Voice opposition to a health care proposal that would hurt all New Yorkers

This Health Care Plan would further undo the little money there is for nursing homes and home care.

“The state gets only 91 cents in federal funding for every dollar it sends to Washington — one of just 11 states that give more than they get, state Controller Thomas DiNapoli”

Call 1-202-224-3121. Just provide your zip code to be connected to your rep. (might need full zip code)

From: New York’s Medicaid Director re: current proposed gutting of ACA health care plan.

“This bill would take health care away from 2.7 million New Yorkers, and cost state taxpayers $6.9 billion in additional costs. …affects all New Yorkers and will be the biggest blow to health care in our state’s history. Worse still… an amendment [was proposed] that hurts New Yorkers even more and is against the interest of …all New Yorkers.

If New Yorkers join together and make our voices heard we can still defeat this attack on our health care system. The House of Representatives plans to vote on this devastating legislation tomorrow — so we need New Yorkers like you to speak out now.

Call (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your representative and say vote NO on the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. You can also look up your representative and find out more information on how to contact them up here.

The more we learn about repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, the sicker New York gets. …New Yorkers face dire circumstances if this bill passes…:

  • 2.7 million New Yorkers will lose coverage
  • New York’s total loss in funding would amount to $6.9 billion
  • Nursing Home Payments would be cut by $401 million
  • Home care payments would be cut by $360 million
  • Hospital payments would be cut by $355 million


Will you call your member of Congress now and tell them to vote NO on the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act? Call (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your representative now.

Thank you for pushing back against this dangerous piece of legislation.”


Jason Helgerson, New York State Medicaid Director

GreenThumb’s Wheelchair Accessible Raised Bed Workshop In M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden

The Wheelchair-Accessible Table-Top raised bed workshop today, Tuesday, March 21st 

GreenThumb: “Gardens should be accessible to everyone, regardless of age or mobility”

(GreenThumb Handouts below)

Thank you GreenThumb!

The Wheelchair-Accessible Table-Top raised bed workshop happened today, Tuesday, March 21st .

GreenThumb and Park’s Staff: Anthony Reuter (Outreach Coordinator GreenThumb), Mara Gittleman (Special Programs Coordinator, GreenThumb), Victor Polanco (GreenThumb Outreach Manager), Chris Noel (Accessibility Coordinator for NYC Parks) and Eric Thomann (the ‘builder’ -who will also be running a workshop called: “Toys from Twigs” at the GreenThumb Grow Together Conference this weekend) were on hand to instruct and help out.

 M’Finda Kalunga Gardeners Bob (Head Gardener), Debra (Co-Chair), Jenifer (Children’s Programming) and Carol (the worker) and K (pretend gardener) also were on hand.

It was heartenning to see all the participants from around NYC! And we all left with birdhouses for our feathered friends.

GreenThumb GrowTogether Conference 2017

33rd Annual GreenThumb GrowTogether Conference

“Sustaining Garden Legacies”

March 25, 2017
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Hostos Community College
450 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10451

Come celebrate the official kick-off of the community gardening season in New York City. The day will be packed with 30+ workshops on garden related topics including: food systems education, kids’ activities, vegetable growing techniques, and designing your community garden for the present and future. The conference will also include a panel discussion on ways to sustain your garden legacy. This year’s keynote speaker is Tony Hillery and is the Founder and Executive Director of Harlem Grown. Tony founded Harlem Grown to address the health and academic challenges facing public elementary school students in Harlem. Our youth speaker is Kadiatou Ba and has been a youth participant at Harlem Grown since its inception 5 years ago. Read more about our keynote speakers here.  NYC Parks Bronx Recreation will have many activities for kids including; indoor bowling, hula hoop contest, basketball, arts and crafts, table games and raffle prizes!

$5 for adults Kids 12 and under free

Pre-registration Online: HERE

Please register online by Thursday, March 23, 2017

By Mail:

The Arsenal/GreenThumb 830 5th Avenue New York, NY 10065.

Postmark by Friday, March 10, 2017

In person at the GreenThumb’s Office:

100 Gold Street Suite 3100 New York, NY 10038

Delivered by Thursday, March 23, 2017

Day of registration: 9:00a.m.-10:00a.m.

$7 for adults on the day of the conference, kids 12 and under free

*GreenThumb cannot guarantee lunch or a t-shirt to walk-in participants.

