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/participatory-budgeting 2017-12-13T07:33:28+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com 4 Interesting Participatory Budgeting Project Winners 2017-05-23T04:00:00+00:00 2017-05-23T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6949:4-interesting-participatory-budgeting-project-winners Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/pb_vote_via_lander.jpg" alt="pb vote via lander" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>(photo: Council Member Lander's office)</p> <hr /> <p>After an 11-day window in which over 100,000 residents of pertinent districts cast ballots, the City Council recently announced the winners of the 2016-17 participatory budgeting cycle. Thirty-one of 51 Council districts participated this year, leading to $34 million in capital funds going towards hyper-local projects chosen directly by the districts’ voters.</p> <p>A total of 138 projects received funding in this cycle, with most districts backing three to five projects. Some districts awarded funding for many more projects -- District 38, which includes Sunset Park, Red Hook, and Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn and is represented by Democrat Carlos Menchaca, is funding 10 projects. Many project proposals were represented in multiple districts, such as laptops or air conditioning in schools and security cameras for places such as parks, schools, and police precincts, but many were more unique to the respective districts. While participatory budgeting funds are all for capital projects, like equipment or some kind of small construction work, and often show a lot of similarity to each other and to those funded in past cycles, a handful of winning projects stand out this year.</p> <p>The participatory budgeting movement, which began in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989 as a means of decentralizing budgetary authority and handing power to the people, has since spread to numerous municipalities worldwide. It reached New York City in 2011, when City Council Members Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Eric Ulrich, and Jumaane Williams launched participatory budgeting projects in their respective districts, dedicating about $1 million of the funds at their disposal to a community process.</p> <p>While it’s not required of all Council districts, and it hasn’t been implemented citywide, the movement is clearly growing at a rapid pace in the city. Districts participating in participatory budgeting set aside, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/government/5946-participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at minimum</a>, $1 million of their capital budget allocation for public determination.</p> <p>Participatory budgeting allows issues unique to each community to gain both attention and funding from a city budget process that may have overlooked them without direct citizen input. For instance, one out of four public school classrooms in the city lack air conditioning, which can become not only a health hazard for both students and teachers, but also an impediment to effective learning in the later months of the school term, which ends on June 28 this year.</p> <p>Several districts voted to allocate participatory budgeting funds toward putting air conditioning in classrooms devoid of it. As it turns out, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that his executive budget proposal, unveiled last month, includes almost $29 million to put air conditioning in every public school classroom in the city within five years. Another long-requested but never-delivered service, bus countdown clocks, also won funding in numerous districts. The countdown clocks have a lurid history, with the MTA removing physical clocks from some stops upon the development of a BusTime app by the Authority, which can alienate low-income New Yorkers who don’t possess smartphones.</p> <p>“This is democracy in action,” City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito said in a statement announcing the results of the cycle, getting at the essence of participatory budgeting, at least for its proponents.</p> <p>While those like Mark-Viverito, dozens of other Council members, a variety of community groups, and many residents are pleased with participatory budgeting, some critics say that it is a waste of time and Council staff resources (it is a labor heavy program for aides to Council members) and that the projects funded are ones that should really be taken into consideration in the regular budget process. Critics say that Council members are supposed to be gauging their constituents’ needs year-round anyway and influencing the larger budget process and allocating their member item funding accordingly.</p> <p>The City Council won the Roy and Lila Ash Innovation Award for Public Engagement for participatory budgeting in 2015 from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, winning $100,000 as a means of “<a href="https://ash.harvard.edu/news/new-york-san-francisco-named-winners-harvards-2015-innovation-american-government-award" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">replication and dissemination of their innovations</a>.”</p> <p>This year’s participatory budgeting winners include many typical projects, but a few others stand out.</p> <p>The highest number of votes for any project in the city went to a proposal in District 39, represented by Democrat Brad Lander, who has been a vocal proponent of PB since he was one of the original four to pilot it in the city. The votes were for providing mobile showers for homeless people. The project received 5,293 votes. The program is administered by CHiPS, a homeless services non-profit that runs a soup kitchen and a residency program, and will be stationed in front of its soup kitchen in Park Slope.</p> <p>District 39, which includes parts of Park Slope and Gowanus, has a relatively low number of homeless shelter beds. It is one of 18 City Council districts without any family shelter units, but does have nearly 300 adult single shelter beds.&nbsp;Mayor Bill de Blasio may soon change these numbers given that his new homeless shelter plan includes opening 90 new shelters of various types across the city. He has promised more beds for Park Slope, where he used to live and was the City Council member before being elected Public Advocate, then Mayor.</p> <p>Another winning project is the addition of a courtroom for Benjamin Cardozo High School in District 23, represented by Barry Grodenchik; the school is known for its Mentor Law and Humanities program. All students in the program must participate in either mock trial or model UN in their sophomore year. The courtroom will not be the first in a Queens high school; Maspeth High School opened a student courtroom in February of last year.</p> <p>In District 22, represented by Democrat Costa Constantinides, the Steinway Branch of the Queens Library will be fitted with solar panels after receiving over 1,000 votes in the district’s cycle. The library will join several other public library branches in the city that have adopted solar energy.</p> <p>The total votes in Constantinides’ district more than doubled since last year. Constantinides said this shows “that neighborhood residents care about our public and community spaces.”</p> <p>And in District 32, represented by Republican Eric Ulrich (the only one of three Republican Council districts participating in the program), Shore Front Parkway will be the site of new adult exercise equipment “adjacent to the boardwalk” as well as a “labyrinth/yoga/meditation area.” Projects in Ulrich’s district received the fewest votes of any district participating in the program this year; only 858 votes were cast in total.</p> <p>The full list of winners of New York City’s 2016-17 Participatory Budgeting Cycle can be found <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/press/2017/05/15/1414/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.</p> <p>

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by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: the article has been clarified to better explain the homeless shelter beds currently in District 39.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/pb_vote_via_lander.jpg" alt="pb vote via lander" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>(photo: Council Member Lander's office)</p> <hr /> <p>After an 11-day window in which over 100,000 residents of pertinent districts cast ballots, the City Council recently announced the winners of the 2016-17 participatory budgeting cycle. Thirty-one of 51 Council districts participated this year, leading to $34 million in capital funds going towards hyper-local projects chosen directly by the districts’ voters.</p> <p>A total of 138 projects received funding in this cycle, with most districts backing three to five projects. Some districts awarded funding for many more projects -- District 38, which includes Sunset Park, Red Hook, and Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn and is represented by Democrat Carlos Menchaca, is funding 10 projects. Many project proposals were represented in multiple districts, such as laptops or air conditioning in schools and security cameras for places such as parks, schools, and police precincts, but many were more unique to the respective districts. While participatory budgeting funds are all for capital projects, like equipment or some kind of small construction work, and often show a lot of similarity to each other and to those funded in past cycles, a handful of winning projects stand out this year.</p> <p>The participatory budgeting movement, which began in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989 as a means of decentralizing budgetary authority and handing power to the people, has since spread to numerous municipalities worldwide. It reached New York City in 2011, when City Council Members Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Eric Ulrich, and Jumaane Williams launched participatory budgeting projects in their respective districts, dedicating about $1 million of the funds at their disposal to a community process.</p> <p>While it’s not required of all Council districts, and it hasn’t been implemented citywide, the movement is clearly growing at a rapid pace in the city. Districts participating in participatory budgeting set aside, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/government/5946-participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at minimum</a>, $1 million of their capital budget allocation for public determination.</p> <p>Participatory budgeting allows issues unique to each community to gain both attention and funding from a city budget process that may have overlooked them without direct citizen input. For instance, one out of four public school classrooms in the city lack air conditioning, which can become not only a health hazard for both students and teachers, but also an impediment to effective learning in the later months of the school term, which ends on June 28 this year.</p> <p>Several districts voted to allocate participatory budgeting funds toward putting air conditioning in classrooms devoid of it. As it turns out, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that his executive budget proposal, unveiled last month, includes almost $29 million to put air conditioning in every public school classroom in the city within five years. Another long-requested but never-delivered service, bus countdown clocks, also won funding in numerous districts. The countdown clocks have a lurid history, with the MTA removing physical clocks from some stops upon the development of a BusTime app by the Authority, which can alienate low-income New Yorkers who don’t possess smartphones.</p> <p>“This is democracy in action,” City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito said in a statement announcing the results of the cycle, getting at the essence of participatory budgeting, at least for its proponents.</p> <p>While those like Mark-Viverito, dozens of other Council members, a variety of community groups, and many residents are pleased with participatory budgeting, some critics say that it is a waste of time and Council staff resources (it is a labor heavy program for aides to Council members) and that the projects funded are ones that should really be taken into consideration in the regular budget process. Critics say that Council members are supposed to be gauging their constituents’ needs year-round anyway and influencing the larger budget process and allocating their member item funding accordingly.</p> <p>The City Council won the Roy and Lila Ash Innovation Award for Public Engagement for participatory budgeting in 2015 from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, winning $100,000 as a means of “<a href="https://ash.harvard.edu/news/new-york-san-francisco-named-winners-harvards-2015-innovation-american-government-award" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">replication and dissemination of their innovations</a>.”</p> <p>This year’s participatory budgeting winners include many typical projects, but a few others stand out.</p> <p>The highest number of votes for any project in the city went to a proposal in District 39, represented by Democrat Brad Lander, who has been a vocal proponent of PB since he was one of the original four to pilot it in the city. The votes were for providing mobile showers for homeless people. The project received 5,293 votes. The program is administered by CHiPS, a homeless services non-profit that runs a soup kitchen and a residency program, and will be stationed in front of its soup kitchen in Park Slope.</p> <p>District 39, which includes parts of Park Slope and Gowanus, has a relatively low number of homeless shelter beds. It is one of 18 City Council districts without any family shelter units, but does have nearly 300 adult single shelter beds.&nbsp;Mayor Bill de Blasio may soon change these numbers given that his new homeless shelter plan includes opening 90 new shelters of various types across the city. He has promised more beds for Park Slope, where he used to live and was the City Council member before being elected Public Advocate, then Mayor.</p> <p>Another winning project is the addition of a courtroom for Benjamin Cardozo High School in District 23, represented by Barry Grodenchik; the school is known for its Mentor Law and Humanities program. All students in the program must participate in either mock trial or model UN in their sophomore year. The courtroom will not be the first in a Queens high school; Maspeth High School opened a student courtroom in February of last year.</p> <p>In District 22, represented by Democrat Costa Constantinides, the Steinway Branch of the Queens Library will be fitted with solar panels after receiving over 1,000 votes in the district’s cycle. The library will join several other public library branches in the city that have adopted solar energy.</p> <p>The total votes in Constantinides’ district more than doubled since last year. Constantinides said this shows “that neighborhood residents care about our public and community spaces.”</p> <p>And in District 32, represented by Republican Eric Ulrich (the only one of three Republican Council districts participating in the program), Shore Front Parkway will be the site of new adult exercise equipment “adjacent to the boardwalk” as well as a “labyrinth/yoga/meditation area.” Projects in Ulrich’s district received the fewest votes of any district participating in the program this year; only 858 votes were cast in total.</p> <p>The full list of winners of New York City’s 2016-17 Participatory Budgeting Cycle can be found <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/press/2017/05/15/1414/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.</p> <p>

***
by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: the article has been clarified to better explain the homeless shelter beds currently in District 39.</p>
