CM Levine Launches “Languages for All” Campaign to Expand Bilingual Education in City Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2018

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

City Hall, New York -- Today, Council Member Mark Levine launched a new Languages for All campaign aimed at creating a robust expansion of foreign language education programs in NYC.

Learning a foreign language early in life can be an invaluable asset to a child growing up in the world’s most global city. However, very few of the DOE’s language learning programs reach students during their most formative years. In addition to the obvious economic benefits associated with knowing a second language, studies have proven that language learning benefits students in countless ways, including: higher levels of academic achievement, improved cognitive ability, enhanced decision-making ability, and even staving off the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Council Member Levine is renewing his call for the City to increase the number of elementary students in immersion programs to 20% of all students and to grow the number of languages offered to 20, a goal the City has not yet met despite progress.

The DOE currently offers 245 Dual Language programs across the five boroughs for 11 languages, including: Spanish, Chinese, French, Russian, Polish, Japanese, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Italian, Hebrew, and Korean.

Council Member Levine introduced two pieces of legislation to expand dual languages programs in the City, including:

  • A bill directing the DOE to annually report to the Council on the number and progress of foreign language learning (FLL) programs in the City (Int 762-2018); and
  • A resolution calling on the State to enact A.1154/S. 3641 sponsored by Assemblymember Nily Rozic and State Senator Kevin Parker that would establish incentives for college students to become bilingual-certified teachers (Res 273-2018).


“New York is the most multilingual city in the world, and yet, our City’s public schools are falling behind when it comes to foreign language instruction at an early age,” said Council Member Levine. “As the world becomes ever more connected, multilingualism is an increasingly valuable asset in the job market. Language learning-- especially at a young age--also aids cognitive development and promotes academic achievement in other subjects. For young people to succeed in today’s global world, we need to create a language learning system for the 21st Century, focused on immersion at a young age.”

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Health Chair Levine Introduces Lead Testing Legislation for City Parks

CM Levine also Endorsed Two Bills Aimed at Curbing the Rat Scourge in Manhattan Valley

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

City Hall, NY – Today, New York City Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Health Committee, introduced legislation that requires the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to annually test lead levels in City parks.

Council Member Levine’s bill is part of a package of bills introduced to the City Council today to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in the five boroughs by strengthening the city’s lead laws. In 2016 alone, over 5,000 children tested positive for high levels of lead, or about 1.65% of the one to two year olds tested annually as required by state law. Though the number is down from 12.5% in 2005, this package of bills will require the city to conduct more thorough investigations when children test positive for high lead blood levels - including in the exposed child’s day care, preschool, and parks and play areas. The package will lower the threshold for what counts as elevated blood lead to 5 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL), which matches the Centers for Disease Control standard. The city’s current level - which is the standard used to instigate a mandatory investigation - is three times higher.

Currently, the City does not test for lead in parks or the many thousands of water fountains in them. Council Member Levine’s new legislation will require DOHMH to annually test lead levels in City owned and operated parks, including water fountains and in the soil of playgrounds, and if lead levels are unacceptably high, the Department will be required to remediate those levels immediately.

Council Health Chair Mark Levine said, “While our city has made great strides in the battle against lead poisoning, far too many of our children continue to test positive for dangerously high levels of lead in their blood. We must attack this challenge everywhere that children are at risk: in our homes, in our schools, and in our parks. This sweeping package of legislation will put New York City at the forefront nationally in this vital public health fight, and as a former Chair of the Parks Committee, I’m especially proud to be introducing legislation that will make our parks and playgrounds safer and healthier for New York families.”

Council Member Levine Backs Legislation to Curb Rat Scourge in Manhattan Valley

Today, Council Member Levine also sponsored two bills, Intro 658 and Intro 659, which aim to address the prevailing issue of rats in DOHMH designated “rat reservoirs,” which include large swaths of Manhattan Valley and Morningside Heights.

Intro 658, sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James, would make abating rodents a requirement for the issuance of construction permits in any rat reservoir. Intro 659, sponsored by Council Member Antonio Reynoso would require the City to publicly report on its progress in lowering rodent populations.

"The prevailing issue of rats has plagued New York City, and particularly Upper Manhattan for decades," said Council Health Chair Mark Levine. "Rats are not only a detriment to quality of life, but also to public health and safety. In the past few years my office has held several Rat Academies in partnership with the Departments of Health and Sanitation to demonstrate safe and effective ways buildings and homeowners can control rodent issues, and I look forward to doing even more in the coming months. I am also working directly with the Health Department to bring in new rodent resistant trash bins and to increase abatement measures in NYCHA buildings such as the Douglass and Grant Houses.”

