What’s Brewing? This Week’s Must Read Link Roundup

In Borough Park and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, watch out for a bacterial infection. Read about it here at Gothamist.


Over at Labor Notes, read about how workers at Cablevision in Brooklyn finally got the union contract they've fought for for 3 years. Also learn about how the 262 tech workers' triumph has improved things for Cablevision techs throughout the tri-state area.


Comptroller Scott Stringer took steps to make NYC one of the most transparent cities in the country. From City Limits: "On Tuesday afternoon, Comptroller Scott Stringer announced that Checkbook NYC, which tracks how  the city spends its money and who it gives it to, now includes some data on subcontracts, with more to come."


Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is pushing for higher levels of accessibility in public buildings citywide. "The goal is to push buildings to go beyond simply meeting the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act." Read more here.


New York City and State are cracking down on landlords who harass tenants in rent-stabilized apartments. From DNAinfo "The Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force will investigate complaints that landlords are using tactics like disruptive and dangerous renovations and construction projects to force tenants to move out of rent-stabilized apartments, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday."


Are you the parent of a child currently attending public school in New York City? Are you interested in being more involved in the decision making process for your community's schools? Consider joining a Community or Citywide Education Council (CECs). To apply, go to nycparentleaders.org. For more on the responsibilities of CEC members, click here.


A comprehensive and definitive update by Amanda Ocasio at the Queens Free Press on the CUNY student struggle for justice and education. "CUNY administrators might be making every effort to suppress dissent, but students have refused to be silenced."



As NYPD Union Vows ‘Wartime Policing,’ Questions Of ‘Have We Learned Nothing?’

“An eye for an eye is not our vision of justice,” declared #BlackLivesMatter in a statement released Sunday

A declaration by the New York Police Department Union that it will engage in "wartime policing" in response to Saturday's killing of two city law enforcement officers has raised alarm among protesters and civil rights advocates, who ask: "Have we learned nothing?"
A statement released Saturday by the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association—the union for the NYPD—reads, "The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a 'wartime' police department. We will act accordingly."
Steven Thrasher, writing for the Guardian, responds, "Wartime? These are the marching orders to the 35,000 armed members of the biggest police department in the United States. This is the message now sent to protesters around the nation who have been finding novel and peaceful forms of expression to resist oppression—who have been protesting in reaction to police violence, not causing it."
Meanwhile, Pat Lynch, president of the PBA, made the unverified claim at a press conference on Saturday that ongoing protests and mobilizations are to blame for the killing of the police officers, stating, "There is blood on many hands tonight. Those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it shouldn't be tolerated."
But Ferguson Action, a broad, Ferguson, Missouri-based coalition behind mass organized response to police killings and violence, declared in a statement, "It is irresponsible to draw connections between this movement and the actions of a troubled man who took the lives of these officers and attempted to take the life of his ex-partner, before ultimately taking his own," referring to reports that the gunman shot a woman in Maryland prior to the incident in New York.
"Today’s events are a tragedy in their own right," the statement continued. "To conflate them with the brave activism of millions of people across the country is nothing short of cheap political punditry."
New York-based Communities United for Police Reform agrees. The campaign stated, "As the details of today’s shootings continue to come to light, there are people who would seek to exploit this tragedy and use it to condemn the growing national movement to end police violence and discriminatory policing. Attempts to link today’s tragic events with a movement that holds justice, dignity and respect for all as its core values are cheap political punditry, and dangerous in their divisiveness."
 #BlackLivesMatter, which describes itself as "a national grassroots and social media driven movement at the heart of much of the recent mobilizations against police violence," said in a statement"Our hearts grieve with New York, a community already reeling from the losses of Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, Kimani Gray, Akai Gurley, Islan Nettles and many more. An eye for an eye is not our vision of justice, and we who have taken to the streets seeking justice and liberation know that we need deep transformation to correct the larger institutional problems of racial profiling, abuse, and violence."
The statement continues:

At the heart of our movement work is a deep and profound love for our people, and we are rooted in the belief that Black people in the U.S. must reassert our right to live be well in a country where our lives have been deemed valueless. Together, we champion a complete transformation of the ways we see and relate to one another.   
Now is our moment to advance a dramatic overhaul of policing practices. Now is the time to direct more resources into community mental health services and practices. Now is a moment for empathy and deep listening. Now is the time to end violence against women and trans people. Now is our moment to come together to end state violence. 
"Our movement, grown from the love for our people and for all people, will continue to advance our vision of justice for all of us.  Let’s hold each other close as we work together to end violence in our communities—once and for all.

PHOTOS: New Yorkers Rage Against Racist, Violent Cops

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers joined in MillionsMarchNYC, a powerful and angry rally against generations of police racism, violence and impunity.

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers joined in MillionsMarchNYC, a powerful and angry rally against generations of police racism, violence and impunity.

In the wake of yet another wave of unpunished murder by local police, the long-standing rage against the blatant apartheid of the American justice system flowed into the streets, locking down traffic, organizing dozens of die-ins, and ultimately marching some 20 miles, over 12 hours, from Financial District to the Pink Houses in Brooklyn, where Akai Gurley was recently killed. Instead of calling for an ambulance, the cop who shot Gurley texted his union rep, apparently to ask for advice.

