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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 17

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Tuesday marks three weeks until Election Day and Wednesday night the third and final Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled to occur. Don't forget, a variety of key New York congressional and state legislative races are also in the home stretch -- November 8 is Election Day.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio did more campaigning for Clinton this weekend, in Dayton, Ohio. The mayor traveled

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 11

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week begins with great attention on the Presidential race as we're within a month of the November 8 election and the candidates faced off in their second of three scheduled debates Sunday evening. The debate came in the wake of much turmoil in the Republican Party and the campaign of nominee Donald Trump, whose lewd comments about women and boasts of unwanted touching and sexual assault surfaced toward the end of

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  • Bill de Blasio Versus NIMBYism

    BdB town hall queens miller

    Mayor de Blasio at a town hall (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In recent weeks, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policies have run up against an age-old forces of inertia and resistance in the city, especially one that springs forth in policy debates on everything from housing to bike lanes to school desegregation and even closing down Rikers Island jails. That force -- NIMBY or Not In My Back Yard-ism -- has taken distinct forms on different issues, but has been causing the de Blasio administration trouble and frustrating the mayor. At

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  • Medical Treatment Should Be My Choice, Not My Landlord’s

    Gotham Gazette: Treatment

    A rally by Three-Quarter House Tenant Organizing Project


    The landlord gave him a choice: go back to using heroin or be kicked out onto the streets. “Do what you do,” the landlord told him. So to keep a roof over his head, after nine months clean and sober, he got high. The landlord let him stay. Strange as this may sound, it was routine where I used to live, and for thousands of tenants across New York City.

    I used to live in a “three-quarter house.” These are private, for-profit buildings, where as many as ten tenants may

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  • New Affordable Housing in Every Neighborhood, Including Mine

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    Council Member Chin, the author (photo: Charles Eshelman)


    No one said it would be easy.

    When voters overwhelmingly elected Mayor de Blasio almost three years ago, New Yorkers chose an elected official who pledged to tackle the tough issues plaguing us — including a promise to create 80,000 units of new affordable housing for a city in desperate need.

    Almost three years later, Mayor de Blasio — in partnership with many of my City Council colleagues — is making steady progress towards that goal. In March,

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  • At Rivington Hearing, Discussion of Extent of City Hall Mismanagement

    Shorris Rivington

    First Deputy Mayor Shorris testifies (photo: William Alatriste)


    Over the course of a Thursday oversight hearing lasting more than six hours, top officials from the de Blasio administration attempted to explain to the City Council all the missteps that led to a Lower East Side AIDS hospice being sold to a luxury condominium developer with virtually no public benefit.

    Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the governmental operations committee, said early in the hearing, “Something went very wrong here and we must address issues

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 26

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The week starts with all eyes on the Presidential race and the first presidential debate Monday night. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will debate at 9 p.m. Monday from Long Island. Mayor Bill de Blasio made a trip to Wisconsin over the weekend to campaign for Hillary Clinton and he'll attend the debate Monday evening at Hofstra. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will also attend the

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  • City Council Drafting Bills to Regulate Political Nonprofits Like Campaign for One New York

    Kallos

    Council Member Ben Kallos (photo: John McCarten for the City Council)


    At least three City Council members have made requests to the Council’s bill drafting unit to formulate legislation that would regulate political participation by and with “social welfare” nonprofit organizations. These are political advocacy, or lobbying, groups, which have been the subject of intense scrutiny in New York City of late due to the Campaign

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  • Hearing Shows Lack of Communication on Young Men’s Initiative

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    Council Member Eugene (photo: CMMathieuEugene)


    There was confusion and some angst at the City Council on Wednesday. At an oversight hearing held by the Council’s Youth Services Committee, several Council members said they were unaware of the programming of the city’s Young Men’s Initiative, which was the focus of the hearing.

    Council Member Mathieu Eugene chairs the committee and led the hearing. Only one other committee member, Council Member Margaret Chin, was present when Cyrus Garrett, executive director of

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  • Praise, and Recommendations, for City's Open Data Progress

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    Council Member Vacca (photo: @JamesVacca13)


    There are two years to go before the deadline set by the city’s 2012 Open Data Law, which requires city agencies identify and publish all their citywide aggregated public data online. At a Wednesday afternoon oversight hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Technology, open data and civic technology advocates offered praise for the city’s progress thus far and recommendations for the city to meet its goals.

    Open data is considered a vital transparency

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  • Council to Examine Young Men’s Initiative, a Bloomberg Program & National Model

    YMI Cyrus Garrett

    YMI's Cyrus Garrett (photo: @NYCyoungmen)


    In August of 2011, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed a group of nonprofit and community leaders as he announced the launch of a landmark approach to tackling persistent problems facing young black and Latino men. The Young Men’s Initiative, ...

