Community Newsletter - March 2010
Kavanagh’s Housing Hotline: 646-459-3023
Assemblymember Kavanagh sponsors a 74th Assembly District Housing Hotline. Legal advice is provided by the Urban Justice Center. The service is easy to use and free for district residents. Simply call and leave a message, and an attorney will return your call within 48 hours.

Nine Kavanagh Bills Pass the Assembly: Though still very early in the 2010 Legislative Session, nine bills introduced by Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh have passed the New York State Assembly:

Kavanagh Rallies with Tenants to Preserve Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village: On January 31st, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, State Senator Tom Duane, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilmember Daniel Garodnick, and hundreds of tenants in a direct appeal to the heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac demanding that, as the largest of the creditors who now effectively control Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper village, they ensure that responsible new management is installed, building maintenance is kept up during the transition, and any future change of ownership is conducted in a manner consistent with keeping the complex affordable for middle-class families in the long term.

The weekend prior, the owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village - one of the largest affordable housing complexes in the world - announced that they had turned over the massive complex to their creditors, after defaulting on their highly-leveraged, multi-billion dollar mortgage. CW Capital, the special servicer representing the creditors, is now in charge of operating the properties and will be responsible for hiring new management, and making decisions about the disposition of the properties. Fannie and Freddie, both of which are now in conservatorship and majority-owned by the federal government, are the largest and most senior creditors and stand to get paid first on any sale of the properties.

"I call on the creditors who are now taking ownership of the complex to work with me and the other elected representatives of the residents, and with the residents themselves, their great Tenants Association, and their attorneys to ensure that the new owners do not replicate the mistakes of their predecessors," said Kavanagh at the press conference. "It is my hope that by closely watching and working with CW Capital, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other interested parties, this community can regain a sense of relative peace, stability, and long-term affordability."

Kavanagh Updates Immaculate Conception Parish Council on Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village Issues: On March 4th, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh spoke at the Immaculate Conception Parish Council Monthly Meeting about recent events and potential legislative initiatives of importance to Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village (ST/PCV) residents. The topics included the current foreclosure situation, negotiations as the complex moves toward new ownership, and a number of current and potential legislative projects - from the extension of the Rent Stabilization Law to possible legislation that could address issues stemming from the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer J-51 decision - that Kavanagh is pursuing to protect ST/PCV residents as well as tenants throughout the City. Kavanagh also praised the ST/PCV Tenants Association (TA)’s organizational efforts to unite, inform, and support the tenants and encouraged interested council members to attend the next TA meeting, which is scheduled for 1:30pm on March 13th at Baruch College’s Mason Hall.

SOUND Housing Campaign Meeting: On February 25th, at the Grand Street Settlement, members of the Save Our Underfunded NYCHA Developments (SOUND) Housing Campaign held a community discussion about the plan to federalize the City-and-State-built NYCHA developments. Local elected officials attended to discuss the proposal, answer questions, and talk about how tenants can help ensure that new funds are available to fix elevators, prevent heat outages, and improve basic maintenance of NYCHA buildings. The meeting was sponsored by Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver along with Council members Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, GOLES, and other members of the SOUND Housing Campaign.

Legislation Federalizing New York City Public Housing Signed into Law: On February 26th, the New York State Legislature passed landmark legislation (A9487B/S6430) that authorizes the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to restructure the ownership of all or part of public housing developments not currently receiving direct federal funding in order to be eligible for federal operating subsidies, federal subsidies for major repairs, and financing through tax credits.

There are currently 344 public housing developments operated by NYCHA. However, twenty-one of these - six owned by the City and fifteen by the State - do not receive direct federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Federal funding for these developments would enable NYCHA to address dire maintenance problems in its buildings, including broken elevators, leaking roofs, and security issues. It would also help eliminate the growing structural deficit that has adversely affected NYCHA’s ability to maintain its stock of approximately 180,000 apartments throughout the City.

"Year after year, public housing residents have suffered the effects of underfunding of the New York City Housing Authority, including faulty maintenance, broken elevators, and inadequate security," said Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, who represents 18,000 NYCHA residents along Manhattan’s East Side. "I am proud to join with NYCHA and my colleagues in the legislature - along with many members of the SOUND Housing Campaign, which we formed to address NYCHA’s structural deficit - to take this important step to enable tens of millions of dollars in new federal funding to flow to NYCHA and put our public housing on a sounder financial footing for many years to come."

