THE VILLAGER ENDORSES ROSIE!

Rosie Mendez headshot

Rosie Mendez, who has represented City Council District 2, covering the East Village, part of the Lower East Side, Gramercy, Kip’s Bay and Murray Hill, since 2006, faces a primary challenge from Richard Del Rio, a senior pastor at Abounding Grace Church in the East Village. A strong voice for affordable housing and tenants’ rights, Mendez justly deserves re-election under any scenario.

Read more: The Villager Supports Rosie Mendez

GAY CITY NEWS: ANTI-MARRIAGE EQUALITY GROUP OPPOSING ROSIE, OTHER LGBT CANDIDATES

Rosie Mendez Chris Quinn Pride

Three gay and lesbian City Council candidates –– one incumbent and two newcomers –– are facing organized opposition in the September 10 Democratic primary from a religious right coalition that held rallies against marriage equality over a period of at least seven years.

 

The City Action Coalition PAC –– an independent expenditure group allowed under the controversial Supreme Court Citizens United ruling –– has spent roughly $10,000 each to oppose the reelection bid of Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, who has represented District 2 on the Lower East Side since 2006, Carlos Menchaca’s challenge to incumbent Sarah González in District 38 in Sunset Park and Red Hook, Brooklyn, and Ritchie Torres’ race for an open seat in the central Bronx’s District 15.

Read more: Gay City News Coverage of Anti-Marriage Religious Group Now Battles LGBT Council Candidates

ROSIE TALKS TO STREETSPAC ABOUT TRANSPORTATION IN DISTRICT 2

Rosie Mendez with Nydia Velazquez for Bike Safety

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Councilmember ROSIE Mendez has been a steady voice for livable streets in the City Council, voting for congestion pricing, backing the implementation of Select Bus Service on 1st and 2nd avenues, and supporting bike share across her district.  She’s called for better NYPD investigations of collisions that injure pedestrians, and provided funding to ensure the Baruch College pedestrian plaza had proper lighting.  Mendez supports the redesign of Fifth Avenue to include bus, bicycle, and pedestrian amenities, and plans to explore new bicycle and pedestrian prioritization on University Place.

StreetsPAC: What is the biggest transportation issue facing your district?

Rosie Mendez: A majority of my district is not close to subway stations. Despite this, the MTA has made service reductions in my district many times. I am excited to report that weekend service is being restored on the M8 crosstown bus, but we are still facing difficulties with the M9 and 14A buses not running frequently enough. This can be quite a challenge for my senior citizens and people with disabilities who live on Avenues A, B, C, and D, and who cannot walk to the L or SBS on 1st Ave or the 6 at Astor Place.

SP: How do you make the case to residents, community board members, and business owners that livable streets are good for the district?

RM: Livable streets save lives and create a safe atmosphere which is good for area residents and businesses. The intersections by Delancey Street and the Williamsburg Bridge are some of the most dangerous in Manhattan. By adding curb bump-outs, giving pedestrians more time to cross, and decreasing the number of lanes for cars, we can make these intersections much safer.

Read more: StreetsPAC Spotlight on ROSIE

Rosie Mendez Community Safety Act

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Supporters of the Community Safety Act gathered outside City Hall on Aug. 13 to praise a Federal Judge’s decision that the NYPD has applied its stop-and-frisk policy in an unconstitutional manner, and to emphasize that despite the ruling it remains imperative that the City Council override Mayor Bloomberg’s vetoes of the bills that would expand the definition of racial profiling and create an independent Inspector General for the Police Department.

“The decision is a validation that our struggle has been justified since its inception,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams, a co-sponsor of the CSA. The Federal monitor ordered by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin “is narrowly focused on stop-and-frisk,” he said. “The Inspector General is not narrowly focused.”

Read more: Elated Over Stop-and-Frisk Ruling, Council Readies Anti-Profiling Vote

New York Amsterdam News Endorsement

mendez large t580

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Amsterdam News Endorsement, 2nd Council District

One of the greatest assets to a community is the people who fight for it—people who are out on the street corners, in the hearings and at the table to discuss the issues that are affecting the community as a whole. In District 2, there are many fighters, activists and champions for our community. And the sitting Council Member Rosie Mendez is one of them.

