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Good Morning, Brooklyn: Thursday, November 3, 2022

November 3, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER RESIGNS: Eric Ulrich, commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings resigned earlier today after only eight months in the role, amid reports that prosecutors were questioning him as part of an investigation into illegal gambling, according to the Associated Press and other news agencies. Ulrich resigned to avoid unnecessary distractions to Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, a spokesman for the mayor said.

A former City Councilmember for the 32nd District representing Queens neighborhoods, the 37-year-old Ulrich joined the Adams administration in January of this year before he was tapped as Buildings Commissioner on May 3.

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

PROTECTING NEXT TUESDAY’S ELECTION: Assistant United States Attorneys will be present and available at polling place next Tuesday to protect the election process, voters and poll workers, United States Attorneys Breon Peace and Damian Williams announced today. For the Eastern District-New York (Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, Assistant US Attorney Erik Paulsen has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer responsible for overseeing the Districts’ handling of Election Day complaints of voting rights, threats of violence to election officials or staff, and election fraud, in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.

Federal law protects against such crimes as threatening violence against election officials or staff, intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters,

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NYPD PARTNERS WITH THE RING: The New York City Police Department will, starting next week, participate in Neighbors, a free app developed as a part of the Ring system that facilitates interaction between law enforcement and the public. While the NYPD will not monitor the app around the clock, it will have the capacity to view, post and respond to crime- and safety-related information posted publicly by the app’s users of the app, and to seek the public’s help.

However, responding to a recent Consumer Reports article about improvements that Amazon-owned Ring made to its system, Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, warns that evidence is lacking, that the systems actually reduce the amount of racial profiling, false arrest and persistent tracking.

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CONDEMNS NYPD’S PARTNERSHIP WITH NEIGHBORS APP: The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), a New York-based privacy and civil rights group, yesterday condemned the NYPD’s announcement that it will join Amazon Ring’s Neighbors App, warning that such a public-private surveillance partnership would promote vigilantism, racial profiling, and police violence. S.T.O.P.’s Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn said, “Most New Yorkers would second guess installing these home surveillance tools if they understood how easily these systems could be used against them and their families by police.”

Last week, S.T.O.P. demanded Amazon halt the sale of Ring surveillance doorbells after a man and his teenage son in Florida allegedly shot at a woman in her car seven times after receiving a Ring alert when she dropped off a package sent to the wrong address.

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FOOD BAZAAR JOINS UBER EATS’ EXPANSION IN BROOKLYN: Several Brooklyn Food Bazaar supermarkets will join a partnership with Uber Technologies, to offer on-demand and scheduled grocery delivery to customers across the tri-state area, furthering Uber Eats’ expansion of grocery, convenience and household essentials that focuses on the region’s ethnically and culturally diverse populations. The locations are at 1102 Myrtle Ave. in Bushwick, 417 Junius St. in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, 111-10 Flatlands Ave. in Starrett City, 1682 St. John’s Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant and 480-500 Van Brunt St. in Red Hook

Uber One members benefit from $0 Delivery Fees on all Food Bazaar orders with a $35 minimum purchase.

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A TREE FOR EVERY SPOT IN DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN: Every viable spot within Brooklyn’s Congressional District 33 will get a tree planted, with comprehensive street care efforts launched to nurture them, thanks to a plan that City Councilmember Lincoln Restler (D-33) announced yesterday. The New York City Parks Department has coordinated with Councilmember Restler’s office to planting 2,200 trees across the district over the next four years, Councilmember Restler’s office will fund an additional 1,200 trees during that same period at a cost of $2.5 million dollars – to be financed through a combination of discretionary dollars and the creation of a District 33 Street Tree Fund.

The plan also outlines Restler’s efforts in concert with existing tree stewardship groups like the Greenpoint Tree Corps and the Brooklyn Heights Association tree team to establish tree stewardship groups in every neighborhood in the 33rd District so neighbors can learn how to care for the expanding tree canopy.

