YONKERS WATCHDOG.

We will discuss the Political Landscape in our City, as we head toward the beginning of Election 2015.

Next radio show: –  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider

Show from Saturday Night: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/06/20/yonkers-watchdog

Show from Tuesday Night: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/06/16/yonkers-watchdog

Show from Sunday Night: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/06/14/yonkers-watchdog

Show from Saturday Night:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/06/13/yonkers-watchdog-1

Show from Thursday Night: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/05/28/yonkers-watchdog-1

Show from Tuesday Night: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/05/12/yonkers-watchdog-3

Show from Monday Night: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/05/11/yonkers-watchdog-3

Show from Saturday Night: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/05/09/yonkers-watchdog-9

Time: 6:30 PM of show on Blog Talk Radio on everyday except for Friday and Sunday.

Show on Friday is at 11:00 PM.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2014/11/20/yonkers-insider-online-radio-show

Barry McGoey was my guest on November 20, 2014.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2014/11/24/yonkers-insider-online-radio-show

Jeffrey Deskovic, Criminal Justice Advocate; Exoneree and also head of the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice was my guest on December 8, 2014.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2014/12/08/yonkers-insider-online-radio-show

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Dr Fred Hernandez for Yonkers Mayor – Campaign Website – http://www.drfredhernandez.com/

Dear Friends,

My team and I would like to thank you all for attending yesterday’s luncheon. It was a very well attended event and we look forward to your continued support.

 

We are very optimistic in reaching our goal of 5,000 signatures and hope that you can assist in getting the word out to Yonkers registered democratic voters.

 

If you are interested in getting petitions/signatures and have not yet signed up, please contact London Reyes at bboylondonnycb@gmail.com.

 

To donate, please click here: http://www.gofundme.com/DrFredHernandez

 

Please also be sure to follow us on:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639042909673563/

Twitter – @DrFredHernandez 

 

Thank you once again for showing your support.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Fred Hernandez

 

 

 


THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS

June 22 to June 26, 2015

TOP HEADLINES

Cracking Down On The E-Cigarette Industry

In response to a rise of child-poisoning cases involving liquid-nicotine, the Attorney General announced agreements with four liquid nicotine companies requiring that this form of nicotine be sold in child-resistant packaging in compliance with New York law. Liquid nicotine, used in e-cigarettes, is highly toxic and a lack of regulation within the e-cigarette industry has led to a spike in usage among minors and of potentially fatal liquid nicotine exposure to children. With this agreement, the four companies will be required to remove all liquid nicotine not sold in child-resistant packaging to be removed from their distributors and retail purchasers. The Attorney General sends a warning to other companies out there: those who do not comply with the law and continue to sell liquid nicotine in anything but child-resistant packaging will be pursued.

Tackling the New Frontier of Illegal Arms Trafficking

A joint investigation entitled “Operation Ghostbusters” between the Attorney General and the New York State Police revealed that three Long Island defendants concocted an alleged scheme to manufacture and sell untraceable guns, also known as “ghost guns”, which are made with an incomplete lower receiver. It is alleged that two of the defendants  were in prison at the time when they began devising to assemble and sell these illegal firearms. The defendants took advantage of a loophole to order unfinished gun parts from different manufacturers and assemble them into fully-functional ghost guns. The Attorney General will continue to crack down on this dangerous frontier of illegal firearm trafficking.

Helping New Yorkers Avoid Foreclosure Rescue Scams

This week Attorney General Schneiderman announced a new statewide advertising campaign and consumer education initiative to help New York homeowners spot, avoid, and report mortgage rescue scams. The advertisements will run on buses in Nassau Counties, community papers and ZIP codes on social media in areas of the state hardest-hit by these scams.  The ads will refer New Yorkers to our Homeowner Protection Program and our AGScamHelp app, all which provides tools to families to deal with forcesloure and avoid scams. The most powerful way to stop mortgage rescue scams are educated, vigilant homeowners. The Attorney General’s office will do all it can to ensure homeowners have the tools they need to protect themselves, and it will continue to vigorously pursue scammers who target vulnerable homeowners.

A Victory for Justice

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman praised the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ensures equal protection under the law for all Americans by guaranteeing that same-sex couples have the right to marry across the nation. He is proud to have joined every individual who fought to secure equal rights and equal protection for all couples. His office celebrates this victory for justice. In March, the Attorney General joined a coalition of states in filing a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal protection demands that same-sex couples have the right to marry across the country. In 2013, Attorney General Schneiderman led a 16-state coalition in the filing of an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, arguing against a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Celebrating A Victory For All Americans

The Attorney General expressed his support of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance subsidies. Last fall, Attorney General Schneiderman joined 21 other states and the District of Columbia in filing an amicus brief that argued that Congress intended the ACA to operate as a comprehensive nationwide program and never intended the statute to deprive millions of low- and moderate- income Americans of the tax subsidies needed to buy health insurance.

Targeting Companies That Exploit Customers

In an agreement with the Attorney General, Staten Island based travel agency Cuka Tours and its owners will pay $25,000 in restitution and penalties for violating New York’s consumer laws. In a deceptive scheme, Cuka Tours accepted full payment for round-trip airfares from its customers, but arranged payment for only one-way tickets, duping customers of thousands of dollars and leaving them stranded abroad. The Attorney General has no tolerance for those that manipulate and take advantage of vulnerable New Yorkers for profit.

Rooting Out Wage Theft  

The Attorney General arrested Richard Orvieto, owner and operator of a Suffolk County landscaping company for failing to pay employees their full wages. Double “O” Landscaping allegedly kept $13,000 in wages from three former employees who had worked unpaid overtime, and even failed to pay any wages to some for their last week of work. The company additionally defrauded the state of unemployment insurance of nearly $12,000 by paying wages off-the-books in cash. Protecting the livelihood of hardworking New Yorkers is a priority for the office of the Attorney General, and aggressive action will be taken against wage theft.

Securing the Retirement System From Fraud

Through the Operation Integrity partnership, Comptroller DiNapoli and the Attorney General indicted Georgia resident Richard L. Cook III for allegedly stealing over $200,000 in New York State pension benefits. These benefits were paid to Cook’s deceased mother, a New York State pensioner, as Cook failed to notify the Retirement System of her death and accessed her funds from 2009 to 2013. Theft from the state’s pension system is detrimental to all New York taxpayers, and the Attorney General, along with the Comptroller DiNapoli, will continue to protect taxpayer dollars.

Fighting Misconduct of Nurses and Aides

Taking action against irresponsible conduct of nurses and aides, the Attorney General’s office arrested Certified Nurse Aide Ekua Hakikson for allegedly dropping an 85-year-old patient from a mechanical lift and causing injury. Though it was mandatory that two people perform any transfer, Hakikson attempted to move the patient without any assistance, despite having training warning against it. The Attorney General continues to send a clear message that nurses and aides who put aside the safety of those they care for, especially our most vulnerable citizens, will be prosecuted and held accountable.

 

Defending the Legacy of Alexander Hamilton

In an op-ed in the New York Daily News, the Attorney General argued against the U.S. Treasury Department’s announcement to replace or diminish Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. Citing Alexander Hamilton’s entrepreneurship, commitment to the collective good and lasting impact on the American economy and government, the Attorney General suggested that Andrew Jackson on the $20 be replaced instead. Jackson, not exactly the best exemplar of the best ideals of the U.S., could be replaced with New York’s choice of Eleanor Roosevelt or Frances Perkins.

Going After Violence in Nursing Homes

With no tolerance for elderly abuse, the Attorney General arrested two nurses and one nurse’s aide at Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Far Rockaway for allegedly endangering and neglecting a disabled patient. It is alleged that two nurses failed to treat the disabled patient as he lay on the floor bleeding from his head and neck for over twenty minutes. Additionally, the nurse’s aide allegedly dragged the injured resident across the hallway not once, but two times. Nurses who callously fail to treat patients under their care will be vigorously prosecuted for endangering our most vulnerable citizens—New Yorkers deserve much better than this.

Prosecuting Against Sales Tax Theft

This week Attorney General Schneiderman announced the indictment of a Nassau County collision center owner for allegedly collecting but failing to remit over $570,000 in sales taxes to New York State. The owner and his business also allegedly filed false quarterly sales tax returns which grossly underreported the millions of dollars in taxable sales at the collision center, and the sales tax collected during the time period. When a business pockets sales tax revenue, it unfairly shifts the burden onto other hard-working New Yorkers. The attorney general’s office will continue to fight to protect those paying their fair share of taxes from having to pick up the tab for those who skip out on their bill.

 

Enforcing Punishment Against Deceptive Business

This week, the Attorney General announced that Legal Docs by Me and owner Derek Distenfield have been ordered to pay full restitution to consumers victimized by the company’s illegal and deceptive business practices after failing to comply with an order to do so last October. Legal Docs By Me allegedly deceived consumers by regularly misrepresenting its pricing, its expertise in the preparation of legal documents, and the nature of the services it provided. The Attorney General is committed to ensuring that New Yorkers who have been scammed by this business will be fully refunded and compensated for their losses.

Bringing Tax Evaders To Justice

In conjunction with Tax Commissioner Boone, the Attorney General announced the guilty plea of a Syracuse businessman for failing to file sales tax returns and remit collected sales tax. Investigations revealed that Dino Caloia collected more than $128,000 in sales tax from consumers, retaining the money for his own personal use. Caloia repaid $128,000 to the Tax Department and will pay over $300,000 in additional penalties and interest. This settlement sends a clear message that those who skirt the law for personal gain will be held accountable.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES $2.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH NYC PHARMACY FOR IMPROPER MEDICAID BILLINGS.

AG Investigation Resolves Allegations Related To Walgreen-Owned Trinity HomeCare LLC; Pharmacy Lacked Proof It Delivered Expensive Infusion Drugs, Primarily For Hemophilia Patients, To Their Homes.

Schneiderman: Overbilling By Pharmacies And Improper Drug Delivery Practices To Increase Medicaid Billings Will Not Be Tolerated.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement that returns $2.5 million to the state’s Medicaid program. The agreement reached with Trinity Homecare LLC, a pharmacy primarily owned by Walgreen Co., began with a whistleblower claim of improper conduct and false Medicaid billings related to drugs mainly prescribed for hemophilia patients. The court approved settlement resolves claims of undocumented delivery by the pharmacy of infusion drugs. In at least one instance, these expensive drugs were allegedly left outside a patient’s home without signature by the patient. The drugs can cost tens of thousands of dollars per delivery. Located in College Point, Queens, Trinity also allegedly submitted claims to Medicaid for a greater amount of drugs than it could document were actually delivered.

“The rules are plain: Pharmacies that deliver drugs to Medicaid patients must document that the patient received that medication – and in the right amount,”  Attorney General Schneiderman said. “The hemophilia drugs dispensed and sent to patients in this case, per delivery, can cost as much as a new car. Overbilling that drains dollars from our important Medicaid program harms the most vulnerable New Yorkers. We cannot allow it.”

The Attorney General’s investigation and audit of Trinity’s Medicaid billings found improper conduct and false billings from 2007 to September 2011, totaling $2.5 million for eight patients in New York City and one on Long Island.  

Trinity HomeCare LLC is a  pharmacy that dispenses and delivers expensive prescription drugs to patient homes. During the relevant period, Trinity was acquired by Option Care, Inc. and OptionCare of New York. In August 2007, Walgreen Co. acquired Option Care, Inc., later known as Walgreens Infusion Services, Inc. The investigation found that Option Care and Walgreen, which are both parties to the settlement, failed to ensure that Trinity complied with federal and state laws and Medicaid rules and regulations.

The whistleblower in this case, a former employee of the pharmacy, filed a lawsuit in 2009 alleging that Trinity pushed infusion drugs, which are prescribed to manage symptoms, to hemophilia patients and presented claims to Medicaid for unneeded or excessive quantity of these drugs. The whistleblower alleged improper billing for drug deliveries, including ones that patients refused to accept and excess shipments. The Attorney General found that, at times, patients did not receive infusion drugs and, in at least one case, a delivery was simply left in an apartment complex hallway. In other cases, the pharmacy lacked documentation that it had delivered the drugs.

The drugs are Advate, Alphanate, Benefix, Carimune-NF, Cerezyme, Feiba-VH, Flebogamma, Flebogamma-DIF, Gammagard, Gammagard-S/D, Gamunex 10%, Gamunex-C, Helixate-FS, Humate-P, Koate-DVI, Kogenate-FS, Mononine, Nabi-HB, Novoseven, Novoseven RT, Octagam 5%, Panglobulin, Polygam S/D, Privigen 10%, Recombinate, Refacto and Xyntha.

The Attorney General’s investigation and settlement relates to the whistleblower lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court alleging violations of the federal and state False Claims Acts. The total amount of the settlement is $2,551,062.32. After reimbursement of the federal contribution to Medicaid, New York’s Medicaid program will receive $1,484,766.84 for the infusion drug case.  Under the False Claim Acts, whistleblowers also receive a share of the settlement. Special Assistant Attorney General Sherrie Brown of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit led the investigation, assisted by Special Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Silverman; Medical Analyst Catherine Mosher, RN; Principal Special Auditor Investigator Jean Moss, Associate Special Auditor Investigator Gina Poletto; Senior Investigator Wayne Rivers, Supervising Investigator Edward Keegan; Electronic Investigative Support Group Deputy Director Carolyn Hart; Information Technology Specialist 3 Gail Lysiak; and Legal Assistants Mohamad Zakaria, Geoffrey Gund and Amy Vastola. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is led by Acting Director Amy Held. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES ARREST AND INDICTMENT OF NEW YORK CITY MAN IN MULTI-VICTIM IDENTITY THEFT SCHEME.

Sharif King Allegedly Lured Music Industry Hopefuls To New York City With Promises Of Record Label Employment, Only To Steal Their Identities.

NEW YORK- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of Sharif King, 29, of Manhattan, for allegedly perpetrating an identity theft scheme in which he held himself out as a record company executive, hired employees and then stole their identities in order to open credit cards, apply for a loan, steal a vehicle and collect on an insurance claim. King is charged on a 15-count indictment with Identity Theft, Scheme to Defraud, Forgery, and Grand Larceny, among other charges, and if convicted he faces up to 20 years in prison.

“Identity theft is a complex and growing problem, and the allegations in this case show that scammers are getting more and more creative with the ways they target victims,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “All New Yorkers should exercise great caution when disclosing sensitive personal information and report when they have been targeted identity thieves.”

According to the indictment and statements made by prosecutors at arraignment, King’s alleged scheme began in the summer of 2013, when King posted job opportunities online for his purported record label “Dower Music Entertainment, LLC.” The posting attracted numerous applicants from across the country who aspired to work in the music industry. King allegedly invited the applicants to a group interview in Manhattan, where King introduced himself as the Executive Vice President of Dower Music. King then hired the applicants for unpaid internship positions where they would work from home and be reimbursed for expenses, with the promise of future full-time, paid employment.

Also according to statements by prosecutors, under the pretext of reimbursing their expenses and putting them on the payroll, King allegedly requested personal identifying information from employees, including their date of birth, address, and social security number. King allegedly then used the stolen personal information to open a credit card in the name of one employee and charge $2,384.75 in expenses, and to apply for a $29,000 loan and attempt to open a credit card in the name of a second employee.

Prosecutors further allege that in addition to using stolen identities to apply for credit cards and a loan, King directed one of his employees to purchase a 2007 Lexus for work purposes, claiming that the employee would need a fancy car to keep up appearances. The Lexus was registered, financed, and insured in the employee’s name, but days later and without the employee’s knowledge, King added his name to the policy. King allegedly then told the employee he was fired and stole the Lexus. Prosecutors further allege that when King subsequently got into an accident with the Lexus, he pretended to be the employee when he reported the accident to both the police and GEICO. King then allegedly changed the address on the insurance policy to his own so that the insurance claim check would be mailed to his residence. After King received the $8,886.32 check from GEICO, he allegedly altered it, making it payable to himself, and deposited it into his own checking account.

King was arrested today by investigators from the Attorney General’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit and arraigned before the Honorable Neil Ross in New York County Supreme Court. The 15-count indictment charges King with three counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree (a class D felony), one count of Identity Theft in the Second Degree (a class E felony), four counts of Forgery in the Second Degree (a class D felony), one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a class D felony), one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a class E felony), one count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (a class E felony), one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (a class A misdemeanor), one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree (a class D felony), one count of Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree (a class D felony), and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a class E felony). The Attorney General’s investigation remains ongoing. King pleaded not guilty before The Honortable Neil Ross in New York County Supreme Court. Bail was set at $250,000 and the defendant was remanded into custody. The defendant’s next court appearance has been scheduled for July 20, 2015.

If convicted of all charges, King faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The charges against King are allegations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The Attorney General thanks the United States Probation Office, Southern District of New York for their assistance in apprehending the defendant, and also thanks GEICO Insurance Company, Capital One Bank, N.A., Lending Club and the New York City Police Department Major Case Squad for their assistance in investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael Hendrick and Senior Investigative Counsel Nina Sas with the assistance of Legal Analyst Jonathan Hofman of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Bureau Chiefs Stephanie Swenton and Meryl Lutsky. The Attorney General’s Criminal Justice Division is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.

The investigation was handled by Investigators Brian Maher, Adrian Klapper, and Severino Concordia, Supervising Investigators Natalie Shifrin and Edward Keegan, and Deputy Chief of Investigations Leonard D’Alessandro of the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit. The Investigations Division is led by Bureau Chief Dominick Zarrella.

 

STATEMENT FROM A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ON U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISION ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CASES.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman praised today’s decision by U.S. Supreme Court that ensures equal protection under the law for all Americans by guaranteeing that same-sex couples have the right to marry across the nation.

“Today’s historic ruling has finally recognized the rights of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states and stands on the side of dignity for all Americans. I am proud to have joined every individual who fought to secure equal rights and equal protection for all couples. Today, we celebrate a victory for justice.”

In March, the Attorney General joined a coalition of states in filing a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal protection demands that same-sex couples have the right to marry across the country. In 2013, Attorney General Schneiderman led a 16-state coalition in the filing of an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, arguing against a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In that case, the Supreme Court ultimately struck down that statute’s federal definition of “marriage” as being between one man and one woman.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN AND STATE POLICE SUPERINTENDENT D’AMICO ANNOUNCE ARREST OF THREE DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY TRAFFICKING UNTRACEABLE ‘GHOST GUNS’.

Joint OAG-NYSP “Operation Ghostbusters” Leads To Charges Against Three Defendants For Allegedly Selling A Dozen Ghost Guns, Including AR-15s; Defendants Could Face 25 Years In Prison 

Ghost Guns Are Manufactured Cheaply Without The Serial Numbers That Help Law Enforcement Trace Crime Guns; Key Defendant, While Imprisoned, Allegedly Collaborated With Wife To Order Gun Parts 

Schneiderman: Ghost Guns Are The New Frontier Of Illegal Firearms Trafficking 

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico today announced the arrests of Thomas Weber, Antonio Himonitis, and Diana Collins on charges that the trio fabricated and sold untraceable guns—known as “ghost guns”—in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York State Police (NYSP), “Operation Ghostbusters” uncovered this alleged scheme to sell ghost guns over the course of two months. As alleged in the complaint, Defendants Himonitis and Collins ordered unfinished gun parts from different manufacturers across the country and assembled them into at least a dozen fully-functional ghost guns, which they then sold to undercover investigators posing as gun trafficking gang members.  As alleged in the complaint, Himonitis and Weber were in prison at the time they first devised a plan to assemble and sell the illegal weapons.

Weber, Himonitis, and Collins were arrested yesterday in Long Island. These arrests mark the first time a state law enforcement agency has arrested individuals on charges of assembling and selling ghost guns. All three defendants are charged with Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree, Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree. Himonitis and Collins are also charged with charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, who was in their home while they were allegedly fabricating ghost guns.  If convicted, Weber, Collins and Himonitis face up to 25 years in prison.

“Ghost guns are the next frontier of illegal firearm trafficking. The allegations against these defendants show just how easy it is for criminals to make completely untraceable, military-grade firearms,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Working with our partners in law enforcement, we will continue to crack down on these dangerous schemes. It does not matter if you build it yourself or buy it off the street corner—an illegal gun is an illegal gun, and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said, “These individuals have no regard for the damage these weapons could do to a community – if put in the wrong hands. By getting these weapons off our streets and stopping this business – we are preventing crimes, and perhaps even saving lives. I want to thank the Attorney General and Organized Crime Task Force for their efforts in another successful case. The State Police will continue to do all we can to keep illegal guns out of our communities.”

The assemblage of every ghost gun relies upon the purchase and simple modification of a firearm’s key component—the lower receiver. Composed of either metal or plastic, the lower receiver holds the upper, lower, and rear portions of the firearm together and is responsible for the actual “firing” of the bullet. Aside from a fully assembled firearm, the lower receiver is the only piece that is independently considered a firearm and is thus subject to firearms regulation under Federal law.

However, an incomplete lower receiver—lacking certain holes, slots, or cavities—is not considered a firearm, but instead regulated as if it were just a piece of metal. As alleged in the complaint, the defendants exploited this “unfinished receiver” loophole to purchase the receivers without undergoing a background check. Upon receiving the unfinished lower receiver, the defendants then needed to make only simple modifications to the part to transform it into a fully functional lower receiver.  

As investigators found—and as many in law enforcement have long recognized—purchasers must make only a few small changes with a common drill press to transform any unfinished receiver into a fully-operational lower receiver. There are numerous online tutorials and instructional videos on how to properly mill a lower receiver, as well as precision tools such as a “jig kit” – a stencil-like tool – sold commercially to help guide an individual through the process. Once milled, the firearm typically remains unregistered and the lower receiver is not branded with a serial number. It is untraceable—a “ghost gun.”

“Operation Ghostbusters” was initiated in response to this growing trend. Back in April, an undercover investigator met with Defendant Thomas Weber in Nassau County Correction Facility East. As alleged in the criminal complaint, Weber stated that his associate, Defendant Antonio Himonitis, could acquire AR-10 rifles that would sell at $5,000 apiece. A day later, Himonitis allegedly called his wife, Defendant Diana Collins, from Nassau County Jail and instructed Collins to do an Internet search for “AR-15 Easy Jig,” a tool that is used to machine unfinished lower receivers.

In May, an undercover investigator met directly with Himonitis the day he was released from Nassau County Jail at a hotel in Uniondale, NY to allegedly discuss Himonitis’ method for constructing firearms with lower receivers. Over a period of several weeks, an undercover investigator allegedly purchased twelve fully-functional assault weapons from Himonitis at a motel in Nassau County.  As alleged in the complaint, these assault weapons did not have serial numbers or contain any other identifying markers.

A review of UPS records from May and June 2015 showed that nineteen packages from various gun manufacturers across the United States were allegedly delivered to the Suffolk County home of Himonitis and Collins, which they shared with a young child.

Defendants Weber, Himonitis, and Collins are charged with Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree (Count 1), Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree (Counts 2-13), and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (Count 14). Himonitis and Collins are also charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Count 15).

The charges against the defendants are accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Since 2011, OCTF has seized 274 firearms from gun traffickers. During the same time period, OCTF has also busted 24 large narcotics trafficking gangs in more than 560 felony narcotics arrests, and seized from them more than $1.5 million and more than 2,000 pounds of illegal drugs.

The investigation was conducted by OCTF Special Investigator George Gundlach, Supervising Investigator Kevin McCann and Deputy Chief Investigator Chris Vasta, with the assistance of OCTF Analyst Nicole Accurso.  The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarella.  New York State Police Investigator Edward Franke and Joseph Demaria of the New York State Police Gun Investigation Unit, under the supervision of New York State Police Major Joseph Tripodo, and Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Howard Feldberg. Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff runs the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force. The Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice is Kelly Donovan.

It’s Called the “Big Ugly” for a Reason.

Statement on End-of-Session Deal from Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill).

“Albany is squeezing as many unrelated bad ideas as possible into this last-minute deal. Albany’s big deals tend to be bad for taxpayers. Instead of carefully debating the merits of each issue, we get an unwieldy monstrosity that is the product of horse-trading, special-interest pressure and arm-twisting. Hence, the bill is known colloquially as the ‘Big Ugly.'”

Message of Necessity
“There is a reason why New York’s constitution delays the vote on legislation for three days after it has been submitted. Legislators, and the public, need the opportunity to review and debate legislation. But, Governor Cuomo and our legislative leaders have abused the message of necessity provision again and again to circumvent the constitution. There is no emergency that requires an immediate, late-night vote a few hours after the bill was made available to lawmakers and the public. The only emergency for Cuomo, new Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Democrat Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is the possibility that the public might get a good look at this bad bill. Even if the bill was the greatest piece of legislation in the history of New York, a no vote is still appropriate because the requisite three-day aging period has been bypassed, preventing legislators from doing their due diligence and getting input from constituents and experts.”

Rent control and the SAFE Act
“Rent control has always been a bad policy. It ultimately drives up housing prices for the non-rent-controlled housing in New York City. But, if New York City politicians insisted on its renewal, there was an opportunity for compromise. Rent control renewal should have been tied to repeal or at least significant overhaul of the SAFE Act. Voters across upstate New York were calling for this compromise. It didn’t happen. So, upstate is left in the cold again, while liberal New York City advances its agenda with no concessions. Senator Flanagan didn’t even get income verification requirements for tenants of rent-controlled apartments. Tenants can continue to abuse the system and get a well-below market-rate apartment despite making big salaries because we don’t bother to verify their incomes.”

Tax Rebate Gimmicks
“Short-term rebates don’t stimulate economic growth, permanent tax cuts do. But, Albany is using the short-term rebate gimmick again. Permanent tax cuts generate investment and growth. We’ve tried short-term rebates before and they haven’t kick-started the economy. Taxes are high because our state spends too much. What is being called tax relief in this bill is really a tax shift from one group of New Yorkers to another. Without meaningful spending reductions, tax bills will continue to go up and the rebate will only serve to mildly dull the pain of the next increase.”

Tax Cap Weakened and No Mandate Relief
“The ‘Big Ugly’ weakens the tax cap, a move that is bad for taxpayers. New exemptions to the cap will allow more spending and higher taxes, against the intent of the cap. The tax cap needs to be permanent in order give stability to taxpayers and to at least slow the exodus of New Yorkers leaving the state due to crushing property taxes. Unfunded mandates on school districts and local governments are one of the driving forces behind high property taxes. Yet this bill does nothing to address them.”

The Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC)
“The EITC was dropped, again. The alternative $250 million for private schools to reimburse them for state-imposed costs, doesn’t achieve the same effect. The EITC would have directly empowered working-class parents with choices in their children’s education. The adopted plan doesn’t give parents that help. There’s no guarantee that schools will pass the savings on to the families that need tuition help.”

421-a Tax Abatement
“This is just corporate welfare and it’s been at the center of the Silver and Skelos corruption cases. Corporate welfare tends to invite corruption. It’s also profoundly unfair for New Yorkers to subsidize multi-million dollar luxury condos. And the required affordable housing attached to the tax abatement has not made New York City any more affordable. Instead, it’s created perverse incentives for developers that drive away the middle class that doesn’t qualify for affordable housing and can’t come close to affording the luxury homes supported by 421-a. The fact that New York City real estate interests are among the biggest donors to both Republicans and Democrats tells you everything you need to know about how this giveaway continues despite all of the corruption surrounding it.”

Upstate Left Out in the Cold Again
“This deal had plenty for liberal New York City, with rent control and the 421-a extension, but upstate New Yorkers didn’t receive any economic benefits or a compromise on the SAFE Act. Albany is led by New York City and the rest of the state suffers for it.”

Defending the Indefensible
“Shortly after the budget deal on April 1, 2015, we learned that Start-Up NY spent tens of millions of tax dollars to create only 76 jobs. This end-of-session flurry of legislation was a great opportunity to cut our loses, end the program and commit the savings to permanent, across-the-board tax relief. Instead, the Cuomo administration is defending the program’s embarrassingly slow start and expensive advertising costs by claiming Start-Up NY is about changing the ‘perception’ of New York, though Cuomo initially pitched the program as a major job generator. The Cuomo administration claims they are changing the perception of New York, but the reality is still a state weighed down with high taxes and regulations. Start-Up NY doesn’t change that reality. So, now we’re told that Start-Up NY is about tricking companies into coming to New York and we’re spending tens of millions to do it.”

Executive Orders
“The governor couldn’t make a deal with the legislature to raise the age of criminal responsibility or on a special prosecutor for police-involved deaths. Now, he’s just going to change the rules by executive fiat. That’s not how our system is supposed to work. Checks and balances and the separation of powers are critical aspects of our system of government and protect our rights. These essential checks on power shouldn’t be bypassed when the chief executive can’t get his way.”

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Lalor: Buyback Bill a Win for Vets.

East Fishkill, NY – (6/25/15) – New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is calling yesterday’s passage of the veterans’ pension buyback legislation an important win for New York veterans. Lalor has been a vocal proponent of the bill (see here and here).

“This bill benefits the men and women who served in the military’s post-draft era, volunteering for our country,” said Lalor. “Those who would benefit from this bill served in the post-draft era of the all-volunteer military. They volunteered to serve on ships and in garrisons at home and abroad keeping the Soviet war machine in check, then maintained the peace after we won the Cold War. This bill does more than honor the service of veterans. It encourage the next generation to serve by reminding them that their state values and rewards service in defense of our nation.”

Lalor continued, “Shockingly, Afghanistan veterans are excluded from the current buyback program, while Iraq veterans are eligible. This bill fixes that and recognizes the service of Afghanistan vets.”

Lalor added, “Importantly, the bill is funded, unlike the bill that was vetoed last year, so there is no chance it will be a burden to localities. In fact, there is an opportunity for savings by speeding up the retirement of senior employees and replacing them with Tier 6 employees or not replacing them at all if a replacement is unnecessary. I hope Governor Cuomo will move fast to sign this legislation.”

The bill would allow veterans from any era to buy back up to three years of service credit in the public employee retirement systems for their military service. Currently, New York only allows veterans who served during specific conflicts to buy back service credit.

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES JOINT SETTLEMENT WITH LYFT.

Settlement Ensures Lyft’s Compliance With State And Municipal Laws, Requires Lyft Drivers To Have NY-Authorized Auto Insurance.

Schneiderman: Agreement Echoes My Commitment to Ensuring Fair Competition And Consumer Safety Statewide.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office and the New York State Department of Financial Services have agreed to the terms of a consent order and judgment with Lyft, a company that provides for-hire livery services where the company, among other things, dispatches cars through a phone app. The consent order, which resolves an action filed against Lyft in July 2014, requires Lyft to pay $300,000 in penalties for alleged violations of New York state and municipal laws—one of the largest penalties enacted against a ‘sharing economy’ company to date. Lyft has agreed that it will comply with the relevant provisions of the New York Insurance Law. 

“I have always been committed to fostering an innovative and competitive environment in which both new and existing companies can flourish in our great state,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “However, it’s critical that the laws put in place to protect consumers and ensure fair competition are not violated in the process. Today’s agreement enables Lyft to grow and prosper within the bounds of state and local regulations, while the penalties imposed send the message that companies that attempt to skirt the law will be held accountable. I want to thank former Superintendent Lawsky and the Department of Financial Services for their continued partnership in making New York’s marketplace one where all entrepreneurs can thrive under the same set of rules.”

As part of the consent order, Lyft drivers will be required to have auto insurance issued by New York-authorized insurers. The insurance must cover drivers while they have the Lyft app turned on to receive requests to pick up passengers through the end of any rides they provide. Additionally, the consent order prohibits Lyft from offering, selling or providing insurance policies that do not comply with the New York Insurance Law. 

The consent order also requires Lyft to comply with all other state as well as municipal laws applicable to vehicles-for-hire. Lyft must also inform the Superintendent, the Attorney General, and the counsel of any municipality or other jurisdiction in the state where it intends to launch its service at least three weeks before such a launch. 

Last July, Attorney General Schneiderman and then-Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky sued Lyft in New York State Supreme Court for running a for-hire livery service in alleged violation of New York state and municipal law. The complaint alleged that Lyft violated the law by failing to require its drivers to hold commercial licenses, carry adequate insurance, or comply with local for-hire licensing rules. 

Lyft began operating in Buffalo and Rochester in April 2014 without obtaining the necessary approvals or notifying those cities of their operation. The Attorney General and Superintendent learned that Lyft was about to launch its service in Brooklyn and Queens on July 11, 2014 a few days before the launch. When Lyft refused to delay its launch, the Attorney General and Superintendent filed a lawsuit against the company seeking to enjoin it from launching in New York City and from continuing to operate in Buffalo and Rochester in violation of the law. 

After several days of hearings before Judge Kathryn Freed of New York State Supreme Court, the parties agreed to stay the lawsuit in order to enable the parties to attempt to resolve it. Lyft agreed to suspend its operations in Buffalo and Rochester by August 1, 2014, and not to launch in New York City until it had the approval of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission and operated in accordance with the New York Insurance Law. 

This case is being handled for the Attorney General by Assistant Attorney General Melvin L. Goldberg, Special Counsel Carolyn Fast, and Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia, all of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau, Assistant Attorney General Simon Brandler of the Executive Staff, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Karla G. Sanchez. The case is being handled for the Department of Financial Services by Joy Feigenbaum, Executive Deputy Superintendent, Special Counsel Max Dubin, Supervising Counsel Brian Montgomery and Deputy Director Nancy Ruskin, all of the Financial Frauds and Consumer Protection Division. 

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH ASPEN DENTAL MANAGEMENT THAT BARS COMPANY FROM MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT PATIENT CARE IN NEW YORK CLINICS.

Agreement Requires Aspen Dental Management To Pay $450,000 In Civil Penalties After AG Investigation Found The Dental Management Company Was Engaged In The Unauthorized Practice of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene

Agreement Stops Illegal Fee Splitting between Aspen Dental and Dental Practices; Requires Aspen Dental Management To Be Clear It Is Not A Provider Of Dental Care

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with Aspen Dental Management, Inc., an East Syracuse-based company that provides business support and administrative services to seven independently owned dental practices that maintain 40 offices in New York State. The settlement requires Aspen Dental Management, a company with a reported $645 million in annual revenue, which operates nationwide, to overhaul the way it does business in New York, so that it does not dictate the care provided by dentists and hygienists at dental practices, does not split patients’ fees with the clinics, which is illegal in New York, and makes clear to consumers that Aspen Dental Management is not a provider of dental services.

“Medical and dental decisions should be made by licensed providers using their best clinical judgment, and should not be influenced by management companies’ shared interest in potential profits,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “By enforcing New York’s laws banning the corporate practice of medicine and fee-splitting between medical practitioners and non-licensed individuals and entities, today’s agreement ensures that New Yorkers receive quality dental care.”

The affected dental practices are Aspen Dental Associates of Central New York, Aspen Dental of Rochester, Dental Services of Western New York, Dental Services of Dunkirk, Aspen Dental Associates of Hudson Valley, Dental Health Services, and Judge Dental.

After receiving over 300 complaints since 2005 concerning consumers’ experiences at Aspen Dental offices across New York State, the Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau launched an investigation into the company. Consumers lodged complaints against what they thought were particular office locations of the Aspen Dental chain regarding quality of care, billing practices, misleading advertising, upselling of medical services and products the consumers felt were unnecessary, and unclear or incomplete terms for the financing of dental care.

The investigation revealed that Aspen Dental did not merely provide arms-length, back-end business and administrative support to independent dental practices. Rather, Aspen Dental Management has developed what amounts to a chain of dental practices technically owned by individual dentists but which, in violation of New York law, were subject to extensive control by Aspen Dental Management. That control included sharing individual clinic profits with the management company and the marketing by the management company under the shared Aspen Dental trade name.  Through an array of business practices, Aspen Dental Management routinely makes business decisions for the clinics that directly impacted patient care. Those practices included incentivizing and otherwise pressuring staff to increase sales of dental services and products, implementing revenue-oriented patient scheduling systems, and hiring and oversight of clinical staff, including associate dentists and dental hygienists.

The Attorney General’s investigation showed that Aspen Dental Management dictated the dental practices’ care of patients, by, for example, sending “Hygiene Service Announcements” to dental hygienists, which directed the hygienists to sell more products and services to patients, and training office managers (non-licensed/non-clinical individuals responsible for managing an office’s overall operations) on how to talk to patients about their treatment plans and assist them in making decisions about treatment alternatives.

The investigation showed that Aspen Dental Management exercised undue control over the clinic’s finances by controlling substantially all of the dental practices’ bank accounts through a single consolidated account to which the clinic owners themselves did not have access. Aspen Dental Management took a pre-set percentage of each dental office’s monthly gross profit, an arrangement prohibited under New York law, and which created a financial incentive for Aspen Dental Management to pressure staff in the dental offices to generate revenue. Aspen Dental Management also subjected the dental practices to non-competition and non-solicitation agreements that effectively prevent the practices from competing with any other dental practice affiliated with Aspen Dental Management, regardless of location.

Under the agreement, Aspen Dental Management will cease to exercise any control over dental practices’ clinical decision-making and will not communicate directly with practices’ clinical staff concerning the provision of dental care, sales of services or products to patients, or the amount of revenue generated by services or products. The company will not be the employer of the practices’ clinical staff, and will not place limitations on dental practice owners’ practice of dentistry.

Aspen Dental Management has agreed not to share in the dental practices’ fees for professional services rendered, to keep the practices’ finances separate from its own, and to allow the practices to have full and complete control over their revenues, profits, incomes, disbursements, bank accounts, and other financial matters and decisions.

Aspen Dental Management will also reform its marketing practices, making clear to consumers on its website and elsewhere that Aspen Dental Management provides only administrative and business support services to dental practices that are independently owned and operated by licensed dentists. Aspen Dental Management will also take steps to ensure that the dental practices to which it provides services post their own legal name so it is easily visible by patients who enter those practices.

The agreement requires Aspen Dental Management to pay a $450,000 civil penalty, and to pay an independent monitor that will oversee the implementation of the settlement over a three-year period.

Consumers with questions or concerns about this settlement or other health care matters may call the Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau Helpline at 1-800-428-9071.

The investigation and resolution of this matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Elizabeth Chesler and Michael Reisman, both of the Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau, which is led by Bureau Chief Lisa Landau. The Health Care Bureau is a part of the Social Justice Division, led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Alvin Bragg.

A copy of the settlement can be read here.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN AND NYS TAX COMMISSIONER BOONE ANNOUNCE ARREST OF BUFFALO TOBACCO IMPORTER FOR $1.9 MILLION TAX FRAUD.

Anthony Mansour Allegedly Imported Over $2.5 Million in Tobacco Products Into NY Without Paying Required Tax 

Schneiderman: We Must Stop The Flow Of Illegal Cigarettes And Prosecute Those Who Attempt To Evade Tax Laws

BUFFALO – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Commssioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone today announced the arrest of Buffalo tobacco importer Anthony Mansour, 28, for failing to pay over one million dollars in taxes. Mansour is charged with importing over $2.5 million dollars’ worth of tobacco products into the state of New York without paying the required excise taxes. If convicted, Mansour faces up to 25 years in prison. 

“Taxes on tobacco products are an important tool to lower smoking rates and limit healthcare costs. Untaxed cigarettes undercut both those efforts,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Smoking-related illnesses are the top preventable public health crisis. We must stop the flow of illegal cigarettes and take aggressive action against those who try to profit by evading tax laws.”

“Tax evasion is a serious crime, and we will continue to work with the Attorney General and all levels of law enforcement to root out those who would cheat New York State,” said Commissioner Boone.  

The Attorney General’s indictment, unsealed today in Erie County Supreme Court, charges Mansour with one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the First Degree (a Class B felony), one count of Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax for possession of counterfeit New York cigarette tax stamps (a class E felony), and one count of Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax for possession of tobacco products without paying the required tax (a Class A misdemeanor). The case was initially investigated by the Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division, and then referred to the Attorney General’s office for further investigation and prosecution.

According to the indictment statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, in the year 2013, Mansour imported into New York over $2.5 million dollars of tobacco products from Pennsylvania. This importation resulted in an approximate $1.9 million tax liability that he failed to pay to New York State.

Mansour was arraigned today before Justice Penny M. Wolfgang, and the court imposed bail of $20,000.

The charges against the defendant are allegations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division. 

Assisting in the investigation were Office of the Attorney General Investigator Christopher Bzduch, Supervising Investigator Richard Doyle and Deputy Bureau Chief Antoine Karam. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Cydney Kelly of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary Fishman and Deputy Chiefs Stephanie Swenton and Meryl Lutsky. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan. 

