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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 14

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Is there anything to talk about besides corruption in Albany? Yes, but issues with ethics among state lawmakers certainly have everybody buzzing.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office has just brought about the convictions of two recent legislative leaders; calls for reform are at a fever pitch and views of state lawmakers are about as low as they can get. Bharara is expected on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show Monday morning to discuss the convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.

One big question Bharara, Lehrer, and others are asking: Will comprehensive ethics and campaign finance reform finally happen in Albany? Good government groups are calling for a special session now, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not indicated that is a possibility as far as he is concerned. Cuomo has issued statements condemning the actions of Silver and Skelos, saying justice has been served, and indicating that he will propose new ethics legislation in January. In the meantime, Albany will continue to be a punchline and calls for reform will grow.

Cuomo is trying to keep the focus on state economic development grants that he announced this past week, and he is celebrating the largest of those grants as the week begins - he was in Syracuse on Sunday afternoon and is in Rochester on Monday - details below.

Cuomo performed some interesting executive gymnastics on Friday and Saturday, vetoing two bills that would have enhanced FOIL application in the Executive Branch, then issuing an Executive Order to "expedite the freedom of information law appeals process." In the EO, Cuomo again said that he plans to address FOIL in January to make the Legislature subject to the transparency law; and noted that "in light of recent events, we must do more to immediately advance transparency in government." [Read: Cuomo's FOIL Weekend: Vetoes Bills, Issues Order, Promises More]

Meanwhile, the Cuomo-de Blasio feud appears to have relaxed a bit of late, after the two dined in an effort to patch things up. As we approach Cuomo's January 13 State of the State speech, though, questions will grow as to how much the governor includes in his budget and policy proposals that is seen as working in collaboration with or in an effort to undermine Mayor de Blasio.

Speaking of de Blasio, the mayor had minor hernia surgery Friday and spent the weekend recovering.

The mayor will appear at 9:30 Monday morning at The National Immigrant Integration Conference 2015, which began Sunday and runs through Tuesday. According to his public schedule, he will make an announcement there. The conference is themed "New American Dreams: Advancing Opportunity, Equality & Justice" and co-hosted by the National Partnership for New Americans and the New York Immigration Coalition, and is taking place in Brooklyn. Gov. Cuomo will also address the conference, he's due to speak at 11 a.m.

Also Monday morning, at 10:30, the mayor is set to appear at an AARP event in Manhattan - he recently announced that the organization's New York chapter has endorsed his zoning amendment proposals, which have been the source of much controversy.

The next steps in the process of seeing significant changes made to the city's zoning rules happen this week - a major City Planning Commission public hearing on Wednesday. The commission will hold a regularly-scheduled meeting Monday before what promises to be a long and contentious hearing Wednesday. [Read more about the next steps in the process leading toward a tweaked plan and City Council vote]

On Thursday, de Blasio will speak before the Association for a Better New York, see below for more.

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read 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?
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The run of the week in detail:

At the City Council on Monday:

  • At 9:30 a.m., the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet.
  • At 10 a.m., the Committees on Environmental Protection and Recovery and Resiliency will hold a joint oversight hearing about Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC plan and the city’s plans for sustainability and resiliency.
  • At 11 a.m., the Committee on Veterans will meet about two resolutions. The first calls on the president to sign and Congress to pass the Restore Honor to Service Members Act and the second calls on the state legislature to pass and the governor to sign the New York Restoration of Honor Act.
  • At 11 a.m., the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet.
  • At 1 p.m., the Committees on Contracts, Small Business, and Women’s Issues will hold an oversight hearing about the “Implementation of the City’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program.” Nine bills about this subject will be considered at the meeting.
  • At 1 p.m., the Committee on Governmental Operations will hold an oversight hearing about the “Structure and Content” of the Mayor’s Management Report and consider two bills related to the report. The first would require the city’s Board of Elections to “report data relating to performance goals set by the Mayor and Council twice per year” and the second requires the report to include a citizen satisfaction survey about each agency featured in the report.
  • At 1 p.m., the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet.

