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/cfb 2017-10-21T04:49:19+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Filing, Tracking City & State Campaign Finance Data Will Become Easier 2015-11-20T22:06:14+00:00 2015-11-20T22:06:14+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6001:filing-tracking-city-a-state-campaign-finance-data-will-become-easier Super User <p><img alt="BOE-CFB" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/BOE-CFB.jpg" width="600" height="350" /></p> <p>NYS BOE, left, NYC CFB, right</p> <hr /> <p>Officials from the New York State Board of Elections and the New York City Campaign Finance Board outlined plans for overhauling <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5997-boards-to-offer-peek-into-new-ways-to-access-campaign-finance-data" target="_blank">their respective financial disclosure tools on Friday</a>.</p> <p>Though both groups said they wanted to make it easier for campaign staff to file reports and for the public to access filings, a divide was clear between the state BOE and the city CFB in terms of current capabilities and goals. Some of BOE's planned features, such as error-checking and bulk data export, for example, are already present on CFB's platform.</p> <p>Thomas Connolly, BOE's deputy director of public communications, said the board plans to roll out new finance and tracking systems by early 2017, replacing the current 1990s-era software. "Our goal is to create a state-of-the-art candidate tracking and campaign finance system that is open and transparent," he said to the audience of around 50 at Civic Hall in Gramercy. The event was co-hosted by good government group Reinvent Albany, which often scrutinizes campaign finance data and calls for significant reforms.</p> <p>Currently, the state BOE operates separate and unintegrated candidate tracking and campaign finance systems—"both old enough to vote," Connolly quipped—that require a lot of manual input. BOE's new systems would integrate the two sides on the web, instead of the current desktop software. Campaign staff will file disclosures on a website—instead of using desktop software—which would also warn users if they enter incomplete or invalid information. The public-facing website will also feature more advanced search and data-export functions than currently available.</p> <p>Some are disappointed that <a href="http://www.elections.ny.gov/CampaignFinance.html" target="_blank">the BOE</a> will not have its new systems up and running for the 2016 election cycle, during which all of the state legislature is on the ballot again.</p> <p>In response to multiple questions from audience members about whether or not campaign contributors will be assigned unique IDs in the system - which would allow users to see where else a donor has given, Connolly said that he doesn't foresee that being implemented. He pointed to the difficulties posed by misspelled names, different people with similar names, and inconsistent abbreviations. The new filing system will, however, feature autofill to help minimize those errors.</p> <p>"Our goal is that we'd rather get you flawed data than no data," Connolly said.</p> <p>Though the city CFB's filing system, C-SMART, was also created in the 1990s, it has since been updated to run on the web and includes many of the features that the state BOE is eyeing. As campaign staff enter contributor data, they receive prompts and warnings if entries are invalid, incomplete, or ineligible for <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/program" target="_blank">CFB's public matching funds program</a>. Addresses within New York City are checked against Department of City Planning records.</p> <p>(The state is at the very beginning stages of toying with a similar public matching funds program, but even a pilot has struggled to get off the ground.)</p> <p>CFB spokesperson Eric Friedman, assistant executive director for public affairs, said Friday that the board constantly improves its systems because it's required to do so after every election cycle. Some of CFB's upcoming developments Friedman mentioned will address a city law passed last year that requires independent committees to disclose donor information, showing which committees supported which candidates. 2013 was the first city election cycle in the post-Citizens United world, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5823-conference-keys-to-restore-voter-confidence-start-with-campaign-finance-reform" target="_blank">in which independent expenditures were a significant force in city campaigns</a>. The CFB is making its updates leading up to the city's 2017 cycle, while also <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5311-campaign-finance-board-cfb-city-council-respond-to-unprecedented-outside-spending" target="_blank">adapting to new legal requirements</a>.</p> <p>Other <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/" target="_blank">CFB</a> developments are primarily aimed at simplifying and improving the reporting process for campaign staff. One tool, for example, would allow campaigns to directly transfer contributor data from online donations into C-SMART. "A lot of compliance logic is built into it," Friedman said. "So campaigns have a lot of data to ensure their data is compliant."</p> <p>Still, officials from both boards said that some features requested by good-government groups, like unique contributor IDs and contributors' professional affiliations, will have to be first answered with legislation. And they added that while individual campaigns can and do correct contributor data, there is little that can be done on the software side to resolve issues like false or misspelled names and addresses.</p> <p>"The requirements of what the contributor is required to disclose is a matter of statues," Douglas Kellner, co-chair of the state BOE, said in response to a question about obtaining more data on contributors, including voter registration status. "I don't think either the Campaign Finance Board or the State Board of Elections has authority to go beyond those disclosure requirements in their regulations."</p> <p>"It's always going to be up to the candidate or the treasurer to update or modify their data," said Daniel Cho, director of candidate services at CFB.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5997-boards-to-offer-peek-into-new-ways-to-access-campaign-finance-data" target="_blank">Read more about the state BOE, city CFB &amp; their roles here</a>]</p> <p>***<br />by Christian Zhang, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img alt="BOE-CFB" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/BOE-CFB.jpg" width="600" height="350" /></p> <p>NYS BOE, left, NYC CFB, right</p> <hr /> <p>Officials from the New York State Board of Elections and the New York City Campaign Finance Board outlined plans for overhauling <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5997-boards-to-offer-peek-into-new-ways-to-access-campaign-finance-data" target="_blank">their respective financial disclosure tools on Friday</a>.</p> <p>Though both groups said they wanted to make it easier for campaign staff to file reports and for the public to access filings, a divide was clear between the state BOE and the city CFB in terms of current capabilities and goals. Some of BOE's planned features, such as error-checking and bulk data export, for example, are already present on CFB's platform.</p> <p>Thomas Connolly, BOE's deputy director of public communications, said the board plans to roll out new finance and tracking systems by early 2017, replacing the current 1990s-era software. "Our goal is to create a state-of-the-art candidate tracking and campaign finance system that is open and transparent," he said to the audience of around 50 at Civic Hall in Gramercy. The event was co-hosted by good government group Reinvent Albany, which often scrutinizes campaign finance data and calls for significant reforms.</p> <p>Currently, the state BOE operates separate and unintegrated candidate tracking and campaign finance systems—"both old enough to vote," Connolly quipped—that require a lot of manual input. BOE's new systems would integrate the two sides on the web, instead of the current desktop software. Campaign staff will file disclosures on a website—instead of using desktop software—which would also warn users if they enter incomplete or invalid information. The public-facing website will also feature more advanced search and data-export functions than currently available.</p> <p>Some are disappointed that <a href="http://www.elections.ny.gov/CampaignFinance.html" target="_blank">the BOE</a> will not have its new systems up and running for the 2016 election cycle, during which all of the state legislature is on the ballot again.</p> <p>In response to multiple questions from audience members about whether or not campaign contributors will be assigned unique IDs in the system - which would allow users to see where else a donor has given, Connolly said that he doesn't foresee that being implemented. He pointed to the difficulties posed by misspelled names, different people with similar names, and inconsistent abbreviations. The new filing system will, however, feature autofill to help minimize those errors.</p> <p>"Our goal is that we'd rather get you flawed data than no data," Connolly said.</p> <p>Though the city CFB's filing system, C-SMART, was also created in the 1990s, it has since been updated to run on the web and includes many of the features that the state BOE is eyeing. As campaign staff enter contributor data, they receive prompts and warnings if entries are invalid, incomplete, or ineligible for <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/program" target="_blank">CFB's public matching funds program</a>. Addresses within New York City are checked against Department of City Planning records.</p> <p>(The state is at the very beginning stages of toying with a similar public matching funds program, but even a pilot has struggled to get off the ground.)</p> <p>CFB spokesperson Eric Friedman, assistant executive director for public affairs, said Friday that the board constantly improves its systems because it's required to do so after every election cycle. Some of CFB's upcoming developments Friedman mentioned will address a city law passed last year that requires independent committees to disclose donor information, showing which committees supported which candidates. 2013 was the first city election cycle in the post-Citizens United world, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5823-conference-keys-to-restore-voter-confidence-start-with-campaign-finance-reform" target="_blank">in which independent expenditures were a significant force in city campaigns</a>. The CFB is making its updates leading up to the city's 2017 cycle, while also <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5311-campaign-finance-board-cfb-city-council-respond-to-unprecedented-outside-spending" target="_blank">adapting to new legal requirements</a>.</p> <p>Other <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/" target="_blank">CFB</a> developments are primarily aimed at simplifying and improving the reporting process for campaign staff. One tool, for example, would allow campaigns to directly transfer contributor data from online donations into C-SMART. "A lot of compliance logic is built into it," Friedman said. "So campaigns have a lot of data to ensure their data is compliant."</p> <p>Still, officials from both boards said that some features requested by good-government groups, like unique contributor IDs and contributors' professional affiliations, will have to be first answered with legislation. And they added that while individual campaigns can and do correct contributor data, there is little that can be done on the software side to resolve issues like false or misspelled names and addresses.</p> <p>"The requirements of what the contributor is required to disclose is a matter of statues," Douglas Kellner, co-chair of the state BOE, said in response to a question about obtaining more data on contributors, including voter registration status. "I don't think either the Campaign Finance Board or the State Board of Elections has authority to go beyond those disclosure requirements in their regulations."</p> <p>"It's always going to be up to the candidate or the treasurer to update or modify their data," said Daniel Cho, director of candidate services at CFB.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5997-boards-to-offer-peek-into-new-ways-to-access-campaign-finance-data" target="_blank">Read more about the state BOE, city CFB &amp; their roles here</a>]</p> <p>***<br />by Christian Zhang, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> Boards to Offer Peek Into New Ways to Access Campaign Finance Data 2015-11-19T23:56:02+00:00 2015-11-19T23:56:02+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5997:boards-to-offer-peek-into-new-ways-to-access-campaign-finance-data Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/cfb_screenshot_site_page.jpg" alt="cfb screenshot site page" width="600" height="308" /></p> <p>(photo <a href="https://twitter.com/NYCCFB/status/616653074359283712" target="_blank">via @NYCCFB</a>)</p> <hr /> <p>On Friday morning representatives from both the New York State Board of Elections and the New York City Campaign Finance Board will come together to outline updates to their reporting systems and take questions from candidates, journalists, watchdogs, and others.</p> <p>John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany, the good government group hosting the event along with Civic Hall, where it will take place, said he is most excited to have representatives of the State BOE in the New York City and ready to take questions and walk users through their new system that is expected to be ready sometime in 2017.</p> <p>"They aren't known for doing this kind of thing--speaking directly to the public," said Kaehny of BOE reps. "This kind of dialogue with the public is really important for transparency." The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs <a href="http://civichall.org/events/following-the-money/" target="_blank">have been requested</a>.</p> <p>Technically, the "State Board of Elections" won't be at the event as Republican members of the Board decided not to take part. Instead, Democratic members will be representing themselves as employees of the agency (but not speaking for the BOE as a whole). Douglas Kellner, Democratic co-chair of the BOE, told Gotham Gazette that he hoped to have the full agency cosponsor the event but that idea was discarded by Republican chairs.</p> <p>The absence of the full BOE is just another reminder of how differently the two agencies - the state BOE and the city CFB - are constituted and operate.</p> <p>"The CFB are state of the art nationally; the two really come from completely different universes," said Kaehny, referring to the fact that the state BOE is not regarded as cutting edge or particularly effective. "The CFB have infinitely greater resources, they hold candidate forums, their compliance is higher - they are the model, people from across the country look to them. They aren't bipartisan, they are nonpartisan, and they get a lot done."</p> <p>New York City's Campaign Finance Board is indeed seen as a national model for transparency, efficiency, and accountability. It is well funded, nonpartisan, focused, and maintains a fairly constant public relations effort. The same can't be said for the New York State Board of Elections, whose members have long complained of being underfunded. The BOE oversees data from state and local elections, as well as polling places and voting machines. It is a bipartisan organization and as such is hampered by political infighting and often deadlocks on major issues. The BOE is well known for a lack of enforcement, a lack of transparency, and using cantankerous campaign finance reporting software that is decades out of date.</p> <p>Kellner, of the BOE, said he is excited to talk about the board's new software, which it is currently testing in working groups with journalists and other interested parties. Users of the BOE's current software are accustomed to botched searches, missing pages, and problems with data.</p> <p>Kellner thinks that is going to change. "I am very hopeful for our new campaign finance system," he told Gotham Gazette. "Our current system was set up 20 years ago and was very much out of date. It was a credit to our staff that they've kept it functional." Kellner noted that California's system was neglected for years and finally went down, leaving the agency to record votes on paper for a year while a new system was developed.</p> <p>"We had been sending out alarm signals that this could happen here. We had been asking the state for funding to update for years and thankfully Governor Cuomo agreed and we got the funding," said Kellner.</p> <p>Kaehny said he is also hopeful for the new system but a bit disappointed it couldn't have been prepared in time to test during this year's relatively quiet election cycle and then given a full rollout during the 2016 cycle, when all of the state legislative seats are up for election.</p> <p>Kellner said that the BOE gets a bad rap, that the agency has put a great deal of effort into reaching out to interested users for input on its new software ,and that the newly created enforcement arm of the BOE, through its compliance unit, has been auditing filings for data inconsistencies and filing errors and has either rejected filings or offered help to treasurers to ensure accuracy and consistency.</p> <p>While the state BOE is set to show off some of its new tools, the CFB is also expected to outline coming changes at Friday's event, which is called "Following the Money: Opening NY Campaign Finance Data." The event listing says the two agencies will "preview new campaign finance reporting systems and discuss how to make state and city campaign finance data easier to use." The CFB is eyeing the next round of city elections in 2017, but its representatives are also aware that the board's data is always of interest to many.</p> <p>Kaehny, despite his praise of the CFB, said he has a frustration with both agencies he hopes will be alleviated on Friday. He says that he and other campaign finance aficionados are in the dark about how to report data errors to the agencies and whether they actually get fixed once they are reported. "If we get anything out of it," Kaehny said of Friday's event, "it's to get both agencies to tell us how to report data problems and who is going to fix it."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/cfb_screenshot_site_page.jpg" alt="cfb screenshot site page" width="600" height="308" /></p> <p>(photo <a href="https://twitter.com/NYCCFB/status/616653074359283712" target="_blank">via @NYCCFB</a>)</p> <hr /> <p>On Friday morning representatives from both the New York State Board of Elections and the New York City Campaign Finance Board will come together to outline updates to their reporting systems and take questions from candidates, journalists, watchdogs, and others.</p> <p>John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany, the good government group hosting the event along with Civic Hall, where it will take place, said he is most excited to have representatives of the State BOE in the New York City and ready to take questions and walk users through their new system that is expected to be ready sometime in 2017.</p> <p>"They aren't known for doing this kind of thing--speaking directly to the public," said Kaehny of BOE reps. "This kind of dialogue with the public is really important for transparency." The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs <a href="http://civichall.org/events/following-the-money/" target="_blank">have been requested</a>.</p> <p>Technically, the "State Board of Elections" won't be at the event as Republican members of the Board decided not to take part. Instead, Democratic members will be representing themselves as employees of the agency (but not speaking for the BOE as a whole). Douglas Kellner, Democratic co-chair of the BOE, told Gotham Gazette that he hoped to have the full agency cosponsor the event but that idea was discarded by Republican chairs.</p> <p>The absence of the full BOE is just another reminder of how differently the two agencies - the state BOE and the city CFB - are constituted and operate.</p> <p>"The CFB are state of the art nationally; the two really come from completely different universes," said Kaehny, referring to the fact that the state BOE is not regarded as cutting edge or particularly effective. "The CFB have infinitely greater resources, they hold candidate forums, their compliance is higher - they are the model, people from across the country look to them. They aren't bipartisan, they are nonpartisan, and they get a lot done."</p> <p>New York City's Campaign Finance Board is indeed seen as a national model for transparency, efficiency, and accountability. It is well funded, nonpartisan, focused, and maintains a fairly constant public relations effort. The same can't be said for the New York State Board of Elections, whose members have long complained of being underfunded. The BOE oversees data from state and local elections, as well as polling places and voting machines. It is a bipartisan organization and as such is hampered by political infighting and often deadlocks on major issues. The BOE is well known for a lack of enforcement, a lack of transparency, and using cantankerous campaign finance reporting software that is decades out of date.</p> <p>Kellner, of the BOE, said he is excited to talk about the board's new software, which it is currently testing in working groups with journalists and other interested parties. Users of the BOE's current software are accustomed to botched searches, missing pages, and problems with data.</p> <p>Kellner thinks that is going to change. "I am very hopeful for our new campaign finance system," he told Gotham Gazette. "Our current system was set up 20 years ago and was very much out of date. It was a credit to our staff that they've kept it functional." Kellner noted that California's system was neglected for years and finally went down, leaving the agency to record votes on paper for a year while a new system was developed.</p> <p>"We had been sending out alarm signals that this could happen here. We had been asking the state for funding to update for years and thankfully Governor Cuomo agreed and we got the funding," said Kellner.</p> <p>Kaehny said he is also hopeful for the new system but a bit disappointed it couldn't have been prepared in time to test during this year's relatively quiet election cycle and then given a full rollout during the 2016 cycle, when all of the state legislative seats are up for election.</p> <p>Kellner said that the BOE gets a bad rap, that the agency has put a great deal of effort into reaching out to interested users for input on its new software ,and that the newly created enforcement arm of the BOE, through its compliance unit, has been auditing filings for data inconsistencies and filing errors and has either rejected filings or offered help to treasurers to ensure accuracy and consistency.</p> <p>While the state BOE is set to show off some of its new tools, the CFB is also expected to outline coming changes at Friday's event, which is called "Following the Money: Opening NY Campaign Finance Data." The event listing says the two agencies will "preview new campaign finance reporting systems and discuss how to make state and city campaign finance data easier to use." The CFB is eyeing the next round of city elections in 2017, but its representatives are also aware that the board's data is always of interest to many.</p> <p>Kaehny, despite his praise of the CFB, said he has a frustration with both agencies he hopes will be alleviated on Friday. He says that he and other campaign finance aficionados are in the dark about how to report data errors to the agencies and whether they actually get fixed once they are reported. "If we get anything out of it," Kaehny said of Friday's event, "it's to get both agencies to tell us how to report data problems and who is going to fix it."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 5 2015-10-04T05:00:00+00:00 2015-10-04T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5920:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-5 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></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>This week will include a focus on what the city can do to stop gas-related explosions after another such explosion occurred this weekend, this time in Borough Park; education politics and policy, as the pro-charter, anti-de Blasio group Families for Excellent Schools will hold a large rally; a continuation of negotiation and criticism between city and state entities over MTA funding; and more.</p> <p>Oh, and it's the Major League Baseball playoffs, with both the Mets and Yankees in the post-season for the first time in a long time, with many hoping for a "subway series" World Series between the two, a la 2000, when the Yankees defeated the Mets.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING DE BLASIO:</strong> With the threat from Hurricane Joaquin abated, Mayor de Blasio decided to go through with his trip to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore on Friday and Saturday. The mayor delivered remarks at a reception for the State Innovation Exchange Conference on Friday, then attended the United States Conference of Mayors Fall Leadership Meeting on Saturday. The mayor then headed back to Borough Park, Brooklyn, where he attended to the emergency gas explosion that tore apart a building, killing at least one and injuring several.</p> <p>The incident is another in a string of gas explosions, including East Harlem and the East Village, that has many worried and talking about a need for new measures to combat the deadly incidents. Gov. Cuomo announced he was deploying representatives to investigate and city officials are calling for action. This explosion appears to have been caused by mistakes made during the removal of an oven.</p> <p>On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will be on Staten Island for the groundbreaking of The Staten Island Family Justice Center, at which the mayor will speak around 10 a.m.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/10/staten_island_family_justice_center.html" target="_blank">Read more from</a>&nbsp;the Staten Island Advance, including that Staten Island will join the other boroughs, each of which already has such a center, which "provide comprehensive criminal justice, civil legal and social services free of charge to victims of domestic violence, elderly abuse and sex trafficking in the other boroughs."</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</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>At 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Bronx County Courthouse, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will announce a major crackdown on distributors of synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs."</p> <p>On Monday morning, "State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan joins state Sen. Martin Golden on a walking tour and media availability in Gerritsen Beach, starting in front of 3078 Gerritsen Ave., Brooklyn," according to City &amp; State NY.</p> <p>At 12:30 p.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will announce&nbsp;the "launch of MonumentArt, an International Mural Festival hosted in East Harlem and the South Bronx," from La Marqueta.</p> <p>On Monday,&nbsp;Public Advocate Letitia James "will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation conference."</p> <p>Monday evening, First Lady McCray will be among the honorees of a&nbsp;Feminist Power Award from the Feminist Press.</p> <p>At 8 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer "Receives the Pacesetter Award at The National Association of Investment Companies 45th Annual Meeting &amp; Convention Welcome Reception."