Reading Library

For the VID archives, click HERE.

This section will list articles, websites and legislation sorted by issue.

Helpful NYS legislation tool: Reinvent Albany 

Helpful NY redistricting interactive map from CUNY 

Helpful media tool: Media and Democracy Project

Black Gotham Experience Tours explore Black influence in colonial-era NYC 

Grassroots Activists Newsletters. A daily go-to for updates and optimism:

Robbert Hubbell, Today's Edition

Heather Cox-Richardson, Letters from an American

Simon Rosenberg, Hopium Chronicles 

Chop Wood, Cary Water, Jessica Craven - easy daily actions 

NY Focusan independent nonprofit newsroom investigating power in the Empire State

The States Project  Video   Video 

More Go-To Grassroots News Sources

Grassroots Directory

Read it and weep.  Or get motivated. People!  We have work to do. Read all about Trump's "Imperial Presidency" plans in Time Magazine.

Flip the Ballot! Pass ERA!

Update - June 24, 2024

ERA is Back on the Ballot!

New York voters will decide this fall whether or not to adopt the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the state constitution, enshrining abortion and preventing discrimination regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. The amendment was almost derailed by opponents using a technicality however, a state appellate court judge reinstated it last week.  

“Today’s decision to put the Equal Rights Amendment back on the ballot in November is a huge victory in our efforts to protect our basic rights and freedoms. The ERA was advanced to protect access to abortion care, enshrine this basic right in our constitution, and protect people from discrimination. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect these rights and ensure everyone can live safely and freely in the great State of New York.” - Tish James, NY Attorney General.

Update - May 10, 2024


ERA LEGAL UPDATE: An upstate judge ruled yesterday that the ERA amendment should be removed from the ballot.  (Byrne v Senate of NY, Index No. 000778-2023, Livingston County, J. Doyle). The ruling was based on an alleged flaw in the congressional passage process. The constitution says that proposed amendments should be reviewed by the attorney general for comment before a congressional vote. In this case, the proposal was voted upon the same day the legislature submitted the proposed language to the AG for review. (On July 1, 2022 - the first of two required passages, the second being in 2023).  AG James sent back comments 5 days later - July 6, 2022.  Republicans argued that the review must be returned before the legislature took its first vote. They say the 2022 vote was improper because the Legislature had not yet received the AG’s opinion.  The court agreed and ordered removal.

State Attorney General Letitia James’ office is expected to appeal the decision, which would pause the ruling while an appeals court hears the case. There are numerous grounds for reversal. (standing, harmlessness, language that specifies that failure to render an opinion does not affect the validity of the amendment, the second vote was well after receipt, internal legislative matters are not subject to judicial review,  etc.).  However, it it could be a close call. 

-Hon. James A. Yates (retired) and VID Executive Committee member.

WHY WE NEED THIS AMENDMENT: The ERA aims to enshrine abortion rights and other civil liberties into the state constitution. This is more critical now than ever with recent national legal developments, like an Alabama Supreme Court ruling affecting in vitro fertilization. The state's civil rights protections are at risk if these rights are not safeguarded in the state constitution, particularly in an era of evolving legal landscapes.

Beyond abortion, the ERA would protect against gender and gender identity discrimination, especially relevant amid New York's spotlight in the national discourse on transgender issues. The language includes ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, reproductive health care and autonomy

Hosted by Robin Yates and New Yorkers for Equal Rights. VID Members (ONLY) are welcome. May 20, @6:30pm. Please note, no charge for tickets, donations are optional. Click HERE for more details and to RSVP

The New York legislature has passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) S108A for the second consecutive session, paving the way for its inclusion on the 2024 November ballot. The essentials in this long-fought-for legislation aim to prohibit discrimination by the government based on ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, and sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, and pregnancy outcomes. Critical issues such as reproductive autonomy and access to healthcare are also addressed.

NY must update the state’s constitution to protect historically marginalized groups, including women, LGBTQ+ individuals, people of color, immigrants, and those with disabilities. With the threat of federal rollbacks on rights, the ERA is crucial to ensure equality for all New Yorkers. 

