Brooklyn Boro

What’s News, Breaking: Friday, May 26, 2023

May 26, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
Share this:

INTERFAITH MEDICAL CENTER RECEIVES $3M TO RENOVATE ITS EMERGENCY  ROOM

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant is receiving an infusion of funds to renovate its Emergency Room, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-8th District/central Brooklyn) announced late Friday, in tandem with New York’s two U.S. Senators.

Congressman Jeffries and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) secured $3 million for the Interfaith Medical Center, on Atlantic Avenue in Central Brooklyn, through the recently-enacted government funding law. The funds will bring a modern, improved layout to the Emergency Room to enhance patient care and improve patient satisfaction and safety. Interfaith Medical Center, a member of the One Brooklyn Health System, serves the Central Brooklyn community providing care to a patient population mostly enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid.

“Today’s announcement is a great example of federal funds being used to ensure historically underserved communities have the same access and quality services as anywhere else would,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who is also the Senate Majority Leader.

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries hold the symbol of the check they presented on Friday to Interfaith Medical Center in Central Brooklyn. Photo: Office of Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.

✰✰✰

DEA STRIPS MAJOR DRUG DISTRIBUTOR OF LICENSE
TO SELL PAINKILLERS

NATIONWIDE — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Friday, May 26, stripped one of the nation’s largest drug distributors of its license to sell highly addictive painkillers after determining it failed to flag thousands of suspicious orders at the height of the opioid crisis, reports the Associated Press investigative reporters Joshua Goodman and Jim Mustian.

The DEA’s action against Morris & Dickson Co. that threatens to close down the business came two days after an Associated Press investigation discovered that the federal agency had “allowed the company to keep shipping drugs for nearly four years after a judge recommended the harshest penalty for its ‘cavalier disregard’ of rules aimed at preventing opioid abuse,” according to the AP report. Morris & Dickson did not accept full responsibility for its past actions, nor did it acknowledge a problem, with the shipments of 12,000 notably large orders of opioids to pharmacies and hospitals between 2014 and 2018.

The company’s then-president, Paul Dickson Sr., seemingly in denial, was quoted as telling DEA Investigator Anne Milgram four years ago that his company’s compliance program was “dang good” and he didn’t think a “single person has gotten hurt by (their) drugs.” By contrast, Morris & Dickson’s competitors have already agreed, as part of a national settlement, to pay the federal government $18 billion to resolve claims related to similar violations, reported the AP.

✰✰✰

CITY COUNCIL, IN MOVE TO SAFEGUARD BQE CANTILEVER, APPROVES HOME RULE ON TRUCK WEIGH-IN TECHNOLOGY

BROOKLYN-QUEENS EXPRESSWAY AND CITY HALL — The New York City Council voted on Thursday to approve a home rule message in support of New York State bills S6246/A6225, considered essential to extending the lifetime of the BQE triple cantilever.

A Home Rule Message is a request by a county or municipal legislature (e.g., the City Council) for specific legislation from the New York State Legislature, requesting permission to set limits, in this case on overweight trucks, which have accelerated the deterioration of the BQE triple cantilever. Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Senator Andrew Gounardes are sponsoring the bills (A6225 and S6246) which, if passed, will empower the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to jointly set calibration standards for weigh-in-motion technology instead of requiring it to conform to standards that the American Society for Testing and Materials had established.

The S6246/A6225 bills will pave the way for the installation of weigh-in-motion technology on the cantilever that will ultimately enable automatic ticketing for overweight trucks, and their removal from the BQE cantilever section to safeguard it.

✰✰✰

THRUWAY’S BILLING METHODS HAVE LOST REVENUE AND MUST IMPROVE, REPORTS COMPTROLLER DINAPOLI

STATEWIDE — The state’s Thruway Authority must improve its methods of identifying, billing, and collecting tolls and related fees, including $276.3 million that a collection agency is seeking as of March 2023, according to a new audit from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Tolls and related fees comprise more than 90% of Thruway’s revenue, with 90% of toll revenues coming from E-ZPass users, and the rest derived through Tolls by Mail.

Auditors also found fault with the Thruway’s identification of license plates from the images it captures. The audit sampled 161 rejected images and found that 11% were identifiable and billable. Auditors also estimated the Thruway missed out on billing an additional $7.2 million in tolls last year based on the number of license plate images that were rejected for reasons, such as being too dark or too bright, that were within the Thruway’s ability to fix.

