CITY Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. https://www.gothamgazette.com/city 2022-11-26T10:09:04+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Joomla! - Open Source Content Management Homeless Children in New York City Need More Help to Recover from Trauma 2022-11-21T05:00:00+00:00 2022-11-21T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11697-homeless-children-new-york-city-recover-trauma Nathaniel M. Fields nmfields@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/children-more-help.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul makes a school visit (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to </span><a href="https://www.advocatesforchildren.org/sites/default/files/library/nyc_student_homelessness_21-22.pdf?pt=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Advocates for Children of New York</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, over 104,000 children were homeless during the 2021-2022 school year. For the seventh year in a row, 10% of kids are experiencing homelessness in New York City. There are many causes of homelessness, but one of the most common is domestic violence. Parents who are in abusive relationships often have limited access to money, nowhere to go, and no family or friends to turn to, and when they become homeless, so do their kids. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are lifelong implications for children who witness or experience domestic violence. These children are </span><a href="https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2002/1201/p2052.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">50% more likely</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to become victims or perpetrators of violence themselves. They are also </span><a href="https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2002/1201/p2052.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">more likely</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to engage in high-risk behaviors and struggle with depression and anxiety. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Connecting children experiencing homelessness with trained social workers is one of the most effective methods of helping them heal from trauma and preventing future violence. But very few have access to the resources they need. New York should invest in programs that provide youth living in shelters with access to trauma-centered supportive services.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Social workers can offer one-on-one counseling to students, helping children acknowledge their trauma, grow healthy relationships, and have successful academic careers. Because their personal lives are often unstable, homeless children struggle in school, graduate at lower rates, and drop out at higher rates. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Statistically, most homeless families are headed by single women of color who are left with few options and limited resources to help their children. They may be juggling full-time work or searching for employment with securing housing and transporting their children to and from school; these challenges are compounded by the psychological damage of domestic violence. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">This group of women is more likely to experience mental health disorders, post-traumatic stress, and drug addiction as a result of these factors</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Children in these families don’t have access to the support systems needed to succeed in school or break the cycles of violence and poverty. </span></p> <p><a href="https://www.aap.org/en/advocacy/child-and-adolescent-healthy-mental-development/aap-aacap-cha-declaration-of-a-national-emergency-in-child-and-adolescent-mental-health/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The AAP has called for expanded access to school- and community-based supports</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to provide at-risk youth with the tools they need to develop healthy coping skills and relationships. Reaching homeless children, who are in danger of slipping through the system’s cracks, and providing them with services must be a priority for the state.  </span></p> <p><a href="https://urinyc.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Urban Resource Institute (URI)</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is trying to reach those children.    </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">URI administers the school-based </span><a href="https://urinyc.org/program/relationship-abuse-prevention-program/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) and Early RAPP</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to help approximately 40,000 middle and high school students each year to develop healthy relationships within their families, schools, and communities. The culturally sensitive, age-appropriate and trauma-informed programs include conflict resolution and problem solving, with a focus on overcoming trauma, anxiety, and depression. The program is run by trained social workers who provide individualized support and is supplemented by peer counselors within each participating school.   </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">URI’s RAPP program has changed the trajectory of many young people's lives </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">—</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and their families and communities </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">—</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by providing them with the tools they need to define and develop healthy relationships with the support of peers and educators who share their concerns and understand their needs. Future domestic abuse is avoided, and cycles of violence are broken.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">URI is the nation’s largest provider of domestic violence shelter services and a leading provider of services for homeless families, accommodating as many as 2,200 people every night in its domestic violence and homeless shelters. Sadly, children and youth make up an average of 70% of the total URI shelter population. Though many young people in shelters have been impacted by domestic violence, the majority do not have access to RAPP programming as it is only available in a limited number of schools.   </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Expanding these programs to reach students living in domestic violence shelters is key for helping homeless families and their children. That’s why URI has requested $3.5 million in funding from the state to be included in the 2023 fiscal year budget, due by April 1, so that relationship abusive prevention programming can be offered to children in shelters.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We need New York State’s support to effectively scale programming and make a huge difference for the city’s growing population of homeless children. With their investment, we can transform the lives of domestic violence survivors, helping their children succeed in school and escape poverty.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> ***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nathaniel M. Fields is the CEO of Urban Resource Institute (URI), the nation’s largest provider of residential domestic violence services as well as a leading provider of shelter and services for families experiencing homelessness. On Twitter <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/twitter.com/natmfields" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@natmfields</a> &amp; <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/twitter.com/URI_NYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@URI_NYC</a>.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/children-more-help.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul makes a school visit (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to </span><a href="https://www.advocatesforchildren.org/sites/default/files/library/nyc_student_homelessness_21-22.pdf?pt=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Advocates for Children of New York</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, over 104,000 children were homeless during the 2021-2022 school year. For the seventh year in a row, 10% of kids are experiencing homelessness in New York City. There are many causes of homelessness, but one of the most common is domestic violence. Parents who are in abusive relationships often have limited access to money, nowhere to go, and no family or friends to turn to, and when they become homeless, so do their kids. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are lifelong implications for children who witness or experience domestic violence. These children are </span><a href="https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2002/1201/p2052.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">50% more likely</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to become victims or perpetrators of violence themselves. They are also </span><a href="https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2002/1201/p2052.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">more likely</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to engage in high-risk behaviors and struggle with depression and anxiety. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Connecting children experiencing homelessness with trained social workers is one of the most effective methods of helping them heal from trauma and preventing future violence. But very few have access to the resources they need. New York should invest in programs that provide youth living in shelters with access to trauma-centered supportive services.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Social workers can offer one-on-one counseling to students, helping children acknowledge their trauma, grow healthy relationships, and have successful academic careers. Because their personal lives are often unstable, homeless children struggle in school, graduate at lower rates, and drop out at higher rates. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Statistically, most homeless families are headed by single women of color who are left with few options and limited resources to help their children. They may be juggling full-time work or searching for employment with securing housing and transporting their children to and from school; these challenges are compounded by the psychological damage of domestic violence. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">This group of women is more likely to experience mental health disorders, post-traumatic stress, and drug addiction as a result of these factors</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Children in these families don’t have access to the support systems needed to succeed in school or break the cycles of violence and poverty. </span></p> <p><a href="https://www.aap.org/en/advocacy/child-and-adolescent-healthy-mental-development/aap-aacap-cha-declaration-of-a-national-emergency-in-child-and-adolescent-mental-health/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The AAP has called for expanded access to school- and community-based supports</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to provide at-risk youth with the tools they need to develop healthy coping skills and relationships. Reaching homeless children, who are in danger of slipping through the system’s cracks, and providing them with services must be a priority for the state.  </span></p> <p><a href="https://urinyc.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Urban Resource Institute (URI)</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is trying to reach those children.    </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">URI administers the school-based </span><a href="https://urinyc.org/program/relationship-abuse-prevention-program/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) and Early RAPP</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to help approximately 40,000 middle and high school students each year to develop healthy relationships within their families, schools, and communities. The culturally sensitive, age-appropriate and trauma-informed programs include conflict resolution and problem solving, with a focus on overcoming trauma, anxiety, and depression. The program is run by trained social workers who provide individualized support and is supplemented by peer counselors within each participating school.   </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">URI’s RAPP program has changed the trajectory of many young people's lives </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">—</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and their families and communities </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">—</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by providing them with the tools they need to define and develop healthy relationships with the support of peers and educators who share their concerns and understand their needs. Future domestic abuse is avoided, and cycles of violence are broken.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">URI is the nation’s largest provider of domestic violence shelter services and a leading provider of services for homeless families, accommodating as many as 2,200 people every night in its domestic violence and homeless shelters. Sadly, children and youth make up an average of 70% of the total URI shelter population. Though many young people in shelters have been impacted by domestic violence, the majority do not have access to RAPP programming as it is only available in a limited number of schools.   </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Expanding these programs to reach students living in domestic violence shelters is key for helping homeless families and their children. That’s why URI has requested $3.5 million in funding from the state to be included in the 2023 fiscal year budget, due by April 1, so that relationship abusive prevention programming can be offered to children in shelters.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We need New York State’s support to effectively scale programming and make a huge difference for the city’s growing population of homeless children. With their investment, we can transform the lives of domestic violence survivors, helping their children succeed in school and escape poverty.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> ***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nathaniel M. Fields is the CEO of Urban Resource Institute (URI), the nation’s largest provider of residential domestic violence services as well as a leading provider of shelter and services for families experiencing homelessness. On Twitter <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/twitter.com/natmfields" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@natmfields</a> &amp; <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/twitter.com/URI_NYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@URI_NYC</a>.</span></p> <p>

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A Crucial Moment for New York City’s Mental Health Crisis Response Program 2022-11-17T05:00:00+00:00 2022-11-17T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11691-new-york-city-mental-health-crisis-response Evelyn Graham Nyaasi egnyaasi@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/crucial-moment-health.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Emergency response (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division (B-HEARD), New York City’s attempt to reform the way 911 responds to mental health emergencies, has been operating in select neighborhoods for more than a year. And trends are heading in the wrong direction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">B-HEARD launched in June 2021 as an alternative to NYPD-led response to mental health-related 911 calls, which can often turn </span><a href="https://www.communityaccess.org/ccit-nyc-in-remembrance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">deadly.</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Instead, B-HEARD teams consist of paramedics and social workers to handle these crises. In the 12-month period that ended on June 30, there were about 11,000 mental health calls to 911 in the areas served by the program, which initially covered five police precincts in Harlem and now includes 11 precincts in Manhattan and the Bronx.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But as the program expands, we need to address its declining efficacy. </span><a href="https://www.ccitnyc.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Correct Crisis Intervention Today in New York City (CCIT-NYC)</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">’s </span><a href="https://www.ccitnyc.org/_files/ugd/d972a6_aeea8460e8fe4beea6097abddd61bba5.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">recent analysis</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of data that the city quietly released last month shows increased response times and hospitalizations, and fewer responses to mental health-related calls. To make matters worse, police officers are responding to B-HEARD calls, which defeats its intended purpose of serving as an alternative to police-led response.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It doesn’t have to be this way.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York could learn from Portland, Oregon. Its </span><a href="https://portlandstreetresponse.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Portland Street Response</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (PSR), which I had the good fortune of visiting earlier this year, is nearly identical to B-HEARD and was launched just a few short months earlier. While these programs are designed to operate in similar ways, PSR’s recent </span><a href="https://www.pdx.edu/homelessness/sites/g/files/znldhr1791/files/2022-04/HRAC%20Portland%20Street%20Response%20One-Year%20Evaluation_for%20public%20release.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">12-month data</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> shows it has had greater success in terms of total hospitalizations, number of responses to mental health-related calls, and average response times.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last March, the Portland program expanded to become citywide. Since its expansion, the program is taking a </span><a href="https://katu.com/news/local/portland-street-response-takes-record-number-of-calls-in-october-as-programs-grows" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">record number of calls</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> — from 44 in the month of October 2021 to 824 in October 2022, a 1773% increase. B-HEARD, meanwhile, is responding to fewer and fewer. Throughout the year in New York, 911 routed just 22% of mental health calls to B-HEARD’s pilot program, and B-HEARD teams responded to 69% of those calls — down from 82% at the pilot’s start.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Both PSR and B-HEARD include paramedics and mental health professionals in their response teams. But there is a pivotal difference between the two programs: PSR also includes two trained peer specialists to be responders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As someone who experienced a mental health crisis and later was trained to assist others at </span><a href="https://www.communityaccess.org/our-work/educationajobreadiness/howie-the-harp" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Howie the Harp Advocacy Center</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in New York City, I know that peers offer an empathetic response that cannot be replicated by those who have not been through the same experiences. Peers are trained to de-escalate crises and connect individuals with the services they need for future support. They are also part of the follow-up process to ensure individuals continue to receive the help they need so a dangerous situation does not arise again. They are crucial to the success of a program.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In addition to the inclusion of peers, Portland also makes more data available to the public. PSR publishes a </span><a href="https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/pdxstreetresponse/viz/PortlandStreetResponseDashboard/PSRDashboard?publish=yes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">dashboard</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that is routinely updated with call volume and location of calls routed to PSR. Its first-year evaluation was a 144-page document outlining the program’s performance and outcomes, as well as general stakeholder feedback.