NEW YORK OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE FIRST ARREST OF NYC LANDLORD RESULTING FROM TENANT HARASSMENT PREVENTION TASK FORCE.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman Brings Indictment Against Landlord Daniel Melamed On Multiple Criminal Charges, Including Unlawful Eviction And Endangering The Welfare Of A Child 

Historic Task Force Led by A.G. Schneiderman, Mayor de Blasio, And Governor Cuomo Conducts Months Long Investigation Into Landlord Who Allegedly Defied Stop Work Orders And Exposed Rent Regulated Tenants To Dangerous Health And Safety Risks

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner James Rubin, today announced the arrest and indictment of landlord Daniel Melamed by the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force (“Task Force”), on charges that Melamed endangered the health and safety of rent regulated tenants, including a six year old child, during demolition and construction that began in February 2014 at his 14-unit building at 1578 Union Street in Brooklyn. Pirooz Soltanizadeh, an engineer hired by Melamed to oversee construction at the building, was also indicted. The arrests are the first to result from an investigation led by the multi-agency task force, which was announced by A.G. Schneiderman, Mayor de Blasio, and Governor Cuomo in February.

Prosecutors from the A.G.’s office allege that Melamed presided over a disturbing pattern of dangerous and unlawful construction that jeopardized the health and safety of building tenants and forced at least one rent regulated tenant to move out. Investigators allegedly found that Melamed (1) illegally shut off heat to rent regulated tenants, even when temperatures dropped below freezing, (2) repeatedly exposed tenants to lead dust that exceeded acceptable levels by as much as eighty-eight times the permissible threshold, and (3) unlawfully destroyed interior walls and common spaces. Melamed is also accused of filing a false document with the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). In an apparent attempt to mislead city officials and avoid stricter oversight of the construction project and elude tenant protection measures, Melamed allegedly stated in DOB filings that his Crown Heights building was vacant, when in fact some of the units were occupied—many by rent regulated tenants.

“Today’s charges send a strong message to landlords across New York City: if you harass, intimidate, or jeopardize the health and safety of your tenants, we will come after you with the full force of the law,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Our task force is working hard to identify, investigate, and prosecute the worst landlords in this city. I look forward to continue working with Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and my many other colleagues in government to continue the task force’s work on behalf of all New York City residents.”

“Our Task Force is sending a loud message to predatory landlords: you will be caught, and the consequences will be severe. The alleged wrongdoing of this landlord put tenants’ health and safety at risk. We won’t let that stand in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This new task force is part of a comprehensive agenda—along with fighting for stronger rent laws in Albany—to protect tenants and prevent harassment. We look forward to deepening this work with Attorney General Schneiderman and Governor Cuomo to hold bad actors accountable and keep New Yorkers in their homes.”

Governor Cuomo said, “We will not tolerate tenant harassment in the state of New York – plain and simple,” Governor Cuomo said. “When a landlord intentionally creates hazardous living conditions in order to make tenants’ lives unbearable and force them from their homes, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Tenant Protection Unit was created to protect residents from landlords who try to defy the state’s rent laws, and my administration will continue investigating cases of possible abuse like this one to ensure that they are brought to justice.”

Melamed, age 37, of Great Neck, owns and manages six rental buildings in New York City, and purchased the Crown Heights building in November 2012. Soltanizadeh, age 39, of New Hyde Park, is a physical engineer licensed by New York State. Melamed was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court today on three counts of unlawful eviction, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of offering a false instrument for filing. If convicted, Melamed and Soltanizadeh face up to 1 1/3 – 4 years in prison.

The arrests are the result of a joint investigation by the Task Force and a resulting referral of the criminal case to the Attorney General’s Office from the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal, via its Tenant Protection Unit (“TPU”). New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development identified the buildings as potential targets for the task force following a review of filings with the Department of Buildings, as well as an examination of active complaints by both current and former tenants. The Department of Buildings and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also participated in the inspections. The Task Force’s investigation into Melamed is ongoing.

Prosecutors allege that defendants filed false documents to circumvent the requirement that they submit what is known as a “tenant protection plan,” which ensures safety protocols are in place when occupied buildings are undergoing construction. Prosecutors allege that at the time defendants filed construction plans stating that the building was vacant, the building was in fact occupied, and the defendants thereby circumvented safety measures required by law.

Prosecutors also allege that the Task Force investigation revealed Melamed had repeatedly shut-off heat and hot-water to rent regulated tenants during winter construction in early and late 2014.

As part of the investigation by the joint task force, a DOB inspector gathered dust samples from the common areas on each floor of the building in December 2014. Prosecutors allege that laboratory results of the 19 samples taken show lead dust well beyond permissible levels, including a finding of approximately 22,000 micrograms of lead per square foot – or more than 88 times the threshold allowable under federal Environmental Protection Agency standards – on a common stairwell. According to court documents, tenants told Task Force investigators that the dust generated by building construction was so pervasive that tenants were forced to stuff wet towels under their doors to prevent the toxic dust from entering their homes.

The Governor’s TPU housing inspectors, forensic data and investigators, and attorneys worked in conjunction with HPD and the AG to uncover potential criminal acts perpetrated by the landlord.  The Unit made a formal criminal referral because of the extreme conditions in the building in early 2015.  TPU worked with the A.G.’s office throughout the investigation and provided testimony at the Grand Jury proceedings. Governor Cuomo created the TPU In 2011 to proactively enforce landlord obligations to tenants and impose strict penalties for failure to comply with HCR orders and New York’s rent laws. Since inception, the TPU has returned more than 40,000 apartments that had been illegally deregulated to rent regulation.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Counsel to the Criminal Justice Division, John Spagna and Assistant Attorney General Lee Bergstein of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, with the assistance of Aislinn Appleby, Senior Legal Analyst. The case was investigated by Investigators Anna Ospanova, Michael Yun and Michael Ward under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigator John McManus and Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.  Assisting in the investigation and providing forensic auditing analysis was Forensic Auditor Kristina Kojamanian and Associate Forensic Auditor Matthew Croghan under the supervision of Edward J. Keegan, Chief of the Forensic Audit Section.  Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan leads the Criminal Justice Division. 

The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO James S. Rubin, whose agency oversees the Tenant Protection Unit, said, “The Governor’s Tenant Protection Unit was created to protect tenants by proactively investigating claims of harassment. We all know that tenants deserve to feel safe in their own homes – it’s the law. No one should have to worry that they are going to be forced out on a landlord’s whim. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the TPU will continue to show zero tolerance for abusive landlords who are trying to force tenants out of their homes. I thank our Task Force Partners – the Attorney General and the Mayor – for their continued work with the State to keep our communities strong.”

“The Attorney General’s indictment should serve as a sobering wakeup call to owners who think they can use dangerous tactics to harass tenants out of their homes and remove apartments from rent-stabilization,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “To those landlords considering sharp tactics to get rid of tenants: Don’t wait until you’re being arraigned to take tenants’ rights seriously. The Taskforce is committed to taking aggressive action to protect our city’s tenants, ensure that they have safe and decent homes, and hold owners accountable under the law. I thank the Mayor, Attorney General, and Governor for their leadership and commitment to ensuring that New York is a more equitable and affordable city for everybody.”

“I want to thank our task force partners, and within the Department the Office of the Buildings Marshal, for this collaboration that has not only made today’s arrest possible, but has prevented countless unnecessary vacates that would have displaced tenants as a result of the actions by a select few of unscrupulous landlords,” said DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler. “The Department will continue to aggressively pursue those that abuse the NYC Construction Codes in an attempt to destabilize affordable housing residents.”

Faced with a rising number of complaints from tenants, particularly in New York City’s fastest growing neighborhoods, the joint task force was created to investigate and bring enforcement actions – including criminal charges – against landlords who harass tenants. The task force is particularly aimed at confronting building owners who use a variety of tactics, including disruptive and dangerous renovation and construction projects, to force tenants into vacating rent-regulated apartments. More information about the task force is available here.

The task force is executing unannounced and joint inspections of buildings in New York City where landlords and management companies are suspected of using unsafe construction work as a means to harass tenants. Following multiple joint on-site property inspections, the task force agencies have already substantiated a number of tenant complaints and the task force has several on-going investigations. The member agencies will pursue evidence of illegal acts, and lodge enforcement actions. Incidents of harassment include:

  • Landlords operating without proper permits;
  • Construction projects operating in violation of stop work orders;
  • Landlords who openly ignore requirements for tenant protection plans in occupied buildings where renovations are taking place;
  • Flagrant disregard of safe work practices that are required by law in order to contain the spread of lead and/or asbestos that may be exposed during renovation;
  • Landlords removing essential systems, such as boilers and venting systems, in order make life unbearable for existing residents.

In recent months, enforcement agencies in New York, including the Attorney General’s office, TPU, HPD, and DOB have received a significant uptick in complaints regarding tenant harassment. The task force is primarily concerned with harassment claims that involve both permitted and non-permitted construction projects that endanger the health and safety of existing occupants. In response, the city and state and agencies, along with the Office of the Attorney General, came together to pool resources and crack down on the most dangerous and chronic violators.

Tenants should continue to report dangerous conditions, lack of services or harassment complaints to 311. They may also report complaints online at www.ag.ny.gov/complaint-forms.

STATEMENT FROM A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ON RENT LAWS. 

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric. T Schneiderman released the following statement today on New York City’s expiring rent regulation laws:  

“Our current rent laws provide financial incentives for bad landlords to harass and drive out tenants from rent-stabilized apartments. I have long supported structural reforms to change this broken system, along the lines of what the State Assembly has proposed.

A straight extender of rent regulation would be a huge loss for the people of New York.  Everyone has known about this deadline for years – timing is not a credible excuse.  And I reject the notion that rent regulation must be linked to other, unrelated issues as the sort of Old Albany premise that people are tired of hearing.

The failure to enact measures to meaningfully strengthen our rent laws would be emblematic of an opaque, anti-democratic system that itself is badly in need of the kinds of reforms I have proposed in the ‘End New York Corruption Now Act.’ As I have said on several occasions, there are only two paths forward for New York State government: either enact comprehensive reform that changes the system, or we will face continued scandal and erosion of public confidence.”

Pass the Education Tax Credit and Empower Parents.

Statement on the Education Investment Tax Credit from Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill).

“Parents are in the position to make the best education decisions for their children. That’s why I support the Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC). It will empower parents to pick the right schools to fit their children’s needs. It will encourage private donations to support a wide range of school options from traditional public schools, to charter schools, to parochial schools and yeshivas. That’s a great thing for parents and kids. This bill is a boost to all schools.”

“It is unfortunate that special interest groups have mislead New Yorkers by claiming the EITC is a giveaway to the rich when in fact, it will help working-class children. Special interest groups that oppose this are rejecting additional support for public schools because they are reflexively against support for non-public schools. They are blatantly putting politics first and kids and families last. Some lawmakers are also putting politics before education. The EITC once had over 90 co-sponsors in the Assembly when only 76 votes are necessary to pass a bill. Shockingly, special interests have bullied lawmakers into dropping their sponsorship of the bill.”

“The EITC incentivizes private contributions to every school through a tax credit. Your neighborhood public school can raise funds to support extra-curricular activities that might have gone underserved otherwise. The charter schools that are giving kids new opportunities will have the chance to add to their programs. The EITC can and will help every school.”

“Giving parents more choices in education is the right policy. We all know families who, for example, started in Catholic school and found that public school was a better fit for their children. Likewise, some families start in public school and find the best option for their children is a parochial school. We all know private school teachers who send their kids to public school and public school teachers who send their kids to private school. Children are unique and one-size-fits-all does them a disservice.”

“The EITC provides increased funding for all schools. Diverse education options will provide our kids with the best chance to succeed.”

 

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Lalor Asks DiNapoli: How Much Goes to Subsidize Temporary Foreign Workers?

East Fishkill, NY – (5/27/15) – New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is asking New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to audit companies receiving economic development subsidies from New York State and local governments to determine how many jobs funded by these subsidies are filled by H1-B visa holders rather than American citizens or permanent resident immigrants. Lalor’s letter to DiNapoli can be read here.

“New York taxpayers deserve to know how much they are paying to subsidize corporations to hire temporary foreign workers rather than citizens or permanent resident immigrants,” said Lalor. “New York spends hundreds of millions of tax dollars on corporate welfare disguised as ‘economic development’ every year. Taxpayers are led to believe that the jobs created are going to New York residents, either citizens or permanent resident immigrants. We’re told this, despite the fact that many companies receiving the subsidies often hire H1-B visa holders. For example, it has been well-documented that IBM, a recipient of a wide range of generous taxpayer subsidies, employs H1-B visa holders across the state.”

Lalor added, “Because there is almost no transparency in these corporate welfare programs, New Yorkers don’t know how much of their money is going to fund jobs for temporary foreign workers. Comptroller DiNapoli’s office has done valuable work exposing the waste throughout New York’s ‘economic development’ spending. I’m asking his office to continue that work and determine how much American citizens and permanent resident immigrants are paying to subsidize H1-B temporary foreign labor.”

Lalor concluded, “H1-B workers do not have permanent visas and their visa is tied to their employment. While they are able to apply for permanent residence, the wait can take as long as ten years. If they switch employers, the waiting period starts again. To change jobs, an H1-B worker needs to find a new employer willing and able to sponsor the visa. These factors combine to make H1-B visas operate like indentured servitude. H1-B visa holders are limited in salary negotiations or the ability to seek a better-paying job. That’s what makes them valuable to companies. It also drives down wages for U.S. citizens and permanent resident immigrants. We cannot allow New York tax dollars to go to subsidies that support the employment of H1-B workers.”

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Help The American Cancer Society – Hudson Valley Region Win A $25,000 Grant.

Dear Friends,

You can help the American Cancer Society’s Hudson Valley Region compete for a $25,000 private grant by voting online here.

The grant would fund a Community Empowerment & Equity program. The CEE program would help increase breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening rates in our community.

Please take a minute to visit the site and cast your vote. You can vote up to ten times.

Kieran

Cuomo’s Advertising Smoke and Mirrors.

East Fishkill, NY – (5/11/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) responded to today’s state comptroller audit, showing the $200 million New York spent on advertising economic development programs has produced “no tangible results”, with criticism for Governor Cuomo wasting tax dollars on ads that amounted to little more than Cuomo campaign marketing.

“No amount of advertising is going to change the reality that New York’s high taxes drive businesses and jobs away,” said Lalor. “The $200 million spent on advertising New York’s economic development programs hasn’t produced tangible results because it’s just smoke and mirrors. Businesses know New York is still highly taxed and over-regulated. Advertising doesn’t change that. Empire State Development actually told the auditors that the advertising ‘wasn’t intended to directly produce positive economic benefits.’ Then what did New Yorkers get for all that advertising spending? It looks like it was just $200 million in Cuomo campaign ads.

Lalor continued, “We’re not going to succeed by tricking people into thinking New York is all of a sudden low-tax and business-friendly. It’s hard to believe that our governor is relying on smoke and mirrors. We need to actually cut the taxes and regulations that drive businesses and jobs out of New York.”

“Corporate welfare masquerading as economic development is costing New Yorkers billions,” Lalor added. “Empire State Development Corporation, which administers Start-Up NY, spends 37% of its budget on interest payments on debt. Albany is throwing good money after bad.”

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

Cuomo’s Undemocratic Minimum Wage Hike Will Kill Jobs.

East Fishkill, NY – (5/7/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) issued a statement today criticizing Governor Cuomo’s decision to unilaterally move to raise the minimum wage for some businesses without legislative approval.

“Dictating new regulations outside the legislative process is a recklessly undemocratic decision by Governor Cuomo,” said Lalor. “We have a process for passing new laws and the governor has chosen to bypass it because he was only able to get part of his job-killing minimum wage through the legislature. It seems he’s taking a page from President Obama’s playbook and simply dictating new laws when he can’t do what he wants through the legislature. Impaneling a wage board gives Cuomo’s action a veneer of unbiased approval, but is there any doubt that the board will simply follow Cuomo’s directions? We know how closely Cuomo has controlled previous ‘independent’ commissions.”

Lalor added, “This isn’t just undemocratic, it’s a job killer. San Francisco’s recent minimum wage hike is pushing small businesses to the brink of closure. This will hurt minimum-wage earners when businesses that can’t afford the increase start cutting jobs. Studies have shown entry-level job opportunities decline with minimum wage increases. The governor can’t simply mandate a better economy. Small businesses are struggling with New York’s high taxes and never-ending regulations. New York’s economy is struggling because of those taxes and regulations. The only way for government to increase wages and opportunities is to cut taxes and regulations across the board. We need to open up opportunities for businesses to thrive and create jobs in New York.”

“It’s also inappropriate for the governor to target just one industry,” Lalor added. “Governor Cuomo says he wants to raise fast food wages because fast food CEOs are millionaires. But, many fast food restaurants operate as franchises. They’re small businesses. This isn’t just hitting big corporations, Governor Cuomo, this is hitting small businesses. Cuomo’s dictate is so vague, we don’t even know how far this will go. It’s up to his wage board to decide what jobs will be defined as within the ‘fast food industry’. Pizzeria and deli owners, among other small businesses, don’t know if they’ll be included. They might not even know that this regulation could affect them until it’s already passed, missing the chance to voice their opposition.”

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Spring is in full swing and the Yankees vs. Mets Subway Series is on Saturday, April 25th.  I hope you will join me to watch the game at Daddy O’s Bar & Grill located at 3 Turner St.,  Hopewell Jct., NY 12533.

Event Details
The game and our event start at 4:00pm. 
Buffet and Cash Bar
$20 in advance / $25 at the door


Sponsorship Opportunities For Met Fans

Amazin’s Sponsor – $500
Tom Terrific Sponsor – $250
Blue & Orange Sponsor –  $100

Sponsorship Opportunities for Yankee Fans
Bronx Bomber Sponsor – $500
Donny Baseball Sponsor – $250
Pinstripe Sponsor – $100

Sponsorships for Red Sox Fans
Bill Buckner Sponsor – $500
Bucky Dent Sponsor – $250
Bobby V Sponsor – $100

To purchase tickets in advance for the discounted price of $20 per person click here.  If you cannot attend but would like to help me build the campaign war chest, click here.

Buy your tickets today here or make an immediate contribution here.

Thanks for your support, I hope to see you there.

Kieran



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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Poughkeepsie City Council’s Anti-Second Amendment Bill Would Limit Right to Self-Defense.

Poughkeepsie, NY – (4/16/15) – Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik (R), Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill), Poughkeepsie City Council Minority Leader Lee David Klein (R) and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association hosted a press conference exposing the Poughkeepsie City Council’s anti-Second Amendment proposal today. The City Council’s bill would create unnecessary and unconstitutional gun storage requirements that would significantly limit a homeowner’s ability to defend against a criminal intruder.

“This the is typical feel-good, anti-gun legislation that does nothing to stop crime or get illegal guns off the streets,” said Assemblyman Lalor. “This bill is driven by politics, not good policy. New York already has safe storage requirements and this bill goes further to require the gun be made inoperable. The Supreme Court, in Heller v. District of Columbia, has already ruled unconstitutional laws that require a firearm in a home be disassembled and unable to be used for self-defense. A New York court also declared this type of regulation unconstitutional in Colaiacovo v. Dormer. The City Council should drop it’s political theater show if it’s serious about stopping crime.”

“The City Council’s unconstitutional proposal isn’t about stopping crime, its political pandering to the anti-Second Amendment crowd,” said Mayor Tkazyik. “We have a Constitutional right to bear arms and that includes the defense of one’s home and family against an assailant. This ordinance makes self-defense impossible. It will increase crime as criminals learn that law-abiding homeowners are defenseless. The ordinance will also needlessly cost taxpayers when the city is forced to hire attorneys to defend a provision that the Supreme Court has already declared unconstitutional.”

“The City Council is going to prevent homeowners from defending themselves and their families with this bill,” said Jacob Reiper, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Vice President of Legislative Affairs. “A homeowner needs to quickly access his firearm to prevent a tragedy when an intruder breaks in. The law will prevent residents from defending themselves. This kind of law has already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It is an infringement on Poughkeepsie residents’ Second Amendment rights. Residents will be left less safe if this bill is passed.”

“The anti-Second Amendment majority on the City Council is advancing a political agenda that doesn’t make the City safer,” said Poughkeepsie City Council Minority Leader Lee David Klein. “They’re trying to score a few political points, while their policy makes families less safe and infringes on our Second Amendment rights. We should be pursuing policies that fight crime, not policies that leave residents vulnerable.

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Lalor Asks, “Where Are Cuomo’s Start-Up NY’s Jobs”, Reiterates Call to Shut Down Start-Up NY

East Fishkill, NY – (4/6/15) – After a report by Empire State Development revealed Governor Cuomo’s signature economic development program, Start-Up NY, has created just 76 jobs, Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is asking Cuomo what happened to the expensive program’s promised jobs. Lalor also reiterated his call to shut down Start-Up NY and provide across-the-board tax relief.

“Governor Cuomo has spent $28 million advertising Start-Up NY and all we have is 76 jobs?” Lalor asked. “That’s over 368,000 tax dollars spent in advertising per job. There’s no way to justify that kind of waste. We already knew Start-Up NY would cost taxpayers, but now we aren’t even seeing any jobs. It was an expensive gimmick from the beginning. New York’s economy doesn’t need gimmicks. We need across-the-board tax relief for all New Yorkers. We need the kind of tax relief that doesn’t require the taxpayer to hire a lobbyist or submit an application.”

Lalor continued, “Even worse, we’re learning that the Start-Up NY jobs aren’t coming to vast swathes of New York. In the area between Albany and Brooklyn just 2 companies have been approved for Start-Up NY, pledging to create only 44 jobs in five years.  That means in Greene, Columbia, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Delaware, Rockland, Westchester, Bronx, New York, Richmond and Queens Counties, home to 8 million New Yorkers, best case scenario so far, 44 jobs will be created. For all of those tax dollars Cuomo spent on advertising, Start-Up NY is only promising 44 new jobs for 40% of the state. Even after Start-Up NY’s pathetic jobs report was revealed, Governor Cuomo is still adding to its advertising budget. That’s just wasting more money.”

“Start-Up NY was never about lifting New York’s economy, it was all gimmicky self-promotion for Cuomo. The ads are a cynical attempt to persuade New Yorkers that the state’s business climate isn’t among the worse in the nation.” Lalor added. “Cuomo scored some publicity points and a handful of people with the right connections in Albany get to benefit at the taxpayers’ expense.  We can’t keep throwing money at programs that don’t work. The results are in and Start-Up NY isn’t working. It doesn’t even offer much hope for a turnaround with the limited number of approved companies and low job promises. The legislature needs to take a second look at Start-Up NY and stop throwing good tax dollars after bad.”

Assemblyman Lalor’s bill to repeal Start-Up NY, which was originally introduced in 2013, can be found here.  He is asking his colleagues to co-sponsor the measure and make repeal of Start-Up -NY a priority in the post-budget portion of the session.

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in the NY Budget

Statement on 2015-16 Budget from Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill)

“In five years, Governor Cuomo has increased an already bloated budget by 10%. That’s $14 billion more this year than just five years ago. Florida has a larger population and half the state budget. How can we compete with that if we don’t get spending under control? This budget doesn’t do anything to make New York more job-friendly or stop the exodus of New Yorkers to other states. There are a few good things in this budget, many bad things and some downright ugly aspects. Consequently, I voted against the budget bills.”

“Those who vote “yes” on a budget are saying this is the best we can do. Voting against a budget is not voting against the positive aspects of the budget. Rather a “no” vote on a budget is a statement that we can do better. I have no doubt that we can do better.”

THE GOOD

Fixing Albany’s STAR Program Mistake
“In 2013, a number of people who bought homes between about July and November made an understandable and innocent mistake with their STAR applications and ended up without STAR for the next year. The mistake was caused by New York State not properly explaining to new homeowners new requirements. Earlier this year, I introduced a bill that would offer a rebate to these homeowners who lost their STAR exemption because of the State’s mistake. The budget includes that rebate.”

Pension Forfeiture for Crooked Politicians
“Finally, Albany is introducing a constitutional amendment that would forfeit state pensions for politicians convicted of corruption. But, we will need to pass the amendment again in 2017 and only then will it go to voters for their approval in 2018. In the meantime, I have introduced legislation that would require pension forfeiture as part of any plea deal offered to a politician charged with corruption. We don’t need a constitutional amendment to make that happen. We should move forward with this bill now.”

No “Green” Giveaway to Billionaire Donor
“We had a glimmer of hope on the crony capitalism front from the budget. The Senate dropped its attempted giveaway to billionaire donor John Catsimatidis. This would have cost New Yorkers tens of millions of dollars. Catsimatidis was lobbying for a regulation that would mandate a biofeul his company makes. He stood to reap a windfall through his new biofuel production plant. The plan would have added $150 million to the cost of heating oil across New York.”

THE BAD

Corporate Welfare and Pork
“Once again, the budget is laden with corporate welfare and pork barrel projects.   Cuomo’s own tax commission acknowledged that the Hollywood tax subsidies don’t work. Still we are giving millions to film production and have expanded it to the music and video game industries to the tune of $470 mil. per year. The Assembly sponsor admitted in debate that no cost-benefit analysis was done before we handed out another $50 million in tax credits to the music and video game industry.We already spend five times more on corporate welfare than any other state, still our unemployment rate is above the national average and our growth rate lags behind the rest of the country.  More corporate welfare isn’t going to get New York’s economy moving. Small businesses need relief, but Cuomo’s budget has them subsidizing his corporate cronies and glamorous industries.”

No Tax Relief
“There’s no sign of tax relief for ordinary New Yorkers. Yacht owners will get a hefty sales tax cut for their luxury purchases, but the rest of New York is still left with the huge tax bill. New Yorkers pay the highest taxes in the nation. Families are drowning in all of the taxes and fees. This budget doesn’t offer desperately needed tax relief.”

No Mandate Relief
“Four and a half months ago, just before Election Day, every politician in Albany was talking about mandate relief. Now, there’s no mandate relief in the budget. Once the election was over, it was back to business as usual for Albany. Unfunded mandates are the driving force behind high property taxes. We need to prove that mandate relief isn’t just election year talk.”

No Veterans Equality Act
“Governor Cuomo waited until after Election Day last year to veto the Veterans Equality Act. It had been passed with nearly unanimous support, but Cuomo claimed he vetoed the bill because it should have been in the budget. He wasn’t being straight with us. The governor didn’t include the Veterans Equality Act in his own budget proposal and it isn’t in the final budget. We should have honored our veterans with this bill.”

Weak Ethics Reform
“We heard a lot of big talk from Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders on ethics reform, but, once again, they didn’t deliver. We don’t have term limits, though a supermajority of New Yorkers want them. We didn’t even get term limits for legislative leaders. The LLC fundraising loophole remains in place. The per diem reform is tepid at best, with no requirement for receipts. Legislators can still exploit the system to pay their mortgages or pocket the balance of the $172 per day they don’t spend. In the wake of the indictment of former speaker Sheldon Silver, we missed an historic opportunity to fundamentally change Albany.”

No Fixes to Crushing Medicaid Spending
“Medicaid eats up a quarter of the budget. New York is one of the few states that gives Medicaid to non-citizens, which costs twice as much as providing Medicaid for citizens because the federal government doesn’t provide a dollar-for-dollar match for non-citizens. New York’s Medicaid program costs more than Florida and Texas combined. Meanwhile, when middle-class New Yorkers who have paid into the system their whole lives have major health issues, New York tells them to take a walk because they own a home or managed to save a few bucks over the years. A budget that doesn’t address Medicaid is, by definition, inadequate.”

Education
“The education budget bill is called the Education Transformation Act of 2015, but it transforms nothing. It is an abdication of responsibility by the Legislature. The budget empowers the unelected Board of Regents and the interim Education Commissioner to determine the controversial teacher’s evaluation system. The decision over whether so much emphasis should be put on standardized tests was also outsourced to the Board of Regents, rather than by elected representatives who, like me, overwhelmingly oppose the hyper-focus on standardized tests. While every institution in all fields should strive to improve, most schools in our state are performing. The teachers and public schools in my district are quite good. Still this budget’s one-size-fits-all approach holds up education funding increases for good schools until the districts jump through hoops because schools in other parts of the state have problems. This doesn’t make sense. This budget also misses the opportunity to incentivize, through a tax credit, charitable contributions of $50 million per year to public schools and $50 million per year to parochial schools and other non-public schools.”

“Finally, a quarter of the budget is dedicated to education. Education is possibly the most important aspect of the state budget. Yet the material education portions of the budget were released yesterday, debated and voted on last night with almost no opportunity for lawmakers to speak with education officials in our districts or consult with other experts. This is no way to make decisions and it is an affront to democracy.”

SAFE Act
“Again Albany is throwing good money at bad policies with funding for the SAFE Act, which punishes the law-abiding gun owner and does nothing to get guns out of the hands of criminals. I continue to support full repeal of the SAFE Act and oppose funding the instrumentalities of SAFE Act enforcement and registration.”

THE UGLY

Legislative Pay Raise Commission
“The budget authorizes a panel to give legislative pay raises so legislators won’t have to risk an ugly vote to give themselves more money. It takes away accountability and transparency and it’s constitutionally dubious.”

Deeply-Flawed Process
“A budget that is decided by four men behind closed doors is a disservice to the public. There is not one voice in the budget room from north of White Plains. How can this process possibly represent New York? At a minimum, the Senate and Assembly minority leaders should be included in the budget process to increase transparency.”

“Worse, Governor Cuomo used a message of necessity, overriding the state constitutional provision that requires three days for legislators to review bills. The budget rams through billions of dollars in spending without adequate time to review it, speak with constituents or get input from experts.”

 

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Dear Friends,

Elections are won during the off year. That’s why we are already executing our plan for victory in 2016.

 

Some well-known local liberals are considering challenging me in 2016. They correctly believe that 2016, a presidential year, will be a good one for Democrats. In short, they think a Democrat wave might allow them to achieve victory here in the Fighting 105th Assembly District. We are already building a war chest to ensure we have the resources to get our message out and fight off the inevitable attacks.

 

Our goal is to raise $2016 by the midnight tomorrow, the end of the First Quarter of the year.

 

Your immediate contribution will help us achieve that goal.

 

We will keep fighting the good fight in Albany but we are starting early and we will be relentless. Whether it is $10, $25, $50, $100 or some other amount, every dollar will help us keep up with the latest campaign tactics and technologies so we can keep our edge. Contribute now and help us reach our goal of raising $2016 by midnight tomorrow.

 

Best,

Kieran

 

ICYMI:
The New York Post highlights one of my reform bills here.

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My Op-Ed in the Albany Times Union and Capital Tonight interview supporting the Veterans Equality Act here and here.

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Discussing political correctness run amok including the Cornell administrator who would welcome ISIS to campus, the public school in Orange County that said the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic and the school in Lexington, MA that initially cancelled an “American Pride” themed dance because it might be offensive.

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My New York Post op-ed laying out game-changing ethics reforms to clean up Albany.

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Riverfront Art Gallery

Yonkers Riverfront Library (4th Floor)

1 Larkin Center

Yonkers, NY 10701

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

“In and Out of the Can” by artist Howard Better

Opening Reception and Artist Talk: April 9th 2015 at 5:30pm to 8pm

 

The Riverfront Art Gallery (located at the Yonkers Riverfront Library) presents for the month of April, Howard Better and his exhibit “In and Out of the Can” featuring thousands of 3-D can collage sculptures. Influenced by Better’s many years as a filmmaker and sourced from the artist’s collection of vintage comics, magazines, and newspapers; the exhibit evokes a contrast and conversation between mass-production and individuality. The series is hung from the ceiling with an accompanying pathway, creating an ethereal and film-like sequence of stories to view.

Second Saturday Arts

April 11th 2015 at 10:30am to 12:30am

 

Participants inspired by the exhibit will create their own 3-D can collage art based on personal stories and their place in the community using recycled cans and papers. To register, contact us at RiverfrontArtGallery@gmail.com with your name and number of participants.  There will be a $5 SUGGESTED donation for each participant.

 

STATEMENT FROM A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ON SALE OF PRIVATE CUSTOMER DATA BY RADIO SHACK.

Reports Suggest Company May Auction Private Customer Data As Part Of Bankruptcy Sale.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today released the following statement in response to reports that Radio Shack may sell private customer data as part of its bankruptcy sale. The company’s privacy policy says that the company will not sell or rent personal information.

“When a company collects private customer data on the condition that it will not be resold, it is the company’s responsibility to uphold their end of the bargain,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to monitor Radio Shack’s bankruptcy sale and whether it includes auctioning off private customer data. We are committed to taking appropriate action to protect New York consumers.”

As Radio Shack faces a bankruptcy sale, reports suggest the company may attempt to sell customer data. The company’s privacy policy currently states that:

•    “We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time.

•    We will not use any personal information beyond what is necessary to assist us in delivering to you the services you have requested.

•    We may send personally identifiable information about you to other organizations when: We have your consent to share the information (you will be provided the opportunity to opt-out if you desire).”  – RadioShack Privacy Policy, 3/25/2015

CHIAROSCURO GROUP TO STATE ASSEMBLY: PROVE YOU CARE ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTH; PASS CLINIC INSPECTION BILL.

 

New York–March 26…New York State Assembly Members supporting a late term abortion expansion bill in the name of “women’s health,” should prove that they’re genuinely concerned about the health of women by passing legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) that would require regular Health Department inspections of New York State abortion clinics.

 

The New York Post reported last year that many New York clinics haven’t been inspected in more than a dozen years. Those that were inspected had serious sanitary violations.

 

“The health of women is being put at unnecessary risk every day and we ask that State Assembly Members — pro-choice and pro-life — act to address the issue,” said Chiaroscuro Group spokesman Greg Pfundstein.  “Nail salons and restaurants are regularly inspected, but not women’s medical facilities?  How is that possible?”

 

Chiaroscuro unveiled user reviews from some of New York’s clinics in a radio campaign last month.  The spots can be heard here, here, and here.

 

“We have raised a red flag over New York State,” Mr. Pfundstein continued. “We are alerting state legislators that a serious health oversight is occurring.  But will the Assembly act on it?”

Lalor: Viacom Lays Off NY Employees While Taking Tax Dollars

East Fishkill, NY – (3/24/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is again calling on the legislature and Governor Cuomo to end the $420 million in yearly tax subsidies for Hollywood after Viacom announced it is cutting 264 employees in New York. Viacom received about $340,000 in tax credits for TV production in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone. The state has yet to release full details on all of the tax credits issued. The limited information made available by the Cuomo administration does not include films produced by Viacom subsidiary Paramount Pictures that likely run the tax subsidy total well into the millions.

“Subsidizing Hollywood with tax dollars is bad policy,” said Lalor. “Sony cut 264 permanent well-paying jobs. The jobs ‘created’ with the Hollywood tax credit are often part-time jobs. Sometimes Governor Cuomo even touts the extras hired by films as jobs ‘created’. Even worse, Viacom buys influence and these subsidies through large campaign contributions. Viacom’s CEO is one of Governor Cuomo’s top donors. Cuomo’s corporate welfare for his friends isn’t creating jobs. We need across-the-board tax cuts for all New Yorkers, including the ones who aren’t at the top of Cuomo’s donor list.”

In 2013, Governor Cuomo’s own tax reform commission acknowledged that the Hollywood tax credits are not working. Cuomo’s commission reported, “The film production credit, now generally 30 percent of qualifying costs, is large relative to industry profits and tax liability. Because the credit exceeds tax liability many times over and is refundable, in effect it is a program of cash payments by the state to credit recipients… It is not clear from our analysis that there is sufficient justification for the size of the film credits. The state should consider scaling back the credits and monitoring the film industry closely to determine the impact on its activities of such a cutback.”

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

Statement by Chiaroscuro Group Spokesman Greg Pfundstein

March 16, 2015

“Today’s Assembly vote is a major victory for moderation and common sense in New York, and I commend Speaker Heastie’s leadership in recognizing that an abortion expansion bill is the last thing New York needs. I also congratulate Senator Dean Skelos for his steadfast courage in opposing the late term abortion expansion provision of the Women’s Equality Act.  That bill would have set up two types of abortion services in New York: One with doctors for women of means and one with non-doctors for poor, mostly minority women.  It was a bad and dangerous bill, and we are relieved to learn that reason can prevail in Albany.”

Lalor Renews Call For Assembly to Pass Consecutive Sentencing Bill After Bard College Killer Sentencing

East Fishkill, NY – (2/25/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is renewing his call for the Assembly to pass legislation that would toughen sentencing for multiple homicides after the driver who killed two Bard College students received a concurrent sentence for the two deaths Currently, the law does not allow judges the discretion to deliver consecutive sentencing for multiple homicides caused by one act. Lalor’s legislation passed the Senate last year, but died in the Assembly. It has been reintroduced in the new session.

“We need to give judges the flexibility to issue a punishment that fits the crime,” said Lalor. “This bill will help to ensure that the extent of a defendant’s sentence will directly and appropriately relate to the amount of suffering caused to victims, their families and society. When a killer takes two lives, the sentence should be greater. The law ties judges’ hands now. We need to give judges discretion to mete out the appropriate punishments.”

Lalor originally introduced the legislation in 2014 after being contacted by the families of Shawn and Patricia Wonderly. The Wonderly family, along with other members of the community, presented the idea for this legislation after a personal tragedy. On August 1, 2012, Ryan Floryan ran a red light at the Eastbound Arterial and Worrall Avenue in the City of Poughkeepsie and slammed into a car carrying Shawn and Patricia Wonderly of the City of Poughkeepsie, killing the couple.

In 2013, Floryan pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree manslaughter. He is serving six-and-a-half to thirteen years in prison.  Under current law, Dutchess County Court Judge Stephen Greller could not impose a stricter sentence, though he believed a much stricter sentence was appropriate, as the sentencing for the two separate manslaughter charges must run concurrently since they were caused by one act. During court proceedings, Floryan admitted that he was driving at an excessive speed to avoid City of Poughkeepsie police because he was on parole violation.

Yesterday, Carol Boeck pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide in the deaths of two Bard College students, Sarah McCausland and Evelina Brown. Boeck was drunk and three times over the legal limit when she struck and killed the students on Route 9 last year. The same law that gave Floryan a light sentence also prevented the Boeck judge from delivering consecutive sentences.

Lalor added, “Both killers acted with a shocking disregard for the lives around them. They each took two lives and tore holes into their victims’ families. Right now, the law isn’t delivering justice for those families. It needs to change and the Assembly needs to move to pass this bill.”

###

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

Lalor Asks Attorney General to Investigate Road Salt Deliverers Defrauding Towns

East Fishkill, NY – (2/23/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is asking New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate reports that municipalities are being defrauded on road salt deliveries by delivery trucks. Several constituents have expressed concern to Lalor that delivery trucks are shorting towns on road salt deliveries and selling the surplus to private users on the side. Morton Salt has the contract with the New York State Office of General Services to provide road salt to municipalities in parts of New York, including Dutchess County. Towns across New York have experienced significant road salt shortages this winter.

“Given the ongoing problems with municipal road salt deliveries and the public safety issues caused by unsafe roads without enough salt, this potential fraud needs to be addressed,” said Lalor. “I’m asking the attorney general for a public and well-publicized investigation to put potential fraudulent delivery drivers on notice that this cannot continue.”

Lalor’s letter to Attorney General Schneiderman is available here.

“There is no excuse for the long delays in delivering road salt to towns across Dutchess County and the rest of New York,” Lalor continued. “If Morton Salt wanted the contract with New York State, it should have been prepared to deliver, whatever the weather circumstances might be. It’s winter and they should have been prepared to make the deliveries. It’s a serious safety issue when these deliveries aren’t coming in. We need a plan from Morton Salt on how they’re going to catch up on deliveries. If they can’t deliver on this contract to keep our roads safe, New York needs to review the status of this contract for next year. I plan to work with local and state officials to review what happened this year and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Lalor added, “The Office of General Services needs to explore every possible solution to deliver the salt on time for the rest of the winter, whether that means bringing in the National Guard to make the deliveries or finding trucks across the country to do the job.”

###

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

Democrat Assemblyman Demands Silver Step Down. Call Assembly Democrats Still Supporting Silver, Find Out Why.

