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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 22

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week, all eyes are on Washington D.C. as the federal government shut down Saturday after Democrats and Republicans failed to come to an agreement over government spending. The key issue in the shutdown fight is immigration reform and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to avoid deportation and to receive work permits.

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Member Ritchie Torres on The New Council & His New Role

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


    January 17, 2017 - Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Member Ritchie Torres

    ritchie torres 277px

    Bronx City Council Member Ritchie Torres is very excited about the new class of the City Council and his role in it -- he's been named by new Speaker Corey Johnson to chair the Committee on Oversight and Investigations, with a promise to beef the

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 15

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week begins with celebrations and rememberances of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tuesday will see Governor Andrew Cuomo present his Executive Budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year that begins April 1. We'll be not only watching the presentation and the details of the budget, but how Mayor Bill de Blasio and others in the city react to Cuomo's fiscal plan, which is a starting point of hearings and negotiations with

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  • New City Council Committee Chairs Have Plenty on Their Plates

    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson members

    Members of th new City Council with Speaker Johnson (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The new class of the New York City Council took greater shape on Thursday with the appointment of chairs and members to the 40-plus committees and subcommittees that oversee the broad legislative, land use, and oversight roles of the 51-member body. Most returning Council members were reassigned to lead different committees while

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  • Now Pursuing Diversity, New City Council Speaker Has Employed Mostly White Men

    Speaker Corey Johnson

    Speaker Corey Johnson (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Corey Johnson’s ascension to speaker of the New York City Council came amid concerns by elected officials and activists that yet another white man would be in a seat of leadership in a majority-minority city where the mayor and comptroller, two of three citywide elected officials, are also white men. During his pursuit of the position against several men of color and amid citywide outcry over the gender imbalance in the City Council, Johnson promised to ensure a diverse senior leadership

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: New City Council Members Justin Brannan & Carlina Rivera

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


    January 10, 2017 - Max & Murphy Podcast: New City Council Members Justin Brannan & Carlina Rivera

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    Justin Brannan and Carlina Rivera are two of the City Council's new members, elected last year and inaugurated at the start of this year. Each succeeded a term-limited Council member that they worked for as an aide, so they

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  • City Council Names New Leadership, Committee Chairs and Members

    Corey Johnson Speaker City Council chambers

    City Council chambers (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    New City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, a Manhattan Democrat, outlined his leadership team and Council committee chair and membership assignments on Thursday. Johnson named Brooklyn Council Member Laurie Cumbo, a close ally and friend, as Majority Leader. Majority Whip will be Council Member Fernando Cabrera of the Bronx; the Democratic Conference Chair, a new position, will be filled by Brooklyn Council Member Robert Cornegy, Jr.; Brooklyn Council Member

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  • Initial Johnson Move Signifies Changing of the Guard at City Council

    Speaker Corey Johnson press conference

    Council Speaker Corey Johnson, at podium (photos: William Alatriste)


    Just after he was elected Speaker of the City Council on January 3, Corey Johnson had some initial business to take care of: naming a temporary rules committee, including a chairperson. And in this first official decision in his new role, Johnson made a relatively small but important move that is emblematic of the broad shift in the City Council and

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  • Corey Johnson Elected Speaker of the City Council

    corey johnson moments after being elected speaker of the city council cfredit william alatriste

    Speaker Corey Johnson (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    City Council Member Corey Johnson, a Manhattan Democrat, was elected speaker of the New York City Council with near unanimous support on Wednesday, becoming the first leader of the 51-member legislative body who is an openly gay man and openly HIV-positive.

    Johnson took the helm at the first charter meeting of the new Council

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  • Corey Johnson’s Record and Promises

    corey oath of office

    Corey Johnson takes the oath of office (photo: The City Council)


    City Council Member Corey Johnson is expected to be elected the next speaker of the New York City Council on Wednesday, January 3, and will take the powerful office with a busy first-term legislative record and having made a slew of public promises during the speaker race that are likely to be watched closely by supporters, detractors, and others.

    Johnson, a Democrat re-elected for a second term in November, was one of eight Council members running for speaker, but he became the

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  • Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Mayor-Made Speaker, Sought a Member-Driven Legacy

    Mayor de Blasio Speaker Mark-Viverito

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Latina to preside over the 51-member New York City Council, leaves office having shepherded a progressive shift in the city’s direction, in conjunction with fellow Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio, a philosophically aligned partner in government who was the deciding factor in her winning the powerful speaker position four years ago.

    As arguably the second most powerful elected official in the city, Mark-Viverito oversaw an agenda of progressivism

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

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


    December 20, 2017 - Max & Murphy: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo by William Alatriste/City Council)

    melissa mark viverito alatriste podium277

    Melissa Mark-Viverito, the City Council Speaker for about 10 more days, joined the podcast to discuss her tenure, how she has approached leading the city's legislative

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  • Rules Reform Package Supported by 33 Current and Incoming City Council Members

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    City Council chambers (photo: Sofie Hecht/Gotham Gazette)


    A majority of the incoming class of the New York City Council, including newly elected and returning members, has signed on to a newly-released package of internal rules reforms for the next four-year session, which begins in January. The agenda is intended to improve the Council’s budgeting and legislative drafting processes, strengthen the role of committees, bolster internal budgets, and enhance workplace conditions for Council staff, among other measures.

