Kept Out: Banks Across U.S. Caught Systematically Rejecting People of Color for Home Loans

(DEMOCRACYNOW) Interview, February 20, 2018 — A shocking new investigation by Reveal and the Center for Investigative Reporting has uncovered evidence that African Americans and Latinos are continuing to be routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts across the country. Reveal based its report on a review of 31 million mortgage records filed with the federal government in 2015 and 2016. The Reveal investigation found the redlining occurring across the country, including in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis and San Antonio. We speak to Aaron Glantz, senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, and Rachelle Faroul, a 33-year-old African-American woman who was rejected twice by lenders when she tried to buy a brick row house in Philadelphia, where Reveal found African Americans were 2.7 times as likely as whites to be denied a conventional mortgage.


City awards $369M contract for homeless services in hotels

(CRAINS) , February 16, 2018 — The de Blasio administration awarded a $369 million contract Friday to a Queens-based organization that will provide supplies and social services to homeless families living in hotels, according to a post in the City Record.

The contract was awarded by the Department of Homeless Services to Childrens Community Services Inc., which listed an address on Long Island near the border of Queens but whose website says it is based on 175th Street in Jamaica. The contract will run for three years, according to the notice.

The city’s homeless population has continued to swell as Mayor Bill de Blasio begins his second term. A recent federal survey pegged the number at around 76,000, more than any other metropolitan area in the country (although Los Angeles has more people living on the streets). And with not enough shelter beds or supportive housing, the de Blasio administration has increasingly turned to the controversial and expensive practice of housing families in commercial hotels. The contract awarded Friday would provide services to families with children who are living in these hotels.


DOT Weekend Traffic Advisory: February 16-18, 2018

(DOT) February 16-18, 2018 — DOT Weekend Traffic Advisory for Festivals, Parades and Events

Annual Chinese New Year Parade

The following streets will be closed Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm for the Annual Chinese New Year Parade as permitted by NYPD.


  • 8th Avenue between 49th Street and 51st Street


  • 8th Avenue between 51st Street and 60th Street


  • 8th Avenue between 60th Street and 61st Street


Midtown South Community Council’s January 18, 2018 Monthly Meeting  

(MSCC) Eileen Miller, Frank Kelly, February 15, 2018 — Midtown South Community Council’s January 18, 2018 Monthly Meeting


The new commanding officer, Deputy Insp. Brendan Timoney, began the meeting by introducing himself and detailing his nearly 20 years with the NYPD. Starting out as a patrolman in the Bronx’s 52nd Precinct, his assignments have included Midtown North, where he was a sergeant, the 9thPrecinct, as captain and executive officer, and the 1st and 13th precincts, as commanding officer. He was promoted to deputy inspector in August 2015. His predecessor, Russell Green, has been reassigned.

Inspector Timoney cited precinct crime statistics (crime down 6% in 2017 and 11% year-to-date) and mentioned a key burglary arrest by Lt. Marines.Grand larceny continues to drive crime in the precinct, with 70% of it involving unattended property.

John Mudd and Sharon Jasprizza introduced the evening’s first speaker:

Josephine Ishmon, Recording Secretary, Community Education Council, District 2.

100,000 students living in temporary  housing in NYC.  One of the biggest crises with temporary housing is children from kindergarten-2nd grade who have no facilities to wash their clothes. The District has applied for funding through Council Member Corey Johnson’s office for laundry services. Children displaced from Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Florida by Hurricane Maria are given temporary shelter but have to move with in 30 days. This puts a strain on the education and  emotional well-being.

Second Speaker:

Craig Twiggs, DOE Fund Counselor- joined DOE Fund upon his release from prison after 27-1/2 years on 8/10/2016. He described his journey, the services and training he received, and his role as a counselor for the DOE Fund. “I am here to serve and give back”


Thoughts and Prayers and N.R.A. Funding

(NY TIMES) Davd Leonhard, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Stuart A. Thompson — Most Americans support stronger gun laws — laws that would reduce deaths. But Republicans in Congress stand in the way. They fear alienating their primary voters and the National Rifle Association.

