Senator Krueger's Community Bulletin: September 2011

 

Message from Liz . . .

We are a less than a week away from the 10 year anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and just over a week past Hurricane Irene. Each had a very different and complex cause; both left us with the immediate need to rebuild our communities. Both also highlight the importance of interdependence as a fundamental strength of our democratic society. In other words, none of us “do it all by ourselves;” we survive through our inter-relationships and our dependence on institutions. When the basic safety and infrastructure of local communities is damaged, we must rely on others to help us rebuild. It really does “take a village.”

It is during these times that we, as a society, are tested. The attack on 9/11 took thousands of lives and its impact was felt throughout the world. Here in NYC our fortitude, our ability to overcome fear and our challenge to work together to rebuild our City were tested. Hurricane Irene caused enormous destruction to communities up and down the East Coast, fortunately with minimal loss of life, and it tested our societal ability -- government and private citizens alike -- to plan for and respond to emergencies. In each case we passed these tests with flying colors.

Out of these tragedies we have seen something amazing: people – as professionals, as volunteers and as neighbors - rushing to help each other. But without the organization and direction of government and nonprofit institutions, this response would have been haphazard and wasteful. Imagine the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero without the FDNY, the NYPD and EMS. Absent prior planning, clear command and control, appropriate use of trained experts, monetary resources directed properly and coordination of effort, disaster response does not work. Neighbors helping neighbors is a wonderful thing, but it is only governmental entities that can ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness at such a large scale. (Speaking of helping out --- due to the disruptions caused by Irene, all our blood banks could really use donors right now. More info is below).

Rebuilding lower Manhattan post 9-11 is taking over a decade. The damage from Irene will take many months, if not years, to repair. Once the immediate response is over, the responsibility of overseeing and paying for reconstruction falls mostly to our governments. Yet disturbingly, in the case of Hurricane Irene, there have been anti-government rumblings questioning the appropriate level of response. We are hearing claims that official precautions were just another sign of government excess, suggesting that emergency response and funding aren’t really all that necessary.

This messaging is exceptionally dangerous because the sub-text is that we are not interdependent and that we can, or must, do it alone. Some people writing about this debate place it in a partisan political framework. I see the problem as much larger than another case of political posturing. This rhetoric is more extreme and therefore much more corrosive to our fragile democracy than people realize.

For example, last week the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) declared that the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center are unnecessary. In CEI’s view, the private sector would step up to the plate if such agencies were no longer in existence and therefore these sources of life-saving scientific research are unnecessary government programs. There is now a debate raging among candidates for federal office over whether or not the federal government should borrow money to pay for natural disasters or reduce funding to other programs to cover the costs. So, while homes and lives have been destroyed and people are hanging on by a thread, some politicians are asking these same people to wait a bit longer while they wage a political battle based on ideological beliefs.

Here in NY we have not forgotten the lessons from 9/11 and images from Irene still linger on TV, but let’s please not forget the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which just six years ago killed more than 1,800 people and flooded most of New Orleans. It was, and is, a devastating example of an ill prepared and poorly financed government both in advance of and after a massive catastrophe. And despite an enormous outpouring of citizen volunteers, the result is still not sufficient. No, we cannot always predict how and when disaster will strike, but we can have the infrastructure in place to best react and therefore protect our citizens.

If I had all the answers, I’d be throwing my hat in the ring for President. But I don’t and won’t. What I do know is that the solutions must involve the recognition that today more than ever no one can do it alone. We may each find justifiable fault with the failures of some of our governmental institutions, but the solution cannot be to defund and dismantle them randomly or en masse. This can only result in chaos (or worse) in the face of the ongoing threat of disasters and the need for appropriate responses. Only functioning democratic institutions can ensure the protection and enhancement of the lives of all citizens.

