Council to Vote to Establish a Nightlife Advisory Board and Office of Nightlife, Reduce Police Misconduct, Promote Equality for All New Yorkers, and Streamline Food Donation Processes

Council will also vote to expand discharge planning and programming for incarcerated individuals, require transparency in educational services for inmates, and improve resources for youth in the juvenile justice system

 

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council will vote on legislation to establish a Nightlife Advisory Board and Office of Nightlife, which will provide guidance on issues and trends in the nightlife industry. Next, the Council will vote on legislation to address the root causes of police misconduct. In addition, the Council will vote on the creation of a Food Waste Portal to help reduce food waste and address the issue of hunger in New York City. The Council will then vote on legislation to improve gender, sexual, racial, and income equality for New Yorkers. The Council will also vote on legislation to ensure that inmates in city jails receive appropriate programming and education. Next, it will vote on legislation to expand reporting on emergency response times. In addition, it will vote on legislation related to maintaining health records for juveniles in detention facilities, allowing additional adults to visit juveniles and allowing for video conferencing for family members of youth in detention facilities. Finally, the Council will vote on several land use items, including the East 96th Street Project.

 

Establishing Oversight to Regulate New York City Nightlife

Introduction 1688-A, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Espinal, would establish a Nightlife Advisory Board and an Office of Nightlife. The Board would consist of 12 members, eight  appointed by the Council and four by the Mayor, and be tasked with evaluating City laws and policies on an ongoing basis to make findings and recommendations that address common issues and trends in the nightlife industry. The Office will conduct outreach, review information on complaints and violations, and serve as a liaison between nightlife establishments, residents, and government. The Office will also assist nightlife establishments navigate city licensing requirements, permits, and other approvals. The Office will advise the Mayor and various agencies on trends in the nightlife industry, as well as make policy recommendations on an ongoing basis.

“NYC’s nightlife culture is an integral part of its identity, yet bureaucratic red tape, rising rents and lack of community planning has made it increasingly difficult for venues that contribute to our iconic nightlife to stay in business,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “This bill will create a space where all stakeholders can come together to solve conflicts and build bridges. From local communities who deserve a decent quality of life, to businesses who are trying to do the right thing but are struggling to navigate government processes and are subject to hefty fines, this Office and Advisory Board will be there for you. It is time NYC dedicate resources to this sector of our economy that produces not only financial capital, but also, cultural capital for our city.”

“New York City is home to one of the most vibrant nightlife cultures in our country, yet bureaucratic issues and other problems can often stymie the growth of nightlife-related businesses. Intro 1688-A aims to resolve this issue through the Nightlife Advisory Board and the Office of Nightlife,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I congratulate Council Member Espinal for his hard work on his bill, which will make nightlife planning easier for businesses in our communities.”

 

Reducing Police Misconduct and Improving Support for Police Officers

Six City entities—the Law Department, the Comptroller, the Police Department, the Inspector General for the Police Department (PD-IG), the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and the Commission to Combat Police Corruption—collect information on police misconduct through complaints and lawsuits; however, there is limited coordination and analysis on how to use this information to improve policing, better support police officers, and reduce costs to the City.

Introduction 119-D, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would create the most comprehensive review of the root causes of police misconduct in the country by requiring bi-annual reporting by the Law Department on lawsuits alleging police misconduct; regular studies by the PD-IG examining all sources of information on police misconduct held by various City entities, identifying patterns, and issuing recommendations on ways to reduce misconduct; and a study by the Police Department on determinations by judges that an officer’s testimony at a trial is not credible.

“I want to applaud the Mayor’s administration and NYPD Commissioner O’Neill for their leadership in making tangible advances on police reform. However, these accomplishments haven’t necessarily been felt on the ground in certain communities because our City still has areas of opportunity when it comes to police accountability and transparency,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams. “I believe that Intro 119 will help move us forward by providing real information on patterns of behavior so that the issue of problem officers can be identified more swiftly and addressed.”

