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NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, January 25, 2016

ALBANY — Ten gay and lesbian state and city Democratic elected officials on Tuesday are set to formally endorse Hillary Clinton for president, the Daily News has learned.

Among those backing Clinton are state Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat and the state’s only openly gay senator, as well as Assembly members Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan), Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan), Harry Bronson (D-Rochester), and Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island).

City Council members James Vacca, who recently came out as gay, Daniel Dromm, Corey Johnson, Rosie Mendez, and Jimmy Van Bramer are also endorsing her.

“Not only has she been a proven leader domestically on issues around women’s rights, LGBT rights and education, she has been a superlative diplomat with a wide range of international experience unlike any other candidate,” said Glick, who was the state Legislature’s first openly gay member.

Hoylman cited Clinton’s record and called it “icing on the cake” that she has the first openly gay campaign manager for a major presidential candidate.

While endorsing Clinton, Titone referenced criticism among some in the gay community that she was slow to embrace issues like same sex marriage.

“I am glad Hillary Clinton has come around on LGBT issues,” he said. “I am supporting her because I believe she will be the most capable in implementing an agenda that benefits all hard working families and the diverse people of our great nation.”

Three groups, the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, and the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats are also throwing their support behind the former First Lady-turned U.S. senator from New York-turned secretary of state.

During an appearance in Iowa on Sunday, Clinton, who recently was endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, promised to continue expanding the gains made on gay rights under President Obama.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/gay-lesbian-pols-ny-endorse-hillary-clinton-article-1.2509261

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
ALBANY – Landlords who overcharge a rent-stabilized tenant would face tougher fines under a bill set to be introduced by two Manhattan state lawmakers, the Daily News has learned.

The bill by Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, both Democrats, would increase penalties against landlords to five times the amount of the overcharge, plus interest, for a first violation and 10 times the amount for subsequent violations.

“It’s imperative we send a strong message to landlords that failure to comply with the law will not be tolerated,” Hoylman said. “Under our legislation, any landlords who cheat New Yorkers out of affordable housing in this manner will face stiff and compounding penalties until they hold up their end of the agreement.”

Under current law, landlords found to be overcharging tenants in rent-stabilized apartments are hit with penalties of three times the overcharge for each violation.

In drafting the bill, Hoylman and Rosenthal cite a recent ProPublica report that found as many as 200,000 apartments in New York City that should be rent stabilized under the law are not.

“For wealthy landlords and developers, the existing penalties for overcharging a rent-regulated tenant or failing to register a rent-regulated unit are merely the cost of doing business,” Rosenthal said. “Landlords and developers must no longer be allowed to use the public’s tax dollars to game their system for their own personal gain.”

A spokesman for the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents landlords, did not return a call seeking comment.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bigger-hit-landlords-ripping-rent-stabilized-tenants-article-1.2493636?cid=bitly

By Jimmy Vielkind

ALBANY — As a leading LGBT rights organization folds up its tent, a top gay legislator says there’s plenty of work left to do for LGBT New Yorkers.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman on Wednesday will issue a report examining LGBT bills that have been stalled in the state’s upper chamber for years. According to the report, the state Senate hasn’t held floor votes on at least a half-dozen measures Hoylman carries — including bills that would have state agencies collect demographic data on sexual orientation and ban “conversion therapy” programs — as well as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would prohibit discrimination based on gender expression.

“The past four legislative sessions have revealed nothing short of a blacklist of the LGBT community in the New York State Senate. Since marriage equality passed in 2011, the Senate has chosen to ignore the needs of LGBT New Yorkers even as they continue to suffer disproportionately from discrimination, poverty, violence and lack of access to health care,” said Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat who is the only openly gay senator. “This report underscores the importance of a statewide organization that advocates for the numerous and unfulfilled needs of LGBT New Yorkers. The legislative priorities of the LGBT community will remain unheeded unless a targeted effort is organized to hold senators accountable for their inaction.”

