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Federal Panel Keeps Redistricting Suit In Place

... from NY Daily News:

A three-federal judge panel rejected state lawmakers’ effort to dismiss a redistricting lawsuit this afternoon.
The federal judge panel assigned the case to U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann to manage it for the three judges. A conference is expected to be held tomorrow for the sides in the case to discuss any “special directives or suggestions” the court should give Mann “to assist her in preparing a redistricting plan, deadlines, and the appointment of experts.”
A source close to the situation said Mann, at least right now, is not the special master who will draw the legislative boundaries for the court should it come to that. But it is a sign,  though, that is exactly where all this is headed, the source said.
The big questions will be whether the state Legislature can pass a state and congressional redistricting plan and whether Gov. Cuomo will sign it or follow through on his vows to veto anything not drawn by an independent body.
If a deal is reached and Cuomo signs the plan, chances are better that the federal court will accept it. If he vetoes, it’s anyone’s guess who the court will draw the lines.

City Loses First Round in Legal Dispute Over Stricter Shelter Rules

from WNYC...

A court ruled Tuesday that they city cannot move forward with its requirement for homeless single adults to prove they have no other place to go before being found eligible for shelter.

According to the decision by State Supreme Court Judge Judith Gische, the city failed to follow proper administrative procedures before implementing the rule, which was to go into effect last November.

The rule was immediately challenged by Legal Aid and the City Council on the grounds that it violated a longstanding consent decree as well as city administrative procedures that require new rules to be vetted by the city council as well as the public prior to implementation. The judge agreed on the latter point. The consent decree issue is still pending.

The city sought the stricter eligibility requirements because, it argued, more single adults are coming from having lived with family or friends and the city believes they could potentially return to them rather than stay in a shelter.

The stricter eligablity requirement would also allow the city to find deny shelter to individuals with substance abuse problems if a room could be found at a treatment program instead.

The city has estimated that if the rule is implemented, about 10 percent of applicants would be found ineligible for shelter — a projected savings of $4 million a year. 

The city has said it would appeal the judges ruling. At a press conference Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city would do everything it can to move forward with the policy, “or let the judges explain to the public why they think that you should just have a right to walk in and say, whether I need services or not, you give it to me.”

Testimony Regarding New York Gerrymandering

Tenants Political Action Committee

277 Broadway, Suite 608

New York, New York 10007



New York State Legislative Task Force

On Demographic Research and Reapportionment

 February 2, 2012

 Testimony of Michael McKee, Treasurer

When I testified before this Task Force last September, I expressed a good deal of skepticism about what you were already planning behind closed doors.

Now it turns out that I was not skeptical enough. The legislative lines recently released by this Task Force leave observers grasping for adequate adjectives and nouns to describe your process, and your product. Chutzpah? Gall? Maddening? Insane? Blatant? All deficient to express the appropriate outrage.

I guess “Up to your old tricks” is also inadequate, as the proposed district lines are even more outrageous this time than in the last several decades.

While my testimony will focus on the State Senate lines, the Assembly majority must share the blame. It was not surprising that Assembly Member McEneny was recently quoted as acknowledging the reality of this bipartisan gerrymandering exercise: “As a practical matter, they [the Senate majority] draw their lines, we draw our lines.” (City & State, January 6, 2012, “Quietly, Senate GOP Releases Plan For 63rd Seat.”) Not surprising, but appalling.

Occupy the Courts on Fri. Jan. 20 -- Say No To "Citizens United"

From Coffee Party Board Member Eric Byler:

On Friday Jan. 20, the Coffee Party is joining Move to Amend and democracy advocates across the US to hold more than 80 rallies in front of federal court buildings, including the US Supreme Court. These rallies will launch grassroots campaigns for ballot initiatives and resolutions rejecting the "Citizens United" decree for unlimited, anonymous spending to influence our elections.


Momentum has been building in recent months, with resolutions passed by city councils in Los Angeles and New York City, and the Montana Supreme Court asserting that states have the right to prevent the corporate purchase of their governments.  Let's make this happen in states, towns, and cities across the country.


Here are some actions you can take:


NYC to determine if it will continue to provide Advantage Rental Housing Subsidies

Earlier this month, the City mailed notices to all current Advantage tenants advising them that their January 2012 Advantage rent payments would be sent to their landlords.

A Department of Homeless Services lawyer advised us late Friday that those notices were sent "in error" and that the City is awaiting a court decision on whether it has to pay January rent.   Counsel for the City have informed us that if no decision is issued by January 19th, the City will commence paying January rent on that date.


Here is Friday's email from DHS counsel:
It has come to our attention that all eligible Advantage tenants received a letter sent from HRA stating that the City is paying Advantage rent for January 2012 (despite the typo in the letter).  This letter was sent in error.  At this point, the City has not paid January 2012 Advantage rent.  The City is awaiting a court decision on whether the City still has an obligation to pay January rent on behalf of eligible Advantage tenants.  Once that decision is made, the City will inform tenants and landlords as to the status of the January 2012 Advantage rental subsidy payments.  DHS is updating its website and 311 to reflect this information, and will send out a corrected letter upon receiving a court decision, as in the prior two months


For January 2012, Advantage landlords received an accurate letter stating the above. 


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