1

 

          2  CITY COUNCIL

 

          3

             CITY OF NEW YORK

          4

             -------------------------------x

          5

             THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE MINUTES

          6

                       of the

          7

             COMMITTEE ON HOUSING And BUILDINGS

          8

             -------------------------------x

          9

 

         10                 November 17, 2003

                            Start:  12:10 p.m.

         11                 Recess: 3:55 p.m.

 

         12                 City Hall

                            Council Chambers

         13                 New York, New York

 

         14

                  B E F O R E:

         15

                         MADELINE PROVENZANO

         16                                Chairperson,

 

         17

                         COUNCIL MEMBERS:   Tony Avella

         18                                 Gale Brewer

                                            Lewis Fidler

         19                                 Melinda Katz

                                            Kendall Stewart

         20                                 James Oddo

                                            Christine Quinn

         21                                 Bill Perkins

                                            Domenic Recchia

         22                                 Speaker Miller

 

         23

 

         24       LEGAL-EASE COURT REPORTING SERVICES, INC.

                         17 Battery Place -  Suite 1308

         25              New York, New York 10004

                              (800) 756-3410

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            2

 

 

          1

 

          2  A P P E A R A N C E S

 

          3

             Jerilyn Perine

          4  Commissioner

             NYC Department of Housing Preservation

          5  And Development

 

          6  Harold Schultz

             Special Counsel

          7  NYC Department of Housing Preservation

             And Development

          8

             Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

          9  Commissioner

             Health and Mental Hygiene

         10

             Stan Michels

         11

             Preston Niblack

         12  Deputy Director

             Independent Budget Office

         13

             Molly Wasso Parker

         14  Senior Director,

             Analyst for Housing and Buildings

         15  Independent Budget Office

 

         16  Rachael Salibreze

             Health Analyst

         17  Independent Budget Office

 

         18  Maya Bachinsky

 

         19  Innocensia Alvarez

 

         20  Edward Korman

             Executive Vice President

         21  The Small Property Owners of New York, Inc.

 

         22  Michael D. Lappin

             President

         23  The Community Preservation Corporation

 

         24  Matthew Dean

             Executive Director

         25  Physicians for Social Responsibility/NYC

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            3

 

 

          1

 

          2  A P P E A R A N C E S (CONTINUED)

 

          3

             Elaine Toribio

          4  Policy Analyst

             Citizens Housing and Planning Council of New York

          5

             Frank Ricci

          6  Director of Government Affairs

             Rent Stabilization Association

          7

             Jordi Reyes-Montblanc

          8  President and Chairman

             Board of Directors of The HDFC Council

          9

             Evangelista Romon

         10  Washington Heights

             Grandmother of poisoned child

         11

             Juan Idaquez

         12  President

             Asbestos Lead and Waste Laborers, Local 78

         13

             Michael McGuire

         14  Director of Governmental and Legislative Affairs

             Mason Tenders' District Council of

         15  Greater New York and Long Island

 

         16  David Lee McAllister, M.A.

             Principal Lead- based Paint Instructor

         17  Active Training Associates

 

         18  Stephanie Nolasco

             Twelve year old

         19  diagnosed with Lead Poisoning

 

         20  TESTIMONY REQUESTED READ INTO RECORD

 

         21  Michelle Alvarez

             Attorney

         22  Natural Resources Defense Council

 

         23

 

         24

 

         25

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            4

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Good morning.

 

          3  Good afternoon, whatever it is. It's only ten

 

          4  minutes, good afternoon.

 

          5                 My name is Madeline Provenzano and I

 

          6  chair the Committee on Housing and Buildings.

 

          7                 Today we are conducting a hearing on

 

          8  a revised version of proposed Intro. No. 101-A, in

 

          9  relation to childhood lead poisoning prevention. I'd

 

         10  like to thank those of you who are here for this

 

         11  hearing, and for your continued interest in this

 

         12  matter.

 

         13                 The Committee has conducted a

 

         14  previous hearing on an earlier version of this bill.

 

         15  That hearing was begun on June 23rd, recessed and

 

         16  then continued on September 12th. It is important to

 

         17  state that during the month of July the Court of

 

         18  Appeals struck down Local Law 38 for the Year 1999,

 

         19  thereby making it more urgent that this Council

 

         20  craft appropriate legislation to address the issue

 

         21  of lead-based paint and to prevent childhood lead

 

         22  poisoning.

 

         23                 We are once again expecting a goodly

 

         24  amount of potential witnesses and observers. So, I

 

         25  would just like you to be mindful of any time

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            5

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  constraints that I impose, and please be considerate

 

          3  of your fellow colleagues and of one another.

 

          4                 In order to move things along

 

          5  smoothly, I'm requesting that all witnesses be

 

          6  concise and that your testimony focus on the bill or

 

          7  any amendments to the bill only.

 

          8                 I also wish to reiterate that only

 

          9  one spokesperson may testify from each group or

 

         10  organization.

 

         11                 Again, I repeat that this could be a

 

         12  very emotional hearing, but it will be conducted in

 

         13  a dignified manner.

 

         14                 You may not agree with all of the

 

         15  comments made, but please allow everyone to testify

 

         16  without boos, heckling, cheers or applause. That

 

         17  will help move the hearing along for all of us, and

 

         18  if you wish to testify, remember you must sign in

 

         19  with the Sergeant-At-Arms.

 

         20                 I'd like to introduce my colleagues

 

         21  that are here. To my right we have Council Member

 

         22  James Oddo, Council Member Recchia, Council Member

 

         23  Bill Perkins.

 

         24                 To my left Council Member Tony

 

         25  Avella, Councilwoman Christine Quinn, Councilwoman

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            6

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  Melinda Katz, and our Speaker, Council Member

 

          3  Gifford Miller. And I think the Speaker would like

 

          4  to say a few words.

 

          5                 SPEAKER MILLER: Well, thank you,

 

          6  Madam Chair. Thank you for chairing these hearings

 

          7  and for your leadership in making sure that we

 

          8  address this issue.

 

          9                 Secondly, I thank all of my

 

         10  colleagues that are here, particularly the prime

 

         11  sponsor of this legislation, Council Member Perkins

 

         12  and the other sponsors of this legislation. I'm just

 

         13  pleased to be here to say that this version of

 

         14  101-A, which has been poured over exhaustively for

 

         15  quite some time, is a version that I think is the

 

         16  most -- has the potential to be, once it is enacted,

 

         17  the most powerful legislation in the country to

 

         18  protect children from lead poisoning. And that its

 

         19  primary focus is appropriately on protecting

 

         20  children, preventing lead poisoning in the first

 

         21  place, and making sure that the incentives are such

 

         22  that it never occurs, that we focus on the terrible

 

         23  problem, which continues to affect thousands of

 

         24  children in our City every year, and we believe that

 

         25  this approach, and I believe, and the other sponsors

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            7

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  of this legislation I think believe that this

 

          3  approach is the right approach.

 

          4                 It is also a reasonable approach,

 

          5  which sets compliance in reasonable terms, and

 

          6  reduces cost where appropriate in order to make sure

 

          7  we're focusing the expenses and the resources of

 

          8  this City on preventing lead poisoning in the first

 

          9  place, and acting swiftly when it has occurred to

 

         10  protect children. And we will, of course, welcome

 

         11  the support of the Administration for this

 

         12  legislation, so that we can make sure that it is not

 

         13  only enacted, that it is implemented, and

 

         14  implemented in a way that will reduce childhood lead

 

         15  poisoning to a point at which no child ever has to

 

         16  get poisoned again.

 

         17                 So, I am very pleased that this

 

         18  legislation is getting this hearing today and I look

 

         19  forward to working with all the other members of the

 

         20  Council, with the members of the public, and with

 

         21  the administration to enacting legislation that will

 

         22  in the end be the most effective piece of

 

         23  legislation in the country to protect children from

 

         24  the scourge of lead poisoning. And I thank everyone

 

         25  for their leadership and bringing it to this point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            8

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Thank you,

 

          3  Mr. Speaker.

 

          4                 We'll now have a few comments from

 

          5  the sponsor of the bill, Council Member Perkins.

 

          6                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Thank you,

 

          7  Councilwoman, and Chair of this Committee, for

 

          8  allowing me a moment to say a few words and for

 

          9  presiding over this very significant legislation,

 

         10  which as you point out is very emotional and of

 

         11  great concern to all New Yorkers.

 

         12                 Let me first start by thanking

 

         13  sincerely the Speaker and the other 36 Council

 

         14  members who support Intro. 101-A, the Childhood Lead

 

         15  Paint Poisoning Prevention Act.

 

         16                 This bill is a state-of-the-art

 

         17  measure that will put New York City at the head of

 

         18  the nation for protecting children from lead paint

 

         19  poisoning. It is comprehensive, cost effective, and

 

         20  if enacted, will provide for the control of lead

 

         21  dust. The primary pathway to lead poisoning, as well

 

         22  as lead paint.

 

         23                 It requires landlords to eliminate

 

         24  leadpaint hazards, and the underlying conditions

 

         25  that cause them. It defines leadpaint hazards as

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            9

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  peeling lead paint, lead dust and certain surfaces

 

          3  with lead paint, such as friction, impact and

 

          4  chewable surfaces.

 

          5                 In addition, Intro. 101-A requires

 

          6  landlords to affirmatively ascertain the presence of

 

          7  children under age seven as in the current window

 

          8  guard law. It mandates that HPD inspectors, when

 

          9  making routine inspections, always inquire for the

 

         10  presence of children and conduct line of sight

 

         11  inspections for peeling lead paint. Intro. 101-A

 

         12  also requires HPD operators when taking a phone

 

         13  complaint to ask about children and peeling paint.

 

         14                 It adds protection from lead dust

 

         15  hazards during repairs and renovations. It lowers

 

         16  Health Department action levels to 15 ug/dl from the

 

         17  current two tests within three months at 15 ug/dl or

 

         18  one test at or above 20 ug/dl.

 

         19                 As we all know, Intro 101-A is

 

         20  supported by countless medical, environmental,

 

         21  housing, labor and good government groups, as well

 

         22  as religious leaders, the public advocate and the

 

         23  City and State Comptrollers, as well as other City

 

         24  and State elected officials. At today's hearing I

 

         25  hope we'll be able to add the Mayor to that list as

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            10

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  well.

 

          3                 Thank you.

 

          4                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Thank you.

 

          5  We'll start with our Commissioners. We have Jerilyn

 

          6  Perine, Commissioner of HPD, and we have Tom

 

          7  Frieden, Commissioner of Department of Health and

 

          8  Mental Health, whichever one of you wants to start

 

          9  first.

 

         10                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: I'll go first.

 

         11                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Okay.

 

         12                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Good morning,

 

         13  Chairperson Provenzano  and Speaker Miller, and

 

         14  members of the Housing and Buildings Committee. I'm

 

         15  Jerilyn Perine --

 

         16                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Commissioner,

 

         17  can I interrupt a minute? Do you have written

 

         18  testimony?

 

         19                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: I do.

 

         20                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Okay, thank

 

         21  you.

 

         22                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Hot off the

 

         23  presses, sorry.

 

         24                 I'm the Commissioner of the

 

         25  Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            11

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 We appreciate the opportunity to

 

          3  testify today regarding the issue of lead poison

 

          4  prevention and the revised version of 101-A. As you

 

          5  are aware, we testified on this issue on June 23rd,

 

          6  2003. As we all know, since that time the Court of

 

          7  Appeals has invalidated Local Law 38 on the basis

 

          8  that the conditions of the State Environmental

 

          9  Quality Review Act were not fully satisfied. Now

 

         10  legislation is needed to replace Local Law 38.

 

         11                 The proposed bill is a big step

 

         12  forward in the direction of improving the lives of

 

         13  children, and we believe with some technical and

 

         14  procedural changes we have the opportunity to have a

 

         15  better primary prevention program than we have had

 

         16  to date. The proposed bill makes a firm commitment

 

         17  to the use of trained workers to deal with lead

 

         18  paint and lead hazards in New York City.

 

         19                 The use of qualified workers helps

 

         20  ensure that work is done properly and safely. All of

 

         21  the work that HPD currently does in regard to lead

 

         22  paint violation removal is done with EPA-trained

 

         23  workers, so we have significant experience regarding

 

         24  how to accomplish this type of work, and what

 

         25  resources of time and staff are required to do it

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            12

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  safely and properly.

 

          3                 The proposed bill requires that lead

 

          4  dust clean-up and dust clearance tests are done

 

          5  after any lead hazard remediation work.

 

          6                 Again, HPD's work meets this standard

 

          7  now, and extending it to all work undertaken is

 

          8  helpful to ensure that there is an independent check

 

          9  on all lead hazard remediation work and that

 

         10  clean-ups are done properly.

 

         11                 In addition, the proposed bill

 

         12  provides that friction surfaces could now be a

 

         13  stand-alone violation which will help to target

 

         14  repairs where lead dust is most likely to be

 

         15  generated. We also note that the definition of lead

 

         16  paint has been changed to the nationally recognized

 

         17  standard of one milligram per square centimeter.

 

         18                 This helps to ensure that the

 

         19  violations written by HPD and the Department of

 

         20  Health will be enforceable in court.

 

         21                 That being said, let me also say that

 

         22  we are confident that the Council will take this

 

         23  opportunity to address some technical and procedural

 

         24  issues which will strengthen the proposed law's

 

         25  effectiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            13

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 Such changes will make sure that the

 

          3  maximum resources go to correcting problems that

 

          4  threaten the health of children.

