Gotham Gazette http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/19 Mon, 18 Dec 2017 05:05:25 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) Federal Government Paves Way for City-Backed Retirement Savings Program http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6692:federal-government-paves-way-for-city-backed-retirement-savings-program http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6692:federal-government-paves-way-for-city-backed-retirement-savings-program de blasio aarp retirement savings city hall rally

Mayor de Blasio at a February rally (Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


Responding to interest from cities including New York, the federal Department of Labor has ruled that certain municipalities can establish publicly-run retirement savings programs for private-sector workers whose employers do not offer such a program.

In February, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his intention to create a new retirement-savings program during his State of the City speech, citing the fact that more than half of private sector workers in New York City do not have access to a retirement savings program through their place of work. New York City could become the first city in the country to launch such a program, which exist in five states.

The de Blasio administration hailed the Department of Labor ruling, which was posted December 19, as a key step in making the plan a reality.

“We applaud the United States Department of Labor for taking this important step toward building retirement security for everyday Americans,” said de Blasio spokesperson Freddi Goldstein, in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “For the better part of the year, we have been advocating and preparing to become the first city in the country to create a retirement savings program for private sector employees, and with the recent DOL rule, we are one step closer.”

Soon after de Blasio’s February announcement, the mayor rallied at City Hall with other top elected officials and advocates in support of creating a private-sector retirement-savings program in New York City. The mayor said he would be working with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, and City Council Member Ben Kallos on legislation. In June 2015 Public Advocate James released a reporting highlighting gaps in retirement savings for many New Yorkers. City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who oversees the city’s public pension system and was at the time studying the best path for a private sector program, also attended the rally in support.

In order to move a bill and launch a program, the city needed clearance from the Department of Labor, which it petitioned for and has now received.

“More workers saving for retirement now means more financially secure retirees in the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a statement accompanying the DOL ruling. “This is good for workers and families trying to build their nest eggs, and good for the long-term strength of the economy.”

The DOL announcement said that three cities -- New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle -- have shown interest in launching a city-backed private-sector retirement-savings program. According to the de Blasio administration, the city would put up seed money to launch the program and expects it to be self-sustaining after an initial start-up period. The city would not have any additional financial burden and would not guarantee benefits like it does with its public sector pensions. Goldstein said there is no timetable for legislation at this point.

As initially outlined by de Blasio, the program would apply to workers at business of ten employees or more that do not already have a retirement-savings program (a pension or 401(k)). Businesses that offer programs could not dissolve them to move employees to the city-initiated one.

As mandated by the Department of Labor, it would be optional for workers, though advocates like AARP New York are calling for any such program to include auto-enrollment, which would make opting in far easier and is said to drastically increase participation. De Blasio’s initial proposal outline included auto-enrollment.

De Blasio’s February outline also said that contributions would be “exclusively from employees (rather than from employers or the City) and made through payroll” and “based on a default rate,” though “employees would have the ability to change their rate or opt out of the program.” Additionally, workers “would be able to transfer the savings account from job to job.” The city “would create a board to establish and oversee the management of the program,” which would be phased in over the course of years.

In October, Comptroller Stringer put out a detailed proposal for what the program could like like, including a new "NYC 401(k) marketplace."

In a statement Thursday, Stringer called the Department of Labor's new ruling "a major step in the right direction, because every worker should have a fair shot at a secure retirement." Of his report, Stringer said, "We hope New York City Nest Egg will be a blueprint for reform. This work is so important, and we will work with stakeholders across all levels of government to move this issue forward in the new year."

According to AARP’s policy shop, more than half of private-sector workers in New York State -- over 3.5 million people -- lack access to a retirement savings program, which are especially scarce through small businesses.

Per the de Blasio administration, “only 43 percent of working New Yorkers have access to a plan that can help them save for retirement,” but they are often subject to large fees, and “even those who have started to save do not have much: 40 percent of New Yorkers between the ages of 50 and 64 have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.”

The city-focused ruling from the Department of Labor, which applies only to municipalities of a certain size, comes after DOL paved the way for state-run programs earlier this year. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo already has a commission studying the issue. A state program could supercede a city one, though it would also depend on the details of the programs if the city were to launch one before the state. It is too early to tell which level of government will act first. In the city, Public Advocate James and City Council Member Ben Kallos are expected to lead on introducing legislation at the City Council, and the bill would likely go through Kallos' governmental operations committee.

According to the Department of Labor, “States and political subdivisions have a substantial governmental interest to encourage retirement savings in order to protect the economic security of their residents.”

“Our city and state leaders have a golden opportunity to empower millions of New Yorkers to build financial security,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel, in a statement reacting to the new DOL ruling. “The state and city should fill in the gaps left by an economy in which fewer companies are able to provide savings options.”

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

Note: this article has been updated with comment from Comptroller Stringer and a few additional details.

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Federal Government Paves Way for City-Backed Retirement Savings Program Thu, 29 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000
AARP Emerges as Key De Blasio Ally http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6233:aarp-emerges-as-key-de-blasio-ally http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6233:aarp-emerges-as-key-de-blasio-ally aarp ny

AARP members pack City Council chambers (photo via @aarpny)


There are about 800,000 AARP members in New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio has been arm-in-arm with them of late. The organization has come out in strong support of key pieces of de Blasio's affordable housing agenda and his plan to create a city-run retirement savings program for private sector workers.

De Blasio has sought and embraced the support, frequently engaging with AARP members and regularly citing AARP's endorsement as validation for his housing plan, specifically controversial changes to the city's zoning rules that he is negotiating through the City Council. On Tuesday, the Council will pass changes to the zoning code that AARP supports as essential to creating more affordable housing for seniors.

