What’s News, Breaking: Tuesday, October 3, 2023
STATE COMMITS $38M FOR
LEGAL SERVICES TO ASYLUM SEEKERS
CITYWIDE — NEW YORK STATE HAS COMMITTED $38 MILLION IN NEW FUNDING TO HELP THE CITY PROVIDE LEGAL SERVICES FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS. The announcement from Governor Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday, Oct. 3, was made on the first effective day of a federal rule extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans who entered the country before July 31, 2023. Concurrently, the city will begin assisting eligible Venezuelan asylum seekers in submitting their paper applications for TPS and work authorization, in addition to their fee waiver forms at the city’s Asylum Application Help Center, also partially funded by state resources.
During the coming weeks, the city and state will scale efforts at the Asylum Application Help Center, expanding case management and legal services to help more asylum seekers in the city’s care obtain work authorization, stabilize their lives, and provide for themselves so they can move out of shelter.
NEW BILL WOULD ALLOW STUDENTS TO HAVE
UNLIMITED METROCARD USE IN EMERGENCIES
CITYWIDE — A “GET HOME SAFE” ACT THAT ASSEMBLYMEMBER ROBERT CARROLL (D/WF-44) INTRODUCED on Tuesday, Oct. 3, would allow students unlimited MetroCard swipes during states of emergency. Assemblymember Carroll’s bill would give the governor discretion to help students and families as needed, by directing the MTA to give students unlimited MetroCard swipes (rather than the two permitted per trip for an originating point and transfer), particularly when their direct routes home are disrupted, “When New York City was hit with unprecedented flooding last week, parents became understandably distraught when their children, who were forced to reroute to get home, were stranded after countless transfers,” said Carroll.
Extreme weather-related flooding in New York City — with Brooklyn severely hit — suspended most subway lines and above-ground bus routes.
NY ATTORNEY GENERAL LEADS COALITION TO SAVE
CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU
NEW YORK AND NATIONWIDE — THE U.S. SUPREME COURT WAS SET ON TUESDAY, OCT. 3, TO HEAR oral arguments in a case that threatens the existence of a key consumer protection agency, with NY Attorney General Letitia James leading a coalition to save it. The SCOTUS will hear arguments in the case Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Community Financial Services Association of America Ltd. A Fifth Circuit Court ruled earlier this year that the bureau’s existence is unconstitutional because it violates the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause and the separation of powers. NY Attorney General James’ coalition is asking SCOTUS to reverse that ruling on the grounds that the bureau is vital to protecting consumers and ensuring a fair financial system, and was specially set up to be effective.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau serves several functions that are invaluable to states and state attorneys general. It provides necessary transparency and clarity to consumers seeking to navigate a confusing and opaque financial marketplace.
BROOKLYN JEWISH HALL OF FAME
WILL INDUCT DIVERSE CLASS OF HONOREES
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — EIGHT OF THE BOROUGH’S LUMINARIES WILL BE INDUCTED INTO THE BROOKLYN JEWISH HALL OF FAME’s CLASS OF 2023, at the Brooklyn Bar Association on Remsen St. this month. The Hall of Fame is one of the signature events for the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative, which “was created to tell the extraordinary story of the Jewish community of Brooklyn, so the world would know,” said Howard Teich, the organization’s founder and co-chair. “The BJHI Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame will recognize the leading Brooklynites who have truly made a difference in the world, and there are many.” The event, on Thursday, Oct. 19, will induct eight honorees, among them: retired State Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges, Democratic party leader Steven Cohn, and Clement Soffer, acclaimed for rescuing Syrian Jews and for building synagogues, one of which was the first Jewish Egyptian Synagogue in Brooklyn — Ahava Ve Ahvah Congregation, of which he was co-founder at age 20.
Founded in 2008, the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Society formed a partnership early on with the Brooklyn Historical Society. The debut Hall of Fame event was held in 2015.
HOSPITAL COMMUNITY, NYPD HOST OUTDOOR
BABY SHOWER FOR MATERNITY PATIENTS
FORT GREENE PARK — The Brooklyn Hospital Center recently hosted a community baby shower in neighboring Fort Greene Park, for about 30 expectant parents. The parents-to-be had a chance to meet obstetricians like Dr. Natasha Fievre, MD, an obstetrician and director of Ambulatory Women’s Health Services, a lactation consultant, labor and delivery nurses, pediatricians and the full staff of the Women’s Health Center. There were also gifts and prizes that are traditional to baby showers. Also making the baby shower possible were the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, NYPD/88th Precinct, NY Mammas Give Back and the TBHC staff from the Loading Dock and Support Services.