 

          5                 When I last testified before the

 

          6  Council on this issue, I provided a detailed

 

          7  overview of concerns that we had regarding the

 

          8  implementation of the proposed legislation, and I

 

          9  will not repeat them all again here today.

 

         10                 We hope you will continue to consider

 

         11  those concerns. Today I will briefly summarize some

 

         12  of the key technical and procedural concerns we

 

         13  would like you to consider, as you deliberate this

 

         14  bill.

 

         15                 To protect children's health, it is

 

         16  important to have quick and professional action by

 

         17  owners of the City's housing stock, which may now

 

         18  have lead paint violations. Owners are usually in

 

         19  the best position to quickly address problems in the

 

         20  building. The proposed bill, as you well know,

 

         21  includes a more extensive scope of work that must be

 

         22  completed, a higher standard of workers qualified to

 

         23  do the work and more stringent dust testing

 

         24  requirements. To ensure that this higher standard is

 

         25  met and met properly, deadlines should be set that

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            14

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  will ensure that there is sufficient time to

 

          3  complete all of the tasks properly.

 

          4                 Deadlines that are too short will

 

          5  reduce compliance by owners. Responsible owners will

 

          6  struggle with time frames that are impossible to

 

          7  meet, pushing them out of compliance and subject to

 

          8  significant penalties that could threaten their

 

          9  ability to keep their buildings in good repair.

 

         10                 Unscrupulous or unsophisticated

 

         11  owners will ignore the work all together, relying

 

         12  instead on the City to carry out the tasks they're

 

         13  responsible for, or perhaps worse, seek shortcuts

 

         14  which could in fact place children at greater risk

 

         15  if work is undertaken improperly.

 

         16                 Realistic time periods will help to

 

         17  ensure that quality work, undertaken by qualified

 

         18  professionals, can take place. Here we can look to

 

         19  our broader experience in housing, construction and

 

         20  renovation as an example.

 

         21                 We know that renovation or new

 

         22  construction typically requires between 18 to 24

 

         23  months to complete, and we have a good idea of what

 

         24  that costs. When we offer sites for such

 

         25  construction competitively, we would not consider as

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            15

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  competent a proposal which promised construction

 

          3  completion in six months, at a cost far below the

 

          4  costs that are commonly incurred.

 

          5                 Such a proposal would most assuredly

 

          6  be relying on shoddy construction techniques, and

 

          7  unqualified workers being paid far below the

 

          8  accepted skilled wage rates. Indeed the entire basis

 

          9  of wage rates in construction trades is based on the

 

         10  premise that to ensure standards, qualified workers

 

         11  should not have to compete unfairly with those

 

         12  willing to undercut the market in order to meet the

 

         13  expedient objectives of building poorer quality.

 

         14                 The work required under the proposed

 

         15  bill can be viewed in the same light. Clearly, the

 

         16  bill seeks to increase standards for both work and

 

         17  the workers to carry it out. The time frames should

 

         18  support that goal.

 

         19                 For example, the time period in which

 

         20  to correct a lead hazard violation is reduced in the

 

         21  proposed bill to one time frame of 14 days. The

 

         22  maximum time period for a postponement is similarly

 

         23  shortened from 45 days to 14 days, with the

 

         24  possibility of one additional 14-day extension, but

 

         25  only if the work had substantially already been

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            16

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  completed.

 

          3                 Based on our experience of having

 

          4  carried out over 9,000 lead violation repairs,

 

          5  essentially following these higher standards, we

 

          6  know that these time frames simply cannot be met.

 

          7                 In Boston, owners get 30 days just to

 

          8  hire contractors, and another 60 days to do the

 

          9  corrective work. In Baltimore owners have three, six

 

         10  or even nine months more to bring buildings into

 

         11  compliance, and in Chicago average compliance is

 

         12  four months.

 

         13                 Moreover, our own experience shows

 

         14  that smaller, less sophisticated owners need more

 

         15  time. Under Local Law 38, during Fiscal Year 2003,

 

         16  owners of buildings of ten units or less, needed

 

         17  more time to correct lead violations than owners of

 

         18  larger buildings, which can often rely on

 

         19  sophisticated property management companies.

 

         20                 Smaller owners were far more likely

 

         21  to certify correction of violations later in the

 

         22  36-day process allowed under Local Law 38 than were

 

         23  the owners of larger buildings.

 

         24                 Our analysis shows that more than 40

 

         25  percent of owners of these smaller buildings needed

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            17

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  the extra time to complete their correction process,

 

          3  compared to about 33 percent of owners overall.

 

          4                 And getting work done requires the

 

          5  cooperation of tenants. The more extensive the work

 

          6  that is required, the more important tenant

 

          7  cooperation is.

 

          8                 Tenants who are given little notice

 

          9  to clear out of his or her bedroom or living room or

 

         10  to make accommodation for their children in order to

 

         11  make way for a work crew may well be uncooperative.

 

         12  A reasonable time frame for correction will also

 

         13  allow the work to be scheduled flexibly in order to

 

         14  accommodate the tenants along other requirements.

 

         15                 Currently the proposed law will

 

         16  ensure that all units will be made lead safe at

 

         17  turnover when one household leaves before another

 

         18  occupies the apartment. A provision we support.

 

         19                 Those apartments without turnover

 

         20  between now and July 1st, 2007, will require

 

         21  completion of a series of standard treatments in

 

         22  child-occupied apartments by July 1, 2007. We

 

         23  estimate that the universe of apartments with a

 

         24  child under seven between now and July 1, 2007, is

 

         25  approximately 350,000. With a low vacancy rate we

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            18

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  can assume that most will remain occupied until that

 

          3  date.

 

          4                 This raises the prospect that

 

          5  significant numbers of families will find their

 

          6  apartments the subject of very invasive work and may

 

          7  find themselves dislocated. This provision can be

 

          8  improved by extending the deadline and developing a

 

          9  method that would allow the deadline to be applied

 

         10  to those units most likely to contain lead

 

         11  violations.

 

         12                 Moreover, the revised bill does not

 

         13  provide for what happens when tenants do not provide

 

         14  access to our inspectors or to work crews in a

 

         15  timely manner.

 

         16                 Whether it's the time period for

 

         17  owners to comply for HPD to step in and do the work

 

         18  that owners failed to do, or HPD's obligation to

 

         19  inspect each unit after work is complete, shortened

 

         20  and unrealistic time frames will not further the

 

         21  goal of carrying our lead hazard reduction work out

 

         22  safely and quickly.

 

         23                 In addition, it appears that the City

 

         24  and owners will be made liable for failure to comply

 

         25  with the time frames which were outside of their

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            19

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  control. It's not clear that this would be

 

          3  beneficial to the residents of the City in any

 

          4  meaningful way.

 

          5                 I'm sure you will hear today from the

 

          6  affordable housing industry, which has expressed

 

          7  concerns regarding the potential impact of liability

 

          8  risk in the City's housing markets, particularly in

 

          9  our low-income communities.

 

         10                 In addition to ensuring that the work

 

         11  is done properly, we are also seeking to ensure that

 

         12  the City derives the maximum productivity out of the

 

         13  code inspectors that are charged with the

 

         14  enforcement of the housing maintenance code for more

 

         15  than 1.6 million multiple dwelling units, as well as

 

         16  for the enforcement of whatever lead paint law the

 

         17  City has.

 

         18                 The more efficiently the inspection

 

         19  force can be used, the more apartments would be kept

 

         20  in good repair. With some minor technical changes,

 

         21  the proposed bill can ensure that the productivity

 

         22  of the City's code inspectors are not impeded and

 

         23  their ability to enforce the Housing Maintenance

 

         24  Code and the proposed law will be retained.

 

         25                 Let me give you a few examples of

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            20

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  what I mean. I'm going to provide some level of

 

          3  detail that I hope you will consider, since it

 

          4  represents the work of actual City employees, should

 

          5  this bill go into effect without any modification.

 

          6                 The revised version of 101-A still

 

          7  requires that when a code inspector inspects a

 

          8  pre-1960 dwelling unit where a child under seven

 

          9  resides, he or she must record the existence of

 

         10  intact paint surfaces.

 

         11                 In addition, the inspector must

 

         12  record the existence or absence of an underlying

 

         13  defect. Keeping in mind that the definition of such

 

         14  defect includes a condition that only has the

 

         15  potential to cause paint to peel.

 

         16                 So, for instance, the inspector must

 

         17  move all furniture and wallcoverings away from the

 

         18  walls, and catalogue the condition of every wall and

 

         19  surface in every room of every apartment that has a

 

         20  child under seven that they walk into, whether or

 

         21  not there is any peeling paint.

 

         22                 Inspectors will be able to reach far

 

         23  more apartments if they need only identify the areas

 

         24  of peeling paint and friction surfaces. By focusing

 

         25  our inspectors on peeling paint and friction

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            21

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  surfaces, rather than surfaces without problems, we

 

          3  can ensure that we're using our staff to actually

 

          4  target the areas most likely to threaten the health

 

          5  of children.

 

          6                 Please keep in mind that these

 

          7  protocols must be followed whenever a child under

 

          8  seven resides in an apartment and an inspector comes

 

          9  for any reason. So an inspector responding to a lack

 

         10  of water, for example, would write that violation,

 

         11  and then if a child under seven resides in the

 

         12  apartment, conduct a complete room-by-room

 

         13  surface-by-surface inspection, moving furniture away

 

         14  from walls and cataloguing the entire condition of

 

         15  the apartment's wall surfaces. This will

 

         16  significantly extend the time that an inspector

 

         17  spends in an apartment on critical inspections and

 

         18  shorten the number of inspections that they can get

 

         19  to on their routes.

 

         20                 If potential lead violations are

 

         21  found, the proposed bill adds the requirement that

 

         22  the inspector use an XRF machine to test all peeling

 

         23  paint during the same inspection.

 

         24                 Indeed, both these requirements seem

 

         25  to exist, even if a complete inspection and XRF test

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            22

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  were done in the very same apartment the prior week.

 

          3  Clearly, redoing the same inspections over and over

 

          4  prevents our inspectors from moving on to new

 

          5  buildings and addressing new problems.

 

          6                 Now a reasonable person could ask,

 

          7  well, the inspector is already there, why not just

 

          8  test at the same time, and that's a fair question.

 

          9  And here that argument is over method and not

 

         10  intent.

 

         11                 We want to find peeling lead paint

 

         12  quickly and efficiently. In this example, to

 

         13  accomplish this all inspectors would have to have an

 

         14  XRF machine with them at all times. But if every

 

         15  inspector has an XRF machine, then every inspector,

 

         16  even if they never use the machines, must pick it up

 

         17  from the office each day and return it there each

 

         18  night.

 

         19                 It is far more efficient to have a

 

         20  specialized team return to the apartment as soon as

 

         21  possible to conduct any needed XRF test.

 

         22                 We support the bill's provision that

 

         23  requires code inspectors to EPA certified, but would

 

         24  want XRF testing to be done by specialized teams.

 

         25  This would ensure adequate testing is done where

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            23

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  needed, without diminishing the productivity of the

 

          3  code inspection staff.

 

          4                 The proposed bill requires that

 

          5  common areas be XRF tested before the violation can

 

          6  be written by the inspector. An inspector who would

 

          7  have been responding to a tenant in a high-risk area

 

          8  will instead be spending his day testing paint

 

          9  surfaces in neighborhoods with low risk of lead

 

         10  poisoning, and inspectors will have less time to

 

         11  spend inside tenants' apartments where lead

 

         12  poisoning is more likely to occur.

 

         13                 We also note that the targeted

 

         14  inspection program set forth in section 2056.9 can

 

         15  be made better. Under this part of the bill, every

 

         16  time a lead violation has been placed, HPD must

 

         17  conduct an investigation of which units have

 

         18  children under seven in the building, and must then

 

         19  conduct inspections in such units whether or not

 

         20  they have peeling paint.

 

         21                 The magnitude of such inspections

 

         22  will be substantial, and will overwhelm the

 

         23  Department's capability to do other inspections.

 

         24  While we have not had a long opportunity to review

 

         25  and work with this section of the draft, we are sure

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            24

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  that there are better ways to run a targeted

 

          3  inspection program.

 

          4                 HPD already maintains the most

 

          5  complete and easily accessible computerized code

 

          6  enforcement record system. We make it easily

 

          7  available on-line for all to see and use.

 

          8                 The revised version of 101-A also

 

          9  proposes a requirement that HPD maintain both a

 

         10  central register for all documents relating to lead

 

         11  hazards, and an individual file for each dwelling

 

         12  unit throughout the City where lead hazard work

 

         13  occurs.

 

         14                 This expensive and time-consuming

 

         15  endeavor is an additional cost that does nothing to

 

         16  prevent lead poisoning. That money is better spent

 

         17  in repairs and inspections.

 

         18                 These kind of provisions add unneeded

 

         19  bureaucratic overhead to the objective of

 

         20  remediating lead hazards.

 

         21                 Under the prior law, HPD estimates

 

         22  that overhead per job carried out is approximately

 

         23  $4,000 to $5,000 per job. Under the new version of

 

         24  101-A, HPD estimates that overhead will

 

         25  significantly increase to about $10,000 to $13,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            25

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  per job. The revised bill also proposed to provide

 

          3  J-51 tax abatement to owners who do lead hazard

 

          4  remediation. Here we believe that tax incentives

 

          5  should be given only for those who have done

 

          6  permanent abatement, and only for those who did it

 

          7  voluntarily, and not under the impetus of a

 

          8  violation placed by HPD or the Department of Health.

