Legal Cannabis Could Provide Windfall For New York City

New York could soon follow in the footsteps of many cities and states in the country and make marijuana the next big cash crop. The venture could bring revenue in the hundreds of millions to New York City alone says comptroller Scott Stringer.

 

Stringer went on to cite even more impressive numbers saying that the legalization of the drug could result in gains of $3.1 billion for the state. A number that is twice as much as the state revenue realized by Colorado. Stringer also says that approximately a billion dollars could flow through NYC alone.

 

 

The potential tax revenue that would be generated if tax rates consistent with the rest of the country are used is $436 million and $336 million annually for the state and city respectively.

 

The Democratic Stringer, who speaks in support of marijuana legalization, says that there is no reason that New York should continue to live in the past regarding this matter. He further explains that the present analysis details in depth the benefit to New York City, as well as the state as a whole, if a decision to be forward thinking is made.

 

The study by Comptroller Stringer comes at the same time the state is waiting for the results of a similar study order by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The results of the Cuomo study are expected to be released in the coming days.

 

The study by Stringer used surveys to determine that approximately 10% of New York residents are regular users of marijuana. This would mean that the city of New York would have over half a million pot users that are estimated to spend $2000 a year on average for legalized marijuana.

 

Stringer also says that part of the revenue generated by legal marijuana sales could be used to invest in African-American and Latino neighborhoods that have been disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition.

 

The legalization of the drug would also trim $36 million from the public safety budget with the elimination of minor marijuana possession charges. The NYPD announced recently that it is looking to significantly change the way it polices the use of marijuana within the next month.

New York City has Highest Construction Cost

New York City is well-known for a lot of different things like Times Square, Broadway, and world class museums. One thing that it is not well known for is affordability. A new study by Turner and Townsend as part of the 2018 International Construction Market Survey has shown that New York City is the most expensive city for construction.

The cost of building in New York City is $362 per square feet which is an 3.5% increase over the prior year. In 2018, Turner and Townsend is anticipating a further increase in the cost of construction by approximately 3.5%.

There are many different factors for the high cost of construction in New York City. The high price of land and the lack of raw or unbuilt space is one of the primary causes of high construction costs. However, a complicated regulatory process and concerns and processes over integrating with an outdated subway and rail system, as well as other utility integrations also further complicates the construction process and adds to the cost of building. New York City also has powerful unions that add another tier of cost to the construction process.

Second to New York City’s cost per square feet is San Francisco which has a cost of $347 per square foot. Hong Kong, in China, is third on the list with a cost of $344 per square foot. All three locations on the top of the list have a similarity in that they have a limited amount of space and are large and established cities with high costs for land and a multitude of skyscrapers.

John Robbins of Turner and Townsend also cited a lack of skilled laborers as a cause for the high cost of building. Overall, the construction industry decreased by 12% from the prior year and the industry is finding it challenging to obtain top talent. Robbins cited a need to attract talent back to the industry which may lead to a lower cost structure for construction going forward.

Letitia James Launches Bid To Become New York State Attorney General

Leticia James, a public advocate in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, formally launched her bid to become the first woman of color to become the attorney general for the state of New York.

James, who represents the Democratic party, says that she was inspired by African-American predecessors Thurgood Marshall and Barbara Jordan. James has dubbed herself as the “the people’s lawyer” and promises to defend the causes of the vulnerable and provide resistance to the hostile forces in Washington on behalf of New York State residents.

The kickoff rally for the campaign of Leticia James took place at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Her resume includes time spent as a public defender, a New York City Councilwoman, and an Assistant District Attorney. Leticia James is the first Democrat to formally announce the intent to seek the position vacated by Eric Schneiderman due to allegations of abuse against women.

The James campaign has already garnered the support of three top labor unions and local representative of these unions joined James onstage at the announcement rally along with members of the city council.

Leticia James has just begun her second term as public advocate and is now turning her attention to the task of securing the nomination for the Democratic party in preparation for the November election. The nomination convention for the New York State Democratic party will be held next week.

