Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, Apr. 27, 2020

COVID-19 molecule
COVID-19 (Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS)

Nadler Questions Barr as Trump Proposes Emergency Powers

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

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) sent Attorney General William Barr a letter Friday asking him to elaborate on the nature of the emergency powers President Donald Trump (R) has proposed using to combat the coronavirus, the Hill reported.  

“In recent days and weeks, President Trump has repeatedly suggested he may use unspecified emergency powers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic…When challenged about his claims, President Trump said his Administration would ‘write up papers’ or a ‘legal brief’ justifying these positions,” wrote Nadler.

Barr responded, declining to give specifics, but indicated the Justice Department would have to review any such actions first.

“While it remains unclear what the President is referring to when he describes authorities ‘that people don’t even know about,’ his remarks suggest that his Administration has produced or may soon produce documents purporting to support the use of extraordinary legal authorities in response to the pandemic,” Barr replied. “Such documents would likely undergo review by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).”

Johnson Wants Cuomo to Intervene in Dispute with De Blasio

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

If Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) vetoes City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s (D-Midtown West, Chelsea, West Village) proposal to pedestrianize 75 miles of city streets, Johnson has indicated his desire to get Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) involved, the Daily News reported Sunday. 

The City Council and Mayor have been split over the issue, with the council seeing the plan as necessary to promote social distancing. De Blasio feels that it would undermine security.

“If the Mayor won’t open streets to New Yorkers, who so desperately need safe public spaces right now, the @NYCCouncil will look to @NYGovCuomo for leadership on this issue. We are prepared to work with the State to make this happen,” tweeted Johnson. 

Kallos Blasts DOE’s iPad Investment

Council Member Ben Kallos
Council Member Ben Kallos

The city Department of Education’s investment into remote schooling included over $269 million in iPads for students, the New York Post reported Saturday.  Each of the 300,000 iPads and key services for them cost $897.

Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island, East Harlem) criticized the investment, saying they could have spent less on laptops that had more utility for learning, and called it “a waste of money.”

“For what they spent on an iPad, they could have bought a full functioning laptop for every kid in the system,” Kallos said. “Instead, we got a bunch of iPads which don’t really create equity when families have laptops and broadband.”