The legislation has been signed into law by Governor Paterson, with a public signing to take place on March 15th. Subsequently, the financial reorganization of all or part of the residential buildings owned by NYCHA is expected, with the approval of the Commissioner of the Division of Housing and Community Renewal. This legislation guarantees that developments built by the City and State of New York will remain public housing and that tenants in these buildings will retain all rights that they currently possess as public housing residents. Housing developments directly affected by this legislation include 344 East 28th Street in the 74th Assembly District.

Kavanagh and Krueger Host Co-op/Condo Forum: On February 17th, at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Liz Krueger held a Co-op/Condo Forum for neighborhood residents. Three experienced and knowledgeable panelists on the subject of co-op and condo laws were there to discuss the role of the board, the role of management, shareholder rights, and more. The panelists were Lucas Ferrara, a partner at Finkelstein Newman Ferrara LLP, who has practiced landlord-tenant law for over two decades; Kevin McConnell, a partner of Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph LLP, who concentrates on tenants rights and cooperative and condominium law; and Lisa Wallace, Assistant Attorney General, New York State Department of Law, Real Estate Finance Bureau. The forum focused on the recent concerns that co-op and condo owners are facing, and the audience was given an opportunity to ask specific questions related to their own buildings.

As a member of the Housing Committee in the Assembly, Kavanagh has confronted many issues having to do with condos and co-ops, particularly in regards to protecting shareholders and owners. Kavanagh has also sponsored bill A620, which provides for notification of certain rights that cooperative tenant shareholders and condominium owners have when the original sponsor has given up control of the property. The bill passed the Assembly on February 1st.

NY1 Reports on Blueway Project in State of the Borough Address: In an article posted on its website on February 5th, news channel NY1 reported on Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s State of the Borough Address, delivered on February 4th, which lauded the "East Side Blueway" project. Stringer and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh had previously announced the award of a $650,000 grant for the project from the State Department of State. In his address, Stringer had stated, "I am confident the Blueway will soon take its place alongside the Highline and Hudson River Park as one of Manhattan’s great public spaces." NY1 quotes Kavanagh in the article and news clip discussing the merits of the project: "This is an opportunity to really develop ways for people to have access, for people to make the most of our status as one of the great islands of the world."

East Side Waterfront Update: Since November 2009, the offices of Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Liz Krueger, State Senator Tom Duane, Assemblymember Jonathan Bing, Councilmember Dan Garodnick, and Councilmember Jessica Lappin along with Community Board 6 members, the City’s Economic Development Corporation, and the Office of the Mayor have met as the East Midtown Waterfront and United Nations Consolidation Project Task Force. Over the course of four official meetings, the Task Force has worked toward developing a plan for preserving caissons currently residing in the East River in order to connect the gap in the greenway. Kavanagh is optimistic that substantial progress has been achieved through these meetings, and that the caissons can likely be preserved as an essential step toward creating a complete esplanade for all New Yorkers in an area that is starved for open space and access to the waterfront.

Another issue discussed by the Task Force has been the City’s proposal for consolidation of the United Nations’ campus. One potential plan would involve the construction of a new building just South of UN Plaza on what is currently Robert Moses Playground. Before this park could be ceded, however, Kavanagh and the other officials have committed to ensuring an acceptable mitigation agreement is reached with the local community.

City Withdraws Plan to Relocate Special Needs Students; New Proposal Re-Sites Clinton on the East Side: On February 8th, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Tom Duane along with other elected officials submitted a letter to Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor Joel Klein request-ing that DOE withdraw its proposal to relocate Clinton School for Writers & Artists ("Clinton") from its current location at P.S. 11 to P.S. 33, and to move the District 75 P.S. 138 satellite housed at P.S. 33 ("P.S. 138@33") to the American Sign Language & English Lower School and Secondary School (the "ASL Schools"). Kavanagh and Duane, along with representatives from other elected officials’ offices, toured the ASL Schools on February 4th. They were joined by members of Community Education Council District 2, PTA members, parents, and principals from the potentially impacted schools, and DOE staff members.

