Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/abny 2018-07-18T20:00:51+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com New York City Tourism Industry Deserves Credit for Major Job Growth 2018-05-08T04:00:00+00:00 2018-05-08T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7661:new-york-city-tourism-industry-deserves-credit-for-major-job-growth Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/mayorsoffice-ferry.jpg" alt="mayorsoffice ferry" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Over the past two decades, tourism to New York City has swelled from 33 million to nearly 63 million annual visitors, with powerful ripples throughout the city’s economy. Once just one sector among many, tourism has risen to become one of the top four employment drivers in the city, according to <a href="https://nycfuture.org/research/destination-new-york" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a new report</a> published by the Center for an Urban Future, the Association for a Better New York, and the Times Square Alliance</p> <p>This spike in tourists has sparked hundreds of thousands of new jobs in hotels, restaurants, retail shops, museums, airports, tour bus companies, and even travel-tech startups. More than 291,000 New Yorkers count on tourism for their jobs—putting it on par with the tech ecosystem, the creative economy, and the finance industry. Better yet, the tourism industry provides real, middle-class jobs with an average annual income of $62,000, outpacing comparable sectors like manufacturing.</p> <p>Given this new data, the city should make concrete efforts that recognize tourism’s role in the region’s economy. Investments in infrastructure, marketing and promotion, and other commonsense initiatives that make this region more convenient to visit will fuel growth across many job sectors.</p> <p>The city will need to upgrade its tourism infrastructure. New York has never adequately planned for 60 million tourists a year, and it has not made enough of the infrastructure investments that are needed to sustain this many annual visitors. The city needs to create new solutions for tour bus parking and elected officials should push to modernize the air traffic control system. The city should also create its first long-term tourism plan, with involvement from economic development, planning, and transportation agencies.</p> <p>Despite the stunning influx of tourists, New York’s tourism sector faces several new and evolving challenges, from the strong dollar to a tourism promotion budget that has not stayed competitive with that of marketing agencies in other global destinations. New York boasts one of the best tourism promotion agencies in the world, <a href="https://business.nycgo.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NYC &amp; Company</a>, but the city should increase its budget to support its important mission and bolster the tourism industry citywide.</p> <p>With tourists accounting for roughly 70 percent of passengers at JFK Airport and 50 percent at LaGuardia, the Port Authority should continue its work to improve the airport experience. The agency has made important investments in recent years, but should consider new initiatives like free WiFi in all airports, and more multilingual staff and wayfinding signage in terminals to support and encourage tourism.</p> <p>New investments in infrastructure and a more welcoming environment for tourists would have resounding effects across the economy. Tourists are responsible for 24 percent of all Visa credit card transactions at the city’s restaurants and bars, and make nearly one-fifth of all purchases at the city’s retail stores, a crucial boost as many retailers face increasing pressure from online competition.</p> <p>Out-of-towners are also fueling the growth in attendance at cultural institutions—and the job gains that have come with it. Tourists now comprise 73 percent of visitors to the Museum of Modern Art, 70 percent of visitors to the Whitney Museum of American Art, and 60 percent of the Metropolitan Museum’s visitors. The city’s museums and historical sites have added 4,500 jobs in the past 15 years—an 86 percent increase.</p> <p>With a billion people poised to join the ascendant global middle class, opportunity lies ahead for New York City’s tourism economy—along with thousands of new jobs. But channeling sustainable growth in the future will require increased planning and a new way of thinking about the 60-plus million annual tourists that the city has today.</p> <p>***<br /> Jonathan Bowles is executive director of the Center for an Urban Future. Angela Pinsky is executive director of the Association for a Better New York. Tim Tompkins is president of the Times Square Alliance.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/mayorsoffice-ferry.jpg" alt="mayorsoffice ferry" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Over the past two decades, tourism to New York City has swelled from 33 million to nearly 63 million annual visitors, with powerful ripples throughout the city’s economy. Once just one sector among many, tourism has risen to become one of the top four employment drivers in the city, according to <a href="https://nycfuture.org/research/destination-new-york" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a new report</a> published by the Center for an Urban Future, the Association for a Better New York, and the Times Square Alliance</p> <p>This spike in tourists has sparked hundreds of thousands of new jobs in hotels, restaurants, retail shops, museums, airports, tour bus companies, and even travel-tech startups. More than 291,000 New Yorkers count on tourism for their jobs—putting it on par with the tech ecosystem, the creative economy, and the finance industry. Better yet, the tourism industry provides real, middle-class jobs with an average annual income of $62,000, outpacing comparable sectors like manufacturing.</p> <p>Given this new data, the city should make concrete efforts that recognize tourism’s role in the region’s economy. Investments in infrastructure, marketing and promotion, and other commonsense initiatives that make this region more convenient to visit will fuel growth across many job sectors.</p> <p>The city will need to upgrade its tourism infrastructure. New York has never adequately planned for 60 million tourists a year, and it has not made enough of the infrastructure investments that are needed to sustain this many annual visitors. The city needs to create new solutions for tour bus parking and elected officials should push to modernize the air traffic control system. The city should also create its first long-term tourism plan, with involvement from economic development, planning, and transportation agencies.</p> <p>Despite the stunning influx of tourists, New York’s tourism sector faces several new and evolving challenges, from the strong dollar to a tourism promotion budget that has not stayed competitive with that of marketing agencies in other global destinations. New York boasts one of the best tourism promotion agencies in the world, <a href="https://business.nycgo.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NYC &amp; Company</a>, but the city should increase its budget to support its important mission and bolster the tourism industry citywide.</p> <p>With tourists accounting for roughly 70 percent of passengers at JFK Airport and 50 percent at LaGuardia, the Port Authority should continue its work to improve the airport experience. The agency has made important investments in recent years, but should consider new initiatives like free WiFi in all airports, and more multilingual staff and wayfinding signage in terminals to support and encourage tourism.</p> <p>New investments in infrastructure and a more welcoming environment for tourists would have resounding effects across the economy. Tourists are responsible for 24 percent of all Visa credit card transactions at the city’s restaurants and bars, and make nearly one-fifth of all purchases at the city’s retail stores, a crucial boost as many retailers face increasing pressure from online competition.</p> <p>Out-of-towners are also fueling the growth in attendance at cultural institutions—and the job gains that have come with it. Tourists now comprise 73 percent of visitors to the Museum of Modern Art, 70 percent of visitors to the Whitney Museum of American Art, and 60 percent of the Metropolitan Museum’s visitors. The city’s museums and historical sites have added 4,500 jobs in the past 15 years—an 86 percent increase.</p> <p>With a billion people poised to join the ascendant global middle class, opportunity lies ahead for New York City’s tourism economy—along with thousands of new jobs. But channeling sustainable growth in the future will require increased planning and a new way of thinking about the 60-plus million annual tourists that the city has today.</p> <p>***<br /> Jonathan Bowles is executive director of the Center for an Urban Future. Angela Pinsky is executive director of the Association for a Better New York. Tim Tompkins is president of the Times Square Alliance.</p> <p>

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Major Cuomo Supporters Don’t Want a Democratic State Senate 2018-04-19T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-19T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7624:major-cuomo-supporters-don-t-want-a-democratic-state-senate Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/27384919028_7bb444274a_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo ABNY speech" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Cuomo at ABNY (photo:&nbsp;Don Pollard/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>With the specter of a competitive Democratic primary squarely in front of him, Governor Andrew Cuomo, the two-term incumbent, announced on Wednesday, April 4 that he had brokered a unity deal between two groups of Democrats in the state Senate, setting the stage for the possibility of capturing the majority in the chamber, which is the only Republican stronghold in state government. Cuomo brought together the mainline Senate Democrats and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, a group of eight senators elected as Democrats but who have formed a ruling coalition with Republicans.</p> <p>While Cuomo and Democratic leaders celebrated the unity plan, casting an optimist eye toward two key special elections happening April 24 and the fall elections wherein every seat in the state Legislature is on the ballot. The governor listed off policy priorities that he said were stymied by Senate Republicans and said Democrats must take the chamber in order to enact more progress.</p> <p>The next day, Thursday, April 5, Cuomo gave a speech at a gathering hosted the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), a business advocacy group. In it, Cuomo highlighted aspects of the recently-passed state budget -- including attempts to mitigate any pain soon to be felt by middle and upper-income New Yorkers due to the new federal tax code -- and ongoing state infrastructure investments. The governor made no mention of the Senate Democratic unity deal he had celebrated the day before, nor did he repeat the list of policies, like campaign finance reform, that he said he intends to pass when Democrats control the Senate.</p> <p>The choices appear deliberate, give that many in the ABNY crowd, where Cuomo routinely receives a hero’s welcome, may not favor a Democratic Senate. A number of the governor’s most prominent financial backers, including business and real estate entities, are also big donors to Senate Republicans and may not be pleased with the Democratic unity deal. While Cuomo has been roundly criticized by left-wing Democrats for accepting, if not propping up, the IDC and Senate GOP control, and therefore not passing enough progressive legislation, the governor has often been supported by the New York City business community, many members of which see him as like-minded: progressive on social issues but moderate on taxes and spending, friendly toward real estate developers and charter schools, and invested in major infrastructure improvements.</p> <p>Indeed, in introducing Cuomo at the ABNY event, the Chairman of the ABNY board, Steven Rubenstein, praised Cuomo for passing marriage equality and gun control, as well as raising the minimum wage, undertaking major infrastructure projects, and passing timely budgets every year.</p> <p>One of the most prominent members of ABNY is the Real Estate Board of New York, or REBNY, whose political action committee, The Real Estate Board PAC, has donated over $112,000 to Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaign committees. Meanwhile, it has donated $507,000 to the Senate Republicans’ campaign committee since 2009, which does not include donations to individual Senate candidate campaigns or independent expenditures.</p> <p>The governor has also received large sums of campaign cash from other frequent supporters of a Republican Senate, such as charter school organizations, including Eva Moskowitz’s Great Public Schools PAC, which has given the governor $115,000 for his campaigns. Great Public Schools has given the Senate Republicans $60,000 since 2009, and $25,000 to the IDC.</p> <p>Republicans argue that a fully Democratic state government would spell doom.</p> <p>“An entire state government made up of extreme, tax-and-spend politicians racing each other to the far left would be an unmitigated disaster for hardworking taxpayers Upstate, in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island,” said Scott Reif, a Senate GOP spokesperson, in a statement reacting to the unity deal. “It would lead to higher taxes, more corruption and thousands of families fleeing our state. More than ever before, we need checks and balances to prevent the radical New York City politicians from doing whatever the hell they want.”</p> <p>At the April 4 press conference at his Manhattan office, Cuomo framed the unity deal as an opportunity to enact progressive reforms that have been blocked by the IDC and Senate Republicans throughout his governorship, such as bail reform, voting reform, the DREAM Act, campaign finance and voting reforms, and the Child Victims Act, to name a few.</p> <p>“These are all progressive principles that were not passed in the budget and which we will not pass until we have a Democratic Senate,” the governor said.</p> <p>Though Cuomo’s governance has moved leftward throughout his initial reelection bid and second term, the governor typically appears most comfortable in a position of moderate compromise and triangulation, happy to broker deals between the Democratic Assembly and Republican Senate, often at his own pace and with progressive accomplishments he has decided to own.</p> <p>Cuomo’s style has alienated many on the left, leading the liberal Working Families Party to endorse the governor’s primary challenger, actor and activist Cynthia Nixon.</p> <p>As labor unions left the WFP to side with Cuomo, he explicitly rebuked community advocates in the party, and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/nyregion/cuomo-nixon-wfp-labor-governor-election.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reportedly</a> threatened their existence.</p> <p>With two special elections for vacated Senate seats taking place on April 24, the split between Cuomo and some of his most prominent backers who would prefer a Republican-led Senate is more clear. One election, for Senate District 32 in the Bronx, is a seat vacated by now-City Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr. and is expected to remain safely Democratic. The other, District 37 in Westchester, is not so clear cut, and as a result has garnered significant attention and spending.</p> <p>The governor has come out in full force to campaign for Shelley Mayer, an Assembly member and the Democratic candidate for Senate in District 37; meanwhile, the Real Estate Board PAC has financially supported Republican nominee Julie Killian, donating $11,000 to her campaign committee. Killian is also receiving significant support through the Senate Republican campaign committee, where the REBNY PAC has given generously.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2018/04/real-estate-board-replenishes-ie-committee/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NY State of Politics</a>, REBNY’s independent expenditure arm, Jobs for New York, had spent at least $92,000 on Killian’s behalf as of late March.</p> <p>Retaining the seat, vacated by now Westchester County Executive George Latimer, is crucial for Senate Democrats if they wish to take control of the chamber in the near future. As such, the seat has attracted not just high profile campaigners and direct campaign contributions, but hundreds of thousands of dollars in independent spending.</p> <p>The largest spender in the race is New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, a political action committee backed by StudentsFirst NY, an education reform entity that pushes for tougher teacher evaluations tied to standardized tests and expansion of charter schools. New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany has spent more than <a href="https://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/politics-on-the-hudson/2018/04/16/shelley-mayer-julie-killian-state-senate-race/521623002/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">$800,000 on television and radio ads</a> in the Westchester special election, <a href="http://www.elections.ny.gov:8080/plsql_browser/getreports?filer_in=A20133&amp;fyear_in=2018&amp;rep_in=H" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to campaign finance filings</a>.</p> <p>Notably, the Real Estate Board had donated $11,050 to Latimer’s campaigns for Senate, and $1,000 to his campaign for County Executive, according to the State Board of Elections.</p> <p>Still, many in the business community have concerns about a Democratic state Senate. The Partnership for New York City, a business group, believes bluntly that it would be bad for business.</p> <p>“The business community typically relies on Senate Republicans to step on the brakes when Democrats want to pass a bill that would damage the state economy,” said Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership. “If this were not an option, we would have to rely on good sense prevailing when a bad bill is introduced. Not always a safe bet in Albany!”</p> <p>Many of the Partnership’s members are prominent donors to Cuomo’s campaigns, as well as to Senate Republicans. Overlap among the three can be seen in real estate donors, such as SL Green, Vornado, and Tishman Speyer, as well as donors in the finance and banking sector, such as Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and HSBC.</p> <p>Whatever issues might or might not arise, Cuomo’s relationship with business doesn’t seem to have taken an enormous hit yet; the day after he announced the unity deal with Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and IDC Leader Jeff Klein, Cuomo and MTA Chair Joe Lhota spoke to ABNY.</p> <p>The MTA was a key focus of the program, with Cuomo touting new measures in the state budget to fund the system, and Lhota presenting on the next phase of his Subway Action Plan, which Cuomo had insisted the city fund half of, forcing the city’s hand through a budget mechanism. Cuomo, who did not mention his plans for a Democratic Senate, received several ovations.</p> <p>A spokesperson for ABNY declined to comment for this story.</p> <p>Gerald Benjamin, a political scientist and the Director of the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz, doesn’t believe that the relationship between Cuomo and business will be significantly affected, because the relationship is more grounded in influence than ideology. Instead, special interests will try to influence whoever is in power, whether they be Democrats or Republicans in the Senate, Assembly, or Governor’s Mansion, he said.</p> <p>“We have a long history of New York interest groups giving money to whomever is in power,” Benjamin said, “so that they can get influence over the decisions they would like to influence. So it’s common for New York interest groups, labor unions for example, to give money to Republicans in the Senate and the Democrats in the Assembly. And then give money to Republican governors and Democrat governors. They’re trying to influence decision-making going forward.”</p> <p>The Working Families Party and Cynthia Nixon, among others, have accused Cuomo of wanting Senate Republicans to hold sway in that chamber.</p> <p>“Why did he keep Senate Republicans in power,” <a href="https://twitter.com/BillLipton/status/985479698070364160" target="_blank" rel="noopener">said Bill Lipton</a>, the director of the New York WFP, at the party's meeting endorsing Nixon. “To keep taxes low for his donors so he could continue to take in contributions from real estate and hedge fund millionaires and billionaires: $31 million to be exact.”</p> <p>The governor’s campaign did not return a request for comment.</p> <p>