Not only is AARP helpful in the near-term as de Blasio builds support for his policies, but older voters are also an important bloc as de Blasio heads toward a 2017 re-election bid. There are more than 2 million registered voters in New York City over the age of 50, which is the threshold for AARP membership, and 72 percent, or 1.5 million, are Democrats, according to Steve Romalewski, Director of CUNY Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research/The Graduate Center.

Older people are known to vote in higher percentages than other age groups, and that is the case in New York City. According to Romalewski, in the 2013 mayoral election, which saw very low overall turnout as de Blasio cruised to a landslide, about 38% of the one million-plus registered voters 65 and older voted, compared to 12% of the one million-plus registered voters 35 or younger.

While AARP has become a key ally for the mayor, the group does not officially endorse candidates. Still, de Blasio's attention to issues of concern for older people and their regular exposure to him as a champion of their causes certainly appear to have created a mutually beneficial dynamic. AARP support for de Blasio's zoning changes became loud during a tough time for the mayor as community boards and others around the city criticized the plan.

On Monday evening, de Blasio held his fourth tele-town hall with AARP-NY in the last nine months, during which he has discussed affordable housing and other issues with thousands of older constituents. According to AARP, 12,800 people participated over the course of an hour-long tele-town hall in February.

During Monday's call, de Blasio struck a celebratory tone on the eve of the City Council voting through the zoning changes. Saying that Tuesday is "going to be a great day for New York City," de Blasio thanked AARP members for "the decisive support you have provided for our affordable housing plan." The "historic" day, de Blasio said, will usher in new policies "to open up a lot of different places where we can create the affordable housing seniors need." De Blasio told call participants that there will be a celebratory rally in Foley Square at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Over the past two months, AARP also figured significantly in two de Blasio-led rallies at City Hall - one on his housing policies, one on his new retirement savings plan - and helped coordinate an in-person town hall meeting de Blasio held on senior housing in Manhattan.

"AARP is an extraordinary force for good," de Blasio said during one of the tele-town halls, "looking out for the needs of our seniors, making sure their rights are respected, and building a more fair society."

In response to de Blasio's affordable housing plans outlined in his 2015 State of the City speech, AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel said in a statement, "Mayor de Blasio outlined a bold initiative to help make New York City more affordable...AARP looks forward to working with Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to address a primary concern of so many New Yorkers - the cost of living here - and continuing to make New York a great place to live, work and play for all age groups."

AARP has followed up on that pledge, especially as the debate over de Blasio's key senior housing-related proposal, known as Zoning for Quality and Affordability, recently came toward a vote in the City Council. AARP has encouraged its members to call their City Council representatives and conducted a targeted social media campaign to lobby Council members. It also purchased radio ads in support of the mayor's plan and sent mailings. (Another advocacy group for older New Yorkers, LiveOn NY, has also been a vocal supporter of ZQA.)

In a Friday interview with WNYC, de Blasio said that as he and his administration engaged more people on his zoning proposals and larger housing plan, more came to support it. "[A]s this legislation moved forward," de Blasio told WNYC's Brigid Bergin, "crucial organizations like AARP got involved and they spoke powerfully to seniors about why this would help create more senior housing. And that brought in a lot of support." He also referenced the support of a variety of labor unions.

A nonpartisan advocacy group, AARP does not endorse candidates or make campaign contributions. It does, however, support policies, and it has put significant resources behind de Blasio's zoning changes. AARP has also committed to full-throated support for the retirement savings program, which the group's representatives say is a major national priority.

Still, AARP representatives are firm that the organization does not endorse, donate to campaigns, or promote candidates through independent expenditures. In response to a tweet from Gotham Gazette in which this reporter speculated that AARP could be a formidable source of election support for de Blasio, AARP Associate State Director for New York City Chris Widelo tweeted back, "we are strictly non-partisan and do not endorse...but our members do vote!"

During a phone interview Monday afternoon, Widelo explained more about AARP's approach to issue advocacy versus candidate campaigns. "If it were an election, I think our tone would be different," Widelo said. He added that AARP has been behind the mayor's housing plan with such energy because it is a key priority, but he stressed that the organization will not be supporting de Blasio's reelection campaign. "Next year, you'll probably notice AARP, we have a hard deadline when candidates file paperwork and become a candidate in our eyes, even if they are a sitting elected official, and we adjust how we may coordinate." Widelo said that the deadline is in the summer, but that AARP will judge the political landscape.

AARP has also done tele-town halls with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Public Advocate Letitia James, Widelo noted. "It just so happens that our priorities have lined up with the mayor's and others here in the city," Widelo said. "We're happy to have the mayor of the largest city in the country on our tele-town hall, for sure," he added, "but for us, it's more important to tell [members] the story about what this policy is...it's educational."

While AARP is appreciative of the mayor's attention to issues older New Yorkers care about, de Blasio is certainly happy to have the group's support.

At a March 9 rally outside City Hall to support his housing agenda, de Blasio was surrounded by representatives from AARP and several labor unions, each of which he thanked. "I have to say, there are so many great organizations," de Blasio yelled through a megaphone, "but one that has done absolutely awesome work has been AARP."

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

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AARP Emerges as Key De Blasio Ally Tue, 22 Mar 2016 01:13:02 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 21 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6231:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-21 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6231:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-21 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week will be another busy one when it comes to budgets: the City Council continues its preliminary budget hearings and state budget negotiations enter their final ten days - a state budget is due by April 1 and some say a deal could be announced before the end of this week. Don't count on it, though, state budgets usually come in just before (or, as was the case last year, just after) the March 31 midnight deadline. This practice under Governor Andrew Cuomo is actually a serious improvement given that the state used to regularly wind up with late budgets extending weeks past the start of the new fiscal year, which begins April 1.

