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CBS News: "Federal investigators accuse Google of underpaying women"

04/10/2017

CBS News: "Federal investigators accuse Google of underpaying women"

WASHINGTON -- In recruiting videos, Google says it wants more women at the top of the company.

“We want to see more women in senior leadership positions,” says one video. “We want to see more people from underrepresented groups because it makes us a better company.”

But the Department of Labor is investigating the tech giant for gender pay discrimination.

At a court hearing Friday, a Labor Department official said the agency found “systemic compensation disparities against women” at Google.

The government sued Google in January, demanding statistics on employee compensation. Federal contractors are required to comply with federal civil rights law. The government says Google was selected randomly for an audit and refused to hand over data despite repeated requests.

“They run the risk of losing all their federal contracts -- that’s a significant punishment,” says attorney Randolph McLaughlin, who teaches labor law at Pace Law School. “To be accused in this day in age of paying hundreds of thousands of women across the board at a lower rate, that significantly has the potential to damage the brand.”

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Journal News: "Cuomo crafts a budget deal: Editorial"

04/10/2017

Journal News: "Cuomo crafts a budget deal: Editorial"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Red Room at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017 in Albany, N.Y. (Photo: Hans Pennink, AP)

. . . The governor's Excelsior Scholarship plan would provide free tuition at any SUNY, CUNY or state community college for middle-class families. Cuomo stood with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders when he unveiled the plan in January. Talk about burnishing your progressive cred. Nevermind that tuition is about a third of the cost of attending a SUNY; it looks good, it sounds good, and it really is a good effort. However, private colleges in the state — and there's lots of them — flipped. Calls for similar student aid access came from institutions like Pace University, ranked No. 2 in the nation for "upward mobility," that is, helping the poorest students get into the upper echelon of earners.

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FiOS1 News: "Education forum at Pace University sets sights on pending state budget"

04/10/2017

FiOS1 News: "Education forum at Pace University sets sights on pending state budget"

At an open forum at Pace University, education leaders joined teachers and students to voice their concerns over the current education system.

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Daily Nurse: "Pace University Launches PhD in Nursing Program on Pleasantville Campus"

04/10/2017

Daily Nurse: "Pace University Launches PhD in Nursing Program on Pleasantville Campus"

Pace University’s College of Health Professions is launching a new PhD in Nursing program on their Pleasantville, NY campus starting in the Fall semester. Students and faculty will work to overcome the root causes of health problems, which they’ve termed “social determinants of health.”

The PhD program will be following objectives of the World Health Organization including an emphasis on reducing social disparities in health; organizing health services around individual needs and expectations; integrating health into all sectors; pursuing collaborative models of policy dialogue; and increasing stakeholder participation.

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Downtown Express: "Pace debaters win hearts, minds, and cash money"

04/07/2017

Downtown Express: "Pace debaters win hearts, minds, and cash money"

Photo: Pace University students Christina Thomas and Rowan Lanning won $3,000 for effectively arguing that a proposal to create 43 oil-barge anchorages on the Hudson needs an environmental review.

A pair of articulate environmentalists studying at Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences took home $3,000 after they scored first place in a debate competition held at New School University on March 30.

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New York Daily News: "The prisoners we should put on Rikers: Bring back inmates from upstate"

04/05/2017

New York Daily News: "The prisoners we should put on Rikers: Bring back inmates from upstate"

"The decision announced Friday by Mayor de Blasio to endorse the central recommendation of an independent commission and close the sprawling jail complex on Rikers Island — by downsizing the city’s pretrial population and housing the remaining detainees and inmates in local jails close to courts — could be a major advance," writes Michael Mushlin, a professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

"But the plan is missing one critical piece that would mark a real step forward for thousands of families throughout the five boroughs. Namely, we should keep Rikers open to incarcerate people convicted of crimes who would otherwise be sent upstate.

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CBS New York: "Debate Rages Over Proposal To Allow Weaponized Drones For Police In Connecticut"

04/03/2017

CBS New York: "Debate Rages Over Proposal To Allow Weaponized Drones For Police In Connecticut"

GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A debate is raging over police departments deploying weaponized drones as a crime-fighting tool.

As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, the Connecticut State Legislature is the weighing whether the state should become the first in the country to allow police to use drones outfitted with deadly weapons.

In 2015, Central Connecticut College student Austin Haughwout made national headlines when he set up a gun-firing drone and posted video of the device in action.

