Report to Community Board 3

September 25, 2007

Housing Update: On August 15, Governor Spitzer also signed bill A.7905, also known as the Shelter Allowance Bill, which ends the state’s longstanding practice of paying less than its share of the cost of housing public assistance recipients living in public housing, increasing state funding by approximately $50 million a year. Assemblymember Kavanagh organized a press conference on August 10th, where he joined NYCHA Chairman Hernandez, and many other legislative colleagues, labor leaders and housing advocates in urging the Governor to sign A.7905.

Kavanagh Introduces Styrofoam Bill: Assemblymember Kavanagh and Senator Liz Krueger have introduced a bill (A.9420/S.6402) in their respective houses of the legislature, that would prohibit the use of food service ware that contains polystyrene foam, commonly known as styrofoam, by food service providers, including state agencies and contractors, as well as restaurants and retail food vendors. The bill would require food service providers to use alternate products that are compostable or recyclable, unless no affordable alternative exists.

Assembly Hearing on Environmental Conservation: On September 18th, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined the Environmental Conservation Committee in Albany to hear testimony from Commissioner Pete Grannis and environmental advocacy groups and experts about the impacts of the 2007-2008 state budget on the programs of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The 2007-2008 state budget is an important improvement over previous years as it includes an additional 109 new staff positions for DEC programs such as the new Climate Change Office as well as increased funding for the Environmental Protection Fund, and more than $15 million in grants to investigate and clean up brownfield projects throughout New York State. Still, the hearing highlighted several issues requiring further attention, including significant problems with the state’s tax credit program for brownfields, a need for greater compliance with state agencies to audit their own environmental impacts, and very substantial funding needs for environmentally critical capital projects around the state, particularly for wastewater treatment.

Legislature Returns 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 establishes a traffic congestion mitigation commission. The commission will provide a forum in which the details of congestion pricing – as well as the alternatives – can be determined. This approach includes 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 will be spent on mass transit. The 17-member commission will propose a plan for enactment by March 2008. In response to the legislature’s creation of the commission, the United States Department of Transportation has agreed to allocate $354 million to help finance the Mayor’s plan to reduce traffic in Manhattan. This added funding is a step in the right direction not only to ensure the successful implementation of the congestion pricing plan, but also to support major improvements of the mass transit system.

Kavanagh Applauds East Side Alliance: On August 2nd, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, housing and police officials, community and business leaders, and methadone programs to witness the signing of the Community Policy Agreement for the Methadone Programs in the East Side Alliance. The Alliance – led by the District Attorney and signed by representatives of the Police Department, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, the Union Square Partnership, and four major methadone programs – is intended to reduce the community impact of these programs and prevent drug trafficking in much of the East Village, Alphabet City, Union Square, and Gramercy area.