Knows us. Fights for us. ALL of us.

Tell Congress: Renew the Zadroga Act now

By now it is not news that Congress is broken. But even by their low standards this is a disgrace.

Yesterday, Congress allowed the Zadroga Act to expire.  This actprovides health care for the tens of thousands of 9/11 first responders and area residents suffering from severe illnessesstemming from the 9/11 attacks.  Thanks to Republican opposition in 2010, the law contained a 5-year “sunset”. Yesterday, Congress failed to renew the bill.

In the past, Congress used the sacrifices of these 9/11 first responders as pretext to send more Americans to fight ill-conceived wars. But when these same people get sick, these Congressmembers are willing to let them fend for themselves.  Shame on them.

Fortunately, our local Congressmembers Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Nydia Velazquez and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have been leading the fight. They’ve even been joined by a few Republicans, notably Rep. Peter King on Long Island.

But they’ve not yet been able to break through. Please join us in DEMANDING that Congress extend and make permanent the Zadroga Act immediately.  Please call outgoing House Speaker John Boehner at (202) 225-0600, his likely successor Kevin McCarthy at (202) 225-2915, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at (202) 224-2541 to demand action today.

It is already a disgrace that Congress is forcing American heroes to crawl to them every 5 years for renewal of their life-saving care.  Let’s not let them deny that basic request.

Thank you.

P.S. If you need any more convincing of why this is important, see this clip from our Downtown Manhattan neighbor Jon Stewart (perhaps the most important segment of his career).

Stand with Planned Parenthood


Planned Parenthood, one of our country’s most vital health care providers, is under attack.

An extreme group opposed to women’s right to control their own bodies has attacked Planned Parenthood doctors, nurses, and patients with false accusations. And once again, right wing extremists and their allies in Congress are seizing on these accusations as an excuse to push the same dangerous agenda — ban abortion, shut down health centers and cut women off from care.

Yesterday, the extremists stepped up their efforts by attacking Planned Parenthood’s website, denying over 200,000 women a day access to vital healthcare information and resources. It’s more important than ever that we tell Congress and the world that We Stand with Planned Parenthood.

Please take a moment today to send a message to Congress. You can also contribute to Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s efforts to fight back at I’ve worked to expand access to reproductive health my entire professional life. And I’m proud that Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger right here in the Lower East Side – and still makes its home on Mott Street. Let’s stand up for our neighbor, and for women’s health around the country. Let’s Stand with Planned Parenthood.

Thank you.

Tenant Emergency: Don’t Panic. Do organize.

As you probably have heard, rent regulations are set to expire today if the NYS legislature does not come to a deal.  We are still pushing hard for stronger rent laws before midnight, but if Albany fails to do so, here’s some of what you need to know.

1)   If you are a rent stabilized tenant, do not panic.  Your current lease is still valid.  If your lease expires before September 13, 2015, you are entitled to a renewal under current laws.  Most likely a deal will be reached in the next few days that will cover any retroactive periods.  Do not move-out or vacate the apartment.

2)   If your landlord is harassing you, threatening to raise your rent, or invalidate or not renew your lease he or she is breaking the law.  Call 311 immediately to report the harassment.  You can also call theMet Council on Housing at 212-979-0611 or Public Advocate Letitia James at 212-669-7250 with any questions.

3)   If you are a rent controlled tenant (as opposed to stabilized) you are protected under NYC laws which do not expire until 2018.
Finally, while it is grossly irresponsible of Albany to put NYC tenants through this high-stakes stress – it is essential that we keep the pressure up.  Please call Governor Cuomo now at 518-474-8390 to demand stronger rent laws – including the full repeal of Vacancy Decontrol.  Then contact your Assembly members at and your State Senator at to demand the same.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted as this vital fight progresses.


UPDATE: The NYC Dept. of Housing, Preservation & Development has posted a useful “what you need to know” for tenants worried about the rent law expiration. –

Paul Newell rallies to strengthen rent laws


Paul Newell speaks at rally to strengthen rent laws

Posted onJune 15, 2015


Tell Albany: Protect Tenants & Close the LLC Loophole

Albany’s legislative session is scheduled to close on June 17th.  Below I highlight two related issues still in the balance that can have a huge impact on the lives of New Yorkers.

