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/daniel-dromm 2017-10-20T21:59:04+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Now More Than Ever, the City Must Invest in Adult Literacy 2017-05-24T04:00:00+00:00 2017-05-24T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6951:now-more-than-ever-the-city-must-invest-in-adult-literacy Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/dromm_2.jpg" alt="dromm 2" width="600" height="338" /></p> <p>Council Member Dromm, one of the authors (photo: Make The Road NY)</p> <hr /> <p>Three million immigrant New Yorkers currently call our city home, adding to its vibrancy and vitality. Since Donald Trump’s election, immigrant communities have been fearful: hate crimes have gone up, immigrant workers face more exploitation, and families are scared of separation and deportation. For those of us working as community advocates and elected officials, we are now driven more than ever to find the policy solutions that will help our immigrant communities thrive and remain resilient, rather than live in fear.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio and City Council leaders have taken policy positions that do just that: committing to non-cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), pioneering an IDNYC program, maintaining strong worker protections, and increasing funding for universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) and the Community Schools initiative. Now, to more effectively protect and support our communities, we also need to deepen our investment in adult education and baseline in into the city budget.</p> <p>Just a year ago the Mayor and Council invested $12 million for adult literacy, an increase that advocates called historic at the time. City leaders invested because the need is great, and for the thousands who study every year, the English classes offered by adult literacy providers give immigrants a pathway to economic mobility, social integration, parental support of children’s academic success, improved health outcomes, and greater civic engagement.</p> <p>As immigrant communities live in fear and anxiety over federal immigration policy, it is essential that they are able to read and understand English—even as our city government is defending their rights and providing some protective services. Without English proficiency, many immigrants are left isolated and at risk of being taken advantage of by unscrupulous “notarios” who promise immigration relief for a fee, but never deliver. They are even more fearful than ever of accessing health and social services, challenged when applying for or improving work, and less able to support their children’s learning, or to report or stand up against employer, landlord, or police abuses.</p> <p>Under the Trump administration, New York City’s largest source of federal adult literacy dollars (WIOA) is at risk of significant cuts. Even if the funding is maintained at a reduced level, current policy will likely make it more difficult to serve undocumented and low-level learners over time. For all of these reasons, this is the moment for the Mayor and Council to build on the momentum from last year’s investment and use their leadership to make New York City a model of adult literacy service provision. It is not too late, despite the fact that the Mayor’s most recent Executive Budget did not renew last year’s $12 million investment in adult literacy. A budget deal must be reached by July 1. The time is now.</p> <p>Without the $12 million again this year, spots will be lost in literacy classes for over 5,500 adult students throughout the city, and an opportunity to deeply support immigrant New Yorkers will be lost. Last fiscal year's investment was critical to providers and students, and should be transformed into a baselined, multi-year investment in the field of adult education, allowing the city to update reimbursement rates for community based providers offering cost effective and critical services. In order to make our city a true 'sanctuary' city, we need to make it a city of opportunity for immigrants by ensuring that they have access to the literacy classes they need to thrive now.</p> <p>***<br />Daniel Dromm is a member of the New York City Council. Theo Oshiro is the Deputy Director of Make the Road New York. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/Dromm25" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@Dromm25</a>&nbsp;&amp;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/TheoOshiro" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TheoOshiro</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/dromm_2.jpg" alt="dromm 2" width="600" height="338" /></p> <p>Council Member Dromm, one of the authors (photo: Make The Road NY)</p> <hr /> <p>Three million immigrant New Yorkers currently call our city home, adding to its vibrancy and vitality. Since Donald Trump’s election, immigrant communities have been fearful: hate crimes have gone up, immigrant workers face more exploitation, and families are scared of separation and deportation. For those of us working as community advocates and elected officials, we are now driven more than ever to find the policy solutions that will help our immigrant communities thrive and remain resilient, rather than live in fear.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio and City Council leaders have taken policy positions that do just that: committing to non-cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), pioneering an IDNYC program, maintaining strong worker protections, and increasing funding for universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) and the Community Schools initiative. Now, to more effectively protect and support our communities, we also need to deepen our investment in adult education and baseline in into the city budget.</p> <p>Just a year ago the Mayor and Council invested $12 million for adult literacy, an increase that advocates called historic at the time. City leaders invested because the need is great, and for the thousands who study every year, the English classes offered by adult literacy providers give immigrants a pathway to economic mobility, social integration, parental support of children’s academic success, improved health outcomes, and greater civic engagement.</p> <p>As immigrant communities live in fear and anxiety over federal immigration policy, it is essential that they are able to read and understand English—even as our city government is defending their rights and providing some protective services. Without English proficiency, many immigrants are left isolated and at risk of being taken advantage of by unscrupulous “notarios” who promise immigration relief for a fee, but never deliver. They are even more fearful than ever of accessing health and social services, challenged when applying for or improving work, and less able to support their children’s learning, or to report or stand up against employer, landlord, or police abuses.</p> <p>Under the Trump administration, New York City’s largest source of federal adult literacy dollars (WIOA) is at risk of significant cuts. Even if the funding is maintained at a reduced level, current policy will likely make it more difficult to serve undocumented and low-level learners over time. For all of these reasons, this is the moment for the Mayor and Council to build on the momentum from last year’s investment and use their leadership to make New York City a model of adult literacy service provision. It is not too late, despite the fact that the Mayor’s most recent Executive Budget did not renew last year’s $12 million investment in adult literacy. A budget deal must be reached by July 1. The time is now.</p> <p>Without the $12 million again this year, spots will be lost in literacy classes for over 5,500 adult students throughout the city, and an opportunity to deeply support immigrant New Yorkers will be lost. Last fiscal year's investment was critical to providers and students, and should be transformed into a baselined, multi-year investment in the field of adult education, allowing the city to update reimbursement rates for community based providers offering cost effective and critical services. In order to make our city a true 'sanctuary' city, we need to make it a city of opportunity for immigrants by ensuring that they have access to the literacy classes they need to thrive now.</p> <p>***<br />Daniel Dromm is a member of the New York City Council. Theo Oshiro is the Deputy Director of Make the Road New York. On Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/Dromm25" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@Dromm25</a>&nbsp;&amp;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/TheoOshiro" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TheoOshiro</a>.</p> <p>

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Time to Support New York Students with Billions Still Owed from Campaign for Fiscal Equity 2016-01-24T05:00:00+00:00 2016-01-24T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6110:time-to-support-new-york-students-with-44-billion-still-owed-from-campaign-for-fiscal-equity Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/dromm_idnyc_visit_.jpg" alt="dromm idnyc visit " width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Council Member Dromm (middle), the author, at the Queens Library</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo's recently proposed budget plan for education is a mixed bag, but represents a major shift from his attacks on public education in years past. Ultimately, however, his plan falls short by allocating less than $1 billion in new education money this year at a time when public schools are still owed more than $4.4 billion in Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) funding.</p> <p>The CFE was a lawsuit brought by parents against the State of New York over a decade ago. These parents charged the State with failing to provide public school students with an adequate education. In 2006, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding the State in violation of a student's constitutional right to a "sound and basic education" by underfunding schools.</p> <p>Nearly ten years later students have still not received the money due to them. The State still owes New York City a staggering $2 billion, leaving our public schools woefully underfunded.</p> <p>Even the $1.3 billion school aid increase provided in the 2015-16 budget was not enough to restore the massive cuts our schools suffered earlier in the decade. Public schools in immigrant and low-income communities are particularly affected, most of which are owed over 77% of outstanding CFE dollars.</p> <p>Just imagine the transformative impact a $4.4 billion dollar investment in public education would have on our children's lives. If adequately funded, schools would have the ability to hire additional teachers and school support personnel. Among other things, these sorely needed dollars would provide our students with a more robust physical education and help expand arts education in our schools. These CFE funds would bring about a dramatic reduction in class sizes in New York's most overcrowded school districts. The possibilities are endless.</p> <p>Credit where credit is due: I am excited that the Governor sees the value of the community school model and recognizes how successful community schools have been in New York City. Supporting students holistically—by offering support groups and child daycare for parents, access to physical and mental healthcare, mentors for students and other valuable services—will make them successful in many ways.<br />The $100 million he has allocated for community schools is welcome news, but falls short of the $500 million needed considering that these schools have grown exponentially over the past year.</p> <p>I am hopeful that the Governor's budget plan signifies a renewed interest in public education. But it's high time he settles this ten-year-old debt. New York State must deliver the entire $4.4 billion in CFE funding it owes in order to truly do right by our children. Their futures deserve no less.</p> <p>***<br />Daniel Dromm is a City Council member from Queens and chair of the Council Committee on Education. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Dromm25" target="_blank">@Dromm25</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/dromm_idnyc_visit_.jpg" alt="dromm idnyc visit " width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Council Member Dromm (middle), the author, at the Queens Library</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo's recently proposed budget plan for education is a mixed bag, but represents a major shift from his attacks on public education in years past. Ultimately, however, his plan falls short by allocating less than $1 billion in new education money this year at a time when public schools are still owed more than $4.4 billion in Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) funding.</p> <p>The CFE was a lawsuit brought by parents against the State of New York over a decade ago. These parents charged the State with failing to provide public school students with an adequate education. In 2006, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding the State in violation of a student's constitutional right to a "sound and basic education" by underfunding schools.</p> <p>Nearly ten years later students have still not received the money due to them. The State still owes New York City a staggering $2 billion, leaving our public schools woefully underfunded.</p> <p>Even the $1.3 billion school aid increase provided in the 2015-16 budget was not enough to restore the massive cuts our schools suffered earlier in the decade. Public schools in immigrant and low-income communities are particularly affected, most of which are owed over 77% of outstanding CFE dollars.</p> <p>Just imagine the transformative impact a $4.4 billion dollar investment in public education would have on our children's lives. If adequately funded, schools would have the ability to hire additional teachers and school support personnel. Among other things, these sorely needed dollars would provide our students with a more robust physical education and help expand arts education in our schools. These CFE funds would bring about a dramatic reduction in class sizes in New York's most overcrowded school districts. The possibilities are endless.</p> <p>Credit where credit is due: I am excited that the Governor sees the value of the community school model and recognizes how successful community schools have been in New York City. Supporting students holistically—by offering support groups and child daycare for parents, access to physical and mental healthcare, mentors for students and other valuable services—will make them successful in many ways.<br />The $100 million he has allocated for community schools is welcome news, but falls short of the $500 million needed considering that these schools have grown exponentially over the past year.</p> <p>I am hopeful that the Governor's budget plan signifies a renewed interest in public education. But it's high time he settles this ten-year-old debt. New York State must deliver the entire $4.4 billion in CFE funding it owes in order to truly do right by our children. Their futures deserve no less.</p> <p>***<br />Daniel Dromm is a City Council member from Queens and chair of the Council Committee on Education. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Dromm25" target="_blank">@Dromm25</a>.</p> <p>

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Overdue DOE Capital Plan To Be Released 2016-01-20T03:02:04+00:00 2016-01-20T03:02:04+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6102:overdue-doe-capital-plan-to-be-released Carmen Russo <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/23753658164_6d1234611b_z.jpg" alt="bdb school visit" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">De Blasio at a school visit (photo:&nbsp;Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Once Mayor Bill de Blasio unveils his preliminary budget for 2017 on Thursday, Jan. 21, the City Council will begin to hold hearings and formulate its response. In conversations with Gotham Gazette, City Council members Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, chair of the finance committee, and Daniel Dromm, education committee chair, said that one of their top priorities during budget season will be addressing school overcrowding through the Department of Education’s capital spending plan.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Capital spending allows for the expansion and rehabilitation of existing schools and the building of new schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">Each year, the DOE five-year Capital Plan is meant to be included in the mayor’s executive budget, updated in the November financial plan, and then amended through a public review process for inclusion in the next budget. This review process lends the plan transparency as the DOE and School Construction Authority consult with Community Education Councils, Community Boards, City Council borough delegations, and other elected officials. The plan is again updated and typically released in February for approval by the Panel for Education Policy. The PEP then forwards it to the Mayor and City Council.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the last two years, the process has been significantly off schedule. Last year, the DOE Capital Plan Amendment was delayed till May 2015 to align it with the city’s 10-year capital plan. The amendment proposed a $13.5 billion <a href="http://www.nycsca.org/Community/CapitalPlanManagementReportsData/CapPlan/05072015_15_19_CapitalPlan.pdf" target="_blank">five-year DOE Capital Plan</a> for 2015-2019, up from $12 billion the previous year. As a result of the delay, there was no update in November.</p> <p dir="ltr">The amendment will now be introduced along with the preliminary budget on Thursday, OMB spokesperson Amy Spitalnick confirmed.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s disappointing that this is the second year that (the capital plan) hasn’t come out on time,” said Council Member Dromm. “I’m hoping that it will be out shortly. We need time to look at it and examine it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The capital plan is especially important to Dromm, Ferreras-Copeland, and others who represent districts with some of the most overcrowded schools in the city. Schools in Queens, where both Dromm and Ferreras-Copeland reside, are the most overcrowded of any borough.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s overdue, it’s late,” Ferreras-Copeland said of the plan. When the Council does get it, she said she will work closely with Dromm to appeal for an additional $1 billion to address the issue of overcrowding.</p> <p dir="ltr">The DOE capital plan estimates that adding around 38,000 seats would help alleviate the problem, but critics say that number is too low. A June 2014 <a href="http://www.classsizematters.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SPACE-CRUNCH-Report-Final-OL.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> by Class Size Matters, a nonprofit that advocates for smaller class sizes, estimated the shortage of seats at around 100,000 (Dromm believes it’s more likely between 50,000 and 75,000).</p> <p dir="ltr">“If you look at all the development going on in the city, particularly the mayor’s plan to add 200,000 affordable housing units, then there’s a dire need for additional seats,” Dromm said. He wants most of the new money in the capital plan put towards building new schools rather than refurbishing existing ones. “We need physical seats. We need brick-and-mortar buildings to be built,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Class Size Matters’ executive director, Leonie Haimson, doubts that the update to the capital plan will be good enough, even if it is better. She called for doubling the number of seats from the last plan and investing $125 million each year from the city coffers, which would be matched by state funds. She was also critical of the DOE’s slow movement on the plan, which is now already in its second year and unapproved.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We should have more time, not less time to analyze the plan considering the failures of the DOE in the past,” she said. “There needs to be more public process and more genuine interest on the part of the DOE to listen to people.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Besides a greater investment in the capital plan, Class Size Matters also advocates for an independent commission to improve planning and efficiency in siting new schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The mayor’s made a big push towards increasing pre-K and housing but paid very little attention to where those kids are going to go to school,” Haimson said. “I don’t think you can create good neighborhoods without schools. We’re the richest city in the richest country in the world and we have severe school overcrowding and waiting lists for kindergarten.”</p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;">[Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6100-what-to-watch-for-as-city-budget-season-begins" target="_blank">What To Watch For As City Budget Season Begins</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette.<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/samarkhurshid" target="_blank">@samarkhurshid</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/23753658164_6d1234611b_z.jpg" alt="bdb school visit" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">De Blasio at a school visit (photo:&nbsp;Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Once Mayor Bill de Blasio unveils his preliminary budget for 2017 on Thursday, Jan. 21, the City Council will begin to hold hearings and formulate its response. In conversations with Gotham Gazette, City Council members Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, chair of the finance committee, and Daniel Dromm, education committee chair, said that one of their top priorities during budget season will be addressing school overcrowding through the Department of Education’s capital spending plan.