December 2008 Community Report

Dear Neighbor:

The following is a summary of some of my office's activities since my last community report:

Calling for MTA to Engage in Community Consultation Regarding M8 Service Elimination

On December 10, I joined my colleagues in City and State government whose districts are served by the M8 bus in requesting that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) engage in community consultation before making the drastic decision to eliminate the M8 or any other bus or subway line. We are in the process or arranging a meeting with CB3, CB2 and other key M8 stakeholders in order to weigh community needs with fiscal realties, and suggest creative alternatives and potential mitigations.

Calling for an End to Vacancy Decontrol

On December 9, I joined hundreds of tenants, their allies and advocacy organizations at Housing Here and Nowfs rally demanding that I and my colleagues in the State Legislature end vacancy decontrol and preserve rent-regulation. In my comments to the crowd I pledged that repealing vacancy decontrol will be one of my top priorities in the 2009 Legislative Session and reiterated commitment to repealing the Urstadt Law, putting affordable housing units in expiring Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 projects under rent stabilization, and passing my Rent Board Reform Bill.

Calling on NYS DEC to Mandate East Side Con Ed Steam Plant to Use Natural Gas

On December 5, I submitted written testimony to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Con Edisonfs Title V permit renewal for its steam power plant located at 701-827 East 14th Street. Please see my testimony, in which I urged DEC to exercise its full authority by requiring Con Edison to operate the plant primarily with natural gas.

Urging DEC to Ban Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale

On November 24, New York City Councilmember Jim Gennaro and I sent a letter to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Alexander "Pete" Grannis urging that DEC hold a scoping hearing in New York City on prospective natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation. Part of this large mineral reserve deposit thousands of feet beneath the earthfs surface is located under New York City's watershed in Upstate New York. The horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing needed to tap the natural gas located in the formation has the potential to adversely affect our water supply as well as the communities located above the formation. Our letter further called for DEC to seek the assistance of independent consultants in preparing the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) and at the very least to withhold drilling permits until the SGEIS is complete.

The following day, Councilmember Jim Gennaro and I joined Al Appleton, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and advocates in a press conference on the steps of City Hall to call on DEC to ban such drilling in the Marcellus Shale region altogether. Please see our press release.

Requesting an Update from The New School

On December 12, I joined New York City Councilmember Rosie Mendez and other colleagues in requesting a meeting with President Robert Kerry of the New School to discuss its plans for the Albert List Academic Center at 65 Fifth Avenue, which the school has proposed razing and replacing with a new, taller glass tower. The New School has recently indicated that there are no approved or financed plans for the site; however, the building is almost completely empty and we want the community to remain updated on its status.

Supporting Americafs Auto Workers in Call for Bridge Loan

On December 8, I joined hundreds of Metropolitan New York auto dealership workers, United Auto Workers (UAW) members and community supporters in rallying for an emergency Federal bridge loan for domestic automakers. There are an estimated 60,000 workers employed at New York area auto dealerships in good paying jobs our economy cannot afford to lose. I urged Congress and the White House to strike a deal that will both save the American auto industry from bankruptcy and force a fundamental restructuring to ensure its long-term viability.

Calling on DOE to Establish Opt-Out for Military Data Collection

On November 24, I joined U.S. Congressmembers Charles Rangel and Jerry Nadler as well as other elected officials in City, State and Federal Government in sending a letter to New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein calling for an accessible and well-publicized opt-out process for parents seeking to keep their childrenfs contact information away from military recruiters.

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