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Morning Headlines | Selected by the WNYC News Hub

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Must-read headlines from around the city, curated by the WNYC Newsroom.


POLITICS
State Comptroller Office Wrote Part of Lopez Settlement, Documents Show (NYT)
Danny Hakim reports: “The office has described its involvement in the negotiation of a settlement of claims against Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez as minimal. But one of the documents revealed that a top lawyer for the Assembly, William F. Collins, disputed that characterization, dismissing an early public statement from the comptroller’s office with an e-mail declaring, ‘This is not true.’”

POLITICS
Deal With Vito Lopez Accusers Carry $20K Fine For Discussing Case (NYDN)
Glenn Blain and Kenneth Lovett report: “The secret $103,000 settlement former staffers Rita Pasarell, 30, and Leah Hebert, 29, reached with the state Assembly featured a provision for a fine of $20,000 if they, Lopez or anyone else involved in the negotiations went public about the agreement or the allegations that led to it. Further, the deal included a stipulation for an arbitrator to award damages in excess of the base fine.”

POLITICS
Mugged in Manhattan! Espaillat Votes Vanished in Discrepancies During June Contest: Report (NYDN)
Juan Gonzalez reports: “In 537 Manhattan election districts, workers failed to properly record some or all vote totals after polls closed, an internal review has found. That means 60% of the 887 Manhattan districts that had competitive races that day had at least one error in their returns.”

POLITICS
‘Primary’ reason for Election Board OT (NYP)
David Seifman reports: “This year’s unusual election cycle proved a bonanza for workers at the city’s Board of Elections, with 83 percent of the staff collecting overtime. Records show that 824 of the board’s 993 employees shared in the OT windfall in the 2012 fiscal year that ended on June 30. Topping the list was James Howley, an administrative aide at the board’s Brooklyn office, who clocked 1,496 OT hours for a total haul of $123,638 on a base salary of $58,398. His colleague Khorshed Chowdhury made more in overtime than in regular salary — $53,046 vs. $51,425.”

JUSTICE
Activist Who Films Stop-and-Frisks Facing Jail After Traffic Stop (NYDN)
Clem Richardson writes: “More importantly, Hayden said, the traffic stop that prompted his arrest was in retaliation for his filming those same cops when they conducted a July 2011 stop-and-frisk outside Harlem’s Seville Lounge on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. at 128th St. You can see that stop-and-frisk, and dozens of others Hayden has filmed, on his website, www.allthingsharlem.com. Hayden and the policemen can be heard having several verbal exchanges, but he was not arrested.”

CRIME
Man Charged With a 1993 Manhattan Murder, Based on DNA Evidence (NYT)
Russ Buettner reports: “Detectives scoured the walls for fingerprints. Tests showed that the blood on the stairs between Mr. Hawkins’s apartment and the building’s front door was not his. But the investigation ran out of leads and was closed. By 2010, changes in DNA technology and state laws led to a major new clue, and cold-case investigators from the Police Department and the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., reopened the case. On Wednesday, those investigators led Gordon Francis, 54, into a courtroom in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, where he was formally charged with murdering Mr. Hawkins.”

POLICY
City Council Hits Illegal Hotels With Fines (WSJ)
Michael Howard Saul reports: “The New York City Council approved legislation on Wednesday that imposes stiff fines on a growing number of landlords who illegally convert residential housing into hotel rooms. The bill, approved 38-5, would classify many illegal hotel conversions as "immediately hazardous" violations of the city building code, subject to fines from $1,000 to $25,000. Council members said the increasing number of hotel conversions was damaging the quality of life for some apartment dwellers and placing tourists in danger.”

ECONOMY
Poverty Rate in N.J. Rises For 4th Straight Year (The Record)
David Sheingold reports: “Data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that New Jersey’s median household income decreased by 4 percent from 2010 to 2011, after accounting for inflation. It marked the fourth year in the last five in which the spending power of households in the state dipped, following a pre-recession high in 2006. While New Jersey’s median household income of $62,300 remains one of the country’s highest, last year’s decline outpaced a drop of 1.5 percent nationwide.”

