Saturday, September 11, 2021

Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating COVID-19 - SEPTEMBER 10, 2021

 

58,138 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours

43 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday


 Governor Kathy Hochul today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combating COVID-19.

"Many New Yorkers are continuing to catch COVID-19 as we work to fight the pandemic across the state. Although many have gotten vaccinated, we need to push those numbers even higher to defeat this virus for good," Governor Hochul said. "We're working to get more vaccines in underserved communities across New York—particularly among 12 to 17-year-olds—and that's why we're opening new pop-up sites and leveraging a social media campaign to get the word out. The shot is safe, free and effective, so let's all protect our friends and neighbors and get vaccinated today."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 197,952
  • Total Positive - 6,151
  • Percent Positive - 3.11%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 3.30%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 2,390 (-37)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 295
  • Patients in ICU - 517 (-3)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 275 (+4)
  • Total Discharges - 195,499 (+317)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 43
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 43,882

The Health Electronic Response Data System is a NYS DOH data source that collects confirmed daily death data as reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities only.

  • Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC - 55,891

This daily COVID-19 provisional death certificate data reported by NYS DOH and NYC to the CDC includes those who died in any location, including hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, at home, in hospice and other settings.

  • Total vaccine doses administered - 24,189,043
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 58,138
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 335,686
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 78.5%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 71.1%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 81.1%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 72.8%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 66.4%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 59.7%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 68.6%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 61.2%

Friday, September 10, 2021

LOCAL LEADERS AND SAFE STREETS ADVOCATES CALL FOR PEDESTRIAN SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS AFTER TRAGIC FATALITY IN BRONX

 


On Tuesday, September 7, a local community member in the northwest Bronx was killed by a bus in an intersection that has long attracted safety concerns from pedestrians.


 Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Council Member Eric Dinowitz, Community Board 8 District Manager Ciara Gannon, and advocates for safe streets gathered at the intersection of Kappock Street and Johnson Avenue on Friday, three days after a bus struck and killed a local woman, Ruth Mullen, who was crossing the street in this location. The local leaders and advocates were united in calling for the NYC Department of Transportation to take expeditious action to make the intersection safer for pedestrians.

 

Council Member Dinowitz and Assemblyman Dinowitz have both spoken with the Bronx DOT Commissioner about the need for safety improvements at this intersection.

 

The tragic pedestrian death in the northwestern Bronx comes amidst a concerning rise in traffic fatalities throughout New York City over the past two years, with NYPD reporting 176 fatalities citywide through September 5, 2021. This number corresponds to a nearly 25% rise in traffic fatalities compared to this point in 2020.

 

Local residents have long expressed concern about pedestrian safety at the intersection of Johnson Avenue and Kappock Street, which is a frequently-used thoroughfare that connects the Spuyten Duyvil neighborhood with nearby Kingsbridge. It is also a common pass-through for people connecting from the Henry Hudson Parkway to the Major Deegan Expressway as well as the Broadway Bridge. The intersection also serves as a bus stop for several major bus routes, including the Bx10, Bx20, BxM1, BxM2, and BxM18 lines.

 

Several years ago, Assemblyman Dinowitz was successful in getting a stop sign installed for northbound traffic on Johnson – alleviating a major safety concern where cars previously only had to stop in two out of the three possible directions at the intersection. Now, local residents and leaders are asking for additional improvements — suggesting that DOT consider installing traffic signals, speed humps, curb extensions, and other ideas to make it safer for people to cross the street.

 

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: "There is nothing we can say or do that will bring Ruth back to our community, but we can work to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again. Walkable neighborhoods are livable neighborhoods, and there is resounding support in our community to make this intersection safer for pedestrians. We need DOT to take expeditious action and come up with pedestrian safety improvements quickly."

 

"On Tuesday night, our community suffered an incredible tragedy when a life was taken while crossing the street, just minutes from her home,” said Council Member Eric Dinowitz. “We cannot skirt around the reality of the situation--traffic violence is a deadly epidemic in our city. We know for a fact that there are proven ways to better protect pedestrians, and we demand that the Department of Transportation take immediate steps to make this intersection safer with infrastructural upgrades that have demonstrated evidence of saving lives."

 

Community Board 8 District Manager Ciara Gannon said: "On behalf of Bronx Community Board 8, we send our deepest condolences to the family, friends and neighbors of Ruth Mullen. We thank the first responders of this community who rushed to Ruth's aide on Tuesday evening.  Community Board 8 is committed to working with NYC DOT and community members to ensure that this intersection, as well as others, are made safe for everyone."

 

"Our hearts ache for all who knew and loved Ruth Mullen. Burying our partners, parents, kids and friends should not be part of the New York City experience. But this is the reality we are faced with every day because our leaders have not confronted the public health crisis of traffic violence," said Irma Rosenblatt, Families for Safe Streets member. “In 2014, My mother, Ida Rosenblatt, was struck by a speeding SUV turning the corner on Netherland Ave. Like Ruth, she was vibrant, energetic, civically active -- and merely walking near her home. Mayor de Blasio must immediately enable the redesign of the Kappock Street and Johnson Avenue intersection and hundreds of other dangerous intersections in the Bronx.  Albany must pass the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act, which includes Sammy’s Law so safer speed limits could be set across the five boroughs. The power to stop traffic violence is in our leaders’ hands. We just need them to use it."

