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/mathieu-eugene 2017-10-21T02:56:35+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Hearing Shows Lack of Communication on Young Men’s Initiative 2016-09-23T04:00:00+00:00 2016-09-23T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6546:hearing-shows-lack-of-communication-on-young-men-s-initiative Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Eugene_bdb.jpg" alt="Eugene bdb" width="600" height="397" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Eugene (photo: CMMathieuEugene)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">There was confusion and some angst at the City Council on Wednesday. At an oversight hearing held by the Council&rsquo;s Youth Services Committee, several Council members said they were unaware of the programming of the city&rsquo;s Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative, which was the focus of the hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Mathieu Eugene chairs the committee and led the hearing. Only one other committee member, Council Member Margaret Chin, was present when Cyrus Garrett, executive director of YMI, gave his opening remarks. Garrett, who has led YMI since being appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in late 2014, briefed those in attendance on the history of YMI, which began under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and focuses on opportunities for young men of color; its work under the current mayor; and its most recent partnerships and programs.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the morning progressed with a question-and-answer session between Council members and Garrett, all of the members of the Council committee, with the exception of Council Member Darlene Mealy, made an appearance, and most asked questions of Garrett.</p> <p dir="ltr">Garrett outlined changes and progress at YMI since he took over at the start of 2015. &ldquo;To deepen our impact,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;YMI has sharpened its focus and over the last two years, has invested in the support and creation of data-informed strategies aimed at addressing inequities in education, justice, employment and health.&rdquo; Many of these strategies were the focus of the hearing, which also served as an occasionally heated forum wherein Council members pushed Garrett about YMI&rsquo;s lack of communication with them and the rest of the city.</p> <p dir="ltr">After Garrett&rsquo;s appointment, YMI acquired a new Executive Steering Committee, aligned programs with select goals set by President Obama&rsquo;s<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper" target="_blank"> My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper</a> initiative, which was in part modeled after YMI, and released a <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/ymi/downloads/pdf/Disparity_Report.pdf" target="_blank">"Disparity Report"</a> in collaboration with the Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence, all under the banner of &ldquo;YMI 2.0.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">The unifying feature of YMI 2.0 is a framework that goes beyond YMI&rsquo;s original 16-24 age demographic, while still focusing on males of color. Aligned with My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper, YMI has made it a priority to engage with younger New Yorkers. YMI 2.0 envisions all youth of color reading at grade level by 2nd grade; citywide completion of high-school, post-secondary education, or training; and safe from violent crime.</p> <p dir="ltr">In different ways, under Garrett YMI has been both broadened and narrowed. While the goals of YMI 2.0 now target a much wider age group, the neighborhoods and populations it prioritizes have become more specific. The Executive Steering Committee supported YMI 2.0 as it transitioned from a city-wide initiative under Bloomberg to a neighborhood-specific initiative under de Blasio. It now targets the South Bronx, South Jamaica, Brownsville, East New York, East Harlem, and the North Shore of Staten Island.</p> <p dir="ltr">Before his opening remarks ended and the questions began, Garrett was sure to outline a few programs YMI 2.0 is currently &ldquo;testing.&rdquo; <a href="https://www.readingrescue.org/partners/read-more-corps/" target="_blank">Readmore Corps</a>, a tutoring service for children in kindergarten through second grade, is one of them. In fiscal year 2016, Garrett said, &ldquo;YMI&rsquo;s support in 30 schools resulted in an additional 387 first and second graders receiving literacy support. We are well underway to serve 707 students in FY17, and with anticipated private funding, could potentially be in an additional 45 schools by the end of this school year.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Garrett also spoke about a partnership with NYC Service and the Center for Youth Employment on a college and career mentoring strategy for high schoolers, and the Fatherhood Academy, a program that promotes responsible parenting and economic stability for unemployed and underemployed young fathers.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Eugene asked for more quantitative data on YMI, information which was supplied by the other YMI representative at the hearing, Carson Hicks, the deputy executive director at the city&rsquo;s Center for Economic Opportunity, which does data analysis for YMI and other city programs. According to Hicks, 80,000 young people were served by YMI 2.0 in 2016, which is an increase from when the program started, though she didn&rsquo;t say by how much.</p> <p dir="ltr">Hicks also informed Council members that the current budget allocation for YMI is $30 million, including an increase in the amount of city funds devoted to the initiative from under Bloomberg, but a decrease in total funding from its early years. (In 2011 Bloomberg and George Soros donated $30 million each to the inaugural YMI programs over the course of three years.)</p> <p dir="ltr">Eugene was also curious about how YMI advertises its programming, to which Garrett said that YMI programming largely is promoted through YMI itself, partner community-based organizations, and through word of mouth. Garrett listed organizations like Make the Road, the YMCA, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Goodwill, and the University Settlement Society of New York, and clarified that the YMI has 300 to 400 CBO partners in the city, located in every borough. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A French philosopher, I think Rousseau&rdquo; Eugene mused at one point, &ldquo;spoke about the importance of family when raising children.&rdquo; Eugene asked Garrett if YMI 2.0 was positioning itself as an intergenerational resource that could help parents reinforce the work that YMI does with its own programming. He said his own Brooklyn district has parents who would benefit from this kind of two-pronged programming, and also said that he would have gladly partnered with YMI, if the city had tried.</p> <p dir="ltr">This was a common theme throughout the hearing. In fact, all Council members who spoke either chided Garrett for YMI&rsquo;s lack of communication with their offices, or expressed surprise that they hadn&rsquo;t heard more extensively about YMI and its work. &ldquo;We have 51 Council members,&ldquo; Eugene said. &ldquo;And you&rsquo;ve only partnered with six of them? You could have allies with all 51 members.&rdquo; (None of the six partner Council members are on the Youth Services Committee, which has <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=6918&amp;GUID=E7F0BF95-991E-43FB-B304-772DBD06D465&amp;Search=" target="_blank">seven members</a> including Eugene, the chair.)</p> <p dir="ltr">When Council Member Chin spoke, she expressed shock that this was the first time her committee was getting a report about the initiative. She said the Council &ldquo;should have been a partner.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Laurie Cumbo asked about how YMI approaches the problem of neighborhood gang violence. She said that before the annual Labor Day parade, J&rsquo;ouvert, in her Crown Heights district, over 20 different gangs were identified, and asked if YMI had any anti-gun initiatives. Garrett replied that YMI looks at gangs as a part of the community, though he did give an anecdote about &ldquo;Chuckie,&rdquo; a member of the Crips gang who brought members of the gang to <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/prob/html/young_men/arches.shtml" target="_blank">ARCHES</a>, a group-mentoring YMI program designed to help men on probation get out of the criminal justice system. He recalled that the sessions were therapeutic.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cumbo suggested that some of her own initiatives, like <a href="http://fortgreenefocus.com/blog/2015/12/22/cumbo-city-council-anti-gun-violence-groups-unite-promote-art-a-catalyst-for-change/" target="_blank">Art as a Catalyst For Change</a>, were also good models, and that YMI might want to think about introducing more arts programming.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Andy King, seizing on an excerpt from the City Council briefing paper that was distributed before the hearing, also asked Garrett about what YMI was doing to help relationships between young men of color and the NYPD. King pointed out that &ldquo;you never have to tell white boys how to act around the police. But you do have to teach black boys.&rdquo; While the briefing paper, which is prepared by the committee staff, pointed out that &ldquo;stop and frisk has been greatly reduced, from 700,000 stops in 2011 to 47,000 stops in 2015,&rdquo; it also said that &ldquo;the legacy of distrust continues to endure and many stakeholders have called for a continued engagement between the community and the NYPD.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Garrett said that as a former advisor in the Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement is an area he is particularly attuned to. He said YMI is working with the NYPD on speaking with frontline officers, to see if there are systems officers can follow for crime and arrest deterrence. The NYPD is in the middle of implementing a new neighborhood policing model is that focused on building community relationships.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another theme throughout the hearing was how YMI measures successes and phases out programs that appear to be ineffective.</p> <p dir="ltr">Garrett gave the example of the <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ymi/downloads/pdf/nyc_justice_corps.pdf" target="_blank">Justice Corps</a>, a job-coaching program for young men involved in the criminal justice system. The program was launched in 2008 and was re-tooled for expansion this year, after evaluation from the current YMI. However, an education program for former inmates, the <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/prob/html/young_men/yajs.shtml" target="_blank">Justice Scholars</a>, is being phased out because it was found that people&rsquo;s levels of education varied too widely to have a consistent positive impact.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many of Garrett&rsquo;s talking points from the hearing are laid out in more detail through the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/mmr2016/young_mens_initiative.pdf" target="_blank">YMI section of the Mayor&rsquo;s Management Report</a> for Fiscal Year 2016, which was released earlier this week.</p> <p>At the conclusion of the hearing, Council Member Eugene asked Garrett to estimate the success of YMI 2.0. &ldquo;Would you say you&rsquo;re at 90%? 70%? 50%?&rdquo; Eugene asked. After a second of hesitation, Garrett said that he&rsquo;d estimate YMI was 55% of the way to success. Earlier in the hearing, Garrett conceded that YMI is in a place that it wanted to be three years ago, but after discontinuing unsuccessful programming, he thought that YMI is heading in a better direction. The hearing closed with Garrett agreeing to send all Council members updates on the progress of YMI, and pledges from all there that there would be more collaboration between YMI and the City Council going forward.</p> <p>

