Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/climate-change 2017-12-11T07:52:15+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Policy Implications of the Mayor’s Paris Climate Order 2017-06-21T21:48:27+00:00 2017-06-21T21:48:27+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7017:policy-implications-of-the-mayor-s-paris-climate-order Samar Khurshid <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/32541723780_9deef3a979_z.jpg" alt="32541723780 9deef3a979 z" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>Mayor de Blasio tours the&nbsp;Electrical Industry Training Center in Queens (photo:&nbsp;Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;Soon after reports surfaced that President Donald Trump would withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, a landmark accord to limit global temperature increases signed by nearly every country, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would sign an executive order committing New York City to the agreement. On June 2, after Trump confirmed the rumors in a White House Rose Garden speech, the Mayor <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/executive-orders/2017/eo_26.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">signed</a> such an order.</p> <p>Though the city has undertaken ambitious measures to curb emissions under the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations, the city may now have to go further than it already has in addressing climate change through policy.</p> <p>The <a href="http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris agreement</a>, signed by 195 nations (including the United States) and ratified by 147, stipulates three aims for all countries of the world to collectively strive for:</p> <p>1. “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”</p> <p>2. “Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production.”</p> <p>3. “Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.”</p> <p>The president’s action makes the U.S. one of only three countries not party to the agreement; the other two are Nicaragua, which claims that the agreement doesn’t go far enough, only committing the largest polluters to voluntary targets, and Syria, which is in the grips of a massive, six-year civil war.</p> <p>A Yale University <a href="http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/paris_agreement_by_state/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">survey</a> published last year showed that almost 70% of Americans believe that the country should remain in the agreement, much higher than the number of people who <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/207119/half-concerned-global-warming-believers.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">consider themselves</a> "concerned believers" in climate change, which is about 50%. According to the Yale survey, New York State actually registers the highest percentage of residents out of any state in terms of believing that the country should stay in the Paris Agreement; with over 75%.</p> <p>The agreement is effectively non-binding due to a lack of enforcement measures, a fact that has been criticized by environmental activists. The agreement also doesn’t stipulate any specific policies through which these aims are to be achieved, leaving the policy solutions to the signatories. Many of the enforcement measures for the U.S. to abide by the deal were stripped when Trump announced an executive order to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/28/climate/trump-executive-order-climate-change.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">review</a> former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan; it is widely expected that the EPA will dismantle it.</p> <p>The Paris aims are to be met through “nationally determined contributions,” or NDCs, which are dictated individually by signatories in such a way that the targets are collectively met. More developed countries would pledge financial aid to less developed countries so they can meet their targets, such as through the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which Trump harshly criticized in his White House Rose Garden speech announcing U.S. withdrawal.</p> <p>Trump’s pulling out of the agreement, and de Blasio’s subsequent commitment that the city will stick with it anyway, could require the city to determine its own NDCs.</p> <p>The mayor chastised the president in a May 31 press conference in Red Hook, Brooklyn for being callous regarding an issue that will disproportionately affect his own hometown.</p> <p>“We have to understand that if climate change is not addressed, one of the greatest coastal cities on the Earth will be increasingly threatened,” the mayor said. “And it's very painful to reflect the fact that Donald Trump is from New York City. He should know better. He should know that what he is thinking of doing would hurt his hometown more than almost any place else, because we're an entirely coastal city.”</p> <p>The next day, Trump announced U.S. withdrawal from Paris and de Blasio issued his executive order. What the mayor’s order did not immediately make clear was whether the city would be specifically drawing up targets to send to the UN, as a country is supposed to do. Asked for more detail, a City Hall spokesperson sent a statement capturing the city’s commitment and goals.</p> <p>“The Mayor’s executive order adopted the goals of the Paris agreement,” the spokesperson said, “in particular reaffirming the City’s goal to reduce its greenhouse gas contributions to the level needed to limit warming to 2C, and to explore how to develop further plans that keep to the 1.5C goal. In the face of Trump’s abdication of American leadership to meet the global challenge of climate change, it is more important than ever that we take action at the local level.”</p> <p>The spokesperson added that Section 3 of the mayor’s executive order “is about working with others to deliver on the US NDC,” though the order refers to the “2016 commitment to the Paris Agreement” rather than specifically saying “NDC” or “nationally determined contribution.” The spokesperson did not specify whether New York would be formally determining an NDC. Subnational entities are not required to submit NDCs to the UN, as national entities are.</p> <p>Only sovereign states, not subnational entities, can donate to the Green Climate Fund, according to the spokesperson. So, the current structure of the fund and financing scheme would preclude New York City from actually being able to contribute financially.</p> <p>The two-page <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/executive-orders/2017/eo_26.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">executive order</a> doesn’t contain many particulars, especially compared to the much larger, 32-page <a href="https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement framework</a>. The EO states that New York City will attempt to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, but doesn’t include specific strategies for the city to meet the targets.</p> <p>Since the Paris Agreement was signed by almost every country in the world, there is not much language regarding subnational entities like cities. The Agreement “welcomes the efforts of all non-Party stakeholders to address and respond to climate change, including those of civil society, the private sector, financial institutions, cities and other subnational authorities,” but the Agreement has been adopted almost universally and is organized under a United Nations framework, which a city or state cannot join, and therefore does not stipulate language about subnational entities formally joining if the national entity pulls out.</p> <p>For the city to meet Paris stipulations, it will have to craft policy without the aid of federal regulations, and likely in conjunction with the state government, due to state control over the city’s massive public transportation network. Governor Andrew Cuomo also signed an executive order committing the state to meeting the standards of the Paris Agreement regardless of the federal government’s position. Cuomo then announced that New York would be part of the “United States Climate Alliance,” consisting initially of New York, California, and Washington (state), then joined by other states, to abide by the Agreement.</p> <p>New York City already has a low carbon footprint compared to other major American cities, owing largely to its high density and plentitude of mass transportation options; New York is the only major city in the nation where a majority of households don’t own an automobile.</p> <p>New York State has the lowest carbon footprint, per capita, of any state, according to <a href="https://public.tableau.com/profile/bhurley#!/vizhome/StateCO2Emissions2014Data/TotalStateCO2Emissions2014data" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">data</a> collected by the Environmental Protection Agency.</p> <p>De Blasio, in 2014, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/nyregion/new-york-city-plans-major-energy-efficiency-improvements-in-its-buildings.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">announced</a> a goal, known as <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/visions/sustainability/goal-1.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">80 x 50</a>, for the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. The plan involves cutting emissions -- from vehicles, energy consumption in buildings, and waste disposal -- by 43 million metric tons by 2050. The plan is part of de Blasio’s larger <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/downloads/pdf/publications/OneNYC.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">OneNYC</a> initiative, which includes a variety of environmental, resiliency, and sustainability goals and strategies. De Blasio’s initiatives, on top of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s own substantial environmental efforts, have essentially charted the city on a path to meeting the Prais standards well before the city’s commitment to Paris through executive order.</p> <p>Russell Unger, executive director of the Urban Green Council, a nonprofit that advocates for more environmentally sustainable buildings, says that the numbers add up to 80 x 50 meeting Paris standards, but that, especially in city policy, models and implementation are two entirely different beasts.</p> <p>“The city recognizes there’s a lot of work to be done to take a plan that mostly relies on, kind of, modeling and figuring out how you actually make that work with industry,” he said. He noted that the plan was not thoroughly mapped out to 2050; in the 33 years until then, a lot can change.</p> <p>The city, which contains hundreds of miles of coastline and at some points is barely five feet above sea level, is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to the potential for floods, which was seen to a chaotic degree in 2012 during Superstorm Sandy. The mayor, at the Red Hook press conference, pressed the issue.</p> <p>“There's no question about it,” de Blasio said. “Hurricane Sandy, the nor'easter, all that occurred in that superstorm was because of climate change. We've already borne the brunt here in New York City. It's only going to get worse if something is not done quickly to reverse the course the Earth is on.”</p> <p>Transit policy would likely be an area of significant interest in a New York committed to the Paris agreement, due to the amount of emissions from vehicles. The city is responsible for the large fleet of vehicles it owns, ranging from emergency vehicles, sanitation vehicles, the mayor’s transport, and others. Meanwhile, the MTA, which is controlled by the state rather than the city, is responsible for bus, subway, Metro North, and the Long Island Rail Road service. Some vehicles services are contracted to private vendors, such as school buses.</p> <p>The MTA has long been a point of contention between City Hall and the Capitol, more so of late as the subways are in crisis, with funding negotiations part of the long-running feud between the governor and the mayor. But reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles will require cooperation, and will in all likelihood involve investment in MTA projects with the goal of reducing the number of vehicles on the road and reducing emissions from some of those that stay in circulation.