Class Action for SoHo?

If you’re going to tell people the truth, be funny or they’ll kill you.
– Billy Wilder

It’s difficult to believe that the Department of Transportation would feel comfortable about telling us the truth. And, that is, that Seniors and those with disabilities are being hit by cars and trucks — and they’re actually telling us about it. Normally, you’d have to dig for the truth — not so. So, for those of you naysayers or, those of you who are politicians and haven’t been doing anything about protecting your serfs, here’s a little light reading. Think about this as you watch the votes being counted. Enforcement is the word. DO something. Protect us! For you pedestrians, read the report and stay home and lock your door, or, consider suing the City. Enough bullshit!

Crossing Canal. Photos that didn’t make it into the D.O.T. report

The Candidates: Early Voting has Arrived!

Here’s your chance to show your Civic Pride in a world of confusion and danger to Democracy. So vote and “keep the faith baby” as Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. used to say — because this is the essence of what we are trying to protect. No matter what your take is on the obvious corruption and even criminality exhibited by those who would destroy our system — its full steam ahead. Vote, as if your life depended on it! Here are the suggestions from a reputable organization that I once was a member of — The SoHo Alliance — before the criminals in the Hamptons got their hands on me:

“Early Voting begins today and continues through Primary day, Tuesday, June 28. To find your polling site for Primary day, click here. To find the days and hours for early voting or for absentee ballot information, click here.

  *   *   *

Although the SoHo Alliance is non-partisan, the fact is that lower Manhattan has a 6-1 Democratic majority. It is inevitable that whoever win the Democratic primaries will be our next elected representatives. 

Below are the recommendations of the Downtown Independent Democrats, DID, our friends and neighborhood political activists. Voters may know whom they want for president or governor, but some “down-ballot” races are overlooked in the press. Thus these following recommendations:

66th Assembly  District – Deborah Glick

65th Assembly District – Grace Lee

State Committee Member – 65th Assembly District – Kathryn Freed

State Committee Member – 66th Assembly District – Rachel Lavine

Civil Court, 2nd District – David Fraiden

Manhattan Surrogate Court – Hilary Gingold

  *   *   *

66th Assembly District – covers the lower West Side, including SoHo, NoHo, Greenwich Village and TriBeCa.

Deborah Glick for Assembly 

This year we have a classic contest between an incumbent who supports residents and reasonable land development versus a novice candidate who is in the back pocket of the real estate lobby.

Deborah Glick is one of our strongest advocates in Albany for tenants’ rights. Glick sponsored and won renewal of the Loft Law. She was the most outspoken elected official in opposing the upzoning of SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown.

Famously championing women’s and LGBTQ rights, Glick’s leadership in passing the Reproductive Health Act has ensured protection of abortion rights in our state. She was the lead sponsor of the Women’s Health and Wellness Act that promotes early detection and prevention of certain medical conditions affecting women. 

In contrast to Glick’s support of residents over developers, her opponent, Ryder Kessler, is a well-funded shill for the real estate industry. Tellingly, 95% of his campaign contributions have come from special interests located outside our community.

Kessler won the endorsement of Open NY, a lobbying outfit founded by a wealthy landlord and heir to a steel fortune. Like Open NY, Kessler strongly supports the upzoning of SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown and the destruction of our beloved Elizabeth Street Garden. It is unclear what he actually does for a living. Yet he was able to loan his campaign $70,000. 

Go with Glick.

  *   *   *

65th Assembly District – covers the Lower East Side and southern Manhattan, including SoHo from the east side of Crosby Street to Lafayette/Centre Streets eastward

Grace Lee for Assembly

The district’s current assemblymember, Yuh-Line Niou, is stepping down to run for Congress in the August Congressional primaries.Several candidates are running for the empty seat. 

The D.I.D. has wholeheartedly endorsed Grace Lee, a passionate community organizer. 

Ms. Lee co-founded Children First, a parent-led grassroots coalition fighting for the safe cleanup of a toxic mercury site in the South Street Seaport. Her steadfast organizing in the face of intense opposition from the developer, the Howard Hughes Corporation, has secured strong oversight rules and an independent monitor for the site cleanup.

