Advocates Protest SWMP Delays (UPDATE)
April 12th, 2011

Five years after the City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed to a solid waste management plan for the five boroughs — one that spread out the city’s garbage burden — council members and environmental justice advocates say the adminsitration is backpedaling.

In its preliminary capital budget, the adminsitration has delayed the construction of four waste transfer stations, three of which are in Manhattan. The cut, said Eric Goldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council, could delay funding for these facilities between five and eight years. Advocates fear the stations will never occur. Five years from now, there will be a new occupant in City Hall — one perhaps with different priorities.

“We are very troubled,” said Goldstein.

The waste transfer stations are a crucial part of the 2006 solid waste management plan, which attempts to get garbage off of diesel-spewing trucks and onto rail cars and barges instead. The plan was also meant to spread stations throughout the five boroughs to ease the burden on communities inundated with city waste — like the South Bronx, Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The delayed stations in Manhattan are the only ones slated for the borough, which currently sends the vast majority of its trash to New Jersey.

We are waiting for a response from the Department of Sanitation.

Advocates also decried the administration’s recent exploration of waste-to-energy — a controversial technology that typically involves burning or heating trash to create electricity (We reported on it here two weeks ago). Laura Haight of the New York Public Interest Research Group decried the move.

“The types of technology they want to pilot have not been proven successful commercially anywhere in the country,” said Haight. “We believe this is a waste of energy.”

A conversation on the equal distribution of these types of facilities is occurring right now at a hearing of the Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses Subcommittee. Councilmember Brad Lander, the committee’s chair, blasted the adminsitration for refusing to testify (his letter appears below).

“We’ve concentrated those facilities in low-income communities, in communities of color,” Lander said this afternoon on the City Hall steps.

A spokesperson for the Bloomberg adminsitration said they would not send a representative, because “fair share,” as it’s commonly referred to, is currently the subject of litigation.

UPDATE: We just got this response from City Hall spokesperson Jason Post:

Because of the economy, the City has been forced to reduce all of its expenditures, including its capital program.

The preliminary capital budget for the Sanitation Department includes deferred spending on four Marine Transfer Stations.

The Administration remains fully committed to SWMPs principles of borough equity, using rail and barge to transfer solid waste, relieving the burden of waste receiving from certain communities, strengthening our recycling infrastructure and piloting new technologies to derive clean energy from waste.

We have made great progress on SWMP alreadylong term rail contracts are in place and two marine transfer stations are under construction, as is the Citys new recycling facilityand we are exploring cost-effective alternatives to expedite the construction schedule outlined in the preliminary capital plan. We will make a decision before the Mayors executive budget presentation.

CM Lander Letter to Mayor Bloomberg Re Fair Share Hearing(2)

By on April 12, 2011, 2:22 pm
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Blizzard Bills at the Council
April 6th, 2011

The City Council is set to approve a package of bills this afternoon which regulate the city’s snow procedures — a response to last year’s Boxing Day blizzard.

Among the proposals, the Department of Sanitation will be required to create a snow removal plan for every borough, and the Office of Emergency Management will be forced to review the previous year’s snow removal process in an annual report. The package would establish emergency protocols for the city and high-volume protocols for 311.

When first introduced, the Bloomberg administration spoke out against the package, claiming it needed its regulations to be “flexible.” But in an apparent flip-flop, a Bloomberg spokesperson said the adminsitration worked with the council on the bills and now supports them.

By on April 6, 2011, 3:10 pm
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Council to Move Forward Bus Bill
March 23rd, 2011

The City Council is voting on a home rule message today that would give Albany the authority to pass legislation to require the regulation of intercity buses.

The move is an indication that the legislation will be approved in Albany.

The bill, introduced in Albany in February by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, would require discount buses register with the city. It would affect the types of discount buses involved in recent fatal accidents in New Jersey and in the Bronx. Supporters say it would give city officials a better indication of who is operating what vehicles, from where and when.

Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is charged with monitoring safety conditions on these vehicles. Council officials said the bill would not regulate safety and would not supersede federal authority.

The City Council must approve a home rule message before the legislation can move in Albany.

By on March 23, 2011, 2:35 pm
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Brennan Tries to Block Crash Tax (UPDATE)
March 18th, 2011

Assemblymember Jim Brennan is taking aim at the Fire Department’s proposed crash tax by introducing legislation in Albany that would prohibit the city from charging drivers for services provided at the scene of an accident.

