Saturday, November 6, 2021

Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating COVID-19 - NOVEMBER 6, 2021

 Teen girl receiving COVID vaccination

89,352 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours  

36 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

New State Website Providing Helpful Info About Child Vaccination 

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

"With the holidays approaching, we are wasting no time to help get vaccines administered to children so families can safely spend time together," Governor Hochul said. "I encourage parents and guardians to reach out to their pediatricians and family physicians to get their children vaccinated so we can all have a happy and healthy holiday season."
Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 198,904
  • Total Positive - 4,913
  • Percent Positive - 2.47%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 2.46%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 1,826 (-35)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 213
  • Patients in ICU - 402 (+6)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 230 (0)
  • Total Discharges - 209,608 (+235)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 36
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 45,764

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 - 58,181

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 - 27,631,462
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 89,352
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 498,287
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 84.7%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 77.0%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 88.1%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 79.1%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 71.8%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 65.2%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 74.8%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 67.0%

News from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced the restart of the Bronx Bus Network Redesign process, with a final virtual public meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 6:00 p.m. The virtual public meeting is aimed at further promoting public consciousness around the project and will allow riders one more opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed final plan. The meeting follows additional efforts by the Authority over the last two months to reengage the community on the details of the proposed Final Plan, with implementation currently targeted for the summer of 2022. That plan was originally crafted after years of public input and was set to be taken to the MTA Board for a vote just weeks after what would become the start of the pandemic.

The redesigned bus network establishes a strong foundation on which the Authority can continue to build a successful, high frequency network that serves the hundreds of thousands of customers who rely on the service. The plan demonstrates the MTA’s dynamic approach to providing service and will be able to adapt to the real-time travel patterns and needs of customers. It reallocates resources to the portions of the borough where they will have the greatest impact. The Bronx Network Redesign Final Plan is focused on improving Local, Limited and SBS routes. There are no changes to Bronx express routes at this time. The MTA has been meeting with local elected officials and community boards since last month to review the plan. 

“I am pleased that The Bronx Bus Network Redesign is moving forward,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Although the pandemic has delayed the project, as we recover together, The Bronx Bus Network Redesign will provide necessary upgrades that will help New Yorkers get back to their day-to-day lives efficiently. My office has been involved in the development of this plan from the very beginning to ensure that it meets the changing needs of our borough. The end result of this important process is a huge step forward in modernizing and upgrading the system for the hundreds of thousands of riders who rely on city buses every day. Thank you to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for their partnership throughout this process, and for the work that you are doing to prepare our borough’s critical bus infrastructure for the future.”
Additional Updates on the Proposed Final Plan:

After publishing the proposed Bronx Network Redesign Final Plan during the winter of 2019, the MTA listened further to feedback from customers, communities throughout the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, as well as community boards, elected officials and advocates. In doing so, the Authority determined that customers and community members value the existing routing of the Bx28 and Bx34 routes over the proposed alignment changes that were outlined in the Draft and proposed Final Plans. With such strong community and customer desire to maintain existing route alignments, these routes’ alignments will now not be changed.  

Due to the 18-month pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bx6 SBS implementation has also been delayed until 2023 to coincide with the retirement of the MetroCard and the full deployment of OMNY across the city. Officials determined that the logistics and expenses associated with installing and then uninstalling fare machines along the future alignment in Soundview for just one year of use is not an effective or efficient use of resources. The associated changes in Bx6 local and Bx5 frequencies will also be postponed until the full deployment of OMNY when the Bx6 SBS realignment is implemented.  

Those looking to learn more about the specific details of the plan or changes to particular route profiles are encouraged to review the project’s dedicated website at Those seeking to speak at the meeting can register to do so on the website as well.  

Rep. Jamaal Bowman Statement on Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework Vote


This came in from Congressman Bowman's office.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman issued the following statement regarding his no vote on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework 


“Our country is experiencing multiple and layered crises on top of historical harm. Transformative investment and courageous action is needed to meet this moment, and we have the power to do it.  Roads and bridges are important. We must absolutely invest in our physical infrastructure. It is a positive development to see the infrastructure bill pass, but it is also not lost upon me that 90% of jobs in physical infrastructure go to men; yet, women account for four times the job loss to men during the pandemic. Families and children are in need of help with childcare, paid leave, housing, prescription drug costs and so much more. The climate crisis remains looming. The physical infrastructure bill alone does not hold the policies to address any of these issues.


