Kathleen Horan appears in the following:
Monday, June 18, 2012
Officer Richard Haste faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of first degree manslaughter in the Bronx shooting of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham. But law enforcement experts say officers are rarely convicted in criminal misconduct cases.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The life of artist and children's book author Maurice Sendak was celebrated at a memorial service at the Metropolitan Museum on Tuesday. The creator of more than 100 books, including the classic Where the Wild Things Are, was remembered as a man driven by his need to create.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said on Monday that his office will encourage alleged victims of sexual assaults from a prestigious private school to come forward — even if the incidents happened beyond the statue of limitations.
Monday, June 11, 2012
An NYPD officer has been indicted in the shooting death of an unarmed man inside his Bronx home earlier this year, sources told WNYC.
Monday, June 11, 2012
(New York, NY -- WNYC) A taxi app competition sponsored by New York City is heating up. The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is accepting proposals for an app that will help passengers pay for their taxi trips with their smartphones.
"You could pre-load your credit card and pre-set the tip amount that you use and that way when you get in a taxi you click that app and you don't have to worry about swiping that credit card at the end," said TLC Commissioner David Yassky.
In addition to the convenience of not having to dig for a credit card before getting out of a cab and having a record of the receipt, at least two of the companies in the running also promise their technology will assist customers in locating a taxi.
One of the competitors, Jay Bregman, who is CEO of the company Hailo, said, “We want to help solve the inefficiencies in the taxi market.” The company already offers a popular taxi app in London. “Why go into the street when you can hail the cab from inside the house or the bar?” he added.
Radios and dispatchers are barred from use in yellow cabs but companies like Hailo said that there isn’t any need for a dispatcher with their app — it’s more like putting your technology in the air, instead of waving your arm in the air to hail a cab.
But some in the industry are against using gadgets to find cabs.
The Livery Roundtable, a group that represents over 300 livery bases in the city, said in a statement: “Digital hailing is just another sleight of hand by the TLC to masquerade its desire to de-reregulate ground transportation … Besides forcing the driver to text and drive — prearranged service is legally the exclusive right of the for-hire service sector.”
But TLC Commissioner Yassky said digital hailing isn’t necessarily their goal — it’s only a function they’re considering.
"App developers are welcome to give us other functions on top of payment … we'll see what comes in," said Yassky.
Another company keen on getting into the city’s taxi market is GetTaxi.
The company’s CEO, Jing Wang Herman, said they’d like to provide drivers with a dashboard-mounted box that will help them connect with customers. In addition to other functions, their app will help disabled customers find a wheelchair-accessible taxi.
Yassky said the number of winners in the app contest depends on the quality of the submissions.
The last day to submit entries is Thursday. Winners are expected to be announced this fall.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
A taxi app competition sponsored by the city is heating up. The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is accepting proposals for an app that will help passengers pay for their taxi trips with their smartphones.
Friday, June 08, 2012
Move over Citi Field, here comes Acme Courts and Widget Dog Run. For the first time, New York City is selling naming rights to sponsor locations in its parks. The cash-strapped city is hoping to raise $5 million dollars a year by recruiting sponsors for its basketball courts and dog runs
Thursday, June 07, 2012
The 82-year-old New Yorker who challenged the federal Defense of Marriage Act said she was thrilled by the judge's ruling in her favor — even though the decision only affects her case and not other same sex-couples in the state for now.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
(New York, NY - WNYC) New York isn’t planning to appeal a temporary injunction against the city's five borough taxi plan — even though Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the decision “worrisome.”
Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engron’s ruling Friday against the plan has put the sale of 18,000 outer borough livery permits, as well as the auction of 2,000 yellow medallions on hold. That sale was estimated to bring in about a billion dollars to the city's cash strapped budget.
Bloomberg told reporters on Tuesday that money is key.
"If we were to not get it, it would be very serious,” he said. Bloomberg believes the city is on the “right side of the law” and the courts will eventually rule in their favor.
The court's ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed by yellow medallion owners and lenders. It alleges the city’s plan to allow livery taxi street hail service outside Manhattan violated the state's constitution because Bloomberg went to Albany for approval instead of the City Council.
Michael Woloz, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade (one of the plaintiffs in the case) said, “we hope the city realizes that the law is unconstitutional and unsalvageable – and that we can work on a clean slate so the city can get real revenue.”
While the city said last week that the court was “mistaken” in its analysis and was exploring its appellate options, Corporation Counsel’s Michael Cardozo said on Tuesday that the city isn’t appealing the ruling because the judge's decision is only an interim one, expected to be in place for only a few weeks. “We believe that immediate resolution rather than appealing one interim ruling is in everyone’s interests,” he said.
The court will be receiving submissions from all parties in the case on June 19 in connection with motions for summary judgment.
The livery permit sale was to begin this month; the medallion auction was set for July.