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Manhattan Council Members Propose Residential Parking Permit Program

Transportation Alternatives Lauds Idea as Decongestion Tool

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 25, 2018

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

Manhattan, New York -- Today, City Council Members Mark Levine & Helen Rosenthal, co-chairs of the Manhattan Delegation, and Council Members Keith Powers & Diana Ayala, will introduce legislation that would require the City Department of Transportation (DOT) to create and implement a residential parking permit (RPP) system in Northern Manhattan, covering all areas north of 60th Street through Inwood. Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Transportation Committee, also introduced legislation to create a citywide RPP.  

Neighborhoods in the northern half of Manhattan increasingly face the crowding and congestion of suburban commuters leaving their cars on local streets in order to transfer to the subway--a problem that would be severely exacerbated should congestion pricing ever be implemented.

The bill, Int. 848-2018, as introduced by Council Members Levine, Rosenthal, Powers, and Ayala  would address this problem by requiring DOT to designate specific areas and neighborhoods where a residential parking permit (RPP) system would be implemented, and to determine the days and times when permit requirements would be in effect. Under the proposed law, DOT would be able to reserve up to 80% parking spaces on designated residential blocks for people who live in the neighborhood, leaving the remaining spots for non-residents. The legislation also specifies that no RRP zone would be implemented on streets zoned for commercial or retail use.

The program is designed to give local residents priority for on-street parking in residential areas and to discourage park-and-ride commuters. New York is one of the only major cities in America that does not have some version of an RPP.

In addition to this legislation, the bill’s sponsors are calling for the following protections to be implemented in the rules-making process, including requirements that DOT:

  • Hold public hearings with community boards before implementing RPP in a neighborhood;
  • Ensure permits are only issued to individuals holding a New York State driver's license;
  • Ensure permits are attached to specific license plate numbers; and
  • Limit the number of permits issued to one per licensed driver.

“For too long suburban commuters have taken advantage of free street parking in Northern Manhattan and crowded out the people who actually live in our neighborhoods,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “Whether you live in Washington Heights or the Upper East Side, parking in our borough is an incredible challenge for so many who live here. Manhattan is already facing a suffocating congestion crisis that is hurting our economy, threatening the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, and poses a danger to our environment. We can’t afford to continue as one of the only big cities in America that doesn’t have a residential parking permit system--this policy is long overdue.

“Residential permit parking is a great step toward a more sensible street policy. There’s a reason that nearly every other major city in the country has implemented such a system—it makes good sense to discourage folks from driving to neighborhoods like the Upper West Side and to make life a little easier for existing residents. I am proud to work with Council Members Levine and Powers on this issue,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal who represents the Upper West Side.

“Traffic congestion is an ongoing economic, health, and safety crisis, and the city must begin to equitably tackle this street congestion using the most powerful tool they have at their disposal: authority over the more than 6,000 miles of streets across the city,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives. “Reforming parking policies and making better use of curbside space besides free, unlimited long-term private car storage will disincentivize unnecessary driving and reduce congestion by cutting down on the number of drivers circling for a parking spot, making our streets safer and our city greener.”

“This bill provides an opportunity for neighborhoods in Manhattan to evaluate residential parking permits,” said Council Member Keith Powers who represents parts of the Upper East Side. “As the city continues to debate issues like congestion pricing, this provides surrounding neighborhoods a chance to explore resident parking. Thank you to Council Member Levine for introducing the bill and my colleagues for engaging in a conversation about traffic and parking.”

“Too often, residents of Northern Manhattan find themselves circling their blocks for hours on end to secure parking because of crowding caused by suburban park-and-ride commuters. New York City could mitigate this hassle by joining other major cities around the country and establishing a residential parking permit system that would prioritize our residents first,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, who represents East Harlem.

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Following MTA Bus Action Plan Announcement, CM Levine Calls on City to Step Up on Transit Signal Implementation

Manhattan, NY -- “New Yorkers have a right to a reliable transit system, but millions who rely on buses are suffering because of slower speeds and longer travel times," said Council Member Mark Levine. "Today’s announcement is welcome news for the 2.5 million New Yorkers who rely on buses to get to work and take their kids to school. I’m especially excited that the MTA plans to equip every one of its 5,700 buses with transit signal priority (TSP) technology by 2020.”

