Thursday, August 7, 2014

Broken Windows focuses law enforcement resources on 50 cent cigarettes, meanwhile Moreland Commission gets disbanded

Mayor de Blasio defends the NYPD's controversial and discriminatory approach to policing, known as "Broken Windows," whilst federal investigators probe whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo intentionally obstructed the work of a corruption fighting panel's investigations of political corruption.

There has been at least $1 billion in cost overruns on New York City's failed ECTP 911 emergency call system upgrade project, bringing the total cost to over $2 billion, and the system still doesn't work as it was envisioned. City officials find no criminal fraud in this failed $2 billion project, but NYPD administer an instant death penalty to Eric Garner for allegedly selling 50 cent cigarettes ?

Political blogger and artist Suzannah B. Troy, who holds the world record of writing blog posts about the CityTime technology contract scandal, which cost the city over $600 million in cost overruns for an employee timekeeping system that failed to work, again leads local journalists in drawing the public's attention to the city's failed ECTP 911 emergency call system upgrade, which has now cost taxpayers over $2 billion, even though that technology system, too, still does not work.

In her latest YouTube video, Ms. Troy compares and contrasts the scandalous ECTP 911 cost overruns against each of the death of Eric Garner, which has been ruled as a homicide by the city's Medical Examiner's office, and her own case of injustice in an attack, in which she was assaulted and battered, in the SoHo medical offices of Dr. Andrew Fagelman. Ms. Troy asks : Why does law enforcement forcus on ridiculousness -- and overlook major crimes ?

In the broken justice system in New York, as pointed out by community activists and by activists informed by the Occupy Wall Street movement, cost overruns on a $2 billion failed IT project do not result in fraudulent criminal charges just like the corruption of Wall Street, which caused the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the resulting global recession. Yet, the police can apparently instantly murder Eric Garner on the scene, according to some activists, for reportedly selling single cigarettes for 50 cents a piece in "untaxed transactions," and Ms. Troy's attacker can go unprosecuted. One day after Ms. Troy posted her video on YouTube, the growing outrage over this "tale of two justice systems" has driven Mayor Bill de Blasio and his NYPD Commissioner William Bratton to throw Police Chief Philip Banks III under the bus in an apparent attempt to make him the fall guy for the community anger over Mr. Garner's murder.

Selling a cigarette for 50 cents in an untaxed transaction is justification for police to administer a death-inducing chokehold, the police union head says, but the corrupt $2 billion ECTP 911 emergency call system upgrade escapes prosecutors. Adding to the controversy of Broken Windows policing is that the big money crimes are not being committed by people of color or people with low incomes ; rather, the crimes that rob society of its resources are being committed by Big Businesses and corrupt politicians and their lobbyists-enablers, which do not receive the scrutiny that they really deserve.

Extell Development Company paid over $300,000 to Gov. Cuomo's campaign committee in apparent exchange for $35 million in tax breaks for a luxury condo skyscraper worth $2 billion. Big Businesses and special interests seeking similar or larger favors from New York State government have contributed to Gov. Cuomo a $35 million war chest. How large is the corruption at stake for Big Businesses if $35 million is the down payment for anticipated favours ?

Against the backdrop of the injustice, and, ultimately, the murder, Mr. Garner endured, is a political "Game of Thrones" playing out up in the state's capital. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who oversees a cesspool of political and campaign corruption in Albany, apparently commissioned a panel of corruption-fighting prosecutors to investigate criminal conduct by elected officials only to decommission the panel, once the panel, known as the Moreland Commission, began to investigate the apparent pay-to-play of his own campaign donors. Using corrupting political machinations to steer a state investigation commission away from his own political supporters, Gov. Cuomo has been thwarting law enforcement probes into corporate and campaign corruption, while NYPD Commissioner Bratton is left unchecked to over-police the sale of untaxed cigarettes for 50 cents.

In respect of Gov. Cuomo's role in corrupting the state's law enforcement, the U.S. Attorney's Office, led by Preet Bharara, is reviewing the unfinished investigations by the Moreland Commission and is also examining the governor's machinations that may have obstructed the Moreland Commission from its critical work. What has yet to happen, Ms. Troy has been pointing out for years, is for federal prosectors, such as Mr. Bharara, to examine the corruption in the CityTime and ECTP 911 projects for criminality by elected officials. Ms. Troy and other activists in New York City have been raising the issue that real estate interests may be behind the spree of hospital closings that have taken place in New York City, even as state health officials do everything in their power to sabotage the fragile economics of hospitals in a scorched earth campaign to make radical cuts to the state's Medicaid program.

In respect of Mayor de Blasio, the civil rights and activist communities have begun to lose patience with the mayor's close alliance with Big Money real estate donors, who apparently are keen on keeping the Broken Windows policing tactics, as it directly supports real estate developers' goals of further driving up escalating real estate prices by forcing people of color and low-income communities out of neighborhoods intentionally targeted for gentrification by developers. Activists have called out the corrupt use of nonprofit and government grants and other political machinations, which deescalate community pressure for a complete overhaul of the corrupt police department, effectively locking these community groups in what has been referred to as "veal pens," and by the duplicitous racial politics now at play by the de Blasio administration, which aims to steer the public away from any serious roll-out of reforms that have been long called for by such civic leaders as Margaret Fung, Michael Meyers, and Norman Siegel, whose past work on overhauling the NYPD are once again coming back into focus. The calls for reforming law enforcement go unheard, meanwhile, White Collar pay-to-play corruption continues in government.

Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn received approximately $30,000 in campaign contributions from the Rudin family, owners of Rudin Management Company, in the time leading up to the city's approval of Rudin's $1 billion luxury condo conversion of St. Vincent's Hospital. Similarly, Gov. Cuomo received campaign contributions from the Kestenbaum family, founders of the Fortis Property Group that won the bid to convert Long Island College Hospital into a luxury condo complex, of at least $17,500. Allegations have been made that each of St. Vincent's and LICH, as Long Island College Hospital is known, had been intentionally driven into the ground to facilitate billion-dollar luxury condo conversions. The Fortis-LICH scandal comes atop of the $300,000 that another developer, Extell Development Company, made in campaign contributions to the governor in exchange for $35 million in tax breaks for one of Extell's projects, media reports indicate. The appearance pay-to-play is everywhere in government. If federal prosecutors are aiming to stop public officials from selling out our government in exchange for campaign contributions, then let's hope that the federal corruption investigations look to elected officials, and their corrupt lobbyists, for full accountability of these massive scams of public resources : from CityTime, the ECTP 911 project, to what happened at each of St. Vincent's, LICH, and other hospitals, to other alleged campaign corruption involving The Advance Group, which has already been referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In post-Occupy America, voters want to see a complete overhaul of government that goes to the very roots of corporate and campaign corruption.


City Investigation Finds Faults, But No Crime, In $1 Billion In Cost Overruns On NYC ECTP 911 Upgrade Project (CBS 2 New York)

The Moreland Commission had 15 cases pending against lawmakers when Gov. Cuomo pulled the plug on it (The New York Post)

Shocker : How SUNY lost more than $100M mismanaging LICH, but SUNY Trustees face no criminal investigation (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

HOMICIDE: Medical examiner says NYPD chokehold killed Staten Island dad Eric Garner (The New York Daily News)

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