Councilman wants to keep diet pills hawked by Cardi B, Kardashians away from minors

By Suzy Weiss

Weight-loss laxatives peddled by Cardi B and the Kardashians are a “dangerous scam” that pose a serious health risk to New York’s self-conscious teens, according to a local lawmaker proposing a ban on their sale to minors.

“The fact that kids can stroll into bodega, grocery and health food stores and buy these products without input from a medical professional is not good public health policy,” said City Councilman and bill sponsor Mark Levine (D-Manhattan).

“It’s being pumped up by a social media campaign, led by celebrity endorsers no less prominent than the Kardashians,” added Levine who called the slim-waisted, gapped-thigh ideal propagated endlessly on Instagram a “tyranny of body image.”

Read the full article here.

Add your reaction Share

Jameela Jamil Says She's 'Not Nervous' to Call Out Celebrities Who Promote Weight Loss Products

By Brianne Tracy

Jameela Jamil isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

Over the past several months, the outspoken Good Place actress, 33, has become known for calling out celebrities — including Kim Kardashian West, Khloé Kardashian and Cardi B — for promoting weight loss teas and appetite-suppressing lollipops to their millions of followers.

“I’m not nervous to call anyone out,” Jamil told PEOPLE ahead of her keynote speech on Saturday at the Create & Cultivate pop up held in Palm Springs, Calif., during weekend one of Coachella.

“I think people are just scared and greedy. I think girls, in particular, are scared because we’re always told to not be unlikable, and not to be difficult, and to be perfect. I would like to, hopefully, be a force of change in that [and] show people that sometimes you have to be scary, and you have to be intimidating, and you have to be bold, and you have to be unlikable in order to protect yourself and to protect other people.”

Read the full article here.

Add your reaction Share

UWS Councilman Pushes For Dual-Language Yiddish Program: Report

By Brendan Krisel

A City Councilman representing parts of the Upper West Side, Harlem and Washington Heights is pushing the city to create a secular dual-language Yiddish-English public school program in his district, according to reports.

Mark Levine told the Jewish publication Forward that the dual-language program could be launched at a school in his district by the 2020-2021 school year. The program would be the first of its kind in New York City, Forward reported.

Levine told the publication that meeting with young Jewish activists spurred him to support the program.

"I've been inspired by young activists who are looking to keep this language alive, and keep its literature and theater and culture alive by passing it on to the next generation," Levine told Forward.

Read the full article here.

Add your reaction Share

Measles outbreak tests limits of religious freedom in New York City

By Laura Nahmias, Dan Goldberg, and Amanda Eisenberg

A quick fix to New York City’s measles outbreak is proving elusive, and the reasons are as much political as they are medical.

A powerful voting bloc, the ultra-Orthodox community has managed to carve out what is arguably a separate system of city services with their own ambulances, school buses and police. They run their own private schools for which they receive city, state and federal funds.

That insularity coupled with measles outbreaks in Europe and Israel — two popular destinations for Hasidic Jews — made it only a matter of time before the virus spread out of control.

Read the full article here.

Add your reaction Share

City Councilman Looks To Ban Sale Of Detox Teas To Minors

New legislation introduced to the City Council is looking to ban the sale of detox teas and appetite suppressors to minors.

Councilman Mark Levine says the so-called “detox teas” are really just laxatives and likened them to “get skinny fast” products.

Several companies that have been advertising the detox products claim they are weight loss supplements that can increase metabolism, improve digestion and boost energy levels. But, the problem is that these products are hardly regulated.

“They are considered food additives and so they aren't under the same intense regulatory oversight that traditional medications or pharmaceuticals would see,” Levine said.

Read the full article here.

Add your reaction Share

Yiddish Kindergarten May Be Coming To A New York City Public School Read more: https://forward.com/news/422512/yiddish-kindergarten-may-be-coming-to-a-new-york-city-public-school/

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Three generations ago, before the Holocaust decimated European Jewry, tens of thousands of students studied at more than a thousand secular Yiddish elementary schools dotted across Eastern Europe.

Today, there is only one secular Yiddish school in the world, and it’s in south Australia.

Next year, that could change, and in a dramatic way: Secular Yiddish education might be coming to a New York City public school.

A member of the New York City Council, Mark Levine, is proposing the creation of a dual-language Yiddish-English program in a New York City public school starting in the fall of 2020. The students would spend half of their day learning in English, and half learning in Yiddish.

