New York City will spend $130 million over the next four years, as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce crime, jail re-entry and the number of people with mental illnesses, who are often locked up for minor offenses.
The plan, proposed by Mayor de Blasio’s Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System, came in response to a number of cases in which mentally ill inmates died under questionable conditions at Rikers Island, the country’s second-largest correction facility.
The Rev. Darryl James, rear left, and Councilman Rory Lancman were among those braving the evening chill at Rufus King Park.
Councilman Rory Lancman, center, with members of the new Desi Senior Center, the Jamaica Muslim Center and India Home during an unveiling of the new senior facility.
The epic battle between animal rights groups and Central Park horse carriage drivers has come to a head as Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) announced a bill that would ban the centuries-old practice from the city’s most iconic park.
“The morality of a nation can be judged by the way society treats its animals,” Dromm said in a prepared statement. “Horses don’t belong on New York City’s congested streets amid cars and pollutions. There have been too many crashes and too many horse deaths and injuries to justify the continuation of this industry.”
In the basement of the Jamaica Muslim Center, Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) and various South Asian community leaders announced the opening of the Desi Senior Center on Monday.
The facility is the first to serve the Desi — South Asians — community three days a week at a single location.
When asked in recent days if New York should legalize marijuana for recreational use, a move that is supported by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx), six of Queens’ 15 Council members gave varied responses.
All 15, including Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn), whose Brooklyn district also includes much of Ridgewood, were asked the same questions via email to their main spokespersons: Would you support the legalization of marijuana in New York? Why or why not? And how would how would it benefit or affect New York?
There are many measures worth implementing to protect the environment, but some are simply more cumbersome and costly than they’re worth. The revived City Council plan to make stores charge 10 cents for each bag a customer gets is one of those.
The goals are laudable, of course — to reduce the garbage New Yorkers produce and therefore the cost of shipping it, to keep the bags from clogging drains, to prevent them from getting tied up in trees and stuck elsewhere in the natural environment.
Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman Rory Lancman discuss the Queens spaces included in the Parks Department’s Community Parks Initiative at a Borough Board meeting at Borough Hall on Monday.
Two synagogues requesting variances were the focus of Community Board 8’s November meeting, held last Wednesday at Hillcrest Jewish Center. Nearly 40 congregants from both synagogues spoke.
Sharey Tefilah, a synagogue in a two-story home at 144-02 76 Road in Kew Gardens Hills, sought a zoning variance for construction of a third story, which would put the synagogue, school and rabbi’s office in the same building.
When Eric Garner died from an apparent chokehold by a police officer in July, city officials and activists were riled up.
Since a video of Garner’s arrest and eventual death hit the internet, people from the Citizens United for Police Reform to City Council called into question the NYPD’s policy for apprehending an individual who is resisting arrest, as Garner was.
A proposal to charge consumers 10 cents for every single-use plastic bag they use at checkout is gaining traction again. City Hall held a discussion Wednesday to discuss a bill introduced by Councilmembers Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) and Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan) that’s designed to reduce disposable bag use in the city by implementing the 10 cent fee.
According to its sponsors, the goal of the bill isn’t to charge consumers the fee but to incentivize them to change their habits and become more environmentally conscious. Retailers would keep the money and the bill exempts transactions made using food aid programs.
Marijuana, narcotics, tobacco and alcohol are some of the contraband smuggled by correction officers at Rikers Island, in exchange for thousands of dollars from inmates’ relatives, an undercover city investigation found.
The city Department of Investigation released a report last week, about their months-long probe into the criminal activity and civil disorder at the country’s second largest correctional facility. They found that even when contraband set off metal detectors at the staff entrances, security personnel allowed correction officers to walk in without searching them.
St. John’s University and two other New York colleges have reached an agreement with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to stop asking prospective students about their contacts with the criminal justice system, including arrests that have not led to a conviction, sealed or expunged records or pardoned records.
