Week of January 09, 2006
January 13, 2006Death Sparks Debate on Children's Services
The city was repeatedly warned that 7-year old Nixzmary Brown was being abused long before she was beaten to death earlier this week. Brown became the fourth child to die in the last two months from alleged abuse or neglect after the city�s Administration of Children�s Services was alerted of problems in their homes. The agency has undergone a decade of reforms that many believe have improved it vastly. But in the past year caseloads for abuse investigators are up sharply leading to slower and less frequent checks on reported problems. The agency says its caseload is manageable, but plans to do a thorough review of its policies and open cases.
For more, see our Social Services Links in the News
Bicycle Deaths Rose 40 Percent in 2005 (Daily News)
NYC Calendar: Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and More ... (Gotham Gazette)
Weingarten Predicts More Strikes (Metro)
January 12, 2006Albany Late Again and Facing Suit
Albany's most famous foot-dragging is usually inflicted on the state budget. But now its failure to comply on time with new voting system guidelines could land it in federal court. In a letter leaked to The New York Times, the Justice Department said it had authorized a suit against New York State for missing deadlines and being "'further behind�than any other state in the country'" in modernizing its voting system in accordance with the Help America Vote Act. New York still has not decided what type of voting machines it will certify and has not created a statewide database of registered voters.
For more, see voting links in the news.
Pataki Proposes $1 Billion Tax Cut for Businesses (Daily News)
Harlem Boys (and Girls) Choir: The Bigger Story (Amsterdam News)
Tammany 2006: The New West Side Machine (NY Observer)
Community Rage Over Yankee Plan (Metro)
Older New Yorkers And The Internet (Gotham Gazette)
Tech Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
January 11, 2006Bloomberg 2nd Term
Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday appointed another deputy mayor, this time tapping Linda Gibbs, his trusted commissioner of homeless services. She is the only one of four newly elevated top deputies not to have worked with Mr. Bloomberg in the private sector. By forming a new cabinet that relies more heavily on longtime associates, the mayor is "effectively taking tighter control of a city government that was in large part foreign to him when he took office four years ago," wrote the New York Times.
Filmmaker Sues City
An award-winning Indian filmmaker, Rakesh Sharma, yesterday sued New York City because police ordered him to stop filming in public in 2005 and held him for four hours, suspecting he was plotting an attack. The suit, filed on Sharma's behalf by the New York Civil Liberties Union , said his constitutional rights had been violated because he was held by police and "searched and harassed" before being told he needed a permit. The Civil Liberties Union said this is the first suit to challenge police restrictions on taking pictures in public in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
For details, see the civil rights links in the news.
Sorting Out The Transit Contract (Gotham Gazette)
Transportation Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
January 10, 2006Ferry Crash Sentencing
More than two years after the Andrew J. Barberi ferry crashed full-speed into a pier in Staten , killing 11 passengers, pilot Richard Smith (who had passed out at the wheel) was sentenced to a year and a half in prison, and the city's former ferry director, Patrick Ryan, was sentenced to one year and one day for failing to enforce a rule requiring ferries be operated by two pilots whenever docking. ``I will regret for the rest of my life,” Smith said, “that I did not just call in sick.''
A report written to aid the judge in coming up with the sentences harshly criticized Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall and other transportation officials, saying “the ferry system and its management had major systemic deficiencies which compromised safety and thus were a factor in causing the accident.”
For details, see the transportation links in the news.
For editorial reaction to the sentences, go to Wonkster.
East Harlem Epicenter Of Diabetes Epidemic (NY Times)
Crime Rising In Central Park (NY Post)
NYC Trying To Sell Bridge (For Real) (The New Yorker)
Transit Workers Begin Vote On New Contract, Amid Concerns It Might Not Be Ratified (The Chief Civil Service Leader)
January 09, 2006The Diabetes Crisis
With more than one in eight adult New Yorkers estimated to be suffering from diabetes, health officials believe the city is facing an epidemic that, within decades, could overwhelm the public health system. As incidences of other serious diseases decline, the number of New Yorkers with diabetes has increased here far more than it has nationally. Experts attribute this to a variety of factors including a high percentage of low income people and of immigrants adjusting to American diets and habits. In an interview with the New York Times, which features a lengthy report on the disease, city Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said, "Twenty years from now people will look back and say: 'What were they thinking? They're in the middle of an epidemic and kids are watching 20,000 hours of commercials for junk food.' "
Another 9/11 Death?
The death of a 34-year-old former police detective who searched for victims at Ground Zero after the September 11, 2001 attacks is being blamed on respiratory disease related to the hundreds of hours he spent at the site. James Zadroga, who died Thursday, developed black lung disease and mercury on the brain because of his exposure to World Trade Center dust and debris, according to Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association. Although other emergency responders have reported respiratory problems since 9/11 , no other similar deaths have been report. "James is the first; unfortunately I do not think he is going to be the last," Palladino said.
For more on both of these stories, see health links in the news.
Dinkins to Head Effort to Save Harlem Boys Choir (Daily News)
MTA Takes Over Green Bus Lines (Newsday)
Politicians in City Hall and Albany -- and Their 2006 Agendas (Gotham Gazette)