Saturday, January 30, 2021

I call on 11th City Council Candidate Eric Dinowitz to Request the Resignation of District Leader Marcos Sierra or Denounce his Endorsement by the Bronx Democratic Party and State Senator Jamaal Bailey

If Brooklyn District Leader Lori Maslow can be requested to resign over comments made about China and Chinese food 

Why is it that Bronx District Leader Marcos Sierra who Bronx Democratic Party Secretary Assembly Jeffrey Dinowitz said, mad a racially charged statement against a white member of the media not be requested to resign by the Bronx Democratic Party and its leader State Senator Jamaal Bailey.

 The statement by 80th A.D. District Leader Marcos Sierra was "So you feel either of those contests can better benefit from an older white cis male running to represent a majority minority district huh?Robert Press".

I now call on Eric Dinowitz the District Leader from the 81st A.D., and candidate for the 11th City Council Special Election who is endorsed by the Bronx Democratic Party and State Senator Jamaal Bailey to demand that 80th A.D. District Leader Marcos Sierra resign or be removed from his district leader position by the Bronx Democratic Party and its leader State Senator Jamaal Bailey for the statement he said to a white member of the media, that your father Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz the Secretary to the Bronx Democratic Party called racially charged. 

I also call for 11th City Council candidate Eric Dinowitz to renounce the endorsement of the Bronx Democratic Party and of State Senator Jamaal Bailey unless 80th A.D. District Leader either resign or be removed from his position immediately. 

I also call on 80th A.D. Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez to call for her Male District Leader Marcos Sierra to resign or be removed by the Bronx Democratic Party Leader State Senator Jamaal Bailey for the racially charged statement he made to a white member of the media.

All other district leaders and elected officials should also call for 80th A.D. Male District Leader Marcos Sierra to resign or be removed by the the Bronx Democratic Party Leader State Senator Jamaal Bailey for the racially charged statement he made to a white member of the media.

Bronx Democratic Party Leader State Senator Jamaal Bailey with District Leader Marcs Sierra at an event.

Governor Cuomo Announces Mass Vaccination Site at Yankee Stadium is in Development


With Bronx Positivity Rate Currently at a Concerning 7.6 Percent, Site Will Be Reserved for Bronx Residents

Development of Site Being Made Possible Through Partnership with New York City, SOMOS Community Care and the New York National Guard

Yankee Stadium Site to Bolster State's Commitment to Ensuring Fairness and Equity in Vaccine Distribution Process

Ten Additional Community Vaccination Kits Deployed to NYCHA Senior Housing Developments, Public Housing Sites in Rochester and Hempstead and Churches and Community Centers in the Bronx and Brooklyn to Vaccinate Over 3,800 People This Weekend

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium is under development through a partnership between New York State, New York City, SOMOS Community Care, the New York National Guard and the New York Yankees. With the Bronx positivity rate currently at a concerning 7.6 percent, this site will be reserved specifically for Bronx residents. Information concerning the opening of the facility and scheduling process will be released in the coming days.

Additionally, the Governor announced the deployment of ten more community vaccination kits to underserved communities. Specifically, kits are being deployed to four NYCHA Senior Housing Developments, 2 public housing sites in Rochester and Hempstead, and three church and community center locations in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The establishment of the Yankee Stadium site, as well as the deployment of these ten community vaccination kits, bolster New York State's efforts to equitably distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in communities that are underserved by traditional healthcare institutions. 

Following this weekend's deployments and as the federal vaccine supply increases, New York will continue to deploy these kits until pop-up sites have been established at all 33 NYCHA Senior Housing Developments which house more than 7,600 seniors. Pop-up locations will also continue to be established at other public housing complexes statewide, as well as at more than 300 churches and cultural centers which have volunteered to house these sites through Governor Cuomo's Vaccine Equity Task Force.

"Bronx COVID positivity remains high and to help get it back under control, we will are partnering with New York City, SOMOS, the New York National Guard and the New York Yankees to establish a mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium," Governor Cuomo said. "The undeniable fact is that COVID has killed Black and Brown communities at a higher rate than the white community, and the Bronx was not immune. Vaccine equity and protecting the communities that were hit the hardest by COVID remain our top priorities. By opening a mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium we are sending a clear signal to Bronx residents: it's safe, it's effective, and it's the weapon that will win the war, but we will only be successful if everyone is on board."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "This is exactly what it will take to defeat COVID and drive a recovery for all of us in New York City. I want to thank the Yankees for stepping up to the plate and the teamwork on display here to continue expanding our vaccination infrastructure in neighborhoods across the city. Our Vaccine For All campaign puts equity front and center, and this new site to exclusively serve the Bronx will be a real home run."

The New York Yankees said, "The New York Yankees are honored to participate in this partnership with Governor Andrew Cuomo, the State of New York, Mayor Bill De Blasio, the City of New York and SOMOS Community Care to open Yankee Stadium to provide vaccines to the people of the Bronx. The Yankees are committed to doing everything in their power to provide this vitally needed service to fight COVID-19."

SOMOS Community Care Chairman Dr. Ramon Tallaj said, "Not just for the Bronx, but for all of New York, Yankee Stadium stands for community, for home. It is a place where we watch heroes being made. And now, as we prepare to vaccinate our heroes, those living in the borough with the highest COVID positivity rate, it also stands for hope. It is an incredible honor to work with the city & state to vaccinate residents of the Bronx at this local landmark. Through our years of work treating underserved New Yorkers by emphasizing preventive care, and providing testing and vaccinations during this ongoing pandemic, my network has demonstrated the critical need for culturally competent, community-based health -- the importance of receiving critical care from doctors you know and trust, doctors who speak your language, share your stories, and understand your culture. Yankee Stadium offers the same comfort and familiarity as receiving care from a doctor who has treated local families for generations. And with a roll-out hindered by mistrust in hospitals, pharmacies, and the vaccines themselves, we are grateful that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio recognize the vital need for community doctors like us to design an equitable vaccine program that takes the vaccine into the neighborhood, protecting the low-income, immigrant communities of color who have borne the brunt of COVID-19."

Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York said, "The men and women of the New York National Guard having been helping our fellow New Yorkers battle the COVID pandemic since March 2020. We are extremely proud to assist with the State's massive vaccination goals. We currently have more than 2,500 New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen on duty across the State working to stem the pandemic and help get our communities back to normal."

The establishment of these vaccination sites utilizing New York's community vaccination kits was made possible through partnerships with SOMOS, Northwell Health, SUNY Stony Brook and Trillium Health. The ten sites are located at the addresses below:


Carey Gardens
2315 Surf Avenue

Brooklyn, NY
Open Saturday, January 30 and Sunday, January 31 - 9AM-5PM

Kingsborough Extension
447 Kingsborough 4th Walk
Brooklyn, NY
Opens Sunday, January 31 - 9AM - 5PM

Cornerstone Baptist Church
574 Madison Street
Brooklyn, NY
Opens Monday, February 1 - 9 AM-5PM

Gods Battalion of Prayer
661 Linden Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY
Opens Monday, February 1 - 9 AM-5PM


Latino Pastoral Action Center
14 West 170th Street Bronx, NY
Open Friday, January 29; Saturday January 30 and Monday February 1 - 9AM-5PM

Edenwald Houses
1150 East 229th Street Bronx, NY
Open Saturday, January 29 and Sunday, January 31 - 9AM-5PM

Bronx River Addition
1350 Manor Avenue Bronx, NY
Open Saturday, January 29 through Monday, February 1 - 9AM-5PM

Bartow Community Center
2049 Bartow Avenue Bronx, NY
Open Saturday, January 29 through Monday, February 1 - 9AM-5PM

Kennedy Memorial Park Senior Housing
335 Greenwich Street
Hempstead, NY
Opens Saturday, January 30 - 10AM-2PM

Seneca Towers Housing Complex
200 Seth Green Drive
Rochester, NY
Open Saturday, January 30 - 10AM-5PM

This expanded deployment of Community Vaccination Kits furthers Governor Cuomo's goal of ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. In late 2020, the Governor announced the launch of New York's Vaccine Equity Task Force chaired by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, Attorney General Letitia James, National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President & CEO Pat Wang. Since its establishment, the Task Force has continued work to ensure vulnerable and underserved communities are not left behind by breaking down the barriers to vaccination and ensuring there is equitable distribution of the vaccine across the state. 

To facilitate this effort, New York has continued to build kits and work with public housing officials, churches, and community centers to support these efforts and deploy kits to the appropriate locations. Each kit includes step-by-step instructions for how to set up a site, and critical supplies and equipment such as: 

  • Office Supplies
  • Workstation Equipment
  • Communications Equipment
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Lighting Equipment
  • PPE
  • Crowd/Traffic Control Equipment
  • Vials
  • Syringes
  • Room Dividers
  • Privacy Curtains

Managing Partner Of Investment Advisory Firm Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Clients And Investors In Over $100 Million Ponzi-Like Fraud Scheme


 Audrey Strauss, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DAVID HU, a managing partner and the chief investment officer of the New York-based investment advisory firm International Investment Group (“IIG”), pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein to investment adviser fraud, securities fraud, and wire fraud offenses in connection with an over $100 million scheme to defraud IIG’s investment advisory fund clients and investors.  Throughout the course of more than 10 years, HU perpetrated the scheme by, among other fraudulent actions, creating fictitious investments and overvaluing investments used to generate funds to pay off earlier investors in a Ponzi-like manner.  In connection with his plea agreement, HU has also agreed to forfeit more than $129 million representing proceeds traceable to the commission of the offenses.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “Today, David Hu admitted to shirking his fiduciary responsibilities and defrauding IIG funds and investors for more than a decade, causing millions of dollars of losses.  Hu mismarked millions of dollars of loan assets, falsified paperwork to create fake loans, sold overvalued and fake loans and used the proceeds from those sales to pay off earlier investors, and falsified paperwork to deceive auditors and avoid scrutiny.  He now faces a serious term of imprisonment.”

According to the allegations contained in the Information and based on statements made in Manhattan federal court:           

            Background of IIG 

HU and a co-conspirator (“CC-1”) founded IIG in 1994.  HU was a managing partner and the chief investment officer of IIG.  IIG, an SEC-registered investment adviser, provided investment management and advisory services, including for three private funds that it operated: (1) the IIG Trade Opportunities Fund N.V. (“TOF”); (2) the IIG Global Trade Finance Fund, Ltd. (“GTFF”); and (3) the IIG Structured Trade Finance Fund, Ltd. (“STFF”).  IIG also advised the Venezuela Recovery Fund (“VRF”), a fund that managed the remaining assets of a failed Venezuelan bank (VRF, together with TOF, GTFF, and STFF, the “IIG Funds”).  In March 2018, IIG reported to the SEC that it had approximately $373 million in assets under management.

IIG advertised itself as specializing in global trade financing, particularly in providing trade finance loans to small and medium-sized businesses.  IIG’s principal investment advisory strategy, including with respect to the IIG Funds, was investing in trade finance loans that it also originated.  Trade finance loans are used by small and medium-sized companies, typically exporters and importers, to facilitate international trade.  IIG’s purported expertise was in trade finance loans to borrowers located in Central or South America, and in a variety of industries, with a stated focus on “soft commodities,” such as coffee, agriculture, fishing, and other food products.  IIG’s trade finance loans were purportedly secured by collateral, such as the underlying traded goods, assets held by the borrowers, or expected payments by third parties.

Investments in TOF, STFF, and GTFF were marketed by IIG to institutional investors, such as pension funds, hedge funds, and insurers.  In offering memoranda and communications with investors, IIG advertised strict risk controls, such as promises to use diligence to carefully select borrowers or issuers with trusted management and marketable assets, and portfolio concentration limits based on borrower, developing country, and industry.

IIG purported to value the trade finance loans in the IIG Funds on a regular basis.  IIG and, in turn, HU, received a performance fee with respect to the IIG Funds, as well as a management fee, which was calculated as a percentage of the assets under management held in the Funds.

The Scheme

From approximately 2007 to 2019, HU conspired to defraud investors in IIG-managed funds by: (i) overvaluing distressed loans held by the IIG Funds, (ii) falsifying paperwork to create a series of fake loans that were classified, fraudulently, as positively performing loans, and to otherwise hide losses, (iii) selling overvalued and fake loans to a collateralized loan obligation trust and new private funds established and advised by IIG, and (iv) using the proceeds from those fraudulent sales to generate liquidity required to pay off earlier investors in a Ponzi-like manner.

The scheme HU participated in involved, among other things:

  • Mismarking Defaulted Loans.  HU and CC-1 caused IIG to mismark the value of multiple loans that had, in reality, defaulted (the “Defaulted Loans”).  Instead of acknowledging the defaulted status of these loans, HU and CC-1 instead caused IIG to mark the Defaulted Loans at par plus accrued interest, even though HU and CC-1 knew that the borrowers’ default significantly impaired the true value of these loans.  HU and CC-1 certified these false valuations and caused them to be reported to investors.
  • Mismarking Distressed Loans.  HU and CC-1 caused IIG to mismark multiple loans that were distressed (the “Distressed Loans”).  These Distressed Loans included, for example, loans for which the borrowers had missed multiple scheduled payments.  Even though HU and CC-1 knew that the non-performing status of the loans significantly impaired their true value, they nevertheless caused IIG to continue to mark the loans at par plus accrued interest.
  • Creating Fictitious Loans.  With respect to TOF, in order to hide the losses resulting from the Defaulted Loans, including from auditors reviewing TOF’s financials, HU and CC-1 removed the Defaulted Loans from the TOF portfolio, replacing them with tens of millions of dollars in fictitious loans to purported borrowers in foreign countries (the “Fake Loans”).  HU and CC-1 also created or directed the creation of documents to keep in IIG’s files as purported documentation of the Fake Loans.  To pass auditor scrutiny, HU and CC-1 also directed purported borrowers – sham  foreign entities that were controlled by IIG’s business associates and that did not engage in actual business – to provide confirmations of the Fake Loans to auditors, including by arranging for TOF to pay a monthly fee to one purported borrower in exchange for providing false confirmations.  In reality, these purported borrowers did not receive a loan from TOF, and were not expected to make any payments to TOF.
  • Using a CLO Trust to Create Liquidity through Investments in Fraudulent Loans.  In or about 2014, HU and CC-1 obtained approximately $220 million in bank financing to create a collateralized loan obligation trust (the “CLO Trust”), for which IIG served as an investment adviser.  HU and CC-1 then engaged in various deceptive acts, using the CLO Trust, to hide TOF’s losses and generate liquidity for TOF, which was facing investor redemption requests and demands for repayment of loans that IIG had taken from international development banks.  For example, in its capacity as investment adviser for the CLO Trust, IIG, through the efforts of HU and CC-1, caused the newly-created CLO Trust to purchase loans from the TOF portfolio, including Defaulted Loans, Distressed Loans, and Fake Loans, which generated liquidity for TOF.  After the CLO Trust purchased loans in the TOF portfolio, IIG, through the efforts of HU and CC-1, generated additional liquidity by causing the CLO Trust to issue securitized debt instruments based on these loans, payable in various tranches to investors in the CLO Trust.
  • Using the CLO Trust and Panamanian Shell Entities to Cover Up Losses.  IIG, through the efforts of HU and CC-1, also caused the CLO Trust to create new fraudulent trade finance loans, and used those new fraudulent loans to cover up TOF’s losses.  Specifically, HU caused the creation of shell entities domiciled in Panama (“Panamanian Shell Entities”) that were controlled by an IIG nominee.  Then, HU caused the CLO Trust to enter into fake loan transactions with the Panamanian Shell Entities.  HU caused the creation of fake promissory notes and other paperwork to conceal the fraudulent nature of the loans to the Panamanian Shell Entities.  Finally, under the guise of the fake loan transactions with the Panamanian Shell Entities, the CLO Trust disbursed funds that HU and CC-1 diverted to TOF in order to pay off TOF’s various debts and obligations.
  • Generating Liquidity by Selling Fraudulent Loans to a Newly-Created Funds Backed by a New Investor.  In or about 2017, HU and CC-1 targeted a foreign institutional investor (“Institutional Investor-1”) to raise money for two new private IIG managed funds: GTFF and STFF. Institutional Investor-1 provided $70 million as the seed investment for GTFF, and, later, $130 million as the seed investment for STFF.  HU and CC-1 caused GTFF and STFF to purchase at least approximately $100 million in fake, distressed, defaulted or otherwise fraudulent loans.  
  • Inducing a Retail Mutual Fund to Invest in a Fictitious $6 Million Loan.  In or about December 2012, IIG became an investment adviser to an open-ended mutual fund marketed to retail investors (the “Retail Fund”). As an investment adviser to the Retail Fund, IIG made investment recommendations, including recommendations that the Retail Fund invest in trade finance loans originated by IIG.  In or about February 2017, a borrower (the “Argentine Borrower”) had failed to pay the principal on an approximately $6 million loan (“Loan-1”) in which the Retail Fund had invested and which was nearing its maturity date.  In or about March 2017, HU caused approximately $6 million to be transferred into an account associated with the Argentine Borrower from the account of a different borrower (“Borrower-1”), and further directed the funds from Borrower-1’s account to pay off the debt owed by the Argentine Borrower to the Retail Fund.  To replace the funds from Borrower-1’s account that were used to make it appear as though the Argentine Borrower had repaid its debt to the Retail Fund, HU fraudulently induced the Retail Fund to invest in a new, fake $6 million loan to the Argentine Borrower (the “New Loan”).  HU then directed that the proceeds from the fraudulently induced New Loan be transferred into Borrower-1’s account, effectively reimbursing the account for the earlier $6 million transfer to the Retail Fund.  To further conceal the fraudulent nature of the New Loan, HU caused the creation of forged documents to make it appear as though the New Loan was a legitimate loan to the Argentine Borrower. 

DAVID HU, 63, of West Orange, New Jersey, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit investment adviser fraud, securities fraud, and wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of securities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  Sentencing before Judge Hellerstein has been scheduled for June 17, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the investigative work of the FBI and also thanked the SEC for its assistance. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Drew Skinner, Negar Tekeei, and Alex Rossmiller are in charge of the prosecution.

Attorney General James Reviewing Robinhood App Activity


New York Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement in regards to recent activity related to the Robinhood application and the trading of GameStop stock:

“We are aware of concerns raised regarding activity on the Robinhood app, including trading related to the GameStop stock. We are reviewing this matter.

Statement from New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on Changes to the Civilian Complaint Review Board


 “Granting the CCRB unfettered access to body camera footage and disciplinary records is a welcome and long overdue change.

“However, this is a half-measure. As long as the Police Commissioner maintains final say on discipline, so-called civilian oversight will remain toothless. The Police Commissioner has overturned CCRB disciplinary recommendations in more than 70% of serious infractions in the last two decades, and only one CCRB investigation has resulted in the termination of an officer between January 2014 and May 2020.

“As I have called for, the City must end the Police Commissioner’s authority to treat CCRB investigations and recommendations as advisory — and instead grant the CCRB power to make final disciplinary decisions.

“The NYPD Office of Trials should be removed from Police Department jurisdiction and its judges should no longer be appointed by the Commissioner. The powers of the CCRB’s Administrative Prosecution Unit should be codified into law, the findings of all investigations should be fully transparent to the public, and the NYPD’s new disciplinary matrix must be amended so that the “presumptive penalty” for serious offenses is termination.

“We need to shake up, commit resources to, and actually empower the CCRB if we want real accountability.”

336 Days and Counting


This photo is from November of 2019. 

336 more days until a new mayor.

Links to Better Understand Rank Choice Voting


The Board of Elections on RCV:

Voting information site:

Rank the vote info page:

NYC Votes RCV Frequently Asked Questions:

Link to the NYC votes train-the-trainer registration:

Mayor de Blasio Daily Briefing and Covid-19 Indicators


Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, good morning, everyone. Good morning, and I'm really happy to tell you about the vision that I laid out last night in the State of the City. A vision for how we recover, but this is the most important thing I'm going to say today. It has to be a recovery for all of us. That is the central idea of this vision to bring back New York City strong and to make sure it truly works for everybody. Look, over course of 2020, there was only one word that I think of when I think about how the people of this city handled the coronavirus: the word is heroic. This was a hero city. This was a city of people who did everything they were asked to do to fight back, and this heroic city is going to do great things in 2021, turn the tide and recover and go farther than ever before, and we're going to do things differently. We're going to do things for everyone. So please, if you didn't get a chance to see the State of the City, go to, and you'll see the State of the City video itself, but also the detailed policy document that goes with it to give you a sense of the specific plans we're going to undertake this year, energetically, forcefully, to bring the city back in 2021. Again,   


Now, let me go over just high points, real quick, the most important thing: getting this city vaccinated. That is the gateway to everything else, and so we set a goal. The only way you get anything done in life is to set a goal, and if you set a soft goal, an easy goal, you're not really fighting very hard. We're going for an aggressive goal – five million workers vaccinated by June. I am absolutely certain we can do it, so long as we have the vaccine, and I am more and more confident because actions of the Biden administration, because the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is coming, more and more confident that we will have what we need. I'm going to push hard on the federal government to get every pharmaceutical company in America into this work, because they're not right now, and the federal government needs to ensure that they are required to produce vaccine, whether they're the originator of the vaccine or not. So long as we have the supply, we can reach five million New Yorkers in June, get to a point of community immunity. Look, this is crucial that we now know we can do half a million vaccinations in a week. Supply is there. We're going to do something amazing.   


We're going to bring back our city workforce in May and after, because obviously so many are on the job right now. But the folks who work in our offices and do so much important work, we want them back. We want to send a signal to this whole city we're moving forward. Want to see the private sector bring workforces back. We are going to have an entirely different situation as we proceed into the spring. By end of the spring, I think you're going to see something very different and we're going to have a great group of folks out there, our Vaccine For All Corps leading the way,  


Now, a lot of different pieces matter, and one of the most crucial ones that matters to us for today, for our parents, for our families, for our future tomorrow are schools. One of the things that says most clearly we are back is our schools, and so in September, our schools come back fully. We focus on helping kids overcome that COVID achievement gap. Our 2021 student achievement plan focuses on the academic side, but also the emotional side, the mental health needs of our kids after everything they've been through, and we make transformative efforts starting this year, deepening efforts to diversify our schools, to build new leadership in our school system. This is going to be truly an extraordinary year for the New York City public schools. Look, our schools have proven already. They came back when so many other places couldn't and the safest places in New York City. That's all you need to know about the extraordinary ability of our New York City educators and our New York City school staff, and our parents and our kids. Everyone wants to be back and we're going to be back full strength in September.   


The crucial issue of issue, an issue that’s been so deeply felt in the last year, changing the relationship between police and community, bringing us forward, more reform, changing the culture of policing. It's all there and can be done because we knew what neighborhood policing. You could change the paradigm and we have, but there's more to do. So we lay out a vision in this recovery for all of us plan that we are going to do, first of all, a battle against gun violence by bringing everyone to the same table, NYPD, district attorneys, folks who do the work on the ground in communities through the Cure Violence Movement and Crisis Management System. We're going to focus on those very, very small number of individuals who commit the violent acts in this city. It's literally a few thousand people out of a city of over 8.5 million. We know how to pinpoint those individuals and go and make sure they are not committing violence, and we need the whole community to be part of that. And in light of that, we need the whole community more involved with the police. This is what neighborhood policing is all about. We're going to supercharge it now, bringing the community into the process for deciding their precinct commanders, a deeper effort to support Cure Violence, doubling the workforce of Cure Violence, an approach that we know has helped to stop violence and that engages community members to solve community problems. And what I'm calling the David Dinkins plan, a plan to deepen trust and accountability by strengthening the CCRB, which is one of the, to me, great examples of the things that actually build trust. When people see accountability, they see transparency, they have more trust. A much stronger CCRB is what we'll achieve, and we'll do it in honor of someone we lost in the last year, and we miss Mayor David Dinkins.   


Now, bringing the city forward, it means we've got to feel the changes and the improvements as we come back, as we achieve our recovery. So we're borrowing from the greatest example of recovery in American history, the New Deal. We're taking extraordinary ideas from the New Deal and bringing them right here right now. One example, such a wonderful one in the New Deal was the Civilian Conservation Corps, the CCC. I remember in my family, people would talk about it, the way it changed people's lives, saved people, gave them jobs, gave them hope. We're going to do the City Cleanup Corps, 10,000 New Yorkers who are going to be out there cleaning away graffiti, helping to make sure there's beautification in communities, like community murals, working with community organizations to clean up the neighborhoods, helping us in 2021 to come back strong.   


We're also going to focus on – talk about the New Deal – what was the whole concept? The concept was fairness. The concept was a focus on working people, and ensuring that we had a progressive approach to government, including progressive taxation. So we're going to fight in Albany to tax the wealthy, make them pay their fair share, use those resources as part of our recovery. What do you want to do with that kind of resource? I'll tell you something. What's one of the number one things we can do. Let's go right to the grassroots, to small business. Let's help our small businesses recover. So in this plan, direct recovery effort for small business, tax credits for small businesses to put money back in their pockets and a much bigger vision of that, that we could achieve with stimulus funding. I want to see small businesses incentivized to retain employees and to hire more New Yorkers. That's what we'll do, particularly if we can get that ample stimulus we deserve, we're going to focus a lot of those resources on small business.  We have to, in every way, do the things that will supercharge the economy of the city, 5G development in this city, closing the digital divide, and things that affect our community in the way that we live and that we feel the things we believe in, and what is a more clear New York City value than compassion, and decency, and a sense of community. To achieve that, we double down now on our journey home plan to end street homelessness once and for all.   


The biggest piece of this vision of where we go in our future, how we recover economically, is the vision of becoming the public health capital of the world. We are perfectly poised to be that, and I literally mean perfectly. The finest universities, the finest hospitals, the finest researchers, entrepreneurs. We have all the component parts to supercharge our economy with a focus on public health, and we're going to take what we have achieved in this year, under very difficult conditions. What our Test and Trace Corps has achieved as just one example, turn it into a permanent Public Health Corps to do public health promotion at the community level. We're also going to build out the life sciences industry, which is crucial to our future. Tens of thousands of jobs, a place where we can shine like few places in the world, and I'll tell you something: a city people want to live in, a city people want to come to, is a city that's dynamic and energetic. We got that. That has talent and creativity and entrepreneurship. We got that. It's a city that also has to be fair and just. People all over the world want to live in a place that they can feel is someplace they belong, is someplace that listens, is someplace that cares, is someplace that is fair. That's what we're going to achieve, and some of the things we're going to do have never been done before in New York City. We're going to make permanent our task force on racial inclusion and equity. This is literally empowering people of color leaders in the city government to be a group of folks who achieve, in a sense, a conscience for the city government who are looking all the time at whether the city government is acting in the spirit of equity who identify the policies we need to implement right now, who make sure that it's actually happening.   


Government leaders making government respond to their communities. This is an unprecedented approach. It's been working. We're going to make it permanent. And we're going to have a charter revision commission that not only looks at the City government and our laws, but looks beyond. It will also serve as a commission on racial justice and reconciliation. An international model, we're modifying for use in New York City. Because we know there's structural racism. We know there's institutional racism. But we haven't had a full accounting of it. We haven't had a plan to undo it and overcome it. This charter revision commission, I'm giving them a two-year mandate. They're going to get started in my term and I think with the work they're doing, they will certainly get support to continue into 2022. Because there'll be going at the most essential questions of our day and determining solutions with the people. And that's truly exciting. So much that we're going to be doing to change this city, to make it better here and now.  


And we're going to work on the biggest issue of our time, the existential issue, the issue of climate change. We are going to make sure that in everything we do, we support solutions to the climate crisis. This is the biggest city in America, when we act people pay attention and it sets the tone and it changes the reality. So we're going to be focusing in so many ways on renewable energy and getting away from fossil fuels. But we're also going to change the way we live in this city. We're opening up some of our iconic bridges to make sure that they become places for bicyclists and for pedestrians in ways they've never been before. And they're safe and they're inviting. We're going to create bike boulevards to make it safer for bicyclists and make bicyclists -- make this a city that truly becomes more bike-friendly all the time. We're going to make Open Streets permanent. It's been a great program. It's energized communities. We're going to make it permanent. But then we go farther because we have to go to the root cause of the climate crisis. That's fossil fuels. That's the fossil fuel companies. So, by 2030, my plan is to end fossil fuel connections in the city. Literally make it impossible for people to create new fossil fuel connections and therefore create a dynamic where people have to turn to renewable energy. This is the kind of thing that actually gets us to the future we need. And we can do it in New York City. If we do it here, it's going to catch on in so many other places. This is the kind of leadership nationally and globally we have to provide. That's who we are in New York City.  


We're going to go farther. We're going to connect to clean energy from Canada. Our whole City government will be based on renewable electricity. We're going to use our pension funds. Ultimately, we're going to be able to invest $50 billion over the course of the next 15 years to help build renewable energy and speed its development. Our money, we need to put it into saving the lives of our children and grandchildren and building our future. That's what we'll do.  So, so many things, so many big ambitious plans, they're going to make a difference for us in 2021 in our recovery. And that's going to ensure its recovery for all of us. And also build a foundation for a much greater future ahead in New York City.  


So those are the big strands of the State of the City. And we'll be talking about it for weeks and months to come, a lot of the specifics. So a lot more will be unveiled and a lot of action ahead. I'm very excited and very hopeful what it means for the city. Obviously, I'm going to talk about our indicators in a moment as I do every day. Number one issue of course, every day is fighting the coronavirus. But before I talk about our indicators, we have a really nice thing here in our city today. And it's kind of important to just take a moment and enjoy it and appreciate it. So, a little history being made. We have a special visitor in New York City. For the first time in 130 years in Central Park, a snowy owl has appeared. And this is pretty amazing. And a sign, maybe it's a good omen. Maybe it's something special. So, I just wanted to celebrate this beautiful moment, but also thank our colleagues at the Parks Department because they're doing what they do so well. They're making sure that everyone is safe. They're making sure everything is handled the right way. They're protecting this beautiful snowy owl and making sure our visitor is taken well care of. So a nice moment for New York City.  


All right, let's go to update. First of all, vaccine update. Like to tell you regularly, we all know we need, we all know what the central promise with vaccine – supply, supply, supply. We need a lot more. We need a lot more flexibility to use the supply well. But I still think it's important to see the progress that's being made. It is still the month of January. And here's our number from day one of our vaccination effort – 742,025 doses have been given in New York City, 742,000. That is more than the population of Washington, D. C. to give you perspective on just how vast this effort already is, but it's going to be so much more when we get the supply we need. 


Okay to our indicators. Number one, daily number of people admitted to New York City hospitals for COVID-19, today's report, 286 patients. The positivity level, almost 70 percent, and the hospitalization rate, 5.19 per 100,000. Number two, number, I'm sorry – number two is the new reported cases on a seven-day average – bless you – today's report is 4,639 cases. And number three, percentage of people testing positive citywide for COVID-19, today's report on a seven-day rolling average, 8.63 percent. To say the least, we've got to keep doing better. We've got to keep our guard up. We’re worried about the variants out there. We got a lot more work to do, but it's all about vaccine. It's all about supply, supply, supply.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Governor Cuomo Announces New York City Indoor Dining Can Reopen at 25 Percent Capacity on Valentine's Day and Gives COVID-19 Update - JANUARY 29, 2021


Change Takes Effect Assuming COVID-19 Positivity Rate Continues on Its Current Trajectory; Guidance Available Here

Receptions Can Take Place Under Strict State Guidance Starting March 15

8,357 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

1,543 Patients in the ICU; 1,012 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 4.65%

151 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that assuming New York State's COVID-19 infection rate stays on its current trajectory, indoor dining in New York City can reopen at 25 percent capacity on Valentine's Day. The reopening will be subject to strict state guidance, which can be found here.

The Governor also announced that marriage receptions will be able to resume in accordance with state guidance on March 15. Events must be approved by the local health department. There will be a 50 percent capacity limit and no more than 150 people can attend the event. All patrons must be tested prior to the event. 

"As data on infection rates and hospitalizations continue to improve, we must begin taking steps to jumpstart our economic recovery as long as public health can be protected," Governor Cuomo said. "The restaurant industry is the lifeblood of New York City and the economic hardship they have endured at the hands of COVID is nothing short of tragic. Thankfully, if our current trajectory holds, we will be able to reopen New York City dining at 25 percent capacity on Valentine's Day. This doesn't only give us more time to stamp out the virus even further, but also gives restaurants ample notice to begin preparing for a reopening. This is a great development, but we cannot become complacent now - we must all continue to do our part to keep beating back COVID so we can continue re-opening our economy and get back to normal."

