66th District
New York City

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 April 2004 New York’s 66th Assembly District In Action Issue 32

Dear Neighbor,

In so many ways, block associations are the glue that holds neighborhoods together. When residents focus on the common purpose of protecting the aesthetic character of their neighborhood, their quality of life and safety, as well as the value of their homes, is maintained. We all benefit from the good work of our block associations. From bringing neighbors together to plant flowers and clean graffiti or organize against inappropriate development and disruptive businesses, block associations are vital to preserving our neighborhoods.

But the vitality of these associations is threatened as many of the very dedicated residents who built them grow older or move away. It is crucial that new residents join their block associations and become active in them. Remember the next time you walk down your street that the beautiful flowers or the decorative street lights you see, and the high-rise buildings or the graffiti you don’t see, result from the hard work of your block association.

But the most important reason to be a part of the block association is what you personally get from it. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors, to give something back to your community, which will make you feel wonderful, and to have fun with people in your own neighborhood.

Sincerely, Deborah J. Glick

Assemblymember Glick recently met with advocates to discuss domestic violence issues. Here she is pictured with Rachel Lavine, Senior Director of Government Affairs for Safe Horizon.

Civil Unions for All

he evolution of a civilized society is reflected by the expansion of rights and the movement toward equal treatment under the law. However, same-sex partners have long been treated as second-class citizens. Even though partners have built a life together and taken care of one another, they are denied access to visit each other in the hospital, receive survivor’s benefits and access their partner’s health insurance. There is a clear recognition that same-sex couples and families make up a growing segment of our population, but even if they represented a very small minority, the basic premise of democracy is the protection of rights for all. The majority’s rights will necessarily be preserved, it is the rights of the minority that need additional vigilance. Therefore, same-sex couples must have benefits and rights equal to opposite sex couples. The current debate has gotten bogged down in a discussion of semantics regarding the term “marriage,” a word about which many people have deeply-held religious and personal beliefs. We must not let semantics and strict adherence to this term outweigh the basic goals of justice and equality.

Civil marriage is performed by an officer of the state and results in the conferring of hundreds of rights and benefits to the couple. The religious aspect of marriage involves the solemnizing of two people’s relationship by a member of the clergy. Just as the separation of church and state has become increasingly blurred by the Bush administration and needs to become more clearly delineated, so does the separation between civil and religious marriage.

Toward this end, I have introduced legislation that draws a very clear line between these two realms, and eliminates the semantic barrier that has been depriving same-sex couples of equal rights. By replacing the term “marriage” with “civil union” in the state’s Domestic Relations Law, the legislation will force the state out of the marriage business, replacing it with civil unions, which would be equally available to all couples, gay or straight. If people wished to pursue a religious ceremony, they could do so consistent with the views of their religious institution. As has historically been the case, no religious institution would be compelled to perform a ceremony for any couple. Only the state would be mandated to confer equal benefits and protections upon all couples, which is the ultimate goal for which so many of us have been fighting.

Identity Theft

any of my constituents and friends have expressed to me the concern that, as we grow more dependent upon technology to conduct our personal business, it has become more difficult to safeguard our personal information and easier for thieves to steal it. Indeed, recent studies have shown that identity theft, the crime by which an individual’s personal information is stolen or misused by a criminal for his own financial or other benefit, has been increasing. In fact, one recent study has shown that 1 in 50 consumers has their identity stolen. Given the frequency with which this crime occurs, it is unfortunate that many people do not know how to protect themselves from or react to it.

Below is some information and tips regarding identity theft. I hope that you will use the information about avoiding identity theft. Likewise, I wish that you never have to use the information about what to do in the very unfortunate event that your identity is stolen.

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

You can decrease your risk of being the victim of the growing crime of identity theft by taking some simple steps. Below are ways that you may safeguard your personal information both online and off.

Online . . .

  • Delete any suspicious e-mail. Many Internet viruses are spread through email “worms” that may direct you to enter information or to download a program, both of which may allow a third party to access your personal information.
  • Be sure that any Internet sites you use to make purchases or conduct personal business use secure browsers (indicated by a small yellow lock in the corner of the web page). If, at any time, an information box comes up warning you that a browser is insecure and that shared information will not be protected, you may want to avoid further use of the site for purchases and business.
  • Update your computer’s anti-virus program regularly. This will help to prevent new viruses and programs designed to take your information via the internet.
  • Resist the temptation to click on pop-up ads. It is possible that clicking on an ad will cause your computer to be searched for credit and other personal information. Simply close these ads immediately and do so only by using the “x” in the top right corner of the box.
  • Think twice before downloading pirate software such as free music download programs. Due to the popularity of such programs, they may be targeted for identity theft.