The controversial tax is part of the FDNY’s attempt to close a looming budget gap. The department already has 20 fire companies on the chopping block.

The tax, which other cities across the country have implemented, would require drivers to pay between $365 and $490 if the Fire Department responds to a motor vehicle accident. The tax would not need City Council approval and is scheduled to go into effect in July.

City residents already pay taxes for these core, fundamental, public-safety services. People should not have to check their wallets before calling for the police or fire departments to respond to an accident, Brennan said.

Though dozens of officials have criticized the tax, it’s unclear whether the proposal has support of the full State Legislature.

UPDATE: Brennan’s office said they don’t know whether the State Senate would support the measure, but they have 23 co-sponsors in the Assembly.

By on March 18, 2011, 12:24 pm
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Regulation of Bus Companies Questioned
March 15th, 2011

Just hours after officials called for stricter safety regulations for discount buses departing from Chinatown yesterday, another fatal accident took the lives of two more passengers.

A Super Luxury Tours bus headed for Philadelphia slammed into a guardrail on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing the driver and another passenger. The crash came just three days after a brutal accident in the Bronx, which killed 15 people.

Saturday mornings crash was a heartbreaking tragedy and requires us to look closely at the safety regulations in place for the discount tour bus industry, said Sen. Charles Schumer in a prepared statement yesterday. While its vital we get to the bottom of what caused Saturdays crash, we must make sure that the regulations that govern the overall safety of this industry are effective and being followed by operators.

Schumer wants to see the National Transportation Safety Board investigate the entire industry.

According to the release, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced legislation last month that would require these discount bus companies, many of which operate from the curbside in Chinatown, to get permits from the city. They are now regulated exclusively by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. His bill would also designate where they can drop off and pick up passengers.

According to a study from the Department of City Planning, these companies conduct 2,000 trips from Chinatown every week.

We covered the issue last year. For an in-depth look at the controversy, go here.

By on March 15, 2011, 2:07 pm
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Fire Department Cuts to Affect 'Every Community'
March 11th, 2011

truck

Photo (cc) Just Us 3

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano didn’t sugarcoat how fire company cuts would affect the city during a City Council hearing this morning.

“Every community in the city will be affected, not just those communities in the first-due areas of the closed companies,” said Cassano in prepared testimony. “Twenty closures would require us to make adjustments in our operations, which will make it extremely challenging to maintain the same levels of service to the communities we serve.”

To close a multi-billion dollar budget gap, the Bloomberg adminsitration is proposing to shutter 20 fire companies to save $55 million next fiscal year. The adminsitration has already reduced staffing from five to four firefighters on 60 engines — a move fire unions are challenging.

The City Council successfully averted fire company closures for the past three years by plugging the department’s budget with its own discretionary funding. One councilmember this morning couldn’t promise they would be able to do the same this year.

“This council has worked really hard within our body to save these cuts,” said Councilmember Jimmy Oddo of Staten Island. “If [Bloomberg] is relying on the council to put this money back, that’s a lift.”

(We cover the cuts to the Fire Department in depth today here.)

It’s still unclear what companies would be affected. The Fire Department does not have to release a list until 45 days before the companies are scheduled to close.
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By on March 11, 2011, 4:10 pm
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Then There Was One
March 9th, 2011

Assuming all the reports are correct (see below) and State Sen. Carl Kruger does turn himself in to federal authorities tomorrow, he will be only the latest in a stream of miscreant state legislators, many of them from New York City. As Rachael Fauss wrote on Gotham Gazette today, “Between 1999 and 2010,17 legislators left office because they were facing or had been convicted of criminal or corruption charges — one out of every 11 legislators who left office. Twelve of those were from New York City.

And two of them were close to Krueger.

The longtime legislator from Brooklyn was among the architects of a coup by four dissident Democrats that brought the State Senate to a standstill for weeks in 2009. Another coup participant — Hiram Monserrate — was expelled from the Senate in February after being convicted of a misdemeanor charge resulting from a possible assault on his girlfriend. He then ran for the Senate seat in the subsequent special election and for the Assembly in November, losing both contests.

And then there is the third of the so-called amigos: Pedro Espada. In September he will go on trial on federal embezzlement and conspiracy charges. He also faces a civil lawsuit charging him with looting more than $14 million from the network of non-profit healthcare clinics he founded.

