Week of September 26, 2005
9/30/05New Passenger Rules
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority yesterday approved a set of new passenger rules, the first changes since 1994 to the code of conduct that is intended to guide the behavior of subway riders. The new rules prohibit walking between cars, straddling a bicycle and putting feet on seats. A provision banning drinking from an open container on a moving train, which had caused widespread controversy earlier this year, was also approved. Fines for breaking the rules will run from $25 to $75.
For more information, go to Transportation Links in the News
9/29/05Governor Bars Freedom Center
Governor George Pataki has cancelled plans to build the International Freedom Center at the World Trade Center site. The center, which was meant to place the events of September 11, 2001 in the context of the worldwide struggle for freedom, had drawn criticism from some victims' family members and politicians because it could potentially contain exhibits that were anti-American. "Freedom should unify us," the governor said in a statement. "This center has not." Representatives of the center say the governor's decision has forced the entire project to be scrapped.
9/11 Scares Off Insurers in Lower Manhattan (Daily News)
Radio City Musicians Authorize Strike (Newsday)
City Council Debates Job Centers for Day Laborers (Gotham Gazette)
The New New Math, And Some Old Debates Renewed (Gotham Gazette)
Education Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Clarence Norman, a member of the State Assembly and the powerful longtime leader of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, was convicted yesterday of soliciting illegal campaign contributions. Norman, whose lawyers said he would appeal, could face up to eight years in prison and will have to give up his Assembly seat, party post and law license -- and still faces trial on three other charges. The cases arise
from a probe by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes of judicial corruption in Brooklyn, including the alleged "sale" of positions on the bench. While some political insiders said Norman is maneuvering to choose a successor, reformers said they hoped the verdict would clean up politics in the borough.
For reaction to the verdict see Gotham Gazette's Wonkster.
Foreign Immigration to New York Declines (NY Times)
Bloomberg Wavers in Support for Freedom Center (Daily News)
After School Cuts Leave Children with No Place To Go (Downtown Express)
The union representing the city's 8,300 correction officers said yesterday that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Bloomberg administration for a 10.25 percent increase and other terms similar to those awarded to city police officers in June. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also said he was prepared to accept an arbitrator's recommendation to end a stalemate with the city's teachers. For details, see City Hall News.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority could end the year with a $923 million surplus, $95 million more than the MTA projected, according to state comptroller Alan Hevesi, who recommended that the money be used to forestall the planned fare and toll hikes. For details, see the Transportation links in the news.
Twin Towers Were Unsafe In 1993, Jury Told (NY Times)
Lower Police Pay Leads To Sharp Drop In Recruits (Daily News)
Campaign 2005: Disaffection With Bloomberg Among Homeless Advocates (Gotham Gazette)
Housing Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
9/26/05Reforming Special Education
The Bloomberg administration's attempt to reform special education is heading "in positive directions", but needs to improve its data collection, its handling of student hearings, and reduce confusion over who is in charge of services, a report released last week claimed. The independent assessment comes as a result of a long-running collection of lawsuits concerning the special education system. The city is planning to spend $38 million to respond to the concerns raised, $30 million to create an electronic data system and $8 million for teacher training and support.
Read the report
Opposition to the Freedom Center
Opposition to the International Freedom Center proposed for Ground Zero, which some charge will be anti-American, gained momentum over the weekend. Senator Hillary Clinton said she would not support anything that first responders and families of 9/11 victims object to; former mayor Rudolph Giuliani called on the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to "scrap those plans and start from the beginning and focus it on Sept. 11." Three Republican Congressman -- Vito Fossella, Peter King, and John Sweeney -- requested a congressional oversight hearing, a step towards blocking the Freedom Center from receiving any of the $2.7 billion in federal funds allocated to Ground Zero.
For more opinions on the Freedom Center, see Gotham Gazette's new blog of NYC opinions, the Wonkster.
Officials Evaluate Evacuation Plan (NY Times)
Judge Block Fish Market Move (NY Times)
Corporal Punishment in Schools on Rise (Daily News)
Tourists Spent $9.1 Billion in 2004 (NY Post)
Hospitals in Crisis (Gotham Gazette)
Governors Island -- What's it Going to Be? (Gotham Gazette)
Bloomberg Uses His Money to Govern (New York Magazine)