“In a city where buses spend an average of 21% of their time stuck at red lights on congested routes, TSP has proven to be a quick and cost effective fix to make our bus system faster, reducing bus travel times by an average of 14%. But now the City needs to do its part to dramatically accelerate the pace of installation of advanced signal control on bus routes across the five boroughs—as is called for in my legislation calling on DOT to roll out this technology on at least 10 bus routes a year. Unlike the subway system, major pieces of bus infrastructure are controlled by the City, and we need to take advantage of that.”

 

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Transit Advocates to Join CM Levine, Sen. Benjamin to Protest Lack of Accessibility Increases at Northern Manhattan MTA Stations

**ADVISORY for April 9, 2018**

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

Manhattan, NY – On Monday April 9th, the MTA will begin renovating several Northern Manhattan subway stations as part of the agency’s Enhanced Station Initiative, meaning the 72nd, 86th, and 110th Street stops along the B/C line will all be shuttered through the fall. 

Council Member Levine, State Senator Brian Benjamin, and TransitCenter will be protesting the lack of increased accessibility at the stations receiving renovations. They'll​ ​call on the MTA to create a plan for system-wide accessibility that is reflected in the next capital program and beyond, to make ADA access central to any major station overhaul​,​ ​and to ​immediately and dramatically improve poor elevator performance​.

Council Member Levine will also be calling on the MTA to implement temporary measures that would ease the burden on Northern Manhattan residents who are facing subway closures, including shuttle bus service, increase M10 bus frequency, and a commitment to issue monthly reports on the progress of each station renovation. A petition the Council Member launched on April 5th has already collected several hundred signatures from community members affected by the shutdown.

Who: New York City Council Member Mark Levine; State Senator Brian Benjamin; TransitCenter; Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell; disability advocates; and dozens of community members affected by the shutdown

Where: Northwest Corner of Frederick Douglass Circle on 110th Street

When: Monday, April 9th at 10:30 am

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Council Member Levine Launches Petition to MTA over B/C Subway Closures

**ADVISORY for April 9, 2018**

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

Manhattan, NY – Council Member Mark Levine, TransitCenter, and dozens of community activists will be rallying this Monday over the MTA’s shutdown of several stations in Northern Manhattan as part of the agency’s Enhanced Station Initiative. 

Council Member Levine also launched an online petition to MTA Chair Joseph Lhota over the renovations.

The rally will be protesting the lack of accessibility at the stations receiving renovations. Council Member Levine and TransitCenter will ​call on the MTA to create a plan for system wide accessibility that is reflected in the next capital program and beyond, to make ADA access central to any major station overhaul​,​ ​and to ​immediately and dramatically improve poor elevator performance​.

Council Member Levine will also be calling on the MTA to implement temporary measures that would ease the burden on Northern Manhattan residents who are facing subway closures, including shuttle bus service, increase M10 bus frequency, and a commitment to issue monthly reports on the progress of each station renovation.

Who: New York City Council Member Mark Levine; TransitCenter; disability and dozens of community members affected by the shutdown

Where: Northwest Corner of Frederick Douglass Circle on 110th Street

When: Monday, April 9th at 10:30 am

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CM Levine Prepares to Kick off Participatory Budgeting Vote Week

Northern Manhattan residents to vote on how to spend $1 million

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

Northern Manhattan, NY – City Council Member Mark Levine will hold a Kick-Off Event for the 4th Annual Participatory Budgeting (PB) Vote Week this Saturday, April 7th from 12 to 2 pm. PB empowers local residents to vote for project proposals developed by community stakeholders that they would like to see funded. Voters will be able to choose their top 5 selections out of 11 project proposals to decide how to spend $1 million of public money.

“Participatory budgeting engages our community in the governing process by giving residents the ability to decide what improvements they want to see in their neighborhood. Many of the creative project proposals on the ballot would not have come to light without input from the community. I’m proud to offer District 7 residents the opportunity to directly decide what they’d like to see funded by their own tax dollars,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “This is always an exciting time of year. In just a few short months, the Grant Houses playground which our community voted to fund in 2015, will be completed in time for summer. I can’t wait to cut that ribbon. It’s truly amazing to see how our community comes together to get things done through this process.”

