Posts tagged "politics"
A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES 12 MORE ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS AGAINST GAS RETAILERS IN POST-SANDY PRICE GOUGING INVESTIGATION
 
New Action Against 12 Gas Station Operators In New York City, Long Island & Westchester
 
NYS Law Prohibits Excessive Increases In Costs Of Essential Goods Like Food, Water, Gas, Generators, Batteries & Flashlights
 
Schneiderman: Our Ongoing Enforcement Means 25 Gas Retailers Will Be Held Accountable For Dramatic Price Increases
 
NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has notified 12 gas station operators of his intent to commence enforcement proceedings against them for violations of the New York State Price Gouging statute in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. These are the latest actions in the Attorney General’s wide-ranging investigation of suspected gougers and it comes on the heels of hundreds of consumer complaints. Notification letters were sent to 13 gas stations earlier this month bringing the total number of targeted retailers so far to 25.
 
"Our office will continue to take enforcement actions against price gougers because ripping off New Yorkers is against the law," Attorney General Schneiderman said. “We are actively investigating the hundreds of complaints we’ve received from consumers of businesses preying on victims of Hurricane Sandy. There must be no tolerance for unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.”
 
The Attorney General said there will be other notifications coming as the investigation into consumer complaints continues.
 
Among the current batch of 12 enforcement targets is a Mobil station at 3424 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx where a consumer waiting in line for over an hour was just three cars from the pump when she was told that she would be charged $50 for five gallons of gasoline – $10 per gallon. In contrast, stations nearby were charging $3.95 a gallon.
 
At a second station, the Coastal station at 1575 Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station, a consumer reported being charged $4.69 per gallon of gasoline while neighboring stations were charging between $3.69 and $4.05. One consumer waited in line for over an hour and did not see a sign detailing prices until after the attendant began pumping gas for the customer.
 
The stations receiving notices from Attorney General Schneiderman include the following twelve stations:
 
Suffolk
Coastal
1575 Route 112
Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776
Consumer Complaint: 4.69/gallon
 
Nassau
BP
1009 St. Route 109
Farmingdale, NY 11755
Consumer Complaints: $4.71/gallon
 
Liberty Petroleum
1278 Hempstead Turnpike
Elmont, NY 11003
Consumer Complaint: $6.99/gallon
 
Ultra
3300 Hempstead Turnpike
Levittown, NY 11750
Consumer Complaint: $4.89/gallon
 
Staten Island
Rio
105 New Dorp Lane
Staten Island, NY 10306
Consumer Complaint: $4.89/gallon
Queens
Getty
141-50 Union Turnpike
Flushing, NY 11367
Consumer Complaint: $4.99/gallon
 
Gulf
60-90 Elliot Avenue
Maspeth, NY 11378
Consumer Complaint: $4.79/gallon (cash)/$4.89 (credit)
 
Shell
92-10 Astoria Boulevard
East Elmhurst, NY 11369
Consumer Complaints: ranging from $4.89-$7.90/gallon
 
Sunoco
18-84 Flushing Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Consumer Complaint: $7.25/gallon
Bronx
Mobil
3424 East Tremont Avenue
Bronx, NY 10465
Consumer Complaint: $10/gallon
Westchester:
Mobil
80 Bedford Road
Katonah, NY 10536
Consumer Complaint: $4.79/gallon
 
Mobil
189 Route 59
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Consumer Complaint: $4.65/gallon
 
The above prices are each for regular gasoline.
 
New York State’s Price Gouging Law (General Business Law § 396-r) prohibits merchants from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services for an “unconscionably excessive price” during an “abnormal disruption of the market.” The price gouging law covers New York State vendors, retailers and suppliers, including but not limited to supermarkets, gas stations, hardware stores, bodegas, delis and taxi and livery cab drivers. 
 
Today’s actions are based upon a review of both consumer complaints and independently-gathered pricing information.
 