***
by Elena Burger, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: this story has been updated to remove question about the estimate from Hicks, which was verified by the mayor's office.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Eugene_bdb.jpg" alt="Eugene bdb" width="600" height="397" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Eugene (photo: CMMathieuEugene)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">There was confusion and some angst at the City Council on Wednesday. At an oversight hearing held by the Council&rsquo;s Youth Services Committee, several Council members said they were unaware of the programming of the city&rsquo;s Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative, which was the focus of the hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Mathieu Eugene chairs the committee and led the hearing. Only one other committee member, Council Member Margaret Chin, was present when Cyrus Garrett, executive director of YMI, gave his opening remarks. Garrett, who has led YMI since being appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in late 2014, briefed those in attendance on the history of YMI, which began under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and focuses on opportunities for young men of color; its work under the current mayor; and its most recent partnerships and programs.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the morning progressed with a question-and-answer session between Council members and Garrett, all of the members of the Council committee, with the exception of Council Member Darlene Mealy, made an appearance, and most asked questions of Garrett.</p> <p dir="ltr">Garrett outlined changes and progress at YMI since he took over at the start of 2015. &ldquo;To deepen our impact,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;YMI has sharpened its focus and over the last two years, has invested in the support and creation of data-informed strategies aimed at addressing inequities in education, justice, employment and health.&rdquo; Many of these strategies were the focus of the hearing, which also served as an occasionally heated forum wherein Council members pushed Garrett about YMI&rsquo;s lack of communication with them and the rest of the city.</p> <p dir="ltr">After Garrett&rsquo;s appointment, YMI acquired a new Executive Steering Committee, aligned programs with select goals set by President Obama&rsquo;s<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper" target="_blank"> My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper</a> initiative, which was in part modeled after YMI, and released a <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/ymi/downloads/pdf/Disparity_Report.pdf" target="_blank">"Disparity Report"</a> in collaboration with the Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence, all under the banner of &ldquo;YMI 2.0.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">The unifying feature of YMI 2.0 is a framework that goes beyond YMI&rsquo;s original 16-24 age demographic, while still focusing on males of color. Aligned with My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper, YMI has made it a priority to engage with younger New Yorkers. YMI 2.0 envisions all youth of color reading at grade level by 2nd grade; citywide completion of high-school, post-secondary education, or training; and safe from violent crime.</p> <p dir="ltr">In different ways, under Garrett YMI has been both broadened and narrowed. While the goals of YMI 2.0 now target a much wider age group, the neighborhoods and populations it prioritizes have become more specific. The Executive Steering Committee supported YMI 2.0 as it transitioned from a city-wide initiative under Bloomberg to a neighborhood-specific initiative under de Blasio. It now targets the South Bronx, South Jamaica, Brownsville, East New York, East Harlem, and the North Shore of Staten Island.</p> <p dir="ltr">Before his opening remarks ended and the questions began, Garrett was sure to outline a few programs YMI 2.0 is currently &ldquo;testing.&rdquo; <a href="https://www.readingrescue.org/partners/read-more-corps/" target="_blank">Readmore Corps</a>, a tutoring service for children in kindergarten through second grade, is one of them. In fiscal year 2016, Garrett said, &ldquo;YMI&rsquo;s support in 30 schools resulted in an additional 387 first and second graders receiving literacy support. We are well underway to serve 707 students in FY17, and with anticipated private funding, could potentially be in an additional 45 schools by the end of this school year.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Garrett also spoke about a partnership with NYC Service and the Center for Youth Employment on a college and career mentoring strategy for high schoolers, and the Fatherhood Academy, a program that promotes responsible parenting and economic stability for unemployed and underemployed young fathers.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Eugene asked for more quantitative data on YMI, information which was supplied by the other YMI representative at the hearing, Carson Hicks, the deputy executive director at the city&rsquo;s Center for Economic Opportunity, which does data analysis for YMI and other city programs. According to Hicks, 80,000 young people were served by YMI 2.0 in 2016, which is an increase from when the program started, though she didn&rsquo;t say by how much.</p> <p dir="ltr">Hicks also informed Council members that the current budget allocation for YMI is $30 million, including an increase in the amount of city funds devoted to the initiative from under Bloomberg, but a decrease in total funding from its early years. (In 2011 Bloomberg and George Soros donated $30 million each to the inaugural YMI programs over the course of three years.)</p> <p dir="ltr">Eugene was also curious about how YMI advertises its programming, to which Garrett said that YMI programming largely is promoted through YMI itself, partner community-based organizations, and through word of mouth. Garrett listed organizations like Make the Road, the YMCA, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Goodwill, and the University Settlement Society of New York, and clarified that the YMI has 300 to 400 CBO partners in the city, located in every borough. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A French philosopher, I think Rousseau&rdquo; Eugene mused at one point, &ldquo;spoke about the importance of family when raising children.&rdquo; Eugene asked Garrett if YMI 2.0 was positioning itself as an intergenerational resource that could help parents reinforce the work that YMI does with its own programming. He said his own Brooklyn district has parents who would benefit from this kind of two-pronged programming, and also said that he would have gladly partnered with YMI, if the city had tried.</p> <p dir="ltr">This was a common theme throughout the hearing. In fact, all Council members who spoke either chided Garrett for YMI&rsquo;s lack of communication with their offices, or expressed surprise that they hadn&rsquo;t heard more extensively about YMI and its work. &ldquo;We have 51 Council members,&ldquo; Eugene said. &ldquo;And you&rsquo;ve only partnered with six of them? You could have allies with all 51 members.&rdquo; (None of the six partner Council members are on the Youth Services Committee, which has <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=6918&amp;GUID=E7F0BF95-991E-43FB-B304-772DBD06D465&amp;Search=" target="_blank">seven members</a> including Eugene, the chair.)</p> <p dir="ltr">When Council Member Chin spoke, she expressed shock that this was the first time her committee was getting a report about the initiative. She said the Council &ldquo;should have been a partner.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Laurie Cumbo asked about how YMI approaches the problem of neighborhood gang violence. She said that before the annual Labor Day parade, J&rsquo;ouvert, in her Crown Heights district, over 20 different gangs were identified, and asked if YMI had any anti-gun initiatives. Garrett replied that YMI looks at gangs as a part of the community, though he did give an anecdote about &ldquo;Chuckie,&rdquo; a member of the Crips gang who brought members of the gang to <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/prob/html/young_men/arches.shtml" target="_blank">ARCHES</a>, a group-mentoring YMI program designed to help men on probation get out of the criminal justice system. He recalled that the sessions were therapeutic.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cumbo suggested that some of her own initiatives, like <a href="http://fortgreenefocus.com/blog/2015/12/22/cumbo-city-council-anti-gun-violence-groups-unite-promote-art-a-catalyst-for-change/" target="_blank">Art as a Catalyst For Change</a>, were also good models, and that YMI might want to think about introducing more arts programming.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Andy King, seizing on an excerpt from the City Council briefing paper that was distributed before the hearing, also asked Garrett about what YMI was doing to help relationships between young men of color and the NYPD. King pointed out that &ldquo;you never have to tell white boys how to act around the police. But you do have to teach black boys.&rdquo; While the briefing paper, which is prepared by the committee staff, pointed out that &ldquo;stop and frisk has been greatly reduced, from 700,000 stops in 2011 to 47,000 stops in 2015,&rdquo; it also said that &ldquo;the legacy of distrust continues to endure and many stakeholders have called for a continued engagement between the community and the NYPD.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Garrett said that as a former advisor in the Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement is an area he is particularly attuned to. He said YMI is working with the NYPD on speaking with frontline officers, to see if there are systems officers can follow for crime and arrest deterrence. The NYPD is in the middle of implementing a new neighborhood policing model is that focused on building community relationships.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another theme throughout the hearing was how YMI measures successes and phases out programs that appear to be ineffective.</p> <p dir="ltr">Garrett gave the example of the <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ymi/downloads/pdf/nyc_justice_corps.pdf" target="_blank">Justice Corps</a>, a job-coaching program for young men involved in the criminal justice system. The program was launched in 2008 and was re-tooled for expansion this year, after evaluation from the current YMI. However, an education program for former inmates, the <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/prob/html/young_men/yajs.shtml" target="_blank">Justice Scholars</a>, is being phased out because it was found that people&rsquo;s levels of education varied too widely to have a consistent positive impact.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many of Garrett&rsquo;s talking points from the hearing are laid out in more detail through the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/mmr2016/young_mens_initiative.pdf" target="_blank">YMI section of the Mayor&rsquo;s Management Report</a> for Fiscal Year 2016, which was released earlier this week.</p> <p>At the conclusion of the hearing, Council Member Eugene asked Garrett to estimate the success of YMI 2.0. &ldquo;Would you say you&rsquo;re at 90%? 70%? 50%?&rdquo; Eugene asked. After a second of hesitation, Garrett said that he&rsquo;d estimate YMI was 55% of the way to success. Earlier in the hearing, Garrett conceded that YMI is in a place that it wanted to be three years ago, but after discontinuing unsuccessful programming, he thought that YMI is heading in a better direction. The hearing closed with Garrett agreeing to send all Council members updates on the progress of YMI, and pledges from all there that there would be more collaboration between YMI and the City Council going forward.</p> <p>

***
by Elena Burger, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: this story has been updated to remove question about the estimate from Hicks, which was verified by the mayor's office.</p>
Council to Examine Young Men’s Initiative, a Bloomberg Program & National Model 2016-09-20T04:00:00+00:00 2016-09-20T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6537:council-to-examine-young-men-s-initiative-a-bloomberg-program-national-model Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/YMI_Cyrus_Garrett.jpg" alt="YMI Cyrus Garrett" width="600" height="609" /></p> <p dir="ltr">YMI's Cyrus Garrett (photo: @NYCyoungmen)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">In August of 2011, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed a group of nonprofit and community leaders as he announced the launch of a landmark approach to tackling persistent problems facing young black and Latino men. The Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative, <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&amp;catID=1194&amp;doc_name=http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/html/2011b/pr283-11.html&amp;cc=unused1978&amp;rc=1194&amp;ndi=1" target="_blank">Bloomberg said</a>, would address &ldquo;four areas where the disparities are greatest and the consequences most harmful: education, health, employment, and the justice system.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Upon its 2011 launch, Bloomberg put together a steering committee <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&amp;catID=1194&amp;doc_name=http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/html/2011b/pr283-11.html&amp;cc=unused1978&amp;rc=1194&amp;ndi=1" target="_blank">that included</a> major players from the administration, including then-Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs; then-schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott; Veronica White, Director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at the time; and Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Gibb&rsquo;s Director of Strategic Initiatives, who Bloomberg said was the driving force behind the initiative.</p> <p dir="ltr">The program was initially funded by a combination of one-time $30 million contributions from Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Open Society Foundation and ongoing support from New York City tax dollars (up to $67.5 million over three years, Bloomberg said at the time). In his speech, Bloomberg said the purpose was that &ldquo;&lsquo;equal opportunity&rsquo; is not an abstract notion &ndash; but an everyday reality, for all New Yorkers.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">That goal is, generally, the operating motivation for all of the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Bloomberg&rsquo;s successor. However, while de Blasio has supported the Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative, the program is not exactly a central piece of de Blasio&rsquo;s fight against inequality. On Wednesday, about five years after the launch of the Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative, the City Council will hold an oversight hearing to examine the status of YMI and its effectiveness nearly three years into the de Blasio administration.