Major apt. building owner bans smoking
The Related Companies, a substantial developer and owner of properties, with more than 40,000 rental units nationwide, announced Monday that it is prohibiting smoking in all its residential buildings. The move follows a years-long pilot project, and the firm says the demand for smoke-free housing is greater than the supply.
Related owns the Gateways and Ocean Park buildings in the Rockaways and is one of the developers behind the Hunters Point South project in Long Island City.
Health advocates say banning smoking in multifamily buildings is the next front in curbing the habit and protecting those who inhale second-hand smoke, following the city’s prohibitions in bars, restaurants and city parks.
“In concert with Related’s commitment to sustainability and the wellness of its residents, we are proud to have proactively instituted a smoke-free commitment nationally,” said Jeff Brodsky, president of Related Management. “As a company, we are constantly looking for new ways to improve our residents’ quality-of-life.
State AG takes on smartphone theft
With smartphone snatching on the rise across the city and elsewhere, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced last Thursday that he and the district attorney of San Francisco have launched a new campaign to urge the industry to make technological improvements to discourage theft.
Schneiderman said he has written to the major smartphone manufacturers asking them to join law enforcement in coming up with ways to combat theft and to institute “kill switches” on devices to render them useless when stolen.
Vets’ tuition break?
The state Senate has passed a bill that would allow military veterans to go to schools in New York at in-state tuition rates regardless of where they come from, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) announced Monday.
It was not immediately clear if a companion bill in the state Assembly would pass as the legislative session was coming to its expected end this week. The Legislature is expected to wrap up its business Thursday.
But Stavisky was optimistic.
“Our veterans have gone above and beyond to prove that they are dedicated, loyal and hardworking citizens,” she said in announcing Senate passage. “I’m happy to announce that our state has decided to honor their service by extending in-state tuition rates so that more veterans can come to live, work and learn in our vibrant community.”
Bill would change city Water Board
The state Assembly last week passed a bill that would change the composition of the city’s Water Board to reduce the power the mayor has over the body.
The bill, introduced by Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), comes in response to water rate hikes far above inflation, with many in recent years reaching into the double digits.
The measure would see the mayor appoint four members, with three more named by the City Council speaker, the comptroller and the public advocate, respectively. All would be subject to confirmation by the Council.
U.S. opposes NYPD on stop and frisk
The U.S. Department of Justice has intervened in the lawsuit challenging the Police Department’s use of stop, question and frisk, according to multiple media reports.
The DOJ supports having an inspector general oversee the NYPD, an idea raised during the case, which has been pending for years, the reports said. Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly are opposed.
Critics say stop and frisk unfairly targets minorities and is ineffective, while supporters say it is a key reason violent crime is down.