</p> <p>The MTA in April announced road tests for electric buses to join a fleet consisting of diesel, hybrid electric diesel, and natural gas-powered buses. The <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/sustainability/downloads/pdf/publications/NYC%20Clean%20Fleet_FINAL.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">NYC Clean Fleet plan</a>, part of OneNYC, calls for 2,000 new electric vehicles to be added to the city’s fleet by 2025.</p> <p>But ambitious transportation projects, the type that could reduce the city’s carbon footprint significantly, frequently become stalled due to lack of adequate funding, or disagreements between Albany and the City, especially when those projects must go through the MTA. The first leg of the Second Avenue Subway was opened in January after being in progress for almost 90 years. The mayor’s request for a study to consider funding an extension of the subway along Brooklyn’s Utica Avenue, the southern stretch of which is a notorious subway desert, has led nowhere.</p> <p>De Blasio has been behind an expansion of Citi Bike in the city and recently launched the first phase of a new ferry service that has initially shown to be quite popular.</p> <p>Despite the fanfare around transportation policy, the lion’s share of city emissions comes not from vehicles, but from buildings. In a statement on June 8, City Council Member Brad Lander said, “without stronger energy efficiency standards for buildings – which account for 75 percent of New York City's total emissions – we will fail to meet our urgent goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.”</p> <p>Lander and fellow Council Member Jumaane Williams <a href="http://cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/heard-around-town/city-council-bill-de-blasio-energy-efficiency-standards.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">called on the mayor</a> to require large buildings to be retrofitted for energy efficiency. The administration has pursued policy regarding retrofitting through the One City Built to Last program and other initiatives; last October the mayor signed a trio of bills that, according to the mayor’s office, “are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 250,000 metric tons, and spur retrofits in 16,000 buildings.”</p> <p>Unger believes that despite large and important steps in the right direction, through initiatives such as the 80 x 50 plan and the One City initiative, there are still large strides to be made.</p> <p>“I think there’s a general recognition that the energy code needs to keep getting stronger,” he said, referring to the city’s <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/codes/2016-energy-conservation-code.page" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Conservation Code</a>. He continued, “there are lots of places where the code still doesn’t make sense, where there are requirements that are kind of based on older technologies. Cleaning those up is something to look at.”</p> <p>Some believe that the furor that erupted after Trump’s Paris Accord announcement is overstated. Unger believes that the city and state will not be impacted all that much by the withdrawal.</p> <p>“You know you got a strong team, and the coach goes on hiatus, you can keep playing. And so you have a lot of states and a lot of cities that have strong policies and have strong industries, and those things aren’t going anywhere,” he said. “New York State was already going to be ahead of what it would be required to do under Obama’s Clean Power Plan. So the Clean Power Plan disappears; we’re still going to be ahead of it.”</p> <p>The mayor has been criticized for lecturing the public on playing their part in lowering the city’s carbon footprint while having his SUV detail drive him 11 miles many days from Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side to his gym in Park Slope. The mayor has responded that his individual behavior is not what’s important, but rather, what’s important is encompassed within the policy he sets. “I don’t think the vast majority of New Yorkers care about this. They care about the results,” the mayor told NY1’s Errol Louis of his gym routine.</p> <p>However, some believe that he is setting a bad example by exempting himself from the individual responsibilities associated with mitigating climate change while telling the public to change behavior, such as by using fewer plastic bags. The mayor argues that he is the mayor, with a unique life and schedule, and that he chips in in his own ways, like through recycling. He also said that the SUVs are hybrids and that because of his unique power as mayor, he can affect widespread policy that has a huge impact.</p> <p>Unger believes that, despite the fanfare regarding the mayor’s gym routine, robust policy is indeed where the focus must be.</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Brachfeld<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/32541723780_9deef3a979_z.jpg" alt="32541723780 9deef3a979 z" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>Mayor de Blasio tours the&nbsp;Electrical Industry Training Center in Queens (photo:&nbsp;Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;Soon after reports surfaced that President Donald Trump would withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, a landmark accord to limit global temperature increases signed by nearly every country, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would sign an executive order committing New York City to the agreement. On June 2, after Trump confirmed the rumors in a White House Rose Garden speech, the Mayor <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/executive-orders/2017/eo_26.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">signed</a> such an order.</p> <p>Though the city has undertaken ambitious measures to curb emissions under the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations, the city may now have to go further than it already has in addressing climate change through policy.</p> <p>The <a href="http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris agreement</a>, signed by 195 nations (including the United States) and ratified by 147, stipulates three aims for all countries of the world to collectively strive for:</p> <p>1. “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”</p> <p>2. “Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production.”</p> <p>3. “Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.”</p> <p>The president’s action makes the U.S. one of only three countries not party to the agreement; the other two are Nicaragua, which claims that the agreement doesn’t go far enough, only committing the largest polluters to voluntary targets, and Syria, which is in the grips of a massive, six-year civil war.</p> <p>A Yale University <a href="http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/paris_agreement_by_state/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">survey</a> published last year showed that almost 70% of Americans believe that the country should remain in the agreement, much higher than the number of people who <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/207119/half-concerned-global-warming-believers.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">consider themselves</a> "concerned believers" in climate change, which is about 50%. According to the Yale survey, New York State actually registers the highest percentage of residents out of any state in terms of believing that the country should stay in the Paris Agreement; with over 75%.</p> <p>The agreement is effectively non-binding due to a lack of enforcement measures, a fact that has been criticized by environmental activists. The agreement also doesn’t stipulate any specific policies through which these aims are to be achieved, leaving the policy solutions to the signatories. Many of the enforcement measures for the U.S. to abide by the deal were stripped when Trump announced an executive order to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/28/climate/trump-executive-order-climate-change.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">review</a> former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan; it is widely expected that the EPA will dismantle it.</p> <p>The Paris aims are to be met through “nationally determined contributions,” or NDCs, which are dictated individually by signatories in such a way that the targets are collectively met. More developed countries would pledge financial aid to less developed countries so they can meet their targets, such as through the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which Trump harshly criticized in his White House Rose Garden speech announcing U.S. withdrawal.</p> <p>Trump’s pulling out of the agreement, and de Blasio’s subsequent commitment that the city will stick with it anyway, could require the city to determine its own NDCs.</p> <p>The mayor chastised the president in a May 31 press conference in Red Hook, Brooklyn for being callous regarding an issue that will disproportionately affect his own hometown.</p> <p>“We have to understand that if climate change is not addressed, one of the greatest coastal cities on the Earth will be increasingly threatened,” the mayor said. “And it's very painful to reflect the fact that Donald Trump is from New York City. He should know better. He should know that what he is thinking of doing would hurt his hometown more than almost any place else, because we're an entirely coastal city.”</p> <p>The next day, Trump announced U.S. withdrawal from Paris and de Blasio issued his executive order. What the mayor’s order did not immediately make clear was whether the city would be specifically drawing up targets to send to the UN, as a country is supposed to do. Asked for more detail, a City Hall spokesperson sent a statement capturing the city’s commitment and goals.</p> <p>“The Mayor’s executive order adopted the goals of the Paris agreement,” the spokesperson said, “in particular reaffirming the City’s goal to reduce its greenhouse gas contributions to the level needed to limit warming to 2C, and to explore how to develop further plans that keep to the 1.5C goal. In the face of Trump’s abdication of American leadership to meet the global challenge of climate change, it is more important than ever that we take action at the local level.”</p> <p>The spokesperson added that Section 3 of the mayor’s executive order “is about working with others to deliver on the US NDC,” though the order refers to the “2016 commitment to the Paris Agreement” rather than specifically saying “NDC” or “nationally determined contribution.” The spokesperson did not specify whether New York would be formally determining an NDC. Subnational entities are not required to submit NDCs to the UN, as national entities are.</p> <p>Only sovereign states, not subnational entities, can donate to the Green Climate Fund, according to the spokesperson. So, the current structure of the fund and financing scheme would preclude New York City from actually being able to contribute financially.</p> <p>The two-page <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/executive-orders/2017/eo_26.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">executive order</a> doesn’t contain many particulars, especially compared to the much larger, 32-page <a href="https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement framework</a>. The EO states that New York City will attempt to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, but doesn’t include specific strategies for the city to meet the targets.</p> <p>Since the Paris Agreement was signed by almost every country in the world, there is not much language regarding subnational entities like cities. The Agreement “welcomes the efforts of all non-Party stakeholders to address and respond to climate change, including those of civil society, the private sector, financial institutions, cities and other subnational authorities,” but the Agreement has been adopted almost universally and is organized under a United Nations framework, which a city or state cannot join, and therefore does not stipulate language about subnational entities formally joining if the national entity pulls out.</p> <p>For the city to meet Paris stipulations, it will have to craft policy without the aid of federal regulations, and likely in conjunction with the state government, due to state control over the city’s massive public transportation network. Governor Andrew Cuomo also signed an executive order committing the state to meeting the standards of the Paris Agreement regardless of the federal government’s position. Cuomo then announced that New York would be part of the “United States Climate Alliance,” consisting initially of New York, California, and Washington (state), then joined by other states, to abide by the Agreement.