On June 7, New York State Assembly Health Committee Chair Dick Gottfried and I introduced a single-payer health care bill (A.7860/S.5425) that would ensure comprehensive health care coverage for all New Yorkers regardless of income. Under the plan, publicly-sponsored coverage would replace insurance company coverage, and premiums would be replaced by broad-based public financing.
The decades-long, systematic cover-up of childhood sexual abuse by institutions and persons in a position of authority is well known, and yet New York State’s antiquated statute of limitation laws have barred victims, who do not come to terms with what has happened to them until much later in life, from seeking justice. As a passionate advocate for the prevention of childhood sexual abuse as well as for redress and closure for adults living with its traumatic scars, I have long sponsored legislation that would create a one year window period to allow past survivors of sex abuse to come forward with claims regardless of when the abuse occurred.
On May 24, I submitted testimony at the New York City Department of City Planning's (DCP) hearing on New York University's (NYU) draft scope of work for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for NYU's Core Project. I certainly appreciate the role NYU plays as an economic, cultural and intellectual engine for our City. Yet I am quite concerned about the impacts of the particular expansion NYU seeks to undertake, which would add approximately 2.5 million gross square feet of new uses to its core campus in historic Greenwich Village and for which it is seeking numerous discretionary actions, some of which would open the door for even greater development and change than NYU has proposed .
May 13 was the last day for community members to fill out the St. Vincent’s Community Health Assessment Survey, which was created and distributed by the Lower West Side Health Needs Assessment Steering Committee and the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College in order to learn how the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital has affected area residents’ health care.
Last year, the New York State Legislature passed legislation signed into law by then Governor David Paterson that would clarify that Class A multiple dwelling residential buildings may only be used as long-term residential housing, and not as transient, “illegal” hotels. This law, designed to fight the proliferation of illegal hotels, was slated to take effect May 1, 2011. However, illegal hotel operators filed a lawsuit and sought a preliminary injunction, threatening to postpone the implementation date of the bill.
On April 29, I was honored to speak at the grand opening of the new home of GMHC, the nation’s oldest AIDS service organization. Now located at 446 West 33rd Street, GMHC will continue to provide a wide range of services including health and nutrition education, legal, housing and mental health support, hot meals, vocational training and case management to nearly 11,000 New Yorkers affected by HIV/AIDS each year. GMHC’s HIV prevention and testing programs are being expanded separately in the new GMHC Center for HIV Prevention at 224 West 29th Street. As I noted in my remarks, GMHC continues to play a critical role in HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy and to be a tremendous partner in the fight to end the epidemic. As
In late March, I joined New York State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and New York City Councilmember Dan Garodnick in spearheading a letter signed by 77 Federal, State and City elected officials to the Office of Housing Preservation at New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), which had been asked to review the application of the rent laws in light of the State Court of Appeals ruling in Roberts v.
My office continues to follow up with MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) to address ongoing concerns about implementation of the M15 Select Bus Service (SBS), including ticket machines that frequently jam or run out of paper, leaving passengers unable to purchase tickets. As I noted in my February report, NYCT assured me that it was developing a software update that would enable it to track when machines have run low on paper so that agency crews may refill them as soon as they are empty. NYCT has now informed me that pilot test software will be installed on select SBS ticket machines by the end of April and will roll out to all machines by the end of May. I will continue to monitor NYCT's progress in this and other efforts to improve customers' SBS experience. In
I am tremendously disappointed that New York State's Fiscal Year 2011-12 Enacted Budget did not include renewal and strengthening of our rent regulation system. I am continuing to work with my progressive colleagues in the State Senate and leaders in the tenants rights movement to ensure both the renewal of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act before it expires on June 15 of this year and the expansion of tenant protections. I am a co-sponsor of an omnibus tenant protection bill (S.2783-A/ Espaillat), which, among other provisions, would:
Shortly after midnight on March 31, the New York State Legislature enacted the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 State Budget. The $132.5 billion budget, which was the first one in five years to pass on time, reduces overall spending by two percent and has no new taxes or borrowing.