Of late, that organization had been Empire State Pride Agenda, which was founded in 1990 and was instrumental in lobbying for same-sex marriage in 2011 and the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in 2002. On Saturday, the organization announced it would “conclude major operations” next year after Cuomo announced he would enact GENDA — the group’s “top remaining priority” — by issuing regulations.

The organization will continue with a PAC. Libby Post, a public relations executive who was a founding co-chair of the Pride Agenda, said a lobbying presence is also needed.

“There’s shockwaves going through New York’s LGBT community, and there’s a certain sense of disbelief that after 25 years, the idea that we can parcel out tasks to other organizations and keep a PAC going without boots on the ground in the halls of the Capitol to hold people accountable,” she said. “People don’t understand it and I don’t understand it.”

Hoylman said Republicans who control the state Senate and who brought the same-sex marriage bill to the floor in 2011, are effectively ignoring 570,000 LGBT New Yorkers, even as the Democrat-dominated Assembly has passed bills multiple times.

A spokesman for Senate Republicans declined to comment.

Here is the report: http://politi.co/1O3UTUX

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/12/8585753/pride-agenda-folds-gay-lawmaker-details-its-unfinished-work

By MICHAEL VIRTANEN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALBANY, N.Y. — Jan 23, 2016

The two ex-leaders of New York’s Legislature tapped their campaign funds for a combined $3.6 million last year in an unsuccessful attempt to beat federal corruption charges, a practice that some lawmakers are trying to ban.

“When you get campaign dollars, people expect you to use them in campaigns,” said Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Westchester Democrat. “It’s not expected to be used as get-out-of-jail-free funds.”

That’s not how it worked out for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Both were convicted in separate federal corruption trials despite Silver spending $2.9 million and Skelos spending $760,000 on defense attorneys last year, according to campaign finance reports.

Manhattan Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman has introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of campaign funds to pay attorney’s fees for defending against any civil or criminal lawsuit or federal or state criminal investigations. The sole exception would be for civil Election Law cases.

Hoylman’s bill, introduced a year ago, has seven co-sponsors and support of most members of the minority Senate Democratic Caucus. Citizens Union, Common Cause New York and the New York Public Interest Research Group all say it’s one of the reforms Albany needs.

Notably not supporting the measure is Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose campaign spent $400,000 for lawyers representing him in the federal investigation of his abrupt shutdown in 2014 of the Moreland anti-corruption commission. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara this month said their probe found “insufficient evidence to prove a federal crime.”

Spokesman Richard Azzopardi said the payments were for Cuomo’s fees and expenses concerning the law firm’s original engagement, as well as document production and assistance related to recent trials. Cuomo, talking to reporters in March, defended the practice, though he said paying legal fines and penalties would be a different matter.

“My father was governor for 12 years. He was sued for years after being governor,” Cuomo told reporters last year. “That is a function of being in office.”

“You vote for a bill as an assemblyman, they can sue you. You’re governor and the state takes an action — my father was sued by … people who were against abortion, and that he committed murder. So, you know, I believe it’s a function of the office and I believe it’s a legitimate fee.”

A separate Senate bill would prohibit state reimbursement to a campaign account for an official’s legal fees after an acquittal, a situation that came up in the case of former Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

Bruno, convicted in 2009 of two corruption charges, had them overturned on appeal and was acquitted at a second trial. More than $1 million in campaign funds helped pay his lawyers. Last year, he was reimbursed $1.8 million by the state for legal fees. Some of that money — at least $355,000 — has come to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee and its housekeeping account through Creating New York Jobs Now, an organization Bruno created.

NYPIRG’s Blair Horner said the Legislature and governor last year codified some of the existing Board of Elections rules that generally prohibit using campaign funds for personal use. “They did not deal with legal defense funds,” he said.

Silver, a Manhattan Democrat who ruled the Assembly as speaker for almost 20 years, was convicted in November by a federal jury of awarding state medical research grants and influencing legislation helpful to New York City developers that brought him millions of dollars in legal fees. Skelos, a Long Island Republican who led the Senate as majority leader for four years, was convicted in December of using his influence to get his son lucrative no-show jobs.

