First Read 07/11/2019

July 11, 2019
Latest News
A campaign account controlled by new state GOP Chairman Nicholas Langworthy received nearly $13,000 from the long-dead “Three Stooges,” but the party brushed off the joke names as placeholders that were left in the final report in error.
Top union brass for the Brooklyn and Manhattan chapters of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters are facing charges that they ran a membership scheme taking $1,500 bribes to dole out membership cards to nonunion workers.
Reclaim New York, a conservative advocacy group backed by Long Island billionaire Robert Mercer and associated with former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon, has announced it is reducing its staff and operations.
Ninety pounds of confetti painted New York City Hall red, white and blue to honor the U.S. women’s national soccer team, but the excitement was tinged by recognition of the gender pay gap in professional sports.
New York City’s public school system could save $2.4 billion and alleviate overcrowding if education officials think outside the box instead of drawing up costly construction plans, according to a new study by the Citizens Budget Commission.
More than a dozen MTA bus and train operators were busted driving for Uber and Lyft during mandated rest time between shifts, according to a series of 2018 investigations by the agency’s Inspector General.
Jeffrey Epstein never once checked in with New York City police in the eight years since a Manhattan judge ordered him to do so every 90 days, but the NYPD says that’s because he claims his primary residence in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
New York City’s City Planning Commission heard plans for four jails full of natural sunlight and space for programming ahead of an upcoming vote by the body whether or not to move forward with the plan to replace Rikers Island.
A bill passed by the state Legislature and yet to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo could change the way votes are counted in the Queens district attorney recount, but questions remain about its fairness and necessity.
New York City is expected to pay upward of $3,500 per unit per month at two new homeless shelters in Park Slope, Brooklyn, though the city has struggled to explain why the new shelters will cost so much more than similar family shelters.
The battle between Richard Thomas and Andre Wallace over who is mayor of Mount Vernon seems headed to a confrontation in court, after the City Council invoked a city charter passage that they believe says Thomas forfeited the office when he pleaded guilty to misdemeanors.
New York City officials announced the beginning of an expanded speed camera program, which will significantly expand the number of speed cameras and their hours of operation.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office announced that the state’s cap on property tax increases will remain at 2% for the 2020 fiscal year.
New privately funded solar panel arrays in major New York City complexes like Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village and, soon, Co-Op City, could help the city catch up with national leaders in the solar power movement like Los Angeles.
State Attorney General Letitia James criticized the expected wave of mass arrests and deportations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as “deplorable” and pledged to aid undocumented immigrant families who are arrested.
MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye called for changes to state law and union contracts to stop employees who’ve been busted cheating on their time sheets and abusing overtime from collecting taxpayer-funded pensions.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is spearheading a legislative push that would virtually end the Trump administration’s controversial practice of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S. southern border.
Jeffrey Epstein, the financier facing sex-trafficking charges in New York, asked a federal judge to release him on substantial bond, pledging to put up his his palatial Manhattan townhouse and his private jet as collateral.
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For the first time since 2013, the New York City subway’s on-time performance surpassed 80%, marking a huge improvement over its worst month, January 2018, when on-time performance was just 58%.
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Editorial Pages
New York City leaders concerned about police officers’ mental health should focus on eliminating the rhetoric that undermines morale and focus on ensuring officers aren’t penalized for asking for help, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch writes.
There’s a culture of fakery that runs through the entire MTA, inflating paychecks and pensions, and setting things right will require not just a thorough overhaul, but major management reforms and changes to labor work rules.
National Grid claiming a natural gas shortage on Long Island is exactly what climate change radicals want – a cutoff in fossil fuel supplies, whatever the consequences, never mind that there’s no good substitute now.
From City & State
National Politics
House Republican women like Rep. Elise Stefanik are desperate to rebuild their ranks and frustrated that some of their male colleagues are working against them, plus having Trump at the top of the ticket isn’t helping.
U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta defended his handling of the sex crimes prosecution of Epstein in Florida more than a decade ago, effectively making the case to President Donald Trump to keep his job.
Nationwide raids to arrest thousands of members of undocumented families have been scheduled to begin Sunday, as the federal government moves forward with a previously postponed, rapidly changing operation.
A renewal of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is expected to cost $10.2 billion over the next 10 years according to the Congressional Budget Office, a day before the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote.
Trump is expected to announce that he is backing down from his effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, and will instead take executive action to obtain an estimate of U.S. citizenship through other means.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will launch an effort to round up thousands of undocumented immigrants across the country on Sunday as part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
In Depth
Millions of taxpayer dollars are being invested into private prison operators involved in the detention of thousands of migrants across the country, and some of the largest investments come from states with “sanctuary” policies, including New York.
Elected officials, advocates and riders agree: New York City’s bus system is broken. The entities with actual control have taken steps toward improving the situation, though many questions around commitment and implementation remain.
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