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Capital spending allows for the expansion and rehabilitation of existing schools and the building of new schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">Each year, the DOE five-year Capital Plan is meant to be included in the mayor’s executive budget, updated in the November financial plan, and then amended through a public review process for inclusion in the next budget. This review process lends the plan transparency as the DOE and School Construction Authority consult with Community Education Councils, Community Boards, City Council borough delegations, and other elected officials. The plan is again updated and typically released in February for approval by the Panel for Education Policy. The PEP then forwards it to the Mayor and City Council.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the last two years, the process has been significantly off schedule. Last year, the DOE Capital Plan Amendment was delayed till May 2015 to align it with the city’s 10-year capital plan. The amendment proposed a $13.5 billion <a href="http://www.nycsca.org/Community/CapitalPlanManagementReportsData/CapPlan/05072015_15_19_CapitalPlan.pdf" target="_blank">five-year DOE Capital Plan</a> for 2015-2019, up from $12 billion the previous year. As a result of the delay, there was no update in November.</p> <p dir="ltr">The amendment will now be introduced along with the preliminary budget on Thursday, OMB spokesperson Amy Spitalnick confirmed.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s disappointing that this is the second year that (the capital plan) hasn’t come out on time,” said Council Member Dromm. “I’m hoping that it will be out shortly. We need time to look at it and examine it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The capital plan is especially important to Dromm, Ferreras-Copeland, and others who represent districts with some of the most overcrowded schools in the city. Schools in Queens, where both Dromm and Ferreras-Copeland reside, are the most overcrowded of any borough.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s overdue, it’s late,” Ferreras-Copeland said of the plan. When the Council does get it, she said she will work closely with Dromm to appeal for an additional $1 billion to address the issue of overcrowding.</p> <p dir="ltr">The DOE capital plan estimates that adding around 38,000 seats would help alleviate the problem, but critics say that number is too low. A June 2014 <a href="http://www.classsizematters.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SPACE-CRUNCH-Report-Final-OL.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> by Class Size Matters, a nonprofit that advocates for smaller class sizes, estimated the shortage of seats at around 100,000 (Dromm believes it’s more likely between 50,000 and 75,000).</p> <p dir="ltr">“If you look at all the development going on in the city, particularly the mayor’s plan to add 200,000 affordable housing units, then there’s a dire need for additional seats,” Dromm said. He wants most of the new money in the capital plan put towards building new schools rather than refurbishing existing ones. “We need physical seats. We need brick-and-mortar buildings to be built,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Class Size Matters’ executive director, Leonie Haimson, doubts that the update to the capital plan will be good enough, even if it is better. She called for doubling the number of seats from the last plan and investing $125 million each year from the city coffers, which would be matched by state funds. She was also critical of the DOE’s slow movement on the plan, which is now already in its second year and unapproved.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We should have more time, not less time to analyze the plan considering the failures of the DOE in the past,” she said. “There needs to be more public process and more genuine interest on the part of the DOE to listen to people.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Besides a greater investment in the capital plan, Class Size Matters also advocates for an independent commission to improve planning and efficiency in siting new schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The mayor’s made a big push towards increasing pre-K and housing but paid very little attention to where those kids are going to go to school,” Haimson said. “I don’t think you can create good neighborhoods without schools. We’re the richest city in the richest country in the world and we have severe school overcrowding and waiting lists for kindergarten.”</p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;">[Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6100-what-to-watch-for-as-city-budget-season-begins" target="_blank">What To Watch For As City Budget Season Begins</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette.<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/samarkhurshid" target="_blank">@samarkhurshid</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 26 2015-10-25T05:00:00+00:00 2015-10-25T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5949:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-26-2015 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>This week will be dominated by the World Series, we know that. The New York Mets begin their quest for the title against the Royals in Kansas City on Tuesday night, followed by another game in KC on Wednesday and then games in Queens on Friday, Saturday, and, if necessary, Sunday. If the series continues, games six and seven would be the following Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 3 and 4) back in Kansas City. On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a wager over the series, with the loser having to wear the jersey of the winning team to work for a day. There are other aspects of the bet, too, with significant home-state items to be sent from loser to winner.</p> <p>Now, on to politics sans sport.</p> <p>It was a quiet political weekend. Mayor de Blasio, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, and others touted the new Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village sales deal to the complex's tenant association on Saturday afternoon. [Read CM Garodnick's thoughts on the sale <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/5947-the-future-of-stuyvesant-town-a-peter-cooper-village-garodnick" target="_blank">in this Gotham Gazette op-ed</a>]</p> <p>On Monday, de Blasio has no public events scheduled.&nbsp;Governor Cuomo is in New York City Monday, though, to make an announcement at 1:30 p.m. at Chelsea Piers.</p> <p>There is a lot happening Monday and beyond. Services will occur this week to honor Police Officer Randolph Holder, who was killed on October 20. As has been the case since Holder was shot and killed, criminal justice reform and policing are sure to be sources of significant attention this week.</p> <p>Thursday is the three-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy hitting New York; there are sure to be both rememberances of the people and property lost, as well as assessments of progress made in recovering from Sandy and preparing for the next big storm.</p> <p>See our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette 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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet to discuss a bill that would ban the sale of personal care products or over the counter drugs that contain microbeads, as well as pass a resolution on the Microbeads-free Waters Acts.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Environmental Protection will meet to discuss bills related to the use of biodiesel.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning, current and former elected officials and others will honor recently-retired former Assemblymember Joan Millman. Comptroller Scott Stringer is among those who will speak.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 12:30 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will visit the High School of Fashion Industries to kick off College Application Week and make an announcement.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1 p.m. at City Hall, Congressional Rep. Nydia Velazquez will announce new legislation aimed at reducing the number of guns in New York and nationwide. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries; Public Advocate Letitia James; Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams; Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Leah Gunn Barrett, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; and NYC families impacted by gun violence will also participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3 p.m. Monday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/news/2015/10/22/-hometown-rally--for-mets-fans-monday-at-queens-borough-hall.html" target="_blank">Hometown Rally</a> to cheer on the Mets as they start Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night in Kansas City. Other elected officials, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Later, Mark-Viverito will speak at the 2015 Roy &amp; Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, where she and the City Council are receiving an award for their Participatory Budgeting program. [Read more about the award and the participatory budgeting program in <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5946-participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it" target="_blank">our new in-depth report</a>: Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn't Every Council Member Doing It?]</p> <p>Then, Mark-Viverito "speaks at 2015 Shine Event for LGBT Immigration Equality."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. Monday the Bronx Young Democrats will discuss the achievements and current initiatives of young female Bronx leaders. The <a href="https://twitter.com/vanessalgibson/status/654191195590160384" target="_blank">event</a> will feature Darcel Clark, Democratic candidate for Bronx District Attorney; City Council Member Vanessa Gibson; State Assemblymember Latoya Joyner; and Marsha Michael, Attorney &amp; Law Clerk.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7:15 p.m. the Immigration Equality event “<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1706785126218100" target="_blank">SHINE</a>”, celebrating women’s leadership in in the LGBT community, will honor City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and &nbsp;Denise Chambers, Immigration Equality client and asylum winner from Trinidad.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, several uptown Manhattan Democratic clubs <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/894423727260973/" target="_blank">are hosting</a> Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for a discussion of relevant issues. City Council Member Mark Levine will also participate in the dialogue.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday evening is the Riders Alliance gala. Public Advocate Letitia James is among those set to attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a>: CM Mark Treyger (District 47, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>On Tuesday, at 8:30 a.m., Stroock, the public affairs law firm, will host a Government Leadership forum &nbsp;<a href="http://colreaction.stroock.com/Reaction/RSGenPage.asp?RSID=fIqA7tbEiXYreT0_7kSPHQ&amp;RSTYPE=RSVP" target="_blank">“What is the Future of Organized Labor?</a>” Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council; Gregory Floyd, President of Local 237 Teamsters; Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers; and Harry Nespoli, President of the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association will be on the panel. Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General and Chair of Stroock's Government Relations Practice Group, and Alan M. Klinger, Co-Managing Partner and Co-Chair of Stroock's Litigation Practice Group, will moderate.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is in Westchester County meeting with elected officials and touring different areas.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) will <a href="http://www.jcope.ny.gov/public/agendas/Public%20Meeting%20Agenda%2010.27.15%20for%20website.pdf" target="_blank">meet</a> on a number of matters including its ongoing search for a new Executive Director.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. Vocal-NY, City Council Member Jumaane Williams, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and others will hold the <a href="https://twitter.com/VOCALNewYork/status/657622574965391360" target="_blank">Fair Chance Rally</a>. The purpose of the rally is to raise awareness about the Fair Chance Act, which makes it illegal for New York City employers to ask about one’s criminal record until after a job offer is made, and is going into effect.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Tuesday: the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and Assembly Climate Change Work Group will have a roundtable discussion on Climate Change.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Tuesday: at 11 a.m. the Committee on Women’s Issues; the Committee on Health; and the Committee on Education will meet for a joint oversight hearing on sex education in NYC schools. They will discuss three bills that would: require the Department of Education to provide a report on student health services to the Council; require the DOE to report annually on information about health education and HIV/AIDS education for students in grades six through twelve; require the DOE to submit an annual report on the sexual health education received by instructors in public middle and high schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prior to that City Council hearing, at 10 a.m.,&nbsp;there will be a "press conference to call for comprehensive sex education in NYC schools" led by Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women's Issues; Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education; and Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health; as well as representatives from Planned Parenthood of New York City; NARAL Pro-Choice New York; New York Civil Liberties Union; and Reproductive Healthcare Advocates.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 2 p.m. at 250 Broadway,&nbsp;"State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), together with Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Member Annabel Palma and Make the Road New York, will release a bombshell investigative report "The American Scheme: Herbalife's Pyramid 'Shake'down.""</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Safe Passage Project will hold an <a href="http://www.safepassageproject.org/event/representing-immigrant-children-one-year-later/" target="_blank">event</a> composed of two parts. The first will be discussing the unmet needs of recent migrant children and young parent from Central America. City Council Member Rory Lancman will make opening remarks. There will be multiple related panel discussions thereafter.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday evening, Governor Cuomo is set to deliver remarks at the Business Council of Westchester’s <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/money/business-in-the-burbs/2015/10/05/business-burbs/72982700/" target="_blank">Annual Dinner</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. the city Panel for Educational Policy will have a <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/schedule/2015-2016/20152016PanelforEducationalPolicyCalendar.htm" target="_blank">public meeting</a> in Manhattan. At the event the Chancellor will give an update on current policies and the panel will discuss a number of important topics including: Race and Diversity in School Admission, Aggregation of Community District Budgets Together with a Proposed Budget for Administrative Expenditures of the City Board and the Chancellor, and more; while also taking public comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. during <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyVanBramer/status/654009551277195264" target="_blank">The Hispanic Leadership Awards</a>, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer will lead a celebration honoring several people for their outstanding leadership in the Latino community, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will receive a Distinguished Public Service Award. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. City Council Members Donovan Richards and I. Daneek Miller will hold a Southeast Queens Transportation Town Hall. Representatives from DOT, MTA, TLC, and NYPD will attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Wednesday: The Assembly Standing Committee on Aging along with the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities, the Assembly Subcommittee on Community Integration, and the Assembly Subcommittee on Outreach and Oversight of Senior Citizen Programs, will hold a joint public hearing regarding the “New York State Office for the Aging’s study on the benefits of creating an office of community living”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. several groups host <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/why-she-ran-a-conversation-with-women-in-politics-tickets-19020356398" target="_blank">“Why She Ran: A Conversation With Women in Politics”</a> discussing the challenges women face in New York politics and encouraging women to run for office. Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras, and Council Member Helen Rosenthal will speak at the event. Sponsors of the event include the Working Families Party, Eleanor's Legacy, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Higher Heights for America, Ladies of Labor, Shirley Chisholm Institute, NOW-NYS, Women's Organizing Network, and WIN NYC.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 6:30 p.m., school district 3 will host a <a href="http://insideschools.org/calendar/event/3450-d3-town-hall-w-chancellor" target="_blank">Town Hall</a> meeting with Chancellor Carmen Fariña.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Ritchie Torres (District 15, Bronx) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Jumaane D. Williams (District 45, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. the Urban Land Institute will hold <a href="http://newyork.uli.org/event/save-date-uli-tri-state-infrastructure-summit/" target="_blank">a conference</a> about the best new practices to help fund public transportation infrastructure in the New York metro area in the face of withering public funding, including solutions through partnerships with the private sector.</p> <p>At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will meet to hear communication from Orlando Marin of the City Planning Commission</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 p.m. will be a City Council Stated Meeting; prefaced, as always, by the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. United States Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates will <a href="http://web.law.columbia.edu/public-integrity/current-state-criminal-justice-conversation-us-deputy-attorney-general-sally-yates" target="_blank">discuss</a> the administration’s top goals and priorities at the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School; following the speech will be a Q&amp;A session.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. The Hopkins-Hunter Forum for Education Policy, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and The Hunter College Gifted and Talented Program will host “<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-excellence-gap-the-state-of-gifted-talented-education-tickets-17894759708?aff=mcivte" target="_blank">The Excellence Gap: The State of Gifted and Talented Education</a>,” an event that will discuss the income based education gap among students, and talk about suggestions on how to address the issue in the future.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio will be hosting a <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8579632/de-blasio-kick-2017-campaign-midtown-fundraiser" target="_blank">fundraiser</a> for his 2017 campaign, as reported by Politico New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 4:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Donovan Richards (District 31, Queens) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>On Saturday and Sunday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will hold two <a href="http://gothamist.com/2015/10/22/deblasio_halloween_spooky.php" target="_blank">Spooky Parties</a> at Gracie Mansion, inviting families with children 5-10 years old to come tour their haunted house. Families must have tickets through the ticket giveaway being held prior to the event.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday at 2 p.m. a large group of Democratic political clubs and progressive organizations will hold a <a href="http://www.presidentialforumnyc.com/" target="_blank">Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Forum</a>. Representatives from the Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley and Lessing campaigns will participate.. The forum will be moderated by Ronnie Eldridge.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>This week will be dominated by the World Series, we know that. The New York Mets begin their quest for the title against the Royals in Kansas City on Tuesday night, followed by another game in KC on Wednesday and then games in Queens on Friday, Saturday, and, if necessary, Sunday. If the series continues, games six and seven would be the following Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 3 and 4) back in Kansas City. On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a wager over the series, with the loser having to wear the jersey of the winning team to work for a day. There are other aspects of the bet, too, with significant home-state items to be sent from loser to winner.</p> <p>Now, on to politics sans sport.</p> <p>It was a quiet political weekend. Mayor de Blasio, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, and others touted the new Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village sales deal to the complex's tenant association on Saturday afternoon. [Read CM Garodnick's thoughts on the sale <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/5947-the-future-of-stuyvesant-town-a-peter-cooper-village-garodnick" target="_blank">in this Gotham Gazette op-ed</a>]</p> <p>On Monday, de Blasio has no public events scheduled.