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  • Combatting New York's Enduring Quality-of-Life Problem: Litter

    garcia sanitation

    DSNY Commissioner Garcia (photo: @NYCSanitation)


    New York is safer and more prosperous than it's been in years, but the city still can't figure out how to stop people from trashing streets with litter.

    Despite a focus on quality of life issues, City Hall has made limited progress in dealing with a problem that has plagued mayors since the days when animals roamed Broadway. Even a small army of workers from the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), business improvement districts, and the Doe Fund still can't fully police 6,000 miles of city streets and more than 27,000

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, September 21-25

    week in review bus readers

    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday September 25

    PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio greets Pope Francis, via @BilldeBlasio; Pope Francis at the 9/11 memorial, ...

  • Inmate Bill of Rights Among New Wave of Rikers Reforms

    bdb rikers video

    Mayor de Blasio at Rikers Island (photo: Mayor's Office)


    The New York City Council passed eight bills last week in an effort to mandate greater transparency into and oversight of the Department of Correction and to reduce violence within the city's jails. All are expected to soon be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, with the package part of ongoing reforms aimed at changing the culture at Rikers Island and other jail facilities run by the city.

    One of the bills (...

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 21

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    THE POPE IS COMING: Pope Francis is coming to New York City at the end of the week, with public events on Thursday and Friday. The Pope's visit to the city will coincide with the UN General Assembly, at which he will speak, and will include mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday after a procession through Central Park, a visit to a school in East Harlem, and a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

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  • Did Bill De Blasio's Tirade Help Andrew Cuomo Get His Groove Back?

    Cuomo labor day parade

    Gov. Cuomo at the Labor Day parade (photo: The Governor's Office via flickr)


    On Thursday Governor Andrew Cuomo, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, held a rally to announce a campaign to make New York the first state in the nation with a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

    "So Mr. Vice President, today I announce that I will propose to the New York state legislature not just $15 for fast-food workers, because a fast-food worker deserves $15

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 14

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    • Where will the heated discussion over MTA funding go?
    • What's next in the James Blake-NYPD saga?
    • Is there any sense that Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo may figure out a truce and work together instead of being antagonists?
    • What bills will be introduced and passed at the City Council's first (of two) full-body Stated Meeting of the month, set for Thursday?

    These

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, September 7-11

    week in review bus readers

    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday September 11

    PHOTOS OF THE WEEK:NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton surveys Times Square, via @CommissBratton; Mayor de Blasio & First Lady McCray greet a family on the first day

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  • Proposed Rikers Visitation Rules Stir Debate

    Johnny Perez of the Jails Action Coalition

    Johnny Perez of the Jails Action Coalition (photos: Meg O'Connor) 


    On Tuesday, City Council members, faith leaders, and activists spoke out against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed restrictions for visitors to Rikers Island jails. At a rally on the steps of City Hall organized by the Jails Action Coalition, speakers called de Blasio’s plan to limit visitors and physical contact by those who do visit inmates counterproductive and wrong.

    The proposed visitation limits were first

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  • Advocates Rally to Keep Solitary Confinement in Spotlight

    solitary confinement rally

    A rally to reform solitary confinement rules (photo: @NYCAIC)


    Last November he United Nations committee on torture found that the United States was not in compliance with its Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment because of excessive use of solitary confinement in prisons across the country.

    The UN found that use of solitary confinement of over 15 days amounts to torture. Nearly

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 31

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week looks like another relatively quiet one as we head toward Labor Day weekend and then what promises to be a busy September. That's not to say that things will be silent this week, as there are always things happening in New York politics. We give you a few things to watch for and then a bit of a September preview of upcoming political events.

    One thing to keep an eye on this week is that we are in the

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  • How To Become a New York City Council Member

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    Mayor de Blasio, a former Council member, with several current CMs (William Alatriste)


    Ask any New York City Council member and they'll tell you— there is no set formula that will send an aspiring candidate to City Hall.

    "If you want to be a lawyer, the path is the same: get a bachelor's degree, take the LSATs, go to law school, take the bar exam, and voila, you're a lawyer," Ritchie Torres, the 51-member Council's youngest rep, told Gotham Gazette. "Whereas in politics, there is no single path."

    Torres'

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  • Suing the Hand That Feeds You

    Tish James rally via her office

    Public Advocate Letitia James


    Capitalizing on a boost to a historically anemic budget, Public Advocate Letitia James has emphasized the use of litigation in her capacity as the city’s elected gadfly, often suing the city that funds her.