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York, by comparison, published just a two-page data brief that included year-long averages rather than quarterly numbers. Nowhere can New Yorkers find data as granular as that in Portland, which highlights prominent hours, days, and locations of the calls routed to PSR. New Yorkers deserve to know what is happening in their communities. And without access to this data, it is impossible to gauge whether a program is successful. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">PSR plans to become a 24/7 service within the next year. I want the same for B-HEARD, which currently operates 16 hours a day. But I am wary of potential expansion of a program that needs serious revisions. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Members of the New York City Council have indicated that they are ready to hold a joint oversight hearing. We call on Eva Wong, the Director of the city’s Office of Community Mental Health, to testify. There's no time to waste. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">*** <br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Evelyn Graham Nyaasi is Advocacy Specialist at Community Access, a member of the CCIT-NYC Steering Committee, and identifies as a peer (a person with lived experience with mental health recovery and services). On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/ccitnyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@ccitnyc</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/crucial-moment-health.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Emergency response (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division (B-HEARD), New York City’s attempt to reform the way 911 responds to mental health emergencies, has been operating in select neighborhoods for more than a year. And trends are heading in the wrong direction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">B-HEARD launched in June 2021 as an alternative to NYPD-led response to mental health-related 911 calls, which can often turn </span><a href="https://www.communityaccess.org/ccit-nyc-in-remembrance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">deadly.</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Instead, B-HEARD teams consist of paramedics and social workers to handle these crises. In the 12-month period that ended on June 30, there were about 11,000 mental health calls to 911 in the areas served by the program, which initially covered five police precincts in Harlem and now includes 11 precincts in Manhattan and the Bronx.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But as the program expands, we need to address its declining efficacy. </span><a href="https://www.ccitnyc.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Correct Crisis Intervention Today in New York City (CCIT-NYC)</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">’s </span><a href="https://www.ccitnyc.org/_files/ugd/d972a6_aeea8460e8fe4beea6097abddd61bba5.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">recent analysis</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of data that the city quietly released last month shows increased response times and hospitalizations, and fewer responses to mental health-related calls. To make matters worse, police officers are responding to B-HEARD calls, which defeats its intended purpose of serving as an alternative to police-led response.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It doesn’t have to be this way.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York could learn from Portland, Oregon. Its </span><a href="https://portlandstreetresponse.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Portland Street Response</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (PSR), which I had the good fortune of visiting earlier this year, is nearly identical to B-HEARD and was launched just a few short months earlier. While these programs are designed to operate in similar ways, PSR’s recent </span><a href="https://www.pdx.edu/homelessness/sites/g/files/znldhr1791/files/2022-04/HRAC%20Portland%20Street%20Response%20One-Year%20Evaluation_for%20public%20release.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">12-month data</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> shows it has had greater success in terms of total hospitalizations, number of responses to mental health-related calls, and average response times.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last March, the Portland program expanded to become citywide. Since its expansion, the program is taking a </span><a href="https://katu.com/news/local/portland-street-response-takes-record-number-of-calls-in-october-as-programs-grows" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">record number of calls</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> — from 44 in the month of October 2021 to 824 in October 2022, a 1773% increase. B-HEARD, meanwhile, is responding to fewer and fewer. Throughout the year in New York, 911 routed just 22% of mental health calls to B-HEARD’s pilot program, and B-HEARD teams responded to 69% of those calls — down from 82% at the pilot’s start.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Both PSR and B-HEARD include paramedics and mental health professionals in their response teams. But there is a pivotal difference between the two programs: PSR also includes two trained peer specialists to be responders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As someone who experienced a mental health crisis and later was trained to assist others at </span><a href="https://www.communityaccess.org/our-work/educationajobreadiness/howie-the-harp" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Howie the Harp Advocacy Center</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in New York City, I know that peers offer an empathetic response that cannot be replicated by those who have not been through the same experiences. Peers are trained to de-escalate crises and connect individuals with the services they need for future support. They are also part of the follow-up process to ensure individuals continue to receive the help they need so a dangerous situation does not arise again. They are crucial to the success of a program.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In addition to the inclusion of peers, Portland also makes more data available to the public. PSR publishes a </span><a href="https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/pdxstreetresponse/viz/PortlandStreetResponseDashboard/PSRDashboard?publish=yes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">dashboard</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that is routinely updated with call volume and location of calls routed to PSR. Its first-year evaluation was a 144-page document outlining the program’s performance and outcomes, as well as general stakeholder feedback.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York, by comparison, published just a two-page data brief that included year-long averages rather than quarterly numbers. Nowhere can New Yorkers find data as granular as that in Portland, which highlights prominent hours, days, and locations of the calls routed to PSR. New Yorkers deserve to know what is happening in their communities. And without access to this data, it is impossible to gauge whether a program is successful. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">PSR plans to become a 24/7 service within the next year. I want the same for B-HEARD, which currently operates 16 hours a day. But I am wary of potential expansion of a program that needs serious revisions. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Members of the New York City Council have indicated that they are ready to hold a joint oversight hearing. We call on Eva Wong, the Director of the city’s Office of Community Mental Health, to testify. There's no time to waste. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">*** <br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Evelyn Graham Nyaasi is Advocacy Specialist at Community Access, a member of the CCIT-NYC Steering Committee, and identifies as a peer (a person with lived experience with mental health recovery and services). On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/ccitnyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@ccitnyc</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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</p>
Who’s To Blame for Our NYC Teacher Health Care Debacle? 2022-11-15T05:00:00+00:00 2022-11-15T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11684-who-blame-nyc-teacher-health-care-debacle Arthur Goldstein agoldstein@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/teacher-health-care.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Then-Mayor de Blasio speaks to the UFT (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A long-time UFT chapter leader I know used to joke, “There are two things wrong with our union—the leadership and the membership.” I’ve been very involved with the teachers union, both in opposition and alongside leadership, and I couldn’t agree more. That two-pronged problem with our union is evident in the saga over major changes to health care for retired and current teachers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Let’s look first at membership. In 2018, 86% of us voted yes on a contract. I was on the UFT Contract Committee and fully supported it. It wasn't a great contract, but it appeared to be a fair one. Depending on who you asked, it was above or close to cost of living, and there were no horrendous givebacks. At least that’s what we were told.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The contract was very quickly presented to the UFT Executive Board and Delegate Assembly. I voted yes in both bodies. It then went to membership where, as everyone expected, it was voted up by an overwhelming majority. Everything seemed fine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, in 2022, we’re looking at a rollback of benefits for retirees. This, evidently, is because of a side agreement leadership made with the city in our 2018 contract. The UFT promised health care savings in Appendix B of our Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, this agreement was not presented to the Contract Committee, the Executive Board, the Delegate Assembly, or rank and file. We only found out about it after the contract was ratified. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A large problem with membership is we tend to view UFT as an outside entity. Why did the UFT do this or that? Actually, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">we</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> are the UFT. But in terms of union action, we don’t do much other than wear a particular color every once in a while. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The more pressing problem with membership is that we trust leadership. We now know they withheld the health care deal expressly to mislead us, so we ought not to have done that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I was pretty surprised when we were told the default for retirees would now be a Medicare Advantage plan. My mind went straight to Joe Namath on TV hawking Advantage as though it’s the new aluminum siding. Get it now, quickly, before time runs out!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But union president Micheal Mulgrew told us this was a new kind of Advantage. It wouldn’t be like the Namath plan. Every doctor who accepted Medicare was going to take it. At first, I was willing to give it a try if I retired anytime soon. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But then members started asking doctors whether they accepted this plan, and doctors answered no, they did not. Health care for city workers is negotiated by the Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella group of city unions (not all of whom support these changes). Evidently, the MLC, before announcing this plan, had not even bothered to enlist doctors to participate. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Any retiree who wanted to stay in standard Medicare would have to pony up $191 per person per month, almost $5,000 a year for a couple. That’s a considerable expense for people trying to get by on a pension. I started hearing complaints from people I’d never known to complain before. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another thing MLC failed to do was check current regulations. The city was precluded from charging people to enact this program. MLC, UFT included, lobbied to change </span><a href="https://jd2718.org/2022/11/03/administrative-code-12-126-line-by-line/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Administrative Code 12-126</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> along with Mayor Eric Adams.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Given these blunders, and given the health care agreement was born of blatant deceit, it’s a wonder anyone trusts MLC or UFT leadership on health care, or anything whatsoever. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We recently received an email from Mulgrew suggesting that, if the law were not changed, in-service members might have to pay $1,500 a year to retain health care. This put forth a zero-sum game, pitting in-service members against retired ones. This notion is antithetical to that of union. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Why is Michael Mulgrew working so hard to help various mayors, our actual adversaries in collective bargaining, to save money at the expense of membership? That’s likely because the  health care agreements (which union leadership had kept secret until after we’d voted up the contract) continue after our contract expires, which indeed it has. In this outlandish one-sided agreement, our health care continues to be cut, but the city is not obliged to give us a dime in compensation increases.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s beyond disheartening to learn what a miserable job our negotiators did for us in 2018. All our hours on the Contract Committee were wasted, since leadership made a counter-productive deal behind our back. They sacrificed our health care to win only modest gains. Our Contract Committee is a sham, UFT has the worst negotiating team in the world, and every member of that team should be impeached or fired. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now the union is trying to bargain a new contract with Eric Adams, and Adams says health care savings must be taken care of beforehand. Michael Mulgrew tells us to wear blue one day. Call me cynical, but I don’t see how that frightens Adams.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">UFT rank and file absolutely did not approve of these health savings. As far as I’m concerned, they ought to come directly out of the pockets of those who made the agreements. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They fooled me once, but it won’t happen again. Hopefully my union brothers and sisters aren’t fooled anymore either.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Correction: There was a health agreement made by MLC six months before the 2018 Contract, and UFT members were informed if it. Rank and file had not voted on it, and we were not aware of the particulars or implications. It was incorporated into Appendix B of the contract, which was not shared with us before the contract was ratified.</em> <br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Arthur Goldstein is an ESL teacher at Francis Lewis High School, and a former UFT executive committee member. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/TeacherArthurG/status/1281652476869922816" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@TeacherArthurG</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/teacher-health-care.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Then-Mayor de Blasio speaks to the UFT (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A long-time UFT chapter leader I know used to joke, “There are two things wrong with our union—the leadership and the membership.” I’ve been very involved with the teachers union, both in opposition and alongside leadership, and I couldn’t agree more. That two-pronged problem with our union is evident in the saga over major changes to health care for retired and current teachers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Let’s look first at membership. In 2018, 86% of us voted yes on a contract. I was on the UFT Contract Committee and fully supported it. It wasn't a great contract, but it appeared to be a fair one. Depending on who you asked, it was above or close to cost of living, and there were no horrendous givebacks. At least that’s what we were told.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The contract was very quickly presented to the UFT Executive Board and Delegate Assembly. I voted yes in both bodies. It then went to membership where, as everyone expected, it was voted up by an overwhelming majority. Everything seemed fine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, in 2022, we’re looking at a rollback of benefits for retirees. This, evidently, is because of a side agreement leadership made with the city in our 2018 contract. The UFT promised health care savings in Appendix B of our Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, this agreement was not presented to the Contract Committee, the Executive Board, the Delegate Assembly, or rank and file. We only found out about it after the contract was ratified. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A large problem with membership is we tend to view UFT as an outside entity. Why did the UFT do this or that? Actually, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">we</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> are the UFT. But in terms of union action, we don’t do much other than wear a particular color every once in a while. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The more pressing problem with membership is that we trust leadership. We now know they withheld the health care deal expressly to mislead us, so we ought not to have done that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I was pretty surprised when we were told the default for retirees would now be a Medicare Advantage plan. My mind went straight to Joe Namath on TV hawking Advantage as though it’s the new aluminum siding. Get it now, quickly, before time runs out!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But union president Micheal Mulgrew told us this was a new kind of Advantage. It wouldn’t be like the Namath plan. Every doctor who accepted Medicare was going to take it. At first, I was willing to give it a try if I retired anytime soon. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But then members started asking doctors whether they accepted this plan, and doctors answered no, they did not. Health care for city workers is negotiated by the Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella group of city unions (not all of whom support these changes). Evidently, the MLC, before announcing this plan, had not even bothered to enlist doctors to participate. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Any retiree who wanted to stay in standard Medicare would have to pony up $191 per person per month, almost $5,000 a year for a couple. That’s a considerable expense for people trying to get by on a pension. I started hearing complaints from people I’d never known to complain before. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another thing MLC failed to do was check current regulations. The city was precluded from charging people to enact this program. MLC, UFT included, lobbied to change </span><a href="https://jd2718.org/2022/11/03/administrative-code-12-126-line-by-line/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Administrative Code 12-126</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> along with Mayor Eric Adams.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Given these blunders, and given the health care agreement was born of blatant deceit, it’s a wonder anyone trusts MLC or UFT leadership on health care, or anything whatsoever. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We recently received an email from Mulgrew suggesting that, if the law were not changed, in-service members might have to pay $1,500 a year to retain health care. This put forth a zero-sum game, pitting in-service members against retired ones. This notion is antithetical to that of union. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Why is Michael Mulgrew working so hard to help various mayors, our actual adversaries in collective bargaining, to save money at the expense of membership? That’s likely because the  health care agreements (which union leadership had kept secret until after we’d voted up the contract) continue after our contract expires, which indeed it has. In this outlandish one-sided agreement, our health care continues to be cut, but the city is not obliged to give us a dime in compensation increases.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s beyond disheartening to learn what a miserable job our negotiators did for us in 2018. All our hours on the Contract Committee were wasted, since leadership made a counter-productive deal behind our back. They sacrificed our health care to win only modest gains. Our Contract Committee is a sham, UFT has the worst negotiating team in the world, and every member of that team should be impeached or fired. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now the union is trying to bargain a new contract with Eric Adams, and Adams says health care savings must be taken care of beforehand. Michael Mulgrew tells us to wear blue one day. Call me cynical, but I don’t see how that frightens Adams.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">UFT rank and file absolutely did not approve of these health savings. As far as I’m concerned, they ought to come directly out of the pockets of those who made the agreements. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They fooled me once, but it won’t happen again. Hopefully my union brothers and sisters aren’t fooled anymore either.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Correction: There was a health agreement made by MLC six months before the 2018 Contract, and UFT members were informed if it. Rank and file had not voted on it, and we were not aware of the particulars or implications. It was incorporated into Appendix B of the contract, which was not shared with us before the contract was ratified.</em> <br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Arthur Goldstein is an ESL teacher at Francis Lewis High School, and a former UFT executive committee member. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/TeacherArthurG/status/1281652476869922816" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@TeacherArthurG</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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</p>
