Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/city-council 2018-07-23T09:42:27+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com We Need Commercial Waste Reform, and Now We Have a Plan 2018-07-19T04:00:00+00:00 2018-07-19T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7816:we-need-commercial-waste-reform-and-now-we-have-a-plan Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/city-council-cm-cornegy.jpg" alt="city council cm cornegy" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Council Member Cornegy, the author (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>New Yorkers have good reason to be concerned, even angry, about the state of affairs in our city's commercial waste industry. Stakeholders and commentators are absolutely right to note that, among other issues to address, the tragic loss of life in this industry is unacceptable.</p> <p>However, agreement on the importance of cleaning up commercial waste carting does not change the fact that a huge question is still on the table: How can we actually achieve our shared goals as quickly and effectively as possible?</p> <p>In many ways, the answer lies in comments made just this week by Mayor de Blasio, when he said, "I hope that we can really strengthen the hand of the Business Integrity Commission, give them a lot more tools, a lot more teeth to work with in their regulation of that industry."</p> <p>My colleagues in the City Council and I have introduced legislation, known as Intro. 996, which would do that by empowering the Business Integrity Commission (BIC) to raise standards in the commercial waste industry and hold bad actors accountable.</p> <p>Our bill would enable BIC to create standardized safety certifications for industry employees and institute requirements that ensure workers are properly trained. It would also give BIC the tools to establish clear rules regarding allowable levels of emissions for commercial waste trucks. Additionally, the bill would empower BIC to more stringently regulate the industry with regard to maximizing efficiency along each waste collection route.</p> <p>These are just several examples of how Intro. 996 would give BIC more of the tools and teeth that Mayor de Blasio has said are necessary for advancing commercial waste carting reforms. Our legislation would also let BIC establish its own task force to offer additional insight and recommendations for continuing to improve this industry over the long-term.</p> <p>On the other hand, Mayor de Blasio's own Department of Sanitation has offered a nebulous and flawed proposal to develop commercial waste zones, which would replace the industry's current open market system with a series of geographic zones that are exclusively contracted to a small number of waste carters.</p> <p>First, Sanitation’s proposal is not squarely focused on advancing the mayor's stated goal of empowering BIC. By relying on a fundamental restructuring of the industry, this plan would essentially take power away from BIC rather than giving it more of the tools it needs to regulate carting companies.</p> <p>There is also the issue of unintended consequences. It is common knowledge by now that the zone-based waste collection plan implemented last year in Los Angeles had a truly disastrous rollout. Prices and service complaints skyrocketed, leading to a chaotic situation that, if it were to happen in New York, would surely make it extremely difficult to achieve our shared goals.</p> <p>The Department of Sanitation’s own <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/bic/downloads/pdf/pr/private_carting_release_2016_16_8.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2016 report</a>, released as part of introducing its waste zone proposal, acknowledged that costs for small businesses that are served by this industry would increase under a zone-based plan. Additionally, the report acknowledged that zones would lead to job losses in the industry - and I do not think that efforts to increase safety have to include putting people out of work.</p> <p>To be clear, I am ready to advance commercial waste carting reforms now and deliver results on increasing safety, reducing environmental impact and increasing regulatory oversight. And I want to achieve this in the way that Mayor de Blasio himself has articulated - by giving BIC more of the tools and teeth it needs.</p> <p>Now is the time to translate our concerns about this industry into tangible, sensible, and effective action - we just need to get it done.</p> <p>***<br /> Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. represents the central Brooklyn communities of Bedford Stuyvesant and northern Crown Heights in the New York City Council. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/RobertCornegyJr" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@RobertCornegyJr</a>.</p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/city-council-cm-cornegy.jpg" alt="city council cm cornegy" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Council Member Cornegy, the author (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>New Yorkers have good reason to be concerned, even angry, about the state of affairs in our city's commercial waste industry. Stakeholders and commentators are absolutely right to note that, among other issues to address, the tragic loss of life in this industry is unacceptable.</p> <p>However, agreement on the importance of cleaning up commercial waste carting does not change the fact that a huge question is still on the table: How can we actually achieve our shared goals as quickly and effectively as possible?</p> <p>In many ways, the answer lies in comments made just this week by Mayor de Blasio, when he said, "I hope that we can really strengthen the hand of the Business Integrity Commission, give them a lot more tools, a lot more teeth to work with in their regulation of that industry."</p> <p>My colleagues in the City Council and I have introduced legislation, known as Intro. 996, which would do that by empowering the Business Integrity Commission (BIC) to raise standards in the commercial waste industry and hold bad actors accountable.</p> <p>Our bill would enable BIC to create standardized safety certifications for industry employees and institute requirements that ensure workers are properly trained. It would also give BIC the tools to establish clear rules regarding allowable levels of emissions for commercial waste trucks. Additionally, the bill would empower BIC to more stringently regulate the industry with regard to maximizing efficiency along each waste collection route.</p> <p>These are just several examples of how Intro. 996 would give BIC more of the tools and teeth that Mayor de Blasio has said are necessary for advancing commercial waste carting reforms. Our legislation would also let BIC establish its own task force to offer additional insight and recommendations for continuing to improve this industry over the long-term.</p> <p>On the other hand, Mayor de Blasio's own Department of Sanitation has offered a nebulous and flawed proposal to develop commercial waste zones, which would replace the industry's current open market system with a series of geographic zones that are exclusively contracted to a small number of waste carters.</p> <p>First, Sanitation’s proposal is not squarely focused on advancing the mayor's stated goal of empowering BIC. By relying on a fundamental restructuring of the industry, this plan would essentially take power away from BIC rather than giving it more of the tools it needs to regulate carting companies.</p> <p>There is also the issue of unintended consequences. It is common knowledge by now that the zone-based waste collection plan implemented last year in Los Angeles had a truly disastrous rollout. Prices and service complaints skyrocketed, leading to a chaotic situation that, if it were to happen in New York, would surely make it extremely difficult to achieve our shared goals.</p> <p>The Department of Sanitation’s own <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/bic/downloads/pdf/pr/private_carting_release_2016_16_8.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2016 report</a>, released as part of introducing its waste zone proposal, acknowledged that costs for small businesses that are served by this industry would increase under a zone-based plan. Additionally, the report acknowledged that zones would lead to job losses in the industry - and I do not think that efforts to increase safety have to include putting people out of work.</p> <p>To be clear, I am ready to advance commercial waste carting reforms now and deliver results on increasing safety, reducing environmental impact and increasing regulatory oversight. And I want to achieve this in the way that Mayor de Blasio himself has articulated - by giving BIC more of the tools and teeth it needs.</p> <p>Now is the time to translate our concerns about this industry into tangible, sensible, and effective action - we just need to get it done.</p> <p>***<br /> Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. represents the central Brooklyn communities of Bedford Stuyvesant and northern Crown Heights in the New York City Council. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/RobertCornegyJr" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@RobertCornegyJr</a>.</p> <p>

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</p>
City Council Investigating Diaz Sr.'s Use of Government Email for Political Messages 2018-07-16T04:00:00+00:00 2018-07-16T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7806:city-council-investigating-diaz-sr-s-use-of-government-email-for-political-messages Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/27952025287_d781999108_z.jpg" alt="Ruben Diaz Sr. City Council " width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>CM Diaz Sr., standing (photo: John McCarten/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Council’s Committee on Standards and Ethics held a hearing on Monday concerning Bronx Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr. and his alleged use of government email to send out political messages to colleagues and staffers across the Council, three knowledgeable sources told Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>The Standard and Ethics committee, chaired by Staten Island Council Member Steven Matteo, would not reveal the subject of Monday’s hearing and only noted on its agenda that the hearing was about Section 10.80 of the Council rules, which covers “disorderly behavior” including “willful violation or evasion of any provision of law relating to such Member’s discharge of his or her official duties; commission of fraud upon the City; conversion of public property to such Member’s own use; knowingly permitting or allowing by gross culpable conduct, any other person to convert public property; or violation of the Speaker’s policy or policies against discrimination and harassment.”</p> <p>The committee met Monday at City Hall and immediately went into closed session, emerging to divulge that it would indeed further investigate an allegation of impropriety, but without providing details as to the member, the subject matter at hand, or how it had come to the committee's attention.</p> <p>Members of the Council are bound by the city’s Conflicts of Interest law, contained in Chapter 68 of the City Charter, which prohibits city officials from using government time and resources for campaign-related purposes. According to one Council source who asked to remain anonymous to speak freely, Diaz Sr. has frequently sent out emails from his government account with his thoughts on issues he has worked on and those emails often crossed the line into political activity. A second Council source confirmed that the hearing was about Diaz Sr. and his emails, while a third said Diaz Sr. was the subject of the committee hearing, having to do with use of government resources for political purposes.</p> <p>The emails mirror Diaz Sr.’s “What You Should Know” dispatches that he sent out when he was a state Senator, before being elected to the Council in 2017, and that he continues to publish occasionally in The Bronx Chronicle. The Council member did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment.</p> <p>Just last week, on July 10, the first Council source said, Diaz Sr. sent out an email blast of a column that essentially read as an endorsement of Governor Cuomo and criticized his primary challenger, actor and activist Cynthia Nixon. The email was among those published as an op-ed in The Bronx Chronicle and was headlined, “The Christians Should Be Upset With Cuomo, Not The Gay Community.”</p> <p>In it, Diaz Sr. praised the governor’s efforts, along with former state Senator Tom Duane, to pass marriage equality in the state Senate. Cuomo “went out of his way” to bring Republican Senators on board, Diaz Sr. wrote. “Now, a member of the LGBTQ community and other leaders of the community are going all the way to kick Governor Cuomo out of the Governorship. After what he did, this is what he is getting in return? It is mind-boggling,” he added.</p> <p>Diaz Sr., who is a pastor, mentioned his own role in opposing the marriage equality bill. “I could understand gays getting angry at me, spending their money trying to get me out and launching all kinds of political diatribes against me. Because as a legislator, pastor and minister, I was the one opposing gay marriage. But attacking Governor Cuomo and going after him? I don’t understand that,” he wrote.</p> <p>A spokesperson for City Council Speaker Corey Johnson declined comment for this article. The most recent Council action on standards and ethics found a substantiated claim of sexual harassment against Bronx Council Member Andy King, whom the committee found had made repeated unwanted advances toward a Council aide. King was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/politics/2018/02/13/nyc-council-committee-gives-councilman-andy-king-ethics-and-sensitivity-training" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ordered to undergo additional training</a>.</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Ben Max contributed reporting.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/27952025287_d781999108_z.jpg" alt="Ruben Diaz Sr. City Council " width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>CM Diaz Sr., standing (photo: John McCarten/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Council’s Committee on Standards and Ethics held a hearing on Monday concerning Bronx Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr. and his alleged use of government email to send out political messages to colleagues and staffers across the Council, three knowledgeable sources told Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>The Standard and Ethics committee, chaired by Staten Island Council Member Steven Matteo, would not reveal the subject of Monday’s hearing and only noted on its agenda that the hearing was about Section 10.80 of the Council rules, which covers “disorderly behavior” including “willful violation or evasion of any provision of law relating to such Member’s discharge of his or her official duties; commission of fraud upon the City; conversion of public property to such Member’s own use; knowingly permitting or allowing by gross culpable conduct, any other person to convert public property; or violation of the Speaker’s policy or policies against discrimination and harassment.”</p> <p>The committee met Monday at City Hall and immediately went into closed session, emerging to divulge that it would indeed further investigate an allegation of impropriety, but without providing details as to the member, the subject matter at hand, or how it had come to the committee's attention.</p> <p>Members of the Council are bound by the city’s Conflicts of Interest law, contained in Chapter 68 of the City Charter, which prohibits city officials from using government time and resources for campaign-related purposes. According to one Council source who asked to remain anonymous to speak freely, Diaz Sr. has frequently sent out emails from his government account with his thoughts on issues he has worked on and those emails often crossed the line into political activity. A second Council source confirmed that the hearing was about Diaz Sr. and his emails, while a third said Diaz Sr. was the subject of the committee hearing, having to do with use of government resources for political purposes.</p> <p>The emails mirror Diaz Sr.’s “What You Should Know” dispatches that he sent out when he was a state Senator, before being elected to the Council in 2017, and that he continues to publish occasionally in The Bronx Chronicle. The Council member did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment.</p> <p>Just last week, on July 10, the first Council source said, Diaz Sr. sent out an email blast of a column that essentially read as an endorsement of Governor Cuomo and criticized his primary challenger, actor and activist Cynthia Nixon. The email was among those published as an op-ed in The Bronx Chronicle and was headlined, “The Christians Should Be Upset With Cuomo, Not The Gay Community.”</p> <p>In it, Diaz Sr. praised the governor’s efforts, along with former state Senator Tom Duane, to pass marriage equality in the state Senate. Cuomo “went out of his way” to bring Republican Senators on board, Diaz Sr. wrote. “Now, a member of the LGBTQ community and other leaders of the community are going all the way to kick Governor Cuomo out of the Governorship. After what he did, this is what he is getting in return? It is mind-boggling,” he added.</p> <p>Diaz Sr., who is a pastor, mentioned his own role in opposing the marriage equality bill. “I could understand gays getting angry at me, spending their money trying to get me out and launching all kinds of political diatribes against me. Because as a legislator, pastor and minister, I was the one opposing gay marriage. But attacking Governor Cuomo and going after him? I don’t understand that,” he wrote.</p> <p>A spokesperson for City Council Speaker Corey Johnson declined comment for this article. The most recent Council action on standards and ethics found a substantiated claim of sexual harassment against Bronx Council Member Andy King, whom the committee found had made repeated unwanted advances toward a Council aide. King was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/politics/2018/02/13/nyc-council-committee-gives-councilman-andy-king-ethics-and-sensitivity-training" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ordered to undergo additional training</a>.</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Ben Max contributed reporting.</p>