Mendez has fought for the community for over 20 years. She has continued to keep the idea alive that the community will continue to be a place that is diverse and has the capacity to ensure that all different types of New Yorkers can live and raise their families. Mendez has been at the forefront of fighting for existing affordable housing stock and pushing for more low- and middle-income housing in the community and across the city. She is a fighter for equal justice, equal rights and fair wages, and has worked tirelessly to help improve access to health care. For this and many other reasons, we endorse Mendez for City Council.

People going postal over 14th St. P.O. closure plan

stuyvesant-po-jefferson-siegel-villager

Photo by Jefferson Siegel
The Peter Stuyvesant post office on E. 14th St. is scheduled to close next February.

http://thevillager.com/2013/04/25/people-going-postal-over-14th-st-p-o-c...

April 25, 2013

BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL | More than 100 people packed a town hall meeting Monday night to voice concern over the proposed relocation of the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office. The current E. 14th St. facility is scheduled to close in February 2014.

Joseph Mulvey, facilities implementation specialist for the U.S. Postal Service, did little to quell the anger of locals demanding specifics. His opening statement, “We are proposing the relocation of the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office,” prompted calls of “Where?” from several in the audience. Mulvey continued to hedge, at one point admitting there was available space within a tenth of a mile in either direction of the current location. It would take more audience demands of “Where?” before he finally divulged, “333 E. 14th St. seems to be available.”

That address, a block west of the current post office, is a former Duane Reade drugstore across the street from the Fire Department’s Ladder 5 stationhouse.

Mulvey’s own question, “Is that an acceptable location to the community?” was met with a resounding “No!”

The audience’s mood escalated from agitation to anger as plans for postal services were grudgingly revealed. As Julius Caesar divided Gaul into three parts, the Postal Service proposal would send current services at the Stuyvesant P.O. to three other locations.

The storefront at 333 E. 14th St. would offer retail services, such as stamp sales and P.O. boxes. The carriers who sort and deliver mail to homes and businesses would be moved to the Madison Square Station, on E. 23rd Street near Third Ave. Large parcel services would operate out of the F.D.R. Station at 54th St. and Third Ave.

Georgina Christ, an East Villager for 42 years, suggested, “Are they going to walk their carts down here [from 23rd St.], because that doesn’t seem to be very cost-effective. That’s just ludicrous.”

“This is devastating to this community,” City Councilmember Rosie Mendez said, voicing alarm at the proposal. “As it is there are long lines — it’s a well-utilized post office in the area.”

Mendez was especially concerned for the neighborhood’s many seniors who get medications in the mail and would have to travel to pick up packages that don’t fit into their building’s mailboxes.

“Either way, you’re talking about having to take a bus,” she said. “Either way it entails traveling.”

Councilmember Dan Garodnick, a Peter Cooper Village resident, echoed her concerns.

“This post office is providing a vital service to the residents of Stuyvesant Town all the way down to the East Village and Lower East Side,” he said. “If they need to move one door or a couple of doors over, we’re open to that, but the services must continue.”

The situation of Eve Cusson, who has lived on Avenue C for 43 years, typifies the problem facing the community.

“I have a grandson in the Army in Kuwait and I’m constantly sending him packages,” she said. “Where else am I going to send them from?”

Valerie Heinonen, who has lived on Avenue C since 1977, was outraged, saying post offices mirror our society.

“Post offices are a sign of a democracy,” she declared, “as are libraries, public housing and public schools, all of which are being sold out from under us.”

Joseph Hernandez, who grew up in the area, leaning on his cane, looked at Mulvey and warned, “We always find out the truth on the Lower East Side.” Hernandez was right, although it took almost two hours for Mulvey to finally reveal, in detail, how the current situation evolved.

The building’s landlord, whom Mulvey would not identify, told the Postal Service he had other plans for the two-story structure. The current lease, set to expire in February 2013 was extended one year, to February 2014.

The parties could not reach an agreement for the current location. Despite the audience’s demands, Mulvey refused to reveal the current rent.

After a 15-day comment period from the public on the proposed relocation, a postal headquarters facility manager in Washington, D.C., will review all the comments. Next comes a window for appeal of any decision.

“What month were you going to notify the community of the impact?” demanded Jonathan Smith, president of the New York Metro Postal Union. “Where are you going to find better property than the best you already have?”

As he did for most of the town hall, Mulvey sat patiently listening. Gigi Li, chairperson of Community Board 3, who moderated the meeting with Sandro Sherrod, chairperson of C.B. 6, and Councilmember Mendez, said community members have till May 7 to submit their comments to U.S.P.S.