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
The city isn’t planning to appeal a temporary injunction against the city's 5 Borough Taxi Plan — even though Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the decision “worrisome.”
Friday, June 01, 2012
A state Supreme Court judge has brought the city’s five-borough taxi plan to a screeching halt.
Friday, June 01, 2012
(New York, NY -- WNYC) A state supreme court judge has -- at least for now -- brought the city's 5-boro taxi plan to a screeching halt, based on the theory that allowing the state to approve the plan was "an unconstitutional power grab." The judge acted on a law suit brought by the yellow cab industry.
The plan, set to get underway this month, would have brought street-hail taxi service to northern Manhattan and the outer boros. The sale of the additional medallions -- essentially, licenses to operate street-hail vehicles -- was to bring over $1 billion to city coffers. The city has been offering seminars for fleet owners on how to convert outer-boro livery cars to taxis, and even designated a color for the new street hails --"Apple Green."
Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engron, who was a cabbie himself while he was an undergrad at Columbia, wrote in his decision: “The court has trouble seeing how the provision of taxi service is a matter that can be wrenched from the hands of city government where it has resided for some 75 years. And be handed over to the state.” He added that the restraining order “seeks to preserve the status quo until a more complete examination of the plaintiffs claim can be made.”
But the city's reaction was swift and scathing.
Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo, NYC's top lawyer, said, "We are deeply disappointed by today's decision. We think the court was mistaken in its analysis and are exploring our appellate options. We intend to so do expeditiously, so that we can proceed with this important new initiative. The program is geared to providing improved transportation options to segments of the City which are now woefully underserved. In addition, because we are enjoined from issuing additional medallions, we are prevented from proceeding with a program which will provide significant benefits to the disabled and garner the City approximately $1 billion in critically needed revenues."
The medallion industry has bitterly fought the Bloomberg plan, hiring consultants, organizing opposition rallies and threatening to litigate. The industry complained that allowing cars other than yellow taxis to pick up street hails would devalue the billion dollar medallion industry because for more than 80 years only they enjoyed that right.
One of the plaintiffs, the fleet group the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, is celebrating the Judge’s decision. Spokesman Michael Woloz said “By preventing the Taxi and Limousine Commission from issuing any outer borough street hail permits the court has prevented a trampling of the NY State constitution as well as an economic disaster from taxi owners and drivers who invested their life savings into what they regarded as the American dream—the taxi medallion. "
TLC Commissioner David Yassky called the last minute decision "unfortunate."
“We share the disappointment of the 80% of new Yorkers who live and work outside Manhattan and are waiting for safe, legal and reliable taxi service as well as the thousands of livery drivers who stand ready to provide that service," Yassky said.
The city was poised to start issuing the permits this month. The yellow medallion auction that’s scheduled for July and is estimated to bring in about 1 billion dollars to the city ‘s budget is now also on hold.
Here's the ruling:
SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF NEW YORK: PART 52
TAXICAB SERVICE ASSOCIATION, et al.,
Index Number: 102553/12
Oral Argument Date: 5/31/12
- against -
Temporary Restraining Order
THE STATE OF NEW YORK, et al.,
METROPOLITAN TAXICAB BOARD OF TRADE,
Index Number 102472/12
Oral Argument Date: 5/31/12
- against -
Temporary Restraining Order
MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG, in his official capacity
as Mayor of the City of New York, et al.,
GREATER NEW YORK TAXI ASSOCIATION
Index Number 102783
Oral Argument Date 5/31/12
- against -
Temporary Restraining Order
THE STATE OF NEW YORK, et al.,
Arthur F. Engoron, Justice
Every New Yorker worth his or her salt knows the following basic facts about taxicabs: only “medallioned” cabs are allowed by law to pick up street hail passengers; the City limits the number of medallions (NYC Charter § 2303(b)(4)); and finding a medallioned cab outside of lower- and mid-Manhattan and the airports is usually quite difficult. Indeed, in the so-called “outer-boroughs” (which for the sake of this order includes Manhattan above East 96th Street and West 110th Street) persons needing taxi service must, practically speaking, either telephone a livery cab company, or hail a “gypsy” cab not authorized to make the pickup. For decades, the problem of the lack of legal, reliable taxi service in the outer boroughs has proven intractable.
Recently, the executive branch of defendant City of New York, i.e., the mayor’s office, asked the legislative branch, i.e., the City Council, to increase the number of medallions and to authorize licenses for outer-borough hails. When negotiations broke down, the executive branch asked the State Government for the same. The result is the legislation at issue in these three roughly parallel (and fascinating) cases: Chapter 602 of the Laws of 2011, and Chapter 9 of the Laws of 2012, collectively known as The Street Hail Livery Law. These enactments essentially, and greatly simplified, allow the mayor to issue 2,000 more medallions; allow the Taxi and Limousine Commission, a part of the executive branch, to issue 18,000 outer borough hail licenses, and mandates certain handicap accessibility quotas.