Lee ha­­s also worked closely with deaf tenants living in deplorable conditions at a Federal housing complex for the hearing and speech impaired on the Lower East Side, helping them stand up to their building’s management. Grace helped organize the largest Thanksgiving food drive in lower Manhattan, donating and delivering thousands of turkeys to families in NYCHA housing. 

Her opponents’ efforts to improve our neighborhood pale in comparison, if they exist at all. It is for these reasons D.I.D. endorsed Grace Lee in the 65th Assembly District

  *   *   *

Democratic State Committee — The most  important election you never heard of.

Kathryn Freed for State Committee in the 65th Assembly District

Members of the Democratic State Committee serve as the local representatives within the statewide Democratic Party organization. The State Committee sets party policy and endorses candidates for statewide office.

Two candidates are squaring off: Jenny Lam Low and Kathryn Freed. 

Ms. Low has been current State Committee member for the past fourteen years but has not once engaged with voters on party policy. She is employed as an advisor to the City Council Speaker and is a Board of Elections commissioner, a party-appointed patronage position. Ms. Low is part and parcel of the Democratic Party Establishment. 

On the other hand, Kathryn Freed is independent. 

Kathryn was a co-founder of the SoHo Alliance. We elected her three times as our City Councilmember in the 1990s. She owed her job to the voters and fought hard for us, not the bosses. Term-limited, she was then elected first to the Civil Court and then to State Supreme Court, retiring last year.

Freed has pledged to make the state party more transparent, less involved with insider politics, and more concerned with the needs of everyday New Yorkers. 

  *   *   *

Rachel Lavine for State Committee in the 65th Assembly District

Two candidates are competing for State Committee in the 66th Assembly District, Rachel Lavine and Erin Hussein. Hussein has run for City Council and we agree with many of her positions. However, incumbent Rachel Lavine has served us so magnificently that it would be folly to replace her.

For example, Lavine is co-founder and chair of the State Committee’s Progressive Caucus. Just one of Lavine’s accomplishments there was writing and passing a State Committee resolution calling for the banning of hydrofracking in our state, which in turn led to Governor Cuomo’s moratorium on the practice. Rachel currently serves on the board of Eleanor’s Legacy, which works to elect pro-choice women. She first worked as a litigator and then public-interest attorney at Safe Horizon, the city’s largest victims-service agency, advocating for survivors of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Lavine is the one to go with.

  *   *   *

Judicial:

Civil Court, 2nd Municipal District – covers SoHo and parts of Greenwich Village, the East Village, Lower East Side and Chinatown

David Fraiden for Civil Court

Civil Court judges handle family issues, property damage, back rent, and landlord/tenant disputes. Two candidates are vying for this Civil Court seat. 

Carmen Pacheco lives in Brooklyn but is opportunistically running for the bench here in Manhattan. Worse, Pacheco has earned the dubious honor of being placed on the Public Advocate’s annual list of “Worst Landlords.” Do we want one of the city’s worst landlords adjudicating landlord/tenant disputes? She also has been accused of hurling racial slurs at a Black neighbor. 

On the other hand, David Fraiden, a Lower East Side lawyer and, until recently, a Federal immigration judge, has solid progressive and ethical credentials, has judicial experience — unlike his opponent — and has been endorsed by most of the local Democratic Party district leaders. 

  *   *   *

Manhattan Surrogate Court 

Surrogate Court judges hear cases involving wills, guardianships, adoptions, and the administration of estates. Two good candidates are contending, Elba Galvan and Hilary Gingold. After interviewing both at D.I.D.’s open public meeting, Downtown Independent Democrats endorsed Hilary Gingold for Surrogate Court.

For more endorsement information from Downtown Independent Democrats or how to get involved, visit their website here.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.

Sean Sweeney

Director

SoHo Alliance

PO Box 429

New York, NY 10012

212-353-8466

info@sohoalliance.org

sohoalliance.org

Stay Tuned folks.

And, keep your eyes open for my upcoming novels: Up & Away, Murder in SoHo, The Gulag, The Bonfire of the Hamptons, and The Snake Pit.

