First Read 03/14/2019

March 14, 2019
Latest News
About 15,000 Con Edison customers in Manhattan and Westchester County have been enrolled in a pilot program, set to start April 1, that will give them reduced rates for electricity usage during off-peak hours in a sort of congestion pricing plan for electricity.
Hundreds of public schools never reported a single instance of bullying to the state, as required by law, including some of the largest in New York City, according to a report from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
According to New York City public housing residents, it can take forever to get something repaired – unless there’s an official visiting, but once that official is gone, it’s back to a normal state of disrepair.
In light of the recent SAT cheating scandal, New York City Council Education Committee Chairman Mark Treyger, a former public school teacher, said he’s conducting an informal probe of security protocols around the exam.
New York City Police Department street stops have plummeted more than 98 percent, but stop-and-frisk incidents, and the use of force on blacks and Latinos, still occurs too frequently, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone plans to propose legislation next week to allow the county to opt out of legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana, but the measure has a one-year sunset provision that would make marijuana legal after a year if the ban isn’t renewed.
The New York City Council passed a package of bills that expand lead testing and reporting, covering everything from extending requirements for lead-based paint testing at day care centers to expanding reporting requirements when lead is found.
The budget bills approved by the state Senate and Assembly rejected Cuomo’s sweeping proposals to dramatically increase oversight of the state’s limousine industry offered in response a limousine crash last year that killed 20 people.
The state Senate passed a budget resolution that would allow bettors anywhere in the state – including New York City – to place mobile wagers on sports games through servers connected to four upstate casinos.
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The state Senate and Assembly each released their budget proposals this week, which included some shots at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s congestion pricing proposal and also rejected Cuomo’s proposed reforms for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
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Legislation introduced this month in Albany would make New York the sixth state in the nation to ban nonconsensual pelvic exams at hospitals amid outcry that the procedure represents a violation of patients’ rights.
Three mid-level state appeals judges wrote that President Donald Trump is not immune from a defamation lawsuit filed by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos while he’s in the Oval Office.
A new report analyzing more than 5 million criminal cases in New York City since 1987 suggests the city has already done a better job of slashing its use of bail and jail than nearly any other urban area in the United States.
Transit advocates – and dozens of politicians – are calling out de Blasio on his promise to increase speeds on New York City buses by 25 percent in the next two years, demanding that he come up with a “detailed plan” to make it happen.
A union representing thousands of New York City prekindergarten teachers is laying the groundwork for a strike, casting a shadow on one of de Blasio’s signature achievements as he explores a 2020 presidential bid.
The New York City Police Department has recorded a 23 percent increase in 911 calls about emotionally disturbed people since ThriveNYC, first lady Chirlane McCray’s signature mental health initiative, first launched in 2015.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that he is planning to expand the edge of lower Manhattan into the East River, creating approximately 500 feet of new land on the waterfront at a cost of approximately $10 billion.
A coalition of groups that helped Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeat Joseph Crowley is threatening to back other insurgents against Democrats in the Assembly next year for accepting more than $400,000 from real estate interests since 2015.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said state lawmakers “are extremely close” to forging a deal on criminal justice reforms that include changing how evidence during discovery is handled and curtailing cash bail.
Editorial Pages
It is necessary for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. to pursue felony charges against Paul Manafort and the Manhattan U.S. attorney to press his case against Michael Cohen, not to attack President Donald Trump, but to enforce the law when it is broken.
The state Legislature continues to resist making itself subject to the state’s Freedom of Information Law, but lawmakers should not be exempt from transparency as the law should apply to all of government.
I am joining a group of climate scientists and local officials to announce we’re filling one of the biggest gaps in our coastal defenses in lower Manhattan because we don’t debate global warming in New York City, not anymore, Mayor Bill de Blasio writes.
From City & State
National Politics
Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman who recently lost a bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, told a Texas TV station that he’s running for president, and he’s set to make a formal announcement Thursday morning.
The U.S. Senate voted to end American support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, its latest rebuke of the Trump administration’s continued embrace of the Saudi monarchy despite growing frustration with its actions on the world stage.
Using strategies she’s honed over decades, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has managed to keep a sprawling freshman class in line – and on her side – despite breaking with them on issues ranging from impeachment to the “Green New Deal.”
The U.S. Senate easily voted to overturn President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwestern border, delivering a bipartisan rebuke of what they deemed executive overreach to build his border wall over congressional objections.
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In Depth
An overhaul of a long-decaying stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway has been described as the “most challenging project not only in New York City but arguably in the United States,” so Curbed New York explains each proposed plan to fix it.
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Advocates who are pushing to reform the criminal justice system by focusing on the powerful role that district attorneys play as enforcers of the law often cite Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s reformist district attorney, as a model.
For its advocates, the $25 billion Hudson Yards development in New York City is a shining new city and a wellspring of future tax revenue, but the whole site lacks any semblance of human scale and glorifies a kind of surface spectacle.
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According to a range of experts, there’s no such thing as a perfect transit fare, but striking a balance between what residents are able to pay – and how they do it – can help get people riding again, rather than keep pushing them off.