Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sheldon Silver's Financial Disclosure

See http://jcope.ny.gov/elected%20officials/2013/assembly/ASSEMBLYMEMBER-SILVER%20S_2013.pdf

See also http://bit.ly/shelly-the-crook in case the jcope website removes Shelly's disclosure, we have backed it up.

This is the money from the lawyers 
Shelly's signature that affirms the truth of his statements 
3/4 of a million from Lawyers

Why don't we require real dollar amounts instead of this vague system of coded numbers???

A modest proposal for Participatory Budgeting for New York State


  • Do you notice that there is no transparency and video of the recent New York State Assembly meetings?  
  • Are these meetings not public business?  
  • Is the New York State Assembly subject to the Open Meetings Law?
Look at http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/January15/SheldonSilverChargesPR.php and compare U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara statements to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo statements.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Over his decades in office, Speaker Silver has amassed titanic political power. But, as alleged, during that same time, Silver also amassed a tremendous personal fortune – through the abuse of that political power. All told, we allege that Silver corruptly collected some $4 million in bribes and kickbacks disguised as ‘referral fees.’ Those disguised bribes and kickbacks account for approximately two-thirds of all of Silver’s outside income since 2002.
“As today’s charges make clear, the show-me-the-money culture of Albany has been perpetuated and promoted at the very top of the political food chain. And as the charges also show, the greedy art of secret self-reward was practiced with particular cleverness and cynicism by the Speaker himself. Among other things, we allege that Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the New York State Assembly, was on retainer to a mammoth real estate developer at the very same time that the chamber he dominates was considering and passing legislation vitally affecting the bottom line of that developer; at the very same time that he was hearing out lobbyists paid by that developer and at the very same time that he was deliberately keeping secret from the public any information about this lucrative side-deal, in violation of the law.
“Politicians are supposed to be on the people’s payroll, not on secret retainer to wealthy special interests they do favors for. These charges go to the very core of what ails Albany – a lack of transparency, lack of accountability, and lack of principle joined with an overabundance of greed, cronyism, and self-dealing.”

This is our New York State Governor Cuomo speaking:
“To the extent I have to interact with the Assembly, committees, management by committee, I’ve never been a fan of, and I’ve never seen it work well,” the governor continued. “So, I’d like to see what the actual configuration is that they’ve come up with, when they come up with it. And then I’ll have an opinion.”
Do the 20 Million people of New York State want more transparency in the budget process?  Do the people prefer to PARTICIPATE in their budget?  All good questions.  It really depends on the people and their focus.  If we continue to ignore the political budget process (instead focusing on sports, etc (insert any well promoted past time here)) we will get many more Sheldon Silver et al like characters.
“…I’m focused on the functionality of government, and I want to know what the mechanism is that will replace the speaker…the quote, unquote committee. I don’t know what that means. I can’t negotiate with a committee, so I have to see what they actually come up with. From my own selfish point of view, I don’t understand how you negotiate with a commitee, how I negotiate with a committee.” 
We need committees and real time updates and complete transparency into the budget process.

WHY DO WE FOCUS SO MUCH ON ELECTIONS???

AND NOT ON THE BUDGETS???

To Quote U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara:

“When did 20 million New Yorkers agree to be ruled by a triumvirate in Roman times?” Bharara asked at a breakfast held by the New York Law School on Friday morning.

Let's look at the Population of New York State:

New York State Population is growing?

Growing??? Look again!


People are deciding with their feet.

Buffalo is shrinking:





But actually Upstate New York is shrinking and New York City is growing but so is the percent of the population in poverty

See http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/html/poverty/lookup.shtml  New York City's own poverty monitor:

A very sad state of affairs.  Please everyone share your opinion and require transparency of your representatives!  Ask yourself this question:   Imagine that you are the "representative" and "sheldon silver" etc were your constituent.  Do you believe that "sheldon silver" would not demand transparency from you???

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Williamsburg Bridge Greenway connector?