HEALTH
Lawmakers Start to Hammer Out Details of NJ Health Insurance Exchange (NJ Spotlight)
Hank Kalet reports: “Bill S-2135, introduced in the state Senate on June 28 by Senators Nia Gill (D-Essex) and Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), would set up an exchange and an eight-member board of directors appointed by the state Legislature. A similar bill, A-3186, was introduced in the Assembly on July 30, sponsored by Assembly members Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), Upendra Chivukula (D-Somerset), Ruben Ramos (D-Hudson), and John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex).”

POLITICS
NY Congressmen Named To Corruption CREW (NYDN)
Celeste Katz reports: “Four members of New York's Congressional delegation have the highly dubious distinction of making the rogues gallery put out today by Citizens For Responsibility And Ethics In Washington. They are: Reps. Tim Bishop, Michael Grimm, Gregory Meeks, and the departing Edolphus Towns.”

POLITICS
U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews Named One of the ‘Most Corrupt’ Members of Congress (The Star-ledger)
Matt Friedman reports: “The group based its charges against the South Jersey Democrat mainly on a November Star-Ledger report detailing the congressman’s campaign spending, including a family trip to a wedding Edinburgh, Scotland. Andrews later reimbursed his campaign fund and leadership political action committee $30,000 for the trip. They also noted that he won earmarks for Rutgers Law in Camden, where his wife, Camille, serves as an associate Dean. In a statement, Andrews' Chief of Staff Fran Tagmire called CREW “blatant hypocrites” because they do not disclose their own donors.”

CRIME
Gang Crackdown Caused Rash of Gunpoint Muggings in Red Hook (DNAInfo)
Alan Neuhauser reports: “A police crackdown on gang and drug activity in the Red Hook Houses inadvertently caused a string of gunpoint muggings on neighborhood streets last month, police said.Seven residents were robbed while walking in Red Hook between Aug. 14 and Aug. 28, Capt. Jeffrey Schiff, commanding officer of the 76th Precinct, said at a community council meeting Tuesday night. The robberies occurred after police stepped-up pressure on two rival gangs in the Red Hook Houses, the city's second-largest public housing complex, Schiff said.”

HOUSING
Rent-Strikers Hope to Form Co-Op to Solve Housing Woes (DNAInfo)
Alan Neuhauser reports: “Rent-striking residents are seeking to take matters into their own hands by converting their 46th Street buildings into co-ops. For more than two years, the tenants have refused to pay rent at 545, 553 and 557 46th St., citing unsafe living conditions such as faulty electrical wiring, repeated rodent infestations, a 10-foot-high garbage pile in the basement and a super who allegedly punched and elbowed a tenant in the head during a July building inspection. The buildings' landlord, Orazio Petito, is on Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's list of the city's worst landlords with 253 infractions, and he is also in foreclosure on the three buildings.”

PARKS
Decades Later, A Vision Survives (NYT)
Michael Kimmelman reports: “The park — a memorial to Franklin Delano Roosevelt — was conceived four decades ago. The visionary architect who designed it died in 1974. The site, a landfill along one of the more dramatic stretches of waterfront in New York City, remained a rubble heap while the project was left for dead. But in a city proud of its own impatience, perseverance sometimes pays off. Next month, on that triangular plot on the southern end of Roosevelt Island, the four-acre Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park will open, a belated and monumental triumph for New York and for everyone who cares about architecture and public space.”

CULTURE
Boss’ Daughter Urges Gov. Christie to End Killing Horses for Food (Asbury Park Press)
Michael Symons reports: “Gov. Chris Christie can’t seem to make his musical hero Bruce Springsteen happy, but he has a chance to impress the singer’s daughter. Jessica Springsteen, 20, an accomplished equestrian, is among those urging Christie to sign a bill that would prohibit the slaughter of horses and the sale of horse flesh for human consumption, as well as transporting a horse to slaughter for the same purpose.”

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