 

          9                 The proposed bill includes changes

 

         10  which are intended to not preclude lawsuits against

 

         11  the City for failure to timely adopt implementing

 

         12  rules.

 

         13                 Currently, it appears to go much

 

         14  further than that, and might be interpreted to allow

 

         15  many other kinds of lawsuits against the City.

 

         16                 This language can be modified to

 

         17  achieve the stated goal while protecting the City

 

         18  against unintended lawsuits.

 

         19                 Last but not least, this is a very

 

         20  complex bill requiring the writing of complex rules.

 

         21  The hiring and training of many workers, public

 

         22  education of owners and the purchase of

 

         23  sophisticated equipment. Programs at the federal

 

         24  level that required far less stringent time frames

 

         25  and scope of work took many years to implement. We

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            26

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  believe that this bill will require a phase-in

 

          3  process longer than the proposed 90 days in order to

 

          4  be implemented responsibly.

 

          5                 New York City has had one of the most

 

          6  aggressive programs of primary prevention in the

 

          7  United States. New York City was among the first

 

          8  cities in the US to ban lead paint in 1960. Our lead

 

          9  hazard reduction law preceded the federal

 

         10  government's Title X rules and we have spent more

 

         11  money than any other municipality on direct work to

 

         12  reduce lead hazards.

 

         13                 In addition, as a result of an

 

         14  extended and significant public investment, in the

 

         15  renovation of the City's low-income housing stock,

 

         16  today we have the lowest dilapidation rate since it

 

         17  has measured by the US Census Bureau.

 

         18                 Once again, we look forward to slight

 

         19  revisions to this new legislation that will create

 

         20  even stronger safeguards for our City's children,

 

         21  and ensure that the City's housing stock remains in

 

         22  good repair for generations, with some technical and

 

         23  procedural changes, we believe that this bill can

 

         24  reach this goal.

 

         25                 Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            27

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Thank you,

 

          3  Commissioner.

 

          4                 We'll hear from the Health

 

          5  Commissioner and then we'll take questions.

 

          6                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Thank you. Good

 

          7  morning. I'm Dr. Tom Frieden, Commissioner of Health

 

          8  and Mental Hygiene, and I appreciate the opportunity

 

          9  to speak with Council Committee on Housing and

 

         10  Buildings and other members about lead poisoning in

 

         11  New York City and Intro 101-A.

 

         12                 I appreciate and welcome the

 

         13  Council's concern and commitment to ending childhood

 

         14  lead poisoning.

 

         15                 Since Local Law 38 was ruled invalid

 

         16  by the Courts, it is important that we have an

 

         17  enforceable primary prevention law. We're all here

 

         18  today with the same goal, to ensure that a law is

 

         19  passed in the near future, so we can continue and

 

         20  strengthen our efforts to eliminate childhood lead

 

         21  poisoning in New York City.

 

         22                 Lead poison is a serious problem in

 

         23  New York City, throughout the United States,

 

         24  especially the older communities of the northeast,

 

         25  as well as in many developing countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            28

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 The emerging scientific consensus is

 

          3  that no level of lead is safe, particularly for

 

          4  children less than three years of age, although

 

          5  there is still some uncertainty about this effect.

 

          6                 The prevention of lead poisoning in

 

          7  our City's children is a top priority for the

 

          8  Department of Health. For more than 40 years we've

 

          9  been addressing the problem with childhood lead

 

         10  poisoning and we've made significant progress.

 

         11                 Between 1995 and 2002 alone, there

 

         12  was a 79 percent decline in elevated blood levels in

 

         13  New York City children under six, with the falling

 

         14  from more than 19,000 to just over 4,000. This

 

         15  amounts to a 20 percent average annual reduction in

 

         16  cases. Very few diseases have as rapid or sustained

 

         17  a reduction.

 

         18                 The decline is primarily due to

 

         19  regulations the prohibit the use of lead in

 

         20  residential paint and gasoline, reduction of lead

 

         21  paint hazards in homes, discontinued use of other

 

         22  lead-containing projects and early identification

 

         23  through screening.

 

         24                 In 1960, New York City banned lead

 

         25  paint in residential buildings 18 years before this

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            29

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  was done nationally.

 

          3                 In 1982 the City developed a primary

 

          4  prevention law. These laws have made a difference.

 

          5  Our rates are far lower than rates of other cities,

 

          6  even though 67 percent of our housing was built

 

          7  before 1960.

 

          8                 In 2001, the percent of children with

 

          9  elevated blood lead levels was five percent in

 

         10  Chicago and Philadelphia, three percent in Boston

 

         11  and 0.7 percent in New York City, using the census

 

         12  population as a denominator.

 

         13                 Although we have higher rates of both

 

         14  testing and reporting than most of these

 

         15  jurisdictions, we had five or ten times fewer cases

 

         16  of lead poisoning. We must continue to build on this

 

         17  progress.

 

         18                 As the Department stated in its 2001

 

         19  annual report, our goal is to eliminate lead

 

         20  poisoning in New York City. To continue our progress

 

         21  we have to focus our efforts and reduce exposure to

 

         22  multiple sources of lead of which lead paint is by

 

         23  far the most important.

 

         24                 Although we've come far in our

 

         25  efforts to end lead poisoning, we have a long way to

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            30

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  go.

 

          3                 The continuing rate of lead poisoning

 

          4  in our City is unacceptable. In 2002 there were

 

          5  still nearly 4,000 children less than age six with

 

          6  elevated blood lead levels. To prevent future cases

 

          7  we have to enhance our efforts by ensuring that

 

          8  effective laws are in place, continuing to focus our

 

          9  efforts on children, buildings and areas at highest

 

         10  risk, improving compliance with these laws and

 

         11  improving education to families, providers, owners,

 

         12  maintenance and repair staff and others about lead

 

         13  poisoning prevention.

 

         14                 Each year we receive more than

 

         15  400,000 blood lead test results for New York City

 

         16  children. We use these data to characterize problems

 

         17  set goals, design solutions and evaluate our

 

         18  efforts. It's important to understand the

 

         19  characteristics of lead poisoned children in order

 

         20  to target interventions. Young children, children

 

         21  living in poorer neighborhoods, children of color,

 

         22  are more likely to be lead poisoned.

 

         23                 It is to these children that we need

 

         24  to focus our resources.

 

         25                 Children between ages one and two

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            31

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  years are at highest risk for lead poisoning because

 

          3  of frequent hand-to-mouth activity. These youngest

 

          4  children are also more susceptible to the harmful

 

          5  effects of lead poisoning, due to their rapidly

 

          6  developing nervous systems.

 

          7                 In 2002, 55 percent of lead poisoned

 

          8  children in New York City were less than three years

 

          9  of age, and an even greater proportion of the

 

         10  negative health impact from lead poisoning will be

 

         11  in this group.

 

         12                 Lead paint continues to be the

 

         13  primary source of lead poisoning in New York City.

 

         14                 Lead poisoning is concentrated in

 

         15  poor New York City neighborhoods with older housing.

 

         16                 In 2002, for children six months to

 

         17  six years of age, with environmental intervention

 

         18  blood lead levels, five of 42 neighborhoods

 

         19  accounted for more than a third of the cases.

 

         20                 Immigrant status is also associated

 

         21  with lead poisoning in New York City children,

 

         22  particularly among children over three. The primary

 

         23  countries of birth associated with elevated blood

 

         24  lead levels were Haiti, Mexico, Pakistan, Dominican

 

         25  Republic and Bangladesh. Lead hazards in these

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            32

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  countries are ubiquitous. Sources include lead from

 

          3  gasoline, battery repair, soldering, mining and

 

          4  smelting, small manufacturing and paint, lead-glazed

 

          5  pottery, traditional medicines, imported foods and

 

          6  cosmetics. Exposure levels can be very high.

 

          7                 A significantly lower proportion of

 

          8  immigrant children with blood lead levels receiving

 

          9  environmental intervention have lead-based paint in

 

         10  their homes that was peeling or deterioriated than

 

         11  US born children.

 

         12                 This suggests that other sources may

 

         13  be more common among immigrant children.

 

         14                 Today, because of reduction in

 

         15  severity of lead poisoning has occurred, the vast

 

         16  majority of lead-poisoned children have no symptoms.

 

         17  Screening is therefore critical for early detection

 

         18  and to prevent more serious lead poisoning.

 

         19                 Since 1993, New York State has

 

         20  mandated blood lead testing of young children. By

 

         21  New York State law, all children are to be tested at

 

         22  ages one and two and between six months and six

 

         23  years of age, the medical provider must assess risks

 

         24  for lead poisoning every year and test those

 

         25  children with high risks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            33

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 Testing at age one is both most

 

          3  important for early identification of children with

 

          4  elevated levels, and most consistent with national

 

          5  recommendations.

 

          6                 In 2002 in New York City about 63

 

          7  percent of one-year-olds were tested, 83 percent of

 

          8  children were tested either at age one or age two.

 

          9                 The key indicator to track is the

 

         10  proportion of kids who are tested in high-risk

 

         11  communities, and the key intervention needed is

 

         12  improved follow-up of those with high levels.

 

         13                 New York City has among the highest

 

         14  testing rates in the country. More than 11 percent

 

         15  of blood lead tests reported to CDC are from New

 

         16  York City, while we represent less than three

 

         17  percent of the US population.

 

         18                 The Department is committed to

 

         19  further improving physician testing for lead

 

         20  poisoning and uses multiple strategies to increase

 

         21  testing rates, with the focus on communities most at

 

         22  risk.

 

         23                 However, regulation and practice of

 

         24  medicine is a state issue. As the draft statute

 

         25  correctly notes, preventing lead poisoning, primary

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            34

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  prevention is key. Preventing exposure to sources of

 

          3  lead prevents lead poisoning, and the most important

 

          4  strategies for prevention are, first, to reduce lead

 

          5  paint hazards by safely repairing peeling or damaged

 

          6  paint, as well as friction and impact surfaces,

 

          7  identifying and mitigating non-paint lead sources,

 

          8  and educating parents, physicians and those involved

 

          9  in providing, maintaining and repairing housing

 

         10  about prevention and exposure reduction.

 

         11                 The key to making primary prevention

 

         12  work is getting landlords to understand and comply

 

         13  with the law. This requires educating landlords,

 

         14  superintendents, contractors, families, doctors and

 

         15  CBOs. That requires targeted enforcement in

 

         16  buildings and areas that are most likely to cause

 

         17  exposure.

 

         18                 It also requires creative programs

 

         19  that addressed lead hazards, including programs such

 

         20  as grant and loan mechanisms similar to the

 

         21  weatherization program to replace windows.

 

         22                 I cannot emphasize strongly enough

 

         23  that the way to continue a rapid progress in

 

         24  controlling lead poisoning is to focus our effort

 

         25  and attention on communities, buildings and

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            35

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  populations at highest risk, only by doing this will

 

          3  we continue our rapid progress.

 

          4                 Efforts that divert attention away

 

          5  from these high-risk and high-need communities carry

 

          6  this serious risk of slowing progress in the

 

          7  communities where progress is most needed.

 

          8                 Turning to Intro. 101-A. We commend

 

          9  your work to improve on previous New York City laws

 

         10  addressing lead paint hazards. We are hoping, as is

 

         11  the Council, that improvement to pass laws will

 

         12  continue or even accelerate progress toward this

 

         13  goal. Ending childhood lead poisoning is our goal,

 

         14  as well.

 

         15                 Intro. 101-A has been improved in

 

         16  many ways from its earlier version, and from Local

 

         17  Law 38 and provides us with a sound basis for a new

 

         18  law.

 

         19                 Many important elements of primary

 

         20  prevention are incorporated into, or strengthened in

 

         21  this version. Among these are the requirements that

 

         22  landlords annually identify children living in

 

         23  multiple dwellings before 1960 and inspect incorrect

 

         24  peeling paint hazards in these apartments. Similarly

 

         25  prohibiting dry scraping and sanding, which our

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            36

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  analysis shows to be very important causes of lead

 

          3  exposure, is an important step to continue the

 

          4  prevention of lead poisoning.

 

          5                 We wholeheartedly support many of the

 

          6  clear improvements in the previous laws that Intro

 

          7  101-A incorporates. These include dust testing after

 

          8  work is performed. Lead and dust is the strongest

 

          9  predictor of a child's blood lead level, inclusion

 

         10  of dust testing to determine if a dwelling unit has

 

         11  been properly cleaned is essential and will result

 

         12  in safer work practices, protecting workers,

 

         13  families and children.

 

         14                 Safe work practices and training of

 

         15  workers disturbing lead paint. The new version of

 

         16  Intro 101-A requires that workers doing work after

 

         17  an HPD violation are doing large scale work EPA

 

         18  certified. It also requires smaller jobs use workers

 

         19  who have received some training.

 

         20                 Both of these requirements increase

 

         21  our assurance that lead hazards will be addressed

 

         22  when work is performed.

 

         23                 The definition of lead paint. We

 

         24  fully agree with the Council's definition of 1.0

 

         25  mg/cm2 as the definition of lead paint. This is the

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            37

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  level the federal government uses, and a level which

 

          3  the standards for machines are set.

