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City Council

  • At the City Council, Better Gender Balance Among Chiefs of Staff

    aya keefe and cm mark levine crop

    Council Member Mark Levine & his Chief of Staff, Aya Keefe (photo: Levine's office)


    The New York City Council, a 51-member body, currently includes only 13 women, down from 18 in 2009, and that number is likely to soon fall to 12 when the next Council is seated in January, if this year’s elections continue as expected. There has been widespread recent attention given to the City Council gender imbalance, in part because the Council’s Women’s Caucus released a report on the subject, and there are efforts underway to improve

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  • City Council Examines Effectiveness of Domestic Violence Courts

    lancman rally council

    Council Member Lancman (photo: @NYCCouncil)


    The City Council’s Courts and Legal Services Committee held an oversight hearing on Monday dedicated to New York’s Integrated Domestic Violence Courts, a program designed to increase accountability and responsiveness to domestic violence victims in the legal system by combining the different courts one might interact with in a domestic violence dispute into a single court, with a single judge handling a couple’s or family’s multiple cases, including criminal, custody, and visitation cases.

    Integrated

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 18

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week we’re still assessing the outcomes of last week’s primary elections, while also kicking into full gear with the general election that is upon us, though it has far fewer competitive or interesting races.

    It’s also a busy week at the City Council, where current Council members who won their primaries will no doubt have more bounce in their steps knowing they are good for another four years. Virtually all of the incumbents

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  • Candidates for 2017 City Elections

    de blasio voting 2017 elections

    Mayor de Blasio signs in to vote (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    With the party primaries over in the 2017 city election cycle, we head toward the general election, which will take place Tuesday, November 7. Dozens of races will be on the ballot, headlined by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempt at re-election.

    The other citywide positions of Public Advocate and Comptroller are also being determined this year, as well as all five Borough Presidents, all 51 City Council seats, and two District Attorney positions (Brooklyn and Manhattan). However,

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  • 'Tears of Joy,' Hope for a District in Alicka Samuel's Win

    alicka samuel facebook crop

    Alicka Ampry-Samuel (via Facebook)


    It was late Tuesday afternoon, primary day, in Brooklyn, and amidst the rattle of the subway and wafting aroma of a not-far-off Popeyes fried chicken restaurant, Alicka Ampry-Samuel danced on the sidewalk with Corey Johnson, a current City Council member from Manhattan, to “Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now.” Although the outcome of Samuel’s race -- she was a leading candidate in the crowded Democratic

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  • On the Lower East Side, Carlina Rivera Dominates Primary Day

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    Carlina Rivera (photo: Felipe De La Hoz)


    As the sun rose over the brick facades of the East Village, Carlina Rivera stood on the corner of 1st avenue and 10th street with a handful of flyers. It was 6:30 a.m. and the first-time candidate for elected office was petting dogs, telling children to stay in school, and asking voters to make her the next City Council member representing District 2. 

    “I just got a text from my mom. She's voting for me,” Rivera said between greetings.

    About 15 minutes after Rivera

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  • In Surprise to Some, Diana Ayala Victorious in Tight Primary

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito with Diana Ayala (photo: Samar Khurshid/GothamGazette)


    The primary election on Tuesday saw incumbents retain power across most of the city and few upsets in contested races. But in one of the most competitive races of the day, a first-time candidate prevailed over a long-time elected official, overcoming an expected gap in name recognition and other deficits, in a City Council district struggling with concerns for its future and looking for its next local leader to advocate for its interests.

    District 8, which covers East Harlem and the South

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  • Meet The Three State Legislators Likely Heading To The City Council

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    Mark Gjonaj & Bronx Democratic leadership (photo: @MarkGjonajNY)


    With the New York City primary election behind us, it appears that at least three state legislators are likely to be leaving behind the trips to Albany for plush City Council seats.