Dear Friends,

Finally, some Assembly Democrats are starting to call on Sheldon Silver to resign. Assemblyman Keith Wright, the former co-chair of the New York State Democratic Party, is demanding that Silver step down. But, the vast majority, including many of our Hudson Valley representatives, are sticking with Silver. Why are Assembly Democrats Didi Barrett, Kevin Cahill and James Skoufis standing by Silver?

It’s a good question. Give their offices a call and ask how they can still stand by their crooked leader.

Didi Barrett: 845-454-1703 or BarrettD@assembly.state.ny.us
Kevin Cahill: 845-338-9610 or CahillK@assembly.state.ny.us
James Skoufis: 845-469-6929 or SkoufisJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Call our Hudson Valley representatives and find out why they’re tolerating Silver’s corruption.

Kieran

###

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..

Hello my friend, I hope the new year is treating you well.

Now that Congressman Charlie Rangel has begun his last term, it’s time to begin the journey to replace him.  The 13th Congressional District covers most of Northern Manhattan and parts of the Northwest Bronx.  It has been represented by two legendary figures:  my father, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (who created the seat and became the first African American Congressman from NY 1944-1970) and Charles B. Rangel (1970-Present).  We need a progressive voice to preserve the rich history of these last 70 years.  I intend to run for that seat.
This is not an exploratory committee;  I’ve been exploring this district for over 20 years.  It’s time to run.  I know this congressional district as well as anyone.  From El Barrio to Harlem to Washington Heights & Inwood to the Bronx, I’ve represented various parts of this district in the City Council and in the State Assembly.  Most of the leaders in these various neighborhoods are people I know and have worked with throughout the years.  I hope you pray for me and join me in this exciting journey.
All the best,
ADAM

Statement from Greg Pfundstein, President, Chiaroscuro Foundation. 

January 16, 2015
Manilla, Philippines
“I commend Senator Diane Savino for calling on the New York State Assembly to move past the stalemate on critical legislation protecting the rights of women in New York.
“I’ve just spent a week in the Philippines with the Blas Ople Policy Center, with which the Chiaroscuro Foundation has partnered to combat human trafficking in the Philippines. We met with Filipino victims of trafficking who were subject to human rights abuses throughout the Middle East and Africa.
“Where we all agree, let us act: human trafficking victims deserve protection and support in New York State and around the world. I couldn’t agree with Senator Savino more: they can wait no longer.”

Source: Mount Vernon Exposed.

CRIMINAL MAYOR ERNIE DAVIS AND MVPD OFFICIALS LIE TO PUBLIC ABOUT RECENT MURDER; MAYOR DAVIS ORDER BUILDING CHIEF TO ISSUE ILLEGAL CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY

CRIMINAL MAYOR ERNIE DAVIS AND MVPD OFFICIALS LIE TO PUBLIC ABOUT RECENT MURDER; MAYOR DAVIS ORDER BUILDING CHIEF TO ISSUE ILLEGAL CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY


Criminal Mayor Ernie Davis and corrupt Building Commissioner Mark Warren should be indicted and prosecuted for murder for the two young men that were gunned downed on the streets of Mount Vernon several nights ago.

In typical fashion, Mayor Davis did not release information to the public immediately.  Mayor Davis did not inform the public that the shooting incident began at Sue’s Rendezvous, an illegal strip club operating in the City of Mount Vernon.

Mayor Davis and the Mount Vernon Police Department told the public, only after it was leaked, that the men had been shot prior to their BMW 650i convertible flipped over.  Mayor Davis failed to inform the public that prior to the car crash, the men were chased through the streets of Mount Vernon.   According to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation, speeds exceed 100 MPH.

Mayor Davis wants the public to believe that the two men were shot by a third passenger and then jumped out of the car, that was traveling at a high rate of speed, before crashing and flipping over.  Mayor Davis wants the public to believe that this murder was something we would see in a “Die Hard” movie.  Mayor Davis and his band of criminals running the MVPD came up this theory to protect his friend and long time financial donor Gaetano “Tony” Gizzo of the troubled adult establishment.

Sue’s Rendezvous has been the scene of several violent stabbings, shootings, and even homicides.  Despite all of these acts, Mayor Ernie Davis has instructed the Mount Vernon Police Department not to report these incidents to the New York State Liquor Authority.

The families of these victims may be entitled to compensation in the millions because of these egregious acts by Mount Vernon City Officials.  Mount Vernon Department of Buildings Commissioner Mark Warren on orders from Mayor Davis, illegally issued a certificate of occupancy to the troubled adult establishment.

Former City Councilmember and current County Legislator Lyndon Williams put legislation in place, while he was on the Mount Vernon City Council, to prohibit Sue’s Rendezvous from expanding.  At the time, Sue’s Rendezvous wanted to make “the entire” Gramatan Avenue an entire red light district and Mayor Ernie Davis was all for it.

The expansion of Sue’s Rendezvous should have never occurred and most importantly should have never received a certificate of occupancy to operate.

In 2010, The Mount Vernon City Council filed an Article 78 in New York State Supreme Court challenging the Mount Vernon Zoning Board Appeals decision to grant Sue’s Rendezvous aka Veronica Realty to expand it’s non conforming use. The courts decided in favor of the Mount Vernon City Council and against Veronica Realty, aka Sue’s Rendezvous.

For reasons unknown, Mount Vernon Building Commissioner Mark Warren issued a building permit for Sue’s Rendezvous aka Veronica Realty at the urging of Mayor Ernie Davis. The proprietors of Sue’s Rendezvous have given generous donations to Mayor Davis over the years and Mayor Davis uses without hesitation, another facility owned by the same proprietors. That facility is called the Surf Club located in New Rochelle, NY. Mayor Davis held several fundraisers there and even had his inaugural ball and introduced the proprietor of Sue’s Rendezvous as a generous campaign supporter and “businessman of the year”.  According to the New York State Board of Elections, Mount Vernon pols have spent a whopping $103, 621.73 at the Surf Club over the past few years.

Mayor Davis always instructs Commissioner Mark Warren to break the rules when it comes to Veronica Realty, Sue’s Rendezvous and other properties and/or entities controlled by them.  Fearful of losing his job and ending up on the unemployment line, Commissioner Warren always falls in line to Mayor Davis’ commands while the general welfare of the public is put at risk.

A backflow prevention device is not present at this location as required by New York State and Westchester County Department of Health law. According to a temporary Certificate of Occupancy 12991-12 dated December 11, 2012 signed by Mark Warren, a condition that was required so that a permanent Certificate of Occupancy can be issued was a sign off by the Mount Vernon Water Department. The sign off from the water department would have indicated that an approved backflow prevention device was installed at the location.

Sources have told Mount Vernon Exposed that Marianne Vogel, the Superintendent of the Mount Vernon Water Department was called into Mayor Ernie Davis’ office and was asked why she wouldn’t sign off on the Certificate of Occupancy. Vogel, a civil service employee, was threatened by Mayor Davis that if she didn’t sign the certificate of occupancy, the Mayor would work with the City Council to privatize the water supply in the City of Mount Vernon, therefore rendering he unemployed and out of a job.

On January 28, 2013 Commissioner Mark Warren issued a final Certificate of Occupancy for Veronica Realty aka Sue’s Rendezvous that superseded the temporary Certificate of Occupancy issued of December 11, 2012. The condition of water department sign off has still not been met.

The Certificate of Occupancy/Tenancy must be signed off on by certain key personnel in the City of Mount Vernon. The building inspector, plumbing superintendent, and the water department did not sign off on the Certificate of Occupancy even through Mark Warren issued Veronica Realty aka Sue’s Rendezvous a final and superseding Certificate of Occupancy. Joe Pemberton, who was employed as a draftsman for Mayor Ernie Davis while he was a private architect, was the lone signer for the Mount Vernon Department of Public works. Pemberton is not a licensed Civil Engineer nor does he have a formal training or certifications that would make him eligible to sign off on such Certificate of Occupancies.

In light of the foregoing, a complaint was filed with the Mount Vernon Building Department for the violations and the inspector was given orders not to write a violation or shut down this establishment because ” they are generous friends” of the Mayor.

TO BE CONTINUED…


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SOURCE: FEDS PROBING SENATOR RUTH HASSELL-THOMPSON’S MEMBER ITEM SPENDING AND BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH MOUNT VERNON BUSINESSMAN

SOURCE: FEDS PROBING SENATOR RUTH HASSELL-THOMPSON’S MEMBER ITEM SPENDING AND BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH MOUNT VERNON BUSINESSMAN


A political insider has informed Mount Vernon Exposed that Ruth Hassell Thompson is under investigation after a whistleblower in the New York State legislature tipped off federal authorities about several questionable “earmarks” or pork spending that went to various projects in her Senatorial district.  The source said officials are looking into possible kickbacks and other unusual “quid pro quo” arrangements that would enrich the Senator politically or financially.  The embattled Senator was  already under scrutiny after it was revealed Senator Thompson was caught on federal wiretaps after former Senator Shirley Hunt agreed to cooperate with the Feds in exchanged for a reduced sentence.  Thompson was targeted after Hunt revealed to federal authorities she knew of corruption in the Senate involving Senator Thompson.

One such ‘earmark’ under scrutiny is 110 N. Third Avenue, the location of which the Senator’s daughter Helene is employed.  Helene’s employer is Robert DeBenedictis, the buildings property manager of record and also the Senator’s home improvement contractor of record.  The Senator came under fire recently when it was reported previously the Senator dodged several city approvals when DeBenedictis installed the Senator’s roof without a permit and approval from the City’s architectural review board.  Architectural review board approval was needed because the Senator changed from a slate to an asphalt roof, which is currently prohibited under city statute.  Mount Vernon Department of Buildings records indicate that the permit fee still has not been paid nor has a permit been applied for despite public outcry and residents speaking up at recent City Council meetings.  Senator Thompson has said publicly that her contract with DeBenedictis called for DeBenedictis to pay all filing fees and ensure that all permits and approvals for city agencies were obtained. If this was any other taxpayer a Violation/Summons would have been issued to the property owner immediately and the fines would have been issued and paid.

Authorities are also said to be looking into whether the Senator overinflated earmarks to the Third Avenue project that would come back to her in the form of campaign contributions and “in-kind” donations.

Critics have also fired at the Senator alleging that there is no contract in place between DeBenedictis and the Senator and that the installation of the roof was part of a much bigger arrangement in place between DeBenedictis and Senator Thompson.  The hiring of the Senator’s daughter Helene by DeBenedictis is also part of the deal and in exchange, the Senator would name DeBenedictis Commissioner of Police if elected as Mayor.

The source said that officials are already into the “business relationship” between the Senator and DeBenedictis.  Sources have confirmed sightings with DeBenedictis and the Senator walking through Fleetwood seeking out campaign space before finally agreeing to set up shop at 565 Gramatan Avenue, right in the heart of Fleetwood.  Property records list the owner as 557 Gramatan Realty, LLC with offices located at 555 Fifth Avenue in midtown. Records indicate that the property was sold to the current owner for $5,000,000 in 2012.  The source said DeBenedictis helped secure the prime location for the cash strapped Senator who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the $50 per square rent, which is equivalent to $6,000 per month for the size of space being used the Senator’s campaign.

Friends of Ruth Hassell-Thompson has filed a “no activity” off cycle report with the New York State Board of Elections regarding her financial activities pertaining to the Senator’s mayoral campaign.  Members of the public will have to wait until July to see the Senator’s warchest.  The Committee to Elect Ruth Thompson, another campaign committee controlled by Thompson, reported $59, 380.09 on hand during their last filing with the State Board of Election in January 2015.  Members of the public will also get to see how much the Senator is actually paying for her prime real estate in the heart of Fleetwood.

To be continued……….

CORRUPT EX-DUPUTY COUNTY EXECUTIVE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING WESTCHESTER COUNTY THE HIGHEST TAXED COUNTY IN AMERICA LANDS $160K COURT JOB COURTESTY OF ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE ALAN SCHEINKMANWITH CORRUPTION EVERYONE PAYS
Thursday, February 3, 2011
http://mountvernon2day.com

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Visit www.mountvernon2day.com to read the full story……

02/11
© 2011 Mount Vernon Exposed

 

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:

Green Tip of the Week: Save Energy in Your Home While You’re on Vacation >> It’s finally summer time and we all know what that means: summer vacation! To help you save some energy and money when you leave town, we have a few more items for you to add to your travel checklist. (NYLCVEF)

Southern Pine Beetles on the Move >> The southern pine beetle, native to the southeastern United States, has been expanding up the Eastern Seaboard and they are now causing massive destruction to pine trees in Long Island. Changes in climate are the likely cause of this migration. (NYLCV)

Cuomo Releases New York State Energy Plan >> We’re pleased to see New York State set ambitious goals for the next 15 years in it’s 2015 energy plan. They include cutting statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels, 50 percent of statewide electricity generation to come from renewable energy, and more. (NYLCV)

News roundup:

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed a local version of the Toxic Toys Act last week, making Suffolk the largest county in New York to do so. (WABC)

NYLCVEF convened experts and stakeholders last week to discuss technological solutions to Long Island’s nitrogen pollution crisis and to discuss ways to pay for the fixes. (Newsday) (East End Beacon)

WNYC held a roundtable on modern farming, looking at the difficulties and joys of getting into farming in New York State, and how produce gets from the farm to our NYC green markets. The segment included NYLCV partner organization Scenic Hudson. (WNYC)

Without a new capital plan, many MTA projects like countdown clocks and new fare collection technology are slated to be scrapped or postponed for years. (NBC)

LED streetlights continue to be installed throughout New York State. The first of 7,000 LED streetlight bulbs came to Binghamton this week. (Press Connects)

A new playground in the Bronx has more than just the usual basketball nets and table games. It also has robust green infrastructure incorporated underneath to help soak up storm water to prevent overflows at wastewater treatment plants when it rains. (New York Times)

Recycling comes to Buffalo’s waterfront with the introduction of recycling bins near the canal. Buffalo’s current recycling rate is less than half the national average. (Investigative Post)

Chinese billionaire and co-founder of the company Alibaba has purchased 28,100 acres in the Adirondacks for conservation purposes. (The Wall Street Journal)

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

Your end of session messages worked! The Young Farmers Bill passed through the Senate and now goes to Governor Cuomo to be signed into law. Make sure he knows this should be at the top of his pile when it lands on his desk by writing to him in support of this bill.The Young Farmers Bill will create an inventory of state-owned land that could be used for agriculture. That way, these lands can be made available to young farmers, which will significantly reduce their start-up costs.

Farms are crucial to the health and economy of New York State. As the farming population ages, we need to help the next generation of farmers continue to grow fresh, local produce to be sold in markets and grocery stores around the state. This effort will also have the added benefit of conserving open lands from development and protecting wildlife such as birds, bees, and butterflies.

Everyone in every corner of New York State relies on our farms. Tell Governor Cuomo to give farmers and our land a boost by signing the bill!

Support the next generation of farmers by writing to Governor Cuomo today! Let’s get this bill signed into law! >>

A lot of resources go into starting a farm, and many young New Yorkers who want to get into farming can’t because they don’t have the money. The Young Farmers Bill will help them get started. This is especially important as the current population of farmers continues to age. In addition to helping the next generation of farmers, this bill will also protect wildlife and migratory birds by conserving land.

The Farmland for Young Farmers bill is good for New York’s environment, economy, and future. Tell Governor Cuomo to sign the bill!

Get the Young Farmers Bill over the finish line by telling Governor Cuomo to sign this bill into law! New York needs it’s farms! >>

Thank you!New York League of Conservation Voters

www.facebook.com/nylcv
www.twitter.com/nylcv

Despite yesterday’s deadline, lawmakers are still at work trying to hammer out last minute bill negotiations. With this extra time, we have a great opportunity to score more wins for the environment this session, but we need our membership behind us. That’s why a generous donor has offered to triple match all donations for new members. Become an NYLCV Member before midnight tonight!Over the past couple of months, New Yorkers have demanded action on toxic chemicals in children’s toys, more renewable energy choices, and support for young farmers. Now is the time to make sure these bills get over the finish line. Help us meet our membership goal, and you’ll send a strong message to lawmakers that we will not let critical environmental issues get kicked down the road. Become an NYLCV Member during our triple match right now!Overtime! Become an NYLCV Member during today’s triple match and your donation will go even further for the environment! >>

This is it. This is what we’ve been working towards all yearWe can’t lose the momentum now during the crucial final negotiations which is why we need more NYLCV Members joining us today.

During the triple match campaign, your money will go three times as far towards our efforts to making New York cleaner and greener. Even if you give just $5, the triple match will turn it into $15 going to making sure lawmakers listen when we tell them the environment can’t keep being ignored. 

It’s down to the wire. Make sure our next email to you is filled with environmental wins by becoming a member during the triple match campaign.

Become a member for just $5 during the TRIPLE MATCH until midnight tonight. Your NYLCV Membership will support the environment all year long! >>

Thanks for your support,

 Susan Torres, Membership Manager
New York League of Conservation Voters

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www.twitter.com/nylcv

Are lawmakers paying enough attention to New York’s environment? I’m up in Albany right now making sure they are. This is our last chance to make a difference on our top three environmental priorities before session ends tomorrow. We need all our members to stand with us.We’re halfway to our goal of getting 250 new members to join us during last minute negotiations. If you contribute right now and help us hit our goal, you’ll be joining conservation voters around the state to send a strong message that clean energy, local farmland, and safe children’s products are important to New Yorkers. We can’t wait another year to make progress on these crucial environmental issues, join us today!  This is it! The legislative session ends tomorrow and we need the support of our members to get our bills over the finish line. Join NYLCV now and stand up for a cleaner, greener New York! >>

Delfim, here’s what is on the line:

  • Renewable, clean energy for all New Yorkers: The Shared Renewables bill will give New Yorkers more flexibility in their energy choices by allowing residents to buy into renewable energy projects in their neighborhood. This will help give clean energy a boost throughout the state and allow consumers to save money.
  • Supporting young farmers: The Young Farmers Bill will go a long way in protecting our local foodshed and giving new, ambitious farmers the opportunity to get their farm off the ground. It’s good for conservation, small farms, and the economy. Basically, it’s good for New York.
  • Child Safe Products Act: Right now toys on the shelves across New York contain mercury, arsenic, and more dangerous chemicals that children are using every day. The Child Safe Products Act will eliminate the most dangerous chemicals present in children’s toys and products from stores in New York and make our children safer and healthier.

These are our priorities. This is why we need you. Become an NYLCV Member right now while we’re making our last stand on these important environmental bills.

We need 250 new members before session ends tomorrow! Join us today and you’ll be investing in the environment all year! >>

Thanks for your support,

Christopher Goeken, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations
New York League of Conservation Voters

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Last minute negotiations are going on right now to get the Child Safe Products Act through the state legislature. We know we’re close to winning because the chemical and toy industry is getting nervous. Earlier this week, the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association (JPMA) a national trade organization representing 95 percent of the prenatal and preschool industry, sent an email to it’s members telling them to oppose the bill.That’s right — this group wants to make sure it’s members can continue to put toxic chemicals in cribs, play mats, toys, and other products infants and toddlers use on a daily basis. As an organization that represents companies making products for infants and pregnant moms, they should be at the forefront of making sure these items are safe, not fighting us at the finish line. Write to them today and tell them there’s no place for dangerous chemicals and heavy metals in infant and children’s products.Toys and products sold for infants and babies should be safe — period. Tell the JPMA to stop fighting the Child Safe Products Act today!  >>

The Child Safe Products Act is a common-sense bill that will eliminate the most dangerous chemicals and heavy metals from children’s toys and products currently present on the shelves in stores across New York State. And despite what lobbyists might be saying, this bill will not hurt business.

Whether this bill passes or not, businesses will be fine — but the same cannot be said for our children. The chemicals we’ve found present in these products are known carcinogens and can lead to cognitive impairments and other serious health problems. This can’t continue. Tell the JPMA to stop fighting the Child Safe Products Act today!

Don’t let JPMA kill the Child Safe Products Act in the final hour! Tell them to fight for children’s health, not fight against it! >>

Thank you!New York League of Conservation Voters

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Renewable energy is the future and New Yorkers have made it clear that they want to take the lead on creating a smart, modern energy grid. Last week, passionate citizens like you sent hundreds of messages to state lawmakers urging them to support the Shared Renewables Bill. It will allow New Yorkers to invest in clean energy — such as rooftop solar panels on your neighbor’s home — and receive credits on their energy bills in return. You got their attention, now NYLCV staff is up in Albany trying to get this bill over the finish line in the last 6 days of session.Today we need you to take the next step for renewable energy in New York by becoming an NYLCV Member. If we get 250 new members in the next 6 days we’ll have the support we need to get a crucial win on this groundbreaking bill to give New Yorkers more choices to power their homes and save money in the process. Giving New Yorkers across the state more access to solar and wind energy is a huge win for the economy, for the environment, and consumers. Invest in New York’s clean energy future by joining us today.  Delfim, your NYLCV Membership will go directly towards our clean energy fight. Join us today and make New York’s future bright with more solar power! >>

The size of our membership makes a huge difference during these last minute legislative battles. Lawmakers can’t ignore thousands of New Yorkers standing up and telling them the environment matters. That’s why we need you to join us today. Our membership is growing, but we need you with us for what’s ahead. 

New York can’t keep putting off investing in new, renewable energy options. By becoming an NYLCV member, you’ll be sending a powerful message to lawmakers that the Shared Renewables Bill needs to be a top priority from now until the end of session. Make sure you’re a part of this fight.

We need 250 new members before session ends in just 6 days! Join us today and you’ll be investing in renewable energy for all! >>

Thanks for your support,

 Susan Torres, Membership Manager
New York League of Conservation Voters

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A strong membership is the backbone of our organization. Whether writing to lawmakers, attending a debate or forum, or calling in support of an issue, our members always keep our work going when it’s most important.We’re at one of those important moments again. The legislative session ends in just 8 days and we still have a lot of work to do if we want to get our legislative priorities over the finish line. By becoming a member today, you’ll give us the ammo we need to fight for young farmers so we can conserve land and protect our foodshed, get the Child Safe Products Act over the finish line, and make renewable energy more accessible for all New Yorkers. We need at least 250 members to join us this week to make sure we can continue to stand up for the environmental issues you care about.   

Become an NYLCV Member today for just $5 and you’ll be standing up for the environment during crucial last minute negotiations. Help us get our priorities passed THIS YEAR — join today! >>

Our staff is working with environmental organizations and lawmakers from across the state to make sure the Young Farmers Bill, the Child Safe Products Act, and the Shared Renewables Bill are getting the attention they deserve. Last week, hundreds of NYLCV Members took action and told the governor and lawmakers to take action. It’s working, but to keep the fight going we need our membership to be even stronger

Now is the best time to become a member because you’ll be sending a powerful message that the environment matters and that New York can do better. We have the momentum, all we need is you. Join us today.

Invest in the environment by becoming an NYLCV Member! The best time to support New York’s environment is right now during last minute bill negotiations — even $5 can help! >>

Thanks for your support,

Marcia Bystryn, President
New York League of Conservation Voters

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Here are your top environmental stories for the week:NYLCV’s Top Environmental Priorities for the End of Session >>The 2015 legislative session ends on June 17th which means we’ll be working around the clock to get important environmental issues passed. Click the link to learn more about the issues we’re fighting on this session and find out how they’re doing. We’re also asking our members to join the fight. Visit our action center to email Governor Cuomo and your state legislators about toxic toys, shared renewable energy, farmland for young farmers, and the MTA capital plan before it’s too late!

Proposal to Boost Renewable Energy in New York State >> The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority released an exciting proposal this week to put $1.5 billion towards increasing renewable energy projects throughout the state. Diversifying energy sources to include renewables such as offshore wind farms or massive solar arrays will not only result in the the obvious environmental benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it will benefit residents and businesses as well by reducing price volatility and creating new economic development opportunities and jobs.

New York City Releases Update on Organic Waste Collection Pilot >> The New York City Department of Sanitation has reported incremental increases in it’s organic pilot collection program. This is a great first step in getting closer to the city’s goal of diverting 75 percent of it’s waste away from landfills. From October 2014 to April 2015, DSNY collected over 3,300 tons of material from residential buildings, doubling the total tonnage collected to date in the residential pilot program.

News roundup:

In a unanimous vote, the Suffolk County legislature becomes the third in New York State to ban the sale of toxic toys to children. A similar state-wide measure is currently stalled in the state Senate. (Newsday) 

Several electric vehicle charging stations will appear on entrances to the New York State Thruway as early as this summer. (Lohud)

A fight is brewing over National Grid and other utilities’ use of PCP, a highly toxic pesticide, in backyard utility poles on Long Island and across the state. Over 90 nations recently voted to ban the chemical, but the U.S. is not bound by that vote. (Syracuse.com)

Letter: Syracuse University and the National Institutes of Health are conducting a new study to examine the effect of lead and other toxicants on children’s cardiovascular health. (Post-Standard)

The folks at CityLab are out with a cool 2-minute video illustrating 210 years of Manhattan densification. (The Atlantic)

Scientists warn that a “big stick” is needed to persuade countries to invest more money toward reducing their greenhouse gas emissions during the Paris climate talks in December. (New York Times)

A dutch device designed to clean up plastics in large bodies of water will enter a two-year trial phase starting in 2016. The inventor claims that the device could capture up to half of the trash in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” within 5 years. (Grist)

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

The chemical industry keeps losing on the local level and they’re getting desperate as a statewide bill to ban toxic chemicals from children’s toys gets closer to reality. Ask Governor Cuomo to seal the deal to protect our kids from toxic chemicals! >>Just this week in Suffolk County at a public hearing on a local law banning toxic toys, Chemical Industry Lobbyists called our reports documenting mercury and cadmium in toys to be “junk science.” They actually tried to scare legislators into believing that they would be sued if they passed this bill. How did Suffolk County Legislators respond? By passing the Toxic-Free Toys Act unanimously with Democratic and Republican support.

We still find it hard to believe that we’ve been working on something for so long that should be simple — making sure the toys and products are children are using don’t contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals. The chemical lobby has been fighting us every step of the way but we have an ace in the hole: Governor Cuomo marked Child Safe Products Act as a priority at the beginning of session. Can you write to Governor Cuomo right now and tell him to keep his promise to get the Child Safe Products Act signed into law this year?

Let’s get the Child Safe Products Act over the finish line RIGHT NOW! Tell Governor Cuomo toxic chemicals don’t belong in children’s toys and New York should act before the end of session! >>

Lacking state action, counties across New York have taken matters into their own hands. Albany and Westchester counties enacted their own versions of the Child Safe Products Act this year, and on Tuesday the Suffolk County Legislature passed a bill too — unanimously. The message is clear: New Yorkers want this to happen. These victories can propel us to a state law if you join us in support now.

let’s get this done this year. We can’t wait any longer to make sure products on the shelves are safe, tell the governor to vote in favor of the Child Safe Products Act today!

Time is running out to get dangerous chemicals out of children’s toys and products. We can’t keep waiting for action — write to Governor Cuomo today before session ends! >>

Thank you!

Christopher Goeken, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations
New York League of Conservation Voters

www.facebook.com/nylcv
www.twitter.com/nylcv

Time is running out on the 2015 legislative session and we need you to write to your legislators today. Ask your Senator to support the Young Farmers Bill to save state lands from development and protect our local foodshed! >>It all comes down to this. The state legislature adjourns for the year in less than two weeks but they have yet to act on key environmental priorities that are on the verge of passing. We can get these bills to the finish line if NYLCV members like you stand with us right now.

We can’t waste the momentum we’ve worked so hard for all year: write to your legislators on our three priority bills this week and make sure they all get voted on this year!

Our first priority is the Young Farmers Bill. The future of New York’s agriculture is at stake as the farming population gets older and fertile land gets developed. This bill tracks how much state-owned land is viable for farming and will make it available for young farmers. It’s already passed the Assembly unanimously. Tell your State Senator to support this bill today!

Fresh, locally grown food helps reduce our carbon footprint. Give New York’s next generation of farmers a boost and protect our foodshed by telling your Senator to bring the Young Farmers Bill to a vote today! >>

Many young farmers have the talent and the drive to start their own farm but lack the means to do so. By giving usable land to people interested in starting their farming career, the state will help them cut start-up costs considerably. Even better? By turning these lands into fully-functioning farms, we’ll be preserving open spaces and providing important habitat for wildlife and migratory birds.

With the demand for local produce growing every day, we need to start supporting farmers as much as we can right now. The Farmland for Young Farmers bill is good for New York’s environment, economy, and future. Tell your Senator to support the bill today!

Send a strong message that our members are ready to fight for the environment until the end! Tell your Senators to support the future of New York State’s farms today! >>

Thank you!

Marcia Bystryn, President
New York League of Conservation Voters

www.facebook.com/nylcv
www.twitter.com/nylcv

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:SolarCity Starting to Build Buffalo Workforce >> The first three of an estimated 1,460 employees were hired at SolarCity in Buffalo this week. The solar energy installation company is expected to have their factory up and running by 2017, and are hoping to have 200 local workers hired by the end of the year. The factory will be the largest and the most efficient in the Western Hemisphere, making inexpensive rooftop solar panels a reality. (The Buffalo News)

How one New York Museum is Already Prepping for the Next Big Flood >> New York City’s newest art museum, The Whitney Museum, not only houses iconic artworks, but could be a blueprint for how the city can prepare for the effects of a changing climate. The building features a custom flood-mitigation system, a 15,500 pound door designed by engineers who build water-tight latches for navy destroyers, and fortifications that can be erected in less than seven hours. (Grist)

Green Tip: How to Grill With the Least Environmental Impact >>  Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, summer finally feels like it’s in full swing, and nothing says summer more than grilling. But not all grills are created equal when it comes to their environmental impact, according to a new study. Do you know which fuel is better, propane or charcoal? Click the link to find out! (NYLCVEF)

News roundup:

Canal Corporation Must Address Inspection Gaps. (Office of State Comptroller DiNapoli)

Wants versus needs: The struggle to realize New York’s energy vision. (Green Tech Media)

State proposes response network for crude oil. (Times Union)

Ben & Jerry’s introduces new ice cream flavor to raise awareness about climate change. (Syracuse.com)

Plan to build tower at Grand Central in exchange for transit upgrades is approved. (New York Times)

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:NYLCVEF Releases Recommendations on Funding an Equitable Parks System >> New York City has the premier park system in the country but we’re lagging behind other big cities when it comes to funding our prized open spaces. How can we prevent this and maintain our park system so everyone can enjoy it? We lay out some out of the box ideas in our latest report.

The price of beauty should not be health >> Many products currently in use in nail salons are known to lead to miscarriages, respiratory issues, and more serious health concerns. NYLCV is working with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs to gather signatures asking the cosmetics industry to better regulate the chemicals being used in salons. Click on the link to sign!

Here’s How You Can Help Keep Microbeads Out of Our Water >> While a bill to ban tiny plastic beads in cosmetics is gaining traction in the legislature, you can help stop microbeads from polluting our water and killing wildlife right now. By knowing what to look for in the ingredient section on your products you can make a difference for clean water. Make sure to avoid products with polyethylene, polypropylene, and acrylates copolymer on the label and choose all natural products instead.

News roundup:

Why did New York ban fracking? The official report is now public. (Climate Justice)

Fighting climate change will take economic innovation, too. (Time Magazine)

Editorial: Keep the focus on clean water, especially in Bethpage. (Newsday)

Senate Democrats host climate change forum to rebut GOP. (Capital New York)

US details new efforts to support ailing bees. (New York Times)

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:Advanced Electricity Meters Could Help New York Cut Energy Use >> New York has a long way to go to becoming a true energy leader. One way to get there could be through advanced electricity meters which track electricity use and allow homeowners to use energy during the most efficient time of the day. With only 1 percent of New York homes currently using the meters, the energy saving potential is huge.

Energy Makeover Coming to New York City Food Carts >> A new pilot program recently announced by the New York City Council and MOVE Systems will bring greener food carts to New York’s streets. The new food carts are state-of-the-art and use 60 percent less greenhouse gas than the current models. It’s estimated the new carts will take the equivalent of 200 cars off the road.

Cities Test Giving Tenants Transit Passes Instead of Parking Spots >> A new proposal to the Seattle City Council suggests offering tenants transit passes or bike-share memberships rather than building a certain amount of parking spots as has been the norm. Not only would it ease traffic and congestion, but it could provide more residents with convenient transportation options.

News roundup:

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino signs bill to ban toxic toys from store shelves.

House panel votes to cut Amtrak budget hours after deadly crash.

Seven years later, New York finalizes fracking review. 

A sharp spike in honeybee deaths deepens a worrisome trend.

State drops appeal of Tappan Zee loan rejection.

Game over: lead contamination forces closure of popular Red Hook ball fields.

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

This is your last chance to purchase tickets to the Spring Gala! The event is this Monday so get your tickets right now before time runs out. We’re expecting a packed room of environmental champions from across the state and you don’t want to miss out on being there. By purchasing a ticket to the Spring Gala you’ll also be supporting NYLCV’s efforts to fight climate change year-round through political action.This year, we are excited to hear from climate champions about their work on the front lines: Citi, David Kenny of The Weather Company, and Michael Von Valkenburgh. With this incredible lineup, tables are filling up faster than ever. Act today and reserve your table or purchase individual tickets before it’s too late. Click the image below to purchase tickets and learn more:

Reserve your table or individual ticket today!

Monday, May 18th
6:00 – 10:00 pm
Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers
New York City

By purchasing a table or an individual ticket today, you can support our work promoting nonpartisan discussion on climate change and empowering citizens to be effective advocates for a more sustainable and resilient New York.

Sincerely,
Marcia Bystryn, President
New York League of Conservation Voters

The Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously passed the Toxic-Free Toys Act into law Monday night! Now it goes to the County Executive — write to him and ask him to sign the bill into law! >>Thanks to the support of Westchester NYLCV members like you, we got a huge win on Monday night when the Toxic-Free Toys Act passed the Board of Legislators by a 16-0 vote! We are one step closer to eliminating arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and other dangerous chemicals and heavy metals from children’s toys and products in your county.

But we need you again for the next step. The bill now goes to the Westchester County Executive to be signed into law. We’ve been working closely with the County Executive’s office on this bill, and now they need to hear from Westchester residents. We have to ensure this victory. Write to him today and tell him to sign the Toxic-Free Toys Act into law.

Get the Toxic-Free Toys Act over the finish line! Write to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino today and ask him to sign the bill into law. >>

Whether you wrote a letter to your legislator, came to a hearing, or informed a neighbor about this important issue, your support has made a huge difference so far. Can you stand up for a healthier Westchester again by writing to County Executive Rob Astorino today? Together, we can ensure this important bill gets signed into law.

The County Executive needs to hear from you on this issue. Please write to him today and help us secure this victory for the Toxic-Free Toys Act!

One more time! Write to the County Executive and show your support for getting dangerous chemicals out of children’s products! >>

Thank you!

Christopher Goeken, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations
New York League of Conservation Voters

www.facebook.com/nylcv
www.twitter.com/nylcv

Our Annual Spring Gala is less than a week away and there are only a few tables left! The guest list is packed with many of the biggest names in the energy and environmental sectors from business, government, law, philanthropy, and advocacy. Make sure you’re in the room for some of the best networking of the season! By purchasing a ticket to the Spring Gala you’ll also be supporting NYLCV’s efforts to fight climate change year-round through political action.This year, we are excited to hear from four climate champions about their work on the front lines: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Citi, David Kenny of The Weather Company, and Michael Von Valkenburgh. With this incredible lineup, tables are filling up faster than ever. Act today and reserve your table or purchase individual tickets before it’s too late. Click the image below to purchase tickets and learn more:

Reserve your table or individual ticket today!

Monday, May 18th
6:00 – 10:00 pm
Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers
New York City

By purchasing a table or an individual ticket today, you can support our work promoting nonpartisan discussion on climate change and empowering citizens to be effective advocates for a more sustainable and resilient New York.

Sincerely,
Marcia Bystryn, President
New York League of Conservation Voters

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:Major League Food Composting Happening in Cleveland Indians Ballpark >> According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food waste is the largest component of landfills. Americans waste an estimated 34 million tons of food a year, which produces a huge amount of methane – a harmful greenhouse gas. Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, is working to change that by transforming food waste into energy and fertilizer. NYLCVEF has a plan for how to expand this initiative in New York and we’re working closely with the City on implementation.

Why Yonkers Can Save Millions with LED Streetlights and Syracuse Can’t >> Syracuse and other municipalities can’t upgrade to LED streetlights because the utility companies that own them don’t want to make the capital investment. A bill introduced in Albany could enable cities to easily acquire them, and save enough electricity every year to power 60,000 homes statewide.

Elon Musk Unveils Fancy New Tesla Battery >> The founder of Tesla has introduced a new battery aimed at bringing solar power storage devices to homes and businesses, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. The new battery will be mounted on a wall in your home and will tap into solar panels on your roof or to the grid. That means that you can even use solar power at night instead of a traditional energy source like coal, natural gas, or nuclear power. This is a huge development for the shared renewables revolution that is gaining traction here in New York.

News roundup:

Syracuse University study outlines costs, benefits of proposed power plant pollution rules.

New York is the most wasteful megacity on the planet.

Moms meet with lawmakers in hopes of banning certain chemicals in toys. 

$1.9 million Taughannock Falls State Park project breaks ground.

Solar savings: Residential demand grows in the Hudson Valley.

Rochester eyes plan to curb climate change.

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

In just two days the Westchester County Board of Legislators will vote on the Toxic-Free Toys Act. This bill will eliminate dangerous chemicals and heavy metals from children’s toys and products currently for sale in your county. This is your last chance to speak up on this issueWrite to your legislator today and tell them to vote yes on the Toxic-Free Toys Act this coming Monday.The chemicals currently present in toys for sale in your county are known to cause serious health problems in children. Take action now and let your legislators know they should pass this common-sense bill!Thank you,
Christopher



Member
Alert!
The Toxic-Free Toy Act is coming to a vote in just 5 days! Tell your legislators to vote yes on this bill that will eliminate dangerous chemicals from children’s toys and products! >>Delfim –On Monday the Westchester County Legislature has a simple decision to make. They can either vote to make children’s toys and products safer or choose to do nothing, leaving dangerous heavy metals present on the shelves in your town.The choice seems clear to us, make sure it’s clear to your legislators by writing to them right now. Tell them to vote yes when the Toxic-Free Toys Act comes to a vote Monday night. The bill simply requires the phasing out of chemicals like arsenic, cadmium, and mercury from children’s toys and products.Make sure the next store you go in is selling safe children’s products. Write your legislators today and tell them to vote yes for the Toxic-Free Toys Act in Westchester! >>Reports show that toy jewelry, cars, sweatshirts, and more children’s items contained lead, cadmium, and mercury — heavy metals that can lead to serious health problems in children. It’s almost impossible to know if items contain these chemicals when you go to purchase them. The Toxic-Free Toys Act will make items in your neighborhood safer.This needs to happen now. Write to your legislator today and tell them to vote yes on Monday.Just 5 days away! Tell the Westchester County Legislature to vote yes to approve the Toxic-Free Toys Act! >>Thank you!
Christopher Goeken, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations
New York League of Conservation Voterswww.facebook.com/nylcv
www.twitter.com/nylcv

The Toxic-Free Toy Act is coming to a vote in just 5 days! Tell your legislators to vote yes on this bill that will eliminate dangerous chemicals from children’s toys and products! >>On Monday the Westchester County Legislature has a simple decision to make. They can either vote to make children’s toys and products safer or choose to do nothing, leaving dangerous heavy metals present on the shelves in your town.

The choice seems clear to us, make sure it’s clear to your legislators by writing to them right now. Tell them to vote yes when the Toxic-Free Toys Act comes to a vote Monday night. The bill simply requires the phasing out of chemicals like arsenic, cadmium, and mercury from children’s toys and products.

Make sure the next store you go in is selling safe children’s products. Write your legislators today and tell them to vote yes for the Toxic-Free Toys Act in Westchester! >>

Reports show that toy jewelry, cars, sweatshirts, and more children’s items contained lead, cadmium, and mercury — heavy metals that can lead to serious health problems in children. It’s almost impossible to know if items contain these chemicals when you go to purchase them. The Toxic-Free Toys Act will make items in your neighborhood safer.

This needs to happen now. Write to your legislator today and tell them to vote yes on Monday.

Just 5 days away! Tell the Westchester County Legislature to vote yes to approve the Toxic-Free Toys Act! >>

Thank you!

