Three Lower Manhattan elected officials have co-signed a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, calling upon him to sign a bill now on his desk, that would set aside two seats on the board of the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) to people who live in the community.
The letter was sent on December 8, two days after the bill was conveyed to the Governor’s offices for his signature or veto by the State legislature. Signed by State Senator Brian Kavanagh, as well as State Assembly members Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou, the letter urges the Governor, “to sign this bill to give Battery Park City residents a voice on the issues that affect their community.” It continues, “forty years ago, Battery Park City was a 92-acre landfill. The Authority’s mission was to develop that landfill into a thriving mixed-use community, and its board members reflected that mission. Today, there is no longer active development in Battery Park City, yet the Board is still composed of experts in construction and municipal finance. Most board members have little connection to the community they serve, unlike similar authorities such the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, which has a majority of residents as its members.”
The letter concludes by observing, “the right to local representation is a cornerstone of our Federal, State, and City governments, and this legislation is a step in extending that right to residents of Battery Park City. Now that this bill is before you, we strongly urge you to sign the legislation.”
Under State law, the Governor has ten days to sign or veto a measure submitted to him by the legislature, while the legislative branch is in session. Although the legislature went into recess at the end of June, it did not technically adjourn — meaning it’s current session has not formally ended. In fact, the State legislature has not technically adjourned since 1976, and each year’s lawmaking session is construed to have ended only when the following year’s term has begun. If the Governor neither signs nor vetoes a law that comes to his desk during such a period, the proposed measure is automatically ratified, even without his approval. (This dynamic changes if a law from one session comes to the Governor’s office desk so late in December that the ten-day period described above overlaps with the start of the following year’s legislative term, which begins in January. In that case, the Governor has 30 days to decide, and if he takes no action, the law is presumptively nullified, through what is called a “pocket veto,” instead of automatically passed.)
But since the Assembly conveyed the BPCA bill to the Governor’s office with more than ten days remaining before the start of the 2018 legislative session, the ten-day clock (which excludes Sundays) began counting down on December 6 — the day that the measure landed on the Governor’s desk. This timetable appears to mean that if the Governor takes no action by the close of business next Monday (December 18), the bill guaranteeing two BPCA board seats to residents of the community will presumptively become New York State law.
The grassroots organization Democracy for Battery Park City (which has collected more than 2,500 signatures on a petition calling for resident representation on the BPCA board) has written to the Governor’s office, asking for a meeting at which a delegation from the group would explain why this measure is important to residents. The Governor’s office has not yet replied.
The Broadsheet has submitted a request to the Governor’s press representatives, asking whether Mr. Cuomo intends to sign or veto the measure. His spokespeople have not yet responded to this request for clarification.
There are several ways for Battery Park City residents to contact Governor Cuomo, if they wish to share an opinion about the bill he is considering, which is formally known as, “A4002A.”
His office telephone number is 518-474-8390.
He can be emailed by browsing www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form, filling out the online form, and typing a message. (When communicating with the Governor’s office via this web page, users should select “Legislation” from the pulldown “Topic” menu, and type “A4002A” in the subject field.)
Governor Cuomo’s local representative in Manhattan, Matthew Rubin, can also be emailed at Matthew.Rubin@exec.ny.gov, or reached via telephone at 212-681-4580.