The Death and Life of Stop-and-Frisk

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Fxp42/City Limits

Back in 2007 or so when the uproar over stop-and-frisk was just picking up, the NYPD made a point of referring to it as the "stop, question and frisk" program—to emphasize that the strategy was not focused on patting people down, but rather allowing police officers to ask questions of people who came under suspicion.

A new report by the New York Civil Liberties Union looks back on the whole history of stop-and-frisk (or stop-and-question-and-frisk) and reveals that among the more than 5 million stops the NYPD made from 2003 through 2013, 52 percent involved a frisk.

Willets Point Mall Clears Legal Hurdle

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Office of the Mayor/City Limits

A state judge has ruled that a plan to use parkland for the planned Willets Point redevelopment does not violate state law.

Among other procedural findings, the ruling held that since the development would facilitate trade and commerce, it still served a public purpose.

Tree Pruning Problems: Some Species Are Special Risks

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Adi Talwar/City Limits

Damage from Hurricane Irene in the Bronx. Very few new trees were affected by the storm, but older trees suffered and caused damaged.
In an audit released over the weekend, Comptroller Scott Stringer exposed a number of problems in the city's tree pruning program—mainly in how well the city keeps lists of trees needing work and tracks the performance of contractors hired to service the trees.

City Limits first wrote about this issue in early 2012, right after a summer and autumn that was incredibly tough on city trees. First there was Hurricane Irene. Then came that freak October snowstorm hit when trees that still had plenty of leaves stretching out to capture all that heavy, slushy snow.

Resisting Arrest: Is There a Trend?

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Michael Fleischhacker/City Limits

Police commissioner William Bratton told the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC yesterday that there's a trend of people resisting arrest.

"What we’re seeing … over the last several months [is] a number of individuals just failing to understand that you must submit to an arrest, that you cannot resist it," Bratton said.

Is there such a trend?

According to data provided to by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, there was a spike is arrests for NY Penal Code section 205.30, resisting arrest, between February and March, a drop in April, and another jump in May before a decline in June.

Report Finds 'Epidemic' of Aging in Prison

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Peter Greenberg/City Limits

The guard tower at Sing Sing Correctional Facility on the banks of the Hudson in Ossining.
The aging of people behind bars is "a national human-made epidemic decades in the making" associated with a swelling fiscal impact and a spreading moral stain, according to a report released Thursday by the Osborne Association.

The prison population aged 55 or older quadrupled from 1995 to 2010 and is expected to represent a third of the entire prison census by 2030, "amounting to a staggering 4,400 percent increase over a 50-year span," the report found. "Even as crime has drastically declined and the U.S. prison population has begun to shrink, the aging prison population continues to rise at a disproportionate rate."

What Was the Bloomberg Admin. Saying About Jail Violence?

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Jarrett Murphy/City Limits

The devastating Times investigation of violence at Rikers Island and yesterday's chilling U.S. Attorney's report on the same might make one wonder why the deteriorating conditions in the city's jails didn't send up red flags or set off alarm bells during, say, the 2011-2013 period covered by Preet Bharara's probe.

Clinic Protests Continue as Abortion in NYC Plummets

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J. Murphy/City Limits

Source: DOHMH
When I was a sophomore in college, I helped try to start a campus pro-choice organization, which wouldn't have been a big deal if the campus in question weren't steeped in Catholic tradition. Unable to gain traction on school grounds, we looked beyond the gates, and three of us became regular volunteer escorts at a women's clinic down around 149th Street in the Bronx. Every Saturday morning, we'd don orange vests and head to nearby street corners to watch for clients and offer them an escort if our counterparts, the anti-abortion rights protesters, seemed to distress them.

Cloudy Views On Broken-Windows Policing

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Tomas Castelazo/City Limits

Everybody knows what Immaculate Conception is. They must because they reference it all the time. Except they often get it wrong. People will jokingly allude to Immaculate Conception when describing someone being born without their parents having, you know, done it. But that's not Immaculate Conception, it's Virgin Birth, which the Bible says occurred in Jesus's case. Immaculate Conception refers to Mary—that's Jesus's mom, for the uninitiated—having been born (after being conceived the traditional way) without original sin. The confusion is enough to drive an ex-Catholic to prayer.

Report: Housing Construction Could Tamp Down City Rents

Well, here’s a case in point of how where one sits determines where one stands: While many of us spend our days decrying rising rents in the city, one real-estate research firm is cheering it—and expressing concern that new housing now being built could force rents lower.

The report from Axiomatics finds that rent in the metro area grew 2.2 percent in June, higher than the 1.7 percent found in June "considerably higher than the -1.3% reported in December 2013."

But the firm believes that there were"“4,704 new units delivered in 2013; that total is anticipated to ramp up to 7,879 this year. By 2015, Axiometrics forecasts 16,469 units to come online."

Several Members of Queens Library Board Forced Out

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Padraic Ryan/City Limits

The Broad Channel library, part of the Queens network.
The Queens Borough Public Library announced late Wednesday that "notices were received by several Queens Library trustees, removing them from the Board." A spokeswoman for the QBPL, which has been under fire for perks awarded to director Thomas Galante, would not divulge the names of those ousted, but the Daily News has them as Joseph Ficalora, William Jefferson, Grace Lawrence, George Stamatiades, Jacqueline Arrington, Terry Mangino, Patricia Flynn, Stephen Van Anden.

"Throughout the history of the Queens Borough Public Library, the people of Queens have benefitted enormously from a highly committed library Board of Trustees whose leadership has helped keep libraries open and free," the QBPL said in a statement. "They have helped make Queens Library a recognized national model of excellence. The Board consists of volunteer high-profile professionals and community activists who make time out of their busy schedules. Every one of the tens of millions who has enriched his life through Queens Library owes them thanks for their service."

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