Tag Archives: Mayor Micheal Bloomberg

City Council overrides Bloomberg’s Community Safety Act veto


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter / @MarkWeprin

The New York City Council voted to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the controversial Community Safety Act.

The act contains two bills, one that will create an inspector general to oversee the activities of the police department and have subpoena power, while the other bill will make it easier for people to sue the NYPD over racial profiling.

The racial profiling bill override passed 34-15 on Thursday and the inspector general bill override passed 39-10. The profiling measure will go into effect 90 days after the vote and the inspector general will be appointed by the new mayor in January.

Bloomberg expressed his disagreement with the override in a statement after the City Council meeting and vowed to fight the bills before they go in effect.

“Make no mistake; the communities that will feel the most negative impacts of these bills will be minority communities across our city, which have been the greatest beneficiaries of New York City’s historic crime reductions,” Bloomberg said. “It is a dangerous piece of legislation and we will ask the courts to step in before innocent people are harmed.”

Opponents of the bills believe that the NYPD doesn’t need to have another monitor and that the racial profiling bill will cause officers and the police department to be tied up in court, instead of fighting crime.

“The role to have permanent oversight of the police department belongs to the police commissioner, belongs to the City Council members who serve on the Public Safety Committee, which refused to pass these laws to begin with,” Councilmember Eric Ulrich said. “This is not going to lower crime; the only thing it’s going to lower is the moral of the police department.”

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who was against the bills, missed the vote to move his daughters into the University of Notre Dame. “The city just became less safe,” Vallone tweeted.

Supporters of the bills believe that minorities were unfairly targeted by the stop-and-frisk policy and the bills were necessary to stop racial profiling.

“This vote for me is a very easy one,” Councilmember Mark Weprin said. “I have no choice but to vote what I believe in my heart. And I feel very strongly that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. This is a policy that needs to be reformed.”

Supporters also believe that the bill will improve relations between the cops and minorities.

“By reforming this policy, these residents will be less likely to second guess a police officer’s intentions and be more willing to help them in their investigation,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie. “I am proud to vote with my colleagues in overturning the mayor’s veto and would like to thank them for helping to make this city a safer place to live.”

 

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City chooses payphone reinvention finalists


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYC Mayor's Office's Flickr

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Soon the public will be able to help decide how the city modernizes its payphones.

This week Mayor Micheal Bloomberg announced the winning prototypes from the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge.

The mission of the design contest is aimed at “modernizing payphone infrastructure and optimizing the use of public space,” according to a statement on the city’s website.

Eleven semi-finalists were chosen out of more than 125 submissions based on “best connectivity, creativity, visual design, functionality and community impact.”

Individual prizes were awarded for winners in each categories.

“New York is the most dynamic city in the world,” Bloomberg said. “While technology has changed all around us, the city’s payphones have remained mostly the same for decades.”

The semifinalists showed off their designs on March 5 at Quirky, a product development company that helps product developers enhance their creations through an online platform.

“The Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge has resulted in some of the most creative and dynamic ideas to date – with the potential to transform the aesthetics and functionality of New York City payphones,” the mayor said.

A contest will be held to see which design will win the “Popular Choice” award, decided by the public.

Voting will begin on Thursday, March 14 at on.nyc.gov/votepayphones and will end on Friday, March 15.

 

 

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Bloomberg budget takes aim at after-school programs, teachers’ jobs


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The Child Center of NY

When millions in after-school program funding was cut in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s budget last year, parents held rallies, wrote letters and made phone calls until the City Council restored $150 million, saving these programs for thousands of children.

The support greatly touched Deep Ghosh, director of youth development for The Child Center of NY, which provides 15 after-school programs in Queens — and he hopes it will move him once again.

The after-school program money that was restored last year will run out in late June, and, despite protests, the mayor’s Fiscal Year 2014 preliminary budget still axed 700,000 hours, or around $135 million, from these programs.

“Just like last year, 47,000 children are set to lose access to after-school and early education programs – programs proven to help children succeed while parents work to support their families,” said Michelle Yanche, assistant executive director for government and external relations at Good Shepherd Services. “The same parents and providers will be forced to fight for the same funding that they were just given a few months ago. How can this be happening, after all we’ve heard from our city leaders about making children a priority?”

“I think people underestimate the value that [after-school programs] bring to developing young people into well-rounded individuals,” said Ghosh.

The Child Center of NY depends on approximately 75 to 80 percent of its funding from the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), said Ghosh.

With these cuts, around 1,000 of their children would not have programming that keeps them safe and helps support working parents, he said.

During last year’s proposed cuts, some parents told Ghosh that they would need to quit their jobs if there were no afterschool programs for their children.

Though the mayor’s budget included $6.5 billion in savings, it also made other cuts affecting the city’s students, after millions in funding and grants were lost when teacher evaluation talks failed last week.

According to the mayor, these cuts could result in the loss of 700 teachers through attrition this year, $67 million less for school supplies and the reduction of extracurricular funds.

For a full summary of the mayor’s financial plan, visit www.nyc.gov/html/omb.

 

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Restoration Centers to open in affected Sandy areas


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Screenshot/NYC.Gov

Seven Restoration Centers, which will provide emergency and long term services for those affected by Superstorm Sandy, will open in the city, Mayor Bloomberg announced at a press conference in Far Rockaway today.

Describing them as  “one-stop shops,” which will include FEMA staff, Bloomberg said that four will open today, including one in Far Rockaway at 10-01 Beach 20th Street, and can be accessed seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Later this week, one will also open in Breezy Point.

“We are taking our ongoing relief efforts an important step further by setting up one-stop city offices that make it simpler and more convenient for New Yorkers get the help they need,” said Bloomberg. “The Restoration Centers will be an invaluable resource for the New Yorkers most impacted by the storm – and for the communities hit hardest.”

At the press conference, Bloomberg also addressed the fuel shortage.

About 60 percent of gas stations are now open and line waits are decreasing, he said, but gas rationing will continue for at least five more days.

Agreement reached to complete 9/11 museum


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


On the eve of  September 11, governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, and Mayor Micheal Bloomberg announced that an agreement had been reached to continue construction of the National September 11 Museum.

“This agreement ensures that it will be restarted very soon and will not stop until the museum is completed. The museum is important to the families of those who died on 9/11 – they’ve contributed photos and memories of their lost loved ones, who deserve a thoughtful tribute. The museum is important to the historical record and will preserve materials and artifacts of great significance that tell the story of what happened on that terrible day,” said Bloomberg.

According to published reports, construction on the museum at the World Trade Center site was stopped because of financial disputes between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center site, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum’ s foundation.

“By ensuring that no additional public funds are spent to complete the Memorial and Museum, today’s agreement puts in place a critical and long overdue safeguard to finally protect toll payers and taxpayers from bearing further costs, and, at the same time, put the project on a path for completion,” said Cuomo.

Before the delay, the museum was set to open on the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks.