Watch Gerson on this week's "Para Que Lo Sepas" commentary, which airs on NY1 Noticias every Monday at 5 PM and runs every hour through Tuesday until 5 PM.
More Kelly Missteps?
By Gerson Borrero
New York, NY, February 2, 2012
The nearly fatal shooting of 29 year old Police Officer Brennan, of New Hyde Park, N.Y., in the line of duty Tuesday night on the premises of a public housing development in Bushwick, Brooklyn made it abundantly clear the risk that New York's Finest face each minute of the day.
By all accounts, PO Brennan should be dead. The point-blank shot allegedly fired to the back of the head by suspect, 21 year old suspect Luis Ortiz, should have added a widow to the extended family of the NYPD and left a baby girl to grow up reading about how her Daddy was gunned down by a habitual criminal.
“The officer, when I visited him this morning, was going in and out of consciousness,” said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly in a Press Conference on Wednesday. “That’s because of the morphine, I’m told. As we said last evening, he is extremely lucky.” And hours after trauma surgeons had removed the bullet from the base of the PO Brennan's skull, he remained at Bellevue Hospital Center in critical but stable condition. The investigation by detectives is on going.
In the meantime, we wonder if, unfortunately, this officer was shot by a bullet from his own gun?
According to a retired NYPD detective, told TBR that, "The bullet held-up by Kelly at the press conference appears too big to be a .38 cal. which was the type of gun recovered from an area near the suspects residence."
Our source also noted: "That was the first time I have ever seen a bullet recovered from an officer being displayed to the press!"
The former detective expressed the following concern to TBR, "I wonder how they now handle the "chain-of -custody" issue? Usually, a doctor will hand over a recovered bullet to an officer or the detective handling the case. They, in turn, voucher it and are able to testify, at a later date, that it was the same bullet recovered by the doctor."
Which in this instance, raises the question as to whom the doctor may have given the bullet to?
Did the doctor who removed the bullet give it to the person standing behind Commissioner Kelly and who handed it to Mr. Kelly at the press conference? After holding the bullet up so that cameras could capture the visual, the Police Commissioner seems to returns the vial containing the bullet back to the same person.
Could the sequence of the handling of the bullet press conference have an adverse impact on the eventual case against the alleged shooter?
Obvious problems with the chain-of-custody may develop and an astute defense attorney can argue that, given all the people who handled the bullet, it is impossible to determine whether it was the same one removed from the officer," is what the retired detective told the Borrero Report.
We just hope that the ex-NYPD detective is wrong.
From our friend Mary Murphy at WPIX-TV
Suspect Who Fatally Shot NYPD Cop In Face In Custody
Wanted For The Murder of Police Officer Peter Figoski
STATEMENT BY POLICE COMMISSIONER RAYMOND W. KELLY
At 2:15 this morning police officers from the 75th Precinct responded to a 911 call of a burglary in progress at 25 Pine Street in East New York reported by the owner there.
The owner, who resided on the first and second floors, reported hearing what he thought was a break-in in the basement apartment, occupied by a 25-year old tenant.
The first two officers to respond encountered a robbery victim and his neighbor in the basement apartment.
The two assailants, including the gunman, had tried unsuccessfully to flee from the rear of the location. Failing that, they hid in a side room as the first responding officers walked past them and began interviewing the tenant and his neighbor. The two suspects then made their way to the front door to escape.
Meanwhile, Police Officer Peter Figoski, who was part of the back-up team that responded, was at the bottom of the stairs leading from the street to the basement apartment door when he was shot in the face by one of two assailants.
His partner, Police Officer Glenn Estrada, was already struggling on the street level in front of the house with a second suspect, when he heard the shot and observed the gunman run by him.
Officer Estrada released the man he was struggling with and pursued the gunman, capturing him after a foot pursuit of several blocks at the corner of Fulton and Chestnut streets.
A sliver 9mm Ruger semi-automatic pistol was recovered under a parked car on Chestnut Street near Fulton Street. It appears that one round had been discharged from the weapon. The shell casing had stove-piped, or jammed, in the chamber of the gun. Ten live cartridges remained in its magazine.
We also recovered a black ski mask on the sidewalk about 15 feet from where the gun was found.
The tenant reported first hearing the two suspects pounding on the basement door, and then entering, as he went to the door to investigate. The tenant, an employee of a nearby bodega, said that there were two men, a male Hispanic and a male black who was wearing a ski mask. They initially claimed to be police officers, the tenant said. They then demanded money and jewelry. They knocked the tenant down, and one of the men struck him in the head with a firearm.
As he was lying on the floor of his apartment, he heard what he believed were police officers entering the location, a struggle, and then a shot ring out. The robbery victim said his assailants stole an inexpensive watch and $770 in cash. The tenant is currently being treated at Brookedale hospital for head injuries.
The gunman, Lamont Pride, 27, of Brooklyn, has 5 unsealed prior arrests, including several for drug possession and sale. Pride was wanted on an outstanding warrant for aggravated assault in North Carolina.
The second suspect ran from the scene and still being sought.
Officer Figoski has been an active police officer with over 200 arrests, nearly half felony arrests. He has 12 medals awarded, including 8 for exceptional police duty. We are all praying for him.
His partner, Officer Estrada, was also treated here at Jamaica for an injury to his right shoulder sustained in his confrontation with both suspects. I want to commend Officer Estrada, who had the presence of mind to focus on the man with the gun, and the courage to chase him down and capture him.
I also want to commend the staff here at Jamaica for their outstanding assistance to our officers tonight and for the great work they do in this community every day.
The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in identifying and locating the following individual who is a person of interest in connection with the Murder of a New York City Police Officer in the confines of the 75 pct.
He is described as a Male Hispanic, 24-30 years old. Black hair and light skin complexion.
