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City Council

City Council

  • Reducing Organic Waste Without Increasing Costs

    composting sanitation

    photo via NYC Sanitation


    Today, the New York City Council will hold an oversight hearing on the Department of Sanitation's organic waste program started in 2013. The focus on organic waste is merited by the size of the waste stream (more than 1 million tons annually) and environmental benefits of reducing greenhouse gases through use of alternative disposal strategies, such as composting, rather than transport to distant landfills. The City plans to expand the pilot program citywide; however, ...

  • Questions Remain as City Council Moves Ahead with Pay Raises, Reforms

    lander mmv kallos

    Council Members Lander, Mark-Viverito, Kallos (l-r) (photo: William Alatriste) 


    At the first and only City Council hearing on a package of legislation that will raise the salaries of all the city’s elected officials and reform how Council members are compensated, the Council was roundly praised for accepting several reforms long sought by good government groups, but criticized both for raising their salaries higher than recommended and for the the timing of the vote.

    The proposed legislation was...

  • A Good Deal for Horses

    NYCLASS horses central park

    photo via NYCLASS


    ***Editor's note: this op-ed column was published in anticipation of a vote on legislation that did not occur when a deal fell apart at the last minute on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2015 ***

    The The New York City Council has the opportunity this week to take carriage horses out of dangerous city traffic and create new protections that will help these horses lead happier, safer lives.

    They should jump at the opportunity.

    For all of the political back and forth, this is a smart, sensible plan

    ...
  • Planning Commission Vote Will Send Zoning Proposals to City Council

    greenfield city hall

    Council Member Greenfield leads a press conference (photo: William Alatriste) 


    The next ten days are an especially critical period for Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan. While negotiations around a new state-level program to incentivize affordable housing production continue and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised to soon flesh out general affordable housing plans he announced during his recent State of the State speech, city-level changes being sought by de Blasio are on the move.

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  • As Council Begins Oversight, McCray Reports Progress in Mental Health Roadmap Implementation

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    Chirlane McCray & Richard Buery testify (photo: William Alatriste)

     


     

    At a Jan. 28 oversight hearing held by the Committee on Mental Health, First Lady Chirlane McCray testified before the City Council for the first time, updating the Council on the city’s progress implementing its new

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 1

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is in Iowa, where he has been since Friday and remains until Tuesday, campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

    In New York, the big weekend news was that Democratic Assembly Member Todd Kaminsky, of Long Island, officially declared his bid for state Senate. Kaminsky, who was immediately endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is running for the seat vacated by former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who

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  • City Council Announces Bill to Increase Pay, Reform Position

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    Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste)

     


     

    On Wednesday, Feb. 3, the New York City Council will hold a hearing on legislation outlining salary increases for various city elected officials as well as several good government reforms related to how Council members are compensated. Largely based on the recommendations of an independent commission tasked with outlining the first pay raises since 2006 for the Mayor, City Council members, and other officials, the Council announced the details of its package

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  • Just Ahead of Oversight Hearing, City Announces Ethnic Media Plan

    Menchaca rally el diario

    Council Member Menchaca at Wednesday's rally (photo: Samar Khurshid)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito launched on Wednesday an online directory of ethnic and community media and a new effort for city agencies to work with those outlets. The push to expand outreach and public messaging across different languages and communities comes as El Diario, the country's oldest non-English daily newspaper, and other ethnic publications are struggling.

    The timing of the announcement raised a few eyebrows - it came barely an

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  • City Council Members Move to Improve Tampon Access

    ferreras alastriste hearing applause

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


    Members of the New York City Council are poised to introduce a package of legislation to make tampons and other feminine hygiene products more accessible. The legislation, being spearheaded by Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, includes a resolution calling on the state to eliminate the tax on feminine hygiene products, and three bills to make such products readily available

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  • Council to Examine City Support for Ethnic Media

    menchaca idnyc staff

    Council Member Menchaca (photo: William Alatriste) 


    When City Council member Carlos Menchaca heard the recent news of layoffs at El Diario, the country’s oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper, he was troubled to say the least. Menchaca, who represents Sunset Park and Red Hook, penned an

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  • Give New York Manufacturers the Space They Need

    manufacturing background

    photo: William Alatriste


    In November, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito released a manufacturing policy that makes a strong commitment to the city’s Industrial Business Zones (IBZs). This is the culmination of a growing consensus among certain sectors of the city, from the Progressive Caucus of the City Council to the ...

  • Criminal Justice Reform Act is No Alternative to Broken Windows Policing

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    NYPD ceremony in Times Square (photo: @CommissBratton)


    Monday morning the City Council will begin consideration of a series of bills, called the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which would limit the use of criminal penalties to manage a variety of low level “quality of life” offenses such as public drinking, park code violations, noise, and public urination.

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  • Time to Support New York Students with Billions Still Owed from Campaign for Fiscal Equity

    dromm idnyc visit

    Council Member Dromm (middle), the author, at the Queens Library


    Governor Andrew Cuomo's recently proposed budget plan for education is a mixed bag, but represents a major shift from his attacks on public education in years past. Ultimately, however, his plan falls short by allocating less than $1 billion in new education money this year at a time when public schools are still owed more than $4.4 billion in Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) funding.

