Gotham Gazette http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/111 Fri, 19 Oct 2018 05:52:36 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 15 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7992:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-15 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7992:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-15 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This Tuesday marks just three weeks until Election Day, November 6. Campaigns for state-wide and state and federal legislative seats, among others, are in full swing and will only intensify this week. While some debates take place, others have yet to be scheduled. We've already seen one debate in the state comptroller race, which aired Sunday night on Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and this week will feature a televised debate in the lone competitive congressional race in New York City, that in New York-11, which is currently represented by Congressional Rep. Dan Donovan, a Republican being challenged by Democrat Max Rose. There's also the lone debate coming up on Sunday, October 21, between U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, and her Republican opponent Chele Farley.

We are waiting on word of any debates in the races for governor and attorney general. Governor Andrew Cuomo, the incumbent Democrat, has yet to agree to debate his four opponents (Republican Marc Molinaro, Green Howie Hawkins, Libertarian Larry Sharpe, and independent Stephanie Miner), and while Letitia James, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, has said she will definitely debate, no debate has yet been agreed upon and announced in that race -- James faces candidates including Republican Keith Wofford and Green Michael Sussman.

Along with the statewide races, the battles for control of the State Senate and U.S. Congress are key to this election season in New York. Democrats are hoping to flip both houses and appear to have a lot of positive momentum. They need to simply net one seat in the State Senate, while roughly ten are thought to be in play. Democrats need to flip about two dozen House seats across the country, and a handful of New York races could play into that effort.

While elections will be a major focus this week and through Election Day, there's also government happening, especially in New York City, where there aren't city-level elecitons this year and the City Council has a busy week. There are Council and other events to be aware of - see our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
At 11 a.m. Monday at Madison Square Garden, Mayor Bill de Blasio will "attend and deliver remarks at the NYPD graduation ceremony." Later, the mayor will make his weekly appearance on NY1’s Inside City Hall in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.

At the City Council on Monday:
--The Committee on Civil and Human Rights will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “discrimination against MASAJS (Muslim, Arab, South Asian, Jewish, and Sikh) communities.”
--The Committee on For-Hire Vehicles will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “accessibility in the taxi and for-hire vehicle industries.”
--The Committee on Fire and Emergency Management will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “New York City’s Emergency Management Strategic Plan,” as well as to discuss a proposed law relating to “the posting of hurricane evacuation zone and evacuation center information in multiple dwellings.”
--The Committee on Women will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to maternal accommodations at places of employment and public spaces, as well as a law relating to “reporting on maternal mortality and morbidity.”

The New York State Board of Regents will meet on Monday and Tuesday.

At 9 a.m. Monday, NYU Steinhardt will host Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza for a discussion with NYU professor Lisette Nieves “on his career and vision for public education in New York City.” The event will take place at the Rosenthal Pavilion at NYU’s Kimmel Center.

At 9:30 a.m. Monday, "Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul Delivers Remarks at NYS Canals Conference" on Staten Island.

At 10 a.m. Monday at City Hall, “One year after #MeToo went viral, New York State still refuses to commit to holding public hearings on sexual harassment and abuse. Instead, NYS pushed through laws without input from victims. In order to pass the strongest protections, workers across all industries must be afforded the opportunity to be heard.“ Participants will include the Sexual Harassment Working Group; “Common Cause New York; Eleanor’s Legacy; New York Transgender Advocacy Group; Council on American-Islamic Relations; Senator Liz Krueger; Assembly Members Dan Quart and Richard Gottfried; Rockland County District Attorney Candidate Patricia Gunning; and Democratic Senate Candidates Zellnor Myrie and Andrew Gounardes.”

At 11 a.m. Monday, First Lady Chirlane McCray "will deliver remarks at The New York Soccer Initiative’s Soccer Day ribbon cutting ceremony" at Hostos Lincoln Academy of Science in the Bronx. At 6:30 p.m., McCray "will attend Between the Lines: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics" at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

At 2 p.m. Monday, members of Vocal-NY will meet with officials at City Hall to discuss a demand that Mayor de Blasio set aside 10 percent of units in his affordable housing plan for homeless New Yorkers. The members will include Nathylin Flowers, who recently confronted Mayor de Blasio at the Park Slope YMCA to ask why his plan only sets aside 5 percent of units for homeless New Yorkers.

At 2 p.m. Monday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will speak “at a press conference on the SCAR Act” at City Hall Park.

On Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, “The Queens Borough Board, chaired by Borough President Melinda Katz, will hear a presentation from Andy Byford, the president of MTA New York City Transit, regarding his agency’s plans to improve the City’s mass transit system. Mr. Byford will provide an update on the progress of “Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize NYC Transit”, the mass transit turnaround plan that New York City Transit released in May 2018. Mr. Byford noted at an August town hall meeting in Jamaica that the Fast Forward plan envisions a 10-year, $37 billion investment.”

At 5 p.m. Monday, "Comptroller Scott Stringer, the National Action Network, elected officials, faith leaders, community leaders and advocates will hold a press conference to reject bigotry and violence following an attack involving a hate group in Manhattan on Friday night. Over the weekend, news reports showed disturbing video of the assault that occurred on the Upper East Side." The press conference will take place at the northwest corner of East 84th Street and Third Avenue and will include Stringer, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, City Council Member Keith Powers, Assembly Member Dan Quart, and others.

At 5:30 p.m. Monday, "Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will host a community-wide conversation at the site of last Wednesday's “Cornerstone Caroline” viral incident in Flatbush, encouraging Brooklynites to publicly share their views on the importance of diversity and respect following days of local outrage from a woman falsely accusing a nine-year-old boy of groping her at the Sahara Deli Market. Video footage of the episode, which has been received millions of views online, has galvanized public concerns over racial tolerance in Brooklyn and across the country."

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, the Mayor’s Charter Revision Commission will hold a “public education forum” at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights to provide information on and explain the commission’s three proposals on the November ballot to Queens residents.

Also at 6:30 p.m. Monday, "members of the New York City Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform will hold a public hearing in Brooklyn to listen to people who pay property taxes directly or indirectly. To ensure the Commission hears from all those interested, speakers will be given no more than three minutes to present testimony or comments. Commission members may use additional time to ask questions." The commission was a creation of Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, U.S. Rep Jerrold Nadler, and 9/11 Environmental Action will host a town hall meeting “to connect downtown residents and workers with the two programs established by Congress under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.” The town hall will take place at the Borough President’s office in the Manhattan Municipal Building.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will attend a town hall meeting of Educators for Excellence-New York at Museum of the City of New York.

At 7 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Stringer will host a town hall at CUNY Law School in Long Island City.

Tuesday
At the City Council on Tuesday:
--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss several proposed laws relating to a variety of issues, including community land trusts, accessibility, and transparency for tenants regarding construction and work in dwellings.
--The Committee on Cultural Affairs will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss several resolutions honoring certain historical figures, including Rosa Parks, Roberto Clemente, Casimir Pulaski, and Tadeusz Kosciuszko, as well as to declare November 11 as Polish Independence Day.
--The Committee on Education will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “DOE’s Office of Pupil Transportation,” as well as to discuss several proposed laws relating to school bus transportation and a resolution “calling upon the New York State Education Department to require, implement and enforce more extensive training and tracking of the training of school bus drivers and attendants who transport students with disabilities.”

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the Center for New York City Affairs will host “The Impact Of NYCHA Conditions On Health, Education, And Child Welfare” at the New School. The event will “discuss how living in public housing affects child welfare involvement and identify community-driven strategies to promote change.” Columbia University’s Cindy Bautista-Thomas will moderate a panel consisting of Ray Thomas of Little Sisters of the Assumption, NYCHA resident and housing activist Michele Holmes, and Educational Video Center’s Steven Goodman.

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Health, Governmental Operations, and Alcoholism & Drug Abuse will meet jointly at 250 Broadway for a public hearing to “seek input on proposals to legalize, regulate and tax adult use of marijuana in New York.” The hearing will be the first of four statewide hearings on the issue.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Senate Standing Committees on Labor, Agriculture, and Economic Development will meet jointly at 250 Broadway for a public hearing to “examine the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises program, and consider potential legislative solutions to create a more effective and efficient program to enhance New York’s business climate.”

