Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright Assemblyman
Keith L.T.

Reports to
the People

Summer 2008

Harlem Parents Must Take Charge and Protect Our Children from Gun Violence

Too many beautiful Harlem days have been ruined by gun violence and we as a community must take immediate action. There is only so much that I as an elected official can do; I can pass bills to keep guns off the streets, I can increase funding to the police department, I can hold rallies, town halls and press conferences. When it all comes down to it, Harlem can still only hope and pray that gun violence doesn’t take another life in our community. This is why we must get parents involved and get them involved now!

I helped start Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. (Stop Another Violent Event) two years ago. They are group of concerned mothers who have lost children to gun violence and simply want to get the message across to other Harlem parents about the dangers of guns and the high price paid by the families who have lost loved ones. They are also a support network for families coping with this painful reality and a group dedicated to educating Harlem’s youth about the truth and fatal consequences of guns in our community. These recent events should serve as a wake-up call to all of Harlem and beyond about how important it is for parents to be intimately aware of their children’s activities.

To the parents and families of those who have been touched by gun violence, our hearts and prayers go out to you. We are standing beside you during these trying times. Our parents are the most valuable resource when it comes to preventing gun violence and are, in fact, the only ones who can prevent such occurrences before their children leave the house. We need the parents united for prevention and I hope that these shootings will spur such unification for the good of our children and for the greater good of the village of Harlem.

photo Assemblyman Wright with Congressman Charles B. Rangel and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, standing up for Section 8 Housing with Harlem Tenants Organizations. Photo Credit: Elbert Garcia. photo Assemblyman Wright with members of the Harlem community and the advocacy group Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E., speaking in response to the spate of gun-related crimes over the Memorial Day weekend at the National Action Network. Photo Credit: The Hollis Group.

Assemblyman Wright Announces Statewide Program Aimed at Linking Individuals on Public Assistance to Training and Employment

As chairman of the state Assembly Standing Committee on Social Services, Assemblyman Keith Wright has spearheaded a statewide adoption of the Career Pathways Program, an initiative that will connect individuals on public assistance to training programs and then shepherd them into applicable careers. This workforce development strategy, which has been proven successful in other states across the nation, will link education, training and employment and enable those on public assistance to enter the job market with a supportive network. The program also allows for continued occupational training, which will empower those on public assistance to not only remain self-sufficient but also advance within their chosen career field.

Currently, New York must satisfy federal work-participation requirements, implemented under former President Clinton, in order to avoid the risk of costly monetary penalties detrimental to the financial stability of the state as a whole. This important program will help New York satisfy these requirements while adding a beneficial program to New York’s repertoire of social services initiatives. “With over 50 percent of black males in New York City unemployed and many more remaining underemployed, it is essential that we offer programs to ease this costly inequity within our neighborhoods. Furthermore, Career Pathways will serve as a formidable training entity, thus ensuring that local industries have a one-stop hiring center for in-demand trades and careers. To put it simply, this is a win-win-win program for Harlem and New York State at large, bringing public-assistance families to training programs, bringing training programs to employers and satisfying the federal work-participation requirements all in one fell swoop,” said Assemblyman Wright.

photo Assemblyman Wright with his mother, Constance Wright, and New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, receiving an award for Black History month. Photo Credit: Udo Derrick Salters.

Harlem Celebrates the P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. Tenants Organization’s Defeat of Notorious Slumlord

photo Assemblyman Keith Wright celebrating Cinco de Mayo with members of the P.A.’L.A.N.T.E Tenants Organization of West 146th Street.

After over two years of legal challenges, tenant harassment, property deterioration, vermin infestation and dangerous violations of housing law, the P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. Tenants Organization, which represents three buildings in Harlem, has won control of their buildings via a 7A Administrator. The buildings, owned by Ilan Zinner, had more than 2,000 violations lodged against them, ranging from dangerous water leaks onto electrical wiring, collapsed ceilings and toxic mold, to sewage backups, peeling lead paint, and vermin infestation. Due to these horrible conditions, the Tenants Organization reached out to Assemblymen Keith Wright and Herman “Denny” Farrell seeking relief.

Thanks largely to the steadfastness and the strong organization of P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. Tenants Organization, they took their landlord to court for both immediate repairs to the property and entrance into the 7A Administration program, which removes the landlord from management control and sets up a system where the landlord is billed for the costs of repairing and managing the property. After countless days in Housing Court, numerous attempts at harassment and intimidation on behalf of the landlord, and various visits to the property by Judge Jackman-Brown of Housing Court, the tenants got their day in court.

When rendering her verdict late last year, Judge Jackman-Brown stripped Mr. Zinner of his management rights due to his non-cooperation both in completing the repairs and not appearing in court. Currently, the building is being repaired, exterminated, and appliances are being replaced, thanks to the leadership of the P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. Tenants Organization and their hardworking 7A Administrator Peter Nakos. “This is one of the greatest instances of tenants joining together, staying strong and getting their way through hard work, which I have seen in my tenure as state Assemblyman,” said Assemblyman Wright. He continued, “I would like to congratulate the tenants on a job well done and encourage other buildings within the 70th Assembly District, which are facing similar situations, to reach out to my office for assistance. If every tenants’ organization was as dedicated as P.A.’L.A.N.T.E., slumlords operating in our district wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.”