 

Facilitating Food Donations to Help Hungry New Yorkers

Introduction 1514-A, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Espinal and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would require the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) or another appropriate agency designated by the Mayor to create and maintain a food donation web portal. In this portal, restaurants, grocery stores, produce markets, dining facilities and food rescue organizations could post notifications regarding the availability, retrieval and transportation of food that would otherwise end up in the waste stream, with the goal of facilitating logistics between prospective food donors and food rescue organizations. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced this initiative in her 2017 State of the City Address.

“New York City must get creative when thinking of how we can divert uneaten food from our landfills to the dinner tables of hungry New Yorkers. This is one step in the right direction,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “The web portal will operate like a ‘Craigslist’ for food donations by allowing small businesses that would normally dump uneaten food to seamlessly donate that food to non-profits and food banks. This legislation is a win for our local businesses and environment – and most importantly, a win for New Yorkers in need of a helping hand.”

“Thousands of families in New York City continue to struggle with hunger on a daily basis – but this should not be the case when we have so much preventable food waste. Every day over 30 tons of food waste are generated in our City, most of which is still suitable for human consumption,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I am proud to have called for the creation of this very important program in my State of the City Speech earlier this year. This portal will work towards the goal of reducing food waste across our City and make sure that, instead of ending up in landfills, this leftover food can go to the people who need it the most.”

Introduction 1439-A, sponsored by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, would require any city agency, before disposing of confiscated food that is safe and edible, to notify at least one food rescue organization that they may retrieve such food at their own expense before disposing of the food.

“Thank you to Speaker Mark-Viverito for her attention to the issue of reducing food waste in New York City and supporting Intros 1439 and 1514,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Approximately 40 percent of all food grown in the United States is thrown away, and I am hopeful that these bills will not only reduce hunger in NYC by encouraging and facilitating more food donations, but also reduce food waste, which will help us get closer to our goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030.”

The Council has worked over the last three years to address structural inequity through supporting various programs and measures. There has also been an effort to reduce disparities based on race and gender at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH), which created the Center for Health Equity. By recognizing how New York City can combat racial and gender disparities, the Council can target programming and resources more effectively.

 

Promoting Racial, Gender, and Sexual Orientation, and Income Equality for all New Yorkers

Introduction 1500-B, sponsored by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would require certain agencies to complete gender, racial, sexual orientation and income assessments of their services and programs, employment practices, contracting practices, and budgeting, and to create action plans to address the findings of these assessments. The agencies would be obligated to report by July 1, 2019 and annually thereafter, on efforts undertaken to implement action plans. The bill would also create an equity committee to advise the relevant agencies and to review annual reports. The Speaker first called for this legislation during her State of the City address in February.

“Equality is a fundamental part of our city. In order to promote equality on a citywide level, we need to be able to hold accountable the agencies who help deal with New Yorkers on a day to day basis,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Introduction 1500-B will bring us one step closer to that goal by providing city agencies with a better understanding and respect for personal identities in their approach to serving New Yorkers. Targeting our programming and resources allows us to become more effective at fighting against hunger, educating our children, and reducing incarceration rates.”

The Council and the Administration have worked over the last three years to address structural inequities through various measures including criminal justice reform, implementing the Young Women’s Initiative and banning City agencies from asking about the salary history of job applicants. While these efforts have and will continue to shape the city for the better, there is no uniform process across City agencies through which employees are trained in promoting gender and racial equity.

 

Introduction 1512-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm, would require certain city agencies to provide all of their employees with trainings on implicit bias, discrimination, cultural competency and structural inequity, including with respect to gender, race and sexual orientation, and on how these factors impact the work of such agencies.

“Training city agency staff to become culturally competent is critical to promoting equity,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “When enacted Intro 1512-A will require employees of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), and the Human Resources Administration (HRA) to receive training on implicit bias, discrimination, cultural competency, and structural inequity, with regard to gender, race, and sexual orientation. Such training will give already hardworking public servants an enriched perspective on the populations they serve while making these communities feel the way they should: that government is working for them. These trainings will also increase understanding among employees in increasingly diverse work environments. Finally, employment at DOHMH, ACS, and HRA will become even more attractive to prospective job applicants from all backgrounds.  I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito for her steadfast support of this effort which will positively impact so many New Yorkers.”