The Candidates: Kathryn Freed

In this voting season we will give you the best of the candidates running for office. Count on that. Kathryn Freed fought for SoHo as its Councilmember and sat on the bench in Supreme Court.

D. Clark MacPherson

Kathryn Freed

Candidate for Democratic State Committee AD 65

Kathryn is a long time Lower Manhattan resident and community activist. As an attorney representing tenants and tenant groups, and practicing employment discrimination law and election law, she was influential in writing and passing the landmark Loft Law, protecting artist housing, and passing other tenant protections;

• Served as a member of CB 1 for over 15 years, two terms as its chair;
• Was City Councilmember for Downtown District # 1 for ten years;
• Elected to the Judiciary and served seventeen years as a New York Judge, lastly as a NY State Supreme Court Justice.

Retiring from the Judiciary last year, she has been deeply active in our community:
• Opposing the SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown up-zoning
• Working against climate destruction, especially in East River Park
• Working for air monitoring and environmental safeguards for the Lower Manhattan Waterfront, especially in the Lands End and Two Bridges Area, 250 Water Street, Smith Houses and the former East River Park site.
• Calling for effective Resiliency measures and interim flood protection
• Opposing the Chinatown mega jail
• Calling for a moratorium on additional Homeless Shelters in Chinatown and Little Italy due to the current proliferation of Homeless Shelters in those communities
• Supporting our AAPI Community, calling for additional measures for protection against the vicious and prolific anti-Asian hate crimes.
• Calling for a comprehensive plan to deal with Mental illness, homelessness and to provide more affordable housing
• Supporting zoning changes that will protect communities, especially communities of color, from over development, while allowing growth that still protects middle and lower income housing and local businesses.
• Supporting pushing for 100% Affordable Housing at 5 World Trade CenterKathryn is running for the State Committee, which is a volunteer Party position, that, among other things, helps set party rules. Having dedicated her adult life to fairness and justice, Kathryn has vowed to push to make the party more open, less concerned with insider politics and more concerned with the needs of the residents of New York.

She has been endorsed by the Grand Street Democrats, the Downtown Independent Democrats and the New Downtown Democrats.

Vote for Kathryn in the Democratic Primary Election to be held on June 28, 2022

No Guns or Butter

“Yes, people pull the trigger. But, guns are the instruments of death.”

— Eliot Spitzer

Everyone should be able to go to school, work, or to run errands and not be afraid for their lives. But with the outrageous gun laws in our country that cater to the extremist gun lobby and the politicians they fund, that is tragically not the case. As of the writing of this email, there has only been one day this month without a mass shooting.

Enough is enough. Enough with the daily mass shootings, enough with the easy access to high-caliber weapons, enough with the legislators who are unwilling to take action. Enough with the horror stories like we’ve recently seen in Buffalo, Uvalde, and El Paso.

We are tired. We are tired of the policy failures that lead to people being murdered by a white supremacist while they buy groceries for their families and to children and teachers being brutally murdered in their classrooms. We are tired of politicians who think “thoughts and prayers” are enough.

It is time to end this horror. A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators has agreed on a draft framework of gun safety and violence prevention measures. While this framework is not enough to solve the problem, it is a good first step. It breaks a 30-year gridlock in Congress to finally begin to put the safety of our communities and our children before the interests of the gun lobby and the politicians they fund.

We call on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Mitch McConnell to turn this framework into legislation and pass it immediately.

Text graphic with black background and photos of Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell in red and white. Yellow and white text reads: "Protect Our Children. End Gun Violence. Sign the petition demanding Senators Schumer and McConnell pass the bipartisan gun reform package!"

The draft proposal includes:

  • closing the “boyfriend loophole” so that no one, whether they’re a spouse or a dating partner, can purchase a gun if they have been convicted of domestic abuse;
  • funding to encourage states to pass “red flag” laws, crisis intervention measures that help get guns away from people who may pose a threat to themselves or others;
  • funding for improved school safety and increased mental health resources;
  • expanded background checks for gun purchases for people under age 21; and
  • penalties for illegal straw purchases by convicted criminals.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator McConnell must turn this framework into law and send it to the president’s desk immediately. We can’t wait any longer; our schools, grocery stores, churches, and communities should be places where everyone can live safely and securely, not places of violence and fear.

