A series of measures have been announced by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to tackle a “crisis” of anti-Semitic attacks, following a mass stabbing on December 28.
A man brandishing a machete attacked a Hanukkah celebration at the rabbi’s property in Monsey, north of NYC – an area with a large population of ultra-Orthodox Jews. The incident happened at about 22:00 on December 28.
The mayor said security would be stepped up in Jewish areas and schools would teach students to tackle hate.
At least five people were injured in the knife attack at a rabbi’s house in Monsey.
President Donald Trump called for unity to fight “the evil scourge” of anti-Semitism following the attack.
Witnesses said the attacker burst into the house, which was hosting a Hanukkah celebration, pulled out a large knife and began stabbing people.
The suspected knifeman, named by police as 37-year-old Grafton Thomas from Greenwood Lake, NY, has been charged with attempted murder. The attacker pleaded not guilty, and is being held in jail with his bail set at $5 million.
Grafton Thomas’ lawyer, Michael Sussman, issued a statement on behalf of his family which said the suspect “has a long history of mental illness and hospitalizations”.
The statement said: “He has no history of like violent acts and no convictions for any crime.
“He has no known history of anti-Semitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races. He is not a member of any hate groups.”
Just a day before the attack, Mayor de Blasio had announced extra police patrols in three areas of Brooklyn with large Jewish populations following a spate of anti-Semitic incidents.
He told reporters on December 29: “The spirit we bring today is one of resolve and relentlessness. We will keep adding as many measures as it takes to end this crisis.”
Bill de Blasio said additional officers would now be deployed to the districts of Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park.
He said: “People in the community will see our officers present in front of houses of worship and out on the streets. We have to give people a sense of security, and we have to show that this horrible trend we’ve seen over the last weeks will be stopped dead in its tracks.”
The mayor said changes would be made to the curriculum at schools in Brooklyn starting from next month. He said they would focus on “stopping hate… on building mutual respect, to help young people understand what hate crimes really mean and the dangers they pose to all of us”.
Traffic in New York is pretty intense, but maybe it’s not as bad as you think. According to new data from city officials, New York traffic deaths have hit a record low in over a century. In 2018, the number of traffic fatalities fell below 200. Within six months into 2018, there were only 81 deaths in the city.
Is Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero Plan Making New York Streets Safer?
This is definitely a plus. However, the steep decline in traffic deaths come with stricter traffic enforcement. It’s part of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to make traffic fatalities non-existent.
“With this action plan, the City is making a bold new commitment to improve street safety in every neighborhood and in every borough – with expanded enforcement against dangerous moving violations like speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians, new street designs and configurations to improve safety, broad public outreach and communications, and a sweeping legislative agenda to increase penalties for dangerous drivers and give New York City control over the safety of our own streets,” the Vision Zero plan explained.
The Vision Zero plan has made some pretty big improvements since its inception. The traffic death rate in New York was hovering around 299 deaths in 2013. But since has dipped below 200 fatalities in 2018. Not a bad five year reduction. So the plan is working — right?
There is still some work to do when it comes to making the streets of New York safer. One of the biggest catalysts for the decrease in traffic deaths could be attributed to the lowering of the speed limit on nearly all city streets to 25 miles per hour. There are also other more stringent laws being enforced with the Vision Zero plan, like yielding to pedestrians, and the addition of 20 plus miles of protected bicycle lanes.
This is important, since bicycle and pedestrian deaths by motor vehicle continue to be an issue. “Drivers haven’t taken their responsibility to yield very seriously,” Mayor de Blasio told the New York Times. “There has been a lot of enforcement, and there will be more.”
More Enforcement Coming For New York Drivers, And It Could Get Pretty Serious
With less traffic deaths and a focus on making New York streets safer for everyone comes with stricter enforcement. This was made pretty clear by Mayor de Blasio and the Vision Zero objectives. So what does this mean for New Yorkers on the road?
One of the biggest enforcements already affecting drivers in the city are cell phone violations. This enforcement is aimed at keeping drivers alert while behind the wheel, able to avoid pedestrian, bicyclist, and vehicle accidents that could be fatal. According to the New York DMV, “If you use a portable electronic device while you drive (except to call 911 or to contact medical, fire or police personnel about an emergency), you can receive a traffic ticket and be subject to a fine and a surcharge.”
