Assemblyman Camara
Assemblyman
Karim
CAMARA
Reports to the
People
Winter 2007

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A SPECIAL APPEAL holly

Dear Friend:

I really need your help!!!

Before I tell you what I am asking of you, let me first take this opportunity to say thank you for the great honor of representing you in the New York State Assembly. The 43rd District (Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts and parts of Flatbush) is comprised of some of the most wonderful people and institutions in the world. I am greatly optimistic about what the future holds for you, your family and our community. As we prepare to enter a new legislative session, please know that I will continue to fight for our community and will continue to work to transform it.

Now, let me tell you why I am asking for your help. During my first annual State of the District Address in March, I had the opportunity to share my goals and vision with close to 200 of our friends, neighbors and community leaders (residents; students from PS 397, who contributed some of their artwork to decorate the halls; Rabbi Shea Hecht; the Rhythm and Strings Orchestra of Achievement First Charter School Crown Heights; the PRIDE Youth Development organization; and Ife Charles of the Crown Heights Mediation Center). I was able to share what I am doing in Albany to fight for competitive schools, well-paying jobs, affordable housing and quality health care.

That night at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, I asked two things of those who attended: that you hold me to what I say I will do and that you get involved. I will continue working hard so that you know that my aim is to be a servant leader. Now, I am asking you to get involved. Getting involved is critical!!! Why? Because the kind of changes we all want can’t come from just a few politicians in Albany making laws. Real change comes from a movement of dedicated citizens who have decided they have the power to create the communities that they deserve.

That is why we want to encourage you to get involved in helping to take our community to the next level. I am working with the Crown Heights Coalition, formed in January 2007, to bring local residents together to address the issues in our neighborhoods. We held two successful events last year with a number of community partners, and will not stop there. It is proof that citizens, when charged with a cause, can affect good. For more information call me at 718-756-1776 or e-mail me at .

Lastly, I hope that you and your family have a great Holiday Season. As we go into a new year, remember that our lives are personal stories that are still unfolding. If you decide what you want to have and/or be, set goals and persevere. Your story will be an incredible one that will inspire many.

Warmest regards,
signature
Reverend Karim Camara
Member of the Assembly
43rd District

photo Assemblyman Camara greets friends and neighbors at his first State of the District Address.

I was joined by students from PS 397, who contributed some of their artwork to decorate the halls; Rabbi Shea Hecht; the Rhythm and Strings Orchestra of Achievement First Charter School Crown Heights; the PRIDE Youth Development organization; and Ife Charles of the Crown Heights Mediation Center.




JOIN THE EFFORT TO SAVE OUR YOUTH AND REBUILD OUR COMMUNITY

Assemblyman Camara is constant in his message that "stable communities need strong involvement from their local citizens." He called together a meeting of citizens who care about the community in response to escalated violence in Crown Heights. Out of this meeting the Crown Heights Coalition was created in January 2007. The partnership was established by the Damon Allen Foundation, the Crown Heights North Merchant Association, the Office of Assemblyman Karim Camara and a diverse group of local individuals and leaders from institutions like the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the American Friends Service Committee who, partnered together to develop alliances to combat persistent crime, youth violence and social disorder.

The Coalition consists of community residents who want to be part of the solution to community issues. The first activity they organized was the Summer Solutions Resource Fair, which connected youths and their parents to fun, constructive summer activities for students and support services for families. Promoted in the local schools, the Summer Solutions Resource Fair helped children and teens find summer work, school enrichment programs, summer sports programs and other safe summer activities. The Crown Heights Coalition and the office of the Brooklyn District Attorney helped us put on this event on June 9.



Assemblyman Camara Works Hard to Reform Government

Assemblyman Karim Camara introduced legislation to enact term limits on the State Assembly, State Senate, and all statewide elected offices this past session. The cap of twelve years is meant to allow officials enough time to accomplish the goals that drew them to the position without losing touch with the concerns of their constituents or becoming overly entrenched in the status quo.

"The people across the state are overwhelmingly for term limits. Our state government has been called inefficient, unfair, stagnant and broken. This is one of the most effective reforms that we can enact to ensure a government that serves the people effectively and one that focuses on the practical concerns of everyday people," said Camara.