We must spread the word! NYers must flip their ballots in November and vote YES for the ERA. Start talking about it NOW with your friends, family, and co-workers. 

Check out this video here of Liz Kruger after the second passage of the ERA, or read the press release from her office here

Source: NYCLU, ACLU of NY



Why the Equal Rights Amendment Is Again a Hot Topic in New York, NYT article May 2024

Equal Rights Amendment in NY must be deleted from the ballot due to error: Rochester judge, article May 2024

Albany Legislative Update - June 2024

Albany's last session was a very mixed bag, and we are disappointed that NY's Democratic trifecta has not passed so much of the legislation we have been working for. Over the next months, we will update the Reading Library and VID News section of the VID Website with articles and sources recapping what transpired, how to organize for the next session, and actions we can take.

Relevant links:


Sources and tools for tracking legislation: 

Albany Budget Update

As details of the 2024-25 NY Budget emerge, we will update the VID Reading Library accordingly. Be sure to check for updated NY Budget analyses. 

  • News 11: New York lawmakers pass a $237 billion budget addressing housing construction and migrants here.
  • NY Focus: Assembly Spikes Biggest Climate Proposal in NY Budget here.
  • NY Focus: Your One-Stop Guide to the 2024 New York State Budget here.
  • NY State Assembly:  2024-35 State Budget here.
  • NY State. Gov: Governor Hochul Announces Historic Investments of FY 2025 State Budget here.
  • NY State Senate: The statement from NY State Senate is here.
  • NYT: New York Has a $237 Billion Budget. Here Are 5 Things to Know here.
  • NYT: In Late-Stage Budget Talks, Hochul Wins Concessions From N.Y. Lawmaker here.
  • Village Preservation: Mixed Results in Albany’s Housing Deal — The Battle Continues here.
  • WNYC: NY Budget and Climate, listen here.

One-Stop Guide to the 2024 New York State Budget HERE


May, 2024

Budget Analysis:

NY HEAT Act was not in the budget, a victory for the fossil fuel industry. Lisa Marshall of New Yorkers for Clean Power says the measure is key to meeting the state’s climate protection act goal of net zero emissions by 2050. But she says the New York state Assembly leadership prevented it from becoming part of the budget. “The Assembly is where climate bills go to die,” Marshall said. Liz Moran with Earthjustice agrees. “The Assembly ultimately didn't come to the table in good faith on this,” Moran said. (Source: NCPR). Form more on the breakdown of why the NY HEAT was not in teh budget read here

Renewable Action Through Project Interconnection and Deployment (RAPID) Act was in the budget. This legislation addresses the urgent need to achieve the State’s clean energy goals. The budget includes the Renewable Action through Project Interconnection and Deployment (RAPID) Act, which will create a one-stop-shop for environmental review, permit electric transmission, and improve the interconnection process. The state’s transmission permitting process will now feed into a clear statutory framework that balances transparency and environmental protection with the need for fast decision-making. Critically, this process will be responsive to community and stakeholder feedback while bolstering the reliability and resiliency of the state's electric grid. More on the bill here.


Affordable Housing

"Rental Supply Is Growing In These 10 NYC Neighborhoods, Study Finds" Patch article, May 2024

“Is a Housing “Shortage” Really the Cause of Unaffordability? Village Preservation article, May 2024

"Landlord Legislators Carved Themselves Out of Good Cause Eviction". A quarter of lawmakers in Albany are landlords. Almost none of them are covered by the most significant tenant protection law in years. New York Focus article, May 2024

Google’s New HQ Opens With Only a Fraction of the Nearby Low-Cost Housing Promised by Pols The City article, May 2024

‘We Don’t Want Anything Rolled Back’: Tenants Target REBNY as State Housing Talks Drag On" - Good Cause Eviction, City Limits article, April 2024

NY1 Inside City Hall segment featuring NYC Council-member Crystal Hudson (Brooklyn D-35) discussing a new framework tool that surveys the community in helping to determine ACTUAL affordable housing.  