Plaintiffs in the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade case are medallion owners and New York City Council Member Lewis A. Fidler. Plaintiffs in the Taxicab Service Association (“TSA”) case are credit unions and the like that finance the purchase of medallions. Plaintiffs in the Greater New York Taxi Association case are medallion owners and one individual. Defendants in both cases are, simply put, the State of New York, the legislative and executive bodies thereof, the City of New York, the Mayor thereof, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and the Commissioner thereof.
As plaintiffs would have it, the trek to Albany was an “end run” by the Mayor. Be that as it may, end runs are legal in football and in politics. The most basic question (among many others) presented here is whether the legislation violates the “Home Rule” provision of the State Constitution. See NY Const. Art. IX § 2(b)(2): the legislature . . . [s]hall have the power to act in relation to the property, affairs or government of any local government only by general law, or by special law [i.e., a law affecting only one locality] only . . . on request of two-thirds of the total membership of its legislative body or on request of its chief executive officer concurred in by a majority of such membership.” As this Court has determined, in the roughly 24 hours since oral argument ended yesterday, and on the business day just prior to the one on which significant aspects of the legislation are to go into effect, that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that the law does the State Constitution, and that plaintiffs have demonstrated “irreparable harm” and a “balancing of the equities” in their favor, this Court hereby issues this Temporary Restraining Order, enjoining defendants from implementing any aspect of the law (which contains a so-called “poison pill,” pursuant to which if any aspect of the law is held to be constitutionally infirm, the whole law falls).
Since The Great Depression the legislative branch of New York City has governed, and limited, the issuance of taxi medallions. Even when, twice in the last two decades, the City Council modestly increased the number of medallions, the Council issued a home rule message to this effect. Under the Home Rule provision of the State Constitution, the State Legislature may override the laws of a local municipality only in “matters other than the property, affairs or government of a local government.” The question here is basically whether the number of taxi medallions and the rules of outer-borough hails is primarily a matter of local or state concern. Obviously, anything that affects New York City affects the state in which it is situated, and just as obviously non-New York City residents can (and do, in droves) spend time in New York City. But, generally speaking, these facts cannot satisfy the Home Rule requirements or nothing would be left of the rule but the exceptions. The argument that the City is in the State, and so is a State concern, simply proves too much. This Court has trouble seeing how the provision of taxi service in New York City is a matter that can be wrenched from the hands of City government, where it has resided for some 75 years, and handed over to the State. Both governments are democracies, but only one is solely answerable on election day to the constituents of the five boroughs, those directly affected by the taxi service at issue here.
In a memorandum in opposition to plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief, defendant City quotes the New York State Senate Introducer’s Memorandum in Support of the legislation, in part, as follows:
The bill would allow the City to implement a taxi plan that will more effectively service all five boroughs of New York City and greatly increase the availability of accessible taxicabs and for-hire vehicles. The creation of this plan was prompted by three persistent mobility problems: the lack of accessible vehicles for people with disabilities; nearly non-existent taxi availability in underserved areas of the City (e.g., boroughs outside Manhattan); and insufficient taxi supply in Manhattan’s central business district.
There is nothing in here about Nassau or Westchester Counties, much less Buffalo or Rochester.
As the TSA plaintiffs put it (Memorandum of Law dated 5/17/12, at 7), “the Street Hail Livery Law infringes on Plaintiffs’ constitutionally guaranteed right to have their local government representatives decide issues relating to the local taxi industry, in which they are longtime and central participants.”
In addition to showing a likelihood of success on the merits, this Court finds that plaintiffs have demonstrated irreparable injury (see generally Ambrose v. Malcolm, 414 F Supp 485, 493 (S.D.N.Y.1976) (suggesting that deprivations of constitutional rights ipso facto demonstrate irreparable injury, or substitute therefor)), and a balancing of the equities in their favor (briefly keeping the status quo will not harm defendants).
Because of the afore-referenced severe time restrictions, today’s order does not address the numerous other complex objections (alleged unconstitutional takings and inadequate environmental review to name just two of many) plaintiffs have raised to the subject legislation. Today’s order also does not address the wisdom, or lack thereof, of defendants’ good-faith efforts to address age-old problems. Today’s order only seeks to preserve the status quo until a more complete examination can be made of plaintiffs’ claim (among others) that the legislation at issue represents an unconstitutional power grab, and of defendants’ response that the State government has properly regulated an area of state-wide concern.
Thus defendants are hereby temporarily restrained, pending further order of this Court, from implementing any aspect of the subject legislation, conditional on plaintiffs collectively posting a bond of $600,000 (the TSA plaintiffs claim to be a multi-billion dollar business) by Thursday, June 7, 2012. The Court will attempt to resolve with all deliberate speed plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, defendants’ request for summary judgment, and the ultimate merits of this litigation.
