WINTER 2008 • New York’s 66th Assembly District In Action • ISSUE 42
The recently released Executive Budget reveals the stark reality of our State’s current
financial situation. It’s not news that the eroding economy has hit New York hard, given
that so much of the prosperity we enjoyed in recent years came from Wall Street profits
and the ensuing bonuses. New York was reminded of this dependency after the attacks
on the World Trade Center closed the financial district for several days and limited access
for months afterward. The resulting loss of tax revenue created a serious shortfall for the
State. We responded to this emergency by instituting an emergency income tax surcharge
that decreased over a three year period. This action was a major component of our recovery.
But today’s crisis is more significant and broader in impact. While our prior financial downturn
was the result of an assault from outside sources, today’s crisis is the product of a financial
meltdown borne of irresponsible and now fraudulent actions on the part of the incompetent or
endlessly greedy. The unraveling of various investment firms and the complex and questionable
investment instruments they promoted demonstrates quite clearly the dangers of privatizing
Social Security accounts. If Mort Zuckerman can get fleeced then what chance does the
average pensioner have?
The challenge is enormous, but we have to address the reduction in revenues by consolidating
services where efficiency can enhance service delivery. We also must use this crisis as impetus
to finally advance common sense policy initiatives that have been derailed by political posturing.
For example, we can no longer afford the senseless Rockefeller Drug Laws, which eliminated
judicial discretion, filling our prisons with people with addiction problems who would have been
more effectively and less expensively served in drug treatment than prison. Even as crime
statistics have revealed a significant downturn in criminal activity, we retained our prison
infrastructure beyond the necessary capacity. We have to shift our focus.
If upstate communities are clinging to prisons as job producers, we have to find adaptive reuse
opportunities that offer desperately needed jobs. Reusing these facilities as manufacturing
incubators for new technologies can offer a win-win solution. Low cost- or no cost- space for
new industries that can bring green technology to our State may provide a pathway to long-term
growth. If we retool our State’s economy properly by promoting new industries and laying the
foundation for a more diverse economic base, we will be able to retain our younger generation,
which is essential to ensuring a bright future for our State.
Just as I worked hard with my colleagues to address the fiscal challenges faced by the State
following the World Trade Center attacks, I will push for common-sense and creative solutions
so that our State recovers from this fiscal crisis and emerges even stronger than before. I have
no doubt that we will succeed in this endeavor
Deborah J. Glick
WEIGHING THE MERITS OF MAYORAL CONTROL
In 2009, the State law that allowed for Mayoral control of the New York City school system
will sunset and my colleagues and I will decide whether it should be extended. Mayoral control,
put in place in 2002, replaced the previous Board of Education (BOE) system. In that system,
the Borough Presidents appointed 5 BOE members and the Mayor appointed 2, with each
appointee serving a fixed 4-year term. The power to select a Chancellor to lead the school
system rested with the BOE, while locally-elected school boards provided the means for parents
to participate in decision-making and gave them a formal role in the Superintendent appointments
With the enactment of Mayoral control, the Mayor was given much greater authority over the
school system. The Mayor now has sole authority to appoint a Chancellor, as well as the power
to appoint 7 members of the 13-member Panel on Education Policy (PEP), which replaced the
BOE. The remaining 5 PEP members are chosen by the Borough Presidents, and all appointees
serve at the pleasure of their respective appointing authorities, meaning that they can be removed
at any time and for any reason. Finally, locally-elected school boards were replaced with
Community Education Councils (CECs), which are comprised of 2 Borough President appointees
and 9 members elected by the local parent association. Unlike the prior school boards, the CECs
have no formal role in the appointment of Superintendents; the Chancellor has sole authority for
Assemblymember Glick addresses the crowd at a forum she organized to hear constituents’
views on Mayoral Control of the public school system.
