Saturday, March 31, 2012

New York City Will Sue Sponsors of Legal Immigrants Who End Up on the Dole

Bloomberg USA: New York City Will Sue Sponsors of Legal Immigrants Who End Up on the Dole

By Staff Reporter of the Sun | March 31, 2012

NEW YORK — Mayor Bloomberg, in a startling departure from his pro-immigration stance, is testing a new program designed to chase down sponsors of legal immigrants who end up on certain kinds of public assistance, and the city intends to make the sponsors pay back money to the government.

The threat is being made by the city's Human Resources Administration, which is circulating a press release warning that it will start sending out in August letters to sponsors of immigrants who are not citizens but who are receiving cash assistance from a program called Safety Net. It estimates that there are 12,000 sponsors the city could go after, but says it expects that it will only recover from about 8% of them, or 960 cases. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Break-Ins at 'Ghetto' Liquor Store Spark Police Criticism

Break-Ins at 'Ghetto' Liquor Store Spark Police Criticism Updated March 30, 2012 7:11am

Freeland Liquor & Wine owner Berihu Mesfin's store was burglarized twice earlier this month after he removed the riot gates and bulletproof glass (DNAinfo/Jeff Mays)

HARLEM — The owner of a Harlem liquor store broken into twice in a week says police took too long to respond, and failed to look at surveillance footage which showed the thieves until after they'd struck a second time.

Berihu Mesfin, owner of Freeland Liquor & Wine at Lenox Avenue and 119th Street, said video footage shows police didn't arrive at the store until 28 minutes after the second burglary on March 22. In addition, they did not come to pick up surveillance tapes from the first burglary on March 17 until March 24, two days after the second burglary.

"What I see is carelessness from the police," said Mesfin, who added that cops told him they were going to examine the footage the day before the second burglary.

Burglars broke into Mesfin's store in the Mount Morris Park Historic District by cutting see-through gates and drilling a hole in the lock at 1 a.m. On March 17. Video footage shows hooded men hopping the counter and stuffing their pockets with $4,000 in cash.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Allegedly "Ghetto" East Harlem Liquor Store Takes Down Plexiglass, Gets Robbed Twice

Allegedly "Ghetto" East Harlem Liquor Store Takes Down Plexiglass, Gets Robbed Twice

The last time we checked in with the newish East Harlem liquor store Freeland Liquor & Wine, the very vocal members of the Mount Morris Park Historic District had pressured the owners into getting rid of their bulletproof glass, and metal "riot gates," which some neighbors deemed "ghetto" and bringing "down everything we are trying to build up." So the owners of the store—who were also in trouble with the Buildings Department and Landmarks Commission—cooperated and got rid of the plexiglass. Then they got robbed. Twice. [ more › ]
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Allegedly "Ghetto" East Harlem Liquor Store Takes Down Plexiglass, Gets Robbed Twice
John Del Signore
Wed, 28 Mar 2012 20:48:00 GMT

New Police-Review Powers

New Police-Review Powers

Lawyers from the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that decides whether complaints about police misconduct should be acted on, will now prosecute cases ranging from excessive force and abuse of authority to foul language. The deal, brokered by Speaker Quinn and the Bloomberg Administration, was announced yesterday. Before, police employees heard the cases passed on from the board. But from 2002 to 2010, the board recommended that 2,100 officers be given the most severe penalty, and only 150 officers received it. In 2010, there was a 30 percent spike in instances of police misconduct substantiated by the board. Department employees will still serve as judges in misconduct cases, and Commissioner Kelly will retain his powers as ultimate arbiter in such matters, but must explain his rationale in writing. The board can appeal. Kelly will also be able to "exercise discretion" to stop the board from pursuing cases that are either undergoing parallel criminal investigations or in which the officer in question has no prior disciplinary record.

