Newsweek:  Death From Above–Lawmaker Envisions Bird-Safe Buildings in New York City

By M.L. Nestel On 1/24/19 at 9:29 AM EST Death litters the base of the sky-mirroring Time Warner Center. Dozens of badly damaged songbirds bash into its panes and disappear when they meet Charlie Alamo’s broom and dustbin. “I’ve seen a lot of dead birds here,” he told Newsweek last year. Collecting chirpless birds has become part of the 43-year-old maintenance worker’s routine at the Columbus Circle high-rise. “Some of the birds just have the head left,” he said while pointing toward the peregrine falcons nested above. Alamo’s seen them routinely mutilate songbirds as snacks while also controlling the block’s pigeon and squirrel populations. Summer mornings must prove deceptive for the warblers and woodcocks here, because that’s when Alamo says he collects most of the downed prey. “I love birds,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking to see that.” Nearby, a Time Warner Center security guard, who requested anonymity, claimed the glass canopy sheltering the revolving door egress piles up with raining carcasses. “They’re little birds and there are a bunch of them that end up there during the summer,” the uniformed worker said, peering upward. “Luckily, I’m not the one that has to clean them up.” Over the years the 749-foot tall, twin-towered sliver joined fellow New York City sky slayers to reportedly down hundreds of thousands of songbirds to a silent death. Building A Bird-Safe NYC At a stoplight on Tenth Avenue during a sunny afternoon drive, New York State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick winced at the laser glare off the looming Hudson Yards construction site. That blinding moment compelled Glick to stop the proliferation bird-killing glass buildings. “We’re seeing too many glass towers that seem to be the main focus of architects,” she said. Glick, who represents some bird-collision hot spots in both Lower Manhattan and Greenwich Village, last year introduced a bill that called for every building construction project in New York City to establish “bird collision deterrent safety measures” and use “bird-safe building materials and design features.” Its measures call for premium materials such as ultraviolet treated or fritted glass (the near-invisible porcelain ball patterns that birds can detect) when applied from the ground level to 50 feet high, where most collisions occur. Screens or netting are other makeshift ways to cut down on “one of the largest threats to bird populations in New York City.” “The reality is birds are dying,” Glick said. “Bats are dying. Bees are dying. People are becoming aware of these things — especially young people and the future is going to be in humans making things that are less damaging to the natural world.” Indeed, New York City’s skyline contributed a substantial number of bird mortalities. “We think that between 90,000 and 230,000 is approximately the number of birds that collide with buildings every year,” New York City Audubon conservation biologist Kaitlyn Parkins said. Reflective glass facade building where trees and blue sky can deceive foraging birds into fatally mistaking it for the real thing.  Dr. Daniel Klem Jr. Parkins co-wrote a 2015 paper and analyzed the Audubon’s data between 1997 to 2009, tallying total deaths that “could be as high 243,000 per year.” Based on field evidence, such as performing infrequent persistent studies, a whopping 63 percent of all birds suffering injury or death from building collisions in the city “were not reported.” Once introduced, Glick’s feather-friendly bill gained sponsors, but failed to pass. On Jan. 9, the unflappable legislator reintroduced the bird-saving bill. “I think my experience has been ‘you sometimes have to pass bills several times before they’re taken up,’” Glick told Newsweek days before Bill A00705 was posited. On her second try, Glick believes the country’s biggest city will do the right thing and own up to its environmental hazards. “We are destroying not just the environment, but we are putting ourselves in danger because we do not have an inherent value in nature,” she said. “And many other creatures play a much more crucial role in protecting the planet than we do.” The bill still demands that any building that undergoes construction or reconstruction work “shall be designed to comply with bird collision deterrent safety measures.” That includes incorporating glass that is essentially bird-splat proof and approved by the division of migratory bird management in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We would like to require the city of New York to have bird deterrence and bird-safe glass in all new constructions and major renovated buildings,” she said. Not Flying Solo Glick isn’t alone. State Assembly Member Steve Englebright, who reps Suffolk County on Long Island and chairs the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation, last January re-introduced the “bird-friendly building council act.” Unlike Glick’s bill, there was no binding ultimatum forcing the city’s building projects to adopt bird-friendly measures. Instead, Englebright’s bill proposed an 11-15 member “Bird-friendly building council” to establish rules and criteria to “reduce or eliminate bird mortality from building collisions. After the council conferred, recommendations would be sent to the governor, the Senate majority leader and the speaker of the assembly “for their consideration of being codified in