    The CFE was a lawsuit brought by parents against the State of New York over a decade ago. These

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 25

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is back in Albany this week - this time, he's not taking in Governor Cuomo's budget address, he's testifying about it. This will be on Tuesday as de Blasio and other city officials testify in front a joint legislative budget hearing,

    First, the week starts with a major City Council hearing Monday morning at 10 a.m., at which the new, eight-bill Criminal Justice Reform Act will be heard -

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  • 'Dangerousness' Aspect of Cuomo's Bail Plan Troubles Reformers

    cuomo sots solo

    Gov. Cuomo delivers his State of the State


    In his recently-released policy agenda for 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included a plan to reform the state's bail system. While it has not been fully fleshed out yet, Cuomo's proposal dictates that judges would use a scientific assessment tool to determine an individual's "risk to public safety" while setting bail, a proposal similar to one Mayor Bill de Blasio recently made, with both coming under fire from criminal justice reformers.

    De Blasio made ...

  • Stand Against Racism, Protect Asian-American Women's Health

    chin council hearing

    Council Member Chin, one of the authors (photo: William Alatriste)


    New York City has the opportunity to support Asian-Americans and women's health by opposing deceptively named, so-called "sex-selective abortion bans."

    These attacks on a woman's right to choose are wolves in sheep's clothing. At a glance, such bans might sound like laws meant to further women's rights. But they actually do just the opposite.

    The tragic reality of "son preference" has been a serious issue in some countries, such as India and China, where women do not

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  • Overdue DOE Capital Plan To Be Released

    bdb school visit

    De Blasio at a school visit (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Once Mayor Bill de Blasio unveils his preliminary budget for 2017 on Thursday, Jan. 21, the City Council will begin to hold hearings and formulate its response. In conversations with Gotham Gazette, City Council members Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, chair of the finance committee, and Daniel Dromm, education committee chair, said that one of their top priorities during budget season will be addressing school overcrowding

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  • Grocery Worker Bill Provokes Rare Level of Council Dissent

    MMV pathmark

    Speaker Mark-Viverito on 125th Street (photo: William Alatriste) 


    When a bill comes to the floor of the New York City Council, it is guaranteed to pass. And so it was on Tuesday, when the Council voted through the Grocery Worker Retention Act, which mandates that new owners of large grocery stores maintain employment of the store workforce for 90 days. But while most bills pass unanimously and some garner only two or three dissenting votes from the Council's three-member Republican caucus, the GWRA garnered seven "no" votes.

    Five of the

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  • Once Rife with Problems, City Budget Process Now a Model for State System in Need of Reform

    cuomo exec budget pres 2014

    Governor Cuomo presents his 2014-2015 Executive Budget


    In 1975 New York City was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, having balanced its budget for years with massive borrowing and shady accounting tricks. Banks were at the point where they would lend no more. Mayor Abe Beame had written the announcement of the city's default. City lawyers were in State Supreme Court filing a petition for bankruptcy and police were prepared to serve

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 18

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo released his Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017, which, for the state, begins April 1. It was not without controversy for the city, with Cuomo including significant cuts to state aid for city Medicaid and CUNY costs. Mayor Bill de Blasio and others from the city pushed back quickly and firmly,

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  • Special Election Spotlights Machine Politics in The Bronx

    heastie diaz jr crespo

    Heastie, Diaz Jr., Crespo (l-r)


    By the time Julio Pabón got called in for his interview with the Bronx Democratic County Committee, he had heard all the chatter. Political insiders were saying that party leadership had already chosen a candidate. What's more, Pabón had seen a telling flyer for a Christmas event to be held at a local public school. It had been emailed, on Dec. 8, from the state Senate account of Ruben Diaz Sr. At the head of the flyer were portraits of New York Republican Party Chair Ed Cox and the senator himself, alongside a

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  • At Hearing on Hunger, Council Presses De Blasio Administration on SNAP Participation

    lander menchaca hunger

    CMs Lander, left, and Menchaca confer on Wednesday (photo via @NYCCouncil)


    At an oversight hearing Wednesday about the city's efforts to fight hunger, members of the City Council general welfare committee questioned a panel of de Blasio administration officials about key city programs. Council members asked about participation in the Supplement and Nutritional Assistance Program (also known as “SNAP” or “food stamps”), Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) efforts, and other components of anti-hunger services.

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  • Concerns of ‘Voter Fatigue’ as New York Schedules Four 2016 Election Days

    bdb voting

    Mayor de Blasio votes (photo via @BilldeBlasio) 


    As New Yorkers begin a year of many voting opportunities, there are important questions that elections will help answer - like who the next U.S. President will be and which party will control the state Senate - but also concern about voter fatigue and thus, turnout.

    There will be at least four chances for New Yorkers to cast votes in 2016, with three different primary election days leading up to November’s general election. There will be a presidential primary vote in April;

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  • Council to Assess Hunger Problem, City Efforts to Reduce It

    de blasio food thanksgiving

    Mayor de Blasio serving food (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The City Council’s Committee on General Welfare will hold an oversight hearing on hunger in New York City on Wednesday morning at City Hall.

    Council Member Stephen Levin, the chair of the general welfare committee, told Gotham Gazette he and his colleagues want to get a broad assessment of hunger in the city, as well as specifics related to de Blasio administration efforts to mitigate the problem, which is the

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  • Majority of Council Members Urge Mayor to Identify Budget Savings

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    A budget handshake between the Mayor & Speaker (photo: William Alatriste)


    Concerned about the city's increased spending and possible future budget deficits, a majority of City Council members have appealed to Mayor Bill de Blasio to have his agencies evaluate their priorities and find ways to reduce spending before he releases his next preliminary budget.

    "After two years of experience, your agency heads should be asked to identify those policies that are either not working, or unnecessary," says the Dec. 31 letter signed by 26 of

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