Gotham Gazette http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/1710 Wed, 26 Sep 2018 15:07:50 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) Mayoral Charter Revision Commission Hears Expert Testimony on Civic Engagement and Redistricting http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7757:mayoral-charter-revision-commission-hears-expert-testimony-on-civic-engagement-and-redistricting http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7757:mayoral-charter-revision-commission-hears-expert-testimony-on-civic-engagement-and-redistricting lander and hidalgo at crc

Council Member Lander and Noel Hidalgo testify


The charter revision commission convened by Mayor Bill de Blasio held its fourth and final issue-focused forum on Thursday afternoon at NYU, hearing testimony from experts on the city’s civic engagement efforts and hearing proposals for independent redistricting of City Council districts.

The central question before the commission on civic engagement was whether the city should create a new independent, nonpartisan Office of Civic Engagement. The proposal is the brainchild of New York City Council Member Brad Lander, a Brooklyn Democrat, who was among those who testified Thursday. If the commission decides to take up that and other proposals heard at previous hearings, they would be presented to voters as ballot referenda in November. The three previous issue-focused expert hearings were on voting and elections; campaign finance reform; and community boards and land use.

Panellists who spoke before the commission on Thursday sought to define civic engagement, its limits and challenges, and the mechanisms by which it is currently carried out by city agencies, nonprofit organizations, and community-based advocates, and comprehensive approaches to combining all those disparate elements.

Naomi Zauderer, chair of the NYC Voter Assistance Advisory Committee, informed the commission about VAAC’s continuing voter engagement and registration efforts, acknowledging a fact that the commissioners were familiar with: the city’s abysmally low voter turnout in recent elections. “[T]he real challenge in New York City is getting people to turn out to the polls,” she said, noting that a lack of information about elections and candidates serves to discourage voters.

Paula Gavin, chief service officer of NYC Service, the city agency charged with encouraging volunteering efforts, said a big challenge is New York City’s low volunteering rate -- only 14 percent, compared with the national average of 25 percent. She said increasing the city’s volunteering and civic participation rate through a “continuum” of agencies and elected officials working together with community-based organizations would also lead to an uptick in turnout. “It is shown that those who volunteer more, vote more. Those who vote more, volunteer more. So the tide will rise,” she said.

But Zauderer and Amy Loprest, executive director of the Campaign Finance Board, where VAAC operates, said voter engagement should continue to be housed under the CFB, which already has a well-established voter information and outreach operation that continues to be improved. They agreed that an Office of Civic Engagement is a laudable idea, but one that should coordinate with the VAAC’s existing efforts rather than subsume its role.

“I think we would support the idea that...any organization that’s called an Office of Civic Engagement be a nonpartisan and independent agency, because I think that insulates it from any kind of political pressures or the desire to follow any particular person’s priorities,” Loprest said.

She added, “There’s many, many aspects of civic engagement...and if we worked on the voter engagement and outreach work that we’re doing, we would work very closely with that office of service to collaborate.”Similarly, Gavin said it would be “unrealistic” to place all those agencies and initiatives at a lone, new agency but supported the idea of a coordinated umbrella of efforts. “I do feel strongly that a framework that brings together the various aspects of civic engagement would be very important,” she said. Citing her agency’s work across the city with other departments, in schools and communities, she said “I don’t know that it has to be everything working within the one framework. I think it’s more of a coordinating effort that would be valuable.”

Beyond the framework, panellists also pointed out blind spots in current civic engagement efforts that they said should be avoided under a newly empanelled agency. Underserved populations -- such as the disabled, low- and moderate-income communities of color, immigrants -- tend to be ignored by civic institutions, they said. Others stressed the need to inculcate a sense of civic duty in New Yorkers, particularly by starting at an early age in the city’s schools.

DeNora Getachew, New York executive director of Generation Citizen, a civics education provider, urged an emphasis on “action civics,” ensuring that young people can actually use the civic knowledge they’re given to enact change in their communities. “We know that too much emphasis is placed on voting as a way to be civically engaged and, rather, there is a spectrum of civic engagement opportunities that we need to be presenting to young people and also to adults,” she said. Getachew urged the commission to consider the OCE proposal, among other things, including allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections and providing more government jobs to young people in city employment programs.

“It’s a two-way street,” said Elizabeth OuYang, a civil rights attorney and member of OCA-NY Asian Pacific American Advocates, insisting that immigrant communities are eager to contribute to the city’s civic life but must see their efforts reciprocated by city government. “If you’re to encourage volunteerism in the immigrant community, it has to be a comprehensive strategy that also includes their involvement in democratic policy decision-making.” The city’s outreach, she said, should occur through existing networks of religious institutions and neighborhood groups that immigrants trust.

