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De Blasio Calls for Albany to 'Make Right' on Program at Center of Rift with Governor


cuomo de blasio

Cuomo and de Blasio in 2014, photo via Governor's Office


When Mayor Bill de Blasio exploded in frustration with Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 30 of last year, there were three key issues that set him off. The mayor felt that in the final negotiations of the Albany legislative session that had just ended, Cuomo had not been an ally on rent regulations, mayoral control of city schools, and the 421-a tax break program meant to spur affordable housing development, each of which was extended in a way that the mayor and many other city officials saw as disappointing.

While rent regulations appear settled at least through this year and mayoral control of city schools will be part of negotiations in the coming months, 421-a has been a pressing issue of late, with a stop-gap extension of the program having expired on Friday.

On Monday, de Blasio said he was "deeply disappointed" that the program was not extended further after the two entities charged with negotiating the final details were unable to come to an agreement. In June, the governor and state legislature passed on a proposal from de Blasio and decided that leaders from real estate and building trade unions would have to finalize the wage component of a deal.

Most of the other parameters of the potential extension - which could still happen if negotiations continue and yield an agreement - were designed through talks between de Blasio, the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), and housing-focused legislators and advocates. But, Gov. Cuomo said that their agreement was not beneficial enough to labor, calling it "a giveaway" to developers, and insisted that REBNY and the Building Trades Council figure out the wage structure for development projects receiving the 421-a tax break, which eliminates property taxes on developments that include a requisite number of below-market-rate apartments.

"Just look at the benefits of this plan," de Blasio said Monday to reporters of the plan he had put forward last spring. Speaking in Brooklyn after delivering remarks at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, de Blasio listed those benefits, reforms to the prior 421-a structure including ending the subsidy for condominiums, cutting the city's subsidy for affordable rental housing, and requiring a greater percentage of affordable units in each development in the program. He called it a "plan that we believe fundamentally was better for the taxpayers" and said "there was a real consensus in this city that it was progress."

"I'm deeply disappointed that the way it was pursued has failed, in terms of the Albany process," de Blasio said, in a somewhat subtle critique of the decision by Gov. Cuomo to allow private entities to negotiate state policy, a shift of responsibility that many have called into question. But, de Blasio said, "Albany has a chance to make it right and fix it, because this is crucial to continuing the work we need to do to create affordable housing."

De Blasio said he had spoken with both Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat from the Bronx. Neither Cuomo's nor Heastie's office returned a request for comment for this article. But, Cuomo spoke to reporters about the issue before making an appearance Monday at a Martin Luther King Day event. As reported by Politico New York, calling it a major concern.

The 421-a program is one centerpiece of de Blasio's housing agenda and its goal of creating or preserving 200,000 affordable units over ten years. Indicating he has hope for new life for 421-a or something similar, de Blasio said Monday that the city had enough projects in the pipeline "to continue to produce housing at essentially the same clip" through this year, after announcing recently that the city had "financed and secured" more than 41,000 affordable units over the first two years of his term.

"But," he said, "going forward, we do have to address this issue. And again, Albany has a chance to make real reform, to take a program that was unfair to taxpayers and wasn't producing enough affordable housing and fix it. That's certainly what we're going to fight for."

421-a accounted for over a billion dollars in tax breaks during the 2015 fiscal year, much of which went to developments that had not included affordable units in exchange - a recent ProPublica investigation of 421-a found "The failure of city and state regulators to effectively police the tax break...and hold developers to their word."

As recently as Thursday, Gov. Cuomo had called 421-a, or something like it, "a desperately needed program." Of REBNY and the trade unions, Cuomo said, "they could reach an agreement if they wanted to, there is a compromise to be found...and if they don't reach a compromise then frankly they both would have been disingenuous when they said they desperately needed this program."

"My guess is they reach a compromise," Cuomo added, speaking on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, "and if they don't, the program will lapse."

On Monday Cuomo acknowledged that his guess was wrong. "There was an agreement that was supposed to be worked out between the labor unions and...REBNY," Cuomo said. "They didn't agree on a wage, which means right now we don't have an affordable housing program that's operating in the City of New York. And that is a major concern for the mayor and myself. And that's been our number one topic of conversation."

The expiration of 421-a was met with mixed reactions. Some affordable housing advocates, like community groups that make up The Alliance for Tenant Power, celebrated the news. "The end of 421a is the best news tenants could receive. It was a wasteful program that incentivized corruption," said campaign manager Delsenia Glover, in a statement. The group wants to see strengthening of rent regulations and use of tax subsidies to help house the lowest-income New Yorkers.

