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  • Now Law, New York to Create City Cultural Plan

    BdB Van Bramer Levin

    Mayor de Blasio signs the cultural plan bill into law (photo: @JimmyVanBramer) 


    New York may be the considered the country's cultural capital, but the city has never had a comprehensive plan to outline its immense cultural assets, identify areas of need, and chart a path forward. A new law, passed by the City Council and signed on Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio, will change that.

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 18

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    EMAIL SUMMIT ANYONE? The much-anticipated, long-awaited e-mail deletion policy summit organized by the Cuomo administration is set for Friday in Albany - will it happen? Will anyone go?

    WAGE BOARD: Happening on a much faster timeline is

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  • Next Steps for Two Soon-To-Be-Vacant City Council Seats

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    CMs Weprin, left, & Ignizio, right, are both leaving the Council (photo: William Alatriste)


    City Council member Mark Weprin, a Democrat who represents part of Queens, announced on Monday that he will step down from his seat to join Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration as Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs, making him ...

  • At Chaotic Time, Cuomo Hires Weprin to Assist in Deal-making

    mark weprin via alatriste

    CM Weprin, right, has accepted a position in the Cuomo Administration (William Alatriste)


    A legislature plagued by scandal; two new, inexperienced house leaders; a governor facing the lowest approval ratings of his tenure; and only a few weeks to get anything done. This is the setting for Mark Weprin's return to Albany, where he'll be tasked with fostering dialogue, brokering deals, and making progress in a new role.

  • Resolution Calls for Constitutional Amendment Negating Citizens United

    kallos

    Council Member Ben Kallos (photo: William Alatriste)


    City Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the governmental operations committee, will introduce a resolution at Thursday’s full-body Stated Meeting calling on members of the United States Congress to commit to a constitutional amendment that would limit independent expenditures in election campaigns. It is a move aimed at reducing the “dark money” spent during political campaigns and to counteract the Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United ruling.

  • Progressive Caucus Responds to De Blasio's Executive Budget

    rosenthal and co 

    CM Helen Rosenthal is a vice chair of the Progressive Caucus (@TenantPowerNY)


    In response to his recently unveiled fiscal year 2016 Executive Budget, the City Council’s 18-member progressive caucus sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday outlining an eleven-point “advancement framework.” In the letter, which alternately praises the mayor and requests additional funding for specific priorities, the council members outline “legislative, fiscal and advocacy goals” for a “more equal and more just New

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  • The Flanagan Effect: What the New Senate Leader Means for the De Blasio Agenda

    Flanagan oath Facebook

    New Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (photo via Facebook)


    ALBANY - Republican John Flanagan assumed the mantle of Senate Majority Leader on Monday during an unprecedented time of upheaval in Albany, brought on by the arrests of both former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on multiple federal corruption charges. Scandal unearthed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has exposed the backroom dealings of the state's largest political donor and the men who control the flow of legislation. As he

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 11

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to look for this week in New York politics:

    SKELOS WATCH: The fallout from Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' arrest on federal corruption charges continues, with Skelos facing increased pressure to step down from his leadership post. The Legislature is back in session in Albany on Monday, it seems that it is only a matter of time before Skelos takes the path indicted Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took after his arrest:

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  • De Blasio's Executive Budget: What We Know So Far

    BdB City Hall Alatriste

    Mayor de Blasio at City Hall on Wednesday (photo: William Alatriste)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio will outline his Fiscal Year 2016 Executive Budget on Thursday afternoon at City Hall. The mayor will also release his administration's first iteration of the city's 10-year capital plan. While there may still be a few surprises, we already know quite a bit about the changes the mayor has made from his preliminary budget to his executive budget.

    The budget presentation will build off the mayor's $77 billion

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 4

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Albany arrest watch: "Federal prosecutors are expected to announce criminal charges against New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos imminently, possibly as soon as Monday, in connection with a continuing corruption investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter," ...

  • Community Board Reform Bills, Including on Term Limits, to Be Heard

    dromm kallos

    CMs Dromm, middle, and Kallos, right, have intro'd reform bills (photo: William Alatriste)


    At a hearing of the City Council's Committee on Governmental Operations Thursday, issues of community board function will be taken up through bills to introduce term limits for board members and to add professional urban planners to board staff.

