Opinion: The apologetic Justice Ginsburg

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

A week ago Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg waded into Presidential politics. She should not have. Sure she had a constitutional right to do so. After all, the First Amendment does not restrict judges from speaking their minds on matters of importance that are not subject to litigation before them.

However, her comments about the Republican Presidential candidate were ill advised and she was right to issue an apology. Whether her assessment of Donald Trump as a “faker” and impulsive was correct, or condemning his refusal to release his tax returns as all candidates for President have done now for 40 years was justified or not, as a jurist on the nation’s highest court she should have kept her opinions to herself.

Donald Trump’s response to her criticism was predictable. He said that “her mind is shot” and as such should resign from the court!

What I find fascinating about this latest tempest is that Ginsburg ultimately understood that her spontaneous remarks were inappropriate for a person in her position. She reflected on that and said that she regretted having made such comments. Contrast that with Mr. Trump. Do you recall him apologizing for anything that he has said along the campaign trail? Has he ever demonstrated any remorse for the nasty and intemperate things that he has said about opponents or just people he does not like? Is he capable of admitting to any mistakes or being introspective or reflective? Do we care if a President is devoid of these qualities? These are all important questions.

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Police looking for East 14th Street apartment burglar

Burglary suspect

Burglary suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A burglar stole a home security system from an apartment on East 14th Street and Avenue A last Friday, but not before the system snapped a surveillance photo of him committing the crime, police said.

Cops are still searching for the suspect, who got into the apartment by picking the lock last Friday around 1:37 p.m.

In addition to the Canary security system, police said that the suspect got away with a white iPad 4, and other electronics, valued at $964. The 29-year-old resident of the apartment was not home at the time of the burglary.

The suspect is an unidentified Hispanic man who was wearing a blue baseball cap, a striped polo shirt, grey cargo shorts and black sneakers.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Opinion: On the matter of black lives

By Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church

A man’s body is slammed against a car, he is wrestled to the ground, face smashed into pavement. My head hurts, watching, feeling the rub of the asphalt. I have been here before. The familiar sense of suffocation. Hard to breathe with your face in the concrete. Subdued, they are sitting on him, on me. He is tased. I am tased. I am shot. In the chest. I can’t breathe. I’m shot in the back, it is on fire. I am lying there, I use my hand to reach up to touch the bleeding space. I am dying. I am dead.

He is dead. We are dead. Reciting from our graves the names of the all-too-many killed at the hands of the state or by those who know the state will exonerate them.

A little girl sits in the back seat, her mother is praying over and over again, “Please Jesus, don’t let them have killed my boyfriend.” He is bleeding, slumped over, a pulpy mess where his arm should be. She watches, she listens, and we see what she sees, hear what she hears. There is a policeman holding a gun in the window, pointing at him, who is moaning. Mommy is talking into the phone, making a video. She has to get Mommy’s purse. Now we are in the police car. Mommy is crying, she is losing it. I am afraid, but I think she is more. I tell Mommy, “I am right here with you.”

The man is dead, they killed her childhood.

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L train will close for 18 months in Manhattan in 2019, MTA says

Straphangers waiting for the L at First Ave. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Straphangers waiting for the L at First Ave.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA announced this morning that the L train will be completely shut down between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 18 months beginning in January, 2019.

According to social media, email surveys and testimony from public meetings, 77 percent of respondents were in favor of the 18-month full shutdown, the MTA said.

The 11 community boards in the affected areas along the L, which hosted meetings about the two options prior to the decision, were also more in favor of a full closure than of a partial shutdown. In the joint meeting hosted by Community Boards 3 and 6 at the end of last month, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney expressed her strong support of the full closure, basing her decision on a number of meetings with the community that she had attended previously.

“During this process, it quickly became clear to many in affected communities that a shorter, full closure will be less painful than a longer period with minimal service, as long as there are broad and varied alternative ways to get to work while the line is closed,” Maloney said following the announcement. “I’ve argued that most people will accept full closure, as long as it takes them no more than 20 extra minutes to reach their destinations, and I look forward to working with the MTA to make sure this happens.”

The New York Times first reported the news on Monday morning, noting that officials hope to finish the repairs, made necessary because of damage from Hurricane Sandy, as quickly as possible to limit the impact on riders.

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Another Council candidate enters race, raising $170G

Marti Speranza, City Council candidate and co-president of the Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats Club, pictured at Madison Square Park Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Marti Speranza, City Council candidate and co-president of the Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats Club, pictured at Madison Square Park (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The most recent person to enter the City Council race for the seat currently occupied by Dan Garodnick is Marti Speranza, a former city employee and the co-president of the Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats Club.

Speranza, a 40-year-old NoMad neighborhood resident, is so far the only woman Democrat in the race. Another female candidate, Peter Cooper Village’s Diane Grayson, is running as an Independent.

Other candidates are Democrats Keith Powers and Jeff Mailman. As T&V first reported, former candidate Joshua Thompson dropped out of the Council race in May and is now running for mayor.

For Speranza, fundraising for the Council campaign has been in the works since April and just last week, she stepped down from her job as director at Women Entrepreneurs (WE) NYC, a new city initiative, to focus on the race.