Comptroller DiNapoli made several recommendations to the Thruway for improving the identification, billing and collection of tolls and related revenues, among them: Ensuring that there is a smooth transition in any change of collection vendors to avoid gaps in service; establishing procedures for dismissing violation fees, including the selection criteria explaining the reason for dismissing them; reviewing accounts that are in danger of having their vehicle registrations suspended; and, ensuring all images rejected in the automatic photo process can be manually identified so that these get billed.

✰✰✰

REP. GOLDMAN JOINS FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION CAUCUS,
SUPPORTING ZERO-EMISSIONS AND MTA PROGRAMS

CITYWIDE — Rep. Dan Goldman (D-10/western Brooklyn) has joined the Congressional  Future of Transportation Caucus, which some of his colleagues representing states across the continent founded in 2019. The caucus, which Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), and Mark Takano (CA-39) — all Democrats — established, convenes forums and briefings to generate awareness and policy discussions on sustainability, safety, and improved connectivity for all communities.

Since taking office, Congressman Goldman has made efforts to reimagine America’s transportation infrastructure a priority, urging the Department of Transportation to allow for the immediate implementation of congestion pricing in New York City to pave the way for vital improvements in air quality, safety, and New York’s public transit system. Congressman Goldman last month joined his fellow members of the New York delegation to support the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s grant application for the FY 2023 Low or No Emission Vehicle Program to transition the MTA’s bus fleet to zero-emissions vehicles by 2040. Earlier this year he announced $2 million in federal funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to expand a pilot program that helps visually-impaired and limited English proficiency New Yorkers navigate the subway and bus systems.

The congestion pricing plan has its critics who claim that tolling cars amounts to a regressive tax,  particularly for New Yorkers who already pay bridge tolls, or live or work in areas with no nearby public transit and so must drive. Elected officials holding this view include Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-11/southwestern Brooklyn) and Assemblyman David Weprin (D-24/Queens) who opposed then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan as well.

✰✰✰

DIWALI, LUNAR NEW YEAR TO BE MADE STATE HOLIDAYS

STATEWIDE — Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced on Wednesday that the state Assembly is likely to pass legislation that would make Diwali — the Hindu festival of lights — as well as Lunar New Year official state holidays, reports NY1. Heastie says lawmakers are set to vote on these motions before the end of the legislative session on June 8, with details on school holidays still to be worked out; a bill passed by the state Senate earlier this year would enable students at city and state universities to take time off for the Lunar New Year without academic penalties.

Queens U.S. Rep. Grace Meng on Twitter applauded the move, noting her personal efforts on passing legislation that made Lunar New Year a holiday in NYC, and announced that she would on Friday be revealing legislation of her own to make Diwali a federal holiday as well, writing, “Our holidays should recognize & reflect the great diversity of our communities.”A group of Asian American lawmakers, including Councilmember Shahana Hanif, also last year worked to pass legislation that would make Diwali an NYC holiday as well, reports QNS, in honor of last year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; the measure passed in October, meaning that the city will celebrate regardless of what ultimately happens in the Assembly.

✰✰✰

NEW LAW REGULATING AI IN HIRING PRACTICES
IS A START, TANDON SCHOOL DIRECTOR TELLS NY TIMES

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Meanwhile, Artificial Intelligence’s role in human resources was also examined in a New York Times article published on Thursday, May 25,  about a new law to regulate how AI is used in hiring. NYU Tandon Associate Professor Julia Stoyanovich, who is also director of the school’s Center for Responsible A.I. was quoted. New York City is being hailed as a “modest pioneer”  wrote the Times’ Steve Lohr, referring to a law that the city passed two years ago on AI. Moreover, just last month the city also adopted specific rules that will be enforced starting in July, firstly requiring companies using the technology to notify candidates that an automated system is being used. Other components of the rule require independent auditors to monitor the technology for bias.

The AI law has received criticism from two opposing groups: rights advocates say the law needs to reach further; business groups call it impractical. Professor Stoyanovich expressed concern that the law contains loopholes that could allow the city to circumvent its purpose. However, Stoyanovich told the NY Times, “But it’s much better than not having a law. And until you try to regulate, you won’t learn how.”

✰✰✰

TANDON PROFESSOR’S PODCAST EXAMINES USES OF AI IN HIRING AND HUMAN RESOURCES

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Will your next hiring manager be an algorithm? Recruitment using Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the topic of a podcast that NYU Tandon School of Engineering Research Assistant Professor Mona Sloane hosted on May 10 with the International Labour Organization. Sloane, who shared her research and insights on AI recruitment on the “Future of Work” Podcast, discussed the importance of using AI tools ethnically with a policy of transparency, as well as the contributions that policymakers and trade unions need to make.