On February 23rd, the City Department of Education (DOE) responded to these strong objections and withdrew its proposal. "The proposed relocation was not in the best interests of the school community of either P.S. 138 or the ASL Schools," said Kavanagh. "I am gratified that DOE has heard the voices of the students and their families, and agreed to take this proposal off the table."

On March 5th, DOE released an amended proposal that reflects its decision not to relocate P.S. 138@33, and instead to co-locate Clinton with the ASL Schools. In the coming days, Kavanagh, Duane, and their colleagues will seek to evaluate whether this proposed re-siting is feasible for the community as well as for the student populations of Clinton and the three schools already sited at the ASL Schools buildings. DOE public hearings are scheduled for April 8th and 14th, and the Panel for Educational Policy meeting, at which the Board will vote on the proposal, is scheduled for April 20th.

Day Care Center Closures: On March 3rd, parents, community leaders, union members, advocates, educators, and public officials gathered on the steps of City Hall to protest the closing of sixteen day care centers in the City. Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh was represented at the event by Community Liaison Izzy Murguia, as the legislature was in session in Albany.

In addressing the closure of one day care center, the Puerto Rican Council Day Care Center, Kavanagh and State Senator Daniel Squadron met with the staff of the center and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) officials on February 4th. They discussed the factors that led to the City’s proposal to close the Puerto Rican Council Center and other centers and the possibility of identifying acceptable alternative budget proposals that would save costs while allowing the center to continue serving the community. For Kavanagh’s full statement, please visit www.briankavanagh.org.

Kavanagh Sponsors School Fair: On January 20th, the Department of Education (DOE) held a kindergarten information fair for families seeking pre-kindergarten and kindergarten placement in District 1. The fair was held at P.S. 20 Anna Silver, located at 166 Essex Street, and was sponsored by Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. The event was a great success. Over 200 hundred families attended the fair to learn about the educational opportunities available in elementary schools in District 1 and the placement process, and to meet representatives from District 1 elementary schools.

Nightlife Town Hall: On February 4th, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez for a town hall meeting with community residents and the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA). The town hall was organized so that community residents and bar and club owners could discuss quality of life, the application process, and SLA procedures with the SLA leadership. SLA Chair Dennis Rosen fielded questions from the audience and also discussed nightlife issues and concerns and new approaches to controlling the adverse impact of bars and clubs in some of our neigborhoods. The SLA has been working to improve community outreach with residents and organizations across the city.

As many residents discussed issues concerning quality of life, Kavanagh suggested they join their local community precinct council to address problem areas in which enforcement could be implemented. Kavanagh also mentioned that new zoning ordinances restricting the types of businesses that could open in certain locations might minimize conflicts between liquor licensees and residents while also increasing retail diversity.

Kavanagh Addresses Bellevue Community Advisory Board at Legislative Breakfast: On January 22nd, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined the Community Advisory Board (CAB) at Bellevue Hospital for its annual legislative breakfast. CAB President Louise Dankberg presided over the event, coordinated by Legislative Committee Chairperson Paula Schaeffer. Speakers at the event included Kavanagh, State Senator Tom Duane, Councilmember Dan Garodnick, Assemblymember Jonathan Bing, Bellevue Hospital Center’s Senior Vice President and Executive Director Lynda Curtis, and Senior Vice President of Corporate Planning, Community Health and Intergovernmental Relations for New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) LaRay Brown. Brown presented on the impact to Bellevue and other HHC hospitals by the proposed State Fiscal Year 2010-2011 budget, following which a short video entitled, "Bellevue Is Too Essential to Fail - Speaking Out: Bellevue Patients Supporting Our Mission," was shown to the audience. The patients who starred in the documentary received a standing ovation.

Kavanagh Joins Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union on EITC Awareness Day: On January 29th, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh addressed community members and representatives of the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union (LESPFCU) on Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. Kavanagh spoke of the importance of informing and motivating eligible taxpayers to file and claim the EITC, through which eligible taxpayers can earn up to $5,657. An estimated twenty-five percent of all eligible taxpayers are unaware of the credit.

The LESPFCU is located at 37 Avenue B and has been involved with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program since 2004. Currently, the LESPFCU is offering free tax preparation by IRS-certified preparers for those who qualify. For more information on tax preparation, call 212-505-3482.

