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This Week in New York City Government

Mayor:

Mayor de Blasio Announces Green Buildings Technical Working Group, Another Major Step Toward 80 by 50

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of the Technical Working Group, which will help move forward the Mayor’s aggressive green buildings plan, marking a key step toward the City’s goal of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

This fall, Mayor de Blasio pledged an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2005 levels by 2050, making New York City the largest city in the world to commit to that goal.  In New York City, buildings are responsible for approximately three-quarters of all greenhouse gas emissions. To kick off the administration’s commitment to 80 by 50, Mayor de Blasio released One City: Built to Last, a sweeping ten-year plan to retrofit public and private buildings to dramatically reduce the city’s contributions to climate change, while creating green jobs and generating operational savings.

In addition to its commitment to retrofit every public building with any significant energy use by 2025, the administration is also spurring private building owners to invest in efficiency upgrades – setting interim targets and incentives to catalyze voluntary reductions, and implementing mandates that will trigger if interim reduction targets are not met.

Mayor de Blasio Announces NYC Tech Talent Pipeline Industry Partners and Commitments to Strengthen City’s Tech Workforce

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced 14 initial industry commitments to support the delivery of technology education, training, and job opportunities to thousands of New Yorkers as part of the Administration’s NYC Tech Talent Pipeline initiative. Announced by the Mayor in May 2014, the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline is a first-of-its-kind, $10 million public-private partnership designed to support the growth of the City’s tech ecosystem and prepare New Yorkers for 21st century jobs. The commitments were announced at the inaugural convening of the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline Advisory Board, during which Mayor de Blasio and 25 executives representing the City’s leading companies came together to help define employer needs, develop technology training and education solutions, and deliver quality jobs for New Yorkers and quality talent for New York’s businesses.

More than 20 industry partners, including members of the Advisory Board, have  already responded to the Administration’s call to deliver quality jobs for New Yorkers and quality talent for the City’s rapidly growing tech ecosystem. The Administration has been working closely with industry partners for several months to develop many of these programs and other resource commitments, which include tech skills training programs, scholarships, critical research, and funding support. The City will link key resources to these and future NYC Tech Talent Pipeline programming as additional programs and investments are unveiled.

Mayor de Blasio Announces $15 Million Initiative to Support City’s Fashion Industry

Mayor Bill de Blasio marked the beginning of Fashion Week by announcing new and expanded programs to support the city’s fashion industry, tripling the current investment from $5 million to $15 million. These “Made in NY” programs will directly support and shine a spotlight on manufacturers, emerging designers, aspiring designers, and design students in New York City. The new public-private programs, to be rolled out throughout 2015, include scholarships and internships to help immerse emerging talent in the fashion industry, and build upon existing programs to further reinforce the city’s manufacturing and design sectors. Fashion companies may now apply to participate in Made in NY programs at MadeInNYFashion.nyc, which also provides valuable information and other resources for the city’s fashion industry.

Mayor de Blasio made the announcement at MADE, an upstart organization that provides approximately 40 designers with space, production and other resources to show their collections at no cost during each NYC Fashion Week. He was joined by several members of his administration, including Deputy Mayor Glen, who leads the City’s efforts to support the fashion industry.

The $15 million suite of initiatives will be largely comprised of public-private partnerships, spearheaded and financed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), with additional funding from a diverse set of industry partners. The program includes a two-year, $5 million creative marketing campaign, launching in 2015, that will leverage traditional and digital advertising media to highlight the city’s fashion companies. Additionally, the City has launched MadeInNYFashion.nyc, a digital hub dedicated to promoting local designers and manufacturers, showcasing New York City-made products, and providing the fashion industry with valuable resources and information.

Mayor de Blasio: City Begins Installing Truck Sideguards To Protect Pedestrians and Cyclists

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the City will begin retrofitting more than 200 City trucks with side guards in 2015 as part of its Vision Zero program. Side guards are rails between the front and rear wheels of a truck that can protect pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists from being caught under the vehicle in case of a collision with the side of a truck. In New York City trucks are only 3.6 percent of vehicles on the road, but collisions with trucks account for 12.3 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 32 percent of bicyclist fatalities.

The expansion to 240 vehicles will make New York City the largest municipal fleet in the nation to install truck side guards. The devices have also been implemented on varying scales Boston, Somerville, and Newton, Massachusetts and in Portland, Oregon. In the United Kingdom, widespread adoption of side guards is credited with reducing fatalities and severe injuries in side impacts by 61 percent for bicyclists and 20 percent for pedestrians.

Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Bratton and Speaker Mark-Viverito Announce $7.3 Million Investment to Upgrade Bulletproof Vests for NYPD Officers

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Bill Bratton and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the de Blasio administration will invest $7.3 million to upgrade 13,000 bulletproof vests, fulfilling the administration’s January 15, 2015 pledge to begin purchasing life-saving vests for the city’s police officers this year. This Mayoral investment will be reflected in the preliminary budget next week. The Mayor announced this allocation at the 34th Precinct in Manhattan during a visit with NYPD officers.

Since 1978, bulletproof vests have saved the lives of 87 NYPD officers. The NYPD will undertake a complete review of the optimal length of serviceability of vets to establish an appropriate regular replacement schedule for all vests going forward. Today’s announcement renews the 2006 City Council’s efforts to ensure new bulletproof vests were acquired for the force.

Citywide and Borough Electeds:

Comptroller Stringer: A Strong 2014 For New York City Tempered By Slower Economic Growth in the Fourth Quarter

New York City’s economy continued its solid growth in 2014, outpacing the nation on many fronts despite a slowdown in the fourth quarter, according to the NYC Quarterly Economic Update released by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.

2014 was one of the best job-producing years for New York City on record, with 88,900 (2.6 percent) private-sector jobs added, but in the fourth quarter, those jobs dropped slightly on a seasonally adjusted basis. Real Gross City Product (GCP), a measure of the City’s total economic output, grew at an estimated 2.8 percent annual rate in 4Q14, a healthy but still weaker pace than the 4.2 percent registered in the previous quarter. Consumer spending, powered by rising employment and lower gasoline and heating prices, continued to drive economic growth. To view a copy of the report Click here.

Public Advocate James Fights for Public Education

The Public Advocate has called on the administration to take action and implement universal in-classroom breakfast. She has also encouraged public school parents citywide to join Community and Citywide Education Councils, which present the best opportunity to be involved in the future of our schools, and directly connect parents to the resources in local communities.

The state must meet their obligation through paying public schools the outstanding funds owned as a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, which will go towards education public school students. The in-school dental clinic program must be renewed, expanded to provide vision and hearing screening for public school students.

Furthermore, the administration must recognize that School Leadership Teams (SLTs) are more than advisory— they are critical to the school governance structure, and as such should be made open. Although Department of Education regulations acknowledge that SLTs— comprised of parents and school staff, and including the PTA President, the UFT Chapter Leader, and the Principal— must abide by most of the provisions of the Open Meetings Law (including providing adequate public notice before any SLT meeting is held), the DOE currently does not require these meetings to be open.

Speaker Mark-Viverito, LGBT Caucus and City Council Celebrate Respect for All

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Council’s LGBT Caucus kicked off Respect For All (RFA) Week, with events in public schools during Feb.9-13, to foster the importance of respect for diversity.

During RFA week, schools highlight and build upon ongoing diversity programs and curriculum-based instruction. Schools also have the opportunity to embark upon new initiatives that promote respect for diversity and engage students in meaningful lessons and/or other activities that focus on preventing bias-based harassment, intimidation and/or bullying.

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Gives 2015 State of the City Address

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito delivered her inaugural State of the City address, a sweeping vision for 2015 that will uplift and strengthen all New Yorkers. Vowing to lift every voice in New York City, Speaker Mark-Viverito presented a bold, ambitious agenda at the Johnson Community Center in East Harlem to make New York City more secure, more just and more inclusive for all.

In the Speaker’s State of the City address, Speaker Mark-Viverito laid out a blueprint for New York City featuring broad ranging ideas, including proposals to:

•         Revitalize the Human Rights Commission and Expand the Human Rights Law
•         Expand Access to Civil Legal Services
•         Support Workers and Family-Friendly Workplaces
•         Support Small Businesses and Reduce Regulatory Burdens
•         Increase Resources and Empower Tenants at NYCHA
•         Reform New York City’s Criminal Justice System
•         Reform School Discipline Practices
•         Expand Access to Technology and Career and Technical Education Programs
•         Collaborate With NASA and New York City Public Schools
•         Collaborate with Microsoft to Expand Student Access to Technology

The Bronx Invites the Pope

New York City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr., New York City Comptroller, Scott Stringer, Congressman Jose E. Serrano and New York City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson are publicly inviting Pope Francis to Yankee Stadium. In a full-page newspaper ad the officials are asking The Pontiff to conduct a mass at the new Stadium when he visits NYC in September. The last papal mass at Yankee Stadium was led by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 at the old Stadium.

Borough President Brewer Swaps Conventional Speech for Panel Discussion on the Future of Manhattan at Her First “State of the Borough”

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer hosted her 2015 State of the Borough forum at Columbia University’s Lerner Hall in Morningside Heights.