A Fellow with NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK), and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Technology, Culture and Society at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, Sloane convenes the Co-Opting AI series and co-curates The Shift series. She is also a Senior Research Scientist at the NYU Center for Responsible AI, according to the Tandon website.

✰✰✰

CAPITAL ONE, KEYBANK’S NEW DEPOSITS FROZEN AS PENALTY
FOR REFUSING CITY’S ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICIES

CITYWIDE — Banks’ refusals to abide by New York City’s anti-discrimination laws are at the core of the NYC Banking Commission’s decision to freeze new deposits, City Comptroller Brad Lander announced on Thursday.

All three NYC Banking Commission members voted to freeze deposits at Capital One and KeyBank after the banks failed to submit required plans demonstrating their efforts to root out discrimination. Lander, one of the commission’s three members, voted also during its first-ever public hearing against designating three other banks to hold public funds: International Finance Bank, PNC Bank, and Wells Fargo. The Banking Commission heard testimony from Muslim New Yorkers who have experienced discrimination in the process of opening or closing accounts. Members of the public also spoke in favor of creating a public bank that could provide banking services for City deposits and deploy that capital to better serve New York communities.

The Charter and the Rules of the NYC Banking Commission stipulate that banks must comply with designation requirements by filing certificates concerning their policies of non-discrimination in hiring, promotion, and delivery of banking services, and for bank closings; and moreover, that banks must submit to demonstrate a meaningful commitment to combat discrimination in employment, services, and lending.

Capital One, which held $7.2 million in City deposits at the end of April across 108 accounts, and KeyBank, which held $10 million in City deposits at the end of April across three accounts, outright refused to submit to these required policies.

KeyBank was the financial services institution that the state had picked to distribute unemployment benefits during Covid, even though they have only one branch and one ATM in the entire city.

✰✰✰

RESTLER’S BILL WOULD HOLD CITY ACCOUNTABLE
FOR STAFFING VACANCIES THAT HINDER SERVICES

BROOKLYN AND CITY HALL — City Councilmember Lincoln Restler (D-33/Boerum Hill to Greenpoint), aiming to hold the city accountable for the number of unfilled municipal positions that are impairing the city’s ability to deliver services, has introduced legislation to monitor city staffing levels and expedite hiring.

Restler indicated that the City of New York currently has over 25,000 vacancies, not including the many thousands of vacant positions that the Adams administration has eliminated. At least seven agencies have over 20% of their positions vacant, directly impacting the City’s ability to deliver essential services. The Mayor’s own Management Report — the charter-mandated accounting of the City’s performance — shows that staffing shortages have compromised safety, emergency food services and child programs. Restler’s bill would create a public tracker of citywide staffing levels that the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services will maintain, and mandate a comprehensive report on City staffing to be published every six months. The bill also proposes that the Office of Management and Budget grant agencies the authority to hire their budgeted headcount without seeking additional approvals, which causes further delays; urge the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to make civil service positions more accessible to New Yorkers; and allow for hybrid work arrangements in as many positions as feasible.

City Comptroller Brad Lander, a fellow Brooklynite, praising Restler’s bill, said: “By providing the public with clear and up-to-date information on hiring and vacancies, Councilmember Restler’s legislation empowers the City to take necessary measures to fill vacancies and address staffing gaps effectively.”

✰✰✰

BROOKLYN’S PASTRAMI HOUSES MAKE TOP TEN LIST

ALL OVER BROOKLYN — Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side may still make the city’s best pastrami sandwich, but a Brooklyn eatery ranked second in this popular deli treat, reports EATER NEW YORK.  Hometown Bar-B-Que on 35 St. in Sunset Park, which is also an offshoot of their Red Hook location, makes pastrami that is “spiced and fatty, and its primary distinction is an enhanced smokiness.” The EATER NY blurb pointed out that the Red Hook store conceived its pastrami as a “hybrid between a Texas-style barbecue joint and a New York deli.”

Other Brooklyn eateries also made the Pastrami Top Ten list, including Junior’s Restaurant (Flatbush/DeKalb), Frankel’s Delicatessen & Appetizing (Manhattan & Bedford avenues in Greenpoint), and, this writer’s favorite, David’s Brisket House on Nostrand Ave. in Bedford Stuyvesant, which is described as “maybe the only halal Jewish-style deli in the city.”