Both City Council Member Jumaane Williams, who chairs the Council's housing committee, and affordable housing advocate Benjamin Dulchin, executive director of Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, said that the expiration of 421-a allows policy-makers to step back and take a fresh look at an affordable housing subsidy program.

"Now, we need all parties to come back to the table," Williams said in a statement, "take a fresh look at our options and create a plan to build housing with meaningful affordability requirements, fair labor standards, livable wages and equally as important, plans to ensure that jobs will go to communities too often ignored and underrepresented."

On Friday, Gary LaBarbera, the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, announced that no deal had been reached between his group and REBNY. LaBarbera said, in part, "We remain ready to engage with all stakeholders in the weeks and months ahead to achieve our goals of creating needed affordable housing and middle class jobs for New Yorkers."

Without tax incentives, building affordable housing is not financially feasible for real estate developers, according to stakeholders. Without 421-a, or something similar, affordable housing proponents fear that developers will simply focus on building condos, which optimize opportunities for profit.

REBNY President John Banks indicated as much in his reaction to the failure of 421-a negotiations, saying that "Without a program like 421-a, one can't build multi-family rental housing with a significant below-market, or affordable, component on a scale necessary to address the City's needs."

Banks struck a tone similar to LaBarbera, though, adding that REBNY is "committed to working with stakeholders to fashion a program that will produce the affordable housing throughout New York City that is so desperately needed, ensures construction workers are treated fairly and creates job opportunities for City residents."

Frustration with Albany lawmakers over a lack of clarity on the issue is not limited to de Blasio. In an interview with The Real Deal, one developer, David Kramer of Hudson Companies, said, "Our company survived two exhausting, stressful nail biters to start foundations on two separate rental projects by June 15 and Dec. 31, respectively, of this year, and it would be highly appreciated if Albany could provide a regulatory environment that offers some certainty and stability."

During his State of the State address last week, Cuomo outlined a commitment to fund 100,000 units of affordable housing across the state over five years. The details of Cuomo's plan are promised in the coming weeks. Just after Cuomo's speech, de Blasio told reporters it reasons that a good percentage would go to New York City.

On Monday, de Blasio said that "In the coming days, we're certainly going to push hard for action in Albany" on 421-a.

Back in June, de Blasio had pointed to 421-a as a major example of Cuomo not working in the best interest of New York City. "What I believe happened here," de Blasio told NY1 anchor Errol Louis, "is the governor, working with the Senate, in some cases, to inhibit the work of the Assembly – to inhibit the agenda of that New York City put forward. 421-a, I think, is the obvious example. We worked for months to come up with a plan that would really greatly intensify our ability to create affordable housing for New Yorkers."

Citing a "total package" that "would have reached 160,000 people," de Blasio said he and his team "worked with housing advocates" and "the real estate community" to get to a "good policy."

"It should have found a lot of support in Albany," de Blasio said. "Literally, within days of announcing the vision, the governor was trying to shoot it down very overtly and suggesting it was not a viable plan – it was presented too late....clearly it was not presented too late."

"I don't think the governor was sincere when he said it would be a giveaway to developers," de Blasio said, "when we were in fact demanding a lot more of developers."

"He could have embraced it," he said of the governor. "He could have seen it as the reform it was."

In November, de Blasio's commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Vicki Been, said that if 421-a were to expire, "Life will go on. There was life before 421-a, and there will be life if 421-a fails. We will survive and still deliver our 200,000 units."

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
@tweetBenMax

Note: this article has been updated with comment from Gov. Cuomo

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 18


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo released his Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017, which, for the state, begins April 1. It was not without controversy for the city, with Cuomo including significant cuts to state aid for city Medicaid and CUNY costs. Mayor Bill de Blasio and others from the city pushed back quickly and firmly, and the governor seemed to indicate that he was ready to work with the mayor and others to find efficiencies in the two programs in order to save money, rather than simply moving costs to the city.

This week, it's de Blasio's turn. The mayor is due to release his Preliminary Budget for FY17 on Thursday. It will be especially interesting to see how the mayor accounts for the Medicaid and CUNY aspects of Cuomo's budget. Also, many are watching to see if the mayor calls for clearer savings from his agencies - a majority of City Council members sent the mayor a letter recently, asking him to ask his commissioners to identify five percent savings. The city budget has grown significantly over the past two years, in part due to labor contracts the mayor has signed - he inherited a labor situation with none of the city's labor unions under non-expired contract.

