Council Member Chin funding for The Hort and Emma Lazarus High School in Sara Roosevelt Park

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The Rivington House Give Away

Happy New Year Everyone

Sometimes things matter enough to take action on even in the midst of our overwhelming lives.

Tonight, Thursday January 7th at 6:30 Community Board 3 Committee will take up the issue of the sale of Rivington House which has been left exposed to becoming market rate housing.

Please come to the meeting below, call 311 or email 311 ( Office of the Mayor) and email the mayor’s liaison: Tommy Lin (TLin@cityhall.nyc.gov).

Thank you to everyone who has already written or called.

Health, Seniors, & Human Services 

Thursday, January 7th at 6:30pm — Chinatown YMCA Cornerstone at Rutgers – 200 Madison Street (btwn Rutgers & Pike Sts)

Item will be third:

3.  Position on future of Rivington House nursing facility—replacement of beds and future of facility

This has been a building that served its low-income neighborhood from its inception. As a public school, then AIDs hospice and finally as a non-profit, low-income nursing home.

The mayor’s administration has seen fit to remove the protection of a carefully crafted deed restriction (which required it to stay a non-profit health care facility in perpetuity). Leaving it utterly vulnerable to market rate conversion. 

They removed the restriction in an obscure and opaque procedure this June – knowing this neighborhood and our electeds  had rallied successfully to save the building, just months before, as a low-income community facility. We did this despite our scarce and stretched resources, time and energy.

It is an insult to ask us to listen to the rhetoric of a “Tale of Two Cities”, to be asked to trust an “affordable housing” plan when this valuable resource was sold cheaply and silently to a corporation with a for-profit agenda. Sold away from a community that sorely needs it for any kind of low-income housing.

Either this is incompetence or egregious contempt for the “unimportant people” whose lives have been or will be greatly impacted, disrupted or destroyed.

We have lost three nursing homes in our Community Board to market rate conversions. Forcing elders to leave their neighborhoods (when they can no longer live at home) breaks relationships, leaves our elders without the care of their families and friends, it dismantles the communities we built out of love and caring  – the only real security anyone ever really has –  and leaves our most vulnerable citizens as refuse in the wake of stupid and short-sighted profiteers.

It sends a clear message: No elders, no disabled, no one in need of help will be allowed to live in our brave new (and very hip) world. 

To follow the saga of Rivington House please see the excellent coverage in the Lo-Down. http://www.thelodownny.com/?s=rivington+house

And most recent news: http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2015/12/followup-city-cleared-the-way-for-luxury-housing-at-former-rivington-street-nursing-home.html

“Homage” or Marketing opportunity?

“Adam Purple was an opinionated, sometimes cantankerous, freethinker who lived as a squatter on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, avoided commerce and considered real estate development to be a scourge….

…By nearly any measure, Mr. Purple — a dedicated ascetic who lived in an abandoned tenement, got water from a hydrant, read by candlelight and kept warm with a wood-burning stove — is an odd symbol for a 24-story hotel with “spalike bathrooms” and a terrace swimming pool.

…“The gentrification, the consumerism, it’s the opposite of everything he stood for,” said the photographer Harvey Wang, who began documenting Mr. Purple…in 1977. “It’s just appalling.”

…Patty Astor who ran the Fun Gallery in the 80’s “…said it … hurt to see a new symbol of affluence on the Lower East Side linked in any way to the neighborhood’s grittier past.

[she]…is among those depicted in that work, and she has objected to the use of her image and Mr. Purple’s to ‘validate and advertise‘ the hotel…..”

They are trying to say that this new, manufactured reality is O.K.,” she said. “I’m saying not in my name.”

Fight for Rivington House

Dear Neighbors,

We see the continuing displacement of our community members most in need to benefit those least in need.

We need answers, we need City Hall to find a way out of decisions made that would sell Rivington House to the highest bidder.

Send this simple message.

Call 311 (I’m hearing this is the most effective)

Email Tommy Lin <tlin@cityhall.nyc.gov>

Come to the Community Board hearing on January 7th (see below for details)

Health, Seniors, & Human Services / Youth, Education, & Human Rights Committee Joint Committee with 

Public Housing & Section 8 Housing Subcommittee

Thursday, January 7th at 6:30pm — Chinatown YMCA Cornerstone at Rutgers – 200 Madison Street (btwn Rutgers & Pike Sts)

 agenda

1.       Approval of previous month’s minutes

2.       Presentation by 3 Cornerstone program providers of their programs in CB 3

3.       Position on future of Rivington House nursing facility—replacement of beds and future of facility

4.       Request for support for new Admissions policy in School District 1

5.       Request for support for K-8 school at Essex Crossing

With thanks.

Peter Lambert 1936- 2015

We mourn the loss of a true friend: generous, funny, self-effacing, and kind. He had tremendous integrity. Old school.

“Bowery Pete”

From Jane Barrer Co-President of M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden:

“Dear Gardeners:

I am sorry to tell you that we lost our friend and gardener Pete Lambert early this morning.  Pete passed away shortly after midnight at Beth Israel. 

…We will all miss him.

Rest in peace, Pete.”

