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New York City

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 3

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As the week begins the country is anticipating the lone Vice Presidential debate of the 2016 race to the White House, which will take place between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence on Tuesday evening. And, the second of three Presidential debates scheduled is set for Sunday evening.

    In New York, the week begins fairly quietly due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday, though at noon at 1 Police Plaza Mayor

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  • Council to Hear One of Two Police Accountability Bills

    NYPD training

    photo via @NYPDNews


    NOTE: this article was originally published June 7, but the hearing discussed was postponed to June 28; it has been edited to refllect the new date and other recent news

    Following on the heels of passing the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which diverts the prosecution of a number of low-level nonviolent offenses to civil rather than criminal avenues, the City Council will hear a bill on Tuesday that also addresses criminal justice reform, but this time by targeting bad actors within

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  • Hope in the State Senate

    hope state

    Make the Road Action volunteers for Todd Kaminsky


    Last Tuesday, many New Yorkers were focused on the presidential primaries, but there was another election that may be even more important for communities like mine. In a special election for State Senate in Nassau County, Democrat Todd Kaminsky won a seat long-held by former Republican Sen. Dean Skelos.

    This result was key for three reasons.

    First, it showed the importance of the votes of Latinos, immigrants, and people of color outside of New York City.

    As a black Latino immigrant living on Long Island, I’ve seen

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  • De Blasio Releases New $82B Budget with 'Targeted Investments,' Additional Savings

    de blasio budget presentation fy 17

    photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office


    Mayor Bill de Blasio released his $82.2 billion Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 on Tuesday, increasing spending by about $100 million from his proposed preliminary budget while expressing concern about a possible economic slowdown and the effects of consistent underinvestment by the state and federal governments.

    The executive budget “continues a trajectory of progressive, responsible and honest budgeting,” the mayor said at the release at City Hall. “We believe that disciplined

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  • Calls for Candidates to Address Urban Issues in Presidential Race

    workers nycha scaffolding

    Workers at a NYCHA building (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    For the first time in decades, New York has become a competitive battleground in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. As the race heats up in this delegate-rich state, the two Democratic candidates, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State and New York Senator Hillary Clinton, have ramped up their outreach, particularly in New York City, home to millions of Democrats.

    Each side has

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  • Toward Progress on Equal Pay Day

    womens caucus council

    The City Council Women's Caucus, including two authors (photo: William Alatriste)


    Today - Tuesday, April 12 - New York City recognizes Equal Pay Day – a day to confront the challenges our mothers, daughters, and sisters still face in achieving workplace equality.

    Significant progress has been made, but substantial discrepancies exist between women and men – most notably, a sizable wage gap. As of 2013, women still earned only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, with a median income over 27 percent lower than that of men. For women of color, the pay gap

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  • New York City’s Evolving Approach to Open Data

    crowd phones

    (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office)


    During the first weekend of March, the New York City School of Data - a network of advocates, activists, and professionals for an open data ecosystem - hosted a day of panels and workshop sessions in recognition of the international day celebrating open data and the fourth anniversary of the city passing its first open data law. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who have each promoted open data initiatives, delivered keynote remarks at the event.

  • Community Engagement Prized by Participatory Budgeting Proponents

    menchaca constituent

    Council Member Menchaca with a constituent (photo: William Alatriste)


    For City Council Member Carlos Menchaca and his staff, the Participatory Budgeting Vote Week that just ended was the culmination of a year-long effort to encourage project proposals and votes from communities that are traditionally excluded from politics. Through PB, community members decide how $1-2 million in funding is allocated toward neighborhood improvements. Menchaca’s district, which includes immigrant-rich Brooklyn neighborhoods of Sunset Park and Red Hook, is one

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  • Push for a Better Mayor's Management Report Continues

    311-cust-serv 


    The City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations held an oversight hearing on Wednesday to evaluate the structure and content of two annual city reports that measure everything from the wait times on 311 calls and the conditions of city parks to the number of unsheltered homeless people and traffic crashes in the city each year. These key performance indicators help the City Council and the public keep city agencies and offices accountable. Those agencies, in turn, rely on these reports to improve their policies and functioning.

    The administration

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  • Council Passes Bill to Improve Diversity at Upper Levels of City-Contracted Businesses

    crowley johnson lean in

    Council Member Elizabeth Crowley and colleagues (photo: William Alatriste) 


    On Thursday, the City Council approved a bill requiring the Department of Small Business Services to survey and study the gender, ethnic, and racial makeup of executive-level staff and board members of companies that contract with the city. The bill, co-sponsored by Council Members Elizabeth

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  • City Approach to Nonprofit Contracting Questioned

    council hearing rosenthal

    Council Member Rosenthal at a recent hearing (photo: William Alatriste) 


    Human services nonprofits serve the city’s most vulnerable populations, providing a range of critical programs like foster care, homelessness services, after-school programs, mental health care, food pantries, and more. But, many of these organizations are faltering due to problems with the ways in which government approaches contracting.

    On Monday, the New York City Council Committee on Contracts held an oversight hearing to examine serious

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  • City Council Budget Response Seeks New Spending, More Savings

    bdb budget briefing w CMs

    Mayor de Blasio briefs Council members on his budget (photo: William Alatriste) 


    The City Council on Monday issued its formal response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017, capping a month of budget hearings that were fraught with ...

  • City Resets First Budget Hearing for New Veterans Affairs Department

    veterans outside city hall flags

    photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office


    In December, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law the City Council bill creating a separate, dedicated Veterans Affairs department which would take over responsibility from the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) in handling services for more than 200,000 military veterans living in New York City.

