NYC – End to Measles, But Not the End of Fight Against Anti-Vaxxers

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot (right) at a press conference in April at the height of the measles outbreak.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot (right) at a press conference in April at the height of the measles outbreak. NYC MAYOR’S OFFICE FLICKR

NYC Declares End To Measles Outbreak, But Fight Against Anti-Vaxxers Continues

New York City’s biggest measles outbreak in nearly 30 years, which predominantly sickened ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents of Williamsburg and Borough Park, has ended.

According to Health Department officials, 42 days, or two consecutive incubation periods for the highly contagious virus have passed, allowing the city to declare itself measles-free. The last recorded infection was in mid-July. An emergency order in place since April that required measles vaccination for all people who lived, worked or attended school in four Brooklyn zip codes has been lifted.

“There may no longer be local transmission of measles in New York City, but the threat remains given other outbreaks in the U.S. and around the world,” Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Our best defense against renewed transmission is having a well-immunized city.”

Since the outbreak began in early October, 654 New York City residents got sick, 73 percent of whom were unvaccinated children. Fifty-two people were hospitalized and 16 of those people were admitted to intensive care units, according to the Health Department.

“The response to this outbreak has been nothing short of epic,” Barbot said, adding that 547 health department employees worked more than 1,000 hours. In total the response efforts cost the city more than $6 million.

Efforts to quash the outbreak were met by pushback from anti-vaccine activists at every turn, she said.

“We faced sustained resistance from anti-vaccination forces who continued to hold rallies and scare parents,” Barbot said. “These campaigns of fear and lies put New Yorkers at risk. We had to do more than the anti-vaxxers.”

While no one died in New York City’s outbreak, an Israeli flight attendant who caught the virus while traveling from New York to Tel Aviv died from complications in mid-August, according to Times of Israel. All those hospitalized have recovered, though some severe, long-term complications of measles can occur months and even years later, officials said.

The height of the outbreak occurred in April, with nearly 200 cases. Those numbers began to decline in the following months, after the city declared a public health emergency. Immunization rates for children in affected neighborhoods jumped in that time, from 88 percent before the outbreak to now nearly 99 percent in Borough Park and from 67 percent to 95 percent in Williamsburg, officials said.

As part of the city’s emergency order, people who refused vaccination for themselves or their children could be fined $1,000. The city doled a total 232 of those summonses to parents for failing to get their children vaccinated, and about 29 have had to pay fines after an administrative hearing. Some of the cases are still pending and another 159 were canceled after the family either got their child vaccinated or showed proof of measles immunity from a blood test.

In the years leading up to this most recent outbreak, ultra-Orthodox areas saw a decrease in immunization rates, and a spike in religious exemptions, Gothamist and WNYC reported. The trend was largely fueled by misinformation about the supposed dangers of vaccines, spread by a handful of anti-vaccination activists within the Orthodox community who had ties to the national, secular anti-vaccine movement, and propagated their ideas with glossy hand-delivered pamphlets, robocalls, hotlines for fearful moms and massive symposiums with hundreds of attendees.

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The Satmar and the Value of their Money – De Blasio’s Presidency Bid and the Money in His Coffers…

Orthodox Jews stroll in Borough Park | Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo

Satmar Chassidim Helping DeBlasio Presidential Campaign Stay Alive

The following is via Politico:

Mayor Bill de Blasio is turning to reliable allies in New York City’s Orthodox Jewish community as he scrambles for debate-qualifying donations to his presidential bid.

A fundraising request for 10,000 donors giving just $1 each is circulating online and on WhatsApp — an encrypted messaging app — among those in the Orthodox Satmar sect, which is prominent in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The message, written in Yiddish and translated for POLITICO by three different people fluent or conversant in the language, acknowledges the mayor’s long-shot chances. It says it is not a request to support his White House bid, but rather to help him qualify for the September debate.

Failing to secure a spot on the national stage would be a blow to his struggling campaign.

The pitch also implies the donations would yield favorable treatment in the future.

It opens with a donation request on behalf of those “who work together with the faithful askanim [loosely translated to influential people] who are in constant contact with the government to lobby on a number of issues on behalf of our holy institutions and communities and for individuals who need help and to represent your interests,” according to one translation from a fluent Yiddish speaker.