“This is why my progressive colleagues and I were consistently clear for months that we intend to move both the Build Back Better Act and the physical infrastructure bill together and vote for them at the same time. This was the agreement we understood and the promise I shared. However, my conservative colleagues moved the goalpost and asked for budget scoring despite the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) verifying that the Build Back Better Act is fully paid for and the White House providing their own budget estimates confirming JCT’s report. We were asked to vote only on physical infrastructure at the last hour and to delay the needs and ignore the suffering of our constituents with the weakest assurance that the original agreement would be kept. The agreement was broken. Therefore, I voted no on a physical infrastructure bill that came without the Build Back Better Act. 


“We can only build back better by ensuring the health and prosperity of seniors, women, children, immigrants and our planet. We need policies that bring America into the present day, with other developed countries, so that we can end our reliance on fossil fuels, provide paid leave to all, and eradicate child poverty. We can and need to meet this moment. And the country needs a government that keeps its word to women, families, children and immigrants. 


“I support the president's full agenda, which includes passing both the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act together, and I look forward to continuing to work with the administration to see to it that we build back better for all. Our work is not done.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress - Good News


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress

In politics, it’s easy to get discouraged. Losing the Governor's race in Virginia on Tuesday was a huge bummer. But there were some big wins over the last two days that many thought weren’t possible and remind us why organizing matters:

Civilian Climate Corps makes it into the Build Back Better Act

Yesterday, we successfully won the inclusion and the establishment of the US Civilian Climate Corps in the Build Back Better Act. This program is set to create over 300,000 public service jobs for people of all ages to help mitigate climate change and environmental injustices.

Alexandria first outlined a vision for this plan in 2019 as part of the Green New Deal framework.1 While many said it was impossible, we organized with our partners from the Sunrise Movement and others to make this a reality.

Bailout for Taxi Drivers

Two years ago, we began working with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance to fight for our immigrant taxi workers who were trapped and targeted in a predatory medallion lending scheme by big lenders.

When we first rolled out this plan to relieve unfair debt and astronomical loan payments, we were told that it was naive, too expensive, and unreasonable. But yesterday, we won.2

This bailout will rescue thousands of cab drivers who have been crushed under paralyzing debt after years of exploitative practices in the industry.

Alexandria was one of the first politicians to come out and support this plan in 2019.

Ocasio-Cortez Calls for Bailout for Taxi Drivers

The congresswoman referred to their plight as "Indentured Servitude," becoming the most prominent voice to back a rescue plan.

Historic election wins

On the election front, we also have some good news. Tiffany Cab├ín – a public defender who advocates for the shutdown of Rikers jail – was elected to the New York City Council. Shahana Hanif just became the first-ever Muslim woman elected to the New York City Council in history.

Michelle Wu, a progressive, became the first woman and person of color to be elected as Mayor of Boston. Richie Floyd made history as the first openly socialist candidate to win a city council race in Florida since the 1930's.

The lessons from all of these victories (and our losses) is that we need to build our movement from the bottom up. Mass mobilization – both during and outside elections – is crucial to our progress.

The only way we were able to win relief for taxi drivers was because of an outside non-electoral mass movement of organized workers.

When we pair organized mass movements with elected leaders who are willing to enact the people's will, we can accelerate the momentum needed to make change.

When we organize people, the people win.

Team AOC

Florida Attorney Pleads Guilty To Securities Fraud In Connection With Fraudulent Opinion Letter Scheme


 Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that THOMAS CRAFT, a licensed attorney, pled guilty in Manhattan federal court to securities fraud.  CRAFT’s guilty plea results from his involvement in a fraudulent scheme in which he falsely represented that he had undertaken certain legal work in connection with attorney opinion letters, when in truth and in fact, he merely rubber-stamped the opinion letters that had been prepared by his co-defendant, Richard Rubin, who was a disbarred attorney. 

CRAFT was arrested on December 2, 2020, and pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.  As part of his plea agreement, CRAFT agreed to relinquish his law license in Florida. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As an attorney, Craft was supposed to act as a gatekeeper against fraud in the securities markets.  Instead, as he admitted today, Craft falsely represented that he had carried out certain work in attorney opinion letters, giving false comfort to the investing public that the relevant securities rules had been satisfied.  Now he stands guilty of securities fraud and awaits sentencing for his crime.”