✰✰✰

DENOUNCING MAYOR’S MOTION ON RIGHT-TO-SHELTER, BOROUGH PRESIDENT REITERATES OTHER OPTIONS

BROOKLYN BOROUGH HALL — Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso has denounced and rejected Mayor Eric Adams’ call to end-Right-to-Shelter, an NYC law that is the only one of its kind in the United States to guarantee a bed to anyone in need.

Reynoso had — just last week — proposed immediate legal opportunities for Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams, and the New York City Council to open up tens of thousands of apartments for New Yorkers living in city shelters and expand immediate and long-term housing opportunities in nearby municipalities.

“Now is not the time to shrink from our responsibility to provide safe and dignified shelter for all in our city; rather we should be doubling down on the values of sanctuary and care that represent who we are. Standing firm requires that we reject any attempts to weaken Right-to-Shelter and instead demand that our leaders from the city to the state to the federal government advance creative solutions that can make a real dent in this housing crisis.

The legal solutions include calling on the City Council to pass legislation that would direct the Mayor to use government power to solve the homelessness crisis through the private sector and that would add the arrival of migrants as an emergency under the Administrative Code; and would direct the Mayor and City to lease market apartments for housing homeless families.

Reynoso’s proposal also calls on Mayor Adams to issue a new emergency executive order declaring a public emergency over homelessness (not only the continuous arrival of migrants) and then for Mayor Adams must also seek state assistance from Governor Hochul under Section 24[7] of the Executive Law, to unlock broader government power.

✰✰✰

COFFEE CART REDEPLOYS TO PIERREPONT PLAYGROUND

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The popular Deploy Coffee cart, which holds the first and only Promenade vendor’s license, will return this weekend outside Pierrepont Playground, offering hot and cold beverages to parents and passers-by. The distinctive blue cart slings ethically sourced brews, fresh-ground beans, teas and specialty drinks, including one called the MOAB, the caffeine level of which Eagle reporter Mary Frost described as “You were warned.”

Deploy, which launched its Brooklyn Heights operation last year, is operated by Jimmy Lai and Daniel Singh, two Navy veterans, who hope that they can serve as a model to promote veteran entrepreneurship and to raise awareness of programs designed to help veterans transition back into the workforce – for example, the Promenade license was reserved for disabled vets. The two say that after feedback from residents, they will likely keep the cart off the Promenade itself, and will trial other locations near the entrances of the walkway. 

Deploy will be stationed at the intersection of Pierrepont Place and Pierrepont Street on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this summer.

✰✰✰

POLICE ASK PUBLIC’S HELP TO FIND MISSING STUDENT

CLINTON HILL — A teen is missing from his Bedford-Avenue home and the NYPD seeks the public’s assistance in finding him. Jonathan Marsh, 14, was last seen three weeks ago, on Friday, May 5, at his school on Clinton Avenue near the Brooklyn Navy Yard (within the 88th Precinct)

Jonathan is described as a Black Hispanic with a medium complexion, brown eyes and long black curly hair, approximately 5’0” and weighing 103 lbs.

Anyone who has seen this youth, who went missing from his school on the morning of May 5, and last seen wearing a dark blue jacket, a black hooded sweatshirt and brown pants, should call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477); or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); or via the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips. Photo: NYPD/CrimeStoppers.

✰✰✰

WORKERS AT 1 JOHN ST.  DEMAND UNION RECOGNITION AND BENEFITS FROM EMPLOYER

DUMBO — Building service employees at a luxury DUMBO waterfront apartment complex were set on Thursday evening to protest their employer’s refusal to agree to a fair union contract. The service workers are rallying against the building management which has refused to provide union benefits and wants to keep the workers on at-will-employment status with no benefits, even though the employees voted unanimously last September to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ. Joining them are members of 32BJ, considered the city’s largest building services union with more than 175,000 members, and elected officials and allies.

Units at the 1 John St. apartment building, which was built in 2016, have been listed with sale prices of $5-6 million. StreetEasy showed also that some units were rentals, going for as high as $15K per month, though none are now available. StreetEasy indicates the name of owner as “Unavailable.”