&nbsp;Governor Cuomo is in New York City Monday, though, to make an announcement at 1:30 p.m. at Chelsea Piers.</p> <p>There is a lot happening Monday and beyond. Services will occur this week to honor Police Officer Randolph Holder, who was killed on October 20. As has been the case since Holder was shot and killed, criminal justice reform and policing are sure to be sources of significant attention this week.</p> <p>Thursday is the three-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy hitting New York; there are sure to be both rememberances of the people and property lost, as well as assessments of progress made in recovering from Sandy and preparing for the next big storm.</p> <p>See our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette 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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet to discuss a bill that would ban the sale of personal care products or over the counter drugs that contain microbeads, as well as pass a resolution on the Microbeads-free Waters Acts.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Environmental Protection will meet to discuss bills related to the use of biodiesel.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning, current and former elected officials and others will honor recently-retired former Assemblymember Joan Millman. Comptroller Scott Stringer is among those who will speak.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 12:30 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will visit the High School of Fashion Industries to kick off College Application Week and make an announcement.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1 p.m. at City Hall, Congressional Rep. Nydia Velazquez will announce new legislation aimed at reducing the number of guns in New York and nationwide. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries; Public Advocate Letitia James; Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams; Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Leah Gunn Barrett, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; and NYC families impacted by gun violence will also participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3 p.m. Monday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/news/2015/10/22/-hometown-rally--for-mets-fans-monday-at-queens-borough-hall.html" target="_blank">Hometown Rally</a> to cheer on the Mets as they start Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night in Kansas City. Other elected officials, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Later, Mark-Viverito will speak at the 2015 Roy &amp; Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, where she and the City Council are receiving an award for their Participatory Budgeting program. [Read more about the award and the participatory budgeting program in <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5946-participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it" target="_blank">our new in-depth report</a>: Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn't Every Council Member Doing It?]</p> <p>Then, Mark-Viverito "speaks at 2015 Shine Event for LGBT Immigration Equality."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. Monday the Bronx Young Democrats will discuss the achievements and current initiatives of young female Bronx leaders. The <a href="https://twitter.com/vanessalgibson/status/654191195590160384" target="_blank">event</a> will feature Darcel Clark, Democratic candidate for Bronx District Attorney; City Council Member Vanessa Gibson; State Assemblymember Latoya Joyner; and Marsha Michael, Attorney &amp; Law Clerk.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7:15 p.m. the Immigration Equality event “<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1706785126218100" target="_blank">SHINE</a>”, celebrating women’s leadership in in the LGBT community, will honor City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and &nbsp;Denise Chambers, Immigration Equality client and asylum winner from Trinidad.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, several uptown Manhattan Democratic clubs <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/894423727260973/" target="_blank">are hosting</a> Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for a discussion of relevant issues. City Council Member Mark Levine will also participate in the dialogue.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday evening is the Riders Alliance gala. Public Advocate Letitia James is among those set to attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a>: CM Mark Treyger (District 47, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>On Tuesday, at 8:30 a.m., Stroock, the public affairs law firm, will host a Government Leadership forum &nbsp;<a href="http://colreaction.stroock.com/Reaction/RSGenPage.asp?RSID=fIqA7tbEiXYreT0_7kSPHQ&amp;RSTYPE=RSVP" target="_blank">“What is the Future of Organized Labor?</a>” Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council; Gregory Floyd, President of Local 237 Teamsters; Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers; and Harry Nespoli, President of the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association will be on the panel. Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General and Chair of Stroock's Government Relations Practice Group, and Alan M. Klinger, Co-Managing Partner and Co-Chair of Stroock's Litigation Practice Group, will moderate.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is in Westchester County meeting with elected officials and touring different areas.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) will <a href="http://www.jcope.ny.gov/public/agendas/Public%20Meeting%20Agenda%2010.27.15%20for%20website.pdf" target="_blank">meet</a> on a number of matters including its ongoing search for a new Executive Director.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. Vocal-NY, City Council Member Jumaane Williams, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and others will hold the <a href="https://twitter.com/VOCALNewYork/status/657622574965391360" target="_blank">Fair Chance Rally</a>. The purpose of the rally is to raise awareness about the Fair Chance Act, which makes it illegal for New York City employers to ask about one’s criminal record until after a job offer is made, and is going into effect.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Tuesday: the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and Assembly Climate Change Work Group will have a roundtable discussion on Climate Change.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Tuesday: at 11 a.m. the Committee on Women’s Issues; the Committee on Health; and the Committee on Education will meet for a joint oversight hearing on sex education in NYC schools. They will discuss three bills that would: require the Department of Education to provide a report on student health services to the Council; require the DOE to report annually on information about health education and HIV/AIDS education for students in grades six through twelve; require the DOE to submit an annual report on the sexual health education received by instructors in public middle and high schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prior to that City Council hearing, at 10 a.m.,&nbsp;there will be a "press conference to call for comprehensive sex education in NYC schools" led by Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women's Issues; Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education; and Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health; as well as representatives from Planned Parenthood of New York City; NARAL Pro-Choice New York; New York Civil Liberties Union; and Reproductive Healthcare Advocates.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 2 p.m. at 250 Broadway,&nbsp;"State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), together with Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Member Annabel Palma and Make the Road New York, will release a bombshell investigative report "The American Scheme: Herbalife's Pyramid 'Shake'down.""</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Safe Passage Project will hold an <a href="http://www.safepassageproject.org/event/representing-immigrant-children-one-year-later/" target="_blank">event</a> composed of two parts. The first will be discussing the unmet needs of recent migrant children and young parent from Central America. City Council Member Rory Lancman will make opening remarks. There will be multiple related panel discussions thereafter.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday evening, Governor Cuomo is set to deliver remarks at the Business Council of Westchester’s <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/money/business-in-the-burbs/2015/10/05/business-burbs/72982700/" target="_blank">Annual Dinner</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. the city Panel for Educational Policy will have a <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/schedule/2015-2016/20152016PanelforEducationalPolicyCalendar.htm" target="_blank">public meeting</a> in Manhattan. At the event the Chancellor will give an update on current policies and the panel will discuss a number of important topics including: Race and Diversity in School Admission, Aggregation of Community District Budgets Together with a Proposed Budget for Administrative Expenditures of the City Board and the Chancellor, and more; while also taking public comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. during <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyVanBramer/status/654009551277195264" target="_blank">The Hispanic Leadership Awards</a>, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer will lead a celebration honoring several people for their outstanding leadership in the Latino community, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will receive a Distinguished Public Service Award. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. City Council Members Donovan Richards and I. Daneek Miller will hold a Southeast Queens Transportation Town Hall. Representatives from DOT, MTA, TLC, and NYPD will attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Wednesday: The Assembly Standing Committee on Aging along with the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities, the Assembly Subcommittee on Community Integration, and the Assembly Subcommittee on Outreach and Oversight of Senior Citizen Programs, will hold a joint public hearing regarding the “New York State Office for the Aging’s study on the benefits of creating an office of community living”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. several groups host <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/why-she-ran-a-conversation-with-women-in-politics-tickets-19020356398" target="_blank">“Why She Ran: A Conversation With Women in Politics”</a> discussing the challenges women face in New York politics and encouraging women to run for office. Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras, and Council Member Helen Rosenthal will speak at the event. Sponsors of the event include the Working Families Party, Eleanor's Legacy, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Higher Heights for America, Ladies of Labor, Shirley Chisholm Institute, NOW-NYS, Women's Organizing Network, and WIN NYC.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 6:30 p.m., school district 3 will host a <a href="http://insideschools.org/calendar/event/3450-d3-town-hall-w-chancellor" target="_blank">Town Hall</a> meeting with Chancellor Carmen Fariña.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Ritchie Torres (District 15, Bronx) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Jumaane D. Williams (District 45, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. the Urban Land Institute will hold <a href="http://newyork.uli.org/event/save-date-uli-tri-state-infrastructure-summit/" target="_blank">a conference</a> about the best new practices to help fund public transportation infrastructure in the New York metro area in the face of withering public funding, including solutions through partnerships with the private sector.</p> <p>At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will meet to hear communication from Orlando Marin of the City Planning Commission</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 p.m. will be a City Council Stated Meeting; prefaced, as always, by the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. United States Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates will <a href="http://web.law.columbia.edu/public-integrity/current-state-criminal-justice-conversation-us-deputy-attorney-general-sally-yates" target="_blank">discuss</a> the administration’s top goals and priorities at the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School; following the speech will be a Q&amp;A session.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. The Hopkins-Hunter Forum for Education Policy, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and The Hunter College Gifted and Talented Program will host “<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-excellence-gap-the-state-of-gifted-talented-education-tickets-17894759708?aff=mcivte" target="_blank">The Excellence Gap: The State of Gifted and Talented Education</a>,” an event that will discuss the income based education gap among students, and talk about suggestions on how to address the issue in the future.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio will be hosting a <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8579632/de-blasio-kick-2017-campaign-midtown-fundraiser" target="_blank">fundraiser</a> for his 2017 campaign, as reported by Politico New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 4:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Donovan Richards (District 31, Queens) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>On Saturday and Sunday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will hold two <a href="http://gothamist.com/2015/10/22/deblasio_halloween_spooky.php" target="_blank">Spooky Parties</a> at Gracie Mansion, inviting families with children 5-10 years old to come tour their haunted house. Families must have tickets through the ticket giveaway being held prior to the event.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday at 2 p.m. a large group of Democratic political clubs and progressive organizations will hold a <a href="http://www.presidentialforumnyc.com/" target="_blank">Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Forum</a>. Representatives from the Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley and Lessing campaigns will participate.. The forum will be moderated by Ronnie Eldridge.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> City Council Considers Regulation of Grocery Personnel Decisions 2015-09-25T18:27:21+00:00 2015-09-25T18:27:21+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5907:city-council-considers-regulation-of-grocery-personnel-decisions Super User <p><img alt="daneek miller presser" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/daneek_miller_presser.jpg" height="401" width="600" /></p> <p>Council Member Miller (photo <a href="https://twitter.com/John_McCarten" target="_blank">by John McCarten</a>)</p> <hr /> <p>The City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor saw heated debate at a Friday hearing on a proposed law to protect grocery and retail store workers from job volatility. The bill, known as the Grocery Worker Retention Act, aims to regulate personnel decision-making during store ownership transitions.</p> <p>Introduced by Council Member I. Daneek Miller, chair of the labor committee, the act (<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2141270&amp;GUID=6ADF3A0F-DBC3-43F1-99A6-6159FD716898&amp;Options=&amp;Search=" target="_blank">Intro. 632</a>) would require grocery stores that undergo a change in ownership to retain employees for a 90-day period and to review their performance on an individual basis thereafter, keeping employed those who've performed satisfactorily. In case of employee cutbacks, those with seniority or experience would be required to be retained. The act also affords these employees legal recourse in case any conditions are violated.</p> <p>Although the bill drafting process began over a year ago, said Council Member Miller, a former labor leader himself, now may be the time to maximize the benefits envisioned. In July, supermarket giant A&amp;P declared bankruptcy and will be selling dozens of its stores, which would stand to have an effect across the five boroughs. Many locations will be up for auction, with thousands of employees facing job insecurity.</p> <p>The unions that altogether represent roughly 50,000 grocery workers in New York City -- around one-fourth of the city's retail workforce -- are heavily in favor of the bill.</p> <p>The law is beneficial to workers, owners, and customers, said David Mertz, New York City Director for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. "A worker retention policy such as in this legislation protects working families, provides a stable and experiences workforce for owners and thus maintains a safe and reliable service to customers," he said at Friday's hearing.</p> <p>Others who testified in the law's favor included union representatives, non-profit health and safety groups, and individual grocery store employees.</p> <p>Representatives of the retail and grocery industry are displeased with the bill, viewing it as an overreach by the Council. Employers see the liberal legislative body as trying to impose excessive regulation of employment decisions by private entities.</p> <p>Jay Peltz, general counsel and vice president of government relations for the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, questioned the legal authority of the City in passing the bill in so far as it aims to maintain health and safety standards at stores. Peltz was insistent Friday that the bill would do more harm than good, disincentivizing investors from purchasing supermarkets, which means "the neighborhood around [a store] would be deprived of a better store with wider assortments, healthier choices, and more jobs. This would hurt the health and well-being of an area, not help it."</p> <p>The hearing saw a thorough back-and-forth between industry representatives and Council Members Ben Kallos and Daniel Dromm, who refused to accept the opposing arguments being made. Dromm personally recounted the predatory practices of a supermarket owner in his district and repeatedly refuted and dismissed counter-arguments.</p> <p>The bill is not the first of its kind. Local Law 39 from 2002 gave protections to building service workers in much the same vein as this law would do for grocery store employees. A more parallel example is a law passed statewide in California earlier this year that even withstood a challenge at the State Supreme Court.</p> <p>The Council labor committee also quickly discussed and unanimously approved Intro. 903 which would provide health insurance coverage to the family members of deceased employees of the Department of Sanitation. The law was requested by Mayor de Blasio in response to the on-duty death of a sergeant from the Department of Sanitation in July this year.</p> <p>The Grocery Worker Retention Act currently has 20 sponsors in the 51-member Council. After Friday's hearing it could be tweaked, or not, before being voted on in a subsequent committee hearing before heading to the full Council for approval - if it has enough support.</p> <p>***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/samarkhurshid" target="_blank">@samarkhurshid<br /></a><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img alt="daneek miller presser" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/daneek_miller_presser.jpg" height="401" width="600" /></p> <p>Council Member Miller (photo <a href="https://twitter.com/John_McCarten" target="_blank">by John McCarten</a>)</p> <hr /> <p>The City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor saw heated debate at a Friday hearing on a proposed law to protect grocery and retail store workers from job volatility. The bill, known as the Grocery Worker Retention Act, aims to regulate personnel decision-making during store ownership transitions.</p> <p>Introduced by Council Member I. Daneek Miller, chair of the labor committee, the act (<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2141270&amp;GUID=6ADF3A0F-DBC3-43F1-99A6-6159FD716898&amp;Options=&amp;Search=" target="_blank">Intro. 632</a>) would require grocery stores that undergo a change in ownership to retain employees for a 90-day period and to review their performance on an individual basis thereafter, keeping employed those who've performed satisfactorily. In case of employee cutbacks, those with seniority or experience would be required to be retained. The act also affords these employees legal recourse in case any conditions are violated.</p> <p>Although the bill drafting process began over a year ago, said Council Member Miller, a former labor leader himself, now may be the time to maximize the benefits envisioned. In July, supermarket giant A&amp;P declared bankruptcy and will be selling dozens of its stores, which would stand to have an effect across the five boroughs. Many locations will be up for auction, with thousands of employees facing job insecurity.</p> <p>The unions that altogether represent roughly 50,000 grocery workers in New York City -- around one-fourth of the city's retail workforce -- are heavily in favor of the bill.</p> <p>The law is beneficial to workers, owners, and customers, said David Mertz, New York City Director for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. "A worker retention policy such as in this legislation protects working families, provides a stable and experiences workforce for owners and thus maintains a safe and reliable service to customers," he said at Friday's hearing.</p> <p>Others who testified in the law's favor included union representatives, non-profit health and safety groups, and individual grocery store employees.