Assemblyman William Scarborough Assemblyman
William
Scarborough

reports to
the people

Spring 2008


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am happy to have this opportunity to report to you on my efforts on your behalf, and to update you on activities taking place both in Albany and in the district that may be of interest to you. As we enter the fourth month of the 2008 legislative session, we are faced with issues and decisions that will have a serious impact on each of our lives. I will seek to discuss some of these issues in this newsletter, and I welcome your opinion on the issues discussed here or on any other topic of concern to you.

Sincerely,
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William Scarborough
Assemblyman 29th A.D.

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Assemblyman Scarborough greets Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
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Assemblyman Scarborough addresses hundreds of young people and advocates for increasing funding for summer jobs for youth.
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Assemblyman Scarborough welcomes Wesley Autry to Albany. Mr. Autry heroically saved a man’s life in the NYC subway by covering the person with his body as a subway train rolled over the two of them.

BUDGET

On January 22, 2008, Governor Spitzer presented the legislature with his proposed budget for this fiscal year. The budget discussions this year will proceed under the reality of a $4.4 billion dollar deficit, which means that spending cuts or savings will have to be imposed in order to balance the budget. Given those circumstances, I think Governor Spitzer crafted a reasonably good budget document. This budget highlights a fact that I have become increasingly aware of in my time in Albany. Whether there is a surplus or a deficit, budgets are crafted to reflect the priorities of the administration in office. In education, this budget seeks to fulfill the commitment of The Campaign for Fiscal Equity initiative to direct major increases to New York City and other high-needs districts around the state. Education funding is increased by over $900 million dollars over last year. However, since last year’s budget projected an increase this year of $1.2 billion, some see this as a cut in education funding. They see this as a sign that the state is reneging on its commitment to education in the CFE settlement, but I guarantee you that my city colleagues and I will fight to assure that New York City will receive every education dollar that we are entitled to. Governor Spitzer also provided funding to add almost 100,000 slots to Universal Pre-Kindergarten, seeking to move New York State closer to the time when every four-year-old whose parents want a Pre-K slot for their child will have one available.

In health care, the governor expressed a goal of moving our health services more in the direction of primary care and preventive services. This is a worthy goal which I support, but we will have to examine the impact on our existing hospitals and health facilities, and seek adjustments if necessary. One of Governor Spitzer’s initiatives, “Doctors Across New York” is creative and worthy of support. The governor will use loan forgiveness and other incentives to encourage graduates of New York medical schools to commit to practice in designated “medically underserved” areas for a set number of years. Our community has been federally designated as “underserved” for many years, and this initiative could encourage more medical professionals to establish primary care practices in our community, and similar communities across the state. I also applaud another Spitzer health priority. President Bush has twice vetoed the US-CHIP program, which would expand covered health care to millions of uninsured children nationwide. Governor Spitzer has chosen to refuse to be deterred by federal obstacles and has decided to provide health care to the 400,000 children he targeted in last year’s budget, and add an additional 70,000 uninsured New York children this year.

The governor has also proposed a $1 billion program to revitalize stagnant and dying upstate economies. We applaud Governor Spitzer’s initiative to help upstate, and we recognize the truth of his statement that “30 years ago, New York State came to the aid of New York City when the city faced bankruptcy, and now the state must do the same thing for upstate cities facing financial ruin.” However, we also have a responsibility to make sure that the core needs of New York City residents do not suffer in order to bail out upstate, and we will be vigilant in assuring that our residents are not shortchanged in this budget.

I welcome your comments on the budget or any other issue that affects you.


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Assemblymembers Scarborough and Titus greet members of Youth in Progress, a group of foster care youth who advocate for the needs of foster youth.
Assemblyman Scarborough hosts his 5th annual Senior Bowling Tournament.

SUB-PRIME LENDING

Our county has been battered recently by a sub-prime lending crisis that has led to a wave of housing foreclosures across the nation. Southeast Queens has been a figurative “Ground Zero” for the sub-prime lending crisis, with more homeowners being victimized by ballooning mortgages and more potential foreclosures than almost anywhere else in the city and the country. Elected officials in Southeast Queens have banded together to face this threat in a united manner, and we have developed a number of strategies that we will pursue on the federal, state, and local levels to provide relief to our constituents.

On the state level, I am one of the prime sponsors of legislation that seeks to provide help to our citizens on a number of levels. Our legislation would create a $150 million pool of state funds that would be used to assist citizens facing foreclosure. The legislation would require banks and other lenders to match the state appropriation, creating a $300 million assistance fund. Homeowners facing foreclosure would be eligible for up to $6,000 in assistance, providing they agree to accept counseling from accredited mortgage counseling organizations, to help them prevent similar incidents in the future.

