Post-Sandy Update 11-4-2012

Posted by paulnewell on November 04, 2012
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Well, it has been quite a week in our neighborhoods.  Like most of you I was without power or water for the entire week.  Also like most of you, I was inspired by the response of our city, state, neighbors and nation – and remain concerned about the thousands of our neighbors still in harms way.

Below is some information that may be helpful.

SCHOOLS:
Most NYC Public Schools will be open as usual tomorrow, Monday, November 5th.  A few schools have sustained serious damage or are still without electricity.  In Lower Manhattan, schools that may have relocations or cancellations include P.S. 126, P.S. 226, Bard H.S.E.C., Urban Assembly/Harbor School and Millennium High School.  More information and a full list can be found at http://schools.nyc.gov/Home/InOurSchoolsToday/2012-2013/cancellations.

All NYC Public Schools will be closed again on Tuesday, November 6th for Election Day.

More time to study!  The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) scheduled for this Saturday, November 3, has been rescheduled to Saturday, November 17. Accommodations will be made for students with conflicts.  The SAT test administration scheduled for this weekend (Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4), has been cancelled in public schools in NYC.  A makeup date has been scheduled for Saturday, November 17 for the November 3 test-takers, and Sunday, November 18 for those test-takers who were scheduled to test on Sunday, November 4.  Students can also go online and change their test date to a regularly scheduled December administration date.

TRANSIT:
Much of the Subway service is expected to be running, at least on a limited basis, for Monday morning.  LIRR and Metro-North Services are also returning.  As of this email, the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, J, F and D trains have returned partially to Lower Manhattan.  Nevertheless, much of our neighborhood remains unserved.  The best place for information is at http://www.mta.info/.

IT’S GETTING COLD:
Temperatures are expected to drop into the low 30s tonight and tomorrow.  Much of Lower Manhattan and the Lower East Side (including my building) are still without heat and hot water.  If you or anyone you know is in need of warm shelter, call 1-800-733-2767 or text SHELTER & your zip code to 43362.  Manhattan’s warm shelter is located at George Washington High School, 549 Audubon Avenue between Fort George Avenue and West 193rd Street.  Busses to the site will pick people up at Seward Park High School, 350 Grand Street between Ludlow and Essex Streets.

ELECTRICITY/WATER:
Power has been restored to almost all of Lower Manhattan, though a few buildings remain without power.  Con Edison has asked us to conserve energy until the entire system is restored.  Please turn off all lights and appliances that you are not using so we can help get the entire area back on track.

If there is water running in your tap it is drinkable.  If it runs brown (which it well may), let it run for a few minutes until it clears up.

VOTING AND ELECTIONS:
The following downtown NYC poll sites have changed due to the storm:

  • The Poll site at Bard High School at 525 East Houston St is relocated to:  P.S. 188 or P.S. 196 at 442 EAST HOUSTON ST.  For Election/Assembly Districts:  002/74  004/74  005/74
  • The Poll site at Westbeth Housing, 155 Bank St. is relocated to: P.S. 3 at 490 HUDSON ST.  For Election/Assembly Districts:   079/66   080/66   081/66   082/66   093/66

Polls will be open from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Tuesday.  To find your poll site and a full list of Sandy-related changes in NYC, go to http://vote.nyc.ny.us/.

If a person is stranded, sudden illness, accident or extenuating circumstances (as many of us are right now), an Emergency Absentee Ballot may be received.  An authorized representative must present at the Board of Elections a request and letter explaining the situation.  The representative must show proper identification. For Manhattan voters, go to the temporary offices of the Board of Elections at 450 West 33rd St., 10th Flr, between 9th & 10th.Sunday, today, until 8 pm and Monday 9 to 5.  Please check website for exact details:  http://vote.nyc.ny.us/html/voters/absentee.shtml

While we’re on the subject of elections.  Most of us have been focused on rebuilding our neighborhoods this past week.  But there is a vital presidential election on Tuesday.  If we care about protecting homebound seniors, preparing for natural disasters, durable public transit systems, taking care of the needy in times of crisis and in trying to reduce the impact of global warming, and any one of a hundred other reasons, it is crucial that we re-elect President Barack Obama on Tuesday.  One way to help, from now through Tuesday night, is to go by the Obama for America NYC HQ at 520 8th Ave, 20th floor (near 37th street), and call some of our neighbors in swing states.  They may be particularly open to hearing from New Yorkers right now.  They are open 9AM to 9PM.  More information is at http://www.facebook.com/events/134342113379817/

THANK YOUS:
So, obviously there are way to many people to thank over the past week.  First and foremost are the NYPD, FDNY and EMS workers who saved countless lives.   Joining them were thousands of volunteers who came to our aid, climbing stairs to feed and take care of homebound neighbors, donating food and supplies and more.

