The_Message: January 2023

Hi everyone, we present to you the our first monthly newsletter of the new year! Read up and be sure to subscribe for future editions. Also, feel free to share your events, announcements, and anything else that’s happening. Take care and see you next month!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Happy New Year and soon to be Lunar New Year! We hope you are enjoying January and are looking forward to the wild year ahead.

We hope all of you had a safe and restorative Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. At this time, there is no better calling than helping one’s neighbor and fighting to build government services that truly improve people’s lives. One way is by joining your Community Board.

  • It is Community Board application season!!! This year, EVERY SINGLE BOROUGH PRESIDENT IS ACCEPTING ONLINE APPLICATIONS. Many thanks to former Borough Presidents, Gale Brewer and Eric Adams, for pioneering digital applications, and many thanks to then Deputy Manhattan Borough President Aldrin Bonilla for championing an all digital application process. 
    • What does a Community Board member do? More or less, members attend themed meetings and attempt to represent the voice of their neighborhood / block / building / friends, yet they should work objectively to improve the City. Boards they have three distinct Charter mandates — 1. They oversee government service delivery in their community district. 2. They oversee local land use issues and quality of life applications / permits, most notably liquor licenses. 3. Help the Mayor prioritize the budget and write the district’s statement of need. This is a very early form of participatory budgeting that is in a desperate need of a comprehensive overhaul. Maybe that’s something you want to do?!
    • Find out more about NYC Community Boards in this lovely article written by Rachel Holliday Smith in The City. 
    • Also, you can attend some sessions hosted by Open Plans — one during lunchtime and one in the evening.
    • Or just hop right into the application.
  • Psyched about School of Data 2023? We are too and can’t wait to see you. You can now reserve an early bird ticket. The program will be announced in 2023, but you can count on a jam-packed, fun-filled day with fellow public interest technologists, designers and community members. Thank you Reinvent Albany for supporting this event!
  • Civic Innovation Fellows presentations: Last month, our Civic Innovation Fellows gave their end-of-semester presentations and will resume with us in February! Ahnaf analyzed the distribution and equity of LinkNYC kiosks, while Ibrahim did a deep dive of crime in his Community Board. Jeaneth focused on the intersection of housing and public school education and Prachi studied mortality rates in NYC by gender, along with a breakdown of the variation. Kyla assessed the distribution of DOE school sustainability grants by borough and race/ethnicity while Nicholas did an analysis of crimes in select Manhattan parks.      
  • Data Analysis for the NYS Senate! After the State Senate passed the Stop the Chop Act, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman called on our Lab for supplemental analysis regarding complaints of helicopters flying across Manhattan. BetaNYC Associate Ziqi Wang took the lead on crunching the numbers during the summer, along with our Lab Manager Zhi! Together they compiled the average number of trips and trip originations among other insightful factors featured in Senator Hoylman’s The Nuisance of Tourist Choppers report. (Data was provided by The OpenSky Network).

See you in February!

— BetaNYC

But wait, there’s more!

Read on for recent content picks from our team and community. Share yours for next month’s newsletter.

👀  Civic Tech and Legislation Watch

Governor Hochul gave her first State of the State address as the elected Governor of New York. If you missed the address, here are some takeaways from The City and Gothamist

Mayor Adams’ administration announced his preliminary budget and there are concerns for the open technology and service design vacancies.

The NYC Council’s Committee on Technology held a hearing on technology access and digital literacy programs.

Mayor Adams’ administration has consolidated the city’s various civic engagement programs into a new office — the Office of Engagement.

The NYC Office of the Comptroller released a report signaling discrepancies among heat complaints and violations. 

Mayor Adams’ administration released recommendations on converting unused office space into housing.

NYC’s Pay Transparency Law, which went into effect this past November, will go statewide in September of this year

New York State’s Climate Action Council (CAC) released a preliminary plan for addressing the mandates of the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. 

“Civic tech is a young field with old roots,” says Cyd Harrell. Learn more about the significance of these words by revisiting the histories of accessibility and participation.

Street safety advocates urged Governor Hochul to expand Vision Zero to be statewide. 

📆  Upcoming Events

Jan 17 at 12pm #FYI: Community Boards | Lunch Session

Jan 17 at 12pm Founder Spotlight with Anabel Maldonado, Founder & CEO, PSYKHE

Jan 17 at 6pm Families Bike Brooklyn Panel Discussion

Jan 18 at 6pm #FYI: Community Boards | Evening Session

Jan 24 at 6:30pm Making Sense of Complex Patient-Generated Mobile Health Data

Jan 24 at 10pm HOPE (Homeless Outreach Population Estimate)

Jan 28 at 9am HPD Hiring Fair

Mar 18 at 10am NYC School of Data 

📢 Announcements, Job Openings and Opportunities (Submit yours here and see our #Jobs channel in Slack for more posts.)

🛸 Keep in touch with our community!

Like this newsletter and what we do? Donate $23 or more to our 2023 campaign and support employment opportunities for our Civic Innovation LabCivic Innovation Fellows and Apprentices to grow with us.

See you next month! Peace, openness and gratitude  🗽