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, July 16 2018-07-15T04:00:00+00:00 2018-07-15T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7803:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-july-16 Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>We’re less than two months from primary day, September 13, in the 2018 races for state-level seats. The entire state Legislature is on the ballot this fall, as well as the statewide offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, and Attorney General. There are far more Democratic than Republican primaries given that the GOP has few, if any, sitting state legislators being challenged and the party ensured that its four statewide candidates would not be challenged. Republicans haven’t won a statewide election since Gov. George Pataki won his last term in 2002.</p> <p>On the Democratic side, there are intense, possibly damaging primaries happening in the races for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, where incumbents Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul are being challenged by Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, respectively. The open Attorney General primary is a contentious four-way race. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is not facing a primary challenger. And, there are spirited, intense campaigns being run against all eight state senators who made up what was the Independent Democratic Conference, six of whom represent parts of New York City.</p> <p>There are other intraparty fights happening, including three in Brooklyn where Julia Salazar is challenging Senator Martin Dilan, Blake Morris is challenging Senator Simcha Felder, a registered Democrat who has conferenced with Republicans, helping ensure them a slim majority, and the Ross Barkan-Andrew Gounardes primary to see who will try to unseat Senator Marty Golden. There are also a few Assembly primaries worth watching, though that chamber is less interesting in election season because of Democrats’ significant majority.</p> <p>So this week we’re watching candidate fundraising totals that are made public through Board of Election filings; to see if there are any new polls in the statewide races; for any news of whether Cuomo will accept a debate challenge from Nixon (he has said there would be a debate) and when there might be one or more Hochul-Williams or AG candidate debates (the AG candidates have been participating in candidate forums, but not debates as of yet), and how things progress in some of the aforementioned legislative primaries. Nixon's campaign got a boost this past week when additional Cuomo associates were convicted on federal corruption charges related to the governor's Buffalo Billion economic development program. It is the second trial this year involving Cuomo aides and donors to result in convictions.</p> <p>It’s not all elections, of course, as there is action this week at the City Council, a few panel events to be aware of, and more happening -- see our day-by-day rundown below. We're also watching for the announcement of a federal monitor to oversee the city's NYCHA consent decree, which could come as early as this week, and for any news of a possible special legislative session in Albany to address issues such as speed cameras around city schools and the Reproductive Health Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade abortion protections in New York law.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday</strong><br />The New York State Board of Regents will meet on Monday and Tuesday.</p> <p>At 8:45 a.m. Monday, city schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will deliver remarks at the 21st Annual National Principals Leadership Institute, at Lincoln Center.</p> <p>On Monday at 11 a.m. in Brooklyn, "Lieutenant Governor candidate Jumaane Williams will announce his endorsement Julia Salazar, a progressive candidate running for New York State Senate today in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Salazar will also announce her support for Williams, and both will be endorsed by the Jewish Vote, a grassroots organization focused on organizing the people-powered wing of the Democratic Party."</p> <p>On Monday at 11:15 a.m. at City Hall, advocates and elected officials will rally to raise issues related to zoning and development of “megatoweres” on the Upper East and Upper West Sides, with a particular focus on a Tuesday hearing at the Board of Standards and Appeals related to two planned megatowers that are said to be exploiting zoning loopholes. “Join Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Liz Krueger (rep.), and Council Member Ben Kallos, together with FRIENDS, Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Landmark West! and others in calling for a comprehensive solution now, not six months from now.”</p> <p>On Monday at 11:30 a.m. at Brooklyn Army Terminal, “New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and City officials plan to unveil Freight NYC, an action plan that includes various strategies to modernize and strengthen the City’s freight distribution network. This plan is a major component of the City’s NY Works initiative to create 100,000 good-paying jobs by 2027.” The announcement will feature Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen; James Patchett, NYCEDC President and CEO; Congressional Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velazquez; City Council Member Carlos Menchaca; Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz; and others.</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Monday at City Hall, the City Council “Committee on Standards and Ethics will hold a meeting on a matter regarding section 10.80 of the Council Rules.” Section 10.80 relates to the code of conduct and “disorderly behavior,” which can include sexual harassment and using a government for office for political work -- there is no other information available at this time on what matter the committee may be dealing with or who may be involved.</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Monday outside City Hall, Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, with lieutenant governor candidate Julie Killian and City Council Member Joe Borelli,&nbsp;"will call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to keep his hands off New York tip wages."</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Monday outside Kings County Supreme Court, “Housing Rights Initiative (HRI) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will announce a $10 million, 19-plaintiff lawsuit, filed by the Law Offices of Jack Lester in Kings County Supreme Court, based on a comprehensive investigation by HRI that has found that Kushner Companies appears to have employed a deliberate campaign to systematically harass rent-stabilized tenants in a 338-unit building out of their apartments using illegal, destructive, and dangerous construction practices. According to an independent lab analysis, families, including children and babies, were exposed to highly toxic and cancer-causing substances, including, but not limited to, the lung carcinogen crystalline silica and lead.”</p> <p>At 5 p.m. Monday, the City Council’s Charter Revision Commission will hold its first public meeting since its members were named, at the Council Chambers in City Hall. The commission, separate from the mayor’s ongoing charter revision commission, will work toward ballot proposals for November 2019.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio will make his weekly appearance on NY1’s Inside City Hall on Monday in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br /><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">At the City Council</a> on Tuesday:<br />--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.<br />--The Committee on Criminal Justice will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to telephone services for inmates in city jails and prisons, and to “requiring the department of correction to report on use by department staff of any device capable of administering an electric shock.”<br />--The Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet at 10:30 a.m. to discuss proposed laws related to “disclosure of premium or compensation charged by bail bond agents” and to “requiring that bail bond agents make certain disclosures.”<br />--The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at noon to discuss the landmarking proposal for the Coney Island Riegelmann Boardwalk.<br />--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 2 p.m.</p> <p>"On Tuesday, the First Lady Chirlane McCray will travel to Oakland, California to participate in the Well Being Legacy Convening." She will return on Friday.</p> <p>At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Association for a Better New York <a href="http://abny.org/meetinginfo.php?id=87&amp;ts=1529952675" target="_blank" rel="noopener">will host</a> John Miller, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism, for a “Power Breakfast” at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown.</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Tuesday, City &amp; State will host its “<a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/events/protecting-new-york-summit" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Protecting New York Summit</a>” at Baruch College, discussing “New York’s security strategy from elections to community policing.” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and Roger Parrino, Commissioner of the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, will deliver keynote addresses. Other speakers will include Elizabeth Glazer, director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice; Michael Ryan, executive director of the New York City Board of Elections; State Senators Todd Kaminsky and Liz Krueger; Assemblymember David Buchwald; City Council Member Donovan Richards; and others. Gotham Gazette’s Ben Max will moderate a panel on election integrity at 11:15 a.m.</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Tuesday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Letitia James will be among those to deliver remarks at a rally against hate at the Annual Amazon Web Summit, at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.</p> <p>At 11:30 a.m., Stringer will host a press conference outside of City Hall Park. At 3 p.m., James will hold a press conference at her office at 1 Centre Street.&nbsp;At 11:30 a.m., Johnson will delivers remarks at Judith White Senior Center, and at 6 p.m. Johnson will deliver remarks at the LGBTQ Memorial Launch, at the LGBT Center.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the State Senate Standing Committees on Labor and Economic Development will meet at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown, Jefferson County, for a public hearing regarding the state’s MWBE program.</p> <p>At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the mayor’s Charter Revision Commission will hold a public meeting to discuss the “preliminary staff report” at the Pratt Institute’s Manhattan campus.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Tuesday, TransitCenter will host “<a href="http://transitcenter.org/events/access-delayed/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Access Delayed</a>” at One Whitehall Street, discussing how New York became the “least accessible subway system in the country” for people with disabilities, and strategies for remedying it. Panelists will include NYC Transit President Andy Byford, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Monica Bartley of the Center for Independence of the Disabled NY, and Emily Seelenfreund of Disability Rights Advocates. City Comptroller Scott Stringer will deliver opening remarks.</p> <p>On&nbsp;Tuesday at 6 p.m. at LaGuardia Community College, the "Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Office of Labor Policy &amp; Standards (OLPS), in partnership with the City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), will hold a public hearing on the state of workers’ rights in New York City. “The State of Workers’ Rights in NYC: Advances and Setbacks in Turbulent Times” public hearing will include panels of workers who will testify on issues they face in today’s workplace, followed by an open session for testimony from low-wage and immigrant workers, advocacy groups, labor unions, nonprofits, and community-based organizations on topics including access to paid safe and sick leave, scheduling problems, freelancer payment issues, wage and hour, immigrant worksite enforcement issues and more. The hearing will inform DCA’s future efforts to protect workers, particularly low-wage and vulnerable workers." Participants will include Lorelei Salas, DCA Commissioner, Carmelyn Malalis, CCHR Commissioner, Bitta Mostofi, MOIA Commissioner, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Council Member I. Daneek Miller, and "dozens of workers."</p> <p>The Working Families Party <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/440048339754838/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">is holding</a> its 20th anniversary gala on Tuesday evening in Brooklyn. The event will include the WFP's endorsed candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, as well as other WFP candidates, supporters, and allies.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />The City Council will hold a stated meeting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. There is expected to be the usual pre-stated press conference led by Speaker Corey Johnson at 12:30 p.m.</p> <p>Also at the City Council on Wednesday:<br />--The Committee on Land Use will meet at 9:30 a.m.<br />--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed law relating to “regulation of short-term residential rentals.”<br />--The Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss the distribution of funds to organizations in the new city budget.</p> <p>Just ahead of the Council’s stated meeting, at 1 p.m. outside City Hall, “Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Steve Levin will join with advocates to rally for the passage of Intro 157, a bill to cap the amount of waste handled by overburdened communities.” Along with Reynoso, Levin, and other Council members, including those in the Progressive Caucus, participants will include Teamsters Joint Council 16, Teamsters Local 813, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, The Natural Resources Defense Council, and other community groups and environmental justice advocates.</p> <p>Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m. will be the first weekly Max &amp; Murphy show on WBAI radio (listen at 99.FM or stream at <a href="https://www.wbai.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">WBAI.org</a>). Gotham Gazette’s Ben Max and City Limits’ Jarrett Murphy are moving their weekly podcast to the radio -- the show will still consist of interviews with newsmakers and analysts that will be made available as podcasts, and it will include listener calls! The first episode will include a conversation with Public Advocate Letitia James, who is running for Attorney General.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s Voter Assistance Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting at the CFB’s headquarters at 100 Church Street.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver <a href="https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2018/07/18/parks-without-borders-two-years-later-what-have-we-achieved" target="_blank" rel="noopener">will deliver</a> a two-year update on the “Parks Without Borders” initiative at the Museum of Natural History’s Kaufmann Theater.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At 8 a.m. Thursday, the Citizens Budget Commission will host New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood as a guest speaker at its annual trustee breakfast at the Harvard Club. The Attorney General will discuss “the U.S. Supreme Court nomination; the Attorney General's lawsuits to protect New Yorkers, such as on family separation, the 2020 Census, and more; and the ways in which New York State can lead to protect New Yorkers' rights.”</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, City &amp; State will unveil its <a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/events/queens-power-50" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Queens Power 50</a>&nbsp;list at the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will speak.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />There are no Friday or weekend events of note on our radar as of Sunday evening.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>We’re less than two months from primary day, September 13, in the 2018 races for state-level seats. The entire state Legislature is on the ballot this fall, as well as the statewide offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, and Attorney General. There are far more Democratic than Republican primaries given that the GOP has few, if any, sitting state legislators being challenged and the party ensured that its four statewide candidates would not be challenged. Republicans haven’t won a statewide election since Gov. George Pataki won his last term in 2002.</p> <p>On the Democratic side, there are intense, possibly damaging primaries happening in the races for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, where incumbents Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul are being challenged by Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, respectively. The open Attorney General primary is a contentious four-way race. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is not facing a primary challenger. And, there are spirited, intense campaigns being run against all eight state senators who made up what was the Independent Democratic Conference, six of whom represent parts of New York City.</p> <p>There are other intraparty fights happening, including three in Brooklyn where Julia Salazar is challenging Senator Martin Dilan, Blake Morris is challenging Senator Simcha Felder, a registered Democrat who has conferenced with Republicans, helping ensure them a slim majority, and the Ross Barkan-Andrew Gounardes primary to see who will try to unseat Senator Marty Golden. There are also a few Assembly primaries worth watching, though that chamber is less interesting in election season because of Democrats’ significant majority.</p> <p>So this week we’re watching candidate fundraising totals that are made public through Board of Election filings; to see if there are any new polls in the statewide races; for any news of whether Cuomo will accept a debate challenge from Nixon (he has said there would be a debate) and when there might be one or more Hochul-Williams or AG candidate debates (the AG candidates have been participating in candidate forums, but not debates as of yet), and how things progress in some of the aforementioned legislative primaries. Nixon's campaign got a boost this past week when additional Cuomo associates were convicted on federal corruption charges related to the governor's Buffalo Billion economic development program. It is the second trial this year involving Cuomo aides and donors to result in convictions.</p> <p>It’s not all elections, of course, as there is action this week at the City Council, a few panel events to be aware of, and more happening -- see our day-by-day rundown below. We're also watching for the announcement of a federal monitor to oversee the city's NYCHA consent decree, which could come as early as this week, and for any news of a possible special legislative session in Albany to address issues such as speed cameras around city schools and the Reproductive Health Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade abortion protections in New York law.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday</strong><br />The New York State Board of Regents will meet on Monday and Tuesday.</p> <p>At 8:45 a.m. Monday, city schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will deliver remarks at the 21st Annual National Principals Leadership Institute, at Lincoln Center.