Community Newsletter - April 2011
Funding Restored to Senior Centers
There was some good news in the final resolution of the State budget for Fiscal 2011-2012, which the legislature passed on March 31, 2011, as Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and his colleagues in the legislature succeeded in restoring Title XX funding that helps support the centers' programs. The executive budget had included a proposal to reduce these funds by $25.2 million. In response, the City of New York had indicated that it would be forced to close more than a hundred senior centers, including Stein Senior Center in Gramercy and John Paul II Friendship Center on the Lower East Side. News of the restoration was met with cheers from seniors and advocates around the city.
Kavanagh and Assembly Pass Bill to Extend and Strengthen Tenant Laws
In an effort to preserve tenant protections and stabilize communities across New York City and the surrounding suburbs, the Assembly passed comprehensive legislation, co-sponsored by Assemblymember Kavanagh, to extend rent regulation beyond its current expiration date of June 15, 2011 and to close many of the loopholes in the current law. The legislation the Assembly passed on the evening of April 11th would extend the laws until 2016 and make them stronger. The bill would eliminate the current provisions of the law that allow landlords to claim that an apartment is no longer subject to the regulations when it becomes vacant. It would also make fewer apartments subject to deregulation because the rent and tenants' income exceeds certain thresholds, by raising the thresholds and indexing them for inflation. And it would prevent landlords from overcharging tenants for the cost of major capital improvements, and make any such charges temporary. The bill passed by the Assembly now goes to the Senate.
Kavanagh, City Leaders and NYCHA Residents Address Safety Concerns
On the evening of Thursday, April 7, 2011 Assemblymember Kavanagh, joined fellow elected officials, community leaders, and approximately 250 local residents for a town hall meeting to discuss safety and security conditions in public housing on the Lower East Side managed by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The meeting was hosted by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and NYCHA Chairman John Rhea. Various ways NYCHA, the community, and the Police Department might work to improve security were discussed. Kavanagh spoke about his efforts to make New York safer for everyone, including legislative and policy advocacy to keep guns away from kids and criminals and the need for more community based programs that can provide productive alternatives to crime and gang activity.
Assemblymember Kavanagh Attends 2011 Somos el Futuro Conference
Assemblymember Kavanagh joined colleagues and advocates from across the State at the annual "Somos el Futuro" conference, from April 1st through April 3rd, to discuss issues and policy and legislative priorities of particular relevance to the Latino community.
As part of the conference, Kavanagh joined Assemblymembers Guillermo Linares and Nelson Castro and State Senator Gustavo Rivera speaking on a panel regarding issues of concern to immigrants. He also addressed the audience at a panel discussion on affordable housing, along with Assemblymember Samuel Roberts and Darryl Towns, the new State Commissioner of the Homes and Community Renewal Agency, regarding the renewal of rent regulation and its impact on the Latino community.
Engineering Study of Proposed East River Esplanade
Assemblymember Kavanagh joined Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblymember Jonathan Bing, and City Council Members Dan Garodnick and Jessica Lappin to express support for the New York City Economic Development Corporation's decision to release a Request for Proposals to elicit bids to conduct an engineering study of the possibility of building a new East River esplanade. The RFP will bring in ideas on engineering, design, landscaping and other planning related to the long-proposed extension of the esplanade from East 38th to East 62nd Street.
"For many years, our community and various city, state, and federal agencies have been discussing ways to allow people to use and enjoy our East Side waterfront. These discussions need to continue so we can work toward a consensus about the community's priorities and figure out how we would fund a truly transformative plan in these difficult times," said Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, whose district includes the waterfront from the Williamsburg Bridge to East 51st Street. "This engineering study will provide information that will be invaluable in our discussions, by helping to determine what's feasible and what engineering challenges would need to be overcome if we want to go forward with an esplanade. I applaud Carolyn Maloney for having the foresight to secure funding for this kind of analysis and the City for taking this important step."
Kavanagh Co-Sponsors Energy-Efficient Light Bulb Giveaway
On Friday, April 22nd, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined Borough President Scott Stringer Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Vasquez, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and City Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin in co-sponsoring "Cooling of the Lower East Side," an energy efficient light bulb giveaway. The event took place at four locations - First Avenue and East Houston, East Broadway and Rutgers, Astor Place, and the Vladeck Houses - and was a great success, giving away more than 1,000 energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs within the first hour free of charge to residents thanks to the generous donations of Con Edison. The light bulbs will save residents money as they are significantly more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and last between 10-20 times as long, reducing the frequency at which residents must buy replacements.
See Oscar-Nominated Documentary Gasland on May 5th!
On May 5, 2011, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh will co-sponsor a free community screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland along with Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Liz Krueger, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, and the student organization Baruch Grassroots. Filmmaker Josh Fox will be on hand after the film to answer your questions. Please join us: Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 7pm at Mason Hall, Baruch College 17 Lexington Avenue (at 23rd Street) For more information about the film, the screening, or the issue of gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing, contact Jenna Adams at 212-979-9696.