This Week: Stengthening Rent Regs & Love Saves the East Village

Posted by paulnewell on April 14, 2015
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I wanted to invite you to two important community events I’m involved in this week.

Tomorrow evening, I’ll be speaking at a panel on New York’s rent regulation laws – and the grave danger our community faces with their pending expiration this June. Rent regulation is the single largest piece in New York’s affordability puzzle. Along with NYCHA, Mitchell-Lama, and other housing programs, rent regulation is what makes it possible for working and middle class New Yorkers to survive here. Their potential expiration is nothing short of an existential threat to our neighborhoods.

Please join at this important panel tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 15th, from 6:30 – 8:00 PM at D.C. 9, 45 W. 14th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues.   The panel is free, though donations are being accepted. Please RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-rent-is-too-damn-high-tickets-16179312760.

Billed as a “A No Holds Barred Discussion On The Expiring Rent Laws” the panel is organized by Shiftspark, and will be moderated by State Senator Gustavo Rivera. I’ll be joined on the panel by Ilana Maier, Program Director of Metropolitan Council on Housing and Delsenia Glover, Campaign Manager at Tenants and Neighbors. We’ll also hear from Assembly member Keith Wright, Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee, on where the fight stands in Albany and Jon Reznick of Competitive Advantage Research on the real estate industry’s pursuit of political influence through political contributions.

Then, this Saturday, April 18th from 11AM-7PM, I am co-hosting LOVE SAVES THE EAST VILLAGE, a community benefit event for the people displaced by the 2nd Avenue Fire. It’s being hosted and organized by La Palapa Cocina Mexicana at 77 St. Marks Place (just west of 1st Ave). We’ll have live music all day from some of NYC’s best artists. La Palapa’s famous Antojitos will be served all day as well. Tickets are $25 at the door and will benefit the work of our neighbors at Good Old Lower East Side with help from The Little Missionary Day Nursery and Middle Collegiate Church. All proceeds from the cash bar will also go to the effort.  More information at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1589978147887020.

I hope to see you at one or both of these important events for our community.

I Am Because You Are – The Story of Ubuntu

Posted by paulnewell on March 15, 2015
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I am because you are

Before I was a District Leader, I worked for six years with Ubuntu Education Fund to help break the cycle of HIV, abuse and poverty in South Africa.  Ubuntu is one of the most effective and remarkable organizations in the world – committed to the concept that all children deserve the resources needed to succeed.

Now my good friend and Ubuntu Education Fund founder, Jacob Lief, has written a book about Ubuntu, the communities we work in, and how to build a better model for development.  It is beautifully written, and a must-read for anyone concerned with fighting global poverty and disease.  The book, I Am Because You Are, has a foreward from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and is available for preorder at: http://www.iambcyouare.com.

Ubuntu’s model of development is different from many others.  It doesn’t seek to distribute a few resources as widely as possible.  Rather, Ubuntu recognizes that every child is worthy of investment.  And the results have been stunning.  I Am Because You Are sketches this path beautifully.  Please pre-order a copy today.  You won’t regret it.  Thank you.

NYCHA Albany Takeover – Monday, March 16th

Posted by paulnewell on March 13, 2015
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NYCHA Lobby Day 3-16-15

More than 600,000 New Yorkers live in NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) homes. It is an essential part of our affordable housing network. Here in the Lower East Side, NYCHA is a vital bulwark for keeping our neighborhood as the diverse, dynamic place we love. And, of course, it is woefully underfunded. A recent New York Times study showed $18 Billion in unfunded capital needs.

This Monday, March 16th, many of us will head to Albany to demand that NYCHA’s urgent fiscal needs are addressed in this year’s NY State budget. The “Lobby Day” will include a rally and meetings with our elected officials and their staffs. Organizers will train you and give you information for those meetings. Nothing moves legislators so much as a busload of angry constituents.

Organized and funded by our friends at GOLES and the Tenant Associations of Smith, Rutgers, Vladeck and Baruch Houses in the Lower East Side, free buses to join the “Lobby Day” will leave at 7:30 AM Monday morning from the following locations:

Gouverneur and Madison Streets
Delancey and Columbia Streets
54 Catherine Street (at Madison Street) and
Avenue C. and East 6th Street

Some food will be provided, and you should be back in the neighborhood by 6PM. The organizers need to know by the end of Sunday, March 15. if you can make it. To reserve a seat or for more information, contact the Vladeck Houses Tenant Association at 9177639271 or VladeckTA@aol.com or Ginger Lopez at GOLES at  212-358-1231 or mayzabeth@goles.org.

Together, we can improve all of our homes and our neighborhood.

 

Happy Year of the Ram! – How to celebrate in Chinatown NYC!

