By Sarah Maslin Nir, July 26
In the West, a homey casserole of slivered potatoes, sour cream and canned mushroom soup is so often served at wakes and memorials that it is commonly known as “funeral potatoes.” In Pennsylvania Dutch country, the go-to dish is a custard and raisin pastry called “funeral pie.”
Yet in New York State’s funeral homes, arcane rules had long forbidden food and drinks. But last week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, signed a law permitting funeral parlors to serve light refreshments and nonalcoholic drinks, joining 46 other states where the bereaved have the option of crying into their potatoes and pie.
“Culturally, we use food as a socializing element in all sorts of circumstances,” said Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, a Democrat who represents Midtown Manhattan. Mr. Gottfried was a sponsor of the legislation along with State Senator Betty Little, a Republican who represents parts of northern New York. “To me, the notion that at a funeral you couldn’t get a cup of tea or something to eat to stave off hunger or maintain your blood-sugar level just doesn’t make sense,” he said.
By Sean Egan, July 21
L to R: Matt Green of Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, CB4 Chair Delores Rubin, and State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried. Photo by Sean Egan.
BY SEAN EGAN | On the morning of Thurs., July 21, elected officials gathered outside the offices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in order to formally call for the immediate halt of plans for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) — specifically the design competition the Authority recently initiated, which they believe was launched prematurely.
Standing on the southwest corner opposite of 4 World Trade Center (where Authority offices are located), Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and State Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal lined up to deliver statements decrying the way in which the Authority has handled the project’s development thus far. Matt Green, Deputy Chief of Staff for Community Affairs representing City Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office, was also present to deliver a statement, as was Community Board 4 (CB4) Chair Delores Rubin.
By Rosa Goldensohn, July 26
After a raucous night at the Wells Fargo arena in Philadelphia, Bernie Sanders brought his recipe for party unity to the New York delegation early Tuesday, telling his supporters to get behind Hillary Clinton and urging the Democratic establishment to open itself up to newcomers. Scores of Clinton-aligned New York politicos and devoted Sanders volunteers broke bread together at the downtown Philadelphia Loews hotel, the delegation’s official headquarters.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo took the stage with Sanders, but could barely get started over chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” While the senator’s pitch for Clinton got no boos in this room, unlike in the convention hall Monday night, the chasm between the buttoned-up party insiders and the button-sporting Sanders delegates was obvious.
On July 27 I was on Susan Arbetter’s “Capitol Pressroom” program discussing single payer healthcare and the Democratic convention. My piece starts at 12:30 in the link here.
By Dusica Sue Malesevic, July 20
An increase in key lockboxes has some residents concerned about safety, as they point to home-sharing sites that use the key keepers so people can gain entrance to buildings.
A host can put the keys in a lockbox, giving their guest the combination to open the keeper. Those who make their residential spaces available to others via short-term rental sites — Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, Flipkey, and Craigslist — use the lockboxes if they cannot hand over keys in person. Realtors also use key lockboxes.
Last week, Chelsea Now counted 11 key keepers on W. 21st St., btw. Eighth and Ninth Aves. Some were discreetly placed, hidden behind bikes or garbage cans. Others were easily spotted, out in the open and affixed to tree guards and fences. In front of one building on the block, four key keepers dotted a tree guard’s perimeter.
By Mike Vilensky and Erica Orden, 7/7
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Thursday she would introduce federal legislation to fight the water-contamination crisis in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., shortly after a congressional committee launched a probe into the state’s handling of the issue.
The measures mark mounting federal scrutiny of how Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other public officials have addressed the matter in the upstate New York community, located about 35 miles from Albany.
“I’m grateful the governor has done a couple of things,” Ms. Gillibrand, a Democrat, said in an interview. “But we need to do a lot more.”
July 6, 2016
Speaker Carl Heastie, Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright and Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried today announced the Assembly will hold public hearings on water quality in New York State in early September.
“Recent reports of water contamination in municipalities across the state have highlighted the need for a thorough review of measures to ensure clean and healthy water in our communities,” said Heastie. “Ensuring a safe water supply for our children and families is a top priority for us.”
Englebright and Gottfried will take testimony at two public hearings in early September related to water contamination situations in various communities across New York State. The hearings will be held in Albany and Suffolk County. The Assembly will review the causes and response to the known contaminations as well as measures to prevent future occurrences.
“Recent events around the nation and here in New York have shown harmful contaminants in the water supply. Drinking water should be safe and clean. Disturbing discoveries of harmful contaminants highlight the need for preventative measures to be put in place to protect our water purity,” said Assemblyman Englebright.
“Ensuring the safety of drinking water in this state is paramount,” said Assemblyman Gottfried. “We’re going to examine the issue of water contamination and assess our current laws and public policies on these matters, and how they’re working, to protect public access to safe, clean water.”
By Mary Esch, 7/7/16
ALBANY — The state Assembly will hold hearings in the fall on water quality issues, including an examination of the Cuomo administration’s response to toxic chemical contamination of drinking water in the village of Hoosick Falls, officials announced Wednesday.
“Recent reports of water contamination in municipalities across the state have highlighted the need for a thorough review of measures to ensure clean and healthy water in our communities,” Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a news release.
Heastie spokesman Michael Whyland confirmed that the hearings would examine the state’s actions in Hoosick Falls as well as “anything related to water quality.”
“Yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Texas’s anti-choice law restricting access to abortion – in the sheep’s clothing of “safety” regulations –was an extraordinary victory for reproductive rights, patient autonomy, and the right to health care with regulations based on science rather than politics.
Texas is just one of many states engaging in right-wing attacks on reproductive health care. We must fight back against these attempts to politicize crucial health care services. Pro-choice supporters have a lot of work to do.
New York has long been a leader in protecting reproductive freedom. Our landmark protection of abortion enacted in 1970 helped provide the framework for the Roe v. Wade decision three years later, but we have our own battle here. The Assembly has passed the Reproductive Health Act to strengthen our law. But the State Senate did not pass it, reflecting the threat that reproductive freedom faces around the country.
Before yesterday’s decision was released, there was real fear that the decision could go the other way and open the door to horrendous state and federal restrictions on reproductive care. Yesterday’s victory should be a reminder that the U.S. Supreme Court could easily be turned in that direction by even one or two presidential appointments to the Court.
As Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, a key part of my job has always been – and will continue to be – to defend reproductive rights, patient autonomy, access to health care, and policies based on good science and public health principles. Our work together is not done.”
By Addy Baird, 6/23/16
The first six months of the state’s medical marijuana program have been slow going for the five companies that grow and distribute the drug, according to the companies.
They have struggled to attract as many patients as they hoped, their owners say. They feel they have been hampered by strict state regulations that keep too few people from becoming eligible for medical marijuana. Those who are prescribed struggle to obtain the drug if they live too far away from a dispensary.
“If you wanted to use one word [to describe the last year], it would be either challenging or frustrating,” said Steve Stallmer, a spokesperson for Etain, one of the five registered organizations awarded a license in July.
The five registered organizations have formed a lobbying group to champion their cause in Albany. But their pleas have apparently not yet reached Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who on Wednesday said he hasn’t heard of any problems with patient access to medical marijuana.