Both are pursuing appeals. Silver’s lawyers on Thursday asked the trial judge to throw out his convictions, arguing the evidence didn’t prove he sold his influence.

Hoylman said if lawmakers knew they would have to pay out of their own pockets for their attorneys if they are accused of wrongdoing “maybe it would modify their behavior.”

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/064e862825f649149616e0e12aa4147b/convicted-ny-lawmakers-tapped-campaign-funds-lawyer-fees

SUBMITS PUBLIC COMMENTS URGING E.P.A. TO REJECT PLAN TO ALLOW G.E. TO QUIT DREDGING

NEW RESEARCH REVEALS INCOMPLETE CLEANUP OF PCBs

Hoylman: The polluter must pay. It’s outrageous that we’d let a $650 billion company off the hook and conceivably stick taxpayers with the remainder of the cleanup bill.

NEW YORK, NY – In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (E.P.A.) decision to permit General Electric (G.E.) to dismantle its PCB processing facility in Fort Edward, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) today submitted public comments calling on the E.P.A. to immediately halt the dismantling of the facility and require G.E. to execute a comprehensive cleanup the Hudson River.

G.E. is at the end of a six-year, $1 billion dredging operation agreement that requires the company to remove nearly 30 years worth of dangerous PCB chemicals that it knowingly dumped into the river.

In his comments, Senator Hoylman asserts that a report issued earlier this year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration demonstrates that the original models used by the E.P.A to plan the cleanup were “overly optimistic,” and necessitate that the E.P.A. “revisit the terms of the 2005 agreement.”

Senator Hoylman said in a statement: “It’s outrageous that we’d let a $650 billion company off the hook and conceivably stick taxpayers with the remainder of the cleanup bill. It is incumbent on G.E. to reverse years of dumping thathave directly contributed to the economic and environmental degradation of communities throughout the Hudson region. The bottom line is the polluter must pay.”

In June, Senator Hoylman, the Ranking Member on the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, convened a panel discussion with environmental lawyers and advocates on the state of the Hudson River. During the discussion, experts noted that G.E., one of the largest corporations on the planet, was planning to renege on its obligations well before removing enough PCBs. The toxins have been linked to myriad health risks including cancer, low birth weight, thyroid disease, as well as learning, memory and immune system disorder.

Senator Hoylmans full comments to the E.P.A. are included below.

PUBLIC COMMENTS BY NEW YORK STATE SENATOR BRAD HOYLMAN ON THE E.P.A.S DRAFT PROCESSING FACILITY DEMOBILIZATION AND RESTORATION PLAN FOR THE PCB PROCESSING FACILITY IN FORT EDWARD, NEW YORK

September 28, 2015

Thank you for the opportunity to submit public comments on the E.P.A.s draft Processing Facility Demobilization and Restoration Plan, which outlines the proposed procedures by which General Electric (G.E.) will dismantle and decontaminate the 110 acre PCB processing facility in Fort Edward, New York along the Hudson River. As the ranking member of the New York State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, and the representative of a senate district in Manhattan that abuts the Hudson River, I write to express my deep concerns with allowing the dismantling of the PCB processing facility to proceed and urge the E.P.A. to revisit the terms of its 2005 dredging agreement with G.E. (the 2005 agreement), in light of recent research that calls into question the efficacy of the agreements remedy.

In May of this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a report examining the model projections used as the basis of the 2005 agreement, finding that the original models used were overly optimistic, and overestimated the rate of natural recovery in the Hudson River. As a result, achieving the E.P.A.s remedial objectives will take longer than predicted. Ultimately, NOAA concluded, [a]dditional removal of PCB-contaminated sediment in the Upper Hudson River [is] needed to achieve [the] reductions in Lower Hudson River fish PCBs that were initially anticipated by the E.P.A.