Community Engagement Prized by Participatory Budgeting Proponents 2016-04-07T18:47:38+00:00 2016-04-07T18:47:38+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6269:community-engagement-prized-by-participatory-budgeting-proponents Super User <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/25700400915_2985da0461_z.jpg" alt="menchaca constituent" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Menchaca with a constituent (photo: William Alatriste)</p> <hr /> <p>For City Council Member Carlos Menchaca and his staff, the Participatory Budgeting Vote Week that just ended was the culmination of a year-long effort to encourage project proposals and votes from communities that are traditionally excluded from politics. Through PB, community members decide how $1-2 million in funding is allocated toward neighborhood improvements. Menchaca’s district, which includes immigrant-rich Brooklyn neighborhoods of Sunset Park and Red Hook, is one of 28 districts running the program in the 51-member City Council, but it is the most active.</p> <p dir="ltr">Last year, Menchaca’s constituents recorded the city’s highest number of participatory budgeting (PB) votes, a total of 6,299. Although this is double the amount of voters from the prior year’s cycle, it is still only a fraction of eligible voters, as the district has a population of 164,230 — about 80% of which is over the PB voting age of 14, according to the 2010 <a href="http://nyc.pediacities.com/Resource/CityCouncil/38" target="_blank">census</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Still, two-thirds of the votes from those who chose to participate were on non-English ballots and almost one-quarter were from people who couldn’t vote in regular elections, such as people under the age of 18 and immigrants without U.S. citizenship. These data give Menchaca and other supporters of PB energy to push forward despite criticism of the program.</p> <p dir="ltr">“What we’re doing with PB is removing as many obstacles as possible to get every voice in the community connected to a decision, like a community project,” Menchaca told Gotham Gazette in an interview during vote week, which was March 26-April 3.</p> <p dir="ltr">Menchaca and other Council members typically begin the PB outreach process in September, when workshops are held for residents to come together and share ideas about what should be improved or changed in their communities. This year in Menchaca’s district, fully translated workshops were held in Spanish and Chinese. Throughout the year, regular updates on scheduled events are sent through more traditional methods like phone calls, text messages, and emails. Residents are also updated via social media outlets like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter.</p> <p dir="ltr">A voting site at the Red Hook Initiative community center, run by volunteers from local high schools, forecasted some success for Menchaca’s community outreach efforts as excited teenagers encouraged their friends to vote. These youth organizers had also been working throughout the year by attending training sessions, collecting project proposals, and organizing mobile voting locations. When they set up their Red Hook Initiative site, they were determined to collect 1,000 ballots by the following day.</p> <p dir="ltr">The majority of volunteers and voters at the vote week event would not have been eligible to participate in a regular election because of their age, but PB votes are open to residents as young as 14. Tea Cruz, a 16-year-old student, voted with her younger family members in mind. She wanted the local playgrounds to be renovated so that the equipment isn’t rusty and broken when her newborn cousin is old enough to play there. She was also concerned about her younger sister’s middle school, where the library is too outdated for the students to find their books easily.</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with playground renovations and new library technology, there were 11 other projects on the <a href="http://labs.council.nyc/districts/38/" target="_blank">District 38 ballot</a> this year. Other school improvement proposals included air conditioning installations, lockers for students who are currently required to carry their belongings with them throughout the day, and repairs to auditoriums, bathrooms, and science labs. Brooklyn Community Boards 6 and 7 called for street repairs, including filling potholes and repainting lines. There were also two district-wide proposals for new trees throughout each neighborhood and electronic signs at bus stops with the location and arrival time of each bus.</p> <p dir="ltr">PB projects are only for these types of physical investments in a neighborhood, known as capital projects. Critics of PB say that many these are projects that city agencies are supposed to take care of through the normal city budgeting process, and that the role for Council members it is to be a liaison between their communities and city agencies, while also influencing the overall city budget. Still, Council members do receive funds to disburse in their communities and many members are now allowing their constituents control over a portion of those funds.</p> <p dir="ltr">In Menchaca’s district, each voter could support up to five different projects. Informational expos were held before and throughout vote week for residents to learn about each proposal. At the Red Hook Initiative site, a room in the community center was filled with colorful science-fair style posters made by young volunteers, detailing the potential benefits and costs of each project. Voters were encouraged to read all the information before handing in their ballots. Many of the teen-aged voters lingered in front of the posters, questioning details of each project.</p> <p dir="ltr">Youth Council Member Frank Edwin Guzman, Jr., who is mentored by Menchaca, thinks that the perspectives of his peers are an important part of improving the community. After entering the New York City Youth Council program, his goal is to eventually be the youngest Council member in the city (Menchaca is currently among the youngest). In the near future, Guzman would also like to see every City Council member running PB.</p> <p dir="ltr">Menchaca also hopes to see more City Council participation. Although 28 districts in New York City already run PB, the system still faces some criticism, both from within and outside the Council. In a recent <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/political-itch/2016/03/25/ny1-itch--i-don-t-want-to-participate.html" target="_blank">column</a>, NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt argued that PB places too much of the Council member’s responsibility on residents and hurts the poorer parts of districts that aren’t usually politically involved. Menchaca finds that PB has the potential to do the opposite if the right effort is made.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The people who are going to eventually become participants in PB are the people that you invite to the table,” Menchaca said, emphasizing “invite.” “If you only invite rich, engaged people then you’re only going to get rich, engaged people,” he continued. “It’s not an accident that two-thirds of the votes coming in are in Spanish and Chinese. It won’t be an accident if only rich, privileged people come out and vote for PB. It’s a direct reflection of the leadership that you place in power to engage the people.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Menchaca also responded to the criticism that PB takes power away from Council members.</p> <p dir="ltr">“What we’re trying to do is not consolidate power for one person to make decisions or go out and find solutions, but what we’re doing is actually increasing power within the community to develop leaders who are knowledgeable of city agency processes to help make a collective decision about where to place dollars,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Other critics point out that the entire PB process might be unnecessary. In a recent <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/errol-louis-nyc-budget-ain-amateurs-article-1.2588397" target="_blank">column</a> for the New York Daily News, NY1 political anchor Errol Louis pointed out that PB only makes up 0.04% of the city’s budget, labeling the process as “painfully low-stakes.” He argues that if it were really the great process participating Council members promote it to be, residents would be allowed to vote on billion-dollar decisions, rather than where to allocate $1 million or $2 million. Louis also echoes Hardt’s point about putting decision-making responsibilities into the wrong hands.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And if a budget decision goes wrong — if, say, events prove we should have bought NYPD cameras instead of renovating the senior center — participatory budgeting scatters the responsibility, letting the Council member off the hook,” he wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">In an <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5946-participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it" target="_blank">article</a> published here last year, Council members not running PB in their districts cited the heavy commitment as a deterrent.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Participatory budgeting takes an extraordinary amount of office time and resources for no discernible improvement in outcomes over working through the existing vast civic infrastructure for public participation,” said Council Member Rory Lancman, who represents District 24 in Queens.</p> <p dir="ltr">A press secretary for Council Member Inez Dickens, representative of District 9 in Harlem, explained that local community boards are the most practical way for residents to express the same opinions, concerns or proposal ideas that PB encourages. This was a point raised by Louis in his recent column.</p> <p dir="ltr">As more City Council members decide whether or not to run PB, Menchaca thinks that the future of the program lies in more funding. Last year, a project for increased Wi-Fi throughout the NYCHA public housing developments in Red Hook couldn’t receive PB funding even though it garnered more than 3,000 votes. Menchaca had already allocated all of his available funds to winning projects such as district-wide technology updates, playground lighting, bathroom renovations, and outdoor fitness equipment in Sunset Park. He went to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who was able to <a href="http://brooklyn-usa.org/bp-adams-announces-brooklyn-wide-expansion-of-participatory-budgeting/" target="_blank">expand</a> PB this year with a commitment of an extra $100,000 to 10 different districts, for a total of $1 million, to support winning projects. Adams is the first borough president to make such a funding decision.</p> <p dir="ltr">“PB is a revolutionary approach to growing democracy from the ground up, and this partnership with the City Council will cultivate that growth even further, funding more capital projects and engaging more potential voters,” Adams wrote in the press release.</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with the continued support of the borough president, Menchaca would also like to encourage the mayor’s office and more city agencies, such as the Parks Department, the School Construction Authority, and the Department of Transportation, to look to PB votes for ideas about how to spend their own money. He believes that PB could be a valuable resource for the mayor’s office and its agencies by showing the city government what residents really want and need, therefore creating a more direct relationship between city agencies and residents. If the city were to directly increase PB funding, it could help improve outreach efforts, according to Menchaca.</p> <p>“It takes money to engage the communities we’re engaging,” he said. “Especially when they don’t speak the language and there’s low literacy rates, for example, and you have to translate everything. I think the city can understand that gap of resources and bring us more translation, more literacy classes in our communities, bring us more money to teach people how to organize.”</p> <p>***<br />by Carmen Russo, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/carmenjrusso" target="_blank">@carmenjrusso</a></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/25700400915_2985da0461_z.jpg" alt="menchaca constituent" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Menchaca with a constituent (photo: William Alatriste)</p> <hr /> <p>For City Council Member Carlos Menchaca and his staff, the Participatory Budgeting Vote Week that just ended was the culmination of a year-long effort to encourage project proposals and votes from communities that are traditionally excluded from politics. Through PB, community members decide how $1-2 million in funding is allocated toward neighborhood improvements. Menchaca’s district, which includes immigrant-rich Brooklyn neighborhoods of Sunset Park and Red Hook, is one of 28 districts running the program in the 51-member City Council, but it is the most active.</p> <p dir="ltr">Last year, Menchaca’s constituents recorded the city’s highest number of participatory budgeting (PB) votes, a total of 6,299. Although this is double the amount of voters from the prior year’s cycle, it is still only a fraction of eligible voters, as the district has a population of 164,230 — about 80% of which is over the PB voting age of 14, according to the 2010 <a href="http://nyc.pediacities.com/Resource/CityCouncil/38" target="_blank">census</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Still, two-thirds of the votes from those who chose to participate were on non-English ballots and almost one-quarter were from people who couldn’t vote in regular elections, such as people under the age of 18 and immigrants without U.S. citizenship. These data give Menchaca and other supporters of PB energy to push forward despite criticism of the program.</p> <p dir="ltr">“What we’re doing with PB is removing as many obstacles as possible to get every voice in the community connected to a decision, like a community project,” Menchaca told Gotham Gazette in an interview during vote week, which was March 26-April 3.</p> <p dir="ltr">Menchaca and other Council members typically begin the PB outreach process in September, when workshops are held for residents to come together and share ideas about what should be improved or changed in their communities. This year in Menchaca’s district, fully translated workshops were held in Spanish and Chinese. Throughout the year, regular updates on scheduled events are sent through more traditional methods like phone calls, text messages, and emails. Residents are also updated via social media outlets like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter.</p> <p dir="ltr">A voting site at the Red Hook Initiative community center, run by volunteers from local high schools, forecasted some success for Menchaca’s community outreach efforts as excited teenagers encouraged their friends to vote. These youth organizers had also been working throughout the year by attending training sessions, collecting project proposals, and organizing mobile voting locations. When they set up their Red Hook Initiative site, they were determined to collect 1,000 ballots by the following day.</p> <p dir="ltr">The majority of volunteers and voters at the vote week event would not have been eligible to participate in a regular election because of their age, but PB votes are open to residents as young as 14. Tea Cruz, a 16-year-old student, voted with her younger family members in mind. She wanted the local playgrounds to be renovated so that the equipment isn’t rusty and broken when her newborn cousin is old enough to play there. She was also concerned about her younger sister’s middle school, where the library is too outdated for the students to find their books easily.</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with playground renovations and new library technology, there were 11 other projects on the <a href="http://labs.council.nyc/districts/38/" target="_blank">District 38 ballot</a> this year. Other school improvement proposals included air conditioning installations, lockers for students who are currently required to carry their belongings with them throughout the day, and repairs to auditoriums, bathrooms, and science labs. Brooklyn Community Boards 6 and 7 called for street repairs, including filling potholes and repainting lines. There were also two district-wide proposals for new trees throughout each neighborhood and electronic signs at bus stops with the location and arrival time of each bus.</p> <p dir="ltr">PB projects are only for these types of physical investments in a neighborhood, known as capital projects. Critics of PB say that many these are projects that city agencies are supposed to take care of through the normal city budgeting process, and that the role for Council members it is to be a liaison between their communities and city agencies, while also influencing the overall city budget. Still, Council members do receive funds to disburse in their communities and many members are now allowing their constituents control over a portion of those funds.</p> <p dir="ltr">In Menchaca’s district, each voter could support up to five different projects. Informational expos were held before and throughout vote week for residents to learn about each proposal. At the Red Hook Initiative site, a room in the community center was filled with colorful science-fair style posters made by young volunteers, detailing the potential benefits and costs of each project. Voters were encouraged to read all the information before handing in their ballots. Many of the teen-aged voters lingered in front of the posters, questioning details of each project.</p> <p dir="ltr">Youth Council Member Frank Edwin Guzman, Jr., who is mentored by Menchaca, thinks that the perspectives of his peers are an important part of improving the community. After entering the New York City Youth Council program, his goal is to eventually be the youngest Council member in the city (Menchaca is currently among the youngest). In the near future, Guzman would also like to see every City Council member running PB.</p> <p dir="ltr">Menchaca also hopes to see more City Council participation. Although 28 districts in New York City already run PB, the system still faces some criticism, both from within and outside the Council. In a recent <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/political-itch/2016/03/25/ny1-itch--i-don-t-want-to-participate.html" target="_blank">column</a>, NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt argued that PB places too much of the Council member’s responsibility on residents and hurts the poorer parts of districts that aren’t usually politically involved. Menchaca finds that PB has the potential to do the opposite if the right effort is made.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The people who are going to eventually become participants in PB are the people that you invite to the table,” Menchaca said, emphasizing “invite.” “If you only invite rich, engaged people then you’re only going to get rich, engaged people,” he continued. “It’s not an accident that two-thirds of the votes coming in are in Spanish and Chinese. It won’t be an accident if only rich, privileged people come out and vote for PB. It’s a direct reflection of the leadership that you place in power to engage the people.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Menchaca also responded to the criticism that PB takes power away from Council members.</p> <p dir="ltr">“What we’re trying to do is not consolidate power for one person to make decisions or go out and find solutions, but what we’re doing is actually increasing power within the community to develop leaders who are knowledgeable of city agency processes to help make a collective decision about where to place dollars,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Other critics point out that the entire PB process might be unnecessary. In a recent <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/errol-louis-nyc-budget-ain-amateurs-article-1.2588397" target="_blank">column</a> for the New York Daily News, NY1 political anchor Errol Louis pointed out that PB only makes up 0.04% of the city’s budget, labeling the process as “painfully low-stakes.” He argues that if it were really the great process participating Council members promote it to be, residents would be allowed to vote on billion-dollar decisions, rather than where to allocate $1 million or $2 million. Louis also echoes Hardt’s point about putting decision-making responsibilities into the wrong hands.