Wearing a light colored T-shirt, and dark pants.
The individual was last seen walking Westbound on Fulton St from Chester St.
Click HERE for video.
Anyone with information in regards to the whereabouts of this individual is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crimes Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.
Arab Spring in the Caribbean?
New York, NY, October 27, 2011
Maybe the quest for freedom in the Arab world will remind US leaders that a group of their own citizens clamor for the right to self-determination.
At least one prominent American, former presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan, is aware of that clamor.
Recently, appearing with Curtis Sliwa on New York radio station AM970 The Apple, Buchanan, on to discuss his most recent book “Suicide Of A Superpower,” said of the current political status in Puerto Rico:
“I believe that the Puerto Rican people should decide their own destiny.
I do not believe they should be made a state because I think then we would be required to become a bilingual country where you would have to have earphones and instant translation in Congress.
I think they are…they are of a Spanish culture and history and heritage, so what I would do as regard to Puerto Rico I would say, ‘the statehood is out, the present Commonwealth status is fine if you want to keep it and if you want independence, if the...if you set-up an established way to elect and choose independence the United Stated will let you have independence and we will have permanent association.’
So, I am against statehood, I am in favor of the Commonwealth if they want to keep it, and I would agree to independence and nationhood for Puerto Rico if the Puerto Ricans wanted that. They have been good friends but there's no doubt we seized that island by force from Spain in 1898 as a result...as we seized the Philippines and eventually we let the Philippines go.
I don't think what we did in the Philippines was very just, incidentally, but we let...we did a wonderful job after that and we let them go and I think the Puerto Rican people should always have the right to be independent and free of the United States if a majority of them choose to do so.”
Come on President Obama, how about some US assets to assist in that liberation?
New York, NY, October 25, 2011
For those who may believe President Barack Obama announced something new or momentous in his recent statement that all combat troops would leave Iraq by the end of this year, we provide you the agreement between the United States and Iraq crafted during the George W. Bush administration. The document makes clear that the withdrawal of all US forces from all of Iraq had already been agreed to in 2008.
Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq
State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. Calls For Unity
New York, NY, October 25, 2011
Open Memo to My Senate Caucus Colleagues
To: Members of the New York State Senate Puerto Rican/ Latino Caucus
From: Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz
Date: October 24, 2011
Re: Our Show of Unity
This memo is to congratulate my Senate colleagues who serve as Members of the New York State Senate Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus: Senator Adriano Espaillat, Chair; Senator Gustavo Rivera, Vice-Chair; and Caucus Members Senator José Peralta, Senator Martin-Malavé Dilan, and Senator José M. Serrano. I congratulate all of you for showing real unity on behalf of our Caucus and our community by not attending the so-called Legislative Hispanic Unity Conference that was organized by our Senate Majority (Republican) Leader Dean Skelos.
Most importantly, I have to admire our Caucus Chairman, Senator Adriano Espaillat for his leadership.
I have to admire our Caucus Vice-Chair Gustavo Rivera for being forthright in the media last week by stating:“I will not be attending the conference. If the majority leader and the Senate Republicans were serious about addressing the issues affecting Latinos, they would have asked their Latino counterparts in the Senate to help them organize a conference that reflects the issues that are impacting Latinos throughout the state such as immigrants’ rights issues as well as the need to extend the millionaire’s tax so that New York State is able to continue funding important services like education, housing, and healthcare that are so critical to our communities.”
I have to admire our Caucus Member Senator Jose Peralta who told the press: “It’s a dog-and-pony show that they’re putting together so that they can say that they actually put something together. As opposed to when we’re up in session and we’re actually pushing for legislation that matters to Latinos – like immigration, like housing, like safe streets, like good schools and good jobs – and when we have an opportunity do actually move those pieces of legislation forward, when we have an opportunity to actually do something productive for the Latino community…then it doesn’t take effect. There is no dialogue.”
The number of Hispanic elected officials in New York State continues to grow with more than 50 Hispanic elected officials in office today. This includes two Hispanic Members of the U.S. Congress, One Borough President, six State Senators, Ten Members of the State Assembly, and 11 Members of the New York City Council. It is also proper to note the many elected district leaders, state committee members, and many others of Hispanic descent, throughout the state.
To find out that out of so many Hispanic elected officials, only two attended Senator Dean Skelos’s publicity event this weekend certainly demonstrates a great show of unity among Hispanics who did not attend. This speaks volumes!!!!
I understand that only two Hispanic elected officials attended. They are Assembly Member Guillermo Linares and Assembly Member Naomi Rivera. But rumor has it that Assemblyman Linares is pursuing Republican support so that Congressional districts might be more geared to his needs and I have no idea what Assembly Member Naomi Rivera’s intentions were by attending Senator Dean Skelos’ event and not joining the rest of the Hispanic elected officials.
It was mentioned that Roberto Ramirez attended Senator Dean Skelos’ event, but he is no longer an elected official. Roberto Ramirez is a hired consultant and it is believed that he served as part of the consulting firm for the event.
Again, I congratulate you all and all New York State Hispanic elected officials that stood up for their community.
Please feel free to contact me at (718) ###-#### to discuss this further.
Columbus: Discoverer or Destroyer?
New York, NY, October 13, 2011
Read this article by Miguel Sarmiento and then decide.
Christopher Columbus: A deadly and accidental tourist
By Miguel Sarmiento
Regardless of whether he was Jewish or Catholic, or how you may choose to refer to him—Christopher Columbus, in English; Cristoforo Colombo, in Italian; Christophe Colomb, in French; Christoph Kolumbus, in German; Christoffel Columbus, in Dutch; or Salvador Fernandez Cristóvão Zarcus Colombo, in Portuguese—the man died convinced that in each one of his trips
he was on his way to India and, contrary to the meaning of his name, he left behind a trail of pain and death unlike any other in human history.
