Nation-City Limits Blog: De Blasio Facing Diversity Questions

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Bill de Blasio, whose biracial family played a prominent role in his campaign (which ended with him securing solid margins across racial, ethnic and other demographic lines), has made relatively few appointments. Most have been white. Most have also been women.
Last week, the National Institute for Latino Policy's Angelo Falcón—an irascible and astute observer of city politics—sent a letter raising concerns about the "marginal" appointments of Latinos to the incoming de Blasio administration.

Falcón, who had earlier complained about the relatively light representation of Latinos on de Blasio's 60-member transition team, was not satisfied with the appointment of Lilliam Barrios-Paoli to be the new deputy mayor for health and human services or of Gladys Carrión to run the Administration for Children's Services.

Opponents Of Over-Policing Target 'Vague Laws'

You lose your balance as the A train stops short, brushing against the newspaper and bag of a fellow commuter as you regain your footing. Have you just stumbled, or have you committed a class A misdemeanor, Jostling? Were a police officer to apply the statute's vague wording and arrest you, and a judge to agree with the officer's interpretation, you could be facing up to one year in prison.

Jostling, along with Criminal Trespassing, Disorderly Conduct, Loitering for the Purpose of Engaging in a Prostitution Offense and several other New York State laws contain broad and equivocal wording. Punishments for the above violations and crimes can potentially including jail time and heavy fines. Timothy Sandefur, the principal attorney of The Pacific Legal Foundation, condemns the serious consequences resulting from many vague laws on the federal and state level. "Vagueness," he wrote in a 2010 Forbes op-ed "turns the law into a sword dangling over citizens' heads."


NYC Groups Ask Feds To Scold Bank

Six New York advocacy groups are asking the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to rate JPMorgan Chase as "less than satisfactory" in its upcoming exam under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

CRA aims to reduce redlining—the denial of fair financial services to people in a certain neighborhood—and to meet the credit needs of citizens in low and moderate-income neighborhoods, according to the OCC website.

In conducting CRA examinations, the OCC invites outside comment regarding the bank's service. This month, the New York-based groups Community Voices Heard, Good Jobs New York, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP), New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), South Brooklyn Legal Services and Staten Island Legal Services jointly filed a comment letter outlining the practices of Chase that they deem harmful to low and moderate income citizens in New York City.


Recession's Pain Revealed For Hispanics, Artists

The full impact of the Great Recession is still being calculated, and evidence is mounting that its damage was not equally distributed.

A study out today from the Pew Research Center finds that the wealth of the average white family shrank by 16 percent between 2005 and 2009. For black families wealthy was cut in half. For Latino households, only a third of their wealth remains.