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Gotham Gazette

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Citizens Union

The Eye-Opener

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg has lashed out at critics of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk tactics, including mayoral candidates, who he said are playing politics and undermining law enforcement. 

During a speech to an audience of NYPD leaders today, Bloomberg took umbrage at two bills proposed by City Council members that seek to increase oversight of stop, question and frisk, directly tying the program to the city's record-low crime rates and ongoing counterterrorism efforts.

The outgoing mayor also took grave offense with some of his potential successors and their willingness to make the city less safe by supporting "politically driven legislation."

"My message is simple: stop playing politics with public safety," Bloomberg said to an audience of NYPD leaders. "Look at what’s happened in Boston. Remember what happened here on 9/11. Remember all of those who’ve been killed by gun violence — and the families they left behind. We owe it to all of them to give our officers the tools they need to protect innocent lives or people will needlessly die and we’ll all be responsible."

Calling the police department officers "first preventers," the mayor argued that the numbers used to argue against stop-and-frisk prove the need for the practice. Bloomberg defended the program as a deterrence against gun possession and crime, and that the movement to end stop-and-frisk would turn the clock back on the city's low crime rates.

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In his third press conference on the subject in recent weeks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will speak to leadership from the New York Police Department on public safety today.

Bloomberg's speech follows last week's address from City Council Speaker and Democratic mayoral candidate Christine Quinn's speech on the same subject.

Bloomberg has now held multiple press conferences with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly on the heels of Boston marathon attacks, often discussing increased surveillance and opposition to what he calls "special interests" looking to change the Police Department's current practices.

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A group of evacuees left homeless by Superstorm Sandy are suing to stay in hotels that the city says they need to leave by tomorrow. 

Six months to the day that Sandy hit New York City, five individuals filed a lawsuit today to prevent the city from following through with its deadline to end its temporary hotel program for Sandy victims.

Calling the city's deadlines "arbitrary," the suit seeks to force the city to keep paying for hotels until the residents can secure permanent housing. The lawsuit also says that the city's evictions notices were served without a fair hearing, which attorneys say does not comply with federal and state law.

"They have attempted to use whatever resources have been made available to them," said the complaint, "but have been stymied by poor case work, a lack of adequate housing resources and the failure of government agencies to timely implement forthcoming federally-funded housing resources."

The news came on the heels of a rally held in front of City Hall today, where a range of labor, faith and reform groups asked the city to extend the hotel deadline. They also called on the city to address the invasive mold problem in afflicted housing and properly track how the city spends money devoted to Sandy recovery.

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Bronx state Sen. Gustavo Rivera has made it clear he favors Council Speaker Christine Quinn as the next mayor. Now he's endorsing her proposal to change the legal age to buy cigarettes to 21 from 18. 

"I strongly support any effort, such as raising the minimum age to buy tobacco, that will reduce our youth's access to these products and prevent them from becoming lifetime consumers, "  Rivera said in a statement. 

Rivera was the first state legislator to endorse in the mayoral race when he announced his support for Quinn earlier this month. 

Quinn, the frontrunner for the Democratic mayoral nomination, introduced her anti-tobacco legislation this week. 

Rivera's saw his own anti-tobacco legislation, which banned smoking within 100 feet of all school entrances, passed in 2012.

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The City Council has once again delayed a vote on paid sick leave despite an earlier goal of a vote tomorrow.

After working to move the controversial bill to the Council floor for three years, Manhattan City Councilwoman Gale Brewer said yesterday that she hopes the bill will come to a vote in early May after negotiating the final language.

She added that only small, auxiliary verbs like "may" or "must."

"I think we'll be fine," Brewer said. "I still feel ecstatic."

Whatever language is eventually adopted into the bill is a result of weeks of negotiation between City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, labor advocates and the city's business leaders.

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