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Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio

  • With Clock Ticking, East New York Negotiations to Heat Up

    espinal east new york hearing

    City Council Member Espinal (photo: William Alatriste) 


    With only two weeks left for the City Council to vote on the proposed rezoning of East New York, all eyes are on City Council Member Rafael Espinal, who is leading negotiations with the de Blasio administration and whose approval of a revised plan will determine its fate. Espinal has promised significant improvements to the plan put forward by the city and community organizers and

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 4

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    We're about two weeks from New York's April 19 presidential primary vote. The three remaining Republican candidates and two remaining Democrats have been campaigning in New York, which is more in play than it has been in several cycles. Hillary Clinton is set to hold events in New York City and Albany Monday, including a rally with Gov. Cuomo and a meeting with state Assembly Democrats, and while the candidates are

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  • Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Rapid Change

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    Hank Prussing's mural, The Spirit of East Harlem (via @ManhattanCB11)


    Pearl Barkley moved to East Harlem in the 1950s, when she was six years old. Her family lived in the Jefferson Houses on 115th Street, where she lives today and works as an organizer with Community Voices Heard, an economic justice advocacy non-profit.

    “Many people remember the fires, the abandoned boarded up buildings, and the people who left,” Barkley said in an interview. Essential services began disappearing from the

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  • De Blasio Concerned with Lack of Clarity as State Budget Deadline Nears

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    De Blasio (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office)


     

    Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday afternoon that he has been in regular contact with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and that he spoke with Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier in the day, but that he did not gain much clarity as Albany budget negotiations enter their final days.

    A new state budget is due by midnight Thursday, with the state's fiscal year beginning

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  • The Next Step to Helping Immigrant Families Thrive

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    Council Member Menchaca, a co-author, promotes IDNYC (photo: @IDNYC)


    In recent years, New York City has taken tremendous strides forward in supporting immigrants. Many of Mayor de Blasio's signature initiatives—particularly universal pre-kindergarten (UPK), IDNYC, and community schools—have offered vital new services to New Yorkers across the city that have been tremendously beneficial for immigrants seeking to fully integrate themselves into our society and see their families thrive.

    Now, there's another critical step that New York

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  • Confusion, Concern Remain as Cuomo Promises Full CUNY Funding

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    Shirley Jackson of the CUNY Student Senate at Thursday's protest (via @PSC_CUNY)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal to have New York City take over $485 million in funding for CUNY still has a number of legislators and advocates on edge despite the administration's repeated attempts to quell concerns. Advocates and faculty held a "die in" at Cuomo's New York City office on Thursday afternoon and a number of legislators say they remain ready to delay the state budget and vote against it should CUNY

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  • Library Funding One Discrepancy in Quiet City Budget Season

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    Council Member Van Bramer leads a library funding rally (photo: William Alatriste)


    Funding for New York City’s three public library systems is still $22 million short of the $65 million in city funding libraries received before the recession, despite increased demand for the services libraries provide, the presidents of the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library said at a March 23 City Council preliminary budget hearing.

    Hundreds of orange-clad librarians and library advocates filled the

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  • Senate Schedules De Blasio for Two Hearings on Mayoral Control of City Schools

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    De Blasio makes a school appearance (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The New York State Senate announced on Thursday afternoon that it has scheduled two hearings on mayoral control of New York City schools. Republicans who control the chamber have questioned Mayor Bill de Blasio's education policies, which are far different from his predecessor's, and only agreed to a one-year extension last year.

    Mayoral control is set to expire June 30, and the two hearings - one in Albany and one in New York City - will occur in May. In his Executive Budget, Governor

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  • School Diversity Benefits All Children - and Parents

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    Mayor de Blasio on a school visit (photo: Rob Bennett, Mayor's Office)


    My four-year-old daughter has a good friend at preschool who happens to have the same name. I'll call them both "Maya." My daughter is Asian, and her friend is Latino. Recently, a classmate said, "There are two Mayas in our class. One is white and the other is brown." My Asian daughter is the "white" Maya. The classmate's mom probed why he categorized the two Mayas this way, but didn't get much of an answer. Innocently, the boy didn't realize why his categorization was inaccurate or

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  • AARP Emerges as Key De Blasio Ally

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


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

    De Blasio has sought and embraced the support, frequently engaging with AARP members and regularly citing AARP's endorsement as validation for his housing plan, specifically controversial changes to the city's zoning

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 21

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will be another busy one when it comes to budgets: the City Council continues its preliminary budget hearings and state budget negotiations enter their final ten days - a state budget is due by April 1 and some say a deal could be announced before the end of this week. Don't count on it, though, state budgets usually come in just before (or, as was the case last year, just after) the March 31 midnight

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  • Report Propels Debate Over City's Welfare Reforms

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    CM Levin, left, & HRA Commissioner Banks (photo: William Alatriste)


    A new report on the city's reengineered public assistance system concluded, among other findings, that it's too soon to tell whether the wide-ranging reforms put in place by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks are working. The updated analysis from the city's Independent Budget Office (IBO) not only leaves unanswered whether the Banks/de Blasio reforms are working, but how exactly to judge a system now geared towards long-term change rather than short-term