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by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Ben Max contributed to this article.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/27384919028_7bb444274a_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo ABNY speech" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Cuomo at ABNY (photo:&nbsp;Don Pollard/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>With the specter of a competitive Democratic primary squarely in front of him, Governor Andrew Cuomo, the two-term incumbent, announced on Wednesday, April 4 that he had brokered a unity deal between two groups of Democrats in the state Senate, setting the stage for the possibility of capturing the majority in the chamber, which is the only Republican stronghold in state government. Cuomo brought together the mainline Senate Democrats and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, a group of eight senators elected as Democrats but who have formed a ruling coalition with Republicans.</p> <p>While Cuomo and Democratic leaders celebrated the unity plan, casting an optimist eye toward two key special elections happening April 24 and the fall elections wherein every seat in the state Legislature is on the ballot. The governor listed off policy priorities that he said were stymied by Senate Republicans and said Democrats must take the chamber in order to enact more progress.</p> <p>The next day, Thursday, April 5, Cuomo gave a speech at a gathering hosted the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), a business advocacy group. In it, Cuomo highlighted aspects of the recently-passed state budget -- including attempts to mitigate any pain soon to be felt by middle and upper-income New Yorkers due to the new federal tax code -- and ongoing state infrastructure investments. The governor made no mention of the Senate Democratic unity deal he had celebrated the day before, nor did he repeat the list of policies, like campaign finance reform, that he said he intends to pass when Democrats control the Senate.</p> <p>The choices appear deliberate, give that many in the ABNY crowd, where Cuomo routinely receives a hero’s welcome, may not favor a Democratic Senate. A number of the governor’s most prominent financial backers, including business and real estate entities, are also big donors to Senate Republicans and may not be pleased with the Democratic unity deal. While Cuomo has been roundly criticized by left-wing Democrats for accepting, if not propping up, the IDC and Senate GOP control, and therefore not passing enough progressive legislation, the governor has often been supported by the New York City business community, many members of which see him as like-minded: progressive on social issues but moderate on taxes and spending, friendly toward real estate developers and charter schools, and invested in major infrastructure improvements.</p> <p>Indeed, in introducing Cuomo at the ABNY event, the Chairman of the ABNY board, Steven Rubenstein, praised Cuomo for passing marriage equality and gun control, as well as raising the minimum wage, undertaking major infrastructure projects, and passing timely budgets every year.</p> <p>One of the most prominent members of ABNY is the Real Estate Board of New York, or REBNY, whose political action committee, The Real Estate Board PAC, has donated over $112,000 to Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaign committees. Meanwhile, it has donated $507,000 to the Senate Republicans’ campaign committee since 2009, which does not include donations to individual Senate candidate campaigns or independent expenditures.</p> <p>The governor has also received large sums of campaign cash from other frequent supporters of a Republican Senate, such as charter school organizations, including Eva Moskowitz’s Great Public Schools PAC, which has given the governor $115,000 for his campaigns. Great Public Schools has given the Senate Republicans $60,000 since 2009, and $25,000 to the IDC.</p> <p>Republicans argue that a fully Democratic state government would spell doom.</p> <p>“An entire state government made up of extreme, tax-and-spend politicians racing each other to the far left would be an unmitigated disaster for hardworking taxpayers Upstate, in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island,” said Scott Reif, a Senate GOP spokesperson, in a statement reacting to the unity deal. “It would lead to higher taxes, more corruption and thousands of families fleeing our state. More than ever before, we need checks and balances to prevent the radical New York City politicians from doing whatever the hell they want.”</p> <p>At the April 4 press conference at his Manhattan office, Cuomo framed the unity deal as an opportunity to enact progressive reforms that have been blocked by the IDC and Senate Republicans throughout his governorship, such as bail reform, voting reform, the DREAM Act, campaign finance and voting reforms, and the Child Victims Act, to name a few.</p> <p>“These are all progressive principles that were not passed in the budget and which we will not pass until we have a Democratic Senate,” the governor said.</p> <p>Though Cuomo’s governance has moved leftward throughout his initial reelection bid and second term, the governor typically appears most comfortable in a position of moderate compromise and triangulation, happy to broker deals between the Democratic Assembly and Republican Senate, often at his own pace and with progressive accomplishments he has decided to own.</p> <p>Cuomo’s style has alienated many on the left, leading the liberal Working Families Party to endorse the governor’s primary challenger, actor and activist Cynthia Nixon.</p> <p>As labor unions left the WFP to side with Cuomo, he explicitly rebuked community advocates in the party, and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/nyregion/cuomo-nixon-wfp-labor-governor-election.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reportedly</a> threatened their existence.</p> <p>With two special elections for vacated Senate seats taking place on April 24, the split between Cuomo and some of his most prominent backers who would prefer a Republican-led Senate is more clear. One election, for Senate District 32 in the Bronx, is a seat vacated by now-City Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr. and is expected to remain safely Democratic. The other, District 37 in Westchester, is not so clear cut, and as a result has garnered significant attention and spending.</p> <p>The governor has come out in full force to campaign for Shelley Mayer, an Assembly member and the Democratic candidate for Senate in District 37; meanwhile, the Real Estate Board PAC has financially supported Republican nominee Julie Killian, donating $11,000 to her campaign committee. Killian is also receiving significant support through the Senate Republican campaign committee, where the REBNY PAC has given generously.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2018/04/real-estate-board-replenishes-ie-committee/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NY State of Politics</a>, REBNY’s independent expenditure arm, Jobs for New York, had spent at least $92,000 on Killian’s behalf as of late March.</p> <p>Retaining the seat, vacated by now Westchester County Executive George Latimer, is crucial for Senate Democrats if they wish to take control of the chamber in the near future. As such, the seat has attracted not just high profile campaigners and direct campaign contributions, but hundreds of thousands of dollars in independent spending.</p> <p>The largest spender in the race is New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, a political action committee backed by StudentsFirst NY, an education reform entity that pushes for tougher teacher evaluations tied to standardized tests and expansion of charter schools. New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany has spent more than <a href="https://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/politics-on-the-hudson/2018/04/16/shelley-mayer-julie-killian-state-senate-race/521623002/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">$800,000 on television and radio ads</a> in the Westchester special election, <a href="http://www.elections.ny.gov:8080/plsql_browser/getreports?filer_in=A20133&amp;fyear_in=2018&amp;rep_in=H" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to campaign finance filings</a>.</p> <p>Notably, the Real Estate Board had donated $11,050 to Latimer’s campaigns for Senate, and $1,000 to his campaign for County Executive, according to the State Board of Elections.</p> <p>Still, many in the business community have concerns about a Democratic state Senate. The Partnership for New York City, a business group, believes bluntly that it would be bad for business.</p> <p>“The business community typically relies on Senate Republicans to step on the brakes when Democrats want to pass a bill that would damage the state economy,” said Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership. “If this were not an option, we would have to rely on good sense prevailing when a bad bill is introduced. Not always a safe bet in Albany!”</p> <p>Many of the Partnership’s members are prominent donors to Cuomo’s campaigns, as well as to Senate Republicans. Overlap among the three can be seen in real estate donors, such as SL Green, Vornado, and Tishman Speyer, as well as donors in the finance and banking sector, such as Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and HSBC.</p> <p>Whatever issues might or might not arise, Cuomo’s relationship with business doesn’t seem to have taken an enormous hit yet; the day after he announced the unity deal with Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and IDC Leader Jeff Klein, Cuomo and MTA Chair Joe Lhota spoke to ABNY.</p> <p>The MTA was a key focus of the program, with Cuomo touting new measures in the state budget to fund the system, and Lhota presenting on the next phase of his Subway Action Plan, which Cuomo had insisted the city fund half of, forcing the city’s hand through a budget mechanism. Cuomo, who did not mention his plans for a Democratic Senate, received several ovations.</p> <p>A spokesperson for ABNY declined to comment for this story.</p> <p>Gerald Benjamin, a political scientist and the Director of the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz, doesn’t believe that the relationship between Cuomo and business will be significantly affected, because the relationship is more grounded in influence than ideology. Instead, special interests will try to influence whoever is in power, whether they be Democrats or Republicans in the Senate, Assembly, or Governor’s Mansion, he said.</p> <p>“We have a long history of New York interest groups giving money to whomever is in power,” Benjamin said, “so that they can get influence over the decisions they would like to influence. So it’s common for New York interest groups, labor unions for example, to give money to Republicans in the Senate and the Democrats in the Assembly. And then give money to Republican governors and Democrat governors. They’re trying to influence decision-making going forward.”</p> <p>The Working Families Party and Cynthia Nixon, among others, have accused Cuomo of wanting Senate Republicans to hold sway in that chamber.</p> <p>“Why did he keep Senate Republicans in power,” <a href="https://twitter.com/BillLipton/status/985479698070364160" target="_blank" rel="noopener">said Bill Lipton</a>, the director of the New York WFP, at the party's meeting endorsing Nixon. “To keep taxes low for his donors so he could continue to take in contributions from real estate and hedge fund millionaires and billionaires: $31 million to be exact.”</p> <p>The governor’s campaign did not return a request for comment.</p> <p>

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by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Ben Max contributed to this article.</p>
Fears of Census Undercounting Grow in New York 2018-03-23T04:00:00+00:00 2018-03-23T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7566:fears-of-census-undercounting-grow-in-new-york Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/espaillat_at_abny.jpg" alt="espaillat at abny" width="600" height="436" /></p> <p>Rep. Espaillat at ABNY (photo via ABNY)</p> <hr /> <p>Some New York officials are nervous about 2020 and not just because of the presidential election that year. The year will also feature the next United States Census, the once-every-decade attempted count of everyone living in the United States that dictates representation in Congress and affects the drawing of legislative districts, federal funding, and more. &nbsp;</p> <p>On Friday morning, the Association for a Better New York hosted a census-focused event featuring New York Department of City of Planning chief demographer Joseph Salvo and New York Congressional Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who both spoke about what’s at stake in the census, the challenges the city faces in executing the count, and strategies to combat those potential pitfalls. New Yorkers, they both feared, are at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census.</p> <p>“The census determines how many seats we have in the House [of Representatives]. And New York is at real risk of losing a seat or two in the census,” said Steven Rubenstein, chair of ABNY, to the roughly 100 attendees. Along with political representation in the House, the New York census influences how the seats are allocated in the state and municipal government. And, as Espaillat noted during his remarks, it influences funding levels for essential social services, education, housing programs, and more.</p> <p>“New York City needs an accurate count, but history has told us that is hard to get,” said Rubenstein.</p> <p>Indeed, in the 2010 census, the city trailed behind the national average in collecting census information via mail-return, though responses were up from 2000, while the national average decreased in relation to the previous census. Specifically, 63 percent of New Yorkers and just over 74 percent nationwide mailed in their census information, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/nyregion/census-2020-new-york.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to The New York Times</a>.</p> <p>And the 2020 census poses unique challenges and uncertainties that may complicate accumulating data. Due to anti-immigrant posturing and policies from Washington, D.C., along with increasing privacy concerns and general distrust of government, Salvo and Espaillat expressed worry that the current environment would throw a wrench in the census process.</p> <p>There are lingering questions at the Census Bureau, too, Salvo said. For example, at the time the federal government had yet to be determined if the census will ask for citizenship status -- but a few days after the ABNY event, the announcement came Monday that it would, setting off a firestorm of criticism and worry. The amount of funding allocated toward community outreach is another unknown variable in the &nbsp;equation. What’s more, the Census Bureau has yet to be assigned a Director or a Deputy Director, which Salvo said is under the control of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Commerce announced Monday that it would include the citizenship question, which would be the first time since the 1950s that such a question will be included, according to multiple reports.</p> <p>“It remains to be seen what they’re going to get for partnership and outreach. We’re very worried about partnership and outreach being underfunded, which means we’re going to have to stand up and be stronger this time around than ever before,” Salvo told a small group of reporters after the event.