In order to deal with its soaring debt, the Postal Service plans post office closings nationwide. In New York City it has proposed closing five branches; one in the Bronx and four in Manhattan, including the Stuyvesant branch and the Old Chelsea branch, on W. 18th St.

Built in 1951, the 56,900-square-foot building on E. 14th St., between First Ave. and Avenue A, and the land underneath it have a reported market value of $8.1 million.

Comments, which must include the name Peter Stuyvesant Post Office, can be sent to: Joseph J. Mulvey, Facilities Implementation, U.S. Postal Service, 2 Congress St., Room 8, Milford, MA 01757-9998.

Dormitory foes warn Cooper: Don’t get in bed with Singer!

no-dorm-charas-jefferson-siegel-villager

Photo by Jefferson Siegel
Speaking in front of the Foundation Building at Wednesday’s protest, Chino Garcia said the former CHARAS/El Bohio should be restored as a community center. Councilmember Rosie Mendez, left, held the bullhorn, while Laurie Mittelmann, co-director of the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MORUS), right, held a poster blasting developer Gregg Singer.

The Villager: http://thevillager.com/2013/05/16/dormitory-foes-warn-cooper-dont-get-in...
May 16, 2013 | Filed under: News | Posted by: admin

Led by the Greatest Small Band blowing Dixieland jazz, giant puppets and a substantial police escort, the boisterous crowd wound its way through the East Village, with some stopping to boo for a minute outside Cooper President Jamshed Bharucha’s residence on Stuyvesant St., before rallying outside Cooper Union’s Foundation Building.

There they were greeted by Cooper students who have been occupying Bharucha’s office since May 8 to protest the board of trustees’ decision to break with a century-old tradition and begin charging undergraduate tuition in 2014.

“There is no room, and no desire, and no way we will live with a dorm in our backyard,” declared Councilmember Rosie Mendez, shouting to the crowd from a bullhorn. “Cooper Union needs to rescind whatever deal I believe it doesn’t have so Singer can give us back our building,” Mendez added.

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh was equally strident.

“As a community, we have to at some point draw the line and say this is a battle we are not going to lose, and this is a fight we’re not going to quit,” Kavanagh said.

Responding to claims by Cooper officials that they were unaware of the long controversy over the sale of CHARAS and Singer’s handling of the property, Kavanagh added: “If it was a mistake that they didn’t know what they were getting into, then they should back off and get out of this deal.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman held a sign that read: “What Does an Inside Job Look Like? $20,000 Tuition at Cooper Union.” He joked about the convergence of events that had brought this latest CHARAS crusade to Cooper Union’s doorstep.

“Cooper wants to raise tuition for the first time in 154 years, and to buy dorms from, of all people, Gregg Singer! You can’t make it up,” he said.

CHARAS co-founder Chino Garcia questioned whether Singer’s plans were really for a dorm at all. The lease Cooper signed gives it “right of first refusal” for 196 of the roughly 530 beds in the proposed dorm.

“Let’s be clear. This is not a dorm,” Garcia told the crowd. “He wants to build a youth hostel. He’s been trying to do that for 13 years.

“That’s a residential neighborhood and it shouldn’t be that. It should be a community center that serves the local community,” Garcia said.

Saar Shemesh, a first-year art student, read a statement on behalf of the roughly 100 Cooper undergrads who have occupied Bharucha’s office over the last week.

“As a community in the throes of financial uncertainty, we find it wholly unacceptable that Cooper Union’s administration failed to research the vital history of this space before pursuing a disgusting lease,” Shemesh said, adding, “From one landmarked institution to another, we call for this community treasure to be protected not endangered.”

Shemesh also questioned whether many Cooper students would rent space at Singer’s dorm, where students would pay $1,550 to bunk with four to seven other students in the same suite. Cooper already has its own dorm, which houses nearly all of its roughly 200 freshmen, she noted, and it’s generally only freshmen who want to pay a premium to live in a dorm setting.

“I don’t know anyone who pays more than $400 or $700 for shared space,” Shemesh said. “Most of my friends live in Brooklyn or way Uptown.”

Garcia said that if Cooper really wanted more dorm space, it could add a few more floors on its modern new academic building on Cooper Square, or on the glittering office tower being completed on Astor Place on land leased long-term from Cooper Union, drawing jeers from the crowd.

Former squatter Eric Rassi urged opponents of the dorm to dog the mayoral candidates and “make them take a position.”