The MTA and the workers of TWU 100 have done an outstanding job bringing a 100-year-old system back on track for millions of New Yorkers.  Likewise Con Edison and the workers of UWUA Local 1-2 and others have been incredible in restoring vital power to our city and region.

Among the many groups who have been invaluable are the Red Cross and NY Cares.  In the Lower East Side, GOLES and CAAAV came through with all kinds of support and volunteers.  Please consider supporting these fine organizations.

Many of our elected officials also did a tremendous job, coordinating efforts and getting needed help to our neighborhoods.  Of those, from my local perspective, two stood out and deserve recognition.

Our State Senator Daniel Squadron has, this week, been one of the finest public servants I have ever seen.  Wherever and whenever help was needed, Squadron’s team was contactable, organized and helpful.  They organized hundreds of volunteers, coordinated calls from thousands of residents from Battery Park City and the Financial District to Chinatown and the Lower East Side to much of riverfront Brooklyn (in at least 3 languages).  They contacted emergency services when residents could not.  They solicited and distributed literally tons of supplies.

Former Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin did a superb job of communicating vital information and organizing volunteers at vulnerable high rises across the area.

I can say this week more than ever, that I am genuinely honored to serve this incredible community.  The recovery process will continue for months and indeed years.  I look forward to keeping you informed and working with you as we move forward.

yours,
Paul

Sandy Update 10-31-2012

Posted by paulnewell on November 01, 2012
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I hope you are faring well as we recover from Superstorm Sandy.  I apologize that I have not been in more contact, but like many of you, I have lost power and have been working actively to make sure our neighbors have food, water, medicine and shelter.

Below is some potentially useful information.

Zone A including all of Battery Park City, most of the Financial District, the Seaport area and parts of the Lower East Side and Tribeca closest to the river remains under evacuation order.  Please do not return until the order is lifted, as it creates additional danger and burden for our first responders.

ConEd is working to restore power, but it’s expected to take up to four days. If you can safely move to a friend’s or family member’s home with power, it makes sense to do so.  Most predictions are saying Lower Manhattan and the LES will be without power until Saturday.

Some subway service will begin tomorrow (Thursday).  Obviously, not trains will be running south of 34th Street, or in any areas without power: Bus service is already running on a limited schedule.  A good list of working lines is at: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121031/new-york-city/limited-subway-service-resumes-tomorrow-lirr-metro-north-today.

NYC Schools remain closed Thursday and Friday.

Most bridges and tunnels will be open, but a strict carpool regulation has been placed.  Only cars with 3 or more passengers may cross into Manhattan.  The Battery and Midtown tunnels remain closed.  Yellow cabs are temporarily allowed to pick up multiple passengers at multiple stops, and livery cars can temporarily pick up street hails.

President Obama has declared and emergency for most of the NY Metro area.  If you have sustained damage to your business or property, you can begin to apply for disaster assistance http://www.disasterassistance.gov.  I highly recommend you take photographs of all damaged items, and keep strict records of related expenditures.

If you have other needs, please reach out to 311. Phone wait times are long so http://www.nyc.gov/apps/311/  or text (311692) is your best bet.  Unless it’s a real emergency, please do not call 911, which has been overloaded.

If you want to volunteer:  Most evacuation shelters need volunteers today for eight hour shifts and, in some cases, clothing donations. You can find the closest shelter to you at http://gis.nyc.gov/oem/he/index.html.  In Lower Manhattan, our closest evacuation center is Seward Park High School, 350 Grand Street, between Ludlow and Essex Streets, and reach out to find out what they need.  There is also a volunteer hub at Rutgers Community Center on Madison St. and Rutgers St. You can also email  nycservice@cityhall.nyc.gov with your name, email address, and borough to volunteer in the coming days.  The Red Cross has volunteer info at http://www.nyredcross.org/?nd=news_room_detail&news_id=606&jid=63321.