</p> <p>Additionally, in New York City, hundreds of thousands of new homes and unconventional living arrangements may be hard to track, making it difficult to enumerate many residents. During his presentation, Salvo displayed examples of living arrangements that are less likely to be included on the city’s address list, such as basements, attics, and garages. Counting people that live in either unconventional or illegal dwellings is another way to ensure everyone is accounted for. But the census, he insisted, is “agnostic” on legality of the homes. (He also wants it to be agnostic on citizenship).</p> <p>Salvo said one of the keys to guaranteeing as much of the population is included in the census is establishing an accurate address list, which he labeled the “foundation” of the census. The compilation of that list is soon to be completed. It could have around 3.6 million addresses, according to The Times.</p> <p>City Planning officials will then go block-to-block in select locations to find addresses that may have been left out of the list. Notably, the 2010 census omitted 50,000 people in Brooklyn and Queens because the Census Bureau incorrectly considered a number of homes to be vacant.</p> <p>Next, City Planning will enlist New York community leaders to spread the word about the census and the importance of completing and submitting census data. After the information is sent by mail, Census Bureau employees will go door-to-door to add to the census those yet to send in their information.</p> <p>In order to improve accuracy and responsiveness, the 2020 census will encourage response via the internet, will include a tracking of census operations in real time, and will use data, such as postal records, to identify if units are vacant or have people living in them. In addition, the 2020 census will allow people to write in their racial and ethnic background on the form if they choose to do so, allowing people who don’t fit neatly into the Hispanic, Black, White and Asian boxes to more accurately capture themselves, Salvo said.</p> <p>At the event, Espaillat offered his perspective on why boosting participation in the census is crucial. “It’s really a great tool to understand who we are as a city and as a state. It also drives the allocation of $7 billion of federal funding to people that may need programs -- education, health care, transportation, as well as food stamps and Medicaid,” he said. “All these very important programs that help our city and help the neediest among us.”</p> <p>Of the consequences of undercounting the city’s population in the census, Salvo said, “It hurts business; it hurts our economy.”</p> <p>Espaillat, a Democrat and the first formerly-undocumented member of the House of Representatives, also spoke to the particular challenges in accumulating accurate information in his Upper Manhattan and Bronx district. “It makes it hard to count,” he said of the diversity in his district. “Minorities have long been seriously undercounted. Latinos and African-Americans. In the last census we had one of the highest non-response rates in the state.”</p> <p>He added, “When you translate that into numbers, it’s huge numbers that very well may translate into losing a seat, or losing all those important services that we’re able to get through the census count.”</p> <p>Salvo also said that not all low-income, majority-minority neighborhoods are uniform in their census responses. “That map is very complex,” he said in the gaggle, referring to a color-coded map of census response rates by neighborhood. The map, in essence, showed that in 2010, several predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods had high response rates, while certain middle-class, largely black areas responded to the census at comparatively lower rates. “There is no single answer to outreach is what that map says. There are poor areas that are doing incredibly well…because their local leaders have come out.”</p> <p>“In other areas, where frankly there is money and a lot of home ownership,” he explained, “they don’t answer.”</p> <p>According to Salvo, the particular challenges within different neighborhoods underscores the importance of community involvement to supplement the technical aspects of the process that fall under his purview. “What I’m trying to point out here is there’s not one formula. Outreach does make a difference,” he said.</p> <p>“We have to convince community leaders that they have to come forward and tell the city who they are,” he said during his presentation. “Unless we make it personal, we’re not going to overcome this.” &nbsp;</p> <p>“We have to basically convince people that not only is it safe to answer the census but it is in their interest for them to answer the census,” he added. “And if they don’t answer the census, they’re going to hurt the city and themselves.” &nbsp;</p> <p> </p> <p>Note: this story has been updated to reflect that the federal government announced plans to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/espaillat_at_abny.jpg" alt="espaillat at abny" width="600" height="436" /></p> <p>Rep. Espaillat at ABNY (photo via ABNY)</p> <hr /> <p>Some New York officials are nervous about 2020 and not just because of the presidential election that year. The year will also feature the next United States Census, the once-every-decade attempted count of everyone living in the United States that dictates representation in Congress and affects the drawing of legislative districts, federal funding, and more. &nbsp;</p> <p>On Friday morning, the Association for a Better New York hosted a census-focused event featuring New York Department of City of Planning chief demographer Joseph Salvo and New York Congressional Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who both spoke about what’s at stake in the census, the challenges the city faces in executing the count, and strategies to combat those potential pitfalls. New Yorkers, they both feared, are at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census.</p> <p>“The census determines how many seats we have in the House [of Representatives]. And New York is at real risk of losing a seat or two in the census,” said Steven Rubenstein, chair of ABNY, to the roughly 100 attendees. Along with political representation in the House, the New York census influences how the seats are allocated in the state and municipal government. And, as Espaillat noted during his remarks, it influences funding levels for essential social services, education, housing programs, and more.</p> <p>“New York City needs an accurate count, but history has told us that is hard to get,” said Rubenstein.</p> <p>Indeed, in the 2010 census, the city trailed behind the national average in collecting census information via mail-return, though responses were up from 2000, while the national average decreased in relation to the previous census. Specifically, 63 percent of New Yorkers and just over 74 percent nationwide mailed in their census information, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/nyregion/census-2020-new-york.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to The New York Times</a>.</p> <p>And the 2020 census poses unique challenges and uncertainties that may complicate accumulating data. Due to anti-immigrant posturing and policies from Washington, D.C., along with increasing privacy concerns and general distrust of government, Salvo and Espaillat expressed worry that the current environment would throw a wrench in the census process.</p> <p>There are lingering questions at the Census Bureau, too, Salvo said. For example, at the time the federal government had yet to be determined if the census will ask for citizenship status -- but a few days after the ABNY event, the announcement came Monday that it would, setting off a firestorm of criticism and worry. The amount of funding allocated toward community outreach is another unknown variable in the &nbsp;equation. What’s more, the Census Bureau has yet to be assigned a Director or a Deputy Director, which Salvo said is under the control of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Commerce announced Monday that it would include the citizenship question, which would be the first time since the 1950s that such a question will be included, according to multiple reports.</p> <p>“It remains to be seen what they’re going to get for partnership and outreach. We’re very worried about partnership and outreach being underfunded, which means we’re going to have to stand up and be stronger this time around than ever before,” Salvo told a small group of reporters after the event.</p> <p>Additionally, in New York City, hundreds of thousands of new homes and unconventional living arrangements may be hard to track, making it difficult to enumerate many residents. During his presentation, Salvo displayed examples of living arrangements that are less likely to be included on the city’s address list, such as basements, attics, and garages. Counting people that live in either unconventional or illegal dwellings is another way to ensure everyone is accounted for. But the census, he insisted, is “agnostic” on legality of the homes. (He also wants it to be agnostic on citizenship).</p> <p>Salvo said one of the keys to guaranteeing as much of the population is included in the census is establishing an accurate address list, which he labeled the “foundation” of the census. The compilation of that list is soon to be completed. It could have around 3.6 million addresses, according to The Times.</p> <p>City Planning officials will then go block-to-block in select locations to find addresses that may have been left out of the list. Notably, the 2010 census omitted 50,000 people in Brooklyn and Queens because the Census Bureau incorrectly considered a number of homes to be vacant.</p> <p>Next, City Planning will enlist New York community leaders to spread the word about the census and the importance of completing and submitting census data. After the information is sent by mail, Census Bureau employees will go door-to-door to add to the census those yet to send in their information.</p> <p>In order to improve accuracy and responsiveness, the 2020 census will encourage response via the internet, will include a tracking of census operations in real time, and will use data, such as postal records, to identify if units are vacant or have people living in them. In addition, the 2020 census will allow people to write in their racial and ethnic background on the form if they choose to do so, allowing people who don’t fit neatly into the Hispanic, Black, White and Asian boxes to more accurately capture themselves, Salvo said.</p> <p>At the event, Espaillat offered his perspective on why boosting participation in the census is crucial. “It’s really a great tool to understand who we are as a city and as a state. It also drives the allocation of $7 billion of federal funding to people that may need programs -- education, health care, transportation, as well as food stamps and Medicaid,” he said. “All these very important programs that help our city and help the neediest among us.”</p> <p>Of the consequences of undercounting the city’s population in the census, Salvo said, “It hurts business; it hurts our economy.”</p> <p>Espaillat, a Democrat and the first formerly-undocumented member of the House of Representatives, also spoke to the particular challenges in accumulating accurate information in his Upper Manhattan and Bronx district. “It makes it hard to count,” he said of the diversity in his district. “Minorities have long been seriously undercounted. Latinos and African-Americans. In the last census we had one of the highest non-response rates in the state.”</p> <p>He added, “When you translate that into numbers, it’s huge numbers that very well may translate into losing a seat, or losing all those important services that we’re able to get through the census count.”</p> <p>Salvo also said that not all low-income, majority-minority neighborhoods are uniform in their census responses. “That map is very complex,” he said in the gaggle, referring to a color-coded map of census response rates by neighborhood. The map, in essence, showed that in 2010, several predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods had high response rates, while certain middle-class, largely black areas responded to the census at comparatively lower rates. “There is no single answer to outreach is what that map says. There are poor areas that are doing incredibly well…because their local leaders have come out.”</p> <p>“In other areas, where frankly there is money and a lot of home ownership,” he explained, “they don’t answer.”</p> <p>According to Salvo, the particular challenges within different neighborhoods underscores the importance of community involvement to supplement the technical aspects of the process that fall under his purview. “What I’m trying to point out here is there’s not one formula. Outreach does make a difference,” he said.</p> <p>“We have to convince community leaders that they have to come forward and tell the city who they are,” he said during his presentation. “Unless we make it personal, we’re not going to overcome this.” &nbsp;</p> <p>“We have to basically convince people that not only is it safe to answer the census but it is in their interest for them to answer the census,” he added. “And if they don’t answer the census, they’re going to hurt the city and themselves.” &nbsp;</p> <p> </p> <p>Note: this story has been updated to reflect that the federal government announced plans to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.</p> Focused on Fighting Trump, is Schneiderman Looking Away from Albany Reform? 2017-06-27T04:00:00+00:00 2017-06-27T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7035:focused-on-fighting-trump-schneiderman-looks-away-from-albany-reform Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/ag_schneiderman_via_schneiderman.jpg" alt="ag schneiderman via schneiderman" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>AG Eric Schneiderman (photo: @Schneiderman)</p> <hr /> <p>New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has quickly become one of President Donald Trump’s leading opponents, using the levers of his office to litigate against Trump’s policies, and has put New York at the forefront of efforts to resist the new Republican administration’s agenda.</p> <p>Speaking at a Tuesday breakfast event hosted by the Association For A Better New York (ABNY), Schneiderman, a second-term Democrat, discussed his role in the Trump era, which has made his focus much more on Washington, D.C. than Albany, New York, the state capital where Schneiderman has worked as a state senator and sought reforms to the state’s election and government ethics laws.</p> <p>The focus of the ABNY event Tuesday morning was Schneiderman’s approach to Trump. The attorney general emphasized New York’s fundamental principle of openness and reiterated his pledge to fight President Trump’s travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries. “New York values of mutual respect, pluralism, and common sense are more important than ever,” he said to a room of around 250 people at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. “As long as I am your Attorney General, I promise to do everything I can to stand up for those values and defend all the people I represent &nbsp;in the challenges we face together.”</p> <p>He also described his approach toward the legislation that seeks to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which may soon receive a vote in the U.S. Senate. “If the version of the health care bill proposed last week ever becomes law, I’ve promised to go to court to challenge it – and protect New Yorkers from these wrongheaded and unconstitutional provisions,” he said.</p> <p>In a lighthearted moment, Schneiderman described the experience of quarreling with Trump over the years, even before Trump ran for President. In 2013, Schneiderman filed suit against the real estate mogul for his fraudulent for-profit college Trump University. The president settled in 2016 for $25 million.</p> <p>Schneiderman noted he has learned to ignore Twitter, a favored Trump medium that the president has long-used to attack Schneiderman and others, and how Trump consistently pulls out all the stops against people when he feels threatened by them. Schneiderman read aloud a few insulting <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/482153112279724032" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">tweets</a> that Trump has sent about him over the years. The attorney general also recalled when the New York Observer, owned by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, published a cover depicting Schneiderman as “Clockwork Eric,” likening him to the 1971 movie “A Clockwork Orange” character Alex DeLarge, who is a violent rapist. The paper published an accompanying <a href="http://observer.com/2014/02/the-politics-and-power-of-a-g-schneiderman/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">feature</a> on Schneiderman that accused him of “political opportunism,” “vindictiveness,” and cast doubt on his investigation into Trump.</p> <p>When he did mention more local state affairs, Schneiderman cited passage of legislation to end the so-called gun show loophole and development of a drug tracking system, along with changing his office’s mentality. “Consistent with my goal of keeping New York competitive, we have shifted the culture of our office by making it clear that lawyers on my team don’t just get credit for catching bad guys; they also get credit for helping good guys,” said Schneiderman, who succeeded Governor Andrew Cuomo as attorney general.</p> <p>State government was a distant second to national matters as they relate to New York, in keeping with the event’s intended purpose. The media advisory announcing the event stated Schneiderman was expected to “discuss his work fighting Trump Administration policies that he believes threaten New Yorkers and the rule of law. Attorney General Schneiderman will detail his office’s efforts on both fronts and articulate his priorities for the future in the fight to defend New York.”