First Read September 9, 2019

September 09, 2019
Latest News
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer teamed up with a fellow Democrat, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, to decry a helicopter tour operator’s promotion of doors-off chopper flights that endanger passengers and the dogs they bring along.
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A man battered the Charging Bull statue in lower Manhattan with a makeshift metal banjo, cursing President Donald Trump and leaving a gash on the bull’s right horn, which quickly became a mini tourist attraction.
The national anti-smoking group Tobacco Free Kids is pumping more than $1 million into the New York City Council’s battle over flavored cigarettes and e-cigs, hoping to ride the growing wave of sentiment against them.
President Donald Trump finally confirmed that he is taking $13.6 billion from military construction projects to pay for part of his long-promised wall at the Mexican border, but none of that money will come from funds intended for Western New York.
Lawmakers in the Assembly this week are making a push to provide support and aid to areas in the Bahamas and the Caribbean that were devastated last week by Hurricane Dorian.
A Western New York school district’s bid to become the first to install facial recognition technology in its building hallways has sparked a state review and calls to either place a moratorium on such technology or ban it outright.
New York City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. is considered the favorite to succeed Rep. Jose Serrano and capture the 15th Congressional District, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to leverage her profile in an effort to keep Diaz out of national office.
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New York City is bracing for an election extravaganza in 2021, as more than 500 candidates are expected to vie for scores of local elected seats up for grabs, leading the Board of Elections to ramp up seminars for prospective candidates.
The de Blasio administration plans to ram through another $43 million in ferry purchases for its fleet, swelling the total costs sunk into the program to $637 million – in the face of objections from Stringer, the city’s fiscal watchdog.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer endorsed U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president, spurning Mayor Bill de Blasio’s own long-shot bid for the White House, and becoming the first citywide elected official to back a 2020 candidate.
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Animal rights organizations representing about 60,000 New Yorkers united against Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams after he scooped dead rats out of an alcohol-based rat trap during a live demonstration Thursday afternoon.
The rate of 16-year-old “adolescent offenders” removed from Queens Criminal Court under the state’s Raise the Age law is the lowest in the five boroughs, in large part because the Queens District Attorney’s Office challenges removal more often than other prosecutors.
A coalition of environmental groups released a plan meant to aid local governments in switching out fossil fuel fleet vehicles to electric cars in the coming years, a push that began on Long Island, with county and town governments embracing the effort.
Public transportation watchdogs launched a campaign – the Build Trust Campaign – calling on Cuomo and the MTA to prioritize several transit projects and do more to control capital spending.
According to internal Metropolitan Transportation Authority documents, 1,623 reports of soiled cars slowed service and disgusted straphangers in the first eight months of the year, which is already more than the 1,504 incidents recorded in all of 2017.
De Blasio tapped New York City political power broker Alison Hirsh to guide his administration through the next two years as his senior adviser for strategic planning, at a time when his national ambitions have accelerated his eventual lame-duck status.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer demanded that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration detail how the New York City Housing Authority has made “discernible progress” in updating its protocols to better respond to natural disasters.
A new law establishes an annual moment of silence in New York's public schools to remember the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, directing the state education commissioner to make provisions for a "September 11th Remembrance Day.”
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State officials have proposed rules limiting the use of solitary confinement for all inmates, but child advocates say they won’t prevent 16- and 17-year-olds from being isolated in cells for 18 to 22 hours per day.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to strengthen regulations of vaping and e-cigarette products amid heightened public health concerns surrounding the use of the products, once again indicating he will push for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes.
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Editorial Pages
No one likes property revaluations, but they are essential to tax fairness and that’s why the city of Buffalo should be congratulated for its comprehensive, just completed revaluation of city properties.
If New York City police unions want to rally public support and not just cry to the choir about how powerless they are and how vulnerable the rest of us are as a result, they might want to stop shooting themselves in the foot, Harry Seigel writes.
Recently you may have seen various eulogies for the New York Police Department claiming the job is dead, but for those who pine for the “good old days,” let’s take an honest look at the health of the NYPD, New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill writes.
From City & State
National Politics
The secretary of commerce threatened to fire top employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama.
Attorneys general for 50 U.S. states and territories officially announced an antitrust investigation of Google, embarking on a wide-ranging review of a tech giant that Democrats and Republicans said may threaten competition and consumers.
President Donald Trump’s attorneys would be permitted to review some of Congress’s impeachment-related evidence under a set of procedures unveiled by the House Judiciary Committee.
President Donald Trump declared that peace talks with the Taliban were “dead, as far as I’m concerned,” saying he called off a meeting at Camp David after the militant group in Afghanistan killed 12 people, including one American soldier.
In Depth
Overblown neighborhood fears create a political environment in which local leaders face risks for supporting a sensible shelter policy – and in the middle, rarely heard amid the uproar, are everyday New Yorkers caught in a crisis.
A core group of roughly a dozen members are attempting to secure the future of Picture the Homeless, an organization that for decades has striven to ask – not tell – homeless people what they need, three months after it ceased regular hours of operation.
Some New York families are so determined to avoid vaccinations they are pulling out of public and private schools, leading parents to quit jobs, change work schedules or hire tutors to manage it all.
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Thousands of small property owners in New York City have been hit with a pileup of fines, an unintended result of a decade-long crackdown set off by fatal construction accidents that have become a costly trap for ordinary people.
New York has long offered above-average incentive rates to lure development projects, and after the collapse of Amazon’s HQ2 deal, state lawmakers are preparing bills to curb what they call “corporate welfare.”