Victorious, Now Governor Hochul Needs to Lead on Climate 2022-11-15T05:00:00+00:00 2022-11-15T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11687-governor-hochul-lead-climate-action-environment Liat Olenick lolenick@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/lead-on-climate.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul makes a green jobs announcement (photo: Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Kathy Hochul won election in a low turnout race thanks to progressive activists, elected officials, and organizations who showed up to get out the vote. Now it’s time for her to deliver on her campaign’s climate promises and pass the <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tJdS1S-bjLF3p70YqS3Jeu9GgYXn2lyo/view">Climate, Jobs and Justice</a> legislative package.</p> <p>It has been three years since New York passed its landmark climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. In that time, the state has <a href="https://www.nysfocus.com/2021/04/30/clcpa-funding-carbon-budget/">failed to live up to its climate commitments,</a> and crucial climate legislation has <a href="https://www.thecity.nyc/2022/6/6/23157391/climate-bills-stall-albany-governor-hochul-sign">stalled in the Assembly, year after year.</a> Even now, <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2022/11/9/23447856/bitcoin-governor-kathy-hochul-crypto-mining-election-new-york-bill-moratorium">Governor Hochul still has not signed</a> one of the few climate bills that did pass in the 2022 session, a bill to enact a two-year moratorium on new fossil-fuel-plant cryptocurrency mining in New York.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the climate crisis has continued to hurt communities across the state through hurricanes, <a href="https://nyc.gov/site/doh/about/press/pr2022/heat-related-mortality-report.page">deadly heat waves</a>, and flooding. Just two days before Election Day, temperatures neared 80 degrees in New York City. And this year’s <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60984663?_hsenc=p2ANqtz--bmgvGwLEwD-cBe6YNWvjWvO8HQEXe9JQWTNpfw103Xlnn1LfP-JfhhTZoOGr6Ybhc0Bdq">IPCC report</a> sounded the alarm that it is “now or never” for climate action, calling for rapid and immediate cuts to global greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate catastrophe.</p> <p>New Yorkers understand how important climate action is, and Governor Hochul has promised she does as well. Ten years after Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the state, the $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act, which would fund some climate mitigation projects and the governor and Legislature thankfully put on the ballot, earned hundreds of thousands more votes than Hochul herself. <a href="https://www.nyrenews.org/news/2022/supreme-court-decision-signals-need-for-strong-clcpa-n7479">Statewide</a>, a sizable 60% of voters voted yes on the proposal, and in New York City, a whopping 81% approved the measure.</p> <p>But the funding that comes with the passage of the Environmental Bond Act is just a start, and we need Hochul and the State Legislature to take the next step. The <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tJdS1S-bjLF3p70YqS3Jeu9GgYXn2lyo/view">Climate, Jobs and Justice Package</a> would fully implement the CLCPA and enact a series of legislative priorities like the Build Public Renewables Act to transition our electrical grid to renewables. The package would also hold corporate polluters accountable by ending fossil fuel subsidies and taxing the wealthy to fund the necessary transitions mandated by the CLCPA.</p> <p>The election made clear that New Yorkers want climate leadership. The reason I and many other activists joined the Working Families Party to volunteer for Hochul is because we know how urgently New York needs to enact climate justice and she was the better choice to lead on climate. Governor Hochul must ensure the 2023 legislative session fulfills the promises of the CLCPA and puts our state on track for a just, livable future.</p> <p>***<br />Liat Olenick is an activist and teacher in Brooklyn. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Liat_RO">@Liat_RO</a>.</p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/lead-on-climate.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul makes a green jobs announcement (photo: Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Kathy Hochul won election in a low turnout race thanks to progressive activists, elected officials, and organizations who showed up to get out the vote. Now it’s time for her to deliver on her campaign’s climate promises and pass the <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tJdS1S-bjLF3p70YqS3Jeu9GgYXn2lyo/view">Climate, Jobs and Justice</a> legislative package.</p> <p>It has been three years since New York passed its landmark climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. In that time, the state has <a href="https://www.nysfocus.com/2021/04/30/clcpa-funding-carbon-budget/">failed to live up to its climate commitments,</a> and crucial climate legislation has <a href="https://www.thecity.nyc/2022/6/6/23157391/climate-bills-stall-albany-governor-hochul-sign">stalled in the Assembly, year after year.</a> Even now, <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2022/11/9/23447856/bitcoin-governor-kathy-hochul-crypto-mining-election-new-york-bill-moratorium">Governor Hochul still has not signed</a> one of the few climate bills that did pass in the 2022 session, a bill to enact a two-year moratorium on new fossil-fuel-plant cryptocurrency mining in New York.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the climate crisis has continued to hurt communities across the state through hurricanes, <a href="https://nyc.gov/site/doh/about/press/pr2022/heat-related-mortality-report.page">deadly heat waves</a>, and flooding. Just two days before Election Day, temperatures neared 80 degrees in New York City. And this year’s <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60984663?_hsenc=p2ANqtz--bmgvGwLEwD-cBe6YNWvjWvO8HQEXe9JQWTNpfw103Xlnn1LfP-JfhhTZoOGr6Ybhc0Bdq">IPCC report</a> sounded the alarm that it is “now or never” for climate action, calling for rapid and immediate cuts to global greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate catastrophe.</p> <p>New Yorkers understand how important climate action is, and Governor Hochul has promised she does as well. Ten years after Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the state, the $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act, which would fund some climate mitigation projects and the governor and Legislature thankfully put on the ballot, earned hundreds of thousands more votes than Hochul herself. <a href="https://www.nyrenews.org/news/2022/supreme-court-decision-signals-need-for-strong-clcpa-n7479">Statewide</a>, a sizable 60% of voters voted yes on the proposal, and in New York City, a whopping 81% approved the measure.</p> <p>But the funding that comes with the passage of the Environmental Bond Act is just a start, and we need Hochul and the State Legislature to take the next step. The <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tJdS1S-bjLF3p70YqS3Jeu9GgYXn2lyo/view">Climate, Jobs and Justice Package</a> would fully implement the CLCPA and enact a series of legislative priorities like the Build Public Renewables Act to transition our electrical grid to renewables. The package would also hold corporate polluters accountable by ending fossil fuel subsidies and taxing the wealthy to fund the necessary transitions mandated by the CLCPA.</p> <p>The election made clear that New Yorkers want climate leadership. The reason I and many other activists joined the Working Families Party to volunteer for Hochul is because we know how urgently New York needs to enact climate justice and she was the better choice to lead on climate. Governor Hochul must ensure the 2023 legislative session fulfills the promises of the CLCPA and puts our state on track for a just, livable future.</p> <p>***<br />Liat Olenick is an activist and teacher in Brooklyn. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Liat_RO">@Liat_RO</a>.</p> <p>

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With the Environmental Bond Act’s Passage, Let’s Ensure the Green Transition Creates Good Jobs 2022-11-14T05:00:00+00:00 2022-11-14T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11679-ny-environmental-bond-act-passage-green-jobs Farah Mehreen Ahmad fmahmad@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/bond-act-ensure1.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Green school buses on the way (photo: Caitlin Looby)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This past week New Yorkers went to the polls and voted for justice. With passage of the $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act we now have the opportunity to move with resources, resolve, relief, and hope in tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We look forward to the swift and diligent implementation of the bond act, including ensuring the electric school bus purchasing process creates high-quality community-sustaining jobs through the usage of incentives that encourage manufacturers to commit to good wages, benefits, and training. Labor, climate, and community groups are enthusiastic about the progress awaiting our state and ready to support the process.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In April, Governor Hochul and the State Legislature advanced the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022 to appear as a ballot initiative. Now passed by voters by a wide margin, this measure will be a significant step in addressing the climate crisis, making our economy more equitable, and advancing New York State’s climate and economic justice priorities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are four major focus areas in this legislation, including climate change mitigation. A key component of this is ensuring at least $500 million for zero-emission school bus purchases and conversions and building supporting infrastructure. This will make for cleaner air in our communities and contribute to a reduction in global warming, while creating green jobs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My organization, Jobs to Move America, has spoken with unionized workers who manufacture school buses that are starting to transition to electric. One told us he is excited about the transition and would love to see all of his company’s school bus models go electric. Another said that he is very happy knowing that the buses he manufactures will benefit his grandkid's generation and generations to come. They're excited because their work will positively impact the future of our communities. They're also excited because their union gives them job security and the training they need to manufacture electric school buses.</span> </p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York is primed to lead in climate and labor justice to remedy the pitfalls we presently face and safeguard the future of our communities. There is no second option. There is no other time. If we didn’t recognize this earlier, the pandemic has blatantly underscored how vulnerable our environment, economy, and health are. With passage of the Environmental Bond Act, we took a milestone leap towards ensuring all workers – manufacturers, mechanics, drivers, and more – benefit from the green transition and that the electric school bus industry is developed equitably to create good green jobs. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We have known and suffered the adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions for generations. Diesel emissions have been harming our planet, children, and workers – especially school bus drivers and mechanics – for decades. The long overdue transition to 450,000+ electric school buses will be an essential step towards protecting the health and well-being of our communities, our planet, and our future. With zero tailpipe emissions and 70% less greenhouse gas emissions than diesel buses, they are the cleanest alternative available. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Committing to an all-electric school bus fleet, as New York has done, creates the opportunity to be a world leader in the transition away from fossil fuels. We can set an example for other states of sustainable development and how it benefits people, particularly children and workers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Electrification represents a massive shift in the vehicle manufacturing industry, presenting character and future defining choices for our state. The implementation of the Environmental Bond Act in New York is an opportunity for us to end the pattern of job losses during industry transition, and choose to transform in a way that creates high quality community-supporting jobs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This investment has the capacity to be remedial, protective, and preventive. The past two years have been a bellowing wakeup call for us to recognize how one unexpected calamity can upend our lives and throw everything off center. It is imperative for us to urgently implement an equitable transition into electric school buses to counter the climate and economic crises, and tap into the transformative potential of using government procurement for public good.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Farah Mehreen Ahmad is the New York Senior Organizer at Jobs to Move America, as well as a writer, translator, and interpreter. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/JobsMoveAmerica" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JobsMoveAmerica</a>.</span></p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/bond-act-ensure1.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Green school buses on the way (photo: Caitlin Looby)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This past week New Yorkers went to the polls and voted for justice. With passage of the $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act we now have the opportunity to move with resources, resolve, relief, and hope in tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We look forward to the swift and diligent implementation of the bond act, including ensuring the electric school bus purchasing process creates high-quality community-sustaining jobs through the usage of incentives that encourage manufacturers to commit to good wages, benefits, and training. Labor, climate, and community groups are enthusiastic about the progress awaiting our state and ready to support the process.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In April, Governor Hochul and the State Legislature advanced the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022 to appear as a ballot initiative. Now passed by voters by a wide margin, this measure will be a significant step in addressing the climate crisis, making our economy more equitable, and advancing New York State’s climate and economic justice priorities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are four major focus areas in this legislation, including climate change mitigation. A key component of this is ensuring at least $500 million for zero-emission school bus purchases and conversions and building supporting infrastructure. This will make for cleaner air in our communities and contribute to a reduction in global warming, while creating green jobs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My organization, Jobs to Move America, has spoken with unionized workers who manufacture school buses that are starting to transition to electric. One told us he is excited about the transition and would love to see all of his company’s school bus models go electric. Another said that he is very happy knowing that the buses he manufactures will benefit his grandkid's generation and generations to come. They're excited because their work will positively impact the future of our communities. They're also excited because their union gives them job security and the training they need to manufacture electric school buses.</span> </p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York is primed to lead in climate and labor justice to remedy the pitfalls we presently face and safeguard the future of our communities. There is no second option. There is no other time. If we didn’t recognize this earlier, the pandemic has blatantly underscored how vulnerable our environment, economy, and health are. With passage of the Environmental Bond Act, we took a milestone leap towards ensuring all workers – manufacturers, mechanics, drivers, and more – benefit from the green transition and that the electric school bus industry is developed equitably to create good green jobs. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We have known and suffered the adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions for generations. Diesel emissions have been harming our planet, children, and workers – especially school bus drivers and mechanics – for decades. The long overdue transition to 450,000+ electric school buses will be an essential step towards protecting the health and well-being of our communities, our planet, and our future. With zero tailpipe emissions and 70% less greenhouse gas emissions than diesel buses, they are the cleanest alternative available. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Committing to an all-electric school bus fleet, as New York has done, creates the opportunity to be a world leader in the transition away from fossil fuels. We can set an example for other states of sustainable development and how it benefits people, particularly children and workers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Electrification represents a massive shift in the vehicle manufacturing industry, presenting character and future defining choices for our state. The implementation of the Environmental Bond Act in New York is an opportunity for us to end the pattern of job losses during industry transition, and choose to transform in a way that creates high quality community-supporting jobs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This investment has the capacity to be remedial, protective, and preventive. The past two years have been a bellowing wakeup call for us to recognize how one unexpected calamity can upend our lives and throw everything off center. It is imperative for us to urgently implement an equitable transition into electric school buses to counter the climate and economic crises, and tap into the transformative potential of using government procurement for public good.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Farah Mehreen Ahmad is the New York Senior Organizer at Jobs to Move America, as well as a writer, translator, and interpreter. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/JobsMoveAmerica" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JobsMoveAmerica</a>.</span></p> <p>