</p> <p>While it made sense for Schneiderman to omit state government ethics and voting reform from his remarks, the attorney general was holding his first public speaking event since the end of the scheduled legislative session in Albany, which included none of the reforms Schneiderman has proposed. Tuesday’s event was representative of a shift in focus by Schneiderman away from state reforms and toward taking on federal government policies with the aim of fighting for New Yorkers against a new presidential administration and Republican-controlled Congress.&nbsp;</p> <p>A spokesperson for Attorney General Schneiderman disputed this observation. “He can walk and chew gum at the same time, and that’s exactly what he’s been doing,” wrote Amy Spitalnick, the Schneiderman spokesperson, in an email to Gotham Gazette. But, while Schneiderman does oversee a large and busy office, the attorney general has been quiet regarding state reforms in recent months as major decisions are made in the state capital. Schneiderman's office explained that representatives from the AG's office have met with legislative leaders, relevant committee chairs, and advocates about Schneiderman's proposals.</p> <p>A review of Schneiderman’s May and June <a href="https://ag.ny.gov/press-releases" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">press releases</a> show that as the legislative year in Albany headed toward underwhelmingly conclusion, the attorney general spoke out against President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accords; filed suit against Trump regarding energy efficiency standards; challenged the EPA on toxic pesticides; criticized Secretary of Education Betsy Devos over discontinuing student loan forgiveness policies; announced opposition to potential regulatory rollback in Senate legislation; voiced concern over infringement upon New Yorker’s contraceptive rights by Trump administration policies; and reaffirmed New York’s commitment to protecting so-called sanctuary city statuses; along with other pushbacks against policies originating in Washington.</p> <p>Schneiderman’s main public efforts have been to, as he sees it, protect New Yorkers from the new president’s policies, many of which he believes threaten New Yorkers rights and needed services. Schneiderman was the subject of profiles in major outlets such as Politico and New York Magazine, both focused on his efforts against Trump. Meanwhile, Schneiderman hired Revolution Messaging, Senator Bernie Sanders’ digital consulting group in April , to work on his political team -- the AG is expected to seek a third term in 2018, but is also regarded as a certain gubernatorial candidate when Cuomo is no longer in the picture.</p> <p>But the attorney general’s office insists that Schneiderman has been attentive to Albany-related efforts. “Anyone who follows the AG’s work knows he’s been very engaged in the fight for voting and ethics reform, including proposing his own legislative packages on both issues,” the Spitalnick wrote. “That’s in addition to his push to strengthen tenant protections, protect cost-free access to birth control, and more.”</p> <p>While he has been quiet on both recently, Schneiderman has pushed election and government ethics reforms. In February, he introduced the New York Votes Act, a bill that would institute automatic and same-day voting registration along with early voting. On ethics reform for the scandal-plagued state government, in May 2015 Schneiderman introduced legislation that would give investigatory powers to the attorney general to prosecute corruption by officeholders, ban lawmakers from receiving outside income, and make campaign donation laws more restrictive. None of Schneiderman’s proposals on these two fronts have made it into law, opposed at various turns by the powers that be in Albany, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic majority in the Assembly, and the Republican-led majority in the Senate.</p> <p>Asked for recent examples of how Schneiderman has pushed his electoral and ethics proposals, or for any plans to get them moving, the AG’s office pointed to examples in the more distant past. Schneiderman does not appear to have held a public event, issued a press release, or written an op-ed on either voting or ethics reform since February, when he released his electoral reform package. The state budget was passed in early April and the scheduled legislative session ended last week, both without any of these reforms.</p> <p>Speaking with reporters following his Tuesday ABNY speech, the attorney general said the legislative session ending without ethics reform was a missed opportunity. “I think that it is essential that the state government show an ability to, and a willingness to, reform,” he said in response to a question from Gotham Gazette. “Otherwise, we're just going to have more scandals and a further erosion of public confidence.”</p> <p>“The willingness to get it done is there and I think there is an unfortunate tendency to cling to the status quo,” he added, though he did not cite evidence of the existence of any “willingness” and his spokesperson did not explain what he meant when asked in a follow-up email.</p> <p>Corruption has plagued New York’s capital for years, with legislator after legislator removed from office because of ethical scandal. Recently, former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos were convicted separately on public corruption charges. Not long after that, charges were announced against nine associates of and donors to Gov. Cuomo in a massive alleged bid-rigging scandal. In September 2016, Schneiderman’s office <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/23/nyregion/cuomo-former-aides-charges.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">brought charges </a>against two former Cuomo aides along with state official Alain Kaloyeros as part of that scandal. In March, Schneiderman’s office also <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/23/nyregion/robert-ortt-george-maziarz.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">charged</a> state Senator Robert Ortt and former state Senator George Maziarz for embezzling funds, though the charges against Ortt were dismissed by a judge on Tuesday.</p> <p>Despite months of inaction on election and ethics reforms in Albany, Schneiderman said Tuesday he is hopeful. “I do really believe that we are at a point where the public is demanding reform and there are enough legislators who get the need and are willing to get a step towards it,” he said in the gaggle. “So I think that's something which should be coming.”</p> <p> </p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/ag_schneiderman_via_schneiderman.jpg" alt="ag schneiderman via schneiderman" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>AG Eric Schneiderman (photo: @Schneiderman)</p> <hr /> <p>New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has quickly become one of President Donald Trump’s leading opponents, using the levers of his office to litigate against Trump’s policies, and has put New York at the forefront of efforts to resist the new Republican administration’s agenda.</p> <p>Speaking at a Tuesday breakfast event hosted by the Association For A Better New York (ABNY), Schneiderman, a second-term Democrat, discussed his role in the Trump era, which has made his focus much more on Washington, D.C. than Albany, New York, the state capital where Schneiderman has worked as a state senator and sought reforms to the state’s election and government ethics laws.</p> <p>The focus of the ABNY event Tuesday morning was Schneiderman’s approach to Trump. The attorney general emphasized New York’s fundamental principle of openness and reiterated his pledge to fight President Trump’s travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries. “New York values of mutual respect, pluralism, and common sense are more important than ever,” he said to a room of around 250 people at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. “As long as I am your Attorney General, I promise to do everything I can to stand up for those values and defend all the people I represent &nbsp;in the challenges we face together.”</p> <p>He also described his approach toward the legislation that seeks to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which may soon receive a vote in the U.S. Senate. “If the version of the health care bill proposed last week ever becomes law, I’ve promised to go to court to challenge it – and protect New Yorkers from these wrongheaded and unconstitutional provisions,” he said.</p> <p>In a lighthearted moment, Schneiderman described the experience of quarreling with Trump over the years, even before Trump ran for President. In 2013, Schneiderman filed suit against the real estate mogul for his fraudulent for-profit college Trump University. The president settled in 2016 for $25 million.</p> <p>Schneiderman noted he has learned to ignore Twitter, a favored Trump medium that the president has long-used to attack Schneiderman and others, and how Trump consistently pulls out all the stops against people when he feels threatened by them. Schneiderman read aloud a few insulting <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/482153112279724032" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">tweets</a> that Trump has sent about him over the years. The attorney general also recalled when the New York Observer, owned by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, published a cover depicting Schneiderman as “Clockwork Eric,” likening him to the 1971 movie “A Clockwork Orange” character Alex DeLarge, who is a violent rapist. The paper published an accompanying <a href="http://observer.com/2014/02/the-politics-and-power-of-a-g-schneiderman/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">feature</a> on Schneiderman that accused him of “political opportunism,” “vindictiveness,” and cast doubt on his investigation into Trump.</p> <p>When he did mention more local state affairs, Schneiderman cited passage of legislation to end the so-called gun show loophole and development of a drug tracking system, along with changing his office’s mentality. “Consistent with my goal of keeping New York competitive, we have shifted the culture of our office by making it clear that lawyers on my team don’t just get credit for catching bad guys; they also get credit for helping good guys,” said Schneiderman, who succeeded Governor Andrew Cuomo as attorney general.</p> <p>State government was a distant second to national matters as they relate to New York, in keeping with the event’s intended purpose. The media advisory announcing the event stated Schneiderman was expected to “discuss his work fighting Trump Administration policies that he believes threaten New Yorkers and the rule of law. Attorney General Schneiderman will detail his office’s efforts on both fronts and articulate his priorities for the future in the fight to defend New York.”</p> <p>While it made sense for Schneiderman to omit state government ethics and voting reform from his remarks, the attorney general was holding his first public speaking event since the end of the scheduled legislative session in Albany, which included none of the reforms Schneiderman has proposed. Tuesday’s event was representative of a shift in focus by Schneiderman away from state reforms and toward taking on federal government policies with the aim of fighting for New Yorkers against a new presidential administration and Republican-controlled Congress.&nbsp;</p> <p>A spokesperson for Attorney General Schneiderman disputed this observation. “He can walk and chew gum at the same time, and that’s exactly what he’s been doing,” wrote Amy Spitalnick, the Schneiderman spokesperson, in an email to Gotham Gazette. But, while Schneiderman does oversee a large and busy office, the attorney general has been quiet regarding state reforms in recent months as major decisions are made in the state capital. Schneiderman's office explained that representatives from the AG's office have met with legislative leaders, relevant committee chairs, and advocates about Schneiderman's proposals.</p> <p>A review of Schneiderman’s May and June <a href="https://ag.ny.gov/press-releases" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">press releases</a> show that as the legislative year in Albany headed toward underwhelmingly conclusion, the attorney general spoke out against President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accords; filed suit against Trump regarding energy efficiency standards; challenged the EPA on toxic pesticides; criticized Secretary of Education Betsy Devos over discontinuing student loan forgiveness policies; announced opposition to potential regulatory rollback in Senate legislation; voiced concern over infringement upon New Yorker’s contraceptive rights by Trump administration policies; and reaffirmed New York’s commitment to protecting so-called sanctuary city statuses; along with other pushbacks against policies originating in Washington.</p> <p>Schneiderman’s main public efforts have been to, as he sees it, protect New Yorkers from the new president’s policies, many of which he believes threaten New Yorkers rights and needed services. Schneiderman was the subject of profiles in major outlets such as Politico and New York Magazine, both focused on his efforts against Trump. Meanwhile, Schneiderman hired Revolution Messaging, Senator Bernie Sanders’ digital consulting group in April , to work on his political team -- the AG is expected to seek a third term in 2018, but is also regarded as a certain gubernatorial candidate when Cuomo is no longer in the picture.</p> <p>But the attorney general’s office insists that Schneiderman has been attentive to Albany-related efforts. “Anyone who follows the AG’s work knows he’s been very engaged in the fight for voting and ethics reform, including proposing his own legislative packages on both issues,” the Spitalnick wrote. “That’s in addition to his push to strengthen tenant protections, protect cost-free access to birth control, and more.”</p> <p>While he has been quiet on both recently, Schneiderman has pushed election and government ethics reforms. In February, he introduced the New York Votes Act, a bill that would institute automatic and same-day voting registration along with early voting. On ethics reform for the scandal-plagued state government, in May 2015 Schneiderman introduced legislation that would give investigatory powers to the attorney general to prosecute corruption by officeholders, ban lawmakers from receiving outside income, and make campaign donation laws more restrictive. None of Schneiderman’s proposals on these two fronts have made it into law, opposed at various turns by the powers that be in Albany, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic majority in the Assembly, and the Republican-led majority in the Senate.</p> <p>Asked for recent examples of how Schneiderman has pushed his electoral and ethics proposals, or for any plans to get them moving, the AG’s office pointed to examples in the more distant past. Schneiderman does not appear to have held a public event, issued a press release, or written an op-ed on either voting or ethics reform since February, when he released his electoral reform package. The state budget was passed in early April and the scheduled legislative session ended last week, both without any of these reforms.</p> <p>Speaking with reporters following his Tuesday ABNY speech, the attorney general said the legislative session ending without ethics reform was a missed opportunity. “I think that it is essential that the state government show an ability to, and a willingness to, reform,” he said in response to a question from Gotham Gazette. “Otherwise, we're just going to have more scandals and a further erosion of public confidence.”</p> <p>“The willingness to get it done is there and I think there is an unfortunate tendency to cling to the status quo,” he added, though he did not cite evidence of the existence of any “willingness” and his spokesperson did not explain what he meant when asked in a follow-up email.</p> <p>Corruption has plagued New York’s capital for years, with legislator after legislator removed from office because of ethical scandal. Recently, former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos were convicted separately on public corruption charges. Not long after that, charges were announced against nine associates of and donors to Gov. Cuomo in a massive alleged bid-rigging scandal. In September 2016, Schneiderman’s office <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/23/nyregion/cuomo-former-aides-charges.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">brought charges </a>against two former Cuomo aides along with state official Alain Kaloyeros as part of that scandal. In March, Schneiderman’s office also <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/23/nyregion/robert-ortt-george-maziarz.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">charged</a> state Senator Robert Ortt and former state Senator George Maziarz for embezzling funds, though the charges against Ortt were dismissed by a judge on Tuesday.</p> <p>Despite months of inaction on election and ethics reforms in Albany, Schneiderman said Tuesday he is hopeful. “I do really believe that we are at a point where the public is demanding reform and there are enough legislators who get the need and are willing to get a step towards it,” he said in the gaggle. “So I think that's something which should be coming.”</p> <p> </p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 7 2015-12-06T21:57:46+00:00 2015-12-06T21:57:46+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6020:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-dec-7 Super User <p><img alt="New York City Hall" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<em style="text-align: center;">***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?<br /></em><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio will&nbsp;attend the memorial service for John E. Zuccotti. At 12:30 p.m., "the Mayor will deliver remarks at NYPD's Clergy All-In Conference at One Police Plaza." At about 2:45 p.m. at the Staten Island South Shore YMCA, "the Mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray will host a press conference to make an announcement related to substance misuse."