To learn more about the P.A.’L.A.N.T.E Tenants’ Organization and how they successfully engineered their fight against an irresponsible landlord, please visit:

Assemblyman Wright Sends Fire Truck to Harlem’s Sister City of Yamasa, Dominican Republic

photo Assemblyman Wright in Yamasa, Dominican Republic, riding the donated fire truck into town.

photo Assemblyman Wright, foreground, with (l-r) Johnny and Maritza Del Toro of the Dominican American Business Network, Carmen Perez of Assemblyman Wright’s Office, Diputado (Congressman) Juan Suazo of Yamasa and Diputado Pedro Jimenez of Santo Domingo, at the donation ceremony of the fire truck to the Bomberos de Peravillo.

In March of 2008, Assemblyman Wright, with the logistical help of the United States Department of Commerce’s Export Assistance Center in Harlem, delivered a fire engine to the town of Yamasa, Monte Plata in the Dominican Republic. The engine is the product of a joint effort between Assemblyman Wright and Diputado Juan Suazo Marte, a member of the Dominican Congress, to aid in the disaster relief in the province of Monte Plata. “Harlem is proud to be helping our neighbors in the Dominican Republic and is even prouder to be able to help celebrate their Independence Day with such a show of internationalism. New York City is the hometown of the world and it is only fair, with our incredible success, that we share the wealth with those countries less fortunate,” said Assemblyman Wright.

The purchase of the engine was sponsored by the Yamasa Foundation, which has a large membership in Harlem. Wright helped facilitate the donation to the town of Yamasa and successfully engineered the shipping via communications with the U.S. Department of Commerce and The Cartainer Corporation. “I would like to thank all of the organizations who were involved in this donation, and without them, this effort would not and could not have been successful. I truly hope this is the beginning of a new chapter of direct village-to-village communication and interrelation, and that by working together we can create a more just and equitable world, for everyone to benefit from,” said Assemblyman Wright at the donation ceremony.

Assemblyman Wright Congratulates Governor Paterson on Harlem’s Ascendance to the Executive Chamber

In what surely must be one of the greatest political developments of the era, David Paterson of Harlem has become New York State’s first African-American governor. “It is about time that Harlem gets its day in the sun and thanks to Governor Paterson, we most certainly will,” said Assemblyman Wright, regarding the fundamental shift in the New York State power structure. He continued, “For far too long, our uptown neighborhoods have been squeezed on every side, by gentrification, lack of sustainable jobs, high crime rates and the lack of affordable housing, among many other problems. Now that we have one of Harlem’s staunchest advocates at the helm of the Capitol, we can rest easy with the knowledge that our problems will no longer be ignored, exacerbated and created by a hostile entity in Albany.”

“I wish to congratulate Governor Paterson on his achievements to this point and identify the distinct Harlem traits that have enabled him and our community to come so far. The tenacity, the intelligence and the forthright perspectives that one learns on the streets of Harlem are what has enabled Governor Paterson to come so far and successfully maneuver the often dangerous waters of New York politics. Without these essential skills, honed by representing a concerned and dedicated electorate, I would not feel as confident as I do today about the future of New York State, City and the Village of Harlem. On behalf of the Harlem community at-large, I would like to thank Governor Paterson for bringing the attention of New York State to our wonderful neighborhood and praise him for keeping the thoughts, interests and concerns of Harlem in Albany,” said Assemblyman Keith Wright.

Albany Highlights

Bringing it on Home:
Harlem’s State Budget Highlights

The following are New York State Budget highlights, targeted directly at helping Harlem residents and making Northern Manhattan a better place to live.

  • $5,000,000 for the Career Pathways Job Training Program

  • $2,000,000 in Capital Program Funding for the Apollo Theatre

  • $294,000 for Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem

  • $179,000 for the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS

  • $150,000 for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

  • $100,000 for ACORN Foreclosure Counseling

Included among Assemblyman Wright’s twenty-nine Member Item funding requests are the following organizations:

  • Harlem Week

  • Ruth Williams Dance Foundation

  • West Harlem Group Assistance

  • Central Harlem Senior Citizens Coalition

  • The Harlem YMCA

  • The Jazzmobile

  • Centro Juvenil Tony Fernandez, Inc.

Assemblyman Wright shepherded the successful passage of over thirty of his bills in the latest State Assembly session. Below is a selection of legislative highlights from the 2008 Session.

A267- An act to amend the real property tax law, lowering the age for property tax exemption from 65 to 62 years of age

A273B- An act relating to the official acknowledgement that the institution of slavery was an appalling tragedy in the history of New York State

A277- An act to require the Office of Minority Health to establish a program of data collection for the assessment of the health and health care of Minorities

A554- An act requiring the State to provide notice of voting rights to those eligible voters convicted of a felony and provide assistance with voter registration.

A627A- An act prohibiting police officers from using ethnic and racial profiling in New York State

A700- An act providing home cooling assistance to low income households

A715- An act granting the State Attorney General jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute police misconduct

A776A- An act limiting the uses and instances of no-knock search warrants

A786- An act requiring drug and alcohol testing for police officers, after officers discharge their weapon in the line of duty

A5557- An act providing for the use of common areas in housing authority project for tenant group meetings, without an imposition of a fee

A8347- An act requiring social services districts to establish homeless housing task forces for the purpose of developing a ten year plan and guidelines.

This legislation may be further researched by entering the bill numbers above on the State Assembly web site, at

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from Assemblyman Keith Wright

In an effort to cut down on paper usage in his offices and also save taxpayer money, Assemblyman Keith Wright is inviting his constituents to register for electronic news bulletins. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to and enter News Bulletin as the subject. We look forward to hearing from you!

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