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City Council

City Council

  • Mark-Viverito Identifies Successor for Council Seat

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    Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste)


    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has endorsed her Deputy Chief of Staff Diana Ayala to replace her in 2017 as the councilmember from District 8, which covers East Harlem and the South Bronx.

    Mark-Viverito, who will be term-limited out of office next year, announced her support for Ayala in a Facebook post on July 3. “Thinking ahead has never been a fault of mine,”

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  • Without Key Stakeholders, Administration Supports Council Police Misconduct Bill

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    Council Member Jumaane Williams (photo: William Alatriste)


    The City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations heard a bill on Tuesday, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, which would require centralized reporting of data on police misconduct from multiple agencies to identify systemic problems and help create an early intervention system for the NYPD. To the disappointment of Williams and others, though, key stakeholders to be affected by the bill and instrumental in implementing it if it becomes law, were not

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 27

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Tuesday is New York's second election day of 2016. In April, it was the presidential primaries; now, the congressional primaries. All of New York's 27 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election this year, though not all have competitive primaries since many incumbents are not being challenged from within their party. There are several long-time incumbents being challenged, though, and a few open seats

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  • Required in Some Cases, Home Rule Sheds Light on City-State Power Dynamic

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    At The City Council (photo: Sofie Hecht for Gotham Gazette)


    Late last Friday night, many New Yorkers—especially elected officials—looked on as lawmakers in Albany made a frenzied effort to pass legislation hours after their session had been scheduled to end. Although most of the legislation classified as statewide, or “general” laws, several bills would impact a select few regions or New York City specifically, most notably, perhaps, mayoral control of New York City schools.

    While

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  • Protecting the Soul of Flushing, and Beyond

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    132-40 Sanford Ave in Flushing, a Treetop Development-owned rent-stabilized building

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  • Use of Abstentions Varies Widely Among City Council Members

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    City Council chambers (Sofie Hecht for Gotham Gazette)


    Hundreds of times a year, City Council members vote on pieces of legislation, including the city’s budget, land use matters, and a wide variety of bills and resolutions. Members almost always vote “yes” or “no.” But sometimes, Council members choose to abstain, actively deciding not to declare they are for or against what is in front of them, and in the 51-seat City Council, abstentions are used by members to widely varying degrees.

    In the New York State Assembly,

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 20

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will continue to see dissection of the end of the state government legislative session, which wrapped in the very late hours Friday night, or Saturday morning, with a flurry of activity and major deals on a variety of issues. Session was extended a day-plus and, as is usually the case, lawmakers voted through bills that they, like the larger public, had not properly reviewed. There was a fairly minor set of

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  • With Few Reservations, Council Finalizes New $82 Billion City Budget

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    The Mayor & the City Council (photo: William Alatriste)


    The City Council chambers at City Hall were filled with grief on Tuesday. Before the Council would conduct its business for the day -- approving an $82.1 billion budget for the city’s 2017 fiscal year -- members first paid their respects to the 49 people killed by a terrorist who shot patrons at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday. One by one, Council members read out the names of victims and placed small electric candles on the dais at the front of the chamber. Almost every Council member

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  • Nonprofit Funding Boost, Pre-K Pay Parity Left Out of City Budget

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    Mayor & Council members announce budget deal (photo: Ed Reed, Mayor's Office)


    In the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s budget agreement between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, a number of Council members decried what they said was underfunding of top Council priorities including summer youth employment, cultural institutions, libraries, senior services, and more. Consequently, the mayor conceded to most of those

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 13

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    New York, the United States, and the world are focused on Orlando, Florida as the week begins after a gunman there killed at least 50 people and injured at least 53 more. In the late night hours of Saturday into Sunday, Omar Mateen opened fire at The Pulse nightclub, known to be a centerpiece of the city’s LGBT community. At this point the attack is being investigated as an act of terrorism and as motivated by hate

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  • Bronx Council Member Preparing to Again Challenge Incumbent State Senator

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    City Council Member Cabrera (photo: William Alatriste)

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  • City Council Skips Executive Budget Hearings for Several Committees

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    A City Council hearing (photo: William Alatriste)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council appear to be on the verge of a budget agreement, establishing the city’s spending plan for fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1.

    On May 24, the City Council held its final hearing on de Blasio’s $82.2 billion executive budget for fiscal 2017. The series of executive budget hearings was another step in the lengthy and detailed budget process that includes the mayor’s preliminary budget, a month of preliminary budget hearings,

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 6

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week we're watching the end of the legislative session in Albany - seven scheduled days left! - and the final city budget negotiations here in New York City.

    There are seven legislative session days left in Albany, if lawmakers use all of them, including this week’s four meetings Monday through Thursday. Mayoral control of New York City schools must be dealt with - it is due to expire at the end of June.