</p> <p>On Monday morning in Albany, leading experts on the New York State Constitution and the prospects for a Constitutional Convention will hold a media “boot camp.” The event will include Gerald Benjamin of SUNY New Paltz; constitutional scholars Christopher Bopst and Peter Galie; Richard Brodsky, senior fellow at Demos and former Assembly member; and Henry M. Greenberg, chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on the New York State Constitution and former counsel to the New York State attorney general. “The event is sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of the State University of New York, New York State Bar Association, Government Law Center of Albany Law School, state League of Women Voters, Siena Research Institute and New York News Publishers Association.”&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 10 a.m. at City Hall, the push for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) intensifies: “Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Member Donovan Richards, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and the “BRT For NYC” Coalition will co-host a press conference to announce increased community support for bringing high-quality bus rapid transit to Queens. The “BRT For NYC” Coalition will be represented by ABNY, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, New York League of Conservation Voters, Pratt Center for Community Development, Riders Alliance, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Transportation Alternatives, Transit Workers Union Local 100, and Working Families Party. Bus riders and members of the Queens community will also be in attendance.” [Read our recent look at the issue: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5991-all-aboard-the-brt-express" target="_blank">All Abord the BRT Express?</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet to discuss a bill about expanding the Metrotech Area Business Improvement District.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m., the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will meet, agenda TBD.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 a.m. on Monday, the City Council will have a Stated Meeting, prefaced as always by the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference, set for 12:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p>At noon, before the Council’s stated meeting, there will be a rally at City Hall to unveil “First-of-its-kind NYC Council legislation to be unveiled cracking down on deadbeat companies that stiff the city’s 1.3 million.” Members of the Freelancers Union, other labor reps including from the UFT and 32BJ, other activists, and several City Council members led Brad Lander, Laurie Cumbo, Rafael Espinal, Steve Levin, and Margaret Chin <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rally-to-pass-the-freelanceisntfree-bill-tickets-19690053480" target="_blank">will hold</a> a rally at the steps of City Hall to pass legislation protecting New York City’s freelancers. [Read our recent look at the issue: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5971-city-council-developing-new-protections-for-workers-in-gig-economy" target="_blank">City Council Developing New Protections for Workers in ‘Gig’ Economy</a>]&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">As the week begins, City Council Member Jumaane Williams is in Washington, DC from Sunday to Tuesday “attending the <a href="http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0010IeYMMHdXPBAyOcAGg3NEDCUNLjJUcShnt4es7ggEhsxmGTvVxd9i4dP7E9fqaSntJn0Zs05visfv9iXepdtKq7jUg7nZZlZymx1TUl6meTlRnP0DHp__etemHeKTjEgmZuwbmu3_XzPNNZF05ge1xmgbdvocUvBa2g9ZOXEGB8=&amp;c=8cU0O04C-yHYB2Q34HXfzDAefTS6CTmx8r_0pitHUy2tW5hreIg4Jg==&amp;ch=bT-YamHPEc4TkA3BHSD8me6g6uh9wG3mnMf3qqWddZR2Qo4yHZcK7w==" target="_blank">Joint Center for Political &amp; Economic Studies</a>' bi-annual Roundtable Discussion being held at George Washington Law School.” It is a conference “for a select group of 25 elected officials of color from across the nation will feature discussions regarding policy innovations.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">State Legislature</a> on Monday: at 11 a.m., the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and the Assembly Climate Change Work Group will hold a joint hearing on climate change.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at noon, The New York City Bar Association is hosting a “<a href="https://services.nycbar.org/iMIS/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=SEN120715&amp;WebsiteKey=f71e12f3-524e-4f8c-a5f7-0d16ce7b3314" target="_blank">Lunch and Public Policy Discussion</a>” with Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, “The Queens Borough Board, chaired by Borough President Katz, will hear details from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP about the department’s new “Parks Without Borders” program, which aims to make New York City public parks more open, welcoming, and beautiful by focusing on improving park entrances and edges, and park-adjacent spaces.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday at 7 p.m. at The New School, “Politics and Policy: The Latino Vote and The 2016 US Presidential Election” with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, among others, offering “a fresh examination of the role of Latinos in the 2016 election. Featuring a panel of journalists, pollsters, and political insiders, we’ll explore political, demographic and economic trends that will shape the outcome in 2016.” <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#.VmSlpWSDGkq" target="_blank">The event</a> is organized by Feet in 2 Worlds, The Center for New York City Affairs and the Milano School.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 8 p.m., city Comptroller Scott Stringer will deliver remarks&nbsp;"at West Side Federation of Neighborhood and Block Associations Annual Holiday Party."</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Tuesday: at 10 a.m., the Committee on Public Safety will meet to discuss two bills related to New York City crossing guard deployment.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Tuesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. in Manhattan, a joint committee hearing on Daily Fantasy Sports in New York will be held by the Assembly Standing Committee on Racing and Wagering, the Assembly Standing Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection, and the Assembly Legislative Commission on Administrative Regulations Review.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. in Albany, a joint committee hearing about law-enforcement officials using body cameras will be held by the Assembly Standing Committee on Codes, the Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary, and the Assembly Standing Committee on Governmental Operations.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, a “<a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/city-state-public-projects-forum-tickets-18909139746" target="_blank">Public Projects Forum</a>” hosted by City &amp; State NY will have Noam Bramson, Mayor of New Rochelle, NY; Reginald Spinello, Mayor of Glen Cove, NY; Commissioner Feniosky Pena-Mora, NYC Department of Design &amp; Construction; and Holly Leicht, Regional Administrator, Housing &amp; Urban Development; speak about the upcoming public projects in the tristate area.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at Queens Borough Hall, “The Queens Borough Cabinet, chaired by Borough President Melinda Katz, will hear a briefing from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) on its current counterterrorism efforts in light of recent events in this county and abroad. The briefing will include a review of new counterterrorism technologies employed by the NYPD. In addition, the Fire Department of New York’s (FDNY’s) Fire Education Safety Team will deliver a presentation on how City residents can best keep their homes safe during the holiday season. Also, the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation will deliver a presentation on the implementation of the Neighborhoods.nyc domain, which has launched nearly 400 online hubs for civic engagement, information sharing and economic development.”&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />At 10 a.m. Wednesday,<a href="http://www.manhattancc.org/events/The-Manhattan-Chamber-of-Commerce-Quarterly-Chairman's-Breakfast-2050/details" target="_blank"> The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Chairman's Breakfast</a> will take on the presidential transition and the need for the most carefully planned transition in United States history in anticipation of January 20, 2017. [Read an op-ed on the subject from Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Chair Ken Biberaj and David Eagles of Partnership for Public Service: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6012-lets-be-prepared-for-americas-biggest-corporate-takeover" target="_blank">Let’s Be Prepared for America’s Biggest Corporate Takeover</a>]&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Health will meet to discuss a bill to create two new health-focused city government bodies and another that would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene “to post a New York City map on its website of the clinics they run, comprehensive care and primary care facilities run by the Health and Hospitals Corporation, voluntary non-profit and publicly sponsored diagnostic and treatment centers, and federally qualified health centers.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on General Welfare will hold an oversight hearing on the city’s efforts to address “the homelessness crisis.” [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5994-as-homelessness-crisis-continues-shelter-siting-questions-intensify" target="_blank">our recent look at issues related to how and where homeless shelters are sited</a>.]</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committees on Aging and Finance will meet for a joint oversight hearing on the city’s “efforts to conduct outreach” and boost registration for the Rent Freeze Program; and on a new a bill that would “require the Department of Finance to include a notification regarding preferential rent on certain documents related to the NYC Rent Freeze Program.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Civil Rights will meet to discuss four bills regarding the city’s human rights law.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Immigration will have an oversight hearing about “Resources Available in New York City for Unaccompanied Minors.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At noon in Manhattan, the Assembly Standing Committees on Labor and Small Business as well as the Assembly Commission on Skills Development and Careers Education will hold a joint oversight hearing on the state’s apprenticeship programs.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Real Property Taxation will hold an oversight hearing on the 2015-2016 budget plan.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Housing and Buildings meet on three bills. The first would create a Department of Buildings-headed task force that would assess the dangers posed by construction sites to motorists and pedestrians and submit recommendations to the City Council and mayor about measures proposed to minimize the hazard. The other two bills would raise penalties for working without a permit and for violating stop work directives.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m., the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will review two land use applications.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will review five applications.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Civil Service and Labor and the Committee on Higher Education will have a joint oversight hearing on “Establishing the Murphy Institute as a new CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Thursday: at 10:30 a.m. in Manhattan, the Assembly Standing Committee on Election Law and the Assembly Standing Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement will hold a joint oversight hearing about “Enhancing the voter experience, preventing voter disenfranchisement and improving emergency voting protocols.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. at Civic Hall on Thursday, Scott Stringer’s <a href="https://twitter.com/scottmstringer/status/671474583002853377" target="_blank">Red Tape Commission</a> will meet in Manhattan to hear suggestions from small business owners and others.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Thursday, the Staten Island Borough Board is expected to vote on Mayor de Blasio's two rezoning amendment proposals. It will be the fifth borough to do so - the other four have voted against them, sometimes with lists of conditions that the advisory boards would like to see made to revised proposals.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Thursday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board holds a “<a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/about/calendar/new-cfb-1" target="_blank">New to the CFB</a>” session.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Thursday: “Power Lines: Race, Class, The City &amp; Its Schools,” <a href="http://www.thegreenespace.org/events/thegreenespace/2015/dec/10/power-lines-race-class-city-its-schools/" target="_blank">a discussion</a> about segregation in New York City schools.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Friday: at 10:30 a.m. in Manhattan, a hearing of the Assembly Standing Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development regarding “Injuries in combative sports.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is launching a Manhattan Youth Council, and is holding an initial information session on Friday afternoon at her offices. “High school students from across Manhattan are invited to meet and talk with Borough President Gale Brewer about the issues that matter most to you...Young people who live, work, or attend school in Manhattan can <a href="https://go.madmimi.com/redirects/1449268325-d12c165ed357d5dc005c17a8f0bfdd20-98399a7?pa=35173649382" target="_blank">sign up here</a>.”</p> <p>***<br />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:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Konstantine Beridze, Ryan Brady, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img alt="New York City Hall" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<em style="text-align: center;">***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?<br /></em><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio will&nbsp;attend the memorial service for John E. Zuccotti. At 12:30 p.m., "the Mayor will deliver remarks at NYPD's Clergy All-In Conference at One Police Plaza." At about 2:45 p.m. at the Staten Island South Shore YMCA, "the Mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray will host a press conference to make an announcement related to substance misuse."</p> <p>On Monday morning in Albany, leading experts on the New York State Constitution and the prospects for a Constitutional Convention will hold a media “boot camp.” The event will include Gerald Benjamin of SUNY New Paltz; constitutional scholars Christopher Bopst and Peter Galie; Richard Brodsky, senior fellow at Demos and former Assembly member; and Henry M. Greenberg, chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on the New York State Constitution and former counsel to the New York State attorney general. “The event is sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of the State University of New York, New York State Bar Association, Government Law Center of Albany Law School, state League of Women Voters, Siena Research Institute and New York News Publishers Association.”&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 10 a.m. at City Hall, the push for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) intensifies: “Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Member Donovan Richards, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and the “BRT For NYC” Coalition will co-host a press conference to announce increased community support for bringing high-quality bus rapid transit to Queens. The “BRT For NYC” Coalition will be represented by ABNY, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, New York League of Conservation Voters, Pratt Center for Community Development, Riders Alliance, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Transportation Alternatives, Transit Workers Union Local 100, and Working Families Party. Bus riders and members of the Queens community will also be in attendance.” [Read our recent look at the issue: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5991-all-aboard-the-brt-express" target="_blank">All Abord the BRT Express?</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet to discuss a bill about expanding the Metrotech Area Business Improvement District.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m., the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will meet, agenda TBD.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 a.m. on Monday, the City Council will have a Stated Meeting, prefaced as always by the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference, set for 12:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p>At noon, before the Council’s stated meeting, there will be a rally at City Hall to unveil “First-of-its-kind NYC Council legislation to be unveiled cracking down on deadbeat companies that stiff the city’s 1.3 million.” Members of the Freelancers Union, other labor reps including from the UFT and 32BJ, other activists, and several City Council members led Brad Lander, Laurie Cumbo, Rafael Espinal, Steve Levin, and Margaret Chin <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rally-to-pass-the-freelanceisntfree-bill-tickets-19690053480" target="_blank">will hold</a> a rally at the steps of City Hall to pass legislation protecting New York City’s freelancers. [Read our recent look at the issue: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5971-city-council-developing-new-protections-for-workers-in-gig-economy" target="_blank">City Council Developing New Protections for Workers in ‘Gig’ Economy</a>]&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">As the week begins, City Council Member Jumaane Williams is in Washington, DC from Sunday to Tuesday “attending the <a href="http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0010IeYMMHdXPBAyOcAGg3NEDCUNLjJUcShnt4es7ggEhsxmGTvVxd9i4dP7E9fqaSntJn0Zs05visfv9iXepdtKq7jUg7nZZlZymx1TUl6meTlRnP0DHp__etemHeKTjEgmZuwbmu3_XzPNNZF05ge1xmgbdvocUvBa2g9ZOXEGB8=&amp;c=8cU0O04C-yHYB2Q34HXfzDAefTS6CTmx8r_0pitHUy2tW5hreIg4Jg==&amp;ch=bT-YamHPEc4TkA3BHSD8me6g6uh9wG3mnMf3qqWddZR2Qo4yHZcK7w==" target="_blank">Joint Center for Political &amp; Economic Studies</a>' bi-annual Roundtable Discussion being held at George Washington Law School.” It is a conference “for a select group of 25 elected officials of color from across the nation will feature discussions regarding policy innovations.