Today, 519 years later, there are those who celebrate this accidental and bloody Caribbean cruise tourist, and there are those who wonder whether theactions of this individual and those of his subsequent minions will forever go unpunished.
His first name, Christopher, means "He who carries Christ within" and his last name, Columbus, means "Dove," known as the universal symbol of peace. This sailor did not in any way give justice to his namesake for in the name of his “Christ within,” he committed what would undoubtedly be the equivalent of Crimes against Humanity if judged before the International
Court of Justice today.
His travels remind me of an advertisement slogan used to promote tourism to a Colombian city. That slogan stated, "A pleased tourist brings more tourists." Upon his return home, this clueless sailor expressed total satisfaction, and so much was he pleased that millions of Europeans followed his Pinta, Nina and Santa Maria to the Americas. Then they, in the name of several European Crowns, proceeded to commit the most egregious genocide that human history has ever witnessed.
In his journal, Columbus described the peoples of the continent he had landed on as follows: "They bear no arms and do not know what they are. I showed them a sword, and out of sheer ignorance, they held it by the wrong side and got cut ... They will make perfect servants ... With fifty men we can subjugate them all, and make them do whatever we please." Immediately after, Columbus took on the unspeakable task of enslaving and abusing the Natives.
Bartolome de las Casas—a holy man to some, to others a reporter of the atrocities committed by his countrymen, blinded by greed and endless ambition of wealth that by far exceeds that of today’s Wall Street investors—in a 1552 report entitled "Brief account of the destruction of the Indies,” told the Spanish Crown:
THE KINGDOM OF NEW GRANADA
"Beyond Santa Marta and Cartagena, there is a land inhabited by once happy and good and passive people living in emerald and gold rich territories. To these provinces, named the New Kingdom of Granada- after the tyrant who first came to these lands who was himself a native of the kingdom of Granada, many wicked and cruel men came. They were expert butchers and shedders of human blood, very familiar and experienced in these sins also committed in many other parts of the Indies. Their wickedness has been immeasurable, and the aggravating circumstances such that they exceed those committed in all of the other Provinces combined. I beg Her Royal Highness receives and reads this brief report with the mercy and kindness with which Her Highness often treats the works of her subjects, for the public good and prosperity of the thy Kingdom. For after bearing witness and understanding the injustice placed upon those innocent peoples, who are being annihilated and torn without just cause or reason, but the mere greed and blind ambition of those committing such nefarious deeds, Her Highness must effectively plead and persuade His Majesty to deny whoever asks to embark in such harmful and detestable enterprise, to put an end and perpetually silence so much terror, that from now on, no one be bold enough and dares to ever act in such way after being so appointed.”
New Granada, known today as Colombia- named after the sinister tourist, remains as indifferent to the subsistence existence and abuse of its original inhabitants, and its leaders acting as the conquerors of which Bartolome de las Casas speaks of.
It is difficult to understand why so many countries celebrate the encounter of these two worlds. We should instead declare this day, one that will live of infamy, a day to mourning. It is difficult to understand why we have parades and our nations celebrate it. For instance, in Costa Rica it is called the ‘Day of the Cultures.’ In Uruguay it is known as ‘Day of the Americas’. Colombia, Chile, Argentina, USA and Mexico refer to it as ‘Columbus Day’ and the ‘Day of Race.’ Ironic, no? Perhaps we should call it ‘The Day of the Annihilation of a Race.’ At least in Venezuela they have a better and much more appropriate name for it; they call it ‘The Day of the Indigenous Resistance.’
Perhaps it would be more appropriate to call it ‘The American Holocaust’ ... Or, better yet, following Christopher Columbus’ Judeo-Christian roots, and what his name implies, we could call it ‘European Day of Atonement, Reparations and Compensation to the Native Peoples of the Americas.’
The reason for the atonement is that Christ died on the cross to atone for mankind’s sins...The problem with this solution is that there is not enough timber in the world to make a cross big enough to hang on it the sins committed by past and present conquerors.
Nevertheless, I agree with Chilean Nobel Prize winner, Pablo Neruda, when he wrote: "But from the barbarian’s boots, from their beards, from their helms, from the horseshoes, like small pebbles... dropped bright and immaculate words that stayed and shined here ... the language. We ended up losing... We ended up wining ... They took the gold and lefts us the gold ... They took everything, and left us all... They left us... the words."
To which I say, Amen!
New York, NY, October 5, 2011
Our friend Wayne Barrett of The Daily Beast has an excellent article describing the company Texas Governor and wannabe president Rick Perry keeps.
Like our abuelas would say "dime con quién andas y te diré quien eres" (tell me who you walk with and I'll tell you who you are).
Read Wayne's column here: "Perry’s Other Hunting Buddies."
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK CALLS ON COMMUNITY TO "START SNITCHING" IN LIGHT OF THE SHOOTING OF NEW YORK GIRLS BASKETBALL STAR TAYSHANA MURPHY---
NAN and its Anti-violence committee to step up fight to eradicate horrendous culture of violence in NY.
New York, NY (Sept. 13, 20011)- Tamika D. Mallory, National Executive Director of National Action Network (NAN) is
calling upon community members to start "snitching" about gun violence and call for the perpetrator in the shooting of 18 year old basketball star Tayshana Murphy to come forward.
According to Ms. Mallory, "The culture of violence has become an epidemic that is accepted to not only members of the community but by elected officials across the state of NY. No one has immunity from this issue. We must all do our part to end this genocide.
The National Action Network and Tamika D. Mallory have been on the forefront of speaking out against gun violence across the country and the organization has hosted "National Days of Outrage against gun violence" and partnered with the NYPD to host gun buyback programs. The violence, however, still rages on and NAN is urging community members not to sit back and bear witness while contributing to the demise of their own people.
