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City Councilman Ruben Wills' name appears on a list of wiretapped politicians in a sentencing memorandum for former state Sen. Shirley Huntley. Speaking at City Hall after the court document was unsealed today, Wills said his attorney assured him that he is not the focus of a corruption investgation. Here's a video of his comments.
Senate Republicans held a hearing today on the New York City public campaign finance system in what seemed as an attempt to beat back the push by a number of advocacy groups and legislators for the state to adopt a similar system. Things probably didn't work out as Republicans had intended.
Testimony was by invite=only and a number of good government groups protested their exclusion.
Outside the small hearing room, six Senate sergeants-at-arms guarded the doorway. The public was told there was no room for them and were barred entry.
"Let us in!" protesters shouted, the words thundering through the room from outside each time someone entered, causing consternation among speakers and legislators. Protesters discovered that the windows were open to the room and started their chant quietly outside the window. Some threw money and asked, "How much do you want to let us in? What does it cost?" Sergeants-at-arms were called in to drive away the protesters. They shut the window and eventually State Troopers responded.
The push for campaign finance reform has come as a slew of Demcoratic legislators have been arrested by federal authorities on corruption charges. But Senate Republicans continue to be the main benefactors of large corporate donations that are currently allowed in loopholes under current law.
A Manhattan judge has ruled that hundreds of Sandy evacuees currently living in hotel rooms paid for by the city can stay until at least mid-May.
After meeting with attorneys in chambers for almost 30 minutes, Judge Margaret Chan announced today that the 365 Sandy evacuees with no current housing alternatives can stay in the hotel rooms until May 15.
The city had said they would be evicted from the hotels on April 30, after funding for the program ended.
Attorneys for the city said that they planned on extending the deadline to the same date regardless of how the judge would have ruled today.
The city's Law Department said that the city had spent close to $60 million on helping households transition into stable living arrangements. Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond told reporters last week that the hotel program had cost the city $40 million.
Mayor Bloomberg delivered a passionate speech yesterday defending his police policies and lashing out at critics. He lambasted civil rights groups and the media for not showing outrage at the recent murder of a boy in the Bronx. He signaled out the NY Times in particular for publishing an article opposing stop and frisk days afterwards. The paper's rebuttal was that the editorial and news gathering sections are separate. But they did however mention the shooting in an op-ed. The victim's mother supports the policy. Bloomberg also panned legislation in the City Council that would create an independent monitor for the NYPD and another addressing profiling. He argued that outside agencies wouldn't share sensitive information if another department could gain access to it and that it would somehow sow confusion among the ranks of who was in charge. The mayor also claimed that the second bill would bar the use of skin color in descriptions of suspects, which the bill's co-sponsor points out is not the case.
SUPERSTORM SANDY ROUNDUP
A New York Supreme Court judge will hear arguments today in a lawsuit that could determine the outcome for hundreds of people displaced by Superstorm Storm and facing eviction from a city-funded hotel program that was supposed to terminate at the end of April. The New York Times reports that relief efforts by members of Occupy Wall Street has created a split in the nascent movement. Community groups in low-lying neighborhoods aren't waiting for the government to develop plans to respond to extreme weather; they've decided to create their own agenda.
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Con Ed Executives Return Bonuses (NY Post)
Hundreds of displaced Superstorm Sandy victims are safe from eviction from dozens of hotels paid for by the city — at least until tomorrow afternoon.
A New York Supreme Court judge will hear arguments tomorrow from the city and attorneys representing five evacuees who face eviction from the city's hotel program, which was supposed to terminate at the end of April .
While the city said on Monday night that the restraining order wasn't properly processed, the evacuees housed in any of the more the 50 hotels citywide can count on at least one more night.
Arguing on behalf of the five evacuees, the Legal Aid Society says that the city needs to secure an extension for those New Yorkers with no other housing options, which includes at least 125 households.
During a City Council hearing last Friday, Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond told Council members that another 71 households rejected the options given to them by DHS and its hired caseworkers.