Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman Assemblywoman
Joan L.
Millman

reports to
the people

Summer 2006


Dear Neighbor,

For the second year in a row the legislature passed an on-time budget, but the governor vetoed over 200 separate items. In a display of bipartisan cooperation, both houses voted to override these vetoes but the governor still did not release the funds. We finally came to an agreement on almost all major items, including health care issues.

Additionally, the legislature made progress to ensure that the budget process runs efficiently in future years. The Assembly and the Senate reached an important agreement on budget reform which will bring more transparency and accountability to the process. This proposal will move the start of New York’s fiscal year from April 1st to May 1st, allowing revenue and spending projections to give us a clear view of the State’s financial standing. This plan will also require a two-year appropriation for education aid, rather than the current one-year appropriation, helping schools to better plan by informing them of their financial flexibility and constraints two years into the future. Also, this bipartisan plan calls for the creation of an independent budget office that will give the legislature information on both revenues and revenue estimates and the fiscal impact of proposed laws. These proposals will make state government more efficient and improve the state budget process. Hopefully we can institute these reforms next year when a new administration is in place.

photo Assemblywoman Millman and State Senator Martin Connor discuss district issues at a meeting in Brooklyn Borough Hall.

In the district, I sponsored several successful events which included finger printing services, dental exams, and bone density screenings. Once again I am sponsoring my annual summer reading challenge. I hope to attend Parent Association meetings in the fall and personally present a New York State Certificate of Merit to each child who completes the challenge. I also sponsored several arts programs including a tap dance assembly and an eight week visiting artist program. All too frequently schools must cut back on the “extras,” which often means arts and music activities. I am committed to securing additional funding to provide our youngsters with these essentials.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy summer. And, as always, please contact my office about issues that are important to you.

Best Wishes,
signature
Joan L. Millman
Member of Assembly




LEANER AND GREENER:
Millman Sponsors Legislation to Promote Bicycling

photo Assemblywoman Millman with community activists Alan Fleishman and Jo Anne Simon discussing transportation issues in Downtown Brooklyn.

As more and more residents turn to the bicycle as their primary means of transportation, finding a place for riders to store their bikes at home and at work is becoming a major concern. That is why I introduced Assembly Bill 11101-A, legislation that would require owners and managers of New York City’s buildings to provide secure bicycle storage facilities for their tenants, business employers and their employees.

The bill originated in response to a constituent who rode her bicycle to work during the 2005 MTA transit strike and was sent home because the building where she worked did not provide secure storage facilities for her bicycle. As the state legislature discusses how to cap the rising cost of gasoline, implements energy-saving strategies, and tries to address the problem of childhood and adult obesity, bicycles are a true transportation alternative and a healthier choice.

This bill also complements the 400 miles of a proposed 900 mile bicycle transportation network New York City’s Department of Transportation and Department of Planning have been implementing since 1994. This bill completes the cycle by providing secure storage facilities for bicycles.

Cyclists should be encouraged for making the switch to a cleaner and healthier commute, and providing secure storage facilities is a significant component in that effort. If we can make it easier for New Yorkers to bike to work, then we are all helping to make this city greener and leaner.




Millman Introduces Legislation to Provide
Affordable Housing and Work Space to Artists

photo Assemblywoman Millman is pictured with NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Mr. Met at the opening day parade for the Park Slope Little League.

As New Yorkers, we pride ourselves on the breadth and diversity of the arts community that has helped shape the unique character of our city. But we are on the verge of losing members of the community unless we truly commit ourselves to helping artists secure affordable housing and work space.

For this reason, I have introduced Assembly Bill 11596, legislation to develop a grant program to help secure affordable housing and work space for artists in New York. The bill would establish a pilot program to assist artists in obtaining shared-use facilities, which serve as both a residence and a studio, performance or gallery space in which to practice or display art.

Soaring real estate values in the region are threatening the economic viability of the arts community in New York, forcing artists to move to lower cost areas in other parts of the country. This trend is having a detrimental effect on New York’s unique stature as a world leader in the arts and entertainment industry.

Because of particular economic burdens and space requirements, artists are often forced to rely on financial assistance and grants to subsidize the costs of their profession. However, keeping New York’s arts community afloat by providing affordable housing and work space is more than worth the cost when taking into account the economic benefit in commerce and tourism generated by this valuable resource.

Our District includes DUMBO and Vinegar Hill, prime examples of how the arts community has transformed once underutilized areas into thriving residential and commercial centers. Unfortunately, although artists were the driving force behind the revitalization of these neighborhoods, they are being driven out by the corresponding rise in property values. It is time to turn this trend around and provide the creative community with the support it deserves.




PRESERVING OUR SMALL BUSINESSES
Millman Hosts Assembly Forum on State Programs
for Micro-Business Assistance

On June 2, I hosted an Assembly Roundtable on Micro-Businesses to discuss state programs which provide assistance for micro-businesses and how to improve the current framework for micro-loans.

Micro-businesses are defined as business enterprises with five or fewer employees, and are a critical component of economic development in New York State. There are currently 1.6 million micro-businesses operating in New York, generating approximately $58 billion in annual revenues.


photo Assemblywoman Millman leading the discussion about new ways to encourage small business in the district and across New York State.

