Archive for January, 2010

Weekly Web Wrap
January 29th, 2010

Usurious Tax Refund Loans Cost City $58 Million
(Bronx News Network)
Common Sense on Workforce Development
(Huffington Post)
Rising Eminent Domain in New York
(Architect’s Newspaper via Planetizen)
Little Stimulus Funds Used for Transportation
(Building Congress)
The Architecture of Healthiness
(Next American City)
Using Trash to Rebuild the City
ULURP Begins for Highline Preservation Above 30th St.
(High Line Blog)
Avoiding Corporate Relocation Border Wars
(Regional Plan Association)
Can YOU Improve the City’s Stormwater Management?
(Minds In The Gutter via Idealist in NYC)
Paterson Proposes Elimination of HEAP Weatherization Funding
(PULP Blog)
The Bonus Babies are Back
Fixing Mistakes in the Ethics Bill
New Report Examines Neighborhoods for .nyc
Westbeth – the First Warehouse Conversion for Artists
(Municipal Art Society)

By on January 29, 2010, 11:04 pm
In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

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Counting Inmates
January 29th, 2010

Sen. Eric Schneiderman, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Rev. Al Sharpton took the redistricting war public yesterday when they announced their support for legislation that would see inmates counted for redistricting purposes at their last known addresses, not at the prisons that hold them.

The 2010 census will reshape the electoral map, and currently upstate prisons give the districts that hold them a large boost in population. Democrats know counting prisoners by their addresses will likely give them an edge in the redistricting fight, as a good deal of the inmate population is from downstate. They say the poor districts these largely minority prisoners come from are in desperate need of resources and suffer because their true population is not tallied.

The present rule takes people who come from and return to poor or black and Latino communities and transfers their value for reapportionment purposes to rural upstate districts that really have nothing to do with them, said Schneiderman. Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 29, 2010, 1:34 pm
In category: Albany,Civil Rights,Eye on Albany | Comments Off on Counting Inmates

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Bloomberg: No Love for Labor?
January 28th, 2010

Labor, don’t expect a amicable third term with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In his preliminary budget released this afternoon, the mayor has taken a hard line approach to labor, in what some see as a shift from his previous policies toward the city’s unions.

Call it hardball.

Bloomberg asked the United Federation of Teachers to take only 2 percent salary increases next year instead of 4 percent. According to the administration, the city would save $160 million in this year’s budget and $357 million in fiscal year 2011, which starts in July.

If the teacher’s union doesn’t bite, Bloomberg said the city could have 2,500 fewer educators come September.

“They have to decide what they want to protect. Have all of their members have a little bit of pain or 2,500 members lose their jobs?” the mayor said. “The bottom line is we don’t have any money.”

In addition, Bloomberg also warned other labor unions that they too would have to chip in more. Pointing to the more than 30 percent salary increases since 2002, Bloomberg said the city had not budgeted additional wage hikes in fiscal year 2011. He said any wage increase would have to be covered by productivity increases, savings in health insurance and by savings in pension costs. In line with that, the mayor again called for a fifth pension tier for new employees to help reduce pension costs, which have risen 357 percent since 1996.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 28, 2010, 6:56 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Law,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | Comments Off on Bloomberg: No Love for Labor?

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Bloomberg's 2011 Budget Cuts
January 28th, 2010

Calling the city’s fiscal situation “worrisome,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a $63.64 billion budget for fiscal year 2011 this afternoon that takes a hard line on labor and cuts $1.6 billion from city agencies.

Bloomberg’s proposal cuts $500 million from agencies this fiscal year and another $1.1 billion from next year’s budget. The cuts from this fiscal year have already been implemented, Bloomberg said. Under Bloomberg’s budget, the city’s workforce would be reduced by 5,177 over those two fiscal years — about three-quarters is expected to come from attrition. The mayor also suggested starting to tax aviation fuel, which could add $169 million to the city’s sales tax revenue in the next fiscal year.

In response to the cuts, the mayor said, “Don’t measure the quality of city services by the quantity of city services.”

Under the mayor’s plan, controllable city services, which do not include health and pension costs, would fall by 1.8 percent from fiscal year 2010, which ends in June. These cuts are the seventh round the administration has taken since 2007.