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The Affordable Care Act Just Turned 10; It’s Important to Take Stock of Its Positive Impact 2022-11-11T05:00:00+00:00 2022-11-11T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11674-affordable-care-act-10-obamacare-impact Colin Wolfgang cwolfgang@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/aff-care-act.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Joe Biden talks ACA (photo: Adam Schultz/Biden for President)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rewind the clock ten years, and you’ll find a much unhealthier America with significantly less access to quality, affordable healthcare. What do pregnancy, seasonal allergies, and diabetes have in common? Besides all being physical traits, up until ten years ago these were grounds for insurers to charge a higher monthly premium or deny coverage altogether. Premiums were high, coverage was paltry, and 60 million Americans were forgoing insurance altogether.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The picture this paints is a bleak one, but in November 2012 the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – came into effect and proved to be literally life-changing for millions of Americans, from low-income people to those with pre-existing conditions to those under the age of 26.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we celebrate the ACA turning ten, it’s important to reflect on the sea change this landmark legislation had on how Americans get their healthcare, how frequently they rely on healthcare, and how expensive and how selective health insurers were when it came to who got healthcare and who did not.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ten years later, there is much to be celebrated. And even as the Biden Administration makes strides in fortifying the ACA, it is apparent that more work is yet to be done.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So how has the ACA benefited the average American? For starters, prior to the enactment of the ACA, </span><a href="https://www.kff.org/policy-watch/pre-existing-conditions-what-are-they-and-how-many-people-have-them/#:~:text=KFF%20has%20estimated%20that%20in,ACA%20individual%20health%20insurance%20market." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">some 54 million Americans, or 27% of the U.S. population</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, had “declinable” pre-existing conditions, meaning they were “uninsurable” (other estimates put this number at 133 million). Virtually any medical condition that was known to the individual prior to applying for healthcare was considered a pre-existing condition, whether it was as benign as acne or as malignant as chronic heart disease. The discrimination health insurers levied against these individuals caused the average premium to skyrocket and left much of the country without any insurance whatsoever.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ACA didn’t stop with banning such discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. Thanks to the law, all insurance plans have since been required to adequately cover the ten “</span><a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/what-marketplace-plans-cover/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Essential Benefits</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.” These benefits range from emergency care to pregnancy to prescription drugs, comprehensively ensuring that no American is forced to go without these services or pay a higher premium for them. The anxiety – now covered under wellness services and behavioral health treatment, both essential benefits – that Americans faced when deciding whether they could afford healthcare has since dissipated significantly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Affordability is likewise tantamount to a larger share of Americans being enrolled in a healthcare plan. Soaring premiums a decade ago were a barrier for many who simply could not afford to be insured; today, roughly 13 million Americans receive subsidies in the form of tax credits that keep their healthcare within their means. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">President Biden has kept the momentum going. While certain subsidies were set to expire in 2022, a three-year extension was passed earlier this year to the relief of millions of Americans, who are set to continue saving </span><a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/15/by-the-numbers-the-inflation-reduction-act/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">approximately $800 per month</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in insurance premiums.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The budget for navigators is also getting a boost. Navigators help Americans maneuver through the enrollment process, explaining the differences between plans and finding the right plan for everyone. Funding for navigators was drastically cut under President Trump, but is set to jump </span><a href="https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/04/21/hhs-announces-the-largest-ever-funding-allocation-for-navigators.html?utm_campaign=wp_the_health_202&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=newsletter&amp;wpisrc=nl_health202" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">24%</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> this year from last.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And as the momentum to strengthen the ACA persists, the popularity of the landmark legislation continues to underscore the importance of a more affordable, quality healthcare system. Sign-ups last year reached an all-time high of 14.5 million Americans and is on track to meet or even surpass that figure for 2023. If the trends continue, there will be a steady decrease in the number of Americans forgoing health insurance altogether.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is all good news for the Biden Administration, which has made the ACA a key focus of its agenda, and for the Americans who benefit from it. Yet the dichotomy between the popularity of the ACA and the perception of our healthcare system overall indicates that much is left to be desired and more work must be done. A majority – </span><a href="https://www.kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/5-charts-about-public-opinion-on-the-affordable-care-act-and-the-supreme-court/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">55%</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> – approved of the ACA in 2022. This is a stark contrast from the 44% of Americans who gave the overall healthcare system a D or F grade this year; a whopping </span><a href="https://www.kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/5-charts-about-public-opinion-on-the-affordable-care-act-and-the-supreme-court/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">75%</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of Americans also gave healthcare affordability a D or F.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These numbers don’t exist in a vacuum. While the concept of the ACA is highly popular, in reality the approximate </span><a href="https://www.kff.org/health-reform/state-indicator/marketplace-average-benchmark-premiums/?currentTimeframe=0&amp;sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">$456 average for monthly premiums</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> next year is still enough to turn people away from enrolling in a plan, especially when that’s a slight increase over the average cost last year. The fact that the ACA has drastically cut healthcare costs for Americans gets overlooked when premiums remain a financial obstacle for much of the country. However, if the popularity of the ACA retains a majority of Americans’ votes, it’s clear that many are cognizant of how much worse off they could be without the law.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The momentum can’t stop here. There is no reason a nation with the level of prosperity enjoyed in the U.S. should have a healthcare system that many Americans can’t afford. More must be done to continue to work towards the goal of enrolling every American who lacks a healthcare plan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But it is undeniable that the Affordable Care Act has left a largely positive, lasting imprint on the country. In the decade since the first enrollment season, America has become more insured, more affordable, and should President Biden and his predecessor have their way, will continue to trend in the right direction. For now, let’s celebrate this milestone and toast to the next ten years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Colin Wolfgang is a political and communications consultant. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/ColinWolfgang" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@ColinWolfgang</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/aff-care-act.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Joe Biden talks ACA (photo: Adam Schultz/Biden for President)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rewind the clock ten years, and you’ll find a much unhealthier America with significantly less access to quality, affordable healthcare. What do pregnancy, seasonal allergies, and diabetes have in common? Besides all being physical traits, up until ten years ago these were grounds for insurers to charge a higher monthly premium or deny coverage altogether. Premiums were high, coverage was paltry, and 60 million Americans were forgoing insurance altogether.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The picture this paints is a bleak one, but in November 2012 the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – came into effect and proved to be literally life-changing for millions of Americans, from low-income people to those with pre-existing conditions to those under the age of 26.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we celebrate the ACA turning ten, it’s important to reflect on the sea change this landmark legislation had on how Americans get their healthcare, how frequently they rely on healthcare, and how expensive and how selective health insurers were when it came to who got healthcare and who did not.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ten years later, there is much to be celebrated. And even as the Biden Administration makes strides in fortifying the ACA, it is apparent that more work is yet to be done.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So how has the ACA benefited the average American? For starters, prior to the enactment of the ACA, </span><a href="https://www.kff.org/policy-watch/pre-existing-conditions-what-are-they-and-how-many-people-have-them/#:~:text=KFF%20has%20estimated%20that%20in,ACA%20individual%20health%20insurance%20market." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">some 54 million Americans, or 27% of the U.S. population</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, had “declinable” pre-existing conditions, meaning they were “uninsurable” (other estimates put this number at 133 million). Virtually any medical condition that was known to the individual prior to applying for healthcare was considered a pre-existing condition, whether it was as benign as acne or as malignant as chronic heart disease. The discrimination health insurers levied against these individuals caused the average premium to skyrocket and left much of the country without any insurance whatsoever.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ACA didn’t stop with banning such discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. Thanks to the law, all insurance plans have since been required to adequately cover the ten “</span><a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/what-marketplace-plans-cover/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Essential Benefits</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.” These benefits range from emergency care to pregnancy to prescription drugs, comprehensively ensuring that no American is forced to go without these services or pay a higher premium for them. The anxiety – now covered under wellness services and behavioral health treatment, both essential benefits – that Americans faced when deciding whether they could afford healthcare has since dissipated significantly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Affordability is likewise tantamount to a larger share of Americans being enrolled in a healthcare plan. Soaring premiums a decade ago were a barrier for many who simply could not afford to be insured; today, roughly 13 million Americans receive subsidies in the form of tax credits that keep their healthcare within their means. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">President Biden has kept the momentum going. While certain subsidies were set to expire in 2022, a three-year extension was passed earlier this year to the relief of millions of Americans, who are set to continue saving </span><a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/15/by-the-numbers-the-inflation-reduction-act/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">approximately $800 per month</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in insurance premiums.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The budget for navigators is also getting a boost. Navigators help Americans maneuver through the enrollment process, explaining the differences between plans and finding the right plan for everyone. Funding for navigators was drastically cut under President Trump, but is set to jump </span><a href="https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/04/21/hhs-announces-the-largest-ever-funding-allocation-for-navigators.html?utm_campaign=wp_the_health_202&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=newsletter&amp;wpisrc=nl_health202" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">24%</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> this year from last.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And as the momentum to strengthen the ACA persists, the popularity of the landmark legislation continues to underscore the importance of a more affordable, quality healthcare system. Sign-ups last year reached an all-time high of 14.5 million Americans and is on track to meet or even surpass that figure for 2023. If the trends continue, there will be a steady decrease in the number of Americans forgoing health insurance altogether.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is all good news for the Biden Administration, which has made the ACA a key focus of its agenda, and for the Americans who benefit from it. Yet the dichotomy between the popularity of the ACA and the perception of our healthcare system overall indicates that much is left to be desired and more work must be done. A majority – </span><a href="https://www.kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/5-charts-about-public-opinion-on-the-affordable-care-act-and-the-supreme-court/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">55%</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> – approved of the ACA in 2022. This is a stark contrast from the 44% of Americans who gave the overall healthcare system a D or F grade this year; a whopping </span><a href="https://www.kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/5-charts-about-public-opinion-on-the-affordable-care-act-and-the-supreme-court/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">75%</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of Americans also gave healthcare affordability a D or F.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These numbers don’t exist in a vacuum. While the concept of the ACA is highly popular, in reality the approximate </span><a href="https://www.kff.org/health-reform/state-indicator/marketplace-average-benchmark-premiums/?currentTimeframe=0&amp;sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">$456 average for monthly premiums</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> next year is still enough to turn people away from enrolling in a plan, especially when that’s a slight increase over the average cost last year. The fact that the ACA has drastically cut healthcare costs for Americans gets overlooked when premiums remain a financial obstacle for much of the country. However, if the popularity of the ACA retains a majority of Americans’ votes, it’s clear that many are cognizant of how much worse off they could be without the law.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The momentum can’t stop here. There is no reason a nation with the level of prosperity enjoyed in the U.S. should have a healthcare system that many Americans can’t afford. More must be done to continue to work towards the goal of enrolling every American who lacks a healthcare plan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But it is undeniable that the Affordable Care Act has left a largely positive, lasting imprint on the country. In the decade since the first enrollment season, America has become more insured, more affordable, and should President Biden and his predecessor have their way, will continue to trend in the right direction. For now, let’s celebrate this milestone and toast to the next ten years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Colin Wolfgang is a political and communications consultant. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/ColinWolfgang" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@ColinWolfgang</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Creating Career Pathways for Veterans in New York City Government 2022-11-11T05:00:00+00:00 2022-11-11T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11680-careers-jobs-veterans-new-york-city-government Dawn M. Pinnock dmpinnock@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/creating-pathways-vets.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Veterans Day at City Hall (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democracy is an ideal that is central to who we are as Americans, but it’s an ideal that must be advanced and defended by each generation. While we are fortunate to have the freedom to choose our elected leaders and have a voice in our government, this freedom has been secured and defended by our military veterans. Their willingness to serve and sacrifice represents the highest calling in public service, and we owe these heroes an enormous debt of gratitude.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over a quarter million veterans live in New York City and each has contributed to the peace and security we all enjoy. This Veterans Day, we express our sincerest thanks for their contributions. We thank them for being public servants and for answering the call of duty.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One small way the City of New York is acknowledging the service of our veterans is by creating career pathways for them to continue their service in city government. DCAS — the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services — offers fee waivers on civil service exams so that </span><a href="https://www.nyc.gov/site/dcas/employment/paying-the-exam-application-fee.page#:~:text=If%20you%20are%20a%20Veteran,Fee%20Waiver%20FAQ)%20on%20OaSys." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">eligible veterans can take exams free of charge</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> To account for their unique skills and experience, veterans can also earn bonus points on those exams. Now, to further say thanks to our veterans and military families, we will be extending fee waivers for one exam to spouses of veterans. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At DCAS, public service is central to our mission. We manage the civil service system, the gateway to careers with the City of New York. As the largest local government employer in America, the career opportunities we offer to New Yorkers through civil service hiring helps us marry an individual’s interests with their passion for public service. Through the civil service system, applicants are afforded opportunities to demonstrate their fitness for jobs based on an objective assessment of their knowledge, skills, and abilities.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is among our chief responsibilities to ensure that our civil service process develops a steady stream of qualified candidates who are ready to serve their city. When we think about the caliber of talent we need to lead our agencies, contribute to our city’s growth, and play a role in planning the future, there are few as worthy as our veterans. So, this Veterans Day as we celebrate their achievements and their sacrifice, we invite them to answer the call to service again – serving the City of New York. Our civil service pathways provide a wealth of career options, opportunities for advancement, and great benefits. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An effective government hinges upon having a workforce that is passionate about serving others. Our veterans embody this commitment, and we want to create pathways for veterans to join our ranks and make a difference in our city. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To learn more about upcoming civil service exams and careers with the City of New York, visit </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/about:blank" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">nyc.gov/dcas</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/about:blank" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">nyc.gov/jobs</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dawn M. Pinnock is the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/NYCDCAS" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@NYCDCAS</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/creating-pathways-vets.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Veterans Day at City Hall (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democracy is an ideal that is central to who we are as Americans, but it’s an ideal that must be advanced and defended by each generation. While we are fortunate to have the freedom to choose our elected leaders and have a voice in our government, this freedom has been secured and defended by our military veterans. Their willingness to serve and sacrifice represents the highest calling in public service, and we owe these heroes an enormous debt of gratitude.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over a quarter million veterans live in New York City and each has contributed to the peace and security we all enjoy. This Veterans Day, we express our sincerest thanks for their contributions. We thank them for being public servants and for answering the call of duty.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One small way the City of New York is acknowledging the service of our veterans is by creating career pathways for them to continue their service in city government. DCAS — the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services — offers fee waivers on civil service exams so that </span><a href="https://www.nyc.gov/site/dcas/employment/paying-the-exam-application-fee.page#:~:text=If%20you%20are%20a%20Veteran,Fee%20Waiver%20FAQ)%20on%20OaSys." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">eligible veterans can take exams free of charge</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> To account for their unique skills and experience, veterans can also earn bonus points on those exams. Now, to further say thanks to our veterans and military families, we will be extending fee waivers for one exam to spouses of veterans. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At DCAS, public service is central to our mission. We manage the civil service system, the gateway to careers with the City of New York. As the largest local government employer in America, the career opportunities we offer to New Yorkers through civil service hiring helps us marry an individual’s interests with their passion for public service. Through the civil service system, applicants are afforded opportunities to demonstrate their fitness for jobs based on an objective assessment of their knowledge, skills, and abilities.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is among our chief responsibilities to ensure that our civil service process develops a steady stream of qualified candidates who are ready to serve their city. When we think about the caliber of talent we need to lead our agencies, contribute to our city’s growth, and play a role in planning the future, there are few as worthy as our veterans. So, this Veterans Day as we celebrate their achievements and their sacrifice, we invite them to answer the call to service again – serving the City of New York. Our civil service pathways provide a wealth of career options, opportunities for advancement, and great benefits. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An effective government hinges upon having a workforce that is passionate about serving others. Our veterans embody this commitment, and we want to create pathways for veterans to join our ranks and make a difference in our city. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To learn more about upcoming civil service exams and careers with the City of New York, visit </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/about:blank" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">nyc.gov/dcas</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/about:blank" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">nyc.gov/jobs</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dawn M. Pinnock is the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/NYCDCAS" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@NYCDCAS</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Prop 1, the Environmental Bond Act, is a Once-in-a-Generation Investment Opportunity 2022-11-07T05:00:00+00:00 2022-11-07T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11659-prop-1-environmental-bond-act-opportunity Christian Amato camato@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/prop1-env.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>On the waterfront (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As New Yorkers head to the polls in this general election, which ends on Tuesday, November 8, there’s more than just candidates on the ballot. Voters across the state will decide on one ballot proposal, with three more for New York City voters only.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These ballot measures, or propositions, are yes/no questions on proposals to enact laws or constitutional amendments. Placed on the ballot for approval or rejection by the electorate, these major questions give enormous power to New York voters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Question one is a statewide environmental proposal that, if approved, would have a monumental impact and ensure the state invests in equitable, long-term solutions to make communities healthier, safer, and more climate-resilient. The Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act is the most significant environmental and climate opportunity in New York State in the last 30 years. It will enable us to access $4.2 billion worth of investments to protect clean drinking water, reduce flooding, restore natural resources, and reduce air pollution across the state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The last environmental bond act in New York, all the way back in 1996, allocated $1.75 billion across the state. Then-Governor Pataki proposed the bond act and shepherded it through the Legislature by forming a bipartisan coalition that outweighed historical opposition. Notably, that funding led to forest preserve purchases in the Catskills and Adirondacks, conserved land and water across the state, and established New York’s first brownfield remediation program.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In March 2020, then-Governor Cuomo launched a campaign to pass legislation allowing voters to approve a $3 billion environmental bond act. In September 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul asked legislative leaders to amend the bond issue to include an additional $1 billion. Renamed the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, it was increased to $4.2 billion when the Legislature gave it passage in April to advance the proposal to the voters this fall.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All New York voters should make sure to find the proposal(s) on their ballot and approve question 1, the environmental bond act.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“By putting forth bold plans to move New York into a safer, healthier, and more just future for all its residents, Governor Hochul has shown what can be done when a public official takes the existential crisis of climate change seriously,” said Peter Linderoth, Director of Water Quality, Save the Sound, in one of many supportive statements from long-time environmentalists and climate advocates across the state. The proposal is also supported by many leaders focused on environmental justice and in organized labor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m a first-generation New Yorker, and I’ve lived in the East Bronx my entire life. Earlier this year, I ran for State Senate in New York’s 34th District, which unifies the coastal communities of Soundview, Throggs Neck, Pelham Bay, Country Club, and City Island in the Bronx with New Rochelle and The Pelhams in Westchester County. During my campaign, I was fortunate to connect with thousands of residents living in these shore communities of the East Bronx and Southeastern Westchester.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Across these neighborhoods, each with its own identity and unique characteristics, one thing was familiar — the impacts of climate change were evident. The flooding threats after a sudden and heavy storm continue to be a burden, especially in areas with sewage overflow problems. One rain shower could lead to severe aftereffects; damage to a home, a vehicle, and disrupted infrastructure is expected, in addition to the financial and health-related burdens residents are forced to endure. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When a summer storm would arrive, neighbors would rush to attempt to protect as much of their property as possible. Moving a car to higher ground and clearing basements of valuables were the first steps in preparing for the worst. As the rain comes down, our local infrastructure gets impacted as well; significant roadways and local streets would flood, as would driveways, building lobbies, and basements.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One Pelham resident shared with me that she had seen three of her cars get destroyed due to the power of these surging storms and flash floods. I often heard a popular refrain, “The streets turn into rivers,” as I would speak to voters door to door. A Bronx resident complained that flood insurance had become astronomical at their City Island home due to the regular and destructive flooding they continued to endure. Our sewage overflow systems are over one hundred years old, and rising sea levels exacerbate these concerns for coastal homeowners. Climate change impacts are felt regularly in the East Bronx and Southeastern Westchester.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In other areas of the state, the effects of the climate crisis had far more fatal results, such as when 11 died in Queens during the aftermath of Hurricane Ida due to the flooding of several basement apartments. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In July, Congressman Jamaal Bowman toured several towns affected by Hurricane Ida in Westchester County with the Army Corps of Engineers. The Congressman assessed the issues our Sound shore communities face, and in September, he shared that he had secured millions in federal funding for flood mitigation and flood prevention resources. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, hundreds of billions of dollars will be invested in making our communities resilient and kickstarting the clean energy revolution. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Earlier this year, I believed legislation was the fastest way to address the climate crisis. In the New York State Legislature, the passage of bills like the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA), the Build Public Renewables Act, and the Living Shorelines Act are some of the most transformational policy proposals that could significantly impact our state. However, partisan politics and influence from special interests have made passing these bills difficult. The Clean Air, Clean Water, Green Jobs Bond Act uses capital to address critical climate initiatives while creating meaningful union jobs, and our citizenry has the final say! We need to invest in our safety and resiliency, and The Clean Air, Clean Water, Green Jobs Bond Act can help us do that. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Climate change is exposing long-term vulnerabilities in our region. Regardless of socioeconomic status, the many impacts of the climate crisis are projected to worsen — from drastic temperature and sea level changes to more common extreme weather events and shifting storm patterns. A child born today faces multiple and life-long health harms from climate change, growing up in a warmer world with risks of food shortages, infectious diseases, floods, and extreme heat. Climate change is already harming people’s health by increasing the number of extreme weather events and exacerbating air pollution. The air we breathe and the water we drink come at a price, and in communities with marginalized populations, our neighbors are likely to bear the brunt of this crisis.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We face some of the state’s most significant infrastructure and climate challenges. Storms like Hurricanes Sandy, Henri, Ida, and others have revealed flood risks across all five boroughs and lower Westchester. Flooding is affecting coastal communities more than ever, and it’s also become more of an inland problem given our challenges dealing with the most intense rainfalls.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Funding from the restoration, flood risk reduction, water quality improvement, and resilient infrastructure programs of the environmental bond act could jumpstart more coastal rehabilitation, shoreline restoration, green infrastructure, and sewer upgrade projects in flood-vulnerable communities, including environmental justice communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As New York faces a long and uncertain path toward economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the estimated economic impact of the proposed bond act includes support for $8.7 billion in project spending and over 84,000 jobs. These types of investments, working in conjunction with major federal funding initiatives, create good-paying local jobs and provide economic returns to local economies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the most critical components of the bond act is the focus on ensuring that benefits reach environmental justice communities. The measure requires that New York spend 35% of the $4.2 billion on projects benefiting disadvantaged communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bond act would enable multi-year investments across four major categories.</span></p> <p>1. $650 million for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure, focused on projects that protect clean water, such as stormwater infrastructure, drinking water, and wastewater infrastructure projects, pollution control, and lead service line replacements.</p> <p>2. $1.5 billion for climate change mitigation, including investments in urban heat reduction, energy efficiency in buildings, renewable energy, and reducing air and water pollution.</p> <p>3. $1.1 billion for environmental restoration and flood risk reduction. This funding will support voluntary buyouts in flood-prone areas; waterfront, wetland, and stream restoration; and dam removal and transportation infrastructure upgrades for flood reduction.</p> <p>4. $650 million for open space land conservation and recreation. This funding will conserve forests, open space, and family farms and support upgrades to parks and other recreational infrastructure providing new and enhanced access to the outdoors.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cities, towns, and communities across New York State will reap benefits from the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act. Every county in New York has declared disaster declarations due to flooding in the last ten years alone, and flooding continues to be the most common climate hazard in the state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In each decade from the 1960s through the 1990s, New Yorkers approved bond acts to support environmental programs. The 2022 Clean Air, Clean Water, Green Jobs Bond Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to access $4.2 billion worth of investments to protect clean drinking water, reduce flooding, restore natural resources, and reduce air pollution across the state, while leveraging billions more coming from the federal government.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When you vote, vote yes on ballot question 1, the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Christian Amato is an organizer, activist, and political strategist, from the Bronx, New York. He is the founder of Consense Strategies. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/amatoforny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@AmatoForNY</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/prop1-env.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>On the waterfront (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As New Yorkers head to the polls in this general election, which ends on Tuesday, November 8, there’s more than just candidates on the ballot. Voters across the state will decide on one ballot proposal, with three more for New York City voters only.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These ballot measures, or propositions, are yes/no questions on proposals to enact laws or constitutional amendments. Placed on the ballot for approval or rejection by the electorate, these major questions give enormous power to New York voters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Question one is a statewide environmental proposal that, if approved, would have a monumental impact and ensure the state invests in equitable, long-term solutions to make communities healthier, safer, and more climate-resilient. The Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act is the most significant environmental and climate opportunity in New York State in the last 30 years. It will enable us to access $4.2 billion worth of investments to protect clean drinking water, reduce flooding, restore natural resources, and reduce air pollution across the state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The last environmental bond act in New York, all the way back in 1996, allocated $1.75 billion across the state. Then-Governor Pataki proposed the bond act and shepherded it through the Legislature by forming a bipartisan coalition that outweighed historical opposition. Notably, that funding led to forest preserve purchases in the Catskills and Adirondacks, conserved land and water across the state, and established New York’s first brownfield remediation program.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In March 2020, then-Governor Cuomo launched a campaign to pass legislation allowing voters to approve a $3 billion environmental bond act. In September 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul asked legislative leaders to amend the bond issue to include an additional $1 billion. Renamed the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, it was increased to $4.2 billion when the Legislature gave it passage in April to advance the proposal to the voters this fall.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All New York voters should make sure to find the proposal(s) on their ballot and approve question 1, the environmental bond act.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“By putting forth bold plans to move New York into a safer, healthier, and more just future for all its residents, Governor Hochul has shown what can be done when a public official takes the existential crisis of climate change seriously,” said Peter Linderoth, Director of Water Quality, Save the Sound, in one of many supportive statements from long-time environmentalists and climate advocates across the state. The proposal is also supported by many leaders focused on environmental justice and in organized labor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m a first-generation New Yorker, and I’ve lived in the East Bronx my entire life. Earlier this year, I ran for State Senate in New York’s 34th District, which unifies the coastal communities of Soundview, Throggs Neck, Pelham Bay, Country Club, and City Island in the Bronx with New Rochelle and The Pelhams in Westchester County. During my campaign, I was fortunate to connect with thousands of residents living in these shore communities of the East Bronx and Southeastern Westchester.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Across these neighborhoods, each with its own identity and unique characteristics, one thing was familiar — the impacts of climate change were evident. The flooding threats after a sudden and heavy storm continue to be a burden, especially in areas with sewage overflow problems. One rain shower could lead to severe aftereffects; damage to a home, a vehicle, and disrupted infrastructure is expected, in addition to the financial and health-related burdens residents are forced to endure. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When a summer storm would arrive, neighbors would rush to attempt to protect as much of their property as possible. Moving a car to higher ground and clearing basements of valuables were the first steps in preparing for the worst. As the rain comes down, our local infrastructure gets impacted as well; significant roadways and local streets would flood, as would driveways, building lobbies, and basements.