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City Council

  • A Closer Look at De Blasio's Neighborhood Rezoning Plans

    worker background de blasio

    (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office)


    See interactive map below

    Mayor de Blasio's housing plan is moving forward on a few levels. There are the citywide zoning proposals (Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability) being considered by the City Council in February and March. If passed, these will change the zoning rules for the entire city, including a first-time requirement that whenever a developer receives an upzoning for a

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  • Shut Down the Criminal Court

    courtroom


    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito should be commended for using her State of the City address, titled "More Justice," to call for criminal justice reform. She rightly observes that "we need more justice in the justice system" and ticked off some specific goals, including reducing the population at Rikers Island, creating civil procedures for minor violations, and improving the warrant process. However, the speaker

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  • Richards Puts Communities of Color at Forefront of Housing Debate

    richards

    City Council Member Donovan Richards (photo: William Alatriste)


    "Why am I here?" City Council Member Donovan Richards asked rhetorically, speaking with energy beyond what you would expect from someone in the midst of chairing 20 hours of land use policy hearings over two days. The question wasn't Richards rethinking his career path or delusion brought on by testimony after testimony about zoning code, it was a way of punctuating his explanation that of course he had to put communities of color at the forefront of discussions about affordable housing in New York

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  • Voters to Fill Vacant Bronx Council Seat in Special Election

    salamanca

    Rafael Salamanca meets voters before Tuesday's election (via @JohnJrBX)


    Residents of District 17 in the Bronx will vote for a new City Council Member on Tuesday in a special election to fill the vacancy left by former Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who resigned and the end of last year. As with all special elections for the City Council not held on regularly scheduled election days, it is a nonpartisan contest, meaning no candidate will appear on the major party ballot lines. Instead,

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  • Safe and Healthy Housing for All New Yorkers

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    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    I just can't take the mice and the mold anymore.

    For years, I have lived in a Staten Island apartment in desperate need of repair. I live there with my daughter, and we've constantly struggled to get our landlord to fix the problems that make our home an unhealthy place to live.

    Over the past six years, we've frequently gone without heat and hot water, faced endless mold growing in our cabinets, and suffered rodent infestations that simply won't go away.

    We've asked the

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 22

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will see a new member of the New York City Council elected; further debate over the de Blasio administration's housing plans; a return to Albany for state legislators in the midst of budget season; a number of interesting conferences and panel events; and much more.

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  • De Blasio to Sign Higher Raises for Council Than He Previously Approved

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    Mayor de Blasio & Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste)


    On Friday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign a package of legislation into law that will raise the salaries of all of the city’s elected officials, and reform the job descriptions of City Council members.

    The City Council held only ...

  • Planning Commission Sends Mayor's Zoning Proposals to City Council

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    Mayor de Blasio & Planning Chair Carl Weisbrod (photo: The Mayor's Office) 


    As expected, the City Planning Commission passed two major components of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing plan on Wednesday morning, sending the amendments on to City Council for public hearings on Feb. 9 and 10.

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  • Questions Remain as City Council Moves Ahead with Pay Raises, Reforms

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    Council Members Lander, Mark-Viverito, Kallos (l-r) (photo: William Alatriste) 


    At the first and only City Council hearing on a package of legislation that will raise the salaries of all the city’s elected officials and reform how Council members are compensated, the Council was roundly praised for accepting several reforms long sought by good government groups, but criticized both for raising their salaries higher than recommended and for the the timing of the vote.

    The proposed legislation was...

  • Reducing Organic Waste Without Increasing Costs

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    photo via NYC Sanitation


    Today, the New York City Council will hold an oversight hearing on the Department of Sanitation's organic waste program started in 2013. The focus on organic waste is merited by the size of the waste stream (more than 1 million tons annually) and environmental benefits of reducing greenhouse gases through use of alternative disposal strategies, such as composting, rather than transport to distant landfills. The City plans to expand the pilot program citywide; however, ...

  • A Good Deal for Horses

    NYCLASS horses central park

    photo via NYCLASS


    ***Editor's note: this op-ed column was published in anticipation of a vote on legislation that did not occur when a deal fell apart at the last minute on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2015 ***

    The The New York City Council has the opportunity this week to take carriage horses out of dangerous city traffic and create new protections that will help these horses lead happier, safer lives.

    They should jump at the opportunity.

    For all of the political back and forth, this is a smart, sensible plan

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  • Planning Commission Vote Will Send Zoning Proposals to City Council

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    Council Member Greenfield leads a press conference (photo: William Alatriste) 


    The next ten days are an especially critical period for Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan. While negotiations around a new state-level program to incentivize affordable housing production continue and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised to soon flesh out general affordable housing plans he announced during his recent State of the State speech, city-level changes being sought by de Blasio are on the move.

