Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

Web accessibility suits hit art galleries

More than 75 New York City art galleries “have been hit with lawsuits alleging they are violating the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) because their websites are not equally accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers. Art galleries are the latest business sector to be targeted with a wave of such lawsuits. Thousands of other businesses, including hotels, resorts, universities, and restaurants have been served with similar complaints last year.” Deshawn Dawson, a legally blind person living in Brooklyn, has filed at least 37 of the suits; he along with another frequent filer are often represented by attorneys Joseph Mizrahi and Jeffrey Gottlieb. Art and design schools around the country have also been hit, and some New York galleries have settled claims rather than take the risks of litigation and a possible adverse verdict [Eileen Kinsella, Artnet News, first, second, third pieces]

Environment roundup

  • EPA confirms the view of its peer agencies around the world: glyphosate weed killer, found in Roundup, is not a carcinogen [Tom Polansek, Reuters, earlier, more]
  • Mayor Bulldozer? Critical look at Pete Buttigieg’s push to tear down hundreds of vacant dilapidated South Bend homes and fine the owners [Henry Gomez, BuzzFeed; see also Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star]
  • “Why Trump should call off the EPA’s latest assault on NYC” [Nicole Gelinas, New York Post; $3 billion to revamp and cover over a Yonkers reservoir]
  • “‘High-yield’ farming costs the environment less than previously thought – and could help spare habitats” [Cambridge University]
  • Is clarity finally coming on the scope of federal control of local surface waters? [Jonathan Adler on Trump administration “Waters of the United States” regulation; Tony Francois, Federalist Society on prospects for “navigable waters” at the Supreme Court]
  • “New Jersey Court Strikes Down Use of Eminent Domain to Take Property to “Bank” it for Possible Future Use” [Ilya Somin] Pennsylvania law promoted as fixing blighted neighborhoods used to steal people’s homes [Eric Boehm]

Liability roundup

How Hudson Yards connects to Harlem

What an amazing story: “Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project [Hudson Yards] was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.” The far West Side of lower Manhattan, not far from Tribeca, the Village, and Chelsea, is hardly known for its poverty, but creative subsidy seekers carved out an “area” that connected the Hudson Yards site, gerrymander style, through midtown and Central Park to public housing projects in Harlem. And presto: access to benefits meant to revive high-unemployment urban areas. [Kriston Capps, CityLab]

Reader David Link writes:

It’s only bad if you think the point of the Poverty/Industrial Complex is designed to alleviate poverty, rather than just being a set of white collar jobs programs. This gerrymander is a visual example of the usual, multiple links between poverty/social justice/community improvement rhetoric and the people who ultimately benefit. From what I’ve heard, it sounds like a good step for New York, and the only excess cost is to those who aren’t skeptical enough to accept the rhetoric.

Labor roundup

  • Not headed to Gotham after all: “The RWDSU union was interested in organizing the Whole Foods grocery store workers, a subsidiary owned by Amazon, and they deployed several ‘community based organizations’ (which RWDSU funds) to oppose the Amazon transaction as negotiation leverage. It backfired.” [Alex Tabarrok]
  • “NLRB reverses course and restores some sense to its concerted activity rules” [Jon Hyman, earlier]
  • Among papers at the Hoover Institution’s conference last summer on “Land, Labor, and the Rule of Law”: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, “Executive Branch Overreach in Labor Regulation” discusses persuader, fiduciary, overtime, joint employer, independent contractor, federal contract blacklist, campus recruitment as age discrimination, and more; Price Fishback, “Rule of Law in Labor Relations, 1898-1940” on how reducing violence was a key objective of pro-union laws, anti-union laws, and arbitration laws; and related video; Christos Andreas Makridis, “Do Right-to-Work Laws Work? Evidence from Individual Well-being and Economic Sentiment” (“Contrary to conventional wisdom, RTW laws raise employee well-being and sentiment by improving workplace conditions and culture”) and related video;
  • Relief coming on NLRB’s Browning-Ferris joint employer initiative? [Federalist Society panel video with Richard Epstein, Richard F. Griffin, Jr., Philip Miscimarra, moderated by Judge Timothy Tymkovich; Philip Rosen et al., Jackson Lewis; earlier]
  • “Production company hires union labor after Boston officials allegedly threaten to withhold permits for music festivals. District court: Can’t try the officials for extortion because they didn’t obtain any personal benefit; the alleged benefits went to the union. First Circuit: The indictment should not have been dismissed.” [John K. Ross, IJ “Short Circuit,” on U.S. v. Brissette, earlier]
  • In 1922 a brutal mob attack resulted in the slaughter of 23 strikebreakers in Herrin, Illinois. Maybe something that should be taught in schools? [Robby Soave, Reason]