The state legislature is in session on Wednesday and Thursday in Albany, beginning budget hearings on the governor's budget. And, on Wednesday, the legislature will consider the governor's nominee to fill the vacancy for the state's chief judge. Details below.

In the city, we're watching reaction to the announcement of a deal on Central Park carriage horses, announced Sunday evening; what the next steps are related to the for-hire vehicle study the city released Friday, as well as the related legislative package the City Council announced, and more. We also saw on Friday the expiration of the 421-a real estate development tax break meant to spur affodable housing. What's next there is also to be seen.

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?
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:

Monday
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There are commemorative events all over the city and many elected officials are either holding events or participating in them.

Mayor de Blasio is speaking at three Martin Luther King Jr. Day events Monday, per his public schedule:

  • At 11 a.m. Monday at BAM in Brooklyn, "Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at the 30th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." (after which the mayor will speak with members of the media)
  • At 2:45 p.m., "the Mayor will deliver remarks at the National Action Network's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Policy Forum in Manhattan."
  • "In the evening, the Mayor will deliver remarks at the St. Mary's Episcopal Church's Community Celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day."

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will also speak at the BAM event, at 10:30 a.m. She will then speak at Convent Avenue Baptist Church's Martin Luther King Day service at 11:30, and at the National Action Network event at 1:15 p.m.

Public Advocate Letitia James has nine Martin Luther King Jr. Day events on her schedule, including the BAM and NAN events mentioned above. Comptroller Scott Stringer has several MLK Day events on his schedule, too.

Gov. Cuomo will be honored at NAN, according to the governor's public schedule, on Monday at 3 p.m., "Governor Cuomo Delivers Remarks and Receives the "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Crusader for Social Justice Award" at the National Action Network's Annual NY King Day Public Policy Forum." After the event, "the Governor will join the National Action Network in a "Fight for Fair Pay" march."

Tuesday
At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • At 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet on three bills related to business improvement districts, one bill that would "require the Department of Finance to include a notice regarding legal and preferential rents on certain documents related to the NYC Rent Freeze Program" and a resolution to approve designation changes in its expense budget.
  • At 1:30 p.m., the Council will have a Stated Meeting. It will be prefaced, as usual, by the Speaker's pre-stated press conference at 12:30.

Prior to the stated meeting, at 10 a.m., "elected officials, labor and community leaders will gather on the steps of New York City Hall to rally in anticipation of a vote on the Grocery Worker Retention Act (GWRA). The GWRA (Int 632-2015) provides for a ninety day transition period to eligible employees following a change in ownership of a grocery store." This will be led by "Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Council Progressive Caucus members, RWDSU, RWDSU 338, UFCW 1500, other elected officials, labor and community leaders, and more." [Read: City Council Considers Regulating Grocery Personnel Decisions]

At 10 a.m. in the John Adams Houses projects in the Bronx, New York City Housing Authority CEO and Chair Shola Olatoye is expected to announce "the completion of major CCTV installation and ongoing security upgrades at 32 NYCHA developments citywide."

At 11 a.m. at the Razi School in Queens, "Mayor de Blasio will host a press conference to make an announcement related to Vision Zero."

At 11:30 a.m. outside City Hall, "Wheelchair advocates and taxi drivers will join together...in a first-of-its-kind rally aimed at forcing the City Council to act and leveling the playing field for all sectors of the taxi and for-hire industries...Uber now has over 30,000 vehicles in the city, but not a single one is wheelchair accessible. Uber's growth has also driven down medallion values, poached drivers from the taxi industry, and reduced taxi-generated MTA revenue by displacing existing taxi pickups."

On Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. a large number of community groups will organize representatives outside U.S. Attorney Preet Bharar's office, where "Youth speakout to demand Preet Bharara & DOJ prioritize justice in killing of Ramarley Graham and protection of Black & Brown young people's lives." The action is being led by Communities United for Police Reform.

At 6:30 p.m., the Museum of the City of New York is hosting a panel called "Housing a Growing City," featuring City Council Member Ritchie Torres, Department of City Planning Executive Director Purnima Kapur, Citizens Housing and Planning Council Executive Director Sarah Watson and Seema Agnani and National CAPACD's director of policy and civic engagement. The panel will be moderated by Ingrid Gould Ellen, NYU professor and the director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.

Wednesday
At the City Council on Wednesday:

  • At 10 a.m., the Committees on Fire and Criminal Justice Services and Parks and Recreation will meet for an oversight hearing to examine Hart Island's future and to introduce a bill that would give the Department of Parks and Recreation jurisdiction over the island, which is currently controlled by the corrections department.
  • At 1 p.m., the Committee on Youth Services will have an oversight hearing to discuss "Connecting Young People to Volunteer Opportunities".