 

          4                 Definition of lead hazards. We also

 

          5  agree with the addition of conditions that cause

 

          6  dust to the definition of lead hazards.

 

          7                 There are other aspects of 101-A

 

          8  which we believe can be more effective in protecting

 

          9  children with minor modifications. Some examples of

 

         10  these include, first, the ages of children. I

 

         11  understand the intuitive appeal of raising the age

 

         12  at which the law applies from below six to below

 

         13  seven. On the face of it, this change would seem to

 

         14  protect more children, and further, I'm aware the

 

         15  court mentioned this issue when it invalidated Local

 

         16  Law 38. But how ever appealing this concept is, it

 

         17  is wrong. A look at lead-poisoned children in New

 

         18  York City explains why.

 

         19                 The vast majority of children with

 

         20  lead poisoning are below the age of six, and older

 

         21  children with elevated lead levels are much less

 

         22  likely to have been exposed in their own homes. Even

 

         23  among children three to five years of age, the

 

         24  proportion who have peeling or deteriorated lead

 

         25  paint in their homes is lower than among the

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            38

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  youngest children.

 

          3                 While it would first appear that

 

          4  increasing the age from six to seven could be more

 

          5  protective of children, in fact, what it would do

 

          6  would be to divert attention, focus and resources

 

          7  away from the children who need it most to children

 

          8  who are at much lower risk from lead poisoning.

 

          9                 Young children are more likely to

 

         10  crawl on the floor, have more hand-to-mouth

 

         11  activity, are more susceptible to neurological

 

         12  damage from lead, are more likely to have lead

 

         13  hazards in their home, and are more likely to

 

         14  benefit from environmental and other intervention.

 

         15                 Increasing the age from six to seven

 

         16  increases the population to be covered by 15

 

         17  percent, but in doing so, in effect, it takes 15

 

         18  percent of all of the effort, energy, resources and

 

         19  attention away from the children who need it most.

 

         20                 Increasing the age from six to seven

 

         21  would inadvertently reduce the effectiveness of all

 

         22  of our lead poisoning prevention efforts by 15

 

         23  percent.

 

         24                 In this area, as in so much of public

 

         25  health, prioritization is absolutely essential. This

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            39

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  is why CDC, Center for Disease Control and

 

          3  Prevention recommendations and New York State laws

 

          4  focus on children under six years of age. New York

 

          5  City Housing laws should do the same.

 

          6                 Second, proactive enforcement:

 

          7  Enforcement is key to ensuring that any law is

 

          8  effective, and Intro 101-A has provided for the

 

          9  proactive enforcement that's necessary.

 

         10                 The proactive enforcement must be

 

         11  driven by the best available data, and these data

 

         12  can change from year-to-year. Hence, the means and

 

         13  definition of this law could benefit from some

 

         14  modification.

 

         15                 Tax abatements that have been

 

         16  mentioned, it's an excellent suggestion, should only

 

         17  be provided for permanent abatement and only for

 

         18  those who do it voluntarily.

 

         19                 Timeframes: We agree with the need to

 

         20  make timeframes consistent. Timeframes under 38 were

 

         21  confusing. But the timeframes currently proposed are

 

         22  simply not adequate for a landlord to identify and

 

         23  secure a contractor, have the work completed safely

 

         24  and ensure that dust testing is completed and

 

         25  analyzed by a laboratory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 Not providing for adequate time

 

          3  places the burden to perform remediation and

 

          4  provides no incentive for landlords to take

 

          5  responsibility for their property.

 

          6                 Confidentiality of data is another

 

          7  significant concern. The current draft requires that

 

          8  HPD examine Health Department records. Our records

 

          9  are confidential, and they must stay that way.

 

         10  Similarly, making HPD records, including all

 

         11  inspection reports on an apartment-by-apartment

 

         12  basis open to the public could invade a tenant's

 

         13  personal privacy and does not seem to have a

 

         14  corresponding benefit.

 

         15                 The next area has to do with the

 

         16  promulgation of rules. HPD is most familiar with

 

         17  their own policies and procedures. They should

 

         18  promulgate their own rules. We could revise, review

 

         19  or even approve these, but we should not be

 

         20  promulgating rules that mandate prophesies and

 

         21  procedures for HPD.

 

         22                 There are also areas in the draft

 

         23  where DOH is expected to promulgate rules but the

 

         24  bill is much too specific with regard to the content

 

         25  of these rules.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            41

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 The advantage of rule-making is

 

          3  flexibility to improve processes and procedures in

 

          4  light of new data or knowledge and to use expertise

 

          5  of operating agencies.  To most effectively protect

 

          6  children now and in the future, rule making must

 

          7  have latitude.

 

          8                 Common areas: As a result of decades

 

          9  of use in paint and gasoline, lead is unfortunately

 

         10  widespread in our environment.

 

         11                 Again, key to success is focus. Young

 

         12  children get most exposure in their homes. We do not

 

         13  know whether lead in common areas adds a significant

 

         14  contributor to lead poisoning. We do know that the

 

         15  current draft enforcement requirements would divert

 

         16  attention and resources away from children's homes

 

         17  where we know that the risks are occurring.

 

         18                 Common areas can be addressed when

 

         19  indicated. Peeling paint in common areas is a

 

         20  violation of the Housing Code.

 

         21                 There are unnecessary administrative

 

         22  requirements in the draft, including the filing of

 

         23  all positive dust tests with the Department. These

 

         24  would not have clear benefits, but would have

 

         25  significant costs. We should be using our resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            42

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  to protect children, not to increase bureaucracy.

 

          3                 The most important element is

 

          4  apartments pass dust clearance testing and that

 

          5  tenants not be exposed until such clearance is

 

          6  assured.

 

          7                 Another similar example is filing of

 

          8  all work 100 square feet or greater with the

 

          9  Department of Health. This requirement would create

 

         10  a large burden without clear benefits. It would be

 

         11  very costly.

 

         12                 This clause alone, would, we

 

         13  estimate, cost us more than $9 million in the next

 

         14  year and more than 7 million in every subsequent

 

         15  year, with no discernible benefit to children.

 

         16                 There is another area which appears

 

         17  in the current draft to require the department to

 

         18  clean dust where lead hazards, the source of lead

 

         19  hazards haven't been determined. It should be

 

         20  modified to make it clearer and more effective. It

 

         21  should be limited to lead poisoned children,

 

         22  furthermore, landlords, and not the Health

 

         23  Department, should be responsible for removing lead

 

         24  contaminated dust, if this exists in the home of a

 

         25  lead poisoned child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 Screening case rate targets. This is

 

          3  a complicated area. We recommend that screening and

 

          4  case targets not be specified in the law, but if

 

          5  they are to be included they need to be realistic.

 

          6  Screening targets need to focus on one- and

 

          7  two-year-olds, particularly in high-risk areas. Case

 

          8  targets need to take into account that non-paint

 

          9  sources also exist, and that an increasing portion

 

         10  of our cases will consist of foreign-borne children,

 

         11  many of whom will have been exposed abroad.

 

         12                 Recording of inspection of all

 

         13  surfaces has been mentioned by Commissioner Perine.

 

         14  This would be very time consuming, would

 

         15  dramatically reduce productivity and doesn't seem to

 

         16  serve any purpose.

 

         17                 We rely on these inspectors for

 

         18  proactive inspections. Diverting them from their

 

         19  work would unintentionally reduce our effectiveness

 

         20  in preventing lead poisoning.

 

         21                 There is also a requirement to

 

         22  inspect when a pregnant woman with an elevated

 

         23  level. In fact, pregnant women are mostly exposed

 

         24  through the ingestion of non-food items for an

 

         25  elevated pre-existing blood lead level. They're

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  rarely exposed through ingestion of lead dust caused

 

          3  by lead-based paint, and requiring inspections in

 

          4  these situations would divert attention from those

 

          5  who need resources the most.

 

          6                 There are, finally, aspects of 101-A

 

          7  which should be carefully reviewed and could, we

 

          8  think, be better targeted. I will mention two.

 

          9                 I'm sure we all agree expenditures

 

         10  should be targeted to preventing lead poisoning as

 

         11  effectively as possible.

 

         12                 First is turnover requirements. Intro

 

         13  101-A recognizes that turnover of apartments provide

 

         14  the good opportunity for landlords to correct

 

         15  hazards. Work can be done more safely, more

 

         16  effectively and with less disruption if it is done

 

         17  at turnover.

 

         18                 But we need to be careful that

 

         19  requirements for turnover are focused on where

 

         20  there's a need and a way that will be most

 

         21  effective.

 

         22                 Furthermore, the details of the

 

         23  requirement at turnover should be carefully

 

         24  reviewed.

 

         25                 The Department's -- the draft's

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            45

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  statute requirement to abate all windows and doors

 

          3  and surfaces with peeling paint in apartments

 

          4  housing young children throughout New York City by

 

          5  2007 is unnecessary in that it doesn't distinguish

 

          6  between dwellings and conditions that are likely to

 

          7  cause hazards, and those where hazards are unlikely.

 

          8                 Unnecessary abatement can expose

 

          9  children to hazards where none previously existed

 

         10  and can inadvertently do more harm than good.

 

         11                 There are also possible unintended

 

         12  consequences of Intro. 101-A. I'm neither a housing

 

         13  expert nor a legal expert, but in closing I would

 

         14  like to briefly mention from the standpoint of the

 

         15  Health Department possible implications of these

 

         16  potential unintended consequences.

 

         17                 In the case of housing unintended

 

         18  consequences potentially include decreased

 

         19  availability of apartments for children with

 

         20  families.

 

         21                 We are all too familiar with negative

 

         22  health consequences of homelessness and unstable

 

         23  housing. These include higher rates of tuberculosis,

 

         24  drug use, alcoholism, AIDS, poor educational

 

         25  performance and more. Homeless children are less

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  healthy. Neighborhoods with more abandoned property

 

          3  are less healthy. These factors and their impact on

 

          4  health would certainly need to be considered if the

 

          5  turnover and Citywide abatement clauses are not

 

          6  carefully targeted.

 

          7                 In the case of legal issues it is

 

          8  possible that an unintended consequence of this

 

          9  legislation, there could be a large increase in

 

         10  taxpayer costs, as a result of the impossibility of

 

         11  compliance with proposed timeframes or of landlord

 

         12  irresponsibility.

 

         13                 As Health Commissioner, I hope that

 

         14  costs resulting from this bill will go toward

 

         15  preventing lead poisoning.

 

         16                 Again, thank you for the opportunity

 

         17  to address you today. I look forward to working with

 

         18  the Council to continue our progress toward the

 

         19  elimination of childhood lead poisoning, and we're

 

         20  happy to answer your questions.

 

         21                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Thank you,

 

         22  Commissioner.

 

         23                 We've also been joined by Council

 

         24  Member Lou Fidler, and Council Member Martinez.

 

         25                 The Speaker has a question.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 SPEAKER MILLER: Thanks, Madam Chair.

 

          3                 I just wanted to ask Commissioner

 

          4  Perine about the XRF. With regard to the XRF

 

          5  detection, can you just explain to us a little bit

 

          6  more what the concern is with regarding to the

 

          7  dropping off of these items and how it would be more

 

          8  efficient to have people go and visit the same place

 

          9  twice in order to accomplish a test that I guess at

 

         10  least theoretically could be accomplished in the

 

         11  first instance.

 

         12                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Yes. And, again,

 

         13  I think -- go ahead.

 

         14                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: So, the size

 

         15  of the machine?

 

         16                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Yes. There's two

 

         17  different sort of issues raised in your question,

 

         18  Speaker Miller.

 

         19                 In terms of why it would be better to

 

         20  bring back a second team, any time we can conserve

 

         21  the housing inspector's time and keep them to their

 

         22  route, you know, they start out the day knowing that

 

         23  they've got to visit these ten or 12 places.

 

         24                 SPEAKER MILLER: And do they check in

 

         25  anywhere?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Yes, they do.

 

          3                 SPEAKER MILLER: They do check in.

 

          4                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: On the radio.

 

          5                 SPEAKER MILLER: On the radio.

 

          6                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Exactly.

 

          7                 SPEAKER MILLER: So they never got to

 

          8  a spot and say I'm starting today?

 

          9                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: They start in

 

         10  the morning, and they're dispatched and they have to

 

         11  finish up the day. But where they start and where

 

         12  they end can vary. And, so, you know, some

 

         13  inspectors, depending on their route and depending

 

         14  on where they live, may actually either start or end

 

         15  their day directly from home and not come back to

 

         16  the office necessarily twice in one day.

 

         17                 SPEAKER MILLER: And how often does

 

         18  that happen?

 

         19                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: I think that

 

         20  happens pretty frequently. We actually attempt to do

 

         21  that whenever we can, because, again, it's cutting

 

         22  down on time. We don't need to make -- I mean, just

 

         23  to make an extreme example, we don't have to make a

 

         24  code inspector who lives out in Queens and has a

 

         25  route that day to inspect things in Queens come all

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  the way downtown at the beginning of the day and the

 

          3  end of the day both times.

 

          4                 SPEAKER MILLER: So they come in one

 

          5  time.

 

          6                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: They would come

 

          7  in one time normally. And of course there are

 

          8  exceptions when inspectors would come both at the

 

          9  beginning and the end of the day. I don't want to

 

         10  make it seem like that never happens, it does

 

         11  happen, but we like to maintain the flexibility to

 

         12  be able to cut off one of those trips whenever we

 

         13  can, essentially in order to squeeze in more of

 

         14  their time being spent doing inspections rather than

 

         15  traveling to and from their respective offices.

