Nadler and Niou Lead Protest Over Court Fees That Hit Hardest Against the Poor
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou: “Mandatory court fees are the ugly face of New York’s two justice systems: one serving the rich, the other attacking the poor.”
On Monday, two elected officials representing Lower Manhattan led a rally at Foley Square for a criminal justice reform proposal, which aims to alleviate a penal burden that weighs most heavily on the poorest New Yorkers.
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou is sponsoring the End Predatory Court Fees Act, which would roll back the surcharges and extra costs that courts and government agencies attach to every conviction, from traffic tickets to felonies. The fees can amount to hundreds of dollars, and are in addition to any fine that a court imposes. Because judges have no authority to waive or reduce these fees and surcharges (or even consider a defendant’s ability to pay them), they can become an ongoing burden for defendants living below the poverty line, who are prone to falling into arrears, while additional financial penalties (triggered by the failure to pay the original levy) accumulate. This gives rise to a vicious circle, in which such mounting debts can lead to rearrest and imprisonment for up to one year — in addition to the imposition of new surcharges and fees.
The legislation being sponsored by Ms. Niou would eliminate the mandatory court surcharges, along with parole and probation fees, while also giving judges discretion to consider a defendant’s ability to pay when imposing fines. The same measure would also end garnishment (to satisfy such charges) of jailhouse wages earned by prisoners who work while incarcerated.
U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler: “A person’s liberty can be deprived because they cannot afford court-imposed fines or fees. This is unconscionable, and it’s time to make a change.”
At the Monday rally, Ms. Niou said, “until we end the twisted process of criminalizing poverty, the painful cycle of injustice experienced by so many New Yorkers will continue. We can do better, and we must do better.”
She added that, “mandatory court fees are the ugly face of New York’s two justice systems: one serving the rich, the other attacking the poor. And let us be very clear: these systems are not in place by accident. They are the intentional design of people who aim to control and weaken our communities of color and low-income New Yorkers.”
Congressman Jerry Nadler said, “the increased reliance on fines and fees — regardless of someone’s ability to pay — diminishes public trust in our criminal justice system and perpetuates the notion that equal justice under law is accessible only to those who can afford to pay for it.”
He added that, “too often, fines and fees are imposed on people who simply cannot afford to pay them, for which they are penalized with additional fines that they also cannot afford. Even worse, in some cases, failure to pay fines results in arrests, or even jail time. This is, in effect, a modern debtor’s prison. A person’s liberty can be deprived because they cannot afford court-imposed fines or fees. This is unconscionable, and it’s time to make a change.”
Three indicators paint an equivocal portrait of the economic outlook for Lower Manhattan. The most upbeat of these is the so-called Pret Index, a metric created by Bloomberg News, which tracks the sales of lattes at various outposts of Pret A Manger, a chain of sandwich shops that largely serves office workers in urban business districts.
Data released by Bloomberg on Tuesday indicates that, among Pret A Manger locations in the Financial District and Tribeca, sales of cappuccino drinks, “set a new pandemic high last week,” recovering to 45 percent of sales levels from January, 2020—just before the advent of COVID-19.
More sobering is data from Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm, whose Marketview report for Manhattan retail in the second quarter of this year finds that fully 25 percent of ground-floor storefront spaces in Lower Manhattan are now vacant, and awaiting tenants. To read more…
Dear Broadsheet Editor,
Being one of the few people to notice or say anything about all the subtle racism and classism cloaked in Progressive values can be quite exhaustive. Yet, here I am again, this time about the bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge.
I come from an upbringing and household of both bike and car owner and ridership. So, I want both to be able to harmoniously exist. I’m about plans that make the most sense, serve the most good and are inclusive of the most marginalized communities. “Can’t we all just get along.”
A full bike lane area should’ve been built above the cars. Period. Full stop. And they all lived happily ever after. If determined not to be structurally possible, the lanes should’ve been built as they are but on the Brooklyn-bound side.
Taking out a lane, specifically of Manhattan-bound traffic, adversely affects working class people, largely of color, travelling to Manhattan for work (And before anyone fixes their mouth to say poor people don’t have cars, go to your nearest NYCHA housing project and check out the onsite parking lot). Reduction of the BQE leading up to the bridge further compounds the issue and perhaps that’s truly the plan.