</p> <p>Monday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday, at 10 a.m., a press conference in PACE University's downtown campus will mark the beginning of Poverty Awareness Week, which is co-sponsored by Pace University and The Mayor's Office. The week will include a series of events. Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. will be one keynote speaker; Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of NYCHA will participate in a discussion on "Local Initiatives to Eradicate Poverty."</p> <p>On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio "will deliver remarks at the ribbon-cutting for the Brooklyn College Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School for Cinema at Steiner Studios."</p> <p>At 5 p.m., the Mayor will appear on WCBS Newsradio 880.</p> <p>In the evening, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and many others will attend a birthday celebration for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.brooklynhistory.org/visitor/calendar.html" target="_blank">will host</a> "Why New York? Our Broken Bail System." The event will be moderated by New York Times journalist Shaila Dewan, with panelists: Judge George Grasso, public defender Josh Saunders, criminal justice reform advocate Glenn E. Martin, and an individual who couldn't afford bail.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, NY Tech Meetup will be <a href="http://www.meetup.com/ny-tech/events/220016185/?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoku6zIe%2B%2FhmjTEU5z16uUuWaW0gJt41El3fuXBP2XqjvpVQcNhNrDNRw8FHZNpywVWM8TIKNARt9B5LwzkAG8%3D" target="_blank">held</a> at NYU, with a number of New York companies presenting demos of technologies that they are developing.</p> <p>Tuesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 4 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Brad Lander (District 39, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>JCOPE is set to meet Wednesday morning in Albany.</p> <p>Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., City &amp; State NY <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-energy-tickets-18606786399?aff=erelexporg" target="_blank">holds</a> its fifth annual "On Energy" event, inviting leaders in government, advocacy and business to speak on a number of topics related to the future of energy. Among the topics of discussion will be Governor Andrew Cuomo's regulatory overhaul in New York, Mayor de Blasio's 80 by 50 plan, and more. The event includes a panel with Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of Center for an Urban Future; Nilda Mesa, Director at NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability; Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation. Other notable speakers to appear include: Richard Kauffman, NYS Chair of Energy &amp; Finance; Arthur "Jerry" Kremer, Chairman of New York AREA; Ambassador Ron Kirk, Chairman of CASEnergy; Kevin Parker, a New York state Senator and ranking member of the Energy &amp; Telecommunications Committee.</p> <p>On Wednesday, The Families for Excellent Schools rally, postponed from last week because of weather and "to demand equal opportunity in our schools," will take place, starting mid-morning at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, followed by a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, and a 12:30 p.m. press conference at City Hall. <a href="http://www.familiesforexcellentschools.org/parentsrally" target="_blank">The rally</a> is, in essence, to promote more more charter schools and criticize Mayor de Blasio's education agenda, which does not include more charters. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is expected to headline the rally, along with several high-profile performers, including Jennifer Hudson.</p> <p>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Wednesday</a>:</p> <ul> <li>10 a.m., The Committee on Transportation will meet to discuss a bill that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a study on the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists along bus routes. DOT would then institute new safety measures based on the data. The Committee will also discuss a bill that would require the identification of dangerous intersections based on incidents involving pedestrians, and implement curb extensions in such areas. The Committee will also make a decision on resolutions that would require the MTA to instal rear guards on bus wheels and to study ways to eliminate blind spots for buses.</li> <li>Also 10 a.m., The Committee on Aging will hold an oversight hearing on older adult employment.</li> </ul> <p>At 10 a.m. <a href="http://www.eastriverfiftiesalliance.com/" target="_blank">The East 50s Alliance</a> will hold a community rally to protest the planned construction of a 900-foot tower in the 58th street residential area. The residents are "deeply concerned that the tower will diminish the safety, accessibility and livability of a narrow side street during a lengthy construction process and forever after." City Council Member Ben Kallos will speak.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio, along with Council Members Paul Vallone and Vincent Gentile and others, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1500786460235939/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a Celebration of Italian Heritage at the Council Chambers in City Hall. The event will also celebrate Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday.</p> <p>From 6 to 8 p.m. at Fordham Law School, The Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center and the Women's City Club of New York&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/this-bridge-called-my-back-women-of-color-and-the-fight-for-economic-security-tickets-17973743952" target="_blank">will host</a> "This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color and the Fight for Economic Security", on "how gender intersects with economic and racial inequality in New York City." Dr. Christina Greer, professor of political science at Fordham University, will moderate the panel, with Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Luna Ranjit, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Adhikaar; Joanne N. Smith Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equality; and Margarita Rosa, Executive Director of National Center for Law and Economic Justice participating in the discussion.</p> <p>Wednesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">at the City Council</a>:</p> <ul> <li>9:30 a.m., Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss three land use applications in Manhattan.</li> <li>10 a.m., Committee on Finance will meet regarding the Department of Finance's Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.</li> <li>11 a.m., Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss a land use application in Brooklyn</li> <li>1 p.m., Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss another land use application in Brooklyn</li> </ul> <p>Thursday at the New York State Legislature: the&nbsp;Assembly Standing Committee on Health, Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, and Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/Health/20150911/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a joint public hearing regarding Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Services. "The Committees are seeking oral and written testimony from patients and their families, clinicians, service providers, and the Department on topics including the incidence, severity and consequences of TBI; treatment and service appropriateness and availability, including the rights of patients sent out-of-state; and issues relating to the transition of the TBI Waiver program to managed care."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Thursday New York State Assembly Members Latoya Joyner and Marcos Crespo <a href="https://events.gybo.com/events/132/detail" target="_blank">will kick off</a> "Let's Put Our Cities on the Map," sponsored and hosted by Google at the Bronx Museum of Arts, which will offer free counseling for small businesses on how to reach local customer bases, specifically by using "SmartLogic" online tools.</p> <p>"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday, October 8 at 10:00 AM."</p> <p>At 5 p.m. Thursday, EmblemHealth and LaborPress <a href="http://laborpress.org/sectors/municipal-labor/2900-laborpress-honors-heroes-of-labor" target="_blank">will honor</a> 12 labor union members, from eight different labor unions, for their remarkable contributions to the labor communities at the fourth annual "Heroes of Labor Awards". EmblemHealth has invited many city elected officials to speak, several are expected.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Thursday in Washington, D.C., the Brennan Center for Justice and Vox <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/politics-of-participation" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Politics of Participation: Building an Engaged Citizenry for Millennials and Beyond," including City Council Member Eric Ulrich. It is billed as "a candid conversation about what the shifting demographic landscape means for grassroots movements, political action, and civic engagement; how can we shape our democracy into one that is truly representative of the people being governed?"</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-changing-face-of-activism-tickets-17896902116" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Changing Face of Activism," which will explore the historical progression of activism from the 1960s desegregation movement to the present day Black Lives Matter movement. Moderated by Alethia Jones, a leader of 1199 SEIU, the panel will feature activist Barbara Smith; Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform; and Jose Lopez, Lead Organizer at Make the Road NY and member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.</p> <p>At 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Dan Abrams of ABC News&nbsp;<a href="http://www.92y.org/Event/Ray-Kelly-in-Conversation" target="_blank">will talk</a> with Ray Kelly, the longest-serving NYPD Commissioner, at the 92nd Street Y. Kelly will hold a book signing for his new memoir Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City, after his talk with Mr. Abrams.</p> <p>Thursday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 5 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday at 8:15 a.m., NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton <a href="https://nyls.wufoo.com/forms/william-bratton-citylaw-breakfast/" target="_blank">will speak</a> at New York Law School, as part of the CityLaw breakfast series.</p> <p>Weekend <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">participatory budgeting</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Friday, CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1 pm.</li> <li>Saturday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> <li>Sunday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> </ul> <p><em>*Note: we'll publish our next 'Week Ahead' on Monday, October 13 given the Columbus Day holiday</em></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 Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@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" height="450" width="600" /></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>This week will include a focus on what the city can do to stop gas-related explosions after another such explosion occurred this weekend, this time in Borough Park; education politics and policy, as the pro-charter, anti-de Blasio group Families for Excellent Schools will hold a large rally; a continuation of negotiation and criticism between city and state entities over MTA funding; and more.</p> <p>Oh, and it's the Major League Baseball playoffs, with both the Mets and Yankees in the post-season for the first time in a long time, with many hoping for a "subway series" World Series between the two, a la 2000, when the Yankees defeated the Mets.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING DE BLASIO:</strong> With the threat from Hurricane Joaquin abated, Mayor de Blasio decided to go through with his trip to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore on Friday and Saturday. The mayor delivered remarks at a reception for the State Innovation Exchange Conference on Friday, then attended the United States Conference of Mayors Fall Leadership Meeting on Saturday. The mayor then headed back to Borough Park, Brooklyn, where he attended to the emergency gas explosion that tore apart a building, killing at least one and injuring several.</p> <p>The incident is another in a string of gas explosions, including East Harlem and the East Village, that has many worried and talking about a need for new measures to combat the deadly incidents. Gov. Cuomo announced he was deploying representatives to investigate and city officials are calling for action. This explosion appears to have been caused by mistakes made during the removal of an oven.</p> <p>On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will be on Staten Island for the groundbreaking of The Staten Island Family Justice Center, at which the mayor will speak around 10 a.m.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/10/staten_island_family_justice_center.html" target="_blank">Read more from</a>&nbsp;the Staten Island Advance, including that Staten Island will join the other boroughs, each of which already has such a center, which "provide comprehensive criminal justice, civil legal and social services free of charge to victims of domestic violence, elderly abuse and sex trafficking in the other boroughs."</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</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>At 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Bronx County Courthouse, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will announce a major crackdown on distributors of synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs."</p> <p>On Monday morning, "State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan joins state Sen. Martin Golden on a walking tour and media availability in Gerritsen Beach, starting in front of 3078 Gerritsen Ave., Brooklyn," according to City &amp; State NY.</p> <p>At 12:30 p.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will announce&nbsp;the "launch of MonumentArt, an International Mural Festival hosted in East Harlem and the South Bronx," from La Marqueta.</p> <p>On Monday,&nbsp;Public Advocate Letitia James "will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation conference."</p> <p>Monday evening, First Lady McCray will be among the honorees of a&nbsp;Feminist Power Award from the Feminist Press.</p> <p>At 8 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer "Receives the Pacesetter Award at The National Association of Investment Companies 45th Annual Meeting &amp; Convention Welcome Reception."</p> <p>Monday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday, at 10 a.m., a press conference in PACE University's downtown campus will mark the beginning of Poverty Awareness Week, which is co-sponsored by Pace University and The Mayor's Office. The week will include a series of events. Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. will be one keynote speaker; Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of NYCHA will participate in a discussion on "Local Initiatives to Eradicate Poverty."</p> <p>On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio "will deliver remarks at the ribbon-cutting for the Brooklyn College Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School for Cinema at Steiner Studios."</p> <p>At 5 p.m., the Mayor will appear on WCBS Newsradio 880.</p> <p>In the evening, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and many others will attend a birthday celebration for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.brooklynhistory.org/visitor/calendar.html" target="_blank">will host</a> "Why New York? Our Broken Bail System." The event will be moderated by New York Times journalist Shaila Dewan, with panelists: Judge George Grasso, public defender Josh Saunders, criminal justice reform advocate Glenn E. Martin, and an individual who couldn't afford bail.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, NY Tech Meetup will be <a href="http://www.meetup.com/ny-tech/events/220016185/?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoku6zIe%2B%2FhmjTEU5z16uUuWaW0gJt41El3fuXBP2XqjvpVQcNhNrDNRw8FHZNpywVWM8TIKNARt9B5LwzkAG8%3D" target="_blank">held</a> at NYU, with a number of New York companies presenting demos of technologies that they are developing.</p> <p>Tuesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 4 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Brad Lander (District 39, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>JCOPE is set to meet Wednesday morning in Albany.</p> <p>Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., City &amp; State NY <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-energy-tickets-18606786399?aff=erelexporg" target="_blank">holds</a> its fifth annual "On Energy" event, inviting leaders in government, advocacy and business to speak on a number of topics related to the future of energy. Among the topics of discussion will be Governor Andrew Cuomo's regulatory overhaul in New York, Mayor de Blasio's 80 by 50 plan, and more. The event includes a panel with Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of Center for an Urban Future; Nilda Mesa, Director at NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability; Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation. Other notable speakers to appear include: Richard Kauffman, NYS Chair of Energy &amp; Finance; Arthur "Jerry" Kremer, Chairman of New York AREA; Ambassador Ron Kirk, Chairman of CASEnergy; Kevin Parker, a New York state Senator and ranking member of the Energy &amp; Telecommunications Committee.</p> <p>On Wednesday, The Families for Excellent Schools rally, postponed from last week because of weather and "to demand equal opportunity in our schools," will take place, starting mid-morning at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, followed by a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, and a 12:30 p.m. press conference at City Hall. <a href="http://www.familiesforexcellentschools.org/parentsrally" target="_blank">The rally</a> is, in essence, to promote more more charter schools and criticize Mayor de Blasio's education agenda, which does not include more charters. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is expected to headline the rally, along with several high-profile performers, including Jennifer Hudson.</p> <p>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Wednesday</a>:</p> <ul> <li>10 a.m., The Committee on Transportation will meet to discuss a bill that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a study on the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists along bus routes. DOT would then institute new safety measures based on the data. The Committee will also discuss a bill that would require the identification of dangerous intersections based on incidents involving pedestrians, and implement curb extensions in such areas. The Committee will also make a decision on resolutions that would require the MTA to instal rear guards on bus wheels and to study ways to eliminate blind spots for buses.</li> <li>Also 10 a.m., The Committee on Aging will hold an oversight hearing on older adult employment.</li> </ul> <p>At 10 a.m. <a href="http://www.eastriverfiftiesalliance.com/" target="_blank">The East 50s Alliance</a> will hold a community rally to protest the planned construction of a 900-foot tower in the 58th street residential area. The residents are "deeply concerned that the tower will diminish the safety, accessibility and livability of a narrow side street during a lengthy construction process and forever after." City Council Member Ben Kallos will speak.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio, along with Council Members Paul Vallone and Vincent Gentile and others, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1500786460235939/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a Celebration of Italian Heritage at the Council Chambers in City Hall. The event will also celebrate Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday.</p> <p>From 6 to 8 p.m. at Fordham Law School, The Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center and the Women's City Club of New York&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/this-bridge-called-my-back-women-of-color-and-the-fight-for-economic-security-tickets-17973743952" target="_blank">will host</a> "This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color and the Fight for Economic Security", on "how gender intersects with economic and racial inequality in New York City." Dr. Christina Greer, professor of political science at Fordham University, will moderate the panel, with Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Luna Ranjit, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Adhikaar; Joanne N. Smith Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equality; and Margarita Rosa, Executive Director of National Center for Law and Economic Justice participating in the discussion.</p> <p>Wednesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">at the City Council</a>:</p> <ul> <li>9:30 a.m., Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss three land use applications in Manhattan.</li> <li>10 a.m., Committee on Finance will meet regarding the Department of Finance's Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.</li> <li>11 a.m., Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss a land use application in Brooklyn</li> <li>1 p.m., Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss another land use application in Brooklyn</li> </ul> <p>Thursday at the New York State Legislature: the&nbsp;Assembly Standing Committee on Health, Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, and Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/Health/20150911/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a joint public hearing regarding Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Services. "The Committees are seeking oral and written testimony from patients and their families, clinicians, service providers, and the Department on topics including the incidence, severity and consequences of TBI; treatment and service appropriateness and availability, including the rights of patients sent out-of-state; and issues relating to the transition of the TBI Waiver program to managed care."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Thursday New York State Assembly Members Latoya Joyner and Marcos Crespo <a href="https://events.gybo.com/events/132/detail" target="_blank">will kick off</a> "Let's Put Our Cities on the Map," sponsored and hosted by Google at the Bronx Museum of Arts, which will offer free counseling for small businesses on how to reach local customer bases, specifically by using "SmartLogic" online tools.</p> <p>"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday, October 8 at 10:00 AM."</p> <p>At 5 p.m. Thursday, EmblemHealth and LaborPress <a href="http://laborpress.org/sectors/municipal-labor/2900-laborpress-honors-heroes-of-labor" target="_blank">will honor</a> 12 labor union members, from eight different labor unions, for their remarkable contributions to the labor communities at the fourth annual "Heroes of Labor Awards". EmblemHealth has invited many city elected officials to speak, several are expected.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Thursday in Washington, D.C., the Brennan Center for Justice and Vox <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/politics-of-participation" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Politics of Participation: Building an Engaged Citizenry for Millennials and Beyond," including City Council Member Eric Ulrich. It is billed as "a candid conversation about what the shifting demographic landscape means for grassroots movements, political action, and civic engagement; how can we shape our democracy into one that is truly representative of the people being governed?"</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-changing-face-of-activism-tickets-17896902116" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Changing Face of Activism," which will explore the historical progression of activism from the 1960s desegregation movement to the present day Black Lives Matter movement. Moderated by Alethia Jones, a leader of 1199 SEIU, the panel will feature activist Barbara Smith; Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform; and Jose Lopez, Lead Organizer at Make the Road NY and member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.</p> <p>At 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Dan Abrams of ABC News&nbsp;<a href="http://www.92y.org/Event/Ray-Kelly-in-Conversation" target="_blank">will talk</a> with Ray Kelly, the longest-serving NYPD Commissioner, at the 92nd Street Y. Kelly will hold a book signing for his new memoir Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City, after his talk with Mr. Abrams.</p> <p>Thursday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 5 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday at 8:15 a.m., NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton <a href="https://nyls.wufoo.com/forms/william-bratton-citylaw-breakfast/" target="_blank">will speak</a> at New York Law School, as part of the CityLaw breakfast series.</p> <p>Weekend <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">participatory budgeting</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Friday, CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1 pm.</li> <li>Saturday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> <li>Sunday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> </ul> <p><em>*Note: we'll publish our next 'Week Ahead' on Monday, October 13 given the Columbus Day holiday</em></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 Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> How To Become a New York City Council Member 2015-08-27T13:23:11+00:00 2015-08-27T13:23:11+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5862:how-to-become-a-new-york-city-council-member Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/bdb_cms_muni_id_alatriste.jpg" alt="bdb cms muni id alatriste" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mayor de Blasio, a former Council member, with several current CMs (William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Ask any New York City Council member and they'll tell you— there is no set formula that will send an aspiring candidate to City Hall.</p> <p>"If you want to be a lawyer, the path is the same: get a bachelor's degree, take the LSATs, go to law school, take the bar exam, and voila, you're a lawyer," Ritchie Torres, the 51-member Council's youngest rep, told Gotham Gazette. "Whereas in politics, there is no single path."</p> <p>Torres' ascent to deputy leader in the Council— he is an openly gay, Afro-Latino, college drop-out who grew up in public housing in the Bronx— is perhaps most emblematic of this truth, reflected in the broad expanse of backgrounds present in today's class of Council members.</p> <p>The sole member of the Council with a doctorate of medicine, Mathieu Eugene, has another unique story. "I grew up in a country of many challenges. If somebody told my mother when I was a child, 'your son will be an elected official in New York,' she would've said, 'you're crazy,'" said the Haitian-born Eugene, of Brooklyn.</p> <p>But while it's true that there's not a single path to becoming a member of the New York City Council, it is also true - as indicated by data and Council members' own admissions - that some paths are more commonly travelled than others.</p> <p>Gotham Gazette found that nearly 40 percent of current Council members have served on the staff of a Council member or state Assembly member, with 60 percent of that group serving as chief of staff; and nearly 30 percent of Council members served on a community board.</p> <p>Several Council members have come to the body directly from the state Assembly, the path being taken by soon-to-be Council Member Joseph Borrelli, of Staten Island. Borrelli is running unopposed in a special election to replace former Council Member Vincent Ignizio, who resigned recently to take a non-profit leadership job.</p> <p>Meanwhile, last Thursday's primary day saw Barry Grodenchik emerge from a crowded Democratic field in a race to fill a vacant Queens Council post. Grodenchik, a former Assembly member and current aide to the Queens Borough President, still has to defeat a general election opponent, but is favored to do so.</p> <p>Asked about his government experience preparing him for the Council, Grodenchik emailed Gotham Gazette to say that elected officials deal with many challenges in office, one being "the level of bureaucracy you sometimes face in navigating government on behalf of constituents." He believes that "experience doing so matters - and I believe my experience in the Assembly, as well as at [Queens] Borough Hall will help me be a better Councilman if elected."</p> <p>Grodenchik continued to say that throughout his "career in public service" he's "gained insight on how to get things done in government." His experience likely appeals to voters, especially the small number willing to vote on a Thursday in an "off-year." It is also what led him to garner the support of the Queens County Democratic "establishment," which helped him get elected - establishment support is often a key to electoral victory in City Council races.</p> <p>While many Council members come from other parts of government, including elected bodies like the Assembly, their predecessors' staffs, and local community boards, others come from community organizing and labor. Some enter the Council from the private sector, but usually have community ties to speak of.</p> <p>Gotham Gazette spoke with current Council members about their journeys to City Hall and how the demographics of the Council are changing.</p> <p><strong>Chief of Staff</strong><br />Many Council members who served in the role of chief of staff look back on the job as a pivotal position that gave them the tools to be an effective Council member.</p> <p>"I think that anyone considering running for office should have some experience in government because I think it's important for people to know about the job that they are seeking," Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos said. Kallos served as chief of staff to former Assembly Member Jonathan Bing. "I can say that being a chief of staff, I was able to learn about the most important part of the job, which is constituent services and helping individuals with their cases."</p> <p>Kallos also said he was able to learn about "how the legislative process works, how to get things done in a collegial environment...and ultimately as a chief of staff you get to learn a lot about the different jobs and what is necessary to run a well-functioning office."</p> <p>Queens Council Member Costa Constantinides told Gotham Gazette his experience working as deputy chief of staff to former Council Member James Gennaro provided him with a strong skillset on which to run.</p> <p>"When I made the choice to run for City Council I had a foundation in policies and I felt that was really important," Constantinides said. "I talked about, 'I have a record of getting bills passed, I have a record of knowing how this institution works, I have a record of taking on real fights already.'"</p> <p>Council Member Torres, a former constituent liaison for now colleague Council Member Jimmy Vacca, said the role of chief of staff is particularly crucial: it allows for "far more access to the political establishment" than employees in a Council member's district office have.</p> <p>"Yes, one path to elected office could be employment in the office of an elected official, but within that category there are huge differences between chief of staff and the role of a constituent organizer," Torres said. "The center of political action tends to be in City Hall and if you're in the district office, you're disconnected from the political dynamics."</p> <p>Underlining the importance of working for an elected official: when asked what advice they would give a college student aspiring to serve as a Council member, each current member interviewed by Gotham Gazette suggested interning for a Council member or working on a campaign for City Council.</p> <p><strong>Community Boards &amp; Name recognition</strong><br />For many interested in helping their community, joining a community board is a natural first step, and one that may develop into the desire to run for City Council. For some, the perception exists that community boards may be used a springboard or requisite stop along the road for aspiring elected officials.</p> <p>"Absolutely, community boards are supposed to be a voice for the community and naturally those that are providing that voice will be interested [in becoming a Council member], but often times— and one of the things I'm trying to discourage— is a place where it becomes a solely-owned subsidiary of the political establishment where it just ends up being full of people running for office," said Kallos, who served on Community Board 8. "So there needs to be a delicate balance."</p> <p>To that end, Kallos is pushing community board reform legislation, including term limits.</p> <p>Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, a former Council member and community board member now in charge of appointing community board members, sees the boards practically, as a place where aspiring Council members can learn about the issues facing their community. If successful and effective as a board member, Brewer says, individuals can make a name for themselves and help their communities.</p> <p>Brewer disagrees with Kallos' assertion that community boards are overly politicized (a fact they both amiably alluded to in interviews— Brewer is opposed to Kallos' term limits bill), noting that her office interviewed over 700 community board candidates this year alone.</p> <p>"If you are going to be on the community board, you're going to take it seriously. So I think we are beyond the politicization, what's happened in the past is in the past," Brewer said, referring to more stringent reforms in the application and appointment processes now in place. "So I think people who think they're going to get on [the board] just so they can run for office— I mean it could happen, if you do a really good job on the community board then you should run, in my opinion, because you know the issues."</p> <p>Brewer says it is good that for aspiring elected officials community boards can be a training ground and necessary step.</p> <p>"I think unless you have some extraordinary circumstance in terms of name recognition, which I did not, and most people don't, then if you're a college student and you want to be a lawyer and then come back and run for office, you really do need to get on the community board, make a difference somehow," Brewer said, citing Helen Rosenthal and Corey Johnson as examples of current Council members who showed promise as leaders on their community boards. Rosenthal was elected in 2013 to replace Brewer on the Council.</p> <p>"I have found it now that I'm on the Council really helpful that I was on the community board for so long," Rosenthal told Gotham Gazette. "I was on it for 15 years, so when issues come up I have a long history on them...So now as a Council member, when these same types of issues come up, I have a good toolbox to draw from."</p> <p>Name recognition often rules the day when it comes to elections, and for local races, that neighborhood notoriety can be essential. Name recognition can also come in other ways.</p> <p>"Look, you have the pure insider and the pure outsider," Torres said. "I'm neither purely an insider or purely an outsider, I think most of us fall in a spectrum in between, but I think what was unique about my candidacy was that no one had ever heard of me before. I think most Council members have much more name recognition with the political establishment than I did when I ran for public office."</p> <p>In speaking of the importance of name recognition, Manhattan BP Brewer referenced the Weprins, of Queens— Assembly Member David Weprin and his brother, former Council Member Mark Weprin. The Weprin brothers have each held both the Assembly and Council seats that they were holding until Mark resigned this spring to work for Governor Cuomo; their father Saul was the Speaker of the Assembly.</p> <p>Then there is the Rivera family— Assembly Member Jose Rivera and former Council Member Joel Rivera— for over 20 years Joel held the seat Torres now occupies.</p> <p>Before joining Congress, U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke succeeded her mother Una Clarke in the City Council. Current Council Member Inez Barron and her husband, Assembly Member Charles Barron, completed an easy seat swap recently when he was term-limited out of the Council.</p> <p>But according to political consultant and executive director of the New York State Democratic Party Basil Smikle, candidates with private sector backgrounds who toe the edge of what Torres referred to as the "outsider" side of the spectrum still can be appealing to voters.</p> <p>"Voters tend to respond to candidates who can convey both an understanding for the issues as well as a passion to actually want to impact them. So you can be active in your community and not convey to a voter that you want the job. You can work in the private sector and be able to speak of a vision with a fervor that come across to the voter," Smikle said.</p> <p>"I think ultimately no matter what path you take," Smikle continued, "having that so-called 'fire in the belly' always is important no matter where you come from and no matter what your trajectory. Having said that, I think even if you come from the private sector you still need to have a sense of what is going on with the voters in your neighborhood. You have to know that. A voter needs to know you can take whatever it is in your background up until this point and apply it to their situation."</p> <p><strong>Labor unions</strong><br />"Unions are the other place people come out of," Brewer said. "It's where Melissa [Mark-Viverito, the current Speaker] came out of, where [Council Member] Annabel Palma came out of...You have to have some unions with you to win."</p> <p>Council Member Daniel Dromm was a delegate and chapter chair for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) before he became a Council member and enjoyed the union's support once he decided to run. Dromm told Gotham Gazette that the UFT had thrown him an early endorsement in 2008 a few months before term limits were extended, enabling the Council member he was running against to seek a third term.</p> <p>"So the UFT had to make a decision again the following June what to do because the incumbent who was also very supportive of the union decided she was going to run, and what they decided to do was do a dual endorsement," Dromm said. "But at that point I had gotten what I had needed out of the endorsement from the UFT, so it was very helpful to me in that sense and gave my candidacy a lot of legitimacy."</p> <p>It is well-known that in Democrat-heavy New York City, unions can make a difference both in building legitimacy and name-recognition, but also in helping get out the vote come primary day. New York City Council elections often see crowded Democratic primaries, as was the case when Rosenthal was elected in 2013 and the primary that Grodenchik just won in Queens.</p> <p>Smikle told Gotham Gazette that earning the support of unions is important both operationally and symbolically.</p> <p>"You're still looking to represent districts that chances are have labor union representation among your constituents. If you're living in an area that has a large number of TWU workers, [for example], that union endorsement is very important. If other unions come on board, it looks like you are a friend to the working people, to laborers, and you get the symbolism that's attached to that as well because you're not just a friend to organized labor, you're a friend to people's aspirations. That is extraordinarily important," Smikle said.</p> <p><strong>The shift in demographics</strong><br />The power unions hold to get candidates elected underlines the importance of having contacts in politics.</p> <p>"If you're a poor kid from the Bronx without a college education and no position in politics, for all intents and purposes you have no means of fundraising," Torres said. "You have no social capital, no economic capital, no rolodex you can tap into for fundraising purposes. So you either need to have some position— even if you're at the margins of the political establishment, you need some position in politics— or you need to be part of the professional class."</p> <p>Brewer, however, said that being a part of the professional class may actually put candidates at a disadvantage compared to people involved in community organizing or activism.</p> <p>"If you work on Wall Street and then decide to come back and run, then you'll be able to raise money but you won't know the people...In Manhattan you can always raise more money whether you're on a community board, work for an elected official, or not," Brewer said.</p> <p>The public campaign financing system in New York City, which provides public matching funds for small donations, "gives you the opportunity," Brewer said, "to raise a little money and still win. What you have to do is develop your own list. Initially you run and win financing-wise on friends and family."</p> <p>At a forum hosted by the Campaign Finance Board in July, Council Member Eric Ulrich, a Republican from Queens, also emphasized the importance of the city's matching funds program in equalizing the playing field for aspiring Council members.</p> <p>"If it were not for the Campaign Finance Board I would never have been elected to City Council. I did not come from a political family, I came from a single parent household, we didn't come from money," Ulrich told attendees.</p> <p>Constantinides also cited the CFB's matching program as being a game changer, adding the importance of the change in term limits.</p> <p>"That's a huge, huge part to seeing this demographic shift," Constantinides said, referring to the changes in the age, race, and ethnic diversity in the Council. "Term limits have changed, it's leveled the playing field, it's allowed people to come in and say- you have matching funds, you're not worried about raising 300-, 400-thousand dollars, you're focused on raising a certain amount and then going out and making your case to your constituents."</p> <p>The demographic shift to which Constantinides references came at the confluence of the implementation of stricter term limits and the rise of the Progressive Caucus, a liberal bloc of Council members formed in 2010 in response to the Bloomberg administration's more conservative policies and the city's shifting population.</p> <p>"What you actually saw was this dramatic change in the Council where progressive Council members are helping other progressive Council members [and candidates]," Kallos, who was elected to the Council in 2013 and joined the Progressive Caucus upon taking office in 2014, said. "So whereas typically you'll have seen independent expenditures from the Real Estate Board of New York shaping elections, now what you'll see is organized activity by [progressive] members trying to elect more. So I think what you saw was a much more progressive body getting elected by virtue of members making that happen."</p> <p>The rise of the caucus, which began with 12 and now includes 19 of the 51 council members (with several other close allies who are not official members), was viewed by many as a shift away from machine politics and toward community organizing and advocacy. But Torres, a caucus member whose ascent into politics is emblematic of this shift, said he thought the picture was more complicated.</p> <p>"It is certainly true that you have an organized progressive movement, progressive infrastructure that operates independently of the traditional centers of political power, and it is true that the progressive movement has made a priority out of electing younger people to public office, people of color to public office, and more women in public office," Torres, who is 27, said. "So that is true, but I will caution you not to distinguish or completely separate the progressive movement from the establishment."</p> <p>Even the progressive movement can be in danger of becoming an insider's game, where the progressives who get the endorsements are the ones who have the relationships and can raise money, Torres said. There is also always a question of how closely aligned unions and progressives are with the different county political machines.</p> <p>"Even in the progressive world, the two currencies are the same: money and relationships," Torres said. "I think someone like me has a greater chance of succeeding in the new world in which we are operating, but I want to caution that. Relationships and money continue to be the dominant forces of politics."</p> <p>***<br />by Catie Edmondson, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/CatieEdmondson" target="_blank">@CatieEdmondson</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/bdb_cms_muni_id_alatriste.jpg" alt="bdb cms muni id alatriste" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mayor de Blasio, a former Council member, with several current CMs (William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Ask any New York City Council member and they'll tell you— there is no set formula that will send an aspiring candidate to City Hall.</p> <p>"If you want to be a lawyer, the path is the same: get a bachelor's degree, take the LSATs, go to law school, take the bar exam, and voila, you're a lawyer," Ritchie Torres, the 51-member Council's youngest rep, told Gotham Gazette. "Whereas in politics, there is no single path."</p> <p>Torres' ascent to deputy leader in the Council— he is an openly gay, Afro-Latino, college drop-out who grew up in public housing in the Bronx— is perhaps most emblematic of this truth, reflected in the broad expanse of backgrounds present in today's class of Council members.</p> <p>The sole member of the Council with a doctorate of medicine, Mathieu Eugene, has another unique story. "I grew up in a country of many challenges. If somebody told my mother when I was a child, 'your son will be an elected official in New York,' she would've said, 'you're crazy,'" said the Haitian-born Eugene, of Brooklyn.</p> <p>But while it's true that there's not a single path to becoming a member of the New York City Council, it is also true - as indicated by data and Council members' own admissions - that some paths are more commonly travelled than others.</p> <p>Gotham Gazette found that nearly 40 percent of current Council members have served on the staff of a Council member or state Assembly member, with 60 percent of that group serving as chief of staff; and nearly 30 percent of Council members served on a community board.</p> <p>Several Council members have come to the body directly from the state Assembly, the path being taken by soon-to-be Council Member Joseph Borrelli, of Staten Island. Borrelli is running unopposed in a special election to replace former Council Member Vincent Ignizio, who resigned recently to take a non-profit leadership job.</p> <p>Meanwhile, last Thursday's primary day saw Barry Grodenchik emerge from a crowded Democratic field in a race to fill a vacant Queens Council post. Grodenchik, a former Assembly member and current aide to the Queens Borough President, still has to defeat a general election opponent, but is favored to do so.</p> <p>Asked about his government experience preparing him for the Council, Grodenchik emailed Gotham Gazette to say that elected officials deal with many challenges in office, one being "the level of bureaucracy you sometimes face in navigating government on behalf of constituents." He believes that "experience doing so matters - and I believe my experience in the Assembly, as well as at [Queens] Borough Hall will help me be a better Councilman if elected."</p> <p>Grodenchik continued to say that throughout his "career in public service" he's "gained insight on how to get things done in government." His experience likely appeals to voters, especially the small number willing to vote on a Thursday in an "off-year." It is also what led him to garner the support of the Queens County Democratic "establishment," which helped him get elected - establishment support is often a key to electoral victory in City Council races.</p> <p>While many Council members come from other parts of government, including elected bodies like the Assembly, their predecessors' staffs, and local community boards, others come from community organizing and labor. Some enter the Council from the private sector, but usually have community ties to speak of.</p> <p>Gotham Gazette spoke with current Council members about their journeys to City Hall and how the demographics of the Council are changing.</p> <p><strong>Chief of Staff</strong><br />Many Council members who served in the role of chief of staff look back on the job as a pivotal position that gave them the tools to be an effective Council member.</p> <p>"I think that anyone considering running for office should have some experience in government because I think it's important for people to know about the job that they are seeking," Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos said. Kallos served as chief of staff to former Assembly Member Jonathan Bing. "I can say that being a chief of staff, I was able to learn about the most important part of the job, which is constituent services and helping individuals with their cases."</p> <p>Kallos also said he was able to learn about "how the legislative process works, how to get things done in a collegial environment...and ultimately as a chief of staff you get to learn a lot about the different jobs and what is necessary to run a well-functioning office."</p> <p>Queens Council Member Costa Constantinides told Gotham Gazette his experience working as deputy chief of staff to former Council Member James Gennaro provided him with a strong skillset on which to run.</p> <p>"When I made the choice to run for City Council I had a foundation in policies and I felt that was really important," Constantinides said. "I talked about, 'I have a record of getting bills passed, I have a record of knowing how this institution works, I have a record of taking on real fights already.'"</p> <p>Council Member Torres, a former constituent liaison for now colleague Council Member Jimmy Vacca, said the role of chief of staff is particularly crucial: it allows for "far more access to the political establishment" than employees in a Council member's district office have.</p> <p>"Yes, one path to elected office could be employment in the office of an elected official, but within that category there are huge differences between chief of staff and the role of a constituent organizer," Torres said. "The center of political action tends to be in City Hall and if you're in the district office, you're disconnected from the political dynamics."</p> <p>Underlining the importance of working for an elected official: when asked what advice they would give a college student aspiring to serve as a Council member, each current member interviewed by Gotham Gazette suggested interning for a Council member or working on a campaign for City Council.</p> <p><strong>Community Boards &amp; Name recognition</strong><br />For many interested in helping their community, joining a community board is a natural first step, and one that may develop into the desire to run for City Council. For some, the perception exists that community boards may be used a springboard or requisite stop along the road for aspiring elected officials.</p> <p>"Absolutely, community boards are supposed to be a voice for the community and naturally those that are providing that voice will be interested [in becoming a Council member], but often times— and one of the things I'm trying to discourage— is a place where it becomes a solely-owned subsidiary of the political establishment where it just ends up being full of people running for office," said Kallos, who served on Community Board 8. "So there needs to be a delicate balance."</p> <p>To that end, Kallos is pushing community board reform legislation, including term limits.</p> <p>Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, a former Council member and community board member now in charge of appointing community board members, sees the boards practically, as a place where aspiring Council members can learn about the issues facing their community. If successful and effective as a board member, Brewer says, individuals can make a name for themselves and help their communities.</p> <p>Brewer disagrees with Kallos' assertion that community boards are overly politicized (a fact they both amiably alluded to in interviews— Brewer is opposed to Kallos' term limits bill), noting that her office interviewed over 700 community board candidates this year alone.</p> <p>"If you are going to be on the community board, you're going to take it seriously. So I think we are beyond the politicization, what's happened in the past is in the past," Brewer said, referring to more stringent reforms in the application and appointment processes now in place. "So I think people who think they're going to get on [the board] just so they can run for office— I mean it could happen, if you do a really good job on the community board then you should run, in my opinion, because you know the issues."</p> <p>Brewer says it is good that for aspiring elected officials community boards can be a training ground and necessary step.</p> <p>"I think unless you have some extraordinary circumstance in terms of name recognition, which I did not, and most people don't, then if you're a college student and you want to be a lawyer and then come back and run for office, you really do need to get on the community board, make a difference somehow," Brewer said, citing Helen Rosenthal and Corey Johnson as examples of current Council members who showed promise as leaders on their community boards. Rosenthal was elected in 2013 to replace Brewer on the Council.</p> <p>"I have found it now that I'm on the Council really helpful that I was on the community board for so long," Rosenthal told Gotham Gazette. "I was on it for 15 years, so when issues come up I have a long history on them...So now as a Council member, when these same types of issues come up, I have a good toolbox to draw from."</p> <p>Name recognition often rules the day when it comes to elections, and for local races, that neighborhood notoriety can be essential. Name recognition can also come in other ways.</p> <p>"Look, you have the pure insider and the pure outsider," Torres said. "I'm neither purely an insider or purely an outsider, I think most of us fall in a spectrum in between, but I think what was unique about my candidacy was that no one had ever heard of me before. I think most Council members have much more name recognition with the political establishment than I did when I ran for public office."</p> <p>In speaking of the importance of name recognition, Manhattan BP Brewer referenced the Weprins, of Queens— Assembly Member David Weprin and his brother, former Council Member Mark Weprin. The Weprin brothers have each held both the Assembly and Council seats that they were holding until Mark resigned this spring to work for Governor Cuomo; their father Saul was the Speaker of the Assembly.</p> <p>Then there is the Rivera family— Assembly Member Jose Rivera and former Council Member Joel Rivera— for over 20 years Joel held the seat Torres now occupies.</p> <p>Before joining Congress, U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke succeeded her mother Una Clarke in the City Council. Current Council Member Inez Barron and her husband, Assembly Member Charles Barron, completed an easy seat swap recently when he was term-limited out of the Council.</p> <p>But according to political consultant and executive director of the New York State Democratic Party Basil Smikle, candidates with private sector backgrounds who toe the edge of what Torres referred to as the "outsider" side of the spectrum still can be appealing to voters.</p> <p>"Voters tend to respond to candidates who can convey both an understanding for the issues as well as a passion to actually want to impact them. So you can be active in your community and not convey to a voter that you want the job. You can work in the private sector and be able to speak of a vision with a fervor that come across to the voter," Smikle said.</p> <p>"I think ultimately no matter what path you take," Smikle continued, "having that so-called 'fire in the belly' always is important no matter where you come from and no matter what your trajectory. Having said that, I think even if you come from the private sector you still need to have a sense of what is going on with the voters in your neighborhood. You have to know that. A voter needs to know you can take whatever it is in your background up until this point and apply it to their situation."</p> <p><strong>Labor unions</strong><br />"Unions are the other place people come out of," Brewer said. "It's where Melissa [Mark-Viverito, the current Speaker] came out of, where [Council Member] Annabel Palma came out of...You have to have some unions with you to win."</p> <p>Council Member Daniel Dromm was a delegate and chapter chair for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) before he became a Council member and enjoyed the union's support once he decided to run. Dromm told Gotham Gazette that the UFT had thrown him an early endorsement in 2008 a few months before term limits were extended, enabling the Council member he was running against to seek a third term.</p> <p>"So the UFT had to make a decision again the following June what to do because the incumbent who was also very supportive of the union decided she was going to run, and what they decided to do was do a dual endorsement," Dromm said. "But at that point I had gotten what I had needed out of the endorsement from the UFT, so it was very helpful to me in that sense and gave my candidacy a lot of legitimacy."</p> <p>It is well-known that in Democrat-heavy New York City, unions can make a difference both in building legitimacy and name-recognition, but also in helping get out the vote come primary day. New York City Council elections often see crowded Democratic primaries, as was the case when Rosenthal was elected in 2013 and the primary that Grodenchik just won in Queens.</p> <p>Smikle told Gotham Gazette that earning the support of unions is important both operationally and symbolically.</p> <p>"You're still looking to represent districts that chances are have labor union representation among your constituents. If you're living in an area that has a large number of TWU workers, [for example], that union endorsement is very important. If other unions come on board, it looks like you are a friend to the working people, to laborers, and you get the symbolism that's attached to that as well because you're not just a friend to organized labor, you're a friend to people's aspirations. That is extraordinarily important," Smikle said.</p> <p><strong>The shift in demographics</strong><br />The power unions hold to get candidates elected underlines the importance of having contacts in politics.</p> <p>"If you're a poor kid from the Bronx without a college education and no position in politics, for all intents and purposes you have no means of fundraising," Torres said. "You have no social capital, no economic capital, no rolodex you can tap into for fundraising purposes. So you either need to have some position— even if you're at the margins of the political establishment, you need some position in politics— or you need to be part of the professional class."</p> <p>Brewer, however, said that being a part of the professional class may actually put candidates at a disadvantage compared to people involved in community organizing or activism.</p> <p>"If you work on Wall Street and then decide to come back and run, then you'll be able to raise money but you won't know the people...In Manhattan you can always raise more money whether you're on a community board, work for an elected official, or not," Brewer said.</p> <p>The public campaign financing system in New York City, which provides public matching funds for small donations, "gives you the opportunity," Brewer said, "to raise a little money and still win. What you have to do is develop your own list. Initially you run and win financing-wise on friends and family."</p> <p>At a forum hosted by the Campaign Finance Board in July, Council Member Eric Ulrich, a Republican from Queens, also emphasized the importance of the city's matching funds program in equalizing the playing field for aspiring Council members.</p> <p>"If it were not for the Campaign Finance Board I would never have been elected to City Council. I did not come from a political family, I came from a single parent household, we didn't come from money," Ulrich told attendees.</p> <p>Constantinides also cited the CFB's matching program as being a game changer, adding the importance of the change in term limits.</p> <p>"That's a huge, huge part to seeing this demographic shift," Constantinides said, referring to the changes in the age, race, and ethnic diversity in the Council. "Term limits have changed, it's leveled the playing field, it's allowed people to come in and say- you have matching funds, you're not worried about raising 300-, 400-thousand dollars, you're focused on raising a certain amount and then going out and making your case to your constituents."</p> <p>The demographic shift to which Constantinides references came at the confluence of the implementation of stricter term limits and the rise of the Progressive Caucus, a liberal bloc of Council members formed in 2010 in response to the Bloomberg administration's more conservative policies and the city's shifting population.</p> <p>"What you actually saw was this dramatic change in the Council where progressive Council members are helping other progressive Council members [and candidates]," Kallos, who was elected to the Council in 2013 and joined the Progressive Caucus upon taking office in 2014, said. "So whereas typically you'll have seen independent expenditures from the Real Estate Board of New York shaping elections, now what you'll see is organized activity by [progressive] members trying to elect more. So I think what you saw was a much more progressive body getting elected by virtue of members making that happen."</p> <p>The rise of the caucus, which began with 12 and now includes 19 of the 51 council members (with several other close allies who are not official members), was viewed by many as a shift away from machine politics and toward community organizing and advocacy. But Torres, a caucus member whose ascent into politics is emblematic of this shift, said he thought the picture was more complicated.</p> <p>"It is certainly true that you have an organized progressive movement, progressive infrastructure that operates independently of the traditional centers of political power, and it is true that the progressive movement has made a priority out of electing younger people to public office, people of color to public office, and more women in public office," Torres, who is 27, said. "So that is true, but I will caution you not to distinguish or completely separate the progressive movement from the establishment."</p> <p>Even the progressive movement can be in danger of becoming an insider's game, where the progressives who get the endorsements are the ones who have the relationships and can raise money, Torres said. There is also always a question of how closely aligned unions and progressives are with the different county political machines.</p> <p>"Even in the progressive world, the two currencies are the same: money and relationships," Torres said. "I think someone like me has a greater chance of succeeding in the new world in which we are operating, but I want to caution that. Relationships and money continue to be the dominant forces of politics."</p> <p>***<br />by Catie Edmondson, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/CatieEdmondson" target="_blank">@CatieEdmondson</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 10 2015-08-09T05:00:00+00:00 2015-08-09T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5843:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-august-10 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></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><strong>LEGIONNAIRES' FALLOUT:</strong> Monday morning at City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio will hold a bill-signing ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. (full details below), and then, around noon, "the Mayor, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and elected officials will host a press conference to introduce new legislation to reduce future risk of Legionnaires' disease, and provide an update on the containment of the outbreak," according to the mayor's public schedule.</p> <p>The Legionnaires' outbreak - the worst one the city has seen in many years - seems to be abating, with no new cases diagnosed since August 3 (just over 100 people have been treated for the disease in this outbreak) and no deaths reported over the past few days (the death toll stands at ten), according to the mayor's office on Sunday evening. There is ongoing investigation, cleaning, and scrutiny over the handling of the outbreak and the response has become another touchpoint in the ongoing drama between de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo. At the end of last week, Cuomo announced he was sending state teams to do inspections and deployed his health commissioner. He refused to say that the city had been doing its job and indicated that it was necessary for the state to step in because the city was not handling the outbreak well. Federal CDC officials gave the city credit for taking all due actions. While de Blasio is introducing legislation this week, Cuomo is <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/08/8573766/cuomo-promises-statewide-system-address-legionnaires" target="_blank">promising</a> statewide regulations (Legionnaires' is not just a problem in the Bronx or in New York City).</p> <p><strong>POLLS &amp; POLS:</strong> Meanwhile, on Sunday the mayor and the governor were both marching in the Dominican Day Parade. Before the parade, Cuomo was honored by elected officials and others:&nbsp;"Cuomo was honored at two Dominican Day Breakfasts in New York City before marching in the Dominican Day Parade. The Governor was presented with the Juan Pablo Duarte Award for his commitment to the Dominican community at a breakfast hosted by Senator Adriano Espaillat. The Governor also received an award for his leadership in combatting worker exploitation at a breakfast hosted by Assemblyman Guillermo Linares," according to the governor's office. Virtually all of the city's top Democrats (Cuomo, AG Schneiderman, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, etc.) were at Espaillat's event other than the mayor.</p> <p><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5842-the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-august-3-7" target="_blank">Last week was a busy, and tough, one for de Blasio</a>, including announcements on action to combat violence committed by people with severe mental illness and that his Legionnaires' Disease legislation would be coming, as well as that a new FDNY labor deal had been struck, and more. There were also new poll numbers&nbsp;<a href="http://www.quinnipiac.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/new-york-city/release-detail?ReleaseID=2266" target="_blank">released</a> by Quinnipiac, including on public approval of de Blasio and Cuomo, among others, with some tough numbers for the mayor. More issue-related results from the latest Quinnipiac Poll are due out Monday morning.</p> <p><strong>SPECIAL ELECTIONS:</strong> We're just a few weeks away from the special election in City Council District 23, where the September Democratic primary to replace Mark Weprin, who resigned to work for Gov. Cuomo, will all but determine the next rep for the Queens district. It's a crowded primary field and, along with the other races on the ballots of New York City voters, will kick off a packed series of voting opportunities over the next 14 months, culminating with the November 2016 presidential election. Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5831-many-voting-opportunities-for-new-yorkers-in-2015-and-2016" target="_blank">our full rundown here</a>.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKING OF THE CITY COUNCIL:</strong> The New York City Council is back in action this week, with several committee hearings and the lone full-body Stated Meeting of August (on Thursday). The Council will likely be passing through new legislation aimed at preventing Legionnaires' Disease outbreaks, like the one currently occurring in the Bronx, and other legislation. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5841-no-fly-zone-council-members-push-helicopter-drone-regulations" target="_blank">our look at City Council legislation on the table to regulate city airspace in terms of helicopter and drone use</a>]</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</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>At 6 a.m. Monday on a press conference call, Quinnipiac Polls' Maurice Carroll <a href="https://twitter.com/QuinnipiacPoll/status/629684695098208257" target="_blank">will discuss</a> the latest results, including New Yorkers opinions on Uber, bridge tolls, and Wal-mart, among other things. Keep an eye out for those poll numbers and related stories, along with more analysis of the results released last week by Quinnipiac about Mayor de Blasio and other city officials and issues.</p> <p>At 9:30 Monday morning, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will speak&nbsp;at Black Girls Code summer camp kickoff, at Pace University. At about 11:30, Brewer will attend High School for Media and Communications mural unveiling celebration, at the George Washington Educational Campus.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. at City Hall, Mayor de Blasio&nbsp;"will hold public hearings for and sign Intros. 849 and 235, in relation to the naming of 51 thoroughfares and public places and renaming of Court Square in Queens, amending the official map of New York; Intro. 558-A, in relation to an annual report on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design; Intros. 89-A and 830-A, in relation to the City's Adult Protective Services program; Intro. 847-A, in relation to a study on the impact of growth in the taxicab and for-hire vehicle industries; and Intro 425-A, in relation to communications resiliency...Immediately following the public hearing, the Mayor, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and elected officials will host a press conference to introduce new legislation to reduce future risk of Legionnaires' disease, and provide an update on the containment of the outbreak."</p> <p>Also at 10 a.m. Monday, Public Advocate Letitia James&nbsp;will attend the funeral for Magnus Mukoro at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn. At about 12:15 p.m. Monday, James will speak at a "Human Trafficking Roundtable" at Queens Borough Hall.</p> <p>And at 10 a.m. the Department of Consumer Affairs <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/media/events.page" target="_blank">is hosting</a> a public hearing and "opportunity to comment on proposed sidewalk cafe insurance rule."</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Monday, Comptroller Stringer&nbsp;will distribute the first copies of the Haitian Creole Edition of the Immigrant Rights and Services Manual, at Flatbush Caton Market in Brooklyn.</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;"Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus hold criminal justice roundtable discussion of Executive Order 147 and other community issues," according to Cuomo's public schedule. It is a closed press event, but "a media Q&amp;A will be held following this briefing, at approximately 1:45 p.m."</p> <p>At about 5:15 p.m., Cuomo and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be honored by the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee "for their work to combat sexual assault and rape on college campuses," at the Grand Hyatt, Manhattan.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. the Department of Education <a href="http://www.learndoe.org/pep/" target="_blank">is hosting</a> a public meeting of the contracts committee of the Panel for Educational Policy.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>At the City Council on Tuesday:</p> <ul> <li>The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will hold a hearing on several land use items. Please see&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=415876&amp;GUID=3250043A-445B-48E0-A522-7D1D4E45AA73&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">agenda</a>&nbsp;for details.</li> <li><span color="#000000">The Committee on Housing Buildings will hold a hearing on Introduction&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:145-2014" target="_blank">145-2014</a><span color="#000000">,&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;<span color="#000000">in relation to the installation of fire sprinklers in certain establishments that provide services for animals, &nbsp;Introduction</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:700-2015" target="_blank">700-2015</a><span color="#000000">,&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;<span color="#000000">in relation to required disclosures by persons making buyout offers, Introduction&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:757-2015" target="_blank">757-2015</a><span color="#000000">,&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;<span color="#000000">in relation to amending the definition of harassment to include certain buyout offers, and T2015-3428,&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;in relation to regulation of cooling towers.</li> <li>The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will hold a hearing on several land use items. Please see&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=415877&amp;GUID=6DF29DE7-DF5C-4892-91A2-7D4EFA8014D7&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">agenda</a>&nbsp;for details.</li> <li>The Committee on Consumer Affairs will hold a hearing on Introduction&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:287-2014" target="_blank">287-2014</a>,&nbsp;in relation to price displays on all signs posted by gas stations other than signs on dispensing devices, Introduction&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:586-2014" target="_blank">586-2014</a>,&nbsp;&nbsp;in relation to signs, posters or placards that advertise gas prices, and Introduction&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:682-2015" target="_blank">682-2015</a>, in relation to conduct in connection with offers to induce a person to vacate a dwelling unit.</li> <li>The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will hold a hearing on several land use items. Please see&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=415882&amp;GUID=5A32711A-A7A6-4C57-8E0E-F431D7B0F32E&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">agenda</a>&nbsp;for details.</li> </ul> <p>At 3 p.m. there <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grow-your-small-business-with-tech-tickets-17981835153" target="_blank">will be</a> a "Grow Your Small Business With Tech" workshop with speeches from Comptroller Scott Stringer and Maya Wiley, counsel to the Mayor.</p> <p>The New York City Campaign Finance Board is <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/about/calendar/ec2017-compliance-only-1" target="_blank">offering</a> a Compliance only training session for the 2017 election cycle at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. "Compliance trainings cover campaign finance laws and CFB rules. C-SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB's web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity. The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager and any individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training."</p> <p>On Tuesday evening in Manhattan,&nbsp;350 NYC, the local affiliate of 350.org, an environmental group, is <a href="http://350nyc.org/" target="_blank">holding </a>a forum on climate change and fossil fuels: "We will explore various financial strategies for how we can keep fossil fuels in the ground to prevent catastrophic climate change. Should institutions divest from fossil fuel companies? Or, should they remain invested in these companies to influence their policies as shareholder activists?" Confirmed speakers include City Council Member Helen Rosenthal; State Senator Liz Krueger, and Scott Zdrazil, Director of Strategy and Corporate Engagement, Office of New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. Many co-sponsors of the event include Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition; Sierra Club, NYC Group; and Greater NYC for Change.</p> <p>On Tuesday evening in the Bronx, there will be another town hall on the Legionnaires' Disease outbreak, led by Public Advocate Letitia James and many Bronx elected officials like Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Assembly Member Michael Blake.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At 9:30 a.m. the Department of Consumer Affairs is <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/media/events.page" target="_blank">hosting</a> an open house training series on NYC paid sick leave.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. the New York City Department of Probation, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York City's Young Men's Initiative are <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/nycdop-presents-beaboutit-brooklyn-youth-anti-violence-summit-tickets-17888883131" target="_blank">sponsoring</a> the 2015 Brooklyn Youth Anti-Violence Summit.</p> <p>At 11 a.m. the City Council Committee on Land Use is <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=415875&amp;GUID=D89E880A-B27F-4DCC-9DF0-CE901B8B07AF&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a>.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. the New York League of Conservation Voters Young Professionals will be holding a happy hour event. City Council Member and Chair of Environmental Protection Committee Costa Constantinides will be a guest speaker.</p> <p>The New York City Panel for Educational Policy will <a href="http://www.learndoe.org/pep/upcoming-pep-aug-12/" target="_blank">meet</a> Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. in Manhattan.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board will <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ccrb/html/about/meetings.shtml" target="_blank">host</a> a public board meeting.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. BetaNYC will <a href="http://www.meetup.com/betanyc/events/223205836/" target="_blank">host</a> its weekly hacknight, this time at Civic Hall and in partnership with Code for America Brigade program, Microsoft Civic and Accela.</p> <p>The New York City Campaign Finance Board is <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/about/calendar/ec2017-c-smart-only-1" target="_blank">offering</a> a C-SMART only training session for the 2017 election cycle at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. "Compliance trainings cover campaign finance laws and CFB rules. C-SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB's web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity. The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager and any individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training."</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 9 a.m. there <a href="https://act.myngp.com/Forms/-738729517776894208" target="_blank">will be</a> a "Capital Region Campaign School 2015" hosted by Emily's List and NYSUT, the teachers union, and open to "progressive women candidates, future candidates and campaign staff."</p> <p>The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday at 10 a.m. The meeting will be located at 100 Church Street, 12th Floor, in the CFB's Board Room in Lower Manhattan.</p> <p><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=419107&amp;GUID=ECEC2B32-7C0F-46E7-8C45-13B7AA69407F&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">At 10 a.m.</a> the City Council Committee on Finance is "approving the new designation and changes in designation of certain organizations to receive funding in the Expense Budget."</p> <p>At 1:30 p.m. City Council is <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=409369&amp;GUID=9A98AA58-C1C0-421B-BE3B-C282CAC4F956&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">holding</a> its lone August full-body Stated Meeting.</p> <p>At 2 p.m. the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and American Society of News Editors are <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pedestrian-safety-in-nyc-and-the-medias-role-a-community-conversation-tickets-17869666654" target="_blank">hosting</a> a "community dialogue on pedestrian safety and traffic policy in New York City and the media's role in covering the issue."</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>We're keeping an eye out for weekend events as the week begins.</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 Erika Wang and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p>Note: this article has been corrected to remove mention of the City Council possibly passing through new mandatory inclusionary zoning rules this week. That will not be happening.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></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><strong>LEGIONNAIRES' FALLOUT:</strong> Monday morning at City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio will hold a bill-signing ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. (full details below), and then, around noon, "the Mayor, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and elected officials will host a press conference to introduce new legislation to reduce future risk of Legionnaires' disease, and provide an update on the containment of the outbreak," according to the mayor's public schedule.</p> <p>The Legionnaires' outbreak - the worst one the city has seen in many years - seems to be abating, with no new cases diagnosed since August 3 (just over 100 people have been treated for the disease in this outbreak) and no deaths reported over the past few days (the death toll stands at ten), according to the mayor's office on Sunday evening. There is ongoing investigation, cleaning, and scrutiny over the handling of the outbreak and the response has become another touchpoint in the ongoing drama between de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo. At the end of last week, Cuomo announced he was sending state teams to do inspections and deployed his health commissioner. He refused to say that the city had been doing its job and indicated that it was necessary for the state to step in because the city was not handling the outbreak well. Federal CDC officials gave the city credit for taking all due actions. While de Blasio is introducing legislation this week, Cuomo is <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/08/8573766/cuomo-promises-statewide-system-address-legionnaires" target="_blank">promising</a> statewide regulations (Legionnaires' is not just a problem in the Bronx or in New York City).</p> <p><strong>POLLS &amp; POLS:</strong> Meanwhile, on Sunday the mayor and the governor were both marching in the Dominican Day Parade. Before the parade, Cuomo was honored by elected officials and others:&nbsp;"Cuomo was honored at two Dominican Day Breakfasts in New York City before marching in the Dominican Day Parade. The Governor was presented with the Juan Pablo Duarte Award for his commitment to the Dominican community at a breakfast hosted by Senator Adriano Espaillat. The Governor also received an award for his leadership in combatting worker exploitation at a breakfast hosted by Assemblyman Guillermo Linares," according to the governor's office. Virtually all of the city's top Democrats (Cuomo, AG Schneiderman, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, etc.) were at Espaillat's event other than the mayor.</p> <p><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5842-the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-august-3-7" target="_blank">Last week was a busy, and tough, one for de Blasio</a>, including announcements on action to combat violence committed by people with severe mental illness and that his Legionnaires' Disease legislation would be coming, as well as that a new FDNY labor deal had been struck, and more. There were also new poll numbers&nbsp;<a href="http://www.quinnipiac.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/new-york-city/release-detail?ReleaseID=2266" target="_blank">released</a> by Quinnipiac, including on public approval of de Blasio and Cuomo, among others, with some tough numbers for the mayor. More issue-related results from the latest Quinnipiac Poll are due out Monday morning.</p> <p><strong>SPECIAL ELECTIONS:</strong> We're just a few weeks away from the special election in City Council District 23, where the September Democratic primary to replace Mark Weprin, who resigned to work for Gov. Cuomo, will all but determine the next rep for the Queens district. It's a crowded primary field and, along with the other races on the ballots of New York City voters, will kick off a packed series of voting opportunities over the next 14 months, culminating with the November 2016 presidential election. Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5831-many-voting-opportunities-for-new-yorkers-in-2015-and-2016" target="_blank">our full rundown here</a>.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKING OF THE CITY COUNCIL:</strong> The New York City Council is back in action this week, with several committee hearings and the lone full-body Stated Meeting of August (on Thursday). The Council will likely be passing through new legislation aimed at preventing Legionnaires' Disease outbreaks, like the one currently occurring in the Bronx, and other legislation. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5841-no-fly-zone-council-members-push-helicopter-drone-regulations" target="_blank">our look at City Council legislation on the table to regulate city airspace in terms of helicopter and drone use</a>]</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</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>At 6 a.m. Monday on a press conference call, Quinnipiac Polls' Maurice Carroll <a href="https://twitter.com/QuinnipiacPoll/status/629684695098208257" target="_blank">will discuss</a> the latest results, including New Yorkers opinions on Uber, bridge tolls, and Wal-mart, among other things. Keep an eye out for those poll numbers and related stories, along with more analysis of the results released last week by Quinnipiac about Mayor de Blasio and other city officials and issues.</p> <p>At 9:30 Monday morning, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will speak&nbsp;at Black Girls Code summer camp kickoff, at Pace University. At about 11:30, Brewer will attend High School for Media and Communications mural unveiling celebration, at the George Washington Educational Campus.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. at City Hall, Mayor de Blasio&nbsp;"will hold public hearings for and sign Intros. 849 and 235, in relation to the naming of 51 thoroughfares and public places and renaming of Court Square in Queens, amending the official map of New York; Intro. 558-A, in relation to an annual report on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design; Intros. 89-A and 830-A, in relation to the City's Adult Protective Services program; Intro. 847-A, in relation to a study on the impact of growth in the taxicab and for-hire vehicle industries; and Intro 425-A, in relation to communications resiliency...Immediately following the public hearing, the Mayor, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and elected officials will host a press conference to introduce new legislation to reduce future risk of Legionnaires' disease, and provide an update on the containment of the outbreak."</p> <p>Also at 10 a.m. Monday, Public Advocate Letitia James&nbsp;will attend the funeral for Magnus Mukoro at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn. At about 12:15 p.m. Monday, James will speak at a "Human Trafficking Roundtable" at Queens Borough Hall.</p> <p>And at 10 a.m. the Department of Consumer Affairs <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/media/events.page" target="_blank">is hosting</a> a public hearing and "opportunity to comment on proposed sidewalk cafe insurance rule."</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Monday, Comptroller Stringer&nbsp;will distribute the first copies of the Haitian Creole Edition of the Immigrant Rights and Services Manual, at Flatbush Caton Market in Brooklyn.</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;"Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus hold criminal justice roundtable discussion of Executive Order 147 and other community issues," according to Cuomo's public schedule. It is a closed press event, but "a media Q&amp;A will be held following this briefing, at approximately 1:45 p.m."</p> <p>At about 5:15 p.m., Cuomo and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be honored by the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee "for their work to combat sexual assault and rape on college campuses," at the Grand Hyatt, Manhattan.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. the Department of Education <a href="http://www.learndoe.org/pep/" target="_blank">is hosting</a> a public meeting of the contracts committee of the Panel for Educational Policy.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>At the City Council on Tuesday:</p> <ul> <li>The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will hold a hearing on several land use items. Please see&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=415876&amp;GUID=3250043A-445B-48E0-A522-7D1D4E45AA73&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">agenda</a>&nbsp;for details.</li> <li><span color="#000000">The Committee on Housing Buildings will hold a hearing on Introduction&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:145-2014" target="_blank">145-2014</a><span color="#000000">,&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;<span color="#000000">in relation to the installation of fire sprinklers in certain establishments that provide services for animals, &nbsp;Introduction</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:700-2015" target="_blank">700-2015</a><span color="#000000">,&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;<span color="#000000">in relation to required disclosures by persons making buyout offers, Introduction&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:757-2015" target="_blank">757-2015</a><span color="#000000">,&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;<span color="#000000">in relation to amending the definition of harassment to include certain buyout offers, and T2015-3428,&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;in relation to regulation of cooling towers.</li> <li>The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will hold a hearing on several land use items. Please see&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=415877&amp;GUID=6DF29DE7-DF5C-4892-91A2-7D4EFA8014D7&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">agenda</a>&nbsp;for details.</li> <li>The Committee on Consumer Affairs will hold a hearing on Introduction&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:287-2014" target="_blank">287-2014</a>,&nbsp;in relation to price displays on all signs posted by gas stations other than signs on dispensing devices, Introduction&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:586-2014" target="_blank">586-2014</a>,&nbsp;&nbsp;in relation to signs, posters or placards that advertise gas prices, and Introduction&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/tel:682-2015" target="_blank">682-2015</a>, in relation to conduct in connection with offers to induce a person to vacate a dwelling unit.</li> <li>The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will hold a hearing on several land use items. Please see&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=415882&amp;GUID=5A32711A-A7A6-4C57-8E0E-F431D7B0F32E&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">agenda</a>&nbsp;for details.</li> </ul> <p>At 3 p.m. there <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grow-your-small-business-with-tech-tickets-17981835153" target="_blank">will be</a> a "Grow Your Small Business With Tech" workshop with speeches from Comptroller Scott Stringer and Maya Wiley, counsel to the Mayor.</p> <p>The New York City Campaign Finance Board is <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/about/calendar/ec2017-compliance-only-1" target="_blank">offering</a> a Compliance only training session for the 2017 election cycle at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. "Compliance trainings cover campaign finance laws and CFB rules. C-SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB's web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity. The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager and any individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training."</p> <p>On Tuesday evening in Manhattan,&nbsp;350 NYC, the local affiliate of 350.org, an environmental group, is <a href="http://350nyc.org/" target="_blank">holding </a>a forum on climate change and fossil fuels: "We will explore various financial strategies for how we can keep fossil fuels in the ground to prevent catastrophic climate change. Should institutions divest from fossil fuel companies? Or, should they remain invested in these companies to influence their policies as shareholder activists?" Confirmed speakers include City Council Member Helen Rosenthal; State Senator Liz Krueger, and Scott Zdrazil, Director of Strategy and Corporate Engagement, Office of New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. Many co-sponsors of the event include Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition; Sierra Club, NYC Group; and Greater NYC for Change.</p> <p>On Tuesday evening in the Bronx, there will be another town hall on the Legionnaires' Disease outbreak, led by Public Advocate Letitia James and many Bronx elected officials like Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Assembly Member Michael Blake.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At 9:30 a.m. the Department of Consumer Affairs is <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/media/events.page" target="_blank">hosting</a> an open house training series on NYC paid sick leave.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. the New York City Department of Probation, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York City's Young Men's Initiative are <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/nycdop-presents-beaboutit-brooklyn-youth-anti-violence-summit-tickets-17888883131" target="_blank">sponsoring</a> the 2015 Brooklyn Youth Anti-Violence Summit.</p> <p>At 11 a.m. the City Council Committee on Land Use is <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=415875&amp;GUID=D89E880A-B27F-4DCC-9DF0-CE901B8B07AF&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a>.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. the New York League of Conservation Voters Young Professionals will be holding a happy hour event. City Council Member and Chair of Environmental Protection Committee Costa Constantinides will be a guest speaker.</p> <p>The New York City Panel for Educational Policy will <a href="http://www.learndoe.org/pep/upcoming-pep-aug-12/" target="_blank">meet</a> Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. in Manhattan.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board will <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ccrb/html/about/meetings.shtml" target="_blank">host</a> a public board meeting.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. BetaNYC will <a href="http://www.meetup.com/betanyc/events/223205836/" target="_blank">host</a> its weekly hacknight, this time at Civic Hall and in partnership with Code for America Brigade program, Microsoft Civic and Accela.</p> <p>The New York City Campaign Finance Board is <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/about/calendar/ec2017-c-smart-only-1" target="_blank">offering</a> a C-SMART only training session for the 2017 election cycle at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. "Compliance trainings cover campaign finance laws and CFB rules. C-SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB's web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity. The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager and any individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training."</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 9 a.m. there <a href="https://act.myngp.com/Forms/-738729517776894208" target="_blank">will be</a> a "Capital Region Campaign School 2015" hosted by Emily's List and NYSUT, the teachers union, and open to "progressive women candidates, future candidates and campaign staff."</p> <p>The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday at 10 a.m. The meeting will be located at 100 Church Street, 12th Floor, in the CFB's Board Room in Lower Manhattan.</p> <p><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=419107&amp;GUID=ECEC2B32-7C0F-46E7-8C45-13B7AA69407F&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">At 10 a.m.</a> the City Council Committee on Finance is "approving the new designation and changes in designation of certain organizations to receive funding in the Expense Budget."</p> <p>At 1:30 p.m. City Council is <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=409369&amp;GUID=9A98AA58-C1C0-421B-BE3B-C282CAC4F956&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank">holding</a> its lone August full-body Stated Meeting.</p> <p>At 2 p.m. the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and American Society of News Editors are <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pedestrian-safety-in-nyc-and-the-medias-role-a-community-conversation-tickets-17869666654" target="_blank">hosting</a> a "community dialogue on pedestrian safety and traffic policy in New York City and the media's role in covering the issue."</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>We're keeping an eye out for weekend events as the week begins.</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 Erika Wang and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p>Note: this article has been corrected to remove mention of the City Council possibly passing through new mandatory inclusionary zoning rules this week. That will not be happening.</p> Inside the Campaign Finance Filings of NYC's 'Big Four' 2015-07-22T22:12:38+00:00 2015-07-22T22:12:38+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5821:inside-the-campaign-finance-filings-of-nycs-big-four Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/nyc_big_four.jpg" alt="de blasio stringer james mark-viverito" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">The city's 'big four' (<a href="https://twitter.com/NYCCouncil/status/424294233697046529" target="_blank">photo</a>: @NYCCouncil)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Mid-way through 2015, the latest campaign finance filings are in and the raise and spend activity of New York City's top four elected officials can be analyzed through their principal campaign committees. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, all Democrats, maintain active committees during their current terms in office.</p> <p>While it is presumed that de Blasio, James, and Stringer will each seek re-election to city-wide office, Mark-Viverito is term-limited out of the Council at the end of 2017 and her future plans are unclear. It is well-documented that Mark-Viverito continues to raise money, readying, perhaps, for a mayoral run somewhere down the line. Both James and Stringer continue to raise funds too, with the comptroller outpacing his colleagues.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio has not been fundraising for his re-election campaign, though the account shows quite a bit of spending - instead it appears that the mayor is directing donations toward either the non-profit that he is closely aligned with, Campaign for One New York, and the city's Mayor's Fund for New York City.</p> <p>All four candidates are subject to New York City Campaign Finance Board rules when it comes to their official campaign accounts. Information about the CFB program and its rules may be found on <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/candidate-services/limits-thresholds/2017" target="_blank">the CFB website</a>, but one key concept is the contribution limit - a specific donor (individual or institution) may commit to a single politician. Though the limit varies per office, for all four of these officials, that effective limit is $4,950 per donor. When a donor has given this amount, they have "maxed out."</p> <p>All of the data and charts below include the accumulated filings of July, 2015, for activity from January 1, 2014 through the July filing cut-off date of July 15, 2015. De Blasio has raised no money into his principal campaign account during his time as mayor, and he spends from a "war chest." The other three officials - James, Stringer, and Mark-Viverito - have sought out funds during this term. Popularly elected to citywide positions and assumed mayoral aspirants, Public Advocate James and Comptroller Stringer are both raising money at a significant pace, though Stringer has raised more thus far:</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/005_1.jpg" alt="Stringer James 1" height="338" width="500" /></p> <p>While James and Stringer appear to push their own fundraising performance around the January and July filings, Mark-Viverito had her big month in April (it was <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/07/8572173/mark-viverito-reports-raising-nearly-500-k" target="_blank">reported</a> that she held a birthday fundraiser on April 20):</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/006_1.jpg" alt="MMV 1" height="338" width="500" /></p> <p>In terms of where the money comes from, James has enjoyed city-wide political financial support since January 2014, but has relatively few links to the Bronx:</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/James_contribs.jpg" alt="James contribs" height="500" width="500" /></p> <p>Stringer is heavily reliant on the Upper East Side and his home-turf in the Upper West Side since January 2014:</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/stringer_contribs.jpg" alt="stringer contribs" height="500" width="500" /></p> <p>Mark-Viverito's fundraising is Manhattan-centric; though less than $5,000 is from her district - which spans parts of Manhattan and the Bronx - since January 2014:</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Viverito_contribs.jpg" alt="Viverito contribs" height="500" width="500" /></p> <p>For each of the three (James, Stringer, Mark-Viverito), the share comprised by "maxed-out donors" (everyone who gave $4,950) as part of overall fundraising shows differences in those largest donors. Stringer's fundraising outpaces both of his colleagues by quite a bit, and the portion of his haul made up of max donors is largest. Stringer has about 50% of his raise from max contributors, whereas James is at about 35%, and Mark-Viverito about 20%.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/009_1.jpg" alt="MMV James Stringer bars" height="338" width="500" /></p> <p>In raw numbers, the maxed-out donors to each of the three - sums and headcount for each segment are shown:</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/table1_1.jpg" alt="max raise james stringer mmv chart" height="226" width="462" /></p> <p>All three officials count a common basket of labor institutions in their max-out club. All three also are in receipt of $4,950 from Greenberg Traurig, LLP as well.</p> <p>A few individual donors have maxed out for two of these officials:</p> <ul> <li>Kate Engelbrecht for James and Stringer</li> <li>Alexander Rovt for James and Stringer</li> <li>Roger Sherman for Stringer and Mark-Viverito</li> <li>William Zeckendorf for James and Stringer</li> </ul> <p>Campaign finance filings also require disclosure of spending. While the mayor is reticent to raise to his campaign account, he has spent from it. Stringer and James are both spending as well.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/007_1.jpg" alt="james stringer mmv spending" height="338" width="500" /></p> <p>Mark-Viverito's biggest expenditure is on legal services, likely due to combatting allegations regarding her use of a consultancy during the speaker's race.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/008_1.jpg" alt="MMV spending" height="338" width="500" /></p> <p>The top expenditures for each campaign - every relationship worth $1,000 or more entered into by these campaigns since January 2014 and through the July 2015 filing - show the bulk of expenditure is directed towards one or two firms that provide consulting and/or legal advice.</p> <p>De Blasio has Hilltop Public Solutions and Genova Burns; James has Bedford Grove and Mirram Group; Stringer has Tucker Green Consulting and Genova Burns; while Mark-Viverito has Pitta Bishop Del Giorno Giblin and Nashban Mansur LLC. Mark-Viverito's very large payments to Ballard Spahr, meanwhile, are said to be related to the ongoing Conflicts of Interest Board <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/politics/2015/01/21/sources--conflict-of-interest-board-conducting-ethics-probe-of-council-speaker.html" target="_blank">investigation</a> into her speaker's race.</p> <p>Beneath that, the campaigns pay a small handful of staffers, handle some housekeeping, and some have funded their fund-raising operations to varying degrees. De Blasio's campaign is making substantial payroll payments, including various forms of insurance and taxes as well. In the "count" column we are displaying how many checks each vendor is receiving from its respective campaign, and the "average" column simply performs the division to provide a general sense of the ongoing relationships at play.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/deblasio_1.jpg" alt="de blasio spending" height="343" width="500" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/james_1.jpg" alt="tish james spend" height="190" width="500" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/stringer_1.jpg" alt="stringer spend" height="141" width="500" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/markviverito_1.jpg" alt="mark-viverito spend" height="383" width="500" /></p> <p>***<br />by Jon Reznick for Gotham Gazette<br />Data analysis performed using FTMSQL2 by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.compadre.us/" target="_blank">Competitive Advantage Research, LLC</a></p> <p>Note: The author has provided paid photo, prior to their current terms, to Stringer and Mark-Viverito, and in-kind photo to James.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/nyc_big_four.jpg" alt="de blasio stringer james mark-viverito" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">The city's 'big four' (<a href="https://twitter.com/NYCCouncil/status/424294233697046529" target="_blank">photo</a>: @NYCCouncil)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Mid-way through 2015, the latest campaign finance filings are in and the raise and spend activity of New York City's top four elected officials can be analyzed through their principal campaign committees. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, all Democrats, maintain active committees during their current terms in office.</p> <p>While it is presumed that de Blasio, James, and Stringer will each seek re-election to city-wide office, Mark-Viverito is term-limited out of the Council at the end of 2017 and her future plans are unclear. It is well-documented that Mark-Viverito continues to raise money, readying, perhaps, for a mayoral run somewhere down the line. Both James and Stringer continue to raise funds too, with the comptroller outpacing his colleagues.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio has not been fundraising for his re-election campaign, though the account shows quite a bit of spending - instead it appears that the mayor is directing donations toward either the non-profit that he is closely aligned with, Campaign for One New York, and the city's Mayor's Fund for New York City.</p> <p>All four candidates are subject to New York City Campaign Finance Board rules when it comes to their official campaign accounts. Information about the CFB program and its rules may be found on <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/candidate-services/limits-thresholds/2017" target="_blank">the CFB website</a>, but one key concept is the contribution limit - a specific donor (individual or institution) may commit to a single politician. Though the limit varies per office, for all four of these officials, that effective limit is $4,950 per donor. When a donor has given this amount, they have "maxed out."</p> <p>All of the data and charts below include the accumulated filings of July, 2015, for activity from January 1, 2014 through the July filing cut-off date of July 15, 2015. De Blasio has raised no money into his principal campaign account during his time as mayor, and he spends from a "war chest." The other three officials - James, Stringer, and Mark-Viverito - have sought out funds during this term. Popularly elected to citywide positions and assumed mayoral aspirants, Public Advocate James and Comptroller Stringer are both raising money at a significant pace, though Stringer has raised more thus far:</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/005_1.jpg" alt="Stringer James 1" height="338" width="500" /></p> <p>While James and Stringer appear to push their own fundraising performance around the January and July filings, Mark-Viverito had her big month in April (it was <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/07/8572173/mark-viverito-reports-raising-nearly-500-k" target="_blank">reported</a> that she held a birthday fundraiser on April 20):</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/006_1.jpg" alt="MMV 1" height="338" width="500" /></p> <p>In terms of where the money comes from, James has enjoyed city-wide political financial support since January 2014, but has relatively few links to the Bronx:</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/James_contribs.jpg" alt="James contribs" height="500" width="500" /></p> <p>Stringer is heavily reliant on the Upper East Side and his home-turf in the Upper West Side since January 2014:</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/stringer_contribs.jpg" alt="stringer contribs" height="500" width="500" /></p> <p>Mark-Viverito's fundraising is Manhattan-centric; though less than $5,000 is from her district - which spans parts of Manhattan and the Bronx - since January 2014:</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Viverito_contribs.jpg" alt="Viverito contribs" height="500" width="500" /></p> <p>For each of the three (James, Stringer, Mark-Viverito), the share comprised by "maxed-out donors" (everyone who gave $4,950) as part of overall fundraising shows differences in those largest donors. Stringer's fundraising outpaces both of his colleagues by quite a bit, and the portion of his haul made up of max donors is largest. Stringer has about 50% of his raise from max contributors, whereas James is at about 35%, and Mark-Viverito about 20%.