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City Council

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 8

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    August is hitting its stride and this week looks somewhat quiet on the surface, at least by New York politics standards. After a couple of weeks with no hearings, the City Council gets back into action, but only with a few committee hearings on Tuesday. The Council will have its lone full-body Stated Meeting of the month on August 18, Thursday of next week.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio starts the week coming off a

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  • Change of Commissioner Spotlights De Blasio’s Record on Police Reform

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    photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office


    Many believe that the biggest responsibility of the Mayor of New York City is to keep people safe and Bill de Blasio has largely done that, in no small part by letting his lightning-rod police commissioner, Bill Bratton, call the shots on public safety policy. The mayor has focused on pre-kindergarten and affordable housing while Bratton has governed the streets, helping bring crime down to historic lows. At the same time, Bratton has led an evolution of sorts

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  • Current Providers Welcome Addition of Coming City Bail Fund

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    Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council members (photo: William Alatriste)


    Last year, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s office began seeking state approval for a public bail fund to keep poor low-level offenders out of jail, with Mark-Viverito citing the costs even a short jail stay can have on both lives and city funds. Now, after almost a year-and-a-half, the convoluted process of establishing the bail fund as a charity and obtaining a state license to run it appears to be nearing an end.

    Mark-Viverito touted the

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 1

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    With both the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention now over, the presidential race hits the final three-month stretch to Election Day, November 8. The first debate in scheduled for September 26. While New York was front-and-center at both conventions because the two presidential candidates call the state home, a great deal of attention will now shift to the most consequential swing states,

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  • Campaign Finance Filings Show Candidates for Council Seats Being Vacated

    CityCouncil

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


    With the latest New York City Campaign Finance Board filing deadline just passed, the 2017 city elections are beginning to take more clear shape. The races for Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough Presidents, and City Council members may be currently overshadowed by the presidential election, but the new city campaign finance filings further reveal who is planning to run for which seats in 2017 and the extent to which candidates for local positions have been successful in their fundraising efforts.

    While money isn’t

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  • Calls Grow for New Council-Led Deed Restriction Process

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    Chin, Mark-Viverito, Brewer (l-r) at Wednesday's presser (photo: William Alatriste)


    Armed with the findings of a newly-released investigation that faults City Hall for a “lack of accountability,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Margaret Chin called for reform to the city’s deed restriction removal process at a press conference on Wednesday outside City Hall.

    In a show of strength and seriousness, Brewer and Chin were joined by Public Advocate Letitia James,

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  • Could CUNY Be Tuition-Free Again?

    hunter college graduation

    (photo via Hunter College)


    Members of the New York City Council want the City University of New York (CUNY) to return to providing a virtually tuition-free college education to local students, but major issues stand in the way.

    For years, students, teachers, elected officials and education activists have led an on-and-off crusade to reduce tuition at CUNY and reinvest in higher education. CUNY was free for qualifying city students from its inception in 1847 until 1976, when a city fiscal crisis led to change. Recently, these efforts were

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  • New Facility Classification Allows Better Options for City Seniors, If Built

    Hebrew Home Bronx property

    Along the property of the Hebrew Home in the Bronx (Sofie Hecht)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council recently passed a series of amendments to the city's zoning regulations aimed, in part, at encouraging the construction and expansion of senior housing and elder care facilities. With the package, known as Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA), one goal was to address the issue of inadequate options for seniors who want to age in place. An outdated land use code has made it nearly impossible to build

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, July 11

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will see continued focus on race, policing, community-police relations, crime, NYPD reform, and related national conversations. Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will hold a press conference on "citywide crime" on Monday at 11:30 a.m. at NYPD headquarters. They are likely to discuss some or all of the aforementioned topics as well as to review this year's city crime statistics through

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  • 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

    city council hearing ydanis others

    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

    soul flushing 

    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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