Of all the problems with the New York City subway – overcrowding, delays, noxious smells – accessibility ranks among the worst. But thanks to Rodolfo Diaz and Robert Hardy, two disabled men who sued over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s lack of station accessibility, that may finally change. A federal judge ruled that any planned construction on an MTA station has to address the needs of individuals with disabilities, marking what an attorney called “the end of the MTA treating people with disabilities as second-class citizens.”
Thomas DiNapoli, the decider-in-chief
Thomas DiNapoli, the decider-in-chief
Update: State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was voted last week's biggest winner, thanks to his key role as the final arbiter of how much money the state actually has for its next budget. Meanwhile, the WFP's Bill Lipton was voted the biggest loser, due to the state Democratic Party's resolution to end fusion voting.
Battle-tested billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who used to run our fair city, has bowed out of the presidential race. So has two-time candidate and noted Broadway theatergoer Hillary Clinton. But Bill de Blasio, who just this month has learned how to swipe a MetroCard, is full steam ahead for 2020, sampling some South Carolina barbecue this weekend. The real winners? Acting Public Advocate/Council Speaker/Transit BATman Corey Johnson, who’s measuring the drapes in Gracie Mansion.
It is always nice to be needed – especially if you have a wonky job like state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. He had to step in to decide how much revenue there is to fund the upcoming state budget, following a breakdown of negotiations between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers. Once he calculated the figures, DiNapoli won again when the kids put the extra money he found – $190 million more revenue than Cuomo thought – in the state government’s piggy bank. It could always rain …
The jazz singer and … who else? Don’t feel bad if you don’t know their names – the statuary hasn’t been there to teach you. But an effort led by FLONYC Chirlane McCray plans to fix that, starting to correct the gender imbalance in the city’s public art by depicting these women in stone or metal. You’ll soon learn that Graham was a desegregation pioneer, Trías was public health icon and Walker was a lighthouse-keeping legend.
Democrats got their winning streak going this week with the passage of new gun control legislation. The leader sponsors of the bills, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and state Sen. Liz Krueger, even got a chance to explain to their Republican colleagues what is – and is not – the right way to store your guns with kids in the house. It’s all right by Krueger to store your pistol under a pillow or in the night stand. Just make sure, she told Senate Republicans, that you either lock it up or take it along with you while you shower – or you could face some time in the slammer.
Last month, New York magazine suggested that Stephen Ross is “just possibly and for this moment, the most powerful man in New York, a Robert Moses for our age of concierge mega-urbanism.” And this week, Ross provided additional evidence to back up that claim as he cut a deal with the Building and Construction Trades Council’s Gary LaBarbera that ends a bitter feud – and apparently still allows the real estate developer to employ non-union labor at his Hudson Yards mega-development.
Former Erie County Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger was convicted this week of raping a junior social services employee who was his subordinate at the time of the crime. Dirschberger was forced by the county executive to resign from his post in 2017 after an internal investigation. Due to the violent nature of the crime, the former county official has been denied bail and will be held in custody until he is sentenced next month. Dirschberger faces up to four years in prison for two felony charges of third degree sexual misconduct. Good riddance.
Forget standing clear of the closing doors. The MTA should replace the ubiquitous announcement with a new one: “Please stand clear of the falling debris.” For the second time in weeks, debris from the elevated L train in Queens fell onto a moving car. Last week, a beam impaled the passenger side of a car. This week, a rusted piece of metal cracked a windshield. No one was hurt either time, but someone could still have been killed. They say that three makes a trend, but two seems like more than enough to illustrate a troubling problem.
Facebook decided Legg didn’t have a leg to stand on. The mayor of Old Forge, Pennsylvania, took to the social media site to call for the shooting of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Facebook took the post down after it decided Legg violated its policies. Sure, he may have just been pulling everyone’s leg with morbid hyperbole – or maybe he was hacked? – but the threat was deemed credible enough by Facebook. Perhaps if he should have followed President Donald Trump’s lead and simply suggested that “Second Amendment people” could take action against his political enemies.
The New York state Democratic Party took aim at the state’s unique practice of fusion voting, approving a nonbinding agreement calling for the end of cross-party endorsements. The agreement doesn’t actually do anything, and many establishment Democrats have come out in support of maintaining fusion voting, but the incident still is a hassle for Bill Lipton, a leader of the Working Families Party, which derives its influence from fusion voting.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill took some heat over the weekend for giving Inwood residents the boot along 218th Street, relocating dozens of cars so that the NYPD flag football league could park for free. (O’Neill claimed this is not a case of placard abuse, the nuisance of city officials abusing their parking power.) Adding to his headache, O’Neill has a new accountability matter to worry about: The Legal Aid Society launched a database of lawsuits filed against the NYPD between 2015 and 2018, including 740 cases that were cumulatively settled for nearly $50 million. Now we can see if the NYPD’s legal defenders are as good as the flag football team’s defensive line.