Here are some examples from the mayor’s proposal:

Reduce Subsides to Library Systems: $12.9 million (10), $22.1 million (11)

Close Four Pools and Shorten Outdoor Pool Season by Two Weeks: $1.4 million

Uniform Attrition of 892 Officers: $55.4 million
Reduction in Overtime Spending via Improved OT Management Strategies: $25 million (10), $50 million

Eliminate Staffing of Four Additional Engine Companies: $5.6 million
Eliminate Fifth Firefighter on 60 Engine Companies: $7.9 million

Increase Commercial Parking Rates from $2 to $2.50 Per Hour in Midtown Manhattan: $4.1 million
Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 28, 2010, 2:27 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Public Finance | 4 Comments »

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The City's Nastiest Neighborhoods
January 27th, 2010


Photo (cc) 2009 Adrian Miles

Is your neighborhood spic and span or rife with refuse?

The Bloomberg administration puts most of the city in the former category and hopes to keep it that way despite a budget crunch. Last month, the Mayor’s Office of Operations reported 97.3 percent of city sidewalks and 96.1 percent of city streets were largely litter free.

But is the city right? The Huffington Post and Gotham Gazette want to know how clean you think your neighborhood is. Has the Bloomberg administration wiped noxious grime and garbage from city streets? Or does trash pile up on your street corner? Is your block cleaner or dirtier than other neighborhoods?

Visit The Huffington Post here to upload photos of your most frightening tales of city trash. Or you can comment below.

And check back later next week to see whether your block is a refuge for neat freaks or still grapples with garbage.

By on January 27, 2010, 11:55 am
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Crime & Safety,Environment,Gotham City,Health,nextNY,Parks,Waterfront | Comments Off on The City's Nastiest Neighborhoods

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The School Closing Marathon
January 27th, 2010

The hearing on whether to 19 schools last night certainly testified to rising anger, in some quarters at least, against Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his education policies. The eight hour meeting also provided stark evidence of how absolute the mayor’s power is when it comes to education and how little the legislature really changed when they tweaked mayoral control last summer.

In previous years, all it took to close schools was the Department of Education’s say so. The legislature changed that — but then gave the power of “review” to the Panel on Educational Policy, which the mayor totally controls.

That gave last night’s hearing a touch of the surreal. Every one knew from the get go that the panel would vote for closing the schools — and it did with the eight mayoral appointees and the representative from Staten Island voting yes; the four other borough representatives voting no. Several elected officials in the audience tried to get the vote postponed, to no avail.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 27, 2010, 11:53 am
In category: Education | 5 Comments »

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A Night of Counting
January 26th, 2010

Last night thousands of volunteers scoured the city for men, women and children who call the streets home.

It happens every year since 2003, and it’s called the HOPE Street Survey — or the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate. Volunteers for the city’s Department of Homeless Services tour the five boroughs from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. looking for people living on the streets. The count is supposed to capture an estimate of the city’s homeless population that do not use the shelter system.

Every year, according to the department, the numbers have declined, and since 2005 they have almost been cut in half — from 4,375 to 2,328.

Advocates dispute the study’s findings. Patrick Markee of the Coalition for the Homeless wrote that the survey has “an inherently flawed methodology.” The survey, he continued, fails to count the homeless that are in hard to reach locations and it doesn’t factor in inclement weather.

Last night, for instance, was unseasonably warm.

Either way, we won’t know last night’s results anytime soon. According to the press office at the Department of Homeless Services, the count can take weeks to compile.

For more, listen to this segment from Brian Lehrer this morning.

By on January 26, 2010, 5:47 pm
In category: City Hall,Demographics,Gotham City,Health,Housing,nextNY | Comments Off on A Night of Counting

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Krueger, Kruger and Bloomberg
January 25th, 2010

Sen. Liz Krueger, vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee, represents a particularly vocal constituent. You may have heard of him–Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg was in Albany today testifying about the inequities he sees New York City suffering under Gov. David Paterson’s 2010-2011 budget plan. Krueger’s office issued a press release this evening echoing Bloomberg’s complaints.