The National Action Network is reaching out to the family of Tayshana Murphy to lend support in this difficult time and shed light on the travesty of gun violence and hosted the family of Denise Gay who was shot Labor Day weekend, allegedly by a police bullet.
Marty Markowitz Audio File
September 1, 2011
Click HERE to hear Marty's message.
New York, New York August 29th, 2011
A bit of self-promotion, but check out this New York Observer story about the "Tweets" of a self-described "Jewryican."
GOVERNOR CUOMO ADVISES NEW YORKERS TO PREPARE FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE AND LOSSES AS HURRICANE IRENE APPROACFor Immediate Release: August 26, 2011
GOVERNOR CUOMO ADVISES NEW YORKERS TO PREPARE FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE AND LOSSES AS HURRICANE IRENE APPROACHES
Encourages New Yorkers to Review Insurance Information, Keep Emergency Claim Numbers Readily Available, Watch out for Scams
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged homeowners to prepare for the potential economic impact of Hurricane Irene by reviewing their insurance policies, gathering emergency claim numbers, securing insurance information and watching out for potential scam artists looking to take advantage of the potential disaster.
"Homeowners should do everything they can to prepare their property to prevent damage. But there are things you can do before the storm to make it easier to deal with damage from a hurricane if it does happen," Governor Cuomo noted. "Consumers should consider taking steps to protect themselves now. Developing a home inventory, assembling information on your insurance policies and understanding what to do should a disaster affect you are things that can better prepare anyone against losses from a storm."
Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of Department of Financial Services, who oversees the Department of Insurance added, "Our Department stands ready and prepared to help and protect New Yorkers' assets. New Yorkers should take prudent measures now, before the storm hits, to ensure they can quickly and easily file claims for any damage."
The Governor listed the following practical suggestions:
Review Your Insurance Policies
Make sure you know what is covered by your policy and what is not covered. Call your insurance agent or company if you have any questions. Remember that flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners or renter's insurance and must be covered under a separate flood insurance policy. Flood insurance does not go into effect for 30 days, so it is too late to obtain this insurance for Hurricane Irene. But if your area could be subject to flooding, you should consider obtaining this protection for the future.
It's Not Too Late to Create a Home Inventory
It's important to have a detailed list that catalogs the belongings in your home with such information as cost and date of purchase. A sample inventory form is on the Insurance Department's website: http://www.ins.state.ny.us/homeown/pdf/home_invchklst.pdf.
If you don't have time to create a comprehensive list of the items in your home, then quickly videotape and/or photograph every room. The more detail you include, the easier it will be for your insurance company to evaluate your loss. When making your list, make sure to open drawers and closets, and don't forget to take stock of what's in your garage and storage buildings. Photograph a newspaper or magazine in at least one of the pictures to document the date the photos were taken.
Consider keeping a duplicate copy of your inventory and photo record at a location away from your home. This could be with a relative or trusted friend where the information is accessible yet away from the potential disaster area.
Collect and Store Your Insurance Information
Keep copies of your insurance policies with your home inventory records. Make sure to have a copy of the policy declarations page listing all of your coverages, as well as your insurance cards. It's important to have 24-hour contact details for your insurance agent and insurance company, along with your insurer's website and mailing addresses. It's a good idea to store this information in a waterproof, fireproof box or safe, and if you need to evacuate your home, don't forget to take this information with you.
Prepare for the Worst
There are steps you can take to help mitigate some of the damage caused by a hurricane or tropical storm. If your home is equipped with storm shutters, make sure you can quickly put them in place. Clear your yard of debris that could become projectiles in high winds and trim dead or overhanging branches from trees surrounding your home. It's also a good time to make a quick review of your home to make sure the roof sheathing is properly secured, that end gables are securely fastened to the roof, and that doors and garage doors are latched properly.
For personal safety, identify the nearest storm shelter and have an evacuation plan for your family. Also, make sure you have hurricane survival supplies including: bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery-operated radio, at least three days of non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies and enough cash for at least three days.
If you are forced to evacuate your home, turn off all utilities and disconnect appliances to reduce the chance of additional damage and electrical shock when utilities are restored.
For more information about how to prepare your family and home for the threat of tropical storms or hurricanes, visit the American Red Cross' website or download their Hurricane Safety Checklist.
After the Storm
The days following a natural disaster can be confusing and stressful, but it is important that you focus on filing your insurance claim(s) as quickly as possible to help protect your financial future.
The first step to getting your home restored is to contact your insurance company and/or agent with your policy number and other relevant information. Be aware that your policy might require that you make this notification within a certain time frame.
Take photographs/video of the damage before clean-up or repairs. After you've documented the damage, make repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls). DO NOT have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs. Be prepared to provide the claims adjuster with records of any improvements you made prior to the damage. Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs.
If your home is damaged to the extent that you cannot live there, ask your insurance company or insurance agent if you have coverage for additional living expenses.
Ask what documents, forms and data you will need to file the claim. Keep a diary of all conversations you have with the insurance company and your insurance agent, including names, times and dates of the calls or visits and contact details.
Be certain to give your insurance company all the information they need. Incorrect or incomplete information may cause a delay in processing your claim.
If the first offer made by the insurance company does not meet your expectations, be prepared to negotiate. If there is a disagreement about the claim, ask the company for the specific language in the policy in question and determine why you and the company interpret your policy differently. If you believe you are being treated unfairly, contact the Insurance Department at: www.ins.state.ny.us. You can file a complaint about an insurance company at:
Protect Yourself From Home Repair Fraud
Home repair fraud increases exponentially following a major storm. Protect your investment by getting more than one bid from contractors and requesting at least three references. Ask for proof of necessary licenses, building permits, insurance and bonding. Record the contractor's license plate number and driver's license number, and then check for any complaints with the
Better Business Bureau. Finally, be wary of contractors who demand up-front payment for repairs. If the contractor needs money to buy supplies, go with the contractor and pay the supplier directly.