Christopher Goeken, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations
New York League of Conservation Voters

www.facebook.com/nylcv
www.twitter.com/nylcv

Our Annual Spring Gala is less than two weeks away so make sure you reserve your table or purchase tickets today. This event supports NYLCV’s efforts to fight climate change year-round, and brings together the state’s leading partners in this endeavor from every sector including business, advocacy, and government.This year, we are excited to hear from four climate champions about their work on the front lines: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Citi, David Kenny of The Weather Company, and Michael Von Valkenburgh. With this incredible lineup, tables are filling up faster than ever. Act today and reserve your table or purchase individual tickets before it’s too late. Click the image below to purchase tickets and learn more:

Reserve your table or individual ticket today!

Monday, May 18th
6:00 – 10:00 pm
Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers
New York City

By purchasing a table or an individual ticket today, you can support our work promoting nonpartisan discussion on climate change and empowering citizens to be effective advocates for a more sustainable and resilient New York.

Sincerely,
Marcia Bystryn, President
New York League of Conservation Voters

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:New York’s Birds and Bees Get a Boost from Governor Cuomo >> Pollinators and migratory birds could be getting some help from New York State soon. Recently, Governor Cuomo announced the establishment of an inter-agency task force to promote the health and recovery of pollinator populations. Soon after, he also proposed dimming non-essential lights to make passage across the state easier for migratory birds.

NYLCVEF Recommendations Included in One New York Plan >> New York City has set an ambitious goal of diverting 90 percent of it’s solid waste by 2030. How will we get there? Many of the suggestions for reducing landfill waste came from our recommendations after our Dig Deep for a Greener New York policy forum series.

City Council Encourages Investing in Hudson Valley Farmland >> Farms in the Hudson Valley provide food for the whole state. With that in mind, New York City Councilmembers recently wrote a letter to Mayor de Blasio urging him to invest in conservation efforts outside the city. Protecting Hudson Valley farmland will boost small businesses and protect the food supply.

News roundup:

Program aims to reduce energy costs and keep rents affordable in the Bronx.

Creation of energy director passes board of legislators in Westchester.

Sustainable Long Island to build community garden and rain garden in Central Islip.

Urge companies to cancel their membership with the Toy Industry Association.

New York Assembly passes microbeads ban.

Solar rising: Rochester looks to sun power.

American Lung Association says Erie, Niagara counties’ air quality is improving.

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

Did you hear?The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is suing so they can continue to use dangerous chemicals in children’s toys and products. They’ve armed themselves with powerful lawyers and a public relations company to fight our efforts to get arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and other dangerous toxics away from our children. This is outrageous and we need your help today.

Barnes and Noble, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Workshop are all members of the TIA, and we need you to ask them to cancel their membership. Tell them the TIA is fighting to keep chemicals and heavy metals in children’s toys on their behalf and canceling their membership is the best way to stand up against their attacks.

Write to these companies today so New York State can work to keep toys safe.

Thank you,
Susan



Member
Alert!
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is suing so they can keep using dangerous chemicals in children’s toys and products. Ask companies to cancel their membership with the TIA today! >>Delfim –We’ve tested toys across New York State and found toxic chemicals and heavy metals in kids jewelry, toy cars, and more for sale in stores all over New York State. We’ve urged local leaders to stand up for our children.In response, the Toy Industry Association, which has 750 members and accounts for 90 percent of the domestic toy market in the United States, has hired a team of powerful lawyers, lobbyists, and a public relations firm to stop us in our tracks. They’re nervous because we’ve got the momentum at the state and local levels. Let’s fight back hard for the sake of our children’s health.Suing to keep toxic toys on store shelves is outrageous. Send a message to TIA members to cancel their membership today! >>NYLCV is built on the basis of a strong membership, so we know weakening TIA’s membership will send a strong message that toxics like mercury, lead, and arsenic don’t belong in children’s toys. Today we’re asking you to write to Barnes and Noble, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Workshop to cancel their membership with the TIA.Barnes and Noble, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Workshop are all popular companies who should be outraged that the TIA is fighting on their behalf to keep harmful chemicals in the hands of our children. Alert them to this fact and write to them today!Urge Barnes and Noble, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Workshop not to support the TIA any longer. Tell them we can send a strong message together if they cancel their membership today! >>Thank you!
Susan Torres, Membership Manager
New York League of Conservation Voterswww.facebook.com/nylcv
www.twitter.com/nylcv

Earth Day may have come and gone, but our work to create a more sustainable and resilient New York continues. Our Annual Spring Gala supports NYLCV’s efforts to fight climate change year-round, and it brings together the state’s leading partners in this endeavor from every sector including business, advocacy, and government.This year, we are excited to hear from four climate champions about their work on the front lines: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Citi, David Kenny of The Weather Company, and Michael Von Valkenburgh. With this incredible lineup, tables are filling up faster than ever. Act today and reserve your table or purchase individual tickets before it’s too late. Click the image below to purchase tickets and learn more:

Reserve your table or individual ticket today!

Monday, May 18th
6:00 – 10:00 pm
Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers
New York City

By purchasing a table or an individual ticket today, you can support our work promoting nonpartisan discussion on climate change and empowering citizens to be effective advocates for a more sustainable and resilient New York.

Sincerely,
Marcia Bystryn, President
New York League of Conservation Voters

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:

Moms dump pile of toxic toys on toy industry doorstep in response to lawsuit >> The Toy Industry Association recently filed a federal lawsuit over the Albany County law banning toxic substances from children’s toys and products. On Tuesday, NYLCV stood with Clean and Healthy New York and other groups to stand up for safer toys.

DiNapoli and Stringer Urge SEC for more Information on Fossil Fuel Companies >> New York State and New York City Comptrollers called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to force fossil fuel companies to provide more information on the material risks of climate change and to outline what steps they’re taking to meet these challenges.

NYLCV President, Marcia Bystryn, Responds to OneNYC Plan >> On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his update to PlaNYC by rolling out OneNYC. While we applaud the mayor’s ambitious vision, we write in the New York Daily News that a roadmap is needed to achieve all the goals presented.

News roundup:

Child Safe Products Act Sails Through Assembly

State purchases 6,800 acres of Adirondack land.

Council members ask de Blasio to invest in farmland.

Third annual Progress Report on State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability.

Brownfield compromise praised in Western New York.

Sign up for Riverkeeper Sweep 2015 happening May 9th.

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

Why should you take your support for NYLCV to the next level and donate today? We have not one but three reasons why you should chip in right now to help us hit our goal of $10,000 by Friday and become an NYLCV Member today:  Reason #1: Because the toy industry is suing us to keep dangerous toxics in children’s toys and products. You read that right. After we helped pass a bill in Albany to eliminate chemicals present in children’s toys and products that cause harmful developmental disorders, the toy industry sued to make sure they can keep contaminating our children with lead, cadmium, and arsenic. We need to fight back. Your contribution right now will help us take on the chemical industry.   Reason #2: Because we’re gaining momentum on cleaning our waterways. Not only are more and more lawmakers calling for action on microbeads, but they’re also working to fix our crumbling water infrastructure. The work isn’t over. We need to keep the pressure up to make sure Albany passes a bill to address microbeads and fully funds repairs for our aging pipes and water mains. Invest in clean water right now.

Reason #3: Because for today only all donations are being triple matched. Every single donation today will go three times as far to help us hit our goal and make real change for the environment. It’s simply the best investment you can make toward a greener, healthier, and more sustainable New York.

TRIPLE MATCH — today only! This is the best chance we have of hitting our goal of $10,000. We only have 2 days left, donate before midnight! >>

Our campaign is coming to a close and the work we can accomplish depends on hitting this goal. We’re up against the well-funded chemical industry and lawmakers who don’t make the environment a top priority. We need to get bills passed this year if we’re going to make New York an environmental leader. We can’t do that without you

The triple match is only available until midnight tonight so now is the best time to become a member by donating. We’ll simply get more done if you’re with us.

Today’s the day! Time is running out to take advantage of the triple match and get us to our goal so we can keep working for the environment! >>

Thanks for your support,

 Susan Torres, Membership Manager
New York League of Conservation Voters

www.facebook.com/nylcv
www.twitter.com/nylcv

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:Toxic Toys Reports Released in Erie and Monroe >> NYLCVEF’s report with Clean and Healthy New York found children’s toys and products in Erie and Monroe Counties contain dangerous chemicals like mercury, arsenic, and cobalt. We hope this increased awareness will prompt lawmakers to take action and pass a bill that removes these harmful chemicals from the shelves.

Update for PlaNYC Expected Soon >> Earth Day may bring big changes to New York City with the next overhaul of PlaNYC expected to be announced on April 22nd. We look forward to reviewing the plan once it’s released and working toward achieving the environmental goals laid out in PlaNYC.

Wood-Fired Heating Projects in Mohawk Valley and Adirondacks >> The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority recently announced 15 wood-fire heating projects in the North Country. Making wood burning stoves more efficient will lead to improved air quality in the Adirondacks and beyond.

News roundup:

A genuine step forward for cleaner water on Long Island.

Marilla to unveil revised bio-solids law.

Sandy damaged NYCHA buildings awarded $3 billion in repairs.

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:RGGI Sweep Harms Clean Energy Initiatives in New York >> We’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that the Environmental Protection Fund was allocated with more funding in this year’s budget. The bad news is that money was taken from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. We break down why taking money from one program to fund another sets a bad precedent and harms our clean energy future.

Submit Your Comment in Support of Renewables >> It’s time to expand access to renewable energy for all New Yorkers. A new initiative would allow renters and millions of other people to choose wind or solar options for their home. Submit a comment in support of the plan to the New York State Public Service Commission before the April 7th deadline.

Partnership Accomplishes Terrific First Step for Clean Water >> Thanks to our partnerships with environmental organizations and government officials, as well as the support of our members, $200 million have been allocated to upgrade water infrastructure across the state. This is a great start in addressing the billion dollar water infrastructure issue facing New York State.

News roundup:

The passive house in New York.

Advocates praise energy provisions for the poor.

Westchester Land Trust awarded funding to help Hudson Valley Farmers.

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

The state budget negotiations are over, the late-night votes have been tallied, and thanks to thousands of NYLCV members like you taking action during our March Madness campaign, we secured some major victories for the environment. Your messages made a difference in Albany and helped us win funding for clean water infrastructure, the Environmental Protection Fund, New York State parks, and cleaning up contaminated land.The budget shows we’re headed in the right direction on many critical environmental priorities, but we believe New York State can do even better. We need to know you’re with us for what’s ahead. Get us to our goal of 200 contributions TODAY and help us continue to fight for the environment across New York.

You’ve been with us so far, can you stand with us again by making a contribution today? Help us hit our goal of 200 contributions right now! >> 

A strong membership can accomplish great things, as you can see from our budget victories this year:

  • Clean Water Infrastructure: The final agreement includes $200 million to fund clean water infrastructure projects over the next three years. Before receiving messages from NYLCV members, there was no dedicated funding for clean water mentioned in the budget. But your legislators heard you loud and clear and went to the mat for this critical priority.
  • Environmental Protection Fund: Our goal is for the EPF to get $200 million in funding. A $15 million boost brought us to $177 million this year — getting us closer to our goal. 
  • New York State Parks: Our park system got huge support, with $110 million designated for capital projects this year. That’s a $20 million boost from last year to update and improve our state parks.
  • Toxic Land Cleanup: We’ve been advocating for a revamped and robust Brownfields Cleanup Program for over a year, and finally an agreement has been reached for much needed reforms. The budget extends the BCP and state Superfund program by 10 years and makes sure the funds go where they’re needed most.

While these wins were huge, some were bittersweet. Some of the funding for the EPF was taken from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds — taking money away from the important work that program does to invest in clean energy. Two items we opposed that raided mass transit dollars were approved, and the final budget lacked dedicated funding for Bus Rapid Transit.

We made progress together, but clearly there is still a lot of work to be done. Delfim, can we count on you to join us in the next battle?

Our work continues. Get us to our goal so we can keep fighting for the environment in 2015. >>

Thanks for your support,

Marcia Bystryn, President
New York League of Conservation Voters

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www.twitter.com/nylcv

P.S. Make our membership strong today.

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:

NYLCVEF Publishes Organic Waste Recommendations >> Part three in NYLCVEF’s Dig Deep for a Greener New York policy forum series focused on Organic Waste. Last week, we released recommendations to New York City which include exploring a “Save-As-You-Throw” system, considering in-sink organic material grinders in apartment buildings, and assessing the capacity of the city’s wastewater treatment systems.

Students Demand Action on Disposable Bags by Earth Day >> The momentum is heating up again for the disposable bag bill! Last Monday we joined students, activists, and City Councilmembers to demand the bill gets passed by Earth Day. We’re calling on Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito to support this bill and move it forward so we can have a cleaner NYC today.

New honorees and speaker announced for Capital Region Eco-Breakfast >> We are excited to announce that we will honor The Nature Conservancy for their work on the Community Risk and Climate Resiliency Act and State Senator Diane Savino will present them with their award at our Capital Region Eco-Breakfast, taking place on Tuesday, April 28th. Get your tickets today!

News roundup:

National park maintenance backlog in New York tops $900 million.

$100 million in BRT funding at stake in Albany budget negotiations.

DEP reports bioswales outperforming expectations.

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:NYLCVEF Publishes Green Infrastructure Recommendations >> In the fall, the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund launched it’s Dig Deep for a Greener New York policy forum series with a panel on green infrastructure. Last week, we released recommendations for growing the program, which would not only improve our harbor’s water quality, but also deliver critical environmental benefits such as climate and flood mitigation, a reduction of the urban heat island effect, and improved air quality.

March Madness Campaign Heats up in the Final Moments >> We can’t help you if your basketball bracket is already busted, but we can give you the opportunity to help the environment one last time before budget negotiations end. Since March 10th, NYLCV members like you have sent thousands of messages to lawmakers about our “Final Four” environmental issues — clean air funding, water infrastructure upgrades, New York State parks funding, and the Environmental Protection Fund. If you missed any, make sure you take action today!

Bus Rapid Transit Gets Boost in Assembly Budget >> NYLCVEF has been advocating for a Bus Rapid Transit program on Staten Island’s North Shore for months, so we were excited to learn last week that the Assembly budget includes $100 million for BRT across the entire state. Read all the details about how BRT will cut commute times and make mass transit more efficient.

News roundup:

New York State ban on invasive species goes into effect.

Bill would require heating oil to contain 2% biodiesel.

Hope for crumbling New York water and wastewater infrastructure.

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

Here are your top environmental stories for the week:

Get in on March Madness and Take Action >> Thousands of NYLCV members like you have taken action on our “Final Four” environmental priorities during the final moments of state budget negotiations. Make sure you write to your elected officials about clean air and clean water funding, and stay tuned for more actions this week!

Advocates Fight for Foodshed Funding >> Groups in the Hudson Valley, Southern Tier, and beyond are hard at work trying to secure $50 million in funding to protect farms. Protecting the foodshed would support local farm families and businesses, preserve scenic beauty that boosts tourism, combat climate change, and improve access to healthy food throughout the region.

City Council Scorecard Released for 2013 – 2014 >> Which borough was the greenest? Which New York City Councilmembers scored perfect 100s? You’ll learn all this and more in our just released Scorecard. We’re proud to be the only organization making sure elected officials keep their promises on the environment through our Scorecard. Find out how each member did today.

News roundup:

Assembly proposal would bring millions to Staten Island for a North Shore bus rapid transit.

Tompkins County Wind Farm would be first of its kind in New York.

Infrastructure funding: Water, sewer improvements good uses for $5 billion windfall.

Sincerely,
New York League of Conservation Voters

We are excited to announce that tickets are now available for our Annual Capital Region Eco-Breakfast, taking place at the Fort Orange Club in Albany on Tuesday, April 28th. This is an event you won’t want to miss as our featured speakers will be all three Environmental Conservation Committee Chairs — Assemblymember Steve Englebright, State Senator Tom O’Mara, and State Senator Tony Avella. 

Get your tickets for the Capital Region Eco-Breakfast today!

Every year, our Capital Region Eco-Breakfast brings together environmental leaders from across the state. This is a great opportunity to support the environmental work NYLCV accomplishes all year long as well as acknowledge the hard work of our elected officials and partners in moving New York to a cleaner and greener future.

Don’t miss out on this great event, purchase your tickets today!

Register today!

Tuesday, April 28th
8:00 – 10:00 am
Fort Orange Club
110 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210

If you’re interested in sponsoring this event, please email Bridget Moffatt at bmoffatt@nylcv.org.

By purchasing your tickets today, you can support our work promoting nonpartisan discussion on environmental policy and empowering New Yorkers to be effective advocates for the environment.

Hope to see you there!

Sincerely,
Marcia Bystryn, President
New York League of Conservation Voters

March Madness is in full swing at NYLCV. Budget negotiations are heating up so we need you to take action NOW while we can have the most impact for the environment. >>At NYLCV, March Madness is less about brackets and more about budgets. Unlike with college basketball, we have a chance for all our picks to be winners. But we need your help.

Over the next couple weeks, there are crucial debates going on about Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget. The decisions the governor and legislature make now will affect state government’s ability to protect our water, air, and lands all year long.

That’s why we’re kicking off our March Madness campaign today. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be reaching out to you about the “Final Four” important environmental programs in need of robust funding and asking you to tell your legislators to root for these causes during budget negotiations.

Today, our pick is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) because the governor’s budget has earned a technical foul by proposing to diverting $36 million from this important program. RGGI has reduced greenhouse air pollution by investing in clean power and renewable energy projects in New York State.

Speak up for cleaner air! Tell Governor Cuomo and your local representatives they can’t divert clean energy money to fund other projects. Write to them today! >>

By diverting $36 million away from RGGI programs New York could be taking a big step back. In the past couple of years, RGGI has kept the state moving closer to its goal of reducing emissions by 80 percent by 2050. By cutting funding now we could fall behind on all the great progress that has been made.

RGGI has also proven to be an economic boost for all regions of the state. By investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate pollution reduction programs, and more, RGGI has helped to create jobs and lower consumer costs in every New York county.

Now is not the time to let up on reducing air pollution that harms our health and environment. Tell the governor RGGI needs to keep its $36 million.

Take action today and you’ll be standing up for a cleaner and greener New York! Tell your elected officials not to short change our air quality. >>

Thank you!New York League of Conservation Voters

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THE STATE DELIVERS FOR YONKERS

$25 MILLION TO FILL YONKERS’ SCHOOL BUDGET GAP

A HALF-PERCENT SALES TAX INCREASE

AND A 3% HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX

 

(June 29, 2015) Yonkers will be receiving an additional $25 million to fill the school district’s projected budget gap this year thanks to legislation passed by the Yonkers State Delegation, including State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Leader, Senator George Latimer, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer. In addition, the state delegation passed two other bills requested by the city; one will allow Yonkers to increase its sales tax by a half-percent, to create an additional $15 million in funding for the school district; and another creates a hotel occupancy tax of  3%. The legislation now goes to Governor Cuomo for his signature to become law.  

 

On June 14, Governor Cuomo promised additional funding in response to requests made by the delegation, the city, the school district, parents and students to help avoid devastating staff and program cuts.The Governor kept his promise by including the money in the omnibus bill the legislature approved last week.

 

Senator Stewart-Cousins said, “I’m happy Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the State Legislature recognized the extraordinary financial circumstances the district faced this year. Going forward, the sales tax increase will provide recurring revenue which is so important for the school district to have as a reliable funding resource.”

 

Senator Latimer said, “I would say that the big winners in the 2015 State legislative session were the children of Yonkers and the schools they attend. By appropriately increasing funding now, and making a structural plan to go forward, my colleagues in the legislature, our hardworking Senate Democratic Leader, and the governor made a huge stride toward a successful future for our children.”.

 

“I’m very pleased the State has stepped up to prevent yet another crisis in the Yonkers schools. After intense advocacy from the school community, the State delegation and I worked closely with the Governor, Mayor, Superintendent and our colleagues in the legislature to avert massive layoffs and devastating cuts to programs. The additional $25 million to Yonkers will plug this year’s gap in the education budget. Moreover, the sales tax will provide a reliable stream of revenue for the school district for years to come. This is all on top of the $19 million increase in school aid, $20 million grant for capital projects and $2 million in bullet aid that the school district received in this year’s State budget. It’s clear that the State of New York is providing significant support to the Yonkers Schools to ensure all of the City’s 27,000 students receive a quality education,” said Assemblyman Pretlow.

 

Assemblywoman Mayer said, “Working with my colleagues in government in Albany and in Yonkers, our parents, school staff and the community, we were able to avoid a short-term crisis and plan for the future for the Yonkers Public Schools. We are thankful that the Governor stepped up to ensure that we could move forward and avert devastating cuts this year, and that my legislative colleagues enacted a modest tax increase dedicated to education funding for the future.  I want to give special thanks to Speaker Carl Heastie, who made funding for Yonkers central to the final negotiations and was deeply committed to the students of Yonkers.”

 

Yonkers currently imposes a sales tax of 8.375% which is shared by New York State, Westchester County and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The legislation allows for a half-percent increase to 8.875%.  The Yonkers portion of that tax has been the same rate of 2.5% for nearly thirty years. Yonkers also asked for the authority to collect a 3% daily room tax on any hotel or motel room. Revenues from the additional tax will assist the city in providing essential services, while maintaining a balanced budget. Similar hotel taxes already exist in the neighboring cities of New Rochelle, White Plains and Rye.

 

This additional revenue follows a $19 million increase in Yonkers school aid from the state, for a total allocation in the State Budget of $262 million. The Democrat-led Assembly then added on another $20 million in building aid and $2 million in bullet aid. Despite the increases, the district was still struggling to recover from a $55 million accounting error that was discovered in 2014. The delegation worked with the Governor, the Mayor and the City Council to come up with a solution that provided $28 million in 2014. This year the district projected a $26 million shortfall.  

For immediate release

            

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference Leader, delivered her closing remarks on the Senate floor Thursday. While irritant legislation was passed, she also touched on the missed opportunities to create more affordable housing, tax relief for working families, mandate relief for local government and increasing the minimum wage to life more people out of poverty.

 

Link to full remarks below.

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OMC1Va8M2ZE&feature=youtu.be

 

In these remarks, she thanks Governor Cuomo for keeping his promise in regard to Yonkers Public Schools. The Governor announced late Thursday afternoon that the district would get $25 million to fill a budget gap, preventing more than 100 layoffs and programs cuts including sports.

This additional aid also follows last year’s discovery of a $55 million accounting error in the district. The Governor and the Yonkers state delegation worked diligently with the Mayor to deliver $28 million in 2014 also.

 

Senator Stewart-Cousins issued the following statement Thursday.

 

“The City of Yonkers schools were in need of state assistance and I am very pleased that we were able to deliver the necessary funds to avoid deep program and staffing cuts. Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the State Legislature understood that we have a responsibility to aid Yonkers and provide the school district with essential resources. The $25 million in state assistance will help the Yonkers public schools move past this recent budgetary crisis and continue their work improving the quality of education our kids receive.”

It is outrageous that we do not have an agreement to strengthen and extend rent control and tenant protections in our state. This impacts millions of families who rely on affordable housing to stay in the community they call home, including the 26,000 units located in Westchester County. In my district, 16,000 of those units are located in Yonkers, with others in New Rochelle and White Plains, Greenburgh and Tarrytown, Ardsley, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry and Irvington.

If you live in a rent-regulated apartment you have probably been closely following proposals in the State Legislature to extend and strengthen our rent laws, which expired Monday night at midnight, June 15th. You may even have received a post card from me asking you to support extending and strengthening rent control. 

My office has received calls from residents who are concerned that they could face large rent increases or be evicted from their homes if the rent regulations are not extended.

Rest assured, that is not the case. Tenants under a current lease will retain their protections. A landlord has no legal right to move you out. Even if your lease is up for renewal, you still have certain legal safeguards to protect you.

Despite the laws expiring without being extended, landlords have been warned by State and City officials not to attempt to make any changes until new legislation protecting rent stabilization is passed.

There have been reports of landlords telling tenants they are going to have to move when the rent laws expire. That is blatantly false, and tenants are being advised not to leave their apartments.

Tenants are urged to report any harassment immediately by contacting the New York State Homes and Community Renewal office in Yonkers at 75 South Broadway, (914) 948-4434 or by contacting Legal Services of the Hudson Valley at 1 (877) 574-8529.

This scenario has happened in the past with no consequence. The rent laws expired for two days when they last came up for renewal in 2011. Soon after, the Legislature passed new regulations that retroactively covered any apartments that might have gone to market rate in the interim period. It is my hope that we will be able to do so once again in order to protect tenants and to keep affordable units, affordable.

For more information about the rent laws, please visit my website.

Sincerely,

Andrea Stewart-Cousins
New York State Senator, 35th District
Senate Democratic Leader

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 

“The Senate Republicans’ unrealistic rent control proposals are endangering housing for millions of New Yorkers. We need to stop wasting time and take real action. New York has always been a State where people from all walks of life can set down roots and build strong, stable, and diverse communities and that fact has helped make New York into the Empire State. The clock is running out and we need to pass strong rent control laws now.”

Senate Republicans Vote Against Legislation To Improve Public Education System

 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today forced a vote on legislation to decouple school district resources from the implementation of the controversial teacher evaluation system and provide increased funding for community schools.

 

Following unanimous opposition from the Senate Republicans, Senator George Latimer, ranking member of the Senate Education Committee, released the following statements:

 

“It is simply wrong for the Senate Republicans to reject this reasonable amendment; we cannot use our children’s education as a pawn to advance a political agenda. Our education system needs real reforms that are worked out on a bipartisan basis with input from parents, educators and stakeholders, rather than political mandates that only serve to demonize teachers and hold public school resources hostage.Linking essential state funds with teacher evaluations jeopardizes struggling school districts throughout New York State. The Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of New York students, instead of joining with Democrats to establish necessary reform.”

 

 

SENATOR ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS HONORS TRAILBLAZING CHEMIST 

EDITH FLANIGEN OF WHITE PLAINS

        ONE OF EIGHT NATIONAL MEDAL OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY RECIPIENTS IN 2014

(Albany – June 9, 2015) With a Senate Resolution, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Leader, honored Edith Flanigen today, recognizing the White Plains resident as one of eight recipients of the nation’s highest honor in science, the National Medal of Science and Technology. The medal was awarded during a White House ceremony in November of last year, and is the latest accolade during her outstanding career. The now retired 86-year-old commercial chemist developed a way to refine petroleum that has made gasoline production more efficient, cleaner and safer worldwide. She also invented synthetic emeralds that were used in early laser technology and later as jewelry. Her work also led to advancements in water purification and environmental remediation, with President Obama citing her for her role in helping decontaminate radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan after the 2011 earthquake. She also holds 109 U.S. Patents and invented more than 200 different synthetic materials.

Born in Buffalo in 1929, Ms. Flanigen credits a nun at her Catholic high school with encouraging her to study chemistry at a time when most girls did not. She graduated from D’Youville College then pursued her Master’s Degree which she received from Syracuse University. In 1952, she began her 42 year long career at Union Carbide in Buffalo, moving on to Universal Oil Products, now known as Honeywell, located in Tarrytown. She retired in 2004 but continued as a consultant.

“I am proud to honor a trailblazer in her field of chemistry and a native New Yorker who is deserving of this recognition in our state,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “Her aptitude for science was recognized early on and encouraged, so that today, her scientific discoveries have made our world a better place.”

“I was truly honored to be recognized by Senator Stewart-Cousins and others who spoke on the resolution, and all those who stood and applauded – I was overwhelmed by the response in the Senate Chamber. It was a joyful experience,” said Edith Flanigen following the Senate session.

Ms. Flanigen has also received numerous prestigious awards including the Perkin Medal, becoming the first female recipient of what is considered to be the highest honor in commercial chemistry. In 1993, she received the Garvan Medal, and in 2002, became a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2004, she was recognized with the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award.  

A formal copy of the Senate Resolution in her honor will be given to her.

Senator Stewart-Cousins Remarks on the Senate Floor:  https://youtu.be/IHrTqd_cGB8

STATE LEGISLATORS, TENANTS AND TENANT ADVOCATES CALL FOR RENEWAL AND

STRENGTHENING OF THE EXPIRING RENT REGULATIONS

For Immediate Release: June 4, 2015

150604 Rent Control 009

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Yonkers, NY – Senate Democratic Leader, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assemblymembers Shelley Mayer and J. Gary Pretlow were joined by tenants and tenant advocates today in calling on Governor Cuomo and the Republican Senate to renew and strengthen rent regulations that are set to expire on June 15, 2015.  With more than 25,000 rent stabilized units in Westchester, with 16,000 of those in Yonkers. That number has been reduced from almost 32,000 in 1997, elected leaders, tenants and tenant advocates gathered to press for stronger laws to protect tenants and prevent further loss of affordable housing. Strengthening and renewing tenant protections will help keep thousands of families in affordable homes in their own communities.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, said, “New York has always been a state where people from all walks of life can set down roots and build strong, stable and diverse communities including here in Yonkers. We need to pass the Tenant Protection Act of 2015, to protect middle class and low wage New Yorkers who risk being pushed out of their affordable homes by rent deregulation and expiring protections.”

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, leader of the Westchester state delegation, said, “I am pleased to join my legislative colleagues, advocates and tenants in calling for renewal and strengthening of the laws governing rent controlled and stabilized units.  We must do more to ensure residents in Mt. Vernon, Yonkers, and across New York have a safe affordable place to call home.”

Assemblymember Mayer said, “Too many Yonkers residents spend far too much of their income on housing.  I am pleased the Assembly passed and Senate Democratic Conference introduced strong packages to ensure residents in Yonkers and across New York State have safe affordable housing.  The continued economic struggles of so many tenants require that we do more to strengthen the laws to ensure we grow the number of affordable housing units.”

Assemblyman Steve Otis said, “It is vitally important that we strengthen our laws that protect tenants and the security of their homes.  We have already passed legislation in the Assembly to accomplish this. Today, I join with my colleagues in calling for an immediate renewal and strengthening of our state’s tenant protection laws.”

The Democratic-led Assembly has passed an omnibus bill A7576.  Among other things, this bill strengthens protections for suburban counties by repealing vacancy deregulation and reforming provisions surrounding Major Capital Improvements (MCI) by making the MCI rent increase surcharge temporary, disappearing once the landlord has recovered the cost of the improvement, and capping the annual collectability at 6 percent, similar to New York City, rather than the current 15 percent cap.

The Republican-led Senate has yet to act. Last month, the Senate Democratic Conference, led by Senator Stewart-Cousins, introduced a package of bills that if passed would: repeal vacancy decontrol, which removes apartments from rent regulations once the unit is vacant and the legal rent for the next tenant would be $2,500 or more; repeal provisions permitting rent increases of 20% or more upon vacancy of a rent stabilized dwelling unit; and reform provisions surrounding Major Capital Improvements (MCIs) to ensure they do not become part of the tenants’ rent in perpetuity.

Dennis Hanratty, Executive Director Mount Vernon United Tenants, said, “The State’s Rent and Eviction Laws (Rent Control & ETPA) provide the most cost-effective system of affordable housing for Westchester’s communities.  They provide tens of thousands of families with the security of knowing that their rents will not be arbitrarily raised to levels that will  force them into homelessness.  This is a huge benefit, not only to the families who are protected, but to the larger Westchester community that is not ultimately burdened by having to assume the emergency shelter costs that housing the homeless requires.  These laws help provide stability to families, to buildings and to whole neighborhoods.  To keep these laws functioning as per their initial legislative intent, it is imperative that they be strengthened to undo some of the most egregious weakening amendments from prior renewals, most especially by eliminating ‘vacancy decontrol.’”

Joe Mayhew, Secretary/Treasurer, Communications Workers of America Local 1103, said, “The Communications Workers of America is very concerned with the shortage of affordable housing in downstate NY due to the so-called ‘vacancy decontrol’ provisions that were inserted into state law by the legislature and Governor in 1993 and 1997.  Low- and middle- income families, as well as retirees, are being squeezed out of the cities, towns and neighborhoods where they work and have made their homes.   Today, the pace of decontrol has accelerated in some cases by unscrupulous landlords who harass tenants in order to create vacancies and then use vacancy decontrol provision to deregulate apartments.  CWA urges the Senate, Assembly and Governor to strengthen rent regulation and protect hard working and retired families.”

“It is important that Governor Cuomo make strengthening the rent laws a priority for New York State. Housing is a right and it should be treated as such. We need to save every affordable unit in the state, not take it away and then force people into an unknown future,” said Gloria Jordan, Community Voices Heard leader and Grandparent Advocate.

Ellie Treistman, a Yonkers tenant in a rent stabilized apartment, explained, “It is absolutely imperative that we reexamine and a rebalance the rent stabilization laws.  Landlords are provided perpetual incremental rental increases of a minimum of 2 – 3%, plus additional reimbursement from MCIs, which further push rent-stabilized rents to market rate level and above.  In many instances, the apartments have not received any form of improvement in over 25 or 30 years – but rent is MCI-increased to reflect a long overdue boiler repair, roof or window replacement, blacktopping, etc.  After satisfaction of these debts, the tenants are shackled with them forever, while the landlords just pocket the money and receive annual increases to boot.  The 2008 economic upheaval caused catastrophic loss of businesses and unemployment of the middle class; permanently altering the lives of masses of unemployed tenants to date.  A $50,000 salary in 2008 can no longer be obtained by the same qualified worker, who now has to settle for a $15 an hour job, if one can be had at all.  But the MCI increases remain in effect ad infinitum, making the base rent higher and inflating the annual percentage increase as well.  If there is no employment and a halving of the salaries for jobs in many industries, why should housing rental costs continue to escalate against an economy which cannot support it?”

 

The legislative session is scheduled to conclude June 17th.

As a former public school teacher who attended public schools, sent her children to public schools, and has grandchildren in public schools, I am invested in our public schools.

Every child in New York State has the right to a quality education, and our State has a moral and Constitutional obligation to protect that right. Unfortunately, education has become a battleground issue in the State Legislature, and all too often the casualties are our students and teachers.

This year’s State budget included changes to education policy, which I did not support, that will overburden our kids with standardized tests and force schools district to choose between unreasonable evaluation requirements and state financial support.

To address the legitimate concerns raised by parents, educators and students, my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Conference and I introduced a legislative package of bills that, if passed, will implement reasonable evaluation systems, ensure our schools are appropriately funded, and truly improve the educational outcomes of our students.

Most importantly, this package of bills will ensure every New York student has access to a high quality education. We must all remember that our schools are the foundation for our state’s future economic stability and prosperity.

Included in the education package are bills that will:

  • Implement an advisory council involving all stakeholders to review “Annual Professional Performance Review Plans” and determine best practices.
  • Improve teacher evaluations and make them more fair by restoring use of the locally negotiated “student achievement metric,” which more fairly assesses children who are above grade-level as well as students with special needs.
  • Repeal a provision that allows the State to withhold additional school aid from districts should they not have their “Annual Professional Performance Review Plans” approved by the Commissioner of Education by November 15, 2015.
  • Create an Education Infrastructure Bank to rebuild crumbling public schools across New York State (and help create good local jobs) by investing $682 million from bank settlement funds paid to the State for needs associated with health and safety, accessibility, physical capacity and school construction projects. This essential investment was left out of the enacted 2015 State Budget.
  • Remove an unfunded mandate on our schools by making the use of independent, outside evaluators optional instead of required.
  • Establish the “Community Schools Grant Program” to fund community schools that offer wraparound social services to create high quality, culturally relevant curriculum, health, social and emotional services in high needs communities, and then share the best practices across the state and nation.
  • Analyze the distribution and use of taxpayer funds associated with educational testing, curriculum building, graduation requirements and other essential components to developing effective education policy.

We have an opportunity before this legislative session ends to make these important changes.

As we saw with the Common Core, rushed implementation of any program or policy is not an effective means of achieving the overall goal: to provide all students, regardless of their zip code, the same educational opportunity.

For more information on these bills and other measures, please visit my website.

Sincerely,

Andrea Stewart-Cousins
New York State Senator, 35th District

Senate Democratic Leader

SENATOR ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS HONORS 13-YEAR-OLD JAKE GALLIN OF NEW ROCHELLE, NAMED AS ONE OF AMERICA’S TOP YOUTH VOLUNTEERS

(Albany – June 2, 2015) With a Resolution in the State Senate, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Leader, recognized 13 year old Jake Gallin of New Rochelle for being named as one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards* for his volunteer work on behalf of military families. Jake was nominated by Volunteer New York and selected by the Prudential Foundation as a National Honoree from a field of more than 33,000 youth volunteers from across the country.

“Jake Gallin’s efforts to recognize the sacrifices made by military families, whether they have a loved one serving in the military currently, or have lost a family member who made the ultimate sacrifice, is exemplary” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “He continues to volunteer his time, to raise money and awareness with his ‘Stars for Cars’ initiative, and as a result, he has received well-deserved national, and now state recognition.”

The seventh grader at the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle created “Stars for Cars,” a fundraising and outreach initiative for military families. Jake has raised more than $19,000 for the USO (United Service Organization) by selling star-shaped magnets for cars that honor military families. The magnets are sold online at www.starsforcars.org.

Jake thanked Senator Stewart-Cousins for the honor. “It was great – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was so glad to be there, to take part in it. I’m so grateful.”

Jake’s parents, Ally and Tom, accompanied him. Jake’s father said, “It’s another milestone for Jake and another platform for Jake to get his message out. For the Senator to take her time to do such a thing is phenomenal.”

Jake’s inspiration for the initiative occurred in 2011, when he was 8 years old. He was watching a tv talk show, and heard the First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, the Vice-President’s wife, talking about the needs of military families. Teresa Arciola of Elmsford, a Gold Star mother who lost her son Michael in Iraq in 2005, was also on the program. Jake will tell you that Mrs. Obama reminded the audience that 1 percent of our country is protecting the other 99 percent. Jake took it to heart. He started “Stars for Cars” to raise awareness of the sacrifices military families make here at home while a loved one is serving in the military (a Blue Star family) or is lost while serving in the military (a Gold Star family).

Jake has also reached out to schools across New York State to make the “3 Holidays Announcements,” on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Patriot Day (9/11). The message is, “We take this time to remember our ‘Blue and Gold Star’ military families and thank them for their sacrifice, generosity, and we want them to know that we are part of their community.” Over 100 schools and districts in New York State have signed on to make these public announcements. Senator Stewart-Cousins delivered the Veteran’s Day announcement with Jake at his school last November.

Jake was nominated by Volunteer New York for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. He plans to donate the personal award of $5,000 to Volunteer New York and another $5,000 grant he also got from the Prudential Foundation to the USO.

View Senator Stewart-Cousins Remarks: https://youtu.be/V_1rGNqKUOE

Photo of Jake with Senator Stewart-Cousins is attached

*The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is a national youth recognition program sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

        

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012 and re-elected in 2014, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State. First elected in 2006, she represents part of Yonkers, White Plains and New Rochelle,  and Greenburgh and Scarsdale.


ASC_June8th

Please make checks payable to:
Friends of Andrea Stewart-Cousins
1461 First Avenue #302
New York, NY 10075

Credit card contributions, please go to:
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Individual, Partnership, PAC, LLC and LLP contributions are limited to $10,300. Corporations may give up to $5,000 annually to races in New York State. Political contributions are not tax-deductible.

Friends of Andrea Stewart-Cousins
ASC_June8th

Please make checks payable to:
Friends of Andrea Stewart-Cousins
1461 First Avenue #302
New York, NY 10075

Credit card contributions, please go to:
https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/15jun08albany

Individual, Partnership, PAC, LLC and LLP contributions are limited to $10,300. Corporations may give up to $5,000 annually to races in New York State. Political contributions are not tax-deductible.

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS AND SENATE DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE ANNOUNCE AFFORDABLE HOUSING LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

Renews & Strengthens Rent Control Legislation

(Yonkers, NY) Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference Leader,  joined members of the Senate Democratic Conference to unveil an affordable housing package to better ensure fair housing practices throughout New York State.


“The Democratic Conference has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure all New Yorkers are able to have access to affordable housing options in the communities they call home,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “New York has always been a State where people from all walks of life can set down roots and build strong, stable, and diverse communities and that fact has helped make New York the Empire State. My Senate Democratic colleagues and I will keep up the fight to renew and strengthen rent control protections and increase affordable housing options for all New Yorkers.”


The Senate Democratic Conference proposals include renewing and strengthening rent control legislation for another two years through the Tenant Protection Act of 2015, as well as repealing initiatives that harm tenants such as vacancy decontrol and the vacancy bonus. The Senate Democrats also called for caps on rent increases allowed for individual and multi-apartment capital improvements.  


