Monday, November 30, 2015

Gowanus Canal CAG Meeting Community Advisory Group Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Gowanus Canal CAG Meeting 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Public Welcome!

Mary Star of The Sea Senior Apartments, 41 1st Street, Brooklyn
DRAFT AGENDA (all times are approximate)

6:30 – 6:45 PM: Introductions and Updates 
  • Introductions
  • Project Updates (EPA)

6:45 – 7:30 PM:  Alloy proposal to donate land as part of tank siting
·      Representatives of Alloy will be present to describe their proposal and answer any questions

7:30 – 8:15:  NYC DEP and Parks Department
·      Representatives of DEP and Parks will be on hand to provide comments on the Alloy presentation and to discuss tank siting and open space

8:15 – 8:45 PM: CAG Committee Updates
  • Administration Committee
  • Outreach Committee
  • Archaeology Committee 
  • Water Quality and Technical Committee

9:00 PM:  Adjourn

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Community Boards' Opinion on Rezoning Not as Important as MINE: De Blasio

"EAST HARLEM — Mayor Bill de Blasio downplayed the role of the city's community boards, which have overwhelmingly rejected his citywide rezoning proposals, saying Monday their opinions are merely advisory as he pushes forward with the controversial plan. The boards, which are appointed by the mayor, City Council and borough presidents, have criticized the rezoning plans as not providing enough housing that is affordable to the actual income levels of people in the neighborhoods and for fear that it would spark more gentrification and overcrowding."

"Other boards fear the plans are too broad and would hurt the character of individual neighborhoods. "They don't have a perfect vantage point on their communities. No one has a perfect vantage point on the whole of a community, but they bring a lot of valuable insight," de Blasio said. "Community Boards are appointed to give input. They give input," the mayor continued. "The folks that are elected by all the people, the council members and the mayor, have to make the final decision."

"The mayor's remarks upset some community board members and borough presidents who worried the mayor would jam the proposals through despite the outcry.
"I think he’s taking that position because we didn’t vote supporting his plan," said Dolores Orr, chairwoman of Queens Community Board 14. "Had we voted in favor of his plan, he would have a different opinion of the community boards."

"The mayor's remarks come as community boards across the city are uniting against zoning changes proposed by his administration that are part of the plan to facilitate the preservation and creation of 200,000 units of affordable housing over the course of the next decade. Under the Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal, the parking requirements for affordable housing would be eliminated while allowing taller building heights to increase affordable housing.

"Mandatory Inclusionary Housing would require the construction of affordable housing for projects receiving city land or a subsidy.  The City Planning Commission, of which the mayor appoints the chair and seven of 13 members, and the City Council also must approve the changes.

"Respectfully, if the mayor is going to create affordable housing, he has to think about the people living in each community district," said George Fernandez, chairman of Community Board 12 in Washington Heights. "Because if it’s not for the community, then for who is it?"
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said last week that de Blasio needs to "realize that one size does not fit all" when it comes to zoning.

"In Queens, 12 of 14 boards voted against the zoning text amendments. In The Bronx, eight of 12 boards disapprove so far. Three of five borough community boards have come out against the plan."

"The mayor was unfazed when asked about the rejections Monday, saying "there's often a divergence between the community boards and the council and the mayor" that is "healthy" and "part of democracy." (edit)  ..........................

For more of this article please see

Katie Honan, Eddie Small, Emily Frost and Carolina Pichardo contributed reporting.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis and 'Agitating' for a "Democratic European Union"

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble points a finger at Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, on February 5, 2015. AP Photo/Michael Sohn