In other words, because of the flawed modeling used by the E.P.A. over a decade ago, if G.E.s federally-mandated dredging is allowed to conclude this year and the Fort Edward PCB processing facility is dismantled, the E.P.A. will have fallen far short in achieving its intended remediation. According to NOAA, surface sediment PCBs in the Upper Hudson River will remain at higher rates longer than initially predicted and the reduction of PCB levels in fish found in the Lower Hudson River will take far longer  more than four decades  than the flawed models projected.

The Hudson River  from the foothills of the Adirondacks to Manhattans Battery  is where diverse populations, geographies, natural resources, and economic opportunities converge. Allowing the dredging of the Hudson to fall short of the E.P.A.s remediation goals puts the health of millions of New Yorkers along the 200-mile span of the river at risk. The PCB contaminants left behind are probable human carcinogens that have been linked to other adverse health effects such as low birth weight, thyroid disease, and immune system disorders.

It is incumbent upon the E.P.A. to ensure that the dredging of the Hudson River by G.E. actually meets the remediation goals it set out to achieve in the 2005 agreement. NOAAs analysis of the flawed projection models used by the agency raise sufficient questions about whether the efficacy of the remedial actions meet the standard set in federal law under 42 U.S.C. 9621(d),attain[ing] a degree of cleanup of hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants [] which assures protection of human health and the environment.

On the basis of the foregoing, I once again strongly urge the E.P.A. to immediately halt the dismantling of the Fort Edward PCB processing facility and revisit the terms of the 2005 agreement to ensure that G.E. completes a thorough and effective cleanup of the Hudson River PCBs.

bh oil spill on hudson

Discussion features Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) lawyer Margaret Hsieh

Hoylman: “Monarchs are the canary in the coal mine, warning us about the devastating effect that human activity is inflicting on the environment, both through climate change and our over-reliance on pesticides like glyphosate.”

New York, NY – Last night, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) hosted a discussion at NYU Law School on the pesticide glyphosate and its devastating effects on the Monarch butterfly, human health, and New York’s environment. The event – the first in Senator Hoylman’s “Conservation Conversation” series –featured Margaret Hsieh, a member of the litigation team for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Earlier this year, NRDC filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claiming the agency has failed to heed warnings about glyphosate’s danger to monarchs, whose population, tallied at 1 billion in 1997, was down to a mere 56.5 million in 2015. Monarch butterflies are important pollinators that help sustain New York’s ecosystem and affect the economic vitality of both national and international agricultural markets.

In addition to its danger to monarchs, a recent meta-analysis study by the World Health Organization concluded that glyphosate “is probably carcinogenic to humans.” Glyphosate, first created by Monsanto 1970, is commonly known as Roundup and is the most widely-used herbicide in the world. Senator Hoylman, the Ranking Member on the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, is the main sponsor of two bills in the Senate that would ban the sale, distribution, or usage of glyphosate in New York State Enacts and create a Glyphosate Task Force to research and identify health and safety concerns with the pesticide.

Senator Brad Hoylman said: “As New Yorkers, we value the presence of natural beauty in our urban environment. Yet over the course of a decade we’ve witnessed the decimation of one of the most stunning and environmentally important creatures – the monarch butterfly. Monarchs are the canary in the coal mine, warning us about the devastating effect that human activity is inflicting on the environment, both through climate change and our over-reliance on pesticides like glyphosate. This Conservation Conversation series is an effort to speak frankly about these issues and figure out what we can do to preserve some of our most treasured natural species and environments.”

Assemblymember Deborah Glick, who attended the event, said: “During their seasonal migration, you used to walk on Fire Island and be enveloped by monarchs. Now, you’re excited when you see a handful. The loss of monarchs in the Northeast is dramatic and startling. We need to fight back and organize to protect the environment otherwise we will soon become the pests that disappear due to environmental degradation.”

Margaret Hsieh from NRDC said: “The pervasive use of pesticides like Roundup have had a devastating impact on monarch butterflies. Whereas migrating monarchs used to darken the skies, some people are now lucky to see five or ten butterflies in an entire season. State action, like the bill sponsored by Sen. Hoylman, is critical in reversing the 90 percent decline in the monarch population and pushing the federal government to respond to the harm posed by glyphosate.”