Speaker Silver has set up a phone charging station during daylight hours at the corner of Grand and Lewis Streets in the Lower East Side.

The Department of Environmental Protection began placing water-on-the-go drinking fountains at six locations in Manhattan on Wednesday and will keep them open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until power is restored. They are at

Canal Street and Centre Street, Monroe Street, Houston Street and 6th Avenue, W 23rd Street and 8th Ave., East 23rd Street and 2nd Avenue, West 14th Street and 8th Avenue.

Con Ed is distributing Dry Ice at Union Square and 17th Street.

To find up-to-date information on the recovery effort (including electricity, transit, and reporting damage), please visit the City of New York’s Office of Emergency Management website: http://www.nyc.gov/severeweather or call 311.

I am sure I am missing a great deal, but I hoe this is helpful.  Please feel free to reach out to me via this email, but be aware that my access to email and other communication is very limited.

Thank you, and please stay safe.

Best,

Paul

P.S. Happy Halloween!

Storm Alert: Mandatory Evacuations, MTA shutdowns, pets, shelters, info

Posted by paulnewell on October 28, 2012
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New York City has issued a mandatory evacuation order for all residents of hurricane Zone A – including all of Battery Park City, most of the Financial District, the Seaport area and parts of the Lower East Side and Tribeca closest to the river.  New York Downtown Hospital is already evacuating.

All New York City Public Schools will be closed tomorrow, Monday, October 29th.

  • MTA Subways will shut down at 7:00 PM tonight.  Buses at 9:00 PM
  • Elevators in NYCHA developments in evacuation zones will shut down at 7:00 PM tonight.
  • In Lower Manhattan, out closest evacuation center is Seward Park High School, 350 Grand Street, between Ludlow and Essex Streets (MAP), but it is preferable to find other accommodations.  Please contact friends and family who live in higher ground immediately, and make arrangements.
  • Street cleaning and parking meter rules are suspended.

 
New Yorkers often feel like we can handle anything that comes our way.  But please take this storm seriously.  As if you needed more proof of the gravity of the situation, The NYC Subway will be closed beginning 7:00 PM tonight.  The area most at risk, called Zone A in the city’s hurricane evacuation plan, includes Battery Park City, parts of the Financial District and Chinatown, some of the East Village and Lower East Side, but also extends up to Hell’s Kitchen and Murray Hill along Manhattan’s riverfronts. In Brooklyn, parts of Greenpoint and Red Hook are largely in Zone A, as well as the Navy Yard, Coney Island and Manhattan Beach.  A complete map of evacuation zones is at http://project.wnyc.org/news-maps/hurricane-zones/hurricane-zones.html.

What else can we do right now?

1)      If you live in Zone A, please prepare to leave now.  The Subway and all NYC Transit will be closed from 7:00 PM tonight

2)      Contact elderly or mobility-impaired neighbors, family and friends.  Make sure they have a plan for evacuation.

3)      Keep track of developments online or via radio and television.  The city is updating http://www.nyc.gov/severeweather regularly.  You can sign up for text and email alerts by going to https://a858-nycnotify.nyc.gov/NotifyNYC/Home.aspx.  Or follow https://twitter.com/NotifyNYC

4)      Make a go bag with medicine, keys, emergency supplies, important documents and a few essential personal items, non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries in a waterproof portable container.

5)      Charge your cell phones and other important electronics.

Again, I know many New Yorkers think this is overblown.  I hope they are right.  But all the relevant authorities are in agreement that we face a serious possibility of major damage.  Please take this storm seriously.

My apartment is not in an evacuation zone, so I plan to be volunteering at Seward Park High School tonight.  Please be safe, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Please stay safe,

Paul

Vote Tomorrow! – Paul’s 2012 NYC Primary Voter Guide

Posted by paulnewell on September 12, 2012
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This year’s NY Democratic Primary election has been moved to Tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 13th. In addition to a change of date, redistricting has put many of us in new districts, and many poll sites have been changed.  Even if you think you know your poll site, I encourage you to check at http://gis.nyc.gov/vote/ps/index.htm. Polls will be open from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM Tomorrow, Thursday September 13th.

