Tag Archives: City Council

One Day-Two Demos: Control Drones in NYC & Shut It Down


New York’s “finest”: We have concerns

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 the Grannies had two actions. The first, outside City Hall. NO use of Weaponized Drones or Surveillance Drones in NYC. It was a meeting of the Public Safety Committee, which has before it two New York City code amendments that could result in the use of drones in NYC. We did try to meet with Council Members before the action, but no response. The public response is generally NO…..NO drones in NYC skies.
Contact your Council Member (council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml) and say NO DRONES for surveillance of citizens and no weaponized drone  in NYC.

The second action which should be related, but isn’t yet: SHUT IT DOWN. Ending police murder of our citizens. Its time for justice for Eric Garner, and so many others and stop the police harrassment of Ramsey Orta, the only person imprisoned for the murder of Eric Garner. What did Ramsey do? He took the cell phone photos!

A good mid-afternoon crowd at Union Square, then marching to Police Plaza. Many of the same faces, but even more young people coming out to say: Enough. A peaceful protest, but a very heavy NYPD presence. Good everyone has cell phones and media is around.

– Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade

City Council members are leaving on an all expenses paid junket to Israel on February 15


Hello Sisters and Friends,

We have one last chance to persuade 15 City Council members* to cancel their funded-by-the-zionists junket to Israel, or at least to make them feel damn guilty about going. These 15 City Council members* need to think again about the message they give to New Yorkers, particularly our Palestinian neighbors. This trip is despicable.

We will meet at the Broadway entrance to City Hall with our representations of dead Palestinian children, leaflets with our (abridged) letter to those 15 City Council members* who are being bought by zionists, and, of course, banners.

What: A meet and greet as City Council members trek back and forth across Broadway for their bi-weekly Stated Meeting.
When: Thursday, February 12 (that would be Lincoln’s birthday, wouldn’t it?)
Time: 12:15 PM
Where: Broadway at Murray St. entrance to City Hall Park

See you in the streets–on Broadway to be precise
– Joan Pleune
for the Granny Peace Brigade

* Council Speaker:
Melissa Mark-Viverito, mviverito@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7210, Fax; 212-442-1564

* Council Members:
Mark Treyger, elustig@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7045
Brad Lander, lander@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-6969
Antonio Reynoso, areynoso@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7095
David Greenfield, dgreenfield@council.nyc.gov, 718-853-2704
Rafael Espiñal, respinal@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7284
Darlene Mealy, dmealy@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7387
Corey Johnson, District3@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-6979
Ritchie Torres, rsaksena@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-6966
Andrew Cohen, District11@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7080
Donovan Richards, drichards@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7216
Eric Ulrich, eulrich@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7069
Jimmy Van Bramer, jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7370
Mark Levine, District7@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7007
Helen Rosenthal, Helen@helenrosenthal.com, 212-788-6975

Dear City Council Members, Don’t Accept an Expenses Paid Trip to Apartheid Israel


City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Members Mark Treyger, Brad Lander, Antonio Reynoso, David Greenfield, Rafael Espinal, Darlene Mealy, Mark Levine, Helen Rosenthal, Corey Johnson, Ritchie Torres, Andrew Cohen, Donovan Richards, Eric Ulrich, and James Van Bramer:

Dear City Council Members on the all expenses paid trip to Israel,

I write to express my shock and deepest sadness on learning of your proposed February trip to Israel.  I urge you to reconsider and cancel it on very legitimate grounds.  New York is not just any U.S. city – and Israel is not just any country.  A visit by you to a nation that has betrayed its role as an occupier – treating Palestine like an 18th century colony to be abused, exploited and punished – is without merit.

As headquarters for the United Nations, New York City enjoys the international prestige and financial rewards that the U.N. brings.  With its presence, however, come distinct responsibilities.  Besides the shocking pretense by Israel that it doesn’t have nuclear weapons – when THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS IT DOES – and its flaunting of repeated U.N. votes that have condemned its settlement policies, Israel has become a rogue nation.  What are you in the City Council doing in preparation for the thousands of overseas visitors coming to New York to attend the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty meetings?  Will you bring back word that Israel is coming out of its nuclear closet?

Israel practices Apartheid against Palestinians and any tour you undertake will be a tragic pretense. Will you be given an excuse for Israel’s use of white phosphorus weapons in their 2014 massacre in Gaza that killed over 2,300 people (over 500 children)?  What about the wholesale destruction of 1000s of olive trees on Palestinian lands – at a time when our planet is overheating and trees are the vital lungs for our earth?  Israel’s scorched earth policy to destroy Palestine’s people and infrastructure must cease.  Why pay court to their crimes?