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the mayor’s Charter Revision Commission will hold a “public education forum” at the Michael J. Petrides School in Todt Hill, Staten Island to provide information on and explain the commission’s three proposals on the November ballot to Staten Island residents. [Read: Mayoral Charter Revision Commission Puts Three Questions on November Ballot]

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, NY1 will host U.S. Representative Dan Donovan and Democratic challenger Max Rose for a debate to represent the 11th Congressional District. NY1’s Errol Louis will moderate, along with other journalists. The debate will take place at the College of Staten Island’s Williamson Theatre.

Wednesday
The City Council will hold a full-body "stated meeting" at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall. It is likely to be preceded by a press conference led by Speaker Corey Johnson.

Also at the City Council on Wednesday: the Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Elections will meet at 11:30 a.m. to discuss two mayoral appointments: Steven Kest to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and Raj Rampershad to the City Planning Commission.

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, Crain’s will host City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for a “Business Breakfast Forum” at the New York Athletic Club. Trottenberg will discuss “Vision Zero...the issue of congestion, and the L-pocalypse.” The discussion will be moderated by Erik Engquist of Crain’s and Emma Fitzsimmons of the New York Times.

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, City & State will host “Rebuilding New York” at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City, discussing New York’s biggest infrastructure crises and potential solutions. Speakers will include Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; City Council Members Robert Cornegy, Ritchie Torres, and Ydanis Rodriguez; Assemblymembers Carmen de la Rosa and Nicole Malliotakis; MTA President Pat Foye; Gateway Program Development Corporation President Steven Cohen; Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of the Center for an Urban Future, and others.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, this week’s Max & Murphy show will air on WBAI radio -- 99.5FM and wbai.org -- and will be focused on the battle over control of the New York State Senate. Guests will include Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens, who heads the Democrats’ Senate campaign efforts.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sanctuary for Families, the New York Immigration Coalition, and Proskauer Rose LLP will host “Lives in the Balance: Eviscerating Asylum Protection for Victims of Gender Violence” at the offices of Proskauer Rose in Times Square. The event “will bring together experts to address the Administration’s decision to drop asylum protections for domestic violence victims.” The panel will include U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney; Lori Adams, Director of Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project; Judge Amiena Khan, Executive Vice President of the National Association of Immigration Judges; Lisa Koenig, a partner at Fragomen Worldwide; and William Silverman, a partner at Proskauer Rose.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, TransitCenter will host “Fair Fare Enforcement?” at One Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan. Panelists will discuss the pros of all-door boarding on buses, as well as the potential for racialized policing that comes with fare enforcement by transit police. TransitCenter Deputy Executive Director Tabitha Decker will moderate a panel consisting of Darryl Irick, President of MTA Bus Operations at New York City Transit; Laura Weins, Director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit; Jason Lee, Program Manager of Technology at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency; and Harold Stolper, a senior economist at the Community Service Society.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Mayor’s Charter Revision Commission will hold a “public education forum” at the Metropolitan College of New York in the South Bronx to provide information on and explain the commission’s three proposals on the November ballot to Bronx residents. [Read: Mayoral Charter Revision Commission Puts Three Questions on November Ballot]

Thursday
At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Committee on Economic Development will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “Freight NYC,” as well as 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.”
--The Committee on Technology will meet at 1:30 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the city’s “annual Open Data Plan.”

On Thursday, the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings will partner with Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo and City Council Member Joe Borelli to bring a “neighborhood pop-up court” to Staten Island, at Staten Island Community Board 3. The initiative allows individuals with outstanding summonses to present their case to a hearing officer before their official court date, at a local institution rather than at the hearing office.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Mayor’s Charter Revision Commission will hold a “public education forum” at Gregorio Luperon High School in Washington Heights to provide information on and explain the commission’s three proposals on the November ballot to Manhattan residents.

[Read: Mayoral Charter Revision Commission Puts Three Questions on November Ballot]

Friday and the weekend
On Friday, Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m.

At 7 p.m. Sunday, NY1 will host Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican challenger Chele Farley for a U.S. Senate debate at Skidmore College. NY1’s Errol Louis will moderate.

***
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: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 15 Sun, 14 Oct 2018 04:00:00 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 8 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7980:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-8 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7980:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-8 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This Tuesday will mark just four weeks until Election Day, November 6. The deadline to register to vote in this year’s elections is this Friday, October 12.

The elections for governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general, the state Legislature, and Congress will continue to be a major focus this week. We are awaiting news of any general election debates in the races for governor and attorney general -- the comptroller candidates will hold their first debate this week -- or between U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and her Republican challenger, Chele Farley. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Democratic attorney general nominee Letitia James, like Gillibrand, have yet to agree to any debates with their opponents, which for Cuomo and James also include nominees from other parties.

Much of the election focus is on battleground races for control of the New York State Senate, where Republicans currently cling to a one-seat majority, and for New York seats in the House of Representatives that could help determine whether Democrats are able to flip that chamber nationally.

Democrats currently hold all the statewide seats in New York, and those on the ballot this year are expected to stay in Democratic hands, but Republicans are hoping to pull off at least one upset, whether it is Marc Molinaro for governor, Keith Wofford for attorney general, Jonathan Trichter for comptroller, or Farley for Senate.

Along with the electoral races, there is continued attention this week on the controversial confirmation of new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which took place over the weekend. And, there is some government happening in New York City, as well as a variety of panel events and conferences to be aware of, as usual -- see our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail: 

Monday
Monday is Columbus Day. Many elected officials are marching in the annual Columbus Day parade.

Mayor de Blasio will appear Monday night in his usual weekly segment on NY1’s Inside City Hall, in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.

Tuesday
On Tuesday, the Municipal Arts Society will hold its 2018 Summit for New York City: Shaping the City, at Saint Bartholomew's Church. There are a variety of speakers and panels schedule. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will deliver the morning keynote address at 9 a.m.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign Intro-954A, a bill that creates a third gender category for birth certificates in New York City, at SAGE National Headquarters in Manhattan. First Lady Chirlane McCray and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will participate.

At the City Council on Tuesday: The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at 2 p.m.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the New York City Board of Correction will hold a public meeting at 125 Worth Street.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will deliver remarks at the Annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Event, at Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. At 7 p.m., Hochul will address New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, at Edison Ballroom in Manhattan.

On Tuesday morning, the four candidates for New York State Comptroller will participate in their first debate, hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) and moderated by Gotham Gazette’s Ben Max. The debate will air on MNN and be available on MNN’s YouTube channel in the coming days.

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will deliver the keynote address at the Hispanic Education Summit at CUNY Graduate Center. At 5:30 p.m., Carranza "will attend an event for NYC Kids Rise, a college-savings program," and deliver brief remarks, at P.S. 76 in Queens.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, U.S. Rep Jerrold Nadler will hold a congressional town hall meeting at Manhattan Community College’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

In the evening, First Lady McCray "will host a roundtable with Spanish-speaking journalists about mental health in the Latino community...Later the First Lady will make an announcement about mental health at the Latino/Hispanic Heritage Reception" hosted by McCray and Mayor Bill de Blasio at Gracie Mansion. Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will be among those in attendance.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the New York Civil Liberties Union will host its 2018 Henry Schwarzschild Memorial Lecture at Reid Castle in Purchase. Insha Rahman of the Vera Institute will deliver the lecture, focusing on the “abuses and effects of the current bail system.”

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will receive the Larry Kramer Activist Award at the Gay Men's Health Crisis Gala, at the Plaza Hotel.

Wednesday
At the City Council on Wednesday:
--The Committee on Land Use will meet at 11 a.m.
--The Committee on Contracts will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding an “update on the administration’s efforts to expand contracting with minority and women-owned businesses.”

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, the Citizens Budget Commission will host NYCHA interim Chair Stanley Brezenoff at its “Trustee Breakfast” at the Yale Club. The discussion will concern “NYCHA's $32 billion in capital needs and updates on NYCHA's activities and planning since Brezenoff started as Interim Chair on June 1.”