Prior to the 1 p.m. Contracts/Small Business/Women’s Issues hearing, the chairs of those committees and others will hold a noon press conference on the steps of City Hall. Participants likely to include: Contracts Chair Helen Rosenthal; Women's Issues Chair Laurie Cumbo; Small Business Chair Robert Cornegy; Women's Caucus Co-Chair Elizabeth Crowley; Public Advocate Letitia James; Bertha Lewis, The Black Institute; Armand Corporation, an M/WBE; Association of Minority Enterprises of New York; Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; Harlem Business Alliance; National Association of Minority Contractors - New York State Chapter; Professional Women in Construction; Regional Alliance for Small Contractors; Women Builders Council.

Earlier on Monday morning, elected leaders and others will participate in an event to “present data from AARP’s Livability Index, a new tool rating city neighborhoods on a range of issues critical to New Yorkers as they age” at the Cornell Club in Manhattan. AARP announced this past week that it has endorsed de Blasio’s zoning proposals, key to his affordable housing plan. De Blasio is set to speak at 10:30 a.m., an hour after his announcement at the NIIC conference in Brooklyn mentioned above.

On Monday at 9 a.m., Hunter College’s New York City Food Policy Center will host Dr. Marion Nestle of New York University for a discussion of her her latest book at an event called “Food Policy for Breakfast: Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning): A Conversation with Marion Nestle.”

At 9:30 a.m. Monday in the Bronx, “Public Advocate James will give remarks at a press conference announcing a lawsuit against Moshe Piller, the fourth worst landlord on her Worst Landlord Watchlist. The lawsuit is being filed on behalf of tenants by the Tenants' Rights Coalition.”

At 11 a.m. Public Advocate James will give remarks “at Third Anniversary of Sandy Hook Call to Action on Guns Press Conference with Congresswoman Maloney.”

At noon, Public Advocate James will speak at a City Hall press conference calling for MWBE reform; she will then attend the City Council oversight hearing on the subject.

Along with U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara, Congressional Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is expected to appear Monday morning on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, which begins at 10 a.m.

At 1 p.m. Monday, the City Planning Commission will hold a meeting, its last before the public hearing it will hold Wednesday on the de Blasio administration’s zoning amendment proposals, which have garnered quite a bit of pushback.

At 2 p.m. Monday, Gov. Cuomo will be in Rochester, according to the Democrat & Chronicle, celebrating his recent announcement that the surrounding Finger Lakes Region will receive one of three $500 million upstate revitalization grants.

At 6:30 p.m. on Monday, State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Assembly Member Luis R. Sepúlveda, and City Council Member Annabel Palma will hold a town hall to discuss “issues affecting the residents of Parkchester.”

At 6:30 p.m. on Monday at JHS 52, a public workshop on Inwood’s neighborhood rezoning will be held by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Community Board 12, and the Department of City Planning. The workshop will feature “a brief presentation on key zoning concepts for the Inwood community with interactive discussions focused on gathering feedback and building consensus on key principles for new development.”

At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • At 10 a.m., the Committee on Public Housing will hold an oversight hearing about the compliance of the New York City Housing Authority with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s permanent exclusion policy and admissions regulations.
  • At 10 a.m., the Committees on Immigration and Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations will hold a joint oversight hearing about “IDNYC and the Cultural Institutions Group.”
  • At 11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will meet.
  • At 1 p.m., the Committees on Women’s Issues and Fire and Criminal Justice Services will hold a joint oversight hearing to examine “the Unique Issues Facing Women in City Jails” and discuss a bill that would require the Department of Correction to make a quarterly report about its nursery.

At the New York State Legislature on Tuesday: At 10:30 a.m. in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Higher Education will hold a hearing about “The Changing Demographics of Students in Higher Education and Educational Opportunity Programs.”

