Posted on

NOTICE TO OUR READERS!

NOTICE TO OUR READERS!
To all our readers in the Bronx and beyond. Please be cognizant of the fact that Parkchester Times is not affiliated with politicians or political parties. It has not endorsed any candidate in current political races. The debates it host are for the sole benefits of constituents not candidates, and any impression to the contrary is just that false impression.
 
As an independent community focused medium, Parkchester Times supports policies not politicians and its support therefore evolves as policies and positions concerning its readership evolve.
 
From time to time its management we may not see eye to eye with our decision-makers, however that shall never prevent the Parkchester Times from publicizing and lauding their sensible policies that it deemed beneficial to our mutual constituents, especially policies concerning public safety, public heath, public education, and public harmony, among others.
 
Parkchester Times opens its doors to all community actors. Thank you! #parkchestertimes #ilovethebronx #parkchester #bxcb9. www.parkchestertimes.com
 
For further information/clarifications, please inbox us at: editor@parkchestertimes.com
Posted on

Breastfeeding campaign ends with a celebration in Juba health center; 15,000 people reached in South Sudan

Breastfeeding campaign ends with a celebration in Juba health center; 15,000 people reached in South Sudan

JUBA, South Sudan, August 10, 2018/ — South Sudan’s State Ministry of Health (SMH) and program partners gathered in Rock City health center last Tuesday, 7 August 2018 to celebrate the final day of World Vision’s weeklong breastfeeding campaign. This year’s global campaign theme was “Breastfeeding: Foundation of life”.

World Vision was able to bring awareness to an estimated 15, 000 people in 11 locations around Juba, the country’s capital city. Apart from the activities conducted in the health centers and villages, the nutrition team also used radio programs and role plays to educate and promote.

Mothers role-play unhealthy practices: Many people in South Sudan still go to witchcraft or herbalists to treat their children. World Vision’s mother-to-mother support group performs a drama to demonstrate the behaviors and activities in the communities that could put their children’s health and even their lives at risk.

Lactating and pregnant mothers converged in Rock City Primary Health Care Unit that was elevated to primary health care center during the occasion, and listened to different experts who explained to them the importance of exclusive breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding is an easy way to provide food for the children and ensure strong immune system to fight different diseases,” says Dan Kwaje, the Nutrition Coordinator in the SMH. He advised that mothers should still breastfeed children even when they unexpectedly become pregnant until they give birth to the baby and breastfeed them all.

Senesie Joseph, UNICEF’s nutrition specialist encouraged mothers to breastfeed within the first hour after birth as breast milk is their only food. He added that mothers should introduce complementary food and water after the six months but continue to breastfeed until the child is two years or more. Babies should be introduced to family food after one year.

“Breastfeeding prevents malnutrition,” says Rita Juan, the representative of the National Ministry of Health, adding that if the mother leaves for work, she should extract her breast milk, keep it in a clean container to feed the baby for the next eight hours. She further encouraged all mothers to give birth in the hospital.

Dr. Jamal Hassan from the SMH explained that exclusive breastfeeding prevents chances of conceiving un-wanted pregnancy and added that when a child is being breastfed, the baby should be allowed for as long as he or she wants it. He discouraged mothers against traditional cultural practices of introducing some food substances to the baby immediately after birth.

World Vision’s nutrition program has reached close to 200,000 people in South Sudan, over 100,000 of these are children. As of August 2018, World Vision’s programs in the country that also includes food security and livelihood, health, protection, education, shelter and non-food items, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) have assisted over 1.7 million in the country.

Posted on

IT’S NOT WHAT IT LOOKS IN THE BRONX!

IT’S NOT WHAT IT LOOKS IN THE BRONX!

I have recently completed an educational task of visiting every neighborhood in the Bronx and walking through the enclaves of every ethnic grouping concentrations in our gorgeous mosaic.

During my walk through, I observed Bronx groupings from all walks of life, nationalities, races, religions, ethnicity, and socioeconomic backgrounds mightily striving to make their Bronx homes homey, their neighborhoods livable, and their Bronx communities comfort zones for their families.

