Gotham Gazette http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/993 Mon, 23 Oct 2017 15:19:19 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) The Week That Was in New York Politics, Jan. 11-15 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6093:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-jan-11-15 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6093:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-jan-11-15 week in review bus readers

photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday January 15

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Governor Cuomo gives his State of the State address, via the governor's office

andrew cuomo mario cuomo

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. State of the State: Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his combined State of the State and budget address on Wednesday. The plan has major infrastructure components to it as well as efforts to achieve social and economic justice, as the governor put it. Some of Cuomo’s 2016 “Built to Lead” agenda will place new financial strains on New York City, as the plan would end the state’s payment of some of the city’s Medicaid costs and change how CUNY is funded. Those changes and others are expected by some experts to cost the city $1 billion starting in the next fiscal year. In response, Mayor de Blasio has called the budget proposal “debilitating,” and said he would use “any means necessary” to restore the millions in state financing. Cuomo appeared to strike a conciliatory tone on Thursday, saying the city and state would work together to find Medicaid and CUNY efficiencies. [Read: Cuomo Outlines $144 Billion Budget & Cuomo Unveils Ethics Plan to Questions Of Follow Through]

2. Cuomo Cleared: On Monday, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced there was not enough evidence to prove a federal crime in the investigation into Governor Cuomo’s interference with and closure of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.

3. Gun Courts: On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio announced “Project Fast Track,” which aims to reduce gun violence in New York City through the creation of a new Gun Violence Suppression Division in the NYPD and by designating judges to fast-track illegal gun cases and resolve the cases within six months. [Read: City to Open Gun Courts to Expedite Prosecutions]

4. Spotlight on Sexual Assault: The alleged gang-rape in a Brownsville playground last Thursday, the rise in the number of reported rapes in 2015, and NYPD Commissioner Bratton’s suggestion that women going home late at night use the “buddy system” have led sexual assault to become the focus of public discussion this week. On Monday, lawmakers and advocates rallied outside City Hall to call for more legislation and resources to protect women from sexual assault. [Read: To Combat Increase in Reported Rapes, Experts Point to Prevention & Sexual Assault Becomes Focus of Public Discussion]

5. 421-a, Uber, Carriage Horses: Negotiations between construction unions and real estate developers to extend the controversial 421-a development tax break are at a standstill, with both sides certain they will not reach an agreement by the Friday deadline to renew the program. Meanwhile, the city releases its long-awaited study of the for-hire vehicle industry, leading to little other than acknowledgement that the city is unlikely to pursue a cap to Uber’s growth. And, a deal on reducing horse carriages appeals imminent. [Read: Negotiations to Extend Important Affordable Housing Tax Break Said to Reach Impasse]

THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS:

  • $145 billion budget was laid out by Governor Cuomo during his annual state of the state and budget address.
  • $20 billion commitment to combat homelessness was announced by Governor Cuomo during the address, with $10 billion earmarked for 100,000 permanent affordable housing units and $10 billion for 6,000 new supported beds over 5 years, 1,000 emergency shelter beds, and other services, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • $1 billion is about how much experts estimate the changes in funding to CUNY and state payment of Medicaid costs will cost New York City starting in the next fiscal year, Capital New York reports.
  • 78.1% of public school students in New York graduated on time last june, up from 76.4% the previous year, marking an increase for the third year in a row, Gannett Albany reports. Meanwhile, the graduation rate in New York City crept above 70% for the first time.
  • 1,439 rapes reported in 2015, up 6.3% from 1,354 in 2014, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • 1.4 million New Yorkers - 16.5% of the population - are food insecure, Gotham Gazette reports.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

It was a good week for Governor Andrew Cuomo, after he was cleared by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office in the investigation into his interference with the shutdown of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.

It was a bad week for Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who came under fire for suggesting women should use the “buddy system” when coming home late at night to avoid becoming the victim of sexual assault. The NYPD has also been criticized this week for not notifying the public of the alleged gang rape in a Brownsville playground sooner.

