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  • Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn’t Every Council Member Doing It?

    PB NYC East Harlem

    PB voting in East Harlem, photo via PB NYC


    In four years participatory budgeting has exploded from four to 27 New York City Council districts. With over 51,000 voters casting ballots last cycle to allocate a total of $32 million dollars to projects across the city, New York‘s experiment in direct democracy has quickly become the largest of its kind in North America.

    "This is the biggest year of participatory budgeting yet, with 27 Council members asking their constituents to

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 19

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Israel over the weekend, where he spoke at the Annual Conference of Mayors, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited recent terror attack victims, and made several other stops, including at the Western Wall and at a school educating a diverse student population. De Blasio spoke against a new wave of anti-Semitism and ...

  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, October 12-16

    week in review bus readers

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 16

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio and former Mayor David Dinkins at the ceremony naming The David N. Dinkins Municipal Building, via The Mayor's Office; Hillary Clinton and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at a protest rally in Las Vegas before the

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  • Discussion of New York's 'Broken Bail System' Comes to Brooklyn

    de Blasio Lippman

    Mayor de Blasio testifies in front of Judge Lippman (photo: Demetrius Freeman, Mayor's Office)


    New York's “broken bail system” puts an estimated 50,000 people behind city bars each year simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. These people are accused of low-level, non-violent offenses, many of whom wind up not even seeing trial or being convicted of a crime. But, they do not have the means to pay bail,

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  • City Council Takes Aggressive Role in Workplace Issues

    Miller UFCW

    Council Member Miller & union workers (photo: @IDaneekMiller)


    A slate of recent bills introduced in the New York City Council have a lofty objective indicative of the progressive streak running through city government and raising eyebrows in the business community. Through legislation, the Council is addressing the city's widespread economic disparities by incrementally tackling workforce issues such as wages, workers rights, and access to employment.

    Since Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito both came to power, there has been one big picture

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  • Klein's 'Newspaper' Touts His Ability to Bring Home the Bacon

    klein riverdale record

    Sen. Klein's "newspaper"


    The latest edition of the "newspaper" being published by state Senator Jeff Klein features frontpage news celebrating his ability to bring cash home to his Bronx district.

    "UFT, educators herald Klein's $1.5M support for community schools," reads one frontpage headline.

    Another: "Community applauds Klein for securing $250K for Hudson River Greenway study."

    The timing is interesting given that the latest edition of "Riverdale Record" - circulation 37,000 - hit mailboxes just as Klein and the large sums

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 5

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    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.

    Oh, and it's the

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  • Amid Federal Brinksmanship, New York City Officials Redouble Support for Planned Parenthood

    Chirlane PP

    NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray at a Planned Parenthood rally (photo: @Chirlane) 


    In the face of federal debate and brinksmanship over funding for Planned Parenthood, many in New York City have doubled down on support for the women's health care organization.

    In the past month, the city has seen the...

  • Do New York Elected Officials Deserve A Raise?

    BdB parade august

    Mayor de Blasio along the parade route (photo: @BilldeBlasio)


    What should the mayor of New York City be paid each year? How much should City Council members be paid? Do elected officials deserve incremental raises each year?

    Or, maybe elected officials are overpaid as it is?

    Some, like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, think higher government salaries would entice “better” people into public service, meaning smarter and more honest officials.

    A host of questions have

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  • Does Staten Island Get Its Fair Share?

    si wheel

    Rendering of proposed New York Wheel on Staten Island. (Perkins Eastman via NY Times)


    There may be no other borough that has the local pride and identity felt by Staten Islanders. To be a Staten Islander often means to be of New York City and to be disconnected from New York City. It often means to know your family, but wonder if you were switched at birth.

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, August 10-14

    week in review bus readers

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday August 14

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK:a Brooklyn street was officially renamed "Do The Right Thing Way," after the iconic Spike Lee movie, via Council Member Jumaane

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 10

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    LEGIONNAIRES' FALLOUT: 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,"

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  • At 'Begin Again,' Signs of New Approach to Broken Justice System

    ken thompson jumaane williams laurie cumbo

    DA Thompson, center, with Council Members Williams & Cumbo (@JumaaneWilliams)


    During Father's Day weekend, hundreds of individuals received the gift of a new beginning. The Brooklyn District Attorney's office held a 'Begin Again' event to lift open arrest warrants related to summonses for low-level offenses ranging from public intoxication, the most common violation, to being

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, July 20-24

    week in review bus readers

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday July 24

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: the capitol office of former State Senator and Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous, scrubbed of his name after he was convicted of lying to the FBI, ...