state law.” Englebright attempted to get the bill passed three previous times without success, an aid confirmed. Even as the fourth try to pass his bill petered, Englebright praised Glick’s resolve. Glick’s bill set a high bar that Englebright believes would prevent “needless mortality to migratory birds” and aim to repair the city’s abundance of glass buildings, which he also charges have brewed “a bird-glass collision nightmare.” Deceptive patio door in rural Pennsylvania with indoor planter duped a sparrow that bashed into it. Peter G. Saenger In 2017, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, along with House Representatives Mike Quigley and Morgan Griffith, tried pushing forward the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act which sought to modernize the nation’s federal buildings to become more bird-friendly by integrating “patterned glass that contains UV-reflective or contrasting patterns that are visible to birds.” In an email, Booker’s press secretary informed Newsweek that the bill would be reintroduced in the “new session of Congress” but the timetable was still being worked out. And while Glick’s bill is the first of its kind for New York, it is following cities that passed bird-friendly building legislation like San Francisco, Highland Park, Illinois, and Toronto, Canada, among others. To pass, Glick will need to prove bird collision deaths are deserving of legislators’ consideration amongst urban crises like affordable housing and homelessness. When questioned about Glick’s submitting her bird bill again, City Councilman Eric Ulrich suggested New York is already “over-regulated and over-burdened.” “Instead of raising the cost of construction, we ought to be making it easier and more affordable for people to live in their homes and stay in the city,” he said in a statement. Councilman Robert Holden sees some promise in Glick’s effort. While he’s “not opposed” to it outright, in a statement he too wondered how it would achieve its tall objectives. “I’m not opposed to taking measures to protect birds and building residents from collisions, given that New York City is a region with significant bird migration paths,” Holden argued. “This bill is a start, but it seems too vague and does not take into consideration the added costs for property owners and further strain on regulatory agencies to enforce it.” Should it pass, potentially bird lethal buildings could be forced to get a facade fix. In fact, Glick expects retrofitting such properties must occur to prevent more mortalities. “I do think that major retrofits would be included,” she said. “So if there’s a major renovation for some of these older buildings they would likewise be required to consider this as part of their renovation cost. It seems like a reasonable thing to do.” Looking backward may prove most critical. Michael Mesure, Executive Director of Toronto’s FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Program), a non-profit that trailblazed the city’s bird safety laws since the early aughts, emphasized how existing buildings are the biggest offenders. “The vast majority of birds are dying at existing buildings,” Mesure said. “It is therefore essential that any ordinance or bill that is designed to address the bird-building collision issue include mandatory requirements for retrofits. Limiting these requirements to new construction acts as nothing more than a Band-Aid.” If politicians are tepid, Glick expects the construction sector to bristle. “The building trade never likes anything unless it’s a subsidy for more buildings. I get it,” she said. Brian Sampson, president of the Empire State Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, which works on behalf of over 400 construction and contracting firms throughout New York State, said he’s actually a bird fan. It’s just that saving them from deadly building crashes with a new law is “unnecessary” and “pretty far down the list” compared to other big cost-drivers affecting construction such as the dusty scaffolding laws, the calculation of prevailing wages, and even recreational marijuana legalization that has been floated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a possible law that he said could endanger pot-free hardhats working alongside legal users. Plus, Sampson contends that bird-friendly glass costs more (though Glick said the comparable glass and other bird-safe materials are “cost neutral.”) So far, Sampson isn’t convinced. “Ultimately the person trying to buy a house or a condo or affordable housing unit is going to be paying more because a member of the legislature made a decision to introduce a bill that pits human beings versus birds,” he said.   