Monday 7/29: Housing Town Hall with Yuh-Line Niou

The Democratic State Legislature this spring pushed past decades of dominance by landlords to pass strong protections for renters in New York City and the rest of the state.

For too long, the real estate lobby has pushed legislators to weaken rent regulations with the result that thousands of rent-controlled apartments in NYC have been allowed to become market-rate, driving housing inequality, housing instability, and homelessness in the city. This year’s new laws dramatically reverse that trend and — importantly — make the new regulations permanent, instead of being subject to new rounds of lobbying every few years.

On Monday evening, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou is holding a Town Hall with representatives from GOLES, Legal Aid Society, and Mobilization for Justice to present an overview of the new rent laws and to answer any questions that community have.

HOUSING AND RENT LAW TOWN HALL
Monday, July 29, 2019, 6:00 pm
Manny Cantor Center, 197 East Broadway

Wednesday: Help Elect Democrats In Virginia

When the Supreme Court decided last month that gerrymandering for partisan gain is fair game in this country, it finally dawned on everyone that the fight for the House of Representatives for the next decade starts with state legislatures.

We’ve been partnering with the Sister District Project to help give Democrats more leverage in the states where redistricting after the 2020 Census will have the most effect.

This year they are focused on two races in Virginia, and we have a chance to make some initial phone calls this week on Wednesday.

Wendy Gooditis won her seat narrowly in the 2017 Blue Wave, but faces a tough challenge for re-election.

Shelly Simonds lost her 2017 race in a coin flip after the recount ended in a tie. This year we don’t want to leave her election up to chance!

Early phonebanking builds name recognition for candidates and offers voters a chance to raise their concerns.

No phonebanking experience is necessary to participate! Please bring a mobile phone, plus a laptop or tablet. The hosts will provide instructions, talking points, and snacks.

Borough President requests 60-day delay for vote on East Side Coastal Resiliency plan

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer on Monday formally requested a 60-day delay for the City Planning Commission’s [CPC] hearing and final vote to approve the city’s preferred plan for East River Park.

Grand Street Democrats passed a resolution in May requesting a delay in the project so that several important aspects can be revisited. Since then we have been meeting with our elected officials, including Brewer, to encourage them to support community goals to improve the plan. Read GSD’s resolution on the draft Environmental Impact Statement here.

Local Community Boards and elected officials have all largely lined up in support of the city’s preferred plan to protect the East Village and Lower East Side from storm surges and rising sea levels, but with huge caveats, concerns, and still-unanswered questions about the accuracy of the city’s 3.5-year time table, contingencies for immediate flood protection, and more.

Brewer’s request indicates that one priority for the delay is to “consult with independent environmental experts” to make sure that the city’s preferred plan to level the park and pour 8-9 feet of landfill from Montgomery to 23rd Street has the support of experts in the field.

Brewer’s July 8 letter does not automatically trigger the delay she requests, but the City Planning Commission has announced that it’s vote on the City’s plan will come nearly at the end of its allotted 60-day review period in September.

Thank you for another chance to serve as your District Leaders

Hey neighbors, GSD co-founders, LES originals and newcomers,

It’s an honor and oh-so-welcome bright spot in our current events landscape to announce that we get to start our second term as your Democratic District Leaders TODAY.

Many of you stood outside, knocked on doors, and successfully collected more than enough signatures to get us on the ballot — thank you! And because we were unopposed this year, we have been low-key re-elected without the need for polling sites to materialize in the usual places. (It is Primary Day in some of NYC, but in AD65 Part A there are no contested races.)

We are so grateful for your continuing trust in us as your District Leaders, and for your enthusiasm and support for Grand Street Democrats, our not-quite-two-year-old neighborhood political club.

Two years ago, we didn’t know if GSD would be able to emerge from the shadow of the political machine we defeated. It turns out that AD65-A is a hotbed of political activism and community leaders brimming with experience, energy and a thirst for progress. You all have taught and inspired us so much in such a short time. And now that we have put down roots, we’re ready to grow and branch out, with your ideas, questions, problems, and solutions guiding us.

So, to recontextualize a quote from Hamilton: What Comes Next?

We’ll get our first glimpse of the 2020 presidential candidates tomorrow night with our Democratic Debate Watch Party, 8:30 at La Flaca. And with monthly debates on the horizon, we hope to make this a recurring event (want to coordinate our next GSD watch party? EMAIL US!)

We will continue to bring in city & state officials to our GSD meetings (mark your calendars for our Summer Meeting on August 14). Importantly, we want to give you all plenty of chances to meet the candidates for city-wide elections in 2021 (Mayor! City Council! Borough President! District Attorney!).

And what do you want to do, see, and discuss? Please catch us on the street or on email and speak up. We wouldn’t be here without you!