As alleged in the Indictment filed against CRAFT, as well as his co-conspirator Rubin, and other statements made in open court: 

Securities Registration Requirements and SEC Rule 144

Under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), anyone seeking to sell a security must first register that security unless an exemption applies.  This registration requirement protects investors by promoting disclosure of information pertinent to informed investment decisions. 

A company registering new securities must complete a registration statement known as U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Form S-1 before the securities can be listed on a national exchange and publicly traded.  SEC Form S-1 contains information pertinent to informed investment decisions, including, among other things, information on the company’s business operations, the company’s financial condition, and a description of the company’s management.  In connection with SEC Form S-1, the company is required to file an opinion letter (the “Form S-1 Opinion Letter”) from a licensed attorney attesting that the statements in the SEC Form S-1 are true and correct.  A company’s SEC Form S-1 and the Form S-1 Opinion Letter are available to the public on the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System (“EDGAR”).

“Restricted securities” refers to securities acquired in unregistered, private sales from the issuing company or from an affiliate of the issuer, with “affiliate” meaning a person who directly or indirectly controls, or is controlled by, or is under common control with, an issuer.  Affiliates can also include an executive officer or a director or large shareholder who is in a relationship of control with respect to the issuing company.  Restricted securities bear a legend indicating that the securities may not be resold in the marketplace unless they are registered with the SEC or are exempt from such registration requirements.

Securities Act Rule 144 (“Rule 144”), codified at 17 C.F.R. § 230.144, provides a registration exemption for restricted securities.  Specifically, it permits the public resale of restricted securities if a number of conditions are met, including conditions relating to how long the securities are held, the way in which they are sold, the public information available to investors about the securities, and the amount that can be sold at any one time.  Pursuant to Rule 144, however, even if these conditions are met, the sale of restricted securities to the public is still not permitted until a transfer agent removes the “restricted” legend from the security. 

The term “transfer agent” refers to a company that keeps track of individuals and entities that own the stocks and bonds of a given company that has publicly traded securities.  Among other things, transfer agents issue and cancel certificates to reflect changes in ownership, serve as the company’s intermediary for payouts, exchanges, or mailings, and handle lost, destroyed or stolen certificates.  Transfer agents also, when appropriate, remove the “restricted” legend from securities. 

A Rule 144 Seller’s Representation Letter, or “Seller’s Representation Letter,” is a letter from an affiliate seller (that is, a seller in a relationship of control with the issuer, such as an executive officer, a director, or a large shareholder) of restricted securities to a transfer agent to establish certain facts underlying a legal opinion that the securities at issue can be sold publicly pursuant to Rule 144.  The issuer’s consent to the removal of a legend typically comes in the form of an opinion letter from the issuing company’s attorney, the Seller’s Representation Letter, indicating that the securities at issue satisfy the conditions of Rule 144.  Seller’s Representation Letters contain multiple attestations that are required by law prior to the restricted legend being removed.  The transfer agent relies on the Seller’s Representation Letter in determining whether to remove the restricted legend from a security.

Over-the-Counter Securities and OTC Markets Group

Over-the-counter (“OTC”) securities are securities that are traded between two counterparties outside of a formal securities exchange.  OTC Markets Group (“OTC Markets”) is a securities market headquartered in New York, New York, that provides price and liquidity information for OTC securities.

OTC Markets requires issuers seeking to be listed on OTC Markets to hire a licensed attorney to review company records and submit a letter to OTC Markets (an “OTC Markets Attorney Letter”) regarding whether information publicly disclosed by the issuer is in compliance with the condition in SEC Rule 144 governing the public information available to investors about the issuer.  OTC Markets relies on the OTC Markets Attorney Letter to determine whether an issuer’s security may be listed on OTC Markets.  OTC Markets Attorney Letters are available to the public on the OTC Markets website. 

The Scheme to Defraud

From at least in or about 2011 through at least in or about September 2018, CRAFT and Rubin participated in a fraudulent scheme in which CRAFT falsely represented that he had undertaken certain legal work in connection with Seller’s Representation Letters, OTC Markets Attorney Letters, and S-1 Opinion Letters, all of which enabled the relevant securities to be sold to the investing public.  The false representations were in letters pertaining to over a dozen companies.