 

         16                 So, that's one of the issues, so

 

         17  that's, with an XRF machine, because of the nature

 

         18  of the machine, it can't be taken home with an

 

         19  inspector. So, unlike, you know, their radios and

 

         20  their forms --

 

         21                 SPEAKER MILLER: Why is that?

 

         22                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: The machines

 

         23  themselves have a slight amount of radioactivity.

 

         24  They actually have to be carried in a case that has

 

         25  that, if we all remember from like the 1950s, you

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  know, those yellow and black radioactive symbols,

 

          3  that's on the outside of those cases, and so these

 

          4  cases, these machines are not things that we would

 

          5  have employees bring home to their home. We would

 

          6  keep them in a secure location in the work place and

 

          7  they would have to check them in and check them out

 

          8  in that way.

 

          9                 So, you know, that's one of the level

 

         10  of complications. We also think it would be very

 

         11  difficult to send inspectors, send all of our

 

         12  inspectors with such a case, with such a radioactive

 

         13  symbol, on public transportation. Most of our

 

         14  inspectors get to their locations by public

 

         15  transportation. We don't have a fleet of cars for

 

         16  every single inspector. You know, we have a small

 

         17  number that we use critically, but most actually are

 

         18  on public transportation.

 

         19                 We think they probably couldn't do

 

         20  that with these cases, even though they don't, you

 

         21  know, from our information we're not saying that

 

         22  these things represent an actual threat to people,

 

         23  but we think that they could seem a little scary to

 

         24  somebody in a crowded subway car.

 

         25                 SPEAKER MILLER: And you can't put

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  something over that?

 

          3                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: I don't think

 

          4  you're allowed, no.

 

          5                 This is part of the regulation of an

 

          6  XRF machine, it has to be carried in this way with a

 

          7  case that clearly delineates it as having some

 

          8  radioactive material.

 

          9                 SPEAKER MILLER: So, you're proposing

 

         10  then that after the violation is written by the

 

         11  regular inspector, that you want to then go back and

 

         12  test every single paint violation in pre-1960

 

         13  buildings?

 

         14                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: We're saying

 

         15  wherever XRF testing would be required, we would do

 

         16  it as part of a second inspection. That first

 

         17  inspector would write his violation, move on to his

 

         18  next step on the route, get to that next apartment

 

         19  to be writing new violations, and then meanwhile

 

         20  phoning in that an XRF team has to now come into

 

         21  this apartment and make a subsequent inspection,

 

         22  yes.

 

         23                 And we think really --

 

         24                 SPEAKER MILLER: Doesn't that seem

 

         25  more inefficient than just having somebody have to

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  check in in the spot perhaps in each borough once,

 

          3  twice a day?

 

          4                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: No. Again, every

 

          5  time you're having an inspector make a travel time

 

          6  back and forth, you're losing time on their route

 

          7  for them to get to their next inspection. So, we're

 

          8  trying to use our inspection staff, spending as

 

          9  little -- our goal is always to have them spend as

 

         10  little time traveling as possible, and as most time

 

         11  possible on their shift, actually getting to that

 

         12  next appointment.

 

         13                 SPEAKER MILLER: Okay, I'm sure we can

 

         14  explore this further.

 

         15                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Right. You know,

 

         16  again, we're not debating that the inspections

 

         17  should be done with an XRF machine; we're simply

 

         18  saying from a procedural point of view, we think

 

         19  that there is a more efficient operational way to do

 

         20  that.

 

         21                 SPEAKER MILLER: And let me ask

 

         22  Commissioner Frieden, do we know how many children

 

         23  we're talking about> In your view that the universe

 

         24  should be reduced from under seven, under six, how

 

         25  many children are we talking about? What is the

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  population and what are the incidences of lead

 

          3  poisoning? Can you give us a little bit more of a

 

          4  detail on why it is that the Council should, you

 

          5  know, reduce the population that we're focusing on

 

          6  by such a significant number, and how significant is

 

          7  that number?

 

          8                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: I would first

 

          9  point out that Local Law 38 was under six, and so

 

         10  it's not eliminating, it's not increasing it.

 

         11                 SPEAKER MILLER: Local Law 38 isn't in

 

         12  effect, Local Law 1 is in effect. It's under seven.

 

         13                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Well, not

 

         14  really. But just to answer your question, there were

 

         15  --

 

         16                 SPEAKER MILLER: Really.

 

         17                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: No, not really.

 

         18  Not according to what the magistrate --

 

         19                 SPEAKER MILLER: Local Law 1 hasn't

 

         20  been implemented, but it is on the books. I don't

 

         21  think anyone would say that it isn't the law. It's

 

         22  the law. The question is when are the courts going

 

         23  to actually force people to administer it. But it's

 

         24  the law, it's on the books. Local Law 38 is off the

 

         25  books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: My point was

 

          3  that the significant reductions that we've seen were

 

          4  under Local Law 38 which had under six as their

 

          5  number. There were 33 or 34 children who are aged

 

          6  six in 2002 who had early intervention blood lead

 

          7  level. The vast majority of those children had

 

          8  previously elevated blood lead levels and would have

 

          9  been picked up for some sort of intervention before

 

         10  this.

 

         11                 So, I think the concern is that what

 

         12  you end up doing is you end up diverting resources

 

         13  away from the kids who need it most. Remember that

 

         14  it's a zero to five group that was already used as a

 

         15  buffer. You're most concerned about the zero to

 

         16  threes. In order to provide a buffer for the zero to

 

         17  threes, you provide zero to five. That's the

 

         18  national guideline, it's the state guideline. It's

 

         19  the guideline we've been using for many years in New

 

         20  York City.

 

         21                 The reality is that most of the lead

 

         22  poisoning occurs at ages one and two. That's the

 

         23  time when kids are crawling on the floor most, it's

 

         24  the time when they have the most hand-to-mouth

 

         25  activity. It's also the time when they're most

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  susceptible to the damage from lead paint.

 

          3                 The older you get, the older kids

 

          4  get, if we look at kids with elevated levels, the

 

          5  older you get, the less likely you are to find

 

          6  violations in the home and the more likely you are

 

          7  to have a foreign-borne child who may have been

 

          8  exposed outside of the US. So, the older you get,

 

          9  the more likely you are not to be dealing with a

 

         10  lead hazard in the home.

 

         11                 We already had the buffer of three to

 

         12  five, adding another year just really robs us of

 

         13  those resources for the kids who need it most.

 

         14                 SPEAKER MILLER: Okay. Thank you,

 

         15  Madam Chair. Thank you, my colleagues.

 

         16                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Thank you.

 

         17                 Just to follow up on the XRF. What is

 

         18  the size of whatever it is these people have to

 

         19  carry around?

 

         20                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: The XRF machine

 

         21  itself is a little bit shaped like a gun, it's

 

         22  something that you actually hold, it's about this

 

         23  big (indicating). I don't know if I'm really

 

         24  describing it. The box is larger, obviously.

 

         25                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Okay, could

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            56

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  you give us dimensions?

 

          3                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: I don't know,

 

          4  maybe like --

 

          5                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: A foot?

 

          6                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Maybe a bit

 

          7  longer.

 

          8                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Okay.

 

          9                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Again, think of

 

         10  a gun shape.

 

         11                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Right.

 

         12                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: So you're

 

         13  holding the handle, and then it's got a gun-like

 

         14  shape. Twenty-five by 15.

 

         15                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Twenty-five

 

         16  by 15?

 

         17                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Right.

 

         18                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: But then this

 

         19  goes into a case?

 

         20                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Into a case,

 

         21  exactly, that's obviously larger, and the case is --

 

         22  you know, the case has padding.

 

         23                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Larger than

 

         24  25 by 15.

 

         25                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: It's got

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  significant padding and stuff inside.

 

          3                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Okay.

 

          4                 And probably, as you said, cannot be

 

          5  carried on public transportation because of the

 

          6  radioactivity.

 

          7                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: We think it

 

          8  could from a safety point of view. I just think it

 

          9  would frighten people unnecessarily.

 

         10                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: You mentioned

 

         11  an XRF team, so in your explanation you said an

 

         12  inspector that went out and found that there was,

 

         13  could possibly be an incident of, would call back

 

         14  and say, you know, there's probability that we have

 

         15  lead here, and then there would be -- is there, or

 

         16  there would be an XRF team that would go out? Is

 

         17  there one now, or you're saying there would be?

 

         18                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: There is one

 

         19  now. I mean, we obviously do XRF testing for all of

 

         20  the violations that we undertake the repair of when

 

         21  the owner doesn't act, so we've already got a team

 

         22  of people who are specialized just in testing, but

 

         23  it would have to be expanded. But, yes, we would

 

         24  follow that same model, I think we have a model that

 

         25  works pretty well already that we could apply here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            58

 

 

          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: I have a

 

          3  question that I think was explained fairly well by

 

          4  the Health Commissioner, but just to kind of verify

 

          5  what I think I heard, the Department of Health would

 

          6  draft the rules and regulations that must be

 

          7  followed by HPD?

 

          8                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: The current

 

          9  draft, 101-A, has the Department of Health

 

         10  promulgating those regulations. We think that each

 

         11  agency knows its operations best. If the Council

 

         12  wishes, we can review them, we can even approve

 

         13  them, but they should be promulgated by the relevant

 

         14  department.

 

         15                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: How is it

 

         16  done now?

 

         17                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Each

 

         18  departments their own.

 

         19                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Does their

 

         20  own.

 

         21                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Yes.

 

         22                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Okay.

 

         23                 Commissioner Perine, you also talked

 

         24  about an inspector goes into a building for a heat

 

         25  complaint or water complaint, whatever, that there's

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  a child in the apartment under age seven, they then

 

          3  have to proceed to do this inspection which you

 

          4  explained. How long do you think that inspection

 

          5  would take as opposed to going in for a heat

 

          6  complaint or a water complaint or whatever? What

 

          7  would be the extra time spent?

 

          8                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Depending on the

 

          9  size of the apartment --

 

         10                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Four-room

 

         11  apartment.

 

         12                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: The same

 

         13  apartment, a heat complaint is probably going to

 

         14  take no more than 15 or 20 minutes. If they then

 

         15  have to move furniture, wall hangings away from the

 

         16  wall, and be able to inspect every single surface

 

         17  and document it on the spot, it's got to take a

 

         18  couple hours.

 

         19                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: So, the only

 

         20  indication, then, would be there's a child under

 

         21  seven so now I have to look at all these things.

 

         22                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: That's right.

 

         23  That's right.

 

         24                 And obviously we still, of course,

 

         25  would always maintain our normal line of sight

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  policy. You know, an inspector who goes in on a heat

 

          3  and hot water complaint and sees peeling paint, is

 

          4  going to look at that and write the violation for

 

          5  that as well. So we're not suggesting that that

 

          6  wouldn't continue to happen. We're simply saying it

 

          7  doesn't really make a lot of sense to make an

 

          8  inspector catalogue the condition of walls that on

 

          9  the face of it don't even necessarily have a problem

 

         10  and need to go to those kinds of extraordinary

 

         11  lengths. It will also, obviously, whatever his next

 

         12  step was on his routing for that day, he's obviously

 

         13  not going to get there --

 

         14                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: If it happens

 

         15  to be the heat season and we have a lot of heat

 

         16  complaints, there are a lot of people that are not

 

         17  going to get an inspector that day.

 

         18                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Correct.

 

         19                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Let's say

 

         20  that the same inspector goes into this apartment for

 

         21  a heat complaint, and he doesn't see a child under

 

         22  seven, or the tenant does not tell him he or she has

 

         23  a child under seven and he leaves. Is there any

 

         24  responsibility that he must assume under this

 

         25  legislation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Well, we're

 

          3  assuming that --

 

          4                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Is he

 

          5  supposed to ask?

 

          6                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Yes, he's

 

          7  supposed to ask. He or she is supposed to ask and

 

          8  also obtain some kind of verification of the answer.

 

          9  So that may mean, you know, getting the tenant to

 

         10  sign something, an inspector, that says, yes, I have

 

         11  a child under seven or no, I don't.

 

         12                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Okay.

 

         13                 All right, I'm going to turn it over

 

         14  to my colleagues. I have some more questions.

 

         15                 Council Member Oddo.

 

         16                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: Thank you, Madam

 

         17  Chair. Good afternoon, Commissioners.

 

         18                 Commissioner Frieden, you went to

 

         19  great lengths to talk about our need to focus our

 

         20  resources on attention and where the problem was.

 

         21  You talked about five of the 42 neighborhoods,

 

         22  accounting for more than a third of the cases, you

 

         23  talked about those children who are likely to have

 

         24  elevated lead levels. You are in line with Speaker

 

         25  Miller's thinking apparently because in a press

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  release that the Speaker issued on the 6th, the last

 

          3  sentence in his quote was, "the City's efforts must

 

          4  be concentrated in the lead belt where the problem

 

          5  is pervasive."

 

          6                 Does this bill in fact concentrate

 

          7  our resources on the lead belt?

 

          8                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Not quite.

 

          9                 I think with some modifications it

 

         10  could do that. In particular, the age issue, the

 

         11  common area issue, the turnover issue and the

 

         12  requirement to abate by 2007, those are four areas,

 

         13  just to give examples, where it could be better

 

         14  targeted and it could do more good for more kids.

