A Message from
Crystal D.
December 2003


It has truly been a phenomenal first year. I lobbied for appointment to committees that would help me address a work agenda based on the needs of our community. As a result, Sheldon Silver, the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, selected me to serve on five committees: Health, Environmental Protection, Insurance, Consumer Protection and Social Services. I have represented you and your concerns on each of these committees, fought hard to preserve vital human rights and promoted programs and policies that positively impact the quality of life of the residents of this great state of New York.

I took important issues with me to Albany. I took the urgency of completion of the Michigan Avenue Preservation Museum district before the NAACP Centennial celebration comes to Buffalo in 2005. I took the need for jobs, economic development opportunities, and the clean up of one of the most toxic waste sites in New York State located at 858 E. Ferry, Buffalo, New York I took the health problems of residents in communities surrounding this site, and a serious commitment to help craft and pass a fair budget in the face of historical fiscal deficits. I took the needs of public school children, seniors, the uninsured, unemployed and those on social service as well as the concerns of taxpayers who have no more to give. Most importantly, I took an intense desire to be the best servant leader my background, skills and experience would enable me to be.

I am pleased to share with you in this newsletter, an update on my work and to stress the importance of keeping an open line of communication between us. I appreciate your thoughts and input on issues and initiatives in the district and if you have any ideas or concerns, please feel free to contact my office at (716) 897-9714.

Wishing you a blessed and safe holiday season, I remain

Crystal D. Peoples


True Bethel Baptist Church is currently accepting applications for its Math A University. Classes are taught by NYS certified educational service providers.

The University will employ the Wizard Instruction Program which utilizes Connected Math Concepts. Connected Math Concepts is a research-based direct instruction curriculum that helps students grades 7-12 develop fundamental math skills.

Remedial instruction in the areas of Math A & B, (grades 7-12), General Mathematics (Algebra, Geometry, Advanced Algebra, and Calculus) will be offered. Preparation for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in math is also provided for students in grade 11 and 12. Students will be introduced to computer animated and visual technology and receive training on developing lesson plans in Math for peer tutoring. As a compliment to the intensive Math enrichment program, a remedial reading instruction component will be offered.

The program session will consist of two semesters, each 15 weeks in duration. Program courses will be offered to all students in Math, Reading (with a concentration on literacy) and Computers, and will be conducted in one hour segments, three days per week.

Interested parents should call 895-8222 for more information and enrollment. Applications are also available at my district office located at 792 E. Delavan Avenue, Buffalo, NY.

“Do Not Call” Law Continues to Operate Despite National Debate

Despite ongoing legal issues over the National “Do Not Call” telemarketing list, the New York State law remains in effect. If you register for the New York State “Do Not Call” list, you will automatically have your telephone number transferred to the National “Do Not Call” registry.

New York State’s “Do Not Call” law was enacted in 2001 and has effectively protected more than 3 million registered New Yorkers from almost a half a billion unwanted telemarketing calls. Many of these calls have been the source of all kinds of bank and credit card fraud for senior citizens who share personal and financial information under the impression they are doing business with legitimate, honest business merchants.. New York has been a leader in preventing this kind of harassment, and I will fight to make sure we continue.

The state law penalizes violating telemarketers with $5,000 fines for each illegal sales call. Telemarketers who wish to avoid these fines must abide by the “Do Not Call” numbers from the state Consumer Protection Board. The Consumer Protection Board has vowed to continue educating the telemarketing industry on the “Do Not Call” regulations.

While federal court rulings may affect our system in the future, rest assured I will work to make any necessary amendments to state law swiftly. The success of our program here in New York has been evident over the last couple of years, and I remain committed to continuing this valuable service in New York.

To sign up, visit www.donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222. To report any “Do Not Call” violations contact the Consumer Protection Board at 1-800-697-1220, or visit their website at www.nyconsumer.gov.

Superfund Site Set for Clean-Up
“Victory at 858 E. Ferry”

Pictured Left to right: Judith Andersen, Rhonda Lee, (Toxic Waste/Lupus Coalition) Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples, Lawrence and Darlene Grant, (Toxic Waste/Lupus Coalition), Sandy McPherson Carrubba (Green Party Environmentalist), and NYS Assembly Majority Leader Paul Tokasz in front of 858 E. Ferry Superfund Site
In 1997, the City of Buffalo applied for and received funding from the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act for clean up of 858 East Ferry Street. The site was already listed as a brownfield on the New York State Superfund registry. The results of further investigation however indicated that the site posed a potential significant threat to public health and the environment and it was added to the registry of inactive hazardous waste disposal sites under the Bond Act by June 1, 2000. Due to exclusionary language in the Bond Act, this listing resulted in the City of Buffalo becoming ineligible from obtaining subsequent funding to clean up the contamination that was discovered during the initial investigation phase of Bond Act funding.

Under the Bond Act, the exclusion of sites on the Superfund registry was intended to prevent sites already listed as state Superfund brownfields from eligibility for benefits. I do not believe the health of a community should be jeopardized because a site that entered the Bond Act program as a brownfield is barred from future program benefits because the site was discovered to be more contaminated than originally anticipated.

I lobbied hardest to get on the Environmental Conservation Committee of the New York State Assembly specifically to support the advocacy efforts to get 858 E. Ferry cleaned up. This issue was at the top of my priority list and one of the first pieces of legislation I sponsored in the NYS Assembly was A8443. This bill changed the language in the environmental conservation law that supported excluding sites like 858 E. Ferry, from Bond Act and Superfund eligibility and allows these type of sites to be eligible for funding from both. Specifically, my legislation allowed the Department of Environmental Conservation to enter into contracts for environmental restoration projects previously not allowed to be entered into to effectuate clean up. While my bill was successful in raising the issue and getting legal counsel and leadership to understand its urgency, it was the Legislature’s success in refinancing the Superfund and the Brownfields legislation that was signed by the Governor that will ultimately pay for the cleanup.

