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State Government Editor of The Gotham Gazette
NYPD Secretly Labeled Mosques As Terrorist Organizations
The New York Police Department has secretly been labeling mosques as terrorist organizations to allow it to spy on imams and have informants record sermons; in many cases without any evidence a crime had been committed according to a report from The Associated Press. The NYPD has labeled at least a dozen mosques this way to investigate them for terrorism. The investigations can last for years even without proof a crime has been committed and without any charges being brought. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Ray Kelly defended their actions. "What we do is we try to keep this city safe, totally consistent with what the laws require,” Bloomberg said. "We believe that we are compliant with those laws.” Arab American groups and civil liberties groups said they were horrified by the news and some have called for a federal investigation into the practice.
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Poll Shows De Blasio With BIg Lead (NY Times)
What better way to celebrate the New York Public Interest Research Group's 40th anniversary than to have long-time good government gadfly Blair Horner return to deliver is one-of-a-kind anti-corruption quotes?
Horner left NYPIRG two and a half years ago to work for The American Cancer Society. He returns to NYPIRG right in time for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's anti-corruption Moreland Commission's first public meetings and the 2014 state-wide elections.
I will continue to work with them on the state’s important health issues,” Horner said in a statement. “I look forward to working on many other looming issues as well. From release of the findings of the Moreland Act Commission, to next year’s vote on the constitutional amendment on redistricting, to the 2017 referendum on whether to convene a Constitutional Convention, New Yorkers have big decisions to make and I want to be deeply involved in those discussions. Being back in NYPIRG allows me to do just that.”
Horner is known for blisteringly poignant and funny quotes about corruption and good government policy. Albany reporters can rest easy knowing Horner will be bringing his quotes back with him.
The City Council is scheduled to vote today on overriding Mayor Michael Bloomberg's vetoes of two bills designed to restrict the New York Police Department's use of stop-and-frisk. A bill that would create an inspector general to oversee the New York Police Department is expected to be enacted today but the second measure that would increase the ability to sue the NYPD for racial profiling is less likely to become law. The second bill initially passed with 34 vote--the minimum number needed to override a veto. If one council member is convinced not to vote to override the veto will stand. Members have been targeted by Bloomberg and police unions on the issue. Council President Christine Quinn said at a mayoral debate last night that she expects both overrides to succeed.
Family Trust Offers Possible Clues to How Spitzer Would Invest Funds (NY Times)
De Blasio Target at Mayoral Debate (NY Times)
Union Works Around Campaign Laws For Liu Ads (Daily News)
Ask any Bronx politician and they will tell you the health of their constituents is at the very top of their list of issues that need to be addressed. The statistics are dire: The Bronx has led city rates for obesity, diabetes and asthma for years.
A new study by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found that the Bronx's 10457 zipcode has the highest number of people with two sexually transmitted diseases in the city.
It is reports like that that motivated Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz and Sen. Gustavo Rivera to team up to create The Bronx Change Attitudes Now Health Initiative focused on getting residents exercising, eating right, and participating in free health screenings.
The intiative was started in July 2011 in response to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that found the Bronx to be the unhealthiest county in New York State. The same study found that the Bronx is still the unhealthiest county in the state this year.
This year the kickoff event for will be held at Crotona Park from 12 to 4 p.m. tomorrow. The event will now features STD testing along with other health testing, exercise classes, martial arts demonstrations and face painting for the kids.
Quinn and De Blasio Neck and Neck
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's momentum continues to build in the race for New York City mayor according to a new Wall Street Journal-NBC 4-Marist survey. De Blasio is now in a tie with Council Speaker Christine Quinn at 24 percent according to the poll that shows de Blasio has jumped 7 percentage points with likely voters since last month. The poll puts Bill Thompson in third with 18 percent followed by Anthony Weiner and John Liu. The poll indicates that a Democratic runoff is very likely. If no candidate reaches 40 percent in the primary a runoff is triggered. The poll shows that de Blasio who is married to a black woman and features his black son in a recent television spot has won the support of many black voters since last month.
Bill Lynch Remembered By Those He Mentored (NY Times)