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The latest articles from WNYC News

Last Build Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 22:07:08 -0500


Latest Newscast From the WNYC Newsroom

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 22:07:08 -0500

Latest Newscast From the WNYC Newsroom

Media Files:

De Blasio Backs Revised Right to Know Act

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:53:33 -0500

Mayor de Blasio reversed course on Tuesday saying he now supports legislation that promotes greater police accountability. The Right to Know Act includes two bills — one that requires police to identify themselves, and another that requires a person's consent before certain police searches.

Until now, the mayor and the NYPD opposed the bills, arguing the department had already addressed these issues by changing their own policies.

"Well over a year ago the NYPD issued new rules to officers related to consent to search and related to providing identification," said de Blasio.

He said those changes are working. But the Council has continued to push to codify them. "I think there was a concern in the Council that the reforms were a good idea, [but] they wanted to make sure they'd be lasting," he added.

De Blasio said after a series of negotiations, his administration reached a compromise with lawmakers. The bills were aged last night, which means the Council has the option to bring them to a vote at next Tuesday’s stated meeting.

But police reform advocates said the revised legislation doesn’t go far enough. Specifically, advocates called out Intro 182-D, sponsored by Council member Ritchie Torres, which requires police to provide a business card and explain the reason for certain interactions with the public.

"The bill version that the mayor is supporting has these huge loopholes that would make it so that a large majority of police interactions would actually be exempt from this," said Anthonine Pierre of the Brooklyn Movement Center and member of the steering committee of the Communities United for Police Reform.

A spokesman for Torres did not respond directly to the criticism, but suggested a vote on the bill at the next meeting was still up in the air.

"Aging the bill reserves the right to push it for a final vote at the next Stated," spokesman Raymond Rodriguez said adding, "but no final decision has been made."

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the union that represents rank-and-file police officers, opposes the entire legislative package, calling it "a dangerous distraction from the very real threats to our city."

De Blasio Backs Revised Right to Know Act

Media Files:

City Plans to Use Eminent Domain to Create Affordable Housing for Homeless

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:51:13 -0500

To address the homeless crisis, the de Blasio administrations says it's going to take over private buildings that house homeless families to convert them to affordable housing, using with legal force if necessary.

The city has been renting apartments in private buildings to house homeless families since the Giuliani administration, part of the so-called cluster program. On Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio said the city would buy 25 to 30 of the buildings where more than 50 percent of the occupants are homeless and turn them into permanent, affordable housing. In an unprecedented move, the city said it will use eminent domain if the owners don't agree to sell.

"We’re crossing the Rubicon in 2018,” the Mayor said. “We’re either coming to a negotiated outcome, our strong preference, or we’re initiating legal action."

Around 3,000 homeless New Yorkers live in the buildings the city plans to buy, and they will be able to stay in those apartments.

The Rent Stabilization Association, which represents landlords, said the proposal was "shocking" and that it expected some landlords would try to fight the city in court.

"It really boggles the imagination that the city will consider forcibly taking the apartment buildings away from owners who refuse to sell to the city," said Mitchell Posilkin, RSA’s legal counsel.

City Plans to Use Eminent Domain to Create Affordable Housing for Homeless

Media Files:

Two Groups Founded After Newtown Massacre Promise 'Never Again'

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 16:32:40 -0500

In the weeks after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, numerous Newtown residents began meeting in the basement of the local church, including some of the parents who had lost children in the massacre.

At first, they called themselves Newtown United, but soon they broke into two groups that ended up pursuing two different strategies to prevent future school shootings of Sandy Hook's magnitude. (Some 20 children and six adults died.) One of them, Newtown Action Alliance, has gone full-bore trying to get greater restrictions on gun and ammunition sales, convincing Connecticut to enact some of the toughest gun legislation in the nation. The other group, Sandy Hook Promise, became frustrated, however, with the lack of action on Capitol Hill against guns, and broadened its strategy to address other issues, such as mental health reform and school safety.

"They get along very amicably," said WSHU reporter David Dunavin, who has been covering the groups since they formed. "But they've each taken their own areas of advocacy and activism."

Dunavin spoke with WNYC host Richard Hake in advance of the fifth anniversary of the shooting.


Two Groups Founded After Newtown Massacre Promise 'Never Again'

Media Files:

Gillbrand Calls Trump Attack a 'Sexist Smear'

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 14:00:00 -0500

President Donald Trump fired up a new round of questions about sexual harassment Tuesday in a morning tweet attacking New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Trump wrote that Gillibrand asked him for campaign contributions when the Democrat ran for Senate in 2010.

But one expert noted that the average tax rate for corporations in Puerto Rico was 7 percent, and that it had become commonplace for the government to give away tax incentives without following up on the effects to the economy.

Jaresko, the board’s executive director, agreed that taxes were necessary to fund schools and to maintain “the rule of law.”

The third and final listening session will be held Monday in Manhattan, and a public meeting on Tuesday is also scheduled in New York City. Those interested in attending must register here by 5pm on Friday.