Posted by paulnewell on February 19, 2015
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恭禧發財
Wishing you and your family
a joyous, healthy and prosperous
Year of the Ram 4713!

Chinese New Year
Below are a few events around Chinatown NYC where you can join the celebrations.

Today, February 19th, 11 AM – New Years Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival – Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, Grand Street between Chrystie and Forsyth Streets – This is the official firecracker ceremony celebrating the Year of the Ram. Organized by our friends at Better Chinatown USA and the Chinatown Partnership. After the ceremony is over, check out the cultural festival booths.

Today, February 19th, 12:30 PM – Lunar New Year Performances62 Mott Street, Basement – Cultural performances by young students and others at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

Sunday, February 22nd, 1PM – Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
Begins at Canal/Mott Street and ends at SDR Park (Grand Street) – The largest Lunar New Year parade in America, line up early along the parade route to get a good view of lion and dragon dancers, performers, floats. Afterward, check out festival booths at SDR Park, or just walk around the neighborhood for more dances and celebrations. Route and details at:
http://betterchinatown.com/upcoming-events/.

Parade Route:

parade route

Saturday, February 28th, 11AM-4PMMOCAFAMILY: Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street. Family fun with lion dances, participatory Lunar New Year crafts and more. Tickets and details at: http://www.mocanyc.org/visit/events/lunar_new_year_family_festival_0.

Sunday, March 1st, 12PM – United Fujianese American Association Lantern Festival –
88 East Broadway to Chatham Square. – A parade and street performances in the Fujianese tradition.

Sunday, March 1st, 12:30PM – Chinatown Tenants Union Lunar New Year Banquet – Foo Chow Restaurant (68 East Broadway) – Celebrate the new year with the Chinatown Tenants Union and CAAAV. Eat an amazing meal and support some of NYC’s most fearless and effective tenant and community advocates. For tickets or more info, contact Wai Yee at wpoon@caaav.org or call at 212-473-6485.

March 5-7th, 7PM – Lantern Festival Performances at the Chen Dance Center – 70 Mulberry Street, 2nd Floor. Tickets and details at: http://www.chendancecenter.org.

The Downtown Express has a good roundup of street closures at http://www.downtownexpress.com/2015/02/17/transit-sam-week-of-feb-19-2015-lunar-new-year/

As always, I encourage you to celebrate by eating at some of Chinatown’s amazing restaurants. Walk around and see what grabs your fancy, or email me for some of my personal recommendations.

Gong Hey Fat Choy!

Healthcare Deadline: February 15th

Posted by paulnewell on February 03, 2015
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PN MetroPlus

The deadline for most of us to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (also known as “ObamaCare”) is Sunday, February 15th. If you already have insurance through the ACA, Feb. 15th is also the deadline to switch plans this year.

This is not the last day anyone can sign-up for ObamaCare. It’s the last day for “open enrollment” this year.  If you have a qualifying “life event” that requires you to change you coverage you will be able to sign up later.

But for most of us, now is the time to act. If you’re uninsured or want to change your plan in New York, sign up today at https://NYStateOfHealth.ny.gov/ If you’re not in NY, start your search at HealthCare.gov. You’ll be surprised at how affordable many of the plans are. The vast majority of New Yorkers who applied were eligible for state-funded Medicaid plans or significant federal subsidies. On the flip-side, many people will be subject to tax-penalties if they remain uninsured.

Health insurance is a complicated thing. If the application process seems daunting, I recommend you contact a certified Health Care Navigator (it won’t cost you a penny). In Lower Manhattan, you can find one at the Henry Street Settlement, the Chinese-American Planning Council, the LGBT Community Center, or find one through the NY State of Health site. You can also call NY State of Health at 855-355-5777 (but expect a long wait time there).

A few years on, the Affordable Care Act is a smashing success – one that I am proud to have played a small role in bringing about. Well over a million New Yorkers have gotten health insurance through the law. More than 25,000 of them are here in Lower Manhattan – including me. Nationwide the percent of Americans without insurance has been slashed, healthcare related financial-stress is down, and the costs have come in well below predictions.

But too many of us are still uninsured. If you can help spread the word about ObamaCare to uninsured neighbors, please join me, Downtown East for Change, Get Covered, and others on Tuesday, February 10th from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM. RSVP and info at: https://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/gs8bm5.

Living uninsured puts you, your family, and our communities at risk.  Please take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity before the deadline. Thank you.

To your health…

 

Severe Blizzard hits NYC Monday & Tuesday – What you should know.

Posted by paulnewell on January 25, 2015
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blizzard map

Here we go again.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe blizzard warning for tomorrow (Monday Jan. 26) and Tuesday Jan. 27 for the entire NYC metro area and throughout the Northeast. Predictions are from 20 to 36 inches of snow in a 24-hour period, with wind gusts up to 65 M.P.H. – making this potentially the biggest snow storm in New York City’s history.

