Trying in many ways to make our community a better place

By MARGARET S. CHIN | When I think about progress, I think about the ways that our community can become better — and how we can improve our lives, the lives of our children and those of our neighbors.

Over the past year, I have been proud to support a host of programs, progressive legislation, and development opportunities to improve the lives of the residents of Lower Manhattan, and of all New Yorkers.

As a member of the New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus, I helped pass our city’s first “Living Wage Law;” participated in the campaign to end the abuse of Stop, Question and Frisk; and I am working to bring paid sick days legislation to New York. In the year ahead, I will continue to work alongside my colleagues to pass the Community Safety Act to ensure that the law is applied equally to all — no matter the color of your skin — and to enhance accountability with the New York City Police Department.

I will also work to build support in our small business sector for paid sick days for workers. Recently, I joined a coalition of Make the Road members and the Working Families Party to support a deli worker named Emilio Palaguachi who was fired after he got the flu.

Mr. Palaguachi was fired from his job at Superior Deli, at 280 Henry St. near Grand St., on the Lower East Side after he asked for a day off to go to the doctor. Mr. Palaguachi is the father of four children, and now he is unemployed. We must challenge the notion that middle- and low-income workers are easily replaced and are not entitled to the considerations — like paid sick time — that higher-income workers generally receive.

In this economy, it is also important that we work to remove barriers to employment and end discrimination based on credit history. That is why I am a proud supporter of the N.Y.C. Campaign to Stop Employment Credit Checks. I have heard too many stories about employers that have used an individual’s credit history to deny jobs and promotions or to terminate employment. Not only does this practice disparately impact communities of color, but it makes it difficult for anyone who has taken on debt — for example, to go to school or to pay their medical bill — to find a job.

In our drive to create a more sustainable and affordable city, it is imperative that we address climate change and stop the loss of affordable housing in our city. Recently, I attended a forum at Greenwich House’s Center on the Square Senior Center to discuss emergency preparedness with seniors in Greenwich Village. In order to make sure no senior is ever stranded in his or her own home — without access to food, water or medicine — I have submitted legislation to create a voluntary registry for vulnerable residents living in multifamily homes in New York City. This would allow elected officials, community-based organizations and programs like Meals on Wheels, to better assist those who cannot evacuate by stairs in an emergency.

In addition, I am participating in the Mayor’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, which will work to develop plans for city agencies to implement, based on lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy and in response to long-term climate change. These plans could include things like solar panels for traffic signals, so that they do not shut down when electricity is lost; better hurricane and evacuation training for CERT teams (Community Emergency Response Teams); mobile phone-charging stations; and more timely mandatory evacuation orders.

Last year, we suffered a huge blow when the state’s Court of Appeals refused an appeal by the Independence Plaza North Tenants Association of a lower court’s decision that allows landlords at former Mitchell-Lama developments to retroactively withdraw from the J-51 program by repaying the benefits they have received.

In light of this decision, in the year ahead, the fight to expand and protect affordable housing will be even more important. I am proud to have secured 500 units of permanently affordable housing at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area site, as well as a commitment from the Bloomberg administration to build affordable housing in Community Board 2, on a vacant lot next to 21 Spring St. As your councilmember, the development of more affordable housing and creating opportunities for working families and seniors remains my utmost priority.

I hope that I can count on your support in the year ahead, and I encourage you to learn more about the important progressive campaigns in our city by following @NYCProgressives on Twitter. As always, I am proud to represent the diverse neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan and thankful for the support of so many partners — old and new — who make this the best place to live, work and visit.

Chin is city councilmember for the First District

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8 Responses to Trying in many ways to make our community a better place

  1. “Progress”? Really? Why is that the gold standard here? Can’t we finally reject that paradigm for good? It’s simplistic and vague for political purposes. We have a lot of things in this neighborhood that could be made better, but not everything needs to be torn down and turned around for new versions of “progress”.

    Is doing away with the Historic Greenwich Village that every tourist wants to visit, so that NYU can have progress, an economically good thing?

    Is creating a BID in Chinatown that will result in higher rents, forcing out longtime immigrants, progress?

    Is a BID in SoHo so that our already overburdened streets can fit more tourists a good thing because it’s progress?

    Is the bare minimum of affordability in the SPURA area any kind of progress that was worth 30 years of fighting over?

    Is overturning the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of a 200 year old Bowery house, so that a political fund raiser can build a new high-rise, progress?

    As someone who voted for her, I’ve had enough of Ms. Chin’s kind of progress.