The second change the proposal would make is to extend the terms of the Assembly from two years to four years. Longer terms would reduce the amount of time our Assembly members need to spend fundraising and campaigning, and would allow more time to focus on problem solving and less time worrying about re-election. "We have to make sure we make decisions based on what’s best for our district, not based on what is politically expedient," Camara said.

In another daring step toward reform, Assemblyman Camara was proud to stand alongside three fellow Assembly members last February to announce a commitment to stop the influence of special-interest money on the state’s political system, starting with putting limits on the type of fundraising elected officials are allowing themselves to do. He said he was motivated to take this bold stance because "the greatest responsibility of an elected official is to fight for the best interests of the community."

The Assemblyman and his three colleagues announced that they will not accept "soft money" donations to their campaigns, will not hold fundraisers near the capitol building during the legislative session, and will neither accept campaign donations from employees of the Assembly nor from any organization that receives state funding.

These are simple, common-sense steps toward good government, and are characteristic of the changes that Assemblyman Camara is working hard to achieve in order to establish honest and transparent practices in the New York State Government.




Constituent File:
Two Sisters Receive the Gift of Thanksgiving
By Connie Stewart
Community Liaison
photo Assemblyman Camara at the Wailing wall.
Thanksgiving Day is a special time when we sit back and take stock of how much we all have to be grateful for. It is also a time to enrich the lives of others by giving. This year our office helped bring people together to make Thanksgiving a pleasant family experience.

There are two elderly sisters living in the 43rd Assembly District who struggle daily with severe health challenges. They are each other’s only family. I mentioned to Assemblyman Camara and my colleagues in the office my concern about the sisters not having a prepared meal for the special day. Ms. Lillian Pelham, a senior citizen volunteer in the office, offered to assist with the case. Assemblyman Camara heard about the dilemma and decided to donate a turkey. However, there was still a challenge. The sisters are unable to cook so they would need someone to prepare the meal and also needed trimmings for the turkey.

News spread about the need and the community answered the call. On Thursday, November 15, 2007, Ms. Pelham announced that Mr. Danny Williams and his wife, Mrs. Elise Everett-Williams, the owners of the Rennaissance Café and Deli in Crown Heights, agreed to prepare the turkey and all of the trimmings for the sisters.

Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Williams and their chef, a scrumptious Thanksgiving meal was prepared for our elderly constituents. The dinner was picked up and delivered on Tuesday, November 20, 2007. It was a delightful surprise to these dear sisters whose gratitude was overwhelming. Assemblyman Karim Camara was very pleased to see the community come together on this project.

Our district office serves hundreds of constituents each year. It was very gratifying to be in a position to bring a little joy into the lives of two women who have given much to the community, and to make Thanksgiving in the 43rd Assembly District a bit more special. Our work continues.




ASSEMBLYMAN CAMARA SPONSORS COMMUNITY EVENTS
2007 PAST EVENTS:
JOB FAIR
This past February, Assemblyman Camara teamed up with the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush (COJO) and held a career fair for members of our community in his office. COJO job-placement specialists met with several job seekers that day. COJO provided them with lessons on how to interview, advice on their resumes, and began helping them to look for jobs that match their education levels and skill sets. As a result of this job fair, many in attendance are now gainfully employed.

DIABETES FORUM
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in Brooklyn. In fact, many residents are unaware that they have the disease. On May 14th, Assemblyman Camara’s office partnered with the American Diabetes Association, Brooklyn Diabetes Task Force, Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, Kings County Hospital Center, Jackie Robinson Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center and SUNY Downstate Medical Center to host a Diabetes Forum that brought awareness and recognition to the disease of diabetes and how to manage it. Two renowned doctors and a talented nutritionist along with the American Diabetes Association made presentations relating to the disease and how to live a normal life with the disease. The event included free health screenings for diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as healthy diabetic snacks. Many in attendance received free glucometers. Assemblyman Camara will continue to partner with organizations and institutions that will help bring as much knowledge, resources and support to those who already are officially diagnosed with diabetes, and to prevent its further spread. For further information contact: Brooklyn Diabetes Task Force (718) 270-2424, Brooklyn Diabetes Club of Downstate Medical Center or the Teen Diabetes Club (718) 270-3739, or the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org.

photo One of the several informational presentations made at our Merchant Breakfast.
SMALL BUSINESS MERCHANT BREAKFAST
One of the best ways to address economic development is to provide jobs to a community. Most of the jobs in the 43rd Assembly District are created by the small businesses. This year Assemblyman Camara sponsored or cosponsored many events with our local merchants including a Merchant Breakfast. This breakfast was cosponsored with the Nostrand Avenue Merchants Association and Citibank. There were several presentations and round table discussions. The presentations and discussions provided our merchants with information to assist them with growing their businesses and access to resources.