CRAFT, 56, of Tequesta, Florida, pled guilty to one count of securities fraud in violation of 15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) and 78ff, 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5, and 18 U.S.C. § 2, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

CRAFT will be sentenced on February 24, 2022, at 10:30 a.m.  CRAFT’s co-defendant, Richard Rubin, was sentenced on November 2, 2021, to one year’s probation, 200 hours of community service, and a $1,000 fine.  Rubin was also ordered to forfeit $117,068.15 in crime proceeds.        

Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the Office of Inspector General of the SEC and also thanked the SEC Division of Enforcement for its assistance. 

Governor Hochul Announces Partnership to Expand Solar Development Support for Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands


Effort Would Expand 2019 Program to Train and Place Workers in Solar-Plus-Storage, Construction, and Other Supportive Services

Reinforces New York State's Commitment to Growing a Clean Energy Workforce Pipeline and Ensuring an Equitable Clean Energy Transition

 During a tour of Concilio de Salud Integral de Loiza in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Governor Kathy Hochul today announced New York State will work with community partners to expand ongoing solar deployment and workforce development support in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The State will provide new curriculum and permitting and financing expertise that will support the development of solar industries on the Islands. This effort further strengthens New York's long-standing commitment to support Puerto Rico's reconstruction and recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and helps reinforce New York State's commitment to ensuring a growing clean energy workforce pipeline and an equitable clean energy transition. 

"Climate change is the crisis of our time, and it takes each and every one of us to pave the path for a cleaner, greener future," Governor Hochul said, "The number one obstacle we must overcome is our over reliance on fossil fuels and we must do so equitably so no community is left behind. New York and Puerto Rico have a historically close relationship and this partnership is an important step to creating more sustainable jobs and boosting green energy."

Today's announcement builds on the $4.5 million Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, Workforce and Small Business Development Program established in 2019 with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, Workforce and Small Business Development Program is a joint, public-private effort between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and PathStone Corporation, Inc. to train and place workers in solar-plus-storage and construction, develop innovative solar financing options, and to provide technical assistance to solar businesses.

56 Days and Counting


I'm down here in Puerto Rico with my good friends from the Bronx for Somos. State Senator Jamaal Bailey, you are the Bronx Democratic Party Leader, can I count on the Bronx Democratic Party to endorse me in my bid for governor next year. The Bronx Democratic Party endorsed me in my re-election bid for mayor in 2017, and I am the best candidate for governor.

David Patterson, I mean Kathy Hochul forced her way onto the stage election night to congratulate my successor Mayor Elect Eric Adams. She said that she will work with the new mayor on matters important to the city. Well she didn't say that to me, and has been unfriendly to me and New York City just like her old boss Andrew Cuomo. Plus she picked Brian Benjamin over you Jamaal to be her Lieutenant Governor. 



Defendant Threatened DOC Officer With 8-Inch Metal Shank

 Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a Rikers Island inmate has been indicted on second-degree Assault and additional charges for attacking a Department of Correction Officer in the jail. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “The defendant allegedly held a makeshift weapon to a DOC Officer’s neck. Thankfully other Officers intervened, and the victim was not seriously injured. With our partners at the Department of Correction, we are doing all we can to stop the relentless violence in Rikers Island and end these attacks against DOC staff who are simply doing their jobs.”

 New York City Department of Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said, “The details of this alleged assault on one of our correction officers are disturbing, and D.A. Clark has my deep gratitude for her efforts to hold this and other individuals who assault our officers as well as other incarcerated people accountable. I’d also like to thank our Correction Intelligence Bureau team, who work tirelessly and conducted the investigation that led to this arrest.” 

 District Attorney Clark said the defendant, James Hawkins, 30, an inmate in Rikers Island, was arraigned on two counts of second-degree Assault, first and second-degree Promoting Prison Contraband, first and second-degree Unlawful Imprisonment, fourth-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, second-degree Menacing and third-degree Assault on November 3, 2021 before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Efrain Alvarado. Bail was set at $75,000 cash/$75,000 bond and the defendant is due back in court on February 4, 2022.