See Williamsburg Bridge Greenway connector: http://youtu.be/WwGmo8m4wiI

Here's your task.  You want to commute to work from Southeast Williamsburgh to Manhattan.  You have many decisions.  

Your goals are:
  • Beautiful path
  • Fresh air
  • Smooth roads
  • Safe roads
  • Minimize interaction with motor vehicles
  • Minimize commute time
To minimize commute time, you may pick Broadway in Williamsburg since it is a direct route.


Direct Route to Williamsburg Bridge from Southeast


Safer Route to Williamsburg Bridge from Southeast

You would be better off taking the Blue Lines until...

Welcome to BQE Williamsburg Bridge Disaster
You reach the BQE disaster!

Yes this is what it looks like

Could we not have a Brooklyn Side Willyb bike path approach like the Manhattan Bridge here???
Compare to Queens side of Queensboro bridge
Compare to Brooklyn side of Manhattan bridge

Here's what the BQE above looks like

But we cyclists and pedestrians and local street drivers receive!

A mess!

Dangerous crossings

Parks that have no safe entrance


Cyclists are literally directed to go on the sidewalk at this point it appears.

The overall grade for the Williamsburg Bridge cyclist/pedestrian access on the northeast side of the Williamsburg bridge is Zero.   This is not to be confused with VisionZero http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_Zero which is a worthy goal that New York City borrowed from Sweden.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Presentation at Google Developer Group January 2015

Presentations:

APPLICATION IDEAS:


Join us today at http://www.meetup.com/NYC-GDG/events/219708932/

Friday, January 23, 2015

6:00 PM

Google Chelsea Market Office

75 Ninth Ave, Floor 2, New York, NY


GDG New York is holding a Google/Udacity-sponsored Android  study course (Jam) starting in February. The course will run for 8 weeks, followed by additional time for individual projects. The course curriculum is developed and maintained by Google/Udacity online - and will be facilitated by your local GDG organizer.
Participation will require you to complete 1 lesson (videos) on your own each week, and attend a weekly meetup (in person or on hangout) to review materials and prep for the next week.
Interested in learning Android before summer? Come join us for the January GDG Meetup for a "Preparatory" session for the Android Study Jam. This event is open to all, and targets a beginner audience.
We are also open to lightning talks 
Agenda:
5:45pm Doors Open
6:00-6:45pm Android 101: A Rapid Overview 
6:45-7:15pm  Introduction To Android Studio
7:15-8:00pm Android Study Jam: Signup & Prep Work 
8:00-8:30pm Lightning Talks - starting off with a Android Wear Primer
8:30pm+ Doors Close

Interested in giving a lightning talk? Contact us organizers! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, Took Millions in Graft, US Says

See http://bit.ly/sheldon-silver-charged-2015 for a plain text version of the US charge against Silver:

Approved:
Assistant United States Attorneys
Before : THE HONORABLE FRANK MAAS
United States Magistrate Judge Southern District of New York
SEALED COMPLAINT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
* Violations of
18 US. C. SS 1341, 1343, - . 1346, 1349, and 1951
SHELDON SILVER,
: COUNTY OF OFFENSE .
Defendant. NEW YORK
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, ss . ;
ROBERT W. RYAN, being duly sworn, deposes and says that he is a Criminal Investigator with the United States Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York, and charges as follows:
COUNT ONE
1. From at least in or about 2000, up to and including the date of this Complaint, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, willfully and knowingly, having devised and intending to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to deprive the public of its intangible right to SILVERs honest services as an elected legislator and as the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, would and did transmit and cause to be transmitted by means of wire communication in interstate and foreign commerce, writings, signs, signals, pictures, and sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme and artifice, to wit, SILVER used the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income earned by SILVER as a private lawyer.
(Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 1346.)
________________


  