Driving under the influence is another big enforcement initiative part of the Vision Zero plan. “If you are found to have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher,you will be charged with a DWI,” according to New York traffic lawyer, Michael Block. “A BAC of more than 0.05 but less than 0.07 can yield a charge for Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol). A Zero Tolerance Law can be charged to any driver under the age of 21 found to have a BAC of 0.02 – 0.07.”
What You Can Do When Driving In New York
Staying safe behind the wheel is not solely for drivers. You also need to ensure you are making the roads safe for all. Yes, this is definitely easier said then practiced, but you can take a few safety precautions while driving.
First and foremost, don’t have your cell phone in your hand. This includes GPS use. Not only can you avoid a potential accident, but also avoid a pricey ticket. Getting a traffic infraction for using your phone while driving can result in a fine over $200 with 5 points added to your license.
Drinking and driving can obviously be costly. Speeding tickets, failure to yield to pedestrians, reckless driving, failure to stop for school busses, and illegal lane changes should all be avoided. And if you do get a ticket or if you get into a car accident, always call a lawyer. What do you think about the Vision Zero plan? We want to hear from you.
A New York state wage board unanimously recommended the increase of fast food workers’ minimum wages to $15 an hour.
New York City workers will be the first to benefit, with the increase due to be in place by the end of 2018.
Fast food workers in the rest of New York state will have to wait until mid 2021 for the rise.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the vote marked “one of the really great days of my administration”.
The state minimum wage is currently $8.75.
Andrew Cuomo also said: “You cannot live and support a family on $18,000 a year in the state of New York, period.
“This is just the beginning. We will not stop until we reach true economic justice.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would now push for every worker in the city, not just fast food staff, to get a higher salary.
“This only underscores how necessary it is to raise the wage across the board. As much as fast food workers need and deserve a raise – and we know they do – we must ensure that every worker gets a living wage,” he said.
While Bill de Blasio has pushed for a higher minimum wage, he does not have the power to set it.
As a result, Gov. Andrew Cuomo created the panel to look at wages in the fast food industry.
Now the panel has backed the increase, it is expected to be backed by the acting state commissioner of labor, marking the last significant hurdle before it becomes mandatory.
The move is expected to affect around 180,000 workers which are employed in the fast food industry in New York state.
The decision follows similar minimum wage increases in other US cities, including Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The University of California system earlier said that it would raise its minimum wage to $15 for all hourly workers.
However,the move was not universally welcomed. Restaurant owners warned that the increase would force them to either reduce their staff numbers or increase menu prices.
Jack Bert, a franchisee who owns seven McDonald’s in New York City, said it had been “a flawed process”.
“Singling out fast food restaurants while ignoring other industries that hire workers who are paid under $15 is unfair and discriminatory, harms New York workers, and puts some New York businesses – including mine and my fellow New York McDonald’s franchisees – at a competitive disadvantage,” he said.
Randy Maestro, a lawyer hired by a group of franchise owners, said the group was looking into whether the decision could be challenged in court.
The funeral of Wenjian Liu, the second of two officers shot dead last month, has been held in New York.
Wenjian Liu, a son of Chinese migrants, was killed with his partner Rafael Ramos on 20 December by a gunman with a grievance against the police.
Speakers lined up to pay tribute at the service in a Brooklyn funeral home.
In the street outside, hundreds turned their backs to a video screen when Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke.
Many rank-and-file members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) resent Bill de Blasio’s expressions of sympathy for anti-police protesters in recent months.
The double murder by 28-year-old African American gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who claimed to be avenging black men killed by white police stunned the city.
New York police commissioner Bill Bratton had urged officers to refrain from any further “act of disrespect”, saying in a memo: “A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio told the funeral service: “All of our city is heartbroken today.”
Wenjian Liu, 32, had lost his life while fighting for “all that is decent and good”, he said. He paid tribute to a “young man who came here from China at the age of 12 in search of the American dream”.
Outside the funeral home, many uniformed officers could be seen turning their backs as the speech was relayed.