The package of affordable housing legislation includes bills that will:


  • Repeal provisions of State and City statutes that remove apartments from rent stabilization when they are vacated and could be rented for monthly rents of $2,500 or more. The bill also re-regulates units deregulated due to vacancy since 1993 to their December 31, 2014 rates.

     

  • Repeal provisions permitting rent increases of 20% or more upon vacancy of a rent stabilized dwelling unit.


  • Standardize the rental adjustment a landlord may impose for the total cost of an individual apartment improvement, reduce the increase allowed to 1/84th of the costs and require DHCR to issue a schedule of reasonable costs for repairs so that landlords can’t fraudulently attempt to deregulate an apartment through improvements that may not have been made or for inflated claims of costs incurred.

     

  • Provide that major capital improvements (MCI) be calculated as a rent surcharge and will not become part of the base legal regulated rent by which rent increases are calculated; requires the amount be separately designated and billed as such; prevents landlords from receiving a financial windfall from MCI funded by the New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Rent-controlled apartments are located within the following communities in the 35th State Senate District represented by Senator Stewart-Cousins:

  • Ardsley

  • Dobbs Ferry

  • Greenburgh

  • Hastings

  • Irvington

  • New Rochelle

  • Tarrytown

  • White Plains

  • Yonkers

Senator Stewart-Cousins concluded, “Now is the time to stand up for middle class and low wage New Yorkers who risk being pushed out of their homes by rent deregulation and expiring protections. I urge my colleagues in State government to stand with the Senate Democratic Conference to ensure fair housing for every New Yorker.”


###


State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012 and re-elected in 2014, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State. First elected in 2006, she represents part of Yonkers, White Plains and New Rochelle,  Greenburgh and Scarsdale.

 

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS AND SENATE DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE ANNOUNCE AFFORDABLE HOUSING LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

Renews & Strengthens Rent Control Legislation

(Yonkers, NY) Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference Leader,  joined members of the Senate Democratic Conference to unveil an affordable housing package to better ensure fair housing practices throughout New York State.


“The Democratic Conference has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure all New Yorkers are able to have access to affordable housing options in the communities they call home,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “New York has always been a State where people from all walks of life can set down roots and build strong, stable, and diverse communities and that fact has helped make New York the Empire State. My Senate Democratic colleagues and I will keep up the fight to renew and strengthen rent control protections and increase affordable housing options for all New Yorkers.”


The Senate Democratic Conference proposals include renewing and strengthening rent control legislation for another two years through the Tenant Protection Act of 2015, as well as repealing initiatives that harm tenants such as vacancy decontrol and the vacancy bonus. The Senate Democrats also called for caps on rent increases allowed for individual and multi-apartment capital improvements.  


The package of affordable housing legislation includes bills that will:


  • Repeal provisions of State and City statutes that remove apartments from rent stabilization when they are vacated and could be rented for monthly rents of $2,500 or more. The bill also re-regulates units deregulated due to vacancy since 1993 to their December 31, 2014 rates.

     

  • Repeal provisions permitting rent increases of 20% or more upon vacancy of a rent stabilized dwelling unit.


  • Standardize the rental adjustment a landlord may impose for the total cost of an individual apartment improvement, reduce the increase allowed to 1/84th of the costs and require DHCR to issue a schedule of reasonable costs for repairs so that landlords can’t fraudulently attempt to deregulate an apartment through improvements that may not have been made or for inflated claims of costs incurred.

     

  • Provide that major capital improvements (MCI) be calculated as a rent surcharge and will not become part of the base legal regulated rent by which rent increases are calculated; requires the amount be separately designated and billed as such; prevents landlords from receiving a financial windfall from MCI funded by the New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Rent-controlled apartments are located within the following communities in the 35th State Senate District represented by Senator Stewart-Cousins:

  • Ardsley

  • Dobbs Ferry

  • Greenburgh

  • Hastings

  • Irvington

  • New Rochelle

  • Tarrytown

  • White Plains

  • Yonkers

Senator Stewart-Cousins concluded, “Now is the time to stand up for middle class and low wage New Yorkers who risk being pushed out of their homes by rent deregulation and expiring protections. I urge my colleagues in State government to stand with the Senate Democratic Conference to ensure fair housing for every New Yorker.”

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012 and re-elected in 2014, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State. First elected in 2006, she represents part of Yonkers, White Plains and New Rochelle,  Greenburgh and Scarsdale.

150527 Aff Housing Leg Pkg Presser

 

Senate Democratic Conference Announces Affordable Housing Legislative Package 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today unveiled a legislative package to help ensure fair housing practices throughout New York State. The Senate Democratic Conference proposals include renewing and strengthening rent control legislation for another 2 years, as well as repealing initiatives that harm tenants such as vacancy decontrol and the vacancy bonus. The Senate Democrats also called for caps on rent increases allowed for individual and multi-apartment capital improvements.

 

“The Democratic Conference has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure all New Yorkers are able to have access to affordable housing options in the communities they call home,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “New York has always been a State where people from all walks of life can set down roots and build strong, stable, and diverse communities and that fact has helped make New York into the Empire State. My Senate Democratic colleagues and I will keep up the fight to renew and strengthen rent control protections and increase affordable housing options for all New Yorkers.”

 

Senator Adriano Espaillat, Ranker of the Senate’s Housing Committee, said, “In the last four years 35,000 rent regulated units have become market rate apartments and thousands of families were displaced as a result. More than 200,000 units have been lost since the early 90’s. We cannot hope to end the housing crisis in New York City if we continue to lose affordable housing at this horrendous rate. I have introduced legislation (S.3364-B/ The Tenant Protection Act of 2015) which would protect tenants from unfair rent increases and ensure regulated units remain affordable. Ending session with no rent laws or the same set of weak rent laws would put hundreds of thousands of families at risk of losing their homes.”

 

As Ranking Member on the Senate Housing Committee, Senator Adriano Espaillat will continue to spearhead the Senate Democratic Conference’s fight for affordable housing and common sense rent control laws during the reminder of session. The centerpiece of the Democratic Conference’s legislative efforts is the “Tenant Protection Act of 2015” introduced by Senator Espaillat. This omnibus legislation would reform New York’s rent laws to expand tenant protections against dishonest landlord practices and fairly limit and stabilize rent increases in affordable housing units. The legislation would also extend the rent regulation laws and the laws regulating conversions of apartments to cooperative or condominium status applicable to New York City and upstate areas until June 15, 2017.

 

Also introduced in the Senate Democratic Conference housing package are bills that will:

 

  • Repeals provisions of State and City statutes that remove apartments from rent stabilization when such apartments are vacated and could be rented for monthly rents of $2,500 or more. The bill also re-regulates at December 31, 2014 rents most apartments previously deregulated due to vacancy since 1993. (Leader Stewart-Cousins)
  • Repeals provisions permitting rent increases of 20% or more on vacancy of a rent stabilized dwelling unit. (Senator Serrano)

 

Senator Jose Serrano said, “I am proud to stand here with my colleagues in the Democratic Conference and announce a package of bills aimed at protecting tenants in New York. The package includes my bill, S.951, which would finally repeal the often-exploited ‘statutory vacancy bonus’ and stop landlords from increasing the rental cost of a vacant affordable unit and potentially phasing that unit out of rent regulation entirely. I would like to thank my colleagues in the Democratic Conference for standing up for hard-working New Yorkers and as we fight to ensure that affordable housing remains affordable.”

 

  • Makes consistent the rental adjustment a landlord may charge a tenant for the total cost incurred for an individual apartment improvement, reduces the increase allowed to 1/84th of the costs and requires DHCR to issue a schedule of reasonable costs for repairs, based on regional costs, so that landlords don’t fraudulently try to deregulate an apartment through improvements that may not have been made or for inflated claims of costs incurred. (Senator Squadron)

Senator Daniel Squadron said, “Strengthening rent laws for over 1 million New Yorkers is too important for political gamesmanship. For years, Senate Republicans have opposed our efforts to fix rent regulation laws, as apartments continue to be destabilized. For many members of the Majority, the main interest in rent laws is financial — but this year, the interests of communities and individuals must come before those of campaign contributors. I’m pleased that today’s package includes my bill to prevent bad landlords from fraudulently deregulating apartments (S.3285-B). I look forward to pushing these bills with Leader Stewart-Cousins, Senator Espaillat, and my colleagues to repeal vacancy decontrol, strengthen rent laws that protect tenants, and keep New York affordable.”

 

  • Establishes a methodology for determining major capital improvements (MCI) rent surcharges and provides that such MCI shall be calculated as a rent surcharge and shall not become part of the base legal regulated rent by which rent increases are calculated, and requires the amount be separately designated and billed as such. Italso prevents landlords from receiving a financial windfall from MCI funded by the New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA) (Senator Krueger)

 

Senator Liz Krueger said, “New York State’s rent regulation laws enable more than two million people, the vast majority of whom are moderate or low-income, to remain in safe and affordable housing. Due to vacancy decontrol and other landlord-friendly loopholes added to the laws over the last two decades, hundreds of thousands of desperately needed affordable apartments have been lost. Abuse of major capital improvement rent increases causes unjustified hardship for tenants, and the threat of losing affordable preferential rents hangs over more than a quarter of rent regulated tenants, especially those in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods in New York City. It is critical that we act now to stem the loss of affordable housing, and I am proud to stand with my Senate Democratic colleagues to strengthen the system and ensure that New York City is a place where regular working people can afford to live.”

 

Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “These measures steer a course out of our affordable housing crisis. Across New York State, too many tenants face the challenge of paying more than a third of their income in rent – putting a brake on our economy, crowding out other spending, and harming the quality of life of our communities. Unaffordable rents also harm businesses’ ability to attract workers to our region, entrepreneurs trying to get a new enterprise going, and young people planning to start families. The affordable housing crisis is particularly tough on Central Brooklyn, where tenants face being pushed to the margins in neighborhoods they have called home for decades and even face harassment from unscrupulous landlords trying to make a quick buck. That is why it is critical to pass the Tenant Protection Act of 2015 – bolstering the protections for affordable housing. These challenges are why I launched the ‘Know Your Rights Housing Forum’ series to educate tenants and established a Housing Advisory Committee to help connect the community to policy making. I am committed to working with my community and my colleagues to deliver the protections all New Yorkers need.”

 

Senator Brad Hoylman said: “I’m grateful to Democratic Conference Leader Stewart-Cousins and Senator Espaillat for their leadership on this package of bills that will help keep housing affordable for the millions of New Yorkers who live in rent regulated apartments. There is no more important issue this legislative session than renewing and strengthening the rent laws by passing this legislation. We must act now for the benefit of NYC’s next generation.”

 

Senator Jose Peralta said, “The clock is ticking. The rent regulation laws that protect over one million New Yorkers are set to expire in less than three weeks. We are in the midst of a housing crisis because living in New York is becoming less and less affordable. We must not just renew these protections, but strengthen them, by ending, among other things, vacancy decontrol and the ‘vacancy bonus.’ I want to thank our leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Adriano Espaillat for taking the lead and introducing this housing legislative package.”

 

Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “Lax rent laws have reduced our City’s affordable housing stock and left too many New Yorkers struggling to afford their monthly rent and at risk of losing their homes. This year, we have a responsibility to protect the housing security of over a million families by extending and strengthening our rent-regulation laws. The fair housing package introduced today by the Senate Democratic Conference and Senator Espaillat’s omnibus housing bill will go a long way in preserving the rent stabilized units so many New Yorkers depend on. I remain committed to fighting for housing policies that not only ensure working New Yorkers are able to continue to afford to keep a roof over their heads, but also prioritize the development of more affordable housing units.”

 

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “As a lifelong New Yorker who grew up in a rent-controlled apartment on the West Side of Manhattan, I recognize the importance of rent regulations. Today, rent-controlled apartments are the last bastions of affordable housing for our most vulnerable citizens. Thousands of working men and women, senior citizens and disabled New Yorkers living on fixed incomes depend on rent control to stay in their homes. We must extend rent control protections and reform the current system so that everyone has access to affordable housing.”

 

Senate Democratic Conference To Unveil Major Housing Reform Initiatives 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference will announce the introduction of major housing reform legislation on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 11:45 AM.

 

 

WHO:                         Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Housing Committee Ranker, Senator Adriano Espaillat

Senator Liz Krueger

Senator Jose Serrano

Senator Daniel Squadron

Members of the New York State Senate Democratic Conference

 

 

WHEN:                      Wednesday, May 27 at 11:45 AM

 

 

WHERE:                   Senate Democratic Conference Room

Room 315, State Capitol, Albany

 

 

 

Senate Democratic Conference Unveils Legislation To Improve Education System 

Package addresses failures in this year’s budget and the Common Core rollout

 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today announced the introduction of bills to reform the state’s public school system and address the concerns raised by education stakeholders due to the proposed changes made in the 2015 State Budget. The legislative package will implement reforms to teacher evaluation system, increase fairness for student assessments and provide support for community schools that offer wraparound social services.

 

“Each member of the State Legislature has a constitutional and moral responsibility to ensure that every child in New York State has access to a quality education,” Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The bills introduced by the Senate Democratic Conference will help undo the damage caused by the rushed-through education changes resulting from this year’s State Budget. The stakeholders in our state’s education system have been clear, we need to stop over-testing students and demonizing teachers for the failings in the public education system and finally address the root problems. The Senate Democratic Conference will keep up the fight to improve our public education system and it is my hope that under its new leadership, the Senate Republican Majority will join with us to make these necessary reforms.”

 

Senator George Latimer, Ranking Member on the Senate Education Committee, said,

“Students, parents and educators across New York State have loudly voiced their concerns over recent misguided education policies. The recent state budget and the Common Core rollout has demonized hard working teachers, continues to overburden our kids with standardized tests and has failed to adequately fund public schools in struggling communities. It’s now time for the State Senate Republicans to hear their voices and join with the Democratic Conference to pass these needed bills to fulfill our Constitutional responsibilities and put our public education system back on the right track.”

 

Senator Marc Panepinto said, “This is about fundamental fairness for our students and flexibility for our teachers. It is a two-pronged step in the right direction. By more fairly assessing students, we not only give them a fighting chance at a quality education, but provide a more realistic determination of our teacher’s performance. The restoration of the locally negotiated “student achievement metric” will reestablish equity in school districts across New York State. Our diverse student population is part of what sets New York State apart – our teachers recognize that best. Let’s even the playing field for all.”

 

Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “Doubling down on standardized testing to determine the success of both students and teachers, as well as the financial health of a school, is simply irresponsible and ineffective. The education package being proposed today aims to reverse a number of the changes made to our education system during this year’s budget in order to implement a lasting and reasonable evaluations system, ensures our schools are appropriately funded and truly improve the educational outcomes of our students.”

 

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues to introduce this package of commonsense education bills. By evaluating our teachers on clear, rational metrics and providing our students with the resources they need to succeed through the Community Schools Grant Program and additional infrastructure funding, we will move our education system forward in a sensible manner that serves teachers and students alike. Each of these bills, including legislation to make the unfunded mandate of independent, outside teacher evaluators optional instead of required, which I am pleased to sponsor, are critical improvements we must make to our education system so that every child has access to an excellent education.”

 

Introduced in the Senate Democratic Conference education package are bills that will:

 

  • Repeal a provision implemented in the 2015 State Budget that allows New York State to withhold additional school aid from districts should they not have their “Annual Professional Performance Review Plans” approved by the Commissioner of Education by November 15, 2015.

o   School districts will no longer be forced to choose between unreasonable evaluation requirements and sufficient financial support from the state.

 

  • Implement an advisory council to review “Annual Professional Performance Review Plans”

 

  • Restore use of the locally negotiated “student achievement metric” for teacher evaluations and make it available to school districts as part of the optional supplemental assessment subcomponent of the student performance category.

o   The “student achievement metric” more fairly assesses children who are above grade-level as well as students with special needs.

o   Restoring this metric will make assessments more realistic and useful for school districts to determine teachers’ performances.

 

  • Study the costs associated with statewide assessments of students in school districts throughout New York State.

o   This would provide an important analysis of how public resources are spent for educational testing, curriculum building, graduation requirements and other essential components to developing effective education policy.

o   The information collected will help start a statewide conversation on how taxpayer funds are distributed and utilized.

 

  • Establish the “Community Schools Grant Program” to fund community schools that offer wraparound social services.

o   This program would create high quality, culturally relevant curriculum, health, social and emotional services in high needs communities, and then share the best practices across the state and nation.

o   The State Education Commissioner would be directed to award competitive grants to eligible school districts to use existing school buildings as community hubs.

o   Establish the “Community Schools Grant Program” to fund community schools that offer wraparound social services.

 

  • Make the use of independent, outside evaluators optional instead of required

o   The enacted 2015 State Budget imposed an unfunded mandate by requiring school districts to utilize outside evaluators to observe and assess teachers.

o   This legislation would reform that practice by making the use of outside evaluators optional and not required.

 

The Senate Democratic Conference also called for $682 million in new settlement funds to be invested in an education infrastructure bank. These funds will be utilized to pay for needs associated with health and safety, accessibility, physical capacity and school construction projects. This essential investment, which was left out of the enacted 2015 State Budget, will help rebuild crumbling public schools across New York State and help create good local jobs. Funds for this program will come from the state’s projected surplus and are separate from the Smart Schools Bond Act.

 

Senator Neil Breslin said, “There are only four weeks life to ensure New York’s students receive the quality education they deserve. Time is running out and we must act quickly. I urge all of my colleagues to stand with us to pass these common sense education policies so students, schools, teachers, and parents have the tools they need to succeed.”

 

Senator Martin Malavé Dilan said, “The education reforms to come out of this year’s budget were vague at best. Virtually every question worth asking went unanswered and the concerns from parents and educators throughout the state were given little or no consideration. In the best interests of enacting result-driven, goal-oriented education reforms we need to revisit much of these proposals.”

 

Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “We need steps that treat teachers like the learned professionals they are. Not as test proctors. Not as targets. And not as scapegoats. We need steps that lift up community schools – getting services to families so that every student begins the day prepared to learn. Not hungry. Not worried about troubles at home. These steps represent the holistic vision of education that New Yorkers deserve. A vision that takes into account parents working multiple jobs, safety in the community, and the many factors beyond the schoolhouse doors that impact student success. These measures get us the information we need to make informed policy decisions, help students and families in need of support, and set up the systems to secure success in our schools.”

 

Senator Jose Peralta said, “This year’s budget package included a series of rushed education policies that did not address much needed policy reforms across the State. Plain and simple, we should not be playing politics with our children’s education. The series of bills being introduced today by the Senate Democratic Conference provide for meaningful measurements of success for both educators and students. I extend my thanks to Leader Stewart-Cousins and all of my Democratic colleagues for their leadership on this issue.”

 

Jasmine Gripper, Legislative Coordinator for the Alliance for Quality Education, said, “Teachers, parents and students are tired of being used as political pawns. It’s time to get back to focusing on students and their learning. These bills are a step in the right direction for New York’s children and schools. Thanks to the leadership of the Senate Democrats for prioritizing students, families and communities.”

 

Ivette Alfonso, President of Citizen Action of New York, said, “Students’ learning must be the first priority in our schools. We thank the Senate Democrats for fighting against high-stakes testing and in support of expanding community schools.”

 

Peter McNally, Executive Director of the NYS Federation of School Administrators (NYSFSA), said: “These bills address many of the concerns on provisions of the SFY 2015-2016 State Budget and the APPR system. NYSFSA believes policymakers must embrace what is right with education and move the accountability discussion beyond how heavily student testing is tied to teacher and principal evaluations toward research based reforms that support student achievement.”

 

Andy Pallotta, Executive Vice President of New York State United Teachers, said, “This package of bills will provide welcome remedy for some of the serious flaws in state testing and evaluation policy. It is a necessary step toward helping parents, educators and students reclaim the joy of teaching and learning. We look forward to working with the Legislature to see that these common sense, research-supported changes are enacted.”

 

Kevin Casey, Executive Director of School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS), said, “SAANYS and the educational leaders we represent applaud any careful and thoughtful analysis of student testing, professional evaluations, and the myriad of current education policies that do not necessarily enhance student achievement. The decoupling of state aid from APPR plans is critical and we encourage immediate action to get our schools the support they need now.”

 

Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers, said, “This package of legislation corrects many of Gov. Cuomo’s misguided budget ideas. It gives communities more time to come up with a new evaluation plan, guarantees them extra state aid without strings attached and brings some degree of sanity to the mess that is New York’s standardized testing program. It also enables schools to provide more services to children in school.”

 

SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS VISITS LOCAL SCHOOLS, READS TO STUDENTS AND DISCUSSES PUBLIC SERVICE

(May 14, 2015) There were so many classes to read to on Read Aloud Day in March at Paideia School 15 in Yonkers that State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins returned today at the student’s request to visit a class she had missed. Senator Stewart-Cousins, who is also the Democratic Leader in the New York State Senate, read “Wolf !” by Becky Bloom to the first grade students and discussed some of her responsibilities as an elected official and representative in Albany.


“I always enjoy visiting schools in my district,” said Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who represents the 35th State Senate District. “These children are the future of New York State and we have a responsibility to ensure they receive the high quality education they deserve. As a former teacher, I understand the struggles our state’s educators and students face each and every day, and that is why I will keep up the fight to fund and improve education.”


As a former teacher who attended public school, sent her children to public schools and whose grandchildren attend public schools, Senator Stewart-Cousins understands the vitally important role public schools play in educating New York State children.


Today’s visit is the latest one made to a local school as part of the Senator’s continuing commitment to education. Last week, Senator Stewart-Cousins was at the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle and spoke to students as part of their Career Day event. She also attended a citizenship and scholarship award ceremony by the Yonkers Council of PTA’s. Last month, she spoke at a school district and parent forum in New Rochelle, attended a Scarsdale Forum discussion on the new teacher evaluations, and spoke to students at Yonkers Middle High School. She also toured White Plains High School, stopping in several classrooms to observe and greet students. Also in April, the Senator supported the Woodlands Falcons Nest Booster Club and Middle and High School PTSA’s at their Taste Off to help raise money for sports programs in Greenburgh. In February, she was a guest speaker in two classes at Lincoln High School during Black History Month.


###


State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012 and re-elected in 2014, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history. First elected in 2006, she represents part of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle, Greenburgh and Scarsdale.



SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS VISITS LOCAL SCHOOLS, READS TO STUDENTS AND DISCUSSES PUBLIC SERVICE

(May 14, 2015) There were so many classes to read to on Read Aloud Day in March at Paideia School 15 in Yonkers that State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins returned today at the student’s request to visit a class she had missed. Senator Stewart-Cousins, who is also the Democratic Leader in the New York State Senate, read “Wolf !” by Becky Bloom to the first grade students and discussed some of her responsibilities as an elected official and representative in Albany.


“I always enjoy visiting schools in my district,” said Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who represents the 35th State Senate District. “These children are the future of New York State and we have a responsibility to ensure they receive the high quality education they deserve. As a former teacher, I understand the struggles our state’s educators and students face each and every day, and that is why I will keep up the fight to fund and improve education.”


As a former teacher who attended public school, sent her children to public schools and whose grandchildren attend public schools, Senator Stewart-Cousins understands the vitally important role public schools play in educating New York State children.


Today’s visit is the latest one made to a local school as part of the Senator’s continuing commitment to education. Last week, Senator Stewart-Cousins was at the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle and spoke to students as part of their Career Day event. She also attended a citizenship and scholarship award ceremony by the Yonkers Council of PTA’s. Last month, she spoke at a school district and parent forum in New Rochelle, attended a Scarsdale Forum discussion on the new teacher evaluations, and spoke to students at Yonkers Middle High School. She also toured White Plains High School, stopping in several classrooms to observe and greet students. Also in April, the Senator supported the Woodlands Falcons Nest Booster Club and Middle and High School PTSA’s at their Taste Off to help raise money for sports programs in Greenburgh. In February, she was a guest speaker in two classes at Lincoln High School during Black History Month.

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012 and re-elected in 2014, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history. First elected in 2006, she represents part of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle, Greenburgh and Scarsdale.

150514 Read to Kids Yonkers 1



A Newsletter Update from Andrea Stewart-Cousins – April/May 2015

The latest corruption scandal to hit the State Senate is deeply disturbing. My Senate Democratic colleagues and I attempted to remove the Senate Majority Leader from his leadership post after his arrest on May 4th on federal corruption charges, but the Republicans would not let our motion nor resolution be heard. Our motion to remove the leader was resubmitted but before it was heard on May 11th, the Republicans chose a new leader. We understood that there is too much important business that remains to be done during this legislative session to be bogged down in distractions surrounding this latest corruption case. This is not about guilt or innocence – this is about the trust you, the public, have in your government. A trust that my Democratic colleagues and I continue to work diligently at restoring so we can do the people’s business on behalf of our constituents.
We began the state’s new fiscal year with the 2015-16 State Budget in place. It’s the fifth year in a row we’ve been able to accomplish this – an important step in restoring the public’s faith in government to function properly. While I voted for a majority of the spending bills, I disagree and voted against some of the policies that were also included, such as a new teacher evaluation system that is more closely tied to test scores. I support a delayed implementation of this new system – we saw what happened with the rushed implementation of the Common Core. Overall, I believe we need a better solution to improve our public schools, involving all stakeholders and not demonizing teachers whose students may show up for class with a host of socio-economic challenges that impact on their ability to learn.
We were able to increase school aid substantially, by $1.3 billion. Unfortunately, districts like Yonkers are still struggling following last year’s discovery of a $55 million accounting error. Because we fought hard to aid the school district, Yonkers will get $262 million dollars this year, an increase of $19 million, and the Democrat-led Assembly added on another $20 million in capital funds and $2 million in bullet aid. The Governor, working with the Yonkers state delegation and the city, was able to find a solution to fill half of the $55 million gap. This year, we are discussing options once again.
Finally, as the leader of the Senate Democratic Conference, we are always interested in creating jobs and new economic opportunities for New York. That’s why I joined Governor Cuomo for a trade mission to Cuba on April 20th and 21st, following President Obama’s lifting of travel restrictions. We met our Cuban counterparts and came home with several agreements. Just recently, JetBlue announced it would start flying directly from New York to Havana.
I look forward to seeing you in the district this spring.Best,Andrea Stewart-Cousins New York State Senator, 35th District Senate Democratic LeaderSenate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Selects Jane Aoyama-Martin, Executive Director of the Pace Women’s Justice Center, as Senate Women of Distinction 2015 Nominee(Albany – May 5th) Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins selected Jane Aoyama-Martin, the Executive Director of the Pace Women’s Justice Center, as her nominee for the Women of Distinction Award in 2015. The recognition is given to outstanding women living and working in New York State, whose contributions have greatly enriched the quality of life in their communities and beyond. The award, sponsored by the New York State Senate, was bestowed during a ceremony in Albany on Tuesday.
“Victims of domestic violence and elder abuse know they can rely on Jane Aoyama-Martin and the Pace Women’s Justice Center to provide assistance and support at one of the most difficult and stressful times in their lives,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “Jane is a kind, calm, even-keeled woman whose knowledge and passion for her work is clearly evident. The work she does provides the support and assistance that helps victims continue their lives with dignity and strength.” More..Senator Stewart-Cousins on the New Teacher Evaluation System(Albany – April 23rd) Senator Stewart-Cousins, who did not vote for the new teacher evaluation system policy included in the state budget, supports a delay in its implementation. “Rushing to implement a new teacher evaluation system would be misguided,” she said in a statement released April 23rd. “We’ve been down this road before and we’ve seen where faulty and fast implementation of poorly conceived education changes leads. Demonizing teachers, over-testing students and rushing major reforms will not improve our education system, it will only cause more problems. Delaying the implementation of this new teacher evaluation system is the minimum step that should be taken.” The Enacted Budget directs the State Education Department Commissioner to implement a statewide annual teacher and principal evaluation system by June 30, 2015. School districts must approve their plans and submit them to SED by November 15, 2015 in order to comply. Click here to listen to the Senator’s remarks on education before the budget vote.Click here to learn more about what the 2015-16 State Budget means for the 35th District.Click here to listen to the Senator’s final remarks on the State Budget.

Senate Democratic Conference Calls for Passage of Critical Ethics Reform to Close the “LLC Loophole” Press Conference

(Albany – April 27th) Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Daniel Squadron, sponsor of the bill, held a news conference to push for legislation to tighten campaign finance regulations and close the LLC donation gap. Representatives from organizations such as the Brennan Center and Citizens Action, Citizen Union, Common Cause, League of Women Voters, and NYPIRG also support the bill. Senator Stewart-Cousins said almost every day new allegations of abuse and corruption are leveled at state government. She applauded Senator Squadron for his leadership in filing a motion for the Elections Committee to consider bringing the bill to a vote on the Senate floor because “the Senate has a responsibility to combat the corruption crisis that is impacting state government,” adding, “The only way we can begin to restore the public trust in state government is with action.” Click here to listen to the news conference.

New York State Trade Mission to Cuba

(Cuba – April 20th & 21st) Senator Stewart-Cousins’ recent trip to Cuba as a member of Governor Cuomo’s trade mission on April 20th and 21st provided a unique opportunity to build new relationships and economic partnerships designed to benefit the people of New York and Cuba. President Obama opened the door by lifting travel restrictions to the Communist island nation located 90 miles from U.S. shores. She was proud to represent New York as the Senate Democratic Leader and the 35th District representative.
A group of business leaders traveled with them including the CEO of Tarrytown-based Regeneron, Leonard Schleifer. During the trade mission, they were able to meet with their Cuban counterparts to explore future opportunities. Two agreements were reached. The Roswell Park Cancer Center will work with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology on a lung cancer vaccine and Infor Global Studies will sell healthcare management software in Cuba. Other new ventures are under review.
During the whirlwind trip, the group toured Old Havana, and were taken back in time 50 years by the old American cars on the streets and toured the port where goods arrive. They also met with a group of SUNY students and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher who discussed the exchange program. As the Governor said, “New York looks forward to the day when we welcome all Cubans with open arms. Muchas Gracias.”

Catch a quick glimpse of the trip by viewing this video including meeting with the Cardinal, a tour of old Havana, and catching up with SUNY students and Chancellor Zimpher.

(White Plains – April 26th) Stepping off at the March of Dimes Walk for Babies in White Plains, Senator Stewart-Cousins and her grandson Kyle joined hundreds of others including White Plains Mayor Tom Roach for the annual event. The March of Dimes is celebrating 75 years of research, breakthroughs and vaccines. Still, nearly half a billion babies are born too soon each year. The event raises money for the organization’s efforts to prevent premature births. View..(Tarrytown – April 25th) The Tarrytown YMCA hosted Healthy Kids Day as part of YMCA’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of children during the summer months. The annual event features fun activities for the whole family, informational booths about fitness and healthy living, as well as live music by local kids bands. A member of one of the bands, Second Son (pictured above with the Senator), met the Senator a few years back when he was just starting to learn how to play the trumpet. He was playing in public for donation, and the Senator witnessed kids poking fun of the amateur way he sounded, so she approached him, put $5 in a hat, and encouraged him to keep playing. He told the Senator that it was a moment in his life he will always remember, and now is the band’s leader. View..(Albany – April 29th) An unveiling of a new glass sculpture titled “Seeds of Enlightenment” took place on Wednesday morning at the Empire State Plaza as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr.Memorial Re-dedication Ceremony. The original sculpture designed by artist Eric Hilton was dedicated in 2000 but badly damaged in July 2014. Corning Inc. and The Corning Museum of Glass decided to replace the memorial sculpture with a new one that bears the same title as the original. The Senator took part in the unveiling and said in a press release about the event, “I’m honored to join the Office of General Services, Corning Inc., and The Corning Museum of Glass for the re-dedication of this beautiful memorial honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This memorial will serve as a constant reminder to the countless New Yorkers who pass through this plaza each day of Dr. King’s commitment to justice and equality.” View.. (White Plains – April 7th) New York’s first Fathering Conference was held in White Plains on April 7th. Tony Porter, co-founder of A Call to Men, was the keynote speaker. Frank Williams of the White Plains Youth Bureau was the master of ceremonies and Bob Stien helped coordinate the event at the County Center. Some 300 participants spent time in various workshops and the Senator had the opportunity to address the group before a roundtable discussion on education. View..

(White Plains – April 7th)
Senator Stewart-Cousins toured White Plains High School with School Superintendent Timothy Connors, Principal Ellen Doherty and White Plains Teacher’s Association President Kerry Broderick, a biology teacher here. She had a chance to see a science lab, an art class and digital art display, and a workout room with donated equipment. An impressive school with 2,100 students! View..
(New Rochelle – March 26th) The New Rochelle YMCA’s Lifesaver campaign continues as they seek to raise funds to make necessary repairs to the facility’s pool. You can learn more about the campaign by clicking here. Pictured with YMCA Executive Director Julie Gallanty, Bob Marrone of the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce and morning personality on WVOX-AM, and other supporters. View..
(New Rochelle – March 26th) Senator Stewart-Cousins celebrated the 100th birthday of Bill Moye of New Rochelle. He’s a World War II veteran that the Senator inducted into the State Senate’s Veteran’s Hall of Fame in 2014. The New Rochelle Housing Authority held a celebration. View..
(Albany – March 23rd) Leader Stewart-Cousins met with 5th graders from St. Anthony School in Yonkers who are studying government. The students were touring the State Capitol to learn more about how New York State government operates. View.. District Office: 28 Wells Avenue, Building #3 Yonkers, NY 10701 Phone: (914) 423-4031 Fax: (914) 423-0979
Albany Office: 188 State Street, 907 LOB Albany, NY 12247 Phone: (518) 455-2585 Fax: (518) 426-6811 Email: scousins@nysenate.gov
Connect: Visit the Senator’s website “Like” the Senator on Facebook Follow the Senator on Twitter

Photo

Holiday Open House

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On The Election Of Majority Leader John Flanagan.

“I want to offer my congratulations to Senator John Flanagan on his election to the post of Majority Leader and Temporary President of the State Senate. Unfortunately, today is not a day for celebrations, it is simply another reminder of the culture of corruption that has plagued Albany for too long and must be addressed. I urge the Senate Republican Majority to join with the Senate Democrats to clean up Albany and truly reform how state government operates. We have a lot of work to do during the remainder of the 2015 Legislative Session.”

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Communications Director Mike Murphy.

“The Senate Republicans failed the people of New York by allowing scandal-plagued Dean Skelos to hold on to power. Since they are unable to perform their duties, the Senate Democrats have filed a motion to force the removal of Dean Skelos as Senate leader. Even though advance filing is not required, today’s filing eliminates the Republicans false argument that they didn’t have adequate notice. The Democratic Conference has been at the forefront of efforts to reform state government and it will not sit idly by as the State Senate, under the Republican Majority, descends into chaos and dysfunction.”

BACKGROUND:

Motion Attached

Written Notice of Motion to Suspend the Rules – Received

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Senate Democratic Conference Announce Plans to Force Removal of Dean Skelos from Leadership

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference will renew calls for the Senate Majority Leader Deak Skelos to step down amid his ongoing legal and ethics problems. A short time ago during a news conference in Albany, the Senate Democratic Conference announced plans to force a leadership vote on the Senate floor.

Today’s Senate Session is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am. You can watch the session here:

http://www.nysenate.gov/live

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“The reported charges against the Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos are deeply disturbing. I cannot imagine him continuing to serve as leader as he deals with the cloud of corruption now effecting the top two Senate Republican leaders. There are many pressing issues that must be addressed during the remainder of the legislative session and the Senate Republican Majority must ensure that this body is not bogged down in scandal.”

Senate Democratic Conference Calls For Passage Of Critical Ethics Reform To Close The “LLC Loophole”

 

Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron will Today Force a Committee Vote to Close the LLC Loophole and Reform How Campaigns are Funded

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today called on the Senate Republicans in the Elections Committee to pass legislation that will close the LLC loophole and help clean up Albany. Due to Republican refusal to even consider this critical legislation, Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron filed a motion for committee consideration to simply have this ethics reform initiative discussed by the Senate Elections Committee. Today’s vote on the legislation in the Senate Elections Committee follows decisions in recent weeks by Republicans in both the State Legislature and the Board of Elections to keep the loophole open.

“The public’s faith in elected officials continues to be shaken due to scandal after scandal that has impacted New York State government,” Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The Senate Democratic Conference has repeatedly called for passage of common sense measures, including closing the LLC loophole, that will restore the people’s faith in state government by cleaning up Albany. I urge my colleagues in the Senate Republican Majority to join with the Senate Democrats to restore the public’s trust and pass meaningful ethics reforms.”

Senate Bill S.60 would close a loophole which currently allows limited liability companies (LLCs) to contribute vast sums of money to candidates for state office. Due to this loophole in state election law, between 2005 and 2013, LLCs contributed over $40 million to New York State candidates, parties and political action committees. This legislation would close that loophole and reduce the contribution limit for both LLCs and corporations to $1,000 annually.

Bill Sponsor, Senator Daniel Squadron said, “As the focus continues on this critical ethics reform, it will be disappointing if the Elections Committee vote breaks down along the same partisan lines that the recent budget and Board of Elections votes did. In light of the BOE’s professed arguments, I’m hopeful that the Elections Committee will take a serious look at this issue to prevent unlimited sums of anonymous dollars from perverting our state government and the entire political process.”

Assembly Bill Sponsor, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, said, “The LLC loophole is a boon to those who want to buy influence wholesale, an egregious open invitation to corrupt the democratic process with enormous, often hidden payments made directly to politicians’ campaigns. With the support my colleagues have already demonstrated, I am confident the Assembly will vote soon for our bill to shut it down. That leaves it to the Senate to do the same, and I applaud Senator Squadron for his unrelenting advocacy and for insisting on a vote, in committee today and before the full Senate as soon as possible.”

Assembly Bill Sponsor, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, said, “Recently the Board of Elections declined to close the LLC loophole administratively. The legislature must now act. I thank Senators Stewart-Cousins and Squadron for their leadership. I am pleased to co-sponsor a bill in the Assembly with Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh. Closing the LLC loophole would prohibit individuals or small groups of individuals who control large numbers of Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) from making virtually unlimited contributions by contributing from each LLC as if they were truly separate contributors. Closing the LLC loophole will blunt the outsized influence of those who control LLCs and enable the voices of average New Yorkers to be heard.”

This vote follows the Board of Elections’ decision last week to keep the LLC loophole open. The board had a chance to make this fix by rescinding their 1996 opinion to treat LLCs as individuals — as advocated by two of the Commissioners — by ruling that LLCs should be treated as corporations or partnerships, and by clarifying that a person may not use multiple LLCs to evade contribution limits. The measure failed, as the two Democratic Commissioners voted to close the loophole and the two Republicans voted to keep it open – insisting it should be handled in the Legislature, even though it was the board’s 1996 decision that created it. This decision came despite letters from bill sponsors, Senator Squadron and Assemblymember Kavanagh, the Attorney General, the Brennan Center, and editorial board statements from across the state supporting this needed change. In addition, Senate Republicans excluded the LLC loophole measure in their one-house budget resolution, and it was not included in the final budget, despite the provision’s inclusion in the Governor’s original executive budget, and the ethics packages of the Senate Democrats and the Assembly majority.

In New York elections, LLCs are currently not treated as corporations, but as people, with the ability to donate up to $60,800 to a statewide candidate per election cycle. LLC ownership is not disclosed under the current system, making it nearly impossible to track down contributions to the source of their funding. Thus, an individual can contribute unlimited sums to the political system through multiple LLCs without transparency or accountability. Of all the money raised by state-level candidates and party committees in New York, 14% is given by LLCs, three times the amount of small-level individual donors.

Senator Leroy Comrie said, “Given the seriousness of recent ethics allegations against this body, we have a responsibility to restore public faith in the legislature and safeguard against further abuse. As the ranking member of the Senate Election’s Committee, I am committed to creating a level playing field where all New Yorkers have the opportunity to impact who their elected representatives are.”

Senator Brad Hoylman said, “You can drive truckloads of cash through the LLC loophole. Thanks to this loophole, corporations are treated as people and allowed to contribute essentially unlimited amounts of money to candidates for state office. We need to close the LLC loophole now because nothing less than the integrity of our elections is at stake.”