Below are the top 10 career recipients of N.R.A. funding – through donations or spending to benefit the candidate – among both current House and Senate members, along with their statements about the Las Vegas massacre. These representatives have a lot to say about it. All the while, they refuse to do anything to avoid the next massacre.

via Opinion | The Congress Members Receiving the Most N.R.A. Funding – The New York Times.

Yes, Replacing Food Stamps With a Blue Apron-Style Delivery System Is As Bad As It Sounds

(COMMON DREAMS) Mara Pellittieri, February 15, 2018 — Yesterday, the Trump administration released its fiscal year 2019 budget. For the most part, it’s similar to last year’s proposal: massive cuts to safety net programs, a big boost in military spending, and very Trump-ed up estimates of economic growth. But this year, tucked into the Department of Agriculture (USDA) subsection, the administration laid out a proposal to take away a chunk of the nutrition assistance many families rely on and replace it with a massive new food delivery program.

“Instead of being able to choose food based on their nutritional and family needs, SNAP households may get standardized boxes of food that the government chooses on their behalf.”

Under the proposal, households receiving $90 or more per month in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits—which accounts for the vast majority of all of the households who currently participate in SNAP—will receive a portion of their assistance in the form of a box of pre-selected food. According to the USDA, which would be responsible for administering the program, the box would be filled with items like pastas, peanut butter, beans, and canned fruit, intended to “improve the nutritional value of the benefit provided and reduce the potential for EBT fraud.”

In effect, the proposal is a paternalistic spin on Blue Apron: Instead of being able to choose food based on their nutritional and family needs, SNAP households may get standardized boxes of food that the government chooses on their behalf. Hunger and nutrition experts have panned this as “costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failure.” A 2016 USDA study found no evidence to suggest that households who receive food stamps need the government to select their food for them—their spending habits are almost identical to other households. (The only exception is baby food—SNAP households buy a lot more of it, because they’re twice as likely to have a child under age 3.) Replacing the food that people are buying for themselves with pastas and canned fruit is likely a nutritional downgrade. And, since the food is being delivered directly to families, it’s unclear whether families will get the opportunity to provide input based on allergies or specific nutritional needs—say, to account for a peanut allergy, or for all that baby food.

via Yes, Replacing Food Stamps With a Blue Apron-Style Delivery System Is As Bad As It Sounds | By Mara Pellittieri | Common Dreams.

‘An Administration By and For the Powerful’: Merkley Nails Mulvaney Over Trump Budget

(COMMON DREAMS)  Jake Johnson, February 15, 2018 — “Everything we see in this budget is about help to the powerful and an assault on working Americans.”

“Which is more important: educating our children or more money for the Koch brothers?”
—Sen. Jeff Merkley

That was how Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) characterized President Donald Trump’s newly-unveiled 2019 spending plan during a fiery exchange with White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, who appeared before the Senate on Tuesday to take questions on the details of the administration’s fiscal blueprint.

“Let’s give $1.5 trillion in a tax bill to the wealthiest Americans and proceed to cut our health, our commitment to our seniors on health as well, cut the affordability of college, because the rich are okay, they can pay for their college, don’t worry about the rest of Americans,” Merkley said, summarizing the priorities expressed by the White House budget.

“Oh and by the way, the hungry in America? Too bad. Let those children go hungry,” Merkley added. “They’re from poor families, they don’t matter. What kind of message does this send about this administration?”

With a sign headlined “Trump Priorities” positioned behind him, Merkley went on to list the corporate gifts doled out by the Trump administration—including tax breaks to Wells Fargo and the Koch brothers—compared to the deep cuts the White House proposed for life-saving safety net programs.

Source: ‘An Administration By and For the Powerful’: Merkley Nails Mulvaney Over Trump Budget | Common Dreams.

