Tag NYCHA

November Community Update

Assembly Health Committee Hearing on Youth Tackle Football

            Should children 12 and under be playing tackle football?  On October 29, the Assembly Health Committee, which I chair, held a hearing in Lower Manhattan on the health impacts of that.  There is a bill in the Assembly (A. 2692) to outlaw organized team tackle football for children 12 and under.  The bill is sponsored by Assembly Member Michael Benedetto of the Bronx, and I am a co-sponsor.

            Following many news media reports of cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) disproportionately affecting professional football players and former players, many families, physicians and researchers have been raising concerns regarding the health effects of tackle football on children.  Repeated concussions can cause serious lifelong brain damage.  The damage is greatest when players start when their young brains are developing, and even more when play continues for years.

Working Group Formed to Consider Plans for Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea Houses

            Like almost all New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments, Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea Houses urgently need extensive and expensive work.

            Because of concerns about the City’s proposal for responding to this need, all of Chelsea’s local elected officials, including me, called on Mayor de Blasio’s administration to put a hold on its plans and participate in a working group with the elected officials, tenant representatives, Community Board 4, and other advocates.  We want real input from the tenants and the community.  We also stated that we will not allow any plan that does not protect and preserve the Fulton Houses community, with no displacement of residents from Fulton Houses or any reduction of tenant rights or affordability.

            The City agreed to put a hold on its plans and join the working group, which is now looking at all the options for organizing and funding the needed work.

            Earlier this year, the City was developing a plan to generate badly needed revenue to repair these public housing developments in Chelsea.  At Fulton Houses, the City is proposing new construction, replacing some buildings, repairs, and installing new private-sector management, to raise the funds necessary to renovate, repair, and improve conditions at Fulton Houses and at the nearby Elliott-Chelsea Houses.  NYCHA estimates that meeting the combined capital needs of the two developments would cost approximately $344 million.

            NYCHA’s draft plan for Fulton entails constructing three new buildings in the complex, with tenants in two existing buildings then moving into the first of the new buildings.  The City would then replace two older, low-rise buildings with two big new buildings.  Those buildings would be a mix of market-rate and affordable apartments.  The new income generated would be dedicated to repairs and renovation of Fulton Houses and Elliott-Chelsea Houses.   

            Under the City’s proposal, Fulton and Chelsea-Elliott Houses would then enter the federal “Rental Assistance Demonstration” (RAD) program, which uses Section 8 vouchers instead of traditional public housing subsidies, and management of the complex would be turned over to a private sector entity.

            The working group held its first two meetings in October.  There will be more meetings and public forums.  We expect the Working Group to present its proposals by year’s end.

            I have serious concerns about the City’s proposal.  I am always wary of privatization.

            To raise critically needed funds for the MTA’s capital plan, NYCHA and other programs, I am co-sponsoring several proposals in Albany.  These include re-instating the stock transfer tax and raising the state income tax rate on tax brackets above $1 million a year.  I also support proposals to increase corporate income taxes and to enact a surcharge tax on so-called “pied-a-terre” luxury apartments that are not the owner’s primary residence.

Enforcing the New Law Against Floating Billboards

            This past legislative session, Senator Brad Hoylman and I sponsored legislation in Albany to prohibit boats with illuminated billboards from operating in the navigable waters of the State, such as the Hudson River.  Governor Cuomo signed our bill into law in August.  Despite the fact that it took effect immediately, Ballyhoo Media continued to operate its “floating billboards” in New York waterways in flagrant violation of the new law.

            In September, Senator Hoylman and I wrote to Mayor de Blasio asking that the City provide a detailed plan of how it would enforce the law.  Soon after, the City announced that it had reached an agreement with Ballyhoo that bans it from operating its floating billboards on any New York state waterway.  The company agreed to pay $100,000 to the City, and has since relocated its billboard boat to Florida.  Now President Trump can enjoy them.

