Please join us in support of Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon
September 25, 2015
From the bottom of my heart - thank you.
With your help, our grassroots campaign for New York State
Assembly was successful. Thank you for volunteering, for
donating your time, energy and money. For telling your stories
about why my candidacy mattered to you. Thank you for believing that public service and good government matter. Thank you for believing in me. And thank you for voting.
So many people helped make this victory happen.
Thank you to Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Congresswoman
Nydia Velazquez, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, NYC Public Advocate Tish James, Assemblyman Jim Brennan, Councilmembers Carlos Menchaca, Antonio Reynoso, Rosie Mendez and Helen Rosenthal, and so many others for your leadership, support and guidance and for taking that leap with me.
Thank you to my campaign team led by Paul Nelson and John Longo, and ably assisted by David Czyzyk and Ptahra Jeppe.
And now, the hard work begins. I look forward to working with you all to address the urgent issues that face our communities, our city and the great state of New York.
From "So, how was it in Albany? Are you loving it? Is it everything you expected/hoped it would be?" to "Tell me, how awful is it up there?" and "Who's the next indictment?" I have been getting lots of questions. Many are well meaning, others not so much. These questions raise issues my constituents care about. They are questions upon which I reflect often, but I focus my reflections on the following two questions: more...
by Jo Anne Simon
The one thing that would make Brooklyn better is a new approach to land-use planning. Brooklyn, and particularly my district, has land-use planning woes galore. When one considers almost any issue, one sees that all roads lead to real estate. School seats? Real estate. Transportation? Real estate. Hospitals? Parks and open space? Again, real estate.
The fundamental problem is we don't plan adequately or comprehensively. The sheer number of parties developing real estate--private owners, the city, the state, public authorities and the federal government (often roadways)--do it according to different processes and in their own vacuums. Each assesses impacts under the different laws. There is a great deal of public sentiment and frustration that by the time a project gets to any public review/comment stage, there is little substantive change that can be made.
When the public tries to engage, it feels spurned, leading to frustration and disengagement. Our laws assume that disclosure and mitigation alone are sufficient. Increasingly my constituents are saying that this isn't enough. By not engaging the public at the ground level, we miss trends--look at efforts to save the G train: Demographic trends indicated increased need for the line, but the New York City Transit Authority proposed to cut it. In 2004 the Downtown Brooklyn Plan centered around commercial uses without having performed a market assessment. The community recognized that the next market was housing. In the decade since, Downtown Brooklyn has experienced skyrocketing and skyscraping residential development but without the infrastructure--physical or social--to support it. In the Hoyt- Schermerhorn project, we community leaders successfully planned with government, but that doesn't happen often. We simply need to find a better way of integrating the public with real estate decisions, so that our schools, parks, hospitals and environment aren't afterthoughts.Reprinted from City & State, July 28, 2015