New York Assemblyman Michael Blake comes through Ebro In The Morning to drop gems on everything from gentrification to criminal Justice reform. An impassioned Blake goes on to discuss at great length how he came to be in the position that he’s in and how he plans to use the tools available to not only do more for the city but the country as well.
“The only keys they had over there back in the day was cocaine and crack” jokes Ebro when Laura styles start the conversation off by asking Blake about affordable housing in the South Bronx, now referred to as the “Piano District”. The same developers best known for recently transforming Brooklyn have been hired with the task of making similar changes to the South Bronx.
“The change is welcome as long they incorporate it into the community, as long as folks that are living there get to stay there”. Blake who has just been elected as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee makes it clear there is still work to be done in regards to gentrification in his district, but “it’s not as bad as what we’ve seen in other parts of New York”. Blake was recently a recipient of the American Entrepreneurship Award, which is a testament to his commitment to keeping the community at the forefront of his mission.
Things get really fascinating when they all go on to discuss the “Raise the Age Bill”. The bill raises the age someone can go to actual jail from 16 to 18. The bill is far from perfect however as we learn about not only the republican opposition it faced but also some of its continued shortcomings. For instance, it could still take up to 10 years to have records sealed after a crime that has been committed by a 16-year-old.
Similarly, New York’s Free Tuition Bill that’s recently been making headlines has ways to go as well before reaching perfection. Amongst other potentially problematic fine print discrepancies, a student has to stay in New York for up to four years after completing their degree, which may prevent someone from finding the best possible job.
The Assemblymen concedes there is still a tough fight ahead but we can see that progress is definitely being made. Our representatives need our help, we the people have to get involved. Blake stresses the importance of not only voting and being informed but also taking positive action within our own communities.
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