LATEST NEWS

The Villager : March 20, 2013 : By Sam Spokony

On the seventh anniversary of the fatal shooting of two young auxiliary police officers on a South Village street, state Senator Brad Hoylman introduced legislation that would make the penalty for killing an auxiliary officer the same as that for killing a regular New York Police Department officer.

Nicholas Pekearo, 28, and Yevgeniy “Eugene” Marshalik, 19, were killed on March 14, 2007, while pursuing a crazed gunman who had just slain a pizza restaurant worker on W. Houston St. and was then fleeing on foot while firing wildly. Since the city’s auxiliary officers are unarmed, the two men were defenseless when the gunman, David Garvin, turned and shot them dead near the corner of Sullivan and Bleecker Sts. Garvin was killed minutes later in a shootout with N.Y.P.D. officers who’d rushed to the scene.

The deaths of Pekearo and Marshalik led to a landmark change in safety protocols for auxiliary police officers, who are all unpaid volunteers. Days after the tragic incident, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly asked the City Council to set aside money, for the first time, to provide funding to issue bulletproof vests to all auxiliaries. Before that, auxiliaries had to purchase their own protective vests.

However, from a legal standpoint, another key aspect of the fatal shooting went largely unnoticed for years. If Garvin had survived the incident and stood trial for killing Pekearo and Marshalik, he would not have been charged under New York State’s first-degree murder or manslaughter laws that apply to the killing of a police officer. Instead, the shooting of the auxiliary officers would have been treated the same as the shooting of a civilian.

“But auxiliary police officers deserve the same protections as police and peace officers, and their assailants should face the same penalties,” said Hoylman at a March 14 press conference outside the Sixth Precinct, on W. 10th St. “It’s crucial that we recognize these civic-minded individuals and the sacrifices they make, as well as the families who have suffered, and who are concerned about their well-being each day they’re out in the line of duty.”

Hoylman’s new bill, the Auxiliary Police Officers Yevgeniy Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo Memorial Act, would finally bring the legal penalty for killing an auxiliary officer in line with the penalty for killing a regular officer.
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NY Daily News : March 6, 2013 : By Ken Lovett

A Manhattan state senator wants all smartphones and tablets sold in New York to be equipped with a “kill switch” that makes them permanently inoperable if they are lost or stolen.

Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) has introduced a bill this week that dovetails with federal legislation to crack down on smartphone thefts. The federal effort is being pushed by a coalition led by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Fearing partisan debate in Congress could kill the measure, Hoylman said that New York “should be a leader in protecting consumers” by enacting a state version.

New York Times : February 26, 2014 : By Robin Pogrebin

As a candidate last summer, Bill de Blasio told Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg that New York City should stop financing the ambitious renovation of the Fifth Avenue flagship of the New York Public Library until someone figured out how much it was all going to cost.

Now that Mr. de Blasio is mayor, he holds that very power, and people on both sides of the question are weighing in on how he should wield it as the city budgeting process begins.

For the time being, Mr. de Blasio has let stand the $150 million in capital funds that the Bloomberg administration pledged to the renovation project. But the cost analysis that he called for last summer has yet to be completed, and his office has said its final funding decisions on the library and other capital projects will not be made until the spring.

In recent weeks, the Committee to Save the New York Public Library, which opposes the renovation, has forwarded about 3,000 email letters from supporters imploring the mayor to reconsider the plan. Several elected officials have also written letters to Mr. de Blasio urging him to direct the money elsewhere.

“I am deeply concerned about several of the proposed changes,” State Senator Brad Hoylman, Democrat of Manhattan, whose district includes the library, said in a letter to the mayor last month, and “ask that you consider redirecting the capital funds the Bloomberg administration allocated to this plan for more cost-effective projects that advance the N.Y.P.L.’s mission.”

Library officials similarly acknowledge that communicating with the new administration is an important step in ensuring the city’s continued support for the project, once known as the Central Library Plan. The renovation would largely entail locating a circulating library inside the 42nd Street main building by removing a good portion of the stacks.
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New York Times : February 19, 2014 : By Anemona Hartocollis

A month before their baby’s due date, Brad Hoylman and David Sigal got a call from the woman they had hired to have their child.

She was having contractions; come right away.

Mr. Sigal, a filmmaker, had the more flexible schedule. So after a sleepless night, he hopped on a plane to San Diego while Mr. Hoylman stayed in New York and frantically oversaw the dusty conversion of their TV room into a nursery.

The contractions turned out to be a false alarm, but Mr. Sigal stayed. And stayed, touching up his documentary in his hotel room, going to family outings — a picnic, a cheerleading event — with the surrogate and her daughters, and calling Mr. Hoylman “every 10 minutes” with updates.

Four weeks later, the baby was induced, and Mr. Hoylman flew in for the birth.

‘The timing was perfect,” Mr. Hoylman said. “I cut the cord and David —”

“Held her,” Mr. Sigal finished the sentence.

Such is the world of gestational surrogacy, in which a woman is paid to go through the pregnancy and birth of a child who is not genetically related to her and then promises to give that child away. To anyone who has had a baby, or known someone who has, the couple’s tireless zest for reciting their daughter’s birth story will bring a knowing smile, maybe a jaded shrug. But for Mr. Sigal and Mr. Hoylman, two gay men, the birth narrative carries with it an extra frisson of the illicit that seems to them more than a little archaic and unfair in the post-marriage-equality world.

They had their baby in California because if they had had her in New York, they would have been breaking a 1992 New York law that bars commercial surrogacy contracts and equates them with baby-selling — a legacy of the notorious Baby M case of the 1980s.

Now Mr. Hoylman, as a novice state senator, is in a position to do something about it. He is the co-sponsor of a proposed law that would overturn the current law and make compensated surrogacy legal in New York State.

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New York Daily News : February 10, 2014 : By Glenn Blain

ALBANY – In the wake of Gov. Christie’s Bridgegate scandal, a state lawmaker from Manhattan is looking to shed light on the inner workings of the Port Authority.

Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Democrat, plans to introduce legislation Tuesday that would make the Port Authority comply with the state’s Freedom of Information Law governing the release of internal documents.

“We might avoid future bridgegates if the public and the press had more leverage over confidential documents,” Hoylman told the Daily News.

Hoylman said the Port Authority is not subject to public disclosure laws of either New York or New Jersey. Instead, it has its own policy – known as the Freedom of Information Code – that is less binding and easier to circumvent.

Gov. Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal has spurred the bill.

Hoylman noted the code allowed officials to deny several recent media requests for emails and other documents related to the George Washington Bridge scandal.

“This would really close the loophole that has allowed the Port Authority to evade scrutiny from the public, the press and from the legislatures of both states,” Hoylman said.

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Chelsea Now :  January 29, 2014 : By Winnie McCroy

On January 17, the first perspective buyers of 550 West 20th Street, the former site of the Bayview Correctional Facility, took advantage of the city’s invite for a walkthrough of the site. By mid-February, all proposals must be filed for the newest incarnation of the beloved institution. One thing is already certain: the facility will keep its historical façade and the community amenities for which it has long been known.

“I’m very happy that the Bayview site won’t be converted into another luxury condominium development,” State Senator Brad Hoylman told Chelsea Now. “I’m grateful to the Governor and his team at Empire State Development for bringing the local community to the table and responding positively to our ideas for the future of the prison building.”

When Hurricane Sandy blew through the New York Metro area in October 2012, the 153 female inmates of the medium-security prison were evacuated to three upstate facilities as flood waters washed through the prison. But the die was already cast on Bayview’s future.

In his 2013–14 Fiscal Year Budget, Governor Andrew Cuomo determined that the prison was too costly to run, with a total staff cost per inmate of $74,385, as compared to the state’s benchmark of about $34,000. Cuomo projected that the prison closure would save the state $18.7 million in 2013–14 and $62 million in 2014–15, if Bayview Correctional Facility was closed and sold.

The New York State Urban Development Corporation, the state’s chief economic development agency, doing business as the Empire State Development Corporation, took over Bayview, and is now accepting request for proposals (RFPs) for its purchase and adaptive re-use. The area is zoned for a mix of development, including offices, hotels, retail, entertainment and residential apartments.

According to Community Board 4 (CB4) Co-Chair of the Housing, Health and Human Services Committee, Joe Restuccia, 22 perspective applicants toured the site on January 17, including Steinway & Sons, who recently sold their historical building on West 57th Street for $46M. But no matter whose proposal wins the bid, one thing is certain: Bayview will not be torn down and replaced by luxury condominiums.

NO CONDOS OR CO-OPS IN BAYVIEW’S FUTURE
Thanks to the hard work of Sen. Hoylman and CB4 on July 24, 2013, Empire State Development came to the table with local residents to discuss the future of the site, and they agreed to preserve the integrity of the original design, as well as its long history of community use. Later that day, CB4 voted to send a letter to ESD outlining the preliminary recommendations for reuse of the site.

CB4 was pleased to see that when the ESD released the Bayview RFP on December 23, 2013, they noted in the introduction that, “Proposals for residential uses will not be considered,” adding that, “any Proposal featuring the full demolition of the Site will not be considered, and all Proposals should include some community facility component.”

“We’ve achieved an important goal by the state including that in the RFP,” said Restuccia. “Although the devil is in the details, the response makes it clear that the state also wants this building preserved.”
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Gay City News : January 22, 2014 : By Paul Schindler

Despite a concerted drive in recent weeks by advocates and elected officials, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1 does not include appropriation of funds to ensure that New Yorkers living with AIDS and receiving government rental assistance will have the effective rent they pay capped at 30 percent of their monthly income.

In a public policy battle, dating back at least seven years, to close what State Senator Brad Holyman characterized as a loophole in New York law, AIDS advocates had hoped Cuomo would step up with funding of at least $5.8 million during his annual budget address in Albany on January 21.

