The Sunday Subject – December 12, 2021

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras resigned Thursday morning amid calls for his firings from lawmakers, watchdog groups and others for his role in trying to contain sexual harassment allegations.

Documents recently released showed Malatras making disparaging comments about Lindsey Boylan, a former senior official in the Cuomo administration who was the first woman to publicly accuse the former governor of sexual harrasment. The pressure on Malatras to resign was increasing each day, culminating with a mass call by nearly one-third of the Assembly Democratic conference for him to step down or be fired. The lawmakers said Malatras “has lost our confidence that he has the credibility or character” to continue leading SUNY.

On Friday Governor Hochul announced a statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces.

Beginning Monday, December 13, masks will be required in all indoor public places in New York State unless businesses and venues implement a vaccine requirement. The mandate comes in response to rising levels of infections in the state. “I have warned for weeks that additional steps could be necessary, and now we are at that point based upon three metrics: increasing cases, reduced hospital capacity, and insufficient vaccination rates in certain areas,” Hochul said in a news release. The state-wide mandate comes just weeks after Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz mandated masks be worn in public places in Erie County.

Employees at the Starbucks on Elmwood Ave. voted on Thursday to unionize, making it the first company-owned store in the country to organize.

The victory comes amidst strong opposition by Starbucks and widespread national attention. The organizing campaign drew national coverage likely because of its implications for other Starbucks locations and potentially other fast-food chains, where worker turnover is high and pay is low. The victory comes at a time when labor unrest has been increasing across the country, including Buffalo, where democratic-socialist India Walton ran a nationally recognized campaign for mayor.

The City of Buffalo will pay $70,000 to settle a lawsuit over an excessive force claim against a police officer.

In 2012, police officer Joseph Hassett used excessive force to arrest Adam Hamideh on Clinton Street. According to court documents, Hamideh was “painfully and seriously” injured from repeated blows by Hassett “willfully, maliciously and intentionally assaulting and striking, without provocation.” Hamideh’s $70,000 settlement recommendation is among approximately $172,000 in personal injury and general litigation claims that are likely to be submitted to the Buffalo Common Council’s Claims Committee on Dec. 2.

India Walton has endorsed New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams for governor.

The endorsement comes just months after Williams traveled to Buffalo for a press conference to endorse Walton for mayor, which became her first major show of support. Walton said of the endorsement: “I regard Jumaane as the quintessential movement candidate – always with the people, on the picket line, at the union hall, in the streets.” She continued, ”No matter the fight, you can depend on Jumaane to be on the side of the oppressed, the forgotten, the marginalized, the excluded.”

On Monday night the Bills lost 14-10 to the New England Patriots.

The Bills entered the game tied for 11th in red zone touchdown percentage, at 61.7%. Unfortunately they are now 6-for-16 in the red zone in their five losses, while 24-for-35 in seven wins. Josh Allen said after the game, “We’ve got to find a way and we were 1 for 4 in the red zone tonight. Didn’t play good enough. I take that very personally.”