Amtrak is under fire – not for its service, but a billboard.
Upper Manhattan residents and elected officials gathered in Washington Heights on Wednesday to protest the new sign on Amtrak property.
City Councilman Mark Levine said Amtrak offered to lower the billboard two feet, but the community wants it scrapped.
“We are upset about this, we do not accept it. It was done without consultation with the community,” he said. “It is visual clutter we don’t want and need.”
By Jeff Coltin
Who says a health committee has to be all about insurance premiums? Halfway through City & State’s interview with New York City Councilman Mark Levine, the health committee chairman said it was the most fun interview he’s ever done: “You’re hitting all these cool issues.”
But that’s just because in his role, Levine has been hitting some of the most interesting issues of the day, such as marijuana, e-cigarettes and a measles outbreak in Brooklyn.
By Noah Manskar
A Manhattan lawmaker wants to create a list of the long-empty stores that have plagued commercial corridors around New York City. City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal introduced a bill Wednesday that would establish a city registry of all storefront property that has been vacant for at least three months.
Doing so would give lawmakers a clearer picture of commercial vacancies across the city, a problem that has so far been tough to quantify on a large scale, the Democratic lawmaker said.
By Greg McQueen
Registered nurses at three hospital systems have threatened to strike over what they call unsafe staffing levels.
At a press conference on Thurs. Mar. 7th, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) announced that nurses had voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike at Mount Sinai, New York-Presbyterian and Montefiore sites if conditions are not improved.
The final combined tally was 8533 “yes” to 230 “no,” according to NYSNA.
A strike would affect about 10,000 nurses and could be called in the coming weeks, NYSNA officials said.
Nurses insisted that they are forced to care for too many patients at a time, creating an unsafe environment. “Nurses are expected to treat patients they haven’t been properly trained for,” said NYSNA Vice President Anthony Ciampa. “They’re expected to skip breaks or lunches.”
Por Ana b. Nieto
Renta. Renta. Renta. Cuando los pequeños comerciantes independientes de la ciudad hacen un listado con sus preocupaciones, lo que literalmente les quita el sueño, el alquiler del local comercial desde el que operan, ocupa los primeros lugares. Porque la renta es alta, porque vence el contrato, porque no se renueva o porque se ha iniciado un trámite de desalojo que suele acabas con un negocio y los empleos que genera.
El miembro del Concejo, Mark Levin, presentó el miércoles una propuesta para que los pequeños comerciantes puedan hacer uso de servicios legales gratuitos de la ciudad cuando hagan frente a un procedimiento de desalojo. Es algo que hace un año y medio se aprobó para casos residenciales y los desalojos se han reducido desde entonces un 37%. “Los procedimientos que afectan a los comerciantes no son tan elevados, un promedio de 174 al mes, pero están aumentando”, explica.
Congestion pricing has gained support in the state legislature, and could pass this year. Council members Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine are holding a town hall meeting on Tuesday at John Jay College to discuss the details.
Congestion pricing involves charging drivers for entering Manhattan’s central business district, with tolls likely being set up around 60th Street and at other entry points. Some residents have expressed concern that drivers fro the burbs will park their cars in the neighborhood, to avoid the charge, so local officials have discussed possible resident parking permits.
A bill that will soon be proposed in the City Council would provide small businesses in New York City with free legal counsel if they are facing eviction.
City Councilman Mark Levine plans to introduce the bill on Wednesday, and it is based on a similar program for residential tenants, according to the Wall Street Journal.
There have been more than 3,900 commercial evictions in New York City over the past two years, and the average number has gone up each month since 2017, data from the city shows.
The bill would apply to independently owned businesses, along with owners whose household income does not exceed 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines.
The current Right to Counsel program for residential tenants covers legal help for harassment and displacement issues, and it has helped about 33,000 households throughout the 2018 fiscal year.
By Alexandra Alexa
Calls for a pied-à-terre tax have increased since billionaire Ken Griffin closed on a penthouse at 220 Central Park South for over $239 million. The sale shattered the existing record of the most expensive home sold in the US by $100 million but Griffin will only be using the residence as “a place to stay when he’s in town.” City Council Members Mark Levine and Margaret Chin recently announced support for a bill that was first drafted by Sen. Brad Hoylman five years ago, which would place a yearly surcharge of 0.5% to 4% on secondary residences worth more than $5 million. In a statement released on Wednesday, State Budget Director Robert Mujica added his support, stating that a pied-à-terre tax could be combined with other revenue solutions to help fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $40 billion in capital needs.
“Congestion pricing is projected to yield $15 billion, the internet sales tax would yield roughly $5 billion, and the tax on cannabis could generate an additional $2 billion for a total of $22 billion for the next MTA capital plan,” he explained.
With the estimated cost of the Fast Forward plan at $40 billion, Mujica suggested that a pied-á-terre tax could help raise additional funds. “If we lose tax revenue generated by cannabis we will either need a 50/50 cash split between the city and state, or the pied-à-terre tax,” Mujica said, suggesting that the new tax could bring as much as $9 billion over the 10-year period of the capital plan.
By Tyler Pager
Public officials and health experts had given several warnings: Do not allow a student in school if they had not been vaccinated against measles.
Still, during New York City’s largest measles outbreak in a decade, a school in Brooklyn ignored that advice, resulting in one student infecting at least 21 other people with the virus.
The outbreak, at Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov in Williamsburg, is reigniting concerns that too many people in New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities are unvaccinated, as well as worries that measles would continue to spread after travelers arrived last fall from parts of Israel and Europe, where the virus was spreading.
Half of all the routes analyzed across the five boroughs received a “D” grade or lower, shining a light on the depressing, delay-ridden commutes that plague the city’s 2 million daily bus riders.
The report also shows breakdowns of bus performance by City Council district— all but five of the 51 across the city received “D” or “F” grades.
“For a long time I’ve felt that the problems on our buses were an ignored second transit crisis in this city,” said City Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), whose district received an F grade and has an average bus speed of 5 miles per hour. “All the attention goes to the obviously serious problem in our subways.”