New York Anti-Abortion Group Loses Fight Over 'Pro-Life' License Plates

Categories: Politics

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Children First Foundation
The proposed license plate
If you oppose abortion rights — and do most of your politicking with the back end of your car — a ruling from a federal appeals court is about to ruin your day.

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Brooklyn-Born Senator Bernie Sanders Will Bring 'Flatbush Accent' to Presidential Race

Categories: Politics

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Courtesy of BernieSanders.com
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders officially kicked off his presidential campaign on Tuesday night at a rally in Burlington complete with a zydeco band called Mango Jam and free Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Sanders is a welcome addition to the list of Democratic presidential candidates, which includes Hillary Clinton and...Sanders. If he manages to overcome Clinton in the primaries, Sanders could be the first president from New York since Franklin Delano Roosevelt — and the first ever who hails from Brooklyn.

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New York State Assembly Makes an Appeal to Cuomo on...Pit Bulls

Categories: Politics

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Photo credit: davescaglione via Compfight cc
Does this vicious pit bull have murder in his heart?
We don't generally see a lot of love expressed in the New York State legislature.

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These Five NYC-Based Legislators Are Still in Office Despite Brushes With the Law

Categories: Politics

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When New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was arrested last week on bribery and corruption charges — only a few months after assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver earned the same fate — it was more proof that Albany is a frigid, snow-blanketed cesspool of dirty dealing. It's no secret that the state of New York is lavishly corrupt, impressively so, actually, and has been for generations.

Politico earlier this week offered an explanation of sorts, citing the long tradition of making decisions based on the whims of "three men in a room," the governor and party leaders in the assembly and senate. The website also cited evidence that the distance between Albany and the state's largest population center here in the city — where the media scrutiny is most intense — might be a contributing factor, too. Jon Stewart weighs in below:

Meanwhile, the lower Hudson Valley's Journal News created a database of the most recent state lawmakers to face criminal charges. In that same spirit, we decided to highlight a few from our fair city (or close by) who have somehow managed to stay in public office despite their brushes with the law. Read on to see the alleged crooks, drunks, and stoners proudly serving the people in your own backyard.


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This Is How New York City Would Look With 90 Percent Fewer Rats

Categories: Culture, Politics

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Tompkins Square Park Central Knoll by David Shankbone. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
A rat-free Tompkins Square Park? Forget about it.
Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio will propose spending $3 million to make permanent a pilot program that reportedly exterminated 80 to 90 percent of rats in seven targeted neighborhoods. The proposal is included in his executive budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

While a rat-free New York is nice to think about, like maybe winning the Powerball, or perfectly timing your bus-to-train-to-train commute, the odds of it actually happening are remote. But if the approximately 2 million rats in New York came down to, say, 250,000, what would the city look like?

"I don't think we fully know," says a Fordham University biologist who's become an expert on rat behavior in New York. "It's kind of an impossibility anyway, unless we sort of started over and tore down the city and built it a different way."

But still.

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Coming Soon to a Community Board Near You: Teenagers

Categories: Politics

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Courtesy of Austin Ochoa
Austin Ochoa is helping to usher in a new, younger breed of community board member.
Two years ago, while a freshman at CUNY, Austin Ochoa skipped class to fine-tune his résumé and fill out a thick application. Most students cut school to sleep off a hangover or head to the beach, but Ochoa had other things on his mind. It was the last day to apply for Manhattan community board membership, and at eighteen, he was just old enough to qualify. With dreams of becoming a district attorney and fighting for the disenfranchised, Ochoa figured he might as well jumpstart his political career.

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Strand Bookstore Audience Begs Elizabeth Warren to Run for President

Categories: Politics

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Lara Zarum, the Village Voice
Elizabeth Warren reads from her memoir at the Strand.
"Can everyone please move forward a bit? We're expecting a lot of people, so just tighten up as much as possible."

An employee of the Strand bookstore in Manhattan strolled up Broadway between 12th and 13th streets, imploring the growing line of people snaking up the block to squeeze in closer to their neighbors. It was a miserably gray and windy April day, and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, who published a memoir, A Fighting Chance, in 2014, was slated to speak in the bookstore's third-floor Rare Book Room in less than an hour. The people in line were shivering — in anticipation of Warren's talk, sure, but mostly because the wind had turned what should have been a perfectly fine spring day into a trauma-inducing winter flashback.

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Smuggled, Untaxed Cigarettes Are Everywhere in New York City

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Jon Campbell
Smuggled cigarettes found during an inspection at a corner store in Long Island City
As six armed officers pour out of two unmarked Ford Explorers on a Long Island City street corner, you can see the confusion on the faces of gawkers and passersby. One woman looks up from her phone and does a sitcom-worthy double-take when she notices their windbreakers, embossed with the word "SHERIFF" in big gold letters, front and back.

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I Got an IDNYC Card in 20 Minutes, and So Can You

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nyc.gov
A sample of the New York City ID card.
Update, 4/7/15: Two Village Voice staffers received our IDNYC cards over the weekend — just ten days after we applied. Huzzah!

Read the original story below:

In the days following the launch of Mayor Bill de Blasio's IDNYC initiative — the most expansive municipal identification program in the country — New Yorkers flocked to enrollment centers like pigeons gobbling up breadcrumbs.

And admittedly, the crumbs aren't half bad: The IDNYC card entitles residents of New York City to free one-year memberships (for the 2015 calendar year) at cultural institutions like the Bronx Zoo, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Public Theater, MoMA P.S.1, the New York City Ballet, and more. You can use the card at the New York, Queens, and Brooklyn public library systems. And most importantly, the card can be used as proof of identification, no matter your immigration status. They'll even waive the proof-of-residency requirement for victims of domestic abuse and the homeless.


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Will Brooklyn's Insane Real Estate Market Doom This Long-Stalled Park?

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Courtesy NYC Parks Department
Bushwick Inlet Park, as it stands now in its nine acres of glory
Hundreds of Brooklynites flooded City Hall on Thursday to protest the city's slow action on buying land for Bushwick Inlet Park, as real estate prices have soared in line with condo construction along the East River.

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