Below are my endorsements in seven selected races in Lower Manhattan and around the city.  Please feel free to reach out to me about these candidates or any other races or issues.

1) Rita Mella for Manhattan Surrogate’s Court JudgeAll of Manhattan

The Surrogate’s Court oversees estates, wills, adoptions and guardianship proceedings. It touches many thousands of lives every year, often when people are at their most vulnerable.  In this race, I emphatically endorse Judge Rita Mella (http://www.mellaforsurrogate.org/).  Rita Mella sees the Surrogate’s Court as not just about wealthy estates and art collections.  She focuses on smaller estates and is passionate about the court’s role in emancipating adult developmentally disabled people.  She is one of the kindest, smartest and most compassionate judicial candidates I’ve ever seen.

Mella has been endorsed by The New York Times, El Diario, Downtown Independent Democrats, Stonewall Democrats and more.  She was found “Most Highly Qualified” by the Independent Judicial Screening Panel.  Judge Rita Mella has the experience, integrity and perspective vital to this important court. Please vote for her tomorrow.

2) Lincoln Restler for Democratic State Committee –50th AD – Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Ft. Greene

Lincoln Restler proves, more than anyone in NYC, why District Leaders and State Committeemembers can be important.  Because of the latest spate of scandals in Albany, we have the best chance in a lifetime to actually reform the broken Brooklyn Democratic Party.  No Brooklyn leader has been more of a force for change in recent years than Lincoln Restler.  Lincoln is an incredible organizer, a tireless campaigner and a strong, progressive voice.  Brooklyn and the NY Democratic Party can not afford to lose him.

I strongly endorse Lincoln Restler for reelection (http://www.lincolnrestler.org/).  This is expected to be an extremely close election.  Please be sure to vote.

3) Brad Hoylman for State Senate  – 27th SDWest Side of Manhattan, Stuy Town, East Village

State Senator Tom Duane is retiring after 14 distinguished years in Albany. In the election to replace him, I endorse Brad Hoylman (http://bradhoylman.com/).  Hoylman is clearly the most qualified of three well-intentioned candidates.  Brad is a fellow District Leader, and is the Chair of Community Board 2, where he’s worked to get additional schools and affordable housing.  Brad has been endorsed by The New York Times, TenantsPAC, The Working Families Party, The League of Conservation Voters, Downtown Independent Democrats and many many more.

4) Brian Kavanagh for State Assembly 74th AD – L.E.S., East Village, Stuy Town, Gramercy, Murray Hill, Kips Bay

The northern end of my district (parts of the East Village, Village View, First Houses) has been redistricted into a the 74th Assembly District. In the 74th, I enthusiastically encourage you to vote for Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh (http://www.briankavanagh.org/).  Brian is one of the smartest, hardest working legislators in Albany.   Kavanagh merits reelection because of his work for a more open political process, affordable housing, tenant rights, urban environmental solutions, gun control, and more.

5) Nily Rozic for State Assembly25th AD – Fresh Meadows, Bayside and environs, Queens

If you live in this part of Queens, I ask you to vote for Nily Rozic for Assembly (http://nilyrozic.org/) tomorrow.  It’s never been clearer why we need more progressive, reform-minded women in Albany.  I’ve known Nily through her work with Assemblymember Kavanagh.  She has the mind of a great legislator and the energy or a brilliant organizer.  She’s been a big part of efforts to reform NY’s elections process and more.  Nily has been endorsed by The New York Times, Women’s Campaign Fund, Citizen’s Action and many others.

6) Jo Anne Simon for Democratic State Committee – 52nd AD – Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, DUMBO, Boerum Hill, Park Slope.

A dedicated community activist and attorney, Jo Anne has been a leader in the fight against Vito Lopez’s broken political machine for years.  With the possibility of real change on the horizon, it’s imperative that she be reelected on Thursday.  I encourage all Democrats in brownstone Brooklyn to vote for Jo Anne Simon tomorrow (http://www.joannesimonforbrooklyn.com/).

