By Daniel Katzive
New York State legislators representing Upper West Side districts got a chance to respond to community concerns about crime, rats, and housing at a Zoom forum on Tuesday.
The forum was hosted by the UWS Coalition of Block Associations and Community Groups. Participating were Assembly Members Daniel O’Donnell and Linda Rosenthal, and State Senators Brad Hoylman, Robert Jackson, and newly elected Senator Cordell Cleare. Attorney Jerry Goldfeder also gave an overview of redistricting (although he skipped the fact that a sliver of the UWS has been sliced off and handed over to the Upper East Side.)
Crime was at the forefront of concerns raised by viewers and relayed by Coalition members moderating the forum. Both Senators Hoylman and Jackson pushed back on suggestions that the 2019 bail reform legislation has contributed to rising crime rates, with Senator Hoylman calling this a “classic confusion between causation and correlation,” and adding that he has not seen any data to suggest bail reform is responsible for increases in crime.
Senator Hoylman pointed out that the bail reform legislation only impacted non-violent offenses and misdemeanors (with violent felonies still subject to bail.) He also noted that crime rates have risen in pockets throughout the U.S. in the period following passage of bail reform, and not just in New York State.
Senator Jackson took a similar view, adding that he is willing to consider adjustments to the legislation but not a wholesale reversal of the reforms, noting “people are willing to listen but they are not willing to make a fundamental change….”
With a rollback of bail reform not seen as an attractive option, the officials emphasized proposals for increased spending for mental health interventions, medication, and services for homeless and formerly incarcerated people, as well as legislation highlighted by Assembly Member O’Donnell that would allow parole officers to more easily seek mental health help for parolees who might become a danger to themselves or others.
Cracking down on the supply of guns was also stressed as critical, with proposals for legislation aimed at interstate gun trafficking emphasized as well as legislation highlighted by Assembly Member Rosenthal to require “micro stamping” mechanisms for guns purchased in New York State. Micro stamping can help match spent shell casings to the gun which fired them.
Assembly Members O’Donnell and Rosenthal both spent time responding to community frustration with the plague of rats upon the Upper West Side. They noted plans for more virtual “rat academies,” where DSNY and DOH officials will offer guidance for community groups seeking to reduce infestations. Expanding the city’s composting program was also discussed as a way of reducing the quantity of food for rats in mixed garbage bags on the streets.
Affordable housing was another important theme in this meeting. Senator Cleare noted her concerns about the shrinking supply of rent-regulated apartments as older buildings are torn down, and all of the speakers emphasized the need to build more affordable units. Increased funding for financial assistance for renters and owners was also likely to be an objective in the State budget process now underway and scheduled to conclude on April 1.
You can watch the full forum here.
The UWS Coalition’s next monthly forum, on March 15, will focus on housing issues.
These elected officials are either delusional or just awful people. How can you gaslight your constituents over and over again, without offering any plan to solve the problem? If bail reform isn’t to blame, and tweaking it won’t help the increasing crime problem, then what will? Atleast offer us some form of plan. “Investing in neighborhoods” is not a solution, it’s eye-wash that in its best case scenario will take a generation to work. It does nothing for current Crime and QOL in NYC.
DeBlasio’s solution was “crime will go down as Covid goes away”….well Covid is fading, crime is up and he’s moved on …Political “can kicking” at its finest, that’s all these politicians know how to do with tough problems. Shameful.
@ Frank Grimes
You are 100% correct my friend.
“Progressives” like Hoylman and Jackson are delusional and are promoting their warped ideologies ahead of the needs of their constituents.
Folks who commit “non-violent” offenses tend to also commit violent offenses.
And so called “non-violent” offenses are a quality of life issue that impacts everyone. Almost every day I see folks jumping the subway turnstiles without a care in the world. The police don’t even bother doing anything about it.
When politicians declare that “non-violent” offenses are not a big deal it sends a message that society is breaking down and nothing can be done about it.
I think it’s a totally different perception with these officials: they see the world through rose-colored glasses, where the criminals are the victims. Really astonishing.
gaslighting is appropriate here
The increasing “misdemeanor” crime rate is ONE of the driving factors in the UWS losing so many commercial businesses. That in turn diminishes a community.
Perpetually vacant storefronts from 86th street to 106th street.
Those stores have been vacant for years. When crime was crazy in the 80s there were hundreds of tiny little mom and pop shops with Safe Haven stickers on them and they operated fine. Property in NY has just become too valuable for its own good, no one can afford it. I look at photos on Manhattan before 1990 online and remember how Broadway and Amsterdam had bakeries, linen shops, hair salons, book stores, dry cleaners, shoe repair shops, liquor stores, pharmacies, restaurants, pizza shops, machine repair, and candy stores all up and down. Once they closed, it’s been nothing but a rotating cast of flash in the pan start ups and chains. Maybe NY shedding its “gilded” international reputation will actually help bring the rent down in the long run, but I doubt it.