It says the mayor “personally asked” for the support and then asks donors to extend the request to their wives and adult children.

“By donating the dollar you support your needs, the entire ultra-Orthodox public and our rights and needs by answering the call of askanim who need to show that the public recognizes those who understand our interests,” it reads.

Finally, it notes, “with the dollar you do not support his candidacy but you can help get him to the debate.”

De Blasio needs to show the Democratic National Committee he has raised money from 130,000 individuals in order to qualify, and as of his campaign filing this month, he only had about 6,700.

The message, shared with POLITICO by two people involved in Jewish politics who declined to be named, was signed by people they identified as Satmars.

The sect is divided into two factions, based upon loyalty to brothers locked in a succession feud following the death in 2006 of their father, prominent rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum.

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In search for debate-qualifying donors, de Blasio finds help among Orthodox Jews

From Politico.

De Blasio’s Donors Are Largely Big Money Interested Parties and their Law Firms, Where Will the Money Go, He Can’t Win.

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during an interview at Buzzfeed's Internet Live event at Webster Hall.

De Blasio begs for $1 donations to make September debates

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio resorted to begging for $1 donations during an interview Friday in a desperate attempt to meet the 130,000 contributor threshold to qualify for the third Democratic presidential debates in September.

“I want to make an appeal to your listeners,” de Blasio said on the Laura Coates Show on Sirius XM.

“If you believe in things like a bill of rights for workers please help me. Donate at least $1 online at BilldeBlasio.com. Help me stay on that debate stage,” he pleaded.

On Tuesday the term-limited pol unveiled his Workers Bill of Rights — a part of his 2020 platform that includes raising the national minimum wage to $15 and providing two paid vacation time.

De Blasio has just a few weeks to qualify for the September 12 and 13 debates in Houston. Candidates must attract 130,000 individual supporters and poll at 2 percent. De Blasio hit the 2 percent mark for the first time in a July 2019 Quinnipiac University poll.

As of July 1 he only had 6,700 unique donors. A campaign spokeswoman said she could not provide updated information.

At least seven contenders have met the requirements.

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ADDITIONAL READING:

The Washington Free Beacon

De Blasio Rakes in Cash From Donors With City Interests

New York Post:

De Blasio presidential campaign raises just $1.1M for 2020 bid

Actor Steve Buscemi among de Blasio’s top 2020 donors

Pete Buttigieg has raised more money from NYC residents than de Blasio got nationwide

 

WBBM NewsRadio

De Blasio Struggles to Gain Momentum Heading Into 2nd Round of Debates

 

 

The Secret Garden: Set Up Multiple Funds For Donations, Head up Political Parties, Donate Big and then – Being Bill de Blasio –

Community garden head wants probe of de Blasio, non-profit and Brooklyn Dem big

Community garden head wants probe of de Blasio, non-profit and Brooklyn Dem big

The head of a lower Manhattan community garden is demanding the state attorney general and the city Conflicts of Interest Board probe plans to turn over valuable city land to a group of developers that includes a non-profit with strong ties to Mayor de Blasio.

The Brooklyn-based RiseBoro non-profit includes among its board members Frank Carone, who, campaign finance records show, has donated nearly $11,000 to de Blasio since 2011. Carone is also the chief lawyer for the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

RiseBoro, formerly known as the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and once synonymous with the disgraced late Assemblyman Vito Lopez, is one of three entities slated to take over Elizabeth Street Garden in Nolita and convert it to 123 units of affordable housing.

The two other developers are Pennrose and Habitat for Humanity NYC. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development selected the team to take on the project, dubbed Haven Green, in Dec. 2017.

Joseph Reiver, the garden’s executive director, contends Carone’s connection to the mayor and his role at RiseBoro — he’s also chairman of the non-profit’s Audit Committee — creates, at the very least, the appearance of a sweetheart deal.

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Rechnitz and Reichberg & de Blasio, and One New York and Fairness PAC and Housing and … President and New York?

mayor9n-2-web

Bill de Blasio officially launches 2020 presidential campaign

 

He’s late — again.

After nearly half a year of hemming and hawing, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday entered the 2020 presidential race, becoming the 23rd Democrat to join the jam-packed field.