Hoylman, an out gay Chelsea Democrat who sponsors legislation to impose such a cap on the rental assistance program run out of the city’s HIV/ AIDS Services Administration (HASA) and similar units statewide, wrote to the governor last week laying out an analysis that showed that the roughly $20 million in incremental costs required to fund the rent cap would be offset nearly exactly by savings to the state and city from either curing rental arrears by housing assistance clients or providing them with emergency housing if they lose their apartments. More than 12,000 people with AIDS statewide receive rental assistance.

Depending on the state/ city funding formula applied to a rent cap appropriation, Albany would pick up between $5.8 million and $10 million of the total $20 million upfront cost, with the city providing the remainder.

The rental assistance provided to people living with AIDS currently requires them to pay up to 70 percent of their disability income toward rent and leaves them with only about $375 each month –– or less than $13 a day –– for all other expenses, a situation that forces many to choose between paying their rent and having money for food, transportation, and drug co-pays.

Hoylman’s letter emphasized that every other federal and state low-income rental assistance program –– including Section 8 and NYCHA housing –– has a 30 percent cap.
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City Limits : January 21, 2014 : By Casey Quinlan

According to the New York State Department of Health, new diagnoses for HIV fell 37 percent, with diagnoses falling in all risk groups from 2002 to 2010. From 2003 to 2010, there was a 96 percent increase in the annual number of newly reported HIV infections in young men who have sex with men of color, the same report reads.

HIV is still an epidemic in neighborhoods in parts of the Bronx, including Tremont and parts of Claremont, Belmont and Crotona. And, says Daniel Tietz, executive director of AIDS Community Research Initiative of America [ACRIA,], which provides HIV/AIDS education and consulting and studies the needs of at-risk populations, “When only about 40 percent of New Yorkers with HIV are virally suppressed, meaning they are consistently engaged in care and on effective treatment, it is clear we’ve not solved this or ended the epidemic.”

The initiative is a combination of policies, some health-related and some focused on quality of life in general, such as better housing and primary care. It’s what Housing Works CEO Charles King calls a “thatch roof” of a plan because all of the parts are needed in order to strengthen its efficacy.

Multifaceted plan

Housing Works, Treatment Action Group and ACRIA organized engagement with state senators, assembly members, state and city agencies and the governor’s office to gain funding for the AIDS Institute, which recently avoided $40 million in cuts, not to mention talk of closure.

An essential part of the plan is making sure young people of color get access to fourth-generation testing, which simultaneously detects both antigen and antibodies for HIV s and can alert newly infected people much faster.

“There is a big spike in virus in the blood soon after infection, but often before an HIV antibody test would pick-up an infection. This is when folks may pose the greatest risk to others, usually unknowingly,” Tietz says. “The typical mouth swab or home test kit is not testing for the virus itself, but rather the body’s antibody response, which may take six to eight weeks after infection to develop. If someone had unprotected sex a few days ago and decided to take an HIV, the current antibody testing couldn’t tell you whether you were infected.”

A “30 percent rent cap,” or a making sure that New York City residents with HIV/AIDS living in subsidized housing have their rent capped at 30 percent of their income, is also important to the initiative, and one Housing Works has long fought for. The 30 percent rent cap bill passed both houses but stopped at Governor David Paterson’s veto in 2010.

The plan would also improve access to nPEP (non-occupational Post-exposure Prophylaxis) and PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis). The former medication would prevent HIV inflection after exposure to the virus and the latter pills would reduce their risk of becoming infected. King says he would like to do fewer testing sessions in clubs and instead focus on getting men who have sex with men primary care where they can be regularly screened for HIV, which he says will enable physicians to catch infections earlier.

“A testing session in a club can’t provide someone with a script for PrEP, and few actually have the time or inclination to discuss PrEP or PEP with people who are negative,” he saus. “We are going to catch far more people early in their infection and they will already be linked to care.”

Tietz says that the 30 percent rent cap would be key to the initiative as it would prevent homelessness for thousands of low-income New Yorkers who are permanently disabled by HIV/AIDS and would permit 1,000 of them to move out of the shelter system.

“These folks could then focus on their HIV treatment and not live in constant worry and fear of losing everything. People face lots of other barriers and challenges that we need to address, such as continuing stigma and discrimination, and mental health and substance use issues,” Tietz says.

Several agencies involved

A lot of coordination is required across state and city health agencies to make the plan effective.

The initiative would require significant involvement from New York City health officials, and Tietz says that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s appointment of Lilliam Barrios-Paoli as deputy mayor of health and human services is an encouraging signal.

The mayor has also expressed support for the 30 percent rent cap, which he supported in the past as a public advocate and throughout his mayoral campaign. Although de Blasio’s platform did not outright acknowledge AIDS prevention, his interests and political affiliations suggest he is much more willing to work with stakeholders on the issue than Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was often at odds with the HIV advocacy community.

Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos did not return requests for comment on the initiative.

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, a Democrat who represents District 27 in Manhattan, is supporting the initiative and says that although he is not blindly optimistic, he has seen strong signals in discussions with the governor’s team that they are interested in pushing the initiative forward. Hoylman argues that although the plan can be argued on the merits of its cost efficiency, his primary argument is a moral one.

“The issue is a tremendous one for low-income people, for the most vulnerable people in our society. One reason for the misunderstanding is that people think the crisis is over,” Hoylman said in a phone interview.
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New York Daily News : December 30, 2013 : By Ken Lovett

ALBANY — A state senator wants to end moonlighting by legislators, making the Legislature a full-time job.

Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) has introduced a bill barring lawmakers from having outside employment, saying the idea would cut down on corruption by eliminating potential conflicts of interest. Though the job of state legislator carries an annual base salary of $79,500 — highest in the country after California — it is considered part-time.

Some lawmakers have outside employment that pays them far more than that, particularly the leaders. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reported making up to $450,000 at his law firm, while Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos makes up to $250,000 from his.

Gov. Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission has sent out a slew of subpoenas aimed at finding out what, if anything, the lawmakers are doing for their outside pay.

In a recent report, the commission found that 89 of the 174 legislators who served in 2012 and returned in 2013 reported at least one source of outside income, with 73% earning at least $20,000.

The panel claimed having second jobs “is not inherently wrong” but can lead to conflicts of interest or the appearance of corruption. Several lawmakers in recent years were charged or went to prison for improperly mixing state and private business.

Hoylman said his bill would make the question moot by placing the same moonlighting ban on lawmakers as imposed on the governor, controller and attorney general.

“It would make New York a model for the rest of the country by taking us from being the poster child of bad behavior to being a model for ethical performance,” he said.

One argument against a full-time Legislature is the cost. Some say it would require hiking the base salaries of lawmakers who haven’t had a raise since 1999.

But Hoylman said lawmakers, particularly outside New York, already earn more than many of their constituents. Rather than mandate a higher salary, his bill would create a nine-member commission that would meet every four years to consider potential salary hikes.

The governor would appoint three members, the controller two, and the majority and minority leaders in each house one each.

“This is not about legislative pay, this is about legislative performance,” Hoylman countered. “I think the issue is making certain that legislators don’t have jobs on the side that run counter to their responsibilities to the public.”

Albany Times Union :  December 6, 2013 : By Jordan Carleo-Evangelist

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office will audit the state Division of Criminal Justice Services’ hate crimes reporting system in response to concerns aired in a report from one lawmaker that some hate crimes are being missed.

DiNapoli’s office announced the audit Friday, acknowledging the inquiry grew out of an August request by state Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat who took up the issue after a spate of anti-gay attacks — including one killing — in New York City.

Under a 2000 state law, crimes believed to have been motivated by race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation are classified as hate crimes and must be reported by police agencies to DCJS.

A spokesman for DiNapoli’s office, Mark Johnson, said the audit will look to identify any deficiencies in the way DCJS compiles that data — as well as training it offers departments for identifying and handling hate crimes.

“Sen. Hoylman had requested this in light of his report, and we believe it was good idea, so we’re pursuing it,” Johnson said. “But we don’t have any preconceived notions about what we will or won’t find.”

Hate crimes come with heightened punishments. And while testimony at a public hearing held by Hoylman did not question the reporting requirement, it cited the lack of an enforcement mechanism and urged DiNapoli to audit state and local law enforcement agencies to ensure they were reporting the crimes as required.

In addition, Hoylman’s report calls for hate crime training for cops to become mandatory and for the hate crimes law to be expanded to included gender expression.

Last month, DCJS reported a total of 720 hate crimes statewide in 2012 — a spike of 30 percent over 2011 fueled by reported increases in New York City and Suffolk County on Long Island. The increase in New York City was close to 55 percent.

Most of the crimes statewide involved criminal mischief, and the largest class of reported victims — about 26 percent — were targeted based on their sexual orientation, followed closely — 25 percent — by those targeted because they were black, DCJS said.

In a Nov. 20 letter to DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael Green, DiNapoli said the audit would begin next week.

In a statement, DCJS spokeswoman Janine Kava said her agency planned to meet with DiNapoli’s auditors on Dec. 11 and “will cooperate with the Comptroller’s Office as it moves forward with this audit.”

“We are confident that we have accurately reported information as it has been reported to us,” Kava said, adding that the agency had also taken steps beyond what the law required to improve data collection. The audit is expected to take at least several months.

New York Daily News : December 4, 2013 : By Thomas Tracy

SantaCon organizers are trying to get off the naughty list this year.

For the first time, the route for the annual pub crawl, where revelers dress like Santa Claus and his Mrs. and heartily toast the season, will be shared with the NYPD and elected officials ahead of the Dec. 14 event, organizers and a state senator said.

SantaCon organizers confirmed that they also plan to have 80 helper elves along the route to coordinate traffic and make sure their Santas stay respectful to residents and local businesses.

Critics said the proof will be in the figgy pudding.

“I’m reserving judgment until we see how the event unfolds,” said state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), who hammered out the concessions in a phone call with SantaCon organizers and other elected officials on Tuesday. “We are grateful that volunteers have stepped forward to take responsibility, but (the event) is loosely organized and has a revolving leadership.”

Sources said this year’s SantaCon will kick off around Tompkins Square Park and wend its way through the East Village and the Lower East Side before jumping over to Brooklyn.