Check out "Weak Black Leadership" on TheBlackList Pub

Check out "Weak Black Leadership" on TheBlackList Pub
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ESPAILLAT VS. RANGEL INCHING CLOSER TO REALITY: Since petitioning began last week, Sen. Adriano Espaillat has already collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in the June primary contest against long-serving Congressman Charlie Rangel, setting up another battle for control of Harlem:


*  An investigation into cheating on standardized tests in Nassau County led by District Attorney Kathleen Rice will result in photo identification requirements for new test-takers nationwide, the New York Times reports:

* An agreement between the NYPD and Civilian Complaint Review Board will allow substantiated cases of police wrongdoing to be tried by the board's lawyers instead of police, the Times writes:

* City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's Standard Hotel fundraiser next week will draw on her support from women and gays, as she seeks to become the city's first openly gay and first female mayor, the Wall Street Journal writes:

* David Bellavia will face off against former Erie County executive Chris Collins for the newly drawn 27th Congressional District seat, in a rare GOP primary, the Buffalo News writes:

* The New York Post claims City Comptroller John Liu is telling backers he won't run for comptroller next year, as he aims to become mayor or nothing at all:

* First girlfriend Sandra Lee is trying to "upscale" her image in case Cuomo runs for president by courting high-fashion editors like Anna Wintour, and moving away from her "semi-homemade" brand, the Post writes:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban 5

The Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban 5

Freedom Riders $5 – For The 5 (Round-Trip Cost)
Bring Lunch/Water Will Be Provided
Freedom Buses Leave @ 6am – Return: 4pm

Freedom Bus Locations for Participating Boroughs To Be Announced

For More Information, To Become A Sponsor,
& Reserve Your Seat Today: Tel. 917-887-8710


INITIATORS: El Puente, National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights-NYC Chapter, DC 37/AFSCME-Local 372, Casa de Las Américas, July 26 Coalition, Cuba Solidarity New York, Wives Without Rights Campaign, Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban 5, ProLibertad Freedom Campaign, Latin America Democracy Committee, 1119/SEIU, and Occupy Harlem.

Fw: PR: Harlem Businesses Unite For Grand Opening of the L Lounge


-- Harlem businesses come together for the private Grand Opening Reception of the L Lounge --

(l to r) Proprietor Londel Davis Sr., New York City Council Member Inez E. Dickens, New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, Londel Davis Jr., CEO American Fire Control

Harlem, NY ( -- On Wednesday, March 21st, Proprietor Londel Davis hosted a number of Harlem's political and social elite at the private Grand Opening Reception of his new establishment, L Lounge.

Here's what happened:

* After 20 years as a successful entrepreneur, restaurateur and Harlem native, Londel Davis launched his fourth business venture in Harlem, L Lounge. " L" is a lounge and event space that will serve as a neighborhood-gathering place for live music and spirits. Located on Fredrick Douglas Boulevard between the blocks of 115th & 116th in the new Livmor Luxury Condominium, L Lounge is the latest addition to Harlem's Gold Coast. Just minutes from Central and Morningside Parks, and steps from the subway, L Lounge boasts a unique spatial environment created by Zevilla Jackson Preston, R.A. principal of J-P Design, Inc. (JPD), a Harlem based architectural firm.

* The Lounge simply called "L" pays homage to Old Harlem and the elevated railway and trolley that ran along Eighth Avenue in the early part of the twentieth century. JPD worked closely with Mr. Davis to realize his vision. The result is a clean and sleek modern design that incorporates a new-age illuminated bar and nostalgic photographic images of Harlem's elevated railway and trolley. The images, licensed to Davis by John Reddick, co-founder of Harlem One Stop, float above patrons in curved ceiling planes that artfully remind one of the Harlem of yesteryear.

* Harlem Flo provided the floral arrangements for the night's event.

* Council Women Inez Dickens of the New York City Council District 9, addressed the guests and praised Mr. Davis for his steadfast and tireless efforts to provide jobs and quality business establishments in the community.

* City Comptroller John C. Liu gave remarks and commended Mr. Davis on his dedication and efforts.

