Mayor Adams announces executive order aimed at restricting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s migrant busing

“The announcement came during a joint briefing with the mayors of Chicago and Denver. The three cities have formed a coalition to press the White House and federal government for more migrant aid as each metropolis grapples with the economic and governmental burden of housing, feeding and educating tens of thousands of migrants.
Adams administration officials said Tuesday that the city is receiving nearly 4,000 migrants each week. In total, more than 161,000 migrants have entered New York City since the crisis began in 2022, and 68,000 remain in the city’s care.

“I’m proud to be here with my fellow mayors to call on the federal government to do their part with one voice and to tell Texas Governor Abbott to stop the games and use of migrants as potential as political pawns,” Adams said during the Wednesday announcement. “We cannot allow buses with people needing our help to arrive without warning at any hour of day and night.”

“This not only prevents us from providing assistance in an orderly way, it puts those who have already suffered so much in danger,” he added.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/12/27/adams-executive-order-abbott-migrant-bus-00133250

‘Like Snoop Dogg’s living room’: Smell of pot wafts over notorious U.S. Open court

” It’s become a stink at the U.S. Open: a pungent marijuana smell that wafted over an outer court, clouded the concentration of one of the world’s top players and left the impression there’s no place left to escape the unofficial scent of the city.
While the exact source of the smell remained a mystery Tuesday, one thing was clear: Court 17, where eighth-seeded Maria Sakkari complained about an overwhelming whiff of pot during her first-round loss, has become notorious among players in recent years for its distinctive, unmistakable odor.

“Court 17 definitely smells like Snoop Dogg’s living room,” said Alexander Zverev, the tournament’s 12th-seeded man who won his opening match on the court Tuesday. “Oh my God, it’s everywhere. The whole court smells like weed.”

Stung by stories in the wake of Sakkari’s match Monday that made it appear the U.S. Open’s stands are the sporting equivalent of a Phish concert, the United States Tennis Association conducted its own investigation, of sorts, to weed out the source of the smell.

Spokesman Chris Widmaier said the USTA questioned officials and reviewed video of the midday match and found “no evidence” anyone was smoking pot in the stands of Court 17, leading to speculation it may have come from Corona Park just outside the gates of the intimate stadium court.

And he may not be just blowing smoke. Sakkari herself suggested just that when she complained to the chair umpire while up 4-1 in the first set: “The smell, oh my gosh. I think it’s from the park.”

After her 6-4, 6-4 loss to Rebeka Masarova, Sakkari told reporters: “Sometimes you smell food, sometimes you smell cigarettes, sometimes you smell weed. I mean, it’s something we cannot control, because we’re in an open space. There’s a park behind. People can do whatever they want.”

Flushing Meadows security staffer Ricardo Rojas, who was working the gate outside Court 17 on Monday, said he took a break in the park around the time of Sakkari’s match and “there was definitely a pot smell going on.” But he noted that while he enforces a strict no-smoking policy inside the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the park is “outside my jurisdiction.””

https://www.yahoo.com/news/snoop-doggs-living-room-smell-224554503.html

New York’s long and winding road to congestion pricing

“What if I told you there was a fairly simple policy initiative that would reduce auto traffic by 15 to 20 percent in the heart of America’s most congested city, raise $1 billion annually for the country’s biggest mass transit system at a time when such services are on the edge of a financial death spiral, and improve air quality for urban neighborhoods that have long suffered disproportionately from pollution?

I have good news: Such a plan exists. It’s called congestion pricing, and at the end of June in New York City, the plan cleared its last federal hurdle. As early as next spring, motorists will be charged a fee — perhaps $23 for a rush-hour trip and $17 in off-peak hours, according to a report released last year — to enter the most crowded parts of Manhattan south of 60th Street and below Central Park.”

“congestion pricing demonstrates two things: one, that the US can implement smart solutions to some of the most difficult climate and urban problems we face today. And two, that the byzantine review system we’ve created — ostensibly to protect the environment — has made it so, so, so difficult to do so.”

Liberal Manhattan DA takes on Trump in perilous legal fight

“he is poised to pursue a criminal indictment of the former president in a case centered on a hush-money payment made to the porn actress Stormy Daniels at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. Reimbursement for the payment was falsely recorded as legal expenses, according to federal prosecutors who first examined the case, and Bragg’s office is considering bringing a felony charge based on the falsification of business records. The charge carries a possible prison term of up to four years.”