This year, eligible voters only need to be 11 years old and live in the 7th Council District to take part in participatory budgeting. Residents will be able to vote online starting this Saturday. The full list of ballot proposals, along with voting locations, is available on Council Member Levine’s website, and below:

 

CM Levine's District Office

500 West 141st St.

 

4/9 through 4/13

9:30am to 5:30pm

George Bruce Library

518 West 125th St.

 

4/9 through 4/14, 2:30pm to 4:30pm

Bloomingdale Library

150 West 100th St.

 

4/9 through 4/14

3pm to 5pm

 

2018 Project

Modernizing Neighborhood Libraries

  • $200,000 for new computers, printers, Wi-Fi, projectors, and audio systems in 7th District public libraries

Upgrading Community Parks

  • $570,000 to rebuild the handball court at the Alexander Hamilton Playground
  • $450,000 to repair the Morningside Park playground at 110th Street, including new equipment for children of all ages
  • $500,000 for new playground turf at PS 125

Investing in our Schools

  • $200,000 for technology upgrades at MS 54, the Booker T. Washington Middle School (103 West 107th St)
  • $200,000 for technology upgrades at PS 36 Margaret Douglas School (123 Morningside Drive)
  • $450,000 for to upgrade the gym at PS 165, the Roberts E. Simon School (234 West 109th St)

Building Stronger NYCHA Communities

  • $500,000 to upgrade the playground and basketball courts at Frederick Douglass Houses
  • $500,000 for external lighting at Grant Houses
  • $200,000 for an emergency readiness kiosk at Manhattanville Houses

Improving Commutes

  • $60,000 for Bus Countdown Clocks along Broadway

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At Budget Hearing, Health Chair Levine to Call for Robust Public Health Funding in Face of Attack from Washington

Council Member Levine will highlight the need to address persistent inequities in health outcomes, in addition to increasing healthcare access including to New York’s undocumented

**FOR PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY**

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 10 a.m.

Contact: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

City Hall, NY - The City Council Health Committee, Chaired by Council Member Mark Levine will hear testimony from the Commissioner of City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) regarding the City’s Fiscal Year 2019 public health budget. 

As the City relies on the federal government for 35% of its $649 million public health budget, Council Member Levine will highlight the increasing threat of federal funding cuts detrimental to DOHMH’s public health programs and initiatives. In the last year alone the White House and Congress have implemented severe cuts to several City public health initiatives, including $7.6m cuts to  HIV prevention and $1.2m to teen pregnancy prevention.

Other key topics to be addressed by Health Chair Levine will include:

  • The status of the Administration’s feasibility study on safe injection sites;
  • Calling for an expansion of the City’s Health Action Centers to neighborhoods of need such as Jamaica, Queens and the northern rim of Staten Island;
  • Examining the GetCoveredNYC program’s progress in enrolling New Yorkers in health insurance plans
  • Assessing the Department’s progress in alleviating health outcome disparities across racial and ethnic communities, and socio-economic levels.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 10 a.m.  

WHERE: City Hall Committee Room

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Council Member Levine to Chair Oversight Hearing on Department of Health’s Center for Health Equity

**FOR PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY**

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Tuesday, February 27th, 2018 at 10 a.m.

Contact: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

New York, NY - Tomorrow, NYC Council Member Mark Levine will hold his first hearing as chair of the Council’s Health Committee, conducting oversight over the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) Center for Health Equity (CHE).

While the overall health of New Yorkers has improved over the last decade, inequities in outcomes and access to quality care persist between different racial and ethnic communities, income levels, and zip codes. Chair Levine and his colleagues will focus on the Center’s efforts to address issues such as the racial disparity in maternal and infant mortality rates, the economic disparity in asthma rates, the premature death rate in high poverty communities, and more.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 10 a.m.  

WHERE: 250 Broadway, 14th Floor Committee Room

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Council Member Levine, Borough President Brewer to Call for Affordable Housing in Washington Heights

*ADVISORY* Thursday, February 15th, 2018

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // JSporn@council.nyc.gov // 917-842-5748

Andrew Goldston // agoldston@manhattanbp.nyc.gov // 917-960-1187

Manhattan, NY  Tomorrow, New York City Council Member Mark Levine and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will be joined by community activists--the Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association (RENA)--in Washington Heights to call for affordable housing to be built at 654 West 158th Street, which is currently owned by the City Department of Transportation.

Who: Council Member Mark Levine, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Community Housing Advocates

Where: 654 West 158th Street, Washington Heights, NY

When: Thursday, February 15th at 10 am

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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...

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