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Albany

  • Why Don’t We Ever Hear About Commercial Rent Policy?

    levine small biz

    Council Member Levine & co outside an evicted business (photo: @MarkLevineNYC) 


    Mid-June, it was a block in Washington Heights that was poised to be the next to close up shop. The landlord, Coltown Properties, looked to evict the mostly Latino-owned stores on the street, which included a barbershop, restaurant, and income tax service. The store proprietors faced the same issue as many other small business owners in New York — there was nothing they could do.

    “Collectively, the businesses on

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  • In End of Session 'Scorecard,' Plenty for Next Year's Albany Agenda

    Cuomo Heastie Flanagan

    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (L-R) (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    In the Democrat-controlled Assembly, it was 122-13; in the Republican-controlled Senate, 47-12. With those votes and a Governor Andrew Cuomo signature, a final policy package brought an underwhelming end to a tumultuous 2015 legislative session in New York's capital. 

    Look at ...

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 29

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week must be much quieter than last - the city budget is passed; the legislative session in Albany is over; the two escaped upstate prisoners were found (one killed; one shot and captured); and the United States Supreme Court has wrapped up its spring. It's also a holiday

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, June 22-26

    week in review bus readers

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday June 26

    PHOTOS OF THE WEEK:Gov. Cuomo shakes hands with Sen. Flanagan at their Thursday 'big ugly' announcement (top; via The Governor's Office on flickr); Mayor

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  • License to Carry: New York's Gun Permit Laws

    Cuomo SAFE Act

    Gov. Cuomo signs the SAFE Act, Jan. 2013 (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    Riders on a Brooklyn-bound 4 train fled in terror when a man responded to taunts from two younger men by pulling a gun and loading a clip. As the confrontation escalated and the train stopped, the melee spilled into the Borough Hall station, with threats and shoving until Gilbert Drogheo, one of the younger men, was lying dead of a

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  • Cuomo, Legislative Leaders Announce End-of-Session Pact

    Cuomo Heastie Flanagan

    Three men at a table (photo: Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


    The deal must still be approved by Democrats in the Assembly and Republicans in the Senate, but there is a framework in place for an end-of-session policy package resolving debate on several key issues that have been on the Albany negotiating table for months.

    On Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the majority leader of each house, Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Republican Senate

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 22

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    ALBANY, ALBANY: Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie agreed on a short, retroactive extension of rent regulations through Tuesday. As negotiations continue on the rent regulations and other top of the agenda priority issues like mayoral control of city schools, legislators are due back in Albany on Tuesday. By

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  • Albany Lawmakers Putter Past Deadlines, Surprising No One

    Cuomo Heastie

    Two of the 'three men' (photo: The Governor's Office via flickr)


    Albany has a reputation for procrastination. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature seem to meet no sunsetting regulation that impacts millions of people, mandated federal action with millions of dollars at stake, or other serious deadline that is too important for them to skirt. State government loves to push issues right to the edge, pause, and then shove them over the cliff just when everyone is looking.

    It is a habit so ingrained in capital

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 8

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    EYES ON ALBANY: It's crunch time in Albany - and one big sign of how important a week it is: the state Legislature is in session FOUR days this week, as opposed to the three that has most often been the case in the post-budget legislative session that began in early April and is due to end on June 17 (a week from Wednesday). There are seven days of session left on the calendar between this week and

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  • Schneiderman's Evolution on Ethics

    AG

    AG Schneiderman (photo via AG's flickr account)


    Scandal fatigue hit Attorney General Eric Schneiderman differently than it hit Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the state legislature.

    Conventional wisdom is that the arrest and indictment of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver earlier this year sent shockwaves through Albany. And yet as far as ethics reforms go, the result of the indictment of the man many saw as the most powerful man in "the room," a man who controlled the Assembly for over two decades, was

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  • Would Expired Rent Regs, Mayoral School Control Spell Doomsday for New York City?

    BdB Cuomo

    De Blasio & Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    "Mayor of the City of New York, frustrated with Albany? Now there's a shocker," Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded on Thursday to reporters who inquired about Mayor Bill de Blasio's concerns over Albany's reluctance to deliver more than simple extenders of policies like mayoral control of schools and rent regulations that impact

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 1

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Welcome to June! A city budget is due by the end of the month. The state legislative session is due to end mid-month. And, it's both Gun Violence Awareness Month in New York City (legislation in 2013 declared it the first city in the United States to have a month dedicated to the cause) and LGBT Pride Month. Look for events and legislation related to each this week and as the month continues.

  • Education Upheaval in Albany is Backdrop to DOE Budget Hearing

    farina via levine

    Chancellor Carmen Farina testifying Thursday (photo: @MarkLevineNYC)


    With an eye on Albany, it was time Thursday morning for New York City schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña to again testify in front of the City Council about her agency's proposed fiscal year 2016 budget and key education issues facing the city. The heightened level of concern with events in the capital comes amid shakeups in state leadership, important legislation on the negotiating table with deadlines looming, and recently passed controversial state teacher evaluation laws.

