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City Council

  • 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

    julissa ferreras copeland

    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

    Eric Adams Brooklyn women's health

    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

    de blasio council budget briefing

    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

    hsc rally city hall

    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

    bratton officers car street

    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

    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,

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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    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

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  • 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,

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  • 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

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  • Budget Allocations Measure Mayor’s Commitment to Ethics Agencies

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    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

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  • 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

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  • Legislation Aimed at Holding City Accountable for Rezoning Commitments

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    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

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  • 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

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