For more City of Yes details, click HERE


"City of No Way: Meet the Urban Planner Rallying New Yorkers Against Eric Adams’ Housing Agenda", The City article

City of Yes” zoning updates aimed at helping NYC small business advance Article 

Councilmember Erik Bottcher addresses Community Board 2 in support of City of Yes, affordable housing. Video HERE

'City of Yes' Economic Opportunity Plan Inches Closer to Final Approval, Article

Adams ‘City of Yes’ Business Boost Comes Up for Council Votes, Proposed zoning changes would make it easier for small businesses to locate in largely residential areas, prompting pushback from some corners. The City article, May 2024

"Rental Supply Is Growing In These 10 NYC Neighborhoods, Study Finds" Patch article, May 2024

“Is a Housing “Shortage” Really the Cause of Unaffordability? Village Preservation article, May 2024

"City of Yes” Rezoning Plan Has More Dangers, More Oversized Luxury Condos" Village Preservation article, May 2024

Adams kicks off “City of Yes” housing plan; next stop: community boards, New York Daily News article , April 2024

Public Review to Begin for Mayor’s ‘City of Yes’ Housing Plan, as Affordability Details Emerge: This review examines the pros and cons of the housing plan. City Limits article, April 2024

City of Yes for Housing Opportunity Will Protect New York’s Environment: In support of City of Yes Housing Opportunity from NY League of Conservation Voters. 

"Everything you need to know about the latest proposal in ‘City of Yes’, City & State article, April 2024

City of Yes, proposal by Mayor Adams


The congestion pricing program has become a contentious issue for Lower Manhattan. So, we need to be well-informed and understand this new policy. Proponents have promised transparency and constant monitoring of the new program to ensure effectiveness and fairness for downtown residents. We must hold them accountable by staying on top of the issue and our elected officials. Important updates and information will be added to the Congestion Pricing section. Please check back for updates. 

Congestion Pricing Update July 2024 - For more updates click HERE.

The MTA unveiled a scaled-back plan for the transit system after Governor Hochul paused the congestion pricing plan, which was set to fund $15 billion in improvements. The MTA will now focus on essential maintenance rather than expansion projects like the Second Avenue Subway and Brooklyn-Queens light rail, as well as much-needed plans to make 23 more subway stations accessible to people with disabilities (despite a 2022 legal settlement that 95% of the nearly 500 subway and Staten Island Railway stations be made compliant by 2055).

The decision to delay congestion pricing has sparked outrage among officials and advocates, who argue it undermines environmental and transportation goals. Many of them spoke at a rally and at the MTA Board meeting in Lower Manhattan on June 26 (photos from the rally below).

Starting June 30, 2024, vehicles entering the Congestion Relief Zone in Manhattan—local streets and avenues at or below 60 Street—will be charged a toll.  SEE NEW CONGESTION PRICING WEBSITE HERE.

The toll amount will depend on the type of vehicle, time of day, whether any crossing credits apply, and the method of payment. For example, passenger vehicles with E-ZPass will be charged $15 in the peak period and $3.75 overnight, once daily. Visit the MTA website for more details on toll rates. 

E-ZPass is the best and cheapest way to pay the toll. Most drivers will be able to pay with their existing E-ZPass tag and account. If you already have an E-ZPass account, make sure it is up to date with your current license plate number as this will be needed for appropriate discounts, exemptions, and crossing credits. If you do not have an account, you can sign up for one on the E-ZPass website.

For more information, please see the press release HERE regarding the Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP)  - a/k/a Congestion Pricing

Applications for Discount and Exemption Plans Now Available Online

View Ad Campaign Materials

Congestion Pricing "INDEFINITELY PAUSED", June 2024

Gov. Kathy Hochul's abrupt cancellation of Manhattan's congestion toll left a $1 billion annual gap in the MTA's budget, prompting her to propose a payroll tax increase on NYC businesses from 0.6% to 0.825%. This option faced significant opposition from Senate Democrats and was rejected by state lawmakers. The Legislature extended its session to address the unanticipated $1 billion gap and is considering a proposal to commit $1 billion IOU to the MTA in the next budget without specifying the funding source. The impact of this proposal on the MTA's ability to finance infrastructure projects is still being assessed. Lawmakers must identify a sustainable revenue stream by the 2025 session.