THE FLASH:

Around this time 27 years ago, on January 13, 1989, subway gunman Bernhard Goetz was sentenced to a year in prison for possessing an unlicensed gun which he used to shoot four people he said were going to rob him.

Around this time 116 years ago, on January 10, 1900, bids went out for the construction of an underground railroad line running between City Hall and the Bronx. The city’s first subway opened four years later.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

Special Election Spotlights Machine Politics in The Bronx, by Gabe Ponce de León

To Combat Increase in Reported Rapes, Experts Point to Prevention, by Meg O'Connor

Cuomo Outlines $144 Billion Budget, by David Howard King

Cuomo Unveils Ethics Plan to Questions of Follow Through, by David Howard King

At Hearing on Hunger, Council Presses De Blasio Administration on SNAP Participation, by Ryan Brady

New Data Indicates IDNYC Popularity Among Immigrants, by Samar Khurshid

Cuomo Heads Into State of the State After Big Announcements, With More to Say, by Ben Max

Assembly Democrats Reject Republican Rules Changes, Promise Own Proposals Soon, by David Howard King

Council to Assess Hunger Problem, City Efforts to Reduce It, by Ryan Brady

New York One Signature Away from Calling for Overturn of Citizens United, by Samar Khurshid

Sexual Assault Becomes Focus of Public Discussion, by Ben Max

To Meet Staten Island Needs, Borough President Focuses on Beating Bureaucracy, by Meg O'Connor

Don't Be Seduced By Sexy Transportation Projects, by Philip M. Plotch and Nicholas D. Bloom (opinion)

A Case for None-Time-Limited Supportive Housing for Young Adults, by Colleen Jackson (opinion)

More Cities Should Do What States and Federal Government Aren't on Minimum Wage, by JoEllen Chernow (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

Governor Andrew Cuomo sat down with NY1's Errol Louis for an interview Wednesday after laying out his vision for the year in his State of the State address.

Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks discussed the ways the de Blasio administration is dealing with the homelessness crisis and the governor’s plans to audit the city’s shelter system with Errol Louis NY1.

Mary Brosnahan, executive director of Coalition for the Homeless, talks about the new proposals for addressing New York City's homeless population on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC.

***
NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle @GothamGazette.

If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com

Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!

***
by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

 

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Jan. 11-15 Fri, 15 Jan 2016 19:44:06 +0000
City to Open Gun Courts to Expedite Prosecutions http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6074:city-to-open-gun-courts-to-expedite-prosecutions http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6074:city-to-open-gun-courts-to-expedite-prosecutions bdb guns

A gun bust (photo: @NYCMayorsOffice)


In an effort to reduce gun violence and gun-related crimes, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says the city intends to create specialized “gun courts” in each of the five boroughs. Gun courts will expedite the handling of gun-related cases to more quickly identify and imprison those who use guns illegally.

The head of the Citizens Crime Commission, Richard Aborn, has been working on the initiative for several months, leading toward an upcoming announcement, Bratton said during a radio interview earlier this week. The collaboration between the CCC and Bratton has “involved the five district attorneys, two of the five are brand new, and Judge Lippman, before he stepped down from the bench,” Bratton explained Tuesday on WNYC.

“The Commissioner’s comments were a teaser...for a larger policy package from the City in coordination with every part of the criminal justice system to ensure that reducing gun violence is taken seriously at every stage,” Monica Klein, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a statement to Gotham Gazette.

It appears the new gun courts pilot program will be launched in Brooklyn, though the ultimate goal is to create a gun court in every borough, where the district attorney can send gun-related cases to fast-track them. The specifics of the program will be officially announced within the next few weeks.

In a statement, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said, “A dedicated judge will help us prosecute gun cases faster and more efficiently in Brooklyn. We are in discussions with court officials about setting up this specialized part and having it up and running in the coming weeks.”

Staten Island’s new District Attorney, Mike McMahon, “was not privy to any conversations the previous administration may have had regarding gun courts,” having only taken office several days ago, though he “has spoken this week with NYPD Commissioner Bratton to schedule a meeting to discuss gun courts, gun violence, and other issues,” Douglas Auer, director of communications for McMahon, told Gotham Gazette.

