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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 17

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Governor Andrew Cuomo will kick this week off with a major speech in Manhattan, at which he has promised to outline his 2019 legislative agenda, according to comments he made Friday on the Capitol Pressroom with host Susan Arbetter. That speech will be most of the political buzz on Monday, and may provide fodder for the week, depending on what Cuomo says about more controversial or unexpected things like legalizing recreational marijuana and actions to combat climate change. Much of what the governor will say is already known, he's made a fairly long list of priorities evident for months after the end of this year's budget and legislative session in Albany left many policy items favored by Democrats on the table. Now, with a fully Democratic Legislature set to take over in January, the Democratic governor is getting out ahead to tell legislators and the public much of what he wants to get done.

As Cuomo speaks in Manhattan, Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration will be kicking off Manhattan week in its City Hall in Your Borough initiative. It's not yet clear what that will include in terms of Manhattan-focused announcements by the mayor. He only has one public event on Monday, giving introductory remarks about the program.

This week we're watching for any further word as the city and federal representatives try to work out a deal for the future of NYCHA, though a deadline has now been pushed to the end of January.

This week will also see the flurry of end-of-year activity at the City Council continue -- see details below -- and a few state legislative hearings ahead of the start of the new legislative session in Albany in January. The race for Public Advocate also continues this week with at least one candidate forum, and other campaigning expected.

 And there are other things happening all over the city, with several 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:

The de Blasio administration will hold City Hall in Your Borough in Manhattan this week. As usual, components will include a city resource fair and a town hall meeting, while the administration will generally pay special attention to the borough at hand, typically including borough-focused announcements. On Monday at 12:30 p.m. at P.S. 150, "Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks at P.S. 150 to kick off City Hall in Your Borough. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A." Later Monday, "the Mayor will deliver remarks at the School Construction Authority's 30th Anniversary Party. This event is closed press."

Governor Andrew Cuomo will give a speech on Monday morning in Manhattan to lay out specific elements of his 2019 legislative agenda, and to discuss what Franklin Delano Roosevelt would do today. At 11 a.m. at the New York City Bar Association, Cuomo will deliver an address on his "agenda for first 100 days" of 2019.

Monday morning will be the NYCERS Common Investment Meeting at 1 Centre Street. Public Advocate Letitia James will be among those who attend.

At the City Council on Monday:
--The Committees on Health and Civil Service & Labor will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the “health of 9/11 responders and the surrounding community.”
--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed law to replace the city’s school bus fleet with electric buses.
--The Committee on General Welfare will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding homeless shelter conditions, as well as to discuss several related proposed laws.

At the State Legislature on Monday: the Assembly Standing Committees on Economic Development and Small Business will meet jointly at 11 a.m. at SUNY Buffalo’s Center for an oversight hearing “to examine the effectiveness of economic development programs that leverage state funds to translate technology advancements into viable long-term business development and economic growth.”

At 2:30 p.m. Monday at Brooklyn Borough Hall, Borough President Eric Adams “will discuss enhancements that have been made in recent weeks to advancing public safety in Downtown Brooklyn, following discussions he convened with local law enforcement agencies, business leaders, community stakeholders, educational institutions, and residents’ associations after a series of daytime shooting incidents several months ago as well as greater concerns about gang-related activity threatening children, families, and seniors around the Fulton Mall area. Amid the activity of the holiday shopping season, which brings an influx of foot traffic to Downtown Brooklyn, Borough President Adams will be joined at a media briefing by leadership from the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP), Kings County District Attorney’s Office, New York City Department of Probation (DOP), New York City Police Department (NYPD), and New York State Courts Department of Public Safety, among others. They will also share some important safety tips for the holiday season and beyond.”

Members of the Fair Elections for New York coalition are holding two rallies on Monday to call on state leaders to pass election and campaign finance reforms in 2019 -- they want a “small donor matching program, the closing of campaign finance loopholes, and comprehensive voting rights reform.” One Monday press conference will be at 1 p.m. at New York City Hall, where “organizations working on issues from climate change to criminal justice, joined by grassroots resistance groups that played a major role in NYS’ recent Senate elections, will hold a rally and press conference to call for passage of a progressive platform, beginning with campaign finance reform and progressive tax policy, which they hope to pass during the NYS budget session.” The other Monday press conference will be on Long Island at 3 p.m. at the Suffolk County Legislature Lobby, where “community groups and grassroots activists will be joined by Suffolk County Legislators who passed public financing for county elections last year including Rob Calarco to call for leaders in Albany to follow Suffolk County’s lead.”

