Real Affordability for All: New Yorkers March for Good Jobs & Affordable Housing

I joined hundreds of New Yorkers at the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing in Manhattan.  A new coalition of affordable housing activists and labor organizations is urging the City to require more affordable housing to be built with union labor, with unions agreeing to accept wages 40% below union pay.  I marched and spoke at the rally organized by organizations like the Metropolitan Council on Housing, the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, New York Communities for Change, VOCAL-NY, and Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers & Ironworkers to support the movement for more affordable housing now.

At the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

At the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

With New York City Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Mark Levine, and Rosie Mendez.

With New York City Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Mark Levine, and Rosie Mendez.

 

With Jarod Bejamin of the Metropolitan Council on Housing I joined hundreds of New Yorkers at the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing in Manhattan. A new coalition of affordable housing activists and labor organizations is urging the City to require more affordable housing to be built with union labor, with unions agreeing to accept wages 40% below union pay. I marched and spoke at the rally organized by organizations like the Metropolitan Council on Housing, the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, New York Communities for Change, VOCAL-NY, and Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers & Ironworkers to support the movement for more affordable housing now.

With Jaron Benjamin of the Metropolitan Council on Housing

With john Skinner, President of Metal Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46, at the rally before the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

With John Skinner, President of Metal Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46

Interview with WNYC Radio before the rally for the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

Interview with WNYC Radio before the rally

Interview with Alyssa Katz of the New York Daily News editorial board before the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

Interview with Alyssa Katz of the New York Daily News editorial board

With Bertha Lewis, President & Founder of The Black Institute

With Bertha Lewis, President & Founder of The Black Institute

With tenant activist Michael Mckee I joined hundreds of New Yorkers at the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing in Manhattan. A new coalition of affordable housing activists and labor organizations is urging the City to require more affordable housing to be built with union labor, with unions agreeing to accept wages 40% below union pay. I marched and spoke at the rally organized by organizations like the Metropolitan Council on Housing, the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, New York Communities for Change, VOCAL-NY, and Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers & Ironworkers to support the movement for more affordable housing now.

With tenant activist Michael Mckee

With Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, at the rally before the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

With Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

 

I spoke at the rally after the Real Affordability for All March for good jobs and affordable housing now.

Speaking at the rally

Chelsea Now: Tenants’ Rights Trashed Amidst Market-Rate Conversion

By Winnie McCroy, August 14

In a case of landlord harassment that State Senator Brad Hoylman called “egregious,” the longtime tenants of 222-224 W. 21st St. are allegedly being illegally evicted so that Slate Property Group can construct high-end rentals in place of their subsidized housing.

Only seven of the original 23 tenants remain, and these holdouts say they are subjected to drilling and jackhammering from 7 a.m. until midnight, random cuts to utilities (including water, cable and Internet), unsafe living conditions, and a campaign of harassment intended to make them leave their home of nearly 20 years.

The Villager: Speed on Houston St. Bowery, Sixth Ave. will be slowed to 25 m.p.h.

By Lincoln Anderson, August 7.

In the coming months, 14 more corridors — including Houston St., the Bowery and Sixth Ave. — will be added to the city’s growing number of so-called “arterial slow zones.”

The Department of Transportation announced the second batch of new arterial slow zones on Fri., Aug. 1.

The city’s first two arterial slow zones were launched in May, when it was also announced that Canal St. would also become one — Downtown Manhattan’s first slow zone — by June.

Night Out Against Crime in Chelsea & Hell’s Kitchen

With the Ryan Community Health Network table at the Night Out Against Crime event in Hell's Kitchen Park on August 5, 2014.
With the Ryan Community Health Network table at the Night Out Against Crime event in Hell’s Kitchen Park on August 5, 2014.
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With Miguel Acevedo, President of the Fulton Houses Tenants Association

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With Miguel Acevedo, President of Fulton Houses Tenants Association, and Deputy Inspector Michele Arizzary, the new Commanding Officer of the 10th Precinct

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With Deputy Inspector Michele Arizzary, the new Commanding Officer of the 10th Precinct

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At the Night Out Against Crime event at Fulton Houses in Chelsea on August 5, 2014.