 According to the investigation, on October 13, 2021, at approximately 1:12 p.m. in the George R. Vierno Center of Rikers Island, the defendant allegedly approached the victim brandishing a sharp metal object, several inches in length and held the weapon to the Officer’s neck. Correction Officers rushed to help the victim and deployed their pepper spray. The defendant removed the weapon from the victim’s neck but continued to hold the Corrections Officer by his neck and eventually released him when he left the area. Hawkins hid the weapon, and Officers searched and recovered the eight-inch sharpened metal shank that had a cloth handle. The victim received medical attention but did not sustain any serious injuries.

 District Attorney Clark thanked Lourdes Galindez, Community Coordinator in the Rikers Island Prosecution Bureau. District Attorney Clark also thanked the DOC Correction Intelligence Bureau, specifically CIB Investigators Daniel Monaco and Walter Holmes, for their assistance in the investigation.

 An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating COVID-19 - NOVEMBER 5, 2021


74,268 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours  

32 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

New State Website Providing Helpful Info About Child Vaccination 

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

"With our newly released guidance today for medical professionals and website with resources for parents and guardians, we are not wasting any time in helping administer the vaccine to children five to 11 years old," Governor Hochul said. "We must work together to finally beat this pandemic by wearing our masks, washing our hands, and getting our shots, so that we can all enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 189,162
  • Total Positive - 4,775
  • Percent Positive - 2.52%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 2.37%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 1,861 (-27)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 225
  • Patients in ICU - 396 (-17)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 230 (-11)
  • Total Discharges - 209,373 (+222)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 32
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 45,728

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 - 58,181

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 - 27,542,110
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 74,268
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 512,283
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 84.6%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 76.9%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 88.0%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 79.0%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 71.7%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 65.1%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 74.7%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 67.0%

Friday, November 5, 2021



In less than four weeks, New York City has put into action new strategies to guard against severe weather

 Mayor Bill de Blasio today released the first monthly update to “The New Normal: Combatting Storm-Related Extreme Weather in New York City,” a landmark report that provides New York City with a new blueprint to prepare for and respond to extreme weather. Based on report findings, New York City has already enhanced outreach to vulnerable areas, launched new emergency communications protocols, taken action to protect New Yorkers in basement apartments, and started key infrastructure improvements.  

A copy of the monthly update can be found here


“We know that climate change is happening now, and we have the blueprint we need to act,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Since Hurricane Ida, we’ve made drastic improvements to infrastructure, data collection, emergency communications systems, and basement apartments. We are on the right path when it comes to responding to the climate crisis and keeping New Yorkers safe.” 


“We promised New Yorkers that we would protect them from the threat of severe weather and we’re delivering on that promise,” said Extreme Weather Coordinator, Deputy Mayor for Administration, and Chief of Staff Emma Wolfe. “Through targeted investments, better storm tracking, and new ways to get information to the public, we’re ensuring our residents are safe as we face this new reality and the impacts of climate change.” 


 The Report also highlights how these new improvements improved response on October 25/26th to an instance of heavy rainfall in the city. 


Key progress in the month since Hurricane Ida include:


• New Emergency Communications plan

• Releasing RFP for “Rainboots on the Ground” program

• 100 warning signs installed on flood prone roadways for drivers 

• Finished fixing drainage on a community driveway in East Elmhurst, expanding to 40 total locations

• 13 Flood Net Sensors installed and expansion imminent

• Increasing frequency of cleaning catch basins

• Providing 10,000 sandbags to residents 

• New NYPD protocols for basement unit evacuations

• New working group for Basement Apartment Conversion Program


“While we can’t control the weather, we can be proactive and innovative in how we adapt and respond to it,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency. “That’s exactly what we’re doing in New York City. By modernizing our buildings and infrastructure, utilizing green solutions, raising awareness around flood risk, and leveraging the latest science and technology, we can protect residents, businesses, and communities from the threat of extreme weather while continuing our ongoing fight against climate change.”

Senator Biaggi's Week in Review: 11/1/21-11/5/21


Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Dear Community,

I want to draw your attention to a powerful op-ed written by Shams DaBaron, aka “Da Homeless Hero,” this week regarding the lack of Wi-Fi accessibility in homeless shelters and the impact it had on him when he was homeless. Shams, a housing justice activist, recounts his experiences in the shelter system, where he consistently felt dehumanized and degraded, especially when denied access to basic necessities such as internet access in shelters. 

