Category: new york

Not Guilty: Flood Wall Street Protesters Vindicated By Manhattan Court

Judge rules NYPD violated demonstrators’ First Amendment rights

Common Dreams, By Sarah Lazare, March 6

In a ruling on Thursday hailed as a vindication, a Manhattan court has determined ten climate activists “not guilty” on charges related to a thousands-strong climate protest that “flooded Wall Street” in New York City’s financial district in September of last year.

Over 100 people—including one dressed as a polar bear—were arrested at the civil disobedience, which took direct aim at the role of capitalism in driving global warming and overall planetary destruction. Timed to coincide with a United Nations summit of heads of state and corporate leaders, the direct action followed the People’s Climate March, which featured over 400,000 participants and was led by communities from the front-lines of the climate crisis.

[…]

According to a statement from protesters, New York City Criminal Court Judge Robert Mandelbaum ruled that the dispersal order issued by the New York Police Department constituted an unlawful violation of demonstrators’ First Amendment rights.

Going beyond the “not guilty” ruling, however, Mandelbaum also took judicial notice of the fact that climate change is real, human-made, and requires drastic action. Defense Attorney Martin Stolar said that this acknowledgment is “unprecedented and has significance for future litigation involving climate change.”

New York City to add Muslim holidays to school calendar

France24, March 4

New York City public schools will start observing two of Islam’s most important holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, The New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing an announcement to be delivered by the city’s Mayor Bill de Blasio.

According to the newspaper, the changes to the school calendar are in line with de Blasio’s election pledge to better integrate and represent the city’s increasing Muslim population, which is estimated at between 600,000 and 1 million. New York City public schools already recognise several Jewish and Christian holidays.

In a post on Twitter prior to the announcement, de Blasio said the new policy will represent “a change that respects the diversity of our city.”

A 2008 study carried out by Columbia University showed that around 10 percent of New York City public-school children were Muslim, and that about 95 percent of Muslim children in the city attend public schools.

Many heads will, no doubt, explode.

Mario Cuomo, Former New York Governor, Dies At 82

The Huffington Post, By Mollie Reilly & Paige Lavender, January 1

Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has died at the age of 82, NY1 and the New York Daily News report.

Cuomo died just six hours after his son Andrew was formally sworn in to a second term as governor of the Empire State. Cuomo’s swearing-in was initially set to take place in Albany, but the governor relocated the ceremony at the last minute so he could spend New Year’s Eve with his father, according to Newsday.
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Tensions remain after New York City mayor meets police unions

Reuters, By Jonathan Allen & Sebastien Malo, December 30

New York – Police union leaders said their grievances with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio remained unresolved after meeting with him on Tuesday, 10 days after they said he was partly to blame for a gunman’s deadly attack on two policemen.

The meeting came after a marked drop in arrests across the city last week. One city newspaper said the decline was evidence of a “virtual work stoppage“, but city officials were unable to say on Tuesday whether or not a police slowdown was under way.

De Blasio, whose turbulent relationship with his police department has become the gravest crisis of his year-old mayoralty, had called the meeting to “foster constructive and responsible dialogue,” his press secretary, Phil Walzak, wrote in an e-mail.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, who a week ago said there was “blood on the hands” of the mayor for the policemen’s deaths, said the meeting had resolved nothing.

Florida overtakes New York as third most populous state

Change reflects broader demographic shift across the country, with bigger growth in South and West

Al Jazeera, December 23

Florida has surpassed New York as the third most populous state [after California and Texas(!)] in the United States, a milestone that solidifies the Sun Belt’s growing dominance and continues a powerful demographic trend that has shaped much of the nation’s population growth for more than 60 years.

Now, the nation’s three largest states are in the South and West — California (38.8 million), Texas (27 million) and Florida (19.9 million) — according to July 1, 2014 population estimate released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

In an ironic twist, Florida has New York partly to thank for its steady growth. More people move to Florida from New York than from any other state.

It’s good news for the Sunshine State, which suffered net migration loss from 2007 to 2009 at the peak of the Great Recession — when more people left the state than moved in.

“I don’t think rankings per se mean a lot,” said Stanley Smith, a demographer in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. “But I think it’s a very important signal. It’s a milestone for Florida in that it reflects many years of rapid growth.”

#CrimingWhileWhite

As you may know, one of the responses on social media like Twitter and Facebook to the tragic grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, as well as to the countless stories of police abuse of power specifically against black men and boys, is for white people to contrast the treatment by cops.

The theme is for a white person to post their worst crime that they got away with, then attach the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite.

For blacks and Latinos, a similar trope of #AliveWhileBlack calls for a person to post the most dangerous encounter with either the cops or a white person that they survived.

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People’s Climate March 2014: Massive Global Rally to Be Held Sept. 21


NYT

Latin Post, By Rebecca S. Myles, September 3 ( Agonist thread originally posted Sep.9)

The People’s Climate March, a massive global rally on Sept. 21 in New York City, will lead up to a specially called-for United Nations summit on the climate crisis.

To date, 950 supporting organizations are supporting the mass rally, including non-government organizations, labor unions, grassroots networks, churches and faith organizations. Their members and volunteers will join in the two to three mile march through Manhattan from Columbus Circle, east along 59th Street, down 6th Avenue, west along 42nd Street to 11th Avenue.