Each group (native or recent) naturally attracts its folk-kind into its old, new, revived, or gentrifying neighborhoods for greater familial ties within their social comfort zones.

Based on this experience, I now transform my Bronx integration crusade into Bronx grouping empowerment since we’re more comfortable and function optimally in our comfort zones. I am taking this crusade further for sure!

For I no longer think it’s a racist or prejudice for Bronx folks to prefer to live within streets/neighborhoods with folks who share their nationalities, religions, races, ethnicities, lifestyles, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Furthermore, our strong Bronx unity and pride don’t require our uniformity or conformity. Indeed this Bronx cultural rainbow makes us divinely exotic and amazing.

Let us embrace diverse neighborhoods in our gorgeous Bronx County. Let proud Bronxites from all stripes live wherever they feel more comfortable, happier and closely connected.

Finally, it’s not integration for me, it’s empowerment that matters most for the proud Bronx groups who have been making their various Bronx homes homey for their blessed future Bronxites.

So whichever part of the Bronx one calls home, one must strive mightily in that quarter to make it homey for all, and never tolerate its public safety and quality of life deterioration. I love my Bronx! #ilovethebronx #parkchestertimes #thepeacecounty #godscountry #bronxstrong #nyclove #nypen www.parkchestertimes.com

WELCOME TO THE BRONX! THE GOD’S COUNTRY, per BP.

Posted on

Fraudsters Use Fake Gift Cards to Lure Consumers into Handing Over Personal Data

Lyubov Nikolenko

LAGOS, Nigeria, July 20, 2018/ — Kaspersky Lab experts have discovered the distribution of an unusual fraudulent scheme that tricks users into parting with their time and their data, for no return. By creating fake websites for the free generation of gift cards, cybercriminals are able to “sell” users’ data to third party partner sites, to which they redirect victims.

While industry and law enforcement agencies from around the world are busy fighting against cybercrime, criminals themselves are constantly looking for new ways of earning money – other than just malware. Offering something valuable free of charge is always an enticing piece of marketing, and criminals can take advantage of this. Websites that offer customers the option of freely generating gift cards for well-known companies – like iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, or Steam – are nothing new. For example, legitimate apps like Tokenfire and Swagbucks buy card codes from vendors, to then give them to clients as a reward for certain activities. Criminals have apparently recognised the popularity of such websites and have decided to deceive users using a simple algorithm.

When on the fake site, the user is asked to select the gift card he/she wants in order to receive the code. After that, the fraudulent mechanism is set in motion. To get the generated code, however, the user needs to prove that he/she is not a robot. To do this, the user has to follow the suggested link and complete various tasks, the number and type of which are determined by the partner network to which the user is redirected. For example, he/she may be asked to fill in a form, leave a phone number or email address, subscribe to a paid SMS-message, install adware, and so on.

The result is predictable: either victims get tired of doing endless tasks, or they finally get the useless code. The earnings for criminals range from a few cents per every click on a desired link, to several dozen dollars for filling in a form or subscribing to paid services. Thus, the criminals make a profit virtually for nothing, getting paid from the user’s actions on the websites of third-party partners, who, for their part, also benefit by getting access to personal data which can be used for private purposes.

“The success of these new fraud schemes is based on criminals exploiting the drive of users to get something for free. However, at best they will spend hours of personal time doing worthless tasks, and at worst – lose money without receiving anything in return. So, if you want to get your hands on a free gift card, try to earn it on legal and trustworthy sites,”said Lyubov Nikolenko, web content analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

To avoid falling for cybercriminals’ fraudulent schemes and losing personal data, Kaspersky Lab researchers suggest that users follow a few simple rules:

•Remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch and always treat offers that seem too tempting to be true with skepticism.
•Check the HTTPS connection and domain name when you open a webpage. This is especially important when you are using websites which contain sensitive data – such as sites for online banking, online shops, email, social media sites etc.
•Never share your sensitive data, such as logins and passwords, bank card data etc., with a third party. Official companies will never ask for data like this via email.
•Do not spread questionable links among your friends.
•Check with the company if it really is giving out gift codes, and whether the site is its official partner. To do this, contact the official support service by reaching out on the official website of the company.
• Use a reliable security solution with behavior-based anti-phishing technologies to detect and block spam and phishing attacks, such as Kaspersky Total Security, which blocks fake gift card sites.