Arthur F. Engoron, J.C.C.
Friday, June 01, 2012
Loved ones remembered 12-year-old Joel Morales outside the East Harlem home where he committed suicide this week, lamenting not having stepped in sooner to prevent the bullying some say led to his death.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Taxi fares will definitely be going up soon, according to Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Soldier-perpetrated sex crimes are under-reported, but the Defense Department estimates about 19,000 assaults occurred last year. Veterans who are victims of sexual assault recently convened for the first-ever summit on military sexual violence.
Monday, May 21, 2012
A proposed taxi fare hike may go into effect by the end of the summer.
Monday, May 21, 2012
The Taxi and Limousine Commission says it’s considering a fare hike on cabs later this month. Its been 8 years since the last overall fare hike. The TLC will hold a public hearing on the rate hikes on May 31.
The Taxi Workers Alliance submitted a proposal for a hike a year ago. The group is asking for an increase between 20-25 percent.
Official sources say that number would likely be closer to 16-20 percent but that drivers have made a good case for an increase.
That would raise the average fare to $14 from about $12.
Taxi Workers Alliance’s Bhairavi Desai says “Its about time, the last overall raise was in 2004—and we’ve seen drivers really struggling out there to make ends meet."
TLC Commissioner David Yassky says “it’s reasonable for taxi drivers and fleet owners to put this one the table. We will consider their petitions over the next couple of months.”
The TLC will also look at maximum lease rates, know as "lease caps," which have been requested by fleet owners.
If a fare increase is approved by the summer-- it will coincide with the sale of the new outer borough livery permits and 2000 yellow medallions.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
For many New Yorkers, yoga is more than exercise — it's a tool to relieve stress. That's what one yoga instructor had in mind when she started a class for military veterans.
Friday, May 04, 2012
Family members of those killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks will get the opportunity to watch the arraignment of five men accused of training and funding the hijackers — including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed — at the Fort Hamilton army base in Brooklyn.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Comptroller John Liu further complicated the New York City’s "Taxi of Tomorrow" project Wednesday by saying he wouldn’t approve the city’s contract with Nissan because the vehicle selected isn’t wheelchair accessible.
Surrounded by other elected officals and advocates for the disabled, Liu said he believed the contract ‘as is’ violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.
But Liu, who is under an ethical cloud for campaign finance violations, may not be able to reject the contract outright. Liu's campaign treasurer and a fundraiser have been indicted for using "straw donors" to circumvent city camapaign finance rules.
Kate O’Brien, spokeswoman with the City Law Department, said, “the law limits the issues upon which the Comptroller may refuse to register a contract. None of the matters raised, including ADA compliance, would constitute lawful grounds for refusing to do so.”
The city chose Nissan to be the single provider of yellow taxis for the next decade beginning in 2013. The new cabs will be rolled out as older cabs are retired.
The Nissan NV 200 has transparent roofs, USB chargers and extra legroom. However, even though it’s a mini-van, it isn't accessible to people in wheelchairs.
Liu said “requiring cabs to have independent climate controls is nice but when you fail to make them accessible to a growing number of New Yorkers, it’s not just a slap in the face, its illegal.”
Taxi and Limousine Commssion spokesperson Allan Fromberg called Liu’s objection to the contact “mysterious and ill-informed.” He said, “Nissan is providing a wheelchair accessible version of the Taxi of Tomorrow, the city will create an additional 2,000 wheelchair accessible medallion licenses and they’re on the cusp of launching a demand responsive wheelchair accessible taxi dispatch system.”
Disabled groups sued the city over the Taxi of Tomorrow, and in 2011, a federal court ruled that the city, through the Taxi and Limousine Commission, violated ADA because it failed to provide passengers in wheelchairs meaningful access to taxis. But an appeals court has allowed the city to put new taxis on the street without complying with the lower’s court’s order.
Currently, only 2 percent of the city’s taxi fleet is wheelchair accessible.
Attorney James Weissman with United Spinal Association, one of the groups involved in the lawsuit against the Taxi of Tomorrow, rejected the notion that a dispatch system will provide “meaningful access” to cabs for the estimated 60,000 New Yorkers in wheelchairs. He noted that a separate system just for people with disabilities is a classic violation of civil rights.
“If it was any other protected class would we even question whether or not this was a shameful practice?” he asked. “What if we were running a separate system –substitute any other protected class…women have to take a separate system, blacks have to take a separate system – they can’t get in the same cabs…it doesn’t pass the smell test.”
By taking on the taxi issue, the embattled comptroller isn’t only taking on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg He’s going head-to-head with TLC Commissioner David Yassky—his rival in the 2009 runoff for the office of Comptroller—an office many political insiders believe Yassky would make a run for again.