photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York
Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio delivers an education speech, via The Mayor's Office on flickr; NYPD Commissioner Bratton is briefed as the city prepares for the Pope's visit next week, via NYPD; the Mayor's administration faced off with the City Council in softball, via John Kenny
TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:
1. De Blasio Education Announcement: The mayor gave an "Equity and Excellence" education speech Wednesday, outlining a wide-ranging education policy plan that will commit about $186 million per year to enhance the performance and readiness of the city's students. Key elements include expanding computer science and advanced placement courses and adding reading specialists. The pieces will work in conjunction with previously announced de Blasio education initiatives including pre-kindergarten and community schools.
2. Cuomo Commits $ to Hudson Rail Tunnel: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sent a letter to President Obama offering to fund half of the Hudson River rail tunnel project if the federal government pledges to pay for the other half. The project could cost up to $20 billion and has been the source of tension between federal and local officials.
3. Crackdown on K2: On Wednesday, authorities announced that they had dismantled an international ring responsible for manufacturing and distributing synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or spice, which drug officials say has caused a public-health crisis. The mayor has designed a multi-agency strategy to combat the proliferation of K2 and several bills have been introduced into the City Council.
4. Papal Visit, UN General Assembly Create Security Challenge: Pope Francis' visit next week coincides with the annual U.N. General Assembly, which will bring 170 world leaders to the city, creating what Police Commissioner William Bratton called "the largest security challenge the department and this city have ever faced." Federal and city agencies are preparing for the security and transit logistics.
5. Bharara Investigates Cuomo's Buffalo Billion: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is reportedly investigating Gov. Cuomo's controversial Buffalo Billion revitalization project, according to The New York Post. The investigation focuses on the multimillion-dollar contracts awarded to build facilities for high-tech, drug-development, and clean-energy businesses.
THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:
- $60 billion was spent on education in the 2013-14 school year in New York State, averaging $21,812 for each of the state’s 3 million students.
- Up to $20 million in federal funds will be given to New York City as part of a pilot program to decrease traffic injuries. As many as 10,000 vehicles will be fitted with smart devices designed to reduce traffic injuries, congestion, and pollution by 2017, and traffic lights will also be set up to beam information.
- 20.9% is New York City's poverty rate, according data released by the Census Bureau on Wednesday, meaning that the poverty rate has not lowered at all since last year.
THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:
- It was a good week for Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu, who joined Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office while he is on sabbatical. Wu, who coined the phrase "net neutrality," will serve as a senior lawyer and special adviser to Schneiderman focusing on technology and the law. Wu was a candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2014.
- It was a bad week for former Assemblymember Bill Scarborough, a Democrat, who was sentenced to 13 months in prison and two years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to state and federal corruption charges.
- Around this time 95 years ago, on September 16, 1920, Wall Street was hit by a bomb blast outside the headquarters of J.P. Morgan. The blast killed several dozen people and injured hundreds more. Authorities believed it was the work of anarchists, but the bombers were never found.
- Around this time 23 years ago, on September 16, 1992, thousands of off-duty police officers stormed City Hall to protest Mayor David Dinkins' support for an all-civilian police complaint review board.
- Around this time 4 years ago, on September 17, 2011, a demonstration calling itself "Occupy Wall Street" began in New York.
GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:
Cautious Optimism Ahead of Hearing on Citywide Ferry System, by Christian Zhang
Rumored Scheme Brings Scrutiny to Bronx Political Machine, by David Howard King
Did Bill De Blasio's Tirade Help Andrew Cuomo Get His Groove Back? by David Howard King
How To Become A New York City Council Member, by Catie Edmondson
MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:
- Gotham Gazette's David King appeared on The Capitol Connection to discuss the latest with Governor Cuomo and more.
- The Economist looks at how Mayor de Blasio is "doin'."
- New Quinnipiace poll results show how New Yorkers are feeling about their elected officials and more.
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Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!
by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max