✰✰✰

POLICE WARN OF SERIAL SUBWAY PHONE SNATCHERS

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The New York City Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in finding a group of unknown men suspected in a pattern of Brooklyn subway phone robberies earlier this month. Two incidents have been identified as part of this pattern so far.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 3, one suspect approached an 11-year-old boy on the southbound 2 train platform at Borough Hall station and grabbed his cellphone from his hand before fleeing. Shortly after midnight on the following day, May 4, four suspects approached a 40-year-old male victim on the southbound 2 train approaching President Street station, punched him multiple times in the head and body and forcibly removed his cellphone. The victim was able to escape at the President Street station; the four suspects stayed on the train, heading to parts unknown.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Do you recognize these people? All tips given to police are strictly confidential.

✰✰✰

ARRESTED AND HELD ON SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGES

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A Flatlands man was charged in Magistrate Court in Brooklyn on Wednesday, May 24, on a sexual assault charge, with the court’s request for detention as a flight risk. Chad Barclay, 29, of East 32nd St., enticement and coercion, violates Title 18, United States Code. From Sept. 2022 to within days of his arrest on Wednesday, the defendant “engaged in a dangerous criminal pattern of enticing women to meet with him for various purposes and then proceeding to rape and rob them through the use of threatening and coercive means. For the reasons set forth below, the government submits that no combination of conditions can reasonably secure the safety of the victims or the community.” Among other complaints from Barclay’s victim, identified only as Jane Doe #1, he forced her to have sex and refused to wear a condom; he identified himself as a gang member, and said there were others monitoring the area near her residence. He also threatened harm, robbed her of her phone and cash, and even ordered her to pay him a “tax” for working in Brooklyn.

While on supervised release earlier this year, the defendant allegedly continued his rape and extortion pattern against other women.

✰✰✰

MTA ANNOUNCES MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE PLAN

CITYWIDE — The MTA on Tuesday announced service details and changes for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and the start of the summer season. For Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, city subways and buses, as well as the LIRR and Metro-North, will run on Sunday or weekend schedules. Additionally, the LIRR and Metro-North will supplement Friday afternoon service with additional trains to help travelers get an early start on the three-day weekend. The authority also issued reminders that some subway lines will experience planned service changes over the weekend for necessary track work and maintenance – the 2 and 3 trains will not be running in Brooklyn due to extensive cleaning of the Clark Street tunnel, while the M train will not be running at all.

The popular Cannonball train from Penn Station to Montauk makes its seasonal debut this Friday afternoon for the holiday weekend, operating express to the Hamptons and Montauk. The westbound Cannonball back to the city will operate on Memorial Day this week, instead of Sunday. Other Sunday inbound trains from Montauk and other points on Long Island will operate on Monday this week as well. For city-bound beachgoers, the Q22 and Q35 buses will begin service on Friday to the Riis Park bus stop from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. weekdays and from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. weekends, lasting all summer.

For more detailed information and updates on other service changes, the MTA advises passengers to check its information website, new.mta.info, or to download the MYmta smartphone app.

✰✰✰

BROOKLYN  CONGRESSMEMBER YVETTE CLARKE APPLAUDS BIDEN’S NEW STRATEGY TO FIGHT ANTISEMITISM

CENTRAL BROOKLYN AND NATIONWIDE — The Biden-Harris Administration on Thursday, May 25, released the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, covering more than 100 new actions it will take to fight the threat of antisemitism, amid an alarming reported increase antisemitic incidents, among other acts of hatred.

This strategy encompasses raising awareness of antisemitism and its threat to American democracy, protecting Jewish communities, reversing the normalization of antisemitism, and building cross-community solidarity.

The strategy will incorporate workshops with the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to raise awareness and counter antisemitism. Other components involve annual threat assessments that the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center will conduct; a resource guide on protecting houses of worship that the Justice and Homeland Security Departments will produce, and the challenging task of reversing the normalization of antisemitism that spreads through conspiracy theories and rhetoric from political leaders.

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-9/central Brooklyn) applauded the new strategy, stating (in part), “The disturbing rise of antisemitic sentiments in America and across the world demands we prioritize the protection of Jewish-Americans at every level — this critical announcement not only acknowledges the truth of growing antisemitic proliferation and the violent consequences it foments, but demonstrates the administration’s stalwart commitment to defeating hate and bigotry through a whole-of-society approach.”

In 2024, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will launch the first-ever U.S.-based Holocaust education research center which, once it is fully operational, “will undertake systematic, rigorous, and actionable research into teaching and learning about the Holocaust and study the impact and effectiveness of Holocaust education.”

