Week of August 1, 2005
Bill Easing Rules on Pill Vetoed
Governor George Pataki yesterday vetoed a legislation that would have given women the ability to get emergency contraception without a prescription. The veto came just hours after the State Assembly delivered the bill to his desk. His major objections are that girls younger than 16 would have access to the so-called morning-after pill; the bill doesn't limit the number of doses that can be purchased at one time and men could purchase the contraception in an effort to persuade young women to have unprotected sex. Critics said Pataki's veto amounted to political opportunism because he has been a supporter of abortion rights but is now exploring the possibility of a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
For more information, go to City Hall News
Bloomberg Slams Suit Over Subway Bag Searches (Daily News)
High Line Park Gets $18 Million (NY Post)
Education Links In The News: (Gotham Gazette)
Bag Search Lawsuit
The New York Civil Liberties Union plans to file a lawsuit challenging the legality of bag searches in the subway system. The lawsuit contends that the searches are "virtually certain neither to catch any person trying to carry explosives into the subway nor to deter such an effort." It also argues that riders have been selected in a "discriminatory and arbitrary" manner, creating the potential for racial profiling. A police department official defended the searches as effective, legal, and random.
Diverted Taxes for Special Projects
The Bloomberg administration improperly diverted $22 million dollars in special tax payments from developers, called PILOTs, into questionable projects instead of putting the money into the treasury, according the City Comptroller. The expenditures included $700,000 for the police museum, $8.4 million for a failed effort to build a New York Stock Exchange headquarters, $7 million for cancer research, and $670,000 for consultants who worked on the plan for a West Side stadium. The city also failed to collect $2.5 million in real estate payments because of ineffective oversight. The New York City Council recently passed a law requiring that PILOT payments be reviewed and approved by the council and the mayor.
For more on the bag search lawsuit and the PILOT payments, see City Hall News
Housing Boom in All Corners of the City (NY Times)
Masks Used in WTC Clean Up Recalled (Daily News)
Civil Rights Issues Divide Bloomberg and Democratic Rivals (Gotham Gazette)
City to Try to Ease Traffic
The city will spend $71 million in federal money to try to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in the city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday. The largest amount of the money, which comes from a federal program to fight air pollution, will go to efforts to encourage the city and private companies to convert their vehicles to cleaner fuels. Other funds will be spent to improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists. But the mayor did not promise the effort would speed anyone's commute. "The better you make the roads, the more people drive," he said. "In the end, the real solution to our congestion problems is our mass transit."
For more see, Transportation Links in the News
Working With the City's Most Troubled Men (Village Voice)
Real Estate Developers Should Provide Parks, by Peter Harnik (Gotham Gazette)
"Since the Sept. 11 attacks, federal officials have stepped up their domestic investigation and security efforts in the hopes of preventing another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The increased scrutiny has resulted in a 55 percent jump in deportation from New York City in one year alone," Rob Polner writes in Newsday in the first of a two-part series. See Immigrant Links In the News
Ex Rikers Boss Gets 8 Months In Federal Prison (Daily News)
Celebrity Supporters Mount Final Push To Save Famed Rock Club CBGBs (Associated Press)
National Guard and Subway Security
Governor George Pataki has put hundreds of National Guard troops on active duty to help secure New York City's subways, rail yards, and ferries, in the latest response to the bombings in London on July 7. Further, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering increasing the number of security cameras on the subways. Random bag searches, meanwhile, have reportedly been going smoothly. Several thousand people have been searched with no serious conflicts reported - and no evidence of terrorism uncovered. Since the London bombings, the police department has been spending between $1.3 and $1.9 million weekly on security-related overtime.
For more, see Gotham Gazette's Transportation Links in the News
Mayor Backs MTA Plan for Railyards (Daily News)
Making Medicaid Cheaper (Gotham Gazette)
The Citizen (Gotham Gazette)
City's Economic Growth Rises in July (Reuters)