While no verdicts have been reached in these cases, residents in Espada’s Bronx district already made their decision. In September, they resoundingly rejected Espada and elected Gustavo Rivera to take his place in Albany.

We have no idea what Kruger’s plans for the future are, but if he is charged and convicted of a felon, he must surrender his seat.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering — the fourth member of the so-called Gang of Four: Ruben Diaz Sr.

By on March 9, 2011, 8:34 pm
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A Case Against Kruger?
March 9th, 2011

In another indication that the State Capitol may be the most lawless tracts in the state, powerful State Sen. Carl Kruger will turn himself in to federal authorities tomorrow, the press is reporting.

“The veteran Brooklyn Democrat will be charged by Manhattan federal prosecutors with using his influence as a public official to line his pockets, according to multiple sources,” the Daily News .reports.

Kruger — the ranking head (and former chair) of the Finance Committee — has been under investigation for doing favors in return for campaign contributions. Although Kruger usually had little to no competition for his seat from Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach, he raised massive amounts of money. On Election Day last year he had amassed more than $2 million despite facing only a little known Conservative Party candidate. Not having to fork out money for electioneering expenses — and benefiting from the state’s lax laws on using campaign cash — Kruger reportedly spent lavishly on restaurants, hotels and his car.

Earlier this month, one of Kruger’s donors, Michael Levitis, who is suspected of serving as an intermediary between the senator and those seeking favors, pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators probing the connections. In April 2009, Levitis was caught on a secretly tape saying that he needed to pay off a Kruger aide to get help with an upcoming official business inspection.

The Post though, says the charges facing Kruger tomorrow may have nothing to do with that. Instead, the paper reports, “Kruger will be the biggest name among a number of political and public people who will be charged or linked to the heretofore unknown Manhattan corruption case.”

Stay tuned.

By on March 9, 2011, 7:40 pm
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Bike Lanes on the Agenda
February 16th, 2011

The latest bike battle is rolling into the City Council today with several pieces of legislation, including a requirement to report bike and pedestrian accidents more frequently.

One bill will force the Police Department to report on its Web site the number of traffic moving violations, crashes and injuries or fatalities on a monthly basis. It will also force the Department of Transportation to study all traffic crashes involving a serious injury or fatality every five years.

In recent months, bicyclists and communities have clashed over the number of bike lanes across the city. Today, Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the package of legislation would help communities and bicycle advocates understand why bike lanes go in certain areas.

“Getting people out of cars and on to bikes is a good thing,” said Quinn. “Bike lanes work great in some neighborhoods and don’t work well in others.”

We’ll report back later on how the council voted.

By on February 16, 2011, 2:50 pm
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High on Marijuana Arrests
February 11th, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg famously once said that he had inhaled marijuana and enjoyed it. But that doesn’t mean he wants you to.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the city last year arrested 50,383 people for low-level marijuana offenses, an increase from 2009 and 70 percent more than in 2005. This is reportedly more than the total number of people arrested between 1978 and 1996 during the Koch, Dinkins and part of the Giuliani administrations.

“New York has made more marijuana arrests under Bloomberg than any mayor in New York City history,” Harry Levine, a sociology professor at Queens College and expert on marijuana arrests said in a Drug Policy Alliance release. “Bloomberg’s police have arrested more people for marijuana than Mayors Koch, Dinkins, and Giuliani combined.”

And the group says this probably is not because we’ve become a city of stoners: Nationally experts believe marijuana use peaked around 1980. Instead, the alliance says, the sharp rise comes about because “over the last 20 years, NYPD has quietly made arrests for marijuana their top enforcement priority, without public acknowledgement or debate.”

Few of those arrested resemble the mayor, at least from a demographic perspective, According to the alliance, 70 percent of them are under 30 and 86 percent are black or Latino.
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By on February 11, 2011, 2:49 pm
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Sparks Fly at Walmart Hearing
February 3rd, 2011

If today’s hearing is any indication, Walmart will have a next to impossible chance of getting a New York City store approved by the City Council.

Several dozen council members and a standing room only crowd gathered in Lower Manhattan this afternoon to debate how a Walmart store would affect small businesses and communities in the Big Apple. Last month, Walmart kicked off a vigorous marketing campaign to court New Yorkers and convince them to support a New York City store.

Officials from Walmart refused to attend today’s council hearing, arguing they were being unfairly targeted.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn blasted the corporation for not testifying. Their absence, she said, “sadly only leads me to be further skeptical.”

