Wednesday, May 04, 2016

James, Cumbo and the Atlantic Yards sexual harassment that didn't provoke outrage; DNAinfo airs skepticism of new ID system

I have an essay in Gotham Gazette, James Takes Softer Stance on Atlantic Yards, dissecting why Public Advocate Letitia James made a phone call on behalf of the project developer, as a critical Daily News series loomed. Nor did she comment after the series was published.

I also point out that 35th District Council Member Laurie Cumbo, James's successor, is a strong voice for women on issues of sexual harassment and assault, but when one of her constituents reported that living near the Pacific Park project was like "living in a shark tank" (as reported in this blog and then the Daily News), the Council Member was curiously reticent.

Though James wouldn't comment, and Cumbo wouldn't initially comment, she did provide a statement yesterday, which was excerpted significantly in my essay.

Here's the full statement:
As Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus, I have fostered strategic partnerships with key stakeholders, worked with advocacy groups and survivors year-round, secured additional Council funding totaling more than $6 million for fiscal year 2016 to support citywide initiatives, and introduced legislation that will raise awareness to prevent sexual harassment and assault. The 35th Council District is home to several venues that attract thousands of New Yorkers and tourists daily. As a result, neighboring residents have experienced an increase in pedestrian and vehicular traffic among other quality of life issues. In recent weeks, there has been greater visibility on the need to address sexual harassment within our community. Every year, thousands of New Yorkers experience cat calls, lewd gestures, inappropriate language and unwarranted comments about the physical characteristics of their bodies. In the City of New York, these acts will not be tolerated. Today and every day, we echo the words, ‘enough is enough.’ I want to acknowledge Ashley Cotton, SVP of External Affairs, Forest City Ratner Companies for working with the NYPD, Barclays Center, contractors, and unions to implement several measures including a color-coded identification system for its workers to improve accountability and a guest code of conduct for Islanders games to enhance public safety. These preliminary steps are indicative of our collective commitment to fostering a safe environment for women, the LGBTQ community, and countless others who deserve to freely commute,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.
Some skepticism of ID system

Also note coverage in DNAinfo, Color-Coded IDs Mandated at Pacific Park After Harassment Reports:
Wayne Bailey, president of the precinct community council and one of those residents who described being harassed by workers in the Daily News report, told DNAinfo New York he doesn’t think every construction worker is a problem, but thinks there is an “element” of workers who feel entitled “to do whatever they want to do,” whether that’s park on sidewalks or leave urine in bottles around the site — behavior he’s personally witnessed.
“If it makes them really identifiable, I think that it would help tremendously,” he said.
But he worries that the badges and stickers will be hard to spot on the uniforms of workers; instead, he suggested having big, block letters on the back of their vests, similar to those seen on restaurant deliverymen.

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