Good Morning, Brooklyn: Friday, October 7, 2022

Gun Rights

POLY PREP BREAKS GROUND ON NEW ARTS CENTER: Poly Prep Country Day School has formally broken ground on a $12 million Art Center that will add 10,000 sq. ft of rehearsal, exhibition and teaching space to its Dyker Heights campus. The Arts Center construction will expand Poly Prep’s mission and provide facilities to match its innovative programs in music, dance, drama, drawing, painting, ceramics and digital arts, and enable the school to deepen its longstanding relationships with community partners and local arts organizations including the Brooklyn Museum and the Elizabeth Streb Dance Company and visiting artists-in-residence.

Special guest actor Paul Rudd, best known for his role as Scott Lang in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, was present for the event, which began with a special performance by students and special guest artist and alum, Douglas Jabara ’84.

Students participate in the groundbreaking ceremony at Poly Prep.
Courtesy Poly Prep

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HOSPITAL UNVEILS STATUE OF JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: Members of the late Supreme Court Associate and native Brooklynite Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were present earlier today for the unveiling of her statue at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, and to celebrate the planned Spring 2023 opening of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital, serving the South Brooklyn community. The 7-foot bronze statue will be prominently located in the lobby of the nearly-completed hospital, which will  feature a storm-resilient design, a flood-proof Emergency Department, private patient rooms and modern equipment to serve South Brooklyn and its neighboring communities.

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The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital will be the first new public hospital in New York City since 1982, when the health system opened NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull.

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JUDGE RESTRAINS NEW GUN LAW’S REQUIREMENTS ON HOUSEHOLD AND SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION: Pointing out that “The Concealed Carry Improvement Act was carefully crafted to put in place common-sense restrictions around concealed carry permits,” Governor Kathy Hochul, criticized Judge Sudabby’s restraining order on the gun law. “It is deeply disappointing that the Judge wants to limit my ability to keep New Yorkers safe and to prevent more senseless gun violence,” she said.

Among the provisions Judge Suddaby blocked were the state’s requirements that touched on privacy laws: mandating that applicants have an in-person meeting with the licensing officer, disclose the names and contact information of all adults residing in their home or provide a list of all current and former social media accounts from the past three years.

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ATTORNEY GENERAL WILL APPEAL FEDERAL JUDGE’S RESTRAINING ORDER ON NEW GUN LAW: State Attorney General Letitia James said she will appeal the decision of a federal judge in Syracuse (in the U.S. Northern District Court of New York) who granted a temporary restraining order on some provisions of New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA). Pointing out that “Today’s decision comes in the wake of mass shootings and rampant gun violence hurting communities here in New York and across the country,” Attorney General James emphasizes, “We believe the entire law must be preserved as enacted. We will appeal this decision.”

Chief Judge Glenn Suddaby agreed to honor the request of six New York residents belonging to Gun Owners of America, which competes with the National Rifle Association in political influence, but the Attorney General’s Office noted that all CCIA provisions remain in effect until next week because the trial judge stayed his order to permit the state to consider and pursue appellate options.

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PROCEEDS FROM SOCIAL BONDS TO FUND AFFORDABLE HOUSING: The City of New York (“the city”) has sold $1.35 billion of General Obligation Bonds, comprised of $950 million of tax-exempt fixed rate bonds and $400 million of taxable fixed-rate bonds designated as Social Bonds, Comptroller Brad Lander’s office reported today. The proceeds of the sale of the taxable social bonds will be dedicated solely to reimburse city spending on affordable housing projects, supporting the creation of over 3,000 homes under the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Extremely Low- and Low-Income Affordability program, Supportive Housing Loan Program and Senior Affordable Rental Apartments.

Proceeds of the tax-exempt bond sale will be used to fund capital projects.

