MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Dec. 20, 2019

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Levine Introduces Resolution to Dump Trump

Council Member Mark D. Levine
Council Member Mark D. Levine

Council Member Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville) introduced a resolution yesterday that would end the City’s contracts with the Trump Organization.

Currently, the Trump Organization has several contracts with the Parks Department to operate various venues throughout New York, such as the Central Park Carousel. Levine’s resolution calls on Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) to let the Trump Organization’s four contracts with City agencies expire. His reasoning is that the City should no longer associate itself with an organization with a long, documented history of corruption and fraudulence.

“Now that Donald Trump has moved out of New York, he should take his corrupt businesses with him,” said Levine. “In addition to the criminal entanglements of the Trump Organization, the current contracts at the Wollman & Lasker Skating Rinks in Central Park and the Trump Golf Links in the Bronx are underperforming and losing critical funding for NYC Parks. Our city’s financial relationship with the Trump name is a stain on the reputation of New York City and it needs to end immediately.”

Cuomo Signs Gottfried and Rivera’s Nursing Home Oversight Bill

Richard N. Gottfried
Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

Last Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill to expand nursing home requirements, quality oversight, and financial transparency.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea, Midtown) and State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Kingsbridge Heights), will require nursing home contractors to report all types of resident abuse to the Health Department. It will also require facilities to provide prospective residents with residency agreement terms, and require a 90 day notice to the Department in the event of the sale of nursing home properties, among other provisions.

“To protect patient safety and quality of care, we need stronger enforcement, better transparency for residents and their families, and better screening of ownership and financial transactions,” said Gottfried. “Our next priorities must include similar legislation for adult homes and ensuring adequate staffing levels in hospitals and nursing homes.”

Stringer Calls on Comcast to End Dispute Over Civil Rights Anti-Discrimination Case

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Yesterday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) sent a letter to Comcast urging them to resolve their dispute in a Supreme Court anti-discrimination case.

The case, Comcast Corporation v. National Association of African American-Owned Media and Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc.,  involves Comcast’s challenge to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, one of the country’s oldest federal civil rights statute. If Comcast wins, it could restrict access to U.S. courts for victims of discrimination.

“As long-term investors we are concerned that even if—in fact, especially if—Comcast wins the day in the Supreme Court, it loses,” said Stringer. “We are particularly concerned about the potential for enduring damage to Comcast’s reputation and its very name if it becomes associated with a Supreme Court decision that sets back the civil rights landscape in our country.”

Ayala, Brannan Write Op-Ed on Reforming MTA Paratransit

Council Member Diana Ayala
Council Member Diana Ayala

Council Members Diana Ayala (D-East Harlem, Mott Haven) and Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) wrote an op-ed for the Gotham Gazette calling on the MTA to reform Access-A-Ride.

The article argues that Access-A-Ride, in its current state, is both inefficient and oppressively costly. This, it says, is because the MTA contracts its paratransit services via a convoluted system of for-profit and not-for-profit contractors. To fix this issue, the article recommends unifying the system with a single, full-service platform to handle all contracts with vehicle providers. It also recommends enabling on-demand rides in real time so that passengers aren’t forced to reserve a ride one to two days in advance.

“The MTA recently held a conference inviting technology companies to share ideas for slashing time and cost of modernizing the antiquated signal system in the subway,” reads the article. “Mark Dowd, the new Chief Innovation Officer at the MTA, declared, ‘We are looking for cutting-edge technologies, technologies that may have not been designed for this purpose, but can be applied to this purpose.’ The MTA needs to apply this type of thinking to transform the costly and antiquated paratransit program. Now.”

Read the full article here.