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Council&rsquo;s Youth Services Committee, chaired by Council Member Mathieu Eugene of Brooklyn, will hear from Cyrus Garrett, the current executive director, and other YMI stakeholders, including those who have gone through its programming.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/downloads/pdf/2016_1_7_nyc_young_mens_initiative_final.pdf" target="_blank">a status report</a> conducted by the Urban Institute in January of this year, most stakeholders agreed that under Bloomberg, YMI&rsquo;s approach to New York&rsquo;s disparity in justice for young men of color was most successful. YMI 1.0, as the Urban Institute called its Bloomberg era form, ushered in policies like Close to Home, an initiative allowing juvenile offenders to stay close to their families while spending time in non-secure and limited-secure city facilities and ARCHES, a group mentoring program to help remove men aged 16-24 from the criminal justice system.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2013, when Bloomberg left office, YMI 1.0 had already presided over (or, at least, coincided with) several successes, according to the <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ymi/downloads/pdf/YMI_Annual%20Report_100713a.pdf" target="_blank">2013 YMI annual report</a>: juvenile crime was 30% lower in 2013 compared to 2012, and had dropped 18% since 2006; 40 high schools for black and Latino boys had received investments from the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/ymi/initiatives/past-programs.page" target="_blank">Expanded Success Initiative</a> (a YMI offshoot that has since transitioned to the <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/ESI/default.htm" target="_blank">NYC Department of Education</a>); after the introduction of Cure Violence, a program designed to treat violence as a public health issue by putting outreach workers on the ground, there was a 28% decrease in gun violence in the target neighborhoods of the South Bronx, South Jamaica, Crown Heights, East New York, and Central Harlem.</p> <p dir="ltr">Interestingly, the 2013 report was co-authored by Richard Buery, who was then leading Children&rsquo;s Aid Society, but would soon be named a deputy mayor under de Blasio and now oversees YMI.</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with apparent progress, YMI 1.0 also had some structural problems. According to the Urban Institute, &ldquo;there was widespread belief that YMI needed continuous input and consultancy with actors outside city government&rdquo; and &ldquo;community-based organizations, both large and small, did not have sufficient input into YMI processes and decisionmaking.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Fast forward to the present and YMI is led by Garrett, who assumed the role of YMI executive director in December 2014. YMI 2.0 -- as the Urban Institute refers to it -- includes a number of changes, some that seem to speak to the Urban Institute&rsquo;s findings, and some that seem to adapt the initiative to de Blasio&rsquo;s own policies outside of YMI.</p> <p dir="ltr">At an event in 2015 inaugurating the launch of YMI 2.0 and Garrett's appointment, de Blasio outlined the trajectory going forward: &ldquo;New York City is answering President Obama&rsquo;s call and doubling down on its commitments to expanding literacy in our youngest children, ensuring our high school graduates are ready for college and career, and forging a deeper partnership between police and community to prevent crime.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">While YMI 2.0 remains<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/ymi/initiatives/programs.page" target="_blank"> committed to many of the successful programs under Bloomberg</a>, it has since been reconfigured to focus on neighborhoods in the South Bronx, East Harlem, Southwest and Southeast Queens, the North Shore of Staten Island, Brownsville, and East New York. This likely reflects budgetary constraints: the seed money from Bloomberg and Soros has all been spent, as their $60 million was only allocated for the three years after the 2011 launch of YMI.</p> <p dir="ltr">YMI has also <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ymi/downloads/pdf/ymi_connection_issue_8.pdf" target="_blank">begun to align itself</a> with goals set forth in Obama&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper" target="_blank">My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper Initiative</a>, a nationwide program launched in 2014 that de Blasio referred to at the 2015 event and which the city officially partners with. According to Obama, his initiative focuses on &ldquo;providing the support [young men of color] need to think more broadly about their future.&rdquo; While My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper has a much larger focus (and a corresponding $600 million budget), it&rsquo;s genesis <a href="https://www.mikebloomberg.com/news/new-york-citys-young-mens-initiative/" target="_blank">can be traced to</a> the Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative.</p> <p dir="ltr">Alignment with My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper has led to some adjustment in YMI&rsquo;s vision. Under Bloomberg, YMI targeted men of color aged 16-24, but under de Blasio, programs are offered to different age groups. The &ldquo;<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/talktoyourbaby/index.page" target="_blank">Talk to Your Baby&rdquo; campaign</a> and <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/077-15/mayor-de-blasio-the-next-phase-nyc-s-young-men-s-initiative-opening-new-doors-for" target="_blank">reading programs for children enrolled in kindergarten</a> through third grade are both My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper-united programs that clearly target a younger audience. While there are several goals of My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper that also correspond with Bloomberg&rsquo;s original 16-24 demographic, the Urban Institute recommended that the de Blasio administration define &ldquo;what constitutes YMI-aligned programming and clearly communicating which programs count as YMI aligned.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Other important new highlights of YMI 2.0 include improved relationships between the NYPD and young men of color -- a goal that was outlined in de Blasio&rsquo;s 2015<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/077-15/mayor-de-blasio-the-next-phase-nyc-s-young-men-s-initiative-opening-new-doors-for" target="_blank"> launch with Garrett</a> -- but one that lacks any evident policy behind it, though the city is rolling out its expanded neighborhood policing program.</p> <p dir="ltr">In April, YMI released &ldquo;The Disparity Report,&rdquo; which &ldquo;provides a snapshot of where young people of color stand in relation to their peers in the areas of Education, Economic Security and Mobility, Health and Wellbeing, and Community and Personal Safety.&rdquo; Generally, <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/ymi/downloads/pdf/Disparity_Report.pdf" target="_blank">the report</a> shows that there have been &ldquo;decreases in several disparities for young men and women of color,&rdquo; but that &ldquo;disparities persist, warranting an in-depth exploration of the underlying factors that account for these continued discrepancies.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">And on Monday, the de Blasio administration released the Mayor&rsquo;s Management Report (MMR) for fiscal year 2016, which ended June 30. The Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative section of the report shows that it is partnering with about 20 city agencies and offices, mentions its increasing alignment with My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper, and says that &ldquo;In Fiscal 2016, YMI implemented new programs and refined existing ones; developed trackable indicators and metrics; and launched a policy committee to further advance New York City&rsquo;s capacity to promote the advancement of [boys and young men of color].&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Specifically, &ldquo;YMI implemented major initiatives on mentoring, early childhood literacy and teacher recruitment and retention&rdquo; in fiscal 2016, <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/mmr2016/young_mens_initiative.pdf" target="_blank">the MMR section states</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Eugene&rsquo;s office confirmed that at Wednesday&rsquo;s hearing his committee will be looking for new information from YMI about its programs and their effectiveness, what its budgetary needs might be, and more.</p> <p>When the City Council examines the Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative Wednesday, a project spearheaded by the Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, could also come up. The Young Women&rsquo;s Initiative, launched by Mark-Viverito in <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pr/100815wi.shtml" target="_blank">October 2015</a>, targets gaps in services for young women aged 12-24. Similar to YMI, YWI focuses on structural inequality facing women of color, with a spotlight on health, education, economic and workforce development, criminal justice, and self-sufficiency and mobility.</p> <p>

***
by Elena Burger, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/YMI_Cyrus_Garrett.jpg" alt="YMI Cyrus Garrett" width="600" height="609" /></p> <p dir="ltr">YMI's Cyrus Garrett (photo: @NYCyoungmen)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">In August of 2011, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed a group of nonprofit and community leaders as he announced the launch of a landmark approach to tackling persistent problems facing young black and Latino men. The Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative, <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&amp;catID=1194&amp;doc_name=http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/html/2011b/pr283-11.html&amp;cc=unused1978&amp;rc=1194&amp;ndi=1" target="_blank">Bloomberg said</a>, would address &ldquo;four areas where the disparities are greatest and the consequences most harmful: education, health, employment, and the justice system.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Upon its 2011 launch, Bloomberg put together a steering committee <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&amp;catID=1194&amp;doc_name=http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/html/2011b/pr283-11.html&amp;cc=unused1978&amp;rc=1194&amp;ndi=1" target="_blank">that included</a> major players from the administration, including then-Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs; then-schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott; Veronica White, Director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at the time; and Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Gibb&rsquo;s Director of Strategic Initiatives, who Bloomberg said was the driving force behind the initiative.</p> <p dir="ltr">The program was initially funded by a combination of one-time $30 million contributions from Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Open Society Foundation and ongoing support from New York City tax dollars (up to $67.5 million over three years, Bloomberg said at the time). In his speech, Bloomberg said the purpose was that &ldquo;&lsquo;equal opportunity&rsquo; is not an abstract notion &ndash; but an everyday reality, for all New Yorkers.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">That goal is, generally, the operating motivation for all of the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Bloomberg&rsquo;s successor. However, while de Blasio has supported the Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative, the program is not exactly a central piece of de Blasio&rsquo;s fight against inequality. On Wednesday, about five years after the launch of the Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative, the City Council will hold an oversight hearing to examine the status of YMI and its effectiveness nearly three years into the de Blasio administration.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Council&rsquo;s Youth Services Committee, chaired by Council Member Mathieu Eugene of Brooklyn, will hear from Cyrus Garrett, the current executive director, and other YMI stakeholders, including those who have gone through its programming.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/downloads/pdf/2016_1_7_nyc_young_mens_initiative_final.pdf" target="_blank">a status report</a> conducted by the Urban Institute in January of this year, most stakeholders agreed that under Bloomberg, YMI&rsquo;s approach to New York&rsquo;s disparity in justice for young men of color was most successful. YMI 1.0, as the Urban Institute called its Bloomberg era form, ushered in policies like Close to Home, an initiative allowing juvenile offenders to stay close to their families while spending time in non-secure and limited-secure city facilities and ARCHES, a group mentoring program to help remove men aged 16-24 from the criminal justice system.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2013, when Bloomberg left office, YMI 1.0 had already presided over (or, at least, coincided with) several successes, according to the <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ymi/downloads/pdf/YMI_Annual%20Report_100713a.pdf" target="_blank">2013 YMI annual report</a>: juvenile crime was 30% lower in 2013 compared to 2012, and had dropped 18% since 2006; 40 high schools for black and Latino boys had received investments from the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/ymi/initiatives/past-programs.page" target="_blank">Expanded Success Initiative</a> (a YMI offshoot that has since transitioned to the <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/ESI/default.htm" target="_blank">NYC Department of Education</a>); after the introduction of Cure Violence, a program designed to treat violence as a public health issue by putting outreach workers on the ground, there was a 28% decrease in gun violence in the target neighborhoods of the South Bronx, South Jamaica, Crown Heights, East New York, and Central Harlem.</p> <p dir="ltr">Interestingly, the 2013 report was co-authored by Richard Buery, who was then leading Children&rsquo;s Aid Society, but would soon be named a deputy mayor under de Blasio and now oversees YMI.</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with apparent progress, YMI 1.0 also had some structural problems. According to the Urban Institute, &ldquo;there was widespread belief that YMI needed continuous input and consultancy with actors outside city government&rdquo; and &ldquo;community-based organizations, both large and small, did not have sufficient input into YMI processes and decisionmaking.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Fast forward to the present and YMI is led by Garrett, who assumed the role of YMI executive director in December 2014. YMI 2.0 -- as the Urban Institute refers to it -- includes a number of changes, some that seem to speak to the Urban Institute&rsquo;s findings, and some that seem to adapt the initiative to de Blasio&rsquo;s own policies outside of YMI.</p> <p dir="ltr">At an event in 2015 inaugurating the launch of YMI 2.0 and Garrett's appointment, de Blasio outlined the trajectory going forward: &ldquo;New York City is answering President Obama&rsquo;s call and doubling down on its commitments to expanding literacy in our youngest children, ensuring our high school graduates are ready for college and career, and forging a deeper partnership between police and community to prevent crime.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">While YMI 2.0 remains<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/ymi/initiatives/programs.page" target="_blank"> committed to many of the successful programs under Bloomberg</a>, it has since been reconfigured to focus on neighborhoods in the South Bronx, East Harlem, Southwest and Southeast Queens, the North Shore of Staten Island, Brownsville, and East New York. This likely reflects budgetary constraints: the seed money from Bloomberg and Soros has all been spent, as their $60 million was only allocated for the three years after the 2011 launch of YMI.</p> <p dir="ltr">YMI has also <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ymi/downloads/pdf/ymi_connection_issue_8.pdf" target="_blank">begun to align itself</a> with goals set forth in Obama&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper" target="_blank">My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper Initiative</a>, a nationwide program launched in 2014 that de Blasio referred to at the 2015 event and which the city officially partners with. According to Obama, his initiative focuses on &ldquo;providing the support [young men of color] need to think more broadly about their future.&rdquo; While My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper has a much larger focus (and a corresponding $600 million budget), it&rsquo;s genesis <a href="https://www.mikebloomberg.com/news/new-york-citys-young-mens-initiative/" target="_blank">can be traced to</a> the Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative.</p> <p dir="ltr">Alignment with My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper has led to some adjustment in YMI&rsquo;s vision. Under Bloomberg, YMI targeted men of color aged 16-24, but under de Blasio, programs are offered to different age groups. The &ldquo;<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/talktoyourbaby/index.page" target="_blank">Talk to Your Baby&rdquo; campaign</a> and <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/077-15/mayor-de-blasio-the-next-phase-nyc-s-young-men-s-initiative-opening-new-doors-for" target="_blank">reading programs for children enrolled in kindergarten</a> through third grade are both My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper-united programs that clearly target a younger audience. While there are several goals of My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper that also correspond with Bloomberg&rsquo;s original 16-24 demographic, the Urban Institute recommended that the de Blasio administration define &ldquo;what constitutes YMI-aligned programming and clearly communicating which programs count as YMI aligned.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Other important new highlights of YMI 2.0 include improved relationships between the NYPD and young men of color -- a goal that was outlined in de Blasio&rsquo;s 2015<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/077-15/mayor-de-blasio-the-next-phase-nyc-s-young-men-s-initiative-opening-new-doors-for" target="_blank"> launch with Garrett</a> -- but one that lacks any evident policy behind it, though the city is rolling out its expanded neighborhood policing program.</p> <p dir="ltr">In April, YMI released &ldquo;The Disparity Report,&rdquo; which &ldquo;provides a snapshot of where young people of color stand in relation to their peers in the areas of Education, Economic Security and Mobility, Health and Wellbeing, and Community and Personal Safety.&rdquo; Generally, <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/ymi/downloads/pdf/Disparity_Report.pdf" target="_blank">the report</a> shows that there have been &ldquo;decreases in several disparities for young men and women of color,&rdquo; but that &ldquo;disparities persist, warranting an in-depth exploration of the underlying factors that account for these continued discrepancies.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">And on Monday, the de Blasio administration released the Mayor&rsquo;s Management Report (MMR) for fiscal year 2016, which ended June 30. The Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative section of the report shows that it is partnering with about 20 city agencies and offices, mentions its increasing alignment with My Brother&rsquo;s Keeper, and says that &ldquo;In Fiscal 2016, YMI implemented new programs and refined existing ones; developed trackable indicators and metrics; and launched a policy committee to further advance New York City&rsquo;s capacity to promote the advancement of [boys and young men of color].&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">Specifically, &ldquo;YMI implemented major initiatives on mentoring, early childhood literacy and teacher recruitment and retention&rdquo; in fiscal 2016, <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/mmr2016/young_mens_initiative.pdf" target="_blank">the MMR section states</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Eugene&rsquo;s office confirmed that at Wednesday&rsquo;s hearing his committee will be looking for new information from YMI about its programs and their effectiveness, what its budgetary needs might be, and more.</p> <p>When the City Council examines the Young Men&rsquo;s Initiative Wednesday, a project spearheaded by the Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, could also come up. The Young Women&rsquo;s Initiative, launched by Mark-Viverito in <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pr/100815wi.shtml" target="_blank">October 2015</a>, targets gaps in services for young women aged 12-24. Similar to YMI, YWI focuses on structural inequality facing women of color, with a spotlight on health, education, economic and workforce development, criminal justice, and self-sufficiency and mobility.</p> <p>

***
by Elena Burger, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Armed with New Report, Supporters to Push De Blasio on Summer Youth Employment 2016-05-16T04:00:00+00:00 2016-05-16T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6338:armed-with-new-report-supporters-to-push-de-blasio-on-summer-youth-employment Ben Max <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/cm_eugene.jpg" width="600" height="338" alt="cm eugene" /></p> <p>Council Member Eugene &amp; advocates for youth summer camps (<a href="https://twitter.com/CAMBAInc/status/732324237906677760" target="_blank">photo</a>: @CAMBAInc)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">When the City Council held its <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6321-first-executive-budget-hearing-sets-stage-for-final-negotiations" target="_blank">first hearing</a> on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6304-de-blasio-releases-new-82b-budget-with-targeted-investments-and-additional-savings" target="_blank">Executive Budget</a> for fiscal year 2017, Council members made it clear that they weren’t satisfied with the level of investment in the city’s youth, one of the top priorities identified in their prior response to the mayor’s preliminary budget.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday morning, members of the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, which has 24 members including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and advocacy groups will band together outside City Hall to rally for one particular aspect of youth investment: the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). The rally will be accompanied by the Tuesday morning release of a report by the Campaign for Summer Jobs, a coalition of more than 100 community-based organizations, that outlines a plan to expand SYEP while making key programmatic changes.</p> <p dir="ltr">SYEP provides up to six weeks of paid work to youth between 14 and 24 years old and it received 120,000 applications last year but only served 54,000 young people. This year, Council members and advocates want the city to increase that number to 60,000. “We’re trying to create a roadmap to get to 100,000 spots by Fiscal 2019,” said Andrea Bowen, policy analyst at United Neighborhood Houses and co-chair of the Campaign for Summer Jobs along with Justin Hardy, policy fellow at the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition. “This is achievable and possible and necessary,” Bowen said in a Monday interview.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Campaign for Summer Jobs report, which Gotham Gazette reviewed before its public release, calls for baselining increased funding for the SYEP over the next few years. Adjusting for increases in the minimum wage and accounting for program changes, the report proposes $75 million in city funding in fiscal 2017 for 60,000 summer youth jobs, increasing to $178 million in Fiscal 2018 for 80,000 jobs, $257 million in Fiscal 2019 for the ultimate goal of 100,000 jobs and $288 million in Fiscal 2020.</p> <p dir="ltr">So far, the de Blasio administration has allocated $36.5 million in city funds for fiscal 2017, which begins July 1 of this year, with an expected state contribution of $15.6 million, for a total of about $52 million. This would fund about 35,000 jobs this summer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some of the report’s key proposals include implementing earlier application, enrollment, and orientation dates; earlier release of funding to service providers; recruiting more providers to the program; increasing base funding for providers; and creating an SYEP Expansion and Improvement Fund. With the ultimate goal of reaching 100,000 summer job slots, “funding levels for the next few years need to be known in advance,” said Bowen.</p> <p dir="ltr">Much of what’s in the report dovetails with the City Council’s priorities. “The issue that we have is that year to year, we have to negotiate for this funding,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who is leading the budget process as the Council’s finance committee chair. “We want it baselined so agencies can properly plan and young people can be informed that they have a job in the summer.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She stressed that the underinvestment in youth in the executive budget was of “great concern” to the Council and that members will continue to push the administration “aggressively” for more funding. “We want to take an opportunity to overhaul and do an evaluation of SYEP, figure out what works,” Ferreras-Copeland said on Monday, insisting that this was necessary for expanding the program to 100,000 slots. “Using the strategy that we’re using currently, going year by year, we’re not going to get there,” she added.</p> <p>The de Blasio administration sent a statement to Gotham Gazette that echoed what the mayor has said when asked about the issue:&nbsp;“As announced in May 2015, last year’s additional seats for summer programming were for one year only. We gave parents and providers a year’s notice to plan ahead for this summer. The Department of Youth and Community Development runs the largest summer youth jobs program in the nation, and we increased seats to ensure that more New York City youth have the opportunity to gain valuable exposure and workforce skills over the summer months. We have also extended hours at Cornerstone Community Centers, so both young people and adults can have a safe and supportive environment to be active, learn and develop their skills throughout the summer months.