Report to Community Board 6

June 10, 2009

Kavanagh Named Chair of Assembly Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement: On June 1st, Assembly Speaker Silver announced appointments to Assembly leadership positions. Already a member of the Assembly’s Election Law Committee, Kavanagh was named the new Chair of the Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement. Kavanagh will spearhead efforts to reform New York’s election processes, including absentee and affidavit ballots. Prior to his appointment, Kavanagh introduced twenty-eight election law and campaign finance reform related bills in the Assembly.

Kavanagh Seeks to Mandate Elevator Safety Improvements and Enforcement in Public Housing: On June 6th, Assemblymember Kavanagh, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Senator Daniel Squadron, and community advocates for public housing met on the steps of City Hall to call for the passage of a bill introduced by Kavanagh and Senator Serrano that would increase elevator safety in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residential buildings. The bill (A.08154/S.4603) would require NYCHA to install devices that prevent elevator doors from opening when the elevator is between floors – preventing accidents such as the tragic death of 5-year-old Jacob Neuman in August of last year. The bill would also ban the City’s prior practice of exempting NYCHA from routine Department of Buildings safety inspections. A.08154/S.4603 has already been approved by the Cities Committee in both the Assembly and the Senate, and is expected to move toward consideration by the full Assembly and Senate in the coming days.

Kavanagh and Krueger Closer to Limiting Styrofoam in New York State: One year after McDonald’s weakened its commitment to the environment by reintroducing the polystyrene cup for its “Sweet Tea,” Kavanagh’s bill, A.00428/S.02832, has passed the Assembly. On June 9th, the bill, sponsored by Senator Krueger in the Senate, passed with over 20 Assembly cosponsors and was delivered to the Senate. Polystyrene cups are used in a matter of minutes but remain in waterways and landfills for centuries. Moreover, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, poses health risks as it is classified as a suspected human carcinogen and neurotoxin. The bill would push public sector agencies and their contractors to replace polystyrene with recyclable or compostable alternatives while also exploring the feasibility of a statewide Styrofoam ban.

Kavanagh Testifies in New York Yankees Hearing: Assemblymember Kavanagh was requested by Assemblymember Brodsky, Chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, to testify at a hearing looking into the public financing of the Yankees’ new stadium. Currently, legislators seek documents that detail how State money was spent in the construction of Yankee Stadium, prompted by the difference between the State financing anticipated and that spent by the Yankees. Kavanagh testified that the Yankees’ information would help lawmakers considering his legislation (bill A.00508A) that would limit some ticket prices and set other terms in return for public stadium funding. He now has over 70 Assembly co-sponsors.

Kavanagh Serves as Legislative Panelist at Submetering Summit: Assemblymember Kavanagh fielded questions on submetering at the Summit on Residential Electric Submetering hosted by the Waterside Tenants Association on May 16th. This event was co-hosted by the Public Utility Law Project (PULP) and co-sponsored by Kavanagh and other elected officials to address residential submetering issues. The panel also included representatives from agencies including New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Public Services Commission (PSC). Assemblymembers Kavanagh and Kellner described various legislative initiatives, including Kavanagh’s bill, A.04877, that would prevent landlords from requesting major capital improvement (MCI) rent increases when receiving funding from NYSERDA to finance energy efficiency projects.

Kavanagh Continues Working with Assembly Colleagues and District Two’s CEC to Address Enrollment and Mayoral Control Issues: Assemblymember Kavanagh met with Assembly colleagues as well as CEC District Two President Rebecca Daniels to discuss the immediate issue of class enrollment and the continuing issues with mayoral control, adequate zoning procedures, and sufficient room and building availability. As the current system of mayoral control expires on June 30th, legislators are contemplating measures to resolve current problems. Kavanagh will continue to work with all parties in an attempt to provide the Capital Plan with greater equity, a better check to mayoral control, a clearer system of parental input, and a hierarchy that includes local intermediaries to address and solve local problems.

Kavanagh Discusses Environmental Legislation at Tropical Hardwoods Forum: Environmental advocacy group, Rainforest Relief, invited Assemblymember Kavanagh, along with other state and city officials, to speak at its forum, “Materials for a New City: Alternatives to Tropical Hardwoods for Public Outdoor Infra-structure,” on May 29th. Kavanagh discussed bill A.00478 that he has introduced in the Assembly. While forests play a vital role in regulating the global climate and protecting our environment, New York State has minimal regulation of rainforest timber use in its products, including park benches and railroad tracks. Moreover, New York City stands as the single largest consumer of tropical hardwoods in North America. Kavanagh will continue to push for A.00478 as well as other measures that encourage sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices.

Bellevue Hospital Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Public Meeting: After a musical performance by Sandra Reaves-Phillips and Richard Clements, the CAB presented service activity highlights and conducted a full board meeting on May 27th. Supportive of the partnership connecting the hospital to the community, Cameron Peterson expressed the Kavanagh office’s willingness to continue addressing the concerns of CAB and the community, including those of redevelopment and food vendors. Assemblymember Kavanagh has both endorsed the CB6 Bellevue Resolution and signed onto a joint letter from elected officials concerning the City’s redevelopment of the Bellevue Psych Building site.

Solar One Revels in Summertime With Annual Celebration and Upcoming Events: Assemblymember Kavanagh was pleased to serve on the honorary committee of this year’s Revelry on the River event. On June 2nd, Solar One celebrated the occasion with cocktails, a picnic supper, and an awards ceremony honoring Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, Matthew Modine, and HSBC for their environmental stewardship. The festivities raised money for and celebrated the green energy arts and education center, which expands access to and awareness of Manhattan’s waterfront on the East Side. Upcoming events at Solar One include the Solar Love Music Festival, featuring local bands such as Consumer Feedback, on June 13th from 12pm to 10pm. On June 27th, New Yorkers can participate in Stuy Cove Park Volunteer Day from 9am to 1pm and Solar One Family Day – Orff by the River from 2pm to 4pm, when families are invited to learn the Orff method of teaching music from Turtle Bay Music School. Contact for more information.