There are a variety of issues to be worked out, with several of importance to New York City. As always, there are a number of high-profile items, like an increase of the minimum wage or government ethics reform, that could be pushed beyond the budget and into the legislative session to follow. That session runs until mid-June. The budget, after all, only must include necessary state expenses. Expect at least a couple of closed-door meetings among Cuomo and the two legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican. On Monday, City Council "Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members will travel to Albany to advocate for the City Council's 2016 State Budget and Legislative Agenda," according to Mark-Viverito's public schedule.

Also worth watching in Albany this week, the Assembly will consider internal reforms announced by Heastie and his conference at the end of this past week. The 40-plus reform proposals received a mixed reaction from elected officials and good government advocates, but still indicate a number of changes that many have been advocating for years. And, keep an eye out for a related conference in Albany on Friday, which will look at ethics reform through the lens of a state constitutional convention - details below.

While it is another busy week of budget hearings at the City Council, the Council will also hold a full-body Stated Meeting on Tuesday, at which new bills will be introduced and the Council will vote on the two high-profile zoning changes - Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) - that have been the source of months of discussion, negotiation, and controversy, and that are key to Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing plans.

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
Mayor de Blasio is doing a series of six media appearances to discuss his affordable housing agenda on Monday. He'll be on NPR, 880AM and 710AM radio, and on NY1, NY1 Noticias, and Univision TV.

Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Monday in Albany.

At 10 a.m. in Albany, following the full meeting of the NYS Board of Regents, the board’s newly-elected Chancellor and Vice Chancellor will hold a press conference with the State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.

At noon Monday, a coalition of over 90 HIV/AIDS advocates will launch a statewide Week of Action on the steps of City Hall, calling upon Governor Cuomo to invest $70 million in a plan to end AIDS in the 2016 New York State budget.

At the City Council on Monday:

  • At 9:30 a.m., the Committee on Health will hold a hearing on a bill to prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco products at sports arenas and recreational areas that require tickets.
  • At 10 a.m., the Committee on Health will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.
  • At noon, the Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.
  • At 1 p.m., the Committee on Youth Services will discuss a bill requiring the establishment of a training coordinator to teach certain agency staff throughout departments such as Parks and Recreation, Homeless Services, and Human Resources Administration/Social Services how to identify runaway, homeless or sexually exploited youth and how to connect them with appropriate services. The committee will also discuss several technical changes relating to an annual report produced by the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Youth and Community Development on the number of sexually exploited youth each agency has come into contact with over the course of the calendar year.
  • At 1 p.m., the Committee on Public Safety will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.
  • At 1:30 p.m., the Committee on Higher Education will meet to discuss a resolution to increase State funding to CUNY, and to reach a fair labor agreement with the University’s faculty and staff in the 2016-17 NYS Executive Budget.
  • At 3 p.m., the Committee on Civil Rights will examine a bill to broaden or incorporate a right to truthful information for a variety of activities covered by the New York City Human Rights Law, including lending, employment, and access to public accommodations and others.

At 2 p.m. Monday, "First Lady McCray will deliver opening remarks at a panel at Fountain House, an organization dedicated to supporting those living with serious mental illness."

At 6 p.m. Monday, the LGBT Task Force of Manhattan Community Boards 9, 10, 11, and 12 will host an LGBT Resource Fair featuring New York City Agencies. The event is sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

At 6:10 p.m. Monday evening, "Mayor Bill de Blasio will discuss affordable housing with an anticipated 10,000+ AARP members from New York City on an interactive call that allows participants to ask questions," according to AARP-NY.

On Monday at 6:30 p.m., schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will attend a town hall meeting of District 16's Community Education Council at MS 267 in Brooklyn.

Tuesday
Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Tuesday in Albany.

At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Crain’s New York Business will host an event on how startup businesses take off in New York City, featuring: Gregg Bishop, Commissioner, NYC Department of Small Business Services; Howard Lerman, Co-Founder & CEO, Yext; Rachel Shechtman,, Founder and CEO, STORY; Adam Shwartz, Director, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech; and moderated by Matthew Flamm, Senior Reporter, Crain's New York Business.

At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the YWCA of New York City will host “its third breakfast panel for Women’s History Month “New York City Women Leaders: The Power of Influence and Purpose.” The panel will include Maya Wiley, counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio; City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley; and Carmelyn Malalis, commissioner of the city’s Human Rights Commission; among others.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Commission on Public Information and Communication will meet to discuss the implementation of the webcasting law and the establishment of a central portal for webcasts.

At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • At 9 a.m., the Committee on State and Federal Legislation will meet to press for authorization that Christopher Park in Manhattan is discontinued as city parkland.
  • At 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet to approve new designations for certain organizations to receive funding in the expense budget; to communicate the transfer of City funds between various agencies in FY ‘16 in the expense budget; and to communicate the appropriation of new revenues of $982 million in FY ‘16.
  • At 1:30 p.m., the City Council will hold a full-body Stated Meeting. The highlight of the hearing will be the Council’s votes on the MIH and ZQA zoning text amendments.
  • Before the Stated, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will host a pre-Stated press conference at 12:30.

Also prior to the Stated Meeting, at noon, City Council Members Costa Constantinides and Ydanis Rodriguez will host a press conference on the steps of City Hall to rally before introducing a bill to create a pilot program for electric vehicle charging stations on street parking. The program hopes to encourage the use of electric cars and reduce carbon emissions citywide.

Wednesday
Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Wednesday in Albany.

At the City Council on Wednesday:

  • At 10 a.m., the Subcommittee on Libraries will meet jointly with the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations for a preliminary budget hearing on libraries.
  • At 11 a.m., the Committee on Contracts will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.
  • At 1 p.m., the Committee on Courts and Legal Services will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will host a Women’s History Month celebration at Mott Haven Library.

Thursday
At 8 a.m. Thursday, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce will host a breakfast event focused on combating the rising tide of cybercrime and featuring Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.

