax dollars out of the 33rd District to Vito’s corrupt nonprofit.

North Brooklyn deserves better. Getting functional toilet seats installed in McCarren Park shouldn’t have to be the job of crusading bloggers.

Over the course of this campaign, I’ve spoken to hundreds of Greenpoint residents, attended dozens of meetings, and spent many mornings at G train subway stops and at the India Street Ferry terminal. Drawing on these (and my 15 years in Brooklyn), here are but a few proposals towards a better North Brooklyn:

(1) (OVER)DEVELOPMENT:

  • Ensure that developers build sufficient infrastructure for the rest of the community that they impact. The Bayard St. condo developments should serve as a warning: I’ve spoken to numerous Bayard St-area residents—people who have lived there for decades without problem—who suddenly, since the condo constructions, find their basements flooding with every big rain storm, costing them thousands of dollars in damages. Current residents shouldn’t have to pay for developers’ (and politicians’) shortsightedness regarding infrastructure. I will also work with the City Council to explore transportation impact fees to be paid by developers.
  • Ensure that the right numbers and types of affordable units are built at Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial St. The memorandums-of-understanding (MOUs) that promise roughly 25% affordable units at both need to be legally binding (for once), and need to have significant financial penalties built in that compel these developers to follow through on their promises. Furthermore, building 50% of its affordable units at 80-to-120% AMI, as Greenpoint Landing proposes, is neither acceptable nor truly “affordable.” We need to fight for more 40-to-80% AMI units.
  • Additionally, these MOUs should provide that a substantial percentage of these affordable units will be guaranteed for local residents.
  • And note that this assumes that Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial St. will proceed as planned. I do believe that there is still room–and much reason–to fight for downzoning on the waterfront to prevent this rampant over-development.

(2) TRANSPORTATION

  • Better G-train service. Period. As a member of the Riders Alliance, I have long helped advocate for this. The MTA needs to fully and immediately implement all the recommended changes contained in their just-completed Full Line Review.
  • More frequent ferry service during peak hours. Service every 20 minutes during rush hours isn’t good enough. And it certainly won’t be good enough as the waterfront becomes significantly more populated over the next several years.
  • Strongly support Assemblyman Lentol’s proposed dedicated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge, and study the construction of a dedicated bike/pedestrian bridge that runs parallel to the Pulaski. The recently-completed DOT study that suggests replacing a lane of car traffic on the Pulaski with a dedicated bike lane is a large step in the right direction. However, I do worry that it doesn’t sufficiently account for near-future surges in traffic that will accompany North Brooklyn waterfront development. With Long Island City looking to become the next big tech/startup hub, we may need a dedicated bike commuting route that doesn’t impact the Pulaski. I would advocate for a feasibility study, jointly funded by Brooklyn and Queens developers (as the building of such a bridge would also serve their interests).
  • Bring Bike Share to Greenpoint ASAP. While this needs to be implemented responsibly, in conjunction with the street-facing needs of local businesses, I strongly believe that Greenpoint significantly benefits from Bike Share—both by providing Greenpoint residents with more transportation options, and by making it easier for non-Greenpoint residents to visit Greenpoint and positively impact local businesses.
  • Enforce existing truck routing laws to decrease truck traffic in North Brooklyn. Currently, the BQE is the only legal “through truck route” that passes through North Brooklyn. All other truck-legal streets (like McGuinness Blvd., Greenpoint Ave, and Kent Ave) only allow for trucks that make local deliveries. Far too many through-trucks cut through North Brooklyn to either avoid BQE traffic or circumvent the LIE/BQE junction. This is illegal, and it results in more traffic, accidents, and noise/air pollution in North Brooklyn. It needs to be stopped immediately by setting up enforcement stations and putting up signage.
  • More traffic enforcement at dangerous intersections like Lorimer St. and Bayard (where the four-way stop is often disobeyed), and especially all of McGuinness Blvd. (which is, statistically, one of the three most dangerous streets in Brooklyn). Consider installing traffic cameras at these locations.