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At the Night Out Against Crime event at Fulton Houses in Chelsea on August 5, 2014.

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At the Night Out Against Crime event at Fulton Houses in Chelsea on August 5, 2014.

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Greeting a leader of Chelsea’s CERT team

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With Jeff Hobbs and Dipal Shah of the Midtown Community Court

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Greeting officers of the Midtown South Precinct

With 10th Precinct Community Affairs officers at the Night Out Against Crime event at Fulton Houses in Chelsea on August 5, 2014.

With 10th Precinct Community Affairs officers

At the Night Out Against Crime event at Fulton Houses in Chelsea on August 5, 2014.

At the Night Out Against Crime event at Fulton Houses on August 5, 2014.

Donate to Preserve Hopper Gibbons Underground Railroad Site

Earlier this week I co-hosted a benefit with Friends of the Hopper Gibbons Underground Railroad Site and Lamartine Place Historic District to preserve the historic integrity of the only documented underground railroad site in Manhattan.

We’ve won twice in court to get the building’s illegal top floor removed, but the developer is appealing the court’s decision and we need your help for legal costs.

For more information and to make a donation, check out the Historic DIstricts Council website:  http://hdc.org/friends-of-hg-lamartine-pl-fundraiser Here are a couple of background articles on the issue:

WAMC: Clinton County Passes Fracking Waste Ban

By Pat Bradley, WAMC, July 24

The Clinton County Legislature has approved a law banning the sale, transport, storage and disposal of fracking and other waste. The League of Women Voters had pushed for its passage.

The new Clinton County law applies to hydraulic fracturing, natural gas, and oil waste materials. It bans the application of such waste on any road or property. It cannot be brought into or used in any wastewater treatment facilities or solid waste management facility in the county.  It also bars all sales, acquisition, storage, handling, treatment and/or processing of the materials within the county.

Prior to the legislators’ official consideration of the proposal, a public hearing was held.  League of Women Voters hydraulic fracturing committee co-chair Mary Dufor stepped up to the podium to say she was hopeful there would be a ban on all hydraulic fracturing materials in the county.  “Dumping, spreading on land or water treatment would allow multiple toxins and radioactivity to build up in our soil and water resources causing multiple public health issues for us, our children and  future generations.”

Plattsburgh City Councilor Ward Two Democrat Mike Kelly stepped up and reminded his county counterparts that the city of Plattsburgh unanimously passed a similar resolution.  “It was not a very hard sell because when you look into the issue of fracking and disposing of its waste, it’s very easy to see that it’s a dangerous process. Your legislation sends a very strong message to the governor that in every corner of the state people are opposed to fracking. And they’re opposed to the byproducts of fracking.”

During the legislature’s regular session, which immediately followed the public hearing, legislators voted on the waste ban.  “Resolution 481 adopting Local Law number one. All in Favor: aye.  Opposed?  Motion carries.”

A number of League of Women Voters members attended the meeting. Mona White says each county that passes fracking bans sends a message to Albany, where a statewide de facto moratorium on fracking remains in effect.  “The Assembly has passed a law to make it throughout the state. One of the senators has introduced one in the Senate and nothing happened. But we’re hoping that we can get to Albany and get this done.  Massachusetts is working on theirs. Connecticut has passed a moratorium. The legislature in New Jersey has and Clinton County is the thirteenth county in New York State to effect a ban.”

Paula Yellin praised the Clinton County legislators’ work on the local statute.  “They have studied way beyond anything we ever said to them. And they wrote a beautiful bill. It is a fantastic bill. It’s going to be a model for the state.”   Mona White adds  “Because it’s not just the gas exploration, it’s oil also, which is equally dangerous.”

Area One Democrat Harry McManus of Rouses Point was the lead sponsor of the new county law. He says following a presentation by the League of Women Voters, he did his own research and felt the waste products could be a threat to Clinton County.  “Where is that waste going to go? Let’s assume that the governor takes the moratorium off.  We might be a prime candidate for disposal, even though you would think the detriment would be the cost of transportation.  So I felt that was an imminent possibility.  Maybe there won’t ever be any fracking in New York State. Who knows? But I think it was important for the legislature to speak with one voice and make a stand on this issue.”