</p> <p>New York City already has a low carbon footprint compared to other major American cities, owing largely to its high density and plentitude of mass transportation options; New York is the only major city in the nation where a majority of households don’t own an automobile.</p> <p>New York State has the lowest carbon footprint, per capita, of any state, according to <a href="https://public.tableau.com/profile/bhurley#!/vizhome/StateCO2Emissions2014Data/TotalStateCO2Emissions2014data" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">data</a> collected by the Environmental Protection Agency.</p> <p>De Blasio, in 2014, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/nyregion/new-york-city-plans-major-energy-efficiency-improvements-in-its-buildings.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">announced</a> a goal, known as <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/visions/sustainability/goal-1.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">80 x 50</a>, for the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. The plan involves cutting emissions -- from vehicles, energy consumption in buildings, and waste disposal -- by 43 million metric tons by 2050. The plan is part of de Blasio’s larger <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/downloads/pdf/publications/OneNYC.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">OneNYC</a> initiative, which includes a variety of environmental, resiliency, and sustainability goals and strategies. De Blasio’s initiatives, on top of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s own substantial environmental efforts, have essentially charted the city on a path to meeting the Prais standards well before the city’s commitment to Paris through executive order.</p> <p>Russell Unger, executive director of the Urban Green Council, a nonprofit that advocates for more environmentally sustainable buildings, says that the numbers add up to 80 x 50 meeting Paris standards, but that, especially in city policy, models and implementation are two entirely different beasts.</p> <p>“The city recognizes there’s a lot of work to be done to take a plan that mostly relies on, kind of, modeling and figuring out how you actually make that work with industry,” he said. He noted that the plan was not thoroughly mapped out to 2050; in the 33 years until then, a lot can change.</p> <p>The city, which contains hundreds of miles of coastline and at some points is barely five feet above sea level, is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to the potential for floods, which was seen to a chaotic degree in 2012 during Superstorm Sandy. The mayor, at the Red Hook press conference, pressed the issue.</p> <p>“There's no question about it,” de Blasio said. “Hurricane Sandy, the nor'easter, all that occurred in that superstorm was because of climate change. We've already borne the brunt here in New York City. It's only going to get worse if something is not done quickly to reverse the course the Earth is on.”</p> <p>Transit policy would likely be an area of significant interest in a New York committed to the Paris agreement, due to the amount of emissions from vehicles. The city is responsible for the large fleet of vehicles it owns, ranging from emergency vehicles, sanitation vehicles, the mayor’s transport, and others. Meanwhile, the MTA, which is controlled by the state rather than the city, is responsible for bus, subway, Metro North, and the Long Island Rail Road service. Some vehicles services are contracted to private vendors, such as school buses.</p> <p>The MTA has long been a point of contention between City Hall and the Capitol, more so of late as the subways are in crisis, with funding negotiations part of the long-running feud between the governor and the mayor. But reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles will require cooperation, and will in all likelihood involve investment in MTA projects with the goal of reducing the number of vehicles on the road and reducing emissions from some of those that stay in circulation.</p> <p>The MTA in April announced road tests for electric buses to join a fleet consisting of diesel, hybrid electric diesel, and natural gas-powered buses. The <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/sustainability/downloads/pdf/publications/NYC%20Clean%20Fleet_FINAL.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">NYC Clean Fleet plan</a>, part of OneNYC, calls for 2,000 new electric vehicles to be added to the city’s fleet by 2025.</p> <p>But ambitious transportation projects, the type that could reduce the city’s carbon footprint significantly, frequently become stalled due to lack of adequate funding, or disagreements between Albany and the City, especially when those projects must go through the MTA. The first leg of the Second Avenue Subway was opened in January after being in progress for almost 90 years. The mayor’s request for a study to consider funding an extension of the subway along Brooklyn’s Utica Avenue, the southern stretch of which is a notorious subway desert, has led nowhere.</p> <p>De Blasio has been behind an expansion of Citi Bike in the city and recently launched the first phase of a new ferry service that has initially shown to be quite popular.</p> <p>Despite the fanfare around transportation policy, the lion’s share of city emissions comes not from vehicles, but from buildings. In a statement on June 8, City Council Member Brad Lander said, “without stronger energy efficiency standards for buildings – which account for 75 percent of New York City's total emissions – we will fail to meet our urgent goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.”</p> <p>Lander and fellow Council Member Jumaane Williams <a href="http://cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/heard-around-town/city-council-bill-de-blasio-energy-efficiency-standards.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">called on the mayor</a> to require large buildings to be retrofitted for energy efficiency. The administration has pursued policy regarding retrofitting through the One City Built to Last program and other initiatives; last October the mayor signed a trio of bills that, according to the mayor’s office, “are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 250,000 metric tons, and spur retrofits in 16,000 buildings.”</p> <p>Unger believes that despite large and important steps in the right direction, through initiatives such as the 80 x 50 plan and the One City initiative, there are still large strides to be made.</p> <p>“I think there’s a general recognition that the energy code needs to keep getting stronger,” he said, referring to the city’s <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/codes/2016-energy-conservation-code.page" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Conservation Code</a>. He continued, “there are lots of places where the code still doesn’t make sense, where there are requirements that are kind of based on older technologies. Cleaning those up is something to look at.”</p> <p>Some believe that the furor that erupted after Trump’s Paris Accord announcement is overstated. Unger believes that the city and state will not be impacted all that much by the withdrawal.</p> <p>“You know you got a strong team, and the coach goes on hiatus, you can keep playing. And so you have a lot of states and a lot of cities that have strong policies and have strong industries, and those things aren’t going anywhere,” he said. “New York State was already going to be ahead of what it would be required to do under Obama’s Clean Power Plan. So the Clean Power Plan disappears; we’re still going to be ahead of it.”</p> <p>The mayor has been criticized for lecturing the public on playing their part in lowering the city’s carbon footprint while having his SUV detail drive him 11 miles many days from Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side to his gym in Park Slope. The mayor has responded that his individual behavior is not what’s important, but rather, what’s important is encompassed within the policy he sets. “I don’t think the vast majority of New Yorkers care about this. They care about the results,” the mayor told NY1’s Errol Louis of his gym routine.</p> <p>However, some believe that he is setting a bad example by exempting himself from the individual responsibilities associated with mitigating climate change while telling the public to change behavior, such as by using fewer plastic bags. The mayor argues that he is the mayor, with a unique life and schedule, and that he chips in in his own ways, like through recycling. He also said that the SUVs are hybrids and that because of his unique power as mayor, he can affect widespread policy that has a huge impact.</p> <p>Unger believes that, despite the fanfare regarding the mayor’s gym routine, robust policy is indeed where the focus must be.</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Brachfeld<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@GothamGazette</a></p> Republican Mayoral Candidates Noncommittal on De Blasio Paris Climate Order 2017-06-02T04:00:00+00:00 2017-06-02T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6969:republican-mayoral-candidates-noncommittal-on-de-blasio-paris-climate-order Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/34070252844_4df7b1f902_z.jpg" alt="de blasio climate paris" width="600" height="399" /></p> <p>(photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Friday affirming New York City’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, from which President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he would withdraw the United States. New York City, the president’s hometown, has terrain that makes the city especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which the Paris agreement seeks to mitigate by limiting global temperature increases. The agreement was signed by 195 countries in December 2015.</p> <p>De Blasio had, on Wednesday, pledged to sign <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/executive-orders/2017/eo_26.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the executive order</a> after reports came out hinting that Trump would withdraw from the deal, an action he had promised on the campaign trail, part of the president’s “America First” isolationist foreign policy and his long-standing doubts about the reality of climate change.</p> <p>“The Paris Accord was the biggest step forward we've taken in many, many years, and it's unconscionable for the President of the United States to step away from it,” the Mayor said at a Wednesday press conference in Red Hook, Brooklyn, soon after reports started coming out of Trump’s decision. He added, “This is a dagger aimed straight at the heart of New York City.”</p> <p>The Mayor has made fighting climate change a priority, pledging in 2014 to reduce city emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Known as “<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/visions/sustainability/goal-1.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">80 x 50</a>,” it is part of the Mayor’s larger <a href="https://onenyc.cityofnewyork.us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">OneNYC</a> initiative.</p> <p>In a statement on Thursday following the President’s official withdrawal announcement in the White House Rose Garden, the mayor claimed that that his own coming executive order would be signed so that “New York can remain a home for generations to come.”</p> <p>De Blasio on Thursday joined more than 80 other "<a href="https://medium.com/@ClimateMayors/climate-mayors-commit-to-adopt-honor-and-uphold-paris-climate-agreement-goals-ba566e260097" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Mayors</a>,” representing more than 40 million Americans, in pledging to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.” These goals all serve in the aim of keeping average temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Accord seeks mitigation of greater than 2 degrees in temperature increases, but describes 1.5 degrees as a goal. These cities will now have to craft policy without the cooperation of the federal government. Some cities will also do it where their state governments are led by climate change deniers, such as in <a href="https://www.ofa.us/climate-change-deniers/greg-abbott-texas/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Texas</a>.