On Monday at 4:30 p.m. outside City Hall, “Advocates and homeless New Yorkers will be joined by faith leaders for a candlelight vigil outside of City Hall to urge Mayor de Blasio to increase the number of apartments set aside for homeless New Yorkers in his Housing New York 2.0 affordable housing plan to 30,000 units, with 24,000 units to be created through new construction.” The vigil will be led by the House Our Future NY coalition.

At 5:30 p.m. Monday, Borough President Melinda Katz will chair a meeting of the Queens Borough Board, at Queens Borough Hall.

At the City Council on Tuesday:
--The Committee on Sanitation will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “diverting non-curbside collected materials from landfill,” as well as to discuss a proposed law relating to “city agencies’ organics collection.”
--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 10:45 a.m.
--The Committee on Land Use will meet at 11 a.m.
--The Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss two proposed laws, one relating to exempting stores with price scanners from merchandise labeling requirements and one prohibiting the use of dogs or cats as security in certain contracts.
--The Committees on Education and Finance and the Subcommittee on the Capital Budget will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing examining the city’s new 5-year capital plan for schools.
--The Committees on Criminal Justice and Cultural Affairs will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “Department of Probation arts programming.”

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics will meet in Albany.

At 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, City & State will honor its “Responsible 100,” consisting of “New York's most outstanding responsible executives, thought leaders, visionaries and influencers who are setting new standards of excellence, dedication and leadership in improving their communities and making transformative change.” The Rev. Al Sharpton and Mary Stuart Masterson of Stockade Works will deliver keynote remarks. The event will take place at Sony Hall in Times Square.

At noon Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will host a city resource fair for Manhattan residents at the Children’s Aid Milbank Center in Harlem.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, several Democratic clubs will host a forum for Public Advocate candidates. There are 16 candidates confirmed as of Sunday. Gotham Gazette’s Ben Max and the Daily News’ Alyssa Katz will moderate the event, at First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn Heights.

At the City Council on Wednesday:
--The Committee on Immigration will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the need for legal representation in immigration court under Trump.”
--The Committee on Small Business will tour Harlem Biospace at 3 p.m.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.

The latest episode of Max & Murphy on WBAI radio will air at 5 p.m. Wednesday, at 99.5FM and wbai.org, and will feature interviews with city Comptroller Scott Stringer and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Panel for Educational Policy will hold a public meeting at Murry Bergtraum High School in Chinatown.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Member Keith Powers will hold a town hall meeting at Hunter College’s West Building on the Upper East Side. Also co-hosting will be Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, State Senators Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman, and Assemblymembers Dan Quart and Harvey Epstein.

The City Council will hold its final Stated meeting of the year at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Speaker Corey Johnson is likely to host a pre-Stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.

At the State Legislature on Thursday: the Assembly Standing Committee on Housing will meet at 10 a.m. in Albany for an oversight hearing regarding the enacted budget for New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Empire State Development will hold a directors’ meeting at its headquarters in East Midtown.

At 1 p.m. Thursday in Syracuse, members of the aforementioned Fair Elections for New York coalition will rally at the State Office Building, where “community groups and grassroots activists will be joined by elected leaders including Senator-elect Rachel May and Assemblyman Stirpe to call for voting rights and a small donor public financing system as an immediate priority for New York State.”

Friday and the weekend
Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m. Friday.

Note: this is the final Week Ahead of 2018. We’ll be back with The Week Ahead for the first week of January 2019.

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 Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max

What's The [Data] Point? 2,268, 'Deinstitutionalization' in New York

whats the data point

What's The [Data] Point? Episode 61 - 2,268, 'Deinstitutionalization' in New York, with Stephen Eide of the Manhattan Institute [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

wtdp stephen eide

Stephen Eide, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, is the author of a new report about New York’s inpatient mental healthcare system, the state push toward deinstitutionalization, and what it has meant for people with serious mental illness and New York City. "Cuts to state psychiatric hospital beds has coincided, in recent years, with increasing mental illness-related pressures on the city’s homeless services and criminal justice systems," Eide argues.

Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (@TweetBenMax), Maria Doulis of CBC (@MariaDoulis). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!

by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

Declared and Exploring Candidates for New York City Public Advocate

10 candidates

(l-r) Tish James, Ydanis Rodriguez, Melissa Mark-viverito, Jumaane Williams, Latrice Walker
Rafael Espinal, Danny O'Donnell, Michael Blake, Erich Ulrich, Ron Kim

There are roughly two dozen candidates who have officially declared or indicated they are exploring a run in the February special election for New York City Public Advocate, which will take place Tuesday, February 26.