Posted on

60th Wedding Anniversary

parkchester times,parkchester

Fr. David

Richard and Maureen Condon were married at St. Helena Catholic Church, Bronx on July 19, 1958, and on Sunday they renewed their wedding vows during the 10:30 AM Mass. The Condons were classmates in second grade at St. Helena School, and they re-met each other at a St. Helena Dance. Maureen graduated in the third graduating class from St. Helena High School for Girls. Richard was a police officer, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Congratulations.

Posted on

Mayor and Police Commissioner go Over First Six Month Crime Stats

Mayor and Police Commissioner go Over First Six Month Crime Stats
By Robert Press
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill came to the 40th Precinct on East 138th Street to announce a new precinct house for the 40th precinct, and go over the crime statistics for the first six months of 2018. The new 40th precinct will be housed on East 149th Street near the Hub, in a state of tha art building which will be completed in 2021 at a cost of sixty-eight million dollars.
As for the crime statistics Chief of Police Terrance Monahan began at the middle of the page. He said that overall crime for the first six months of 2018 was down almost 2 percent or 1.8 percent to be exact. Chief Monahan added that there have been 17,000 fewer arrests than in 2017.
The individual crime statistics were then announced for the first six months of 2018 compared to the first six months of 2017. Robberies are down 6.4 percents, burglaries down 5.4, and larceny down 2.2 percent. Shootings are down 5.6 percent, but then Chief Monahan said that the NYPD still faces challenges.
Then the bad news came as Chief Monahan said citywide murder was up 8.1 percent citywide with 147 murders in the first six-months of 2018. He added that in the Bronx the murder rate was up 64.5 percent with 51 murders compared to 21 in 2017. There were arrests in 33 of those 51 murder cases. Rape cases were also up 33.2 percent citywide, and only a few percentage points higher in the Bronx. Chief Monahan said the increase in rapes could be due to more being reported to the police. He added that Domestic rape cases were up 45 percent.
Commissioner O’Neill replied that there were 100 additional police officers in 2018 compared to 2017 in the Bronx. I said that over the past several years that the number had gone down however. I also asked about the triple homicide which occurred in Castle Hill saying that the police have a photo of the suspect, why has he not been captured? Chief Monahan replied that the suspect had fled the state, and that the Warrent Squad were after the suspect. He could not say if or when the suspect would be arrested.
Posted on

Political crisis in Ethiopia and the risks of ripple effect humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa

Political crisis in Ethiopia and the risks of ripple effect humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa

 

By:Nick Ogutu

Refugee and Immigrant Rights Activist, Executive Director of Columbia University based Initiative, Safari Yangu Immigrant Stories, President, Amnesty International Bronx New York. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.

Nick Ogutu
Mr. Nick Ogutu

Ethiopia, with more than 100 million people, is the second most populous country in Africa after Nigeria. It hosts the headquarters of the African Union and its geographical location makes it a strategic resource for the Western powers in their counterterrorism efforts. Ethiopia maintains very strong support from foreign donors despite its deteriorating human rights record (New York Times, 2016).

Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency due to recent protests and violence. This violence has caused widespread internal displacement. In addition to its own internal turmoil, Ethiopia plays a crucial role in the region as a host of refugees itself. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, 2018), “Ethiopia is host to the second largest refugee population in Africa, with over 847,200 refugees from nineteen countries, the majority originating from neighboring South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan”. The political crisis in Ethiopia cannot, therefore, be told in isolation. Ethiopia is part of the Horn of Africa, the easternmost extension of African land, comprised of the countries mentioned above, and Kenya. These countries share a long history and many diverse communities live across the region. Due to political instability, the region has seen many conflicts and is very fragile. This article will examine the complex relationships between Ethiopia and its neighbors in order to understand the risks of a multi-country humanitarian and refugee crisis in the Horn of Africa.

