Wednesday, November 13, 2019

911 will continue to be a joke for another two years

NY Post

New York’s new 911 text messaging system will finally arrive next summer, two years late and millions over budget, city officials admitted Tuesday.

Eusebio Formoso, the interim commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, testified to city council members that his agency is “moving ahead” with the project to phase texting into the city’s existing 1980s-era analog 911 system by June 2020.
Officials initially promised to have the system online by “early 2018.”

The program is part of a larger $28 million contract awarded to Motorola subsidiary Vesta Solutions in 2017, which has ballooned to $41 million as the delays built.

The improved technology will help domestic violence victims by allowing battered women and children to get help quietly, without tipping off their attackers.

It would also be welcomed by 208,000 city residents who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, as well as the speech-impaired, who can’t call 911.

The long-overdue option — part of the city’s larger “Next Generation 911” project — is already available in 2,000-plus municipalities and counties across the country.

“Since this interim system is being built to handle the highest 911 call volume in the US, getting the system right is a matter of life and death,” said Formoso.

He added that DoITT “would certainly like to be further along than where we are” but blamed the delays on the “complexity” of the project.

Councilman Robert Holden, who chairs the technology committee, wasn’t buying the excuses.
“Nine New York state counties — including neighboring Rockland and Dutchess counties — have all had text-to-911 since as early as 2013, so it’s kind of weird that New York City doesn’t have [911 texting], considering we have the largest population of people with disabilities,” he said.

Holden also said he’s “puzzled” that the city hasn’t even implemented a “Smart 911” system similar to the one now being used in Nassau County.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

School bus driver physically ejects an unusual passenger from his bus on Jamaica Avenue



The ending is utterly amazing.

 Tell the kids to be very aware of their surroundings

Melinda Katz makes her Pavillion dream come true


The Parks Department is continuing to rehab the old 1964 World’s Fair structures at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, breaking ground on the reconstruction of the New York State Pavilion Observation Towers last week.

“The work we are breaking ground on today will go a long way toward restoring the iconic New York State Pavilion to its former glory,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said in a statement. 

“This work will enable future generations to continue to enjoy the Pavilion’s distinctive Space Age architecture and be reminded about the important role the 1964-65 World’s Fair played in Queens history.”

The structures in the World’s Fair area, most notably the Unisphere, have become Queens landmarks. The $24 million project, funded by Katz, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Franciso Moya, will see the towers’ bases waterproofed, electrical upgrades, structural preservation measures and stair replacement.

Soccer at Willets Point?

Queens Eagle

A brand new professional soccer club will kick off at York College in 2021, the team owners announced Tuesday — thirteen months after the Eagle first reported on the team’s likely arrival.
Queensboro FC will compete in the United Soccer League Championship division, a tier below Major League Soccer in the hierarchy of U.S. soccer leagues. The ownership group includes businessman Jonathan Krane, the CEO of KraneShares, and legendary Spanish striker David Villa.

"I lived and played in New York for four years. I know what a special place Queens is," said Villa, who played for NYCFC after starring for Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at club level and winning the 2010 World Cup with Spain. "I love the cultures, the food, the people and their passion for life and, of course, soccer.”

“It's a dream to help build this football club in Queens and I couldn't choose a better location," he added.

The club will play its home games at York College, with a few matches taking place at Citi Field, the team said in a statement.

Councilmember Francisco Moya called the new club “exciting” and welcomed its arrival. In September 2018, Moya met with Villa and Borough President Melinda Katz at Borough Hall to discuss the team, and a potential new venue for the club.

The trio discussed a proposal “to build a 10,000 to 25,000-seat soccer stadium in the Willets Point redevelopment area that would serve as home for the Queensboro Football Club, a proposed new team that would play in the United Soccer League, a second division professional league,” read a statement provided by Katz’s office.

Apparently, now there's a Queens soccer team. Which could mean the City proceeds with a soccer stadium at Willets Point. (Could this be the reason for rumors of Mayor de Blasio stopping at Willets Point on Nov. 18th?)

Acacia Network's poverty profiteering off the city's homeless population


Annie was already retired when she lost her apartment. With no source of income save for her Social Security work benefits, it wasn’t long before she ended up in the New York City shelter system. That’s where she would learn the name Acacia Network. 

Acacia is the largest provider of homeless housing in New York’s metropolitan area, but it is not just a shelter operator. Over the decades, Acacia has built a small empire with connections running up the ladder of city government. It has amassed a web of interconnected nonprofits and for-profits that offer shelter, affordable housing, addiction and medical services, and security. According to the city’s Department of Homeless Services website, Acacia manages “750 individual family units and four buildings for approximately 550 homeless adults.”

Annie, whose name has been changed for this article, has been living in one of these for the last several years. But right away, she knew things were askew—and it wasn’t just that another resident had threatened to murder her. She would soon come to realize that the problem was multi-tiered: a pattern of mismanagement that left the shelter understaffed, undersupplied, and dangerous for its residents. 

“No nurse practitioner is ever there to give out the medication. The staff has to give out the medication,” Annie tells Sludge, noting that this leaves residents frequently out of sync with their individual treatment regimens with some dire consequences. Every other day, she sighs, “the ambulance seems to be there for one reason or another.” 

Compounding the issue, she says, is a lack of adequate security—something online reviews of the establishment have touched on. One reviewer says they never “felt safe” while living there.

“They’re supposed to have a guard on every floor,” Annie explains. “That rarely happens because people are always calling out. So one guard usually has to do two floors or sometimes three.”