As a New Yorker who has supported many of you in our struggle for justice against racism, I feel betrayed by your planned junket.  It does not bode well for the policies you will pursue in seeking racial harmony in this city.  The practice by the U.S. government of torture (rechristened “enhanced interrogation techniques”) in violation of Geneva Conventions does not authorize you to support Israel in violating the 4th Geneva Convention with settlements in occupied land.  I say SHAME   SHAME   SHAME !

On this, the day we observe the birthday of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr it is fitting to quote him for he was our nation’s Conscience : “When machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

Bow out of the trip – use your energies for the good citizens of this city that elected you to focus on healing.

– Nydia Leaf
for the Granny Peace Brigade

P.S. To send a “Don’t Tour Apartheid Israel!”message to the 15 members of the NY City Council scheduled to take an all-expenses paid trip to Israel in February: click here.

NY City Council Hearing on the Climate March


The Public Hearing on the Climate March was chaired by Donovan J. Richards, with several other members of the Environment Subcommittee joining. The objective was the Resolution 356 to support the Climate March in NYC, 21 Sept 2014 and its objectives, mainly to influence a positive outcome of the upcoming Climate Meetings at the UN in Sept towards a stronger national and global commitment in addressing climate change.

The Hearing opened with an overview of global warming by the Archbishop of Mexico! The Hearing concluded 3+ hours later with a strong statement by our Barbara Harris focusing on the importance of closing Indian Point, moving to renewable energy, especially solar energy, highlighting the efforts of CUNY  throughout the metro area to introduce solar  energy on rooftops, training programs on green energy, among other innovative activities that the city and Council can draw upon. The Chairman indicated that he expected that Council Members will be joining the March.He also emphasized the March was a “new” beginning to mobilize  actions at all levels in the city, state and country towards a carbon neutral future.  ACTION: Call our local council members ensuring they vote yes on Resolution 356 asap!

Continue reading NY City Council Hearing on the Climate March

Anti-Drone Action in Harlem elicits a surprisingly strong police presence!


We were back at our usual spot in front of the Recruiting Station on Lennox Ave/125th St. sharing information on the latest drone news that can affect NYC residents: the recent statements by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton who said “I’m supportive of the concept of drones, not only for the police but for public safety in general.” He is quoted as also saying: “The Mayor is supportive of it as are many members of the Council…” Is this why there were at least 10 officers at different times during our 1.5 hour action hovering around us; ensuring we did not block the entrance to the Recruiting station; forcing us to remove our posters from the wall? And what about the cameras on the back of the police car, parked in front of us….blocking the bus stops….just for us!? (Click on Photos for larger images.)

2014_06_06martyAs we engaged with the public, this is clearly a subject that many have not given any consideration. However, as we discussed this possibility with them, it was increasingly clear that there is concern about this. Issues like where would such drones be used…..mostly likely in this (Harlem) area, but probably not in Wall Street where so many “criminals” hang out!

2014_06_06joanandguyOne resident felt that the police will not like drones, as it will also capture what they are doing! But generally, people felt that with cameras everywhere, there is enough surveillance….”we don’t need them peeking in our windows” as another resident said. But drone use may have another side as we watched one young man run down the street. Was the police car with the siren following him? Would a drone have been safer? And realizing that the neighborhood had a major police action against large gangs earlier this week, would this have been stopped sooner if drones were following the members around?

2014_06_06jennyandguyWe urge a serious public discussion of the possibility of drone use by the Police force by the City Council, perhaps coming up from Community Board Meetings, and maybe even something on the next ballot. We see the use of drones in NYC as further infringing on our rights to privacy. And we definitely don’t want drones weaponized with rubber bullets, tear gas, real bullets, etc. Call your city council member and share your concerns with them directly!

– Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Keep New York City Drone-Free — We Are Rolling


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world…”* or maybe even New York City.

There we were with Ms. Gizmo at the “Power of Aging” Annual Health Festival.

2013_09_05health_fair(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The day was brilliant, Thomas Jefferson Park was sparkling, and so was Joan’s Granny Peace Brigade button. City Council member and Manhattan Borough President candidate Jessica Lappin spotted Joan with her button in the busy park. “I am introducing the drone resolution,” she told Joan.

What drone resolution? The GPB as part of our “Keep New York City Drone-Free” campaign has sent a sample No-Drone Resolution to each member of City Council. Using our material for reference, Lappin asked the City Council legal staff to write drone-control legislation. Even when they are lawyers themselves, Council members may not write legislation. Staff lawyers do that, and have 30 days once a request is submitted. In October the drone-control legislation should be written and we can give it a big push (if we like what they write).

Stay tuned.