“Bragg has received some criticism for pursuing a matter that some say amounts to an accounting error tied to a years-old episode. But Roiphe, now a New York Law School professor of legal ethics, said she considers a falsification of business records charge to be an important tool that has been used frequently to hold Wall Street accountable. “I don’t think it’s a minor crime,” she said. “I don’t think it’s trivial.”

“At the same time,” she said, “I think there is a cost to indicting a former president.

“I don’t know whether, when you weigh the benefits of deterrence and sending a message that, ‘No man is above the law,’ [the value of the prosecution] is potentially outweighed by the civic cost.””

New York’s restrictive gun laws didn’t stop the Buffalo shooter

“Nineteen states and Washington, DC, currently have red flag laws, otherwise known as extreme risk protection laws. It’s a form of gun control that even Republicans have endorsed, including some red-state governors, former President Donald Trump, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Connecticut was the first to enact such a law two decades ago, but the rest were passed in the last six years.
The more modern laws follow a similar formula, modeled after domestic violence protection orders. Certain people can petition for an extreme risk protection order from a court — a civil, not criminal mechanism that would prevent an individual from legally possessing or purchasing a gun for up to one year and allow police to seize their firearms for that period.

In most cases, it’s the police who initiate the petition against individuals who have a criminal history, who have made threats of violence, or who present other behavioral risk factors. But in some states, family members of the individual, health professionals, and school administrators can also do so. Should the individual continue to present an immediate danger to themselves or others, the petitioner can go back to the court after the year is up and seek another order.

The intention of these laws isn’t to criminalize people; it’s to stop guns from falling into the hands of those who have exhibited heightened risk of violent behavior and who don’t otherwise meet the threshold to be charged with a crime or involuntarily committed.”

“There have been some jurisdictions — including in San Diego; King County, Washington; and Broward County, Florida — that have put resources toward creating dedicated law enforcement units that petition for such orders, but they are the exceptions. King County, for example, used a protection order to seize firearms from the alleged leader of a neo-Nazi group in 2019.

“What we’re seeing is that where you have that robust training, you have people who are dedicated to this, this is their job or a good part of their job, we see better success,” Horwitz said. “The laws don’t self-execute. These are very new laws. We need to make sure that we support them.””

The NYC nurses strike reveals a fundamental flaw in US health care

“The experts I’ve spoken with over the past few years generally agree that nurses are tremendously undervalued given the importance of their work in delivering quality health care. Research has found repeatedly that more nursing staff leads to patients reporting a better experience in the hospital and better health outcomes.
But the problem is, given the way health care in the US is typically paid for, hiring more nurses and making their work environment better doesn’t necessarily make good economic sense for these hospitals.”

“Nurses point to exorbitant executive compensation (which soared nationwide during the pandemic) and multimillion-dollar real estate deals to explain their decision to strike. They have a point: Hospitals behaving on pure altruism would spend more on clinical staff without their nurses needing to go on strike to force their hand.”

“Slashing executive pay (Montefiore’s CEO makes $6 million a year) can only pay for so many new nursing positions. Canceling a $38 million land deal in White Plains would make more money available, but when revenue depends on the number of services that a hospital system provides, buying land and building new facilities does make fiscal sense.”

“Under the fee-for-service model that still dominates American health care, where every physician service can be billed by the hospital where they work, hospitals have every incentive to expand their services but little incentive to hire more nurses to support that work. From a hospital’s accounting perspective, nurses are entirely a cost. They do not generate any revenue directly, even though they are necessary to providing quality medical care.”

““What we forget is when hospitals put profits over patients, they are operating well within the system of economic carrots and sticks that we created for them, and within the system we created, hospitals are acting completely rationally as any other economic agent would,” Olga Yakusheva, a health care economist at the University of Michigan, said. “There is no economic incentive, right now, for hospitals to invest in adequate nurse staffing, pay nurses well, or provide a good working environment for nurses.”

Until the US gives hospitals good financial reasons to invest in their nursing staffs, these labor disputes are going to occur again and again. As much as we want our health system to be focused on quality health care, in America, health care is a business.

Good health care and profitable health care are not always the same thing. The failure to value nursing in the way we pay for medical services, which laid the groundwork for NYC’s nurses strike, is a stark example of that.”