Senator Liz Krueger said, “New Yorkers are fed up with stories of corruption coming out of Albany, and more and more people are simply giving up on the political process. We need to take serious action to reduce the inherently corrupting influence of large donations, close the LLC loophole, and begin to throw the money-changers out of the temple of our politics. Anything less than real reform is a dereliction of our responsibilities to the people we represent.”

Senator Bill Perkins said, “I am a proud Co-Sponsor of Senator Squadron’s essential “LLC Loophole” closure legislation; a measure that is equal parts about common sense and fundamental fairness. This legislation will effectively curtail one of the most egregious examples of the pervasive and unseemly influence of money in our political and governmental processes. I urge my colleagues on the Elections Committee to pass this measure, posthaste.”

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “It’s time to advance this bill and finally close the LLC loophole. We must stop the spigot of corporate money from flooding our elections. New Yorkers deserve an electoral process that is transparent, even-handed and fair. Democracy belongs to everyone.”

DeNora Getachew, Campaign Manager and Legislative Counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice, said, “The Board of Elections’ flawed interpretation of State Election Law created the LLC Loophole. This undermines a campaign finance regime built over decades to prevent special interests from corrupting the political process through exceptionally large donations. The loophole has allowed big donors to circumvent both contribution limits and disclosure requirements put in place to protect the integrity of New York’s elections and government. This month, the Board failed to correct its mistake and close the loophole, despite calls to do so from Gov. Cuomo, the Attorney General and New Yorkers across the state. We are gratified that Senator Squadron is continuing to push for legislation to replace the Board’s misreading of the law, and hope the state’s other leaders will join him in supporting this bill.”

Jessica Wisneski, Legislative and Campaigns Director for Citizen Action of New York, said, “Last year, $20 million was funneled through shadowy, unaccountable shell companies into the pockets of state and local candidates across the state. The loophole makes a mockery of even the most basic of campaign finance regulations. And when given the opportunity to take action to close the loophole once and for all, Sen. Skelos’ own appointee to the Board of Elections blocked it. Senate Republicans have another opportunity to slow the flood of big money in Albany. It’s time for Senate Republicans to show us where they stand.”

 

Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union, said, “Citizens Union commends Senator Squadron for championing S.60, as this bill requires limited liability companies to abide by the same limits on political spending as corporations. This fixes a long abused loophole that has rendered the state’s campaign contribution limits meaningless and allows millions of extra dollars in contributions into our election system, undermining public trust in our democratic institutions.”

 

Lauren George, Associate Director of Common Cause New York, said, “It’s time for New York to join the rest of the country on this and end this legalized bribery. LLCs are not people and should not be treated as such. As our reports have shown, follow the LLC money and you’ll find individuals and industries with no limits whatsoever on their use of campaign cash to influence our policy makers. This is a bipartisan issue—allowing this loophole to continue leads voters across the political spectrum to believe that their state government is up for sale.”

 

Barbara Bartoletti, LWVNYS Legislative Director, said, “The Legislature must seize this opportunity to fight corruption in Albany and reduce the influence of large donors. People, not money, should elect our legislators. Closing the LLC loophole must be enacted to help stop the flow of big money in politics.”

Russ Haven, NYPIRG Legislative Counsel, said, “LLCs could stand for ‘Loading up Lots of Cash,’ because too often they’re used to shovel campaign contributions at levels that should only apply to human donors. Senator Squadron and his conference are proposing common-sense approaches to the ‘LLC loophole’ and it’s way past time for this to get a floor vote.”

Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, said, “There’s no point in having contribution limits if motivated super-rich people are easily able to circumvent them. That’s why it’s so imperative that New York close the LLC loophole. If we want a government that represents We the People, then we can’t tolerate a campaign finance system dominated by tiny numbers of the super-rich.”

 

Bill Lipton, Director of the Working Families Party Director, said, “The LLC loophole allows wealthy individuals to skirt already sky-high contribution limits and secretly funnel millions to their preferred candidates. Senator Squadron’s bill would begin to level the playing field in Albany, which has been rigged for the 1% and against working families for the past two decades.”

This legislation was part of a series of ethics reforms initiatives that the Senate Democratic Conference unveiled earlier this session called the “Clean Up Albany” legislative package. These initiatives would have helped restore the public’s trust in state government by restricting outside income, barring elected officials from using campaign funds for criminal defense and personal use and reforming how campaigns are funded and how campaign funds can be utilized.

For more information about the Clean Up Albany package, please visit: https://www.scribd.com/doc/255205271/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Introduce-The-Clean-Up-Albany-Legislative-Package.

Senate Democratic Conference Renews Push To Close The LLC Loophole

 

 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference will announce a renewed effort to close the LLC Loophole.

 

 

WHO:                         Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

                                    Bill Sponsor, Senator Daniel Squadron

Members of the New York State Senate Democratic Conference

Assemblymembers Brian Kavanagh and Jo Anne Simon

DeNora Getachew, Brennan Center for Justice.

Jessica Wisneski, Citizen Action

Peggy Farber, Citizens Union

Lauren George, Common Cause

Laura Ladd Bierman, League of Women Voters

Russ Haven, NYPIRG

Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Public Citizen

 

WHEN:                      Monday, April 27, 2015, at 11:30 AM

 

WHERE:                   Senate Democratic Conference Room, Room 315 Capitol, Albany

 

 

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“Rushing to implement a new teacher evaluation system would be misguided. We’ve been down this road before and we’ve seen where faulty and fast implementation of poorly conceived education changes leads. Demonizing teachers, over-testing students and rushing major reforms will not improve our education system, it will only cause more problems. Delaying the implementation of this new teacher evaluation system is the minimum step that should be taken.”

BACKGROUND

  • Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins spoke out against the rushed-through education system changes that were included in the 2015-2016 State Budget. Floor remarks on the education section of the 2015-2016 State Budget: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA5DqgI7nso

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“By voting down legislation to create the Office of Special Investigation, the Senate Republicans demonstrated that they do not believe reforms are needed to ensure all New Yorkers, regardless of age, race or gender, are treated with respect and equality. The fight to reform the state criminal justice system is not over, and we will continue our efforts to ensure every New Yorker feels safe, secure and protected.”

BACKGROUND:

  • Senate Bill S.2180 would have created the Office of Special Investigation within the Attorney General’s Office. This office would have automatically reviewed any death of an unarmed civilian in a police interaction. Additionally, New Yorkers will be able to petition this office to take over investigations in special circumstances.
  • This initiative was announced in December 2014, as part of the Senate Democratic Conference’s push to reform the state’s criminal justice system.

o   12.09.14 Criminal Justice Reform Release

https://www.scribd.com/doc/249784842/12-09-14-Criminal-Justice-Reform-Legislation-Release

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 

“It’s seems everyday a new Albany scandal rocks New Yorkers’ confidence in our state government. The Senate Democratic Conference has outlined a series of common sense measures, including closing the LLC loophole, that will restore the people’s faith in state government by cleaning up Albany.  I am disappointed that efforts to close the LLC loophole continue to be blocked  and I hope with the remaining time left in session we can finally close this glaring loophole and pass real ethics reforms.”

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

  • 03.31.15 – Senate Republican Majority Votes Against Meaningful Ethics Reforms Legislation: Democratic Conference Members Offered Initiative to Close LLC Loophole and Clean Up Albany

https://www.scribd.com/doc/260533980/Senate-Republican-Majority-Votes-Against-Meaningful-Ethics-Reforms-Legislation

 

  • 02.09.15 – Senate Democratic Conference Introduces The “Clean Up Albany” Legislative Package

https://www.scribd.com/doc/255205271/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Introduce-The-Clean-Up-Albany-Legislative-Package

  • 05.06.14 – Senate Democratic Conference Urges Immediate Action On Tough Ethics Package

https://www.scribd.com/doc/222382517/05-06-14-Ethics-Reform-Bill-Package-Release

(April 6, 2015)  New York State’s new fiscal year began April 1st with the 2015-2016 State budget in place. The $142 billion spending plan increases state spending by 2% over last year and includes $23.5 billion in education aid–an increase of $1.3 billion. The state also continues to make strides in reducing the Gap Elimination Adjustment. There are new initiatives, including $1.6 billion to provide basic health coverage for low-income New Yorkers, and important funding (detailed below) that will have a positive impact on constituents and municipalities in the 35th District.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins voted for a majority of the budget bills but articulated her concerns about the education bill that also included legislative ethics reforms. In particular, Senator Stewart-Cousins questioned the rushed implementation of a new teacher evaluation policy that will increasingly rely on student test scores and will not include important factors such as overcrowded and underfunded classrooms in high-needs school districts like Yonkers.

We failed to address the inequality in how schools are funded; instead of using comprehensive, bottom-up approaches, the enacted state budget once again relies on the State Education Department and a quick testing fix,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins during remarks on the Senate floor.

(Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHg8nQOswYs)

In regard to legislative ethics reforms, the Senator said the final deal fell short. The Senate Democratic Conference put forth several proposals that would, among other things, restrict legislators’ outside income, end taxpayer-funded reimbursements for legal defense expenses, and close campaign finance loopholes and enact campaign finance reform.  The final budget agreement left those provisions out.

On a positive note, the enacted budget does include funding to help municipalities with infrastructure improvements, as well as $900 million for the new Tappan Zee Bridge project in Tarrytown and $400 million to keep the tolls on the Thruway and the new bridge as low as possible. There is money for affordable housing, economic development, nonprofits, and student loan relief. However, other items that were glaringly absent from the final budget include property tax relief, paid family leave, raising the age of criminal responsibility, the Dream Act and increasing the minimum wage indexed to inflation.

“Hard working New Yorkers should not be forced to struggle to support themselves and their families if they work one or more full-time jobs,” the Senator said. “Unfortunately, the state minimum wage remains too low to effectively lift the over one million struggling New Yorkers out of poverty,” she continued.

This year, Senator Stewart-Cousins called for more voices to be included in the budget negotiations– beyond the traditional ‘three men in room’. The Senate Democratic Conference consists of 25 members, including Leader Stewart-Cousins (the first female legislative conference leader in the state) and represents 8 million New Yorkers. In addition to opening up the process, she called for more transparency around the budget in general.

“We simply rushed bills to print and then to floor with little or no real public debate or input,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “In spite of all of the self-congratulations in this legislative chamber for passage of an on-time budget–which I know is important to accomplish–we also need to recognize there is still a lot of work to do.”

HERE ARE SOME OF THE 2015-16 ENACTED BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS:

2015-16  SCHOOL AID        TOTAL                INCREASE

YONKERS

  $262,028,665

$19.6 million

WHITE PLAINS

$22,618,997

$1.9 million

NEW ROCHELLE

$40,363,572

$3.9 million

SCARSDALE

$6,407,700

$477,721

In Greenburgh, there are eight school districts, with a combined school aid amount of $40,885,287 for Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Elmsford, Greenburgh Central, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, and Tarrytown.

HIGHER EDUCATION

  • Student loan support for New York state residents with the “Get on your Feet” program to help supplement federal Pay as You Earn (PAYE)

SPECIAL ACT SCHOOLS

  • $25 million in a Capital Facilities Financing Reserve Fund for the State Dormitory Authority

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • $150 million for the Regional Economic Development Councils for regional priority projects and $70 million in State tax credits for a fifth round of awards

  • $1 million for the MWBE Development and Lending Program

URBAN YOUTH JOBS PROGRAM (previously Youth Works)

  • $10 million addition, for total program support of $20 million statewide in tax credits for participating communities–including Yonkers, White Plains, New Rochelle–to support the hiring of at-risk youths in targeted areas of high youth unemployment

TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE/THRUWAY TOLLS FUNDING

  • $900 million in capital funds for the construction project on the new New York Bridge

  • $400 million to the Thruway Authority to stabilize tolls and prevent increase

EXTREME WEATHER RECOVERY

  • $50 million to help localities repair bridges and roads following the past extreme winter weather

ENVIRONMENT

  • $177 million to the Environmental Protection Fund

  • $200 million to Water Resources

HEALTH CARE

  • Basic Health Plan: $1.6 billion. This new initiative allows the state to offer public health insurance to people whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but below 200% of the federal poverty level

2-1-1 New York:  $1.25 million, including funding to qualified regional collaborators

New York State Alliance of YMCAs: $500,000

Jawonio, Inc.: $350,000 (includes a Yonkers location) for people with developmental disabilities

ALS Association–Greater New York Chapter: $250,000 for services and expenses

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Veterans and Military Families Advocacy Project:  

$200,000 under the Division of Veterans’ Affairs Aid to Localities

SPECIAL INFRASTRUCTURE ACCOUNT

  • $150 million for municipal restructuring to consolidate services, with payments to local governments and school districts

  • $355 million for essential health care providers for debt retirement, capital projects and non-capital projects that facilitate transformation including mergers, consolidation, and restructuring

TRANSPORTATION:

  • $1 billion for significant repairs of the state’s roads and bridges

  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority: $750 million for the 2015-19 Capital Program. The Democratic Conference encourages the State to provide a mechanism to eliminate the MTA’s deficit, whether through increased aid or other means, in order to ensure the State’s prosperity.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

  • $477 million, includes the investment of $439 million in bank settlement funds to support various programs, including $50 million for new middle-income housing and renovation of existing Mitchell-Lama housing developments, and to support mortgage assistance and other programs targeted to the disabled, seniors, and veterans

NEW NONPROFIT CAPITAL INVESTMENT PROGRAM

  • This $50 million program will make targeted investments with nonprofit, human service organizations across the state on a competitive grant basis. These agencies provide direct services through state contracts, state authorized payments and/or state payment rates.

KINSHIP CARE:    $1 million

HEROIN ADDICTION & TREATMENT

  • $1 million in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services funding for heroin abuse treatment and prevention programs

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS DELIVERS FINAL 

REMARKS BEFORE SENATE PASSES 2015-16 STATE BUDGET

“What happened in this budget, and the story of this budget, is more of a story of who was included, who was left out, and its also more of a story of what didn’t happen as opposed to what did. We failed to raise the minimum wage that would’ve lifted thousands of New Yorkers out of poverty. We failed to provide desperately needed property tax relief for homeowners and business owners across New York State. Yet, we gave tax breaks to yacht owners and airplane owners. We failed to deliver relief for renters and provide adequate funding for affordable housing. We failed to address the inequality in how we fund our schools, and instead of using comprehensive, bottom-up approaches, we once again rely on SED (State Education Dept) and a quick testing fix (for new teacher evaluation policy). We haven’t gone far enough to ensure that every child has the opportunity to access quality, affordable higher education. We failed to pass the Dream Act. Scandal after scandal has rocked Albany, yet we failed to pass a meaningful ethics package that would’ve gotten to the heart of the problem.We didn’t include paid family leave or raise the age (of criminal responsibility) legislation. And we even failed to provide the transparency and openness that the public deserves when we deal with such a massive undertaking. We simply rushed bills to print and then to floor with little or no real public debate or input. While we pat ourselves on the back for an on-time budget, in this chamber at least – and I know its important – we also need to recognize there is still a lot of work to do.”

Listen and view full remarks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLmiTwEyhoQ&feature=youtu.be

Senate Republicans Vote To Hold School Aid Hostage.

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today brought legislation to the Senate floor that would have prevented the state’s school aid from being held hostage by decoupling it from teacher evaluation policy. The Senate Republican Majority voted down this measure.

“State government should never play politics with our students’ education and yet that is exactly what has been happening during state budget negotiations,” Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Linking education spending with teacher evaluations is a cynical maneuver that jeopardizes struggling school districts throughout New York State. All New York students deserve a high quality education and I am disappointed that the Senate Republicans voted against this initiative.”

 

Legislation advanced by the Senate Democratic Conference would have blocked efforts to link state education aid disbursements with the implementation of a new teacher evaluation policy. This initiative would have ensured that New York public schools received the state funds they need without being required to implement a controversial, untested evaluation system.

Bill sponsor, Senator George Latimer, said, “It is simply wrong to use our children’s education and their future as a political bargaining chip. Our education system needs real reforms that are worked out with the inclusion and support of stakeholders, rather than political actions that only serve to demonize teachers and don’t improve the quality of our public schools. We need real cooperation across the aisle, not partisan gamesmanship.”

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

“As more and more items are being removed from this year’s State Budget, I am especially concerned that efforts to increase the minimum wage seemed to have stalled. Now is the time to help the hard working men and women who are struggling because of our already inadequately low minimum wage. We cannot miss another opportunity to help lift over 1.1 million New Yorkers out of poverty, and finally pass a meaningful minimum wage increase with indexing.”

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

“As more and more items are being removed from this year’s State Budget, I am especially concerned that efforts to increase the minimum wage seemed to have stalled. Now is the time to help the hard working men and women who are struggling because of our already inadequately low minimum wage. We cannot miss another opportunity to help lift over 1.1 million New Yorkers out of poverty, and finally pass a meaningful minimum wage increase with indexing.

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On Education Funding.

“Funding for New York State schools should not be held hostage due to the ongoing debate over how best to reform our education system. Our state’s students need help and we have a responsibility to ensure their schools are provided necessary funding immediately. Any delays or excuses to avoid adequate funding will simply hurt our students and that is unacceptable.”

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On Education.

“As discussions regarding a commission to reform New York’s education system continue and details begin emerge, it is becoming clear that this potential commission is unworkable. Any commission created to review and amend our education system must be balanced and include representation from all stakeholders, not simply a select few. The priorities of this commission should be to improve the quality of education our students receive, and not simply continue the demonization of teachers.”

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS RELEASES 2015-16 STATE BUDGET PRIORITIES.

requests $2 Billion Increase in Education Funding.

 

(March 18, 2015) Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and her Senate colleagues have released their 2015-16 State Budget priorities. The priorities include:  adding another $2 billion in funding for education;  increasing the minimum wage; creating more affordable housing and job opportunities through capital projects; increasing aid to local municipalities to help reduce property taxes; increased funding for EPIC, the prescription drug plan for seniors, and for kinship care. The list of priorities, in the form of a budget letter to the republican Senate Majority Leader, also includes provisions for the $5.1 billion in settlement funds available for one-time investments this year, including $75 million in zero interest loans for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.

 

“The budget priorities outlined by the Senate Democrats reflect our view of our state’s most important needs, including adequately funding our education system and not linking policy reforms to critical funding,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “We have two weeks to put together a budget that works for all New Yorkers.”

 

Priorities that specifically relate to the 35th District include:

 

  • A $2 BILLION INCREASE IN EDUCATION FUNDING:

The Enacted Budget must address adequate funding from universal pre-k to college, with increases first targeting high-needs districts including Yonkers, which the Senator pointed out in her remarks on the Senate floor Thursday, has requested an additional $89 million to maintain the status quo.  

  • Increase funding by 4.8% for Special Act School Districts that instruct our most vulnerable students, include tuition indexing for Special Act Schools and 853 schools

  • fund Library Aid at the 2010 Census level and increase construction funds by $14 million

 

  • LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE INCLUDING TAX CAP EXEMPTIONS:

The Democratic Conference agrees with the Executive’s proposals to increase AIM funding by 10% for local governments with the greatest needs; and proposes:

  • Exempting capital equipment purchases and capital projects from the tax cap, giving local governments more flexibility to invest in local infrastructure;

  • Restore VLT Impact Aid (Video Lottery Terminals at Empire City at Yonkers Raceway);

  • Provide $50 million for Body Cameras program that would reimburse local and State law enforcement agencies for their purchase

 

  • TAX RELIEF:

  • amend the existing NYS Real Property Tax Law for school districts like Greenburgh Central that are experiencing issues of incongruent property valuations, to establish a special equalization rate for the purpose of determining its State operating and building aid

  • MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE:

    • including $900 million from $5.1 billion settlement funds for Low Wage Worker Stimulus as outlined in Senate Democrats’ Fair New York Plan

    • indexing increase to the Consumer Price Index

 

  • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:

    • Provide $1.5 billion in new capital funding for infrastructure to promote jobs and economic development statewide without competitive strings attached

 

  • AFFORDABLE HOUSING:

    • Fully fund New York “Mixed Income” Housing Program – $400 million

    • Fully fund State Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Trust Fund, Affordable Home Ownership Development, and Urban Initiatives Program –

$250 million

 

  • SENIORS:

  • Include $126.5 million for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) Program

  • KINSHIP CARE:

    • Increase Kinship Caregiver/ Navigator program funding by $1 million

 

  • HIGHER EDUCATION:

    • Increase the maximum TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) award to $6,500, raise the income eligibility and reinstate Graduate TAP

    • Approve the DREAM ACT

  

  • TRANSPORTATION:

    • Increase funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program by using $200 million of bank settlement proceeds to make a significant impact on local road and bridge capital needs;

    • Provide funding for the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, as well as for the Tappan Zee Bridge’s Bus Rapid Transit service to provide the Lower Hudson Valley with affordable, environmentally-friendly transit opportunities;

 

  • VETERANS:

    • fund female veterans homelessness prevention, and employment assistance initiatives

    • Increase funding for Veterans’ Regional Advocacy centers by $1 million;

 

*Links to:

Senator Stewart-Cousins’ Budget Remarks: http://www.nysenate.gov/video/2015/mar/12/leader-stewart-cousins-remarks-2015-16-senate-budget-resolution

Senate Democratic Conference Budget Request Letter:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/258250919/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Budget-Request-Letter

 

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS RELEASES 2015-16 STATE BUDGET PRIORITIES

requests $2 Billion Increase in Education Funding

(March 18, 2015) Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and her Senate colleagues have released their 2015-16 State Budget priorities. The priorities include:  adding another $2 billion in funding for education;  increasing the minimum wage; creating more affordable housing and job opportunities through capital projects; increasing aid to local municipalities to help reduce property taxes; increased funding for EPIC, the prescription drug plan for seniors, and for kinship care. The list of priorities, in the form of a budget letter to the republican Senate Majority Leader, also includes provisions for the $5.1 billion in settlement funds available for one-time investments this year, including more than $1 billion for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.

“The budget priorities outlined by the Senate Democrats reflect our view of our state’s most important needs, including adequately funding our education system and not linking policy reforms to critical funding,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “We have two weeks to put together a budget that works for all New Yorkers.”

Priorities that specifically relate to the 35th District include:

  • A $2 BILLION INCREASE IN EDUCATION FUNDING:

The Enacted Budget must address adequate funding from universal pre-k to college, with increases first targeting high-needs districts including Yonkers, which the Senator pointed out in her remarks on the Senate floor Thursday, has requested an additional $89 million to maintain the status quo.

  • Increase funding by 4.8% for Special Act School Districts that instruct our most vulnerable students, include tuition indexing for Special Act Schools and 853 schools
  • fund Library Aid at the 2010 Census level and increase construction funds by $14 million
  • LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE INCLUDING TAX CAP EXEMPTIONS:

The Democratic Conference agrees with the Executive’s proposals to increase AIM funding by 10% for local governments with the greatest needs; and proposes:

  • Exempting capital equipment purchases and capital projects from the tax cap, giving local governments more flexibility to invest in local infrastructure;
  • Restore VLT Impact Aid (Video Lottery Terminals at Empire City at Yonkers Raceway);
  • Provide $50 million for Body Cameras program that would reimburse local and State law enforcement agencies for their purchase
  • TAX RELIEF:
  • amend the existing NYS Real Property Tax Law for school districts like Greenburgh Central that are experiencing issues of incongruent property valuations, to establish a special equalization rate for the purpose of determining its State operating and building aid
  • MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE:
    • including $900 million from $5.1 billion settlement funds for Low Wage Worker Stimulus as outlined in Senate Democrats’ Fair New York Plan
    • indexing increase to the Consumer Price Index
  • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
  • Provide $1.5 billion in new capital funding for infrastructure to promote jobs and economic development statewide without competitive strings attached
  • AFFORDABLE HOUSING:
  • Fully fund New York “Mixed Income” Housing Program – $400 million
    • Fully fund State Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Trust Fund, Affordable Home Ownership Development, and Urban Initiatives Program –

$250 million

  • SENIORS:
  • Include $126.5 million for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) Program
  • KINSHIP CARE:
  • Increase Kinship Caregiver/ Navigator program funding by $1 million
  • HIGHER EDUCATION:
    • Increase the maximum TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) award to $6,500, raise the income eligibility and reinstate Graduate TAP
    • Approve the DREAM ACT

  

  • TRANSPORTATION:
  • Increase funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program by using $200 million of bank settlement proceeds to make a significant impact on local road and bridge capital needs;
  • Provide funding for the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, as well as for the Tappan Zee Bridge’s Bus Rapid Transit service to provide the Lower Hudson Valley with affordable, environmentally-friendly transit opportunities;
  • VETERANS:
  • fund female veterans homelessness prevention, and employment assistance initiatives
  • Increase funding for Veterans’ Regional Advocacy centers by $1 million;

*Links to:

Senator Stewart-Cousins’ Budget Remarks: http://www.nysenate.gov/video/2015/mar/12/leader-stewart-cousins-remarks-2015-16-senate-budget-resolution

Senate Democratic Conference Budget Request Letter:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/258250919/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Budget-Request-Letter

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Paid Family Leave

“I commend the Assembly for passing the Paid Family Leave Act. The Senate Democratic Conference has long supported this legislation that would provide the most help to New York Families. Those who provide care for a sick loved one or give a newborn baby the care, time and attention prescribed by doctors should never be punished for doing the right thing. The Senate Democratic Conference remains committed to building a stronger economy by helping our hardworking families and will continue to lead the way on paid family leave.”

Senate Democratic Conference Outlines Budget Requests

 

Question Governor’s budget approach while continuing to push for a more fair and economically prosperous New York-Including additional 2 billion in school aid and higher minimum wage indexed to inflation

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference have outlined their budget requests for the state’s 2015-2016 budget following analysis of the Governor’s Executive Budget and testimonies provided by various stakeholders during the Joint Legislative Budget Hearings. The outline highlights their strong concerns over the Governor’s attempt to force policies through an appropriation bill and reiterates that such policies, many of which are supported including their ethics reform measures, should be passed separately and immediately. The Democratic Conference’s requests focus on many important fiscal issues such as adequately funding public education, indexing the minimum wage to lift thousands of New Yorkers out of poverty, passing the Dream Act and providing localities funding for police body cameras.

The Senate Democratic Conference’s budget requests would create greater opportunities for all New Yorkers and move our state’s economy forward by addressing many critical areas that include:

Education: The Budget must recognize and adequately address issues regarding education funding, from universal pre-kindergarten through college. Early investment in our youngest New Yorkers pays dividends not just in the education realm, but also in concrete economic, social, and cultural terms. Teachers cannot be made scapegoats for the ills of our education system. The timely creation of an education redesign team comprised of all stakeholders is the best way to discuss and bring about real reforms to better all students. The overall State Aid proposal should provide an increase to Foundation Aid and address the harmful effects created by the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). The increases should first target high-need urban, suburban, and high-need rural school districts. Specific increases for the Big Five city school districts also are necessary this fiscal year. Our Conference recommends the following:

  • Include $2 billion in additional funding for the overall education budget;
    • Increase funding by 4.8% for Special Act School Districts that instruct our most vulnerable students, include tuition indexing for Special Act Schools and 853 schools;
    • Provide additional funds for school districts with an increasing number of unaccompanied minors and require the State Education Department to ensure that those students are receiving appropriate services;
    • Restore $40 million in funding for the Teacher Centers;
    • Increase Adult Literacy funds by $10 million.

Labor & Workforce:

It is critical for the Enacted Budget to address properly the needs of public and private sector employees. While the State’s unemployment rate has dropped, the State must pay additional attention to keeping and preserving good paying jobs, supporting critical workforce training, and promoting efficient public services that employ diligent public employees.

The Senate Democratic Conference has stood by the right for fair pay and understands the importance of raising the minimum wage for the lowest wage earners. We believe the proposed minimum wage increase is to be applauded but that the Executive Budget should go a step further by providing yearly increases indexed to inflation, as well as local control. Until the Governor’s minimum wage proposals are accepted and implemented, our Fair New York plan can serve as a bridge between the current minimum wage and the anticipated increase. These additional measures will ensure that the minimum wage truly meets the needs of New York’s wage earners. Our Conference rejects the continued efforts to undermine the competitive civil service system using temporary, non-competitive positions to handle critical state services. The Senate Democratic Conference recommends the following:

  • Add to the Governor’s minimum wage proposal a yearly increase, indexed to the Consumer Price Index; and allow for local control;
  • Until the implementation of an increased minimum wage occurs, include $900 million from the settlement monies to fund the Low Wage Worker Stimulus. This measure would provide tax relief to working New Yorkers;
  • Increase the Department of Labor’s budget by $20 million to address wage theft;
  • Restore $12.6 million in labor initiatives and training programs cut in the Executive Budget;
  • Eliminate the authority to hire provisional, non-competitive civil service employees in the Office of Information Technology Services and Department of Health;
  • Ensure that all current Management/Confidential titles are covered by the M/C pay parity proposal.

 

Ethics: It has become clear that now, more than ever, the State government must work towards restoring the public’s faith in its government. A system of full public financing of election campaigns would help to level the playing field for those who wish to run for public office, but otherwise could not afford it. The Senate Democratic Conference has always understood the importance of ethics reform, and in the past, has introduced some of the most aggressive policies to date . Enacting reforms appropriately to be considered in the budget process would have a tremendous impact in restoring the public’s trust in our state government.

Economic Development: Micro, small, and medium businesses are major components of the local, state, and national economy. As New York moves forward in its economic recovery, it is vital that we support those innovators and entrepreneurs. To help accomplish that objective, any budget proposal should:

  • Provide $1.5 billion in new capital funding for infrastructure to promote jobs and economic development statewide without competitive strings attached;
  • Support $110 million in capital funding for a new round of NYSUNY 2020 and NYCUNY 2020 grants, including $55 million for each university system;
  • Direct $50 million in new funding for the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, targeted to businesses that have had difficulty accessing regular credit markets and offers regular and micro-loans pursuant to the need;
  • Increase funds by $5 million for the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Development and Lending Program, which is administered by Empire State Development;
  • Provide increased funding to promote the goal of ensuring that every New Yorker has access to high-speed broadband service, including underserved and unserved communities in both urban and rural areas; and
  • Provide $50 million for Community Development Financial Institutions program, to provide credit, banking services, and investment capital, that are vital to the revitalization of low and moderate income communities and neighborhoods throughout the state, while leveraging federal and other banking investments.

 

Health:

The 2015-16 Executive Budget provides $2.8 billion in capital funding for the Health Care Facility Transformation Program. Within this capital appropriation is $1.9 billion for the transformation of health delivery in Kings County, Oneida County, and essential health care providers in defined and isolated geographic regions of the state. Selection of the projects and distribution of these funds would be at the sole discretion of the Commissioner of Health.

The final budget should amend the Executive Budget language to ensure an allocation of $700 million in capital dollars for Kings County health care transformation. Furthermore the Enacted Budget must ensure the allocation of $1.2 billion in capital funding from the 2014-15 Enacted Budget to improve the financial viability and increased efficiency of healthcare institutions through infrastructure improvements in Brooklyn, and in communities throughout the State. The Senate Democratic Conference recommends the following:

  • The following proposals should be immediately rejected:

o   To consolidate 41 public health programs into 5 appropriation pools. In addition, the budget should restore all 41 programs to the 2014-15 Enacted levels and provide an additional $21.3 million in funding;

o   Article VII language that would eliminate the requirement for the Department of Health to conduct audits of hospital residents working hours;

o   To eliminate the physician profile website;

o   To reduce the Medicare Part B and Part C cost sharing amounts; and

o   Eliminate the spousal refusal Article VII language.

o   To make permanent the Medicaid Global cap, rather it should be extended for two years;

  • The Budget should reappropriate $1.2 billion for the Capital Restructuring Refinance Program;
  • The Budget should provide funding for programs including:

o   Community Health Advocates, $5 million;

o   Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program, $1.96 million;

o   American Red Cross, $3.3 million;

o   End of AIDS taskforce recommendations, $17 million for implementation;

o   Increase $2 million for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity; and

o   Increase $17 million for Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance.

 

Higher Education

New York’s public higher education institutions are increasingly dependent upon tuition revenue. The loss of state tax dollar support forces CUNY and SUNY to compete in an unfair environment for faculty, research dollars and other resources. It is unjustifiable to further burden vital state universities by instituting a program that would withhold 10% of base aid to force improvements already taking place. We should be investing in these valuable institutions. The Endowment Fund for Higher Education is an unprecedented investment in the future of the higher education sector, and could be used to address the needs of colleges and their students without harmful ramifications. We should take this opportunity to support our students and colleges to ensure the future of New York State. The Senate Democratic Conference recommends the following:

  • Create the Endowment Fund for Higher Education using $300 million of the settlement funds for student financial assistance, providing academic and financial advising, offering required courses, child care and elder care services, developing programs to address student loan debt, hiring full-time faculty, and various other uses;
  • Reject performance-based funding language from the CUNY and SUNY appropriations;
  • Approve the DREAM Act;
  • Increase College Base Aid by $250 per FTE for both CUNY and SUNY community colleges;
  • Increase the maximum TAP award to $6,500, and reinstate Graduate TAP;
  • Increase critical maintenance by $181 million for CUNY and $400 million for SUNY over the next five years;
  • Restore $18.6 million in legislative addition to SUNY hospital funding; and
  • Increase CUNY rental aid by $2.9 million.

 

Human Services: The human services budget should address the needs of New York’s most vulnerable citizens and reflect that reality. With that principle in mind, the Senate Democratic Conference would recommend the following:

Aging

  • Increase funding by $21 million for the Community Services for the Elderly Program that provides non-medical community-based services to frail, low-income seniors to help them remain in their homes. There are currently over 7,000 seniors awaiting services across the state;
  • Increase the New York State SSI rate by $5 per day and provide a commensurate increase in the Personal Needs Allowance for residents of Adult Care Facilities;
  • Restore $1.1 million for the following senior programs that have been eliminated:
  • Include:
    • $8.2 million for the NY Connects Program; and
    • $126.5 million for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program.

Social Services

  • Include:
    • $17.3 million for the Advantage Afterschool Program;
    • $794 million for child care subsidies;
    • $30 million for the Summer Youth Employment Program;
      • an additional $19.3 million in funding to allow for an extra 10,000 program slots to meet demand;
    • A 2% cost of living adjustment increase for foster care and adoptive parents, direct care, direct care support workers, and clinical staff.
    • $635 million for Child Welfare Services;
    • $275,000 for employment training for the legally blind;
    • $20 million for the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies;
    • $12.1 million for Community Optional Prevention Services (COPS);
    • $27 million of the JP Morgan settlement funds to cover a portion of the costs for the cap on rent for individuals diagnosed with HIV or AIDS who are receiving housing assistance or emergency shelter aid, up to 30% of household income; and
    • $25 million for the New York State Office for New Americans
  • Increase:
    • $3 million for Settlement Houses;
    • Funding for Runaway and Homeless Youth Assistance (RHYA) by $2.4 million for use in providing additional shelter beds, long-term transitional living beds, and support services;
    • Funding by $3 million for the Nurse Family Partnership Program;
    • Funding by $14 million for the Pay for Success Program specific to the Nurse Family Partnership Initiative; and
    • Kinship Caregiver/ Navigator program funding by $1 million.
  • Restore
    • $28.2 million in funding for TANF Initiatives;
    • Funding of $1.3 million for the Youth Development Program; and
    • Funding for Safe Harbor Programs.
  • Fully reimburse federally funded Emergency Assistance for Families.

 

Mental Hygiene:

The Executive Budget continues to build on the transformation of service delivery that began as part of the 2014-15 Enacted Budget and proposes to reduce the number of beds in State operated facilities and transfer those savings into community based services throughout New York State. The 2015-16 Enacted Budget should ensure that all savings achieved through the reduction of beds at State operated facilities be reinvested into community based services for mental hygiene agencies. The Senate Democratic Conference recommends the following:

  • Include an additional $10 million for public education and awareness, treatment, prevention, and residential programs targeted at heroin or opiate abuse;
  • Include $5 million for comprehensive problem gambling prevention initiatives.; and
  • Extend for one year the Article VII language authorizing facility directors of State operated facilities to use patient funds to pay for treatment and care costs.

 

General Government & Local Assistance:

A strong and enduring partnership between cities, towns and state government is essential to a healthy and expanding economy. It gives local governments the ability to provide world-class education and municipal services, and ensures safe streets and neighborhoods. This type of partnership is extremely necessary to assist local governments in maintaining local roads and vital infrastructure fundamental to our state’s economic success and competitiveness.

The following budgetary considerations would provide cities and towns with much needed funds to deliver vital services that are critical to our overall economic growth, and would ensure that today’s municipal overreliance on the property tax will not deepen:

  • Increase AIM by 10% for local governments with the greatest needs;
  • Provide further AIM assistance to those localities that meet the challenge to consolidate costs and improve local efficiencies in the coming years;
  • Exempt capital equipment purchases and capital projects from the tax cap, giving local governments more flexibility to invest in local infrastructure;
  • Repurpose the $150 million appropriation (Special Infrastructure Account) for municipal restructuring for local government assistance statewide and reimbursing municipalities for prior year consolidation and or shared service agreements;
  • Restore VLT Impact Aid;
  • Restore $ 2 million to Community Dispute Resolution Centers;
  • Provide $50 million for Body Cameras program that would reimburse local and State law enforcement agencies for their purchase.
  • Provide $300 million for the Capital Infrastructure Bank program that would provide funding for major capital investments not otherwise covered by State programs.

 

Public Protection:

The Executive Budget proposes to raise the age of adult criminal responsibility to 18 years of age to provide appropriate treatment to minors charged with crimes.  The Enacted Budget must include language explaining how this provision will be efficiently implemented. The Office of Court Administration needs funding to implement the provisions of the “Raise the Age” campaign. Additionally, this Conference recommends the following:

  • Provide additional monies from the OILS Account to cover all counties for indigent counsel at arraignment and possibly fund the Defenders Association;
  • Increase funding by 5.5% for Domestic Violence Centers to cover increased costs;
  • Include funding to restore existing Alternative to Incarceration program cuts and increase funding for culturally sensitive community based and other youth engagement programs; and
  • Include additional monies Prisoners Legal Services.

 

 

Housing:

Access to supportive housing and Affordable Housing is the most successful and cost-effective solution to ending homelessness. At this time, the number of homeless families and single individuals has increased at an alarming rate in the city of New York. As primarily outlined in our surplus/ settlement fund proposal, the Senate Democratic Conference wants to take action on this issue and propose the following:

  • Increase funding for NY/NY IV by $540 million to build an additional 30,000 new housing units for low income New Yorkers, HIV/AIDS rent cap, substance abuse, and mental hygiene programs;
  • Fully fund New York “Mixed Income” Housing Program in the amount of $400 million for affordable housing for households;
  • Provide $100 million in additional funding to provide legal counsel for indigent New Yorkers in housing court;
  • Ensure that the Office of Rent Administration and the Tenant Protection Unit receives additional operating funding; $15 million to ORA with an understanding that $5 Million goes to TPU;
  • Provide additional state support in the amount of $400 million for New York City Housing Authority to make repairs;
  • Include $50 million for the Middle Income Repairs and Revitalization program in New York State; and
  • Fully fund State Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Trust Fund, Affordable Home Ownership Development, and Urban Initiatives Program at $250 million to build, acquire/rehabilitate or improve homes for low and moderate income families and provide grants to construct or renovate low-income housing preservation and community renewal activities in distressed neighborhoods.

 

Agriculture & Environment:

Sewage and wastewater treatment facilities in New York State are deteriorating. Almost all of New York’s residents rely on these facilities to treat sewage and wastewater from their homes and businesses. Treating wastewater adequately is essential for public health and economic development. This issue is of extreme importance to the Senate Democratic Conference. Consistent with our surplus/settlement proposal, we would:

  • Fully support the addition of $800 million in capital funding for clean water and wastewater infrastructure projects;
  • Reject the proposed $36 million transfer of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative proceeds to the General Fund;
  • Utilize increased Real Estate Transfer Tax revenue to fully fund the Environmental Protection Fund;
  • Extend and reform the Brownfield program;
  • Fully restore funding for Centers of Excellence in Children’s Environmental Health;
  • Fully restore and adequately fund Aid to Localities agricultural programs;
  • Increase capital funding for farmland protection by $150 million; and
  • Fully fund Urban Parks and Park Improvements at $125 million to improve the quality of green spaces in densely populated neighborhoods where park access and safe, modern amenities are often sparse.