As our mission statement says, “We envision a world where equity is the norm and oppression, in all forms, is eradicated. It is a world without war and violence. The world we want is possible, but it will only exist if we work together.”

Join us in taking action to demand that our elected officials pass this commonsense gun safety legislation NOW – before more lives are lost.

In Solidarity,

Rosemary Rivera
Co-Executive Director
Citizen Action of New York

The Hit & Run Crisis

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

— Benjamin Franklin

While there are more and more articles about pedestrians being hit by cars and trucks in New York City, there is little follow-up about what happens next. A recent article describes how a 12 year old girl was hit by a car and it kept on going.

I know what that feels like. And, I’m getting tired of talking about it.

If the police don’t follow up — then what?

Well, I decided to go to the D.A. Some of my favorite people were D.A.s — all except the one that I’d been writing about in my articles about corruption in the Hamptons before Thomas Spota decided to do what’s called a Vendetta Prosecution. That’s where they steal your assets and make it impossible to ever work, leave you without life insurance, turn your family against you and set you on a course to abuse drugs or alcohol. I’d done a lot of alcohol as a rock performer fifty years ago so they were wasting their time with me. I was afraid of drugs so I didn’t go near them.

Spota’s doing five years now upstate with the Feds.

So, I did not hesitate to call Alvin Bragg — the new D.A. The assistant I got on the phone was pleasant. It had only taken me three calls to get ahold of someone who would listen. Or, so I thought.

I said, “Look, some guy hit me about a year ago and I’m still trying to get some help with this case. I’ve written letters, contacted Deborah Glick, Sen. Schumer, Jerry Nadler. I even wrote to the Community Board and to the police several times. Nothing. This guy by the name of Decheneux is telling people he never even hit me even though I have a witness — and he had no license plates, no insurance, no registration. And, I’m getting nowhere. I live in a tourist area that used to be SoHo but is now Chinatown North, and the traffic is getting worse. It’s all tourists and people who don’t follow the law.”

Ms. Heckster said, “Well, why did you wait a year?”

“Huh?” I said. “I just told you that I’ve been trying to get the police to find this guy. He had nothing. I’ve written letters, called the police, even started a lawsuit but it wasn’t exciting enough for a lawyer to take it on a contingency basis and I couldn’t afford to pay a lawyer thousands of dollars to track this guy down so I had to drop it.”

“Well,” said Ms. Heckster, “I understand.”

“But, why did you wait a year?”

As you can imagine, aside from my injuries, I sent a letter to Ms. Heckster and never got a response. I don’t even have a fantasy about her and Alvin discussing this. He’s probably getting a bad rap about being soft on crime. It’s probably just that he’s a sweet guy.

It took the article about the 12 year old girl in Patch to remind me that we have an explosion of Hit & Run cases. If you’re poor and have witnesses who report it to the press, maybe you’ll get help. But don’t count on it.

Time to alert Mr. Bragg that we’re not getting cooperation downtown. But, we are getting a lot of aggressive drivers and is it that the police just don’t give a shit? And, are the Community Board members too wrapped up in deciding what office to run for next, to care?

No one’s paying attention. And, soft on crime, progressive views, and protecting the criminal is not a good political stance.

I knew Bob Morgenthau. He would never have put up with this flagrant abuse of pedestrians and their safety.

What have the little birdies been saying?

“It’s never just a game when you’re winning”

— George Carlin

There are a couple of interesting races, or maybe-races, coming up. Ryder Kessler is running for Assembly, Tom Suozzi for Governor and perchance Pete Gleason for Congress. We’ll keep you posted on the progress each is making and whether the intel is correct. We’ve been in touch and await more information aside from the usual bullshit stories.

Meanwhile, a few candidates already IN OFFICE are not thrilling when contacted for assistance in protecting SoHo. Especially, with regard to pedestrian safety and housing. Just because vacancy decontrol is no linger an issue, for example, doesn’t mean that the landlords have started to love tenants. Au contraire.

