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."

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Jewish Children's Museum Reopens After Bomb Scare, NYPD Says

dnainfo-logo.pngBy Ben Fractenberg, Aidan Gardiner, Rachel Holliday Smith and Nicholas Rizzi

CROWN HEIGHTS — The Jewish Children's Museum on Eastern Parkway was temporarily evacuated after someone emailed the museum to say three pipe bombs were going to imminently explode inside Thursday morning — the second threat in the city against a Jewish center this week, police said.

The threat was emailed to the museum, located across from 770 Eastern Parkway, the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish community, at about 9:15 a.m., an NYPD spokesman said.
City councilmembers asked the city Tuesday morning to give $25 million to community centers and cultural institutions to boost security in light of recent threats against them. "We have an obligation to do everything we can to protect New Yorkers and to protect the institutions of this city," said Councilman Mark Levine.

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It's a Public Space — But Trump Tower Tries to Kick Activists Out

WNYC.pngBy Janet Babin 

On Thursday, activists organized by the pro-labor and sustainability group Align Climate Works for All traveled past security in pairs up the escalators at Trump Tower. After a few dozen had amassed at the Tower's privately-owned public garden space, a protester began reading from a script.

"...This is a public space, as defined in an agreement the Trump Organization signed when they got permission to build [an additional] 20 stories — a value of half a billion dollars as currently assessed — and they cannot prevent the public from being part of this space," said New York City Councilman Mark Levine, who chairs the Council Committee on Parks and Recreation.

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NYC Street Parking Spaces to Go to Car-Share Companies in New Pilot

AMNY.pngBy Vincent Barone

The City Council on Wednesday passed legislation requiring the city to dedicate parking spaces to car-share companies for a two-year pilot and car-ownership study.

The bill aims to reduce the number of car owners in New York City while also freeing up more parking, according to Manhattan Councilman Mark Levine, the bill’s sponsor, and city’s Department of Transportation, which has supported the idea.

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NYC to Assign Hundreds of Parking Spaces for Car-Share Vehicles Under Pilot Program

daily-news-logo.pngBy Ben Kochman

The city will set aside hundreds of parking spaces on streets and city-owned lots for car-share vehicles under a new bill passed by the City Council. Three hundred spaces on local streets and 300 more in city lots will go to car-share companies like Zipcar and Car2Go as part of a two-year pilot program.

The bill’s backers said Wednesday that the move will end up easing parking by convincing current car-owners to ditch their rides.

“Research is clear that for every one shared car put on a city street, between 5 and 10 less fuel efficient cars are taken off,” said bill sponsor Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan).

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