In 2015, shooting incidents declined overall, though murders were up slightly from 2014's record low, and killings committed by shooting were “up fairly dramatically,” Bratton said. Gun arrests increased by 10 percent from the previous year, and the NYPD seized a “record number of guns.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg created a pilot gun court program in Brooklyn in 2003, under then-DA Charles Hynes, which saw an increase in the amount of jail time defendants received, though the program was discontinued. Gun courts were first established in Providence, Rhode Island in 1994, and also exist in Philadelphia, Boston, and Birmingham, Alabama.

Similar to drug courts, gun courts streamline the processing of gun-related cases, allowing judges to focus attention on gun-related crimes, rather than mixing such cases in with various other offenses, such as murder or rape, which may make, for example, illegal possession of a firearm, seem like a less serious offense by comparison.

However, unlike drug courts, which largely redirect drug offenders to treatment programs rather than prison, gun courts often result in harsher punishments for those accused of gun-related crimes, though the main intent is to move gun-related offenses through the criminal justice system more swiftly and efficiently in order to get those who have committed gun-related crimes off the streets as quickly as possible.

New York’s new gun courts will work by employing “the precision model,” Bratton said, by “drilling down - instead of basically suspecting one million minority males and stopping them every year,” gun courts will allow law enforcement to “focus on understanding who it is within the community who are committing these crimes and focus attention on them.” In saying this, Bratton was referring, again, to the overuse of stop-and-frisk tactics during the previous administration.

Bratton believes the system is “under-sentencing people involved in gun crimes,” and wants judges to “maximize the penalties” in cases of violent crime.

“Those several thousand people in the city who think nothing of taking out a gun and shooting another human being, they need to be treated with every ounce of the justice system that we can apply to them to basically get them off the streets and keep them away from the rest of us,” Bratton said on WNYC.

One advantage of creating gun courts could be that “putting a priority on prosecuting gun crimes will serve as a deterrent,” said Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, in an interview with Gotham Gazette. “If people know that they’re going to be hit hard and fast with a conviction or charge,” it could discourage people from committing gun-related crimes.

New York does have strong gun laws, including a 3.5 year mandatory minimum for anyone caught carrying a loaded, illegal weapon. Yet with 90 percent of guns recovered from crimes in New York City originating from other states, such as Georgia and Virginia, there is only so much the city and state can do to keep guns from being used illegally.

To combat the flow of illegal guns into the city, New York law enforcement works to identify and break up gun trafficking rings - like the one that smuggled 112 guns into the city over the course of a year - but until federal action is taken to make it harder for those who intend to commit gun crimes to get guns, such efforts are simply putting a bandaid on a bullet wound.

“There’s no real federal statute that deals with this gun trafficking,” Brooklyn DA Thompson said, expressing frustration, during a press conference announcing the aforementioned gun bust in October, 2015..

“Two high profile police shootings involved guns that were traced back to Georgia...Until we have strong federal gun laws, we’re going to have this problem,” Barrett said.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has put forward an anti-gun trafficking bill (for the second time), which would elevate gun trafficking to a felony. “At the moment, it’s a misdemeanor - the same charge you get if you were trafficking a chicken,” Barrett said, “this is a problem that needs to be addressed at the federal level.”

On Tuesday, President Obama issued executive orders to help increase gun safety by expanding who is required to have a background check before purchasing a gun and tightening rules for reporting guns that are lost or stolen, among others. Though there is relatively little that can be done to make more stringent gun control a reality without action from Congress.

There is something that New York City and State can do to reduce gun-related crimes, Barrett says, since 10 percent of crime guns recovered by city law enforcement originate from New York.

“If the mayor and the police commissioner would publish the source of the crime guns, where these guns are coming from in New York State, that would be very valuable to know, because that would inform our advocacy,” Barrett said. If it turned out that a large number of those crime guns were stolen, for example, gun safety advocates would push for safe storage laws in New York.