At 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer will discuss “advancing transparency and accountability in the New York City pension funds” at a Citizens Budget Commission breakfast meeting at the Harvard Club.

At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the New York City Voter Assistance Advisory Committee’s annual public hearing will be held at the Department of Youth and Community Development’s main office. The NYCVAAC is part of NYC Votes and the New York Campaign Finance Board: “NYC Votes wants to hear testimony from the public on their voting experiences and concerns from the 2015 elections.”

On Tuesday evening, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is holding “a tenant displacement legal clinic” from 6-8 p.m. “at the offices of Community Board 5, located at 127 Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York. Lawyers from the Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Legal Services will be present to provide free legal advice to tenants facing displacement threats in Brownsville, Cypress Hills, and East New York.”

On Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., the Brooklyn Historical Society will be hosting a talk called “NYC and Food Poverty: Margarette Purvis In Conversation” in conjunction with educational center’s “Hidden in Plain Sight: Portraits of Hungers in NYC” exhibition. Purvis is the CEO and president of Food Bank For New York City. Ned Resnikoff of Al Jazeera America will moderate the event.

At the City Council on Wednesday: At 1:30 p.m., the City Council will have its last Stated Meeting of the year. As always, it will be prefaced by the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m. And prior to that, the Council’s Finance Committee will meet at 10 a.m. and its Committee on Rules and Privileges will meet at 10:30 a.m. to consider a new appointment to the City Planning Commission.

At the New York State Legislature on Wednesday:

  • At 11 a.m. in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Children and Families will hold a hearing on “Child Care Assistance for Low-Income Families”.
  • At 11:30 a.m. in Smithtown, the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will hold a hearing about the impact of illegal dumping and sand mining on the quality of Long Island’s water.

On Wednesday beginning at 9 a.m. at Manhattan’s National Museum of the American Indian, the City Planning Commision will hold a public hearing about the de Blasio administration’s controversial rezoning proposals. [Read more about those proposals and the next steps in the process, including Wednesday’s planning commission hearing]

At 6 p.m. Wednesday in Manhattan, The Working Families Party is “helping to kick off NY Renews, an unprecedented statewide coalition emerging to fight for climate policies grounded in equity and justice for communities and working people. We'll be celebrating with a launch event in Harlem [with] very special guests -- including, just confirmed, Mark Ruffalo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman!”

On Thursday at 8:30 a.m., the Association for a Better New York will host a breakfast with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who will speak about "critical issues" facing the city.

At 10 a.m. Thursday the New York City Campaign Finance Board will meet.

The New York Working Families Party will hold its annual holiday party Thursday evening in Manhattan, expect many elected officials to attend.

Friday and the weekend
Quiet right now - stay tuned for updates!

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 Ryan Brady and Ben Max

Next Steps for The Mayor's Controversial Zoning Proposals

bdb park queens people

Mayor de Blasio (photo: @BilldeBlasio)

An overwhelming majority of the city’s community boards and four borough presidents have recently voted in opposition to the zoning proposals central to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, as least as they are currently written. The two plans - which would change the city’s zoning rules and hold a great deal at stake in terms of housing, retail space, parking, and the future of the city’s neighborhoods - continue to move through the public review process, with key hearings to be held in the coming months.

Mayor de Blasio has acknowledged that tweaks will be made before the zoning text amendments reach the City Council for a decisive vote early in 2016. De Blasio has repeatedly stressed that community board votes are advisory, though he has said that his administration is taking feedback into account. In a Wednesday interview with NY1, de Blasio said, “We’ve said all along we’re open to revisions. We’re obviously listening to the feedback from communities. And we’re open to making changes if we think it will help the plan.”

The final of the five borough boards, Staten Island’s, will vote on the plans Thursday, Dec. 10, and de Blasio’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability will quickly move toward a public hearing held by the City Planning Commission on Dec. 16—less than three months after the public review process started in September.

The Dec. 16 hearing is expected to be long and contentious. The commission, which is made up of appointees by the mayor, the borough presidents, and the comptroller, will make changes it sees fit and send the plans to the City Council for its own public hearings.