The New York state legislature is in session on Wednesday, and will also have three hearings in Albany, including the first joint budget hearing on Governor Cuomo's recently unveiled Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017:

  • At 9:30 a.m., a joint legislative public hearing on the governor's 2016-2017 budget proposal on transportation.
  • At 11 a.m., a joint hearing by the Assembly Standing Committees on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions and Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry will be held about "Providing Affordable and High Quality Cable, Broadband, and Telephone Service".
  • At 1 p.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing about the appointment of Gov. Cuomo's nominee for Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.

The City Planning Commission will discuss several items during a public meeting at 22 Reade Street at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Panel for Educational Policy will meet at the Taft Educational Campus in the Bronx. The panel is set to vote on the DOE Community Schools Policy, "proposals for significant changes in school utilization" and Chancellor's Regulations amendments and proposed contracts.

Thursday
The New York state legislature is in session on Thursday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver his preliminary fiscal year 2017 budget on Thursday. Later on Thursday, de Blasio will head to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter gathering. He's set to speak at a Friday plenary and then head back to New York City.

Queens Borough president Melinda Katz will will deliver the State of the Borough address at Queens College's Colden Auditorium at 10 a.m.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, there will be a press conference held by state legislators, health professionals, advocates and educators about the Mental Health First Aid bill sponsored by State Senator Jesse Hamilton, at the Legislative Office building in Albany.

At the City Council on Thursday: At 1 p.m., the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet to introduce a bill to absolve criminal and civil penalties for owners of buildings with code violations that were created in response to natural disaster, and a bill with the same function for building owners waiting for repairs from a city disaster recovery program that also requires that the city refund them of fines paid for these penalties.

At 6:30 p.m., Representative Hakeem Jeffries will give his State of the District address at Long Island University's Paramount Theatre.

Friday and the weekend
Mayor de Blasio will speak Friday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering in Washington, D.C.

Success Academy Charter Schools CEO Eva Moskowitz will speak at a CityLaw breakfast at 8:15 a.m on Friday at New York Law School.

On Friday at 9 a.m., the Urban Justice Center will host a policy briefing. The Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision and the Coalition for Community Advancement in Cypress Hills/East New York will discuss the community plans, which are alternatives to the de Blasio’s administration’s plans.

At the City Council on Friday: at 10 a.m., the Committees on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations and Juvenile Justice will discuss “Cultural Non-Profits in the New York City Juvenile Justice System” in a joint oversight hearing.

At the New York State Legislature Friday: at 1 p.m., the Assembly Standing Committee on Real Property Taxation will have a public hearing about the real property tax system of New York City.

At 4 p.m. on Saturday, Assemblymember Michael Blake will deliver his State of the District address at Dreamyard in the Bronx on Saturday.

The second public workshop on Inwood’s neighborhood rezoning will be held by Community Board 12, the Department of City Planning, and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez at J.H.S. 52 on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

***
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
@GothamGazette

The Week That Was in New York Politics, Jan. 11-15


week in review bus readers

photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday January 15

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Governor Cuomo gives his State of the State address, via the governor's office

andrew cuomo mario cuomo

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. State of the State: Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his combined State of the State and budget address on Wednesday. The plan has major infrastructure components to it as well as efforts to achieve social and economic justice, as the governor put it. Some of Cuomo’s 2016 “Built to Lead” agenda will place new financial strains on New York City, as the plan would end the state’s payment of some of the city’s Medicaid costs and change how CUNY is funded. Those changes and others are expected by some experts to cost the city $1 billion starting in the next fiscal year. In response, Mayor de Blasio has called the budget proposal “debilitating,” and said he would use “any means necessary” to restore the millions in state financing. Cuomo appeared to strike a conciliatory tone on Thursday, saying the city and state would work together to find Medicaid and CUNY efficiencies. [Read: Cuomo Outlines $144 Billion Budget & Cuomo Unveils Ethics Plan to Questions Of Follow Through]

2. Cuomo Cleared: On Monday, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced there was not enough evidence to prove a federal crime in the investigation into Governor Cuomo’s interference with and closure of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.