 

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez raises over $300,000 for TX abortion funds

 



OCASIO-CORTEZ RAISES OVER $300,000 FOR
ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDING ACCESS TO SAFE ABORTIONS IN TEXAS

Fundraising spiked following Sarah Palin’s Fox News interview on Rep. AOC

 

 Since September 1st, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has raised over $300,000 through email and social media channels for organizations providing much needed resources to folks seeking abortion care in Texas.  The fundraiser is in response to SB 8 which bans abortion as early as 6 weeks and puts a minimum of a $10,000 bounty on anyone that helps someone obtain an abortion in Texas. 

Fundraising continued after Sarah Palin gave interview on Fox News criticizing the Congresswoman’s remarks on abortion and ‘menstruating people.’

“The gutting of Roe v Wade imperils every menstruating person in the US, every person who engages in sex, and every person who values our constitutional right to privacy, said Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter in response to SB 8. 

100% of the donations will go to Texas Equal Access Fund, West Fund, Whole Woman's Health Alliance, Inc., Support Your Sistah at the Afiya Center, the Lilith Fund, Frontera Fund, The Bridge Collective, Clinic Access Support Network, Fund Texas Choice, and Jane's Due Process. 

Over 4,000 people have donated to the cause. 


Fall IMP-act Day: Partnerships for Parks to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 by Planting 70,000 Daffodil Bulbs with 1000+ It’s My Park Volunteers 

Annual Fall Planting Day Doubles in Size to Commemorate the Victims of COVID-19 through the Daffodil Project 

Approximately 1000 volunteers will gather in local parks across New York City on Saturday, October 16th for Fall IMP-act Day—an annual citywide park beautification day—to begin planting nearly 70,000 daffodil bulbs in all five boroughs. In recognition of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, many of these bulbs will be planted in remembrance of the victims of 9/11 through the Daffodil Project. Led and organized by Partnerships for Parks (PfP), a joint program of NYC Parks and City Parks Foundation, this year’s Fall IMP-act Day focuses on the borough of Manhattan—where the terrorist attack occurred—with hundreds of volunteers honoring the lives lost on that horrific day. PfP will also provide crocus bulbs to volunteers in Manhattan as part of an initiative started last year to memorialize the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Founded in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center with the vision of NYC garden designer and New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) board member Lynden Miller and NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and a gift of one million daffodil bulbs from Dutch supplier Hans van Waardenburg, the Daffodil Project has grown to be the biggest volunteer effort in NYC history. Run by NY4P, PfP has been a key partner since the first planting at DeWitt Clinton Park in 2001. That fall, over 10,000 volunteers planted almost 1.5 million bulbs to brighten the city after one of her darkest days, inspiring Mayor Bloomberg to name the daffodil the city’s official flower in 2007.

Thousands of volunteers participate in this project annually as a part of It’s My Park, PfP’s signature volunteer program, with hundreds of volunteers coming out on the third Saturday of October—once known as It’s My Park Day—to begin a season of planting bulbs, with nearly 700,000 daffodil bulbs planted over the last 20 years as part of the Daffodil Project. Each spring, New Yorkers across the city enjoy the bright yellow blooms as a symbol of rebirth and healing. The purple crocus flowers will now accompany this burst of color, recognizing the New Yorkers lost to the pandemic as well.

Notable IMP-act Day projects include Muslim Volunteers for New York at Ruppert Park on 2nd Ave, between E 90th St and E 91st St and Friends of Saint Nicholas Park at St Nicholas Park between W 128th St and W 141st St.

This Fall IMP-act Day comes at a critical time for parks and green spaces as New York City tentatively recovers from COVID-19, bracing for new variants and facing an economic crisis. Parks have been a place of refuge for New Yorkers since the pandemic began, increasing awareness about how crucial green space is to the overall health and well-being of the city.

This current climate harkens back to the early days of PfP, founded in 1995 to support community groups that had emerged to care for neighborhood parks in the wake of the fiscal crisis of the 1970s. With the aid of PfP and NYC Parks staff, these grassroots “friends groups” helped to transform once-neglected parks into thriving community spaces. Every year, It’s My Park programs engage more than 25,000 volunteers, and PfP now supports nearly 600 community groups working to sustain 400 parks across New York City.

“Even in the most trying times, New Yorkers consistently come together to create a better tomorrow,” said Sabina Saragoussi, director of Partnerships for Parks. “On IMP-act Day and throughout the fall season, community groups will beautify parks across our city, and many will remember the friends, family, and neighbors we’ve lost by planting daffodil and crocus bulbs in their honor, brightening city parks and bringing joy. We are proud to work with New Yorkers for Parks and our community partners in this effort.”