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A cacophony of voices have been raised in favor of improving the summer youth employment program. <a href="http://cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/campaigns-and-elections/united-on-summer-youth-employment-funding,-jeffries-and-diaz-decline-to-back-de-blasio.html#.Vzo5CjZln-Y" target="_blank">Last week</a>, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and New York Congressional Rep. Hakeem Jeffries held a press conference where they called on the mayor to increase SYEP funding. On Monday, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council members, advocates, and others congregated at City Hall to release a new <a href="http://www.shewillbe.nyc/recommendations/" target="_blank">report</a> by the Young Women's Initiative, a $20-million City Council campaign that promotes services for young women, particularly women of color. One of its recommendations is an expansion of the SYEP. Hours later, Council Member Mathieu Eugene, chair of the youth services committee, brought together his colleagues and community advocates to the same spot to push for a related cause, increased funding for youth summer camp programs. He called on all those present to return for Tuesday’s rally.</p> <p dir="ltr">Eugene chairs the Council’s youth services committee, which will hold its executive budget hearing on Tuesday morning, right after the City Hall rally calling for more SYEP funding. Council members will question de Blasio administration officials about their funding decisions.</p> <p>“Those young people that are looking for a job are begging to do positive things,” Eugene told Gotham Gazette shortly after Monday’s summer camp rally. “They want an opportunity and I believe it is our moral obligation as elected officials, as people who serve New York City, to provide them with the opportunities that they are looking for.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6321-first-executive-budget-hearing-sets-stage-for-final-negotiations" target="_blank">First Executive Budget Hearing Sets Stage for Final Negotiations</a>]</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: this story has been updated with comment from the de Blasio administration.</p>
<p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/cm_eugene.jpg" width="600" height="338" alt="cm eugene" /></p> <p>Council Member Eugene &amp; advocates for youth summer camps (<a href="https://twitter.com/CAMBAInc/status/732324237906677760" target="_blank">photo</a>: @CAMBAInc)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">When the City Council held its <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6321-first-executive-budget-hearing-sets-stage-for-final-negotiations" target="_blank">first hearing</a> on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6304-de-blasio-releases-new-82b-budget-with-targeted-investments-and-additional-savings" target="_blank">Executive Budget</a> for fiscal year 2017, Council members made it clear that they weren’t satisfied with the level of investment in the city’s youth, one of the top priorities identified in their prior response to the mayor’s preliminary budget.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday morning, members of the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, which has 24 members including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and advocacy groups will band together outside City Hall to rally for one particular aspect of youth investment: the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). The rally will be accompanied by the Tuesday morning release of a report by the Campaign for Summer Jobs, a coalition of more than 100 community-based organizations, that outlines a plan to expand SYEP while making key programmatic changes.</p> <p dir="ltr">SYEP provides up to six weeks of paid work to youth between 14 and 24 years old and it received 120,000 applications last year but only served 54,000 young people. This year, Council members and advocates want the city to increase that number to 60,000. “We’re trying to create a roadmap to get to 100,000 spots by Fiscal 2019,” said Andrea Bowen, policy analyst at United Neighborhood Houses and co-chair of the Campaign for Summer Jobs along with Justin Hardy, policy fellow at the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition. “This is achievable and possible and necessary,” Bowen said in a Monday interview.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Campaign for Summer Jobs report, which Gotham Gazette reviewed before its public release, calls for baselining increased funding for the SYEP over the next few years. Adjusting for increases in the minimum wage and accounting for program changes, the report proposes $75 million in city funding in fiscal 2017 for 60,000 summer youth jobs, increasing to $178 million in Fiscal 2018 for 80,000 jobs, $257 million in Fiscal 2019 for the ultimate goal of 100,000 jobs and $288 million in Fiscal 2020.</p> <p dir="ltr">So far, the de Blasio administration has allocated $36.5 million in city funds for fiscal 2017, which begins July 1 of this year, with an expected state contribution of $15.6 million, for a total of about $52 million. This would fund about 35,000 jobs this summer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some of the report’s key proposals include implementing earlier application, enrollment, and orientation dates; earlier release of funding to service providers; recruiting more providers to the program; increasing base funding for providers; and creating an SYEP Expansion and Improvement Fund. With the ultimate goal of reaching 100,000 summer job slots, “funding levels for the next few years need to be known in advance,” said Bowen.</p> <p dir="ltr">Much of what’s in the report dovetails with the City Council’s priorities. “The issue that we have is that year to year, we have to negotiate for this funding,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who is leading the budget process as the Council’s finance committee chair. “We want it baselined so agencies can properly plan and young people can be informed that they have a job in the summer.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She stressed that the underinvestment in youth in the executive budget was of “great concern” to the Council and that members will continue to push the administration “aggressively” for more funding. “We want to take an opportunity to overhaul and do an evaluation of SYEP, figure out what works,” Ferreras-Copeland said on Monday, insisting that this was necessary for expanding the program to 100,000 slots. “Using the strategy that we’re using currently, going year by year, we’re not going to get there,” she added.</p> <p>The de Blasio administration sent a statement to Gotham Gazette that echoed what the mayor has said when asked about the issue:&nbsp;“As announced in May 2015, last year’s additional seats for summer programming were for one year only. We gave parents and providers a year’s notice to plan ahead for this summer. The Department of Youth and Community Development runs the largest summer youth jobs program in the nation, and we increased seats to ensure that more New York City youth have the opportunity to gain valuable exposure and workforce skills over the summer months. We have also extended hours at Cornerstone Community Centers, so both young people and adults can have a safe and supportive environment to be active, learn and develop their skills throughout the summer months.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A cacophony of voices have been raised in favor of improving the summer youth employment program. <a href="http://cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/campaigns-and-elections/united-on-summer-youth-employment-funding,-jeffries-and-diaz-decline-to-back-de-blasio.html#.Vzo5CjZln-Y" target="_blank">Last week</a>, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and New York Congressional Rep. Hakeem Jeffries held a press conference where they called on the mayor to increase SYEP funding. On Monday, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council members, advocates, and others congregated at City Hall to release a new <a href="http://www.shewillbe.nyc/recommendations/" target="_blank">report</a> by the Young Women's Initiative, a $20-million City Council campaign that promotes services for young women, particularly women of color. One of its recommendations is an expansion of the SYEP. Hours later, Council Member Mathieu Eugene, chair of the youth services committee, brought together his colleagues and community advocates to the same spot to push for a related cause, increased funding for youth summer camp programs. He called on all those present to return for Tuesday’s rally.</p> <p dir="ltr">Eugene chairs the Council’s youth services committee, which will hold its executive budget hearing on Tuesday morning, right after the City Hall rally calling for more SYEP funding. Council members will question de Blasio administration officials about their funding decisions.</p> <p>“Those young people that are looking for a job are begging to do positive things,” Eugene told Gotham Gazette shortly after Monday’s summer camp rally. “They want an opportunity and I believe it is our moral obligation as elected officials, as people who serve New York City, to provide them with the opportunities that they are looking for.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6321-first-executive-budget-hearing-sets-stage-for-final-negotiations" target="_blank">First Executive Budget Hearing Sets Stage for Final Negotiations</a>]</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: this story has been updated with comment from the de Blasio administration.</p>
Investments, Not Cuts, in Youth Summer Programs 2016-04-18T02:40:32+00:00 2016-04-18T02:40:32+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6285:investments-not-cuts-in-youth-summer-programs Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/kidscityhall.jpg" alt="kids city hall eugene" height="338" width="600" /></p> <p>Students rally at City Hall (photo via @CMMathieuEugene)</p> <hr /> <p>In a short time, it will be summer, but it's not the impending warm weather that's causing parents to feel the heat.</p> <p>Parents are scrambling to make plans for their children because Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has not included funding for summer programs in the city budget, and this severe cut will impact more than 34,000 students across New York City.</p> <p>Our children deserve to have the educational and recreational opportunities they need to succeed. School’s Out New York, or SONYC, is a vital citywide initiative that engages youth in the arts, sports, and community service. This program helps youth from all neighborhoods foster their creativity, while encouraging sportsmanship and leadership.</p> <p>Summer programs are not only an expansion of classroom learning, these crucial programs also offer children creative outlets in a supervised space. Childcare is expensive and many parents can't afford pricey camps - our city's summer programs offer youth a much-needed safe space to spend the summer.</p> <p>We know our children are bombarded with negativity on a daily basis—but these summer programs offer them respite. The elimination of $20.4 million in funding for middle school students—which equates to at least 34,000 summer program slots—should not be perceived as a cost-saving measure, but rather a divestment from our most vulnerable population. Cutting costs shouldn’t be at the expense of our youth.</p> <p>Our city has implemented a number of truly progressive policies to improve quality of life for residents, but the decision to eliminate summer programs for middle school children will drastically hurt the tremendous progress we have been making.</p> <p>Since these important summer programs impact the constituents of virtually all of our City Council colleagues, we have already received tremendous support from Council members who have signed on to a letter asking Mayor de Blasio to restore this funding immediately—and to make this funding for youth a priority in future budgets. When the mayor releases his Executive Budget in the coming weeks, many working families would be relieved to see the funding included.</p> <p>Last year, summer programs were included in the preliminary budget but the funding was inexplicably removed in May. By working together with our colleagues and dozens of youth advocates, we were able to make sure that it was restored. But, less than a year later, our children—and parents—are in the same uncertain situation since funding for these programs was not included in the budget for Fiscal Year 2017. So, once again, we must join together to fight for the restoration of these crucial programs that must be baselined in the budget.</p> <p>It is our moral obligation to do everything possible for our youth. Ultimately, an investment in our youth is a great investment in our city.</p> <p>***<br />By City Council Members Mathieu Eugene and Laurie A. Cumbo. Eugene is chair of the Youth Services Committee; Cumbo is chair of the Women’s Issues Committee.</p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/kidscityhall.jpg" alt="kids city hall eugene" height="338" width="600" /></p> <p>Students rally at City Hall (photo via @CMMathieuEugene)</p> <hr /> <p>In a short time, it will be summer, but it's not the impending warm weather that's causing parents to feel the heat.</p> <p>Parents are scrambling to make plans for their children because Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has not included funding for summer programs in the city budget, and this severe cut will impact more than 34,000 students across New York City.