Though some, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, have criticized the “speed of the process,” timelines are dictated by the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which applies to everything from block-level land use changes to broad zoning law edits like MIH and ZQA. Future, neighborhood-specific development plans, like the already controversial East New York Community Plan, will be reviewed individually, though only by relevant community and borough boards, as well as the local City Council member.

The de Blasio administration argues that its MIH and ZQA plans are essential to lay new citywide groundwork on which the more localized community plans can be laid. The plans will set requirements for affordable housing in new real estate development; alter height limits for buildings; and make other changes to how land is used around the city.

ULURP allots 60 days to community board review and 30 days to borough president and borough board review. Neither groups hold decisionmaking authority, but comments are considered in the following City Planning Commission and City Council review stages.

Those two groups are the ones who decide on changes and ultimately vote to approve the zoning changes. De Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have acknowledged the significant opposition, and said last month that the plans will change before the council votes on them.

De Blasio, during a recent appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, summarized the advisory role community and borough boards play in the process and his continued push for the plan.

“We try and learn from it, we try and make adjustments as we see fit. But it’s also a back-and-forth between our other partners in the process, notably the City Council,” he said. “A lot of what I’ve heard from this public discussion is the desire to maximize the number of affordable units and to have them at the lowest possible income levels. And those are goals we share. Trying to figure out how to construct it is the work we do together.”

Next Stop: City Planning Commission
The first opportunity for changes to be made comes during the City Planning Commission’s review process. After hosting its own public hearing on Dec. 16 and public deliberations in January, it is expected to tweak the plans as it sees fit and vote on MIH and ZQA in early February—in line with ULURP’s 60-day timeline for the commission’s stage.

Though CPC is inextricably tied to the Department of City Planning—the chair of the 13-person commission, Carl Weisbrod, is also the director of City Planning—it remains relatively independent of mayoral control. Six of the other 12 members are mayoral appointees, and because they serve staggered five-year terms, three joined during the Bloomberg administration (one has stepped down and the commission currently has 12 members). The borough presidents and the public advocate each appoint one of the other six commission members. Given these dynamics and the community response to MIH and ZQA, it is likely that changes to the plans will be recommended by the City Planning Commission.

Over the 60 days, CPC has the option of approving, modifying, or disapproving the proposals, taking into account recommendations from community boards, borough boards and borough presidents. MIH and ZQA will then move to the City Council.

The City Council
City Council members have had mixed reactions to the zoning proposals. Most say first and foremost that they agree with the broader goals of the mayor’s plans - creating affordable housing through new tools, including mandatory affordable units with any new development allowed through a rezoning.

As the proposals have come through the borough boards, on which the borough president, community board chairs, and City Council members sit, Council members have expressed themselves differently. On one hand, nearly all of the Council members from the Bronx opposed the plans as part of their borough board vote in November. On the other, most Manhattan and all Queens Council members abstained from their borough board votes, saying they will comment and vote with the Council next year.

“I do want to say the mayor’s proposal is very ambitious and...will probably be the most ambitious in the country,” said Queens Council Member Donovan Richards, chair of the subcommittee on zoning and franchises, during an October interview with Gotham Gazette. “But at the same time, we need to ensure that there’s real affordability in the plan and that things that communities have needed for a long time—whether it’s transportation, schools, jobs—all of the different components are also part of the conversation and part of the final deal as we move through the process.”

Under ULURP, the council has 50 days to hold hearings, review, and vote on the plans, passing through the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and the Committee on Land Use before they go to the full Council. Any proposed changes return to the CPC for another 15 days of review.

Individual Neighborhood Plans
Since MIH and ZQA are citywide changes to zoning laws, they will not directly create any development. MIH, in particular, comes into effect when a developer requests to rezone a plot of land—only then will the development be required to include affordable housing (25-30% of the units, with rents based on certain income levels).