Having nothing at all to do with bikes vs cars vs pedestrians, the traffic to the GWB is also backed up for miles. Hear again, working class, Black and brown people trying to get to other parts of Harlem, the Heights and the Bronx via the FDR/Harlem River Dr are forced to sit in hours of NJ-bound suburban commuter filled traffic to do what should only take minutes, exit at places like Dyckman.
A Place of Quiet Reflection
Governor Dedicates Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City
Governor Kathy Hochul came to Battery Park City on Monday afternoon, for the belated dedication of the Hurricane Maria Memorial (located at the corner of River Terrace and Chambers Street), which commemorates suffering on the island of Puerto Rico during the 2017 storm that claimed some 3,000 lives there.
The Memorial—which opened in March, but was never formally dedicated—features an ascending glass spiral, meant to evoke both a hurricane and a nautilus shell (symbolic of protection against a hostile environment).
Silverstein Envisions Breaking Ground Within Months on New Skyscraper at Two World Trade Center
After two decades years of rebuilding, there remains one significant missing piece in the World Trade Center complex. It is marked by the placeholder “podium” of a building at the west side of Church Street, between Vesey and Fulton Streets, which houses entry points for the underground shopping and transit facilities beneath the plaza, along with some ventilation equipment.
Formally designated at 200 Greenwich Street, this site is slated to someday be the home of Two World Trade Center. But 20 years of false starts may soon give way to actual construction. In a development first reported by the Commercial Observer, builder Larry Silverstein says that his firm is close to securing a deal with a corporate anchor tenant, and may start construction soon, even if such a rent does not commit to the building.
Lottery Opens for New Affordable Apartments in Financial District Building
Lower Manhattan’s meager inventory of affordable rental apartments will soon swell by 63 units, thanks to a new development nearing completion at 185 Broadway, at the corner of Dey Street. The building, which will be known by its branding address of 7 Dey, will contain a total of 206 apartments (the remaining 143 units will be market-rate rentals), along with several floors of retail and office space. In exchange for committing to affordability protections on the 63 units, developer S.L. Green received tax incentives worth many millions of dollars, which helped to build the $300 million project. To read more…
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Will China achieve its tech dreams? It all depends on whether it can produce advanced semiconductor chips, the tiny piece of metal that are crucial to the functionality of smartphones, modern cars, and even hearing aids. It’s the access to those tiny chips that Beijing’s tech ambitions ultimately will pivot on. Join us as two tech policy experts share insights into the global chip competition. Until now, China lacks the ability to produce advanced chips; the US, Europe, and Taiwan control the supply. Barred from buying cutting edge European equipment needed to fabricate high-end chips, China relies on importing chip imports. Last year, China imported $350 billion worth of chips, one third of them coming from Taiwan. Now, Xi Jinping is driving a self-reliance campaign, investing heavily in chip manufacturing across the country. Will he succeed? Free
The tall ship Wavertree, the schooner Pioneer, and the tug W.O. Decker are open to the public. Explore Wavertree while she is docked; cruise New York Harbor on W.O. Decker and Pioneer. Wavertree visits are free; Pioneer and Decker prices vary. Check website for times, prices and other details.
Art leaders Kamau Ware and Risë Wilson will discuss public art as an avenue for discovering and revealing untold histories. Multidimensional artist and historian Kamau Ware is Founder of Black Gotham Experience (BGX), an immersive multimedia project that reimagines the spaces directly impacted by the African Diaspora as human stories, Ware has become a voice to fill the visual abyss of Black New York history with research and illuminating creativity. Risë Wilson founded The Laundromat Project in 1999, an award-winning organization that connects artists and communities of color to their capacity to envision the world in which we all want to live, and the skills sets to make it so. Her twenty-year tenure in arts and culture has spanned philanthropic practice, strategic planning, artist development, and public engagement. Risë’s work in all its forms is preoccupied with dislodging herself from the bear-traps of oppression to help her kinfolk do the same.