The Ethiopia and Eritrea Conflict

Following many years of conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea and at some point, involving Italy as well, Eritrea was formally recognized as an independent country after the 1993 referendum. Eritrea believes that Ethiopia is constructed of different nationalities that were forced together during the imperial scrambles for Africa, and is therefore held together with weak, artificial alliances. Therefore, the Eritrean opposition’s approach has been to conduct sharp, well directed military offenses in the hopes that Ethiopia will collapse. Hence, they identified south-eastern Ethiopia, inhibited by Ethiopians of Somali origin, as the weakest point of Ethiopia. For more than 30 years, escalation of conflict has continued along borders killing many people, displacing many people from their homes and adding to the regional refugee crisis (Axel Borchgrevink & Jon Harald Sande Lie, 2009).

The hostility between these countries has adversely affected the Somali communities that live along the common border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. According to a Human Rights Watch report (2018), the Somali region security forces’ intolerance for dissent by the Somali community extends beyond the border into Eritrean territory, targeting families with relatives across the border. Hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced since.

Ethiopia’s Long Border with Somalia & The Somali Diaspora
(Photo credit: Nick Ogutu) Ethiopia’s Long Border with Somalia & The Somali Diaspora

Somalia has almost one million citizens living in the diaspora, many of which are refugees and asylum seekers. Any conflict in Ethiopia would result in a grave situation in Somalia, given the long, unmarked border that Ethiopia and Somalia share. In fact, Ethiopian military has in the past crossed its southeastern border and intervened inside Somalia (New York Times, 2011)

Somalia is one of the most unstable countries in the region at the moment. Since the former president Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in a bloody civil war in 1991, Somalia has not had a stable government. Parts of the country have either seceded or are run by different warlords. Some militant groups like the Union of Islamic courts, which later evolved into the now infamous Al-Shabaab, have been labeled as terrorist organizations.

More than 10 peace conferences were held throughout the 1990s to address the sources of conflict and possibilities for peace in Somalia, but they were largely unsuccessful. (Axel Borchgrevink & Jon Harald Sande Lie, 2009). Since then, other efforts followed, and Somalia is now governed under the Federal Government of Somalia, a government which is not widely accepted and has faced constant opposition and threats from different militant groups. The fragile government is protected by the African peacekeeping forces, AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia).

Ethiopia’s southern Kenya Border & Regional Refugee Hosting Challenges

Kenya is one of the most stable countries in the region, with a diverse economy and vibrant democracy, civil society, and press. However, Kenya has faced its own human rights challenges. Just like Somalia, Kenya shares common ethnic and geographical similarities with Ethiopia. The upper eastern province of Kenya is predominantly Oromo and Somali ethnic populations, ethnic groups that also reside in Ethiopia and Somalia. Apart from the recently arrived refugees, many of the Oromo and Somali ethnic populations have lived in Kenyan for decades and are Kenyan citizens.

The Kenyan government has long supported the Ethiopian government, showing a blind eye to the human rights violations it is accused of.   Ethiopian refugees face so many challenges in Kenya. It takes months if not years to get official recognition as a refugee, a status you need to access any benefits from the host government or UNHCR (United National High Commission for Refugees). Kenya has an encampment policy, which requires refugees to stay in the camps at Dadaab and Kakuma. These camps presently also house refugees from Sudan and Somalia. The two camps are the biggest in the world and cannot accommodate any more refugees. Refugees in Kenya who choose to not stay in the camps faces arrest and prosecution by the Kenyan authorities. Amnesty International Annual report (2018), explains how the Ethiopian government has taken advantage of that loop-hole in Kenya refugee policy to harass their own citizens in Kenya. The Ethiopian Embassy in Nairobi has recruited spies and bribed the Kenyan police to target the Oromo refugees in Nairobi and other cities (Human Rights Watch, 2018). Many of these refugees have been either killed, tortured, or deported back to Ethiopia.