Ifeoma Ike, founding partner of Think Rubix, a civic-action oriented think tank, echoed a similar point of caution, stressing the need for equitable, culturally relevant and ongoing outreach to communities of color, and not a “transactional” approach centered around an election that arrives every four years. “We must not dismiss these communities as apathetic,” she said.

Another significant issue that has long been ignored, said Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York, is the city’s lack of disability access, which affects everything from voting and civic participation to employment and housing affordability.

“We find retrofitting efforts with accessibility concerns after the fact is a poor way of accomplishing inclusion,” she said of the city’s civic engagement efforts, emphasizing the need for disability literacy training and early phase consultation with disability advocates.

“[P]eople with disabilities feel that they’re being made invisible, We want to go out and vote in a public space like our neighbors because we want to be seen,” she later said, noting that the disabled community faces particular obstacles in accessing polling sites. “It’s terrible to tell people they have a duty to do something that you then prevent them from doing,” she said.

Noel HIdalgo, executive director of BetaNYC, a civic technology organization, said the OCE could be a “digital steward” for new government services initiatives that he said should be designed in consultation with the people they are serving. He pushed for digital literacy programs, improving the city’s technology infrastructure starting at the community board level, something BetaNYC has been doing with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and for an enhanced participatory budgeting system that employs technology that is broadly accessible.

Council Member Lander similarly pushed for a citywide participatory budgeting program that could be run by the OCE. “We’re really facing a crisis in our democracy in New York City,” he said of the city’s low turnout. “But it’s...part of this broader issue of decline in civic trust in all our institutions, in government especially but across the board. People just don’t think of reaching out to government as a way of getting issues resolved, even where those issues are government issues.”

Though most commissioners asked about how the OCE would work, only one commissioner, John Siegal, questioned why it was necessary. “I’m worried that if we do this...that it will atrophy,” he said, speculating that it would be left to the whims of each subsequent mayor. Siegal also struck a skeptical tone as he noted that none of the panellists had spoken to the role of the private sector in improving civic engagement.

Though civic engagement dominated most of the forum, the other focus issue, and one with a looming challenge, concluded its agenda: independent redistricting. The City Council’s 51 districts are redrawn every ten years after the federal census, which is due to take place in 2020. Currently, law stipulates that the mayor appoints seven members to a city districting commission and the City Council appoints eight members. The charter commission may propose changes to the system.

John Flateau, a professor at Medgar Evers College and a New York City Board of Elections commissioner, made a slew of suggestions at Thursday’s forum. He said the city could create as many as 70 Council districts of smaller sizes and stressed the need for proportional representation for the five boroughs based on populations.

Flateau and other panellists cited California redistricting model as one the city could follow, which prohibits incumbent elected officials from sitting on a redistricting commission and invites applications that are independently screened.

“Think of redistricting...that could be one of those triggers, one of those mass civic engagement exercises, figuring out how to set up this process going forward so that individuals, communities, neighborhoods feel ownership for wanting to participate in this process and learn more about their government,” he said.

Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, testified on a video call to the commission. Among other ideas, she said there could be a robust list of conflicts of interest to limit who could serve on a redistricting commission, that districting commission members should be diverse and could be picked based on a set of qualifications, with the goal of ensuring the maximum public confidence in how maps are drawn. An application process like California’s, she said, would ensure that a commission attracts participants who are willing to commit their time to a laborious process. And she emphasized several transparency measures a commission should follow.

Flateau and the others did warn that any efforts at independent and equitable redistricting would be predicated on an accurate count in the 2020 census, which is threatened by the Trump Administration’s decision to include a citizenship question that could depress the count in immigrant communities. He also said that previous commissions fell under the preclearance mechanism of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act -- where the federal government would first approve any changes to local voting districts -- which was struck down by the Supreme Court in its 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. In its absence, Flateau said the city could possibly set up its own preclearance system for municipal districts under the corporation counsel’s office.

James Hong, the former co-director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, agreed that applicants should be screened and ideally, the commission would be made of “academics, demographers, people who are really into data and connected with their community, and community members,” and would prohibit past elected officials from serving.

“Redistricting from start to finish needs to be protected from partisan operatives,” he said.

Over the next month, the charter commission will hold another round of public hearings across the city. The commission’s proposals are due by September 7.