I understand that we are facing an extremely difficult budget and there will be large cuts to many programs, but we must make sure that the pain is distributed equitably and appropriately, said Senator Krueger in in a statement. In the Governors proposed 2010-11 executive budget, New York City shoulders a disproportionate amount of pain. Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 25, 2010, 7:33 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | 2 Comments »

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Advocates, Bloomberg: No Hydrofracking Please
January 25th, 2010

The rain didn’t stop hundreds from gathering at the capitol today to protest planned natural gas drilling in upstate. Protesters cited concerns that the process of unlocking the natural gas known as hydrofracking could contaminate drilling water, and destroy natural landscapes. Groups from across the state demanded that plans to drill be delayed so that the process can undergo greater scrutiny.

“Ordinary New Yorkers who rely on state government to ensure that their drinking water is safe can’t pay-to-play by writing big checks for campaign contributions and don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on lobbyists, so they come to Albany to have their voices heard,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was in town to testify at joint budget hearings, lent his voice to the chorus. “If the pessimist are right the consequences are so severe that its not a risk we should run, Bloomberg said. I do not think that we should allow fracture drilling anywhere near our water supply.

A debate over hydrofracking was held by The Times Union and upstate public radio station WAMC today. You can listen to the debate here. Thanks to the Times Union for the link.

By on January 25, 2010, 1:39 pm
In category: Albany,Environment,Eye on Albany | 1 Comment »

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Bloomberg Testifies on State Budget
January 25th, 2010

Needless to say, it’s morose.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says Gov. David Paterson’s state budget proposal would slice $1.3 billion from New York City, which could result in a workforce reduction of almost 19,000, 8,500 of which would be teachers. The state budget disproportionately affects municipalities, including New York City, and is balanced on the back of the city’s workforce, the mayor said in Albany this morning.

Bloomberg pointed to a proposal that would eliminate the state’s appropriation to homeless shelters, which would effectively slash $55 million from the Department of Homeless Services budget next year. This comes at a time when the city is seeing record number of homeless individuals. The mayor also blasted Paterson’s proposal to completely eliminate state revenue sharing for the city — to the order of $328. Other counties across the state are seeing 1 to 5 percent reductions.

Under this proposal, Bloomberg said the city would have to close 15 senior centers, 500 parks employees would face layoffs (equal to closing recreation centers, pools and beaches, citywide) and 500 soup kitchens would lose funding.

The good news: The mayor did laud the governor’s proposal to tax soda and increase the tax on cigarettes.

We will get a closer look at how these budget cuts affect the city on a micro level on Thursday, which is when the mayor is scheduled to release the city’s preliminary budget, according to his remarks.

Here are his prepared remarks in full:

Good morning. Thank you, Chairman Farrell, Chairman Kruger, my own State Senator Vice Chair Liz Krueger and members of the committees. Seated with me are Mark Page, the Citys director of Management and Budget, and Micah Lasher, our Director of State Legislative Affairs.

All of us, at all levels of government, face difficult decisions this year. You and the Governor have the task of balancing a budget that has a $7.4 billion gap between revenues and spending. Projections are for even greater deficits next year and the year after that. The Governor has presented what he calls a budget of necessity. We all know that hard budget choices are necessary but so are fair ones.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 25, 2010, 11:44 am
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Education,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 11 Comments »

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Simcha's Farewell
January 22nd, 2010


There were tears, some light roasting and — appropriately — laughter.

Besides the business of yesterday’s council meeting (which included the appointment of new committee chairs), it was also the last day that Councilmember Simcha Felder would take his seat as the representative of district 44. Felder resigned from the council to become deputy comptroller for accounting and budget.

On the council floor Thursday, members old and new reminisced on Felder’s often jocular presence. And he responded with both humor and humility.

“You try to think back on an annual basis, whether it’s Rosh Hashanah, the new year or January. The levity of celebrating is good. The introspection is more important. And through life I think there are invitations and certainly very special times where you have to spend time thinking about the past and what you’ve done wrong,” Felder said.

“And throughout the time there have been times that I’ve said things or done things to people that I feel was inappropriate,” Felder explained, his voice cracking with emotion. He continued: “So I want to apologize before I leave. Some of them are not here anymore but that’s not my fault,” he said. The chamber broke out in laughter.