Currently, homeless shelters in New York are not required to provide Wi-Fi to their residents, resulting in these homeless individuals being denied access to all of the information and resources that the internet provides. This perpetuates a digital divide which shuts homeless individuals out of gaining access to important opportunities such as housing, employment, and education, further trapping them in a cycle of homelessness. 

As mentioned in the op-ed, I have a bill to change that. My bill, S9030A, would require all homeless shelters in New York to provide internet access to residents, ensuring that our homeless population has an equal opportunity to access housing, education, government services and all of the resources that having an internet connection provides. 

I am grateful to Shams for shining a light on this crucial issue, and am hopeful that we will be able to work together to ensure that my bill is passed in the following session. New York has a responsibility to end the cycles of homelessness, and it is only by providing access to basic necessities such as Wi-Fi that we can do so.

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Estonian Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Conspiring To Import Fentanyl Into The United States


 Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that AMID MAGERRAMOV was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiring to import massive quantities of carfentanil and fentanyl into the United States.  MAGERRAMOV pled guilty on May 4, 2021, before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken, who imposed today’s sentence.   

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated: “Amid Magerramov conspired to import into the U.S. large quantities of fentanyl and carfentanil – an opioid so potent that its legitimate use is as an elephant sedative.  Appropriately, he has now been sentenced to prison for conspiring to add fuel to the fire that is the opioid crisis in this country.”

According to the Complaint, Indictment, and other filings in the case:

Between approximately October 2017 and August 2018, MAGERRAMOV conspired to import large quantities of carfentanil and fentanyl into the United States.  Carfentanil is a fentanyl analogue approximately 1,000 times more potent than heroin, and is used commercially to sedate large animals such as elephants.  During that period, MAGERRAMOV participated in a series of recorded meetings and telephone communications with an individual he understood to be affiliated with an international drug trafficking organization, for the purpose of arranging to import narcotics into the United States.  That individual was, in fact, a confidential source (the “CS”) working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”).  MAGERRAMOV and his co-conspirators prepared and distributed a total of over five kilograms of substances containing carfentanil for importation into the United States. 

In mid-October 2017, MAGERRAMOV met together with the CS in Estonia.  During the meeting, the CS informed MAGERRAMOV that the CS was a member of a Colombian drug cartel that distributed narcotics in the United States and laundered the resulting proceeds. 

Throughout late 2017 and early 2018, the CS also participated in a series of meetings with MAGERRAMOV and his co-conspirators to discuss narcotics transactions.  During the meetings, MAGERRAMOV agreed to provide the CS with fentanyl in Denmark, with the understanding that the fentanyl would be transported to the United States, mixed with heroin and other controlled substances, and sold to the cartel’s customers in New York City, among other places.

In May 2018, MAGERRAMOV coordinated the delivery of samples of carfentanil to the CS in Denmark.  On May 9, 2018, MAGERRAMOV and his co-conspirators delivered three samples of narcotics to an agreed-upon location in Denmark.  The three samples were seized by law enforcement, tested in a laboratory, and found to contain approximately 550 grams of mixtures and substances containing carfentanil.  The CS later informed MAGERRAMOV that the three samples had been transported to the United States, that the purported cartel was satisfied with the quality of the narcotics, and that the CS wanted to purchase additional carfentanil from MAGERRAMOV and his associates.

In late May 2018, MAGERRAMOV arranged to have additional carfentanil delivered to the CS for importation into the United States.  On May 30, 2018, one of MAGERRAMOV’s co-conspirators delivered a package of narcotics to an agreed-upon location in Denmark.  The package was seized by law enforcement, tested in a laboratory, and found to contain approximately 5.2 kilograms of mixtures and substances containing carfentanil.  The CS subsequently reported to MAGERRAMOV that the carfentanil had been transported to the United States.     

During June and July 2018, the CS continued to meet and communicate with MAGERRAMOV about arranging additional narcotics transactions in the future and payment for the carfentanil that had been delivered.

MAGERRAMOV, 40, of Estonia, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to import fentanyl and carfentanil into the United States.  In addition to the prison term, MAGERRAMOV was ordered to forfeit $38,500.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding efforts of the DEA’s Special Operations Division, the DEA’s Country Office in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Estonia Central Criminal Police, the Estonia Office of the Prosecutor General, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.