 

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) on UN Paris Climate Agreement

WEDO Reflections on COP21

Since the final deal was agreed in Paris, we have seen numerous reactions from Governments, UN agencies, and civil society groups on what was achieved at COP21. Many voiced celebration of an historic agreement over 20 years in the making- an agreement that marks a turning point in the fight against climate change. Others hailed the ‘end of the fossil fuel era‘, and the start of a clear transition to a renewable energy future. And many climate justice advocates, including the members of the Women and Gender Constituency, were quick to provide a ‘reality check‘ to the world, of what this agreement does and does not do.

There is a sense that to move forward we must find hope in what is, in essence, the best outcome that could be achieved in an unjust and unequal world. However, at WEDO, our hope is not in the words agreed in Paris but clearly grounded in the determined activism and voice of a growing climate justice movement which is unafraid to challenge the Paris Agreement for the numerous ways in which the outcome failed to rise to the moment to ensure protection for people, communities and countries most vulnerable to climate impacts. 

We went to Paris calling for system change, not climate change. We went with determination to ensure human rights, gender equality, indigenous people’s rights, intergenerational equity, a just transition were securely anchored in the final outcome. 

We didn’t get system change in Paris. Far from it. Too much power (political, financial, media, etc) remains in the hands of the wealthy and connected. We are missing specific language to urgently phase out fossil fuels, to move from a floor of $100 billion to predictably and adequately finance adaptation and mitigation, to provide compensation for loss and damage already happening in places that had no hand in causing climate change, to ensure safe, environmentally and socially sound technologies. We are missing language on gender equality in mitigation, technology and finance. Our colleagues at Heinrich Boell Foundation – North America have provided an excellent issue by issue analysis of the final agreement. 

So where can we point to progress? We can and absolutely should recognize the significance of having an articulated temperature goal in the Paris Agreement of keeping warming well under 1.5 degrees Celsius, the point at which we know that communities in the Pacific will lose their homelands, and countries across the Global South will suffer increasing loss and damage. It is no easy feat to get countries to agree in multilateral processes, let alone recognize the need for a united ambitious goal. But it should be clear to all that while the Paris agreement gives us aspiration, it fails to follow through on action. 

The achievement of this goal is in the hands of our movement- to hold Governments accountable – to call out hypocrisy in policies which go against the achievement of this goal- such as two in the last few days, the lift of a 40-year oil export ban by the U.S., or the U.K.  slashing solar subsidies. We also must continue to hold leaders to account when they enter into unjust trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which allow for companies to potentially sue governments for policies made in the public’s interest- such as reforms in the energy sector. 

In an excellent piece on the next steps for an ever growing and inclusive climate justice movement- one which women, youth, indigenous peoples and workers are at the heart of- The Guardian’s Martin Lukacs quotes Amilcar Cabral, leader of the anti-colonial liberation movement in Guinea-Bissau, who reminded the movement to: “Tell no lies. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories.” 

As the Women and Gender Constituency concluded in final hours of the closing plenary at COP21 on Saturday evening, “We will not be silenced from telling the truth to power, to highlight the lack of ambition and injustice in this agreement. We have used this space of international policy-making to raise our voices and embolden our movements. Together, we will continue to challenge injustice for the protection of the people and the planet.”

The climate justice movement is rising, with women at the center, unafraid to speak truth to power, and unwavering in our campaign for climate justice. This is where you can find hope that COP21 will be the turning point for a more just and sustainable world, as we are more determined than ever to push world leaders to keep their promises. 

Lo-Down: Followup: “City Cleared the Way For Luxury Housing at Former Rivington Street Nursing Home”

Please link the Lo-Down for the latest on Rivington House.

“Department of Citywide Administration Services (DCAS) Last month, the city agency agreed to lift a deed restriction in place since 1992 requiring the Rivington Street building to be “limited in perpetuity to a Not-for-Profit Residential Health Care Facility.” The Allure Group paid the city $16,150,000 for the deed. Cathy Hansen, a spokesperson for DCAS said, “The deed restrictions were lifted after a request by the owner to allow the property to be run by for-profit and/or non-profit operators. The deed modifications were approved following a public hearing on June 24, 2015.”

A “public hearing” that no one knew about. Done on behalf of a corporation that did the same thing in Bed Sty. Bait and switch in order to get this goldmine of a public resource on the cheap?

Please read the article for more detail.

And please, let us not let this go by as just another crummy thing that we have to endure. This is going to cost us. It’s going to cost our elders and neighbors who will have no nearby nursing home to go to. And for some elders their need is imminent.

It’s going to increase pressure on lower income tenants and neighbors in the area.

Please write to the Mayor’s liaison and comment on the Lo-Down:

Tommy Lin

Director of Constituent Services

Mayor’s Office Community Affairs Unit

City Hall, Ny, NY 10007

The Lo-Down has our deepest gratitude for their investigative and factual reporting.

To the Mayor of “The Tale of Two Cities” we ask that you live up to those words

As many know, the former Rivington House, now Manhattan Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, has been targeted for sale – yet again.

In June, unknown to anyone locally, including local electeds and the community board, the building was readied to be sold by NYC’s Department of City-wide Services Administration. 