* Other key guest were:

- The Honorable Carol Robinson Edmead - Supreme Court Justice, New York County
- The Honorable Tanya Kennedy - Civil Court of the city of NY
- The Honorable George Silver - Civil Court of the city of NY
- Ms. Barbara Askins - 125th Street Business Improvement District
- Ms. Regina Smith - Harlem Improvement Association
- Phillip Morrow - Developer and President of So Bro
- Mr. David Weaver - Chair Community Board 10, Cultural Committee

* The guest enjoyed complimentary Qreme Liqueur, who was the Liquor Sponsor for the evening's festivities

About J-P Design
J-P Design, Inc. is a Harlem based architecture firm that passionately pursues design excellence within each client's budgetary constraints. Founder and principal, Zevilla Preston Jackson, a Harlem native, believes that good design contributes to the psychological well being of a community.

About Harlem Flo
Harlem Flo is Harlem's premiere floral atelier and lifestyle boutique that specializes in providing creative floral designs to the Harlem community as well as event, wedding decor, and terrace design with deliveries throughout Greater Manhattan. They offer wide range of gifts, many of which are locally sourced.

For photos and/or any post event inquiries, please email Shante' Timberlake,




What Everyone Should Know About Trayvon Martin

What Everyone Should Know About Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)

On February 26, 2012, a 17-year-old African-American named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida. The shooter was George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old white man. (Zimmerman was described by the police as white. According to his family he is also Hispanic.) Zimmerman admits killing Martin, but claims he was acting in self-defense. Weeks after Martin's death, no arrest has been made and Zimmerman remains free.

Here is what everyone should know about the case:

1. Zimmerman called the police to report Martin's "suspicious" behavior, which he described as "just walking around looking about." Zimmerman was in his car when he saw Martin walking on the street. He called the police and said: "There's a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he's up to no good, on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around looking about… These a**holes always get away" [Orlando Sentinel]

2. Zimmerman pursued Martin against the explicit instructions of the police dispatcher:

Dispatcher: "Are you following him?"
Zimmerman: "Yeah"
Dispatcher: "OK, we don't need you to do that."

[Orlando Sentinel]

3. Prior to the release of the 911 tapes, Zimmerman's father released a statement claiming "[a]t no time did George follow or confront Mr. Martin."[Sun Sentinel]

4. Zimmerman was carrying a 9 millimeter handgun. Martin was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. [ABC News]

5. Martin weighed 140 pounds. Zimmerman weighs 250 pounds. [Orlando Sentinel; WDBO]

6. Martin's English teacher described him "as an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness." [Orlando Sentinel]

7. Martin had no criminal record. [New York Times]

8. Zimmerman "was charged in July 2005 with resisting arrest with violence and battery on an officer. The charges appear to have been dropped." [Huffington Post]

9. Zimmerman called the police 46 times since Jan. 1, 2011. [Miami Herald]

10. According to neighbors, Zimmerman was "fixated on crime and focused on young, black males." [Miami Herald]

11. Zimmerman "had been the subject of complaints by neighbors in his gated community for aggressive tactics" [Huffington Post]

12. A police officer "corrected" a key witness. "The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help." [ABC News]

13. Three witnesses say they heard a boy cry for help before a shot was fired."Three witnesses contacted by The Miami Herald say they saw or heard the moments before and after the Miami Gardens teenager's killing. All three said they heard the last howl for help from a despondent boy." [Miami Herald]

14. The officer in charge of the crime scene also received criticism in 2010 when he initially failed to arrest a lieutenant's son who was videotaped attacking a homeless black man. [New York Times]

15. The police did not test Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol. A law enforcement expert told ABC that Zimmerman sounds intoxicated on the 911 tapes. Drug and alcohol testing is "standard procedure in most homicide investigations." [ABC News]

16. In a cell phone call moments before his death, Martin told a teenage girl that he was "hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him and confronted him." "'He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,' Martin's friend said. 'I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.' Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he'd managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin. 'Trayvon said, 'What, are you following me for,' and the man said, 'What are you doing here.'" [ABC News]

17. Police have Trayvon Martin's cell phone but never contacted his girlfriend.[Miami Herald]

18. Zimmerman told the police "he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck." "He said he feared for his life and fired the semiautomatic handgun he was licensed to carry because he feared for his life." [Miami Herald]

19. The incident occurred in a tiny gated community Zimmerman patrolled regularly. [Miami Herald]

20. Zimmerman was not a member of a registered Neighborhood Watch group.Zimmerman also violated basic Neighborhood Watch guidelines by carrying a weapon. [ABC News]

