Political Arena

Fallen firefighter remembered


State lawmakers unanimously passed a resolution to memorialize the life and service of FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy who was killed last year in an explosion on Tibbett Avenue and W. 234th Street. 

The resolution, which will be presented to Fahy’s family, was intended to honor the life of the firefighter. 

Fahy was among the firefighters who responded to reports of a gas smell on Tibbett Avenue and W. 234th Street in the morning of Sept. 27. After he and his team evacuated residents from nearby houses, Fahy was directing an investigation on the scene—when an explosion ripped through the building, tearing off a piece of the roof and reducing most of the brick house to a pile of debris. Fahy was killed and other people were injured. 

“Battalion Chief Michael J. Fahy’s remarkable life of service perfectly embodied the values that characterize those who are truly committed to public service,” state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, the primary sponsor of the new resolution in the state Senate, said in a statement. 

“For 17 years, Chief Fahy, a second-generation firefighter, worked tirelessly to provide fire protection and safety to the many communities throughout New York City,” Rivera said. 


City agrees to help tenants in court

Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito came to an agreement on Sunday to work towards making legal aid a right when tenants face eviction in housing court. 

Politicians and activist groups, many of whom have advocated for the right to counsel for some time, lauded the deal. 

Councilman Andrew Cohen, a long time supporter of the agreement, said in a statement that a right to counsel could save the city millions of dollars by preventing homelessness. 

“This is a smart choice for New York City,” he said. “By helping tenants stay in their homes the City can save up to $320 million that would otherwise be spent on shelter housing.”

The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition, a campaign to garner support for the initiative, called the agreement “historic.”

“Today’s agreement to pass legislation guaranteeing that the poorest New Yorkers have counsel in eviction cases is a model for the rest of the country, and an enduring legacy for future generations,” the organization said in a statement. “No one who faces eviction should be denied the benefits of legal help simply because he or she is too poor to pay for counsel.”

The AARP also voiced their support for the right to counsel, saying it would help keep people out of the shelter system. 

“It will prevent wrongful evictions and save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in the process by keeping New Yorkers in their homes and out of the shelter system,” said Widelo, AARP’s associate New York director.