From Eyesore To Eden Buildings have gone into rehab before. Take the state-owned Jacob K. Javits Center. Between 2009 and 2014, Bruce Fowle, architect and founding principal of the firm FXCollaborative, transformed dingy convention spot from being a bird-deathtrap to a bird, bee and bat sanctuary. Fowle conceded that when it comes to pairing conservation and construction, there is a “fear factor” at play. “The main concern for the development community is first they need to be educated to understand that this is not going to break their bank,” he recalled. He points to the success of Javits as a cost-conscious example that worked. Six thousand glass panels were replaced with ones made from “a very sophisticated coating” which contain an energy-efficient, 8-inch porcelain dot-fritting pattern. This material, commonly used on car windshields to provide shade, has proven effective in warding away birds and lowering energy costs. Since reflectivity dropped from 35 percent to 8 percent Javits Center President and CEO Alan Steel confirmed “bird collisions have decreased more than 90 percent.” Fowle said collision-proofing glass costs are “probably under a dollar” more per square foot compared to untreated glass. “I wouldn’t have been able to get away with it if they did cost more because the state probably would not have paid extra for bird mitigation,” he said. Architect and falconer Allan Shope has for over 15 years installed collision-proof glass into two of his upstate New York homes. He sees a movement gaining traction to “design buildings that are environmentally benign” when it comes to energy, kindness to animals and aesthetics. While choice is more abundant, Shope estimates there may “not even be 100 residences in the U.S.” who opt to use collision-proof glass because it costs time to procure and is “about 50 percent” more expensive. As for a bird-collision building law — that seems too onerous. “I’m not in favor of legislation that blindly mandates something that’s going to create an undo hardship on people,” he said. To Soar Again Or Sing No More Not every collision means a bird becoming a corpse. And when fallen birds do survive a blow, its folks like Time Warner Center’s Charlie Alamo with gloved hands who cradle them and then call on a volunteer group to try to rehabilitate them. Ruth Hart is a New York State licensed wildlife rehabilitator who volunteers on weekends with the Wild Bird Fund, a non-profit care center which is the only wildlife rehabilitation and education center in New York City. Since 2012, the facility has treated and released mended birds and also finds sanctuary for those considered “non-releasable” like domestic ducks and chickens. In 2018 alone, she and the staff treated almost 7,000 birds. Sometimes there’s a happy ending and hurt birds return to the skies. Other times, when the patient’s injuries are too severe, they don’t survive. “It’s touch and go,” Hart said about window-strike patients. “I can think of four or five [birds] that I was examining and they looked fine. But when I checked the records the next day, they didn’t make it.” Other birds she said “looked terrible and I didn’t think were going to make it — and actually did. “They survived and were released.” Hart explained there was only so much that can be diagnosed during exams. Intracranial hemorrhaging or brain swelling are both hard to identify with the care center’s limited tools. But some of the injuries just require rest and recuperation. “Window and building collisions cause concussions, not all concussions are lethal,” she added. She notes plenty of patients get released and with their wings akimbo, take flight. “Releasing a bird back into the wild, one that would have died without our intervention is a magical experience,” said Hart. “Saving their lives, helps make the fact that these animals were injured as a direct cause of human activity, a little less sad.” Beyond head trauma, some of the most severe maladies of colliding birds include fractures and also hypothermia because they fall victim to the elements while lying on the cold concrete. It’s instances when there is no other recourse and untreatable birds become unreleasable. Lowering the curtains is handled delicately. “We have a very gentle drug formula that makes them high, so they feel really good and get super stoned and drift off peacefully,” said Hart.   Bird Friendly or Feudal Skies? Wild birds are already federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (2018 marked its centennial anniversary), and over time it has slowly expanded to offset the accidental and unnecessary deaths of all sorts of avian species. However, the SECURE American Energy Act (introduced by Congressman Steve Scalise) was proposed and passed out of the Natural Resources committee in November 2017 before it died in the 115th Congress. Its language boasted tapping energy sources and expanding jobs, but it also would have neutered some long-standing bird safeguards and immunized energy companies from any violation of harming certain protected species. New York City is a major draw for migrating birds. The five boroughs, and particularly Manhattan, lie within the path of the Atlantic flyway. By the time they reach town for a pitstop, the wild birds are exhausted from flying hundreds of miles (some from as far away as South America) between wintering and breeding. While they migrate all year long, experts peg peak migration to occur during the late spring and fall months. The fortunate birds who flap their way to Central Park can flourish. Though, they’re vulnerable, especially in the daytime when most casualties occur. It’s the waking hours when birds are often distracted while foraging for food and dart straight into a window pane that is mirroring trees, bushes or water. Unlike savvy local pigeons and gulls, these New York City “tourists” frequently cause smashups at The Time Warner Center and legacy mainstays like The Metropolitan Museum of Art or Bellevue Hospital. Newsweek’s messages to Time Warner Center reps were not immediately returned and a Met rep declined to comment. A Bellevue spokeswoman would only say that bird-collision safety “is not an issue” for the hospital and defended its record as complying ”with the law.” It’s not only glass but the dooming night light. If