This is an unfolding story. We will update the Website as more information becomes available.

Sources: Gothamist NY Lawmakers Considering $1B IOU after Gov. Hochul’s Congestion, Pricing Flip-flop,  Gov. Hochul’s congestion toll flip-flop spurs mad scramble at NY Capitol, NY Focus Hochul in Hiding as Congestion Pricing Hangs by a Thread, Official Gov. Statement

The Philadelphia Inquirer"How a fearful, feckless Democrat became America’s worst* governor"


New York Magazine: "What Made Kathy Hochul Flip? Inside the governor’s sudden U-turn on congestion pricing"

"New York City transit advocates, left-leaning pols look to sue over congestion pricing delay" Politico, June 2024

New York Times"How Governor Hochul Decided to Kill Congestion Pricing in New York"

Sam Schwartz video: a recent meeting was held by Markers for Democracy, Downtown Nasty Women & Team Min with guest speaker Sam Schwartz.  He's the former commissioner of Transportation for NYC and presented on Congestion Pricing and answered many, many questions.  You can see the video HERE
MTA Congestion Pricing Info. HERE (a/k/a Central Business District) 

New Jersey Buses to Boost NYC Express Bus Service for Congestion Pricing, Even as State Sues, The City article, May 2024

Congestion Pricing Q&A, Curbed article, March 2024

MTA's summary of the actual tolls HERE

Congestion Pricing Moves Ahead -- details about the MTA's summary
WNYC -  Mar 29, 2024 The Brian Lehrer Show Transcript  HERE

Congestion pricing one step closer to reality in Manhattan -- more Q&A about details
WNYC -- 10 min listen -- 

This is a Politico article discussing the Green Amendment, approved by NY State residents in 2021, and its relevance to Congestion Pricing. Article here.

Four City Council Members (Carolina RiveraChris MarteErik Bottcher, and Keith Powers) have issued a letter addressing concerns about the Central Business District Tolling Program in NYC, stressing the need for fairness for residents below 60th Street. It suggests a residential discount program and emphasizes the importance of using generated revenue to improve transit infrastructure, citing recent subway issues. The representatives urged the MTA to consider these recommendations for the program's successful implementation, offering further discussion for a solution benefiting all New Yorkers, particularly those in the CBD. See full letter HERE

From Stephen Nessen, Gothamist:
Many people believe the MTA is secretly wasting money. Here’s a few tips on how you can track the MTA’s spending of your taxpayers dollars. The Construction and Development department for example, has revamped its website and listed most projects underway, costs and timelines. Here you can see MTA contracts and procurements. You can also dig into the MTA’s yearly operating budget and capital plan here. Of course the agency could do better. There’s state legislation to force the MTA to include details in the capital projects dashboard about all sources of funding for each project and specify whether it’s related to accessibility or resiliency. But to try to directly answer your question, we came close to the MTA actually running out of money in the pandemic. The federal government, led by Senator Chuck Schumer, came to the rescue with $16 billion to keep the system running and in a state of (relatively) good repair.

NYC Is About To Screw Up Congestion Pricing September, 2023 Vice article


‘I’m a warrior’: In new book, Tom Fox tells the story of the struggle to create Hudson River Park, Village Sun article, May 2024

Politicians push state to hold firm vs. titanic 5G towers, Village Sun article March, 2024


NYC DOT’s latest e-bike public awareness campaign promotes the safe use of e-bikes, including educating newer e-bike riders on how to safely operate them. Click here for information and video.

Priscilla's Law Introduced by NY State Assembly & NY State Senate to require E-bikes to have the same requirements (license plates, insurance and inspection) as other motorized vehicles. Village Sun article, May 2024 

Megastores and Small E-Bike Shops Blow Off City Ban on Unsafe Batteries, The City article, May 2024

The Battle for the Streets of New York,  NYT article, May, 2024

What Happens When Speedy Mopeds Crowd Bike Lanes? The Brian Lehrer Show podcast, Aug. 2023

E-Bike Charging Pilot Program in the East Village - Village Sun article, March, 2024

Why Bicycle Deaths in NYC are at a 24 Year High - NYT article, March 2024

NYC Elections 

For 2024 Election Information, click HERE

"V.I.D. primary election endorsements: Goldman for Congress; Bahr for Civil Court"  Village Sun article, June 2024 by VID's Ed Yutkowitz

Harvey Epstein declares for District 2 Council seat, Village Sun article, May 2024

The City Council race on the east side heats up

NY History

In celebration of Black History Month, NY1 presents, Harlem's History: Past & Present. 

