Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

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]

“Mom whose tot started deadly Bronx fire sues for $1B from stove maker, city”

“The woman whose toddler sparked a 2017 Bronx blaze that killed 13 people and whose own actions might have fanned the deadly flames is now demanding a total of $1.1 billion — citing the ‘negligence’ of others.” Among other defendants, the suit blames a stove maker for “knobs and valves that were too easy to turn on.” [Dean Balsamini, New York Post]

Environment roundup

  • EPA reversal on Waters of the United States rule gives power back to states [Andrew Wheeler, Kansas City Star; related Federalist Society video with Donald Kochan and Robert Glicksman; earlier]
  • Even if one concedes that throwaway items generate environmental externalities, it still doesn’t mean laws should ban disposable diapers or other single-use plastics [Ryan Bourne, Telegraph/Cato] “New Jersey Plans a Plastic-Banning Spree” [Christian Britschgi]
  • NYC’s Mayor de Blasio: “we will seize their buildings and we will put them in the hands of a community nonprofit.” [John Sexton]
  • It’s sometimes claimed that NYC’s unusually high cost of constructing public infrastructure arises from its preexisting infrastructure, geology, and high land values, yet other world cities with tougher challenges in each category build at much lower cost [Connor Harris, City Journal]
  • Podcast: Lynne Kiesling lecture on environmental economics [Cato University 2018]
  • Acrylamide follies: “Bid to introduce cancer warnings on breakfast cereal packaging fails in California court” [Legal NewsLine, from July] After public outcry, state of California acted last summer to forestall possible Prop 65 warnings on coffee [New York Times, earlier]

December 26 roundup

  • “Elephant Habeas Case: Steven Wise’s Forum Shopping Apparently Fails” [Ted Folkman, Letters Blogatory, earlier here and here]
  • Right now owners of gas stations in D.C. “need approval from the Gas Station Advisory Board (GSAB) to close. However, there’s one small problem. The GSAB hasn’t had members since 2008, so there’s no one to get approval from.” [Daniel Warwick, Greater Greater Washington]
  • “Jones Act Reform Gaining Momentum” [Colin Grabow, Cato, earlier]
  • “Serving Two (or More) Masters: Civil Service and Bureaucratic Resistance in our Administrative State” [Adam White working paper and related video as part of Hoover Institution’s Land, Labor, and Rule of Law conference]
  • MoCo vs. NoVa in business site relocation, Baltimore policing, charmless climate suit, red flag law and more Maryland policy in my latest Free State Notes;
  • New York appears ready to return to the days of confiscatory rent control, a policy that helped ruin wide swaths of the city in the 60s and 70s [Charles Urstadt, City Journal]

“I’m not asking for money or a tax rebate….Just leave me alone.”

Citing the importance of the famed Strand used bookstore as a literary hub for Gotham writers over much of the past century, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is considering a proposal to slap landmark status on the structure, along with some other nearby buildings in its neighborhood south of Union Square. But “Nancy Bass Wyden, who owns the Strand and its building at 826 Broadway, said landmarking could deal a death blow to the business her family has owned for 91 years, one of the largest book stores in the world.” Landmark status in New York seriously constricts owners’ discretion to renovate, maintain and change space. [Corey Kilgannon, New York Times; Joe Setyon, Reason]

Wage and hour roundup

  • Politicians interfere with a complex industry they don’t understand: when the $15 minimum wage came to New York car washes [Jim Epstein, Reason: article, 13:32 video]
  • “D.C. Repeals a Minimum Wage Hike That Restaurant Workers Didn’t Want” [Eric Boehm, Reason] “Tipping lawsuit leads popular Salem restaurant to declare bankruptcy” [Dan Casey, Roanoke Times]
  • Challenging a premise: “Why a federal minimum wage?” [Scott Sumner] “Pew Map Shows One Reason a National $15 Minimum Wage Won’t Work” [Joe Setyon, Reason]
  • New evidence on effects of Seattle $15 minimum: benefits go to workers with relatively high experience, “8% reduction in job turnover rates as well as a significant reduction in the rate of new entries into the workforce.” [NBER] “Minimum wage hike in Venezuela shuts stores, wipes out many jobs” [Hans Bader]
  • “Ontario labour minister’s office vandalized after minimum wage cap announced” [Canadian Press, CBC background of Ford provincial government rollback of Wynne-era labor measures]
  • DoL plans new rules on joint-employer definition [Jaclyn Diaz, Bloomberg; Alex Passantino, Seyfarth Shaw, earlier]

Investigative series: NYC home seizures

Kings County Politics investigates a series of cases in which New York City has seized the properties of Brooklyn homeowners after procedurally or substantively dubious findings of distressed condition or tax/water arrears. In some cases the city then hands the property over to politically connected developers. “Public Advocate Letitia James [has] called for a temporary freeze of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Third-Party Transfer (TPT) program” to address the concerns. [Stephen Witt and Kelly Mena, Kings County Politics]

Police roundup

September 19 roundup

  • Paradox of Jones Act: by jacking up shipping costs from mainland, it can give goods made overseas artificial price advantage [Cato Daily Podcast with Colin Grabow] Trade wars are immensely destructive, hurting producers and consumers alike, and the latest is no exception [Reuters on China retaliation]
  • Joel Kotkin-Michael Greve exchange on localism at Liberty and Law [Kotkin, Greve]
  • Government demands for encrypted data pose threat to digital privacy [Erin Dunne, D.C. Examiner]
  • “New York’s transportation establishment will not reduce prices to world standards as long as it can demand quintuple the world standard and get away with it” [Connor Harris, City Journal]
  • “The Fair Housing Act prohibits ‘making, printing, or publishing’ any ‘notice, statement, or advertisement’ with respect to ‘the sale or rental of a dwelling’ that indicates any racial preference or discrimination. Does this mean that Ohio county recorders violate the law when they maintain property records that contain unenforceable, decades-old racially restrictive covenants? Sixth Circuit: No need to answer that question, because the plaintiff doesn’t have standing.” [John Kenneth Ross, IJ “Short Circuit”, on Mason v. Adams County Recorder]
  • Trademark-go-round: “Monster Energy Loses Trademark Opposition With Monsta Pizza In The UK” [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt] “Disney Gets Early Loss In Trademark, Copyright Suit Against Unlicensed Birthday Party Characters” [same] “Two Georgia Sausage Companies Battle Over Trademarked Logos That Aren’t Particularly Similar” [same]