I have heard from many constituents who feel that, under Mayoral control, there is no opportunity
for input into the system by anyone outside of the Mayor’s office and Department of Education
(DOE). Some people argue that the PEP, which was meant to be an independent voice, is not
truly independent since its members can be removed at will. Others have complained about the
administration’s seeming prioritization of things like standardized testing and fancy computer
ranking systems, rather than listening to and focusing on parents’ top concerns, such as class
size reduction. Some people feel that these issues merit non-renewal of Mayoral control, while
others support an extension, but with additional safeguards built in to address these issues.
Although it is still early in the process, I have begun to seek input from constituents on this issue.
Just last month, my office organized a public forum on Mayoral Control in which a panel of experts
expressed their varied views and audience members had the opportunity to share their opinions.
In addition, my office has created a survey on this issue for constituents in my district and I invite
you to share your views with me in this way. To participate in this survey, please contact my office
via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (212) 674-5153.
HIGHER ED COMMITTEE UPDATE:
NEW LAWS EASE TEXTBOOK PRICES
AND AID IN COLLEGE SAVING
As Chair of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee, I have worked to make our higher education
system accessible to all. In addition to fighting to combat rising tuition costs, I recognize that smaller
costs often aggregate, resulting in a significant additional burden on students. For example, textbooks
and other supplies cost students an average of $1,000 per year on top of tuition. It is also noteworthy
that the cost of textbooks has been rising at twice the rate of inflation.
In order to stem this rising cost and prevent students from being forced to purchase unnecessary and
costly materials, I introduced the Textbook Access Act. This measure, which will take effect July 2009,
will prevent publishers from forcing faculty to order textbooks in expensive bundles that include materials
such as workbooks and CD ROMs. In this way, faculty now can order just the materials they believe
their students need, thereby placing the financial concerns of students above the profits of publishers.
I also understand how challenging it is for families to save money for college. For this reason, I was
proud to support a bill that eases restrictions on the New York State College Choice Tuition Savings
Program, allowing relatives, employers and others to contribute to state-sponsored college savings
accounts. The Program, created in 1998, had allowed only the person or persons who opened the
account to make tax-deductible contributions to it. Now, by allowing others to contribute, this law
will help boost college savings, providing students with another tool to manage rising education
Assemblymember Glick joined community members Ian Dutton and Shea Hovey on Eighth
Avenue for “Park(ing) Day,” designed to promote the re-imagining of streetscapes.
WINNING RESULTS FOR THE COMMUNITY
In addition to my legislative accomplishments discussed elsewhere in this newsletter,
I was involved in a number of local victories as well. So that constituents are aware of
the work my staff and I are engaged in, I am proud to list some of the community
victories in which my office played a key role:
New public school classrooms will open next year in Tweed Courthouse, alleviating
some of the future overcrowding at PS 234 and PS 89. In addition, a new elementary
school is planned for the Foundling Hospital site on West 16th Street. I am happy to
have helped realize these victories as a member of Speaker Silver’s Task Force on
School Overcrowding and a number of other work groups, and by communicating
directly with DOE about overcrowding.
Following years of advocacy by my office, other local electeds and the community,
the Noho Historic District will now be extended to include three additional blocks
and protect 56 buildings.
The reconstruction of the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Fiterman Hall,
which was severely damaged by the attacks of September 11th, will be moving forward,
partly due to State funding that Speaker Silver and I were able to secure for this
Digital TV Transition:
Don’t Be Left in the Dark
This February 17, all television stations in the United States will switch from broadcasting
via an analog signal to digital broadcasting. Fortunately, viewers whose television is
connected to cable or satellite, along with those who have a digital television, will not
be affected by the change. However, those with just “rabbit ears” will need to upgrade
by either purchasing a digital television or a converter box.
In order to assist with the cost of converter boxes, the United State Department of
Commerce is providing up to two $40 coupons per household. Individuals can apply
online at www.dtv2009.gov or by calling
1-888-388-2009. You may also call my office at (212) 674-5153 to request that
an application be mailed to you.