Kenya has gone through its own internal economic and social challenges that have had negative effects on the refugee populations it hosts. The economy is shrinking, and the country is divided along tribal and regional lines due to political upheavals. For a number of years, Kenya has threatened to close down the refugee camps (UNHCR, 2015) and repatriate the refugees back to their countries of origin, citing security fears and the economic burden. Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps remain open only due to a court order and international pressure. UNHCR (2017) while urging the government to reconsider their decision, issued this statement, “UNHCR works closely with the Government of Kenya and we understand well the current regional security situation and the seriousness of the threats Kenya is facing. We also recognize the obligation of the government to ensure the security of its citizens and other people living in Kenya, including refugees.” Kenya is concerned about terror groups using refugee camps as recruitment centers, especially after the Garissa university terror attack (Kenya Daily Nation, 2017). The terror suspects were found to be operating from the Dadaab refugee camp.

Current Ethiopian Political Concerns

If the Ethiopian crisis escalates, it could spiral into a regional catastrophe affecting more than six countries. When the former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his draft of reforms that included the release of thousands of political prisoners (Human Rights Watch, 2018), there was a sense of relief among civil society and the international community that finally the government was serious about addressing some of its political issues. However, his resignation weeks later shocked many, and the subsequent declaration of a state of emergency (Reuters, 2018). Some of the recently released prisoners have since been re-arrested (Amnesty International, 2018) and then released on bail, and many people live in fear.

Ethiopia Prime Minister
(Photo credit: Nick Ogutu: Ethiopia Prime Minister)

Since the state of emergency was declared in Ethiopia, almost one million Ethiopians have been internally displaced, and thousands have crossed the border into Kenya. Activists have also sounded the alarm on the rising incidences of rape and other gender-based violence, allegedly committed by the police and the military (Amnesty International, 2018). Last month’s election of the new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, a former lieutenant-colonel in the army and the first Prime Minister from the Oromo community, has not definitely quelled any fears from the general public.

The Ethiopian situation is a time-bomb that the international community must take an active role in to ensure stability. With a population of over 100 million, the current refugee crisis in the Horn of Africa risks meeting the levels of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Iraq, and the Congo. With so much instability in the region, including the ongoing war in South Sudan, most of the countries neighboring Ethiopia are terrified.

There has been evidence of victims of slavery and human trafficking in Libya are refugees from the horn of Africa (The East African, 2018). Any further escalation of violence Ethiopia and instability in the region will push more refugees to attempt the already dangerous journey to Europe through North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea.

Reforms Required: A Call to Action

The political opposition, civil society, and the press must be given a respected space and a voice in Ethiopian society to ensure transparent governance. The Ethiopian democratic space must be opened and widened as the political landscape is quickly shifting. It will have to accommodate the people’s demands, especially the most vulnerable such as displaced populations, if the current ruling party wants to govern equitably.

As a key western ally receiving billions of dollars from the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Canada, the West must use that leverage for reforms before instability in Ethiopia have widespread repercussions across the region. All political prisoners should be released, responsive and representative government formed, end state of emergency, compensate victims of violence and perpetrators of crime to face justice.  Without these urgent reforms, unrest in the country could have a domino effect in what is an already volatile part of the African continent.

Posted on

Peace Hyde, Vanessa Simmons, Karen Civil and Mc Lyte speak At 2018 Essence E Suite Panel in New Orleans

Peace Hyde, Vanessa Simmons, Karen Civil and Mc Lyte speak At 2018 Essence E Suite Panel in New Orleans (Source: Brenda Omawumi |

NEW ORLEANS, United States of America, July 9, 2018/ — The Annual Essence Festival in New Orleans, presented by Coca Cola, is one of the nation’s largest live events. Each year, the festival draws nearly 500,000 attendees who gather for three days of music, entertainment, empowerment and culture.

