Rosie Follows NYCHA's Infill Development Plans Closely: As Chair of the City Council Committee on Public Housing, Rosie has had a number of meetings with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) concerning their proposed "Infill Development Initiative." In essence, the initiative would take underutilized NYCHA land (such as parking lots) and lease it to a private developer for a long term (99 years) in exchange for yearly payments ($30-$50 Million) that NYCHA can use to reinvest in the building-wide capital needs (roof, brickwork, rehab) of existing public housing developments. Expectations are that private developers will build housing on this land and that at least 20% of it will be "affordable."
Current results from discussions between Rosie and NYCHA include:
Delaying the RFP from March until late April of 2013.
Holding consultation meetings between NYCHA, residents and Community Boards before the RFP is released.
Having a second cycle of consultation meetings with NYCHA and its residents, where NYCHA will respond in full to the feedback they collected at the first stet of meetings, before releasing the RFP.
Meetings with residents will be transcribed to have an official record of these proceedings.
Rosie Signs On To Letter From Elected Officials To Mayor Bloomberg And John Rhea, Chair of NYCHA: Rosie joined Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senators Brad Hoylman, Bill Perkins, Daniel Squadron, and Jose Serrano, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblymembers Brian Kavanagh, Daniel O'Donnell, and Robert Rodriguez, Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Melissa Mark-Viverito and Community Board Chairs Mark Diller, Gigi Li, and Matthew Washington in signing a letter to the Mayor Bloomberg and NYCHA Chair John Rhea requesting greater transparency with respect to the proposed NYCHA Infill development plans. The letter advocates for more open dialogue to gather feedback from tenants, relevant community boards, community-based organizations and community leaders.
Rosie Participates In Meetings On Emergency Preparedness: Over the last two months, Rosie's office participated in brainstorming meetings with Project Hope/University Settlement, Jewish Association for Services-Aged (JASA) and the Cooperators Advocacy Project (CAP) at Masaryk Towers. This subcommittee of a larger Task Force on Emergency Preparedness organized by the Inter Agency Council for Aging (IAC) is working together on developing strategies to help seniors, people with disabilities and with serious health conditions be better prepared for the next emergency. The group will report on its plans at the April 9th meeting of the Emergency Preparedness Task Force of the IAC.
Rosie's office also attended the Long Term Emergency Planning Committee meeting on Monday March 11th, hosted by GOLES and the Chinese Planning Council where FEMA representatives and numerous members of the Lower East Side were present. This committee plans to a) cultivate and plan recovery management for the Lower East Side; b) strengthen existing MOUs among various agencies to improve communications; c) reduce the lag time in responding to emergencies; and d) leverage technology to be prepared before a disaster occurs. The group will be meeting again on March 25th at 3:00pm at Nazareth House, located at: 137 East 2nd Street, between Avenue A and First Avenue.
Keeping Our Constituents Safe: In March, Rosie participated in the NYPD 13th Precinct Community Council/Safety and Security meeting in the Flatiron District. Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg addressed the community's concerns regarding burglaries, rapes and other criminal activity. Councilwoman Mendez would like to encourage all of her constituents to actively attend these important monthly Community Council meetings for updates and important discussions regarding the safety of our communities. The 13th Precinct Community Council meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 6:30 P.M in the station house at 230 East 21st Street.
In addition, we would like our constituents to be wary of becoming a target for burglaries, identity theft and grand larcenies. Constituents should keep their doors locked at all times and only buzz in expected visitors via your building intercom. When dining out or having a night on the town, be aware of your surroundings and do not leave your cellphones, electronic devices or bags unattended. Make sure to shred all of your documents including junk mail, in order to avoid being a victim of identity theft.
Our office will continue to work closely with our Police Department Community Affairs Liaisons to ensure that the concerns of the community are heard, understood and acted upon. To sign up for continual Police Department Community Affairs updates, you may text your e-mail address to the number 22828 (texting fees apply) or sign up by visiting this link:
Rosie Continues To Monitor The "Micro Units" Project | Attends Community Board 6 Committee Meetings: On March 6th, Rosie had a meeting with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) Monadnock Development LLC and the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation concerning the plan to erect "Micro Units" on a city-owned lot located at 335 East 27th Street. Later that evening, Rosie attended a joint meeting of Land Use/Waterfront and Housing, Homeless & Human Rights Committee where the developers of the "Micro Units" project gave an overview and conducted a question and answer session with members of the Community Board.
Major themes to emerge from the meeting included, without limitation: concerns about public safety and the sufficiency of lighting in the area; a desire to know more about plans for how the site will integrate with the existing pedestrian plaza; concerns regarding prospective "illegal hotel"/transient usage of the units; a desire to preserve as many trees as possible during construction; concerns regarding the range of affordability offered by the project and concerns about how the building will impact neighboring structures (and the residents housed therein) such as 344 East 28th Street.
The project will be subject to the full ULURP process, including Community Board consultation, Department of City Planning (DCP) review and City Council review. Rosie will be counting on CB 6 to help guide and shape this project to maximize a range of positive impacts throughout our community.