    The term-limit bill, introduced

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  • City Includes $1 Billion for Overtime in 2016 Budget

    bdb budget 

    Mayor de Blasio presenting his preliminary budget (photo: @NYCMayorsOffice)


    Some of the most prominent city agencies will again spend considerable portions of their budgets on employee overtime in fiscal year 2016, set to begin July 1, 2015. The allocation of $1 billion toward personnel overtime raises questions around optimal staffing levels and balancing cold fiscal calculation with whether understaffing might impact performance and well-being of employees.

    City officials argue that staffing levels are mostly

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  • Awaiting the Next Storm: Staten Island Balances Long-Term Planning, Short-Term Needs

    SI FEMA

    Staten Island after Sandy; Nov. 9, 2012 (photo: Walter Jennings via FEMA)


    Just over half of the deaths caused by Superstorm Sandy, 22 to be exact, occurred on Staten Island's East and South shores, as the storm's waves battered homes and swept some off their foundations.

    Now the island is in a race against time to prepare for the next major coastal storm. Multi-million dollar resiliency projects are coming to Staten Island, from a sea wall on its East Shore to the expansion of innovative "natural drainage corridors."

    The

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  • Council Members Ask De Blasio to Invest in Farmland

    farm

    (photo: Steve Poses)

     


    A group of New York City Council members sent an open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, asking him to invest funds to conserve regional agricultural land in the Hudson Valley and around the city.

    The letter, signed by 14 council members in an effort led by Dan Garodnick, requests the mayor dedicate at least $5 million each year for the next ten years

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  • Council Bills Aimed at Clarity, Improvement Around School Discipline and Support

    torres alatriste

    CM Ritchie Torres at a recent event (photo: William Alatriste)


    At a joint hearing of the City Council's Committees on Public Safety and Education on Tuesday, council members will discuss and hear testimony on three bills addressing school safety.

    One bill, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would require the city Department of Education

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  • City Council Unveils 'Council 2.0' Digital Engagement Plan

    council tech plan alatriste

    Council members unveil Council 2.0 (photo: William Alatriste)


    NEW YORK - City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and several council colleagues released today a civic technology plan aimed at making the legislative body more transparent while facilitating direct engagement with constituents.

    The "public technology plan," dubbed Council 2.0, is being touted as a new "roadmap to digital inclusion and open

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 13

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Hillary Clinton is running for President. You probably heard. The former New York Senator has her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn and will be looking for a strong boost from her New York base of supporters, including her 2000 senate campaign manager New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio was on Meet the Press Sunday morning and said that he is eagerly waiting to see a progressive vision from Clinton. Since

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  • Experts Target Influence of Big Money, Voter Apathy

    bric panel

    Panel at BRIC event (photo: Ben Max)


    BROOKLYN - An expert group was called together Thursday night in Brooklyn for a town hall on the influence of big money on politics and to answer questions about what can be done to fix a system that virtually all in attendance agreed is broken.

    Hosted by

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

    MMV April 10

    Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: Ben Max)


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

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

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 6

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

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

  • In Changing District, Cumbo Continues Culture Crusade

    cumbo alatriste

    Council Member Laurie Cumbo (photo: William Alatriste)


    In one of Brooklyn's most rapidly changing districts, where brownstones sell for millions of dollars around the corner from deteriorating public housing complexes, Council Member Laurie Cumbo believes that arts and culture can be a unifying factor.

    "The whole purpose of humanity is to create culture and to advance culture. So it can't be separated from all of the other priorities," Cumbo said during an interview in her legislative office. "If you're not

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  • Council Members Aim Help at Parents Returning to Workforce

     

    kallos presser

    Council Members Kallos (middle), Cumbo (left), & Cornegy (photo: @BenKallos)


    NEW YORK - City Council Members Ben Kallos, Laurie Cumbo, and Robert Cornegy today introduced a bill and five-point plan to help working parents re-enter the workforce after temporary disruptions in employment.

    The proposed legislation, of which Kallos is the lead sponsor and he introduced at the

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  • Bill Would Require City Planner at Each Community Board

    kallos ops hearing

    CM Kallos at a committee hearing (photo: William Alatriste)


    New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, will introduce a bill Tuesday to provide a professional urban planner to each of the 59 community boards in the city.

    The bill, Kallos said, is a move to empower communities in the city's land use process. Speaking exclusively to Gotham Gazette, Kallos said, "The City has two main powers. The first is over budget and the community boards have a say in that. They make their budget

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 30

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    March madness in Albany has been quite a ride, and word Sunday night is that a fiscal year 2016 budget agreement is in place. At about 9:30 p.m., the governor's office announced that Cuomo is now five for five in on-time budgets as governor - not a small

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  • The City Council Definition of Women's Issues

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


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

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