</p> <p>Our children deserve to have the educational and recreational opportunities they need to succeed. School’s Out New York, or SONYC, is a vital citywide initiative that engages youth in the arts, sports, and community service. This program helps youth from all neighborhoods foster their creativity, while encouraging sportsmanship and leadership.</p> <p>Summer programs are not only an expansion of classroom learning, these crucial programs also offer children creative outlets in a supervised space. Childcare is expensive and many parents can't afford pricey camps - our city's summer programs offer youth a much-needed safe space to spend the summer.</p> <p>We know our children are bombarded with negativity on a daily basis—but these summer programs offer them respite. The elimination of $20.4 million in funding for middle school students—which equates to at least 34,000 summer program slots—should not be perceived as a cost-saving measure, but rather a divestment from our most vulnerable population. Cutting costs shouldn’t be at the expense of our youth.</p> <p>Our city has implemented a number of truly progressive policies to improve quality of life for residents, but the decision to eliminate summer programs for middle school children will drastically hurt the tremendous progress we have been making.</p> <p>Since these important summer programs impact the constituents of virtually all of our City Council colleagues, we have already received tremendous support from Council members who have signed on to a letter asking Mayor de Blasio to restore this funding immediately—and to make this funding for youth a priority in future budgets. When the mayor releases his Executive Budget in the coming weeks, many working families would be relieved to see the funding included.</p> <p>Last year, summer programs were included in the preliminary budget but the funding was inexplicably removed in May. By working together with our colleagues and dozens of youth advocates, we were able to make sure that it was restored. But, less than a year later, our children—and parents—are in the same uncertain situation since funding for these programs was not included in the budget for Fiscal Year 2017. So, once again, we must join together to fight for the restoration of these crucial programs that must be baselined in the budget.</p> <p>It is our moral obligation to do everything possible for our youth. Ultimately, an investment in our youth is a great investment in our city.</p> <p>***<br />By City Council Members Mathieu Eugene and Laurie A. Cumbo. Eugene is chair of the Youth Services Committee; Cumbo is chair of the Women’s Issues Committee.</p> <p>

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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> How To Become a New York City Council Member 2015-08-27T13:23:11+00:00 2015-08-27T13:23:11+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5862:how-to-become-a-new-york-city-council-member Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/bdb_cms_muni_id_alatriste.jpg" alt="bdb cms muni id alatriste" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mayor de Blasio, a former Council member, with several current CMs (William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Ask any New York City Council member and they'll tell you— there is no set formula that will send an aspiring candidate to City Hall.</p> <p>"If you want to be a lawyer, the path is the same: get a bachelor's degree, take the LSATs, go to law school, take the bar exam, and voila, you're a lawyer," Ritchie Torres, the 51-member Council's youngest rep, told Gotham Gazette. "Whereas in politics, there is no single path."</p> <p>Torres' ascent to deputy leader in the Council— he is an openly gay, Afro-Latino, college drop-out who grew up in public housing in the Bronx— is perhaps most emblematic of this truth, reflected in the broad expanse of backgrounds present in today's class of Council members.</p> <p>The sole member of the Council with a doctorate of medicine, Mathieu Eugene, has another unique story. "I grew up in a country of many challenges. If somebody told my mother when I was a child, 'your son will be an elected official in New York,' she would've said, 'you're crazy,'" said the Haitian-born Eugene, of Brooklyn.</p> <p>But while it's true that there's not a single path to becoming a member of the New York City Council, it is also true - as indicated by data and Council members' own admissions - that some paths are more commonly travelled than others.</p> <p>Gotham Gazette found that nearly 40 percent of current Council members have served on the staff of a Council member or state Assembly member, with 60 percent of that group serving as chief of staff; and nearly 30 percent of Council members served on a community board.</p> <p>Several Council members have come to the body directly from the state Assembly, the path being taken by soon-to-be Council Member Joseph Borrelli, of Staten Island. Borrelli is running unopposed in a special election to replace former Council Member Vincent Ignizio, who resigned recently to take a non-profit leadership job.</p> <p>Meanwhile, last Thursday's primary day saw Barry Grodenchik emerge from a crowded Democratic field in a race to fill a vacant Queens Council post. Grodenchik, a former Assembly member and current aide to the Queens Borough President, still has to defeat a general election opponent, but is favored to do so.</p> <p>Asked about his government experience preparing him for the Council, Grodenchik emailed Gotham Gazette to say that elected officials deal with many challenges in office, one being "the level of bureaucracy you sometimes face in navigating government on behalf of constituents." He believes that "experience doing so matters - and I believe my experience in the Assembly, as well as at [Queens] Borough Hall will help me be a better Councilman if elected."</p> <p>Grodenchik continued to say that throughout his "career in public service" he's "gained insight on how to get things done in government." His experience likely appeals to voters, especially the small number willing to vote on a Thursday in an "off-year." It is also what led him to garner the support of the Queens County Democratic "establishment," which helped him get elected - establishment support is often a key to electoral victory in City Council races.</p> <p>While many Council members come from other parts of government, including elected bodies like the Assembly, their predecessors' staffs, and local community boards, others come from community organizing and labor. Some enter the Council from the private sector, but usually have community ties to speak of.</p> <p>Gotham Gazette spoke with current Council members about their journeys to City Hall and how the demographics of the Council are changing.</p> <p><strong>Chief of Staff</strong><br />Many Council members who served in the role of chief of staff look back on the job as a pivotal position that gave them the tools to be an effective Council member.</p> <p>"I think that anyone considering running for office should have some experience in government because I think it's important for people to know about the job that they are seeking," Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos said. Kallos served as chief of staff to former Assembly Member Jonathan Bing. "I can say that being a chief of staff, I was able to learn about the most important part of the job, which is constituent services and helping individuals with their cases."</p> <p>Kallos also said he was able to learn about "how the legislative process works, how to get things done in a collegial environment...and ultimately as a chief of staff you get to learn a lot about the different jobs and what is necessary to run a well-functioning office."</p> <p>Queens Council Member Costa Constantinides told Gotham Gazette his experience working as deputy chief of staff to former Council Member James Gennaro provided him with a strong skillset on which to run.</p> <p>"When I made the choice to run for City Council I had a foundation in policies and I felt that was really important," Constantinides said. "I talked about, 'I have a record of getting bills passed, I have a record of knowing how this institution works, I have a record of taking on real fights already.'"</p> <p>Council Member Torres, a former constituent liaison for now colleague Council Member Jimmy Vacca, said the role of chief of staff is particularly crucial: it allows for "far more access to the political establishment" than employees in a Council member's district office have.</p> <p>"Yes, one path to elected office could be employment in the office of an elected official, but within that category there are huge differences between chief of staff and the role of a constituent organizer," Torres said. "The center of political action tends to be in City Hall and if you're in the district office, you're disconnected from the political dynamics."</p> <p>Underlining the importance of working for an elected official: when asked what advice they would give a college student aspiring to serve as a Council member, each current member interviewed by Gotham Gazette suggested interning for a Council member or working on a campaign for City Council.</p> <p><strong>Community Boards &amp; Name recognition</strong><br />For many interested in helping their community, joining a community board is a natural first step, and one that may develop into the desire to run for City Council. For some, the perception exists that community boards may be used a springboard or requisite stop along the road for aspiring elected officials.</p> <p>"Absolutely, community boards are supposed to be a voice for the community and naturally those that are providing that voice will be interested [in becoming a Council member], but often times— and one of the things I'm trying to discourage— is a place where it becomes a solely-owned subsidiary of the political establishment where it just ends up being full of people running for office," said Kallos, who served on Community Board 8. "So there needs to be a delicate balance."</p> <p>To that end, Kallos is pushing community board reform legislation, including term limits.</p> <p>Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, a former Council member and community board member now in charge of appointing community board members, sees the boards practically, as a place where aspiring Council members can learn about the issues facing their community. If successful and effective as a board member, Brewer says, individuals can make a name for themselves and help their communities.</p> <p>Brewer disagrees with Kallos' assertion that community boards are overly politicized (a fact they both amiably alluded to in interviews— Brewer is opposed to Kallos' term limits bill), noting that her office interviewed over 700 community board candidates this year alone.</p> <p>"If you are going to be on the community board, you're going to take it seriously. So I think we are beyond the politicization, what's happened in the past is in the past," Brewer said, referring to more stringent reforms in the application and appointment processes now in place. "So I think people who think they're going to get on [the board] just so they can run for office— I mean it could happen, if you do a really good job on the community board then you should run, in my opinion, because you know the issues."</p> <p>Brewer says it is good that for aspiring elected officials community boards can be a training ground and necessary step.</p> <p>"I think unless you have some extraordinary circumstance in terms of name recognition, which I did not, and most people don't, then if you're a college student and you want to be a lawyer and then come back and run for office, you really do need to get on the community board, make a difference somehow," Brewer said, citing Helen Rosenthal and Corey Johnson as examples of current Council members who showed promise as leaders on their community boards. Rosenthal was elected in 2013 to replace Brewer on the Council.</p> <p>"I have found it now that I'm on the Council really helpful that I was on the community board for so long," Rosenthal told Gotham Gazette. "I was on it for 15 years, so when issues come up I have a long history on them...So now as a Council member, when these same types of issues come up, I have a good toolbox to draw from."</p> <p>Name recognition often rules the day when it comes to elections, and for local races, that neighborhood notoriety can be essential. Name recognition can also come in other ways.</p> <p>"Look, you have the pure insider and the pure outsider," Torres said. "I'm neither purely an insider or purely an outsider, I think most of us fall in a spectrum in between, but I think what was unique about my candidacy was that no one had ever heard of me before. I think most Council members have much more name recognition with the political establishment than I did when I ran for public office."</p> <p>In speaking of the importance of name recognition, Manhattan BP Brewer referenced the Weprins, of Queens— Assembly Member David Weprin and his brother, former Council Member Mark Weprin. The Weprin brothers have each held both the Assembly and Council seats that they were holding until Mark resigned this spring to work for Governor Cuomo; their father Saul was the Speaker of the Assembly.</p> <p>Then there is the Rivera family— Assembly Member Jose Rivera and former Council Member Joel Rivera— for over 20 years Joel held the seat Torres now occupies.</p> <p>Before joining Congress, U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke succeeded her mother Una Clarke in the City Council. Current Council Member Inez Barron and her husband, Assembly Member Charles Barron, completed an easy seat swap recently when he was term-limited out of the Council.