7) Jason Otaño for State Senate – 18th SD – Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bushwick

North Brooklyn voters have another opportunity to strike a blow at the party bosses and get a dynamic, progressive State Senator in the process.  Otaño knows the issues facing Brooklynites intimately, and I guarantee you he’ll work hard in Albany.  The Daily News recently described Jason’s opponent as “an undistinguished soldier of the scandal-scarred county Democratic boss.”  I couldn’t have said it better.  I’m proud to endorse for Jason Otaño for State Senate.  (http://jasonotano.com/ )

After tomorrow’s primaries, we face an extremely important national election in November.  I spent last week in Charlotte at the Democratic National Convention, and am fired up to reelect President Barack Obama, retake the U.S. House starting with picking up four Congressional seats right here in New York, and to retake the New York State Senate so we can start delivering on the affordable housing, quality schools, livable streets and access to healthcare that our neighborhoods, our city and our country deserve.

Thank you.

September 11th Anniversary Info 2012

Posted by paulnewell on September 10, 2012
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Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 11th, will again be a difficult day for our neighborhood, our city and our country.  You do not need me to tell you so.

Below is some information on the significant traffic changes to expect tomorrow, as well as on commemorative events.

Please also note that this year’s Primary Election has been moved to this Thursday, September 13th so as to avoid conflicting with the commemorations.  In addition to a change of date, many district lines and poll sites have been changed.  More information is available at http://vote.nyc.ny.us.

—————

The commemoration for family members of the victims of the 2001 and 1993 attacks will take place at the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site tomorrow from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.  Following a citywide moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the names of the victims will be read with music as a backdrop throughout the program. There will be five additional moments of silence throughout the program at the following times: 9:03 a.m., 9:36 a.m., 9:59 a.m., 10:03 a.m., and 10:28 a.m. The Tribute in Light will begin at sundown and will stay lit throughout the night.

Vehicle and pedestrian access in the immediate area of the World Trade Center site will be affected during this time.  Residents and employees should carry work and/or personal identification when traveling in the event area. ? Use public transportation whenever possible to stations outside of the event area.

Below is an outline of the vehicle and pedestrian access information for Tuesday, September 11, 2012.

STREET CLOSURES – The following streets will be closed to traffic from 12:01 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Pedestrian access will be very limited:
·      Liberty, Cedar, and Thames Streets between Greenwich Street and Trinity Place.

·      Greenwich Street between Liberty and Carlisle Streets

·      Albany Street between West and Greenwich Streets

·      Washington Street between Liberty and Carlisle Streets

·      Vesey Street between Church Street and Broadway

PARKING RESTRICTIONS The following streets will not have access to parking:

·      Liberty and Cedar Streets between Broadway and Greenwich Street

·      Greenwich Street between Liberty and Edgar Streets

·      Albany and Carlisle Streets between West and Greenwich Streets

·      Trinity Place between Liberty and Cedar Streets

·      Vesey, Fulton, Dey, Cortlandt, Liberty, and Cedar Streets between Church Street and Broadway

IMPORTANT NOTES:

·      West Street will remain OPEN to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. However

·      trucks will not be permitted northbound on West Street from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to Vesey Street. Trucks will be diverted from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to Trinity Place/Church Street to travel north.

·      Church Streets/Trinity Place and Broadway will remain OPEN.

·      The Liberty Street pedestrian bridge will be closed from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2012. To cross West Street, pedestrians will be directed north to cross at the Vesey Street pedestrian bridge or south to cross at Albany Street.

·      No parking will be in effect on all closed streets, including official permit parking and all cars parked illegally will be towed. If you have further questions, please call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov.

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Here are a few ways to commemorate the event.

The Lower Manhattan Community Remembers 9/11: Living Together in a Global Community.

120 Warren Street, Tuesday Sept. 11th, 7-9PM (Map: http://goo.gl/maps/4z2Qb)

The Downtown Community Center will host a community discussion of the impact of 9/11 on our community, and building a better future for our neighborhood and our planet.

Invited Guests include Councilmember Margaret Chin, Rabbi Levine of The Downtown Synagogue, Rev. Grant of Tribeca Spiritual Center, Rabbi Glass, Synagogue for the Arts, Diane Lapson of the IPN Tenants Organization, Catherine McVay Hughes and Pat Moore of Community Board One and Bob Townley of Manhattan Youth.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage.

36 Battery Place (Map: http://goo.gl/maps/p9J91)

Entrance to the museum will be free, to provide a venue for visitors to remember and reflect.  www.mjhnyc.org

Riders Alliance Happy Hour – August 14th

Posted by paulnewell on August 06, 2012
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Next Tuesday, August 14th, I am hosting a happy hour for The Riders Alliance, an important new organization.  I hope you will join me.

