Stand with Planned Parenthood

Posted by paulnewell on July 30, 2015
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stand w pp

Planned Parenthood, one of our country’s most vital health care providers, is under attack.

An extreme group opposed to women’s right to control their own bodies has attacked Planned Parenthood doctors, nurses, and patients with false accusations. And once again, right wing extremists and their allies in Congress are seizing on these accusations as an excuse to push the same dangerous agenda — ban abortion, shut down health centers and cut women off from care.

Yesterday, the extremists stepped up their efforts by attacking Planned Parenthood’s website, denying over 200,000 women a day access to vital healthcare information and resources. It’s more important than ever that we tell Congress and the world that We Stand with Planned Parenthood.

Please take a moment today to send a message to Congress. You can also contribute to Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s efforts to fight back at I’ve worked to expand access to reproductive health my entire professional life. And I’m proud that Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger right here in the Lower East Side – and still makes its home on Mott Street. Let’s stand up for our neighbor, and for women’s health around the country. Let’s Stand with Planned Parenthood.

Thank you.


P.S. For a lighter take on the state of women’s access to reproductive healthcare today, check out this brilliant clip from Amy Schumer:

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Important Deadline Tonight

Posted by paulnewell on July 11, 2015
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It has been a busy few months for our state, our city and our neighborhoods.  As we’ve been fighting for tenants’ rights, better schools, and more reliable transportation it seems like much of our agenda is stuck in a broken Albany.  As frustrating as our state government’s culture of corruption and failure is, there’s a lot to be hopeful about.

For the first time in years, we have the chance of real change in New York State.  I’ve written recently about what this might mean in Albany and here in Lower Manhattan.  And I believe we can get there.

But we can’t do it alone.  Midnight tonight is an important campaign finance deadline in New York.  I’m asking you to help out with a contribution today.

We don’t have the titans of Albany’s pay-to-play culture on our side, and we never will.  That’s why even a small contribution at today is so important.  If you’ve been considering supporting my campaign this year, please do so today.

In the meantime, I’ll keep fighting for our neighborhoods, and be sure to keep you posted as the campaign progresses.

Thank you,


Friday’s Ticker Tape Parade – What Downtowners need to know

Posted by paulnewell on July 09, 2015
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Like most of us, I was overjoyed at the US Women’s National Soccer Team victory in the World Cup earlier this week. I am also proud that our neighborhood is hosting the team for a Ticker Tape Parade in Lower Manhattan’s Canyon of Heroes tomorrow (Friday).

However, like so many events of national importance, it will cause some inconvenience for those of us that live downtown. Below I’m passing along most of what you need to know for tomorrow’s parade, as assembled by our friends at the Downtown Alliance.

Thanks and Go Team USA!



As you know, there will be a ticker-tape parade in honor of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s World Cup Championships on Friday, July 10, 2015. To avoid inconvenience and ensure public safety, please be aware of the following and share this important information with your building occupants and employees:

  • The parade will begin at West Street and Battery Place in Lower Manhattan at 11:00am and proceed northbound on Broadway, ending at Duane Street and City Hall.
  • NYPD may begin street closings (Broadway, Park Row, Spruce, Reade, Chambers, Battery Place, South End Avenue) several hours prior to the 11:00am start of the parade. Employees should be encouraged to use public transportation, and if possible, avoid driving to work.
  • The MTA will be either closing certain subway exits or by-passing stations depending on crowds and buses will be re-routed depending on street closures. Subway entrances and exits around City Hall on the 4,5,6,R lines will close around 9:30 am. New York City Bus service along Broadway will be detoured, affecting both Manhattan local bus service as well as Express bus service. Specific route info will be posted at affected stops.
  • Large crowds are expected to gather along Broadway early on Friday morning to view the parade as well as the ancillary streets leading into Broadway.
  • Building occupants and employees are encouraged to carry business identification at all times.
  • Please take into consideration the impact of street closures on business deliveries and meetings – Businesses on or near Broadway should not plan to receive any deliveries after 10pm on Thursday, deliveries may resume Friday after 5pm.
  • Pedestrians will be able to cross Broadway at the following locations: Exchange Alley, Cedar Street, Cortlandt Street, Fulton Street and Reade Street. These locations will be subject to closure depending on crowd size and timing of parade.
  • The Downtown Connection bus will not be running the day of the parade.