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And if a budget decision goes wrong — if, say, events prove we should have bought NYPD cameras instead of renovating the senior center — participatory budgeting scatters the responsibility, letting the Council member off the hook,” he wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">In an <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5946-participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it" target="_blank">article</a> published here last year, Council members not running PB in their districts cited the heavy commitment as a deterrent.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Participatory budgeting takes an extraordinary amount of office time and resources for no discernible improvement in outcomes over working through the existing vast civic infrastructure for public participation,” said Council Member Rory Lancman, who represents District 24 in Queens.</p> <p dir="ltr">A press secretary for Council Member Inez Dickens, representative of District 9 in Harlem, explained that local community boards are the most practical way for residents to express the same opinions, concerns or proposal ideas that PB encourages. This was a point raised by Louis in his recent column.</p> <p dir="ltr">As more City Council members decide whether or not to run PB, Menchaca thinks that the future of the program lies in more funding. Last year, a project for increased Wi-Fi throughout the NYCHA public housing developments in Red Hook couldn’t receive PB funding even though it garnered more than 3,000 votes. Menchaca had already allocated all of his available funds to winning projects such as district-wide technology updates, playground lighting, bathroom renovations, and outdoor fitness equipment in Sunset Park. He went to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who was able to <a href="http://brooklyn-usa.org/bp-adams-announces-brooklyn-wide-expansion-of-participatory-budgeting/" target="_blank">expand</a> PB this year with a commitment of an extra $100,000 to 10 different districts, for a total of $1 million, to support winning projects. Adams is the first borough president to make such a funding decision.</p> <p dir="ltr">“PB is a revolutionary approach to growing democracy from the ground up, and this partnership with the City Council will cultivate that growth even further, funding more capital projects and engaging more potential voters,” Adams wrote in the press release.</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with the continued support of the borough president, Menchaca would also like to encourage the mayor’s office and more city agencies, such as the Parks Department, the School Construction Authority, and the Department of Transportation, to look to PB votes for ideas about how to spend their own money. He believes that PB could be a valuable resource for the mayor’s office and its agencies by showing the city government what residents really want and need, therefore creating a more direct relationship between city agencies and residents. If the city were to directly increase PB funding, it could help improve outreach efforts, according to Menchaca.</p> <p>“It takes money to engage the communities we’re engaging,” he said. “Especially when they don’t speak the language and there’s low literacy rates, for example, and you have to translate everything. I think the city can understand that gap of resources and bring us more translation, more literacy classes in our communities, bring us more money to teach people how to organize.”</p> <p>***<br />by Carmen Russo, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/carmenjrusso" target="_blank">@carmenjrusso</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 21 2016-03-19T14:22:16+00:00 2016-03-19T14:22:16+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6231:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-21 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 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 deadline. This practice under Governor Andrew Cuomo is actually a serious improvement given that the state used to regularly wind up with late budgets extending weeks past the start of the new fiscal year, which begins April 1.</p> <p>There are a variety of issues to be worked out, with <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6226-new-york-city-interests-given-varied-priority-in-three-albany-budget-plans" target="_blank">several of importance to New York City.</a> As always, there are a number of high-profile items, like an increase of the minimum wage or government ethics reform, that could be pushed beyond the budget and into the legislative session to follow. That session runs until mid-June. The budget, after all, only must include necessary state expenses. Expect at least a couple of closed-door meetings among Cuomo and the two legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican. On Monday,&nbsp;City Council "Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members will travel to Albany to advocate for the City Council's 2016 State Budget and Legislative Agenda," according to Mark-Viverito's public schedule.</p> <p>Also worth watching in Albany this week, the Assembly will consider internal reforms <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6229-assembly-announces-internal-reform-plan-to-mixed-reviews" target="_blank">announced by Heastie and his conference at the end of this past week</a>. The 40-plus reform proposals received <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6229-assembly-announces-internal-reform-plan-to-mixed-reviews" target="_blank">a mixed reaction</a> from elected officials and good government advocates, but still indicate a number of changes that many have been advocating for years. And, keep an eye out for a related conference in Albany on Friday, which will look at ethics reform through the lens of a state constitutional convention - details below.</p> <p>While it is another busy week of budget hearings at the City Council, the Council will also hold a full-body Stated Meeting on Tuesday, at which new bills will be introduced and the Council will vote on the two high-profile zoning changes - Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) - that have been the source of months of discussion, negotiation, and controversy, and that are key to Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing plans.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read 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>Mayor de Blasio is doing a series of six media appearances to discuss his affordable housing agenda on Monday. He'll be on NPR, 880AM and 710AM radio, and on NY1, NY1 Noticias, and Univision TV.</p> <p>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Monday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. in Albany, following the full <a href="https://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2016/2016-03/meeting-board-regents" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the NYS Board of Regents, the board’s newly-elected Chancellor and Vice Chancellor will hold a press conference with the State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.</p> <p dir="ltr">At noon Monday, a coalition of over 90 HIV/AIDS advocates will launch a statewide Week of Action on the steps of City Hall, calling upon Governor Cuomo to invest $70 million in a plan to end AIDS in the 2016 New York State budget.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">At the City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m., the Committee on Health will hold a hearing on a bill to prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco products at sports arenas and recreational areas that require tickets.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Health will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.</li> <li dir="ltr">At noon, the Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Youth Services will discuss a bill requiring the establishment of a training coordinator to teach certain agency staff throughout departments such as Parks and Recreation, Homeless Services, and Human Resources Administration/Social Services how to identify runaway, homeless or sexually exploited youth and how to connect them with appropriate services. The committee will also discuss several technical changes relating to an annual report produced by the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Youth and Community Development on the number of sexually exploited youth each agency has come into contact with over the course of the calendar year.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Public Safety will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 p.m., the Committee on Higher Education will meet to discuss a resolution to increase State funding to CUNY, and to reach a fair labor agreement with the University’s faculty and staff in the 2016-17 NYS Executive Budget.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 3 p.m., the Committee on Civil Rights will examine a bill to broaden or incorporate a right to truthful information for a variety of activities covered by the New York City Human Rights Law, including lending, employment, and access to public accommodations and others.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 2 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;"First Lady McCray will deliver opening remarks at a panel at Fountain House, an organization dedicated to supporting those living with serious mental illness."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Monday, the LGBT Task Force of Manhattan Community Boards 9, 10, 11, and 12 will host an <a href="https://twitter.com/galeabrewer/status/709089409115631617" target="_blank">LGBT Resource Fair</a> featuring New York City Agencies. The event is sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:10 p.m. Monday evening,&nbsp;"Mayor Bill de Blasio will discuss affordable housing with an anticipated 10,000+ AARP members from New York City on an interactive call that allows participants to ask questions," according to AARP-NY.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 6:30 p.m., schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will&nbsp;attend a town hall meeting of District 16's Community Education Council at MS 267 in Brooklyn.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Tuesday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Crain’s New York Business will host an <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=cnyb-events&amp;utm_campaign=cnyb-events-20160218" target="_blank">event</a> on how startup businesses take off in New York City, featuring: Gregg Bishop, Commissioner, NYC Department of Small Business Services; Howard Lerman, Co-Founder &amp; CEO, Yext; Rachel Shechtman,, Founder and CEO, STORY; Adam Shwartz, Director, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech; and moderated by Matthew Flamm, Senior Reporter, Crain's New York Business.<br /><br />At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the YWCA of New York City will host “its third breakfast <a href="https://www.ywcanyc.org/events/new-york-city-women-leaders-the-power-of-influence-and-purpose/" target="_blank">panel</a> for Women’s History Month “New York City Women Leaders: The Power of Influence and Purpose.” The panel will include Maya Wiley, counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio; City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley; and Carmelyn Malalis, commissioner of the city’s Human Rights Commission; among others.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Commission on Public Information and Communication will meet to <a href="http://pubadvocate.nyc.gov/news/events/copic-meeting-1" target="_blank">discuss</a> the implementation of the webcasting law and the establishment of a central portal for webcasts.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the City Council on Tuesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 9 a.m., the Committee on State and Federal Legislation will meet to press for authorization that Christopher Park in Manhattan is discontinued as city parkland.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet to approve new designations for certain organizations to receive funding in the expense budget; to communicate the transfer of City funds between various agencies in FY ‘16 in the expense budget; and to communicate the appropriation of new revenues of $982 million in FY ‘16.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 p.m., the City Council will hold a full-body Stated Meeting. The highlight of the hearing will be the Council’s votes on the MIH and ZQA zoning text amendments.</li> <li dir="ltr">Before the Stated, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will host a pre-Stated press conference at 12:30.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Also prior to the Stated Meeting, at noon, City Council Members Costa Constantinides and Ydanis Rodriguez will host a press conference on the steps of City Hall to rally before introducing a bill to create a pilot program for electric vehicle charging stations on street parking. The program hopes to encourage the use of electric cars and reduce carbon emissions citywide.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Wednesday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the City Council on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Subcommittee on Libraries will meet jointly with the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations for a preliminary budget hearing on libraries.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m., the Committee on Contracts will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Courts and Legal Services will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 5 p.m. Wednesday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito <a href="https://twitter.com/NYCCD8/status/709758093421387777" target="_blank">will host</a> a Women’s History Month celebration at Mott Haven Library.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 8 a.m. Thursday, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce will <a href="http://www.manhattancc.org/MCC_Events/MCC_Chairmans_Breakfast_Series.aspx" target="_blank">host</a> a breakfast event focused on combating the rising tide of cybercrime and featuring Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>At 1:30 p.m. Friday in Albany, a <a href="http://www.rockinst.org/forumsandevents/upcoming/default.aspx#Constitutional_Convention_Strengthen_Ethics" target="_blank">forum</a>, “Can a NYS Constitutional Convention Strengthen Government Ethics?” The event, hosted by The Rockefeller Institute, will feature discussion about whether issues of integrity in government can be fixed statutorily, or if would be better resolved through constitutional change. Speaking will be former NYS Comptroller H. Carl McCall; and Columbia Law School Professor Richard Briffault, who is also a former assistant counsel to Governor Hugh Carey; as well as a panel of experts.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Saturday, March 26, Participatory Budget voting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/home.shtml" target="_blank">begins</a> in New York City Council districts running the program. In Participatory Budgeting, Council Members ask New York City residents “to decide how to invest public funds in their neighborhoods.” Voting will take place throughout the nearly 30 participating districts through April 3.</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 Kelly Fan 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 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 deadline. This practice under Governor Andrew Cuomo is actually a serious improvement given that the state used to regularly wind up with late budgets extending weeks past the start of the new fiscal year, which begins April 1.</p> <p>There are a variety of issues to be worked out, with <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6226-new-york-city-interests-given-varied-priority-in-three-albany-budget-plans" target="_blank">several of importance to New York City.</a> As always, there are a number of high-profile items, like an increase of the minimum wage or government ethics reform, that could be pushed beyond the budget and into the legislative session to follow. That session runs until mid-June. The budget, after all, only must include necessary state expenses. Expect at least a couple of closed-door meetings among Cuomo and the two legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican. On Monday,&nbsp;City Council "Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members will travel to Albany to advocate for the City Council's 2016 State Budget and Legislative Agenda," according to Mark-Viverito's public schedule.</p> <p>Also worth watching in Albany this week, the Assembly will consider internal reforms <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6229-assembly-announces-internal-reform-plan-to-mixed-reviews" target="_blank">announced by Heastie and his conference at the end of this past week</a>. The 40-plus reform proposals received <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6229-assembly-announces-internal-reform-plan-to-mixed-reviews" target="_blank">a mixed reaction</a> from elected officials and good government advocates, but still indicate a number of changes that many have been advocating for years. And, keep an eye out for a related conference in Albany on Friday, which will look at ethics reform through the lens of a state constitutional convention - details below.