Last night’s Conservation Conversation was co-sponsored by Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Senator Daniel Squadron, Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, Council Member Margaret Chin, Council Member Rosie Mendez, Council Member Corey Johnson, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Manhattan Community Board 2, Manhattan Community Board 3, Manhattan Community Board 4, Manhattan Community Board 5, Manhattan Community Board 6, Manhattan Community Board 7, Natural Resources Defense Council, and NYU Law Democrats.

 

Conservation Conversation 1

Huffington Post : March 19, 2015 : by Robbie Couch

Miley Cyrus is continuing to use her star power to advocate on behalf of young people in need.

The 22-year-old singer wrote a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie earlier this month urging that they increase funding to help homeless kids, New York Daily News reported. Cyrus posted the letter to her Instagram account on Wednesday, saying she was “speaking up” for those without a roof over their head.

In the letter, Cyrus endorses a proposal by New York state Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), political advocacy group Empire State Pride Agenda and nonprofit Coalition for Homeless Youth that would ensure $4.75 million for homeless children in New York’s state budget. Hoylman voiced his thanks for Cyrus’ support on Twitter.

“These young people are homeless through no fault of their own,” Cyrus wrote to the state officials. “They’ve been kicked out of their homes or are fleeing abusive parents. And too often they’re forced into dangerous situations just to find a place to sleep.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 7.34.37 PM

Cyrus points out that although youth homelessness is a problem throughout the U.S., it’s “especially serious in New York.” According to Empire State Pride Agenda, data from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services shows that kids were turned away from homeless shelters because there were no beds more than 5,000 times in 2012 — a fact the pop star highlights in her letter to Cuomo.

The organization also points out that funding for homeless youth shelters across the state has decreased by about two-thirds since 2009.

Cyrus — who launched her own nonprofit, The Happy Hippie Foundation, to advocate for homeless youths last year, according to MTV — has championed the issue in recent months. At last year’s MTV Video Music Awards, she took a young man who’d been homeless, Jesse Helt, as her guest. When Cyrus won a Moonman for Video of the Year, Helt accepted the award on her behalf and dedicated his speech to raising awareness on the issue.

The duo created a fundraising campaign for My Friend’s Place, a Los Angeles organization that helps homeless young people, and garnered about $200,000 in roughly one day.

The Villager : March 19, 2015 : by Zach Williams

In a year featuring renewed debate about community-police relations, a March 14 memorial held in honor of two auxiliary police officers recognized two of the best among New York’s Finest.

The annual event commemorated Yevgeniy “Eugene” Marshalik, 19, and Nicholas Pekearo, 28, who — like all auxiliary officers — were unarmed on March 14, 2007, when they were killed while trying to stop a rampaging gunmen near the intersection of Sullivan and Bleecker Sts.

Two corners of that intersection were subsequently co-named in their honor. Another result of the two officers’ tragic deaths was that the New York Police Department now issues bulletproof vests to all auxiliary police officers. But a bill in the state Senate that would increase criminal penalties for those who attack or kill auxiliary officers remains stuck in committee.

In addition, Pekearo, an aspiring writer, even had a novel, “The Wolfman,” published posthumously.

Members of the N.Y.P.D. Auxiliary Police Program — the largest volunteer law enforcement force in the country at more than 4,500 members — perform patrols in uniform but typically serve as observers for local precincts rather than directly confronting suspects. But Pekearo and Marshalik disregarded the danger when they tailed David Garvin, who had just fatally shot a pizzeria employee on W. Houston St.

They pursued him onto Sullivan St., and Garvin turned and killed both of them. Minutes later, their assailant died nearby on Bleecker St. in a hail of bullets during a shootout with police officers.

Many people say that without the intervention of Pekearo and Marshalik, more people would have died that day. Last Saturday, a group of 75, including police officers and auxiliaries, family members of the two men and community members marched from the Sixth Precinct station on W. 10th St. to Sullivan and Bleecker Sts.

James O’Neill, the N.Y.P.D. chief of department, said in his remarks that the two men were the quintessential police officers.