The initial campaign speech of James promised to address the topic of corruption in the state politics of New York. The issue of corruption has plagued the state for some time now and has recently caused problems for present New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

A top aide for Cuomo, Joe Percoco, was convicted in March of charges that included the solicitation of bribes and wire fraud. A former assemblyman, Sheldon Silver, was also convicted at a pre-trial hearing a week ago.

When asked about the situations involving corruption in the Cuomo camp, James expresses that the citizens of New York State deserve a government “that works for them” and is not operating on a rent for hire basis to outside business interests.

New York City Provides Empowerment Tools For Women

The city of New York is looking to provide resources that will allow women to emulate the female rapper Cardi B, who is a favorite to many, and make “power moves.” The website Women.NYC was launched to consolidate information regarding economic, legal, and social resources available to women in the city in one place.

The website provides vital information on city programs that provide women with business funding, legal help, affordable housing alternatives, and a number of other resources. The city has also launched a marketing campaign with the goal of making women aware that the website exists.

Alicia Glen, who works with the city’s office of housing and economic development as deputy mayor, says that Women.NYC provides relevant tools to facilitate the empowerment of women in New York City and is looking forward to seeing these women take advantage of the assortment of programs available to them that for the most part have gone unnoticed.

Glen went on to express her feelings that the city of New York is a better environment for women than many other locations in the country. She cites the facts that there are more women CEOs in New York than any other city as well as the city having the smallest wage gap in the nation to bolster her claim.

Despite this impressive pair of facts, there are still obstacles for women residents of the “Big Apple” to overcome. The office of Bill de Blasio reports that despite having the lowest wage gap in America that New York City women still earn only 89 cents for every dollar earned by a man. And for female business owners in the city, the gap is even larger as revenue for women business owners is 61% of revenue raked in by businesses owned by their male counterparts.

The mayor’s office also reports that along with the marketing campaign and website, the group that powers the Women.NYC initiative will also provide fresh programs and workshops designed to support women with a number of pertinent issues.

The initiative is also calling on employers to eliminate the wage gap in ten years and offer women six weeks of paid leave for parental purposes annually.

Postal Worker Caught With 17,000 Pieces Of Undelivered Mail

A United States Postal Worker for the city of New York was recently discovered to be holding onto well over 17,000 pieces of mail. The man claimed that he was simply “overwhelmed” by the job and then began stashing pieces of mail in his work locker, home and car instead of delivering them to their intended recipients.

 

Aleksey Germash, 53, was employed by the United States Postal Service for 16 years. He was a veteran from Brooklyn who was recently charged with knowingly holding onto mail. Investigators received a tip stating a vehicle contained many blue mailbags that were full of mail, and once investigators began their search they discovered 20 mail bags containing roughly 10,000 letter hidden in his work locker, home and car that dated as far back as 2005. In his defense, Germash claimed he was just completely overwhelmed by the large amount of mail he was expected to deliver but he did make sure that he delivered all the important pieces of mail each day.

 

This case seems to have caught the attention of the nation and become a viral story, but this is not the first time something along these lines has occurred. In the past month, postal inspectors discovered roughly 60 bags of undelivered mail in the home of a United States Postal worker living in Long Island. In 2008, “Slate” published an article that exposed the issue of postal workers holding onto mail and cited many different cases, even noting that this has been occurring as far back as 1874 when a Rhode Island postman threw mail right into the ocean. According to “Slate”, cases like this generally occur with junk mail like flyers and catalogs, though it is important to note that there are, in fact, ,some cases where United States Postal workers were found to be holding onto and failing to deliver first class mail too. For more information on this topic, please go to Huffington Post.

Pedestrian-Friendly Crossings Over Harlem River Coming Soon

New Yorkers looking to cross the Harlem River via bridges on foot or bike might have got their wish granted. In a plan unveiled on Friday, the Transportation Department detailed an initiative to install dedicated bike lanes and pedestrian crossings onto many of the area’s bridges in an effort to better serve the community. By connecting communities in northern Manhattan and the Bronx, officials hope to make the area more friendly to cyclists and pedestrians. Because New York is a city of islands, coming up with inventive ways to cross the numerous bodies of water is a continuous challenge for transportation officials.

