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Friday, June 17, 2011

TRANSPORTATION
NYC Transit Weighs Upgrade for Aging Subway Cars (NYT)
The transit agency is considering upgrading the B, D, 1, 3 and 7 lines with automated station announcements and digital route displays. The upgrades would be another step to ending live announcements from conductors, which many strap-hangers say they can’t hear or understand anyway.

9/11
Sept. 11 Memorial Considering $25 Entry Fee (NY Daily News)
Many are speaking out against a proposed $25 entry fee for the Sept. 11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero. Museum officials say they need to charge a fee to cover $60 million in annual operating costs. Julie Menin of Community Board 1 says, "This is not the Met, and it's not an art museum. This is where we were attacked, and we don't want to make it cost-prohibitive."

JUSTICE
“Community Court” Trades Guilty Pleas for Community Service (Star-Ledger)
Under the “Newark Community Solution” program, those who plead guilty to minor offenses or violations of city ordinances will be sentenced to community service and be eligible for personal assistance, rather than face jail time and fines. The program is aimed at reducing overcrowding in jails and to connecting those in need with psychiatric and drug-related services.

JUSTICE
“All-Crimes DNA” Bill Passes State Senate (NY1)
The bill would require anyone convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor to submit a DNA sample. Right now, only certain crimes need a DNA sample. Supporters say the bill would help law enforcement solve crimes quickly. But the New York Civil Liberties Union says the bill lacks oversight. Gov. Cuomo issued a statement asking the Assembly to follow suit and pass the bill.

URBAN WILDLIFE
Adorable Animals “Speak” Out Against Proposed Budget Cuts to Bronx Zoo (NY1)
In a video put together by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the residents of the Bronx Zoo complain about how they’re getting the shaft even though they bring in million in tourist dollars a year.

JUSTICE
Recipients of Ticket Fixing “Courtesy” Face Bronx Grand Jury (DNAinfo)
Sources tell DNAinfo that those who got their tickets for drunk driving, speeding and running red lights fixed were offered immunity in exchange for their testimony in front of the grand jury. Among those testifying are a Yankees exec, a barber who cuts the hair of a police officer and his father and the boyfriend of another officer’s daughter. This could signal that the ongoing investigation is wrapping up.

POLITICS
Gay Marriage Opponents Complain They Don’t Get the Same Attention As Supporters (NYT)
It seems opponents of gay marriage could learn a thing or two from the other side. Disorganization and in-fighting among gay marriage advocates were cited as reasons for the defeat of a gay marriage bill in 2009. So this year, gay marriage supporters lined up the support of prominent politicians, business leaders and celebrities and formed an umbrella coalition of gay rights groups. Gay marriage opponents complain they’ve had a harder time getting face time with senators (while gay marriage supporter Mayor Bloomberg can summon a closed door meeting with Republican lawmakers). It might not matter anyway. The bill has stalled.

POLITICS
Local Politicians Mulling a Run for the 9th District (NY Daily News)
Queens Council members Jim Gennaro, Elizabeth Crowley, Peter Vallone, and Mark Weprin; former Council members Melinda Katz and Eric Gioia, Assemblymen David Weprin and Rory Lancman and a labor lawyer named Cody McCone all say they’ve been approached about filling former Anthony Weiner’s former seat, but haven’t decided whether to approve it. The seat could disappear during redistricting next year. Columnist Michael Daly says the scandal gives a woman candidate a great opportunity to get the seat. Suggested campaign poster: “NOT A GUY!”

JUSTICE
Side Effects of Marijuana Arrests (NYT)
The Bloomberg administration claims that arresting 350,000 people for marijuana possession since 2002 has helped push down the number of violent crimes. It also says these arrests don’t hurt those arrested, since nothing shows up on their permanent records. Columnist Jim Dwyer points out that immigrants nabbed twice for a minor marijuana offense can be deported as a result, and that the arrests can seriously disrupt people’s lives.

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