And, a funny thing happened on the way to the D.O.T. The Holland Tunnel crowd were being treated to three months of REALLY late night entertainment. As in jackhammers from midnight to six a.m. That was intended to lay pipes for gas. Not to Ukraine, mind you, it could have been to provide gaseousness to the new Disney building or perhaps the Trinity Real Estate conglomerate that maybe will build at Grand/Varick/Canal someday. They’ve promised all sorts of things in return for obtaining good vibes, including a school. My kids will be getting social security by the time that happens.

Anyway, a tough, feisty tenant at one of the Varick street buildings complained to the D.O.T. Commissioner. Apparently, her powers of persuasion were convincing and the late night assault was discontinued.

Look forward to “Up & Away” if you’d like to go to prison in your mind. I did the footwork. Read “The Bonfire of the Hamptons,” if you’re interested in a how-to book to become an investigative journalist who gets a dose of the Hamptons poison called Justice. It worked better than Novochuk and mimics the trials and tribulations of Steven Donziger. And, if you’d like to read about how landlords kill off adversaries and steal real estate the novel “Murder in SoHo,” might interest you. All coming this summer.

Stay tuned.

Didn’t make it.
Made it.

Errata

“All work and no pay makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no pay makes Jack a dull boy.”

— Jack Torrence

It struck me that my now repeated stories about how I was crossing the street legally in SoHo and was struck by a car — as it turns out, with no license plate, no registration, no insurance, would be of interest to the powers that be.

First, I filled out forms.

Then, I reported it to the Police.

Then, I repeatedly called the Police

I even let the Transportation Committee on the Community Board know about since this is a hot issue with all of the pedestrians being hit and killed in SoHo.

Then, I even paid a lawyer to sue the City and the individual who hit me.

He got a lawyer and claimed I was lying despite the fact that I had a witness. So, since no lawyer wanted to do this without money up front — and since the City hired a lawyer who only wanted to know if I owed the City any taxes and whether I had a criminal record — I couldn’t afford to follow that up as well. Meanwhile, I called the Police and sent the 1st Precinct several letters. No response — the same with the Community Board.

My last desperate act was to call the new D.A. Alvin Bragg. I’m not sure where that’s going to go because it took three calls to get anyone on the line — and the woman who I spoke to repeatedly ask why I had waited almost a year to report it. Well, I said, I was busy trying to get the police to DO something, She then asked me three more times why I’d waited almost a year.

SoHo is picking up. But, not uniformly. Kenn and Bob’s Broome Street Bar is very busy, the same with Felix. Several other restaurants are busy — but there are several vacant storefronts along West Broadway as well. The Dominick Hotel, the former James (much higher prices), SoHo Grand — are all open. Few masks are being worn which may or may not be a good thing.

While there are many reported cases of Covid — includng my entire family — the infection seems mild and as long as you get the antiviral, I’ve not heard of any serious cases. So far.

Ive finished “Up & Away” about my four year stay in prison; “The Bonfire of the Hamptons” which is about the Vendetta Prosecution I experienced at the hands of now imprisoned D.A. Thomas Spota and the corrupt crowd in the Hamptons and in the courts; and “Murder in SoHo,” a two volume story about a couple of criminal landlords. All are highly interesting historical novels. The 20 volumes of prison memoirs are only for the knausgaard aficionados.

Stay Tuned.

Crossing Watts with the light.
West Broadway coffee shop

Kenn & Bob’s Broome Street Bar

Rallying around the May Pole

“I’m in a New York state of mind.”

— Billy Joel

So rather than try to rephrase things and fuck it up — since I’d likely get a nasty call from Sean Sweeney, here’s his organizations take on current politics. We supported Marte and he fortunately won. We have high hopes. A few others that we supported won as well but the jury is out on that. We got behind Alvin Bragg and Adams but haven’t had any feedback on them yet. I like Adams’ energy though. I’m not holding my breath for a call from Bragg’s office unless they’re gunning for me like Thomas Spota did — which didn’t work out to well for him. I’m sure a few of you are disappointed about the decision on Trump but, hey who knows, right? I haven’t heard from Melinda Katz for a few years either (although I admit trying to reach her), but no soap since I interviewed her several years ago. But, that was before I was hit with 107 felony counts by a not yet imprisoned D.A. looking for cash.