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  • New York City Interests Given Varied Priority in Three Albany Budget Plans

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    De Blasio & Heastie (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio didn't need to see the Assembly and Senate one-house budgets to know where he stands with each chamber - Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is a close ally of the mayor, his fellow New York City Democrat, while Senate Republicans hold a major grudge against de Blasio for leading a failed effort to boot them from the majority two years ago. Most Republican legislators, who control the Senate but not the Assembly, are also philosophically opposed to much of de Blasio's

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  • Sides Near Deal on Major Zoning Changes Aimed at Creating Affordable Housing

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    De Blasio rallies for his housing plans (photo: Demetrius Freeman, Mayor's Office)


    After months of public discussion and weeks of private negotiation, the City Council is on the verge of passing, with tweaks, two sweeping changes to the city's land use rules that are key to Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan.

    Sources familiar with negotiations say that some details are still being worked through, but that the major tenets of the controversial changes to city zoning text are all but set. A deal may be announced as early as Monday

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 14

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio has reason to smile as this week begins. Through negotiations with the City Council and outside critics, de Blasio appears to have gotten just about everyone on board with his citywide zoning changes and they are all-but-certain to be passed through the City Council over the next two weeks - first through committee this week, then the full Council on March 22. The City Planning Commission has to

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  • The Right Model to Follow for Diversity at Specialized High Schools

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    Student debaters (photo: @NYCschools)

     


     

    Last week, 5,000 eighth graders got the exciting news that they were offered admission to one of the city's eight test-in Specialized High Schools, which offer a quality public school education unmatched in the country. But while the vast majority come from poor, working class and immigrant families, as has always been the case, once again far too few come from the black and Latino communities.

    Black and Latino students comprise a large majority in the city's public school system and should

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  • Addressing NYC's School Overcrowding Crisis

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    Protesting school overcrowding in Queens


    All parents in New York City deserve the peace of mind that their children will be able to attend a school where they can thrive and grow. Unfortunately, following years of neglect from the Bloomberg administration, our city's school system is plagued by school overcrowding and excessive class sizes, where hundreds of thousands of our children simply don't have adequate space to learn.

    With education a top priority for the city, it's critical that our leaders take strong action to address the chronic underfunding of our city's school

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 7

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Budget season heats up this week: the state budget is due by the end of the month, the legislature's one-house budgets are expected this week, as are further negotiations among Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate President John Flanagan, and New York City budget hearings continue. After holding its ...

  • Key to Vision of Closing Rikers, City Council Bail Fund Moves Through State Process

    MMV SOTC bail fund story

    Mark-Viverito delivers her State of the City (photo: William Alatriste)


    Last year, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled her plan for a fund that would cover bail for poor individuals charged with low-level criminal offenses who would otherwise be forced to wait in a city jail for their court date. The Council dedicated $1.4 million of budget funds to back the project, which is nearing

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 29-March 4

    week in review bus readers

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday March 4, 2016

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio and City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. visit Bed-Stuy businesses, via William Alatriste;

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  • Will the Democrats' Fresh Entitlements Lift Poor Families?

    de blasio upk

    De Blasio on a school visit (photo: Ed Reed, Mayoral Photography Office)


    Circle time at preschool teaches much about civility and unity, how best to contribute to a pint-size society.

    So when little Lela whispered from the corner, "I'm ready to come back," teacher Katie Wassel in Washington Heights figured lesson learned, the 4-year-old rejoined a tight crescent of fidgeting peers seated on a colorful rug. You can't elbow your neighbor at circle time.

    Hillary Clinton draws a wide and inclusive circle all her own, pitching fresh entitlements

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  • Several Significant Questions About The Governor's Budget

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    Gov. Cuomo at his State of the State (via The Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2016-2017 budget proposal has legislators and budget experts scratching their heads as to how major capital projects will be paid for, how the state plans to make good on a promise to fund the MTA, and how certain measures might affect funding for New York City. Many are wondering if the governor will keep his pledge that his plan to shift millions in costs for CUNY and Medicaid "won't cost New York City a penny."

    These questions linger almost two months

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  • City Council to Begin Public Examination of Mayor's Budget

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    Mayor de Blasio briefs Council members on his FY17 budget (William Alatriste)


    On Tuesday, the City Council will hold the first of many preliminary budget hearings on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initial fiscal year 2017 spending plan, part of a months-long negotiation process that will end in June when the City Council and the Mayor must agree upon a budget for fiscal year 2017.

    First in general terms, then agency by agency, the Council will ask de Blasio

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  • A Closer Look at De Blasio's Neighborhood Rezoning Plans

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    (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office)


    See interactive map below

    Mayor de Blasio's housing plan is moving forward on a few levels. There are the citywide zoning proposals (Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability) being considered by the City Council in February and March. If passed, these will change the zoning rules for the entire city, including a first-time requirement that whenever a developer receives an upzoning for a

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  • Shut Down the Criminal Court

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    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito should be commended for using her State of the City address, titled "More Justice," to call for criminal justice reform. She rightly observes that "we need more justice in the justice system" and ticked off some specific goals, including reducing the population at Rikers Island, creating civil procedures for minor violations, and improving the warrant process. However, the speaker

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