</p> <p>On Monday at 11 a.m. in Brooklyn, "Lieutenant Governor candidate Jumaane Williams will announce his endorsement Julia Salazar, a progressive candidate running for New York State Senate today in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Salazar will also announce her support for Williams, and both will be endorsed by the Jewish Vote, a grassroots organization focused on organizing the people-powered wing of the Democratic Party."</p> <p>On Monday at 11:15 a.m. at City Hall, advocates and elected officials will rally to raise issues related to zoning and development of “megatoweres” on the Upper East and Upper West Sides, with a particular focus on a Tuesday hearing at the Board of Standards and Appeals related to two planned megatowers that are said to be exploiting zoning loopholes. “Join Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Liz Krueger (rep.), and Council Member Ben Kallos, together with FRIENDS, Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Landmark West! and others in calling for a comprehensive solution now, not six months from now.”</p> <p>On Monday at 11:30 a.m. at Brooklyn Army Terminal, “New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and City officials plan to unveil Freight NYC, an action plan that includes various strategies to modernize and strengthen the City’s freight distribution network. This plan is a major component of the City’s NY Works initiative to create 100,000 good-paying jobs by 2027.” The announcement will feature Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen; James Patchett, NYCEDC President and CEO; Congressional Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velazquez; City Council Member Carlos Menchaca; Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz; and others.</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Monday at City Hall, the City Council “Committee on Standards and Ethics will hold a meeting on a matter regarding section 10.80 of the Council Rules.” Section 10.80 relates to the code of conduct and “disorderly behavior,” which can include sexual harassment and using a government for office for political work -- there is no other information available at this time on what matter the committee may be dealing with or who may be involved.</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Monday outside City Hall, Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, with lieutenant governor candidate Julie Killian and City Council Member Joe Borelli,&nbsp;"will call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to keep his hands off New York tip wages."</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Monday outside Kings County Supreme Court, “Housing Rights Initiative (HRI) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will announce a $10 million, 19-plaintiff lawsuit, filed by the Law Offices of Jack Lester in Kings County Supreme Court, based on a comprehensive investigation by HRI that has found that Kushner Companies appears to have employed a deliberate campaign to systematically harass rent-stabilized tenants in a 338-unit building out of their apartments using illegal, destructive, and dangerous construction practices. According to an independent lab analysis, families, including children and babies, were exposed to highly toxic and cancer-causing substances, including, but not limited to, the lung carcinogen crystalline silica and lead.”</p> <p>At 5 p.m. Monday, the City Council’s Charter Revision Commission will hold its first public meeting since its members were named, at the Council Chambers in City Hall. The commission, separate from the mayor’s ongoing charter revision commission, will work toward ballot proposals for November 2019.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio will make his weekly appearance on NY1’s Inside City Hall on Monday in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br /><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">At the City Council</a> on Tuesday:<br />--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.<br />--The Committee on Criminal Justice will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to telephone services for inmates in city jails and prisons, and to “requiring the department of correction to report on use by department staff of any device capable of administering an electric shock.”<br />--The Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet at 10:30 a.m. to discuss proposed laws related to “disclosure of premium or compensation charged by bail bond agents” and to “requiring that bail bond agents make certain disclosures.”<br />--The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at noon to discuss the landmarking proposal for the Coney Island Riegelmann Boardwalk.<br />--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 2 p.m.</p> <p>"On Tuesday, the First Lady Chirlane McCray will travel to Oakland, California to participate in the Well Being Legacy Convening." She will return on Friday.</p> <p>At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Association for a Better New York <a href="http://abny.org/meetinginfo.php?id=87&amp;ts=1529952675" target="_blank" rel="noopener">will host</a> John Miller, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism, for a “Power Breakfast” at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown.</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Tuesday, City &amp; State will host its “<a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/events/protecting-new-york-summit" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Protecting New York Summit</a>” at Baruch College, discussing “New York’s security strategy from elections to community policing.” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and Roger Parrino, Commissioner of the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, will deliver keynote addresses. Other speakers will include Elizabeth Glazer, director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice; Michael Ryan, executive director of the New York City Board of Elections; State Senators Todd Kaminsky and Liz Krueger; Assemblymember David Buchwald; City Council Member Donovan Richards; and others. Gotham Gazette’s Ben Max will moderate a panel on election integrity at 11:15 a.m.</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Tuesday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Letitia James will be among those to deliver remarks at a rally against hate at the Annual Amazon Web Summit, at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.</p> <p>At 11:30 a.m., Stringer will host a press conference outside of City Hall Park. At 3 p.m., James will hold a press conference at her office at 1 Centre Street.&nbsp;At 11:30 a.m., Johnson will delivers remarks at Judith White Senior Center, and at 6 p.m. Johnson will deliver remarks at the LGBTQ Memorial Launch, at the LGBT Center.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the State Senate Standing Committees on Labor and Economic Development will meet at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown, Jefferson County, for a public hearing regarding the state’s MWBE program.</p> <p>At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the mayor’s Charter Revision Commission will hold a public meeting to discuss the “preliminary staff report” at the Pratt Institute’s Manhattan campus.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Tuesday, TransitCenter will host “<a href="http://transitcenter.org/events/access-delayed/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Access Delayed</a>” at One Whitehall Street, discussing how New York became the “least accessible subway system in the country” for people with disabilities, and strategies for remedying it. Panelists will include NYC Transit President Andy Byford, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Monica Bartley of the Center for Independence of the Disabled NY, and Emily Seelenfreund of Disability Rights Advocates. City Comptroller Scott Stringer will deliver opening remarks.</p> <p>On&nbsp;Tuesday at 6 p.m. at LaGuardia Community College, the "Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Office of Labor Policy &amp; Standards (OLPS), in partnership with the City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), will hold a public hearing on the state of workers’ rights in New York City. “The State of Workers’ Rights in NYC: Advances and Setbacks in Turbulent Times” public hearing will include panels of workers who will testify on issues they face in today’s workplace, followed by an open session for testimony from low-wage and immigrant workers, advocacy groups, labor unions, nonprofits, and community-based organizations on topics including access to paid safe and sick leave, scheduling problems, freelancer payment issues, wage and hour, immigrant worksite enforcement issues and more. The hearing will inform DCA’s future efforts to protect workers, particularly low-wage and vulnerable workers." Participants will include Lorelei Salas, DCA Commissioner, Carmelyn Malalis, CCHR Commissioner, Bitta Mostofi, MOIA Commissioner, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Council Member I. Daneek Miller, and "dozens of workers."</p> <p>The Working Families Party <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/440048339754838/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">is holding</a> its 20th anniversary gala on Tuesday evening in Brooklyn. The event will include the WFP's endorsed candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, as well as other WFP candidates, supporters, and allies.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />The City Council will hold a stated meeting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. There is expected to be the usual pre-stated press conference led by Speaker Corey Johnson at 12:30 p.m.</p> <p>Also at the City Council on Wednesday:<br />--The Committee on Land Use will meet at 9:30 a.m.<br />--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed law relating to “regulation of short-term residential rentals.”<br />--The Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss the distribution of funds to organizations in the new city budget.</p> <p>Just ahead of the Council’s stated meeting, at 1 p.m. outside City Hall, “Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Steve Levin will join with advocates to rally for the passage of Intro 157, a bill to cap the amount of waste handled by overburdened communities.” Along with Reynoso, Levin, and other Council members, including those in the Progressive Caucus, participants will include Teamsters Joint Council 16, Teamsters Local 813, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, The Natural Resources Defense Council, and other community groups and environmental justice advocates.</p> <p>Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m. will be the first weekly Max &amp; Murphy show on WBAI radio (listen at 99.FM or stream at <a href="https://www.wbai.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">WBAI.org</a>). Gotham Gazette’s Ben Max and City Limits’ Jarrett Murphy are moving their weekly podcast to the radio -- the show will still consist of interviews with newsmakers and analysts that will be made available as podcasts, and it will include listener calls! The first episode will include a conversation with Public Advocate Letitia James, who is running for Attorney General.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s Voter Assistance Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting at the CFB’s headquarters at 100 Church Street.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver <a href="https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2018/07/18/parks-without-borders-two-years-later-what-have-we-achieved" target="_blank" rel="noopener">will deliver</a> a two-year update on the “Parks Without Borders” initiative at the Museum of Natural History’s Kaufmann Theater.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At 8 a.m. Thursday, the Citizens Budget Commission will host New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood as a guest speaker at its annual trustee breakfast at the Harvard Club. The Attorney General will discuss “the U.S. Supreme Court nomination; the Attorney General's lawsuits to protect New Yorkers, such as on family separation, the 2020 Census, and more; and the ways in which New York State can lead to protect New Yorkers' rights.”</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, City &amp; State will unveil its <a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/events/queens-power-50" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Queens Power 50</a>&nbsp;list at the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will speak.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />There are no Friday or weekend events of note on our radar as of Sunday evening.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GothamGazette</a></p> City Council Progressive Caucus Urges Cuomo to Sign Bill Creating Prosecutorial Misconduct Commission 2018-07-11T04:00:00+00:00 2018-07-11T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7799:city-council-progressive-caucus-urges-cuomo-to-sign-bill-creating-prosecutorial-misconduct-commission Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/progressive-caucus-2009.jpg" alt="progressive caucus 2009" /></p> <p>City Council Progressive Caucus (photo via Progressive Caucus website)</p> <hr /> <p>The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to sign a <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7783-bill-to-create-prosecutorial-misconduct-commission-awaits-cuomo-decision" target="_blank" rel="noopener">bill</a>, passed at the end of the legislative session in June, which would create a new state commission on prosecutorial misconduct. The caucus, which includes 21 of the Council’s 51 members, referred to the bill as “the most substantive criminal justice reform passed in the state this year.”</p> <p>The state bill passed with bipartisan support in both the Assembly and the Senate, and awaits Cuomo’s signature or veto. The commission, consisting of eleven judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys appointed by the state’s chief judge, the governor, and legislative leaders, would be empowered to investigate and recommend disciplinary action against prosecutors in the state accused of misconduct. The commission would be similar in structure and purpose to a commission established in the 1970s to investigate misconduct claims by judges.</p> <p>Cuomo has not indicated whether he supports the legislation or not, and the state district attorneys association has called it unconstitutional and threatened to sue if the governor does sign it into law. The commission would have oversight of the state’s 62 district attorneys and their assistant district attorneys.</p> <p>The letter from the Council’s Progressive Caucus notes that, according to the University of Michigan’s National Registry of Exonerations, New York is fourth in the nation for wrongful convictions, behind California, Illinois, and Texas.</p> <p>“Across the United States there is a growing crisis of confidence in prosecutors as the role District Attorneys, historically, played in driving mass incarceration has become better understood by the public,” the letter reads. “The exonerations of wrongfully convicted people have sometimes exposed egregious misconduct by prosecutors, many of whom remain working as lawyers today.”</p> <p>Misconduct can take various forms, including failure to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense, intimidation of defendants or witnesses by police, and knowing submission of false testimony. Oftentimes, these occurrences can lead to false convictions, including for serious crimes that carry long sentences. In 2017, the National Registry of Exonerations recorded <a href="http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/detaillist.aspx?View=%7bfaf6eddb-5a68-4f8f-8a52-2c61f5bf9ea7%7d&amp;FilterField1=Exonerated&amp;FilterValue1=8_2017&amp;SortField=ST&amp;SortDir=Asc&amp;FilterField2=ST&amp;FilterValue2=NY" target="_blank" rel="noopener">13 exonerations</a> in New York State, for individuals who had served as little as one year to as long as 28 years for crimes they did not commit. So far in 2018, 12 exonerations have been recorded.</p> <p>False convictions are such an issue in New York that some district attorneys have formed entire units within their offices dedicated solely to examining past convictions and their validity. The Brooklyn DA’s <a href="http://brooklynda.org/conviction-review-unit/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Conviction Review Unit</a>, for instance, requested 24 exonerations for wrongfully-convicted defendants between its creation in February 2014 and December 2017.</p> <p>The bill is strongly supported by defense attorneys and criminal justice reform advocates, but is sharply opposed by district attorneys throughout the state. The Staten Island District Attorney told Gotham Gazette in June that oversight measures, such as grievance committees, already exist, and that the bill would hinder the ability of prosecutors to do their jobs and “potentially threaten the safety of those we are sworn to protect.”</p> <p>The grievance committees, which are bodies within appellate divisions that serve to investigate and censure both prosecutors and defense attorneys, have been characterized as toothless by advocates of the bill on both sides of the aisle, and criminal justice reform writ large. The Progressive Caucus wrote that the committee system in place has “not curbed bad behavior” among prosecutors, and that discipline is a rarity.</p> <p>“Public officials entrusted with incredible power should be held to the highest of standards,” reads the letter, signed by 12 members of the caucus. “Instead prosecutors have come to expect that there will be no punishment even following a judicial finding of egregious misconduct.”</p> <p>(Read the full letter <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#progressive-caucus" target="_self">here</a>)</p> <p>The grievance committees rarely discipline prosecutors, but frequently discipline defense attorneys or other attorneys in private practice. In 2016, the <a href="https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/ad1/committees&amp;programs/ddc/AnnualReport2016.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">First Appellate Division’s Grievance Committee</a>, which covers Manhattan and the Bronx, disbarred 30 attorneys, suspended ten, and publicly censured six; none were prosecutors. When prosecutors are disciplined, sanctioned, and disbarred, it tends to make the news, <a href="http://www.wwnytv.com/story/38533470/former-da-mary-rain-barred-from-practicing-law" target="_blank" rel="noopener">as occurred</a> with former St. Lawrence County DA Mary Rain.</p> <p>The Queens district attorney, Richard Brown, meanwhile, told Gotham Gazette that previous working groups, including one led by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, found no evidence of “rampant prosecutorial misconduct.”</p> <p>David Soares, the Albany District Attorney and the new president of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (DAASNY), told host Susan Arbetter of the Capitol Pressroom radio show in June that DAASNY would sue the state if Cuomo signs the bill into law.</p> <p>For the Council’s Progressive Caucus, a majority in favor leads to an action like the letter. It was signed by caucus Co-chair Ben Kallos and fellow Council Members Jumaane Williams, Anonion Reynoso, Brad LAnder, Carlos Menchaca, Keith Powers, Deborah Rose, Daneek Miller, Justin Brannan, Steve Levin, Carlina Rivera, and Alicka Ampry-Samuel.</p> <p>Notably, the non-signers of the caucus include Council Speaker Corey Johnson, caucus co-chair Diana Ayala, and public safety committee chair Donovan Richards.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Richards told Gotham Gazette that Richards is in support of the bill, but was unable to sign it because Richards was out of town when the letter was sent. “I am absolutely in support of creating a state commission to look into prosecutorial misconduct,” he said. “In order to truly reform our criminal justice system, we must root out misconduct in all levels of law enforcement.”</p> <p>A representative for Johnson did not return a request for comment, while Ayala’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Representatives for Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Mark Levine, among the other members of the Progressive Caucus who did not sign the letter, told Gotham Gazette that they support the bill.</p> <p>Governor Cuomo has not signaled whether he intends to sign the bill or not. Cuomo spokesperson Tyrone Stevens said that the governor’s office is still reviewing it.</p> <p>