 

Taxes and Revenue: The US and New York State economies have continued to recover from the “Great Recession.” However, real wage growth still has been relatively weak both in the nation and the state. Furthermore, continuing long-term trends, fundamental components of maintaining an acceptable middle class standard of living such as quality health care and higher education are becoming increasingly unaffordable or unattainable. We strongly believe it is vital that working families across all regions of the state obtain concrete and immediate tax relief in the 2015-16 State Budget. Our recommendations regarding State taxes and revenue include:

  • Support reform of NYC corporate taxes in the Executive Revenue Bill (S.2009, Part QQ) as proposed by Mayor DeBlasio; Support inclusion of the Real Property Tax Relief Credit (“Circuit Breaker”) with the following modifications:
    •  Increase the maximum renter’s credit to $750 upstate and to $1000 for downstate regions;
  • Increase the rent equivalent tax percentage from 13.75% to 20%;
  • Review all existing State tax expenditures in order to determine if they are not economically efficient and directly promote job and wage growth; and
  • Amend the existing NYS Real Property Tax Law for school districts experiencing issues of incongruent property valuations to establish a special equalization rate for the purpose of determining its State operating and building aid.

 

Transportation:

Capital expenditures in transportation have a tremendous economic multiplier effect and the existence of adequate critical infrastructure serves as an economic driver. This year’s budget shows that significant investments are required to finance transportation agencies and infrastructure. In addition to supplementary funding for these Capital Plans, the Democratic Conference puts forth the following budgetary and legislative recommendations:

  • Increase funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program by using $200 million of bank settlement proceeds to make a significant impact on local road and bridge capital needs;
  • Provide $200 million for deficient bridge emergency repair to assist with remedying the many structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges;
  • Renew and increase the Extreme Weather Program, to $100 million for local government assistance;
  • Dedicate $20 million of federal highway funding for bike and pedestrian infrastructure, providing consistency for the Transportation Alternatives Program that DOT has in place;
  • Provide $175 million of the bank settlement proceeds to invest in non-MTA transit capital, addressing long-term needs. Permit non-MTA downstate operators to use their $17 million in “surplus” aid for a year-to-year increase in operating assistance to reflect inflationary growth;
  • Link upstate transit aid (PTOA) to a more reliable funding stream that adjusts to changing economic conditions;
  • Provide funding for the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, as well as for the Tappan Zee Bridge’s Bus Rapid Transit service to provide the Lower Hudson Valley with affordable, environmentally-friendly transit opportunities;
  • Oppose sweeps of the MMTOA fund, to increase MTA’s self-sufficiency and provide greater financing leverage, and reduce a portion of the state’s burden to assist in completing its five-year capital program;
  • Increase transparency in DOT Capital Plan and MOU process. The entire legislature should at the very least review the five-year capital plan and MOU before voting;
  • Restore the State’s historical contribution of $45 million for student fares; and
  • Fulfill the State’s promise to NYC to fund a 38% share of rehabilitation costs for roads and bridges and to fully reimburse $40 million for the costs of maintenance of State-owned arterial highways.

Veterans:

Providing service members and veterans of our armed forces with the services they need to live full and dignified lives is of the utmost importance. Ensuring that all of our veterans are housed, employed, and receiving the legal services they need should be top priorities. Therefore, our Conference recommends the following:

  • Fund female veterans homelessness prevention, and employment assistance initiatives;
  • Increase funding for Veterans’ Regional Advocacy centers by $1 million;
  • Fully fund the Defenders Association request for $3 million which includes $1 million for Defense of Veterans; and
  • Increase funding for the number of FTE Veteran Counselor positions to support returning veterans and ensuring benefit accessibility. The increased number of positions and new centers would ensure qualified veterans are able to receive appropriate documentation and referral services from Veteran Counselors which would include New York City in the program.

Senate Democratic Conference Budget Request Letter:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/258250919/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Budget-Request-Letter

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS ANNOUNCES ARTS GRANTS

 

(Yonkers- March 9, 2015) Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announces that the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) through ArtsWestchester will distribute funding this month to local artists and organizations in the 35th State Senate District. The grant money was approved in the 2014 State Budget that Senator Stewart-Cousins voted for. ArtsWestchester accepted applications and will award 13 grants in the district, totalling $17,125,  for Arts Alive Projects and Individual Artists as well as Arts-in-Education programs.

 

“I remain a strong supporter of the arts, and these state grants are an important means of keeping and enabling vibrant culture at the grassroots level, whether its by displaying the work of local artists, providing cultural opportunities at festivals, or music at our libraries,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “ArtsWestchester vets local funding applications and is keeping the arts alive.”

 

Here are the projects in the 35th State Senate District that are receiving grants:

Town of Greenburgh Arts and Culture Committee                                      $1,000

Greenburgh Public Library, Cafe a las Siete/Coffee at Seven                        $1,500

Groundwork Hudson Valley, Yonkers, Street Art Youth Corp                                  $2,000

Hamm & Clov Stage Company, Inc., Yonkers, Hispanic Heritage Month Event      $2,625

Hudson Valley Singers, Ardsley, Outreach $1,000

Ukrainian Youth Center, Yonkers, Seniors Travel the World                         $2,000

New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence, Museum of Arts & Culture            $1,000

New Westchester Symphony Orchestra, Free Library Concert Series                    $1,000

OCA Westchester & Hudson Valley, Asian American Heritage Festival 2015         $1,000

Yonkers Downtown Business Improvement District, Outdoor Artists Showcase $1,000

Westchester Children’s Museum, White Plains, Museum without Walls $1,000

YOHO Artist Collective, Yonkers, 12th Annual YOHO Artists Open Studio             $1,000

Neighborhood House, Tarrytown,

Seniors Painting for Seniors, Strayhorn Centennial Project $1,000


Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 

“As we discuss ways to clean up Albany and reform state government, a perfect ​place to start is the much maligned ​three/four men in a room​ budgetary​ ​process. ​In the past we had been led to believe that membership was based on constitutional roles and not simply the whims of the Governor​. Since​ membership​ has now been ​expanded I would hope all Legislative Conference Leaders will be ​included, ​giving all New Yorkers a voice in the budget. The more diversity and light we can shine on this process the better it is for everyone.”

Senate Democratic Conference Announces “Fair New York” Plan With Major Help For Minimum Wage Workers

 

Create Up to 20,000 Affordable Units of Housing, Over 150,000 Thousand Jobs and Rebuilds Crumbling Infrastructure

 

(Albany, NY) — Leading up to budget negotiations, the Senate Democratic Conference today urged the state to act on “Fair New York,” an investment plan for the state’s projected $5.1 billion surplus that focuses on stimulating future economic growth by creating good jobs and making New York State a more affordable place to live and do business.  The plan makes significant one-time investments across New York State in affordable housing, transportation and education infrastructure, environmental protections and improvements and significant tax relief rebates for low-wage individuals and families.

“The funds from our state’s current surplus must be directed towards spurring future economic growth across New York State while giving those who work hard a fair shot at improving their standing in life,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Through smart investments in our hardworking families and local communities we can create greater opportunities for all New Yorkers and build a more enduring, thriving and fair economy. These surplus funds must be utilized to help low-wage workers, invest in affordable housing, rebuild our state’s infrastructure and prepare for the challenges of the future as these are all common sense ways to grow the economy and ensure New York State thrives in the years ahead. I encourage my colleagues in the Legislature to join with the Senate Democratic Conference to ensure these funds are utilized to lay the foundation for our state’s future economic prosperity.”

The Senate Democratic Conference’s proposal includes:

  • $900 million stimulus program to  provide low-wage workers with a one-time tax relief rebate of up to $2,800 per worker.

o   Stimulus program would provide the equivalent funds as if the state’s minimum wage were $10.10 an hour.

o   This action will be a bridge between the current minimum wage and the anticipated increase to $10.50 an hour announced by Governor Cuomo.

  • $50 million to reimburse local and State law enforcement agencies that purchase wearable body cameras to ensure these agencies do not bear the costs of these investments.
  • Since  much of these surplus funds  were from the housing market, we will invest a significant amount of money in housing capital. $1.2 billion that will help municipalities throughout New York State create nearly 20,000 affordable housing units and generate 34,000 jobs. Funds from this initiative include:

o   $400 million for a new statewide “mixed-income” housing initiative to invest in buildings inhabited by families with low to moderate  incomes.

o   $400 million for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for dedicated programs addressing the maintenance backlog, including stairwell and hall lighting, roof repair, and addressing crumbling façades

o   $325 million in additional funding to affordable housing programs for the construction, improvement and weatherization of housing  units and surrounding neighborhoods.

o   $75 million in tax credits for the State Low Income Housing Tax Credit to enable New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) to offer an additional credit above the current $56 million cap.

  • $1.1 billion in transportation capital that would create over 30,700 jobs includes:

o   $300 million in additional CHIPs and extreme weather funding for local infrastructure improvements.

o   $275 million in 0% interest loans for the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

o   $200 million for deficient bridge repair.

o   $175 million for non-MTA transit and $150 million for rail freight.

  • $500 million in environmental capital that will invest:

o   $150 million in farmland protection to provide relief to upstate farmers and $35 million to assist urban municipalities improve the quality of their green spaces.

o   Additional funding includes assisting communities in upgrading their wastewater infrastructure, Brownfield cleanup and park improvements.

  • $1 billion in education infrastructure capital that will provide payments for school district infrastructure needs associated with health and safety, accessibility, physical capacity or school construction projects and energy cost reduction projects.

o   Funds from this program are separate from the Smart Schools Bond Act.

o   This initiative would create 28,600 jobs.

  • $50 million to provide credit, banking services, and investment capital to Community Development Financial Institutions.

o   These institutions are essential for the revitalization of low and moderate income communities and neighborhoods throughout the state

o   This initiative would create over 1,400 jobs.

  • $300 million to create a Capital Infrastructure Bank that would see a return on revenue and be used for emergency infrastructure projects.

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

  

“This was a horrific tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones and those that have been injured. There will be a full investigation into this heartbreaking incident and over the next few days we will find out exactly what happened. Now is the time for all us to support those so deeply affected by this tragedy.”

Senate Democratic Conference Introduce The “Clean Up Albany” Legislative Package

 

Includes Legislation that Restricts Outside Income, Closes LLC Loophole, Ends State Reimbursements for Legal Defense and Strips Pensions from Corrupt Officials

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today unveiled a major legislative package to deal with the ongoing ethics crisis in State Government. This package of groundbreaking bills will cap legislators’ outside incomes, end the LLC loophole, bar elected officials from using campaign funds for criminal defense and personal use and end the practice of taxpayer funded reimbursements of legal fees. The Senate Democrats also introduced measures to strip corrupt officials of taxpayer funded pensions and reform how campaigns are funded. Unfortunately, the Senate Republican Majority has consistently blocked all meaningful ethics reforms initiatives.

“These scandals have become too common and are something that we must deal with immediately. We are facing a crisis of mistrust in Albany,” Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The legislation offered by the Senate Democratic Conference will help rebuild the trust in our state government that has been rocked by repeated scandals. I urge the Senate Republicans to end their opposition to cleaning up Albany and finally join with the Senate Democratic Conference to pass these good government reforms.”

The Senate Democratic Conference ethics reforms initiatives are intended to return the public’s trust in state government by restricting outside income, closing loopholes and reforming how campaigns are funded and how campaign funds can be utilized. Bills introduced by the Senate Democratic Conference include legislation that will:

 

  • Restrict Legislators’ Outside Income (Senator Hoylman):

o   This initiative will restrict the type and nature of outside income to mirror U.S. Congress’ cap of 15% of gross legislative salary.

o   The bill will also establish the Commission on Legislative Compensation that will convene every four years to examine, evaluate, and make recommendations on adequate levels of compensation and non-salary benefits for state legislators.

  • Closing the LLC Loophole (Senator Squadron):

o   This initiative will close a loophole in current Election Law which does not adequately address the amount of political contributions that a limited liability company (LLC) may make to candidates, parties and political committees.

  • As a result, the State Board of Elections allows LLCs to be treated as individuals for purposes of a limit and, therefore, they can donate up to $150,000 in any one year.

o   This legislation would close that loophole and reduce the contribution limit for both LLCs and corporations to $1,000.

  • Require Additional Financial Disclosure (Senator Comrie):

o   This bill will require state elected officials to disclose the source and nature of all income and report all clients of, or referrals to, a firm or practice the elected officials works at.

o   Under this legislation, all reporting must include a clear and complete explanation of the services rendered in exchange for the income or fees earned by the reporting official, or by the firm or corporation with which the elected official practices.

  • Prohibit the Taxpayer Reimbursement of Campaign and Legal Defense Fund Accounts for legal fees in Criminal Cases (Democratic Conference Deputy Leader, Senator Gianaris):

o   This initiative will prohibit any state reimbursement to a campaign account or legal defense account for attorneys fees and litigation expenses to a public official after an acquittal or dismissal.

  • Retroactively Strip Pension Benefits from any State or Local Official Convicted of a Felony involving Breach of Public Trust (Senator Breslin):

o   The current law only regulates officials that joined the pension system after 2011 when the last ethics package passed. This legislation will affect all members of the pension system.

o   This resolution has been introduced as a constitutional amendment since it affects an official’s pension.

  • Strengthen Regulations regarding use of Campaign Funds (Senator Krueger):

o   This bill addresses a number of concerns with how campaign funds are raised and expended. Currently, New York’s election law, allowing candidates to spend campaign funds for “any lawful purpose,” is among the most lax in the nation

 

  • Bar the Use of Campaign Money for Criminal Defense (Senator Hoylman):

o   This bill will outlaw campaign funds from being used for attorneys fees or any costs for defending against criminal or civil prosecution for alleged violations of any state or federal law.

  • Lower Contribution Limits (Democratic Conference Deputy Leader, Senator Gianaris):

o   Current state campaign regulations allow donors to provide far greater amounts of contributions than are allowed in other states, or for federal candidates.

o   These high limits threaten the integrity of elections in New York State by allowing small numbers of wealthy contributors to disproportionately affect their outcomes. This initiative will drastically reduce the limits on contributions to safeguard the integrity of New York’s elections.

  • Cap Contributions to ‘Soft Money’ Accounts (Senator Krueger):

o   Currently, donors are able to provide unlimited contributions to soft money accounts. This legislation would reform the campaign finance system by capping donations to soft money accounts at $25,000.

  • Require the Disclosure of Bundles (Senator Rivera):

o   Under the current law, state campaigns are not required to disclose to the State Board of Election when “bundling” contributions are received. This bill would enhance state campaign finance disclosure reporting requirements by making it necessary for said reports to contain information about those who bundle contributions.

  • End Undisclosed Self-Dealing (Senator Hoylman):

o   This legislation will create a Class-C and Class-D felony for public servants who knowingly steer public contracts or grants to certain institutions or organizations in order to benefit themselves, their families or a person with whom a public servant has a business or other financial relationship with.

o   Self-dealing in the first degree triggers when public contracts have a value in excess of ten thousand dollars.

o   Self-dealing in the second degree triggers when public contracts have a value in excess of three thousand dollars.

  • Establish a Public Financing System for State Campaigns and Require Greater Disclosure of Campaign Donations (Senate Minority Leader, Senator Stewart-Cousins):

o   Under this legislation, eligible contributions to candidates for statewide office up to $250 would be matched at the rate of $6 for every $1.

o   Participating candidates could only receive donations of $2,000

o   Candidates who are unopposed in a general or special election may not receive public funds

o   All unspent public funds must be returned 30 days after the election.

MINORITY LEADER, SENATOR ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS STATEMENT ON FATAL TRAIN COLLISION IN VALHALLA.

“This was a horrific tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones and those that have been injured. There will be a full investigation into this heartbreaking incident and over the next few days we will find out exactly what happened. Now is the time for all us to support those so deeply affected by this tragedy.”

NEW FRAUD PROTECTIONS FOR IMMIGRANTS IN NEW YORK STATE
(Yonkers) State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Minority Leader, announced today that
enhanced fraud protections for immigrants seeking assistance in New York State became law
February 2, 2015.
“New York has a proud history of welcoming immigrants and embracing the contributions they make to
our communities,” Senator Stewart-Cousins said. “However, there are also some unscrupulous people
offering services to help them adjust to life in New York who take their money and provide little to no
assistance. My office has worked with constituents who have had this happen to them. This new law
ensures there are protections in place for the often vulnerable newcomers to our country and our
state.”
The law creates the crimes of felony and misdemeanor immigration assistance fraud in order to deter
service providers from taking advantage of immigrants that seek their help. It also includes provisions
to enhance translation requirements, increase civil penalties for violations, and prohibit the use of job
titles used to mislead immigrants to believe that a provider is a specialized professional or attorney,
when the provider is not certified.
The law also establishes the New York State Office for New Americans (NYSONA) as a permanent
executive office of State government. The Office for New Americans is the first state-level immigrant
office created by statute in the country according to the Governor’s Office. Additionally, the measure
includes an outreach campaign to raise fraud awareness and awards NYSONA permanent status.
NYSONA provides immigration assistance at community outreach centers, teaches new New Yorkers
English, aids in the naturalization process, and provides immigrants with free legal advice.
“When immigrants come to New York they need assurance that service providers are there to help
them on their path to citizenship and success, not take advantage of them,” Senator Stewart-Cousins
concluded. “I commend Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for taking action to ensure that
immigrants are welcomed with respect and get the valuable services they deserve as new New
Yorkers.”
Constituents are welcome to contact the Senator’s District Office at 914-423-4031 for assistance or to
call a toll-free multilingual hotline at 800-566-7636.

Statement From Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“The Senate Democrats have been advocates for cleaning up Albany and restoring the public’s trust in our state government. I am pleased that Governor Cuomo is taking the ethics reforms initiatives we have championed for and will now ensure that the Senate Republicans finally have to address these common sense measures.”

BACKGROUND:

Minority Leader, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins Statement 

on the Election of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

“Speaker Heastie is someone who will lead the Assembly with a steady hand and I congratulate him on his election. This is a historic moment for both the Assembly and State Government as a whole. As we begin Black History Month, it is uplifting that another barrier has finally been 

broken. I look forward to working with Speaker Heastie to ensure all our state’s residents receive the progressive representation they desire, and offer my full support to him as we all work together to restore the people’s trust in government. ”

 

January 8, 2015

SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS, THE DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE LEADER AND SENATE MINORITY LEADER, OUTLINES LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES IN HER 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION OPENING REMARKS

(Albany, NY) State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins took the oath of office Wednesday with her children by her side, continuing her historic leadership role in New York, as the first female legislative conference leader (elected 2012, re-elected 2014), and the first female State Senate Minority Leader.

In her opening remarks delivered on the Senate floor, Senator Stewart-Cousins thanked her constituents for re-electing her and her Democratic colleagues for their continued support. She pledged to make Albany an example of good government. “We will not allow partisan bickering to obstruct our efforts to serve our constituents and together we will give all New Yorkers the responsible and productive government they deserve.”

Senator Stewart-Cousins outlined her legislative priorities in 2015, including: criminal justice reforms and police protections, increasing the minimum wage, and passing the Women’s Equality Act to provide women with equal pay and personal protections including reproductive health care.

“And finally let’s make sure we use the surplus settlement funds in a responsible manner that will help set New York on an even brighter path,” she added. “Since so much of this money was from housing settlements, it is crucial we use it to create affordable housing across the state. We also need to protect and expand our  infrastructure, including the Tappan Zee Bridge and others roads and bridges, and fix our crumbling schools. We can do all this while at the same time providing relief to local communities and creating jobs across the state.”

During her remarks, she also acknowledged the loss of former Governor Mario Cuomo, whose funeral she attended. “Sadly, for too many fellow New Yorkers, the two cities that Governor Cuomo so eloquently spoke of in 1984 still exist today, but we have an opportunity to finally unite them. We can work towards making a more just and fair society. A society that provides jobs and opportunities to all New Yorkers. A society that deals with crushing income inequality. Where everyone has a quality education. Where it doesn’t matter if you are from Elmira, or  New York City or even Yonkers because you are given a shot at the American dream.”

Link to full remarks:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/251964138/01-07-15-Leader-Stewart-Cousins-Opening-Remarks

Link to video of remarks:

http://www.nysenate.gov/video/2015/jan/07/leader-stewart-cousins-opening-remarks-2015-2016-senate-session

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history. Her colleagues re-elected her in 2014 and she serves as the first female Senate Minority Leader. First elected to the State Senate in 2006, she is serving her fifth term in office, representing Greenburgh and Scarsdale, and part of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle.


Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Made The Following Remarks At The Opening Of The 2015-2016 Senate Session (Albany, NY) — Thank you Mr. President and Thank you to all my colleagues.Thank you to the constituents of  my district for re-electing me.  And thank you  to my Conference for once again choosing me as your Leader. I am truly honored and humbled by your support.I want to welcome some new members to the Democratic Conference.

  • Senator Leroy Comrie from Queens. A former Deputy Borough President and  Councilmember and a real leader in his community.
  • Senator Jesse Hamilton an Attorney and MBA from Brooklyn.  He has been a community advocate for so long and has always made sure that those in his community have a voice.

And finally

  • Senator Marc Panepinto from the Buffalo area an attorney and a long time fighter and tireless advocate for Western New York.

I would also like to congratulate Senator Klein who has been re-elected as his conferences leader.

And of course I want to take a moment and congratulate Senator Skelos who has the awesome task of being the leader of this great house.  Senator Skelos and Senator Klein, the Democratic Conference  stands ready to work with you.   Now is the time for us to come together.

Elections are at times a restart button and allow us to refresh.

There are times we are going to agree and there are times we are going to vociferously disagree but let us remember that we are here to serve all the people of New York.

I would also like to congratulate the Governor on his re-election and let him know that we are looking forward to continuing to work with him as we move the state forward.

So many of us in this room were there yesterday in Manhattan when he gave such a moving tribute to his father. His words were truly inspiring and heartfelt.

On behalf of the  Senate Democratic Conference  I would like to once again pass condolences  to the Governor and his entire family for their loss. Mario Cuomo was a great man and a great Governor. His leadership, vision and ideals are what we all strive toward.  As we take a moment to embrace the memory of this iconic Governor let us do more than remember him but let us look towards his example as we move forward this legislative session.  Sadly, for too many fellow New Yorkers, the two cities that Governor Cuomo so eloquently spoke of in 1984 still exists today but we have an opportunity to finally unite them.  We can work towards making a more just and fair society. A society that provides jobs and opportunities to all New Yorkers.  A society that deals with  crushing income inequality. Where everyone  has a quality education.  Where it doesn’t matter if you are from Elmira, or New York City or even Yonkers but you are given a shot at the American Dream.

I hope that this session will be about making that American Dream a reality for all New Yorkers.

We have a lot of work to do:

o    We must honor the memories of Officer Liu and Officer Ramos and ensure that we provide those protecting us the protections they deserve while at the same time making real reforms to our criminal justice system so everyone  feels they have equal access to that system.

o    We must combat income inequality and one way to do that is enact a real raise to the minimum wage and help lift  over 1 million New Yorkers out of bone crushing poverty.

o    Now is a time for a major re-haul of our outdated ethics laws including public financing of campaigns. Let’s finally make Albany an example of Good Government.

o    We must stand up for the health and equality of the women of New York.  Let’s pass the full Women’s Equality Act. To my Republican Colleagues remember that our reproductive rights were first addressed by this chamber, while it was under Republican leadership, in 1970 with 12 of your party members joining with Democrats to pass it.

o    We have to help those struggling with addiction including the horrible heroin scourge that is devastating communities across this state.

o    We must make sure all New York children have access to the quality education they deserve and that all our children have access to  affordable quality higher education.

o    We must make sure that everyone has a roof over their head and place to call home. We have to extend and strengthen our rent control laws.

o    And finally let’s make sure we use the surplus settlement funds in a responsible manner that will help set New York on an even brighter path. Since so much of this money was from housing settlements  it is crucial we use it to create more affordable housing across the state. We also need to protect and expand our infrastructure including the Tappan Zee Bridge and others roads and bridges  and  fix our crumbling schools. We can do all this while at the same time providing relief to local communities  and creating jobs across the state.

Senator Skelos, the Democratic Conference stands ready to help you. As I said before we will support you when we agree, and we will challenge you when we disagree. We will not allow partisan bickering to obstruct our efforts to serve our constituents and  together we will give all New Yorkers the responsible and productive government they deserve.  The Democratic Conference stands ready to work with all Senators, regardless of party affiliation, so let’s get to work.

Thank you.

Follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NYSenDems

New York State Senate | DemocraticConferenceNews@nysenate.gov518-455-2415

Happy Holidays!Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins would like to extend an invitation to you to her New Year’s Open House at her District Office in Yonkers. The details of the event are below.

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ New Year’s Open House
Saturday, January 10, 2015
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Senator Stewart-Cousins’ District Office
28 Wells Avenue, Building #3
Yonkers, NY 10701

A flier for the event is attached.

Please call Senator Stewart-Cousins’ office to RSVP. The number is 914- 423-4031

Open House Flier

Paid for by Friends of Andrea Stewart-Cousins

A Newsletter Update from Andrea Stewart-Cousins – December 2014

2014 Regional Economic Development Council Awards Announced(Yonkers – December 12th) State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference Leader, is pleased to announce that major funding for several key projects in her district were awarded December 12th by the Regional Economic Development Councils. The Saw Mill River Daylighting, Phase III in downtown Yonkers, a major art exhibition in White Plains, and a pedestrian/cycle bridge over Andre Brook in Tarrytown are among the numerous projects receiving state economic development dollars in the Mid-Hudson Region. This seven county region that includes Westchester is considered a “Top Performer,” and will receive $82.8 million this year.
“I’m thrilled that key projects I supported in my district will be getting the state economic development assistance they requested in this highly-competitive grant process,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “The Regional Economic Development Council’s are making important, locally-targeted investments worth millions of dollars. As a result, we are creating jobs, supporting businesses, expanding housing opportunities and laying the groundwork for sustained economic growth throughout our region and our state.” More..Senate Democratic Conference Announces Reforms To Criminal Justice System(Albany, NY – December 10th) The Senate Democratic Conference announced the introduction of legislation to reform the state’s criminal justice system and address incidents of police-caused fatalities. This initiative was introduced following a grand jury’s decision not to bring charges against a police officer who caused the death of an unarmed civilian and will create a permanent Office of Special Investigation to review similar cases in the future. The Senate Democratic Conference also issued a call for funds to be provided in the 2015-2016 State Budget for law enforcement institutions to invest in wearable video cameras.
“The sad reality is many New Yorkers currently do not believe that all state residents are treated equally within our criminal justice system,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins said. “I urge my colleagues in state government to join with the Senate Democratic Conference is supporting this legislation.
The proposed legislation would create the Office of Special Investigation to automatically investigate the death of an unarmed civilian at the hands of a police officer. Additionally, New Yorkers will be able to petition this office to take over investigations in special circumstances.
The Senate Democratic Conference also announced that it will ask Governor Cuomo to provide approximately $75 million in the 2015-2016 Executive Budget for law enforcement agencies to purchase and utilize wearable video cameras, known as ‘body cams’. These state funds would be utilized to reimburse local and state law enforcement organizations who purchase and utilize these body cameras. More..Senator Stewart-Cousins Announces Scarsdale Reserve Fund Bill Now Law(Scarsdale – November 24th) State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference Leader, announced that Governor Cuomo has signed into law bill (S7322-2013) that allows the Scarsdale Union Free School District to maintain a health insurance reserve fund, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
Since 1989, the school district has had a separate reserve fund as part of a self-funded health insurance program for employees in the district, saving $5.6 million dollars by doing so. Several years ago, an external auditor told the district, and the New York State Comptroller confirmed, that they would have to dismantle the fund unless this legislation passed. The school district requested the Senator’s assistance when she became their representative after several prior attempts failed to win support for passage in the State Senate. This year, the legislation passed successfully and is now law.
“I’m pleased to finally be able to deliver the Scarsdale School District’s special request for legislation allowing them to continue self-insuring district employees. The taxpayers of Scarsdale should thank their district administrators for their diligence in continuing to pursue this request over the years, and now, its the law,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. More..
(Yonkers – December 17th) Senator Stewart-Cousins joined her colleagues in government and members of the Jewish Community at Yonkers City Hall to light the menorah in celebration of Hanukkah. Rabbi Rigoberto Vinas of the Lincoln Jewish Park Center led the ceremony with Cantor Michael Kasper and cantorial students from the Academy for Jewish Religion as well as members of the Yonkers High School Woodwind Band who also performed. View..
(New Rochelle – December 13th) Senator Stewart-Cousins celebrating the holiday season with the seniors at the Hugh Doyle Center in New Rochelle and the high school volunteers who were the servers. View..
(Greenburgh – December 10th) State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins recognized the heroic efforts of Jenna Fanelli with a Senate Proclamation at the Greenburgh Town Board meeting. This summer, Jenna was in Yonkers at a riverfront park when she learned a six year old autistic boy had gone into the river. Another man, Boyce Coleman of Yonkers, had jumped in after the child and so did Jenna. The 23-year-old Elmsford resident was able to bring the child back to shore safely. View..
(Yonkers – December 2nd) Community Voices Heard honored Senator Stewart-Cousins with a Shirley Chisholm Lights of Freedom Award, named for the first African-American woman elected to Congress. CVH has a Westchester chapter in Yonkers that empowers low-income people, predominantly women with experience on welfare, to improve their lives, their family’s life and their communities. View..Come stop by Senator Stewart-Cousins District office on Saturday, January 10th in the new year from 1:00PM-3:00PM for an Open House Celebration. To RSVP, please call (914) 423-4031.Need assistance with keeping your home warm this winter? Click here to find out more about the Home Energy Assistance Program, if you are eligible and how you can apply.
Live in the 35th Senate District and need assistance? The Office of Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins is here to help you with the following:
*The Department of Motor Vehicles *Housing *Health Insurance *Medicare and Medicaid *EPIC *The Department of Social Services *Unemployment benefits *Workers Compensation *Mortgage foreclosure/ modifications *Consumer protection *Business licensing *Youth programs *And many others! Please stop by our District Office or call us during our office hours Monday thru Friday, from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. We may not have all the answers, but we will direct you to the appropriate people or agencies who will. If you’d like to send us an email, click here. District Office: 28 Wells Avenue, Building #3 Yonkers, NY 10701 Phone: (914) 423-4031 Fax: (914) 423-0979
Albany Office: 188 State Street, 907 LOB Albany, NY 12247 Phone: (518) 455-2585 Fax: (518) 426-6811 Email: scousins@nysenate.gov
Visit the Senator’s website Follow the Senator’s on Facebook Follow the Senator on Twitter

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On The Hydraulic Fracturing Decision.I applaud Governor Cuomo for allowing the science regarding hydraulic fracturing to determine if drilling should be allowed in New York and I commend the experts at the State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health for their diligent work on this matter. The Senate Democratic Conference has been a leader in the fight to protect our state’s natural resources and New Yorkers’ health and we are glad that Governor Cuomo’s administration stands united with us in this effort.

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New York State Senate | DemocraticConferenceNews@nysenate.gov

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On Need For Ethics Reforms In Special Session.The Senate Democratic Conference has consistently called for common sense ethics and campaign reforms and we agree with Governor Cuomo in his call for passing these initiatives immediately. As with all progressive legislation, including the NY-SAFE Act, the Compassionate Care Act, and Marriage Equality, the Senate Democratic Conference stands ready to provide the necessary support to ensure passage.  Ethics and campaign finance reforms should not be a partisan issue. We will continue our fight to clean up Albany and pass strong ethics reforms and we look forwarding to working with any state leader who will join us in these efforts.

Background Information:

05.06.14 Senate Democratic Conference Ethics Reform Bill Package Press Release: http://www.scribd.com/doc/222382517/05-06-14-Ethics-Reform-Bill-Package-Release

04.15.13 Senate Democratic Conference Ethics Reform Bill Package Press Release: http://www.scribd.com/doc/136063151/04-15-13-Ethics-Reform-Bill-Package-Release

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New York State Senate | DemocraticConferenceNews@nysenate.gov

As the celebration of Hanukkah begins this evening, I want to wish a very happy holiday to all those who will celebrate this Festival of Lights here in New York and throughout the world. Commemorating the victory of a small group of resilient and determined individuals over a seemingly unbeatable foe, the lessons of Hanukkah remain relevant to this day. Though we as a state have been tested over the past few weeks and years, we must stay dedicated to our core values and beliefs and together we will emerge stronger and more united.I wish all those celebrating Hanukkah, and all New Yorkers, a very joyous and safe holiday.Andrea Stewart-CousinsNew York State Senator, 35th DistrictDemocratic Conference Leader

STATE SENATOR ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS ANNOUNCES 2014 REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AWARDS IN THE 35th STATE SENATE DISTRICT

(Yonkers, NY)  – State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference Leader, is pleased to announce that major funding for several key projects in the 35th District are part of the grant awards announced Thursday through the Regional Economic Development Councils. The Saw Mill River Daylighting, Phase III in downtown Yonkers, a major art exhibition in White Plains, and a pedestrian/cycle bridge over Andre Brook in Tarrytown are among the numerous projects receiving state economic development dollars in the Mid-Hudson Region. This seven county region that includes Westchester is considered a “Top Performer,” and will receive $82.8 million this year.

“I’m thrilled that key projects I supported in my district will be getting the state economic development assistance they requested in this highly-competitive grant process,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference Leader. “The Regional Economic Development Council’s are making important, locally-targeted investments worth millions of dollars. As a result, we are creating jobs, supporting businesses, expanding housing opportunities and laying the groundwork for sustained economic growth throughout our region and our state.”

2014 REDC Grants:

  • Saw Mill River Daylighting Phase 3 in Yonkers

    • $2.5 million to continue this project downtown, focusing on a river-themed park along New Main Street, from Ann St. to Nepperhan

Avenue

  • Ashburton Avenue Rehabilitation in Yonkers

    • $1.5 million to revitalize this area and roadway to improve travel flow into and out of downtown Yonkers

  • Hudson River Museum in Yonkers
  • $630,000 total, to expand exhibit space in the West Wing and to attract more visitors to the museum and the city
  • SoYo Exalta, LLC in Yonkers

    • $1 million to construct approximately 400 rental units, parking and retail near the newly daylighted Saw Mill River in downtown Yonkers

  • The City of Yonkers and the Yonkers Board of Education

    • $400,000 to consolidate the five business and non-academic functions of the city and the school district

  • The Village of Tarrytown

    • $47,300 to install a wider pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Andre Brook, to allow greater access to Pierson Park and the Riverwalk

  • The Westchester Arts Council Inc. Festival of New Work in White Plains

    • $76,000 for a major new exhibition in 2015 to highlight work by Westchester artists with roots in China, Nigeria, Iran and other countries

  • Shop-Rite Supermarkets

    • $100,000 to train 120 workers for food safety, customer service and management

  • Jawanio Inc. (which serves Westchester, Rockland and Putnam)

    • $2.5 million to expand Jawanio’s New City campus for an integrated health, wellness and work project

    • $86,400 for health and wellness training to train 240 workers in understanding the spectrum of disabilities and the services required by these individuals

  • Excelsior Jobs Credits

    • $3 million available in tax credits for the Mid-Hudson Region, reserved for future projects

  • Low-Cost Economic Development Financing

    • $35 million to be made available to state and local government issuers to sell tax-exempt bonds for economic development, infrastructure and community revitalization efforts

This year, Senator Stewart-Cousins voted for a $150 million increase in the 2014 State Budget for Regional Economic Development Council grants. The total funding allocation approved was $750 million.

The Regional Economic Development Councils were created in 2011 by Governor Cuomo. This was the fourth annual Regional Economic Development Council Awards. In the past three years, the Mid-Hudson Region received $219.4 million for 232 projects across the seven county region which includes Westchester. This year’s grant award announcement brings the total to just over $300 million.

          ###

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history and was re-elected as Leader in 2014. Stewart-Cousins was first elected to the State Senate in 2006 and represents Greenburgh and Scarsdale, and part of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle in the 35th State Senate District.


For Immediate Release: June 20th 2014

 

 

Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins 2014 Session Closing Remarks

Thank you Mr. President. 

 

Thank You Senator Skelos and Senator Klein.

 

Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his vision and leadership in helping move this state forward. 

 

And thank you to our partners in the other Legislative House, especially Speaker Silver who has been a true friend and a real progressive leader.

 

I would also like to take a moment to thank staff on both sides of the aisle. The work you have put in over the last 2 years has been invaluable.  Thank you for all your hard work.

 

As we wrap up our 2 year term, I think about all we have experienced.

 

I think about the great history that was made when my wonderful colleagues in the Senate Democrats empowered me and allowed me become the first female legislative leader in state history.

 

But I also think about the unfortunate history that was created last year in this Chamber when two groups came together to disenfranchise the majority of elected Democrats, to seize power,  and  thwart the will of the electorate.  While we were not given our rightful place in the Majority, we understood that this is about serving the people of New York and providing leadership  so we put our disappointment aside, rolled up our sleeves and got to work. We  used the power of our votes and the power of our voices to help pass some wonderful achievements.

 

Right out of the gate we stood with our Governor to enact the  Safe Act. We provided the crucial number of votes for this important legislation.   We passed our 3rdand 4th consecutive on-time budgets.  We passed legislation  to grow our economy  and create jobs. We increased funding for our schools and funded statewide universal pre-k.  We created tools to combat the heroin scourge facing our state.  We provided  some tax relief,  although not enough in my opinion, to thousands of New Yorkers,  we revised our common core implementation and teacher evaluation system and we helped change the conversation away from a certain veto of the medical marijuana legislation to a compromise, allowing us to provide much needed pain relief to the people who need it the most.

 

These are some of the bipartisan victories that all of us accomplished together and we can all celebrate today.

 

But we also must talk about the failures that were a result of the unfortunate agreement  I mentioned earlier.

 

We failed  to help over 1 million hard working New Yorkers  rise out of bone crushing poverty by not raising the minimum wage  enough, and not giving our local governments the option to raise it on their own. 

 

We failed to stand up for women’s health and equality by not passing the entire women’s equality act.

 

We failed to provide enough real mandate relief to our local governments.

 

We failed to provide even stronger ethics and campaign finance reforms including public financing.

 

And we failed to  provide equal access to educational opportunities to all children by not passing the Dream Act

 

While of course these failure are disappointing that does not mean we stop fighting.  Sometimes, we learn our greatest lessons when we fail. 

 

So tonight as we leave here to enter the political season I want to wish everyone on both sides-Good Luck.

 

We may disagree on issues but I  know we all agree that our most important job is respecting and serving the people of New York.

 

Thank you!

###

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New York State Senate | DemocraticConferenceNews@nysenate.gov | 518-455-2415

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Democratic Conference Leader,  Announces Senate Approval for

New York State Medical Marijuana Program

(Yonkers, NY) Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference Leader, today announced passage of legislation to establish a medical marijuana program in New York State.

 

Prior to voting for the bill, Senator Stewart-Cousins said, “I hope that everyone who has taken the time, pushed this rock up the hill, understands that we could never have done it without you. Our hats off, much gratitude. Let’s get this done.”

 

The legislation includes provisions to ensure medical marijuana is reserved only for patients with serious conditions and is dispensed and administered by the appropriate state agencies to ensure that the program cannot be abused.

 

Stewart-Cousins mentioned a Yonkers neighbor whose husband with cancer traveled to California for relief before he died.

 

“People suffering from serious diseases and illnesses should have access to the medically necessary treatments they need here in New York,” she added. “This legislation will help New Yorkers who currently experience debilitating illnesses and endure great pain and suffering by providing them with the ability to utilize medical marijuana as prescribed by authorized medical professionals. This bill also contains safeguards that will ensure that medical marijuana cannot be abused.”

 

The bill passed by the State Legislature and supported by Governor Cuomo will:

 

• Establish a certification and registry process for physicians to administer medical marijuana;

• Put in place a process for patients to obtain, and manufacturers to dispense, medical marijuana;

• Specify that the serious conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed are: cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication on intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington’s Disease;

• Establish a Class-E felony for a practitioner that certifies an individual as eligible

if he or she knows or reasonably should know the person who is asking for it has no need for the medication;

• Establish a misdemeanor offense for recipients of medical marijuana that sell or trade the medication; and

• Create a 7% excise tax on every sale of medical marijuana by a registered organization to a certified patient or designated caregiver.

 

“I am proud to join my colleagues in the State Senate, as well as the State Assembly and Governor Cuomo, in taking steps to ensure that New Yorkers who require medical marijuana have access to the medication they need to address their conditions. This initiative will help New Yorkers in need and protect against abuse or unauthorized use of medical marijuana,” Senator Stewart-Cousins concluded.

