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Gotham Gazette

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James Oddo

James Oddo

  • Suggestions for Better Disaster Relief from Former HUD Leader

    NYC Ferries

    NYC Ferries (Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As the city approaches the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the eastern seaboard and wrecked homes and businesses in New York’s coastal communities, a new report says there is more work to be done to prepare for the next storm.

    Former HUD regional administrator for New York and New Jersey Holly Leicht, who oversaw the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s $15.2 billion Superstorm Sandy recovery program, presented ...

  • De Blasio Holds Town Hall as Week on Staten Island Nears Conclusion

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    De Blasio & Oddo on Staten Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As Mayor Bill de Blasio’s week on Staten Island neared a close Thursday evening, City Council Member Debi Rose told a north shore town hall audience that “Staten Island can no longer use the moniker that we are ‘The Forgotten Borough.’” In opening remarks before introducing de Blasio at I.S. 27, Rose said that the mayor’s attention to the borough had negated that longtime, self-given nickname of neglect.

    From Monday through Friday, de Blasio and his

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  • De Blasio Goes Local with ‘City Hall in Your Borough’ Series

    de Blasio Staten Island Oddo

    De Blasio at a Staten Island town hall (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio will be on Staten Island this week in the first of five “City Hall in Your Borough” sojourns wherein the mayor, who is up for reelection this fall, is bringing city government local. De Blasio, many of his commissioners, top aides, and City Hall staff will work out of borough hall, hold constituent office hours and a variety of events on the island, and attempt to immerse themselves in borough issues for the week.

    The mayor chose

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  • Five Borough Presidents Advise, Critique De Blasio

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    The five BPs at Crain's forum (photo: @BPEricAdams)


    Communicate better. Build more affordable housing, and faster. Streamline small business regulations. Improve transit offerings in the outer boroughs. Bust the bureaucracy to get city agencies moving more quickly.

    These tips and pleas were among the guidance that the five New York City borough presidents offered Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday morning. At a forum convened by Crain’s New York Business, moderator Erik Engquist, a Crain’s editor,

    ...
  • Misguided 'Reform' Threatens to Undo Progress

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    BP Oddo, the author, with a group on Staten Island (photo via @StatenIslUSA)


    The divide is even greater than I feared.

    The chasm between how folks across this city see our world is even wider than what it seemed. As a Republican fully aware he’s in a blue city - a guy who once led a merry band of between two and five GOPers in a legislative body of 51 - I know better than most how disparate the various points on the political spectrum are in this town, and how the perceptions,

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  • To Meet Staten Island Needs, Borough President Focuses on Beating Bureaucracy

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    SIBP Oddo, right, & Maria Torres-Springer of the de Blasio admin (photo from Oddo's Twitter) 


    Staten Island has the highest rate of homeownership of any city borough, residents largely use cars to get around, since mass transit options are severely lacking, and despite being the city’s third largest borough in terms of square miles, Staten Island is home to just under 500,000 out of more than 8 million New Yorkers. There are a unique set of concerns on Staten Island, to

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, October 5-9

    week in review bus readers

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 9

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio pitches his rezoning plans in East New York, via Chang W. Lee for the New York Times; charter school supporters rally in Brooklyn, ...

  • Combatting New York's Enduring Quality-of-Life Problem: Litter

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    DSNY Commissioner Garcia (photo: @NYCSanitation)


    New York is safer and more prosperous than it's been in years, but the city still can't figure out how to stop people from trashing streets with litter.

    Despite a focus on quality of life issues, City Hall has made limited progress in dealing with a problem that has plagued mayors since the days when animals roamed Broadway. Even a small army of workers from the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), business improvement districts, and the Doe Fund still can't fully police 6,000 miles of city streets and more than 27,000

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  • Cautious Optimism Ahead of Hearing on Citywide Ferry Plan

    ferry DOT

    (images: NYC DOT/EDC)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposed expansion of the city's ferry system, announced in February, appears to be one of the least politically controversial initiatives of his term. Ahead of a City Council hearing on the topic scheduled for Monday, no Council member has publicly opposed the plan, while some have loudly praised it.

    But this support comes despite concerns from transit advocates that ferries may not be the most cost-effective form of transportation for New Yorkers and that other investments in buses or bike lanes should not be overlooked. Meanwhile,

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  • Awaiting the Next Storm: Staten Island Balances Long-Term Planning, Short-Term Needs

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    Staten Island after Sandy; Nov. 9, 2012 (photo: Walter Jennings via FEMA)


    Just over half of the deaths caused by Superstorm Sandy, 22 to be exact, occurred on Staten Island's East and South shores, as the storm's waves battered homes and swept some off their foundations.

    Now the island is in a race against time to prepare for the next major coastal storm. Multi-million dollar resiliency projects are coming to Staten Island, from a sea wall on its East Shore to the expansion of innovative "natural drainage corridors."

    The

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  • The New Yorker's Guide To The New City Government

    CityHall2

    Photo by Bill Alatriste/City Council

    NEW YORK — The historic overhaul of New York City government this year goes well beyond the mayor's office.

    There are 21 new members of the City Council, four new borough presidents, and fresh, yet familiar, faces in the offices of Brooklyn district attorney, comptroller, and public advocate. With the city’s politics taking an increasingly liberal turn, there are few outright conservatives left in city government.

    “Reapportionment and term limits combined to make the City

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