***
by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p><a id="progressive-caucus"></a> </p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/progressive-caucus-2009.jpg" alt="progressive caucus 2009" /></p> <p>City Council Progressive Caucus (photo via Progressive Caucus website)</p> <hr /> <p>The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to sign a <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7783-bill-to-create-prosecutorial-misconduct-commission-awaits-cuomo-decision" target="_blank" rel="noopener">bill</a>, passed at the end of the legislative session in June, which would create a new state commission on prosecutorial misconduct. The caucus, which includes 21 of the Council’s 51 members, referred to the bill as “the most substantive criminal justice reform passed in the state this year.”</p> <p>The state bill passed with bipartisan support in both the Assembly and the Senate, and awaits Cuomo’s signature or veto. The commission, consisting of eleven judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys appointed by the state’s chief judge, the governor, and legislative leaders, would be empowered to investigate and recommend disciplinary action against prosecutors in the state accused of misconduct. The commission would be similar in structure and purpose to a commission established in the 1970s to investigate misconduct claims by judges.</p> <p>Cuomo has not indicated whether he supports the legislation or not, and the state district attorneys association has called it unconstitutional and threatened to sue if the governor does sign it into law. The commission would have oversight of the state’s 62 district attorneys and their assistant district attorneys.</p> <p>The letter from the Council’s Progressive Caucus notes that, according to the University of Michigan’s National Registry of Exonerations, New York is fourth in the nation for wrongful convictions, behind California, Illinois, and Texas.</p> <p>“Across the United States there is a growing crisis of confidence in prosecutors as the role District Attorneys, historically, played in driving mass incarceration has become better understood by the public,” the letter reads. “The exonerations of wrongfully convicted people have sometimes exposed egregious misconduct by prosecutors, many of whom remain working as lawyers today.”</p> <p>Misconduct can take various forms, including failure to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense, intimidation of defendants or witnesses by police, and knowing submission of false testimony. Oftentimes, these occurrences can lead to false convictions, including for serious crimes that carry long sentences. In 2017, the National Registry of Exonerations recorded <a href="http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/detaillist.aspx?View=%7bfaf6eddb-5a68-4f8f-8a52-2c61f5bf9ea7%7d&amp;FilterField1=Exonerated&amp;FilterValue1=8_2017&amp;SortField=ST&amp;SortDir=Asc&amp;FilterField2=ST&amp;FilterValue2=NY" target="_blank" rel="noopener">13 exonerations</a> in New York State, for individuals who had served as little as one year to as long as 28 years for crimes they did not commit. So far in 2018, 12 exonerations have been recorded.</p> <p>False convictions are such an issue in New York that some district attorneys have formed entire units within their offices dedicated solely to examining past convictions and their validity. The Brooklyn DA’s <a href="http://brooklynda.org/conviction-review-unit/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Conviction Review Unit</a>, for instance, requested 24 exonerations for wrongfully-convicted defendants between its creation in February 2014 and December 2017.</p> <p>The bill is strongly supported by defense attorneys and criminal justice reform advocates, but is sharply opposed by district attorneys throughout the state. The Staten Island District Attorney told Gotham Gazette in June that oversight measures, such as grievance committees, already exist, and that the bill would hinder the ability of prosecutors to do their jobs and “potentially threaten the safety of those we are sworn to protect.”</p> <p>The grievance committees, which are bodies within appellate divisions that serve to investigate and censure both prosecutors and defense attorneys, have been characterized as toothless by advocates of the bill on both sides of the aisle, and criminal justice reform writ large. The Progressive Caucus wrote that the committee system in place has “not curbed bad behavior” among prosecutors, and that discipline is a rarity.</p> <p>“Public officials entrusted with incredible power should be held to the highest of standards,” reads the letter, signed by 12 members of the caucus. “Instead prosecutors have come to expect that there will be no punishment even following a judicial finding of egregious misconduct.”</p> <p>(Read the full letter <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#progressive-caucus" target="_self">here</a>)</p> <p>The grievance committees rarely discipline prosecutors, but frequently discipline defense attorneys or other attorneys in private practice. In 2016, the <a href="https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/ad1/committees&amp;programs/ddc/AnnualReport2016.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">First Appellate Division’s Grievance Committee</a>, which covers Manhattan and the Bronx, disbarred 30 attorneys, suspended ten, and publicly censured six; none were prosecutors. When prosecutors are disciplined, sanctioned, and disbarred, it tends to make the news, <a href="http://www.wwnytv.com/story/38533470/former-da-mary-rain-barred-from-practicing-law" target="_blank" rel="noopener">as occurred</a> with former St. Lawrence County DA Mary Rain.</p> <p>The Queens district attorney, Richard Brown, meanwhile, told Gotham Gazette that previous working groups, including one led by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, found no evidence of “rampant prosecutorial misconduct.”</p> <p>David Soares, the Albany District Attorney and the new president of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (DAASNY), told host Susan Arbetter of the Capitol Pressroom radio show in June that DAASNY would sue the state if Cuomo signs the bill into law.</p> <p>For the Council’s Progressive Caucus, a majority in favor leads to an action like the letter. It was signed by caucus Co-chair Ben Kallos and fellow Council Members Jumaane Williams, Anonion Reynoso, Brad LAnder, Carlos Menchaca, Keith Powers, Deborah Rose, Daneek Miller, Justin Brannan, Steve Levin, Carlina Rivera, and Alicka Ampry-Samuel.</p> <p>Notably, the non-signers of the caucus include Council Speaker Corey Johnson, caucus co-chair Diana Ayala, and public safety committee chair Donovan Richards.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Richards told Gotham Gazette that Richards is in support of the bill, but was unable to sign it because Richards was out of town when the letter was sent. “I am absolutely in support of creating a state commission to look into prosecutorial misconduct,” he said. “In order to truly reform our criminal justice system, we must root out misconduct in all levels of law enforcement.”</p> <p>A representative for Johnson did not return a request for comment, while Ayala’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Representatives for Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Mark Levine, among the other members of the Progressive Caucus who did not sign the letter, told Gotham Gazette that they support the bill.</p> <p>Governor Cuomo has not signaled whether he intends to sign the bill or not. Cuomo spokesperson Tyrone Stevens said that the governor’s office is still reviewing it.</p> <p>

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by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

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</p> <p><a id="progressive-caucus"></a> </p>
City Council Charter Revision Commission Takes Shape 2018-07-09T04:00:00+00:00 2018-07-09T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7795:city-council-charter-revision-commission-takes-shape Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/gg-city-council-hearing-committee.jpg" alt="gg city council hearing committee" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(Sofie Hecht/Gotham Gazette)</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Council’s commission to review the city charter -- a separate effort from an existing commission created by Mayor Bill de Blasio -- has been fully appointed and is set to begin its work next Monday, July 16.</p> <p>The City Council passed a bill in April, spearheaded by Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, to create a commission to analyze the city’s governing document and recommend potentially significant changes to the structure and functions of city government. Although any such commission is allowed to consider the entire composition of the city charter, Brewer, James, and Johnson have pointed to a few broad priority areas including improving the city’s land use policies, strengthening the City Council’s ‘advise and consent’ role in approving mayoral appointees to city agencies and commissions, enhancing the Council’s power over city budgeting, and implementing stronger oversight of the mayoral administration.</p> <p>At a <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7547-city-council-hears-bill-on-charter-revision-commission" target="_blank" rel="noopener">March 17 hearing</a> on the bill, James emphasized that the commission could achieve groundbreaking improvements similar to the 1989 charter commission that upended the entire structure of city government. She contrasted it with the mayor’s approach, which she said suffers from “predetermined conclusions, a narrow focus on issues within Council authority, and a timeline far too tight to do the job right.”</p> <p>The Council’s commission, composed of 15 members, is meant to carry out its work over the next 16 months, presenting ballot referenda to voters during the November 2019 general election. The mayor’s commission, created by de Blasio through an executive order, has a shorter timeline and a narrower brief, and will be proposing its own recommendations on Election Day this year.</p> <p>The Council commission’s members include four appointees of the speaker, including the chair, four mayoral appointees, and one each chosen by the public advocate, the comptroller, and the five borough presidents.</p> <p>Johnson picked Gail Benjamin, the former director of the Council’s land use division, to serve as commission chair. His other appointees include Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, a former de Blasio deputy mayor and the former chair of NYC Health+Hospitals, the city’s municipal hospital system; Rev. Clinton Miller, pastor at Brown Memorial Baptist Church; and Merryl Tisch, the former chancellor of the state Board of Regents and current vice chair of the SUNY board of trustees.</p> <p>“The appointment of these members of the Charter Revision Commission is the first step towards bringing the City Charter into the 21st century,” said Johnson in a statement announcing the full commission. “All of these individuals represent civic engagement at its best, and I am so grateful for the time they are giving to make our city a better place…The City Charter is in good hands.”</p> <p>In a phone interview, Benjamin said she was "excited" about leading the commission. "This is kind of the culmination of my career as a government official,” she said. Benjamin drew a distinction between the work she will oversee and that of the mayor's commission, which is expected to release its preliminary report soon.&nbsp;“This commission has a much broader mandate than the mayor gave to his commission and I think that all of the 15 members who have been appointed are excited about the broadness of the mandate and the ability to really examine how this city functions governmentally and what we can do to move it into the future," she said. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Though the two commissions will not overlap substantially, Benjamin said the Council's commission will review the testimony presented to the mayor's commission, as well as the reports and testimony from every commission convened since 1989. "There are lots of issues that [the mayor's] commission, I don’t think, has had the time to really flesh out," she said, citing city procurement practices, non-citizen voting and instant run-off voting as a few examples. "I would think that we would want to look at those kinds of issues also and that we’ll have the time to do that because we’ve got over a year and not just a few months," Benjamin said.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio mostly plucked his Council commission appointees from his own administration. Among them are Lisette Camilo, the commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services; Paula Gavin, the city’s Chief Service Officer who heads up NYC Service, the agency tasked with promoting volunteering efforts; Lindsay Greene, a senior advisor to Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen; and former City Planning chief Carl Weisbrod, currently a de Blasio appointee to the MTA board.</p> <p>Most other elected officials had already announced their selections to the commission or had quietly appointed members with little publicity. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In late May, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams chose former City Council Member and repeat mayoral contender Sal Albanese to represent him, citing Albanese’s outspoken positions on campaign finance reform. “I have called for, and am reiterating again now, for 100 percent publicly-financed campaigns where every candidate has an equal footing to express their ideas,” Adams had written in testimony at the March hearing before the Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations, which was considering the charter commission bill. “Fully publicly-financed elections will see more women running for office at a time when representation in the City Council has decreased since our last election. Fully publicly-financed campaigns have shown to increase minority participation in elected politics. A fully-funded system also takes away the quid pro quo corruption and will help restore faith in our electoral system.”</p> <p>Albanese, in a statement accompanying his appointment, said, “Charter revision is an opportunity to make our government more democratic and responsive to its citizens.” During his 2017 primary challenge to de Blasio, Albanese’s top policy plank was the “democracy vouchers” program that would drastically reduce the influence of private money in municipal elections.</p> <p>Last month, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. appointed former City Council Member James Vacca to the commission. “Jimmy has a wealth of experience in government and cares deeply about our borough and our city,” Diaz Jr. <a href="https://twitter.com/rubendiazjr/status/1005117342802640896?s=21" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tweeted</a> at the time.</p> <p>More recently, Public Advocate Letitia James tapped Sateesh Nori, a Legal Aid Society attorney, as her representative on the commission. “Mr. Nori brings with him the wisdom and expertise necessary for the role, as well as a lifelong commitment to public service and to his City,” James said in a statement. Comptroller Scott Stringer’s pick was Alison Hirsh, the vice president of 32BJ SEIU, the prominent property services workers union.</p> <p>Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer chose her general counsel and director of land use, James Caras, to serve as her representative. “After three decades, it’s time for a thorough, expert review of how our City Charter is serving New Yorkers and how to make our government work better,” Brewer said in Monday’s announcement.</p> <p>Queens Borough President Melinda Katz picked Eduardo Cordero Sr. And Staten Island Borough President James Oddo’s choice is Richmond County Clerk Stephen Fiala, who was previously a City Council member.</p> <p>While the Council-created commission is about to begin its work and will take an extended timeline before its ballot proposals are announced next year, the mayoral charter revision commission is in the final two months before it makes its recommendations public by early September, in time to be included on the November ballot. That commission recently made clear its areas of focus -- voting and election reform, campaign finance reform, land use decision-making, community boards, civic engagement, and independent redistricting -- <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/charter-revision-commission" target="_blank" rel="noopener">and held relevant expert hearings</a>.</p> <p>[Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7780-chair-says-charter-commission-will-step-in-where-politics-has-slowed-reform" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Chair Says Mayoral Charter Commission Will Step In Where Politics Has Slowed Reform</a>]</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/gg-city-council-hearing-committee.jpg" alt="gg city council hearing committee" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(Sofie Hecht/Gotham Gazette)</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Council’s commission to review the city charter -- a separate effort from an existing commission created by Mayor Bill de Blasio -- has been fully appointed and is set to begin its work next Monday, July 16.