“For them to show the courage and strength to do what they did exemplifies not only what the auxiliary officers do but also what police officers do for this city,” he said. “They keep us safe. Sometimes people fail to acknowledge that there are people in this world that are looking to hurt people.”

O’Neill added that time does not necessarily “heal all wounds,” though the effects of selfless police work have brought change to the city.

“If you look at the city 10, 20 years ago, it’s just not the same place,” he said. “It’s safe, and it’s safe because of what you do and because of what the brave men and women of the N.Y.P.D. do,” he told the officers and community activists.

But department practices during that period, notably the use of stop-and-frisk as part of the “broken windows” theory of policing — which calls for enforcement against minor offenses — spawned resentment among many in minority communities. That anger, amplified greatly by the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, helped fuel the recent #BlackLivesMatter movement. Protests have lessened in recent months, only to re-emerge within City Hall itself during a recent hearing on police-community relations.

Protesters chanted, “No new cops!” at a March 12 hearing where Police Commissioner Bill Bratton testified in support of adding 1,000 more officers to the force. Two days later, though, the focus at the memorial was firmly on the sacrifices and contributions of the heroic auxiliary officers, Pekearo and Marshalik.

“What the police do, in general, is protect us, and how could that be under question for the auxiliary police officers who were uniformed but unarmed and gave their lives,” said Terri Cude, first vice chairperson of Community Board 2. “I don’t see that there is a relationship between national political issues and this memorial.” Cude added that she attends the event each year.

Meanwhile, a bill announced at last year’s memorial by state Senator Brad Hoylman has continued to slowly make its way through the legislative process. If signed into law, the measure would make the penalty for killing an on-duty auxiliary officer as serious as killing a police officer.

“If you wear the uniform to safeguard the public, you should be protected from deadly assaults,” Hoylman said in a statement.

The bill was reintroduced this legislative session and referred to the state Senate’s Codes Committee on Feb. 20. A hearing has yet to be scheduled.

The singer makes good on her promise to help homeless youth.

MTV News : March 18, 2015 : by John Walker

Breaking news: someone under the age of 42 wrote a letter. But seriously, that someone is Miley Cyrus, and her reason for writing that letter is super important.

The 22-year-old singer penned a letter on behalf of her Happy Hippie Foundation to three New York state officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging them to provide “more funding” to assist their state’s homeless youth shelters.

Here’s a picture of the letter, which Miley posted to Instagram on Wednesday (Mar. 18).

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 7.34.37 PM

“1.6 million kids across the United States are homeless, and the problem is especially serious in New York,” she writes. “Between 2009 and 2012, the number of kids turned away from homeless shelters in New York grew from 570 to more than 5,000.”

The letter continues: “That’s why I’m speaking up to support a request by Senator Brad Hoylman…to include $4.75 million for homeless youth in this year’s New York State budget. This money would have a direct impact — 1,000 new [badly needed] beds to help make sure every young person has a place to sleep at night.”

I’ve reached out to Senator Hoylman’s office for comment on Miley’s support of his initiative (and to confirm just how far the Smiler fandom has infiltrated the New York State Legislature), but I’ve yet to get a substantive answer. I’ll keep you updated if I hear more.

UPDATE! Senator Hoylman has since released a statement thanking Miley for her support. It reads:

“I’m incredibly grateful to Miley Cyrus for her support of our campaign to restore funding for homeless youth shelters in our state budget. It’s unconscionable that thousands of New York kids each year are turned away from homeless youth shelters because there aren’t enough beds. We must act now to bring these kids in from the cold by increasing funding for homeless youth shelters.”

This isn’t the first time Miley’s used her platform to raise awareness of the plight of homeless youth.

In 2014, she founded the Happy Hippie Foundation, a non-profit focused on fighting youth homelessness.

She also used her Video Of The Year win at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards to shine a light on the problem. In lieu of giving an acceptance speech, she asked her date for the night, Jesse Helt, to accept the Moonman in her place.

