MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Dec. 22, 2020

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Stringer Audit Reveals Hazardous Conditions for Infants in Homeless Shelters

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (Photo credit: Thomas Good, CC BY-SA 4.0)
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Yesterday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) released a damning audit of infant safety within the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelter system.

The audit revealed hazardous conditions in multiple shelters where families with infants reside. Among the frequent violations were unsafe cribs, vermin infestations and exposed electrical sockets. Of the 91 units the auditors inspected, more than 90 percent had egregious safety deficiencies.

Stringer has recommended ten steps to resolve this issue, including weekly inspections from the DHS and an immediate correction of all deficiencies found.

“As a parent, I find the conditions we uncovered shameful, distressing and unacceptable,” said Stringer. “Our young children are the most vulnerable among us; they rely completely on us, as adults, to protect and care for them. Our investigation into infant safety in homeless shelters found that the City has utterly failed in its responsibility.”

“It is a stain on this City that babies in our care are sleeping alongside vermin, breathing in mold and mildew, and playing near live electrical outlets. Even one child exposed to these conditions is too many, but our audit found safety violations in 92 percent of the units we inspected. Families experiencing homelessness enter the shelter system seeking safety and stability in their time of need, and we must not allow a child’s first days and months to be spent in an environment that poses a direct threat to their health and wellbeing.”

Maloney Seeks Details from National Archives on Trump Admin’s Compliance with Presidential Records Act

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Photo credit:
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) sent a letter to David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, expressing suspicion that the Trump Administration isn’t adequately preserving presidential records.

Under the Presidential Records Act, President Donald Trump (R) cannot dispose of any records unless he obtains written consent from the Archivist. In past presidential transition years, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) would oversee this process; however, NARA has not deployed any employees to the White House for this purpose, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Press reports have indicated that President Trump and senior officials at the White House have not been fully compliant with the requirements imposed by the Presidential Records Act,” she wrote. “One report described President Trump as having an ‘odd and enduring habit of ripping up papers when he’s done with them,’ requiring career records officers to piece documents back together with tape.

“Given these reports, I am concerned that the outgoing Trump Administration may not be adequately preserving records and may be disposing of them without first obtaining your views, as required by law. I am also concerned that our existing laws may need review and revision to strengthen oversight and compliance.”

Read the full letter here.

Cuomo Announces that New York is Leading the Nation in Vaccinations

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Photo Credit:
Governor Andrew Cuomo

Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that New York State has administered 38,000 vaccines to date – the highest total in the union thus far.

Cuomo announced that 346,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine will arrive in New York by today, and 120,000 does of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive later this week. He also announced the launch of the New York Vaccine Equity Task Force, which will ensure that underserved and disenfranchised communities receive fair access to the vaccine.

“We’re now talking about who’s getting vaccinated, and let me be clear: there is no politics in the vaccination process,” Cuomo said. “We went through this with COVID testing, with big shots, celebrities, and affluent people getting to the front of the line. This preferential treatment in COVID testing undermines our entire sense of democracy, equality and a government that works for all people. And in this time of COVID where we’ve seen gross injustices, politics has nothing to do with it. There’s no governor, no county executive, and no mayor who controls the process, and anyone who says that is not telling the truth or violating the law.”

Brewer Releases Police Reform Toolkit

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (Photo credit: New York County Politics)
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Yesterday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) issued a “Police Reform Toolkit” to help the NYPD implement the reform proposals that Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) put forth.

Last June, Cuomo issued an Executive Order requiring State localities to solidify their police reform plans by April 2021. The report is a compilation of reform research pertaining to the role of the NYPD in their community.

“I hope this toolkit can further that effort,” said Brewer. “For my part, after Eric Garner’s death I worked with civil rights attorney Norman Siegel and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and together we gathered grass-roots community feedback about steps the NYPD could take to de-escalate community tensions and produced a report on next steps in 2015.

“We must all work to reduce the reflexive responses of citizens and officers that all too often escalate into episodes that further divide the community from those who are paid to protect them.”

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