McManus confirmed that no fracking waste is currently being transported into Clinton County.

The new law will take effect 60 days after it is filed with the New York State Secretary of State’s office.

Times-Union: Cuomo is pressured to expedite program’s rollout

By Ben Oreskes, Albany Times-Union, July 30

Under pressure from advocates for those with epilepsy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked acting state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to evaluate whether there’s a way to speed up the rollout of the state’s medical marijuana program.

“Striking the right balance to ensure public safety and public health are protected is crucial,” Cuomo wrote in a letter released Wednesday. “That said, I ask that you review the 18-month implementation timeline to determine if there is any way to accelerate the process for this specific dire population.”

On Monday, Cuomo’s deputy secretary for civil rights, Alphonso David, joined Zucker and other Health Department officials for a meeting with 12 medical marijuana advocates.

One of the participants, Christine Emerson of Rochester, voiced cautious optimism about Cuomo’s correspondence with Zucker.

“It’s great if what (Cuomo) is saying is true,” Emerson said Wednesday, “and not just another ploy.”

East Greenbush resident Melissa Hilt, whose daughter suffers from seizures, is on the board of the Medical Cannabis Industry Alliance of New York.  She says Cuomo’s letter could mean her daughter will receive lifesaving medicine sooner.

“It’s good to know New York state is serious in making sure our medical marijuana program does not stay in neutral,” said Hilt in a statement. “There is too much at stake.”

Over the past several weeks, three children in the Buffalo area have died from seizures. The main legislative sponsors of the push for medical marijuana sent the governor a letter earlier this week recommending several ways to expedite the program — including amending the new state law and having the federal government grant waivers that would allow New York patients to bring medicinal marijuana from other states.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, said in a statement Wednesday that the Health Department should rely on organizations with good track records in other states to subcontract with New York “grow houses.”

“Even if the Health Department somehow approved ‘registered organizations’ tomorrow, it would be months before they could set up operations and grow seeds into mature plants to be processed,” Gottfried said.

Others familiar with the development of medical marijuana in other states said New York’s Health Department could simply speed up writing the regulations, or select one trusted and reputable grower to begin setting up facilities now.

Press Wrap – Medical Marijuana Signed Into Law

On Saturday, Governor Cuomo signed legislation making New York the 23rd state to allow medical use of marijuana under medical supervision.  Below is a sample of the press coverage, and here’s an interview I did this morning on News Radio 77 WABC with Rita Cosby:

:

Cuomo Signs Marijuana Law, Says it Offers Balance,” by Dan Goldberg, Capital New York

Q&A: Medical Marijuana Bill Sponsors Savino and Gottfried on its Passage,Associated Press via Slive.com

With Rockland County girl’s help, Cuomo touts medical-marijuana bill,” by Jon Campbell, Gannett

Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal in New York,” by Karen DeWitt, WXXI News (with audio)

Who Can Legally Get Medical Marijuana in New York State,” by Colby Hamilton, DNAinfo

“New York Does Medical Marijuana Right,” by Steven Patierno, Wall Street Journal

 

Statement on Hobby Lobby Decision

“The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is shameful. Your employer should have no say in your health care decisions, especially about reproductive care. Your pay check and your employment benefits are yours. The decision seems to be based on statutory interpretation, not a constitutional claim. So New York State’s long-standing law protecting insurance coverage for contraception is hopefully in good shape. BTW, if NY enacted my single-payer New York Health bill, only you and your health care provider would make health care decisions – not your insurance company, not your boss.”

Video Link: City & State Healthcare Panel

On Tuesday, June 24, I participated in a panel on the future of healthcare in New York sponsored by City & State.   I joined experts including representatives from hospitals, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Nurses Association for a wide-ranging discussion including Medicaid reform, hospital funding, medical marijuana, and single-payer healthcare.

You can find the full video here:  http://bit.ly/TjZBZu