Community Newsletter - April 2010
Kavanagh’s Housing Hotline: 646-459-3023
Assemblymember Kavanagh sponsors a 74th Assembly District Housing Hotline. Legal advice is provided by the Urban Justice Center. The service is easy to use and free for district residents. Simply call and leave a message, and an attorney will return your call within 48 hours.
Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh
Invites You To The
74TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT COMMUNITY HEALTH FAIR

When: Saturday, April 24, 2010 from 12:00 - 4:00 pm
Where: Health Professions and Human Services High School
345 East 15th Street between 1st and 2nd Aves
(access for people with disabilities on East 16th street)

Free Health Screenings:
Blood Pressure • Glucose • Cholesterol

Information On:
Nutrition • Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention
Diabetes • Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC)
Intervention Services for Children with Disabilities
HIV • Breast and Prostate Cancer • Substance Abuse

In Attendance:
NYU Langone Medical Center • Beth Israel Medical Center • Bellevue Hospital
Community Health Care Network • New York Eye and Ear
Ryan-NENA Community Heath Center
Pills on Wheels • Roberto Clemente Center • Bilingual Inc.
AARP • And More!

Kavanagh Speaks to Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village Residents at Jam-Packed Tenant Association Meeting: On March 13th, over 1,100 residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village packed Baruch College’s Mason Hall for a Tenant Association (TA) meeting. The resounding theme of the meeting was unity, as numerous speakers emphasized the importance of solidarity in the tenants’ pursuit to gain a seat at the table regarding the apartment complex’s new ownership. Residents were invited to sign a non-binding "Unity Pledge" requesting the Tenant Association and its advisors to research options for purchasing the property and to negotiate in the restructuring of the complex. The elected officials present at the meeting had signed a similar pledge - which was included in the package given to attendees - to support the residents.

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh spoke about various housing bills the he and Senator Tom Duane are working on in the State Assembly and Senate, and highlighted strides that he and Senator Duane had made in researching future legislation that could remedy issues regarding the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer decision and facillitate any potential tenant bid in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village or a similar community. He then introduced the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and investment banking firm Moelis & Company. Both firms are new additions and will serve to advise the tenants as the complex moves toward restructuring and new ownership. The Association had only hired Moelis a day before the meeting, but the investment firm came prepared to answer the audience’s questions about a potential tenant-sponsored restructuring plan.

The meeting also reintroduced a familiar face: Adam Rose, of Rose Associates, which managed the complex on behalf of Met Life before Tishman Speyer became landlord and owner. Rose has been retained to provide services during the transition to a new owner. Councilmember Dan Garodnick described the Tenant Association meeting as a first job interview for Rose Associates, and Mr. Rose expressed an intention to stay on as management under a new owner.

Also addressing the audience were Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who discussed federal legislation regarding Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac; Borough President Scott Stringer; attorney Alex Schmidt, discussing the implications of the lawsuit that halted Tishman Speyer’s unlawful use of J-51 federal tax breaks to remove apartments from rent-stabilization status; and Rafael Cestero, Commissioner of the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, who talked about the department’s role as a watchdog over maintenance spending and answered some tough questions about Mayor Bloomberg’s role. Please visit the TA website at www.stpcvta.org to view the pledge and frequently asked questions from the meeting; and join the unity movement by finding a TA volunteer or elected official at pledge drive events in the Oval and around the complex’s grounds on April 17th, 24th, and May 1st from 10am to 2pm.

Kavanagh Joins Distinguished Panel to Discuss the Mechanics of Elections and the Future of Election Administration: On April 1st, New York University Law School’s Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, in conjunction with the Brennan Center for Justice, hosted the "Helping America Vote: The Past, Present, and Future of Election Administration" Symposium and invited Assem-blymember Brian Kavanagh to join the "Mechanics of Elections" Panel. As Chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement and a graduate of the New York University Law School, Kavanagh welcomed the opportunity. Kavanagh was joined by three acclaimed Election Law scholars: Lawrence Norden from the Brennan Center for Justice, Michael Pitts from Indiana University School of Law, and Charles Stewart from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

From the perspective of his work on the Subcommittee, Kavanagh was able to share with the panel and audience the practical application of current New York election law and the status of New York’s compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Kavanagh drew from his experience during the November 2009 elections during which Kavanagh and his staff visited poll sites in 10 counties around the State and spoke with New Yorkers who voted on optical scanner voting machines, rather than the lever machines, for the first time - as well as election officials and pollsite workers.

Kavanagh also discussed opportunities made available with the new optical scanner voting machines to make the administration of elections more fair, efficient, and convenient for voters in New York. Two of these opportunities, instant runoff voting and early voting, are embodied in pending legislation sponsored by Kavanagh.