Why is the $139 Million Dollar Pelham Parkway Reconstruction Project Being Hosted By a Small Community Group, and Not Community Board 11


Community Board 11 hosted the Pelham Parkway Task Force, a committee that was made up of board members and community members which oversaw the work that was going on with the reconstruction of Pelham Parkway and the installation of a new larger water supply system, and new storm sewers. That Task Force had the removal of one member in early 2021, and the Task Force was disbanded one month later with no explanation by the community board. 

As a former member of Community Board 8 who dealt with matters similar to this I was known to the Bronx Supervisor of the Department of Design and Construction, and was placed on the Task Force shortly after I moved to Morris Park one block from Pelham Parkway. While I questioned several things I thought were not being done exactly to protocol, I was not the person removed from the Task Force. I would later check the City Charter to find out that CB 11 had no authority to disband a task force it never authorized, that a board member had to run the meetings not the District Manager was done, and that the meetings had to be public not private as they were. 

 Several months later Jeremy Warneke the District Manager of CB 11 would ask Ms. Joanna Rojas the consultant on this project (who is getting paid by the city), If the Task Force should be reinstated by CB 11, since there were many questions about the work being done, and the fact that Con Edison had gone right through the reconstructed new Westbound roadbed with a thirty inch gas line leaving a six foot depression in the new now split roadbed. It was well known that Con Edison had to go through Pelham Parkway with its gas line, which like the new forty-eight inch water supply line, were for future development in CB 10 and CB 11. Ms. Rojas told DM Warneke there was no need for restarting the task force, that she would answer any questions anyone had. I asked several questions one about the section of the parkway between White Plains Road and Boston Road, which has been under construction for over a year, even after new larger water pipes were installed next to the existing ones, not getting answers. 

It seems that a small community organization outside of the construction area also had complaints as work was being done that was not on the original plans. Ms. Rojas has arranged to meet with this small group to discuss the project, and only a small part of the community board area has been invited. One might call this an illegal meeting, since such a meeting must be directed through the community board since the project runs from one end of Pelham Parkway to the other in CB 11, and not just in one small part of the board area. I have filed a complaint with the New York City Department of Investigation as to how a $139 Million Dollar project (before cost overruns) is being done with no community oversight. Why the parkway reconstruction was done knowing full well that Con Edison was going to go right through the roadway, thus now leaving a six foot section of the roadway that has no concrete foundation, just compacted sand which already has shifted causing a dip in that section from the heavy traffic and buses, along with several other items that are listed including the disbanding of the Task Force. 

This section (six feet across) of the westbound Pelham Parkway taken before the asphalt road was put on it has no concrete foundation, and a thirty inch gas line underneath in the sand which has already shifted.

The Westbound Pelham Parkway between White Plains Road and Boston Road has been reduced from five to three lanes as fire hydrants have come out on both former outer lanes. There is also an express bus stop in this area which will crowd the roadway to two lanes as the bus loads passengers.

This photo is from November 2020 when the forty-eight inch water pipes were installed below Pelham Parkway between White Plains Road and Boston Road. One year later this block is still under construction, why?



 The de Blasio administration, through NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health, announced plans to open a third Outposted Therapeutic Housing Unit, located at NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx, to improve access to care for patients whose clinical conditions require specialty and subspecialty services. The new Unit is expected to include approximately 120 beds. 