</p> <p>While it is another busy week of budget hearings at the City Council, the Council will also hold a full-body Stated Meeting on Tuesday, at which new bills will be introduced and the Council will vote on the two high-profile zoning changes - Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) - that have been the source of months of discussion, negotiation, and controversy, and that are key to Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing plans.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read 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>Mayor de Blasio is doing a series of six media appearances to discuss his affordable housing agenda on Monday. He'll be on NPR, 880AM and 710AM radio, and on NY1, NY1 Noticias, and Univision TV.</p> <p>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Monday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. in Albany, following the full <a href="https://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2016/2016-03/meeting-board-regents" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the NYS Board of Regents, the board’s newly-elected Chancellor and Vice Chancellor will hold a press conference with the State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.</p> <p dir="ltr">At noon Monday, a coalition of over 90 HIV/AIDS advocates will launch a statewide Week of Action on the steps of City Hall, calling upon Governor Cuomo to invest $70 million in a plan to end AIDS in the 2016 New York State budget.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">At the City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m., the Committee on Health will hold a hearing on a bill to prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco products at sports arenas and recreational areas that require tickets.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Health will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.</li> <li dir="ltr">At noon, the Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Youth Services will discuss a bill requiring the establishment of a training coordinator to teach certain agency staff throughout departments such as Parks and Recreation, Homeless Services, and Human Resources Administration/Social Services how to identify runaway, homeless or sexually exploited youth and how to connect them with appropriate services. The committee will also discuss several technical changes relating to an annual report produced by the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Youth and Community Development on the number of sexually exploited youth each agency has come into contact with over the course of the calendar year.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Public Safety will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 p.m., the Committee on Higher Education will meet to discuss a resolution to increase State funding to CUNY, and to reach a fair labor agreement with the University’s faculty and staff in the 2016-17 NYS Executive Budget.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 3 p.m., the Committee on Civil Rights will examine a bill to broaden or incorporate a right to truthful information for a variety of activities covered by the New York City Human Rights Law, including lending, employment, and access to public accommodations and others.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 2 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;"First Lady McCray will deliver opening remarks at a panel at Fountain House, an organization dedicated to supporting those living with serious mental illness."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Monday, the LGBT Task Force of Manhattan Community Boards 9, 10, 11, and 12 will host an <a href="https://twitter.com/galeabrewer/status/709089409115631617" target="_blank">LGBT Resource Fair</a> featuring New York City Agencies. The event is sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:10 p.m. Monday evening,&nbsp;"Mayor Bill de Blasio will discuss affordable housing with an anticipated 10,000+ AARP members from New York City on an interactive call that allows participants to ask questions," according to AARP-NY.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 6:30 p.m., schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will&nbsp;attend a town hall meeting of District 16's Community Education Council at MS 267 in Brooklyn.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Tuesday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Crain’s New York Business will host an <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=cnyb-events&amp;utm_campaign=cnyb-events-20160218" target="_blank">event</a> on how startup businesses take off in New York City, featuring: Gregg Bishop, Commissioner, NYC Department of Small Business Services; Howard Lerman, Co-Founder &amp; CEO, Yext; Rachel Shechtman,, Founder and CEO, STORY; Adam Shwartz, Director, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech; and moderated by Matthew Flamm, Senior Reporter, Crain's New York Business.<br /><br />At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the YWCA of New York City will host “its third breakfast <a href="https://www.ywcanyc.org/events/new-york-city-women-leaders-the-power-of-influence-and-purpose/" target="_blank">panel</a> for Women’s History Month “New York City Women Leaders: The Power of Influence and Purpose.” The panel will include Maya Wiley, counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio; City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley; and Carmelyn Malalis, commissioner of the city’s Human Rights Commission; among others.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Commission on Public Information and Communication will meet to <a href="http://pubadvocate.nyc.gov/news/events/copic-meeting-1" target="_blank">discuss</a> the implementation of the webcasting law and the establishment of a central portal for webcasts.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the City Council on Tuesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 9 a.m., the Committee on State and Federal Legislation will meet to press for authorization that Christopher Park in Manhattan is discontinued as city parkland.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet to approve new designations for certain organizations to receive funding in the expense budget; to communicate the transfer of City funds between various agencies in FY ‘16 in the expense budget; and to communicate the appropriation of new revenues of $982 million in FY ‘16.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 p.m., the City Council will hold a full-body Stated Meeting. The highlight of the hearing will be the Council’s votes on the MIH and ZQA zoning text amendments.</li> <li dir="ltr">Before the Stated, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will host a pre-Stated press conference at 12:30.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Also prior to the Stated Meeting, at noon, City Council Members Costa Constantinides and Ydanis Rodriguez will host a press conference on the steps of City Hall to rally before introducing a bill to create a pilot program for electric vehicle charging stations on street parking. The program hopes to encourage the use of electric cars and reduce carbon emissions citywide.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Wednesday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the City Council on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Subcommittee on Libraries will meet jointly with the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations for a preliminary budget hearing on libraries.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m., the Committee on Contracts will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Courts and Legal Services will meet for a preliminary budget hearing.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 5 p.m. Wednesday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito <a href="https://twitter.com/NYCCD8/status/709758093421387777" target="_blank">will host</a> a Women’s History Month celebration at Mott Haven Library.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 8 a.m. Thursday, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce will <a href="http://www.manhattancc.org/MCC_Events/MCC_Chairmans_Breakfast_Series.aspx" target="_blank">host</a> a breakfast event focused on combating the rising tide of cybercrime and featuring Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>At 1:30 p.m. Friday in Albany, a <a href="http://www.rockinst.org/forumsandevents/upcoming/default.aspx#Constitutional_Convention_Strengthen_Ethics" target="_blank">forum</a>, “Can a NYS Constitutional Convention Strengthen Government Ethics?” The event, hosted by The Rockefeller Institute, will feature discussion about whether issues of integrity in government can be fixed statutorily, or if would be better resolved through constitutional change. Speaking will be former NYS Comptroller H. Carl McCall; and Columbia Law School Professor Richard Briffault, who is also a former assistant counsel to Governor Hugh Carey; as well as a panel of experts.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Saturday, March 26, Participatory Budget voting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/home.shtml" target="_blank">begins</a> in New York City Council districts running the program. In Participatory Budgeting, Council Members ask New York City residents “to decide how to invest public funds in their neighborhoods.” Voting will take place throughout the nearly 30 participating districts through April 3.</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 Kelly Fan and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> 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> Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn’t Every Council Member Doing It? 2015-10-22T19:36:43+00:00 2015-10-22T19:36:43+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5946:participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it Super User <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/PB_NYC_East_Harlem.jpg" alt="PB NYC East Harlem" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p dir="ltr">PB voting in East Harlem, photo <a href="http://pbnyc.org/blog/15" target="_blank">via PB NYC</a></p> <hr /> <p>In four years participatory budgeting has exploded from four to 27 New York City Council districts. With over 51,000 voters casting ballots last cycle to allocate a total of $32 million dollars to projects across the city, New York‘s experiment in direct democracy has quickly become the largest of its kind in North America.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This is the biggest year of participatory budgeting yet, with 27 Council members asking their constituents to decide how to spend at least $1 million on improvements in their communities...this is truly what democracy is about,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, an early PB adopter, said at a recent conference on advancing the city’s progressive agenda.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday, October 26, Mark-Viverito and her colleagues will be recognized for their efforts at a ceremony in Manhattan where they will be presented with an innovation award and corresponding $100,000 prize. Last month, Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government recognized the growth and impact of participatory budgeting in New York City by <a href="http://ash.harvard.edu/news/new-york-san-francisco-named-winners-harvards-2015-innovation-american-government-award" target="_blank">awarding</a> the Council the Roy and Lila Ash Innovation Award for Public Engagement in Government.</p> <p dir="ltr">The award “spotlights...programs that engage all citizens, particularly those from overlooked communities, and that serve as effective models of participatory democracy for other communities throughout the United States,” says Stephen Goldsmith, the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and the Director of the Ash Center’s Government Innovation Program.</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council members decide individually whether to run participatory budgeting in their home districts, and exactly how much of their capital budget allocation to devote to public determination, with $1 million the minimum. Capital projects are infrastructure items, like playgrounds, dog runs, and neighborhood benches. They can also include technology for schools, like laptops.</p> <p dir="ltr">Under Mark-Viverito, who became Speaker in early 2014, the Council has promoted PB expansion and provided greater support through its central staff to those Council members opting in.</p> <p dir="ltr">With more than half of the City Council’s 51 members now running the program - and much fanfare around it - it is curious to some why all members haven’t adopted the program. In the latest PB cycle, <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/districts.shtml" target="_blank">the city's fifth</a>, which began this fall, only three additional Council members signed on, increasing participation slightly from the 24 who ran the program last year, when there was a major jump after an election that saw many new, young, and progressive candidates elected.</p> <p dir="ltr">What’s holding the remaining Council members back? Gotham Gazette sent emails to representatives of six Council members not running PB, only two of whom responded: representatives of Council Members Rory Lancman, of Queens, and Inez Dickens, of Manhattan (both Democrats), explained their rationale.</p> <p dir="ltr">One common theme in the two responses is that participatory budgeting provides superfluous community input. There are already sufficient avenues of constituent-Council member interaction, and it is already up to Council members to take constituent opinions into consideration when allocating the funding they have to work with.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Local community boards, which are composed by local residents and constituents, submit to their local council members their capital priorities, projects, and concerns,” wrote Council Member Dickens’ press secretary, Frances Escano. “As the collective voice of the community, their expressed views on the capital projects that need funding provide a significant input on what needs must be addressed.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Lancman‘s reply gets at a concern expressed by other Council members Gotham Gazette has spoken to: the significant staff time and energy that PB requires. "Participatory budgeting takes an extraordinary amount of office time and resources for no discernible improvement in outcomes over working through the existing vast civic infrastructure for public participation,” Lancman said in a statement. “My district does not lack for opportunities and vehicles for community engagement, which I'm proud to say my constituents take ample advantage of."</p> <p dir="ltr">These responses seem to miss the point, says David Beasley, Communications Director for the Participatory Budgeting Project, the nonprofit that helps run the program. “Participatory budgeting should not replicate the existing power structures,“ he asserted in an interview with Gotham Gazette, “that‘s not what PB is for.“</p> <p dir="ltr">According to a press release from Speaker Mark-Viverito’s office, the <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pr/052015pb.shtml" target="_blank">voter demographics</a> from the most recent PB vote (ballots were cast in April at the end of the 2014-2015 cycle) serve as a shining example of this ideal. Nearly 60 percent of PB voters identified as people of color; approximately one in ten were under 18; nearly 30 percent reported an annual household income of $25,000 or below; more than a quarter were born outside of the U.S.; nearly a quarter reported a barrier to voting in regular elections, with one in ten reporting they were not U.S. citizens; and 63 percent identified as female.</p> <p dir="ltr">Participatory budgeting allows votes from anyone living in the City Council district at hand, with the exception, in most cases, of those younger than 16. Some Council members have allowed those as young as 14 to vote.</p> <p dir="ltr">In their 2014-2015 <a href="https://cdp.urbanjustice.org/sites/default/files/CDP.WEB.doc_Report_PBNYC_cycle4findings_20151021.pdf" target="_blank">Participatory Budgeting Report,</a> released Tuesday, October 20, the Urban Justice Center and PBNYC showcase another telling statistic: 51 percent of PB voters, “were not part of a community group or organization.“ That is to say, it is many voices not present on community boards, PTAs, neighborhood civic associations, et. al. that participatory budgeting incorporates into public discourse. In Council Member Carlos Menchaca‘s Brooklyn district, to give one example, more monolingual, non-English speakers voted for a PB project than did in the general election when Menchaca was chosen in 2013.</p> <p dir="ltr">The direct democracy, ability to shape one’s neighborhood, and low barrier to entry seem to be the cause of the participation outlined above.</p> <p dir="ltr">Through a series of public assemblies, residents work with elected officials over a period of eight months to identify neighborhood concerns, create projects to address them, and put the ones with the most interest to a vote.</p> <p dir="ltr">The practice culminates when district residents fill out ballots to allocate at least $1 million in capital funding toward proposals developed by the community to meet local needs. Absent much of the typical bureaucracy of community politics, participatory budgeting lures previously dormant New Yorkers into the public sphere.</p> <p dir="ltr">PBNYC, the umbrella organization uniting the City Council, the Participatory Budgeting Project, the outreach nonprofit Community Voices Heard, and 63 community-based organizations across the city, oversees the entire operation; and the coalition continues to launch new ways to wrangle more participants. The organization‘s recently launched “Ideas Map“ is one of their major additions for the just-started 2015-2016 cycle. Anybody who wants to can go online and submit their capital funding idea for their district, specifying the project’s location on the digital outline of NYC. (A tip: participating PB Council districts are lit up, but eager residents can post suggestions in non-PB districts as well. Perhaps a nudge toward more Council enrollment.)