birds eek out the day, some still get lured in by the city’s nocturnal blinding light pollution from high-wattage signage and building facades (despite the Lights Out New York campaign where numerous buildings — the Time Warner Center included — voluntarily go dim or dark). “The area of Manhattan is very risky,” said Dr. Susan Elbin, New York City Audubon’s Director of Conservation and Science. “The island is surrounded by a lot of water and lots of birds are flying along the water. And there’s a lot of artificial light. Birds are attracted to light.” A textbook version of this played out last year when a Canada Goose took a spill that was caught on television. The bird was seen attempting to scram the Detroit Tigers contest, but instead clunked into a hypnotically blue lit scoreboard. Raising awareness is key and takes various forms. Perhaps no more random than the “Safe Flight” IPA beer from Brooklyn-based Kings County Brewers Collective. Some proceeds from the purchased suds are funneled to protect migratory birds. Lower Is More Lethal In terms of kill zone, the higher up a bird flies the safer it generally is. Elbin added that “although we have documented some collisions at higher windows, collisions happen, for the most part, within the first four stories.” A deceptive window teasing reflecting leafless trees and bushes — making it too easy for birds to mistake it for the real thing. Peter G. Saenger Muhlenberg College ornithologist Peter Saenger admits that skyscrapers are established culprits, but echoes Elbin:  it’s the smaller structures that rise no more than four stories that are the most lethal. “When birds are migrating and move to locations they’re cruising,” he said. “It’s when they lower down on the ground level to feed in vegetation that they hit glass.” Saenger has been working over the last decade to better determine the risk of winged creatures venturing into cities. Urban landings have proven especially trying for the White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Ovenbird, and Song Sparrow– some of the species known for becoming tragic glass strike victims. “These songbirds spread out because when migrating their food source is spread out. And they don’t fly in a flock because they would compete with each other for all the bugs in a particular tree,” said Dr. Christine Sheppard, of the American Bird Conservancy. A team of scientists at the federal Fish and Wildlife Service issued a 2016 report which tallied 365 million to almost 1 billion birds died nationwide by glass collisions. That number has history. Dr. Daniel Klem Jr. published his doctoral dissertation in the 1979 which estimated between 100 million (the equivalent of 333 Exxon Valdez oil spills “annually”) and one billion birds collide with glass every year. Dr. Daniel Klem Jr. Saenger, who is also president of the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society, works under Dr. Daniel Klem, Jr. — a pioneering scientist who has been banging on the bushes about human-made structures winging birds since he published his doctoral dissertation on the subject back in 1979. In it, Klem came up with the “conservative” stat that “100 million to 1 billion birds” die when they collide with glass. That’s equal to the eradication of 200 of the top cities’ populations. Saenger co-published a 2009 study on “bird-glass collisions” with Klem and three other colleagues using Manhattan as its laboratory. Of the 73 sites studied from 2006 to 2007, they evaluated locations plotted from the southern tip of the island all the way to the Upper East Side. Over time, hundreds of birds collided into glass; and almost all of them were confirmed kills. A brown creeper lying dead on cold concrete in Chicago, Illinois after a window strike. Dr. Daniel Klem Jr. “Most of the ones we found were dead or dying,” said Saenger. Of the glassless structures — there were only 7 bird fatalities, the study found. What does it mean? That birds in New York City are severely prone to dying from collisions into glass pane structures. Scott Loss, a professor at Oklahoma State University’s National Resource Ecology and Management, reached critical findings accusing both “skyscrapers and low-rise buildings” leading the way to “relatively high amounts of mortality during non-migratory periods,” according to a study he conducted back in 2014. What’s more, Loss’s work leaned on Klem’s, but also brought “conservative” estimate up from 100 million to 365 million U.S. bird-window collisions. That’s an average of a minimum one 1 million bird deaths each day. It proves that stationary buildings leading to the countless bird collisions are almost as detrimental to the death carried out at the claws of roaming cats. “This magnitude of mortality would place buildings behind only free-ranging domestic cats among sources of direct human-caused mortality of birds,” wrote Loss. As Glick’s bill seeks sponsors — and maybe a vote — she’s hopes legislators will recognize that these winged creatures deserve to be protected from avoidable splats. After all, their value is often unseen, and somewhat unsavory. Experts estimate that birds annually clear the earth of pests by wolfing down around 550 million tons of insects. “Birds are pollinators and insectivores,” said Glick. “They’re part of the chain of life. And so their massive deaths are not good for us.” Saenger put it bluntly: “Each bird we kill, is one less eating the pests that threaten our food sources and without food, we all die.”