Friday and the weekend
At 1:30 p.m. Friday in Albany, a forum, “Can a NYS Constitutional Convention Strengthen Government Ethics?” The event, hosted by The Rockefeller Institute, will feature discussion about whether issues of integrity in government can be fixed statutorily, or if would be better resolved through constitutional change. Speaking will be former NYS Comptroller H. Carl McCall; and Columbia Law School Professor Richard Briffault, who is also a former assistant counsel to Governor Hugh Carey; as well as a panel of experts.

On Saturday, March 26, Participatory Budget voting begins in New York City Council districts running the program. In Participatory Budgeting, Council Members ask New York City residents “to decide how to invest public funds in their neighborhoods.” Voting will take place throughout the nearly 30 participating districts through April 3.

***
Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Kelly Fan and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 21 Sat, 19 Mar 2016 14:22:16 +0000
Private Sector Retirement Security Plans Become Next Progressive Cause http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6192:private-sector-retirement-security-plans-become-next-progressive-cause http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6192:private-sector-retirement-security-plans-become-next-progressive-cause de blasio state of the city

De Blasio delivers his State of the City (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office) 


Experts warn that the entire country could be headed for a financial crisis caused by the fact that an aging workforce has not been saving for retirement.

Whether due to cutbacks of public pensions, the lack of retirement plans offered by private employers, or workers forced to raid their savings, it appears to a growing number of advocates and politicians that many Americans will be forced to keep working far into old age or attempt to survive on below-poverty-level support from Social Security and local welfare programs.

"If we don't make sure something is in place to prevent this, the city and state will have a catastrophe on their hands," Beth Finkel, director of AARP's New York office, told Gotham Gazette. "Ultimately these people are going to turn to the state and city to survive."

City officials cite stark statistics - only 43 percent of working New Yorkers have access to a retirement plan and 40 percent of New Yorkers between the ages of 50 and 64 have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

It appears to be an issue that is keeping New York's political leaders up at night. It also presents an opportunity for elected officials to lead on another progressive policy matter.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio both announced plans to confront the issue in their recent annual addresses - Cuomo's State of the State, de Blasio's State of the City. Cuomo appointed SUNY Chairman Carl McCall to head a commission to study the issue, while de Blasio said he plans to work on legislation with the City Council that would allow the city to offer retirement plans to private sector workers who are not offered plans by their employer. He outlined the framework in his Feb. 4 speech.

De Blasio's plan would make the city the first in the country to offer such a retirement program, although a few states have adopted legislation to create something similar.

Many see the issue of government-backed retirement for private sector workers as the next progressive push, after minimum wage and paid family leave. De Blasio said as much during a recent appearance on Bill Samuel's Effective Radio program. "So this is our contribution to New York City towards what I hope will be a much bigger forward march of history and it certainly aligns with what we've done on the other issues you've talked about like paid sick leave and affordable housing, pre-K, et cetera," said de Blasio. "This is a package of things that have to change urgently, not just at the local level, but up to the federal level."

De Blasio's retirement plan would require employers with 10 or more employees to offer voluntary access to a city-run retirement plan. The city would cover upfront costs of starting the plan and a board would be appointed to implement it. Employees would have their contributions automatically deducted from their paychecks. Neither the city nor the state would contribute to the plans.

Businesses would not be able to drop plans they currently offer. The bill will be crafted by the de Blasio administration in collaboration with the offices of City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Tish James, and Comptroller Scott Stringer. Representatives of the de Blasio administration did not respond when asked about a timeline to introduce a bill.

"[I]t's something the city would manage and we would put some initial investment into," the mayor told Samuels during his Sunday radio appearance. "And it would give every worker the opportunity to join a retirement security plan that they could really depend on, would not evaporate because it would be supported and backed by the City of New York, and it would mean putting their own resources into it," de Blasio said.

The de Blasio administration has also asked the federal government to act to ease burdens and liabilities the city could face in managing retirement accounts. However, not many involved in the issue expect Washington to take action anytime soon. The Department of Labor has been giving guidance to states that have attempted to implement similar programs, but has yet to issue a full set of guidelines. It is likely that the state would have to approve any city-backed retirement program.

The mayor is set to hold a press conference on the plan Thursday afternoon at City Hall at which Stringer, James, and Mark-Viverito will each also speak.

Stringer was one of the first New York officials to take on the issue, constructing a working group of nationally recognized academics to study the retirement crisis in February of last year. The group, which features academics from across the political spectrum, is expected to issue recommendations this spring.

"There's no question we have a looming crisis on our hands when it comes to retirement security – in New York and the nation," Stringer said in a statement to Gotham Gazette. "Today, 57 percent of New Yorkers lack access to a workplace retirement plan, which has huge implications both for city services and for the ability of our seniors to live out their lives in dignity."

Citing a "need to recognize that one size does not fit all when it comes to retirement security," Stringer said that his "office has been working over the past year with a diverse group of some of the nation's top academics to put together thoughtful, innovative proposals to increase retirement savings options and protect the City's budget."

Public Advocate James proposed a bill in February of last year that would have established a review commission to study the feasibility of a city-backed pension fund for private workers. The bill hasn't made it out of committee, but de Blasio's plan appears to be making it obsolete. James issued a study about the impending retirement crisis.

"There are so many major players who are committed to this that it is hard to imagine we won't get something done, but the devil is in the details," said Finkel of AARP. "I think the major players understand the urgency. Every year we put off is another year people aren't saving."

Samuels, head of public policy think tank Effective NY, said he has been lobbying top state and city leaders on the issue for a few years. Now, he said, even with interest from Cuomo, de Blasio, and a host of other city officials known to compete with each other, "There is a cooperative environment at this point." Samuels says that a number of the leaders involved in the issue have been meeting to hash out a sensible solution.