</p> <p>Representatives of the retail and grocery industry are displeased with the bill, viewing it as an overreach by the Council. Employers see the liberal legislative body as trying to impose excessive regulation of employment decisions by private entities.</p> <p>Jay Peltz, general counsel and vice president of government relations for the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, questioned the legal authority of the City in passing the bill in so far as it aims to maintain health and safety standards at stores. Peltz was insistent Friday that the bill would do more harm than good, disincentivizing investors from purchasing supermarkets, which means "the neighborhood around [a store] would be deprived of a better store with wider assortments, healthier choices, and more jobs. This would hurt the health and well-being of an area, not help it."</p> <p>The hearing saw a thorough back-and-forth between industry representatives and Council Members Ben Kallos and Daniel Dromm, who refused to accept the opposing arguments being made. Dromm personally recounted the predatory practices of a supermarket owner in his district and repeatedly refuted and dismissed counter-arguments.</p> <p>The bill is not the first of its kind. Local Law 39 from 2002 gave protections to building service workers in much the same vein as this law would do for grocery store employees. A more parallel example is a law passed statewide in California earlier this year that even withstood a challenge at the State Supreme Court.</p> <p>The Council labor committee also quickly discussed and unanimously approved Intro. 903 which would provide health insurance coverage to the family members of deceased employees of the Department of Sanitation. The law was requested by Mayor de Blasio in response to the on-duty death of a sergeant from the Department of Sanitation in July this year.</p> <p>The Grocery Worker Retention Act currently has 20 sponsors in the 51-member Council. After Friday's hearing it could be tweaked, or not, before being voted on in a subsequent committee hearing before heading to the full Council for approval - if it has enough support.</p> <p>***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/samarkhurshid" target="_blank">@samarkhurshid<br /></a><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> Proposed Rikers Visitation Rules Stir Debate 2015-09-09T16:55:54+00:00 2015-09-09T16:55:54+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5882:proposed-rikers-visitation-rules-stir-debate Super User <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/IMG_8666_1.JPG" alt="Johnny Perez of the Jails Action Coalition" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Johnny Perez of the Jails Action Coalition (photos: Meg O'Connor)&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p>On Tuesday, City Council members, faith leaders, and activists spoke out against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed restrictions for visitors to Rikers Island jails. At a rally on the steps of City Hall organized by the Jails Action Coalition, speakers called de Blasio’s plan to limit visitors and physical contact by those who do visit inmates counterproductive and wrong.</p> <p dir="ltr">The proposed visitation limits were first announced when de Blasio visited Rikers Island in March, and are part of a 14-point plan to reduce violence among inmates and among inmates and guards.</p> <p>&nbsp;“We have to keep weapons, drugs, and other contraband off this island,” de Blasio said at Rikers on March 12. “The only weapons that should be used on this island should be used by people wearing uniforms, not by inmates who got weapons, who got drugs, who got contraband illegally and inappropriately.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/DOC%20Petition%20to%20the%20NYC%20Board%20of%20Correction%20for%20Rulemaking.pdf" target="_blank"> proposed rules</a> seek to limit the physical contact inmates may have with visitors, broaden the criteria for restricting visitors by allowing the Department of Correction to consider factors like criminal record, and establish a visitor registry.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Yet, critics say the limitations would deter visitors, needlessly make an already arduous visitation process more difficult, and disproportionately affect black and Latino families, as well as poor people unable to afford bail.</p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;“I want to remind everybody that the overwhelming majority of people who are on Rikers have not yet been convicted of the crime for which they are being held,” City Council Member Daniel Dromm, of Queens, said at the Tuesday press conference. The jail complex has an average daily population of about<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/html/about/facilities-overview.shtml" target="_blank"> 11,400</a> – roughly<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/nyregion/what-is-happening-at-rikers-island.html?_r=0" target="_blank"> 85%</a> of whom are pretrial detainees.</p> <p dir="ltr">Others, like Tanya Krupat, Program Director for the NY Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents, say that what is “most concerning is the way they’re talking about looking into the backgrounds of visitors and making an assessment about whether that person is deemed a threat, including a threat to the ‘good order of the facility,’ which is very vague.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Krupat added, “the potential for arbitrary subjective implementation of these is what’s really worrisome. Where are the checks and balances? They have over 1,000 visitors coming in every day, and over 3,000 children visiting each month, so who is making these decisions?“&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">De Blasio and his corrections commissioner, Joseph Ponte, have been credited by prison reform activists for other changes they’re making at Rikers, including around treatment of mentally ill and younger prisoners. The proposed visitation limits fall into a different category - and the city’s Board of Correction will hold a public hearing in the near future before voting on the plan.</p> <p dir="ltr">Advocates for the incarcerated and their families fear that the proposed changes will harm the mental well-being of those imprisoned on Rikers Island by denying inmates the much-needed sense of support and connection that visits from loved ones bring. “I believe the proposed plan to restrict visitation has the capacity to deteriorate the already-fragile family unit of people of color, contributing to depression, isolation, loneliness, and increased recidivism,” Reverend Que English, Chair of the NYC Clergy Roundtable said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Asked about this criticism, a spokesperson for the mayor, Monica Klein, wrote Gotham Gazette to say, “Commissioner Ponte understands how important family relationships are in the rehabilitation and re-entry of inmates, and DOC’s proposed visitation policy will allow the Department to foster the kind of positive visitation environment that help inmates’ well-being while maintaining the safety and security of the facilities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Some see the stricter visitation rules as a give by de Blasio in order to obtain support for other reforms he’s making and seeking at Rikers, such as his work to reduce solitary confinement and separate younger offenders and detainees.</p> <p dir="ltr">The proposed rules would <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/DOC%20Petition%20to%20the%20NYC%20Board%20of%20Correction%20for%20Rulemaking.pdf" target="_blank">restrict</a> the amount of physical contact between inmates and their visitors to a “brief embrace and kiss between the inmate and visitor at both the beginning and the end of the visitation period.” There is currently no limitation on physical contact like hugs and hand-holding during visits.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking about the importance of physical contact with a loved one, Anisah Sabur, who was incarcerated on Rikers for eight months in 2008, said, “being in a place surrounded by people that you don’t know, to see somebody that you know, be it your loved one, your mother, your brother, that hug and that holding of the hand is very important for somebody on the inside who doesn’t know when they’ll get that again. That love and affection is truly needed for somebody to keep their sanity.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Significantly, critics of the proposed policy changes have pointed out that a majority of the contraband at Rikers is not smuggled in by visitors. During a May 12 Board of Correction<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/Minutes/2015/BOCMinutes_20150512.pdf" target="_blank"> meeting</a>, board member Dr. Robert Cohen noted that the BOC’s recent report using data from the Department of Correction showed that 80% of weapons recovered on Rikers are constructed on site, meaning they were not brought in by visitors or staff.</p> <p dir="ltr">Additionally, as Dromm (pictured below) mentioned during the rally Tuesday, a 2014<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doi/downloads/pdf/2014/Nov14/pr26rikers_110614.pdf" target="_blank"> investigation</a> conducted by Mark Peters, Commissioner of the Department of Investigation, “found that the majority of drugs that were getting into Rikers Island were being brought in by corrections officers themselves.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/IMG_8653_1.JPG" alt="CM Daniel Dromm" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="263" width="350" /></p> <p dir="ltr">City &amp; State NY<a href="http://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/heard-around-town-proposed-rikers-visitor-policy-would-exacerbate-tale-of-two-cities,-critics-say.html" target="_blank"> reported</a> that the city has said “371 [visitors] were arrested in fiscal year 2015,” meaning that with over 1,000 people visiting Rikers every day, a small fraction of those visitors are contributing to the flow of contraband into the jail complex.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You’re changing policy [in response to] less than 1% of the visitors who come in,” Krupat said at the press conference yesterday. “That’s not how policy is made.”</p> <p>However, the de Blasio administration says it is responding to an increase in those arrests - the 371 was up 307 in the prior fiscal year, and drugs recovered during visits were also up.</p> <p>&nbsp;In March, when Mayor de Blasio and DOC Commissioner Joe Ponte announced the 14-point initiative to reduce violence at Rikers, de Blasio said, “we know that the reality is that so many inmates acquire weapons and acquire drugs through visitors. In fact, we know that many criminal gangs use the visitation process to pass weapons and pass drugs to their fellow gang members here in these facilities. They also pass messages. You’ve seen it in the movies – it happens in real life.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“So, to address this problem at the root, we need a much stronger, much stricter visitor policy,” the mayor continued, “which will limit physical contact between visitors and inmates and will, in fact, restrict the right of certain individuals to visit, in the first place, if they do not pass a security screen.”</p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;The mayor said that the proposed changes would bring Department of Correction policy closer in line with that of other large jail systems around the country that place limits on physical contact between inmates and visitors and restrict visitors based on security concerns.</p> <p dir="ltr">Yet critics view the proposed limitations as a step backwards for de Blasio’s self-professed progressive administration, which was praised by advocates for the incarcerated earlier this year after city officials agreed to make sweeping<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/nyregion/accord-near-on-sweeping-reforms-at-rikers-jail-including-us-monitor.html" target="_blank"> reforms</a> aimed at increasing safety for inmates of the violence-stricken jail complex.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The mayor ran on not having a tale of two cities, and this is kind of a tale of two cities issue,” said Krupat. “Most people are pre-trial, they just can’t afford their bail. If you’re poor, you’re on Rikers and now maybe your family can’t come and see you, but if you have means, you’re out in the community at home eating dinner with your family. It’s kind of shocking from a progressive administration to go after visitors as part of an agenda to reduce violence at Rikers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The Board of Correction must approve the policy before the proposed changes to visitation rules can go into effect. The BOC<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/Variance_Documents/20150908/Proposed%20rule%20package%20for%20posting.pdf" target="_blank"> announced</a> Tuesday that it will hold a public hearing on the proposed rules, though the date has not yet been set.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by Meg O’Connor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/twitter.com/megoconnor13" target="_blank">@MegOConnor13</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/gothamgazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/IMG_8666_1.JPG" alt="Johnny Perez of the Jails Action Coalition" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Johnny Perez of the Jails Action Coalition (photos: Meg O'Connor)&nbsp;</span></p> <hr /> <p>On Tuesday, City Council members, faith leaders, and activists spoke out against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed restrictions for visitors to Rikers Island jails. At a rally on the steps of City Hall organized by the Jails Action Coalition, speakers called de Blasio’s plan to limit visitors and physical contact by those who do visit inmates counterproductive and wrong.</p> <p dir="ltr">The proposed visitation limits were first announced when de Blasio visited Rikers Island in March, and are part of a 14-point plan to reduce violence among inmates and among inmates and guards.</p> <p>&nbsp;“We have to keep weapons, drugs, and other contraband off this island,” de Blasio said at Rikers on March 12. “The only weapons that should be used on this island should be used by people wearing uniforms, not by inmates who got weapons, who got drugs, who got contraband illegally and inappropriately.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/DOC%20Petition%20to%20the%20NYC%20Board%20of%20Correction%20for%20Rulemaking.pdf" target="_blank"> proposed rules</a> seek to limit the physical contact inmates may have with visitors, broaden the criteria for restricting visitors by allowing the Department of Correction to consider factors like criminal record, and establish a visitor registry.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Yet, critics say the limitations would deter visitors, needlessly make an already arduous visitation process more difficult, and disproportionately affect black and Latino families, as well as poor people unable to afford bail.</p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;“I want to remind everybody that the overwhelming majority of people who are on Rikers have not yet been convicted of the crime for which they are being held,” City Council Member Daniel Dromm, of Queens, said at the Tuesday press conference. The jail complex has an average daily population of about<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/html/about/facilities-overview.shtml" target="_blank"> 11,400</a> – roughly<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/nyregion/what-is-happening-at-rikers-island.html?_r=0" target="_blank"> 85%</a> of whom are pretrial detainees.</p> <p dir="ltr">Others, like Tanya Krupat, Program Director for the NY Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents, say that what is “most concerning is the way they’re talking about looking into the backgrounds of visitors and making an assessment about whether that person is deemed a threat, including a threat to the ‘good order of the facility,’ which is very vague.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Krupat added, “the potential for arbitrary subjective implementation of these is what’s really worrisome. Where are the checks and balances? They have over 1,000 visitors coming in every day, and over 3,000 children visiting each month, so who is making these decisions?“&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">De Blasio and his corrections commissioner, Joseph Ponte, have been credited by prison reform activists for other changes they’re making at Rikers, including around treatment of mentally ill and younger prisoners. The proposed visitation limits fall into a different category - and the city’s Board of Correction will hold a public hearing in the near future before voting on the plan.</p> <p dir="ltr">Advocates for the incarcerated and their families fear that the proposed changes will harm the mental well-being of those imprisoned on Rikers Island by denying inmates the much-needed sense of support and connection that visits from loved ones bring. “I believe the proposed plan to restrict visitation has the capacity to deteriorate the already-fragile family unit of people of color, contributing to depression, isolation, loneliness, and increased recidivism,” Reverend Que English, Chair of the NYC Clergy Roundtable said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Asked about this criticism, a spokesperson for the mayor, Monica Klein, wrote Gotham Gazette to say, “Commissioner Ponte understands how important family relationships are in the rehabilitation and re-entry of inmates, and DOC’s proposed visitation policy will allow the Department to foster the kind of positive visitation environment that help inmates’ well-being while maintaining the safety and security of the facilities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Some see the stricter visitation rules as a give by de Blasio in order to obtain support for other reforms he’s making and seeking at Rikers, such as his work to reduce solitary confinement and separate younger offenders and detainees.</p> <p dir="ltr">The proposed rules would <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/DOC%20Petition%20to%20the%20NYC%20Board%20of%20Correction%20for%20Rulemaking.pdf" target="_blank">restrict</a> the amount of physical contact between inmates and their visitors to a “brief embrace and kiss between the inmate and visitor at both the beginning and the end of the visitation period.” There is currently no limitation on physical contact like hugs and hand-holding during visits.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking about the importance of physical contact with a loved one, Anisah Sabur, who was incarcerated on Rikers for eight months in 2008, said, “being in a place surrounded by people that you don’t know, to see somebody that you know, be it your loved one, your mother, your brother, that hug and that holding of the hand is very important for somebody on the inside who doesn’t know when they’ll get that again. That love and affection is truly needed for somebody to keep their sanity.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Significantly, critics of the proposed policy changes have pointed out that a majority of the contraband at Rikers is not smuggled in by visitors. During a May 12 Board of Correction<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/Minutes/2015/BOCMinutes_20150512.pdf" target="_blank"> meeting</a>, board member Dr. Robert Cohen noted that the BOC’s recent report using data from the Department of Correction showed that 80% of weapons recovered on Rikers are constructed on site, meaning they were not brought in by visitors or staff.</p> <p dir="ltr">Additionally, as Dromm (pictured below) mentioned during the rally Tuesday, a 2014<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doi/downloads/pdf/2014/Nov14/pr26rikers_110614.pdf" target="_blank"> investigation</a> conducted by Mark Peters, Commissioner of the Department of Investigation, “found that the majority of drugs that were getting into Rikers Island were being brought in by corrections officers themselves.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/IMG_8653_1.JPG" alt="CM Daniel Dromm" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="263" width="350" /></p> <p dir="ltr">City &amp; State NY<a href="http://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/heard-around-town-proposed-rikers-visitor-policy-would-exacerbate-tale-of-two-cities,-critics-say.html" target="_blank"> reported</a> that the city has said “371 [visitors] were arrested in fiscal year 2015,” meaning that with over 1,000 people visiting Rikers every day, a small fraction of those visitors are contributing to the flow of contraband into the jail complex.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You’re changing policy [in response to] less than 1% of the visitors who come in,” Krupat said at the press conference yesterday. “That’s not how policy is made.”</p> <p>However, the de Blasio administration says it is responding to an increase in those arrests - the 371 was up 307 in the prior fiscal year, and drugs recovered during visits were also up.</p> <p>&nbsp;In March, when Mayor de Blasio and DOC Commissioner Joe Ponte announced the 14-point initiative to reduce violence at Rikers, de Blasio said, “we know that the reality is that so many inmates acquire weapons and acquire drugs through visitors. In fact, we know that many criminal gangs use the visitation process to pass weapons and pass drugs to their fellow gang members here in these facilities. They also pass messages. You’ve seen it in the movies – it happens in real life.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“So, to address this problem at the root, we need a much stronger, much stricter visitor policy,” the mayor continued, “which will limit physical contact between visitors and inmates and will, in fact, restrict the right of certain individuals to visit, in the first place, if they do not pass a security screen.”</p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;The mayor said that the proposed changes would bring Department of Correction policy closer in line with that of other large jail systems around the country that place limits on physical contact between inmates and visitors and restrict visitors based on security concerns.