“I was so touched when a gentleman came up from the park-goers to thank the hospital for all it did for the community,” said Fievre.
FEMA WILL CONDUCT NATIONWIDE
EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM TEST
NATIONWIDE — THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION AND the Federal Communications Commission will conduct its seventh nationwide test of the Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on Wednesday, Oct. 4. WEA and EAS messages are emergency public warning tools used during natural or human-made disasters to target a localized area, and are a collaboration between these government agencies, cellular service and broadcast providers. The national test will have two components: for compatible wires and consumer cell phones and will be transmitted in either English or Spanish (depending on the device user’s settings). The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. Both tests are scheduled to begin at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
NEWLY-EXPANDED BAY RIDGE CENTER
BECOMES BIPARTISAN ACCOMPLISHMENT
BAY RIDGE — THE NEWLY-EXPANDED BAY RIDGE SENIOR CENTER, its executive director Todd Fliedner and the bipartisan support they received from several elected officials, foremost among them Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-11), got the attention of City & State. Rep. Malliotakis secured a $2 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the center, previously housed in the basement of Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Ovington Ave., which founded the center in 1976, according to the congregation’s website. A $5 million capital campaign received funding from City Councilmember Justin Brannan (D-43), State Sen. Andrew Gounardes D-26), former Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus and former Republican state Sen. Marty Golden.
The Bay Ridge Center’s new building at 15 Bay Ridge Ave. (formerly a MetLife insurance office) will open Nov. 1, but the non-profit will also continue using Bethlehem Lutheran Church for kitchen and other facilities.
NYU LANGONE, LOCAL ELECTEDS TEAM UP ON FREE FLU SHOTS
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — NYU LANGONE MEDICAL CENTER AND STATE LEGISLATORS SERVING THE DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN AREA are teaming up to provide free flu shots next week. NYU Langone-Cobble Hill Clinic will host a free Flu Shot Clinic on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., thanks to coordination with Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and State Senator Andrew Gounardes. The clinic is held at NYU Langone, 70 Atlantic Ave. (same building as the Joseph and Diane Steinberg Ambulatory Care Center). Insurance is not required, but one must make an appointment and be at least 18 years of age. Appointments are available via Assemblymember Simon’s office: 718-246-4889, or email at [email protected] or via bit.ly/FluShotClinic2023.
NYU-Langone assures participants of the facility’s strict safety measures in place.
LIBRARY ANNOUNCES 2023 BOOK PRIZE SHORTLIST
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — THE BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY ON MONDAY ANNOUNCED its librarians’ selection of the six finalists for the 2023 Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize, which celebrates Brooklyn’s storied literary scene. Established in 2015 by the Brooklyn Eagles — a group of library enthusiasts unaffiliated with this newspaper — the yearly award honors authors who connect with the borough and city and whose works “support the Library’s mission to foster conversations about the social, political and artistic issues of our time.”
Fiction nominees include the Native American coming-of-age story “Calling for a Blanket Dance,” by Oscar Hokeah, the metafictional satire “Yellowface,” by R.F. Kuang, and the alternate-history memoir “Biography of X,” by Catherine Lacey; the selections in the nonfiction category are queer poetry collection “Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency,” by Chen Chen, the essay collection “Hijab Butch Blues: A Memoir,” by Lamya H., and “Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation,” by Linda Villarosa, an investigation into racial disparities in health care. All six authors will join Prize Chair Jess Hardwick at a free panel event on Oct. 26 at the BPL; RSVPs can be sent online via the library’s website.
COMPOST COLLECTION STARTS THIS WEEK IN BROOKLYN
BROOKLYN — THE DEPARTMENT OF SANITATION IS SET TO BEGIN PROVIDING CURBSIDE COMPOST PICKUP service in Brooklyn this Monday, according to a joint statement from Mayor Adams and Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch, in a scheduled expansion of the mayor’s signature citywide food waste collection program. Brooklynites will now be able to set out compostable trash, which includes food waste, food-soiled paper products like napkins and paper towels, and dried leaves and other garden debris for weekly pickup; the city says that the program, which began last year in Queens, has already proven successful in diverting waste from landfills, as well as reducing feeding opportunities for rats.
