TIMELINES 11/30/17

County Legislators Want Haitian Protections Extended
County Legislators Toney L. Earl, Nancy Low-Hogan and Aney Paul want to protect Haitian nationals living in Rockland. The group of local officials want the federal government to reconsider the decision to end a protection that would force almost 60,000 Haitians living in the U.S. to return home. After a massive earthquake in the Caribbean in 2010 they were granted Temporary Protection Status where some refugees came to Rockland County. Legislature Chairman Toney L. Earl said, “We should support the ongoing rebuilding effort in Haiti before considering the removal of Temporary Protection Status.” Currently the poorest nation in the West Hemisphere Haiti continues to face disasters with hurricanes, earthquakes and Cholera outbreaks.

NYS Thruway Defends Cashless Tolls
The NYS Thruway defended the cashless rolling system used on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge after complaints from motorists racking up hundreds, and sometimes thousands, in fines for not paying the $5 toll. One Pearl River resident claimed his son’s registration was suspended for owing almost $7,000 in fines and unpaid tolls. This resident wasn’t the only one who claimed to never have received notice of a violation. A gantry on the Rockland County side of the bridge takes a photo of license plates as cars pass through. If the driver doesn’t have an E-ZPass, a bill is mailed to the registered owner. Motorists have 30 days to pay the $5 toll, after that a $5 late fee is incurred. If it remains unpaid after 60 days a $100 fine for each violation is added and driving privileges are potentially revoked. Officials couldn’t find an instance when notices weren’t mailed out, but a common reason why letters aren’t arriving comes from drivers who haven’t updated their license registration with a new address. Drivers can pay sooner by going to tollsbymailny.com or calling 1-844-826-8400.

Democratic Leader Conyers Steps Down from House Judiciary Committee Among Sexual Misconduct Allegations
The longest serving member of Congress Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) is being pressured to step down following allegations that he allegedly harassed multiple female aides. Democrats are divided as some leaders and lawmakers are pushing for his resignation but members of the Congressional Black Caucus have refused to publicly demand for Conyers to resign. Sunday afternoon Conyers said, “I have notified the Democratic Leader of my request to step aside as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters.” Buzzfeed recently reported that in 2015 he settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in which a former employee claimed to be let go for denying Conyers’ sexual advances. She was given a $27,000 settlement from Congress. The Washington Post also reported on Conyers’ former secretary who filed, but then dropped, a sexual harassment claim against him last February.

Cuomo Pushes to Save Hudson River and Prevent GE Certificate of Completion
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo along with others are trying to prevent General Electric from receiving a Certificate of Completion for its Hudson River PCB Cleanup. Cuomo, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and the New York State Office of the Attorney General are pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to not issue this certification because it could relieve GE of liability for future PCB clean up in the Upper Hudson River. Seggos wrote to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt earlier this month stating “…There remains in the Upper Hudson significantly greater amounts of PCBs than EPA anticipated there would be after dredging.” He recommended six specific actions for the EPA to take including not issuing the completion certificate. A letter from the NYS Attorney General stated “…a Certificate of Completion of the remedial action may not lawfully be granted.” Scenic Hudson, a local organization aimed at helping citizens preserve land and create parks to experience the Hudson River, supports Cuomo, the state Attorney General and Seggos in pushing the EPA.

State Covers Up Sex Abuse in Facilities
According to EINPresswire.com New York State’s mental health agencies are rampant with cover-ups internal shuffling of sexual predators and pedophiles. Documents obtained through the NYS Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) the state’s system is full of sexual abuse, rape and cover-ups. Reported sex crimes committed against the disabled aren’t reported to local police or the District Attorney. Michael Carey of the Jonathan Carey Foundation, named after Carey’s son who died in state care, claims “…there are upwards of 43,000 victims of sexual assaults or rape every year” in a system of approximately 126,000 developmentally disabled children and adults. Carey believes Governor Andrew Cuomo knows about this issue in the system and continues to protect it.

Mugabe Gives Up Control in Zimbabwe
Military operations launched in mid-November to overhaul former President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. This coup led to his resignation which changed the country’s leader for the first time in 37 years. Mugabe, 93, was the only leader Zimbabwe had since the country gained independence in 1980. He was taken into custody by the Zimbabwe military which had also taken control of the state broadcaster ZBC. The military claimed to “pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation.” Tanks were stationed near government buildings in the capital, Harare. Four days after the army took control the controlling party, ZANU-PF, gave him an ultimatum: step down by Monday or face impeachment. During his Monday speech Mugabe didn’t step down, it wasn’t until his impeachment hearing did Zimbabwe’s Parliament receive a letter stating Mugabe’s resignation to speed up the process for his successor. Emmerson Mnangawa, Mugabe’s vice president, succeeded him.