Safety Advisories

  • Building owners and managers with facilities located along the parade route on Broadway are advised to close all entrances and exits on Broadway during the parade, if the building has an alternate entrance/exit on another street. Please do not lock the closed entrance/exit, and place a security guard or doorman there in case of emergency.
  • Building with scaffolds, sidewalk sheds, rooftops and setbacks fronting Broadway should ensure that no person is permitted on those structures during the parade.
  • All building occupants and employees should be advised of the public safety risks associated with throwing items (other than ticker tape and confetti) from building windows.

All of this information is subject to change, if you have any questions or require additional information about street closures and the parade route, please call 311.

Many thanks for your cooperation. We hope you enjoy this great City celebration!




PS – If you missed the game, here’s all the USA goals called by America’s greatest soccer announcer, Andres Cantor. – Paul



Tenant Emergency: Don’t Panic. Do organize.

Posted by paulnewell on June 15, 2015
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tenant emeregency



As you probably have heard, rent regulations are set to expire today if the NYS legislature does not come to a deal.  We are still pushing hard for stronger rent laws before midnight, but if Albany fails to do so, here’s some of what you need to know.

1)   If you are a rent stabilized tenant, do not panic.  Your current lease is still valid.  If your lease expires before September 13, 2015, you are entitled to a renewal under current laws.  Most likely a deal will be reached in the next few days that will cover any retroactive periods.  Do not move-out or vacate the apartment.

2)   If your landlord is harassing you, threatening to raise your rent, or invalidate or not renew your lease he or she is breaking the law.  Call 311 immediately to report the harassment.  You can also call the Met Council on Housing at 212-979-0611 or Public Advocate Letitia James at 212-669-7250 with any questions.

3)   If you are a rent controlled tenant (as opposed to stabilized) you are protected under NYC laws which do not expire until 2018.
Finally, while it is grossly irresponsible of Albany to put NYC tenants through this high-stakes stress – it is essential that we keep the pressure up.  Please call Governor Cuomo now at 518-474-8390 to demand stronger rent laws – including the full repeal of Vacancy Decontrol.  Then contact your Assembly members at and your State Senator at to demand the same.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted as this vital fight progresses.


UPDATE: The NYC Dept. of Housing, Preservation & Development has posted a useful “what you need to know” for tenants worried about the rent law expiration. –

Paul Newell rallies to strengthen rent laws


Paul Newell speaks at rally to strengthen rent laws

Tell Albany: Protect Tenants & Close the LLC Loophole

Posted by paulnewell on May 29, 2015
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Albany’s legislative session is scheduled to close on June 17th.  Below I highlight two related issues still in the balance that can have a huge impact on the lives of New Yorkers.

Strengthen Tenant Protections

Most essential, especially in Lower Manhattan, is renewal and strengthening of rent regulations.  2.5 Million New Yorkers depend on these protections.  Our neighbors and our neighborhoods need these laws to be strengthened this year.

The Assembly has passed an excellent package of rent reforms.  Now they must stand firm in the face of opposition from big real estate donors (see below).  Please contact your Assembly member today at to tell them not to compromise on this vital issue.  The GOP-led State Senate has been less friendly to tenants.  Please contact your State Senator at to ask them to pass real rent reform.

Most legislators really do respond to hearing from their constituents.  In fact, on June 9th, we’ll be traveling to Albany to tell them in person.  Buses will be departing at 7AM from all over the city to flood Albany with tenants demanding protections.  If you can make it, please contact Mia McDonald at to RSVP or for more info.  I hope to see you there.

Close the LLC Loophole

Yesterday, the NY State Senate again blocked a vote on a bill championed by our State Senator Daniel Squadron closing the so-called “LLC loophole”.  This enables Limited Liability Corporations – the preferred corporate structure of NY’s real estate industry – to make unlimited contributions to elected officials.

The same billionaire named in the indictments of legislative leaders of both parties this year also doles out millions via the LLC loophole.  Make no mistake: these are smart business people.  They are spreading this cash to raise your rent and raise your taxes.