Such rezonings will also occur as part of neighborhood-specific “community plans,” which also include improvements to other local infrastructure. The first of these plans, in East New York, was released on Sept. 21 and is going through ULURP at the same time as MIH and ZQA. Six other neighborhoods across the other four boroughs are also being studied, part of a longer list of neighborhoods on the docket for overhaul.

by Christian Zhang, Gotham Gazette

Hearing to Examine ‘Efficacy’ of City Response to ‘Homelessness Crisis’

Levin City Council

City Council Member Levin (photo: William Alatriste) 

The City Council Committee on General Welfare will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday Dec. 9 on the de Blasio administration’s efforts to address New York’s “homelessness crisis.”

Though a great deal of political controversy has surrounded the issue lately, City Council Member Stephen Levin, chair of the committee, is not interested in adding to it.

“Now is an appropriate time to do a clear-eyed assessment of what is happening on the ground and what the plans are moving forward to address all of those issues,” Levin told Gotham Gazette ahead of the hearing. “So,” he said, the hearing will be about “toning down the rhetoric and really examining what the reality is.”

That assessment will include, Levin added, examining the Department of Homeless Services’ Living in Communities (LINC) and Special Exit and Prevention Supplement (SEPS) programs, as well as recent increases in its legal services and the Homebase program, among other components of the city’s multi-pronged effort to address homelessness.

As of its December 3 census, the Department of Homeless Services counted 57,967 people sleeping in shelters. It is estimated that there are a few thousand more who live on the streets and in subway stations. The city’s efforts to move people living on the street - who often suffer from mental illness - into shelter and reduce the shelter census have come under increasing scrutiny over the past six months.

“Even though the city has spent hundreds of millions of dollars confronting homelessness, the problem has proven to be far more intractable than everyone originally thought, including the mayor,” City Council Member Ritchie Torres, a member of the general welfare committee, told Gotham Gazette. “And it’s not for a lack of effort at all.”

During a recent interview with PIX11, DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor agreed - when asked to grade the administration’s work, Taylor said, “I would definitely give us an A for effort.”

Perhaps “effort” is not one of them, but there are a variety of questions around the administration’s approach to homelessness, mostly about the effectiveness of programs and policies and if the right overall approach is in place.

The PIX11 Taylor interview grew tense when the commissioner was asked to explain the increase in average time that homeless families spend in shelters - seventeen months in fiscal year 2015 compared to eleven months in 2011. The commissioner questioned the source of the reporter’s data, but when he learned it was the Mayor’s Management Report, he shifted to deny “the notion of families languishing in shelter” but said that he did not “refute” MMR numbers.

When PIX11 interviewed New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer about two weeks later, on Dec. 3, he said that his office is currently auditing DHS. Stringer said that his “early call is we shouldn’t be about spinning and grading, we should be about getting the work done.” Previously, Stringer has criticized the administration for conditions at homeless shelters.

Taylor is expected to testify at the City Council’s hearing on Wednesday. DHS did not make Taylor available for an interview for this article.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has recently acknowledged how tough the fight to reduce homelessness has been and also said he hasn’t done a good enough job explaining all of the work his administration is doing to combat homelessness. The administration has a variety of programs in motion, and has moved tens of thousands out of shelter and into housing, while also providing subsidies to help people avoid losing their homes. But, de Blasio has said that as quickly as his administration is moving people out of shelter, others are becoming in need, largely due to the city’s affordable housing crisis.

When announcing in early November that “52,277 individuals have exited shelter since July 1, 2014,” including 19,263 who “exited shelter using the administration’s newly created rental assistance programs and exit pathways,” the administration said that in the same time, “approximately 91,906 individuals have enrolled in HomeBase, a proven homelessness prevention program to help families and individuals stay in their homes.”

In a statement, de Blasio said that his “administration is making unprecedented investments in programs to prevent and reduce homelessness...But as rents are skyrocketing and wages remain stagnant, too many New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet and still end up in shelter, and we are aggressively working to help these families and individuals exit shelter.”