Strengthen Tenant Protections

Most essential, especially in Lower Manhattan, is renewal and strengthening of rent regulations.  2.5 Million New Yorkers depend on these protections.  Our neighbors and our neighborhoods need these laws to be strengthened this year.

The Assembly has passed an excellent package of rent reforms.  Now they must stand firm in the face of opposition from big real estate donors (see below).  Please contact your Assembly member today at to tell them not to compromise on this vital issue.  The GOP-led State Senate has been less friendly to tenants.  Please contact your State Senator at to ask them to pass real rent reform.

Most legislators really do respond to hearing from their constituents.  In fact, on June 9th, we’ll be traveling to Albany to tell them in person.  Buses will be departing at 7AM from all over the city to flood Albany with tenants demanding protections.  If you can make it, please contact Mia McDonald at to RSVP or for more info.  I hope to see you there.

Close the LLC Loophole

Yesterday, the NY State Senate again blocked a vote on a billchampioned by our State Senator Daniel Squadron closing the so-called “LLC loophole”.  This enables Limited Liability Corporations – the preferred corporate structure of NY’s real estate industry – to make unlimited contributions to elected officials.

The same billionaire named in the indictments of legislative leadersof both parties this year also doles out millions via the LLC loophole.  Make no mistake: these are smart business people.  They are spreading this cash to raise your rent and raise your taxes.

Please sign this petition today to support Sen. Squadron’s bill to close the LLC Loophole.

There are many other issues on the table as well, including key ethics reforms.  I’ll continue to keep you posted as we work for an honest, progressive government for all New Yorkers.  Thank you.

Posted onMay 29, 2015

This Week: Stengthening Rent Regs & Love Saves the East Village

I wanted to invite you to two important community events I’m involved in this week.

Tomorrow evening, I’ll be speaking at a panel on New York’s rent regulation laws – and the grave danger our community faces with their pending expiration this June. Rent regulation is the single largest piece in New York’s affordability puzzle. Along with NYCHA, Mitchell-Lama, and other housing programs, rent regulation is what makes it possible for working and middle class New Yorkers to survive here. Their potential expiration is nothing short of an existential threat to our neighborhoods.

Please join at this important panel tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 15th, from 6:30 – 8:00 PM at D.C. 9, 45 W. 14th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues.   The panel is free, though donations are being accepted. Please RSVP at

Billed as a “A No Holds Barred Discussion On The Expiring Rent Laws” the panel is organized by Shiftspark, and will be moderated by State Senator Gustavo Rivera. I’ll be joined on the panel by Ilana Maier, Program Director of Metropolitan Council on Housing and Delsenia Glover, Campaign Manager at Tenants and Neighbors. We’ll also hear from Assembly member Keith Wright, Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee, on where the fight stands in Albany and Jon Reznick of Competitive Advantage Research on the real estate industry’s pursuit of political influence through political contributions.

Then, this Saturday, April 18th from 11AM-7PM, I am co-hosting LOVE SAVES THE EAST VILLAGE, a community benefit event for the people displaced by the 2nd Avenue Fire. It’s being hosted and organized by La Palapa Cocina Mexicana at 77 St. Marks Place (just west of 1st Ave). We’ll have live music all day from some of NYC’s best artists. La Palapa’s famous Antojitos will be served all day as well. Tickets are $25 at the door and will benefit the work of our neighbors at Good Old Lower East Side with help from The Little Missionary Day Nursery and Middle Collegiate Church. All proceeds from the cash bar will also go to the effort.  More information at:

I hope to see you at one or both of these important events for our community.

I Am Because You Are – The Story of Ubuntu


Before I was a District Leader, I worked for six years with Ubuntu Education Fund to help break the cycle of HIV, abuse and poverty in South Africa.  Ubuntu is one of the most effective and remarkable organizations in the world – committed to the concept that all children deserve the resources needed to succeed.

Now my good friend and Ubuntu Education Fund founder, Jacob Lief, has written a book about Ubuntu, the communities we work in, and how to build a better model for development.  It is beautifully written, and a must-read for anyone concerned with fighting global poverty and disease.  The book, I Am Because You Are, has a foreward from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and is available for preorder at:

Ubuntu’s model of development is different from many others.  It doesn’t seek to distribute a few resources as widely as possible.  Rather, Ubuntu recognizes that every child is worthy of investment.  And the results have been stunning.  I Am Because You Are sketches this path beautifully.  Please pre-order a copy today.  You won’t regret it.  Thank you.