It is unclear how a state plan might interact with a city plan - whether one would override the other, or if it would make sense to have two if the state acts. Some insiders see de Blasio and Cuomo focused on an issue and wonder when the competition and skullduggery will start. Some hope that city officials will unite around one plan that will then be used by the Cuomo administration as a blueprint. De Blasio administration officials said they would welcome action by the state.

Samuels said he was first moved to address the issue during a trip to his hometown of Canandaigua, in Western New York, while talking to his old friends about their children. "Their kids, even if they had a 401K, they had to raid it for an emergency, so they have nothing for retirement. It was an eye-opener," explained Samuels.

"There is a real national problem and it's not going to get solved in Washington. We have a startling number of people heading into retirement in poverty," Samuels told Gotham Gazette. "I worked for a company that put 15 percent of my salary into retirement. Reagan convinced people they should manage their own money. So What happened was 401Ks were set up and almost all companies stopped putting any money in toward retirement."

There is debate among politicians, academics, advocates, and business leaders about how to offer a retirement plan that actually helps workers save without hurting small businesses. Issues in play include: what size of businesses to target, how to manage employee deductions, what kind of plans make sense for workers, and how to make sure plans are transferable should an employee find a new job or move. There will also be questions about management of the program, as there always are about public pension funds.

The Partnership for New York City, a leading city business group, is supportive of the idea behind de Blasio's plan. The group's president, Kathryn Wylde, said in an interview that the issue is extremely complicated and that she has concerns. "Frankly, I'd rather have the federal government or the state do something broader," Wylde told Gotham Gazette, whiling stressing that she supports de Blasio's action.

Wylde said businesses in different locales would have more of an equal footing if a retirement plan was offered by the federal or state government. She also pointed to underlying economic issues. "I'm not sure that simply providing a plan is a magic bullet," Wylde said. "People living on subsistence wages aren't suddenly going to have enough money to save. So I'm not sure there is a way to make this work without some sort of subsidy."

Mike Durant, state director for the National Federation for Independent Business, said that his members are concerned about having the state get involved in the issue, given their current fight against New York Democrats' push for a higher minimum wage and paid family leave.

"From the small employer perspective, we balloted our members on this topic last Fall with 85 percent of respondents opposed, with wide-ranging fears," Durant told Gotham Gazette.

Durant said members are concerned about liability issues, and "yet another mandate handed down by government that could potentially fail to recognize the significant differences between Main Street and big business." Costs for managing contributions could be prohibitive to small "mom and pop" businesses that operate without a formal human resources office, Durant said.

"Simply, these proposals are concerning and have many moving parts and there is definitely not a simple solution across the spectrum of business," said Durant. "Albany has definitely not proven it is capable of acknowledging the complex differences between big and small business through legislation, which adds to our concerns."

A number of states have passed legislation to implement state-backed private sector retirement plans in a variety of ways.

California adopted such a plan in 2012. There, the bill requires employers of five or more that don't offer a retirement plan to offer a savings plan similar to an IRA that is backed by the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

Illinois adopted a plan in 2014 that requires employers that do not offer a retirement plan, have been in business for more than two years, and employ 25 or more to automatically enroll employees in a state-managed plan that offers a variety of investment plans and payroll deduction levels.

Connecticut has dedicated $400,000 to the creation of a board to study and create a state-based retirement security plan. The plan must be submitted to the state by April of this year.

None of these states have begun accepting contributions to their plans and many are waiting for more guidance from the federal government.

Samuels, of EffectiveNY, said that the wide variety of opinions on how to implement a plan, the number of principles involved, and the scope of the debate are encouraging to him. "Everyone is on the same page that this is an important issue," he said. "There is lots of overlap but we are headed toward a solution. The reason I pushed the city first is I felt it would be tough to get through in the state, but the politics have changed and now Cuomo has named a commission."

Finkel of AARP said that she expects New York City will lead on the issue and that cities and other states across the country will follow.

"Studies tell us that people are 15 times more likely to save if they have something automatically deducted from their paycheck. It's low-hanging fruit and I would hope that New York City will be the first city in the country to implement this kind of plan."

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by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

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Private Sector Retirement Security Plans Become Next Progressive Cause Wed, 24 Feb 2016 23:31:50 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, Dec 7-11 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6031:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-dec-7-11 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6031:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-dec-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 

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio signs legislation creating the city's new Department of Veterans' Services, via Joe Bello, @NYMetroVets

BdB vets joe bello

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. Skelos Guilty: Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam Skelos were found guilty on eight counts Friday. They will be sentenced in March. [Read: Tenant Activists Trace Road to Corruption Trials, Eye Elusive Reform]

2. Security Guards for Private Schools: On Monday, the City Council passed a controversial bill to provide public funding to private and religious schools to pay for security guards. $19.8 million will be spent to place at least one security guard at every private school in New York City with at least 300 students that wants one. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law.

3. Cuomo’s Common Core Overhaul: A task force created by Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a report Thursday which found that the state made a number of mistakes in its implementation of Common Core learning standards and recommended reducing the tendency to “teach to a test,” giving shorter tests, and not linking test results to teacher evaluations until the 2018-2019 school year.

4. Housing Developments: The Staten Island Borough Board became the fifth to vote against Mayor de Blasio’s zoning amendment proposals on Thursday, adding to the significant criticism the plan has received from community and borough boards. Creating more affordable housing is a signature issue for the mayor determined to make New York City more equal, and de Blasio's administration is now prepared to devise a new strategy to regain momentum and secure support for a plan they believe has been poorly understood. On Thursday, AARP endorsed the mayor’s plans (it has 750,000 members in New York City), adding to two significant union endorsements the plans have recently received. [Read: Mayor & Speaker: Rezoning Plans Will Change Before Council Vote & Next Steps for the Mayor’s Controversial Zoning Proposals]

5. Public Housing Problem: A New York City Department of Investigation report found that the NYPD’s “systematic failure” to communicate required information to the city’s public housing authority, NYCHA, is partially responsible for the disproportionately high crime rates that have plagued public housing projects. In response to the report, the NYPD will create an interactive database to improve information sharing about criminal activity in public housing with NYCHA officials.

THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:

  • 4,000-plus inmates are currently in solitary confinement in New York, despite vows by officials to limit its use, the Daily News reports.
  • 4,747 stop-and-frisks were recorded in New York City in July, August, and September - the lowest quarter since the numbers were first released in 2002, according to NYPD statistics.
  • 93% decrease in the number of stop-and-frisks between 2011 and 2014, according to a report released by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
  • 797 fatal drug overdoses were recorded by the city Health Department in 2014, the most since 2006, the New York Post reports.
  • 20% increase in annual state spending for nonprofits is needed in order to fund a $15 per hour wage floor for nonprofit human services workers, according to a report released by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Fiscal Policy Institute and the Human Services Council.
  • 75% of incidents the FDNY responded to in 2014 were medical-related calls, and only 5% were fire-related, though a vast majority of the FDNY's resources are devoted to staffing fire units, according to a report from the Citizens Budget Commission.
  • $12 million will be added to the city’s budget to increase job training programs for homeless individuals in the shelter system in 31 shelters across the 5 boroughs, the Daily News reports.
  • 6,217,621 people rode the subways on October 29, 2015, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority - about 50,000 more than the previous record reached last year.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

It was a good week for supporters of raising the minimum wage, as a state appeals board upheld Governor Cuomo’s planned increase to a $15 per hour minimum wage for fast food workers, disputing arguments that certain factors weren’t adequately analyzed before making the decision to raise the wage.

It was a bad week for Anthony Mangone, a former attorney whose cooperation aided in the conviction of three New York state senators, who was sentenced to 18 months behind bars this week after a judge said the “dirty lawyer” had committed crimes too serious to escape incarceration.

THE FLASH:

Around this time 40 years ago, on December 9, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a $2.3 billion seasonal loan authorization to prevent New York City from having to default.

Around this time 74 years ago, on December 7, 1941, in the panic that ensued after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Japanese nationals living in New York were rounded up by FBI agents and held on Ellis Island. They were later transferred to internment camps for the remainder of the war.

Around this time 22 years ago, on December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road train, killing six passengers and wounding 19 others. Days later, a New York Times editorial called for stronger gun control laws in response to the murders, pointing to the ease with which Ferguson obtained a handgun in California, which had one of the country's stricter gun laws at the time.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Resignation Highlights City Council Gender Imbalance, by Ben Max

Cuomo Urged to Sign Executive Transparency Bills Before Looming Deadline, by David Howard King

Next Steps for The Mayor's Controversial Zoning Proposals, Christian Zhang

Tenant Activists Trace Road to Corruption Trials, Eye Elusive Reform, by David Howard King

Little-Known Commission Expands Access to City Government, by Meg O’Connor

Hearing to Examine ‘Efficacy’ of City Response to ‘Homelessness Crisis’, by Ryan Brady

In Zoning Amendment, One Size Does Not Fit All, by Council Member Donovan Richards (opinion)

Harmful Legal Reform Is Not an Ethics Solution, by Joanne Doroshow (opinion)

Give Police Tools to Reduce Arrest and Improve Community Health, by Chelsea Davis (opinion)

Public Money Is For Public Schools, by Ayishah Irvin (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

Mayor de Blasio spoke with Errol Louis on NY1's Inside City Hall on Wednesday to discuss his first two years in office, and spoke about the city’s homelessness crisis, his affordable housing plan, and more.

An in-depth report by ProPublica’s Marcelo Rochabrun and Cezary Podkul reveals that city and state regulators stood by as developer Two Trees Management disregarded laws requiring rent stabilization in exchange for the large property tax break it received.

Politico New York’s Bill Hammond writes that Cuomo is making excuses about not doing anything to stop Albany’s ongoing culture of corruption, and argues that there are many glaring weaknesses left in New York’s anti-corruption laws.

 

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NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle @GothamGazette.

If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com

Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!

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by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Dec 7-11 Fri, 11 Dec 2015 18:25:28 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 11 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5717:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-may-11 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5717:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-may-11 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to look for this week in New York politics:

SKELOS WATCH: The fallout from Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' arrest on federal corruption charges continues, with Skelos facing increased pressure to step down from his leadership post. The Legislature is back in session in Albany on Monday, it seems that it is only a matter of time before Skelos takes the path indicted Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took after his arrest: becoming a rank-and-file member of his body while a colleague ascends to the throne. [Read our in-depth look at how Skelos came to power and what he's done over the years to maintain it]

Meanwhile, there are only about five weeks left in the legislative session and for any real policy work to get done, the Senate leadership must be stabilized. There are a whole host of issues that lawmakers and advocates want to see action on, but in order for anything to really get done, it will come down to negotiations among Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and the leader of the Senate, whether it is Skelos or a replacement. Some of the key issues on the negotiating table include mayoral control of New York City schools, rent laws and the 421-A tax break for real estate development, 'raise the age' and other criminal justice reforms, paid family leave, the minimum wage, and more. It doesn't seem anything else will be done on the ethics reform front, even though there is more and more scrutiny on the LLC loophole and the problems with the influence of campaign donations and donors. Gov. Cuomo is in a tough spot, the worse Albany looks the worse he looks, and he also wants to get more legislation done before the end of session, but his hands are tied as the Senate deals with the upheaval of Skelos' arrest. The governor may just resort to doing as much as he can without the Legislature, as he's indicated with recent decisions to convene a wage board looking at the minimum wage for fast-food workers.