"On Wednesday at 8:30 AM, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and New York City Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza will join school principals, superintendents, teachers, students, and parents in unveiling plans for the Brooklyn STEAM Center, a first-of-its-kind facility in New York City that will support students with real-world work experience in emerging professions based at the Brooklyn Navy Yard."

At 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board will hold a public board meeting at 100 Church Street.

On Wednesday at 5 p.m., this week's Max & Murphy will air on WBAI radio -- 99.5FM or wbai.org -- and will feature interviews with Republican attorney general candidate Keith Wofford and Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, New York City Transit President Andy Byford will host a “community conversation” on the Fast Forward plan at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center in Jamaica, Queens.

Thursday
At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Committees on Public Housing and Oversight & Investigations will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “mismanagement at Throggs Neck public housing.”
--The Committee on Higher Education will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing on CUNY’s Pathways initiative.
--The Committee on Youth Services will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the Summer Youth Employment Program, COMPASS NYC, and School’s Out NYC.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson will deliver keynote remarks at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies’ annual meeting at the FPWA Conference Center in the Financial District. The meeting’s topic will be “how to tackle the poverty to prison pipeline” and will feature a day of discussions. Other speakers will include John Ducksworth of New York Theological Seminary, Dr. Michael Lindsay of NYU’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, Ashwin Vasan of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Health Access Equity Unit, and Sharon Content of Children of Promise.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board will hold a board meeting at 100 Church Street.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, New York City Transit President Andy Byford will host a “community conversation” on the Fast Forward plan at the Harlem Hospital Center Mural Pavilion.

Friday and the weekend
Friday, October 12, is the deadline to register to vote in this November’s elections (it is also the deadline to change party affiliation for next year’s primaries in New York).

At 9 a.m. Friday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer will speak at the Polish Heritage Breakfast at the Polish & Slavic Center in Greenpoint.

Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m. Friday.

***
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: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 8 Mon, 08 Oct 2018 04:00:00 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 1 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7963:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-1 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7963:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-1 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Tuesday will mark five weeks until Election Day. The race for Governor has been heating up, with Governor Andrew Cuomo, a second-term Democrat, and Republican Marc Molinaro at the forefront of the discussion. Molinaro has been releasing tax reform proposals while Cuomo has largely continued to focus on President Donald Trump. Cuomo explained recently that he has done so and plans to continue to do so because the federal government is a major threat to New York and Molinaro agrees with Trump on many issues. Molinaro has disputed Cuomo's characterizations of him as a "Trump mini-me," citing that he says he did not vote for Trump in 2016 and that Cuomo's allegations that he is against abortion rights, marriage equality, and immigrants are false.

There are also three other gubernatorial candidates who have general election ballot spots and are actively campaigning: Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins, Libertarian Party nominee Larry Sharpe, and Stephanie Miner, who is running as an independent on the new Serve America party line. As this week begins, we're expecting news of what the Working Families Party will be doing with its statewide ballot lines for governor and lieutenant governor (the positions are a ticket in the general) and attorney general (the WFP long ago settled on Tom DiNapoli for Comptroller. It is possible that the WFP will work out a deal with Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul for the pair to appear on that ballot line despite the deeply antagonistic relationship the two sides have had as the WFP backed Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams. The WFP had put a placeholder on its attorney general line and is expected to work something out with Democratic nominee Letitia James so that she will appear on its ballot line. Hawkins did announce this past week that he was making a last-minute effort to convince the WFP to put him and his running-mate Jia Lee on its line for governor and lieutenant governor.

We're also watching this week for any word of at least one debate in the race for Governor, and any news of debates in the other statewide races. With the Democratic nominees favored in all the races, the onus is on them to agree to debates so that voters can hear from all the candidates running.

This week will feature campaigning in the statewide races as well as those for state and federal legislative seats, such as pivotal races for the State Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. There's also a campaign finance filing deadline this week, which will provide insight into how well candidates are able to convince large and small donors to support them and give them the resources to get their messages out to voters.

Beyond electoral campaigns, there is government happening this week, both at the city and state levels, and other events related to politics and policy - see our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights recently announced that it will lead “a large scale Mass Bail Out Action at New York’s Rikers Island,” which will be “a collaborative effort made up of grassroots groups and formerly incarcerated people to free women and young people in New York City who are jailed because they cannot afford to post bail.” The effort is set to begin Monday and continue throughout the month. “The Mass Bail Out Action will focus on two jails at Rikers Island: the Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC), which cages women awaiting trial; and the Robert N. Davoren Complex (RNDC), where minors are held in custody. On average, 500 women and 100 minors on any given day endure neglect, abuse and isolation – never knowing when freedom will come – all because they cannot afford the price set on their freedom. The large-scale bailout will result in a dramatic drop in Rikers’ population at two distinct jails and serve as an opportunity to close the jails of Rikers Island and reimagine justice – starting with investing in communities harmed by these generational practices.”

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will be a guest on The Capitol Pressroom radio program with host Susan Arbetter at 11 a.m. Monday.

At noon Monday, the state Senate Standing Committees on Crime Victims, Crime, and Correction and on Elections will meet jointly in Albany for a public hearing “to examine both the statutory procedures parole board members are required to consider when making a decision and compliance with same as well as the procedures used in issuing conditional pardons pursuant to Executive Order 181.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was in Texas and South Carolina over the weekend, will appear in his weekly slot on NY1's Inside City Hall with anchor Errol Louis on Monday evening, in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.

Tuesday
At 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Association for a Better New York will host James Patchett, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, for a “Power Breakfast” at the New York Academy of Sciences in the Financial District. Patchett “will make a major announcement to help establish New York City as a global leader in cybersecurity. He will also discuss how Amazon’s HQ2 search fits into the City’s future, and ongoing efforts to bolster the life sciences sector.”

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, City & State will host its “New York Health & Wellness Summit” at the National Geographic Encounter in Times Square. The event, featuring “leading experts” and “top decision-makers” in the field, will “explore how public officials, corporations, advocacy groups, academia and the media can work to create effective policies to address overall health, physical activity and wellness and the impact on its communities.” Acting Commissioner of the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Oxiris Barbot will deliver keynote remarks. Other speakers include State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, City Council Member Barry Grodenchik, Deputy Commissioner of ACS Lorelei Vargas, and others.

Beginning Tuesday morning, the Mayor’s Office of Pensions and Investments, New York Law School, and the Initiative for Responsible Investment will host a two-day conference for public pension fund trustees from around the country at New York Law School. The conference, in its second annual installation, will focus on “how trustees can be forward thinking in incorporating new technology, implementing policy, and communicating with beneficiaries.”

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Senate Standing Committees on Crime Victims, Crime, and Correction and on Elections will meet jointly at the William P. Bennett Hicksville Community Center in Hicksville, Nassau County for a public hearing “to examine both the statutory procedures parole board members are required to consider when making a decision and compliance with same as well as the procedures used in issuing conditional pardons pursuant to Executive Order 181.”

On Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Union Square, “the landmark "Fix the Subway" coalition will mark its official launch...as a vast assemblage of progressive organizations comes together to win congestion pricing, a new revenue stream capable of raising tens of billions of dollars to modernize New York's ailing public transit system...The group supports congestion pricing to support the implementation of the MTA's Fast Forward plan, which would modernize the subway's 1930s-era signal technology and replace subway cars from the 1960s and 1970s.” Participants include “Riders Alliance, African Communities Together, American Institute of Architects (NYC Chapter), ALIGN NY, Brooklyn Movement Center, CAAAV, Chinese-American Planning Council, Citizen Action, Community Voices Heard, Environmental Advocates of New York, Municipal Art Society, New York City Employment and Training Coalition, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, New York Communities for Change, New York Immigration Coalition, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Picture the Homeless, Rise and Resist, Sanitation Coalition, Straphangers Campaign, Street Vendor Project, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, Transportation Alternatives, and the Women's Center for Education & Career Advancement, and other organizations.”

On Tuesday at noon, Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max will be the guest speaker at the October luncheon of the League of Women Voters, New York City chapter, discussing the 2018 elections in New York. The event will take place at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan.