</p> <p>But according to political consultant and executive director of the New York State Democratic Party Basil Smikle, candidates with private sector backgrounds who toe the edge of what Torres referred to as the "outsider" side of the spectrum still can be appealing to voters.</p> <p>"Voters tend to respond to candidates who can convey both an understanding for the issues as well as a passion to actually want to impact them. So you can be active in your community and not convey to a voter that you want the job. You can work in the private sector and be able to speak of a vision with a fervor that come across to the voter," Smikle said.</p> <p>"I think ultimately no matter what path you take," Smikle continued, "having that so-called 'fire in the belly' always is important no matter where you come from and no matter what your trajectory. Having said that, I think even if you come from the private sector you still need to have a sense of what is going on with the voters in your neighborhood. You have to know that. A voter needs to know you can take whatever it is in your background up until this point and apply it to their situation."</p> <p><strong>Labor unions</strong><br />"Unions are the other place people come out of," Brewer said. "It's where Melissa [Mark-Viverito, the current Speaker] came out of, where [Council Member] Annabel Palma came out of...You have to have some unions with you to win."</p> <p>Council Member Daniel Dromm was a delegate and chapter chair for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) before he became a Council member and enjoyed the union's support once he decided to run. Dromm told Gotham Gazette that the UFT had thrown him an early endorsement in 2008 a few months before term limits were extended, enabling the Council member he was running against to seek a third term.</p> <p>"So the UFT had to make a decision again the following June what to do because the incumbent who was also very supportive of the union decided she was going to run, and what they decided to do was do a dual endorsement," Dromm said. "But at that point I had gotten what I had needed out of the endorsement from the UFT, so it was very helpful to me in that sense and gave my candidacy a lot of legitimacy."</p> <p>It is well-known that in Democrat-heavy New York City, unions can make a difference both in building legitimacy and name-recognition, but also in helping get out the vote come primary day. New York City Council elections often see crowded Democratic primaries, as was the case when Rosenthal was elected in 2013 and the primary that Grodenchik just won in Queens.</p> <p>Smikle told Gotham Gazette that earning the support of unions is important both operationally and symbolically.</p> <p>"You're still looking to represent districts that chances are have labor union representation among your constituents. If you're living in an area that has a large number of TWU workers, [for example], that union endorsement is very important. If other unions come on board, it looks like you are a friend to the working people, to laborers, and you get the symbolism that's attached to that as well because you're not just a friend to organized labor, you're a friend to people's aspirations. That is extraordinarily important," Smikle said.</p> <p><strong>The shift in demographics</strong><br />The power unions hold to get candidates elected underlines the importance of having contacts in politics.</p> <p>"If you're a poor kid from the Bronx without a college education and no position in politics, for all intents and purposes you have no means of fundraising," Torres said. "You have no social capital, no economic capital, no rolodex you can tap into for fundraising purposes. So you either need to have some position— even if you're at the margins of the political establishment, you need some position in politics— or you need to be part of the professional class."</p> <p>Brewer, however, said that being a part of the professional class may actually put candidates at a disadvantage compared to people involved in community organizing or activism.</p> <p>"If you work on Wall Street and then decide to come back and run, then you'll be able to raise money but you won't know the people...In Manhattan you can always raise more money whether you're on a community board, work for an elected official, or not," Brewer said.</p> <p>The public campaign financing system in New York City, which provides public matching funds for small donations, "gives you the opportunity," Brewer said, "to raise a little money and still win. What you have to do is develop your own list. Initially you run and win financing-wise on friends and family."</p> <p>At a forum hosted by the Campaign Finance Board in July, Council Member Eric Ulrich, a Republican from Queens, also emphasized the importance of the city's matching funds program in equalizing the playing field for aspiring Council members.</p> <p>"If it were not for the Campaign Finance Board I would never have been elected to City Council. I did not come from a political family, I came from a single parent household, we didn't come from money," Ulrich told attendees.</p> <p>Constantinides also cited the CFB's matching program as being a game changer, adding the importance of the change in term limits.</p> <p>"That's a huge, huge part to seeing this demographic shift," Constantinides said, referring to the changes in the age, race, and ethnic diversity in the Council. "Term limits have changed, it's leveled the playing field, it's allowed people to come in and say- you have matching funds, you're not worried about raising 300-, 400-thousand dollars, you're focused on raising a certain amount and then going out and making your case to your constituents."</p> <p>The demographic shift to which Constantinides references came at the confluence of the implementation of stricter term limits and the rise of the Progressive Caucus, a liberal bloc of Council members formed in 2010 in response to the Bloomberg administration's more conservative policies and the city's shifting population.</p> <p>"What you actually saw was this dramatic change in the Council where progressive Council members are helping other progressive Council members [and candidates]," Kallos, who was elected to the Council in 2013 and joined the Progressive Caucus upon taking office in 2014, said. "So whereas typically you'll have seen independent expenditures from the Real Estate Board of New York shaping elections, now what you'll see is organized activity by [progressive] members trying to elect more. So I think what you saw was a much more progressive body getting elected by virtue of members making that happen."</p> <p>The rise of the caucus, which began with 12 and now includes 19 of the 51 council members (with several other close allies who are not official members), was viewed by many as a shift away from machine politics and toward community organizing and advocacy. But Torres, a caucus member whose ascent into politics is emblematic of this shift, said he thought the picture was more complicated.</p> <p>"It is certainly true that you have an organized progressive movement, progressive infrastructure that operates independently of the traditional centers of political power, and it is true that the progressive movement has made a priority out of electing younger people to public office, people of color to public office, and more women in public office," Torres, who is 27, said. "So that is true, but I will caution you not to distinguish or completely separate the progressive movement from the establishment."</p> <p>Even the progressive movement can be in danger of becoming an insider's game, where the progressives who get the endorsements are the ones who have the relationships and can raise money, Torres said. There is also always a question of how closely aligned unions and progressives are with the different county political machines.</p> <p>"Even in the progressive world, the two currencies are the same: money and relationships," Torres said. "I think someone like me has a greater chance of succeeding in the new world in which we are operating, but I want to caution that. Relationships and money continue to be the dominant forces of politics."</p> <p>***<br />by Catie Edmondson, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/CatieEdmondson" target="_blank">@CatieEdmondson</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/bdb_cms_muni_id_alatriste.jpg" alt="bdb cms muni id alatriste" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mayor de Blasio, a former Council member, with several current CMs (William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Ask any New York City Council member and they'll tell you— there is no set formula that will send an aspiring candidate to City Hall.</p> <p>"If you want to be a lawyer, the path is the same: get a bachelor's degree, take the LSATs, go to law school, take the bar exam, and voila, you're a lawyer," Ritchie Torres, the 51-member Council's youngest rep, told Gotham Gazette. "Whereas in politics, there is no single path."</p> <p>Torres' ascent to deputy leader in the Council— he is an openly gay, Afro-Latino, college drop-out who grew up in public housing in the Bronx— is perhaps most emblematic of this truth, reflected in the broad expanse of backgrounds present in today's class of Council members.</p> <p>The sole member of the Council with a doctorate of medicine, Mathieu Eugene, has another unique story. "I grew up in a country of many challenges. If somebody told my mother when I was a child, 'your son will be an elected official in New York,' she would've said, 'you're crazy,'" said the Haitian-born Eugene, of Brooklyn.</p> <p>But while it's true that there's not a single path to becoming a member of the New York City Council, it is also true - as indicated by data and Council members' own admissions - that some paths are more commonly travelled than others.</p> <p>Gotham Gazette found that nearly 40 percent of current Council members have served on the staff of a Council member or state Assembly member, with 60 percent of that group serving as chief of staff; and nearly 30 percent of Council members served on a community board.</p> <p>Several Council members have come to the body directly from the state Assembly, the path being taken by soon-to-be Council Member Joseph Borrelli, of Staten Island. Borrelli is running unopposed in a special election to replace former Council Member Vincent Ignizio, who resigned recently to take a non-profit leadership job.</p> <p>Meanwhile, last Thursday's primary day saw Barry Grodenchik emerge from a crowded Democratic field in a race to fill a vacant Queens Council post. Grodenchik, a former Assembly member and current aide to the Queens Borough President, still has to defeat a general election opponent, but is favored to do so.</p> <p>Asked about his government experience preparing him for the Council, Grodenchik emailed Gotham Gazette to say that elected officials deal with many challenges in office, one being "the level of bureaucracy you sometimes face in navigating government on behalf of constituents." He believes that "experience doing so matters - and I believe my experience in the Assembly, as well as at [Queens] Borough Hall will help me be a better Councilman if elected."</p> <p>Grodenchik continued to say that throughout his "career in public service" he's "gained insight on how to get things done in government." His experience likely appeals to voters, especially the small number willing to vote on a Thursday in an "off-year." It is also what led him to garner the support of the Queens County Democratic "establishment," which helped him get elected - establishment support is often a key to electoral victory in City Council races.</p> <p>While many Council members come from other parts of government, including elected bodies like the Assembly, their predecessors' staffs, and local community boards, others come from community organizing and labor. Some enter the Council from the private sector, but usually have community ties to speak of.</p> <p>Gotham Gazette spoke with current Council members about their journeys to City Hall and how the demographics of the Council are changing.</p> <p><strong>Chief of Staff</strong><br />Many Council members who served in the role of chief of staff look back on the job as a pivotal position that gave them the tools to be an effective Council member.</p> <p>"I think that anyone considering running for office should have some experience in government because I think it's important for people to know about the job that they are seeking," Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos said. Kallos served as chief of staff to former Assembly Member Jonathan Bing. "I can say that being a chief of staff, I was able to learn about the most important part of the job, which is constituent services and helping individuals with their cases."</p> <p>Kallos also said he was able to learn about "how the legislative process works, how to get things done in a collegial environment...and ultimately as a chief of staff you get to learn a lot about the different jobs and what is necessary to run a well-functioning office."</p> <p>Queens Council Member Costa Constantinides told Gotham Gazette his experience working as deputy chief of staff to former Council Member James Gennaro provided him with a strong skillset on which to run.</p> <p>"When I made the choice to run for City Council I had a foundation in policies and I felt that was really important," Constantinides said. "I talked about, 'I have a record of getting bills passed, I have a record of knowing how this institution works, I have a record of taking on real fights already.'"