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Rell Says Connecticut Funds Contain Less Money Than Democrats Hope

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell says there's far less money available to tap from a $1.5 billion collection of state funds than Democratic lawmakers had first hoped. Lawmakers had planned to take 220 million dollars to help cover the current fiscal year's 1.2 billion-dollar budget deficit. ...

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Schumer Wants Investigation of New York Electricity Rates

Sunday, March 15, 2009

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer wants an investigation into what he says are unnecessarily high electricity rates in New York since the industry was deregulated a decade ago. The New York Democrat cites a recent report that says New Yorkers pay about 10 percent more than ...

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Planned Hudson Train Tunnel Gets First Contract Bids

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A planned new train tunnel under the Hudson River has gotten its first contracts for bids. The $8.7 billion project is expected to double train capacity into and out of Manhattan and generate 6,000 construction-related jobs. It's expected to be completed by 2017. The contracts ...

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No Drivers License, No Problem

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jorge Lopez displays an I.D. card issued by the Consulate General of Ecuador that would be accepted as a valid form of identification at all banks if this legislation passes.

Jorge Lopez displays an I.D. card issued by the Consulate General ...

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Governors...er Mayor's Island

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg is trying to convince the state to relinquish control of Governors Island and Brooklyn Bridge Park to the city. Currently both parks are jointly funded by the city and the state, but in Governor Paterson's current fiscal budget there are no funds allocated for ...

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Tempers Flare at Hearing on Mayoral Control of Schools

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sparks flew in the Bronx today at the State Assembly Education Committee's hearing on mayoral control of the public schools.

Shana Marks-Odinga and Zakiyah Ansari of Campaign for Better Schools at the Assembly Education Committee hearing today in the Bronx. They want more checks and balances on mayoral control when the law comes up for renewal in June.

Shana Marks-Odinga and Zakiyah Ansari of Campaign for Better Schools at the Assembly Education Committee hearing today in the Bronx. They want more checks and balances on mayoral control when the law comes up for renewal in June.

With the law granting Mayor Bloomberg full control over the school system of more than a million students set to expire in June, assembly members peppered Department of Education officials with questions - specifically about programs for English Language Learners. It was an especially relevant issue as the Bronx is now more than 50 percent Hispanic, according to census figures.

Karin Weekes (r) and Jeanette Iglesias (next to her) and Milton Bustamante at the State Assembly Education hearing at Lehman College in the Bronx. They all have children who attend the Family Life Academy charter school and they believe having the mayor in charge has improved the schools.

Milton Bustamante, Jeanette Iglesias, and Karin Weekes at the State Assembly Education hearing at Lehman College in the Bronx. They all have children who attend the Family Life Academy charter school and they believe having the mayor in charge has improved the schools.

Maria Santos, the Education Department's executive director of English Language Learners, testified that there are now more programs for these students. She said the number of English Language Learners performing at the lowest levels has decreased in the Bloomberg years and that the city has created more dual language programs - though she conceded the graduation statistics were less clear. But Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo called her a 'liar' (in Spanish and English) and proposed a collaboration with a University in Puerto Rico to prepare more teachers for working with English Language Learners. And parents and community members in the auditorium at Lehman college erupted with boos as Santos testified.

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Today in History: Tammany Tiger

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thomas Nast

Thomas Nast's Tammany Tiger from Harper's Weekly, Nov. 11, 1871

On March 13, 1955, Tammany leader Carmine De Sapio spars with New York State Attorney General Jacob Javits on ethics in ...

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Report: Health Care in NY Prisons Inadequate

Friday, March 13, 2009

A new report by an independent watchdog group says inmates in New York State's 70 prisons lack adequate access to health care. WNYC's Kathleen Horan has more.

REPORTER: More than 60,000 people live behind bars in New York, and many have chronic diseases, like HIV. But ...

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Hearing on Mayoral Control of Schools Draws Crowd

Friday, March 13, 2009

About 150 parents and community leaders turned out for today's state assembly hearing on whether the law granting Mayor Bloomberg control of the public schools should be renewed in June.

The education committee hearing attracted vocal supporters and opponents of the law.

A panel of community district ...

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Dept. of Ed Says Small Classes Cost Big Money

Friday, March 13, 2009

The city's Department of Education says it can't afford to reduce class sizes as much as many parents would like. At a State Assembly Education Committee hearing today, Deputy Chancellor Chris Cerf laid out what it would cost to reduce average class sizes by 10 ...

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MTA: Reduction in Service If Rescue Plan Not Approved

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is reaffirming its pledge to eliminate several bus lines, and the W and Z trains and hike fares as much as 30 percent, if New York Senate Democrats don't get behind a financial rescue plan by March 25th. That's when the ...

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Bloomberg Wants Control of Governor's Island

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg is trying to convince the state to give up its control over Governor's Island. Right now the Island off the Southern tip of Manhattan is run jointly by the city and state.

Officials are hoping 200,000 visitors will come to Governor's Island this summer ...

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NYC Claims Settlement Rose in 2008

Friday, March 13, 2009

City Comptroller Bill Thompson says the city paid out nearly $560 million last year to settle claims. As WNYC's Bob Hennelly reports, that's $10 million more than the year before.

REPORTER: Thompson says 61 percent of the settlements were with three city agencies: the Health and ...

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Mixed Outlook for NYS's Insurance Industry

Friday, March 13, 2009

Last week a New York official was grilled by Senators about his role in overseeing the failed insurer AIG.

DINALLO: I'm proud of how the regulators maintained themselves.

REPORTER: Eric Dinallo is the state superintendent of insurance. He told the Senators his agency kept a close eye ...

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Albany Still Mulling Over MTA Rescue Plan

Friday, March 13, 2009

State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith continues to hold out on giving his support to the MTA rescue plan.

SMITH: We don't want no service cuts. And we don't want anybody laid off. So we're all committed to working with a plan that makes some sense, ...

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Mad Over “Mad Money”

Friday, March 13, 2009

Was Jon Stewart’s grilling of CNBC host Jim Cramer fair?

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Judge to Decide on Merrill Bonuses

Friday, March 13, 2009

A judge says he'll decide within a week whether Bank of America has to cough up a list of performance bonuses given to top employees of Merrill Lynch, days before Merrill was acquired by Bank of America. State Supreme Court Justice Bernard Fried didn't indicate ...

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$1.3 Billion in Federal Stimulus for Amtrak

Friday, March 13, 2009

The federal government has allocated $1.3 billion of stimulus money to Amtrak for capital improvements to cut down travel time and increase arrival accuracy. Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole says ticket prices will stay the same, because the funds will be dedicated to rail system upgrades.

It ...

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What 'Shovel Ready' Really Means

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Despite the hype over shovel-ready projects, and a list 787 transit projects that are "ready-to-go within 90 days", it's going to take well over a year before the $8.4 billion that the federal stimulus bill allocates for mass transit is actually spent.

Last week, the Federal Transit Administration put out its regulations on spending that money (PDF). They stipulate that half of the money allocated to a particular state or transit agency must be "obligated" within the next six months, and the rest of it in the following six months.

But "obligate" means simply this: that the FTA agrees that the local transit agency is planning to spend the money in an appropriate way. It does not mean that the agency has to have put the project out to bid by that point, much less that it be put under contract.

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Schools Chancellor Joel Klein

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, talks about the Obama education plan's effects on local schools, and other matters facing students and parents in the region.

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