“I do believe we have to put a lot of resources into dealing with the gun violence problem,” City Council Member Jumaane Williams told Gotham Gazette. “What worries me is that we seem to be very much law enforcement heavy as a resource, as opposed to other things that are needed to stop the systemic problem” of gun violence, such as reducing the “demand for violence” through programs like one led by the gun violence task force in the City Council, which Williams leads and provides services such as job training and legal, mental health, and mediation services in neighborhoods with higher rates of gun violence.

To Williams, “the main thing is that public safety can’t just be the domain of law enforcement. We need many agencies working together on this.” Efforts by law enforcement to address the systemic problem of gun violence “has to be part of the solution, but it can’t be something we hang our hat on,” he said.

Cracking down on those involved with gun-related crimes is generally viewed as a step in the right direction, though gun courts also raise concerns for some.

“The impulse is a good one - to target criminals who use guns and to incapacitate them if necessary,” Eugene O’Donnell, professor of law, political science, and criminal justice at John Jay College told Gotham Gazette. “However, in practice, there are many different situations where individuals are arrested for gun possession who are not hardened felons, and that has always been the rub.”

When Gotham Gazette reached out to the NYPD, the office of the deputy commissioner for public information said no one was available to comment. The Manhattan and Queens district attorney offices declined to comment, and a spokesperson for the Bronx district attorney said gun-related crimes are a concern for new DA Darcel Clark, but had no further comment. A representative for the Citizens Crime Commission told Gotham Gazette he could not say anything more about gun courts than what Bratton already revealed during his radio appearances before the official announcement.

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by Meg O’Connor, Gotham Gazette
@GothamGazette, @MegOConnor13

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City to Open Gun Courts to Expedite Prosecutions Fri, 08 Jan 2016 04:31:26 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, Nov 30-Dec 4 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6019:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-nov-30-dec-4 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6019:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-nov-30-dec-4 week in review bus readers

photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday December 4, 2015

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Sheldon Silver outside the courthouse, via Zack Fink of NY1

silver via zack fink

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. Sheldon Silver Guilty: On Monday, former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was found guilty on all seven counts in his federal corruption trial and now faces prison for abusing his position to obtain $4 million in illegal payments. At the center of Silver's trial was the culture of corruption in Albany, sparking a renewed push by good government advocates for ethics reform. [Read: Will Silver Conviction Be Tipping Point for 'Real' Reform?]

2. NY vs. AIDS: At an event on World AIDS Day Dec. 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the city will spend $23 million a year on a new plan to fight AIDS. The city has seen a 35 percent decrease in the number of HIV diagnoses in the past decade, though nearly one tenth of people living with HIV in the U.S. reside in the city, prompting the mayor to call for increased efforts to “end the AIDS epidemic here in New York City by 2020.” At the same event, Governor Cuomo said he plans to seek $200 million in new AIDS funding in the state budget.

3. Cuomo and de Blasio’s Dinner Detente: On Tuesday, Cuomo and de Blasio met in midtown for a secret sit-down dinner in an attempt to put aside their differences and potentially resolve their longstanding feud, which intensified last week after a Cuomo spokesperson said de Blasio couldn’t manage the city’s homelessness crisis. Apparently, the meeting "didn't go well," though aides who were with Cuomo and de Blasio at the time said the “conversation was constructive." [Read: Cuomo Increasingly Uses State Power to Undermine De Blasio]

4. Mayor’s Rezoning Plans Face Pushback: Discussions on the mayor's rezoning policies continued this week, with some significant criticism from community and borough boards. On Monday, the Manhattan Borough Board voted against de Blasio’s zoning changes, with conditions they’d like to see used for amendments, and on Tuesday, the Brooklyn Borough Board did the same, with its own set of suggestions. The mayor has acknowledged the pushback, saying it was not unexpected and that tweaks will be made to the plans before they head to the City Council early in 2016. [Read: Mayor & Speaker: Rezoning Plans Will Change Before Council Vote]

5. Cuomo on Gun Control and Hypocrisy: In the wake of Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, which left at least 14 dead and 17 injured, Gov. Cuomo once again reiterated the need for Congress to take action on federal gun control. Speaking on Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio show, Cuomo pointed out the hypocrisy of Republicans wanting to close the border to Syrian refugees following the attacks in Paris, while repeatedly blocking the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act since 2007. On Friday on WNYC radio, Mayor de Blasio announced he would be moving to push New York City’s pension funds to divest from gun manufacturers.

THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:

$90,700 a year is the estimated legislative pension former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is entitled to, despite being convicted on federal corruption charges, the Daily News reports.

3,000-plus New York City police officers have been trained so far in so-called active shooter situations, learning how to move through buildings, with just one partner if need be, as part of a new approach, the New York Times reports.

8 school districts are suing New York State over funding inequities, asking that the court declare current school funding levels “so inadequate” they violate students’ rights, Times Union reports.

$90 million in bonds were allotted to the city through the state for funding affordable housing this week, Politico New York reports.

12 communities with limited access to health food have been selected to be part of the new initiative which will build more urban farms, expand school gardens, and establish community-center culinary programs and farmers markets, the Wall Street Journal reports.

2,000 city-owned sedans used by local agencies like the Transportation Department will be replaced with electric vehicles by 2025, in an effort to cut municipal vehicle emissions in half by that time, the de Blasio administration announced Tuesday.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

It was a good week for Westchester County district attorney Janet DiFiore, who was nominated by Governor Cuomo to replace Jonathan Lippman as chief judge of the State Court of Appeals after Lippman retires at the end of this year.

It was a bad week for former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who faces decades in prison after being found guilty on all seven counts of federal corruption charges against him.

THE FLASH:

Around this time two years ago, on December 1, 2013, four people were killed and 61 were injured when a Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx after the engineer fell asleep at the controls.

Around this time 60 years ago, on December 1, 1955, commuting became a little easier for straphangers in Queens when the 60th Street Tunnel Connection opened in Queens, which is used today by the R train.

Around this time last year, on December 3, 2014, protests erupted in New York City after a grand jury decided not to indict Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. Protests calling for Pantaleo, who is currently on modified duty, to be fired took place once again this Thursday, though NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has said his department is waiting for the federal investigation to be complete before proceeding with any administrative departmental action.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:

City Council Submits Testimony to Pay Commission, by Ben Max

Will Silver Conviction Be Tipping Point for 'Real' Reform? by David Howard King

Cuomo Increasingly Uses State Power to Undermine De Blasio, by David Howard King

Top Ten Corruption Quotes from Silver, Skelos Trials, by David Howard King

City's Rezoning Plans Won't Improve Quality or Affordability, Andrew Berman (opinion)

Ethical Treatment of Our Homeless Neighbors, by  Anne Klaeysen (opinion)

After Silver: Legal Reform is Ethics Reform, by Thomas Stebbins (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

Mayor de Blasio appeared on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC Friday to discuss a variety of issues.

On Inside City Hall, Errol Louis discussed the controversy over Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan with Vicki Been, commissioner of the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development and Carl Weisbrod, chairman of the City Planning Commission.

***
NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle @GothamGazette.

If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com

Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!

***
by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Nov 30-Dec 4 Fri, 04 Dec 2015 14:57:28 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, October 19-23 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5948:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-october-19-23 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5948:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-october-19-23 week in review bus readers

photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 23

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio and other officials announce sale of Stuyvesant Town & Peter Cooper Village, via Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office; Governor Cuomo receives an award and announces planned protections for transgender New Yorkers at the Empire State Pride Agenda gala, via Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office

de blasio stuyvesant town

Cuomo pride transgender

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. Cuomo To Extend Protection For Transgender New Yorkers: At the Empire State Pride Agenda gala on Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will take executive action to extend legal protections for transgender New Yorkers.