“Volunteering can be a therapeutic act, and the annual planting of daffodils has helped New Yorkers to collectively heal from the tragedy of 9/11,” said NYC Parks Acting Commissioner Margaret Nelson. “Now, 20 years later, more than 700,000 new bulbs have been planted in parks across the city. NYC Parks is so proud to once again join Partnerships for Parks and New Yorkers for Parks in hosting this significant tradition, and we thank all of the volunteers who have taken action to honor those who were lost, remind us of our strength in times of hardship, and make our city brighter.”

For a complete list of projects, please visit our website cityparksfoundation.org/volunteer-its-my-park/ or contact tomasia.kastner@parks.nyc.gov. 

About Partnerships for Parks: Partnerships for Parks is a unique public-private partnership between City Parks Foundation and NYC Parks that supports and champions neighborhood volunteers by giving them the tools they need to advocate and care for their neighborhood parks and green spaces. More information about Partnership for Parks is available at 
www.partnershipsforparks.org.

BRONX HONDA SALES MANAGER PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD IN SCHEME INVOLVING HIGHER FEES FOR BLACK AND HISPANIC CUSTOMERS

 

Defendant Must Attend Racial Equity Course as Part of Plea; Bronx Honda Paying $1.5 M to Settle F.T.C’s Discrimination Charges 

 Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a former sales manager at Bronx Honda dealership has pleaded guilty to defrauding a customer by charging her large surcharges in purchasing a used car, as part of a scheme at the dealership that targeted Black and Hispanic customers for higher financing markups and fees, resulting in them paying more for financing than non-Hispanic white consumers. The defendant will be sentenced to a Conditional Discharge, the condition being he complete a workshop on racial equity through the New York City Commission on Human Rights. 

 District Attorney Clark said defendant, Tarun Mirchandani A/K/A Shawn Mirchandani, 46, of North Bergen, NJ, pleaded guilty on September 2, 2021 before Criminal Court Judge Jeanine Johnson to one count of second-degree Scheme to Defraud, a class A misdemeanor. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “For many people, their car is the largest investment they will make. Schemes like this lure potential buyers by advertising low sticker prices but then add large, fraudulent surcharges onto them, forcing consumers to needlessly pay thousands of dollars more for their cars. Dealers are rarely charged criminally for this kind of conduct and this should make clear that dishonest business practices in the automobile trade will not be tolerated here in the Bronx. Preying on minority community members is particularly egregious, and I am pleased that our investigation led to the Federal Trade Commission and the city’s Division of Human Rights holding the dealership accountable for discriminatory conduct.”

 According to the criminal complaint, between April 24, 2018 and September 17, 2018, Mirchandani, in his capacity as Sales Manager at Bronx Honda, located at 2451 East Tremont Avenue, defrauded a single customer of $1,600 in fraudulent fees.

 The investigation began in in 2016 when the Bronx District Attorney’s Office received information that Bronx Honda sales staff were adding on fraudulent surcharges to the base price of used vehicles. The so-called “air fees” often added thousands of dollars to the final cost of a used vehicle. The Investigations Division worked in partnership with the Federal Trade Commission. The F.T.C. also examined whether Bronx Honda engaged in any racially discriminatory practices. 

 According to the F.T.C.’s complaint, the defendants told salespeople to charge higher financing markups and fees to African American and Hispanic customers. The defendants told employees that these groups should be targeted due to their limited education, and not to attempt the same practices with non-Hispanic white consumers. According to the complaint, African American and Hispanic customers paid more for financing than similarly situated non-Hispanic white consumers.

 On May 27, 2020, the F.T.C. announced a settlement whereby Bronx Honda and its general manager, Carlo Fittanto, would pay $1.5 million to settle he F.T.C.’s charges they discriminated against African-American and Hispanic car buyers and engaged in numerous other illegal business practices.

 The Bronx District Attorney’s Office also worked in partnership with the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, and on August 16, 2021, DCWP formalized a settlement agreement whereby Bronx Honda will pay the city a further fine of $100,000 for the fraudulent conduct uncovered during the investigation.

 District Attorney Clark thanked Principal Accounting Investigator James Antonino, NYPD Lieutenant Javier Valentin (retired), Detective Lionel Hollman and Detective Daniel Angen of the Bronx DA Squad, and Trial Preparation Assistant Karishma Pyankaroo. District Attorney Clark thanked Mark Butler, Staff Counsel at DCWP and Katherine Worthman at the F.T.C.