NYCHA Albany Takeover – Monday, March 16th


More than 600,000 New Yorkers live in NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) homes. It is an essential part of our affordable housing network. Here in the Lower East Side, NYCHA is a vital bulwark for keeping our neighborhood as the diverse, dynamic place we love. And, of course, it is woefully underfunded. A recentNew York Times study showed $18 Billion in unfunded capital needs.

This Monday, March 16th, many of us will head to Albany to demand that NYCHA’s urgent fiscal needs are addressed in this year’s NY State budget. The “Lobby Day” will include a rally and meetings with our elected officials and their staffs. Organizers will train you and give you information for those meetings. Nothing moves legislators so much as a busload of angry constituents.

Organized and funded by our friends at GOLES and the Tenant Associations of Smith, Rutgers, Vladeck and Baruch Houses in the Lower East Side, free buses to join the “Lobby Day” will leave at 7:30 AM Monday morning from the following locations:

Gouverneur and Madison Streets
Delancey and Columbia Streets
54 Catherine Street (at Madison Street) and
Avenue C. and East 6th Street

Some food will be provided, and you should be back in the neighborhood by 6PMThe organizers need to know by the end of Sunday, March 15. if you can make it. To reserve a seat or for more information, contact the Vladeck Houses Tenant Association at 9177639271 or or Ginger Lopez at GOLES at  212-358-1231 or

Together, we can improve all of our homes and our neighborhood.

Happy Year of the Ram! – How to celebrate in Chinatown NYC!


Below are a few events around Chinatown NYC where you can join the celebrations.

Today, February 19th, 11 AM – New Years Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival – Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, Grand Street between Chrystie and Forsyth Streets – This is the official firecracker ceremony celebrating the Year of the Ram. Organized by our friends at Better Chinatown USA and the Chinatown Partnership. After the ceremony is over, check out the cultural festival booths.

Today, February 19th, 12:30 PM – Lunar New Year Performances – 62 Mott Street, Basement – Cultural performances by young students and others at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

Sunday, February 22nd, 1PM – Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
Begins at Canal/Mott Street and ends at SDR Park (Grand Street) – The largest Lunar New Year parade in America, line up early along the parade route to get a good view of lion and dragon dancers, performers, floats. Afterward, check out festival booths at SDR Park, or just walk around the neighborhood for more dances and celebrations. Route and details at:

Saturday, February 28th, 11AM-4PM – MOCAFAMILY: Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street. Family fun with lion dances, participatory Lunar New Year crafts and more. Tickets and details at:

Sunday, March 1st, 12PM – United Fujianese American Association Lantern Festival –
88 East Broadway to Chatham Square. – A parade and street performances in the Fujianese tradition.

Sunday, March 1st, 12:30PM – Chinatown Tenants Union Lunar New Year Banquet – Foo Chow Restaurant (68 East Broadway) – Celebrate the new year with the Chinatown Tenants Union and CAAAV. Eat an amazing meal and support some of NYC’s most fearless and effective tenant and community advocates. For tickets or more info, contact Wai Yee at or call at 212-473-6485.

March 5-7th, 7PM – Lantern Festival Performances at the Chen Dance Center – 70 Mulberry Street, 2nd Floor. Tickets and details at:

The Downtown Express has a good roundup of street closures at

As always, I encourage you to celebrate by eating at some of Chinatown’s amazing restaurants. Walk around and see what grabs your fancy, or email me for some of my personal recommendations.

Gong Hey Fat Choy!



January 22, 2015

Contact: Paul Newell

347-351-7285 or


New York, N.Y. – Democratic District Leader Paul Newell issued the following statement today:

“If the report in the New York Times is true, this is a sad day for Lower Manhattan and a sad day for New York.
I can’t speak to the specific charges against the Speaker, but I can say that outside income for legislators is a certain recipe for corruption. Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos should have banned it long ago. The 65th Assembly District, and all New Yorkers, deserve better.”

Paul Newell is a community organizer, activist and longtime resident of the Lower East Side. In 2009, he was elected Democratic District Leader for the 65th Assembly District.  He was reelected in 2011 and 2013.  The district is represented in the NYS Assembly by Sheldon Silver. In 2008, Newell ran a spirited challenger’s campaign for the Assembly seat, winning the endorsements of The New York Times, The Daily News, the New York Post and many others.


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