New York’s price gouging law takes effect only upon the occurrence of triggering events that cause an “abnormal disruption of the market.” An “abnormal disruption of the market” is defined as “any change in the market, whether actual or imminently threatened,” that results from triggering events such as “weather events, power failures, strikes, civil disorder, war, military action, national or local emergency or other causes.” During an abnormal disruption of the market like Hurricane Sandy, all parties within the chain of distribution for any essential consumer goods or services are prohibited from charging unconscionably excessive prices. “Consumer goods” are defined by the statute as “those used, bought or rendered primarily for personal, family or household purposes.” For example, gasoline, which is vital to the health, safety and welfare of consumers, is a “consumer good” under the terms of the statute. Therefore, retailers may not charge unconscionably excessive prices for gasoline during an abnormal disruption of the market.
 
New York’s price gouging law does not specifically define what constitutes an “unconscionably excessive price.” However, the statute provides that a price may be “unconscionably excessive” if: the amount charged represents a gross disparity between the price of the goods or services which were the subject of the transaction and their value measured by the price at which such consumer goods or services were sold or offered for sale by the defendant in the usual course of business immediately prior to the onset of the abnormal disruption of the market. 
 
In other words, a “before-and-after” price analysis can be used as evidence of price gouging. Evidence that a price is unconscionably excessive may also include proof that “the amount charged grossly exceeded the price at which the same or similar goods or services were readily obtainable by other consumers in the trade area.” However, a merchant may counter with evidence that additional costs not within its control were imposed for the goods or services. Notably, the price gouging law does not prohibit any disparity between the price charged before and after there is an abnormal disruption of the market. Rather, the statute prohibits a “gross disparity,” when it is clear that a business is taking unfair advantage of consumers by charging unconscionably excessive prices and increasing its profits under severe circumstances that call for shared sacrifices.
 
If you believe you are a victim of price gouging or a post-hurricane scam contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Helpline at 800-771-7755 or find a complaint form online at: www.ag.ny.gov

"The stories of heartbreak are unimaginable… We met with first responders whose job was to find two children… Some elderly couples just couldn’t leave… Folks are looking to Washington for how can you help us… Some still don’t have electricity…" 

Andrew Cuomo claims that Hurricane Sandy has wrought more destruction (measured, apparently, in business dollars and square miles) than Hurricane Katrina, setting off a collective slapping of foreheads. Oh my god, is that where he had to go to get money out of John Boehner? Blech. Politics.

Anyway, the good people at the NYTimes Cityroom created a side by side comparison of the two storms that you should check out by clicking right here.

By the numbers, Sandy is bigger and badder. But remember that New Orleans had a much smaller, poorer, population. The city had fewer politicians like Andrew Cuomo and Mike Bloomberg and Chris Christie who have the influence and visibility to effectively freak out and make life hell for people until they get justice in the form of federal dollars.

Going into Katrina New Orleans was a city that had long flirted with some sort combo of social/infrastructure collapse.

And practically no one got out of Katrina unscathed, while, let’s be perfectly honest, much of NYC is only dimly aware of just how bad things are for their fellow New Yorkers hidden out by the coast in the outer boroughs.

howsandyhitrockaway:

Three weeks after the hurricane, there is finally some power, cell phone service, food distribution and fuel for cars. The most urgent needs for relief in these affected areas are finally being met. However, with the most dire situations being concentrated on, the underlying secondary issues are starting to become apparent. 

Roberto is a young resident in one of the poorest areas of Rockaway. He has been helping at local food & clothing distribution station daily. In the chaos of other residents trying to push their way in line to get food and supplies, he asked a man and his girlfriend to wait their turn. After a heated exchange, the man hit Roberto in the face with his flashlight. Looting, violence and greed are a serious problems that have arisen post disaster. Roberto now has hospital bills that he cannot pay for. 