Rosie Participates In Walkthrough At Baruch Houses To Inquire About Rodent Infestation: On Wednesday March 6th, Rosie's office participated in a walkthrough with representatives from the offices of other elected officials--including State Senators Hoylman and Squadron, Assemblymember Kavanagh, representatives from the Department of Health, GOLES, CB3 and NYCHA officials. The intent of the walkthrough was to find out how NYCHA handles rat abatement, point out areas that are badly infested, gather data on problem areas where garbage collects and attracts rats and determine locations that other City agencies are responsible for maintaining.
Presently, the Department of Health is indexing CB3 for rat infestation. CB3 and the elected officials involved in this effort will be following up with NYCHA, the Department of Parks and the Department of Transportation to share their findings and work collaboratively with the various agencies to address the rodent infestation. GOLES plans to set up a resident unit to monitor how agencies are addressing rat abatement on NYCHA properties.
Rosie Welcomes New Open Space--Baruch College Pedestrian Plaza:
On February 20th, Rosie--along with a number of colleagues, stakeholders and advocates--was proud to officially 'cut the ribbon' and welcome the Baruch College Pedestrian Plaza into existence on East 25th Street between 3rd Avenue and Lexington. This plaza will provide residents, students and families with a vibrant outdoor community space in an area--namely, Community Board 6--which has a relative paucity of open/green space. The plaza is open to the public and they are universally invited to become involved in programming and planning future activities at the site that will effectively serve and benefit our shared communities.
Rosie Chairs Committee On Public Housing | Preliminary Budget Hearing: On Tuesday, March 12th, the New York City Committee on Public Housing held a preliminary budget hearing examining the financial state of NYCHA for FY 2013-2014. As a general overview, NYCHA continues to suffer from persistent and successive federal underfunding, stretching back over a decade and costing the Authority well over $750 Million. The pending federal sequestration process will only exacerbate these cuts and present more challenges in terms of providing timely repairs, performing critical capital projects and providing Section 8 housing vouchers.
In terms of the fiscal picture, over the next year, NYCHA projects an overall surplus of $310,000 in 2013 and a deficit of $87.1 Million in 2014. The surplus in 2013 is primarily due to the one-time use of $90 Million in unrestricted reserves from the surplus value created in the Mixed-Federalization transaction and the planned Contract-Based Section 8 Properties transaction. NYCHA is also endeavoring on a number of initiatives to raise revenue, including: a rent equity policy; converting a number of unfunded units to the Section 8 program (to gain federal subsidization); developing ancillary revenue streams (commercial rentals, parking revenue, advertising and sponsorship revenue), subleasing office space and pursuing infill development (as described in further detail below).
Legislative Update | March 2013:
In January, the Council overwhelmingly passed Rosie's bill (Intro 978-A) that preserves the intent of the 2010 NYC Charter Revision process by striking an appropriate balance between the right of the public to know who is spending money on independent political messages and the associational right of organizations to communicate internally with its own members. Accordingly, this legislation exempts member-to-member communications from the Campaign Finance Board's independent expenditure reporting requirements. This narrow and targeted bill protects transparency and disclosure while simultaneously encouraging membership organizations to undertake the critical operations that help voters become aware of candidates, thus increasing voting levels in our City--which is a universal good and desired outcome. It was the subject of extensive negotiation and compromise and was ultimately supported by Common Cause, Citizens Union, The Brennan Center For Justice, Citizen Action & NYPIRG.
In February, the Mayor vetoed the bill and on March 12th, the City Council Committee on Governmental Operations voted to override the Mayor's veto and the full Council followed suit, unanimously enacting the bill into law on March 13th.
Additionally, in the past few months, Rosie became a co-sponsor of several important articles of legislation, including the following proposals:
O Legislation that would require the department of sanitation to collect and report data related to the unlawful posting of printed material (Intro 1000);
O Legislation establishing a commission to deal with the root causes of violence (Intro 1012);
O Legislation renaming a thoroughfare in the Borough of Queens--"Tuskegee Airmen Way" (Intro 1011);
O Legislation requiring an annual report on preferred source contract awards (Intro 1009);
O Legislation requiring carbon monoxide alarms or detectors in certain assembly spaces (Intro 1008);
O Legislation to identify pedestrian bridges and plan for snow and ice removal by the city (Intro 1005);
O Legislation to require 24 hour advance posting/notification of temporary tow-away zones (Intro 1001).
Rosie Continues To Participate In Planning Meetings Of The Lower East Side Power Partnership (LESPP): During the months of January and February, Rosie's office attended planning meetings for intergenerational family events that the Lower East Side Power Partnership is planning to host at St. Augustine Church, Smith Houses and Campos Plaza in the spring and summer. The mission of the LESPP is to unite and empower individuals and families on the Lower East Side to utilize resources and opportunities to address risks of violence, alcohol and drug abuse and addiction issues; prevent childhood obesity and promote optimum wellness, self-esteem and career exploration; and foster healthy relationships between various groups on the Lower East Side. Rosie is proud to be a member of LESPP because they promote Peace, Purpose and Prosperity in the Community.
Rosie Congratulates State Senator Brad Hoylman On His Recent Marriage: Rosie extends her most heartfelt congratulations to her friend and colleague, State Senator Brad Hoylman who married his longtime partner David Sigal in late February. The moving ceremony was performed at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Manhattan by Rabbi Rachel S. Weiss.