Wednesday
At the City Council on Wednesday:
--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.
--The Committee on Public Housing will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “NYCHA development and privatization.”
--The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at noon.
--The Committees on Criminal Justice and Governmental Operations will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “voting rights for justice-involved people,” as well as to discuss proposed laws relating to the Departments of Probation and Correction informing parolees of their voting rights, and to “agencies assisting eligible parolees with voter registration.”
--The Committee on Hospitals will meet at 2 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “changes in the delivery of health care services -- moving towards a community-based outpatient model.”
--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 2 p.m.

"The New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation will reveal on Wednesday, October 3, the winners of the Reimagine the Canals Competition, a project announced last year by Governor Cuomo to reward the best ideas to have the Canal System become an engine of economic development and a magnet for tourism and recreation. The seven finalists come from an original field of 145 submissions from across the globe. Each received up to $50,000 to develop their entries and are now in a position to be awarded up to $1.5 million to implement their ideas."

At 3 p.m. Wednesday, the New York State Board of Elections will hold a commissioners meeting at the State Board offices in Albany.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, this week’s Max & Murphy program will air on WBAI radio (99.5FM or wbai.org), featuring interviews with New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, Jonathan Trichter.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, there will be a public scoping meeting at the Bronx County Courthouse to discuss the mayor’s plan to place a new jail in the Bronx, as part of the replacement plan for the Rikers Island jails.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, BRIC TV will host a town hall meeting on NYCHA at BRIC’s headquarters in Fort Greene. The town hall will focus on tenant perspectives on the issues plaguing NYCHA, such as “over-policing, crumbling infrastructure, environmental hazards, and violence,” as well as threats from Washington of funding cuts when NYCHA is in need of funds. City Comptroller Scott Stringer will deliver keynote remarks. There will also be a panel consisting of City Council Members Alicka-Ampry Samuel and Ritchie Torres, New York Daily News reporter Greg Smith, NYCHA tenant leader Lisa Kenner, and NYIT professor Nicholas Dagen-Bloom.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Museum of the City of New York will host “New York’s Housing Crisis: Which Way Forward?” Economist Edward Glaeser and sociologist Miriam Greenberg will join WNYC’s Matt Katz for a discussion on “the political, social, and economic forces shaping the future of housing in New York City and globally,” specifically focusing on the battle between “ideals of development and community preservation, between maintaining affordability and attracting a larger tax base, and between the free market and government intervention.”

Thursday
At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed law “amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to amending the requirement that a statement of income and expense certified by a certified public accountant be provided in order for an income-producing property to be granted a reduction in real property assessment by the tax commission.”

At 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen will deliver opening remarks at the Crain’s 2018 Arts & Culture Breakfast at the Con Edison Conference Center in Union Square.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Costa Constantinides will hold a town hall meeting at PS 171 in Astoria.

Friday and the weekend
At 8:15 a.m. Friday, the Center for New York City Law will host a “CityLaw Breakfast” with City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. The event will take place at 185 West Broadway.

Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m.

***
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: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 1 Sun, 30 Sep 2018 04:00:00 +0000
Advancing an Inclusive Approach to School Meals http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7956:advancing-an-inclusive-approach-to-school-meals http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7956:advancing-an-inclusive-approach-to-school-meals school food rally

School food inclusivity rally (@safest)


We as faith leaders are most privileged to cooperate on a project that will benefit our respective communities. For far too long, students who follow religious dietary guidelines have found their public school cafeteria lacks sufficient accommodation in the food offered. Typically students who require a kosher or halal meal have very limited options in school lunch offerings, often choosing to eat nothing. At this time in history, with persistent and growing incidents of discrimination based on religious and racial animus, New York City needs to embrace every possible opportunity to show compassion, inclusivity, and accommodation for all students – and to ensure no child needs to leave the school cafeteria hungry.

It is impossible to know for sure how many students follow religious dietary restrictions. However, with roughly 38 percent of public school students identifying as Muslim or Jewish, it is possible that thousands of students do not participate in current Department of Education School Food programs because of their religious customs. And with 72 percent of the city’s public school students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches – a potential indicator of food insecurity – it is clear that the number of students who could benefit from a halal or kosher meal in school is significant.

Many of us in the Muslim and Jewish faith communities, joined by community groups, have been advocating for years for the Department of Education to offer halal and kosher food options in schools. We know accommodating this request is not easy, given the complexities of a food distribution network that serves meals to approximately 600,000 students each day, second only to the U.S. Military.

Now, after years of advocacy, we are celebrating a key milestone: this year, $1 million has been allocated in the city budget to pilot halal and kosher school lunches in four schools. Thanks to the leadership of City Council Members Chaim Deutsch and Rafael Espinal and Speaker Corey Johnson, this historic funding will provide a solid foundation to pilot halal and kosher food options in city schools.

But funding the pilot is just the beginning. Our campaign is now facing a critical moment to ensure that the city designs and executes a halal and kosher pilot program responsibly, with full inclusion of parents and school communities who will benefit from halal and kosher school lunches.

Comptroller Scott Stringer has already laid forth a blueprint, detailing several options for how such a pilot could be structured. Now that funding for a halal and kosher lunch pilot has been secured, we believe these recommendations merit real consideration by the Department of Education as it plans how to implement the pilot program.

A central element of the Comptroller’s blueprint for piloting halal and kosher school lunches includes the establishment of an advisory committee. This group would include leaders from faith communities, community advocates, school food content experts, food service workers, parents, teachers, and students. The advisory committee could advise and support DOE when selecting schools for inclusion in the pilot, evaluating kitchen space retrofitting needs, developing training programs for food service workers in schools, and coordinating opportunities for community engagement to both raise awareness of the new food offerings and to build trust among parents that halal and kosher food offered in school cafeterias is a legitimate option that meets religious dietary guidelines. An informed advisory body is crucial for successfully serving halal and kosher lunches to students.

Our communities have already been working, informally, in this capacity. Over the past several months, over 50 advocates and leaders from Muslim and Jewish communities have convened in Comptroller Stringer’s office to weigh the complexities and challenges for this campaign and to consider how best to guide and influence this conversation. Now it is time to formalize this role, and become true partners in advancing this important work.

Offering halal and kosher school lunches will benefit all school children by fostering diversity and inclusivity, and ensuring that all children have every opportunity to learn and excel in school. As halal and kosher school lunches are about to become a reality, it is vital that community voices that have been successfully advocating for this cause for years, be recruited to help to make it a reality. All parties want this pilot to be a thoughtful and efficient program, one that will both inform future decision-making on this topic, and positively impact the lives of children who will benefit from a much needed mid-day meal. We are most grateful to Comptroller Stringer and his staff for bringing our faith communities together to demonstrate that unity and diversity can work together. Now it is time to move the work further ahead.

***
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik is Executive Vice President, New York Board of Rabbis. Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid is Chairman, the Association of African American Imams.

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

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Advancing an Inclusive Approach to School Meals Tue, 25 Sep 2018 04:00:00 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 24 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7949:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-24 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7949:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-24 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This Tuesday will mark six weeks until Election Day, November 6. With the primaries further in the rear mirror, the general election is in full swing, especially in the race for governor, but also races for attorney general and comptroller, as well as many state legislative and U.S. House seats around the state. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is also trying to hold onto her seat this year.

As the week begins, we're awaiting word on what will happen with Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams and the Working Families Party nominations that they have for governor and lieutenant governor. After each lost their respective Democratic primary, it is to be determined whether they remain on the WFP line for the general election, or whether the party finds a way to remove them and give the line to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul or some other combination of candidates. Unlike in the primary, for the general election a party's nominees run on the same ticket. Indications are that Nixon and Williams will move off the WFP line, but there are a lot of moving parts and some members of the WFP who are firmly against giving the line to Cuomo and Hochul, who might be open to taking the line because it would enhance their chances of winning in November.

Along with the statewide races, now taking center stage are the swing districts for state Senate and the U.S. House. Democrats believe that they can take the state Senate this year, and are including one Brooklyn district -- the one represented by Senator Marty Golden -- among those they believe they can flip, and that they can flip several House seats, including one in New York City -- the one represented by Rep. Dan Donovan -- to contribute to the party's national efforts to take the chamber from Republicans.