Schneiderman said an arrest or police stop that did not lead to a conviction or criminal record “indeed must not” be a standard question on a college application as it will discourage those who are seeking a higher education.
At the New York Foundation for Eldercare’s Recognition Dinner held on Oct. 22, City Councilman Rory Lancman of Fresh Meadows, far right, presented the award for Community Leadership to representatives of the Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center: Linda Spiegel, left, director of External Affairs; Yoel Lichstein, executive director, and Michael Fassler, president and CEO, CenterLight Health System.
At the New York Foundation for Eldercare’s Recognition Dinner, held to honor leaders in the field of training geriatric psychiatry fellows on Oct. 22 at The Yale Club in Manhattan, the focus was a training program that addresses the critical need to train geriatricians to care for the baby boomer generation.
The honorees were Dr. Gary Kennedy, director, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Dr. Melinda Lantz, chief of Geriatric Psychiatry, Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center; and Dr. Alessandra Scalmati, Ph.D., psychiatrist, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Montefiore Medical Center and the Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a member of CenterLight Health System.
As the homeless population continues to escalate, the Department of Homeless Services has had to rely on the use of emergency shelters.
The procedure, which allows DHS to move residents into a newly converted shelter — usually an old hotel — within seven days of notifying the local elected officials, has grown increasingly unpopular among councilmembers whose districts have been affected.
When it comes to the controversy surrounding Rachel Noerdlinger, chief of staff to Mayor de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, the vast majority of city lawmakers from Queens have nothing to say.
Asked on Monday whether they support Noerdlinger’s continued employment as McCray’s top aide, only three of the 14 City Council members from Queens would answer the question.
Serving constituents, one kosher meal at a time.
On Sept. 23, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, second from right, joined Councilmembers Karen Koslowitz, Rory Lancman and Mark Weprin at the Masbia soup kitchen at 98-08 Queens Blvd. in Rego Park to help provide hot meals to those in need.
With thousands of undocumented, unaccompanied minors facing possible deportation and the federal government not doing as much reforming as city officials would like, the City Council has taken it upon itself to assist the immigrant youth who are unable to pay for proper legal representation while in immigration court.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan), the Robin Hood Foundation and New York Community Trust announced the new Unaccompanied Minor Children Initiative last week — a $1.9 million public-private partnership that will provide funding to legal organizations to address the need for free legal representation and access to social, mental health and medical services.
When area residents were invited to a community town hall meeting at the Pomonok-Electchester Public Library on Monday evening to discuss issues of concern, they arrived in droves, filling the makeshift meeting space to beyond capacity and showed little inhibition in letting the elected officials in attendance know their displeasures.
Hosted by Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), in conjunction with state Sen.Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) and Councilmember Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), who was unable to attend, the event also featured brief presentations by city Comptroller Scott Stringer and several city agencies.
Almost five months after a fire destroyed Plaza College’s Jackson Heights campus located within the Bruson Building, the school triumphantly opened its new Forest Hills campus with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by over 100 people on Friday.
Scores of Plaza College administrators, professors, students and alumni joined elected officials, such as Borough President Melinda Katz, for hors d’oeuvres on the patio and tours of the school’s first floor within the Forest Hills Tower at 118-33 Queens Blvd. to celebrate its move eastward.
The most diverse county in the country last week celebrated with 62 people from 17 countries as they became Americans.
All gathered under a large canopy on Sept. 17 at the King Manor Museum in Jamaica and took the Oath of Allegiance making them this country’s newest citizens.
At the St. John’s forum are Andrew Taranto, left, Assistant Vice President for Government Relations Brian Browne, Erica Andriamaherimanama, Councilman Rory Lancman, Matthew Larkins, and Daniel Cahill.
Just nine months into his first term, it appears likely that the legacy of Mayor de Blasio will largely rest on an important issue: his ability to improve relations between the Police Department and the city’s communities of color.
A panel discussion titled “Broken Windows ... Broken Theory?” held at St. John’s University on Monday delved into race relations.