Ruben Diaz, Sr., Spews Homophobia About Corey, Council

By Matt Tracey

Bronx City Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr., a notoriously homophobic lawmaker, is under fire for making homophobic comments last week about the City Council and its openly gay speaker, Corey Johnson — and he’s still refusing to cave in to his colleagues’ demand for an apology.

“When I get to the City Council, I find that the City Council is controlled — most councilmembers out of 51 councilmembers — over there, everybody is controlled by the homosexual community,” he said during a Spanish-language program known as “El Desahogo,” according to NY1 News.

The conservative Democrat, who returned to the City Council last year after spending more than a decade in the State Senate, also said Johnson is a “homosexual” and falsely stated that he is married to another man. He later said he “misspoke” when he said Johnson is married, but stood by his other comments.

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City Budget Gives Buses A Key Boost at Intersections

By David Meyer

New York City buses are getting an extra shove across the finish line — er, intersection.

The city’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget allots $2.66 million annually through 2023 to upgrade 300 intersections per year with transit signal priority — a technology that holds green lights and shortens red lights for approaching buses.

It’s a major win for transit advocates, who had previously admonished the city for the slow pace with which it rolled out the technology, known as TSP among transportation insiders. Mayor de Blasio teased the accelerated rollout in his State of the City speech in January.

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Woman fights for law that would remove sex-abusing doctors' names from birth certificates

By Jillian Jorgensen

Marissa Hoechstetter’s memories of her pregnancy will always include the doctor who abused her — but she’s hoping her children’s birth certificates won’t.

Hoechstetter testified to the City Council Thursday in support of legislation that would allow people to remove the name of the attending doctor from a birth certificate if the doctor had his license suspended, revoked or surrendered due to misconduct.

That’s what happened to Hoechstetter’s doctor — Robert Hadden, a deviant gynecologist who was charged with abusing six patients but pleaded guilty to sexually abusing just two of them as part of a plea deal that outraged some of his victims and included no jail time.

Hoechstetter didn’t even get to bring a case against Hadden — she’s said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.’s office incorrectly told her the statute of limitations had passed.

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Crown Hts. Attacks Have Leaders Searching For Answers

By Amy Sara Clark

Four violent attacks against chasidic men on the streets of Crown Heights in less than a month have community leaders scrambling to piece together the reasons for the assaults and implementing programs aimed at preventing them.

And the rash of attacks has prompted the chair of the City Council’s Jewish Caucus to draft legislation to probe the problem in a more systematic way.

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City sees an unprecedented 37 percent drop in evictions

By Michelle Cohen

The mayor’s office announced this week that New York City’s residential evictions by marshals had declined by 37 percent since 2013, with approximately 18,000 evictions in 2018 compared to almost 29,000 evictions in 2013. In Manhattan, evictions are down 47 percent since 2013. What that means: Since 2013, more than 100,000 New Yorkers who might otherwise have faced evictions have been able to stay in their homes. And evictions decreased 14 percent in 2018 alone. Maps from the New York City Council show data on where the most evictions happen and allow you to search for a specific address in any borough to find out more.

The decline in evictions follows an equally unprecedented effort to promote housing stability with a commitment to providing legal services for tenants facing eviction and displacement. As 6sqft previously reported, in August of 2017, the city passed the Universal Access law which provides free legal help to low income tenants facing eviction. In its first year the law provided free legal services to more than 87,000 New Yorkers, and 21,955 New Yorkers threatened by eviction were able to stay in their homes.

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Sorry, Mr. Mayor: New York City needs the rich to live and work here

By Steve Cuozzo

A home-buying spree by the uber-rich is “out of control” and “dangerous,” Mayor Bill de Blasio fumed last week over hedge fund mogul Ken Griffin’s $238 million purchase of an apartment at 220 Central Park South.

It was cheap talk by the mayor, who never misses a chance to pander to the “income inequality” crowd. But he isn’t stupid, and knows better than to mess too much with the real-estate free market — which props up the city treasury as nothing else does.

