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Melissa Mark-Viverito

Melissa Mark-Viverito

  • Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Change

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     Mark-Viverito at an East Harlem planning session (photo: William Alatriste)


    CONTINUED from page 1 - this is page 2 of 2

    Community calls for community planning
    City officials have not yet presented a timeline, much less a plan, for rezoning East Harlem, but that hasn’t stopped residents from preemptively organizing against “upzoning” that they believe will accelerate displacement of

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  • Questioning Importance, Council Members Spend Limited Time at Hearings

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    Council Member Van Bramer starts a hearing (photo: @JimmyVanBramer)


    On March 1, at perhaps the most important City Council hearing of the year, just three of the finance committee’s eleven members were present when the session began. The Council’s first hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion fiscal year 2017 preliminary budget began nine minutes after its scheduled time, at 10:09 a.m., more prompt than typical Council hearings. The City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, arrived three minutes later, just after the finance chair, Council Member

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  • The City Council's Complicated Budget Math

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    Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and colleagues (photo: William Alatriste)


    Last week, the City Council’s finance committee voted to increase the Council’s operating budget for fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1, by $3.1 million, bringing it to a total of $64 million, a five percent increase over last year’s ...

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 21

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will be another busy one when it comes to budgets: the City Council continues its preliminary budget hearings and state budget negotiations enter their final ten days - a state budget is due by April 1 and some say a deal could be announced before the end of this week. Don't count on it, though, state budgets usually come in just before (or, as was the case last year, just after) the March 31 midnight

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

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


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

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

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 14

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio has reason to smile as this week begins. Through negotiations with the City Council and outside critics, de Blasio appears to have gotten just about everyone on board with his citywide zoning changes and they are all-but-certain to be passed through the City Council over the next two weeks - first through committee this week, then the full Council on March 22. The City Planning Commission has to

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  • City Council Raises Provoke Questions About Staff Pay

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    Members of the City Council (photo: William Alatriste) 


    As New York City Council members voted on a package of legislation that increased their salaries from $112,500 to $148,500, aides to two Council members stood silently in the balcony of the Council chambers, wearing white t-shirts that read, “Paycheck to Paycheck, Pay Raises for All.”

    The $36,000 salary bump for Council members is about the same amount of money that many of their staff members make in a year. These are aides filling roles such as

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  • Key to Vision of Closing Rikers, City Council Bail Fund Moves Through State Process

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    Mark-Viverito delivers her State of the City (photo: William Alatriste)


    Last year, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled her plan for a fund that would cover bail for poor individuals charged with low-level criminal offenses who would otherwise be forced to wait in a city jail for their court date. The Council dedicated $1.4 million of budget funds to back the project, which is nearing

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  • Shut Down the Criminal Court

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    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito should be commended for using her State of the City address, titled "More Justice," to call for criminal justice reform. She rightly observes that "we need more justice in the justice system" and ticked off some specific goals, including reducing the population at Rikers Island, creating civil procedures for minor violations, and improving the warrant process. However, the speaker

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 22

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will see a new member of the New York City Council elected; further debate over the de Blasio administration's housing plans; a return to Albany for state legislators in the midst of budget season; a number of interesting conferences and panel events; and much more.

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  • De Blasio to Sign Higher Raises for Council Than He Previously Approved

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


    On Friday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign a package of legislation into law that will raise the salaries of all of the city’s elected officials, and reform the job descriptions of City Council members.

    The City Council held only ...

  • To Influence Rezoning, East Harlem Stakeholders Preempt City Plan With Own

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito at an East Harlem planning session (photo: William Alatriste)


    A coalition of East Harlem residents, community leaders, and advocacy organizations led by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is set to release an exhaustive set of more than 200 recommendations aimed at informing the de Blasio administration’s plan for rezoning and improving the upper-Manhattan neighborhood.

    The East Harlem Neighborhood Plan is the product of

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  • In State of the City, Mark-Viverito Outlines Civic Engagement, Voter Empowerment Plans

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    Mark-Viverito with young attendees of her speech (photo: William Alatriste) 


    In her second State of the City address, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Thursday made it clear that she is determined to make New York a more inclusive city where different voices are heard and counted. Her message of 'More Justice,' the title for the speech, resonated in the different initiatives the speaker announced to improve civic engagement and to empower New Yorkers so that city policy is more fair and responsive to constituents.