Bus Service

For those gardeners from Brooklyn who would prefer to take a bus, GreenThumb has scheduled bus pickup in two locations in Brooklyn. Departure is at 8:00 a.m. sharp! To reserve your spot on the bus, check off which site you will depart from. This does not confirm your spot on the bus. You will receive an email or call for confirmation.

Please note: there are a limited number of seats available. Once the bus is full we will not be offering any additional seating. The two pick up locations are below.

Boys and Girls High School, 1700 Fulton Street, between Utica Avenue and Schenectady Avenue

Thomas Jefferson High School, 400 Pennsylvania Avenue, between Dumont and Blake Avenues                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Yoga sessions will be held in the gym at the following times, courtesy of Shape Up NYC, which offers 300 free fitness classes weekly at more than 150 locations across the five boroughs.

12:00pm – 12:45pm: Vanessa Tirado (Aerobic Easy Workout)

1:00pm – 1:45pm: Suraiya Jahan (Stretch)

2:00pm – 2:45pm: Esmeralda Alba (IntenSati)

Interested in becoming a sponsor at GrowTogether or sending any in-kind donations contact Twywana Bush at twywana.bush@parks.nyc.gov

Follow us: #GrowTogetherConference2017 #growtogether

For more information please call 212-602-5300


Download 2017 GrowTogether Conference Guide 

Download GrowTogether 17 Registration Form

From University Settlement’s Chief Executive Officer on the proposed ‘American Health Care Act’


“After the inauguration, I promised to keep you updated on how changes in federal policy will impact our participants. Last week, a bombshell dropped when Congress released its draft of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Also, the administration released its draft budget. Taken together, these two developments in their present forms would have devastating consequences for our clients.

After reviewing the changes outlined in the proposed AHCA, we are strongly opposed to the current draft and certain direction. The 40,000 New Yorkers we work with every year live on the edge of economic instability, and we know they are not alone. When something unexpected happens – even a small health problem, for example – it can have a disastrous impact.

The AHCA in its current form will reduce health care access, leaving our neighbors less healthy and less able to overcome institutionalized barriers to success.  

The consequences of the Act are clear – there will be increased health inequities, increased personal costs, and a regressive effect on the entire health system. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that within a decade, 24 million Americans will lose essential health care coverage – 14 million of them in the first year. Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, AARP, and the American Medical Association have estimated that:  

  • At least 200,000 low-income people who use New York City’s public hospitals will lose insurance, putting additional strain on that system.
  • 2 million residents of New York State would lose coverage, potentially costing state taxpayers close to $4 billion.
  • Millions of adults and children with disabilities, adults aged 50-64, and seniors who depend on Medicaid would be at risk of losing coverage.
  • Adolescents and young adults will be at greater risk for STIs, HIV, and unintended pregnancies due to associated federal budget cuts to family planning and reproductive care.  

The administration’s draft budget also places the greatest burden on those with the least resources. The list of lifeline programs to be cut or eliminated is extensive. Among them: Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors; community block grants that pay for homelessness prevention, poverty reduction, and legal services; nutrition assistance for the poorest women, children and infants; and federal funds for public housing. The list of our concerns is too long to cite. And though there will be changes before the budget is finalized, the thrust is unmistakable. Even a fraction of these reductions will have severe consequences for the most vulnerable in the short term, with potentially far-reaching impacts for a lifetime. 

We will continue to follow these new threats closely. And we are prepared to respond, just as we already have following the executive orders on immigration. Since their issuance, we have seen a rise in fear and anxiety from our immigrant clients. We have stepped up efforts to provide legal guidance by holding eight “Know Your Rights” sessions in 3 languages, testifying at City Council hearings, making presentations to national and local youth organizations, and reaffirming that we are a welcoming, safe space. 

Our shared responsibility is to protect the children, families, seniors, and men and women of all ages who have the least, and to help them access every opportunity to thrive and live with dignity. This is an enterprise that we share with you. Our neighbors will need our unswerving emotional and financial support in the months ahead. We are deeply grateful for your partnership. We know that when we work together as a community, our strength knows no bounds.”

  Yours in partnership,

  Eric Weingartner

  Chief Executive Officer
University Settlement, The Door, and Broome Street Academy

From Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan: NYState Election Reform

Progressive Action OF Lower Manhattan asks that we:

Show our support for Election Reform Now! and demand that state funding be included to make them a reality this year.

Help by making the following 11 phone calls by Tues. March 21st End of Day.

(basic call and email script below).

Please call both the Albany and District offices for each (11 calls total), and then follow up with an email!

