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District 2, Manhattan

September, 2012

What Rosie’s Doing:

Rosie Visits Senior Centers:  During the month of August and early September, Rosie attended luncheons at the Phipps Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) and Meltzer Senior Center.  She participated in a singing class at Baruch Elders Services Team (BEST)/NORC Program at Baruch Addition, danced with seniors at the Stein Senior Center, and visited seniors while they played bingo, dominoes and beaded at the Lillian Wald Senior Center.  Rosie also attended a health fair at the Self Reliance Association of America Ukrainians.  During these visits Rosie awarded City Council Citations to the directors of these programs, who are on the front line, providing needed services with tender loving care to the seniors in her district.  Rosie’s staff attended the Senior-Pet Fair at the Henry Street Good Companions Program, where renovations to the senior center, funded by Rosie, are underway.  A new air conditioner has been installed; the kitchen is being renovated as well as bathrooms that will meet American with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.

Rosie is Aware of Complaints about Transient Youth also Known as “Crusties”:

This summer, the area around Union Square, between 17th Street and 11th Street from Fifth Avenue to Avenue C has been invaded by adventurous transient individuals who come to New York City with plans to hang out.  They’re referred to as “crusties” because, since they live in the street, they are often dirty and disheveled.  Many of them have dogs and they seem to congregate in large groups.  Rosie has received numerous complaints from residents about the violent, unruly and illegal behaviors of these transients.  Rosie has been in touch with the NYPD and Parks Department on a regular basis.  To arrest them or remove them from the streets, requires the police catching them breaking the law.  Residents are encouraged to call 911 to report aggressive and illegal behaviors.  Meanwhile, Rosie’s office is working with outreach teams that provide services to homeless people to reach out to these youth in an effort to get them off the street.  The challenge in removing them is that people have the right to refuse services and to live in the street.  Rosie is researching the laws that protect such transients with the intent of tightening up loopholes, so that in the future, these individuals will not have the opportunity to take over sidewalks in the East Village and Lower East Side and thereby reduce the quality of life of residents.  Adjusting the law will take some time.  However, it will soon get cold, too cold to live in the street and the crusties will leave.

Legislative Update:  In the month of August, Rosie signed on as a co-sponsor of several important new articles of legislation, including bills that would do the following:  expand and strengthen opportunities for minority and women owned business enterprises (MWBE’s) and emerging business enterprises in city procurement (Intro 911); prohibit discrimination based upon an individual’s arrest record or criminal conviction (Intro 912); expanding and extending the scope of the City’s Anti-Graffiti Task Force (Intro 916); and establishing a detailed reporting mechanism for bus and subway fare evasion (Intro 919).

Rosie Submits Testimony Calling For Stronger Rent Regulations:  On August 28th, Rosie submitted testimony at a New York Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) public hearing on proposed amendments to the New York City Rent Stabilization Code and the New York City Rent and Eviction Regulations.  Rosie called for a spectrum of meaningful changes that would protect tenants, working families and the prospect of affordable housing for the public at large.  Rosie’s testimony covered four major areas where substantial action is needed:  restricting rent increases based on vacancy improvements; improving oversight of major capital improvement (MCI) increases; strengthening enforcement of registration requirements and re-regulating apartments; and protecting the rights of remaining family members.  Rosie looks forward to HCR considering these important changes and concurrently strengthening their Tenant Protection Unit (TPU).

NYC Districting Commission Releases Draft Council Maps | Invites Public Comment:  On September 4th, the New York City Districting Commission—the entity charged with re-drawing City Council districts to account for population and demographic changes reflected in the 2010 Census—released a set of preliminary draft maps for all 51 districts.  The Commission will be working over the next several months to refine the scope and boundaries of council districts in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.  As part of this review process a number of opportunities are available for the public to have their voices heard.  You can: create a council map by clicking here; submit testimony by clicking here; testify in person at one of the upcoming public hearings tentatively scheduled for early October (monitor here); and visit the Commission’s Resource Room at 253 Broadway, 7th Floor by contacting contact Justin Bassett at (212) 676-8983 or jbassett@districting.nyc.gov.  The Resource Room is open from Noon-7:00 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Monday and Friday.