The Assembly Roundtable brought together a panel of experts from micro-business development organizations, micro-loan programs, community development funding institutions, libraries and business owners, including representatives from the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, to discuss strategies for improving the State’s outreach to micro-businesses. Co-hosted by Assemblymember Mark Weprin, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Small Businesses, the Roundtable was open to the public, and following the discussion we opened the floor to provide attendees with an opportunity for questions and comments. In addition to bringing together a new working group to look at the challenges to micro-businesses from all perspectives, the forum inspired several new proposals to make services for small enterprises more accessible and user-friendly.

Micro-businesses generate jobs, often in communities with high unemployment, and provide a route to economic self-sufficiency for diverse populations. This Roundtable brought together many experts to assist us in improving the economic climate for micro-businesses, and to make the case for robust State support. I believe everyone who attended left feeling optimistic about channels of communication that were opened at the Roundtable and the potential for progress that lies ahead as we continue to work together.




This Summer at the
Brooklyn Bridge Park


Here is the schedule for the rest of the summer:

July 27 – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

August 3 – The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert

August 10 – Bonnie and Clyde

August 17 – Raiders of the Lost Ark

August 24 – The Warriors

For a sneak preview of our future world class waterfront park, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation is hosting free guided tours starting this summer. The one hour tours offer an opportunity to visit the site prior to the park’s construction and will provide a unique glimpse of the site’s history, current condition, and the design of the future park.

Tours will meet at 334 Furman Street north of Atlantic Avenue
on the following dates:

July 25th at 6:30 PM, August 6th at 4:00 PM, August 12th at 10:00 AM, August 17th at 6:30 PM, and August 26th at 10:00 AM.

To reserve space on a tour, call (212) 803-3826 or email bbp_tours@mvvainc.com. For more information visit www.thisisyourpark.org/tours.html. All ages are welcome to attend the tours.

Also, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s Movies with a View will be shown at sunset every Thursday this summer at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park. There will be music at 6:00 PM, popcorn, snacks, dinner, beach chair rentals, and free bike valet parking.




Free Services to Promote Health
and Safety in the Community

I recently hosted three events to provide services to residents in the District: a fingerprinting and identification event for children and families in Cobble Hill, dental services to students in Boerum Hill provided by New York University’s Dental Van, and a bone density screening event at my District Office to raise awareness about the risk of osteoporosis for men and women.

On April 28, over 100 children and families were provided with free identification information at the fingerprinting event at P.S. 29, which was co-sponsored by COPS-CARE, the 76th Precinct, and Keyspan. An accurate set of fingerprints helps to ensure that families have quality identification data for their children to use in the event of an emergency. All records were only distributed to the family of the child, neither the police nor the school kept any information.

photo Assemblywoman Joan Millman with Principal Pamela Dixon and students from P.S. 133 in front of the NYU Free Dental Services Van she provided this past spring.

On May 5, more than 100 students at P.S. 133 received free dental screenings from the New York University Dental Van, and were treated to a “goodie bag” filled with a new toothbrush, toothpaste, stickers and oral health care information. In addition to providing free dental treatment, the NYU Dental Van specializes in helping to educate young people about the importance of early dental care.

At the osteoporosis screening event, on May 17th in my District Office, a health professional from Long Island College Hospital measured the bone density of over 40 seniors and other constituents, an indicator of whether an individual is at risk of osteoporosis. With nearly 34 million people in the United States suffering from low bone mass, raising awareness about osteoporosis is a necessary step towards ensuring that individuals stay healthy as they get older.

All three events were very successful. Due to the overwhelming response from the community, I am planning to host these and other free events again later this year, and I will inform you of the dates as they become available.




9th Annual
Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge Brochure

I am pleased to announce my Annual Summer Reading Challenge, a program which encourages children and parents to read together during the summer vacation. To earn a New York State Assembly Excellence in Reading Certificate, children read with an adult for 15 minutes a day for at least 40 days during July and August. As a former teacher I know reading increases vocabulary and enhances listening skills. Children who are strong readers excel in other subjects and are better able to cope in our increasingly complex world.

Each school in the 52nd Assembly District has been contacted and copies of the Reading Challenge made available to each interested child. Contact my office if you want additional copies of the Challenge.




Outstanding Community Organization – Summer, 2006
The HOPE Program

For over twenty years The HOPE Program has worked with New Yorkers who are seeking a way out of poverty. Through a combination of job training and services that address the underlying causes of chronic unemployment, HOPE provides a structured pathway to success for its students. The New Yorkers who come to HOPE are women and men from diverse backgrounds with needs both immediate and immense. But they share a common desire to overcome an array of daunting obstacles and join the workforce.

Along with job training and job placement services, HOPE helps its students find daycare and housing, and provides legal assistance; mental health services; breakfast and lunch; and professional business clothing (If you have business clothes to donate, please call HOPE at 718-852-9307). All of HOPE’s services are provided on-site, at 1 Smith Street (at the corner of Fulton Street), allowing students to continue their training as they are assisted in solving other life issues.

The HOPE program has outstanding success rates: 70% of HOPE graduates find jobs, and over 90% keep those jobs for more than 90 days. They have been recognized with 4-Star ratings from Charity Navigator four years in a row. And this year, they were recognized as a Goldman Sachs “Capacity Partner,” one of six organizations throughout the country to receive this award. HOPE is a local organization with national impact – a community organization working to change the way the whole country looks at poverty.

To find out more about HOPE visit their website at www.thehopeprogram.org.


Contact Assemblywoman Millman
District Office: 341 Smith Street, Brooklyn, New York 11231
(718) 246-4889 • fax:(718) 246-4895
E-Mail: millmaj@assembly.state.ny.us

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