COUNT TWO
2. From at least in or about 2000, up to and including the date of this Complaint, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, willfully and knowingly, having devised and intending to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to deprive the public of its intangible right to SILVERs honest services as an elected legislator and as the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, for the purpose of executing such scheme and artifice and attempting to do so, placed in a post office and authorized depository for mail matter, a matter and thing to be sent and delivered by the Postal Service and deposited and caused to be deposited a matter and thing to be sent and delivered by private and commercial interstate carrier, and took and received therefrom, such matter and thing, and knowingly caused to be delivered by mail and such carrier according to the direction thereon, such matter and thing, to wit, SILVER used the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income earned by SILVER as a private lawyer.
(Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 1346.)
COUNT THREE
3 . From at least in or about 2000, up to and including the date of this Complaint, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, and others known and unknown, willfully and knowingly did combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to commit honest services mail fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 1346 .
4 . It was a part and an object of the conspiracy that SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, willfully and knowingly, having devised and intending to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to deprive the public of its intangible right to SILVERs honest services as an elected legislator and as the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, for the purpose of executing such scheme and artifice and attempting to do so, placed in a post office and authorized depository for mail matter, a matter and thing to be sent and delivered by the Postal Service and deposited and caused to be deposited a matter and thing to be sent and delivered by private and
________________


  

commercial interstate carrier, and took and received therefrom, such matter and thing, and knowingly caused to be delivered by mail and such carrier according to the direction thereon, such matter and thing, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 1346, to wit, SILVER agreed with others known and unknown, including a coconspirator not named herein ("CC1) , to use the power and influence of his official position to induce certain real estate developers with significant business before the State of New York to retain the law firm of CC1 in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in secret bribes and kickbacks paid to SILVER by the law firm, which were masked as legitimate income earned by SILVER as a private lawyer.
(Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. )
COUNT FOUR
E . From at least in or about 2000, up to and including the date of this Complaint, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, willfully and knowingly, did obstruct, delay, and affect in any way and degree commerce, and the movement of articles and commodities in commerce, by extortion, as those terms are defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951, and did thereby obtain property not due SILVER or his office and to which SILVER was not entitled, under color of official right, to wit, SILVER used the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars masked as legitimate income earned by SILVER as a private lawyer. -
(Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951. )
COUNT FIVE
6 . From at least in or about 2000, up to and including the date of this Complaint, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, and others known and unknown, willfully and knowingly did combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to willfully and knowingly obstruct, delay, and affect in any way and degree commerce, and the movement of articles and commodities in commerce, by extortion, as those terms are defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951, and did thereby obtain property not due SILVER or his office and to which SILVER was not entitled, under color of official right, to wit,
________________


  

SILVER agreed with others known and unknown, including CC1, to use the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself hundreds of thousands of dollars masked as legitimate income earned by SILVER as a private lawyer.
(Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951. )
The bases for deponents knowledge and for the foregoing charges are, in part, as follows:
7 . I am a Criminal Investigator with the United States Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York (WUSAO SDNY) , and have been in that position for approximately eight years.
I have been personally involved in the investigation of this matter along with Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the WFBI) and other Criminal Investigators of the USAO SDNY (collectively, the Investigative Team) . Previously, I was a Special Agent of the US. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of the Inspector General ("HUDOIG) for three years, and prior to that I was a Special Agent of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (WIRSCI) for 14 years. While with the USAO SDNY, HUD-OIG, and IRSCI, I have participated in multiple investigations of public corruption offenses, among other offenses.
8 . I am familiar with the facts and circumstances set forth below from my participation in the investigation of this matter, from my personal knowledge, and from my conversations with other law enforcement officers, including members of the Investigative Team and others. Because this Affidavit is being submitted for the limited purpose of establishing probable cause, I have not included every fact I have learned during the investigation. Where the actions, statements, and conversations of others are recounted herein, they are related in substance and in part, unless otherwise indicated.
OVERVIEW
9 . SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, has engaged in and continues to engage in a secret and corrupt scheme to deprive the citizens of the State of New York (the State) of his honest services, and to extort individuals and entities under color of official right, as an elected legislator and as Speaker of the New York State Assembly (the Assembly) . For more than a decade, SILVER repeatedly has represented publicly that his outside income as a private lawyer is derived from private citizens who seek him out for legal services in personal injury matters, and that none of his
________________


