Treyger, Brannan Call For Investigation Into Southern Brooklyn Power Outages
City Council Members Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Gravesend) and Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst) called for an investigation into Southern Brooklyn power outages after more than 1,100 Con Edison customers in their districts lost their power for several hours starting at about 11 a.m.
The boundaries within the outage area were: North – 27th Avenue, South – Shore Parkway, East – Stillwell Avenue, West – Cropsey Avenue. The area is serviced by overhead lines.
“This is completely unacceptable that another service outage has occurred in New York City leaving Con Edison customers without power, impacting vulnerable residents in Gravesend, Bath Beach, some of Coney Island, the Block Institute, which serves children and adults with disabilities, and small businesses in the neighborhoods. Con Edison was neglectful to inform their customers, as we were only made aware of the outage by the NYC Office of Emergency Management around 11 a.m. this morning. We had no idea of the boundaries of the impact or what efforts were underway to restore power by Con Edison. The impacted area serves a population of 5,319,” said the two lawmakers in a statement.
“Con Edison is proving to be an unreliable utility company as a blackout in service happened only four days prior in Manhattan and another recently in Staten Island. Frequently, service outages have occurred in Gravesend, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights as well, and our offices have documented and met with Con Edison in the past, but they continue to happen.
“Many constituents called us directly today to share their stories on how they lost work documents on their computers, worried about food spoiling in their refrigerators, and were concerned about the National Weather Service heat advisory issued today and not having access to their air conditioning for a significant amount of time. Residents need answers and we demand answers to this recurrent event. As the Council Members representing the Southern Brooklyn community, we are calling for the New York State Public Service Commission to include the incidents in Southern Brooklyn as they investigate Con Edison and learn what happened in Manhattan as a result of Governor Cuomo’s request for an official inquiry.”
Velazquez, Myrie, Menchaca Host Rapid ICE Response Session In Sunset Park
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan), State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) and City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) today are hosting a Rapid (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) (ICE) Response Session with community leaders to to assist their efforts in protecting immigrant neighbors against ICE raids.
The emergency meeting comes as the de Blasio Administration reported several unsuccessful ICE raids in Sunset Park that netted no detention of undocumented immigrants. However, with the ICE raids likely to continue past the announced week timeline, there is an urgent need to educate and connect community leaders with government, legal, mental health, and other resources to assist their efforts in protecting immigrant neighbors and keeping families together.
The strategy session is slated for 6 p.m., today, July 18 at Sunset Park High School, 153 35th Street in Sunset Park.
Adams Calls For Removal Of Pantaleo From the NYPD
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams yesterday called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Police Department (NYPD) Police Commissioner James O’Neill to remove NYPD Police Officer Daniel Daniel Pantaleo from service.
Adams’ comments come after the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) this week decided this week to not pursue charges of Pantaleo, who was captured on a video five years ago wrapping his arm around Eric Garner’s neck to subdue him on a misdemeanor arrest of selling loose cigarettes.
Garner, who died from the incident, was also captured on the video uttering “I can’t breathe,” contributing to a national protest and conversation regarding police treatment of blacks in this country.
“While out of the country, I learned of DOJ’s decision. As a retired NYPD captain, I’m aware of how important it is to use appropriate force during an arrest. I have long believed that instead of using all the tools for non-violent encounters, we too often use just a hammer. That approach cost Eric Garner his life. Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill should move quickly to remove Officer Pantaleo from service,” said Adams.
Clarke Amendment to Protect America from Chinese and Russian Deep Fake Interference
U.S. Reps. Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Park Slope) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) yesterday offered an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Bill to require the Director of National Intelligence to provide Congress with a comprehensive assessment of the national security implications of deep fakes.
This includes language from Clarke’s bill, the DEEPFAKES Accountability Act, to require a report on how China and Russia are developing and using deep fake technology.
Clarke’s original legislation, H.R. 3230, the Defending Each and Every Person from False Appearances by Keeping Exploitation Subject (DEEPFAKES) to Accountability Act requires those who create deep fake videos to label videos with a digital watermark and a written disclaimer informing its viewers that the content has been manipulated.
It also updates identity theft statutes to account for deep fakes and creates a task force to help social media companies remove deep fakes from their platforms. Deep fake videos are covertly manipulated videos altered with the use of artificial intelligence technology, making them indiscernible as being changed from their original form.
“We have reason to believe China and Russia are already exploring ways to use deep fakes to interfere in our elections, destroy the reputation of political dissidents and conduct influence campaigns through organizations like the United Front Work Department. Requiring the Intelligence Community to report on these threats means we’ll be better prepared when these possibilities become realities,” said Clarke.
“Without a doubt, China is at the forefront of developing undetectable deep fakes. They even have a policy of ‘military-civil fusion,’ which specifically involves having private companies help their government develop advanced artificial intelligence technologies—like deep fake software. Meanwhile, as we learned in 2016, Russia is aggressively spreading disinformation to influence American elections. My amendment means these threats will receive the attention they require to protect the integrity of American elections.”
Rose To Visit Southern Border With Bipartisan House Committee
U.S. Rep. Max Rose (Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) will visit the Rio Grande Valley tomorrow as part of a bipartisan Homeland Security Committee delegation to examine the migrant conditions at the southern border.
The group will visit CBP facilities around McAllen, Texas, including a Border Patrol station, processing center, holding facility, and a port of entry. The delegation will also visit a Department of Health and Human Services shelter and meet with local immigration stakeholders working on the ground at the border.
“The reports we’ve seen at the border—not just over the past few weeks but since the beginning of this administration—are gut-wrenching and deeply troubling,” said Rose, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “But reports are not the same as seeing, hearing, and feeling the situation firsthand which is why I’m grateful for the Homeland Security Committee for organizing this bipartisan visit.”
Rose will be joined by U.S. Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.), Mark Walker (R-N.C.), and Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.).