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">State Legislature</a> on Monday: at 11 a.m., the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and the Assembly Climate Change Work Group will hold a joint hearing on climate change.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at noon, The New York City Bar Association is hosting a “<a href="https://services.nycbar.org/iMIS/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=SEN120715&amp;WebsiteKey=f71e12f3-524e-4f8c-a5f7-0d16ce7b3314" target="_blank">Lunch and Public Policy Discussion</a>” with Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, “The Queens Borough Board, chaired by Borough President Katz, will hear details from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP about the department’s new “Parks Without Borders” program, which aims to make New York City public parks more open, welcoming, and beautiful by focusing on improving park entrances and edges, and park-adjacent spaces.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday at 7 p.m. at The New School, “Politics and Policy: The Latino Vote and The 2016 US Presidential Election” with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, among others, offering “a fresh examination of the role of Latinos in the 2016 election. Featuring a panel of journalists, pollsters, and political insiders, we’ll explore political, demographic and economic trends that will shape the outcome in 2016.” <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#.VmSlpWSDGkq" target="_blank">The event</a> is organized by Feet in 2 Worlds, The Center for New York City Affairs and the Milano School.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 8 p.m., city Comptroller Scott Stringer will deliver remarks&nbsp;"at West Side Federation of Neighborhood and Block Associations Annual Holiday Party."</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Tuesday: at 10 a.m., the Committee on Public Safety will meet to discuss two bills related to New York City crossing guard deployment.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Tuesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. in Manhattan, a joint committee hearing on Daily Fantasy Sports in New York will be held by the Assembly Standing Committee on Racing and Wagering, the Assembly Standing Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection, and the Assembly Legislative Commission on Administrative Regulations Review.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. in Albany, a joint committee hearing about law-enforcement officials using body cameras will be held by the Assembly Standing Committee on Codes, the Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary, and the Assembly Standing Committee on Governmental Operations.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, a “<a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/city-state-public-projects-forum-tickets-18909139746" target="_blank">Public Projects Forum</a>” hosted by City &amp; State NY will have Noam Bramson, Mayor of New Rochelle, NY; Reginald Spinello, Mayor of Glen Cove, NY; Commissioner Feniosky Pena-Mora, NYC Department of Design &amp; Construction; and Holly Leicht, Regional Administrator, Housing &amp; Urban Development; speak about the upcoming public projects in the tristate area.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at Queens Borough Hall, “The Queens Borough Cabinet, chaired by Borough President Melinda Katz, will hear a briefing from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) on its current counterterrorism efforts in light of recent events in this county and abroad. The briefing will include a review of new counterterrorism technologies employed by the NYPD. In addition, the Fire Department of New York’s (FDNY’s) Fire Education Safety Team will deliver a presentation on how City residents can best keep their homes safe during the holiday season. Also, the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation will deliver a presentation on the implementation of the Neighborhoods.nyc domain, which has launched nearly 400 online hubs for civic engagement, information sharing and economic development.”&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />At 10 a.m. Wednesday,<a href="http://www.manhattancc.org/events/The-Manhattan-Chamber-of-Commerce-Quarterly-Chairman's-Breakfast-2050/details" target="_blank"> The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Chairman's Breakfast</a> will take on the presidential transition and the need for the most carefully planned transition in United States history in anticipation of January 20, 2017. [Read an op-ed on the subject from Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Chair Ken Biberaj and David Eagles of Partnership for Public Service: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6012-lets-be-prepared-for-americas-biggest-corporate-takeover" target="_blank">Let’s Be Prepared for America’s Biggest Corporate Takeover</a>]&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Health will meet to discuss a bill to create two new health-focused city government bodies and another that would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene “to post a New York City map on its website of the clinics they run, comprehensive care and primary care facilities run by the Health and Hospitals Corporation, voluntary non-profit and publicly sponsored diagnostic and treatment centers, and federally qualified health centers.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on General Welfare will hold an oversight hearing on the city’s efforts to address “the homelessness crisis.” [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5994-as-homelessness-crisis-continues-shelter-siting-questions-intensify" target="_blank">our recent look at issues related to how and where homeless shelters are sited</a>.]</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committees on Aging and Finance will meet for a joint oversight hearing on the city’s “efforts to conduct outreach” and boost registration for the Rent Freeze Program; and on a new a bill that would “require the Department of Finance to include a notification regarding preferential rent on certain documents related to the NYC Rent Freeze Program.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Civil Rights will meet to discuss four bills regarding the city’s human rights law.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Immigration will have an oversight hearing about “Resources Available in New York City for Unaccompanied Minors.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At noon in Manhattan, the Assembly Standing Committees on Labor and Small Business as well as the Assembly Commission on Skills Development and Careers Education will hold a joint oversight hearing on the state’s apprenticeship programs.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Real Property Taxation will hold an oversight hearing on the 2015-2016 budget plan.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Housing and Buildings meet on three bills. The first would create a Department of Buildings-headed task force that would assess the dangers posed by construction sites to motorists and pedestrians and submit recommendations to the City Council and mayor about measures proposed to minimize the hazard. The other two bills would raise penalties for working without a permit and for violating stop work directives.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m., the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will review two land use applications.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will review five applications.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Civil Service and Labor and the Committee on Higher Education will have a joint oversight hearing on “Establishing the Murphy Institute as a new CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Thursday: at 10:30 a.m. in Manhattan, the Assembly Standing Committee on Election Law and the Assembly Standing Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement will hold a joint oversight hearing about “Enhancing the voter experience, preventing voter disenfranchisement and improving emergency voting protocols.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. at Civic Hall on Thursday, Scott Stringer’s <a href="https://twitter.com/scottmstringer/status/671474583002853377" target="_blank">Red Tape Commission</a> will meet in Manhattan to hear suggestions from small business owners and others.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Thursday, the Staten Island Borough Board is expected to vote on Mayor de Blasio's two rezoning amendment proposals. It will be the fifth borough to do so - the other four have voted against them, sometimes with lists of conditions that the advisory boards would like to see made to revised proposals.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Thursday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board holds a “<a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/about/calendar/new-cfb-1" target="_blank">New to the CFB</a>” session.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Thursday: “Power Lines: Race, Class, The City &amp; Its Schools,” <a href="http://www.thegreenespace.org/events/thegreenespace/2015/dec/10/power-lines-race-class-city-its-schools/" target="_blank">a discussion</a> about segregation in New York City schools.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Friday: at 10:30 a.m. in Manhattan, a hearing of the Assembly Standing Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development regarding “Injuries in combative sports.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is launching a Manhattan Youth Council, and is holding an initial information session on Friday afternoon at her offices. “High school students from across Manhattan are invited to meet and talk with Borough President Gale Brewer about the issues that matter most to you...Young people who live, work, or attend school in Manhattan can <a href="https://go.madmimi.com/redirects/1449268325-d12c165ed357d5dc005c17a8f0bfdd20-98399a7?pa=35173649382" target="_blank">sign up here</a>.”</p> <p>***<br />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:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Konstantine Beridze, Ryan Brady, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 13 2015-04-12T16:41:16+00:00 2015-04-12T16:41:16+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5680:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-13 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>Hillary Clinton is running for President. You probably heard. The former New York Senator has her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn and will be looking for a strong boost from her New York base of supporters, including her 2000 senate campaign manager New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio was on Meet the Press Sunday morning and said that he is eagerly waiting to see a progressive vision from Clinton. Since Clinton had not officially declared her candidacy (she did so in the afternoon), de Blasio remained especially cautious in his remarks, but repeated his general mantra that all 2016 candidates &nbsp;- for President and other offices - should be directly talking about economic inequality and offering solutions for how to reduce it. He <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/13/nyregion/on-national-television-de-blasio-declines-to-endorse-clinton-for-president.html?ref=nyregion&amp;_r=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">faced some criticism</a> for not quickly endorsing his former boss. Clinton is on her way to campaign in Iowa, and de Blasio is set to head there soon himself to talk fighting inequality. New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are all-in behind Clinton, as is Governor Andrew Cuomo.</p> <p>As the week begins, there's a whole lot of Hillary buzz, of course, and other presidential candidates, mostly on the Republican side of things, continue to jump into the race, with new announcements expected at the start of the week. Meanwhile, New York State and City politics kicks back into gear after a slow week last week, brought on by post-budget recess in Albany and school vacation in the city. Advocates, activists, and legislators will be gearing up this week for the Albany legislative session set to begin next week, on April 21. The lobbying will be fierce and furious through mid-June, when the session will likely end in a "big ugly" agreement on several policies among Gov. Cuomo, Senate Republicans, and Assembly Democrats. One key issue to watch is <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5677-scott-shooting-may-help-reignite-new-york-criminal-justice-debate" target="_blank">criminal justice reform</a>, which was among <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5667-with-new-budget-key-issues-championed-by-city-officials-left-for-later" target="_blank">the several major issues pushed from the budget to session</a> and may very well see <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5677-scott-shooting-may-help-reignite-new-york-criminal-justice-debate" target="_blank">increased urgency</a> given new examples of police killing unarmed black men.</p> <p>In the city, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and colleagues are moving forward with <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5678-mark-viveritos-justice-for-new-york-city-means-changes-to-criminal-and-civil-systems" target="_blank">efforts to reform both the criminal and civil justice systems</a>. A large contingent of activists will depart on their eight-day "March to Justice" on Monday, leaving from New York City and heading to Washington, D.C. <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23March2Justice&amp;src=tyah" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The march</a> will start with a rally and departure from Staten Island.</p> <p>The City Council gets going again with a very busy week of hearings, including one on a bill to create an Office of Civil Justice Coordinator. These sessions come as the Council prepares to release its response to de Blasio's preliminary budget, due out Tuesday and to include a renewed call for adding 1,000 new officers to the NYPD force. See below for full details of the Council schedule. While the Council is between a March full of preliminary budget hearings and a May full of executive budget hearings, for the rest of this month it mostly returns to looking at bills on the docket. De Blasio will receive the Council preliminary budget response, then release his executive budget toward the end of the month (or in early May as he did last year).</p> <p>The mayor begins his week with one public event:&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio will attend opening ceremonies for the New York Mets' home opener at Citi Field. The Mayor will join members of the NYPD and family members of Detective Wenjian Liu and Detective Rafael Ramos for the ceremonial first pitch." The ceremony is slated for about 12:45 p.m., just before game time a little after 1.</p> <p>This week is also the big one for <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/home.shtml" target="_blank" rel="noopener">participatory budgeting</a> voting in the 24 city council districts where council members have opted to implement the program. Voting kicked off this weekend.</p> <p>The increasingly controversial New York State tests for third-through-eigth graders in math and English language arts are this week. The still-new common core-aligned tests have become more and more political, watch for further push by many to discredit the tests and for students to opt out of taking them. There will also continue to be efforts to defend the tests and the common core standards, and to convince parents of the importance of their children taking the exams.</p> <p>And we're just a few weeks from the May 5 special elections in New York's 11th Congressional District and 43rd Assembly District, so keep an eye on those races - there will &nbsp;be an Errol Louis-moderated NY1-televised debate in NY11 on Tuesday evening. Details below.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of; see our day-by-day rundown below...(oh, and make sure you file your taxes by the end of the day on Wednesday)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Monday <a href="https://www.abny.org/Content/Events/EventViewer.aspx?EventID=169" target="_blank" rel="noopener">morning</a>, ABNY will host a breakfast event with “His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop, New York” at Mandarin Oriental. Cardinal Dolan will present "The Archdiocese of New York: &nbsp;Not a Business, But Still Having a Vision and Projects."</p> <p>Also Monday morning,&nbsp;Assembly Members Jeffrey Dinowitz and Richard Gottfried will hold a public hearing on a bill "which would require warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in New York State"; 10:30 a.m. at 250 Broadway..."Rates of obesity have increased dramatically in New York State and across the country over the past 30 years, adding an estimated $147 billion to our country's annual health care costs...Extensive research links rising rates of obesity, as well as diabetes, tooth decay, and other ailments, with the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks. Evidence suggests that warning labels can increase consumer awareness of health risks of harmful products such as sugar-sweetened beverages."</p> <p>On Monday at 11 a.m. at City Hall, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members Brad Lander, Ben Kallos, James Vacca, and Vanessa Gibson will unveil the "New York City Council Public Technology Plan."</p> <p>At 3 p.m. Monday, Mark-Viverito will participate in "Public Service is Worth It" <a href="http://bit.ly/1FId1T2" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Google Hangout</a> moderated by Political Parity.