The initiative plans to install dedicated bike lanes on six of the crossings over the Harlem River: Madison Avenue, Washington, Broadway, 145th Street, Macombs Dam, University Heights bridges. The plan will also re-engineer the Third Avenue Bridge into a pedestrian-only crossing, still allowing cars, but not bicyclists. To further encourage walking and cycling, the plan includes a myriad of safety improvements to the roads leading to and from all of the area’s bridges by adding more bike lanes and crosswalks and widening walkways.

As the city experiences an upswing in bicycling, officials recognize the need for these capital improvements. Previous efforts to make the Brooklyn Bridge more pedestrian and cycling friendly led to a significant increase in foot traffic in that area, lessening traffic issues. That bridge alone now sees an average of over 13,000 pedestrian and 3,000 cyclists using the crossing each weekday. The city has also rolled out a new fleet of Citi Bikes in an effort to encourage cycling as a legitimate means of transportation, and not just a recreational opportunity.

The initiative will come with a price tag of more than $90 million. Travelers can expect to see the bike lanes on the Broadway and 145th Street bridges by the year 2021, with additional lane construction to follow. Proponents of the expansion of biking lanes point to the savings in commuting costs as well as the positive effect to the environment as reasons to encourage the plan.

Annual May Day Protests In New York City

On May 1, 2018 hundreds of took to the streets of New York City’s Manhattan Borough. The day marked International Workers’ Day, an annual reminder for many of the silent grievances among the country’s working class. The annual day got its start all the way back in 1886, as industrial workers all across the country staged a “walkout” to protest long hours and unsafe working conditions. The result was a victory for American workers as an 8-hour work day soon became standard for many jurisdictions in the United States.

This year it was not just working class workers but immigrants that took to the street in protest. Immigrant rights and socialist groups staged a protest march that started in Union Square and ended in Washington Square Park. For many, the march was just another reason to protest the current United States Presidential Administration, which they say is trying to mute their voices.

All types of groups joined into the protests which were organized by the Workers World Party, which seeks to return political power to the working class. Immigrant rights groups marched side by side with the worker’s rights groups and a celebrity-turned-politician marched with them. Actress Cynthia Nixon of Sex And The City fame marched with protesters from Battery Park to Wall Street to voice concern over the power of financial institutions. Nixon announced earlier this year that she would be running for Governor of New York in the next election. This protest accused Donald Trump’s administration of causing mass incarceration in the immigrant community in an attempt to break down families. Investments in private correctional facilities by the big banks are said to be a conflict of interest.

This annual march does not seem to have caused any arrests which is a surprise considering 32 people were arrested in protest just one year ago. That was not the case in other parts of the world as over 200 people were arrested in Paris during that city’s May Day protests.

Homeless Girl Scout Cookie Sales Serve as Motivate For All

A recent news article of a homeless girl that has sold as many as 6,000 boxes of girl scout cookies has become a big deal in NYC. This type of tenacity should motivate anyone. It should especially be something that is motivation to of the Girl Scouts that may complain about standing in front of a store or sitting in a chair to sell a couple of boxes for a couple of hours.

There are a lot of Girl Scout Troops that are in homeless shelters, and they want to do something productive with their time. They do not want to dwell on the fact that they do not have homes. This is a great way for them to become productive and much more involved with something that is going to keep them out of trouble.

The fact that this young girl was able to sell 6000 boxes is no small accomplishment. It is a big thing because it represents a strong sales person inside of this small child. She may be young now, but this is something that can easily be a mark on her resume for the future. She could become an excellent salesman if she has the ability to keep her eyes open for people that are interested in the products that she is selling. She definitely has the ability to create a lot of wealth for herself as an adult if she is able to sell products like this when she is older.

