On August 15, I joined the Committee to Preserve Cooper Union in a rally outside the courthouse where arguments were heard in its lawsuit to block the school from ending its long history as one of the nation’s few free institutions of higher learning. As I stated in an op-ed I wrote on the topic, charging tuition at Cooper Union — a beacon of educational equality in Manhattan’s rapidly changing East Village — jeopardizes the college’s reputation and its standing in our community. I further noted that Cooper Union enjoys considerable taxpayer support. Please see my op-ed at www.cityandstateny.com.
On July 31, along with Assembly Member Deborah Glick and Council Member Corey Johnson, I sent a letter to the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Office of Mrs. Green’s Natural Market expressing concern over its previous labor practices. We were troubled by media reports that Mrs. Green’s had violated federal labor law in response to employees attempting to unionize, and urged Mrs. Green’s to provide all employees of its new Hudson Street store with an intimidation-free environment in which they can freely exercise their right to organize. Businesses operating in the neighborhood should be law-abiding and provide good, well-paying jobs that help us continue to build a strong middle class and a healthier New York. Please see our letter below.
As a result of a new law enacted this year, New York State has the power to subject proposed telecommunications mergers to rigorous review and require that the parties demonstrate the transaction is in the public interest. On July 31, I was joined by Assembly Member Richard Gottfried in submitting testimony to the New York State Public Service Commission opposing the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. We argued that by combining the nation’s two largest cable operators, it would create a highly monopolized environment for cable and internet services and would therefore be antithetical to the public interest. Please see our testimony below.
Recently I’ve heard concerns from a number of my constituents who live in Jacob Riis Houses about vehicles speeding across 10th Street, which cuts through the complex between Avenue D and the FDR Drive. There are currently no clearly marked pedestrian crosswalks or traffic signs on the block or the traffic circle that bisects it, which is used by a significant number of children, seniors and other residents as the central connector between the north and south sides of the complex.
On July 24, I submitted testimony to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) on its 2015 Draft Annual Plan. While NYCHA has certainly made strides to reform its operations under Mayor de Blasio, there’s still more that must be addressed in its final Annual Plan. I expressed my support for the concerns and recommendations expressed in the Alliance to Preserve Public Housing’s position paper, which I endorsed, and highlighted several areas of particular concern, including the need for rigorous public review before any NYCHA land disposition and the need for code enforcement complaints by NYCHA tenants to be handled in the same manner as those of private housing residents.
"The current state of the Port Authority Bus Terminal is unsustainable as a central transit hub for the region. Daily commuters are consistently delayed in the sweltering heat and the facility is quite literally falling apart. By committing $90 million in capital funding to renovate the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the Port Authority is taking is an important step towards improving the day-to-day experience for hundreds of thousands of commuters and visitors.
On July 18, I wrote to the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the New York City Department of Transportation to bring their attention to several bus companies operating in Community Board 4 whose permits have lapsed. Since then, I’m happy to report the NYPD has begun a crackdown on illegal intercity buses in this area. The companies, including Fuji, Three Aces, and Galaxy, have continued to load and unload passengers on 42nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, idling and blocking an MTA dedicated lane. Please see my letter below.
On July 16, I joined Mayor de Blasio, other elected officials, agency heads and more than 1,000 volunteers in a Paid Sick Leave Day of Action to distribute information about New York City’s new law requiring employers with five or more employees to provide those who work at least 80 hours a year up to 40 hours of sick leave to care for themselves or a loved one. Paid sick leave allows employees to stay home and get better instead of coming into work sick, and means workers no longer have to choose between providing for their families financially and taking care of a sick child or parent.
On July 15, I was joined by Council Member Rosie Mendez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh in submitting joint testimony to the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) opposing a variance to legalize the sixth and seventh floor addition landlord Ben Shaoul built without proper permits at 515 East 5th Street. Residents and their advocates have been fighting this illegal addition since it was constructed in 2006. We noted Mr. Shaoul’s pattern of flouting Department of Buildings’ rules, and the occupancy and building code violations at the property, which put tenants at risk. Please see our testimony below.
