Assemblyman Karim Camara

Reports to the People

Summer 2006

“Never doubt that a small, committed group of people can change the world because, indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

-Margaret Meade

Dear Friend:

On November 8, 2005 I had the great honor of being elected as your Assemblyman in a Special Election. The 43rd Assembly District encompasses Crown Heights, Lefferts Manor and a small part of Flatbush. We are a diverse district and one that has so much promise and potential. I look forward to working with you to strengthen families and neighborhoods to revitalize our community.

During the 2006 legislative session my colleagues and I worked hard to approve a budget that restored the Governor’s cuts to education, healthcare and vital community programs. The budget approved by the Legislature also provides real tax relief for hard working New Yorkers and small businesses, not just the wealthy. In addition, we enacted a budget that drastically increases funds for school renovation and expansion and operating funds to help reduce class size. In addition, my office has been working diligently and taking action to improve our community.

I look forward to building on the successes of the past year as well as working with you and community leaders to solve problems facing our community. I invite you to contact my District Office at 718-756-1776 or my Albany Office at 518-455-5262 with any concerns or questions or you may have.

Reverend Karim Camara
Member of the Assembly
43rd District

We Have Focused Our Efforts on the
Areas that Matter the Most, Such as:

checkmark Affordable Housing

Introduced legislation to expand affordable housing in our community. We also co-sponsored legislation that would require the developers of luxury condos to include affordable housing if they want to benefit from city programs. We will continue to fight the trend of having longtime residents of communities forced out because the rents and homes are far too expensive;

checkmark State Funding

Fought hard to maintain state funding for our important institutions such as our local schools, museums, senior citizen centers, after-school and youth programs and a host of other community initiatives;

checkmark Constituent Services

Maintained a high level of constituent services and helped hundreds of our community residents solve their cases in a short period of time;

checkmark Education

Visited local schools and met with principals and PTA presidents to see first-hand the type of educational and recreational programs that are offered, and introduced legislation to attract the best teachers to our urban schools; we’ll continue to fight to ensure that all of our children get the quality education they deserve;

checkmark Quality Jobs

We met with local officials, business and community leaders to discuss and coordinate current and future plans for economic development, including creating businesses to employ community residents.

Camara Cares. . .

photo Assemblyman Karim Camara speaking with seniors attending his Medicare Part D information session at St. Gabriel’s Senior Center
About Our Seniors

Recognizing that many of our district residents would be impacted by Medicare Part D, the new prescription drug program under Medicare, Assemblyman Camara sponsored four (4) Medicare Part D information and enrollment sessions before the May 15th deadline. His concern that every senior be given the opportunity to enroll led to him opening his office as an enrollment facility on May 11th. Seniors were provided with a computer analysis of available drug plan options, education and counseling on the available plans, enrollment in their plan of choice and enrollment in Social Security Extra Help. In addition, Assemblyman Camara provided free transportation to his office for any senior needing to enroll before the May 15th deadline. All sessions had high attendance. However, the biggest accomplishment is that these sessions resulted in many of our senior residents enrolling in a benefit they might otherwise have missed out on.

photo “Champion Of Justice Award”

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Assemblyman Karim Camara delivered the “Champion of Justice Award” to Brooklyn resident Sarah Keys Evans on March 26, 2006 for her brave act of courage and defiance in August 1952. Assemblyman Camara stated, “This award and recognition is long overdue. Mrs. Sarah Keys Evans, through her courage and persistence, helped to pave the way for equal treatment on interstate buses.”

More than three years before the legendary Rosa Parks gave up her seat on a bus, Brooklyn’s own Sarah Keys Evans, then a member of the Women’s Army Corps, refused to exchange her seat in the front of the bus with a white Marine seated in the back of the bus. Private Keys was removed from the bus by force and jailed overnight in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, without being permitted to contact her family. Private Keys was charged with disorderly conduct and released the following afternoon.

At the urging of her family, Private Keys pursued a series of legal action. Finally, in November 1955, one month before Rosa Parks’ famous bus ride, the Interstate Commerce Commission reversed the 1896 policy of “separate but equal.” The ruling stated that passengers of color who had paid the same fare for bus and rail as white passengers must receive the same service without segregated seating.

Mrs. Evans is a resident of the 43rd Assembly District.

Assemblyman Camara welcomes initiative to
revitalize distressed neighborhoods

The Assembly, Senate and governor have agreed to a sweeping $300 million initiative to clean-up blight, revitalize aging neighborhoods, and restore hope in New York’s distressed communities. Assemblyman Karim Camara (D-Brooklyn) said the Restore New York’s Communities plan would help cities like New York get back on track.

“We have to look beyond the boarded-up windows and burned-out buildings to see the real potential of our distressed communities,” Assemblyman Camara said. “Take a look at the skilled craftsmanship of our historic buildings, the proximity to our great rivers and coasts, the unique blend of specialty stores and restaurants, and it’s clear that many of our older cities, towns and villages have much to offer. It’s time we carefully and wisely eliminate the negatives in our communities, and invest in their positives.”