So far things seem to be going well for Speranza, who announced that she raised $169,706 by the filing date last week, a fundraising record for the first filing of a Council race. She now has over $170,000. The record was previously held by Council Member Corey Johnson, who’d raised $166,000. Speranza also said this was the first time a woman candidate got $100,000 in contributions in the first filing. Of that campaign cash, 52 percent of those donating it are women and 72 percent gave $250 or less, she said. None were real estate developers or lobbyists.

On being the only female Democrat in the race, Speranza pointed out that at this time, because of term limits faced by members of the City Council, the number of female representatives out of over 50 could potentially drop to just nine.

“I do feel that more women need to step up to the plate and run for these seats,” she said.

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Greenmarket Spotlight Migliorelli Farm at Stuy Town

Tenzin Khechok at the Migiorelli Farms stand (Photo by Maya Rader)

Tenzin Khechok at the Migiorelli Farms stand (Photo by Maya Rader)

By Maya Rader

Tenzin Khechok has never been to the farm he works for. However, that doesn’t limit his passion for the vegetables and fruits he sells at markets all over the city for Migliorelli Farm. “I enjoy it every day,” Khechok said.

Migliorelli Farm is located in Dutchess County in Upstate New York. The farm sells a wide range of produce, from apples to corn, at many markets across the city, including Stuyvesant Town’s own greenmarket. The farm is not certified organic, though it does limit the use of pesticides and is GMO-free.

Khechok started working for Migliorelli Farm two years ago as a salesman and cashier at farmer’s markets. He said he “learns almost every day” by selling food at the markets. He explained that customers tell him what they know about different foods he sells, and then he imparts that knowledge to other customers. “You learn from each other,” commented Khechok.

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ST woman spreading the magic of Mah Jongg

Ahuva Ellner, pictured second to right, at a Valentine’s Day game at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center

Ahuva Ellner, pictured second to right, at a Valentine’s Day game at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center

By Sabina Mollot

Ahuva Ellner, a Stuyvesant Town resident and hospice nurse, has, for the past several months, actively worked to spread the magic of Mah Jongg.

Though the ancient board-and-tile game has, for decades, enjoyed tremendous popularity among seniors and Jewish women (like Ellner), she’s recently noticed heightened interest from younger players. Now, she’s trying to recruit more players of all ages, at least locally.

Around Valentine’s Day, Ellner organized a game for neighbors at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center and since then has continued to organize Mah Jongg luncheons for the growing group at various locations.

For Ellner, who’s now semi-retired, the game has been part of her life since childhood, when her mother would host friends for games while vacationing in the bungalows of upstate Monticello.

“I would watch my mom and I would hear the tiles clattering. I would hear that distinctive noise of the tiles and the women calling ‘3 dot, 4 crak.’ I was mesmerized.”

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Beth Israel will no longer offer some complex procedures

Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Mount Sinai Beth Israel, which, in a few years, will be downsized to a much smaller space on East 14th Street, won’t be offering pre-planned, very complex procedures, with patients instead being sent to other Mount Sinai medical centers. However, the hospital emergency room will still be able to treat people who are in unstable conditions so that they regain stability before getting transferred elsewhere.

This seemed to be the main takeaway from a presentation at Beth Israel last Wednesday that was specifically geared towards the community of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

The organizer of that event was the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, whose president, Susan Steinberg, later told Town & Village that the community’s primary concern was treatment at the emergency department.

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CB3 denies request to build higher at old Post Office site

The former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A Community Board 3 committee recently shot down a developer’s request to build higher than zoning allows at the site of the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office on East 14th Street. The board’s Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee last Wednesday unanimously voted against the zoning variance for a 12-story building. City zoning laws allow the developer to build up to eight stories at the site.

Representatives for Benenson Capital Partners, which is working on the development at the site, 432-438 East 14th Street, previously asked the committee for the variance in June. The company argued that construction costs related to the groundwater conditions made complying with affordable housing unfeasible unless the development could be built larger, the blog EVGrieve reported at the time. With the proposed change in height, the building would have 31 units of affordable housing and a total of 155 units. CB3 had asked the reps to return after the June meeting after looking into alternatives to increasing the building height.

A number of community groups spoke against the plan last week to make the development between First Avenue and Avenue A higher, including the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), the North Avenue A Neighborhood Association, the 12th Street Block Association and the 13th Street Block Association, as well as residents of East 13th Street.
Harry Bubbins, who works with GVSHP as the East Village and special projects director, gave testimony against granting the variance because he felt it was “out of context” with the other buildings in the area.

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Letters to the Editor, July 21

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Bushy tailed beasts have taken over

Re: “Are Stuy Town squirrels getting more aggressive?”, T&V, July 14

When walking through the beautiful grounds of Stuyvesant Town, it is a melancholy sight to behold  furry tailed rodents on their hind legs begging, especially female squirrels who clearly have been nursing yet another generation of newborns destined to develop into increasingly aggressive beasts.