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One Pelham resident shared with me that she had seen three of her cars get destroyed due to the power of these surging storms and flash floods. I often heard a popular refrain, “The streets turn into rivers,” as I would speak to voters door to door. A Bronx resident complained that flood insurance had become astronomical at their City Island home due to the regular and destructive flooding they continued to endure. Our sewage overflow systems are over one hundred years old, and rising sea levels exacerbate these concerns for coastal homeowners. Climate change impacts are felt regularly in the East Bronx and Southeastern Westchester.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In other areas of the state, the effects of the climate crisis had far more fatal results, such as when 11 died in Queens during the aftermath of Hurricane Ida due to the flooding of several basement apartments. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In July, Congressman Jamaal Bowman toured several towns affected by Hurricane Ida in Westchester County with the Army Corps of Engineers. The Congressman assessed the issues our Sound shore communities face, and in September, he shared that he had secured millions in federal funding for flood mitigation and flood prevention resources. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, hundreds of billions of dollars will be invested in making our communities resilient and kickstarting the clean energy revolution. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Earlier this year, I believed legislation was the fastest way to address the climate crisis. In the New York State Legislature, the passage of bills like the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA), the Build Public Renewables Act, and the Living Shorelines Act are some of the most transformational policy proposals that could significantly impact our state. However, partisan politics and influence from special interests have made passing these bills difficult. The Clean Air, Clean Water, Green Jobs Bond Act uses capital to address critical climate initiatives while creating meaningful union jobs, and our citizenry has the final say! We need to invest in our safety and resiliency, and The Clean Air, Clean Water, Green Jobs Bond Act can help us do that. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Climate change is exposing long-term vulnerabilities in our region. Regardless of socioeconomic status, the many impacts of the climate crisis are projected to worsen — from drastic temperature and sea level changes to more common extreme weather events and shifting storm patterns. A child born today faces multiple and life-long health harms from climate change, growing up in a warmer world with risks of food shortages, infectious diseases, floods, and extreme heat. Climate change is already harming people’s health by increasing the number of extreme weather events and exacerbating air pollution. The air we breathe and the water we drink come at a price, and in communities with marginalized populations, our neighbors are likely to bear the brunt of this crisis.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We face some of the state’s most significant infrastructure and climate challenges. Storms like Hurricanes Sandy, Henri, Ida, and others have revealed flood risks across all five boroughs and lower Westchester. Flooding is affecting coastal communities more than ever, and it’s also become more of an inland problem given our challenges dealing with the most intense rainfalls.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Funding from the restoration, flood risk reduction, water quality improvement, and resilient infrastructure programs of the environmental bond act could jumpstart more coastal rehabilitation, shoreline restoration, green infrastructure, and sewer upgrade projects in flood-vulnerable communities, including environmental justice communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As New York faces a long and uncertain path toward economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the estimated economic impact of the proposed bond act includes support for $8.7 billion in project spending and over 84,000 jobs. These types of investments, working in conjunction with major federal funding initiatives, create good-paying local jobs and provide economic returns to local economies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the most critical components of the bond act is the focus on ensuring that benefits reach environmental justice communities. The measure requires that New York spend 35% of the $4.2 billion on projects benefiting disadvantaged communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bond act would enable multi-year investments across four major categories.</span></p> <p>1. $650 million for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure, focused on projects that protect clean water, such as stormwater infrastructure, drinking water, and wastewater infrastructure projects, pollution control, and lead service line replacements.</p> <p>2. $1.5 billion for climate change mitigation, including investments in urban heat reduction, energy efficiency in buildings, renewable energy, and reducing air and water pollution.</p> <p>3. $1.1 billion for environmental restoration and flood risk reduction. This funding will support voluntary buyouts in flood-prone areas; waterfront, wetland, and stream restoration; and dam removal and transportation infrastructure upgrades for flood reduction.</p> <p>4. $650 million for open space land conservation and recreation. This funding will conserve forests, open space, and family farms and support upgrades to parks and other recreational infrastructure providing new and enhanced access to the outdoors.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cities, towns, and communities across New York State will reap benefits from the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act. Every county in New York has declared disaster declarations due to flooding in the last ten years alone, and flooding continues to be the most common climate hazard in the state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In each decade from the 1960s through the 1990s, New Yorkers approved bond acts to support environmental programs. The 2022 Clean Air, Clean Water, Green Jobs Bond Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to access $4.2 billion worth of investments to protect clean drinking water, reduce flooding, restore natural resources, and reduce air pollution across the state, while leveraging billions more coming from the federal government.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When you vote, vote yes on ballot question 1, the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Christian Amato is an organizer, activist, and political strategist, from the Bronx, New York. He is the founder of Consense Strategies. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/amatoforny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@AmatoForNY</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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We Need to Utilize All Proven Strategies to End Domestic Violence 2022-11-07T05:00:00+00:00 2022-11-07T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11660-all-strategies-end-domestic-violence Alison Diéguez & Nathaniel Tolbert mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/we-need-prove.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>A march against domestic violence (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though Domestic Violence Awareness Month has ended, domestic violence is a tragedy that occurs every month, and every day. Uplifting the voices of survivors, recognizing the harm of abuse, and pursuing evidence-based solutions to break cycles of violence must be year-round priorities. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And sometimes, that evidence points in unconventional directions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our primary duty is to support survivors of domestic violence. The best way is with comprehensive, intersectional, and culturally-responsive </span><a href="https://urinyc.org/program/crime-victim-services/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">crime victim services</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that help survivors escape future violence. This means providing safe and stable housing; emergency financial support on everything from food to clothing; and criminal legal system advocacy and guidance. Without these vital supports, we won’t solve this crisis.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another strategy is to provide trauma-informed support to partners who commit abuse. This may seem like an unorthodox, even controversial, approach. But domestic violence is a unique offense. It involves people in deep, personal relationships with intense emotional connections.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Those who commit domestic violence </span><a href="https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/dissertations/3819/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">reoffend</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> at higher rates than virtually every other crime category. One</span><a href="https://www.ufv.ca/media/assets/ccjr/reports-and-publications/Reducing_Recidivism_in_Domestic_Violence_2011.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> showed that anywhere from 20% to 33% of violators reoffend within months; another puts the frequency of recidivism in domestic abuse cases at more than 60% within months of a previous incident. And there are </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/ocdv/downloads/pdf/covid-19-impact-survey-for-survivors-of-domestic-violence-report.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">troubling signs</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that the pandemic has worsened domestic violence.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New approaches are urgently needed to break the cycle and actually curb the violent, destructive effects on survivors and families. That means using every strategy available.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Abusive partner intervention programs (APIPs) can reduce crime and provide long-term benefits to both parties involved in an abusive relationship and to the community as a whole – if done the right way. It’s not easy. </span><a href="https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/dissertations/3819/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Abusive partner interventions</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> are challenging. But instead of giving up on these efforts to prevent recidivism, we must reinvigorate our commitment to proven methods that get results.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That means understanding that changing a person’s abusive behavior won’t take place if they are in </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn3918"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a traumatized state</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. We must acknowledge and </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1359178917303269" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">treat the trauma that so often triggers - and retriggers - violent acts. </span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is what </span><a href="https://islg.cuny.edu/resources/creating-a-trauma-informed-abusive-partner-intervention-program" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">trauma-informed, culturally-responsive abusive partner interventions</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> offer, which is dramatically more intensive than traditional APIP programs. The difference is that programs dig deep into both accountability and addressing root causes of behavior.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Importantly, this approach elevates survivor safety first and foremost and emphasizes abuser accountability. Clear protocols for compliance, strict schedules and guidelines, and crystal-clear coordination of services and support drive every part of this strategy. Centering survivors' voices and views in all aspects is a sacrosanct principle.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But </span><a href="https://eac-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/APIP-One-Page-Info.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">understanding how</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> past traumatic experiences can cause present and future behavior provides an invaluable way to prevent harm and violence. Tailored supports can help a person who commits intimate partner violence address and salve their trauma, and engage in the challenging work towards behavior change. Matching resources and designing programs to meet these needs is an innovative way to both identify and address the root causes of abusive behavior. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Providing services to those who cause harm does not excuse their crimes, or shift the burden of their offenses away from them. Abusers are responsible for their actions, and must be held accountable. Part of that accountability should include working to achieve real behavioral changes, which can only happen with trauma-informed engagement. In fact, many survivors want to see their partners receive this support, so cycles of violence can end and healthy relationships can begin.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When done the right way, trauma-informed interventions can help abusive partners develop care and compassion for survivors, do the work required to change their actions, and ultimately accept responsibility for the harm they’ve caused. This accountability is how we break cycles of violence.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We should invest in trauma-informed abusive partner interventions this month and every month, so that when Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes around next October, we can celebrate new, real reductions in this awful scourge.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alison Diéguez is a Program Director at the CUNY Institute for State &amp; Local Governance (ISLG), where she oversees ISLG’s work on gender-based violence and trauma. Nathaniel Tolbert, LCSW, is the Clinical Director of Manhattan APIP’s Urban Resource Institute and Director of URI’s Trauma Informed Abusive Partner Intervention Program and The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence supported Respect and Responsibility Program. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/URI_NYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@URI_NYC</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/CUNYISLG" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@CUNYISLG</a>.</span></p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/we-need-prove.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>A march against domestic violence (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though Domestic Violence Awareness Month has ended, domestic violence is a tragedy that occurs every month, and every day. Uplifting the voices of survivors, recognizing the harm of abuse, and pursuing evidence-based solutions to break cycles of violence must be year-round priorities. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And sometimes, that evidence points in unconventional directions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our primary duty is to support survivors of domestic violence. The best way is with comprehensive, intersectional, and culturally-responsive </span><a href="https://urinyc.org/program/crime-victim-services/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">crime victim services</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that help survivors escape future violence. This means providing safe and stable housing; emergency financial support on everything from food to clothing; and criminal legal system advocacy and guidance. Without these vital supports, we won’t solve this crisis.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another strategy is to provide trauma-informed support to partners who commit abuse. This may seem like an unorthodox, even controversial, approach. But domestic violence is a unique offense. It involves people in deep, personal relationships with intense emotional connections.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Those who commit domestic violence </span><a href="https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/dissertations/3819/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">reoffend</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> at higher rates than virtually every other crime category. One</span><a href="https://www.ufv.ca/media/assets/ccjr/reports-and-publications/Reducing_Recidivism_in_Domestic_Violence_2011.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> showed that anywhere from 20% to 33% of violators reoffend within months; another puts the frequency of recidivism in domestic abuse cases at more than 60% within months of a previous incident. And there are </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/ocdv/downloads/pdf/covid-19-impact-survey-for-survivors-of-domestic-violence-report.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">troubling signs</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that the pandemic has worsened domestic violence.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New approaches are urgently needed to break the cycle and actually curb the violent, destructive effects on survivors and families. That means using every strategy available.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Abusive partner intervention programs (APIPs) can reduce crime and provide long-term benefits to both parties involved in an abusive relationship and to the community as a whole – if done the right way. It’s not easy. </span><a href="https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/dissertations/3819/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Abusive partner interventions</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> are challenging. But instead of giving up on these efforts to prevent recidivism, we must reinvigorate our commitment to proven methods that get results.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That means understanding that changing a person’s abusive behavior won’t take place if they are in </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn3918"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a traumatized state</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. We must acknowledge and </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1359178917303269" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">treat the trauma that so often triggers - and retriggers - violent acts. </span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is what </span><a href="https://islg.cuny.edu/resources/creating-a-trauma-informed-abusive-partner-intervention-program" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">trauma-informed, culturally-responsive abusive partner interventions</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> offer, which is dramatically more intensive than traditional APIP programs. The difference is that programs dig deep into both accountability and addressing root causes of behavior.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Importantly, this approach elevates survivor safety first and foremost and emphasizes abuser accountability. Clear protocols for compliance, strict schedules and guidelines, and crystal-clear coordination of services and support drive every part of this strategy. Centering survivors' voices and views in all aspects is a sacrosanct principle.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But </span><a href="https://eac-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/APIP-One-Page-Info.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">understanding how</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> past traumatic experiences can cause present and future behavior provides an invaluable way to prevent harm and violence. Tailored supports can help a person who commits intimate partner violence address and salve their trauma, and engage in the challenging work towards behavior change. Matching resources and designing programs to meet these needs is an innovative way to both identify and address the root causes of abusive behavior. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Providing services to those who cause harm does not excuse their crimes, or shift the burden of their offenses away from them. Abusers are responsible for their actions, and must be held accountable. Part of that accountability should include working to achieve real behavioral changes, which can only happen with trauma-informed engagement. In fact, many survivors want to see their partners receive this support, so cycles of violence can end and healthy relationships can begin.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When done the right way, trauma-informed interventions can help abusive partners develop care and compassion for survivors, do the work required to change their actions, and ultimately accept responsibility for the harm they’ve caused. This accountability is how we break cycles of violence.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We should invest in trauma-informed abusive partner interventions this month and every month, so that when Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes around next October, we can celebrate new, real reductions in this awful scourge.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alison Diéguez is a Program Director at the CUNY Institute for State &amp; Local Governance (ISLG), where she oversees ISLG’s work on gender-based violence and trauma. Nathaniel Tolbert, LCSW, is the Clinical Director of Manhattan APIP’s Urban Resource Institute and Director of URI’s Trauma Informed Abusive Partner Intervention Program and The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence supported Respect and Responsibility Program. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/URI_NYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@URI_NYC</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/CUNYISLG" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@CUNYISLG</a>.</span></p> <p>

