Week of July 18, 2005
Random Searches on Subways
The police department began randomly inspecting bags large enough to contain explosives on subways last night, in response to recent bombings on the London transit system. Anyone refusing to be searched will be allowed to leave the station without further questioning, said the police department. There appears to be no precedent for such searches on the city's subways. The constitutionality of such searches remains in question, and civil liberties advocates criticized the move and said it will cause racial profiling. The policy will continue indefinitely and will also include commuter rails and possibly buses and ferries.
For more, see Gotham Gazette's Transportation Links in the News
Random Searches Spark Legal Questions (NY Times)
Three Museums Score Security, Enraging Rest (NY Observer)
Law Links in the News (Gotham Gazette)
Calendar of NYC Events (Gotham Gazette)
Transit union officials, arguing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has failed to prepare employees to spot terrorists, said yesterday that they will run its own training course. The classes -- with costs totalling just less than $10,000 -- are being conducted by an Israeli security expert to train subway and bus workers in recognizing suspicious packages and passengers. The president of Transport Workers Union of America, Local 100, which represents 32,000 workers at New York City Transit, said the authority had done little to reassure workers since the July 7 subway and bus bombings in London.City Hall News
Setbacks and Successes for Education Councils (Gotham Gazette)
Education Links in the News (Gotham Gazette)
Steps to Combat Medicaid Fraud
Governor George Pataki yesterday announced a number of new measures, including the appointment of an independent inspector general, to prevent Medicaid fraud and abuse in the state. The announcement follows reports in the New York Times describing billions of dollars of fraud and abuse in the state's $44.5 billion program to provide healthcare to low-income people. New York has done less than other states to prevent such abuses. The governor also said he would revamp the state agencies intended to safeguard the Medicaid program and named Paul Schechtman, a former federal prosecutor, as an unpaid adviser to develop strategies for combatting fraud in the Medicaid system.
For more, see Health Links in the News
As Heat Soars, City Electric Use Hits Record High (Daily News)
Wal-Mart Continues to Seek Sites in City (NY Post)
Hybrid Vehicles in NYC, by Sam Williams (Gotham Gazette)
Seventh Graders' Turn
Saying that his policy of not automatically promoting third and fifth graders had resulted in improving their reading and math scores, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that he would end "social promotion" for seventh graders as well. For details, see City Hall News
Transportation Bond Act
Among the projects that would be partly (not fully) financed by a $2.9 billion transportation bond act on the ballot in November, according to a list released yesterday, are the Second Avenue subway ($450 million), the LIRR extension to Grand Central Terminal ($450 million) and the rail link between downtown and JFK International Airport ($100 million), as well several projects to replace or improve NYC bridges, including the Willis Avenue Bridge between the Bronx and Manhattan, and a project to rehabilitate the deck of the Gowanus Expressway. Half of the borrowed money would go to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the other half to the New York State Department of Transportation. For details, see transportation links in the news.
Q & A On NYC Police Efforts To Prevent Terrorist Attacks (The New Yorker)
New Video Game: "True Crime: New York City" (Associated Press)
Q & A With CEO Of 7-Eleven (Three Stores Are Opening In Manhattan) (New York Magazine)
Candidates for local elected office submitted the required number of signatures from New York City voters to the Board of Elections last week. The signatures are designed to demonstrate that a candidate has sufficient public support to run for office. In this way, hundreds of candidates officially declared their intention to run for local seats - mayor, city-wide office, borough president, City Council, district attorney, and judicial seats - but they must survive legal challenges this summer in order to appear on the ballot this fall.
Political campaigns were also required to update their campaign contribution and spending information with the Campaign Finance Board last week. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent $23 million of his own money so far, outpacing his campaign in 2001, when he broke the city record by spending a total of $74 million. At this point in 2001, Bloomberg had spent just $8 million. The four major Democratic challengers seeking to unseat the mayor have raised about $12 million combined.
For a complete list of candidates, profiles of the borough president races (including the Manhattan borough president race wth 14 candidates), and two new articles on City Council races on the Upper East Side and in Central Brooklyn, visit Gotham Gazette's Campaign 2005
City Schools Keeping Suspension Rate Low (NY Post)
Being Borough President (Gotham Gazette)
Waterfront Slide Show (Gotham Gazette)