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Interview | Daniel L. Squadron - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


Interview | Daniel L. Squadron


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Senator Daniel SquadronDaniel L. Squadron.

State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, re-elected Tuesday to represent the 25th District, which includes the East Village, said that he has plans for an ambitious agenda in his next term that will continue to emphasize neighborhood issues such as reducing noise and increasing pedestrian safety.

Senator Squadron, who spoke to The Local the day after the midterm elections, said he will continue to help craft legislation focusing on those issues and others, including better living standards in public and affordable housing.

Like any other political watcher, Senator Squadron has followed the legislative seachange in Congress with deep interest and he remains hopeful that his fellow Democrats will stay focused on President Obama’s agenda.

He talked with The Local about his plans in Albany, his hopes for the new Congress and his appreciation of East Village-made dumplings.

Q.

Going into your new term, what are your priorities right now for the East Village?

A.

I have a lot of the same priorities I had in the previous term. We need a state government that does a better job responding to people’s needs so that the people have more faith in their community. We have to keep fighting for the community. We need effective laws on nightlife and pedestrian safety, which is very important to the East Village.

With housing, I was disappointed with the lack of progress in the last term. We need better housing, and I’m very focused on affordable and public housing. I want safe infrastructure, elevators that work for tenants and a sustainable, financial model for public housing. I’m also working on a bill that partially came out of the experiences of people at 47 East Third Street. The building was rent stabilized and the tenants were evicted based on “owner occupancy.” With this bill, if you own the building, and want to live in it, you couldn’t just get rid of rent-stabilized tenants. People are building McMansions around the city on the backs of the values of the rent stabilization system.

We have to continue to reform Albany so we have a government that’s more effective with local issues.

Q.

What has been the local response on the new Hayley and Diego’s Law, a measure that allows prosecutors to more easily seek penalties against careless drivers?

A.

I know the Manhattan District Attorney is very supportive of it. A lot of folks think it’s a good idea. People here have these public spaces and roads packed with vehicles, and pedestrians are worried. People feel we really need to do more. With the bike paths, bicycling here isn’t just recreation. It’s transportation and a means of getting around, it’s healthy, and good for the environment. Having a network that allows for that is a great thing. It’s been in effect for two weeks, so let’s give it a little more time, 90 days or so, to really see its effectiveness.

Q.

How have local businesses been affected by the Squadron/Schimminger Bill, which is supposed to crack down on noisy and violent establishments?

Daniel SquadronElisa Lagos Senator Squadron, pictured at a news conference last month, says the East Village needs effective laws on nightlife and pedestrian safety.
A.

The NYPD is doing a legal review and planning procedures on how that law will be administered. They are still in that process, and we are getting to the point for them to issue those guidelines. We’re very hopeful that by the end of the year we’ll be able to track the progress. I know the State Liquor Authority is very supportive of this. They see it creates consistency, and they’re eager for it to be active. Some departments across the state have started enacting it. New York is a big city and the NYPD has a lot to handle, but my sense is that they think it’s a good idea. We’ve been in touch with them to urge them to act with all due speed.

One of the advantages of this bill it creates more consistency. It’ll better distinguish that great majority of establishments that follow the rules over the small amount of people who don’t.

Q.

With the Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives, Democrats in our neighborhood are worried about the stronger Republican influence. What do you say to voters on this new wave in our country?

A.

We can’t be afraid of that. Of course I would rather the House had not switched hands, but we still have a Democratic Senate, which is very important. We need to keep getting out there, making our case and our arguments. In the last two years, there have been a lot of great accomplishments. We need to keep pushing forward.

Q.

Young voters are concerned they’ll lose health care coverage if Republicans succeed in repealing President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. How do you feel about that?

A.

If you’re under 26, with President Obama’s health care reform, you would get health care, and that’s a big deal. And you couldn’t be turned down for a pre-existing condition. I am very hopeful that with a Democratic Senate, and with President Obama, we still can defend and promote this plan.

Q.

What else do you want to say to the East Village right now?

A.

You guys need to do a dumpling crawl in the neighborhood. Seriously. There are a lot of great dumplings places in the neighborhood.

Q.

Can we do the crawl with our State Senator?

A.

You bet. I’ll be there.