Back in the 1980s there was no online competition and there were very few big box stores and the minimum wage was much lower (even adjusted for inflation).
The world has changed and many of these mom & pop stores you are so nostalgic for are simply no longer commercially viable. This trend is happening in big cities across the US.
These politicians are on drugs, and they are not representing our interests. They need to be voted out of office and replaced by public servants who “get” that people are scared and angry about the rampant, unpunished crime in New York these days. “Bail reform” must be abolished. Prosecutors need to prosecute. “Broken Windows” strategies and “Three Strikes” punishment must be revisited. Enough is enough. We must fight back.
Yes but then the pendulum swings back after another Eric Garner is murdered in the name of “Broken Windows”. This cycle has repeated itself for the last 50 years(Lindsay-Koch-Dinkins-Giuliani-Bloomberg-DeBlasio and now Adams). We need something different besides 3 strikes or wanton disregard of the law. Both sides have their extremes, limitations, and errors.
A lot of the trash and rats stem from homeless tearing the trash bags apart and scattering the contents into the street. We need homeless services and more trash pickup!
At the very least, Brad Hoylman, supervised release isn’t working well. We have proof:
“The data updated Monday showed that 23% of those New York City defendants freed under supervised release were rearrested on felony charges while their cases were still pending. That compares to 12% for those who had bail set and 11.8% for released with no restrictions on their own recognizance. That’s higher than several years preceding bail reform, when the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) reported 8% of supervised release defendants were rearrested for felonies on average from 2016 through 2018 and 9% were rearrested for felonies in 2019.”
Bail reform is a worthy goal but there has to be a way to deal with the serial abusers who exploit the leniency of the system over and over again.
Nah, can’t be. They have “seen the data”. Whatever that means. Throwing around “causation vs. causality” because one has seen the data sure sounds very authoritative. We’ll wait for them to graduate to “analyzing” data. Understanding data. Drawing conclusions from data. Setting goals based on data. Asking for “outcomes/results” from the services and spending, not just “services” and “more money”.
Now that Bragg has gotten to his 2nd draft, we’ll have to wait for these guys to get to Econometrics 101, too.
Garbage and rats due to the restaurant sheds – and will be even worse when the weather gets warmer.
On some streets, due to restaurant sheds, garbage is pushed in front of neighboring buildings and/or blocks the sidewalk.
Really bad situation.
Who cares about crime, rats and housing when I have legal marijuana and sports betting??
Come on folks, let’s focus on what’s important to the community. Getting high and watching spoiled millionaires throw a ball around.
And before anyone loses their mind, I am being sarcastic. Now let’s reassign all those Vice Cops to traffic enforcement and other quality of life crimes.
So thats it? Is that all thats being done to “stop” this crime? Mental health interventions? How is that going to stop criminals from waltzing into duane reade and grabbing what they want, punching someone in the face and walking out?! Are they going to talk them out of stealing or what? They might as well roll out the red carpet and let criminals know that they can take what they please cause these politicians have done nothing to curb these robberies. They have more sympathy for the mental health of criminals than they do the constituents that live in fear of another robbery. But I guess these politicians dont care because they probably live in homes with doormen and probably order groceries online, never having to step foot in duane reade. Not all of us have these luxuries and while you do nothing, its us who suffer and live in fear.
“How is that going to stop criminals from waltzing into duane reade and grabbing what they want, punching someone in the face and walking out?”
They have not collected enough data on that. Let the science drive the effort. We’ll get back to you after next elections…
Ugh, these politicians disgust me. And their solution to our crime problems is not arresting criminals but throwing away MORE of our hard-earned money on ‘services’ and letting criminals roam the streets (or in the case of the rats, offering ‘guidance’… I don’t want ‘guidance,’ I want you to fix things!). The Democratic Party, local to national, has jumped the shark. And they aren’t listening to people. Where are the politicians who get it?!
The comments above are amazingly clear and on-target, reflecting the REAL concerns of UWSers !
BUT, will O’Donnell, Rosenthal, Hoylman, Jackson, and Cleare ever get to read them? Probably not, unless the rest of us copy-and-paste them into letters and send same to the five listed here, under the heading “HERE’S WHAT YOUR CONSTITUENTS ARE THINKING!
You think NYC bail laws are nuts. Google the name “Quintez Brown”!
The definition of insanity is continuing to vote for these representatives that don’t serve our interests.
I think it’s time to vote them out of office.