"Since stepping down as Greece’s finance minister in the leftist Syriza government, Yanis Varoufakis has been touring the world with his words, giving speeches to packed-out audiences. He spends much of the year with his wife Danae Stratou on Aegina, an island near Athens. From there, the couple can no doubt see that his work is a long way from being realised. Greece is still ensnared by crisis. But his main political focus now is ‘agitating’ for a “democratic European Union”.
"Born in Athens in 1961, Yanis Varoufakis was six years old when the Greek state was seized by a military coup d’etat led by the fascist Georgios Papadopoulos. “Those bleak days remain with me,” he would later reflect on his blog. “They endowed me with a sense of what it means to be both unfree and, at once, convinced that the possibilities for progress and improvement are endless.”
"By the time the dictatorship collapsed, the young Yanis was reaching the end of his secondary education. His parents, George and Eleni Varoufakis, began to consider where he should go to university. Eventually, they decided it was still too dangerous in Greece so they opted to send him to the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. There Yanis Varoufakis would study economics – which he saw as the “lingua franca of political discourse” – and join the Communist Society as he became politically active."
"Earlier in his life, Dr. Varoufakis was a much more orthodox Marxist, but his thinking has evolved over the years. “The exuberance of youth often goes together with dogmas,” Dr. Varoufakis told Aaron Bastani at Novara Media. “I believed a lot more in central planning than I do now. I believed a lot more in the wisdom of a political party that is hierarchically created. I was less aware and sensitive to the capacity of humans to abuse power – even power that is created in the pursuit of good causes.”
"Today, Dr. Varoufakis characterises his own brand of Marxism as “erratic” and libertarian. It draws on the humanistic work in Marx’s early career. As Dr. Varoufakis explains to The World Weekly: “Marx’s quarrel with capitalism was not that it was unjust but that it was inimical to human freedom and particularly inefficient at pressing our magnificent capacity for technological innovation into humanity’s service”.
"He goes on to say: “He got capitalism right but failed to predict how his disciples, the left, would exploit the power of his ideas to build political power structures that proved detrimental to human freedom and particularly inept at harnessing technological innovation”. Much like the British economist Paul Mason, the former Greek finance minister seems to view technology as a force that will overthrow capitalism with or with the help of the left. The question that occupies his thinking is not whether capitalism will be overtaken by technology but what kind of society will emerge as a result. Will it be the good society that has so far eluded us or some dystopia?".....

For more of this article please see:

The passing of a tireless community activist, Betty Stolz

CORD is grieving today. 

Our friend, partner, collaborator Bette Stoltz has passed.

It is with a truly heavy heart that we inform that our wonderful mentor, champion and dear friend, the irreplaceable, Bette Stoltz, has passed.

Bette was a tireless crusader--whether it was breathing life back into a Smith Street that was drowning, turning a slab of concrete into a beautiful garden, or bringing a program to our local schools--she took an idea and ran with it until that idea was a reality.

Bette is the reason there is a Second Place Transit Garden. She was presented with a kernel of an idea and with her energy, sensibility, drive and cheerful go-gettedness--and  beautiful garden was born.

Bette worked with CORD from its inception--her advice, her wisdom her willingness to share these things with us helped us in so many ways.

When the Gowanus Canal was first named as a possible site to be Superfunded, Bette eagerly became part of our South Brooklyn Coalition---probably the largest group of volunteer organizations ever put together---Bette representing the only not for profit group in the bunch.

Bette could do it all. She could make the connections needed to begin a project and then, bring in those who could make the whole thing even better. 

She was so competent you just felt that she could do the whole job completely with her "roll up your sleeves" approach to everything she did, but yet, she made you happily want to help out too.

Mostly though, Bette was just so genuine--there was no guile, no false smiles. She was a doer, an inspiration and a true friend.

Bette was warm, honest, generous and reliable. She was fun and funny, wise but not hardened and always willing to give more of herself ---all you had to do was ask.

We will certainly be thinking of Bette every time we are on Smith Street and each time we see the Transit Garden--- she did so much for our community in such a humble and non grandstanding manner.

We will remember all of those things and take them as a lesson in how to live a truly civic minded, concerned, compassionate, well loved and fruitful life.

The Transit Garden stands there-- a real, live, warm,welcoming place you can count on—is just like the lady Bette was herself.

So, whatever you believe, whatever your custom---keep Bette and her family close to you today. 

Goodbye, Bette. You will be sorely missed.

CORD Co-founders, 
Lucy DeCarlos, Rita Miller, Triada Samaras

There are no services or memorials that we are aware of at this time.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Evening Vigil for Paris Victims

5:30 PM

Tomorrow at 5:30 PMBrooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will hold an interfaith vigil with members of Brooklyn’s French community and concerned Brooklynites in response to yesterday’s terror attacks in Paris, which have claimed at least 125 lives and have injured hundreds more throughout the city. The event will begin in Carroll Park, a popular community hub in Carroll Gardens, where participants will light candles for peace and hear words of solidarity from local leaders. The gathering will lead into a candlelight walk toward an interfaith service at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, which regularly offers mass in French. Borough President Adams and others, including Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon and Council Member Brad Lander, will express their solidarity with the people of Paris, as well as address safety concerns in and around Brooklyn.

***PLEASE NOTE: At approximately 6:00 PM, Borough President Adams and others will hold a candlelight walk from Carroll Park to St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church for the interfaith service, where members of the media are welcome. The path of the walk will head north on Smith Street from Carroll Park, then east on Sackett Street to St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church.***

Stefan Ringel
Office of the Brooklyn Borough President
Communications Director
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
718.802.3831 (office)
917.574.3277 (cell)