Riders Alliance New York is a new organization that’s on the ground, organizing mass transit riders into a political constituency—to stop the destructive cycle of fare hikes (another one is scheduled for next March), service cuts and longer, more uncomfortable commutes.

Mass transit is an essential part of what makes New York City the dynamic, creative and economically vibrant city we love. It defines New York more than the skyline or the bright lights ever could.  Yet our elected officials continue to let this vital service languish.

Riders Alliance aims to stop this trend.  Over five Million people ride public transit in New York every day.  That is a powerful constituency.  Please join us on Tuesday as we start to mobilize.  Of course, we’ll ask you for support at the event, but there’s no charge to attend, and there are happy hour drink specials as well.

Please RSVP at http://www.ridersny.org/event.php that you’ll join us on Tuesday, August 14th for happy hour drinks and a spirited discussion with Executive Director John Raskin about the Riders Alliance and the fight for better transit in New York.  Details are below:

Please join Paul Newell, Mary Cooley and Quinn Raymond for
Riders Alliance –Happy Hour
Tuesday, August 14th, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Suspenders Bar & Grill: 111 Broadway (1 block north of Wall St. MAP)
Please RSVP online today at http://www.ridersny.org/event.php!
On Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/events/484851051525846/

If you can’t make it Tuesday, please consider joining the Riders Alliance.  It costs as little as $3 a month (which isn’t much when you consider many of us spend $104 a month already). You can learn more and join at http://www.ridersny.org/.

Karaoke to the Court! — Fundraiser for Judge Rita Mella Candidate for the Surrogate’s Court

Posted by paulnewell on July 25, 2012
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Tonight I will sing a song for justice.  Specifically, I’ll be singing at a karaoke party benefiting Judge Rita Mella’s candidacy for Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan.  I’ll be joined by Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin, Assemblymember Micah Kellner, my esteemed co-leader Jenifer Rajkumar and many others.  There will be song, laughter and celebration.  And all to support one of the best judicial candidates around.

Surrogate’s Court isn’t well known, but it impacts the lives of many thousands of people every day.  Judge Mella – an addition to being the first Latina ever to run for the court – will bring the kind of unshakeable integrity that the Surrogate’s Court needs.  She is a tremendously qualified jurist.  But perhaps more importantly, she understands how the courts affect the lives of New Yorkers.  We need Rita Mella on the Surrogate’s Court.

So, please come sing with us tonight in the Lower East Side.  I promise it will be the most fun political fundraiser of the Summer.  Details are below, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/events/282804031826488/.

Karaoke to the Court! — Fundraiser for Judge Rita Mella Candidate for the Surrogate’s Court
TONIGHT, Wednesday, July 25, 2012
7:00pm-9:00pm
At: BOHO, karaokeboho.com/
196 Orchard Street, (Between Stanton & Houston St), New York City

 

Suggested Donations:
$500 Crooner
$250 Singer
$100 Back up Singer
$50 Lip Sync-er
$25 Lip Reader

 

Performances by: Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and  Margaret Chin, Assemblymember Micah Kerllner District Leaders Paul Newell and Jenifer Rajkumar, GOLES E.D. Damaris Reyes & YOU

8:00 pm Welcoming Remarks and…
Special Performance by: Rosie, Jenifer and Damaris of “Mella State of Mind” (Jay Z & Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind)

Lost your singing voice? Got Stage fright? No prob! You can still help ensure NY County has the best possible Surrogate’s Court. Make a contribution (and learn more about Rita) at http://www.mellaforsurrogate.org/.  Thank you.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world,

Paul

Healthcare Vote celebrates the Affordable Care Act

Posted by paulnewell on June 28, 2012
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Today the Supreme Court of the United States upheld The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The most significant improvement in healthcare and economic justice to come out of Washington in generations has been affirmed. The decision is cause for celebration.  It also calls upon us to redouble our efforts for affordable, accessible healthcare for all Americans, including a Public Option.

Let us be clear.  This is not the law we would have written.  It is far too dependent on a broken, privatized healthcare system.  Far superior would be a Medicare-for-All plan, also known as Single Payer.  Failing that, the law should have included a public option.  That would have enabled near universal coverage, without relying on failed private insurers.