</p> <p>Other mayors in New York signing the statement are the mayors of Albany and Syracuse. Governor Andrew Cuomo joined a similar agreement on Thursday, forming the United States Climate Alliance with the Governors of California and Washington State.</p> <p>Any major action by de Blasio in this election year becomes fodder for the mayoral campaign, of course. The two main Republican candidates for mayor, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and real estate sales executive Paul Massey, are engaged in a heated primary where both de Blasio and President Trump loom large. (Before any general election matchup, de Blasio is facing a handful of Democratic primary challengers.)</p> <p>Gotham Gazette asked both the Malliotakis and Massey campaigns whether the candidates would keep or rescind de Blasio’s Paris accord executive order if they were to win in November. Neither candidate has released a campaign agenda regarding climate change or the environment. Massey has begun releasing issue-based policy plans, while Malliotakis, who entered the race much more recently, has promised to do so soon.</p> <p>Neither campaign gave a direct answer to the question.</p> <p>The Massey campaign did affirm his support of the Paris Agreement but stopped short of committing to abide by de Blasio’s executive order were Massey to be elected mayor. The Malliotakis campaign avoided the question almost completely, stating that the mayor should be focusing on issues of local importance rather than national or international concern, on which he has little or no standing, a campaign spokesperson said.</p> <p>"Bill de Blasio spends way too much time playing in national and now, international politics,” Malliotakis campaign spokesperson Rob Ryan said in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “He needs to address simpler problems far closer to home like schools that don't educate, the homeless crisis, a subway system overloaded with problems and city run hospitals that are hemorrhaging billions of our tax dollars, before he wades into climate diplomacy in Paris."</p> <p>The mayor’s argument is that climate change and the Paris agreement to fight it are of significant local concern in New York City. The mayor has repeatedly referenced extreme weather, like superstorm Sandy, and the need for action to reduce the changes to the planet and thus their potential dangers.</p> <p>Massey, who has never held elected office, doesn’t have a voting record on climate change to draw on, but Malliotakis does, having taken votes in the Assembly on environmental matters. She voted in 2014 to “require state funded projects to consider climate change effects” and voted against banning fracking. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, implemented a fracking ban in 2014 after much deliberation.</p> <p>Malliotakis also voted against the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&amp;leg_video=&amp;bn=A10342&amp;term=2015&amp;Memo=Y&amp;Text=Y" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">New York State Climate and Community Protection Act</a>, a landmark climate bill strictly regulating greenhouse gas emissions in the state. It passed the Democratically-controlled Assembly in June 2016 by a 96-43 vote, but has stalled in committee in the Republican-controlled Senate. The version of the bill passed by the Assembly mandates stringent greenhouse gas limitations and, among other things, that 50% of New York State’s energy supply be provided by renewable energy by 2030. Cuomo <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/kit-kennedy/new-york-adopts-historic-50-30-renewables-goal">instructed</a> the Public Service Commission to order the “50 by 30” initiative in August of that year.</p> <p>In 2016, Malliotakis received a score of 70 from the <a href="http://eplvotersguide.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2016-Environmental-Scorecard.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">EPL/Environmental Advocates Scorecard</a>, receiving points for voting for the Child Safe Products Act, a “super bill,” but losing points for voting against the Climate and Community Protection Act and a reduction on mercury in lightbulbs.</p> <p>Despite her vote against the Climate and Community Protection Act, Malliotakis believes “that global warming is real and humans contribute to it,” Ryan said. “Her Assembly District was devastated by Hurricane Sandy and is still recovering from the damage.”</p> <p>The Massey campaign followed up with Gotham Gazette to say that Massey&nbsp;"supports the Paris Agreement and believes that climate change is real. He is also concerned about the effect on business that such agreements can impose, and would address these issues as mayor with tax abatements and incentives to companies that are following best practice regarding the environment."</p> <p>

***
by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: this story has been updated with further comment from the Massey campaign.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/34070252844_4df7b1f902_z.jpg" alt="de blasio climate paris" width="600" height="399" /></p> <p>(photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Friday affirming New York City’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, from which President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he would withdraw the United States. New York City, the president’s hometown, has terrain that makes the city especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which the Paris agreement seeks to mitigate by limiting global temperature increases. The agreement was signed by 195 countries in December 2015.</p> <p>De Blasio had, on Wednesday, pledged to sign <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/executive-orders/2017/eo_26.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the executive order</a> after reports came out hinting that Trump would withdraw from the deal, an action he had promised on the campaign trail, part of the president’s “America First” isolationist foreign policy and his long-standing doubts about the reality of climate change.</p> <p>“The Paris Accord was the biggest step forward we've taken in many, many years, and it's unconscionable for the President of the United States to step away from it,” the Mayor said at a Wednesday press conference in Red Hook, Brooklyn, soon after reports started coming out of Trump’s decision. He added, “This is a dagger aimed straight at the heart of New York City.”</p> <p>The Mayor has made fighting climate change a priority, pledging in 2014 to reduce city emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Known as “<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/visions/sustainability/goal-1.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">80 x 50</a>,” it is part of the Mayor’s larger <a href="https://onenyc.cityofnewyork.us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">OneNYC</a> initiative.</p> <p>In a statement on Thursday following the President’s official withdrawal announcement in the White House Rose Garden, the mayor claimed that that his own coming executive order would be signed so that “New York can remain a home for generations to come.”</p> <p>De Blasio on Thursday joined more than 80 other "<a href="https://medium.com/@ClimateMayors/climate-mayors-commit-to-adopt-honor-and-uphold-paris-climate-agreement-goals-ba566e260097" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Mayors</a>,” representing more than 40 million Americans, in pledging to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.” These goals all serve in the aim of keeping average temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Accord seeks mitigation of greater than 2 degrees in temperature increases, but describes 1.5 degrees as a goal. These cities will now have to craft policy without the cooperation of the federal government. Some cities will also do it where their state governments are led by climate change deniers, such as in <a href="https://www.ofa.us/climate-change-deniers/greg-abbott-texas/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Texas</a>.</p> <p>Other mayors in New York signing the statement are the mayors of Albany and Syracuse. Governor Andrew Cuomo joined a similar agreement on Thursday, forming the United States Climate Alliance with the Governors of California and Washington State.</p> <p>Any major action by de Blasio in this election year becomes fodder for the mayoral campaign, of course. The two main Republican candidates for mayor, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and real estate sales executive Paul Massey, are engaged in a heated primary where both de Blasio and President Trump loom large. (Before any general election matchup, de Blasio is facing a handful of Democratic primary challengers.)</p> <p>Gotham Gazette asked both the Malliotakis and Massey campaigns whether the candidates would keep or rescind de Blasio’s Paris accord executive order if they were to win in November. Neither candidate has released a campaign agenda regarding climate change or the environment. Massey has begun releasing issue-based policy plans, while Malliotakis, who entered the race much more recently, has promised to do so soon.</p> <p>Neither campaign gave a direct answer to the question.</p> <p>The Massey campaign did affirm his support of the Paris Agreement but stopped short of committing to abide by de Blasio’s executive order were Massey to be elected mayor. The Malliotakis campaign avoided the question almost completely, stating that the mayor should be focusing on issues of local importance rather than national or international concern, on which he has little or no standing, a campaign spokesperson said.</p> <p>"Bill de Blasio spends way too much time playing in national and now, international politics,” Malliotakis campaign spokesperson Rob Ryan said in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “He needs to address simpler problems far closer to home like schools that don't educate, the homeless crisis, a subway system overloaded with problems and city run hospitals that are hemorrhaging billions of our tax dollars, before he wades into climate diplomacy in Paris."</p> <p>The mayor’s argument is that climate change and the Paris agreement to fight it are of significant local concern in New York City. The mayor has repeatedly referenced extreme weather, like superstorm Sandy, and the need for action to reduce the changes to the planet and thus their potential dangers.</p> <p>Massey, who has never held elected office, doesn’t have a voting record on climate change to draw on, but Malliotakis does, having taken votes in the Assembly on environmental matters. She voted in 2014 to “require state funded projects to consider climate change effects” and voted against banning fracking. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, implemented a fracking ban in 2014 after much deliberation.</p> <p>Malliotakis also voted against the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&amp;leg_video=&amp;bn=A10342&amp;term=2015&amp;Memo=Y&amp;Text=Y" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">New York State Climate and Community Protection Act</a>, a landmark climate bill strictly regulating greenhouse gas emissions in the state. It passed the Democratically-controlled Assembly in June 2016 by a 96-43 vote, but has stalled in committee in the Republican-controlled Senate. The version of the bill passed by the Assembly mandates stringent greenhouse gas limitations and, among other things, that 50% of New York State’s energy supply be provided by renewable energy by 2030. Cuomo <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/kit-kennedy/new-york-adopts-historic-50-30-renewables-goal">instructed</a> the Public Service Commission to order the “50 by 30” initiative in August of that year.</p> <p>In 2016, Malliotakis received a score of 70 from the <a href="http://eplvotersguide.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2016-Environmental-Scorecard.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">EPL/Environmental Advocates Scorecard</a>, receiving points for voting for the Child Safe Products Act, a “super bill,” but losing points for voting against the Climate and Community Protection Act and a reduction on mercury in lightbulbs.</p> <p>Despite her vote against the Climate and Community Protection Act, Malliotakis believes “that global warming is real and humans contribute to it,” Ryan said. “Her Assembly District was devastated by Hurricane Sandy and is still recovering from the damage.”</p> <p>The Massey campaign followed up with Gotham Gazette to say that Massey&nbsp;"supports the Paris Agreement and believes that climate change is real. He is also concerned about the effect on business that such agreements can impose, and would address these issues as mayor with tax abatements and incentives to companies that are following best practice regarding the environment."</p> <p>

