Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman
  Albany Office: Room 510 Capitol, Albany, NY 12248, (518) 455-5426
District Office: 341 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231, (718) 246-4889
news from

February 2005 Community Report

The Brooklyn Bridge is not for Sale

Assemblywoman Millman, newly appointed member of the Assembly Standing Committee on Transportation, shed light on the plan in the governor’s recent budget proposal to privatize some public roads, which could include any of Brooklyn’s bridges. The plan would allow private companies to manage and charge tolls on roads, bridges and even subway lines, while receiving tax benefits through depreciation.

Assemblywoman Millman called the governor’s proposal to sell roads and then lease them back a shell game with taxpayers ultimately losing. "While the state would see an upfront cash infusion, the property is moved ’off-budget’ so there’s no oversight. The state could still be responsible for maintenance depending on the leasing agreement while the private company rakes in both federal and state tax dollars through depreciation," Assemblywoman Millman explained.

"The governor’s willingness to sell off public assets that are critical to our state’s economic health and infrastructure and then charge taxpayers for the right to use them is shocking," Assemblywoman Millman said. "Who’s to say that the Governor won’t offer up the Brooklyn Bridge to a private company? Instead of reining in abuses by public authorities like the MTA, the governor’s loosening the reins with ’public-private partnerships’ as he calls them. Who’s going to make sure commuters and transportation businesses don’t get taken advantage of by private companies that only care about their bottom line?"

Assemblywoman Millman noted that the city of Chicago recently leased out operation rights of the "Chicago Skyway," an eight-mile elevated roadway link in its highway infrastructure. The leasing company has already announced a toll increase of 50 cents for passenger cars and even steeper increases for tractor-trailer drivers traveling during peak times - fees that will ultimately get passed on to customers.

"The management of New York’s infrastructure must remain accountable to taxpayers and not handed over to a private company with a handful of taxpayer dollars," Assemblywoman Millman said.

Millman Continues to Push her Reform Agenda in Albany

While it’s no secret that Albany needs serious reforms, Assemblywoman Millman is working to ensure that those reforms are put into action. She believes the Assembly’s sweeping new reforms will begin making our government more open, accountable and responsive.

Highlights of the new reforms include:

  • Making the budget more open and accountable. Assemblywoman Millman has sponsored legislation to move the start of the budget year from April 1 to May 1, enacting a contingency budget if one isn’t adopted by May 1 and requiring a 2 year appropriation for education aid to help schools plan ahead.

  • Improving the Assembly’s legislative process. For the 2005 legislative session, the Assembly - in a spirit of true bipartisanship with the house’s minority - adopted a series of internal rules changes that will dramatically improve the way the Assembly operates. The new rules will require a joint conference committee to achieve a more timely state budget and help ensure a public review of state spending.

  • Curtailing procurement lobbying. Billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake when it comes to awarding state contracts - but no one’s held accountable for how they’re awarded. Assemblywoman Millman supports expanding the definition of lobbying to include any effort to influence any public official regarding procurement of goods or services, construction, or the sale or purchase of land, as well as implementation of rules and regulations, tribal state compacts and executive orders.

Assemblywoman Millman thanks Comptroller Thompson for joining the fight to permanently close the Brooklyn House of Detention

Assemblywoman Millman continues to urge residents to call 311 and urge the Mayor to permanently close the House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. New York City has already spent $30 million to refurbish the facility, which remains and will remain empty for the foreseeable future, and is now looking to spend an additional $16 million to renovate the exterior facility.

"The potential for this site is remarkable. We need to close the gap, sell the cells, and convince the City administration that the former House of Detention will be a welcomed economic boost for Brooklyn." Millman continued, "The City must ensure that the revitalization of Atlantic Avenue continues and further develops into one of the most beautiful, safest, and economically viable areas in all of New York."

Assemblywoman Millman joined Borough President Marty Markowitz, Congressman Major Owens, State Senator Martin Connor, City Councilmember David Yassky, and local civic organizations in first publicly demanding the city close the Brooklyn House of Detention permanently in September, 2003. Millman stated "Comptroller Thompson has rightfully recognized that refurbishing this eyesore is a waste of valuable funds. As the Mayor implements his plan for a redeveloped downtown Brooklyn, I would hope he realizes that by warehousing this jail we are limiting the potential growth of our local economy."

Millman also questioned the City’s logic in pouring millions of dollars into refurbishing the building when stating, "How can we possibly afford to waste this kind of money to renovate an unused prison facility when we’ve closed firehouses, cut education funding, raised subway fares and are in a financial crisis?"

Assemblywoman Millman Announces the
Third Annual Women’s History Month Essay Contest

Assemblywoman Millman presented certificates to participating students at last year’s awards ceremony

For the third year in a row, Assemblywoman Millman is hosting an essay contest for school children grades 3 - 8 to celebrate Women’s History Month in March. This year’s theme, "Women Change America" honors and recognizes the role of women in transforming culture, history and politics.

Children are invited to submit essays of no more than 500 words by March 2nd to Assemblywoman Millman’s office. All participants will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Saturday, March 19th at the Brooklyn YWCA (Atlantic Avenue and 3rd Avenue). The top three winners from three age groups will be selected to read their essays at the ceremony and will receive a $50 savings bond for their outstanding achievement.

Office of Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman
341 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 246-4889