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News from BALCONY

June 27th, 2016


By Sally Goldenberg

A new report examining the impact of Airbnb on New York City's rental market concludes the company is responsible for removing at least 8,000 apartments from the city's housing stock and driving up lease prices. The analysis, titled "Short Changing New York City; The impact of Airbnb on New York City's housing market," was prepared by BJH Advisors LLC for two organizations that are part of a coalition critical of the short-tern rental company - Housing Conservation Coordinators and MFY Legal Services.

The report found that in 2015, 8,058 Airbnb listings - 16 percent of the company's total in the five boroughs - were what the authors classified as "impact listings," which refer to those likely to have the biggest effect on the city's residential market.

Latest news from the Times Union Capitol Bureau Analysis: Holding a constitutional convention is ‘nothing but a con

June 24th, 2016


By Matthew Hamilton

There’s nothing but cons when it comes to holding a con-con, according to a new report.

A historical analysis of state constitutional conventions from former Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chairman Arthur “Jerry” Kremer shows that the costly process of allowing citizens (a number of them being the same elected officials who work in Albany to begin with) to gather in hopes of modifying the state Constitution is of little actual value to the public.

Stonewall Inn Becomes the Nation's First LGBT National Monument

June 24th, 2016


Stonewall is finally taking its rightful place in American history, and I am proud to have championed the effort to create the first ever monument to LGBT history in our nation.

Infrastructure: Hillary Clinton’s Big Idea and Best-Kept Secret

June 23rd, 2016


by Bill Ayres



Hillary Clinton talks about many important issues on the campaign trail including reforming the criminal justice system, immigration reform, providing affordable college education, raising the minimum wage, providing equal pay for women, protecting Social Security and Medicare and a whole host of foreign policy initiatives. All of these are worthy goals and she ought to push hard for their approval from the fractured Congress she may be facing no matter how well the Democrats do in the 2016 elections.

PSC Reaches Contract Deal with CUNY

June 22nd, 2016


A message from President Bowen

I am happy to report that the PSC reached a tentative contract agreement with CUNY management early this morning. At last!

The bargaining teams worked straight through the night in order to finish today, and the union’s Executive Council voted this afternoon to recommend the tentative settlement.

Details of the proposed agreement will be available tomorrow; the union’s press release is below.

Thank you for the work you did to make the agreement possible. There would have been no agreement and no restored funding for CUNY without the campaign thousands of PSC members waged this year. Congratulations to all.

In solidarity,
Barbara Bowen
President, PSC
PSC Reaches Contract Deal with CUNY

After Successful Senate Filibuster, NYC Congress Members Demand House Vote on Guns

June 21st, 2016


By Will Bredderman



Days after a 15-hour Democratic filibuster ended with an agreement to vote on two gun control measures, a group of New York City Congress members called on Speaker Paul Ryan to let the same legislation come to the floor of the House of Representatives.

June 20th, 2016


By Jimmy Vielkind, Keshia Clukey, Scott Waldman, Bill Mahoney and Josefa Velasquez

CUOMO LOW-KEY AS SESSION WRAPS UP - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: You can make a case about how leaders of each legislative house were each winners in the closing days of the legislative session, and how New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (again) came up a loser. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo? Largely absent. During the last two weeks of the session - a crucial time, during which in 2011 the governor as able to wrangle votes needed to pass same-sex marriage - the governor took a trip to Niagara Falls and appeared in New York City for an airport groundbreaking and, away from the Capitol, a speech on ethics legislation. The Democratic executive stepped back as Democrats in the State Assembly and Republicans in the Senate duked it out over mayoral control of city schools and the exact wording of a constitutional amendment to strip the pensions from corruption officials.

Some Call Legislative Session a Letdown. Cuomo Sees It Far Differently.

June 20th, 2016


By JESSE McKINLEY and VIVIAN YEE



ALBANY — It was mid-January when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo took to the stage here and delivered his vision of the coming legislative year, unveiling a laundry list of nearly 150 proposals.
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Greater New York Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Women's History Month

March 22nd, 2016
GNYCC

On Friday March 18th the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce (GNYCC) hosted a celebration of Women's History Month at the Hard Rock Cafe.

The event was emceed by Greater New York Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Jaffe and GNYCC Chairman Cynthia DiBartolo. The event was attended by 75+ leaders from the New York business and labor community and honored Kathy Hochul, NYS Lieutenant Governor; Beth Goldberg, District Director of the Us Small Business Administration; Major Kimbia Rey, US ARMY; Vicki Saunders, Founder of SheEO; and Waffa Abboud, Founder and CEO of Human First.