Hell’s Kitchen residents said last year’s SantaCon turned their neighborhood into the nightmare before Christmas, with smashed Santas throwing up in the street and fighting with each other.

To make sure this doesn’t happen again, Lt. John Cocchi of the Midtown North Precinct sent out a letter to neighborhood bars and clubs last month encouraging them not to participate in SantaCon.

Yet Cocchi didn’t speak for the entire department: Outgoing NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly is a fan of the pub crawl.

“This is an event we are supporting,” Kelly said in a press conference last month. “It’s what makes New York New York.”

Chelsea Now : December 4, 2013 : By Scott Stiffler

Its days as the go-to place for stamp-dispensing vending machines are long gone — but Old Chelsea Station is here to stay.

After nearly a year of community forums, petitions, electronic missives and snail mail outreach, the United Stated Postal Service (USPS) recently told elected officials that a proposal to sell its 217 West 18th Street post office has been abandoned.

Built in 1937, the two-story, Colonial Revival-style red brick structure (on the National Register of Historic Places, but not landmarked by the city) is among just a handful of Depression-era post offices left throughout the five boroughs.

Early last week, a joint statement issued by Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried and Deborah Glick praised the USPS’s decision to keep Old Chelsea Station’s doors open. But they also acknowledged possible changes to the 41,865-square-foot facility, noting that the USPS is currently exploring options “such as re-purposing underutilized space in the building.”
That loaded phrase references various ideas floated during the public vetting process. The doomsday option of closing Old Chelsea Station, it was suggested, might be avoided by vertical expansion or the transfer of air rights. A more realistic scenario, and one of great concern to preservationists, involved leasing space in a manner that would impact the building’s lobby (distinguished by a marble floor as well as deer and bear cast stone bas-relief panels carved by Paul Fiene).

“We will continue to monitor USPS’s future actions regarding the Old Chelsea Post Office,” promised the electeds, who noted that upon first learning of its possible closure, they partnered with the community to advocate “strongly for the continuation of services and for increased transparency and a robust public process before USPS took any further action.”

Council of Chelsea Block Associations president Bill Borock cited “the involvement of the community, working together with elected officials,” as a decisive factor in Old Chelsea Station’s survival. Borock’s assessment was echoed by a source close to ongoing discussions with the USPS — who told this newspaper that the West 18th Street facility was saved by a combination of economic reality (relocating in Chelsea wasn’t cost-effective) and the acknowledgement by USPS officials that, “Everybody who protested was right. It was made very clear that this was an important community resource, and they had to keep it open.”

In a December 3 email to Chelsea Now, Hoylman was similarly blunt in asserting linkage between activism and results. “The USPS realized what elected officials and community members have been saying all along: that selling Old Chelsea Station and leasing new space elsewhere in the neighborhood simply doesn’t make sense.” Although he did not comment on maintaining unfettered public access to the lobby (or its aesthetic integrity), Hoylman promised further collaboration with his colleagues in government, to “ensure vital mail services remain in our neighborhood’s treasured facility.”

DNAinfo : November 26, 2013 : By Alan Neuhauser

MIDTOWN — Stop the vomit!

That’s the message from a coalition of Manhattanpoliticians who want this year’s SantaCon bar crawl to commit to a safer, more respectful event.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman; Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried, Deborah Glick and Brian Kavanagh; and Councilmembers Dan Garodnick, Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin said in a statement Tuesday that they are looking to “rein in the annual scourge known as SantaCon.”

The also called on the annual costumed bar crawl to abide by three core principles next month: “make public and follow define routes; ensure respectful participants; and implement a comprehensive safety plan.”

In past years, the SantaCon route was not announced until the day before the event.

“During this massive pub crawl, thousands of participants dressed as Santa Claus overwhelm neighborhoods, violating numerous laws and regulations and creating major hazards in public safety along the way,” the letter to SantaCon organizers said.

“SantaCon may be a short-term boon to a select group of local businesses, but it imparts many adverse impacts, such as vomiting in the streets, public urination, vandalism and littering.”

SantaCon organizers did not immediately return a request for comment regarding the letter.

The request comes amid a flurry of media attention, after DNAinfo.com New York reported last week that an NYPD lieutenant had asked about 30 Midtown bars to not welcome SantaCon participants this year.

 

Town & Village : November 15, 2013 : By Sabina Mollot

State Senator Brad Hoylman, along with other East Side elected officials, has been petitioning the state’s new storm recovery program, which has been focusing its efforts on restoring and protecting Lower Manhattan from future Sandy-like disasters, to include areas further north — in particular Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village, Waterside Plaza and the hospitals along Bedpan Alley.

Through the program, New York Rising, which was launched by Governor Cuomo, Lower Manhattan was awarded $25 million to implement community-input-driven strategies to rebuild downtown and strengthen the area against future extreme weather.

However, as Hoylman noted in testimony he gave to the Lower Manhattan Community Planning Committee on October 30, areas as far north as the mid-30s on the East Side and the high 20s on the West Side also saw serious damage as a result of the superstorm. Just a few examples include the flooding and months-long shutdowns at hospitals including NYU Langone, Bellevue and the VA Medical Center, loss of numerous services for months in 15 buildings in Peter Cooper Village and two in Stuyvesant Town, as well as the destruction of the management office there, and on the West Side, the flooding of half a dozen residential buildings that required evacuations, including one Chelsea building housing 50 people with HIV/AIDS.

In mid-October, the planning committee for NY Rising agreed to extend the borders of its catchment area from Canal Street west of Essex Street up to Delancey Street east of Essex up to all of Manhattan south of 14th Street, so Hoylman said he hoped the committee would also consider expanding the area further north to include Bedpan Alley.

The ongoing effort by NY Rising is “laudable,” said Hoylman, “but it excludes major swaths of Manhattan that were damaged by Sandy including Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, and especially the hospitals, which serve the whole city. I think our community above 14th Street is a natural fit for this conversation.”

Hoylman’s senatorial district includes ST/PCV, Waterside, Chelsea and Greenwich Village, areas that saw some of Manhattan’s heaviest damage last October.

Especially important in planning for the future of those areas, noted Hoylman, is the protection of the elderly population.

“The seniors in Peter Cooper and Stuy Town were essentially cut off from civilization,” he said.

Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Vasquez, Assembly Members Brian Kavanagh and Richard Gottfried, State Senator Liz Krueger and Council Members Dan Garodnick, Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez have also been in support of the area north of 14th Street’s inclusion in the planning and on October 22, all signed onto a letter, as did Hoylman, that was sent to Seth Diamond, the director of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. At this time, Hoylman said they’ve yet to receive a response.

Gay City News : November 8, 2013 : By Andy Humm

The president of the American Bar Association, who was set to be the keynote speaker at a daylong New York conference on November 18 about investing in Russia, has withdrawn from the event. After pressure and entreaties from gay leaders, an ABA spokesperson said that James Silkenat will not be speaking at the forum.

The spokesperson issued the following statement from Silkenat late on November 7: “I remain committed to engaging with those in Russia who are working to put an end to human rights abuses in their country, and I will look for effective ways to oppose Russia’s policies and practices that oppress the LGBT community.”

Silkenat’s pullout comes during a week of increasingly dire reports of the persecution of gay people in Russia and a general crackdown on dissent, especially in Sochi, the site of the Winter Olympics in February.

American Bar Association’s James Silkenat underscored his opposition to anti-LGBT laws

The November 18 forum is similar to the one held by a group called Russian Center of New York at the Princeton Club on October 28 that was picketed by Queer Nation, whose members inside the event asked why anyone would want to invest in Russia given new laws that forbid public expression of being gay or even open discussion about homosexuality. One forum participant responded to the Queer Nation members by shouting, “Gays will be the death of Russia!” The anti-gay attendee was allowed to stay, the gay questioners removed.

The City of New York also recently asked that it not be listed online as one of the three co-sponsors of the November 18 forum, but a letter of welcome to the attendees from Mayor Michael Bloomberg — listed as a “testimonial” ––remained on the Russia Forum website (russiaforumny.com) as of November 8.

Bloomberg’s office has ignored repeated requests for comment on what role the city is prepared to play in combating the anti-gay crisis in Russia.

Gay activist Bert Leatherman, who successfully lobbied the mayor’s counsel, Michael Best, to get Bloomberg to pull the city’s endorsement, also pressed Silkenat and started a change.org petition to get him to pull out of the forum. Leatherman is also calling on Goodwin Procter New York, the law firm hosting the forum, to pull out. In an email message to Goodwin, he wrote, “Your promotion of investment in Russia seems analogous to advocating investment in Germany in the 1930s or South Africa in the 1980s.”

Queer Nation plans a protest outside the November 18 forum at 9 a.m. at the New York Times building, where Goodwin’s offices are located. Responding to Silkenat’s decision to withdraw, Queer Nation’s Ken Kidd wrote in an email, “LGBT activists have once again successfully shamed the Russian government and its representatives in front of the people with whom it had hoped to do business. In the future, we expect our allies to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay legislation directly to Vladimir Putin’s representatives rather than merely declining to be associated with them publicly.”

Leatherman, who is studying in Brazil, explained he was inspired to get involved by online video of Queer Nation’s confrontation with the Russia Forum at the Princeton Club. In an email, he wrote that he was “gratified” that Silkenat is “taking a principled stand” now, but chastised Goodwin for “collaborating with Russia Day 2013” at the New York Stock Exchange, calling the firm’s actions “hurtful to me as a young gay law school grad, but the pain I feel is nothing compared to the physical and psychological violence LGBT teens in Russia feel when they are abducted and tortured by neo-fascist gangs operating with impunity thanks to a wink and a nod from President Putin.”

It was never clear why Silkenat was asked to keynote the address, though his international business is a big part of his work as a corporate lawyer at Sullivan & Worcester. But the forum’s listing him in his capacity as president of the ABA made him a target of protest.