Sixty-two percent of New Yorkers disapprove of how the mayor is handling homelessness, according to a Siena College/New York Times poll released Nov. 17.

The city’s efforts to reduce homelessness are being further enhanced, according to a recent announcement by de Blasio, sure to be part of the discussion at Wednesday’s Council hearing. On Nov. 18, de Blasio announced his administration’s new supportive housing plan, a $2.6 billion initiative to build permanent residential units for homeless individuals afflicted by complex challenges like domestic violence, substance addiction, and mental illness. The plan outlines the construction of 15,000 supportive housing units over a 15-year period. Roughly 7,500 of the units will be newly constructed and the other roughly 7,500 will be at scattered sites.

While many praised the mayor’s new supportive housing program, his administration has been highly criticized for a perceived lack of progress in its efforts to house New Yorkers.

The mayor’s supportive housing announcement came after months of negotiations between his administration and that of Governor Andrew Cuomo failed to produce an agreement for a fourth New York/New York agreement, a supportive housing program funded jointly by the city and state, which is now in its third iteration and has been the product of collaboration by prior mayors and governors. Many are still waiting for Cuomo to announce a plan to add to de Blasio’s, or a joint announcement that incorporates de Blasio’s plan into a new New York/New York agreement.

“By making this historic investment, we are confronting the moral crises of homelessness and mental illness our city faces today,” de Blasio said in a statement announcing the plan. “We are not waiting on Albany.”

Though Council Member Torres is confident that the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will successfully execute the plan, he indicated that for future supportive housing development plans New York City would need more state funding.

“The city cannot carry the burden on its own in the long run, that’s just my assessment. It’s so expensive that it requires support from both the city and the state,” Torres said. “If you go beyond the 15,000 units, it becomes more of a challenge.”

Cuomo has been criticized by legislators and advocates for only proposing only 3,700 units for the city for the next seven years (8,300 less than what de Blasio requested and 26,300 less than what advocates have said is necessary) for a fourth New York/New York. Unlike previous New York/New York plans in which the state has covered 80 percent of the cost, the governor wants the fourth’s cost evenly shared, fifty-fifty. The most recent agreement expires next year.

“The sheer scale of the catastrophe playing out on our streets demands a sustained solution,” wrote Mary Brosnahan, president of Coalition for the Homeless, in The New York Times’ Room for Debate. “Governor Cuomo's offer is not going to cut it.” Brosnahan said similarly when she spoke at de Blasio’s celebratory supportive housing announcement, shifting the pressure to Cuomo to step up.

Homelessness is the latest policy issue to become a part of the Cuomo-de Blasio feud. As the de Blasio administration dedicates more and more funds to combat the crisis, calling on Cuomo to do so as well, the governor has questioned whether it’s a money issue or a management issue. “New York state is spending a billion dollars on homelessness in New York City,” the governor said in Brooklyn on Nov. 24. “So it’s not the money. . .I think it’s more of a question of the intelligence and the management.”

Last week, Cuomo met with nonprofit groups to discuss various aspects of homelessness policy and practice, and is expected reveal new related plans in his 2016 State of the State address on January 6.

Despite the drama surrounding the issue, Council Member Levin said he is focused on policy details. The $88 million added to the Department of Homeless Services budget in a November update to the fiscal year 2016 financial plan will be discussed at the hearing and though the supportive housing plan was prominent at a recent hearing, Levin said it would probably come up again.

“There’s a lot of noise out there, obviously, and we are eager to try to cut through that noise,” Levin told Gotham Gazette. Adding that the hearing will “look at what’s happening now, how that relates to what’s been happening over the last few years, what efforts are in place right now, examining the efficacy of those efforts - new funding, significant efforts that this administration has put into place.”

“The public deserves a clear picture of what’s really going on,” Levin said. “We are going to examine that as thoroughly and methodically as possible.”

by Ryan Brady, Gotham Gazette

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