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Morning Headlines | Selected by the WNYC News Hub

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

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

POLITICS
Congressman’s Campaign Office Vandalized (NYT)
Alison Leigh Cowan and William K. Rashbaum reports that the plot thickens for police investigating the alleged break-in: “But a law enforcement official said on Monday night that police experts had examined the campaign’s computer systems and concluded that nothing had been erased or tampered with. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while windows at the headquarters had been shattered by pieces of a roadway barrier, there was no evidence that an intruder had been in the office.”

TRANSPORTATION
NJ Transit Settles Lawsuit With Minority Cops Who Claim They Endured Racial Slurs (The Star-Ledger)
Mike Frassinelli reports: “NJ Transit has agreed to pay 10 of its minority police officers $5.8 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit against the agency alleging they endured racial insults and slurs from their chief dating back 10 years. The transit police officers complained their former chief referred to African-Americans as ‘Stepin Fetchit’ or ‘Knuckles,’ because gorillas drag their knuckles on the ground. And he often used the ‘N’ word and other demeaning terms.”

HOUSING
Surging Demand Means More Families Turned Away from City Homeless Shelters (NYDN)
Erin Durkin reports: “Families are being turned away from city homeless shelters at an alarming rate, a new report shows. Over the past year, just 35% of families with children who applied to stay in city shelters were accepted, down from 52% in 2007, according to a new report by the Coalition for the Homeless. The advocacy group charges that the city is turning away families who would have previously qualified as it struggles to deal with the surging demand for shelter service.”

POLITICS
Mayor Questions Hopefuls' Chances (WSJ)
Michael Howard Saul reports: “Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently held private meetings with Democratic mayoral hopefuls Scott Stringer and Bill Thompson, raising questions with each of them about the viability of their candidacies, several people familiar with the conversations said. The mayor didn't advise Mr. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, or Mr. Thompson, a former city comptroller who came close to beating Mr. Bloomberg in 2009, not to run, those people said. But he signaled he is leaning toward supporting City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a longtime ally who leads polls for the 2013 race and has raised the most money, the people said.”

POLICY
Silver Approval of  Lopez Secret Payment Stirs Push for Term Limits (NYDN)
Kenneth Lovett reports: “Assembly approval of a taxpayer-funded settlement in the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal has spurred a renewed push to limit how long a lawmaker can serve as a legislative leader or a committee chair. Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-Utica) and Assemblywoman Sandra Galef (D-Westchester) want to revisit an earlier bill that would cap at 12 years the time one could serve as Assembly speaker, Senate majority leader or a minority leader. Committee chairmanships would be restricted to eight-year stints.”

BUSINESS
(Big) Gulp: Bodegas Fret Over 7-Eleven (WSJ)
Sumathi Reddy reports: “In the 1990s, it was the Gap and Starbucks, and in the new century, Dunkin' Donuts and Subway sandwich shops have sprouted on what seems like every corner. Now 7-Eleven, the Dallas-based company that bills itself as the world's largest convenience retailer, is positioning itself to take on New York. It has plans to open 30 new outlets over the next five years, making it among the city's fastest-growing chains.”

EDUCATION
Five-Year-Olds Put to the Test as Kindergarten Exams Gain Steam (Reuters)
Stephanie Simon reports: “A national [and local] push to make public schools more rigorous and hold teachers more accountable has led to a vast expansion of testing in kindergarten. And more exams are on the way, including a test meant to determine whether 5-year-olds are on track to succeed in college and career. Paul Weeks, a vice president at test developer ACT Inc., says he knows that particular assessment sounds a bit nutty, especially since many kindergarteners aspire to careers as superheroes.”

HOUSING
Housing Authority Leader Offers Plan to Raise Money (NYT)
David Chen reports: “ Under the plan, which would take several years, the housing authority would lease land to private developers, who would then come up with projects featuring a mixture of apartments and commercial and retail space. At least 1,000 of those apartments — or perhaps 20 percent of all the units, according to housing advocates — would be set aside for low- and moderate-income families. No buildings would be demolished, or residents displaced, and the revenue from the leases — estimated by the agency to eventually reach hundreds of millions of dollars — would be split between operations and capital programs.”

CRIME
Court Session in Patz Case Is Delayed for 6 Weeks (NYT)
Russ Buettner reports: “The delay, which was agreed upon by both sides, speaks to the unique complexities of a 33-year-old case in which a body has never been found and a new suspect with a history of mental illness emerged out of nowhere, according to people briefed on the case and legal observers. This is the second time a public appearance has been delayed; it will now take place Nov. 15.”

POLICY
City to Add Scan Codes to Restaurant Grades (NYP)
David Seifman reports: “Under a bill passed by the City Council yesterday, city agencies will be required to attach scannable codes, such as Quick Response markers, to permits, licenses and registrations they issue so anyone with a smartphone can instantly download all the dirty details. Patrons who spot a poor rating in a restaurant window will be able to find its permit, which must be publicly displayed, and scan the QR code to get the details behind the grade.”

ENVIRONMENT
NYC Bets on Natural Gas to Reduce Air Pollution (Gotham Gazette)
Cristian Salazar and Sarah Crean report: “The city has called for replacing the heavy heating oils used in buildings that are mostly responsible for the toxic dark smoke with substantially cleaner fuels by 2030... One of those projects got another boost Saturday when the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would allow the construction of a 3.17-mile natural gas pipeline and facilities going from the Atlantic Ocean off the Rockaways, through Jacob Riis Park and Gateway National Recreation Area.”

POLICY
Cuomo Says Private Companies Could Run State Racetracks (NYT)
Joe Drape and Thomas Kaplan report: “New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday that the first charge of a newly formed board of directors to run horse racing in the state would be to determine whether its three racetracks should be bid out to private gambling companies.”

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