</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn let on in an interview with Gotham Gazette that Council members‘ decisions to not run PB may be about more than already getting “significant input” from their constituents. Confining community recommendations to established local channels is a way for Council Members to retain their power, Williams said. While legislators can largely choose to reject suggestions from community boards, participatory budgeting completely cedes a portion of a Council member‘s budget to popular vote.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It's one thing to receive input, it's another thing for someone to actually vote on it and for it to be a binding decision," said Williams, whose district 45 residents last year <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/d45/html/members/pb45.shtml" target="_blank">elected to spend</a> over $300,000 on schools including classroom computers, smartboards, and renovated bathrooms.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/19844312434_608ca41ee7_z.jpg" alt="Jumaane Williams" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="400" height="267" /><span style="text-align: center;">(CM Williams - photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Menchaca - whose district 38 constituents cast over 6,000 ballots last year, <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/d38/html/members/pb38.shtml" target="_blank">also allocating</a>&nbsp;funds for a litany of school upgrades in addition to outdoor fitness equipment for Sunset Park - takes Williams' point a step further. Menchaca sees resistance to PB as stemming from an overly cautious, controlling, and outdated form of governing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“One of the main things that I get in resistance from members or other people...is the fallacy that I am relinquishing power,” Menchaca says, “because I got elected to make these decisions - what am I doing giving it back to the people?...I think that‘s just an old-school way of understanding the role of government and the role of people and the role of democracy, a true participatory democracy that empowers people in decision making.“</p> <p dir="ltr">While Menchaca is clearly a true-believer, and puts his money where his mouth is, other Council members run the program, but to a more limited degree.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You may miss some very good projects...if there is no other way to get some things funded,” says Williams, acknowledging that not everything on a PB ballot will get funded.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lancman‘s other reason for not participating in PB--that it requires “an extraordinary amount of office time and resources for no discernible improvement in outcomes“--may hold the most weight. It is something that other Council members have expressed concerns about in off-the-record conversations.</p> <p dir="ltr">The $32 million spent last year on participatory budgeting projects represents just .4 percent of the average $7.9 billion spent on city capital projects annually (2003-2012), according to an <a href="http://www.ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/IBOCBG.pdf" target="_blank">IBO report</a>. Yet implementing a robust and dedicated PB program drains Council members of a significant amount of effort and resources - during the height of PB season, Council members often have to dedicate one staff member (of units that usually only run about five deep) to PB full-time, with others chipping in part of their time.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is a commitment,” says Williams, “there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. You jump in, you can’t really jump partially in...It touches most of my staff in different ways.“</p> <p dir="ltr">Menchaca also acknowledges the effort required. “This has to be your priority,” he says, “Everything is built around PB in [my] office. It is at the core of what I do.” Even with this type of attention the council member says, he needs more resources. “I could use another five people to help staff the PB portion of my operations.“</p> <p dir="ltr">Budget info, as seen in the IBO report, shows that over the course of three years from 2013-2016, Council members are committed to spending $1.765 billion in capital funds. Divided by 51 Council members (though the money is not evenly divided), this comes out to about $34.6 million each over the course of those four fiscal years, or $8.65 million per Council member per year. In that context, $1-2 million toward participatory budgeting in a given year is fairly significant.</p> <p dir="ltr">The benefits of participatory budgeting also extend outside of its explicit function. The most notable of these benefits, according to the Urban Justice Center report, include better informed policy decisions, increased resident trust in government, and more cohesive community bonds.</p> <p dir="ltr">On a practical level, needs revealed by the participatory budgeting process can inform and direct further non-PB government spending. In its 2013-2014 <a href="https://cdp.urbanjustice.org/sites/default/files/CDP.WEB.doc_Report_PBNYC-cycle3-FullReport_20141030.pdf" target="_blank">report</a>, the Urban Justice Center found that seven out of ten Council members running PB programs used their capital expense funds left over from the PB process to implement projects suggested during PB that did not garner enough support to be selected by constituents.</p> <p dir="ltr">The same report also suggests how participatory budgeting has the power to affect city-wide change. Following a flood of PB proposals to renovate decrepit school bathrooms, the DOE elected to dedicate $100 million to repair deteriorated lavatories - $50 million more than it had promised. The increase in funding came out to three times the amount spent on all PB-designated capital projects that year.</p> <p dir="ltr">On top of this, Council members acquire valuable, new community contacts through participatory budgeting. “I‘m developing social networks that didn‘t exist before...and...I‘m utilizing the networks that I‘m building here to deal with the other issues outside of PB,” says Menchaca.</p> <p dir="ltr">As an example, he cites a recently-made connection with an employee of BioBAT, a bio-tech incubator, “maybe I can get her involved in organizing small-businesses if there is an infrastructure issue,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/18486805868_f8e5a0ce42_z.jpg" alt="Menchaca" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="400" height="267" />(CM Menchaca, left - photo: William Alatriste)</p> <p dir="ltr">The benefits of these new networks go both ways, too, as the Urban Justice Center report found that by working with Council members and city agencies to create and implement capital projects, community members develop greater trust in government. Confident that Council members will be responsive to their input, residents feel free to reach out to their representatives if an issue comes up - even outside PB.</p> <p dir="ltr">In one case detailed by Beasley, of the Participatory Budgeting Project, this past year Council Member Menchaca was considering a large development project in the middle of a local park. Community members caught wind of the project and pushed back hard. They insisted it would cost too much money. According to Beasley, Menchaca paused, reevaluated the project and said 'I think you‘re right. We have this money in the budget; what should we spend it on to make this park better?'</p> <p dir="ltr">It is this type of empowerment that Council Member Williams was seeking when he first started his PB program five years ago. “The most important thing that I do is probably pass the budget and that’s the thing that my constituents understand the least,” Williams told Gotham Gazette. “[Participatory Budgeting] was a good meld of empowering and allowing people to get involved in the budget process. It allows them to get their hands dirty.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Increased public awareness of discretionary funds is something the city could use too. Also known as “member items,“ discretionary funds have historically been one of the most abused pots of <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/br-guest-participatory-budgeting-tool-corruption-article-1.1323640?localLinksEnabled=false" target="_blank">City</a> <a href="http://nypost.com/2013/07/09/mayoral-hopefuls-roast-council-pork/" target="_blank">Council</a> <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/280438-participatory-budgeting-and-member-items/" target="_blank">money</a>. It was no coincidence that Speaker Mark-Viverito‘s decision to provide centralized funding to PB came in conjunction with several rules making discretionary funds more equitable and <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2014/05/8545406/mark-viverito-cements-victory-rules-reform" target="_blank">transparent</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">This summer, Council Member Brad Lander of Brooklyn, also an early PB adopter, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5863-map-launched-to-bring-greater-accountability-to-capital-spending" target="_blank">launched an interactive map</a> that tracks capital projects in his district, including those funded through PB and not. Lander <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5863-map-launched-to-bring-greater-accountability-to-capital-spending" target="_blank">told Gotham Gazette</a> that "the long-term answers is a citywide system that tracks all capital projects" so that constituents can see the progress of government-funded efforts.</p> <p dir="ltr">The first years of PBNYC saw expansion by just a few districts per year after the initial class of four. It was only in the fourth year, when, after an election and under Mark-Viverito, the City Council dedicated centralized resources to PB and the number jumped by 14.</p> <p dir="ltr">In this sense, though, David Beasley doesn‘t see this year’s three district growth as anything abnormal.</p> <p dir="ltr">Participatory Budgeting, “hasn’t had time to stabilize and really set in,” he said. “It is still almost brand new...For some people PB is an obvious answer, for others they want to see that it works.“</p> <p dir="ltr">He‘s quick to add, “we think it‘s been proven through the evaluations from the Urban Justice Center...but we‘ll see how the reports continue to go.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Menchaca is convinced and sees the growth of PB as inevitable, but that it might take just a couple more years. “I think we need to elect new people,” Menchaca said regarding those who don't run the program in their districts, “[PB] becomes a political strategy for empowerment.“</p> <p dir="ltr">Gensis-Muelens Dixon, a 13-year-old from the Flatbush area and a constituent of Council Member Williams, is feeling empowered. Together with his mother Taja Dixon, Co-Chair of District 45 Participatory Budgeting, he wants to secure funding to turn an empty plot of land into a community garden.</p> <p>The pair proposed their idea at Williams' inaugural PB assembly, which Gotham Gazette attended. Their project aims to supply fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as foster the same community spirit the two have come to appreciate through participatory budgeting. As the meeting came to an end, Gensis gave a quick word to Gotham Gazette about his experience in the two years he and his mother have been participating in PB.</p> <p>"It is really amazing how much people think about their community," he said. "Usually, in this area at least, you would think that some people just don't care and to see that this many people care about these little things in their community is inspiring."&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by Colin O’Connor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/PB_NYC_East_Harlem.jpg" alt="PB NYC East Harlem" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p dir="ltr">PB voting in East Harlem, photo <a href="http://pbnyc.org/blog/15" target="_blank">via PB NYC</a></p> <hr /> <p>In four years participatory budgeting has exploded from four to 27 New York City Council districts. With over 51,000 voters casting ballots last cycle to allocate a total of $32 million dollars to projects across the city, New York‘s experiment in direct democracy has quickly become the largest of its kind in North America.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This is the biggest year of participatory budgeting yet, with 27 Council members asking their constituents to decide how to spend at least $1 million on improvements in their communities...this is truly what democracy is about,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, an early PB adopter, said at a recent conference on advancing the city’s progressive agenda.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday, October 26, Mark-Viverito and her colleagues will be recognized for their efforts at a ceremony in Manhattan where they will be presented with an innovation award and corresponding $100,000 prize. Last month, Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government recognized the growth and impact of participatory budgeting in New York City by <a href="http://ash.harvard.edu/news/new-york-san-francisco-named-winners-harvards-2015-innovation-american-government-award" target="_blank">awarding</a> the Council the Roy and Lila Ash Innovation Award for Public Engagement in Government.</p> <p dir="ltr">The award “spotlights...programs that engage all citizens, particularly those from overlooked communities, and that serve as effective models of participatory democracy for other communities throughout the United States,” says Stephen Goldsmith, the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and the Director of the Ash Center’s Government Innovation Program.</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council members decide individually whether to run participatory budgeting in their home districts, and exactly how much of their capital budget allocation to devote to public determination, with $1 million the minimum. Capital projects are infrastructure items, like playgrounds, dog runs, and neighborhood benches. They can also include technology for schools, like laptops.</p> <p dir="ltr">Under Mark-Viverito, who became Speaker in early 2014, the Council has promoted PB expansion and provided greater support through its central staff to those Council members opting in.</p> <p dir="ltr">With more than half of the City Council’s 51 members now running the program - and much fanfare around it - it is curious to some why all members haven’t adopted the program. In the latest PB cycle, <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/districts.shtml" target="_blank">the city's fifth</a>, which began this fall, only three additional Council members signed on, increasing participation slightly from the 24 who ran the program last year, when there was a major jump after an election that saw many new, young, and progressive candidates elected.</p> <p dir="ltr">What’s holding the remaining Council members back? Gotham Gazette sent emails to representatives of six Council members not running PB, only two of whom responded: representatives of Council Members Rory Lancman, of Queens, and Inez Dickens, of Manhattan (both Democrats), explained their rationale.</p> <p dir="ltr">One common theme in the two responses is that participatory budgeting provides superfluous community input. There are already sufficient avenues of constituent-Council member interaction, and it is already up to Council members to take constituent opinions into consideration when allocating the funding they have to work with.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Local community boards, which are composed by local residents and constituents, submit to their local council members their capital priorities, projects, and concerns,” wrote Council Member Dickens’ press secretary, Frances Escano. “As the collective voice of the community, their expressed views on the capital projects that need funding provide a significant input on what needs must be addressed.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Lancman‘s reply gets at a concern expressed by other Council members Gotham Gazette has spoken to: the significant staff time and energy that PB requires. "Participatory budgeting takes an extraordinary amount of office time and resources for no discernible improvement in outcomes over working through the existing vast civic infrastructure for public participation,” Lancman said in a statement. “My district does not lack for opportunities and vehicles for community engagement, which I'm proud to say my constituents take ample advantage of."</p> <p dir="ltr">These responses seem to miss the point, says David Beasley, Communications Director for the Participatory Budgeting Project, the nonprofit that helps run the program. “Participatory budgeting should not replicate the existing power structures,“ he asserted in an interview with Gotham Gazette, “that‘s not what PB is for.“</p> <p dir="ltr">According to a press release from Speaker Mark-Viverito’s office, the <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pr/052015pb.shtml" target="_blank">voter demographics</a> from the most recent PB vote (ballots were cast in April at the end of the 2014-2015 cycle) serve as a shining example of this ideal. Nearly 60 percent of PB voters identified as people of color; approximately one in ten were under 18; nearly 30 percent reported an annual household income of $25,000 or below; more than a quarter were born outside of the U.S.; nearly a quarter reported a barrier to voting in regular elections, with one in ten reporting they were not U.S. citizens; and 63 percent identified as female.