The reports of squirrels sinking their sharp teeth into babies is just the latest phase of the invasion of the aggressive squirrel. (We know it’s true; after all we “heard” about it on the internet!) One  squirrel bite today means there will be another one tomorrow, but even more aggressive, and another deeper one the day after, and so on, until what had started as simple begging inevitably develops into ripping the flesh off of us all.

Not too long ago, I myself witnessed a woman issue a blood-curdling scream of  terror as an infant squirrel followed her, hoping that the plastic bag she carried might have a nut for him. A pox on those who say it is only a few bad apples, a few squirrelly individuals, because we know it’s not one or two or three, but many — no, not many — all of them. They are out to get us.

Clearly we residents of Stuyvesant Town are under assault. There’s no other way to look at it. We are being attacked by vicious long-toothed terrorizing monsters who will stop at nothing. It’s time to stand up to this enemy. With that in mind I have a modest proposal for a solution to the squirrel problem.

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Police Watch: Man busted for up-skirt photo near Stuy Town, Pair wanted for assault on senior

MAN BUSTED FOR UP-SKIRTING PHOTO NEAR STUYVESANT TOWN
Police arrested 33-year-old Lamberty Sabriel for obscene material and sexual abuse near Stuyvesant Town last Thursday at 8:50 p.m. The victim told police that she was walking on East 18th Street towards First Avenue when she noticed Sabriel walking closely behind her. She then felt someone touch her under her skirt on her buttocks. When she turned to see who was touching her, Sabriel allegedly had his phone under her skirt and took a picture.

Assault suspects

Assault suspects

PAIR WANTED FOR ASSAULTING 75-YEAR-OLD MAN ON WEST 14TH
Police are looking for two people believed to be behind an attack on a 75-year-old man on West 14th Street last Wednesday.
According to police, a man punched the victim in the back of the head and knocked him to the ground at 2:12 p.m. in front of 120 West 14 Street, home to a Salvation Army. The suspect then kicked the victim in the face, knocking him unconscious. The second suspect, a woman, stood by as a lookout and the suspects then fled eastbound on West 14th Street. The victim had a cut on his head and was brought to Lenox Hill Hospital in stable condition.
The first suspect is a black man who has black hair with a red streak in it. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, beige pants and a black and gray backpack. The second suspect is a black woman who was last seen wearing a green dress with a hood over her head and black sneakers.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls are strictly confidential.

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Opinion: Shall we overcome?

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

I had planned a different column for this week…but that will have to wait.

The horrific events of last week in St. Paul, Minnesota, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Dallas, Texas have cast a pall over the American spirit and should cause us all to take a deep breath and think long and hard about race and bigotry in this country, past, present and future. In St. Paul and Baton Rouge, two more young black men lost their lives to trigger happy police officers, otherwise sworn to preserve and protect their citizens. This scene has tragically repeated itself in dozens of American cities over recent years. In Dallas, a young black man seemingly decided to vent his fury against white police officers by ambushing them during a protest gathering and killing five.

In the days that have followed, some politicians called for calm and reflection. Others dismissed or failed to understand the meaning of the “Black Lives Matters” rallies. One politician even declared that the murders in Dallas was war on white people and inferred violence against President Obama! Still others assigned blame to all police officers for the crimes of a few.

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Gang member charged with murder in Flatiron

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Brooklyn gang member Frank Smith, 31, was recently charged in connection with the murder of two men in 2010 who were reportedly in a rival crew on Park Avenue South and East 19th Street.

According to the indictment, Smith and other members of Rival Impact began conspiring to murder members of a rival crew, Thirty-O, specifically Terrance Serrano and Rashawn Washington, in October 2009. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District said that Smith and other members of the gang planned and carried out the murders in retaliation for the victims’ perceived involvement in the 2009 drive-by shooting of Rival Impact member Vincent Carmona.

On Monday, October 4, 2010 at around 4 a.m. police arrived on East 19th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway after getting a call about a person shot. Serrano and Washington were getting into their car after leaving a nightclub and Smith, who had been lying in wait in a nearby vehicle, allegedly approached their car, opened fire and fled.

Both Washington and Serrano were shot in the head and died at the scene.

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PCV Council candidate raises $50G

Photo courtesy of Keith Powers

Photo courtesy of Keith Powers

City Council candidate and Peter Cooper Village resident Keith Powers announced on Wednesday that he surpassed the qualifications required for New York City’s campaign finance program, which measures local support for a candidate.

Since announcing his campaign on June 2, Powers has raised $50,077. The contributions came from 258 individuals and far surpasses the in-district contributions required by the New York City Campaign Finance Board. The average in-district contribution is $145.85.

Powers is now eligible to receive $100,100 in campaign funds from the Campaign Finance Board, which will bring his total raised to $150,177.

“My campaign will always be about our local community and I am proud to have the overwhelming support of East Siders,” Powers said. “This is a grassroots effort that is supported by average New Yorkers and small contributions.”

Powers is running to replace Dan Garodnick in the 4th City Council District.

The candidate, 32, is the vice president of lobbying/consulting firm Constantinople & Vallone. He is also a community activist, filling volunteer roles at Community Board Six, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, the Kips Bay Neighborhood Association and the Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club.