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Report
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
New Governor Plans to Get BPC Opinions Regarding Essential Workers Monument
While many residents and community activists may have hoped that plans for an Essential Workers Monument in Battery Park City had perished in tandem with the political demise of former Governor Andrew Cuomo (who resigned in disgrace, in August), his successor may have other ideas.
Wondering Whether You Have Been Worth the Windfall
You recall the frenetic chaos—people wandering blithely into traffic, while cars with flashing lights and bleating sirens tried to make lurching progress by driving on sidewalks. And everyone staring upward, transfixed.
Even amid the bedlam, one anomalously serene (even festive) detail stood out. Confetti—a jumble of office paperwork and shredded aluminum—drifting lazily toward the ground. Reminiscent of nothing so much as a ticker tape parade, but in reverse. The honorees didn’t know the parade was for them, because they had not yet become heroes and martyrs. Although in just a few moments, they would.
A few minutes later, you stood at the foot of a tower, looking up at an airplane-shaped hole in its side and thinking, “there is no way that building is going to fall down.” To read more…
Greenmarkets are open
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Every Wednesday & Saturday, 8am-3pm
Food Scrap Collection: Saturdays, 8am-1pm
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall Street
Every Tuesday & Thursday, 8am-5pm
Food Scrap Collection: Tuesdays only, 8am-11am
Greenmarket at Oculus Plaza
Church & Fulton Streets
Tuesdays starting August 31st, from 8 am to 5pm
Samascott Orchard Orchard fruit, strawberries from Columbia County, New York
Francesa’s Bakery Breads and baked goods from Middlesex County, New Jersey
Meredith’s Bakery Baked goods from Ulster County, New York
Riverine Ranch Water Buffalo meat and cheeses from Warren County, New Jersey
1857 Spirits Handcrafted potato vodka from Schoharie County, New York
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted
TODAY IN HISTORY
1806 – Lewis and Clark return to St. Louis after exploring the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
1338 – The Battle of Arnemuiden was the first naval battle of the Hundred Years’ War and the first naval battle using gunpowder artillery.
1641 – The Merchant Royal, carrying a treasure of over 100,000 pounds of gold,is lost at sea off Land’s End.
1780 – American Revolution: British Major John Andre is arrested as a spy by American soldiers exposing Benedict Arnold’s change of sides.
1806 – Lewis and Clark return to St. Louis after exploring the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
Three entries by Meriwether Lewis during the expedition:
“The musquetos continue to infest us in such manner that we can scarcely exist. My dog even howls with the torture he experiences.”
“Great numbers of the Indians pass our camp on their hunting excursions: the day was clear and pleasant, but last night was very cold and there was a white frost.”
“The weather was fine and moderate. The hunters all returned, having killed during their absence three elk, four deer, two porcupines, a fox and a hare.”
1846 – Astronomers Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier, John Couch Adams and Johann Gottfried Galle collaborate on the discovery of Neptune.
1911 – Pilot Earle Ovington makes the first official airmail delivery in Americaunder the authority of the United States Post Office Department
1913 – Roland Garros of France becomes the first to fly in an airplane across the Mediterranean (from St. Raphael in France to Bizerte, Tunisia).
1962 – The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts opens in New York City.
1983 – Gulf Air Flight 771 is destroyed by a bomb, killing all 117 people on board.
2004 – Over 3,000 people die in Haiti after Hurricane Jeanne produces massive flooding and mudslides.
1215 – Kublai Khan, Mongolian emperor (d. 1294)
1861 – Robert Bosch, German engineer and businessman, founded Robert Bosch GmbH (d. 1942)
1889 – Walter Lippmann, American journalist and publisher, co-founded The New Republic (d. 1974)
1899 – Louise Nevelson, American sculptor (d. 1988)
1912 – Tony Smith, American sculptor and educator (d. 1980)
1926 – John Coltrane, American saxophonist and composer (d. 1967)
1930 – Ray Charles, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor (d. 2004)
1949 – Bruce Springsteen, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1508 – Beatrice of Naples, queen consort of Hungary (b. 1457)
1939 – Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist (b. 1856)
1987 – Bob Fosse, American actor, dancer, choreographer, and director (b. 1927)