Report to Community Board 3

July 24, 2007

Housing Update: On June 29th, Governor Spitzer signed bill A.8798, a bill that Assemblymember Kavanagh introduced to increase the state Housing Finance Agency’s ability to issue bonds for new housing construction by $1.5 billion. On the other hand, Governor Spitzer has not yet signed bill A.7905, also known as the Shelter Allowance Bill, which passed both houses. The bill would end the state’s longstanding practice of paying less than its share of the cost of housing public assistance recipients and increase funding for public housing by approximately $50 million a year. Assemblymember Kavanagh attended a NYCHA forum hosted by Good Old Lower East Side at Grand Street Settlement on July 14, where he joined GOLES, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in encouraging the community to contact the Governor and urge him to sign A.7905.

State Liquor Authority Hiring Field Investigators: As previously reported, during the annual state budget process, Assemblymember Kavanagh worked with his legislative colleagues to include $700,000 in funding that would enable the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to recruit nine new Beverage Control Investigators, of whom six would be assigned to New York City. The funding has now been allocated, and the SLA is in the process of recruiting and training applicants. These new investigators will enhance the SLA’s ability to adequately address the volume of applications for new and renewal liquor licenses, as well as the investigation of complaints and violations.

Kavanagh Testifies at City Council Key Card Hearing: On June 28, Assemblymember Kavanagh testified alongside housing rights advocates, tenants associations, and residents at a City Council hearing in support of a bill that would address the privacy threat posed by key-cards in the city and to discuss an alternative solution to the key card issue. During the regular legislative session, Assemblymember Kavanagh introduced bill A.8308, which would prohibit landlords from implementing key-card systems that track personal information without tenants’ consent. The bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 131-16, with the support of a substantial majority of both parties in the Assembly. The bill would ban electronic key card systems that collect personal data, including photographs, names, addresses, and the dates and times tenants or their guests enter and exit their apartments.

Legislature Returning to Albany to Vote on Congestion Bill: Assemblymember Kavanagh is a strong advocate for congestion pricing for Manhattan’s central business district and many of the other provisions of the Mayor’s PlaNYC initiative. He is a sponsor of A.9362, the bill that would establish a traffic congestion mitigation commission, which will propose a plan for enactment during next year’s legislative session. This approach would include formal participation by the City Council and a new proposed capital budget from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to specify how any revenue from the plan would be spent on mass transit, and would be contingent on the federal government allocating at least $250 million of congestion mitigation funds. While Assemblymember Kavanagh favored – and advocated strongly for – a more straightforward bill endorsing congestion pricing, the compromise will allow us to go forward with efforts to obtain federal funding, and should provide a forum in which the details of congestion pricing – as well as the alternatives – can be determined.