Neighborhood Chatter

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Compiled by Norah Bosworth Public Hearing on Proposed Soho BID According to a release from the SoHo Alliance, councilmember Margaret Chin has called a public hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 10 a.m. at City Hall on the proposed Soho Business Improvement District (BID). The hearing will be conducted by the City Council's Finance Committee Chair Dominic Recchia, and both proponents and opponents of the BID are expected to present their positions, a process expected to last for several hours. DA Announces Sentencing for 1998 Crimes on LES Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., recently announced the sentencing of Lerio Guerrero, 33, to 15 years in state prison for a rape and burglary on the Lower East Side in 1998, according to a release from the DA's office. "Without the state's DNA data bank, this defendant might never have been apprehended," Vance said. "But because New Yorkers live in a state that recognizes the power of DNA to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent, this crime victim is able to finally see justice be served nearly 14 years later. The fact that we were able to file an indictment in this case before the statute of limitations expired serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of the recently passed All Crimes DNA law and the continued expansion of the DNA data bank." According to the defendant's guilty plea and documents filed in court, on Nov. 8, 1998, Guerrero followed the victim to her apartment building on the Lower East Side. She was 28 years old at the time. He pushed open the building door behind her, and threatened her with a piece of broken glass. While holding the glass to the victim's throat, the defendant cut his own hand, bleeding on the victim's coat. Guerrero then forced her to the rear of her apartment building, where he sexually assaulted her and stole her wallet. The defendant then forced his victim to follow him to an ATM to withdraw cash. When Guerrero tried to make the victim go to an ATM at a different location to withdraw more cash, she broke away and ran into a deli. FiDi's Transformation and Impact on Foreign Buyers Real estate brokers and community leaders recently filled the rooftop of 75 Wall Street, a new luxury condominium atop the Andaz Wall Street hotel, for "Becoming FiDi," a discussion of the Financial District's residential transformation. The event brought together industry experts for a panel on foreign capital, which has been especially impactful in the Financial District. "There is definitely an appetite for prime Manhattan real estate, particularly in Asia, and the Financial District has become one of the most sought-after areas in the entire city," said panel participant Alistair Auty of JMA Property Services, a U.S.-based real estate corporation that works closely with foreign brokers and investors, in a release. Hosted by The Hakimian Organization, developer of the 75 Wall Street Residences, the event began with a tour of the neighborhood led by historian Joyce Gold and continued in the building's stunning rooftop lounge with a panel discussion moderated by Matthew Fenton, editor of The Broadsheet and seasoned FiDi reporter. The panel included Auty, Elizabeth Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance, and Amina O'Kane, director of Upper School admissions for Léman Manhattan Preparatory School. City Council Members Will Recruit Volunteers to Escort Women to Abortion Clinics Last Friday, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other council members, along with representatives from Planned Parenthood, the New York Civil Liberties Union and other pro-choice organizations, gathered at City Hall to announce their upcoming "Clinic Protection Project." Under this program, council members will recruit and coordinate volunteers to accompany women to abortion clinics. Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health clinics already have volunteer escorts for their patients, but they say they need more. Thus Speaker Quinn and others are stepping in. "Protesters have a right to speak their minds, but the exercise of the First Amendment should never intimidate anyone from accessing medical care," Speaker Quinn said. The need for a supplementary service has increased in the last few years, according to pro-choice officials, because there are more protesters outside clinics, many of whom reportedly harass women attempting to use the facilities. "In the last three years ? we've gone from two or three protesters on a given Saturday morning, to 50 or 60," said Joan Malin, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood New York. The President and CEO of Choices, Merle Hoffman, said in a phone interview that protesters outside her clinic wear vests printed with the words "Unborn Baby Protector" and also videotape the patients who enter, shaming them. Hoffman said one woman who came for an abortion arrived in a panic, because the picketers outside had said that the anesthesia would kill her. Hoffman attributes the increase in protesters to the "rise of the radical right," while Assemblywoman Deborah Glick said that having a pro-choice president in office has ignited the pro-life movement. Although the details of the program are still being mapped out, Speaker Quinn said that her team will work on the recruitment and management side, and Planned Parenthood will actually train the escorts.  

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