On March 26, I joined the Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association, community and faith-based organizations and other elected officials in announcing the launch of the Sweatshop Free Upper West Side campaign, an effort to compel area businesses to enforce fair labor practices. As I said at the event, “100 years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire—the worst industrial disaster in the history of New York City, which became the rallying cry for workplace safety standards and spawned the international labor movement—we must honor the legacy of those who perished by ensuring that the rights of workers are respected by every business and for every employee.”
A credible and exhaustive analysis of our community’s unmet needs is still necessary to convince the New York State Department of Health, hospital executives and other health care providers of service gaps that must be filled.
I am strongly opposed to the proposal in Governor Cuomo’s Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Executive Budget that would result in a reduction of $25.2 million in Title XX funding for New York City senior centers and effectively force 105 of them – including the Stein Senior Center in CB6 – to be closed. This would be devastating to the elderly New Yorkers who rely upon these centers for meal programs, activities and companionship, which are critical for their well-being and prevent their premature institutionalization.
It is now less than one month before the State Budget deadline of April 1. The Senate and Assembly have just completed joint hearings on each subject matter related to the Executive Budget proposal. The next step in the process is for each house to pass a budget resolution outlining its budget priorities. Once this process is completed, Legislative Conference Committees will be convened to reconcile differences between the Senate and Assembly proposals. Finally, the Senate and Assembly will vote on an agreed upon 2011-2012 fiscal year budget before the April 1 deadline.
Nearly three years have passed since dangerous levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were discovered in P.S 199 on West 70 Street and a number of other New York City public schools. While much progress has been made in remediating contamination at a few select schools, it is unacceptable that there is still no City-wide plan to address this problem. The Bloomberg administration’s intransigence is particularly disturbing in light of clear evidence of PCB leakage from light ballasts in schools built or substantially renovated between 1950 and 1978.
On Saturday, February 12, 2011, I joined New York State Assembly Member Deborah Glick, U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler and the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce (GVCCC) in kicking off “Love the Village,” a day-long shopping event that encouraged the public to shop and explore businesses hurt by the loss of St. Vincent’s Hospital.
On January 26, 2011, I submitted testimony to the New York City Planning Commission in support of the proposed Clinton Commons development on West 52nd Street. I applaud Manhattan Community Board 4's strong advocacy during the review process which compelled the developers to identify and adopt a mechanism that will preserve the development's affordability in the long-term. Clinton Commons' progressive cooperative housing structure will open the door to home ownership for countless generations of moderate and middle-income New Yorkers for whom there are currently few adequate housing options, and will help keep Clinton/Hell's Kitchen a diverse, dynamic and vibrant neighborhood.
On January 25, I submitted testimony at a joint hearing of the New York City Department of Education (DOE), the Community School District 3 (D3) Community Education Council (CEC3) and school leadership teams strongly opposing the DOE's proposal to co-locate a new Success Academy Charter School (SACS) with five existing high schools within the Brandeis Educational Campus (145 West 84 Street). I echoed the concerns of the D3 community that SACS would preclude the campus from accommodating much-needed additional high school seats; prove extremely disruptive to the building's existing schools; place elementary students at risk among older students; require costly retrofitting of the building for younger students, and reduce individual schools' flexibility in moving, exchangi
In light of the decision by the judge handling the St. Vincent's Hospital bankruptcy case to approve St. Vincent's retention of a real estate advisor, I joined New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and our other local elected officials in sending a strongly-worded letter to St. Vincent's Chief Restructuring Officer Mark Toney regarding the disposition of the properties. Since, regrettably, we have not heard from Mr. Toney, our primary contact with St. Vincent's, in quite some time, we reached out to him to reiterate the necessity of restoring a full acute care hospital and a 24-hour emergency room on Manhattan's Lower West Side.