Click HERE for episode link

NYC - Policy

When Did New York's Streets Get So Hollow - NYT


Organizations rally to add schools for immigrants, Article HERE

Environmental Issues

For more information see the VID Environmental Committee Reports HERE.

Missed Deadlines Pile Up As New York’s Climate Law Turns Five, New York Focus, June 2024

Climate Legislation Update, June 2024: 

NY HEAT Act: The NY Assembly failed to pass the NY HEAT Act, which aimed to reduce reliance on gas and cut energy bills.

“With Governor Hochul dropping a major bomb on climate action by delaying congestion pricing, the Assembly failed to rise to the occasion to pass the key climate policy New Yorkers need to cut energy bills and ensure the state is on track to meet our climate goals – the NY HEAT Act. With utilities already proposing to raise already high bills rising due to our reliance upon gas infrastructure, and one year after we saw orange skies, the Assembly has turned their backs on the policy solution. The same body that once championed our nation-leading climate law has now earned a reputation as the body holding back the policies New York needs to meet what is laid out in this law. -Liz Moran, New York Policy Advocate for Earthjustice

Climate Change Superfund Act: The NY State Assembly passed the bill with a 95-46 vote after the Senate's approval. If signed, the act will establish a 25-year fund financed by fossil fuel companies, with a third of the $3 billion annual funding reserved for disadvantaged communities. This legislative approval marks a significant step toward holding Big Oil accountable for climate catastrophe costs. Campaigners urge Hochul to act as the climate leader she promised to be, emphasizing that it's time to make polluters pay.

Sources: Spectum News, NY HEAT Act gets caught up in late-session chaosSpectrum News: Earth Justice,Common Dreams, NY Gov. Hochul 'Must Sign' Climate Change Superfund Act, Food and Water Watch



Demand Accountability and Climate Action from New York's Leaders

The NY Assembly failed to pass the NY HEAT Act, which would have protected ratepayers by capping utility bills at 6% of income for low- and moderate-income households, limited new natural gas hookups and ended the nonsensical 100-foot rule. Caught up in the scramble over Governor Hochul's postponement of congestion pricing, this legislative failure reveals a large-scale governmental debacle.

The Climate Change Superfund Act, holding polluters accountable, is the surviving piece of climate legislation and is headed to the governor's desk for signature.

ACTION: Please use Resistbot to voice your outrage over NY HEAT and urge Congress to pressure Hochul to sign the Climate Change Superfund Act immediately. Text SIGN PNFIFN to 50409.

DNWSG; Spectrum News: Earth Justice

NY Heat Act - update! "Climate advocates plan to spend against incumbents blocking NY HEAT Act" read here- Keep the pressure up! For more info. on the NY Heat Act and ACTIONS, click HERE.

PFAS: Let’s get educated. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that are a public health and environmental concern. The use of PFAS is widespread in making products that resist grease, oil, water, and stains – such as non-stick pans, microwave popcorn bags, raincoats, cosmetics, fire-fighting foam, carpets, food wrappers, etc. The advocacy group WE ACT has been working to raise awareness of PFAS. On Oct. 31, 2019, WE ACT and its partners hosted a PFAS webinar to help educate our community about these chemicals and their threats. Watch the Video. And you can learn more about PFAS via this English/Spanish fact sheet: PFAS Fact Sheet (PDF).


NYC's Zero Waste: The New York League of Conservation Voters has published New York City's zero-waste goals. These are part of a NYC Council legislative package introduced in April 2022, which commits the city to a zero-waste by 2030 goal. Click here for the full policy agenda.

