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 2018-04-24T03:03:11+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 23 2018-04-22T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-22T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7627:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-23 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>Eyes of the New York political world are on Westchester as this week begins. There are 11 special elections Tuesday to fill vacant state legislative seats, but the big one is the State Senate race in District 37. While the district is home to a Democratic advantage it is an area where Republicans can and have won. The seat was previously held by Democrat George Latimer, who vacated it when he won his race for Westchester County Executive.</p> <p>It is one of two Senate seats being filled Tuesday, the other is in the very safely Democratic Bronx, in District 32, a seat previously held by now-City Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr. Assemblymember Luis Sepulveda appears a lock to move to the Senate.</p> <p>If Democrat Shelley Mayer, currently an Assemblymember as well, prevails over Republican Julie Killian in District 37, Democrats will take those two seats and their conference -- including the recently reunified former members of the Independent Democratic Conference -- will boast 31 members in the 63-seat chamber. The Republican conference would still hold a one-seat majority, which includes Brooklyn’s Simcha Felder, who won his last election on the Democratic and Republican ballot lines after multiple other wins as a Democrat. Felder has said he is open to being in whichever conference gives him and his constituents the best deal. Negotiations with Felder from both sides of the aisle are likely to intensify this week if he is indeed the deciding factor in which party holds a majority, though there are still some questions about whether Democrats could take control of the chamber even if they have a 32-seat conference given rules of the Senate that have been established for the current two-year session, which ends at the end of this year.</p> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term this year, has said that it is important to win the two vacant seats -- and he was in District 37 again on Sunday to boost Mayer’s candidacy -- but that Democrats also need to look to flip Senate seats in November, when the entire Legislature is on the ballot.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the state Legislature is in session three days this week. There are 27 scheduled session days left, including this week’s, before the legislative year is set to end in Albany in June.</p> <p>It is a very busy week at the City Council, with a wide variety of committee hearings on bills and to perform oversight. There is also a full-body Stated Meeting on Wednesday, at which new bills are introduced and bills that have passed committee are voted through the full Council.</p> <p>And, Mayor de Blasio is expected to release his Executive Budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 this week, though timing could change.</p> <p>&nbsp;There are a variety of&nbsp;events to be aware of this week - see our 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>On Monday at 10 a.m. at City Hall, “First Lady McCray will make an announcement regarding the City’s efforts to reduce mental health stigma and improve mental health care delivery in communities of color. The First Lady will be joined by Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson, Pastor Michael Walrond, U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks, and the leaders of Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Iota Phi Theta, and 100 Black Men. This event is open press. There will be Q-and-A.”</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio's only public event scheduled for Monday is his weekly appearance on NY1's Inside City Hall, in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.</p> <p>At the City Council on Monday:<br />--The Committee on Small Business will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the Small Business First Initiative.<br />--The Committee on Criminal Justice will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “safety and security in DOC facilities,” as well as to discuss proposed laws “requiring the department of correction to report on the rate of lockdowns,” “prohibiting fees for telephone calls from inmates in city jails,” and “requiring the Department of Correction to report on use by department staff of any device designed to incapacitate a person through the use of an electric shock.”<br />--The Committee on Aging will meet at 10:30 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “social adult day care,” as well as to discuss proposed laws relating to “requiring the Department of the Aging to report on senior centers” and “inspections for social adult day cares and senior centers and reporting.”<br />--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at noon to discuss several proposed laws related to energy efficiency in buildings, including one “requiring that all city-owned buildings be powered by green energy sources by 2050” and another relating to “the creation of wind maps demonstrating wind energy generation potential within the city,” as well as to discuss a resolution “in support of the Governor of New York State in the commitment to and facilitation of the development of large-scale offshore wind projects by 2030.”<br />--The Committee on Women will meet at 12:30 to make a few tweaks to measures passed by the Council as part of its recent anti-sexual harassment package, including trainings at city agencies, climate surveys, and action plans.<br />--The Committee on Civil and Human Rights will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss proposed laws “creating an Office of Diversity and Inclusion within the Department of Citywide Administrative Services,” “requiring the Equal Employment Practices Commission to analyze and report annually on citywide racial and ethnic classification underutilization and adverse impact,” and “requiring the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to review and report annually on the city’s efforts to collect racial and ethnic demographic information, including a review of racial classification categories and employee response rates.”<br />--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding flooding and sea level rise in Jamaica Bay, as well as to discuss proposed laws to launch a study on the city’s most flood-prone areas, “developing a geothermal pilot program for institutional use in the groundwater supply service area,” and creating a “Jamaica Bay task force, which would oversee the cleanup of Jamaica Bay.”<br />--The Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss a proposed law relating to “reporting of pay and employment equity data.”</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Monday in Albany.</p> <p>On Monday at 10 a.m. in Albany, "The New York State Assembly will hold a public hearing to examine the practice of medical aid in dying (AID), as well as potential legislation to authorize this practice. Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried will take testimony on Assembly legislation (A.2383-A, Paulin) that would enable terminally ill individuals with the decision-making capacity to voluntarily request and receive a prescription for medication to end their lives."</p> <p>"On Monday at 8:30 AM, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will lead dozens of Brooklynites on his fourth annual Bike-to-Work ride, highlighting dangerous corridors in the borough and remembering recent victims of traffic violence as he kicks off his Earth Week celebrations in and around the borough. The event will highlight the positive impact that New Yorkers can have on their local environment by using pedal power to get around the city. At the press conference leading into the ride, Borough President Adams will speak to safe street infrastructure improvements that he is asking the City to prioritize." Other participants will include City Council Members Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, and Carlos Menchaca, the American Heart Association, Brooklyn Public Library, Citi Bike, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), New York City Police Department (NYPD), Park Slope Neighbors, Prospect Park Alliance, Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Corporation, Red Hook Initiative, StreetsPAC, and Transportation Alternatives.</p> <p>At 9:30 a.m. Monday, criminal justice reform advocates will rally at the Broadway gate of City Hall to demand the mayor and City Council pass a law providing free phone calls to inmates at city jails. Currently, the city’s proposed budget includes “$5 million in revenue generated from phone calls from City jails.”</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Monday,&nbsp;schools "Chancellor Richard A. Carranza will visit a software engineering class, robotics class, and a social studies lesson on the Bill of Rights at JHS 216 George J Ryan in Queens. In the afternoon, he will meet with students and families at town hall events," at 4 and 5:30 p.m. at Francis Lewis High School in Queens.</p> <p>At 11 a.m. Monday,&nbsp;Comptroller Scott Stringer will host a "roundtable with New Yorkers impacted by the commercial bail bond industry," at Exodus Transitional Community.</p> <p>At noon Monday, activists will <a href="https://twitter.com/NomikiKonst/status/985970521715150848?s=19">march</a> from the Sheridan Hollow Power Plant site to the State Capitol to demand that Governor Cuomo “halt all fracking infrastructure, commit to 100% renewable energy in New York, and make corporate polluters pay for the damage they cause.”</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Monday, CITY Council Member Andy King, Taxi &amp; Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi, police officers, and cab drivers will hold a press conference outside the Ultimate Grill restaurant in Baychester, Bronx to announce “submitted legislation to ensure safety for TLC drivers when confronted with an emergency.”</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />On Tuesday, there will be special elections to fill vacated seats in the State Senate and State Assembly. The elections will be held in Senate Districts 32 and 37, and Assembly Districts 5, 10, 17, 39, 74, 80, 102, 107, and 142.</p> <p>City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will appear on NY1 Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. At&nbsp;4:15 p.m., Johnson will speak at the Alliance for Downtown New York Board Meeting. And at 7:30 p.m., he will attend the Tulip Celebration at The Center.</p> <p>On Tuesday morning, "First Lady McCray will deliver remarks at a convening by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, entitled “The Role of the Arts in Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness.”</p> <p>At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, "City Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education, will be joined by fellow Council Members, elected officials, UFT President Michael Mulgrew, union members and officials, and new parents at a press conference to urge the administration to negotiate a paid parental leave program for hundreds of thousands of city workers. Treyger will also announce the date of an upcoming Council hearing on the subject." Other participants will include Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Daniel Dromm, Ben Kallos, and Keith Powers.</p> <p>At the City Council on Tuesday:<br />--The Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing reviewing “DSNY’s Waste Characterization Study.”<br />--The Committee on Public Housing will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “property management in NYCHA.”<br />--The Committee on Health will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding animal care centers, and to discuss a proposed law relating to animal shelters.<br />--The Committee on Immigration will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the city’s support of “immigrant parents of children ages 0-5.”<br />--The Committee on General Welfare will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding an “update on the NYC 15/15 Initiative” to build 15,000 new units of supportive housing over the next 15 years, and to discuss a proposed law relating to “reporting on supportive housing.” Council Speaker Corey Johnson will deliver opening remarks.<br />--The Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss several proposed laws relating to sight-seeing buses.</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Tuesday in Albany.</p> <p>At noon Tuesday at City Hall, "Gathering on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, L train riders and transit advocates will demand that Mayor de Blasio implement a 24-hour-a-day busway and other aggressive street changes during the 15 months of L train construction next year. The advocates will highlight an analysis of L train ridership and 14th Street traffic capacity produced by Transportation Alternatives, showing that, without a proposed 14th Street busway, neighboring streets would be inundated with trucks, private cars, taxis, and for-hire cars, causing unprecedented congestion and pollution in nearby communities during next year's L shutdown. The data will show that the 50,000 riders who use the L daily only within Manhattan would fit into 1,250 bus trips...or, without a strong bus plan, as many as 40,000 private vehicles, a "nightmare scenario" alternative that could paralyze city streets with up to 40,000 unnecessary car trips every day." Participants will include "transit advocates including the Riders Alliance, Regional Plan Association, Transportation Alternatives, Straphangers Campaign, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign."</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Metro IAF will hold an affordable housing rally at City Hall. Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer will be among the speakers.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m., Public Advocate James will deliver remarks at the CUNY LGBTQI Leadership Program Advisory Council Meeting. And at 7:30 p.m., James will deliver remarks at The Wing’s TueNight Live Storytelling Event, at The Wing Dumbo.</p> <p>On Tuesday, the Youth Progressive Policy Group will hold a lobbying day in Albany in support of the Young Voter Act, which would lower the voting age to 17, amend the state’s civics education curriculum, and require schools to distribute voter registration forms to 17 year olds.</p> <p>On Tuesday evening, "Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Annual Gala."</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />The City Council will hold a stated meeting at City Hall at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. A pre-stated press conference led by Speaker Corey Johnson is expected beforehand, at 12:30 p.m.</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Wednesday in Albany.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the MTA will hold a board meeting.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Panel for Educational Policy will hold a <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/publicnotice/2017-2018/April252018PanelMeeting.htm">policy meeting</a> at Murry Bergtraum High School on the Lower East Side.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />Mayor de Blasio is expected to unveil on Thursday his Executive Budget proposal for the upcoming 2019 city fiscal year, which begins July 1.</p> <p>At the City Council on Thursday:<br />--The Committee on Youth Services will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to “establishing an anti-bullying hotline and additional resources for youth” and to “creating an ombudsman position within the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.”<br />--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “Third Party Transfers and HDFCs,” which stands for Housing Development Fund Corporation, or affordable housing in the form of co-ops.<br />--The Committees on Mental Health and Hospitals will meet jointly at 1 p.m. at the Metropolitan Hospital Center on the Upper East Side, for an oversight hearing regarding “the future of psychiatric care in New York City’s hospital infrastructure.”<br />--The Committee on Governmental Operations will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “OATH hearing procedures of Taxi and Limousine Commission related violations,” as well as to discuss proposed laws relating to “the broadcasting of mandatory debates,” to “certain taxi and limousine commission-related hearing procedures of the office of administrative trials and hearings,” and to “an online list of required reports.”</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Thursday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Thursday, the New York City Bar Association will host “<a href="https://services.nycbar.org/EventDetail?EventKey=ADM042618&amp;WebsiteKey=f71e12f3-524e-4f8c-a5f7-0d16ce7b3314">Regulatory Future of Marihuana Laws in New York State</a>,” featuring a panel consisting of State Senator Liz Krueger, Harrison Phillips of Viridian Capital Advisors, Chris Alexander of the Drug Policy Alliance, and attorneys David Feder and Jil Mazer-Marino.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, City &amp; State will announce its “<a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/events/staten-island-power-100">Staten Island Power 100</a>” at the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island, with keynote remarks from Borough President James Oddo. This will be the first installment of City &amp; State’s new Power 100 series in each borough.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Thursday, New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir will host a <a href="http://mcny.org/event/subway">discussion</a> with MTA Chair Joe Lhota and MTA Board Member Veronica Vanterpool, talking about “what can be done to ensure the future success of the New York subway system.” The event will take place at the Museum of the City of New York, part of the “Only in New York” series of talks at the museum hosted by Maslin Nir. (This event was originally scheduled for March 21 but was postponed due to snow.)</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly Friday morning appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show.</p> <p>The Regional Plan Association will hold its annual <a href="http://assembly.rpa.org/speakers-2/">Assembly</a> on Friday at the Grand Hyatt in Midtown, bringing together numerous leaders in business and government to discuss “ideas we need to move forward on today to tackle some of the region's biggest challenges in order to ensure sustainability, good governance and shared prosperity.” The keynote speakers this year will be former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Other speakers include MTA President Patrick Foye, New York City Transit President Andy Byford, former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and former MTA Chair Tom Prendergast, among others.</p> <p>"NYC Loft Tenants, City Councilmember Stephen Levin, New York State Assembly Member Maritza Davila, and the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance will hold a press conference​ &amp; protest in the street​ on Broadway in Lower Manhattan outside the NYC Department of Buildings​ at 280 Broadway on Friday April 27th at 1PM to call for transparency, accountability, enforcement and an end to rampant anti-tenant bias. Our elected officials, activists, and tenants will speak out to demand that the DOB listen and reform it's recalcitrant, anti-tenant practices and policies."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Saturday,&nbsp;the Latino Leadership Institute <a href="https://twitter.com/NMalliotakis/status/988439795008458753" target="_blank" rel="noopener">will hold</a> its "Women for Electoral Politics 2018 Conference" at DC37 offices in the Financial District, discussing strategies and skills "necessary to actively participate in NYC electoral politics." Speakers will include Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, City Council Members Carlina Rivera and Diana Ayala, Cecilia Gaston of the Violence Intervention Program, and Ann Oliveira of the New York Women's Foundation.</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>Eyes of the New York political world are on Westchester as this week begins. There are 11 special elections Tuesday to fill vacant state legislative seats, but the big one is the State Senate race in District 37. While the district is home to a Democratic advantage it is an area where Republicans can and have won. The seat was previously held by Democrat George Latimer, who vacated it when he won his race for Westchester County Executive.</p> <p>It is one of two Senate seats being filled Tuesday, the other is in the very safely Democratic Bronx, in District 32, a seat previously held by now-City Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr. Assemblymember Luis Sepulveda appears a lock to move to the Senate.</p> <p>If Democrat Shelley Mayer, currently an Assemblymember as well, prevails over Republican Julie Killian in District 37, Democrats will take those two seats and their conference -- including the recently reunified former members of the Independent Democratic Conference -- will boast 31 members in the 63-seat chamber. The Republican conference would still hold a one-seat majority, which includes Brooklyn’s Simcha Felder, who won his last election on the Democratic and Republican ballot lines after multiple other wins as a Democrat. Felder has said he is open to being in whichever conference gives him and his constituents the best deal. Negotiations with Felder from both sides of the aisle are likely to intensify this week if he is indeed the deciding factor in which party holds a majority, though there are still some questions about whether Democrats could take control of the chamber even if they have a 32-seat conference given rules of the Senate that have been established for the current two-year session, which ends at the end of this year.</p> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term this year, has said that it is important to win the two vacant seats -- and he was in District 37 again on Sunday to boost Mayer’s candidacy -- but that Democrats also need to look to flip Senate seats in November, when the entire Legislature is on the ballot.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the state Legislature is in session three days this week. There are 27 scheduled session days left, including this week’s, before the legislative year is set to end in Albany in June.</p> <p>It is a very busy week at the City Council, with a wide variety of committee hearings on bills and to perform oversight. There is also a full-body Stated Meeting on Wednesday, at which new bills are introduced and bills that have passed committee are voted through the full Council.</p> <p>And, Mayor de Blasio is expected to release his Executive Budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 this week, though timing could change.</p> <p>&nbsp;There are a variety of&nbsp;events to be aware of this week - see our 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>On Monday at 10 a.m. at City Hall, “First Lady McCray will make an announcement regarding the City’s efforts to reduce mental health stigma and improve mental health care delivery in communities of color. The First Lady will be joined by Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson, Pastor Michael Walrond, U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks, and the leaders of Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Iota Phi Theta, and 100 Black Men. This event is open press. There will be Q-and-A.”</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio's only public event scheduled for Monday is his weekly appearance on NY1's Inside City Hall, in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.</p> <p>At the City Council on Monday:<br />--The Committee on Small Business will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the Small Business First Initiative.<br />--The Committee on Criminal Justice will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “safety and security in DOC facilities,” as well as to discuss proposed laws “requiring the department of correction to report on the rate of lockdowns,” “prohibiting fees for telephone calls from inmates in city jails,” and “requiring the Department of Correction to report on use by department staff of any device designed to incapacitate a person through the use of an electric shock.”<br />--The Committee on Aging will meet at 10:30 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “social adult day care,” as well as to discuss proposed laws relating to “requiring the Department of the Aging to report on senior centers” and “inspections for social adult day cares and senior centers and reporting.”<br />--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at noon to discuss several proposed laws related to energy efficiency in buildings, including one “requiring that all city-owned buildings be powered by green energy sources by 2050” and another relating to “the creation of wind maps demonstrating wind energy generation potential within the city,” as well as to discuss a resolution “in support of the Governor of New York State in the commitment to and facilitation of the development of large-scale offshore wind projects by 2030.”<br />--The Committee on Women will meet at 12:30 to make a few tweaks to measures passed by the Council as part of its recent anti-sexual harassment package, including trainings at city agencies, climate surveys, and action plans.