    By law, the new department will be official on April 10 and the fiscal year 2017 budget being negotiated between the de Blasio administration and the City Council will

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  • With Clock Ticking, East New York Negotiations to Heat Up

    espinal east new york hearing

    City Council Member Espinal (photo: William Alatriste) 


    With only two weeks left for the City Council to vote on the proposed rezoning of East New York, all eyes are on City Council Member Rafael Espinal, who is leading negotiations with the de Blasio administration and whose approval of a revised plan will determine its fate. Espinal has promised significant improvements to the plan put forward by the city and community organizers and

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  • Eviction Bonuses and Preferential Rents, Not 421-a, Should Be the Focus in Albany

    aff housing march rally

    An affordable housing march 


    We have long advocated for the elimination of the 421-a tax abatement because it has been nothing but a giveaway to developers masquerading as a means of affordable housing production. This is why affordable housing advocates across the city celebrated when 421-a expired on January 15.

    Since its expiration, arguments about its possible revival are popping up more and more frequently, along with lamentations about its demise. How quickly we forget the many published ...

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 4

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    We're about two weeks from New York's April 19 presidential primary vote. The three remaining Republican candidates and two remaining Democrats have been campaigning in New York, which is more in play than it has been in several cycles. Hillary Clinton is set to hold events in New York City and Albany Monday, including a rally with Gov. Cuomo and a meeting with state Assembly Democrats, and while the candidates are

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  • Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Rapid Change

    east harlem mural

    Hank Prussing's mural, The Spirit of East Harlem (via @ManhattanCB11)


    Pearl Barkley moved to East Harlem in the 1950s, when she was six years old. Her family lived in the Jefferson Houses on 115th Street, where she lives today and works as an organizer with Community Voices Heard, an economic justice advocacy non-profit.

    “Many people remember the fires, the abandoned boarded up buildings, and the people who left,” Barkley said in an interview. Essential services began disappearing from the

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  • Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Change

    mmv ehnp

     Mark-Viverito at an East Harlem planning session (photo: William Alatriste)


    CONTINUED from page 1 - this is page 2 of 2

    Community calls for community planning
    City officials have not yet presented a timeline, much less a plan, for rezoning East Harlem, but that hasn’t stopped residents from preemptively organizing against “upzoning” that they believe will accelerate displacement of

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  • Key Piece of City's New Housing Deal Will Protect Tenants from Harassment

    housing ny presser

    Housing plans (photo: Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor)

     


     

    Last week, New Yorkers learned that a bill creating a new Citywide Certificate of No Harassment program would be part of the city's new housing deal. The legislation, which will be finalized by a new task force before being adopted, will require landlords to get a certificate confirming that they have not harassed their tenants before demolishing or altering a building.

    This provision of the housing deal is especially good news for tenants across the city.

    As

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  • New Yorkers Run for President: History and Insights for 2016

    FDR whitehouse.gov

    Franklin D. Roosevelt (whitehouse.gov)


    The 2016 presidential contest may very well pit two New Yorkers, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, against each other. In the 29 presidential elections from 1900 to 2012, New Yorkers headed major tickets nine times. Two (Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Dewey) ran twice; one (Franklin D. Roosevelt), 4 times. New Yorkers faced each other twice (1904 and 1944), presaging the seemingly likely 2016 matchup.

    New York's prominence in national politics is no surprise. Arguably the nation's most historically important state for many

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  • De Blasio Concerned with Lack of Clarity as State Budget Deadline Nears

    de blasio on phone we don't know with who

    De Blasio (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office)


     

    Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday afternoon that he has been in regular contact with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and that he spoke with Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier in the day, but that he did not gain much clarity as Albany budget negotiations enter their final days.

    A new state budget is due by midnight Thursday, with the state's fiscal year beginning

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  • The Next Step to Helping Immigrant Families Thrive

    menchaca idnyc

    Council Member Menchaca, a co-author, promotes IDNYC (photo: @IDNYC)


    In recent years, New York City has taken tremendous strides forward in supporting immigrants. Many of Mayor de Blasio's signature initiatives—particularly universal pre-kindergarten (UPK), IDNYC, and community schools—have offered vital new services to New Yorkers across the city that have been tremendously beneficial for immigrants seeking to fully integrate themselves into our society and see their families thrive.

    Now, there's another critical step that New York

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  • Questioning Importance, Council Members Spend Limited Time at Hearings

    van bramer alone hearing

    Council Member Van Bramer starts a hearing (photo: @JimmyVanBramer)


    On March 1, at perhaps the most important City Council hearing of the year, just three of the finance committee’s eleven members were present when the session began. The Council’s first hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion fiscal year 2017 preliminary budget began nine minutes after its scheduled time, at 10:09 a.m., more prompt than typical Council hearings. The City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, arrived three minutes later, just after the finance chair, Council Member

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  • Citing Success Academy Experiences, Parents Tell Cuomo to Increase Charter Accountability

    cuomo charters

    Gov. Cuomo at a 2014 charter school rally (via The Governor's Office on flickr) 


    Five New York City parents are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to withdraw funding and increase oversight of charter schools as a response to what they say is systemic mistreatment of children, particularly their own, by the Success Academy charter school network.

    In an open letter to the governor, four parents of former Success Academy students, and one whose child is still enrolled in the network, criticize Success Academy’s disciplinary policies and say its

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  • Library Funding One Discrepancy in Quiet City Budget Season

    van bramer libraries rally

    Council Member Van Bramer leads a library funding rally (photo: William Alatriste)


    Funding for New York City’s three public library systems is still $22 million short of the $65 million in city funding libraries received before the recession, despite increased demand for the services libraries provide, the presidents of the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library said at a March 23 City Council preliminary budget hearing.

    Hundreds of orange-clad librarians and library advocates filled the

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