On one occasion, Annie tells us someone at the shelter was hit over the head with a lead pipe smuggled in from a nearby construction site. Another time, she says, someone got hot water thrown on them in the dining room. 

There are other issues caused by Acacia not sufficiently treating residents, Annie says. This past summer, she explains, there was a string of toilet backups due to people flushing entire rolls and other objects.

Frustrated, Annie notes that the shelter tends to respond to these incidents in ways that hurt residents. After the hot water attack, for example, management removed hot water for tea and coffee from the dining room altogether. To address the toilet problems, the shelter’s cleaning staff stopped stocking rooms with toilet paper as soon as the facility’s annual “Callahan” inspection—named for the 1981 court case that established the “right to shelter” in New York City—had completed. 

“When you need toilet paper you have to go down to the front desk and they give you a wad…and you have to ration,” she laments.

What Annie describes is a complete culture of neglect, which doesn’t square with the large amount of money Acacia rakes in from the city. In the 2019 fiscal year alone (July 2018 through June 2019), it received $259 million in contracts from the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), which accounted for 18.5% of the department’s contracts that year. Acacia gets additional funding from the Department of Social Services and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Since the 2011 fiscal year, it has received over $1.1 billion worth of city contracts. 

 Acacia has seen its funding increase since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office. As luxury condominium developments rose and more of the city’s available housing stock was left empty, de Blasio found himself facing a simultaneous rise in homelessness. In response, he set out to increase the number of homeless shelters in the city. In 2017, he announced a plan, called “Turning the Tide on 
Homelessness in New York City,” to close unsafe and expensive cluster-site and hotel shelters and build 90 new shelters over five years.

Acacia and its multiple linked entities have been the biggest beneficiaries. In total, 10 Acacia entities have received roughly $1.17 billion in city funding since 2010.

Bronx landlord menaced and is now evicting tenant for trying to report uninhabitable conditions at her apartment

NY Daily News

Keep your mouth shut, and you can stay put.

That’s the loud-and-clear message a social services provider sent to a Bronx mother of three when it made her promise to stop calling the city’s 311 help line with gripes about her heat-less, rodent-filled subsidized apartment.

Iesha Poindexter told the Daily News that since she moved into her 4453 White Plains Rd. unit in 2013, it’s been one nightmare after another, with spotty heat and hot water and a near-constant sprinkling of rodent droppings on her family’s clothing.

When management failed to remedy the issues, she complained to 311 — which irked staffers so much, they told her to stop calling, or go.

In August, Poindexter was presented with a form that stipulated she must stop contacting the city helpline with complaints, or she’d get the boot. The form said she must “refrain from calling 311 in regard to any complaints or repair work that needs to be completed in your apartment or on any of Five Stars Management property.”

Poindexter, afraid she’d find herself on the street with her three sons — and the two kittens she adopted as a form of rodent control — reluctantly signed.

But now, she told The News, management is going to kick her out anyway when her lease expires in March.

“They just gave me a lease ... but said there’s no way they’re renewing it,” she said. “They evil.”

The building she lives in, Poindexter said, houses tenants who receive a mix of rent subsidies, including supportive housing and welfare money, which she receives, as well as other sources of funding like Section 8 vouchers and veterans assistance.

She pays rent out of her own pocket through supportive housing subsidies from the Acacia Network — the entity that provides social services in the building and whose letterhead appears on the form she signed — and with welfare money she gets through the city Department of Homeless Services, she said. All of it goes to the building’s property manager, Five Stars Management.

Ah, that scalliwag Acacia Network, which all you long-time Crapper readers should be familiar with.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Developers who donated to de Blasio's corrupt CONY and presidential PACs are first to get air rights for building towers by public housing

NY Daily News

It may not be a bridge, but the city has something to sell you in Brooklyn — and donors to Mayor de Blasio are first in line to benefit.

In what appears to be a textbook “pay-to-play” move, the city is selling NYCHA development rights to builders who gave de Blasio’s campaigns more than $20,000.

Air rights at the Ingersoll Houses near Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn are being sold for $25 million to Maddd Equities, whose chief Jorge Madruga gave $10,000 to Hizzoner’s scandal-plagued Campaign for One New York, plus another $5,350 for his mayoral runs, according to filings. Joy Construction, whose employees gave de Blasio’s mayoral campaigns $5,200, is co-developer on the deal.

The companies plan to build two apartment buildings of about 31 and 33 stories each right next to the New York City Housing Authority buildings in Downtown Brooklyn.

“It absolutely looks terrible,” Susan Lerner, executive director of good government group Common Cause, said. “It definitely violates the spirit if not the letter of our campaign finance law and it removes public assets from public control without public input"

By buying 91,000 square feet of the Ingersoll House’s unused air rights - vertical space available under zoning laws - Maddd Equities and Joy Construction will be able to build about 10 stories higher than their original plans for the lots.

The city and the builders say the deal is a win-win.

The $25 million check will go toward a variety of repairs at the 75-year-old Ingersoll Houses, which will need about $300 million in repairs and maintenance work over the next nine years, according to the city.

The de Blasio administration hopes to raise $1 billion for NYCHA repairs through the sale of unused air rights, that can only be used for properties adjacent to public housing.

“It’s not about taking all of the green space and converting it to buildings at all,” said Jonathan Gouveia, NYCHA’s senior vice president of real estate. “We’re trying to be very strategic in how we insert some buildings so that you’re adding some density and generating some proceeds but at the same time, not dramatically changing the overall feel of the neighborhood.”

