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Morning Headlines | Must-Reads from the WNYC News Hub

Monday, June 27, 2011

New bike lanes on Columbus Avenue in the summer 2010 New bike lanes on Columbus Avenue in the summer 2010 (Kate Hinds/WNYC)

POLITICS
“Pilot” Label Lets Mayor’s Programs Skip City Review (NYT)
The Bloomberg administration has avoided city review for many of its marquee programs by starting them as pilot programs. Reporters David Chen and Michael Grynbaum write that “The pilot has emerged as the mayor’s signature policy weapon.” City officials say that in a city as big as New York, it’s important to test projects and only scale them up if they work.

EDUCATION
Getting School Credit the Fun Way (NYT)
This week, some 51,000 seniors will graduate from New York’s public high schools. Graduating requires a minimum of 44 credits, but more and more students are finding unconventional ways to earn those credits: on Saturdays, in online courses, through independent study and in things like sailing classes.

TRANSPORTATION
Bridges Crumble as MTA Tolls Soar (NY Post)
A report shows that one-fifth of the MTA’s bridge spans and approaches score below the mid-point on the state’s bridge maintenance rating system. The RFK--formerly the Triborough--was the worst. Sections of the Verrazano, Henry Hudson, Throgs Neck and Bronx-Whitestone bridges also received low scores. MTA bridges and tunnels bring in $60 million a month.

BUSINESS
Central Park Boathouse Head Call Says Liu Audit Is Politically Motivated (NY Post)
The head of the Central Park Boathouse has refused to allow City Comptroller John Liu to perform an audit of his restaurant over concerns that it would not be objective. Dean Poll says that since Liu participated in a union protest outside his eatery in April, the audit could not possibly be neutral. The boathouse is the Parks Department’s highest-paying concessionaire.

GOVERNMENT
City’s Smoking Ban is Called “Absolute Joke” (WSJ)
The city’s smoking ban for parks and beaches has been in effect for just over a month, but the city has issued only a single ticket. City officials say Parks Department employees have informed people of the new law 700 times since it went into effect. They say it was always the plan to warn people first before trying to write tickets. There’s been no word on when Parks employees will begin writing more of the $50 tickets for infractions.

CRIME
Lunchtime Behavior May Play a Role in Trial (NYT)
Less than an hour after he allegedly assaulted a hotel maid, former managing director of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn met his daughter for lunch. New video of that lunch of fish and wine will be used in his trial as circumstantial evidence.

EDUCATION
Comptroller Investigating $287K DOE Pay-out (NY Daily News)
A $20 million contract for teacher recruitment with the the New Teacher Project was rejected on technical grounds, but the city’s Department of Education made three payments to the consulting group anyway, according to Comptroller John Liu’s office. Liu's office also found that the DOE attempted to pay $1.3 million to Wireless Generation, despite the cancellation of their contract.

FOOD & DRINK
Greenmarket Vendors Say Cheese Slicing Ban Stinks (DNAinfo)
The state has instituted a new ban that stops cheese mongers from cutting cheese in public unless they have a license to process food and, for example, a three-basin sink and water heater. While the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets says the law will prevent the spread of disease, people who sell their cheese at farmers’ markets say it will actually prevent them from making an honest dollar.

TRANSPORTATION
MTA’s Garbage Collection Schedule Gets Derailed Too Often (NY Daily News)
Some subway riders are being forced to stand on platforms piled with black trash bags full of foul-smelling MTA refuse. MTA data show that on any given night, trash trains don’t make it to about 100 stations in the 468-station system. A spokesman for the authority concedes that the MTA does not always stay on schedule, but adds that it is working to improve the problem.

POLICE
ACLU Says New Jersey Police Mistreat Informants (Star-Ledger)
The ACLU says poor oversight and weak policies contribute to the misuse of informants, whose word is often taken for the truth without adequate confirmation. The report accuses the police of threatening informants into disclosing information and claims the misuse of informants leads to flimsy cases and poor community-police relations.

OPINION
Gay Marriage: Where’s Mr. Obama? (NYT)
The Times editorial board takes a stab at explaining President Obama’s views on same-sex marriage. As it points out, he was for it in 1996 and against it in 2008. More recently, the president has said its a matter for the states. The board writes: “Mr. Obama’s legal formula suggests he is fine with the six states that now permit same-sex marriage, and fine with the more than three dozen other states that ban it.”

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