Some people that see this story may look at this and simply say that it is the mentality of a New Yorker. Even though she is young the ability to sell and get the word out about these cookies it is something that resonates with people that are part of the New York Community. They tend to be residents that do not take no for an answer when it comes to selling products. This is why New York is known as the city that never sleeps. This is also the reason why it is a place where people go when they want to accomplish their dreams and become famous. New York is the place where people make their mark. Sometimes these people are entertainers. At other times they are homeless Girl Scouts.

New York City Subway Stations Inundated With Floodwaters From Rainstorm

The east coast of the United States endured a punishing winter at the end of 2017 through the first quarter of 2018 due to four winter storms, and even though winter is over, it seems New York City is still facing some unrelenting weather. On Monday, April 16, the northeastern side of the U.S. got a bombardment of torrential rain, thunder, and strong winds, which caused surface streets and subway stations in New York City, to experience significant flooding. The flash flooding caused chaos with the Monday morning commute contributing to several traffic delays.

The rainfall was so substantial that many parts of New York City got at least three inches of rain during a six to eight hour period, with Central Park getting 3.28 inches of rain by 12:00 pm. More rain fell for Tuesday, but at a decreased amount. The conditions caused by the surge of rainfall not only almost paralyzed street-level traffic, it also nearly incapacitated subway traffic as well. But due to the efforts of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New Yorkers were able to get to their intended destinations with some delay because MTA teams were on hand to deal with the flooding situations and guarantee customer safety.

Floodwaters had rushed into several underground subway stations resulting in drastic changes of subway run times. Although crews were clearing the water that came in from the streets and accumulated on the station platforms, a few trains had to bypass certain stations due to excessive standing water. Simultaneously, the water overflow situation brought repeated attention to the age-induced deterioration of the subway infrastructure and its difficulty to adapt to adverse weather conditions and the commuters’ need to get to their destinations on time.

Affecting more than a dozen subway lines, rushing water created waterfalls down stairways, poured from ceilings and through light fixtures that fell onto the station platforms causing the accumulation of one to two inches of standing water. A contributing factor to the subway flooding is a street-level problem caused by clogged storm grates. Even though station platforms became inundated by floodwaters, subway tracks weren’t affected because there is an extensive drainage system in place to remove excess water. This occurence was one more thing to confirm the long-held belief of the MTA and the citizens of New York City that the subway system is overdue for extensive remodeling and updating.

New York City Confronts Lead Contamination Problem Head-On

The city of New York has a long public history of fighting against the effects of lead poisoning on its citizens. Lead paint was banned within the city’s limits in 1980 which was 18 years before a ban imposed by the federal government. Free testing for lead is offered by New York City and landlords are held accountable for tenants being exposed to residential lead contamination.

Despite the diligence demonstrated by the citizen, Barbara Ellis explains that lead inspectors had not visited the apartment building she once called home before test showed her twin daughters to have a high presence of lead in their bodies for three consecutive years. The building was inspected after the three examinations however and it was found that the building had lead paint in various stages of peeling on both windows and doors.

The Ellis twins are being provided with occupational and speech therapies to address the problems with development that are experienced by many children exposed to lead. Barbara Ellis, who works as a subway conductor, says that daughters Kaitlyn and Chastity suffered from slurred speech.

The situation endured by the Ellis family is not as uncommon a problem as the city of New York hopes it will one day become.

There are still significant areas of the city where lead contamination is prevalent. Data indicates that 69 census tracts across New York City have seen 10% of their small children test positive for elevated levels of lead in their bloodstream over a period of time from 2005 to 2015.

These numbers representing lead contamination rates in New York City are twice those of the peak contamination rates in Flint, Michigan for the years 2014 and 2015.

Patrick MacRoy, once the director of a program for lead poisoning prevention for the city of Chicago, says that the prevalence of lead contamination in New York even despite the efforts made by the city is a clear indication of how challenging the problem is on a national level.

A spokeswoman for New York City Hall, Olivia Lapeyrolerie, expressed discontentment with comparisons that have been made between her city and the city of Flint saying that aggressive efforts on the part of New York City officials have caused a sharp decline in the rates of lead contamination rates.