“This is a last opportunity, because we believe repenting is good. With sins against God you can do whatever you want and speak to God about how you’re sorry. But against man, it doesn’t work. The only way it works is by saying sorry,” Felder said. “Having said that I can expect apologies from many people in the room.” The crowd erupted in laughter again.

“Lastly,” he said moments later, “I just want to say had we known I would be getting this opportunity maybe I would have voted differently on extending term limits,” Felder said. He voted to extend term limits. “But having said that you never know. September is just around the corner and if I don’t like the job, I’m coming back.”

Even before Felder has taken his new position at the comptroller’s office, gay rights groups and leaders have criticized Comptroller John Liu for selecting him. Felder, an Orthodox Jew, has refused to support certain human rights bills or gay rights bills, and skipped both votes for council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is the council’s first openly gay speaker.

A special election will be called by the mayor to fill Felder’s seat as soon as the councilmember officially leaves the council on Jan. 31. The special election will likely take place sometime in March.

By on January 22, 2010, 12:47 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,nextNY | Comments Off on Simcha's Farewell

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Weekly Web Wrap
January 22nd, 2010

Bloomberg Outlines 2010 Tech Initiatives
State Won’t Publish Race to the Top Application
Cartoonist’s Take on Paterson Fund Raising
(Matt Davies)
Rikers Island Gardening Project
(Planet Green)
Eco-Park to Restore Canarsie Wetlands
(Freshkills Park Blog)
Dreams of Taking the N to LaGuardia
(Second Avenue Sagas)
Ethics Reform: Keep At It
Why Staten Island is Mocked
Manhattanville Ruling Formally Appealed
(Columbia Spectator)
The City and the ‘Move Your Money’ Movement
(DMI Blog)
‘Urban Umbrellas’ Win Sidewalk Shed Competition
A City Personal Income Tax Hike, via Albany
(NY Fiscal Watch)

By on January 22, 2010, 12:31 pm
In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on Weekly Web Wrap

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Ethics Bill Passes, Paterson Promises Veto
January 20th, 2010

After lengthy debate the ethics package passed the Senate 59-1 with the lone nay vote from Sen. Ruben Diaz. It passed the Assembly 137-2 with no votes from Assemblyman Vito Lopez and Assemblyman Jack Quinn. Now Gov. David Paterson is promising to veto the measure.

Here is Paterson’s statement:

While there are some good aspects of the ethics bill passed today by the legislature, it does not go far enough to address the underlying issues that have caused the people of New York to lose faith and trust in their government. It is for this reason that I will veto this bill once it has been delivered to my desk. What is now in the best interest of all New Yorkers is for the leaders of the legislature to work with me on a five-way agreement that can pass both houses and that I will sign. We need to restore transparency and accountability to government and assure the public that their elected officials work for them and no one else.

Legislators thought it was long shot that Paterson might veto the bill as it is basically a symbolic gesture–both houses can easily override it and senate spokesman Austin Shafran has already promised to do just that.

Paterson has been critical of the legislature’s bill since it was announced. He is touting his own plan that is far more reaching but is unlikely to find the votes it needs to pass. Just as when it was announced, legislators were critical of their own package, noting that it does not go as far as it can, but almost all of them hailed it as a step worth taking. “The bill isn’t perfect,” Sen. Liz Krueger told her colleagues on the floor while explaining her vote for it. “This is not a perfect bill,” she noted before adding, “The perfect system is only to elect perfectly ethical people.”

Earlier Diaz, the lone no vote in the Senate, bashed the bill and the fact that it does not require lawyers, doctors, and clergy to disclose their clients. “Not to do that is a mockery, not to do that is a joke, not to do that is a farce,” Diaz told his colleagues today.

By on January 20, 2010, 9:22 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | Comments Off on Ethics Bill Passes, Paterson Promises Veto

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Ethics Debate
January 20th, 2010

The Senate is currently debating the ethics package that was negotiated with the Assembly. You can watch the debate and vote here.

Liz Benjamin of The Daily Politics reported earlier that Democrats were having a hard time making sure all their members will vote for the package. It seems likely that the bill will pass with bipartisan support.

