Advocates call for ‘Good Cause eviction’ legislation:
During the City of Poughkeepsie Common Council meeting on Nov. 1, advocates urged local officials to pass the “Good Cause eviction” legislation, which was first announced on Monday, Aug. 23 by Councilmember Sarah Salem. If passed, the bill would prevent landlords from evicting tenants, hiking up rent prices or not renewing a lease without a justifiable reason. A judge often determines the standard for a “justifiable” eviction, but some examples include failing to pay rent, violating the terms of the lease, causing a nuisance, violating the law or the owner selling the building (Spectrum News One, 2021). Albany, Hudson, New Paltz and Newburgh have recently passed versions of the Good Cause Eviction bill (Poughkeepsie Journal, 2021).
During the recent Common Council meeting, numerous residents and advocates from Poughkeepsie pushed members to vote in support of the proposed bill. A member of the Community Voices Heard organization, Donovan Miller, said, “I am one of thousands of residents who have entrusted stability at the hands of our elected officials to vote yes in support of Good Cause of Eviction, to save families from indiscriminate living standards.” Another member of Community Voices Heard, Daisy Lee, explained that she is at risk of being evicted. She stated, “I think COVID and the moratorium are the only thing that’s saving a lot of people right now. I think Good Cause eviction would greatly help the City of Poughkeepsie with the up and coming housing issues that you guys are going to be coming up against.”
County employees to receive COVID-19 bonus:
The Dutchess County Legislature recently approved a measure to spend $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in order to give over 1,600 county employees deemed essential during the pandemic a one-time bonus of $1,000. The amendment passed the Republican-led legislature after City of Poughkeepsie Democratic Rep. Barrington Atkins unsuccessfully attempted to amend the proposed bonus to $2,000. Atkins blasted his Republican colleagues for prioritizing ARPA funds that they could have used to pay for this proposal for improvements of Dutchess Stadium, home of the Hudson Valley Renegades. Republican County Executive Marc Molinaro argued that Atkins’ amendment would have delayed payments, as the county would have had to renegotiate with the unions representing the county workers. “When we needed them most, and after many went without, county employees rose to the most challenging occasion of our lifetime,” said Molinaro. “This modest one-time compensation benefit is meant to show our gratitude to those who weathered the storm on behalf of a thankful community” (Mid Hudson News, 2021).
Five people shot in Poughkeepsie:
Between Thursday night and Friday morning, five individuals were shot in the vicinity of Revel 32, an event venue in downtown Poughkeepsie. Two victims were shot while they were in a tour bus leaving the venue. Before the shootings, police also found a man stabbed about one mile away from the event at Revel 32. The incident comes amidst a recent spike in gun violence around Poughkeepsie. “We have not seen this level of gun violence in many, many years,” Mayor Rob Rolison said Friday afternoon during an interview with The Poughkeepsie Journal. “I don’t know what the answer is. It’s unimaginable to me. It’s time to stop it, and I don’t know exactly when that is going to happen” (Poughkeepsie Journal, 2021).
Six New York corrections facilities to close next year
The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision announced that Downstate Correctional Facility is one of six incarceral institutions slated to close on March 10, 2022. The closure will include minimum, medium and maximum security facilities and comes in response to the fact that the state’s prison population has dropped to a level not seen since the ’80s. This month, New York’s total prison population numbered just over 31,000, the lowest since 1984. For context, this is a steep decline from a peak of 73,000 in 1999. Next year’s closures follow the passage of several criminal justice reform bills, such as the Less is More and HALT Solitary Confinement Acts, and are expected to save New York taxpayers roughly $142 million (Poughkeepsie Journal, 2021).