(3) OPEN SPACES / QUALITY OF LIFE

  • Build a dog park in north Greenpoint! This is way overdue. The only dog run in Greenpoint is in McGolrick Park. It is not a viable option for anyone who lives north of Greenpoint Ave. Thus, dog owners are using Transmitter Park as an ad hoc dog run. This is not a viable solution for anyone. We need to build a new dog park now, even if it’s only a temporary run on undeveloped land off of Commercial Ave.
  • Direct revenue back into North Brooklyn’s parks. North Brooklyn residents are already shortchanged regarding open spaces. If Brooklyn Flea/Smorgasburg are a fait accompli, the least that can be done for residents is to have this revenue reinvested into improving other neighborhood spaces, instead of being absorbed into NY State’s general park fund. At the initial CB1 liquor license hearing for Smorgasburg, pressure was placed on certain members of the SLA Committee to pass it. What is revealing is the likelihood Mr. Levin, my opponent, was trying to extract meaningful concessions from the proprietors of Smorgasburg/Brooklyn Flea.
  • Enact significant changes to the process of filming on Greenpoint’s streets. Greenpoint residents are continuously inconvenienced by a massive amount of filming in their commuinity. At minimum, three proposals bear strong consideration: (1) Reduce the number of permits issued; (2) eliminate alternate side parking rules on surrounding streets during a shoot; (3) ensure that some of the revenue generated by these shoots is directly reinvested back into the community.
  • Construct a better Community Board 1 (CB1) that’s more representative of the current community, and more responsive to the community’s needs. I’ve heard far too many stories of residents being told by CB1 that their complaints don’t matter. A more responsive CB1 can be achieved by instituting term limits, making the appointment process more transparent, and directly involving community organizations in the appointment and interview process (and there should actually be an interview process!).

These ideas are, of course, only a small starting point. More than anything else, I want to hear from you! I envision a City Council office that works directly with residents, actively soliciting and discussing ideas, and making its decisions in a completely transparent manner. You can contact me at: stephen@piersonforcouncil.com or 347-471-0388.

So there have you.

Closing on a related note, here’s a press release as issued by Mr. Pierson’s Campaign Manager, Diana Gonzalez. It is calling for a series of debates through-out the amazingly diverse district that is the 33rd.

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I for one think this is a sterling idea. Anyone have questions/concerns to voice to Mr. Pierson? Contact him! Otherwise, in terms of venues and/or moderators anyone have ideas? Let’s make a debate in Greenpoint (and Williamsburg) happen!

New York Shitty Day Ender: Results

When Laura Hofmann asked Mister Heather to sign a petition to get Evan Thies on the ballot a couple months ago he gladly obliged.

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As a result we have been receiving his campaign propaganda ever since. Like this postcard…

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…which our cat, Bodhi, saw fit to annotate with his vomitus. As his name indicates, Bodhi is a very wise tabby. Greenpoint born and raised. This is what I call “results”!

I mention the previous anecdote because this evening I received a call from one of Evan Thies’s merry elves on my landline. This is curious for a number of reasons, among them:

  1. Chez Shitty’s landline is under Mister Heather’s name, not mine.
  2. It is unlisted.
  3. The caller/shill asked for me specifically. How did this chap know this phone number, indeed, belonged to me? I’m guessing OSA or GWAPP gave it to him.

In any case, this chap asked me what my feelings about Evan Thies were. I replied:

Negative.

To wit he asked:

Why?

I replied:

Among other things the fact he resigned from CB1 before the Broadway Triangle vote. He should have stayed on, voted and explained why he voted for or against this plan. As distasteful as the choice was either way.

Then I got a song and dance about how Thies’s resignation was ill-timed, e.g.; he didn’t know it would coincide with the Broadway Triangle vote. How he was against the Broadway Triangle plan, etc. I made it known, albeit politely, that I thought his argument was bullshit, he was not going to change my mind and I have other things to do. That brought this unsolicited phone call to a merciful end.

Closing thoughts (for Evan Thies’s campaign wonks/worker bees):

  1. Touting your years as David Yassky’s “Chief of Staff” is a minus, not a plus.
  2. I don’t care who you got my phone number from: do not call me. Especially in the evening. Per *69 you called from 1 (646) 594-4545 at 7:32 p.m. I have every intention of calling this number tomorrow— you have wasted my time, I want to return the favor. It’s better to give than receive.
  3. With Thiesisms like this (regarding campaign contributions he received from Dean Palin and family, who plans to build a 40 story tower at the end of India Street. Dean can be seen hamming it up for the camera with the Executive Director of OSA and David Yassky here):

Thanks for your email–I’d hate for you to think that I was keeping anything from you.  I do not support a 40-story tower there and I said as much at the last debate and during community board discussions on the project, after which, as you probably know, we approved the proposal unanimously with suggested changes.

I do, however, think that the affordable housing component of the project is good, and that a smaller version of the development would be the best case scenario.

I’ve known Dean for a while now, and I think he will work with us on this–but we have to keep at it throughout the land use process.

I cannot, with clear conscience, vote for you Evan. You’re David Yassky 2.0. What’s more, when I get unsolicited phone calls from your campaign workers at dinnertime it pisses me off. Big time. Hence why I wrote this post and relegated you to the “asshole” category on my humble site.

Mazel tov!

Miss Heather

P.S.: The Mister and I are still for Jo Anne Simon. There is no perfect candidate in this race. At least Ms. Simon was frank and didn’t bullshit me when I met her last week. I liked her. What’s more, her workers don’t call me while I’m having dinner.

UPDATE, August 14, 2009; 12:20: I just received a prank call from Mister Heather. As soon as I picked up the phone he said “This is the David Yassky campaign”. I hung up.

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