</p> <p dir="ltr">Yet critics view the proposed limitations as a step backwards for de Blasio’s self-professed progressive administration, which was praised by advocates for the incarcerated earlier this year after city officials agreed to make sweeping<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/nyregion/accord-near-on-sweeping-reforms-at-rikers-jail-including-us-monitor.html" target="_blank"> reforms</a> aimed at increasing safety for inmates of the violence-stricken jail complex.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The mayor ran on not having a tale of two cities, and this is kind of a tale of two cities issue,” said Krupat. “Most people are pre-trial, they just can’t afford their bail. If you’re poor, you’re on Rikers and now maybe your family can’t come and see you, but if you have means, you’re out in the community at home eating dinner with your family. It’s kind of shocking from a progressive administration to go after visitors as part of an agenda to reduce violence at Rikers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The Board of Correction must approve the policy before the proposed changes to visitation rules can go into effect. The BOC<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/Variance_Documents/20150908/Proposed%20rule%20package%20for%20posting.pdf" target="_blank"> announced</a> Tuesday that it will hold a public hearing on the proposed rules, though the date has not yet been set.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by Meg O’Connor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/twitter.com/megoconnor13" target="_blank">@MegOConnor13</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/gothamgazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> Community Board Reform Bills, Including on Term Limits, to Be Heard 2015-04-29T22:09:41+00:00 2015-04-29T22:09:41+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5703:community-board-reform-bills-including-on-term-limits-to-be-heard Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/dromm_kallos.jpg" alt="dromm kallos" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">CMs Dromm, middle, and Kallos, right, have intro'd reform bills (photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>At a hearing of the City Council's Committee on Governmental Operations Thursday, issues of community board function will be taken up through bills to introduce term limits for board members and to add professional urban planners to board staff.</p> <p><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5477-new-term-limits-legislation-headed-to-city-council-for-community-boards" target="_blank">The term-limit bill</a>, introduced by Council Member Daniel Dromm in December last year, would allow community board appointees to serve up to six consecutive two-year terms. Currently, there is no limit on how many terms a community board member can serve. The bill, co-sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, who chairs the government operations committee, would enact the six-term limit starting for members appointed in April 2016.</p> <p>The bill provides exemption for current board members who would be grandfathered along current no-limit rules. Community board members are appointed by borough presidents; there are 59 boards in the five boroughs.</p> <p>"This is just one of the areas in which community boards should be reformed," said Lauren George, associate director of good government group Common Cause New York. "In terms of increasing representation, this will be a big step in improving the way community boards represent the changing dynamics of the city. When experienced members basically get a lifetime membership, they tend to have entrenched interests. They don't reflect the neighborhood, age and ethnic diversity, or sometimes even gender diversity."</p> <p>George also said recruitment to community boards is extremely challenging, which is especially true in certain parts of the city, and term limits could encourage new people to join.</p> <p>"Citizens Union supports reforms to strengthen community boards through increased resources, such as urban planning staff, as well as the institution of term limits," said Rachael Fauss, director of public policy at Citizens Union, in support of the principles behind both bills to be heard Thursday. She added, though, that "Term limits, which we believe should be phased in, rather than grandfathering in current members, will ensure that the representation of boards is able to keep pace with changing demographics, such as emerging immigrant communities."</p> <p>Ed Jaworski is president of Madison Marine Homecrest Civic Association and a first-year member of Community Board 15 in Brooklyn. He said he had been applying for more than ten years before he finally got appointed. "The appointment process has to be depoliticized and more transparency is necessary," he said. "But that doesn't seem to be on the horizon so at least term limits are a first step."</p> <p>"You need rotation," Jaworski added. "You need fresh blood and you need to remove people who aren't contributing. Over time, they just become Yes People."</p> <p>At Thursday's hearing, Jaworski will testify in favor of Dromm and Kallos' bill and even suggest that the entire appointment process of community boards be reviewed. "If some of these people are political appointments, let the politicians move them on and up," he said.</p> <p>Kallos expects strong support from good government groups and from community members at the hearing. "I think having term limits will provide healthy churn," he said on Wednesday. "It's a good step and there's precedence for it in government. It provides a good incentive and gives time to people to get things done, learn the trade, and then pass it on."</p> <p>Neither bill being heard Thursday will be voted on, a committee vote on the bills would come at a subsequent hearing, perhaps after tweaks to the bills. It is expected that there will be opposition voices at the hearing, especially on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5477-new-term-limits-legislation-headed-to-city-council-for-community-boards" target="_blank">the term-limit bill</a>, which does not appear to have support from the borough presidents.</p> <p>Kallos is the prime sponsor for the urban planner bill, which he <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5662-bill-would-require-city-planner-at-each-community-board-kallos" target="_blank">introduced last month</a>. It is likely to see little opposition.</p> <p>The bill would provide for an urban planner position for each community board and create planning offices under the five borough presidents. Common Cause's George said her organization supports both bills. "Boards are crying out for support. Expertise and planners are essential," she said.</p> <p>Jaworski agreed. "That's a very good proposal. There's no planning going on at the boards. And City Planning doesn't do planning, they do rezoning."</p> <p>***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/samarkhurshid" target="_blank">@samarkhurshid</a></p> <p>Note: Gotham Gazette is an independent publication of Citizens Union Foundation, sister organization of Citizens Union</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/dromm_kallos.jpg" alt="dromm kallos" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">CMs Dromm, middle, and Kallos, right, have intro'd reform bills (photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>At a hearing of the City Council's Committee on Governmental Operations Thursday, issues of community board function will be taken up through bills to introduce term limits for board members and to add professional urban planners to board staff.</p> <p><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5477-new-term-limits-legislation-headed-to-city-council-for-community-boards" target="_blank">The term-limit bill</a>, introduced by Council Member Daniel Dromm in December last year, would allow community board appointees to serve up to six consecutive two-year terms. Currently, there is no limit on how many terms a community board member can serve. The bill, co-sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, who chairs the government operations committee, would enact the six-term limit starting for members appointed in April 2016.</p> <p>The bill provides exemption for current board members who would be grandfathered along current no-limit rules. Community board members are appointed by borough presidents; there are 59 boards in the five boroughs.</p> <p>"This is just one of the areas in which community boards should be reformed," said Lauren George, associate director of good government group Common Cause New York. "In terms of increasing representation, this will be a big step in improving the way community boards represent the changing dynamics of the city. When experienced members basically get a lifetime membership, they tend to have entrenched interests. They don't reflect the neighborhood, age and ethnic diversity, or sometimes even gender diversity."</p> <p>George also said recruitment to community boards is extremely challenging, which is especially true in certain parts of the city, and term limits could encourage new people to join.</p> <p>"Citizens Union supports reforms to strengthen community boards through increased resources, such as urban planning staff, as well as the institution of term limits," said Rachael Fauss, director of public policy at Citizens Union, in support of the principles behind both bills to be heard Thursday. She added, though, that "Term limits, which we believe should be phased in, rather than grandfathering in current members, will ensure that the representation of boards is able to keep pace with changing demographics, such as emerging immigrant communities."</p> <p>Ed Jaworski is president of Madison Marine Homecrest Civic Association and a first-year member of Community Board 15 in Brooklyn. He said he had been applying for more than ten years before he finally got appointed. "The appointment process has to be depoliticized and more transparency is necessary," he said. "But that doesn't seem to be on the horizon so at least term limits are a first step."</p> <p>"You need rotation," Jaworski added. "You need fresh blood and you need to remove people who aren't contributing. Over time, they just become Yes People."</p> <p>At Thursday's hearing, Jaworski will testify in favor of Dromm and Kallos' bill and even suggest that the entire appointment process of community boards be reviewed. "If some of these people are political appointments, let the politicians move them on and up," he said.</p> <p>Kallos expects strong support from good government groups and from community members at the hearing. "I think having term limits will provide healthy churn," he said on Wednesday. "It's a good step and there's precedence for it in government. It provides a good incentive and gives time to people to get things done, learn the trade, and then pass it on."</p> <p>Neither bill being heard Thursday will be voted on, a committee vote on the bills would come at a subsequent hearing, perhaps after tweaks to the bills. It is expected that there will be opposition voices at the hearing, especially on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5477-new-term-limits-legislation-headed-to-city-council-for-community-boards" target="_blank">the term-limit bill</a>, which does not appear to have support from the borough presidents.</p> <p>Kallos is the prime sponsor for the urban planner bill, which he <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5662-bill-would-require-city-planner-at-each-community-board-kallos" target="_blank">introduced last month</a>. It is likely to see little opposition.</p> <p>The bill would provide for an urban planner position for each community board and create planning offices under the five borough presidents. Common Cause's George said her organization supports both bills. "Boards are crying out for support. Expertise and planners are essential," she said.</p> <p>Jaworski agreed. "That's a very good proposal. There's no planning going on at the boards. And City Planning doesn't do planning, they do rezoning."</p> <p>***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/samarkhurshid" target="_blank">@samarkhurshid</a></p> <p>Note: Gotham Gazette is an independent publication of Citizens Union Foundation, sister organization of Citizens Union</p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 16 2015-03-15T19:15:54+00:00 2015-03-15T19:15:54+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5632:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-16 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>This week will again be dominated by budget negotiations - especially in Albany, where a budget is due by the end of the month, which is rapidly approaching. In New York City, City Council hearings will continue on Mayor Bill de Blasio's preliminary fiscal year 2016 budget - once those hearings wrap up at the end of the month, the Council will craft its response to de Blasio, negotiations will continue, and the mayor will present his Executive Budget, leading to another round of council hearings. Key portions of the city budget are, of course, dependent upon the state budget, so much anticipation (and lobbying) surrounds negotiations in Albany, where Governor Andrew Cuomo is attempting to push through his spending plan, with major education and ethics reforms, despite significant disagreement from both Democrats (who control the State Assembly) and Republicans (who control the State Senate). Cuomo is also right in the middle on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5627-on-minimum-wage-cuomo-again-finds-the-not-so-happy-middle" target="_blank">the minimum wage increase he's pushing</a> and other issues.</p> <p>While there will be a lot of action in Albany this week, this weekend is <a href="http://www.somosnewyork.org/" target="_blank">the annual Somos el Futuro Conference in Albany</a>, at which there is always plenty of networking, negotiating, and more.</p> <p>Speaking of budget negotiations, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (a former State Senator) launched <a href="http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/let-her-in?source=c.tw&amp;r_by=12690944" target="_blank">a petition</a> on Sunday to put additional pressure on the governor and other legislative leaders to include Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in budget negotiations. "Despite comprising over half of New York State's population, no woman has ever had a seat in statewide budget negotiations," it begins.</p> <p>As for de Blasio, he <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5600-in-albany-de-blasio-critiques-cuomos-budget-defines-citys-needs" target="_blank">made his case in Albany</a> a few weeks ago and continues to lobby behind the scenes, while also praising the Assembly and its new Speaker, Carl Heastie of the Bronx, for <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5624-assembly-budget-champions-de-blasio-agenda" target="_blank">its one-house budget outline</a>. A key aspect of state funding for de Blasio is that for his universal pre-kindergarten program. On Sunday de Blasio held an event to kick off enrollment for pre-K for the 2015-2016 school year - enrollment officially opens on Monday. The City is hoping to expand pre-K enrollment from year one's 53,000-plus to all 73,000-or-so four-year-olds in the city. Monday is the start of pre-K enrollment and the end of the application period to be on one of the city's Community Education Councils. CECs are the local representative bodies that help inform education policy decision making and have been highlighted during the "Mayoral Control Forums" <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5630-theme-of-james-mayoral-control-forums-more-local-say" target="_blank">held by Public Advocate Letitia James in recent weeks.</a></p> <p>James held a rally at City Hall on Sunday to call on the State to fully fund city schools in line with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and to criticize Gov. Cuomo's education reform policies. She starts her week with one event on her public schedule: a Howard University alumni affair.</p> <p>Along with James, environmental activists and others, Comptroller Scott Stringer begins his week at a City Hall press conference to&nbsp;voice opposition to the Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas export facility.</p> <p>The mayor starts his week with a busy Monday:&nbsp;he'll "host a breakfast for City Council Leadership in Manhattan...meet with Congressman Jerry Nadler and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez in City Hall," host an afternoon press conference with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to make an announcement; and, at 11 p.m. "appear on Tavis Smiley" on PBS, according to his public schedule.</p> <p>On Thursday evening, the mayor is expected to speak at a fundraiser in Manhattan to support City Council Member Vincent Gentile's congressional campaign. By the way, if you want to register to vote in that special election or the other one (Assembly District 43) happening May 5, you have until April 10 to register.</p> <p>On Monday evening, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will speak at a Citizens Union event on solving Albany's corruption probably. He is <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ag-schneiderman-legislators-accounts-spending-article-1.2150476?cid=bitly" target="_blank">expected</a> to unveil new plans to expand his role in doing so and new proposals pushing state lawmakers further in ethics reforms. Details below.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening at&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">the City Council</a>&nbsp;and all over the city, with many events to be aware of. See our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette 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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Monday <a href="http://nownyc.org/violence-against-women/rallyinalbanymarch16/" target="_blank">in Albany</a>, National Organization for Women NYC will rally to end human trafficking: “For the last three years NOW-NYC has been fighting for the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA). Consensus is growing that the problem of trafficking can be tackled by legislators ensuring survivors-especially children-get help not punishment. TVPJA does that and more, and its passage would make New York a national leader in the fight against human trafficking.” [Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinions/5538-new-york-must-strengthen-sex-trafficking-laws-manhattan-da-cy-vance" target="_blank">read Manhattan DA Cy Vance's recent op-ed on the need to strengthen New York's sex trafficking laws</a>]</p> <p>On Monday afternoon, Assembly Speaker Heastie will hold a "news conference announcing comprehensive legislation to combat human trafficking. He will be joined by members of the Assembly Majority and advocates," according to his public schedule.</p> <p>Both the State Senate and the State Assembly are in session in Albany on Monday afternoon.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385696&amp;GUID=260C9114-0F81-4779-B83E-4B383BB578C9&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Civil Rights for its preliminary budget hearing and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385698&amp;GUID=1A73698D-9724-4C47-8199-FD57FC4D5F52&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Oversight and Investigations for its preliminary budget hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning,&nbsp;"New York Law School hosts "A Bold Step for New York's Children: A Symposium on Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility" featuring Jeremy Creelan, Soffiyah Elijah, Jacqueline Greene, Sheriff Allen Riley, Joel Copperman, Richard Aborn, Laurie Parise and others," according to City &amp; State NY. [Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5583-with-raise-the-age-cuomo-continues-push-to-reform-juvenile-justice" target="_blank">read our report on Governor Cuomo's much-praised effort to "Raise the Age"</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">Also according to City &amp; State NY,&nbsp;on Monday at 11:30 a.m. "State Sen. IDC Leader Jeff Klein, state Sens. Diane Savino and Adriano Espaillat, New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres and others gather for a rally calling for funding in state budget to repair and upgrade NYCHA developments, Million Dollar Staircase, State Capitol, Albany."</p> <p dir="ltr">The City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is holding a TB Day of Action on Monday, in which Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and others are participating to raise awareness.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday at <a href="https://twitter.com/IDaneekMiller/status/575757148933656576" target="_blank">5:30 p.m</a>., New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Brad Lander will host a “Celebration of Bangladesh Independence,” at the Council Chambers inside City Hall. Other Council Members in attendance will include Rafael Espinal Jr., Rory Lancman, Daniel Dromm, I. Daneek Miller, Annabel Palma, Mark Weprin, Jimmy Van Bramer, among others.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, BP Brewer will attend the opening of the new Hunter College faculty/laboratory research space at Weill Cornell Medical College.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Monday&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/about/agencyplan.shtml" target="_blank">evening</a>, NYCHA will host its Manhattan town hall meeting at Johnson Houses CC, in East Harlem.