Gotham Gazette

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Citizens Union

Letitia James

Letitia James

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    Mayor de Blasio at Facebook (photo via Mayor's Office)

    If there’s an undeniable takeaway from the 2016 presidential election, it’s that social media can play a crucial role in how candidates for public office communicate. Nationally and locally, political candidates and elected officials have for years recognized the role that platforms like Twitter and Facebook can play in public engagement and influencing traditional media.

    For New York City’s three citywide elected officials -- Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and

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    Equality rally at City Hall (photo via Council Member Cumbo)

    The Women’s Caucus of the New York City Council announced a legislative package Tuesday aimed at equal rights and opportunities for women. With an “equality rally” outside City Hall before the full Council held a meeting at which some of the bills were introduced, legislators, advocates, and service providers expressed support for the legislation and argued for its necessity in light of Donald Trump’s election as President.

    The co-chairs of the Women’s Caucus, Council

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    Public Advocate Letitia James (photo via @TishJames)

    The Public Advocate’s office was created in 1993 to give a voice to everyday New Yorkers and act as checks on the authority of the Mayor and the function of city agencies. Letitia James, the fourth New York City Public Advocate, has made litigation a major tool in her attempt to fulfill the office’s mandates. James, who has a background as an attorney and has hired several lawyers to her staff since taking office in 2014, has fought the city and its agencies in the

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    A recent decision by the federal Department of Justice to scale back and eventually end the use of private prisons indirectly impacted New York City’s pension funds, reducing holding values by millions of dollars and leading to renewed calls from activists for the city to divest from the for-profit corporations that operate these prisons.

    Earlier this month, the Obama administration took a major step against an industry that has long been criticized for its culture of violence, secrecy, and the devaluation of human life: private

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    City's health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, discusses Zika (photo: @nychealthy)

    As the Zika virus continues to make headlines around the world, it is crucial that our city, state and federal governments do all that they can to prevent the spread of Zika. This is especially important in New York City, home to approximately 25% of the cases in the United States.   

    Our elected officials are doing just that. The Mayor’s Office has unveiled ...

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    Chin, Mark-Viverito, Brewer (l-r) at Wednesday's presser (photo: William Alatriste)

    Armed with the findings of a newly-released investigation that faults City Hall for a “lack of accountability,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Margaret Chin called for reform to the city’s deed restriction removal process at a press conference on Wednesday outside City Hall.

    In a show of strength and seriousness, Brewer and Chin were joined by Public Advocate Letitia James,

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    photo: @PowherNY

    During a recent panel conversation at The New School, only two people in a crowd of about 50 raised their hands when the audience was asked if they were confident there is no gender pay gap in their workplace. The panel, called “Getting Even,” was organized by the Center for New York City Affairs to discuss the causes of the pay gap between men and women and the steps New York City can take to close it.

    “When men go into traditionally female occupations, they get paid more. So gender is the only differentiator

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    Announcement at City Hall (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)

    With the recent passage of the East New York rezoning and community development plan, the city committed to revitalizing the neglected Brooklyn neighborhood by creating affordable housing, investing in community infrastructure, and promoting economic development. The first among 15 neighborhood rezonings planned by Mayor Bill de Blasio, East New York ushers in a new era of planned change and city promises.

    As these rezoning and

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    James (at podium) & Cumbo (in green) at Barclays Center (photo: Azi Paybarah)

    When Public Advocate Letitia (Tish) James served as City Council Member for the 35th District in Brooklyn, from 2003 through 2013, she was a vocal, high-profile opponent of the Atlantic Yards megaproject, as reflected in the 2011 documentary Battle for Brooklyn.

    James was a plaintiff in ...

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    Council Members Rosenthal (front) and Cumbo (photo: William Alatriste)

    Access to reproductive health care is generally viewed as a “women’s issue,” a label that some say excludes men and more specific impacted groups from a variety of important conversations, and can make it more difficult for so-labeled issues to get the attention they deserve from public policy-makers. While closing the wage gap, securing paid family leave, combatting sexual assault and domestic violence, and protecting and improving access to reproductive health care impact everyone, not just

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    De Blasio delivers his State of the City (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office) 

    Experts warn that the entire country could be headed for a financial crisis caused by the fact that an aging workforce has not been saving for retirement.

    Whether due to cutbacks of public pensions, the lack of retirement plans offered by private employers, or workers forced to raid their savings, it appears to a growing number of advocates and politicians that many Americans will be forced to keep

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    Public Advocate James (photo via @TishJames)

    While government transparency can often be a vague concept, one concrete way to see what elected and appointed officials are doing is through live-streamed and archived video of public hearings.

    On Tuesday, Dec. 8, the little-known Commission on Public Information and Communication (COPIC) met for the final time this year at John Jay College in Manhattan. The meeting agenda was centered around the commission getting an update on the implementation of ...

  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall

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    CM Van Bramer celebrates expanded library service (photo via @JimmyVanBramer) 

    This June, officials added $43 million in funding for New York City’s three public library systems to the fiscal year 2016 budget, allowing for expansion of branch operating hours and a return to six-day service for the first time in nearly a decade.

    At an oversight ...

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    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,

  • 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 ...

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    NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray at a Planned Parenthood rally (photo: @Chirlane) 

    In the face of federal debate and brinksmanship over funding for Planned Parenthood, many in New York City have doubled down on support for the women's health care organization.

    In the past month, the city has seen the...

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

    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 2

    PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio does some road repaving on Staten Island, via the Mayor's Office; Gov. Cuomo checks out the beer at the Anheuser

  • Tish James rally via her office

    Public Advocate Letitia James

    Capitalizing on a boost to a historically anemic budget, Public Advocate Letitia James has emphasized the use of litigation in her capacity as the city’s elected gadfly, often suing the city that funds her.


    James is utilizing her office’s limited funds in accordance with her

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    The city's 'big four' (photo: @NYCCouncil)

    Mid-way through 2015, the latest campaign finance filings are in and the raise and spend activity of New York City's top four elected officials can be analyzed through their principal campaign committees. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, all Democrats, maintain active committees

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    Ann Ravel, Jared DeMarinis & Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, from left (photo: @NYCCFB)

    Ninety-six percent of Americans are concerned by the role of money in politics. Ninety-one percent think there's nothing they can do to change it.

    Federal Election Commission Chair Ann Ravel presented these statistics during her keynote address at a conference - "American Elections at the Crossroads: How do we restore

  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall

    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Don't expect to see much action from the biggest political players this week. Mayor Bill de Blasio may have launched a salvo against Governor Andrew Cuomo before leaving for vacation last week but the Mayor remains somewhere in the "Southwestern and Western United States" according to his official schedule. De Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, and their children Chiara and Dante are scheduled to return to the city on

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    Lunch 4 Learning at City Hall (photo: Zehra Rehman)

    Supporters of expanding free school meals in New York City are expressing mixed reactions to the city budget agreement announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Monday night.

    The fiscal year 2016 budget, at $78.5 billion of spending soon to be officially approved,

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    Mayor de Blasio & Speaker Mark-Viverito talk (photo: William Alatriste)

    “This year we're fighting for much-needed funds that will get #NYC 6-day library service citywide, more police, better parks & much more,” tweeted City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer on Monday morning.

    Van Bramer, who chairs the Council’s cultural affairs committee, where the debate over library funding has largely been heard, reminded

  • New York City Hall

    New York City Hall

    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    ALBANY, ALBANY: Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie agreed on a short, retroactive extension of rent regulations through Tuesday. As negotiations continue on the rent regulations and other top of the agenda priority issues like mayoral control of city schools, legislators are due back in Albany on Tuesday. By