  • 1) This lookup tool gives you contact info for your state Senator and Assemblymember. Call each of them in the Albany and District offices;
  • 2) Call and email Governor Andrew Cuomo. Tell him you support his pro-voter budget proposal and want to see it funded and enacted: 
    •  518-474-1041 (press 1); email: gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us 
  • 3) Call and email Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. Tell him you support the Assembly’s pro-voter budget proposal and want to see it funded and enacted:
    • Albany: 518-455-3791 ; District Office: 718-654-6539
    •  Email: Speaker@nyassembly.gov
  • 4) Call and email State Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein and insist that he prioritize pro-voter election reform in the state budget due Apr. 1st:
    • Albany: 518-455-3595; District Office: 718-822-2049
    • Email: Jdklein@nysenate.gov
  • 5) Call and email GOP State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and insist that he prioritize pro-voter election reform in the state budget:
    • Albany: 518-455-2071 ; District Office: 631-361-2154 
    • Email: Flanagan@nysenate.gov

Phone Script 

(for calls to lawmakers and leaving messages)


Hello, My name is __________. I am a New York voter and your constituent. 

I am calling today to tell you how important it is to me that you and your colleagues enact and fund early voting and automatic voter registration in the  State Budget due April 1st. 

These proposals have broad support and are commonsense approaches to modernizing New York’s elections. Our outdated election laws are barriers to voting that amount to voter suppression, and the best chance to remedy that now is to enact voting reform in the budget. 

*You can add an anecdote about how early voting or modernizing our registration system would make voting more convenient for you. 

I will be paying close attention to the release of the April 1st budget and will keep your position on voting rights in mind when I cast my vote during the next election. Thank you for your time. 

Email Script 

Dear Assemblymember/Senator/Governor __________, 

My name is ____________. I am a New York voter and your constituent. 

I am writing you today to tell you how important it is to me that you and your colleagues enact and fund early voting and comprehensive automatic voter registration in this year’s State Budget. 

These proposals have broad support and are commonsense approaches to modernizing New York’s elections. Our outdated election laws are barriers to voting that amount to voter suppression, and the best chance to remedy that now is to enact voting reform in the budget. 

Our state consistently ranks among the worst states in voter turnout. In the 2014 midterms, only 29% of New York’s voting-age citizens voted-the state’s lowest turnout in 40 years. As many as 40% of citizens of voting age in New York, or 5.5 million people, were not registered to vote as of 2014. This registration rate puts New York in the bottom third of the country. 

*You can add an anecdote about how early voting or modernizing our registration system would make voting more convenient for you. 

I will be paying close attention to the release of the state budget and will keep your position on voting rights in mind when I cast my vote during the next election. 

Thank you and regards, 

New York Progressive Action Network – NYPAN

American Indian Community House Support Petition

Sign petition Here.

Dear Senators,

The American Indian Community House, Inc. (AICH) was founded in 1969 as the first Urban Native American community resource, and represents the largest Indigenous community presence in the New York Metropolitan Urban area.   The organization provides vital health and social services to the neediest Native Americans, who hail from every Native Reservation in the United States.  This assistance is vital to help stop the dramatic loss of life experienced by the Native American community, who have the highest health and social problems compared to other Americans.

AICH represents the first people of this land who were here when the European colonists set foot here, yet the organization is in danger of losing the ability to continue to provide services.  This is due to the high rents and limited program space available for AICH to continue to provide services.  To prevent the closure of the only program helping Native Americans access health and social services, we are asking for your assistance for AICH to receive a Public Benefit Conveyance space allocation at One Bowling Green, or amenable General Services Administration (GSA) managed federal property.  Please do everything in your power to help AICH access this vital opportunity, which will guarantee help for Native Americans for generations to come.

We have enclosed a petition in support of this and hope that you are able to join us in our struggle to remain here as the First people of this great city.


We are asking for the following supportive actions:

1.        The American Indian Community House, Inc. be granted a Public Benefit Conveyance lease at One Bowling Green or an amenable GSA managed federal property for the cost of $1 a year for 30 years, with the option to renew.

2.       Space be large enough to provide program health and social services as well as social cultural gatherings (10,000+ square feet).

3.       The space be made available immediately for occupation with renovation funding as well as  building support to be provided by the GSA, as well as technical support to support unrestricted community access for space use.

4.       AICH be provided unrestricted 24 hour access to utilize the program space for program and agency operations to help Federally Recognized and State Recognized Native Americans.

