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The Eye-Opener

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Testifying at a hearing on the city’s new emergency 911 system, a top official of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration promised a "full investigation" into what caused a delay in responding to a request for help for a girl who died after she was struck by a car.

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway extended his condolence to the family of the girl and promised the full review as he testified for over three hours at a City Council hearing Friday, where he declared that the $88 million 911 system’s "technology worked."

READ the City Council committee report about recent problems with the city's 911 system.

The parents of 4-year-old Ariel Russo, the girl in question, attended the hearing. Her mother spoke to the press afterwards.

"There is only so much that we, the people of New York City, can actually do without the commitment of elected officials," said Sophia Russo, Ariel's mother. "I call on all New Yorkers to write and call our mayor and members of the City Council, imploring them to fix two major issues here. The first is, we need a law passed which prohibits high-speed police chases in school zones. Second and most importantly, we need to demand that this 911 system be fixed."

Her family has filed a notice of claim against the city and has hired attorney Sanford Rubenstein to represent them.

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Thousands of union workers rallied yesterday at City Hall Park to demonstrate their frustration over the lack of contract negotiations between Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration and city employees.

"The people united will not be defeated," unionized teachers, firefighters, sanitation workers and police officers continuously chanted, their words echoing through the park as giant screens showed images of the protest.

The rally, coordinated by the Municipal Labor Committee, was touted by organizers as a vigorous response to Bloomberg's decision to allow city unions' contracts to expire, leaving over 300,000 employees without labor agreements.

Bloomberg presented his final $70 billion budget plan in early May, which marks his 12th budget in his 11-and-a-half years in office. Under the proposal, 20 fire companies would be closed and $135 million cut from afterschool and early-childhood education programs.

The budget also has no money allocated for city employees' backpay in case renegotiating contracts results in salary increases. The cumulative price of paying the city's workforce retroactively could be over $7 billion.

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By Maya Miller and Latima Stephens

As the budget dance enters its final steps, advocates still have some moves left for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

At least 200 adult literacy advocates congregated at City Hall Park today to protest cuts to at least three education programs. Joined by Comptroller John Liu as well as Council members Gale Brewer, Sara Gonzalez and Matthieu Eugene, those in attendance said they are in it for the long haul.

“It’s a fight every year to get the City Council and the mayor to work together to put funding back in the budget,” said Sierra Stoneman-Bell, co-director of the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition.

The most recent budget put forth by the Bloomberg administration would cut approximately $7 million from the adult literacy programs. As a result, the cuts would eliminate 7,000 seats saved for helping New Yorkers learn English, which those at the protest said is vital to their and their families' livelihoods.

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As Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveils his administration's vision for making New York City more resilient to climate change, Gotham Gazette is working to help democratize the public debate on the issues.

Gotham Gazette is partnering with veteran journalists and technology pioneers to bring you AdaptNY, which aims to "curate, document and foster conversation about how New York will adapt to the coming challenges of climate change."

The project is led by veteran journalist A. Adam Glenn, of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

The project will be edited and curated by Glenn, and Gotham Gazette will be providing content and editorial guidance. We'll also be promoting AdaptNY's efforts on Facebook and Twitter, and encourage readers to visit the project site.

We are also proud to be partnering with DocumentCloud to develop an online tool for stimulating public policy discussion around key reports on climate change.

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