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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 2

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week starts amid a swirl of controversy - there are several ongoing investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio, his administration, his allies, and their fundraising practices; and, news broke Friday of ongoing investigations into associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including his former top aide Joseph Percoco and others involved in the Buffalo Billion economic development project. It was previously known that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was investigating aspects of the Buffalo Billion, but Friday's news, first reported by The Daily News, shed more light.

Meanwhile, there is much anticipation ahead of de Blasio's expected trip to Albany on Wednesday to testify at a state Senate hearing on mayoral control of city schools. Mayoral control is due to expire at the end of June after it was extended for just one year at the end of last year's legislative session in Albany. De Blasio is expected to testify at both Wednesday's hearing and one later this month in New York City on May 19. The fact that de Blasio's 2014 efforts to flip the Senate to Democratic control are being investigated by law enforcement adds incredible context to the hearings.

Before that hearing, the two houses of the state Legislature are back in session Tuesday after a two-week break. There are a variety of issues of consequence for New York City, including mayoral control of schools, on the post-budget session docket - read our overview here. The session is set to end in mid-June. Related: Session Days Quickly Dwindle, Intensifying Worry Over Ethics.

Executive budget hearings also kick off this week at the New York City Council. De Blasio unveiled his $82.2 billion executive spending plan last week - news that was largely subsumed by developing news of investigations into the mayor's 2014 attempts to flip the Senate. Budget hearings start on Friday, a budget deal between de Blasio and the Council is due by the end of June - the new fiscal year begins July 1.

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of - see our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

At 8 a.m. Monday, Crain’s New York Business will host the “Crain’s Real Estate Conference: Building Solutions,” where real estate stakeholders will discuss the next stage in the development of the far west side and Hudson Yards and other issues important to the real estate industry. Speakers include U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer; President of the Real Estate Board of New York John Banks; Vicki Been, commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development; and others.

At 9:15 a.m. Monday, Mayor de Blasio is scheduled to “appear live on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning to discuss Puerto Rico’s debt crisis and the Executive Budget,” according to his public schedule - which also notes timing is subject to change.

At 10:30 a.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, and Council Member Daneek Miller host a tour of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on “Muslim Cultures: Near and Far.”

Also at 10:30 a.m. Monday, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will attend an event for "Just Say Hi," a campaign to increase engagement with people with disabilities, at Beacon High School in Manhattan.

At 11 a.m. Monday, a coalition of elected officials and community groups will hold a press conference at City Hall to call for passage of the E-Impersonation Prevention Act, New York Senate Bill S5871-A, which seeks to punish cyberbullying perpetrators with jail time. Attendees will include state Senator Kevin Parker; social activist and former Miss New York Meaghan Jarensky; Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal; state Senator Persaud; City Councilmember Ritchie Torres; and others.

At 11:30 a.m. Monday, “Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and two Bronx Week 2016 honorees, actor Vincent Pastore and dance pioneer Eduardo Vilaro, will host a celebration of the “Best of The Bronx” to kickoff Bronx Week 2016...at Mike’s Deli in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market.”

At the City Council on Monday:

  • 1 p.m., the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to address a land use application for the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens.
  • 2 p.m., the Committee on Governmental Operations will meet to consider several bills aimed at reforming the city’s campaign finance system, including its public-matching program - read about the package of bills here. The committee will also vote to support the Voter Empowerment Act of New York and a constitutional amendment establishing no-excuse absentee voting.

At 6 p.m. Monday, Governor Cuomo will attend the 10th Annual Spirit of ABNY Awards, Rainbow Room, 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, the New York City Bar will host an event on “The Impact of Expanded Civil Legal Services on Low-Income New Yorkers,” which will explore how the recent expansion in civil legal services in the city will impact low-income New Yorkers, civil legal services providers, the courts, and members of the bar in general. Speakers include Steven Banks, commissioner of the city’s Human Resources Administration; Helaine M. Barnett, chair of the Permanent Commission on Access to Justice; Adriene Holder, attorney-in-charge of the Legal Aid Society Civil Practice; and others.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, New America will hold an event, “Fast and Free: New York’s Vision for Public Wi-Fi Everywhere,” a conversation on the suite of communications initiatives and potential challenges to such initiatives. Speakers include Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Future Project, Maya Wiley, counsel to the mayor of NYC, and others.

On Monday evening, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Gala.

Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is due to be sentenced on federal corruption charges Tuesday.

Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Tuesday in Albany.

The Vote Better NY campaign and petition drive will be in Albany Tuesday to lobby lawmakers and deliver its change.org petition, which urges New York state legislators to adopt three key reform proposals: The Voter Empowerment Act to modernize voter registration systems, the Voter Friendly Ballot Act to create easier-to-read ballots, and early voting options for New Yorkers.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs will host a panel discussion, “Celebrating 100 Years of Jane Jacobs: Innovations in New York City’s Open Space,” featuring Leslie Koch, president of The Trust for Governors Island; Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation; and Mitchell Silver, commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation. The event, coordinated with the Municipal Art Society of New York, is part of a series on urbanism and Jane Jacobs’ legacy.