In solidarity,
Carole Laskow & Lee Berman, Democratic District Leaders

Good news: M14A local stops restored in latest plan

In March, the MTA surprised our local Community Board with a plan to cut 40% of the M14A and M14D stops below 14th Street — 50% of the M14A stops below Delancey Street.

In the two months since then, Grand Street Democrats engaged diverse community groups, participated in protests, collected petition signatures from our neighbors, spoke out on TV, plastered social media, showed up at community meetings, rallied our local elected officials, and won significant improvements to the MTA’s plan for seniors, students, and people with disabilities.

The MTA initially presented a plan cutting four out of eight stops south of Delancey. In the final plan presented to CB3 on Tuesday, two stops have been restored. The result is still a disappointing reduction in local service, but is so much more reasonable than what was initially proposed that we have to take this as a victory of community action.

  • The first stop we are losing is at Cherry & Jackson, which is the closest stop for many people in Vladeck Houses. But the stop on Madison & Jackson is just around the corner and less than one block away.
  • The other stop we are losing is the one in front of CVS on Grand Street between East Broadway and Willet. Riders will have to walk to Columbia or Pitt.
  • In addition, the stop currently between Suffolk and Norfolk will be moved east to Clinton Street, which is midway between Pitt and Essex, better balancing the stops along this stretch of Grand St.

The final plan has not yet been posted online.

Local electeds all agree: Save our local M14 bus stops!

Our Congressmembers, State reps, and Councilmembers are all on the same page as local seniors and neighborhood transit advocates: the MTA’s planned service cuts along the M14A and M14D bus lines are a big mistake.

After weeks of protests, the MTA presented local stakeholders with a new plan that preserves an additional stop on Grand Street, but we are still pushing for more, and our elected representatives are on our side.

This letter was sent Wednesday to NYC Transit and NYC DOT, signed by:

  • Congressmember Carolyn Maloney
  • Congressmember Nydia Velázquez
  • State Senator Brian Kavanagh
  • State Senator Brad Hoylman
  • Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou
  • Assemblymember Harvey Epstein
  • Councilmember Carlina Rivera
  • Councilmember Margaret Chin
  • Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

In it, they call for keeping all stops along Grand Street, including the stop at Cherry and Jackson which services residents of Vladeck Houses. They also point out that traffic along Grand Street still needs to be addressed if bus speeds are really a priority for DOT.

Postcards to Virginia this Saturday in Seward

Our friends at Sister District have been helping Democrats flip state legislative seats across the country. Our local chapter has helped win seats in Virginia and Pennsylvania, and Grand Street Dems members have helped make phone calls, write postcards, and have even traveled to Pennsylvania to canvass for candidates last year.

In 2019, Sister District volunteers from NYC are again targeting Virginia, where a Democratic state legislature is within reach. With no New York races this year, Sister District’s Virginia campaign gives us a chance to stay engaged in Democratic campaigns.

Join Grand Street volunteers this Saturday for a postcard party in Seward Coop — Saturday, May 11, 2:00 – 4:00 pm. RSVP online to get the apartment number.

MTA’s Sham Meeting Was a Disgrace

Last night’s MTA public meeting on planned M14A/D service cuts was not what we were expecting, and not what this neighborhood deserves.

The MTA had no program or presentation, refused to put out more than six chairs for scores of seniors who showed up, and claimed the room was at capacity in order to keep even more people waiting outside in the cold. If we hadn’t been there to see it, we wouldn’t have believed it.

This wasn’t outreach, this was a disgrace.

What’s worse, it was clear that decisions have already been made to cut local bus service while actively discouraging any meaningful input by our affected community. This is a neighborhood that needs more bus service, not less. The MTA doesn’t want to hear it.

You can see what the MTA is planning on its website.

  • We welcome the addition of Select Bus Service (SBS), which will make longer trips to Union Square and the west side quicker. All-door boarding in itself is a big plus.
  • But by eliminating 40% of our local stops entirely, the MTA is creating unnecessary new challenges for seniors, people with disabilities, parents with small children, and kids who use the bus to get to and from school.

We need to make sure that the MTA and our elected officials know how we feel about these local service cuts right away if we are going to have any chance to keep the service we need. While we try to get another meeting scheduled — a real meeting this time — here are three things you can do right now:

  1. Sign this petition started by the Senior Advocacy Leadership Team (SALT).
  2. Leave a comment for the MTA on its website.
  3. Send a tweet to our local elected officials.

We’ll let you know what happens next.

In solidarity,

Caroline Laskow
Lee Berman

Local elected officials ask MTA to restore local service to M14A/D bus routes

Councilmember Carlina Rivera and nine other local elected officials released a statement today urging the MTA to keep local service along the M14A/D routes in addition to Select Bus Service (SBS) to speed travel times on longer trips.