That’s why he’d surely block a “pied-a-terre” tax proposed in the City Council last week. One sponsor, Mark Levine, ripped Griffin’s purchase as “grotesque” and blasted “this kind of extreme wealth moving into our cities without it benefiting the people that live there.”

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Free Housing Lawyers Drive Down NYC Eviction Rates, City Says

 

By Kathleen Culliton

A new law that provides free attorneys to low-income renters is driving down eviction rates in New York City, according to city officials.

Evictions declined 14 percent in 2018 to about 18,000, Department of Social Service statistics show, and elected officials say New Yorkers have the newly enacted Right to Counsel Law to thank.

"We believe tenants shouldn't walk into Housing Court alone when their home is at stake," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. "To New Yorkers facing harassment and eviction: we have your back."

Right to Counsel, which provides legal representation and advice in eviction cases, provided help to about 87,400 New Yorkers in 2018, city officials said

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NYC evictions down thanks to legal aid program for tenants

By Will Drickey

In the six months since a New York City law guaranteeing universal access to legal counsel for low-income tenants facing evictions came into effect, more than 8,000 people have kept their homes in the face of unjust legal proceedings filed by landlords.

"When tenants are given a fair chance to fight in housing court, they will win," said Council Member Mark Levine, who sponsored the law. "Though this is great news, we can't afford to take our foot off the gas. We need to expand and strengthen this law to keep New Yorkers in their homes, off the streets and out of the shelter system."

Since 2013, the amount of evictions in New York City has fallen by 37 percent, and the number of tenants with legal representation has more than doubled, but the Right to Counsel law currently only applies to households making twice the federal poverty wage. According to Levine, in cities as expensive as New York, this is still below the cost the living. Council Member Levine has already sponsored a "Right to Counsel 2.0" law to increase the availability and applicability of the previous law.

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Debaten prohibir venta de cigarrillos electrónicos con sabor en Nueva York

By Pedro F. Frisneda

El aumento significativo en el número de jóvenes neoyorquinos que usan cigarrillos electrónicos a base de vapor y con diferentes sabores, está causando gran preocupación entre funcionarios electos y autoridades de Salud de la ciudad, los cuales están proponiendo medidas para acabar con esta práctica que, según aseguran, pone a muchos en riesgo de morir prematuramente.

La semana pasada se dieron cita en una audiencia pública, realizada en la sede del Concejo Municipal de la ciudad de Nueva York, los defensores y detractores de un proyecto de ley que, de ser aprobado, prohibiría la venta de cigarrillos electrónicos con sabores en los comercios de toda la urbe.

El proyecto de ley (Int. 1362), presentado por el concejal Mark D. Levine (D-Distrito 7), quien es presidente del Comité de Salud del Concejo, busca prohibir la venta de cigarrillos con sabores, incluyendo el mentol, los cuales están siendo usados en números alarmantes por los adolescentes neoyorquinos y los de todo el país.

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After $238M condo sale, calls for pied-à-terre tax are renewed

By Amy Plitt

While absurdly pricey real estate deals are nothing new in New York City, the sale of a $238 million penthouse at 220 Central Park South—a figure that eclipsed the last record-breaking condo sale by a full $138 million—has, understandably, triggered a more heated response.

Hedge funder Ken Griffin, who owns pricey properties in several other cities, snagged the most expensive apartment in not just New York City, but the entire country—but he reportedly doesn’t even plan to use the home as his primary residence. A rep for Citadel, the firm Griffin founded, told the Wall Street Journal that he plans to use it as a place to stay “when he’s in town” (his primary residence is Illinois, where he recently paid $58.75 million for Chicago’s priciest home ever sold). They later clarified to the New York Times that Griffin will spend “considerable time” there, but whether it will become his primary residence is unclear.

As Gothamist reports, that revelation has prompted several elected officials to renew calls for the pied-à-terre tax, a version of which has been around for several years.

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