November 2009 Community Report
The following is a summary of some of my office's activities since my last community report:
Standing in Unity with Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village Tenants
On November 14th, I joined the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association (ST-PCV TA), New York City Councilmember Dan Garodnick, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, New York State Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, other elected officials, tenant activists and hundreds of community members for a Unity Day rally in Stuyvesant Cove Park to stress the importance of preserving the affordability and unique character of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village (ST-PCV). In the wake of the Roberts decision and with Tishman Speyer on the verge of defaulting on its mortgage, it is critical that ST-PCV tenants are protected and indeed included in negotiations regarding their homes. I will continue to fight for and stand in unity with those who live at ST-PCV to ensure that they are treated fairly now and into the future.
Working to Ensure National Health Care Reform is Fair for New Yorkers
As Chair of the New York State Senate Health Committee and a strong supporter of universal health coverage, I have been avidly following the national health care proposals under consideration in Washington. I am particularly concerned that the legislation voted out of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee would punish New York State for already providing more expansive health care coverage and stronger consumer protections than most other states. Troubling provisions of the bill include enhanced federal Medicaid funding that would only be available to states that have not previously expanded public coverage; insurance premium subsidies that would be based on the federal poverty level, which does not recognize the high cost of living – and of health insurance – in New York State; and consumer protections that are significantly weaker than those that already exist in New York, threatening our progress in creating a more fair insurance marketplace. I am working closely with the Paterson administration, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and our other federal representatives to ensure that New York is not punished for having done the right thing as we move to reform our nation’s health care system.
Seeking Affordable Housing for Families
On October 21, I joined members of CB4 and staffers from the New York City Council at a meeting with Priscilla Almodovar, President and CEO of New York State’s Housing Finance Agency (HFA). I arranged the meeting in order to urge HFA to change the regulations that govern its 80/20 affordable housing program. Currently, those regulations incentivize developers to construct studio and one-bedroom affordable units that cater to transient younger residents. CB4 has long sought changes in the program that would encourage developers to create larger affordable units that would allow families to put down roots in Chelsea and Clinton-Hell’s Kitchen. I look forward to working with CB4 and HFA to make these changes a reality.
Remembering Leandra Rosado and Pushing for Tougher DWI Laws
It is a great tragedy that on October 11, 11-year-old Fulton Houses resident Leandra Rosado was killed when the drunk driver of the vehicle in which she was a passenger crashed on the West Side Highway. It is devastating that the driver’s reckless behavior cut Leandra’s life so short. I offer my condolences to Leandra’s father Lenny, and her family, friends and neighbors. In memory of Leandra, and so that we may prevent similar tragedies in the future, I have joined Mr. Rosado, Fulton Youth of the Future, the New York Daily News and many others in voicing support for “Leandra’s Law,” legislation which would make it a felony in New York State to drive drunk with children in the car.
Urging Equitable Access at New York City’s Main Post Office
On November 4, I was joined by U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and New York State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried in asking the United States Postal Service (USPS) to make the James A. Farley Post Office on 8th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets a more accessible facility for those who are mobility impaired.
Sharing Great News Regarding the Far West Village Rezoning
On November 17, the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) met with local elected officials’ staffs to present the results of its detailed lot-by-lot study of the C6-1 district between Greenwich and Washington Streets and West 12th and West 10th Streets. I am pleased to report that DCP determined that a rezoning of this area is warranted and that a C1-6A district, the contextual zoning designation for which we and the community have long advocated, would be appropriate.
Supporting the Expansion of the Greenwich Village Historic District
On October 27, I submitted testimony  at the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Public Hearing on the proposed Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II. While I am pleased that LPC is moving forward with protecting more of our historic Greenwich Village and fully supported the designation under consideration, I urged the commission to move expeditiously to designate the entirety of our long-sought South Village Historic District.