</p> <p>Council Member Torres, a former constituent liaison for now colleague Council Member Jimmy Vacca, said the role of chief of staff is particularly crucial: it allows for "far more access to the political establishment" than employees in a Council member's district office have.</p> <p>"Yes, one path to elected office could be employment in the office of an elected official, but within that category there are huge differences between chief of staff and the role of a constituent organizer," Torres said. "The center of political action tends to be in City Hall and if you're in the district office, you're disconnected from the political dynamics."</p> <p>Underlining the importance of working for an elected official: when asked what advice they would give a college student aspiring to serve as a Council member, each current member interviewed by Gotham Gazette suggested interning for a Council member or working on a campaign for City Council.</p> <p><strong>Community Boards &amp; Name recognition</strong><br />For many interested in helping their community, joining a community board is a natural first step, and one that may develop into the desire to run for City Council. For some, the perception exists that community boards may be used a springboard or requisite stop along the road for aspiring elected officials.</p> <p>"Absolutely, community boards are supposed to be a voice for the community and naturally those that are providing that voice will be interested [in becoming a Council member], but often times— and one of the things I'm trying to discourage— is a place where it becomes a solely-owned subsidiary of the political establishment where it just ends up being full of people running for office," said Kallos, who served on Community Board 8. "So there needs to be a delicate balance."</p> <p>To that end, Kallos is pushing community board reform legislation, including term limits.</p> <p>Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, a former Council member and community board member now in charge of appointing community board members, sees the boards practically, as a place where aspiring Council members can learn about the issues facing their community. If successful and effective as a board member, Brewer says, individuals can make a name for themselves and help their communities.</p> <p>Brewer disagrees with Kallos' assertion that community boards are overly politicized (a fact they both amiably alluded to in interviews— Brewer is opposed to Kallos' term limits bill), noting that her office interviewed over 700 community board candidates this year alone.</p> <p>"If you are going to be on the community board, you're going to take it seriously. So I think we are beyond the politicization, what's happened in the past is in the past," Brewer said, referring to more stringent reforms in the application and appointment processes now in place. "So I think people who think they're going to get on [the board] just so they can run for office— I mean it could happen, if you do a really good job on the community board then you should run, in my opinion, because you know the issues."</p> <p>Brewer says it is good that for aspiring elected officials community boards can be a training ground and necessary step.</p> <p>"I think unless you have some extraordinary circumstance in terms of name recognition, which I did not, and most people don't, then if you're a college student and you want to be a lawyer and then come back and run for office, you really do need to get on the community board, make a difference somehow," Brewer said, citing Helen Rosenthal and Corey Johnson as examples of current Council members who showed promise as leaders on their community boards. Rosenthal was elected in 2013 to replace Brewer on the Council.</p> <p>"I have found it now that I'm on the Council really helpful that I was on the community board for so long," Rosenthal told Gotham Gazette. "I was on it for 15 years, so when issues come up I have a long history on them...So now as a Council member, when these same types of issues come up, I have a good toolbox to draw from."</p> <p>Name recognition often rules the day when it comes to elections, and for local races, that neighborhood notoriety can be essential. Name recognition can also come in other ways.</p> <p>"Look, you have the pure insider and the pure outsider," Torres said. "I'm neither purely an insider or purely an outsider, I think most of us fall in a spectrum in between, but I think what was unique about my candidacy was that no one had ever heard of me before. I think most Council members have much more name recognition with the political establishment than I did when I ran for public office."</p> <p>In speaking of the importance of name recognition, Manhattan BP Brewer referenced the Weprins, of Queens— Assembly Member David Weprin and his brother, former Council Member Mark Weprin. The Weprin brothers have each held both the Assembly and Council seats that they were holding until Mark resigned this spring to work for Governor Cuomo; their father Saul was the Speaker of the Assembly.</p> <p>Then there is the Rivera family— Assembly Member Jose Rivera and former Council Member Joel Rivera— for over 20 years Joel held the seat Torres now occupies.</p> <p>Before joining Congress, U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke succeeded her mother Una Clarke in the City Council. Current Council Member Inez Barron and her husband, Assembly Member Charles Barron, completed an easy seat swap recently when he was term-limited out of the Council.</p> <p>But according to political consultant and executive director of the New York State Democratic Party Basil Smikle, candidates with private sector backgrounds who toe the edge of what Torres referred to as the "outsider" side of the spectrum still can be appealing to voters.</p> <p>"Voters tend to respond to candidates who can convey both an understanding for the issues as well as a passion to actually want to impact them. So you can be active in your community and not convey to a voter that you want the job. You can work in the private sector and be able to speak of a vision with a fervor that come across to the voter," Smikle said.</p> <p>"I think ultimately no matter what path you take," Smikle continued, "having that so-called 'fire in the belly' always is important no matter where you come from and no matter what your trajectory. Having said that, I think even if you come from the private sector you still need to have a sense of what is going on with the voters in your neighborhood. You have to know that. A voter needs to know you can take whatever it is in your background up until this point and apply it to their situation."</p> <p><strong>Labor unions</strong><br />"Unions are the other place people come out of," Brewer said. "It's where Melissa [Mark-Viverito, the current Speaker] came out of, where [Council Member] Annabel Palma came out of...You have to have some unions with you to win."</p> <p>Council Member Daniel Dromm was a delegate and chapter chair for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) before he became a Council member and enjoyed the union's support once he decided to run. Dromm told Gotham Gazette that the UFT had thrown him an early endorsement in 2008 a few months before term limits were extended, enabling the Council member he was running against to seek a third term.</p> <p>"So the UFT had to make a decision again the following June what to do because the incumbent who was also very supportive of the union decided she was going to run, and what they decided to do was do a dual endorsement," Dromm said. "But at that point I had gotten what I had needed out of the endorsement from the UFT, so it was very helpful to me in that sense and gave my candidacy a lot of legitimacy."</p> <p>It is well-known that in Democrat-heavy New York City, unions can make a difference both in building legitimacy and name-recognition, but also in helping get out the vote come primary day. New York City Council elections often see crowded Democratic primaries, as was the case when Rosenthal was elected in 2013 and the primary that Grodenchik just won in Queens.</p> <p>Smikle told Gotham Gazette that earning the support of unions is important both operationally and symbolically.</p> <p>"You're still looking to represent districts that chances are have labor union representation among your constituents. If you're living in an area that has a large number of TWU workers, [for example], that union endorsement is very important. If other unions come on board, it looks like you are a friend to the working people, to laborers, and you get the symbolism that's attached to that as well because you're not just a friend to organized labor, you're a friend to people's aspirations. That is extraordinarily important," Smikle said.</p> <p><strong>The shift in demographics</strong><br />The power unions hold to get candidates elected underlines the importance of having contacts in politics.</p> <p>"If you're a poor kid from the Bronx without a college education and no position in politics, for all intents and purposes you have no means of fundraising," Torres said. "You have no social capital, no economic capital, no rolodex you can tap into for fundraising purposes. So you either need to have some position— even if you're at the margins of the political establishment, you need some position in politics— or you need to be part of the professional class."</p> <p>Brewer, however, said that being a part of the professional class may actually put candidates at a disadvantage compared to people involved in community organizing or activism.</p> <p>"If you work on Wall Street and then decide to come back and run, then you'll be able to raise money but you won't know the people...In Manhattan you can always raise more money whether you're on a community board, work for an elected official, or not," Brewer said.</p> <p>The public campaign financing system in New York City, which provides public matching funds for small donations, "gives you the opportunity," Brewer said, "to raise a little money and still win. What you have to do is develop your own list. Initially you run and win financing-wise on friends and family."</p> <p>At a forum hosted by the Campaign Finance Board in July, Council Member Eric Ulrich, a Republican from Queens, also emphasized the importance of the city's matching funds program in equalizing the playing field for aspiring Council members.</p> <p>"If it were not for the Campaign Finance Board I would never have been elected to City Council. I did not come from a political family, I came from a single parent household, we didn't come from money," Ulrich told attendees.</p> <p>Constantinides also cited the CFB's matching program as being a game changer, adding the importance of the change in term limits.</p> <p>"That's a huge, huge part to seeing this demographic shift," Constantinides said, referring to the changes in the age, race, and ethnic diversity in the Council. "Term limits have changed, it's leveled the playing field, it's allowed people to come in and say- you have matching funds, you're not worried about raising 300-, 400-thousand dollars, you're focused on raising a certain amount and then going out and making your case to your constituents."</p> <p>The demographic shift to which Constantinides references came at the confluence of the implementation of stricter term limits and the rise of the Progressive Caucus, a liberal bloc of Council members formed in 2010 in response to the Bloomberg administration's more conservative policies and the city's shifting population.</p> <p>"What you actually saw was this dramatic change in the Council where progressive Council members are helping other progressive Council members [and candidates]," Kallos, who was elected to the Council in 2013 and joined the Progressive Caucus upon taking office in 2014, said. "So whereas typically you'll have seen independent expenditures from the Real Estate Board of New York shaping elections, now what you'll see is organized activity by [progressive] members trying to elect more. So I think what you saw was a much more progressive body getting elected by virtue of members making that happen."</p> <p>The rise of the caucus, which began with 12 and now includes 19 of the 51 council members (with several other close allies who are not official members), was viewed by many as a shift away from machine politics and toward community organizing and advocacy. But Torres, a caucus member whose ascent into politics is emblematic of this shift, said he thought the picture was more complicated.</p> <p>"It is certainly true that you have an organized progressive movement, progressive infrastructure that operates independently of the traditional centers of political power, and it is true that the progressive movement has made a priority out of electing younger people to public office, people of color to public office, and more women in public office," Torres, who is 27, said. "So that is true, but I will caution you not to distinguish or completely separate the progressive movement from the establishment."</p> <p>Even the progressive movement can be in danger of becoming an insider's game, where the progressives who get the endorsements are the ones who have the relationships and can raise money, Torres said. There is also always a question of how closely aligned unions and progressives are with the different county political machines.</p> <p>"Even in the progressive world, the two currencies are the same: money and relationships," Torres said. "I think someone like me has a greater chance of succeeding in the new world in which we are operating, but I want to caution that. Relationships and money continue to be the dominant forces of politics."</p> <p>***<br />by Catie Edmondson, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/CatieEdmondson" target="_blank">@CatieEdmondson</a></p>