Week of December 05, 2005
December 09, 2005Little Progress on Transit Talks
The Transport Workers Union rejected an initial contract offer from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority yesterday, and contract negotiations continued. The union focused on work rules, specifically how long workers have to use the bathroom. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, meanwhile, has charged that transit workers are deliberately � and illegally � slowing down the trains as a pressure tactic (something the union denies). The union will vote on Saturday whether to authorize a strike if a contract is not in place by next Friday at 12:01 a.m, when its current contract expires. Such a strike could cost the city up to $350 million a day.
For more, see our Transportation Topic Page
Liberty Bonds and Ground Zero
City and state officials and real estate developer Larry Silverstein �remain far apart,� about development at Ground Zero after a public hearing yesterday. Silverstein, who has been under pressure to give up control of a portion of the trade center site, wants access to all $3.35 billion worth of tax-exempt Liberty Bonds intended to spur development in lower Manhattan. But the city believes that construction at Ground Zero would proceed more quickly if some of these bonds were granted to other developers. It wants to create strict timeline requirements and redistribute the bonds if Silverstein does not meet the deadlines.
For more, see our Land Use Topic Page
Miller to Council: Put Term Limit Change to Voters (Daily News)
City Council Overrides Three Mayoral Vetoes (Gotham Gazette)
Same-Sex Marriage Loses (Gotham Gazette)
Civil Rights Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
December 08, 2005MTA Makes Offer
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority offered transit workers a two-year contract with raises of 3 percent next year and 2 percent the following year, but insisted that new employees pay 2 percent of their earnings toward health care premiums. Roger Toussaint, president of the Transport Workers Union, said that the proposed raise was "a starting point," but that the health insurance proposals, along with a change in pension rules for new employees, are unacceptable. The transit workers contract expires on December 15.
CBGB to Close
CBGB, the legendary Bowery rock club, will remain open until Halloween, then close its doors. The club reached a deal with the Bowery Residents' Committee, a nonprofit organization that helps the homeless and holds the lease on the property. The owner had sought a rent increase. Hilly Kristal, who opened the club in 1973 that helped launch bands like the Ramones and the Talking Heads, said he was searching for a new location with the help of the mayor's office.
Police Officers Accused of Sex Assaults (NY Times)
Health Aides Set to Strike (Daily News)
Amtrak and Its Former Chief (NY Observer)
Bracing For A Transit Strike (Gotham Gazette)
Transportation Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
December 07, 2005Thanks...
to those of you who contributed on the first day of our month-long appeal. We must raise a total of $15,000 to keep offering you our award-winning coverage of NYC. Please make a tax-deductible contribution and help us raise the ball in time to celebrate a new year.
With the transit workers' contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority set to expire next week, both sides in the talks continue to maneuver. Some transit union officials predicted yesterday that workers will vote almost unanimously to authorize a strike on Saturday, although such an action is forbidden under state law. In anticipation of this possibility, transit and city officials worked on contingency plans. The MTA is reportedly considering have supervisors drive trains, while the city would set up staging areas for car pools. As union leaders and the MTA prepare to meet for the sixth time today, a number of issue remain in contention, including pensions, work rules for conductors and other employees, and contracts for workers at five private bus companies that are being taken over by the transit authority.
For more, see Transportation Links in the News.
Tutoring Plan Could Create Chaos at Dismissal Time (Daily News)
Ten Unanswered Questions about 9/11 (Village Voice)
Cleaning Up The PCBs In the Hudson River (Gotham Gazette)
Waterfront Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
December 06, 2005Countdown to New Year's
Today, we launch a month-long appeal, so that we can keep providing our free award-winning coverage of NYC in 2006. We must raise $15,000 by December 31. Please make a tax-deductible contribution to Citizens Union Foundation, and help us raise the ball in time to celebrate a new year in this mythic city.
Bloomberg Outspent Himself
Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent $77.9 million of his own money on his re-election effort, exceeding the previous record of $74 million he spent four years ago, according to campaign records released yesterday. In this past election, Bloomberg received 753,089 votes on the Republican and Independence lines � that works out to more than $103 per vote -- to 503,219 for Democrat Fernando Ferrer, whose campaign had spent about $9.5 million. Ferrer is still $488,000 in debt
For more information, see Voting links in the news.
State Seeks Renewal of Medicaid Exemption (NY Times)
New Deal Building Over Railyards (Daily News)
Firefighters Union Wants Probe (Newsday)
Good News For The Budget, For Now (Gotham Gazette)
Finance Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
December 05, 2005Two Court Rulings
Two federal court decisions on Friday about safety and security in New York City: Judge Richard Berman rejected a lawsuit by the New York Civil Liberties Union challenging the constitutionality of random police searches of subway passengers’ bags and backpacks, ruling that the searches were not overly intrusive given that the threat of a terrorist attack in the subways was "real and substantial." The NYCLU said it would appeal.
Judge Jack Weinstein ruled that the lawsuit brought by New York and other states against gun manufacturers to hold them accountable for gun violence may go forward, despite the passage by Congress in October of the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” a law sponsored by the Bush administration to end just such lawsuits. The defendants have appealed.
For details of the two decisions, see crime links in the news.
For varying opinions on these rulings, visit The Wonkster
Fat Cats Milked Ground Zero (Daily News)
New Subway Rules Go Into Effect Today (Newsday)
Fired Ferry Captain Sues To Be Reinstated (Staten Island Advance)