Statement on the MTA’s Capital Plan

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced yesterday that it is making a list of $2.5 billion in cuts to its capital plan, claiming that New York City is not doing enough to help finance the plan.

The MTA should apologize to transit riders for threatening to sabotage its own capital plan.  Instead, it should respond to the legitimate questions about the plan.  We need to know exactly how the State’s share will be put together, so we can be sure it is really new money, not just existing money being moved around.  We need to be sure the money won’t be shifted to other uses, which has happened before.  Transit riders deserve to know how the money will be used, and to have a say in those decisions.

The MTA should sit down with State and local elected officials – who represent the riding public – and work out those issues and produce a plan that is fair, transparent and responsive.  How much New York City should contribute should certainly be part of that discussion.

New York City taxpayers and transit riders already pay for 73% of the MTA’s budget.  The MTA should recognize that.  It shouldn’t start the process with threats and bullying.  It should start by sitting down and talking.

Public Hearing 10/8: Brain Injury Services

Richard N. Gottfried, Chair
Aileen M. Gunther, Chair
David I. Weprin, Chair


SUBJECT: Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Services

Albany, NY
Thursday, October 8
10:30 AM
Legislative Office Building, Hearing Room C

Every year, traumatic brain injury (TBI) (injury to the brain or skull caused by an external force) results in more than 2,000 deaths, 19,000 hospital admissions, and over 100,000 emergency department visits in New York. Thousands of New Yorkers, young and old alike, live with brain injury and its consequences, including complex and unique cases in which symptoms may not have been noticed at first or weren’t considered “traumatic” at the time of injury. While many of these patients receive health care services in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, it is likely that some portion of individuals are not diagnosed or evaluated for services from which they could benefit. Emerging science on brain injury – its prevalence, causes, and effects – complicates the picture even further.

Commercial Observer: City Seeks Developer for Former Hell’s Kitchen Slaughterhouse Site

by Liam La Guerre, Sept 1

The city is is collecting proposals for a mixed-use development with 100 percent affordable housing on the site of a former slaughterhouse in Hell’s Kitchen.

New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced a request for proposals today for the development of the city-owned site at 495 11th Avenue between West 39th and West 40th Streets near the Hudson Yards.

The property is 24,687 square feet and was once home to New York Butcher’s Dressed Meat Company, which operated a slaughterhouse at the site. Currently the city is using it as a surface parking lot for the New York Police Department.

Gannett: NY Eyes Regulations for Legionnaire’s Disease

By Joe Spector, August 11 (via Poughkeepsie Journal)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he and the state Legislature will work on new laws and regulations governing cooling towers in New York buildings after an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx has led to 12 deaths.

It’s has been the largest outbreak of the disease in the city’s history, and there have been three cases in nearby Rockland County in recent days.

Cuomo said the state needs a standard policy on how to inspect buildings for Legionnaires’ disease, a form of bacteria that can lead to pneumonia especially among the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions.

The Villager: Advocates to Cuomo-Don’t Bogart the Medical Pot

By Paul Derienzo, August 6

Last week the New York State Department of Health announced that five companies have been selected for licenses to grow and distribute marijuana in the state. New York now joins 23 states and Washington, D.C., that either allow medical marijuana or have legalized pot altogether.

Despite the apparent victory for pro-pot reform groups, the licenses have attracted criticism. Marijuana activists say that the law is too narrow in scope and the selection process for marijuana suppliers lacked transparency. Under the state’s Compassionate Care Act, signed last year by Governor Andrew Cuomo, medical marijuana will be limited to the five licensees, who will set up four dispensary sites each for a total of 20 pot shops serving the state’s population of nearly 20 million.

California’s law, the result of a voter referendum in 1995, uses a broader definition of caregiver and patient than New York. Almost any malady, including depression, can be used to justify the use of the drug, and unregulated dispensaries popped up all over the state.

Times-Union: Cuomo urged to sign bill giving doctors final say in Medicaid Rx disputes

By Claire Hughes, August 4

Supporters of a bill that would ensure doctors have the final say in prescription disputes with Medicaid managed care plans are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the measure into law.

The measure, one of about 700 bills passed by the state lawmakers this year and under review by counsel, has not reached the governor’s desk, according to Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.

Given the administration’s past stance on language in the bill, however, supporters are concerned over the chance of a veto.

“The Health Department opposed this language when it was raised during budget discussions,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, a bill sponsor.

State of Politics: Heastie’s Plans

By Capital Tonight staff, July 28

After surviving a trial by fire over the past five months, during which he negotiated his first-ever budget agreement and an end-of-session Big Ugly, Heastie now has some time to reflect and plan.

He’s in the middle of a tour of upstate members’ districts (he plans to hit all of them), during which the Bronx Democrat is trying to familiarize himself with issues outside his comfort zone of New York City.

Chelsea Now: Friends Recall the Fierce Commitment of Doris Corrigan

By Scott Stiffler, July 29

Doris Corrigan died at The Amsterdam Nursing Home on July 23, 2015. She was 87. A public memorial service will be held in the fall, where we all can celebrate her life. The following represents a portion of the testimonials and reminiscences we have received over the past week:

Every thriving community and every enduring organization has one — the person who relishes learning what it really takes to get things done; the person who rolls up her sleeves and gets her hands dirty whenever there’s work, no matter how apparently menial and unpleasant; the person who persuades other people that it’s fun to do all these things, patiently teaches them the ropes and encourages them to start taking the lead.

Capital NY: Cuomo announces marijuana licensees with varied resumes

By Dan Goldberg, Josefa Velasquez, and Katie Jennings, July 31

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the five applicants that will be awarded two-year licenses to manufacture and distribute medical marijuana in New York, choosing companies with vastly different levels of experience and financial capability.

Bloomfield Industries Inc., Columbia Care NY, Empire State Health Solutions, Etain and PharmaCann scored highest, according to the health department.

Statement re: Awarding of Medical Marijuana Licenses

“I am glad to see that the New York State Department of Health announced its selection of five organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana under the 2014 Compassionate Care Act today. It is welcome, but insufficient to meet the needs of patients with serious debilitating or life-threatening conditions. They will still have months to wait before they can expect any relief and there are not enough dispensaries.

The Health Department chose not to use its authority under the law to approve more than five licenses, which means there are only 20 dispensaries. In a state with 20 million people and 54,000 square miles, that will not meet patient needs, especially for very ill patients in rural areas.

I hope Governor Cuomo will soon sign the Medical Marijuana Emergency Access bill, passed in June, which would make CBD oil available even sooner for the thousands of children with serious uncontrolled epilepsy children so they can benefit more quickly, even with today’s approval of the licensees. New York could have made it available to them months ago. Instead, they will suffer seizures every day for months to come

Today’s announcement is one positive step forward. New Yorkers need more to follow quickly.”