3. Gun Courts: On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio announced “Project Fast Track,” which aims to reduce gun violence in New York City through the creation of a new Gun Violence Suppression Division in the NYPD and by designating judges to fast-track illegal gun cases and resolve the cases within six months. [Read: City to Open Gun Courts to Expedite Prosecutions]

4. Spotlight on Sexual Assault: The alleged gang-rape in a Brownsville playground last Thursday, the rise in the number of reported rapes in 2015, and NYPD Commissioner Bratton’s suggestion that women going home late at night use the “buddy system” have led sexual assault to become the focus of public discussion this week. On Monday, lawmakers and advocates rallied outside City Hall to call for more legislation and resources to protect women from sexual assault. [Read: To Combat Increase in Reported Rapes, Experts Point to Prevention & Sexual Assault Becomes Focus of Public Discussion]

5. 421-a, Uber, Carriage Horses: Negotiations between construction unions and real estate developers to extend the controversial 421-a development tax break are at a standstill, with both sides certain they will not reach an agreement by the Friday deadline to renew the program. Meanwhile, the city releases its long-awaited study of the for-hire vehicle industry, leading to little other than acknowledgement that the city is unlikely to pursue a cap to Uber’s growth. And, a deal on reducing horse carriages appeals imminent. [Read: Negotiations to Extend Important Affordable Housing Tax Break Said to Reach Impasse]

THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS:

  • $145 billion budget was laid out by Governor Cuomo during his annual state of the state and budget address.
  • $20 billion commitment to combat homelessness was announced by Governor Cuomo during the address, with $10 billion earmarked for 100,000 permanent affordable housing units and $10 billion for 6,000 new supported beds over 5 years, 1,000 emergency shelter beds, and other services, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • $1 billion is about how much experts estimate the changes in funding to CUNY and state payment of Medicaid costs will cost New York City starting in the next fiscal year, Capital New York reports.
  • 78.1% of public school students in New York graduated on time last june, up from 76.4% the previous year, marking an increase for the third year in a row, Gannett Albany reports. Meanwhile, the graduation rate in New York City crept above 70% for the first time.
  • 1,439 rapes reported in 2015, up 6.3% from 1,354 in 2014, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • 1.4 million New Yorkers - 16.5% of the population - are food insecure, Gotham Gazette reports.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

It was a good week for Governor Andrew Cuomo, after he was cleared by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office in the investigation into his interference with the shutdown of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.

It was a bad week for Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who came under fire for suggesting women should use the “buddy system” when coming home late at night to avoid becoming the victim of sexual assault. The NYPD has also been criticized this week for not notifying the public of the alleged gang rape in a Brownsville playground sooner.

THE FLASH:

Around this time 27 years ago, on January 13, 1989, subway gunman Bernhard Goetz was sentenced to a year in prison for possessing an unlicensed gun which he used to shoot four people he said were going to rob him.

Around this time 116 years ago, on January 10, 1900, bids went out for the construction of an underground railroad line running between City Hall and the Bronx. The city’s first subway opened four years later.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

Special Election Spotlights Machine Politics in The Bronx, by Gabe Ponce de León

To Combat Increase in Reported Rapes, Experts Point to Prevention, by Meg O'Connor

Cuomo Outlines $144 Billion Budget, by David Howard King

Cuomo Unveils Ethics Plan to Questions of Follow Through, by David Howard King

At Hearing on Hunger, Council Presses De Blasio Administration on SNAP Participation, by Ryan Brady

New Data Indicates IDNYC Popularity Among Immigrants, by Samar Khurshid

Cuomo Heads Into State of the State After Big Announcements, With More to Say, by Ben Max

Assembly Democrats Reject Republican Rules Changes, Promise Own Proposals Soon, by David Howard King

Council to Assess Hunger Problem, City Efforts to Reduce It, by Ryan Brady

New York One Signature Away from Calling for Overturn of Citizens United, by Samar Khurshid

Sexual Assault Becomes Focus of Public Discussion, by Ben Max

To Meet Staten Island Needs, Borough President Focuses on Beating Bureaucracy, by Meg O'Connor

Don't Be Seduced By Sexy Transportation Projects, by Philip M. Plotch and Nicholas D. Bloom (opinion)

A Case for None-Time-Limited Supportive Housing for Young Adults, by Colleen Jackson (opinion)

More Cities Should Do What States and Federal Government Aren't on Minimum Wage, by JoEllen Chernow (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

Governor Andrew Cuomo sat down with NY1's Errol Louis for an interview Wednesday after laying out his vision for the year in his State of the State address.

Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks discussed the ways the de Blasio administration is dealing with the homelessness crisis and the governor’s plans to audit the city’s shelter system with Errol Louis NY1.

Mary Brosnahan, executive director of Coalition for the Homeless, talks about the new proposals for addressing New York City's homeless population on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC.

***
NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle @GothamGazette.

If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!

***
by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

 



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