Brooklyn Today January 23: Comptroller Scott Stringer Wants Bail Bonds Abolished as Burden on Poor
Weather, Brooklyn (NWS): Day 57°, Night 37°, Showers
THE LEDE: Happy Tuesday, Brooklyn! Eric Gonzalez becomes the first Hispanic DA, would-be candidates await Pamela Harris’ next move, and fewer Brooklynites are being housed in jails. Plus, the government is back open, a record-number of women are running for office in 2018, and we share the 15 best restaurants that are open 24 hours. Finally, a fish with human-like teeth is caught in Arizona, women want a statue of Woody Allen removed in Spain, and a 66-year-old woman boards a plane to London without a ticket or passport.
IMPRINT: Denzel Washington grins ear to ear on the latest cover of TheSunday Times Magazine.
~STRINGER’S PUSH TO ABOLISH BAIL BONDS DOESN’T SIT RIGHT WITH N.Y.’S BAIL BOND QUEEN: Roughly 10 commercial bail bond establishments line the streets of Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights, most within easy walking distance of the Brooklyn House of Detention. Now, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer wants these businesses eliminated. Stringer says the industry plays an unnecessary and expensive role as a middleman in the bail process. “No one should be incarcerated simply because they lack the ability to pay bail, but that’s exactly what’s happening to New Yorkers,” he said. This is news to Brooklyn-born Michelle Esquenazi, who owns Empire Bail Bonds, one of the largest commercial bail bond agencies in the state. Esquenazi is known as New York’s “Bill Bond Queen.” Commercial bail bond businesses are a “small, functional and integral part of the criminal justice system,” she told us. Bail bonds get defendants to show up for court, “Because it’s mom and dad, grandpa, Uncle Tony coming in to sign for you.” The service keeps defendants out of jail and saves the city money — without costing the city a penny, she said. “When a defendant goes missing, guess who goes to pick him up? Us stinky bail bond people, while New York City is sleeping, at no taxpayer expense,” she said. She added, “I don’t think Stringer did his math.” (via Brooklyn Eagle)
~CITY SAYS FEWER SUSPECTS FROM BROOKLYN HOUSED IN JAILS: A recent announcement from Mayor Bill de Blasio about the decrease in the inmate population in city jails also had notable information pertaining to Brooklyn’s contribution to the downward trend, according to officials who crunched the numbers and found some interesting results. In December, de Blasio announced that the population in New York City’s jails had fallen to historic low levels. But there are also fewer suspects from Brooklyn being incarcerated in city jails, according to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, which reported last week that there were 11,812 admissions from the borough into jails in 2017. That’s a 10 percent decrease from 2016, when 13,141 inmates from Brooklyn were admitted to city jails. Since 2013, there has been a 31 percent drop in the number of inmates from Brooklyn. That year, 17,156 inmates from Brooklyn were incarcerated. “This has coincided with a number of interventions launched by the city to prevent low risk people from entering jail, such as supervised release which has had more than 2,000 participants from Brooklyn,” an official told us. (via Brooklyn Eagle)
~ERIC GONZALEZ OFFICIALLY SWORN IN AS BROOKLYN’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Eric Gonzalez was officially sworn in as Brooklyn district attorney during a posh ceremony in Brooklyn on Sunday which makes him thefirst Hispanic DA in the borough and state. “Growing up, my dream was to serve as an assistant district attorney in the Brooklyn DA’s Office,” Gonzalez said. “That’s it. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I would be sworn in as the district attorney. I am humbled and honored beyond my ability to express.” Gonzalez was officially sworn in by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore at The Weylin in Williamsburg. Gonzalez, 48, was the late Ken Thompson’s second-in-command. After Thompson’s death, Gonzalez was thrust into the top leadership role and eventually would run to rid himself of the “acting” title. Gonzalez described the ceremony as bittersweet because he likely would not have gotten the chance to rise to the office’s top position had it not been for the untimely death of Thompson, whom he referred to as “a friend and mentor.” (via Brooklyn Eagle)
~WOULD-BE CANDIDATES AWAIT HARRIS’ NEXT MOVE:Assemblymember Pamela Harris, who was indicted on fraud and witness tampering charges, hasn’t signaled that she will resign from office. But several people are already being mentioned as possible candidates should she quit and a special election is held. Harris can still serve as a member of the New York State Assembly while under indictment, but she could come under increasing pressure from Democratic Party officials to give up her seat. Among the Democrats being mentioned is Kate Cucco, a community relations specialist at Maimonides Medical Center who ran against Harris in a Democratic primary for the Assembly seat in 2015 and lost. Chris McCreight, chief of staff to Councilmember Justin Brannan has been touted as a possible candidate. Two Democrats who are running against Republican state Sen. Marty Goldenthis year, lawyer Andrew Gounardes and journalist Ross Barkan, have also been mentioned as viable candidates for the Harris seat. (via Brooklyn Eagle)
LONG READ: “This Country’s Democracy Has Fallen Apart — And It Played Out To Millions On Facebook” (via BuzzFeed News)
ANOTHER LONG READ: Upset with Washington, a record-number of women are running for the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2018. At least439 gals to be exact. (via The Cut)
EAT: For those late-night cravings, here’s a list of the city’s top 15 24-hour restaurants. (via Eater)
CARTOON: President Trump learns about his own government from the news. (via The New Yorker)
NATIONAL BULLETIN: The government is back up and running…ICE detains a doctor with a green card who lived in America for 40 years…And a fish with human-like teeth is caught in Arizona. (via NYT, WaPo and Tucson.com)
FOREIGN FLASH: Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S. embassy in Israel will move to Jerusalem in 2019…Women want a statue of Woody Allenremoved in Spain…And a 66-year-old woman boards a plane to London without a ticket or passport. (via USA Today, WaPo and NYT)
ROYAL WATCH: “The Royal Family Is Hiring Someone to Travel and Go to Garden Parties With Them” (via Travel + Leisure)
9:00AM — Brain Train Technology Class at Bay Ridge Center for Older Adults.Details.
11:00AM – 6:00PM — Waterfront at Brooklyn Historical Society DUMBO.Details.
12:00PM — The History of Jews in Basketball at 92nd Street Y. Details.
6:00PM – 8:00PM — Will We Move New York? at TransitCenter. Details.
6:30PM – 8:30PM — Current / Bodies: Art and Action on the Waterfront at Brooklyn Historical Society. Details.
7:00PM — Dream Wife at Rough Trade. Details.
7:30PM — Dan Rather in Conversation with Andy Cohen at 92nd Street Y.Details.
7:30PM — Elliot Mason & Cre8tion “Before, Now and After” Album Release Celebration Jazz at Lincoln Center. Details.
8:00PM — Brooklyn Winery Tour & Tasting at Brooklyn Winery. Details.
8:30PM – 10:30PM — The Hand of Comedy at The Cobra Club. Details.
EAGLE SPORTS: “Nets Figuring Out Rotation After D’Angelo Russell’sReturn” (via NBA.com)
Happy birthday to Richard Dean Anderson, Princess Caroline of Hanover, Tom Carper, Gil Gerard, Pat Haden, Mariska Hargitay, Rutger Hauer, Gail O’Grady, Tito Ortiz, Chita Rivera and Tiffani Thiessen!