The march in New York is being held in solidarity with events around the world — 63 other events in North America, six in South America, 54 in Europe, 10 in South Asia, and 32 in Australia — in cities like Berlin, Paris, Istanbul, London, Melborne, New Delhi and Rio de Janerio, among many others.

“Mass mobilization is one of the best ways we know of to shock the entire system into action. Mass marches don’t always work: we weren’t able to stop the buildup to the war in Iraq. But they sometimes succeed in historic ways. Take the 1982 anti-nuclear march, which pushed a hawkish Ronald Reagan to strike a deal with Russia and start reducing nuclear warhead arsenals. Or consider the 1963 March on Washington, which helped pass the Civil Rights Act,” said Eddie Bautista, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
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We have a race for NY Gov

   Stirling Newberry has a right-on post on the NY Governor race.

   As a NYer, I admit to having voted for Cuomo, mostly on the expectation he would follow in his father’s footsteps. Unfortunately, this apple fell far from the tree and Andrew Cuomo has proven to be just another politician more concerned with catering to power and wealth than the welfare of the general citizenry.

When last we spoke, it seemed a quixotic quest to overthrow the sitting elected governor. But since then something happened, the New York State Gov.’s quest for an unplanned exit, backfired, and now he will have to defend his record. This is still not even fight, but the odds are evening, and this is not good for the governor, who wanted to have a clean slate, shown everybody that there was no getting away from him. From D-New York down to the smallest parties that they could vote for, their was no choice at all. It would be Cuomo, wherever you looked to vote. Because the Republican was a non-starter.

      Thank you, Stirling.

Read Stirling’s blog post

A Bit of an Eye-Opener

When you think “poverty in New York City,” what springs to mind? What stereotype has been so drilled into our heads from the newspapers, magazines and TV shows we all watch, like Law & Order or The Wanderers?

The very poorest among us in this city are Hispanics, perhaps African-Americans. Want to portray a neighborhood as poor in a TV show? Get a graffiti-coated wall, and stick a couple of Latinos playing handball against it.

Right? I mean, that’s the face of poverty in the Big Apple. Right?

Wrong:

Despite a rise in employment, nearly half of New York City’s population is living near poverty levels — a problem that is particularly striking in the city’s Asian population, which has surpassed Hispanics as the city’s poorest group, according to a new report conducted by the Center for Economic Opportunity. The study revealed 45.6 percent of New Yorkers are barely making ends meet, even with more adults working full-time since the recession. A combination of low wages, rising rents, and a lack of benefits is largely to blame.The dismal numbers, presented Tuesday to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, follows a growing number of studies showing the harsh realities of income inequality in New York.Just last week, city comptroller Scott Stringer released a study showing just how unaffordable the city has become, with the median rent in New York City rising a staggering 75 percent from 2000 to 2012. The annual study also showed significant shifts within racial and ethnic demographics. As the report indicates, the poverty rate of Asians and Hispanics were “statistically identical” in 2008, at 22.4 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively. But by 2012, the rate surged to 29 percent for Asians, more than 3 percent higher than Hispanics.

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William Bratton named NYPD commissioner by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio

New York City is going Bratt to the Future. After stints in NYC, Los Angeles and Boston, Bratton was re-named the NYPD’s top cop and the most recent addition to de Blasio’s cabinet on Thursday.

New York Daily News, By Erin Durkin , Rocco Parascandola & Larry Mcshane, December 5

Promising old-school policing with new-age enlightenment, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio on Thursday brought Bill Bratton back as NYPD commissioner 20 years after the top cop’s first go-round.

De Blasio embraced the 66-year-old law enforcement veteran as a kindred spirit and “progressive visionary” capable of fulfilling one of his central campaign promises — mending the Police Department’s relationship with communities of color while keeping crime in check.

“Wherever he’s gone, he’s driven down crime,” de Blasio said at a Brooklyn news conference.


Counterpunch: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old

Yep you read that correctly, the man who used his son sporting a huge afro to symbolize everything that is wrong with Stop and Frisk has just appointed the architect of Stop and Frisk to be the new police Chief.

Also, New York Daily News: Bill de Blasio appoints William Bratton police commissioner, reactions pour in
NYT: Bratton to Lead New York Police for Second Time

Court Blocks Stop-and-Frisk Changes for New York Police

New York Times, By Joseph Goldstein, October 31

A federal appeals court on Thursday halted a sweeping set of changes to the New York Police Department’s practice of stopping and frisking people on the street, and, in strikingly personal terms, criticized the trial judge’s conduct and removed her from the case.

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, “ran afoul” of the judiciary’s code of conduct by compromising the “appearance of impartiality surrounding this litigation.” The panel criticized how she had steered the lawsuit to her courtroom when it was filed nearly six years ago.

The ruling effectively puts off a battery of changes that Judge Scheindlin, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, had ordered for the Police Department. It postpones the operations of the monitor who was asked to oversee reforms of the stop-and-frisk practices, which Judge Scheindlin had said violated the constitutional rights of minorities.

The appeals court’s action was an unexpected twist to what has been a long-running fight over the tactics, a centerpiece of the city’s crime-fighting strategy.