Quantcast

Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union
Loading

City Council

City Council

  • Misguided 'Reform' Threatens to Undo Progress

    bp oddo group si

    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,

    ...
  • A Budget for the City of Immigrants

     adult lit classes 12

    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

    ...
  • City Council to Pass Reforms Aimed at Broken Windows Policing

    MMV BdB Bratton

    City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alariste)


    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has a year and a half left on the job and is clearly focused on making criminal justice reform a centerpiece of her legacy. While a commission formed by the speaker explores other changes to the city’s criminal justice system and the idea of closing the notorious Rikers Island jail complex, the City Council on Wednesday will vote on a package of bills that will in large part establish civil rather than criminal punishment for low-level nonviolent offenses and

    ...
  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 23

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As the week begins we're continuing to look at the various investigations and controversy surrounding Mayor Bill de Blasio. The New York Post reported over the weekend about yet another aspect of inquiry into city action under de Blasio, this over the deal to sell the Brooklyn Heights library, which

    ...
  • Council to Hold First Budget Hearing for New Veterans' Services Department

    city hall veterans flags

    Mayor de Blasio with Commissioner Sutton (in blue) (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    On Friday, the New York City Council will hold the first-ever budget hearing for the newly created Department of Veterans’ Services.

    The Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs is transitioning into the Department of Veterans’ Services, a standalone department with a distinct agency budget and providing expanded services for the city’s 225,000 military veterans. The department became official in April and will now proceed to rollout over the next year, increasing staff

    ...
  • Top 10 Accomplishments of Progressive Leadership & The Need to #ProtectProgress

    richards reynoso crowd city hall

    Council Members Richards, left, and Reynoso, the authors, address a crowd


    As co-chairs of the New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus, we have worked closely with Mayor de Blasio since he took office. It is clear that the mayor has delivered for our constituents and all 8.4 million New Yorkers in transformative ways. From affordable housing to quality jobs to expanded educational programming, New Yorkers are doing better and the scale of the accomplishments is substantial.

    In partnership with our Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the City Council, Mayor

    ...
  • Armed with New Report, Supporters to Push De Blasio on Summer Youth Employment

    cm eugene

    Council Member Eugene & advocates for youth summer camps (photo: @CAMBAInc)


    When the City Council held its first hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Executive Budget for fiscal year

    ...
  • Government Operations Budget Hearing Leaves Several Questions Unanswered

    DCAS testimony May 13

    DCAS testimony (photo: William Alatriste)


    With four agencies testifying over the course of several hours, a Friday executive budget hearing held by the City Council’s governmental operations committee, along with the finance committee, had a lot of ground to cover on important issues like election administration and law department function. Two of the agencies testifying have even been sources of controversy in recent months and the hearing was an opportunity for Council members to air their concerns and get some answers. At many points during the hearing, however,

    ...
  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 16

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As has been the case for weeks, we enter this week looking for more information on the investigations into Mayor de Blasio, his administration and allies, and into Governor Cuomo's administration and allies. [Read: Buffalo Billion Probe: Bad Apples or Broken System?]

    On Thursday, de

    ...
  • Budget Allocations Measure Mayor’s Commitment to Ethics Agencies

    bdb town hall mic crowd

    Mayor de Blasio at a town hall (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Over the last few weeks, facing the spectre of multiple investigations, Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly stressed that he, his administration, and his allies operate ethically. “We hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity,” the mayor has said repeatedly as reporters have questioned him about allegations of impropriety in his fundraising operations.

    In support, the mayor has regularly referred to the city’s internal mechanisms for ensuring

    ...
  • First Executive Budget Hearing Sets Stage for Final Negotiations

    jfc budget hearing exec one

    Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (both photos: William Alatriste)


    Following Mayor Bill de Blasio’s April 27 release of his $82.2 billion Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017, the City Council on Friday held the first of many hearings to look at the latest iteration of the city’s spending plan for the year beginning July 1. As

    ...
  • Legislation Aimed at Holding City Accountable for Rezoning Commitments

    city hall rotunda during announcement

    Announcement at City Hall (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    With the recent passage of the East New York rezoning and community development plan, the city committed to revitalizing the neglected Brooklyn neighborhood by creating affordable housing, investing in community infrastructure, and promoting economic development. The first among 15 neighborhood rezonings planned by Mayor Bill de Blasio, East New York ushers in a new era of planned change and city promises.

    As these rezoning and

    ...
  • Hearing Advances Reforms to City Campaign Finance System

    kallos computer

    Council Member Ben Kallos (photo: William Alatriste)


    As Mayor Bill de Blasio is mired in controversy over his fundraising activities and proximity to lobbyists, the City Council is moving on bills to reduce the possibility of ‘pay-to-play’ campaign financing and make significant tweaks to strengthen an already-robust public-matching system.

    The Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations held a hearing on Monday to examine ...