<br />--The Committee on Civil and Human Rights will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss proposed laws “creating an Office of Diversity and Inclusion within the Department of Citywide Administrative Services,” “requiring the Equal Employment Practices Commission to analyze and report annually on citywide racial and ethnic classification underutilization and adverse impact,” and “requiring the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to review and report annually on the city’s efforts to collect racial and ethnic demographic information, including a review of racial classification categories and employee response rates.”<br />--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding flooding and sea level rise in Jamaica Bay, as well as to discuss proposed laws to launch a study on the city’s most flood-prone areas, “developing a geothermal pilot program for institutional use in the groundwater supply service area,” and creating a “Jamaica Bay task force, which would oversee the cleanup of Jamaica Bay.”<br />--The Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss a proposed law relating to “reporting of pay and employment equity data.”</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Monday in Albany.</p> <p>On Monday at 10 a.m. in Albany, "The New York State Assembly will hold a public hearing to examine the practice of medical aid in dying (AID), as well as potential legislation to authorize this practice. Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried will take testimony on Assembly legislation (A.2383-A, Paulin) that would enable terminally ill individuals with the decision-making capacity to voluntarily request and receive a prescription for medication to end their lives."</p> <p>"On Monday at 8:30 AM, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will lead dozens of Brooklynites on his fourth annual Bike-to-Work ride, highlighting dangerous corridors in the borough and remembering recent victims of traffic violence as he kicks off his Earth Week celebrations in and around the borough. The event will highlight the positive impact that New Yorkers can have on their local environment by using pedal power to get around the city. At the press conference leading into the ride, Borough President Adams will speak to safe street infrastructure improvements that he is asking the City to prioritize." Other participants will include City Council Members Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, and Carlos Menchaca, the American Heart Association, Brooklyn Public Library, Citi Bike, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), New York City Police Department (NYPD), Park Slope Neighbors, Prospect Park Alliance, Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Corporation, Red Hook Initiative, StreetsPAC, and Transportation Alternatives.</p> <p>At 9:30 a.m. Monday, criminal justice reform advocates will rally at the Broadway gate of City Hall to demand the mayor and City Council pass a law providing free phone calls to inmates at city jails. Currently, the city’s proposed budget includes “$5 million in revenue generated from phone calls from City jails.”</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Monday,&nbsp;schools "Chancellor Richard A. Carranza will visit a software engineering class, robotics class, and a social studies lesson on the Bill of Rights at JHS 216 George J Ryan in Queens. In the afternoon, he will meet with students and families at town hall events," at 4 and 5:30 p.m. at Francis Lewis High School in Queens.</p> <p>At 11 a.m. Monday,&nbsp;Comptroller Scott Stringer will host a "roundtable with New Yorkers impacted by the commercial bail bond industry," at Exodus Transitional Community.</p> <p>At noon Monday, activists will <a href="https://twitter.com/NomikiKonst/status/985970521715150848?s=19">march</a> from the Sheridan Hollow Power Plant site to the State Capitol to demand that Governor Cuomo “halt all fracking infrastructure, commit to 100% renewable energy in New York, and make corporate polluters pay for the damage they cause.”</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Monday, CITY Council Member Andy King, Taxi &amp; Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi, police officers, and cab drivers will hold a press conference outside the Ultimate Grill restaurant in Baychester, Bronx to announce “submitted legislation to ensure safety for TLC drivers when confronted with an emergency.”</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />On Tuesday, there will be special elections to fill vacated seats in the State Senate and State Assembly. The elections will be held in Senate Districts 32 and 37, and Assembly Districts 5, 10, 17, 39, 74, 80, 102, 107, and 142.</p> <p>City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will appear on NY1 Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. At&nbsp;4:15 p.m., Johnson will speak at the Alliance for Downtown New York Board Meeting. And at 7:30 p.m., he will attend the Tulip Celebration at The Center.</p> <p>On Tuesday morning, "First Lady McCray will deliver remarks at a convening by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, entitled “The Role of the Arts in Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness.”</p> <p>At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, "City Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education, will be joined by fellow Council Members, elected officials, UFT President Michael Mulgrew, union members and officials, and new parents at a press conference to urge the administration to negotiate a paid parental leave program for hundreds of thousands of city workers. Treyger will also announce the date of an upcoming Council hearing on the subject." Other participants will include Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Daniel Dromm, Ben Kallos, and Keith Powers.</p> <p>At the City Council on Tuesday:<br />--The Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing reviewing “DSNY’s Waste Characterization Study.”<br />--The Committee on Public Housing will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “property management in NYCHA.”<br />--The Committee on Health will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding animal care centers, and to discuss a proposed law relating to animal shelters.<br />--The Committee on Immigration will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the city’s support of “immigrant parents of children ages 0-5.”<br />--The Committee on General Welfare will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding an “update on the NYC 15/15 Initiative” to build 15,000 new units of supportive housing over the next 15 years, and to discuss a proposed law relating to “reporting on supportive housing.” Council Speaker Corey Johnson will deliver opening remarks.<br />--The Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss several proposed laws relating to sight-seeing buses.</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Tuesday in Albany.</p> <p>At noon Tuesday at City Hall, "Gathering on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, L train riders and transit advocates will demand that Mayor de Blasio implement a 24-hour-a-day busway and other aggressive street changes during the 15 months of L train construction next year. The advocates will highlight an analysis of L train ridership and 14th Street traffic capacity produced by Transportation Alternatives, showing that, without a proposed 14th Street busway, neighboring streets would be inundated with trucks, private cars, taxis, and for-hire cars, causing unprecedented congestion and pollution in nearby communities during next year's L shutdown. The data will show that the 50,000 riders who use the L daily only within Manhattan would fit into 1,250 bus trips...or, without a strong bus plan, as many as 40,000 private vehicles, a "nightmare scenario" alternative that could paralyze city streets with up to 40,000 unnecessary car trips every day." Participants will include "transit advocates including the Riders Alliance, Regional Plan Association, Transportation Alternatives, Straphangers Campaign, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign."</p> <p>At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Metro IAF will hold an affordable housing rally at City Hall. Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer will be among the speakers.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m., Public Advocate James will deliver remarks at the CUNY LGBTQI Leadership Program Advisory Council Meeting. And at 7:30 p.m., James will deliver remarks at The Wing’s TueNight Live Storytelling Event, at The Wing Dumbo.</p> <p>On Tuesday, the Youth Progressive Policy Group will hold a lobbying day in Albany in support of the Young Voter Act, which would lower the voting age to 17, amend the state’s civics education curriculum, and require schools to distribute voter registration forms to 17 year olds.</p> <p>On Tuesday evening, "Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Annual Gala."</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />The City Council will hold a stated meeting at City Hall at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. A pre-stated press conference led by Speaker Corey Johnson is expected beforehand, at 12:30 p.m.</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Wednesday in Albany.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the MTA will hold a board meeting.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Panel for Educational Policy will hold a <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/publicnotice/2017-2018/April252018PanelMeeting.htm">policy meeting</a> at Murry Bergtraum High School on the Lower East Side.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />Mayor de Blasio is expected to unveil on Thursday his Executive Budget proposal for the upcoming 2019 city fiscal year, which begins July 1.</p> <p>At the City Council on Thursday:<br />--The Committee on Youth Services will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to “establishing an anti-bullying hotline and additional resources for youth” and to “creating an ombudsman position within the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.”<br />--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “Third Party Transfers and HDFCs,” which stands for Housing Development Fund Corporation, or affordable housing in the form of co-ops.<br />--The Committees on Mental Health and Hospitals will meet jointly at 1 p.m. at the Metropolitan Hospital Center on the Upper East Side, for an oversight hearing regarding “the future of psychiatric care in New York City’s hospital infrastructure.”<br />--The Committee on Governmental Operations will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “OATH hearing procedures of Taxi and Limousine Commission related violations,” as well as to discuss proposed laws relating to “the broadcasting of mandatory debates,” to “certain taxi and limousine commission-related hearing procedures of the office of administrative trials and hearings,” and to “an online list of required reports.”</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Thursday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Thursday, the New York City Bar Association will host “<a href="https://services.nycbar.org/EventDetail?EventKey=ADM042618&amp;WebsiteKey=f71e12f3-524e-4f8c-a5f7-0d16ce7b3314">Regulatory Future of Marihuana Laws in New York State</a>,” featuring a panel consisting of State Senator Liz Krueger, Harrison Phillips of Viridian Capital Advisors, Chris Alexander of the Drug Policy Alliance, and attorneys David Feder and Jil Mazer-Marino.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, City &amp; State will announce its “<a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/events/staten-island-power-100">Staten Island Power 100</a>” at the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island, with keynote remarks from Borough President James Oddo. This will be the first installment of City &amp; State’s new Power 100 series in each borough.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Thursday, New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir will host a <a href="http://mcny.org/event/subway">discussion</a> with MTA Chair Joe Lhota and MTA Board Member Veronica Vanterpool, talking about “what can be done to ensure the future success of the New York subway system.” The event will take place at the Museum of the City of New York, part of the “Only in New York” series of talks at the museum hosted by Maslin Nir. (This event was originally scheduled for March 21 but was postponed due to snow.)</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly Friday morning appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show.</p> <p>The Regional Plan Association will hold its annual <a href="http://assembly.rpa.org/speakers-2/">Assembly</a> on Friday at the Grand Hyatt in Midtown, bringing together numerous leaders in business and government to discuss “ideas we need to move forward on today to tackle some of the region's biggest challenges in order to ensure sustainability, good governance and shared prosperity.” The keynote speakers this year will be former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Other speakers include MTA President Patrick Foye, New York City Transit President Andy Byford, former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and former MTA Chair Tom Prendergast, among others.</p> <p>"NYC Loft Tenants, City Councilmember Stephen Levin, New York State Assembly Member Maritza Davila, and the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance will hold a press conference​ &amp; protest in the street​ on Broadway in Lower Manhattan outside the NYC Department of Buildings​ at 280 Broadway on Friday April 27th at 1PM to call for transparency, accountability, enforcement and an end to rampant anti-tenant bias. Our elected officials, activists, and tenants will speak out to demand that the DOB listen and reform it's recalcitrant, anti-tenant practices and policies."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Saturday,&nbsp;the Latino Leadership Institute <a href="https://twitter.com/NMalliotakis/status/988439795008458753" target="_blank" rel="noopener">will hold</a> its "Women for Electoral Politics 2018 Conference" at DC37 offices in the Financial District, discussing strategies and skills "necessary to actively participate in NYC electoral politics." Speakers will include Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, City Council Members Carlina Rivera and Diana Ayala, Cecilia Gaston of the Violence Intervention Program, and Ann Oliveira of the New York Women's Foundation.</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 Calls for Crisis Intervention Reforms 2018-04-18T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-18T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7622:city-council-progressive-caucus-calls-for-crisis-intervention-reforms Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/mayornyc-james-o-neil.jpg" alt="mayornyc james o neil" width="640" height="428" /></p> <p>(Credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Council Progressive Caucus is stepping up calls for Mayor Bill de Blasio to reconstitute a citywide task force to examine how emergency responders help people suffering from mental illness, and are insisting that the mayor consider creating a parallel response force of social workers and therapists that can answer calls rather than police officers.</p> <p>In a letter sent to the mayor last Wednesday, the 21 members of the Progressive Caucus said the mayor should act by the end of the month to revive the Mayoral Task Force on Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice, which was set up, and concluded its work, in 2014, or create a similar body.</p> <p>“As we’ve seen once again in the last week, the tragic costs of not acting in a sustained and focused manner are too high,” the members wrote, referring to the shooting death of Crown Heights resident Shaheed Vassell by NYPD officers who were not trained to respond to situations involving “emotionally disturbed persons.” The letter noted that since the last task force’s recommendations were put in place, in the summer of 2016, ten people in emotional crisis were killed by police.</p> <p>Late last year, City Council Member Jumaane Williams, a progressive caucus member, had led an effort calling on the mayor to do the same. He was among those who <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7603-council-members-renew-call-for-task-force-on-nypd-response-to-emotionally-disturbed-persons" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reiterated that request</a> after the death of Vassell. But though the NYPD says it is on board, the mayor continues to drag his feet. “It’s really a City Hall conversation,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Susan Herman said at a Council hearing last month.</p> <p>The Progressive Caucus members’ latest request differs slightly from what has been previously sought.</p> <p>Rather than directing efforts at improving NYPD officer behavior, which they nonetheless hope the task force will do, they are calling for the mayor to support a new system that prioritizes professional mental health providers in emergency situations, where 911 operators can divert calls to social workers or therapists instead of the police and where therapists or trained peers can join police at the scene of an emergency. They also call for an expansion of mobile crisis teams and co-response teams that include mental health professionals paired with officers that have received Crisis Intervention Training. Just over 8,000 officers in the 36,000-strong police force have gone through CIT.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Too often, individuals with behavioral and mental health conditions are wrongly introduced to the criminal justice system. In order to improve their safety, we must consider comprehensive strategies that will prioritize preventive care and response tactics by mental health professionals,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus and chair of the Council’s Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction, in a statement.</p> <p>The Progressive Caucus includes nearly half the 51 members of the City Council, and counts Council Speaker Corey Johnson among its ranks. Council Member Ben Kallos is co-chair with Ayala.</p> <p>Although the Council members praised the administration’s efforts that resulted from the recommendation of the previous task force, they noted that many initiatives stalled and also pointed to the weaknesses in the NYPD’s approach to CIT training as evidenced by a January 2017 report by the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD.</p> <p>“The deaths of Dwayne Jeune, Saheed Vassell, and too many others have shown that there are fundamental flaws in the way our city handles EDP emergencies,” said Council Member Williams, in a statement.</p> <p>Steve Coe, CEO of Community Access, decried the “lack of leadership around this issue” despite the action plan put in place based on the 2014 task force’s recommendations. He commended the Progressive Caucus’ efforts, stressing that bringing stakeholders such as district attorneys, the city’s health department, NYPD officials, mental health experts and advocates was necessary “to assess what’s working, what’s not working, and develop diversion and treatment strategies that are effective and sustainable.”</p> <p>

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

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note- This article has been updated.&nbsp;</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/mayornyc-james-o-neil.jpg" alt="mayornyc james o neil" width="640" height="428" /></p> <p>(Credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Council Progressive Caucus is stepping up calls for Mayor Bill de Blasio to reconstitute a citywide task force to examine how emergency responders help people suffering from mental illness, and are insisting that the mayor consider creating a parallel response force of social workers and therapists that can answer calls rather than police officers.</p> <p>In a letter sent to the mayor last Wednesday, the 21 members of the Progressive Caucus said the mayor should act by the end of the month to revive the Mayoral Task Force on Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice, which was set up, and concluded its work, in 2014, or create a similar body.</p> <p>“As we’ve seen once again in the last week, the tragic costs of not acting in a sustained and focused manner are too high,” the members wrote, referring to the shooting death of Crown Heights resident Shaheed Vassell by NYPD officers who were not trained to respond to situations involving “emotionally disturbed persons.” The letter noted that since the last task force’s recommendations were put in place, in the summer of 2016, ten people in emotional crisis were killed by police.</p> <p>Late last year, City Council Member Jumaane Williams, a progressive caucus member, had led an effort calling on the mayor to do the same. He was among those who <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7603-council-members-renew-call-for-task-force-on-nypd-response-to-emotionally-disturbed-persons" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reiterated that request</a> after the death of Vassell. But though the NYPD says it is on board, the mayor continues to drag his feet. “It’s really a City Hall conversation,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Susan Herman said at a Council hearing last month.</p> <p>The Progressive Caucus members’ latest request differs slightly from what has been previously sought.</p> <p>Rather than directing efforts at improving NYPD officer behavior, which they nonetheless hope the task force will do, they are calling for the mayor to support a new system that prioritizes professional mental health providers in emergency situations, where 911 operators can divert calls to social workers or therapists instead of the police and where therapists or trained peers can join police at the scene of an emergency. They also call for an expansion of mobile crisis teams and co-response teams that include mental health professionals paired with officers that have received Crisis Intervention Training. Just over 8,000 officers in the 36,000-strong police force have gone through CIT.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Too often, individuals with behavioral and mental health conditions are wrongly introduced to the criminal justice system. In order to improve their safety, we must consider comprehensive strategies that will prioritize preventive care and response tactics by mental health professionals,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus and chair of the Council’s Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction, in a statement.</p> <p>The Progressive Caucus includes nearly half the 51 members of the City Council, and counts Council Speaker Corey Johnson among its ranks. Council Member Ben Kallos is co-chair with Ayala.</p> <p>Although the Council members praised the administration’s efforts that resulted from the recommendation of the previous task force, they noted that many initiatives stalled and also pointed to the weaknesses in the NYPD’s approach to CIT training as evidenced by a January 2017 report by the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD.</p> <p>“The deaths of Dwayne Jeune, Saheed Vassell, and too many others have shown that there are fundamental flaws in the way our city handles EDP emergencies,” said Council Member Williams, in a statement.</p> <p>Steve Coe, CEO of Community Access, decried the “lack of leadership around this issue” despite the action plan put in place based on the 2014 task force’s recommendations. He commended the Progressive Caucus’ efforts, stressing that bringing stakeholders such as district attorneys, the city’s health department, NYPD officials, mental health experts and advocates was necessary “to assess what’s working, what’s not working, and develop diversion and treatment strategies that are effective and sustainable.”</p> <p>

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

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note- This article has been updated.&nbsp;</p>