    Speaking at the Samuel Gompers

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  • Mark-Viverito 'Doubles Down' on Criminal Justice Reform in State of the City

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    Mark-Viverito delivers her State of the City (photo: William Alatriste) 


    During her second State of the City address, titled “More Justice,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced on Thursday a slew of new criminal justice reforms, including efforts to minimize the number of New Yorkers that end up in the city’s jail by clearing old arrest warrants for low-level, nonviolent offenses, and creating more programs to help reduce recidivism. She also said that as the number of inmates on Riker’s Island decreases, a plan

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 8-12

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday February 12

    PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio participates in the HOPE Count of homeless people living on the street, via Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office; Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito delivers her State of the City speech, via William

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 8

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    State budget hearings continue in Albany this week, but excitement in the capital is centered around the presence of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who makes a rare visit to Albany, where he'll participate in several events Monday, including one with good government groups where he'll discuss ethics and corruption in state government.

    Meanwhile, in New York City, on Sunday Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new

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  • City Council Announces Bill to Increase Pay, Reform Position

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    Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste)

     


     

    On Wednesday, Feb. 3, the New York City Council will hold a hearing on legislation outlining salary increases for various city elected officials as well as several good government reforms related to how Council members are compensated. Largely based on the recommendations of an independent commission tasked with outlining the first pay raises since 2006 for the Mayor, City Council members, and other officials, the Council announced the details of its package

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  • Just Ahead of Oversight Hearing, City Announces Ethnic Media Plan

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    Council Member Menchaca at Wednesday's rally (photo: Samar Khurshid)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito launched on Wednesday an online directory of ethnic and community media and a new effort for city agencies to work with those outlets. The push to expand outreach and public messaging across different languages and communities comes as El Diario, the country's oldest non-English daily newspaper, and other ethnic publications are struggling.

    The timing of the announcement raised a few eyebrows - it came barely an

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  • Give New York Manufacturers the Space They Need

    manufacturing background

    photo: William Alatriste


    In November, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito released a manufacturing policy that makes a strong commitment to the city’s Industrial Business Zones (IBZs). This is the culmination of a growing consensus among certain sectors of the city, from the Progressive Caucus of the City Council to the ...

  • Criminal Justice Reform Act is No Alternative to Broken Windows Policing

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    NYPD ceremony in Times Square (photo: @CommissBratton)


    Monday morning the City Council will begin consideration of a series of bills, called the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which would limit the use of criminal penalties to manage a variety of low level “quality of life” offenses such as public drinking, park code violations, noise, and public urination.

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  • 'Dangerousness' Aspect of Cuomo's Bail Plan Troubles Reformers

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    Gov. Cuomo delivers his State of the State


    In his recently-released policy agenda for 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included a plan to reform the state's bail system. While it has not been fully fleshed out yet, Cuomo's proposal dictates that judges would use a scientific assessment tool to determine an individual's "risk to public safety" while setting bail, a proposal similar to one Mayor Bill de Blasio recently made, with both coming under fire from criminal justice reformers.

    De Blasio made ...

  • Grocery Worker Bill Provokes Rare Level of Council Dissent

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito on 125th Street (photo: William Alatriste) 


    When a bill comes to the floor of the New York City Council, it is guaranteed to pass. And so it was on Tuesday, when the Council voted through the Grocery Worker Retention Act, which mandates that new owners of large grocery stores maintain employment of the store workforce for 90 days. But while most bills pass unanimously and some garner only two or three dissenting votes from the Council's three-member Republican caucus, the GWRA garnered seven "no" votes.

    Five of the

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  • 40 Questions for New York Politics in 2016

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    photo: William Alatriste


    Happy new year! As we jump right into 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares for his State of the State and budget address, Mayor Bill de Blasio works to improve his public approval ratings, and the two keep on feuding. There's a lot to look for in the new year, here are about 40 political questions we're asking as the year begins - if you want to share them, answer any, or let us know one we missed, tweet @GothamGazette:

    1. How will
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  • Resignation Highlights City Council Gender Imbalance

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito & others announce Young Women's Initiative (photo: William Alatriste)


    City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo recently announced she will resign at the end of the year in order to attend to family matters. In vacating her seat, which she has held since 2005, Arroyo creates uncertainty about who will represent her Bronx district, but also brings to the forefront a larger issue about political representation in New York City: the number of women in the City

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  • Commission Considers Raises, Reforms for Elected Compensation

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    The Mayor, Speaker, & Council members (Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Attendance was notably sparse at the first public hearing of the commission charged with making recommendations around compensation for city elected officials.

    Fewer than fifteen people, about half of whom were journalists, went to Brooklyn Law School on November 23 for the Quadrennial Advisory Commission hearing to collect input from the public. Four people testified to urge

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