21. The police reports were amended to bolster Zimmerman's claim of self defense. "Initial police reports never mentioned that Zimmerman had a bloody nose or a wet shirt that showed evidence of a struggle." [Miami Herald]

22. Police ignored witness whose account was different from Zimmerman's."One of the witnesses who heard the crying said she called a detective repeatedly, but said he was not interested because her account differed from Zimmerman's." [Miami Herald]

23. Just prior to killing Martin, Zimmerman may have used a racial slur. The police admit they initially overlooked the remark. It's unclear exactly what Zimmerman is saying. [ABC News]

24. Zimmerman still has a permit to carry a concealed weapon in the State of Florida. [ThinkProgress]

25. In April 2011, Zimmerman called the police to report a suspicious black male, "7-9″ years old, "skinny build." [Daily Beast]

26. Zimmerman's friend, Frank Taaffe, says Martin was shot because he wasn't "honest and truthful" with Zimmerman. NBC News reported that Zimmerman called Taaffe to thank him for his support. [Huffington Post; MSNBC]

27. The lead investigator in Trayvon Martin shooting wanted manslaughter charge against Zimmerman. The lead investigator, Chris Serino, "stated he was unconvinced Zimmerman's version of events." His recommendation for a manslaughter charge was overruled by state attorney Norman Wolfinger, who subsequently removed himself from the case. [ABC News]

The Martin case had been turned over to the Seminole County State Attorney's Office.

Ex-NAACP big rips Al & Jesse for handling of Trayvon Martin shooting

Ex-NAACP big rips Al & Jesse for handling of Trayvon Martin shooting

Last Updated:9:28 AM, March 27, 2012

Posted:12:25 AM, March 27, 2012

The furor over the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin is being "exploited" by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to "racially divide the country," a civil-rights leader charged yesterday.

Martin's "family should be outraged at the fact that they're using this child as the bait to inflame racial passions," the Rev. C.L. Bryant, a former NAACP leader, said of the 17-year-old hoodie-wearing black youth who was shot dead by a mixed white-Latino neighborhood-watch volunteer.

The pastor accused Jackson and Sharpton — who yesterday organized a thousands-strong protest in Sanford, Fla., where the shooting occurred last month — of "acting as though they are buzzards circling the carcass of this young boy" in an interview with The Daily Caller, a news Web site.

Bryant, the past president of the NAACP chapter in Garland, Texas, called Jackson and Sharpton "race hustlers" for inserting themselves into the drama.

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Charlie Rangel Owes a $23,000 Civil Fine

Charlie Rangel Owes a $23,000 Civil Fine

Harlem Democrat Rep. Charlie Rangel, who just announced a run for his 22nd term, now finally knows the exact dollar punishment he's stuck with from his long-simmering ethics scandal. The 81-year-old Rangel's been charged a civil fine of $23,000 for accepting a rent-stabilized apartment and then using it to run his campaign, a maneuver that (when adjusted to market rate) put his campaign contributions over the legal limit. (Actually, he had four apartments in the same building, which was in part the tip-off to the impropriety.)

It's a far less damaging punishment than the censure Rangel received from the House Ethics Committee, not just for his N.Y. apartment, but for income-tax and fundraising slipperiness as well. The settlement isn't a terribly large one, especially when you consider that Rangel probably has some cash on hand — he was paying just $630 for an apartment that probably should have commanded $1,700. Jealousy from rent-gouged New Yorkers over that crazy deal might just be more likely than all the ethics violations to hurt his re-election campaign.

Read more posts by Noreen Malone

Filed Under: politics ,charlie rangel ,paying the piper ,crimes and misdemeanors ,real estate

Charlie Rangel Owes a $23,000 Civil Fine
Noreen Malone
Tue, 27 Mar 2012 12:11:51 GMT

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grand Concourse Neighborhood in the South Bronx Gentrifies

In the 1970s, the South Bronx was beset by arson and other crime. But now, the neighborhood around the Grand Concourse is seeing an influx of white middle-class professionals.