It is so absurd that we as a society are still learning how to treat the most vulnerable in our communities.
Bebe on the hurricane recovery effort

It’s an imperfect comparison, since Ed Blakely was chosen by Andrew Cuomo, not Mike Bloomberg, but if he has an influential voice on the commission it could set up an epic clash between politicians/planners and the local New Yorkers and the grassroots organizers who actually did all the work in the two weeks after the storm… you know, the people who have first hand dealings with what worked and what didn’t after Sandy swept in.

Why was Blakely picked to be on this commission? Because he did such a great job in New Orleans? He called Ray Nagin a hero and took the credit for a recovery that was driven by community organizers.

From the Time Picayune online (hat tip the the fabulous Bebe, a NOLA native with some very strong opinions on hurricanes):

"The city’s post-Katrina recovery director — deemed a failure by many New Orleanians despite his self-congratulatory book taking credit for the city’s rebound — has been appointed to a commission aimed at arming New York state for future disasters.

In a post called “Ed Blakely to the rescue!,” Gambit Weekly reported Friday that Blakely told an Australian radio station about his appointment to the New York State Respond Commission, created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s massive damage.

"Blakely, who once famously forecast "cranes on the skyline" in New Orleans by September 2007, now directs an urban planning center at the University of Sydney in Australia.

"He has opined on various occasions that New Orleans "isn’t likely" to exist a century from now; recommended that the 9th Ward be left to wash away; compared former Mayor Ray Nagin to President Abraham Lincoln; and published  a book about New Orleans with a photo of a flooded Slidell on the cover.

"The book, called "My Storm: Managing the Recovery of New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina" and published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, details how his work — not New Orleanians or community organizers — led to the city’s recovery. Blakely’s “target zone” recovery plan is considered by many a failure that accomplished little of what it set out to do.”

First Chris Christie yelled at the mayor of Atlantic City for not taking Hurricane Sandy seriously. 

Then he saved Halloween from the storm

Then he and Obama marched through New Jersey, leaving behind a trail of comfort and embraces. He pissed off Mitt Romney and Rupert Murdoch. He wore fleece. 

Now his approval ratings are soaring, up to 77% in some polls. From the Philadelphia Inquirer

"Not only are the Republican governor’s approval ratings soaring - 65 percent in one poll, 77 percent in a second poll released Wednesday - but two-thirds of registered Republicans who responded to a survey said Christie’s work with Obama was right on. Both polls found that more than 90 percent of respondents approved of the governor’s handling of Hurricane Sandy.

"Gov. Christie has emerged as a clear leader in this crisis, with New Jerseyans applauding his efforts, and in particular his literal and figurative embrace of President Obama in a time of need," said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and a professor of political science at Rutgers University. "Despite a recent New York Times story that some national GOP leaders are condemning the governor for his show of bipartisanship, New Jerseyans of all stripes say it was exactly the right thing to do."

Today President Obama spoke about how he will be bringing scientists, engineers and elected officials together to find bi-partisan ways to reduce carbon emissions – and I look forward to supporting that new effort in any way I can. The president has taken some important steps to fight climate change over the past four years, including doubling fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks. But, as he said today, it is not enough. And whether or not Hurricane Sandy resulted from climate change, there is no doubt that the threat of increasingly intense storms should spur Washington to make the issue a top priority.
Mayor Bloomberg’s statement on President Obama’s remarks on climate change. (via nycgov)

via nycgov.tumblr.com

Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Quinn and Comptroller Liu today announced a $500 million emergency plan to repair public schools and hospitals damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

The plan calls for an appropriation of $200 million for the Department of Education and $300 million for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation. School and hospital repair needs include structural restorations, new boilers, new electrical systems, roof repairs, flood remediation and more.

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Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012

1. Head to Coney Island (via everywhere)

If you’ve been to Coney Island and looked beyond Luna Park you’ve no doubt noticed that high rises dominate the landscape. Those building blocks are full of elderly and disabled residents who need your help. An Occupy Sandy volunteer is predicting a humanitarian crisis could consume the area, and frankly I don’t think he’s wrong.

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