New York’s “Free” Wifi Kiosks Come With a Not-So-Private Catch

By Eric Hornbeck

Through a program known as LinkNYC, slab-like kiosks are replacing the increasingly unused payphones on the sidewalks of New York City. The kiosks offer much more than the phone calls that can be made from payphones: the kiosks have tablets with internet access, charging stations and wifi service that expands as far as 150 feet. As more kiosks go up, it’s hard for New Yorkers not to notice them — or the ads targeted to the very pedestrians walking by.

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Uncertainty for Sanctuary Cities Under Trump

By Brendan Kreckel 

During his eight years as president, Barack Obama deported over 2.5 million people; the most of any president in the history of the United States. President Donald Trump has promised to outdo the Obama administration in an unrealistic plan to deport 2 to 3 million people in his first 100 days in office. While the specifics of a potential crackdown are unknown, some cities across the country have reasserted their determination to resist as  “Sanctuary Cities.”

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A Battle to Restore Voting Rights To Those With Felony Convictions in Virginia

By Brendan Kreckel 

Earlier this year, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order to restore voting rights to more individuals convicted of felonies in his state. Republican lawmakers vehemently opposed the order, bringing the matter to the Virginia Supreme Court. The court invalidated the order and required that newly registered citizens have their rights revoked once again.

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NYC Looks To Open Data Portal To More Users

By Eric Hornbeck

New York City collects vast amounts of data every day on the activities of its agencies and citizens. For the last several years it has posted reams of that data, from restaurant health inspections to 311 calls, on its open data portal. As the availability and use of that data has increased, it’s also become a source of profit for one particular group of New Yorkers — those on Wall Street. That for-profit use of government data has raised some concerns, but it’s largely been off the city’s radar. Instead, the city wants to make sure its data is used by even more users, including community organizations and nonprofits.

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Mayor’s Flood Insurance Map Victory May Be Setback for Resiliency Initiative

By Daniel Porat

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a joint plan to revise New York City’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps, stalling a flood insurance rate hike for many New York City property owners. The announcement came after FEMA accepted the City’s appeal of the agency’s preliminary flood map, which would have nearly doubled the structures covered in the mandatory zone and increased flood insurance premiums between $5,000 and $10,000 for many New Yorkers.

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Promise for Plaintiffs in Civil Bystander Liability Claims Against Police Officers

By Joseph B. Evans *

In its June, 2016 decision Figueroa v. Mazza, et al., the Second Circuit reversed the dismissal of claims against police onlookers who failed to step in while a suspect was punched in the face by a fellow officer for no apparent reason. In limiting the “it all happened so fast so there was nothing I could do about it” defense, the decision may mean more success for plaintiffs against police officers who stand idle while other officers use excessive force.

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Challenges to Achieving New York City’s Affordable Housing Goals: Reconciling Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, Community Preference Requirements, and Fair Housing Laws

By Professor Andrea McArdle 

I. Introduction

Under the mayoral administration of Bill de Blasio, New York City has embarked on an ambitious affordable housing initiative mandating that real estate developers include below-market-rate units in rezoned areas of the city.  Although approved by the New York City Council, the policy faces continuing community opposition, the expiration of a state tax subsidy law that would have attracted developers to participate in the plan, and likely complications as a result of a lawsuit filed last year challenging a community preference provision the City enforces with its affordable housing projects. This series of developments presents a number of challenges to realizing   the City’s affordable housing goals.

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Shut Out of Airbnb: A Proposal for Remedying Housing Discrimination in the Modern Sharing Economy

By Jamila Jefferson-Jones*

Introduction


The modern sharing economy[1] is a diverse marketplace made up of various types of organizations and structures, including shared housing.[2]  What ties these various components together is that they “generally facilitate community ownership, localized production, sharing, cooperation, [and]small scale enterprise.”[3]  The housing segment of the sharing economy is also a part of what has been termed the “experience economy.”[4]   Within the experience economy, “the crucial role of experiences [is]understood as (positive) emotions, values and identities in value creation.”[5]  Thus, in theory, the housing segment of the sharing economy combines both the community and trust elements of “sharing” and the freedom and adventure of the “experience.”

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Ghomeshi Acquitted on All Charges: The Legal System’s Failure to Address Rape Trauma Syndrome

By Kate Ross

Last month, Canadian radio celebrity Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted of rape and assault, after three women who came forward faced antagonistic cross-examination on their memory lapses, delays in reporting the abuse, and failure to mention subsequent interactions with Ghomeshi.[1]  The complainants offered evidence that these gaps were irrelevant to the assaults or symptomatic of emotional confusion and trauma that often accompany experiences of sexual assault, but the judge found them fatal to the complainants’ credibility nevertheless.

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Another SAT Overhaul May Fail NYC Minority Students

The following post is a winning submission for the 2016 Jason Libou Online Writing Competition. Competitors were prompted to write a blog post on a topic of their choice relating to urban law and policy. 

By Immanuel Kim

The College Board implemented a new version of the Standardized Admissions Test early this year, purportedly to even the playing field for students across various socioeconomic statuses. The test now focuses more on material that a typical high school student learns in school.  In other words, it is another means of testing student progress under the Common Core, an educational standard followed and adopted by most of the country, including New York State.  The redesign may leave New York City’s minority students less prepared for college than their recent predecessors.

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