</p> <p dir="ltr">Participatory budgeting allows votes from anyone living in the City Council district at hand, with the exception, in most cases, of those younger than 16. Some Council members have allowed those as young as 14 to vote.</p> <p dir="ltr">In their 2014-2015 <a href="https://cdp.urbanjustice.org/sites/default/files/CDP.WEB.doc_Report_PBNYC_cycle4findings_20151021.pdf" target="_blank">Participatory Budgeting Report,</a> released Tuesday, October 20, the Urban Justice Center and PBNYC showcase another telling statistic: 51 percent of PB voters, “were not part of a community group or organization.“ That is to say, it is many voices not present on community boards, PTAs, neighborhood civic associations, et. al. that participatory budgeting incorporates into public discourse. In Council Member Carlos Menchaca‘s Brooklyn district, to give one example, more monolingual, non-English speakers voted for a PB project than did in the general election when Menchaca was chosen in 2013.</p> <p dir="ltr">The direct democracy, ability to shape one’s neighborhood, and low barrier to entry seem to be the cause of the participation outlined above.</p> <p dir="ltr">Through a series of public assemblies, residents work with elected officials over a period of eight months to identify neighborhood concerns, create projects to address them, and put the ones with the most interest to a vote.</p> <p dir="ltr">The practice culminates when district residents fill out ballots to allocate at least $1 million in capital funding toward proposals developed by the community to meet local needs. Absent much of the typical bureaucracy of community politics, participatory budgeting lures previously dormant New Yorkers into the public sphere.</p> <p dir="ltr">PBNYC, the umbrella organization uniting the City Council, the Participatory Budgeting Project, the outreach nonprofit Community Voices Heard, and 63 community-based organizations across the city, oversees the entire operation; and the coalition continues to launch new ways to wrangle more participants. The organization‘s recently launched “Ideas Map“ is one of their major additions for the just-started 2015-2016 cycle. Anybody who wants to can go online and submit their capital funding idea for their district, specifying the project’s location on the digital outline of NYC. (A tip: participating PB Council districts are lit up, but eager residents can post suggestions in non-PB districts as well. Perhaps a nudge toward more Council enrollment.)</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn let on in an interview with Gotham Gazette that Council members‘ decisions to not run PB may be about more than already getting “significant input” from their constituents. Confining community recommendations to established local channels is a way for Council Members to retain their power, Williams said. While legislators can largely choose to reject suggestions from community boards, participatory budgeting completely cedes a portion of a Council member‘s budget to popular vote.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It's one thing to receive input, it's another thing for someone to actually vote on it and for it to be a binding decision," said Williams, whose district 45 residents last year <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/d45/html/members/pb45.shtml" target="_blank">elected to spend</a> over $300,000 on schools including classroom computers, smartboards, and renovated bathrooms.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/19844312434_608ca41ee7_z.jpg" alt="Jumaane Williams" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="400" height="267" /><span style="text-align: center;">(CM Williams - photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Menchaca - whose district 38 constituents cast over 6,000 ballots last year, <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/d38/html/members/pb38.shtml" target="_blank">also allocating</a>&nbsp;funds for a litany of school upgrades in addition to outdoor fitness equipment for Sunset Park - takes Williams' point a step further. Menchaca sees resistance to PB as stemming from an overly cautious, controlling, and outdated form of governing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“One of the main things that I get in resistance from members or other people...is the fallacy that I am relinquishing power,” Menchaca says, “because I got elected to make these decisions - what am I doing giving it back to the people?...I think that‘s just an old-school way of understanding the role of government and the role of people and the role of democracy, a true participatory democracy that empowers people in decision making.“</p> <p dir="ltr">While Menchaca is clearly a true-believer, and puts his money where his mouth is, other Council members run the program, but to a more limited degree.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You may miss some very good projects...if there is no other way to get some things funded,” says Williams, acknowledging that not everything on a PB ballot will get funded.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lancman‘s other reason for not participating in PB--that it requires “an extraordinary amount of office time and resources for no discernible improvement in outcomes“--may hold the most weight. It is something that other Council members have expressed concerns about in off-the-record conversations.</p> <p dir="ltr">The $32 million spent last year on participatory budgeting projects represents just .4 percent of the average $7.9 billion spent on city capital projects annually (2003-2012), according to an <a href="http://www.ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/IBOCBG.pdf" target="_blank">IBO report</a>. Yet implementing a robust and dedicated PB program drains Council members of a significant amount of effort and resources - during the height of PB season, Council members often have to dedicate one staff member (of units that usually only run about five deep) to PB full-time, with others chipping in part of their time.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is a commitment,” says Williams, “there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. You jump in, you can’t really jump partially in...It touches most of my staff in different ways.“</p> <p dir="ltr">Menchaca also acknowledges the effort required. “This has to be your priority,” he says, “Everything is built around PB in [my] office. It is at the core of what I do.” Even with this type of attention the council member says, he needs more resources. “I could use another five people to help staff the PB portion of my operations.“</p> <p dir="ltr">Budget info, as seen in the IBO report, shows that over the course of three years from 2013-2016, Council members are committed to spending $1.765 billion in capital funds. Divided by 51 Council members (though the money is not evenly divided), this comes out to about $34.6 million each over the course of those four fiscal years, or $8.65 million per Council member per year. In that context, $1-2 million toward participatory budgeting in a given year is fairly significant.</p> <p dir="ltr">The benefits of participatory budgeting also extend outside of its explicit function. The most notable of these benefits, according to the Urban Justice Center report, include better informed policy decisions, increased resident trust in government, and more cohesive community bonds.</p> <p dir="ltr">On a practical level, needs revealed by the participatory budgeting process can inform and direct further non-PB government spending. In its 2013-2014 <a href="https://cdp.urbanjustice.org/sites/default/files/CDP.WEB.doc_Report_PBNYC-cycle3-FullReport_20141030.pdf" target="_blank">report</a>, the Urban Justice Center found that seven out of ten Council members running PB programs used their capital expense funds left over from the PB process to implement projects suggested during PB that did not garner enough support to be selected by constituents.</p> <p dir="ltr">The same report also suggests how participatory budgeting has the power to affect city-wide change. Following a flood of PB proposals to renovate decrepit school bathrooms, the DOE elected to dedicate $100 million to repair deteriorated lavatories - $50 million more than it had promised. The increase in funding came out to three times the amount spent on all PB-designated capital projects that year.</p> <p dir="ltr">On top of this, Council members acquire valuable, new community contacts through participatory budgeting. “I‘m developing social networks that didn‘t exist before...and...I‘m utilizing the networks that I‘m building here to deal with the other issues outside of PB,” says Menchaca.</p> <p dir="ltr">As an example, he cites a recently-made connection with an employee of BioBAT, a bio-tech incubator, “maybe I can get her involved in organizing small-businesses if there is an infrastructure issue,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/18486805868_f8e5a0ce42_z.jpg" alt="Menchaca" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="400" height="267" />(CM Menchaca, left - photo: William Alatriste)</p> <p dir="ltr">The benefits of these new networks go both ways, too, as the Urban Justice Center report found that by working with Council members and city agencies to create and implement capital projects, community members develop greater trust in government. Confident that Council members will be responsive to their input, residents feel free to reach out to their representatives if an issue comes up - even outside PB.</p> <p dir="ltr">In one case detailed by Beasley, of the Participatory Budgeting Project, this past year Council Member Menchaca was considering a large development project in the middle of a local park. Community members caught wind of the project and pushed back hard. They insisted it would cost too much money. According to Beasley, Menchaca paused, reevaluated the project and said 'I think you‘re right. We have this money in the budget; what should we spend it on to make this park better?'</p> <p dir="ltr">It is this type of empowerment that Council Member Williams was seeking when he first started his PB program five years ago. “The most important thing that I do is probably pass the budget and that’s the thing that my constituents understand the least,” Williams told Gotham Gazette. “[Participatory Budgeting] was a good meld of empowering and allowing people to get involved in the budget process. It allows them to get their hands dirty.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Increased public awareness of discretionary funds is something the city could use too. Also known as “member items,“ discretionary funds have historically been one of the most abused pots of <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/br-guest-participatory-budgeting-tool-corruption-article-1.1323640?localLinksEnabled=false" target="_blank">City</a> <a href="http://nypost.com/2013/07/09/mayoral-hopefuls-roast-council-pork/" target="_blank">Council</a> <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/280438-participatory-budgeting-and-member-items/" target="_blank">money</a>. It was no coincidence that Speaker Mark-Viverito‘s decision to provide centralized funding to PB came in conjunction with several rules making discretionary funds more equitable and <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2014/05/8545406/mark-viverito-cements-victory-rules-reform" target="_blank">transparent</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">This summer, Council Member Brad Lander of Brooklyn, also an early PB adopter, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5863-map-launched-to-bring-greater-accountability-to-capital-spending" target="_blank">launched an interactive map</a> that tracks capital projects in his district, including those funded through PB and not. Lander <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5863-map-launched-to-bring-greater-accountability-to-capital-spending" target="_blank">told Gotham Gazette</a> that "the long-term answers is a citywide system that tracks all capital projects" so that constituents can see the progress of government-funded efforts.</p> <p dir="ltr">The first years of PBNYC saw expansion by just a few districts per year after the initial class of four. It was only in the fourth year, when, after an election and under Mark-Viverito, the City Council dedicated centralized resources to PB and the number jumped by 14.</p> <p dir="ltr">In this sense, though, David Beasley doesn‘t see this year’s three district growth as anything abnormal.</p> <p dir="ltr">Participatory Budgeting, “hasn’t had time to stabilize and really set in,” he said. “It is still almost brand new...For some people PB is an obvious answer, for others they want to see that it works.“</p> <p dir="ltr">He‘s quick to add, “we think it‘s been proven through the evaluations from the Urban Justice Center...but we‘ll see how the reports continue to go.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Menchaca is convinced and sees the growth of PB as inevitable, but that it might take just a couple more years. “I think we need to elect new people,” Menchaca said regarding those who don't run the program in their districts, “[PB] becomes a political strategy for empowerment.“</p> <p dir="ltr">Gensis-Muelens Dixon, a 13-year-old from the Flatbush area and a constituent of Council Member Williams, is feeling empowered. Together with his mother Taja Dixon, Co-Chair of District 45 Participatory Budgeting, he wants to secure funding to turn an empty plot of land into a community garden.</p> <p>The pair proposed their idea at Williams' inaugural PB assembly, which Gotham Gazette attended. Their project aims to supply fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as foster the same community spirit the two have come to appreciate through participatory budgeting. As the meeting came to an end, Gensis gave a quick word to Gotham Gazette about his experience in the two years he and his mother have been participating in PB.</p> <p>"It is really amazing how much people think about their community," he said. "Usually, in this area at least, you would think that some people just don't care and to see that this many people care about these little things in their community is inspiring."&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by Colin O’Connor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 19 2015-10-18T05:00:00+00:00 2015-10-18T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5938:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october19 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></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>Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Israel over the weekend, where he spoke at the Annual Conference of Mayors, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited recent terror attack victims, and made several other stops, including at the Western Wall and at a school educating a diverse student population. De Blasio spoke against a new wave of anti-Semitism and <a href="http://m.nydailynews.com/new-york/jerusalem-speech-mayor-de-blasio-decries-anti-semitism-article-1.2401818?cid=bitly" target="_blank">called for a "broken-windows" approach</a> to combatting hate.</p> <p>De Blasio is flying back to New York Sunday evening, he has no public events scheduled Monday.</p> <p>Coming up this week, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5935-the-mayors-media-blitz-de-blasio" target="_blank">the 'new' Bill de Blasio</a> will continue to show, with the mayor <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DwMmJjEm" target="_blank">set to hold</a> a joint press event with his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, on Wednesday. De Blasio and Bloomberg have appeared together several times since de Blasio came into office, but have not held a joint event, as they will for the planting of the millionth tree in the "Million Trees NYC" program launched by Bloomberg in 2007.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read 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>On Monday, starting at 8:30 a.m., the City Council Progressive Caucus and allies are holding a conference to discuss progressive public policies and legislative priorities aimed at inequality and improving communities. Keynote will be given by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, with panel discussions on defending workers' rights, expanding and modernizing democracy, moving toward a greener city, and community safety and empowerment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Afterward, at noon outside of SEIU 32BJ headquarters, Progressive Caucus Members and allies will “rally on their legislative priorities aimed at offering genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.” Caucus Co-Chairs Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso, Vice-Chairs Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos, and other caucus members will be joined by “event sponsors Local Progress and Working Families Organization and advocates from SEIU 32BJ, VOCAL NY, Communities united for Police Reform, Bag It NYC, Streetwise and Safe and BRT for NYC.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. Monday, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#sthash.fxiimyMW.dpbs" target="_blank">Black Live Matter / Fight for $15: A New Social Movement</a>, a discussion on the convergence of the two movements and the chances of them sowing the seeds “for a broader social and economic justice movement” - featuring Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter and Domestic Workers Alliance; Jelani Cobb, Journalist &amp; Professor at UConn; Hillman Judge; and Kendall Fells, SEIU / Fight For $15. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning’s The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will appear in one segment, discussing several topics, and Queens state Senator Michael Gianaris will appear in another to discuss his bail elimination proposal.