Now in its 24th year, the Essence Festival has featured some of the biggest names in entertainment and the nations most influential speakers, authors and leaders, including Beyoncé, Alicia Keyes, Prince, Janet Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Kahn, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rev. Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra, Ava Duvernay, Magic Johnson and many more.

Joining the exclusive new Black Women’s Business summit: E Suite panel this year is renowned media personality and founder of education non-profit Aim Higher Africa, Peace Hyde. The panel is an exclusive festival opportunity for select founders, seasoned executives and emerging entrepreneurs. In the E-Suite, attendees got the opportunity to encounter experts who shared tips and insights on accessing capital, sharpening entrepreneurship skills and planning career advancement, as well as strategies to help expand expertise in technology and personal finance. Joining her on the panel were fellow entrepreneur and TV personality Vanessa Simmons, entrepreneur and author Karen Civil, founder and CEO of curlBOX, Myleik Teele and artist, author and entrepreneur MC Lyte.

Hyde shared her expertise building over 800 businesses in Africa with a positive knock on effect of creating over 3000 jobs through her work with Aim Higher Africa. The organization was recently featured in CNN for its impactful story and has subsequently opened its Lagos branch in Nigeria’s tech hub Yaba. The organization was shortlisted as a finalist at the 2017 Waislitz Global Citizen award for its innovative solution to ending youth unemployment in Africa through its MRDT Curriculum.

Posted on

Historic Summit in New York

muslims and israel
New York City, New York – Gaza is dubbed an open prison with the highest unemployment in the world, Hamas a terrorist organization, Fatah puppet of the West, and Palestinian youth martyrdom trainees. This is all happening right in a land regarded internationally as the “Holy Land” at a religion that pumps more oil than water and receives more visitors than natives.
 
Against this inhumane and unsustainable condition, we are hosting an historic summit in New York City “Muslims and Israel” on Monday, August 27, 2018, 6:8:30 PM to seek the immediate end of this unnecessary condition on our Palestinian families. The summit is dedicated exclusively to God’s words about Israel, holy land and Jerusalem. No prophetic, scholarly or political quotes shall be allowed. As Abrahamic Family, once we all accept God’s Words, human interests and positions on the holy land can then be connected to God’s commandments/instructions.
 
So far we have two of the most eminent Muslim scholars on the issues of the holy land confirmed and waiting for their counterparts’ confirmations. The summit is a secure, close door forum and all RSVPs must submit to background checks. RSVP: editor@muslimcommunityreport.com
 
Dear Muslim Leaders,
 
You have 57 nations in OIC including 22 Arabs ones. You possess and enjoy more natural resources than others. You numbered close to 2 billion. Your Palestinian families are dying to work for and in Israel every day. You call Palestinian families in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt refugees when in fact artificial borders were created by your invading colonizers to divide and weaken you. Your governments enjoy Israeli technical services and your peoples are becoming Kamikazes just to go to Israel for work and freedom. You maintain power and control of your destitute populations partly by blaming the Jews and Israel for your incompetence, etc…
 
Dear Muslim Populous,
 
If you truly love your Palestinian brothers and sisters, then open your minds and allow understanding and wisdom to guide your feelings and emotions. 70 years of public misleading from our corrupt dictators and biased scholars has been the single most deadly cause of Muslims in the world including Palestinians. With rational thinking and right attitude on the part of Israel’s neighboring nations, the Holy Land can easily be a peaceful and prosperous homeland for all Israelis and Palestinians, home and abroad. Therefore, we must cease justifying our anti-Semitism and anti-Israel by peddling leftist Jewish groups’ activist tactics. These leftist liberal Jews are bunch of humanitarian souls fighting for the rights of all peoples regardless of who they are.
 
Dear citizens of the world,
 
If you’ve desired a world of peace, love and harmony, let us make the holy land a place of peace, love and harmony. We can’t afford the status quo. The rise of religious extremism and bias attacks have roots in anti-Semitism, anti-Israel and Islamophobia. September 11 tragedy and all post September 11 conflicts are some of those rooted in what is happening in the holy land. According to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every person is entitled to a homeland. So do the 15 million Jews.
 
