As schools wind down for the year and we all start thinking about our hot-weather plans, the Assembly is gearing up for its last few weeks of session. I'll be in Albany focusing on my final legislative priorities for the year during most of this month, but I'm looking forward to returning to my Community Office for the summer!
In Albany, I am working hard to ensure that certain key pieces of legislation are given proper consideration by my colleagues. On the one-year anniversary of the Clinton prison escape, the State Inspector General published its report on the systemic failures within the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision(DOCCS) that led to the escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat from Clinton Correctional Facility. Lack of transparency, accountability, and security resulted in a prison escape that led to a $23 million manhunt. We are seeing a pattern of oversight failures, largely fueled by biased internal investigations. The question is what do we do about it? I proposed creating an Office of the Correctional Ombudsman, which would have independent oversight of DOCCS. Clearly, we cannot continue to allow DOCCS to police itself. The ombudsman office is the best way to increase accountability and transparency to improve safety for inmates, staff and correctional officers. I commend the IG report for publicizing these problems and am confident it will lead to important legislative changes for New York State. The proposed Office of the Correctional Ombudsman would provide a public window into the closed world of prisons. The IG report and the continued attention on criminal justice reform emphasize the dire need for this kind of legislation, and I will continue to push for its passage.
In the community, I was pleased to address the audience at Love Your Street Tree Day, the West 80's Neighborhood Association's annual street and tree bed clean-up and beautification day. I thank all the organizers, volunteers and sponsors for supporting this important initiative to preserve our natural environment and maintain our valuable community spaces. I continue to work closely with The Morningside Heights Historic District Committee (MHHDC) to create a protected historic district in our neighborhood. I encourage you to join my call to the Landmarks Preservation Committee and Mayor DeBlasio to preserve Morningside Heights by signing www.piction.com/morningside. MHHDC has put out a call to both local community groups and to co-op members to participate in the formation of a coalition to engage with proposed new developments in the community. For more information, visit the events section of this monthly update.
As always, should you need assistance or information, my Community Office is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM. Feel free to call my office at (212) 866-3970 or email me at email@example.com. I also encourage you to follow my official New York State Assembly Twitter & Facebook accounts to get exclusive insight into the work I'm doing in my district and for all New Yorkers by visiting www.twitter.com/dannyodonnellny and www.facebook.com/danieljodonnellny.
Very truly yours,
Assembly Member O'Donnell News Features
In case you missed it, check out these news features of Assembly Member O'Donnell in May 2016.
Prison Reform & Criminal Justice
The Daily News published Assembly Member O'Donnell & The State Committee On Open Government's op-ed calling for new legislation to access police disciplinary records: http://nydn.us/1Y6TE04
North County Public Radio discusses Assembly Member O'Donnell's probe into the Clinton Correctional Facility escape last June: http://bit.ly/1ZvtO4J
WCNY interviews Assembly Member O'Donnell on his efforts to reform the criminal justice system: http://bit.ly/1R0lJ1m
Capitol Tonight interviews Assembly Member O'Donnell regarding his call for independent oversight of New York's prison system & access to personnel records: http://bit.ly/24x0D2t
The Times Union published Assembly Member O'Donnell's letter to the editor regarding access to personnel records: http://bit.ly/1shitLp
The Legislative Gazette & The Times Free Press cover Assembly Members O'Donnell push for the passage of A9613, banning state funded travel to places that discriminate. http://bit.ly/1PgiIL4 & http://bit.ly/1XjETqz
The Times Union covers Assembly Member O'Donnell's comments regarding the Assembly passage of the GENDA bill. http://bit.ly/1UcZrQs
Morningside Heights Historic District Committee
Community Coalition Meeting
For the past 20 years, Assembly Member O'Donnell has been working very closely with The Morningside Heights Historic District Committee (MHHDC) to create a protected historic district in our neighborhood. Join O'Donnell's campaign at www.picticion.com/morningside to tell the Landmarks Preservation Commission and Mayor DeBlasio to preserve Morningside Heights.
In the meantime, MHHDC has put out a call to both local community groups and to co-op members to come and participate in the formation of a coalition to engage with proposed new developments in the community. The newly-formed coalition will meet on June 20th at 7:00 pm at Corpus Christi (529 West 121st Street) to discuss strategies and share information regarding the effects and impacts of new developments in the area.