Once at the podium, Helt, who has been homeless at various points in his life, urged the music industry and viewers at home to get involved: “Los Angeles, the entertainment capital, has the largest population of homeless youth in America. The music industry will make [billions of dollars] this year and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home.”

Helt, who met Cyrus through a Hollywood homeless shelter called My Friend’s Place, was later sentenced to six months of jail time after a past probation violation resurfaced. In an effort to keep the conversation she’d sparked about youth homelessness from getting derailed, Miley defended her VMA date, tweeting, “People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included.”

People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included.

— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) August 26, 2014

She echoes that compassionate sentiment in her letter to Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Dan Skelos, and Speaker Carl Heastie: “These young people are homeless through no fault of their own. They’ve been kicked out of their homes or are fleeing abusive parents. And too often they’re forced into dangerous situations just to find a place to sleep.”

All in all, Miley’s actions are pretty inspiring — and I don’t just mean the, like, “actually writing a letter in 2015″ thing.

For more information on youth homelessness, check out the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Gothamist : March 19, 2015 : by Jen Chung

The 37-year-old woman killed by a four foot-by-eight foot piece of construction fencing that struck her as she was walking on a Manhattan sidewalk was remembered by her fiance as “the woman of my dreams.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Tina Nguyen was in front of 175 West 12th Street when the huge piece of plywood somehow came loose from the condo conversion, The Greenwich Lane, in the old St. Vincent’s site, across the street. The plywood slammed Nguyen into the building’s brick wall. According to NBC New York, “The plywood hit her at a high rate of speed, police said, causing her to hit her head. She suffered severe head trauma, bruising and lacerations, police said.”

The Department of Buildings issued a stop work order for The Greenwich Lane, where the luxury apartments start at $3.65 million and top out at $26.5 million, and is investigating the incident. The DOB said, “It is the responsibility of building owners and construction site managers to ensure their properties are safeguarded and in code compliant conditions at all times. A failure to do so can result in enforcement action by the department including the issuance of violations.” One spokesman told the NY Times that while there were a 11 open violations at the site, “That’s pretty much normal to have open complaints and violations.”

The Daily News reports:
The National Weather Service notified the city Office of Emergency Management on Tuesday about a special weather statement regarding high winds at 5:18 p.m.

The emergency office notified the Buildings Department at 6:25 p.m. — more than 30 minutes after the deadly incident. Buildings Department officials opted not to send an advisory because it was after business hours.

Workers were reinforcing the fencing yesterday.

Developers Bill and Eric Rudin said, “What happened is tragic and devastating. We extend our deepest condolences to the family,” while a spokesman for Turner Construction, which is overseeing the building, said, “We are deeply saddened by the death of a pedestrian who was walking near the construction site on West 12th Street. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this very difficult time.”
2015_03_west12th2.jpg

Nguyen, who lived on West 4th Street, had just started working for Keller Williams, a real estate agency. Her former boss Chris Morley at Bien Realty spoke to the Times, “She was extremely excited” about her upcoming wedding this summer to Alejandro Beitler. Morley added that she had wanted to start a family, noting that on Halloween, she dressed up to hand out candy, “She was excited to talk to the kids.”

Beitler, who also works in real estate, was too distraught to speak, and a friend read a statement from him, “She always saw the best in everyone. She was always reminding me to see the same. We were together for five of the best years of our lives. We planned to be married in July of this year. The family and I have decided to bury her in Philadelphia. This is the most devastating loss. She was the woman of my dreams. I hope people will remember her by seeing the best in one another and treating each other with true kindness.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman was “angry,” noting, “The proximity of this construction site to 800 elementary students at a local public school on the block and thousands of residents and workers in the area makes this a matter of the utmost importance.”

Other pedestrians were also horrified about Nguyen’s death. One told NBC New York, “This street is a wind tunnel and it’s been rather dangerous,” while another said to WCBS 880, “Now, I’m not walking down 12th Street. I’m going around.”

One fearful woman said she was scared of falling debris hurting or killing her, “Not from burglars, muggers or terrorists, but construction.”