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Donovan Richards

Donovan Richards

  • City Council Speaker Candidates Address Power, Reform and Transparency

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    the City Council Speaker candidates at a prior forum (photo: William Alatriste)


    Seven of the eight candidates vying to become the next Speaker of the New York City Council convened at New York Law School on Monday night for a forum focused on government reform, running the Council, transparency, ethics, voting, and elections.

    The candidates made their cases for their leadership prowess, and discussed extending term limits for Council members, greater transparency around lobbying, key questions about campaign finance reform in the city, and

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  • Top City Electeds Skip Letter Wooing Amazon

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    One World Trade Center lit up orange for Amazon (photo via NYC EDC)


    New York is laying out the red carpet to entice online retail giant Amazon to locate its new corporate headquarters in the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo promised a slew of incentives to support four official proposals from different regions that were submitted to the company on Wednesday, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio lit up the city in orange at night as a fawning branding appeal.

    New York City’s own ...

  • Protecting Tenants from Construction Harassment

    sts op ed

    photo, including three of the authors, via the Progressive Caucus


    We’ve seen it in our districts. A new landlord takes ownership of a building and starts a construction project that never finishes in order to evict long-term residents. They may turn off the cooking gas indefinitely; they may even knock out the boiler with no explanation.

    For too many New Yorkers, this nightmare is their reality. The stories are plentiful: heat and gas shutoffs in the middle of winter, jackhammering causing cracks in apartment walls, loss of power, and lead dust in the air lasting for

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  • Council Member Richards to Host Fundraiser for Mayor De Blasio

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    Richards, right, & de Blasio (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    On Tuesday, November 15, City Council Member Donovan Richards will host a re-election campaign fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio in Rosedale, Queens. Richards, who has been one of de Blasio’s staunchest supporters in the Council, where some of the mayor’s goodwill has frayed, said that he’s generally supportive of de Blasio, appreciates what the mayor is doing for his district, and wants to give locals a chance to support de Blasio at a small-dollar

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  • A Big Bet on 'Revitalizing Downtown'

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    Officials announce the Far Rockaway plan (photo: @DRichards13)


    With individuals constantly moving in and out of the state, New York’s population remains one of the most dynamic in the country. This fluidity changes the makeup of communities and the character of neighborhoods - lately, more people are leaving New York than coming, even leading the state to ...

  • As Albany Fiddles on 421-A, New York City Suffers

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    Council Member Donovan Richards, the author (photo: William Alatriste)


    With officials in Albany about to pack up and head home, there is still some serious unfinished business.

    Thanks to Albany’s failure to deliver a compromise between real estate and labor interests, it’s clear that we’ll see no movement on one of the most critical tools we have to build affordable housing: 421-A, the tax incentive program.

    What a lot of us hoped was just a six-month pause in adding to the pipeline of new rental housing is at serious risk of

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  • Top 10 Accomplishments of Progressive Leadership & The Need to #ProtectProgress

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    Council Members Richards, left, and Reynoso, the authors, address a crowd


    As co-chairs of the New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus, we have worked closely with Mayor de Blasio since he took office. It is clear that the mayor has delivered for our constituents and all 8.4 million New Yorkers in transformative ways. From affordable housing to quality jobs to expanded educational programming, New Yorkers are doing better and the scale of the accomplishments is substantial.

    In partnership with our Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the City Council, Mayor

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  • East New York Deal Sets Precedent for Wave of Rezonings

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    City Council Member Rafael Espinal (second from left) (photo: William Alatriste)


    Colleagues heaped praise on City Council Member Rafael Espinal last week as the deal he negotiated with the de Blasio administration to rezone a portion of his Brooklyn district was passed through committee. The process and the agreement were being watched closely by Council members, especially those whose districts are in the pipeline for rezonings under Mayor de Blasio’s larger housing plan.

    Espinal, who represents most of the area being rezoned, which includes part of East New York,

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  • Sides Near Deal on Major Zoning Changes Aimed at Creating Affordable Housing

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    De Blasio rallies for his housing plans (photo: Demetrius Freeman, Mayor's Office)


    After months of public discussion and weeks of private negotiation, the City Council is on the verge of passing, with tweaks, two sweeping changes to the city's land use rules that are key to Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan.

    Sources familiar with negotiations say that some details are still being worked through, but that the major tenets of the controversial changes to city zoning text are all but set. A deal may be announced as early as Monday

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  • Richards Puts Communities of Color at Forefront of Housing Debate

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    City Council Member Donovan Richards (photo: William Alatriste)


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

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  • At Hearings, City Council to Examine Mayor's Zoning Proposals

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    Council Member Donovan Richards (photo via @DRichards13)


    Amid light flakes of snow, about 20 ralliers stood outside City Hall Monday morning and unleashed a flurry of criticism of a key piece of Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing plan. De Blasio's plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing relies in part on proposed changes to the city's land use rules, which are set to go before City Council review this week.

    Members of the Real

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 7

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


     ***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
    E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • All Aboard the BRT Express?

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    (photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)


    Google Maps estimated an hour-and-a-half for a trip from near City Hall to a location in Southeast Queens, leaving at 5:30 p.m. on a recent Tuesday. On the E train to its final stop and a bus crawling along jam-packed Merrick Boulevard, the trip took about an hour longer, two-and-a-half hours from door to door.

    “Now you know what we go through every day,“ City Council Member I. Daneek Miller told Gotham Gazette following that night’s event, which he co-hosted with Council Member

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 26

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    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,

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 19

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Israel over the weekend, where he spoke at the Annual Conference of Mayors, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited recent terror attack victims, and made several other stops, including at the Western Wall and at a school educating a diverse student population. De Blasio spoke against a new wave of anti-Semitism and ...

  • Progressive Caucus Responds to De Blasio's Executive Budget

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


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

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  • Coastal Communities Risk Being Swept Away by Rising Insurance Costs

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    Homes in the Rockaways (photo: Samar Khurshid)


    New Yorkers were exposed to the harsh realities of climate change when Superstorm Sandy hit more than two years ago. Those living in coastal neighborhoods like Coney Island and the Rockaways are struggling to deal with the mounting impacts of climate change. But now it's not just the storms they fear, it's the rising cost of flood insurance that threatens to drown them.

    Come next year, revised flood zone maps issued by the Federal Emergency Management

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