State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay West Side Democrat, spoke with Silkenat on November 5 and said at that time that the ABA president was going ahead with his keynote. “He believes he can make more of a difference speaking out at the conference in opposition to the anti-LGBT statutes,” Hoylman said. “I told him I strongly disagreed and that it was morally and strategically wrong to do so and that he should not do so as president of the ABA, which has a sterling record of support for LGBT causes in recent years.” The ABA authored an amicus brief in support of Edie Windsor’s successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act at the Supreme Court.

“I told him that if he withdrew in his capacity as president of ABA it would send message to the Russian Federation that there are big repercussions in the international investment community as a result of the anti-LGBT laws,” Hoylman said. “It is as it was during the apartheid years. Companies that professed constructive engagement made a healthy profit when they should have joined international boycotts. History has proven that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were wrong” in their opposition to divestment from apartheid South Africa.
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DNAinfo : November 1, 2013 : By Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — Animal advocates are asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to put his paws to a bill that would move the state closer to abolishing the “puppy mills” they say are breeding dogs in inhumane conditions.

The bill, sponsored by Upper West Side Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, would hand back local control of regulating pet stores and breeding facilities to cities and towns.

“Backyard breeding has exploded,” and state health inspectors can’t keep up, said Bill Ketzer, the senior state legislative director for the ASPCA, at a City Hall press conference Friday. He could not provide specifics on the number of puppy mills his group has dealt with.

With home rule, if the state approves the measure, the City Council could pass legislation that Rosenthal hopes would ban the sale of puppies from disreputable sellers.

The assemblywoman said she has received interest from local councilmembers in sponsoring anti-puppy mill legislation if Cuomo signs her bill into law and reverts animal-welfare regulation back to municipalities.

“Puppy mills are large-scale commercial breeders who operate outside of the law,” said Rosenthal, describing their “filthy, cramped conditions.”

At the mills, dogs are “forced to give birth to litter after litter,” and there’s rampant inbreeding, she added.

The mass production and poor conditions lead to medical problems, added Dr. Andy Kaplan, an Upper West Side vet.

“[Local pet stores] hide the diseases and behavior problems behind cute faces,” he said.

After new owners get their puppies home, they often realize that they have genetic problems from inbreeding or diseases like ringworm or mange from living in bad conditions, Kaplan said.

Unable to handle the medical costs associated with a sick dog or one with genetic issues, owners then send the dogs to shelters where they may be euthanized, he said.

“What’s in the window may not always be what happens downstairs or upstate,” said State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who supports the bill. The measure has already been approved by the Senate.
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Town & Village :  October 14, 2013 : By New York State Senator Brad Hoylman

As T&V recently reported, I had the honor of giving the keynote address at the Eighth Annual West Side Tenants’ Conference. The event may have had “West Side” in its name, but my remarks were just as applicable to tenants from the East Side, or anywhere else in the city for that matter.

I spoke broadly about the challenges tenants and their advocates face in Albany, where Republican State Senators from far flung parts of the state, with weak housing markets and no need for emergency tenant protections, have control over housing legislation. I noted that most members of the Senate Majority Coalition do not have any rent-regulated tenants in their districts, and yet their campaign committees cash big checks from the real estate industry. That’s why the only way to put tenants on a level playing field and get our priority bills – from vacancy control to MCI reform to restoring home rule over our city’s housing laws – through the Senate is to make Campaign Finance Reform the first bill on the tenants’ agenda.

Taking the money out of politics is absolutely critical, but so is changing the prevailing narrative around rent regulations. We need to fight back against landlords’ domination of the conversation and go on the offensive with the facts.
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Gay City News : October 9, 2013 : By Andy Humm

BY ANDY HUMM | NYC and Company, the quasi-governmental agency that promotes tourism to the city from all over the world, is closing its office in Moscow in large part due to the anti-gay laws in Russia that have sparked violence against LGBT people and those perceived to be gay.

Chris Heywood, senior vice-president for communications for NYC and Company, told Gay City News that the anti-gay laws and rising anti-gay violence “prevented us from sending our tourism sales staff into the [Russian] market. We do have LGBT staff.”

He added that other factors were at play in the decision as well.

The announcement of the closing of the Moscow office for NYC and Company, one of 18 around the world, was made by the group’s CEO, George Fertitta, at a Crain’s New York Business forum on tourism on September 25 at John Jay College. According to a source who was present, Fertitta explained that the main reason he was taking the action was because of the anti-gay laws, but the story was not picked up or announced in a press release.

Heywood set up a phone interview for Gay City News with Fertitta for October 7, but later e-mailed that Fertitta had to cancel because of a meeting he had at City Hall. “His schedule is not good for the rest of the week either,” Heywood wrote.

Heywood explained there were multiple reasons why NYC and Company was closing its Russian office, which he said was not a “bricks and mortar” location but a relationship with AVIAREPS, an international tourism representation firm with an office in Moscow. He said the relationship would end on January 1, but the Moscow listing is already gone from the NYC and Company website’s listing of foreign offices.

State Senator Brad Hoylman, a gay Democrat from the West Side, said of the closing of the Russian outlet, “I think that’s a prudent move by NYC and Company given the hostile climate.” He has joined Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, another gay West Side Democrat, in urging State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to divest New York’s Common Retirement Fund of its assets in companies incorporated in the Russian Federation to protest the country’s new anti-gay laws that essentially make it a crime against children to be open about being gay. Russia has also banned adoption by those from countries that recognize same-sex marriages and is moving on legislation to take children away from Russian parents who are gay or lesbian.

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CBS New York : October 1, 2013

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lawmakers joined labor and business leaders Tuesday to protest against a rezoning plan that would affect a broad area around Grand Central Terminal.

As 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reported, the Department of City Planning proposed the rezoning of the 73-block area, with the idea in mind of ensuring “the area’s future as a world-class business district and major job generator for New York City.”

The plan includes incentives to promote the instruction of “a handful of new, state-of-the-art commercial buildings” in the years to come, and claims the existing buildings – which are an average of more than 70 years old – do not meet the needs of corporate tenants.

But state Sens. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) said the city needs to slow down and get it right. They joined union leaders, advocacy experts, and representatives from Manhattan community boards 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 to protest the current plan.

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The Villager : September 19, 2013 : By Lincoln Anderson

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON  |  SOB’s stands for Sounds of Brazil. But last Thurs., Sept. 12, the sound of gunfire broke out inside the well-known Hudson Square music club, at Varick and Houston Sts. Four people were wounded in the incident, which sparked a chaotic, mad rush for the exit by frightened clubgoers, during which some were trampled and left with cuts.

The shots, reportedly from a single gunman, broke out around 12:15 a.m. right before the rapper Fat Trel was set to take the stage to perform cuts from his new mixtape, “SDMG” (Sex, Drugs, Money, Guns).

According to police, four people suffered nonfatal bullet wounds. The Daily News reported that two individuals were taken by ambulance to Beth Israel Medical Center, both with leg wounds, and that two others suffered graze wounds.

Witnesses told the News the shooting occurred near the bar. The gunman reportedly fled the scene in a black car.

No arrests had been made as of this past Tuesday evening.

In the wake of the shooting, Robin and Larry Gold, the club’s owners, released a statement, which was posted on Complex, a style, music and sneakers Web site.

“For 32 years, we here at SOB’s have prided ourselves on creating a safe and fun environment for visitors to enjoy good food and some of the best live music in New York and the world over. “The SOB’s family, along with its internationally acclaimed artists and devoted fans, has peacefully and gratefully celebrated diverse cultures and the music that unites us through its transcendent language for many years. This incident was unprecedented in the long history of SOB’s. We are assisting the police in every way possible to bring this person to justice. Nothing is more important to SOB’s than the safety and well being of our customers. This is a home of peace, respect and positive vibes and we here at SOB’s vow to keep it that way.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman condemned the gun violence inside the Hudson Square club and said the incident demonstrates the need for state microstamping legislation.
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Newsday : September 1, 2013 : By David Uberti

Forty-eight states still allow mental health professionals to inflict cruel and unusual punishment on homosexual minors through gay conversion therapy.

Only California and New Jersey have taken steps to protect gay and lesbian youths — populations hard-pressed to protect themselves — from such “therapy.

A federal court in San Francisco ruled in late August that a California law prohibiting gay conversion therapy for minors doesn’t violate the First Amendment rights of parents or mental health professionals.

The opinion came little more than a week after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a similar law, banning state-licensed counselors, therapists and social workers from the practice. The statutes don’t extend to unlicensed individuals such as religious leaders, allowing them to continue such programs.

Therapists opposing the laws argue that they trample on First Amendment rights. And supportive parents charge that government shouldn’t infringe on their ability to choose the best treatment for their children.

But calling something as absurd as gay conversion therapy “treatment” isn’t just bending the truth, it’s a ludicrous fallacy. The American Psychological Association has found “sexual orientation change efforts” to be ineffective. More troubling is the long list of possible adverse effects: helplessness, self-hatred, loss of faith, substance abuse, high-risk sexual behavior and suicide, among others. Parents who refuse to accept a child’s sexuality effectively force these dangers on to gay and lesbian kids who are already at a higher-than-average risk of anxiety and depression.

Many people, myself included, find it easy to laugh at folks who believe homosexuality can be “cured” through counseling or prayer. But we shouldn’t. Some parents force children into “therapy” simply because they are who they are. Teenagers have enough insecurities already. Trying to brainwash them that a foundational piece of their identity is sick and twisted arguably amounts to psychological child abuse.

That may not sound as ugly as a physical beating, for example, but depression is a chronic disorder — unlike homosexuality. And it can haunt someone for life.

New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) introduced a bill in April that would prevent mental health professionals from trying to change minors’ sexual orientations.

It also includes specific provisions separating potentially harmful conversion therapy from therapies aiming to support children in accepting their own identity. That’s crucial. Lawmakers should pass the legislation upon their return to Albany. This has nothing to do with politics; it’s a question of right and wrong.