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/442968339186343/?notif_t=plan_user_invited" target="_blank">evening</a>, good government group Citizens Union will host “Can New Yorkers Fix Albany’s Corruption Problem?” - its first Civic Conversation of the year, featuring Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and an esteemed panel. “Join Citizens Union for our first Civic Conversation of the year. This educational forum will bring expert panelists and the public together to discuss why there is a crime wave of corruption in Albany and what can be done to fight back and change the capitol's ethics.” After Schneiderman delivers remarks, panelists will include Richard Briffault, Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School, Chair of NYC Conflicts of Interest Board and Former Moreland Commissioner; Richard Brodsky, Senior Fellow at Demos, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Policy at NYU Wagner Graduate School, and Former NYS Assemblymember for the 92nd District; Jennifer Rodgers, Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, Former Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The panel will be moderated by Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday <a href="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/events-calendar/details/4/3226462" target="_blank">morning</a>, “Join Crain’s and New York real estate's most impressive players to explore the next stage in the city’s development. Chairman of the NYC Planning Commission Carl Weisbrod will unveil the de Blasio administration’s latest zoning policies and urban-planning initiatives. A panel of experts will assess City Hall’s ambitious efforts to create and maintain 200,000 units of affordable housing. The conference will conclude with the sharpest minds in the business debating how best to reform a broken tax system that must pay for it all.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Tuesday <a href="http://www.ywcanyc.org/events/womens-history-month-breakfast-panel-young-women-leaders/" target="_blank">morning</a>, the Young Women’s Christian Association of New York will host a discussion on Leadership and Generosity: A Call to Action: “We will look at ‘Young Women Leaders’ featuring Aissata M.B. Camara, Elizabeth Plank, Carmen Perez, Maria Naggaga, Yuh-Line Niou, and Candace Simpson.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385702&amp;GUID=0671640C-5EBD-479B-8DB8-5C795B75621B&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Juvenile Justice, jointly with the Committee on General Welfare and the Committee on Women’s Issues for a preliminary budget hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday at <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/event/democracys-problems-and-prospects-book-talk-douglas-e-schoen" target="_blank">noon</a>, The Brennan Center for Justice will present Democracy's Problems and Prospects: A Book Talk with Douglas E. Schoen: “America’s democracy is floundering, Congress is hopelessly gridlocked, and millions remain without gainful employment. Despite all this, longtime political strategist and polling expert Douglas E. Schoen remains optimistic.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eaajuht65bf65114&amp;oseq=&amp;c=&amp;ch=" target="_blank">evening</a>, CUNY Institute for Education Policy (CIEP) will host a one-on-one conversation with the President of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), Michael Mulgrew: “This unscripted conversation will cover a wide range of pressing issues facing New York State's teachers and their students.” Mulgrew will be speaking with CIEP Director David Steiner, who is also Dean of the Hunter College School of Education and former State Commissioner of Education.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank">Explore the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette for something you may have missed</a>]</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Wednesday <a href="https://medicalmarijuanany.eventfarm.com/" target="_blank">morning</a>&nbsp;in Albany, Capital New York will host “Medical Marijuana: Is N.Y. Doing it Right?”, an in-depth conversation on the topic of New York’s medical marijuana law "covering regulation, accessibility, barriers to entry into the local market, program costs and more.” Featured speakers will include the incoming Counsel to the Governor of New York, Alphonso David; Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried; State Senator Diane Savino; and others.</p> <p>On Wednesday, City Council Member Andy King and the Riverbay Corporation will host the "2015 Veterans Job and Resource Fair" in Co-op City in the Bronx. "Employers as well as non-profit resource organizations and city agencies will be present, including JP Morgan Chase &amp; Co., which, with other founding corporations, launched the 100,000 Jobs Mission in 2011 with the goal of hiring 100,000 military veterans by 2020."</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Public-Programming/Calendar/Detail?id=29936" target="_blank">afternoon</a>, the Graduate Center at CUNY will host another public lecture in the Immigration Seminar Series: “Everyday Illegal: When Policies Undermine Immigrant Families.” Among the speakers will be Joanna Dreby, Associate Professor of Sociology at University at Albany, SUNY.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/03/8563512/join-us-albany-capital-pro-trivia-night" target="_blank">evening</a>, “Albany Capital Pro Trivia Night!...Albany Bureau Chief Jimmy Vielkind tees up questions on all things policy, politics and media."</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Wednesday <a href="http://www.meetup.com/betanyc/events/219676070/" target="_blank">evening</a>, Beta NYC is hosting a Civic Hacknight in Queens with Coalition 4 Queens.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday at <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyVanBramer/status/574995625818865665" target="_blank">6:30 p.m</a>. at MoMA PS1, New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer will host a Cultural Town Hall event featuring special remarks from the Cultural Affairs Commissioner, Tom Finkelpearl.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also in Queens Wednesday evening, BP Katz is <a href="http://queensbp.org/parent-advisory-board-meeting-on-common-core/" target="_blank">hosting</a> a "parent advisory board meeting on common core" that will include reps from the city DOE.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>All day Thursday,&nbsp;the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development <a href="http://www.anhd.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ANHD-Equitable-City-3-19-15-conference-draft-agenda-@-2-4-15.pdf?utm_source=Copy+of+Copy+of+Save+the+Date-+2015+Conference-12-22-14&amp;utm_campaign=Conference-2-18-15&amp;utm_medium=email" target="_blank">will host</a> its Annual Community Development Conference. The morning keynote speaker will be Thomas J. Curry, Federal Comptroller of the Currency. The afternoon keynote speaker will be Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of New York City Council.</p> <p>Thursday morning,&nbsp;Manhattan BP Brewer hosts a meeting of the Manhattan Borough Board.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at City Hall, there will be a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/nycvotes" target="_blank">Student Voter Registration Day</a> press conference held by elected officials, advocacy groups, and school representatives.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Thursday <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-presidents-land-use-hearing-2-2/?instance_id=704" target="_blank">morning</a>, Queens BP Melinda Katz will hold a land use meeting at Queens Borough Hall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=386662&amp;GUID=47F6C384-09FB-45A1-9104-FF65F5C5EE18&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Governmental Operations for its preliminary budget oversight hearing; a&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=387530&amp;GUID=C12461F6-CE27-4DAA-8B3B-CE5B37A8F0C5&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a>&nbsp;of the Committee on Veterans to consider a resolution "calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign S.752, the Veterans' Education Through SUNY Credits Act";&nbsp;and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=388796&amp;GUID=0A445A3A-EA51-4CE1-8E4B-60D5DBBBAFE8&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Education to consider multiple resolutions, including one "calling upon the New York State Legislature to reject any attempt to raise the cap on the number of charter schools,"&nbsp;one&nbsp;"calling upon the Department of Education to amend its Parent's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to include information about opting out of high-stakes testing and distribute this document at the beginning of every school year, to every family, in every grade,"&nbsp;and one "calling upon the New York State Legislature to eliminate the Governor's receivership proposal in the executive budget for New York City."&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://observer.com/2015/03/bill-de-blasio-will-raise-cash-for-vincent-gentile/" target="_blank">Thursday</a>, Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to speak at a fundraiser for the Democratic candidate in the special election to fill the vacant 11th Congressional District seat, Brooklyn City Council Member Vincent Gentile. Democratic activist Bill Samuels and Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos will host the event at Mr. Samuels’ Manhattan home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Thursday <a href="http://salsa.ridersny.org/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=81335" target="_blank">evening</a>, the Department of Transportation and the MTA are hosting a town hall to unveil plans around the Utica Avenue B46 SBS Project, according to Riders Alliance, which is encouraging its members to attend and make their voices heard.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/owners/outreach-education.page" target="_blank">evening</a>, at 6:30 p.m., Housing Preservation and Development will host a Owner Outreach and Education Forum with Council Members Inez Barron and Rafael Espinal and Cypress Hills Development Corporation in East New York, Brooklyn.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Thursday at <a href="http://manhattanbp.nyc.gov/html/news/events.shtml" target="_blank">6:30 p.m</a>., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will host East Side Coastal Resiliency Project's Community Engagement Session: “Following on HUD's Rebuild by Design competition, New York City is working to reduce the risk of extreme weather and climate change, as well as improve quality of life. This project focuses on neighborhoods near the East River between Montgomery and 23rd Streets.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at <a href="http://www.meetup.com/NYYRCInc/events/220671231/" target="_blank">7 p.m</a>., the NYC Young Republican Club will host its monthly meetup at the Women's National Republican Club.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: center;">[</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank" style="text-align: center;">Explore the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette for something you may have missed</a><span style="text-align: center;">]</span></p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong><a href="https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/cc/event.jsp?event=7&amp;" target="_blank">All day Friday,</a>&nbsp;Common Cause NY, Citizens Union, the New York City Council, and other partners will host Student Voter Registration Day “to increase youth voter registration and excite young people about being involved in the democratic process. Through interactive discussion SVRD encourages youth to see how issues at the polls affect their everyday lives.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385723&amp;GUID=0DE8ACAF-40B0-4C9C-99E7-403C2AE93B87&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, jointly with the Subcommittee on Libraries, for a preliminary budget hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday <a href="https://donate.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1839&amp;ea.campaign.id=35248&amp;ac=TKAGM" target="_blank">morning</a>, Amnesty International USA will have its weekend-long 2015 Human Rights Conference and Annual General Meetings, in Brooklyn: “The 2015 Annual General Meeting will bring over a thousand human rights activists from around the world together to engage in networking opportunities, human rights actions, inspiring plenaries, outstanding key notes, and hands-on workshops." Speakers will include Harry Belafonte, Ann Burroughs, Rosa Alicia Clemente, Nusrat Durrani, Steven Hawkins, Thomas Jagow-Schultz, Benjamin Jealous, Linda Sarsour, Ciara Taylor, Vincent Warren, Jesse Williams, and Jie-Song Zhang.</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/member_files/076/20150227a/index.pdf" target="_blank">afternoon</a>, Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright will host a Women’s History Month celebration, at which the Assembly Member is also set to give out Women of Distinction Awards to recognize “remarkable women and their efforts to improve our community.”</p> <p dir="ltr">On Friday at 5:30 p.m., to commemorate women's history month, Council Members Laurie Cumbo and Jumaane Williams "<a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shirley-chisholm-women-of-distinction-awards-celebration-registration-16097197150" target="_blank">will host</a> the second annual Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Celebration &amp; Award Ceremony" at Brooklyn Public Library-Central Branch. "This event will honor seven extraordinary women from New York City who are making tremendous strides in their fields by using their skills and expertise to strengthen our communities. Two young community leaders will also be honored during the event and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will serve as the event's keynote speaker."</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#.VP3LUNBWrWB" target="_blank">evening</a> in Albany, City &amp; State NY will host a Somos Albany Kickoff Cocktail Reception. The event will feature New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and New York State Assemblyman &amp; Somos el Futuro Chair Marcos Crespo.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday <a href="http://manhattanbp.nyc.gov/html/news/events.shtml" target="_blank">morning</a>, The Office of Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer, together with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will host "Tuberculosis Awareness Walk and Rally."&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Saturday <a href="http://events.cuny.edu/EventDetail.asp?EventId=59780" target="_blank">morning</a>, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) will host a CUNY Citizenship Application Assistance Event in Brooklyn.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday <a href="https://twitter.com/inwoodgovt/status/575724090482388992/photo/1" target="_blank">afternoon</a>, City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez will give his State of the District speech at George Washington Educational Campus.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: center;">[</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank" style="text-align: center;">Explore the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette for something you may have missed</a><span style="text-align: center;">]</span></p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>This week will again be dominated by budget negotiations - especially in Albany, where a budget is due by the end of the month, which is rapidly approaching. In New York City, City Council hearings will continue on Mayor Bill de Blasio's preliminary fiscal year 2016 budget - once those hearings wrap up at the end of the month, the Council will craft its response to de Blasio, negotiations will continue, and the mayor will present his Executive Budget, leading to another round of council hearings. Key portions of the city budget are, of course, dependent upon the state budget, so much anticipation (and lobbying) surrounds negotiations in Albany, where Governor Andrew Cuomo is attempting to push through his spending plan, with major education and ethics reforms, despite significant disagreement from both Democrats (who control the State Assembly) and Republicans (who control the State Senate). Cuomo is also right in the middle on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5627-on-minimum-wage-cuomo-again-finds-the-not-so-happy-middle" target="_blank">the minimum wage increase he's pushing</a> and other issues.</p> <p>While there will be a lot of action in Albany this week, this weekend is <a href="http://www.somosnewyork.org/" target="_blank">the annual Somos el Futuro Conference in Albany</a>, at which there is always plenty of networking, negotiating, and more.</p> <p>Speaking of budget negotiations, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (a former State Senator) launched <a href="http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/let-her-in?source=c.tw&amp;r_by=12690944" target="_blank">a petition</a> on Sunday to put additional pressure on the governor and other legislative leaders to include Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in budget negotiations. "Despite comprising over half of New York State's population, no woman has ever had a seat in statewide budget negotiations," it begins.</p> <p>As for de Blasio, he <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5600-in-albany-de-blasio-critiques-cuomos-budget-defines-citys-needs" target="_blank">made his case in Albany</a> a few weeks ago and continues to lobby behind the scenes, while also praising the Assembly and its new Speaker, Carl Heastie of the Bronx, for <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5624-assembly-budget-champions-de-blasio-agenda" target="_blank">its one-house budget outline</a>. A key aspect of state funding for de Blasio is that for his universal pre-kindergarten program. On Sunday de Blasio held an event to kick off enrollment for pre-K for the 2015-2016 school year - enrollment officially opens on Monday. The City is hoping to expand pre-K enrollment from year one's 53,000-plus to all 73,000-or-so four-year-olds in the city. Monday is the start of pre-K enrollment and the end of the application period to be on one of the city's Community Education Councils. CECs are the local representative bodies that help inform education policy decision making and have been highlighted during the "Mayoral Control Forums" <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5630-theme-of-james-mayoral-control-forums-more-local-say" target="_blank">held by Public Advocate Letitia James in recent weeks.</a></p> <p>James held a rally at City Hall on Sunday to call on the State to fully fund city schools in line with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and to criticize Gov. Cuomo's education reform policies. She starts her week with one event on her public schedule: a Howard University alumni affair.</p> <p>Along with James, environmental activists and others, Comptroller Scott Stringer begins his week at a City Hall press conference to&nbsp;voice opposition to the Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas export facility.</p> <p>The mayor starts his week with a busy Monday:&nbsp;he'll "host a breakfast for City Council Leadership in Manhattan...meet with Congressman Jerry Nadler and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez in City Hall," host an afternoon press conference with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to make an announcement; and, at 11 p.m. "appear on Tavis Smiley" on PBS, according to his public schedule.</p> <p>On Thursday evening, the mayor is expected to speak at a fundraiser in Manhattan to support City Council Member Vincent Gentile's congressional campaign. By the way, if you want to register to vote in that special election or the other one (Assembly District 43) happening May 5, you have until April 10 to register.</p> <p>On Monday evening, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will speak at a Citizens Union event on solving Albany's corruption probably. He is <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ag-schneiderman-legislators-accounts-spending-article-1.2150476?cid=bitly" target="_blank">expected</a> to unveil new plans to expand his role in doing so and new proposals pushing state lawmakers further in ethics reforms. Details below.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening at&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">the City Council</a>&nbsp;and all over the city, with many events to be aware of. See our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette 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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Monday <a href="http://nownyc.org/violence-against-women/rallyinalbanymarch16/" target="_blank">in Albany</a>, National Organization for Women NYC will rally to end human trafficking: “For the last three years NOW-NYC has been fighting for the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA). Consensus is growing that the problem of trafficking can be tackled by legislators ensuring survivors-especially children-get help not punishment. TVPJA does that and more, and its passage would make New York a national leader in the fight against human trafficking.” [Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinions/5538-new-york-must-strengthen-sex-trafficking-laws-manhattan-da-cy-vance" target="_blank">read Manhattan DA Cy Vance's recent op-ed on the need to strengthen New York's sex trafficking laws</a>]</p> <p>On Monday afternoon, Assembly Speaker Heastie will hold a "news conference announcing comprehensive legislation to combat human trafficking. He will be joined by members of the Assembly Majority and advocates," according to his public schedule.</p> <p>Both the State Senate and the State Assembly are in session in Albany on Monday afternoon.