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REPORT AN INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUE IN OUR DISTRICT!

This year Congressman Espaillat brought home nearly $8 billion from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to fund the Second Avenue Subway expansion, rebuild our city’s crumbling bridges, repave our decades-old roads, and so much more to make transit routes safer and more accessible for all New Yorkers – but he needs our help to monitor and ensure infrastructure service requests and outages are made public and repairs are handled as timely as possible.

This interactive tool developed by his office allows residents to pin a location on the leftward map or type in a specific address to report any infrastructure issues that need immediate attention in your neighborhood and across New York’s 13th congressional district. The more issues or ongoing projects that you report, the more information he will have to help redirect federal funding to these projects.

https://espaillat.house.gov/infrastructure

Manhattan DA Bragg Clarifies

In the last month, I have seen, first-hand, your tireless, great work on behalf of New Yorkers. And I
have received valuable feedback on the January 3rd Memorandum.

The January 3rd Memorandum was intended to provide ADAs with a framework for how to approach
cases in the best interest of safety and justice. Our collective experience, however, has been that the
Memorandum has been a source of confusion, rather than clarity.

As I emphasized in my remarks to the office, you were hired for your keen judgment, and I want you
to use that judgment – and experience – in every case. Therefore, I am issuing this letter to memorialize the key elements that I conveyed in our office-wide meeting on January 20:

1) The position of this Office on a case will be presented exclusively by the Assistant who appears
on the case. The January 3 Memorandum provided guidance internal to this Office and it has
been, and will continue to be, supplemented and superseded through oral and written guidance,
including in this letter. The January 3rd Memorandum did not create any rights, substantive or
procedural, in favor of any person, organization, or party, nor did it place any limitations on the
lawful prosecutorial prerogatives or discretion of the District Attorney and his Assistants.

2) A commercial robbery with a gun will be charged as a felony, whether or not the gun is operable,
loaded, or a realistic imitation. A commercial robbery at knifepoint, or by other weapon that
creates a risk of physical harm, will be charged as a felony. In retail thefts that do not involve a
risk of physical harm, the Office will continue to assess the charges based on all of the
aggravating and mitigating circumstances presented.

3) Gun possession cases are a key part of our plan for public safety. People walking the streets with
guns will be prosecuted and held accountable. The default in gun cases is a felony prosecution.
We also will use gun possession cases as an opportunity to trace the sources of illegal guns and
build cases against gun traffickers.

4) Violence against police officers will not be tolerated. We will prosecute any person who harms
or attempts to harm a police officer.

Marcus Garvey Park Dog Run, Reviewed

Your feedback for Gothamist’s review of NYC dog runs made it onto their site:

The dog run in Manhattan that got the most mixed reviews was Marcus Garvey Dog Run, located near Madison Avenue and E. 120th Street. One reader said it was not a very good space for smaller dogs in particular.

“There is a small, very long and thin area for small dogs with nothing there but a broken bench; it’s an afterthought, and sitting in it would feel like an insult. In both areas, the ground is covered by dirt over which large (about 3 inches) bits of wood are spread. Maybe that’s fine for large dogs, but small dogs are soon filthy after running around in that muck. I can’t understand a way to go there with a small dog without needing to bathe the dog immediately after visiting, and since it’s not good to bathe dogs too frequently, how can small dogs use that dog run for daily exercise?”

From Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg:

Day 1 Memo – FACT SHEET

Over-incarceration has not made Manhattan safer. Years of data and research have proven that incarcerating those charged with nonviolent and minor offenses leads to recidivism, and makes us less safe. Proven strategies to address the root causes of this behavior, such as mental health and drug and alcohol addiction, make us safer.

And with jail now costing a half million dollars per year just to house one person, reserving this tool only for those who commit truly violent acts allows our city to use those millions of dollars to prevent gun violence and focus on truly violent crime. Tellingly, for years, Manhattan has over-incarcerated relative to every other borough in NYC, and has higher crime rate (see charts).

Through his personal life growing up in Harlem and his professional life as a civil rights lawyer and prosecutor, DA Bragg has seen every side of the criminal justice system. He’s released his policies and guidelines for his office to deliver safety and fairness for all.

Here are key points:

Continuing to prosecute dangerous crimes – Safety is paramount. New Yorkers deserve to be safe from crime and safe from the dangers posed by mass incarceration. DA Bragg will be tough when he needs to be, but will not be seeking to destroy lives through unnecessary incarceration.