 

Introduction 1520-B, sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander, would require the Mayor to include information on gender, racial, sexual orientation and income equity in the annual report on social indicators, which would be retitled as the “Report on Social Indicators and Equity.” The Social Indicators Report is an annual report which presents data from various indicators, and collectively describes social conditions in New York City. Currently, information on gender, racial, sexual orientation and income equity is not mandated in the report. Such data would help to identify disparities within specific populations and target populations of particular need.

“Intro 1520 will serve to support NYC’s critical work to proactively identify and address the disparities that New Yorkers face simply because of their race, gender, income or sexual orientation,” said Council Member Brad Lander, Deputy Director of Policy. “In a reality where Trump and his administration seek to normalize hatred, bigotry and even white supremacy on a daily basis, it is more critical than ever before for NYC to confront and dismantle the systemic racism, sexism and bias that plague our systems. Today, I am proud to stand alongside Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, my colleagues at the Council, the de Blasio Administration and the Mayor’s Office of Operations to ensure our local institutions are working to create a more equitable and just NYC.”

 

Expanding Discharge Planning Services for Incarcerated Individuals

Introduction 1013-A, sponsored by Council Member Corey Johnson, would mandate that meaningful discharge planning be provided to any incarcerated individual sentenced to more than 30 days in DOC custody. Currently, inmates in the custody of the Department of Correction (“DOC”) with serious mental health issues are required to be provided with discharge planning services through the settlement of the Brad H. lawsuit. The DOC has recently expanded discharge planning to other inmates as well, in an effort to reduce recidivism. This bill would mandate that meaningful discharge planning be provided to any inmate sentenced to more than 30 days in DOC custody.

“Imprisonment is not the answer to criminality – rehabilitation is,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Health Committee. “By ensuring that those involved in the criminal justice system are provided discharge services, we can help them return as productive members of our communities. Thank you to Speaker Mark-Viverito and Chair Crowley for their leadership and my colleagues on the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services for their input and support.”

 

Transparency For Jail-Based Educational and Vocational Services

Introduction 1148-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm, would require comprehensive reporting regarding mandatory and optional educational services offered by the Department of Education (“DOE”) to 16-17 year-old inmates and 18-21 year-old inmates, respectively. This would include information regarding the rates of attendance in non-mandatory services, rates of diploma and GED completion, class sizes, credits accumulated, rates of attendance in school post-release, rates of assaults and the use of force by staff on inmates, and a report on any plans by the DOE and DOC to ensure a continuity of education post-release.

“Incarcerated children and young adults are among the most educationally disadvantaged in our nation,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Education Committee.  “There is currently very little information publicly available on young people in Department of Corrections (DOC) educational facilities. Even basic data such as enrollment numbers and measures of student performance are unavailable. This lack of information just reinforces the notion that these are the forgotten children; but in truth, they are all our children and we are responsible for them. Intro 1148-A will require the DOC to report on educational programming for adolescents and young adults as well as use of force in classrooms. When enacted, this bill will shed much-needed light on how they are being treated and what kind of education they are receiving. The city is obligated to prepare these young people for an independent and productive life. My legislation will help us do just that.”

 

More Comprehensive Programming for Inmates in City Jails

Introduction 1348-A, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would require the Department of Correction (“DOC”) to provide inmates vocational or educational programming. Approximately 87 percent of the inmate population in city jails are pre-trial detainees, and only approximately 15 percent of these inmates will be sentenced to state prison. The remainder will be released in the City, most with no formal supervision. To help reduce recidivism, the Department of Correction has significantly increased the amount of programming available to inmates, including vocational training, drug and alcohol counseling, and other educational and therapeutic programs. These programs also help to curb jail violence, as idleness is correlated with violence. This bill would codify a requirement to provide at least five hours of programming per day to most inmates, including those in pre-trial detention.

“Rikers Island houses roughly 10,000 persons on a daily basis, with about 77,000 passing through the facility in total every year. Of those, roughly 85 percent have not been convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, as of today, individuals merely awaiting trial at Rikers Island often spend months or even years on Rikers Island without access to structured services. Too often, these long stays in the confines of Rikers lead to tragedies, as in the case of Kalief Browder,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy. “Intro. 1348 will mandate that anyone detained on Rikers Island for more than 10 days, whether awaiting trial or sentenced to serve jail time, be offered access to 5 hours per day of programming to ensure no one suffers the same fate as Kalief.”