  

clients has any business before the State. SILVER also has represented through the States mandatory financial disclosure filings that he derives his outside income as a private lawyer from "representing individual clients" in "personal injury actions" as Wof counselto the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, PC. (WWeitz & Luxenberg) . These representations were and are materially false and misleading. In truth and in fact, SILVER has obtained millions of dollars in outside income as a direct result of his corrupt use of his official position to obtain attorney referral fees for himself, including from clients with substantial business before the State, and not as a result of legitimate outside income SILVER earned as a private lawyer. -
10. The investigation to date has revealed that SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, received more than 6 million in outside income from two law firms since late 2002, consisting of the following:
cl . Approximately 700, 000 in undisclosed bribes
and kickbacks obtained in a scheme described in detail below, whereby SILVER used his power and influence as an elected legislator and as Speaker of the Assembly to induce real estate developers with business before the State to retain and continue to use a real estate law firm (the Real Estate Law Firm) controlled by an attorney who previously had worked as SILVERs counsel in the Assembly (CC1) , and who caused SILVER to be paid for such referrals by the Real Estate Law Firm.
b. More than 5.3 million in payments from Weitz & Luxenberg in the form of: (i) a salary of approximately 120,000 annually, totaling more than 1.4 million during the relevant time period, which SILVER received based on his official position rather than any work he was expected to perform for clients of the firm, plus (ii) approximately 3.9 million in attorney referral fees, over 3 million of which SILVER obtained through a corrupt scheme described in greater detail below, whereby SILVER obtained referrals of asbestos cases from a doctor ("Doctor1) by using his official position to secretly direct 500,000 in State funds to Doctor1s research and provide additional benefits to Doctor1 and his family.
11. SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, had no involvement in the work of the Real Estate Law Firm or Weitz & Luxenbergs asbestos practice, and he has never performed any legal work whatsoever for either the Real Estate Law Firms real estate developer clients or Weitz & Luxenbergs asbestos clients. In short, as set forth below,
________________


  

there is probable cause to believe that SILVER obtained approximately 4 million in payments characterized as attorney referral fees solely through the corrupt use of his official position.
12. When, in or about 2013, the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption (the Moreland Commission) began to investigate outside income earned by SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, and other State legislators, SILVER took legal action and other steps to prevent the disclosure of such information to the Moreland Commission. -
BACKGROUND
The Legislature and Silvers Authority and Compensation as Assembly Speaker
13. I have learned the following from my review of publicly available State government documents, and my training, experience, and participation in the investigation:
Gl . The New York State Legislature (the Legislature) is seated in the State Capitol in Albany. As provided for in Article III of the New York State Constitution and State law, the Legislature consists of two houses: the Assembly, which has 150 elected members, and the State Senate (the Senate) , which has 63 elected members. The leader of the Assembly, who is elected by its members, is referred to as the Speaker of the Assembly.
b. Members of the Legislature generally are
permitted to hold outside employment and earn outside income at the same time they serve as legislators. However, because of the obvious potential for abuse that arises when members of the Legislature receive outside income, State law restricts to some degree such employment to avoid, among other things, conflicts and potential conflicts of interest. Additionally, as discussed in greater detail below, State law requires members of the Legislature to disclose annually certain information about their outside income, including the sources of that income.
C . In or about 1976, SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, was elected as a member of the Assembly in an Assembly District that comprises much of lower Manhattan. In or about 1994, SILVER was elected Speaker of the Assembly, a position he continues to hold more than two decades later.
________________