If you’re a gay or lesbian adult and want to try to magically turn straight, knock yourself out. But bigoted parents need to ask themselves how they would respond to being forced into therapy for being straight. I, for one, would fight like hell against “treatment” aiming to turn me gay. I don’t loathe the idea of being a homosexual, but I do loathe the idea of not being myself.

New York Daily News : August 21, 2013 : By Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY – Three New York lawmakers are using the controversy over a New Jersey law banning teen anti-gay therapy to push similar legislation in New York.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made national news this week when he signed a bill abolishing the therapy that attempts to turn gay teens straight.

Now, State Sens. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick say New York pols should swiftly pass a similar bill they introduced earlier this year that stalled in Albany.

“Conversion therapy is among the worst frauds in history and has been discredited by the American Psychological Association and other … leading mental health organizations,” said Hoylman, the state’s only openly gay senator.

The New York bill would bar mental health providers from trying to change the sexual orientation of anyone under the age of 18.
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State of Politics : August 16, 2013 : By Nick Reisman

A report from Sen. Brad Hoylman released today on the state’s anti-hate crimes legislation that calls for the comptroller to audit law enforcement to ensure proper reporting and training is being made available.

Hoylman, an openly gay member of the Senate who replaced the now-retired Sen. Tom Duane this year, started an investigation of the strength of the law after a spate of crimes committed that may have been motivated by the victims being LGBT.

The report calls on Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office to oversee how police agenices are reporting hate crimes and whether they are effectively training officers to identify and respond to crimes inspired by bias.

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New York Times : August 2, 2013 : By Charles V. Bagli

Despite its modest size, the Lever House, a slim, blue-green glass tower that seems to hover over Park Avenue, created a sensation when it opened in 1952 as a modernist symbol of corporate America.

Six decades later, the 21-story office building, which commands some of the highest rents in Manhattan, is a potential windfall beneficiary of the Bloomberg administration’s plan to allow bigger, taller new skyscrapers in the area surrounding Grand Central Terminal.

The fate of Lever House and the city’s proposal, which has generated support from many in the real estate industry and criticism from community groups as it moves through the approval process, illustrate how arcane zoning changes can not only reshape the city’s skyline but enrich lucky property owners.

In the administration’s latest proposal, historic landmarks like Lever House, as well as St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Bartholomew’s Church, would be able to sell and transfer their unused development rights to an expanded swath of development sites so that other builders can erect taller towers than would otherwise be allowed. The reason given is that the extra money would allow the owners of landmarks, which cannot be demolished, to pay for the preservation of the aging structures. But unlike St. Patrick’s or St. Bart’s, the estimated $75 million in proceeds from the sale of development rights from Lever House would not go back into the building.

The money instead would go to the private landowner, the Korein family, whose portfolio of valuable properties stretches across Manhattan, from 120 Broadway downtown to the Delmonico Hotel on Park Avenue at 59th Street.

The Korein family, the Archdiocese of New York and the Real Estate Board of New York were thrilled that the Bloomberg administration included the landmarks in their plan. But critics like State Senator Brad Hoylman contend the situation at Lever House is an example of “the slapdash nature of the proposal.”

“This exception undermines the intention of the air rights transfers for historic properties,” Mr. Hoylman said. “The beneficiaries in this case don’t have an obligation to invest the proceeds in the preservation of the landmark.”

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Gay City News : July 24, 2013 : By Nathan Riley

A jubilant Brad Hoylman entered his fundraiser with his face flushed and pep in his step. Though suits were everywhere, the freshman state senator arrived with his shirt open and casually dressed in khakis, his daughter and husband in tow, looking completely at home, confident he was among friends.

He had come from the June 26 rally at the Stonewall bar celebrating the US Supreme Court decision driving a stake into the Defense of Marriage Act, the law prohibiting the federal government from recognizing married gay couples or offering the associated benefits to them.

Clearly the rally was the high point of his day but he hugged his daughter, introduced his “partner, oops” he said shaking his head, “my husband.” Like his predecessor, Tom Duane, Hoylman brings a much needed confidently gay perspective to the State Senate. The Supreme Court decision was personal — it brought justice to both his community and his family. His husband, David Sigal, was equally elated, and they had brought their young daughter, Silvia Hoylman-Sigal, to both the rally and to the fundraiser. The personal and the political intertwine in their lives.

Having just completed his first session in the State Senate, the West Side Democrat appears to have the makings of an influential legislator. Clearly he has a broad vision of the public interest. He acted promptly to stop the spread of meningitis among gay men, shepherding legislation permitting pharmacists to offer meningitis vaccinations, a bill strongly supported by Dr. Thomas A. Farley, the city’s health commissioner, and Chelsea’s Dick Gottfried, the long-time chair of the Assembly Health Committee. This legislation improves health care access for sexually active gay and bisexual men who are at highest risk for contracting meningitis.
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Albany Times Union : July 16, 2013 : By Eric Anderson

Amtrak’s Ethan Allen services will begin accommodating bicycles on board in a demonstration program later this month, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said Tuesday. But an Amtrak spokesman cautioned that the program was only a pilot and is not yet available to the general public.

The demonstration project follows a push by state Sens. Betty Little and Brad Hoylman, as well as Schumer, to allow passengers to take their bicycles with them to destinations throughout the Hudson Valley, Adirondacks and Vermont.

Amtrak already has a “Bring Your Bicycle On Board” program on trains serving Maine, North Carolina and California. Amtrak will use specially fitted cafe cars that can carry the bicycles and their riders on the Ethan Allen.
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DNAInfo.com : July 11, 2013 : By Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — Enraged Fulton Houses residents and elected officials demanded a developer scrap plans that would bulldoze two children’s play areas and turn the area into a parking lot.

At a raucous Wednesday night meeting at the Fulton Houses’ Community Center, more than 100 people railed against representatives of developer Artimus Construction, demanding they withdraw the proposal from the City Planning Department’s rezoning process.

Both the developer and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which is funding the project, refused to do so.

“The notion that a playground would be demolished for a parking lot is so appalling it defies credibility,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman said to a loud applause.

“The fact that it was even an idea is such an insult to all these good people here.”

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Our Town Downtown : July 3, 2013 : By Senator Brad Hoylman

Let’s be frank: Tenants in New York are getting a raw deal. Despite the continuing toll of the recent economic recession on average New Yorkers and clear evidence that landlord profits continue to surge, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) voted on June 20 to approve rent increases of 4 percent for one year lease renewals and 7.75 percent for two year lease renewals for rent stabilized apartments.

These increases are not easy to absorb for most of our city’s 1.3 million rent regulated tenants. According to data in the RGB’s own “2013 Income and Affordability Study,” the median income of rent-controlled households was $28,000 and the median income of households in rent-stabilized units was $37,000. Moreover, housing costs constitute a huge percentage of these tenants’ income. Housing is considered “affordable” for a household when it constitutes no more than 30 percent of its total income. The same RGB study found that slightly more than one-third of renter households in the City paid 50 percent or more of their household income for gross rent in 2011, the highest ratio in the history of the study. This means a third of New York’s renters were already cutting back in other areas of their lives, like healthcare, food and other necessities, to meet the rent. More than 68 percent of New Yorkers rent their apartments, and we, as a city, are slowly slipping behind on our ability to afford our own homes. Rent increases are simply outpacing New Yorkers’ ability to pay them.

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New York Times : June 23, 2013 : By Anemona Hartocollis

The State Legislature has passed a bill permitting pharmacists to give meningitis vaccinations, a measure aimed at a deadly outbreak among gay and bisexual men in New York City.

The bill, which lawmakers approved Thursday, would add the meningitis vaccination to a short list of vaccinations that pharmacists in the state may administer. Others include vaccinations for the flu, pneumonia and acute herpes zoster.

A new strain of bacterial meningitis has been infecting gay and bisexual men in recent years. Its fatality rate — one in three people, compared with the one in five who succumb to other strains — has alarmed health officials and led to a higher than usual demand for vaccinations.

The city health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, was among those pushing for the legislation.

State Senator Brad Hoylman, a Democrat who represents Chelsea, Greenwich Village and Clinton, which have significant numbers of gay residents, said he had introduced the bill after hearing of gay men who had not been able to easily get the vaccine.

“Doctors don’t routinely stock the meningitis vaccine,” Mr. Hoylman said Friday.

Demetrios Papanakios, a staff pharmacist at New London Pharmacy in Chelsea, said about three or four gay men a day were coming in with prescriptions for the vaccine and taking it back to their doctors to be administered.

“Before that we got one every 10 months,” Mr. Papanakios said.

Without insurance, the cost of the vaccine, $165, can be prohibitive, Mr. Papanakios said. After some men reported difficulty getting vaccinations covered by insurance, the state superintendent of financial services, Benjamin M. Lawsky, sent out a letter in April telling health providers that under New York law, “health insurance plans must cover such immunizations.”

Mr. Hoylman, who is gay, said he also was trying to reach men who did not have regular medical providers or who did not want to tell their doctors that they were gay. Black men in Brooklyn who frequent gay clubs, parties and online meeting sites but who are not openly gay have been most affected by the outbreak, according to the city health department.

There have been 22 known cases of bacterial meningitis among gay men in New York City since 2010, seven of them fatal, and the rate of infection seemed to rise last fall and early this year, according to department data.

There have been no new confirmed cases since February. But city health officials are worried that there could be a further outbreak during the annual Gay Pride celebration in New York City over three days starting Friday, which as many as one million people are expected to attend.

Still, if signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the law will take effect 90 days later, too late for Gay Pride this year. As of June 17, an estimated 13,574 people had been vaccinated as a result of the current outbreak, according to the health department.

The bacteria are carried in the nose and mouth and can be spread through close contact like kissing and sharing a glass. People have mistaken the symptoms for the flu and died without seeking medical care.

Our Town Downtown : June 19, 2013 : By Alissa Fleck

Rash of anti-gay violence in the City prompts senate hearing to assess efficacy of hate crimes law and rehabilitative options

Former senator Tom Duane sat before elected officials and members of the community at a senate forum and talked about the time in 1983 when he was brutally beaten outside a bar because of his sexual orientation.