  • Inside the Campaign Finance Filings of NYC's 'Big Four'

    de blasio stringer james mark-viverito

    The city's 'big four' (photo: @NYCCouncil)


    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

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, July 13

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Before you read our preview of this week, check out our 'Week in Review' of last week's political news - it's a good, quick read and includes top photos and stories of the week; key numbers to know from the week's news; and other interesting and fun features. We recently started

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  • Breaking Down the City Budget

    de blasio mark-viverito budget

    Mayor & Speaker at budget announcement (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Wednesday, July 1, marked the beginning of the new fiscal year under a $78.6 billion budget agreed upon by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council.

    When he unveiled his preliminary budget outline in February, de Blasio ...

  • School Meals in the Budget: Applause for Breakfast, Groans for Lunch

    Lunch 4 Learning

    Lunch 4 Learning at City Hall (photo: Zehra Rehman)


    Supporters of expanding free school meals in New York City are expressing mixed reactions to the city budget agreement announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Monday night.

    The fiscal year 2016 budget, at $78.5 billion of spending soon to be officially approved,

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  • Mayor & Council Announce $78.5B Fiscal 2016 Budget Deal

    MMV BdB budget deal

    Mayor & Speaker announce budget (photo: William Alatriste)


    A little after 10 p.m. Monday night and more than a week before deadline, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced that they had reached a deal on a balanced fiscal year 2016 city budget. The $78.5 billion budget is for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and includes additional spending from the mayor's Executive Budget, released in May, for several Council priorities - including the hiring of 1,297 new NYPD officers.

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  • City Council Ready to Act on Bail Reform, Alone if Necessary

    Lancman MMV bail hearing

    CM Lancman & Speaker Mark-Viverito at Wednesday's hearing (photo: William Alatriste) 


    Wednesday’s oversight hearing made it clear— the question is not if the City Council will move to reform the city’s bail system, but how much reform will they be able to accomplish with their somewhat limited power.

    Though the Council appears

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  • How We Got Here: City Creates New Office of Civil Justice

    BdB Levine Gibson

    At Tuesday's bill signing (photo: @NYCHRA)


    "The Gideon versus Wainwright case paved the way for the right to legal counsel in criminal cases but, sadly, the right to counsel was not available in civil cases when the stakes were also very, very high for those involved. Civil cases affect some of the most important parts of a person's life, the ability to have and keep a home, to keep a family together, to escape from domestic violence, in fact, to be able to stay in this country. So on these areas there is a deep

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  • Through Committee, Bill to Create Office of Civil Justice Heads Toward Law

    MMV Levine and co

    Mark-Viverito, front, & Levine, behind her, are the lead sponsors (photo: William Alatriste)


    New York City is one step closer to having a new Office of Civil Justice. On Tuesday, the City Council's Committee on Courts and Legal Services unanimously passed a bill that would create the office, to be tasked with assessing, coordinating, and helping reform the civil legal services available to low-income New Yorkers. Among the most pressing concerns are ensuring legal representation for immigrants facing deportation

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  • City Includes $1 Billion for Overtime in 2016 Budget

    bdb budget 

    Mayor de Blasio presenting his preliminary budget (photo: @NYCMayorsOffice)


    Some of the most prominent city agencies will again spend considerable portions of their budgets on employee overtime in fiscal year 2016, set to begin July 1, 2015. The allocation of $1 billion toward personnel overtime raises questions around optimal staffing levels and balancing cold fiscal calculation with whether understaffing might impact performance and well-being of employees.

    City officials argue that staffing levels are mostly

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  • City Council Unveils 'Council 2.0' Digital Engagement Plan

    council tech plan alatriste

    Council members unveil Council 2.0 (photo: William Alatriste)


    NEW YORK - City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and several council colleagues released today a civic technology plan aimed at making the legislative body more transparent while facilitating direct engagement with constituents.

    The "public technology plan," dubbed Council 2.0, is being touted as a new "roadmap to digital inclusion and open

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 13

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Hillary Clinton is running for President. You probably heard. The former New York Senator has her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn and will be looking for a strong boost from her New York base of supporters, including her 2000 senate campaign manager New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio was on Meet the Press Sunday morning and said that he is eagerly waiting to see a progressive vision from Clinton. Since

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