I know New Yorkers think we’re tougher than any storm, but please take this one seriously. The snow is expected to begin around noon on Monday. It should start slowly and increase through the afternoon and evening. The heaviest snowfall is expected later on Monday night through early Tuesday. This means that while Monday morning’s commute will likely be uneventful, Monday evening’s commute will be severely impacted. The storm may also cause power outages in some areas.

The National Weather Service is warning of “extremely dangerous travel due to heavy snowfall and strong winds, with whiteout conditions. Secondary and tertiary roads may become impassable. Strong winds may down power lines and tree limbs.”

As of this message NYC public schools are planned to be open on Monday, but all after-school and PSAL programs have been canceled. Public schools will most likely closed Tuesday. Call your school, 311, or check https://twitter.com/NYCSchools for updates. Parents at other schools are encouraged to call the school this evening and again in the morning to confirm the status.

Alternate side parking rules are canceled for Monday and Tuesday (but you still have to feed the meters, I’m afraid). Monday night’s HOPE 2015 annual count of NYC’s homeless population has been canceled.

Below are a few safety recommendations:

  • Stay Inside as much as is possible. If you can work from home, please do so.

  • Stay off the roads. If you have to travel, PLEASE do so by public transit. If you must drive, please have snow chains, flares and other safety equipment with you.

  • If your work hours are flexible, try to start and finish work earlier than usual tomorrow (Monday) so you will not be out in the worst of the storm.

  • If you are an employer, please contact your employees as soon as possible to encourage earlier out-times for Monday.

  • Be sure to charge all your phones and electronic devices.


If we do lose power, extra precautions may be necessary, especially for those of us living in high-rise apartment buildings. Check that your home is stocked with:

  • A working flashlight and batteries.

  • Enough food for two days

  • Drinking water (1 gallon per person per day is the rule of thumb).

  • Buckets of water for toilet flushing, etc.

  • Medicines you rely on.

  • A basic first aid kit.


As always, we’re gonna pull through this by working together. Please check in on elderly and home-bound neighbors and relatives to be sure they are prepared. NYC Meals-on-Wheels will be delivering extra meals tomorrow morning starting at 9:30 A.M. to tide people over.
If you are able to volunteer to help with those extra deliveries, please e-mail vivienne@citymeals.org and sheila@citymeals.org for details and to RSVP.

Please reserve 911 calls for actual emergencies (but don’t hesitate to call them if you have one). For other questions on city services, please call 311.

Stay informed by watching and listening to local media. The city is updating http://www.nyc.gov/severeweather regularly. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to enroll in the NYC Alerts system at https://a858-nycnotify.nyc.gov/notifynyc/. I’ll also be tweeting and retweeting updates at https://twitter.com/NewellNYC throughout the storm.

Please stay warm and safe.

Thank you.

 

STATEMENT ON THE REPORTED IMMINENT ARREST OF SPEAKER SHELDON SILVER

Posted by paulnewell on January 22, 2015
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 22, 2015

Contact: Paul Newell

347-351-7285 or Paul@NewellNYC.org

STATEMENT FROM DEMOCRATIC DISTRICT LEADER PAUL NEWELL
ON THE REPORTED IMMINENT ARREST OF NY ASSEMBLY SPEAKER SHELDON SILVER

New York, N.Y. – Democratic District Leader Paul Newell issued the following statement today:

“If the report in the New York Times is true, this is a sad day for Lower Manhattan and a sad day for New York.
I can’t speak to the specific charges against the Speaker, but I can say that outside income for legislators is a certain recipe for corruption. Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos should have banned it long ago. The 65th Assembly District, and all New Yorkers, deserve better.”

Paul Newell is a community organizer, activist and longtime resident of the Lower East Side. In 2009, he was elected Democratic District Leader for the 65th Assembly District.  He was reelected in 2011 and 2013.  The district is represented in the NYS Assembly by Sheldon Silver. In 2008, Newell ran a spirited challenger’s campaign for the Assembly seat, winning the endorsements of The New York Times, The Daily News, the New York Post and many others.

###

Season’s Greetings from Lower Manhattan!

Posted by paulnewell on December 23, 2014
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Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays and a joyous, healthy, fulfilling and prosperous new year.
I look forward to working with you to strengthen our neighborhoods and our city in 2015 and beyond.

Peace and Justice on Earth,

Paul

Doyers Street, Winter by Vivienne Gucwa

 

 

Photo by Lower East Side photographer, Vivienne Gucwa.  Check out her beautiful new book at nythroughthelens.com/book

VOTE Today for a Democratic Senate and No on Prop 1

Posted by paulnewell on November 03, 2014
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vote_graffiti_14

Polls are open from 6AM-9PM today, Tuesday, November 4th.
Find your poll site at https://www.votinginfoproject.org/projects/vip-voting-information-tool/.
And don’t forget –
the proposals are on the back side of the ballot.