The developers plan to set aside 25% of their new towers’ roughly 400 units as “affordable housing.” Households earning 60% of the area’s median income would qualify. The developers say they will work with the local community board to help Ingersoll residents apply for those units.

Riis Park only improved the beach for the bazaar and boardwalk and not for the picnic area


Impunity City

Well another summer has departed and the belated autumn solstice has arrived today after the climate change influenced unusual warmth of last October, so this would be the right time to document and review this years spring and summer season spent at Riis Park. And it’s not good at all and it has not ended well, as the dramatic changes that came forth with certain and way overdue (and selective) renovations took place

 As the days of May got later, there actually was a itty bitty slither of hope for the people’s beach. The Riis Park Bathhouse renovation attracted more concessions and restaurant fare, as well as new food stands on the end of the boardwalk by the abandoned hospital and both were supplied with live laptop DJ’s. More food trucks were added to where the heart of the Brooklyn Night Bazaar Riis Park Beach Bazaar takes place, probably for people who do not care for the upscale foodie concept fare being sold in the restaurant inside and the stand by the pitch-and-putt course. There was also the return of the ludicrous high end slum camping concept Camp Rockaway in the dirty chigger infested backyard of the bathhouse. Volleyball courts were also added right in the next yard too for adventurous players and camp guests to play on the hard concrete. It was quite a sight to behold this year on every weekend, as people gathered to enjoy the summer breeze, sharing the company of diverse races and cultures, and extravagantly overpriced fast food, beer and cocktails. Vibrancy in action I believe it’s called.



But something was missing from all the free market vibrancy going on the boardwalk. Somehow all the restorations and renovations and all the upscale prices that went into providing a venue for the bazaar did not transfer to a very essential part of beach and parkland that was already a big attraction. In fact it was the only vibrant destination spot before the natural disaster of a category one hurricane and the unwelcome appearance of gentrifiers hit the people’s beach (yes, I’m aware of the irony that gentrifiers are people too) and that is the picnic and grilling area.

Before that bitch Sandy came, it was arguably the best and most spacious grilling area in the city. Despite how small it looks, it had ample space and plenty of tables and grills for anyone that showed up anytime. It also had a lot of wind swept trees from the powerful Atlantic Ocean winds that gave the picnic area a cool presence and a visual wonder of nature.




But where are the goddamn tables? This is a federally tax payer subsidized picnic area.

Developers are using racism to eradicate home ownership (but not how you would expect)

NYC Gentrification Watch

You know, just as I think that Big Development couldn’t sink any lower, along comes an even worse new low. It’s the type of low that has me now certain that there has got to be a Big Development think tank cooking up talking points and then disseminating them to dopes in the media too dumb to question what they’re told and too eager to virtue signal what wonderful progressives they are.

There’s no question in my mind that this is what’s happening now when it comes to gentrification. I say that because funny how every so often, a talking point having absolutely no basis in reality will seem to have popped up out nowhere and get repeated among several media and social media outlets.

Especially interesting about it is how it never has any clear origins. It’s just this mysterious thing that emerged out of the blue one day, yet keeps getting stated as if it’s this long established, self-evident, indisputable fact that everyone has known for ages.

Take this talking point, for example–single-family houses/single-family house zoning is racist against blacks and therefore should be eliminated for their benefit. This is one that’s been been picking up steam over the past 4-5 years, to the point where now it’s spurring legislation. As of 2018, municipalities across the country have begun pushing for or have actually gone ahead with banning single-family housing in an attempt to “free” po’ black folks from the racial oppression that is single-family home ownership.

Try to do research on where this talking point originated and like every other suspicious talking point of unknown origins, there isn’t a specific person or entity we can trace it back to. It’s as if it came out of thin air just a few years ago. But of course it’s as if it came out of thin air.  The reason why is that this “single-family houses are racist” talking point is bullshit–Grade A, top of the line nonsense that was cooked up and then surreptitiously disseminated to the public, courtesy of useful idiots in social and mass media. But before I expose this cynically crafted talking point for the manure that it is, let’s play Devil’s Advocate by explaining the “logic” behind it.

The logic is that single-family houses and single-family house zoning were invented as a form of racist segregation. For example, say the racist white guard in the town of Shelbyville are getting nervous that blacks are beginning to move into middle class, lily white neighborhoods. How to keep the darkies in their place? No problem-o: zone the areas you want to “keep white” by designating certain areas of Shelbyville as exclusively single-family house zones. The idea is that since houses are too cost-prohibitive for blacks but affordable to whites, they will have no choice but to live in segregated neighborhoods outside of these zones.

How do we know that single-family housing is racist? Why, look at the decades of redlining against blacks when they tried buying houses! Look at the decades of all sorts of other chicanery designed to prevent blacks from owning property! Isn’t that more proof than you need that single-family house zones are racist and need to be abolished? Hell, they’re so racist, let’s not even call them “single-family house zones” anymore. Call them what they really are–exclusionary zoning. So, let’s save black people from exclusionary zoning. Let’s get rid of single-family house zones today!

