Assemblyman Walter Mosley’s first State of the District address was attended by a Who’s Who of the 57th District in Brooklyn. Mosley took the opportunity to outline his accomplishments during his first year in office and to outline his 2014 legislative agenda for the district and New York City.
During Mosley’s first week in office he helped pass the NY SAFE Act which is banning military-style assault weapons, ensuring that all gun purchases are subject to a background check and keeping guns away from convicted felons and those who pose a danger due to mental illness. But while highlighting the everyday victims of gun violence and random violence like 22-year-old Taj Patterson, who was assaulted and left blind in one eye while walking home in December, and 11-year-old Tayloni “Tutu” Mazyck, who was hit by a stray bullet outside her home last summer and now remains completely paralyzed, possibly for life, Mosley said the SAFE Act must be expanded to address the rampant use of handguns.
“Getting serious about crime also means reforming outdated criminal justice policies that don’t do anything to stop violence but merely continues a cycle of poverty and criminalization in our communities,” said Mosley. He called for the state to discontinue annually processing 40,000 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in NYS courts. “We can take meaningful steps to help these young people,” Mosley said, because “young people who commit crimes are still in their formative years, and public money is more efficiently and effectively spent providing rehabilitation, job training and social programs that give young people tangible tools and hope for a bright future as a fully participating member of society.”
In response to incidents of shop-and-frisk at Barneys and Macy’s, Mosley pledged to introduce the Retail-Anti-Profiling Act, which would implement two major NYPD reforms. “First, this bill would require the city to annually report on any and all ‘additional services’ provided to private business and to explain what these services cost the NYPD and the recipients. Second, this bill would end the 1994 memorandum of understanding under which NYCHA is charged over $70 million a year for ‘additional police services,’” said Mosley. “Public housing residents should not have to pay double for policing, while luxury businesses apparently have additional NYPD personnel in their stores under secretive policies.”
But discrimination is not confined to race, said Mosley. “Despite overwhelming support in the state Assembly, New York failed to pass Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act that addresses continuing discrimination against women throughout our state. This ten-point women’s agenda would work to end the widespread discrimination women in NY still face,” Mosley said. “Every woman deserves to be able to have a child and start a family without fearing for losing her job because she needs to take maternity leave. Every woman deserves a professional and harassment-free workplace that has equal pay for equal work. Every woman deserves the right to make her own decisions about her own health care, about her own body and about her own future.”
“When women succeed, we all succeed,” Mosley added. “The governor wants these reforms done and we’re going to fight to get this signed into law this year. We passed it in the Assembly last year, we will pass it again this year and we will send a powerful message to the Senate that this is 2014 and it is an embarrassment to continue treating women like second-class citizens.”
Mosley said that all New York children deserve a “holistic approach of academic and social education that extends far beyond the classroom walls – an approach that pushes our young people to not just master the basics of math, reading and writing, but to think critically about the world and the community they live in”, which starts with Universal Pre-K education supported by the wealthiest New Yorkers.
Noting that rampant bullying keeps too many children afraid to go to school, Mosley said this year the state expanded the Dignity for All Students Act, which requires a mandatory reporting system for all incidents of bullying and cyberbullying and antibullying education classes and Internet instruction for all current staff and students on how to deal with bullying in our schools.
Mosley also supported the development of young people by partnering with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations to sponsor a first annual Youth Job Fair for Brooklyn in which more than 200 young people obtained resume-building skills and opportunities for hands-on job training that they will need to be competitive in the 21st century.
To address the 21% poverty rate in Brooklyn, Mosley said that after “hard-fought budget negotiations”, we succeeded in raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 starting this year, and it will rise again each year until reaching $9 an hour by 2016. “And we are going to keep fighting until we get a minimum wage that is indexed to inflation and will rise along with cost of living each and every year,” he said.
“The landscape of Brooklyn is changing before our eyes. Each year it seems more developers are moving into our communities,” said Mosley. “And while we welcome economic growth in central Brooklyn, this growth cannot come at the expense of the working families that made Brooklyn what it is today.”
Mosley called for setting a precedent about how business is done in Brooklyn. “We have to speak up and stand together so that big developers and corporate interests know that if they want to move into the 57th District, they will need to provide our community with well-paying jobs that come with good benefits and safe work conditions,” said Mosley. “They will need to tap local minority- and women-owned businesses for construction and post-construction contracts. They will need to create real low- and moderate-income affordable housing that keeps Brooklynites from being pushed out of their homes and neighborhoods.”
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Mosley said he was proud to announce that the New York State Health Exchange has enrolled over 380,000 New Yorkers who now have access to affordable health coverage – making it one of the most successful health exchanges in the nation.
During his address, Mosley recognized two individuals “whose outstanding contributions make a difference every day in the lives of Brooklynites.” Claudette Theresa Macey was honored for more than 35 years of service with the Fort Greene Council, Inc., an intergenerational community service organization that serves youth and seniors. Job Mashariki – who founded the Black Veterans for Social Justice in 1979 — was honored for his more than three decades of service addressing the sacrifices and hardships of veterans and their families and his broader service to Bedford-Stuyvesant and the city.
“I have seen the resilience of the human spirit, and I have seen what we can accomplish when we come together as neighbors and citizens,” said Mosley. “Let’s aspire to unity in diversity and take the immense opportunity for change we have right now. We are on the brink of a new era for New York City and Brooklyn, and we must keep fighting until we fulfill the promise of leaving the next generation with a better world than when we started.”