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 16 2018-04-15T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-15T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7612:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-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>The week begins with the New York political world fixated on the race for Governor after the Working Families Party endorsed Cynthia Nixon on Saturday. The WFP also endorsed City Council Member Jumaane Williams for Lieutenant Governor. Both Nixon and Williams are also running in their respective Democratic primaries, hoping to unseat Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.</p> <p>The WFP endorsements came as the party itself was further fracturing, with Cuomo pulling labor unions from the party and the remaining progressive activists and advocacy groups sticking with the relatively small but influential group, and backing Nixon over Cuomo as she runs to the governor’s left on virtually every issue. Nixon and Williams will now have the WFP ballot line for the general election, but the backing of the party and its members and member organizations are certain to boost their candidacies in the Democratic primary. It is unclear what further steps Cuomo and his allies will take to weaken the WFP and its chosen candidates, but the intra-Democratic party war is escalating.</p> <p>The fallout from and analysis of these latest developments will headline at least the start of the week, also adding pressure on Democratic elected officials to choose between Cuomo and Nixon, as many have been hesitant to do so far. Added attention will come as state legislators return to Albany for three session days this week after the annual post-budget break. There are under two months until the end of the legislative session, and exactly 30 scheduled session days for legislative business in the capital. The return to session will also see the latest developments in the return of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference to the mainline Democratic fold.</p> <p>That session will also be influenced by the outcomes of the special elections set to take place on Tuesday, April 24 -- one week from this Tuesday. There are 11 Assembly and Senate vacancies being filled, but the key race to watch is the state Senate race in Westchester.</p> <p>There’s clearly a great deal of intrigue in Albany and state government and politics more broadly. There will also of course be action in New York City, where there are several City Council hearings to be aware of this week, even as Speaker Corey Johnson and a delegation of Council members continues a trip to Israel -- they return this coming weekend.</p> <p>As always, there are a variety of events to be aware of - see our 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><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">At the City Council</a> on Monday:<br />--The Committees on Health and Parks &amp; Recreation will meet jointly at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed law “requiring defibrillators at softball fields where youth leagues play.”<br />--The Committee on Justice System will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “investigations and prosecutions of low wage theft.”</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Monday in Albany, returning from the post-budget recess.</p> <p>At 8:30 a.m. Monday, "NYIT, the University Transportation Research Center, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Windels Marx, The City College of New York, and the New York City Council will host a symposium to discuss "Steps and Strides Towards A Sustainable Future", and the policies and evidence-based planning needed to use greener transportation. The event kicks off the week of Car Free Day which will take place on Saturday, April 21st."</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Monday,&nbsp;city schools "Chancellor Richard A. Carranza will visit a STEAM lab and a dance class at P.S. 376 in Brooklyn." In the afternoon, he will meet with students and parents at town hall events: at 4 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m. at Brooklyn Technical High School.</p> <p>At noon Monday, advocates and elected officials will gather on the steps of City Hall to “speak out against very bad and concerning practices of the Board of Elections,” particularly regarding voter suppression. The rally is being led by The Black Institute.</p> <p>At 12:30 p.m. Monday at the state Capitol in Albany, ""Seven prominent watchdog groups call for action on corruption in state government." Participants include: Citizens Budget Commission, Citizens Union, Common Cause NY, Fiscal Policy Institute, League of Women Voters NY State, New York Public Interest Group, and Reinvent Albany.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Monday&nbsp;Public Advocate Letitia James will deliver remarks at the Brooklyn Women's Bar Association and Brooklyn Law School Panel Discussion on Women's Suffrage, at Brooklyn Law School. At 7:45 p.m., James will deliver remarks at the 77th Precinct Community Council Gala, Milk River Restaurant in Brooklyn.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Monday, City Council Member Carlos Menchaca and the Consulate General of Mexico will host a welcome ceremony for new Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza at Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn.</p> <p>On Monday, Mayor de Blasio will make his weekly appearance on NY1’s Inside City Hall in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.</p> <p>On Monday “at 7:00 PM, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will join the family and friends of 26-year-old Brandy Odom in marking a week since her body was discovered in Canarsie Park, having been the victim of a brutal murder. In remembrance of her life, and to keep attention on her still-unsolved slaughter, they will drape a memorial ribbon over several blocks of the park's fence, while urging the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to step up their efforts in apprehending her at-large killer.”</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />A"Governor Cuomo is in Suffolk County, Westchester County, and Albany" on Tuesday. At 10 a.m. he'll make an announcement at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park. At noon, he'll make an announcement at Teamsters Local 456 in Elmsford.</p> <p>At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Mayor&nbsp;"de Blasio will visit Bushwick Houses. Immediately after, the Mayor will make an announcement concerning rat abatement. This event is open press. There will be Q-and-A."</p> <p>At the City Council on Tuesday:<br />--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.<br />--The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at noon to discuss proposed laws relating to “approval of cemetery uses on land acquired in Queens before 1973” and to “authorizing the Landmarks Preservation Commission to administer a historic preservation grant program.”<br />--The Committee on Cultural Affairs will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “#MeToo and culture &amp; the arts.”<br />--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 2 p.m.</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Tuesday in Albany.</p> <p>At 8 a.m. Tuesday,&nbsp;"By order of Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Parks will remove the monument to Dr. James Marion Sims. This order was given following the recommendations of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers. Plans are being developed to commission a new work at this site. A temporary sign will be placed at the site tomorrow following removal."</p> <p>The State Supreme Court will hold a hearing Monday on NYCHA tenants’ demands for a preliminary injunction enforcing NYCHA to conduct new lead paint inspections. At 8:45 a.m., Danny Barber, the Chair of the Citywide Council of Presidents, Elie Hecht of At-Risk Community Services, and attorney Jim Walden will hold a press conference preceding the hearing. [<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7597-max-murphy-suing-nycha" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Listen to Barber and Hecht explain their lawsuit and discuss issues with NYCHA on a recent episode of the Max &amp; Murphy podcast</a>]</p> <p>"On Tuesday, April 17, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will hold a public hearing on the proposed designation of the Coney Island (Riegelman) Boardwalk as a scenic landmark, and the proposed Central Harlem West 130-132nd Street Historic District."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy will host “New York State Single-Payer Healthcare? Economics, Politics, and Prospects” at the CUNY School of Public Health, discussing the prospects of single payer healthcare in New York State. Panelists will include City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine, economist Gerald Friedman, Marissa Martin of Young Invincibles, and registered nurses Marva Wade and Kim Behrens.</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy will rally at Bronx Borough Hall to protest Mayor de Blasio's “proposed cuts to English and other adult literacy programs in the City Budget.”</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Albany, "tenants and legislators will rally "to demand stronger rent laws." Participants will include Senator Jose Serrano, Senator Liz Kruger, Senator Gustavo Rivera, Senator Brian Benjamin, and Senator Brad Hoylman; The Real Rent Reform Campaign including Met Council on Housing, Woodside on the Move, Catholic Migration Services, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Fifth Ave Committee, Northwest Bronx Community Clergy Coalition, Chhaya CDC. They want the senate to pass three bills: End the Preferential Rent Scam (S.6527); Repeal the Vacancy Bonus (S.1593); Repeal Vacancy Destabilization (S.3482).</p> <p>At 11 a.m. Tuesday,&nbsp;outside New York State Supreme Court, "Public Advocate James will make an announcement related to the legalization of marijuana in New York. She will be joined by elected officials and advocates" including City Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Donovan Richards; Brooklyn Defenders; Drug Policy Alliance; Latino Justice; Law Enforcement Action Partnership; Legal Aid Society; National Action Network; New York Cannabis Bar Association.</p> <p>On Tuesday at noon, "New York elected officials and three of CUNYs Latin@s Studies institutes, along with other partners, will release the "Latinos United in Action - New York Latin@s" Report and announce the second annual Summit on Latinos to be held on June 1st, 2018."</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />At the City Council on Wednesday:<br />--The Committees on Land Use, Finance, and Education will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing reviewing the recent Council report “Planning to Learn: The School Building Challenge,” to discuss several proposed laws relating to school sitings and land use for education, and to discuss two resolutions: the first one calling on the state to confer the city with broad design-build authority for all capital projects, and the second calling upon the School Construction Authority “to more clearly communicate to the general public how city residents can submit potential school sites and the guidelines used by the School Construction Authority in considering whether a suggested school site meets the evaluation standards used by the authority.”<br />--The Committee on Economic Development will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “modifying helicopter routes to reduce noise over residential neighborhoods,” to discuss a proposed law relating to “an annual helicopter sightseeing plan,” and to discuss a resolution “calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to amend the North Shore helicopter route to extend further west to cover Northeast Queens.”<br />--The Committee on Technology will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding LinkNYC.<br />--The Committees on Justice System and Juvenile Justice will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “NYC’s preparedness to Raise the Age.”</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Wednesday in Albany.</p> <p>Between Wednesday and Sunday, the National Action Network and the Rev. Al Sharpton will be hosting <a href="https://nationalactionnetwork.net/category/national-action-network-2018-convention/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">its annual National Convention</a> at the Sheraton Hotel in Times Square. Speakers will include numerous “influencers” from all walks of civic life. Speakers include U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren; U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other representatives; numerous advocacy leaders; local politicians such as First Lady Chirlane McCray, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, and City Comptroller Scott Stringer; and many others. See event website for specific days and times of appearances.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio will hold <a href="https://twitter.com/Vanessalgibson/status/984421981578825728" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a town hall meeting</a> at the Bronx School of Law, Government &amp; Justice in Concourse Village. He will be joined by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, and Assemblymembers Michael Blake and Latoya Joyner.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At the City Council on Thursday:<br />--The Committee on Land Use will meet at 11 a.m.</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Thursday, City &amp; State will host the “Healthy New York Summit” at the National Geographic Encounter in Midtown. The event will bring “insights and perspectives from all sectors of New York’s health care decision-making together to identify challenges and discuss solutions to improve our system.” Speakers will include politicians, government officials, academics, advocates, and business leaders.</p> <p>On Thursday at 10 a.m. at City Hall, "Noting the devastating death of Saheed Vassell last week in Brooklyn, the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council, Community Access, and Communities for Crisis Intervention Teams in NYC (CCITNYC) coalition will call on the Administration revive the Mayoral Task Force on Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice, which will be empowered to help create a sustained city-wide approach to emotionally distressed persons and the ongoing mental health crisis New York City faces. The Caucus and its allies are also calling for the City to create a new system where social workers or well-trained 911 call operators divert 911 calls to social workers or therapists or trained peers instead of police response; greatly expand mobile crisis teams who can respond within 30 minutes of a call; build a large system of co-response teams who can respond to 911 calls; and build a system where trained peers or therapist can meet police at the scene of 911 calls."</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, "The City’s Charter Revision Commission will hold its first public meeting on Thursday, April 19 – the first step in the Commission’s process of reviewing the City Charter. This is an organizational meeting and does not include public testimony."</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />At 9 a.m. Friday, the New York City Board of Correction will meet at 125 Worth Street in Manhattan.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m. on Friday.</p> <p>Saturday will be the annual "car free" day in New York City.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Mayor de Blasio will appear at the <a href="http://www.innercircleshow.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2018 Inner Circle Show</a> at the New York Hilton Midtown. Inner Circle is a charity fundraiser comedy show hosted by the New York City press corps.</p> <p>Sunday is Earth Day.</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 the New York political world fixated on the race for Governor after the Working Families Party endorsed Cynthia Nixon on Saturday. The WFP also endorsed City Council Member Jumaane Williams for Lieutenant Governor. Both Nixon and Williams are also running in their respective Democratic primaries, hoping to unseat Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.</p> <p>The WFP endorsements came as the party itself was further fracturing, with Cuomo pulling labor unions from the party and the remaining progressive activists and advocacy groups sticking with the relatively small but influential group, and backing Nixon over Cuomo as she runs to the governor’s left on virtually every issue. Nixon and Williams will now have the WFP ballot line for the general election, but the backing of the party and its members and member organizations are certain to boost their candidacies in the Democratic primary. It is unclear what further steps Cuomo and his allies will take to weaken the WFP and its chosen candidates, but the intra-Democratic party war is escalating.</p> <p>The fallout from and analysis of these latest developments will headline at least the start of the week, also adding pressure on Democratic elected officials to choose between Cuomo and Nixon, as many have been hesitant to do so far. Added attention will come as state legislators return to Albany for three session days this week after the annual post-budget break. There are under two months until the end of the legislative session, and exactly 30 scheduled session days for legislative business in the capital. The return to session will also see the latest developments in the return of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference to the mainline Democratic fold.</p> <p>That session will also be influenced by the outcomes of the special elections set to take place on Tuesday, April 24 -- one week from this Tuesday. There are 11 Assembly and Senate vacancies being filled, but the key race to watch is the state Senate race in Westchester.</p> <p>There’s clearly a great deal of intrigue in Albany and state government and politics more broadly. There will also of course be action in New York City, where there are several City Council hearings to be aware of this week, even as Speaker Corey Johnson and a delegation of Council members continues a trip to Israel -- they return this coming weekend.</p> <p>As always, there are a variety of events to be aware of - see our 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><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">At the City Council</a> on Monday:<br />--The Committees on Health and Parks &amp; Recreation will meet jointly at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed law “requiring defibrillators at softball fields where youth leagues play.”<br />--The Committee on Justice System will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “investigations and prosecutions of low wage theft.”</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Monday in Albany, returning from the post-budget recess.</p> <p>At 8:30 a.m. Monday, "NYIT, the University Transportation Research Center, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Windels Marx, The City College of New York, and the New York City Council will host a symposium to discuss "Steps and Strides Towards A Sustainable Future", and the policies and evidence-based planning needed to use greener transportation. The event kicks off the week of Car Free Day which will take place on Saturday, April 21st."</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Monday,&nbsp;city schools "Chancellor Richard A. Carranza will visit a STEAM lab and a dance class at P.S. 376 in Brooklyn." In the afternoon, he will meet with students and parents at town hall events: at 4 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m. at Brooklyn Technical High School.</p> <p>At noon Monday, advocates and elected officials will gather on the steps of City Hall to “speak out against very bad and concerning practices of the Board of Elections,” particularly regarding voter suppression. The rally is being led by The Black Institute.</p> <p>At 12:30 p.m. Monday at the state Capitol in Albany, ""Seven prominent watchdog groups call for action on corruption in state government." Participants include: Citizens Budget Commission, Citizens Union, Common Cause NY, Fiscal Policy Institute, League of Women Voters NY State, New York Public Interest Group, and Reinvent Albany.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Monday&nbsp;Public Advocate Letitia James will deliver remarks at the Brooklyn Women's Bar Association and Brooklyn Law School Panel Discussion on Women's Suffrage, at Brooklyn Law School. At 7:45 p.m., James will deliver remarks at the 77th Precinct Community Council Gala, Milk River Restaurant in Brooklyn.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Monday, City Council Member Carlos Menchaca and the Consulate General of Mexico will host a welcome ceremony for new Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza at Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn.</p> <p>On Monday, Mayor de Blasio will make his weekly appearance on NY1’s Inside City Hall in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.</p> <p>On Monday “at 7:00 PM, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will join the family and friends of 26-year-old Brandy Odom in marking a week since her body was discovered in Canarsie Park, having been the victim of a brutal murder. In remembrance of her life, and to keep attention on her still-unsolved slaughter, they will drape a memorial ribbon over several blocks of the park's fence, while urging the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to step up their efforts in apprehending her at-large killer.”</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />A"Governor Cuomo is in Suffolk County, Westchester County, and Albany" on Tuesday. At 10 a.m. he'll make an announcement at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park. At noon, he'll make an announcement at Teamsters Local 456 in Elmsford.</p> <p>At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Mayor&nbsp;"de Blasio will visit Bushwick Houses. Immediately after, the Mayor will make an announcement concerning rat abatement. This event is open press. There will be Q-and-A."</p> <p>At the City Council on Tuesday:<br />--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.<br />--The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at noon to discuss proposed laws relating to “approval of cemetery uses on land acquired in Queens before 1973” and to “authorizing the Landmarks Preservation Commission to administer a historic preservation grant program.”<br />--The Committee on Cultural Affairs will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “#MeToo and culture &amp; the arts.”<br />--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 2 p.m.</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Tuesday in Albany.</p> <p>At 8 a.m. Tuesday,&nbsp;"By order of Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Parks will remove the monument to Dr. James Marion Sims. This order was given following the recommendations of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers. Plans are being developed to commission a new work at this site. A temporary sign will be placed at the site tomorrow following removal."</p> <p>The State Supreme Court will hold a hearing Monday on NYCHA tenants’ demands for a preliminary injunction enforcing NYCHA to conduct new lead paint inspections. At 8:45 a.m., Danny Barber, the Chair of the Citywide Council of Presidents, Elie Hecht of At-Risk Community Services, and attorney Jim Walden will hold a press conference preceding the hearing. [<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7597-max-murphy-suing-nycha" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Listen to Barber and Hecht explain their lawsuit and discuss issues with NYCHA on a recent episode of the Max &amp; Murphy podcast</a>]</p> <p>"On Tuesday, April 17, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will hold a public hearing on the proposed designation of the Coney Island (Riegelman) Boardwalk as a scenic landmark, and the proposed Central Harlem West 130-132nd Street Historic District."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy will host “New York State Single-Payer Healthcare? Economics, Politics, and Prospects” at the CUNY School of Public Health, discussing the prospects of single payer healthcare in New York State. Panelists will include City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine, economist Gerald Friedman, Marissa Martin of Young Invincibles, and registered nurses Marva Wade and Kim Behrens.</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy will rally at Bronx Borough Hall to protest Mayor de Blasio's “proposed cuts to English and other adult literacy programs in the City Budget.”</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Albany, "tenants and legislators will rally "to demand stronger rent laws." Participants will include Senator Jose Serrano, Senator Liz Kruger, Senator Gustavo Rivera, Senator Brian Benjamin, and Senator Brad Hoylman; The Real Rent Reform Campaign including Met Council on Housing, Woodside on the Move, Catholic Migration Services, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Fifth Ave Committee, Northwest Bronx Community Clergy Coalition, Chhaya CDC. They want the senate to pass three bills: End the Preferential Rent Scam (S.6527); Repeal the Vacancy Bonus (S.1593); Repeal Vacancy Destabilization (S.3482).</p> <p>At 11 a.m. Tuesday,&nbsp;outside New York State Supreme Court, "Public Advocate James will make an announcement related to the legalization of marijuana in New York. She will be joined by elected officials and advocates" including City Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Donovan Richards; Brooklyn Defenders; Drug Policy Alliance; Latino Justice; Law Enforcement Action Partnership; Legal Aid Society; National Action Network; New York Cannabis Bar Association.</p> <p>On Tuesday at noon, "New York elected officials and three of CUNYs Latin@s Studies institutes, along with other partners, will release the "Latinos United in Action - New York Latin@s" Report and announce the second annual Summit on Latinos to be held on June 1st, 2018."</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />At the City Council on Wednesday:<br />--The Committees on Land Use, Finance, and Education will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing reviewing the recent Council report “Planning to Learn: The School Building Challenge,” to discuss several proposed laws relating to school sitings and land use for education, and to discuss two resolutions: the first one calling on the state to confer the city with broad design-build authority for all capital projects, and the second calling upon the School Construction Authority “to more clearly communicate to the general public how city residents can submit potential school sites and the guidelines used by the School Construction Authority in considering whether a suggested school site meets the evaluation standards used by the authority.”<br />--The Committee on Economic Development will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “modifying helicopter routes to reduce noise over residential neighborhoods,” to discuss a proposed law relating to “an annual helicopter sightseeing plan,” and to discuss a resolution “calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to amend the North Shore helicopter route to extend further west to cover Northeast Queens.”<br />--The Committee on Technology will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding LinkNYC.