But the Affordable Care Act remains the most important development in healthcare policy in over 40 years.  It promises to extend health insurance to over 30 million Americans.  It will save millions of lives and billions of taxpayer dollars.  That is not a project we can give up on.  It is our opportunity as citizens and voters to make that happen in this year’s presidential and congressional elections.

We believe that health care is a human right.  Denial of healthcare for economic reasons can be as cruel as any regime’s torture chambers.  Many countries poorer than ours do not deny any of their citizens adequate care.  And they do so at a fraction of the cost we pay.  That can, and must be our goal.

The Supreme Court’s ruling today upheld the “individual mandate” as constitutional.  We agree.  But we cannot stop there.  There would be no debate as to the constitutionality of a Single Payer system or even a mandate with a Public Option.  Indeed, Medicare and Social Security are both mandatory state-run insurance plans.  They are also the most successful anti-poverty programs in American history.  Universal access to healthcare cannot and will not be achieved by the private sector alone.  Healthcare Vote 2013 is committed to continuing the fight to improve the Affordable Care Act by including a Public Option – and eventually moving to a Medicare for All system.

Today, and for the next four months, our priority must be to ensure we have a President, a Congress and Supreme Court committed to healthcare for all.  That means working to reelect President Barack Obama and regain Democratic control of Congress this fall.

But we cannot stop there.  Neighborhoods throughout New York City and around the country have been devastated by the epidemic of hospital closures like the one at St. Vincent’s on the Lower West Side of Manhattan.  Healthcare Vote 2013 is committed to focusing the debate both nationally and locally on this issue.  In elections for Congress this year, and locally for Mayor, City Council and more in 2013, people who ask for our vote must commit to extending adequate access to healthcare to all.

We start this afternoon.  Please join us at 5:30 PM for a Rally for Healthcare for All at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. The event is cosponsored by Healthcare Vote 2013, Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign, Make The Road New York, Citizen Action of New York, New York Immigration Coalition and many other organizations.  It will be an important step in the fight.  Details are below.  Please join us.

Yours in Solidarity,

The Steering Committee of Healthcare Vote 2013:

Yetta G. Kurland, Esq.,     Hon. Paul Newell,    Eileen Dunn, RN,
David L. Kaufman, MD and Thomas Shanahan, Esq.

Healthcare for All Rally!
TODAY, Thursday, June 28th
5:30 PM.  Foley Square, Lower Manhattan
Across from the Federal Courthouse
at the African American Burial Ground Monument

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/M1s5
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/388335861224838/

 

Vote Tomorrow: Reelect Nydia Velazquez

Posted by paulnewell on June 25, 2012
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Tomorrow, Tuesday June 26th, I will be voting to reelect Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez.  I’m writing to ask you to join me.  For 20 years, Nydia has been a true progressive voice.  The first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress, she has been a consistent advocate for women, working families, immigrants, small businesses and economic justice.  I am proud to call her my Congresswoman.

Nydia Velazquez has not been afraid to take tough stances.  She voted against the Iraq War, the PATRIOT Act and the anti-gay “Defense of Marriage Act”.  As Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, she has taken a lead role in fighting for the DREAM Act and for a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers.   In housing, Velazquez’s work resulted in an additional $55 million annually to staff and operate NYC Housing Authority buildings that had been underfunded for years.  She was also instrumental in getting $28 billion in Section 8 rental assistance vouchers for 2012.   Those vouchers help over 100,000 NYC families meet their rent obligations.

Nydia also voted for the Affordable Care Act – which will extend health insurance to over 30 million Americans.  Below is a video of her fighting to include a Public Option in the bill.

Nydia Velazquez deserves reelection and our support.  Tomorrow, she will face three primary opponents.  The most serious of them is running as a puppet of the Brooklyn Democratic Party boss – who has long resented Nydia’s independent mind and fierce advocacy for cleaner government.  Allowing the old-line party machine bosses to win would be a serious setback to progressive, reform movement in New York.

The primary election is open to all Democrats in New York’s new 7th Congressional District.  The district includes the Lower East Side, the East Village and Chinatown in Manhattan, as well as Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, Park Slope,  Bushwick, Red Hook and Sunset Park in Brooklyn and Maspeth and Woodhaven in Queens.