For more than four hours, council members tore into Walmart’s policies, including its labor practices, which have been the subject of several lawsuits. They heard from experts across the country who had studies in hand that argued Walmart would lead to small businesses boarding up.

Not one council member voiced support for a New York City Walmart.

The Walmart issue encapsulates a familiar debate at the City Council — one that last reared its head when the body rejected the development of the Kingsbridge Armory. As Walmart argues it will bring jobs to New York City, advocates and officials question the quality of those jobs, whether they will provide health insurance and whether they will pay a living wage.

For some, the prospect of jobs is good enough.

“Everyone is waving this boogeyman around about how this corporation is going to come in,” said Tony Herbert, a community activist and Walmart supporter. “I will say to you directly, we need jobs for our community.”
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By on February 3, 2011, 6:53 pm
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Walmart Declines Hearing Invitation... Again
February 1st, 2011

This should come as no surprise, but Walmart once again will pass on testifying at a City Council hearing on Thursday.

In a letter dated today, Walmart‘s Philip H. Serghini attempts to strike down anti-Walmart sentiments wafting through the City Council, arguing the retail giant is committed to healthy foods, diversity and jobs. But Serghini says he could not commit to attending the hearing, because the council is only focused on Walmart and ignores the impact of other big-box stores in the city. You can see his explanation below.

The joint hearing, however, does not appear to consider the impact of the hundreds of NYC stores operated by these companies; rather it focuses solely on Walmart. Since we have not announced a store for New York City, I respectfully suggest the committee first conduct a thoughtful examination of the existing impact of large grocers and retailers on small businesses in New York City before embarking on a hypothetical exercise.

For these reasons and more, we respectfully decline participation in the February 3rd hearing.

Should the committee decide to conduct the hearing in a more comprehensive manner, we would be happy to revisit our decision. In the interim, we do feel a responsibility to better inform the planned discussion and share some facts about the company that the committee can share with participants.

Earlier this year, Walmart kicked off a major marketing campaign to persuade New Yorkers to support a store within the five boroughs. They are sending out mailers, taking out radio ads and have launched a NYC-centric Web site to corral support.

So far, no one at the council is budgeting.

The full explanation from Walmart is below.

Final City Council Letter

By on February 1, 2011, 5:54 pm
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Crowley Statement on Fire Charges
January 14th, 2011

We already know Council Speaker Christine Quinn opposes charging drivers for accidents that need emergency services — a proposal from the Fire Department in response to budget cuts.

But what does Fire and Criminal Justice Services Chair Elizabeth Crowley have to say?

Here is her statement delivered at the Fire Department’s hearing on the issue today.

“Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule which would impose a schedule of charges for Fire Department motorist services, which is before you for consideration at todays hearing.

In the City Council, I Chair the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, which oversees the New York City Fire Department. Our first responders not only fight fires and save lives, but also respond to the needs of motorists on the citys roadway accidents.

One of governments most important responsibilities is to keep people safethat is why we allocate taxpayer money to our emergency services. To raise revenue by charging New Yorkers deemed to be at fault in auto accidents is unreasonable, misguided and a simple case of double-dipping. New Yorkers already pay for this service by means of taxes on their income and property. The FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano considers these charges as a fee for service but lets call this fee for what it really is: a double tax.

If the FDNY starts charging for emergency response to motorist accidents, what will they charge for next? Will there be fees for putting out house fires? We cannot begin to go down this dangerous road; therefore, I respectfully request that you withdraw this proposal from consideration.”

By on January 14, 2011, 12:15 pm
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Bloomberg Issues Weather Emergency Declaration
January 11th, 2011

This just in from the mayor’s office:

WEATHER EMERGENCY DECLARATION

At the direction of the mayor, the public is hereby advised that significant snowfall has been forecast for tonight.

1. The public is urged to avoid all unnecessary driving during the duration of the storm and until further directed, and to use public transportation wherever possible. If you must drive, use extreme caution. Information about any service changes to public transportation is available on the MTA website at http://www.mta.info/.

2. Any vehicle found to be blocking roadways or impeding the ability to plow streets shall be subject to towing at the owners expense.

3. Effective immediately, alternate side parking, payment at parking meters and garbage collections are suspended citywide until further notice.

4. The Emergency Management, Fire, Police, Sanitation, and Transportation Commissioners will be taking all appropriate and necessary steps to preserve public safety and to render all required and available assistance to protect the security, well-being and health of the residents of the City.