Today's data is summarized briefly below: 

  • Test Results Reported - 270,518
  • Total Positive - 12,579
  • Percent Positive - 4.65%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 8,357 (-163)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 997 
  • Hospital Counties - 56
  • Number ICU - 1,543 (-41)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 1,012 (-12)
  • Total Discharges - 125,909 (+933)
  • Deaths - 151
  • Total Deaths - 34,893

Governor Cuomo Reminds New Yorkers They Are Not Responsible for Paying PPE Charges from In-Network Health Care Providers


Health and Dental Insurers Must Ensure Consumers Are Not Charged PPE Fees by In-Network Providers

New Yorkers Wrongfully Charged for PPE by In-Network Providers Are Eligible for Refund

To date, Department of Financial Services Has Secured More Than $400K in Restitution

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today reminded insured New Yorkers that they should not be charged for Personal Protective Equipment by in-network healthcare providers under their state-regulated health and dental insurance coverage. Pursuant to State Department of Financial Services guidance, insurers are required to make sure that consumers are not charged PPE-related fees by in-network providers. New Yorkers who have been wrongfully charged are eligible for refund from their insurer. To date, the Department has recovered a total of $414,727 of PPE-related charges for more than 14,000 consumers since the start of the pandemic.

"While we continue to fight the war on COVID, PPE remains a critical tool to keeping the infection rate down and keeping New Yorkers safe until we reach herd immunity," Governor Cuomo said. "COVID-19 has dealt a financial blow to far too many New Yorkers, and they should never be responsible for the cost of critical PPE in the middle of a pandemic, especially when seeing their regular health care providers. New York will continue putting in place comprehensive protections to help ensure consumers are not wrongfully charged PPE-related fees and will take aggressive action to help recover any supplemental fees incurred."

Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell said, "New Yorkers are already facing some of the worst financial hardships due to the pandemic. DFS issued the circular letter to insurers to make sure consumers are not responsible for fees that go beyond their financial obligation. As we move forward during these uncertain times, we appreciate the efforts insurers have made throughout this pandemic and encourage healthcare providers and insurers to continue to work together so patients receive the care they need without extra charges." 

The guidance, issued August 5, 2020, recommended that insurers: 

  • Immediately notify their participating providers not to charge PPE fees and that insureds should be held harmless for these charges; 
  • Instruct providers to refund PPE fees to insured persons; 
  • Notify insured persons that they should not be charged for PPE fees and provide insureds with insurers' contact information to submit related complaints; 
  • Work with their providers to resolve issues relating to increased costs due to COVID-19, including PPE fees, so insured persons are held harmless for these fees, which may require that insurers request information from providers about whether insured persons were charged improper fees; and 
  • Work with their providers to ensure that refunds are provided to insured persons; and
  • Within 90 days of the circular letter, report to DFS the amount of PPE fees charged to insureds, the number of insureds impacted, and a description of how refunds will be provided.

New Yorkers with complaints about an insurance policy can contact DFS at or through the DFS Consumer Hotline at (212) 480-6400 or (518) 474-6600 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM).

337 Day and Counting


337 more days for a new mayor.

Department of Education School Survey


This comes to us via Danielle Filson. Deputy Press Secretary at NYC Department of Education about the annual school survey. 

“We have completely transformed our public school system in the face of the pandemic, and we want to hear from our students, families and teachers about what is working, and what can be improved. The Fall 2020 School Experience Survey will give our schools and staff the real-time updates they need to make swift adjustments and longer-term changes for the spring that will improve the learning experience for everyone within the school community.” 

The Fall 2020 School Experience Survey will capture anonymous feedback from families, students and teachers on their experiences with remote and in-person learning during the 2020-21 school year to-date. The goal of the survey is to provide school leaders with timely, formative and actionable feedback to improve remote and in-person learning experiences as they plan for the spring semester. Topics in the survey include experience with remote learning, communications, technology use, and health and safety. 


To ensure schools can use this survey’s data in a timely manner, live result reports will be available as soon as a minimum number of five survey responses is reached for each survey group. Schools are expected to review the results and share them with School Leadership Teams, teachers, and families to determine ways they can improve. Schools will be able to take swift action depending on their results, and are receiving implementation guidance for how to quickly request support if there is a topic addressed in the survey that needs attention. For example, if families and students report that they are having trouble using the remote learning tools, they will work with borough instructional leads and the directors of teaching and learning to provide assistance.


All students in grades 6–12, along with parents/guardians and teachers of students in grades 3–K through 12, will be able to participate in this anonymous online survey.  We will be getting the word out via an email to all principals, a video from the Chancellor, flyers, a letter to families, Parent University, social media, direct outreach from schools and parent coordinators to members of their school communities, elected officials, 311 and NotifyNYC.


The survey launched last week and will continue until February 5. It can be accessed here. It is available in all nine DOE supported languages and is anonymous and confidential.