Rosie Is Opposed To The Sugary Beverages Cap That Was Recently Passed By The NYC Board Of Health:  In August, Councilwoman Mendez went on a beverage choice tour in her district with members of the New Yorkers for Beverage Choices Coalition, the advocacy and lobbying firm Patricia Lynch Associates, a representative from Coca-Cola and a couple of members of her staff.  The New Yorkers for Beverage Choices Coalition and the tour were created in opposition to Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed polemical cap on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces that are sold in establishments which the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) oversees, such as the city’s restaurants, fast food chains, delis, stadiums, food carts and movie theatres. Drinks sold at grocery and convenience stores, which are not overseen by the DOHMH, including two-liter bottles and 7-Eleven’s “Big Gulp” fountain drinks, would be exempt from the cap. The proposed sugary drinks’ cap is intended to address the health problems that affect the lives of thousands of New Yorkers who suffer from chronic diseases related to obesity and overweight. The tour included stops at a Dunkin’ Donuts store and a vegetarian restaurant, which would be included in the sugary drinks’ legislation, during which the Councilwoman talked to the owners about their concerns regarding the cap and how it could affect their business. The latter claimed that the cap would force small-business restaurant owners to raise prices on other items to account for the loss in sales and that they would also be forced to purchase additional equipment or spend a significant amount of money on remodeling. Although the Councilwoman is concerned about the overweight and obesity epidemic in this city and supports public health initiatives to counter it, she feels that the sugary beverages cap will do little to nothing to address the issue and will instead hurt small businesses the most. The New York City Board of Health voted on the 13th of the present month to implement the sugary beverages cap with a vote of 8-0 with one abstention and, unless blocked by a judge, will go into effect in six months.

Important Events and Notifications:

NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission To Vote On Designation Of Proposed East Village/Lower East Side Historic District:  On Tuesday, October 9th, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will be holding an important meeting concerning the proposed East Village/Lower East Side (EV/LES) Historic District.  At this meeting, the LPC will hold a formal vote on the landmark designation of the EV/LES Historic District.  The proposed Historic District includes well over 300 buildings extending throughout a 15 block radius, including unique dwellings that have compelling and intrinsic historical, cultural, social, architectural and generational value—such as the Aschenbroedel Verein and Turnverein Halle on East 4th Street; the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club; the Pyramid Club on Avenue A; and scores of beautiful 19th Century row houses that line various streets in the conjoining areas.  For years, Rosie has been steadfastly advocating for the creation of the EV/LES Historic District and the essential landmarking protections that such designation would convey.  She looks forward to the vote on October 9th which has the potential to preserve the proud legacy of generations of immigrant families and the neighborhood enclaves they built and nourished.

FREE After School Opportunities at BAM Education:

BAM Education offers a series of free arts related after school opportunities for students in grades 9-12. Deadlines are soon approaching. Detailed information and enrollment forms are available online at: http://www.bam.org/education/after-school-programs 

Upcoming Meetings Concerning The East River Blueway Plan:  This month there will be two important community meetings regarding the proposed East River Blueway Plan—a unique project that seeks to enhance the East River waterfront areas from under the Brooklyn Bridge up to 38th Street.  On Wednesday, September 19th, there will be a meeting 6:00 PM-8:00 PM at the Hamilton Fish Library—located at 415 East Houston Street; this event will discuss areas of the plan from the Brooklyn Bridge to East 14th Street.  The following Monday, September 24th there will be another meeting from 6:00 PM-8:00 PM at the Manhattan VA Medical Center | 2 North Conference Room—located at 423 East 23rd Street.  On this evening, plans from East 14th Street to East 38th Street will be under discussion.  Over the past several months, a cross section of proposals have been discussed, from enhanced lighting and access ramps to beautified walkways, canoeing and kayaking areas, designated fishing areas, enhanced food options and recreational space, a beach area, swimming and prospective ferry service.  Please attend either of these meeting to share your thoughts or use the following interactive website:  http://www.eastriverblueway.org/interactive/.

Fourth Arts Block Festival: On Saturday, September 22nd from 1:00-5:00pm, the Fourth Arts Block (FAB) will be hosting their FAB! Festival in the heart of the East 4th Street Cultural District, bringing together a broad selection of free performances by local artists, as well as a diverse range of performances and activities from FAB’s partners throughout New York City.  The performances will take place on multiple indoor and outdoor stages showcasing dance, theatre and music, local artisans and gourmet food vendors, art installations, hands-on activities for families, as well as workshops for professionals and amateurs, all on one city block—East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue.  The Councilwoman and some of her staff will be present at this event and will have a table with information relevant to constituents.  Please note that all workshops and indoor performances require advance registration.