Unfortunately, Assemblyman Camara noted there are roughly 387,000 vacant non-seasonal dwellings in New York, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which, along with countless buildings in various states of disrepair, drive down property values, erode the tax base, hinder commercial development and provide cover for criminal activity in the neighborhoods where they are located.

Communities would be required to assess and list vacant, deteriorated and abandoned properties. The list would be submitted to the Empire State Development Corporation for approval of grants. The first phase of the initiative would provide grants to of up to $20,000 to demolish or deconstruct decrepit residential properties. The second phase would provide grants of up to $100,000 to rehabilitate and reconstruct residential structures. Municipalities will be required to provide a 10 percent match, which can be met through either financial or in-kind contributions, including other local, state or federal grants.

Assemblyman Camara noted that priority for funding will be given to properties included in Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOAs), Empire Zones, other state and federal redevelopment, remediation or planning programs, and economically distressed communities. The program will have $50 million available this fiscal year, $100 million next year, and $150 million in 2008–09.

“Revitalizing one building can go a long way toward renewing a block, and renewing one block can go a long way toward revitalizing a neighborhood,” Assemblyman Camara said. “This initiative will help our struggling cities, towns and villages tackle one parcel at time, which, in turn, will enhance our communities’ beauty and character, help them compete for private investment, and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

Assemblyman Karim Camara
Annual Basketball Classic


This summer Assemblyman Karim Camara coordinated the annual Assemblyman Karim Camara Basketball Classic Tournament at Brower Park in Crown Heights along with the Shoot Hoops Not Guns Summer Basketball program. The tournament began with a kickoff game between community leaders (including Assemblyman Camara) and officers from the 77th Precinct. The game was intense and ended with a victory for the 77th Precinct.

The basketball tournament was comprised of 16 youth teams from Brooklyn between the ages of 10 – 16. The tournament weekend started with heavy rain. However, neither the tournament participants nor the community were going to let the rain postpone or cancel the much anticipated weekend. Karen Gripper, Executive Director of St. John’s Recreation Center, opened her doors to the 180 youth participants and the 600+ fans, including Brooklyn’s own Albert King, a former NBA star, who came out to witness the young talented players compete for the top honors.

The championship game contenders were arch rivals Boys High and Anessas Sport. The basketball game was a true display of talent and skill with many nail biting moments. The game ended with Assemblyman Camara presenting Boys High with the first place trophy.

The tournament was over on June 25th but the fun had only begun. At the direction of brothers Andre and Lennie Owes, the Shoot Hoops Not Guns basketball program continues to run all summer long with participation averaging about 150 every weekend. Assemblyman Camara stated, “I am excited to sponsor the Shoot Hoops Not Guns program which provides not only an outlet but an alternative for the youth in Central Brooklyn to do something positive.”

Assemblyman Camara:

Assembly fights for a healthier New York

Legislature invests in nursing homes, health care initiatives, and combating Medicaid fraud

New York State will invest an additional $800 million this year in health care programs after the Assembly, Senate and governor reached an agreement (A.12045/S.8471).

“This is a major boost for crucial health care programs, hospitals, nursing homes and the general health of our state,” said Assemblyman Karim Camara. “I fought for this additional funding so that all New Yorkers have access to quality, affordable health care. We also take important steps to reform the Medicaid program to make it more efficient and less wasteful.”

Under the budget agreement between the Assembly, Senate and governor, the state will:

  • increase hospital emergency room rates from $95 to $125 beginning January 1, 2007; $140 beginning in 2008; and $150 in 2009;

  • increase nursing home reimbursements;

  • provide $172 million in additional HCRA spending for restorations and new initiatives; and

  • extend the state’s wraparound coverage of Medicaid/Medicare dual-eligible individuals for an additional year, through December 31, 2007.

The Assembly has been at the forefront of trying to reform New York State’s Medicaid program. In fact, the Assembly recently passed legislation to fight Medicaid fraud, including the creation of a Medicaid Inspector General and stricter penalties for offenders (A.12015).

“Medicaid fraud not only wastes taxpayer dollars, it robs our most vulnerable – the sick, disabled and elderly – of the care they need,” Assemblyman Camara said. “Cracking down on Medicaid fraud will help protect people in need of care as well as taxpayers by punishing those who abuse the system.”

The Pataki administration, according to a newly released federal review, has failed to adequately combat Medicaid fraud and waste in New York State. In fact, the level of state staffing assigned to Medicaid anti-fraud work has been slashed by more than 60 percent – from 950 in 1998 to 584 in 2004, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“The Assembly remains committed to fighting fraud and reforming Medicaid so that it remains the important safety net for those who truly need it,” Assemblyman Camara said. “The Assembly also remains a strong advocate for investing in our state’s health care system, including hospitals and nursing homes. Today’s investment will help the lives of countless New Yorkers.”

AUGUST 24th · 6:30PM

At Crown Gardens Community Room
1185 Carrol Street
Between New York and Nostrand

Assemblyman Karim Camara

Room 827 LOB • Albany, New York 12248 • (518) 455-5262

231 Empire Blvd. • Brooklyn, New York 11225 • (718) 756-1776