***
by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: this story has been updated with further comment from the Massey campaign.</p>
New York’s Next Climate and Community Protections 2016-06-15T04:00:00+00:00 2016-06-15T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6397:new-york-s-next-climate-and-community-protections Amanda Sherwin <p><img alt="NYRenews3" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2015/NYRenews3.jpg" height="400" width="600" /></p> <hr /> <p>A major shift in the climate debate is taking place across New York and a new front in the discussion is emerging. No longer faraway images of drowning polar bears and epic glacial melt, climate change has moved into our own backyards, devastating our local neighborhoods. And no one knows this better than New York’s working families.</p> <p>Extreme weather destroys upstate farmers’ crops and keeps hourly employees from getting to work. Air pollution exacerbates chronic health conditions, triggering asthma attacks and other health problems, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. And when a major storm hits, working families, particularly those from communities of color, are the last to see relief.</p> <p>What once was solely an environmental debate for some has been transformed into an economic and social justice one. The frontlines of the crisis have made this so.</p> <p>It was especially apparent here in New York during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. Both storms caused massive flooding, knocked out power and water supplies, and displaced tens of thousands of families. Long-standing issues with toxic mold were revealed and compounded, and rodent infestations surged.</p> <p>These problems were uncovered and exacerbated by storms like Irene and Sandy but they were not new. Policy choices and disinvestment in infrastructure over the last decade have caused working families across New York to live in an ongoing state of neglect, putting them at a disproportionate risk during major weather events.</p> <p>But our future is not written in stone, and it’s time we bring justice and opportunity to the working people who are most impacted by climate change.</p> <p>That’s why a coalition of more than 70 organizations including the most influential community leaders, grassroots activists, unions, and environmental justice advocates have banded together to stem the tide of climate change in New York. They are workers, immigrants, and people of color from both upstate and downstate New York. And they are throwing their support behind the strongest climate protection bill in the country – the NYS Climate &amp; Community Protection Act (<a target="_blank" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A10342&amp;term=2015">A.10342</a>/<a target="_blank" href="https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2015/S8005">S.8005</a>).</p> <p>This bill would make Governor Cuomo’s climate and clean energy commitments legally enforceable and set specific benchmarks and reporting requirements to ensure emissions reductions and rapid deployment of clean, renewable energy. And it would ensure the new clean energy economy creates good jobs by applying a prevailing wage to both construction and operations projects that include energy spending. In short, it would clean our air, improve our health, make our communities safer, and create new opportunities with a next-generation green economy.</p> <p>The NYS Climate &amp; Community Protection Act recently passed the state Assembly after a massive convergence of New Yorkers at the state Capitol demanded lawmakers support the bill. It is now being moved through the state Senate by Senator Diane Savino, who championed the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-community-risk-and-resiliency-act">2014 Community Risk and Resiliency Act</a> that was signed into law just after the People's Climate March, along with cosponsors Senators Tony Avella and Brad Hoylman.</p> <p>We have an opportunity right now to set an example for the rest of the country to follow. The time is now for New York to rise to the occasion and make our state the gold standard for clean, renewable energy. That’s why we’re calling on Governor Cuomo and the rest of the state’s lawmakers to see this bill through, so New Yorkers get the climate change protections they need and New York gets the next-generation green economy it deserves.</p> <p>***<br />Elizabeth Yeampierre is executive director of <a target="_blank" href="http://uprose.org/">UPROSE</a>. On Twitter <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/yeampierre?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">@yeampierre</a>.<br />Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez is president of the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nysna.org/">New York State Nurses Association</a>. On Twitter <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/nynurses">@NYSNA</a>.</p> <p>

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

</p>
<p><img alt="NYRenews3" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2015/NYRenews3.jpg" height="400" width="600" /></p> <hr /> <p>A major shift in the climate debate is taking place across New York and a new front in the discussion is emerging. No longer faraway images of drowning polar bears and epic glacial melt, climate change has moved into our own backyards, devastating our local neighborhoods. And no one knows this better than New York’s working families.</p> <p>Extreme weather destroys upstate farmers’ crops and keeps hourly employees from getting to work. Air pollution exacerbates chronic health conditions, triggering asthma attacks and other health problems, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. And when a major storm hits, working families, particularly those from communities of color, are the last to see relief.</p> <p>What once was solely an environmental debate for some has been transformed into an economic and social justice one. The frontlines of the crisis have made this so.</p> <p>It was especially apparent here in New York during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. Both storms caused massive flooding, knocked out power and water supplies, and displaced tens of thousands of families. Long-standing issues with toxic mold were revealed and compounded, and rodent infestations surged.</p> <p>These problems were uncovered and exacerbated by storms like Irene and Sandy but they were not new. Policy choices and disinvestment in infrastructure over the last decade have caused working families across New York to live in an ongoing state of neglect, putting them at a disproportionate risk during major weather events.</p> <p>But our future is not written in stone, and it’s time we bring justice and opportunity to the working people who are most impacted by climate change.</p> <p>That’s why a coalition of more than 70 organizations including the most influential community leaders, grassroots activists, unions, and environmental justice advocates have banded together to stem the tide of climate change in New York. They are workers, immigrants, and people of color from both upstate and downstate New York. And they are throwing their support behind the strongest climate protection bill in the country – the NYS Climate &amp; Community Protection Act (<a target="_blank" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A10342&amp;term=2015">A.10342</a>/<a target="_blank" href="https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2015/S8005">S.8005</a>).</p> <p>This bill would make Governor Cuomo’s climate and clean energy commitments legally enforceable and set specific benchmarks and reporting requirements to ensure emissions reductions and rapid deployment of clean, renewable energy. And it would ensure the new clean energy economy creates good jobs by applying a prevailing wage to both construction and operations projects that include energy spending. In short, it would clean our air, improve our health, make our communities safer, and create new opportunities with a next-generation green economy.</p> <p>The NYS Climate &amp; Community Protection Act recently passed the state Assembly after a massive convergence of New Yorkers at the state Capitol demanded lawmakers support the bill. It is now being moved through the state Senate by Senator Diane Savino, who championed the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-community-risk-and-resiliency-act">2014 Community Risk and Resiliency Act</a> that was signed into law just after the People's Climate March, along with cosponsors Senators Tony Avella and Brad Hoylman.</p> <p>We have an opportunity right now to set an example for the rest of the country to follow. The time is now for New York to rise to the occasion and make our state the gold standard for clean, renewable energy. That’s why we’re calling on Governor Cuomo and the rest of the state’s lawmakers to see this bill through, so New Yorkers get the climate change protections they need and New York gets the next-generation green economy it deserves.</p> <p>***<br />Elizabeth Yeampierre is executive director of <a target="_blank" href="http://uprose.org/">UPROSE</a>. On Twitter <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/yeampierre?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">@yeampierre</a>.<br />Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez is president of the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nysna.org/">New York State Nurses Association</a>. On Twitter <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/nynurses">@NYSNA</a>.</p> <p>

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

</p>
The Week That Was in New York Politics, October 5-9 2015-10-09T16:32:01+00:00 2015-10-09T16:32:01+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5928:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-october-5-9 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/week_in_review_bus_readers.jpg" alt="week in review bus readers" width="600" height="409" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><a href="http://blog.mcny.org/2012/04/24/a-ride-on-the-subway-in-1946-with-stanley-kubrick/" target="_blank">photo</a>: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York</span></p> <hr /> <p>Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 9</p> <p><strong>PHOTO OF THE WEEK:&nbsp;</strong>Mayor de Blasio pitches his rezoning plans in East New York, <a href="https://twitter.com/MC_NYC/status/651037854584467456" target="_blank">via Chang W. Lee for the New York Times</a>; charter school supporters rally in Brooklyn, <a href="https://twitter.com/MoskowitzEva/status/651796803646541824" target="_blank">via Eva Moskowitz</a>; Gov. Cuomo and former VP Al Gore celebrate a climate change-prevention announcement, <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/22042803655/in/album-72157659219247088/" target="_blank">via the governor's office</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/BdB_East_NY_Change_Lee_NYT.jpg" alt="BdB East NY Chang W Lee NYT" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="400" height="224" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/charter_rally.jpg" alt="charter rally" width="400" height="300" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/22042803655_d279fc0050_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo Gore climate change" width="400" height="266" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Cuomo On Climate Change:</strong> On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with former Vice President Al Gore, <a href="http://www.governor.ny.gov/news/rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-announces-new-actions-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-lead" target="_blank">announced</a> four actions to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across New York State. Cuomo signed the Under 2 Memorandum of Understanding, reaffirming his pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. By signing the ‘Under 2 MOU,’ Cuomo committed New York to the global effort to keep the earth’s average temperature from rising two degrees. The governor reiterated several measures that will make up New York’s efforts to do so, including an increase in the cultivation and use of solar power.