Good Morning, Brooklyn: Friday, September 16, 2022
DEARIE APPOINTED: Veteran New York federal Judge Raymond J. Dearie was appointed late Thursday to serve as an independent arbiter to review records seized during an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s home last month. US District Judge Aileen Cannon of Florida appointed Judge Dearie, who is 78 and currently on senior status from the U.S. District Court-Eastern District (Brooklyn federal) Court though still hearing cases, after both the Justice Department and Trump’s lawyers agreed on their satisfaction with Dearie’s appointment as special master.
A Reagan appointee, Judge Dearie served from 2007-2011 as chief judge of Brooklyn federal court, and is also a former federal prosecutor.
SENATE AFFIRMS COURT OF APPEALS/2ND CIRCUIT JUDGE: The Senate on Thursday confirmed Judge Sarah Merriam to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which has appellate jurisdiction over New York, including the U.S. District Court-Eastern District (federal court) here in Brooklyn. Merriam, who was confirmed in a 53-44 vote, becomes the fifth judge appointed to the court by President Joe Biden, and is among those with a public defender background.
A federal trial judge in the District of Connecticut, Merriam is also the third federal appellate judge confirmed by the Senate this week, with Salvador Mendoza joining the Ninth Circuit and Lara Montecalvo to the First Circuit.
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 health care, 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 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.
SCHOOL SUPPLY OUTREACH WITH CARPENTERS UNION: With the start of a new school year, the New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters partnered with local elected officials and community organizations for 19 school supply giveaway events throughout the city. Union carpenters and contractors want to do their part to give back to children in their community and equip them with the tools needed for success in the classroom.
They supported Brooklyn communities alongside State Sen. Julia Salazar (D-18th District/northern Brooklyn), State Senator Roxanne Persaud (D-19th District/southern and eastern Brooklyn, State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-20th District/Central Brooklyn) and Councilmember Rita Joseph (D-40th District/Crown Heights to Flatbush/Kensington and Midwood)
LIBRARY HOLDS VIRTUAL PROGRAM ABOUT ‘THE WAR ON READING’: The Brooklyn Public Library marks “Banned Books” week, Sept. 18-24, with events to fight for the right to read. A virtual program titled “Open Eyes: Banned Books, Kids, and the War on Reading,” will examine the growing national movement to ban books that bring racial and gender diversity to the page, pitting against each other young people’s right to read what they want and adults restricting access based on views of “suitability” The program takes place Wednesday, September 21, at 6:30 p.m. (Register via https://www.bklynlibrary.org/calendar/cbh-talk-open-eyes-banned-virtual-20220921.)
Joshua Block of the American Civil Liberties Union, Brooklyn Public Library President Linda Johnson (BPL), Melissa Jacobs of the New York City Department of Education and others, will participate in a live, virtual chat that Washington Post reporter Hannah Natanson will moderate.
‘THE BATTLE FOR THE RIGHT TO READ’: Another Brooklyn Public Library program, this one in-person, will take place at the Center for Brooklyn History on Sept. 24. “The Battle for the Right to Read What You Want,” will focus on the now-viral report about an Oklahoma high school teacher who was fired after she provided students with the QR code to BPL’s Books Unbanned initiative, which gives out-of-state teens access to the Library’s eBook collection. That teacher, Summer Boismier, will join the Center for Brooklyn History to discuss the escalating debate over which books are being banned for the talk on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 4 p.m. (Register via https://www.bklynlibrary.org/calendar/cbh-talk-battle-for-right-center-for-brooklyn-20220924).
Joining Ms. Boismier will be 17-year-old Aren Lau, who has personally experienced the ban’s repercussions, and moderator Alexandra Alter, a New York Times reporter who writes extensively on issues of intellectual freedom and banned books.
RIDERSHIP UP ON METRO-NORTH, LIRR AND CITY TRANSIT: Metro-North Railroad carried record pandemic-era ridership yesterday with 180,200 riders, or 68.6 percent of the pre-pandemic average, topping Metro-North’s previous record of 179,600 (set on Wednesday, Sept. 7), Gov. Kathy Hochul announced yesterday. Metro-North ridership on the four weekdays after Labor Day was the highest four-day streak since COVID began, with an average weekday ridership of 171,000 or 65.1 percent of pre-pandemic average.
Additionally, ridership numbers on New York City Transit and the Long Island Rail Road were also high, with subway ridership reaching 3.61 million on Sept. 13, the second highest number since the pandemic began in New York in March 2020; and buses carrying approximately 1.42 million riders on the same day.
RESOURCE CENTER OPEN FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS: New York City this week 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 the newcomers to integrate and thrive in New York City.
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.
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 co-defendant Tae Hung (Kevin) Kang had already pleaded guilty to securities fraud conspiracy and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in December 2021.
BAY RIDGE CONGRESSMEMBER 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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