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NYCLU News 1998

NYCLU unveils a map of video surveillance cameras in public spaces in Manhattan.

Norman Siegel, NYCLU’s Executive Director stated, “Video surveillance cameras have arrived in the streets of New York City, with effectively no organized discussion or debate on their role in our city. We hope to change that.”

The map details the number of cameras, where they are located, and what types of cameras are currently being used. The NYCLU will also call for legislation to regulate the use of video surveillance cameras.

NYCLU sues New York State over racial discrimination in public schools — December 3, 1998 — The NYCLU today sued the state of New York and various state officials, including Governor George Pataki, alleging that they are administering the state’s educational system in a manner that discriminates against schools with high concentrations of minority students. This suit covers schools across the state of New York, but not the five boroughs of New York City.

The NYCLU lawsuit charges students in “high-minority” schools, where 80 percent of the student body is comprised of racial and ethnic minorities, are far less likely to receive essential educational services than students in predominantly white schools. The NYCLU defines these essential services as: properly qualified teachers, appropriate remedial services, adequate school buildings, grounds, and libraries, and the opportunity to earn a Regents diploma.

”This lawsuit will seek to fundamentally change the face of public education in New York State,” said NYCLU Executive Director Norman Siegel. ” This is an historic civil rights lawsuit. It will be followed by a second one, which will be based on a New York State constitutional provision guaranteeing an opportunity to a sound, basic education and will be filed in early 1999.

The NYCLU’s lawsuit, filed in the Unites States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Gov. Pataki, Chancellor of the Board of Regents Carl T. Hayden, and Education Commissioner Richard P. Mills, also alleges that the state’s school-finance system discriminates against districts with large concentrations of minority students. The NYCLU charges that this exacerbates the disproportionately poor education resources available to students in high-minority schools.

For example, in Suffolk County on Long Island, the defendants spent nearly 35 percent more on instructional expenses for each student in the county’s low minority districts than it spent on the county’s two high-minority districts.

The NYCLU’s lawsuit against Governor George Pataki, the chancellor of the board of regents and the state education commissioner is available on this site:

— read it online

— download it as a Word document

— download it as a plain text file

Federal court orders Guiliani Administration to open steps of City Hall to AIDS organization to commemorate World AIDS Day. In a case brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), United States District Court Judge Harold Baer ordered the Giuliani Administration to open the steps of City Hall to permit Housing Works, an AIDS service and advocacy group, to hold an event on the steps to mark World AIDS Day Tuesday, December 1. In August 1998 the Administration closed the steps to public events, purportedly out of security concerns. November 1998

NYCLU Investigation finds Taxi and Limousine Commission operating behind closed doors. An investigation by the New York Civil Liberties Union found that the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) denies the public access to administrative law hearings at their offices in Long Island City, Queens, NYCLU Executive Director Norman Siegel announced today. Siegel said this may be illegal. Siegel also charged that the TLC fails to provide taxi cab drivers with the minimum respect that city residents should expect from their government officials. November 1998

NYCLU opens investigation of the NYC Parks Department. The NYCLU investigation of the Parks Department comes in response to published reports that the department censored a condom display in Central Park. According to reports, Parks Department officials expressed “concerns” to a Central Park concessionaire that an artificial 35-foot tall pine tree covered in condoms in multi-colored wrappers that would have been displayed as part of a Words AIDS Day event sponsored by Levi Strauss & Company was inappropriate. November 1998

Court forces City to draft new policy on rallies on the steps of City Hall. October 1998

NYCLU Challenges City on Sound Permits in Times Square. Like the steps of City Hall, Times Square has long been the site of political protest. Earlier this year the City adopted a new policy by which it would issue sound permits only to those groups who first obtained a special permit normally issued for events for which streets need to be closed (such as street fairs). Not only do most protest groups have no need for such special permits, but they cannot obtain them because of the discriminatory nature of the rules for those permits. August 1998

NYCLU sues Mayor Giuliani over NYPD rules limiting First Amendment activity on steps of City Hall. July 1998

NYPD agrees to halt practice of detaining innocent bystanders in city parks as part of settlement of lawsuit brought by NYCLU. June 1998

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