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390522&amp;GUID=8A511762-A8E0-48AC-93EC-FB6A1840572C&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises to review the land use calendar; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=394504&amp;GUID=475887F8-C4A6-44D1-802A-27B6E9DE2F48&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Finance to review land use applications; and an off-site&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=393354&amp;GUID=1C8FC91B-1BEE-4C45-BD0F-4E7CC519EEA7&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Juvenile Justice for a tour of Horizon Juvenile Center.</p> <p dir="ltr">As mentioned, Mayor de Blasio begins his week at Citi Field for ceremonial first pitch duties just before the Mets home opener around 1 p.m. There will be a press conference on Monday at 11 a.m. at Harlem hospital with several de Blasio administration officals outlining guidelines around "infant safe sleep," so that parents and caregivers do not accidentally suffocate young children while sleeping. The mayor penned a Sunday Daily News <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/bill-de-blasio-simple-rules-sleeping-babies-article-1.2182361" target="_blank" rel="noopener">op-ed</a> on the subject, but he is not scheduled to attend the press conference:&nbsp;"Deputy Mayor Barrios Paoli, ACS Commissioner Carrion, DOHMH Commissioner Bassett, DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor, and HHC CEO and President Dr. Raju will launch tomorrow a comprehensive infant Safe Sleep campaign to increase awareness among parents and other caregivers about the potentially fatal risks of sharing a bed with an infant, and how to prevent injuries and deaths associated with other unsafe sleep practices, such as excessive bedding, bumpers and toys in cribs. There are nearly 50 preventable safe sleep deaths every year."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-board-meeting-2-4/?instance_id=739" target="_blank" rel="noopener">afternoon</a>, Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Board Meeting.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1565522160368215/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">evening</a>, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Norman Siegel, former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, will host a town hall to discuss improving community-police relations: “We only survive and prosper as Brooklynites if we engage with one another in a calm and civil conversation. I invite you to come let your voice be heard at our upcoming town hall about improving police-community relations.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Monday <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/move-ny-north-brooklyn-town-hall-please-note-new-time-tickets-16483470504" target="_blank" rel="noopener">evening</a>, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth in collaboration with El Puente, UPROSE, Riders Alliance, and StreetsPAC, will host a Move NY North Brooklyn Town Hall: “Learn and talk about reducing congestion in North Brooklyn, modernizing and expanding the transit system, and fixing our roads and bridges."</p> <p>And, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will attend&nbsp;a "town Hall meeting of District 31's Community Education Council" on Staten Island.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-cabinet-meeting-2-2/?instance_id=740" target="_blank" rel="noopener">morning</a>, Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Cabinet Meeting.</p> <p>Also Tuesday <a href="https://twitter.com/PowherNY/status/585134125490798592" target="_blank" rel="noopener">morning</a>, City Council Members Elizabeth Crowley, Darlene Mealy, and Laurie Cumbo, and others will hold a Rally For Stronger Equal Pay Laws on the steps of City Hall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council schedule includes a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=394210&amp;GUID=70585980-F356-4AA9-8E49-9DA1236D12A5&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Subcommittee on Non-Public Schools, jointly with the Committee on Public Safety, and the Committee on Education, discussing school discipline codes and the assignment of safety agents to schools; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=394143&amp;GUID=D7ABD85B-119A-4525-BFB1-2EE67E4FADD9&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Governmental Operations jointly with the Committee on Consumer Affairs and the Committee on Small Business concerning various items; and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=389580&amp;GUID=AFC9ACD9-EFF6-4673-B848-F2A343014CFE&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Economic Development jointly with the Committee on Community Development for an oversight hearing regarding the economic impact of the city’s foreclosure crisis.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Council is set to unveil its preliminary budget response to Mayor de Blasio's FY16 spending plan on Tuesday.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Women-in-Politics--Mix-and-Mingle-Fundraiser---Tuesday-April-14--6PM.html?soid=1103413547828&amp;aid=9FUwwxoDo-I" target="_blank" rel="noopener">evening</a> at 6 p.m., Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte and the Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club will present Honoring Women in Politics: A Mix &amp; Mingle Fundraiser. Honorees will include State Senator Valmanette Montgomery and Council Member Laurie Cumbo. Public Advocate Letitia James - the first woman of color elected to city-wide office in New York - will make a guest appearance.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Tuesday <a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/04/tickets_available_for_daniel_d.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">evening</a>, the Staten Island Advance and NY1 will co-host the only live televised debate between Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan (R) and City Council Member Vincent Gentile (D) in their race for Congress: “The Republican Donovan and the Democratic Gentile will face off at the hour-long live event. NY1 political anchor Errol Louis will moderate the debate, with questions coming from three panelists: Staten Island Advance senior opinion writer Tom Wrobleski, political reporter Rachel Shapiro and NY1 political reporter Courtney Gross.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/righttocounselnyc/pages/26/attachments/original/1428352347/Brooklyn_Town_Hall_final_draft.pdf?1428352347">evening</a>, Pratt Area Community Council, CAMBA and other organizations will host Brooklyn Town Hall on the right to counsel in eviction proceedings at Brooklyn Borough Hall: “Did you know that approximately 300,000 New Yorkers are taken to housing court to fight eviction every year? Did you know that while 90 percent of landlords have attorneys representing them about 90 percent of tenants do not? Join the Right to Counsel Campaign and learn about legislation that will give New Yorkers the right to legal representation in NYC’s Housing Courts!” [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5571-push-to-expand-your-right-to-an-attorney-gains-momentum-levine-mark-viverito-de-blasio" target="_blank">our in-depth look at the proposed right to counsel legislation</a>]</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Wednesday, April 15, is tax day.</p> <p>On Wednesday activists will be moving around the minimum wage. This will include students from 170 colleges, including University of Albany, taking part in a fast-food worker <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-push-for-a-15-minimum-wage-goes-to-college/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">strike</a>: “The Fight for $15 labor movement is planning an ambitious expansion on April 15, coordinating a series of global labor strikes with protests on college campuses. The tax-day strike will include rallies and marches on 170 university campuses, including Columbia University and University of Southern California, the organizers said.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=cnyb-events&amp;utm_campaign=cnyb-events-20150326" target="_blank">morning</a>, Crain's &nbsp;will host its 'Business of' Series at John Jay College of Criminal Justice: “Join Crain’s as we examine one of New York’s fastest growing industries. Our expert panelists will discuss how life sciences is creating economic diversification, stimulating job growth and tapping into the vibrant young talent from top universities and leveraging New York’s access to capital.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council schedule includes a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390540&amp;GUID=1F5FED0E-F838-4F8F-86DE-84C55E90CC95&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Transportation to discuss various bicycle safety topics as well as establishing civil penalties for theft of a bicycle or motor vehicle; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390518&amp;GUID=59A34F0B-B59D-45F2-81B3-54584B90EE66&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Aging concerning development of a guide for building owners regarding aging in place and the elimination of the sunset provisions related to income threshold increases for the SCRIE and DRIE programs; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390541&amp;GUID=2345EFD5-2E4C-4CD1-8966-7FD3992E2C98&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Land Use to discuss items reported out of the subcommittees; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=393151&amp;GUID=DC307F82-B0CD-488E-B26C-9712B5FBAA6D&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency to discuss the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s re-examination of National Flood Insurance Program insurance claim payouts related to Hurricane Sandy for possible underpayment; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390542&amp;GUID=A159C40F-3CA0-4CBA-81A7-C3D73D2DB195&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Courts and Legal Services around a law to amend the New York City Charter in relation to creating an Office of Civil Justice Coordinator. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5678-mark-viveritos-justice-for-new-york-city-means-changes-to-criminal-and-civil-systems" target="_blank">our look at reforms being pushed by Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and others to reform the city's criminal and civil justice systems</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=910051895739780" target="_blank" rel="noopener">evening</a> at 7 p.m., State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, and City Council Member Brad Lander will host a School-to-School Dialogue on High Stakes Testing at Old First Reformed Church, in Brooklyn.</p> <p>Also Wednesday evening, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz will hold a town hall meeting at the Kingsbridge Public Library “to discuss and hear feedback on New York’s tenant protection laws, which are due to expire in June. Joining Assemblyman Dinowitz to speak will be Delsenia Glover, Campaign Manager for the Alliance for Tenant Power, and Judith Goldiner, Attorney-in-Charge at the Legal Aid Society.”</p> <p>On Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning,&nbsp;NYCVotes, the voter engagement arm of the City Campaign Finance Board, "is having a #VoteBetterNYC Advocacy Day training session for partners...acquainting them with the policy agenda...social media strategy and general day of logistics, ahead of the event" set to take place on April 22. The trainings will take place Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at 100 Church Street.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank" style="text-align: center;">[Read the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette]</a></p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On&nbsp;Thursday <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-presidents-land-use-hearing-2-2-2/?instance_id=747" target="_blank" rel="noopener">morning</a>, Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a land use hearing at the Queens Borough Hall.</p> <p>On Thursday morning,&nbsp;at 11 a.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall, it's a "Rally for Family Friendly Brooklyn" hosted by BP Adams: "We want Brooklyn to be THE place to raise healthy children and families! Join me Thursday, April 16th at 11:00 AM on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall as we rally for Family Friendly Brooklyn, a new initiative where I am calling for: Statewide Paid Family Leave; Breast Feeding Empowerment Zone Expansion; Support for Post-Partum Depression Screening...We will be making some exciting announcements about my administration's plans to advance Brooklyn's families, so please come out and add your support!" [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5637-newly-hot-paid-family-leave-passes-assembly-again" target="_blank">our recent story on the push behind passing paid family leave legislation in New York</a>]</p> <p>Thursday’s City Council schedule includes a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390523&amp;GUID=6B14C162-487E-4C7D-A885-60FB892A09F2&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Finance discussing the senior citizen rent increase exemption program and the disability rent increase exemption program; and a City Council full-body stated&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=388947&amp;GUID=FF6B7BEF-457F-4553-A719-FC8E0547A28F&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> at 1 p.m.</p> <p>On Thursday evening in Queens, the borough's Republican Party head Bob Turner and City Council Member Eric Ulrich are hosting a fundraiser for Staten Island District Attorney and NY11 congressional candidate Dan Donovan; 6:30 p.m. at Russo's on the Bay.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>On Saturday, de Blasio administration members and their allies will participate in a <a href="http://our.cityofnewyork.us/page/s/pre-k-day-of-action" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Pre-K Day of Action</a>, working to spread the word about the availability of universal pre-K, for which enrollment is open: “New York City is about to take a historic step: This fall, the City will provide free, full-day, high-quality pre-K to all 4-year-olds in the five boroughs."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank">[Read the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette]</a></p> <p>***<br />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:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>Hillary Clinton is running for President. You probably heard. The former New York Senator has her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn and will be looking for a strong boost from her New York base of supporters, including her 2000 senate campaign manager New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio was on Meet the Press Sunday morning and said that he is eagerly waiting to see a progressive vision from Clinton. Since Clinton had not officially declared her candidacy (she did so in the afternoon), de Blasio remained especially cautious in his remarks, but repeated his general mantra that all 2016 candidates &nbsp;- for President and other offices - should be directly talking about economic inequality and offering solutions for how to reduce it. He <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/13/nyregion/on-national-television-de-blasio-declines-to-endorse-clinton-for-president.html?ref=nyregion&amp;_r=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">faced some criticism</a> for not quickly endorsing his former boss. Clinton is on her way to campaign in Iowa, and de Blasio is set to head there soon himself to talk fighting inequality. New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are all-in behind Clinton, as is Governor Andrew Cuomo.</p> <p>As the week begins, there's a whole lot of Hillary buzz, of course, and other presidential candidates, mostly on the Republican side of things, continue to jump into the race, with new announcements expected at the start of the week. Meanwhile, New York State and City politics kicks back into gear after a slow week last week, brought on by post-budget recess in Albany and school vacation in the city. Advocates, activists, and legislators will be gearing up this week for the Albany legislative session set to begin next week, on April 21. The lobbying will be fierce and furious through mid-June, when the session will likely end in a "big ugly" agreement on several policies among Gov. Cuomo, Senate Republicans, and Assembly Democrats. One key issue to watch is <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5677-scott-shooting-may-help-reignite-new-york-criminal-justice-debate" target="_blank">criminal justice reform</a>, which was among <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5667-with-new-budget-key-issues-championed-by-city-officials-left-for-later" target="_blank">the several major issues pushed from the budget to session</a> and may very well see <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5677-scott-shooting-may-help-reignite-new-york-criminal-justice-debate" target="_blank">increased urgency</a> given new examples of police killing unarmed black men.</p> <p>In the city, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and colleagues are moving forward with <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5678-mark-viveritos-justice-for-new-york-city-means-changes-to-criminal-and-civil-systems" target="_blank">efforts to reform both the criminal and civil justice systems</a>. A large contingent of activists will depart on their eight-day "March to Justice" on Monday, leaving from New York City and heading to Washington, D.C. <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23March2Justice&amp;src=tyah" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The march</a> will start with a rally and departure from Staten Island.