 

         15                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: Could you, and I

 

         16  think this is a difficult question to answer, but

 

         17  could you -- you used a 15 percent example, could

 

         18  you estimate how much of the resources, a percentage

 

         19  of the resources you would be spending in areas

 

         20  outside the lead belt, which in your opinion I would

 

         21  say is time and money not well spent; how much of

 

         22  our resources would be wrongly diverted away from

 

         23  where the problem is?

 

         24                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: It's an

 

         25  interesting question. We tried to see if we could

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  come up with an estimate. Although I could come up

 

          3  with a back of the envelope estimate, I really would

 

          4  be very hardpressed that absolutely this is correct.

 

          5  I could give you a guess but it's nothing more than

 

          6  a partially educated guess.

 

          7                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: Is it two

 

          8  percent, is it ten percent? Can you give me a range?

 

          9                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: I would

 

         10  certainly think for the turnover and the abatement

 

         11  by 2007 requirement, most of the work being done

 

         12  would be done outside of the areas of highest need,

 

         13  so a majority.

 

         14                 And even in the areas of highest

 

         15  need, because of some of the details of the wording

 

         16  of those sections, a significant proportion even

 

         17  most expenditures, even in the areas of high need

 

         18  would not be of the greatest benefit.

 

         19                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: That's a

 

         20  critical issue for me, and I think it should be a

 

         21  critical issue for this Council. Those of us who are

 

         22  proponents, and those of us who were opponents of

 

         23  101-A, we have the same thing in common, we don't

 

         24  want to see kids poisoned by lead. But by the same

 

         25  token, I don't think that we should pass a bill that

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  is more a chainsaw than a scalpel in addressing the

 

          3  problem.

 

          4                 We have heard only some brief

 

          5  references to cost of this bill. I mean, in your

 

          6  testimony you ended with two, which I believe are

 

          7  important paragraphs, but very brief and very

 

          8  general about unintended consequences. Is the

 

          9  Administration at any point in time going to come in

 

         10  before the Council and testify or give to the media

 

         11  and the advocates an estimate of the cost of this

 

         12  bill?

 

         13                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: I think cost

 

         14  estimates are being worked on now as we did for the

 

         15  original version of 101-A. We don't have final

 

         16  estimates right now. I think the key thing for us,

 

         17  though, is not so much the cost, but what we would

 

         18  be spending the money on. And, again, I think we are

 

         19  saying that we are supportive of increasing a scope

 

         20  of work that would be required by owners, you know,

 

         21  trying to increase the level of trained workers who

 

         22  are going to be carrying out the work. And, so, yes,

 

         23  of course, those things are going to cost more. I

 

         24  can't tell you exactly how much more. But, you know,

 

         25  we would just like to see those things really done

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  effectively.

 

          3                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: How about a

 

          4  range today?

 

          5                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: I don't have a

 

          6  range.

 

          7                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: How about a

 

          8  timetable of when we will -- before we vote on the

 

          9  bill?

 

         10                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: You know, we

 

         11  will be happy to get back to you quickly on what the

 

         12  timeframe is. This is something, again, this is

 

         13  being worked on but the budget office and others,

 

         14  and so I'm not, you know, I'm not really able to

 

         15  give an assignment to the budget office.

 

         16                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: I'll tell you

 

         17  why --

 

         18                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: But I'm happy to

 

         19  get back to you.

 

         20                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: I'll tell you

 

         21  why I'm concerned about that.

 

         22                 There was a series of bills of

 

         23  emergency contraception that the Administration

 

         24  opposed one bill. I was opposed to it, let me just

 

         25  make the record clear, but the Administration was

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  opposed to it, despite overwhelming support in the

 

          3  Council, and Commissioner Frieden came in and

 

          4  testified and said I'd have to spend a million

 

          5  dollars on this bill, if we pass it, and that's a

 

          6  million dollars in resources I don't have X, Y and

 

          7  Z. So, I think it's important that we know how much

 

          8  money we're spending on the bill so that we then

 

          9  could assess, and how much of it is going outside

 

         10  the lead belt, and then we can ask the question,

 

         11  well, what program will Department of Health and HPD

 

         12  not be able to do because we're spending resources

 

         13  on the well-intended but misguided piece of

 

         14  legislation. I think that's an important question to

 

         15  ask for some of us here, and the sooner we get that

 

         16  information, the sooner some of us can make up our

 

         17  minds about where we are in this legislation.

 

         18                 Let me just say one other thing.

 

         19  Commissioner, I agree with you in reference to this

 

         20  notion about HPD writing rules that DOH has to

 

         21  implement or abide by, or vice versa. We need to

 

         22  look no further than the debacle of City Planning

 

         23  and the Building Department. City Planning writes

 

         24  the resolution, and DOB is supposed to interpret it

 

         25  and the two can't agree on it. So, I strong support

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  your notion that we have to change this bill so that

 

          3  each agency has its own purview and its own general

 

          4  area.

 

          5                 I asked a question the last time we

 

          6  were together and you good folks weren't able to

 

          7  answer it and I would hope that somebody from the

 

          8  Administration would answer it; and that's the

 

          9  number of claims against the City over the years.

 

         10                 I mean, could either of the

 

         11  Commissioners testify as to the pattern since Local

 

         12  Law 38 was implemented, in terms of claims against

 

         13  the City on lead poisoning?

 

         14                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: This is Harold

 

         15  Schultz. He's the Special Counsel at HPD.

 

         16                 MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, I'm afraid we still

 

         17  don't have a clear answer for that. They are fairly

 

         18  substantial. I do know that there are numbers of

 

         19  claims against the City. The average settlement of a

 

         20  claim against the City is about $300,000 in a

 

         21  typical case. I don't have the overall numbers to

 

         22  give you today. We can get back to you with that.

 

         23                 I would also say we are somewhat

 

         24  concerned in this draft of Intro 101-A, that there

 

         25  be more clarity that the City is not a target for

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  lawsuits in its regulatory capacity.

 

          3                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: Is it safe to

 

          4  say that the pattern goes downward since Local Law

 

          5  38 is implemented, in terms of suits against the

 

          6  City?

 

          7                 MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, I think there has

 

          8  been a reduction of suits. It comes from a lot of

 

          9  factors, though, not just Local Law 38.

 

         10                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: Is the pattern

 

         11  significant? Is the reduction significant?

 

         12                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: I don't think we

 

         13  can answer that.

 

         14                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: Okay. Well,

 

         15  Madam Chair, I would just want to go on the record,

 

         16  this is the second time that we've had a hearing on

 

         17  this bill and the second time that I've asked

 

         18  questions about liability which in my mind is a huge

 

         19  aspect of this bill, it's about dollars and cents,

 

         20  and it's the second time that the Administration

 

         21  hasn't been able to testify.  And I don't fault

 

         22  either of these two commissioners, but I would like

 

         23  at some point Corporation Counsel to come in here

 

         24  and testify on this bill.

 

         25                 How could we have an intelligent

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  discussion about this bill and not address the

 

          3  liability. And at some point the Administration has

 

          4  to come in and we have to bring Corp Counsel in and

 

          5  we have to talk about this.

 

          6                 So I would suppose then we can't talk

 

          7  about any of the specific legal technicalities of

 

          8  the bill, the fact that the presumption that once

 

          9  applied solely to the Housing Code now theoretically

 

         10  can be applied in terms of civil cases and tort

 

         11  cases against the City; can we have a discussion on

 

         12  that, or do we need Corp Counsel for that?

 

         13                 MR. SCHULTZ: No, we can answer that,

 

         14  and I believe in this draft your interpretation of

 

         15  that is correct, and that will have an impact on,

 

         16  certainly will have an impact on private owners.

 

         17                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: So, am I correct

 

         18  in saying that previously the presumption was allow

 

         19  -- or the nexus was the presumption to enforcement

 

         20  of the Building Maintenance Code, and now the

 

         21  presumption is being extended so that you can use

 

         22  that presumption in tort cases against private

 

         23  owners, but also the City of New York by extension,

 

         24  because the City is usually brought in; is that

 

         25  correct?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 MR. SCHULTZ: I think it's fairly

 

          3  clear, that, yes, that compared to Local Law 38, the

 

          4  presumption with regard to owners would reverse for

 

          5  a variety of factors in the bill, one of them has to

 

          6  do with the way the notices is done, and the other

 

          7  has to do with the extent to which owners are put

 

          8  under an obligation to conduct inspections whenever

 

          9  they have some reason to believe that there might be

 

         10  peeling paint.

 

         11                 Now, it's not clear to us, honestly,

 

         12  whether or not the statute is or is not intended to

 

         13  bring the City in as a defendant in this, but we

 

         14  believe if it's not intended, it certainly could be

 

         15  much better drafting.

 

         16                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: But normally in

 

         17  past the City has been brought in.

 

         18                 MR. SCHULTZ: The City has been

 

         19  brought into a number of such lawsuits, yes.

 

         20                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: Are we troubled?

 

         21  I mean, is the Administration troubled by the fact

 

         22  that this in essence makes it much more likely that

 

         23  the City will be in court defending these cases?

 

         24                 MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, we are quite

 

         25  concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: All right. Well,

 

          3  I guess concern is a good first step.

 

          4                 If I could just ask two more

 

          5  questions, Madam Chair?

 

          6                 The presumption that's being extended

 

          7  now to tort liability is a presumption that pre-1960

 

          8  building, paint is peeling, kid less than a certain

 

          9  age, it's presumed to be lead paint. That

 

         10  presumption now potentially opens the door to all

 

         11  kinds of lawsuits against the City. How many times

 

         12  is that presumption correct? How many times does it

 

         13  turn out to be that in fact it is lead paint?

 

         14                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: You know, I

 

         15  couldn't answer that in a broad sense. I can only

 

         16  answer it in relation to a subset of the universe of

 

         17  the lead violations that we actually at HPD have to

 

         18  step in and correct ourselves, because those are the

 

         19  ones that we go in and test ourselves.

 

         20                 So, you know, I don't know how fairly

 

         21  one can apply it to the broader stock, but of the

 

         22  universe of about 9,000 violations that get removed

 

         23  by our activity where we go out because the owner

 

         24  didn't do what he was supposed to do, in about 75

 

         25  percent of the cases where we test, we don't find

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  lead paint.

 

          3                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: Three out of

 

          4  four times the presumption is wrong?

 

          5                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: But, you know,

 

          6  again, I mean it's within the subset of the

 

          7  universe. So, you know, I'm a little reluctant to

 

          8  say that that same 75 percent would hold in every

 

          9  other application of the housing stock, I can just

 

         10  say that in that subset of the ones where owners

 

         11  have not act, and we have gone in to test, that's

 

         12  been our experience.

 

         13                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: I think that, in

 

         14  my mind at least, that cause for the Administration

 

         15  to be really concerned that this bill then extends

 

         16  the power, if you will, of that presumption.

 

         17                 I will save the questions about the

 

         18  defenses for Corp Counsel. My last question to you,

 

         19  Jerilyn, is the insurance issue. Are you concerned

 

         20  that folks aren't going to be able to get insurance

 

         21  and that -- what happens at that point when people

 

         22  can't get insurance to insure the buildings? They

 

         23  walk away from buildings?

 

         24                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: You know, again,

 

         25  I think you'll probably hear from the industry

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2  experts directly. I think, you know, we are always

 

          3  concerned when something can encourage a high-risk

 

          4  environment, particularly for our low-income

 

          5  neighborhoods that could potentially dissuade

 

          6  insurers or lenders from acting.

 

          7                 I wouldn't certainly say that, I

 

          8  think that we've laid out come concerns here today

 

          9  that really, for the most part are kind of, you

 

         10  know, procedural, particularly around the time

 

         11  frame.

 

         12                 I don't think requiring a higher

 

         13  standard of owners in and of itself is any reason

 

         14  that should give people a great deal of alarm. I

 

         15  think the issue really is can we give them a fair

 

         16  shot at actually complying with the law, you know,

 

         17  which is why we tried to make a point out

 

         18  timeframes. Any time you increase the risk of the

 

         19  business, or attracting investment in the low-income

 

         20  housing stock, that's not good. And I think here we

 

         21  could make really just some small technical changes

 

         22  to the time frames which would allow owners to

 

         23  actually comply with an increased scope, and

 

         24  actually comply with a higher standard of worker

 

         25  training, without it having a deleterious impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 So, I think there's a big opportunity

 

          3  here to make sure that we keep the pieces that are

 

          4  important, which is the increased scope and work by

 

          5  qualified workers, while minimizing the risk to our

 

          6  ability to attract new investment in the housing

 

          7  stock.

 

          8                 COUNCIL MEMBER ODDO: Thank you,

 

          9  Commissioner.

 

         10                 Thank you, Madam Chair.

 

         11                 I would just say in closing that, you

 

         12  know, I can't fault any of the advocates and the

 

         13  proponents of this bill in terms of what they're

 

         14  trying to do, and all of us staying on the same side

 

         15  and wanting to protect kids, but I have to think

 

         16  that somebody has got to ask the other questions,

 

         17  and I haven't heard many people asking the other

 

         18  questions about the cost.