</p> <p>The City Council passed a bill in April, spearheaded by Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, to create a commission to analyze the city’s governing document and recommend potentially significant changes to the structure and functions of city government. Although any such commission is allowed to consider the entire composition of the city charter, Brewer, James, and Johnson have pointed to a few broad priority areas including improving the city’s land use policies, strengthening the City Council’s ‘advise and consent’ role in approving mayoral appointees to city agencies and commissions, enhancing the Council’s power over city budgeting, and implementing stronger oversight of the mayoral administration.</p> <p>At a <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7547-city-council-hears-bill-on-charter-revision-commission" target="_blank" rel="noopener">March 17 hearing</a> on the bill, James emphasized that the commission could achieve groundbreaking improvements similar to the 1989 charter commission that upended the entire structure of city government. She contrasted it with the mayor’s approach, which she said suffers from “predetermined conclusions, a narrow focus on issues within Council authority, and a timeline far too tight to do the job right.”</p> <p>The Council’s commission, composed of 15 members, is meant to carry out its work over the next 16 months, presenting ballot referenda to voters during the November 2019 general election. The mayor’s commission, created by de Blasio through an executive order, has a shorter timeline and a narrower brief, and will be proposing its own recommendations on Election Day this year.</p> <p>The Council commission’s members include four appointees of the speaker, including the chair, four mayoral appointees, and one each chosen by the public advocate, the comptroller, and the five borough presidents.</p> <p>Johnson picked Gail Benjamin, the former director of the Council’s land use division, to serve as commission chair. His other appointees include Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, a former de Blasio deputy mayor and the former chair of NYC Health+Hospitals, the city’s municipal hospital system; Rev. Clinton Miller, pastor at Brown Memorial Baptist Church; and Merryl Tisch, the former chancellor of the state Board of Regents and current vice chair of the SUNY board of trustees.</p> <p>“The appointment of these members of the Charter Revision Commission is the first step towards bringing the City Charter into the 21st century,” said Johnson in a statement announcing the full commission. “All of these individuals represent civic engagement at its best, and I am so grateful for the time they are giving to make our city a better place…The City Charter is in good hands.”</p> <p>In a phone interview, Benjamin said she was "excited" about leading the commission. "This is kind of the culmination of my career as a government official,” she said. Benjamin drew a distinction between the work she will oversee and that of the mayor's commission, which is expected to release its preliminary report soon.&nbsp;“This commission has a much broader mandate than the mayor gave to his commission and I think that all of the 15 members who have been appointed are excited about the broadness of the mandate and the ability to really examine how this city functions governmentally and what we can do to move it into the future," she said. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Though the two commissions will not overlap substantially, Benjamin said the Council's commission will review the testimony presented to the mayor's commission, as well as the reports and testimony from every commission convened since 1989. "There are lots of issues that [the mayor's] commission, I don’t think, has had the time to really flesh out," she said, citing city procurement practices, non-citizen voting and instant run-off voting as a few examples. "I would think that we would want to look at those kinds of issues also and that we’ll have the time to do that because we’ve got over a year and not just a few months," Benjamin said.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio mostly plucked his Council commission appointees from his own administration. Among them are Lisette Camilo, the commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services; Paula Gavin, the city’s Chief Service Officer who heads up NYC Service, the agency tasked with promoting volunteering efforts; Lindsay Greene, a senior advisor to Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen; and former City Planning chief Carl Weisbrod, currently a de Blasio appointee to the MTA board.</p> <p>Most other elected officials had already announced their selections to the commission or had quietly appointed members with little publicity. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In late May, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams chose former City Council Member and repeat mayoral contender Sal Albanese to represent him, citing Albanese’s outspoken positions on campaign finance reform. “I have called for, and am reiterating again now, for 100 percent publicly-financed campaigns where every candidate has an equal footing to express their ideas,” Adams had written in testimony at the March hearing before the Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations, which was considering the charter commission bill. “Fully publicly-financed elections will see more women running for office at a time when representation in the City Council has decreased since our last election. Fully publicly-financed campaigns have shown to increase minority participation in elected politics. A fully-funded system also takes away the quid pro quo corruption and will help restore faith in our electoral system.”</p> <p>Albanese, in a statement accompanying his appointment, said, “Charter revision is an opportunity to make our government more democratic and responsive to its citizens.” During his 2017 primary challenge to de Blasio, Albanese’s top policy plank was the “democracy vouchers” program that would drastically reduce the influence of private money in municipal elections.</p> <p>Last month, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. appointed former City Council Member James Vacca to the commission. “Jimmy has a wealth of experience in government and cares deeply about our borough and our city,” Diaz Jr. <a href="https://twitter.com/rubendiazjr/status/1005117342802640896?s=21" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tweeted</a> at the time.</p> <p>More recently, Public Advocate Letitia James tapped Sateesh Nori, a Legal Aid Society attorney, as her representative on the commission. “Mr. Nori brings with him the wisdom and expertise necessary for the role, as well as a lifelong commitment to public service and to his City,” James said in a statement. Comptroller Scott Stringer’s pick was Alison Hirsh, the vice president of 32BJ SEIU, the prominent property services workers union.</p> <p>Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer chose her general counsel and director of land use, James Caras, to serve as her representative. “After three decades, it’s time for a thorough, expert review of how our City Charter is serving New Yorkers and how to make our government work better,” Brewer said in Monday’s announcement.</p> <p>Queens Borough President Melinda Katz picked Eduardo Cordero Sr. And Staten Island Borough President James Oddo’s choice is Richmond County Clerk Stephen Fiala, who was previously a City Council member.</p> <p>While the Council-created commission is about to begin its work and will take an extended timeline before its ballot proposals are announced next year, the mayoral charter revision commission is in the final two months before it makes its recommendations public by early September, in time to be included on the November ballot. That commission recently made clear its areas of focus -- voting and election reform, campaign finance reform, land use decision-making, community boards, civic engagement, and independent redistricting -- <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/charter-revision-commission" target="_blank" rel="noopener">and held relevant expert hearings</a>.</p> <p>[Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7780-chair-says-charter-commission-will-step-in-where-politics-has-slowed-reform" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Chair Says Mayoral Charter Commission Will Step In Where Politics Has Slowed Reform</a>]</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, July 9 2018-07-08T04:00:00+00:00 2018-07-08T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7790:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-july-9 Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>As we move past the July Fourth holiday week and into the depths of summer, attention turns squarely to the state-level primary elections that will be voted on September 13. We're just over two months away from those votes, with especially interesting Democratic races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and a number of state legislative seats, especially in the state Senate, most notably the primary challenges to the senators who until April made up the Independent Democratic Conference. We'll know more soon about challengers' efforts to garner enough ballot petition signatures to appear on the September ballot, as those are due to the Board of Elections this week.</p> <p>While Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and party designee for Attorney General Letitia James were all guaranteed ballot spots becaue of the party convention vote, candidates including Cynthia Nixon, Jumaane Williams, Zephyr Teachout, Leecia Eve, Sean Patrick Maloney, and others had to collect signatures to get their names on the ballot.</p> <p>We'll also know more this week and into the following about how candidates are doing with raising money, as there is an important filing deadline this week.</p> <p>Continuing this week are two major federal corruption trials involving state government. One is headlined by Alain Kaloyeros, former president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, who Governor Cuomo empowered to run major economic development projects and is accused of rigging bids to favor Cuomo donors. The other is the retrial of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio returns from a week of (mostly) vacation this week (he briefly flew home to attend a street renaming ceremony for a police officer, Miosotis Familia, killed in the line of duty last ear). There are two major land use decisions coming up that the administration is deeply invested in and worth watching as final negotiations unfold over the coming weeks: efforts to rezone part of Inwood and the rezoning plan to build a tech center in Union Square. Both proposals are still being negotiated with other stakeholders, especially the local City Council members, who will ultimately have significant say over the final details of deals that are reached or over the defeat of the proposals. There is a Tuesday Council hearing on each.</p> <p>See the day-by-day rundown for the week below -- and check back as we update The Week Ahead from Sunday night through Monday night as additional events are publicized and advised by elected officials, candidates, advocacy groups, and others.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<em style="text-align: center;">***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?<br /></em><em>e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>This week’s Max &amp; Murphy podcast from Gotham Gazette and City Limits will be recorded and published Monday and will feature Democratic Attorney General candidate Zephyr Teachout.</p> <p>On Monday at 10:30 a.m. in Jackson Heights, Democratic candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon and state Senate candidate Jessica Ramos will endorse each other. Nixon is attempting to defeat Governor Cuomo and Ramos is attempting to defeat Senator Jose Peralta, a former member of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC, in the September Democratic primaries.</p> <p>At 2 p.m. Monday, Governor Cuomo will make an announcement at&nbsp;Manny Cantor Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will be in attendance.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio will make his usual weekly appearance on NY1's Inside City Hall Monday in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />Governor Cuomo will hold two Tuesday rallies&nbsp;"to protect reproductive rights." One at 10 a.m. in Yonkers and one at 11:30 a.m. in New Hyde Park.</p> <p>At 11 a.m. Tuesday outside Grand Central Terminal, leading transit advocacy groups will release the agenda they will urge state-level candidates to adopt this election season. "During a busy campaign season for the governor and state legislature, the city's leading transportation advocacy organizations will unveil for the first time a comprehensive state policy agenda. Highlighting the relationship between transportation and equity, the advocates will encourage candidates for state office to fund badly needed transit improvements with a fair, sustainable and sufficient source of revenue that it's up to state government officials to create.&nbsp;The advocates' 2018 state policy agenda includes funding and implementing the MTA's Fast Forward plan to fix the subway, redesign the bus network, and make transit accessible, adopting the state's Fix NYC panel proposal to raise transit funds by charging cars and trucks to drive in the Manhattan central business district, and enacting fully automated camera enforcement of traffic signals, speed and bus lane restrictions." Participants will include "Leaders and members of transit, environmental and disability rights organizations including the Riders Alliance, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York League of Conservation Voters, Regional Plan Association, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, StreetsPAC, Transportation Alternatives, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign."</p> <p>At 11:30 a.m. Tuesday,&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner O’Neill will hold a media availability on crime statistics. This event is open press. There will be Q-and-A." The event will take place at the 40th Precinct in the Bronx.</p> <p>"On Tuesday, the First Lady will attend the Gracie Mansion Board of Advisors meeting. This event is closed press."</p> <p>At noon Tuesday there will be a rally in Foley Square opposing President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Public Advocate Letitia James will be among those speaking.</p> <p>At the City Council on Tuesday: The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. The committee will hear testimony on the plan to rezone an area in Union Square during the morning meeting and on the plan for part of Inwood during the afternoon meeting. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will testify at both hearings.</p> <p>At noon on Tuesday, before the Inwood rezoning vote, "Upper Manhattan tenants, faith leaders, workers and small business owners will hold a rally outside City Hall as the New York City Council prepares to hold a hearing on the proposed Inwood NYC neighborhood rezoning. The rezoning has received considerable opposition from the community and local elected officials, with both Manhattan Community Board 12 and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer voting against the proposal at earlier stages in the land use process." Participants will include "Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale, Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association, Ft. Washington Collegiate Church, Uptown Community Democrats, Laborers Local 79, Northern Manhattan Community Land Trust, Save Inwood Library, the Inwood Small Business Coalition/Coalicion de Pequenas Empresas de Inwood, Metropolitan Council on Housing, Altagracia Faith &amp; Justice Works, NY State Ironworkers District Council, NYC Community Alliance for Workers Justice, United Auto Merchants, Moving Forward Unidos, Lower Seaman Tenants Association and Inwood Preservation."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the New York City Board of Correction will hold a public meeting at 125 Worth Street in Manhattan.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 3 will be opened by Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, U.S. Rep Nydia Velazquez, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, Senator Brian Kavanagh, City Council Member Stephen Levin, and Brooklyn Bridge Park President Eric Landau.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Four Freedoms Democratic Club will host <a href="http://www.fourfreedomsnyc.org/july_general_membership_meeting" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a forum</a> on the state of the subway “and what can be done to remedy it.” Speakers will include City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Charles Komanoff of Transportation Alternatives, and Stephen Smith of Market Urbanism.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />This week’s What’s The [Data] Point? podcast from Gotham Gazette and Citizens Budget Commission will be recorded and published on Wednesday and will feature city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board will meet at the McKinley Community Center in Morrisania, Bronx.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Democratic candidates for Attorney General will participate in <a href="http://www.fourfreedomsnyc.org/nys_attorney_general_candidate_forum?utm_campaign=transit_and_ag&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=fourfreedomsnyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a forum</a> hosted by seven Democratic clubs at the New York New Church in Murray Hill.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At the City Council on Thursday: The Committees on Health, Immigration, and General Welfare will meet jointly at 2 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the impacts of Trump administration family separation policy on New York City,” and to discuss a resolution “calling on the U.S. Congress to pass, and the President to sign, the Keep Families Together Act (S. 3036), to immediately stop the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents at the U.S. border, except with express directive from a child welfare expert, and for additional legislation that would end family detention as an unsafe and harmful alternative.”</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />Mayor de Blasio may make his usual appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show on Friday at 10 a.m.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>As we move past the July Fourth holiday week and into the depths of summer, attention turns squarely to the state-level primary elections that will be voted on September 13. We're just over two months away from those votes, with especially interesting Democratic races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and a number of state legislative seats, especially in the state Senate, most notably the primary challenges to the senators who until April made up the Independent Democratic Conference. We'll know more soon about challengers' efforts to garner enough ballot petition signatures to appear on the September ballot, as those are due to the Board of Elections this week.</p> <p>While Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and party designee for Attorney General Letitia James were all guaranteed ballot spots becaue of the party convention vote, candidates including Cynthia Nixon, Jumaane Williams, Zephyr Teachout, Leecia Eve, Sean Patrick Maloney, and others had to collect signatures to get their names on the ballot.