While electioneering will continue to dominate many of the headlines, there is also governing happening this week, including additional meetings of the 2019 charter revision commission, City Council meetings, and more. See our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
The Business Council of New York State's annual meeting began Sunday and continues Monday and Tuesday at the Sagamore Resort on Lake George. The forum will focus on “improving New York’s business climate and economy.” Former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele will deliver keynote remarks. Other speakers include Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and his Republican challenger Jonathan Trichter, Republican Attorney General nominee Keith Wofford, and State Senator John DeFrancisco, among many others.

At 10 a.m. Monday, "Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Opening Plenary of the World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development Impact Summit." In the evening, the mayor will make his weekly appearance on NY1's Inside City Hall in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.

At 10 a.m. Monday outside of Kushner Companies Headquarters on Fifth Avenue, "Housing Rights Initiative (HRI), in partnership with the City Council’s Oversight & Investigations Committee Chair Council Member Torres, will release a new report on building permit fraud showing the extent and depth of the problem across the real-estate industry, and the impact it has on reducing the number of tenants across New York City. HRI found that hundreds of landlords falsified over 10,000 work permits over 2 1/2 years. Council Member Torres will also announce new City Council legislation that will close the “Kushner Loophole” which allows companies to falsify documents with city agencies and lie about the amount of rent-regulated units in a building without consequence."

At 11 a.m. Monday at City Hall, "First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at the NYC Stands with Survivors Rally. The rally will be co-hosted by Hollaback!, Girls for Gender Equity, and YWCA Brooklyn. Survivors and advocates will share their stories and will be joined by: Cecile Noel, Commissioner of Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence, Jacqui Ebanks, Commissioner, Commission on Gender Equity and Carmelyn Malalis, Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights."

At 12:15 p.m. Monday, "Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul Delivers Remarks at Climate Week Opening Ceremony" at The Times Center in Manhattan.

At 2 p.m. Monday, "New York State Senators Kemp Hannon, Elaine Phillips, and Carl L. Marcellino will be holding a press conference...to demand action on setting critical drinking water safety standards. Harmful contaminants like 1,4-dioxane have been discovered in wells throughout the region and in order for communities to protect public health, state action is necessary. The Senators will be calling on the Cuomo administration to: restart a stalled process required to set state standards for 1,4-dioxane, PFOA, and PFOS; ensure local governments have access to the funds needed to remove drinking water contaminants; and improve public notification about emerging health threats. The press conference will be held at the Bethpage Water Plant on South Park Avenue, near the intersection of Sarah Drive and abutting Bethpage State Park."

At 6 p.m. Monday, the 2019 Charter Revision Commission will meet at the College of Staten Island to hear public testimony.

At 6 p.m. Monday, the governor’s Regulated Marijuana Workgroup will hold a listening session at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens on the legalization of marijuana in New York.

At 6 p.m. Monday, Attorney General candidate Letitia James and State Senate candidates Alessandra Biaggi, Zellnor Myrie, and Robert Jackson will speak at the launch event for Planned Parenthood NYC Votes PAC at 620 Loft and Garden in Midtown.

At 6 p.m. Monday, the New York League of Conservation Voters, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and other advocates will hold a town hall meeting discussing the need for replacing the diesel school bus fleet with electric buses, for both health and environmental reasons. The town hall will take place at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer will host his African Immigrant Heritage Event at the National Black Theatre in Manhattan.

Tuesday
Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day. NYC Votes, the voter outreach arm of the city’s Campaign Finance Board, will hold several voter registration events across the city, at all public libraries, YMCA locations, Patagonia store locations, Medgar Evers College, and Brooklyn College.

At 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Homeless Services Commissioner Steve Banks and City Council Member Steve Levin will hold a town hall meeting to discuss rental assistance programs for individuals. The town hall will take place at the LGBT Center in the West Village.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the governor’s Regulated Marijuana Workgroup will hold a listening session at Long Island University’s Kumble Theater in Fort Greene, Brooklyn on the legalization of marijuana in New York.

Wednesday
The City Council will hold a stated meeting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. It will be prefaced by the customary pre-stated press conference led by Speaker Corey Johnson.

Also at the City Council on Wednesday: the Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m.

The latest episode of Max & Murphy on WBAI radio will be from 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, including interviews with gubernatorial candidates Howie Hawkins, of the Green Party, and Stephanie Miner, of the Serve America Movement party. The show can be heard at 99.5FM or wbai.org, or as a podcast afterward.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, there will be a public scoping meeting at Queens Borough Hall to discuss the mayor’s plan to place a new jail in Queens, as part of the replacement plan for Rikers Island.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the governor’s Regulated Marijuana Workgroup will hold a listening session at the College of Staten Island on the legalization of marijuana in New York.

Thursday
At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Committee on Higher Education will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “African American studies and the hiring of black faculty at the City University of New York.”
--The Committee on Justice System will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the “cost of justice.”
--The Committee on Contracts will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the “administration’s efforts to expand contracting with minority and women-owned businesses.”
--The Committees on Housing & Buildings, Health, and Environmental Protection will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the City’s enforcement of existing lead laws,” as well as to discuss several proposed laws relating to lead hazards.
--The Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “gas stations in New York City,” as well as to discuss a proposed law to conduct “a study on the decline of the number of gas service stations in the city and exploring methods to prevent their further decline.”
--The Committee on Cultural Affairs will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “Culture Pass and other partnerships between New York City’s cultural organizations and public libraries.”

At 2 p.m. Thursday, Health + Hospitals CEO Mitchell Katz will join the CUNY Newmark School of Journalism’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media to discuss how H+H is addressing both long-term financial challenges and delivering high quality care to the city’s uninsured and immigrants. Katz will be questioned by CUNY’s and NY1’s Errol Louis, BRIC TV’s Martine Granby, and El Diario’s Pedro Frisneda.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the 2019 Charter Revision Commission will meet at City Hall in Manhattan to hear public testimony.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, there will be a public scoping meeting at the Manhattan Municipal Building to discuss the de Blasio administration's plans to replace the Manhattan Center of Detention, as part of the replacement plan for Rikers Island jails.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the governor’s Regulated Marijuana Workgroup will hold a listening session at Hofstra University in Hempstead on the legalization of marijuana in New York.

Friday and the weekend
Mayor de Blasio will travel to Austin, TX, on Friday to participate in a panel discussion at the Texas Tribune Festival. The following day, he’ll attend events with the United States Conference of Mayors in Columbia, SC. He’ll return to New York City on Sunday.

***
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: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 24 Sun, 23 Sep 2018 04:00:00 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 17 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7935:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-17 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7935:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-17 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week will start with a lot of focus on continuing the primary election analysis and pivoting to the general election matchups for statewide and legislative seats. Some of the focus will surely be on how the winners pulled their victories off and why the losers lost, but also whether and how those who lost Democratic primaries but have other ballot lines for November will vacate those lines. Chief among them are Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams on the Working Families Party line, but also Jeff Klein and other former members of the Independent Democratic Conference who lost their Democratic primaries but have ballot lines from small parties like the Independence Party or Women’s Equality Party.

As the general election quickly swings into gear -- as of Sunday there were just 50 days until Election Day, November 6! -- the race for governor turns into a contest among Governor Andrew Cuomo, Republican nominee Marc Molinaro, Howie Hawkins of the Green Party, Libertarian Party nominee Larry Sharpe, and Stephanie Minor, running on her newly created Serve America Movement line. Nixon may also be on the ballot, but she is very likely not to campaign if she is. Or, she might be moved off the WFP line, possibly replaced by Cuomo if the warring factions can agree that they will work together to avoid creating a better path to victory for Molinaro or another candidate.

The governor and lieutenant governor nominees of the different parties now run as a ticket, so after Kathy Hochul survived her challenge from Jumaane Williams, she can now work with Cuomo to win in November. There were no statewide primaries beyond three in the Democratic Party, with the lone exception of a Reform Party primary for its Attorney General nominee, which will be Nancy Sliwa.

The Attorney General race is now among Democratic nominee Letitia James, Republican Keith Wofford, Green candidate Michael Sussman, and Sliwa of the Reform Party. The Comptroller race features incumbent Democrat Tom DiNapoli, who did not face a primary challenge, as well as Republican nominee Jonathan Trichter, and Green nominee Mark Dunlea.

