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City Council Speaker

City Council Speaker

  • Corey Johnson’s Record and Promises

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    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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  • 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)

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    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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  • 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

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

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

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    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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  • High Stakes for Affordable Housing in City Council Speaker Race

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    Robert Cornegy (far right) at a City Council Speaker forum (photo: @RobertCornegyJr)


    Eight members of the New York City Council are asking their colleagues to elect them as the new Speaker after the new legislative body is seated January 1.

    Seven of the candidates oppose allowing Airbnb and other on-line platforms to continue their assault on our scarce affordable rental housing. But one of them, Robert Cornegy, Jr. of Brooklyn, does not.

    In ...

  • Council Speaker Candidates Give Generously to Colleagues

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    Corey Johnson, Francisco Moya, Joe Crowley (photo via @CoreyinNYC)


    The eight City Council members, all Democrats, who are competing to lead the 51-member legislative body as speaker for the next four years must convince numerous constituencies of their viability, including some combination of county party leaders, labor unions, the mayor, and other influential politicos. But, when the new Council class convenes in January, the vote will come down to the 51 Council members, and they are not without agency. The speaker candidates, all men, have for months been

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  • City Council Speaker Candidates Address Power, Reform and Transparency

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    the City Council Speaker candidates at a prior forum (photo: William Alatriste)


    Seven of the eight candidates vying to become the next Speaker of the New York City Council convened at New York Law School on Monday night for a forum focused on government reform, running the Council, transparency, ethics, voting, and elections.

    The candidates made their cases for their leadership prowess, and discussed extending term limits for Council members, greater transparency around lobbying, key questions about campaign finance reform in the city, and

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  • Women's Caucus Secures Commitments from City Council Speaker Candidates

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    Helen Rosenthal among Speaker hopefuls Cornegy, Levine, Johnson (photo: William Alatriste)


    The Women’s Caucus of the City Council recently interviewed the eight candidates -- all men -- seeking to become the next Speaker of the Council, arguably the second most powerful position in city government. While the Women’s Caucus will not be endorsing a speaker candidate ahead of the January vote, according to caucus co-chair Helen Rosenthal, it did secure important commitments from each candidate and the process, which also

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  • The Right to Know Act and the City Council Speaker Race

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    Jumaane Williams at a Right to Know Act rally (Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    In less than two months, the current class of the New York City Council ends its term, and eight incumbents who won reelection on Tuesday are running to lead the 51-member legislative body as its next speaker. It is an internal race influenced by county party affiliates, labor unions, Mayor Bill de Blasio, himself newly reelected, and others.

    As the clock ticks on this term and the speakership of Melissa Mark-Viverito, a de Blasio ally who is

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  • Council Speaker Contenders Spread the Wealth to Colleagues

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito (center) and Council Member Johnson (r) (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    A number of City Council Members who are jockeying to replace Melissa Mark-Viverito as the next Speaker of the City Council seem to be stepping up efforts to curry favor with their colleagues and other elected officials through strategic campaign donations.

    The latest campaign

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  • Corey Johnson’s Very Busy Campaign Weekend

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    Council Member Johnson with Council hopeful Carlina Rivera (photo: @CoreyinNYC)


    Corey Johnson wants to be the next Speaker of the City Council. In his pursuit of the position, Johnson is aggressively traveling the city, as evidenced by his just-concluded weekend. Johnson was in at least four boroughs this weekend, helping colleagues and potential colleagues campaign in their districts.

    The Speaker position is voted on internally by City Council members every four years, with a vote coming up in January after elections for all 51 Council seats take place this fall.

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  • City Council Budget Response Seeks New Spending, More Savings

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


    The City Council on Monday issued its formal response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017, capping a month of budget hearings that were fraught with ...

  • Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Rapid Change

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


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

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

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  • Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Change

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     Mark-Viverito at an East Harlem planning session (photo: William Alatriste)


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    Community calls for community planning
    City officials have not yet presented a timeline, much less a plan, for rezoning East Harlem, but that hasn’t stopped residents from preemptively organizing against “upzoning” that they believe will accelerate displacement of

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  • Questioning Importance, Council Members Spend Limited Time at Hearings

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    Council Member Van Bramer starts a hearing (photo: @JimmyVanBramer)


    On March 1, at perhaps the most important City Council hearing of the year, just three of the finance committee’s eleven members were present when the session began. The Council’s first hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion fiscal year 2017 preliminary budget began nine minutes after its scheduled time, at 10:09 a.m., more prompt than typical Council hearings. The City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, arrived three minutes later, just after the finance chair, Council Member

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  • The City Council's Complicated Budget Math

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    Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and colleagues (photo: William Alatriste)


    Last week, the City Council’s finance committee voted to increase the Council’s operating budget for fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1, by $3.1 million, bringing it to a total of $64 million, a five percent increase over last year’s ...

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 14

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

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

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  • Shut Down the Criminal Court

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

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  • Give New York Manufacturers the Space They Need

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    photo: William Alatriste


    In November, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito released a manufacturing policy that makes a strong commitment to the city’s Industrial Business Zones (IBZs). This is the culmination of a growing consensus among certain sectors of the city, from the Progressive Caucus of the City Council to the ...

  • Criminal Justice Reform Act is No Alternative to Broken Windows Policing

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    NYPD ceremony in Times Square (photo: @CommissBratton)


    Monday morning the City Council will begin consideration of a series of bills, called the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which would limit the use of criminal penalties to manage a variety of low level “quality of life” offenses such as public drinking, park code violations, noise, and public urination.

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  • 'Dangerousness' Aspect of Cuomo's Bail Plan Troubles Reformers

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    Gov. Cuomo delivers his State of the State


    In his recently-released policy agenda for 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included a plan to reform the state's bail system. While it has not been fully fleshed out yet, Cuomo's proposal dictates that judges would use a scientific assessment tool to determine an individual's "risk to public safety" while setting bail, a proposal similar to one Mayor Bill de Blasio recently made, with both coming under fire from criminal justice reformers.

    De Blasio made ...

  • 40 Questions for New York Politics in 2016

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    photo: William Alatriste


    Happy new year! As we jump right into 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares for his State of the State and budget address, Mayor Bill de Blasio works to improve his public approval ratings, and the two keep on feuding. There's a lot to look for in the new year, here are about 40 political questions we're asking as the year begins - if you want to share them, answer any, or let us know one we missed, tweet @GothamGazette:

    1. How will
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