However, I so think it’s time to start giving others a shot at downtown politics — like, for example, the Assembly. Ryder Kessler is running. Meanwhile, here’s what the SoHo Alliance has to tell us about the community.

A Volunteer Community Organization

Dear Don,

He swept SoHo in last year’s election and he’s still sweeping it.

City Councilmember Christopher Marte announced on Wednesday that he has reallocated funding to hire ACE workers to sweep our streets from Mercer to Wooster, Houston to Canal, three days week. ACE workers will also be maintaining the corner trash bins that currently often overflow with trash.

Dressed in their red work clothes, workers from ACE, the Agency of Community Empowerment Programs for the Homeless, were a familiar sight on SoHo streets for years.  

However, the program suffered from perennial fundraising shortfalls, causing it to cease its “free” street cleaning operation in 2016. (ACE is still retained by the SoHo Broadway Initiative to clean Broadway and the abutting side streets.)  

In response to ACE’s departure, in 2017 Clean-Up SoHo, a volunteer group with which the SoHo Alliance was involved, raised sufficient funds to purchase some eighty corner trash bins and hire workers for a year to bag and empty the trash on a daily basis. However, fundraising and organizing the cleaning services is basically a full-time job, beyond the scope of community volunteers.

So for the past several years, due in no small part to the budget cuts to the Department of Sanitation, SoHo streets have become increasingly littered. 

In response, earlier this year there was an effort to organize a BID, a Business Improvement District, to raise funds to clean the streets by increasing property taxes. With property taxes rising more than 10% annually here, that is the last thing we need. 

Not to mention that BIDs push for changes that primarily benefit commercial property owners and large multinational retailers — not local small businesses or residents. The role the SoHo Broadway BID played in the recent upzoning of SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown testifies to that. Who wants a BID to control the rest of SoHo in perpetuity?

Thus Councilmember Marte’s grant is a double blessing. We get cleaner streets and retain local control.

Marte says this funding is not a one-off, but will continue as long as he is in office. It is in tandem with a similar program he has arranged to clean Delancey Street on the Lower East Side.

Marte announced the news at a press conference last Wednesday at the corner of Greene and Prince Streets joined by ACE workers and local community activists.

Photos courtesy of thevillagesun.com

Our neighborhood provides the city so much revenue in property and sales tax receipts, yet has been the forgotten stepchild of so many past administrations, getting nothing in return but filthy streets and crowded sidewalks. It is so gratifying to have an elected official who helps rectify that unfair situation. Thank you, Chris.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS GOOD NEWS TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.

Sincerely,

Sean Sweeney

Director

SoHo Alliance

PO Box 429

New York, NY 10012

212-353-8466

info@sohoalliance.org

sohoalliance.org

Keep your eyes open. I’ve got a few books coming out this summer. The world of Justice and the American Way was interesting and in these delightful stories I describe the joy of living in a New York State prison. In Up & Away I give a first hand picture of how corrupt politicians can destroy your life — while in The Bonfires of the Hamptons showcasing Trump SoHo, Dominatrixes, Hamptons real estate and a little prison thrown in — those of you who are still waiting for that knock on the door can pour yourselves another drink. And don’t think it can’t happen to you.

Just when you thought it was safe…….

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

— Yogi Berra

Okay, so just in case you think I’m complaining…I am.

My question is this. How can you function in a society where nothing works? Let me give you an example. A few favorite subjects immediately come to mind.

First, let’s review the danger in crossing the street and the traffic in SoHo — and what it’s like to try and do something about it.

Starting with the dangerous traffic situation in SoHo, especially in the streets around the Holland Tunnel. Traffic is worst crossing from Delancey coming from the Wiliamsburg Bridge and coming down across Broome Street and from the Manhattan Bridge heading across Canal Street.