Residents can use any bins that are clearly labeled and have secure lids, or can order free compost decals and brown bins from the Department of Sanitation’s website until Oct. 13; full participation will not be mandatory until service is expanded to Manhattan and Staten Island in 2024.
WOODHULL HOSPITAL EVACUATES PATIENTS TO EXAMINE SCOPE OF FLOODING DAMAGE
BUSHWICK TO GREENPOINT — NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS/WOODHULL, which was reportedly damaged in last Friday’s record rainfall and flooding, successfully evacuated all patients to allow for the hospital to fully shut down its power, a necessary step to address flood-related damage, officials reported on Sunday, Oct. 1. A total of 116 patients were transferred to other NYC Health + Hospitals sites, with no adverse patient effects reported throughout the evacuation. NYC Health + Hospitals will stay in touch with patients and their families to keep them updated as repairs continue. The city’s public hospital network worked with the Emergency Management and Health and Mental Hygiene Departments, as well as the Fire and Police Departments, to transfer the patients.
The hospital is not accepting any patients, will remain on diversion for all ambulances, and is currently assessing its engineering and electrical systems for the scope of damage. Officials estimate that the repairs could take several days before the hospital can resume operations.
BQE TRIPLE CANTILEVER SECTION WILL CLOSE FOR WORK ON HEIGHTS SPANS
BQE & FURMAN ST. — THE TRIPLE CANTILEVER SECTION OF THE BROOKLYN-QUEENS EXPRESSWAY, which runs underneath the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, will be closed the weekend of Oct. 14–16, reports the DOT via Community Board 2. The Queens-bound BQE will be closed between Atlantic Avenue and Sands St., from Saturday, Oct. 14, at 2 a.m. until Monday, Oct. 16, at 4 a.m., as part of the work to repair the spans at Clark Street and Grace Court.
During this closure, the Staten Island-bound BQE will be reduced to one lane, and traffic direction on Furman Street will be reversed to two southbound lanes.
STATE SUPREME COURT JUDGE RULES FOR DELIVERISTAS IN MINIMUM PAY FIGHT
CITYWIDE — APP-BASED FOOD DELIVERY SERVICES MUST PAY THEIR WORKERS at least $17.96 an hour — before tips — after Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Nicholas Moyne on Thursday, Sept. 28, ruled against Uber, DoorDash and Grubhub, which were trying to block the rule from taking effect, reports THE CITY. The app companies, which aggressively pressured city officials to delay a local minimum wage law that was supposed to take effect in January, do not categorize their workforce as employees but rather as independent contractors, thus making their drivers and delivery cyclists ineligible for the federal and state guaranteed minimum wage.
However, exempt from Judge Moyne’s ruling is Relay, a smaller, NY-based company, because it works directly with restaurants and already pays an hourly base rate. Judge Moyne granted Relay’s injunction, THE CITY reported on Monday.
SUPREME COURT CHOOSES NOT TO HEAR CHALLENGE TO RENT STABILIZATION LAWS
CITYWIDE — THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT ON MONDAY, OCT. 2, DECLINED TO HEAR A CHALLENGE to New York’s rent-stabilization regulations, reported the New York Times and the Commercial Observer, thus allowing precedent to stand. The regulations allow the government to set a maximum range of permissible rent increases and permit tenants an indefinite number of lease renewals. Landlords had argued that a rent-stabilization law that covers about a million units is an unconstitutional government taking of private property, but a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit had in February rejected that argument.
Judge Barrington D. Parker of the U.S. Court of Appeals wrote in February that while his panel understood the economists’ view that rent control laws are fallible with regard to ensuring an inventory of affordable housing, prior Supreme Court precedents allowed legislators to strike a needed balance with regard to the laws.
STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFERS TIP FOR NEW YORKERS WITH FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS
STATEWIDE — NEW YORKERS WITH FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS will have some tips on coping with the fact that the payment pause has ended, thanks to state Attorney General Letitia James. Following a three-year pause due to the pandemic, interest on federal student loans resumed accruing in September and payments are again due starting this month. Attorney General James advises people to make sure their contact information is updated on their loan servicer’s website and to be aware that student loans have switched to new servicers during the pause. The Department of Education’s (DOE) Federal Student Aid (FSA) website https://studentaid.gov/ contains loan servicer information.