  • Does 2015 Offer Return of the Albany Big Ugly?

    Cuomo

    Cuomo had linked the EITC & DREAM Act (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    Pop quiz: what do the DNA of felons, casinos, teacher performance, the drawing of legislative district lines, and pension reform have to do with one another? This isn't a trick question - in Albany all of these issues were crammed together by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders in 2012 to form the traditional Albany deal that has come to be known as "The Big Ugly." The only thing that stood out about it was that the 2012

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  • With Legislative Package, Schneiderman Challenges Lawmakers to Act on Ethics

    AG

    AG Schneiderman at Tweed Courthouse on Wednesday (Ben Max)


    Standing on the steps of Manhattan's Tweed Courthouse, surrounded by activists, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman unveiled a legislative package Wednesday that is designed to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers who have written off negotiating ethics reform this year despite the arrest of two of the most powerful men in Albany on corruption charges.

    "I'm done vouching for incremental reforms," Schneiderman announced to cheers from the gathered crowd on the steps of

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 26

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    EYES ON ALBANY: The Legislature is back in session on Wednesday and Thursday this week, two of the final 12 days until session is due to end Wednesday June 17. Will there simply be a big end-of-session deal as in years past? Will there be compromise reached to extend New York City rent regulations, the 421-a real estate tax

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  • Mostly Questions and Criticism Ahead of Cuomo Email Summit

    Cuomo Indian Point

    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    On Friday - the Friday of Memorial Day weekend - Gov. Andrew Cuomo will host a summit on email retention policy. It is a much-anticipated meeting that a large number of key stakeholders don't see a need for, and it's unclear what attendance will look like in terms of representation from the major entities in state government being called together to agree on a uniform approach to keeping and deleting official emails.

  • SAFE Act Haunts Movement on Gun Safety Legislation

    students NYAGV

    Student activists in Albany (photo: @NYAGV1)


    Earlier this month, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence brought 150 school children from the Bronx and Harlem to Albany to recite poetry, sing songs, and perform skits about the impact gun violence has on their daily lives.

    They didn't get the warmest of welcomes. Kicked out of the space they had booked - the very public well of the legislative office building - they were forced into a hearing room. They were replaced in the well by a wine tasting.

  • At Chaotic Time, Cuomo Hires Weprin to Assist in Deal-making

    mark weprin via alatriste

    CM Weprin, right, has accepted a position in the Cuomo Administration (William Alatriste)


    A legislature plagued by scandal; two new, inexperienced house leaders; a governor facing the lowest approval ratings of his tenure; and only a few weeks to get anything done. This is the setting for Mark Weprin's return to Albany, where he'll be tasked with fostering dialogue, brokering deals, and making progress in a new role.

  • John Flanagan's Senate Campaign Finance: The Full Picture

    Flanagan via Senate website

    John Flanagan (photo: Senate website)


    John Flanagan, Republican state Senator, is now Temporary President and Majority Leader in Albany's upper chamber. He replaces Dean Skelos in leadership following the fellow Long Island senator's arrest on
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  • Even Amid Albany Dysfunction, Advocates Forge Path to Paid Family Leave

    wfpct paid family leave

    Advocates for paid family leave (photo: @CTWFP)


    Upheaval in the capital due to another high-profile corruption scandal is not stopping advocates from heading to Albany to push for legislative action.

    With just six weeks left in the legislative session set to expire mid-June, on Wednesday activists will rally at the Legislative Office Building and lobby lawmakers to pass paid family leave in New York State.

    An 11:30 a.m. press conference will be led by Democratic State

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 4

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Albany arrest watch: "Federal prosecutors are expected to announce criminal charges against New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos imminently, possibly as soon as Monday, in connection with a continuing corruption investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter," ...

  • Strategy Meetings Signal Coming Flurry of Rent Law Lobbying

    housing rally

    A housing-related rally at City Hall (photo: @AffordabilityNY)


    On Friday, tenant advocates, union representatives, and elected officials gathered in two separate meetings to discuss the renewal and strengthening of state rent laws. There is a sense of urgency among city-based legislators and tenant advocates as the laws regulating many thousands of apartments are set to expire in six weeks and legislative debate on the topic is non-existent.

    One meeting took place at the United Federation of Teachers (UFT)

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 27

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    • Ongoing legislative session in Albany - legislators will be in Albany Monday through Wednesday this week for session
      • major issues at play include mayoral control of schools, rent regulations, the charter school cap, the minimum wage,
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  • For 'A Better New York,' Activists Lobby Albany for Election Reform

    nyc votes Albany

    Activists in Albany (photo: @NYCVotes)


    On a crisp Wednesday morning, two buses pulled up outside the New York State Capitol in Albany. Their cargo: a delegation of about 100 students, volunteers, and good government activists who travelled from New York City to advocate for voting reform.

    It was the second annual "Vote Better NY" Advocacy Day for Election Reform organized by NYC Votes, a non-partisan voter engagement initiative run by the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and its Voter Assistance

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