Sounds logical, doesn’t it? Except there’s a problem. The problem is that it’s based on a gross oversimplification of the complex relationship between housing and racism in the United States. It’s about as dumb as claiming that trees are racist because blacks used to be lynched from them.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Recent charter vote on ULURP approval is giving some developers agita

The Real Deal

Much of the excitement around New York’s election Tuesday centered on the approval of ranked choice voting, but passage of a down-ballot question affecting projects has drawn the ire of some developers.
The measure requires the Department of City Planning to give the relevant borough president, borough board and community board a detailed summary of projects subject to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure at least 30 days before the ULURP application is certified for public review. It also added 15 or 30 days to the time that community boards have to review such applications during the summer.
Some developers criticized it for adding more time and red tape to an already lengthy process but others said it will not have a big impact on their projects.
“Extra time is not the end of the world,” said Eli Weiss of Joy Construction, which is currently working on projects in neighborhoods including the South Bronx and Inwood. “Especially if it’s 15 days.”
“It’s a minimal change,” Weiss continued. “Certainly, I don’t view it as damage, and I think that community board members are not [real estate] professionals, so an extra 30 days, it’s understandable. These are volunteers.”
G&M Realty founder Jerry Wolkoff was more upset about the measure. He stressed that developers usually already need multiple attempts to get through the ULURP process, and these added steps will make that process even longer.
“It doesn’t happen on the first go around,” Wolkoff said of getting ULURP approval from a community board. “They have other questions. The five months will turn into a year, so there’s nothing new for New York.”
Another developer, who asked not to be named, echoed these comments, arguing that the changes will make real estate investors more inclined to build outside of New York City.

Developers claim that the only way affordable housing can be built is if the workers are paid less
Developers of low-cost housing and homelessness advocates say paying the prevailing wage will put them in the poorhouse. Three of the leading industry groups representing below-market builders joined with nonprofit homeless providers Tuesday to warn that a bill in the City Council obligating them pay union rates would roughly double their labor costs—and have a "crippling" impact on new construction.

"We urge the City Council to delay the vote on this bill until it is amended such that it will achieve its goals without crippling housing production and preservation or hampering the efforts to provide shelter to homeless New Yorkers," according to a joint statement by the the Supportive Housing Network of New York, the Human Services Council of New York, Homeless Services United, the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, LiveOn NY and Enterprise Community Partners.

Developers have battled prevailing wage rules for construction workers for years, but have generally enjoyed an amicable relationship with the bill's main beneficiary 32BJ SEIU, which represents janitors and other building employees.

Large projects in areas of the city rezoned under the de Blasio administration already must pay union-level wages.

The statement on Tuesday marked a change not only in who the industry is feuding with, but also in tactics: the release sent to Crain's linked resistance to the prevailing wage with the longstanding difficulties homelessness service providers have in receiving reimbursements from the city, and with the low standard of living experienced by many workers in the senior and indigent care sector.

"While we agree that all workers should be paid a living wage, we want to point out that the (primarily female) staff that work in affordable/senior housing and shelters have government-funded salaries that are far below those of non-prevailing wage building service workers," the group said. "This bill would exacerbate an already gaping pay—and gender gap."

The EDC is skimping on its flood prevention plan for the biggest food distributor in the city


Seven years after Superstorm Sandy, the de Blasio administration has no plans for coastal flooding defense measures to protect the city’s largest food market — a $3 billion hub that sits on a low-lying peninsula in The Bronx.

The Hunts Point Food Distribution Center — home to 8,500 workers at 115 companies that are anchored by three sprawling markets for meat, produce and fish — only avoided damage from flooding in October 2012 because the storm surge arrived at low tide, residents and advocates say.

In 2013, officials in the administration of then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg identified an “integrated flood protection system” for Hunts Point among its preferred resiliency projects for the city.
Years later, city officials have moved forward on just one of the two resiliency projects proposed in 2015 as priorities for Hunts Point by an advisory group of neighborhood residents, business owners and advocates.

The plan underway, part of a federal competition known as Rebuild By Design, dedicates $71 million for food hub electricity independence, to protect against sustained power outages. It will also bring solar power and energy storage to two nearby public schools, allowing them to serve as emergency shelters.

While residents and advocates support that effort, they say their bigger priority has been coastal flooding protections for an industrial area that distributes food to 22 million residents in the region.

The city Economic Development Corporation’s only gesture on that front has been a verbal commitment to making the vital components of the meat market and two other buildings better able to withstand flood waters — a process called “hardening.” But no funding has been allocated thus far.

“That is absolutely the lowest hanging fruit… and we were just horribly disappointed,” said Annel Hernandez, associate director of NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, which participated in the advisory group sessions. “To date there has been no commitment for an investment toward construction of actual coastal resiliency.”
EDC officials maintain that their work with the community has been collaborative and transparent, and they say the current strategy focusing on energy resiliency and “building hardening” was spurred by available funding, cost-benefit analyses and community priorities.

“The industrial area and specifically, three buildings in the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center are vulnerable to coastal flooding. Many of the other industrial buildings are already elevated or have loading docks that put critical uses out of the flood plain,” said EDC spokesperson Shavone Williams.

“The city will continue to work with tenants within the FDC as we look at future modernizations and/or redevelopments to identify opportunities to make facilities that face flood risk more resilient and further protect NYC’s food supply.”

Maybe the EDC would see the severity of this issue and the vulnerability of the area if there were plans to build luxury towers by there. 

Friday, November 8, 2019

Governor Cuomo's upstate economic revival plan based on tech bombs again with devaluing of Tesla plant

Wall Street Journal

 State officials recently wrote down more than $1 billion in economic development investments on several high-tech projects across upstate New York, including the solar-panel factory in Buffalo operated by Tesla Inc., documents show.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo first announced the factory in 2013 as the cornerstone of an effort to jump-start the upstate economy with manufacturing facilities developed by the State University of New York’s Polytechnic Institute. The state spent $959 million to build and equip it.

