Board of Correction member Robert Cohen on a policy that denies board members access to full files on inmate deaths
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
-from “The Names,” by Billy Collins, former poet laureate of the United States
“Councilman Mark Levine is turning to one of the city’s most-influential lobbying firms to run his campaign for City Council speaker. Jon Del Giorno, a founding partner at Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin, said the firm will focus on Levine’s strategy and messaging as the internal race for speaker heats up next week ahead of November’s general election. The Council’s current speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, is barred by term limits from running for reelection this year. ‘I feel good about the candidate — he’s someone the members feel comfortable with,’ said Del Giorno, who started in politics as a Council intern in the 1980s. ‘He’s known as a consensus builder.’ Del Giorno’s firm ran the campaigns for the last two speakers: Mark-Viverito and her predecessor, Christine Quinn.”
“After more than 40 years, city health officials suddenly stopped sharing basic medical information related to inmates who die in custody with a jail oversight board. The move — which came in January — comes as the city’s scandal-scarred jail system faces intense scrutiny. Officials at the city’s Health and Hospitals Corp. said state law prohibited the sharing of the private medical information with the board, according to a source familiar with the situation. ‘Denying the board access to review the records of men and women who have died in custody places everyone in the jails in danger,’ said board member Robert Cohen.”
“After three terms of Michael Bloomberg and two decades of Republican/Independent control of City Hall, a phalanx of heavyweight Democrats entered the race early and fought each other fiercely throughout 2013. Polls from that spring showed Bill de Blasio lagging fourth behind then Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, and former Congressman Anthony Weiner. The mayor barely broke into double digit support and was only two points ahead of Comptroller John Liu, whose campaign associates were on trial for misusing campaign funds. There was regularly polling including the names all the leading candidates — who raced from borough to borough and mayoral forum to mayoral forum. That was not the case in 2017 …”
“[C]ampaign posters blare the name of Hiram Monserrate, the former councilman and state senator who in 2012 pleaded guilty in federal court to misappropriating city funds while on the Council. Other posters, but fewer, tout his opponent, Francisco Moya, a state assemblyman. Some are torn down, only to be replaced with fresh ones. The displays underscore an on-the-ground reality in this area of central Queens that has shocked Democrats around New York City, from Mayor Bill de Blasio to unions to women’s groups: Mr. Monserrate, who was convicted in 2009 of assaulting his then girlfriend, has mounted a formidable campaign to return to his old seat. He could win.”
“In January 2016, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a youth homeless shelter in Manhattan to announce funding for 300 new, dedicated shelter beds for homeless and runaway youth. … De Blasio, who was halfway through his four-year term as mayor, said it was a ‘scandal’ the way that homelessness had been handled in the city for decades. ‘Why was any of this tolerated?’ de Blasio asked. Pushed by a reporter to answer his own rhetorical question, the mayor looked to the ballot box. ‘I think in the crass political world, these were people who quote-unquote ‘didn’t vote,’ and therefore they didn’t matter to some people,’ he said. ‘And I think that’s sick, but I think that’s real.’ So is a lack of political power to blame for bad shelter conditions and a lack of relief for the homeless?”