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DiNAPOLI: MTA MUST COVER BUDGE GAP IN TWO YEARS: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has two years to bring back riders and rebuild fare revenue before federal relief aid runs out, and in that time, it must develop plans to cover budget gaps, according to a report on MTA’s financial outlook released today from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office. The report indicated that, entering July 2022, transit ridership continued to lag at the low end of MTA’s projections, forcing it to revise projections downward and to plan spending of federal relief funds faster than expected to cover shortfalls in fare revenue.

Gaps are forecast at $2.5 billion in 2025 and 2026 as spending outpaces inflation projections, but could be as high as $4.6 billion in 2026 if the MTA’s unspecified gap-closing program falls short.

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BROOKLYN DENTAL SITES PART OF MEDICAID FRAUD AGREEMENT: Performing medically unnecessary pediatric root canals got two Brooklyn  pediatric dentistry locations affiliated with Dr. Barry L. Jacobson and his company HQRC Management Services LLC into a joint investigation between the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. New York Attorney General Letitia James and HQRC have reached a $753,457 agreement with the corporate entity and 13 other of its locations, including Pediatric Dentistry of Avenue U and Pediatric Dentistry of Boro Park.

The case against Dr. Jacobson, HQRC, and the affiliated dental practices was initiated by a former employee, who will receive a portion of the settlement. The whistleblower lawsuit was filed under the qui tam provisions of the federal and New York False Claims Acts, which allow people to file civil actions on behalf of the government and share in any recovery.

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SOLID WASTE NOW PICKED UP ON COLUMBUS DAY: As part of New York City’s pilot “on-holiday pick-up” program, residents who normally receive Monday trash collection should place their material at the curb this Sunday evening, October 9, between 4 p.m. and midnight, for collection beginning Monday, October 10. Likewise, residents who normally receive Monday curbside composting collection should place their material at the curb between 4 p.m. and midnight Sunday evening, for collection beginning Monday, October 10.

However, recycling will be picked up a week from Monday, on October 17.

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DISTRICTING COMMISSION VOTES 13-1 IN FAVOR OF NEWLY-DRAWN CITY COUNCIL MAPS: The New York City Districting Commission today voted 13-1 to submit the 51 newly drawn City Council district maps to the City Council. The challenge in drawing these plans this year was the city’s explosive population growth to 8.8 million according to the 2020 Census: the city grew by 630,000 people – the equivalent of the entire population of the city of Memphis.

The population of non-Hispanic Blacks in the city decreased by 84,000 while the white population decreased by 3,000 people overall, and 55 percent of this new population is Asian, and 24 percent is Hispanic.

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FEDERAL JUDGE: CHANGES TO USPS HURT MAIL DELIVERY: A federal judge in Washington, DC, ruled on Thursday that changes Postmaster General Louis DeJoy made to the US Postal Service before the 2020 election hurt mail delivery. Judge Emmet Sullivan has put in place orders to prevent DeJoy from doing the same again, on the grounds that the USPS couldn’t bar postal workers from making late or extra delivery trips without permission from the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent federal agency.

“Although the simultaneous implementation of multiple policy changes in June and July 2020 contributed to the decline in mail service and the overall confusion by postal workers, the record evidence demonstrates that changes to and impacts on the USPS transportation schedule regarding late and extra trips were the primary factor in affecting service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis,” Sullivan wrote in a 65-page opinion.

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NEW BILL WILL PROTECT MINORITY- AND WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES FROM FRAUD: A new legislative package that Governor Kathy Hochul signed yesterday will strengthen New York’s nation-leading program to support Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. The law, which Gov. Hochul signed in conjunction with the State’s 12th Annual MWBE forum, which runs through October 7, will prevent fraud and abuse within the MWBE Program and create a framework for a fund that will investigate and audit misconduct within the Program, ensure the program’s integrity by creating a state MWBE registry, increase fines for fraud, and establish a MWBE fund to investigate misconduct.

Gov. Hochul announced just last week that New York State has surpassed its goal for MWBE utilization on New York State contracts with a utilization rate of 30.64 percent during the 2022 Fiscal Year, the highest MWBE utilization rate in the country for the second consecutive year


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