<br />--The Committees on Justice System and Juvenile Justice will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “NYC’s preparedness to Raise the Age.”</p> <p>The New York State Legislature will be in session on Wednesday in Albany.</p> <p>Between Wednesday and Sunday, the National Action Network and the Rev. Al Sharpton will be hosting <a href="https://nationalactionnetwork.net/category/national-action-network-2018-convention/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">its annual National Convention</a> at the Sheraton Hotel in Times Square. Speakers will include numerous “influencers” from all walks of civic life. Speakers include U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren; U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other representatives; numerous advocacy leaders; local politicians such as First Lady Chirlane McCray, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, and City Comptroller Scott Stringer; and many others. See event website for specific days and times of appearances.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio will hold <a href="https://twitter.com/Vanessalgibson/status/984421981578825728" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a town hall meeting</a> at the Bronx School of Law, Government &amp; Justice in Concourse Village. He will be joined by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, and Assemblymembers Michael Blake and Latoya Joyner.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At the City Council on Thursday:<br />--The Committee on Land Use will meet at 11 a.m.</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Thursday, City &amp; State will host the “Healthy New York Summit” at the National Geographic Encounter in Midtown. The event will bring “insights and perspectives from all sectors of New York’s health care decision-making together to identify challenges and discuss solutions to improve our system.” Speakers will include politicians, government officials, academics, advocates, and business leaders.</p> <p>On Thursday at 10 a.m. at City Hall, "Noting the devastating death of Saheed Vassell last week in Brooklyn, the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council, Community Access, and Communities for Crisis Intervention Teams in NYC (CCITNYC) coalition will call on the Administration revive the Mayoral Task Force on Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice, which will be empowered to help create a sustained city-wide approach to emotionally distressed persons and the ongoing mental health crisis New York City faces. The Caucus and its allies are also calling for the City to create a new system where social workers or well-trained 911 call operators divert 911 calls to social workers or therapists or trained peers instead of police response; greatly expand mobile crisis teams who can respond within 30 minutes of a call; build a large system of co-response teams who can respond to 911 calls; and build a system where trained peers or therapist can meet police at the scene of 911 calls."</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, "The City’s Charter Revision Commission will hold its first public meeting on Thursday, April 19 – the first step in the Commission’s process of reviewing the City Charter. This is an organizational meeting and does not include public testimony."</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />At 9 a.m. Friday, the New York City Board of Correction will meet at 125 Worth Street in Manhattan.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m. on Friday.</p> <p>Saturday will be the annual "car free" day in New York City.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Mayor de Blasio will appear at the <a href="http://www.innercircleshow.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2018 Inner Circle Show</a> at the New York Hilton Midtown. Inner Circle is a charity fundraiser comedy show hosted by the New York City press corps.</p> <p>Sunday is Earth Day.</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> Revising The People’s Charter with Open Minds 2018-04-11T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-11T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7608:revising-the-people-s-charter-with-open-minds Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/41240788261_d912b7c150_z.jpg" alt="City Hall Mayor's Office photo" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>City Hall (photo:&nbsp;Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Revision of the City Charter, our central governing document, should not be a one-person show, focused on a single issue. Over the last 25 years, charter revision commissions have been wielded as political tools by mayors to block the building of a West Side Stadium, keep a political rival from potentially ascending to the mayoralty, and stop a referendum that would have limited the size of public school classes. Revisions have largely been narrow and myopic and the end results have been pre-baked according to the mayor’s will.</p> <p>The last truly transformative commission, convened in 1989, only came about in response to a Supreme Court decision and a series of scandals too big to ignore. But today, that all changes.</p> <p>We believe this city can do better. A new charter revision commission, which was approved Wednesday by the City Council, can and should be truly democratic and capable of broad systemic reform without predetermined conclusions.</p> <p>We support campaign finance reform, but also believe that the city’s land use, budget, and planning processes must be overhauled. We want to see the creation of a charter revision commission, but do not believe it should be an extension of one person’s will. That is why we proposed a commission on which no one official would have majority control and that would examine the charter as a whole, without preconditions or marching orders.</p> <p>We have thought a lot about New York City’s foundational governing document and have numerous specific proposals we would like to see considered. But what we really want is a truly independent commission that will enter the process with open ears and open minds - something that the entire City Council agrees with. Everything should be on the table, nothing should be off limits, and the final product should not be preordained by anyone. We proposed this as elected officials whose very offices have been threatened with elimination in past revisions, so it should be clear we have the courage of our convictions.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio’s proposal to lower campaign contribution limits through a revision commission he is calling is a commendable attempt to limit the influence of money in politics. Our commission, which was proposed before the mayor’s, is not a rebuke of his specific policy goals. But our intention is to create a commission that will consider the entire charter and put forth a set of proposals on whatever needs fixing.</p> <p>It has been nearly 30 years since the City Charter has truly been looked at top-to-bottom with an eye towards real reform. The people of this city deserve an independent commission that will not be directed to take a specific action, but charged with the responsibility to look at the whole picture and bring its recommendations to the people. It should consider whether the Council should have more say over the budget process, whether communities will have more input in land use before deals are all but finalized, whether our current system of checks-and-balances is sufficient to ensure meaningful oversight of mayoral agencies. Those discussions will not be had if the mayor simply appoints a slate of proxies and tells them what to consider and what conclusions to reach.</p> <p>This does not need to be a zero-sum game, or even a competition. The mayor’s commission can move forward and pursue the ‘democracy agenda’ he envisions. Meanwhile his four appointees can join our commission for an open discussion of what else our charter needs to do to grow and change along with the city. The City Council has already expressed its support and, if the mayor will join us, we can all come together to do what’s best for the people of New York.</p> <p>***<br /> Gale Brewer is Manhattan Borough President and Letitia James is Public Advocate. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/galeabrewer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GaleABrewer</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/TishJames" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@TishJames</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/41240788261_d912b7c150_z.jpg" alt="City Hall Mayor's Office photo" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>City Hall (photo:&nbsp;Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Revision of the City Charter, our central governing document, should not be a one-person show, focused on a single issue. Over the last 25 years, charter revision commissions have been wielded as political tools by mayors to block the building of a West Side Stadium, keep a political rival from potentially ascending to the mayoralty, and stop a referendum that would have limited the size of public school classes. Revisions have largely been narrow and myopic and the end results have been pre-baked according to the mayor’s will.</p> <p>The last truly transformative commission, convened in 1989, only came about in response to a Supreme Court decision and a series of scandals too big to ignore. But today, that all changes.</p> <p>We believe this city can do better. A new charter revision commission, which was approved Wednesday by the City Council, can and should be truly democratic and capable of broad systemic reform without predetermined conclusions.</p> <p>We support campaign finance reform, but also believe that the city’s land use, budget, and planning processes must be overhauled. We want to see the creation of a charter revision commission, but do not believe it should be an extension of one person’s will. That is why we proposed a commission on which no one official would have majority control and that would examine the charter as a whole, without preconditions or marching orders.</p> <p>We have thought a lot about New York City’s foundational governing document and have numerous specific proposals we would like to see considered. But what we really want is a truly independent commission that will enter the process with open ears and open minds - something that the entire City Council agrees with. Everything should be on the table, nothing should be off limits, and the final product should not be preordained by anyone. We proposed this as elected officials whose very offices have been threatened with elimination in past revisions, so it should be clear we have the courage of our convictions.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio’s proposal to lower campaign contribution limits through a revision commission he is calling is a commendable attempt to limit the influence of money in politics. Our commission, which was proposed before the mayor’s, is not a rebuke of his specific policy goals. But our intention is to create a commission that will consider the entire charter and put forth a set of proposals on whatever needs fixing.</p> <p>It has been nearly 30 years since the City Charter has truly been looked at top-to-bottom with an eye towards real reform. The people of this city deserve an independent commission that will not be directed to take a specific action, but charged with the responsibility to look at the whole picture and bring its recommendations to the people. It should consider whether the Council should have more say over the budget process, whether communities will have more input in land use before deals are all but finalized, whether our current system of checks-and-balances is sufficient to ensure meaningful oversight of mayoral agencies. Those discussions will not be had if the mayor simply appoints a slate of proxies and tells them what to consider and what conclusions to reach.</p> <p>This does not need to be a zero-sum game, or even a competition. The mayor’s commission can move forward and pursue the ‘democracy agenda’ he envisions. Meanwhile his four appointees can join our commission for an open discussion of what else our charter needs to do to grow and change along with the city. The City Council has already expressed its support and, if the mayor will join us, we can all come together to do what’s best for the people of New York.</p> <p>***<br /> Gale Brewer is Manhattan Borough President and Letitia James is Public Advocate. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/galeabrewer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GaleABrewer</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/TishJames" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@TishJames</a>.</p> <p>

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In Response to De Blasio Proposal, City Council Sets Stage for Tense Budget Negotiations 2018-04-10T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-10T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7604:in-response-to-de-blasio-proposal-city-council-sets-stage-for-tense-budget-negotiations Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/speaker-johnson-presents-preliminary-budgetresponse-3--credit-william-alatriste.jpg" alt="speaker johnson presents preliminary budgetresponse 3 credit william alatriste" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Speaker Johnson and colleagues (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Council appears to be gearing up for a tense budget fight with Mayor Bill de Blasio, releasing a telling early counter on Tuesday in its official response to <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7455-under-threat-from-dc-and-albany-de-blasio-presents-88-67-billion-preliminary-budget" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the mayor’s $88.7 billion proposed budget</a> for next fiscal year, put forth just after a tense hearing with budget officials about modifications to the current budget.</p> <p>The Council’s response to de Blasio’s preliminary budget, the first under Council Speaker Corey Johnson and released after <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7519-city-council-begins-examination-of-de-blasio-budget-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener">weeks of hearings</a>, calls for millions in new spending, additional reserves for a rainy day, and more accountability and transparency in the city’s budgeting process.</p> <p>The priorities enumerated in the document are a clear indication of the type of independence that Johnson has promised since taking office, with a focus on “strengthening the social safety net, fighting for the middle class and handling taxpayers’ money responsibly,” as Johnson put it at a news conference at City Hall.</p> <p>Among key recommendations, the Council is calling on the mayor to fund “Fair Fares,” a proposal formulated by a group of transit advocates to provide half-price MetroCards to 800,000 low-income New Yorkers. The Council had pushed for the proposal last year as well but de Blasio shot it down repeatedly, even a proposed pilot program, insisting that it was the state’s responsibility to fund it, given that the MTA is a state-run entity. Fair Fares did not make it into the recently-passed state budget, and the Council is now calling for $212 million for the program, which it estimates would also benefit about 16,411 veterans living in poverty and would extend the program to veterans attending city colleges.</p> <p>Johnson and the Council are also pushing for a $400 property tax rebate for homeowners with incomes below $150,000 -- which would cost about $187 million and cover about 487,000 households, they said -- and called on the mayor to form a long-promised property tax reform commission jointly with the Council to examine structural problems and propose reforms.</p> <p>Almost every item highlighted in the budget response seems likely to elicit consternation from the mayor. Though the administration has put nearly $5.5 billion towards reserve funding, to prepare for an anticipated economic slowdown, the Council is calling for another $500 million. The Council is also insisting on another $2.45 billion in capital funding over four years for the embattled public housing authority, NYCHA, to repair heating and water systems and to build more senior housing.</p> <p>The Council is calling for a reassessment of spending on homeless shelters and for education spending to be increased to “Fair Student Funding” levels. Members are demanding that the mayor’s next budget iteration, due out later this month, include a plan for $485 million in unfunded mandates foisted on the city by the state. The Council is proposing $227 million in new and baselined agency funding. And, it is emphasizing the need for more transparency in both the expense and capital budgets, proposing 123 new units of appropriation that would provide a more detailed breakdown of budgeting and pay the way for greater accountability.</p> <p>Johnson emphasized that the increase in funding that the Council is advocating is offset by revenues, savings, and agency efficiencies and reductions. “I believe this is a pretty aggressive response to what was presented to us and we expect a real negotiation from now until the executive budget,” he said, later insisting that the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget had set lower estimates for revenues and agency savings than the Council.</p> <p>“When we go down, we’re adjusting the available resources in what OMB gave us by $1.8 billion,” he said. “We believe that our forecast, in between what [the Independent Budget Office] is saying and what OMB is saying, we view it as $1.8 billion...We’re not just spending a lot of money. We’re also cutting back on savings in certain agencies, especially DHS [Department of Homeless Services].”</p> <p>The mayor’s office quickly responded to the Council’s proposals. "Times are increasingly tight, and the $418 million we just spent to fix the state-run subways, which the Council supported, will only make this year’s budget process all the more lean,” said Freddi Goldstein, a mayoral spokesperson on budget matters. It was a clear reference to Johnson’s position that the city pay for half of the $836 million MTA Subway Action Plan, which the city is being forced to do under a provision that was included in the state budget earlier this month. (That $418 million includes $254 million in operational costs -- which is included in the Council’s response -- and $164 million in capital costs.)</p> <p>The Council’s more “aggressive” approach was already on display Tuesday morning, at a rare finance committee hearing on proposed modifications to the budget for the current fiscal year ending June 30. More often than not, in the past few years, the Council has easily approved the periodic budget modifications so the city can adjust spending as needed. But this year the adjustment was the subject of a standalone hearing, led by Council Member Daniel Dromm, chair of the finance committee.</p> <p>The administration had requested the Council’s approval on $970 million in spending reallocations across city agencies. But Council members seemed unwilling to pass up the opportunity to ask hard questions of OMB officials, mostly relating to a $152 million proposed increase in spending on the Department of Homeless Services.</p> <p>“They want a modification, they have to come to the City Council,” Johnson flatly explained, when Gotham Gazette asked whether the Council was using the budget modification as leverage over the administration. “We’re not a rubber stamp. We have oversight questions, we have questions that need to be answered.”</p> <p>Dromm, who had earlier emphasized to Gotham Gazette that the hearing was simply about more transparency, added, “It’s a new Council, it’s a new situation. We have new expectations and we expect the administration to live up to those expectations.”</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/speaker-johnson-presents-preliminary-budgetresponse-3--credit-william-alatriste.jpg" alt="speaker johnson presents preliminary budgetresponse 3 credit william alatriste" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Speaker Johnson and colleagues (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Council appears to be gearing up for a tense budget fight with Mayor Bill de Blasio, releasing a telling early counter on Tuesday in its official response to <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7455-under-threat-from-dc-and-albany-de-blasio-presents-88-67-billion-preliminary-budget" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the mayor’s $88.7 billion proposed budget</a> for next fiscal year, put forth just after a tense hearing with budget officials about modifications to the current budget.</p> <p>The Council’s response to de Blasio’s preliminary budget, the first under Council Speaker Corey Johnson and released after <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7519-city-council-begins-examination-of-de-blasio-budget-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener">weeks of hearings</a>, calls for millions in new spending, additional reserves for a rainy day, and more accountability and transparency in the city’s budgeting process.</p> <p>The priorities enumerated in the document are a clear indication of the type of independence that Johnson has promised since taking office, with a focus on “strengthening the social safety net, fighting for the middle class and handling taxpayers’ money responsibly,” as Johnson put it at a news conference at City Hall.</p> <p>Among key recommendations, the Council is calling on the mayor to fund “Fair Fares,” a proposal formulated by a group of transit advocates to provide half-price MetroCards to 800,000 low-income New Yorkers. The Council had pushed for the proposal last year as well but de Blasio shot it down repeatedly, even a proposed pilot program, insisting that it was the state’s responsibility to fund it, given that the MTA is a state-run entity. Fair Fares did not make it into the recently-passed state budget, and the Council is now calling for $212 million for the program, which it estimates would also benefit about 16,411 veterans living in poverty and would extend the program to veterans attending city colleges.</p> <p>Johnson and the Council are also pushing for a $400 property tax rebate for homeowners with incomes below $150,000 -- which would cost about $187 million and cover about 487,000 households, they said -- and called on the mayor to form a long-promised property tax reform commission jointly with the Council to examine structural problems and propose reforms.</p> <p>Almost every item highlighted in the budget response seems likely to elicit consternation from the mayor. Though the administration has put nearly $5.5 billion towards reserve funding, to prepare for an anticipated economic slowdown, the Council is calling for another $500 million. The Council is also insisting on another $2.45 billion in capital funding over four years for the embattled public housing authority, NYCHA, to repair heating and water systems and to build more senior housing.</p> <p>The Council is calling for a reassessment of spending on homeless shelters and for education spending to be increased to “Fair Student Funding” levels. Members are demanding that the mayor’s next budget iteration, due out later this month, include a plan for $485 million in unfunded mandates foisted on the city by the state. The Council is proposing $227 million in new and baselined agency funding. And, it is emphasizing the need for more transparency in both the expense and capital budgets, proposing 123 new units of appropriation that would provide a more detailed breakdown of budgeting and pay the way for greater accountability.</p> <p>Johnson emphasized that the increase in funding that the Council is advocating is offset by revenues, savings, and agency efficiencies and reductions. “I believe this is a pretty aggressive response to what was presented to us and we expect a real negotiation from now until the executive budget,” he said, later insisting that the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget had set lower estimates for revenues and agency savings than the Council.</p> <p>“When we go down, we’re adjusting the available resources in what OMB gave us by $1.8 billion,” he said. “We believe that our forecast, in between what [the Independent Budget Office] is saying and what OMB is saying, we view it as $1.8 billion...We’re not just spending a lot of money. We’re also cutting back on savings in certain agencies, especially DHS [Department of Homeless Services].”</p> <p>The mayor’s office quickly responded to the Council’s proposals. "Times are increasingly tight, and the $418 million we just spent to fix the state-run subways, which the Council supported, will only make this year’s budget process all the more lean,” said Freddi Goldstein, a mayoral spokesperson on budget matters. It was a clear reference to Johnson’s position that the city pay for half of the $836 million MTA Subway Action Plan, which the city is being forced to do under a provision that was included in the state budget earlier this month. (That $418 million includes $254 million in operational costs -- which is included in the Council’s response -- and $164 million in capital costs.)</p> <p>The Council’s more “aggressive” approach was already on display Tuesday morning, at a rare finance committee hearing on proposed modifications to the budget for the current fiscal year ending June 30. More often than not, in the past few years, the Council has easily approved the periodic budget modifications so the city can adjust spending as needed. But this year the adjustment was the subject of a standalone hearing, led by Council Member Daniel Dromm, chair of the finance committee.</p> <p>The administration had requested the Council’s approval on $970 million in spending reallocations across city agencies. But Council members seemed unwilling to pass up the opportunity to ask hard questions of OMB officials, mostly relating to a $152 million proposed increase in spending on the Department of Homeless Services.</p> <p>“They want a modification, they have to come to the City Council,” Johnson flatly explained, when Gotham Gazette asked whether the Council was using the budget modification as leverage over the administration. “We’re not a rubber stamp. We have oversight questions, we have questions that need to be answered.”</p> <p>Dromm, who had earlier emphasized to Gotham Gazette that the hearing was simply about more transparency, added, “It’s a new Council, it’s a new situation. We have new expectations and we expect the administration to live up to those expectations.”</p> <p>