On a more personal note: ten years ago the lives of many New Yorkers were shattered by a tragedy many of us still find hard to comprehend. While our City and Nation rallied around us and helped us rebuild, those who lost loved ones on 9/11 will forever live with a hole in their hearts that cannot be filled. My strongest hopes and wishes go out to those who still feel the pain of loss each day. If there is anything my office can do, let us know.

 

Liz

 

Community Spotlight

UPCOMING COMMUNITY FORUMS ON

PARKS & WATERFRONT ACCESS

ON THE EAST SIDE

Thursday, September 8, 2011

4:00-7:00 pm

Sutton Place Synagogue

225 East 51st Street (between Second and Third Aves.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

5:00-8:00 pm

NYU Langone Medical Center (Smiloh Seminar Room)

550 First Avenue (@ East 30th Street)

Please visit www.eastsideopenspace.com for more information.

The public is invited to share their views, in person or on the website.

 

Senator Krueger’s “Nanny Guide”

Some of you have chosen to hire full time nannies or other domestic workers for your families. However, many people are unaware, that when you hire workers in your homes, you become employers, subject to the same rules and regulations of the Federal and New York State governments as any other employer and business. These regulations can be incredibly complex and are difficult to navigate even for a professional accountant. To help simplify this system, my staff and I have developed a “Guide to Employing a Nanny and Other Full-Time Domestic Workers”.

Most people who hire domestic workers want to do right by their employees but simply do not have the expertise in labor and tax law to fully understand their obligations. Seeing this as a common issue for my constituents, I have compiled pertinent information related to hiring domestic workers in an easy-to-understand guide. I have included information on protecting your employees and yourself as well as the recently enacted Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

You may find this guide online at: http://www.lizkrueger.com/wp-content/uploads/Sen-Kruegers-Nanny-Guide.pdf. If you cannot access online, contact my office to receive a hard copy at (212)490-9535.

 

10th Anniversary of September 11th Remembrance Events:

Hand in Hand—Remembering 9/11

You may have heard that it is impossible to get a ticket to the official NYC 9/11 Remembrance event at the WTC site. Many of us will want to go somewhere to be with others that day. Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan, which includes the WTC site, has organized an event where everyone can participate.

Hand in Hand—Remembering 9/11 is a public community event designed to bring thousands of people together to stand in unity in remembrance of the attacks of September 11, 2001. They expect thousands will gather along lower Manhattan's West Side waterfront to hold hands and form a human chain

The event takes place on Saturday, September 10, 2011. Check-In stations open at 7:30 am and people will grasp hands at 8:46 am, the exact time the first airplane struck the North Tower. Check-In stations will close promptly at 8:15 am, so please arrive before then.

All participants must pre-register through this website in order to participate. Registration for Hand in Hand – Remembering 9/11 is easy and free. You can either register as an individual or as a group. If you'd like to be assigned to stand in the same location with your friends and family, you should register as a group.

Website to register: http://handinhand911.org/register-now

Bryant Park Memorial

Bryant Park is hosting a 9/11 Memorial Sept 9, 10 and 11th. — the park will display 2,753 empty chairs to honor each victim of the attacks.

During the exhibit artist Sheryl Oring will also present her public art, “Collective Memory," in which typists will transcribe visitors' answers to the question: “What would you like the world to remember about 9/11?” The answers will be used in an exhibit that will travel to college campuses around the world.

Though the typists will only be there from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. each day, typewriters will be available to the public to write up their own answers throughout the day.

 

Bring Your Recycling to MCC's 3rd Ave. Street Fair Sept. 10th!

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and Upper Green Side are offering free recycling at the 3rd Avenue Street fair on Saturday, September 10th from 10 am to 4 pm. Their Green Block will be between 83rd & 84th Streets on 3rd Avenue.

What to bring: electronics, paper for shredding, clothes, batteries, #5 plastic, cords, DC/DVDs, eye glasses, corks and Britta filters.

Accepted electronics include:

• Computers (laptops & desktops, servers, mainframes)

• Monitors

• Printers, scanners, fax-machines, copiers

• Network devices (routers, hubs, modems, etc.)

• Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, etc.)

• Components (hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies, etc.)

• TVs, VCRs, & DVD Players

• Audio-visual equipment

• Cell phones, pagers, PDAs

• Telecommunication (phones, answering machines, etc.)

NO appliances, please!

 

How to Report & Receive Refund for Metrocard Malfunctions:

My office has been getting reports of a variety of problems with metrocards and metrocard vending machines, including machines charging credit cards multiple times and malfunctioning cards. If you have experienced similar problems with Metrocards, it is possible to get a refund by filling out the form at this link: http://www.mta.info/metrocard/pdfs/form.pdf, and sending it to the MTA. In most cases, you also need to send in the defective card with the form.

I am also interested in getting a sense as to how widespread these issues are, so I would appreciate you emailing me at liz@lizkrueger.com if you’ve had a problem with a defective metrocard or malfunctioning machine. Please include the date and location of the problem in your email.

 

NYU Hosts Breast Cancer in Women of Color Day of Empowerment:

On September 24th, the NYU Cancer Institute is hosting a day of empowered learning and sharing for women at risk or previously diagnosed with cancer, and those who care for them. This year’s program has been designed with a focus on taking charge of your health and empowering yourself through knowledge and action. The event will take place on Saturday, September 24th from 8:30am–1:00pm at Club 101, 101 Park Avenue (At East 40th Street). An RSVP IS REQUIRED. To RSVP call 212.263.2266, e-mail NYUCIcommunityprograms@nyumc.org or reserve online at www.nyuci.org/rsvp. For more information, visit http://cancer.med.nyu.edu/node/777.

 

Institute for Senior Action Begins in September:

The Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA) is offering a 10-week program through its Institute for Senior Action (IFSA) for older New Yorkers to learn how to get more involved in the legislative process and be an effective advocate. The program integrates critical aging policy issues with practical grassroots action. Classes focus on a wide variety of subjects including: navigating the federal, state and local legislative processes, public speaking, understanding senior benefits and entitlements, techniques of social action, and much more.

The course begins Wednesday, September 21st. Sessions will be held 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at JASA Cooper Square, 200 East 5th Street, New York, New York.

To request an application, contact Bola Aribidesi, Project Director of the Institute for Senior Action, 212-273-5261; ifsa@jasa.org, or download one from www.jasa.org. The total cost for the 10 weeks is $75, with limited scholarships available.

 

Blood Donations Needed:

Tropical Storm Irene created a crisis for the New York Blood Center, which supplies blood to nearly 200 hospitals in the city. Many weekend blood drives were canceled the weekend of the storm and there is now a dire need to replenish the center’s supply of donated blood. At this point, the supply is down to two days. To donate blood, call 311 or (800) 933-2566, or visit the New York Blood Center’s Web site at http://nybloodcenter.org/donate-blood.do?sid0=61.

 

VOLS Legal Clinics:

The Volunteers of Legal Services (VOLS) Elderly Project provides pro-bono legal services to low-income people over age 60 who live in Manhattan. VOLS conducts legal clinics each month at senior centers where seniors can discuss their legal concerns in confidence, receive legal advice and, where appropriate, obtain referrals to a volunteer lawyer for representation. Areas of legal assistance include wills, medical directives, powers of attorney, housing, consumer matters and Medicaid. Over 150 lawyers serve on their Elderly Project volunteer attorney roster.

Upcoming Clinic dates and locations are below:

COMMUNITY LOUNGE, 155 East 22nd Street (between Lexington & 3rd Avenues) — 10 am — second Wednesday of each month (September 14th, October 12th). Call Sanwa Zaki at 212-777-8333 for information

BURDEN CENTER FOR THE AGING, 1484 First Avenue (between 77th & 78th Streets) — 2 pm — second Friday of each month (September 9th, October 14th). Call 212-879-7400 for information.