</p> <p>We'll also know more this week and into the following about how candidates are doing with raising money, as there is an important filing deadline this week.</p> <p>Continuing this week are two major federal corruption trials involving state government. One is headlined by Alain Kaloyeros, former president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, who Governor Cuomo empowered to run major economic development projects and is accused of rigging bids to favor Cuomo donors. The other is the retrial of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio returns from a week of (mostly) vacation this week (he briefly flew home to attend a street renaming ceremony for a police officer, Miosotis Familia, killed in the line of duty last ear). There are two major land use decisions coming up that the administration is deeply invested in and worth watching as final negotiations unfold over the coming weeks: efforts to rezone part of Inwood and the rezoning plan to build a tech center in Union Square. Both proposals are still being negotiated with other stakeholders, especially the local City Council members, who will ultimately have significant say over the final details of deals that are reached or over the defeat of the proposals. There is a Tuesday Council hearing on each.</p> <p>See the day-by-day rundown for the week below -- and check back as we update The Week Ahead from Sunday night through Monday night as additional events are publicized and advised by elected officials, candidates, advocacy groups, and others.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<em style="text-align: center;">***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?<br /></em><em>e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>This week’s Max &amp; Murphy podcast from Gotham Gazette and City Limits will be recorded and published Monday and will feature Democratic Attorney General candidate Zephyr Teachout.</p> <p>On Monday at 10:30 a.m. in Jackson Heights, Democratic candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon and state Senate candidate Jessica Ramos will endorse each other. Nixon is attempting to defeat Governor Cuomo and Ramos is attempting to defeat Senator Jose Peralta, a former member of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC, in the September Democratic primaries.</p> <p>At 2 p.m. Monday, Governor Cuomo will make an announcement at&nbsp;Manny Cantor Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will be in attendance.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio will make his usual weekly appearance on NY1's Inside City Hall Monday in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />Governor Cuomo will hold two Tuesday rallies&nbsp;"to protect reproductive rights." One at 10 a.m. in Yonkers and one at 11:30 a.m. in New Hyde Park.</p> <p>At 11 a.m. Tuesday outside Grand Central Terminal, leading transit advocacy groups will release the agenda they will urge state-level candidates to adopt this election season. "During a busy campaign season for the governor and state legislature, the city's leading transportation advocacy organizations will unveil for the first time a comprehensive state policy agenda. Highlighting the relationship between transportation and equity, the advocates will encourage candidates for state office to fund badly needed transit improvements with a fair, sustainable and sufficient source of revenue that it's up to state government officials to create.&nbsp;The advocates' 2018 state policy agenda includes funding and implementing the MTA's Fast Forward plan to fix the subway, redesign the bus network, and make transit accessible, adopting the state's Fix NYC panel proposal to raise transit funds by charging cars and trucks to drive in the Manhattan central business district, and enacting fully automated camera enforcement of traffic signals, speed and bus lane restrictions." Participants will include "Leaders and members of transit, environmental and disability rights organizations including the Riders Alliance, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York League of Conservation Voters, Regional Plan Association, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, StreetsPAC, Transportation Alternatives, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign."</p> <p>At 11:30 a.m. Tuesday,&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner O’Neill will hold a media availability on crime statistics. This event is open press. There will be Q-and-A." The event will take place at the 40th Precinct in the Bronx.</p> <p>"On Tuesday, the First Lady will attend the Gracie Mansion Board of Advisors meeting. This event is closed press."</p> <p>At noon Tuesday there will be a rally in Foley Square opposing President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Public Advocate Letitia James will be among those speaking.</p> <p>At the City Council on Tuesday: The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. The committee will hear testimony on the plan to rezone an area in Union Square during the morning meeting and on the plan for part of Inwood during the afternoon meeting. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will testify at both hearings.</p> <p>At noon on Tuesday, before the Inwood rezoning vote, "Upper Manhattan tenants, faith leaders, workers and small business owners will hold a rally outside City Hall as the New York City Council prepares to hold a hearing on the proposed Inwood NYC neighborhood rezoning. The rezoning has received considerable opposition from the community and local elected officials, with both Manhattan Community Board 12 and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer voting against the proposal at earlier stages in the land use process." Participants will include "Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale, Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association, Ft. Washington Collegiate Church, Uptown Community Democrats, Laborers Local 79, Northern Manhattan Community Land Trust, Save Inwood Library, the Inwood Small Business Coalition/Coalicion de Pequenas Empresas de Inwood, Metropolitan Council on Housing, Altagracia Faith &amp; Justice Works, NY State Ironworkers District Council, NYC Community Alliance for Workers Justice, United Auto Merchants, Moving Forward Unidos, Lower Seaman Tenants Association and Inwood Preservation."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the New York City Board of Correction will hold a public meeting at 125 Worth Street in Manhattan.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 3 will be opened by Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, U.S. Rep Nydia Velazquez, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, Senator Brian Kavanagh, City Council Member Stephen Levin, and Brooklyn Bridge Park President Eric Landau.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Four Freedoms Democratic Club will host <a href="http://www.fourfreedomsnyc.org/july_general_membership_meeting" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a forum</a> on the state of the subway “and what can be done to remedy it.” Speakers will include City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Charles Komanoff of Transportation Alternatives, and Stephen Smith of Market Urbanism.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />This week’s What’s The [Data] Point? podcast from Gotham Gazette and Citizens Budget Commission will be recorded and published on Wednesday and will feature city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board will meet at the McKinley Community Center in Morrisania, Bronx.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Democratic candidates for Attorney General will participate in <a href="http://www.fourfreedomsnyc.org/nys_attorney_general_candidate_forum?utm_campaign=transit_and_ag&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=fourfreedomsnyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a forum</a> hosted by seven Democratic clubs at the New York New Church in Murray Hill.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At the City Council on Thursday: The Committees on Health, Immigration, and General Welfare will meet jointly at 2 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the impacts of Trump administration family separation policy on New York City,” and to discuss a resolution “calling on the U.S. Congress to pass, and the President to sign, the Keep Families Together Act (S. 3036), to immediately stop the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents at the U.S. border, except with express directive from a child welfare expert, and for additional legislation that would end family detention as an unsafe and harmful alternative.”</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />Mayor de Blasio may make his usual appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show on Friday at 10 a.m.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GothamGazette</a></p> City Leaders Say They Stand with Muslims & Immigrants, But Do They Mean it? 2018-07-03T04:00:00+00:00 2018-07-03T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7786:city-leaders-say-they-stand-with-muslims-immigrants-but-do-they-mean-it Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/cojo-pablo.jpg" alt="cojo pablo" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: William Alatriste/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City’s leaders have recently been protesting with Muslim and immigrant New Yorkers, but these same leaders are often missing once the cameras are gone. After last week’s stunning Supreme Court setback, the time finally has come for these same leaders to ditch New York City’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant police policies.</p> <p>We clearly say we’re a sanctuary city, but the facts on the ground are unclear. No, city workers can’t ask about immigration status, but NYPD officers continue to use dragnet surveillance on immigrant communities. Most importantly, they continue to share that data with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which the Trump administration is using to intensify its deportation efforts.</p> <p>Every day, license plate readers all across New York City monitor cars in real-time. These cameras create a massive database of our movements across the city. But instead of using this database just to do police work, the NYPD shares the data with private, for-profit firms like Vigilant Solutions, a company that struck a deal to share New York data with ICE earlier this year.</p> <p>But the license plate readers aren’t even the worst part. At least the City told us about them. All-too-often, we only find out about spy tools after they’ve been used for years. Tools like stingrays, fake cell towers that can suck-up all the phone data for miles around. To target one suspect, stingrays often need to track thousands of phones. Worst of all, the NYPD has even used these devices without a warrant. Wondering if your texts or calls were copied before? There’s no way to tell.</p> <p>The City Council knows about the problem now – we told them about it – but for years this spying went on in secret. How? The NYPD has a slush fund: millions in federal and private dollars that can be spent without any oversight by the City Council. The mayor could end this tomorrow; Mr. de Blasio could require the NYPD to disclose how its spy data is shared with ICE with the stroke of a pen. But I’m not holding my breath.</p> <p>Instead, we need the City Council to act. For years, CAIR-NY, NYCLU, and other advocates have pushed the POST Act, a commonsense bill that would require the NYPD to tell our lawmakers what military-grade spy gear they’re buying with private and federal dollars and how they’re keeping that information safe. The NYPD could continue surveillance, but the cowboy-era of buying whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted would be over. More importantly, the NYPD would finally enact policies to make sure our city’s resources won’t help ICE deport our neighbors.</p> <p>But, the bill has stalled.</p> <p>Our city’s leaders have long promised to make New York a sanctuary for all—a symbol of inclusion at a moment of presidential prejudice. So far, action has fallen short of soaring rhetoric, but that can change. This is the moment for our city to practice what we preach. This is the moment to prove we can do more than just show up for the protest.</p> <p>***<br /> Albert Fox Cahn is the Legal Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York, a leading Muslim civil rights organization. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/CahnLawNY" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@CahnLawNY</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/CAIRNewYork" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@CAIRNewYork</a>.</p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/cojo-pablo.jpg" alt="cojo pablo" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: William Alatriste/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City’s leaders have recently been protesting with Muslim and immigrant New Yorkers, but these same leaders are often missing once the cameras are gone. After last week’s stunning Supreme Court setback, the time finally has come for these same leaders to ditch New York City’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant police policies.</p> <p>We clearly say we’re a sanctuary city, but the facts on the ground are unclear. No, city workers can’t ask about immigration status, but NYPD officers continue to use dragnet surveillance on immigrant communities. Most importantly, they continue to share that data with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which the Trump administration is using to intensify its deportation efforts.</p> <p>Every day, license plate readers all across New York City monitor cars in real-time. These cameras create a massive database of our movements across the city. But instead of using this database just to do police work, the NYPD shares the data with private, for-profit firms like Vigilant Solutions, a company that struck a deal to share New York data with ICE earlier this year.</p> <p>But the license plate readers aren’t even the worst part. At least the City told us about them. All-too-often, we only find out about spy tools after they’ve been used for years. Tools like stingrays, fake cell towers that can suck-up all the phone data for miles around. To target one suspect, stingrays often need to track thousands of phones. Worst of all, the NYPD has even used these devices without a warrant. Wondering if your texts or calls were copied before? There’s no way to tell.</p> <p>The City Council knows about the problem now – we told them about it – but for years this spying went on in secret. How? The NYPD has a slush fund: millions in federal and private dollars that can be spent without any oversight by the City Council. The mayor could end this tomorrow; Mr. de Blasio could require the NYPD to disclose how its spy data is shared with ICE with the stroke of a pen. But I’m not holding my breath.</p> <p>Instead, we need the City Council to act. For years, CAIR-NY, NYCLU, and other advocates have pushed the POST Act, a commonsense bill that would require the NYPD to tell our lawmakers what military-grade spy gear they’re buying with private and federal dollars and how they’re keeping that information safe. The NYPD could continue surveillance, but the cowboy-era of buying whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted would be over. More importantly, the NYPD would finally enact policies to make sure our city’s resources won’t help ICE deport our neighbors.</p> <p>But, the bill has stalled.</p> <p>Our city’s leaders have long promised to make New York a sanctuary for all—a symbol of inclusion at a moment of presidential prejudice. So far, action has fallen short of soaring rhetoric, but that can change. This is the moment for our city to practice what we preach. This is the moment to prove we can do more than just show up for the protest.</p> <p>***<br /> Albert Fox Cahn is the Legal Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York, a leading Muslim civil rights organization. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/CahnLawNY" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@CahnLawNY</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/CAIRNewYork" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@CAIRNewYork</a>.</p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