The Insurance Department's online "Homeowner's Resource Center" offers detailed information and a number of useful tools consumers may find helpful. It can be found at the following location on the Insurance Department's website, http://www.ins.state.ny.us/hmonindx.htm.
The Insurance Department will activate the Insurance Emergency Operations Center to work with insurance companies to help consumer with claims as soon as the storm is over. The Department has already notified homeowners' insurance companies to prepare. In addition, the Department is contacting health insurers and requesting that they make accommodations for consumers who are forced to leave their homes because of the storm and as a result have to seek health care from out-of-network providers.
Consumers should contact their insurance company, agent or broker to get answers to specific questions about their policies. Consumers who need further help should feel free to contact the New York State Insurance Department's Consumer Services Bureau at 1-800-342-3736 which operates from 9:00 AM. to 4:30 PM., Monday through Friday. Disaster related calls only should go to the disaster hotline at 1-800-339-1759, which will be open starting Monday from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM for as long as needed.
GOVERNOR CUOMO CONVENES EMERGENCY CABINET MEETING REGARDING HURRICANE IRENEt
For Immediate Release: August 26, 2011
Governor Continues Deployment of State Resources for Emergency Storm Assistance
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today convened an emergency session of his Cabinet to review plans to protect New Yorkers and mitigate the potential effects of Hurricane Irene. The Governor is continuing to coordinate the state government-wide mobilization of resources to prepare for the storm.
On Governor Cuomo's orders, the following actions are being implemented immediately:
· The New York Army and Air National Guard will deploy up to 900 soldiers and airmen and over 100 vehicles to support civil authorities; those troops have already begun to report
· The Metropolitan Transit Authority will institute a system-wide shut-down when trains and buses begin their final runs starting at approximately noon on Saturday; the shut-down will include subways, buses, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and Access-A-Ride
· If sustained wind speeds exceed 60 mph, all of the following bridges will be closed to all traffic: George Washington Bridge, Tappan Zee bridge, all bridges operated by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and the following Hudson River bridges: Bear Mountain Bridge, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson (Poughkeepsie), Kingston-Rhinecliff, and Rip Van Winkle (Catskill)
· The New York State Thruway and possibly other major highways will also be closed if sustained wind speeds exceed 60 mph; further closings will be announced as the storm progresses
· LIPA will have 2,500 line workers and tree trim personnel available throughout the weekend for emergency repair work, its largest emergency roster ever
· 175 extra ambulances and personnel will be deployed in regions expected to be hit the hardest by the storm
"We have moved quickly to initiate our emergency plans, to work with our federal and local partners, and to identify, prepare, and put into place one of the most aggressive activations of New York State government ever assembled in the face of a possible natural disaster," Governor Cuomo said. "We are fully committed and we are preparing for the worst."
Specific plans include:
· Office of Emergency Management: OEM is working with the National Weather Service to track the storm and coordinate resources. The state's Emergency Operations Center in Albany has been activated since Wednesday and staffed around the clock. Senior OEM management is being deployed to the anticipated problem areas downstate to improve coordination with local government response. Command vehicles have been deployed to Nassau and Suffolk counties and OEM will make additional deployments of personnel and resources as needed.
· Division of Military and Naval Affairs: The New York Army and Air National Guard will mobilize and deploy approximately 900 soldiers and airmen and over 100 vehicles on Saturday to support civil authorities on Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley as directed by the Governor.
The plan the National Guard is executing at the direction of Governor Cuomo calls for:
230 soldiers and airmen will be stationed with high-axle vehicles and high-tech satellite communications equipment at the Farmingdale Armed Forces Reserve Center by Saturday evening. These troops will remain in place at the center to ride out the storm and then immediately respond to aid civil authorities as directed. This task force will include 120 military police soldiers from the 206th Military Police Company in Latham; 50 transportation soldiers from the 1427 Medium Truck Company in Queensbury; 30 Air National Guard civil engineers from the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia; 10 soldiers assigned to the Signal Detachment at Joint Forces Headquarters in Latham who will operate high-tech satellite communications equipment known as the JISCC (Joint Incident Site Communications Capability); 20 military police soldiers from the 102nd Military Police Battalion in Auburn, who will be equipped with Humvees and high-axle military trucks from around the state that can traverse flooded areas.
Approximately 290 soldiers will be stationed at Camp Smith near Peekskill and will be prepared to move to Long Island after the storm passes over and transportation routes are reopened. This task force will include 45 military police soldiers from the 102nd Military Police Battalion in Auburn; 65 military police soldiers from the 222nd Military Police Company in Auburn; 60 transportation soldiers from the 1569th Transportation Company in New Windsor; 120 Air National Guardsmen from three Air National Guard Wings.
225 soldiers will be placed on duty to augment the National Guard's Joint Task Force Empire Shield in New York City, or to assist local governments in the lower Hudson Valley. These soldiers will be based at the Harlem Armory in New York City and Camp Smith near Peekskill. This task force will include 75 soldiers from C Company, 1st Battalion 69th Infantry headquartered at Camp Smith; 75 members of the New York Air National Guard from bases across the state; 75 soldiers from the 369th Support Brigade in New York City.
140 soldiers and airmen will be on duty in Latham, Camp Smith, and other locations to provide logistical support and command and control for the National Guard Task Force.
Additionally, a total of 12,466 airmen and soldiers, more than 680 vehicles, 16 Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, 4 Ch-47 Chinook helicopters, 10 C-130 cargo aircraft, and 6 HH-60 Pavehawk rescue helicopters are ready to respond if called upon for assistance, surveillance, search and rescue, and post-storm damage assessment.