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

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Mayoral Charter Revision Commission Hears Expert Testimony on Civic Engagement and Redistricting Thu, 21 Jun 2018 04:00:00 +0000
Bill Would Transform New Yorkers’ Digital Interaction with Government http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6936:bill-would-transform-new-yorkers-digital-interaction-with-government http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6936:bill-would-transform-new-yorkers-digital-interaction-with-government Kallos Lander Mark-Viverito Council

Council Member Ben Kallos, right, has a new API bill (photo: William Alatriste)


City Council Member Ben Kallos is always looking for ways to make government more efficient and accessible through technology and the use of data. To that end, Kallos, himself a programmer, introduced a bill last week that would require information generated or received by city agencies to be available through an interface that allows easy use of the data and, ideally, a streamlined experience for New Yorkers interacting with their city government.

This would occur through an Application Program Interface (API); essentially, Kallos explained, “a language dictionary so a piece of software can communicate with another software.” Such a system would facilitate the automatic availability of city data through mobile- or web-based applications, opening up opportunities for the private sector to create programs that interact with city government. A program that easily transmits permit and license applications, for example.

“As we modernize government and we’re building new systems,” Kallos said in a phone interview, “those systems would need to have an API.”

Kallos cited as an example the city’s 311 helpline system, and the constant complaints from users that either they have to wait too long on the phone when calling 311 or that the mobile application is often slow and inefficient. An API, Kallos insisted, would allow third parties to build tools to submit 311 requests directly, without users having to repeatedly provide their names, addresses, and other information. “Any time we’re requesting information from the public or giving out custom-tailored information, we could do this through an API.”

“We all love being able to order food or a car at the press of a button,” he added, emphasizing that applications would make it easier to access government services more efficiently.  “Government can work that way too.”

If the proposal is passed, city agencies would have to implement APIs for their services and require contracted vendors to do the same. The bill would also mandate that the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) create a central repository with information on how to utilize APIs and a list of applications that interact with city APIs.

Applied across the city government, Kallos’ proposal would have broad implications for efficiency. It would streamline, for instance, applications for permits and licenses, much like tax preparation software helps people file their taxes easily.

Kallos hopes that his bill will also encourage third-party developers to jump into the fray and help users navigate city government. Asked if this could raise potential privacy concerns, Kallos expressed confidence that protections currently in place in city law would prevent any misuse. Just as countless Americans use tax preparation software, he said, any applications would allow people to submit and request information securely. He also welcomed public input through the legislative process to address any of these concerns. “That’s why we go through the public process,” he said.

Ultimately, Kallos envisions a city where technology cuts through red tape at every level. His ideal city would be completely “seamless,” where, if a resident’s power goes out, a single tap of a button on their phone would notify their energy provider and the relevant city agencies to fix the issue. “I’d like to replace all the bureaucracy with an API that would allow the private sector to innovate and put the government in your pocket.”

What’s more, Kallos, a first-term Democrat from Manhattan who chairs the Council’s government operations committee, expects that the bill will lead to cost and labor savings at city agencies by streamlining information flow and data entry, as well as generate income by promoting growth in the private sector.

“This legislation, as I read it, mandates that the city produce a machine-readable infrastructure around data that isn’t contained in the city’s Open Data Portal,” said Noel Hidalgo, executive director of BetaNYC, a civic technology group. “That means that anything that is designed and maintained as an information service needs to have some type of programmatic access. And that’s great. That’s something that in general should be a practice.”

Hidalgo emphasized that government systems designed to share public information on a webpage should be programmatically accessible to the general public. He’s “cautiously optimistic” about the bill’s implementation. “In an ideal world, this bill would force the city to move to API-driven services,” he said. “And that’s applaudable, but the concerns that exist are security and privacy.”

He insisted that proper APIs have “a lot of thought that goes into them,” and that the city doesn’t always have the necessary resources to allocate to the effort. He said the rollout, which the bill mandates would be a year after its passage, should be handled by “a municipal consultant,” along the lines of 18F, a digital services office within the federal General Services Administration, or the United States Digital Service, a White House initiative, to ensure that “these systems are adopted in a way that is forward thinking.”

And although he said that legislation is not always the answer, Hidalgo looks forward to weighing in through the public process. “The development of such a system requires iterative conversation and design,” he said. “I would love to see in this legislation accountability for user engagement, and reports in regards to usage of APIs. It’s a good start to discuss an API-driven government.”

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

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Bill Would Transform New Yorkers’ Digital Interaction with Government Mon, 15 May 2017 04:00:00 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 23 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5644:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-23 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5644:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-23 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

We're getting close to the state budget deadline of April 1. This week will be full of both private negotiations and public sessions in Albany, where lawmakers attempt to come to a budget deal while showing significantly divergent takes on key issues - as well as central mechanisms related to the budget and policy. Governor Andrew Cuomo has jammed quite a bit of policy into his budget, attaching initiatives to appropriations in an attempt to strong-arm the Legislature into agreeing to his policy demands. This is especially true around ethics and educaiton reforms, but Cuomo has also used creative tactics to push compromise, tying an education tax credit favored by Republicans to the DREAM Act, which is favored by Democrats, for example. The Legislature is in session Monday through Thursday again this week.

Meanwhile, New York City officials await decisions in Albany (while also trying to affect those decisions, of course) and carry on their own budget work. The City Council will wrap up its month of preliminary budget hearings this week and then formulate a formal response to the mayor, who will then issue his Executive Budget in April, leading to another round of council hearings and a final budget deal by July 1. The City is eagerly awaiting word from Albany on things like funding for schools, homelessness prevention, public housing, and much more.

De Blasio is in Boston on Sunday and Monday, participating in the U.S. Conference of Mayors Cities of Opportunity Task Force Summit; on Monday, "there will be a press conference on transportation issues at 12:30pm" at Faneuil Hall; he'll return to New York City on Monday evening. De Blasio was in Albany on Saturday for the Somos el Futuro Conference, where he reiterated his push for full education funding from the State and other top priorities, and received "the Champion for Latinos Award at the dinner gala."

And the whole week builds to the annual Inner Circle Show this Friday (dress rehearsal) and Saturday, at which the press will roast the mayor, and vice versa.

There's plenty happening this week. See our day-by-day rundown below for more.

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

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
Monday morning, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will visit a "CTE program to make an announcement" at the Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School in Queens.

Comptroller Scott Stringer's only public event scheduled for Monday is an 8:15 a.m. appearance on "Buen Día New York," WADO 1280 AM.

Also Monday morning, the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association will host a breakfast with United States Senator Charles Schumer at Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s headquarters.

At 10:30 Monday morning, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer "will issue a report, Small Business, Big Impact: Expanding Opportunity for Manhattan's Storefronters, with case studies and policy recommendations to help small businesses grow and thrive in New York City." At The Halal Guys on the Upper West Side, Brewer will be joined by Robert Cornegy, Chair, New York City Council Small Business Committee; The Halal Guys co-founders Muhammed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka, and Abdelbaset Elsayed; and Noel Hidalgo, Executive Director, BetaNYC. The report's recommendations include "Take the pressure off lease renewals"; "Overhaul regulations and city policies governing street vending" and "Help established, successful small businesses threatened by rent increases by encouraging "condo-ization" of storefront space." [Read our recent report on key issues facing small business in New York City and the City's new efforts to help ease regulatory burdens]

On Monday’s Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, three of the five borough presidents will appear together: “Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams talk about borough and city-wide issues facing Queens, Brooklyn and Bronx residents.

Monday at 10 a.m. at City Hall, preceding the relevant City Council preliminary budget hearing, "hundreds of New York City seniors and service providers were invited to descend upon City Hall's Council Chambers and make their voices heard at the Department for the Aging budget hearing to advocate for $33 million in critical funding for senior services."

At 11 a.m. on Monday at City Hall, Rep. Nydia Velázquez and other local leaders will release a report on how the Republican congressional budget would impact New York City: “From transportation, to housing, to health and human services, New York would be acutely affected by proposed cuts,” says a media advisory on the event.

At noon at City Hall, there will be a "Rally for action by Earth Day on plastic bag reduction bill" hosted by Council Members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin, who sponsor the relevant bill, and Council Member and Sanitation Committee Chair Antonio Reynoso, as well as other elected officials: "The bill (Int. 209) will reduce disposable bag use by requiring retail and grocery stores to charge 10 cents per single-use plastic or paper bag. Supporters of the bill turned out in large numbers at a public hearing before the Council's Sanitation Committee last fall, and will rally again for its passage by Earth Day (April 22)."

Monday’s City Council schedule consists of two preliminary budget hearings: a meeting of the Committee on Aging jointly with the Subcommittee on Senior Centers; and a meeting of the Committee on Health.

CUNY Journalism School's brown bag lunch series continues on Monday with a conversation between Errol Louis and Tom Robbins, both journalists and CUNY J-school professors. "Tom Robbins, investigative journalist in residence at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, will discuss his recent piece on the brutal beatings of former Attica Prison inmate George Williams...Errol Louis, director of the Urban Reporting Program and host of NY1's Inside City Hall, will pick Robbins' brain on the work that went into the nine-month project, as well as the larger issues of prison violence that it illuminated."

At 2 p.m. Monday, outside FDNY headquarters at MetroTech Center, Brooklyn BP Adams "will announce a borough-wide fire safety education campaign, following a fatal fire Saturday in Midwood that claimed the lives of seven siblings, aged five to 16, from the Sassoon family. His effort will include multilingual outreach and the distribution of free smoke detectors...Adams will call for the creation of a burn center in Brooklyn...Adams will be joined by local elected officials and Jewish leaders."

Also Monday, in Albany, Citizen Action of New York will hold Moral Monday to Raise the Wage: “Nearly 3 million workers – 37% of New York’s workforce – earn less than $15 an hour. Thirty-six percent of adults earn less than $15 an hour; 41% women earn less than $15 an hour, and 28% of workers with at least some college education earn less than $15 an hour. A full-time worker earning $9 an hour will bring home just $18,720 per year – still below the federal poverty line for a family of three. Under the Self-Sufficiency Standard guidelines, a more accurate measure of the cost of living in New York, the hourly wage that 2 full-time workers must each earn to meet basic budget needs ranges from $13.40 in Schenectady County, to $16.15 in New York City, to $20.73 in Suffolk County.”

Monday at noon, there will be meeting of the New York State Gaming Commission at the New York State Department of Labor.

Monday afternoon in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions will hold a hearing to consider several pieces of legislation.

Monday evening, “The Middle Class Action Project will host a candidates forum with Republican District Attorney Daniel Donovan and Democratic Councilman Vincent Gentile to discuss economic issues facing the middle class,” according to the Staten Island Advance.

Tuesday
Tuesday morning, the New York Bar Association will host Campaign Finance: The Current State of Affairs and Where We Go From Here: “Since the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United, campaign finance law has moved at a rapid pace, leading the way for the creation of various entities that facilitate the injection of billions of dollars into elections. And Congress just increased the power of political party committees by significantly increasing applicable campaign finance limits. This program will consist of three panels composed of top-tier campaign finance law experts, regulators, reporters and political consultants.” Panelists will include Nicholas Confessore from The New York Times; Dave Levinthal from the Center for Public Integrity; Eric Friedman from NYC Campaign Finance Board; Bill Hyers from Hilltop Public Solutions; Fritz Schwarz, Jr. from the Brennan Center; Douglas Kellner from the NYS Board of Elections; and Jerry Goldfeder from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.

Tuesday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services for a preliminary budget hearing; a meeting of the Committee on Zoning and Franchises to review proposed Land Use Applications; and a meeting of the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions to review land use applications.

Tuesday morning in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will hold a hearing to consider a variety of bills to amend the environmental conservation law; the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation will meet to consider several bills amending the highway law and the vehicle and traffic law; the Senate Standing Committee on Judiciary will meet to discuss the reappointments of several judges at the New York Court of Claims; and in the afternoon, the Senate Standing Committee on Codes will meet to discuss a series of act to amend the civil rights law and the penal law.

Tuesday evening, the YWCA will host its Women's History Month Reception 2015. The theme of this year's series of events is Leadership and Generosity: A Call to Action; and as it culminates on Tuesday, the YWCA is honoring Public Advocate Letitia James as "YW Woman of the Year" for her hard work toward gender and racial equity for women and girls. [Read our new profile of PA James as a recent history-maker, the first woman of color elected to city-wide office]

Tuesday evening, City Council Member Andy King and his staff will be hosting one in a series of Constituent Services Nights in different NYCHA housing developments. The program will include resources and solutions for housing, food stamps, immigration, Access-A-Ride and more.

Tuesday evening, Parsons DESIS Lab and Lower Manhattan HQ will host Public Space: New Ideas for Civic Life: “New York City has an abundance of public spaces rich in culture and design, from Central Park to the New York Public Library. However, despite these places’ role as the physical center of civic life, digital platforms have emerged as the preferred way for government to engage the public. How can we revitalize public spaces as places to enhance civic life and public participation in government?” Speakers will include Mary Rowe of Municipal Arts Society and Victoria Milne of the city's Department of Design and Construction.