Manhattan Community Board 9 HDFC Forum
If you are a shareholder in an HDFC Co-op or a tenant (TIL) in the process of becoming an HDFC, you don't want to miss this very important informational forum.
During this event on Saturday, June 11th from 10 am to 4 pm, Community Board 9 will focus on ways in which our buildings, shareholders and boards can form stronger bonds and work to protect our quickly vanishing affordable ownership in Community Board 9.
Their goal is to provide accurate information regarding the current status and potential future of our HDFCs, networking opportunities with other buildings and a look toward a political agenda moving forward.
Guests will leave this forum at 3333 Broadway Community Room A (at 135th Street) armed with more knowledge and new tools we all can use in our fight to maintain our affordable housing.
Political Activism on the Upper West Side in the 1960's and 1970's
Presented by the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group at Hotelling International (891 Amsterdam Avenue at 103rd Street), this free program will focus on activism on the UWS in the 60's and 70's with emphasis on the contributions of the Puerto Rican community and others.
Guests include Rose Muzio, Professor of Politics at SUNY Old Westbury, Lourdes Garcia and other community activists, and Maximo Colon, guest artist.
June 7th at 6:30 pm
SAFE Disposal Event @ Columbia University
Household products such as pesticides, strong cleaners, mercury-containing devices, paints, automotive fluids, and medications may be brought to the drop-off events. Residents can also bring electronics, which may no longer be left for curbside collection as per New York state law.
The Department of Sanitation will host an event at Columbia University / Teacher's College (120th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue) on June 26th from 10 am to 4pm to collect and recycle these items free of charge to the community.
Examples of Accepted Items
Automotive products such as motor oil, transmission fluid, and auto batteries
Personal care items like unwanted medicines or cosmetics
Syringes (clearly labeled and packaged in a "sharps" container or other leak proof, puncture-resistant container)
Household products such as pesticides, paint, hazardous cleaners, spent compact fluorescent light bulbs
Electronics, such as computers, televisions, and printers.
Materials collected are either recycled, blended for fuel, or sent to licensed hazardous waste treatment facilities for safe disposal. Electronics are responsibly recycled or refurbished for reuse through e-cycleNYC. Unwanted medications are managed by environmental police and incinerated to prevent unintentional poisonings or entry into the water supply.
For those unable to participate in these events, visit www.nyc.gov/safedisposal or contact 311 for other year round options to handle auto products, batteries, cell phones, electronics, fluorescent lamps, latex paint, mercury devices, and syringes.
Life After Life in Prison: Art Exhibit Opening and Panel Discussion
Assembly Member O'Donnell hosted a photo exhibit of photographer Sara Bennett's work titled "Life After Life in Prison" in Albany's Legislative Office Building in an effort to raise awareness among his colleagues in Albany about the challenges faced by women who are formerly incarcerated. Don't miss a chance to explore her art in our own neighborhood as Bennett's exhibit will be on display from June 15th to July 17th at the W83 Ministry Center (150 West 83rd Street.)
Presented in partnership with Grace & Race of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, the opening reception will take place on June 15th at 6:30 at W83 Ministry Center and will include all four women featured in the exhibit in a panel conversation.
West Side Community Garden NYC is delighted to announce their 2016 concert season, Concerts in the Garden, beginning on June 5th with the Marc Irwin Jazz Quintet. This year's series features five free one-hour concerts in June and July on Sundays at 6pm, including world-class jazz, classical Latin, violin/piano, and Spanish guitar and percussion.
The concerts are a family favorite bringing music fans of all ages to our serene garden amphitheatre for a pleasant evening outdoors (note the June 26th concert takes place in nearby St. Gregory's Church). Spring and summer flowers will be in full bloom.
First Concert: Sunday, June 5th, 6:00 pm, MARC IRWIN, Jazz Quintet
Second Concert: Sunday, June 12, 6:00 pm, SWEET PLAINTAIN, Classical Latin String Quartet
Third Concert: Sunday June 19, Rolf Schulte, Violin/Piano (at St. Gregory's Church)
Fourth Concert: Sunday June 26, Geoff Burke, Jazz Quartet
Fifth Concert: Sunday July 10, Inti and the Moon, Spanish Guitars/Percussion
All events will take place at the West Side Community Garden, 123 West 89th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues.
All concerts are free and open to the public; children, adults and seniors welcome! Come experience the jewel of the Upper West Side with a free music concert. Refreshments are available for purchase, or you may bring your own picnic.