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Charter School Politics:</strong> A large pro-charter school <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8578935/charter-rally-treads-familiar-ground-amid-shifts-political-climate" target="_blank">rally</a> led by Families for Excellent Schools was held on Wednesday; bolstered mostly by Eva Moskowitz, who closed her Success Academy Charter Schools so that students, parents, and staff would attend. Moskowitz accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of going back on his word to find space for seven new elementary charter schools in time for them to open in August. Generally, charter supporters are upset with the mayor for being against the expansion of charter schools. Then, on Thursday, Moskowitz <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/charter-school-leader-eva-moskowitz-not-running-for-mayor-1444320249" target="_blank">announced</a> that she will not be running for mayor in 2017, despite speculation that, as one of Mayor de Blasio’s biggest critics, she was going to run.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. New Info In Deadly Brooklyn Explosion:</strong> On Thursday, fire marshals <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/09/nyregion/natural-gas-not-the-cause-of-deadly-brooklyn-explosion-officials-say.html" target="_blank">eliminated</a> natural gas as a possible cause of the explosion in Brooklyn last Saturday that destroyed a three-story building, killed two, and injured thirteen. Investigators are now looking into whether some type of accelerant or fuel was involved in the blast. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said information from the investigation and “examination of the building gas meters, found that there was no natural gas flowing to the second-floor apartment (where the fire originated) since June 26.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. MTA Funding Feud Continues:</strong> Governor Cuomo again took issue with Mayor de Blasio over funding the MTA in a WNYC <a href="http://citizensunion.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ca0fb41d668202ba6cc542ca8&amp;id=504196afe9&amp;e=e35a0ce952" target="_blank">interview</a> on Tuesday. Cuomo and the head of the MTA, the governor’s appointee, are demanding the city contribute about $3 billion more. De Blasio is apparently offering over $2 billion, a major increase from previous commitments, but is saying he wants assurances that Cuomo will not remove any money from the MTA budget as he has done repeatedly in the past. The sniping continues.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Staten Island Family Justice Center Finally Breaks Ground:</strong> After <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131213/st-george/city-breaks-ground-on-staten-island-family-justice-center" target="_blank">years</a> of delays, Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, and others gathered on Monday for the <a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151005/st-george/long-delayed-staten-island-family-justice-center-finally-breaks-ground" target="_blank">groundbreaking</a> of The Staten Island Family Justice Center, largely focused on domestic violence prevention and response. The center is the first of its kind on Staten Island, following the lead of every other borough in the city, each of which already has such a center dedicated to providing comprehensive civil legal, criminal justice, and social services free of charge to victims of domestic abuse, sex trafficking, and elderly abuse.</p> <p><strong>THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:</strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>1.5 million</strong> New Yorker City residents live in <a href="http://nydn.us/1PdVI2m" target="_blank">overcrowded</a> (more than one occupant per room) or “severely overcrowded” (at least 1.5 occupants per room) situations, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>282,000</strong> domestic violence incidents were <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ocdv/downloads/pdf/Statistics_Annual_Fact_Sheet_2014.pdf" target="_blank">filed</a> by the NYPD in 2014 - roughly 800 per day.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>$11.7 million</strong> in <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/10/8578822/klein-takes-home-more-11-million-earmarks" target="_blank">earmarks</a> have been awarded to State Senator Jeff Klein over the last three years - more than triple the amount of any other senator.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>32%</strong> of the newest class of <a href="https://twitter.com/GunaRockYa/status/652176939004895232" target="_blank">NYPD officers </a>are Latino, the highest ever percentage ever. The new class of NYPD recruits hail from 36 countries, speak 22 languages, and are 20% women.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>68</strong> is how old NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton turned this Tuesday. Commissioner Bratton has <a href="https://twitter.com/CommissBratton/status/651849901312241664" target="_blank">45 years</a> of policing under his belt as of this week.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>$155</strong> million will be spent by the city over the next year to fix up more than <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-nyc-eyes-repairs-neighborhood-parks-article-1.2386534" target="_blank">35 parks</a> in high-poverty areas.</li> </ul> <p><strong>THE FLASH:</strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>Around this time four years ago</strong>, on October 7, 2011, the <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2011/10/07/2011-10-07_largest_identity_theft_ring_in_us_history_busted_in_queens_111_indicted_in_13_mi.html" target="_blank">NYPD busted</a> a Queens-based identity theft and retail crime ring, arresting over 110 people - the largest identity theft ring in the history of the United States at the time, making an annual profit of over $13 million.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>Around this time two years ago</strong>, on October 9, 2013, a 'Times Square Elmo' was <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/10/us-usa-newyork-elmo-idUSBRE9981BM20131010" target="_blank">sent to jail</a> for a year for trying to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts of the USA.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Around this time last year</strong>, on October 7, 2014, the family of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died after an officer put him in a chokehold while wrestling Garner to the ground in order to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/08/nyregion/eric-garners-family-to-sue-new-york-city-over-chokehold-case.html" target="_blank">filed a claim</a> to sue the city over his death.</li> </ul> <p><strong>GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5923-progressive-critics-largely-convinced-by-cuomos-wage-push" target="_blank">Progressive Critics Largely Convinced by Cuomo's Wage Push</a>, by David Howard King</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5925-buffalo-billion-boss-offers-cancels-interview-claims-threat-of-jail" target="_blank">Buffalo Billion Boss Offers, Cancels Interview; Claims 'Threat of Jail'</a>, by David Howard King</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5927-city-council-takes-aggressive-role-in-workplace-issues" target="_blank">City Council Takes Aggressive Role in Workplace Issues</a>, by Samar Khurshid</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/5924-a-better-way-to-fund-the-mta-quart" target="_blank">A Better Way to Fund the MTA</a>, by Assembly Member Dan Quart (opinion)</p> <p><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5926-kleins-newspaper-touts-his-ability-to-bring-home-the-bacon" target="_blank">Klein's 'Newspaper' Touts His Ability to Bring Home the Bacon</a>, by David Howard King</p> <p><strong>MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:</strong></p> <ul> <li>The New York Times' Liz Harris&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/09/nyregion/dual-language-programs-are-on-the-rise-even-for-native-english-speakers.html?&amp;hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">looks at</a> the city's dual-language programs</li> <li>WNYC's Beth Fertig&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/bronx-renewal-school-enthusiasm-takes-root/" target="_blank">reports</a> from a "renewal school" in the Bronx</li> <li>The Daily News' Harry Siegel <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/harry-siegel-cops-trust-east-new-york-article-1.2389428" target="_blank">writes about</a> police-community relations in East New York</li> </ul> <p><em>***<br />NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a>.</em></p> <p><em>If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank">the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here</a>. And have a great weekend!</em></p> <p><em>***</em><br />by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/week_in_review_bus_readers.jpg" alt="week in review bus readers" width="600" height="409" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><a href="http://blog.mcny.org/2012/04/24/a-ride-on-the-subway-in-1946-with-stanley-kubrick/" target="_blank">photo</a>: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York</span></p> <hr /> <p>Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 9</p> <p><strong>PHOTO OF THE WEEK:&nbsp;</strong>Mayor de Blasio pitches his rezoning plans in East New York, <a href="https://twitter.com/MC_NYC/status/651037854584467456" target="_blank">via Chang W. Lee for the New York Times</a>; charter school supporters rally in Brooklyn, <a href="https://twitter.com/MoskowitzEva/status/651796803646541824" target="_blank">via Eva Moskowitz</a>; Gov. Cuomo and former VP Al Gore celebrate a climate change-prevention announcement, <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/22042803655/in/album-72157659219247088/" target="_blank">via the governor's office</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/BdB_East_NY_Change_Lee_NYT.jpg" alt="BdB East NY Chang W Lee NYT" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="400" height="224" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/charter_rally.jpg" alt="charter rally" width="400" height="300" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/22042803655_d279fc0050_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo Gore climate change" width="400" height="266" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Cuomo On Climate Change:</strong> On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with former Vice President Al Gore, <a href="http://www.governor.ny.gov/news/rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-announces-new-actions-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-lead" target="_blank">announced</a> four actions to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across New York State. Cuomo signed the Under 2 Memorandum of Understanding, reaffirming his pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. By signing the ‘Under 2 MOU,’ Cuomo committed New York to the global effort to keep the earth’s average temperature from rising two degrees. The governor reiterated several measures that will make up New York’s efforts to do so, including an increase in the cultivation and use of solar power.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Charter School Politics:</strong> A large pro-charter school <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8578935/charter-rally-treads-familiar-ground-amid-shifts-political-climate" target="_blank">rally</a> led by Families for Excellent Schools was held on Wednesday; bolstered mostly by Eva Moskowitz, who closed her Success Academy Charter Schools so that students, parents, and staff would attend. Moskowitz accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of going back on his word to find space for seven new elementary charter schools in time for them to open in August. Generally, charter supporters are upset with the mayor for being against the expansion of charter schools. Then, on Thursday, Moskowitz <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/charter-school-leader-eva-moskowitz-not-running-for-mayor-1444320249" target="_blank">announced</a> that she will not be running for mayor in 2017, despite speculation that, as one of Mayor de Blasio’s biggest critics, she was going to run.