St. Pat’s for All Parade in Queens Celebrates Diversity: On March 7th, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh attended the unique celebration that is the St. Pat’s for All Parade & Fair in Sunnyside, Queens. The parade welcomes all to celebrate Irish heritage and culture regardless of race, gender, creed, or sexual orientation. Kavanagh joined City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, Borough President Scott Stringer, other elected officials, community groups, unions, religious communities, youth groups, seniors, and LGBT members at the eleventh annual celebration along with visitors from Ireland and contingencies representing the Caribbean, Latino, Native American, and Korean communities. This year’s honorees were New York City Councilmember Daniel Dromm and community activist Mary Lanning.

Protesting the Cancellation of Free Student MetroCards: On February 18th, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined Assemblymember Richard Brodsky and several other Assembly colleagues to question the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)’s decision to discontinue free student MetroCards. Along with the press conference, Kavanagh and his colleagues sent a letter asking the MTA to take the threat of removing student MetroCard privileges off the table so that the MTA, the City, and the State could devise a way to pay for this important service.

Kavanagh Urges Washington to Pass Clean Energy Jobs Legislation: On January 27th, the Coalition of Legislators for Energy Action Now (CLEAN), a national bipartisan group of state legislators working to pass federal clean energy jobs legislation, delivered a letter to Congress and the White House urging legislative action to promote clean energy job growth. The letter, signed by Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, a member of CLEAN, and nearly 2,000 other state legislators from 49 states, is a reflection of the broad-based, grassroots support for common sense energy legislation that will:

As most industries struggle with the difficult realities of this recession, state-led efforts have been shown to grow clean energy jobs that put Americans back to work. The Pew Center on the States found that clean energy job growth has outpaced the rest of the economy by nearly 250%, with benefits in every state. Kavanagh and his state legislator colleagues believe that comprehensive federal legislation can build on the clean energy progress made in individual states - progress that is urgently needed as the American economy struggles to recover and the effects of global warming grow increasingly severe.

Kavanagh Pushes For Partial Restoration of EPF Funding: Earlier this year, Governor David Paterson proposed a 20-percent reduction to the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) appropriation. Cuts to the EPF could disrupt hundreds of projects that range from conservation and recycling to public health and water quality. In response to the proposed budget cuts, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined Senate and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chairs, Senator Antoine Thompson and Assemblymember Robert Sweeney, in a formal proposal to avoid disproportionate cuts to the EPF. The proposal would mandate a funding level for the EPF of $222 million and urges consideration of both the direct and indirect economic benefits generated by the programs supported by the fund.

Kavanagh Rallies in Albany Against State’s Recent High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Gas Drilling Plan: On January 25th, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh participated in a rally in Albany that voiced opposition to the State’s current proposal to allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) as a method of natural gas extraction. Kavanagh addressed the crowd and called upon the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to impose a ban on drilling in the New York City watershed and other environmentally sensitive areas, to require full, public disclosure of the chemical composition of HVHF fluids, to explore additional wastewater treatment and disposal options, and to require gas drilling companies to fund costs generated by permitting, oversight, and mitigation, among other issues. Following the rally, Kavanagh met with various rally attendees and constituents, including Community Board 6 Member and environmental advocate Joy Garland.

Be Counted: Census Questionnaires On Their Way: Census questionnaires will be delivered or mailed by the U.S. Census Bureau to households throughout March. The Census guides critical decisions on the national, state, and local level, as the federal government will allocate more than $400 billion based on census data. Households should complete and mail back their forms upon receipt. Information shared with the Census Bureau is completely confidential by law. Visit www.2010census.gov to learn more.

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh
invites you to the
1st Annual 74th Assembly District
HEALTH FAIR
Services Including:
• Blood Pressure Screenings • Teeth Cleanings •
• Pills on Wheels • AARP • Bilingual Inc • And Many More •
Saturday, April 24, 2010
12:00PM - 4:00PM
High School for Health Professions and Human Services
345 East 15th Street, Cafeteria
For more information,
Contact Izzy Murguia (izzy.ad74@gmail.com)
or Liana Jourdain (liana.ad74@gmail.com) at 212-979-9696
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