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THE NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THEATRE AWARDS’ NEW YORK CHAPTER IS RENAMED THE ROGER REES AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN STUDENT PERFORMANCE

March 10th, 2016
The Broadway Education Alliance, the fiscal sponsor for the Gershwin Awards, announced today that the program has been renamed The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance—to celebrate the exceptional life and career-long artistic excellence of Broadway’s beloved actor, Roger Rees. Formerly known as The Gershwin Awards, the 2015-2016 Roger Rees Award for Excellence in Student Performance will be held on Sunday, May 22 at the Beacon School in Manhattan. Read the details here: Roger Rees Awards

Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll Discusses Major Projects and Infrastructure Improvements Underway

March 10th, 2016


New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll was the featured speaker on March 3 at a New York Building Congress Construction Industry Breakfast Forum, which also featured remarks from Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York.

Highlighting major infrastructure projects to the crowd of nearly 350 professionals from the design, construction, and real estate industry, Commissioner Driscoll called it an exciting time for New York City as well as the State as a whole. He provided updates on several key initiatives, including Governor Andrew Cuomo's $100 million infrastructure investment program, stating, "This plan will modernize the State's public transportation systems - freight, rail and ports, airports and roads and bridges - to meet the needs of the new global economy and enhance New York's position as the Empire State." These projects include a comprehensive redesign of LaGuardia Airport, expansion of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and transformation of Penn Station and the historic Farley Post Office.

Mayor Presses Feds to Let City Offer Savings Plan to Private Employees

March 1st, 2016


By DAN ROSENBLUM

Mayor de Blasio Feb. 25 asked the Federal Government to allow New York to become the first American city to sponsor a private-sector retirement-savings plan. His proposal, first announced during his State of the City address last month, would create a savings account for workers who aren’t enrolled in pension plans. “Working people of New York City should be able to retire in comfort and in the city they love,” the Mayor said. “Our message to working people should not be: work your whole lives and end up with nothing.’”

NYSUT Testimony to the Senate Finance Committee and Assembly Ways and Means Committee on the Proposed 2016-17 Executive Budget for Elementary and Secondary Education

February 24th, 2016
nysut-logo

Senator Young, Assemblyman Farrell, honorable members of the Legislature and distinguished staff, I am Andrew Pallotta, Executive Vice President of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). NYSUT represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education, in health care and retirees statewide.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on the proposed 2016-17 Executive Budget for Elementary and Secondary Education. I am joined by Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers. The state of public education in New York finally seems to be moving in the right direction, however, we have much more to do.

We must continue to work together to ensure each and every student receives a high quality education that prepares them for college and career.

We must continue to work towards reducing unnecessary testing in our schools.

We must restore the joy of learning and teaching in our classrooms.


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Housing activists ramp up campaign against affordable housing developers

June 24th, 2016


By Sally Goldenberg

An activist group that has long criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan is targeting an affordable housing association with a barrage of attacks and a call for all elected officials not to accept campaign contributions from the association.

NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento's Statement on Assembly Passage of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act

June 17th, 2016
Albany, NY - "Tuesday was a historic day. For years, the New York State AFL-CIO has been fighting for safe nurse-to-patient ratios in our hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Nurses have told their stories over and over about the challenges they face trying to provide the highest quality care possible under stressful working conditions that include inadequate staffing levels. Improving patient safety took a giant step forward with the Assembly passage of the “Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act.” We applaud Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried and the Assembly Majority for taking the lead toward ensuring our hospitals are properly staffed to allow nurses to provide the best care possible while improving patient outcomes.

A Few More Vegetables and a Little Less Meat May Reduce Diabetes Risk

June 16th, 2016


By RONI CARYN RABIN

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet.

New research shows that eating a few extra servings of healthy plant-based foods each day and slightly reducing animal-based foods like meat and dairy products can significantly lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes.


Why It’s Not Time to Panic About Cellphones and Cancer

June 1st, 2016


by Aaron E. Carroll

Recently, I lost a day at work when my Upshot colleague Austin Frakt emailed me first thing in the morning to tell me that headlines were appearing declaring that an “explosive new cellphone-cancer” study was making the rounds. As I have long been interested in this topic, I started to read the headlines and news.

“Cellphone-Cancer Link Seen in Rat Study,” said Time. “Cellphone Radiation Linked to Cancer in Major Rat Study,” said IEEE Spectrum, a magazine for engineers. I was dismayed to say the least. “Game-changing,” as a quotation in a Mother Jones headline put it, seemed like a bit of an overreach.

SUPPORT FOR CUNY BUDGET

May 26th, 2016

PSC Secretary Nivedita Majumdar thanks the Mayor for his support of CUNY


Advocates for CUNY Budget at City Hall with Council Member Barron (green jacket)

May 20, 2016, Several organizations, which are part of the CUNY Rising Alliance, gathered last Friday on the steps of City Hall for a press conference in support of CUNY. Among the group was New York Public Interest Research Group, NYPIRG and Professional Staff Congress, PSC. In addition, the group was joined by NYC Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Higher Education, Inez D. Barron and NYC Council Member Ydanis A. Rodriguez, who is also a committee member. Speakers called for the city to invest in CUNY.
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