There are not enough Traffic Agents to protect pedestrians from frustrated drivers who want to get to New Jersey. And, NO agents at all giving out tickets. The worst thing that can happen to a motorist, no matter what they do is to be directed off one of the lines and head away, flying into the mist and no-man’s-land of lower Manhattan with no line to be part of.

This, of course, means that there is no incentive to avoid hitting a pedestrian. If a driver hits you trying to cross the street, the responsibility is on you to get help. Any help. So, when some guy hit me while crossing in the crosswalk, here’s how it played out.

First of all, the driver started complaining. He was worried that I might report the incident. Forget that my back hurt, I’d dropped all of my groceries and I was pissed off that this Jeep had hit me when I, as a pedestrian, had the light. Forget that I wasn’t in a car. So, now I had to listen to him bitch at ME. He actually was complaining that he’d just beat cancer.

I pointed out that I hadn’t yet beat cancer, and that he had no registration or insurance for his car, had no license plate, and had just rammed me. The Traffic Agents paid no attention but one guy in his car advised me to get the guy’s information. I was told to go to the 1st Precinct and make a report.

As I stood there in pain, after collecting my groceries the frankfurter guy just shook his head at the scene. He’d seen it all before. Later he told me I was lucky the guy didn’t attack me for forcing him off the line and missing his queue into the tunnel. He’d seen that happen a couple of times.

By now, there were three lines of gridlock snaking around the corner from 6th Avenue into Watts Street with no one moving. So, I just walked away, with no help apparently coming, no tickets being written, no police in sight. If I called the police I’d probably be attacked for fucking up the line.

The next day I made a report at the 1st Precinct and headed over to CityMD for a consultation. I was advised to have an MRI. My back bothered me but I wasn’t going to use a cane to increase my benefits. Having blood/bone cancer, however, is a dicey situation. According to one lawyer, Shelly Silver had made it virtually impossible to sue unless you were in a full body cast. Now Shelly’s dead after having been imprisoned for corruption and I was left trying to figure out what my future held.

No attorney wanted to handle this case on contingency as a result of the fact that I had obviously not been maimed or had tire marks on my chest. Any case would require some legal work. And, most attorneys now view this kind of case without a retainer much like Dracula fears the light.

So, after filing a police report and visiting a doctor I spoke to a lawyer and obligated myself to a retainer. Even though the driver had no insurance card, no registration and no license plates, the police were not excited. They didn’t see this as a HIt & Run. It was more like a Smack and Skip. Numerous letters to the 1st Precinct got nowhere. I even sent letters to the Community Board. No response.

But, there was some movement. My retained lawyer got a response. From the City.

After having been a member of Community Board #2 and having spent meeting upon meeting with D.O.T. which promised changes so residents wouldn’t get hit, I realized they were all full of shit. Although, at CB2 you can’t really say that. So, in filing a lawsuit I listed the City for creating an unsafe situation with no enforcement. They’d been promising changes for twenty years. The Traffic and Transportation Committee are all smiles when the City sends their polite twenty-year olds from the City. Veddy, veddy!

Suing the City resulted in what’s called a 50H hearing. At $650 an hour I had to sit in front of a lawyer that apparently COULD afford to deal with this issue. First, I was told that the hearing could not be recorded, that it was preliminary (meaning she got to see what my cards were and this didn’t really count). Then, I was told me that SHE got to ask questions and that I didn’t. You know, democratic-like?

So, by now, I’d only racked up a few thousand in legal fees. The police were going to do nothing. I still had no idea who owned the car. And, the driver, who claimed to be local, had given me phony phone numbers before he skipped.

Finally, my attorney, who was doing me a favor since Shelly Silver had fixed things for everyone, kept the cost down to under $5,000. And, he filed a summons for me.

The result was this — some attorney responded for the Skipper and it flatly stated that no accident had ever happened. No one had hit me. There never was a guy whose license I photocopied. I never had any damage and my cancer was a ruse. In fact, this was all my fault. Wasn’t I the criminal here?