 

Listen to remarks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hevYtTA5zZQ#t=14 …

STATEMENT ON HEROIN BILLS PACKAGE

Within the last decade opioid use, particularly among young adults, has risen at an alarming and unacceptable rate,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “We have a responsibility to combat this addictive and deadly substance and educate the public against its use. Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction and these laws will be an effective tool in fighting the heroin and opioid scourge that our state is facing. ”

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins Supports Legislation to Combat

the Rising Heroin and Opioid Abuse Crisis

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference Leader, supports an agreement by Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders on a package of reforms to combat the growing heroin epidemic facing communities throughout New York State.​​

 

“Within the last decade opioid use, particularly among young adults, has risen at an alarming and unacceptable rate,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “We have a responsibility to combat this addictive and deadly substance and educate the public against its use. This package of bills is a step in the right direction. These laws will be an effective tool in fighting the heroin and opioid scourge that our state is facing. “

Heroin abuse has been increasing at dangerously high rates in recent years. In 2013, there were 89,269 cases of heroin and prescription opiate abuse treatment admissions in New York State, a substantial increase from 63,793 in 2004. During this same time period, opioid abuse rates among young New Yorkers, aged 18 to 24, disproportionately rose which clearly illustrates that this crisis is impacting children and young adults. Nationally, as many as 467,000 people were reportedly abusing heroin or suffering from heroin dependence in 2012.

 

Senator Stewart-Cousins noted that members of the Senate Democratic Conference have led the way on addressing this heroin crisis and have held forums, produced reports and introduced multiple pieces of legislation regarding the rising heroin and opioid crisis, many of which were included in the agreed upon heroin bill package.

The pieces of legislation agreed upon will:

 

·         Improve Measures to Support Addiction Treatment;

·         Create New Penalties to Help Crack Down on Illegal Drug Distribution;

·         Provide Informational Cards in Naloxone Anti-Overdose Kits to Help Save Lives;

·         Create a teen heroin abuse PSA campaign; and

·         Expand Public Education Campaigns to Prevent Opioid and Heroin Use.

Senator Stewart-Cousins concluded. “I commend our partners in government, the Governor and legislative leaders, for coming together to address this devastating heroin and opioid abuse crisis. I am proud of my efforts, and those of my Democratic Senate colleagues, and I look forward to passing these common sense bills immediately.”

###

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history. She was first elected to the State Senate in 2006 and currently represents Greenburgh and Scarsdale, and part of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to be Guest on MSNBC.

For Immediate Release:      January 18th 2013.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to be Guest on MSNBC.

(Albany, NY) Following the successful passage and signing into law of the comprehensive NY SAFE bill, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will be joining Craig Melvin of MSNBC this weekend to discuss this groundbreaking legislation and what it means for the State of New York.

WHAT:                      Craig Melvin of MSNBC

WHO:                         Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

WHEN:                      Saturday at 4:00 PM

Follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NYSenDems

New York State Senate | DemocraticConferenceNews@nysenate.gov518-455-2415

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Con Edison Issues Gas Line ScheduleFor South 11 Avenue As Work Begins

CON ED UPGRADES
11TH AVENUE BETWEEN SECOND AND THIRD STREETS

Con Edison is busy attempting to complete work on upgrades in Mount Vernon. On Tuesday, June 9, Con Edison began excavating for gas main and service upgrades.

Temporary restoration is scheduled in 4 to 6 weeks with permanent restoration to be complete by late- summer. Con Ed will store material and equipment alongside the road while they work. Portions of sidewalks, driveways, or lawns may need to be excavated during work. If property owners have any private facilities such as sprinkler lines or electric dog fences buried in their lawns, please let Con Ed workers know.

Mayor Ernest D. Davis wants to assure residents that pipeline upgrades are steadily progressing and work will be completed in affected areas more quickly with the warmer weather. Once all work is completed, roadways will be repaved.

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS?

Call Con Edison Public Affairs at 1-914-634-7891 or e-mail WestchesterPA@conEd.com

 

 

Vera M. Glover

… long time Mount Vernon, New York resident

peacefully departed this life on Sunday, June 7, 2015

 

The late John A. Glover, Jr., husband

The late Ronald Earl Glover, son

John Thomas Glover of Valrico FL, son

Patricia Glover of Queens NY, former daughter in law

Carolyn Drake of Mount Vernon NY, niece/cousin

 

Grandchildren

Franklin Watkins/Michaelle of Queens NY

Tasha Gravely-Green of Riverdale MD

Sean Glover of Queens NY

Perquita Pena/John of Raleigh NC

Lesette Glover of Mount Vernon NY

and Alexandria Glover of Yonkers NY

Brother

George T. Jones of Queens NY

Sisters

Jelena “Jaye” Coleman of Harlem NY

and

Joyce Fox-Lee/David of New Rochelle NY

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wake: 10:00 AM    ~    Service: 11:00 AM

 

MACEDONIA BAPTIST CHURCH

141 South Ninth Avenue

Mount Vernon, New York 10550

Reverend Dr. Darren M. Morton

Senior Pastor

Westchester County Clerk Mobile Office

Applying or renewing a passport will be easy when the Westchester County Clerk brings its community outreach mobile office to Mount Vernon City Hall on Tuesday, June 9, 2014 from 11 am – 2 pm. Community outreach staffers will be on hand to assist residents with applying for United   States passports, including having a photo taken. Bring along a Certified Transcript of Birth with raised seal (commonly referred to as long form Birth Certificate that includes parents’ names), valid state or government issued identification such as a valid driver’s license, government identification card or military identification card and a passport photo if you have one and of course the $135 for adult applicants (16 and over) and $105 for child applicants (under 16).

SUMMER CAMPS & ACTIVITIES

Youth Bureau Safe Haven Summer Camp

Designed for youth ages 6 through 12, this affordable camp runs from July 6 through August 14 at the Longfellow Elementary School. Youth participate in science, technology, English, art and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M) activities and enjoy field trips that have included Splish Splash, Quassey Park and Lake Compounce.  The program operates Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.   Fee:  $450

Recreation Junior Camp

Kids ages 5 through 8 will enjoy activities planned at the Traphagen Elementary School, Camp runs from 9am to 3pm, Monday through Friday, July 6 through August 14. Fee: $550

Recreation Senior Camp

Kids a little older will have fun doing what big kids do. For those ages 9 through 12 camp will be held at Holmes Elementary School, July 5 though August 14 from 9am to 3pm. Fee:  $550

Mobile Camp Program

Kids of all ages looking for something to do during the day can visit one of our free mobile camps at the following city playgrounds:

  • Howard Street Playground –  Monday – Thursday, 10am – 12pm
  • Fleetwood Playground – Monday – Thursday, 10am – 12pm
  • Old 7th Avenue Playground – Monday – Thursday, 1pm – 3pm

Summer Clinics

Budding athletes can get specialized instruction at any one or more of our sports clinics this summer.  The clinics are designed to increase knowledge of the sport, improve skills, promote sportsmanship, and most importantly, let kids have fun!

  • Tennis Clinic – Ages 7 – 17, Fridays – June 26 to August 28 , Fee:  $100  Mount Vernon Tennis Center Courts, 665 Garden Avenue, 4pm to 8pm
  • Basketball Clinic – Ages 7 – 17, July 6 – August 14, Fee:$425 or $90/week Mount Vernon High School, 100 California Road, 1pm to 5pm
  • Biddy Outdoor Basketball – Ages 7 – 17, July 6 to August 14,  Fee:  $35 Hartley Park Court (Gramatan & Lincoln Avenues) Mondays & Tuesdays – 4:30pm to 8:30pm – Saturdays, 9am to 11am
  • Soccer Clinic – Ages 7 – 17, July 6 to August 14, Fee: $200 or $50/week Hutchinson Field Dome, 655 Garden Avenue, 4pm to 6pm
  • Band/Drumline – Ages 7 – 17, July 6 – August 7 , Fee: $200    250 Nelson Mandela High School, 250 Gramatan Avenue, Monday  – Thursday, 9am
  • – 2:30pm

Summer Entrepreneurship Academy

Teens aged 15 – 17 have an opportunity to learn and earn a stipend if they participate in a 6 week entrepreneurship skills training programs sponsored in partnership between the Mount Vernon Extension Center of S?UNY Westchester Community College, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and the Westchester Community College Gateway to Entrepreneurship. APPLICATIONS CLOSE FRIDAY, JUNE 5. Applications available at Mount Vernon High School (STRONG Office), Thornton High School (WWDAY Office). For further information, please contact Mrs. Debbie Butler or Mr. Wayne Woodbury at the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, 914-665-2344.

G.E.M. Summer Leadership Academy

Running July 6 through August 8, the free GEM Leadership Academy (fnded by the Westchester County Youth Bureau) was created for girls in grades 7 and 8 and was designed to empower and is designed to empower and cultivate leadership skills in a safe, enriching environment. Contact the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau at 914-665-2344 for more info and to enroll.

MORE SUMMER FUN 

Pack up the family, lawn chairs and snacks for additional activities your young people can enjoy.

  • Summer Breeze Concert Series – June 17 through September 1, 7pm Concerts are held on City Hall Plaza, in Fleetwood and Hartley Park. Special concerts also happen at locations around the city. Look for the schedule to be published soon.
  • Summer Movie Nights – Free outdoor screenings of popular block buster movies on Monday nights from July 6 to August 31 at Hartley Park and Doles Community Center. Movies start at 8pm so be on time.
  • Look out for info on our summertime fairs and events

.

SUMMER CAMPS & ACTIVITIES

Youth Bureau Safe Haven Summer Camp

Designed for youth ages 6 through 12, this affordable camp runs from July 6 through August 14 at the Longfellow Elementary School. Youth participate in science, technology, English, art and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M) activities and enjoy field trips that have included Splish Splash, Quassey Park and Lake Compounce.  The program operates Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.   Fee:  $450

Recreation Junior Camp

Kids ages 5 through 8 will enjoy activities planned at the Traphagen Elementary School, Camp runs from 9am to 3pm, Monday through Friday, July 6 through August 14. Fee: $550

Recreation Senior Camp

Kids a little older will have fun doing what big kids do. For those ages 9 through 12 camp will be held at Holmes Elementary School, July 5 though August 14 from 9am to 3pm. Fee:  $550

Mobile Camp Program

Kids of all ages looking for something to do during the day can visit one of our free mobile camps at the following city playgrounds:

  • Howard Street Playground –  Monday – Thursday, 10am – 12pm
  • Fleetwood Playground – Monday – Thursday, 10am – 12pm
  • Old 7th Avenue Playground – Monday – Thursday, 1pm – 3pm

Summer Clinics

Budding athletes can get specialized instruction at any one or more of our sports clinics this summer.  The clinics are designed to increase knowledge of the sport, improve skills, promote sportsmanship, and most importantly, let kids have fun!

  • Tennis Clinic – Ages 7 – 17, Fridays – June 26 to August 28 , Fee:  $100  Mount Vernon Tennis Center Courts, 665 Garden Avenue, 4pm to 8pm
  • Basketball Clinic – Ages 7 – 17, July 6 – August 14, Fee:$425 or $90/week Mount Vernon High School, 100 California Road, 1pm to 5pm
  • Biddy Outdoor Basketball – Ages 7 – 17, July 6 to August 14,  Fee:  $35 Hartley Park Court (Gramatan & Lincoln Avenues) Mondays & Tuesdays – 4:30pm to 8:30pm – Saturdays, 9am to 11am
  • Soccer Clinic – Ages 7 – 17, July 6 to August 14, Fee: $200 or $50/week Hutchinson Field Dome, 655 Garden Avenue, 4pm to 6pm
  • Band/Drumline – Ages 7 – 17, July 6 – August 7 , Fee: $200    250 Nelson Mandela High School, 250 Gramatan Avenue, Monday  – Thursday, 9am
  • – 2:30pm

Summer Entrepreneurship Academy

Teens aged 15 – 17 have an opportunity to learn and earn a stipend if they participate in a 6 week entrepreneurship skills training programs sponsored in partnership between the Mount Vernon Extension Center of S?UNY Westchester Community College, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and the Westchester Community College Gateway to Entrepreneurship. APPLICATIONS CLOSE FRIDAY, JUNE 5. Applications available at Mount Vernon High School (STRONG Office), Thornton High School (WWDAY Office). For further information, please contact Mrs. Debbie Butler or Mr. Wayne Woodbury at the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, 914-665-2344.

G.E.M. Summer Leadership Academy

Running July 6 through August 8, the free GEM Leadership Academy (fnded by the Westchester County Youth Bureau) was created for girls in grades 7 and 8 and was designed to empower and is designed to empower and cultivate leadership skills in a safe, enriching environment. Contact the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau at 914-665-2344 for more info and to enroll.

MORE SUMMER FUN 

Pack up the family, lawn chairs and snacks for additional activities your young people can enjoy.

  • Summer Breeze Concert Series – June 17 through September 1, 7pm Concerts are held on City Hall Plaza, in Fleetwood and Hartley Park. Special concerts also happen at locations around the city. Look for the schedule to be published soon.
  • Summer Movie Nights – Free outdoor screenings of popular block buster movies on Monday nights from July 6 to August 31 at Hartley Park and Doles Community Center. Movies start at 8pm so be on time.
  • Look out for info on our summertime fairs and events

SATURDAY, MAY 30TH

CELEBRITY BASKETBALL CHALLENGE

@ MVHS !!

FOR TICKETS and/or INFORMATION ~

Call Ahmed Rodriguez: 646-387-6553

 

SATURDAY, MAY 30TH … THIS WEEKEND!!

TUESDAY, JUNE 2ND

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 6TH

SUNDAY, JUNE 21ST … FATHER’S DAY – “Drama @ the Doles!”

 

 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 24TH

SUMMER 2015: July & August

 

 

This SATURDAY, MAY 30TH … CELEBRITY BASKETBALL GAME

at MOUNT VERNON HIGH SCHOOL!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mount Vernon to Hold Pre-Dedication of

Anthony T. Fava Park

Veterans Memorial Park Honors Military Service

Saturday, May 23, 2015

1:00pm

Corner Lincoln & Stevens Avenues

 

Mount Vernon, NY, May 20, 2015 – Looking fresh with new plantings and a stonework wall enclosing the park, this plot of land situated at the corners of Lincoln, Stevens and Mount Vernon Avenues has often been overlooked as a memorial to city military service personnel. On Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 1:00 p.m., Mayor Ernest D. Davis will be joined by the Central Committee for Veterans Affairs for a pre-dedication ceremony of the Anthony T. Fava Veterans Memorial Park.

 

“All of the work done in this space that stands as a memorial to the brave men and women who sacrificed their own lives for us, was done in-house,” said Mayor Ernest D. Davis. “The park now stands as a fitting tribute to our veterans and will greet residents and visitors on the west end of our city.”

 

The park was redesigned in house. Public works masonry employees with the assistance of a public works junior engineer did all of the work. They erected the stone walls and fountain centerpiece from bedrock extracted from Memorial Field and laid out the paths through the park. Landscape crews laid new sod and put in plants to soften the edges of the rock. An eagle will sit atop the pool centerpiece, representing the freedoms that all Americans enjoy because of the sacrifices of our veterans.

 

Mount Vernon native PFC Anthony T. Fava, lost his life in combat while serving with the Army during WWII, also has an American Legion Post named in his honor. Anthony’s brother, John L. Fava, is currently Commander of the Anthony T. Fava American Legion Post 1768 and is Chairman of the city’s Central Committee for Veterans Affairs.

 

“The Fava family has for decades been instrumental in fighting for veterans of our armed services and they, like so many other families, need a place like this to reflect,” said Mayor Davis.

For additional information contact Shari Harris, Special Assistant to the Mayor, at 914-665-2572.

 

# # #

 

MEMORIAL DAY PARADE, CEREMONY AND DEDICATION

Wreath Laying Ceremony, 9am at City Hall

Parade, 10am

 

Mount Vernon, NY, May 20, 2015  – Mount Vernon’s Annual Memorial Day Parade will step off at 10 a.m. from the city’s transportation center at Prospect and Park Avenues with John Fava, Chairman of the city’s Central Committee for Veterans Affairs (CCVA) feeling proud to be an American. “The veterans and their families who call Mount Vernon home deserve this acknowledgement for the service they all have given this country,” said Mayor Ernest D. Davis. “We can never march enough to thank them for helping to keep us free.”

 

Led by a police escort, city, state, and national representatives, Veterans groups, fraternal and civic organizations, students from Mount Vernon Schools, marching bands and members of the city’s police and fire departments, the parade will march through the city’s downtown to the grandstand at Gramatan and Sidney Avenue. At the end of the parade a ceremony dedicating the Gold Star Mothers Base and official Veterans ceremony will be held.

 

“The Gold Star Mother base is in place and it looks beautiful,” said Mayor Ernest D. Davis. “Those mothers who grieve  the loss of a child to combat, no matter during what war, will have a place to be honored and recognized for their sacrifice.”

 

Prior to the start of the parade, a wreath laying ceremony will be held at 9:00am on City Hall Plaza.  In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the City Council chambers. The parade procession will follow a police escort from Prospect to Park Avenue, right onto Park Avenue to South 1st Avenue, making a right on East 3rd Street to South 4th Avenue, a right on South 4th Avenue to North Gramatan Avenue and right onto Sidney Avenue.

 

For additional information contact Commissioner Jonathan Logan at 914-665-2319.

# # #

 

 

 

MEMORIAL FIELD TENNIS CENTER OPENING PARTY

Kela Tennis Hosts Mount Vernon Tennis Center Party

Monday, May 25, 2015

2:00 p.m.

Memorial Field Tennis Courts

431 Garden Avenue

 

Mount Vernon, NY, May 20, 2015  – The new tennis courts at Memorial Field have are open for play and have already hosted competition play. Kela Tennis at Mount Vernon Tennis Center will be hosting a Memorial Day celebration opening party.

 

“We are fortunate to have Kela Simunyola interested in managing our tennis center,” said Mayor Ernest D. Davis. “His reputation of building tennis programs into prominence is well known and his own indoor tennis program has helped to develop stars on the USTA circuit.”

 

Kela, who came to the United States from Zambia on a scholarship to Concordia College in Bronxville, is a tennis professional who has taught numerous students through his programs in New York and Florida. The Simunyola family received USTA Eastern’s Family of the Year Award for their years of dedication to tennis, one that stretches among over 10 individuals and across many generations. Kela is a former director of tennis at Lake Isle Country Club in Eastchester. With the addition or Kela Tennis, the courts, which meet USTA stands, are expected to draw high level tennis competitions.

 

RSVP to kelateennis@icloud.com if you are interested in attending the opening party. For more information contact Kela Tennis at 914-665-6666

 

 

REVISED GARBAGE AND YARD WASTE PICKUP SCHEDULE 

Memorial Day – Holiday Week

Mount Vernon, NY, May 20, 2014 – The following garbage pickup schedule will be in effect for the week of May 25, 2015.

 

  • There will be no regular Southside garbage pickup on Monday, May 25
  • Regular Monday Southside garbage pickup will be on Tuesday, May 26
  • Regular Northside yard waste pickup will be on Tuesday, May 26
  • There will be no pickup of recycling commingles on Wednesday, May 27
  • Regular Tuesday Northside garbage pickup will be on Wednesday, May 27
  • Regular Thursday Southside pickup of garbage, rubbish pickup plus recyclable bottles, cans and  plastics remains in effect
  • Regular Northside Wednesday pickup of recyclable bottles, cans and plastics will be on

Thursday, May 28

  • Regular Southside Thursday garbage and rubbish pickup remains in effect
  • Regular Northside Friday garbage and rubbish pickup on the will be on Friday, May 29
  • Regular Southside Wednesday pickup of recycled bottles, cans and plastic on the will be on Friday, May 29
  • Alternate side of the street parking on both sides of the street and metered parking has been suspended on Monday, May 25, 2015, for Memorial Day

 

PLEASE REFER TO SANITATION SCHEDULES FOR CHANGES IN PICKUPS DURING HOLIDAY WEEKS.  RECYCLABLES AND YARD WASTE WILL NOT BE PICKED UP IN PLASTIC BAGS.

Please contact the Department of Public Works at 665-2460 for additional information.

 

Join us ~ Make it
 A  Steam House Weekend …
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Saturday, May 9th
IMANI’S 5th Annual FASHION & TALENT SHOW …


– and –
Sunday, May 10th
Celebrate with the special lady/ies in your life …



Reservations Highly Recommended

.

Mount Vernon Wins Water Taste Contest

After placing 2nd to White Plains last year, on Thursday, May 5th Mount Vernon reclaimed best tasting water honors in the county. Westchester County Department of Health’s annual municipal water taste contest had taste testers finding Mount Vernon’s water the tastiest in front of the Michaelian Office Building in White Plains. Now its off to the Albany finals!

Mobile Shredder Coming This Saturday

The Westchester County Mobile Shredder will be making a stop at the Municipal Parking Lot on 5th Avenue and 2nd Street on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Residents can have confidential papers shredded a no cost on  a first come, first served basis between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  A maximum of four boxes per resident will be allowed.

NYS Custom Plates for Military and Veteran Drivers
New York State offers custom license plates to veterans and military members reflecting their military service or affiliation. Qualified disabled Veterans under federal Title 38, Part III, Chapter 39 or can qualify for and apply for Congressional Medal Of Honor custom plates Veterans 62 years of age or older can qualify and apply for Former Prisoner of War custom plates. Veterans can also have the word “Veteran” printed on the upper left hand of their photo document at no additional fee if they are a qualified U.S. military veteran who was honorably discharged and have a NYS driver license, learner permit or non-driver photo ID card. Check http://dmv.ny.gov/ for full details.

RENEW THE CITY – Be A Part of Something Good
RENEW The City
RENEW The City

 

Alliance Church’s  community day of service stops took them to Cleveland, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois. On May 16th this one day intergenerational event will make its first New York stop in Mount Vernon to help Renew the City.

Combining the day’s events with our Annual Cleanup Day activities, we’re asking all neighborhood associations, cultural and social organizations to join with others in giving Mount Vernon a facelift. There simple things you can do to make a difference in how people perceive our city. Just picking up paper along the curb in front of your home, sweeping your sidewalk and clipping your hedges and grass is a start. If you’d like to volunteer for some of our other projects give us a call at 914-665-2343.  We’d be happy to sign you up.

Police & Community Working Together

 No one wants to live in a community where the police are feared and it is assumed that they are not to be trusted.  We’ve found that most people just aren’t aware of some basic things to make interaction with the Mount Vernon police easier. Come out and learn how you can better understand police policy and procedure and what you need to do to make interacting with them easier.

 

Join us ~ Make it  A  Steam House Weekend … ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Saturday, May 9th IMANI’S 5th Annual FASHION & TALENT SHOW … – and – Sunday, May 10th Celebrate with the special lady/ies in your life … Reservations Highly Recommended–Con Edison Issues Gas Line ScheduleStreet Paving/Fleetwood Work Begins

 

CON ED STREET RESURFACING ALONG AREAS OF 4th AND 5th STREETS

Con Edison will begin paving  on May 4, 2015 and continue until May 15, 2015 on the following roadways:

  • Union Avenue traveling east along 4th Street to just past the Nuber Avenue   intersection.
  • The Intersection of South Columbus Ave and 4th Street continue east along East    4th Street turning south at the intersection of East 4th and Gardner Avenue   ending just before 5th Street.
  •  West 4th Street between South 6th Avenue and South 7th Avenue.
  • West 5th Street between South 10th Avenue and Mundy Lane.
WORK TO BEGIN ON FLETCHER AVENUE

Con Edison will be upgrading the gas main and services on Fletcher Avenue from East Lincoln Avenue to Primrose Avenue.

Excavation will begin on Monday, April 27 and continue for 6 weeks. Con Edison will store material and equipment alongside the road while they work.

Parts of sidewalks, driveways, or lawns may need to be excavated while Con Edison Works. Property owners having any private facilities such as sprinkler lines or electric dog fences buried in their lawns should notify Cond Edison crews. Permanent restoration of streets, sidewalks and lawn areas are scheduled for mid-summer.

Con Edison may need to temporarily interrupt your service while they connect new gas lines, and will need access to your gas appliances to restore service. You will be notified in advance if this needs to be done. An appointment will be scheduled when you will be home to let them in. Always ask for ID before letting anyone in your home.

GASLINE UPGRADE TO BEGIN PHASE 1 IN FLEETWOOD

Con Edison will be upgrading gas main and services on Gramatan Avenue. Excavation will begin Wednesday, April 29 at the intersection of Gramatan Avenue and West Sidney Avenue and continue on Gramatan Avenue to East Lincoln Avenue.

Work will be performed at night between the hours of 9pm -7am in order to minimize impact and inconvenience to the community.  This part of the project will take approximately 6 weeks.

Gas service will be interrupted as Con Edison transfers from the old gas main to the newly installed gas main. Arrangements will be made with all of Con Edison gas service customers to minimize impact.

NEED HELP WITH PIPE LINE UPGRADES?

Call Con Edison Public Affairs at 1-914-925-6361 or e-mail WestchesterPA@conEd.com

 

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The City of Mount Vernon News

1 Roosevelt Square

Mount Vernon, NY 10550

Church Logo
Bereavement Notice
MACEDONIA BAPTIST CHURCH
Rev. Dr. Darren M. Morton, Senior Pastor
 
Celebration of Life and Legacy
Rev. Dr. Richard H. Dixon, Jr. 
Pastor Emeritus
October 3, 1923 – April 25, 2014

The Macedonia Baptist Church joins First Lady Emeritus Earnestene Dixon and the Dixon Family as we mourn the loss of Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Dr. Richard H. Dixon, Jr.   Dr. Dixon serves as the 5th Pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church from 1958 -2002.  During his pastorate, he was a pioneer in civil right, social justice, and community affairs.   He is the founder of the United Black Clergy of Westchester.  As the Chief Chaplin and 2nd Deputy Commissioner of the Mount Vernon Police Department, Dr. Dixon was a spiritual advisor to thousands of police office for a half of century.

Rev. Dixon was known as the People’s Pastor, and could be found daily walking the streets of Mt. Vernon, the halls of hospitals and nursing homes, and visiting prisons.   He was a pastor without walls that extended far and wide beyond the boundaries of a church building, city limits, state lines, and the United States shores.   Truly, he was a Man after “God’s Own Heart”.

We treasure our time with Rev. Dixon and thank God for allow us to be blessed by his presence and leadership for 57 years.

 

Celebration of Life and Legacy Services:

_________________________________________________________________

 

Sunday, May 3rd

4pm – 6pm: Public Viewing 

6pm – until: Evening of Celebration 

 

Monday, May 4th

10am: Funeral Services

(All clergy are asked to wear black robes)

 

All Services will be held at Macedonia Baptist Church

141 S. 9th Avenue, Mt. Vernon, NY 10550

 

 

Condolences may be faxed to The Dixon Family

c/o Macedonia Baptist Church

141 S. 9th Avenue

Mt. Vernon, NY 10550

Fax: 914-667-6741

Tel: 914-667-2333

 

Please keep The Dixon Family in your prayers. 

Macedonia Baptist Church | 141 S. 9th Avenue | Mount Vernon | NY | 10550

4th STREET RESURFACING

RESCHEDULED FOR WEEK OF APRIL 27 

Resurfacing of the roadway along West 4th Street between Franklin and South Columbus Avenues HAS BEEN RESCUEDULED. WORK WILL BEGIN ON MONDAY, APRIL 27th AND LAST UNTIL FRIDAY, MAY 1st

Milling and repaving of streets along this section of the Con Edison gas pipeline route will be between the hours of 7am and 5pm. No parking restrictions will be posted. This rescheduling has become necessary because the Mount Board of Water Supply must repair a broken water main in the area.

4th Street Paving to Begin

4th STREET RESURFACING MONDAY
BETWEEN FRANKLIN & COLUMBUS

Resurfacing of the roadway along West 4th Street between Franklin and South Columbus Avenues will take place on Monday, April 20 through Friday, April 24 between the hours of 7am and 5pm. No parking restrictions will be posted.

This final stage of construction in this area will give the roadway back to the community.

OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION MOTORIST ALERT

 

Safety at the Pump

Smoking while pumping gas, entering and exiting the car while pumping, and talking on cell phones while refueling are dangerous.

No explanation needs to be given why anyone should smoke while pumping gas, but not many are aware of the danger involved when someone starts to fill their vehicle, enters and exits their vehicle, and then touches the gas nozzle. When you get into your vehicle, your clothes pick up static electricity from the carpet and seats. When you get out of the car, you are susceptible to a static shock. This static shock could and has ignited gas vapors. To date the Petroleum Equipment Institute has documented 150 cases of this type of fire which to some, isn’t bad considering how many people fill up in a day.

 

If you must exit your car while fueling, make sure you touch metal before you reach for the nozzle. Touching metal will cause the static electricity that has built up in your body to discharge. You can touch your car door or the pump itself.

 

Warnings regarding the use of cell phones while refueling have been issued by oil companies. Three instances of fires attributed to cell phones as reported by the Shell Company. In on instancea cell phone rang in their pocket during a refuel; another when a person answered a phone, and lastly a phone on the trunk of a car ignited gas vapors when it rang destroying the car and the pump.

 

Here are a few rules for safety at the pump:  

 

  1. Always turn off your engine.
  2. Never smoke while refueling.
  3. Leave your cell phone in the car and do not use it until you have finished refueling your vehicle.
  4. Do not enter you car in the midst of fueling it.       If you must, touch a piece of metal to discharge yourself before touching the nozzle.
  5. Do not fill plastic storage containers, such as those for lawnmowers while they are in the trunk of your vehicle.       Take them out of the trunk and place them on the floor grounding them.
  6. Do not use your vehicles’ gas cap wedged in the nozzle handle so you don’t have to squeeze it.
  7. If a fire should occur during your refill, back away from the vehicle and leave the nozzle in the fill pipe of the car.
  8. Use the appropriate storage container for transporting gasoline. Do not use any plastic container.
FOR MORE CONSUMER PROTECTION INFORMATION CONTACT THE MOUNT VERNON OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION AT 665-2433

 

Check out JP’s “Breathe”:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kEUmBwO-ZA

It is with deep sorrow that we inform

the passing of

 

Robert J. Harris

Father of

Brent Harris

and

Che’ Harris

 

Son of The Late

Robert and Fannie Harris

 

Brother of

Darryl “D.D.” Harris

 

 

Monday, April 20, 2015

at

Grace Baptist Church

One Grace Plaza  |  52 South 6th Avenue

Mount Vernon, New York 10550

Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Pastor

 

Viewing:

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Funeral Service:

11:00 a.m.

Repast:

Immediately following service

Levister-Doles Banquet Hall

Grace Baptist Church

 

Last chance to enter raffle to win a 55 inch Curved TV.Raffle will be held at 7:30 pm tonight at Best Buy in Mount Vernon.$5 — Someone will take this Curved TV home , it may as well be you!But you got to be in it to win it.
Something’s Always Happening in the city of Mount Vernon
www.cmvny.com

Participate in the Survey Now

     
IMPORTANT CON ED
PIPELINE UPDATE
1st AVENUE BETWEEN SOUTH FULTON AND BROOKDALE PLACE UPGRADES 

 

Con Edison will be upgrading gas main and services on East 1st Avenue between South Fulton Avenue and Brookdale Place. Excavation began Monday, April 6 and will continue for 30 days. Final street restoration will be completed in late spring. Material and equipment will be stored alongside the road while Con Ed works.

Parts of sidewalks, driveways or lawns may need to be excavated during work. If property owners have any private facilities such as sprinkler lines or electric dog fences buried in your lawn, please let Con Edison crews know. Your service may need to be temporarily disconnected while your new gas lines are connected, therefore, Con Edison will need access to your gas appliances to restore your service. You will be notified in advance if this needs to be done. An appointment will be scheduled for when you will be home. As a safety precaution, always ask for identification from anyone requesting entry into your home.

If you are not home when crews have completed their work, please call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633) as soon as you return for prompt restoration of your service.

 

  HELP OUR RESIDENTS BE FIRE SAFE!
LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS TO INSTALL    HOME SMOKE DETECTORS

VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT DRIVE THURSDAY, APRIL 9

6:30 P.M., CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 1 ROOSEVELT SQ.

       HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND

 SPREAD THE WORD. IT’S LIKE GETTING CASH FOR GUNS. PLEASE FOLLOW ALL SAFETY RULES WHEN TRANSPORTING FIREARMS. ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

Like us on Facebook
 

The City of Mount Vernon News

1 Roosevelt Square

Mount Vernon, NY 10550

 

Here’s Your Invitation to the Comedy Event of the Season Co-Sponsored by LWL Enterprises and the City of Mount Vernon
The “Rock a Bye Baby” lady from New Jack City will host this year’s Red Carp0et Kickoff at the Mount Vernon Doles Community Center, 250 South 6th Avenue. Phyllis Ann Stickney has an impressive acting career and the comedienne is also very involved in social issues. In the late 1980’s to mid 1990’s she was one of Hollywood’s most promising talents. A string of roles in films such as What’s Love Got to Do With It, Malcolm X and the TV series, A Different World won over viewers and critics. A Harlem Arts Alliance member, she spent a decade transforming the formerly drug-infested St. James Court building in Harlem and launched several new business ventures. She is regarded as one of the most intelligently hilarious comic talents and was recognized by HBO in THE HISTORY OF BLACKS IN COMEDY.
Bronx born and raised stand up comedian Freddie Ricks incorporates characters of African, Indian, South American, and European descent into his act, impersonating his characters with flawless ease.   He’s appeared on BET’s Comic View, Def Comedy Jam, The Apollo Comedy Hour and It’s Showtime at the Apollo and is hailed to be one of the hottest and most versatile clean comedians in the business. Ricks is a true veteran in comedy and has been in movies such as “Baby Boy” with Tyrese and “SHAFT” along side Samuel L. Jackson and Vanessa Williams. His style of comedy is very eclectic, ranging from urban humor, to Shakespeare to a combination of both. Freddie puts on a full PERFORMANCE rather than just joke telling.
Standing at 6’1, Chloe Hilliard is a journalist turned comedienne who knows how to rock a killer afro. Born in Brooklyn and raised in a large Hasidic neighborhood, Chloe brings a unique perspective to her humor. She has been a culture/entertainment journalist, writing for The Village VoiceEssenceVibeKing, and The Source. Most recently, Chloé was the Editorial Director of Loop21.com. She served as the Managing Editor/Social Media Manager for VIBE, a staff writer for The Village Voice, News Editor at The Source and appeared on CNN Headline News, ABC News, Our World with Black Enterprise and C-Span. She was recently made her national TV debut on NBC’s smash hit “Last Comic Standing” and appeared on AXSTV’s “Gotham Comedy Live.” She’s got enough hands on experience to keep us in stitches.
Christian comedienne Tiffini Thrower will be in her hometown bringing gut busting hallelujah laughs to the audience.   Tiffan, who bills herself as a teacher, comedienne, minister and always a student, has been starring in a one woman show, Laugh At My Life, where she walks the audience through her life, one  laugh at a timel
 Performing stand up comedy since the age of 11, 14 year old Simon Cadel has already had audiences at Caroline’s Comedy Club, The Comic Strip Live, NY Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy, and Levity Live. Cadel who has been described as a comedian who “happens to be a kid,” has material that is smart, observational, and high-energy. He has been described as having a level of sophistication and depth of understanding of satire and humor not expected to be found in some one his age.

Buy Your Ticket Now

It is with deep sorrow that we inform

the passing of

Mamie E. (Connally) Bostic

Wife of Joseph B. Bostic

Mother of MoniKa Bostic

Daughter of Estella Myers

 

Wake:

Monday, April 6, 2015

5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Mount Olivet Apostolic Faith Church

130 West 7th Street

(Corner of Rev. Beatrice D. Bostic Way)

Mount Vernon, New York 10550

Pastor: Bishop Errol O’Savio

 

Funeral Service:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

10:00 a.m.

Bowen Memorial Baptist Church

14 North Columbus Avenue

Mount Vernon, New York 10553

Pastor: Reverend Hugh Farrish

+++++++

Flowers can be sent to

Mount Olivet Apostolic Faith Church

After 1:00pm on Monday, April 6th please

Thank you kindly

 
*** IMPORTANT NOTICE ***
Alternate side of the street parking suspended Thursday and Friday, April 2 & April 3 for Easter holiday weekend.
METERED PARKING & GARBAGE PICKUP IN EFFECT

Upcoming Event – Thursday, April 2

Help Westchester Crimestoppers Remove Guns From Mount Vernon

Drop by the African American Club House this Thursday and show your support when the Westchester Crime Stoppers hosts a fundraiser. Proceeds from this event will be used to help fund upcoming gun buyback. Please DO NOT bring guns to this event. We’ve set aside a separate day for gun purchases. Read the flyer below for more info.

Be Gun Smart

 Store guns away from children and transport unloaded firearms in the trunk of your car.

 

Westchester
Crimestoppers Inc

 

Fundraiser
Thursday
April 2
African American Club
(AAC)
6pm – 9pm
Suggested Donation
$25
WCCS Executive Committee
Derickson  Lawrence
Chief John Costanzo
Chief Joe Benefico
Rev. H. B. Marriott
Damaris Mone
Steve Wilson
Robert Debenedictis
Darryl Selsey
Kieran O’Leary
Sean Mcintyre
Ernest D. Davis, MayorTerrance Raynor, CmsnrRichard Burke, Dep. CmsnrGaylord Worrell, Dep. CmsnrReginald Ward, Dep. Cmsnr.
www.cmvny.com

Last Day to Register

Register Now

Check Out This Great Opportunity for Teens & Young Adults

Eric V. Tait , media consultant and award-winning broadcast journalist and documentarian, has been running Media Magic, an exciting and unique program at the Doles Center right here in Mount Vernon. Along with his Creative Program Director Keith Gonzalez, Tait’s crafted a program that will teach our young people all about television production. With extensive experience in media, Tait is currently Producer/Host of MEDIA WATCH (Manhattan Neighborhood Network) and a former Producer/Host for 20/20 News Magazine and OUR WORLD Documentary Unit.

 

 FYI – Tait previously took Mount Vernon High School students on a hands-on, on-the-job exposure and training with the critically acclaimed “Then I’ll Be Free To Travel Home” and “Every Voice And Sing!“documentaries.

Casting  Call

Floyd Cromwell Productions now casting for roles of lead  role of Aunt Ether Tyler, supporting roles of Solly Two Kings, Black Mary, Eli, Citizen Barlow, Rutherford Selig and Caesar Wilkes. Auditions: April 4 – 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Doles Community Theatre. For more information contact cromwellproductions@gmail .com -or- backstage.com

Spring Into Laughter

Buy Your Ticket Now 

 

Upcoming Event – Thursday, March 12

Help Westchester Crimestoppers Remove Guns From Mount Vernon

Drop by Maggie Spillane’s Ale House this Thursday and show your support when the Westchester Crime Stoppers hosts a fundraiser. Proceeds from this event will be used to help fund upcoming gun buyback. Please DO NOT bring guns to this event. We’ve set aside a separate day for gun purchases. Read the flyer below for more info.

 

Be Gun Smart

 Store guns away from children and transport unloaded firearms in the trunk of your car.

 

Westchester
Crimestoppers Inc

 

Fundraiser
Thursday
March 12
Maggie Spillane’s Ale House
6pm – 9pm
Suggested Donation
$25
WCCS Executive Committee
Derickson  Lawrence
Chief John Costanzo
Chief Joe Benefico
Rev. H. B. Marriott
Damaris Mone
Steve Wilson
Robert Debenedictis
Darryl Selsey
Kieran O’Leary
Sean Mcintyre
Ernest D. Davis, MayorTerrance Raynor, CmsnrRichard Burke, Dep. CmsnrGaylord Worrell, Dep. CmsnrReginald Ward, Dep. Cmsnr.
www.cmvny.com

 
If you’ve got the RIGHT stuff,
you just might be invited to participate in the
02/21/15 SHOWCASE
City of Mount Vernon, NY Announces CANCELLATIONS.

 

 

ALL CITY ACTIVITIES HAVE BEEN CANCELLED.

NO SCHOOL TOMORROW, OCTOBER 31st, 2012


Stay informed by visiting the city’s website at www.cmvny.com.

 
Mayor Ernest D. Davis

The City of Mount Vernon News

1 Roosevelt Square

Mount Vernon, NY 10550

www.cmvny.com

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