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  • City Council Passes 'Right to Counsel' For Low-Income Tenants in Housing Court

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    Council Member Levine and Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    The New York City Council passed a bill on Thursday to guarantee free legal services to low-income tenants facing eviction in housing court. The bill codifies an agreement, announced in February this year, between the Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio to fully fund anti-eviction

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  • The July Mayoral Money Race

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    Mayor de Blasio (Edwin J. Torres/ Mayoral Photography Office)


    Election season is in full swing, with barely two months to go till the September primary election, and mayoral contenders are busy on the campaign trail, reaching out to voters, building name recognition and, perhaps most importantly, raising campaign funds. The latest campaign finance disclosures filed on Monday show Mayor Bill de Blasio is still in the lead in fundraising, but a few of his opponents are beginning to pick up steam and have posted significant fundraising numbers of their

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  • Democratic Club Calls On Wright To Choose Between Party Leadership & Lobbying Job

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    Manhattan Democratic Party Chair Keith Wright (photo: Governor's Office/Flickr)


    A Manhattan Democratic club is calling on Assemblymember-turned-lobbyist Keith Wright to either resign from his role as chair of the Manhattan Democratic Party or give up his lucrative job at the lobbying firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, arguing that the dual role creates a conflict at the “very top of our County Democratic Party.”

    A letter sent last month by the Village Independent Democrats (VID),

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  • Malliotakis Files Records Request for Mayor's Travel Expenses

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    Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (photo: Felipe De La Hoz/Gotham Gazette)


    As Mayor Bill de Blasio spent his third day in Queens for his week-long City Hall in Your Borough initiative, presumptive Republican mayoral nominee Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis showed up at his Manhattan workplace to reprimand the mayor for a lack of transparency for his numerous trips out of the city.

    “I believe it's important that when we ask the mayor how much has it cost the taxpayers for various trips around the United States, or around the world, that he give the public that answer,” she

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  • Calls For Long-Term Solutions As City Transit Crisis Worsens

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    Governor Cuomo with MTA Chair Joe Lhota (photo: Governor's Office/Flickr)


    Two separate subway track fires on Monday, in the morning and evening, that led to stoppages on multiple lines and delays across the system were just the latest incidents that put the spotlight on problems with New York City’s subways. The last few weeks have seen chronic delays, a recent A-train 

    Rikers May Close. So Should Attica.

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    Governor Cuomo at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora (photo: Governor's Office Flickr)


    In much the same way that the movement to end stop-and-frisk policing eventually became a rallying cry for political hopefuls, so, too, has the appeal to close the Rikers Island jail complex now become de rigueur among New York City elected officials. Where though is the corresponding clarion call to close Attica, Sing Sing, or any number of New York State’s brutal and obsolete prisons?

    The

    Longshot Mayoral Hopeful Outraises & Outspends Opponents, Technically

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    Michael Tolkin (center) at a Reform Party forum (photo: Tolkinformayor.com)


    Michael Tolkin, a 32-year-old tech entrepreneur who is among over a dozen long-shot candidates running to unseat New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, appears to have outspent every other contender in the race, including the mayor, with a $5 million in-kind contribution to his own campaign.

    An in-kind contribution is one in which goods or services instead of cash are given to a campaign, and in this case the entire contribution is also listed as an expenditure towards “campaign literature and

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  • New York's Top Democrats Rally Against Obamacare Repeal Bill

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    Governor Cuomo at Monday's healthcare rally (photo: Governor's Office)


    At a packed auditorium at Mount Sinai Hospital Monday afternoon, four of the state’s top elected Democrats united in a show of force to rally against a common enemy: the Republican-led U.S. Senate’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

    Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio banded together on Monday, pledging to take legal action should the

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  • Thank you, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland

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    Council Member Ferreras-Copeland tours Inwood library (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    Last month, City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland announced that she would not seek re-election. Much ink has been, and will continue to be, spilled on the political implications of her decision. But when such an important leader decides to depart, we owe it to her and our

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  • How the City Hurts Small Businesses

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    Street vendors protest the city's cap on permits (photo: @VendorPower)


    Independent small businesses -- bodegas, pizza joints, shoe repair shops, fruit vendors -- are the heart and soul of New York City. But they are facing a crisis. Every day there is another story about some beloved neighborhood shop closing due to skyrocketing rents. Landlords then warehouse the vacant spaces in hopes of signing a lease with a bank or big chain. WNYC recently counted ...

  • 7 Transit Commitments Advocates Want From Candidates This Year

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    Transit advocates rally near City Hall (photo: Sam Raskin/Gotham Gazette)


    Activists from eight transportation advocacy groups gathered near the City Hall R train subway station on Thursday calling on candidates running for elected office in the city to adopt a seven-point plan to improve New York’s crumbling transit infrastructure.

    “We’ve put together the steps that New York City can take to make transportation work in New York,” said John Raskin, executive director of Riders Alliance, who led the news conference. The coalition released a four-page document titled, “...

  • Mayoral Control Debate Ignores Need for Community Control

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo via The Mayor's Office)


    Since Mayor de Blasio’s cries about the dire consequences of the State Legislature not granting him an extension of mayoral control over the city’s public schools didn't seem to work, this perhaps provides us with a little space to have a more open and less hysterical discussion about possible alternatives. What I find striking about the mayoral control debate is the false assumption that there exists a wide consensus on the need for it.

