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SUMMER 2008 • New York’s 66th Assembly District In Action • ISSUE 41
Dear Neighbor,

Each and every year, I am proud of the work that my office and the community do together.

When Pier 40 at West Houston Street in Hudson River Park was on the verge of being turned over to a private developer with plans to develop a massive entertainment complex that would provide little benefit to the community, a group of neighborhood residents gathered together to stop it. They aimed to do what many people told them was impossible- they wanted Pier 40 to be redeveloped in the community’s vision and to serve the community’s needs. The group, organized as the Pier 40 Partnership, met regularly, planned rallies and other actions, and developed a framework for community-friendly development of the Pier. As a result of the Partnership’s amazing work, the private developer has essentially withdrawn its proposal, and the Hudson River Park Trust Board has given them time to expand and refine their community development framework. Although the issue is not yet fully resolved, I believe we are on the path to having a community-friendly Pier 40.

I am proud to have worked closely in supporting the Partnership’s efforts to preserve our recreation space at Pier 40 and am inspired by their efforts, which are a true example of the power of community collaborations. Unfortunately, the City continues to plan for major residential development in our neighborhoods without ensuring that proper infrastructure like schools and recreation space are in place to meet the needs of current and future residents. So it is up to us to raise our voices. And once again, our community is doing so. Parent leaders from local schools are joining together to fight for more school space. I have worked closely with these parents and believe in the power of our joint efforts to achieve our goal of decreasing class sizes.

In these tight economic times, it is becoming increasingly important that we work together to ensure our children are getting a good education, that there is sufficient recreation space in our community and that our other basic needs are met. Our community is working together to meet these challenges. I am proud to be a part of these efforts and encourage you to join us.

Best Wishes,
Deborah J. Glick

School Squeeze
My office continues to be very active in our community’s fight for more classroom space. Average class sizes in Lower Manhattan are among the highest in the city and are well above recommended levels. It is unacceptable that our students are forced to attend school in overcrowded classrooms, storage spaces and trailers, or schools in other neighborhoods. Yet the City continues to push overdevelopment in our neighborhood, including the construction of thousands of new apartments in Lower Manhattan, while failing to adequately plan for the current or future needs of our students.

I have been working to improve the City’s understanding of the challenges Lower Manhattan faces and the need for swift action to address these challenges. In addition to writing to and meeting with the City and testifying at City Council hearings about this issue, I continue to advocate for a number of possible sites for new schools. For example, I firmly believe that Pier 40 and 75 Morton Street, a state-owned building slated for sale, provide opportunities for the City to expand our communities’ school space and alleviate overcrowding in our schools. I will continue my work to engage the City in finding immediate solutions to ease current overcrowding in our schools while engaging in thoughtful planning to accommodate the influx of students that will result from the City Administration’s pro-development policies. To join our Education Action list and receive periodic e-mails detailing how you may take action on this important issue, e-mail glickd@assembly.state.ny.us.

photo Assemblymember Glick was honored to open Greenwich Little League’s season by throwing out the first pitch. She worked closely with the League and other residents to ensure appropriate, community-friendly redevelopment of Pier 40.


As the popular neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan continue to be fertile ground for the construction of high-end residential development projects, it has become increasingly challenging to protect the affordable housing which still exists. But this housing is crucial to continue our neighborhood’s mix of incomes and to allow the long-term tenants who helped build the neighborhood to remain in their homes. My office continues to be a leader in protecting the City’s stock of affordable housing. In addition to the legislative measures detailed below, I continue to work with Councilmember Rosie Mendez and other offices in coordinating an elected officials’ housing work group. Among other actions, the work group has submitted a series of recommendations for regulatory changes at the Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

Phony Demolitions
Earlier this year, the Assembly passed A.5742, my legislation to clarify the meaning of "demolition" within the Rent Stabilization Law. This measure would curb the practice of "phony demolitions", whereby owners of rent-regulated housing attempt to twist the law in order to evict their tenants. While the demolition provision of the Rent Stabilization Law allows owners to completely demolish dangerous and dilapidated housing in order to replace it with new, safe housing, some owners have pursued "phony demolitions," whereby they claim that they will demolish a building when they actually plan only to make interior changes to turn affordable rental units into high-end rental, coop/condo, or extended-stay hotel units. In this way, owners have been able to greatly increase their profits, while eliminating badly-needed units of affordable housing and forcing tenants out of their homes and into an incredibly tight real estate market. Unfortunately, the State Senate failed to pass this measure.