“It was a matter of life or death,” said Duane. “A few weeks later I called the [District Attorney] and the police department which took the report and asked when the trial was and they told me it had been adjudicated—classified as a misdemeanor.”

“I had no chance to even see the perpetrators in the light of day,” said Duane. “There was no interaction with law enforcement, there was no organization in that area. It was as if it never happened.”

Despite successes for the LGBT community in recent years, bias-motivated acts targeting members of this community have not declined. While many members of the larger community may like to believe these incidents are isolated acts of vitriol, Duane sat before State Senator Brad Hoylman and his colleagues and told them that’s simply not the case. The real problem is a lack of education, he said, and it extends everywhere, from a faulty educational system to ignorance in the State Senate itself.

There have been some drastic social and legal changes since Duane was attacked in 1983, but much—including public attitudes and failures in data collection—remains the same, as a recent spate of hate crimes in the City this year has demonstrated.

“I had no chance to even see the perpetrators in the light of day,” said Duane. “There was no interaction with law enforcement, there was no organization in that area. It was as if it never happened.”

Despite successes for the LGBT community in recent years, bias-motivated acts targeting members of this community have not declined. While many members of the larger community may like to believe these incidents are isolated acts of vitriol, Duane sat before State Senator Brad Hoylman and his colleagues and told them that’s simply not the case. The real problem is a lack of education, he said, and it extends everywhere, from a faulty educational system to ignorance in the State Senate itself.

There have been some drastic social and legal changes since Duane was attacked in 1983, but much—including public attitudes and failures in data collection—remains the same, as a recent spate of hate crimes in the City this year has demonstrated.

Hoylman convened the senate hearing with a number of witnesses from relevant organizations to address what he and others feel is a very serious issue.
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“We are appalled by the account in the Washington Post of Anthony Weiner’s unacceptable response to a prospective voter’s homophobic, misogynistic slur in reference to Christine Quinn.

“According to the reporter, Weiner at first ignored the slur. Then, after noticing the reporter, Weiner told the voter she ‘really shouldn’t talk that way about people.’  Finally, after the voter apologized, Weiner said, ‘It’s okay. It’s not your fault.’

“Weiner’s response to this blatant display of homophobia is completely inappropriate and extremely alarming. There is nothing ‘okay’ about homophobia and it’s never ‘okay’ to condone bias-based slurs or hate speech of any kind.

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June 17, 2013 : Associated Press

RENSSELAER, N.Y. — New York lawmakers are pushing Amtrak to add baggage cars to its passenger trains that would be capable of carrying bicycles.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and state Sens. Betty Little of Warren County and Brad Hoylman of Manhattan say such a move would get more visitors and tourism dollars into New York state.

They’re holding a news conference Monday morning at Amtrak’s Albany-Rensselaer (rehn-suh-LEER’) to discuss their plan.

The lawmakers want Amtrak to add baggage cars that could carry bicycles on the Adirondack and Ethan Allen trains, which run from Penn Station in Manhattan to the Albany area, Saratoga and destinations in New York’s North Country and Vermont.

Amtrak has a bike program on its Boston-to-Maine and New York-to-North Carolina lines. In California, the program is so popular that Amtrak requires reservations.

June 3, 2013 : Daily Politics: By Ken Lovett

Here’s the full version of my story that ran in today’s paper:

In the wake of a recent spate of attacks on gays in Manhattan, a state senator plans to hold a public forum on the effectiveness of the state’s 13-year-old hate crimes law.

Sen. Brad Hoylman, (D-Manhattan) plans the forum for June 14 in the city.

Hoylman, the ranking minority member on the Senate Investigations Committee, is the chamber’s only openly gay legislator.

“I believe it’s time to put the law under the microscope and see how effective it’s been,” Hoylman told the Daily News. “Certainly the rash of anti-(Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) violence in the last month is the impetus.”

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May 24, 2013 : Capitol Confidential : By Casey Seiler

Sen. Brad Hoylman, who like his predecessor Tom Duane is the only openly gay lawmaker in the chamber, says the governing body of the Boy Scouts of America needs to go beyond lifting its blanket ban on gay Scouts and scrap its continued ban on gay or lesbian adult Scout leaders.

Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, has introduced a bill that would deny tax-exempt status “to any organization that discriminates against any person, group, organization or other entity based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

Before you ask: Because of the use of the standard phrase “notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary,” the bill would not affect religious organizations.

Here’s Hoylman’s statement:    

“Yesterday, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) formally revised its membership standards, ending the organization’s ban on gay youths, but maintaining its exclusion of gay and lesbian adult leaders.

“As the only openly-gay New York State Senator, a parent and a former Eagle Scout (Troop 70, Lewisburg, WV), I am outraged that the BSA has maintained its ban on gay adult leaders. This policy represents rank discrimination by the organization against LGBT people and is extremely painful to families like mine.

It’s inconceivable that an organization that aims to prepare the next generation of leaders would allow gay youth to join their program, but deny them the opportunity to lead scout troops once adults.

Moreover, this stigma is hurtful to young people, reinforcing and legitimizing the bullying and alienation of our children that has led to tragic consequences, including violence against members of the LGBT community.

I strongly believe that the BSA is obliged by the Constitution of the United States, longstanding state and local anti-discrimination laws and the Scout Law itself to categorically end its policy of bigotry toward gays and lesbians.

To that end, I have introduced legislation (S.5170) that would deny tax-exempt status to all youth groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or other defining characteristics. It has been more than ten years since New York State enacted the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), and it’s long past time for the BSA to comply and remove all barriers to participation based on sexual orientation.”

May 20, 2013 : WAMC Radio : By Ian Pickus

This weekend, an openly gay man was shot to death after a confrontation in Greenwich Village Friday in what police commissioner Ray Kelly is calling a hate crime. According to New York state Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan, whose district includes Greenwich Village, the incident was at least the fifth instance of anti-gay violence in Manhattan this month.

Pickus: You’ve tracked this spate of what you see as discriminatory crime in recent weeks, and I’m wondering what you’re doing in your role as senator to combat that.

Hoylman: Well, let me just say I want to thank the hate crime task force of the NYPD and the entire police force for acting decisively and swiftly and apprehending the suspects and investigating the crimes. What we are doing today is holding a march in Manhattan starting at 5:30 outside the LGBT center in Greenwich Village and concluding with a rally at 6. Part of the issue, Ian, is to raise awareness among our straight allies, but also among people who might have been victims; that they need to speak out, they need to let the hate crimes task force and the NYPD know that they’ve been assaulted or targeted as a victim of a hate crime.

Pickus: You know, I think people were kind of shocked; many pointing out that the site of this crime was only a few blocks from Stonewall, and with the state having passed same-sex marriage a couple years back, it seemed like maybe we were past this. I wonder, as the state’s only openly gay senator, have you ever faced anything like this in these neighborhoods?

Hoylman: I’ve never faced anything like what occurred over the last few weeks in Manhattan. Certainly, my husband and I, over the years we have had our own share of incidents when we’ve held hands but, you know, it happens. But, you can’t be complacent about it. And I do worry that our community might not be as vigilant as we should be. We still don’t have a human rights law for transgendered New Yorkers in New York state. We still have a rising problem of homeless LGBT youth in Manhattan and across the state, and social services have been cut dramatically, which is hurting our ability to help those young people. So, it’s really incumbent upon all of us in the community to stay vigilant, to continue to fight for our rights, and to make certain that these kinds of crime get the attention they deserve from the public.
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May 12, 2013 : New York Daily News : By Brad Hoylman and Nick Denis

It’s not yet legal in New York, but it could be soon — and professional cage fighting, or Mixed Martial Arts, is already big business across the country. In 2011, the sport’s leading promoter, Ultimate Fighting Championship, signed an estimated $700 million contract with Fox to broadcast MMA matches.

Using numbers like this one — and the immense popularity of the sport among those who would pay a pretty penny to see it in person — industry advocates claim that MMA events would generate at least $100 million across the state, providing a boost to the five boroughs, not to mention struggling upstate economies.

So, the argument goes: Why not just go ahead and legalize professional MMA?

There are many serious concerns about cage fighting, including its glorification of violence, that are beyond economic analysis. But one problem that can be quantified is also among the least discussed: the long-term health impact of MMA on pro fighters.
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May 8, 2013 : Metro : By Alison Bowen

Discrimination against transgender people is costing New York millions, according to a new report.

The study, released yesterday by the UCLA’s Williams Institute, says that housing and employment discrimination cost the state millions of dollars as people lean on public assistance instead.

According to the study, workplace discrimination could cost the state about $7 million each year.

The report estimates about 58,000 New Yorkers are transgender and said 59 percent are covered under local anti-discrimination statutes.

But that leaves about 23,800 people unprotected, according to the study.

“It shocks the conscience that nearly 24,000 New Yorkers can be fired from their jobs or be evicted from their homes merely because of their gender identity or expression,” state senator Brad Hoylman said today.
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May 2, 2013 : New York Daily News : By Greg B. Smith

Manhattan legislators want to make the Housing Authority dramatically increase public input into its plan to lease land for luxury housing. The officials filed a bill requiring NYCHA — which they charge has been secretive in pushing the proposal — to face the same tough scrutiny ordinary developers endure, the Daily News has learned.

NYCHA has been aggressively pushing its plan to lease land in eight Manhattan developments to build 4,300 apartments, most of them market rate.

The plan would raise $46 million annually.

But critics question why public land should be leased for private developments that include 80% market rate and 20% affordable apartments at a time when the city needs cheaper housing.

NYCHA, a public authority run by mayoral appointees, is not currently subject to the strict scrutiny other city agencies and ordinary developers face.

On Friday, Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblymen Brian Kavanagh and Keith Wright filed a bill that would make NYCHA obtain more public comment from tenants and surrounding communities.

Under the bill, NYCHA would also need city Planning Commission and City Council approval for its plan.

Hoylman said increased scrutiny is crucial because of NYCHA’s secretiveness: “They’ve been confusing and dismissive.”