On July 12, I joined Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh at the announcement by the Borough President’s Solid Waste Advisory Board and the Citizens Committee for New York City of their 2014 Community-Scale Composting Grants. In addition to La Plaza Cultural Community Garden, where the announcement was held, three other programs in our Senate District were among the grantees: East Side Community High School, Green Oasis Community Garden and P.S. 3. A complete list of grantees, who were awarded funds to build compost bin systems and given materials and supplies needed in order to ensure project sustainability, can be seen here.
I was very concerned to learn earlier this month that the New York Police Department (NYPD) is seeking a suspect in two sexual assaults that had taken place at Stuyvesant Town in the prior two months. The day the NYPD made the announcement I distributed information at the complex in an effort to raise awareness and engage community assistance in bringing the assailant to justice. Please click below to see the wanted poster and a letter advising residents about what had happened also signed by Assembly Member Kavanagh, Congresswoman Maloney and Council Member Garodnick.
On June 25, I received a response from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to my letter echoing CB2’s call for an expansion of the West Village Slow Zone one block east to Sixth Avenue. While I am disappointed that the DOT did not commit to an expansion at this time due to planning and time constraints, I am encouraged by the agency’s commitment to consider the additional area as a second phase to the slow zone. Additionally, to alleviate risk in the short-term, the DOT will be conducting a feasibility study for the placement of speed humps near the schools within the additional area.
Today I joined Environment New York, as well as Assembly Members Linda Rosenthal and David Buchwald, as the organization unveiled its new report, “Driving Cleaner: More Electric Vehicles Mean Less Pollution.” In 2006, documentarian Chris Paine asked “Who Killed the Electric Car?” Today, companies like Tesla right here our senate district have brought the electric car back to life. The report finds that more than 220,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are on America’s roads today and in just the last two years, annual sales of electric vehicles have increased by 500 percent.
“The Supreme Court's decision today to decline to hear a challenge to California's law prohibiting so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’ for minors is a milestone in our fight to outlaw this harmful and widely-discredited practice by licensed mental health providers. The court’s decision is also a sad and embarrassing reminder how New York lags behind other states that are protecting LGBT kids. It’s shameful that we can’t get the same legislation to the floor of the State Senate because of obstructionism by the Republican leadership -- even though it had the votes (35) to pass.”
“Today, Governor Cuomo put New York at the forefront of the fight against HIV and AIDS. Although there is still no cure, scientific advances and widespread health care coverage through NY State of Health have put an end to the epidemic within our reach. I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing the potential to end AIDS in New York State by 2020 and for committing the human and financial resources necessary to develop and execute a plan to do so.
Albany, NY—State Senator Brad Hoylman released the following statement on the failure of the Senate leadership to bring S.4917-B to ban sexual orientation change efforts on minors in New York State to the floor for a vote:
“It's bitterly disappointing that the State Senate bowed to partisan politics and failed to protect our kids in New York from so-called “conversion therapy," which considers homosexuality a sickness that needs to be cured.
Today, in the final hours of the 2014 Legislative Session, the New York State Senate passed the Compassionate Care Act, which establishes a medical marijuana program in New York State. I joined 48 of my colleagues in voting for this bill, which is about a simple concept: alleviating suffering for severely ill New Yorkers. The legislation includes provisions to ensure medical marijuana is reserved for patients with serious medical conditions and is dispensed and administered by the appropriate state agencies to ensure that the program cannot be abused.
The bill, which has been passed by both houses of the Legislature and is supported by Governor Cuomo will:
Today the New York State Senate passed legislation to authorize New York City to lower the motor vehicle speed limit to 25 mph, a key part of Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” plan to eliminate traffic fatalities within a decade. Approximately 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured, and over 250 are killed every year in traffic accidents in New York City. Reduced speed limits have been proven to reduce fatality rates and give pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers alike increased response time. Research shows an individual struck by a motor vehicle travelling at 40 mph has a 70% probably of being killed, while one hit by a car travelling at 25 mph has a fatality likelihood of only 10%.