The Buffalo plant, as well as other factories near Syracuse and Plattsburgh, is owned by the Fort Schuyler Management Corp., a nonprofit entity led by officials from SUNY Poly and other state agencies. In financial statements posted on its website last month, Fort Schuyler wrote down the value of the Buffalo factory by $884 million and other high-tech projects by $311 million. The statements haven’t been previously reported.

Auditors said in the documents that they re-evaluated the terms of the facilities’ leases and determined the corporation “will not likely receive the direct financial benefits associated with ownership of the manufacturing facility and equipment.” Fort Schuyler’s financial statements, which cover the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, valued its land, buildings and equipment at $94.8 million, down from $1.2 billion in 2017.

The change is refueling debate over the Democratic governor’s economic development programs and whether they deliver a good return for taxpayers. State officials insisted the write-downs were merely an accounting change, but critics said they show the facilities have little residual value for the taxpayers who built them.

“This is black and white evidence that they wasted $1.2 billion of taxpayer money,” said E.J. McMahon, research director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank.

Governor Cuomo gets stingy with criminal justice reform

NY Post

District attorneys across the state slammed Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday after he said law enforcement agencies don’t need more funding to implement new criminal justice reforms.

“I think they’ve gotten additional funding, and they’re getting additional funding, so no, I don’t think they need more funding,” Cuomo told reporters at an unrelated event in Albany.

“Everyone always says they want more funding. This year, funding is going to be very difficult.”
DAs have argued they don’t have enough funds to properly carry out the new discovery law — which goes into effect in Jan. 2020 and mandates a 15- to 30-day window for prosecutors and defense lawyers to exchange materials before an arraignment.

They’re seeking extra money for staff and technology upgrades.

“The governor’s unwillingness to appropriate funds for this unfunded mandate will only cause victims to be victimized again when prosecutors are unable to perform the basic functions of their offices,” seethed District Attorneys Association of New York President David Hoovler, a Republican.

“If the state refuses to fund ordinary costs related to the implementation of these new laws, the burden will then be on county budgets, who may be unable to pick up the slack.”

 Hoovler’s organization estimated the mandates could cost law enforcement agencies across the state upwards of $100 million.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Mayor de Blasio has a quid pro quo policy for criminals to return to court


  There’s controversy ahead over new criminal justice reforms.

Cash bail will be eliminated Jan. 1 for hundreds of offenses, and some defendants could be let out earlier and given rewards to get them to show up to court, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Monday.

State judges will no longer require cash bail for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies like selling drugs or burglarizing a home, and the state says nearly 900 city residents in jail now will be released starting mid-December.

Bail bondsman Ira Judelson said he’s already seeing fewer arrests.

“We’re going to have a major public safety issue on our hands,” he said. “It’s basically like going to school without a principal, without guidance counselors, without teachers and let students be in school and say ‘fend for yourself.'”

Republican Assemblyman Mike LiPetri said he expects around 500 inmates on Long Island to be freed.

“This is a travesty of justice,” said LiPetri. “These are criminals in our communities who have solicited sex from children. These are criminals who solicited drugs in our neighborhoods such as heroin, opioids, fentanyl.”

A law enforcement source told CBS2 a city program will offer those released incentives meant to encourage them to show up in court such as Mets baseball tickets, a subway pass or a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.

A spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CBS2 he expects the reforms to be implemented appropriately, however the governor’s office doesn’t have any involvement with the city’s rewards program.


 On Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio came to the defense of a city program that critics say will reward criminal behavior.

The incentive program would give accused criminals – being released from jail under the city’s new cashless bail policy – things like New York Mets tickets and gift cards for showing up to court.

 New York City will be ringing in the New Year with a new set of criminal justice reforms to combat overcrowded jails.

About 900 accused criminals are expected to be released in January 2020. The city will be rewarding them with Mets tickets, movie passes, and store gift cards for making their scheduled court appearances.

Critics say the program rewards criminal behavior, but de Blasio is optimistic the plan will work.

“In a world where we want speedier trials and we want the justice system to work, if small incentives are part of what actually makes it work than that’s a smart policy.

Starting Jan. 1, the bail reform policy eliminates cash bail and pre-trial detention for misdemeanors and most low level felonies – with exceptions like murder conspiracy, domestic violence cases, and sex crimes.

How about this new Police Commissioner? Total flack. Something very, very rotten is going on here and it looks like it's all tied to the Rikers shutdown.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Melinda Katz and Juamme Williams celebrate cheap victories in pathetic low voter turnout election

 NY Daily News

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams cruised in his bid for a full term, and Melinda Katz easily won her race for Queens District Attorney Tuesday after a slow Election Day with dismal voter turnout.

New Yorkers trickled to the polls in an off-year election in which the biggest draw might have been a ballot question that proposed a change in the way local races are decided.

Voters approved a city charter change allowing voters in future elections to rank candidates and eliminate costly runoffs.

Under the newly-approved plan, which will begin in 2021, voters will list candidates by preference in case no one wins a clear majority.

Among the measures supporters was Williams, who was celebrating a victory on both fronts.”

"It’s a great validation,” said Williams, who won with 77% of the vote. "People came out and their voices were heard. Over the next two years we’re going to continue our work to reshape the city. 
There is so much left to do.”

Williams, who defeated Staten Island City Councilman Joe Borelli, a Republican, won a special election last winter to replace Letitia James, who won election as state attorney general.

