Bronx Leaders Release Digital Ads Urging City Council Members to Vote NO on Controversial Jail Plan

Digital Ads target Council Speaker Johnson, Council Members Ayala & Gibson

NEW YORK (09/13/2019) (readMedia)-- A group of Bronx Leaders are launching digital ad campaign Wednesday urging key City Council members to vote no on the controversial plan to build a massive jail in Mott Haven, a low-income community of color. The campaign targets Council Speaker Corey Johnson and local Council Members Diana Ayala and Vanessa Gibson, who have expressed support for the plan despite strong opposition.

The digital campaign includes Facebook and Twitter ads and an email campaign, asking likely voters to contact the targeted Council Members. The Facebook ads will be seen by people who live in the affected South Bronx districts. This morning's Politico Playbook, debuted the ads.

"These ads are a way of alerting our neighbors to the actions being taken by our representatives--and to hold them accountable for unfairly burdening a low-income community of color," said Arline Parks CEO of Deigo Beekman. "The City's land use process has been rigged from the beginning, with the goal of sticking yet another jail facility into our struggling area. Speaker Johnson, Council Member Ayala, and Council Member Gibson need to do what's right, vote no on this plan and stand with the South Bronx community."

Over the last year, since the CIty announced its plan to build the mega-jail in Mott Haven, South Bronx leaders have consistently opposed the plan. Bronx Community Board 1 voted unanimously against the jail proposal and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. rejected the plan, stating that the City has not listened to community concerns and that the jail should be sited next to the Bronx courthouse instead. Rep. Jose Serrano and other elected officials representing the Bronx have also demanded the plan be scrapped. At last week's City Council Land Use Committee hearing on the jail, powerful committee chair Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. came out against the Bronx site, condemning its location and the flawed process that led to its selection by the City.

Salamanca also said the jail should be located at the courthouse site favored by Borough President Diaz, Rep. Serrano and community leaders. That site is represented by Council Member Gibson, who has adamantly opposed placing it next to the courthouse, where the CIty's commission to close Rikers Island prison suggested it be. Meanwhile, Council Member Ayala backed the jail plan when it landed instead in the Mott Haven area of her district. Both members will be targeted by the ad campaign.

Mott Haven community leaders also filed a lawsuit against the City earlier this year, charging that the City broke the law by packaging four new proposed borough jail sites into one land use proposal, instead of individually. The lawsuit also accuses the de Blasio Administration of putting political expediency over the needs of the Mott Haven community.

And a recent analysis of the Bronx jail proposal found that the City misled and misinformed the public by presenting inaccurate renderings and details of the plan which made the jail appear smaller than it is.