Read the full article here.

Add your reaction Share

NY City Council bill would ban sale of celebrity-endorsed detox teas to minors

By Morgan Gstalter

Legislation introduced in the New York City Council would ban the sale to minors of detox teas and appetite-suppressant lollipops endorsed on social media by celebrities like the Kardashians.

Councilman Mark Levine introduced the bill to take aim at the sale of teas and similar “get skinny fast” products, NY 1 reported on Thursday.

“We learned about the rising prevalence of these products by social media. Appetite suppressants have been around since the '80s, but it’s really Instagram, celebrity endorsers of no less fame than the Kardashians who have been pushing this,” Levine said.

The legislation would require customers to provide proof of age when purchasing these supplements. Those caught selling detox teas to minors could face a $500 fine, NY 1 reported.

Read the full article here.

Add your reaction Share

NYC Councilman Aims to Ban 'Flat Tummy' Tea, Lollipop Sales to Minors

By Jessica Sun

New York City councilman Mark Levine has introduced legislation that would ban the sale of "detox teas" and "flat-tummy" lollipops to anyone under the age of 18. 

Advertisements for detox teas, or "skinny teas," promise they will guarantee near-effortless weightloss and flat stomachs.

Though the products are extremely popular and endorsed by social media influencers and celebrities alike, awareness about the tea's harmful effects is growing. 

Levine, who is also the City Council's health chair, is particularly concerned about detox teas being marketed to young people because they give the impression that "the repeated intake of laxatives is part of a healthy lifestyle," he said. Young girls in particular are especially at risk of body-image issues and eating disorders.

Read the full article here.

Add your reaction Share

NYC Legislation Would Curb Detox Tea Industry

By Jen Carlson

Just last year, a giant pink billboard went up in Times Square instructing women to "just have [a lollipop]" when your body desires life-fueling food. The billboard was for Flat Tummy Lollipops, and reached eyes far from the Crossroads of the World. "EVEN TIMES SQUARE IS TELLING WOMEN TO EAT LESS NOW? Have we actually gone mad?" actress Jameela Jamil (maybe you know her as Tahani on The Good Place) tweeted at the time, questioning the dangerous detox-branded diet supplement industry.

S. Bryn Austin, a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health, lauded Jamil for her efforts recently, saying "Jamil has opened the eyes of millions around the globe to the corrupt and deceptive detox tea market. Arguably, she’s done this more efficiently and expeditiously than a quarter century of well-intentioned but utterly unglamorous communications from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)." And her efforts have now reached New York.

According to NY1, Councilman Mark Levine "has introduced legislation to ban the sale of the tea and other similar products to minors after learning about their danger from a staffer whose relative died after consuming them." Under Levine's legislation, the unregulated products wouldn't go away, but purveyors of the product would need to "require proof of ID to purchase the products and impose violations of up to $500 for those caught selling to minors." It's unclear how much Levine's legislation will do to slow down this industry, but it's a step.

Read the full article here.

Add your reaction Share

Local Council Member Looks to Expand Food Truck Permits and Enforcement

By Michael McDowell

Will the Upper West Side be one day filled with vegan taco trucks, momo carts, or Thai on wheels?

It’s possible, if legislation scheduled for a Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing hearing Thursday morning continues to make its way through City Council to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The proposed legislation would, over the next decade, gradually expand the number of permits for street vending and dismantle the black market on which such permits are currently leased. It would also create a centralized, interagency Office of Street Vendor Enforcement, to be operational by September 1, 2019, which would “exclusively enforce vending laws.” It would additionally establish a Street Vendor Advisory Board composed of “vendors, brick and mortar small businesses, representatives from community groups, labor unions, property owners, and city agencies.”

Council Member Mark Levine, who is a sponsor of the bill, called it a “win-win,” in an interview with the Rag.

“Street vending has been a cherished path to economic opportunity in this city for centuries, and it remains an important part of New York’s character and our street life. Street vendors, like everybody else, have to obey the rules, and we’ve never really had consistent enforcement. We’ve also had a problem of a huge illegal market in permits. This legislation would address both issues,” he said.

Read the full article here.

Add your reaction Share

Sign up for our mailing list!

Report a Problem Participatory Budgeting Events