I had to withdraw my case against the City since they were not a fault for the pedestrians being hit and killed in lower Manhattan. And, since I still was able to walk, what was I complaining about?

Keep in mind folks that in People v. Torres, the D.A. is required to prosecute this, “Right of Way Law” which makes it a misdemeanor for a driver, while failing to exercise due care, to make contact with a pedestrian or bicyclist who has the right of way and thereby cause physical injury.

I withdrew my case against the driver because I was getting no help from anyone. Apparently, I had never been there and who was I going to get to testify, the frankfurter guy? Imagine his fealty to me when he received a subpoena (if I could even afford to send him one) and had to testify about his legal status and then worry about retaliation for selling old hot dogs. HE would probably attack me every time I passed his cart.

He’d probably fear being attacked by a gangster from New Jersey. Or, maybe the guy who hit me. Unless the line was still moving. Who knows who would be blamed the next time someone was killed by a car.

Probably, me because I didn’t write about it.

Stay tuned for “Up & Away,” a novel about prison life — “Murder in SoHo” — and “Bonfires in the Hamptons,” the story of Justice at the hands of corrupt Hamptons politicians — all based upon true stories. Coming this summer. They’ll make your hair stand up if you believe in the 1st Amendment.

The 1st Amendment and the Free Press

“There’s a reason education SUCKS, and it’s the same reason it will never, ever,  EVER be fixed.It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got.Because the owners, the owners of this country, don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the BIG owners! The Wealthy… the REAL owners! The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions.

Forget the politicians. They are irrelevant. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice! You have OWNERS! They OWN YOU. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought—and paid for—the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls.They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying, to get what they want.  Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want:

They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that! You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shitty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street—and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later ‘cause they own this fucking place! It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it! You, and I, are not in the big club.

By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care! Good honest hard-working people; white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue—these are people of modest means—continue to elect these rich cock suckers who don’t give a fuck about you….they don’t give a fuck about you… they don’t give a FUCK about you.

They don’t care about you at all… at all… AT ALL.  And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth.

It’s called the American Dream—because you have to be asleep to believe it.

— George Carlin

Okay, so it’s a George Carlin rant. But, even for those of you who despised Donald Trump, he made a few relevant points. Some had to do with the minimal time under the statute of limitations to sue for certain offenses, like defamation, false reporting, and outright character assassination in the media. For those of us who bought the Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression aspect of life in these here United States, it was Jefferson who knocked down Adams when he was about to get the Alien and Sedition Act passed that prompted his actions.

For those of you who wisely stay away from opening your mouth, attending demonstrations, and writing about politics — all of which I did and caught 4 years from a corrupt Hamptons D.A. prompted by the Town of Southampton and that beacon of honest reporting, the Southampton Press, for it — the time may be coming where that may not be possible. Of course, fascism is always an option. Unless you start ponying up to bring your elevated blood pressure into the courts if you still believe they’re honest. But, word to the wise, stay away from Suffolk County. It was the Feds who got D.A. Spota, not the State Supreme Courts. Take it from me I know what I’m talking about. That game was carefully controlled by Spota (now in prison for operating a criminal enterprise out of his District Attorney’s Office) and his pals like Frank McKay of the Independence Party. Nothing has changed. And, with a $9,000 dollars a month pension which he collects while in prison and $17 million in cash awaiting Spota’s release, a Club Fed might be just the time he needs to plan his next moves. No fences, tennis, a pool, and great food.

I just published “Up & Away,” the first of several books coming this year. Soon to be available to those who’d like to experience four plus years behind bars without the financial and emotional devastation. And, I can always sit and read about myself on the internet compliments of a hit piece ordered by John Sutter and written by Lincoln Anderson — still available more than ten years after the fact on The Villager, now available through Schneps Media who bought them out. They claim to be a “Community publication” which looks suspiciously like a company who figured out how to collect an ever-expanding wellspring of advertisers as if it were a Ponzi scheme that keeps acquiring new money-losing newspapers to maintain its existence. And, theres no limit on how long a company can publish articles on the internet if you don’t file a lawsuit within one year for defamation. Cute.

Stay Tuned.