Tues., Nov. 12: Upper Manhattan Town Hall on New York Health Act

            At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 12, I will be speaking at a Town Hall hosted by NYS Senators Robert Jackson, on the New York Health Act, my bill that would provide universal health care coverage in New York state by establishing an “improved Medicare for all” single-payer health care program.  The Town Hall follows up on last month’s joint hearing on the NY Health Act, held in the Bronx by the Assembly and Senate Health Committees.

NEW YORK HEALTH ACT: I co-chaired a joint hearing of the Assembly and Senate Health Committee on the New York Health Act in the Bronx in October.

            The Town Hall, which is free and open to the public, will be at the YM/YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood at 54 Nagle Avenue (take the A train to 190th Street).  Please RSVP by going online to SenatorRJackson.eventbrite.com.

Wed., Nov. 20: NYCHA Town Hall Meeting

            On the evening of Wednesday, November 20, the Manhattan delegation of the New York State Assembly is hosting a Town Hall meeting on New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing.  It is free and open to the public.  People will have a chance to voice their concerns about NYCHA developments, hear from NYCHA officials on maintenance and re-pairs, and learn how to connect with tenant lawyers.

            The Town Hall meeting will be at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 20 at the Boys and Girls Republic at 888 East 6th Street between Avenue D and the FDR Drive service road.

Census Job Opportunities

            Every ten years the United States Census Bureau takes a count of every person living in the United States.  It’s required by the Constitution.   Getting accurate Census data in New York is vital for ensuring that we receive our fair share of $650 billion in federal funds for public education, public housing, infrastructure, and more — as well as the number of seats we have in the U.S. House of Representatives.  It also determines how much representation each community has in the State Legislature and the city council.

            It’s critical that every New Yorker be counted in the 2020 Census.  In the last Census in 2010, New York City’s self-response rate was less than 62%, significantly lower than the national 76% response rate.

            There are many jobs now available for workers to conduct the 2020 Census.  To inquire about Field Representative Testing in New York, please send an email with your name, zip code, and phone number(s) to new.york.recruit@census.gov, or call 212-584-3495.  For other questions or inquiries about Census opportunities outside New York City, please call the New York Regional Census Center at 212-882-7100.

Deadline to Register to Vote for Presidential Primary

            Under a new law passed by the Legislature, you can now change your party enrollment closer to next year’s New York presidential primary.  February 14 – Valentine’s Day – is the deadline to re-register to change which political party you are enrolled in, or to enroll with a party for the first time, in time to vote in New York’s April 28 presidential primary.  If you are already registered at your current address and enrolled with the party of your choice, you do not need to do anything.

            To make a change, send a Voter Registration Form with your new choice to the board of elections office for your borough or county.  You can learn more about registering or changing your party affiliation by going online: https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingRegister.html

            If you want to print out and mail your voter registration form, the address for the New York County (Manhattan & Roosevelt Island) Board of Elections is:

            New York County Board of Elections

            200 Varick Street – 10th Floor

            New York, NY 10014

EPL/Environmental Advocates Name Me an “Environmental Champion”

            In October, EPL/Environmental Advocates, the leading statewide organization that has advocated for stronger environmental protections since 1969, released its 2019 Environmental Scorecard, which grades all state legislators’ voting records on environmental legislation.

            I was proud to earn a 100% score this year, and EPL/Environmental Advocates named me an “Environmental Champion.”  I am honored by this recognition, and will continue working hard to earn the trust and support of New Yorkers who believe that helping to protect and preserve our environment remains one of government’s most critical functions.

            In its “Scorecard,” which you can find online at www.eplscorecard.org, EPL/Environmental Advocates rated legislators on their votes on several critical bills that have now been signed into law by Governor Cuomo.  These include the Climate Leadership and Protection Act; congestion pricing in Manhattan; allocating $500 million for water infra-structure; a ban on single-use plastic bags; and a bill to deny offshore drilling companies access to state marine and coastal district lands.             Other environmental legislation that has passed both houses of the Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature include bill to ban the dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos; bar the sale in New York of personal care products that contain the toxic chemical 1,4-dioxane; and The Child Safe Products Act, which requires manufacturers to list toxic chemicals that are present in their products, as well as begin the process of phasing them out.