    A May 2017 Quinnipiac Poll, consistent with other polls on the subject, found that

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  • Pacific Park Developer's Deceptive Affordable Housing Spin

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    Part of the 535 Carlton Pacific Park lottery ad


    Ashley Cotton's June 22 Gotham Gazette op-ed “Tackling New York’s Housing Affordability Crisis” is deeply deceptive, part of the long-running spin from the developer of the Pacific Park (formerly Atlantic Yards) project.

    It's on par with the misleading mayoral press release June 13 for the "100% affordable" 535 Carlton, which I analyzed in ...

  • Mayoral Control or Not, Calls Continue for Contracting Reform at City Department of Education

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    Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    New York City elected officials and independent watchdogs continue to voice concerns about the Department of Education’s transparency and contract procurement process. The issue became a flashpoint in the debate over mayoral control of New York City schools, which Albany lawmakers have yet to extend despite a June 30 expiration date. Like other powers over the schools, education-related contracting -- totaling billions of dollars per year -- has been

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  • Policy Implications of the Mayor’s Paris Climate Order

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    Mayor de Blasio tours the Electrical Industry Training Center in Queens (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


     Soon after reports surfaced that President Donald Trump would withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, a landmark accord to limit global temperature increases signed by nearly every country, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would sign an executive order committing New York City to the agreement. On June 2, after Trump confirmed the rumors in a White House Rose Garden speech, the Mayor ...

  • Bill Seeks Fix to Conflicts Disclosure Deadline for Candidates

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    Council Member Ben Kallos (photo: William Alatriste)


    The City Council Committee on Governmental Operations met on Monday to discuss a bill to relax the deadline for candidates seeking public office to submit disclosure reports to the Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB).

    COIB is a city agency tasked with enforcing conflicts of interest laws for public officials and preempting potential conflicts for those seeking elected office. Candidates for public office are required to submit financial disclosures to the agency detailing, among other

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  • Proposal Would Mandate Media Blitz for City's Anti-Corruption Efforts

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    Council Member Vincent Gentile (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on Monday to discuss three bills, including one which would require the Department of Investigation to conduct an annual public outreach campaign to inform New Yorkers about how to identify corruption and use the resources of the DOI to file corruption complaints.

    The Department of Investigation, the city’s independent watchdog agency, is responsible for investigating wrongdoing by city agencies, officers, elected

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  • Our Plan To Save NYCHA Is Working, But Under Attack

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    A NYCHA board meeting


    Residents understand better than anyone what it means to live in public housing. On the second anniversary of the NextGeneration NYCHA long-term strategic plan, we find our homes under attack from the federal government.

    As both residents and board members of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), we have unique insight into the challenges facing the housing authority, but also the successes of NextGen NYCHA. Two years ago, when Mayor de Blasio and NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye stood in front of residents, they announced a bold plan to put

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  • City Council Tenant Advocate Bill Met with Resistance

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    Council Member Helen Rosenthal (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    The City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings on Wednesday heard more than a dozen bills that would enhance tenant protections and combat abuses by landlords. Among those proposals was one that would create a new ombudsman within the Department of Buildings whose responsibility would be to prioritize the welfare of tenants when property owners and builders apply for construction permits.

    The bill, ...

  • De Blasio and Aides Won't Face Charges in Dual Investigations

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    Mayor de Blasio (Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Federal and state prosecutors, who had for the last year been investigating the fundraising activities of Mayor Bill de Blasio and his associates, announced on Thursday that they would not be bringing any criminal charges in the two parallel investigations.

    The mayor and his aides had been the subject of two probes -- a federal investigation into allegations of quid pro quo in their fundraising for his 2013 campaign and

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  • De Blasio Focuses on Affordability Crisis in State of the City Speech

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    Mayor de Blasio delivers State of the City speech (Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    At his fourth State of the City speech on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared an ambitious agenda to create thousands of jobs while continuing to expand affordable housing for the city’s most vulnerable residents.

    Speaking at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem, de Blasio acknowledged in blunt terms that New York City is facing an affordability crisis that has been years in the making, resulting from rising rents and relatively stagnant incomes. “This affordability

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  • Comptroller Pushes for Expansion of Tax Refund for Working New Yorkers

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     Comptroller Scott Stringer (photo: @scottmstringer)


    In his testimony before the New York State Legislature last week on the state’s proposed budget for 2018, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer called for the expansion of a tax credit that could potentially pull thousands of New York City residents out of poverty, continuing a push he began last year when he first floated the

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  • Citing Trump Threat, Assembly Passes New Immigrant Protections Along With DREAM Act

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    Assembly Speaker Heastie (photo: @CarlHeastie) 


    The New York State Assembly passed a slew of bills on Monday aimed at protecting immigrant New Yorkers in the wake of the federal government’s anti-immigrant crackdown which sparked protests at airports around the country last week.

    The legislative package, called the New York State Liberty

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  • State Legislators from New York City Should Not Be Bagging the Bag Fee

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    Elected officials and advocates rally outside City Hall (photo: @bradlander)


    New York City is trying to do something about plastic bags, but my state Assemblymember is attempting to undermine the city’s ability to do so. He, along with many of his NYC-based colleagues, are acting against their own constituents’ interests. This is a normal New York State versus City story, but in a moment where the stakes of politics are high because the federal government’s threats are real, this battle between city and state feels more offensive and disheartening than

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 3

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    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As the week begins the country is anticipating the lone Vice Presidential debate of the 2016 race to the White House, which will take place between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence on Tuesday evening. And, the second of three Presidential debates scheduled is set for Sunday evening.

    In New York, the week begins fairly quietly due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday, though at noon at 1 Police Plaza Mayor

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