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

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Council Member Proposes Campaign Finance Changes 2018-04-09T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-09T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7541:council-member-to-propose-campaign-finance-changes Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/cm-keith-powers-cc.jpg" alt="cm keith powers cc" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Council Member Keith Powers (photo: William Alatriste)</p> <hr /> <p>City Council Member Keith Powers, a former lobbyist who ran for election on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7127-a-rarity-city-council-candidate-releases-detailed-reform-agenda" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a platform</a> that included a 22-point electoral and government reform agenda, has introduced a package of legislation to make small but significant changes to the city’s campaign finance program.</p> <p>Powers, a Manhattan Democrat, is proposing five bills, introduced at the full meeting of the City Council on Wednesday, that will change campaign finance thresholds and reporting requirements, with the goal of making running for elected office easier for first-time candidates and those with little access to wealthy donors.</p> <p>The city’s campaign finance program is “already a gold standard,” Powers said, in a recent phone interview, but can be even more effective with certain tweaks. The package of bills, he said, were based on his personal experience with the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s public matching funds program -- which incentivizes small-dollar donations from city residents up to $175 by matching them at a 6-to-1 ratio -- and also a recent Council hearing where the CFB testified before the Committee on Governmental Operations, of which Powers is a member.</p> <p>One of his bills would increase the small-dollar matchable amount from $175 to $250, giving smaller campaigns a boost in fundraising. Any candidate who wants to receive public matching funds must hit two thresholds -- a minimum number of contributions of at least $10 and a minimum amount. For instance, City Council candidates who participate in the program must raise at least 75 contributions from donors within their district and raise a minimum of $5,000. The thresholds are far greater for borough-wide and city-wide races.</p> <p>A second bill would also reduce the lowest qualifying contribution from $10 to $5. “It makes it easier for candidates to hit the matching threshold,” Powers said.</p> <p>The third bill in the package would establish a pilot program to provide&nbsp;full matching funds for special elections, where candidates must raise funds in a much shorter period of time. Currently, the CFB's program only provides matching funds up to 55 percent of the spending limit for a particular race. The bill would increase the match to 85 percent, effectively allowing candidates to raise as much as they are allowed to spend. &nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, Powers also hopes to ease the burden of complying with the city’s campaign finance law for candidates that tend to run campaigns with limited funds. The CFB requires that all campaigns submit detailed disclosure reports of the money they raise and spend during an election season, a requirement that has at times been criticized as overly onerous for candidates who do not have experience with the program or the help of high-priced professional consultants to help them comply. Candidates who fail to file disclosures, or improperly file them, can incur costly fines sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars from the CFB after an election.</p> <p>However, “small campaigns” that do not surpass $1,000 in fundraising and expenditure do not have to file these reports under the campaign finance law. The bill Powers is proposing would raise that amount to $3,000, lifting the reporting requirements on dozens of candidates. A companion resolution would also call on the state to do the same.&nbsp;</p> <p>The intent of Powers’ proposals overlaps with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s February announcement that he will convene a Charter Revision Commission to explore, among other things, limiting the influence of moneyed interests in city elections and reducing contribution limits. To some, a commission that would look at campaign finance seemed duplicative and Powers is among those who are skeptical about the need for a commission to essentially do the City Council’s job. “We can legislate these issues without a Charter Revision Commission,” Powers said, noting that he also considered legislation to reduce contribution limits, but only for special elections. There has been some talk about reducing the maximum individual contributions allowed, which just recently rose slightly to $5,100 for city-wide candidates and $2,850 for City Council candidates, which de Blasio’s commission may explore.</p> <p>Powers did praise the mayor for propelling a much-needed debate, and said it was an opportunity to move ahead with more drastic changes to the public financing system. One change, he said, could involve increasing the cap on matching funds available to candidates from 55 percent of the spending limit for their seat to 85 percent. That proposal is currently before the Council in legislation from Council Member Ben Kallos, the former chair of the governmental operations committee.</p> <p>“I think it’s a totally fine idea to have a Charter Revision Commission and doing contribution limits as one of the topics totally makes sense,” Powers said. But, he added, “I want to have a Commission that includes a conversation about the larger structure of city government...At a moment when we have a need for more representation across the board, especially for women in the City Council, I think it’s important that we look to remove any barriers to running for elected office.”</p> <p>City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, in partnership with Public Advocate Letitia James and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, is pushing ahead with a separate Charter Revision Commission, with a broader initial mandate. A bill to create that commission is expected to pass the Council this week.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[Read:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7596-with-tweaks-city-council-charter-revision-commission-bill-expected-to-pass" target="_blank" rel="noopener">With Tweaks, City Council Charter Revision Commission Bill Expected to Pass</a>]</p> <p>Powers also promised that he has another package of bills he will introduce down the line that relates to contribution limits, matching funds, and contributions from individuals and entities doing business with the city. This may coincide with the typical process by which the Campaign Finance Board issues its post-election report, due in August, with recommendations for changes to the campaign finance system, usually the subject of a government operations committee hearing and subsequent legislation.</p> <p>And Powers is also introducing a connected bill that would affect the city’s doing business database of companies and individuals that work for or with the city. Entities on the <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doingbiz/home.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Doing Business Database</a> are significantly limited in the amount of money they contribute to electoral candidates and their donations are not matchable under the public funds program. For mayoral candidates, the doing business contribution limit is $400, and for City Council candidates it’s $250.</p> <p>Powers’ bill would directly address real estate developers, who have been some of the largest donors in recent elections and have spent millions to support candidates from city-wides down to the boroughs and Council districts. The bill would mandate that developers formally seeking a city contract are added to the doing-business list so that their contributions are reigned in.</p> <p>Developers who submit land use applications for city-proposed developments would be entered in the doing business database at an earlier stage in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). Currently, developers are only included in the database once their application is certified. Powers’ bill would require that they are listed once they apply to start the certification process, moving the timeline of their inclusion in the database up by a few months.</p> <p>“Sometimes, years before the ULURP, developers can be talking with the administration,” he said, highlighting the necessity of the bill.</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

&nbsp;</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/cm-keith-powers-cc.jpg" alt="cm keith powers cc" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Council Member Keith Powers (photo: William Alatriste)</p> <hr /> <p>City Council Member Keith Powers, a former lobbyist who ran for election on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7127-a-rarity-city-council-candidate-releases-detailed-reform-agenda" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a platform</a> that included a 22-point electoral and government reform agenda, has introduced a package of legislation to make small but significant changes to the city’s campaign finance program.</p> <p>Powers, a Manhattan Democrat, is proposing five bills, introduced at the full meeting of the City Council on Wednesday, that will change campaign finance thresholds and reporting requirements, with the goal of making running for elected office easier for first-time candidates and those with little access to wealthy donors.</p> <p>The city’s campaign finance program is “already a gold standard,” Powers said, in a recent phone interview, but can be even more effective with certain tweaks. The package of bills, he said, were based on his personal experience with the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s public matching funds program -- which incentivizes small-dollar donations from city residents up to $175 by matching them at a 6-to-1 ratio -- and also a recent Council hearing where the CFB testified before the Committee on Governmental Operations, of which Powers is a member.</p> <p>One of his bills would increase the small-dollar matchable amount from $175 to $250, giving smaller campaigns a boost in fundraising. Any candidate who wants to receive public matching funds must hit two thresholds -- a minimum number of contributions of at least $10 and a minimum amount. For instance, City Council candidates who participate in the program must raise at least 75 contributions from donors within their district and raise a minimum of $5,000. The thresholds are far greater for borough-wide and city-wide races.</p> <p>A second bill would also reduce the lowest qualifying contribution from $10 to $5. “It makes it easier for candidates to hit the matching threshold,” Powers said.</p> <p>The third bill in the package would establish a pilot program to provide&nbsp;full matching funds for special elections, where candidates must raise funds in a much shorter period of time. Currently, the CFB's program only provides matching funds up to 55 percent of the spending limit for a particular race. The bill would increase the match to 85 percent, effectively allowing candidates to raise as much as they are allowed to spend. &nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, Powers also hopes to ease the burden of complying with the city’s campaign finance law for candidates that tend to run campaigns with limited funds. The CFB requires that all campaigns submit detailed disclosure reports of the money they raise and spend during an election season, a requirement that has at times been criticized as overly onerous for candidates who do not have experience with the program or the help of high-priced professional consultants to help them comply. Candidates who fail to file disclosures, or improperly file them, can incur costly fines sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars from the CFB after an election.</p> <p>However, “small campaigns” that do not surpass $1,000 in fundraising and expenditure do not have to file these reports under the campaign finance law. The bill Powers is proposing would raise that amount to $3,000, lifting the reporting requirements on dozens of candidates. A companion resolution would also call on the state to do the same.&nbsp;</p> <p>The intent of Powers’ proposals overlaps with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s February announcement that he will convene a Charter Revision Commission to explore, among other things, limiting the influence of moneyed interests in city elections and reducing contribution limits. To some, a commission that would look at campaign finance seemed duplicative and Powers is among those who are skeptical about the need for a commission to essentially do the City Council’s job. “We can legislate these issues without a Charter Revision Commission,” Powers said, noting that he also considered legislation to reduce contribution limits, but only for special elections. There has been some talk about reducing the maximum individual contributions allowed, which just recently rose slightly to $5,100 for city-wide candidates and $2,850 for City Council candidates, which de Blasio’s commission may explore.</p> <p>Powers did praise the mayor for propelling a much-needed debate, and said it was an opportunity to move ahead with more drastic changes to the public financing system. One change, he said, could involve increasing the cap on matching funds available to candidates from 55 percent of the spending limit for their seat to 85 percent. That proposal is currently before the Council in legislation from Council Member Ben Kallos, the former chair of the governmental operations committee.</p> <p>“I think it’s a totally fine idea to have a Charter Revision Commission and doing contribution limits as one of the topics totally makes sense,” Powers said. But, he added, “I want to have a Commission that includes a conversation about the larger structure of city government...At a moment when we have a need for more representation across the board, especially for women in the City Council, I think it’s important that we look to remove any barriers to running for elected office.”</p> <p>City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, in partnership with Public Advocate Letitia James and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, is pushing ahead with a separate Charter Revision Commission, with a broader initial mandate. A bill to create that commission is expected to pass the Council this week.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[Read:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7596-with-tweaks-city-council-charter-revision-commission-bill-expected-to-pass" target="_blank" rel="noopener">With Tweaks, City Council Charter Revision Commission Bill Expected to Pass</a>]</p> <p>Powers also promised that he has another package of bills he will introduce down the line that relates to contribution limits, matching funds, and contributions from individuals and entities doing business with the city. This may coincide with the typical process by which the Campaign Finance Board issues its post-election report, due in August, with recommendations for changes to the campaign finance system, usually the subject of a government operations committee hearing and subsequent legislation.</p> <p>And Powers is also introducing a connected bill that would affect the city’s doing business database of companies and individuals that work for or with the city. Entities on the <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doingbiz/home.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Doing Business Database</a> are significantly limited in the amount of money they contribute to electoral candidates and their donations are not matchable under the public funds program. For mayoral candidates, the doing business contribution limit is $400, and for City Council candidates it’s $250.</p> <p>Powers’ bill would directly address real estate developers, who have been some of the largest donors in recent elections and have spent millions to support candidates from city-wides down to the boroughs and Council districts. The bill would mandate that developers formally seeking a city contract are added to the doing-business list so that their contributions are reigned in.</p> <p>Developers who submit land use applications for city-proposed developments would be entered in the doing business database at an earlier stage in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). Currently, developers are only included in the database once their application is certified. Powers’ bill would require that they are listed once they apply to start the certification process, moving the timeline of their inclusion in the database up by a few months.</p> <p>“Sometimes, years before the ULURP, developers can be talking with the administration,” he said, highlighting the necessity of the bill.</p> <p>

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

Read more by this writer.

&nbsp;</p>
NYPD Pushes Back Against Calls to Reform Special Victims Division 2018-04-09T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-09T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7602:nypd-pushes-back-against-calls-to-reform-special-victims-division Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/nypd_council_hearing_rape.jpg" alt="nypd council hearing rape" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>NYPD reps at Monday's hearing (photo: @NYCCouncil)</p> <hr /> <p>At a tense oversight hearing examining the NYPD's response to sex crimes on Monday, the NYPD opposed all four bills introduced by the City Council in response to a Department of Investigation report released two weeks earlier.</p> <p>The bills seek to require evidence-based models to determine staffing levels for the Special Victims Division, more training for sex crimes detectives, and a digital, searchable case management system for the SVD.</p> <p>On March 27, following a year-long investigation, the DOI released <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doi/reports/pdf/2018/Mar/SVDReport_32718.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a report</a> stating that the NYPD's Special Victims Division has been chronically understaffed for years, with only 67 detectives available to investigate roughly 5,600 sex crimes per year (ranging from rape to groping).</p> <p>As a result, “a full exhaustive work effort [for every sex crime investigation] has not been possible," wrote Michael Osgood, Deputy Chief of the Special Victims Division, in one of the many internal correspondences Osgood sent to NYPD higher-ups asking for more investigators and included in the DOI report.</p> <p>Osgood did not testify at the hearing.</p> <p>Advocates, sexual assault survivors, a former Special Victims sergeant, and other members of the NYPD testified before the City Council regarding the NYPD's handling of sex crimes. While survivors, advocates, and the former Special Victims sergeant say the NYPD needs to act to improve the experience of victims who report their assaults, the NYPD claims no need for improvement.</p> <p>The hearing was led by Council Members Donovan Richards, chair of the Committee on Public Safety, and Helen Rosenthal, chair of the Committee on Women.</p> <p>Officially, the NYPD has 90 days to respond to the DOI's findings, which NYPD officials repeated several times at the hearing when asked specific questions.</p> <p>But in an informal response issued on&nbsp;<a href="http://nypdnews.com/2018/03/nypd-response-office-inspector-generals-report-special-victims-division/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">its website</a>, the NYPD rebutted the DOI's findings, calling its report "an investigation in name only" and stating there are 85 detectives available to investigate adult sex crimes, not 67.</p> <p>"The number of detectives assigned to actively investigate adult sex crimes is 67 (not 85) and the NYPD did not dispute that number last Friday when we discussed the report with NYPD officials," the DOI said in a statement issued in response.</p> <p>By Monday morning, the NYPD had added another 20 detectives to the Special Victims Division, 15 from patrol, five from detectives squads. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that brought the total number of detectives assigned to investigate adult sex crimes to 100 (but did not account for the 100 being less than the 20 he said they added and the 85 the NYPD previously asserted).</p> <p>Boyce’s testimony indicates the city now has 100 detectives to investigate 5,600 sex crimes annually.</p> <p>For comparison, homicide investigations are similar in length and complexity to sexual assault investigations, and the city's homicide squads had 101 detectives to investigate 282 homicides in 2017, according to the DOI report.</p> <p>The DOI made 12 recommendations, including that the NYPD hire 73 additional detectives "to meet the minimum investigative capacity required by an evidence-backed and nationally-accepted staffing analysis model" known as the Prummel model.</p> <p>The DOI also said the NYPD should increase training for adult sex crimes detectives, invest in a new case management system, and renovate or relocate the facilities of all the special victims units that handle adult sex crimes.</p> <p>"Investigators are not properly trained, facilities are not suitable, and wait times are extensive. It is no wonder that victims don’t report more often," said Council Member Richards at Monday’s hearing. "And it seems that NYPD leadership is just fine with victims of sex crimes being ignored."</p> <p>Chief of Patrol Terrence Monahan, Deputy Commissioner of Collaborative Policing Susan Herman, and Director of Legislative Affairs Oleg Chernyavsky testified before the Council. Chief of Detectives Boyce, who is on the verge of retirement from the NYPD, was also seated at the table and fielded questions. Though Council members said they wanted to hear from Chief Osgood as head of the Special Victims Division, the four NYPD officials seated at the table took virtually all of the questions, along with some terse interjections from Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Larry Byrne.</p> <p>By and large, NYPD officials asserted that the department takes rape seriously, that both staffing and training are adequate, and that their electronic case management system is sufficient.</p> <p>Chernyavsky said that the bills requiring additional training would "dilute the police commissioner’s authority by dictating a particular method and duration of training."</p> <p>In response to Council Member Debi Rose's bill requiring the NYPD to use evidence-based models to determine appropriate staffing levels for the Special Victims Division, Chernyavsky said, "The requirements of this bill, however, erode and encroach upon the most basic responsibilities of the police commissioner to manage this agency and its personnel."</p> <p>However, Chernyavsky's response ignores the fact that the head of the Special Victims Division requested additional staffing from multiple commissioners over the course of years. The DOI report includes dozens of pages of internal NYPD communications wherein Osgood repeatedly requests additional investigators to be added to the division.</p> <p>As the DOI report notes, the caseload of the city's adult sex crimes detectives has increased by 65.3 percent since 2009, when there were 72 detectives.</p> <p>"I cannot understand how anyone can argue with these recommendations," said retired Special Victims Sergeant Michael Bock, who worked with the division for years. "None will be detrimental to investigations. What are we afraid of?"</p> <p>Bock appeared before the Council after the NYPD representatives, none of whom stayed to hear his testimony. The department left behind two people to monitor the rest of the hearing.</p> <p>Despite assurances from the NYPD that the SVD is adequately staffed, that training is sufficient, and that the division's electronic case management system is adequate, the testimonies of many sexual assault victims and advocates indicate otherwise.</p> <p>As one woman, Desdemona Meck, testified, "Two months after moving to New York City, two men attempted to rape me in the Bronx." A few hours after the assault, she received a rape kit and reported the rape to the precinct.</p> <p>"The detective told me I have to learn to be smarter in New York City, that I should toughen up, and in the future not be so nice to strangers. She went on to ask me if I was positive I hadn't somehow made it seem as though the sex was something I had wanted."</p> <p>Meck said the detective's reaction made her feel "shameful." Meck went on to identify both of the assailants through mugshots. The detective deterred Meck from bringing the case to trial. "She seemed confident in her belief that spending more time on the case would be a waste."</p> <p>Advocates who testified at the hearing like Mary Haviland, Jane Manning, Christopher Bromson, and Angela Fernandez have worked very closely with both the NYPD and sexual assault victims for years. Some attend private meetings with NYPD officials, have attended trainings for Special Victims detectives and have likewise had those detectives attend their advocate trainings.</p> <p>Haviland, executive director of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, is currently involved in an audit of closed sex crimes cases. Bromson, the executive director of the Crime Victims Treatment Center, and Manning, head of Women's Justice NOW, have assisted many sexual assault victims who have come to their organizations for help, often after reporting their rape to the NYPD goes awry.</p> <p>"The fact that Chief Boyce could sit without a smile on his face and say that the SVD could follow up with victims is just not the reality," Haviland said. "They are not able to follow up with victims who come in. They are not able to give explanations for dropped cases or the results of rape kits."</p> <p>"This issue of inadequate staff and inadequate training is something that advocates have been bringing up to the NYPD for years, we've been pleading for those things for years," said Manning.</p> <p>Fernandez represents a different group of advocates who were largely not present at the hearing -- ones who work in hospitals running programs for sexual assault survivors. As the DOI report notes, sexual assault victims often have to wait hours to see a detective after reporting their assault and getting a rape kit done in a hospital. Detectives are supposed to come to the victim in the hospital, but that doesn't always happen.</p> <p>"One service provider described how a client spent the entire night at a hospital waiting for an SVD detective to arrive," DOI investigators wrote in their report. "When no detective showed up, the victim, thoroughly discouraged, decided against reporting the crime to the police and went home."</p> <p>Over the weekend, the NYPD rolled out a public awareness campaign aimed at increasing reporting of sex crimes.</p> <p>Yet without more detectives assigned to investigate reported sex crimes, some victims who report their assaults will continue to suffer in the ways advocates and victims described at the hearing.</p> <p>Both Council Members Rosenthal and Rose expressed concern over the NYPD's mixed messages -- at the same time they have put out a public awareness campaign to get more people to report their sexual assault, they have also been reluctant to add more staff to the division responsible for investigating those sexual assaults.</p> <p>"With the increase in reporting, will there be enough personnel to handle these cases?" Rose asked. "It is imperative that they have enough staff to investigate these cases, to avoid the re-victimization of the people who step forward."</p> <p>The NYPD's refusal to allocate adequate resources to the Special Victims Division has far-reaching consequences for victims of sexual assault and discourages victims of sexual assault from coming forward to report what happened to them. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill did say recently that when he names a replacement for the retiring Boyce as chief of detectives, that person will do a full review of the SVD.</p> <p>While the NYPD currently maintains that they have an adequate number of investigators staffing the SVD, Bock, the recently retired Special Victims sergeant, says otherwise.</p> <p>"I really believe the DOI report nailed it. The NYPD's denial is upsetting," Bock said. "For a long time, the running joke in the [Special Victims] office was, 'Can I have another cinder block as I'm swimming in the pool?'...Having 20 open cases on your screen doesn't feel good."</p> <p>