2. City & State Make New Moves In K2 Fight (Separately): Governor Cuomo announced on Tuesday that New York is expanding its public awareness campaign against synthetic drug abuse with ads and a 33-foot-tall billboard in the Bronx that reads "Synthetic marijuana can kill!" On the same day, Mayor de Blasio signed three measures into law that criminalize the manufacture and distribution of synthetic marijuana, commonly known as K2, intensifying the city's ongoing crackdown.

3. Federal Court Upholds SAFE Act: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the New York SAFE Act on Monday, keeping in place signature Cuomo gun regulations which were passed in the wake of the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

4. Stuyvesant Town Sold: This week, the Blackstone Group, a Wall Street investment firm, reached a deal to buy Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, a 11,232-apartment complex near the East Village. As part of the deal, 5,000 units will be preserved for middle-class families. The deal was negotiated with the de Blasio administration, City Council Member Dan Garodnick (who wrote this Gotham Gazette op-ed with his thoughts on the deal), and other key stakeholders.

5. De Blasio Moves On Bail: In the aftermath of the killing of Police Officer Randolph Holder on Tuesday evening, Mayor de Blasio and others are scrutinizing the processes by which the alleged killer was still on the streets given a long criminal record and recent arrests. De Blasio is calling on the state to change its bail laws: as he and allies such as City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito ask for elimination of bail for low-level nonviolent offenders, they also want to see judges allowed to consider the dangerousness of someone facing charges when setting bail.

THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:

  • 38 female firefighters in New York City’s over 10,700-member force.
  • 43% of Assembly housing chair Keith Wright’s congressional campaign has been funded by real estate interests regulated by his committee.
  • 5,485 classrooms in New York City are overcrowded, according to data from the teachers’ union - a 15% drop from last year.
  • $21.1 million increase in spending by lobbyists to influence Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers in the first six months of 2015, bringing the total spent so far this year to $130.9 million.
  • 28 separate incidents of rape behind bars were reported by Rikers Island inmates last year - though the city Department of Corrections failed to inform the NYPD about any of them.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

  • It was a good week for Governor Cuomo and gun control advocates as a federal appeals court upheld key components of New York's SAFE Act.
  • It was a bad week for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, each of whom saw legal setbacks as they approach their separate corruption trials, set to begin early next month.

THE FLASH:

  • Around this time last year, on October 23, 2014, Dr. Craig Spencer, who had just returned from treating Ebola patients in Africa, became the first person in the city to test positive for the Ebola virus, sparking fear and urgent efforts to contain the spread of the deadly disease.
  • Around this time 7 years ago, on October 23, 2008, the New York City Council voted 29-22 in favor of extending the term limit on the offices of Mayor and others to three consecutive four-year terms, allowing then-mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for office a third time (and win) in the 2009 mayoral election.
  • Around this time 20 years ago, on October 19, 1995, the Metropolitan Transit Authority approved a fare hike of 25 cents, bringing the single-ride fare to $1.50.
  • Around this time 51 years ago, on October 22, 1964, New York City Mayor Robert Wagner and the City Council reached agreement on a plan to raise the city's minimum wage to $1.50 an hour - the highest in the nation - though it was struck down later that year, on the grounds that state law prevented cities from increasing the wage on their own.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Spurred by Buffalo Billion, Reformers Look to Fix State Business Subsidies, by David Howard King

In Effort to Ensure Sound Education, City Battles Student Homelessness, by Colin O’Connor

As Healthcare Landscape Changes, City Hospital Authority Charts New Path, by Christian Zhang

One 'Raise the Age' Story at Center of Push for Legislative Action, by David Howard King

Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn’t Every Council Member Doing It?, by Colin O’Connor

The Future of Stuyvesant Town & Peter Cooper Village, by Council Member Dan Garodnick (opinion)

There is Nothing Innovative About Displacement, by Tarry Hum (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

  • WNYC's Robert Lewis and Data News Team put together an in-depth series on "The Hard Truth About Cops Who Lie."

***
NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle @GothamGazette.

If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com

Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!

***
by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, October 19-23 Fri, 23 Oct 2015 18:09:53 +0000