First Annual Love a Library Day: New York Cares, the city’s largest volunteer organization, will be holding their first Love a Library Day on Saturday, September 22nd from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM and will be working with 24 library branches in the five boroughs to encourage people to visit their local public libraries.  Volunteers will organize books, register people for new library cards, staff help desks, give tours, garden, and lead children’s literacy projects.  The Hamilton Fish Park Library in our district, located at 415 East Houston Street, is among the 24 library branches that will be participating in Love a Library Day, during which some members of Councilwoman’s staff will be participating in the day’s activities.

Are you a Senior Seeking Employment?:  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of workers in the labor force who are 55 years of age and older increased steadily from 29.9 percent in 1993 to 40.4 percent in 2009.  If you’re over the age of 55 and meet income eligibility requirements (low to moderate income), you can access training and job placement assistance while you earn a wage through the federal government’s Senior Community Services Employment Program (Title V).  The largest of the Title V programs in New York City is offered by the NYC Department for the Aging Senior Employment Services Unit (SESU).  SESU recruiters are stationed at the Workforce 1 centers to ensure senior access to this program and Workforce 1 services are available to all SES enrollees.  For more information, please visit Senior Employment Services at 40 Worth Street, Room 324 New York, NY 10013.

Environmental Control Board (ECB) Has Launched Its New User Friendly Site:  The updated ECB website features an important new online application called the ECB Ticket Finder which allows users to search for quality of life tickets issued to a person, property and/or business along with the ability to print, pay and learn the status of tickets that have been filed at ECB.  To find out more about the ECB and check the ECB Ticket Finder go to www.nyc.gov/ecb

Public Housing Committee To Meet On September 27th:  Rosie urges all interested parties to attend the next public hearing of the New York City Council Committee on Public Housing.  The hearing will explore the recently released Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Report which identified a number of areas where the New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA) can improve operations and services to residents.  We are at a critical juncture for all those fighting to secure, preserve and enhance public housing in our city; the BCG recommendations are an important baseline that merits review, consideration and enhancement.  The meeting will start at 10:00 AM and will be held at 250 Broadway in the 16th Floor Committee Room.

Join the New York Public Library for Financial Planning Day:  Financial Planning day will take place on Friday, October 5 from 11:00 AM–6:00 PM at the New York Public Library located at 188 Madison Avenue @ 34th Street.  Learn how to safeguard your credit and other tools that may help you insure your financial future.  Among the crash courses provided, there will be a FREE financial Counseling session brought to you by the Financial Planning Association of New York.  A Certified Financial Planner will offer a 30-minute private session from 11:30 AM-5:00 PM.  Additionally there will be FREE Credit Crisis Coaching from 12:00 PM-3:30 PM, sponsored by the Financial Coaching Corp and the Community Service Society of New York.  For moreinformation go to: http://www.nypl.org/fpd

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month: From September 15th-October 15th, the United States observes National Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the cultures, histories, traditions and contributions of people who have Mexican, Caribbean, Central and South American and Spanish ancestry.  The month-long celebration includes the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  There will be various street celebrations marking Hispanic heritage throughout the city, including the Manhattan Hispanic Day Parade all day on Sunday, October 14th on Fifth Avenue between 44th and 72nd Street, the Queens Hispanic Parade on Sunday, September 23rd starting at 11:00am on 37th Avenue between 69th and 85th Streets, the Hispanic Heritage Street Festival on Saturday, October 13th from 11:00am-5:00pm at  the Brooklyn Music School at 126 Saint Felix Street in Brooklyn.  Various museums throughout the city will observe Hispanic Heritage Month with events such as Play Lab Workshop Series: Marvelous Mexico on Saturday, September 22nd from 11:30am- 12:30pm and Sunday, September 23rd at 7:00pm, the Cultural Connections Performance: Phyllis Rose Dance Company on Saturday, October 13th from 1:00-1:45pm, both at the Brooklyn Children’s Museumat 145 Brooklyn Avenue; the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s day-long Fiesta!, including a Mariachi performance, a Talavera pottery art activity, Ballet Hispanico Dance Performances, and bilingual story time on Saturday, September 29th from 12:00-5:00 PM; and a Gallery Talk on the Portrait of President Porfirio Díaz of Mexico on Saturday, September 15th, 2012 at 11:00 AM at the Hispanic Society of America and a festival of flowers on Wednesday, September 19th from 5:30 PM-8:00 PM at the New York Botanical Garden at 2900 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx.

 

 

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