***
by Meg O'Connor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/nypd_council_hearing_rape.jpg" alt="nypd council hearing rape" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>NYPD reps at Monday's hearing (photo: @NYCCouncil)</p> <hr /> <p>At a tense oversight hearing examining the NYPD's response to sex crimes on Monday, the NYPD opposed all four bills introduced by the City Council in response to a Department of Investigation report released two weeks earlier.</p> <p>The bills seek to require evidence-based models to determine staffing levels for the Special Victims Division, more training for sex crimes detectives, and a digital, searchable case management system for the SVD.</p> <p>On March 27, following a year-long investigation, the DOI released <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doi/reports/pdf/2018/Mar/SVDReport_32718.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a report</a> stating that the NYPD's Special Victims Division has been chronically understaffed for years, with only 67 detectives available to investigate roughly 5,600 sex crimes per year (ranging from rape to groping).</p> <p>As a result, “a full exhaustive work effort [for every sex crime investigation] has not been possible," wrote Michael Osgood, Deputy Chief of the Special Victims Division, in one of the many internal correspondences Osgood sent to NYPD higher-ups asking for more investigators and included in the DOI report.</p> <p>Osgood did not testify at the hearing.</p> <p>Advocates, sexual assault survivors, a former Special Victims sergeant, and other members of the NYPD testified before the City Council regarding the NYPD's handling of sex crimes. While survivors, advocates, and the former Special Victims sergeant say the NYPD needs to act to improve the experience of victims who report their assaults, the NYPD claims no need for improvement.</p> <p>The hearing was led by Council Members Donovan Richards, chair of the Committee on Public Safety, and Helen Rosenthal, chair of the Committee on Women.</p> <p>Officially, the NYPD has 90 days to respond to the DOI's findings, which NYPD officials repeated several times at the hearing when asked specific questions.</p> <p>But in an informal response issued on&nbsp;<a href="http://nypdnews.com/2018/03/nypd-response-office-inspector-generals-report-special-victims-division/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">its website</a>, the NYPD rebutted the DOI's findings, calling its report "an investigation in name only" and stating there are 85 detectives available to investigate adult sex crimes, not 67.</p> <p>"The number of detectives assigned to actively investigate adult sex crimes is 67 (not 85) and the NYPD did not dispute that number last Friday when we discussed the report with NYPD officials," the DOI said in a statement issued in response.</p> <p>By Monday morning, the NYPD had added another 20 detectives to the Special Victims Division, 15 from patrol, five from detectives squads. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that brought the total number of detectives assigned to investigate adult sex crimes to 100 (but did not account for the 100 being less than the 20 he said they added and the 85 the NYPD previously asserted).</p> <p>Boyce’s testimony indicates the city now has 100 detectives to investigate 5,600 sex crimes annually.</p> <p>For comparison, homicide investigations are similar in length and complexity to sexual assault investigations, and the city's homicide squads had 101 detectives to investigate 282 homicides in 2017, according to the DOI report.</p> <p>The DOI made 12 recommendations, including that the NYPD hire 73 additional detectives "to meet the minimum investigative capacity required by an evidence-backed and nationally-accepted staffing analysis model" known as the Prummel model.</p> <p>The DOI also said the NYPD should increase training for adult sex crimes detectives, invest in a new case management system, and renovate or relocate the facilities of all the special victims units that handle adult sex crimes.</p> <p>"Investigators are not properly trained, facilities are not suitable, and wait times are extensive. It is no wonder that victims don’t report more often," said Council Member Richards at Monday’s hearing. "And it seems that NYPD leadership is just fine with victims of sex crimes being ignored."</p> <p>Chief of Patrol Terrence Monahan, Deputy Commissioner of Collaborative Policing Susan Herman, and Director of Legislative Affairs Oleg Chernyavsky testified before the Council. Chief of Detectives Boyce, who is on the verge of retirement from the NYPD, was also seated at the table and fielded questions. Though Council members said they wanted to hear from Chief Osgood as head of the Special Victims Division, the four NYPD officials seated at the table took virtually all of the questions, along with some terse interjections from Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Larry Byrne.</p> <p>By and large, NYPD officials asserted that the department takes rape seriously, that both staffing and training are adequate, and that their electronic case management system is sufficient.</p> <p>Chernyavsky said that the bills requiring additional training would "dilute the police commissioner’s authority by dictating a particular method and duration of training."</p> <p>In response to Council Member Debi Rose's bill requiring the NYPD to use evidence-based models to determine appropriate staffing levels for the Special Victims Division, Chernyavsky said, "The requirements of this bill, however, erode and encroach upon the most basic responsibilities of the police commissioner to manage this agency and its personnel."</p> <p>However, Chernyavsky's response ignores the fact that the head of the Special Victims Division requested additional staffing from multiple commissioners over the course of years. The DOI report includes dozens of pages of internal NYPD communications wherein Osgood repeatedly requests additional investigators to be added to the division.</p> <p>As the DOI report notes, the caseload of the city's adult sex crimes detectives has increased by 65.3 percent since 2009, when there were 72 detectives.</p> <p>"I cannot understand how anyone can argue with these recommendations," said retired Special Victims Sergeant Michael Bock, who worked with the division for years. "None will be detrimental to investigations. What are we afraid of?"</p> <p>Bock appeared before the Council after the NYPD representatives, none of whom stayed to hear his testimony. The department left behind two people to monitor the rest of the hearing.</p> <p>Despite assurances from the NYPD that the SVD is adequately staffed, that training is sufficient, and that the division's electronic case management system is adequate, the testimonies of many sexual assault victims and advocates indicate otherwise.</p> <p>As one woman, Desdemona Meck, testified, "Two months after moving to New York City, two men attempted to rape me in the Bronx." A few hours after the assault, she received a rape kit and reported the rape to the precinct.</p> <p>"The detective told me I have to learn to be smarter in New York City, that I should toughen up, and in the future not be so nice to strangers. She went on to ask me if I was positive I hadn't somehow made it seem as though the sex was something I had wanted."</p> <p>Meck said the detective's reaction made her feel "shameful." Meck went on to identify both of the assailants through mugshots. The detective deterred Meck from bringing the case to trial. "She seemed confident in her belief that spending more time on the case would be a waste."</p> <p>Advocates who testified at the hearing like Mary Haviland, Jane Manning, Christopher Bromson, and Angela Fernandez have worked very closely with both the NYPD and sexual assault victims for years. Some attend private meetings with NYPD officials, have attended trainings for Special Victims detectives and have likewise had those detectives attend their advocate trainings.</p> <p>Haviland, executive director of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, is currently involved in an audit of closed sex crimes cases. Bromson, the executive director of the Crime Victims Treatment Center, and Manning, head of Women's Justice NOW, have assisted many sexual assault victims who have come to their organizations for help, often after reporting their rape to the NYPD goes awry.</p> <p>"The fact that Chief Boyce could sit without a smile on his face and say that the SVD could follow up with victims is just not the reality," Haviland said. "They are not able to follow up with victims who come in. They are not able to give explanations for dropped cases or the results of rape kits."</p> <p>"This issue of inadequate staff and inadequate training is something that advocates have been bringing up to the NYPD for years, we've been pleading for those things for years," said Manning.</p> <p>Fernandez represents a different group of advocates who were largely not present at the hearing -- ones who work in hospitals running programs for sexual assault survivors. As the DOI report notes, sexual assault victims often have to wait hours to see a detective after reporting their assault and getting a rape kit done in a hospital. Detectives are supposed to come to the victim in the hospital, but that doesn't always happen.</p> <p>"One service provider described how a client spent the entire night at a hospital waiting for an SVD detective to arrive," DOI investigators wrote in their report. "When no detective showed up, the victim, thoroughly discouraged, decided against reporting the crime to the police and went home."</p> <p>Over the weekend, the NYPD rolled out a public awareness campaign aimed at increasing reporting of sex crimes.</p> <p>Yet without more detectives assigned to investigate reported sex crimes, some victims who report their assaults will continue to suffer in the ways advocates and victims described at the hearing.</p> <p>Both Council Members Rosenthal and Rose expressed concern over the NYPD's mixed messages -- at the same time they have put out a public awareness campaign to get more people to report their sexual assault, they have also been reluctant to add more staff to the division responsible for investigating those sexual assaults.</p> <p>"With the increase in reporting, will there be enough personnel to handle these cases?" Rose asked. "It is imperative that they have enough staff to investigate these cases, to avoid the re-victimization of the people who step forward."</p> <p>The NYPD's refusal to allocate adequate resources to the Special Victims Division has far-reaching consequences for victims of sexual assault and discourages victims of sexual assault from coming forward to report what happened to them. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill did say recently that when he names a replacement for the retiring Boyce as chief of detectives, that person will do a full review of the SVD.</p> <p>While the NYPD currently maintains that they have an adequate number of investigators staffing the SVD, Bock, the recently retired Special Victims sergeant, says otherwise.</p> <p>"I really believe the DOI report nailed it. The NYPD's denial is upsetting," Bock said. "For a long time, the running joke in the [Special Victims] office was, 'Can I have another cinder block as I'm swimming in the pool?'...Having 20 open cases on your screen doesn't feel good."</p> <p>

***
by Meg O'Connor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Council Members Renew Call for Task Force on NYPD Response to Emotionally Disturbed Persons 2018-04-09T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-09T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7603:council-members-renew-call-for-task-force-on-nypd-response-to-emotionally-disturbed-persons Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/41194192502_5bec2c68c3_z.jpg" alt="de Blasio NYPD" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>Mayor de Blasio &amp; top NYPD officials (photo:&nbsp;Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>In August of last year, shortly after NYPD officers shot to death an emotionally disturbed man in his apartment, City Council Member Jumaane Williams led an effort calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to set up a task force to conduct a wholesale review of the police department’s protocols in dealing with “emotionally disturbed persons,” or EDPs. Almost eight months later, with many in the city again reeling from the fatal shooting of an emotionally disturbed man at the hands of the NYPD, the mayor has continued to vacillate on the request.</p> <p>“It seems to me that there’s systemic failure there,” said Williams in a phone interview. The initial request was made in a letter dated August 11 and co-signed by Council Members Ritchie Torres and Robert Cornegy representing the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Ben Kallos representing the Progressive Caucus, and Council Member Andrew Cohen, who was then chair of the Council’s mental health committee.</p> <p>The letter was sent shortly after the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/nyregion/police-fatally-shoot-man-in-brooklyn.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shooting death of Dwayne Jeune</a>, a 32-year-old resident of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, in Williams’ district. Jeune was tazed and then shot by officers, who responded to a 911 call from his mother, when he advanced on them with a knife. Jeune’s mother had told a 911 caller that her son was mentally ill and was not acting violently. In January, the Jeune family <a href="http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/01/24/dwayne-jeune-family-lawsuit/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">filed</a> a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, seeking $20 million in damages.</p> <p>Since then, even though police officials have signaled support for the task force proposal, there has been little action.</p> <p>The letter called for a task force to be convened and for it to complete its work within 60 days, conducting a top-to-bottom review of NYPD protocols; the department’s implementation of recommendations made last year by the NYPD Inspector General; and a look at how the administration’s much-touted Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) can be integrated with the 911 system. The Council members insisted that the task force include the chairs of the Council’s Committees on Mental Health and on Public Safety, mental health and police reform advocates, and people directly affected by officer-involved shootings.</p> <p>“We keep having people who simply need help end up dead because they reached out in times of emergency,” the letter reads. “The natural consequence of this will be those New Yorkers suffering from episodes of poor mental health, as well as their loved ones, hesitating to ask for help from emergency services.”</p> <p>The mayor himself showed initial reluctance to agree to the proposal. At an unrelated news conference on August 3, after Williams had first floated the idea, de Blasio said, “I don’t personally see the need for a specific task force because I think it’s an area of tremendous concern right now both at City Hall and at the NYPD to continue to improve the NYPD’s ability to address situations involving emotionally disturbed people.”</p> <p>The number of 911 calls regarding EDPs, de Blasio noted, were “staggering,” about 150,000 the prior year. “[I] would say given the intense concern at City Hall related to mental health and the focus the NYPD has put on it, the right ideas are in place. We now have to just continue to deepen our implementation of those ideas,” he said, touting the ThriveNYC mental health program and the NYPD’s Crisis Intervention Training for officers to handle situations involving people with mental illness.</p> <p>But the city hasn’t gone far enough, say the Council members who signed the August letter and who, in the aftermath of the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/nyregion/police-shooting-brooklyn-crown-heights.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shooting death of Saheed Vassell</a> in Crown Heights, Brooklyn last week, are renewing their push for the task force. “It’s seven months later and nothing’s happened,” said Williams. “It’s concerning. The NYPD is ready and willing but now it’s on City Hall.”</p> <p>“You have to look at what’s happening from a bird’s-eye view,” he added, “because we can’t just keep going along with the status quo where people in crisis, who need mental health treatment, are being killed.”</p> <p>The Daily News <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/families-mentally-ill-fear-calling-police-turn-deadly-article-1.3917552" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently reported</a> that only about 8,200 of the NYPD's 36,000-member force have gone through the CIT training.</p> <p>As far back as September, the NYPD expressed support for the task force. At a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=594668&amp;GUID=A2F70681-F3CB-4047-B66D-E86578DF6F34&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">hearing</a> of the public safety committee last month, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Susan Herman reiterated that support, for either a new working group or reconstituting the mayor’s 2014 Task Force on Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice. “[W]e have been continuing to work even as that hasn’t yet happened,” Herman said. “We did a pretty substantial review within the police department of our response to people who are mentally ill quite recently and are in the process of implementing several recommendations. So the work has continued.”</p> <p>When could they expect to hear news of the task force, Williams asked.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“It’s really a City Hall conversation,” Herman responded. &nbsp;</p> <p>Mayoral spokesperson Eric Phillips did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this article.</p> <p>“Obviously the most recent tragedies kind of highlight the fact that we need that task force,” said Council Member Cornegy, at City Hall on Monday, saying he would directly reach out to the mayor’s office to see if there has been movement on the request. He did say that he had “heard through the grapevine” that the NYPD is in the process of setting up the unit but that there had been no official word of how far along it was.</p> <p>Cornegy said he is proposing a bill that would create a separate crisis hotline for EDPs, similar to 911 and 311. “NYPD should not necessarily be required to come out and be the first line of defense when you have mental health situations, whether they are egregious or whether they’re mid-level,” he said, noting that Saheed Vassell had past encounters with the police because of the lack of an alternate system. “I believe and the [Vassell] family believes that if that step had been available to them early on then they may have had a better treatment plan for his success as a person living with mental illness in the community.”</p> <p>Council Member Cohen, similarly, introduced a number of bills late last year (which were reintroduced this year) that would require the NYPD to provide more data regarding interactions with people suffering from mental illness.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7375-bills-seek-to-examine-nypd-interactions-with-emotionally-disturbed-persons-prevent-tragedies" target="_blank">Bills Seek to Examine NYPD Interactions with ‘Emotionally Disturbed Persons,’ Prevent Tragedies</a>]</p> <p>“I think that there’s more information needed about EDP calls,” Cohen said outside the Council chambers on Monday. “It seems to me...the people who are getting shot by the NYPD seem to be disproportionately EDPs…These tragedies are mounting so time is of the essence. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to get a response. That’s something you’re going to have ask the other side of the building.”</p> <p>Police reform advocates have long criticized the mayor and his administration for not acting urgently enough, particularly at a time when a national conversation is happening around the killing of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers and the lack of accountability by police departments. “I think absolutely the mayor has show he’s not giving real credit to these calls from the Council members for a task force,” said Yul-san Liem, a representative of Communities United for Police Reform and co-director of the Justice Committee. “At the same time, people in distress, people who are mentally ill, are still being brutalized and killed...We need a complete overhaul of how we treat people in emotional distress or with psychological disabilities.</p> <p>Liem noted that after each incident in the recent past involving use of force against mentally ill people, the administration has fallen back on the argument that they are continually training and retraining officers to handle such situations. “But that’s really rhetoric to shield the police force from accountability and making substantial changes.”</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/2018/41194192502_5bec2c68c3_z.jpg" alt="de Blasio NYPD" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>Mayor de Blasio &amp; top NYPD officials (photo:&nbsp;Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>In August of last year, shortly after NYPD officers shot to death an emotionally disturbed man in his apartment, City Council Member Jumaane Williams led an effort calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to set up a task force to conduct a wholesale review of the police department’s protocols in dealing with “emotionally disturbed persons,” or EDPs. Almost eight months later, with many in the city again reeling from the fatal shooting of an emotionally disturbed man at the hands of the NYPD, the mayor has continued to vacillate on the request.