Owner Of Illegal Racehorse Doping Websites Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison

 

Peddler of Performance Enhancing Drugs Including “Blast Off Red Blood Builder” and “Extreme Explosion” Also Ordered to Forfeit Over $8 Million

 Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that defendant SCOTT MANGINI was sentenced today to 18 months in prison in connection with his years-long sale and distribution of adulterated and misbranded drugs, including performance-enhancing drugs (“PEDs”) marketed to racehorse trainers and others in the racehorse industry.  MANGINI pled guilty to a one-count Information on April 23, 2021, before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken, who presided over today’s sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Scott Mangini used his skills as a pharmacist to create and supply a market for adulterated and unregulated performance-enhancing drugs that endangered racehorses.  Mangini designed and peddled dozens of products intended for use by those engaged in fraud and animal abuse.  Mangini’s products were manufactured in unsanitary facilities that he hid behind shell companies, straw owners, and fake prescription records.  His conduct persisted despite efforts by state and federal regulators to shutter Mangini’s operation and strip his license.  Today’s sentence underscores this Office’s commitment to the prosecution of those who, in their race for riches, would corruptly produce, peddle, or deploy illegal substances that endanger the animals under their care.”

According to the prior Indictments, the Superseding Information to which MANGINI pled guilty, and other court documents, as well as statements made in public court proceedings:

From at least in or about 2011 through at least in or about March 2020, MANGINI and his conspirators manufactured, sold, and shipped millions of dollars’ worth of adulterated and misbranded equine drugs, including performance-enhancing drugs intended to be administered to racehorses for the purpose of improving those horses’ race performance in order to win races and obtain prize money.  MANGINI, a former pharmacist whose license was suspended in 2016, sold these drugs through several direct-to-consumer websites designed to appeal to racehorse trainers and owners, including, among others, “horseprerace.com” and “racehorsemeds.com.”  

MANGINI contributed to the conspiracy by, among other things, using his training to design and create custom PEDs that were advertised and sold online, using misleading labels, packaging, and return address information, including sales to customers in the Southern District of New York.  Among the drugs advertised and sold during the course of the conspiracy were “blood builders,” which are used by racehorse trainers and others to increase red blood cell counts and/or the oxygenation of muscle tissue of a racehorse in order to stimulate the horse’s endurance, which enhances that horse’s performance in, and recovery from, a race, and customized analgesics, which are used by racehorse trainers and others to deaden a horse’s nerves and block pain in order to improve a horse’s race performance.  MANGINI and his co-conspirators repeatedly touted illegal drugs sold on these websites as substances that “WILL NOT TEST” in the event of drug screens by racing officials.  For example, MANGINI’s pain-numbing product “Numb It Injection” was advertised as a “proprietary formula and without question the most powerful pain shot in the market today AND WILL NOT TEST,” and customers were expressly directed to administer the drug by “injection as close to the event or extreme exercise as possible.”

The drugs distributed through the defendant’s websites were manufactured in facilities not registered with the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), and carried significant risks to the animals affected through the administration of those illicit PEDs.  For example, in 2016, MANGINI and his co-conspirator, Scott Robinson, who was previously convicted and sentenced in this case, received a complaint regarding the effect of his unregulated drugs on a customer’s horse: “starting bout 8 hours after I give the injection and for about 36 hours afterwards both my horses act like they are heavily sedated, can barely walk.  Could I have a bad bottle of medicine, I’m afraid to give it anymore since this has happened three times.”  Commenting on this complaint to MANGINI, Robinson wrote simply, “here is another one.”

MANGINI is among 29 individuals charged to date in a series of Indictments arising from an investigation of a widespread scheme by racehorse trainers, veterinarians, PED distributors, and others to manufacture, distribute, and receive adulterated and misbranded PEDs and to secretly administer those PEDs to racehorses competing at all levels of professional horseracing.  By evading PED prohibitions and deceiving regulators, horse racing officials, and the FDA, among others, participants in these schemes sought to improve race performance and obtain prize money from racetracks, all to the detriment and risk of the health and well-being of the racehorses. 

In addition to his prison sentence, MANGINI, 55, of Boca Raton, Florida, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a forfeiture penalty of $8,108,141.65.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI New York Office’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force and its support of the Bureau’s Integrity in Sports and Gaming Initiative.  Ms. Strauss also thanked the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the New York State Police, and the New York City Police Department for their support of this investigation, and the FDA and the Drug Enforcement Administration for their assistance and expertise.

Governor Hochul Recognizes Nearly 4,000 WTC Memorial Scholarship Recipients on the Eve of the 20th Anniversary of the September Terrorist Attacks

 

Grant Program Provides Access to an Affordable College Education for Family Members of Victims of 9/11


 Governor Kathy Hochul today recognizes the 3,723 recipients of the New York State World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship who have pursued their higher education goals over the past 20 years, in honor of their loved ones who died or suffered permanent injury as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"The victims of 9/11 will never be forgotten, and a college education is one of the most meaningful ways to provide those who suffered the loss of loved ones with an enduring gift," Governor Hochul said. "Our State cares deeply about the innocent lives lost during the tragedies of September 11, 2001 and it is with great honor that we offer the WTC Memorial Scholarship as one means of preserving their legacy." 

Created in 2001, the WTC Memorial Scholarship has awarded more than $176 million dollars in financial aid to support the college costs of permanently disabled survivors as well as the spouses, children, and financial dependents of 9/11 victims. Administered by the NYS Higher Education Services Corporation, the scholarship covers the full cost of attendance at any State University of New York or City University of New York college or university or an equivalent amount for recipients who attend a private college in New York State.  

