Neighborhood Chatter

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LOWER EAST SIDE

SILVER PROPOSES GUN BUY-BACKS AT

In response to increased gun violence in the Lower East Side over recent months, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wrote a letter to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and Police Commissioner  recently, asking for their support in a plan to reduce gun violence.

Silver’s plan is to rally the DA’s office and NYPD to sponsor a gun buy-back program
on the Lower East Side. “Gun buy-backs have proven to be a very effective way to remove guns from our streets,” he said. Silver has also suggested a location for the program, offering the community room at Rutgers Houses on Pike Street, which he said would be a perfect location, noting that the tenants have already agreed to host the venue, should the DA’s office and the NYPD agree to the program.

CITYWIDE
CITY OFFICIALS RENAME MADISON SQUARE PARK IN HONOR OF FALLEN  RESPONDER

Earlier this month, City Council Speaker , New York City
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and New York City Parks Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro gathered at , which spans from
23rd to 26th Street, to celebrate the life and courage of NYPD officer  by renaming the park in her honor.

Smith, who is survived by her husband and daughter, is credited with saving hundreds of lives on Sept. 11, 2001. “People who survived the World Trade Center attacks will tell you they remember Moira, a beacon of calm in the chaos, leading the injured to care,” said Kelly.

SQUADRON OUTRAGED OVER REDISTRICTING

In the wake of a state Senate vote in favor of controversial redistricting lines and a constitutional amendment that would form a 10-member commission (with eight of the members chosen by the Legislature) responsible for redistricting, State Sen. spoke March 15 about his opposition to the vote, which he called a “doubly broken promise.”

“The only way to change this poisonous process once and for all is to get the
Legislature out of the business of drawing its own districts. One more year based on this process, much less a decade of its gerrymandered and political results, is unacceptable,” he said.

As a next step, Squadron has proposed that the governor veto the proposed
amendment; however, his opinion is in direct odds with other city politicians,
including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who in a statement after the vote, said, “This agreement will permanently reform the redistricting process in New York to once and for all end self-interested and partisan gerrymandering.”

CHIN SEEKS TRANSPARENCY FOR METHADONE CLINICS

Last week, City Council Member Margaret Chin introduced a law that would mandate community board notification of proposed methadone clinics. Currently, the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) is only required to notify the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) of plans to establish a , satisfying its obligation to inform the community.

Chin’s plan, however, would obligate DOHMH to notify the local community board and the City Council when they are first contacted by OASAS.
This measure of transparency, Chin believes, will aid in informing the general public of the potential presence of methadone clinics.

“Given the strong feelings that many communities have regarding clinics that dispense methadone within their neighborhoods, there is little incentive for applicants to inform the public that they are intending to open a clinic,” said Chin. “Local governments know their community best and they should have an opportunity to comment on whether the proposed siting is appropriate or needed.”

A PROPOSED END TO FINGERS FOR FOOD THROUGHOUT NYC
With the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Council Speaker Christine
Quinn, State Sen. Daniel Squadron has introduced a bill that would effectively ban the fingerprinting of individuals eligible for , believed to be directly responsible for nearly 6,000 food stamp denials between 2009-2010, according to an analysis by the .

Advocates claim that fingerprinting deters families from applying because of embarrassment and places an unnecessary financial burden on the state.
“Finger imaging is so ineffective, such a waste of money and such an impediment to food stamp access that even Governor Rick Perry eliminated it in Texas, and now only Arizona and New York City still cling to this discredited process,” said , executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.

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