</p> <p>“It seems to me that there’s systemic failure there,” said Williams in a phone interview. The initial request was made in a letter dated August 11 and co-signed by Council Members Ritchie Torres and Robert Cornegy representing the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Ben Kallos representing the Progressive Caucus, and Council Member Andrew Cohen, who was then chair of the Council’s mental health committee.</p> <p>The letter was sent shortly after the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/nyregion/police-fatally-shoot-man-in-brooklyn.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shooting death of Dwayne Jeune</a>, a 32-year-old resident of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, in Williams’ district. Jeune was tazed and then shot by officers, who responded to a 911 call from his mother, when he advanced on them with a knife. Jeune’s mother had told a 911 caller that her son was mentally ill and was not acting violently. In January, the Jeune family <a href="http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/01/24/dwayne-jeune-family-lawsuit/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">filed</a> a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, seeking $20 million in damages.</p> <p>Since then, even though police officials have signaled support for the task force proposal, there has been little action.</p> <p>The letter called for a task force to be convened and for it to complete its work within 60 days, conducting a top-to-bottom review of NYPD protocols; the department’s implementation of recommendations made last year by the NYPD Inspector General; and a look at how the administration’s much-touted Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) can be integrated with the 911 system. The Council members insisted that the task force include the chairs of the Council’s Committees on Mental Health and on Public Safety, mental health and police reform advocates, and people directly affected by officer-involved shootings.</p> <p>“We keep having people who simply need help end up dead because they reached out in times of emergency,” the letter reads. “The natural consequence of this will be those New Yorkers suffering from episodes of poor mental health, as well as their loved ones, hesitating to ask for help from emergency services.”</p> <p>The mayor himself showed initial reluctance to agree to the proposal. At an unrelated news conference on August 3, after Williams had first floated the idea, de Blasio said, “I don’t personally see the need for a specific task force because I think it’s an area of tremendous concern right now both at City Hall and at the NYPD to continue to improve the NYPD’s ability to address situations involving emotionally disturbed people.”</p> <p>The number of 911 calls regarding EDPs, de Blasio noted, were “staggering,” about 150,000 the prior year. “[I] would say given the intense concern at City Hall related to mental health and the focus the NYPD has put on it, the right ideas are in place. We now have to just continue to deepen our implementation of those ideas,” he said, touting the ThriveNYC mental health program and the NYPD’s Crisis Intervention Training for officers to handle situations involving people with mental illness.</p> <p>But the city hasn’t gone far enough, say the Council members who signed the August letter and who, in the aftermath of the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/nyregion/police-shooting-brooklyn-crown-heights.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shooting death of Saheed Vassell</a> in Crown Heights, Brooklyn last week, are renewing their push for the task force. “It’s seven months later and nothing’s happened,” said Williams. “It’s concerning. The NYPD is ready and willing but now it’s on City Hall.”</p> <p>“You have to look at what’s happening from a bird’s-eye view,” he added, “because we can’t just keep going along with the status quo where people in crisis, who need mental health treatment, are being killed.”</p> <p>The Daily News <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/families-mentally-ill-fear-calling-police-turn-deadly-article-1.3917552" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently reported</a> that only about 8,200 of the NYPD's 36,000-member force have gone through the CIT training.</p> <p>As far back as September, the NYPD expressed support for the task force. At a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=594668&amp;GUID=A2F70681-F3CB-4047-B66D-E86578DF6F34&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">hearing</a> of the public safety committee last month, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Susan Herman reiterated that support, for either a new working group or reconstituting the mayor’s 2014 Task Force on Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice. “[W]e have been continuing to work even as that hasn’t yet happened,” Herman said. “We did a pretty substantial review within the police department of our response to people who are mentally ill quite recently and are in the process of implementing several recommendations. So the work has continued.”</p> <p>When could they expect to hear news of the task force, Williams asked.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“It’s really a City Hall conversation,” Herman responded. &nbsp;</p> <p>Mayoral spokesperson Eric Phillips did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this article.</p> <p>“Obviously the most recent tragedies kind of highlight the fact that we need that task force,” said Council Member Cornegy, at City Hall on Monday, saying he would directly reach out to the mayor’s office to see if there has been movement on the request. He did say that he had “heard through the grapevine” that the NYPD is in the process of setting up the unit but that there had been no official word of how far along it was.</p> <p>Cornegy said he is proposing a bill that would create a separate crisis hotline for EDPs, similar to 911 and 311. “NYPD should not necessarily be required to come out and be the first line of defense when you have mental health situations, whether they are egregious or whether they’re mid-level,” he said, noting that Saheed Vassell had past encounters with the police because of the lack of an alternate system. “I believe and the [Vassell] family believes that if that step had been available to them early on then they may have had a better treatment plan for his success as a person living with mental illness in the community.”</p> <p>Council Member Cohen, similarly, introduced a number of bills late last year (which were reintroduced this year) that would require the NYPD to provide more data regarding interactions with people suffering from mental illness.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7375-bills-seek-to-examine-nypd-interactions-with-emotionally-disturbed-persons-prevent-tragedies" target="_blank">Bills Seek to Examine NYPD Interactions with ‘Emotionally Disturbed Persons,’ Prevent Tragedies</a>]</p> <p>“I think that there’s more information needed about EDP calls,” Cohen said outside the Council chambers on Monday. “It seems to me...the people who are getting shot by the NYPD seem to be disproportionately EDPs…These tragedies are mounting so time is of the essence. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to get a response. That’s something you’re going to have ask the other side of the building.”</p> <p>Police reform advocates have long criticized the mayor and his administration for not acting urgently enough, particularly at a time when a national conversation is happening around the killing of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers and the lack of accountability by police departments. “I think absolutely the mayor has show he’s not giving real credit to these calls from the Council members for a task force,” said Yul-san Liem, a representative of Communities United for Police Reform and co-director of the Justice Committee. “At the same time, people in distress, people who are mentally ill, are still being brutalized and killed...We need a complete overhaul of how we treat people in emotional distress or with psychological disabilities.</p> <p>Liem noted that after each incident in the recent past involving use of force against mentally ill people, the administration has fallen back on the argument that they are continually training and retraining officers to handle such situations. “But that’s really rhetoric to shield the police force from accountability and making substantial changes.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
With Tweaks, City Council Passes Charter Revision Commission Bill 2018-04-08T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-08T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7596:with-tweaks-city-council-charter-revision-commission-bill-expected-to-pass Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/27049305848_cfc450cd4a_z.jpg" alt="Government Operations" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>Council Member Cabrera and others (photo: John McCarten/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p><em>Note: The City Council passed this bill on Wednesday, April 11</em></p> <p>The New York City Council is moving ahead with a bill to create a Charter Revision Commission to review the city charter, the city’s seminal governing document, with a committee vote on the bill set for Tuesday, and the full Council likely to vote it through on Wednesday. The Council’s commission is a separate effort from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s own commission, called by the mayor a few weeks ago.</p> <p>On Tuesday, the Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations will hold a hearing on the latest version of its bill, whose prime sponsors are Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Ben Kallos (at the request of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.) James and Brewer initially put forth the idea last year, and Johnson got behind the effort after being elected speaker in January, when a new Council class was seated.</p> <p>The committee, chaired by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, is set to vote through the adjusted bill, which has added several measures since <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7547-city-council-hears-bill-on-charter-revision-commission" target="_blank">the first hearing in mid-March</a>, and a spokesperson for Johnson confirmed in an email that the bill is set to pass the full Council.</p> <p>The Council’s commission will have 15 members charged with analyzing the broad structure and functions of city government, and is expected to carry out its work into next year. It’s recommendations will be presented to voters in the form of referenda, which Brewer, James, and others are hoping to see included on the ballot for the 2019 general election.</p> <p>Of the 15 members, four each will be appointed by the mayor and Council speaker, while one each will be chosen by the five borough presidents, the public advocate, and the comptroller. The speaker will also appoint the chair of the commission. All those elected officials have come out in support of the proposal, except for de Blasio, who has insisted on a more limited mandate for his own commission, which some suspect he organized to preempt the Brewer-James-Johnson effort. Though by law it can review any aspect of city government, de Blasio’s commission is tasked by the mayor with looking at election administration, voter participation, and reducing the influence of money in politics.</p> <p>De Blasio has said he wants his commission’s recommendations on the ballot this November.</p> <p>Seemingly in response to the mayor’s reluctance to join the Council’s effort, the latest version of the Council’s proposal was amended to require that appointments be made in 60 days or forfeited.</p> <p>The bill also added transparency provisions which government reform advocates had called for at <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7547-city-council-hears-bill-on-charter-revision-commission" target="_blank">the March 16 hearing on the bill</a>. The commission will be subject to the state Freedom of Information Law, and will have to maintain a website with hearing agendas and transcripts, and webcast hearings. "We are pleased the Council has made amendments Reinvent Albany favored,” said Alex Camarda, senior policy advisor for Reinvent Albany, one of the groups that testified at the Marc hearing. “This is a good sign a Council-convened commission will be open and transparent.”</p> <p>Proponents of the Council’s commission envision that it will explore everything from the power of the City Council in city budgeting and over mayoral appointees to greater scrutiny for city agencies and the role of communities in the city’s land use process.</p> <p>On March 15, a day before the Council’s hearing, de Blasio announced the appointments of chair, vice chair, and the executive director of his commission but he has yet to name the rest of its members. At an unrelated news conference last week, he said, “[W]e’ll be naming the members very shortly.”</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/2018/27049305848_cfc450cd4a_z.jpg" alt="Government Operations" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>Council Member Cabrera and others (photo: John McCarten/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p><em>Note: The City Council passed this bill on Wednesday, April 11</em></p> <p>The New York City Council is moving ahead with a bill to create a Charter Revision Commission to review the city charter, the city’s seminal governing document, with a committee vote on the bill set for Tuesday, and the full Council likely to vote it through on Wednesday. The Council’s commission is a separate effort from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s own commission, called by the mayor a few weeks ago.</p> <p>On Tuesday, the Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations will hold a hearing on the latest version of its bill, whose prime sponsors are Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Ben Kallos (at the request of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.) James and Brewer initially put forth the idea last year, and Johnson got behind the effort after being elected speaker in January, when a new Council class was seated.</p> <p>The committee, chaired by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, is set to vote through the adjusted bill, which has added several measures since <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7547-city-council-hears-bill-on-charter-revision-commission" target="_blank">the first hearing in mid-March</a>, and a spokesperson for Johnson confirmed in an email that the bill is set to pass the full Council.</p> <p>The Council’s commission will have 15 members charged with analyzing the broad structure and functions of city government, and is expected to carry out its work into next year. It’s recommendations will be presented to voters in the form of referenda, which Brewer, James, and others are hoping to see included on the ballot for the 2019 general election.</p> <p>Of the 15 members, four each will be appointed by the mayor and Council speaker, while one each will be chosen by the five borough presidents, the public advocate, and the comptroller. The speaker will also appoint the chair of the commission. All those elected officials have come out in support of the proposal, except for de Blasio, who has insisted on a more limited mandate for his own commission, which some suspect he organized to preempt the Brewer-James-Johnson effort. Though by law it can review any aspect of city government, de Blasio’s commission is tasked by the mayor with looking at election administration, voter participation, and reducing the influence of money in politics.</p> <p>De Blasio has said he wants his commission’s recommendations on the ballot this November.</p> <p>Seemingly in response to the mayor’s reluctance to join the Council’s effort, the latest version of the Council’s proposal was amended to require that appointments be made in 60 days or forfeited.</p> <p>The bill also added transparency provisions which government reform advocates had called for at <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7547-city-council-hears-bill-on-charter-revision-commission" target="_blank">the March 16 hearing on the bill</a>. The commission will be subject to the state Freedom of Information Law, and will have to maintain a website with hearing agendas and transcripts, and webcast hearings. "We are pleased the Council has made amendments Reinvent Albany favored,” said Alex Camarda, senior policy advisor for Reinvent Albany, one of the groups that testified at the Marc hearing. “This is a good sign a Council-convened commission will be open and transparent.”</p> <p>Proponents of the Council’s commission envision that it will explore everything from the power of the City Council in city budgeting and over mayoral appointees to greater scrutiny for city agencies and the role of communities in the city’s land use process.</p> <p>On March 15, a day before the Council’s hearing, de Blasio announced the appointments of chair, vice chair, and the executive director of his commission but he has yet to name the rest of its members. At an unrelated news conference last week, he said, “[W]e’ll be naming the members very shortly.”</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, April 9 2018-04-08T04:00:00+00:00 2018-04-08T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7594:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-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>This week we’re continuing to digest and analyze both the <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7587-key-takeaways-how-the-state-budget-impacts-new-york-city" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently-passed state budget</a> and the recently-announced Democratic unity deal reached among Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, and others. According to Klein, he is on the verge of dissolving the IDC and becoming Stewart-Cousins’ deputy.</p> <p>The unification deal comes after the new budget, which <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7591-cuomo-turns-budget-failures-into-justification-for-democratic-unity" target="_blank" rel="noopener">did not include many Democratic priorities, and Cuomo said was added motivation</a> to broker the deal. It also comes just before the April 24 special elections for 11 Assembly and Senate seats, including the crucial Senate District 37 race in Westchester, which Democrats need to win to have a chance to form a 32-seat majority in the chamber before November. Even with wins in that race and the Senate race in the Bronx, which is a virtual lock, Democrats would have 31 seats and need to woo Senator Simcha Felder to their conference. Either way, Cuomo indicated at one point that the true goal is more Democratic victories come November, though he did <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7593-cuomo-state-democrats-issue-misleading-pleas-about-flipping-senate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">indicate something different</a> in an email blast through the State Democratic Party, wherein he said that a Westchester victory would give the party a 32-seat majority.</p> <p>This is <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7581-in-run-for-governor-marc-molinaro-will-make-a-character-argument" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Republican Marc Molinaro’s</a> second week as a fully-declared gubernatorial candidate, while Cynthia Nixon continues her campaign, starting Monday night with a birthday fundraiser. They’ll continue their attacks on Governor Cuomo from the right and the left, respectively, but also <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7581-in-run-for-governor-marc-molinaro-will-make-a-character-argument" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sounding some similar themes</a> that are less ideological and more about character and ethics.</p> <p>This week is also a very busy one at the City Council - see below for details on a variety of interesting and important hearings, as well as a full-body Stated Meeting, which is where new bills are introduced and bills that have been passed by committee are voted on by the full Council.</p> <p>&nbsp;As always, there are a variety of events to be aware of - see our 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>"On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carranza will visit Pre-K and 3-K classrooms at P.S. 25, The Bilingual School. Immediately after, the Mayor and Chancellor will deliver remarks. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A. In the evening, the Mayor will appear live on NY1’s Inside City Hall."</p> <p>Monday is the first school day since Richard Carranza took over as Chancellor of New York City Public Schools.&nbsp;"Carranza will visit schools and attend events in the Bronx, and meet with students, staff and families. In the morning, he will greet students and families at Concourse Village Elementary School and visit 3-K and pre-K classes...After, he will join 7th graders from PS/MS 279 on a tour of Bronx Community College as part of the College Access for All initiative...In the afternoon, he will join Mayor de Blasio on a visit to PS 25 The Bilingual School and visit 3-K and pre-K classes. He will deliver brief remarks. In the evening, he will throw the first pitch at the James Monroe Campus vs. George Washington Campus PSAL Varsity baseball game, and cheer with families."</p> <p>Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul has several public events Monday:&nbsp;8:30 am. she will present awards at the Museum Association of NY's Annual Meeting in Rochester; at 9:30 a.m. she will present highlights of the FY 2019 budget at Monroe Community College, Downtown Campus in Rochester; at 3:30 p.m. she will present highlights of the FY 2019 budget at the The Harvest Room in Queens; at 5:15 p.m. she'll deliver remarks at NY Building Congress new office opening in Manhattan; and at 6:45 p.m. she will keynote a gun safety panel discussion at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan.</p> <p><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">At the City Council</a> on Monday:<br />--The Committees on Women and Public Safety will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing “examining the NYPD’s response to sex crimes,” as well as to discuss related proposed laws calling for officers to receive “sensitivity training” in responding to sex crimes, to use “evidence based staffing” for the Special Victims Division, for the department to adopt a “modern case management system,” and requiring the department “to provide training on investigating sexual crimes.”<br />--The Committee on Civil and Human Rights will meet at 2 p.m. to discuss several proposed laws relating to sexual harassment, as well as a resolution calling on Congress to pass and the President to sign the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act of 2017.</p> <p>The New York State Board of Regents will meet on Monday and Tuesday in Albany.</p> <p>Monday "at 8:00 AM, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will hand out flyers to commuters at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues subway station in Bushwick urging eligible Brooklynites to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), kicking off the final week before the tax filing deadline on Tuesday, April 17th. Members of his team will also be reaching out to commuters at a number of highly-trafficked subway stations across the borough, including Broadway Junction in Cypress Hills, Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Crown Heights-Utica Avenue in Crown Heights, and Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College in Flatbush."</p> <p>On Monday at 10 a.m. in Times Square,&nbsp;"Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, and Car Free Day partners announce the programming for Car Free Day NYC 2018." Other participants will include "Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; Iyad Kheirbek, Executive Director, Air Quality Program, NYC DOH&amp;MH; Harriet Taub, Executive Director of Materials for the Arts; Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins; Professor Elliott Sclar, Special Research Scholar &amp; Director, Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) at the Earth Institute, Columbia University; Artists and Representatives from: Union Square Partnership, Garment District Alliance, 34th Street Partnership, Motivate, Terrain Work, Row NY, Citizens Climate Lobby, Hypothekids, GrowNYC, NYU Office of Sustainability, Bike NY, Appalachian Mountain Club, Van Alen Institute, Project for Public Space."</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Monday in Jackson Heights, "City Council Member Daniel Dromm, "public school teachers, and Jackson Heights families will gather to call upon the NYC Department of Education to inform parents of their right to opt their children out of state exams." Participants include Dromm; Jackson Heights People for Public Schools Leader Organizer Amanda Vender; Class Size Matters Executive Director Leonie Haimson; Representatives from Change the Stakes; Representatives from NYC Opt Out; Jackson Heights parents and students. "New York State English Language Arts (ELA) exams are scheduled to take place in NYC public schools from April 11 to April 12, 2018. The Mathematics exam will be administered from May 1 to May 2, 2018. Last year over 225,000 New York State public school students opted out. Parents chose not to put their children through the pressure of testing because they disagree with policies that reduce education to a few test scores. They are concerned about the detrimental effects excessive testing has had on their children. Parents have the right to have their children opt out of these tests. In 2015, the NYC Council unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the DOE inform parents of their right to opt out. To this day, many have still not been informed of this right."