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City Council Speaker

  • 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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  • Mark-Viverito's 'Justice for New York City' Means Changes to Criminal and Civil Systems

    MMV April 10

    Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: Ben Max)


    NEW YORK - Lamenting a "simply unsustainable" status quo, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito outlined changes she's pursuing to the city's criminal and civil justice systems in a speech Friday morning at New York Law School.

    Attended by about 125 lawyers, law students, community activists, and civic leaders, the breakfast event provided Mark-Viverito an opportunity to reiterate some of the key proposals she and many of her council colleagues believe will create "justice for New York City," as her talk was

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 6

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    It appears to be a fairly quiet week, as it can be this time of year with schools on vacation and the City Council following suit, and the state Legislature adjourned until April 21 in its post-budget, pre-legislative session hibernation. It's promising to be a very busy legislative session as so many key policy issues ...

  • With New Budget, Key Issues Championed by City Officials Left for Later

    cuomo opportunity agenda

    Governor Cuomo (photo: @NYGovCuomo)


    As state budget negotiations delivered a new deal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was willing to drop many priorities from his spending plan, several of which are of great importance to New York City officials, including his sometime friend Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    With adoption of the state's fiscal year 2016 budget, a host of progressive issues de Blasio and his allies touted were abandoned. Both Cuomo and the Democratic Assembly Majority headed by new Speaker Carl Heastie

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  • The City Council Definition of Women's Issues

    Cumbo

    Council Member Cumbo at a Women's History Month celebration (photo: Ben Max)


    On Monday, March 30, the New York City Council will host a Women's History Month celebration at City Hall. Council members will likely celebrate women heroes of city government, past and present, and acknowledge the history-making leadership of both Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Latina to hold the position, and Public Advocate Letitia James, a former council member who is the first woman

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  • New York's Unique Campaign Finance Ecosystem

    mmv speech

    Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: Joyce Choi Li)


    New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has been the subject of much speculation of late. She is the most powerful member of the Council and influential in politics beyond the city. As a woman of Puerto Rican descent she represents a voting bloc that is woefully underrepresented in New York elected offices. She also maintains a busy travel schedule and ties to a wide swath of

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 16

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will again be dominated by budget negotiations - especially in Albany, where a budget is due by the end of the month, which is rapidly approaching. In New York City, City Council hearings will continue on Mayor Bill de Blasio's preliminary fiscal year 2016 budget - once those hearings wrap up at the end of the month, the Council will craft its response to de Blasio, negotiations will continue, and the mayor

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  • Conflicts of Interest Board Reiterates Request for Independent Budgeting

    ferreras budget hearing

    CM Ferreras and Speaker Mark-Viverito at a 2014 budget hearing (photo: William Alatriste)


    At a hearing of the City Council Standards and Ethics Committee held at City Hall Thursday, representatives of the city's Conflicts of Interest Board reiterated a long-standing request for an independent budget.

    In his testimony, Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) Deputy Executive Director Wayne Hawley said, "For almost two decades the board has sought an independent budget." The fact that the Board is charged

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  • City Officials Sharpening Teeth of Human Rights Commission

    mmv st pats parade

    Speaker Mark-Viverito & council colleagues march (photo: William Alatriste)


    For years New York City has led the country with one of the most robust human rights laws on record. New Yorkers are protected against discrimination in employment, housing, and public services based on race, creed, age, citizenship status, gender, marital status, and sexual orientation, among other qualities.

    As with any law, enforcement is the key though. For the city's Human Rights Law, that task falls on the Human Rights

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