New Yorkers have a lot at stake in tomorrow’s elections. On almost every issue that matters to working and middle class people, it is imperative that we vote to build a real Democratic majority in the New York State Senate. While no caucus in New York is perfect, on issues like banning hydro-fracking, fully funding mass transit, supporting NY public schools, reforming our failed, racist marijuana laws, rampant income inequality, increasing the minimum wage, reproductive rights, Women’s Equality, and many more, electing a Democratic State Senate is our best chance for a real progress.

Please join me in voting for Democratic candidates for NY State Senate today. Together, we can build a better New York for all of us.

Some New York voters will also have the opportunity to chips away at the massively destructive Tea Party control of the US Congress. Please vote Domenic Recchia for Congress in Staten Island/Southwest Brooklyn and Sean Patrick Maloney for Congress in the Hudson Valley.


I’m also encouraging New Yorkers to Vote No on Prop 1. This phony redistricting reform proposal is intentionally misleading. It sounds like an anti-gerrymandering law. In fact, it enshrines partisan gerrymandering into the NYS Constitution – and will empower the party bosses in Albany even further than they already are. I strongly support real redistricting reform. Prop 1 is not it.

I’ve posted a fuller explanation of why to Vote No on Prop 1, as well as info on the other two proposals (Yes on Prop 2, No on Prop 3) here http://newellnyc.org/no-on-prop-1-2014/. Please note that you must physically turn over your ballot to see the proposals on the back side of the page.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions on these or other matters. Whether you take my advice or not, PLEASE VOTE TODAY. It is important that all our voices are heard.

Thank you,
Paul

New York – VOTE NO ON PROP 1 this Tuesday

Posted by paulnewell on October 30, 2014
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no on prop 1

Ballot proposals can be confusing to even the most informed voter. Often this is intentional – political insiders prefer it that way. Many NY voters cast their ballot without ever seeing the Proposals, because you have to physically turn over your ballot to see the proposals on the back side of the page. Below is my take on the NY State ballot proposals this Tuesday, November 4th. I hope you find them helpful.

VOTE NO ON PROPOSAL ONE (Phony Redistricting “Reform”) – This is Exhibit A of an intentionally misleading proposal. It sounds like an anti-gerrymandering law. In fact, it enshrines partisan gerrymandering into the NYS Constitution, I strongly support real redistricting reform, this is not it.

Rather than an independent panel, Prop 1 sets up a commission of partisan appointees – and will undoubtedly result in grossly undemocratic districts for years to come. In fact, a court barred advocates from including the word “independent” in the proposal.

Gerrymandering is a serious threat to American democracy – right after the corrupting influence of big money. For New York, it’s long been a bipartisan scam. In a 50-year backroom deal, Republicans draw the State Senate to keep their majority and Democrats draw the Assembly to prevent primary challenges from progressive reformers. The Senate map is particularly egregious.  Statewide and locally, communities were spliced – weakening their representation.  Bizarre almost non-contiguous districts snake along highways, bridges and rivers to protect or weaken certain politicians and communities.  Districts that are drawn to be uncompetitive guarantee legislators who are unresponsive to anyone but big money and party machines.

This process desperately needs reform. Unfortunately, Prop 1 is not it. Virtually every newspaper in NYS opposes Prop 1, including the New York Times, the Albany Times-Union, Newsday and others. So do most “Good Government” groups like Common Cause and the NYCLU.

The good news is, we’ve got 7 or 8 years to get this right next time. And I believe it can be done. But not if we entrench this sham into our constitution. On Tuesday, please VOTE NO ON PROP 1.

In addition to Prop 1, you’ll find two other proposals when you turn over your ballot to vote. They are less existential, but matter nonetheless. Here’s my take:

Vote Yes on Proposal Two (Electronic Distribution of Legislative Bills) – This would allow the legislature to distribute proposed legislation as a PDF instead of on paper. Not a huge deal, but will save some time, trees and money.

Vote NO on Proposal Three (“Smart” Schools Bond Act) – This would borrow $2 Billion for technology in schools. While I support technology in schools, this proposal does not specify if the money is for public, private or parochial schools. Furthermore, it is a 30-year taxpayer debt obligation for equipment that will be obsolete in a few years. For two of those years, it will bring the state dangerously close to our debt limit. The legislature should properly fund NY public schools, and not to privatize them or rely on long-term debt for short-term operating costs.

Polls are open from 6AM-9PM this Tuesday, November 4th. You can find your poll site at https://www.votinginfoproject.org/projects/vip-voting-information-tool/. And don’t forget – the proposals are on the back side of the ballot.