I was pleased to join Manhattan Borough President-elect Gale Brewer, City Council Member-elect Corey Johnson, State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, long-time community and affordable housing activist Mary D’Elia and other local community members at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Park Clinton, a 96-unit multifamily homeownership development on Manhattan’s west side. It was an exciting day for our community, as permanently-affordable housing is essential to maintaining diverse, dynamic and vibrant neighborhoods.
Earlier this month, I was honored to receive MFY Legal Services’ Champion of Justice Award. MFY provides free and low-cost legal services to those in need and its programs reach individuals and families facing crises on a number of fundamental issues, such as housing, government benefits, employment, health care, consumer debt, and family law. I am proud of my strong partnership with MFY and am deeply appreciative of all the important work the organization does.
On December 11, I was proud to stand with Senator Liz Krueger as she announced her legislation to legalize marijuana in New York State. Senator Krueger's bill is a courageous step towards an open and honest debate about the criminalization of marijuana, which disproportionately impacts people of color, young, and low-income New Yorkers. Legalizing possession and personal use of small amounts of marijuana would eliminate disparities in marijuana arrests and permit our criminal justice system to more effectively deploy scarce resources.
Parents, make your voices heard!On December 4, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) finally announced a series of forums in New York City to discuss with parents and educators the Common Core Standards, testing, student privacy, and other education reforms approved by the State Board of Regents. The Manhattan Forum will be held from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11 at the Spruce Street School, 12 Spruce Street, between Nassau and William Streets (A C J M Z 2 3 4 5 trains to Fulton Street).Click here to see NYSED’s full schedule of Community Forums.
On December 5, the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) recommended the nomination of the entire South Village Historic District (SVHD) to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The SVHD will soon be listed on the State Register of Historic Places, and the recommendation paves the way for listing in the National Register as well. You can find my letter to SHPO supporting the nomination below.
On December 5, I was proud to stand in solidarity with fast food workers at the McDonald’s on Broadway and 51st Street and thousands of their fellow workers at chains in 100 cities across the country, who staged walkouts to protest decades of exploitation and demand fair wages. Fair pay and rights in the workplace are moral imperatives but sadly, the managers at this McDonalds, located in my Senate District, and at fast food outlets across the country, have threatened employees with immediate termination for their participation in protest events in support of a livable wage and the right to organize.
I am pleased to report that following a strong collaborative effort among local elected officials, Community Board 4, the New York Metro Area Postal Union and local residents , the United States Postal Service (USPS) abandoned plans to sell Old Chelsea Station. USPS realized what we had been saying along: That selling the facility and leasing new space elsewhere in the neighborhood simply doesn’t make sense. This is great news for Chelsea's growing residential and commercial community, which includes many elderly and disabled residents and small business owners who rely upon traditional postal services.
Today, I was joined by Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly Members Deborah J. Glick and Brian Kavanagh, City Council Members Rosie Mendez and Margaret S. Chin, along with other local elected officials, in calling on SantaCon organizers to follow three principles to rein in the annual scourge. During this massive pub crawl, thousands of participants dressed as Santa Claus overwhelm neighborhoods, violating numerous laws and regulations and creating major hazards to public safety along the way. The principles include making public and following defined routes; ensuring respectful participants; and implementing a comprehensive safety plan. Please see our letter below.
On November 22, I submitted testimony to the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) regarding the preliminary Standard Adjustment Factor for the 2014/2015 Maximum Base Rent (MBR) Cycle, which establishes rent increases for approximately 38,000 rent controlled tenants in New York City, including many in my district. I noted that due to the escalating costs of housing, and the year-after-year increases in landlord profits, there should be a rent freeze.
On December16 from 1:30-4:00 p.m., I am sponsoring Project Renewal’s Scan Van, which will be parked on First Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets to provide free mammograms, by appointment, to women over 40 who haven’t had one in the past year. Annual mammograms help detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage and can save lives. Space is limited, so please call (800) 564-6868 to make your appointment.
New York, NY – New York State Senator Brad Hoylman released the following statement in response to the announcement by New York City Councilmember Dan Garodnick and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn that an agreement could not be reached on the Bloomberg Administration’s East Midtown Rezoning proposal: “I applaud City Councilmember Dan Garodnick and Speaker Christine Quinn for turning back the East Midtown rezoning plan. Rather than attempt to strike an incomplete deal, they made the sensible decision to hold out for the thoughtful, bold plan the midtown business district needs and the city deserves.
Last month tenants at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village (ST-PCV) received several Major Capital Improvement (MCI) rent increase orders issued by the New York State Department of Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR). These MCI orders will mean sizable rent increases and considerable retroactive charges for tenants. On October 16, I wrote to and spoke with DHCR Commissioner Darryl Towns to echo the ST-PCV Tenant Association’s (TA) concerns about the first MCI order for the video intercoms (see my letter attached). On October 30, I joined City Councilmember Garodnick and Assembly Member Kavanagh in writing to Commissioner Towns urging him to stop the process, reverse the approvals, and reconsider all of the MCIs granted.
New York, NY – New York State Senator Brad Hoylman released the following statement in response to the news that American Bar Association (ABA) President James Silkenat had withdrawn as the keynote speaker at the November 18, 2013 Russia Forum New York. “I applaud ABA President James Silkenat for withdrawing as the keynote speaker at the upcoming Russia Forum New York. His action sends a strong message to the Russian Federation that its state sponsored attacks against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people will not be condoned by leaders in the international legal and investment communities. It also sets an example for other leaders in commerce and government about the moral imperative to oppose anti-LGBT discrimination.
On November 6, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and I submitted testimony to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development on the agency’s proposed changes to the rules governing Mitchell-Lama developments. We raised particular objections to the proposed amendments affecting succession rights; establishing procedures for the reconstitution of Mitchell-Lama coops as Housing Development Fund Companies; and weakening the priority for veterans.
“It is wonderful the U.S. Senate has passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender individuals from discrimination on the job. Of course it will not be the law of the land until it is passed by the House of Representatives and signed by President Obama, and even then its protections are limited to the workplace.
On November 1, I joined State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and other local elected officials in calling on Governor Cuomo to sign a bill she authored which makes it easier to crack down on “puppy mills” in New York State. Puppy mills are often filthy, overcrowded and lead to serious medical and genetic conditions which are only discovered after the puppies have been sold to local stores and their customers. It is unconscionable for anyone to keep animals in such conditions.
In early summer, as part of Governor Cuomo’s NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program, Lower Manhattan was awarded $25 million to create and implement locally-created strategies for rebuilding and strengthening the community against future extreme weather. A Community Planning Committee made up of community leaders, experts, and officials has been driving the planning process.
On October 31, I testified at a hearing held by the New York City Council Committee on Civil Rights regarding the recent rise in anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) crimes in New York City. Through the middle of August, the New York Police Department had reported 68 anti-gay hate crimes this year -- including 41 assaults and two murders -- up from 54 in all of 2012. I noted that as government officials, we have a responsibility to protect our city and its citizens from such vicious, bias-motivated attacks, which send a powerful and fear-inducing message to all members of the targeted community. Please see my testimony below.