Report to Community Board 6
March 11, 2009
Kavanagh Celebrates Tenant Victory: This past weekend, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined East Side elected officials, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, tenant advocates and local residents at a press conference regarding Thursday’s legal ruling in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer. “This is a huge win for our community and for tenants across the city,” said Assemblymember Kavanagh. “The court's decision promises to return thousands of apartments to rent stabilization and reimburse residents who have been overcharged--some for many years. We may not be able to undo all the damage done to our community by years of systematic, illegal rent increases, but we will do everything we can to ensure that justice is done. And we hope that this will be just one of many victories for tenants this year, as we continue to fight in Albany for stronger laws protecting tenants.” Assemblymember Kavanagh remains committed to ending egregious tenant harassment and maintaining affordability for tenants in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. Residents of the 74th Assembly District, who find themselves confronted with legal issues related to their housing, are encouraged to call the 74th Assembly District’s housing hotline at 646-459-3023. Budget Update - Partial Agreement on Taxes: Negotiations continue on the state budget as the Governor and the legislature move toward the April 1st deadline. This week, the Governor and the legislature agreed to eliminate $1.3 billion in tax increases that had been included in the Governor’s proposed Executive Budget. The proposed taxes were to be levied on previously tax free goods and services such as clothing under $110, digital downloads, cable and satellite television, manufacturers coupons, haircuts, manicures, concerts, movies, live theater, health clubs, bowling, golf, skiing, and others. Assemblymember Kavanagh had argued that these kinds of regressive taxes would place an unfair burden on working and middle class families in these difficult economic times, and is pleased to report agreement that these taxes are off the table. Kavanagh Fights for Accountability and Affordable Tickets at Publicly Subsidized Stadium and Arena Projects: On March 6th, Assemblymember Kavanagh participated in the Assembly Corporations and Cities Committee’s second public hearing to discuss the utilizing of public financing for construction of a new Yankee Stadium. The committees heard testimony from New York Yankees President Randy Levine as a follow-up to a January 14th hearing to explore a series of policy and legal issues raised about the use of public financing by the NYC IDA and other government agencies. Kavanagh focused his questions on bill A508, which would limit ticket price increases by sports franchises that have received public subsidies for their facilities and require that a percentage of tickets at these facilities be sold at prices affordable to people with modest means. Bill A508 has wide-spread bi-partisan support in the Assembly with over 60 co-sponsors, and is currently in the Ways and Means Committee. We expect the bill to be introduced in the State Senate soon. Kavanagh and Colleagues Hold Oversight Hearing on Electricity Pricing in NYS: Assemblymember Kavanagh and other Assembly colleagues held a hearing to examine the state of New York’s electric commodity market under the stewardship of the New York Independent System Operator. The NYISO is a not-for-profit corporation, approved and overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that began operating in 1999 to administer the state's wholesale electricity markets. The hearing also examined the policies and practices of the NYISO related to the market clearing price on the electric commodity cost to consumers. By some estimates, New Yorkers could save up to $2 billion a year if the legislature were to enact reforms of the electricity market. Kavanagh and his Assembly colleagues will continue to push for legislation. Assembly Passes Landmark Drug Law Reforms: On March 4th, the Assembly voted to approve legislation that addresses the harshest aspects of the Rockefeller Drug Laws by eliminating most mandatory minimum state prison sentences and creates new sentencing options for judges without disrupting those options available under current law. Co-sponsored by Assemblymember Kavanagh, the legislation (A6085) significantly reforms New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws by restoring judicial discretion and permitting judges to sentence non-violent drug offenders to probation, local jail or a combination of both. The bill also enhances options for substance abuse and drug treatment and rehabilitation. It would also augment reentry initiatives designed to facilitate the reintegration of offenders into society thereby breaking the revolving door of drug abuse and prison. Assembly Passes Legislative Package to Benefit Small Businesses: To commemorate Small Business Day, the State Assembly passed a comprehensive eleven-bill legislative package aimed at helping small businesses be competitive, productive and profitable in New York State. A key goal of the Assembly package is the creation of a micro business outreach center to provide firms that employ less than five employees with the knowledge and tools they need to be competitive. Under the bill (A3193), individuals without access to traditional sources of finance could access the centers for information about business plans, loan programs and how to operate a business. The Assembly small business measure also includes an effort to address the rising cost of energy to help small businesses become more energy-efficient. The bill would establish zero and low-interest-loan programs for energy improvement projects which could stimulate growth and create more job opportunities (A3945). The 38th Annual Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Conference: The weekend of February 13-15, 2009, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined the NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators for their annual conference in Albany. The association works to protect the interests of minorities in New York State and was attended by a wide range of City and State elected officials. Community and Citywide Education Council Elections: The New York City Department of Education is currently encouraging talented and committed parents to provide hands-on leadership and support to public schools by applying for a position on Community or Citywide Education Councils. The Community Education Councils were designed in 2003 as a vehicle for parents to voice their concerns and empower the local community. The current school governance system including mayoral control of schools expires this year. The legislature is reviewing the effectiveness of the current system, and exploring options for school governance going forward. All parents are eligible to run for the Councils and parents can now nominate themselves online by visiting powertotheparents.org. For more information on involvement, please feel free to contact Caitlin Hannon at 212-979-9696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.