Loft Law
Just as the artistic community is vital to New York City, the Loft Law is essential for many artists. My legislation to extend the Loft Law until 2011, recently passed by the Assembly, would also prohibit loft owners from recovering units occupied by long-term tenants. It further protects tenants by allowing them to more easily seek redress against building owners who fail to comply in bringing their buildings up to fire and safety codes. While this measure did not pass the Senate, the Loft Law remains intact until May 31, 2010.

Assemblymember Glick met with Eric Greenleaf, Peter Comitini and Tina Schiller of PS 234’s Overcrowding Committee to discuss solutions to local school overcrowding. photo

Rent Regulated Housing Protection Package
This session, the Assembly passed a 9-bill rent-regulation package that would extend a number of additional protections to tenants. Among other measures, this package would increase civil penalties for harassment; limit building owners’ ability to recover a rent-regulated apartment for personal use; reduce the allowable rent increase following a vacancy and limiting the number of such increases per year; and require that rent surcharges resulting from major capital improvements cease once the cost of the improvement has been recovered.

Mitchell-Lama Housing
This session, the Assembly passed a number of measures protecting residents in Mitchell-Lama housing. The Mitchell-Lama program was created by the State in 1955 as a time-limited program to provide affordable housing to middle-income families and individuals. As projects have reached their time limits in the last few years, many owners have opted to leave the program, placing tenants in jeopardy. To increase protections for Mitchell-Lama tenants, the Assembly passed A.797, which I co-sponsored, that would require that tenants be notified at least a year in advance that the owner may leave the Mitchell-Lama program. In addition, the Assembly passed another measure that I co-sponsored, A.795, which would provide financial incentives to encourage housing companies to remain in the Mitchell-Lama program and would give rent stabilization protection to certain tenants in developments which exit the program.


The City Administration has boasted that one if its biggest achievements is the 78 re-zonings which have opened the door to new development in some 6,000 city blocks. But at what cost? Every day seems to bring another construction accident; every week another construction related death. I have long held that rapid development is outpacing the Department of Buildings’ (DOB) ability to oversee construction site safety and have consistently raised this concern with the DOB over the past few years. Unfortunately, my concerns were met with silence and the City showed no interest in slowing development to a manageable pace, increasing DOB resources or taking other action to address construction accidents until numerous tragedies occurred.

Although there is no single policy that is to blame for the rash of accidents the city has endured, self-certification, which is still in place today, is a prime example of an aggressive development strategy gone awry. Today, nearly half of new building applications are self-certified, allowing registered engineers and architects to approve projects for construction without any plan examination. Alarmingly, random DOB audits of these self-certified buildings have found that 80% failed to comply with building codes. These shocking results show very clearly that the honor system has not worked.

While the majority of architects and engineers work honestly, those who have created faulty plans are rarely disciplined, allowing them to repeatedly put the public at risk. For example, one architect who submitted misleading plans for dozens of properties that violated building codes, zoning restrictions and safety regulations, lost his privilege to self-certify only after a worker perished at one of his sites.

Devising public policy as a reaction to tragic accidents is not responsible governing. Instead, policy should be designed to prevent tragedies from occurring, whether that is avoiding direct injury to people or damage to adjacent properties. I will continue my work to impress upon the City Administration that its duty to safeguard the public must trump its desire to push ever more dense development.

Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act
I am thrilled that the Assembly passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, a measure that would provide civil rights protections to the transgender community. Too often, transgender people face discrimination at school, when applying for employment, while searching for an apartment and in numerous other situations. This long-overdue measure would put an end to bias based on gender identity or expression in employment, housing, credit and public accommodation. It also amends the Hate Crimes statutes passed in 2000 to include gender identity and expression as protected categories.

While New York City and some other jurisdictions in the State have enacted legislation on this issue, a State measure is necessary to ensure consistency throughout the State. I am thrilled to have played a role in moving this vitally important legislation forward and am hopeful that the State Senate will soon approve this long-overdue measure.

Easing Traffic Congestion
Congestion is a serious issue throughout my Assembly district, particularly in the area around the Holland Tunnel. In addition to forcing cars to idle longer and generating more air pollution, the honking and loud truck idling that usually accompanies traffic also decreases residents’ quality of life. One of the major factors contributing to traffic is vehicles which block the box. An Assembly bill, which I have co-sponsored, classifies that blocking the box is a parking violation. In this way, the City’s traffic enforcement agents will be able to write tickets for this offense, a major contributor to the endless gridlock at major intersections. I am pleased that the Assembly and Senate have both approved the measure and that Governor Paterson recently signed it into law.