Passage of the Reproductive Health Act

On January 22, 2019, the 46th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the state legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act, a bill that I sponsored and helped to pass in the Assembly a number of times in previous years, and finally was signed into state law at the start of the legislative session. Once a national leader for reproductive rights, New York’s abortion laws were outdated and harmful to pregnant New Yorkers. The Reproductive Health Act updates abortion laws in a number of critical ways; as a medical procedure, abortion is moved into the Public Health Code, and out of the Criminal Code; pregnant individuals will be protected from being forced to bring a non-viable pregnancy to term; a pregnant individual’s health must be considered for access to an abortion later in a pregnancy; and all medical professionals who are licensed to provide abortions may do so, pursuant to their medical scope of practice. The Reproductive Health Act will remove longstanding harmful and burdensome barriers to accessing reproductive health care, and will protect New Yorkers against future federal intrusion. The Assembly had kept the torch lit for years, and we were extremely pleased to be able to pass the torch to a Senate dedicated to the respect of women and the protection of their basic right to make healthcare decisions.

Celebrating the Passage of GENDA and a Ban on Conversion Therapy

During the first week of the new session, in January 2019, the legislature passed my bill which bans Conversion Therapy practices from being administered to minors. While adults can make their own decisions, in the State of New York no person under the legal age of 18 who is questioning their sexuality or gender identity can be forced by a parent or guardian to participate in this much discredited “treatment.” Conversion Therapy allows charlatans not operating as mental health professionals to engage in discredited and dangerous treatments to try to”change” someone’s sexual orientation and does grave harm to the individual subjected to it. Additionally, on that same day the Assembly and Senate passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) which ensures that gender identity and gender expression are defined as protected classes in New York State human rights and hate crimes laws. For many years, New Yorkers who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming have been left out of basic civil rights protections afforded to those who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual. I was pleased to co-sponsor this vital piece of legislation that will bring these laws into the 21st Century and ensure that all members of the LGBTQ community are given a voice and protected in New York State.

‘It’s a Great Day!’ At Last, Ribbon is Cut on Morton Middle School

October 4, 2018 | Posted by: The Villager BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Middle-schoolers were laughing, screaming and happily cavorting with each other. Humongous bubbles were blowing around everywhere and bursting on top of people. A girl was stiltwalking through the crowd while balancing a stack of schoolbooks on her head. Meanwhile, trying to be heard above the joyful din, politicians, community school activists and city education officials sung the praises of the new 75 Morton middle school and the determined, inspiring, years-long community effort that incredibly brought it all to fruition. Among them was Richard Carranza, the city’s schools chancellor, who was presented with a special plaque reading, “Just Believe.” After all, that’s what local schools activists always kept doing, even when the project stalled and hopes of obtaining the building seeming to be slipping out of reach.“It’s a great day. It’s a beautiful day and a day to celebrate,” Assemblymember Deborah Glick told the keyed-up crowd. “I thank you all.” It was Glick who originally identified the site for the school and kept stubbornly pushing to get the state to sell it to the city.