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Don't Mistake Lee Zeldin’s Empty Soundbites for Moderation 2022-11-04T04:00:00+00:00 2022-11-04T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11657-lee-zeldin-empty-soundbites-not-moderate Nancy Goroff nsgoroff@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/lee-zeldin-postjpg.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Lee Zeldin at the Spectrum News debate (photo: pool)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2020, I ran for Congress in Suffolk County on a platform of facts, truth, and evidence-based solutions for my local community. My opponent was Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who already had a long history in Congress of denying facts and relying on soundbites to take the place of real accomplishments. With the gubernatorial election happening now, New Yorkers need to look beyond Zeldin’s shallow rhetoric, and instead look at his record to truly understand the harmful agenda he will bring if elected to the highest office in the state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Zeldin claims a mantle of “bipartisanship.” Unfortunately, as a member of Congress he accomplished little and voted with President Donald Trump almost 90% of the time. To hide this reality, Mr. Zeldin likes to claim credit for actions that are important to his voters, without doing the real work to make things happen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For example, in 2020, Brookhaven National Lab (BNL), which lies within our district, was selected as home for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Electron Ion Collider (EIC), a $2 billion project that will bring jobs to our community. An independent panel of scientists had chosen BNL as home for the future EIC because it had the best combination of expertise and existing facilities to support the project. Yet Mr. Zeldin sent out </span><a href="https://zeldin.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-zeldin-steers-electron-ion-collider-project-brookhaven-national-lab" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a press release</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> with the headline “Rep. Zeldin Steers Electron-Ion Collider Project to Brookhaven National Lab.” The release conspicuously did not include any mention of what Mr. Zeldin did to support BNL’s bid. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Meanwhile, Mr. Zeldin’s extremism includes serving as a staunch supporter and passionate defender of former President Trump. In Congress, Zeldin served as Donald Trump’s “point man” during both impeachment trials, and planned with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on how to undermine the 2020 election results. If you want to understand who Lee Zeldin is, listen to </span><a href="https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4935318/user-clip-zeldin-objects-az-electors" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the speech</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> he gave on the night of January 6, 2021, after the Capitol insurrection, to justify his vote against certifying the election results. Each sentence is carefully crafted to be true in its narrowest sense, but taken as a whole, the speech is one big lie. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To this day, Zeldin skirts around the facts and fails to give direct answers so as not to upset his base. Asked recently by </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/22/opinion/lee-zeldin-nyt-interview.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New York Times editorial board</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> whether he agrees that Joe Biden won in 2020, Zeldin avoided answering, instead saying, “I don’t know how to quantify nationwide what happened. All I know from the most personal of experiences was what we went through in the 1st Congressional District in New York.” Ironically, I lost to Rep. Zeldin in 2020, and he has never questioned that result. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To make matters worse, Zeldin has aligned himself with far-right ideologues. In 2015, Zeldin hosted a town hall with members of the Oath Keepers, an organizing group behind the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Likewise, he has welcomed the enthusiastic support of the Long Island Loud Majority, which has been </span><a href="https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/antigovernment" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">identified</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> as an anti-government extremist organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Zeldin’s voting record is similarly extreme, including voting against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, against the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, against the Assault Weapons Ban, and for repealing the Affordable Care Act, to name just a few. Staunchly anti-abortion with a long record to prove it, he now says he will not try to overturn New York’s legislation protecting reproductive rights, but he has made no similar promise to continue critical state funding to protect those rights. Once again, Zeldin is crafting his message carefully, yet overall it is a giant lie, trying to trick more pro-choice people into voting for him.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Zeldin wants to be our Governor – a position of tremendous power and consequence for each of our day-to-day lives. I implore New Yorkers to judge him not by his big claims or promises, but by what his record and choice of friends tell us he would do if we hand him the keys to the governor’s mansion. Then, vote like our state depends on it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nancy S. Goroff is a Long Island resident and former congressional candidate. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/ngoroff" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@ngoroff</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/lee-zeldin-postjpg.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Lee Zeldin at the Spectrum News debate (photo: pool)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2020, I ran for Congress in Suffolk County on a platform of facts, truth, and evidence-based solutions for my local community. My opponent was Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who already had a long history in Congress of denying facts and relying on soundbites to take the place of real accomplishments. With the gubernatorial election happening now, New Yorkers need to look beyond Zeldin’s shallow rhetoric, and instead look at his record to truly understand the harmful agenda he will bring if elected to the highest office in the state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Zeldin claims a mantle of “bipartisanship.” Unfortunately, as a member of Congress he accomplished little and voted with President Donald Trump almost 90% of the time. To hide this reality, Mr. Zeldin likes to claim credit for actions that are important to his voters, without doing the real work to make things happen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For example, in 2020, Brookhaven National Lab (BNL), which lies within our district, was selected as home for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Electron Ion Collider (EIC), a $2 billion project that will bring jobs to our community. An independent panel of scientists had chosen BNL as home for the future EIC because it had the best combination of expertise and existing facilities to support the project. Yet Mr. Zeldin sent out </span><a href="https://zeldin.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-zeldin-steers-electron-ion-collider-project-brookhaven-national-lab" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a press release</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> with the headline “Rep. Zeldin Steers Electron-Ion Collider Project to Brookhaven National Lab.” The release conspicuously did not include any mention of what Mr. Zeldin did to support BNL’s bid. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Meanwhile, Mr. Zeldin’s extremism includes serving as a staunch supporter and passionate defender of former President Trump. In Congress, Zeldin served as Donald Trump’s “point man” during both impeachment trials, and planned with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on how to undermine the 2020 election results. If you want to understand who Lee Zeldin is, listen to </span><a href="https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4935318/user-clip-zeldin-objects-az-electors" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the speech</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> he gave on the night of January 6, 2021, after the Capitol insurrection, to justify his vote against certifying the election results. Each sentence is carefully crafted to be true in its narrowest sense, but taken as a whole, the speech is one big lie. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To this day, Zeldin skirts around the facts and fails to give direct answers so as not to upset his base. Asked recently by </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/22/opinion/lee-zeldin-nyt-interview.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New York Times editorial board</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> whether he agrees that Joe Biden won in 2020, Zeldin avoided answering, instead saying, “I don’t know how to quantify nationwide what happened. All I know from the most personal of experiences was what we went through in the 1st Congressional District in New York.” Ironically, I lost to Rep. Zeldin in 2020, and he has never questioned that result. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To make matters worse, Zeldin has aligned himself with far-right ideologues. In 2015, Zeldin hosted a town hall with members of the Oath Keepers, an organizing group behind the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Likewise, he has welcomed the enthusiastic support of the Long Island Loud Majority, which has been </span><a href="https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/antigovernment" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">identified</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> as an anti-government extremist organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Zeldin’s voting record is similarly extreme, including voting against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, against the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, against the Assault Weapons Ban, and for repealing the Affordable Care Act, to name just a few. Staunchly anti-abortion with a long record to prove it, he now says he will not try to overturn New York’s legislation protecting reproductive rights, but he has made no similar promise to continue critical state funding to protect those rights. Once again, Zeldin is crafting his message carefully, yet overall it is a giant lie, trying to trick more pro-choice people into voting for him.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Zeldin wants to be our Governor – a position of tremendous power and consequence for each of our day-to-day lives. I implore New Yorkers to judge him not by his big claims or promises, but by what his record and choice of friends tell us he would do if we hand him the keys to the governor’s mansion. Then, vote like our state depends on it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nancy S. Goroff is a Long Island resident and former congressional candidate. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/ngoroff" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@ngoroff</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Empowering New York City’s Asian American Voters 2022-11-04T12:00:00+00:00 2022-11-04T12:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11656-empowering-new-york-city-asian-american-voters Jo-Ann Yoo & Sandra Ung mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/election-day-tomorr.jpg" /></p> <p>Getting out the vote (photo: @SandraForNY1)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the United States and </span><a href="https://www.aafederation.org/research/state-of-change-asian-populations-transform-new-york/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">in New York City</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Yet for too long, Asian Americans have faced challenges participating in elections. We now make up over 17% of New York City’s total population, making us a significant part of the city’s racial diversity, cultural fabric, and electoral politics. However, we often are not included in voter outreach and face extra barriers to casting our votes. As we gear up for an important election, it’s time to acknowledge and uplift the power of Asian American voters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) voter turnout has historically been stymied by language barriers and a lack of translated voter materials, which is especially impactful given that </span><a href="https://www.aafederation.org/research/asian-languages-in-new-york-city/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">45% of Asian Americans</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in New York City have limited English proficiency. We are also vulnerable to voter suppression tactics, such as higher rejection rates of ballots cast by Asian Americans and limitations on mail-in voting, which Asian Americans are more likely to use. This has placed the label of “unlikely voters” on our community, which in turn causes officials and candidates to not bother to engage with us, creating a vicious cycle.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With elections affecting so many important policies and services, from funding to safety to empowerment resources, it is more important than ever to keep in mind how New York City’s rapidly growing AAPI voting community will be affected.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asian New Yorkers make up at least 10% of the population in more than one-half of New York City Council districts, but there are neighborhoods with concentrated Asian voters. In these concentrations, it is actually easier and more effective for candidates and campaigns to canvass them and make voting more accessible. Such as by making a few adjustments to the already existing system, providing interpreters at polling sites, or offering translated candidate and campaign information. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The good news is there are evidence-backed, actionable ways to break this cycle and make Asian Americans very likely voters. In a </span><a href="https://www.aafederation.org/connecting-to-power-the-growing-impact-of-new-york-citys-asian-voters/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">new study this year</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the Asian American Federation’s AAPI Power Coalition measured the effectiveness of different voter outreach techniques and found that face-to-face canvassing and phone banking with multilingual callers were the best ways to directly reach Asian American voters with limited English proficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Multilingual voting guides with practical information on how to vote also increased turnout, as well as leveraging community events in historically low turnout areas to create a stronger culture of voting. These tactics drove an 11-percentage-point increase in voter turnout among targeted Asian voters, compared to their non-targeted counterparts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asian Americans can also be better accommodated once we reach the polls with more on-site translators in the myriad of Asian languages spoken in New York City.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Already, we are seeing a growth in Asian American electoral participation. As the AAF report highlights, in the 2021 New York City primary, </span><a href="https://www.aafederation.org/connecting-to-power-the-growing-impact-of-new-york-citys-asian-voters/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">27.1% of Asian voters</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> cast ballots. That was the highest turnout rate of any racial minority group, surpassing Black voters at 26.5% and Hispanics at 17.4%. It was also an 11-percentage point increase in Asian voter turnout since 2013, the last time there was a competitive mayoral primary in the city.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As our community grows rapidly in both size and voter turnout rate, it’s clear that Asian Americans are poised to become a powerful voting bloc in New York. It is in the interest of all candidates and election officials to build the foundation now for our voices to be heard, with accessible, translated voting information and meaningful outreach.</span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sandra Ung is a New York City Council member representing parts of Queens and Chair of the Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations. Jo-Ann Yoo is the Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/SandraForNY1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@SandraForNY1</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> &amp; </span><a href="https://twitter.com/AAFederation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@AAFederation</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/election-day-tomorr.jpg" /></p> <p>Getting out the vote (photo: @SandraForNY1)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the United States and </span><a href="https://www.aafederation.org/research/state-of-change-asian-populations-transform-new-york/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">in New York City</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Yet for too long, Asian Americans have faced challenges participating in elections. We now make up over 17% of New York City’s total population, making us a significant part of the city’s racial diversity, cultural fabric, and electoral politics. However, we often are not included in voter outreach and face extra barriers to casting our votes. As we gear up for an important election, it’s time to acknowledge and uplift the power of Asian American voters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) voter turnout has historically been stymied by language barriers and a lack of translated voter materials, which is especially impactful given that </span><a href="https://www.aafederation.org/research/asian-languages-in-new-york-city/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">45% of Asian Americans</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in New York City have limited English proficiency. We are also vulnerable to voter suppression tactics, such as higher rejection rates of ballots cast by Asian Americans and limitations on mail-in voting, which Asian Americans are more likely to use. This has placed the label of “unlikely voters” on our community, which in turn causes officials and candidates to not bother to engage with us, creating a vicious cycle.