  

d. Pursuant to the Rules of the Assembly and other provisions of State law and practice, the Speaker of the Assembly has significant power over the Assembly, including appointing the chairperson and members of all Assembly committees, creating subcommittees and task forces and appointing the chairperson and members thereof, overseeing the Assemblys rules and regulations, presiding over the Assembly, and controlling legislative sessions, including bringing certain legislation to the floor for debate. In addition, the Speaker of the Assembly plays a key role in negotiation of the State budget and the allocation of certain State funds to various entities.
6S . As a member of the Assembly, SILVER is paid the same annual base salary as other Assembly members, which currently is 79,500. In addition to his base salary, SILVER is paid an additional salary of 41,500 for serving as Speaker of the Assembly. Accordingly, SILVERs total annual monetary compensation for his official duties is 121,000, plus per diem pay, a car and driver, and travel reimbursement.
Silvers Power and Influence Over the Real Estate Industry and Health Care Funding
The Real Estate Industry
14. I have learned the following about the role of SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, in regulating the States real estate industry from individuals who are in the business of lobbying State elected officials on behalf of, among other entities, a New Yorkbased real
estate developer ("Developer1) (the Lobbyists) , a representative from Developer1, representatives of another New Yorkbased real estate developer ("Developer2) , records obtained
from the Moreland Commission after the Governor of the State disbanded it as described in greater detail below, public records, and my training, experience, and participation in the investigation:
cl. The Legislature, including the Assembly, has a significant role in regulating the real estate industry in the State. In particular, the Legislature regulates the real estate industry by, among other things, passing laws governing real estate taxation, rent, land use, and other matters. In addition to controlling key aspects of real estate regulation, the State also sponsors and provides governmental subsidies and tax incentives that have significant financial value to certain participants in the real estate industry. Among other programs of this nature are (i) a
________________


  

program known as the 8020 program," under which qualifying developers of residential rental real estate are eligible for governmentsubsidized financing and tax credits, in exchange for keeping at least 20 percent of units affordable for low and moderate income renters for a set period of time, and (ii) a program known as the 421a program” under which substantial real estate tax abatements are provided for certain new residential real estate developments. Several of these regulations and programs, in particular those relating to rent regulation and tax abatements, | expire periodically and thus must be renegotiated and reapproved by the Legislature, including the Assembly, if they are to continue.
b. In part due to the importance of the Legislature to the real estate industry, real estate developers, including Developer1, are some of the largest contributors to campaigns of candidates for State office and to political committees controlled by leaders of the Legislature, including SILVER. For example, I have learned that from in or about 2005 through in or about 2014, Developer1 has contributed more than 10 million to candidates for State office and State political committees, including to committees of both major political parties, making it the largest political contributor of any person or entity to State candidates or committees during that time period. Developer1s more than 10 million in contributions includes approximately 200,000 to SILVER and a political committee SILVER controls. -
c. Real estate developers and associations of real estate developers also retain lobbyists to lobby legislators, including SILVER, among others, in order to ensure that their t interests are represented effectively before SILVER and other key | decision makers in State government. For example, in or about 2014, Developer1 paid approximately 900, 000 to eight different lobbyists, including the Lobbyists, to lobby State government officials, including SILVER .
Health Care Funding
15. I have learned the following from my review of publicly available State government documents, individuals currently or formerly employed by the New York State Department of Health (WDOH) , and my training, experience, and participation in the investigation:
Gl . SHELDON SILVER, the defendant, has exercised, and continues to exercise, control over several sources of State

________________


  