In addition to the higher education-related bills above which were signed into law this year,
I worked hard to see passage of a number of other important measures.
Protecting Exploited Children
I was proud to co-sponsor the Safe Harbour for Exploited Children Act, which was signed
into law this Spring. This measure protects sexually exploited children by treating them
as victims instead of criminals. This shift is important, as an overwhelming majority of
exploited youth have a history of abuse as younger children and most grew up in poverty.
In the end, many victims are driven out of their homes by abusive parents or forced to leave
by parents who could not accept their lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender identity. Often
brainwashed and beaten, these victims often feel that they have little choice but to succumb
to exploitation in order to survive.
Tragically, instead of being treated as victims, these children are too often treated as criminals
and placed into a justice system that is ill-equipped to provide them with appropriate services.
The Safe Harbour for Exploited Children Act will instead give exploited children the protection
and services of the Family Court. In this way, victims will not be re-traumatized by incarceration,
nor be forced back into a life of abuse. They will receive the crisis intervention, counseling and
emergency and long-term housing services they need to put them on track toward a productive
and healthy life.
After accepting their Legislator of the Year award, Assemblymember Glick
addresses National Organization of Women – New York State members.
Increasing Voter Participation and Accessibility
It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm surrounding the recent Presidential election and the
increased voter turnout that resulted. While this participation no doubt reflects people’s concerns
and hopes about the future direction of our country, it is also partly reflective of measures designed
to increase voter participation. Early voting, currently allowed in more than 30 states, is one means
of doing so. In fact, experts estimate that nearly a third of all voters during this most recent national
election voted early.
In addition to increasing participation, early voting makes voting more accessible to citizens, some
of whom may be unexpectedly unavailable or ill on election day. It has also been credited with
easing the administrative burden of elections and decreasing lines and wait times for voters, as
voting is spread out over a longer period of time. Despite these benefits, New York State currently
does not allow early voting.
For this reason, I have enthusiastically signed on to co-sponsor a new measure that would allow
early voting in New York. The bill would permit any voter to cast their vote by paper or machine
ballot starting ten business days prior to a primary or general election at the county Board of
Elections (or any alternative sites designated by them). I am hopeful that this bill will soon become
law, adding New York to the growing number of states that have recognized the value of allowing
SHARING THE ROAD SAFELY
With more development comes more congestion. We live in a fast-paced city where pedestrians,
cyclists and drivers converge, sometimes resulting in accidents that may have serious long-term
ramifications. While I have advocated for road improvements like protected bike lanes and neck
downs at corners to slow traffic, these improvements exist in limited locations. To ensure greater
safety for everyone, a few moments of caution can go a long way.
IF YOU’RE IN A CAR
Take greater care when turning by looking out for bike riders and pedestrians. Never open
your door without looking for a bicycle approaching alongside your car and ensure that
your passengers do the same.
IF YOU’RE ON FOOT
Always keep in mind that cars and cyclists sometimes don’t follow the rules. Don’t step off
the curb until the traffic light changes and cars stop and always look both ways before crossing
a street, even a one-way street. Be particularly careful to observe turning vehicles and don’t start
to cross the street if it’s obvious that you can’t get the entire way across before the light turns.
IF YOU’RE ON A BIKE
Travel with traffic, being careful of car and truck door openings and turning vehicles. Also
pay special attention to pedestrians by following traffic control signals and not riding on
sidewalks or the wrong way down one-way streets. And always wear a helmet- nearly all
cycling fatalities and serious injuries occur to cyclists without helmets.
Assemblymember Glick was proud to provide discretionary funding to support the programming
of the Washington Square Music Festival. Here, she joins Peggy Friedman, the Festival’s
Executive Director, in kicking off another free performance. (photo by Nan Melville)
STAY UP TO DATE!
In the Fall of 2008, my office kicked 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 me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
853 Broadway, Suite 1518, New York, NY 10003
New York City