STANLEY ISAACS SENIOR CENTER, 415 East 93rd Street (east of 1st Avenue) — 10 am — third Friday of each month (September 16th, October 21st). Call 212-360-7620 for information.

ENCORE COMMUNITY SERVICES SENIOR CENTER, St. Malacy's Church - 239 West 49th Street (between Broadway and 8th Ave.) — 10 am —fourth Monday of each month (September 26th, October 24th). Call Sister Margaret Rose at 212-581-2910, ext 118 for information.

 

Hunter College Conference on Anita Hill 20 Years Later:

On October 15th, Hunter College and VDay are sponsoring a conference entitled Sex, Power and Speaking Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later. Anita Hill will be the keynote speaker and more than 40 educational, institutional, and grass-roots groups have joined as co-sponsors. For more information and a full conference schedule, visit www.anitahill20.org.

 

Affordable Housing Opportunities in Manhattan:

200 East 125th Street Apartments is now accepting applications for 28 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments under construction in 200 East 125th Street in East Harlem for low and moderate income individuals and families. Rents for these units will be $799 to $1176 depending on unit size. To be eligible, applicants must have incomes between $27,393 to $55,140, depending on unit and family size. Applications will be selected by lottery. Applicants who submit more than one application will be disqualified. Preference will be given to New York City residents. Applicants residing in Community Board 11 will receive priority for 50% of the units. In addition, visually/hearing impaired applicants will receive priority for 2% of the units, applicants with mobility impairment will receive priority for 5% of the units, and applicants who are New York City municipal employees will receive preference for 5% of the units. Qualified Applicants will be required to meet income guidelines and additional selection criteria. Applications may be DOWNLOADED from: www.200east125.com or requested by regular mail from: 200 East 125th Street Apartments c/o: Richman Property Services, Inc., PO Box 5574, New York, NY 10027. Please include a self-addressed envelope with your request.. Completed applications must be returned by regular mail only (no priority, certified, express or overnight mail will be accepted) to a post office box listed on the application, and must be postmarked by September 29, 2011.

2081 Madison Avenue LP is now accepting applications for 34 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments under construction in 2081 Madison Avenue in East Harlem for low and moderate income individuals and families. Rents for these units will be $638 to $1089 depending on income and unit size. To be eligible, applicants must have incomes between $25,520 to $56,940, depending on unit and family size. Applications will be selected by lottery. Applicants who submit more than one application will be disqualified. Preference will be given to New York City residents. Applicants residing in Community Board 11 will receive priority for 50% of the units. In addition, visually/hearing impaired applicants will receive priority for 2% of the units, applicants with mobility impairment will receive priority for 5% of the units, and applicants who are New York City municipal employees will receive preference for 5% of the units. Qualified Applicants will be required to meet income guidelines and additional selection criteria. Applications may be requested by regular mail from: Legacy Apartments, PO Box 559, College Station, New York, NY 10030. Please include a self-addressed envelope with your request. Completed applications must be returned by regular mail only (no priority, certified, express or overnight mail will be accepted) to a post office box listed on the application, and must be postmarked by October 27, 2011.

 

Policy Spotlight

Marine Transfer Station

Last month, I submitted comments to the Army Corps of Engineers urging them to reject New York City’s application for a permit to expand the dock on which the proposed Marine Transfer Station (MTS) at East 91st Street would be built. From the inception, I have expressed serious concern regarding the plan to build a MTS on East 91st St.

My long-standing opposition to a Marine Transfer Station at East 91st Street is based on many factors. Individually, any number of the problems with this location provide enough reason to kill this proposal, but collectively they make this decision a no-brainer.

