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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 24

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio had a busy weekend that took a tragic turn. On Saturday, the mayor made an Earth Day announcement on green jobs and spoke at the Sikh Day Parade. On Sunday, the mayor spoke at two churches and appeared on Univision before heading to Queens Village after a fire there killed five people. The mayor addressed the tragedy after being briefed by his fire commissioner. De Blasio was scheduled to speak

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  • City Council Members Opt Out of Campaign Finance Program

    Lander Council members

    City Council members, with Brad Lander center (photo: William Alatriste)


    A first-time entrant into the New York City electoral system stands almost as much a chance of running a solid campaign as long-time political insiders and incumbents. That’s because the New York City campaign finance system includes a public matching funds program, which helps levels the playing field by incentivizing local small-dollar contributions, matching them at a 6-to-1 ratio. In doing so, it also reduces the influence of special interests in elections and helps

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  • Consulting Firm with Deep City Ties Adds New Class of Clients, Looks National

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    Carlos Menchaca, center, & other Red Horse clients (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    Ritchie Torres became the current New York City Council’s youngest member in 2013 and the first openly-gay representative from the Bronx. Carlos Menchaca joined the legislative body that same year as its first Mexican-American representative, and the first openly-gay member from Brooklyn. Queens Council Member I. Daneek Miller is the Council’s only Muslim representative. All three are men of color and members of the City Council’s

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 17

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week sees a return to action for the City Council after its usual spring break, with several committee hearings, including a few of particular interest, such as the economic development committee on “preparing for the impact of federal travel bans on New York City’s economy” and a general welfare committee oversight hearing examining changes in the city's approach to homelessness one year after a

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  • Investigations Into De Blasio Spurred City Reform, Renewed Calls for State Changes

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor's Office)


    Although it was recently announced that Mayor Bill de Blasio and his aides would not be charged in two separate investigations related to their fundraising activities, both cases prompted widespread calls for reform of campaign finance laws and closure of holes that allow, even encourage, a pay-to-play political culture.

    The two parallel investigations, at the state and federal levels, exposed vulnerabilities in the law that allowed the

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  • For a More Accountable NYPD, Improve Information Sharing on Police Misconduct

    Garodnick City Council

    Council Member Dan Garodnick, the author (photo: William Alatriste)


    For decades, the New York City Police Department has had an early intervention system to identify officers prone to violence, based on their discipline and complaint history. Yet through leaks last month, we learned that the officers who killed Eric Garner and Ramarley Graham had extensive records of complaints against them. Despite so many documented

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  • Bill Aims to Increase Agency Accountability on Capital Projects

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    City Council Member Andrew Cohen (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    New York City government capital projects -- the building of a school or park, or the reconstruction of a bridge, for example -- are notorious for their delays and tendency to exceed initial budget projections. In an attempt to address these long-standing issues, City Council Member Andrew Cohen of the Bronx is introducing a bill that will require city government agencies to inform communities and their elected officials about expected delays and cost

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  • In a Bind, De Blasio May Explore Legal Defense Fund Legislation

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    Mayor de Blasio at City Hall (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    When the Conflicts of Interest Board issued an advisory opinion last week limiting donations to legal defense funds set up by public officials, Mayor Bill de Blasio pointed out that the opinion posed a “potential solution” in the form of new legislation and that similar defense funds have long existed in

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 3

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    All eyes are on Albany, where a new state budget is late and negotiations continue. The state’s new fiscal year began Saturday, April 1, but there is still no spending plan from the Governor and Legislature. At about midnight Sunday night, with negotiations at an impasse, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would move an "extender" budget on Monday and that legislative leaders had said they would pass it. The extender will largely continue state spending as

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 27

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Buckle up, it’s the final week before a new state budget is due by midnight Friday -- the start of the new fiscal year is April 1. As always, negotiations are expected to come down to the wire, and it’s likely that the bargains reached at the last minute will be budget and policy decided and voted through with almost no review by rank-and-file legislators or the public. Albany!

    There’s a great deal at stake in

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  • The March Money Race in ‘Open’ City Council Seats

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    Marjorie Velazquez (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    In a February special election, Harlemites voted then-state Senator Bill Perkins to fill a City Council seat vacated by Inez Dickens, who had been previously elected to the state Assembly. Heading toward the regularly-scheduled September primary elections and November general, there are now seven “open” City Council seats in the 51-seat body. These are seats in which the current occupants are term-limited and unable to run for reelection.

    Council Members Rosie Mendez (District 2), Dan Garodnick (District 4),

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 20

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The New York political world is still reeling from and reacting to the news that Mayor Bill de Blasio and his aides will not be charged in either of two investigations into their behavior. Comptroller Scott Stringer has said definitively he is running for reelection, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said it’s time to move on to

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 13

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The week starts with many eyes on Preet Bharara, who was fired Saturday from his position as United State Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara refused to resign when asked to along with the country's 45 other U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama, as is common practice when a new federal administration omes into power. Bharara's lone refusal, though, came under special circumstances: in

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  • Growing Office of Civil Justice a Focus of Council Budget Hearing

    Gibson Lander Council

    Coucil Member Vanessa Gibson, right (photo: William Alatriste)


    New York City’s civil legal services went under the microscope Tuesday at a hearing held by the City Council’s Courts and Legal Services Committee. One in a series of City Council hearings on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.67 preliminary budget, the committee heard from representatives of the Department for Social Services about its programs and budget needs.