Also Tuesday evening, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs presents Public Policy Challenges: Women’s Empowerment in NYC: “Come learn from and engage with leading practitioners on New York law, policy, and services related to violence against women.” The panel will include Ana Oliveira, President and CEO of the New York Women's Foundation; Rose Pierre-Louis, Commissioner of the NYC Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence; and Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services.

Wednesday
Wednesday’s City Council schedule will include two preliminary budget hearings: a meeting of the Committee on Education and a meeting of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management.

Wednesday morning in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Services will meet to discuss a variety of potential amendments to the social services law.

Wednesday at noon, the New York State Bar Association will host Human Trafficking in New York State: Legal Issues and Advocating for the Victim, “to educate attorneys across the country on how to identify potential victims of human trafficking.” [Read Manhattan DA Cy Vance's recent op-ed on the need to strengthen sex trafficking laws in New York]

Wednesday evening, the city's Panel on Educational Policy (PEP) will host a public meeting at Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan.

Also Wednesday, at 6:30 p.m., the Digital NYC Five Borough Tour will hit Queens. Panelists will include Kristin Hodgson, Communications Director at Meetup, and Jukay Hsu, Founder of Coalition for Queens.

Thursday
Thursday morning at Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, “All alumni are invited to join us for the inaugural interview session and breakfast for the new Oral Archive on Governance in New York City: The Bloomberg Years” featuring Howard Wolfson, former Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs and Communications.

Thursday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Committee on Public Housing for a preliminary budget hearing; a joint meeting of the Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Economic Development for a preliminary budget hearing; and a meeting of the Committee on Land Use to review all items reported out of the Subcommittee hearings.

Thursday evening, “Join us at Civic Hall – the new beautiful co-working space for civic tech and VRL’s new NY home! – for an evening of workshops and an engaging panel of women leaders.” The event is hosted by VoteRunLead, Veracity Media, Civic Hall, Republican Majority for Choice, Women's Information Network NYC (WIN NYC), She Should Run, Emerge America, Rising Stars and Greater NYC for Change.

Thursday at 5:30 p.m., CUNY Institute for Educational Policy at Roosevelt House will host Challenging the Tenure Laws in New York State: Why or Why Not?: “Davids vs. New York, a highly publicized lawsuit challenging New York's teacher tenure and seniority laws, is underway. Plaintiffs contend that the current laws violate children's constitutional right to a sound, basic education by keeping ineffective teachers in classrooms; defendants claim the lawsuit is a spurious attempt to destroy hard-won protections for the state's teaching profession.”

Thursday evening, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and members of the Council's Irish caucus - Council Members Danny Dromm, Corey Johnson, Liz Crowley, and Jimmy Van Bramer - along with other council members, will host the Council's Irish Heritage and Culture celebration at City Hall. 

Also Thursday evening, City Council Members Donovan Richards and Member Daneek Miller, and the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs will host an IDNYC Community Meeting in Queens.

Thursday at 6 p.m., City and State will host Above and Beyond: Honoring Women of Public and Civic Mind: “Each year, City & State honors 25 women who exhibit exceptional leadership in their fields and have made important contributions to society."

Friday and the weekend
Friday at City Hall, the Committee on Contracts, the Committee on Courts and Legal Services, the Committee on Community Development and the Committee on Youth Services will all hold preliminary budget oversight hearings throughout the day.

Friday afternoon, in celebration of Women’s History Month, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley will host a special film screening of a documentary on Geraldine Ferraro’s life titled “Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way,” the film about the life of the first female Vice Presidential nominee of a major political party.

Friday evening, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, District Leader Shirley Patterson and Green Earth Poets Café will host Shirley Chisholm Women of Excellence Awards and Reception: “Brooklynite Shirley Chisholm was a catalyst of change who made history by becoming the first African-American woman elected to Congress. Because of her values Barack Obama became the first African-American President in 2008. Senator Hamilton will continue her legacy by recognizing the achievements of iconic Brooklyn women on Friday, March 27th at the historic First Baptist Church in Crown Heights.”

Friday evening, the Inner Circle Show will hold its rehearsal; with the main event on Saturday night, both at the New York Hilton Hotel.

On Saturday at noon, Zephyr Teachout and others are holding a rally: "Gov. Cuomo has turned his back on our students. Join us as we rally outside his Midtown Office to demand that he fully fund our public schools, support struggling schools, not raise the cap on charter schools, and limit high-stakes testing!"

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

***
by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 23 Fri, 20 Mar 2015 15:41:48 +0000