Opinion: Hear no evil, speak no evil

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

So it’s come down to this… after all the time spent in investigations and hearings and the mountain of evidence documenting Donald Trump’s wrongdoings to benefit himself while undermining American interests, the Trump defense against the impeachment charges is that the president can do anything he wants so long as he is not accused of breaking a specific law.

But his lawyers go even further asserting that even if the president does break the law, he may not be prosecuted while serving as president. Game, set, match.

And if there may be a crime, the president can refuse, with impunity, to hand over documents and can forbid witnesses from testifying who may have first-hand knowledge of the president’s actions.

Furthermore, the Republican majority in the Senate who are running this trial do not wish to be confused with the facts, or even know the facts. So they are doing their damndest to forbid witnesses or requests for withheld documents from the president. It is unclear whether Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who says he wants to offer important information, will be allowed to testify. Why the hell not? It’s not that hard to figure out.

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Epstein hosts town hall for East Side residents

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein spoke at a recent town hall about legislation he recently introduced that aims to increase job opportunities for individuals with disabilities. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein held his second annual town hall last weekend to address concerns in the community on housing, as well as disability rights, climate change, prison reform and education. The event was held in the Friends Seminary at 218 East 16th Street and US Senator Charles Schumer also made an appearance near the end of the town hall after a stop at the Chinese New Year celebration in Lower Manhattan in order to provide an update for residents in the community about the impeachment trial.

Advocates broke off into panels for the majority of the town hall to discuss each of the topics but housing was combined into one panel at the end of the afternoon. Yonatan Tadele and Alex Lee of Cooper Square Committee, Barika Williams of Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development, and Munir Smith of GOLES discussed preservation of affordable housing and how tenants can protect themselves against predatory landlords, as well as what advocates still need to work towards after the success of last year’s strengthening of the rent laws.

Williams said that homeownership should be part of the conversation in addition to the discussion about the rent laws.

“Sometimes you’re like, I don’t want to have to fight this renter fight for the rest of my life, and maybe would like to purchase a home,” she said. “So we have to be able to think of those things and we’ve got to think about preserving our stock. There’s going to be a huge battle to make sure that that housing doesn’t all go to market rate because then we’re right back where we started fighting.”

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Hundreds protest before Trump is impeached

The rally in Union Square was held on the night before the impeachment vote in the House. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Rain and raw, damp weather did not stop the hundreds of protesters who marched from Times Square to Union Square last Tuesday in support President Donald Trump’s impeachment, which the US House of Representatives voted for on Wednesday.

“Impeach and Remove” rallies organized by progressive groups such as MoveOn.org and the Women’s March took place in cities across the country prior to the impeachment vote that was scheduled for the following day in the House. Local groups that participated in the rallies included Empire State Indivisible, Common Cause New York and Rise and Resist.

One group of protesters at the Union Square protest carried a giant cloth banner with the words from Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution printed on it: “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Other protesters at the rally had an inflatable caricature of the president along with LED signs that spelled out “End 45.”

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Nadler, Engel and Maloney

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

They sound like partners of a law firm… but in truth they are the firmament of law.

New York has taken center stage in the rapidly expanding impeachment inquiry of President Donald J. Trump.

Three of the key players in Congress are New Yorkers and one is our very own.

I am speaking of Manhattan Congressman Jerry Nadler who is chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Bronx Congressman Eliot Engel who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and our very own Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who just last week assumed the post of interim chair of the House Committee on Oversight following the sudden passing of Elijah Cummings.

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Week in Review: Oct. 17

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Carlina Rivera last week announced the publication of the final report on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR) by independent consultant Deltares, hired for the review of the project last month. In her Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) recommendation, Brewer requested an independent environmental expert to review the ESCR Project and prepare comments regarding the City’s Preferred Alternative 4 proposal and the other three alternative designs. The independent review by Deltares was led by Dr. Hans Gehrels.

Among the findings in the report, which studied resiliency in the Alternative 3 and Alternative 4 designs, are: the need for improving transparency and stakeholder engagement; ongoing monitoring for air quality impacts to be made available publicly; release of city documents that provide evidence for the analysis underlying the Final Environmental Impact Statement; further investigation of Interim Flood Protection Measures (IFPM) during the construction period; phased construction for continued use of of portions of the park with additional open space mitigation; and additional clean fill for future flood protection against sea-level rise. The full report can be viewed online.

Parents at PS 116 expressed concern on Monday about the school at 210 East 33rd Street being opened as a voting site by the Board of Elections for early voting for 10 days starting at the end of this month. Parents said that there was no warning about the school being chosen, since the mayor’s office initially proposed high schools and universities but PS 116, an elementary school, was not included on the initial lists. One parent noted that identification is usually required to enter the school building but while it is open for early voting, an unknown number of people will be allowed to enter the school without being checked. 

PS 116 will be the early voting site for Peter Cooper Village residents, where early voting will be available starting on Saturday, October 26 through Sunday, November 3. Early voting for Stuy Town residents will be at the Clinton School for Writers and Artists at 10 East 15th Street.

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