Celebrating Victory for Merchant’s House Museum

September 2018 This month, I again submitted testimony regarding a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application for 27 East 4th Street, a lot with a single story building that directly abuts the Merchant’s House Museum and threatens to destroy this indispensable historic home in New York City. The proposal would allow the construction of an 8-floor hotel with ground floor restaurant and share a party wall with the completely landmarked Merchant’s House Museum structure next door. The Merchant’s House Museum which maintains City, State, and National Landmark status is one of the few structures with interior and exterior Landmark designation. It is managed by the New York City Parks Department, is held in the public trust, and tells the unique story of the merchant Treadwell family and their place in New York City history. There does not exist such a vivid historical record, including the Treadwell family’s clothing, furniture, and personal possessions, anywhere else in New York City, and the threat of development next door could destroy that record and history permanently.I am pleased to see that the New York City Council voted to deny this ULURP application because of the immense significance of the historic structure next door. This is a positive for our community and shows that development at all costs does not mean destroying a beloved historic home and museum that exists within the public trust.

Statement on Israel’s Discriminatory New Surrogacy Law

Letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu August 15, 2018 I am writing to express my deep disappointment at the passage of a new surrogacy law that expanded state-supported surrogacy to single women but excludes same-sex couples and single men, in turn effectively denying state-supported surrogacy to Israel’s gay citizens. As a proud Jewish legislator and the first openly gay or lesbian member of New York State’s legislature, I have long been proud of Israel’s record on gay and lesbian rights. However, by excluding gay and lesbian couples from the right to marry and continuing to exclude same-sex couples and men from state-supported surrogacy, Israel is enshrining discrimination against the LGBTQ community and effectively preventing many from the ability to begin a family. I am heartened by the acts of civil disobedience Israelis have engaged in to protest this new law, and am hopeful that the government will soon take action to ensure that all Israelis are treated equally under the law.

Urging Comprehensive Environmental Impact Study of In-Water Storm Surge Barriers

Letter to U.S. Army Corp of Engineers August 8, 2018 As the Assemblymember representing much of Lower Manhattan’s west side, I am deeply invested in both the health of the Hudson River and in protecting the communities I serve from flood damage. I witnessed the damage that Super Storm Sandy wrought on New York’s coastal communities firsthand, and am glad that the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is undertaking a coastal risk management study (CSRM) to evaluate the impacts of a number of proposals to mitigate storm surges.

Suspension of SNAP Payments at Farmers Markets

Letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue August 2, 2018 It has recently come to my attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is suspending their contract with NoVo Dia Group, the only USDA-authorized contractor utilized to facilitate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payment at neighborhood Farmers Markets. Due to the high rate of food insecurity throughout the nation, I worry this sudden decision will impact individuals in need of affordable, fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables which can be accessed at farmers markets. The loss of this app-based program serves as another hurdle for people already experiencing hardships.

Elected Officials, Advocates Demand State Senate Return to Albany Immediately to Vote on Reproductive Health Act and Speed Camera Bill

STATE SENATE JEOPARDIZING THE SAFETY OF NEW YORK WOMEN AND CHILDREN July 2018 New York, NY- Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Borough President Gale Brewer and advocates Transportation Alternatives, Planned Parenthood demand Senate Majority Leader Flanagan call the State Senate back to Albany immediately to vote on the Reproductive Health Act (A.1748/S.2796) and Speed Camera Bill (A.7798C/S.6046C). The Senate’s inaction jeopardizes the health and safety of all New Yorkers. “The State Senate has callously turned their back on the women and children of New York. New Yorkers cannot be safe without control over their own bodies or the knowledge that they can walk to school safely,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “It’s time to stop playing political games with the lives of innocent New Yorkers. Senate Majority Leader Flanagan must call the Senate back immediately and vote on the Reproductive Health Act and the Speed Camera Bill.”