Max & Murphy Podcast: The Long Fight for New City Sexual Harassment Laws 2018-06-25T04:00:00+00:00 2018-06-25T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7767:max-murphy-podcast-the-long-fight-for-new-city-sexual-harassment-laws Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/mxm-logo.jpg" alt="mxm logo" width="600" height="239" /></p> <p>Jarrett Murphy, left, of City Limits, and Ben Max, right, of Gotham Gazette</p> <hr /> <p><strong>June 25, 2018 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: The Long Fight for New City Sexual Harassment Laws, with <strong>City Council Member Helen Rosenthal and&nbsp;</strong>former Comptroller, Brooklyn District Attorney and Congressional Rep. Liz Holtzman<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/rosenthal-holtzman-pod-277.jpg" alt="rosenthal holtzman pod 277" width="277" height="143" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" /></p> <p>When Liz Holtzman was city Comptroller -- the first and only woman to hold that office -- she sought to determine city agency policies around sexual harassment and was met with resistance. Twenty-five years later amid the #MeToo movement, Holtzman wrote a Daily News op-ed in February of this year that recounted her experience and discussed the need to make public city policies and data on harassment complaints. That op-ed helped spur City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, chair of the Council's Committee on Women, to jumpstart an effort that led to an 11-bill package of legislation, now law, to prevent and punish sexual harassment, both in city government and the private sector.</p> <p>Holtzman and Rosenthal joined the podcast to discuss their efforts, the details of the new laws, what comes next, and much more about fighting harassment, assault, and gender discrimination -- including Holtzman's work as the first woman elected to become one of the city's district attorneys.</p> <p>Listen to the full conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a> with <a href="https://and%20twitter.com/HelenRosenthal" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@HelenRosenthal</a> and Liz Holtzman. You can listen to the episode through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts.</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/463244265&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="170" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/mxm-logo.jpg" alt="mxm logo" width="600" height="239" /></p> <p>Jarrett Murphy, left, of City Limits, and Ben Max, right, of Gotham Gazette</p> <hr /> <p><strong>June 25, 2018 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: The Long Fight for New City Sexual Harassment Laws, with <strong>City Council Member Helen Rosenthal and&nbsp;</strong>former Comptroller, Brooklyn District Attorney and Congressional Rep. Liz Holtzman<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/rosenthal-holtzman-pod-277.jpg" alt="rosenthal holtzman pod 277" width="277" height="143" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" /></p> <p>When Liz Holtzman was city Comptroller -- the first and only woman to hold that office -- she sought to determine city agency policies around sexual harassment and was met with resistance. Twenty-five years later amid the #MeToo movement, Holtzman wrote a Daily News op-ed in February of this year that recounted her experience and discussed the need to make public city policies and data on harassment complaints. That op-ed helped spur City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, chair of the Council's Committee on Women, to jumpstart an effort that led to an 11-bill package of legislation, now law, to prevent and punish sexual harassment, both in city government and the private sector.</p> <p>Holtzman and Rosenthal joined the podcast to discuss their efforts, the details of the new laws, what comes next, and much more about fighting harassment, assault, and gender discrimination -- including Holtzman's work as the first woman elected to become one of the city's district attorneys.</p> <p>Listen to the full conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a> with <a href="https://and%20twitter.com/HelenRosenthal" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@HelenRosenthal</a> and Liz Holtzman. You can listen to the episode through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts.</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/463244265&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="170" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 25 2018-06-24T04:00:00+00:00 2018-06-24T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7762:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-june-25 Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>The week begins with continued attention on the children separated from their families at the southern U.S. border who have been placed with New York agencies to care for them. The Trump administration has stated that it has stopped separating children and parents at the border and begun reuniting those separated, but it is unclear if they have a good process in place for doing so or how quickly they will be able to help those childen in New York reunite with their parents.</p> <p>The week also begins with much consternation over <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7761-what-did-and-did-not-move-at-end-of-state-legislative-session" target="_blank" rel="noopener">how the state legislative session ended</a>, particularly with regard to speed cameras around New York City schools. The State Senate refused to do a straight extender or an expansion of the current legislation authorizing cameras near some schools, meaning the permission for their use will expire in July. Senators led by Majority Leader John Flanagan and Brooklyn’s Simcha Felder, a key member of the Republican conference, attempted to attach other provisions to the legislation, which the Democrat-led Assembly refused to pass. The cameras have proved successful in catching speeders around the schools at which they are placed and reducing the speed of drivers in those zones.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and many other elected officials and others from the city are calling on the Senate to return to Albany to pass the bill that the Assembly passed to extend the speed camera program. De Blasio, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and many others rallied on Sunday to push the Senate to act. The Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have put forth an alternative proposal that includes more stop signs around schools.</p> <p>While we’re watching for any news of a special session in Albany to address the school zone speed cameras, and possibly other matters, the major storyline of the week will likely be Tuesday’s congressional primaries. In New York City, there are <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7728-new-york-congressional-primaries-to-watch-ahead-of-june-26-vote" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a handful of Democratic incumbents facing spirited challengers</a> from the left and the hotly contested Democratic and Republican primaries in the 11th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Rep. Dan Donovan, who is trying to stave off former Rep. Michael Grimm in the GOP primary. [Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7765-donovan-grimm-in-final-days-of-contentious-congressional-primary" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Donovan, Grimm in Final Days of Contentious Congressional Primary</a>]</p> <p>And, there are several other political events to be aware of this week, including a full meeting of the City Council, at which previously considered bills are passed and new legislation is introduced -- see the day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At 11 a.m. Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo will make an announcement, at&nbsp;7 World Trade Center.</p> <p>On Monday at 7 a.m., Mayor de Blasio will appear live on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. "Later, the Mayor and Interim NYCHA Chair Stanley Brezenoff will visit an apartment at Campos Plaza." After, at about 11:15 a.m., "the Mayor and Interim Chair Brezenoff will hold a media availability to make an announcement about NYCHA repairs and renovations." Later, the mayor will appear on NY1’s Inside City Hall, in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.</p> <p>"On Monday, Chancellor Richard A. Carranza will visit Spruce Street School and join students in a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station. After, he will deliver remarks at Leadership and Public Service High School’s commencement ceremony."</p> <p>At the City Council on Monday:<br />--The Committee on For-Hire Vehicles will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws related to commuter vans, and to “reducing certain penalties for taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers.”<br />--The Committee on Technology and the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will jointly hold an 11 a.m. oversight hearing on “the city’s cable television franchises.”<br />--The Committee on Parks and Recreation will meet at 11 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “how to protect the city’s beaches from increased erosion.”<br />--The Committee on Juvenile Justice will tour the Bronx Family Resource Center in Concourse Village at 1 p.m.<br />--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss proposed laws related to reducing and preventing sewer system backups.</p> <p>At 8 a.m. Monday, Common Cause New York will host “Speaking Our Truth In The Age Of Trump” at the NYIT Auditorium on the Upper West Side. Featured speakers will include former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson, and Jezebel reporter Prachi Gupta.</p> <p>At noon Monday, the New York State Board of Elections will hold a commissioners’ meeting at the its offices in Albany.</p> <p>On Monday, this week’s episode of <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/podcasts/max-murphy-on-politics" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the Max &amp; Murphy podcast</a> will be recorded and published by Gotham Gazette and City Limits. It will feature former City Comptroller Liz Holtzman and current City Council Member Helen Rosenthal discussing the long fight for new sexual harassment prevention legislation.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Monday, the Brooklyn Historical Society will host “The (New) Urban Resistance: Progressives Go Local,” discussing the increasing role of cities in enacting progressive policies. Panelists will include City Council Member Brad Lander, Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now, Yaritza Mendez of Make the Road New York, and Philadelphia City Council Member Helen Gym. The panel will be moderated by Lizzy Ratner of The Nation.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />Tuesday is primary day for New York’s congressional races. Polls open at 6 a.m. in New York City as well as Dutchess, Erie, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, and at noon everywhere else. All polls close at 9 p.m. [See <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7728-new-york-congressional-primaries-to-watch-ahead-of-june-26-vote" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Congressional Primary Races to Watch in New York City and Beyond</a>]</p> <p>"On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray will vote in New York City’s Congressional primary election. This event is closed press.&nbsp;Later, the Mayor will hold a hearing for and sign the following eight bills: Intro. 401-A mandates that every borough have a full-service animal shelter; Intro. 615-A requires DOHMH to distribute the overdose-reversal medication, naloxone, to syringe exchange programs, and requires that their staff be trained in its use; Intro. 667-A requires DSS and DHS to refer individuals receiving opioid antagonists for additional services; Intro. 668-A relates to overdose prevention and reversal training; Intro. 623-A requires the FDNY to submit a report relating to the administration of opioid antagonists; Intro. 669-A requires the Municipal Drug Strategy Advisory Council to include data about opioid antagonists use in their report; Intro. 717-A requires the NYPD to issue reports about opioid antagonist use; Intro. 618-A relates to the distribution of educational materials on drugs and opiates awareness and prevention to middle and high school students. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A.&nbsp;In the evening, the Mayor will attend and deliver remarks at the Jewish Heritage Reception at Gracie Mansion. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A."</p> <p>At the City Council on Tuesday: The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws related to new penalties for illegal conversions of apartments into short-term rentals.</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics will hold a commissioners’ meeting in Albany.</p> <p>On Tuesday evening, Public Advocate Letitia James will deliver remakrs&nbsp;at the The Seneca Democratic Club Anniversary Dinner in Brooklyn.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, City &amp; State will honor its “Long Island Power 50” at a reception at the Mansion at Oyster Bay in Woodbury, Nassau County.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Rent Guidelines Board will hold its final vote on 2019 rent increases for stabilized apartments at the Cooper Union in the East Village.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />At the City Council on Wednesday:<br />--The Committees on Women and Health will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “maternal mortality in New York City,” as well as to discuss proposed laws related to “access to doulas in New York City” and “reporting on maternal mortality.”<br />--The Committee on Transportation will meet at the Cardozo School of Law’s Jacob Burns Moot Court Room in Greenwich Village at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the latest mitigation plans for the 2019 L train tunnel closure.”<br />--The Committees on Education and General Welfare will meet jointly at 2:30 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “implementation of UPK and 3K expansion and the transition of EarlyLearn NYC to DOE,” as well as to discuss a resolution “calling upon the City of New York to eliminate the disparity in compensation paid to teachers, staff and directors at community-based EarlyLearn NYC centers, as compared to the compensation paid to Department of Education instructors for similar employment.”</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.</p> <p>On Wednesday, "the de Blasio Administration will commemorate the achievements of more than 100 college-bound high school graduates currently residing in shelter. Together with their families, the graduates will join leadership from the Department of Homeless Services and partners from the Department of Education and the New York Public Library for an evening celebration and commemoration ceremony, where they will be awarded a free laptop and duffel bag full of move-in necessities to help them with their college studies." Participants will include Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio; Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks; and others.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio will hold a town hall meeting at PS 191 on the Upper West Side. He’ll be joined by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, U.S. Rep Jerrold Nadler, State Senator Marisol Alcantara, and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />The City Council will hold a stated meeting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Council Speaker Corey Johnson will hold the usual pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />Mayor Bill de Blasio may make his usual weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show on Friday at 10 a.m.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Saturday, the New York Immigration Coalition will host a rally at Foley Square, in conjunction with rallies in other cities, to protest the Trump administration’s policy of family separation at the border.</p> <p>NOTE: There will be no Week Ahead in New York Politics published for the week of Monday, July 2. The next Week Ahead will be posted on Sunday, July 8 for the week starting Monday, July 9.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>The week begins with continued attention on the children separated from their families at the southern U.S. border who have been placed with New York agencies to care for them. The Trump administration has stated that it has stopped separating children and parents at the border and begun reuniting those separated, but it is unclear if they have a good process in place for doing so or how quickly they will be able to help those childen in New York reunite with their parents.</p> <p>The week also begins with much consternation over <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7761-what-did-and-did-not-move-at-end-of-state-legislative-session" target="_blank" rel="noopener">how the state legislative session ended</a>, particularly with regard to speed cameras around New York City schools. The State Senate refused to do a straight extender or an expansion of the current legislation authorizing cameras near some schools, meaning the permission for their use will expire in July. Senators led by Majority Leader John Flanagan and Brooklyn’s Simcha Felder, a key member of the Republican conference, attempted to attach other provisions to the legislation, which the Democrat-led Assembly refused to pass. The cameras have proved successful in catching speeders around the schools at which they are placed and reducing the speed of drivers in those zones.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and many other elected officials and others from the city are calling on the Senate to return to Albany to pass the bill that the Assembly passed to extend the speed camera program. De Blasio, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and many others rallied on Sunday to push the Senate to act. The Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have put forth an alternative proposal that includes more stop signs around schools.</p> <p>While we’re watching for any news of a special session in Albany to address the school zone speed cameras, and possibly other matters, the major storyline of the week will likely be Tuesday’s congressional primaries. In New York City, there are <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7728-new-york-congressional-primaries-to-watch-ahead-of-june-26-vote" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a handful of Democratic incumbents facing spirited challengers</a> from the left and the hotly contested Democratic and Republican primaries in the 11th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Rep. Dan Donovan, who is trying to stave off former Rep. Michael Grimm in the GOP primary. [Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7765-donovan-grimm-in-final-days-of-contentious-congressional-primary" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Donovan, Grimm in Final Days of Contentious Congressional Primary</a>]</p> <p>And, there are several other political events to be aware of this week, including a full meeting of the City Council, at which previously considered bills are passed and new legislation is introduced -- see the day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At 11 a.m. Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo will make an announcement, at&nbsp;7 World Trade Center.</p> <p>On Monday at 7 a.m., Mayor de Blasio will appear live on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. "Later, the Mayor and Interim NYCHA Chair Stanley Brezenoff will visit an apartment at Campos Plaza." After, at about 11:15 a.m., "the Mayor and Interim Chair Brezenoff will hold a media availability to make an announcement about NYCHA repairs and renovations." Later, the mayor will appear on NY1’s Inside City Hall, in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.</p> <p>"On Monday, Chancellor Richard A. Carranza will visit Spruce Street School and join students in a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station. After, he will deliver remarks at Leadership and Public Service High School’s commencement ceremony."</p> <p>At the City Council on Monday:<br />--The Committee on For-Hire Vehicles will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws related to commuter vans, and to “reducing certain penalties for taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers.”<br />--The Committee on Technology and the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will jointly hold an 11 a.m. oversight hearing on “the city’s cable television franchises.”<br />--The Committee on Parks and Recreation will meet at 11 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “how to protect the city’s beaches from increased erosion.”<br />--The Committee on Juvenile Justice will tour the Bronx Family Resource Center in Concourse Village at 1 p.m.<br />--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss proposed laws related to reducing and preventing sewer system backups.</p> <p>At 8 a.m. Monday, Common Cause New York will host “Speaking Our Truth In The Age Of Trump” at the NYIT Auditorium on the Upper West Side. Featured speakers will include former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson, and Jezebel reporter Prachi Gupta.</p> <p>At noon Monday, the New York State Board of Elections will hold a commissioners’ meeting at the its offices in Albany.</p> <p>On Monday, this week’s episode of <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/podcasts/max-murphy-on-politics" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the Max &amp; Murphy podcast</a> will be recorded and published by Gotham Gazette and City Limits. It will feature former City Comptroller Liz Holtzman and current City Council Member Helen Rosenthal discussing the long fight for new sexual harassment prevention legislation.