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385696&amp;GUID=260C9114-0F81-4779-B83E-4B383BB578C9&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Civil Rights for its preliminary budget hearing and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385698&amp;GUID=1A73698D-9724-4C47-8199-FD57FC4D5F52&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Oversight and Investigations for its preliminary budget hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning,&nbsp;"New York Law School hosts "A Bold Step for New York's Children: A Symposium on Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility" featuring Jeremy Creelan, Soffiyah Elijah, Jacqueline Greene, Sheriff Allen Riley, Joel Copperman, Richard Aborn, Laurie Parise and others," according to City &amp; State NY. [Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5583-with-raise-the-age-cuomo-continues-push-to-reform-juvenile-justice" target="_blank">read our report on Governor Cuomo's much-praised effort to "Raise the Age"</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">Also according to City &amp; State NY,&nbsp;on Monday at 11:30 a.m. "State Sen. IDC Leader Jeff Klein, state Sens. Diane Savino and Adriano Espaillat, New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres and others gather for a rally calling for funding in state budget to repair and upgrade NYCHA developments, Million Dollar Staircase, State Capitol, Albany."</p> <p dir="ltr">The City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is holding a TB Day of Action on Monday, in which Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and others are participating to raise awareness.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday at <a href="https://twitter.com/IDaneekMiller/status/575757148933656576" target="_blank">5:30 p.m</a>., New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Brad Lander will host a “Celebration of Bangladesh Independence,” at the Council Chambers inside City Hall. Other Council Members in attendance will include Rafael Espinal Jr., Rory Lancman, Daniel Dromm, I. Daneek Miller, Annabel Palma, Mark Weprin, Jimmy Van Bramer, among others.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, BP Brewer will attend the opening of the new Hunter College faculty/laboratory research space at Weill Cornell Medical College.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Monday&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/about/agencyplan.shtml" target="_blank">evening</a>, NYCHA will host its Manhattan town hall meeting at Johnson Houses CC, in East Harlem.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/442968339186343/?notif_t=plan_user_invited" target="_blank">evening</a>, good government group Citizens Union will host “Can New Yorkers Fix Albany’s Corruption Problem?” - its first Civic Conversation of the year, featuring Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and an esteemed panel. “Join Citizens Union for our first Civic Conversation of the year. This educational forum will bring expert panelists and the public together to discuss why there is a crime wave of corruption in Albany and what can be done to fight back and change the capitol's ethics.” After Schneiderman delivers remarks, panelists will include Richard Briffault, Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School, Chair of NYC Conflicts of Interest Board and Former Moreland Commissioner; Richard Brodsky, Senior Fellow at Demos, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Policy at NYU Wagner Graduate School, and Former NYS Assemblymember for the 92nd District; Jennifer Rodgers, Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, Former Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The panel will be moderated by Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday <a href="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/events-calendar/details/4/3226462" target="_blank">morning</a>, “Join Crain’s and New York real estate's most impressive players to explore the next stage in the city’s development. Chairman of the NYC Planning Commission Carl Weisbrod will unveil the de Blasio administration’s latest zoning policies and urban-planning initiatives. A panel of experts will assess City Hall’s ambitious efforts to create and maintain 200,000 units of affordable housing. The conference will conclude with the sharpest minds in the business debating how best to reform a broken tax system that must pay for it all.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Tuesday <a href="http://www.ywcanyc.org/events/womens-history-month-breakfast-panel-young-women-leaders/" target="_blank">morning</a>, the Young Women’s Christian Association of New York will host a discussion on Leadership and Generosity: A Call to Action: “We will look at ‘Young Women Leaders’ featuring Aissata M.B. Camara, Elizabeth Plank, Carmen Perez, Maria Naggaga, Yuh-Line Niou, and Candace Simpson.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385702&amp;GUID=0671640C-5EBD-479B-8DB8-5C795B75621B&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Juvenile Justice, jointly with the Committee on General Welfare and the Committee on Women’s Issues for a preliminary budget hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday at <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/event/democracys-problems-and-prospects-book-talk-douglas-e-schoen" target="_blank">noon</a>, The Brennan Center for Justice will present Democracy's Problems and Prospects: A Book Talk with Douglas E. Schoen: “America’s democracy is floundering, Congress is hopelessly gridlocked, and millions remain without gainful employment. Despite all this, longtime political strategist and polling expert Douglas E. Schoen remains optimistic.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eaajuht65bf65114&amp;oseq=&amp;c=&amp;ch=" target="_blank">evening</a>, CUNY Institute for Education Policy (CIEP) will host a one-on-one conversation with the President of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), Michael Mulgrew: “This unscripted conversation will cover a wide range of pressing issues facing New York State's teachers and their students.” Mulgrew will be speaking with CIEP Director David Steiner, who is also Dean of the Hunter College School of Education and former State Commissioner of Education.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank">Explore the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette for something you may have missed</a>]</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Wednesday <a href="https://medicalmarijuanany.eventfarm.com/" target="_blank">morning</a>&nbsp;in Albany, Capital New York will host “Medical Marijuana: Is N.Y. Doing it Right?”, an in-depth conversation on the topic of New York’s medical marijuana law "covering regulation, accessibility, barriers to entry into the local market, program costs and more.” Featured speakers will include the incoming Counsel to the Governor of New York, Alphonso David; Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried; State Senator Diane Savino; and others.</p> <p>On Wednesday, City Council Member Andy King and the Riverbay Corporation will host the "2015 Veterans Job and Resource Fair" in Co-op City in the Bronx. "Employers as well as non-profit resource organizations and city agencies will be present, including JP Morgan Chase &amp; Co., which, with other founding corporations, launched the 100,000 Jobs Mission in 2011 with the goal of hiring 100,000 military veterans by 2020."</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Public-Programming/Calendar/Detail?id=29936" target="_blank">afternoon</a>, the Graduate Center at CUNY will host another public lecture in the Immigration Seminar Series: “Everyday Illegal: When Policies Undermine Immigrant Families.” Among the speakers will be Joanna Dreby, Associate Professor of Sociology at University at Albany, SUNY.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/03/8563512/join-us-albany-capital-pro-trivia-night" target="_blank">evening</a>, “Albany Capital Pro Trivia Night!...Albany Bureau Chief Jimmy Vielkind tees up questions on all things policy, politics and media."</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Wednesday <a href="http://www.meetup.com/betanyc/events/219676070/" target="_blank">evening</a>, Beta NYC is hosting a Civic Hacknight in Queens with Coalition 4 Queens.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday at <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyVanBramer/status/574995625818865665" target="_blank">6:30 p.m</a>. at MoMA PS1, New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer will host a Cultural Town Hall event featuring special remarks from the Cultural Affairs Commissioner, Tom Finkelpearl.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also in Queens Wednesday evening, BP Katz is <a href="http://queensbp.org/parent-advisory-board-meeting-on-common-core/" target="_blank">hosting</a> a "parent advisory board meeting on common core" that will include reps from the city DOE.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>All day Thursday,&nbsp;the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development <a href="http://www.anhd.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ANHD-Equitable-City-3-19-15-conference-draft-agenda-@-2-4-15.pdf?utm_source=Copy+of+Copy+of+Save+the+Date-+2015+Conference-12-22-14&amp;utm_campaign=Conference-2-18-15&amp;utm_medium=email" target="_blank">will host</a> its Annual Community Development Conference. The morning keynote speaker will be Thomas J. Curry, Federal Comptroller of the Currency. The afternoon keynote speaker will be Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of New York City Council.</p> <p>Thursday morning,&nbsp;Manhattan BP Brewer hosts a meeting of the Manhattan Borough Board.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at City Hall, there will be a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/nycvotes" target="_blank">Student Voter Registration Day</a> press conference held by elected officials, advocacy groups, and school representatives.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Thursday <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-presidents-land-use-hearing-2-2/?instance_id=704" target="_blank">morning</a>, Queens BP Melinda Katz will hold a land use meeting at Queens Borough Hall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=386662&amp;GUID=47F6C384-09FB-45A1-9104-FF65F5C5EE18&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Governmental Operations for its preliminary budget oversight hearing; a&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=387530&amp;GUID=C12461F6-CE27-4DAA-8B3B-CE5B37A8F0C5&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a>&nbsp;of the Committee on Veterans to consider a resolution "calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign S.752, the Veterans' Education Through SUNY Credits Act";&nbsp;and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=388796&amp;GUID=0A445A3A-EA51-4CE1-8E4B-60D5DBBBAFE8&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Education to consider multiple resolutions, including one "calling upon the New York State Legislature to reject any attempt to raise the cap on the number of charter schools,"&nbsp;one&nbsp;"calling upon the Department of Education to amend its Parent's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to include information about opting out of high-stakes testing and distribute this document at the beginning of every school year, to every family, in every grade,"&nbsp;and one "calling upon the New York State Legislature to eliminate the Governor's receivership proposal in the executive budget for New York City."&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://observer.com/2015/03/bill-de-blasio-will-raise-cash-for-vincent-gentile/" target="_blank">Thursday</a>, Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to speak at a fundraiser for the Democratic candidate in the special election to fill the vacant 11th Congressional District seat, Brooklyn City Council Member Vincent Gentile. Democratic activist Bill Samuels and Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos will host the event at Mr. Samuels’ Manhattan home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Thursday <a href="http://salsa.ridersny.org/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=81335" target="_blank">evening</a>, the Department of Transportation and the MTA are hosting a town hall to unveil plans around the Utica Avenue B46 SBS Project, according to Riders Alliance, which is encouraging its members to attend and make their voices heard.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/owners/outreach-education.page" target="_blank">evening</a>, at 6:30 p.m., Housing Preservation and Development will host a Owner Outreach and Education Forum with Council Members Inez Barron and Rafael Espinal and Cypress Hills Development Corporation in East New York, Brooklyn.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Thursday at <a href="http://manhattanbp.nyc.gov/html/news/events.shtml" target="_blank">6:30 p.m</a>., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will host East Side Coastal Resiliency Project's Community Engagement Session: “Following on HUD's Rebuild by Design competition, New York City is working to reduce the risk of extreme weather and climate change, as well as improve quality of life. This project focuses on neighborhoods near the East River between Montgomery and 23rd Streets.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at <a href="http://www.meetup.com/NYYRCInc/events/220671231/" target="_blank">7 p.m</a>., the NYC Young Republican Club will host its monthly meetup at the Women's National Republican Club.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: center;">[</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank" style="text-align: center;">Explore the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette for something you may have missed</a><span style="text-align: center;">]</span></p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong><a href="https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/cc/event.jsp?event=7&amp;" target="_blank">All day Friday,</a>&nbsp;Common Cause NY, Citizens Union, the New York City Council, and other partners will host Student Voter Registration Day “to increase youth voter registration and excite young people about being involved in the democratic process. Through interactive discussion SVRD encourages youth to see how issues at the polls affect their everyday lives.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385723&amp;GUID=0DE8ACAF-40B0-4C9C-99E7-403C2AE93B87&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, jointly with the Subcommittee on Libraries, for a preliminary budget hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday <a href="https://donate.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1839&amp;ea.campaign.id=35248&amp;ac=TKAGM" target="_blank">morning</a>, Amnesty International USA will have its weekend-long 2015 Human Rights Conference and Annual General Meetings, in Brooklyn: “The 2015 Annual General Meeting will bring over a thousand human rights activists from around the world together to engage in networking opportunities, human rights actions, inspiring plenaries, outstanding key notes, and hands-on workshops." Speakers will include Harry Belafonte, Ann Burroughs, Rosa Alicia Clemente, Nusrat Durrani, Steven Hawkins, Thomas Jagow-Schultz, Benjamin Jealous, Linda Sarsour, Ciara Taylor, Vincent Warren, Jesse Williams, and Jie-Song Zhang.</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/member_files/076/20150227a/index.pdf" target="_blank">afternoon</a>, Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright will host a Women’s History Month celebration, at which the Assembly Member is also set to give out Women of Distinction Awards to recognize “remarkable women and their efforts to improve our community.”</p> <p dir="ltr">On Friday at 5:30 p.m., to commemorate women's history month, Council Members Laurie Cumbo and Jumaane Williams "<a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shirley-chisholm-women-of-distinction-awards-celebration-registration-16097197150" target="_blank">will host</a> the second annual Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Celebration &amp; Award Ceremony" at Brooklyn Public Library-Central Branch. "This event will honor seven extraordinary women from New York City who are making tremendous strides in their fields by using their skills and expertise to strengthen our communities. Two young community leaders will also be honored during the event and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will serve as the event's keynote speaker."</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#.VP3LUNBWrWB" target="_blank">evening</a> in Albany, City &amp; State NY will host a Somos Albany Kickoff Cocktail Reception. The event will feature New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and New York State Assemblyman &amp; Somos el Futuro Chair Marcos Crespo.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday <a href="http://manhattanbp.nyc.gov/html/news/events.shtml" target="_blank">morning</a>, The Office of Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer, together with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will host "Tuberculosis Awareness Walk and Rally."&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Saturday <a href="http://events.cuny.edu/EventDetail.asp?EventId=59780" target="_blank">morning</a>, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) will host a CUNY Citizenship Application Assistance Event in Brooklyn.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday <a href="https://twitter.com/inwoodgovt/status/575724090482388992/photo/1" target="_blank">afternoon</a>, City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez will give his State of the District speech at George Washington Educational Campus.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: center;">[</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank" style="text-align: center;">Explore the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette for something you may have missed</a><span style="text-align: center;">]</span></p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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"></a><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>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> Reforming Solitary Confinement At The City's Biggest Psych Ward — Rikers Island 2013-11-18T02:44:00+00:00 2013-11-18T02:44:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=4727:reforming-solitary-confinement-at-the-citys-biggest-psych-ward-nrikers-island Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Ismael-Nazario-Solitary-Confinement.jpg" alt="Ismael-Nazario-Solitary-Confinement" width="600" height="510" class="caption" title="Ismael Nazario, who was held in solitary confinement for months as an adolescent at Rikers Island, stands on the block where he now works as a case manager for at-risk youth at the Center for Community Alternatives in Brooklyn." /></p> <p>NEW YORK —&nbsp;After about three days of being isolated in “the Box” away from his fellow detainees at Rikers Island, Ismael Nazario was beginning to break.</p> <p>"That's when it started to take it's toll,” he said, conjuring memories of his time in punitive segregation —&nbsp;solitary confinement — in one of the nation’s biggest jail complexes. “I was just like, 'Yo, I cannot be here like this.’”</p> <p>In his compact cell, furnished with a toilet and cot, Nazario had little space to move, he recalled in a recent interview. "I just talked to myself, answering myself, pacing back and forth.”</p> <p>Nazario was 16 years old and awaiting trial for robbery the first time he was sent to the Box, he said. According to Nazario, he had been caught with a pouch of tobacco, considered contraband, and was accused of pushing an officer as he tried to dispose of it in the toilet. But the contraband alone would have been enough: both violent and non-violent infractions can land an inmate in punitive segregation. Once there, detainees spend 23 hours per day in their cells.</p> <p>Now a 25-year-old case manager for at-risk youth at the Center for Community Alternatives in Brooklyn, Nazario said his multiple stays in the Box stayed with him long after he left.</p> <p>“You have this deep rooted anger and frustration from being in the Box, so the first thing somebody says wrong to you or does wrong, looks at you wrong, you're gonna pop off,” he said. Several <a href="http://solitarywatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/fact-sheet-psychological-effects-final.pdf">studies</a>&nbsp;have found that being confined to a cell for 22 or more hours per day with limited human contact can leave inmates socially and emotionally unstable.</p> <p>After years of criticism from advocates, the city’s practice of isolating detainees through punitive segregation has come under scrutiny from lawmakers and city officials. In recent months, the City Council passed legislation to bring greater transparency to the practice. But perhaps the greatest change will come in the months ahead.</p> <p>Motivated by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/184998385/Report-to-the-New-York-City-Board-of-Correction">a recent report on solitary confinement at Rikers</a>, the Board of Correction, which oversees the Department of Correction, is seeking to limit the city’s use of the punishment through a slow-moving rulemaking process that could take up to a year. "We're concerned about everybody in solitary confinement, and particularly those with serious mental illness and adolescents," said Dr. Robert Cohen, chair of the Board's committee on punitive segregation.</p> <p>However, the city’s Department of Correction and the mayor's office have rejected the sweeping critique of solitary confinement contained in the report that informed the Board's decision, as well as the report’s recommendation that isolation only be used as punishment in the most extreme cases.</p> <p>In an email, the Department defended punitive segregation as just one part of "a comprehensive continuum of care and control" developed to "ensure everyone’s safety." Department of Correction Commissioner Dora Schriro declined to comment further.</p> <p>The Department has been working towards its own program for reform, however. One major change is already underway: eliminating solitary confinement for people with serious mental illness.</p> <h2>The Push for Reform</h2> <p>In mid-September, members of the Jails Action Coalition rallied outside of a meeting of the Board of Correction at the Municipal Building in Lower Manhattan.