Statement From A.G. Schneiderman On Federal Court Ruling Granting Preliminary Injunction In DACA Case

(ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC T SCHNEIDERMAN) February 13, 2018 — A.G. Schneiderman Leads Coalition of 17 AGs that Sued to Protect DREAMers

NEW YORK – Today, a federal judge granted Attorney General Schneiderman and his fellow Attorneys General’s motion for a preliminary injunction to block President Trump’s rescission of DACA. Attorney General Schneiderman leads the coalition of 17 AGs that sued in September 2017 to defend DACA and protect DREAMers. The court heard arguments on Attorney General Schneiderman’s motion for preliminary injunction on January 30th, 2018.

Attorney General Schneiderman released the following statement:

“Federal courts from coast to coast have now reviewed the record and reached the same conclusion: President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA was illegal.

Today’s federal court ruling is a victory for the over 42,000 New York Dreamers and more than 700,000 Dreamers across the country. There is much more work ahead to permanently preserve DACA and protect the millions of American families, businesses, hospitals, and universities that depend on Dreamers every day to succeed, but today is an important step forward in that fight.

Today’s ruling reflects not only the illegality of the Trump Administration’s move to rescind DACA, but also the clear and demonstrable benefits DACA provides to New Yorkers across our great state.  

I am proud to lead a coalition of 17 state attorneys general who have been fighting in court since September to protect Dreamers and preserve this vital program.

We are pleased the Court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to restore DACA under the same conditions set forth by a federal court in California. We are also pleased that the Court made clear that United States Attorney General Sessions was wrong when he claimed DACA was illegal and that the DOJ was wrong to claim that any court has deemed DACA unconstitutional.  

DACA is a critical program that benefits states across the country and we look forward to continuing the fight moving forward.”

Click here to read the decision from Judge Nicholas Garaufis, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York.



Woman Dragged Out of West Virginia House Hearing For Listing Oil and Gas Contributions to Members

(COMMON DREAMS) Russell Mokhiber, February 13, 2018 — Lissa Lucas traveled the 100 miles from her home in Cairo, West Virginia to the state capitol in Charleston Friday to testify against an oil and gas industry sponsored bill (HB 4268) that would allow companies to drill on minority mineral owners’ land without their consent.

Lucas began to testify to the House Judiciary Committee, but a few minutes in, her microphone was turned off.

And Lucas was dragged out of the room.

Lucas is running for the House of Delegates from Ritchie County, which has been overrun by the fracking industry.

“As I tried to give my remarks at the public hearing this morning on HB 4268 in defense of our constitutional property rights, I got dragged out of House chambers,” Lucas said. “Why? Because I was listing out who has been donating to Delegates on the Judiciary Committee.”

Lucas took to the podium and began by pointing out that “the people who are going to be speaking in favor of this bill are all going to be paid by the industry.”

“And the people who are going to be voting on this bill are often also paid by the industry,” Lucas said.

via Woman Dragged Out of West Virginia House Hearing For Listing Oil and Gas Contributions to Members | By Russell Mokhiber | Common Dreams.

L.A.’s homelessness surged 75% in six years. Here’s why the crisis has been decades in the making

(LOS ANGELES TIMES) February 13, 2018 — Some of the poorest people in the city spend their days in the shadow of Los Angeles City Hall, napping on flattened cardboard boxes.

On any given day, as many as 20 people take to the City Hall lawn, across the street from LAPD headquarters. They’re there to “escape the madness” in downtown streets, a 53-year-old homeless man named Lazarus said last week. At night, they fan out to doorways or deserted plazas to wait for daybreak.

The growth of a homeless day camp at the halls of civic power speaks to the breadth of Los Angeles’ burgeoning homelessness problem.

The number of those living in the streets and shelters of the city of L.A. and most of the county surged 75% — to roughly 55,000 from about 32,000 — in the last six years. (Including Glendale, Pasadena and Long Beach, which conduct their own homeless counts, the total is nearly 58,000.)