Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council are aiming to strike a handshake agreement on a city budget by Friday, three days before the state’s self-imposed deadline to complete its long overdue spending plan, according to people with knowledge of the budget process.The rapidly approaching deadline had advocates crowding the steps of City Hall and lobbying councilmembers on Wednesday. At around noon, as the Council’s budget negotiating committee was set to meet, advocates for after-school programs sat on the sidelines as supporters of immigrant assistance programs packed the steps. A lobbyist for day care workers chatted with reporters. Said Greg Faulkner, chief of staff to freshman Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera, in a phone interview: “You can’t walk through the hallway without people pouncing, which is what they should do.”Click here for a list of Council members.Gov. Paterson has set a deadline of Monday, June 28 to complete the state budget that was supposed to be done by April 1. The lack of a firm state budget means the city must guess at how much state aid will come its way.
Two days after a New York State Senate bill that would have outlawed discrimination against transgender and gender-bending people was defeated in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee a Queens homeless shelter for gay and transgender youth suffered an attack.Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), issued a press release denouncing the vote. “Given the rampant discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in New York, AVP believes this bill is critical to protecting the rights of transgender people when seeking employment, housing, credit and using public accommodations,” the statement said in part.All 11 Republicans and one Bronx Democrat, Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr, voted against the bill, the Gender Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). The rest of the Democrats on the committee voted for it. Diaz, Sr., who is a minister according to his online biography, declined to explain his vote to City Limits. “I’m not talking about that.
Ruskin Piedra is the founder and director of the Juan Neumann Center, an organization tied to the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, which provides low-cost legal services to immigrants, many of whom are Latino and hail from the surrounding Sunset Park area. Piedra is a busy man. He manages about 3,000 cases, including undocumented immigrants seeking to adjust their status or who are facing deportation or seeking asylum.Piedra is not an attorney, but he has taken many courses in immigration law and procedure that qualify him to appear in immigration court. In New York, many nonprofits and charitable organizations employ representatives like Piedra who often charge less than an attorney.”These poor people have no clue and most of them don’t speak English,” Piedra said. “They have no other recourse but to come here.
If New York City faces another catastrophe on the scale of September 11, city residents now are more prepared for the aftermath. The question is: Are our primary care health centers, churches, businesses and other community institutions charged with taking care of us? On June 2, that question brought together a spirited group of 36 community leaders and professionals living, working in or representing Manhattan’s Community District 5, which roughly encompasses the area south of Central Park between Lexington Avenue and 8th Ave from Columbus Circle to Union Square. During a six-hour meeting, the group drafted a plan–one of only five district-level plans that have been crafted in the city– to enhance the area’s emergency preparedness by coordinating the sharing of medicines, health professionals and other resources.”There should be criteria to access the resources so no one can hoard [them]” a middle-aged woman told the group, which sat clustered around her in a nearly empty auditorium. “There should be criteria for how you access what you need and organizations should be held accountable for the resources that they use.”A man who sat nearby – David Fortino, the Region II program manager of Citizen Corps, a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that coordinates volunteer emergency response teams – raised an additional issue.