We'll hear from the author of the book about rats and the new city rat czar. We'll get the details of a $462-million settlement with ecigarette maker Juul, over claims that its marketing targeted young people.
Robert Sullivan was told by his friends that he was perfect for a job with high visibility, which Mayor Eric Adams wanted to fill: Rat Czar of New York City. Officially, he is the director of rodent reduction.
He wrote a book about rats. It was called Rats.
Sullivan didn't apply, but Adams announced that he chose Kathleen Corradi. She is a sustainability and land use expert at the Department of Education of the City. Adams referred to her as a "maestro" who would coordinate the efforts to solve New York's rats problem. City Hall's news release suggested something even more exalted. Its subject line read: "Mayor Adams anoints" -- not "appoints" -- Kathleen Corradi to be the city's Rat Czar.
Adams said, "The rats will hate Kathy."
Corradi will receive $155,000 per year and supervise the rats experts already working for the city. Robert Corrigan is a rodentologist who works for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He has installed movement sensors in streets to monitor rat behavior. A city-wide rodent taskforce is also in place.
Rats have a special place in the mayor's heart. He has been fighting tickets for rat infestations as the owner of a Brooklyn townhouse. There is no doubt that rats are a problem that causes policymakers headaches: According to city statistics, the number of rat sightings recorded by inspectors has doubled in one year. City Hall attributed this increase to increased inspections. Budget cuts due to the pandemic could have led to a reduction in trash collection. Adams reversed a few of the cuts.
Sullivan, who had said that 'the existence of rats indicates a serious problem with the way the city functions', said he felt 'hopeful" after watching Adams' news conference, at which Corradi was introduced. She stated that "rats are a sign of systemic problems, such as sanitation, housing, and economic justice."
Adams stated that Corradi's role was to "take the lead" in a multi-agency effort to test new mitigation techniques, and to expand outreach and educational efforts.
Adams also announced that Harlem would spend $3.5 million to create a new rodent-reduction zone.
Sullivan explained that starting in a single neighborhood is logical. This has been the approach taken by mayors before. But immediately, the question arises: 'You say you are taking care of rats but are you also helping people?
He noted that Corradi was a teacher before becoming an administrator. As the rat czar he said 'a great deal depends on what kind of teacher she will be and has been'.
Sullivan said that New York should take the lead from British Columbia in Canada, which has banned rat poison. After an 18-month test, a permanent ban was imposed on the so-called second-generation anticoagulant rat poisons in January. CBC News reported that officials in British Columbia said that the danger was that animals who consumed poisoned mice could be poisoned themselves. Corradi stated on Wednesday that she is open to humane ways of eliminating rats.
Sullivan referred to a few rat infestations he'd seen in the past that were 'pretty impressive'.
He said that he saw 'a lot rats running into and out of a vehicle', not through an open door, but through the wheelwells to the engine compartment. He said that they left the car and ate from the restaurant trash, then returned to the vehicle.
'I saw it probably a week ago, and I wondered, "Hmm, what's the status of that rat-czar's job search?" He said: "I don't know what street that was, but I'm sure it's near my house." I'm guessing that's SoHo.
Enjoy a sunny, warm day in the 80s. In the evening, temperatures will drop to low 60s.
PARKING ALTERNATE SIDE
Today (Orthodox Holy Thursday, Passover) and tomorrow (Orthodox Good Freitag), the suspension is in effect.
Civil trial of Donald Trump: Lawyers representing former president Donald Trump have asked a federal court to postpone the civil trial for one month over allegations that he raped an editor in a magazine during the mid-1990s.
The Cornell University administration resisted the student assembly's vote to require that faculty alert students about disturbing educational materials.
Doctor accused of sexual abuse. A urologist working at two prominent New York hospital was charged for a series of assaults that began when the patients were minors.
Patrick Lynch, head of New York City's police union -- the largest in the country -- is stepping down at the end his term.
Juul has agreed to a settlement of $462 Million
Juul, the maker of electronic cigarettes, has agreed to pay $462,000,000 to New York and five other states as well as the District of Columbia in order to settle lawsuits that claimed the company had exacerbated the vaping epidemic with its aggressive marketing of the ecigarettes to youth.
According to my colleagues Christina Jewett & Julie Creswell, the settlement marks an end to Juul's many legal issues. The company has reached settlements with 47 state and territory governments, 5,000 individuals and local government.
Juul has spent nearly $3 billion on settlements of lawsuits. This is a huge amount for a company that still seeks official regulatory approval in order to sell its products. Juul was criticized for not warning young users about the addictive nature of e-cigarettes due to their high nicotine content.
In the New York lawsuit, it was noted that the company used social media hashtags such as #LightsCameraVapor. Letitia Jimenez, New York's attorney general, stated on Wednesday that this company held glamorous parties in New York City, and in the Hamptons, which 'falsely misled consumers into believing that their vapes are safer than cigarettes, and contain less nicotine'
James said that Juul's lies caused a national public health crisis, and placed addictive products into the hands of teens who believed they were doing nothing wrong. He noted that California would receive nearly $113 millions from the settlement. California is set to receive $176 million.
Austin Finan, a spokesman from Juul, stated that the company did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement. The settlement, he said, meant that Juul had 'nearly resolved the company's historic legal challenges' and was providing certainty for the future. Citing federal data, he stated that the use of Juul products by minors had decreased by 95 percent.
In my senior year of high school, I spent a summer working at a Lower East Side kosher-cheese store. In those days, there were many kosher eateries in the area.
On a trip for business to the city fifty years later, I decided to find them.
As I continued my search, I became more hungry but could not find the old places I was looking for or anything else I liked.
Finally, I found a pickle shop. I was hoping it sold sandwiches and scanned the large blackboard listing all the options.
Can I help you?" A man was helping another client when he called out from behind the shop.
"I was actually hoping for a Pastrami Sandwich," I replied.