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Gotham Gazette

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Jumaane D. Williams

Jumaane D. Williams

  • Council Speaker Contenders Spread the Wealth to Colleagues

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito (center) and Council Member Johnson (r) (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    A number of City Council Members who are jockeying to replace Melissa Mark-Viverito as the next Speaker of the City Council seem to be stepping up efforts to curry favor with their colleagues and other elected officials through strategic campaign donations.

    The latest campaign

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  • Illegal Conversions Crackdown Could Worsen City’s Housing Crisis

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    (photo: Tarry Hum)


    The New York City Council recently passed an “Aggravated Illegal Conversions” bill by a 49-0 vote. The legislation -- sponsored by City Council Members Gentile, Williams, and Grodenchik, and Brooklyn Borough President Adams, and signed into law by Mayor de Blasio -- significantly increases the civil penalties for owners who illegally subdivide their residential property to create

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  • Cuomo’s ‘Progressive’ Budget Misses the Mark

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    Council Member Jumaane Williams, the author (photo: William Alatriste)


    Governor’s budget epitomizes the need to define what "progressive" means

    The new state budget, like almost all budgets, has some beneficial things that should be celebrated. However, to call this budget “progressive” clearly means that in this era of Trump, the term is being stretched to the point of possibly having no meaning at all. And frankly, we should also examine what it means to be part of the "resistance."

    The main

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  • Little Progress on Utica Avenue Subway Expansion

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    The new Second Avenue Subway (photo: Patrick Cashin/MTA)


    Two years ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio released a comprehensive plan for the city that included funding to study the expansion of a subway line on Utica Avenue, Brooklyn, one of the most crowded transit corridors in the city. The plan roused speculation among transit advocates and elected officials that funding for the much-needed subway line might eventually be in the pipeline, but with little movement on the study, some are beginning to doubt whether officials are truly

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  • Bill de Blasio’s Police Accountability Problem

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign account recently posted a Twitter message touting the NYPD’s neighborhood policing initiative. “New York City is proving to the rest of the country that respectful, compassionate neighborhood policing drives down crime & makes us safer,” the tweet from @BilldeBlasio read.

    In a response symbolic of a problem de Blasio is facing as he heads into his re-election year, Lumumba

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  • Council Member Williams Forecasts End of Pledge Protest

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    Council Member Williams (photo: William Alatriste)


    City Council Member Jumaane Williams, whose sit-down protest during the pledge of allegiance at the Council’s stated meetings has created waves and elicited both support and criticism, said on Wednesday that he plans to again stand once Mayor de Blasio commits to an agenda for jobs for city youth.

    On the sidelines

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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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  • 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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  • Could CUNY Be Tuition-Free Again?

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    (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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  • 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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  • Council to Hear One of Two Police Accountability Bills

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    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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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, November 9-13

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday November 13

    PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: NYPD Commissioner Bratton addresses the media after a shooting Monday morning near Penn Station, via @NYPD1Pct; City Council Members-elect Barry

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  • Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn’t Every Council Member Doing It?

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    PB voting in East Harlem, photo via PB NYC


    In four years participatory budgeting has exploded from four to 27 New York City Council districts. With over 51,000 voters casting ballots last cycle to allocate a total of $32 million dollars to projects across the city, New York‘s experiment in direct democracy has quickly become the largest of its kind in North America.

    "This is the biggest year of participatory budgeting yet, with 27 Council members asking their constituents to

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, August 10-14

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday August 14

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK:a Brooklyn street was officially renamed "Do The Right Thing Way," after the iconic Spike Lee movie, via Council Member Jumaane

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  • In Changing District, Cumbo Continues Culture Crusade

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    Council Member Laurie Cumbo (photo: William Alatriste)


    In one of Brooklyn's most rapidly changing districts, where brownstones sell for millions of dollars around the corner from deteriorating public housing complexes, Council Member Laurie Cumbo believes that arts and culture can be a unifying factor.

    "The whole purpose of humanity is to create culture and to advance culture. So it can't be separated from all of the other priorities," Cumbo said during an interview in her legislative office. "If you're not

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