De Blasio opposes bill limiting construction noise near schools, siding with building project backed by one his donors

New_York_Daily_News_logo.pngBy Greg B. Smith

Mayor de Blasio is moving to gut a bill that would quiet down construction noise next to schools — a bill drafted in response to a building project supported by one of his big donors.

The bill is being pushed by parents at Public School 163 on the Upper West Side who are fighting a 20-story nursing home set to be built right next to their kids’ school.

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'Setup for Failure': Tenants and Officials Blast City's Rent-to-Own Program

dnainfo-logo.pngBy Dartunorro Clark

NEW YORK CITY — City officials offered a mea culpa regarding a longtime rent-to-own program that has been labeled a failure by tenants — admitting that the program became “unsustainable” after its launch nearly 40 years ago.

Officials from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development were put in the hot seat Thursday at a marathon City Council oversight hearing to answer questions related to the beleaguered city housing program that is currently under investigation.

Officials from HPD offered some concessions and promised reforms related to the Tenant Interim Lease (TIL) program, which was meant to be a pathway for renters in city-owned buildings to purchase their units for just $250.

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Nearly 900 affordable housing program apartments sit vacant

NY_Post.pngBy Michael Gartland

The city has left nearly 900 apartments vacant in one of its affordable-housing programs — a situation that Mayor de Blasio said on Thursday leaves him “perplexed.”

Of the 2,322 apartments in the Tenant Interim Lease program, 38 percent — or 884 — are unoccupied, according to a report by Public Advocate Letitia James.

Some tenants sent packing for renovations are still waiting to get back a decade or more later.

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How Donald Trump Could Weed Out Your Community Garden

WNYC.pngBy Janet Babin

The Trump administration could decide how green New York City's future is.

More than 500 community gardens in the five boroughs rely on a program called GreenThumb. It was started in the 1970s after a financial crisis left many public gardens abandoned and bereft of funding.

GreenThumb gets 43 percent of its funding from federal Community Development Block Grants, the very funds the Trump administration wants to zero out in its latest budget.

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NYC rent freeze for one-year leases upheld by New York State judge

AMNY.pngBy Sheila Anne Feeney

Tenants were relieved and landlords frustrated at a New York State Supreme Court decision announced Tuesday that appeared to vindicate the rent freeze for one-year leases instituted by the Rent Guidelines Board in 2015 and repeated again last year.

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Tom Cat Bakery Tells Employees To Prove They're Not Undocumented Or They're Fired

Village_Voice.pngBy Nick Pinto

Last Wednesday, employees at Tom Cat Bakery, the industrial-scale provider of high-end breads and baked goods to restaurants and hotels throughout the region, received a letter from the company's payroll administrator: "Tom Cat bakery has been audited by the Department of Homeland Security," the letter stated. "After an ongoing audit, it was brought to our attention that documents you provided at the time of hiring in form I-9 does not currently authorize you to work in the United States." Employees had 10 days to prove that they have the proper documentation to legally work in the country. The letter didn't specify what would happen if they were unable to, but the implication was that they would be fired.

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NYC Parks Department Blames Crime Uptick On Parks' Increased Popularity

Gothamist.pngBy Rebecca Fishbein

Though reported crime in the city hit an overall record low last year, city parks saw a worrisome spike in some felony crimes last year, prompting one Council Member to propose the city's budget include provisions for an increase in Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers.

According to this year's Fiscal 2017 Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (which you can read here), the number of felony crimes committed against persons, like robbery, rape, and assault, in city parks went up 28 percent from 2015 to 2016, reflecting an uptick from 488 crimes to 612. That data excludes Central Park—there, overall felony crimes decreased 9.3 percent (from 85 felony crimes to 78) from 2015 to 2016, and crimes against persons decreased by 3 (from 33 to 30) according to NYPD data.

Still, in the first four months of 2017, there was an 11.8 percent increase in felony crimes against people in city parks (excluding Central Park) and a 45 percent increase in crimes against property.

Council Member Mark Levine, who chairs the Council's Committee on Parks and Recreation, is concerned about the uptick. "It’s noteworthy that at a time when crime in the city is dropping overall—really an extraordinary achievement—we’re moving in the opposite direction in parks," Levine told Gothamist. "We’ve got to figure out why. And we’ve got to devote the resources to deal with it."

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El Concejo evalúa plan ante recortes federales a NYCHA

ElDiario.pngPor: Edwin Martinez

Carmen Valentín lleva 40 años viviendo en apartamentos de vivienda pública en la Gran Manzana, y a sus 73 años confiesa que está aterrorizada por lo que será su futuro, tras los recortes que el gobierno federal pretende hacer a la Autoridad de Vivienda Pública de Nueva York (NYCHA).
“Con estos recortes de Trump, es imprescindible que haya más inversión de la Ciudad y que tengamos que poner más sobre la mesa y como gobierno municipal invertir más en vivienda pública”, aseguró el concejal Mark Levine, quien le pidió a Trump que en vez de gastar $20,000 millones en construir un muro, invierta en vivienda pública y servicios sociales.

Lee la Historia Completa Aquí

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In Focus: City Councilman Argues for More Security to Fight Wave of Anti-Semitism

NY1.pngCouncil Member Levine was interviewed on In Focus by NY1's Cheryl Wills to discuss the recent rise in hate crimes across New York City, and his plan to protect New York's diverse community centers and institutions. 

Watch the Full Interview Here

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NYC Council members seek $25M to Protect Cultural Institutions from Hate Crimes

New_York_Daily_News_logo.pngBy Erin Durkin

Amid a series of hate crimes and bomb threats against Jewish groups, City Council members are asking for $25 million to offer grants for increased security for cultural institutions.

“We are responding to a dramatic increase in hate crimes in New York City,” said Councilman Mark Levine, chair of the Jewish Caucus, which is making the request to Mayor de Blasio along with a group of other pols. “The need is sadly more glaring."

Read the Full Story Here

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