Wright, chairman of the Housing Committee, said NYCHA appears to be “trying to ram [the plan] through in the remaining days of the Bloomberg administration.”

April 29, 2013 : Capital Tonight : by Nick Reisman

Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman believes he’s found a way around the state constitutional argument against ending pension benefits for those lawmakers convicted of corruption.

Hoylman today introduced legislation that would tie the acceptance of per diem expenses for legislators to an agreement that would require pension forfeiture upon conviction of felony corruption.

The move closes what some are describing as a loophole in the 2011 ethics law that provides for end to pension benefits of state officials convicted of felony corruption, but only those elected after the law was approved.

At the same time, the bill would expand the 2011 law to include officials convicted in federal court, where many of the corruption cases have emanated from in recent years.

The debate over pension benefits for corrupt officials has been reignited in Albany in the wake of back-to-back bribery scandals resulting in the arrests of both Sen. Malcolm Smith and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson.

“We must take every opportunity available to help restore public confidence in state government, and I hope my colleagues in the State Senate will join me in supporting these two straightforward and common sense proposals,” Hoylman said in a statement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have been skeptical of pension forfeiture proposals, suggesting they may be unconstitutional.

Lawmakers have introduced an amendment to the state Constitution, but the process is a lengthy one: The measure must pass both houses of the Legislature by two separately elected sessions and then approved by voters.

April 27, 2013 : New York Daily News : By Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY – The state Senate’s only openly gay lawmaker wants to outlaw a controversial therapy that attempts to make gay youth straight.

Legislation introduced Friday by Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) would bar mental health providers from trying to change the sexual orientation of anyone under the age of 18.

If enacted, a licensed mental health provider who ignored the law would be cited for unprofessional conduct and subject to licensing sanctions.

Hoylman will co-sponsor the bill in the Senate with Michael Gianaris (D-Queens). It is being carried in the Assembly by Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat who is a lesbian.

Conversion therapy has been rejected by many in the mental health community.

Hoylman, who is married to a man and has a two-year-old daughter, said the controversial treatment is not good for the individual or society.

“It not only is impossible, but it is detrimental to young people to attempt to convert them,” he said.

“It also increases the stigma in society and creates a culture of unacceptance for young gay and lesbian people,” Hoylman added.
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April 23, 2013 : WFUV-FM : by Claudia Morell

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman wants to make sure the state doesn’t lift its 16 year ban on professional cage fighting and Mix Martial Arts, or MMA.

Hoylman said the sport, which includes boxing, judo, wrestling and kickboxing, is not only too violent to watch, it is dangerous for the fighters involved.

“I’m concerned about the fighters,” said Hoylman, “I recently met a fighter named Nick Dennis who left the sport because of injuries to his brain, and is concerned about the long term health impact he is going to have to endure after he retires.”

Hoylman said the health consequences of the sport, haven’t been properly evaluated. He is co-sponsoring a bill with State Senator Liz Krueger that would put a two year moratorium on MMA until a health study is completed.

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April 23, 2013 : State of Politics : By Nick Reisman

In the aftermath of GOP Sen. Greg Ball saying he would support the torture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect in order to gain useful intelligence, Democratic Sen. Brad Holyman is calling attention to an anti-torture measure he introduced alongside Assemblyman Richard Gottfried earlier this year.

Holyman’s measure would prohibit the torture and improper treatment of prisoners by health care professionals.

In a statement, Holyman, D-Manhattan, said condemned Ball’s comments.

“I deplore the comments made in recent days by the Chairman of the New York State Senate Homeland Security Committee that the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing should be tortured. Torture can never be justified to extract information or a confession from suspects,” Holyman said. “The law is clear: U.S. law, the U.N. Convention against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights all impose an absolute ban torture, even during wartime.”

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March 25, 2013 : Legislative Gazette : By Amanda Conto

Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Greenwich Village, voiced support for legislation that would establish a pilot program to enforce maximum speed limits by means of “speed cameras,” in New York City.

The legislation (A.4327) was introduced earlier this year by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan. Sen. Andrew Lanza, R-Great Kills, is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

“I’m proud to add my strong support to this long-overdue bipartisan legislation. The data is clear: speed cameras save lives. They are a critical law enforcement tool and we’ll never get to zero traffic deaths without them,” said Hoylman.

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March 14, 2013 : The Villager : By Brad Hoylman

Almost exactly four years ago, Community Board 2 held a forum on high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Few people had any idea what it was, but true to form, Villagers showed up en masse and quickly became vocal participants in the discussion.

I was chairperson of the community board at that time and I remember many of the questions that were asked. What is hydrofracking? What chemicals does it use? Is it safe to blast these chemicals into shale that could leak into watersheds? Why doesn’t the federal government regulate hydrofracking under the Clean Water Act?

Years later, we now know that there are no satisfying answers to these questions, or to the dozens of other questions that have arisen as catastrophes associated with natural gas drilling have occurred throughout the nation. In fact, many believe — and I agree — that hydrofracking is the most significant threat to our environment and our public health in decades. From flammable tap water to poisoned farm animals to ravaged rural communities to man-made earthquakes, the impacts of hydrofracking are becoming widely known thanks to films like “Gasland” and the work of environmental groups like Riverkeeper.

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March 14, 2013 : Labor Press : By Senator Brad Hoylman

As President Obama so pointedly said in his recent State of the Union address, “corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.” The growing chasm between the rich and the poor has created a lopsided economy, and it’s patently unsustainable.

Unless we act now to increase the purchasing power of average Americans, our country will fall behind others that rely more heavily on exports than their own people to drive their economies.

The minimum wage is our government’s most targeted tool in the fight against the growth of income disparities. Raising it and, crucially, indexing it to inflation, will provided meaningful help to our struggling working families while boosting our economy.

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March 5, 2013 : WCBS 880 : Reporter Pete Haskill

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York State is planning to close a prison in a pricey Manhattan neighborhood and one local politician is against the move.

In a neighborhood of luxury apartments and high end galleries, it’s almost as if the Bayview Correctional Facility is hiding in plain sight.

But there it is at 550 West 20th Street in Chelsea.

“This prison has a low profile in the neighborhood, which speaks to its success,”

St. Sen. Brad Hoylman told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell. “I’ve never heard of any constituent complaints about the facility at all.”
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February 28, 2013 : The Villager : By New York State Senator Brad Hoylman

I heard a lot about Albany’s “pay-to-play” culture before I took office as a state Senator last month. Still, it was a culture shock to see it in action. For example, there is a practice that allows lobbyists to call senators off the Senate floor during session for face-to-face meetings about bills. Talk about being at the beck and call of special interests.

On the other hand, lobbyists can sometimes provide invaluable information. Plus, recent ethics reforms have imposed disclosure requirements and limited gifts to legislators. No more three-course steak dinners. Today a lobbyist is restricted to buying a legislator a cup of coffee.

Even with new ethics guidelines, however, Albany’s pay-to-play culture won’t change until we reform our campaign finance laws.
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February 21, 2013 : Capital Tonight: by Nick Reisman

Last night Sen. Brad Hoylman joined me from New York City as part of our “Fresh Faces” series to highlight new members of the state Legislature.

Hoylman, the only openly gay member of the Senate, replaced the now retired Sen. Tom Duane in the very liberal Manhattan Senate district, and he’s pledged to take up many of the LGBT-rights issues that Duane championed.

In addition to discussing LGBT rights, Hoylman told me in the interview that he would be open to breaking out Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s abortion rights bill from a women’s equality package, but only if it meant securing quick passage of that legislation.

“I’m for getting it passed in the most expeditious way possible. If breaking it out were to achieve that then I would of course be supportive,” Hoylman said. ”The most important thing is this is now on the table. It’s been stalled for years by the former leadership of the state Senate and now I’m hopeful that we in the Dem conference with Andrea and deputy leadership we can provide the support and the leadership to make it happen.”
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February 10, 2013 : NY Daily News : By Jennifer Cunningham

Chelsea officials and neighborhood preservationists are demanding the city block a greedy developer from desecrating the only known Underground Railroad stop in Manhattan.

An obscure city board will decide Tuesday whether to allow the owner of the building on W. 29th St. to add a fifth floor to the landmark townhouse, which sheltered countless runaway slaves and hosted prominent abolitionists Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison.

Co-owner Tony and Nick Mamounas started building the additional floor in violation of city landmark code — then kept building even after the Department of Buildings ordered them to stop in 2010.“For all of these reasons, its especially important that the (city) vote to … restore the building to the way it was a before he started attacking it,” said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who was set to rally in front of the building Sunday afternoon…

“Not only has the owner broken the law, by building the addition without a permit, but he is defacing history,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman said. “I would urge the (city) to have the illegal addition removed.”

To read the full article please click here.

February 6, 2013 : By Scott Stiffler

The following excerpts are from a January 25 phone interview with New York State Senator Brad Hoylman.

CHELSEA NOW: In late December, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent a letter to City Council Speaker Quinn — in which he denied a request to realign the 10th and 13th Precinct boundaries so a small patch of East Chelsea would be covered by the 10th. That action had the support of Quinn, and many community groups. What is your position on precinct coterminality?
SENATOR BRAD HOYLMAN: To me, it seems long overdue. It certainly is a logical request by the community boards to have the precincts aligned with their district. I completely understand how confusing it is. Issues spring up in different boards, the precincts have to attend both [boards], and everybody’s job is made much more difficult.

I’m strongly supportive of CCBA [the Council of Chelsea Block Associations] and their efforts. The local electeds are generally in agreement on the necessity [of precinct realignment]. The argument that it would be beneficial for those who live in the neighborhoods as well as the NYPD is our strongest case. So I’m going to continue the work of our local electeds, and work in concert with them.

I am disappointed by Commissioner Kelly’s refusal to make it happen. One of the goals of our police force, I know, is local engagement. Of course, I have tremendous respect for the exceptional work of the commanders and officers of both precincts, and coterminality facilitates their community engagement.