    Of the 51-member

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  • Congratulations and Consternation as City Council Ends Term

    mmv flag alatriste

    Council Speaker Melisasa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste, June 2015)


    The New York City Council concluded its four-year term on Tuesday with a marathon legislative blitz, passing 38 new bills at its last full-body meeting. The Council has seen more new legislation passed in the last four years than any other Council class seated before it, with a total of 714 bills approved (in comparison, the final full-body meeting under the previous speaker, Christine Quinn, the Council passed 29 bills in December, 2013).

    Under the leadership of

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  • Right to Know Act: Progress and Disappointment

    right to know rally crop


    On Tuesday, the New York City Council passed two police reform bills. One marks a vital step toward police reform and accountability. The other takes our city in the wrong direction.

    First the good news: a consent to search bill, sponsored by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, passed with support from over 200 community organizations, including the families of New Yorkers killed by police, and organizations led by homeless, LGBTQ, undocumented, and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers, and black and Latino youth. The bill will require the

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  • Bills Seek to Examine NYPD Interactions with ‘Emotionally Disturbed Persons,’ Prevent Tragedies

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    photo via The Mayor's Office


    In September, the City Council called a hearing to scrutinize the New York Police Department’s response in cases involving “emotionally disturbed persons” (EDPs). There had been six instances in the previous 11 months where a mentally ill New Yorker had been killed by police officers. Council Members demanded to know why, and sought ways to prevent those deaths in the future, and NYPD officials gave

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 18

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Although there is a lot happening in New York this week, a great deal of attention will also be paid to Washington, D.C., where Congress may pass a tax reform bill that would have major ramifications for New Yorkers, including by raising the overall city, state, and federal tax burden for many.

    Other than the action in D.C., there will be a lot happening on Monday and Tuesday at the City Council, which is set

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  • City Council to Pass Bills Mandating Assessment of Vacant Lots

    vacant bldg via hpd

    (photo via @NYCHousing)


    Two years ago, Public Advocate Letitia James and City Council Members Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez each introduced a bill under a set called the Housing Not Warehousing Act, a package aimed at reducing homelessness and increasing the city’s affordable housing stock. The bills seek to mandate an annual tally of the number of vacant lots and buildings in the city, determining which of those under city jurisdiction could be developed for affordable housing, while also requiring landlords with vacant properties to

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Eric Koch, former City Council communications director

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


    December 15, 2017 - Max & Murphy: Eric Koch, former top aide to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

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    Eric Koch helped Melissa Mark-Viverito become the City Council Speaker, then was her communications director for more than three years. He helped her craft policy and messaging, gave her political guidance, booked her media

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  • Council Speaker Candidates Hesitant to Criticize or Reform Party-Controlled Board of Elections

    City Council chambers with members

    photo by William Alatriste/City Council


    The New York City Board of Elections has widely been acknowledged as a dysfunctional agency in need of urgent and sweeping reform, yet the political will for modernizing and professionalizing the board has not existed, at least in part because its current structure benefits those in power.

    Its system of appointments based on political patronage has long been a source of criticism and its mismanagement of election operations has frustrated voters and been the subject of City

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  • State Board of Elections Official Says City Must Move to Instant Runoff Voting

    kallos hearing

    Council Member Ben Kallos (photo via @NYCCouncil)


    Ahead of the September 12 primary, mayoral candidate Sal Albanese seemingly had the Reform Party ballot line locked up. It meant that Albanese would be on the general election ballot even if he lost the Democratic primary to Mayor Bill de Blasio. At the last minute, however, Republican candidate Nicole Malliotakis and independent candidate Bo Dietl attempted to snatch the Reform nomination from Albanese through an “opportunity to ballot,” which had effectively opened up the Reform line to write-in

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 11

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week starts a two-week sprint to what amounts to the end of the political year: Friday, December 22. Though there will be some political business Christmas week, and a deal to crown the next Speaker of the City Council could be announced any time before the January 3 vote, most of the rest of the political activity for the year (and thus the four-year city term) will take place this week and next. That includes a

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  • City Council Speaker Candidates, All Men, Promise Gender Equity if Victorious

    City Council speaker candidates

    The City Council speaker candidates (photo: William Alatriste)


    At the last public forum in the race to become the next speaker of the City Council, seven of the eight men contending for the Council’s top leadership spot took turns making their argument for why they would be the right person to continue Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s legacy of protecting and promoting the cause of women, transgender, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers. Though few new ideas emerged, for nearly two hours, the seven Council members pitched their progressive

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  • Council Members Announce Legislation to Root Out Sexual Misconduct in City Government

    rosenthal levine sexual harassment legislation

    Council Members Rosenthal and Levine (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    Amid a national outcry against sexual assault and sexual harassment, including in the workplace -- intensified by numerous accusations against sitting members of Congress that have resulted in two resignations thus far -- members of the New York City Council are stepping up to combat, prevent and expose any cases of sexual misconduct within their own ranks and that of the gargantuan city government.

    A series of

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  • Inside the Fundraising and Spending of the City Council Speaker Candidates

    city council speaker

    City Council Speaker candidates (photo: William Alatriste)


    The eight men running to become the next speaker of the City Council are all Democrats who were re-elected in November to serve a final term in the body. None of them faced a strong challenger in their respective races, either in the primaries, which are largely determinative of overall results, or in the November 7 general election. Nevertheless, a few of the candidates raised significant campaign cash and spent it just as liberally as if they were running competitive races. As Gotham Gazette has

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