DE BLASIO TO DC: Mayor Bill de Blasio is heading back to Washington, DC this week. On Tuesday he'll unveil the "Progressive Agenda" that he and collaborators from around the country have put together. A liberal version of the 1994 Republican "Contract with America," it will focus on reducing inequality and creating opportunity. The mayor has argued that a national progressive movement can be extremely helpful to his work in New York. De Blasio will reportedly also head to California this week, where he will speak at his daughter's school, Santa Clara University.

Meanwhile, it promises to be another busy week in the City of New York itself, with the City Council in action, many events and rallies around the city, and continued analysis of de Blasio's recently unveiled fiscal year 2016 Executive Budget leading up to the start of council hearings on the budget, which start May 18, and a final budget deal by the end of June.

Public Advocate Letitia James is due back from Israel this week, she's been there on a nine-day visit.

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of - see our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
Monday morning, Eleanor’s Legacy will host its Spring Breakfast honoring Congressional Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and featuring appearances from Congressional Reps. Nita Lowey, Grace Meng, Louise Slaughter, and Nydia Velazquez, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List.

Mark-Viverito has a busy Monday: in addition to the Eleanor's Legacy event, the speaker will be speaking "at MOVE Systems Press Conference to Announce Food Cart Pilot Program" at City Hall; speaking at "Press Conference to Announce the Grand Marshals for the 2015 National Puerto Rican Day Parade; speaking "at New York City Council Jewish Heritage Event" at City Hall, and appearing "Live on BronxTalk" at 9 p.m.

On Monday at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall, "workplace safety advocates will unveil the latest alarming findings from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health's "Price of Life: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in NYC...Advocates will call for: public agencies to stop awarding taxpayer dollars and public contracts to repeat safety offenders; prosecutors to use criminal statutes to go after contractors who violate safety regulations; increased resources for OSHA inspectors to spot problems before they become fatalities; and elected officials to keep a strong Scaffold Safety Law, which holds those who control construction sites responsible if they fail to provide proper safety equipment and a worker is injured or killed as a result."

At 10 a.m. Monday, "Governor Cuomo Makes an Announcement Regarding the Enough is Enough Campaign" at FIT in Manhattan.

At about 10:30 Monday morning, "The New York City Independent Budget Office will release a report...that examines the city's provision of mental health and discharge planning services in the jail system. The report specifically looks at these services in relation to the city meeting its obligations under the Brad H. court settlement and provides data on the number of inmates eligible for and receiving mental health and discharge planning services in 2009 and 2013. Details on city spending are also included."

At 11 a.m. on Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer will hold a "Press Conference Kicking Off Shred It Events with AARP" at Union Settlement, 237 East 104th Street. On Monday evening, Stringer will "Holds a Town Hall at Big Six Towers" in Woodside.

"On Monday, Mayor de Blasio will visit Corona Family Residence, a homeless facility in Queens...After the visit, the Mayor will hold a media availability to make an announcement related to homelessness" at about 1:30 p.m., according to his public schedule.

On Monday at 2 p.m. at City Hall, "leading housing coalitions and labor leaders to announce massive mobilization for stronger rent laws," specifically a march on Thursday "to demand laws that can keep NYC affordable for working people."

Monday’s City Council schedule will include "the Committee on Housing and Buildings will hold a hearing on Introduction 222-2014, in relation to amending the obligation of owners to provide notice to their tenants for service interruptions, and Introduction 592-2014, in relation to preservation of hotels. The Committee on Housing and Buildings will also hold an oversight hearing on construction safety.

"The Committee on Environmental Protection will hold a hearing on Introduction 240-2014, in relation to filing semiannual reports on catch basin cleanup and maintenance, and Resolution 549-2015 calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the application by Liberty Natural Gas, LLC to construct the Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of New York.

"The Committee on General Welfare and the Committee on Governmental Operations will hold a joint hearing on Introduction 251-2014, in relation to the collection of demographic data regarding numerous Asian Pacific American sub-demographic groups, Introduction 551-2014, in relation to requiring city agencies to amend their official forms and databases to accommodate multiracial identification where racial identification is required, Introduction 552-2014, in relation to collecting and reporting data related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and Resolution 472-2014 calling on the state and federal governments to amend their official forms and databases to accommodate multiracial identification in all instances where racial identification is required."

On Monday, the state Legislature is in session in Albany.

At 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, “Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Tish James, the New York City Council Jewish Caucus, and members of the New York City Council cordially invite you to a Jewish Heritage Month Celebration, featuring special guest speaker Dr. Ruth Westheimer.”

Monday evening, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Board Meeting.

Also Monday evening, the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit (CAU), in collaboration with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, will host an LGBT City Agencies and Community Meet & Greet: “Meet and connect with all of New York City's LGBT focused agency representatives and learn about all the services and resources city agencies have to offer to the LGBT community.”

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, the New York Press Club will host the panel event, “The Investigators,” where a “panel of investigative reporters will discuss the state of their art in contemporary New York, joined by the City's new Investigations Commissioner, Mark G. Peters.” Panelists will include Greg Smith of New York Daily News, William Rashbaum and Michael Schwirtz of The New York Times, and Murray Weiss of DNAinfo.com New York, and the panel will be moderated by Tom Robbins.

Also Monday evening at 6:30 p.m., the Manhattan Institute will hold its Fifteenth Annual Alexander Hamilton Award Dinner, honoring Senior Fellow at Manhattan Institute and Co-Author of 'Broken Windows Policing,' George Kelling, and Founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, Eva Moskowitz, “for Their Dedication to Increasing Safety and Opportunity in New York...The Alexander Hamilton Award was created to honor those individuals helping to foster the revitalization of our nation’s cities.”