Clean, healthy, safe neighborhoods promote home ownership, community pride, and stable property values. It also increases the number of marketable, shovel ready sites available for economic development. That is why I have fought so hard to ensure clean-up of 858 East Ferry. It is located in the heart of the 141st Assembly District, directly across from True Bethel Baptist Church, Stepping Stone Academy, on the same block as the new E. Ferry Detention Center and one block from a public housing complex. The mere location of this site and its potential health hazards justifies every effort and dollar spent to decontaminate it. I have worked diligently with health and environmental advocates to raise the community’s awareness about the dangers of this site and successfully kept the fires lit so it maintained front burner priority.

Collaboration between government and the people we serve is what public service is all about. I want to thank Rev. Darius Pridgen and the True Bethel Baptist Church membership, the Toxic Waste/Lupus Coalition, the Coalition for Environmental Justice, David Hahnbaker, Mike Shade (Citizens Coalition), Greg Brown and Derrick Byrd for all their hard work, activism and due diligence on this issue and to congratulate them on this great success. Without your continued support, this would not have been possible.

Measure to lower cost-of-living for seniors becomes law

New law raises income eligibility level for tax relief

This year, my colleagues and I enacted a bipartisan budget over the governor’s veto that prevented an average 20 percent property tax hike – the largest in state history – and rejected the governor’s proposal to freeze STAR.

In an effort to further this work, I am pleased to announce the passage of the “Over 65” property tax exemption (Bill A.8930-A). The bill has passed in both the Assembly and the Senate and been signed into law by the governor. The bill increases the income eligibility threshold for property tax exemptions for senior homeowners (age 65 and over), from $21,000 to $24,000.

The “Over 65” Tax Exemption law allows localities to increase the maximum income eligibility level for a 50 percent property tax exemption from municipal and school district taxes. Cities may also grant an exemption of less than 50% to seniors whose incomes exceed the local income limit. For example, in a community that has taken this “sliding-scale” option and adopts the $24,000 income maximum, an eligible resident whose income is more than $24,000 but less than $25,000, is entitled to a 45 percent exemption. Those making the maximum income level of up to $32,400 would still be eligible for a 5 percent exemption.

A related measure also signed by the governor increases the income ceiling for persons with disabilities to qualify for this tax break to $24,000 (A.2439-A).

Each year, seniors who receive cost-of-living increases in their pensions and social security benefits risk losing their “Over 65” tax exemption eligibility. By increasing the eligibility limit, qualified seniors and those with disabilities gain access to benefits that enable them to remain self-sufficient, healthier and safer in their own homes. I believe that the “Over 65” property tax exemption gives our seniors some desperately needed breathing room in their fixed incomes that could then help pay for increased medical insurance premiums, doctor co-payments, medicine or even small home repairs.

I am committed to helping seniors – who have worked so hard all their lives – maintain their independence and enjoy their retirement, for without them, we would have no history. This measure is part of my ongoing work to help lower the cost of living for seniors and those with disabilities. What they bring to communities and add to the quality of life for our young people is priceless.

For more information or to apply for the “Over 65” property tax exemption, call your local city tax assessor at (716) 851- 5733 or call the Office of Real Property Services (ORPS) at (518) 486-5446.


Driving is a big responsibility. Once you get behind the wheel, there is the potential to harm not only yourself and your passengers, but also others on the road.

My colleagues and I recently passed a new law allowing motorists under age 18 to learn the rules of the road at a pace that ensures they are better prepared for the serious responsibility of driving.

Drivers under the age of 18 who apply for a learner’s permit on or after September 1, 2003 will be required to hold their Learner’s permit for a minimum of six months and obtain 20 supervised hours of driving before they will be eligible to take a road test and obtain a junior license. All permit holders and junior licensees under 18 – regardless of whether they obtained their permit or license before or after September 1, will have to follow these new rules to help ensure they become safe, reliable drivers.

“Highlights of Graduated Licensing Law” is a detailed brochure that outlines these new license laws and will help make sure young drivers are prepared for their new roles as drivers. If you have any questions, please contact my office at (716) 897-9714.

Biomedical Research Institute Breaks Ground

Assemblymember Peoples, Senator Byron Brown and Assemblymember Robin Schimminger pictured with a student from Tapestry Charter School. The Legislators were on hand for the historical groundbreaking of the Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute which will be part of the Biomedical Corridor campus.

This project is going to bring huge economic development to the 141st Assembly District and Western New York through construction projects, minority, women and small business opportunities for goods and service contracts, and employment especially in the fields of health, science and biotechnology.

NACA – The Best Homeownership
Program In America!

The most effective method of rebuilding neighborhoods is home ownership. The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) is here to help make the dream of homeownership a reality for those interested in doing the work. NACA is a not-for-profit corporation whose primary goal is to stabilize neighborhoods through home ownership assistance for working people. This opportunity is open to anyone interested in buying a home. The only stipulation is you must live in the property for as long as you own it.

The program offers access to purchase, purchase and renovation or refinance dollars with no down payment, no closing costs, a 5% interest rate, no application fee, no points and no private mortgage insurance fees. The refinance option is available only for predatory loans. Perfect credit is not required.

For more information call (888) 302-NACA. NACA’s services are free.

Assemblywoman Peoples speaks out at Jefferson Avenue Library groundbreaking. “Libraries are the treasure chests of our communities. We must cherish this institution for the priceless intermediary link it provides us to both the past and the future.”