Polls will be open on Tuesday, June 26th from 6:00 AM until 9:00 PM.  The district lines have changed significantly since the last election, so even very informed voters may be in the 7th Congressional District without knowing it.

   

To find out if you are in the 7th District and where to vote, go to: http://gis.nyc.gov/vote/ps/index.htm.

   

Nydia Velazquez has been endorsed by The New York Times, The Daily News, President Barack Obama, MoveOn.org, NARAL, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Downtown Independent Democrats and many more.  She is exactly the kind of independent, honest progressive voice we cannot afford to lose in Congress.  Please join me in voting for her tomorrow. 

Electeds, Press File Federal OWS Suit Vs NYPD, JP Morgan Chase

Posted by paulnewell on April 30, 2012
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Yetta Kurland 917 701 9590
Leo Glickman 917 582 1405
Wylie Stecklow 917 576 6727

Elected Officials and Members of the Press File Civil Rights Suit Against NYPD and JP Morgan Chase For Arrests Related to OWS

Federal lawsuit alleges civil rights violated by NYPD and private entities including JP Morgan Chase and Brookfield Properties asks for federal independent monitor

New York, NY. April 30, 2012. Lawyers on behalf of 5 elected officials and over half a dozen members of the press filed a major lawsuit today in federal court alleging the City of New York, the MTA, the New York Police Department, Brookfield Properties, JP Morgan Chase and others are in violation of numerous civil rights, including First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly.  The suit seeks redress for police misconduct in arrests made during the “Occupy Wall Street” protests and asks that a federal independent monitor be appointed to oversee the NYPD in order to safeguard the public.

The 143 page complaint submitted by a group of civil rights attorneys including Leo Glickman, Yetta G. Kurland and Wylie Stecklow, was filed today in United States District Court in the Southern District and includes a 24 minute video which highlights the use of excessive force and selective enforcement which many have claimed has become an issue over the past 6 months during the “Occupy” protests.

The suit also addresses the City’s relationship with JP Morgan Chase who donated $4.6 million to the NYPD during this time, as well as the fact that members of the press and elected officials have been arrested while observing and/or reporting on these protests.

One of the plaintiffs, New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, who was bloodied and arrested on November 15, 2011 for attempting to observe the eviction of Zuccotti park stated “While my charges were dismissed, the bigger issue still remains, namely that the NYPD misused their power and did not respect my First Amendment or the NYC Charter which gave me the right to act as an observer.”

New York City Councilmember Letitia James, another plaintiff in the suit, stated “this is about accountability but it is also about ensuring that we have a proper balance of powers in this City. People should not be afraid to suffer harm from the police when they express their First Amendment right to assemble.”

New York City Councilmember Melissa Mark Viverito has also joined the suit. She stated “Some of us in the City Council are looking to address these issues legislatively, in the meantime we will avail ourselves of the United States judicial branch to ask for its help to ensure our police properly protect the public they are entrusted to serve.”

Jumaane Williams, another New York City Councilmember made the point that this effects everyone not just OWS protestors. “We hope this suit will help all New Yorkers, as well as the NYPD. We believe officers should not be put in a situation where they are asked to act in a way which results in this type of misconduct or puts them at odds with the public.”

Paul Newell, a plaintiff and Democratic District Leader for Lower Manhattan added that the police misconduct “had a chilling effect of the freedoms of speech, movement and assembly as well as quality of life in Lower Manhattan.”

John Knefel, a journalist and radio show host, who was arrested while covering a protest in the publicly-accessible Winter Garden in lower Manhattan because he didn’t have NYPD issue press credentials, is one of the plaintiffs as well. “It is of course concerning that the public is arrested for exercising their First Amendment rights, but it is likewise concerning that members of the press are arrested when they try to cover this.”

Justin Sullivan, another plaintiff and citizen press journalist who assembled the video exhibit for the suit stated “I was arrested while covering someone else being arrested for complaining about someone else being arrested for doing a ‘mic check’. This is not how our police should act.”

Attorneys and the plaintiffs will be holding a press conference at 9:45am on the steps of City Hall on Monday April 30, 2012. Copies of the complaint are available below and at http://www.scribd.com/doc/91818746/Rodrigeuz-et-al-vs-Winski-et-al-Complaint .

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