In November 2019, the administration announced plans to open an Outposted Therapeutic Housing Unit at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. The Bellevue Unit, which will include about 114 beds, has a planned completion date of December 2022, and the Woodhull unit, which include about 160 beds, has a planned completion date of 2023. The Units build on the administration’s efforts to reform the city’s criminal justice system, including the building of modern borough-based facilities and the closing of Rikers Island.
“Expanding this unique, groundbreaking program will provide opportunities for high-quality care to more people in custody,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Correctional Health Services has done extraordinary work to keep vulnerable populations safe and healthy, and I’m proud to offer this innovative service to more people than ever.”
“Outposted Therapeutic Housing Units are a pioneering approach to meeting the health care needs of people in custody, while making significant investments in Health + Hospitals facilities,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. “I’m proud that the expertise and resources of the system can be leveraged to the benefit of even more of the City’s most vulnerable populations.”  
Correctional Health Services (CHS) will determine the admission to and discharge from the Outposted Therapeutic Housing Units according to patients’ clinical needs, and the Department of Correction will provide security. The Units will serve CHS patients who do not require inpatient admission but would benefit from close, regular access to the specialty and subspecialty care available in the hospitals.
“Therapeutic housing has been a cornerstone of CHS’ approach to addressing the medical, mental health, and substance use treatment needs of our patients,” said Dr. Patsy Yang, Senior Vice President for NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services. “The Outposted beds help us bridge the gap between the care provided in the jails and inpatient hospitalization in a more dignified and humane manner.”
Since becoming the direct provider of health care for people incarcerated in New York City, CHS implemented innovations including the establishment of more jail-based therapeutic housing units for patients with serious mental illness, substance use disorders, and/or complex medical needs. CHS has also improved the continuity of care for patients recently released from custody by creating Point of Reentry and Transition primary care practices at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County to care for justice-involved individuals.
NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx will benefit from an infusion of funds that will renovate and repurpose hospital space in order to create the Outposted Therapeutic Housing Unit. These new therapeutic units will increase revenue for the hospital and will generate economic activity in the surrounding community.
“I’m proud that North Central Bronx will be a partner in this innovative model,” said Christopher Mastromano, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx. “North Central Bronx provides the highest-quality specialty and subspecialty services and we look forward to extending that care to CHS patients with complex clinical needs.”

Governor Hochul Announces New Guidance and Resources to Support Vaccination of 5-11-Year-Old Children in New York State


New Website For Parents And Guardians With Answers To Frequently Asked Questions, Resources And Locations Where Children Can Get Vaccinated Against Covid-19

Department Of Health Issues Clinical Guidance For Healthcare Providers Based On CDC Recommendations

 Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of a new website, clinical guidance and additional information and resources in the effort to vaccinate New York State's 5-11-year-old children against COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, which has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use in the United States and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as New York State's Clinical Advisory Task Force, is already being administered by providers in the state.

"This is the moment all of us have been waiting for, the opportunity to protect more of our children from this dangerous virus," Governor Hochul said. "As we head into the holiday season, I urge all parents and guardians to reach out to their pediatricians and family physicians to get their 5 - 11 year-olds vaccinated against COVID-19. We finally have this vaccine available to help keep our children, as well as our loved ones, safe and healthy, and it is critical that we take advantage of it."

The New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force endorsed CDC's statement and official recommendations this week, commending the thorough and transparent process of our nation's federal health agencies in delivering a safe and effective vaccine for children. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine—with 1/3 of the dosage than is given to adolescents and adults—was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 through 11 years of age.

Dr. Emily Lutterloh, Director of Epidemiology at the New York State Department of Health said, "As a parent of two children in the 5-11 age group, I'm relieved that this life-saving vaccine is now available to them. New York parents and guardians can rest assured that the vaccine is safe, effective and recommended by the best health and medical experts in our nation and state. The Department of Health has been working hard to make sure New York State's pediatricians and providers are ready to do what they do best as doses arrive: vaccinate our kids to keep them protected, healthy and safe."

The state's vast network of pediatricians, family physicians, county health departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), rural health centers and pharmacies stands ready to vaccinate this newly eligible group, and the Department continues to enroll hundreds more pediatricians and other pediatric healthcare providers across the state - ensuring the vaccine is free, readily available and accessible to all of New York's children. Clinical guidance has been issued by the Department of Health to healthcare providers. 

As part of these efforts, this comprehensive program includes a robust education campaign that builds upon the #GetTheVaxFacts campaign launched last week. The new website for parents and guardians includes new information, frequently asked questions and answers, and resources specifically designed for parents and guardians of this age group. 

New Yorkers looking to schedule vaccine appointments for 5-11 year-old children are encouraged to contact their child's pediatrician, family physician, county health departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), rural health centers, or pharmacies that may be administering the vaccine for this age group. Parents and guardians can visit, text their ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find nearby locations. Make sure that the provider offers the Pfizer-BioNTechCOVID-19 vaccine, as the other COVID-19 vaccines are not yet authorized for this age group. At this time, New York State's mass vaccination sites are currently being utilized for people aged 12 and older, while our #VaxToSchool pop-ups are focused on 12- to 17-year-olds. Additional programming and events focused on 5 - 11-year-olds will be announced soon.