</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Monday, City Council Member Mark Levine, State Senator Brian Benjamin, and Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell, all of whom represent the Upper West Side, will join Transit Center and disability advocates to call for the MTA to prioritize making three Upper West Side subway stations ADA accessible while they’re closed for repair this fall. The event willl be at&nbsp;the Northwest Corner of Frederick Douglass Circle on 110th Street.</p> <p>At 3 p.m. Monday, Manhattan DA Cy Vance, Department of Health &amp; Mental Hygiene Commissioner Mary Bassett, and others will announce a “major investment in New Yorkers reentering their communities after incarceration” at the Institute for Family Health in Harlem.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Monday, U.S. Representatives Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries, and Nydia Velazquez will host a <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/its-time-to-organize-stand-up-brooklyn-ptii-tickets-44539843872" target="_blank" rel="noopener">town hall</a> meeting “focused on organizing and the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.” The town hall will take place at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />At the City Council on Tuesday:<br />--The Committee on Veterans will tour “short-term transitional housing for military veterans” in Long Island City at 1 p.m.<br />--The Committee on Governmental Affairs will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss establishing a charter revision commission.<br />--The Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss appropriations and funding for the Fiscal Year 2019 city budget.<br />--The Committee on Transportation will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the Mayor’s Congestion Action Plan, and to discuss a proposed law relating to “certain sidewalk repairs.”<br />--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to “requiring the development of a fair affordable housing plan,” “requiring that city affordable housing plans address historic patterns of racial segregation,” and “an audit of expiring affordable housing units.”<br />--The Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss “adding members to the nightlife advisory board.”</p> <p>At 8 a.m. Tuesday, Crain’s will host First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan for a “Business Breakfast” at the New York Athletic Club. Fuleihan will give remarks and take questions from Erik Engquist of Crain’s and Errol Louis of NY1 to discuss “his priorities in his new position, the next city budget and issues from homelessness to transit funding.”</p> <p>At 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Albany Times Union’s Capitol Confidential will host Jesse McKinley of the New York Times, Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News, and Robert Gavin of Times Union for a discussion on the Joe Percoco trial, including analysis of the trial and the precedent it could set for upcoming corruption cases. Times Union’s senior editor Casey Seiler will moderate. The event will take place at the Hearst Media Center in Loudonville, Albany County.</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the Community Service Society and JobsFirstNYC will host “<a href="https://secure.cssny.org/page/event/detail/communityservicesociety/wr4c" target="_blank" rel="noopener">School &amp; Work: Addressing Barriers in the Young Adult Labor Market</a>” at the CSS’s HQ in Manhattan. City Limits publisher Jarrett Murphy will moderate a panel discussing the challenges faced by young people who are neither in school or working; the panel will consist of Monique Miles of the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, Marjorie Parker of JobsFirstNYC, Jen Mishory of the Century Foundation, and Andrea Vaghy Benyola of The Door.</p> <p>On Tuesday at noon at City Hall,&nbsp;"the PowHerNY Network will be joined by elected officials, union leaders, and advocates on the steps of City Hall for the 12th Annual NYC Equal Pay Day Rally to say #TimesUp!...This rally is part of a multi-pronged campaign to achieving pay parity and economic equity in New York, and around the country. While New York has the smallest overall wage gap, women still only make an average of 89 cents for every dollar that men earn, and women of color continue to experience considerably larger pay disparities. Asian Women earn an average of 82 cents, African-American women earn 66 cents, and Hispanic women earn 56 cents for every dollar paid to full-time working white men. Wage inequality affects women across race, at all levels of the financial spectrum, in all fields, and at all levels of education." Participants will include Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul; Public Advocate Tish James; Jacqui Ebanks, NYC Mayor’s Commissioner on Gender Equity; PowHer New York, Beverly Neufeld; Gloria Middleton, President, Local CWA 1180; Catt Sadler, former E! News anchor; Members of the New York City Council; Child Care and Restaurant Worker Advocates.</p> <p>At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the New York City Board of Elections will hold a commissioners’ meeting.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Tuesday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will preside over a <a href="http://manhattanbp.nyc.gov/html/land_use/inwoodrezoning.shtml" target="_blank" rel="noopener">public hearing</a> regarding the proposed rezoning of Inwood. The hearing will take place at IS 218.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, lohud will host a “candidate conversation” between the candidates for the special election in the 37th State Senate district at the College of New Rochelle. The candidates in attendance will be Democratic nominee Shelley Mayer and Republican nominee Julie Killian. The election is April 24.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />The City Council will hold a stated meeting at City Hall at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Council Speaker Corey Johnson is expected to host a pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.</p> <p>Also at the City Council on Wednesday: the Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a resolution “approving the new designation and changes in the designation of certain organizations to receive funding in the Expense Budget.”</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Riders Alliance and the Community Service Society will hold a <a href="http://salsa.ridersny.org/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=96665" target="_blank" rel="noopener">rally</a> on the steps of City Hall calling upon the Mayor to fund discounted MetroCards for low-income transit riders.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.</p> <p>At noon Wednesday, members of the Campaign for Children will rally on the steps of City Hall to call upon the city “to create salary parity for early childhood education teachers.”</p> <p>At 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board will hold a public board meeting at 100 Church Street.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At the City Council on Thursday:<br />--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the Office of Recovery and Resiliency.<br />--The Committees on Higher Education and Civil Service &amp; Labor will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, as well as to discuss two resolutions: the first “calling on the United State Supreme Court to protect public sector collective bargaining in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees” and the second “acknowledging workers’ gains through the American labor movement.”</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Thursday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board will hold a board meeting at 100 Church Street.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />At 8:15 a.m. Friday, the Center for New York City Law will host Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi for a “CityLaw Breakfast” at 185 West Broadway, discussing “What's Changed and What Hasn't in For-Hire Vehicles.”</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m. Friday.</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Saturday, protesters will march nationwide as part of the “March for Science,” demanding policymakers in Washington and elsewhere enact “equitable, evidence-based policies that serve all communities.” In New York City, the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1654895041260856/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">march</a> will take place in Washington Square Park.</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>This week we’re continuing to digest and analyze both the <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7587-key-takeaways-how-the-state-budget-impacts-new-york-city" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently-passed state budget</a> and the recently-announced Democratic unity deal reached among Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, and others. According to Klein, he is on the verge of dissolving the IDC and becoming Stewart-Cousins’ deputy.</p> <p>The unification deal comes after the new budget, which <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7591-cuomo-turns-budget-failures-into-justification-for-democratic-unity" target="_blank" rel="noopener">did not include many Democratic priorities, and Cuomo said was added motivation</a> to broker the deal. It also comes just before the April 24 special elections for 11 Assembly and Senate seats, including the crucial Senate District 37 race in Westchester, which Democrats need to win to have a chance to form a 32-seat majority in the chamber before November. Even with wins in that race and the Senate race in the Bronx, which is a virtual lock, Democrats would have 31 seats and need to woo Senator Simcha Felder to their conference. Either way, Cuomo indicated at one point that the true goal is more Democratic victories come November, though he did <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7593-cuomo-state-democrats-issue-misleading-pleas-about-flipping-senate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">indicate something different</a> in an email blast through the State Democratic Party, wherein he said that a Westchester victory would give the party a 32-seat majority.</p> <p>This is <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7581-in-run-for-governor-marc-molinaro-will-make-a-character-argument" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Republican Marc Molinaro’s</a> second week as a fully-declared gubernatorial candidate, while Cynthia Nixon continues her campaign, starting Monday night with a birthday fundraiser. They’ll continue their attacks on Governor Cuomo from the right and the left, respectively, but also <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7581-in-run-for-governor-marc-molinaro-will-make-a-character-argument" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sounding some similar themes</a> that are less ideological and more about character and ethics.</p> <p>This week is also a very busy one at the City Council - see below for details on a variety of interesting and important hearings, as well as a full-body Stated Meeting, which is where new bills are introduced and bills that have been passed by committee are voted on by the full Council.</p> <p>&nbsp;As always, there are a variety of events to be aware of - see our 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>"On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carranza will visit Pre-K and 3-K classrooms at P.S. 25, The Bilingual School. Immediately after, the Mayor and Chancellor will deliver remarks. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A. In the evening, the Mayor will appear live on NY1’s Inside City Hall."</p> <p>Monday is the first school day since Richard Carranza took over as Chancellor of New York City Public Schools.&nbsp;"Carranza will visit schools and attend events in the Bronx, and meet with students, staff and families. In the morning, he will greet students and families at Concourse Village Elementary School and visit 3-K and pre-K classes...After, he will join 7th graders from PS/MS 279 on a tour of Bronx Community College as part of the College Access for All initiative...In the afternoon, he will join Mayor de Blasio on a visit to PS 25 The Bilingual School and visit 3-K and pre-K classes. He will deliver brief remarks. In the evening, he will throw the first pitch at the James Monroe Campus vs. George Washington Campus PSAL Varsity baseball game, and cheer with families."</p> <p>Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul has several public events Monday:&nbsp;8:30 am. she will present awards at the Museum Association of NY's Annual Meeting in Rochester; at 9:30 a.m. she will present highlights of the FY 2019 budget at Monroe Community College, Downtown Campus in Rochester; at 3:30 p.m. she will present highlights of the FY 2019 budget at the The Harvest Room in Queens; at 5:15 p.m. she'll deliver remarks at NY Building Congress new office opening in Manhattan; and at 6:45 p.m. she will keynote a gun safety panel discussion at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan.</p> <p><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">At the City Council</a> on Monday:<br />--The Committees on Women and Public Safety will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing “examining the NYPD’s response to sex crimes,” as well as to discuss related proposed laws calling for officers to receive “sensitivity training” in responding to sex crimes, to use “evidence based staffing” for the Special Victims Division, for the department to adopt a “modern case management system,” and requiring the department “to provide training on investigating sexual crimes.”<br />--The Committee on Civil and Human Rights will meet at 2 p.m. to discuss several proposed laws relating to sexual harassment, as well as a resolution calling on Congress to pass and the President to sign the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act of 2017.</p> <p>The New York State Board of Regents will meet on Monday and Tuesday in Albany.</p> <p>Monday "at 8:00 AM, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will hand out flyers to commuters at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues subway station in Bushwick urging eligible Brooklynites to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), kicking off the final week before the tax filing deadline on Tuesday, April 17th. Members of his team will also be reaching out to commuters at a number of highly-trafficked subway stations across the borough, including Broadway Junction in Cypress Hills, Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Crown Heights-Utica Avenue in Crown Heights, and Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College in Flatbush."</p> <p>On Monday at 10 a.m. in Times Square,&nbsp;"Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, and Car Free Day partners announce the programming for Car Free Day NYC 2018." Other participants will include "Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; Iyad Kheirbek, Executive Director, Air Quality Program, NYC DOH&amp;MH; Harriet Taub, Executive Director of Materials for the Arts; Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins; Professor Elliott Sclar, Special Research Scholar &amp; Director, Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) at the Earth Institute, Columbia University; Artists and Representatives from: Union Square Partnership, Garment District Alliance, 34th Street Partnership, Motivate, Terrain Work, Row NY, Citizens Climate Lobby, Hypothekids, GrowNYC, NYU Office of Sustainability, Bike NY, Appalachian Mountain Club, Van Alen Institute, Project for Public Space."</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Monday in Jackson Heights, "City Council Member Daniel Dromm, "public school teachers, and Jackson Heights families will gather to call upon the NYC Department of Education to inform parents of their right to opt their children out of state exams." Participants include Dromm; Jackson Heights People for Public Schools Leader Organizer Amanda Vender; Class Size Matters Executive Director Leonie Haimson; Representatives from Change the Stakes; Representatives from NYC Opt Out; Jackson Heights parents and students. "New York State English Language Arts (ELA) exams are scheduled to take place in NYC public schools from April 11 to April 12, 2018. The Mathematics exam will be administered from May 1 to May 2, 2018. Last year over 225,000 New York State public school students opted out. Parents chose not to put their children through the pressure of testing because they disagree with policies that reduce education to a few test scores. They are concerned about the detrimental effects excessive testing has had on their children. Parents have the right to have their children opt out of these tests. In 2015, the NYC Council unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the DOE inform parents of their right to opt out. To this day, many have still not been informed of this right."</p> <p>At 10:30 a.m. Monday, City Council Member Mark Levine, State Senator Brian Benjamin, and Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell, all of whom represent the Upper West Side, will join Transit Center and disability advocates to call for the MTA to prioritize making three Upper West Side subway stations ADA accessible while they’re closed for repair this fall. The event willl be at&nbsp;the Northwest Corner of Frederick Douglass Circle on 110th Street.</p> <p>At 3 p.m. Monday, Manhattan DA Cy Vance, Department of Health &amp; Mental Hygiene Commissioner Mary Bassett, and others will announce a “major investment in New Yorkers reentering their communities after incarceration” at the Institute for Family Health in Harlem.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Monday, U.S. Representatives Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries, and Nydia Velazquez will host a <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/its-time-to-organize-stand-up-brooklyn-ptii-tickets-44539843872" target="_blank" rel="noopener">town hall</a> meeting “focused on organizing and the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.” The town hall will take place at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />At the City Council on Tuesday:<br />--The Committee on Veterans will tour “short-term transitional housing for military veterans” in Long Island City at 1 p.m.<br />--The Committee on Governmental Affairs will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss establishing a charter revision commission.<br />--The Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss appropriations and funding for the Fiscal Year 2019 city budget.<br />--The Committee on Transportation will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the Mayor’s Congestion Action Plan, and to discuss a proposed law relating to “certain sidewalk repairs.”<br />--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to “requiring the development of a fair affordable housing plan,” “requiring that city affordable housing plans address historic patterns of racial segregation,” and “an audit of expiring affordable housing units.”<br />--The Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss “adding members to the nightlife advisory board.”</p> <p>At 8 a.m. Tuesday, Crain’s will host First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan for a “Business Breakfast” at the New York Athletic Club. Fuleihan will give remarks and take questions from Erik Engquist of Crain’s and Errol Louis of NY1 to discuss “his priorities in his new position, the next city budget and issues from homelessness to transit funding.”</p> <p>At 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Albany Times Union’s Capitol Confidential will host Jesse McKinley of the New York Times, Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News, and Robert Gavin of Times Union for a discussion on the Joe Percoco trial, including analysis of the trial and the precedent it could set for upcoming corruption cases. Times Union’s senior editor Casey Seiler will moderate. The event will take place at the Hearst Media Center in Loudonville, Albany County.</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the Community Service Society and JobsFirstNYC will host “<a href="https://secure.cssny.org/page/event/detail/communityservicesociety/wr4c" target="_blank" rel="noopener">School &amp; Work: Addressing Barriers in the Young Adult Labor Market</a>” at the CSS’s HQ in Manhattan. City Limits publisher Jarrett Murphy will moderate a panel discussing the challenges faced by young people who are neither in school or working; the panel will consist of Monique Miles of the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, Marjorie Parker of JobsFirstNYC, Jen Mishory of the Century Foundation, and Andrea Vaghy Benyola of The Door.</p> <p>On Tuesday at noon at City Hall,&nbsp;"the PowHerNY Network will be joined by elected officials, union leaders, and advocates on the steps of City Hall for the 12th Annual NYC Equal Pay Day Rally to say #TimesUp!...This rally is part of a multi-pronged campaign to achieving pay parity and economic equity in New York, and around the country. While New York has the smallest overall wage gap, women still only make an average of 89 cents for every dollar that men earn, and women of color continue to experience considerably larger pay disparities. Asian Women earn an average of 82 cents, African-American women earn 66 cents, and Hispanic women earn 56 cents for every dollar paid to full-time working white men. Wage inequality affects women across race, at all levels of the financial spectrum, in all fields, and at all levels of education." Participants will include Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul; Public Advocate Tish James; Jacqui Ebanks, NYC Mayor’s Commissioner on Gender Equity; PowHer New York, Beverly Neufeld; Gloria Middleton, President, Local CWA 1180; Catt Sadler, former E! News anchor; Members of the New York City Council; Child Care and Restaurant Worker Advocates.</p> <p>At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the New York City Board of Elections will hold a commissioners’ meeting.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Tuesday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will preside over a <a href="http://manhattanbp.nyc.gov/html/land_use/inwoodrezoning.shtml" target="_blank" rel="noopener">public hearing</a> regarding the proposed rezoning of Inwood. The hearing will take place at IS 218.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, lohud will host a “candidate conversation” between the candidates for the special election in the 37th State Senate district at the College of New Rochelle. The candidates in attendance will be Democratic nominee Shelley Mayer and Republican nominee Julie Killian. The election is April 24.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />The City Council will hold a stated meeting at City Hall at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Council Speaker Corey Johnson is expected to host a pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.</p> <p>Also at the City Council on Wednesday: the Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a resolution “approving the new designation and changes in the designation of certain organizations to receive funding in the Expense Budget.”</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Riders Alliance and the Community Service Society will hold a <a href="http://salsa.ridersny.org/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=96665" target="_blank" rel="noopener">rally</a> on the steps of City Hall calling upon the Mayor to fund discounted MetroCards for low-income transit riders.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.</p> <p>At noon Wednesday, members of the Campaign for Children will rally on the steps of City Hall to call upon the city “to create salary parity for early childhood education teachers.”</p> <p>At 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board will hold a public board meeting at 100 Church Street.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At the City Council on Thursday:<br />--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the Office of Recovery and Resiliency.<br />--The Committees on Higher Education and Civil Service &amp; Labor will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, as well as to discuss two resolutions: the first “calling on the United State Supreme Court to protect public sector collective bargaining in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees” and the second “acknowledging workers’ gains through the American labor movement.”</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Thursday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board will hold a board meeting at 100 Church Street.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />At 8:15 a.m. Friday, the Center for New York City Law will host Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi for a “CityLaw Breakfast” at 185 West Broadway, discussing “What's Changed and What Hasn't in For-Hire Vehicles.”</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m. Friday.</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Saturday, protesters will march nationwide as part of the “March for Science,” demanding policymakers in Washington and elsewhere enact “equitable, evidence-based policies that serve all communities.” In New York City, the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1654895041260856/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">march</a> will take place in Washington Square Park.</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>