Textbook Access Act
As Chair of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee, I am very concerned about the rising costs of higher education which have become a challenge even for middle- and many higher-income families. In addition to tuition and room and board, the price of textbooks has increased significantly. To ease this burden on students, I introduced the Textbook Access Act, which would allow faculty to order textbooks for students without being forced to do so in expensive bundles which also include materials such as workbooks or CDs. Since both the Assembly and Senate have passed this measure, it just requires the Governor’s signature in order to be enacted into law.

Family Court Access Act
In a groundbreaking step forward, the Governor has just signed into law a measure passed by the Legislature that would open the doors of Family Court to unmarried, committed couples and those in dating relationships. By enabling Family Court to give civil orders of protection to all victims of domestic violence, same-sex and other couples finally will be treated the same as married couples and be able to avail themselves of the protections offered by Family Court. Since existing law prohibits individuals in dating relationships from accessing Orders of Protection, many people have been more vulnerable than necessary. I was thrilled to support this important legislative change, which has been sought for more than twenty years.

Assemblymember Glick joined hundreds of seniors to protest City budget cuts to the Department for the Aging and the Department’s rushed and poorly-planned service delivery changes.

This year, I was able to secure funding in the State budget for the following 501(c)(3) community organizations which provide important services to the constituents in my district:

Alliance of Resident Theatres • Aids Service Center of Lower Manhattan • Art Education for the Blind • Callen-Lorde Community Health Center • Caring Community • Center for Jewish History • Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies • Cherry Lane Theatre • Church of St. Luke in the Fields • Community Healthcare Network • Cooper Square Committee • Dance New Amsterdam • Dixon Place • Educational Alliance • Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies • Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront • Film Forum • Gay Men’s Health Crisis • Good Old Lower East Side • Greenwich House • Greenwich Village Girls Basketball League • Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation • HERE • Hetrick-Martin Institute • Historic Districts Council • Hunter Public Service Scholars Program • Institute for Reproductive Health Access • Legal Information for Families Today • Lesbian & Gay Community Services Center • Lower Manhattan Cultural Council • Manhattan Youth • Met Council on Jewish Poverty • MFY Legal Services • NYC Coalition Against Hunger • NYC Gay & Lesbian Antiviolence Project • NYC Park Advocates • NY Public Library • NY Shakespeare Festival • NY Theatre Workshop • PS3 • PS19 • Public Education Needs Civic Engagement in Learning • Senior Action in a Gay Environment • SHARE: Self-Help for Women with Cancer • Theatre for the New City • Third Street Music Settlement • Village Alliance • Visiting Neighbors • Washington Square Music Festival

As we continue to fight for single-payer, universal health care, I wanted to inform you about a free information service that helps individuals understand their health insurance coverage options. Many people are not aware that there are choices available to them and remain uninsured due to the confusing array of options and sometimes complicated enrollment procedures. The Foundation for Health Coverage Education, a non-profit organization started in 2002, offers free online and telephone information services that simplify public and private options for a variety of income levels and medical backgrounds. Using their online service, www.coverageforall.org, you can take an eligibility quiz and access state-by-state guides. If you do not have access to the internet, you may call 1-800-234-1317 to speak with a representative.

On the first Monday of every month, seniors (age 65 and older) receive free Museum admission at Rubin Museum of Art. Located at 150 West 17th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues), the Museum is dedicated to the art of the Himalayas. On Mondays, the Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Seniors may enjoy a free film at 1 p.m. and free guided tour at 3 p.m.

Free home maintenance and repair services are available for elderly New Yorkers who require minor repairs to maintain safety within their homes, but are unable to pay for the repairs. New York Foundation’s Minor Home Repair Program assists homeowners aged 60 and older whose income is less than $39,000. For information, call (212) 962-7655. Met Council’s Handyman and Metropair Program is available to individuals age 60 and older whose income is less than $28,000. For more information, call (212) 453-9542.

photo Assemblymember Glick and Judy Rapfogel of Speaker Silver’s office celebrating the opening of Downtown Community Center by presenting a proclamation to Manhattan Youth Executive Director Bob “the Builder” Townley.


This Fall, my office will kick off our monthly Community E-Update. This e-mail newsletter is another way for me to keep in touch and stay accountable to my constituents in a environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient way. It will feature my views on local issues, details of my legislative and policy work, and information about community programs and events. To sign up to receive my e-news, e-mail glickd@assembly.state.ny.us