Please sign this petition today to support Sen. Squadron’s bill to close the LLC Loophole.

There are many other issues on the table as well, including key ethics reforms.  I’ll continue to keep you posted as we work for an honest, progressive government for all New Yorkers.  Thank you.

Join me to Celebrate my 40th Birthday on May 20th

Posted by paulnewell on April 22, 2015
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I want to invite you to join me on the evening of May 20th as I celebrate my 40th birthday with friends and neighbors.  While I’m looking forward to kicking off a new decade, I’m even more excited that our neighborhood, and our State, are poised to enter a new era of inclusive political representation.  

Reserve your tickets today at: 
It’s going to be a great time, with great people.  I’d love to celebrate with you.  Details are below.


Villager Op-Ed: Funding challenges in a new political landscape

Posted by paulnewell on April 22, 2015
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As scandals continue to shake the status quo in Albany, it’s vital that we respond as a state and as a community.  A few months ago, I wrote an Op-Ed for the Daily News about a new ethical approach for Albany.  Today, I have a piece in the Villager newspaper’s annual Progress Report about how some of these changes will impact Lower Manhattanites – and what we can do about it.

You can see The Villager story below, or at

Growing through these changes will be a communal process, so please let me know your thoughts by replying to this email or commenting on my Facebook page.



Funding challenges in a new political landscape

BY PAUL NEWELL   |  For the past two decades, Lower Manhattan’s impressive network of nonprofits and social service organizations has benefitted from representation at the highest levels of New York State government. That era appears to be at an end. It is essential that we find new and creative ways to fund these programs. Equally crucial is that we advocate for a better and more equitable funding system for the future.

Though many of us recognized the system’s flaws, having our assemblymember as one of the “Three Men in a Room” has brought significant tangible benefits to our community. That dynamic has already begun to change as new leadership in the Assembly prioritizes other needs and other communities. Vital institutions like Gouverneur Health, venerable century-old settlement houses and Manhattan Youth, as well as smaller community groups, are rightfully concerned. Changes in Albany could lead to the loss of important programs, contracts and revenue. Indeed, the Lower East Side-based Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty — one of the largest social service agencies in the city — is likely to disband this year.

Surviving these changes — and growing through them — will be one of the premier challenges facing Lower Manhattan in the years ahead. In the short term, there will be hard work and hard choices. Leaders like state Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Brian Kavanagh, and Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez will have to redouble their efforts and advocacy. Unfortunately, stingy Republican leadership makes it unlikely that Congress will step into the gap. One key area where the feds must be pushed is on long-term storm resiliency for Lower Manhattan and New York Harbor.

Most of our community organizations will have to significantly step up their efforts to secure private and foundation funding — a process that many of them are already engaged in. Where shortfalls remain — and some will — organizations may have to consolidate services and, in some cases, cut them back. This will involve real pain for our neighbors and for these groups’ dedicated staffs.

Fortunately, we still have a great deal going for us in Lower Manhattan. As one of the world’s most dynamic communities, located in the heart of our nation’s economic engine, the importance of a thriving Lower Manhattan cannot be denied by leadership in Albany or Washington.

Leveraging these strengths will require energetic advocacy and innovative solutions. We will have to persuade the dozens of Fortune 500 companies based in our neighborhood that the continuing health of the surrounding community is in their interest. We’re also going to have to be more creative in how we work with real estate developers to support local programs. One coming test of this will be securing the South St. Seaport Museum’s sustainable operation plan without compromising the historic character of the district.

So, there will be pain, but there will also be solutions. Lower Manhattanites have time and again proven ourselves resilient, and this time will be no different.

As we go forward, this must also become an opportunity to push for a better model of social service funding for all New Yorkers. Our current pickle is yet more evidence that allocating government resources based on who sits in what chair in Albany is arbitrary, irrational and poor policy. An even playing field — where social service funds are distributed to organizations based on community needs and provable outcomes — will serve Lower Manhattan and all of New York far better over the long term. Many of us have long known this. Now it is in our neighborhood’s interest to fight for it.

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

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:

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:

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 or Ginger Lopez at GOLES at  212-358-1231 or

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