“Gravity Knives, Bump Stocks, and Lawless Law Enforcement”

“For years [Manhattan sous-chef Joseph] Cracco had been using his Spyderco Endura 4 folding knife, the sort of tool that is sold openly by retailers in New York City and throughout the state, for mundane tasks like opening boxes and bottles. … According to Cracco and a co-worker who was with him, it took the cop four or five tries before he managed to swing the blade fully open with one hand — a feat that Cracco himself had never attempted. Cracco thus joined the thousands of New Yorkers who are arrested each year for carrying the tools of their trades or hobbies.” While New York’s gravity-knife law was upheld against earlier challenges, U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty “in a March 27 decision declar[ed] the gravity knife ban “unconstitutionally vague” as applied to Cracco.” [Jacob Sullum, Reason, C.J. Ciaramella, Reason, earlier]

April 3 roundup

  • “Arkansas Passes Bill to Prevent Sale of ‘Cauliflower Rice'” [Bettina Makalintal, Vice via Anthony M. Kreis (“Carolene Products of our time”, and more on that celebrated filled-milk case]
  • Ted Frank has another case raising the cy pres issues the Supreme Court just sidestepped in Frank v. Gaos [Marcia Coyle on rewards-program class action settlement in Perryman v. Romero]
  • Feds recommend 12 year sentence for copyright and ADA troll Paul Hansmeier [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
  • Didn’t realize New York City still had such a substantial fur industry – much of it in the district of an elected official who’s keen to ban it [Carl Campanile, New York Post]
  • “Who’s Afraid of Big Tech?” Cato conference with Matthew Feeney, Alec Stapp, Jonathan Rauch, Julian Sanchez, Peter Van Doren, and John Samples, among many others [panels one (“Big Brother in Big Tech”), two (“Is Big Tech Too Big?”), three (“Free Speech in an Age of Social Media”)]
  • Looking forward to this one, due out from New York lawyer James Zirin in September: Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits [St. Martin’s Press]

Brooklyn: “Court Rules Against City, Millions of Dollars Of Wealth Restored”

A noteworthy victory for property owners in Brooklyn, following investigative journalism that had exposed a pattern of a seizures by New York City of homes and other properties after procedurally or substantively dubious findings of distressed condition or tax/water arrears. The city then sometimes handed the property over to politically connected developers. In the new decision, Kings County Supreme Court Judge Mark Partnow “ruled that the City of New York violated the U. S. Constitution in the seizure of six central Brooklyn properties, and ordered the city to give them back to their owners.” [Stephen Witt and Kelly J. Mena, Kings County Politics, earlier on the journalism]

The NYPD’s DNA dragnet

New York City police have employed the equivalent of DNA dragnets, combining voluntary with covert (e.g., grabbing a discarded cup) collection methods. Thus, before identifying a suspect in the Howard Beach jogger case, “the NYPD collected well over 500 DNA profiles from men in the East New York area….But things get worse from there. For those people excluded from the jogger case, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the city’s crime lab, permanently keeps those profiles in their databank [with more than 64,000 others] and routinely compares profiles to all city crimes.”

In other words, cooperate with police by giving a DNA sample in order to help solve (or clear yourself in) some dreadful crime, and you’re in the database to nail for anything and everything else in future. “In this respect, [you] will be treated just like someone convicted of a crime.” And did you guess this? “Under their labor contract with the city, rank-and-file officers don’t give the lab their DNA, which means the lab can’t easily rule out possible crime-scene contamination.” [Allison Lewis, New York Daily News]