We ask this Mayor to keep this a desperately needed nursing home, or for use as affordable housing, or to create supportive housing. We do NOT need more luxury housing in this neighborhood!

This building was promised to our community to be of benefit to the public and this neighborhood, in perpetuity.

We need to ask, demand, plead (whatever you are comfortable with!) City Hall to maintain the use of this building with its original intent intact.

Call 311 

And/or write a letter to:

Tommy Lin

Director of Constituent Services

Mayor’s Office Community Affairs Unit

City Hall, Ny, NY 10007

Sample letter:

Dear Mayor:

Please keep 45 Rivington Street a community facility—do not sell our neighborhood out to highest bidder. We need affordable housing, shelter beds, community services. In the midst of your affordable housing agenda it makes NO sense to lose this site for the many New Yorkers who need housing.

We restored our community when no one else would come into it due to the high crime here – not even City agencies and departments would come here.

Now that we have built a good, solid base for our neighbors, friends, visitors and families we are being pushed out, marginalized and priced out.

This building is an institution here – it has always served the public. First as a school, then as an AIDs Hospice (when those patients were not welcome anywhere else).

It has served, and should continue to serve, those most in need. The nearby co-op gave up a garden in the plot next door to let the nursing home have a co-generation plant installed in its location, volunteer gardeners worked for 3 and 1/2 decades building a garden in the park across the street – they made those sacrifices for the common goodnot to serve those who have no need of the largesse of the poor, working and middle class.

As you are the Mayor of the “Tale of Two Cities” we ask you to live up to those words.

Yours,

(your name)

For more information http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2015/12/rivington-street-nursing-center-closes-next-week-relocation-anticipated.html

The Lo-Down has done excellent reporting and investigating of the situation.

Thanks everyone.

Hearing by the City Planning Commission about the Mayor’s plans to rezone across the city


HEARING ON CITYWIDE UPZONING PLANS

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16 at 9am

MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN @ BOWLING GREEN

Starting at 9 am

The City Planning Commission is the first of two bodies which must modify or approve the rezoning plans.  These plans have been rejected by the majority of our city’s community boards and borough presidents, though their votes are advisory.  If approved or modified by the City Planning Commission, these plans go to the City Council for a final vote or modification. 

Sign up to testify, come to learn and/or present your position.

Borough Board President Gale Brewer recommends

Yes (conditional approval) for the Mandatory Inclusionary Housng Plan (MIH) plan

The “positive recommendation on MIH plan came as a result of [MBP] office securing administration officials’ agreement to make several major improvements”

No – (conditional disapproval) on Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) proposal

And the letter from HPD and City Planning  :

“Attached to this letter is a list of items we agree on reflecting recent discussions between the DCP, HPD and you with respect to the consideration of the Zoning for Quality and Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing text amendments….”

Climate Conference in Paris IBON International update: Redefining vulnerability and dodging responsibility:

Climate Justice 

Posted on 8 December 2015

 

“(Paris, France, December 7,2015)–The 21 st Conference of Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), meeting in Paris with the objective of coming to an agreement on global efforts that will respond to the increasing impacts of climate change, entered its second week of negotiations yesterday….

A draft Paris agreement is now on the table for Ministers to debate and to iron out by December 11 th…..with 900 text in brackets, showing deep divergences in views among the Parties.

There are a number of key issues with both process and substance that several quarters, including civil society, raise at this Climate Summit.

First, is the seeming systematic attempt by developed countries to undermine the principle of protecting the climate system on the basis of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) that lie at the core of the international climate regime….

 

Second, is the issue around the temperature limit goal. The United States, Germany and France joined the growing list of countries committing to having a 1.5 degrees temperature rise as a global goal. This may seem aspirational and bold, considering that developing countries have made their position on the need for a global temperature goal that would save people and planet. This goal is achievable, but is premised on developed countries committing to even deeper and more drastic emissions cuts, in line with the ‘fair shares’ principle, i.e. developed countries have already used up more than their fair share of the world’s carbon budget, and so would have to undertake more drastic measures to redesign their production…..

 

Third, the INDCs are more focused on lowering emissions, where there should be a balance between actions for mitigation and adaptation. While Parties agreed during COP 20 in Lima that INDCs would cover both areas, the draft Paris agreement is said to be leaning less towards adaptation.

Crucial to this is financing, which is a contested issue in the negotiations. A recent study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that showed financing pledges made from COP 15 in Copenhagen as having nearly been met has been described by different quarters as inaccurate and misleading, and at best wanting with only around USD5-8 billion marked for adaptation.

Fourth, countries already agreed during COP 20 to provide support for ‘loss and damage’ for developing countries facing phenomenal weather events, long-term environmental impacts such as increasing salinity etc….. rich country negotiators are putting pressure on developing countries to agree to the condition that in exchange for this agreement they (developing countries) will not hold rich countries liable for losses and damages to be incurred.

Fifth, transparency of and inclusiveness in the negotiations is highly questioned. Negotiations are being done in closed-door sessions, and even those sessions where civil society have been previously allowed entry have been closed. This lack of transparency in the negotiations has raised a lot of concern and critique…..”