 

         19                 We'll come together for a budget mod

 

         20  in early January, and what you take away and you

 

         21  spend, as well intentioned as it may be, spend in

 

         22  areas outside the lead bill, that has a direct

 

         23  impact on the types of services that we're going to

 

         24  be providing as a City. And if we think the two

 

         25  aren't related we're fooling ourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          1  COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

 

          2                 And I would ask you, Madam Chair,

 

          3  that there has to be some answers from the

 

          4  Administration in terms of the liability issue, and

 

          5  they can't just put the DOH and the HPD Commissioner

 

          6  here and not have Corp Counsel answer those

 

          7  questions, and answer before we're supposed to vote.

 

          8                 So, I would ask you for your

 

          9  cooperation in getting those folks. Thank you.

 

         10                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Thank you,

 

         11  Council Member Oddo.

 

         12                 I agree with you. I did question

 

         13  before this hearing if they were going to be here,

 

         14  and I think definitely we should have them if we

 

         15  have another hearing.

 

         16                 Again, you know, we all know that we

 

         17  can't put a price tag on a child's life, and that's

 

         18  not what we're doing here.

 

         19                 I think if the cost of this

 

         20  legislation appears to be, you know, high, there are

 

         21  adjustments that can be made and still do what it is

 

         22  we want to do for the kids of the City of New York.

 

         23                 In response to one of the questions,

 

         24  though, I think that, Commissioner, you pretty much

 

         25  did indicate that the price -- Commissioner Perine

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  -- would be much higher. When you talked about the

 

          3  remediation of lead hazards, was approximately four

 

          4  to five-thousand per job, and under the new version

 

          5  it's increased to ten to thirteen thousand.

 

          6                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Yes. Again, that

 

          7  was overhead. You know, what I was trying to say

 

          8  there was not so much that -- of course, if you want

 

          9  people to do more, if you want government to do

 

         10  more, it's going to cost more, and I don't think,

 

         11  you know, our intent is not to even to date that

 

         12  part of it. We're just saying that if we're going to

 

         13  do that, let's try to make that more go towards

 

         14  actual repair of the housing stock in the highest

 

         15  risk areas to deal with the problems that we know we

 

         16  can actually affect, rather than seeing more of

 

         17  those dollars go towards, you know, an

 

         18  administrative overhead burden, which I think

 

         19  everyone would agree, is not the wisest use of our

 

         20  funds, if we had. You know, unlimited dollars to

 

         21  spend, I think everybody wants the money to actually

 

         22  go to where it's going to be most effective.

 

         23                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: I agree. And

 

         24  also better use of inspector's time, you know, time

 

         25  is money and I think there were several areas that

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  could be revisted.

 

          3                 I also want to thank Council Member

 

          4  Oddo. I'm not an attorney, so I always hesitate

 

          5  getting into those kinds of questions. And talking

 

          6  about attorneys, Council Member Fidler.

 

          7                 COUNCIL MEMBER FIDLER: Thank you,

 

          8  Madam Chairwoman.

 

          9                 Notwithstanding the colloquy between

 

         10  Dr. Frieden and the Speaker, I'm a little concerned

 

         11  that we don't have a lead law in the City, and that

 

         12  puts our children at risk and I think that makes it

 

         13  incumbent upon us to come to a conclusion on this

 

         14  matter in an expeditious way, because if we have a

 

         15  law and it's not being enforced because we're

 

         16  waiting for a new law, then we need to get together

 

         17  on the new law.

 

         18                 Also, however, I'm somewhat concerned

 

         19  about some of the issues that we share and

 

         20  Councilman Oddo just raised.

 

         21                 On page four of your testimony, Dr.

 

         22  Frieden, you said that efforts that divert the focus

 

         23  away from these high-need communities impedes our

 

         24  progress. And then in your testimony, you I think

 

         25  tagged five areas that you feel would be a diversion

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  of limited resources: Raising the age level; having

 

          3  the law apply to common areas in buildings; filing

 

          4  positive dust tests; following all work 100 square

 

          5  feet or greater, and the reporting inspection of all

 

          6  surfaces, which I think we have been referring to as

 

          7  cataloguing of healthy walls.

 

          8                 I'm well aware of the fact that we

 

          9  have a limited amount of resources to apply to

 

         10  anything, no less in critical health issues like

 

         11  lead poisoning. I'd like to know, and I'm sensing

 

         12  from your answers to Councilman Oddo that you don't

 

         13  have those answers today, I'd like to know what cost

 

         14  you apply to each one of those quote/unquote

 

         15  diversions of resources?

 

         16                 Because when we have a cost on this

 

         17  bill, and I need to decide whether or not I can vote

 

         18  for 101-A, if it catalogues healthy walls, but

 

         19  that's going to cost $4 million, and I have a $4

 

         20  million decision to make, $4 million that I might

 

         21  apply to cancer patients or to AIDS or to the lead

 

         22  belt directly.

 

         23                 So, do you have any indication as to

 

         24  what each of those diversions would cost?

 

         25                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: I gave the one

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  example. I think there are really two different

 

          3  categories of concerns. One is, I think you could

 

          4  summarize as unnecessary administrative or

 

          5  bureaucratic actions, and one that I gave an

 

          6  estimate for there was work practices. The current

 

          7  draft would have every significant repair sent to

 

          8  us, that would result in an affirmative

 

          9  responsibility of us to potentially inspect work as

 

         10  is ongoing and that as well as catalogue, monitor,

 

         11  supervise, that would be very costly and we don't

 

         12  really think that would be very protective of

 

         13  children.

 

         14                 So one of the areas is an

 

         15  administrative or bureaucratic area. Second is a

 

         16  more specific diversion concern, such as the six to

 

         17  seven and the common areas, the turnover

 

         18  requirements that would be Citywide, so you'd have

 

         19  to actually replace all lead-containing windows and

 

         20  doors and frames, even in places where you don't

 

         21  have a lead problem, and the 2007 requirement to

 

         22  turn over with young children in place, I don't have

 

         23  specific numbers for those.

 

         24                 I think in looking at costs, it's

 

         25  important that we think about, and the Council is

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  responsible as, as you know, for coming up with

 

          3  those costs as well, for looking at several things:

 

          4                 One is, what is the actual cost to

 

          5  the City government? That's one cost.

 

          6                 The second is, what is the cost to

 

          7  the City in terms of what work needs to be done, or

 

          8  elsewhere.

 

          9                 And the third is, what is the cost

 

         10  that is currently being borne by landlords that

 

         11  would in the future have to be borne by the general

 

         12  taxpayers because the City has to do work that the

 

         13  landlords are currently doing.

 

         14                 So, to the extent that we're letting

 

         15  landlords off the hook, and letting the taxpayers

 

         16  pick up that tab. These are all areas that have to

 

         17  be looked at.

 

         18                 COUNCIL MEMBER FIDLER: Doctor, I

 

         19  think you articulated the question very well. I hope

 

         20  that the next time we see you, and I'm sure there's

 

         21  going to be another hearing on this bill, that we

 

         22  have actual answers from the Administration, at

 

         23  least as to what your perspective is.

 

         24                 I am very comfortable in relying on

 

         25  Council Finance's estimates of things, I find that

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  sometimes the Administration has a different view,

 

          3  and I'd like to hear it. I really think that we're

 

          4  entitled to it. I know in fact when we concluded the

 

          5  last hearing on this, I asked for the same panel to

 

          6  come back with a series of recommendations for what

 

          7  they would improve upon on Local Law 38, and I never

 

          8  got that answer.

 

          9                 The other topic I would just like to

 

         10  briefly touch on, on page three of your testimony

 

         11  you said a significantly lower proportion of

 

         12  immigrant children with blood lead levels receiving

 

         13  environmental intervention had lead-based paint that

 

         14  was peeling or deterioriated in their homes than

 

         15  US-born children. I'd just like to know what the

 

         16  difference in the numbers were?

 

         17                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: It's not a

 

         18  simple question, because the next question to ask

 

         19  is, if you go into these same communities, in

 

         20  families that don't have lead poisoned kids, what

 

         21  portion of the households have peeling lead-based

 

         22  paint? And we don't know the answer to that

 

         23  question. It may be as high as 30 percent or more.

 

         24  Among the US-born kids it's about 71 percent, among

 

         25  foreign-born kids it's about 49 percent haphazard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  And, so, that would be probably the upper limit of

 

          3  the number that would be attributable to lead paint.

 

          4                 COUNCIL MEMBER FIDLER: So it's then a

 

          5  logical construct, I would think, I mean obviously

 

          6  lead paint in homes is a single, most significant

 

          7  factor in lead poisoning among children, but as

 

          8  we've seen the immigration phenomenon in New York,

 

          9  that a large number of these children are being

 

         10  affected before they get to the United States.

 

         11                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Right. We know

 

         12  that in the US 30 years ago, the average lead level

 

         13  was 15 to 20, and in many developing countries it's

 

         14  that high or higher now. And, so, we are addressing

 

         15  that issue as well.

 

         16                 COUNCIL MEMBER FIDLER: I mean, would

 

         17  you say that while lead paint is the most

 

         18  significant, that there are other significant

 

         19  factors that are also at play in lead poisoning

 

         20  children in the City?

 

         21                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: It depends in

 

         22  part on the age of the kids. But, yes, there are

 

         23  other ways that kids get lead poisoned, as lead

 

         24  paint is by far the most important source of lead

 

         25  poisoning in New York City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2                 COUNCIL MEMBER FIDLER: What, if

 

          3  anything, is the Administration doing currently to

 

          4  attack those other significant causes of lead

 

          5  poisoning among children?

 

          6                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: They're

 

          7  educational measures. They're measures about

 

          8  specific products. You may have seen in the news, we

 

          9  recently identified a product brought in from the

 

         10  Dominican Republic and we're working to get that off

 

         11  the shelves here. We're looking at ceramics and

 

         12  lead-based, that are used in ceramics and cosmetics,

 

         13  we've had problems from various countries. There's

 

         14  also a global issue of controlling lead paint

 

         15  globally.

 

         16                 COUNCIL MEMBER FIDLER: I think the

 

         17  substance you're referring to is litigerial. I just

 

         18  filed an intro to make the sale of that illegal, if

 

         19  it's not already, and hopefully you'll be able to

 

         20  join in that.

 

         21                 Has there been any discussion, and I

 

         22  realize this is entirely beyond our purview, but on

 

         23  the federal level requiring children adjusting their

 

         24  status under a certain age from having a lead test

 

         25  done at the time of their adjustment so there might

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  be early intervention on a health basis?

 

          3                 I mean, obviously we can't legislate

 

          4  what happens in Mexico or Ecuador or Pakistan or

 

          5  Haiti, or any of the countries that you listed, but

 

          6  when a child comes here to become a permanent

 

          7  resident of the United States, and we find out that

 

          8  they have a condition, we give treatment to them as

 

          9  quickly as possible; has there been any discussion

 

         10  of that with our federal representatives?

 

         11                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: The treatment

 

         12  is to remove from the source, and if the child is

 

         13  coming and they're being removed from the source

 

         14  that they're being exposed globally, there are

 

         15  complicated issues with respect to immigration

 

         16  requirements and it's very important that we remain

 

         17  welcoming to the immigrant community that remain

 

         18  really the vitality of this City.

 

         19                 COUNCIL MEMBER FIDLER: I'm certainly

 

         20  not suggesting that a child who has lead in their

 

         21  blood, you know, be barred from adjusting. Excuse my

 

         22  ignorance, I thought that there might be something

 

         23  that could be done for a child who has been

 

         24  afflicted in terms of treatment.

 

         25                 You're saying that the only treatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  is removing them from the source of the lead?

 

          3  There's nothing that can be done to help them?

 

          4                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: The levels that

 

          5  we're seeing are not levels that require any medical

 

          6  treatment or benefit from any medical treatment.

 

          7                 If you have a very level, 50, 60,

 

          8  there may be benefit for treatment, but we barely

 

          9  see that.

 

         10                 COUNCIL MEMBER FIDLER: Okay. Thank

 

         11  you.

 

         12                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: I was just

 

         13  informed by my staff, I'd like to say it for the

 

         14  record, that Corp Counsel was invited to attend this

 

         15  hearing and we got no response from them.

 

         16                 Council Member Martinez.

 

         17                 COUNCIL MEMBER MARTINEZ: Thank you,

 

         18  Madam Chair.

 

         19                 Commissioner of HPD, I just want to

 

         20  touch base again on the XRF machines; is that the

 

         21  latest in technology available that HPD is using?

 

         22                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Yes. I think

 

         23  it's the only portable technology available to

 

         24  detect lead paint, yes.

 

         25                 COUNCIL MEMBER MARTINEZ: Okay, that

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  wasn't mentioned earlier.

 

          3                 Commissioner of Health, would it be

 

          4  fair to say that even though you have that

 

          5  population of immigrant children coming in lead

 

          6  poisoned, the fact still remains that they're living

 

          7  in apartment conditions where there are peeling

 

          8  paints and lead-based paints where they're migrating

 

          9  to; is that fair to say?

 

         10                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: I've been very

 

         11  clear about this last time and this time also. We're

 

         12  not saying that every immigrant child had a

 

         13  lead-based paint hazard overseas. We are saying, is

 

         14  that as we think about what's going to happen future

 

         15  years with lead poisoning in New York City, we need

 

         16  to recognize that we have a variety of different

 

         17  populations that we need to address and deal with,

 

         18  and one of them is immigrant children, many of whom

 

         19  who have high levels will have had them from

 

         20  overseas. Some of them will have them from here. I'm

 

         21  not trying to say that all of the problem is

 

         22  overseas.