· Division of State Police: The State Police have approximately 600 troopers statewide that could respond to Troop L (Farmingdale), Troop K (Poughkeepsie), and Troop F (Middletown), as needed. Aviation staging will occur at Stewart Airport and aircraft from upstate have been moved to prepare to deploy in the storm area. The State Police have helicopters and airboats available for immediate response. SCUBA teams will be deployed as missions require. Troop Emergency Management personnel are working closely with County Emergency Managers and local police. State Police Aviation assets are on standby.
The State Police will maintain its presence in all other areas of New York State.
· Department of Correctional Services: The Department operates facilities located within the hurricane's projected path in New York City. There are no correctional facilities located in Nassau or Suffolk counties. All of the correctional facilities have been equipped with proper generators, water storage tanks, and sufficient supplies of food to last well beyond the storm's duration.
· Fire Prevention and Control: The State Fire Mobilization and Mutual Aid Plan has been activated. Staff is being deployed to Long Island, New York City, and the Southern Hudson Valley, as well as the State Emergency Operations Center. The Fire Operations Center is operating 24 hours a day.
· Thruway Authority: Severity of winds will be constantly monitored and when sustained wind speeds exceed 45 mph, tandem, commercial, and large vehicles will be prohibited on the Thruway and on the Tappan Zee Bridge. If sustained wind speeds exceed 60 mph, all traffic will be prohibited on the Thruway and Tappan Zee Bridge because of the effect on driver vehicle control. Maintenance personnel are performing inspection and cleaning of drainage systems to minimize flooding and pooling. Debris removal equipment, including chainsaws, chippers, loaders, and trucks, are being prepared for use. Equipment will be pre-deployed today based on the forecasted track of the hurricane. Emergency generators at Authority facilities and travel plazas have been fueled and tested. Fuel tanks at highway maintenance sections and travel plazas will be filled to insure adequate supplies for response forces and the public. Traffic control devices are being pre-deployed.
Bridge Authority: The Authority is conducting constant monitoring of wind conditions at its six bridges. The Authority has extra staff to monitor wind conditions and to respond to emergency situations. Particularly vulnerable are empty box trucks and trailers, which should avoid all bridges during a high wind storm. The Authority will issue a wind advisory at 30 mph and restrict box trucks, tractor trailers, and other high profile vehicles at 40 mph. Notification to the traveling public urging them to stay off the roads or to find alternative routes will begin immediately.
If sustained wind speeds exceed 60 mph, all of the following bridges will be closed to all traffic: George Washington Bridge, Tappan Zee bridge, all bridges operated by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and the following Hudson River bridges: Bear Mountain Bridge, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson (Poughkeepsie), Kingston-Rhinecliff, and Rip Van Winkle (Catskill).
The pedestrian "Walkway Over the Hudson" park in Poughkeepsie will be closed by 5:00 pm on Friday and will not reopen until after the Authority's Chief Engineer has had an opportunity to inspect the structure.
· Department of Transportation: DOT has begun preventive maintenance and debris removal and is distributing flood control equipment. Equipment in active work zones is being secured, additional erosion protection is being addressed as necessary, barges are secured, and plans for post-storm clean-up are being developed. DOT will have 450 staff, more than 75 dump trucks, and dozens of other equipment and vehicles assigned to the storm effort, much of it marshaled on Long Island. DOT will relocate its construction barges to Coast Guard-approved locations and is stockpiling portable signs, barricades, light towers, arrow boards, and portable VMS signs for delivery to storm-hit areas. Maintenance crews will be available for weekend callouts to ensure that state highway lanes are open to traffic and to keep roads clear for emergency vehicles.
· Metropolitan Transportation Authority: The MTA will institute a system-wide shut-down when trains and buses begin their final runs starting at approximately noon on Saturday in the interest of public safety and to ensure that the system can be operational for use after the storm. The shut-down will include subways, buses, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and Access-A-Ride.
The MTA will continue to focus on providing whatever service can be maintained safely and on preserving lines, equipment, and other resources so that the system can recover from the storm as quickly as possible. More than 1,370 managerial, supervisory, and hourly employees have been called in to supplement the MTA's usual weekend staffing levels. Approximately 200 subway trains, 3,321 buses, and 100 Access-a-Ride vehicles are being moved from low-lying storage locations. 10 subway emergency dispatch vehicles equipped with chainsaws and special tools are staffed and standing by throughout the weekend and 7 extra bus tow trucks will be in service. 26 pieces of heavy track maintenance equipment and their personnel are on duty. 8 emergency generators are on standby for deployment for subway station lighting or power failures. The Bridges and Tunnels Division has an additional 15 standby generators fueled and ready for use. The Subways Division has inspected 72 critical subway pump rooms, 17 track pumps, track drains in 16 flood-prone areas, 34 direct sewer connections, and sump pumps at 216 substations. The Bridges and Tunnels Division has examined and cleared more than 3,500 roadway drains and scuppers and 56 pumps at the Queens Midtown Tunnel and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. The LIRR is equipping 17 work engines with emergency equipment, 44 diesel and dual mode engines with couplers, and checking generators and equipment in 14 electric yards and 7 diesel yards.
· Port Authority of New York & New Jersey: The PA has more than 200 heavy-duty vehicles available at its 5 airports to deploy as needed, plus dozens of police vehicles, including mobile command centers and heavy-duty rescue equipment. More than 1,000 staff and contractors are available to assist customers as needed in every area of airport operations. The PA has hundreds of cases of bottled water, diapers, cots, blankets, and pillows available to provide to stranded passengers if necessary. The PA has dozens of airport shuttle buses that can assist in the movement of passengers if needed. At least one food vendor in every terminal will remain open 24 hours so that food is available at any time. The PA will also deploy Central Office staff throughout the terminals during overnights when passengers are stranded to monitor conditions and provide whatever assistance may be needed, such as finding hotel rooms or ground transportation.
