photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York
Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 9
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio pitches his rezoning plans in East New York, via Chang W. Lee for the New York Times; charter school supporters rally in Brooklyn, via Eva Moskowitz; Gov. Cuomo and former VP Al Gore celebrate a climate change-prevention announcement, via the governor's office
TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:
1. Cuomo On Climate Change: On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with former Vice President Al Gore, announced four actions to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across New York State. Cuomo signed the Under 2 Memorandum of Understanding, reaffirming his pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. By signing the ‘Under 2 MOU,’ Cuomo committed New York to the global effort to keep the earth’s average temperature from rising two degrees. The governor reiterated several measures that will make up New York’s efforts to do so, including an increase in the cultivation and use of solar power.
2. Charter School Politics: A large pro-charter school rally led by Families for Excellent Schools was held on Wednesday; bolstered mostly by Eva Moskowitz, who closed her Success Academy Charter Schools so that students, parents, and staff would attend. Moskowitz accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of going back on his word to find space for seven new elementary charter schools in time for them to open in August. Generally, charter supporters are upset with the mayor for being against the expansion of charter schools. Then, on Thursday, Moskowitz announced that she will not be running for mayor in 2017, despite speculation that, as one of Mayor de Blasio’s biggest critics, she was going to run.
3. New Info In Deadly Brooklyn Explosion: On Thursday, fire marshals eliminated natural gas as a possible cause of the explosion in Brooklyn last Saturday that destroyed a three-story building, killed two, and injured thirteen. Investigators are now looking into whether some type of accelerant or fuel was involved in the blast. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said information from the investigation and “examination of the building gas meters, found that there was no natural gas flowing to the second-floor apartment (where the fire originated) since June 26.”
4. MTA Funding Feud Continues: Governor Cuomo again took issue with Mayor de Blasio over funding the MTA in a WNYC interview on Tuesday. Cuomo and the head of the MTA, the governor’s appointee, are demanding the city contribute about $3 billion more. De Blasio is apparently offering over $2 billion, a major increase from previous commitments, but is saying he wants assurances that Cuomo will not remove any money from the MTA budget as he has done repeatedly in the past. The sniping continues.
5. Staten Island Family Justice Center Finally Breaks Ground: After years of delays, Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, and others gathered on Monday for the groundbreaking of The Staten Island Family Justice Center, largely focused on domestic violence prevention and response. The center is the first of its kind on Staten Island, following the lead of every other borough in the city, each of which already has such a center dedicated to providing comprehensive civil legal, criminal justice, and social services free of charge to victims of domestic abuse, sex trafficking, and elderly abuse.
THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:
- 1.5 million New Yorker City residents live in overcrowded (more than one occupant per room) or “severely overcrowded” (at least 1.5 occupants per room) situations, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer
- 282,000 domestic violence incidents were filed by the NYPD in 2014 - roughly 800 per day.
- $11.7 million in earmarks have been awarded to State Senator Jeff Klein over the last three years - more than triple the amount of any other senator.
- 32% of the newest class of NYPD officers are Latino, the highest ever percentage ever. The new class of NYPD recruits hail from 36 countries, speak 22 languages, and are 20% women.
- 68 is how old NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton turned this Tuesday. Commissioner Bratton has 45 years of policing under his belt as of this week.
- $155 million will be spent by the city over the next year to fix up more than 35 parks in high-poverty areas.
- Around this time four years ago, on October 7, 2011, the NYPD busted a Queens-based identity theft and retail crime ring, arresting over 110 people - the largest identity theft ring in the history of the United States at the time, making an annual profit of over $13 million.
- Around this time two years ago, on October 9, 2013, a 'Times Square Elmo' was sent to jail for a year for trying to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts of the USA.
- Around this time last year, on October 7, 2014, the family of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died after an officer put him in a chokehold while wrestling Garner to the ground in order to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes, filed a claim to sue the city over his death.
GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:
Progressive Critics Largely Convinced by Cuomo's Wage Push, by David Howard King
Buffalo Billion Boss Offers, Cancels Interview; Claims 'Threat of Jail', by David Howard King
City Council Takes Aggressive Role in Workplace Issues, by Samar Khurshid
A Better Way to Fund the MTA, by Assembly Member Dan Quart (opinion)
Klein's 'Newspaper' Touts His Ability to Bring Home the Bacon, by David Howard King
MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:
- The New York Times' Liz Harris looks at the city's dual-language programs
- WNYC's Beth Fertig reports from a "renewal school" in the Bronx
- The Daily News' Harry Siegel writes about police-community relations in East New York
NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle @GothamGazette.
Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!
by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max