     

    James is utilizing her office’s limited funds in accordance with her

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  • Does Staten Island Get Its Fair Share?

    si wheel

    Rendering of proposed New York Wheel on Staten Island. (Perkins Eastman via NY Times)


    There may be no other borough that has the local pride and identity felt by Staten Islanders. To be a Staten Islander often means to be of New York City and to be disconnected from New York City. It often means to know your family, but wonder if you were switched at birth.

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 10

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    LEGIONNAIRES' FALLOUT: Monday morning at City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio will hold a bill-signing ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. (full details below), and then, around noon, "the Mayor, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and elected officials will host a press conference to introduce new legislation to reduce future risk of Legionnaires' disease, and provide an update on the containment of the outbreak,"

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  • No Fly Zone: Council Members Push Helicopter, Drone Regulations

    garodnick vallone drones

    Council members introduce drone legislation (photo: William Alatriste)


    Pointing to insufficient efforts on the part of the Federal Aviation Administration, New York City Council members are taking regulation of the city’s skies into their own hands.

    In asserting their authority with respect to helicopters and drones on a turf traditionally maintained by the federal government, council members may find themselves in ambiguous legal territory. But they tell Gotham Gazette that they are

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  • 18 Months of NYCHA Scrutiny, Reform and Conflict

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    Mayor de Blasio at a NYCHA announcement (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    "If we were to lose public housing," warns City Council Member Ritchie Torres, "we might have a shelter system overflowing with hundreds of thousands of people."

    With more than 400,000 residents, the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, is the largest public housing system in the country. Never far from the headlines due to ongoing problems, NYCHA is under even more scrutiny courtesy of a series of audits

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  • Queens Library Scandal Spurs Nonprofit Oversight Bill

    crowley rally

    CM Crowley at a City Hall rally (photo: @magghayes)


    On the heels of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer's report on Queens library executives engaging in questionable practices, Queens Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley is renewing her push for greater oversight of officers of city-funded nonprofit organizations.

    Crowley's ...

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, July 27

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    BIDEN IN NY: Monday starts off with a bang as Vice President Joe Biden is in New York, first events with Governor Andrew Cuomo in Rochester, then New York City. According to Cuomo's office,  Biden and Cuomo will appear at 11 a.m. at SUNY Polytechnic Canal Ponds in Rochester, where they "will deliver remarks on the economy" and then at 2:45 at the Sheraton New York on 7th Avenue, Biden and

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, July 20-24

    week in review bus readers

    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday July 24

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: the capitol office of former State Senator and Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous, scrubbed of his name after he was convicted of lying to the FBI, ...

  • Under-reported Abuse Given Higher Priority in New City Budget

    seniors rally

    Rally for senior funding (photo via Council Member Chin)


    After more than a decade of abuse, she finally called for help. Dialing 311, the 80-year-old widow - who had remained silent for years as the granddaughter she had raised yelled and cursed at her, slapped her, and stole from her - reached out for help after the younger woman threatened to seriously injure her.

    She was referred by 311 to JASA, a non-profit serving seniors

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, July 13

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Before you read our preview of this week, check out our 'Week in Review' of last week's political news - it's a good, quick read and includes top photos and stories of the week; key numbers to know from the week's news; and other interesting and fun features. We recently started

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  • Breaking Down the City Budget

    de blasio mark-viverito budget

    Mayor & Speaker at budget announcement (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Wednesday, July 1, marked the beginning of the new fiscal year under a $78.6 billion budget agreed upon by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council.

    When he unveiled his preliminary budget outline in February, de Blasio ...

  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, June 29-July 2

    week in review bus readers

    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Thursday July 2 - our usual Friday feature a day early this week due to the holiday, enjoy:

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK:Council Member Corey Johnson celebrates at the Pride Parade, via William

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  • Why Don’t We Ever Hear About Commercial Rent Policy?

    levine small biz

    Council Member Levine & co outside an evicted business (photo: @MarkLevineNYC) 


    Mid-June, it was a block in Washington Heights that was poised to be the next to close up shop. The landlord, Coltown Properties, looked to evict the mostly Latino-owned stores on the street, which included a barbershop, restaurant, and income tax service. The store proprietors faced the same issue as many other small business owners in New York — there was nothing they could do.

    “Collectively, the businesses on

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 29

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week must be much quieter than last - the city budget is passed; the legislative session in Albany is over; the two escaped upstate prisoners were found (one killed; one shot and captured); and the United States Supreme Court has wrapped up its spring. It's also a holiday

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