funding as Speaker of the Assembly. Funding that SILVER has controlled since becoming Speaker of the Assembly includes discretionary money that is allocated to the Assembly for use by its members (member items) , and capital funding through certain State public authorities that is available to projects backed by SILVER . In addition to general-purpose member item funding and capital, funding, discretionary funds over which SILVER has exercised control include funding available to the Assembly until in or about 2007 under legislation entitled the New York State Health Care Reform Act (YHCRA) * Specifically, until in or about 2007, up to 8.5 million was allocated to the Assembly annually under HCRA, to be disbursed through DOH at the discretion of the Speaker of the Assembly, i.e. ,
b . Until in or about April 2005, the HCRAAssembly Pool was not part of the State budget, and disbursements from the HCRAAssembly Pool were not disclosed in the budget. Beginning in or about April 2005 through in or about 2007, the HCRAAssembly Pool was included in the State budget, but it was listed as a lump sum 8.5 million line item, without any public disclosure of the recipients of the funds from the HCRAAssembly Pool or the purported intended use of such funds.
C . To disburse funds from the HCRAAssembly Pool, a letter from SILVER was sent to DOH, accompanied by a form called a Legislative Initiative Form, which provided the purported intended
purpose of the disbursement. DOH had no role in selecting recipients
of the HCRAAssembly Pool funds or evaluating the intended use of such funds. Grants from the HCRAAssembly Pool differed from other grants that DOH has administered in certain limited research areas, which are subject to a formal application process and peer review. Thus, SILVER was able to distribute money from the HCRAAssembly Pool at his discretion, with no public disclosure of the disbursements.
• d. In or about January 2007, the State, to increase transparency about the spending of State funds, adopted legislation called the Budget Reform Act of 2007 prohibiting "lump-sum" appropriations by the Legislature, such as the HCRAAssembly Pool. Instead, any discretionary appropriations added to the budget by the Legislature had to be itemized appropriations that, unlike expenditures made from the HCRAAssembly Pool, had to be publicly disclosed. Pursuant to the Budget Reform Act of 2007 and as a
* Pub. Health L. S 2807–(1) (c) (iii) (B) .
________________


  

cost-saving measure, the HCRAAssembly Pool was abolished and was no longer available after 2007.
SILVER" S PUBLIC REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT HIS OUTSIDE INCOME
16. I have learned the following from records obtained from the New York State Legislative Ethics Commission (the Ethics Commission) , public records, and my training, experience, and participation in the investigation:
Pursuant to the New York State Public Officers Law, members of the Legislature are required to file financial disclosure statements on an annual basis with the Ethics Commission. The financial disclosure statement is entitled Annual Statement of Financial Disclosure” (the Disclosure Form) and is required to be signed and presented for filing by the reporting individual.
b. A primary purpose of the Disclosure Form is to require legislators to disclose outside income, activities, finances, and assets that may indicate a financial impropriety or conflict of interest .
C . The Disclosure Form requires reporting individuals to answer a variety of questions about themselves and their spouses related to, among other things, outside employment and income, involvement with notfor-profit corporations and political parties, investments, assets, loans, gifts, and reimbursements. Beginning in or about 2013, the Disclosure Forms have been posted on the Internet by the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics and available to the general public.
d. If a Disclosure Form is offered or presented that knowingly contains a false statement or false information, it may serve as the basis for prosecution under the New York Penal Law.”
Ge . At all times relevant to this Complaint, the Disclosure Form required reporting individuals to answer the following questions completely, among others:
i. Question No. 8 required reporting individuals who also are attorneys to give a general description of the principal subject areas" of their practice.
* See, e.., N. Penal Law S 175.30 (offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree) .

10







Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cyclist trying to reach the Williamsburg Bridge from the Southeast


Here's your task.  You want to commute to work from Southeast Williamsburgh to Manhattan.  You have many decisions.  

Your goals are:
  • Beautiful path
  • Fresh air
  • Smooth roads
  • Safe roads
  • Minimize interaction with motor vehicles
  • Minimize commute time
To minimize commute time, you may pick Broadway in Williamsburg since it is a direct route.

Direct Route to Williamsburg Bridge from Southeast


Safer Route to Williamsburg Bridge from Southeast

You would be better off taking the Blue Lines until...

Welcome to BQE Williamsburg Bridge Disaster
You reach the BQE disaster!

Yes this is what it looks like

Could we not have an Brooklyn approach to bike path like the Manhattan Bridge here???

Compare to Queens side of Queensboro bridge
Compare to Brooklyn side of Manhattan bridge

Here's what the BQE above looks like

But we cyclists and pedestrians and local street drivers receive!

A mess!

Dangerous crossings

Parks that have no safe entrance


Cyclists are literally directed to go on the sidewalk at this point it appears.