Control of the state Senate will be on the ballot this November, with races in New York City and elsewhere determining which party has the majority come next year. And, competitive New York races for the House of Representatives will help determine which party controls that chamber come January. There is also the race between New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and her Republican challenger Chele Farley, as well as various state Assembly race, though that house of the Legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic and will remain so regardless of how a few competitive races may go.

There’s also government happening this week, as well as other interesting events not directly related to this year’s elections. For example, the 2019 Charter Revision Commission held its first public hearing this past week and has two more this week, and the City Council has a variety of hearings this week. See our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
On Monday morning, Mayor de Blasio will speak at at the Fifth Annual Brooklyn Dems Post Primary Breakfast Reception at Junior's. In the evening, the Mayor will appear on NY1’s Inside City Hall in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.

At the City Council on Monday:
--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.
--The Committee on Technology will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to agency data, including the “digitization of historic data,” as well as laws relating to protections for cable subscribers.
--The Committees on Immigration and Youth Services will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “LGBTQ immigrant youth in New York City,” as well as a proposed law requiring the city to “create a plan of action to protect children who qualify for special immigrant juvenile status.”
--The Committee on For-Hire Vehicles will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss several proposed laws relating to, among other things, benefits for FHV and taxi drivers, “addressing the problem of medallion owner debt,” financial education for drivers, creating an “Office of Inclusion” in the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and “deductions from certain for-hire driver earnings.” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will deliver opening remarks.
--The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at noon.
--The Committee on Parks and Recreation will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the state of the City’s jointly operated playgrounds.”
--The Committee on Fire and Emergency Management will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “EMS respond to the opioid epidemic,” as well as to discuss a proposed law relating to “creating online applications for fire alarm plan examinations.”
--The Committees on Aging and Civil & Human Rights will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “age discrimination in the workplace.”
--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 2 p.m.

The New York State Board of Regents will meet on Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday morning, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will release his annual report on Wall Street performance and compensation.

At 10 a.m. Monday in City Hall Park, “Two New York City unions representing more than 4,700 Emergency Medical Service professionals will stand in the shadow of City Hall...to demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio support unlimited sick leave for EMS responders who suffered health ailments as a result of serving at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks. Local 2507, which represents 4,200 Uniformed Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics, and Fire Inspectors, and Local 3621, which represents 505 Uniformed EMS Officers, including Captains and Lieutenants, then will testify at a hearing at 250 Broadway about the need for State legislation that will grant affected EMS workers unlimited sick time due to their work in the recovery operation after 9/11.”

At 10 a.m. Monday, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will deliver remarks at a Vital Brooklyn playground opening, at The Winthrop Campus School. At 2 p.m., Hochul will announce the recipients of the New York State Police Officer of the Year Award at Yonkers City Hall.

At 11 a.m. Monday at City Hall, “First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chair of the Mayor’s Fund, Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Bitta Mostofi and Commissioner of the Department of Social Services Steven Banks will be joined by the City employees who have returned from volunteering to provide pro bono assistance to immigrant children and families in detention in Dilley, Texas. The delegation, which was made possible by funding from the Mayor’s Fund, includes lawyers and licensed clinical social workers. This event is open press. There will be Q-and-A.”

At 11 a.m. Monday on Long Island, “Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan...will be joined by the Senate Majority’s Long Island Delegation at a press conference...at the Bethpage Train Station to call for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to put any proposed 2019 fare hike on hold until it makes measurable improvements in service, equipment failures and delays. The press conference will introduce legislation sponsored by Senator Elaine Phillips...and Assemblyman Dean Murray...to protect commuters from facing even more disruptions due to the LIRR’s loss of any revenue. The delegation, led by Senator Phillips, has also established a petition drive that enables their constituents to voice their disgust that the LIRR would increase fares while they continue to suffer from delays and cancelled trains.”

At 11 a.m. Monday, the state Senate Standing Committee on Civil Service and Pensions will hold a public hearing “to investigate the use of 9/11 line of duty sick leave, to determine whether the program is working and to discuss any changes that need to be made to the program.” The hearing will take place at 250 Broadway in Manhattan.

At noon Monday, the New York City Economic Development Corporation will host the “Development Finance Conference 2018” at Convene in Midtown. Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will deliver keynote remarks. Other speakers will include EDC President James Patchett, City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago, Citigroup vice-chairman Raymond McGuire, and Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball.

At 6 p.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will be honored at Vocal-NY’s annual gala at Roulette in Boerum Hill. Also being honored will be Emcon Pharmacy in Park Slope, and Vocal-NY leader Asia Betancourt.

At 6 p.m. Monday, the 2019 Charter Revision Commission will meet in Brooklyn at Medgar Evers College to hear public testimony.

At 6 p.m. Monday, the governor’s Regulated Marijuana Workgroup will hold a listening session at the South Bronx Community Charter High School in Morrisania on the legalization of marijuana in New York.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, NYCT President Andy Byford and City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg will hold a town hall meeting at Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village, discussing the upcoming shutdown of the L train. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will deliver remarks.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, City & State will host its “Westchester Power 50” reception at the Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle. County Executive George Latimer will give keynote remarks.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, the Museum of the City of New York will host historians Terry Golway and Peter Quinn for a discussion on the rocky relationship between Al Smith and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, two of New York’s most famous governors.

At 7 p.m. Monday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer will hold a public hearing on the city’s lead crisis at the Frederick Samuel Community Center in Harlem. He will be joined by U.S. Rep Adriano Espaillat, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brian Benjamin, Assemblymembers Inez Dickens, Robert Rodriguez, Al Taylor, and Carmen de la Rosa, and Council Members Bill Perkins, Ydanis Rodriguez, Diana Ayala, and Mark Levine.

Tuesday
Yom Kippur will begin on Tuesday evening and end on Wednesday evening.

At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Association for a Better New York will host U.S. Reps Hakeem Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney, and Grace Meng for a discussion on the midterm elections at the Roosevelt Hotel. MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki will moderate.

Wednesday
There are no Wednesday events on our radar as of Sunday evening.

Thursday
At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Committee on Juvenile Justice will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding an “update on New York City’s implementation of raising the age of criminal responsibility.”
--The Committee on Women will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “abortion and reproductive rights,” as well as to discuss a resolution calling for the legislature to pass, and the governor to sign, the Reproductive Health Act.
--The Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding an “update on the City’s organics collection program.”
--The Committee on Land Use will meet at 11 a.m.
--The Committees on Education and Public Safety will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “school emergency preparedness and safety,” as well as to discuss several related laws.
--The Committee on Small Business will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding business improvement districts.
--The Committees on General Welfare and Mental Health will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “shelter accommodations and services for those with disabilities.”

At 8 a.m. Thursday, U.S. Reps Hakeem Jeffries and Jerrold Nadler will join Crain’s New York Business for a “Business Breakfast Forum” at the New York Athletic Club, discussing “how New York is faring under Trump, their take on the midterm election and their agendas in Washington.”

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the 2019 Charter Revision Commission will meet at Queens Borough Hall to hear public testimony.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the governor’s Regulated Marijuana Workgroup will hold a listening session at the Borough of Manhattan Community College on the legalization of marijuana in New York.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, there will be a public scoping meeting at PS 133 in Gowanus to discuss the mayor’s plan to place a new jail in Brooklyn, as part of the replacement plan for Rikers Island.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the Panel for Educational Policy will hold a public meeting at the High School for Fashion Industries in Chelsea.

Friday and the weekend
Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show on Friday at 10 a.m.

Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, the New York Civil Liberties Union will host “The Museum of Broken Windows,” a “pop-up” museum dedicated to documenting the history of broken-windows policing in New York City. The pop-up will stand at 9 West 8th St in Greenwich Village until September 30.

***
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: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 17 Sun, 16 Sep 2018 04:00:00 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 10 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7922:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-10 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7922:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-10 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Thursday is primary day! After a few more days of intense campaigning, by the end of the night on Thursday, we should know the victors in the primaries -- almost all of them in the Democratic Party -- for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, many state legislative seats, and more.

