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Good Morning, Brooklyn: Thursday, September 15, 2022

September 15, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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REP. MALONEY’S CENSUS BILL PASSES HOUSE: The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 8326, the Ensuring a Fair and Accurate Census Act this afternoon around 3:15 p.m., according to a spokesperson for the member of Congress who drafted the bill, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-12th District/northern Brooklyn, and chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform. If the Ensuring a Fair and Accurate Census Act passes the Senate and is signed into law, it will enhance the independence of the Census Bureau and establish safeguards to protect it from partisan manipulation, provide transparency into the projected resource needs of the Census Bureau and ensure that any new questions added to a decennial census are vigorously researched and tested.

Rep. Maloney said after the vote, “All Americans rely on a fair and accurate census for the representation and access to services they deserve.  After the Oversight Committee uncovered the Trump Administration’s illegal effort to add a citizenship question and undermine a full census count, it is clear that we need stronger laws to protect the census from political meddling.

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DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWS
News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

RESOURCE CENTER OPEN FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS: New York City today opened its first Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center, in a ceremony with Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol, and New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro. Catholic Charities of New York — through a city contract —will operate the Resource Navigation Center, which will support individuals and families who have arrived in New York City on or after January 1 of this year.

The center, at the headquarters of the American Red Cross of Greater, New York, will serve as a central place where newly-arrived asylum seekers will receive free and confidential help accessing a variety of important services and resources, including legal, healthcare, school placement services, enabling them the newcomers to integrate and thrive in New York City.

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SENTENCED FOR FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING: United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie in Brooklyn federal court has sentenced John Won to a year and a day in prison following his November 2021 conviction at trial on all counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy and substantive securities fraud. Won was also ordered to pay $842,076.81 in restitution to the victims of his crimes.

Won’s do-defendant Tae Hung (Kevin) Kang had already pleaded guilty to securities fraud conspiracy and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in December 2021.

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BAY RIDGE CONGRESSWOMAN WINS TWO AWARDS: Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-11/southwestern Brooklyn and Staten Island), herself  the daughter of small business owners has received two small business awards from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for her support of policies that support the American business community, foster innovation, and create jobs. One of these recognitions, the NFIB’s prestigious “Guardian of Small Business Award,” is presented  to lawmakers who vote consistently with small businesses on key issues identified by small business owners.

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NEW REPORT LINKS GUN VIOLENCE WITH POVERTY: A new report from Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams’ office examines the root causes of gun violence in zip codes across the city. The report, titled Reimagining Gun Violence Prevention and Public Safety for New York City, presents compelling visual evidence that areas of New York City with increased housing and food insecurity, lack of economic or educational opportunity, and limited access to mental and physical healthcare are the same areas which experience the trauma of elevated levels of gun violence.

The report comes amid a troubling anniversary: then-President Bill Clinton’s 1994 signing into law of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which gun prevention advocates say placed more emphasis on lengthy and punitive prison sentences than it did on addressing systemic inequities or supporting communities with rising crime.

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IMPENDING RAIL FREIGHT STRIKE ALREADY CAUSING AMTRAK CANCELLATIONS: Travelers relying on Amtrak this week for travel are scrambling to find alternate transportation, as the passenger carrier braces for the first national rail freight strike in three decades, according to Associated Press and other news reports. Although the routes most affected would be cross-country trains which use sections of track owned by freight companies, cancellations along the East Coast, south of the Boston-Washington Northeast Corridor were already being announced on Wednesday morning.

The White House press secretary announced earlier today that President Biden is meeting with parties in the labor dispute to avert the strike, which, scheduled to begin at 12:01 on Friday, would disrupt the supply chain of food, grain and other durable goods.

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DEMAND THAT GAS VAPORIZER PERMIT REQUEST BE DENIED: Council Members Jennifer Gutiérrez (District 34/Williamsburg to Ridgewood) and Lincoln Restler (District 33/Boerum Hill to Greenpoint) yesterday introduced a resolution calling on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to deny National Grid’s permit request for new gas vaporizers at the protested apex of the North Brooklyn Pipeline route Newtown Creek. The resolution is co-sponsored by several Councilmembers from Brooklyn whose neighborhoods would be impacted, including Crystal Hudson, Chi Ossé, Sandy Nurse, Alexa Avilés, Shahana Hanif, Rita Joseph, Charles Barron, Farah Louis, and Mercedes Narcisse.

National Grid is seeking a permit to add two new Liquefied Natural Gas vaporizers (LNG). The resolution calls on DEC to deny the permit on several grounds, and the Public Service Commission (PSC) to deny financing the projects, ahead of upcoming PSC public hearings in Brooklyn next week. 

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TRACKING PROPERTY SEIZED DURING SEARCH WARRANTS: A bill designed to track the property seized by District Attorneys and the police was introduced during Wednesday’s Stated Meeting of the New York City Council, with main sponsor Councilmember Tiffany Cabán and Brooklyn co-sponsors Jennifer Gutiérrez (District 34) and Shahana Hanif (District 39). The lawmakers pointed out that “No due process is afforded those whose assets are being seized. They do not get their property back, even if the case is dismissed.”

Yung-Mi Lee, Legal Director of the Criminal Practice at Brooklyn Defender Services, also commended City Council on the Promote Pre-Trial (PromPT) Stability Act to strengthen New Yorkers’ due-process rights and urged the New York State legislature to pass and the Governor to sign the PromPT Stability Act into law.

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ASKS CONEY ISLAND HOSPITAL TO PROVIDE BOOSTER SHOTS: Constituents of Assemblymember William Colton (D-47) have complained to him that NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island does not provide the updated COVID-19 booster. Pointing out that “Coney Island Hospital is mostly populated by a Russian constituency, many other groups, as well as many minority constituencies, Colton has written to the city and state health department commissioners asking them to add NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island as a provider of COVID-19 boosters to vulnerable New Yorkers.