</p> <p>As they awaited a decision from the Board on whether it would attempt to change Rikers' punitive segregation policies, the lawyers, case workers and activists who form the Coalition sang and held a banner that read "Solitary is Torture."</p> <p>The banner invoked Juan Méndez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights,<a href="http://solitaryconfinement.org/uploads/SpecRapTortureAug2011.pdf"></a><a href="http://solitaryconfinement.org/uploads/SpecRapTortureAug2011.pdf">who called</a>&nbsp;more than 15 days in solitary confinement 'torture'&nbsp;and recommended the punishment not be used at all for adolescents and people diagnosed with mental illness.</p> <p>In June, following a petition by the Jails Action Coalition, the Board commissioned an independent investigation into punitive segregation at Rikers.<sup><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#cmnt6" name="cmnt_ref6"></a></sup></p> <p>The study found that punitive segregation sentences at Rikers routinely exceed 15 days and that people with mental illness are disproportionately placed in isolation for breaking the rules. When the researchers visited the city jail over the summer, they found a quarter of the adolescent inmates of 16 and 17 years old in solitary confinement.</p> <p>A separate, recent count by the DOC&nbsp;also revealed that more than one in seven inmates at Rikers is currently being held in isolation — significantly higher than the<a href="http://solitarywatch.com/2013/06/07/board-of-correction-votes-against-limiting-solitary-confinement-in-new-york-city-jails/"></a><a href="http://solitarywatch.com/2013/06/07/board-of-correction-votes-against-limiting-solitary-confinement-in-new-york-city-jails/">national average</a>&nbsp;of about one in 25.</p> <h2>Rethinking the City's Largest Psych Ward</h2> <p>Nearly 40 percent&nbsp;of the population at Rikers Island is mentally ill, <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/downloads/pdf/NEWS_from_Mental_Health_051313.pdf">according</a>&nbsp;to the Department of Correction, making it, de facto, the city's largest psychiatric facility.</p> <p>Martin Horn, the city's previous Commissioner of Correction and Probation, said this has posed more than just a disciplinary challenge.</p> <p>"You're asking the jail to take on a role and a responsibility that it was never intended for, it was never physically constructed for, it was never properly equipped for, the staff was never properly trained for, and the staffing patterns were never properly based upon," said Horn, who is now a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.</p> <p>This past month, the DOC launched the Clinical Alternative to Punitive Segregation at Rikers, which was<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/downloads/pdf/NEWS_from_Mental_Health_051313.pdf"></a><a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/downloads/pdf/NEWS_from_Mental_Health_051313.pdf">announced</a>&nbsp;in May as an answer to "widespread concern about the impact that solitary confinement has on the mentally ill."</p> <p>The program places people who break the rules and have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or another condition the Department considers a "serious mental illness" in a separate, but more communal setting, where therapy is available.</p> <p>Inmates diagnosed with mental disorders that are not considered "serious" can still be placed in isolated cells for breaking the rules, although they will be offered therapy and incentives for good behavior.</p> <p>The Department <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/downloads/pdf/NEWS_from_Mental_Health_051313.pdf">expressed hopes</a>&nbsp;that this approach would help remedy the fact&nbsp;that the average stay of a mentally ill inmate at Rikers is twice as long as that of an inmate who has not been diagnosed with a mental illness.</p> <p>But advocates for prisoner rights say the DOC needs to focus on improving the quality of its psychiatric treatment in order for it to be effective.</p> <p>"The way they're trying to provide therapy with a therapist who isn't really engaged reading from a manual, that's just not the way we do it," said attorney Jennifer Parish of the Urban Justice Center. Parish has represented several mentally ill inmates at Rikers and is a founding member of the Jails Action Coalition.</p> <p>Parish said inmates who receive therapy while in solitary often meet with the mental health clinician inside their cells.</p> <p>"If you read the <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/mental_health_minimum_standards.pdf">[Minimum] Mental Health Standards</a>, there's no way that you can think that adequate mental health treatment could be provided in a punitive environment," Parish said.</p> <h2>Making Solitary Public</h2> <p>There are no public records of the number of people in solitary confinement at Rikers.</p> <p>In April, City Council members Daniel Dromm and Elizabeth Crowley introduced<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1344634&amp;GUID=A3A68BE3-E965-4221-8B56-B4302EC2400E&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=solitary+confinement"></a><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1344634&amp;GUID=A3A68BE3-E965-4221-8B56-B4302EC2400E&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=solitary+confinement">legislation</a>&nbsp;to require the Department of Correction to publish monthly statistics on punitive segregation.&nbsp;The mayor’s office has declined to comment on the pending legislation.</p> <p>"We need to know who they're putting in solitary, why they're going into solitary, and how long they're staying in solitary," said Dromm, who added he took up the cause after noticing the "very, very detrimental effect" solitary confinement had on a friend who served time at Rikers for drug charges.</p> <p>The punitive segregation capacity at Rikers peaked at 1,035 cells and is now on the decline, according to the DOC.</p> <p>The Department attributed the hundreds of punitive segregation beds added in the last two years to a "long-standing backlog" of unserved time by inmates who have broken the rules. Dromm has introduced a<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1344636&amp;GUID=6AD28CA8-C858-4B51-B0E2-D5F9D0A14FDA&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=punitive+segregation"></a><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1344636&amp;GUID=6AD28CA8-C858-4B51-B0E2-D5F9D0A14FDA&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=punitive+segregation">resolution</a>&nbsp;calling on the Department to end the practice of cashing in on "time owed" in solitary confinement by inmates who return to Rikers after being released.</p> <h2>Is there a way out?</h2> <p>The addition of punitive segregation cells at Rikers has corresponded with a significant increase in violent incidents in the last five years, according to Mayor’s Management Reports between<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/downloads/pdf/mmr/0908_mmr.pdf"></a><a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/downloads/pdf/mmr/0908_mmr.pdf">2008</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/downloads/pdf/pmmr2013/doc.pdf"></a><a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/downloads/pdf/pmmr2013/doc.pdf">2013.</a></p> <p>"Correction officers bear the brunt of it by being assaulted on a daily basis," Norman Seabrook, president of the Correctional Officers Benevolent Association,<a href="http://www.citylimits.org/news/articles/4559/solitary-confinement-on-the-rise-at-rikers"></a><a href="http://www.citylimits.org/news/articles/4559/solitary-confinement-on-the-rise-at-rikers">told City Limits</a>&nbsp;in March.</p> <p>Both Seabrook and former Commissioner Horn have cited cuts to the number of correction officers at Rikers as part of the problem.</p> <p>There was a decrease in jail violence during Horn’s tenure from 2003 to 2009, which he attributes to a variety of preventive tactics, including the installation of video cameras. "I think it was the result of putting staff resources where they were most needed," Horn said.</p> <p>Still, Horn said that punitive segregation is necessary to maintain order.</p> <p>"If two inmates get in a fight, they have to be separated, they have to be protected from each other. In society, when you break a rule, you go to jail. Punitive segregation is the jail within the jail."</p> <p>Parish suggested that offering inmates more services could also create more alternative punishments for breaking the rules.</p> <p>"The more incentives that you have that people want to be involved in, the more you can make not having access to that one of the potential punishments," she said.</p> <p>Parish acknowledged the need to separate inmates who pose a threat to others, but said the disciplinary system should be "focused on rehabilitation, not locking someone in for 23 hours a day."</p> <p>"As long as we see even one day of that as trivial, as not such a big deal, we're going to have a hard time getting to another place."</p> <p><em>Caroline Lewis is a freelance radio and web journalist working towards a Masters at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Read and listen to her stories <a href="http://carolinelewismedia.com">here</a>.</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Ismael-Nazario-Solitary-Confinement.jpg" alt="Ismael-Nazario-Solitary-Confinement" width="600" height="510" class="caption" title="Ismael Nazario, who was held in solitary confinement for months as an adolescent at Rikers Island, stands on the block where he now works as a case manager for at-risk youth at the Center for Community Alternatives in Brooklyn." /></p> <p>NEW YORK —&nbsp;After about three days of being isolated in “the Box” away from his fellow detainees at Rikers Island, Ismael Nazario was beginning to break.</p> <p>"That's when it started to take it's toll,” he said, conjuring memories of his time in punitive segregation —&nbsp;solitary confinement — in one of the nation’s biggest jail complexes. “I was just like, 'Yo, I cannot be here like this.’”</p> <p>In his compact cell, furnished with a toilet and cot, Nazario had little space to move, he recalled in a recent interview. "I just talked to myself, answering myself, pacing back and forth.”</p> <p>Nazario was 16 years old and awaiting trial for robbery the first time he was sent to the Box, he said. According to Nazario, he had been caught with a pouch of tobacco, considered contraband, and was accused of pushing an officer as he tried to dispose of it in the toilet. But the contraband alone would have been enough: both violent and non-violent infractions can land an inmate in punitive segregation. Once there, detainees spend 23 hours per day in their cells.</p> <p>Now a 25-year-old case manager for at-risk youth at the Center for Community Alternatives in Brooklyn, Nazario said his multiple stays in the Box stayed with him long after he left.</p> <p>“You have this deep rooted anger and frustration from being in the Box, so the first thing somebody says wrong to you or does wrong, looks at you wrong, you're gonna pop off,” he said. Several <a href="http://solitarywatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/fact-sheet-psychological-effects-final.pdf">studies</a>&nbsp;have found that being confined to a cell for 22 or more hours per day with limited human contact can leave inmates socially and emotionally unstable.</p> <p>After years of criticism from advocates, the city’s practice of isolating detainees through punitive segregation has come under scrutiny from lawmakers and city officials. In recent months, the City Council passed legislation to bring greater transparency to the practice. But perhaps the greatest change will come in the months ahead.</p> <p>Motivated by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/184998385/Report-to-the-New-York-City-Board-of-Correction">a recent report on solitary confinement at Rikers</a>, the Board of Correction, which oversees the Department of Correction, is seeking to limit the city’s use of the punishment through a slow-moving rulemaking process that could take up to a year. "We're concerned about everybody in solitary confinement, and particularly those with serious mental illness and adolescents," said Dr. Robert Cohen, chair of the Board's committee on punitive segregation.</p> <p>However, the city’s Department of Correction and the mayor's office have rejected the sweeping critique of solitary confinement contained in the report that informed the Board's decision, as well as the report’s recommendation that isolation only be used as punishment in the most extreme cases.</p> <p>In an email, the Department defended punitive segregation as just one part of "a comprehensive continuum of care and control" developed to "ensure everyone’s safety." Department of Correction Commissioner Dora Schriro declined to comment further.</p> <p>The Department has been working towards its own program for reform, however. One major change is already underway: eliminating solitary confinement for people with serious mental illness.</p> <h2>The Push for Reform</h2> <p>In mid-September, members of the Jails Action Coalition rallied outside of a meeting of the Board of Correction at the Municipal Building in Lower Manhattan.</p> <p>As they awaited a decision from the Board on whether it would attempt to change Rikers' punitive segregation policies, the lawyers, case workers and activists who form the Coalition sang and held a banner that read "Solitary is Torture."</p> <p>The banner invoked Juan Méndez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights,<a href="http://solitaryconfinement.org/uploads/SpecRapTortureAug2011.pdf"></a><a href="http://solitaryconfinement.org/uploads/SpecRapTortureAug2011.pdf">who called</a>&nbsp;more than 15 days in solitary confinement 'torture'&nbsp;and recommended the punishment not be used at all for adolescents and people diagnosed with mental illness.</p> <p>In June, following a petition by the Jails Action Coalition, the Board commissioned an independent investigation into punitive segregation at Rikers.<sup><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#cmnt6" name="cmnt_ref6"></a></sup></p> <p>The study found that punitive segregation sentences at Rikers routinely exceed 15 days and that people with mental illness are disproportionately placed in isolation for breaking the rules. When the researchers visited the city jail over the summer, they found a quarter of the adolescent inmates of 16 and 17 years old in solitary confinement.</p> <p>A separate, recent count by the DOC&nbsp;also revealed that more than one in seven inmates at Rikers is currently being held in isolation — significantly higher than the<a href="http://solitarywatch.com/2013/06/07/board-of-correction-votes-against-limiting-solitary-confinement-in-new-york-city-jails/"></a><a href="http://solitarywatch.com/2013/06/07/board-of-correction-votes-against-limiting-solitary-confinement-in-new-york-city-jails/">national average</a>&nbsp;of about one in 25.</p> <h2>Rethinking the City's Largest Psych Ward</h2> <p>Nearly 40 percent&nbsp;of the population at Rikers Island is mentally ill, <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/downloads/pdf/NEWS_from_Mental_Health_051313.pdf">according</a>&nbsp;to the Department of Correction, making it, de facto, the city's largest psychiatric facility.</p> <p>Martin Horn, the city's previous Commissioner of Correction and Probation, said this has posed more than just a disciplinary challenge.</p> <p>"You're asking the jail to take on a role and a responsibility that it was never intended for, it was never physically constructed for, it was never properly equipped for, the staff was never properly trained for, and the staffing patterns were never properly based upon," said Horn, who is now a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.</p> <p>This past month, the DOC launched the Clinical Alternative to Punitive Segregation at Rikers, which was<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/downloads/pdf/NEWS_from_Mental_Health_051313.pdf"></a><a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/downloads/pdf/NEWS_from_Mental_Health_051313.pdf">announced</a>&nbsp;in May as an answer to "widespread concern about the impact that solitary confinement has on the mentally ill."</p> <p>The program places people who break the rules and have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or another condition the Department considers a "serious mental illness" in a separate, but more communal setting, where therapy is available.</p> <p>Inmates diagnosed with mental disorders that are not considered "serious" can still be placed in isolated cells for breaking the rules, although they will be offered therapy and incentives for good behavior.</p> <p>The Department <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doc/downloads/pdf/NEWS_from_Mental_Health_051313.pdf">expressed hopes</a>&nbsp;that this approach would help remedy the fact&nbsp;that the average stay of a mentally ill inmate at Rikers is twice as long as that of an inmate who has not been diagnosed with a mental illness.</p> <p>But advocates for prisoner rights say the DOC needs to focus on improving the quality of its psychiatric treatment in order for it to be effective.</p> <p>"The way they're trying to provide therapy with a therapist who isn't really engaged reading from a manual, that's just not the way we do it," said attorney Jennifer Parish of the Urban Justice Center. Parish has represented several mentally ill inmates at Rikers and is a founding member of the Jails Action Coalition.</p> <p>Parish said inmates who receive therapy while in solitary often meet with the mental health clinician inside their cells.</p> <p>"If you read the <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/mental_health_minimum_standards.pdf">[Minimum] Mental Health Standards</a>, there's no way that you can think that adequate mental health treatment could be provided in a punitive environment," Parish said.</p> <h2>Making Solitary Public</h2> <p>There are no public records of the number of people in solitary confinement at Rikers.</p> <p>In April, City Council members Daniel Dromm and Elizabeth Crowley introduced<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1344634&amp;GUID=A3A68BE3-E965-4221-8B56-B4302EC2400E&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=solitary+confinement"></a><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1344634&amp;GUID=A3A68BE3-E965-4221-8B56-B4302EC2400E&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=solitary+confinement">legislation</a>&nbsp;to require the Department of Correction to publish monthly statistics on punitive segregation.&nbsp;The mayor’s office has declined to comment on the pending legislation.</p> <p>"We need to know who they're putting in solitary, why they're going into solitary, and how long they're staying in solitary," said Dromm, who added he took up the cause after noticing the "very, very detrimental effect" solitary confinement had on a friend who served time at Rikers for drug charges.</p> <p>The punitive segregation capacity at Rikers peaked at 1,035 cells and is now on the decline, according to the DOC.</p> <p>The Department attributed the hundreds of punitive segregation beds added in the last two years to a "long-standing backlog" of unserved time by inmates who have broken the rules. Dromm has introduced a<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1344636&amp;GUID=6AD28CA8-C858-4B51-B0E2-D5F9D0A14FDA&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=punitive+segregation"></a><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1344636&amp;GUID=6AD28CA8-C858-4B51-B0E2-D5F9D0A14FDA&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=punitive+segregation">resolution</a>&nbsp;calling on the Department to end the practice of cashing in on "time owed" in solitary confinement by inmates who return to Rikers after being released.</p> <h2>Is there a way out?</h2> <p>The addition of punitive segregation cells at Rikers has corresponded with a significant increase in violent incidents in the last five years, according to Mayor’s Management Reports between<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/downloads/pdf/mmr/0908_mmr.pdf"></a><a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/downloads/pdf/mmr/0908_mmr.pdf">2008</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/downloads/pdf/pmmr2013/doc.pdf"></a><a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/downloads/pdf/pmmr2013/doc.pdf">2013.</a></p> <p>"Correction officers bear the brunt of it by being assaulted on a daily basis," Norman Seabrook, president of the Correctional Officers Benevolent Association,<a href="http://www.citylimits.org/news/articles/4559/solitary-confinement-on-the-rise-at-rikers"></a><a href="http://www.citylimits.org/news/articles/4559/solitary-confinement-on-the-rise-at-rikers">told City Limits</a>&nbsp;in March.</p> <p>Both Seabrook and former Commissioner Horn have cited cuts to the number of correction officers at Rikers as part of the problem.</p> <p>There was a decrease in jail violence during Horn’s tenure from 2003 to 2009, which he attributes to a variety of preventive tactics, including the installation of video cameras. "I think it was the result of putting staff resources where they were most needed," Horn said.</p> <p>Still, Horn said that punitive segregation is necessary to maintain order.</p> <p>"If two inmates get in a fight, they have to be separated, they have to be protected from each other. In society, when you break a rule, you go to jail. Punitive segregation is the jail within the jail."</p> <p>Parish suggested that offering inmates more services could also create more alternative punishments for breaking the rules.</p> <p>"The more incentives that you have that people want to be involved in, the more you can make not having access to that one of the potential punishments," she said.</p> <p>Parish acknowledged the need to separate inmates who pose a threat to others, but said the disciplinary system should be "focused on rehabilitation, not locking someone in for 23 hours a day."</p> <p>"As long as we see even one day of that as trivial, as not such a big deal, we're going to have a hard time getting to another place."</p> <p><em>Caroline Lewis is a freelance radio and web journalist working towards a Masters at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Read and listen to her stories <a href="http://carolinelewismedia.com">here</a>.</em></p>