Community Newsletter - January 2012
Happy New Year!
State of the State 2012
On January 4, 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his plans for New York in his annual State of the State address to the Legislature. Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined his legislative colleagues and other New Yorkers in Albany to hear the address.
Among the Governor's many proposed initiatives are plans to build the nation's largest convention center in Queens and redevelop site of the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The Governor proposed spending $15 billion on infrastructure. This would include state park restoration, the repairs to over 100 bridges and 2,000 miles of roads, and the construction of a new bridge to replace the greatly deteriorating Tappan Zee Bridge. Governor Cuomo has called for $1 billion in investments to bring companies to Buffalo and for the construction of an 'energy highway' system that he believes would accommodate a growing demand for energy in the New York City area by allowing more power to be transmitted from sources in the northern and western parts of the state.
Other issues addressed by Governor Cuomo in his speech included his proposals to:
Legalize gambling casinos in New York City and elsewhere in the state
Eliminate fingerprinting for food stamps (currently practiced in New York City)
Establish a "Tenant Protection Unit" in the State housing agency to improve enforcement of landlord obligations
Focus on reforming primary and secondary education
Overhaul the State's system for responding to emergencies created by bad weather and other events; and
Reform the campaign finance system by creating a public financing option.
Kavanagh and his colleagues will be reviewing these proposals, most of which will require legislation, and discussing them with the Governor and his staff in the coming months.
New FDA Ban on Antibiotics in Livestock First Step, Now New York Must Lead
The FDA announced new restrictions on farmers and veterinarians giving livestock one class of antibiotics that may contribute to high drug resistance in humans, but this won't stop non-therapeutic use of many other antibiotics, which has become routine in our food supply. Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Kavanagh are pushing for passage of a bill they've introduced that would ban non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animals sold for food in New York. To view a press release on the bill and Squadron's and Kavanagh's statements on the matter, please visit my Web site.
Kavanagh Testifies at NYC Voter Assistance Advisory Committee Public Hearing
On December 12th, Assemblymember Kavanagh testified at the NYC Voter Assistance Advisory Committee Public Hearing. The hearing provided a forum to discuss problems with election administration in New York City, and potential solutions. Kavanagh, who chairs the Assembly subcommittee with responsibility for election operations and voting, testified on a panel with Assemblymembers Helene Weinstein and Alec Brook-Krasny, and City Councilmember Gale Brewer.
Kavanagh discussed the necessary reforms to ensure that New Yorkers have a secure and accessible voting experience. This included reforming the registration process, providing ballots that are easy to read and use, and giving voters confidence that their vote is accurately recorded. In particular, Kavanagh discussed the Voter Friendly Ballot Act, a bill he sponsors in the Assembly that would dramatically alter the look of ballots throughout the state. This bill has the support of many good governments groups such as NYPIRG and the Brennan Center and was recently endorsed by New York City Council in Resolution 671-A. For more information about Assemblymember Kavanagh's election legislation, please call Jenna Adams in his district office at 212-979-9696.
Kavanagh Addresses Tenants at Stuyvesant Town- Peter Cooper Village Meeting and "Tele-Town-Hall"
On December 3rd, Assemblymember Kavanagh attended the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association meeting to discuss the renewal of rent stabilization and ongoing concerns about the Roberts litigation, a the tenant-led proposal to purchase the property in partnership with Brookfield Asset Management, and other quality of life issues.
Then on December 18th, Kavanagh joined 2,450 tenants for a Tele-Town Hall hosted by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. The town hall, which featured special guest U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, State Senator Tom Duane, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, as well as the Paul Weiss law firm, Moelis and Company, and Brookfield Asset Management - all of which are working with the tenant association - was an opportunity for tenants to ask questions about the tenant-led purchase proposal.
Kavanagh Attends NYU Elder Care Program Kick-off
On November 30th, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined the New York University College of Nursing and College of Dentistry to kick off the Elder Care Program with a Health Fair at Grand Street Settlement at 80 Pitt Street.
The College of Nursing (NYUCN) received a three-year, $1.2 million dollar grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support the implementation of the Elder Care Program (ECP), through the NYUCN Faculty Practice with its home base located at the College of Dentistry. The ECP will provide services to over 2,000 seniors at the Baruch Houses and the Grand Street Settlement in lower Manhattan.
Kavanagh Joins Effort to Get Gas Back For the Holidays
Jacob Riis residents of 466 East 10th Street were tired of waiting for the Housing Authority to make repairs, and were going into their third week without gas right before the holidays. With support from a local community organization Good Old Lower East Side, residents took matters into their own hands. On December 21st, Assemblymember Kavanagh, State Senator Daniel Squadron, GOLES, and Riis Houses residents came together to celebrate their organizing and finally getting the Housing Authority to fix long-standing problems with hot water and gas service. Kavanagh will continue to work with the tenants, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Squadron, Council Member Rosie Mendez, and GOLES to make sure all repairs get done.
Lower East Side Electeds, PAL and NYCHA Launch Basketball Program
On December 6th, Assemblymember Kavanagh was joined by the Police Athletic League, New York City Housing Authority, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Council Member Rosie Méndez, Borough President Scott Stringer, DeReese Huff of the Campos Plaza Tenants Association, Rebecca Perez of the Campos Plaza Youth Council, and Aida Salgado, the mother of Keith Salgado who was recently shot and killed on the grounds of Riis, to announce the launch of a new Lower East Side basketball program which opened Friday, December 9th. The program is one of several steps Kavanagh and his colleagues are taking in response to a string of high-profile crimes involving young adults on the LES, recognizing that in addition to effective policing we also need more constructive, alternative activities for youth in the community.
The program is open to local residents between the ages of 14 and 19 and will run three nights a week in the Campos Community Center at 611 East 13th Street. A similar basketball training camp program that will run on both Friday and Saturday evenings is being launched at Boys & Girls Republic at 888 East 6th Street. If you'd like more information about either program, or know a teen who would be interested in participating, please call Leslie Pena at 212-979-9696.