Community Newsletter - October 2010
Kavanagh Children's Health Bill Signed into Law
Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh announced that Governor Paterson signed legislation he sponsored with Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, S.4057-B/A.7515-B, into law. The measure, known as the Child Health Plus and School Meals Enrollment Coordination Act, will allow children who are eligible for reduced or free school meals to use their enrollment in the meals program to apply for Medicaid and Child Health Plus.
"Today marks a tremendous victory for New York's children," said Assemblymember Kavanagh. "School meals programs have had great success in enrolling eligible children, but bureaucratic barriers have often prevented these same children from getting health coverage they're also eligible for. Breaking down these barriers will make life easier for busy families and will get more of our children the healthcare they need. We commend and thank Governor David Paterson for taking this step to make government agencies work together to more efficiently and effectively serve our children."
The legislation was also supported by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Medicaid Matters, the Healthcare for All New Yorkers Coalition, and the Human Services Council. It will take effect in 2011 and apply to the 2011-2012 academic year.
Kavanagh Scores Highly on the Environmental Advocates 2010 Voters' Guide Scorecard
On October 5, 2010, Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY) released its 2010 Voters' Guide. The Guide has been produced and distributed statewide for more than 40 years to provide information about legislators' votes on bills that will impact the environment. Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh was among those legislators receiving a score of 90, the highest score received by any legislator. The Guide gave special recognition to Kavanagh's legislative work on bill requiring recycling of rechargeable batteries (A.6813D); sponsored in the Senate by Liz Krueger, (A.9132B) requiring car dealers to prominently display additional efficiency information, and (A.1028A) prohibits idling by heavy duty vehicles for more than three minutes. All three of these bills are identified by the EANY as having the potential to benefit New York's environment when efficiently implemented. Kavanagh is proud to be recognized by EANY for his work on environmental legislation.
Statement of New York State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh Regarding Delays in Getting Ballots to New Yorkers Serving in the Military Overseas and Other Voters Living Abroad
In response to reports that the boards of elections in five jurisdictions in New York State - New York City and Westchester, Putnam, Erie, and Niagara Counties - missed a deadline to send ballots to New Yorkers living overseas, State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh released the following statement.
"It is essential for our democracy that members of our armed forces on duty overseas and other New Yorkers living abroad have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. This year, federal legislation authored by our own U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and a state plan to comply with the new law were put in place specifically to protect the rights of these voters. Ballots were to be sent by October 1st so they would make their way to soldiers and others in faraway places with enough time for the ballots to be marked, returned, and counted.
"The fact that some boards of elections have failed to meet this deadline is totally unacceptable. The election officials responsible for this egregious failure must take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that no New Yorkers living overseas - and especially none of our soldiers risking their lives in service to our country - are denied the right to have their votes count in the November elections."
Kavanagh Joins Tenants and Elected Officials in a Rally for the Future of ST-PCV
Through a cold and the rainy afternoon, amidst a pending foreclosure, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined resilient tenants of Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, along with other elected officials, in a rally outside the complex on October 4, 2010. Though the foreclosure has been postponed, Assemblymember Kavanagh, as well as Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Councilmember Dan Garodnick, and Tenants Association President Al Doyle, called on CW Capital to work in good faith with them on a plan for an affordable conversion and other tenant goals for the complex. U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, State Senator Tom Duane, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn were not present, but also offered their strong support for the tenants.
CW Capital, the "special servicer" representing the senior lenders in the 2006 sale of Stuyvesant Town, postponed a foreclosure auction on the property that had been scheduled for October 4th. The sudden delay underscored tenants' feelings that the company must work in good faith with residents toward a plan that will bring stability to the property.
Officials, tenant leaders, and residents called on CW Capital to follow through on its commitment to work with the tenants on a conversion plan that meets the goals that residents set forth, including: maximizing choice for tenants who wish to purchase their apartments and those who will continue as renters; preserving long-term affordability; ensuring quality maintenance; and protecting the historic configuration of the property - keeping Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village as one community with undeveloped open spaces.
"Once again today the investors and creditors lurched toward resolving the question of who owns what's left of their speculative multi-billion dollar investments in this property - only to announce one more delay," said Kavanagh. "Of course, this is trying to our patience, but the delay and uncertainty will not cause us to waiver in our commitment to ensuring the stability and affordability of our community. Whomever wins the battle among the investors and creditors will need to respect that commitment. Whether it's CW Capital or someone else, they had better be prepared to work with a community that is ready to negotiate - and to fight if necessary - for a fair deal."
During the event, Kavanagh likened the incredibly drawn out, and at times tragic saga that the tenants have been through to very long Russian novel. But he noted that Leo Tolstoy wrote: "the two most powerful warriors are patience and time."
Kavanagh went on to observe that "this community's patience has surely been tested, but our resolve has not diminished. We have used our time well to prepare for the next stage of the battle to ensure affordability and stability - shoring up our unity and getting the best attorney's and financial advisors on our side."
With State rent laws set to expire on June 15, 2011, Kavanagh closed by emphasizing that the fight for affordability extends beyond our immediate community. "We in this community need to join with tenants across the state to fight to preserve and strengthen those laws, which are the only thing that keep neighborhoods like this affordable for middle-class families."
Kavanagh and Diverse Coalition Meet with NYCHA Chair to Discuss Resident Concerns
On September 20, 2010 Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined a diverse coalition of elected officials, advocates, and community leaders for a meeting with New York City Housing Authority chair John Rhea and NYCHA's board and senior staff. The NYC Alliance to Preserve Public Housing, a new coalition inspired in part by the SOUND Housing Campaign, founded last year by Kavanagh, Senator Daniel Squadron, and Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), had requested the meeting to discuss concerns that arose during NYCHA's annual planning process.
The group went on to discuss apparent weaknesses in NYCHA's maintenance and repair operations, standards and procedures for disposing of property or demolishing buildings, ways NYCHA might expand job training and employment opportunities for residents, the ongoing need for support for senior centers and other community venues that serve NYCHA residents, and the necessity to do more to address the needs of disabled residents.
Kavanagh Helps Launch East Village Community School CD
On September 20, 2010, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined teachers, families, and students from the East Village Community School for a release party for "Songs from the East Village." The CD, made up of folk songs from various countries performed by the students, is a celebration of the ethnic diversity of New York City and the creative talents of the EVCS community. Kavanagh addressed the enthusiastic crowd gathered to hear live performances of some of the music, and particularly noted the inclusion of his own Irish musical heritage among the selections.
Kavanagh and Stringer Protect Bike Lanes
On October 8, 2010, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, along with cyclists, pedestrians, and transportation advocates to announce the release of the Borough President's report on bike lane safety. The group called for the City to take additional steps to keep bike lanes clear of obstructions, tougher enforcement, and a public awareness campaign aimed at drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. These efforts would ideally involve not only the City Department of Transportation and Police Department, but also the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which would educate both cabdrivers and passengers to be aware of bike lanes during pick-ups and drop-offs.