MAHN Lawmakers On The Move June 17, 2019

Manhattan Lawmakers on the Move bannner

Schumer FAA To Require All Helicopters To Have Black Boxes

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) over the weekend urged the FAA to heed the longstanding recommendations of the  National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as it relates to ‘black boxes’ on helicopters and get to work on a plan to see them installed as a basic safety feature.

The call comes off the heels of the fatal helicopter crash in Midtown Manhattan last Monday, that still is under investigation. Tim McCormack was killed when he flew his commercial helicopter into a building at West 30th Street after he told air traffic controllers he was having problems as he flew through heavy fog and rain, according to the New York Post. McCormack had just dropped off his boss at the 34th Street heliport on the east side prior to the crash-landing, sources said. Police have said they believe his chopper was headed back to an airport in Linden, New Jersey, while conducting executive travel.

As early as 2013, the NTSB had implored the FAA to mandate the installation of flight data recorders and a cockpit voice recorder in “all newly manufactured turbine-powered, nonexperimental, nonrestricted-category aircraft that are not equipped with a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder.” In later years, the NTSB also urged installation in all existing variations of similar helicopters, as well. A major crash that first spurred the NTSB to urge action in this area occurred in 2011.

According to the NTSB, “The ‘black box’ onboard an aircraft records many different operating conditions of the flight. By regulation, newly manufactured aircraft must monitor at least eighty-eight important parameters such as time, altitude, airspeed, heading, and aircraft attitude. In addition, some flight data recorders or FDRs can record the status of more than 1,000 other in-flight characteristics that can aid in the investigation. The items monitored can be anything from flap position to auto-pilot mode or even smoke alarms.

“So, in the name of safety, the FAA must take another look at the NTSB’s reports on chopper crashes similar to the one in New York City just last week and propel the safety measures that have been collecting dust for far too long,” said Schumer.  

PA Williams Rallies For Probe Into Central Park Five Prosecutor

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will join Justice League NYC to put pressure on Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to investigate the former New York prosecutor who worked on the Central Park Five case, Linda Fairstein.

Williams and criminal justice advocates are calling for an investigation into all of Fairstein’s past cases, as well as the removal of Elizabeth Lederer from her post as a professor at Columbia Law. As of last Thursday, Lederer had resigned from her post following after a student petition insisted on her termination.

The Central Park Five, are a group of black and Latino male teenagers who were wrongly convicted of raping and nearly killing a white women in Central Park in 1989 (Central Park Jogger Case). The police arrested five boys between the ages of fourteen and sixteen for allegedly raping and beating Trisha Meili, a jogger in the park. The boys’ attorneys maintained that they were coerced into giving false statements, but they were found guilty of robbery, assault, rape and riot. The black and latino teens were sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, AM New York reported.

The Central Park Five were vindicated in 2002 after Matias Reyes confessed to raping and beating Meili. The city paid $41 million in 2014 to settle their civil rights lawsuit, according to the New York Times.

The event is slated for 5:45 p.m., today, June 17, at New York County Criminal Court, 100 Centre Street in Lower Manhattan.

Nadler Lauds Passage of Fetal Tissue Research Amendment

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-Western Manhattan, Western Brooklyn) last Thursday applauded passage of amendment to H.R. 2740 in support of fetal tissue research.

Nadler cosponsored the amendment, which will block the Trump Administration’s policy announced this month to stop fetal tissue research. The move to tigthen federal restrictions on the use of fetal tissue was a victory for the anti-abortion movement, and one the White House said was made by President Trump alone, according to The Hill.

Researchers said the tissue collected from elective abortions has helped develop vaccines and treatments for illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer and polio. Researchers also noted that the use of fetal tissue is subject to stringent laws and ethics standards.

“This decision is not rooted in science or logic. It is not about ethics or morals. It is pure politics designed to score points with the Administration’s anti-choice friends at the expense of millions of sick Americans,” said Nadler.

“Putting additional barriers in the place of fetal tissue research would have an immediate and profound impact on public health in this country. Any research proposal already goes through ethics advisory boards to review ethical, moral, and scientific considerations. The research is also governed by strict oversight and rigorous, detailed rules for informed consent and disclosure from physicians and researchers. Fetal tissue research was instrumental in developing vaccines against polio, chickenpox, measles, and other illnesses and is currently used in research to identify treatments for ALS, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injuries,” added Nadler.