Beer and Politics Mix on TV

"Straight Up," Brooklyn Independent Media's delightfully looser take on the traditional reporter roundtable, will be out with its second installment at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 23.

It features yours truly, DNAinfo's Jeff Mays and the Observer's Jillian Jorgensen discussing race, policing and politics at the beautiful yet unpretentious Emerson's bar in Clinton Hill.

Watch it here, live ...


Atlantic Yards Modular Dispute Could Have Citywide Echo

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ESDC/FCRC/City Limits

B2, in the foreground, seen in materials on the website of the Empire State Development Corporation.
The dust-up between Forest City Ratner Company and Skanska is, at its essence, a business dispute involving conflicting claims about a single building. But could the episode have broader implications for affordable housing in the city?

The beef boils down to this: Skanksa and Forest City got together to build B2, a residential tower at the Atlantic Yards site that was to be the tallest structure in the word built with modular construction. But now the two companies are trading barbs over who is to blame for delays at the site, with Forest City pegging it on incompetence by Skanska and Skanska attributing it to flaws in Forest City's designs.

A New Yorker, Terrified of ISIS

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Department of Defense/City Limits

A Pentagon photo from 2010, as the U.S. occupation of Iraq was winding down.
By all rights, a different byline should appear on this post, but the writer has said that would be risky. The writer assisted American journalists during the U.S. war, then escaped to New York in 2006, but left family behind. Persistent violence has prevented a visit home. Bureaucracy appears to have stymied efforts to bring the family here. Now the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria introduces a new dimension of distance and fear, rendering any cooperation—past or present—with American media perilous. Here is what our friend writes:

Take Our Reader Survey

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J. Murphy/City Limits has been around since 1976, surviving five mayors, the end of disco, several recessions and--so far anyway--the digital revolution. That's only true because throughout those 38-plus years, there has been a readership that cared about the journalism we do.

Whether you've been a reader since the Ford administration, or landed here for the first time today hoping to find the number for the City Limits diner in White Plains, we want to know what you think--of what we do now and don't do now, and what we could or shouldn't do in the future.

Poverty Stats Set Mark for De Blasio's Effort vs. Inequality

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Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office/City Limits

Mayor Bill de Blasio has lunch with students at P.S. 69 in the Bronx during the first-day-of-school five-borough tour. His UPK program, which debuted that day, and affordable housing plan are aimed at reducing the income gap in the city.
In the final year of Michael Bloomberg's mayoralty, as Bill de Blasio's mayoral campaign critiqued rising economic inequality in the city, New York's poverty rate barely budged. The citywide rate wavered slightly, from 21.2 percent to 20.9 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the Census Bureau.

The 2013 figures—which could serve as the yardstick against which de Blasio's efforts to reduce income polarization are measured—showed little change when broken down by race, educational attainment, or wok experience, though there was a 1.6 point drop in the child poverty rate, which stood at 29.8 percent last year.

Paid Investigative Internships Available

Thanks to a generous grant from the Simon Bolivar Foundation, City Limits' Bronx Bureau is launching a paid investigative internship program that will combine training and real reporting experience over a 10-week period this fall and a 14-week session in early 2015.

We're currently recruiting five students for the fall session.

Students will learn basic reporting and investigative skills as they collaborate with staff and professional freelancers on investigations to appear on our site.

We'll pay $10 an hour. Students must commit to 10 hours per week between 3 and 7 p.m.; some time will be spent in group training and some doing individual reporting. They must be available from the week of October 5 through the week of December 7.

Analyzing the 2014 Primaries

This morning WBAI's very gracious Mario Murillo had me on to talk about the recently concluded primaries, the general election ahead and more. Give a listen:

Advocates: NYS Must Simplify Laws Barring Felons from Voting

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NYSBOE/City Limits

All a person released from prison and parole needs to do to restore their right to vote in New York State is complete and sign a voter registration form.
Tomorrow, when New York State sorts through the vote counts from today's primary, there will likely be consternation over low voter turnout—the small number of people eligible to vote who actually cast ballots—as a symptom of civic disengagement.

But that turnout calculation omits one category of New Yorker altogether: people who could vote if they weren't in prison or on parole. Civil rights advocates believe that section of the state's population merits new attention once the elections are over and legislators return to Albany.

Gowanus Developer Agrees to Superfund Cleanup Role

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Jim Henderson/City Limits

The canal has been known as a health hazard for more than a century. It also supports wildlife, recreation, industry and--increasingly--residential development.
When the Environmental Protection Agency was mulling declaring the long-polluted Gowanus Canal a Superfund site, opposition from the Bloomberg administration revolved around whether the move would stymie new housing development in the area.

For a time it looked like the then-mayor was right: One major site on the west bank of the beautiful but extremely toxic waterway was abandoned by builders.

Report Sees Crisis in NYCHA Conditions, Hope in Density

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Jarrett Murphy/City Limits

NYCHA's vast empire includes 2,500 individual buildings.
It is not news that New York's public housing stock is suffering from a two-headed crisis of underfunding and aging buildings. But it's possible that NYCHA's maintenance problems aren't merely growing steadily worse over time, but getting worse faster as time goes on, a situation that housing advocates refer to as “accelerating deterioration.”

The report on citywide housing conditions by Comptroller Scott Stringer released on Monday suggests this is the case with at least some building conditions in NYCHA.

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