On November 29, 2011, I joined dozens of licensed New York City tour guides and representatives of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 225 in a rally to save the jobs of more than 100 Gray Line tour bus guides at risk of being replaced by pre-recorded narration. The guides are currently negotiating a new contract with Gray Line New York, which, according to the union, has said it wants to automate operations and keep only a small number of its unionized guides for private group tours.
On Sunday, November 20, I joined Manhattan Community Board 2 (CB2) Chair Brad Hoylman and dozens of other West Village residents, business owners and community stakeholders in a march calling for increased public safety on and around Christopher Street. I applauded the West Village Coalition for organizing the march and the New York Police Department’s Sixth Precinct for its efforts to fight crime and protect all of us who call the West Village home. I and my colleagues in government are working with the Sixth Precinct, CB2, the West Village Coalition and representatives of FIERCE, The Door and other organizations that serve the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth who have historically congregated on the Christopher Street pier to develop new, collaborative strategi
On November 15, 2011, I held a public forum to address the controversy surrounding accusations of medical professionals’ participation in torture or “enhanced interrogation” as well as to analyze the potential impacts and implementation of proposed legislative responses. A number of court cases and petitions to state disciplinary boards have included evidence that licensed medical professionals abdicated their professional responsibility by taking part in torture. Since these professionals are licensed at the State level, it is within New York State’s jurisdiction to determine whether violations have occurred as well as the appropriate sanctions. The forum explored the legal, regulatory and ethical obligations of medical professionals relating to torture and other enha
As a longtime tenant advocate, I have always fought to preserve and expand New York State’s Emergency Tenant Protection Act and to ensure that tenants are armed with the information they need to defend themselves against harassment, neglect and unwarranted evictions. Toward that end, I was a proud sponsor the Sixth Annual West Side Tenants’ Conference on November 5, 2011, where I led a break-out session with New York State Assembly Member Dick Gottfried and Legal Aid staff attorney Ellen Davidson on the new rent laws, recent legal rulings and what tenants can do to help in the fight for stronger rent regulations. I focused my remarks on the struggles and gains of the past year’s rent law renewal fight, as well as the challenges that lay ahead. This annual conference, o
On November 15, I will be holding a public forum to address the controversy surrounding accusations of medical professionals’ participation in torture or “enhanced interrogation” as well as to analyze the potential impacts and implementation of proposed legislative responses. A number of court cases and petitions to state disciplinary boards have included evidence that licensed medical professionals abdicated their professional responsibility by taking part in torture. Since these professionals are licensed at the state level, it is within New York State’s jurisdiction to determine whether violations have occurred as well as the appropriate sanctions. The purpose of this forum is to explore the legal, regulatory
I encourage you to consider participating in END TO END FOR THE 99%, a November 7 solidarity march from Uptown Manhattan along Broadway to Zucotti Park, where we will join the Occupy Wall Street protest. The march is leaving 181st Street and St. Nicholas at 10:30 A.M. and is expected to pass through Verdi Square at 72nd Street and Broadway at approximately 1:30 P.M.
On October 12, 2011, The EPL/Environmental Advocates, the lobbying arm of Environmental Advocates of New York, issued its annual scorecard grading members of the New York State Legislature on their positions and votes on key legislation affecting New York’s air, land, water, wildlife and public health. I am pleased to have received a 99, tied with Senators Bill Perkins, Gustavo Rivera and Jose Serrano for the highest score among members of the Legislature’s upper house. By contrast, the average score for New York State Senators was a 70. I will continue my work to pass legislation that will have a positive impact on our environment and it is my sincere hope that when next year’s scorecard is issued, every one of my Senate colleagues will receive a similarly high mark.
I was outraged to read in the October 10, 2011 New York Post that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had eliminated important safety rules regarding airspace for helicopters and private planes without any public notification. That same day, I joined New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and New York State Assemblymember Dick Gottfried in submitting a letter to the FAA expressing our dismay over this backroom decision.
