Monday, August 13, 2018

NYC Mayor Removes NY POST reporter For Asking A Question

In New York City we have a Mayor who wants to control the media. And the judicial system. And everyone.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio clearly dispises reporters, edtors, and taxpayers who decide to question his actions, his ethics or his Truth.

This is just plain ugh.

Betsy Combier

De Blasio lets security haul away Post reporter for asking a question
A bodyguard removes Post reporter Kevin Sheehan (right) from asking Bill de Blasio
(left) questions.  Brigitte Stelzer         
Mayor Bill de Blasio is a such a big believer in the free press that he let two bodyguards physically remove a credentialed Post reporter who had the temerity to ask him a question in public on Sunday.
The unusual muzzling unfolded at the start of the annual Dominican Day Parade in Manhattan, where the reporter sought de Blasio’s reaction to The Post’s front page story about his administration’s many meetings with lobbyists.
It also came after Hizzoner appeared on national TV Sunday to proclaim, “I believe in a free, strong media with diverse views — I’ll defend it with all I’ve got.”
Just two hours later, after de Blasio cut a ribbon to kick off the parade and was posing for photos near West 37th Street and Sixth Avenue, the reporter asked him to comment on the Page One “CITY FOR SALE” story.
Instead of answering or even declining to answer the question, the mayor watched as two members of his NYPD security detail approached the reporter — who was wearing a police-issued press pass around his neck — with one grabbing his shoulder and leading him away from the mayor.
“Kevin, you have to leave. You can’t be here,” the plainclothes cop said.
Both bodyguards then escorted the reporter about a half-block away, where a member of the NYPD’s public information office, Officer Brian Magoolaghan, told him, “Come on, Kevin. No stunts today.”
City Hall had previously declined to discuss records that showed officials held 136 meetings with lobbyists during just three months earlier this year.
The incident was reminiscent of one last month when the White House barred a CNN reporter from a Rose Garden event for shouting “inappropriate” questions at President Trump in the Oval Office earlier in the day.
Those questions involved audio recordings of Trump made secretly by his then-personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and Trump’s invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House.
Earlier Sunday, de Blasio appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” to discuss an interview last week with the Guardian, a liberal British newspaper, in which he criticized The Post’s parent company, News Corp, and its founder and executive chairman, Rupert Murdoch.
At one point, host Brian Stelter pressed de Blasio about his criticism of The Post, which the mayor has called a “right-wing rag.”
“Why do you feel it’s your role to be calling out a newspaper because you don’t like the content?” Stelter asked.
“Because I think it’s not happening enough. … It’s not happening the way I think it should,” de Blasio answered.
De Blasio’s press secretary referred questions about the incident at the parade to the NYPD, which said in an email: “The Department takes appropriate and necessary measures to protect dignitaries, including the Mayor of the City of New York.”
Additional reporting by Ben Feuerherd

Ritchie Torres (left) and Bill de Blasio                                                                            [Richard Harbus/Ron Sachs]
NY POST, May 28, 2018
A city councilman on Sunday said he favored legislation requiring greater disclosure about City Hall’s meetings with lobbyists, in the wake of a Post expose that revealed 136 such sit-downs during just three months this year.
Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) said vague entries in the official “Lobbyist Meeting Disclosure” database set up by Mayor de Blasio failed to shed sufficient light on what went on behind closed doors.
“It’s opacity masquerading as transparency,” said Torres, who heads the council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations.
“If you’re telling the public you’re having a meeting, that tells you nothing about the substance of the meeting.”
Torres also derided multiple listings showing am official “meet & greet” with representatives of the real-estate industry, who met members of the de Blasio administration 46 times between March 1 and May 31.
“A meet-and-greet five years into the administration with established players in the real estate industry is implausible,” Torres said.
“There should be more detailed reporting.”
Development and housing issues were the most frequently listed subject of the lobbyist meetings, with 16 meetings about cultural institutions a distant second.
Records don’t reveal whether any of the real-estate discussions involved de Blasio’s potential plan to allow construction of a high-rise tower with market-rate apartments on a New York City Housing Authority-owned parking lot in Hell’s Kitchen.
Torres said he suspected the Harborview Terrace development plan was part of a desperate bid by de Blasio to pay for $31.8 billion worth of NYCHA renovations, some of which are mandated by the pending settlement of a safe-housing suit filed by the feds.
“Repairs do not pay for themselves,” said Torres, who grew up in public housing.
“There is no NYCHA fairy coming the rescue.”

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie Gives Assembly "Pork" Money To Fellow Democrat In The Senate

I am a taxpayer in New York City. I am disgusted with politicians who give public money labeled "pork" to other politicians.

Can't we stop this practice, and have strategies and rules to require all taxpayer money be given to worthy organizations which have proven records of good works?

The State corruption trials going on with Dean Skelos and his son Adam, Sheldon Silver, the morass of the closing by Cuomo of the Moreland Commission, etc., etc., should be enough for us to stand up and say NO.

Betsy Combier
Editor, The NYC Public Voice

Assembly of Albany help
Big-bucks aid to a Senate Dem EXCLUSIVE
ALBANY — Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has directed hundreds of thousands of dollars in Assembly pork money to help a fellow Democrat with his reelection effort, the Daily News has learned.
What makes this a rare move is that this time, the Assembly powerbroker is assisting a member of the state Senate.
Heastie worked with Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to direct between $500,000 and upward of $1 million to schools and libraries in the Nassau County district of Sen. John Brooks, who is considered the most vulnerable of the incumbent Democrats.
While speakers in the past usually steered clear of Senate races, Heastie previously told the Daily News he would work this year to help flip Senate control to the Dems.
“Assembly Democrats are proud to support public schools and libraries throughout the state, and the speaker has worked with both (Assembly GOP) leader (Brian) Kolb and Leader Stewart-Cousins to provide much-needed resources,” Assembly Democratic spokesman Michael Whyland said Sunday. “Senate Republicans have shortchanged certain districts, so we will work wherever we can to ensure these needs are met.”
Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif called the Heastie move a “Hail Mary” to save Brooks and an “unprecedented, and purely partisan, political maneuver.”
“If the New York City Democrats are successful in influencing this suburban
Senate race, they own John Brooks. So much for Long Is-more land,” Reif said.
With the Senate GOP providing no local project money to the Dems, Brooks was unapologetic in seeking help from the Assembly and his own leader.
“I went to the state Senate to get results for my constituents,” he said. The first-term senator said the $500,000 of additional state education funds “will help school districts impacted by the disastrous federal tax plan and will ensure Long Island students receive a high-quality education. I am very proud of my efforts to secure this aid.”
Brooks, 68, faces an aggressive challenge by Republican Jeff Pravato, the mayor of Massapequa Park, in the GOP-heavy South Shore district.
One of the few previous times an Assembly leader overtly got involved in Senate races was in 1999, when then-Speaker Sheldon Silver sought to help the Dems win a highly contested seat in Rockland County by agreeing to move a bill to do away with a commuter tax that largely affected suburban communities in the MTA region.
The effort backfired: The Democrats lost the Senate seat and the MTA was starved of a major revenue source going forward.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

NYC Police Commissioner James O’Neill Appoints Members To an Internal Police Review Panel

We are all awaiting some evidence that the coverup of police misconduct will be exposed. Some posts by advocacy organizations don't give us alot of hope , though :

NYCLU Releases Documents That Reveal Very Few Rules Police The PoliceLet's hope..

Betsy Combier

Police Commissioner James O'Neill convened a three-member independent panel in June to examine the NYPD's disciplinary policies. History has shown those policies to be stubbornly resistant to change. (Susan Watts / New York Daily News)

Blue Ribbon panel begins review of NYPD disciplinary system that has proved resistant to change

Members of the Knapp Commission (from left) John Sprizzo, Chairman Whitman Knapp, Joseph Monserrat and Franklin Thomas resume hearing on police corruption on October 20, 1971 following a bomb scare. (Gordon Rynders/New York Daily News)
Detectives' Union President Mike Palladino
As the blue-ribbon panel created by the city’s top cop to review how the NYPD punishes police for misconduct begins its work, history has shown that the disciplinary system is stubbornly resistant to change.

Way back in 1972, for example, the Knapp Commission — formed to probe a police bribery scandal — urged the NYPD to increase penalties for misconduct. The recommendation was not heeded.

In 1992, the Mollen Commission — created to investigate a scandal involving cops robbing drug dealers — made a similar proposal. That, too, was ignored.

Some years later, the City Commission to Combat Police Corruption proposed the same thing. That also went nowhere.

Civil rights advocates have long complained that the system needs to be more stringent and transparent, while cops also castigate the system, arguing it lacks fairness and is vulnerable to favoritism.

Meanwhile, the city continues to spend many millions each year to settle lawsuits filed against the NYPD. In 2017, the city paid out $308.4 million in claims against police officers — nearly triple the $104.9 million paid out in 2008. The settlement total has increased each year for the past decade.

In 2016, the NYPD, backed by the de Blasio administration, made the system even more opaque by cutting off public access to the outcomes of disciplinary cases, citing a state law that NYPD lawyers maintain makes police personnel records confidential.

That move spurred a series of lawsuits and generated a ton of negative press for the NYPD and City Hall.

In May, for example, the News profiled retired NYPD Capt. Warner Frey, who said as head of a unit that investigated detectives for misconduct, he witnessed top-ranking NYPD officials meddling in internal investigations.

The distinguished panel — comprised of former U.S. Attorneys Mary Jo White and Robert Capers and former federal Judge Barbara Jones — is tasked with navigating this difficult landscape.

Police Commissioner James O’Neill, who appointed the members in the wake of a Daily News series on flaws in the system, gave them a broad mandate to do a comprehensive examination of the system, his aides say.

And there’s no shortage of opinions on what should be done.

“The panel’s top three priorities have to be transparency, transparency, and transparency,” said Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

“To have an effective police disciplinary system, the public has to know how it works and when it fails. The mess the NYPD finds itself in now is almost entirely the result of its plunge into secrecy.”

The lack of transparency was on display Wednesday, when ex-tennis star James Blake, who was tackled by Police Officer James Frascatore, complained the NYPD hadn’t even notified him about the cop’s second trial, Tuesday, on departmental charges.

“This measure is a no-brainer,” said civil rights lawyer Joel Berger, noting that cops, in most cases, lose a few vacation days — even in cases involving serious violations.

“At the very minimum, having such a law on the books would have a deterrent effect on police misconduct,” added Berger, who called the decades-long failure to enact tougher penalties for police misconduct “scandalous.”

Moreover, the Civilian Complaint Review Board rarely substantiates complaints against cops. Consequently, he contends, people sue the city because they feel it’s their only option.

Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform said the NYPD should have clear guidelines on the penalties for violations. “There is no other profession where there is not some set of guidelines,” she said. “There’s so much discretion in a way that ends up condoning abusive behavior with no meaningful consequences.”

She also wondered why there’s apparently no way for the public to interact with the panel. “It would be a real failure if they don’t consult with people who have been failed by the system,” she said.

Police spokesman Phillip Walzak said the panel is indeed accepting public input from members of the general public and will publicly release its findings and recommendations at the conclusion of its review.

“The NYPD does not determine the scope or focus of the panel’s work.” Walzak added. “Rather, the members of the independent panel make those determinations.”

Meanwhile, the police unions have their own strong views on the path to reform.

Detectives union president Michael Palladino says the rules and structure of the disciplinary system should be subject to negotiation between the NYPD and the five police unions.

“When one side has complete control over a process, it is subject to manipulation and abuse — which is why there are inconsistencies,” Palladino said. “That is simply human nature.”

Edward Mullins, the head of the sergeants union, said the fact that the police commissioner makes the final decision on discipline should be re-examined.

“I have mixed feelings about a system where there’s a sole person with final say,” he said. “We have no say in discipline. When something is unjust, we have to go to the media. It’s bizarre.”

Mullins noted that while the rank-and-file accused of misconduct face months, even years, on desk duty before being penalized, chiefs in the same situation often get to retire with their pensions intact without facing charges.

Captains union president Roy Richter said the disciplinary process should move much faster. In one case, he noted, a captain waited five years for his case to be resolved.

“The length of these cases is a penalty in and of itself because a person’s career is placed on hold,” he said.

Richter also pointed to the makeup of the CCRB, noting that the 10 board members appointed by the mayor and City Council are barred from having police experience. The other three are appointed by the police commissioner.

“That gives an inherent feeling of unfairness,” he said. “I would like the panel to look at that.”

The panel members all declined to comment.

Members of NYC Council Urge Victims of NYCHA to Sue

Former NYCHA Chairperson Shola Olatoye
(Marcus Santos, NY Daily News)
Probably the Mayoral scandal that infuriates New Yorkers the most is de Blasio's disdain and silence on the lies and corruption of NYCHA and it's former Chairperson Shola Olatoye. There is no end in sight, nor should there be. Innocent people - including countless children - were poisoned by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's deafness to cries of help over lead in apartments and general fraud.

Shame on Bill.

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

Council speaker hopefuls rail on NYCHA for lead paint inspection crisis by Erin Durkin, NY Daily News, August 5, 2018

City Council speaker candidates bashed the embattled city housing authority over its failure to inspect residents' apartments for lead.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) encouraged families affected by the botched inspections — and NYCHA's false certification that it completed them — to file a class action lawsuit against the city.

Rodgriguez said the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development should go just as hard on NYCHA as it does on private landlords.

"We have failed," he said at a forum Tuesday night hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network. "We should not go just after Shola (Olatoye, the NYCHA chair). The rest of the people, anyone responsible for what happened, from the top to the bottom should pay for the consequences."

A Department of Investigation probe this month found that NYCHA falsely reported to the feds for years that it was handling all required inspections.

"There were documents submitted to the federal government that were lies," said Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn). "I don't want to sugarcoat this. The mayor has said that he knew about it."

The Daily News reported that de Blasio was informed last year that NYCHA was violating the lead paint rules.

"If people lie, and they lie knowingly about a health situation, they should be fired," said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens).

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens) speaks as Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) (left) looks on at a forum at the National Action Network. (Jimmy Van Bramer via Twitter)
A spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio dismissed the criticism from the field. "Politicians are going to be politicians," said Olivia Lapeyrolerie.

At the forum, hopefuls also grappled with the role race should play in picking a speaker to replace Melissa Mark-Viverito, the body's first Hispanic leader.

There has never been a black speaker, and Sharpton said he won't necessarily back one this time — but it must be someone who grasps racial inequality.

"That does not mean that ultimately the person will be black. I supported Mayor de Blasio over a black," Sharpton said, referring to his support for de Blasio over Bill Thompson in the 2013 election.

"Some are saying because we've never had a black City Council president, that that's what we're looking for. No, we're looking for the best candidate for the black community," he said, but added, "It is horrific we've never had a black (speaker), because it gives the connotation we're not qualified."

Some candidates were less shy in arguing that the Council should be sure to pick a non-white speaker.

"I am not ashamed," said Councilman Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn). "It is a reasonable request that the speaker of the City Council of New York be representative of the demographics not only of the City Council body, but of the city of New York."

With the top city and statewide posts mostly held by white men, Williams said it would be a "travesty" for the Council to join them.

"We shouldn't just put anybody up there because of the color of our skin," he said. "But there are five of us... One of us probably has the qualifications that everybody's looking for."