The event eschewed the format of a conventional political address for a collaborative, bottom-up aesthetic. Following introductory remarks by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Deputy Borough Presidents Aldrin Bonilla and Joseph Garba, and 19-year old Community Board 4 member Austin Ochoa, Brewer led a wide-ranging panel discussion. The panel featured leaders expert in multiple issues facing Manhattan and its residents, including nonprofit leader Jaime Estades, Community Board 3 chair Gigi Li, SUNY Board of Trustees Chair H. Carl McCall, and American Jewish World Service President Ruth Messinger. Subjects of discussion included housing and affordability, education, technology, economic development, health, and more.

“The whole world knows our twenty square miles for our landmarks, our institutions, and our iconic skyline – but it’s also home to 1.6 million New Yorkers,” said Brewer. “The work ahead of us is clear: on education, affordable housing, development, and public space, we must realize a vision of Manhattan’s future not just as the world’s greatest center of business and culture, but as its greatest community.”

Borough President Katz Names Melva M. Miller As Deputy Borough President

Borough President Katz announced the appointment of Melva Miller as Deputy Borough President.  Miller succeeds former Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie who began his term as New York State Senator earlier this year.

“Economic development is a key priority of my agenda for Queens, and Melva’s multidimensional expertise to this end is second to none,” Borough President Katz said.  “Her understanding of Queens’ neighborhoods is extensive and comprehensive, from both the holistic, macro-policy level to a block-by-block community-basis.  Melva’s ideas, professionalism and experience in government have been tremendous assets to my administration. For the communities, her focus is relentless, her passion is unwavering.  Melva has also been a trusted member of my senior leadership team since Day One.  Her ascension as my Deputy is a natural one, and I thank her for accepting this responsibility.”

Since 2007, Miller has served as the Director of Economic Development for the Queens Borough President’s Office.  Previously, Miller was the Founding Executive Director of the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District and of KECDE!, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing the arts to community youth through dance.  Miller was also previously the Project Director for the Downtown Jamaica Cultural District and a Community Organizer for the Laurelton Local Development Corporation.  A lifelong resident of South East Queens, Miller has dedicated her life to community advocacy through creative organizing and citizen participation.

Borough President Oddo Kicks Off Readers Are Leaders Challenge

On February 9, 2015, Borough President James Oddo kicked off his annual “Readers Are Leaders” 4th Grade Reading Challenge at PS 42 in Eltingville. The program asks 4th grade students in Staten Island’s schools to read a minimum of six books at or above grade level during a five week period. Students will then submit a report on their favorite book that they read during the challenge. Each school will pick one “Exceptional Reader” to receive an award at a ceremony in April.

BP Oddo was joined at the kickoff by former Congressman Vito Fossella, who started “Readers Are Leaders” in 1996, and Council Member Vincent Ignizio, a proud PS 42 graduate. During the ceremony, members of the PS 42 Cheerleading Squad, Chorus and Band performed for the Borough President. Several students also asked BP Oddo questions about reading, government, and his favorite topic—baseball.

“Books can take you to far-away places and teach you new things. You can read for fun, for knowledge, to escape, for comfort, for solace—there are so many reasons to pick up a book,” noted the Borough President.

Since the program began in 1996, 4th graders have read more than 500,000 books for the annual challenge.

City Agencies:

Health Department Launches New Ad Campaign to Promote Condom Use

In recognition of National Condom Awareness Day and Valentine’s Day, the Health Department launched a new advertising campaign encouraging New Yorkers to “be sexy” and “be safe” with NYC-branded condoms by LifeStyles®.

Announced at the Museum of Sex, in partnership with City Council Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson and several local organizations, the new campaign features ads in English and Spanish that introduce words to best describe the NYC Condom – Exciting, Great Fit, Strong, Easy Access, Fun, and Available. The campaign includes ads that will run on social media and in subway cars through April.

The Health Department distributed more than 37 million free male condoms in 2014 at 3,500 diverse locations throughout New York City, including bars, clubs, restaurants, nail salons, barber shops, hospitals, clinics and community based organizations. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are highly effective in preventing unintended pregnancies and offer effective protection against most sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. The City’s effort to increase the availability of condoms has contributed to citywide declines in teen pregnancy rates, STI rates, and HIV rates.

Chancellor Fariña Encourages Parents to Get Involved By Running For an Education Council Seat

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña encouraged parents across the city to make a direct impact on their child’s education by running for an Education Council seat. Parents interested in becoming members of a Community or Citywide Education Council (CCEC) can apply starting February 11 through March 11, and should visit NYCParentLeaders.org for more information.

“The Community and Citywide Education Councils help shape education policies and maintain strong relationships with families and the community,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Education Councils make important contributions to their communities and I want to encourage parents across the city to apply for a seat. We need strong CECs in every district and citywide.”

Elections take place every two years, and this year, the DOE is engaging in a citywide effort to reach parents and raise awareness of these leadership roles, reflecting the Chancellor’s ongoing commitment to collaborating with families in the imperative work of preparing our city’s students for college and the workforce.

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