One can also check eligibility for the Biden Administration’s new SAVE Plan, which will cut monthly payments to $0 for millions of borrowers making $32,800 or less, or $67,500 for a family of four, and save all other borrowers at least $1,000 per year.
AG JAMES WARNS OF PRICE GOUGING AFTER STORM FLOODS
STATEWIDE — ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES ON FRIDAY issued a consumer alert warning against price-gouging in the aftermath of last week’s heavy rainstorms, which caused significant flooding and damage in the NYC area and parts of upstate and prompted the declaration of a state of emergency in the impacted counties. James in a press statement urged New Yorkers who see inflated prices to report the issue to her office; the state’s price-gouging statute bans businesses from marking up essential goods or services, such as food and water, fuel, hotels and transportation, during emergencies, and allows for penalties of up to $25,000 per violation.
The AG’s office advises consumers making reports to provide specific increased prices, dates, and places, and to provide copies of their sales receipts and photos of the advertised prices, if available; complaints can be filed online on the Attorney General’s state webpage, or by phone by calling 800-771-7755.
GOLDMAN PRAISES BUDGET COMPROMISE
WASHINGTON — U.S. REP. DAN GOLDMAN ON SATURDAY OFFERED MEASURED PRAISE for a 45-day funding measure passed with bipartisan support by Congress, which NBC reports was signed by President Biden on Saturday night just three hours before a government shutdown would have taken effect. Goldman, who voted in favor of the measure, wrote in a press statement that the legislation’s passage, which omitted additions originally demanded by Republicans related to abortion and schools and Social Security funding, “was a victory for New Yorkers and the American people,” but also stressed the need for additional funding for Ukraine, which was left out of the package after pushback from right-wing Congressmembers.
The measure passed with widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans, with 335 House members voting in favor and only 91 opposed, but doubts have been raised over GOP Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ability to unite his party after opposition from far-right legislators threatened to scuttle the bill.
VELAZQUEZ SLAMS GOP OVER BUDGET SHOWDOWN
WASHINGTON — U.S. REP. NYDIA VELAZQUEZ ON SATURDAY SHARPLY CRITICIZED HER GOP COLLEAGUES OVER INACTION in the face of a federal government shutdown narrowly averted by the last-minute passage of a 45-day funding extension Saturday night. Velazquez wrote in a statement that “[t]his episode has made it clear that Republicans cannot govern. Though a shutdown has been avoided for now, we will likely face the same predicament if Republicans continue to allow their most extreme members to drive the appropriations process.” Leaders in Washington now have until the middle of November to reach a deal on the federal budget, a process that is expected to be contentious due to demands from right-wing representatives for sharp funding cuts and from the White House for increased aid for Ukraine.
The disarray in the Capitol exposed divisions between the moderate and right-wing elements of the GOP, with center-leaning Republicans also criticizing the process, such as Rockland county Rep. Mike Lawler, who described resistance to the funding extension as “just throwing a temper tantrum and stomping your feet” and “pathetic,” according to the AP.
BROOKLYN REP. DAN GOLDMAN ‘ENCOURAGED’ BY SCOTUS JUSTICE THOMAS’ RECUSAL
BROOKLYN & NATIONWIDE — JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT HAS RECUSED HIMSELF from a case involving Trump attorney John Eastman, in which that Court denied the lawyer’s petition to appeal a ruling, a move that Brooklyn Congressmember Dan Goldman applauds. Rep. Goldman (D–NY10/western Brooklyn) had last week called for the embattled jurist to recuse himself from two cases: Eastman, John C. v. Thompson, Bennie G., et al., related to Eastman’s appeal of the decision to allow his election-related emails to be turned over to the January 6 Committee, because the judge’s wife, Ginni Thomas, had corresponded with Eastman ahead of the January 6, 2021 insurrection; and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, following ProPublica’s investigative story that disclosed Justice Thomas’s longterm personal relationship with the Koch network, which has funded the plaintiffs in this case.
Goldman expressed hope that Judge Thomas’ recusal from the Eastman ruling is a sign that he recognizes that the integrity of the High Court is at stake and that it is critically important for the Court’s institutional credibility that he recuse himself from Loper.”
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