If police began using weaponized drones, they would be far more sophisticated than Haughwout’s gun drone rig. They would likely be more like a toned-down version of what has become common in 21st century warfare – flying weaponry that kills.

The sudden proposal has sent shockwaves through the halls of the State Capitol in Hartford.

“I didn’t even know this bill was in existence, and for this to go flying, so to speak, through the Judiciary Committee so quickly was a bit of a shock,” said state Sen. Scott Franz (R-Greenwich). “The worry about weaponized drones is that there could be abuse. There could be some operator error.”

The proposal starts by outlawing airborne weaponry in the hands of civilians, and then moves to establish guidelines, training and warrant requirements for deployment of the machines in the hands of law enforcement.

It is a step no other state has yet taken.

“It’s not necessarily unconstitutional, but as a matter of policy — if this were allowed — one would want, again, very strict regulation,” said Pace University Law School Professor Thomas McDonnell.

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Journal News: "Pace U. student: Don't limit college choice with tuition aid"

04/03/2017

Journal News: "Pace U. student: Don't limit college choice with tuition aid"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, is joined by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, center, and chairperson of the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York William C. Thompson, on Jan. 3, 2017, as he speaks during an event at LaGuardia Community College in New York. Cuomo recently wrapped up a series of speeches around the state detailing a 2017 agenda that includes free college tuition, an expanded child care tax credit and a "buy American" plan giving domestic companies preference in state purchases. (Photo: Mary Altaffer, AP)

"Recently, politicians, journalists and college administrators have been discussing policies on college affordability without student input," writes Larissa Szilagyi, a senior at the Pforzheimer Honors College at Pace University. "However, as we see with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for free tuition in New York state, it is impossible to legislate an issue effectively without the input of those who are affected.

"College affordability is a real issue for students. As a graduating college senior, I have felt the impact of college debt, but it is not just about me anymore. It is about the next generation of students, including each student born into an undocumented family, each student who has a systemically unfavorable chance to afford education, each student putting themselves through college by working full time, and each student who just needs an opportunity.

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Westchester Magazine: "What Does it Mean to Be Middle Class in Westchester?"

03/31/2017

Westchester Magazine: "What Does it Mean to Be Middle Class in Westchester?"

High closing costs and a hefty property-tax bill nearly derailed Tipi Vyrasith and Michael Tuesca's family dream of purchasing a home in Greenburgh. Though they pulled it off, they stick to a tight budget in order to get by. Photograph by Stefan Radtke.

. . . The concept of the middle class is changing, says Farrokh Hormozi, a professor of economics at Pace University who has taught there for more than 30 years. While family incomes have gone up — largely because so many households now have two earners — so, too, has the cost of living. Despite the higher incomes, when the higher costs are coupled with a loss of skilled-labor jobs in manufacturing, factories, and technical trades (the closing of the General Motors plant in Tarrytown in 1995 is one example), Westchester, like many other places across the country, is seeing its middle class shrink. 

Some people are doing better, but many others who once worked as skilled labor in manufacturing or related jobs are slipping onto the lower rung, he says.  “We don’t have a middle class as we once did.”  

The middle class has lost ground in every state from 2000-2013, according to a Pew/Stateline analysis of US Census data. While New York’s middle class shrunk by just under 3 percent, the losses were more profound in places like Wisconsin (-5.6 percent), Ohio (-5.2 percent), Nevada (-4.9 percent), Georgia and New Mexico (each at -4.8 percent).

The shrinking middle class is an outgrowth of the changing job market from manufacturing to information, says Villarreal, the policy fellow at NCPA, a nonpartisan group that advocates free-market solutions. Because there is less demand for lower skilled labor, a greater need for high-tech workers and federal programs are typically one-size-fits-all across all states (and designed to help those in need, not those starting businesses). Local governments can lead the way by encouraging entrepreneurship and small-business ownership while resisting the temptation of over-regulation, she says.

“The economy is evolving,” Villarreal says, citing ride-sharing giant Uber, restaurants, and other service industries as classic examples where local laws can make or break a new idea or squash a mom-and-pop altogether. “The key is to have public policies that allow people to adapt to the economy and change.” 

For sure, Westchester has more than its share of local governments and bureaucracies (6 cities, 19 towns, 23 villages, and 425 governments in all), but unlike many other regions, it is buoyed by newcomers who are escaping New York City and its higher cost of living. It’s also somewhat stabilized by older adults who raised families here, choose to stay and are living longer. Both population segments, however, can have a tough time here for varying reasons: Seniors are trying to keep up with rising costs, high taxes and living on far less, while younger people haven’t reached their peak earnings yet. 