The YMCA, in partnership with Tahl Propp Equities, invites you to participate in a contest to win one free week at Sleepaway Camp (July 17-22 or August 7-12) at New York YMCA Camp located in Huguenot, NY.
Only children 7-15 may enter the contest, which ends on June 20th 2016.
For contest submission details, contact Liznel Aybar-Ventura at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UFT Manhattan Borough Office's Student Art Contest
Open to students of all ages and all levels of artistic ability, the winning artwork will be on the cover of the upcoming UFT Manhattan Parent Conference program and registration brochure. The winner will also receive a $50 gift certificate, which will be presented at the conference at lunchtime.
The deadline for the Student Art Contest is June 24th, 2016. Your artwork should be 7.5 inches (width) by 9.5 inches (height) and should illustrate their theme: "Parents, students, teachers; together we are stronger."
Mail artwork to:
United Federation of Teachers
52 Broadway, 10th Fl
New York, NY 10004
The NYC Organics Collection Program
New York City runs one of the largest food waste recycling programs of its kind, collecting organic waste from residences, schools, city agencies, and institutions in all five boroughs. Every week, the Department of Sanitation collects food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard waste from participants in pilot areas. Sanitation transports this waste to local and regional processing facilities where it is recycled into compost or turned into renewable energy.
To request NYC Organics Collection in your apartment building, city agency, or non-profit organization, submit an online inquiry at
Single-Family homes and small apartment buildings in pilot areas automatically receive service, as well as select public schools. If you don't live in a pilot area or if your building does not qualify for NYC Organics Collection, you can still recycle your organic waste by composting at home or bringing your food waste to a drop-off site in our community. Visit http://nyc.gov/compostproject for food waste drop off locations and more information.
The office of Assembly Member O'Donnell urges the community to participate in this initiative, as the NYC Organics Collection Program is a proven way to combat rodent infestation on our streets and in our spaces.
CityParks Sports Summer Programs
CityParks Sports helps kids stay active through free instruction in New York City parks across the five boroughs. Register now for programs including Tennis, Golf, Track & Field, Soccer and Get Up & Go. All programs are free of charge, include the use of equipment and run from early July through mid-August.
On Friday, June 3rd join Bloomingdale School of Music at Christ and St. Stephens Church (122 West 69th Street) at 7:30pm for a student "Ensembles Concert."Performances by the BSM Preparatory Orchestra, Intermediate Orchestra, and the Bloomingdale Chamber Orchestra. Free and open to the public. Call 212-663-6021 ext. 0 for more info.
On Saturday, June 11th join Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street) at 2:00pm and 3:00pm for their "Percussion Festival 2016." BSM's 3rd Annual Percussion Festival features students and faculty performing an eclectic mix of works specifically written for the marimba. Free and open to the public. Call 212-663-6021 ext. 0 for more info.
On Sunday, June 12th join Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street) at 3:00pm for a concert entitled "The Czech Spirit: Piano Miniatures." Faculty artist Judith Olson and students present works by Smetana, Janacek, Martinu, Schulhoff, and others. Free and open to the public. Call 212-663-6021 ext. 0 for more info.
Summer on the Hudson
Summer on the Hudson is the Parks Department's annual outdoor arts & culture festival that takes place in Riverside Park from 59th Street to 153rd Street. With a mix of music concerts, dance performances, movies under the stars, DJ dance parties, kids' shows, special events, wellness activities, and more there is something for everyone!
All programs and events are free to the public and registration is not required unless specifically stated in event information.
For constituents who need help with legal issues but are unable to come to Assembly Member O'Donnell's Community Office during the workday, Assembly Member O'Donnell hosts a monthly evening opportunity for constituents to consult with a volunteer attorney.
Call Joyce Goodman at (212) 866-3970 to make an appointment.
** Thursday, June 23rd **
NEED A LARGE PRINT COPY OF THE MONTHLY UPDATE? CALL OR VISIT ASSEMBLY MEMBER O'DONNELL'S DISTRICT OFFICE FOR ONE!
If you are visually impaired or feel that you read better in large print, please do not hesitate to request a large print copy of Assembly Member O'Donnell's monthly update. Please call or stop by the Assembly Member's Community Office to request a copy.
Assembly Member O'Donnell's community office has full-time Spanish-speaking staff available to assist you, Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. The office is located at 245 West 104th Street, just off Broadway. You can also call (212) 866-3970