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  • As Council Begins Oversight, McCray Reports Progress in Mental Health Roadmap Implementation

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    Chirlane McCray & Richard Buery testify (photo: William Alatriste)

     


     

    At a Jan. 28 oversight hearing held by the Committee on Mental Health, First Lady Chirlane McCray testified before the City Council for the first time, updating the Council on the city’s progress implementing its new

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 1

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is in Iowa, where he has been since Friday and remains until Tuesday, campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

    In New York, the big weekend news was that Democratic Assembly Member Todd Kaminsky, of Long Island, officially declared his bid for state Senate. Kaminsky, who was immediately endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is running for the seat vacated by former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who

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  • City Council Announces Bill to Increase Pay, Reform Position

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    Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste)

     


     

    On Wednesday, Feb. 3, the New York City Council will hold a hearing on legislation outlining salary increases for various city elected officials as well as several good government reforms related to how Council members are compensated. Largely based on the recommendations of an independent commission tasked with outlining the first pay raises since 2006 for the Mayor, City Council members, and other officials, the Council announced the details of its package

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  • Just Ahead of Oversight Hearing, City Announces Ethnic Media Plan

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    Council Member Menchaca at Wednesday's rally (photo: Samar Khurshid)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito launched on Wednesday an online directory of ethnic and community media and a new effort for city agencies to work with those outlets. The push to expand outreach and public messaging across different languages and communities comes as El Diario, the country's oldest non-English daily newspaper, and other ethnic publications are struggling.

    The timing of the announcement raised a few eyebrows - it came barely an

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  • City Council Members Move to Improve Tampon Access

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    City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (photo: William Alatriste) 


    Members of the New York City Council are poised to introduce a package of legislation to make tampons and other feminine hygiene products more accessible. The legislation, being spearheaded by Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, includes a resolution calling on the state to eliminate the tax on feminine hygiene products, and three bills to make such products readily available

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  • Council to Examine City Support for Ethnic Media

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    Council Member Menchaca (photo: William Alatriste) 


    When City Council member Carlos Menchaca heard the recent news of layoffs at El Diario, the country’s oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper, he was troubled to say the least. Menchaca, who represents Sunset Park and Red Hook, penned an

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  • Give New York Manufacturers the Space They Need

    manufacturing background

    photo: William Alatriste


    In November, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito released a manufacturing policy that makes a strong commitment to the city’s Industrial Business Zones (IBZs). This is the culmination of a growing consensus among certain sectors of the city, from the Progressive Caucus of the City Council to the ...

  • Time to Support New York Students with Billions Still Owed from Campaign for Fiscal Equity

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    Council Member Dromm (middle), the author, at the Queens Library


    Governor Andrew Cuomo's recently proposed budget plan for education is a mixed bag, but represents a major shift from his attacks on public education in years past. Ultimately, however, his plan falls short by allocating less than $1 billion in new education money this year at a time when public schools are still owed more than $4.4 billion in Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) funding.

    The CFE was a lawsuit brought by parents against the State of New York over a decade ago. These

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  • Criminal Justice Reform Act is No Alternative to Broken Windows Policing

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    NYPD ceremony in Times Square (photo: @CommissBratton)


    Monday morning the City Council will begin consideration of a series of bills, called the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which would limit the use of criminal penalties to manage a variety of low level “quality of life” offenses such as public drinking, park code violations, noise, and public urination.

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 25

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is back in Albany this week - this time, he's not taking in Governor Cuomo's budget address, he's testifying about it. This will be on Tuesday as de Blasio and other city officials testify in front a joint legislative budget hearing,

    First, the week starts with a major City Council hearing Monday morning at 10 a.m., at which the new, eight-bill Criminal Justice Reform Act will be heard -

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  • 'Dangerousness' Aspect of Cuomo's Bail Plan Troubles Reformers

    cuomo sots solo

    Gov. Cuomo delivers his State of the State


    In his recently-released policy agenda for 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included a plan to reform the state's bail system. While it has not been fully fleshed out yet, Cuomo's proposal dictates that judges would use a scientific assessment tool to determine an individual's "risk to public safety" while setting bail, a proposal similar to one Mayor Bill de Blasio recently made, with both coming under fire from criminal justice reformers.

    De Blasio made ...

  • Stand Against Racism, Protect Asian-American Women's Health

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    Council Member Chin, one of the authors (photo: William Alatriste)


    New York City has the opportunity to support Asian-Americans and women's health by opposing deceptively named, so-called "sex-selective abortion bans."

    These attacks on a woman's right to choose are wolves in sheep's clothing. At a glance, such bans might sound like laws meant to further women's rights. But they actually do just the opposite.

    The tragic reality of "son preference" has been a serious issue in some countries, such as India and China, where women do not

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  • Overdue DOE Capital Plan To Be Released

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    De Blasio at a school visit (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Once Mayor Bill de Blasio unveils his preliminary budget for 2017 on Thursday, Jan. 21, the City Council will begin to hold hearings and formulate its response. In conversations with Gotham Gazette, City Council members Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, chair of the finance committee, and Daniel Dromm, education committee chair, said that one of their top priorities during budget season will be addressing school overcrowding

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