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Airbnb Host Creates Petition To Confront New York Lawmakers

In the petition, she asks the state’s senate to fix what she calls a “poorly written law,” which could curb Airbnb’s reach in the region. “The reason this is happening is because of a poorly written law originally designed to stop slumlords from running illegal hotels with dozens of rental apartments,” Mishelle writes. “As a New Yorker just trying to pay my bills, I don’t understand why they think I’m a slumlord.” “I figure that if we get 20,000 people to sign the petition, we’ll get the state Senate’s attention,” she continues. “If we hit that goal by October 20th, I pledge to deliver the signatures to every senator myself.” As of this writing the petition has surpassed 20,000 signatures, the majority of which were gathered within the last 24 hours. Airbnb also got behind the petition on Monday by sending out an e-mail to its thousands of New York members. “The New York attorney general has subpoenaed the records of almost all of our New York hosts,” Airbnb’s global head of community Douglas Atkin wrote in the e-mail. “We are fighting the subpoena with all we’ve got, but poorly written laws make for even worse enforcement, and unless you help to stop it once and for all, the laws may never get better and New Yorkers will continue to suffer.” The debacle between New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Airbnb has been ongoing over the past year, but it got heated when Schneiderman filed a subpoena earlier this month. The subpoena requests three years’ worth of data on thousands of Airbnb New York hosts. Airbnb has said that it has 225,000 community members in New York. The Attorney General’s office is specifically looking for data on 15,000 hosts — it’s unclear if this includes almost all of Airbnb’s New York hosts. While Airbnb has said that it will cooperate with New York’s lawmakers to root out illegal hotel operators and slumlords, it also filed a motion last week stating the subpoena was “unreasonably broad” and it won’t turn over sweeping amounts of information on hosts who have done no wrong. Schneiderman’s subpoena is based on a 2011 New York state law that makes it illegal for New York residents to rent out a property for less than 29 days. The law is meant to protect renters, so that slumlords don’t force them to leave to make a quick buck on unlicensed hotels and short-term stays. After the petition popped up and Airbnb sent out its e-mail to New York members on Monday, a spokesman from Schneiderman’s office accused the service of fear mongering, according to the Wall Street Journal . Airbnb is “scaring and misleading thousands of well-intentioned New Yorkers and sending lobbyists to Albany to create legal loopholes,” spokesman Matt Mittenthal told the Journal.

GM Sandy Alderson: The New York Mets’ Future Is Now

“I want to provide the opportunity for people to experience the food with a kind of intention and attention to the experience that isn’t usually afforded by a loud meal, especially in New York City,” manager Nicholas Nauman told AFP. Customers who dare break the golden rule during the $40 prix fixe meal are forced to finish their plate on a bench outside. Sitting at long, wooden tables adorned with stoneware, the clients play along while tasting a menu based on local organic ingredients. For an entire hour, they savor the food, watch one another and don’t say a word, as though cut off from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. Cell phones must also be turned off. Some struggle to keep serious in the face of an experience that is the polar opposite of the constant frenzy prevalent in New York, the city that never sleeps. Accolades from all around “We’re bringing our own intentionality to it as well,” explained the restaurant’s chef Elsa Schmitt, using a philosophical term for the mind’s power to stand in for things or concepts. “We know what is about to take place so we’re bringing our own energies to it.” As the dinner ends, after dessert, the silence ends. Nauman, 28, breaks the silence first with a “thank you guys,” and is greeted by applause from his customers. “It was very enjoyable,” said chemist Kevin Stokely. Morgan Yakus, who like most clients was in her 30s, spoke of the almost transcendental experience as an “internal dialogue of your mind, saying all kids of things.” “I wanted to laugh. You’re going through stages but by the end, you’re in a really zen, relaxed stage,” she said. Alison Wise came with her boyfriend, and the couple was won over as well, though for different reasons. “It was a really nice way to spend time together without any of the pressure of coming up with anything to say,” she said.

New York restaurant serves up silent treatment

Starters Zach Wheeler (3.42 ERA, 1.36 WHIP in 2013), Dillon Gee (3.62, 1.28), Jonathon Niese (3.71, 1.44) were all reliable last season , and a dozen off the 23 starts made by Jeremy Hefner (4.34, 1.29) were of the “quality” variety, lasting at least six innings with three or fewer runs allowed. At 23 years old, Wheeler is the youngest of that quartet. Niese is 26, and Gee and Hefner are 27. Each has a seemingly bright upside. On that note, the Mets have a couple of other young, very talented prospects they could soon add, in 20-year-old Noah Syndergaard and 23-year-old Rafael Montero, each of whom shined at New York’s home ballpark at Citi Field, during the 2013 Futures Game in July. To hold things down for next year without Harvey, the Mets might be able to round out the final spot in their starting staff with one of two veterans they signed late in the 2013 season — either Daisuke Matsuzaka, who after three poor starts as a Met, was impressive in winning his final four starts for New York, or Aaron Harang, who was fairly good over four starts after Alderson signed him in September. But Offensive Upgrades Are Sorely Needed Where Alderson will need to improve the Mets the most is in their lineup. While he praised David Wright and Daniel Murphy as being championship-caliber players, he also noted New York’s desperate need to improve at a few other everyday positions. “You can’t go into the season with three or four below average positions,” he said. “You can’t get by with multiple positions that way.” To upgrade those areas, Alderson will likely have to turn to free agency this winter, but he’s also not adverse to seeing what the open market might return for a player such as the Mets’ disappointing 26-year-old first baseman Ike Davis, who at one time showed much promise. Finally With Money to Spend Again, the Shorter Term Moves Into Focus Despite the obvious and numerous offensive holes to fill, Alderson believes New York has a good foundation on which to build. “The platform from my standpoint is not that bad,” he said. “We’ve got a decent place from which to start.” And with money finally coming off of the Mets’ books, they should be in a position to spend like they haven’t been able to in quite some time. Thus, even with Harvey set to miss the entire 2014 season, Alderson was optimistic that the winds of change will blow through Flushing sooner rather than later — and that for the first time in a long time, Mets fans can start thinking about their team contending next season instead of solely building something better for much further down the road. “I think we’re going to have enough [money] available to make significant improvements, no question about that,” Alderson said.