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Immigration will hold a joint oversight meeting with the Committee on Courts and Legal Services to evaluate Attorney Compliances with Padilla vs. Kentucky and court obstacles for immigrants in Criminal and Summons Courts.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Civil Rights will meet to hear several new bills related to protecting against discrimination; clarifying that any “person providing goods, services or accommodations” as stated in the Human Rights Law also includes government bodies; forbid any accommodation provider from discriminating based on income source; and make it unlawful for anyone who provides housing to refuse it to a person based the perception that the person is a victim of domestic abuse or violence.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1:30 p.m. in Niagra Falls,&nbsp;Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will discuss steps his office is taking with local officials to combat the use of designer drugs."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m., New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, together with the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus of the Council will host a <a href="https://twitter.com/IDaneekMiller/status/653948332172161024" target="_blank">Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Borough Board <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-board-meeting-2-4-3-2-3-2/?instance_id=1283" target="_blank">meeting </a>to hear details from the Department of City Planning (DCP) on the “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” and “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing” proposed zoning text amendments.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m., &nbsp;Sanctuary for Families’ <a href="https://www.sanctuaryforfamilies.org/event/above-and-beyond/" target="_blank">13th Annual Above &amp; Beyond Pro Bono Achievement Awards &amp; Benefit</a>&nbsp;will be honoring Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Senior Advisor on Gender Equity and&nbsp;former Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and others.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, Speaker Mark-Viverito will attend&nbsp;"the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Services Gala."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">Mark Treyger (District 47, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>On Tuesday at 9 a.m., on the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the Center for New York City Affairs at Milano School of International Affairs will hold a panel titled <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hurricane-sandy-3-building-resilient-neighborhoods-tickets-18611697087" target="_blank">Hurricane Sandy +3: Building Resilient Neighborhoods</a>. Conversation will focus on the state of the post-storm infrastructure in the areas where the storm hit hardest. The panel will include Daniel A. Zarrilli, director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency; Joel Towers, executive dean, Parsons School of Design at the New School; Klaus Jacob, special research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Onleilove Alston, executive director of Faith in New York; Hugh Hogan, executive director of the North Star Fund;Shermane Margaret Stewart-Lester, lay leader at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Far Rockaway.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-cabinet-meeting-2-2-3-2-2-2/?instance_id=1281" target="_blank">Borough Cabinet Meeting</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Tuesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m. the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss land use applications.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss land use applications.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Assembly</a>&nbsp;on Tuesday: at 10 a.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will convene for a public hearing on “The Adequacy of Supports and Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday, Public Advocate Letitia James&nbsp;chairs COPIC Commission meeting at Borough of Manhattan Community College (stream: http://livestream.com/BMCCMedia/events/4439178) at 10 a.m. Then, at 11:15, she is a panelist at "NASP's "The State of WMBE's Doing Business in NYS: From the Legislative Perspective" and at 6 p.m. she hosts "Staten Island Clergy Council Education Forum."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11:15 a.m. Monday near Stuyvesant Town,&nbsp;Mayor de Blasio and "local elected officials and tenant leaders from Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village will hold a media availability" about the imminent sale of the property.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 1:15 p.m. from the 25th Police Precinct at 120 East 119th Street,&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio – alongside Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton – will sign Intro. 917-A, criminalizing the manufacture, possession with intent to sell, and sale of synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic phenethylamines; Intro. 897, allowing the City to apply public nuisance regulations to violations of the new criminal provision barring the sale of K2; and Intro. 885-A, allowing the city to revoke, suspend or refuse to renew a cigarette dealer license due to the sale of synthetic drugs or imitation synthetic drugs...After, the Mayor will appear live on Power 105.1 with Angie Martinez to discuss the K-2 legislation."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Mark-Viverito will host a press conference "to celebrate $1.2 Million in funding for STARS Afterschool Initiative with Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland at P.S. 50 on 100th Street in Manhattan. Then, at 8 p.m., Mark-Viverito will host "#SheWillBe Twitter Party to Discuss the City Council's First In The Nation Young Women's Initiative...Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #SheWillBe."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Community Voices Heard will hold a rally titled “<a href="http://www.cvhaction.org/events/march-on-the-mayor-stop-privatization-start-funding-nycha" target="_blank">March on the Mayor: Stop Privatization, Start Funding NYCHA</a>.” The demonstration will demand a stop to increasing privatization and an increase in funding for the New York City Housing Authority by $2 billion starting this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. the Brooklyn Historical Society will host <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/life-after-surveillance-in-bay-ridges-muslim-community-tickets-17898679432?utm_campaign=a1f9c65cf9-October+Programs+Week+2+(10132015)&amp;utm_term=0_556fa60cc0-a1f9c65cf9-[LIST_EMAIL_ID]&amp;utm_source=Brooklyn+Historical+Society+E-Newsletter&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;mc_eid=[UNIQID]&amp;mc_cid=a1f9c65cf9&amp;ct=t(October+Programs+Week+2+(10132015))" target="_blank">Life After Surveillance in Bay Ridge’s Muslim Community</a>, a discussion about the post-9/11 surveillance in Bay Ridge and how this surveillance sowed seeds of distrust in the neighbourhood. Panelists include moderator Jarrett Murphy, Executive Editor of City Limits; Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Moustafa Bayoumi; award-winning writer, and Professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York; and Dr. Ahmad Jaber, an OB/GYN at the Lutheran Medical Center in Bay Ridge and a Muslim religious educator.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday "evening, the Mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray will host the Gracie Gala Dinner," according to de Blasio's public schedule.&nbsp;The Gracie Mansion Conservancy will hold an <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/717-15/gracie-mansion-conservancy-public-re-opening-gracie-mansion-art-additions-and" target="_blank">invitation only fundraiser</a> to celebrate the grand re-opening of Gracie Mansion after recent repairs. The fundraiser will feature the mansion’s new art installation, Windows on the City: Looking Out at Gracie’s New York, curated with help of the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Historical Society, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Governor Cuomo will&nbsp;attend "the Nassau County Democratic Committee Annual Fall Dinner."</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">Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>On Wednesday in the Bronx: Mayor de Blasio and his predecessor, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DwMmJjEm" target="_blank">meet</a> to plant the millionth tree in the Million Trees NYC program, a Bloomberg initiative begun in 2007.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Comptroller Scott Stringer will hold a “<a href="https://twitter.com/scottmstringer/status/652511684121202688" target="_blank">Queens Hearing for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs</a>.” The event is the next installment of the Comptroller’s “Red Tape Commision Hearings” dedicated to listening to ideas and suggestion that would make it easier for entrepreneurs and business owners to grow their businesses, while partnering with the government. The event will bring together Borough President Melinda Katz; Queens Chamber of Commerce; Queens Economic Development Corporation; the Queens Tribune; and co-chairs of the Red Tape Commission Jessica Lappin and Michael Lambert.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly will headline a Fordham University event “<a href="http://www.alumni.fordham.edu/calendar/detail.aspx?ID=4266" target="_blank">Governance in New York City: The Bloomberg Years</a>.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a>&nbsp;on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection and the Committee on Aging and the Subcommittee on Consumer Fraud Protection will hold a joint public hearing on “State resource funding to protect consumers, including seniors, from frauds and scams.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. the Senate Task Force on Workforce Development will convene for a public meeting “To&nbsp;examine initiatives and determine best practices for job skill training and re-training programs, and provide recommendations to foster workforce development in New York State.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 12:30 p.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will hold a public hearing regarding the “Transition of Behavioral Health Supports and Services into Managed Care.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Harry Siegel of The New York Daily News and Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute will try to answer the question, “<a href="http://www.sfc.edu/pagecalpop.cfm?p=357&amp;verbose=284093" target="_blank">Is The NYPD Doing Its Job?</a>” The discussion will be moderated by social critic Kay S. Hymowitz, author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, and will explore the new tracking system aimed at reducing police brutality and assess Commissioner Bratton’s effort to implement the program.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, City Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine will host the event <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1673652976254484" target="_blank">"Jewish Poverty in New York City"</a> along with a group of civic organizations including YM &amp; YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, the Russian-speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the Fort Tyron Jewish Center, the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights-Inwood, the Hebrew Tabernacle, and The Workmen’s Circle.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 6:30 p.m., City &amp; State NY will be host its 2015 <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/city-state-new-york-city-rising-stars-40-under-40-tickets-18745852349?aff=erelexpsim" target="_blank">New York City Rising Stars: 40 Under 40</a> celebration. The list features stars in government, advocacy, labor, and consulting.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. the Department of Education, the School Construction Authority, elected officials, and parents will meet for “<a href="http://ps10.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Over-Crowding.pdf" target="_blank">Let’s Talk About Overcrowding</a>.” The event will focus on the issue of overcrowding in public schools in Cobble Hill and Caroll Gardens, in addition to addressing several other school-related issues. State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, City Councilmember Brad Lander, City Councilmember Steve Levin, and others will participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3:30 Wednesday in Manhattan, Families for Excellent Schools is planning to hold another <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8579681/shifting-focus-unions-charter-group-plans-teacher-rally" target="_blank">rally</a> to support charter schools, this time featuring charter school teachers, about 1,000 of whom are expected to rally.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 8 a.m. Thursday, <a href="http://www.summit.mas.org/why-attend/" target="_blank">The Sixth Annual MAS Summit for New York City</a> will commence. The Municipal Art Society summit will run through Friday evening and include two days of networking opportunities and one hundred speakers. Notable presenters include: Commissioner Vicki Been, of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development; Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development; New York State Senator Chuck Schumer; Purnima Kapur, Executive Director for the Department of City Planning; and many more to speak about “The City We Want.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-presidents-land-use-hearing-2-2-2-2-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-2/?instance_id=1328" target="_blank">Land Use Hearing</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Finance will meet to discuss the extension of credit against the unincorporated business tax and the general corporation tax.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Transportation will meet to hear several bills related to the TLC and commuter vans..</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. the Committee on Land Use will meet, with agenda TBA.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services will hold a hearing on new accessibility-related bills.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet for oversight on coastal storm resiliency in the city two year after the SIRR report.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Economic Development will meet on bills that would require the NYCEDC to submit annual job creation reports to community planning boards; require SBS to collect data on gender and racial diversity among “executive level employees” in city contractor companies.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Assembly</a>&nbsp;Thursday, a “Budget oversight hearing for the Assembly Standing Committees on Local Governments and Cities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Public Agenda will hold “<a href="http://www.publicagenda.org/blogs/nyc-event-restoring-opportunity-the-role-of-education" target="_blank">Restoring Opportunity: The Role of Education</a>,” an event to discuss how the education policies of both New York State and the entire nation need to change in order for the country to truly offer the opportunities promised by the American Dream. Brian Lehrer, from WNYC, will moderate the discussion, interviewing Andie Puriefoy, the former president of the Public Education Network and Alison Kadlec, an expert of higher education reform.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. BRIC will host the panel discussion “<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/breaking-down-the-walls-brooklyn-bheard-on-immigration-a-community-town-hall-tickets-18780118841?aff=estw&amp;utm_source=tw&amp;utm_medium=discovery&amp;utm_content=attendeeshare&amp;utm_campaign=social&amp;utm_term=listing" target="_blank">Breaking Down the Walls: #BHeard on Immigration, a Community Town Hall</a>.” The talk will be moderated by Brian Vines and feature City Council Member Carlos Menchaca; Linda Sarsour, Arab American Association; Adrian Carasquillo, immigration reporter for Buzzfeed news; Alina Das, NYU professor; and Shena Elrington, director of immigrant rights and racial justice at the Center for Popular Democracy.</p> <p dir="ltr">At their <a href="http://www.prideagenda.org/news/2015-09-28-empire-state-pride-agenda-present-25th-anniversary-silver-torch-award-governor" target="_blank">annual fall dinner</a> Thursday, Empire State Pride Agenda will award Governor Cuomo with the 25th anniversary Silver Torch Award for “his extraordinary efforts to make marriage equality a reality in New York — paving the way for the freedom to marry nationwide” and “his more recent commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic in New York.” Along with Cuomo, other speakers will be Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand,&nbsp;City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; City Public Advocate Letitia James; Pride Agenda Board Co-Chairs Norman C. Simon and Melissa Sklarz; and Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan Schaefer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Citizens Union, the good government group,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.citizensunion.org/www/ud00/2/264f19babedf446a956b4911d258be18/Personal_Documents/CitizensUnionGala2015_InviteFINAL.pdf" target="_blank">will hold</a> its 2015 Annual Awards Dinner Thursday evening. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will give featured remarks. Citizens Union honorees include Mylan L. Denerstein (Public Service Award), Adam Flatto (Business Leadership Award), Haeda B. Mihaltses (Public Service Award), and Stephen P. Younger (Civic Leadership Award).