· Department of Health: DOH is receiving 175 ambulances from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Of the 175 ambulances, 50 (40 Basic Life Support and 10 Advanced Life Support) are being turned over to Fire Department of New York City. The remaining 125 ambulances will be deployed as necessary throughout the region. DOH is coordinating with all hospitals and healthcare facilities in the areas with the most potential for evacuation. DOH advised facilities to implement emergency response plans and work with local emergency management and response partners.
· Office of Mental Health: Starting Friday, all 327 patients and staff at the South Beach Psychiatric Center in Staten Island will be evacuated to the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens. The medically fragile and secure unit will be the first moved with their staff. OMH staff will be at Creedmoor to accept the patients into the cleared units. Records will move with patients. Family members of all patients have been contacted. 10 youth patients will be moved to the Queens Children's Psychiatric Center. The co-located Alcohol Treatment Program is going to Kingsboro Psychiatric Center and the co-located Office for People With Developmental Disabilities program is moving to the Connelly Center of the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Services Office. OMH is working with New York City officials to secure transportation. All OMH facilities are reviewing their emergency management plans with special attention to their evacuation plans and are stocking necessary resources for the storm's duration.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
· Department of Environmental Conservation: All DEC conservation officers and forest rangers – approximately 200 in total – will be mobilized for duty during the storm and are prepared to deploy 5 ranger airboats normally stationed upstate. The law enforcement and rescue boats – totaling 32 in various sizes and capabilities – are already deployed throughout Long Island, New York City and the Hudson Valley. DEC will establish an Incident Command Team to maintain situation awareness of all resources and personnel. DEC Spills Response Unit is preparing to respond to petroleum and chemical spills. Water engineers have notified waste water treatment plants to prepare for flooding and loss of electricity. Adirondack Park and Catskill Preserve Campgrounds will be closed and evacuated by noon on Saturday. DEC advises everyone to stay off the trails in the Adirondack Park and Catskill Preserve. DEC has preemptively closed areas to shellfish harvest due to the storm's possible impact on water treatment facilities.
· Public Service Commission: The PSC is monitoring implementation of the utilities' emergency plans for electric, natural gas, steam, water and telecommunications services. The PSC has activated its toll-free call center – 1-800-342-3377 – to assist customers this weekend and has provided staff to support the state's Emergency Operations Center. The PSC is focusing on deployment of utility crews to respond to storm conditions. Utility crews are also on their way to New York from Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois to provide additional assistance.
· New York Power Authority & Long Island Power Authority:
NYPA is in the process of repositioning 3 transmission crews – each crew has between 5-7 workers – as well as trucks and equipment from the Massena and Utica areas closer to Long Island and New York City. These workers specialize in high- and medium-voltage transmission lines and could also be made available to assist with any needs with low-voltage distribution lines. NYPA is readying over 100 staffers for any technical support needed by LIPA and other utilities, including project managers, construction managers, and engineers. NYPA will open its Emergency Command Center at its headquarters in White Plains on Saturday to closely monitor the storm's impact on NYPA facilities and to continue to assist LIPA and National Grid and Con Ed.
LIPA is closely coordinating with National Grid to ensure it is fully prepared on Long Island. NYPA is monitoring the effects of storms on power generation capacity. LIPA anticipates 2,500 line workers and tree trim personnel will be available throughout the weekend for emergency repair work – its largest emergency roster ever – relying on arrangements for mutual aid crews from other utilities as the storm passes and on contract crews from as far away as Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and Mississippi. NYPA is making additional two man crews of 10-14 lineman available to LIPA, making a total of 5 crews available including about 30-35 lineman. Transmission crews are being repositioned. Environmental health and safety engineers as well as other technical staff are already located downstate. The transmission crews will total approximately 15-20 high- and medium-voltage transmission line operators. Over 100 engineers, construction managers, and project managers are being made available to assist LIPA and the utilities. LIPA has secured 950 on-island electric and tree removal contractors and 1,200 off-island personnel.
· Office of Parks, Recreation & Historical Preservation: Staff is preparing emergency equipment, proactively lowering lake levels at park facilities with dams, and coordinating with the National Weather Service. All camping reservations at Wildwood and Hither Hills (Long Island) for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday arrivals, as well as Palisades (Rockland, Orange, and Ulster) and Taconic (Putnam, Dutchess, and Columbia) regions have been cancelled. Any campers remaining in the campgrounds as of Saturday evening will be evacuated. LIPA will be staging vehicles and equipment at Belmont Lake State Park (Long Island) beginning Saturday morning.
· Office of General Services: The Capitol Roof and all other construction projects will be secured by the close of business Friday. Emergency construction contractors are on alert and OGS staff is on call to be deployed to any state property that experiences damage. OGS has hired 30 part-time civil engineers to assist the state Office of Emergency Management with post-hurricane damage assessments.
The Triple Waltz
Cuomo-Christie & the NY/NJ Port Authority Continue Their "Dance"
New York, NY, August 18, 2010
Governors Andrew M. Cuomo and Chris Christie continue their phony “outrage” regarding the recently proposed Port Authority toll increases.
Now, they have the nerve to attempt to portray themselves as the knights that come to the “rescue.”
Give us a break!
Read the letter they jointly sent to Port Authority honchos.
IS IT A FOUR LETTER WORD? NYS QUINNIPIAC POLL WILL REVEAL THE ONE WORD THAT BEST DESCRIBES GOV. CUOMO According to a press advisory we received, Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, will discuss the results of a poll of New York State voters asking their opinions of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Those polled were asked, among other things, for a one word description of the governor, along with how he compares to other elected officials, including President Barack Obama, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
The poll will be released tomorrow in Albany.
One word description? If taken after the Port Authority toll increase debacle, they may well be four letter words!
Stay tuned... RATE THIS!
