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Regarding Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plans for a big push to revisit congestion pricing as a way to ease traffic in Manhattan and provide funding for mass transit, Brewer responded cautiously.Acknowledging, “I support the idea that subways need money,” and “I believe in the concept of congestion pricing,” she raised logistical concerns about the efficacy of new technologies — such as photographing license plates — for capturing tolls on East River crossings or from cars entering Midtown from Upper Manhattan, and mentioned the State Thruway Authority’s loss of millions in unpaid tolls where booths have been replaced completely by electronic tolling.On the Council, she won approval for novel Department of City Planning zoning regulations that limit street frontage that can be taken up by banks and large retail outlets, many of them chains, that threaten the small businesses that once dominated her Upper West Side district.The regulations exempted supermarkets — “We want supermarkets,” she emphasized — as part of an effort to maintain the full range of services once the norm in New York neighborhoods. while providing funding both for landmarked buildings selling their unused development rights and for public amenities including open space and transportation improvements.
Brewer and Garodnick oversaw biweekly meetings over many months at the borough president’s office that included representatives from the Real Estate Board of New York, an industry trade group, major landmarked buildings, the area’s Business Improvement Districts, and the local community boards.Brewer endorsed an effort by State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Deborah Glick to ensure that Manhattan has representation on the State Liquor Authority, which oversees liquor licenses, though she also specifically lauded the SLA’s chair, Vincent Bradley, for recently spending three and a half hours meeting with roughly 90 representatives from the borough’s community boards. Your Twitter followers sound like a bunch of parrots.In support of the borough’s 12 community boards, Brewer explained, her office has enhanced training in technology, ethics, bylaws, and parliamentary procedures for all their members, and over her first four years as borough president, she replaced roughly half of all CB incumbents.For the first time, 16 and 17-year-olds are now able to serve on Manhattan community boards.