 

Transparency in Emergency Response Times

In 2013, the Council passed a local law requiring the FDNY to report on response times to fires and certain types of serious medical emergencies.

Introduction 135-A, sponsored by Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, would expand this reporting to include all categories of medical emergencies, more detailed reporting on response times to serious medical emergencies and fires, and response times by community district and FDNY division. This bill will provide a fuller picture of response times to help the public and policymakers make informed decisions on these crucial issues.

“This bill will take data that the Fire Department already has and make it public, and further break it down by community board so New Yorkers will know what the emergency response time is for their own local area. This will allow us all to better understand where greater resources is needed. We can then act more effectively and efficiently, and save precious, life-saving seconds for New Yorkers in emergencies,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.

 

Providing Adequate Resources for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Introduction 1237-A, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, would require the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to review the department’s current system for maintaining health records in the juvenile detention system, including whether it would improve the current system to maintain such records electronically. ACS would be required to submit a report to the Council by December 31, 2017 regarding any recommended improvements to the health records maintenance system and a timeframe for implementation of any improvements.

Introduction 1451-A, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, would require the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to allow appropriate adults such as a coach, teacher or clergyperson, to visit youth in secure detention facilities unless the facility director feels the visit would be detrimental to the youth, the visitor has refused to comply with the rules governing visitation, or the visit would not be consistent with public safety.

Introduction 1452-A, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, would require the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to facilitate video conference visitation for youth in secure detention facilities. Youth would be permitted to video conference with family or legal guardians, as defined by ACS, except when the facility director determines that such communication is detrimental to the youth or not consistent with public safety. Video conferences would primarily be for the purposes of discharge planning, treatment, and rehabilitative conversations.

“Intro 1237-A, Intro 1451-A, and Intro 1452-A are a package of bills that work to emphasize rehabilitation, rather than punishment of detained youth by ensuring that they receive healthcare and stay connected to their communities and supportive adults in their lives.  Proposed Intro 1237-A will require ACS to review the effectiveness of its current system of maintaining health records for youth detained in ACS facilities. Proposed Intro 1451-A will require ACS to allow youth in detention facilities to designate visitors outside of family members- such as clergy, a coach, teacher or other adult with whom they have a positive relationship. Proposed Intro 1452-A will require ACS to allow young people in secure detention facilities to videoconference with family members,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “By ensuring appropriate medical care, eliminating the challenges that families can experience in traveling detention facilities for visits, and recognizing that non-family members can also be positive role models in a young person’s life, we are strengthening rehabilitation and improving likelihood of success.”

 

Resolution Regarding Recent Violence in Charlottesville, Virginia

Resolution 6529, sponsored by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would formally denounce the behavior of white supremacists during their rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last week.

“The New York City Council in the strongest possible terms denounces the violence and destruction wrought by white supremacists at the recent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and mourns the death of Heather Heyer, a bright young woman who needlessly lost her life while fighting against the forces of bigotry and discrimination,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Hate has absolutely no place in New York City and we will continue to do everything in our power to make sure that everyone is protected and accepted regardless of their race, religion, or background.”

 

The City Council will vote on rezoning for the following locations…

1860 Second Avenue in Manhattan

The NYC Education Construction Fund and AvalonBay Communities seeks approval of a zoning map change, zone text amendment, and special permits to facilitate the redevelopment of the project area, which currently contains the Marx Brothers Playground and Coop Tech High School. This zoning change would provide a significant number of new permanent affordable units beyond mandatory inclusionary housing, senior housing, three new state of the art schools to replace outdated schools, a local hiring plan, and additional cultural space at the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center.

“The public benefits of the ECF East 96th Street Project are unprecedented – with nearly half a billion dollars of private investment that will go directly towards the creation of new schools, playgrounds, parks, and affordable housing.” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I am proud to vote in support of a project that can deliver so many significant public benefits.”

 

The City Council will vote on the following appointments…

  • John Flateau to the Brooklyn Board of Election Commissioner of Elections

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