Mayor Bill de Blasio released the second monthly update to “The New Normal: Combatting Storm-Related Extreme Weather in New York City,” a landmark report that provides New York City with a new blueprint to prepare for and respond to extreme weather. 

The report details the city’s efforts to assist New Yorkers still recovering from Ida, launch new infrastructure improvements, and protect residents in basement units.

Key progress made in November includes relief sewer installation in Queens, which adds sewer capacity to existing sewer systems. The Department of Environmental Protection has also begun a project to install 1,365 linear feet of storm sewer and 1,180 linear feet of water main in Jamaica at Hendrickson Place, 166th St., and 108th Ave. This relief sewer alongside the existing under-capacity storm sewer will alleviate flooding conditions and protect New Yorkers.

The city has also continued to help New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Ida and repair Ida-affected homes. This support includes working with each homeowner to navigate the FEMA financial assistance applications, and connecting homeowners to a dedicated list of New York City plumbers and electricians who are prioritizing Ida-affected repairs. 

Advocates urge City Council Speaker to bring solitary confinement legislation to vote

People who have lost loved ones to solitary confinement, people who survived solitary, and allies held a vigil outside City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s apartment. Participants lifted up those killed by solitary and urged the Speaker to bring legislation to end solitary confinement to a vote that has 35 sponsors—veto-proof supermajority support. 

The vigil comes as 28-year-old Malcolm Boatwright died last week after being locked in Rikers Island, the 15th person to die this year in city jails—not all from solitary confinement but all from jail conditions. There is currently legislation to end solitary pending in the City Council with 35 sponsors, veto-proof supermajority support. 

Johnson has been a strong advocate for ending solitary confinement, and has previously supported automatic votes on bills with 34 co-sponsors. Despite the well-known and deadly harms of solitary, as well as the clear safety benefits of alternatives, and while the mayor promised to end solitary confinement and even claimed the city was going to end solitary, the City Department of Correction continues to use solitary by various other names.

Lawmakers, civil rights leaders and advocates call for passage of Clean Slate Act

Members of the Clean Slate New York coalition, elected officials and advocates called on Albany to pass the Clean Slate Act during the 2022 legislative session. 

The speakers, which included State Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, highlighted how the Clean Slate Act would stimulate the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic and at a time when employers are struggling to fill open positions, and would address the harm done by decades of mass criminalization that targeted Black and Brown communities. 

The Act, which is slated to be a top issue for the legislature when they return to session in January, has a diverse array of support throughout the state, including overwhelming support from the public, along with faith leaders, crime survivors, labor groups and business leaders, including JP Morgan Chase.

The Clean Slate Act would end the perpetual punishment of New Yorkers with a conviction record, which keeps many from accessing life essentials like employment and housing, by establishing an automatic process for sealing most conviction records after all the requirements of the criminal legal system have been met.

Economic impacts of the pandemic top concern for Blacks

The Black to the Future Action Fund released its third temperature check poll shedding new light on how Black communities are experiencing the economic impacts of the pandemic. 

The national survey revealed nearly half of Black adults (46%) say their personal financial situation is bad, with one-third (33%) saying their personal economic situation has gotten worse since the pandemic.

Black adults overwhelmingly support policy changes that help keep money in their pockets and a roof over their heads. Monthly relief checks continue to be a policy solution supported by 87% of respondents. 

Similar to previous temperature check polls in July and September, 65% of Black adults said they would spend a $2,000 stimulus check on utilities. In a change from previous polls, 63% would spend it on food, a 6 percentage point increase compared to September (57%); and 59% would pay rent or mortgage, nearly double from September (31%). Nearly three-quarters (73%) of renters reported they would use a stimulus payment to pay for rent.

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