President of the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation Dr. Guillermo Linares said, "We will never forget those who lost their lives during the tragic events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Over the years, we have awarded hundreds of millions of dollars through the WTC Memorial Scholarship to honor the fallen or injured by helping to ensure a brighter future for their families. Many families tragically impacted by the events of September 11th who may not have the financial means to afford college without the assistance of New York State can now pursue their higher educational dreams, without worry or the burden of debt."

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, "As September 11th draws near and we reflect on the immense tragedy and loss suffered by so many, I am moved by the courage of the thousands of World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship awardees. On a day when it seemed that time stood still, families of survivors persevered over the last two decades to succeed in life while never forgetting those lost. SUNY is honored to be a part of this program and proud to provide opportunity and access for so many tenacious and resilient students pursuing their academic dreams."

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, "As we commemorate the lives of those lost in the 9/11 attacks, we acknowledge the courage of spouses, children and other family members who have carried on their loved ones' legacies in the face of immeasurable difficulty and unspeakable grief. CUNY is grateful to New York State for recognizing the transformational power of higher education and honored to help the WTC Memorial Scholarship recipients pursue the successes their fallen family members would have wanted for them."

To learn more about the WTC Memorial Scholarship program or to apply click here.

118 Days and Counting

 


My husband, Governor Bill de Blasio. Charlene I'm not governor yet, I'm still the mayor of New York City. With all the 9/11 remembrances going on in the city, we have to stay in town. We can always go to our Brooklyn townhouse to go over strategy for my campaign for governor.


It will be twenty years now. Mayor Giuliani tried to stay in office another term, but then Mayor Elect Michael Bloomberg said the city must go on, and we can get along without you Rudy. Eight years later Bloomberg convinced the City Council to change the law so Bloomberg and the City Council could stay in office for another four years. Am I to late to try to convince this City Council to extend the term limits law? What's that the City Council can't do it, and I would have to get the State Legislature to do it, and they hate me. Charlene pack your bags, we are going to be voted off this island. 

PUBLIC ADVOCATE INTRODUCES RESOLUTION CALLING ON STATE TO PASS 'CLEAN SLATE ACT'

 

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams introduced a City Council resolution in support of the Clean Slate Act, state legislation that would automatically seal conviction records after someone has completed their sentence, is off of parole or probation, has not incurred any new charges or convictions in New York State during the waiting period, and the conviction to be sealed is not a sex offense - after a period of three years for a misdemeanor and seven for a felony conviction. 


"A past criminal offense, no matter how far back in one's personal history or how much they've changed since then, serves as an permanent impediment in many spaces and denies people the opportunity to move on, to improve their lives and communities," said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. "While we work to reduce contact with the criminal justice system, and provide alternatives to incarceration, it is absolutely vital that once someone's sentence is served, they have full and fair opportunity to participate in society without burdens and barriers to prevent that. By sealing old records, we can provide a clean slate, reduce recidivism, and give people a second - or very often a first - chance. I urge the City to pass this resolution in support of these efforts, and the state legislature and Governor to move quickly to pass the Clean Slate Act."


The Clean Slate Act, sponsored by Assembly Member Catalina Cruz and State Senator Zellnor Myrie, is cosponsored by 42 Assembly Members and 20 State Senators. In 2017, the state enacted legislation which made 600,000 eligible to have their records sealed through an application process, but only 2,500 have completed this process as a result of unnecessary barriers. The Clean Slate Act makes this process automatic, rather than initiated by the applicant. 


The presence of a criminal record frequently hinders formerly incarcerated people from obtaining employment, housing, and education. This makes the re-entry transition difficult and increases the risk for recidivism. Recent research indicates that a year following their record being cleared, people are 11 percent more likely to be employed, and earn wages more than 20 percent greater than prior to records being cleared. Additionally, greater employment access for formerly incarcerated individuals strengthens economic growth. According to new polling, a significant majority of New Yorkers support this legislation. 

This resolution in support of the Legislature passing, and Governor signing, the Clean Slate Act is part of the Public Advocate's ongoing work to ease re-entry and prevent recidivism for formerly incarcerated individuals, including through the passage of the Fair Chance Act of 2015, which prevented asking job applicants about criminal history prior to a conditional offer of employment, and the 2020 expansion of that law. He is currently working to pass Intro 1881, which would help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully pursue education and employment opportunities by providing them with several official identification documents upon release.

"We are grateful that the Public Advocate has introduced this resolution calling on Albany to finish what they started and pass the Clean Slate Act," said Garrett SmithStatewide Organizer at Center for Community Alternatives. This legislation transcends politics -- it is a moral imperative. The impact of the criminal legal system does not end once someone returns home from prison. In New York, a conviction record means a lifetime of blocked opportunities from housing, employment and education. The state must end this cycle of perpetual punishment by passing the Clean Slate Act, which would seal conviction records and provide more than 2 million New Yorkers the second chance they deserve."