In peace always,
– Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photo: Edith Cresmer

*Margaret Mead

Keep New York Free of Weaponized and Surveillance Drones — Resolution to City Council



You’ve heard of U.S. military drones spying on and killing people overseas. That could happen here in our hometown, so let’s stop it before it starts. There is precedent. On March 18, 2013, in Seattle, Washington, Mayor Mike McGinn ordered the city police department to scrap plans it had to roll out drones, and instead to focus its resources on public safety and the community building work that is the city’s priority. In Charlottesville, Virginia a version of the resolution presented below, calling for a moratorium on drones in Charlottesville, was passed on February 4, 2013.

Let us join other cities and persuade our City Council to pass a resolution banning the use of weaponized and surveillance drones in New York City. The Granny Peace has spoken with a representative in every New York City Council Member’s office about the resolution. Most often we spoke with the legislative director. Next we sent this resolution to all New York City Council Representatives and also to a staff member.

Below is an Anti-Weaponized and Surveillance Drone Resolution written by David Swanson and modified for use in New York City by the Granny Peace Brigade. The original resolution was presented to the Charlottesville City Council in December 2012. It is clear that drones are here to stay. Only by constant vigilance and outcry will we be able to stop the use of drones in NYC for all but humanitarian reasons. A resolution such as this would be a good first step.


Keep New York City Free of Weaponized and Surveillance Drones

A Resolution by David Swanson
Modified for New York City by the Granny Peace Brigade


DRONES, OR UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES (UAV) are aircrafts without pilots. Some are operated by computers on board, others by a human being in another location. The human operator can be thousands of miles away.


WHEREAS, United States airspace is the busiest in the world, “air traffic controllers handle 50,000 flights a day;”


WHEREAS, unmanned aircraft (drones) have an accident rate seven times higher than general aviation and 353 times higher than commercial aviation; On March 4, 2013 an unidentified drone came within 200 feet of an Alitalia passenger plane preparing for landing at Kennedy airport.


WHEREAS, the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 directs the FAA to create regulations that will enable drones to fly throughout U.S. airspace by September, 2015;


WHEREAS, small drones, 25 pounds or under, are now permitted to fly in general airspace below 400 feet for the use of police and first responders, with FAA permission;


WHEREAS, drones do not have the same capability to avoid other aircraft as aircraft piloted by humans on board;


WHEREAS, drones have at times gotten out of human control, in at least one instance having to be shot down, and drones are susceptible to electronic interference and having control seized electronically by unauthorized operators;


WHEREAS, drones can be used to film individuals or groups around the clock, in public spaces and through the windows of private homes, and to continuously monitor cell-phone and text messaging;


WHEREAS, drones are being developed that will use computerized facial images to target individuals and, once launched, to operate, autonomously, without further human involvement, to locate and kill those individuals;


WHEREAS, the rapid implementation of drone technology throughout the United States poses a serious threat to the privacy and constitutional rights of the American people, including the residents of New York City;


WHEREAS, the federal and New York State governments have thus far failed to provide reasonable legal restrictions on the use of drones within the United States;


WHEREAS, police departments throughout the country have begun implementing drone technology absent any guidance or guidelines from law makers;


WHEREAS, the federal use of drones provides a poor precedent for their domestic use, drone wars having turned public opinion in Yemen and Pakistan dramatically against the U.S. government, drone strikes having killed far more non-targeted people than those targeted, targeted victims having included men, women, and children known by name and unknown, no targeted individual having been charged with any crime, no legislative or judicial or public oversight having been permitted, “double-tap” strikes having been used to target rescuers of victims of previous strikes, children and adults having been traumatized by the presence of drones, over a million people having fled their homes in heavily droned areas, drones having killed Americans in accidental “friendly fire,” drone operators having been targeted and killed on a base in Afghanistan, and drone pilots having suffered post-traumatic stress disorder at a higher rate than other pilots as a result of watching families for long periods of time before killing them.


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the New York City Council calls on the United States Congress and the New York State Legislature, to adopt legislation prohibiting the use of drones for surveillance, and prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court, and precluding the domestic use of drones equipped with anti-personnel devices, meaning any projectile, chemical, electrical, directed-energy (visible or invisible), or other device designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the New York City Council calls on the U.S. government to immediately end its practice of extrajudicial killing, whether by drone or any other means.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the New York City Council declares New York City a No Weaponized and Surveillance Drone Zone, and performs the necessary legal tasks to transform this declaration into Code wherein weaponized and surveillance drones are hereby banned from airspace over New York City, including drones in transit, to the extent compatible with federal law.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that exemptions will be made for hobbyists to fly remote controlled model aircraft and other unmanned aerial vehicles in specified areas, away from dwellings and the urban cityscape of people and buildings as long as those devices are not equipped to monitor any person, private residence or group of persons or equipped with any weapon.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that drones will not be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested, contracted or otherwise used by any agency of the City of New York.

For more information and to get involved, contact the Granny Peace Brigade grannypeace@gmail.com

Download the resolution
Keep New York City Free of Weaponized And Surveillance Drones