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DOE: MORE THAN 104K STUDENTS ARE HOMELESS: More than 104,000 of the city’s public students lack a permanent home, according to new Department of Education data, prompting several politicians and advocacy groups to hold the city and state accountable. A rally is planned for today, November 3, when advocates will demand that Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams, and city and state lawmakers support policies to mitigate the growing rate of homelessness and provide youth with safe, stable housing, including rental assistance programs like the Housing Access Voucher Program and the Good Cause bill, which would protect tenants from unjust eviction and exorbitant rent hikes.

The DOE report indicates that the number of homeless students had increased for the seventh consecutive year, even as school enrollment has declined by 3.2 percent, with homeless advocates disputing the latter figure for failing to count for the thousands of children seeking asylum who have arrived in New York in recent months.

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HELMSLEY TRUST GRANT WILL BRING GREEN SPACES TO NYCHA HOUSING: Two NYCHA housing developments in Brooklyn will benefit from part of a $3.2 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to create and activate green space. Residents of The Marlboro Houses in Gravesend (southern Brooklyn) and Roosevelt Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and two other NYCHA complexes in the Bronx, which were selected due to their documented high need in health indicators, as well as climate vulnerability. They will participate in this program, called Green Space Connections, which utilizes the award‐winning Connected Communities methodology as a framework, to engage NYCHA residents in the planning process.

This effort will feature three program elements – Participatory Design Process, Physical Transformation, and Programming for Sustainability.

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YOUNG ATTORNEYS WILL LEARN CITY WORKINGS: A new citywide initiative will enable junior attorneys at law firms across New York City to serve their fellow New Yorkers through a yearlong appointment in the legal department of a city agency. Named the New York City Legal Fellows Program, whose launch Mayor Eric Adams announced yesterday, the initiative will fully-integrate the fellows, whose law firms will continue to employ and pay them, into agency legal departments.

The city plans also, in the future, to identify a broad range of pro bono matters to help further expose junior law firm attorneys to the work of the city.

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NOVELIST’S UNSOLICITED GIFT WILL HELP OPEN SCHOOLS IN BROOKLYN: Ascend Public Charter Schools, the largest Brooklyn-based charter school network, has received an unsolicited $11 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.  This discretionary gift will allow Ascend to open three new Brooklyn school facilities in Flatbush, Cypress Hills, and Brownsville, reach a thousand more students, extend its student population to 7,000 in the next five years and focus on longer-term strategic priorities to strengthen its program and its roots.

MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is also a novelist, whose debut novel, The Testing of Luther Albright, won her an American Book Award in 2006.

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NON-EXISTENT CONDOS SOLD IN BAY RIDGE: A property owner in Bay Ridge who sold non-existent condos to immigrant families now faces a lawsuit from State Attorney General Letitia James.  Xi Hui “Steven” Wu, his ex-wife Xiao Rong Yang, and his companies TCJ Construction Inc. (TCJ Construction) and 345 Ovington LLC are accused of exploiting at least 20 Chinese immigrants by illegally selling them non-existent condominiums, failing to submit the proper paperwork with the city or to provide the buyers with their deeds and using the fraudulently billed monthly “mortgage” payments and building fees of more than $5 million for their own personal expenses.

The Office of the Attorney General’s lawsuit aims to compel full disgorgement of all stolen and illegally obtained funds to be returned to the families whom Wu cheated, and to permanently bar Wu, Yang, and all defendants from offering or selling real estate in New York.

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GUNS ILLEGALLY BOUGHT AND DISTRIBUTED IN DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN: A firearms dealer from Arkansas has been charged in Brooklyn federal court with conspiring to deal in firearms and making false statements to acquire firearms. Public filings disclosed that Kyler Booker, a straw gun buyer who illegally purchased firearms on behalf of others, bought and distributed across the five boroughs at least 137 such weapons –13 of which have been recovered.

Arrested Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Arkansas, Booker will be brought at a later date to the Eastern District Court here in Brooklyn.


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