NYCHA Federalization Bill Formally Announced: On March 15th, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair John Rhea, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Housing Chair Vito Lopez, Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, and other elected officials at Rutgers Community Center for a public announcement concerning the federalization of twenty-one City and State NYCHA developments. The twenty-one City and State developments, which encompass 20,139 units, are roughly equivalent to the holdings of Chicago’s entire public housing authority. As such, this achievement is one of the most significant efforts to preserve public housing in history.

The ferderalization was made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which allows for public housing authorities to bring in additional revenue from the federal government to fund public housing units. Under ARRA, NYCHA qualified for federal funds for its non-federally funded units, resulting in an allocation of HUD operating and capital funding of approximately $65 million annually.

State legislation was also required for this proposal to be finalized. Sponsored by Senator Squadron and Assemblymember Lopez - and co-sponsored by Kavanagh - the legislation will affect the 20,139 housing units that were built with no federal funding by the City and State. Although operated and maintained by NYCHA, the twenty-one City and State developments had previously received no federal funds. Consequently, NYCHA funds designated for the 313 housing developments were rationed to include the twenty-one City-built and State-built developments, which ultimately forced NYCHA to run up enormous budget deficits and to fail in its attempts to maintain the developments.

All developments will remain public housing, and NYCHA residents will maintain their rights as residents in public housing. With the use of private and public funds designated for public housing by President Obama’s stimulus package, this transaction is expected to generate $400 million dollars in capital for the twenty-one developments and annual subsidies for all of the developments.

"Year after year, our public housing residents have suffered the effects of underfunding, including delayed maintenance, broken elevators, and inadequate security," said Kavanagh. "I am proud to join with my colleagues in city, state, and federal government, with the residents and advocates who fight for public housing, and with the Housing Authority, to take this important step to put our public housing on a sounder financial footing for many years to come."

New State Legislation to Make Kindergarten Enrollment Projections Public: Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, other elected officials, and public school parents announced legislation on March 7th that would help prevent school overcrowding and improve long-term planning for New York City schools. The bill, based on recommendations from a report by Stringer, would include:

"Kindergarteners weren’t born yesterday, so by the time they’re old enough to go to school, there ought to be enough time to plan adequate space in our schools to educate them," said Kavanagh. "The legislation proposed today recognizes that planning ahead and involving public school families and the public in the process are the surest ways to alleviate the overcrowding that makes it harder for our children to learn in many schools throughout the city."

Net Metering Energy Legislation Signed Into Law: On March 22nd, Governor David Paterson signed a net metering bill into law that allows businesses, non-profits, local governments, and schools to take advantage of solar and wind power to reduce energy costs by selling excess clean energy back to their utility provider. The previous law had set low, arbitrary limits on the amount of power that non-residential customers could sell back to their utilities. The new law, co-sponsored by Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, will open an untapped renewable energy market by allowing customers to return up to two megawatts of clean energy to the grid and incentivizing customers to install their own solar and wind energy systems.

Speaking Out Against Racially Motivated Attacks on the Lower East Side: On April 9th, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, State Senator Daniel Squadron, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez for a press conference at City Hall to speak out against the incidents on the Lower East Side that occurred between March 31st and April 6th at the Baruch and Gompers Houses, in which Asian women between the ages of fifty and seventy-one were attacked.

Police have received reports of five such incidents, four at Baruch Houses and one at Gompers Houses, and are investigating the incidents as hate crime because no money was taken and the women seemed to have been selected at random based on their race. The 7th Precinct and Police Service Area (PSA) 4 have stepped up patrols in the area.

Kavanagh addressed the community at the press conference: "We come together today to say that we are very troubled by what appears to be a pattern of harassment and physical violence against people in our community because of their Asian heritage. While the incidents are still under investigation, we want to make it clear that we take the safety of all residents and visitors to our community very seriously, and that we especially will not tolerate threats and violence that are motivated by racial bias. We call on all people of good will to cooperate in the investigation and to work with us to maintain the peace and to promote the mutual respect that allows our diverse Lower East Side community to thrive."

Be Counted: Make Sure to Return Your Census Questionnaires: Census questionnaires were delivered or mailed by the U.S. Census Bureau to households throughout March. The Census guides critical decisions on the national, state, and local level, as the federal government will allocate more than $400 billion based on census data. Households should complete and mail back their forms upon receipt. Information shared with the Census Bureau is completely confidential by law, and the ten questions should take no more than ten minutes to answer. Visit www.2010census.gov to learn more.

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