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/009_1.jpg" alt="MMV James Stringer bars" height="338" width="500" /></p> <p>In raw numbers, the maxed-out donors to each of the three - sums and headcount for each segment are shown:</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/table1_1.jpg" alt="max raise james stringer mmv chart" height="226" width="462" /></p> <p>All three officials count a common basket of labor institutions in their max-out club. All three also are in receipt of $4,950 from Greenberg Traurig, LLP as well.</p> <p>A few individual donors have maxed out for two of these officials:</p> <ul> <li>Kate Engelbrecht for James and Stringer</li> <li>Alexander Rovt for James and Stringer</li> <li>Roger Sherman for Stringer and Mark-Viverito</li> <li>William Zeckendorf for James and Stringer</li> </ul> <p>Campaign finance filings also require disclosure of spending. While the mayor is reticent to raise to his campaign account, he has spent from it. Stringer and James are both spending as well.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/007_1.jpg" alt="james stringer mmv spending" height="338" width="500" /></p> <p>Mark-Viverito's biggest expenditure is on legal services, likely due to combatting allegations regarding her use of a consultancy during the speaker's race.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/008_1.jpg" alt="MMV spending" height="338" width="500" /></p> <p>The top expenditures for each campaign - every relationship worth $1,000 or more entered into by these campaigns since January 2014 and through the July 2015 filing - show the bulk of expenditure is directed towards one or two firms that provide consulting and/or legal advice.</p> <p>De Blasio has Hilltop Public Solutions and Genova Burns; James has Bedford Grove and Mirram Group; Stringer has Tucker Green Consulting and Genova Burns; while Mark-Viverito has Pitta Bishop Del Giorno Giblin and Nashban Mansur LLC. Mark-Viverito's very large payments to Ballard Spahr, meanwhile, are said to be related to the ongoing Conflicts of Interest Board <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/politics/2015/01/21/sources--conflict-of-interest-board-conducting-ethics-probe-of-council-speaker.html" target="_blank">investigation</a> into her speaker's race.</p> <p>Beneath that, the campaigns pay a small handful of staffers, handle some housekeeping, and some have funded their fund-raising operations to varying degrees. De Blasio's campaign is making substantial payroll payments, including various forms of insurance and taxes as well. In the "count" column we are displaying how many checks each vendor is receiving from its respective campaign, and the "average" column simply performs the division to provide a general sense of the ongoing relationships at play.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/deblasio_1.jpg" alt="de blasio spending" height="343" width="500" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/james_1.jpg" alt="tish james spend" height="190" width="500" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/stringer_1.jpg" alt="stringer spend" height="141" width="500" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/markviverito_1.jpg" alt="mark-viverito spend" height="383" width="500" /></p> <p>***<br />by Jon Reznick for Gotham Gazette<br />Data analysis performed using FTMSQL2 by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.compadre.us/" target="_blank">Competitive Advantage Research, LLC</a></p> <p>Note: The author has provided paid photo, prior to their current terms, to Stringer and Mark-Viverito, and in-kind photo to James.</p> Conference Keys to Restore Voter Confidence Start with Campaign Finance Reform 2015-07-23T20:33:02+00:00 2015-07-23T20:33:02+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5823:conference-keys-to-restore-voter-confidence-start-with-campaign-finance-reform Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/CFB_conf_panelists.jpg" alt="CFB conf panelists" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Ann Ravel, Jared DeMarinis &amp; Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, from left (<a href="https://twitter.com/NYCCFB/status/623936573990637568" target="_blank">photo</a>: @NYCCFB)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Ninety-six percent of Americans are concerned by the role of money in politics. Ninety-one percent think there's nothing they can do to change it.</p> <p>Federal Election Commission Chair Ann Ravel presented these statistics during her keynote address at a conference - "American Elections at the Crossroads: How do we restore voters' faith in elections and get them back to the polls?" - focused on changing that cynical sentiment, held by the New York City Campaign Finance Board, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the Committee for Economic Development on Wednesday.</p> <p>Ravel, joined by elected officials, campaign finance experts, and academics, considered the effects of money in politics - particularly the role public campaign finance programs can play in spurring voter participation and leveling the influence playing field.</p> <p>In her remarks, Ravel warned that the influence of money in politics is causing people to disassociate with electoral and government processes. "The influence of money in politics is contributing to this low level of political trust," she said. But, she added that the problem is not the amount of money, "the issue is where the money comes from."</p> <p>John Mollenkopf, a distinguished professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and the director of its Center for Urban Research began by noting the role of political contributions in spurring people to vote.</p> <p>"The positive takeaway to begin with is people who contribute are more likely to vote. So clearly the act of contributing is an extension of political engagement, it's something people do on top of bothering to go to the polls and public match really incentivizes people to contribute," Mollenkopf said, referring to New York City's small donor matching program. <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/" target="_blank">The Campaign Finance Board</a> matches contributions of up to $175 at a six-to-one ratio for candidates for mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president and City Council.</p> <p>Former U.S. Congressmember Tom Petri of Wisconsin agreed, describing political contributions as a way for people to feel they have a stake in elections, compelling interest particularly in local elections.</p> <p>"I think sometimes we get too focused on big money in the big elections which are very important, but we should also remember the political process is a huge broad diverse one," Petri said, indicating that their are many municipal level contests that people often forget when focusing on presidential and congressional races.</p> <p>For New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, campaign contributions from voters are as symbolically important as they are practically.</p> <p>"When ordinary New Yorkers put their hard earned money into a campaign, they are putting faith in candidates," James said. Citing her modest personal means, the public advocate often points to the necessity of the public matching system in allowing her to compete electorally.</p> <p>To combat the problem of low voter turnout in municipal and state-wide elections, Mollenkopf emphasized the role of political parties as agents of voter mobilization and suggested a solution that may be unsavory to many in City Hall.</p> <p>"As strange as it may seem for a person like me who is a long-time Democrat, I think we need a stronger Republican Party in New York City," Mollenkopf said. "We need a party that will go out and contest these elections with candidates who will give the Democrat incumbents who often have no challenge, give them a run for their money, get everybody really involved."</p> <p>City Council Member Eric Ulrich, a Republican from Queens, agreed with the importance of a two-party system, but "as much as I'd love to see a stronger Republican party, I'm not going to hold my breath anytime soon," he joked.</p> <p>Ulrich attributed low voter turnout to a cumbersome voting and voter registration process.</p> <p>"A lot of people don't vote because they're not registered and they're not registered because we don't make it easy for people to vote," Ulrich said, adding he hopes to see an app developed that could register voters. "Imagine how many 18-year-olds we could register in the classroom in seconds; teachers could encourage students to whip out their smartphones and register."</p> <p>Additionally, voters should be able to vote at any poll site in New York— not just their district's designating polling site— and should be able to vote early, Ulrich argued.</p> <p>"One of the reasons voting turnout is so low is that we tell people you can only vote from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on a Tuesday," Ulrich said. "And if you can't make it, you can't be a part of the process."</p> <p>Panelists also discussed localities which have successfully implemented public financing laws, as well as efforts across the country to pass laws encouraging small donations to candidates. In New York, proponents of the New York City system often call for a similar state program whereby campaign donations are more tightly limited and public matching dollars are available for small contributions.</p> <p>"Money will always be in politics," acknowledged Jared DeMarinis, director of Maryland's State Board of Elections. In Maryland, Montgomery County's campaign finance program, the first in the country passed after Citizens United v. FEC - the Supreme Court decision that lifted restrictions on political spending by corporations - was designed keeping in mind the altered political environment. "Let's not have the hard caps on expenditures," they decided. "Let's just cap how much public monies we'll give to candidates but allow them to keep raising beyond that but just restrict on how the money is raised." Montgomery's program was "basically modelled after the New York City idea," said DeMarinis.</p> <p>Other parts of the country may be passing campaign finance laws, but not all have been as successful as New York City, according to Michael Malbin of the Campaign Finance Institute. He compared the small donor public matching programs in New York City and Los Angeles and found that "not all matching funds have the same effect." A study he conducted with Michael Parrott found the New York program to be significantly more effective than the one in Los Angeles due to differences in how they are structured, including around what percentage matching funds account for spending limits. "You need a program that will actually work, that will do its job well," he said.</p> <p>One area in which he found success in both cities was that supporting small donations encouraged political participation among less wealthy and non-white racial and ethnic groups. "In both cities, small donors come from much more diverse neighborhoods than large donors," he said. His study found that New York City Council candidates raised campaign contributions from 90 percent of the city's census block groups. In Los Angeles, the percentage was lower, but still significant at 68 percent.</p> <p>Currently, efforts are underway to create or strengthen campaign finance laws in several cities and states across the country, including Chicago, Santa Fe, Seattle and Maine, <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/media/videos/conference-video-american-elections-crossroads" target="_blank">panelists</a> said.</p> <p>"We have seen an enormous interest in cities and states across the country. And in many places over the next two or three years, we are going to see dozens of jurisdictions looking to move small donor public financing," said Karen Hobert Flynn, senior vice president for strategy and programs at Common Cause. "It's about people wanting to reclaim their government."</p> <p>"Our hope is that Chicago will mimic what's happening in New York, in Los Angeles, and other places," said Mike Petro, vice president of Committee for Economic Development. "Those are the victories that we need across the country."</p> <p>***<br />by Catie Edmondson and Zehra Rehman, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/CFB_conf_panelists.jpg" alt="CFB conf panelists" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Ann Ravel, Jared DeMarinis &amp; Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, from left (<a href="https://twitter.com/NYCCFB/status/623936573990637568" target="_blank">photo</a>: @NYCCFB)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Ninety-six percent of Americans are concerned by the role of money in politics. Ninety-one percent think there's nothing they can do to change it.</p> <p>Federal Election Commission Chair Ann Ravel presented these statistics during her keynote address at a conference - "American Elections at the Crossroads: How do we restore voters' faith in elections and get them back to the polls?" - focused on changing that cynical sentiment, held by the New York City Campaign Finance Board, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the Committee for Economic Development on Wednesday.</p> <p>Ravel, joined by elected officials, campaign finance experts, and academics, considered the effects of money in politics - particularly the role public campaign finance programs can play in spurring voter participation and leveling the influence playing field.</p> <p>In her remarks, Ravel warned that the influence of money in politics is causing people to disassociate with electoral and government processes. "The influence of money in politics is contributing to this low level of political trust," she said. But, she added that the problem is not the amount of money, "the issue is where the money comes from."</p> <p>John Mollenkopf, a distinguished professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and the director of its Center for Urban Research began by noting the role of political contributions in spurring people to vote.</p> <p>"The positive takeaway to begin with is people who contribute are more likely to vote. So clearly the act of contributing is an extension of political engagement, it's something people do on top of bothering to go to the polls and public match really incentivizes people to contribute," Mollenkopf said, referring to New York City's small donor matching program. <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/" target="_blank">The Campaign Finance Board</a> matches contributions of up to $175 at a six-to-one ratio for candidates for mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president and City Council.</p> <p>Former U.S. Congressmember Tom Petri of Wisconsin agreed, describing political contributions as a way for people to feel they have a stake in elections, compelling interest particularly in local elections.</p> <p>"I think sometimes we get too focused on big money in the big elections which are very important, but we should also remember the political process is a huge broad diverse one," Petri said, indicating that their are many municipal level contests that people often forget when focusing on presidential and congressional races.</p> <p>For New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, campaign contributions from voters are as symbolically important as they are practically.</p> <p>"When ordinary New Yorkers put their hard earned money into a campaign, they are putting faith in candidates," James said. Citing her modest personal means, the public advocate often points to the necessity of the public matching system in allowing her to compete electorally.</p> <p>To combat the problem of low voter turnout in municipal and state-wide elections, Mollenkopf emphasized the role of political parties as agents of voter mobilization and suggested a solution that may be unsavory to many in City Hall.</p> <p>"As strange as it may seem for a person like me who is a long-time Democrat, I think we need a stronger Republican Party in New York City," Mollenkopf said. "We need a party that will go out and contest these elections with candidates who will give the Democrat incumbents who often have no challenge, give them a run for their money, get everybody really involved."</p> <p>City Council Member Eric Ulrich, a Republican from Queens, agreed with the importance of a two-party system, but "as much as I'd love to see a stronger Republican party, I'm not going to hold my breath anytime soon," he joked.</p> <p>Ulrich attributed low voter turnout to a cumbersome voting and voter registration process.</p> <p>"A lot of people don't vote because they're not registered and they're not registered because we don't make it easy for people to vote," Ulrich said, adding he hopes to see an app developed that could register voters. "Imagine how many 18-year-olds we could register in the classroom in seconds; teachers could encourage students to whip out their smartphones and register."</p> <p>Additionally, voters should be able to vote at any poll site in New York— not just their district's designating polling site— and should be able to vote early, Ulrich argued.</p> <p>"One of the reasons voting turnout is so low is that we tell people you can only vote from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on a Tuesday," Ulrich said. "And if you can't make it, you can't be a part of the process."</p> <p>Panelists also discussed localities which have successfully implemented public financing laws, as well as efforts across the country to pass laws encouraging small donations to candidates. In New York, proponents of the New York City system often call for a similar state program whereby campaign donations are more tightly limited and public matching dollars are available for small contributions.</p> <p>"Money will always be in politics," acknowledged Jared DeMarinis, director of Maryland's State Board of Elections. In Maryland, Montgomery County's campaign finance program, the first in the country passed after Citizens United v. FEC - the Supreme Court decision that lifted restrictions on political spending by corporations - was designed keeping in mind the altered political environment. "Let's not have the hard caps on expenditures," they decided. "Let's just cap how much public monies we'll give to candidates but allow them to keep raising beyond that but just restrict on how the money is raised." Montgomery's program was "basically modelled after the New York City idea," said DeMarinis.</p> <p>Other parts of the country may be passing campaign finance laws, but not all have been as successful as New York City, according to Michael Malbin of the Campaign Finance Institute. He compared the small donor public matching programs in New York City and Los Angeles and found that "not all matching funds have the same effect." A study he conducted with Michael Parrott found the New York program to be significantly more effective than the one in Los Angeles due to differences in how they are structured, including around what percentage matching funds account for spending limits. "You need a program that will actually work, that will do its job well," he said.</p> <p>One area in which he found success in both cities was that supporting small donations encouraged political participation among less wealthy and non-white racial and ethnic groups. "In both cities, small donors come from much more diverse neighborhoods than large donors," he said. His study found that New York City Council candidates raised campaign contributions from 90 percent of the city's census block groups. In Los Angeles, the percentage was lower, but still significant at 68 percent.</p> <p>Currently, efforts are underway to create or strengthen campaign finance laws in several cities and states across the country, including Chicago, Santa Fe, Seattle and Maine, <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/media/videos/conference-video-american-elections-crossroads" target="_blank">panelists</a> said.</p> <p>"We have seen an enormous interest in cities and states across the country. And in many places over the next two or three years, we are going to see dozens of jurisdictions looking to move small donor public financing," said Karen Hobert Flynn, senior vice president for strategy and programs at Common Cause. "It's about people wanting to reclaim their government."</p> <p>"Our hope is that Chicago will mimic what's happening in New York, in Los Angeles, and other places," said Mike Petro, vice president of Committee for Economic Development. "Those are the victories that we need across the country."</p> <p>***<br />by Catie Edmondson and Zehra Rehman, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, July 6 2015-07-01T21:55:01+00:00 2015-07-01T21:55:01+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5796:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-july-6 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></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>Don't expect to see much action from the biggest political players this week. Mayor Bill de Blasio may have launched a salvo against Governor Andrew Cuomo before leaving for vacation last week but the Mayor remains somewhere in the "Southwestern and Western United States" according to his official schedule. De Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, and their children Chiara and Dante are scheduled to return to the city on Wednesday. In the meantime day-to-day operations will be carried through by First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris.&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Cuomo appears to be quietly recovering from a particularly nasty legislative year that saw him suffer both personal and political hardship. He did travel to Long Island this weekend to officiate the wedding of rocker Billy Joel and his girlfriend Alexis Roderick. Cuomo's official schedule puts him in New York City today.&nbsp;</p> <p>Don't fret about de Blasio and Cuomo's relationship -&nbsp;<a href="http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/de-blasio-cuomo-work-relationship-therapists-article-1.2281710?cid=bitly" target="_blank">therapists tell the Daily News</a> there is a chance they can work things out.&nbsp;</p> <p>Not everyone has the day off Monday. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is set to tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Baldwinsville.&nbsp;</p> <p>And David Sweat, the surviving member of the pair of inmates who broke out of an upstate prison causing a massive manhunt and media firestorm, has <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/entertainment/celebrities_gossip/20150705_WENN_Billy_Joel_and_Vanessa_Williams_stage_marriages_on_Independence_Day.html" target="_blank">officially returned to prison</a> after recovering from two gunshots to his torso at Albany Medical Center. Senate Republicans are chomping at the bit to hold hearings on prison funding and security. Expect them to hold the issue over Cuomo and Democrats who back prison reforms.&nbsp;</p> <p>It's a slow week coming off the holiday weekend, but there are several items to be aware of, read our day-by-day rundown below.</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></p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>The New York City Campaign Finance Board is offering a Compliance &amp; C-SMART training session for the 2017 election cycle at 1pm Tuesday. "Compliance trainings cover campaign finance laws and CFB rules. C-SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB's web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity. The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager or other individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training." For more information and to <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/candidates/candidates/EC2017_Trainings.pdf." target="_blank">RSVP</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>There will be a <a href="http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eb70z774bddfe79d&amp;llr=o7asoncab" target="_blank">double symposium</a> on race and law enforcement on Tuesday at 6 p.m. and on Thursday, July 16 at 6 p.m. On Tuesday, among others, Susan Herman, Deputy Commissioner of Collaborative Policing for the NYPD, will be attending.</p> <p>On Tuesday there will be "A Young Professionals Fundraiser" <a href="https://act.myngp.com/Forms/8398095492301784832" target="_blank">for</a> Public Advocate, Letitia James at 6;30 p.m. Congress Member Yvette Clarke will be a featured speaker and special invited guests include State Senator Velmanette Montgomery; Assembly members Annette Robinson, Rodneyse Bichotte, Diana Richardson, Latrice Walker and Council member Laurie Cumbo.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. there <a href="http://brooklyn-usa.org/event/brooklyn-borough-board-meeting/" target="_blank">will be </a>a Brooklyn Borough Board Meeting hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At 9:30 a.m. the Department of Consumer Affairs <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/media/events.page" target="_blank">will be</a> hosting an "Open House Training Series: NYC's Paid Sick Leave Law."</p> <p>The Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and New York City Housing Authority <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/mbpo-nycha-town-hall-series-tickets-17486343123" target="_blank">will host </a>a series of town hall meetings to discuss the recently released NYCHA Next Generation Plan. There will be a town hall meeting on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Hunter College School of Social Work.</p> <p>At 2 p.m. there <a href="http://brooklyn-usa.org/event/access-to-legal-service/2015-05-27/" target="_blank">will be</a> access to free legal services for "Foreclosure Intervention/Prevention" provided through a partnership between Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc. This occurs every second Wednesday of every month.</p> <p>The de Blasio family will be returning from their vacation today.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 2 p.m. there <a href="http://brooklyn-usa.org/event/access-to-legal-service/2015-05-27/" target="_blank">will be</a> access to free legal services for "Housing and Elder Law, and Pension matters" provided through a partnership between Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the Brooklyn Branch of Legal Services NYC. This occurs every second and fourth Thursday of every month.</p> <p>At 3 p.m. Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson <a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TAqaALNpp0pDY4qd-12Besy_W43Vox0KTRCcfOZYzag/viewform" target="_blank">will</a> partake in a Q&amp;A as part of the "Newsmakers Series 2015" at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. there <a href="https://cvh.ourpowerbase.net/civicrm/event/register?reset=1&amp;id=3255" target="_blank">will be</a> a celebration hosted at Hunter College for Carl Heastie, the first African American Assembly Speaker of New York State. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Democratic Conference Leader; John Flanagan, Senate Majority Leader; Joseph D. Morelle, Assembly Majority Leader, and numerous others are part of the host committee attending.<br /><br /></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 Erika Wang and David King<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@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" height="450" width="600" /></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>Don't expect to see much action from the biggest political players this week. Mayor Bill de Blasio may have launched a salvo against Governor Andrew Cuomo before leaving for vacation last week but the Mayor remains somewhere in the "Southwestern and Western United States" according to his official schedule. De Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, and their children Chiara and Dante are scheduled to return to the city on Wednesday. In the meantime day-to-day operations will be carried through by First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris.&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Cuomo appears to be quietly recovering from a particularly nasty legislative year that saw him suffer both personal and political hardship. He did travel to Long Island this weekend to officiate the wedding of rocker Billy Joel and his girlfriend Alexis Roderick. Cuomo's official schedule puts him in New York City today.&nbsp;</p> <p>Don't fret about de Blasio and Cuomo's relationship -&nbsp;<a href="http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/de-blasio-cuomo-work-relationship-therapists-article-1.2281710?cid=bitly" target="_blank">therapists tell the Daily News</a> there is a chance they can work things out.&nbsp;</p> <p>Not everyone has the day off Monday. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is set to tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Baldwinsville.&nbsp;</p> <p>And David Sweat, the surviving member of the pair of inmates who broke out of an upstate prison causing a massive manhunt and media firestorm, has <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/entertainment/celebrities_gossip/20150705_WENN_Billy_Joel_and_Vanessa_Williams_stage_marriages_on_Independence_Day.html" target="_blank">officially returned to prison</a> after recovering from two gunshots to his torso at Albany Medical Center. Senate Republicans are chomping at the bit to hold hearings on prison funding and security. Expect them to hold the issue over Cuomo and Democrats who back prison reforms.&nbsp;</p> <p>It's a slow week coming off the holiday weekend, but there are several items to be aware of, read our day-by-day rundown below.</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></p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>The New York City Campaign Finance Board is offering a Compliance &amp; C-SMART training session for the 2017 election cycle at 1pm Tuesday. "Compliance trainings cover campaign finance laws and CFB rules. C-SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB's web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity. The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager or other individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training." For more information and to <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/candidates/candidates/EC2017_Trainings.pdf." target="_blank">RSVP</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>There will be a <a href="http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eb70z774bddfe79d&amp;llr=o7asoncab" target="_blank">double symposium</a> on race and law enforcement on Tuesday at 6 p.m. and on Thursday, July 16 at 6 p.m. On Tuesday, among others, Susan Herman, Deputy Commissioner of Collaborative Policing for the NYPD, will be attending.</p> <p>On Tuesday there will be "A Young Professionals Fundraiser" <a href="https://act.myngp.com/Forms/8398095492301784832" target="_blank">for</a> Public Advocate, Letitia James at 6;30 p.m. Congress Member Yvette Clarke will be a featured speaker and special invited guests include State Senator Velmanette Montgomery; Assembly members Annette Robinson, Rodneyse Bichotte, Diana Richardson, Latrice Walker and Council member Laurie Cumbo.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. there <a href="http://brooklyn-usa.org/event/brooklyn-borough-board-meeting/" target="_blank">will be </a>a Brooklyn Borough Board Meeting hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At 9:30 a.m. the Department of Consumer Affairs <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/media/events.page" target="_blank">will be</a> hosting an "Open House Training Series: NYC's Paid Sick Leave Law."</p> <p>The Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and New York City Housing Authority <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/mbpo-nycha-town-hall-series-tickets-17486343123" target="_blank">will host </a>a series of town hall meetings to discuss the recently released NYCHA Next Generation Plan. There will be a town hall meeting on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Hunter College School of Social Work.</p> <p>At 2 p.m. there <a href="http://brooklyn-usa.org/event/access-to-legal-service/2015-05-27/" target="_blank">will be</a> access to free legal services for "Foreclosure Intervention/Prevention" provided through a partnership between Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc. This occurs every second Wednesday of every month.</p> <p>The de Blasio family will be returning from their vacation today.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 2 p.m. there <a href="http://brooklyn-usa.org/event/access-to-legal-service/2015-05-27/" target="_blank">will be</a> access to free legal services for "Housing and Elder Law, and Pension matters" provided through a partnership between Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the Brooklyn Branch of Legal Services NYC. This occurs every second and fourth Thursday of every month.</p> <p>At 3 p.m. Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson <a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TAqaALNpp0pDY4qd-12Besy_W43Vox0KTRCcfOZYzag/viewform" target="_blank">will</a> partake in a Q&amp;A as part of the "Newsmakers Series 2015" at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. there <a href="https://cvh.ourpowerbase.net/civicrm/event/register?reset=1&amp;id=3255" target="_blank">will be</a> a celebration hosted at Hunter College for Carl Heastie, the first African American Assembly Speaker of New York State. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Democratic Conference Leader; John Flanagan, Senate Majority Leader; Joseph D. Morelle, Assembly Majority Leader, and numerous others are part of the host committee attending.<br /><br /></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 Erika Wang and David King<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 22 2015-06-19T14:38:12+00:00 2015-06-19T14:38:12+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5778:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-june-22 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></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><strong>ALBANY, ALBANY:</strong> 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 the time they get there, leaders could already have new deals in place. How long will the extended legislative session continue? Unclear. But, it probably won't be long, especially since Senate Republicans are in no rush to get anything else done. It is looking more and more likely that tenants and their Democratic allies will not be seeing a strengthening of the rent laws and are <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/tenant-back-proposed-2-year-rent-law-extend-no-article-1.2265547?cid=bitly" target="_blank">becoming resigned</a> to the idea that a short-term extension of the current regulations might be the best they can do in the current climate. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5776-albany-lawmakers-putter-past-deadlines-surprising-no-one" target="_blank">our look at state lawmakers' blowing deadlines to no one's surprise</a>]</p> <p>Also: this weekend the manhunt for two prisoners who escaped June 6 from an upstate prison <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/nyregion/prison-escapees-new-york.html" target="_blank">zeroed in on</a> a southwestern New York area, Allegany County. The search continues and the situation is fluid.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING DE BLASIO:</strong> Mayor Bill de Blasio is no doubt uneasily watching Albany and in touch with key players in state government - he has said repeatedly of late that his staff is in consistent communication with the governor's office. The mayor is most concerned with the rent laws, mayoral control of city schools, the 421-a tax break, and perhaps a few other key issues related to the city (like the charter school cap and 'raise the age') that may get resolved as the extended session continues.</p> <p>On Saturday de Blasio delivered remarks at the street renaming ceremony for Detective Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn and then attended and gave remarks at "the #IamAME Rally and Response hosted by the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York [in Queens] to address the unparalleled tragedy at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina this week." De Blasio spoke about racism, terrorism, and the need for stronger gun control laws. On Sunday, de Blasio hosted a press conference in Harlem "to discuss the humanitarian situation concerning Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic."</p> <p>On Sunday evening, city leaders including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Public Advocate Letitia James, and others were set to gather outside Brooklyn's Barclays Center for a vigil honoring the victims of the Charleston shooting.</p> <p>On Monday, the mayor will appear on <a href="http://www.hot97.com/live/" target="_blank">Hot 97 radio</a> at about 7:30 a.m. (read <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/06/8570641/russell-simmons-de-blasio-bitch-policing" target="_blank">this for some context</a>) and, later in the day, he'll "attend the Department of Education's Renewal Schools Working Session" -&nbsp;all this while he and his team continue to negotiate a final city budget deal with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and her budget negotiating team.</p> <p><strong>CITY BUDGET WATCH:</strong> A fiscal year 2016 deal between the de Blasio administration and the City Council is due before July 1, when the fiscal year begins. Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced they had <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5116-mayor-city-council-agree-75-billion-dollar-budget-fiscal-year-2015-de-blasio-mark-viverito" target="_blank">reached a deal</a> on June 19, and there's good reason to think they could again reach a deal a before the deadline this year - which could mean an announcement this week. Stay tuned!</p> <p>The big issues still being negotiated include Council requests for additional funding for an additional 1,000 NYPD officers, senior citizen services, libraries, and more.</p> <p><strong>RIKERS DEAL?:</strong> The City and the US Attorney's Office <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/nyregion/accord-near-on-sweeping-reforms-at-rikers-jail-including-us-monitor.html?ref=nyregion&amp;_r=1" target="_blank">appear close</a> on a deal of reforms at Rikers Island jail complex, incuding a federal monitor to track changes in prisoner treatment and more. There has been more and more scrutiny on both Rikers and related criminal justice issues, like how the bail system works, or doesn't, leading to thousands of people locked up on Rikers who are accused of low-level, non-violent crimes but can't afford the bail set for them.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</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>The fourth and final public meeting of the Fast Food Wage Board called by Gov. Cuomo, through his labor department, will be at 10 a.m. Monday in the Legislative Office Building at Albany (<a href="http://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/wageboard2015.shtm" target="_blank">and webcast live</a>). "The Wage Board's recommendations are expected by July, and the commissioner will then have 45 days from its receipt to issue an order."</p> <p>Opposing views: The Business Council of New York State will "submit formal comments, and testify in person, at the June 22 meeting in Albany, NY." The Business Council first announced its objections to the fast food Wage Board on June 5. Meanwhile, hundreds of $15 per hour supporters, including fast food workers and their families, elected officials including State Senator Neil Breslin, and others will hold a 9:30 a.m. press conference at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will be one of the commencement speakers at the Young Women's Leadership School of Brooklyn's first graduating class' commencement.</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Monday in Garden City, New York,&nbsp;"Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will announce the start of a statewide advertising campaign to educate consumers about how to protect themselves against mortgage rescue scams."</p> <p>Monday morning Council Member Costa Constantinides, Public Advocate Letitia James, and others will be <a href="https://www.facebook.com/costaforastoria/posts/897469466992438" target="_blank">holding a press conference</a> urging a management company to make repairs on the lack of gas and hot water at a co-op complex in Astoria.</p> <p>Monday at the City Council:</p> <ul> <li>At 9:30 a.m. the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss three land use applications.</li> <li>At 10 a.m. the Committee on Youth Services <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=400831&amp;GUID=36CC51E7-79A2-4A5E-AB9A-2852656ADC99&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search" target="_blank">will meet</a> to have an oversight hearing on how to better address the issue of youth violence.</li> <li>At 11 a.m. the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss three landmark land use applications.</li> <li>At noon, the Committees on Higher Education, Community Development, Youth Services and Immigration <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=410846&amp;GUID=A3A952CB-9DC5-4EE7-B631-2570AD8B17D1&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search" target="_blank">will have</a> a joint meeting to discuss how New York City is doing on educating its adult immigrant community.</li> <li>At 1 p.m. the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will have a meeting to discuss two land use applications.</li> </ul> <p>On Monday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer will&nbsp;deliver remarks at a 5th grade graduation ceremony at 9:30 a.m. and in the evening, at 7:30 p.m., he'll accept an award at the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island 48th Annual Dinner and Awards Reception.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. Monday there will be a public meeting of the Contracts Committee of the Panel for Educational Policy. The Contracts Committee meets before the Panel for Educational Policy meetings to "review specific contract items that are presented for review and approval."</p> <p>Monday evening, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer "speaks at the LGBT Community Center's 32nd annual garden party kick-off for Pride Week."</p> <p>On Monday a "Town Hall for Immigrant Businesses" <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/town-hall-for-immigrant-businesses-tickets-17243159755" target="_blank">will be held</a> in Flushing, Queens by the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit starting at 6 p.m. Speakers will include Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services, Maria Torres-Springer; Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Amit Bagga; and Magda Desdunes from the Department of Health.</p> <p>At 8 p.m. Monday in front of the Queens Museum, "Borough President Melinda Katz, District Attorney Richard A. Brown, elected officials, community leaders and advocates will host a borough-wide interfaith prayer vigil for the victims of the Charleston massacre and a lighting ceremony in solidarity with New York State gun violence awareness efforts. The ceremony will include a reading of names of New Yorkers in Queens lost to gun violence. Every night from June 22 through June 30 in "The World's Borough", the front exterior of the Queens Museum will be illuminated in orange, the official color of Gun Violence Awareness Month, and will be visible by all motorists along the stretch of the Grand Central Parkway in front of the Museum (approximately 168,000 motorists daily on average)."</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>The state Legislature is due back in Albany on Tuesday, which is when the brief retroactive rent laws extender will expire. Will there be deals in place by Tuesday whereby votes are a formality or will there still much negotiating to do?</p> <p>On Tuesday at 10 a.m., the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission will be holding a public hearing and might vote on designation of the Stonewall Inn at 51-53 Christopher Street. It would be the first "LGBT landmark" in New York City.</p> <p>Tuesday at the City Council:</p> <ul> <li>At 10 a.m. the Committee on Civil Service and Labor will have a meeting to discuss the establishment of a retirement security review board to study and report on recommendations for the city to establish a retirement security program for private sector workers.</li> <li>Also at 10 a.m. the Committee on Public Safety and the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services will have a joint meeting to discuss a bill that "would create the office of drug strategy to provide strategic leadership to coordinate a public health and safety approach to address problems associated to drug use and redresses the harms associated with past and current drug use." In addition, the committees will discuss examining NYC's response to heroin use and overdoses as well as a resolution recognizing and honoring the 25th anniversary of the 7/26/90 signing of "The Americans with Disabilities Act" of 1990.</li> </ul> <p>On Tuesday at 1 p.m. the New York City Bar and Public Advocate Letitia James <a href="http://pubadvocate.nyc.gov/news/events/policing-technology-new-york-city-privacy-law-and-future" target="_blank">will host a program</a>, "Policing Technology in New York City: Privacy, Law, and the Future," to discuss the technological advancements made available to New York City law enforcement and the importance of oversight and safety. Speakers will include Lawrence Byrne, Deputy Commissioner of Legal Affairs at the NYPD and Ben Rosenberg, General Counsel to Manhattan DA Cy Vance with Asim Rehman, General Counsel to the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD as moderator.</p> <p>The New York City Campaign Finance Board <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/candidates/candidates/EC2017_Trainings.pdf" target="_blank">is offering</a> a "Compliance only" training session, which covers campaign finance laws and CFB rules for the 2017 election cycle, at 5:30 p.m on Tuesday. "The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager or other individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training."</p> <p>On Tuesday at 6 p.m. the Department of Education <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/publicnotice/2014-2015/June232015PEPMeeting.htm" target="_blank">will hold</a> a public meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy at Long Island City High School. The 2015-2019 five year capital plan amendment, the annual estimate and the list of contracts will be voted on.</p> <p>Also at 6 p.m. Comptroller Scott Stringer <a href="http://comptroller.nyc.gov/event/lgbtq-pride-celebration-changemakers-award-ceremony/" target="_blank">will host</a> an "LGBTQ Pride Celebration and Changemakers Award Ceremony...honoring individuals for their outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ community" in Manhattan on Tuesday night.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>The University Neighborhood Housing Program <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-cost-of-water-balancing-fairness-affordability-and-water-conservation-tickets-17226658399?aff=mcivte" target="_blank">will host</a> its annual forum at 8:30 a.m. on "The Cost of Water: Balancing Fairness, Housing Affordability and Conservation." UNHP's report "Affordable Water for Affordable Housing" will be discussed by panelists including Jim Buckley of UNHP, Laurie Schoeman of Enterprise Community Partners and Jamie Stein of Stormwater Infrastructure Matters Coalition.</p> <p>On Wednesday morning at Baruch College the AARP <a href="http://cityandstateny.com/2/events/high-anxiety-nyc-gen-x-and-boomers-struggle-with-stress,-savings,-and-security.html#.VYGZ3lVVikp" target="_blank">will be releasing</a> a "groundbreaking NYC survey on the financial security and retirement savings crisis facing the city's Gen X and Baby Boomer generations," with City &amp; State NY. Speakers include: Joyce Rogers, Senior Vice President and AARP National Representative and John Adler, Director of Mayor's Office of Pensions.</p> <p>10 a.m. Wednesday morning, the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be having their next public meeting. An agenda will be made available on Tuesday and posted to its Twitter feed, <a href="https://twitter.com/NYCCFB" target="_blank">@NYCCFB</a>.</p> <p>On Wednesday at the City Council:</p> <ul> <li>At 10 a.m. the Committee on General Welfare will meet for an oversight meeting over the services and policies at the HIV/AIDS Services Administration.</li> <li>At 11 a.m. the Committee on Land Use will meet to discuss land use applications.</li> <li>At 2 p.m. the Committee on Health will meet to discuss a new law that would require the department of Health and Mental Hygiene to conduct community air quality surveys and publish the results annually.</li> </ul> <p>The New York City Campaign Finance Board <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/candidates/candidates/EC2017_Trainings.pdf" target="_blank">is offering</a> a "C-SMART only" training session, which will provide "an overview of the CFB's web-based application which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity" for the 2017 election cycle, at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. "The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager or other individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training."</p> <p>At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board <a href="http://www.nycrgb.org/html/about/meetings.html" target="_blank">will be</a> at Cooper Union for its last public meeting this cycle. After four previous meetings with public testimony a final vote on rent guidelines for October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016 will be taken at this public meeting.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday at the City Council:&nbsp;At 1 p.m. the Committee on Environmental Protection will meet to discuss a bill that would mandate construction sites within 75 feet of any school (public, private, preschool primary or secondary) should not exceed 45 dB during normal school operating hours and that noise levels at school sites shall be continuously monitored during those hours.</p> <p>Empire State Pride Agenda <a href="http://www.prideagenda.org/events/equalitywork-awards#1" target="_blank">will host</a> "Equality @Work Awards" on Thursday at 6 p.m.&nbsp;"Through its Pride in My Workplace program, the Empire State Pride Agenda has been helping New York businesses establish policies and practices that support the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees."</p> <p>Thursday evening in Brooklyn, it is the 2015 Working Families Party Gala, celebrating "17 years of fighting inequality in New York and honor a rising generation of progressive leaders.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday is the last day for the Fast Food Wage Board to receive oral or written testimony. Written testimony <a href="http://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/wageboard2015.shtm" target="_blank">can be mailed or emailed</a>.</p> <p>There will be a Manhattan Borough Service cabinet meeting on Friday at 9:30 a.m. The Borough Service Cabinet meetings focus "on city service delivery and agency responsiveness across the borough."</p> <p>On Saturday morning at 11 a.m. Citizenship Now! and the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs <a href="http://events.cuny.edu/eventDetail.asp?EventId=61053" target="_blank">will assist</a> permanent residents with their citizenship applications. If all naturalization requirements are met then an experienced lawyer and other immigration professionals will provide assistance with filling out the forms.</p> <p>The New York City Pride parade will be Sunday at 11 a.m.</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 Bernard Agrest, Erika Wang, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@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" height="450" width="600" /></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><strong>ALBANY, ALBANY:</strong> 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 the time they get there, leaders could already have new deals in place. How long will the extended legislative session continue? Unclear. But, it probably won't be long, especially since Senate Republicans are in no rush to get anything else done. It is looking more and more likely that tenants and their Democratic allies will not be seeing a strengthening of the rent laws and are <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/tenant-back-proposed-2-year-rent-law-extend-no-article-1.2265547?cid=bitly" target="_blank">becoming resigned</a> to the idea that a short-term extension of the current regulations might be the best they can do in the current climate. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5776-albany-lawmakers-putter-past-deadlines-surprising-no-one" target="_blank">our look at state lawmakers' blowing deadlines to no one's surprise</a>]</p> <p>Also: this weekend the manhunt for two prisoners who escaped June 6 from an upstate prison <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/nyregion/prison-escapees-new-york.html" target="_blank">zeroed in on</a> a southwestern New York area, Allegany County. The search continues and the situation is fluid.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING DE BLASIO:</strong> Mayor Bill de Blasio is no doubt uneasily watching Albany and in touch with key players in state government - he has said repeatedly of late that his staff is in consistent communication with the governor's office. The mayor is most concerned with the rent laws, mayoral control of city schools, the 421-a tax break, and perhaps a few other key issues related to the city (like the charter school cap and 'raise the age') that may get resolved as the extended session continues.</p> <p>On Saturday de Blasio delivered remarks at the street renaming ceremony for Detective Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn and then attended and gave remarks at "the #IamAME Rally and Response hosted by the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York [in Queens] to address the unparalleled tragedy at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina this week." De Blasio spoke about racism, terrorism, and the need for stronger gun control laws. On Sunday, de Blasio hosted a press conference in Harlem "to discuss the humanitarian situation concerning Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic."</p> <p>On Sunday evening, city leaders including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Public Advocate Letitia James, and others were set to gather outside Brooklyn's Barclays Center for a vigil honoring the victims of the Charleston shooting.