  • Keith Wright Weighs Options Amid Uptown Power Shifts

    dickens wright

    Keith Wright and Inez Dickens (photo via Wright's Assembly page)


    Before Assemblymember Keith Wright had conceded to Sen. Adriano Espaillat in their congressional race, speculation had already begun about which seat Wright would seek next if not victorious. Wright eliminated one option when he pledged in the heat of the race to replace retiring Rep. Charles Rangel that he would not seek reelection to the Assembly seat he has held since 1992. Wright challenged Espaillat to do the same

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 19

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As the week begins, the city remains focused on the explosion that went off Saturday night in Chelsea and the other explosive device that was found nearby. The NYPD, FBI, and other law enforcement agencies are investigating and on Monday morning a suspect, Ahmad Rahami, was arrested in New Jersey. On Sunday evening the NYPD pulled over a car and questioned five people. On Monday morning, the FBI, Mayor de Blasio

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 12

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week Sunday was the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Mayor Bill de Blasio, his predecessors, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and many others remembered the victims, honored the first responders, and commemorated the day at the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony at the World Trade Center. De Blasio, Cuomo, and others also participated in other commemorative events, with Cuomo announcing

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  • Vigilance in the Fight Against Islamophobia

    MMV Daneek Miller

    Daneek Miller, left, & Melissa Mark-Viverito, the authors (photo: William Alatriste)


    In New York, we have always embraced diversity. We strive to make sure that everyone feels welcome—no matter their race, faith, or background. This has never been more important for Muslim Americans, who have been the target of vicious political attacks during this election cycle.

    This month, Muslim Americans across the country and in New York City will be celebrating Eid al-Adha. As our fellow community members observe this important religious holiday amidst a

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  • Council to Hear Bill Mandating Publication of NYPD Patrol Guide

    Garodnick NYPD

    City Council Member Garodnick, in NYPD hat, & colleagues (photo: William Alatriste)


    A bill introduced by City Council Member Dan Garodnick to require the NYPD to publish its patrol guide online will be heard for the first time by the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety next week. The hearing, set for Thursday, September 15, follows shortly on the recent controversy over the Right to Know Act, a package of police reform legislation that Council Speaker Melissa

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 6

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    After a Labor Day weekend with storm scares from Hermine that mostly proved to have little impact on New York, things kick into gear on Tuesday. On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and a variety of other officials marched in the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn. Before marching, de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton answered questions about violence during the pre-dawn J'Ouvert

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  • Full Interview: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

    Melissa Mark-Viverito Council dais

    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste)


    Gotham Gazette's Ben Max interviewed City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at City Hall. Below is the audio of the interview, the first in a new Gotham Gazette podcast, Policymakers - find us on iTunes.

    Below the audio is the full transcript of the interview. Let us know what you think: email Ben at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript

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  • Mark-Viverito: New York City is ‘Heading in the Right Direction’

    MMV presser kids BdB

    Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste)


    New York City is well on its way to correcting the policies of 20 years of Republican rule, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said during an interview last week. Discussing her time as Speaker, upcoming priorities, working with Mayor Bill de Blasio, and more, Mark-Viverito spoke with Gotham Gazette at length in the Speaker’s office at City Hall.

    On a relatively quiet August Thursday, Mark-Viverito addressed a wide range of topics, from her approach to leading the Council through

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 29

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This pre-Labor Day weekend week is looking like a fairly quiet one in New York politics, though there are a few things to watch for. Mayor Bill de Blasio is due to return Sunday evening from a vacation week traveling throughout New England with his family and could have an active week. The mayor starts the week with one public event on his schedule: he'll be in Queens Monday evening to deliver remarks at the

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  • City Council Embraces Mental Health First Aid

    MHFA Training

    Mental Health First Aid training (photo via Council Member Cohen's office)


    As City Council members we are known mainly for our work of enacting legislation, passing the budget, and land use determinations. What is often overlooked is the business our offices and staff do all day, every day -- the business of constituent services. Any community member can walk off the street into our district offices or call those offices by phone and will be assisted by staff on whatever the issue may be.

    You can come in if you need a document notarized or if you call in a

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  • For 2017 Effect, Time Running Out for Campaign Finance Bills in Limbo

    MMV hearing flag mic

    above: Melissa Mark-Viverito; below: Ben Kallos (photos by William Alatriste)


    New York City’s campaign finance system, particularly its public matching funds program, is considered a national model, and it stays that way by being regularly updated and modernized. The Campaign Finance Board issues reports following each election analyzing ways to plug holes in the system and bolster the already-robust provisions of the relevant law.

    But, the next city election cycle, in 2017, may come and go without any

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  • Procedural Move Could Lead to Vote on Right to Know Act

    right to know protest city hall

    A Right to Know Act rally


    Last week, City Council Members Ritchie Torres and Antonio Reynoso sent out a joint statement in which they addressed the ramifications of the impending retirement of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. “With the departure of William Bratton,” the statement reads, “we are reminded that administrative agreements are every bit as short-lived as commissioners themselves, coming and going in the moments we least expect.”

    The Council members were referring to an agreement between

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  • Working with The Next Police Commissioner

    williams king deblasio

    City Council Member Jumaane Williams, the author (photo: Jeff Reed)


    Given where we are in the policing discussion in this city and country, and the acknowledgement of how deeply systemic the problems lie, focusing on the departure or hiring of any one Commissioner has always simplified a complex problem. I have never known a time when people were not calling for the removal of an NYPD Commissioner as the solution to policing issues in our city.

    It was right for many of us to express concerns when Commissioner Bill Bratton was chosen,

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  • Nearly Six Years After Landmark Street Harassment Hearing, No Measurable Progress

    street harassment mural1

    Anti-street harassment mural in Bed-Stuy, led by Groundswell


    Street harassment is a pervasive and public form of sexual harassment that most women face at some point in their lives. Overwhelmingly, it is experienced for the first time ...