    Following the path of former State Senator Bill Perkins, who was elected to the City Council in a special election earlier this year, two Assembly members and one state senator are likely to be making the same jump come January: State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr, Assemblymember Mark

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  • 2017 New York City Primary Election Results

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    NYC Votes sticker, design by Marie Dagata and Scott Heinz


    Mayor Bill de Blasio prevailed convincingly in the Democratic primary Tuesday as he seeks a second term. De Blasio was facing four challengers, most prominently former City Council Member Sal Albanese. With 98% of precincts reporting, de Blasio had secured 74.4% of the vote, to Albanese’s 15.4%, and Michael Tolkin’s 4.7%, Robert Gangi’s 3.1%, and Richard Bashner’s 2.4%. De Blasio had about 317,000 votes; Albanese with about 65,450 in a very low turnout election, where about 15% of

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  • Risks and Rewards in De Blasio’s Bevy of City Council Endorsements

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    City Council candidate Diana Ayala (photo: @DianaAyala2017)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio is a heavy favorite heading into Tuesday's primary election, which includes numerous races across the city for which the Democratic primary is determinative of the next officeholder. In certain City Council races, de Blasio has endorsed candidates for the primary, including a small flurry of support just a few days before voters head to the polls, in what could be a sign that the mayor and his allies are concerned about turnout.

    But it’s unclear what effect, if any, the

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: A Candidate's Final Campaign Hours

    Jarrett Murphy, left, of City Limits, and Ben Max, right, of Gotham Gazette


    September 11, 2017 - Max & Murphy with guest Gifford Miller, former Speaker of the City Council and mayoral candidate

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    The day before the 2017 New York City primary elections, we spoke with Gifford Miller, former City Council Speaker and 2005 Democratic candidate for Mayor. Miller was elected to the

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  • Forecasting the Upcoming City Council Gender Imbalance

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    CMs Chin, left; Rose, center; & Rosenthal, center right (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    There are currently only 13 women in the 51-seat New York City Council, a troubling 25 percent. The number is down from 18 women in the Council a few years ago. With the city’s quadrennial elections upon us, a new Council class will be inaugurated in January, with the September 12 primaries largely determining who will fill the city’s legislative body for the next four years in this very Democratic city.

    Most would agree that gender balance in the City Council

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 5

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will be full of campaigning as we hit one week until primary day on Tuesday. Are you ready to vote on September 12?

    It was a busy weekend of campaigning for Mayor Bill de Blasio, his main primary opponent Sal Albanese, and the mayor's expected general election opponent Nicole

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  • Incumbent Brooklyn City Council Rep Attempts to Fend Off Prominent Challengers

    Carlos Menchaca

    City Council Member Menchaca (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    As he runs for reelection this fall, Carlos Menchaca, the City Council member for District 38, which includes Red Hook, Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace, faces several challengers in the Democratic primary. In a rare occurrence, one of his opponents is another sitting elected official from the same party, Assemblymember Felix Ortiz.

    Though he was not an elected official at the time, Menchaca himself challenged and unseated an incumbent from the same party in a contentious 2013 primary that focused on

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  • Queens Council Candidates Attempt to Offer Stability to Burned District

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    Candidate Richard David (photo: David campaign)


    The July corruption conviction and August sentencing of City Council Member Ruben Wills created a newly-open seat representing Council District 28 in southeast Queens. Because of the timing of the vacancy, the seat will be filled through the normal electoral calendar, with the determinative September 12 Democratic primary rapidly approaching.