 

         23                 COUNCIL MEMBER MARTINEZ: No, no. I

 

         24  just want to be clear on the fact that it is a

 

         25  problem overseas, but the fact still remains that

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  the housing stock that we are identifying in the

 

          3  community where kids are more likely to be at risk,

 

          4  is because they're living conditions, either you

 

          5  have lead-based paint, or you have peeling paint, or

 

          6  you have lead dust in those apartments.

 

          7                 Now, have the Department of Health

 

          8  conducted a study to the sense of, for example, if

 

          9  you have a child born in the United States, let's

 

         10  say in my district, Washington Heights, you have a

 

         11  child born in the United States, and a child born

 

         12  overseas in the Dominican Republic, how many

 

         13  households does the -- let me try to think this over

 

         14  again.

 

         15                 Has the Department had a study that

 

         16  looked at families where you have children who are

 

         17  born in the United States and children who were born

 

         18  overseas who were living in the same apartment? And

 

         19  have you compared statistics to the lead poisoning

 

         20  rate among those children?

 

         21                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: No, we haven't

 

         22  done a study like that.

 

         23                 What we do know is that the rate

 

         24  among children who immigrate, even in the same

 

         25  communities, is higher than the rate among US born

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  children, because they're getting exposed to more

 

          3  lead in other countries than they would be here.

 

          4                 COUNCIL MEMBER MARTINEZ: Now, what

 

          5  kind of collaboration is the Department of Health

 

          6  conducting with these communities in terms of

 

          7  addressing the early intervention overseas, if any?

 

          8                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Our activities

 

          9  to date have been in New York City, and working with

 

         10  the communities on education, outreach,

 

         11  presentation, working with community organizations,

 

         12  educating people on ways to avoid lead poisoning

 

         13  both here and abroad.

 

         14                 COUNCIL MEMBER MARTINEZ: Thank you.

 

         15                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Council

 

         16  Member, are you finished?

 

         17                 COUNCIL MEMBER MARTINEZ: Yes.

 

         18                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: Oh, okay.

 

         19                 I'm sorry, I'm derelict in my duty.

 

         20  We've been joined by Councilwoman Gale Brewer, in

 

         21  back of me we have Council Member Kendall Stewart.

 

         22                 I have a question for the

 

         23  Commissioner of Health.

 

         24                 There was recently an article in the

 

         25  New York Times, I'm sure you read it, "Overhead And

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  Underfoot," and since there are environmental issues

 

          3  involved, you know, we talk about kids coming into

 

          4  the country, and I was wondering if you have any

 

          5  idea of the incidence, the percentage or the

 

          6  incidence of lead poisoning that we could be seeing

 

          7  from these kinds of things, elevated trains,

 

          8  highways?

 

          9                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Lead,

 

         10  unfortunately, as I mentioned, is ubiquitous in our

 

         11  environment as a result of decades of use of

 

         12  lead-based paints and leaded gasoline. You find lead

 

         13  hazards in about two-thirds of all apartments where

 

         14  there is a lead-poisoned kid.

 

         15                 Now that doesn't necessarily mean

 

         16  that those hazards caused that lead poisoning, but

 

         17  certainly those hazards need to be repaired.

 

         18                 But in one-third we don't find

 

         19  lead-based hazards, and that proportion increases as

 

         20  children get older, that proportion increases if the

 

         21  child is foreign-born, and over time that proportion

 

         22  will increase as it has increased, as we improve the

 

         23  correction of lead-based hazards in housing stock.

 

         24                 CHAIRPERSON PROVENZANO: I mean, I

 

         25  often think those of us that are on this side of 50

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  in this room, when we were kids we had lead-based,

 

          3  we had lead in gasoline, we had lead in just about

 

          4  everything that was around us. If we had been

 

          5  tested, I'm sure all of us would have had fantastic

 

          6  amounts of lead.

 

          7                 Next questioner, Council Member

 

          8  Perkins.

 

          9                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Thank you

 

         10  very much, Madam Chair.

 

         11                 I first need to say unequivocally

 

         12  that I appreciate the step forward that is being

 

         13  reflected in the testimony. It is a step forward

 

         14  that is almost a giant step by comparison to the

 

         15  attitude that I believe was shared in prior

 

         16  hearings, and clearly it suggests great promise for

 

         17  coming together on behalf of the children, as long

 

         18  as we continue to focus on what is most significant

 

         19  about the problem.

 

         20                 And I'm sorry to say that it seems

 

         21  somewhat diversionary, the preoccupation, on the

 

         22  immigrant aspect of this, and contrary to some

 

         23  extent to your testimony which wants us to focus on

 

         24  where the real problems are, and especially since

 

         25  you seem to dismiss that immigrant piece is not

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  really directly related to the lead poisoning that

 

          3  takes place in the house.

 

          4                 But be that as it may, I know that,

 

          5  you know, as marathon runner, it's the last laps of

 

          6  the race that are most difficult, and as much as I

 

          7  applaud the fact that we're making progress, I know

 

          8  that there's still some difficulties that we have to

 

          9  overcome, but I'm optimistic that we will and look

 

         10  forward to working with you towards that end.

 

         11                 I notice that you made some reference

 

         12  to industry experts and medical experts in

 

         13  fortifying your testimony, particularly, you know,

 

         14  and who you anticipate to come in support of your

 

         15  testimony; did you get a chance to talk to any

 

         16  industry experts and medical experts that might have

 

         17  testified in support of 101-A? In either case,

 

         18  whether it's the housing industry or the medical

 

         19  community?

 

         20                 In other words, for instance, as you

 

         21  know there were some folks who testified in support

 

         22  of 101-A that might have said, for instance, that

 

         23  the social costs of lead poisoning are $1.4 billion,

 

         24  and I know you were here, or you know of that

 

         25  testimony; did you get a chance to speak to folks

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  from that perspective, to sort of understand where

 

          3  they were coming from? And I know that there were

 

          4  others from the housing community that supported

 

          5  101-A who testified to the value of this from their

 

          6  perspective, and I'm just wondering did either one

 

          7  of you speak to the experts from the other side, as

 

          8  well as those that may have more or less supported

 

          9  your point of view?

 

         10                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: We certainly

 

         11  didn't, between June and now, speak to everybody who

 

         12  testified, but we certainly spoke to a number of

 

         13  people, including those who supported 101-A.

 

         14                 We had extensive discussions with

 

         15  some of the community's not-for-profit

 

         16  organizations, actually who represented both

 

         17  different points of view, some supported 101-A at

 

         18  the hearing and some did not. We also probably met

 

         19  with a large number of advocates for 101-A. We

 

         20  didn't meet with the people on the medical side, we

 

         21  were focused more with people on the housing and

 

         22  community development side of the equation. Yes, we

 

         23  did.

 

         24                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: My staff meets

 

         25  with a variety of folks in environmental health. I

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  very carefully review any published data that's

 

          3  relevant on this, and I'm always willing to listen

 

          4  to data-driven arguments for how best to protect our

 

          5  kids.

 

          6                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: So, for

 

          7  instance, with regard to the original cost that you

 

          8  estimated that 101-A would cost, there were experts

 

          9  that pointed out that the social costs were at least

 

         10  four to five times greater; did you get a chance to

 

         11  look at that by comparison?

 

         12                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: I have seen an

 

         13  article making that claim, yes.

 

         14                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Did you

 

         15  dismiss the article? Do you accept the article? I

 

         16  just want to get a sense of --

 

         17                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: No. I think, as

 

         18  I have said before, the weight of scientific

 

         19  evidence is that even low levels of lead poisoning

 

         20  are damaging and carry a very significant social

 

         21  cost.

 

         22                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Beyond the

 

         23  costs that you originally estimated, and even more

 

         24  modest costs presented to us by the independent

 

         25  budget office and State Comptroller, and the City

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  Comptroller, for that matter.

 

          3                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Cost estimates

 

          4  are challenging, and we're not trying to give you a

 

          5  less than straightforward answer --

 

          6                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: What cost

 

          7  estimates? Medical cost estimates or social cost

 

          8  estimates?

 

          9                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Let me finish

 

         10  the sentence.

 

         11                 Cost estimates are challenging. Even

 

         12  working out the exact cost of the statute may be

 

         13  changed drastically by changing a few words here or

 

         14  then either up or down.

 

         15                 Social cost estimates are much

 

         16  harder. They rely on a large number of estimates.

 

         17  I'm not saying I don't agree with them, I'm just

 

         18  saying they're complicated.

 

         19                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Thank you.

 

         20                 I want to be clear as to -- one of my

 

         21  colleagues made some remarks about the legislation,

 

         22  though well intended, is misguided, and I just want

 

         23  to be clear that that's not the point of view that

 

         24  you're sharing.

 

         25                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: No, I don't

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  think either of us said that it was misguided. I

 

          3  think all that we're saying is let's try to build on

 

          4  what the law's clear objectives really are, which is

 

          5  to ensure that the physical work gets done that will

 

          6  help to eradicate lead paint, especially where we

 

          7  know children are most at risk. And I think, you

 

          8  know, and I think that we're supportive of that, and

 

          9  I think that seems to me to be the overwhelming

 

         10  objective of this bill as well.

 

         11                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Thank you

 

         12  very much.

 

         13                 Commissioner, can I ask you, you

 

         14  indicated, in terms of the targeting, that there

 

         15  were unnecessary costs, or costs, I'll not say

 

         16  unnecessary, that would be incurred in those areas

 

         17  outside of the lead belt or by comparison to the

 

         18  more targeted; what are those costs you've come up

 

         19  with?

 

         20                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: Well, they

 

         21  would result from several things.

 

         22                 First, at turnover you'd have to

 

         23  remove even impact lead in doors, door frames, and

 

         24  windows, and replace, and in peeling paint, you

 

         25  would have to actually remove or permanently cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  lead-based peeling paint, as two examples. And, so,

 

          3  that would be required in every turnover of every

 

          4  apartment in New York City.

 

          5                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Do you know

 

          6  what that is, in terms of dollars and cents? That's

 

          7  what I was getting at.

 

          8                 COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN: My

 

          9  understanding is that a single apartment to correct

 

         10  is anywhere from four or five or six-thousand

 

         11  dollars. We're talking about in New York City, I

 

         12  don't know how many apartments turn over each year,

 

         13  but we're talking about all apartments which

 

         14  children under seven 2007. So that's a lot of

 

         15  apartments.

 

         16                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: And I guess in

 

         17  terms of costs, I mean what I would also just point

 

         18  out was sort of my other basic idea here which is

 

         19  that, let's try to focus the money on the work and

 

         20  not build a big bureaucratic burden, and that to me

 

         21  is less of a question of how much should be spent,

 

         22  but how it should be spent.

 

         23                 So, I think, you know, as I said in

 

         24  my testimony, things like, you know, creating a

 

         25  central register of every apartment in New York and

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  keeping a separate file where every piece of paper

 

          3  goes into the file, that's just a very extensive

 

          4  kind of thing to do that doesn't really advance I

 

          5  think what the overall and overarching objective

 

          6  here is, which is to compel the owners of the

 

          7  private housing stock who have housing that is most

 

          8  threatening to the children's lives to actually

 

          9  invest in it in a substantive way and do work

 

         10  properly. So, I think if we can keep a focus on

 

         11  those objectives and not have costs kind of incur on

 

         12  kind of like building this big bureaucracy, I think

 

         13  we could really make the law extremely effective.

 

         14                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: I agree and

 

         15  we're obviously interested in doing that, but when

 

         16  you mention cost, it's important for us to

 

         17  understand what that means in terms of dollars and

 

         18  cents to determine how much of a significant focus

 

         19  this should be, or how much of an obstacle this

 

         20  really is. One of my colleagues pointed out, it may

 

         21  be such that they won't be able to support the

 

         22  legislation. It doesn't seem like that based on what

 

         23  I'm hearing. Would you say it's relatively modest,

 

         24  the diversionary focuses, whether they be

 

         25  administrative, bureaucratic?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: I don't think

 

          3  we're in the position to say that it's modest. What

 

          4  I can say, and what I did say in my testimony on the

 

          5  administrative overhead is that it can be two or

 

          6  three times the overhead cost that we see now, and

 

          7  that, again, I'm not --

 

          8                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: What do you

 

          9  see now as the overhead cost?

 

         10                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: What I said was

 

         11  about I think four to five-thousand dollars in

 

         12  overhead for -- again, I'm going by the work that we

 

         13  do, because that's what I have more, you know,

 

         14  knowledge of. And then in the world of, you know,

 

         15  this proposed law, we think that the overhead on

 

         16  work that would have to be done could increase to

 

         17  about ten to thirteen thousand dollars a unit.

 

         18                 Again, it's not a question of should

 

         19  three times more money be spent. I'm not trying to

 

         20  extend that argument that way. I'm just saying if

 

         21  more money is to be spent, let's focus it on the

 

         22  actual work, let's not see it just go towards

 

         23  building a big bureaucratic overhead and increasing

 

         24  the cost in that regard, because I think we would

 

         25  all agree that that's not really what any of us are

 

 

 

 

 

 

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          2  seeking to accomplish here.

 

          3                 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Commissioner

 

          4  Perine, you had in your testimony made reference to

 

          5  tenants and their non-compliance, I guess you meant

 

          6  access and the like; could you share with us --

 

          7                 COMMISSIONER PERINE: Yes, primarily

 

          8  I'm talking about access. You know, we have done a

 

          9  lot of work in the world of how we deploy our code

 

         10  enforcement staff