At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • 9:45 a.m., the Committee on Public Safety will meet to vote on several resolutions, including on Nicholas’ Law to improve gun safety, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2015, a law requiring law enforcement to implement evidence-based eyewitness identification procedures and recording of custodial interrogations, in order to safeguard against wrongful convictions, and others.
  • 10 a.m., the Committee on Oversight and Investigations, jointly with the Committee on Public Safety, will meet on several bills, including a bill establishing an office of crime victim services, a bill establishing an office of reentry services for individuals released from incarceration, and a bill requiring the Police Department to maintain an early intervention system that is used to identify police officers whom may be in need of enhanced training or monitoring.
  • 10 a.m., the Committee on Waterfronts will meet on a bill expanding the role of the waterfront management advisory board.
  • 1 p.m., the Committee on Civil Rights will meet to vote on a resolution recognizing March 5 as “Three-Fifths Clause Awareness Day” to be officially observed each year in New York City, and a resolution calling upon Congress to add an amendment to the Constitution directly negating the language of the “three-fifths clause.”
  • 1 p.m., the Committee on Technology will meet on a bill allowing the online submission of city business permits, licenses, and applications.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, City Council Member Laurie Cumbo will hold a town hall to discuss a proposed bill to impose a five cent fee on all plastic and paper bags; members of the community are welcomed to discuss the implications of the proposed bill, to hear from advocates both in support of and opposing the bill, and to ask questions - Ingersoll Community Center, Brooklyn.

Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Wednesday in Albany.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the Senate Standing Committee on Education will hold a public hearing to examine the merits of extending mayoral control of schools in New York City. The hearing will take place in the Legislative Office Building in Albany and Mayor de Blasio is expected to be among those to testify.

At the City Council on Wednesday:

  • 9:30 a.m., the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to address a land use application to allow increased retail uses in existing public plazas and arcades in Manhattan.
  • 10 a.m., the Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet on several bills, including one to amend local law in respect to the eviction of elderly tenants; a bill to amend the definition of harassment to include the illegal conversion of dwelling units; and a bill requiring the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to provide tenants with disabilities with information about legal services when such tenants are facing eviction.
  • 10 a.m., the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services will meet on two bills, one requiring the Department of Probation to evaluate the effectiveness of its programming, and another requiring the same department to issue a yearly, public report on recidivism.
  • 11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will meet to vote on a resolution designating the Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island as a scenic landmark.
  • 1 p.m., the Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet one a bill requiring the licensing of solicitation by costumed individuals providing entertainment in public spaces.
  • 1 p.m., the Committee on Small Businesses will meet on a bill requiring the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to notify a business when a city has received a complaint about its operation.
  • 1 p.m., the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations will meet for an oversight hearing on the Art and Culture as a Catalyst for Political and Social Change organization.

At 6:30 p.m., the New York City Bar will hold an event on “The Future of Veterans Treatment Courts in New York City,” to discuss the establishment of Veterans Treatment Courts in NYC, and the impact they may have on the city’s veterans and criminal justice system. Panelists include Hon. Jo Ann Ferdinand, who presides over the Brooklyn Veterans Treatment Court; Hon. Marcia Hirsch, who presides over the Queens Veterans Treatment Court; and Loree Sutton, commissioner of the newly created New York City Department of Veterans’ Services.

Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Thursday in Albany.

At the City Council on Thursday: 1:30 p.m., the City Council will hold a stated meeting. It will be prefaced, as usual, by a pre-stated press conference led by Council Speaker Mark-Viverito.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, the New York City Bar will hold an event on “The Future of Affordable Housing in New York City 2016 (an update),” which will provide an inside perspective on the real estate industry and affordable housing in New York City. Speakers will focus on the evolution of as well as changes to affordable housing programs and tax incentive programs since the last program in May 2015.

On Thursday, there will be arguments in New York State Supreme Court in the lawsuit being brought by Success Academy charter schools and parents against New York City over pre-K program funding. The de Blasio administration has refused to provide public funding to Success Academy pre-K programs because the network has not signed up for the oversight that the city has required of all programs receiving public funds.

At 7:30 a.m. Thursday, The New York Women’s Foundation will host a “Celebrating Women Breakfast,” which will feature Tory Burch, CEO and designer at Tory Burch; Elizabeth Sackler, founder of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; and the Young Women’s Initiative, which was started by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and aims to invest in young women of color.

Friday and the weekend
At 10 a.m. on Friday, the Assembly Standing Committee on Energy, jointly with the Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry will hold a public hearing to discuss potential obstacles to net-metering for residents and businesses. The hearing will take place at 250 Broadway in New York City.

At the City Council on Friday: 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will kick off executive budget hearings, joined by the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency at noon.

At 6 p.m. on Friday, Chancellor of the state Board of Regents Betty Rosa will speak about her vision to transform New York public schools at a forum co-sponsored by Class Size Matters, CEC 6 and the Youth and Education Committee of CB12M, at George Washington Educational Campus. Investigative reporter Juan Gonzalez will moderate.

Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

by Kelly Fan and Ben Max

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