    The 28th Council District includes neighborhoods such as South Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Richmond Hill, and Ozone Park. Along with the

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  • Voters Guide for the 2017 City Primary Election

    de Blasio voting election

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


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    by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
         

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  • Mass Mailer Loophole Gives State Legislators Advantage in City Council Races

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    The top of Assemblymember Felix Ortiz's recent constituent mailer


    Members of the New York State Legislature have a key resource at their disposal to communicate with their constituents: mass mailers. Both the Senate and Assembly allow lawmakers to send public communications through different media -- chiefly employed in the form of direct printed newsletters and mailers -- to inform residents of their districts about recent legislation or special events, or to alert them of emergencies, and more. While these mailers are subject to certain restrictions in the run up to an

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  • ‘Fair Share’ Reform – An Essential Step to Solving the City’s Homelessness Crisis

    Carlina Rivera

    Carlina Rivera, the author (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    Repairing the subways, closing Rikers, rescuing failing schools – it can seem like New York’s most insurmountable crises are always being dealt with by cutting corners and taking the path of least resistance. This isn’t how it’s always been in our city. When the city passed the historic Fair Share Criteria in 1989, officials finally said enough to the inequitable distribution of city facilities and called for investment in a long-term plan for facility siting in the future.

    These rules were supposed to

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 28

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    It was a busy campaign weekend for Mayor de Blasio, who exchanged reelection endorsements at events with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., as well as making several other campaign stops. De Blasio will mix governing and politics this week, including, on the government side, a bill-signing and press conference on Monday, and a town hall Wednesday night in Williamsburg with City Council Member

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  • Lower East Side City Council Candidates Make Their Case in Debate

    City Council District 2 candidates

    The CD2 Democratic candidates at Manhattan Neighborhood Network


    There are five candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the race to replace term-limited Rosie Mendez as the City Council representative for District 2, which includes the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The candidates -- Carlina Rivera, Ronnie Cho, Mary Silver, Jasmin Sanchez, and Jorge Vasquez -- gathered recently at the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) for a debate to be televised by the station.

    The debate, moderated by Gotham Gazette’s Ben

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  • Heated Rematch in Central Brooklyn, Where Incumbent Seeks to Hold City Council Seat

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    Council Member Laurie Cumbo (@cmlauriecumbo)


    Hundreds of Crown Heights residents and community activists laughed and jeered at a recent community forum as a lanky man wearing a paper mask of Mayor Bill de Blasio joked about bringing affordable housing to their neighborhood.

    The event was punctuated by moments of levity but mostly dominated by anger from residents who feel their elected representatives have sold out their interests to the real estate industry, with a focus on the proposed redevelopment of the vacant Bedford Union Armory. The

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 21

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor de Blasio was back in town this weekend after a four-day vacation in Rhode Island. The mayor participated in several weekend evetns. He's not only returning this week to work at City Hall, but he's facing former City Council Member Sal Albanese in the first Democratic mayoral primary election debate on Wednesday night. It will be must-see TV on NY1 or must-hear radio on WNYC -- along with those two networks, the debate is also being

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  • City Council Bail Fund Begins Operations

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    Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: @NYCCouncil)


    The New York City Council’s bail fund, a signature project of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, has officially launched operations and is actively taking on cases in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

    “We had a very soft rollout in June and July,” said Dave Long, executive director of The Liberty Fund, the official name of the fund, which provides bail to low-level offenders facing misdemeanor charges who cannot afford to post bail. The most common misdemeanor charges in Brooklyn, for instance, are for

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  • A Rarity: City Council Candidate Releases Detailed Reform Agenda

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    City Council candidate Keith Powers (photo: @KeithPowersNYC)


    Candidates across the city this year are running for City Council on all sorts of issues, but only one has released a detailed list of government, campaign finance, and voting reform proposals. That agenda, called “

    On the Lower East Side, Council Contenders Seek to Upend Favorite for Open Seat

    Carlina Rivera City Council

    Carlina Rivera (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    One of the 10 “open” City Council seat races is taking place on the East Side of Manhattan, in District 2, currently represented by Rosie Mendez, who is term-limited out of office. Several candidates, including Mendez’s preferred successor, Carlina Rivera, are competing in the Democratic primary, which will determine who holds the seat next given it is a staunchly Democratic district.

    Rivera, Mendez’s former legislative director, has a good deal of momentum and support from the

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