Filmmaker turned Internet entrepreneur Paul Garrin, who graduated from Cooper in 1982, noted that Mayor Bloomberg will be speaking at Cooper’s commencement on May 29.

“We should ask him to write a check to Cooper to close its deficit, and a second check to Cooper to buy back CHARAS, so they can bring in their architects and engineers and artists to transform that building into a state-of-the-art community center that is energy independent and ecologically sustainable,” Garrin said.

While that may be unlikely, the need to build greater cooperation between Cooper and the East Village community was clear.

“They should have talked to us to see how they could help this community with the architects and engineers that they have,” Garcia lamented. “There’s a lot of people in this neighborhood that need that type of help.”

Mendez said said President Bharucha has agreed to meet with her and other elected officials and community members next week to hear the whole saga of CHARAS and its contested sale to Singer.

“I think if he can get out of it, he will,” Mendez said of the dorm lease.

But while Cooper put its neck out by being the first school to sign on with Singer, other schools are starting to follow.

On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the West Village’s Joffrey Ballet School had agreed to rent 120 beds at the proposed dorm, dubbed University House.

“Ballet school officials say the dorm represents an opportunity to offer its students — some of whom are high-school age — much-needed housing options,” the Journal wrote.

That means Singer has leasing commitments for more than half the dorm. And it makes Cooper’s position as a partner in the project that much more tenable.

Más neoyorquinos usan cupones de alimentos para comer saludable

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http://manhattan.ny1.com/content/top_stories/182105/food-stamp-use-up-at...

05/15/2013 02:53 p.m.
Por: NY1 Noticias

Cada vez más neoyorquinos usan sus cupones de alimentos en mercadillos "verdes".

Según datos del Concejo Municipal, el uso de la tarjeta conocida como EBT en estos puestos de productos locales aumentó en un 30% el año pasado.

En el año 2006, la Ciudad comenzó a instalar en estos mercados escáners para pagar con esta tarjeta.

En 2012, los neoyorquinos gastaron poco más de $800.000 dólares en cupones de alimentos en los mercados, sobre todo en frutas y verduras.

"Cuando el acceso está ahí, ya ve que la gente de bajo ingreso vienen para comprar sus frutas, vegetales, vianda y lo que necesitan es el acceso", dijo Rosie Méndez, concejal de Manhattan.

Liderado por la presidenta del Concejo y candidata a la Alcaldía Christine Quinn, el anuncio fue realizado en el mercado de Union Square, que el año pasado acaparó casi una tercera parte de las compras con tarjeta EBT en establecimientos de este tipo.

Paid Sick Leave:

The Working Families Organization is running a one-minute radio ad in Spanish urging the public to contact City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to allow a vote on the Paid Sick legislation.

That's been a major issue for one of her leading rivals, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who has repeatedly pressed the speaker on it. Without a major Hispanic mayoral candidate in the Democratic primary, there's an intense competition for appeal to Hispanic voters, which could help determine who gets the party's nomination.

The fight over the Paid Sick Day bill is also becoming a proxy fight for labor and de Blasio against Quinn.

The ad also comes one day after the Community Service Society released a study detailing the impact that not having a law requiring paid sick leave has had on Hispanic residents in New York City.

The report was released at a City Hall press conference yesterday attended by State Senators Adriano Espaillat, Jose Peralta, Gustavo Rivera, Council members Melissa Mark-Vivertio, Ydanis Rodriguez, Julissa Ferreras, Rosie Mendez, Bronx Borough President Ruben Daiz Jr. and others.

The narrator in the ad describes a mother who is sick but can't take time off from work for fear of losing a day's wages and not being able to pay her rent. "Christine Quinn, the City Council Speaker has the power to change this terrible reality," the ad says. "But for three years, Quinn has been blocking a bill paid sick days. Tell Quinn to put this proposal to a vote immediately."

Here's a copy of the ad.

http://youtu.be/C6Y2d2N0B8I

I was provided witha copy of the script, in Spanish. Below is (rough) translation.

Imagine you wake up sick with a terrible headache.

Although you need to stay in bed, you can't.

If you go to work, you don't get paid ... and can't pay the rent.

So you prepare your kids, take a painkiller, grit your teeth and go.

At work you almost can't concentrate.

Your child's school calls. They say she's sick. Like you, but worse.

You have to go check. But if you miss work, you're fired.

Unfortunately, this is not imaginary. There are a million [Hispanic New Yorkers working without] paid sick days. And Christine Quinn, the City Council Speaker has the power to change this terrible reality. But for three years, Quinn has been blocking a paid sick days bill. Tell Quinn to put this proposal to a vote immediately.