</p> <p>The City Council gets going again with a very busy week of hearings, including one on a bill to create an Office of Civil Justice Coordinator. These sessions come as the Council prepares to release its response to de Blasio's preliminary budget, due out Tuesday and to include a renewed call for adding 1,000 new officers to the NYPD force. See below for full details of the Council schedule. While the Council is between a March full of preliminary budget hearings and a May full of executive budget hearings, for the rest of this month it mostly returns to looking at bills on the docket. De Blasio will receive the Council preliminary budget response, then release his executive budget toward the end of the month (or in early May as he did last year).</p> <p>The mayor begins his week with one public event:&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio will attend opening ceremonies for the New York Mets' home opener at Citi Field. The Mayor will join members of the NYPD and family members of Detective Wenjian Liu and Detective Rafael Ramos for the ceremonial first pitch." The ceremony is slated for about 12:45 p.m., just before game time a little after 1.</p> <p>This week is also the big one for <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/home.shtml" target="_blank" rel="noopener">participatory budgeting</a> voting in the 24 city council districts where council members have opted to implement the program. Voting kicked off this weekend.</p> <p>The increasingly controversial New York State tests for third-through-eigth graders in math and English language arts are this week. The still-new common core-aligned tests have become more and more political, watch for further push by many to discredit the tests and for students to opt out of taking them. There will also continue to be efforts to defend the tests and the common core standards, and to convince parents of the importance of their children taking the exams.</p> <p>And we're just a few weeks from the May 5 special elections in New York's 11th Congressional District and 43rd Assembly District, so keep an eye on those races - there will &nbsp;be an Errol Louis-moderated NY1-televised debate in NY11 on Tuesday evening. Details below.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of; see our day-by-day rundown below...(oh, and make sure you file your taxes by the end of the day on Wednesday)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Monday <a href="https://www.abny.org/Content/Events/EventViewer.aspx?EventID=169" target="_blank" rel="noopener">morning</a>, ABNY will host a breakfast event with “His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop, New York” at Mandarin Oriental. Cardinal Dolan will present "The Archdiocese of New York: &nbsp;Not a Business, But Still Having a Vision and Projects."</p> <p>Also Monday morning,&nbsp;Assembly Members Jeffrey Dinowitz and Richard Gottfried will hold a public hearing on a bill "which would require warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in New York State"; 10:30 a.m. at 250 Broadway..."Rates of obesity have increased dramatically in New York State and across the country over the past 30 years, adding an estimated $147 billion to our country's annual health care costs...Extensive research links rising rates of obesity, as well as diabetes, tooth decay, and other ailments, with the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks. Evidence suggests that warning labels can increase consumer awareness of health risks of harmful products such as sugar-sweetened beverages."</p> <p>On Monday at 11 a.m. at City Hall, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members Brad Lander, Ben Kallos, James Vacca, and Vanessa Gibson will unveil the "New York City Council Public Technology Plan."</p> <p>At 3 p.m. Monday, Mark-Viverito will participate in "Public Service is Worth It" <a href="http://bit.ly/1FId1T2" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Google Hangout</a> moderated by Political Parity.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390522&amp;GUID=8A511762-A8E0-48AC-93EC-FB6A1840572C&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises to review the land use calendar; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=394504&amp;GUID=475887F8-C4A6-44D1-802A-27B6E9DE2F48&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Finance to review land use applications; and an off-site&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=393354&amp;GUID=1C8FC91B-1BEE-4C45-BD0F-4E7CC519EEA7&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Juvenile Justice for a tour of Horizon Juvenile Center.</p> <p dir="ltr">As mentioned, Mayor de Blasio begins his week at Citi Field for ceremonial first pitch duties just before the Mets home opener around 1 p.m. There will be a press conference on Monday at 11 a.m. at Harlem hospital with several de Blasio administration officals outlining guidelines around "infant safe sleep," so that parents and caregivers do not accidentally suffocate young children while sleeping. The mayor penned a Sunday Daily News <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/bill-de-blasio-simple-rules-sleeping-babies-article-1.2182361" target="_blank" rel="noopener">op-ed</a> on the subject, but he is not scheduled to attend the press conference:&nbsp;"Deputy Mayor Barrios Paoli, ACS Commissioner Carrion, DOHMH Commissioner Bassett, DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor, and HHC CEO and President Dr. Raju will launch tomorrow a comprehensive infant Safe Sleep campaign to increase awareness among parents and other caregivers about the potentially fatal risks of sharing a bed with an infant, and how to prevent injuries and deaths associated with other unsafe sleep practices, such as excessive bedding, bumpers and toys in cribs. There are nearly 50 preventable safe sleep deaths every year."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-board-meeting-2-4/?instance_id=739" target="_blank" rel="noopener">afternoon</a>, Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Board Meeting.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1565522160368215/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">evening</a>, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Norman Siegel, former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, will host a town hall to discuss improving community-police relations: “We only survive and prosper as Brooklynites if we engage with one another in a calm and civil conversation. I invite you to come let your voice be heard at our upcoming town hall about improving police-community relations.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Monday <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/move-ny-north-brooklyn-town-hall-please-note-new-time-tickets-16483470504" target="_blank" rel="noopener">evening</a>, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth in collaboration with El Puente, UPROSE, Riders Alliance, and StreetsPAC, will host a Move NY North Brooklyn Town Hall: “Learn and talk about reducing congestion in North Brooklyn, modernizing and expanding the transit system, and fixing our roads and bridges."</p> <p>And, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will attend&nbsp;a "town Hall meeting of District 31's Community Education Council" on Staten Island.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-cabinet-meeting-2-2/?instance_id=740" target="_blank" rel="noopener">morning</a>, Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Cabinet Meeting.</p> <p>Also Tuesday <a href="https://twitter.com/PowherNY/status/585134125490798592" target="_blank" rel="noopener">morning</a>, City Council Members Elizabeth Crowley, Darlene Mealy, and Laurie Cumbo, and others will hold a Rally For Stronger Equal Pay Laws on the steps of City Hall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council schedule includes a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=394210&amp;GUID=70585980-F356-4AA9-8E49-9DA1236D12A5&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Subcommittee on Non-Public Schools, jointly with the Committee on Public Safety, and the Committee on Education, discussing school discipline codes and the assignment of safety agents to schools; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=394143&amp;GUID=D7ABD85B-119A-4525-BFB1-2EE67E4FADD9&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Governmental Operations jointly with the Committee on Consumer Affairs and the Committee on Small Business concerning various items; and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=389580&amp;GUID=AFC9ACD9-EFF6-4673-B848-F2A343014CFE&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Economic Development jointly with the Committee on Community Development for an oversight hearing regarding the economic impact of the city’s foreclosure crisis.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Council is set to unveil its preliminary budget response to Mayor de Blasio's FY16 spending plan on Tuesday.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Women-in-Politics--Mix-and-Mingle-Fundraiser---Tuesday-April-14--6PM.html?soid=1103413547828&amp;aid=9FUwwxoDo-I" target="_blank" rel="noopener">evening</a> at 6 p.m., Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte and the Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club will present Honoring Women in Politics: A Mix &amp; Mingle Fundraiser. Honorees will include State Senator Valmanette Montgomery and Council Member Laurie Cumbo. Public Advocate Letitia James - the first woman of color elected to city-wide office in New York - will make a guest appearance.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Tuesday <a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/04/tickets_available_for_daniel_d.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">evening</a>, the Staten Island Advance and NY1 will co-host the only live televised debate between Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan (R) and City Council Member Vincent Gentile (D) in their race for Congress: “The Republican Donovan and the Democratic Gentile will face off at the hour-long live event. NY1 political anchor Errol Louis will moderate the debate, with questions coming from three panelists: Staten Island Advance senior opinion writer Tom Wrobleski, political reporter Rachel Shapiro and NY1 political reporter Courtney Gross.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/righttocounselnyc/pages/26/attachments/original/1428352347/Brooklyn_Town_Hall_final_draft.pdf?1428352347">evening</a>, Pratt Area Community Council, CAMBA and other organizations will host Brooklyn Town Hall on the right to counsel in eviction proceedings at Brooklyn Borough Hall: “Did you know that approximately 300,000 New Yorkers are taken to housing court to fight eviction every year? Did you know that while 90 percent of landlords have attorneys representing them about 90 percent of tenants do not? Join the Right to Counsel Campaign and learn about legislation that will give New Yorkers the right to legal representation in NYC’s Housing Courts!” [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5571-push-to-expand-your-right-to-an-attorney-gains-momentum-levine-mark-viverito-de-blasio" target="_blank">our in-depth look at the proposed right to counsel legislation</a>]</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Wednesday, April 15, is tax day.</p> <p>On Wednesday activists will be moving around the minimum wage. This will include students from 170 colleges, including University of Albany, taking part in a fast-food worker <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-push-for-a-15-minimum-wage-goes-to-college/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">strike</a>: “The Fight for $15 labor movement is planning an ambitious expansion on April 15, coordinating a series of global labor strikes with protests on college campuses. The tax-day strike will include rallies and marches on 170 university campuses, including Columbia University and University of Southern California, the organizers said.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=cnyb-events&amp;utm_campaign=cnyb-events-20150326" target="_blank">morning</a>, Crain's &nbsp;will host its 'Business of' Series at John Jay College of Criminal Justice: “Join Crain’s as we examine one of New York’s fastest growing industries. Our expert panelists will discuss how life sciences is creating economic diversification, stimulating job growth and tapping into the vibrant young talent from top universities and leveraging New York’s access to capital.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council schedule includes a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390540&amp;GUID=1F5FED0E-F838-4F8F-86DE-84C55E90CC95&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Transportation to discuss various bicycle safety topics as well as establishing civil penalties for theft of a bicycle or motor vehicle; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390518&amp;GUID=59A34F0B-B59D-45F2-81B3-54584B90EE66&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Aging concerning development of a guide for building owners regarding aging in place and the elimination of the sunset provisions related to income threshold increases for the SCRIE and DRIE programs; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390541&amp;GUID=2345EFD5-2E4C-4CD1-8966-7FD3992E2C98&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Land Use to discuss items reported out of the subcommittees; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=393151&amp;GUID=DC307F82-B0CD-488E-B26C-9712B5FBAA6D&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency to discuss the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s re-examination of National Flood Insurance Program insurance claim payouts related to Hurricane Sandy for possible underpayment; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390542&amp;GUID=A159C40F-3CA0-4CBA-81A7-C3D73D2DB195&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Courts and Legal Services around a law to amend the New York City Charter in relation to creating an Office of Civil Justice Coordinator. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5678-mark-viveritos-justice-for-new-york-city-means-changes-to-criminal-and-civil-systems" target="_blank">our look at reforms being pushed by Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and others to reform the city's criminal and civil justice systems</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=910051895739780" target="_blank" rel="noopener">evening</a> at 7 p.m., State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, and City Council Member Brad Lander will host a School-to-School Dialogue on High Stakes Testing at Old First Reformed Church, in Brooklyn.</p> <p>Also Wednesday evening, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz will hold a town hall meeting at the Kingsbridge Public Library “to discuss and hear feedback on New York’s tenant protection laws, which are due to expire in June. Joining Assemblyman Dinowitz to speak will be Delsenia Glover, Campaign Manager for the Alliance for Tenant Power, and Judith Goldiner, Attorney-in-Charge at the Legal Aid Society.”</p> <p>On Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning,&nbsp;NYCVotes, the voter engagement arm of the City Campaign Finance Board, "is having a #VoteBetterNYC Advocacy Day training session for partners...acquainting them with the policy agenda...social media strategy and general day of logistics, ahead of the event" set to take place on April 22. The trainings will take place Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at 100 Church Street.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank" style="text-align: center;">[Read the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette]</a></p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On&nbsp;Thursday <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-presidents-land-use-hearing-2-2-2/?instance_id=747" target="_blank" rel="noopener">morning</a>, Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a land use hearing at the Queens Borough Hall.</p> <p>On Thursday morning,&nbsp;at 11 a.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall, it's a "Rally for Family Friendly Brooklyn" hosted by BP Adams: "We want Brooklyn to be THE place to raise healthy children and families! Join me Thursday, April 16th at 11:00 AM on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall as we rally for Family Friendly Brooklyn, a new initiative where I am calling for: Statewide Paid Family Leave; Breast Feeding Empowerment Zone Expansion; Support for Post-Partum Depression Screening...We will be making some exciting announcements about my administration's plans to advance Brooklyn's families, so please come out and add your support!" [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5637-newly-hot-paid-family-leave-passes-assembly-again" target="_blank">our recent story on the push behind passing paid family leave legislation in New York</a>]</p> <p>Thursday’s City Council schedule includes a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=390523&amp;GUID=6B14C162-487E-4C7D-A885-60FB892A09F2&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> of the Committee on Finance discussing the senior citizen rent increase exemption program and the disability rent increase exemption program; and a City Council full-body stated&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=388947&amp;GUID=FF6B7BEF-457F-4553-A719-FC8E0547A28F&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">meeting</a> at 1 p.m.</p> <p>On Thursday evening in Queens, the borough's Republican Party head Bob Turner and City Council Member Eric Ulrich are hosting a fundraiser for Staten Island District Attorney and NY11 congressional candidate Dan Donovan; 6:30 p.m. at Russo's on the Bay.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>On Saturday, de Blasio administration members and their allies will participate in a <a href="http://our.cityofnewyork.us/page/s/pre-k-day-of-action" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Pre-K Day of Action</a>, working to spread the word about the availability of universal pre-K, for which enrollment is open: “New York City is about to take a historic step: This fall, the City will provide free, full-day, high-quality pre-K to all 4-year-olds in the five boroughs."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank">[Read the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette]</a></p> <p>***<br />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:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GothamGazette</a></p>