Three Republican-proposed amendments have been defeated with party-line votes of 27 ayes and 32 nays. Two of the amendments would have dealt with Republican concerns that a new election law enforcement committee will be controlled by one party.

An amendment proposed by Sen. Frank Padavan would have introduced more oversight for political consultants.

Sen. Daniel Squadron, who was instrumental in negotiations with the Assembly over the bill, spoke after the amendments were voted down and said that a lot of the Republican concerns are, “legitimate.” However, he said, “arguments against the bill are arguments against a step forward.”

By on January 20, 2010, 4:03 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | Comments Off on Ethics Debate

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The Charter School Non-Vote
January 19th, 2010

Charter school advocates have harshly condemned the legislature for not lifting the state’s cap on the number of charter schools in the city and, in the process, jeopardizing New York’s chances to receive as much as $700 million in federal Race to the Top education funding.

In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized the legislature for playing ” Russian roulette with our children’s futures” by not voting on the governor’s proposal to raise the cap to 460 without putting new restrictions on charters. Bloomberg said Paterson’s bill “was the only bill that had the support of a majority of senators.” (He did not mention that a measure put forth by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, which raised the cap to 400 while tightening controls on charters, was the only bill that had the support of a majority of Assembly members.)

In a somewhat more pungent take, Joe Williams of the pro-charter Democrats for Education Reform likened the legislature’s action (or lack thereof) to “the governing equivalent of puking up a bunch of Jagermeister on the sidewalks of Albany.” Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 19, 2010, 7:01 pm
In category: Albany,Education,Eye on Albany | 2 Comments »

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Sampson Has Fingers Crossed on Race to the Top
January 19th, 2010

Senate Democrats were unable to put together the votes they needed to pass the education bill sponsored by Senate Majority Conference Leader John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver so they packed it in for the night.

The Education Department sent an application to Washington for Race to the Top Funding without any improvements from legislators, and therefore is less likely to qualify for up to $700 million in federal education funding.

In a statement, Sampson said he hopes the application is successful as is. If it isn’t he plans to apply again later.

“We are working towards a bipartisan, bicameral solution today,” said Sampson in a statement. “We support the State Education Departments application as it stands, and hope our federal officials can help us secure Phase One financing. If not, we will reapply for Phase Two, and try once again later this year to bridge the partisan divide to get New Yorks school children the funding they need, and property taxpayers the relief they deserve.” Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 19, 2010, 5:51 pm
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Bloomberg: Paterson's Budget not Fair to NYC
January 19th, 2010

Not only is New York City willing to do its fair share to help Albany get out of its financial mess, but were eager to do so,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement reacting to Gov. David Paterson’s proposed 2010-2011 budget. But according to Bloomberg some of the cuts the city is facing are far from fair.

“Some areas of the Governors budget proposal today appear, at first glance, to be proportional and fair in the way they affect New York City, and he deserves credit for those areas.,” said Bloomberg. “Unfortunately, the proposal to eliminate two years of New York Citys revenue sharing payment more than $650 million, which is 94 percent of the statewide cut and more than 15 times the cut for entire rest of the state together appears neither proportional nor fair to New York City.” Bloomberg said he plans to testify at budget hearings in Albany on Monday. Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 19, 2010, 5:22 pm
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Musical Chairs
January 19th, 2010

As promised, today starts the seat swapping in the Bloomberg administration.

For the next three weeks, first deputy commissioners will be assigned to another agency in the hopes of breaking down bureaucratic barriers. The idea was integral to the mayor’s inauguration address on New Year’s Day. Some assignments have been done with specific policy proposals in mind, such as the swap between Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, who are tasked with focusing on foreclosure prevention.