The most closely watched races are the statewide primaries between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon and between Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and City Council Member Jumaane Williams; the Attorney General primary among Public Advocate Letitia James, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Professor Zephyr Teachout, and Leecia Eve, a Verizon lobbyist and former aide to several major Democratic officials, including Cuomo. Also, about a dozen Democratic state Senate primaries, including the eight involving former members of the Independent Democratic Conference, six of which include districts covering parts of New York City.

The week starts after an eventful weekend of campaigning and controversy. While candidates and their supporters were rallying and canvassing and announcing endorsements and tweeting and texting and more, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he will not make endorsements in either of the primaries for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. A de Blasio spokesperson told Gotham Gazette the mayor has not decided yet whether he will endorse in the Attorney General primary; wherein his wife, Chirlane McCray is backing Teachout, though both de Blasio and McCray have a long relationship with James.

More controversial than de Blasio’s announcement, though, was news of a mailing made by the State Democratic Party targeting Nixon as anti-Semitic, which Cuomo and the state party’s executive director, Andrew Berman, both denounced after it became public on Saturday. A Cuomo spokesperson said the governor knew nothing about it and Berman said likewise about himself, and that he was going to hold the responsible parties to account. Both declarations appeared confusing to those familiar with how the state party and election season mailers work, including that Cuomo has moved millions of dollars from his campaign account to the state party’s, and is the de facto leader of the party apparatus.

Also this weekend, the Cuomo administration had to explain the fact that the governor had held a celebratory ribbon-cutting for a new span of the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (which replaces the Tappan Zee), including Hillary Clinton, only to have the portion of the bridge not opened due to safety precautions emanating from the old bridge, which is being demolished. Cuomo held the celebration on Friday, just six days before the primary, and questions arose as to whether he had rushed the event to take advantage of good pre-primary press.

While the focus of the week will largely be the primaries, the week starts with the Rosh Hashanah holiday and the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

There are several governmental and other events to be aware of this week -- see the day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
Monday is Rosh Hashanah. There will be campaigning, but no public government events.

At 10:30 a.m. Monday, Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max and City Limits editor Jarrett Murphy will appear on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC radio, at 93.9FM or wnyc.org.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will be on the campaign trail for one of the three state Senate candidates he has endorsed, Jessica Ramos, in Queens, and he will make his usual weekly appearance on NY1's Inside City Hall in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.

Tuesday
Tuesday is the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. There will be remembrances across the city. One of this will be at 6:30 p.m., when Staten Island Borough President James Oddo will preside over an annual memorial ceremony for victims of the 9/11 attacks at the Postcards memorial.

Wednesday
The City Council will hold a stated meeting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. It will be preceded by a press conference hosted by Speaker Corey Johnson.

Also at the City Council on Wednesday: the Committee on Transportation will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws laws related to the L train shutdown, including “designating community information centers in the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn” for the duration of the shutdown, “establishing an ombudsperson within the department of transportation,” and to discuss a resolution “calling upon the Governor and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to commit to an expeditious transition to an electric bus fleet and to use electric buses as a robust part of its replacement service during the upcoming L train shutdown.”

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and Baruch College will host their annual Small Business Assistance Forum at Baruch College’s William and Anita Newman Conference Center. The event will include a discussion on issues important to small businesses in New York City featuring Rachel Van Tosh, Deputy Commissioner for Business Services at the New York City Department of Small Business Services, and Carlina Rivera, City Council Member for the 2nd Council District, which includes a portion of Flatiron. That conversation will be moderated by Gotham Gazette Executive Editor Ben Max.

At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics will hold a commission meeting at 540 Broadway in Albany.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the latest episode of Max & Murphy will be on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org. The show will be a preview of Thursday’s primary elections.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the City Council’s Charter Revision Commission will hold its first public hearing, at Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre. The hearing kicks off a series of events across the five boroughs over the next few weeks.

Thursday
Thursday is primary day in New York for state races, including Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Legislature, Judgeships, and other races. Polls in New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, and Erie will open at 6 a.m., and polls in all other locations statewide will open at noon. All polls statewide will close at 9 p.m. Check your registration status; preview your ballot; and check your polling place.

Friday and the weekend
At 8 a.m. Friday, the Association for a Better New York will host Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza for a “Power Breakfast” at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown. Carranza will “present his vision and priorities for the New York City Department of Education and New York City public schools.”

At 8:30 a.m. Friday, the Murphy Institute of Labor will host “Is a Democratic Capitalism Possible?” discussing the erosion of democracy as a result of wealth concentration, and steps to “bolster our democracy and create a more equitable society.” Speakers will include Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson; Maurice Weeks, Co-Executive Director of the Action Center on Race & The Economy; and NYU professor Kim Phillips Fein. CUNY professor Frances Fox Piven will moderate.

At 9 a.m. Friday, the New York City Board of Correction will hold a public meeting at 125 Worth Street.

Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show on Friday at 10 a.m.

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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: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

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by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 10 Sun, 09 Sep 2018 04:00:00 +0000
Vacancy in the Public Advocate's Office? Call the City Council Speaker http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7918:vacancy-in-the-public-advocate-s-office-call-the-city-council-speaker http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7918:vacancy-in-the-public-advocate-s-office-call-the-city-council-speaker tish james co jo cityhall

Letitia James and Corey Johnson (photo: Gotham Gazette)


Two former speakers of the New York City Council -- Melissa Mark-Viverito and Christine Quinn -- are on the list of possible contenders for a potential vacancy in the office of public advocate should the current occupant, Letitia James, win the post of attorney general in this fall’s elections. But it’s the sitting Council speaker, Corey Johnson, who will get to do the job first if that scenario came to pass.

James is competing against three other Democrats to win the party’s primary nomination for attorney general on September 13. She has been the presumed frontrunner for months, with the blessing of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Democratic Party, though one of her opponents, Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout, has picked up strong momentum and several prominent endorsement in recent weeks.

If James prevails in the primary then the general, assuming she is sworn in an attorney general at the start of 2019, it would trigger a nonpartisan special election to be held roughly 51 days later. And for those seven weeks or so, the City Council speaker would assume her duties.

Under Section 44 of the City Charter, in the event of a vacancy in the public advocate’s office, “the speaker shall act as public advocate pending the filling of the vacancy pursuant to subdivision c of section twenty-four, and shall be a member of every board of which the public advocate is a member by virtue of his or her office.”

It would be the first time since the creation of the office of public advocate and the current office of the speaker, through a charter revision in 1989, that the clause would go into effect. It’s unclear how the speaker would approach the dual role, even in the interim, as he would both lead his 51-member legislative body and large central staff, and, as the title suggests, an office that advocates for the interests of everyday New Yorkers and keeps a watch on the functions and failures of city government. Both Johnson’s and James’ offices declined to comment for this article. Johnson has endorsed James for attorney general.

“If you get a vacancy, you want to get it filled by someone. Elections are gonna take a long time. A short time but a long time,” said Eric Lane, the Eric J. Schmertz Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Public Service at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University. Lane served as executive director and counsel to the 1989 charter revision commission, which overhauled the structure of city government and created the positions that James and Johnson now hold.

“We definitely didn’t want the mayor to make that appointment,” Lane said, explaining the thinking behind the line of succession for public advocate. “In an intensely administrative government, where the mayor holds so much power, it’s the public advocate’s function to be a watchdog on that power.” The public advocate is also next in line to the mayoralty if a sitting mayor is removed from office or unable to carry out his or her duties. 

The public advocate was formerly known as the City Council president, but the position’s powers were stripped by the 1989 commission through the creation of the City Council speaker. The commission then decided to retain and re-envision the public advocate’s office in its current form, Lane said. “It was, in some ways, the least significant, most controversial topic we considered in the 1989 commission,” he said, noting that there was hotly-contested debate over the necessity of another citywide office. The rationale behind it was two-fold, he insisted. To have another set of independent eyes on the city bureaucracy and to allow minority communities to have a more participatory role in city politics.

Given the public advocate’s connection with the City Council, it then made sense for the vacancy to fall to the speaker. “We could’ve appointed the comptroller,” Lane conceded, “but at the time, we thought it would be more consistent with what the Council does. The Council had a relationship with that office, historically.”

