Assemblywoman
Joan L.
Millman


reports to the people
Fall/Winter 2003



Dear Neighbor,

This past legislative session I was part of an unprecedented bi-partisan effort to override the Governor’s veto 120 times to prevent a disastrous budget for all New Yorkers. I worked to save vital education and healthcare funding, rejecting the Governor’s massive cuts to critical programs and nearly $7 billion proposal for higher fees, in order to ensure that New York’s budget not be balanced on the backs of our working families. Some highlights of what my colleagues and I accomplished this year are discussed in this issue of my newsletter.

For the past six months, I have been in the district full-time helping constituents, sponsoring events, and speaking out on important issues. I have been busy fighting to re-open Engine Company 204, urging the city administration to sell the House of Detention (see stories below), advancing the Brooklyn Bridge Park agenda, and working with our local precincts to address safety and quality of life issues. I have sponsored several successful events in the district including pediatric dental screenings, a free movie for seniors, flu shots for the community and fingerprinting and photographing for neighborhood children to ensure their safety.

Let me wish you all a happy holiday season. May the New Year bring you and your family peace and prosperity.

Warmest Wishes,

Joan L. Millman

P.S. If you would like to receive a 2004 New York City Parking calendar, please call my office at (718) 246-4889.




Assemblywoman Millman, Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Women’s Issues, hosts a Round Table Discussion on the Gender Gap in Science and Technology in the 21st Century.



Millman Brings NYU Dental Van to Provide Free Dental Screenings for Children


On Saturday, October 25th, I sponsored the Pediatric New York University Dental Van for children residing in the Gowanus and Wyckoff Houses.

The NYU pediatric dentists and dental students eagerly provided free screenings and instruction for close to 50 children to encourage the practice of good dental hygiene and instruct them about preventative dental care. Each youngster received complimentary dental supplies and left that day with smiling faces and a healthy attitude about maintaining clean teeth.





ALBANY REPORT

Millman Authors Legislation to Keep Our Streets and Windshields Flyer Free

I authored a new law (A.8632) which Governor Pataki signed, designed to deter solicitors from posting flyers on car windshields in New York City. City Councilman David Yassky and I worked together to amend the Vehicle and Traffic Law to provide for the enforcement of this offense.

This bill aims to enforce the existing penalty for posting unsolicited material on automobiles by allowing sanitation and police officers to fine the authors of the flyers as well as the distributors. Under the previous law, only a person caught by an officer of the police department in the act of posting a handbill could be punished.

I believe that at a time when the City is stepping up its enforcement of quality of life violations, we should be penalizing people for the most annoying offenses, like handbills left on cars, rather than penalizing pregnant women for sitting in subway stations. These handbills stick to windshields, litter our streets, and are a general nuisance to everyone. There are certainly better, more effective ways to advertise. We have finally created the mechanism to fine those individuals responsible for leaving advertisements on our cars. I hope that this law makes individuals and companies think twice before employing this method of advertisement.

The Mayor issued an executive order on September 8, 2003, allowing for the Sanitation Department and the Police Department to issue summonses and presume that “the person whose name, telephone number or other identifying information” on an advertisement is responsible for its distribution.




Senior Citizen Programs Enhanced


Assemblywoman Millman visits seniors at the Park Slope Geriatric Center, and speaks with them about the important senior programs she worked to protect in this year’s State Budget
In my ongoing commitment to protecting our most vulnerable citizens, I co-sponsored several pieces of legislation designed to assist seniors. Most notably, the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program and Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption program raised the income eligibility levels. SCRIE now exempts rent controlled and rent stabilized tenants whose income is less than $24,000 per year and eligibility for partial exemptions on New York City Real Estate Taxes income level is now $32,400.




Vital Rent Regulations Restored

At the eleventh hour, when it looked as if our legislative session would close without desperately needed rent protections, the State Legislature renewed rent regulations. Protecting tenants’ rights has always been one of my top priorities and preserving these laws, which dictate how much rents can be raised in a year and how quickly, became one of my top legislative priorities. Everyone in their existing apartments will remain protected and be able to renew their regulated leases. I can assure you that I will continue to push to strengthen our rent regulation laws in the future, including our loft laws, which were ignored in the most recent legislation.





Increased Penalties and Increased Enforcement for Truck Route Violators

I was pleased to sponsor a bill with Assemblymember Lentol that was signed into law this summer, increasing fines for truck drivers who violate existing truck routes. Under this new law, truck drivers will be penalized a minimum of $200 for a first violation. It is about time that we take substantive steps to lessen the truck load on our local streets. Trucks come barreling down our roads and destroy the foundations of our brownstone homes. They speed through our neighborhoods and create dangerous conditions for residents. The emissions from the truck traffic pollute the air our children breathe and contribute to the high asthma rates throughout our city.

I believe this law is a huge step in the right direction, but one action alone won’t solve this enormous problem. This past July, I testified at a Department of Transportation hearing regarding its recent study to redraw the city’s truck routes. While I applaud the DOT’s efforts to examine ways to mitigate the truck impacts on our neighborhoods, I will also continue to advocate for reinstituting the two-direction tolls on the Verrazano Bridge. We must also work toward building a tunnel to replace the deteriorating Gowanus Expressway and continue to work towards the creation of a cross-harbor freight tunnel.




NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT
Fighting to Save our Firehouse – Engine Company 204


Assemblywoman Millman denounced the firehouse closings at a press conference this past summer, and discussed the unanimous resolution passed in the State Assembly opposing the closings.
Since the Bloomberg administration first announced the impending closure of Engine Company 204, I joined the Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill communities in actively protesting this misguided attempt to save money in the City’s budget, which would compromise the safety and security of our neighborhood. On Sunday, May 25th I sent a strong message to the Mayor by demonstrating with Councilmember de Blasio and community activists, as the doors to Engine Company 204 shut. I protested for three and a half hours, engaging in acts of civil disobedience in front of and inside EC 204 to demonstrate our community’s steadfast opposition to the closing of Cobble Hill and Carroll Garden’s only firehouse. For these actions, all 12 of us were arrested. When we appeared at the Red Hook Justice Center on July 14th, ably represented by Kenneth Thompson of Thompson, Wigdor and Gilly, the judge recognized that our acts of civil disobedience were in the greater interest of justice and issued us “adjournments in contemplation of dismissal.” We are continuing to work behind the scenes to reopen the six closed firehouses to ensure the safety and security of all New Yorkers.




Brooklyn House of Detention – Urging Bloomberg to Sell the Cells

I am aggressively working with Councilman Yassky, Borough President Markowitz, and Senator Connor to transform the unused Brooklyn House of Detention (HOD) into a much desired new development in the heart of downtown Brooklyn. The HOD, located at 275 Atlantic Avenue, at the corner of Boerum Place and Atlantic Avenue, emptied out at the end of June as one of Bloomberg’s cost saving measures. Unfortunately, instead of closing this facility completely, the City has chosen to warehouse the building in the event of a surge in the prison population.

I know that the Mayor is currently investing considerable resources to redevelop and enhance downtown Brooklyn. It is to his and our advantage to decommission the facility entirely and find an alternative, revenue-generating use for the property. The HOD is the most valuable property on the avenue and right now it is both an eyesore and an impediment to the successful growth of downtown Brooklyn. While the Mayor chooses to warehouse the building, the City is performing capital renovations on the HOD. The City is continuing to spend millions of dollars on this facility and is retaining a small staff even though there are no detainees. Join me and the campaign to redevelop the Brooklyn House of Detention by writing to Mayor Bloomberg to express your outrage at the City’s decision to warehouse this invaluable site at the gateway to Brooklyn.




P.S. 8 – Transforming Our Schools, Investing in Success

Millman speaks with local students outside her office about her role in the community as an Assemblywoman.

I am proud to have taken an active role in an effort to reinvigorate and renew enthusiasm for P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights. P.S. 8 is now implementing the new reading, writing and math curriculum with first rate teachers and administrators in a creative, supportive environment for our children to learn. Seth Phillips, the new, dynamic principal of P.S. 8, has taken over the reigns and is overseeing the reorganization of the school. I am working closely with Principal Phillips and Region 8 Superintendent Carmen Farina, to insure that wise investments are made in our children’s success at P.S. 8.

In my ongoing commitment to quality education, I have secured $50,000 in capital funding for P.S. 8 to construct a new science laboratory. In the new laboratory, students will employ the inquiry method, using a hands-on approach to discover the world of science.




Montessori School at the YWCA

Millman Works for Win-Win Resolution for The Montessori Day School of Brooklyn and the YWCA


Assemblywoman Millman is joined by Councilman de Blasio at this October’s Peace Fair, sponsored by Brooklyn Parents for Peace.
The Montessori Day School once again opened its doors this fall at the YWCA on 3rd and Atlantic Avenue and is now operating as a financially independent school. I was pleased to lead efforts in the community to support a win-win solution for the families of the Montessori Day school and the YWCA. This invaluable community institution will continue to serve children ages 8 months to 6 years at its present location in the YWCA. I am a strong supporter of programs like the Montessori Day School that embody the YWCA’s mission to educate and empower the future generation of Brooklyn.

The Montessori Day School reflects the best of Brooklyn with a creative, diverse atmosphere providing much needed daycare services for our community. If you are interested in enrolling your child in the Montessori Day School or would like more information, contact the school at 718-858-2322.




MILLMAN URGES ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO FUND ENGINE CO. 204

In response to the closure of our firehouse and increased response times in Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, I have continued to voice my opposition to the mayor’s budgetary choices. On September 2nd, I again stood with the Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens community, the Uniformed Firefighters Association, Uniformed Fire Officers Association, and local elected officials in front of Engine Company 204 to once again denounce the closing of six firehouses in New York City, after new data revealed increased response times in communities that lost engine companies. Response times for residents in Cobble Hill have increased by 2 minutes, 8 seconds, bringing total average response times to 5 minutes, 35 seconds since the closure of Engine Co. 204 on May 25th, 2003.

We now have proof that Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens are suffering from some of the longest emergency response times in the City. I continue to urge my constituents to call 311 and ask that the closed firehouses be reopened. I truly hope the Mayor can admit that his wrong decision has only placed lives and property in danger. Furthermore, I wrote this letter to the Mayor, after his announcement to use corporate sponsorship to fund certain city programs, even though he previously refused to use corporate funds to save our firehouses.

**Click here for a printable view**
CONTACT ASSEMBLYWOMAN MILLMAN AT:

DISTRICT OFFICE:
341 Smith Street
Brooklyn, New York 11231
(718) 246-4889

ALBANY OFFICE:
Room 510 Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
(518) 455-5426


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