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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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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 ...

  • 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

    MMV council pre stated

    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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