Besides requiring the lending institutions to match the state contribution, the legislation would provide criminal sanctions for practices such as giving a mortgage without verifying the borrower’s income, or misrepresenting the borrower’s income in order to fraudulently manipulate the size of the loan the borrower gets. It would also require the State Banking Department and the Attorney General to monitor the activities of lending institutions operating in New York State, and require that reports of the results of this oversight be sent to the governor and the Legislature.


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Assemblyman Scarborough hosts an education forum at the St. Albans Family Life Center. Pictured are Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Assemblywoman Barbara Clark, and the Deputy Chancellor of the Department of Education.
Assemblyman Scarborough, Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Children and Families, hosts a public hearing on youth aging out of foster care at York College. Pictured also are Assemblymembers Clark and Titus.

EVENTS SPONSORED BY ASSEMBLYMAN SCARBOROUGH

August 2, 2007: Assemblyman Scarborough and local officials sponsored an education forum targeting parent access to schools. Key issues raised for city officials, including Deputy Mayor for Education Dennis Walcott and the senior Department of Education officials, were the suspension of an outstanding local principal—Shango Blake, IS 109—and the DOE plan to house boroughwide suspension sites for unruly kids in local schools without notification or consultation with the schools.

September 8, 2007: Assemblyman Scarborough’s First Annual “Back-to-School Extravaganza” at IS 59. A wide range of local education and tutorial services were highlighted for participants as well as health services and entertainment. After a review of written essays and school records, two scholarships were awarded to winning students—one for $1,000, and one for $500.

October 13, 2007: Assemblyman Scarborough and Community Leader Joan Flowers sponsored a health fair targeting prostate cancer and breast cancer screenings, as well as other services, in Springfield Gardens.

November 13, 2007: Assemblyman Scarborough hosted his annual free flu shot program at the St. Albans Family Life Center. Queens Hospital Center Nurses administered the flu shots.

November 19, 2007: Assemblyman Scarborough provided full Thanksgiving dinners to needy families identified by the Godian Fellowship Food Pantry in Jamaica, NY. Donations were received from local residents, Pathmark and Associated Food Stores.

December 14, 2007: As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, Assemblyman Scarborough convened a public hearing on the plight of youth aging out of foster care (ages 18-21) co-hosted by Assemblywoman Michelle Titus, Chair of the subcommittee on Foster Care. This hearing focused attention on these former foster children, who often end up homeless, in jail, or in mental hospitals once they are discharged from foster care with no support network and few available services.

June 21, 2008: Assemblyman Scarborough will sponsor a wide-ranging forum on all aspects of Child Care at York College (Gymnasium). The Commissioners of both the city and state child care agencies are expected to participate, as well as experts on a number of childcare-related issues, such as: opening a childcare facility; a rating system to help parents pick a quality childcare facility; regulations governing childcare facilities and how they affect existing facilities; and many other issues.


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Assemblyman Scarborough donates Christmas presents to America’s Future Foundation for their annual Christmas party for disadvantaged children. Pictured with the Assemblyman is Alisha Johnson, President and Founder.
Assemblyman Scarborough and staff donate Thanksgiving dinners to local families.

Jamaica Task Force

Downtown Jamaica and surrounding areas recently underwent a rezoning and redevelopment project that covered 358 blocks in Jamaica, one of the largest projects in city history. This is expected to lead to major changes and developments in Jamaica, with hotels, office buildings, and large-capacity apartment buildings being built in Jamaica in the coming years. (Some residential areas were downsized to prevent the building of multiple dwellings.)

In order to ensure coordinated enforcement of the laws and city codes, the Jamaica Task Force under the mayor’s office will meet regularly with the responsible agencies to assess their efforts at enforcing the law in the Jamaica area; and the Jamaica Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses Committee will seek to ensure that local and minority workers, businesses and investors receive information about new activities and opportunities available in Jamaica in the coming days.

The person designated by the mayor’s office to receive, coordinate, and distribute this information (as well as monitor enforcement activities) is Jessica Baker, from the NYC Economic Development Corporation. Ms. Baker previously worked in Jamaica, and is already actively participating in meetings seeking to plan Jamaica’s future, and she is gathering information to be sent out in an area newsletter letting everyone know what’s going on in Jamaica. Ms. Baker anticipates having a dedicated Jamaica-only phone line in the near future, but for now she can be reached at 212-312-4239, or at JBaker@NYCEDC.com.

God Bless You and Best Wishes to Each of You


District Office: 129-32 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, New York 11434 • (718) 723-5412, Fax: (718) 723-5465
Albany Office: Room 622, Legislative Office Building, Albany, New York 12248 • (518) 455-4451, Fax: (518) 455-5522

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