By on January 11, 2011, 4:50 pm
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Winter Weather Alert
January 11th, 2011

weather_lg

As I am sure you and the Bloomberg adminsitration are aware, New York City is expecting a snowstorm this evening.

As of noon, the National Weather Service predicted between 8 and 14 inches of snow and warned that travel would be hazardous.

Here is the latest forecast from the National Weather Service:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
1148 AM EST TUE JAN 11 2011

…COASTAL STORM TO IMPACT THE AREA TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY…

WESTERN PASSAIC-EASTERN PASSAIC-HUDSON-WESTERN BERGEN-
EASTERN BERGEN-WESTERN ESSEX-EASTERN ESSEX-WESTERN UNION-
EASTERN UNION-NEW YORK (MANHATTAN)-BRONX-RICHMOND (STATEN ISLAND)-
KINGS (BROOKLYN)-NORTHERN QUEENS-SOUTHERN QUEENS-
1148 AM EST TUE JAN 11 2011

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING
TO 6 PM EST WEDNESDAY…

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING
TO 6 PM EST WEDNESDAY.

* LOCATIONS…NEW YORK CITY…AND NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY.

* HAZARDS…SNOW…HEAVY AT TIMES.

* ACCUMULATIONS…8 TO 14 INCHES…WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS
POSSIBLE.
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By on January 11, 2011, 1:57 pm
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Blizzard Answers At Council Hearing
January 10th, 2011

Deputy Mayor Goldsmith Answers Questions from the City Council--(c) William Alatriste New York City Council

On Christmas Eve, days before snow began to fall on New York City, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty were on the phone.

The winter weather watch had not yet been issued by the National Weather Service. Doherty and Sadik-Khan talked about their options for the looming storm, which at that time was supposed to bring several inches to the Big Apple.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, who oversees both agencies, was in Washington, D.C. To this day, it is unclear where Mayor Michael Bloomberg was.

A day later, on Christmas, the National Weather Service upgraded the city’s storm warning to a blizzard at 3:55 p.m. It defiantly told New Yorkers: “Do not travel.” It warned the city could see high winds and up to 16 inches of snow.

On Dec. 26th, two days after their first conversation about the storm, the two commissioners decided not to call a city snow emergency — a rare designation that would force certain residents to move their cars off narrow streets and prohibit driving any vehicle not equipped with chains or snow tires.

They did not tell Goldsmith or the mayor about their decision.

This one decision, officials said today, created a serious snowball effect that ultimately left the city unprepared to deal with the now-infamous Boxing Day blizzard.

“We didn’t want residents to take those cars out, start looking for a parking space — we all know in New York City it’s very difficult to find — and then [create] more problems that we were trying to avoid,” Doherty told the City Council this afternoon at the first of seven hearings on the blizzard response. Every agency head involved and 42 council members attended today’s hearing, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn who normally sits out of the hearing process.

In retrospect, Goldsmith said this afternoon, the decision to call a snow emergency would have acted like a “catalyst,” triggering other agencies to respond with speed and seriousness to the storm. Instead, between Dec. 26 and New Year’s Day, Bloomberg administration officials scrambled to keep up with the 20-inch snowfall, which left ambulances, buses and abandoned vehicles stuck in unplowed streets.

Officials acted without a concrete chain of command and City Hall failed to get a complete picture of how bad the situation really was, Goldsmith said.

“The mayor did not have the information he deserved,” Goldsmith said, contending there was a communication breakdown between city agencies. “I accept responsibility in doing that more rigorously in the future,” he added.

Goldsmith, a former mayor of Indianapolis who joined the administration last spring, promised to never let it happen again. As part of that pledge, the administration unveiled a 15-point plan to prevent similar slow responses. (More on that plan here.) They will have an opportunity to test it tomorrow. Snow is expected to start accumulating tomorrow evening, and by Wednesday night we could have another foot on the ground.
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By on January 10, 2011, 7:02 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Crime & Safety,Economy,Electoral Politics,Environment,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,sustainability,Transportation,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

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Goldsmith's 15-Point Plan
January 10th, 2011

Courtney Gross continues to file from the City Council hearing on the city’s response to the Dec. 26 blizzard.

As promised, Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith revealed a 15-point plan to ensure the city has a better response to major snowstorms.