For this reason and others, young professionals find it challenging to afford life here in the county. Take Samantha Diliberti, who, when she graduated college at age 21, had more than $100,000 in student loans — and a job that paid a pittance. “All of my money went to loan payments,” she says of a $700–$1,200 monthly bill that, when coupled with rent, left little else. 

In the years that followed, she landed better jobs with more pay and occasional bonuses, but even that couldn’t reverse the mounting cycle of bills. Though she liked living in Brooklyn, the rent was high (often $15,000 a year). She also had four roommates. 

Diliberti knew the math didn’t add up, so she moved back home with her mother in Yonkers, to save for a modest place. Although Mom and daughter get along well, it’s a sacrifice for both. “The main reason I’m doing this is that it’s the responsible financial choice,” Diliberti says.

In moving to the burbs, she bought a car, a used Mitsubishi Mirage, and tries to skimp on other nonessential purchases. She and her mother have had giftless Christmases for the past two years, as she feels no savings is too small. “Because I’m saving to buy, I’m definitely more frugal.”

At 26, Diliberti is now debt-free and saving for a co-op in southern Westchester. “It’s a happy medium between the city and suburbs,” she says. “I definitely can’t afford the five boroughs.”

Christina Barry, 27, followed a similar plan. Her parents, who are small-business owners, taught her the virtues of being debt-free. After graduating from Iona College, she moved home to Brewster, paid off roughly $50,000 in student loans and socked away the bucks. “I saved every penny I ever made,” Barry says.

It paid off. She’s mostly debt-free and bought a $124,000 co-op in Yonkers, which is close to work and close to New York City, where she and her friends like to socialize. Despite her sensible financial planning, frugality, and job stability, Barry is learning that life on her own is indeed expensive. So, too, is she hyper-aware that housing, property taxes, and the cost of living in Westchester could force her and her boyfriend, who also lives in Yonkers, to move elsewhere when they eventually tie the knot. “You have to think about these things,” Barry says. “I like the area; we have the best of both worlds, …but you have to pay a premium here.”

Many residents who don’t want to pay that premium are fleeing the state altogether for less expensive climes, like Florida, Texas, and just about anywhere the weather is warmer and the taxes lower.

A May 2016 report in the (Rochester) Democrat & Chronicle found that New York lost more than $22 billion in wealth between 2009 and 2014 from people fleeing the state. Of that, three counties in Florida — Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade — gained $1.2 billion of New York’s wealth in a single year. Much of this can be attributed to retirees decamping, but any Westchester resident knows a tale or two of people leaving for a lower cost of living.

The prognosis, however, isn’t all bad, says Pace’s Hormozi. Changing trends in healthcare, growing economic sectors, and the revitalization of many towns and cities with walkable communities could prove to make Westchester a vibrant place for young and old alike — as long as there are pockets of affordability and an education system that not only prepares some students for higher education but others for careers in skilled labor and the trades.  

“This type of transformation is necessary,” Hormozi says.  “Westchester County is part of the social transformation that has always taken place.” 

What’s more, the economics professor adds, one should never discount the middle class, if for no other reason than one key attribute: “Hard work is the defining characteristic of the middle class,” he says.  

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WAMC/Northeast Public Radio: "Newburgh Residents Seek Court Permission To Sue The City Over PFOS Contamination"

03/31/2017

WAMC/Northeast Public Radio: "Newburgh Residents Seek Court Permission To Sue The City Over PFOS Contamination"

. . .  PFOS was first detected and reported to the Environmental Protection Agency in 2014 when samples ranged between 140 and 170 parts per trillion. These samples were below the EPA’s then-provisional short-term health advisory of 200 parts per trillion. When sampling in March 2016 confirmed the presence of PFOS, it was about 140 parts per trillion. That was before the EPA issued a new, long-term health advisory in May of 70 parts per trillion. David Cassuto is a professor in the Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

“So we have here is we have a great deal of uncertainty about the nature of the threat,  and because of the uncertainty about the nature of the threat, that makes it very difficult to litigate because you don’t know exactly what the harm is,” Cassuto says.

Plus, he says:

“We have a lot of different possible defendants, from the federal government on down,  and that means, that, of course, as a plaintiff’s lawyer make you happy because you have a lot of targets but it also means that it’s hard to show just who it is who is responsible,” says Cassuto.

Listen to the story.

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