Volume 20, Number 46 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | March30 - April 5, 2011
Senator Kristen Gillibrand and Representative Jerrold Nadler are re-introducing a bill to Congress that would improve fuel efficiency standards for taxis and potentially reduce emissions by the equivalent of 35,000 fewer cabs on the road.
“By creating fuel-efficient taxi fleets, we can improve air quality and lower carbon emissions while reducing our consumption of foreign oil. It’s time to update antiquated federal rules and allow cities to take a major step forward towards a cleaner and safer nation,” said Gillibrand in a statement.
The Green Taxis Act would allow local governments to regulate fuel economy and emissions standards for taxicabs, which they cannot do under current law.
“Communities across the nation are making local efforts to have cleaner air by having cleaner cabs - Congress should give them the flexibility to do so,” said David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.
New York City’s current standard taxi vehicle has one of the worst emissions ratings for light duty vehicles, according to the statement. More efficient taxis with fewer emissions could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 296,000 tons and gas consumption by 25 million gallons.
The bill is being re-introduced after a previous piece of legislation proposed in 2009 was recently rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The senators are working with the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and T.L.C Commissioner David Yassky on the new bill.
Pace gets bad food report card
Students at Pace University are up in arms about the school cafeteria, which was recently deemed unsanitary by the New York City Department of Health.
The main dining hall was closed last Thursday for “extensive unsanitary conditions,” according to Zoe Tobin, deputy press secretary of the D.O.H. It was slammed with 79 sanitary violation points for bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, improper storage of foods, not providing an employee hand-washing facility and using dirty cleaning cloths.
The cafeteria re-opened last Friday after improved results from a follow-up inspection by the D.O.H.
Pace University wasn’t available for comment at press time.
Lackmann Culinary Services, which operates the cafeteria, said that the conditions never posed a health risk to the Pace community.
Nevertheless, all safety violations were immediately corrected, according to the company’s marketing director, Lisa Lahiji. Lackmann, she said, has sharpened its focus on food safety since the health report by implementing a new food temperature monitoring system recommended by the Health Department; cleaning the food preparation areas more thoroughly and retraining personnel on food safety.
“The health and safety of students, customers and associates at Pace University is our highest priority,” said Lahiji. “We are going to add a full-time sanitarian to the food safety team that supports the unit, as well as have town hall meetings with students to discuss any issues going forward.”
NY Senator Daniel Squadron (center) with Carols Valdez (right) in Albany.
LES teen honored by Senate and assembly
Lower East Sider Carlos Valdez, 17, won the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Award last week.
Valdez, who is a senior at Bard High School Early College on East Houston Street, where he completed an associate’s degree, received the state-wide honor for his contributions to the Lower East Side community and for overcoming adversity. In honor of his achievement, State Senator Daniel Squadron invited him to visit the floor of the State Senate in Albany.
“Carlos is a true Lower East Sider, and that’s why it’s no surprise he’s New York’s Youth of the Year,” said Squadron in a statement. “It was great to spend time with Carlos when he visited Albany, and I look forward to continuing to follow his career as he graduates to college and beyond. For Carlos even outer space won’t be a limit.”
Valdez is a member of the Boys and Girls Club Educational Alliance Clubhouse, which has turned out two of the last three Youth of the Year winners under director Amarilis Perez’s leadership.
“The Boys and Girls Club means the world to me. At the clubhouse, I have gained a family that supports my dreams and helps me cope with the daily challenges I face
in my community. They are there at the end of the day, to reassure me of my special purpose in this world. It is a place that has taught me that nothing in life is unachievable.”