Escaping both police violence and well-documented kettling tactics, hundreds of New Yorkers eventually joined the local community in grieving for yet another victim of police brutality, culminating in an angry and somber die-in in front of the 75th precinct in Brooklyn.

Below are just some of the amazing, powerful and emotional scenes from yesterday.



As the Daily News recently reported, over the last 15 years, out of 179 cases where the NYPD killed, only 3 officers were ever indicted. Only one cop was ever convicted (and still, he never served a day in jail).

Although police-worshipers contend that cops have to kill for their own protection, economist Doug Henwood recently noted that according to the Bureeau of Labor Statistics' own data, "being a farmer is twice as dangerous [as being a cop]. Logging is nine times as dangerous; fishing, seven times; mining, more than four times; truck driving, two times. "


(all photos by Manny Jalonschi )

Today’s Headlines from New York City

Details about the recently approved city budget at NYC.gov.

Mixed City Council reaction to poverty formula for grants. (Capital NY)

New York City budget funds Rockaways ferry service only through October (7online)

AP IMPACT: NYC Jails Neglected Suicide Precautions . (AP/ABC)

New York City Approves Municipal ID Cards for Undocumented Immigrants (Democracy Now!)

More Than Half of NYC Holocaust Survivors Living in Poverty Despite German Reparations. (Forward)

A Guide to New York’s New Medical Marijuana Law.(NYmag)

Brooklyn DA Discusses Efforts to Turn Tide in His Office (NY1)

Steven Wishnia examines New York's retirement crisis in a two part series for LaborPress.

1. Fear of a Cat-Food Diet: Facing New York’s Retirement Crisis

2. Avoiding a Cat-Food Diet: Ideas to Fix the Retirement Crisis

NYC is looking to hire an Assistant Deputy Commissioner, SNAP (HRA). (CityLimits)

Queens Museum announced the Jerome Foundation Fellowship for emerging NYC artists- three $20,000 grants + artist’s project at Queens Museum  

The New York Summer Food Service Program Starts Today! (BQ Brew)

Want to Reduce Crime? Try Paying People - (WNYC: The Takeaway)


Today’s New York City Headlines

Cuomo Signs Off on Speed Camera Expansion

NY casino location board may expand

Brooklyn, NY, Celebrates Do the Right Thing Day in Honor of Director Spike Lee

City Council Expands Funding Of Veterans Services 

TLC's Unintended Taxicab Confession

Deal Could Bring Limited Free Wi-Fi to Port Authority Airports

Bronx CUNY funds restored 

A Fighter for NY’s Mexican Community 

Stabbing victim walks into Jamaica McDonald’s with knife in back 

Every Master Plan in New York City History, Collected in a Single Place

"Reality TV" Writers Outraged by Working Conditions:

NYC City Council Committee Holds Hearing On Working Conditions For Reality TV Production (CBS)

And here's the Labor tke: NYC Reality TV "Sweatshop" Hearing Decries Wage Theft, Long Hours & "Beleaguered And Exhausted Workforce" - Deadline.com http://bit.ly/1nHJDAM

Teachers Refuse to Give NYC ELA Performance Assessment Test at International High School at Prospect Heights

WHEN: Thursday, May 1, 2014, 7:45-8:20am,


WHERE: International High School at Prospect Heights, 883 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225


WHAT: Teachers will hold a press conference to announce their refusal to administer the NYC ELA Performance Assessment. 26 teachers and staff at Prospect Heights International High School are refusing to administer a new assessment that is part of the new teacher evaluation system pushed by Bloomberg’s DOE and the UFT last spring.  50% of parents have opted their children out of the test. The high school serves almost exclusively recently arrived English Language Learners.  


WHY:  The test was constructed and formatted without any thought for the 14% of New York City students for whom English is not their first language.  The level of English used in the pre-test administered in the Fall was so far above the level of our beginner ELLs that it provided little to no information about our students’ language proficiency or the level of their academic skills.


Furthermore, the test was a traumatic and demoralizing experience for students.  Many students, after asking for help that teachers were not allowed to give, simply put their heads down for the duration.  Some students even cried.  


Teachers at Prospect Heights are drawing a line with this test.  Standardized, high stakes test dominate our schools, distort our curriculum and make our students feel like failures.  This test serves no purpose for the students,  and ultimately only hurts them.


26 Teachers have signed a letter to Chancellor Farina declaring that they will not give the exam.  The letter expresses gratitude for Farina’s immediate turn around of the DOE’s attitude toward teachers, and asks that the Chancellor reconsider the use of the NYC ELA Performance Assessment with English Language Learners.


WHO:  Teachers and support staff from the International High School at Prospect Heights.

To learn more about the International High School at Prospect Heights and their opt-out action, please visit http://standupoptout.wordpress.com/

Alternative Media and Storytelling about Mixed-Heritage: Apr 24, 2014, 7pm

How does the alternative press function to highlight the stories otherwise missed by mainstream discourse?

Brooklyn Historical SocietyA panel discussion will explore the role DIY publishing and zines have played in telling the story of marginalized communities. To be held on April 24th at BHS, the free (but requires RSVP) discussion will feature media-makers and activists.

Panelists include:

Via the Brooklyn Historical Society.