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Monday, the Brooklyn Historical Society will host “The (New) Urban Resistance: Progressives Go Local,” discussing the increasing role of cities in enacting progressive policies. Panelists will include City Council Member Brad Lander, Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now, Yaritza Mendez of Make the Road New York, and Philadelphia City Council Member Helen Gym. The panel will be moderated by Lizzy Ratner of The Nation.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />Tuesday is primary day for New York’s congressional races. Polls open at 6 a.m. in New York City as well as Dutchess, Erie, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, and at noon everywhere else. All polls close at 9 p.m. [See <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7728-new-york-congressional-primaries-to-watch-ahead-of-june-26-vote" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Congressional Primary Races to Watch in New York City and Beyond</a>]</p> <p>"On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray will vote in New York City’s Congressional primary election. This event is closed press.&nbsp;Later, the Mayor will hold a hearing for and sign the following eight bills: Intro. 401-A mandates that every borough have a full-service animal shelter; Intro. 615-A requires DOHMH to distribute the overdose-reversal medication, naloxone, to syringe exchange programs, and requires that their staff be trained in its use; Intro. 667-A requires DSS and DHS to refer individuals receiving opioid antagonists for additional services; Intro. 668-A relates to overdose prevention and reversal training; Intro. 623-A requires the FDNY to submit a report relating to the administration of opioid antagonists; Intro. 669-A requires the Municipal Drug Strategy Advisory Council to include data about opioid antagonists use in their report; Intro. 717-A requires the NYPD to issue reports about opioid antagonist use; Intro. 618-A relates to the distribution of educational materials on drugs and opiates awareness and prevention to middle and high school students. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A.&nbsp;In the evening, the Mayor will attend and deliver remarks at the Jewish Heritage Reception at Gracie Mansion. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A."</p> <p>At the City Council on Tuesday: The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws related to new penalties for illegal conversions of apartments into short-term rentals.</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics will hold a commissioners’ meeting in Albany.</p> <p>On Tuesday evening, Public Advocate Letitia James will deliver remakrs&nbsp;at the The Seneca Democratic Club Anniversary Dinner in Brooklyn.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, City &amp; State will honor its “Long Island Power 50” at a reception at the Mansion at Oyster Bay in Woodbury, Nassau County.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Rent Guidelines Board will hold its final vote on 2019 rent increases for stabilized apartments at the Cooper Union in the East Village.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />At the City Council on Wednesday:<br />--The Committees on Women and Health will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “maternal mortality in New York City,” as well as to discuss proposed laws related to “access to doulas in New York City” and “reporting on maternal mortality.”<br />--The Committee on Transportation will meet at the Cardozo School of Law’s Jacob Burns Moot Court Room in Greenwich Village at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the latest mitigation plans for the 2019 L train tunnel closure.”<br />--The Committees on Education and General Welfare will meet jointly at 2:30 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “implementation of UPK and 3K expansion and the transition of EarlyLearn NYC to DOE,” as well as to discuss a resolution “calling upon the City of New York to eliminate the disparity in compensation paid to teachers, staff and directors at community-based EarlyLearn NYC centers, as compared to the compensation paid to Department of Education instructors for similar employment.”</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.</p> <p>On Wednesday, "the de Blasio Administration will commemorate the achievements of more than 100 college-bound high school graduates currently residing in shelter. Together with their families, the graduates will join leadership from the Department of Homeless Services and partners from the Department of Education and the New York Public Library for an evening celebration and commemoration ceremony, where they will be awarded a free laptop and duffel bag full of move-in necessities to help them with their college studies." Participants will include Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio; Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks; and others.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio will hold a town hall meeting at PS 191 on the Upper West Side. He’ll be joined by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, U.S. Rep Jerrold Nadler, State Senator Marisol Alcantara, and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />The City Council will hold a stated meeting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Council Speaker Corey Johnson will hold the usual pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />Mayor Bill de Blasio may make his usual weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show on Friday at 10 a.m.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Saturday, the New York Immigration Coalition will host a rally at Foley Square, in conjunction with rallies in other cities, to protest the Trump administration’s policy of family separation at the border.</p> <p>NOTE: There will be no Week Ahead in New York Politics published for the week of Monday, July 2. The next Week Ahead will be posted on Sunday, July 8 for the week starting Monday, July 9.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GothamGazette</a></p> City Council Push for Budget Transparency Falls Far Short 2018-06-20T04:00:00+00:00 2018-06-20T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7756:city-council-push-for-budget-transparency-falls-far-short Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/41843779605_e3c8577c07_z.jpg" alt="De Blasio City Council members" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Johnson, de Blasio, Dromm (l-r) (photo: John McCarten)</p> <hr /> <p>At several budget hearings earlier this year, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson took a hard line on transparency. He insisted that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration was being less than forthcoming on how money is spent and was hampering the Council’s charter-mandated authority to review and approve the city’s spending plan. To wit, in its official response to the mayor’s preliminary budget in April, the Council proposed adding 123 new units of appropriation -- budget lines that explain expenditures -- in order to more clearly and specifically show what the city is spending money on.</p> <p>When the city’s <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7731-de-blasio-and-city-council-agree-on-89-2-billion-budget-funding-key-council-priorities" target="_blank" rel="noopener">new $89.2 billion budget</a> was approved last week, however, the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget only added a total of five new units.</p> <p>“We’re going to work with the Council,” de Blasio promised at at the release of his executive budget proposal in late April, two weeks after the Council’s response, when Gotham Gazette inquired about the push for more units of appropriations. “We have, over the years, been adding. We’re open to adding more. That’s an ongoing discussion, which we’ve had again today with the Council. Stay tuned.”</p> <p>But there was little news to stay tuned for. The five new lines in the adopted budget include four under the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications -- two each for the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MoME) and the NYC Cyber Command office which both fall under DoITT’s purview. Those units are for personal services (PS) which covers salaries and wages of agency employees, and other than personal services (OTPS) which includes costs such as office supplies, equipment, maintenance, and the like. In total, those budget lines cover $25.2 million in expenditures for MoME and $65.8 million for the Cyber Command.</p> <p>The fifth unit of appropriation was created under the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, to allow the Council to look at expense funding allocated for the New York City Housing Authority, about $255.4 million for the 2019 fiscal year, which begins July 1 of this year.</p> <p>It should be noted that the separate capital budget, which outlines city spending on infrastructure,includes six new budget lines -- one for the Brooklyn Public Library and five within Parks Department expenditures.</p> <p>In April, at a hearing on a mid-year modification to the current annual expense budget, the Council <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7651-city-council-takes-harder-line-on-mid-year-budget-modifications" target="_blank" rel="noopener">first showed indications</a> that it wouldn’t approve OMB’s requests without greater disclosure from the administration. Then, at a May hearing on the executive budget, prior to the new units of appropriation being added, Council Member Daniel Dromm, the chair of the Council’s finance committee, which leads the budget process at the Council, excoriated OMB officials for their refusal to be more transparent, insisting that the administration “must discontinue the longstanding practice of using vague and overbroad units of appropriation” over more specific ones.</p> <p>Dromm continued, “While such a shift is understandably resisted by the Mayor because it would restrict his ability to transfer funds between programs without oversight and to avoid seeking budget modification approval from the Council, it is necessary to facilitate the Council’s and the public’s understanding of agency spending and performance and to more transparently track the Administration’s priorities.”</p> <p>But the Council’s response to Gotham Gazette’s queries about the units of appropriation were more tempered. “[The] Council is very pleased with the end results of this budget process and is committed to more transparency measures, including continuing the push for more lines of appropriation,” said Jennifer Fermino, a spokesperson for the speaker, in a statement.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Council Member Dromm did not respond to a request for comment.</p> <p>Maria Doulis, vice president of Citizens Budget Commission, an independent fiscal watchdog that advocates for increased budget transparency, among other changes, said the Council’s push for transparency likely fell by the wayside as it negotiated larger priorities such as discounted MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers.</p> <p>“It might be best to come to some sort of agreement about this outside the budget because when you’re negotiating a budget, it’s all about the dollars and cents and not necessarily how the dollars and cents are presented,” Doulis said in a phone interview. She said the five new units are a “micro step forward” and that the Council must remain committed to a long-term approach, which could happen through a dedicated working group.</p> <p>She also noted that the City Council has failed to push for transparency at crucial moments. She pointed out, for instance, that the mayor announced a new labor deal with the United Federation of Teachers on Wednesday but without details of how the spending will be reflected in the city budget. “So all these Council members are on this press release and they’re happy to laud and support this effort,” Doulis said, “but I didn’t hear any of them saying, ‘And we’d like to see a full accounting of what exactly the city will be paying for on this.’ So I don’t know that transparency is any better or worse than it was last year, or a couple of years ago under Mayor Bloomberg. In my mind it’s pretty much the same or marginally better.”</p> <p>Although Doulis did say that the city’s budget is enormous and complex, and that the administration does publish more budget documents than other local governments, she said there should nonetheless be improvements. “The question is, can the average citizen ask a basic question about services that he or she cares about and their costs and look in the budget to find an answer fairly simply and easily,” she said, “and the answer to that is ‘no.’”</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/41843779605_e3c8577c07_z.jpg" alt="De Blasio City Council members" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Johnson, de Blasio, Dromm (l-r) (photo: John McCarten)</p> <hr /> <p>At several budget hearings earlier this year, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson took a hard line on transparency. He insisted that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration was being less than forthcoming on how money is spent and was hampering the Council’s charter-mandated authority to review and approve the city’s spending plan. To wit, in its official response to the mayor’s preliminary budget in April, the Council proposed adding 123 new units of appropriation -- budget lines that explain expenditures -- in order to more clearly and specifically show what the city is spending money on.</p> <p>When the city’s <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7731-de-blasio-and-city-council-agree-on-89-2-billion-budget-funding-key-council-priorities" target="_blank" rel="noopener">new $89.2 billion budget</a> was approved last week, however, the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget only added a total of five new units.</p> <p>“We’re going to work with the Council,” de Blasio promised at at the release of his executive budget proposal in late April, two weeks after the Council’s response, when Gotham Gazette inquired about the push for more units of appropriations. “We have, over the years, been adding. We’re open to adding more. That’s an ongoing discussion, which we’ve had again today with the Council. Stay tuned.”</p> <p>But there was little news to stay tuned for. The five new lines in the adopted budget include four under the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications -- two each for the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MoME) and the NYC Cyber Command office which both fall under DoITT’s purview. Those units are for personal services (PS) which covers salaries and wages of agency employees, and other than personal services (OTPS) which includes costs such as office supplies, equipment, maintenance, and the like. In total, those budget lines cover $25.2 million in expenditures for MoME and $65.8 million for the Cyber Command.</p> <p>The fifth unit of appropriation was created under the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, to allow the Council to look at expense funding allocated for the New York City Housing Authority, about $255.4 million for the 2019 fiscal year, which begins July 1 of this year.</p> <p>It should be noted that the separate capital budget, which outlines city spending on infrastructure,includes six new budget lines -- one for the Brooklyn Public Library and five within Parks Department expenditures.</p> <p>In April, at a hearing on a mid-year modification to the current annual expense budget, the Council <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7651-city-council-takes-harder-line-on-mid-year-budget-modifications" target="_blank" rel="noopener">first showed indications</a> that it wouldn’t approve OMB’s requests without greater disclosure from the administration. Then, at a May hearing on the executive budget, prior to the new units of appropriation being added, Council Member Daniel Dromm, the chair of the Council’s finance committee, which leads the budget process at the Council, excoriated OMB officials for their refusal to be more transparent, insisting that the administration “must discontinue the longstanding practice of using vague and overbroad units of appropriation” over more specific ones.</p> <p>Dromm continued, “While such a shift is understandably resisted by the Mayor because it would restrict his ability to transfer funds between programs without oversight and to avoid seeking budget modification approval from the Council, it is necessary to facilitate the Council’s and the public’s understanding of agency spending and performance and to more transparently track the Administration’s priorities.”</p> <p>But the Council’s response to Gotham Gazette’s queries about the units of appropriation were more tempered. “[The] Council is very pleased with the end results of this budget process and is committed to more transparency measures, including continuing the push for more lines of appropriation,” said Jennifer Fermino, a spokesperson for the speaker, in a statement.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Council Member Dromm did not respond to a request for comment.</p> <p>Maria Doulis, vice president of Citizens Budget Commission, an independent fiscal watchdog that advocates for increased budget transparency, among other changes, said the Council’s push for transparency likely fell by the wayside as it negotiated larger priorities such as discounted MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers.</p> <p>“It might be best to come to some sort of agreement about this outside the budget because when you’re negotiating a budget, it’s all about the dollars and cents and not necessarily how the dollars and cents are presented,” Doulis said in a phone interview. She said the five new units are a “micro step forward” and that the Council must remain committed to a long-term approach, which could happen through a dedicated working group.</p> <p>She also noted that the City Council has failed to push for transparency at crucial moments. She pointed out, for instance, that the mayor announced a new labor deal with the United Federation of Teachers on Wednesday but without details of how the spending will be reflected in the city budget. “So all these Council members are on this press release and they’re happy to laud and support this effort,” Doulis said, “but I didn’t hear any of them saying, ‘And we’d like to see a full accounting of what exactly the city will be paying for on this.’ So I don’t know that transparency is any better or worse than it was last year, or a couple of years ago under Mayor Bloomberg. In my mind it’s pretty much the same or marginally better.”</p> <p>Although Doulis did say that the city’s budget is enormous and complex, and that the administration does publish more budget documents than other local governments, she said there should nonetheless be improvements. “The question is, can the average citizen ask a basic question about services that he or she cares about and their costs and look in the budget to find an answer fairly simply and easily,” she said, “and the answer to that is ‘no.’”</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>