Also celebrating was Katz, who is currently Queens Borough President. Her general election road to the Queens DA seat was much easier than her primary election path, which ended in a court-battle win over insurgent Tiffany Caban.

Katz was elected by a nearly 3 to 1 margin over little-known Republican opponent Joe Murray
“We are an unbelievable borough,” Katz said in her victory speech. “We all want a better life for our families than we had ever dreamed for ourselves. We need to make sure there is an infrastructure of support for our young people. Young people need to know it is safer not to pick up a gun than it is to pick up a gun.”

“We are facing here an opportunity to make a national model for criminal justice reform,” Katz added. “We need to make sure we get it right here”

Great validation??


Early voting apparently made little difference in shaking off the indifference of New York City voters.

The recent trend of remarkably low voter turnout in the five boroughs didn’t seem to get a boost from nine days of early voting, according to figures from the city’s Board of Elections. What started out on Oct. 26 only yielded a cumulative total of 60,110 voters by the time early voting closed on Nov. 3, the Board of Elections reported.

Less than 40% of registered voters in New York City participated in the 2018 midterm elections, and just 23% turned out for the 2017 mayoral elections. Early voting is expected to help reverse the downward trend in voter turnout in the years to come.

But the program didn’t appear to make a positive impact on the 2019 race, and some recognized early on that the rollout of early voting was not without its flaws.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had called the state legislation to adopt early voting “a chance for us to reinvigorate our democracy,” at a Queens County Democrats pre-election party on Oct. 29 and touted how easy it was for to vote himself.

“I glided into my poll site in Brooklyn and I was out of there in like, five minutes, and it is going to open up a world of opportunity where a lot of people previously thought that voting was not something that they could focus on or take time for, now they’re going to have every opportunity, weekends and weekdays and all sorts of different times when they can vote,” de Blasio said.
Few New Yorkers, however, took the mayor’s advice, as the BOE data indicated.

Manhattan came in with the highest number of early ballots cast at 19,865, followed by Brooklyn at 17,976, Queens at 13,129, the Bronx with 4,893 and Staten Island garnering 4,247.

Those numbers are a far cry from the total number of active and inactive registered voters in the five boroughs, according to state Board of Elections data. The totals are as follows: Manhattan, 1,197,797; Bronx, 833,172; Brooklyn, 1,637,055; Queens, 1,282,887; and Staten Island, 319,473.

When analyzing the city and state data, amNewYork determined that only 1.14 percent of all registered New York City voters participated in early voting across all five boroughs this year.


James O'Neill decides to leave the safest big city

NY Post

James O’Neill formally stepped down as NYPD commissioner in a City Hall press briefing on Monday afternoon, leaving after three years in the post for a private-sector gig.
“I came into this job with one mission, and that was to fight crime and keep everybody safe,” said O’Neill. “And we did it, and we continue to do it.”
Despite speaking frankly about the stresses of helming the nation’s largest police department for three years since Mayor Bill de Blasio tapped him in September 2016, O’Neill said that he doesn’t leave the department easily.
“I’m gonna miss it,” said O’Neill, who took a moment during his remarks to name each of the Finest who died of line-of-duty injuries on his watch. “I love being a cop.”
Long-swirling whispers of O’Neill’s eyeing the door resurfaced Monday morning, but were confirmed this time as the real deal, first by department sources and soon by City Hall.
O’Neill would say only that he’d received an offer of a private-sector job he “couldn’t pass up” — but law-enforcement sources told The Post that he has a gig lined up in California.
Ahead of the briefing, de Blasio acknowledged in a statement that O’Neill was calling it a career, and named Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea as his successor atop the department, effective December 1.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

An abandoned car in Middle Village is running out of room for garbage

Queens Chronicle

Sitting in Middle Village on 62nd Street between Metropolitan Avenue and 62nd Road is a car that’s been in better shape. The inside’s filled with boxes, bags and old food. The driver side mirror is broken off, hanging by two wires. There was an old, broken TV sitting on the hood.

The gray Saturn has been left there for more than 60 days. And city agencies aren’t stepping up to remove it, according to an area resident who prefers to remain unidentified.

His visit to the Chronicle was prompted by an Oct. 24 article about an abandoned SUV on Woodhaven Boulevard in Rego Park that the city removed after multiple inquiries from the newspaper about it. That vehicle had sat there for more than three months.

Over in Middle Village, a Department of Sanitation employee tagged the gold Saturn for towing on the morning of Aug. 30. The matter was referred to the 104th Precinct.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Bike lanes uber alles

NY Daily News

Hundreds of miles of new bike lanes, bus lanes and pedestrian plazas are on the way to New York City thanks to a new law that’s set to be passed by the City Council.

Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Tuesday said his legislation to form a “master plan” for city streets has the support of the majority of the chamber, as well as Mayor de Blasio.

The law will require the city Department of Transportation to implement 150 miles of new bus lanes, 250 miles of new protected bike lanes and thousands of pedestrian-oriented spaces over a five-year span beginning in 2022.

“For decades, New York has prioritized the movement and storage of vehicles over the safety and possibility of its residents,” said Danny Harris, executive director of street safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “The streets master plan will usher in a new era of opportunity for New Yorkers”

The bill passed unanimously by the Council Transportation Committee Tuesday, and is expected to be approved by the whole chamber on Wednesday.

 Johnson introduced the bill in May, and has given it several tweaks since. The law now requires the DOT to form its “master plan” to hit the aggressive benchmarks by December 2021 instead of 2020. The delay pushes the plan’s due date to the very end of de Blasio’s final term as mayor.