Tuesday
Mayor de Blasio will be in Washington, DC on Tuesday: according to POLITICO, early in the day he'll appear at a Roosevelt Institute event with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others, and then he "will hold a 3 p.m. news conference outside the U.S. Capitol with labor leaders, Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists to unveil his "Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality.""

From the mayor's office: "On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio will travel to Washington, D.C. to unveil The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality. There will be two events. In the morning, the Mayor will deliver remarks at the National Press Club. This event, hosted by the Roosevelt Institute, will also feature Nobel Prize winning economist and professor Joseph Stiglitz and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. In the afternoon, the Mayor will make an announcement at the House Triangle near the U.S. Capitol Building steps."

Tuesday morning, the Association for a Better New York will host a “breakfast with Scott Rechler,” who will "provide a regional perspective for addressing New York's competitive challenges and opportunities. He will also outline reforms underway at the Port Authority as well as priorities and goals for the Port Authority and for the region going forward.”

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Cabinet Meeting.

Tuesday’s City Council schedule will include a joint hearing of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, the Committee on Public Safety, the Committee on Courts and Legal Services, and the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services to “examine New York City’s action plan” on behavioral health and the criminal justice system.

On Tuesday, the state Legislature is in session in Albany.

Wednesday
On Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio "will be joined by a bipartisan coalition of mayors from around the country for meetings with Congressional leadership to call for a six-year transportation authorization that significantly increases federal transportation investments. Wednesday afternoon, the mayors will hold a press conference at the U.S. Capitol. Additional details regarding Mayor de Blasio's schedule while in Washington will be released as they become available." Later on Wednesday, "Mayor de Blasio will travel to Santa Clara, California."

"Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams announced Brooklyn Job Fair 2015, an opportunity for Brooklynites to come to Brooklyn Borough Hall on Wednesday, May 13th from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM and apply for positions at some of New York City's major businesses. This networking event is being co-hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and is part of a sustained effort by Borough President Adams to advance hiring of local residents through the borough. According to statistics by the New York State Department of Labor, Brooklyn's unemployment rate in March 2015 was 6.7%, a higher number than that of the city and the state."

Wednesday, City and State, in collaboration with the Bronx Borough President’s Office, will host an event in celebration of its first ever Bronx Special Issue publication: “City & State will publish our first ever special issue covering everything Bronx. This special print edition will feature comprehensive coverage of major issues and industries in the Bronx, perspectives from every Bronx elected official and much more! This print edition will be launched City & State’s first ever Bronx-based event that will correspond with Bronx week.” Attendees will include Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., SOMOS Chair and Bronx Democratic Party Chair Marcos Crespo, State Senator Jeff Klein, and Kyle Kimball, President of the New York City Economic Development.

At noon Wednesday, the Senate Task Force on Workforce Development will meet for a hearing on “Bridging the Employment Gap.”

The state Legislature is due to be in session on Wednesday.

Wednesday evening, Cooper Union will host "The Monopoly Moment: The New Anti-Trust Paradox" featuring Fordham Law professor and former gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout.

Also Wednesday evening, Vets GSA in partnership with CUNY and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will host “a workshop and seminar that will be focusing on identifying contracting opportunities for New York State and the US Federal Government for Veteran Owned Businesses...This session will provide information for Services Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses and Veteran Owned Small Business to make them award or the multitude of open source business development intelligence websites that can be used to assist in the increasing the businesses ability to assess competition and identify and bid on viable opportunities.”

Thursday
Thursday morning, the Senate Standing Committee on Codes, the Senate Standing Committee on Consumer Protection, and the Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, will hold a joint hearing regarding “Cyber Security in New York State as it Relates to Businesses and the Private Sector.”

Thursday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Committee on Finance “concerning amendments to the District Plan of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District” and a full-body Stated Meeting at 1:30 p.m.

At 5:00 p.m. Thursday, New York Communities for Change, Real Rent Reform Campaign, and Alliance for Tenant Power will host “Rally to Save NYC..Landlords and developers are taking our neighborhoods away from us. The affordable housing crisis and gentrification have brought millions of New Yorkers to a breaking point. If we don’t win stronger rent laws in June, our city will be lost. This is our last chance to hold onto the place we call home.” There will be a rally in Foley Square, followed by a march.

On Thursday evening, Manhattan BP Brewer will speak "at American Planning Association panel discussion on 421-a and rent stabilization, Rudin Family Forum at the Puck Building."

Friday and the weekend
Friday morning, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research will host “New York’s Next Health Care Revolution: How Employers Can Help Empower Patients and Consumers...In a just-released collection of essays published by the Manhattan Institute, a group of leading experts offer a clear diagnosis of New York’s health care ills, as well as a menu of concise, actionable reforms that employers and policymakers can use to make the Empire State’s health care system truly patient-and consumer-centered.”

On Saturday morning, Brooklyn BP Adams, in coordination with The Youth Council on Community Engagement, will host “Youth Participation on Community Boards Boot Camp...Brooklyn’s youth ages 16 – 25 and those who work with youth are invited to learn about civic engagement and how their local community board addresses the issues in their neighborhood.”

Saturday evening, Lea DeLaria (of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black) and the Empire State Pride Agenda will host its Spring Dinner at Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center: “The Empire State Pride Agenda is New York’s statewide civil rights and advocacy group dedicated to winning equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers and our families.” New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will provide the evening’s keynote.

Also Saturday evening, City Council Member Jumaane Williams and supporters will host a 39th birthday celebration/fundraiser for Williams: “Join us as we celebrate one of the most progressive and visionary public servants representing New York City communities today. Help fundraise to support the future of Brooklyn's rising star in government and invest in OUR future!”

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Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

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by Shannon Ho, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 11 Sun, 10 May 2015 02:56:23 +0000