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  • Independent Budgeting a Little-Used Practice for City Watchdog Agencies

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    Mayor de Blasio makes a budget presentation (photo via Mayor's Office)


    During the annual budget process, city agencies and entities are at the mercy of the Mayor and the City Council, who ultimately set the budget. But unlike many, the several agencies and officials who regularly monitor, regulate, or litigate against the mayoral administration are put in an awkward situation, annually appealing for funding in a dynamic that can hamper their ability to carry out charter-mandated duties and, in some cases, lead

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  • Cultural Affairs Funding One Point of Contention as City Budget Finalized

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    CM Van Bramer, Mayor de Blasio, & Dennis Walcott (l-r) (photo via The Mayor's Office)


    Members of the New York City Council have joined together with cultural institutions and advocates to petition Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase by $40 million the funding for cultural programming and organizations in the upcoming city budget. With a budget deal due by the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, final negotiations are underway between the City Council and the de Blasio administration, and outside groups are making their last

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  • De Blasio Administration Backs Council Push for Increased Tampon Access

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    Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (photo: William Alatriste)


    Representatives from the de Blasio administration testified in “strong support” of a package of legislation to make feminine hygiene products readily available and free in New York City public schools, shelters, and correctional facilities on Thursday at the City Council’s first hearing on the bills since they were introduced in

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  • Time to Say and Do More for Women's Health

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    Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams


    Tampons. Periods. Breastfeeding. Hot flashes.

    These terms, and others relevant to women’s health, have traditionally been considered taboo — inappropriate for polite conversation and therefore left unmentioned. That silence has had serious consequences for women and girls, who are denied access to feminine hygiene products, charged more at the cash register for “women’s” versions of household items, and made to feel ashamed about their bodies.

    This taboo extends to sexual health, with terrible costs for young

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  • Several Council Asks Remain as City Budget Negotiations Hit Home Stretch

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    The Mayor and Council discuss the budget (all photos: William Alatriste)


    City budget season entered its home stretch last week when the City Council conducted its final hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82.2 billion executive budget for fiscal year 2017. With a deal between the Council and the mayor due by the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, the parties will largely negotiate behind closed doors, with funding levels for a number of major priorities on the table. There are also lingering questions about savings and how much

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 31

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week we're continuing to look for developments in the investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio, his administration and allies and into Governor Andrew Cuomo's economic development programs, his administration and allies.

    Meanwhile, there are nine legislative session days left in Albany, if lawmakers use them all, including this week’s Wednesday and Thursday meetings. Mayoral control of New York City

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  • Push Continues for Budget Boost to City Contracted Nonprofits

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    The Human Services Council and City Council Members rally at City Hall


    On a hot and sunny day, dozens of nonprofit workers took to the steps of City Hall to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to fund a 2.5 percent increase for the administrative costs of nonprofits that contract with the city. Forty-seven of 51 City Council members have signed on to a letter to de Blasio asking him to baseline the increase, an additional $25

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  • Serving the Last Generation of Holocaust Survivors in New York

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    Mrs. Klein, a Holocaust survivor, with Council Member Levine (William Alatriste)


    “If our stories do not survive when we are gone, then six million Jews were murdered in vain.” That sobering call to action from Mrs. Klein, one of the 4,700 Holocaust survivors served by Selfhelp Community Services each year, rings especially true as we marked Yom HaShoah, the annual commemoration of Jewish survival through last century’s great tragedy.

    At this time of the year, we are once again reminded to share the stories of

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  • A Series of Rallies Outside City Hall

    Adult Literacy

     Adult Literacy Rally (Sofie Hecht / Gotham Gazette)


     A variety of activist groups and City Council members gathered outside City Hall on Wednesday morning to call for attention to their respective causes. New legislation was to be introduced at the City Council that afternoon and more budget money was being requested, or demanded, as the city’s new financial plan is due by the end of June and negotiations between the Mayor and the City Council

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  • City Council Passes Criminal Justice Reform Act

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    NYPD Commissioner Bratton with officers (photo: @CommissBratton)


    The City Council voted on Wednesday to pass the Criminal Justice Reform Act, a package of eight bills largely aimed at diverting low-level nonviolent offenses from criminal to civil matters.

    Offenses such as public urination, littering, drinking alcohol in public, and being in a park after hours are currently enforced as criminal misdemeanors and prosecuted in criminal courts, at times resulting in permanent criminal records for offenders. Under these bills, spearheaded by Council

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  • Misguided 'Reform' Threatens to Undo Progress

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    BP Oddo, the author, with a group on Staten Island (photo via @StatenIslUSA)


    The divide is even greater than I feared.

    The chasm between how folks across this city see our world is even wider than what it seemed. As a Republican fully aware he’s in a blue city - a guy who once led a merry band of between two and five GOPers in a legislative body of 51 - I know better than most how disparate the various points on the political spectrum are in this town, and how the perceptions,

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  • A Budget for the City of Immigrants

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    Students of an adult literacy class (photo: Make the Road New York)


    In recent years, New York City has taken major strides forward in its engagement with immigrant communities. Under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the Council as a whole, our city has adopted and invested in new initiatives to welcome and protect immigrants and embrace their tremendous economic, cultural, and political contributions.

    Now, with the 2017 budget process in final negotiations, our leaders have a key

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