“It was pushed back because… what we are going to do with this legislation is totally reshape the Department of Transportation, totally reorient the Department of Transportation,” Johnson said Tuesday. “They’re going to have to hire more staff, they’re going to have to build whole new facilities."

PIX News\

The bill that passed Wednesday creates a master plan for city streets. It comes in the wake of 25 cyclist deaths so far in 2019. There was also a serious and potentially fatal bike versus car incident in Brooklyn the same morning the bill passed. (Link here)

The master plan bill will cost $1.7 Billion. It requires the Department of Transportation to come up with a five-year master plan by the end of 2021. The plan must include:
  • 150 miles of protected bus lanes
  • 250 miles of protected bike lanes
  • 500 bus stop upgrades
  • 2,000 intersection redesigns
  • An overhaul policies relating to pedestrian signals, commercial loading and deliveries, along with parking policies

Friday, November 1, 2019

Longtime city contractor supplies expired food to Brooklyn homeless shelter


A Brooklyn homeless shelter turned into a vomitorium after at least half a dozen people ate rancid chicken salad served by the city, the Daily News has learned.

The poison poultry – which had a bogus expiration sticker — was offered for lunch at the Fort Greene Shelter on Auburn Place last Thursday.

Shelter resident Edna Smith said some of the sickening salad smelled sour, but she dug in anyway and immediately regretted it.

“All of a sudden I started to get light-headed and I started sweating,” Smith, 53, explained. The projectile vomiting came next.

“The coffee went through my nose and the food went through my mouth," she told The News.

 At least three other people tossed their cookies after chowing down on the chicken salad – which was marked as expiring on Oct. 31.

But that date was wrong. A closer look at the empty containers revealed the original label underneath, dated Sept. 20.

“They’re giving us food that has double labels and I have the evidence," said shelter resident Pierre Landro. “This isn’t the first time this happened. This has gone on a number of times. This is unbelievable.”

 The city Department of Social Services confirmed that a food vendor called Whitsons delivered expired meals to the shelter with inaccurate labels.

 That salad came from Sally Sherman Food, a Mount Vernon, Westchester County based business, and the labels were switched there, according to records and city officials.

“We will not tolerate any action that puts the health and safety of families experiencing homelessness at risk and we have temporarily replaced the food provider at this shelter pending our ongoing review," a DSS spokeswoman said. "We have confirmed this was an isolated occurrence at this location and have required the provider to take immediate corrective actions and submit a quality assurance plan to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Whitsons won a contract with the city in a 2010 competitive bid process, authorities said.

Under the contract, Whitsons has been providing food to six shelters, at a cost of roughly $35 million since 2014, records show.

In August, the Food and Drug Administration slapped Bronx-based Whitsons with a warning letter after an inspection found “serious violations,” unsanitary conditions and the presence of the germ listeria.

Don't fret! Mayor Big Slow de Blasio is on the case!

NY Daily News

Mayor de Blasio called for an investigation into how a city homeless shelter ended up serving rancid food to residents, leaving them puking poultry while callous staff allegedly laughed at their suffering.

“There has to be an investigation,” Hizzoner said Thursday, after the Daily News broke the story of the food foul-up. “There has to be a look at it to see if it’s a situation that can be resolved. But if we don’t like what we see, we’ll change vendors.”

He also expressed sympathy for the at least six victims who were served rancid chicken salad at the Fort Greene Shelter in Brooklyn on Oct. 24.

“It’s horrible,” de Blasio said at an unrelated news conference. “Thank God, as I understand it, the folks who were exposed are going to be okay.

“But no, we don’t accept that,” he continued. “Any vendor who doesn’t do their job, they’re not going to be a vendor with us.”

 Yes, food poisoning is horrible Bill and you should find a new vendor. Idiot.

Precinct 114 in Astoria and a 911 call

Dear Crappy,

Thought you would like this short Halloween Story:

At 7.11 am Halloween 10.31.19 a white Ford SUV failed to stop, accelerator was reportedly stuck, and the automatic stopping assist system failed.  I have not put any real effort into guessing their speed, but the damage done to the vehicle, guard rail, Amtrak fence, was impressive. As impressive as the driver only have a small cut on his forehead from the airbags.

The Crappy story is the timeline it took from our  911 call to any NYPD showing up.  Calls went in at 7.12am from our house with request for an ambulance and police. We watched and offered assistance to the driver, while talking the gentleman out of walking away.  We had to scrub through out security feeds to find an NYPD SUV showed up at 8.45am and left at 8.52am with no photographs, no report generated. No phone call from 911 back to our contact number.

We have a damaged fence along Amtrak, we have car parts all over, we have a completely destroyed guard rail... And 114 is unwilling to answer the land line phone number. We have been in touch via 311 who made this a second 911 call to help prove that the call was not closed or handled correctly.  We will be emailing Costa as he wants to play Queens President.

Attached is a video in WMV format for you to enjoy.  It happens so fast. Amazed no one was seriously hurt.
Looks like this response and report showed more zero than vision.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Cloudy with a chance of 20 pound chunks of metal from the Liberty Avenue el train tracks

 NY Post

A giant piece of iron fell from the elevated A train tracks in Queens and smashed through the roof of a black cab Tuesday afternoon — narrowly missing the terrified driver inside.

Driver Ana Leonardo was waiting to pick up a passenger on Liberty Avenue at 100th Street in Ozone Park when she heard a loud crash through her Camry’s rear window.