POWER OF 1 JAZZ/GOSPEL CONCERT
On May 5, 2007, Assemblyman Camara partnered with the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned About Dar-Fur to present The Power of 1 Jazz/Gospel Concert to support the relief effort for the nearly four million Dar-Furians who are in refugee camps in Chad.

Randy Weston, Lillias White, the Jeff King Band, Rome Neil, Lawrence Craig Jr., the Imani Singers, Steve Cromity, and Bishop Townsley and the Gospel Jubilee performed. This was the kick-off for the material support campaign that resulted in sending 700 boxes of clothes, reading materials and educational supplies to the Gaga Refugee Camp in Chad.

CROWN HEIGHTS COALITION SUMMER SOLUTIONS RESOURCE FAIR
The Summer Solutions Resource Fair connected youths and their parents to fun, constructive summer activities for students and support services for families. Promoted in the local schools, the Summer Solutions Resource Fair helped children and teens find summer work, school enrichment programs, summer sports programs and other safe summer activities. The Crown Heights Coalition and the office of the Brooklyn District Attorney helped us put on this event on June 9.

SHOOT HOOPS NOT GUNS ANNUAL BASKETBALL CLASSIC AND COMMUNITY WEEKEND
The annual Shoot Hoops Not Guns Basketball Classic weekend started June 22nd with Assemblyman Camara and his team playing against the NYPD police officers of the 77th Precinct. The tournament had 16 youth teams competing for the championship at Brower Park. The teams consisted of male and female teams between the ages of 14 and 18. Participants received team t-shirts and the winners received a championship trophies. This event was coordinated by Assemblyman Camara office along with brothers Lenny and Andre Owes (Crown Heights residents).

FIRST ANNUAL DAMON ALLEN DAY OF UNITY
The Damon Allen Foundation, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the Crown Heights Coalition sponsored a day of rides, food, performances and games for our community, as well as a candlelight vigil after sunset, all in memory of local hero Damon Allen and all the victims of violence across our neighborhoods.

CONES FOR CARDS
Assemblyman Camara and Mr. Softie partnered with the Brooklyn Public Library to encourage elementary school students at PS 92 to sign up for library cards, increasing literacy and encouraging the usage of our beloved local libraries. Mr. Softie and Assemblyman Camara gave out cones to Kindergarten, first- and second-graders who presented a library card or a signed application. Working to promote access to libraries, they hope to inspire young children who are learning to read.




FOUR IMPORTANT TIPS TO PREVENT FORECLOSURE

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, Assemblyman Karim Camara and his staff felt the need to address the foreclosure crisis in Brooklyn. On October 6th, the office of Assemblyman Camara collaborated with many local foreclosure experts in order to make readily available the resources needed to assist those residents who are in danger of losing their homes. NYC Comptroller William Thompson was the keynote speaker, followed by an expert panel.

Here are a few tips you may want to consider if you face foreclosure:

  1. Read your mortgage agreement.

  2. Call your lender and be upfront about your financial situation. Advise them you WANT TO pay, you WANT TO stay in your home, and you would like to work out a payment plan.

  3. Only commit to what you can do. If you break a payment promise, the mortgage company will not want to work with you.

  4. Don’t wait. As soon as you become behind, call your lender. The further behind you are on your payments, the fewer options are available. Lenders have work-out options to help you stay in your home, which are better when the loan is only a few payments behind.

For More Information Contact: South Brooklyn Legal Services 718-246-3279, Pratt Area Community Council 718-522-2613, Erasmus Neighborhood Federation 718-462-7700, Brooklyn Housing & Family Services 718-435-7585.




Assemblyman Camara
Assemblyman
Karim Camara
ALBANY OFFICE: Room 827 LOB • Albany, New York 12248 • (518) 455-5262
DISTRICT OFFICE: 231 Empire Blvd. • Brooklyn, New York 11225 • (718) 756-1776
"Never doubt that a small, committed group of people can change the world because, indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has".
-Margaret Meade

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