"For far too long, communities of color in New York have suffered from the perpetual punishment of having a criminal record," said Zaki Smith, Policy Entrepreneur at the Next100. "Our communities have been serving a life sentence without being sentenced to one. Our debt has been paid. It is time that we be able to move on with our lives. We applaud Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for introducing this resolution and call on state lawmakers to act on Clean Slate immediately."

"The Clean Slate Act will provide automatic sealing of criminal convictions for millions of New Yorkers and is a critical step towards repairing the harm caused by decades of over-policing and underinvestment in communities of color in the Bronx," said Scott Levy, Chief Policy Counsel at The Bronx Defenders.  "The resolution introduced today by the Public Advocate sends a strong message that New York City stands firmly behind speedy passage of the Clean Slate Act and ensuring that criminal conviction records don't stand in the way of people accessing safe and stable housing, employment, and education.  In this moment of national reckoning, the Clean Slate Act represents an investment in the Bronx's future, in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and in its resilience."

"Stale conviction records needlessly stand in the way of finding a good job, a license to practice a trade and a stable place to live for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers," said David Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York.  "Records sealing under the Clean Slate New York Act is essential to ensuring that New Yorkers move beyond the perpetual punishment a conviction record creates, and have a place in New York's pandemic recovery and in the life of our great city and state. We commend the New York City Council for supporting this vital legislation."

VISION ZERO: AS CLASSROOMS RE-OPEN, MAYOR DE BLASIO ANNOUNCES EXPANDED TRAFFIC SAFETY ENFORCEMENT NEAR SCHOOLS


Increased police presence near schools to focus on failure to yield to pedestrians After new DOT analysis, Mayor renews call on Albany to permit 24/7 speed camera operation 

 As New York City public schools prepare to welcome students back on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced increased traffic safety measures to keep children safe in school zones. NYPD will expand its traffic enforcement against reckless, aggressive and distracted driving, with a special focus on violations that endanger child pedestrians, including failure to yield in a crosswalk.
 
The Mayor also renewed New York City’s call for state lawmakers to allow 24/7 operation of its cameras, which are currently forbidden from operating overnight. The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) nation-leading speed camera program now includes over 1,400 cameras across 750 school zones.
 
“New York City schools have the most rigorous COVID-19 safety protocols in the country, but our mission isn’t complete until all facilities are safe from traffic violence, too,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Thanks to the tireless public servants at DOT and NYPD, our schools will be safer than ever this year. Now it’s time to take the next step: Albany must allow us to operate our speed cameras overnight and hold dangerous drivers accountable, no matter when they break the law.”
 
“Our children are our most precious resource. As the city has been working tirelessly to ensure that classrooms are ready for their safe return, the NYPD is committed to making sure our roadways are safe for the return of all of our city’s students,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster. “This citywide enforcement initiative will be focused on holding drivers that speed — and drivers that fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists — accountable.”
 
“School's back in session, and we're proud to be partnering with the NYPD to put drivers on notice – reckless driving and speeding are going to be met with stiff penalties," said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. "That said, we urgently need Albany to pass common sense legislation that allows our automated speed cams to operate 24/7, because lives are not only at risk when school is in session. I want to thank State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Deborah Glick for showing great leadership by sponsoring S5602/A6681, the bill allowing us to do just that."
 
“The school day starts as soon as our young people leave their homes, which is why the safety of our streets is so important," said Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. “We are proud of the work our partners across the City are doing to ensure that children can safely walk to and from school for their first day back and every day after that.”
 
“As we welcome students back to school, many of our city’s streets will be busier than they have been in a long time,” said Health Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi. “Traffic crashes can seriously injure children. Make sure to slow down and look out for cyclists and pedestrians, especially when turning. We all have a part to play in keeping our children safe.”
 
"Vision Zero is critical now, more than ever. Pedestrians, especially children returning to school this month, need to be able to traverse our streets safely. We are counting on all New York City drivers to not speed and to follow traffic laws, including making slow turns," said TLC Commissioner and Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk. "TLC-Licensed Drivers are the best in the business, and we continue to expect them to follow the highest safety standards and take all precautions to keep themselves, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists safe.
 
“As New York City’s children return to school, the last thing our kids should contend with are speeding vehicles and careless drivers,” said NYC Chief Fleet Officer Keith Kerman. “NYC operates a large municipal fleet and we are calling on all City employees to make September “Slowtember,” to reduce speeds especially near school zones, and keep everyone safe.”
 
A DOT analysis released yesterday shows one-third of fatal crashes last year happened in school speed zones during overnight and weekend hours, when speed cameras are currently not allowed to operate. It found that 24/7 automated enforcement would increase the safety benefits the city is already seeing:
  • As of December 2020, speeding at camera locations had dropped by an average of 72%.
  • Speeding has declined 89% on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and Union Turnpike in Queens, 88% on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn, and over 80% on Rockaway Boulevard, Gun Hill Road, Coney Island Avenue, Eastern Parkway, Hylan Boulevard, and Northern Boulevard.
  • Injuries have declined 14% on school speed zone corridors with cameras.
 