Shortly after the policemen were shot, the head of the city’s largest police union, Patrick Lynch, had lashed out at the liberal mayor, saying there was “blood on many hands”.
More than 20,000 officers attended Rafael Ramos’ funeral on December 27, and the sight of lines of police turning their backs marred the event for some.
“The mayor has no respect for us,” retired NYPD detective Camille Sanfilippo told the Associated Press news agency at Wenjian Liu’s funeral.
“Why should we have respect for him?”
Patrick Yoes, a national secretary with the 328,000-member Fraternal Order of Police, said before the new funeral: “Across this country, we seem to be under attack in the law enforcement profession, and the message to take away from this is: We are public servants. We are not public enemies.”
The two policemen were shot following a wave of demonstrations over killings of unarmed black men by white police officers, beginning in the Missouri town of Ferguson last summer.
There was anger in New York after a grand jury decided not to press charges against a white police officer over the death of unarmed black man Eric Garner, who was placed in a chokehold while being restrained by police officers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio had expressed solidarity with the protesters and had publicly wondered if his son, who is mixed-race, was safe from police.
Some argue that such rhetoric helped to create an environment that encouraged violence against police.
Funeral arrangements had been delayed so relatives from China could travel to New York.
Wenjian Liu’s widow, Pei Xia Chen, said she had lost her “soul mate” and a “wonderful husband”.
His father broke down at the funeral as he described how his only child would telephone after every shift during his seven years in the force to reassure his parents he was safe.
“You are the best son, you are the best husband,” he said.
“We are very proud of you, we love you forever.”
A vigil was held on January 3 in Chinatown where community members gathered to burn pieces of paper in honor of Wenjian Liu, in keeping with Chinese tradition.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley killed himself in a subway station as police were closing in.
The gunman had a history of violence and mental instability. On the day of the shooting, Ismaaiyl Brinsley went on social media to say he was planning to kill police officers.
Bill de Blasio, the first Democrat in more than two decades, has been sworn in as the new mayor of New York City.
Bill de Blasio took the oath of office outside his home a few minutes into the New Year, in line with tradition.
A grander inauguration ceremony will take place later at City Hall, with former President Bill Clinton administering the oath of office.
Bill de Blasio succeeds billionaire Michael Bloomberg, and has promised to govern with a liberal agenda.
He won November’s election by a record margin, contrasting himself with the pro-business Bloomberg years which he said had created a “tale of two cities”.
Michael Bloomberg is credited with leaving New York a safer, healthier and revitalized place after his 12 years in office. However, critics say his policies have widened the gap between rich and poor.
Democrat Bill de Blasio has been sworn in as the new mayor of New York City
Bill de Blasio, 52, was joined by his wife Chirlane McCray and their two teenage children outside their home in Brooklyn for the oath of office administered by state attorney Eric Schneiderman.
“To everyone, this is the beginning of a road we will travel together,” he said after he was sworn in.
He is New York’s first Democratic mayor since David Dinkins, who became the city’s first black leader in 1993.
Bill de Blasio has promised to reverse the city’s rising income inequality and end a controversial stop-and-frisk policy which has been criticized for disproportionately targeting black and Hispanic men.
He worked as an aide to David Dinkins when he was mayor and has also worked closely with the Clintons, managing Hillary Clinton’s successful 2000 run for the US Senate.
He was elected to New York City Council in 2001, representing his home area of Brooklyn, before becoming public advocate, the city’s official watchdog.
Bill de Blasio’s bid for the mayor’s job was aided by the implosion of the campaign of former congressman Anthony Weiner.
New York City is choosing a successor to three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent.
Tuesday’s races are seen as an early test of the Republican and Democratic parties’ strengths ahead of next year’s critical congressional elections.
In New York City, Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has taken a commanding lead in opinion polls over Republican Joe Lhota
In New York City, Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has taken a commanding lead in opinion polls over Republican Joe Lhota, a former senior official in the mayoral administrations of Michael Bloomberg and his predecessor Rudolph Giuliani.
Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, ran Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign. He is seen as one of the most liberal mayoral candidates in decades.
Under Michael Bloomberg, Joe Lhota ran the city’s public transport authority. He was lauded for quickly getting the vast subway system running again after a huge storm Sandy flooded swathes of the city last year.