More Than Dirt Mayor Eric Adams scrapped New York City’s compost project. Here’s what will be lost. Civil Eats article

"Public Power Push Spreads to the Hudson Valley"State lawmakers are set to introduce a sweeping proposal for a public takeover of Central Hudson, the region’s scandal-plagued gas and electric utility. New York Focus article, May 2024

Governor Hochul's proposed Cap-and-Invest Program is a strategy aimed at curbing pollution, bolstering community investment, fostering job creation, and maintaining competitiveness. However, there are downsides to this program. The initiative, a variation of Cap and Trade, is designed to align with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act's greenhouse gas emission reduction mandates. For a deeper dive into the pros and cons of this legislation, check out the following articles: 

Cap and Trade Basics: What It Is, How It Works, Pros & Cons

Gov. Hochuls Summary of Cap and Invest Program and 2023/2024 Press Release and Announcements.

2023 Reuters Eight Takeaways from a Sneak Peak of NY Cap and Invest Program and March 2023 Reuters Update.


NYS Legislators Introduce New Bill to Ban CO2 Fracking & Drilling for Gas - click HERE for info.


Help NY Save Tax Dollars, Cut Packaging by 50% & More!  Packaging Reduction & Recycling Infrastructure Act. Click HERE to EASILY contact your representatives and encourage them to support this Bill.

Many Environmentalists Don't Vote - article 


Healthcare and Hospitals

Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital's closure, initially set for July 12, has been indefinitely postponed due to legal and regulatory challenges. Community advocates and politicians have fiercely opposed the shutdown, leading to a temporary restraining order and rejection of closure plans by the New York State Department of Health (DOH). Despite Mount Sinai's claims of financial unsustainability, critics argue that the hospital's decline results from intentional mismanagement.

Community efforts and promises of more litigation continue to ensure the hospital remains operational, emphasizing its importance to Lower Manhattan's healthcare infrastructure. VID Executive Committee member David Siffert warns that while this is good news, it's only temporary. The real issue is that if DOH approves this closure plan, which could happen at any time, they will immediately try to close.

Source: The VIllage Sun

Mount Sinai ‘indefinitely postpones’ Beth Israel’s closure; Attorney threatened to have hospital C.E.O.s ‘locked up’, The Village Sun, July 2024

Report: Mount Sinai consciously sabotaged Beth Israel Hospital, The Village Sun, June 2024

Mount Sinai Eye & Ear Nurses Rally for Layoff Plan as Beth Israel Shutdown Looms The City article, June 2024

Politicos, advocates slam revised plan to close Beth Israel  Village Sun article, May 2024

Why City Council members want to put a social worker in every NYPD precinct, AMNY article, May 2024

Beth Israel update from Arthur Schwartz, Village View article, May 2024

New NYC Hospital Safety Ratings For 2024: See Best, Worst, Patch article May 2024

The Village Sun - Court orders a halt on Beth Israel Hospital closure plan

Beth Israel - stops taking stroke and cardiac patients - Gothamist article, March, 2024

VID Resolution to Save Beth Israel VID unanimously approved a Resolution to Save Beth Israel Hospital and New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, presented by VID co-Vice President David Siffert. For a detailed summary of the status of saving Beth Israel, click HERE. You can see the resolution HERE. 

Bitter pill to swallow: Pols slam plan to close Beth Israel Hospital - Village Sun article, March, 2024


No More 24

24-hour home-care workers to hold hunger strike outside City Hall - Village Sun article, March 2024

Home Care Aides Fight to End 24-Hour Shifts: ‘This Work Is Killing Them’ - NYT article, March 2024

Proposed NYC Council legislation HERE

For more information, see the VID TAKE ACTION section.


City Council Sidelines Community Input for Casino Developments by Passing Controversial Zoning Bill

City Council Approves Casinos

Community Board News

Levine Shakes up CB5, article


New trash bins in NYC, NYT article, March 2024

"What Does a Secretary of State Do?" 

 The Conversation article February, 2024

Manhattan Democratic Party

"Will Manhattan Democratic Party boss Keith Wright start a political dynasty or trigger a rebellion?" Wright’s son is running to represent the 70th Assembly District, and the primary election could become a proxy battle for Wright’s rivals in the county party. City & State article, May 2024