The overall grade for the Williamsburg Bridge cyclist/pedestrian access on the northeast side of the Williamsburg bridge is Zero.   This is not to be confused with VisionZero http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_Zero which is a worthy goal that New York City borrowed from Sweden.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wait Times for IDNYC at different locations

Update 2/11/2015:  link



Update 1/31/2015:




The waiting times are each location for IDNYC are going up.  It seems that the maximum is 180 days.  But Staten Island is still relatively very low.



Signing up for IDNYC?

Here are the current days to wait.

The shortest current wait time is 86 days at 350 St. Marks Place, 1st Floor Staten Island, NY 10301 -- Staten Island - Department of Finance




This data is changing fast, so sign up today :)

See https://idnyc.appointment-plus.com/index.php


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Vision Zero and East 37th Street Greenway Connector

New York City Mayor Deblasio and Department of Transportation commissioner Trottenberg are very proud of visionzero. Let us thank them but also let us actually look at one of the #visionzero projects.  (or maybe we should call it #wakeupvisionzero)

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU72xBfse_8 and compare to http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2014-05-e37-greenway-connector-mn-cb6.pdf

For example here is one of the DOT photos:



I can assure you as a bike commuter on the poor excuse for an east side bike path for the past 5 years that this is not a real photo.  This part of the bike path is actually a treacherous grate filled and shadow filled mess.  And a #wakeupvisionzero accident waiting to happen!

See the video and judge for yourself.

We thank the DOT but you have left the pathway in a very bad state.  You painted some lines on the ground, then there was a crew that tried to remove the curb that is right in the middle of the bike path but they gave up and now the path is as bad as ever.  The painted bike path leads right to a giant curb and right where the FDR service road can kill the cyclists.  This entire area need to be re-designed!!!

And the EAST SIDE BIKE PATH should continue ALL THE WAY UP THE EAST SIDE OF MANHATTAN!

WHY IS THERE A:
  • BUS PARKING LOT
  • HELIPORT / PARKING
  • RESTAURANT / PARKING
  • MITCHELL LAMA HOUSING / PARKING
  • BOAT DOCK / PARKING
  • GAS STATION
RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BIKE PATH

And worst of all the entire path just DEAD ENDS AT EAST 37TH STREET.

WOULD IT NOT MAKE SENSE for #wakeupvisionzero to have a complete EAST SIDE BIKE PATH

Hey, that might reduce cyclist deaths (which actually went up during #wakeupvisionzero)!!! 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New York City Department of Finance Notice of Property Value

See https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/nuilqhsgutl6hakfka4rl78tfc%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics for the New York City Department of Finance calendar as of January 13, 2015  For the latest updates see, http://www1.nyc.gov/site/finance/about/finance-calendar.page

Let's say that you would like to see all the places where our New York City department of finance is providing community outreach.  It is not easy to find this information on the NYC DOF website.  But if history can be used to predict and according to the NYC 311 DOF specialist there will be Notice of Property Value (NOPV) workshops in February in every borough.  Interesting that we pick the coldest month to hold workshops :)

Information from 2014:


Notice of Property Value (NOPV)Every January, Finance mails New York City property owners a Notice of Property Value (NOPV). This important notice has information about your property’s market and assessed values. Finance determines your property’s value every year, according to State law. The City╩╝s property tax rates are applied to the assessed value to calculate your property taxes for the next tax year. You get your first tax bill for the year in June. If you believe the values or property descriptions on the NOPV are not correct. Click here for information on what you can do. 
NOPV Workshops & Tax Commission Public BriefingsWere held during February 2014 in every borough.

Here is the twitter activity of our NYC DOF since the new NYC DOF commissioner Jacques Jiha testimony to our New York City Council Hearing Regarding Fiscal Year 2015 Executive Budget Briefing  June 6, 2014.  See http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/finance/downloads/pdf/press_release/jiha_testimony_budget_hearing.pdf


jiha testifies that property tax reform is needed 
july 2014 talk about bus lane tickets 
More talk about bus violations

nothing
nothing

nothing

mentions senior discount


nothing so far


Live Calendar of 2014 NYC DOF twitter tweets and replies