While progress had been made in remediating PCB contamination at P.S. 199 (270 West 70th Street), and tests conducted earlier this year found that the concentration of PCBs in the school had fallen below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended maximum levels for elementary schools, the most recent tests found significantly elevated contamination levels in eleven of the school’s spaces. I along with other elected officials and the school’s PTA and administration have met privately and publicly with the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about this alarming development. At this point, the agencies are struggling to identify the source of the contamination. On October 3, I joined U.S.
On September 22, I joined New York State Assembly Members Deborah Glick and Dick Gottfried, U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in submitting testimony before the New York State Department of Health Public Health and Health Planning Council regarding North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System’s (“NS-LIJ”) Certificate of Need Application for its proposed Center for Comprehensive Care (“The Center”) to be located at the former St. Vincent’s O’Toole Pavilion. While I will continue to strongly advocate for the reestablishment of a full service hospital Manhattan’s Lower West Side, NS-LIJ’s proposed facility, including a 24/7 free-standing Emergency Department capable of treating more than 90% of the conditions seen at the former St.
On September 20, I sent a letter to Adam Rose of Rose Associates—the managing agent for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village (ST-PCV)—regarding tenant’s complaints of trash left for days on the sidewalks throughout the complex prior to scheduled New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) pickups.
Ten months after the M15 Select Bus Service (SBS) was introduced by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority-New York City Transit (NYCT), my office conducted a three-week study to assess its implementation and identify outstanding concerns. The study found that while many early glitches have been resolved and riders are generally pleased with the new bus service’s speed, there are still issues DOT and NYCT must address. The most prominent problem is peeling, obstructed or missing signage at SBS stops explaining how the system and its ticket machines work. Such instructions are vitally important, since riders who do not purchase a ticket before boarding are subject to a $100 fine.
On September 13, I delivered testimony before the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) regarding its proposed amended rules governing City-aided and supervised limited-profit housing companies. While I made a number of additional suggestions, as a whole, the package of proposed changes will strengthen the governance of these housing companies to facilitate the preservation of this precious affordable housing stock for current and future generations of moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers.
ALBANY, September 13, 2011 – As the Belmont Race Course opens its gates for its Fall season, Senator Thomas K. Duane today announced that he will introduce legislation banning the use of performance enhancing drugs, including the widely overused diuretic Lasix (Furosemide), on any horse participating in a New York State sanctioned horserace. The bill also carries stiff fines -- including a permanent ban on those who violate the law after a third violation. Senator Duane said, "Until this legislation becomes law, I urge everyone to refrain from wagering on any horse that is being dosed with Lasix – or worse. No one in the horseracing industry should be monetarily rewarded for racing a horse which may be too sick to run without such drugs."
New York’s 29th State Senate District lies at the heart of the world’s most exciting and vibrant city. And those of us who live here know that day-to-day challenges come along with that excitement.
Often, in order to find out our rights, access available services or fi le a complaint, we must contact public agencies and/or community organizations. While many resources are now available online, even in this Internet age many questions are best answered or most easily explained by picking up the phone and speaking to a person with knowledge and sensitivity. Yet identifying which agency has jurisdiction or expertise and even finding a correct phone number can be a time consuming and diffi cult task.
There has been a recent flurry of activity by unions that are fighting to achieve fair and just contracts for their members, and I have been proud to stand with them. Unfortunately, many employers continue to ignore the needs of their workers.
On Sunday, July 24, 2011 New York State’s Marriage Equality Law took effect – exactly thirty days from the bill’s historic Senate passage in Albany. For the first time in the history of New York State same-sex couples are granted the right to marry the one they love with full and equal protection under the law. Marriage in New York is now gender-neutral!
Since I learned late last year that a landscaper commissioned by the New York City Parks Department had removed vegetables planted by area residents in a protected bike lane median’s tree pit, I and my staff have been working with the Parks Department to ensure that green space bordering bike lanes can be planted and maintained by members of the community.
In March 2011, Senator Cathy Young, an upstate Republican Senator from Jamestown and Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing and Community Development, introduced a harmful and dangerous piece of legislation, S.4117-A , that would completely gut the landmark pro-tenant decisions in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties, L.P. and Independence Plaza North Tenants' Assn. v. Independence Plaza Assocs. L.P.