  • What To Watch For In The Mayor's Executive Budget

    de blasio speech

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio will release his Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017 on Tuesday and the nonpartisan, nonprofit Citizens Budget Commission has posed eight questions that people should be asking, including what to expect in terms of new revenue streams, new spending, the city’s fiscal reserves and agency savings, the impact of the state budget, and the city’s investment in

    ...
  • Tunnel Controversy Prompts Closer Look at Water Infrastructure

    waterfall via nystateparks

    (photo via @nystateparks)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio recently faced an embarrassing situation and had to act quickly to remedy it. Seemingly out of nowhere, there was a lack of clarity around the city’s investment, or apparent lack thereof, in water infrastructure - namely the long-under-construction third water tunnel. The tunnel, along with other elements of the city’s water system are nearer the top of the Spring political agenda. City Council members want answers about what the city is doing to protect and ensure its clean water supply, and will

    ...
  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 18

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will be a fun one as New York votes in consequential presidential primaries on Tuesday. Expect a whole lot of last-minute campaigning and getting out the vote. All five major party presidential candidates are focused on New York, with Tuesday's results sure to have a significant impact on the races thereafter. Also Tuesday, several special elections for vacant seats in the state Legislature. Most importantly,

    ...
  • Community Engagement Prized by Participatory Budgeting Proponents

    menchaca constituent

    Council Member Menchaca with a constituent (photo: William Alatriste)


    For City Council Member Carlos Menchaca and his staff, the Participatory Budgeting Vote Week that just ended was the culmination of a year-long effort to encourage project proposals and votes from communities that are traditionally excluded from politics. Through PB, community members decide how $1-2 million in funding is allocated toward neighborhood improvements. Menchaca’s district, which includes immigrant-rich Brooklyn neighborhoods of Sunset Park and Red Hook, is one

    ...
  • Push for a Better Mayor's Management Report Continues

    311-cust-serv 


    The City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations held an oversight hearing on Wednesday to evaluate the structure and content of two annual city reports that measure everything from the wait times on 311 calls and the conditions of city parks to the number of unsheltered homeless people and traffic crashes in the city each year. These key performance indicators help the City Council and the public keep city agencies and offices accountable. Those agencies, in turn, rely on these reports to improve their policies and functioning.

    The administration

    ...
  • Council Passes Bill to Improve Diversity at Upper Levels of City-Contracted Businesses

    crowley johnson lean in

    Council Member Elizabeth Crowley and colleagues (photo: William Alatriste) 


    On Thursday, the City Council approved a bill requiring the Department of Small Business Services to survey and study the gender, ethnic, and racial makeup of executive-level staff and board members of companies that contract with the city. The bill, co-sponsored by Council Members Elizabeth

    ...
  • City Approach to Nonprofit Contracting Questioned

    council hearing rosenthal

    Council Member Rosenthal at a recent hearing (photo: William Alatriste) 


    Human services nonprofits serve the city’s most vulnerable populations, providing a range of critical programs like foster care, homelessness services, after-school programs, mental health care, food pantries, and more. But, many of these organizations are faltering due to problems with the ways in which government approaches contracting.

    On Monday, the New York City Council Committee on Contracts held an oversight hearing to examine serious

    ...
  • City Resets First Budget Hearing for New Veterans Affairs Department

    veterans outside city hall flags

    photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office


    In December, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law the City Council bill creating a separate, dedicated Veterans Affairs department which would take over responsibility from the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) in handling services for more than 200,000 military veterans living in New York City.

    By law, the new department will be official on April 10 and the fiscal year 2017 budget being negotiated between the de Blasio administration and the City Council will

    ...
  • City Council Budget Response Seeks New Spending, More Savings

    bdb budget briefing w CMs

    Mayor de Blasio briefs Council members on his budget (photo: William Alatriste) 


    The City Council on Monday issued its formal response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017, capping a month of budget hearings that were fraught with ...

  • With Clock Ticking, East New York Negotiations to Heat Up

    espinal east new york hearing

    City Council Member Espinal (photo: William Alatriste) 


    With only two weeks left for the City Council to vote on the proposed rezoning of East New York, all eyes are on City Council Member Rafael Espinal, who is leading negotiations with the de Blasio administration and whose approval of a revised plan will determine its fate. Espinal has promised significant improvements to the plan put forward by the city and community organizers and

    ...
  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 4

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    We're about two weeks from New York's April 19 presidential primary vote. The three remaining Republican candidates and two remaining Democrats have been campaigning in New York, which is more in play than it has been in several cycles. Hillary Clinton is set to hold events in New York City and Albany Monday, including a rally with Gov. Cuomo and a meeting with state Assembly Democrats, and while the candidates are

    ...
  • Questioning Importance, Council Members Spend Limited Time at Hearings

    van bramer alone hearing

    Council Member Van Bramer starts a hearing (photo: @JimmyVanBramer)


    On March 1, at perhaps the most important City Council hearing of the year, just three of the finance committee’s eleven members were present when the session began. The Council’s first hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion fiscal year 2017 preliminary budget began nine minutes after its scheduled time, at 10:09 a.m., more prompt than typical Council hearings. The City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, arrived three minutes later, just after the finance chair, Council Member

    ...