 “I was stopped here because I had to pick up a customer,” she told The Post, adding in Spanish that she was “asuste mucho” — very scared.

“If something like that comes through the head of people, they’re going to die right away,” said her husband, Manuel Mendoza.

Mendoza told The Post that the two of them share the vehicle, lugging passengers around the city for fares.

“Thank god my wife is fine, but the car is crazy,” he said. “We use it 10 hours a day, so we have no job right now.”

Leonardo is just the latest near-victim of falling subway parts, after multiple similar incidents in Queens in the spring.


This is from the comments section and I hope Governor Cuomo, NYC Transit, The MTA and Andy Byford reads it, because what this man says has validity and something this catastrophic will happen at the pace these chunks are flying off the rails.

Especially to Byford, you should have quit when I told you to last year and when you had the chance a few weeks ago.

Ceramic track tie bushing, the snap on spring clamp came off and that's likely been launched atop some rooftop perhaps a block away.

They need to go back to the wooden ties and spikes

That MTA jackass from England & Canada thinks he's running trains on the ground with ballast rocks.
--Not so in New York City.

Trains running faster, vibration, excessive torque from harder braking is causing all European style new hardware to break loose like bullets going right threw the netting baskets or flying elsewise.
Its also causing life & death damage to the 100 year old steel structures.

These "IMPROVEMENTS" are for the worse here.
Last week a bolt went flying, the nut had cleanly snapped of at the thread from the excessive force and torque from the vibration and swaying.

Send Byford, his suits and computer apps back to England and hire somebody actually qualified with NYC's train hardware before a section of elevated & 10 car train of people ends up down in the street or a city block of homes !!

Go below any station on the 7 train, the noise & vibration being transferred down the structures is horrifying. It was and never so intense, like a Saturn 5 rocket shaking street, rattling storefront windows.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

7 years after Hurricane Sandy, homeowners and public housing residents in flood zones are still not protected


Seven years after Superstorm Sandy deluged New York City, more than eight out of 10 properties in coastal areas the federal government deems extremely vulnerable to the next disaster are without flood insurance, an investigation by THE CITY found.

Meanwhile, the number of flood insurance policies protecting New Yorkers has dropped markedly since the end of 2013 in two of the boroughs hardest hit by the storm: Staten Island, which saw an 18% decline, and Queens, which experienced an 8% decrease.

Residents of roughly 250,000 houses and apartments within red-flagged flood zones are left exposed — thanks to the high cost of insurance policies and a protracted disagreement between local and federal officials.

City and Washington bureaucrats are at least five years away from forging a common set of flood maps that will determine who must buy insurance — leaving New Yorkers reliant on risk ratings little changed since the 1980s.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is disputing the map the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created in 2015, which significantly expanded areas identified for high risk of flooding, based on Sandy’s path of destruction.

So for now, only property owners with federally backed mortgages who are living within the old, pre-Sandy zone — last updated by FEMA in 2007 — are required to purchase flood insurance.

Homeowners end up mired in confusion over seemingly contradictory rules: In some cases, people whose properties were devastated by Sandy are living without flood insurance while new or rebuilt homes next door must be made floodproof.

As it all gets sorted out, many homeowners are rolling the dice — skipping often-pricey flood insurance and praying another storm doesn’t send the waters of New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay or Buttermilk Channel barrelling into their living rooms.

“I know the danger. Trust me, I know,” said Semyon Krugolets, 66, a retired cabinet maker whose Staten Island home took on two feet of water during Sandy. “But sometimes you have to make these decisions.”


In March 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio trekked to Brooklyn’s Red Hook Houses to announce what he dubbed the biggest single Federal Emergency Management Agency grant in history: $3 billion to rebuild and upgrade city public housing developments slammed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

He declared construction would begin right away in NYCHA complexes still reeling from the storm that left more than 80,000 tenants without electricity, heat and elevators for weeks — making some residents virtual prisoners in their homes.

But a review by THE CITY found that seven years after Sandy damaged 200 buildings in 35 developments along waterfronts from Red Hook to the Rockaways to the Lower East Side, work has been completed in just two complexes, with a third development nearly done.

And while the mayor pledged that the federal money would be used to stormproof entire NYCHA developments slammed by Sandy, his promise proved premature: FEMA ultimately agreed to pay only for specific buildings battered when the superstorm hit on Oct. 29, 2012.

 Meanwhile, records show city investigators flagged an alarming spike in costs at one NYCHA Sandy rebuild project at the very site where the mayor announced the FEMA grant: the Red Hook Houses.

A vendor’s project proposal jumped from $89,000 to more than $500,000 — and a manager told investigators this happened because de Blasio was pressuring them to get the job done faster, according to a city Department of Investigation report.
Among the findings of THE CITY’s review:

• Construction projects at 31 of the 35 damaged developments missed their original start dates, in some cases by a few months, but in most instances by a year or more. Work at the Lower East Side’s Riis Houses, for example, was scheduled to begin in the fall of 2015 but didn’t start until six months ago.

• The FEMA-funded fixup has been completed at only two NYCHA developments: Lower East Side Rehab and Ocean Bay (Oceanside) in the Rockaways. Work at Harlem’s Rangel Houses is 99% complete, while NYCHA just awarded a contract for the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem. The rest are now under construction, including seven that NYCHA promised will wrap up by year’s end.

• Records show NYCHA hired one contractor later caught cheating workers on wages, another that ended up barred from doing city school construction, and another arrested on charges of stealing heating oil from a competitor when he had an emergency Sandy contract selling heating oil to NYCHA.