Back-to-School Awareness and Northern Boulevard Changes
Earlier this week, NYPD and DOT street teams spread out across New York City to remind rush-hour drivers of students’ return to school Monday, part of a combined and coordinated school-based effort this fall from NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau and DOT’s Education & Outreach Unit. 
 
The event was held along Northern Boulevard near PS 152 in Woodside, the site of a fatal crash that killed 8-year-old Noshat Nahian as he walked to school in December 2013 – and helped inspire New York City’s adoption of Vision Zero. Major changes along Northern Boulevard in the last several years include new crosswalks, pedestrian refuge islands and head-starts, lower speed limits (from 30 MPH to 25 MPH) and newly installed speed cameras. The speed cameras along Northern Boulevard in Woodside have seen over 75% fewer speeding violations since these changes were made in July 2019.
 
NYPD Enforcement Plan
NYPD will increase vehicle safety enforcement all autumn, with a special focus on schools next week. The enforcement plan includes the following components:
  • Officers on highways and local streets will have an increased focus on drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists, speed with their vehicles, and drive recklessly in the vicinity of schools. Failure to yield at intersections has been a cause in over 60% of pedestrian fatalities in 2021.
  • This multifaceted approach will also target drunk drivers. Motorists who drive while impaired will be arrested and their vehicles impounded.
  • Additional officers will be dedicated to the enforcement of texting while driving and illegal cell phone use.
  • Additional highway officers will enforce speed regulations.
  • Motorcycle safety will be prioritized, not only by enforcement against reckless motorcyclists, but also against dangerous driving by other vehicles which cause risks to motorcycles.
 

Attorney General James Secures $50 Million for Opioid Abatement from Drug Manufacturer Endo Health Solutions

 

Endo Severed From Ongoing Opioid Trial In Suffolk County, Trial Against Two Remaining Defendants Still Underway

AG James Has Now Reached Agreements That Could Bring Up to $1.5 Billion From Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors, and Consultants to NYS

 New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced an agreement with Endo Health Solutions that will immediately deliver $50 million to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic and remove the opioid manufacturer from New York’s ongoing opioid trial, currently underway in Suffolk County State Supreme Court. The funds will be transferred to New York state and Nassau and Suffolk Counties today and will be used to further fund prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.

“Every dollar we receive today from an opioid manufacturer is another dollar that can be spent to combat the ongoing opioid crisis and potentially save another New Yorker’s life,” said Attorney General James. “For more than two decades, the opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on countless communities throughout New York and across the rest of the nation, killing hundreds of thousands of our friends and family members and addicting millions more. Like other opioid manufacturers, Endo has distributed opioids without regard to the national crisis they were helping to fuel. But today, we’re holding them accountable for their unlawful conduct in New York state and recovering $50 million that will go towards prevention, treatment, and recovery programs. In the last few months, our office has negotiated up to $1.5 billion for New York alone that will go towards stopping further death and destruction. While no amount of money will ever compensate for the millions of addictions, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, or the countless families torn apart by opioids, this money will be vital in preventing future devastation.”

In March 2019, Attorney General James filed the nation’s most extensive lawsuit to hold accountable the various manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid epidemic. The manufacturers named in the complaint included Purdue Pharma and its affiliates, as well as members of the Sackler Family (owners of Purdue) and trusts they control; Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its affiliates (including its parent company Johnson & Johnson); Mallinckrodt LLC and its affiliates; Endo Health Solutions and its affiliates; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and its affiliates; and Allergan Finance, LLC and its affiliates. The distributors named in the complaint were McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation, and Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc.

The cases against Mallinckrodt and Rochester Drug Cooperative are now moving separately through U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In June, a settlement that ended Johnson & Johnson’s sale of opioids nationwide and that will deliver $230 million to New York alone was announced. In July, a settlement with McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen that will deliver up to $1 billion to New York state to combat the opioid epidemic was announced. The deals with Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen have a global value of approximately $26 billion. Earlier this month, a settlement that secured more than $4.5 billion — at least $200 million of which will be earmarked for New York — from the Sackler family and foundations that they control, ends the Sacklers’ ability to manufacture opioids ever again, and will shut down Purdue Pharma was announced.

The trial against the two remaining defendants — Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and Allergan Finance — is currently underway and will continue in state court.

From the $50 million negotiated as part of today’s agreement, $22.3 million will go to New York state with the remaining $27.7 million split evenly between Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Additionally, if Endo files for bankruptcy or a global settlement is reached between the company and a larger group of plaintiffs, neither New York state nor Nassau or Suffolk Counties will be precluded from receiving any appropriate share they would be entitled to under such a bankruptcy or global settlement.

Pursuant to the new law establishing the opioid settlement fund, the $22.3 million distributed to New York state today will be go towards abatement in communities devastated by the opioid epidemic and will not go towards the state’s general fund.