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With elections affecting so many important policies and services, from funding to safety to empowerment resources, it is more important than ever to keep in mind how New York City’s rapidly growing AAPI voting community will be affected.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asian New Yorkers make up at least 10% of the population in more than one-half of New York City Council districts, but there are neighborhoods with concentrated Asian voters. In these concentrations, it is actually easier and more effective for candidates and campaigns to canvass them and make voting more accessible. Such as by making a few adjustments to the already existing system, providing interpreters at polling sites, or offering translated candidate and campaign information. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The good news is there are evidence-backed, actionable ways to break this cycle and make Asian Americans very likely voters. In a </span><a href="https://www.aafederation.org/connecting-to-power-the-growing-impact-of-new-york-citys-asian-voters/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">new study this year</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the Asian American Federation’s AAPI Power Coalition measured the effectiveness of different voter outreach techniques and found that face-to-face canvassing and phone banking with multilingual callers were the best ways to directly reach Asian American voters with limited English proficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Multilingual voting guides with practical information on how to vote also increased turnout, as well as leveraging community events in historically low turnout areas to create a stronger culture of voting. These tactics drove an 11-percentage-point increase in voter turnout among targeted Asian voters, compared to their non-targeted counterparts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Asian Americans can also be better accommodated once we reach the polls with more on-site translators in the myriad of Asian languages spoken in New York City.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Already, we are seeing a growth in Asian American electoral participation. As the AAF report highlights, in the 2021 New York City primary, </span><a href="https://www.aafederation.org/connecting-to-power-the-growing-impact-of-new-york-citys-asian-voters/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">27.1% of Asian voters</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> cast ballots. That was the highest turnout rate of any racial minority group, surpassing Black voters at 26.5% and Hispanics at 17.4%. It was also an 11-percentage point increase in Asian voter turnout since 2013, the last time there was a competitive mayoral primary in the city.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As our community grows rapidly in both size and voter turnout rate, it’s clear that Asian Americans are poised to become a powerful voting bloc in New York. It is in the interest of all candidates and election officials to build the foundation now for our voices to be heard, with accessible, translated voting information and meaningful outreach.</span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sandra Ung is a New York City Council member representing parts of Queens and Chair of the Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations. Jo-Ann Yoo is the Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/SandraForNY1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@SandraForNY1</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> &amp; </span><a href="https://twitter.com/AAFederation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@AAFederation</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Senator Schumer, as New York Legalizes Marijuana, We Need SAFE Banking Now 2022-11-03T04:00:00+00:00 2022-11-03T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11651-schumer-new-york-legalizes-marijuana-safe-banking Beryl Solomon Jackowitz bsjackowitz@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/sen-sch-as.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Senator Schumer rallies around "marijuana justice" (photo: @SenSchumer)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I am a proud Long Island resident, mother of two, working wife, and cannabis entrepreneur. As an active and concerned member of the community, I urge U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer and other lawmakers to rally behind the common-sense Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking bill. The SAFE Banking bill would prohibit enforcement action by the federal government against financial institutions that provide services to the cannabis industry.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now is the time to act.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In October, President Biden announced to great fanfare that he will pardon all federal convictions for simple cannabis possession, called upon governors to do the same at the state level, and requested staff to initiate “expeditiously” an administrative review process to remove cannabis from the list of scheduled drugs. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Currently, federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This classification is reserved for the most dangerous substances with no perceived medical benefit. This schedule classification of marijuana is even higher than that assigned to fentanyl and methamphetamine, the drugs driving today’s overdose epidemic. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cannabis is no longer viewed as a danger. Nevertheless, the War on Drugs still encompasses cannabis and targets minority populations. As New York legalizes the cultivation, sale, and adult use of marijuana, the State Legislature has begun to address long-standing inequities by adopting legislation that specifically calls for a majority of cannabis licenses to be granted to those most impacted by the discriminatory policies of the past and small, minority/women-owned businesses. These are terrific advances, but if lawmakers do not ensure that entrepreneurs have access to the sophisticated federal financial system, our entrepreneurial business advances are doomed to failure. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As it currently stands, banks and other financial establishments do not provide banking services to cannabis-related establishments, forcing them to operate entirely in cash and causing serious economic constraints. Without banking access through the passage of the SAFE Banking bill, the cannabis legalization effort will flounder — or worse, fail completely, and the illicit unchecked cannabis market will dominate.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The principal objective of cannabis legalization is to create and promote a safe environment and market for the safe distribution of cannabis. There are real dangers associated with any delay in taking real action to facilitate the formation and successful operation of the small minority-owned businesses that are and will be best-suited to be at the forefront of the cannabis market changes. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is antithetical to this goal to deny the field soldiers access to the legitimate banking resources needed to operate safely and soundly. Adoption of the SAFE Banking bill, which has passed the House of Representatives six times and now sits in the Senate, would be a great start to addressing these issues and more. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Senator Schumer is one of several legislators that has publicly and vocally supported SAFE Banking and further cannabis reform – but we need more. I urge Senator Schumer and his colleagues to support this bill.</span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Beryl Solomon Jackowitz is a cannabis advocate and founder of Poplar, an online health and wellness website that sells hemp-derived CBD products.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/sen-sch-as.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Senator Schumer rallies around "marijuana justice" (photo: @SenSchumer)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I am a proud Long Island resident, mother of two, working wife, and cannabis entrepreneur. As an active and concerned member of the community, I urge U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer and other lawmakers to rally behind the common-sense Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking bill. The SAFE Banking bill would prohibit enforcement action by the federal government against financial institutions that provide services to the cannabis industry.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now is the time to act.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In October, President Biden announced to great fanfare that he will pardon all federal convictions for simple cannabis possession, called upon governors to do the same at the state level, and requested staff to initiate “expeditiously” an administrative review process to remove cannabis from the list of scheduled drugs. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Currently, federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This classification is reserved for the most dangerous substances with no perceived medical benefit. This schedule classification of marijuana is even higher than that assigned to fentanyl and methamphetamine, the drugs driving today’s overdose epidemic. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cannabis is no longer viewed as a danger. Nevertheless, the War on Drugs still encompasses cannabis and targets minority populations. As New York legalizes the cultivation, sale, and adult use of marijuana, the State Legislature has begun to address long-standing inequities by adopting legislation that specifically calls for a majority of cannabis licenses to be granted to those most impacted by the discriminatory policies of the past and small, minority/women-owned businesses. These are terrific advances, but if lawmakers do not ensure that entrepreneurs have access to the sophisticated federal financial system, our entrepreneurial business advances are doomed to failure. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As it currently stands, banks and other financial establishments do not provide banking services to cannabis-related establishments, forcing them to operate entirely in cash and causing serious economic constraints. Without banking access through the passage of the SAFE Banking bill, the cannabis legalization effort will flounder — or worse, fail completely, and the illicit unchecked cannabis market will dominate.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The principal objective of cannabis legalization is to create and promote a safe environment and market for the safe distribution of cannabis. There are real dangers associated with any delay in taking real action to facilitate the formation and successful operation of the small minority-owned businesses that are and will be best-suited to be at the forefront of the cannabis market changes. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is antithetical to this goal to deny the field soldiers access to the legitimate banking resources needed to operate safely and soundly. Adoption of the SAFE Banking bill, which has passed the House of Representatives six times and now sits in the Senate, would be a great start to addressing these issues and more. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Senator Schumer is one of several legislators that has publicly and vocally supported SAFE Banking and further cannabis reform – but we need more. I urge Senator Schumer and his colleagues to support this bill.</span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Beryl Solomon Jackowitz is a cannabis advocate and founder of Poplar, an online health and wellness website that sells hemp-derived CBD products.</span></p> <p>

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Latino New Yorkers Know Governor Hochul is Fighting For Us 2022-11-02T04:00:00+00:00 2022-11-02T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/130-opinion/11650-kathy-hochul-latino-voters-new-york Diana Ayala dayala@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/juntos-con-katy.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul celebrates Puerto Rico (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Every election season, Latinos have the same conversations about how political candidates engage with us. My constituents and I are used to seeing chronic underinvestment despite big promises, and our communities are used to feeling like an afterthought. It’s far too easy for us to succumb to cynicism about our political leaders’ commitment to fighting for us. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But that’s not the case with Governor Kathy Hochul. And she’s proven it time and time again on the campaign trail and through her legislative and budgetary victories for our community. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With Election Day around the corner, Kathy Hochul is fully engaged with the Latino community. Her campaign has prioritized Latino investment with a seven-figure Spanish ad buy that reaches members of our communities across the state, on the airwaves, and through digital ads. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She’s also working hand-in-hand with Latino elected officials to speak to constituents across the five boroughs, which I saw firsthand when I joined her campaign to reach voters in Washington Heights. The impact of in-person voter engagement is truly immeasurable, and her team is putting in the crucial face-time that our voters need. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In May, the governor and the State Democratic Party launched the “Nueva York Initiative,” a first-of-its-kind bilingual empowerment program dedicated to coalition building, voter registration, and mobilization in the Latino community in 2022 and beyond. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The actions Governor Hochul has taken show that she views Latino voters as more than a mere item on her campaign’s checklist. She understands the importance of sharing her message with non-English speakers so that we can all show up to the polls informed about what the Governor is fighting for, from keeping guns off our streets to creating jobs and bringing down the cost of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">living. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although Governor Hochul has only had a relatively short time in office, her accomplishments for the Latino community have gone far. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Communities of color are often hit the hardest by gun violence, and polling shows crime as a key issue among Latinos. Governor Hochul has stepped up to protect our neighborhoods by passing common-sense gun safety laws that keep weapons out of the wrong hands and providing law enforcement officials with the tools to crack down on the distribution and possession of illegal weapons. Governor Hochul knows that New Yorkers deserve to move through their days free of fear and has taken decisive action to keep us safe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The governor has also made historic advancements in New York’s economic recovery by accelerating $1.2 billion in middle-class tax cuts for 6 million New Yorkers and providing $100 million in relief for nearly 200,000 small businesses, working to ensure an equitable pandemic recovery for all. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the wake of Hurricane Ida, Governor Hochul made $27 million in storm relief available to New Yorkers, including those in my community, to support individuals who were ineligible for federal aid. When Queens residents’ basements flooded during the storm, Kathy Hochul was the first to pick up the phone and lend a hand in their hour of need. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Governor Hochul has proven that fighting for Latino communities makes our state a stronger, more prosperous place. She is a true ally to our communities, and she’s shown it by listening and executing on the issues that matter to us most in Albany and in our streets. Governor Hochul is the real deal.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Diana Ayala is a New York City Council Member representing East Harlem and parts of the South Bronx. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/DianaAyalaNYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@DianaAyalaNYC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/juntos-con-katy.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul celebrates Puerto Rico (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Every election season, Latinos have the same conversations about how political candidates engage with us. My constituents and I are used to seeing chronic underinvestment despite big promises, and our communities are used to feeling like an afterthought. It’s far too easy for us to succumb to cynicism about our political leaders’ commitment to fighting for us. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But that’s not the case with Governor Kathy Hochul. And she’s proven it time and time again on the campaign trail and through her legislative and budgetary victories for our community. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With Election Day around the corner, Kathy Hochul is fully engaged with the Latino community. Her campaign has prioritized Latino investment with a seven-figure Spanish ad buy that reaches members of our communities across the state, on the airwaves, and through digital ads. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She’s also working hand-in-hand with Latino elected officials to speak to constituents across the five boroughs, which I saw firsthand when I joined her campaign to reach voters in Washington Heights. The impact of in-person voter engagement is truly immeasurable, and her team is putting in the crucial face-time that our voters need. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In May, the governor and the State Democratic Party launched the “Nueva York Initiative,” a first-of-its-kind bilingual empowerment program dedicated to coalition building, voter registration, and mobilization in the Latino community in 2022 and beyond. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The actions Governor Hochul has taken show that she views Latino voters as more than a mere item on her campaign’s checklist. She understands the importance of sharing her message with non-English speakers so that we can all show up to the polls informed about what the Governor is fighting for, from keeping guns off our streets to creating jobs and bringing down the cost of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">living. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although Governor Hochul has only had a relatively short time in office, her accomplishments for the Latino community have gone far. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Communities of color are often hit the hardest by gun violence, and polling shows crime as a key issue among Latinos. Governor Hochul has stepped up to protect our neighborhoods by passing common-sense gun safety laws that keep weapons out of the wrong hands and providing law enforcement officials with the tools to crack down on the distribution and possession of illegal weapons. Governor Hochul knows that New Yorkers deserve to move through their days free of fear and has taken decisive action to keep us safe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The governor has also made historic advancements in New York’s economic recovery by accelerating $1.2 billion in middle-class tax cuts for 6 million New Yorkers and providing $100 million in relief for nearly 200,000 small businesses, working to ensure an equitable pandemic recovery for all. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the wake of Hurricane Ida, Governor Hochul made $27 million in storm relief available to New Yorkers, including those in my community, to support individuals who were ineligible for federal aid. When Queens residents’ basements flooded during the storm, Kathy Hochul was the first to pick up the phone and lend a hand in their hour of need. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Governor Hochul has proven that fighting for Latino communities makes our state a stronger, more prosperous place. She is a true ally to our communities, and she’s shown it by listening and executing on the issues that matter to us most in Albany and in our streets. Governor Hochul is the real deal.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Diana Ayala is a New York City Council Member representing East Harlem and parts of the South Bronx. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/DianaAyalaNYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@DianaAyalaNYC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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