Not prosecuting minor offenses that have no impact on public safety – This will not only make us safer by not further destabilizing lives, it will also free up prosecutorial resources to focus on violent crime.

Increasing the use of diversion and evidenced-based programs in lieu of incarceration – Well-designed initiatives that support and stabilize people – particularly individuals in crisis and youth – can conserve resources, reduce re-offending, and diminish the collateral harms of criminal prosecution.

Reduce Pretrial Detention – Particularly given the ongoing crisis at Rikers, and drastic rise in deaths in custody, we must reserve pretrial detention for very serious cases. The data show that the overwhelming majority of those released pretrial do not commit a violent crime while at liberty. The data also shows that incarceration in and of itself causes recidivism, so unnecessary incarceration makes us less safe.

Limit Youth in Adult Court – Research tells us that prosecuting children in adult court can lead to recidivism, making us less safe. This should be reserved for only the most serious cases.

Limit sentence length – Research is clear that, after a certain length, longer sentences do not deter crime or result in greater community safety.

Actively support those reentering – Supporting those returning from incarceration reduces recidivism and makes our communities safer. Over half of people returning to the city from state prison end up in homeless shelters. Finding better supports for them will make us safer.

Invest in communities impacted by gun violence – Communities impacted by gun violence need additional funding for community-based programs to strengthen community bonds and to support vulnerable individuals.

Day 1 Memo – FAQ

1.         Why did he make these changes?

Alvin Bragg was elected to deliver safety and justice for all. From growing up in Harlem and working as a prosecutor, he’s seen every side of the criminal justice system and one thing is clear – what we are doing now is NOT working. He released a plan to fix it. New Yorkers deserve to be safe from crime and safe from the dangers posed by mass incarceration. He will be tough when we need to be, but we will not be seeking to destroy lives through unnecessary incarceration.

2.         What does the Day 1 Memo say about resisting arrests?

Answer: First, assaulting an officer is a felony crime that the DA will prosecute (and has prosecuted previously in his career). Our policy change states that people cannot be charged with resisting arrest as a standalone crime, or when resisting arrest for a non-criminal offense such as “disorderly conduct.” This means that if someone is charged with a genuine crime and resists arrest, they can be prosecuted.

3.         What does the Day 1 Memo say about robberies?

Answer: Robberies are a serious offense and will continue to be prosecuted (and have been prosecuted by DA Bragg previously in his career). The memo instructs ADAs to make a common-sense difference between two very different types of cases: a person holding a knife to someone’s neck, and someone

who, usually struggling with substance use or mental health issues, shoplifts and makes a minimal threat to a store employee while leaving. We will not treat these cases equally. We will continue to charge those who pose a genuine risk of harm with violent felony offenses, but will not over-charge those who pose no genuine risk with the same violent felony offense.

4.         Over the last couple of years, there appears to be more mentally ill people on the streets. How will your Office help?

Answer: We will address the root causes of this, working hand in hand with the Mayor’s Office and other agencies to invest in services, including supportive housing, to ensure seriously mentally ill people receive the services they need and to ultimately reduce crime in our communities. When those charged with crimes present mental health issues, we will find appropriate programs to address those issues, and not send them to jail where we know they will not get the help they need.

5.         What charges will no longer be prosecuted?

Answer: All felonies will continue to be prosecuted, but we will not prosecute certain low-level misdemeanors that will not impact public safety, unless they are part of a larger felony case. These include: marijuana, fare evasion, some trespass cases, driving with 1 or 2 license suspensions, non- criminal offenses such as traffic infractions, resisting arrest for any non-criminal offense, prostitution, and obstructing governmental administration.

6.         How will we address repeat shoplifting?

Answer: We will establish a taskforce to work with mom-and-pop business owners, cure violence providers, community leaders, advocates and law enforcement to develop community-solutions and support services to this serious issue.

Vote on Tuesday

If you live in the 68th Assembly District (Robert Rodriguez’s old district)

Voting in the 68th Assembly District (the yellow area in the map, below)

which is mostly East Harlem has a special election day set for Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Patch.com’s Nick Garber has profiles on the two main candidates:

There are two candidates: Democrat Edward Gibbs and Republican Daby Benjaminé Carreras. Click on each candidate’s name to see their profiles, based on questionnaires that Patch sent to both men.