    Testifying before the committee, DSS Commissioner Steve Banks delineated his department’s spending, focusing specifically on

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  • Investigations Commissioner Lays Out Budget Needs For Agency

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    DOI Commissioner Mark Peters (photo: @DOInews)


    At a City Council preliminary budget hearing on Thursday, Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters laid out new funding and staffing needs for his agency, which is facing a $5 million proposed reduction in its fiscal year 2018 allocation by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    The proposed preliminary budget for the Department of Investigation (DOI), the watchdog body that monitors and probes public corruption and other wrongdoing at 45 city agencies, is $41.7 million, down from

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  • Investing in the Parks System New York City Deserves

    Mark Levine Council Parks

    Council Member Levine, the author (photo: William Alatriste)


    The numbers are startling: 42 million visitors per year in Central Park -- double the number of visitors to Disney World. Over 7 million people visit the High Line annually and 5 million visit Bryant Park. On a peak summer weekend 127,000 visit Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    Park use in New York City is surging. And with the population in the five boroughs continuing to grow and tourism booming, this trend will surely continue.

    But the story is not the same

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 6

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As the week begins, Governor Andrew Cuomo is in Israel on an "economic development and unity trip." Cuomo left Saturday and is due back on Monday.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio has also been traveling -- the mayor was in Chicago on Friday for a fundraiser, a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and a speech at the City Club of Chicago; he then traveled over the weekend holding fundraisers in Florida and California. De Blasio is due back in New York City on

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  • 'External Risks Threaten NYC Budget,’ State Comptroller Says

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    State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (photo: @NYSComptroller)


    As City Council hearings on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s preliminary budget plan began Thursday morning at City Hall, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a new report on the city’s finances. “External risks threaten NYC budget,” the report blares, raising additional red flags to those already in the air courtesy of de Blasio’s own budget office, city Comptroller Scott Stringer, and others.

    DiNapoli’s report, “Review of the Financial Plan of the City of New York,” is part of his job

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  • Several Points of Funding Contention for City Budget Negotiation

    de Blasio

    Mayor de Blasio presents his budget (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The city’s annual budget season kicked off on January 25 with the release of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.7 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1. Starting Thursday, the City Council will hold weeks of hearings to examine the financial plan,

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 27

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    After a somewhat slow Presidents Day week in which both the City Council and State Legislature were out of session, this week is a busy one, with the Legislature meeting in Albany and a variety of City Council hearings, including the start of preliminary budget hearings.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is back in town after a trip to Atlanta where he was whipping votes for Keith Ellison for Democratic National Committee

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  • Community Group Endorses Four Women of Color for ‘Open’ City Council Seats

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    Carlina Rivera, left, & Marjorie Velazquez, center (photo: @CarlinaRivera)


    In an effort to promote women’s representation on the City Council, the political arm of one of New York’s largest grassroots immigrant advocacy organizations has endorsed four women of color running for “open” Council seats this year.

    Make the Road Action (MRA), the political affiliate of Make the Road New York, a group that represents about 20,000 Latinos in New York City and Long Island, will announce its endorsement on Friday for four progressive City Council candidates - Carlina Rivera,

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 20

    640px New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As usual, the Presidents' Day week will be a slow one as both the New York City Council and the state Legislature will be on break. Over the weekend, however, elected officials were busy in Albany, as the Legislature's Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus held its annual Caucus Weekend celebration and conference. The event had a distinctly anti-Donald Trump flavor to it, with dozens of speeches critical of the

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  • In Final State of the City Speech, Mark-Viverito Vows Resistance

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    Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: @BenKallos)


    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito vowed defiance against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and promised to uplift and empower New York City’s immigrant population in her final State of the City speech at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn on Thursday.

    Mark-Viverito, the first Latina speaker of the body, has 10 months left on the job before she is term-limited out of the Council. On Thursday, she sought to cement her legacy and inspire with her speech, titled “Who We Are,” that recognized the

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  • Holland to Challenge Perkins in Primary for Harlem Council Seat

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    Marvin Holland (Photo via Holland's campaign)


    Union organizer Marvin Holland, the runner up in Tuesday’s special election for the District 9 City Council seat, has confirmed to Gotham Gazette that he will mount a challenge against the winner Bill Perkins when the seat is up for grabs again later this year.

    The District 9 seat in Harlem was recently vacated by Inez Dickens, who was elected to the state Assembly, leaving just one year left in the term. A nonpartisan special election for the seat was held on Feb. 14 with nine candidates on the ballot. State Senator

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 13

    Gotham Gazette:

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver his State of the City speech on Monday evening at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, likely touting the accomplishments of his first three years in office as he gets ready to face reelection later this year. In announcements last Friday and over the weekend, the mayor revealed a few of the major initiatives he will include in his speech -- a $1.9 billion investment to increase affordability at 10,000 units of

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