</p> <p>On Monday, the mayor will appear on <a href="http://www.hot97.com/live/" target="_blank">Hot 97 radio</a> at about 7:30 a.m. (read <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/06/8570641/russell-simmons-de-blasio-bitch-policing" target="_blank">this for some context</a>) and, later in the day, he'll "attend the Department of Education's Renewal Schools Working Session" -&nbsp;all this while he and his team continue to negotiate a final city budget deal with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and her budget negotiating team.</p> <p><strong>CITY BUDGET WATCH:</strong> A fiscal year 2016 deal between the de Blasio administration and the City Council is due before July 1, when the fiscal year begins. Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced they had <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5116-mayor-city-council-agree-75-billion-dollar-budget-fiscal-year-2015-de-blasio-mark-viverito" target="_blank">reached a deal</a> on June 19, and there's good reason to think they could again reach a deal a before the deadline this year - which could mean an announcement this week. Stay tuned!</p> <p>The big issues still being negotiated include Council requests for additional funding for an additional 1,000 NYPD officers, senior citizen services, libraries, and more.</p> <p><strong>RIKERS DEAL?:</strong> The City and the US Attorney's Office <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/nyregion/accord-near-on-sweeping-reforms-at-rikers-jail-including-us-monitor.html?ref=nyregion&amp;_r=1" target="_blank">appear close</a> on a deal of reforms at Rikers Island jail complex, incuding a federal monitor to track changes in prisoner treatment and more. There has been more and more scrutiny on both Rikers and related criminal justice issues, like how the bail system works, or doesn't, leading to thousands of people locked up on Rikers who are accused of low-level, non-violent crimes but can't afford the bail set for them.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</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>The fourth and final public meeting of the Fast Food Wage Board called by Gov. Cuomo, through his labor department, will be at 10 a.m. Monday in the Legislative Office Building at Albany (<a href="http://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/wageboard2015.shtm" target="_blank">and webcast live</a>). "The Wage Board's recommendations are expected by July, and the commissioner will then have 45 days from its receipt to issue an order."</p> <p>Opposing views: The Business Council of New York State will "submit formal comments, and testify in person, at the June 22 meeting in Albany, NY." The Business Council first announced its objections to the fast food Wage Board on June 5. Meanwhile, hundreds of $15 per hour supporters, including fast food workers and their families, elected officials including State Senator Neil Breslin, and others will hold a 9:30 a.m. press conference at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will be one of the commencement speakers at the Young Women's Leadership School of Brooklyn's first graduating class' commencement.</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Monday in Garden City, New York,&nbsp;"Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will announce the start of a statewide advertising campaign to educate consumers about how to protect themselves against mortgage rescue scams."</p> <p>Monday morning Council Member Costa Constantinides, Public Advocate Letitia James, and others will be <a href="https://www.facebook.com/costaforastoria/posts/897469466992438" target="_blank">holding a press conference</a> urging a management company to make repairs on the lack of gas and hot water at a co-op complex in Astoria.</p> <p>Monday at the City Council:</p> <ul> <li>At 9:30 a.m. the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss three land use applications.</li> <li>At 10 a.m. the Committee on Youth Services <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=400831&amp;GUID=36CC51E7-79A2-4A5E-AB9A-2852656ADC99&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search" target="_blank">will meet</a> to have an oversight hearing on how to better address the issue of youth violence.</li> <li>At 11 a.m. the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss three landmark land use applications.</li> <li>At noon, the Committees on Higher Education, Community Development, Youth Services and Immigration <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=410846&amp;GUID=A3A952CB-9DC5-4EE7-B631-2570AD8B17D1&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search" target="_blank">will have</a> a joint meeting to discuss how New York City is doing on educating its adult immigrant community.</li> <li>At 1 p.m. the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will have a meeting to discuss two land use applications.</li> </ul> <p>On Monday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer will&nbsp;deliver remarks at a 5th grade graduation ceremony at 9:30 a.m. and in the evening, at 7:30 p.m., he'll accept an award at the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island 48th Annual Dinner and Awards Reception.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. Monday there will be a public meeting of the Contracts Committee of the Panel for Educational Policy. The Contracts Committee meets before the Panel for Educational Policy meetings to "review specific contract items that are presented for review and approval."</p> <p>Monday evening, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer "speaks at the LGBT Community Center's 32nd annual garden party kick-off for Pride Week."</p> <p>On Monday a "Town Hall for Immigrant Businesses" <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/town-hall-for-immigrant-businesses-tickets-17243159755" target="_blank">will be held</a> in Flushing, Queens by the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit starting at 6 p.m. Speakers will include Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services, Maria Torres-Springer; Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Amit Bagga; and Magda Desdunes from the Department of Health.</p> <p>At 8 p.m. Monday in front of the Queens Museum, "Borough President Melinda Katz, District Attorney Richard A. Brown, elected officials, community leaders and advocates will host a borough-wide interfaith prayer vigil for the victims of the Charleston massacre and a lighting ceremony in solidarity with New York State gun violence awareness efforts. The ceremony will include a reading of names of New Yorkers in Queens lost to gun violence. Every night from June 22 through June 30 in "The World's Borough", the front exterior of the Queens Museum will be illuminated in orange, the official color of Gun Violence Awareness Month, and will be visible by all motorists along the stretch of the Grand Central Parkway in front of the Museum (approximately 168,000 motorists daily on average)."</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>The state Legislature is due back in Albany on Tuesday, which is when the brief retroactive rent laws extender will expire. Will there be deals in place by Tuesday whereby votes are a formality or will there still much negotiating to do?</p> <p>On Tuesday at 10 a.m., the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission will be holding a public hearing and might vote on designation of the Stonewall Inn at 51-53 Christopher Street. It would be the first "LGBT landmark" in New York City.</p> <p>Tuesday at the City Council:</p> <ul> <li>At 10 a.m. the Committee on Civil Service and Labor will have a meeting to discuss the establishment of a retirement security review board to study and report on recommendations for the city to establish a retirement security program for private sector workers.</li> <li>Also at 10 a.m. the Committee on Public Safety and the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services will have a joint meeting to discuss a bill that "would create the office of drug strategy to provide strategic leadership to coordinate a public health and safety approach to address problems associated to drug use and redresses the harms associated with past and current drug use." In addition, the committees will discuss examining NYC's response to heroin use and overdoses as well as a resolution recognizing and honoring the 25th anniversary of the 7/26/90 signing of "The Americans with Disabilities Act" of 1990.</li> </ul> <p>On Tuesday at 1 p.m. the New York City Bar and Public Advocate Letitia James <a href="http://pubadvocate.nyc.gov/news/events/policing-technology-new-york-city-privacy-law-and-future" target="_blank">will host a program</a>, "Policing Technology in New York City: Privacy, Law, and the Future," to discuss the technological advancements made available to New York City law enforcement and the importance of oversight and safety. Speakers will include Lawrence Byrne, Deputy Commissioner of Legal Affairs at the NYPD and Ben Rosenberg, General Counsel to Manhattan DA Cy Vance with Asim Rehman, General Counsel to the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD as moderator.</p> <p>The New York City Campaign Finance Board <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/candidates/candidates/EC2017_Trainings.pdf" target="_blank">is offering</a> a "Compliance only" training session, which covers campaign finance laws and CFB rules for the 2017 election cycle, at 5:30 p.m on Tuesday. "The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager or other individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training."</p> <p>On Tuesday at 6 p.m. the Department of Education <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/publicnotice/2014-2015/June232015PEPMeeting.htm" target="_blank">will hold</a> a public meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy at Long Island City High School. The 2015-2019 five year capital plan amendment, the annual estimate and the list of contracts will be voted on.</p> <p>Also at 6 p.m. Comptroller Scott Stringer <a href="http://comptroller.nyc.gov/event/lgbtq-pride-celebration-changemakers-award-ceremony/" target="_blank">will host</a> an "LGBTQ Pride Celebration and Changemakers Award Ceremony...honoring individuals for their outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ community" in Manhattan on Tuesday night.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>The University Neighborhood Housing Program <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-cost-of-water-balancing-fairness-affordability-and-water-conservation-tickets-17226658399?aff=mcivte" target="_blank">will host</a> its annual forum at 8:30 a.m. on "The Cost of Water: Balancing Fairness, Housing Affordability and Conservation." UNHP's report "Affordable Water for Affordable Housing" will be discussed by panelists including Jim Buckley of UNHP, Laurie Schoeman of Enterprise Community Partners and Jamie Stein of Stormwater Infrastructure Matters Coalition.</p> <p>On Wednesday morning at Baruch College the AARP <a href="http://cityandstateny.com/2/events/high-anxiety-nyc-gen-x-and-boomers-struggle-with-stress,-savings,-and-security.html#.VYGZ3lVVikp" target="_blank">will be releasing</a> a "groundbreaking NYC survey on the financial security and retirement savings crisis facing the city's Gen X and Baby Boomer generations," with City &amp; State NY. Speakers include: Joyce Rogers, Senior Vice President and AARP National Representative and John Adler, Director of Mayor's Office of Pensions.</p> <p>10 a.m. Wednesday morning, the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be having their next public meeting. An agenda will be made available on Tuesday and posted to its Twitter feed, <a href="https://twitter.com/NYCCFB" target="_blank">@NYCCFB</a>.</p> <p>On Wednesday at the City Council:</p> <ul> <li>At 10 a.m. the Committee on General Welfare will meet for an oversight meeting over the services and policies at the HIV/AIDS Services Administration.</li> <li>At 11 a.m. the Committee on Land Use will meet to discuss land use applications.</li> <li>At 2 p.m. the Committee on Health will meet to discuss a new law that would require the department of Health and Mental Hygiene to conduct community air quality surveys and publish the results annually.</li> </ul> <p>The New York City Campaign Finance Board <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/candidates/candidates/EC2017_Trainings.pdf" target="_blank">is offering</a> a "C-SMART only" training session, which will provide "an overview of the CFB's web-based application which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity" for the 2017 election cycle, at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. "The candidate, treasurer, campaign manager or other individual with significant managerial control over the campaign is legally required to attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training."</p> <p>At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board <a href="http://www.nycrgb.org/html/about/meetings.html" target="_blank">will be</a> at Cooper Union for its last public meeting this cycle. After four previous meetings with public testimony a final vote on rent guidelines for October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016 will be taken at this public meeting.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday at the City Council:&nbsp;At 1 p.m. the Committee on Environmental Protection will meet to discuss a bill that would mandate construction sites within 75 feet of any school (public, private, preschool primary or secondary) should not exceed 45 dB during normal school operating hours and that noise levels at school sites shall be continuously monitored during those hours.</p> <p>Empire State Pride Agenda <a href="http://www.prideagenda.org/events/equalitywork-awards#1" target="_blank">will host</a> "Equality @Work Awards" on Thursday at 6 p.m.&nbsp;"Through its Pride in My Workplace program, the Empire State Pride Agenda has been helping New York businesses establish policies and practices that support the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees."</p> <p>Thursday evening in Brooklyn, it is the 2015 Working Families Party Gala, celebrating "17 years of fighting inequality in New York and honor a rising generation of progressive leaders.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday is the last day for the Fast Food Wage Board to receive oral or written testimony. Written testimony <a href="http://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/wageboard2015.shtm" target="_blank">can be mailed or emailed</a>.</p> <p>There will be a Manhattan Borough Service cabinet meeting on Friday at 9:30 a.m. The Borough Service Cabinet meetings focus "on city service delivery and agency responsiveness across the borough."</p> <p>On Saturday morning at 11 a.m. Citizenship Now! and the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs <a href="http://events.cuny.edu/eventDetail.asp?EventId=61053" target="_blank">will assist</a> permanent residents with their citizenship applications. If all naturalization requirements are met then an experienced lawyer and other immigration professionals will provide assistance with filling out the forms.</p> <p>The New York City Pride parade will be Sunday at 11 a.m.</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 Bernard Agrest, Erika Wang, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> For 'A Better New York,' Activists Lobby Albany for Election Reform 2015-04-23T05:00:00+00:00 2015-04-23T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5695:for-a-better-new-york-activists-lobby-albany-for-election-reform Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/nyc_votes_Albany.jpg" alt="nyc votes Albany" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Activists in Albany (photo: @NYCVotes)</span></p> <hr /> <p>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.</p> <p>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 Advisory Committee.</p> <p>The delegation left the city at 6 a.m. with the carefully defined objective of pushing state Senators and Assembly members on three voting issues: online voter registration, better ballot design, and early voting.</p> <p>Splitting into groups of five or six, activists worked the halls of the Capitol and the legislative office building, participating in back-to-back pre-arranged meetings with legislative staff or legislators themselves.</p> <p>Preparing for its first meeting, one group circled around their leader Onida Coward Mayers, the director of voter assistance at the CFB. "We're not lobbyists," Mayers said in her short pep talk. "You are an individual, a member of the public, and we all want the same thing. We're thanking [our representatives] for their work, but they need to do more. We're holding their feet to the fire."</p> <p>NYC Votes' advocacy day comes at a time when the Legislature is just getting back to work, filling the vacuum after the budget session. "Everything is budget here till April 1. The budget kinda sucked the oxygen out of the air," said Bryan Clenahan, counsel to Senator Diane Savino, as he addressed the Mayer-led group of activists, which included members of Dominicanos USA, the League of Women Voters, and the NAACP.</p> <p>The Legislature is in session through mid-June, with lawmakers in Albany a few days most weeks until then. There are many issues on the table that were left out of the budget, including minimum wage, criminal justice reform, and mayoral control of schools, but advocates wanted to make sure that election reform is also part of the discussion.</p> <p>Advocacy day was an opportunity for many of the advocates to meet their representatives and express <a href="http://fulldisclosure.nyccfb.info/blog/nyc-votes-coalition-asks-albany-adopt-votebetterny-agenda" target="_blank">their priorities</a> directly. Rob Reynolds, 28, works in tax preparation in Brooklyn. He was one of many independent members of the public, not affiliated with any organization, who joined NYC Votes for Wednesday's trip. "The day was very productive," he said. "We met with a lot of legislators. We shared with them our thoughts and ideas for improving the electoral process in New York. A lot of them seemed very receptive and seemed supportive of our ideas."</p> <p>Reynolds believes wholeheartedly that New York needs to improve its voter turnout, especially by taking lessons from other states that have a better record. For him, the day was an exciting opportunity to be heard. But it was not without its disappointments, particularly an Assembly member who Reynolds did not want to name publicly, but said was more interested in his own election efforts than expanding the democratic process. "There is an inherent problem when the people who we elect get to choose who elects them and its not right," said Reynolds. "Its not morally fair - in a democracy that's not how it should work."</p> <p>The numbers in yesterday's delegation are an indicator of an increasing consciousness among New Yorkers that reforming the voting process is necessary, particularly considering that New York hit the historically low point of 28.8 percent voter turnout in the 2014 gubernatorial election.</p> <p>"Last year we brought 50 people, everyday average New Yorkers to talk about [voting reform]," said Matt Sollars, press secretary at CFB. "This year we brought 100 people and next year we'll bring 200 people, and we're gonna keep bringing more people up here to talk about this until we see real change and we see real modern elections in New York state."</p> <p>The groups navigated the cavernous halls of the Capitol, even attending meetings with representatives of legislative leaders Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Independent Democratic Conference Leader Senator Jeff Klein.</p> <p>Through the day, the activists tried to get legislators on board with specific bills. <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&amp;bn=A05564&amp;term=2015&amp;Summary=Y&amp;Actions=Y&amp;Text=Y" target="_blank">One bill</a> provides for online voter registration through the Board of Elections. Currently, New Yorkers can only register online through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The advocates also asked legislators to support the Voter Friendly Ballot Act, sponsored by Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, which improves ballot design.</p> <p>Although there was no specific bill on the agenda for early voting, some of the activists were surprised to learn in a meeting with Senator Tony Avella that he had introduced <a href="http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S1044-2015" target="_blank">a proposal</a> for weekend voting.</p> <p>"There was almost unanimous agreement among all the legislators that we met that voting was a top priority and that they were in favor of greater transparency and access to the voting process in principle, but they wanted to read the bills that were at issue," said Bridgette Ahn, president-elect of the Korean American Lawyers Association. "I think an important component of this is establishing a relationship, raising awareness, bringing the information to key decision-makers, following up with them, and continuing on the advocacy front."</p> <p>At the end of the day, NYC Votes had made its mark. The delegation was recognized both in the Assembly and Senate sessions for its work in promoting voting reform. "We do know the politics still plays after we leave their four walls," Onida Coward Mayers said with cautious optimism. "I'm very proud of the message that we sent that we will be heard," she said. "There needs to be election reform, citizens matter and citizens want change. [New Yorkers] want an easier, friendly, 21st century democracy."&nbsp;</p> <p>***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/samarkhurshid" target="_blank">@samarkhurshid</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/nyc_votes_Albany.jpg" alt="nyc votes Albany" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Activists in Albany (photo: @NYCVotes)</span></p> <hr /> <p>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.</p> <p>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 Advisory Committee.</p> <p>The delegation left the city at 6 a.m. with the carefully defined objective of pushing state Senators and Assembly members on three voting issues: online voter registration, better ballot design, and early voting.</p> <p>Splitting into groups of five or six, activists worked the halls of the Capitol and the legislative office building, participating in back-to-back pre-arranged meetings with legislative staff or legislators themselves.</p> <p>Preparing for its first meeting, one group circled around their leader Onida Coward Mayers, the director of voter assistance at the CFB. "We're not lobbyists," Mayers said in her short pep talk. "You are an individual, a member of the public, and we all want the same thing. We're thanking [our representatives] for their work, but they need to do more. We're holding their feet to the fire."</p> <p>NYC Votes' advocacy day comes at a time when the Legislature is just getting back to work, filling the vacuum after the budget session. "Everything is budget here till April 1. The budget kinda sucked the oxygen out of the air," said Bryan Clenahan, counsel to Senator Diane Savino, as he addressed the Mayer-led group of activists, which included members of Dominicanos USA, the League of Women Voters, and the NAACP.</p> <p>The Legislature is in session through mid-June, with lawmakers in Albany a few days most weeks until then. There are many issues on the table that were left out of the budget, including minimum wage, criminal justice reform, and mayoral control of schools, but advocates wanted to make sure that election reform is also part of the discussion.</p> <p>Advocacy day was an opportunity for many of the advocates to meet their representatives and express <a href="http://fulldisclosure.nyccfb.info/blog/nyc-votes-coalition-asks-albany-adopt-votebetterny-agenda" target="_blank">their priorities</a> directly. Rob Reynolds, 28, works in tax preparation in Brooklyn. He was one of many independent members of the public, not affiliated with any organization, who joined NYC Votes for Wednesday's trip. "The day was very productive," he said. "We met with a lot of legislators. We shared with them our thoughts and ideas for improving the electoral process in New York. A lot of them seemed very receptive and seemed supportive of our ideas."</p> <p>Reynolds believes wholeheartedly that New York needs to improve its voter turnout, especially by taking lessons from other states that have a better record. For him, the day was an exciting opportunity to be heard. But it was not without its disappointments, particularly an Assembly member who Reynolds did not want to name publicly, but said was more interested in his own election efforts than expanding the democratic process. "There is an inherent problem when the people who we elect get to choose who elects them and its not right," said Reynolds. "Its not morally fair - in a democracy that's not how it should work."</p> <p>The numbers in yesterday's delegation are an indicator of an increasing consciousness among New Yorkers that reforming the voting process is necessary, particularly considering that New York hit the historically low point of 28.8 percent voter turnout in the 2014 gubernatorial election.</p> <p>"Last year we brought 50 people, everyday average New Yorkers to talk about [voting reform]," said Matt Sollars, press secretary at CFB. "This year we brought 100 people and next year we'll bring 200 people, and we're gonna keep bringing more people up here to talk about this until we see real change and we see real modern elections in New York state."</p> <p>The groups navigated the cavernous halls of the Capitol, even attending meetings with representatives of legislative leaders Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Independent Democratic Conference Leader Senator Jeff Klein.</p> <p>Through the day, the activists tried to get legislators on board with specific bills. <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&amp;bn=A05564&amp;term=2015&amp;Summary=Y&amp;Actions=Y&amp;Text=Y" target="_blank">One bill</a> provides for online voter registration through the Board of Elections. Currently, New Yorkers can only register online through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The advocates also asked legislators to support the Voter Friendly Ballot Act, sponsored by Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, which improves ballot design.</p> <p>Although there was no specific bill on the agenda for early voting, some of the activists were surprised to learn in a meeting with Senator Tony Avella that he had introduced <a href="http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S1044-2015" target="_blank">a proposal</a> for weekend voting.</p> <p>"There was almost unanimous agreement among all the legislators that we met that voting was a top priority and that they were in favor of greater transparency and access to the voting process in principle, but they wanted to read the bills that were at issue," said Bridgette Ahn, president-elect of the Korean American Lawyers Association. "I think an important component of this is establishing a relationship, raising awareness, bringing the information to key decision-makers, following up with them, and continuing on the advocacy front."</p> <p>At the end of the day, NYC Votes had made its mark. The delegation was recognized both in the Assembly and Senate sessions for its work in promoting voting reform. "We do know the politics still plays after we leave their four walls," Onida Coward Mayers said with cautious optimism. "I'm very proud of the message that we sent that we will be heard," she said. "There needs to be election reform, citizens matter and citizens want change. [New Yorkers] want an easier, friendly, 21st century democracy."&nbsp;</p> <p>***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/samarkhurshid" target="_blank">@samarkhurshid</a></p>