Offline . . .

  • Guard your Social Security number (SSN). It is the access number to your credit report, banking accounts, and all other personal information that criminals target in identity theft. Try to use it as little as possible. For example, do not carry your Social Security card with you, or print it on checks. You can also request that the university or school you attend allow you to use your license number or create your own identification number instead of using your SSN for identification or online access.
  • Shred all old bank and credit statements as well as credit card offers before you throw them out. For the safest outcome, use a crosscut shredder or scissors with zigzag blades to cut up these documents.
  • Reduce the number of pre-approved credit offers you receive by contacting the credit reporting bureaus directly and requesting to remove your name from their marketing lists (see list of credit bureaus). While these agencies will ask for your name, home telephone number, and Social Security number, this information is necessary to process your request and will be kept confidential.
  • Never give your credit card number or other personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the call and trust that business.
  • Cancel unused credit card and bank accounts. Not only are open accounts susceptible to fraud, they may also negatively affect your credit score.

Catching Identity Theft

In order to catch identity theft as quickly as possible, you need to be vigilant. The following ongoing actions can help you to nip identity theft in the bud:

  • Monitor your credit report closely. Studies have shown that up to half of all credit reports may contain an error. Each year, you should order a credit report from each of the three reporting agencies (see the Credit Bureau contact information) and are entitled to receive additional reports for a small fee. Examine each report closely to ensure that there are no unknown credit cards in your name, nor any activity that appears unfamiliar. You may also subscribe to a credit reporting agency that will notify you whenever someone applied for credit in your name.
  • Order your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statement once a year by calling 1-800-772-1213. Review it to ensure that it accurately reflects your income.
  • Closely examine your bank and credit card account statements. Call your bank or credit card company to discuss and report any suspicious activity.

What to do if your identity is stolen

f you have discovered that your identity has been stolen, you should act quickly to inform the proper authorities. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you take three actions immediately:

  • Contact the fraud departments of each of the three credit bureaus (you will find their contact information below). Instruct them to flag your file with a fraud alert and to include a statement that creditors should get your permission before opening any new accounts in your name. Also, ask the bureaus for a free copy of your credit report in order to check it for inaccuracies. In a few months, order new copies of your reports in order to verify corrections and changes, as well as to ensure that no additional fraudulent activity has occurred.
  • Contact the creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Ask to speak with someone in the security or fraud department and follow up in writing in order to resolve any errors on credit billing statements, including charges that you have not made. For this purpose and in the unfortunate event that your wallet or purse is stolen, it is important to keep copies of both sides of your license, credit cards, and any other cards that verify identification.
  • File a report with your local police or the police where you suspect the theft to have taken place. Keep a copy of the report in case your creditors request proof of the crime.

You can also call the Federal Trade Commission’s fraud hotline at (877) FTC- HELP (382-4357) for more information and assistance. The automated system lists information and resources that may be helpful in the event that you believe your identity has been stolen.

Credit Bureaus

Contact information for the three major credit bureaus is listed below. These numbers may be used to order a copy of your credit report or to make a report when you suspect that your credit has been compromised.

Equifax, Inc.
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123
P.O. Box 97328
Jackson, MS 39288-7328
701 Experian Parkway
Allen, TX 75013

Budget Spotlight Campaign for Fiscal Equity

n 1994, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) filed a lawsuit against the state charging that the school funding formula was unfair and had been starving the New York City school system for years. The Governor’s attitude throughout this lawsuit has been appalling. Not only did he spend $11 million fighting to defend the use of this inadequate formula, he absurdly asserted in court that an eighth grade education is sufficient for students. Clearly, an eighth grade education is not sufficient and does not adequately prepare students for today’s job market. The state’s highest court resoundingly rejected the Governor’s position.

Assemblymember Glick joined Speaker Silver in congratulating Dr. John Brademas, President Emeritus of New York University, at his swearing in as Regent for the First Judicial District.
It is disheartening that the Governor still fails to take seriously the educational disadvantage faced by our city’s children. He dragged his feet after the June 26, 2003 decision, waiting nearly two months to appoint a panel, the Zarb Commission, to devise a plan for compliance. After missing its own March 1st deadline for the issuance of its report, the commission finally released its findings two days before the state’s budget deadline. Had the Governor been serious about negotiating in good faith with the legislature to reform the school aid formula and to agree that funds needed to be a part of this year’s budget, one obstacle in the difficult budget process would have been removed. Instead, the Governor continues to delay the flow of state money to our city’s schools. If the legislature and Governor fail to come to an agreement by July 31, 2004, the court will impose a resolution, but only for New York City. There are other high needs districts that would not be assisted.

