The executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled fought hard to make the de Blasio administration finally get rolling on one of the biggest issues confronting people who use wheelchairs in New York City: impassable curbs at far too many street corners. A court settlement will install an independent monitor, create a city pedestrian ramp program and require the fixing of 162,000 sidewalk ramps – but the only problem is that it’ll take a full 15 years to do so.
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
Despite all the anticipation, nobody won big from Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony this week. Despite valiant attempts by lawmakers grilling the former special counsel from both sides of the aisle, Mueller never gave the tanilizing soundbite everyone wanted, sticking to the facts of his report.
But this way no one really loses either, right? Well, expect for maybe America as a whole, since Mueller did say that those darn Russians are still meddling in our elections.
After fighting tooth and claw for their furry friends, it was a purr-fect moment for state Sen. Michael Gianaris and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed their bill making it illegal to declaw cats. With that signature, New York became the first state in the country to implement such a ban. Both state legislators have feline friends of their own, who would likely be paw-sitively ecs-cat-ic if they were capable of understanding human law.
State Attorney General Letitia James took Equifax to the bank this week when she slapped a $19.2 million fine on the credit reporting company as its penalty for its 2017 data breach. The fine is part of a broader settlement Equifax reached after the data of 8.5 million New Yorkers, in addition to millions more across the U.S., was released. The company also has to pay a $10 million fine to the Department of Financial Services and restitution to those affected. Plus, consumers who were affected can now file a claim against Equifax – but we’re not giving the company any credit for it.
For one of the most progressive states in the nation, New York sure does take its time. Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally signed a bill outlawing revenge porn – the practice of publishing pornographic or sexually explicit photos of someone on the internet without their consent. Thanks to bill sponsors state Sen. Monica Martinez and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, New York joins 41 other states in having such laws on the books. Forty-second place isn’t a great look for New York, but hey, it’s better than 50th.
The famous former “Daily Show” host was the public face of an effort to permanently fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, and the measure finally went through this week. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had faced intense pressure to allow a vote on the bill, which was championed in Congress by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Once public pressure became too much to resist, Stewart literally got the last laugh.
Subway meltdown, meet career meltdown. The MTA board approved a plan that could save the agency millions of dollars – and erode much of appointed subway savior Andy Byford's power. The move was perfectly timed with Byford carrying the blame for Friday's extensive train shutdowns and subway passengers carrying the brunt of the weekend's heat wave and Monday’s station floods.
What happened to Corey Johnson’s trademark beard? Earlier this week the council speaker shaved his famous whiskers. “It was an accident. I'm not happy about it,” Johnson said in a rare instance of a politician openly admitting a mistake. Fortunately for Johnson, he said his facial hair would return to its former glory by week’s end.
Protesters shouted “Ricky renuncia!” for days and then something happened – he actually did it. Mired in scandal, the Puerto Rican governor announced his resignation after opponents took to the streets over a slew of corruption investigations and leaked derogatory messages. Rosselló’s dethroning was applauded in New York City, home to the largest Puerto Rican population outside the island. ¡Adiós, Rosselló!
Working hard or hardly working? For workers at The Bowery Residents Committee, a homeless outreach organization led by Muzzy Rosenblatt, it appears to be the latter. An audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli claims the MTA-hired agency often turned away homeless individuals and allegedly hung a “closed” sign during open hours to avoid outreach at its Penn Station office. The comptroller also found Rosenblatt’s workers only spent an average of 2.2 hours of their 8.5 hour shifts providing outreach to homeless people. That’s one seedy way of handling the needy.
If Jeffrey Roth, who was nominated to head the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, thought his City Council hearing would be a smooth ride, he hit a speed bump when council members grilled him on the TLC’s responsibility for the taxi driver crisis. Whether it’s because he went in unprepared or because de Blasio tied his hands behind his back, Roth ultimately paid the price, as the mayor temporarily withdrew his nomination to the post.