As part of the plan, the city will equip every sanitation truck with a GPS system and a two-way radio. The city also will amend the process it uses to declare a snow emergency. As part of that promise, Goldsmith told the City Council this afternoon that specific protocols will be outlined for stakeholder agencies during a snow emergency.

A revised emergency plan would provide more options for New Yorkers, Goldsmith said. Currently, a snow emergency requires residents to move cars off certain narrow streets and to have chains or snow tires if they decide to drive during the storm. Under the revision, additional options will be made public before any major storm, including, Goldsmith said, one option simply banning residents from moving their cars .

On Boxing Day, some New Yorkers did not heed warnings not to drive and ended up stuck in unplowed streets, which created even more problems for the city.
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By on January 10, 2011, 1:13 pm
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Blizzard Fallout Continues
January 6th, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg got testy with the City Hall press corps this afternoon during a briefing on the city’s next big snowfall, which is expected to start Friday.

Bloomberg announced he would pilot GPS systems on 50 city sanitation trucks during tomorrow’s snow and send out the city’s SCOUT teams to monitor the cleanup’s progress. The mayor said one of the problems during the Boxing Day blizzard was a miscommunication between City Hall and those on the snow-covered streets.

But when questions turned to last month’s blizzard, its management and Bloomberg’s whereabouts during the storm, the mayor’s response went frigid. Bloomberg abruptly ended the press conference, leaving the room with reporters shouting questions after him.

When asked where he was during the storm, the mayor said: “I have a right to a private life.”

Bloomberg was repeatedly asked about the performance of the city’s Emergency Medical Service and why chief John Peruggia was the first fallout from the blizzard.

“Last week’s storm exposed problems in the way [EMS is] operated and I decided to make changes in EMS,” Bloomberg said. “[Peruggia] did not give the public the service that the public has a right to expect when it came to ambulances.”

“I though it was time to have a fresh look,” the mayor said.

The city is expected to get two to six inches of snow tomorrow. Bloomberg said today his administration has responded to 70 storms of similar magnitude.

“We plan to do a great job,” the mayor said.

By on January 6, 2011, 7:01 pm
In category: City Hall,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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MTA Not Taking Any More Questions
January 4th, 2011

From the MTA

Image from the MTA

Were you befuddled by the stranded passengers on the A or the lack of service for days on the Q post Boxing Day blizzard?

Well, at least for now, you’re not going to get any answers from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

When Gotham Gazette touched base with the authority this afternoon, spokesperson Charles Seaton said the agency won’t be taking any more questions on the service-stalling storm.

“We are being investigated by the [Inspector General’s] office and the City Council,” said Seaton. “We are not taking any more questions on the storm.”

But they will have to on Monday.

Seaton said authority officials would testify at the City Council’s hearing on the blizzard response, scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m. Several top officials at the Bloomberg adminsitration have also been invited to testify, including Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, Sanitation Commission John Doherty and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Today’s response from the MTA follows a Daily News editorial, which blasts the authority for its slow response to the massive snowfall and demands an explanation.

The investigation by the authority’s inspector general is expected to take 60 days, an official said.

By on January 4, 2011, 5:06 pm
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Senate Passes Zadroga
December 22nd, 2010

The U.S. Senate passed a scaled down version of the Zadroga bill that will provide health care to 9/11 responders and survivors for a five-year period. Democrats held marathon negotiations with Republicans who opposed the expense of the bill. The bill originally provided $7.4 billion in funding over eight years but was shaved down to $4.3 over five. The bill must now be approved by the House.

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand issued as statement calling the deal a “Christmas Miracle.”

Over the last 24 hours, our Republican colleagues have negotiated in good faith to forge a workable final package that will protect the health of the men and women who selflessly answered our nations call in her hour of greatest need. This has been a long process, but we are now on the cusp of the victory these heroes deserve.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver issued this statement:

“This afternoons Senate vote literally will save lives. With the passage of the Zadroga bill, our brave and suffering 9/11 rescue workers and the thousands of Downtown residents who are also casualties of the attacks, have overcome the primary obstacle in their path to receiving the health care they so desperately need. I am pleased that Congress has acknowledged our moral and national obligation to care for the casualties of this tragic attack on America. I applaud Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congress members Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Anthony Weiner and the rest of our congressional delegation for their dedication and persistence in securing passage of this critical legislation. I look forward to President Obama signing this historic bill into law.”

By on December 22, 2010, 3:47 pm
In category: Albany,Crime & Safety,Eye on Albany,Health | Comments Off on Senate Passes Zadroga

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