New York, NY, August 8th, 2011
"Credit rating agencies are a critical gatekeeper in the financial markets; they are relied upon for the accuracy of their analysis." Barbara J. Johnson Alaska Pacific University
All of a sudden, after having played fast and loose with their ratings resulting in untold millions, if not billions, in profits for them, S&P wants to play it straight and call it as it sees it. Could it be atonement for past sins, or placing a death nail in the coffin of a president Wall Street has never wanted?
Read one of the conclusions from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission: "We conclude the failures of credit rating agencies were essential cogs in the wheel of financial destruction." "The three credit rating agencies [Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), and Fitch] were key enablers of the financial meltdown. The mortgage-related securities at the heart of the crisis could not have been marketed and sold without their seal of approval. Investors relied on them, often blindly. In some cases, they were obligated to use them, or regulatory capital standards were hinged on them. This crisis could not have happened without the rating agencies. Their ratings helped the market soar and their downgrades through 2007 and 2008 wreaked havoc across markets and firms.......without the active participation of the rating agencies, the market for mortgage-related securities could not have been what it became." Page 25, The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report - January 2011
And the Password Is? “Grave Inconvenience!!”
New York, NY, July 23, 2011
As reported Thursday by the BorreroReport, same-sex couples hoping to get married on Sunday will have to receive a waiver, pursuant to section 13-b of the NYS Domestic Relations Law, of the usual 24 hour waiting period between the time a marriage license is issued and the time the actual marriage ceremony may take place.
However, it appears that to make absolutely sure that none of the couples walk away without being actually married (or that none of the politicians looking for photo-ops with all the new happily married gay couples are disappointed) the New York City County Clerk has placed, on-line, a fill-in the-blanks waiver application.
The on-line application does not ask the applicant the reason for requesting the waiver instead, in what many may call “coaching,” the application is pre-printed with the reason why the waiver is requested. Paragraph 5 of the application states that the waiver is sought because the couples will suffer “Grave inconvenience.”
Couples would be asked to provide a reason for requesting a waiver and, if it falls within the reasons contemplated by the Domestic Relations Law, they could be issued one by a judge.
Presumably, if section 13-b is followed, the couples would have to show that any of these conditions exists before obtaining the waiver,
- One of the parties is in danger of imminent death
- Reason of other emergency public interest will be promoted thereby
- Delay will work irreparable injury or great hardship upon the contracting parties or one of them
The Domestic Relations Law, however, is clear that “Grave inconvenience”is not one of the reasons for which a waiver may be granted.
So, with perhaps a bit more than a “wink-and-a-nod,” the cookie-cutter form insures that each and everycouple requesting a waiver will be swearing on an oath that they are suffering “Grave inconvenience.”
Hopefully, for those requesting the waivers, they will first read section 210.10 of the New York State Penal Law which, for their benefit, we re-print in its entirety:
§ 210.10 Perjury in the second degree.
A person is guilty of perjury in the second degree when he swears falsely and when his false statement is (a) made in a subscribed written instrument for which an oath is required by law, and (b) made with intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of his official functions, and (c) material to the action, proceeding or matter involved.
Perjury in the second degree is a class E felony.
"We are going to enforce the law - and any group that thinks they are above the law is sadly mistaken."
"If people obeyed the law, there wouldn't be any reason to sue...“
"The best thing would be people obeyed the law."
The quotes above, all by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, would have one believe that he would take a great interest in making sure all of Sunday’s same-sex weddings are conducted by the letter of the law, yet, as a City hall spokesperson told
the BorreroReport yesterday as they washed their hands of the issue, “[t]he decisions on waivers are made by members of the judiciary..”
Obey the law? You decide.
Hizzoner’s Marriage Foul-Up
City Hall claims marrriage waivers are "routinely" granted by judges
New York, NY, July 21, 2011
On Tuesday, weeks after the NYS Senate approved changes in the Domestic Relations law allowing for same-sex marriages, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, held a joint press conference announcing the creation of a lottery system for couples wanting to be among the first to be married when the law takes effect on July 24th.
According to the Mayor’s press release, judges will also be available to “review requests to waive the 24-hour marriage waiting period normally required under State law.” The press release, however, makes no mention of the strict requirement in the state law under which such “waivers” may be issued.
A review by the BorreroReport of Section 13-b of the New York State Domestic Relations law reveals that waivers to the 24 hour waiting period after a marriage license is issued, may only be granted if certain specific conditions are met by the couples wishing to marry. Essentially, as per the law, couples may receive a waiver to the 24 hour waiting period if they are able to show and swear, before a judge, that they meet any of the following conditions:- One of the parties is in danger of imminent death- Reason of other emergency public interest will be promoted thereby
- Delay will work irreparable injury or great hardship upon the contracting parties, or one of them
Assuming the judges who preside over Sunday’s much anticipated same-sex ceremonies follow the law, it appears few, if any, same-sex couples will actually be married that day. Consequently, most, if not all, of the jubilant lottery winners may walk away with a marriage license but no marriage certificate.The press release issued during the conference also details the steps to be followed by those wishing to be part of the 764 couples to be chosen via the lottery.Normally closed on weekends, the offices of the City Clerk in each of the five boroughs will be open this coming Sunday, and judges will be available to officiate over the marriage of the selected couples.City Hall press spokesperson, Marc LaVorgna, advised the BorreroReport that the 24 hour waivers were being issued pursuant to the previously mentioned Section 13-b of the Domestic Relations law. He stressed, however, that, “The decisions on waivers are made by members of the judiciary and we cannot and will not influence those decisions made by the judges.” He further added, “I would note that we understand that such waivers are routinely granted to people who request them.”
In their quest to score political points with what many perceive is a powerful and influential special interest group, Bloomberg and Quinn may very well, literally, have left them at the altar.