Good Morning, Brooklyn: Thursday, April 7, 2022
SENATE PASSES ‘PRAY SAFE ACT’: The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union) applauded the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Pray Safe Act (S. 2123), bipartisan legislation that would establish a federal clearinghouse on safety and security to govern best practices for faith-based organizations. The legislation directs the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, working with the Department of Justice, the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and other agencies to create the clearinghouse, which would provide at-risk houses of worship and other faith-based organizations with the most up to date safety and security recommendations, as well as information on federal resources and relevant grant programs.
Brooklyn is home to many Orthodox synagogues, particularly in Borough Park, Crown Heights (world headquarters of Chabad), Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, and Williamsburg, as well as two congregations in Brownstone Brooklyn.
POLICE SEEK SUSPECT IN HEINOUS FIRE ASSAULT: The New York City Police Department seeks the public’s assistance in identifying an individual wanted for questioning in connection to an assault that occurred within the confines of the 83rd Precinct. The NYPD had received a report that, on Sunday, April 3, at approximately 9:20 p.m., an unidentified male individual (20 to 30 years of age, 5’9” tall and 180 pounds) entered the Rash Bar at 941 Willoughby Avenue and poured gasoline on the floor, lit it and then fled the location to parts unknown, causing minor burns to two women inside the bar.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s confidential Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website, on Twitter @NYPDTips.
REP. MALONEY INSTRUMENTAL IN POSTAL REFORM ACT’S PASSAGE: When President Biden signed the historic Postal Service Reform Act into law, the bill’s success was largely credited to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-12/Northern Brooklyn. The provisions included in the Postal Service Reform Act, which both the Senate and House of Representatives passed with large bipartisan margins, aim to reverse the agency’s financial decline, and are critical to helping the Postal Service remain financially viable and ensuring it provides the high quality of service Americans expect and deserve.
These provisions include Medicare integration, repealing a requirement for the Postal Service to pre-fund retiree health benefits, increased transparency of delivery service, reporting on Postal Service operations and finances, a requirement that the Postal Service deliver mail six days per week, and other matters.
CALL FOR BANKS TO END OVERDRAFT FEES: New York Attorney General Letitia James led a multistate coalition of attorneys general to call on the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo to eliminate all overdraft fees on consumer bank accounts. Attorney General James, in a letter to each financial institution, urged the banks to eliminate overdraft fees by this summer to create a fairer and more inclusive consumer financial system.
Numerous studies have shown that overdraft fees have disproportionately affected vulnerable families and communities of color by unnecessarily saddling them with additional debts that they cannot afford.
BROOLKYN LAW FIRM SUED FOR HARASSING TENANTS: New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced a lawsuit against Balsamo, Rosenblatt & Hall, P.C., A. Balsamo & Rosenblatt, P.C. (Balsamo), and its partners Robert Rosenblatt and Edward Hall, for engaging in deceptive rent collection practices and initiating frivolous lawsuits against New York tenants. Following an investigation, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that Balsamo, a Brooklyn-based real estate law firm popular with landlords, did not conduct any meaningful reviews of their non-payment eviction cases before filing litigation, resulting in the distribution of deceptive rent collection letters, unnecessary legal actions against tenants, and improper evictions without cause.
Attorney General James seeks to stop Balsamo from all deceitful rent collection practices, suspend all unjustified cases against tenants, and return all the profits they have received from the unjustified cases.
A ‘WINNER’ OF A CAFÉ SET TO OPEN IN PROPECT PARK: A new food and beverage concession coming to the Prospect Park Picnic House, announces the Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains Brooklyn’s Backyard. WINNER, a Brooklyn-based restaurant group, will open a café in the lower level of the Picnic House on the park’s Long Meadow. The café, whose opening day will be announced later this spring, will offer baked goods, sandwiches, beverages and picnic meals.
WINNER was founded by Chef Daniel Eddy, who opened the Park Slope outpost days before the shutdown in March 2020. Overcoming the COVID-related obstacles, WINNER quickly became a beloved neighborhood institution.
NEW ONLINE REPORT MONITORS CITY AGENCIES’ PERFORMANCE: New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced the launch of a new online report that will allow New Yorkers to access up-to-date metrics on city agency performance. The executive order — along with other government efficiency initiatives Mayor Adams has undertaken since taking office — aims to reduce the “time tax,” which refers to the amount of time people spend trying to access government services, and which disproportionately affects those in the greatest need.
The Dynamic Mayor’s Management Report (DMMR) — a digital version of the Mayor’s Management Report (MMR) is a national model for holding city government accountable through data, and which is required to be published twice a year by Section 12 of the New York City Charter.
FILM SHOOT AT SIRICO AND VICINITY: Residents and neighbors in Dyker Heights are being alerted to parking restrictions on 13th Avenue from 80th to 81st streets for a film, “Sonando con Yucatan,” being shot next Wednesday, April 13, at Sirico Catering Hall, 8023 13th Avenue, Community Board Ten reports. Parking restrictions will also affect 80th Street between 13th and 14th avenues.
Filming takes place from 9 a.m. to 11:30 at night.
IPS NEWS: LEGISLATION WOULD BAN DOING BUSINESS WITH RUSSIA: Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-12/Northern Brooklyn), Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, is pleased that the committee voted favorably to approve the Federal Contracting for Peace and Security Act, which would prohibit the federal government from contracting with companies that do business with Russia during its war of aggression against Ukraine.
Specifically, the Federal Contracting for Peace and Security Act would establish that U.S. government policy forbids conducting business with companies that undermine U.S. national security interests by continuing to operate in Russia during this time, and the termination of existing contracts with such companies.
Reasonable exceptions would be made for contracts or business operations that meet basic human needs, that are for journalistic purposes or the exchange of information, or for the benefit of Ukraine. Exceptions would also be made for companies pursuing all good faith efforts to cease business operations in Russia, and for cases in which prohibition or termination of a contract would not be in the national interest of the United States.
U.S. CITIZEN SENTENCED FOR ATTEMPTING TO HELP ISIS: United States District Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. has sentenced a U.S. citizen to 20 years’ imprisonment for attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Bernard Raymond Augustine, 25, after his jury conviction last August, for attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS” or “the Islamic State”).
The evidence at trial established that in February 2016, Augustine traveled from San Francisco, California to Northern Africa, with the goal of joining ISIS, but local authorities detained him before he reached ISIS-controlled territory. He was later extradited, returned to the United States in 2018 and prosecuted in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn federal court).
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