Thursday, August 5, 2010

News from NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio...

Statement Re: Prop 8 Ruling - August 4, 2010

Today’s ruling reaffirms the values of equality upon which our nation was founded. Achieving marriage rights for all Americans is one of the defining moral struggles of our time, and one we must continue to fight for everyday. I commend Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker for protecting the rights of California’s same-sex couples and I am committed to making sure that LGBT New Yorkers one day achieve the same rights and protections here in our state.”

Statement Re: The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Decision
Allowing an Islamic Center Near Ground Zero ; July 3rd, 2010

I commend the Landmarks Preservation Commission for rejecting a landmarking request that would have effectively banned the construction of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero. While I am confident that the Commission evaluated the application on the merits of the request and not on any potential use of the building, this decision reaffirms our Country’s fundamental values of religious freedom and speaks to our determination to fight discrimination and fear.”

Statement Re: Court Ruling About Arizona’s Immigration Law – SB1070 – July 28th

“Americans scored a major victory today when a court effectively rejected the use of racial profiling as a tool to combat illegal immigration. The many problems caused by our broken immigration system can only be fixed with a comprehensive immigration reform, not by anti-immigrant measures that go against the founding principles of our country. ”

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio Calls on the City
to Delay Tax Dollars Allocated to Thomson Reuters
Citing Transparency and Labor Relations Issues – July 27th, 2010

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, members of the New York City Council and Bill O’Meara, President of the Newspaper Guild of New York, today called on the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) to delay tax breaks allocated to the news corporation Thomson Reuters until they explain their poor record of job creation and clear outstanding labor violations.

In these tough times we cannot afford to give out tax dollars to companies that simply can’t prove they are creating jobs,” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said. “The City must delay new approvals of tax exemptions for Thomson Reuters until the company shows it can create jobs, maintain jobs, and treat the workers in those jobs fairly.”

Thomson Reuters is seeking to amend their 1998 agreement with the NYCIDA to reallocate up to $26 million that was meant for construction of their headquarters at 3 Times Square, by transferring those tax breaks to seven other Manhattan office locations. This amendment is being sought even though many questions remain unanswered as to whether Thomson Reuters achieved their job projections in the 1998 agreement and how they plan to meet lofty new promises made in the proposed amended agreement.
The IDA allows companies like Thomson Reuters to take incentives without giving an accounting of how they plan to retain and create jobs, and subjecting them to a full review of their conduct as an employer in creating, retaining, and maintaining fair jobs. This lack of timely information and full disclosure potentially puts New York taxpayer dollars at risk of being misused. The Public Advocate’s office is urging IDA to reform these practices.

Bill O’Meara, President of the Newspaper Guild of New York, said “The bottom line is that Thomson Reuters has been unable to live up to their job creation projections and continue to treat their employees with no respect. At a time when vital city services are being threatened, I do not believe New York City should be giving an extremely profitable, foreign-owned company like Thomson Reuters a second chance at up to $26 million in New York taxpayer money.”
The Public Advocate has sent letters to both Thomson Reuters and the NYCIDA. In a letter to the NYCIDA, he calls for subsidies requested by Thomson Reuters to be postponed upon further review of their current job creation data, the economic benefits of the deal and their plan to reach new job creation benchmarks.

Statement Re: MTA Board Meeting - July 28, 2010

Instituting a fare hike will simply force straphangers to pay more for less again. The MTA and the State should explore all available options to avert raising fares, including a toll on east river bridges that is pegged to the cost of a single subway ride. In the long term, New Yorkers need to see more transparent and comprehensive budget proposals from the MTA in order to honestly evaluate the tough choices we are being asked to make instead of facing proposals to raise passenger fares year after year.”

Statement Re: City Settlement in Sean Bell Shooting - July 28, 2010

“Sean Bell’s death was a tragedy that impacted communities across our City. I hope that this settlement will help bring some measure of healing to the Bell family. As we move forward, we must build a more community based approach to policing in order to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again.”