Here are the assignments:

Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) — DOE
Administrative Justice Coordinator (AJC) — CCPC
Business Integrity Commission (BIC) — DSNY
Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) –CUNY
City University of New York (CUNY) — CEO
Citywide Events Coordination and Management (CECM) — NYC & Co
Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) — CHR
Commission for the United Nations Consular Corps and Protocol (UN) — MOIA
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) — CCRB
Commission on Women’s Issues (CWI) — MOCDV
Commission to Combat Police Corruption (CCPC) — AJC
Community Affairs Unit (CAU) — CECM
Criminal Justice Coordinator (CJC)– Law
Department for the Aging (DFTA) — MOPD
Department of Buildings (DOB) — NYCHA
Department of City Planning (DCP) — HDC
Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) — SCA
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) — HPD
Department of Corrections (DOC) — DHS
Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) — EDC
Department of Design and Construction (DDC) — DCLA
Department of Education (DOE) — Parks
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) — DOF
Department of Finance (DOF) — MOO
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH) — DOC
Department of Homeless Services (DHS) — HHC
Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) — DCA
Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) — MOFTB
Department of Investigation (DOI) — MOCS
Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks) — DEP
Department of Probation (DOP) — ACS
Department of Sanitation (DSNY) — BIC
Department of Small Business Services (SBS) — HRA
Department of Transportation (DOT) — DDC
Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) — DOP
Design Commission (Design) — DOT
Economic Development Corporation (EDC) — SBS
Fire Department* (FDNY) — NYPD*
Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) — CAU
Housing Development Corporation (HDC) — LPC
Human Resources Administration (HRA) — DoHMH
Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) — DOB
Law Department (Law) — DOI
Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) — DFTA
Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) — CJC
Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting (MOFTB) — DoITT
Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) — UN
Mayor’s Office of Operations (MOO) — DCAS
Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) — CWI
Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (MOCDV) — MOVA
New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) — DCP
NYC & Company (NYC & Co) — DYCD
Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) — TLC
Office of Emergency Management* (OEM) — FDNY*
Office of Labor Relations* (OLR) — OMB*
Office of Management and Budget* (OMB) — OLR*
Police Department* (NYPD) — OEM*
School Construction Authority (SCA) — Design
Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) — OATH

Those with an asterisk are participating in the second phase of the program starting February 1.

By on January 19, 2010, 2:32 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Community Development,Economy,Education,Electoral Politics,Environment,Governing,Housing,Immigrants,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Parks,Transportation,Waterfront | 2 Comments »

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De Blasio Takes on Bloomberg on Homelessness
January 19th, 2010


Take a look at the numbers, and the mayor’s homeless policies just aren’t working.

That was the message Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and homeless advocates sent this morning at a press conference urging the administration to rethink its homeless policies five years after it committed to reduce homelessness by two-thirds. Since the mayor took office, according to Mary Brosnahan of the Coalition for the Homeless, the number of homeless New Yorkers has increased by 45 percent.

“Their original goal was gutsy and noble and I think it took a lot of commitment and focus to even put that goal out,” said de Blasio. “But they did not follow up on it with the same kind of fervor and focus as they have in some other areas. So now acknowledge that the previous strategies have not worked, and borrow from old strategies that did work and create new ones and work with the people that are some of the experts right here next to me,” the newly minted public advocate said from his 15th floor office in the municipal building.

Act one, said de Blasio, should be giving homeless families priority for Section 8 vouchers, which was the practice under the three previous administrations before Bloomberg. The practice was suspended in 2005. The administration should also stop referring homeless individuals to three-quarter houses — small residential buildings that operate as illegal boarding houses, according to the public advocate’s office.

In the council, de Blasio introduced a bill that would have banned the city from referring homeless individuals to facilities that failed to meet occupancy standards.

In a letter to Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs dated January 18, de Blasio implored the administration to hold homeless services harmless in the upcoming budget negotiations by keeping open shelters slated for closure or by securing replacement facilities before their doors are locked. De Blasio also urged the administration to focus more on prevention.

This latest dispute is one of many more likely to come with de Blasio as public advocate.

By on January 19, 2010, 2:03 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Community Development,Crime & Safety,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Housing,nextNY,Public Finance,Social Services | Comments Off on De Blasio Takes on Bloomberg on Homelessness

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Only Hours Until Race to the Top Deadline
January 19th, 2010

Applications for Race to the Top Funding are due in Washington at 4:30 p.m. today. Legislators have a little over three hours to pass legislation that would help qualify the state for as much as $700 million in education funding. So what are legislators doing? Bickering and stalling. Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 19, 2010, 1:43 pm
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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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