In conclusion, If we all love world peace and Palestinians’ dignity, we must all support an independent and secure Jewish State of Israel. Ones the Muslim leaders formerly welcome a sovereign Jewish nation in OIC, a sovereign Palestinian nation becomes a reality. Ain.t simple! #muslimsandisrael #holyland #palestine #peacefulcoexistence#nycsummit #muslimmedia
                           
Posted on

NYS Republican Senators Propose Cynical Bill Ending NYC’s Life-Saving, Time-Tested Speed Safety Camera Program to Replace it With Stop Signs

Statement of Transportation Alternatives’ Executive Director Paul Steely White in response to Senate Bill 9123 introduced Friday by Senators Felder, Golden and Lanza, which would extend New York City’s speed camera program for only six months and direct the revenue they generate during that period to fund stop signs near schools: 

“Holding the expansion of New York City’s life-saving speed camera program hostage is callous. Ending that program in six months and suggesting stop signs will be as effective is both unfounded and heartless. This is not a solution, it’s a deflection and a dereliction of duty. 

For three years New Yorkers from every corner of our city have come together to demand an extended and expanded speed camera program, including hospitals from every borough, hundreds of schools, teachers  crossing guards, law enforcement agencies, senior citizens, and youth leaders. And earlier this week, people who have lost their family members to reckless driving put their bodies on the street, and were arrested, to make it known that without life-saving speed safety cameras, children are going to die. Clearly Senators Felder, Golden and Lanza have not been paying attention. There’s no chorus of voices clamoring for stop signs. There are no experts or data suggesting that signage alone brings about comparable safety benefits  The Senate should not be in the business of rationing safety measures near our schools and tying New York City’s hands on what it needs to do to keep kids safe. 

We believe every student should be safe and that every one of the city’s more than 2,000 schools should have  a safety camera when needed to curb dangerous speeding. Two years ago a compromise bill brought the number from all 2,000 schools down to 750. Then it fell to 290, a modest increase from the current 140 school zones. Those compromises were at the behest of the very senators now decrying the limited number of schools zones covered. The Senate finally had a chance to pass this modest yet life-saving legislation, but these three senators and their leader, Senator John Flanagan, showed their true intentions: they believe the current 140 camera, protecting hundreds of thousands of kids, is 140 too many, and are actively working to end this life-saving program entirely. 

This is particularly galling coming from Senator Golden who has acknowledged the effectiveness of speed safety cameras, and as a cosponsor of the bill extending and expanding them, promised his constituents he would bring them home. He failed to deliver on that promise and is now actively misleading them. Senator Golden should rethink his current course and recommit to fulfilling his vow to protect New York City school kids with speed safety cameras. 

Senators Felder, Golden and Lanza are trying to fool the public into thinking that stop signs are an effective replacement for speed safety cameras. In the first two years of the speed camera program, speeding in the 140 school zones with cameras fell by a remarkable 63 percent, and resulted in a 23 percent reduction in pedestrian injuries. And 81 percent of vehicles caught speeding in school zones don’t get caught a second time. Total traffic deaths have fallen every year since speed safety cameras were first installed in New York City school zones four years ago. Nationwide, fatalities have increased during the same period. 

Last week the Assembly passed separate speed camera expansion bills that have bi-partisan majority support in the Senate (A.7798C/S.6046C along with A.11189) and has the support of the governor. Yet Senator Felder and Flanagan blocked it from receiving a public vote, denying the will of the people of New York. The legislation passed by the Assembly must be brought to a public vote in the Senate by Senator Flanagan, and if Senator Golden is a supporter of speed safety camera expansion as he has repeatedly said to his constituents, he will stop with these distractions and half-measures and make sure the vote happens. 

New York City’s speed safety camera program is saving lives, and has proven to be the single most effective technology available for protecting people on our streets. That Senators Felder, Golden and Lanza would gladly turn off proven life-saving programs like speed safety cameras in favor of signage alone  is a betrayal of the public’s trust and shows that their loyalty is to anyone but New York City schoolchildren.”

###