Call Christine Quinn at 212 788-7210.

Paid for by Working Families Organization

NYCHA Domestic Violence Victim Priority:

Councilmember Rosie Mendez (D-Manhattan) said current NYCHA residents who later become abuse victims are also experiencing delays for transfers. “At the end of the day, we’re talking about safety,” she said.

Ten domestic violence victims file lawsuit accusing NYCHA of snarling requests for safe haven for months, even years

Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 9:58 PM
“Ms. O,” 26, the mother of a 7-year-old, has moved from shelter to shelter during her two-year wait for an apartment. “It’s not healthy for me or my child," she said. "We’re really stressed and depressed"

Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News

“Ms. O,” 26, the mother of a 7-year-old, has moved from shelter to shelter during her two-year wait for an apartment. “It’s not healthy for me or my child," she said. "We’re really stressed and depressed"

Victims of domestic violence say they’re being abused again — this time by the city Housing Authority.

Ten women filed suit Tuesday alleging NYCHA put them in a bureaucratic twilight zone where requests for safe haven linger for months and even years — with no resolution in sight.

Domestic violence victims are supposed to get priority for apartments, but say NYCHA loses paperwork and demands documents again and again, sometimes forcing them to stay in dangerous situations with abusive spouses or boyfriends.

RELATED: NYCHA OFFICIALS: ON TRACK TO ELIMINATE 422K REPAIRS BACKLOG

“I just want an apartment where I can stay with my baby and be safe,” said 26-year-old plaintiff Ms. B., cradling her 10-month-old daughter at a City Hall news conference announcing the suit filed by Legal Services NYC.

Ms. B, who first submitted her application in August, spoke of returning again and again to NYCHA offices, only to be told to try again because she’d filed the wrong paperwork.

During her last visit, she said a NYCHA worker told her she hadn’t included the name of her assailant husband or the location and date of the last attack on her forms. When the information was pointed out, the worker’s supervisor then rejected the application because “the format was wrong.”

RELATED: MOLD COVERS WALLS AND WATER CONSTANTLY LEAKS IN BRONX APARTMENT FOR MONTHS

Another victim, J.C., suffered fractured ribs; swelling to her face, feet and arms; bite marks on her breast, and knife wounds from her abusive husband, according to court papers.

Nearly a year after she applied for a NYCHA apartment, she’s still waiting. Her last denial came in December, when the authority said she was missing documents she submitted three times previously, court papers say.

Councilmember Rosie Mendez (D-Manhattan) said current NYCHA residents who later become abuse victims are also experiencing delays for transfers. “At the end of the day, we’re talking about safety,” she said.

Mariela Lombard for New York Daily News

Councilmember Rosie Mendez (D-Manhattan) said current NYCHA residents who later become abuse victims are also experiencing delays for transfers. “At the end of the day, we’re talking about safety,” she said.

Ms. O, a 26-year-old mother of a 7-year-old who first submitted her NYCHA application in 2011, said she has moved from shelter to shelter while she awaits an apartment. “It’s not healthy for me or my child. We’re really stressed and depressed. My son cries for his own space,” she told the Daily News.

RELATED: BLOOMY: AX SIX-FIGURE NYCHA JOBS

Legal Services’ attorney Beth Baltimore said NYCHA’s “incompetence . . . resulted in applications that are wrongly and without due process delayed, denied and classified as dead.”

Current NYCHA residents who become domestic violence victims also experience delays if they request a transfer to a safe apartment, records show.

City Council Member Rosie Mendez (D-Manhattan) said NYCHA tenants who become abuse victims are supposed to get priority transfers but have recently been left in the lurch.

RELATED: NYCHA BOSS: WE DON’T NEED ANY MORE OVERSIGHT

“At the end of the day, we’re talking about safety,” she said.

In the mayor’s management report filed last month, NYCHA revealed an alarming spike in the time it takes to find a new home for NYCHA tenants who are domestic abuse victims, intimidated witnesses in criminal cases or child sexual abuse victims.

Between last July and October, transfer time averaged more than 60 days — way up from the 38-day average over the last few years — the report stated.

NYCHA blamed the increase on a growing backlog due to a recent influx of new cases and promised it’s “working on a plan to ensure that disposition times return” to levels below a 45-day target.

On Tuesday, NYCHA spokeswoman Sheila Stainback declined to describe that plan.