Demanding Repeal of “Zero Tolerance” Immigration Policy

Letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions June 15, 2018 I am writing to demand that you immediately repeal the “zero tolerance” immigration policy you announced May 7, which has created a crisis at the border and had untold negative consequences for those seeking asylum, families, and communities. Since your announcement, which stated that the Department of Justice would prosecute anyone who crosses the border illegally (even if those who cross present themselves to border agents as asylum seekers), there has been a rapid increase in the number of immigrants in federal jails. The last year has also seen increased reports of asylum seekers being met before they reach the border to prevent them from requesting asylum or being denied their credible fear interviews and turned away (which violates United States and International law), and an increase in the long term detention of asylum seekers.

Protesting Draconian Child Separation Policy

Letter to Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen June 6, 2018 I was deeply distressed to learn of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement that it would begin separating children from their parents when they present themselves at the US-Mexican border, and have been horrified by the testimony and recent coverage of those families who have been subjected to this draconian policy. Both Attorney General Sessions and Chief of Staff Kelly have justified the child separation policy by stating that those who cross the border are doing so illegally, and in committing a crime essentially deserve whatever they get. To suggest that the commission of a crime can be used as a justification for the state to terrorize families and children is abhorrent. Equally abhorrent is the effective erasure of asylum seekers in the discussion of these policies – when someone crosses the border to escape violence and terror, they are not committing an illegal act, and to treat it as such and meet them with similar violence and terror is a tragedy that degrades our democracy and the expressed ideals of our nation. 

Fighting Against Inhumane Wildlife Killing Contests

May 3, 2018 “There is no place for inhumane and cruel wildlife killing contests in a civilized society. These activities are portrayed by some as entertainment, but they engender a heartless disrespect for humans’ relationship with nature and are disruptive to the ecosystem. I thank the Humane Society of the United States for continuing to expose these killing contests as the cruel blood sport that they truly are. We must take meaningful action to end this senseless killing in New York and pass A.4116a/S.5148a immediately,” said Assemblymember Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan). For the full press release, visit the Human Society here.

Interview on Reproductive Health Act

Capitol Pressroom Interview March 21, 2018 The Reproductive Health Act which would codify the Roe v. Wade decision into New York State law has stalled in the Senate Health Committee. We discussed the effort to pass the bill with the lead sponsor of the Assembly version, Asm. Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan). Listen to the whole story here.

Opposing Unjust Census Questions

Letter to Secretary Wilbur Ross March 23, 2018 I urge Secretary Ross to reject any attempt to include questions regarding U.S. citizenship and immigration status in the 2020 Decennial Census. Asking for such information would have a chilling effect on the Census completion rate. The United States Census Bureau states that the goal of the Census is to serve “as the leading source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy.” Implementing questions about citizenship would undermine this goal.

Honoring Lucy and Lenny Cecere

Co-Naming MacDougal Street in Honor of Lucy & Lenny Cecere April 4, 2018 “I am proud to support the co-naming of MacDougal Street in honor of Lucy and Lenny Cecere and this block is where their wonderful store “Something Special” was located. Lucy and Lenny were pillars of the South Village community, and were original partners in the Caring Community which provides services throughout the community. Lucy and Lenny were truly the heart and soul of their neighborhood, and worked closely with all elected officials on every level to improve the neighborhood around them. They should absolutely be memorialized in our community for all their good works and kind spirits.”

Maintaining Sanctuary Cities and States

Letter to Attorney General Sessions Regarding Sanctuary Cities February 15, 2018 I am outraged at comments made by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a Senate committee hearing confirming that DHS has requested that the Department of Justice investigate whether it is possible to arrest state and local elected officials in so-called “Sanctuary” cities and states.

Supporting Tipped Workers

Letter to Secretary R. Alexander Acosta regarding Tipped Wages January 25, 2018 I have deep concerns about the Department of Labor’s proposed rule that would transfer control of tips out of the hands of workers and into the hands of employers. The Department of Labor has argued that the current rules governing tips are unfair to so-called “back of the house” workers, those workers like cooks, dishwashers, and others who generally do not interact with customers and therefore do not have the opportunity to receive tips. While bringing more equity to the relationship between front of the house and back of the house workers in an admirable goal, the proposed rule is not the way to do it.

Advocating for Protecting the Church of the Nativity

Letter to Pope Francis to Protect the Church of the Nativity January 19, 2018 Dorothy Day was a New York native, activist, devout Catholic, co-founder of The Catholic Worker and generator of the Catholic Worker Movement. She has been named a Servant of God and is undergoing the canonization process. As a New Yorker, her influence is felt in her longtime service to those in need, which prompted an increase in the care that our most vulnerable populations are able to receive. For most of her life, she prayed regularly at the Church of the Nativity located within my district in New York City.

What Actually Happens When Women Run & Win Elections

Published in Bustle on November 7, 2017 “Deborah Glick regularly works across party lines in her role as a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly, and firmly believes that more women in power would lead to better outcomes across the board, particularly in education and healthcare.

Vote No on the State Constitutional Convention

November 2, 2017 Every 20 years, New Yorkers are asked to decide whether this state should hold a constitutional convention to consider constitutional amendments. That question will be on the ballot once again on Election Day. Holding a constitutional convention would threaten many of the essential protections already included in the New York State Constitution, and I encourage people to vote No.

Concerns Over Ride Sharing Apps

March 16, 2017 “Some lawmakers still remain concerned over the overall business model for ride hailing and its treatment of drivers and safety for passengers, including women and the disabled. ‘It’s a very, very large company that sees itself as a technology company, and therefore provides a platform, but does not view their drivers as employees,’ said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D – Manhattan). ” To see the whole story, go to: http://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/capital-region/politics/2017/03/16/ride-hailing-in-upstate-new-york-latest

Statement on Orlando Tragedy

My heart goes out to the friends and families of those lost and injured in the horrific attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida …

Testimony to Landmark 11 Jane Street

Testimony before the Landmarks Preservation Commission June 7, 2016 Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today regarding the proposed redevelopment of 11 Jane Street, within the Greenwich Village Historic District. This proposal includes the demolition of the existing garage structure and the new construction of a 95 foot tall residential building. The proposed project would drastically alter the mid-block height of a narrow street in the Greenwich Village Historic District. Additionally, this taller structure would block out light and air from the surrounding street and community. I have deep reservations regarding this project and the negative impact it will have on the character of Jane Street. 

Testimony to NY Rent Guidelines Board

Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today regarding the potential changes in renewal leases for rent-stabilized tenants …

Testimony on Success Academy

Testimony Regarding Success Academy’s Application in Manhattan’s Community School District 1 January 8, 2015  Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you regarding Success Academy Charter School’s application to open an elementary school in Manhattan’s Community School District 1. I gave previous testimony regarding Success Academy when it was slated to enter community school District 2 and once again I am voicing my displeasure at this unwanted incursion.

Testimony on South Village Historic District

Testimony Before the Landmarks Preservation Commission June 25, 2013 Thank you for the opportunity to testify today regarding the proposed South Village Historic District. The South Village is full of a rich cultural and architectural history that must be preserved. I hope this hearing is a sign of a significant commitment to help ensure that the character of the South Village, and the history of the late-19th and early-20th century immigrants who populated it, is preserved through an expeditious vote to designate the entirety of the identified South Village as an official Historic District. 

Testimony Against Hydrofracking

Testimony Regarding the Department of Environmental Conservation Proposed Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed Regulations November 30, 2011  As the Assemblymember who represents a large portion of lower Manhattan I continue to oppose New York State’s proposed venture into the intensive process of Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”). This proposed venture has the potential to greatly damage New York State’s scarce water and green resources. Fracking could endanger our scarce water and food supply, overburden our already depleted waste water and highway infrastructure, present significant health concerns for residents, and could create a housing crisis through technical defaults of mortgages not written to allow drilling permits. While America’s need for energy has increased so too has the need for government to weigh the economic benefits for a few versus the ecological and environmental impact that could last generations. 

Testimony on Third Avenue Corridor

Testimony before the Department of City Planning regarding the Re-zoning of the Third Avenue Corridor August 24, 2010  Thank you for this opportunity to testify before you today regarding the rezoning of the Third Avenue Corridor.  I fully support the re-zoning  of  this area, especially in light of the fact that the Bowery is an important part of an area rich in historical significance and is abutted by several neighborhoods that have already received the protection that comes from appropriate zoning including the Special Little Italy District, the NoHo Historic District and the west side of Bowery. In light of this, it seems only appropriate to protect the Third Avenue Corridor as well.