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. New Info In Deadly Brooklyn Explosion:</strong> On Thursday, fire marshals <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/09/nyregion/natural-gas-not-the-cause-of-deadly-brooklyn-explosion-officials-say.html" target="_blank">eliminated</a> natural gas as a possible cause of the explosion in Brooklyn last Saturday that destroyed a three-story building, killed two, and injured thirteen. Investigators are now looking into whether some type of accelerant or fuel was involved in the blast. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said information from the investigation and “examination of the building gas meters, found that there was no natural gas flowing to the second-floor apartment (where the fire originated) since June 26.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. MTA Funding Feud Continues:</strong> Governor Cuomo again took issue with Mayor de Blasio over funding the MTA in a WNYC <a href="http://citizensunion.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ca0fb41d668202ba6cc542ca8&amp;id=504196afe9&amp;e=e35a0ce952" target="_blank">interview</a> on Tuesday. Cuomo and the head of the MTA, the governor’s appointee, are demanding the city contribute about $3 billion more. De Blasio is apparently offering over $2 billion, a major increase from previous commitments, but is saying he wants assurances that Cuomo will not remove any money from the MTA budget as he has done repeatedly in the past. The sniping continues.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Staten Island Family Justice Center Finally Breaks Ground:</strong> After <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131213/st-george/city-breaks-ground-on-staten-island-family-justice-center" target="_blank">years</a> of delays, Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, and others gathered on Monday for the <a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151005/st-george/long-delayed-staten-island-family-justice-center-finally-breaks-ground" target="_blank">groundbreaking</a> of The Staten Island Family Justice Center, largely focused on domestic violence prevention and response. The center is the first of its kind on Staten Island, following the lead of every other borough in the city, each of which already has such a center dedicated to providing comprehensive civil legal, criminal justice, and social services free of charge to victims of domestic abuse, sex trafficking, and elderly abuse.</p> <p><strong>THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:</strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>1.5 million</strong> New Yorker City residents live in <a href="http://nydn.us/1PdVI2m" target="_blank">overcrowded</a> (more than one occupant per room) or “severely overcrowded” (at least 1.5 occupants per room) situations, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>282,000</strong> domestic violence incidents were <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ocdv/downloads/pdf/Statistics_Annual_Fact_Sheet_2014.pdf" target="_blank">filed</a> by the NYPD in 2014 - roughly 800 per day.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>$11.7 million</strong> in <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/10/8578822/klein-takes-home-more-11-million-earmarks" target="_blank">earmarks</a> have been awarded to State Senator Jeff Klein over the last three years - more than triple the amount of any other senator.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>32%</strong> of the newest class of <a href="https://twitter.com/GunaRockYa/status/652176939004895232" target="_blank">NYPD officers </a>are Latino, the highest ever percentage ever. The new class of NYPD recruits hail from 36 countries, speak 22 languages, and are 20% women.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>68</strong> is how old NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton turned this Tuesday. Commissioner Bratton has <a href="https://twitter.com/CommissBratton/status/651849901312241664" target="_blank">45 years</a> of policing under his belt as of this week.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>$155</strong> million will be spent by the city over the next year to fix up more than <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-nyc-eyes-repairs-neighborhood-parks-article-1.2386534" target="_blank">35 parks</a> in high-poverty areas.</li> </ul> <p><strong>THE FLASH:</strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>Around this time four years ago</strong>, on October 7, 2011, the <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2011/10/07/2011-10-07_largest_identity_theft_ring_in_us_history_busted_in_queens_111_indicted_in_13_mi.html" target="_blank">NYPD busted</a> a Queens-based identity theft and retail crime ring, arresting over 110 people - the largest identity theft ring in the history of the United States at the time, making an annual profit of over $13 million.</li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>Around this time two years ago</strong>, on October 9, 2013, a 'Times Square Elmo' was <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/10/us-usa-newyork-elmo-idUSBRE9981BM20131010" target="_blank">sent to jail</a> for a year for trying to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts of the USA.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Around this time last year</strong>, on October 7, 2014, the family of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died after an officer put him in a chokehold while wrestling Garner to the ground in order to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/08/nyregion/eric-garners-family-to-sue-new-york-city-over-chokehold-case.html" target="_blank">filed a claim</a> to sue the city over his death.</li> </ul> <p><strong>GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5923-progressive-critics-largely-convinced-by-cuomos-wage-push" target="_blank">Progressive Critics Largely Convinced by Cuomo's Wage Push</a>, by David Howard King</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5925-buffalo-billion-boss-offers-cancels-interview-claims-threat-of-jail" target="_blank">Buffalo Billion Boss Offers, Cancels Interview; Claims 'Threat of Jail'</a>, by David Howard King</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5927-city-council-takes-aggressive-role-in-workplace-issues" target="_blank">City Council Takes Aggressive Role in Workplace Issues</a>, by Samar Khurshid</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/5924-a-better-way-to-fund-the-mta-quart" target="_blank">A Better Way to Fund the MTA</a>, by Assembly Member Dan Quart (opinion)</p> <p><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5926-kleins-newspaper-touts-his-ability-to-bring-home-the-bacon" target="_blank">Klein's 'Newspaper' Touts His Ability to Bring Home the Bacon</a>, by David Howard King</p> <p><strong>MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:</strong></p> <ul> <li>The New York Times' Liz Harris&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/09/nyregion/dual-language-programs-are-on-the-rise-even-for-native-english-speakers.html?&amp;hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">looks at</a> the city's dual-language programs</li> <li>WNYC's Beth Fertig&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/bronx-renewal-school-enthusiasm-takes-root/" target="_blank">reports</a> from a "renewal school" in the Bronx</li> <li>The Daily News' Harry Siegel <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/harry-siegel-cops-trust-east-new-york-article-1.2389428" target="_blank">writes about</a> police-community relations in East New York</li> </ul> <p><em>***<br />NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a>.</em></p> <p><em>If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank">the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here</a>. And have a great weekend!</em></p> <p><em>***</em><br />by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max</p> In Pope Francis, De Blasio Finds Ultimate Validator 2015-09-23T20:27:38+00:00 2015-09-23T20:27:38+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5903:in-pope-francis-de-blasio-finds-ultimate-validator Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/de_blasio_dolan_sept_23.jpg" alt="de blasio dolan sept 23" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p>Cardinal Dolan &amp; Mayor de Blasio (photo via @BilldeBlasio)</p> <hr /> <p>Pope Francis is the "leading moral voice on this earth," according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is welcoming the pope to New York City with open arms.</p> <p>At a press conference Wednesday, the day before the pope is due to arrive in New York, de Blasio again spoke highly of Francis and pointed to the pope's moral authority and inspiration when announcing a partnership with the Archdiocese of New York to provide additional beds to homeless New Yorkers.</p> <p>"Pope Francis is calling us all to action...asking all of us to do more to help those in need," de Blasio said Wednesday as he, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, and others outlined new steps to help homeless individuals through city partnerships with faith-based organizations.</p> <p>As de Blasio and other New Yorkers anticipate Pope Francis' Thursday arrival, the mayor is able to frame his efforts to fight inequities and help struggling and vulnerable New Yorkers in terms of the pope's worldview.</p> <p>Citing Francis' messages on economic, environmental, and social justice, de Blasio continues to point to the pope as the moral standard-bearer, repeatedly praising Francis for his bold vision for a better world. This has included, for example, the mayor <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/week-transcript-donald-trump-sen-marco-rubio/story?id=33879400" target="_blank">quoting</a> Francis' critique of trickle-down economics.</p> <p>Though the mayor is a municipal executive, he has sought to take his own message national and global. In Pope Francis, de Blasio may have found the most powerful validator of his fight against inequality.</p> <p>"We have to do everything we can do to create a more just society," de Blasio said Wednesday, referring to the pope and his mandates. "We are amplifying the pope's agenda. We are answering his call to action," the mayor said, explaining that it is imperative the city takes care of all New Yorkers in need in order to truly be "the greatest city in the world."</p> <p>Upon arriving in the United States, Pope Francis <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/24/us/pope-francis-remarks-at-the-white-house.html?smid=tw-share" target="_blank">spoke</a> at the White House Wednesday morning. He called for participation in his mission, saying, "I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children."</p> <p>For de Blasio, there is undoubtedly great appreciation of Pope Francis' pointed critiques of the social and environmental impacts of a changing world. But, de Blasio is also able to utilize Francis in support of his agenda, which comes as welcome help to a mayor who has had his share of detractors.</p> <p>Still, promoting the pope and some of his messages also creates conflict for the mayor, who has described himself as a person of faith, though not particularly religious. De Blasio must face criticism from those who say that he is blurring lines of church and state and figure out a way to explain why Francis is so right on certain issues like climate change and immigration, but not a moral authority on others, like same-sex marriage or abortion rights.</p> <p>De Blasio has made his adulatory relationship with Francis one of convenience, as is often the case with political allies, and mostly sidestepped those criticisms and conflicts.</p> <p>When asked about specific areas where the mayor disagrees with the pope and criticism of the city promoting the leader of the Catholic Church, de Blasio spokesperson Monica Klein wrote Gotham Gazette to say that Pope Francis is "a leading global voice on ending income inequality and fighting climate change—issues that are important to people across all faiths in our city." In one public area of criticism, de Blasio <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/23/nyregion/de-blasio-inspired-by-francis-describes-an-evolving-relationship-with-faith.html" target="_blank">did say</a> this summer that the Catholic Church must be more inclusive of women.