The vague nature of the Zarb Commission’s report also signals the Governor’s misplaced attention on delaying the implementation of the decision. The report fails to address all of the issues necessary to comply with the court decision. Because the Zarb Commission admitted that its estimates of the additional resources needed to comply were influenced by the state’s “fiscal restraints,” their $2.5 to $5.6 billion figure is the lowest estimate of any of the panels reviewing the cost of an adequate basic education. It would be fiscally irresponsible to wait until after this year’s budget is in place before addressing the costs associated with this court ruling. The funds must be made available in the current budget even if the Governor is unwilling to do so.

I will continue to work with my Assembly and Senate colleagues to force Governor Pataki to confront the critical need for dollars for our city’s school children. Today’s students cannot wait another year to receive an adequate education.

West Side Stadium

t is more than unfortunate that Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki intend to press forward with their misguided plan for a massive wave of high-rise development and a football stadium that will disrupt the West Side for years to come. While the expansion of the Javits Convention Center to the north may be a good idea and a necessary improvement, the massive development to the south, along with the centerpiece of their plan - a 75,000 seat football stadium for the Jets- is an outrageous waste of scarce resources.

The Mayor and Governor’s plan to pour a minimum of $600 million in public funds to help finance the retractable roof and platform for this stadium signals their belief that hardworking New Yorkers should take a back seat to a wealthy sports team. It is especially egregious that they continue this plan at a time when so many pressing needs exist in the City and State. Our public school classrooms are terribly overcrowded and some schools have crumbling ceilings and nonfunctioning bathrooms. Many senior centers are also in a state of disrepair and several face continued threats of closure due to lack of city resources. In addition, a crisis in affordable housing for low- and middle-income New Yorkers exists and homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels. Yet, instead of concentrating on addressing this situation, the Mayor and Governor propose to use $350 million excess Battery Park City funds (whose purpose is to create affordable housing) to pay for the stadium. Because part of the goal of the construction of the stadium is to drive the city’s Olympic bid, the Mayor and Governor’s plans demonstrate a greater concern for housing athletes in 2012 than housing hard-working New Yorkers today.

The Pataki and Bloomberg administrations must stop focusing their energies and our money on questionable speculative ventures. Public financing of a stadium in the hopes that it will yield significant returns to the economy is not a new concept. It is an old idea that has proven to be a failure. Numerous studies have shown that, while expected economic gains have persuaded many cities to contribute to the construction of new stadiums, projections have been grossly inaccurate and have forced governments to commit ongoing resources to sustain the facilities. This stadium faces additional roadblocks since it is part of a super-sized development proposal which will come on line at the same time as the development of Lower Manhattan, causing the supply of commercial space to overwhelm demand, leaving the public holding the bag.

This misguided expenditure will affect all New Yorkers. However, area residents from Lower Manhattan to the Upper West Side will suffer most directly. Large numbers of low- and middle-income residents living in the surrounding neighborhoods may be displaced by higher-income families. Remaining residents will be forced to withstand years of inconvenience during construction of the stadium. Once the stadium is in place, they will continue to be affected by the resulting increase in traffic congestion, pollution and noise.

The residents of New York City do not want or need this stadium. I will continue to stand with other elected representatives and residents in opposition to this incredibly misguided proposal.

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Recycling 101
Updated information on recycling in New York City
Clear bags or BLUE-labeled recycling containers
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles and jugs
  • Beverage cartons and drink boxes
  • Cans and aluminum foil wrap and trays
  • Household metal objects (i.e. wire hangers, pots/pans)
Clear bags or GREEN-labeled recycling containers
  • Newspapers, paper, mail, envelopes, paper bags
  • Magazines, catalogs, telephone books, soft cover books
  • Smooth cardboard, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, cardboard tubes
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes (tied in bundles)
Call 311 to schedule removal
  • Appliances containing CFC gas (freon)
  • Refrigerators/Freezers (remove doors before discarding)
  • Air conditioners
  • Plastic toys, plastic cups/plates
  • Electronic equipment
  • Styrofoam items, plastic furniture

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Sign up for Updates from
Assemblymember Glick

From time to time, my office sends out mailings to constituents on issues of interest to the community. These updates report what my office has done about these issues, as well as provide notice of events and meetings. To be put on one or more of these lists, please check the appropriate boxes below, print this part of your Neighborhood Update and mail it back or fax to my office at the following address:

Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick
853 Broadway, Suite 2120, New York, NY 10003
or fax to (212) 674-5530.

Affordable Housing
Animal Protection Issues
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Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Rights
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PATH Train
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