  2. Doing good?? You made a promise to us in a face to face meeting telling us you the communities back, but instead you stabbing by literally giving away our community parks, gardens and open land to a private corporation to increase their real estate portfolio. you act as if you struck a good deal, when their never should have been a deal in the first place. There is nothing in the deal you made with NYU that is good for the community, nothing. While the citizens of NY the tax payers, the voters who put you in office and who pay your salary were stabbed in the back. Our subway fares and bridge and tunnel tolls have gone up. Our schools are in shambles but you "negotiating" giving NYU a private corporation millions upon millions of dollars of park land. You "negotiated" community space….of course space that a community can rent at market value, while NYU doesn't even pay real estate taxes. And to top it off we learned a good lesson about our city council, that on.y one person would stand up vote their conscience instead of voting as a block. You want the communities vote…stand up and tell us how you made a mistake, and what you are going to do to make things right. If not, you certainly cannot expect us to have your back and support you.
    Respectfully
    Henry Olivia

  3. It is a very well written and thoughtful write up of M Chin's accomplishments by M. Chin. I admire effort of coalition of council members of which she has been a member. They were able to score some point and advance the cause of common person in NYC. On this she deserves a Solid B. On an individual bases she has nothing much to show for. Broken promises and back peddling is the hallmark of her achievements on that front. On that I give her a generous D-.

  4. clayton patterson

    Taylor Mead, until now, has endured and survived the wrath and all the brutality his new landlord has inflicted on him. I learned yesterday Taylor Mead is in the hospital.

    A person from Cooper Square Committee and a representative from City Councilwoman Chin's office, a week ago, met Taylor Mead in his apartment. I have written emails to find out if that visit resulted in any sort of action. I have heard nothing back. Taylor has heard nothing back.

    I am concerned for Taylor's safety and well being. After all Taylor is 88 years old. Lives on the top floor of a tenement building. The roof door is never shut or secured. Trespassers have been on his roof. People have been mugged in his building. There is one, maybe two tenants, besides Taylor, remaining in the 5 story building. The building is a construction site.

    I have known Taylor for many years. Have had numerous interactions with him. I try and help him with he has a problem. thanks Clayton

  5. Georgette Fleischer

    Most readers of The Villager are painfully aware of Margaret Chin’s big-ticket betrayals over the past three plus years: her 180-degree turn-around on landmark status for 135 Bowery, which handed that beautiful 1814 Federal-style building over to a bank; her standing alone against her constituents on the SoHo or Broadway BID, which was opposed by Community Board 2 not once but twice, and unanimously each time, and which was opposed by State Senator Daniel Squadron and even more emphatically by Assemblymember Deborah Glick; and worst of all, her deplorable closed-door negotiations with N.Y.U. over their gargantuan expansion plan—against another unanimous CB2 denial—during which she gave away our precious parkland, even the green strips she had previously stood on with us, promising they would not be given away.

    But it is not only big developers Margaret Chin has sided with against her constituents. In our neighborhood, around Petrosino Square and along Kenmare Street, the most problematic big nightlife operators, those who apply for a liquor license for a “restaurant” or even a “white tablecloth restaurant” and then, once licensed, operate as cellar clubs with d.j.s and dancing, even going so far in one case as to transform into a Roman orgy club from which a young woman reportedly emerged disoriented, without coat, shoes, purse, or identification. These same violators have been taken down to the City Council Land Use Committee by Margaret Chin and treated to sweetheart deals on their sidewalk cafés, some of them very large, some very rowdy. Community outcries have been ignored; in fact, the City Council call ups have been conducted without apprising the community at all, or postponing the vote so the community would not be there when it happened.

    Margaret Chin, and her Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Matt Viggiano and “Mouthpiece” Kelly McGee, have turned District 1 over the past three plus years into a Tom Stoppard play, but not the one that first comes to mind but rather the other one, entitled Travesties.

    Where is the challenger who will take this on?

    Georgette Fleischer
    Founder, Friends of Petrosino Square

  6. I am a longtime and staunch Democratic voter, but Ms. Chin is one Dem that does not deserve re-election. I hope a good Dem who's for the voter, not the developers, runs against Chin. Please don't make me vote Repub. Please!

  7. Jenifer Rajkumar is running for Council this year against Margaret Chin. Rajkumar, a young democratic district leader and civil rights attorney, stood with us against Chin's awful NYU land grab, SoHo BID, and Howard Hughes Corporation takeover of the Seaport. Rajkumar is the democrat you should vote for.

  8. Hi,in my community were i came from (Nigeria) we hav alot of begers on the street especially under the bridge no home for them ,the sleep there an in the morning they will wake up and continue their beging activities.so i would want to put them off the street a conveniet place were the could learn vocational skills that will better their lives tomorrow and also some group of children called Almajeris who walk about the street beging for food and money,and also called all islamic clergy to assist this children off the children.Tanks

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