</p> <p>Klein also wrote that "When any visiting dignitary travels to New York City, the Mayor works to accommodate their visit and provide appropriate security." The mayor has himself said similar things when questioned by reporters.</p> <p>Well before the announcement of the pope's visit, even before de Blasio's July visit to the Vatican for a conference on climate change, de Blasio began citing Pope Francis as an essential voice in the fight against inequality, and thus a validator of the mayor's agenda, which includes creating affordable housing and reforming the criminal justice system.</p> <p>It is uncertain that Pope Francis will discuss de Blasio's work in any specificity while in New York, but the mayor will greet the pope at Kennedy Airport Thursday and accompany Francis at most of his public appearances, which include a speech at the UN and a visit to an East Harlem school.</p> <p>Like the pope, de Blasio has sought to tie economic and environmental justice together, releasing his <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/index.html" target="_blank">OneNYC plan</a> with long-term goals for sustainability, housing, and poverty-reduction.</p> <p>De Blasio gladly accepted the chance to speak at the pope's climate conference. At the Vatican, de Blasio said of Pope Francis, "This is a leader such as we haven't seen before, really. He is saying things so clearly and so powerfully all over the world that need to be said...What he is doing is, he's creating an international voice of conscience that I can't think of any previous parallel for."</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/de_blasio_pope_francis.jpg" alt="de blasio pope francis" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="233" width="350" /></p> <p>As de Blasio and Francis hit several similar themes, they are hearing similar attacks. While de Blasio is being called out by some for overstepping the secular ideal of city government, Francis is being criticized for being overly political.</p> <p>De Blasio has been painted as a liberal boogeyman by many on the right and Francis has begun to hear similar barbs. Republican Congressional Rep. Paul Gosar, from Arizona, is among those who planned to boycott Pope Francis' speech in front of Congress because he is dismayed that the pope is taking on climate change. In a recent <a href="http://townhall.com/columnists/congressmanpaulgosar/2015/09/17/why-i-am-boycotting-pope-francis-address-to-congress-n2053596/page/full" target="_blank">op-ed</a> explaining his criticism, Gosar wrote, "When the pope chooses to act like a left&shy;ist politi&shy;cian, then he can ex&shy;pect to be treated like one."</p> <p>One can imagine de Blasio hearing this and smiling.</p> <p>When in Rome, de Blasio discussed being convened by Francis to take part in efforts to combat climate change, saying, "having the support of His Holiness is the most encouraging thing I can think of. It's the most empowering possibility to have the strongest moral voice in the globe today calling us to action."</p> <p>On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a political force de Blasio has had limited success marshalling to his advantage, spoke of Pope Francis. "In some ways, ironically, the pope's message isn't even religious. It is so universal that it is just humanitarian. It's communitarian," Cuomo <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/09/22/cuomo-speaks-out-about-upcoming-papal-visit.html" target="_blank">told NY1's Zack Fink</a>.</p> <p>Here, de Blasio and Cuomo are on the same page, looking to the world's preeminent religious figure as a voice for universal righteousness. On Wednesday, as de Blasio invoked Francis' name again and again, he repeatedly stressed a non-religious message, at one point saying, "All of us can feel commonality in Pope Francis' vision of a more inclusive society. It doesn't matter, again, what faith you believe in – Pope Francis is a moral voice, speaking to all of us, calling all of us to action."</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank">@tweetBenMax</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/de_blasio_dolan_sept_23.jpg" alt="de blasio dolan sept 23" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p>Cardinal Dolan &amp; Mayor de Blasio (photo via @BilldeBlasio)</p> <hr /> <p>Pope Francis is the "leading moral voice on this earth," according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is welcoming the pope to New York City with open arms.</p> <p>At a press conference Wednesday, the day before the pope is due to arrive in New York, de Blasio again spoke highly of Francis and pointed to the pope's moral authority and inspiration when announcing a partnership with the Archdiocese of New York to provide additional beds to homeless New Yorkers.</p> <p>"Pope Francis is calling us all to action...asking all of us to do more to help those in need," de Blasio said Wednesday as he, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, and others outlined new steps to help homeless individuals through city partnerships with faith-based organizations.</p> <p>As de Blasio and other New Yorkers anticipate Pope Francis' Thursday arrival, the mayor is able to frame his efforts to fight inequities and help struggling and vulnerable New Yorkers in terms of the pope's worldview.</p> <p>Citing Francis' messages on economic, environmental, and social justice, de Blasio continues to point to the pope as the moral standard-bearer, repeatedly praising Francis for his bold vision for a better world. This has included, for example, the mayor <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/week-transcript-donald-trump-sen-marco-rubio/story?id=33879400" target="_blank">quoting</a> Francis' critique of trickle-down economics.</p> <p>Though the mayor is a municipal executive, he has sought to take his own message national and global. In Pope Francis, de Blasio may have found the most powerful validator of his fight against inequality.</p> <p>"We have to do everything we can do to create a more just society," de Blasio said Wednesday, referring to the pope and his mandates. "We are amplifying the pope's agenda. We are answering his call to action," the mayor said, explaining that it is imperative the city takes care of all New Yorkers in need in order to truly be "the greatest city in the world."</p> <p>Upon arriving in the United States, Pope Francis <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/24/us/pope-francis-remarks-at-the-white-house.html?smid=tw-share" target="_blank">spoke</a> at the White House Wednesday morning. He called for participation in his mission, saying, "I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children."</p> <p>For de Blasio, there is undoubtedly great appreciation of Pope Francis' pointed critiques of the social and environmental impacts of a changing world. But, de Blasio is also able to utilize Francis in support of his agenda, which comes as welcome help to a mayor who has had his share of detractors.</p> <p>Still, promoting the pope and some of his messages also creates conflict for the mayor, who has described himself as a person of faith, though not particularly religious. De Blasio must face criticism from those who say that he is blurring lines of church and state and figure out a way to explain why Francis is so right on certain issues like climate change and immigration, but not a moral authority on others, like same-sex marriage or abortion rights.</p> <p>De Blasio has made his adulatory relationship with Francis one of convenience, as is often the case with political allies, and mostly sidestepped those criticisms and conflicts.</p> <p>When asked about specific areas where the mayor disagrees with the pope and criticism of the city promoting the leader of the Catholic Church, de Blasio spokesperson Monica Klein wrote Gotham Gazette to say that Pope Francis is "a leading global voice on ending income inequality and fighting climate change—issues that are important to people across all faiths in our city." In one public area of criticism, de Blasio <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/23/nyregion/de-blasio-inspired-by-francis-describes-an-evolving-relationship-with-faith.html" target="_blank">did say</a> this summer that the Catholic Church must be more inclusive of women.</p> <p>Klein also wrote that "When any visiting dignitary travels to New York City, the Mayor works to accommodate their visit and provide appropriate security." The mayor has himself said similar things when questioned by reporters.</p> <p>Well before the announcement of the pope's visit, even before de Blasio's July visit to the Vatican for a conference on climate change, de Blasio began citing Pope Francis as an essential voice in the fight against inequality, and thus a validator of the mayor's agenda, which includes creating affordable housing and reforming the criminal justice system.</p> <p>It is uncertain that Pope Francis will discuss de Blasio's work in any specificity while in New York, but the mayor will greet the pope at Kennedy Airport Thursday and accompany Francis at most of his public appearances, which include a speech at the UN and a visit to an East Harlem school.</p> <p>Like the pope, de Blasio has sought to tie economic and environmental justice together, releasing his <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/index.html" target="_blank">OneNYC plan</a> with long-term goals for sustainability, housing, and poverty-reduction.</p> <p>De Blasio gladly accepted the chance to speak at the pope's climate conference. At the Vatican, de Blasio said of Pope Francis, "This is a leader such as we haven't seen before, really. He is saying things so clearly and so powerfully all over the world that need to be said...What he is doing is, he's creating an international voice of conscience that I can't think of any previous parallel for."</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/de_blasio_pope_francis.jpg" alt="de blasio pope francis" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="233" width="350" /></p> <p>As de Blasio and Francis hit several similar themes, they are hearing similar attacks. While de Blasio is being called out by some for overstepping the secular ideal of city government, Francis is being criticized for being overly political.</p> <p>De Blasio has been painted as a liberal boogeyman by many on the right and Francis has begun to hear similar barbs. Republican Congressional Rep. Paul Gosar, from Arizona, is among those who planned to boycott Pope Francis' speech in front of Congress because he is dismayed that the pope is taking on climate change. In a recent <a href="http://townhall.com/columnists/congressmanpaulgosar/2015/09/17/why-i-am-boycotting-pope-francis-address-to-congress-n2053596/page/full" target="_blank">op-ed</a> explaining his criticism, Gosar wrote, "When the pope chooses to act like a left&shy;ist politi&shy;cian, then he can ex&shy;pect to be treated like one."</p> <p>One can imagine de Blasio hearing this and smiling.</p> <p>When in Rome, de Blasio discussed being convened by Francis to take part in efforts to combat climate change, saying, "having the support of His Holiness is the most encouraging thing I can think of. It's the most empowering possibility to have the strongest moral voice in the globe today calling us to action."</p> <p>On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a political force de Blasio has had limited success marshalling to his advantage, spoke of Pope Francis. "In some ways, ironically, the pope's message isn't even religious. It is so universal that it is just humanitarian. It's communitarian," Cuomo <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/09/22/cuomo-speaks-out-about-upcoming-papal-visit.html" target="_blank">told NY1's Zack Fink</a>.</p> <p>Here, de Blasio and Cuomo are on the same page, looking to the world's preeminent religious figure as a voice for universal righteousness. On Wednesday, as de Blasio invoked Francis' name again and again, he repeatedly stressed a non-religious message, at one point saying, "All of us can feel commonality in Pope Francis' vision of a more inclusive society. It doesn't matter, again, what faith you believe in – Pope Francis is a moral voice, speaking to all of us, calling all of us to action."</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank">@tweetBenMax</a></p>