I showed my support at a press conference with Speaker Silver and many other members of
the Assembly for legislation to place a moratorium on hydrofracking in New York State
(see article below).
Free Flu Shots for Neighborhood Residents!
Park Slope office • 416 7th Avenue
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 • 10am – 12:30pm
Call to reserve your shot: 718 788-7221
Cortelyou Road office • 1414 Cortelyou Road
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 • 10am – 12:30pm
Call to reserve your shot: 718 940-0641
Flu shots will be administered by a registered nurse.
Quantities are limited. You must reserve to receive a shot.
Many thanks to Maimonides hospital for making this opportunity available!
Protection for Mass Transit Funding
I was the sponsor of legislation called “The Locked Box” bill, A6766c,
which prohibits the State budget director from diverting taxes collected for the express purpose of
funding mass transit to other purposes. The Assembly and Senate have passed the bill and
discussions are underway with the Governor about signing this into law. The purpose of the bill is to
prevent raids by the State on dedicated mass transit funds, which have occurred several times in the
past few years and cut funding for the MTA by about $240 million. As Chair of the Assembly Committee
on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions which oversees the MTA, I know the importance of these
funds to protect fares and services.
If the bill becomes law, only with legislative approval can these monies be used for a different purpose,
and then only if accompanied by a diversion impact statement which must spell out the details of how
much money is being diverted and its impact on the MTA’s service as a result.
Second Avenue Subway Tunnel breaks through to the F train on 63rd Street in Manhattan! I attended
the tunnel-boring breakthrough with outgoing MTA President Jay Walder. Legislation I am sponsoring
would protect mass transit funding.
State’s New Hydrofracking Proposal a Grave Danger to
NYC Water Supply and the State’s Environment
Hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, is a drilling technique that has been used to extract natural
gas from shale rock formations such as the Marcellus Shale formation found in a large section of
upstate New York. Fracking uses high-pressure water and a mixture of chemicals, many toxic, to
shatter the rock and release methane, which is the principal component of natural gas. In 2005,
the federal government exempted fracking from the Clean Water Act, which means that even though
some of the chemicals used in this process are known carcinogens, the gas companies do not have
to disclose the chemicals they use.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed new regulations that
will allow hydrofracking. Allowing this technology to proceed poses serious dangers to the New York
City water supply and I am opposing what the state is doing. Recently I sponsored a meeting with
local activists to discuss ways to address this issue.
Those regulations have been released for public comment. You can read them and submit comments
on the plan until December 12 at the DEC website:
There will be a public hearing on fracking on Wednesday, November 30 from 6 to 9 PM
at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street in Manhattan. I urge you to attend.
The Assembly has passed two bills with my strong support to address this issue. They are:
A7400 extends the moratorium on issuing any drilling permits
until June 1, 2012. This ban would given the residents of New York more time to review and
analyze the effects of fracking on water and air quality before permits are issued.
A7013 requires that any waste products from oil or natural gas
drilling activities that meet the definition of hazardous waste be subject to all the requirements
for treatment of hazardous waste. This would strengthen the law considerably.
The Legislature passed a major overhaul of the ethics law to deter corruption and provide greater
accountability from legislators and state officials. The law contains four significant parts:
The new law establishes an independent Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with broad
powers to investigate wrongdoings in both the legislative and executive branches of government,
ensures compliance with their financial disclosure requirements; and oversees lobbyists while
holding them to a higher disclosure standard.
ENHANCED DISCLOSURE OF ALL INCOME AND CLIENTS
This law requires that a public official disclose the name of any clients or customers providing
compensation of at least $10,000 who are lobbyists, persons receiving contracts, grants or member
items from the state or persons or entities that have a matter before a state agency. It requires
disclosure of such clients when referred by a public official to his or her firm. It requires the posting
of financial disclosure forms on JCOPE’s public website and removes the provisions in current law
that make income and asset categories of value confidential.
PENSION FORFEITURE FOR CONVICTED FELONS
For the first time, any public official who violates the public’s trust and commits a felony related to
their job as a public official faces the possibility that the court can reduce or remove their right to
receive their pension. Factors such as the severity of the crime, monetary loss suffered by the state
or locality, and needs of dependent children, spouses and domestic partners would be taken into
consideration during the court’s deliberation.
The law also requires lobbyists and their clients to disclose the name, compensation and subject
of transactions with any statewide public official, legislator, state employee, state officer or legislative
employee who has a “reportable business relationship” with them.
It requires the State Board of Elections to clarify the requirement regarding independent expenditures
that expressly identifies a political candidate or ballot proposal. And finally, it increases the penalty
for failure to file a campaign statement required by the Election Law from $500 to $1,000 and creates
a new $10,000 penalty for failing to file three or more statements throughout the course of an election
The Assembly has introduced legislation to continue the current top tax rate of 8.97% for people
whose income is greater than $1 million (A7802).
Why is this legislation so important? I am sure you were as upset as I was to see the City
lay off 700 school aides and parent coordinators. But budget cutbacks are continuing. The
City has just informed all agencies they must take another 2% cut now and prepare for a
6% cut for next year.
The expiration of the millionaire’s tax means the State of New York will lose revenue of $700 million
this year, $2.5 billion in 2012, and $800 million in 2013. If the tax were to continue for just one more
year, the State would have no deficit and could provide substantial additional aid to the City of New
York next year to assure funding for vital services like education, health care, senior centers and
This is why I and many of my colleagues are continuing to fight to extend the “millionaire’s tax.”
Rent Laws Expanded
I am proud to announce that the Legislature passed the first expansion of the rent laws, including
protections for tenants, since 1993. Along with extending rent regulation, the new law:
Raised the income threshold for deregulation from $175,000 to $200,000;
The high rent deregulation threshold was raised from $2,000 to $2,500;
The amount a landlord can increase the rent to cover capital improvements
was reduced from 1/40 to 1/60 of the cost on buildings of 35 or more units;
DHCR’s authority to regulate the law has been strengthened; and
Only one vacancy increase is allowed per year.
I am pictured here with Bazah Roohi, the founder and Executive Director of the American
Council of Minority Women.
Jim Brennan a rock star? No, not really. I joined the Flatbush Avenue Development
Corporation and the Cortelyou Road Merchants Association to celebrate the annual
Flatbush Frolic this year.
Making Our Communities
Guide Available on Keeping Safe
The office of Public Advocate Bill deBlasio has produced a guide with safety information
following a string of sexual assaults in our neighborhoods. I am a co-sponsor of this guide
along with many other public officials.
“How You Can Help Prevent Sexual Assault and Harassment” provides a list of safety
precautions and information on free services that will escort straphangers from public
transportation to their home in the later hours of the evening.
The guide can be downloaded from the Internet at
My office can provide you with a copy if you prefer.
I honored Kensington resident Vincent Padovano on his 100th birthday with a proclamation at his home.