✰✰✰

BROOKLYN’S REP. GOLDMAN PROPOSES BILL TO BOOST PUBLIC DEFENDER RESOURCES

WESTERN BROOKLYN & CAPITOL HILL — Saying that the nation’s public defense system is understaffed, underfunded, and has been overwhelmed for decades, Rep. Dan Goldman (D-10/western Brooklyn) has teamed with his colleagues serving New Jersey, Illinois and Texas to introduce the “Providing a Quality Defense Act.”

Goldman pointed out that last year, New York City’s largest provider of criminal and civil services for indigent clients lost 10% of its staff in one year with other organizations losing as much as 40% of staff, and that the nationwide public defender shortage contributes heavily to the country’s criminal justice crisis, particularly in low-income communities. The Providing a Quality Defense Act, to remedy this, would establish a grant program for public defense offices to hire public defenders or panel attorneys, case workers, social workers, investigators, or paralegals. These grants could also be used to achieve pay parity for public defenders or panel attorneys with prosecutors’ offices, would establish grants for educational programs for public defenders, including for ongoing training and support, and would provide grant funds to public defense offices to establish loan repayment assistance programs for public defenders.

Additionally, the Providing a Quality Defense Act would direct the Attorney General to develop best practices and recommendations for public defenders’ caseloads and for the compensation of public defenders.

Joining Congressman Dan Goldman were Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), and freshman Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX/Dallas-Ft. Worth), who brings to her freshman term in Congress experience as a public defender, and civil rights and criminal defense attorney.

✰✰✰

ONLINE SPORTING GOODS RETAILER PENALIZED $300K FOR FAILING TO SECURE CUSTOMERS’ DATA

STATEWIDE — Sports Warehouse, an online athletic goods retailer has to pay $300,000 for failing to protect 2.5 million consumers’ personal data, including more than 100 thousand New Yorkers, as part of a settlement that State Attorney General Letitia James secured with the company. The data security for Sports Warehouse, which also owns the websites for Tennis Warehouse, Running Warehouse, Skate Warehouse, and Tackle Warehouse was so weak that it was vulnerable to a data breach in 2021 which compromised consumers’ private information, including credit card information and email addresses for more than 136,000 New Yorkers.

As part of the agreement with the Office of the Attorney  Sports Warehouse must pay $300,000 in penalties to the state and strengthen its cybersecurity measures to protect consumers’ private information, including better encryption, staying updated on technology, developing a penetration testing program, strengthening password protocols and collecting only the data needed for legitimate transactions and erasing when the need to retain the personal information becomes obsolete.

The action stemmed from a 2021 attack in which the hacker gained access to Sports Warehouse’s subsidiary servers, apparently by attempting to identify login credentials through repeated trial and error. After gaining access to the companies’ servers, the attacker created several web shells to gain remote access to the Sports Warehouse companies’ commerce server, which contained payment card information for nearly every purchase made through their websites for the past 11 years.

✰✰✰

SUPPLY CHAIN WORRIES AS UPS STRIKE LOOMS

NATIONWIDE — UPS package delivery workers may be poised to go on strike if union contract negotiations head south, reports the AP, raising fears of significant supply chain disruptions and delivery backlogs in a time where online shopping has become a part of daily life for millions. The Teamsters, which represent the more than 350,000 front-line workers at UPS, say that their members deserve a fair share of the windfall the delivery company has reaped during and after the pandemic – profits are nearly three times what they were prior to the pandemic, according to the AP – and that they’re prepared to walk off the job if their needs aren’t met by August, threatening to strand the nearly 24 million packages UPS handles daily for an indefinite amount of time.

The issues the union is pressing include increased pay, less overtime, an end to a two-tiered benefits structure and increased driver safety standards. Many in the union are still angry over an unpopular 2018 contract that was accepted, against a popular vote, based on a technicality. This botched contract saw the union leadership change hands, with members voting in a more “combative” and hands-on leader, Sean O’Brien, in 2022, something that observers say represents a sea change in blue-collar workers’ approach to the labor movement. “There’s greater assertiveness and militancy on the part of a lot of young labor activists and some sectors of the labor establishment. Sean O’Brien is representative of that,” said San Francisco State University director of labor and employment studies John Logan. 

UPS leadership claims to be unbothered about the potential for a strike: CEO Carol Tome said, “While we expect to hear a great deal of noise during the negotiation, I remain confident that a win-win-win contract is very achievable and that UPS and the Teamsters will reach agreement by the end of July.” 


Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment