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Dear neighbors,

With so much activity in our office, we don’t get a chance to share every aspect of the work our team does day in, day out for our constituents. In this newsletter, you’ll read some important updates about what’s happening around the neighborhood, in addition to updates on my legislative activity and stories happening citywide. 

Since our last email, we’ve been busy responding to a wide range of issues in Red Hook that include advocating for solutions to support local businesses, addressing concerns related to the temporary home to nearly 1,000 single adult asylum seekers, staying abreast of the status of remediation projects in the ballfields, preparing and exploring solutions to retain library services when the Red Hook library closes for long-awaited renovations and meeting with local schools to celebrate Black History Month among other activities. 

We have also engaged with EDC regarding the MSC Cruises deal and addressing the fact that ships will be unable to hook up to the local electric grid and will instead burn diesel fuel and emit exhaust over Red Hook, despite spending millions to make it possible for ships to plug in.

We’ve introduced new legislation to push the City to act on last-mile facilities, and I sponsored a resolution in support of the Working Families Tax Credit. After the federal government failed to extend the expanded Child Tax Credit that gave families a lifeline to buy food, to pay rent and spend on other necessities, I sincerely hope our state can pass a similar program here in New York. 

Keeping in line with our goal to help families save money for the things they need, I am also happy to report that our office is offering FREE tax preparation, for eligible residents, in partnership with Brooklyn Grow. 

We are proud to share that our Office helped return over $90,000 to victims of identity fraud. Since we shared this story in an exclusive with local Chinese-language media, many more constituents have contacted our office for help.

Read up on all of these stories and more, below!

In solidarity,


Council Member

Alexa Avilés


Legislative updates

The Mayor introduced his preliminary budget in January. Make no mistake, this is an austerity budget that threatens further cuts to libraries, childcare programs and social services. While the administration urges “fiscal discipline,” the latest figures from the Independent Budget Office project a $4.9 billion surplus in Fiscal Year 2023 and $2.6 billion in the following fiscal year. Any attempt to blame asylum seekers or retirees who want the healthcare they were promised is patently false. Our City has the resources to address the serious challenges working families in New York City face. 

Next month, in March, the City Council will review the Mayor’s proposed budget agency by agency in public hearings. You can see the full Council hearing schedule here, and sign up to testify here. Your testimony can inform debates over agency budgets.

Building on earlier legislation we introduced ,which currently has the support of 75% of the Council: Intro 707 and Intro 708 related to air quality monitoring and improving truck routes; this week, we introduced new legislation around last-mile e-commerce distribution facilities: Intro 923, 924 and Res 501. Our Office has also been standing with the Last Mile Coalition NYC to call for a zoning text amendment among the solutions needed to regulate, mitigate and take into account the impacts of an exploding e-commerce industry. 

Early this month, we also introduced a package of bills inspired by our constituents and community requests around parking and air quality. Intro 898 would require the DEP’s citizen air quality complaint portal to be translated into designated citywide languages. Intro 899 would establish a residential permit parking system in Sunset Park and Red Hook, and Intro 900 would enhance parking penalties for parking on sidewalks in M1 industrial zones, of which we have many side by side with residential zones in our district. These community-driven pieces of legislation represent how I approach my job as a legislator, taking your comments and feedback with me to City Hall.

Along with Council Member Crystal Hudson, I introduced two bills, Intro 538 and Intro 586, dubbed the “How Many Stops Act,” which would require the NYPD report on all stops and police encounters, including low-level stops and searches. Currently, the NYPD is not required to record any low-level stops and searches, such as when a citizen denies consent to a search. Right now, the data we have is just the tip of the iceberg.

These bills will bring needed sunlight and allow us to better assess what is happening and what are taxpayer dollars being used for.

Finally, we have been working with colleagues to introduce legislation on e-bike and lithium ion battery safety to keep New Yorkers safe and does right by workers. After another lithium ion battery fire struck this Saturday in the middle of the night in Dyker Heights, we need a meaningful set of bills that truly address the issues we are facing. 

In addition to needing federal action to establish clear safety standards and guidelines for lithium ion battery technology, I am advocating not just for bans which as a standalone are unenforceable and could drive battery usage underground, but instead for comprehensive solutions that include a battery swap program, a safe disposal program and public charging infrastructure.

In the news

Another part of how we advance legislation and shine a light on our communities’ concerns is by highlighting stories from the district in the media. This month, we’ve drawn attention to a number of our legislative goals and our constituents’ needs.

Our most recent Public Housing Committee Hearing last month uncovered that over 6,000 units sit vacant at NYCHA, an increase of 600% since December 2021, prompting coverage in NY1 and other outlets. I also joined Errol Louis on Inside City Hall to talk about the issue in more detail.

Truthout highlighted the national stakes in the fight against austerity as federal COVID money dries up. 

The City has been covering the future of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, now that it has been temporarily activated as a relief center for asylum seekers.

Last Thursday, we held a press conference drawing attention to the expansion of last-mile facilities in our district and in communities of color across New York City and urged our City to take action. 

Read a breakdown of the policy issues in Streetsblog, and read up on the politics of what it would take to regulate these facilities in amNY.

Also on Thursday, I introduced a resolution in support of the New York State Working Families Tax Credit in the City Council. Near and dear to my heart, this policy would return cash to working families’ pockets by streamlining existing tax credits and would ensure immigrant families and the lowest-income households can benefit from the Child Tax Credit, too. Read more in Gothamist.

Last, but far from least, our office proudly announced that we have helped residents recover over $90,000 after being victimized by identity fraud in an exclusive with Chinese media. Since the story came out, we’ve received even more cases and we continue to work to assist our residents. 

Read the story in World Journal and in Singtao USA.


District bulletin

Red Hook Library updates

Last night I joined Red Hook residents, Senator Gounardes and Brooklyn Library for a conversation about the future of the Red Hook library. Community Board 6 District Manager Mike Racioppo and many other residents were also in attendance. We all look forward to seeing a newly renovated library. However, residents also want to see robust interim service. The Library is scheduled to close March 17 for renovations that will take about 18 months.

The current proposed plan for interim services raised many concerns, and my office will be reaching out to City agencies to explore brick and mortar locations for interim services.

Thank you to all the residents who showed up to make sure our community receives the services they need and deserve.




NYCHA tree planting survey

As Recovery and Resiliency work in Red Hook progresses, NYCHA is collecting your feedback on where new trees should be planted as we get closer to Phase 3 of the project, which will restore the grounds and green spaces we have long missed.

You can weigh in online at



Red Hook conservancy cleanup this Saturday!

Join our team and the Red Hook Conservancy to clean up and rake leaves in our local parks, this Saturday from 10AM. 

To help us bring enough tools, please register in advance at



Red Hook get the money! Our big JOB Fair is coming up March 4, 12PM–4PM

We know that Red Hook has skills to pay the bills. Come meet employers, put your resume in their hands and talk face to face with local recruiters. 

We’ve teamed up with Red Hook Initiative and Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes to help connect Red Hook residents to jobs near you, and we’re proud to announce we now have 21 employers confirmed and counting! 

Don’t miss it, March 4, 12PM–4PM at RHI, 767 Hicks St.



Brooklyn Workforce Innovations construction training

This training program is a fantastic opportunity that will set you up for success in the construction field and connects aspiring applicants to potential employers. 

Don’t miss this opportunity or allow a young person in your life to miss it! Register here for more info.



SYEP applications are open

NYC students ages 14 to 24 are eligible for paid experience through the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program. 

Applications are due March 31, learn more and apply via:


Future of the BQE Visioning Updates

As you know well, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway cuts across the majority of our district and has long brought with it exhaust, noise and disparate health impacts to our communities. 

Since this visioning process was first announced, I’ve been wary of how much the City can accomplish without the State Department of Transportation as a partner, and the State DOT is refusing to acknowledge that we have a problem beyond the cantilever section of the BQE owned by the City. Recently, I joined more than a dozen Brooklyn lawmakers on a letter urging New York State DOT, which owns the sections of the BQE in our district, to actively participate in discussions about the future of the BQE that are organized by the New York City DOT. 

Without NYS DOT at the table, all the City can do is propose changes to the cantilever portions that it owns, leaving the North and South BQE corridors to continue to deal with the impacts on our own.

You can read more and register for upcoming BQE South workshops here.


UPROSE BQE community discussion and learning circle

Local community organizations like UPROSE are working with NYC DOT to host community listening sessions on the future of the BQE. 

You can register for their upcoming listening session Saturday, February 25 here.



Red Hook Initiative BQE redesign survey

RHI is a community partner for the BQE Visioning project, led by Department of Transportation. We are collecting community feedback about the issues in Red Hook within the BQE corridor and improvements that the community would like to see.

Share your thoughts on pedestrian safety along Hamilton Ave and more through RHI’s BQE survey.


Tax season resources

Free tax prep services

We offer free tax services at our office, 4417 4 Ave on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays in partnership with Grow Brooklyn. Call 347-502-6804 or visit for an appointment. 

The Red Hook Justice Center offers free tax prep services at 72 Visitation Place. Call 718-923-8250 for an appointment.




Department of Finance updates for homeowners and co-op residents

Don’t miss these important updates from NYC Department of Finance.

Want to learn more about your property’s notice of property value? Visit to learn more.


Did you receive your $150 property tax rebate last year? If you didn’t you have until March 15, 2023. Learn more at


Last but not least, the deadline to apply for property tax exemptions like the Senior Citizen Homeowner Exemption is March 15, 2023. Visit to learn more. 



Around the neighborhood

This month I joined Assemblymember Robert Carroll and Chancellor David Banks to announce the expansion of dyslexia and literacy programs at two Brooklyn schools. I applaud this investment and direction for our schools.

All kids deserve full investment in the services and resources they need to succeed.


Last year, City Harvest, one of New York City’s largest food rescue organizations, moved to the Sunset Park waterfront. I joined City Harvest for a tour of the new facility, with a brand new education center that we hope will become a fantastic community resource.


We were joined by the parents of Antonio Williams, killed by NYPD in 2019 and Samy Feliz, whose brother was also killed by NYPD in 2019, to announce our police accountability legislation, the How Many Stops Act.


On February 11, in partnership with NYU Langone, we hosted a heart health fair with workshops on how to prevent heart attacks and strokes at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.


Ahead of Valentine’s Day, I received a visit from the Street Vendor Project reminding you to show your neighborhood street vendors some love this time of year. 


Youth organizers from RHI joined our press conference on regulating last-mile facilities last Thursday and brought a powerful, basic message. We all deserve clean air. 

I also want to thank Congressman Dan Goldman for joining us in support of reining in the unchecked growth of these facilities.



My colleagues joined me for a rally in support of the Working Families Tax Credit, sponsored in the State Senate by our local senator Andrew Gounardes. 


I joined community leaders and business owners for a walkthrough of Eighth Avenue recently to hear out their concerns and priorities. 


Our office hosted a well-attended workshop during Mixteca’s Saturday programming on creating and maintaining safe, healthy family relationships. We will be back by popular demand!


I stopped by Marien Heim Senior Center to spread the love to our seniors on Valentine’s Day.



Muslims Giving Back has a mission of serving all those victimized by poverty and injustice. I was proud to join them recently for an community baby shower in the district!


Middle school students from I.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey school to talk about local government and what students want to see in their community.