Said Colton, “I believe that it is inconvenient and unfair for them to travel somewhere else to get the new COVID-19 booster when they have a city hospital right near their residence.”

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PUBLIC ADVOCATE: NYCHA MUST REPORT OUTSIDE LEGAL EXPENSES: Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams was set to introduce legislation yesterday to require the New York City Housing Authority to report on any outside legal expenditures that it incurs. Intro 691, which the Public Advocate originally introduced in 2019, would specifically require NYCHA to report to the mayor, City Council, and the public, among other information: The amount allocated and the amount expended by such authority on legal fees for counsel services not provided by in-house counsel, by legal matter and by property; the name of any outside law firm retained; scope of such services provided by such provider, including the underlying cause of action, the amount paid by such authority for such services, and the date or timeframe during which such services were rendered.

The bill comes just as the Public Advocate released a report on dangerous conditions and underlying failures at NYCHA, and as tenants at Jacob Riis Houses are pursuing legal action against the authority related to initial test results — since deemed false and retracted — reporting arsenic in the complex’s water supply.

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IMPROVING NEW YORKERS’ FINANCIAL LITERACY: New York State needs to improve its track records on promoting financial literacy among its residents, says a new audit that State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released yesterday. The audit of five agencies, including the Departments of Financial Services, State (DOS), Office for the Aging, Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and the State University of New York, found that New York has not developed a coherent strategy or made a concerted effort to provide financial literacy education and information to the public.

The audit found that 28 percent of credit card holders made only the minimum monthly payment in some months; 41 percent did not have savings to cover expenses for three months in an emergency; and 12 percent owed more on their home than it was worth.

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MAYOR SPEAKS OUT ON INCREASED ARRIVALS OF ASYLUM SEEKERS: Mayor Eric Adams spoke out on the increased influx of asylum seekers arriving in New York from the southern border and a situation that erupted Monday evening involving 60 asylum seekers on Monday evening. The approximately 60 men reported on from Monday night arrived with a group of several hundred others and were provided shelter early the next day as we immediately informed relevant stakeholders.

Adams pledged to continue working “every day with those who want to partner on this vital work to provide these individuals with the shelter and services they so desperately need.”

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RIKERS ISLAND PLAGUED WITH 14TH DEATH OF YEAR: Following reports of the 14th suicide this year within the New York City jail system, Brooklyn Defender Services released the following statement about its client, Kevin Bryan who took his life after seven days of incarceration in a Rikers Island jail. “Mr. Bryan’s death is another horrifying result of NYC Department of Correction’s complete failure to protect the health and safety of people incarcerated in its jails,” said the statement, which pointed out that the deceased was reported to have been isolated within a locked correction officers’ bathroom, before being found there.

Kevin Bryan’s death came two days after the Board of Correction released its report on 2021 suicides and drug-related deaths, showing chronic dysfunction, inhumanity, and indifference within DOC at the root of deaths in NYC jails.

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IMPROVING CUSTOMER SERVICE AT DEPT. OF BUILDINGS: New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Eric A. Ulrich have announced major steps to refocus the DOB on providing improved customer service and supporting the city’s economic recovery, launching the “Adams Commission” — a 90-day commission convening stakeholders from labor, industry, the nonprofit sector, and city government to produce a comprehensive blueprint. Adams and Ulrich kicked off the effort with immediate action, launching two new customer service units: the Small Business Support Team and the Major Projects Development Unit, which will accelerate project timelines by providing dedicated services to ensure applications avoid unnecessary pitfalls.

With the report as a blueprint, the agency will begin implementing recommendations as appropriate in early 2023 through a combination of policy changes, operational modifications, and regulatory reforms. The administration will work with the City Council to make changes requiring legislation.

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TLC PROPOSES TAXI FARE HIKES: The cost to ride a New York City yellow taxi will rise by roughly 23 percent under a new proposal that the Taxi and Limousine Commission is pushing. The base fare and surcharges for any ride would increase from $3.30 to $4.50; including a rush hour (4-8 p.m.) and overnight (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) surcharge.

This would be the first hike for metered taxi rates in New York City in a decade, aimed at helping cabbies earn more.

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TOXIC HOUSEHOLD WASTE COLLECTION EVENT: Toxic household products and waste can be dropped off at an NYS Safe Disposal Event later this month at Floyd Bennett Field in southeastern Brooklyn. Acceptable items include Automotive products such as motor oil, transmission fluid, and batteries; syringes (clearly labeled and packaged in a “sharps” container or other leak-proof, puncture-resistant container); personal care items such as unwanted/expired medicines or cosmetics like nail polish, thermometers, and household products such as pesticides, paint, hazardous cleaners, compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Only New York City residential waste is accepted at SAFE Disposal Events; residents must provide proof of NYC residency, such as a NYS driver’s license or utility bill.

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SELLS WINNING MEGA MILLIONS TICKET: John’s Brothers, a merchant at 1718 Church Ave. in Prospect Park South, sold a winning Mega Millions ticket, which will pay out a guaranteed $1 million. The ticket matched the Mega Millions numbers drawn on Tuesday, September 13.

Lottery sales agents have been getting six percent commission for each winning ticket, although earlier this year they petitioned for a one percent increase.

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FUN DAY FOR OLDER ADULTS: JASA will host an Open Street event for older adults and their guests this Saturday in Coney Island, featuring live DJ with music and dancing! Zumba, Pilates, arts & crafts, face painting, art exhibition; health screenings and nutrition workshops; presentations on skin care and senior safety; refreshments and a food truck.

The Open Street takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Surf Avenue and West 12th St.


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