Further, today’s agreement does not release Endo from any claims asserted by the New York state Department of Financial Services or a number of plaintiffs still suing the company within New York state.

Separately, but related to her work on opioids, this past February, Attorney General James co-led a coalition of nearly every attorney general in the nation in delivering more than $573 million — more than $32 million of which was earmarked for New York state — toward opioid treatment and abatement in an agreement and consent judgment with McKinsey & Company. The agreement with one of the world’s largest consulting firms resolved investigations by the attorneys general into the company’s role in working for opioid companies, helping those companies promote their drugs, and profiting millions of dollars from the opioid epidemic.

Former Venezuelan Official Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios Arrested Again In Spain In Connection With Narco-Terrorism, Firearms, And Drug-Trafficking Charges

 

Carvajal Barrios Allegedly Participated in Large-Scale Drug-Trafficking Activities as a Venezuelan Government Official, Including a 5.6-Ton Cocaine Shipment

 Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Wendy Woolcock, the Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), today announced that former Venezuelan official Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios, a/k/a “El Pollo,” was arrested yesterday in Madrid, Spain, based on an Indictment filed in the Southern District of New York.  The Indictment charges Carvajal Barrios with participating in a narco-terrorism conspiracy and a conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States, including a 5.6-ton shipment of cocaine transported from Venezuela to Mexico in April 2006, along with related firearms offenses.[1]  CARVAJAL BARRIOS was originally arrested in connection with these charges in April 2019, and later that year the Spanish National Court approved CARVAJAL BARRIOS’s extradition to the United States. CARVAJAL BARRIOS has since remained a fugitive pending extradition until his arrest yesterday.

Carvajal Barrios, 61, a Venezuelan national residing in Spain, among other places, is charged with: (1) participating in a narco-terrorism conspiracy, which carries a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life; (2) conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, which carries a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life; (3) using and carrying machine guns and destructive devices during and in relation to, and possessing machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the narco-terrorism and cocaine importation conspiracies, which carries a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life; and (4) conspiring to use and carry machine guns and destructive devices during and in relation to, and to possess machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the narco-terrorism and cocaine importation conspiracies, which carries a maximum sentence of life.  The potential mandatory minimum and maximum sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding efforts of the DEA’s Special Operations Division Bilateral Investigations Unit and Miami Field Division, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, and the Spanish National Police’s Fugitive Unit.

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Governor Hochul Announces Findings of Investigation into Subway Power Outage


MTA to Implement Mitigation Steps and Improved Protocols to Avoid Repeat of Aug. 29 Incident
 

Governor Directs Review of Operation Control Centers Across Entire MTA to Identify and Fix Any Other Potential Weaknesses 


 Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the findings of an investigation into what caused the widespread power outage on all of the MTA's numbered lines as well as on the L train on Aug. 29. Two outside engineering firms, HDR and WSP, were tasked with investigating and determining a root cause and found that the outage was caused by human error. As a result of the investigation, Governor Hochul is directing a full review of operation control centers across the entire MTA to identify and mitigate any other potential weaknesses.

"On the night of Sunday, Aug. 29, service for subway riders suddenly and unexpectedly shut down, and immediately following the disruption, I directed the MTA to investigate the cause. The teams worked expeditiously to identify the source of the problem and recommend improvements. I am directing mitigation steps to ensure riders are not interrupted by these causes ever again," Governor Hochul said. "New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in a fully functioning subway system, and it is our job to restore that confidence. I am also directing the MTA to review all operation control centers across the entire system to identify any further potential weaknesses and provide assurance in preventing a situation like this from happening ever again. We will deliver the modernization, enhancements, and reliability that riders deserve."

MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, "The report tasks the MTA with immediately reorganizing how we maintain and manage key systems that support the RCC.  The agency will also install additional cable connections to improve power redundancy in the building, as well as a more comprehensive Building Management System that will provide detailed visibility into the status of the building's electrical distribution, mechanical, and security systems. I want to thank Governor Hochul for really digging into these issues with us and helping to identify lasting solutions."

The reports revealed that the precipitating cause of the loss of power at the New York City Transit Rail Control Center was the byproduct of a manually-activated power-off switch on one of the building's power distribution units. Preliminary indications suggest that the emergency push button might have been accidentally pressed since a plastic guard that would prevent accidental activation was missing.

Failure to restore power for more than an hour appears to have been the result of internal organization and process flaws, with existing organizational maintenance structures at the RCC in need of revision to prevent similar incidents from happening again. The firms investigating the incident also found that the effects of the incident were exacerbated due to the RCC's lack of a power distribution monitoring system. Such a system would provide visibility of the status of key electrical components in the power distribution system.

The reports task the MTA with immediately reorganizing its maintenance management structure at the RCC. As a short-term improvement, the reports recommend that the Authority install additional equipment that will alternate electrical circuits to feed all of the electrical circuits in the building. In the long term, the reports recommended that New York City Transit install and manage a modern Building Management System that will provide detailed visibility of the status of the building's electrical distribution mechanical and security systems.