The termed-out politician, known for his habitual tardiness, finally decided to run after five months of toying with a White House bid.

“I’m Bill de Blasio and I’m running for president because it’s time we put working people first,” the mayor said in a three-minute YouTube videoannouncing his candidacy.

The opening shots include de Blasio zipping around the city in the back of an SUV — his gas-guzzling choice of transportation for the 11-mile jaunt from Gracie Mansion to the gym in Park Slope.

“Good thing about New Yorkers is they look the same whether they’re really pissed off at you or they like you,” the mayor quips.

He details his “Working People First” slogan by touting his policy initiatives including pre-K for all, paid sick leave and boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

First lady Chirlane McCray also makes an appearance to briefly plug her mental health agenda.

“Everything begins with being healthy and there is no health without mental health,” she says.

Then, as the White House flashes on the screen to dramatic music, de Blasio pivots to a national message.

“Don’t back down in the face of the bully — take him on,” he says. “As president, I will take on the wealthy, I will take on the big corporations, I will not rest until this government serves working people.”

He also vows to fight President Trump head-on.

“Donald Trump must be stopped. I’ve beaten him before and I’ll do it again,” de Blasio says.

Insiders initially thought de Blasio would announce his national campaign the week of his 58th birthday on May 8, but he delayed.

“So you’re still deciding?” NY1’s Errol Louis asked the mayor on May 6.

“Yes indeed,” the dithering mayor said.

Local political experts can’t fathom what prompted the mayor to take the plunge.

“It’s really hard to understand what lane de Blasio plans to ride to the nomination,” said David Birdsell, dean of the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at CUNY’s Baruch College.

What’s more, people just don’t like him, polls show.

De Blasio has the dubious distinction of being the only candidate or potential candidate out of 23 contenders to earn a negative rating among national Democrats in a March Monmouth University survey. A total of 24 percent gave him a thumbs down while just 18 percent had a favorable view of him.

At home, the numbers are even worse. A staggering 76 percent of Big Apple voters don’t think he should run, according to an April Quinnipiac University Poll.

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De Blasio, “Fairness” PAC, Mint-Scented Trash Bags and Which Quid for What Quo?

mayor9n-2-web

Never Mind the White House: Mayor Quid Pro Quo Is Lucky He’s Not in Jail

If New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joins the gaggle of Democrats running for president, he will stand out as the only one who flouted federal law so often and so flagrantly that prosecutors felt compelled to publicly explain why they had not gone ahead and locked him up.

The March 2017 statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan announced:

“We have conducted a thorough investigation into several circumstances in which Mayor de Blasio and others acting on his behalf solicited donations from individuals who sought official favors from the City, after which the Mayor made or directed inquiries to relevant City agencies on behalf of those donors,” the statement reported.

Note the absence of the word “alleged.”

The pay-to-play operation—which involved everything from a contract for mint-scented, rat-resistant trash bags to multimillion-dollar real estate deals—is stated as fact. The statement goes on to explain why the prosecutor had decided “not to bring federal criminal charges against the Mayor or those acting on his behalf.”

“In considering whether to charge individuals with serious public corruption crimes, we take into account, among other things, the high burden of proof, the clarity of existing law, any recent changes in the law, and the particular difficulty in proving criminal intent in corruption schemes where there is no evidence of personal profit,” it says.

Those “changes in the law” included a U.S Supreme Court decision in June of the year before, which vacated the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, who had accepted a $175,000 loan and various gifts from a dietary supplement manufacturer that sought state assistance in testing and marketing his product.

The decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who explained: “There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that. But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the Government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute. A more limited interpretation of the term ‘official act’ leaves ample room for prosecuting corruption.”

In short, just arranging a meeting in exchange for a gift does not constitute corruption under the more narrow definition. The accused must have performed an official act such as can be placed on an agenda or memorialized in the record.

That narrower definition of corruption came when the feds in New York were eight months into investigating de Blasio. They felt they were well on the way to making a case.

“The government was lusting, lusting to get de Blasio,” an attorney for a big donor who was repeatedly questioned by the feds told The Daily Beast.

But in instances such as the mint-scented rat-repellent trash bags, de Blasio had simply granted a meeting with parks department officials and facilitated a field test.

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