5.       Operational funding of $1,000,000. to help AICH provide community support services, and cultural programming for federally recognized and state recognized trip

I have enclosed a copy of the AICH non profit (501 c 3) status for your review as well as our strategic plan.  Thank you for your support ensuring our community will receive the help needed for generations to come.

Sincerely yours,

Ben Geboe, LMSW
Interim Executive Director

Rick Chavolla
Board Chairperson

Thanks to CB3 Office for Inquiries on Promised Deaf Crossing Signs

We celebrated the redo of the bike lanes on Chrystie Street adjacent to the Sara Roosevelt Park. Yay!! Safer for bicyclists! And better for car traffic too (I mean who wants to hit someone on a bike?).

We asked for pedestrian crossing signs for this new bike-way. To help bicyclists know to pay extra attention to the pedestrians coming out of the park. We think there should be pedestrian crossing signs at all of the Park’s ‘streetways’ (at Hester, Broome, Rivington and Stanton Streetways).

We had met with DOT (Department of Transportation), called a special meeting with interpreters for the deaf for those who live in the housing nearby, and had senior organization staff present who were fluent in Cantonese/Mandarin. We also invited the local small business community: some came in the middle of their workday (not so easy).

Here is an update on our requests:

The Coalition’s (and CB3) asks:

 1) Deaf pedestrian crossing sign – requested for Chrystie/Stanton to warn bicyclists traveling in both directions.

The request for sign to be installed on Chrystie and Stanton has been denied “because it is located on the other side of the park which is away from the facility. The facility is on Forsyth St btw Stanton and Rivington where there is no bike lane there so it is not applicable. We install signs as close to the facility as possible and usually before you reach the facility. Therefore, we would not install one after the facility.”

We now would like pedestrian crossing signs at each of the Park’s Streetways.

Our response: Real actual people don’t just walk in front of their facility! Part of the problem with this new bike lane (as was mentioned repeatedly to DOT) is that it is a new two-way configuration. NO long-time local pedestrians will be expecting two-way bike traffic. That includes little children, a LOT of elders, Blind gardeners, and the people who live in housing set aside for the deaf. These kinds of changes take time to learn. AND we expect bike commuters through our neighborhood to be in charge of thinking about the local community – as we do drivers of vehicles. There is NO warning for bicyclists to pay closer attention to pedestrian traffic coming out of this park.

2) Speed bump – requested for Forsyth between Stanton/Rivington. The request for the study was opened last year April 2016.

Response: All speed bump requests citywide are backed up. Apparently the results for the study are not available. CB3 is asking their Pedestrian Projects group and Traffic Planning Management to take a look at this block to see if there are other potential improvements.


From BoweryBoogie: “CB3 Endorses New Public Bathrooms at ‘Stanton Storehouse’”

Thanks to Bowery Boogie for keeping up with this saga. And for having a much needed sense of humor.
Posted on: March 17th, 2017 at 5:00 am

What’s another two years when the community already waited three decades?

Two years.

That’s the estimated timeline for the Stanton Storehouse to finally return to the community, albeit partially. Community Board 3 last night approved the Parks Department proposal to convert part of the building into a public comfort station (which is a euphemism for bathroom).  Thanks to an allocation of $1 million in city funding sponsored by Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the city can now deliver. The project will reconfigure the west wing of the structure.”

Read more.


After this issue the committee spoke about the need for a conversation on what can we do to enable parks (with no discreet capital budget) to hire more maintenance workers, train them and make our parks safer and cleaner.

Another conversation needs to happen on how we can expedite capital projects to move forward more efficiently and effectively – not just yell at parks when things don’t move forward for years (although that IS enjoyable and therapeutic – for us!).



Sunday March 19th 1pm Movie “Cloudy Sunday” Kehila Kedosha Janina

In the Park an ‘Enlightened Witness’


We want to thank this officer for how he handled a young homeless man who was clearly struggling to keep a grasp on reality.

Two officers quickly moved in to stop his threatening behavior. The young man cried out for his ‘things’. This officer borrowed a fresh garbage bag and picked up every piece of the young man’s belongings (the guy had been fishing his clothes out of a storm drain and scattered them everywhere). The officers then called for an ambulance.

Father Greg Boyle -Homeboy Industries: “The measure of our compassion not in our service but our willingness to be in kinship – away from judgment… to stand in awe rather than stand in judgment -Alice Miller’s ’enlightened witnesses” who return people to themselves.”