How the NYPD recriminalized marijuana after the state decriminalized it

Back in 1977, middle class, white New Yorkers got frustrated over being criminalized for smoking weed, so they got the state legislature to decriminalized simple possession of weed -- merely having weed in your possession became a civil infraction and if you were caught, you might get a ticket, but that's it. Read the rest

NY public dog park hijacked by over-entitled locals

For ten years a band of locals hijacked a Tribeca public dog park and charged for access.

In 2008 the NYC Parks Department partnered with a local dog owners group to help manage the Warren Street Dog Park. Dog Owners of Tribeca (DOOT), decided to turn the public park into a private one and charge fees for its use. They also established a Fight Club-style list of rules to keep their utopia private.

Via the NY Post:

In the absence of public funds and services, our group will help make sure that this park does not become a stain on the neighborhood,” the group proclaimed in their incorporation papers filed with the state attorney general.

Members said it also allowed them to restore canine order in the neighborhood. “At public dog runs, people let their dogs run wild and act aggressively,” said member Lenore Sherman, 61, who has a golden retriever named Huck. “Here, owners are held accountable for the behavior of their dog.”

One member had no idea the park was public.

“That’s crazy,” said John Ellett, 33, a professional dog-walker. “They even require the dogs to wear special tags, so I thought it was totally private.”

When the dog run first opened, the Parks Department tasked the DOOT to help run the park.

“Dog runs are maintained through barknerships between NYC Parks and community groups,” said Sam Biederman, a Parks spokesman. “NYC Parks dog runs are meant to be open to the public — charging for entrance is prohibited.”

Parks officials snipped the lock Friday, after receiving a complaint.

Read the rest

NYPD has no backup for its seized property database, recording millions in annual seizures

The Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS) is the NYPD's huge database where it stores ownership information on the millions in New Yorkers' property it takes charge of every year (including about $68m in cash and counting), through evidence collection and asset forfeiture. Read the rest

Women are flocking to Susan B Anthony's grave to cover it with "I Voted" stickers

Suffragist and one-dollar-coin model Susan B Anthony put her life and freedom on the line to win the vote for women in America, but she never got to cast a ballot herself. Read the rest

New York Attorney General to Time Warner: your Internet is "abysmal" and "troubling"

Crusading law prof Tim Wu -- who coined the term "Network Neutrality" and literally wrote the book on telcoms, corruption, and networks as a force for corruption or liberation -- has a new gig: he's "Senior Enforcement Counsel and Special Advisor" to the New York Attorney General, and he's on the warpath. Read the rest

Tim Wu joins the New York Attorney General's office

Wu, a protege of Larry Lessig who coined the term "Net Neutrality," will be on sabbatical from Columbia Law while he works for the AG: "If I have a life mission, it is to fight bullies" Read the rest

United CEO and top execs resign over corruption scandal

Jeff Smisek was CEO of Continental and took over United in the 2010 merger and now he and two of his top execs have quit in the midst of a scandal over favor-trading with the NY and NJ Port Authority. Read the rest

New York bans pet piercing

You'll still be allowed to put tags in your guinea pigs' and rabbits' ears, but no more tattooing or piercing unless it's for the animal's benefit. Read the rest

Hilariously awkward video of Andrew Cuomo and his boys club aggressively ignoring Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu at a parade

Read the rest

NY politics: "progressive" Kathy Hochul loses debate to herself

Kathy Hochul is one of Tim Wu's opponents in the primary for the Democratic nomination for the NY lieutenant governorship (I endorse the Teachout/Wu ticket), but won't debate him. Read the rest

Zephyr Teachout: the most awesome gubernatorial candidate in New York history [endorsement]

Tiffiniy Cheng writes, "No governor deserves your attention unless they're awesome, right? What if the awesomest possible candidate was running against big power right now? Zephyr Teachout is that badass." Read the rest

Top NY Court says towns can ban fracking

This morning's ruling from New York State's highest court, holding that towns can ban fracking in city limits, is a huge setback for petrocratic rule. Read the rest

Get a wee degree in free from RIT

The Rochester Institute of Technology has announced America's "first minor in free and open source software and free culture." (Thanks, Stephen!) Read the rest

Bookshelves of the ancients

David Harper's installation "Stacks" is part of the collection at the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in upstate New York. For another view, check out this shot.

(via Kadrey) Read the rest

Dentist sued over "I own your criticism" agreement vanishes

Dr. Stacy Makhnevich was a NYC dentist (billing herself as the "Classical Singer Dentist of New York") who made use of a bizarre form provided by a company called "Medical Justice." Her patients were expected to sign this form, through which they assigned copyright in all their reviews of the dental practice and the doctor to the doctor herself, enabling her to use copyright notices to censor any criticism of her that appeared online. Robert Lee was an unhappy patient who posted a one-star Yelp review in 2010, and subsequently ended up embroiled in litigation against Makhnevich -- a lawsuit that would have likely settled the question of the legality of Medical Justice's adhesion contracts.

But Medical Justice left Makhnevich to fight the claim on her own, and she has subsequently disappeared. It seems she is no longer practicing dentistry, and her lawyers can't locate her and have asked to shut down the case. Read the rest

Head-shop CCTV catches police informant/undercover planting crack

Charlie writes, "There is a smoke shop in Scotia NY, owned by a young black man. There are many, many smoke shops in the capital region, but the rest are owned by white people. Undercover police decided to send an 'undercover agent' (an informant facing his own jail time) to investigate. Shortly after, the owner was charged with possession of crack cocaine. He was facing almost a decade in prison. Just one hitch though: the owner had video cameras set up in his shop. The videos captured the informant dropped a bag of crack on the counter; planting the drugs. The charges were dismissed, the informant has suddenly "disappeared" and the owner is now considering a law suit." Read the rest

TSA orders airport valets to search parked cars

A woman who valet-parked her car at Rochester airport returned to find a notice informing her that the valet had searched her car, on orders from the TSA. The TSA does not search cars in the other garages, and they do not provide notice to valet parkers that their cars are subject to search. The TSA says it searches the parked cars because they are stored close enough to the terminal that a bomb could do serious damage.

John McCaffery, TSA, said, “No, those vehicles that are in the garage, short term long term parking, even if they carry pretty large amounts of explosives, they would not cause damage to the front of the airport. But for those who use the valet, the car could be there for a half hour or an hour so there is a vulnerability.”

News10NBC went to the valet parking and one of the attendants showed us the notice they put in the cars.

We asked, “You're required, they tell you, you have to search the car?” Valet Parking Attendant Frank Dettorre said, “I have to do it.”

My prediction: the TSA will erect a sign at the valet drop-off saying, "By valet parking, you agree that we can search your car." And that will be the end of it. Because in the 21st century, posting a notice of your unreasonable conduct is the same as getting consent for it.

TSA searches valet parked car [Berkeley Brean/WHEC.com] Read the rest

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