The residential neighborhood that surrounds the proposed site includes numerous public parks, a major recreational facility, as well as one of Manhattan's largest public housing complexes. The site is just 100 feet from the closest residence, and less than 280 feet from the Stanley Isaacs/Holmes Houses New York City Housing Authority complex which is home to more than 2,200 residents. According to census data from 2000, 13,500 people live within a quarter mile radius of the proposed site, including 1,850 children, 1,622 senior citizens and more than 1,500 people living below the poverty line. For comparison purposes—the next most populated community in which the City proposes to locate a MTS, Hamilton Avenue in Brooklyn, has less than 1/3 the number of people (4,300 people) living within a quarter of a mile radius of that site. Additionally, and disturbingly, 91st Street is the only proposed MTS site not separated from nearby residences by a commercial buffer zone. In short, putting a Marine Transfer Station at this location defies common sense.

Before the former 91st Street MTS was closed in 1999 (which was less than half the size of the one currently proposed), the trucks would line-up all the way to 86th Street and beyond, and the surrounding neighborhood suffered greatly from odors, vermin and other pollutants. I have no doubt that the noise, noxious fumes and pollutants from the MTS, as well as the exhaust from the hundreds of trucks that will line up to enter the MTS each day, will dramatically affect the health and safety of the surrounding residents and community facilities.

Adding insult to injury, the Solid Waste Management Plan actually calls for the MTS’s truck access ramp to directly bisect the Asphalt Green park and recreational center. Located between York Avenue and the River between 90th and 92nd Streets, Asphalt Green is visited approximately 675,000 times each year. More than 110,000 of these visits are made by public school children at no charge, most from East Harlem. Each year more than 11,000 community members enjoy Asphalt Green's free sports, fitness, theater and educational programs. Even after construction is complete, the noise, fumes and pollutants from the MTS, as well as queuing trucks will likely force Asphalt Green to cancel many of these thriving programs. With dozens of schools sending thousands of children to Asphalt Green for recreational activities, permitting diesel-fuel trucks and other heavy polluters to constantly idle nearby imperils a population particularly susceptible to respiratory ailments. This is not only unsafe but negligent.

But it’s not just the surrounding community that would be harmed; this station would also do irreparable harm to the East River, which is not actually a river at all but a tidal straight/estuary. The unique nature of the ecosystem found in the East River cannot and should not be subject to any further disruptions or pollution, which could easily upset the delicate balance of this estuary and reverse the environmental gains of the last four decades.

I have long been a strong supporter of the environmental justice movements in New York City and believe that we all must be responsible for our own garbage. I am well aware that for too long, as a result of environmental racism and poor planning, Manhattan's garbage has unfairly burdened low-income and minority communities in the outer boroughs. The inexcusable concentration of waste disposal facilities in a few neighborhoods has contributed to childhood asthma rates communities that are among the highest in the nation and has severely undermined economic development. However, because the SWMP does not require private commercial waste haulers in Manhattan to use the more expensive city-owned facilities opening in the borough, it is very likely that haulers will continue to use the much less expensive private ones located in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. As a result, it is unlikely that the SWMP will actually lead to a noticeable reduction in the amount of commercial waste brought from Manhattan to the other boroughs.

Finally, locating new MTS sites anywhere in the City is a short-term solution to a long-term problem that will only get worse as New York is expected to see an increase in over one million residents and tourists in the coming years. New York City must make a real and lasting commitment to expanding recycling, reducing waste and finding high tech solutions to our garbage problems. Focusing on moving waste out of the City on barges and trucks to other localities places us in an extremely vulnerable position. Should the small and uncompetitive market of waste acceptance turn on us, New York will be left with an increased number of MTS sites but nowhere for that waste to go.

As I have said many times, this is an entirely inappropriate location for such a facility and I will continue to fight in every way possible to derail further development of this project.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

District Office: 211 East 43rd Street, Suite 401, New York NY 10017 (212) 490-9535 Fax: (212) 490-2151

Albany Office: 617 LOB Albany NY 12247 (518) 455-2297 Fax: (518) 426-6874

Email: liz@lizkrueger.com; On the Web at http://www.lizkrueger.com

 

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