Attorney General-elect Letitia James officially vacates the office of New York City Public Advocate on January 1, setting off the next steps of the process, whereby Mayor Bill de Blasio will officially call what will be the first citywide special election since the current city governmental structure was designed in 1989.

Candidates have already been hitting the forum and debate circuit, with groups and voters across the city eager to hear from those seeking to become of just three popularly-elected citywide officials. The Public Advocate is significantly less powerful than the Mayor or the Comptroller, but has a citywide perch, important responsibilities as a watchdog and ombudsperson, the power to introduce legislation and file litigation, and a bully pulpit. People who have held the position in its relatively short history have been elected mayor (Bill de Blasio) or almost so (Mark Green), and now attorney general.

It won’t be completely clear who is fully running to become the next Public Advocate until candidates collect signatures to get on the ballot and file their fundraising numbers with the Campaign Finance Board. Special elections in the city are “nonpartisan,” meaning there are no party primaries and candidates cannot run on the major party ballot lines. Each candidate will create their own party label to run on, and they’ll need to collect 3,750 valid signatures from registered voters of any party (or none) to make the ballot.

Declared and exploring candidates include several current and former elected officials and a variety of other individuals looking to pull off a surprise win. With the prospect of well more than ten candidates on the ballot and low voter turnout virtually a given, the winner of the special election could be anyone who finds the right formula for the necessary thousands of voters.

The winner of the special election will quickly have to win a regular election, though, since city law dictates that for such a vacancy, there is not only a special election but then a regular election, with party primaries if needed, the following fall. So, there will be an election for Public Advocate in November, with September party primaries if necessary, in the fall of 2019.

Below is a running list of candidates, either declared or exploring, for the Public Advocate special election (in alphabetical order):

-Manny Alicandro is an attorney who recently sought the Republican nomination for attorney general. @Manny_Alicandro

-Assemblymember Michael Blake represents part of the Bronx and is also a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. @MrMikeBlake

-Theo Chino is a bitcoin entrepreneur and county committee member. @theochino

-Daniel Christmann is a radio host. @EcallerTh

-David Eisenbach is a professor of history at Columbia University, who unsuccessfully challenged Tish James in the 2017 Democratic primary for Public Advocate. @Eisenbach4NY

-City Council Member Rafael Espinal represents part of Brooklyn. @RLEspinal

-Peter Gleason is an attorney and former police officer and firefighter, who once represented the infamous “Soccer Mom Madam.” @PeterGleasonEsq

-Gwen Goodwin is a community activist and past candidate for City Council.

-Tony Herbert is a community activist who was a candidate for Public Advocate in 2017. @herbert4nyc

-Ifeoma Ike is an attorney and co-founder of consultancy Think Rubix, LLC. @IfyWorks

-Walter Iwachiw is a perennial Republican candidate for various offices, such as mayor, state Assembly, CUNY Student Senator, and even U.S. president.

-Assemblymember Ron Kim represents parts of Queens. @rontkim

-Nomiki Konst is a journalist, activist, and member of the Democratic National Committee. @NomikiKonst

-Abbey Laurel-Smith @The46thPOTUS_

-Danniel Maio is a former candidate for state Assembly.

-Melissa Mark-Viverito is former Speaker of the City Council who helped lead the Latino Victory Fund after being term-limited out of office at the end of 2017. @MMViverito

-Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell represents part of Manhattan. @DannyforNYC

-Jared Rich is an attorney from Brooklyn. @JaredRichNYC

-City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez represents part of Manhattan. @ydanis

-Ralph Schweizer is a Bronx activist. @RealRalphNYC

-Diane Signorile is a real estate broker from Staten Island. @kittydat2

-Curtis Sliwa is a radio host. @CurtisSliwa

-Nancy Sliwa is an attorney and real estate broker who ran for attorney general this year on the Reform Party line. @SLIWA4NYAG

-Dawn Smalls is an attorney who previously worked in the Obama and Clinton administrations. @DawnSmalls2

-John Tabacco is the New York State Reform Party secretary. @HTBExperts

-City Council Member Eric Ulrich represents part of Queens. @eric_ulrich

-Assemblymember Latrice Walker represents part of Brooklyn. @WalkerForNYC

-City Council Member Jumaane Williams represents part of Brooklyn. @JumaaneWilliams

-Ben Yee is a technology entrepreneur, member of the Democratic state committee, and secretary for the Manhattan Democratic Party. @yben

-Mike Zumbluskas is the former chair of the Manhattan Independence Party. @MikeZumbluskas

by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

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