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January 10th, 2006

An Update From Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer

by Scott M. Stringer

Dear Friend,

Greetings, I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing with an update on what I’ve been up to as your Borough President:

  • Last Monday, I announced the 330 newest members of Manhattan’s Community Boards. More than a customary procedure, these appointments mark my administration’s first phase of efforts to reform and empower these undervalued boards. With the support of every Manhattan Council Member, we recruited across the borough, depoliticized the appointment process and evaluated every applicant by the same means – a revamped application, a screening from an independent Reform Committee, and individual interviews with my staff.

Our approach was unprecedented, and the results reflect that. We received 624 applications, and more than doubled the pool of new applicants compared to last year. Whereas entire boards were previously interviewed in one room in a single sitting, this year all 61 members of my staff helped conduct a total of 463 one-on-one interviews. 37% of the appointments are new board members and every vacancy has been filled for the first time in years. You’re welcome to read more about our process and the breakdown of appointment results on our website. I’m also proud to say that we’ve gotten some very positive coverage in the press. Now that we’ve appointed new members, the real measure of reform is what happens next! Our city is undergoing tremendous change, and Community Boards must know how to handle things like budgets, land use procedures, conflicts of interest and ethics. My office is prepared to help. Our next steps to reform feature a training institute and urban planning internships that will equip every board with development expertise. I am regularly attending board meetings, and look forward to being a proactive resource for everything to come.

  • With Tax Day approaching, my office has joined Citizens for NYC president Peter Kostmayer, Harlem Legal Services Executive Director Peggy Earisman, Esperanza del Barrio and other East Harlem groups to encourage low-income Harlem residents to file for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a federal tax break for low-income working individuals and families. But it’s underutilized – the IRS estimates that 200,000 New Yorkers are eligible for the credit, yet don’t claim it. Imagine getting literally thousands of dollars just for filling out the right form! Eligibility and filing requirements can be confusing, so my office wants to help clarify any questions about the EITC. Contact us and read more about our efforts here.
  • There are some other national issues getting our office and our city out into the streets. With Congress entertaining an assault on immigrant rights, we marched with tens of thousands of New Yorkers last Sunday to demand real immigration reform for our workers and families. This city was proudly built by immigrants, and we will proudly defend their right to a full life here. Rally with us when these nationwide demonstrations culminate on the National Day of Action this Monday, April 10th!
  • We recently entered the fourth year of the war in Iraq, and while billions of taxpayer dollars fuel “democracy” overseas, our freedoms at home are being neglected. That’s why I want to alert you to an upcoming demonstration a coalition of leaders and I just announced at Riverside Church – the same church where Martin Luther King, Jr. famously spoke out against the Vietnam War some 40 years ago. The March for Peace, Justice & Democracy will bring together activists and leaders from every background on Saturday, April 29th to demand an end to the war and the return of our troops. I’ll be there, and I hope you will too, because as Dr. King once said, “my conscience leaves me no other choice.”
  • Finally, it was great to see many of you at our recent commemorations of Women’s History Month and the ongoing fight for women’s rights. We devoted one evening to the life and legacy of Bella Abzug, and another to the achievements of women leaders in business, with a wine tasting at Harlem Vintage. Women’s History Month may be over, but as long as women face discrimination of any kind, we won’t relent in the pursuit of true equality.

Thank you for your time and support. As always, don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions, concerns or ideas. Our website, www.mbpo.org, will help direct you to the right place, or you can always call 212-669-8300.

Sincerely,

Scott M. Stringer

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