[Read: Potentially Crowded Public Advocate Special Election Could Feature Two Former Council Speakers]

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

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Vacancy in the Public Advocate's Office? Call the City Council Speaker Thu, 06 Sep 2018 04:00:00 +0000
Providing Stronger Support for Breastfeeding Mothers in New York City http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7874:providing-stronger-support-for-breastfeeding-mothers-in-new-york-city http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7874:providing-stronger-support-for-breastfeeding-mothers-in-new-york-city dc8tpaouwaal45h

Council Member Laurie Cumbo, the author (right), with her son, Prince (photo:@cmlauriecumbo)


If we are truly committed to the health, well-being, and economic advancement of mothers and babies, we must examine our public spaces, work places, and cultural biases when it comes to supporting and accommodating a mother’s choice to breastfeed. As of only a few weeks ago, mothers can now breastfeed legally in all 50 states without fear of violating laws pertaining to indecent exposure or public obscenity. This is a low bar for celebration, and cause for a critical examination of our own local laws and societal norms.

The benefits of breastfeeding are long-known and widely accepted in the medical community – the World Health Organization recommends that babies are breastfed for at least the first six months of their lives. The health benefits for babies include lower rates of obesity, SIDS, asthma, and other conditions, and can even be traced to higher IQs. For mothers, breastfeeding lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, and certain types of ovarian and breast cancers. It is for these reasons, and for the purpose of defending a mother’s right to choose what they do with their bodies and how they take care of their children, that we must remain diligent in our efforts to identify and break down any barriers for mothers who choose to breastfeed.

Those of us holding elected office must all leverage our positions and platforms to advance breastfeeding rights and awareness. We must make sure that mothers know all the facts about breastfeeding, what they are entitled to and what resources are available to them, should they choose to breastfeed.

Here, in New York, we have strong laws and we are increasing our investment at the state and local level in support of breastfeeding mothers. I am proud to have made breastfeeding rights a focal point of my time in office, with legislation advancing greater education and access for those who need to breastfeed or express milk in public or in the workplace. Right now, the Mother’s Day Legislative Package, which I was proud to spearhead on my very own first Mother’s Day, has pending legislation that will expand accommodations for breastfeeding mothers in certain city spaces and in workplaces, as well as establish a standard lactation accommodation policy. I thank my colleagues, Council Members Robert Cornegy and Carlina Rivera, for their leadership and partnership on these breastfeeding bills. I am committed to seeing through these efforts and ensuring that our physical structures reflect our values of equity and inclusion.

As a mother of a now one-year-old myself, I have a new appreciation for and understanding of the literal and figurative structures that play a role in the lives of New York mothers. From pre-natal care to childbirth and child rearing, there is a culture of expectation that women are just supposed to know how to take care of themselves and their children based on instinct alone. Far too many women are not getting the resources they need. Further, as recent research has shown, health concerns expressed during childbirth are often not taken seriously, resulting in a much higher mortality rates for black and Latina women. The truth is, we all need guidance and support throughout the pregnancy, birthing and nurturing process, which is why we must continue to expand and center the needs of mothers in public and working spaces. Every mother is different, as is every child, and our ultimate goal should be to support and uplift all mothers, regardless of whether they choose to breastfeed.

One personal breastfeeding experience of note was when I was able to use one of the Department of Health’s “lactation pods” at Brooklyn Children’s Museum. What struck me about my experience was how welcoming the environment was. Breastfeeding is often framed as an inconvenience, but in this instance, I felt proud and encouraged. The unfortunate reality is that this is an uncommon experience for breastfeeding mothers. More often than not, new mothers in the workplace have to seek out any space they can find — some report even having to pump in a closet. This is inexcusable and detrimental to the dignity and well-being of working mothers everywhere.

It is going to take a dedicated, comprehensive approach and a fundamental reimagining of working motherhood, but I know that we can achieve it. Moms continue to show up for each other, time and time again, but it is time we show up for them. We must stand with them and do everything in our power as individuals and as a collective society to better support their needs. Breastfeeding takes a village. It is a mental, physical, emotional, and logistical act. August is National Breastfeeding Awareness month, and so there is no better time than now to commit to a better tomorrow for mothers and children in New York City.

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Laurie Cumbo is the majority leader of the New York City Council. She represents Brooklyn communities of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and parts of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. On Twitter @cmlauriecumbo.

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

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Providing Stronger Support for Breastfeeding Mothers in New York City Sun, 19 Aug 2018 04:00:00 +0000
Extending the Human Right of Health Care to All New Yorkers http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7853:extending-the-human-right-of-health-care-to-all-new-yorkers http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7853:extending-the-human-right-of-health-care-to-all-new-yorkers c johnson brooklyn credit

Speaker Johnson, the author, visits a health care facility (photo via John McCarten)


Health care for all is a human right. This means no one should be denied care based on their ability to pay.

The World Health Organization recognized this fundamental truth 70 years ago, most countries around the world have been putting it into action for decades now, and doctors and nurses live it out professionally every day.

Truly achieving this moral imperative means we need a universal health care system supported by taxes and administered by one provider. Not only is this the right thing to do, it’s also more practical and less expensive than the status quo.

A recent study conducted by the RAND Corporation shows that single-payer is likely to save our state health care system $15 billion by 2031 compared to our current system. Other estimates project savings of up to $45 billion.

For these reasons I introduced a resolution Wednesday urging our state government to approve a law that would lay the foundation for single-payer healthcare in the Empire State. The proposal would create the New York Health program, which, if fully implemented, would result in 90 percent of New Yorkers spending less on health care than they currently do.

The plan would help save New Yorkers money by cutting administrative costs and simplifying the present system. Approximately one million New Yorkers are without any health insurance and have essentially been priced out of the market, which is another practical reason why I support this legislation. Also, you, the patient, would pay no premiums, deductibles or co-payments when visiting a doctor under the new system.

According to the RAND study, New Yorkers could spend half as much money out of their own pockets under the New York Health program than they do within the current system. In fact, according to a relatively conservative scenario, New Yorkers with an annual household compensation of less than $105,300 would save about $2,800 per person every year. Other estimates project even greater savings.

Single-payer is traditionally viewed as a progressive cause, but it has earned support from conservative quarters too. RAND, which was originally founded to provide research to the armed forces, isn’t exactly a progressive endeavor.

It is also worth noting that New York is a relatively wealthy state. Our economy is the third largest in the nation, behind California and Texas. And with a gross domestic product of $1.56 trillion, our economy is comparable to Canada’s, which has a $1.65 trillion GDP.

That kind of prosperity is an advantage few states – and few countries, for that matter – enjoy, and it’s one we should leverage so as many New Yorkers as possible have access to good health care. Failing to do so would be an abdication of our responsibility as elected representatives.

The current landscape is complicated and there are a lot of moving parts, but complexity shouldn’t be the enemy of what is right.

President Trump’s administration has signaled it would oppose single-payer plans from state governments seeking to bring sanity to their respective health care landscapes, so it is unlikely his administration will grant New York the federal waivers needed for a single-payer system to be fully implemented here.

However, even without a waiver, the state could still ramp up the program on a partial basis and, in the process, save money for current Medicare and Medicaid recipients through improved, wrap-around coverage. It would also lay the framework for full implementation of the plan under a new president.

Critics on the other side of this debate have also argued that adequate health care shouldn’t be considered a right – that it is a finite resource and can’t be placed in the same category as voting or free speech.

I disagree.

Many human rights we now take for granted in the United States weren’t considered rights at all during various periods of history. But eventually we evolved to see them as such.

The right to vote, freedom of speech, the right to assemble – these are now encoded into our nation’s DNA, but over the course of world history this wasn’t always the case.

Even today, not everyone on earth has the right to vote. Many Americans didn’t have that right immediately after our nation was founded.

But we’ve made progress – often that progress comes too slowly, but there is no progress until we take the first steps forward.

Adopting single-payer healthcare in New York State would be an enormous step in the right direction. This is why I am standing with my colleagues in state government who support it, and I hope you will too.

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Corey Johnson is the Speaker of the New York City Council and represents the Council’s 3rd District, in Manhattan. On Twitter @NYCSpeakerCoJo.

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

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Extending the Human Right of Health Care to All New Yorkers Wed, 08 Aug 2018 04:00:00 +0000