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February 5, 2013 : New York Post: By Jennifer Gould Keil and Bob Fredericks

The US Postal Service wants to unload the Old Chelsea Post Office on West 18th Street – but neighbors say they won’t give up the landmark without a fight.

“I love the Post Office! It’s an important part of the community and the community is saying they should not take it away,” fumed Barbara Ruether, 79, who lives in the Village but is a regular.

A top Manhattan commercial real estate appraiser told The Post the 40,000-square foot building in a prime Chelsea location could easily fetch more than $36 million – and far more if more stories can be added.

Ruether said she learned of the pending sale when she spotted a letter from postal authorities to state preservation officials posted on a bulletin board announcing the plan.

“Nobody knew what was happening,” said Ruether, who alerted Community Board 4 and state Sen. Brad Hoylman.

The sale is on CB4’s agenda when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hotel Trades Council Auditorium at 305 W. 44th St.

Hoylman said yesterday he was joining with other local, state and federal elected officials to fight to keep the facility open.

“Public spaces like Old Chelsea Post Office are critical to character of our community and we don’t want to lose it,” he said.

To read the full story, please click here.

February 4, 2013: Albany Times Union : By Rick Karlin

ALBANY — After several hours of hearings in which she was alternately criticized by Republicans and praised by Democrats, senators delayed until Tuesday morning a scheduled confirmation vote on Jenny Rivera, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nominee to the state Court of Appeals.

GOP Sen. John Bonacic, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said there was too much material to go over in order to take a vote on Monday.

Typically, nominees are reviewed by their respective committees and senators vote later that day…

Rivera, 52, is a professor at the City University of New York’s law school, which bills itself as a public interest law school focusing on the needs of the underprivileged.

She is founder of the school’s Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality, and was a special deputy for civil rights for Cuomo when he was attorney general. She also clerked in 1993 for Sonia Sotomayor, who is now a U.S. Supreme Court Justice….

Democrats defended the nominee: “I think you are a top-drawer candidate,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman. Fellow Democrat Adriano Espaillat added that he had no doubts about Rivera’s capabilities.

To read the full article please click here.

February 4, 2013 : By William Browning

President Barack Obama, in a pre-Super Bowl interview Sunday on CBS, called upon the Boy Scouts of America to reverse a long-standing policy disallowing gays in the organization. The president joined a handful of other politicians across the nation who agreed it was time to end the discriminatory practice in the 113-year-old organization for boys and men…

Democratic New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman, the only openly gay senator on New York’s state level and an Eagle Scout, encouraged his constituents to petition the Boy Scouts in a letter-writing campaign. Hoylman wants the organization to “act forcefully and unequivocally” to end its ban on gays. The senator wrote his own letter to scouting executives calling the lifting of the ban “woefully inadequate” at the local level.

To read the full article please click here.

February 4, 2013 : by Daniel Geiger

A proposal floated last week to solve Pier 40′s long-running financial problems by allowing a residential tower to be built on a portion of the space has met with a cold response from two legislators whose approval would be necessary to implement the plan.

“I have a longstanding concern about housing on parkland,” said New York state Senator Daniel Squadron, whose district includes the West Side pier at the foot of West Houston Street. “Over time those who live there have a different relationship with the park than everyone else does.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman, whose West Side district includes another stretch of the Hudson River Park, expressed a similar view.

“I have serious reservations about residential development in any part of the park,” he said.

The reluctance among key legislators to endorse the residential plan, which was proposed by an organization of sports teams that play on athletic fields at Pier 40, would appear to sink what is only the latest in a series of attempts in recent years to find some way for the park to generate desperately-needed revenue.

Most recently, developer Douglas Durst, who stepped down as chair of the Friends of the Hudson River Park, a fundraising group for the park and pier, had suggested reconfiguring Pier 40′s existing buildings for office or academic use.

To read the full article please click here.

February 4, 2013 : Reuters : By Daniel Wiessner

ALBANY, N.Y., Feb 4 (Reuters) – Members of the New York State Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday grilled Court of Appeals nominee Jenny Rivera about her lack of judicial experience and her ability to remain objective as a judge.

Rivera, 52, was nominated last month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to fill the vacancy left by Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, who retired at the end of 2012. Rivera has served on the faculty of CUNY for 15 years and has written extensively on social justice issues during her academic tenure.

During a confirmation hearing at the state Capitol in Albany, several Republican members of the Judiciary Committee expressed concerns that Rivera did not understand the nuts and bolts of everyday legal practice…

During the hearing, several Democratic senators on the committee praised her work in public service and academia.

Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, said he was impressed that Rivera, who graduated from Princeton University and NYU Law School, decided to pursue a career in public service and academia instead of joining a private firm. He singled out her work with CUNY Law’s Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality, which she founded in 2008.

“You have not just been in the ivory tower, you’ve had some real practical, public service experience,” he said.

To read the full story, please click here.

As you may have read, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) recently announced that it is considering rescinding its nationwide policy of banning gay young men from membership and gay and lesbian adults from leadership positions. However, rather than bringing discrimination within its organization to an end across the nation, BSA plans to authorize local chapters to establish their own discriminatory policies. As the only openly-gay New York State Senator and an Eagle Scout (Troop 70, Lewisburg, WV), I wrote to BSA to urge it to act forcefully and unequivocally to remove any and all barriers to participation in the organization based on sexual orientation. Please add your voice to mine, and pledge to withhold your support of BSA until this unjust policy is brought to an end for all chapters, by signing your name to the following letter.

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January 23, 2013 : New York Press

Brad Hoylman reflects on his first week in the Capitol

A few years ago, Albany was named the most dysfunctional state legislature in the nation by a good-government group. But as I begin my career as the newest state senator from Manhattan, there are signs that the legislature may be beginning to shake this embarrassing moniker once and for all.

Before the legislative session began, I helped elect a new Democratic leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins from Westchester. Sen. Stewart-Cousins represents a series of long-overdue firsts. She’s the first African-American woman to lead a conference and the first full-time legislator to serve as a leader in many years. Her singular focus on governing will help insulate her and the entire Democratic caucus from the special interests that have held Albany captive for decades.
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January 21, 2013 : DNAinfo : by Andrea Swalec

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Two new middle schools and a special needs program could be on the way to the West Village, the New York City School Construction Authority announced.

Officials are considering constructing a 900-student facility in the seven-story building at 75 Morton St., which is currently used by the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, said SCA President Lorraine Grillo…

School representatives and members of Community Board 2 and the Community Education Council for District 2 said they were looking at several options for new schools within the 177,000-square-foot building. They hope to reduce pressure on area schools and keep children near their homes in the West Village, Greenwich Village, the Meatpacking District and Chelsea instead of sending them to schools all over the city…

CB2 and CEC members said in a joint presentation that the possibilities they have been considering include an elementary school and middle school with 600 to 700 seats, one large middle school with 700 to 900 seats, and a school that could house a 100-student capacity pre-kindergarten and kindergarten plus an 800-student middle and high school…

The opportunity to have such leeway in planning a school is rare, said newly instated State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who championed the creation of the school as CB 2 chairman.

“For the first time,” he said, “we’re building something from the ground up.”

To read the full article please click here.

 January 16, 2013 : West Side Spirit: by Megan Finnegan Bungeroth

We asked the state senators and assembly members from our neighborhoods to respond to Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State address

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his annual State of the State speech, addressing a population that had recently been shaken by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the unthinkable violence of the school shooting in nearby Newton, Conn. The governor proposed a bevy of sweeping legislative changes to bolster the state’s economy, strengthen the public education system, and crack down on guns and assault weapons. We spoke to state legislators from Manhattan to find out how the governor’s proposals might affect New York City residents and how these leaders plan to follow through on these important issues…

Sen. Brad Hoylman, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, Upper West Side, Midtown/East Midtown, the East Village and Lower East Side

“I am heartened by the governor’s renewed call for an assault weapons ban and other measures to fix New York’s porous gun laws, especially in light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook and the spate of gun violence across New York City last summer. The governor’s Women’s Equality Act, which includes support for pay equity, is a bold effort to end discrimination and inequality based on gender, and I appreciate his strong call for passage of the Reproductive Health Act to protect women’s right to choose. I was also pleased to hear his plan to lessen the harm caused by the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy by decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana and advance campaign finance reform through the public financing of elections.

“The creation of a $1 billion affordable housing fund appears promising, although we also need measures to strengthen rent regulation laws, which have been bottled up by special interests for many years. And while I’m pleased to hear of the governor’s support for increasing the minimum wage to help address the growing gap between the rich and poor in our state, working families will not see a lasting benefit if we fail to index any increase to inflation.”

 

January 11, 2013 : New York Observer : by Matt Chaban

Add a few more names to the growing list of people concerned about the speed with which the city is executing the Midtown East Rezoning—ones that carry some serious political clout. In addition to the community boards, a few civic groups and local Councilman Dan Garodnick (who’s vote will be crucial to get the rezoning through the City Council), four new Midtown reps have just sent a letter to the mayor saying the rezoning needs more time to be perfected.

“Because this rezoning is so important, it is critical that it is done correctly the first time and is responsive to the concerns of the area’s current stakeholders even as it lays the groundwork for the area’s future,” Congresswoman Caroline Maloney, Assemblyman Dan Qart and state senators Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman write. They ask the Department of City Planning to withdraw the plan currently in the works, which is expected to be certified in the coming weeks, “in order to permit sufficient time for community input.”

To read the full article please click here.

 

January 13, 2013: Chelsea Now

Senator Brad Hoylman has opened a new chapter representing much of the heart of Manhattan — including the neighborhoods of Chelsea, Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village and parts of the Upper West Side, Midtown/East Midtown, the East Village and Lower East Side. On January 9, he headed to Albany for the first day of the 2013 legislative session. On Sunday, January 13, the public is invited to attend a swearing-in ceremony. It takes place from 2-4pm, at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s David Dubinsky Student Center (Eighth Ave. & W. 27th St., 8th Fl.). Refreshments will be served at a reception immediately following the ceremony.