Good morning! I come bearing sad news. (Not that I come bearing good news very often, but this is personal). This is your second-to-last newsletter from OptOut New York, as we are having to pause our production for the time being.
We will hopefully be back at some point, but funding is as unpredictable as the L train on a Saturday, so who knows. But, that is also why I will share a reminder: please make a tax-deductible donation today so that the rest of our team can keep bringing to you the best of independent media, including stories on climate and the LGBTQ+ community.
New York City’s asylum seekers are running out of time. Many of them who were bused here from Texas last year are desperately seeking lawyers who can assist them with their cases. But the pro bono system is over capacity, which means the asylum seekers, who often arrive here with a backpack and little money, are left with the option of private lawyers, which is not really an option since most can’t afford them.
“The last thing I want is to be sent back to Colombia. For me that would be the death,” Esteban, an asylum seeker, told Documented. He recently paid someone $500 to send his application in time for his May 11 deadline. The $500 was one week’s salary.
Behind the announcements asking you to “stand clear of the closing doors” is a person, a real human being. That’s what MTA workers want you to know when talking about subway deaths.
The year 2022 marked a 25% increase from 2018 in the number of people “coming into contact” with trains. There were 88 deaths from 1,364 such incidents last year. This may sound like a small percentage, but the impact it leaves on the subway drivers on the other end of the accident is long-lasting.
Drivers who have faced this shared with The City that it took them a year to return to their job—against the mere three days of paid leave that workers are granted by the MTA for such incidents. However, there is a provision for employees to file a worker’s compensation claim and stay on break for longer.
Many drivers feel a similar fate is only a matter of time.
“We’re just waiting to see if it’s our turn to be the next to hit somebody,” one train operator said.
Just in time for the state’s budget deadline (which seems to still be at a stalemate as of Monday), there rose a speculation that the budget will likely not be “doing significant things” with regards to housing.
Gov. Kathy Hochul had promised that housing would be a key focus for the budget this year, with a plan that would make 800,000 units available over the next decade.
New York Focus cites unnamed Assembly sources who claimed, “It’s not happening,” and that the most recent version of the budget has eliminated a major housing policy.
“The grid seems like a good place to start; it’s where the electricity flows from.”
The poet in me is dizzy seeing a potential prompt in this, but I’ll get to that later. There is some good news here.
Hell Gate’s latest podcast explores how the city’s power grid, a “climate disaster,” may be changing for the better.
Max Rivlin-Nadler says New York State aims to draw about 70% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by the end of the decade, with a mandate to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040.
While upstate New York is making progress in that direction, the city, or “downstate,” is only taking backward steps. Since the shutting down of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in 2021, the city is burning more fossil fuels to keep it self-powered.
Meanwhile, the city doesn’t rely on any of its yet-to-be-functional offshore wind farms. But the downstate region aims to draw nearly half of its power from offshore wind farms by 2040.
Less than 1% of NYCHA residents are entrepreneurs, an untapped possibility that has “immense potential” if it’s addressed, according to City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. She has advocated for expanding programs that provide training, mentorship, and education for NYCHA residents who want to grow their businesses.
It provides an opportunity for the residents to explore their potential as well as a dream of their own—and, in some cases, create a safety net.
“I was working full-time at a financial institution and thought having something of my own would be good to fall back on,” Niani Taylor, who has a catering business called Munch Hours, told City Limits.
It ended up being the safety net for her when she was laid off in 2019.
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