One of the most noteworthy failures of the de Blasio administration has been its inability to bring down the number of homeless people in New York City. But one segment of that population – those who literally live on the streets and don’t have temporary places to stay – is actually declining. Now if Steve Banks, the city’s social services commissioner, could only find similar success in reducing the much bigger and broader homeless population.
Rivera, Rodriguez ride safe streets bills to victory
Rivera, Rodriguez ride safe streets bills to victory
Update: Two New York City Council members - Carlina Rivera and Ydanis Rodriguez - worked in tandem to pass safe streets legislation, including a bill that City Hall initially opposed, which our readers applauded by making them last week's biggest winners. But Brooklyn CB1's Gerald Esposito wasn't so lucky, earning the top spot on our losers list thanks to his taxpayer-funded SUV.
Did Robert Mueller’s public remarks this week regarding his special counsel investigation make President Donald Trump a winner or a loser? The answer largely depends on the political party of the beholder. “The case is closed!” Trump tweeted, a line his Republican allies echoed. Democratic lawmakers replied: Impeach Trump! City & State is following Mueller’s lead and declining to weigh in on the president – but we are rendering judgment on the latest Winners & Losers.
New York City has traditionally had a problem with publicly honoring people who made the city what it is but weren’t white men. On the eve of LGBTQ Pride Month, the city is shifting course with a new monument near the Stonewall Inn. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two drag performers and activists believed to be instrumental in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, will be immortalized, helping the city to close its gap in public art recognizing not only women, but transgender women and people of color.
Is there an art to redesigning city streets – plopping down a planter that feels just right? Or is it a simple formula to follow, favoring people over cars? The New York City Department of Transportation will soon find out, thanks to a pair of bills passed by these New York City Council members. One bill will make a checklist of design standards for planners to follow. The other requires temporary bike lanes when permanent ones are covered by construction.
Now that he’s gunning for a higher office, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has finally decided he supports guaranteed paid vacation time. It only took him five years. Jumaane Williams first introduced the bill in 2014 when he was a city councilman, but the mayor had remained mum on the issue until now. Better late than never, right? At least the public advocate got a thank you from de Blasio, and a renewed chance at passing the proposal.
At long last, legislation that bans the construction of new trash incinerators in the Finger Lakes region has been signed by the governor. The issue has been a heated one in the area for over a year, as community activists and local environmental advocates tried to block a proposed incinerator in the town of Romulus. With the signing of the bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Cusick and state Sen. Rachel May, the plans of the company proposing the garbage facility have gone up in flames.
Community boards in New York City don’t have much teeth – but at least one of them provides nice perks! The nonprofit news site The City exposed $26K in taxpayer funds spent on a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for Gerald Esposito, the district manager of Brooklyn’s Community Board 1. To be fair, none of the other community boards have been so generous to their top staffers. And while the mayor called for a probe, Esposito offered this defense: “I’m not going to parties.”
He may have been born Luckie, but he wasn’t lucky in the end. The former Cushman & Wakefield manager orchestrated a pay-to-play scheme in which he awarded contracts in exchange for sports tickets, trips, meals and more, according to an indictment from state Attorney General Letitia James. Luckie and two alleged co-conspirators will have a chance to prove their innocence. But if the claims are true, they not only enriched themselves illegally – they put the public at risk.
Robert Mujica is the governor’s budget director, but budget wizard may be a more fitting descriptor. He apparently performed some kind of fiscal sleight of hand to create the illusion that spending increased by only 2%. An analysis by the Citizens Budget Commission concluded that the increase is closer to 5% for this fiscal year. Pay no attention to that money from the Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax!
The corporation counsel for Mount Vernon was indicted this week on charges of engaging in a scheme to divert public funds in order to pay for the criminal legal defense of Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas. Thomas faces charges of stealing campaign funds for personal expenses. The case is an important lesson in not (allegedly) breaking the law to do your boss a favor.
The cops pulled the brakes on an infuriating crime spree this week, arresting the 23-year-old Isaiah Thompson, accusing the serial subway surfer of stopping trains in their tracks as many as 23 times this year. MTA officials kept quiet about the subway saboteur at first, but word got out last week, temporarily giving Gov. Andrew Cuomo some competition as the one man everyone blames for their slow commutes.