</p> <p dir="ltr">Beginning Thursday evening and continuing through Friday, the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute will host “<a href="http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/events/youth-jobs-and-the-future-responses-to-youth-unemployment/" target="_blank">Youth, Jobs and Future: Responses to Youth Unemployment</a>.”</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 Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Friday: at 10 a.m. the Committee on Higher Education will convene for oversight on college testing access.</p> <p>"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Friday, October 23 at 10:00 AM."</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank"> New York State Assembly</a> on Friday: at 10:30 a.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions and the Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry will hold a joint public hearing on “Providing Affordable and High Quality Cable, Broadband, and Telephone Service.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday at 10:30 a.m., New Yorkers Against Gun Violence will hold <a href="http://nyagv.org/walk-over-the-hudson-for-gun-sense-saturday-1024/" target="_blank">Walk Over the Hudson for Gun Sense</a>, a march in response to recent bursts of gun violence across the US. The event invites citizens to show their “commitment to background checks, safe storage, and other common sense gun safety laws.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At noon Saturday, BetaNYC will hold an <a href="http://www.meetup.com/betanyc/events/226031486/" target="_blank">event</a> to improve CityGram.NYC, a website which allows New York City residents to subscribe to open government data based on their geographic location and areas of interest.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), 2 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday, the de Blasio family will open their doors to the public at a Gracie Mansion Open House. A ticket giveaway will take place on the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/gracie/visit/gracie-mansion-open-house-tickets.page" target="_blank">event</a> website. In celebration of the Mansion’s 35th anniversary, the open house will feature 49 new works as part of the “Windows on the City: Looking Out at Gracie’s New York” show.</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" width="600" height="450" /></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>Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Israel over the weekend, where he spoke at the Annual Conference of Mayors, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited recent terror attack victims, and made several other stops, including at the Western Wall and at a school educating a diverse student population. De Blasio spoke against a new wave of anti-Semitism and <a href="http://m.nydailynews.com/new-york/jerusalem-speech-mayor-de-blasio-decries-anti-semitism-article-1.2401818?cid=bitly" target="_blank">called for a "broken-windows" approach</a> to combatting hate.</p> <p>De Blasio is flying back to New York Sunday evening, he has no public events scheduled Monday.</p> <p>Coming up this week, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5935-the-mayors-media-blitz-de-blasio" target="_blank">the 'new' Bill de Blasio</a> will continue to show, with the mayor <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DwMmJjEm" target="_blank">set to hold</a> a joint press event with his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, on Wednesday. De Blasio and Bloomberg have appeared together several times since de Blasio came into office, but have not held a joint event, as they will for the planting of the millionth tree in the "Million Trees NYC" program launched by Bloomberg in 2007.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read 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>On Monday, starting at 8:30 a.m., the City Council Progressive Caucus and allies are holding a conference to discuss progressive public policies and legislative priorities aimed at inequality and improving communities. Keynote will be given by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, with panel discussions on defending workers' rights, expanding and modernizing democracy, moving toward a greener city, and community safety and empowerment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Afterward, at noon outside of SEIU 32BJ headquarters, Progressive Caucus Members and allies will “rally on their legislative priorities aimed at offering genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.” Caucus Co-Chairs Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso, Vice-Chairs Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos, and other caucus members will be joined by “event sponsors Local Progress and Working Families Organization and advocates from SEIU 32BJ, VOCAL NY, Communities united for Police Reform, Bag It NYC, Streetwise and Safe and BRT for NYC.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. Monday, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#sthash.fxiimyMW.dpbs" target="_blank">Black Live Matter / Fight for $15: A New Social Movement</a>, a discussion on the convergence of the two movements and the chances of them sowing the seeds “for a broader social and economic justice movement” - featuring Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter and Domestic Workers Alliance; Jelani Cobb, Journalist &amp; Professor at UConn; Hillman Judge; and Kendall Fells, SEIU / Fight For $15. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning’s The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will appear in one segment, discussing several topics, and Queens state Senator Michael Gianaris will appear in another to discuss his bail elimination proposal.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Immigration will hold a joint oversight meeting with the Committee on Courts and Legal Services to evaluate Attorney Compliances with Padilla vs. Kentucky and court obstacles for immigrants in Criminal and Summons Courts.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Civil Rights will meet to hear several new bills related to protecting against discrimination; clarifying that any “person providing goods, services or accommodations” as stated in the Human Rights Law also includes government bodies; forbid any accommodation provider from discriminating based on income source; and make it unlawful for anyone who provides housing to refuse it to a person based the perception that the person is a victim of domestic abuse or violence.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1:30 p.m. in Niagra Falls,&nbsp;Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will discuss steps his office is taking with local officials to combat the use of designer drugs."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m., New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, together with the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus of the Council will host a <a href="https://twitter.com/IDaneekMiller/status/653948332172161024" target="_blank">Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Borough Board <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-board-meeting-2-4-3-2-3-2/?instance_id=1283" target="_blank">meeting </a>to hear details from the Department of City Planning (DCP) on the “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” and “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing” proposed zoning text amendments.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m., &nbsp;Sanctuary for Families’ <a href="https://www.sanctuaryforfamilies.org/event/above-and-beyond/" target="_blank">13th Annual Above &amp; Beyond Pro Bono Achievement Awards &amp; Benefit</a>&nbsp;will be honoring Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Senior Advisor on Gender Equity and&nbsp;former Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and others.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, Speaker Mark-Viverito will attend&nbsp;"the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Services Gala."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">Mark Treyger (District 47, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>On Tuesday at 9 a.m., on the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the Center for New York City Affairs at Milano School of International Affairs will hold a panel titled <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hurricane-sandy-3-building-resilient-neighborhoods-tickets-18611697087" target="_blank">Hurricane Sandy +3: Building Resilient Neighborhoods</a>. Conversation will focus on the state of the post-storm infrastructure in the areas where the storm hit hardest. The panel will include Daniel A. Zarrilli, director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency; Joel Towers, executive dean, Parsons School of Design at the New School; Klaus Jacob, special research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Onleilove Alston, executive director of Faith in New York; Hugh Hogan, executive director of the North Star Fund;Shermane Margaret Stewart-Lester, lay leader at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Far Rockaway.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-cabinet-meeting-2-2-3-2-2-2/?instance_id=1281" target="_blank">Borough Cabinet Meeting</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Tuesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m. the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss land use applications.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss land use applications.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Assembly</a>&nbsp;on Tuesday: at 10 a.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will convene for a public hearing on “The Adequacy of Supports and Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday, Public Advocate Letitia James&nbsp;chairs COPIC Commission meeting at Borough of Manhattan Community College (stream: http://livestream.com/BMCCMedia/events/4439178) at 10 a.m. Then, at 11:15, she is a panelist at "NASP's "The State of WMBE's Doing Business in NYS: From the Legislative Perspective" and at 6 p.m. she hosts "Staten Island Clergy Council Education Forum."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11:15 a.m. Monday near Stuyvesant Town,&nbsp;Mayor de Blasio and "local elected officials and tenant leaders from Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village will hold a media availability" about the imminent sale of the property.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 1:15 p.m. from the 25th Police Precinct at 120 East 119th Street,&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio – alongside Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton – will sign Intro. 917-A, criminalizing the manufacture, possession with intent to sell, and sale of synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic phenethylamines; Intro. 897, allowing the City to apply public nuisance regulations to violations of the new criminal provision barring the sale of K2; and Intro. 885-A, allowing the city to revoke, suspend or refuse to renew a cigarette dealer license due to the sale of synthetic drugs or imitation synthetic drugs...After, the Mayor will appear live on Power 105.1 with Angie Martinez to discuss the K-2 legislation."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Mark-Viverito will host a press conference "to celebrate $1.2 Million in funding for STARS Afterschool Initiative with Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland at P.S. 50 on 100th Street in Manhattan. Then, at 8 p.m., Mark-Viverito will host "#SheWillBe Twitter Party to Discuss the City Council's First In The Nation Young Women's Initiative...Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #SheWillBe."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Community Voices Heard will hold a rally titled “<a href="http://www.cvhaction.org/events/march-on-the-mayor-stop-privatization-start-funding-nycha" target="_blank">March on the Mayor: Stop Privatization, Start Funding NYCHA</a>.” The demonstration will demand a stop to increasing privatization and an increase in funding for the New York City Housing Authority by $2 billion starting this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. the Brooklyn Historical Society will host <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/life-after-surveillance-in-bay-ridges-muslim-community-tickets-17898679432?utm_campaign=a1f9c65cf9-October+Programs+Week+2+(10132015)&amp;utm_term=0_556fa60cc0-a1f9c65cf9-[LIST_EMAIL_ID]&amp;utm_source=Brooklyn+Historical+Society+E-Newsletter&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;mc_eid=[UNIQID]&amp;mc_cid=a1f9c65cf9&amp;ct=t(October+Programs+Week+2+(10132015))" target="_blank">Life After Surveillance in Bay Ridge’s Muslim Community</a>, a discussion about the post-9/11 surveillance in Bay Ridge and how this surveillance sowed seeds of distrust in the neighbourhood. Panelists include moderator Jarrett Murphy, Executive Editor of City Limits; Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Moustafa Bayoumi; award-winning writer, and Professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York; and Dr. Ahmad Jaber, an OB/GYN at the Lutheran Medical Center in Bay Ridge and a Muslim religious educator.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday "evening, the Mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray will host the Gracie Gala Dinner," according to de Blasio's public schedule.&nbsp;The Gracie Mansion Conservancy will hold an <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/717-15/gracie-mansion-conservancy-public-re-opening-gracie-mansion-art-additions-and" target="_blank">invitation only fundraiser</a> to celebrate the grand re-opening of Gracie Mansion after recent repairs. The fundraiser will feature the mansion’s new art installation, Windows on the City: Looking Out at Gracie’s New York, curated with help of the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Historical Society, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Governor Cuomo will&nbsp;attend "the Nassau County Democratic Committee Annual Fall Dinner."</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">Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>On Wednesday in the Bronx: Mayor de Blasio and his predecessor, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DwMmJjEm" target="_blank">meet</a> to plant the millionth tree in the Million Trees NYC program, a Bloomberg initiative begun in 2007.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Comptroller Scott Stringer will hold a “<a href="https://twitter.com/scottmstringer/status/652511684121202688" target="_blank">Queens Hearing for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs</a>.” The event is the next installment of the Comptroller’s “Red Tape Commision Hearings” dedicated to listening to ideas and suggestion that would make it easier for entrepreneurs and business owners to grow their businesses, while partnering with the government. The event will bring together Borough President Melinda Katz; Queens Chamber of Commerce; Queens Economic Development Corporation; the Queens Tribune; and co-chairs of the Red Tape Commission Jessica Lappin and Michael Lambert.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly will headline a Fordham University event “<a href="http://www.alumni.fordham.edu/calendar/detail.aspx?ID=4266" target="_blank">Governance in New York City: The Bloomberg Years</a>.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a>&nbsp;on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection and the Committee on Aging and the Subcommittee on Consumer Fraud Protection will hold a joint public hearing on “State resource funding to protect consumers, including seniors, from frauds and scams.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. the Senate Task Force on Workforce Development will convene for a public meeting “To&nbsp;examine initiatives and determine best practices for job skill training and re-training programs, and provide recommendations to foster workforce development in New York State.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 12:30 p.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will hold a public hearing regarding the “Transition of Behavioral Health Supports and Services into Managed Care.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Harry Siegel of The New York Daily News and Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute will try to answer the question, “<a href="http://www.sfc.edu/pagecalpop.cfm?p=357&amp;verbose=284093" target="_blank">Is The NYPD Doing Its Job?</a>” The discussion will be moderated by social critic Kay S. Hymowitz, author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, and will explore the new tracking system aimed at reducing police brutality and assess Commissioner Bratton’s effort to implement the program.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, City Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine will host the event <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1673652976254484" target="_blank">"Jewish Poverty in New York City"</a> along with a group of civic organizations including YM &amp; YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, the Russian-speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the Fort Tyron Jewish Center, the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights-Inwood, the Hebrew Tabernacle, and The Workmen’s Circle.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 6:30 p.m., City &amp; State NY will be host its 2015 <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/city-state-new-york-city-rising-stars-40-under-40-tickets-18745852349?aff=erelexpsim" target="_blank">New York City Rising Stars: 40 Under 40</a> celebration. The list features stars in government, advocacy, labor, and consulting.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. the Department of Education, the School Construction Authority, elected officials, and parents will meet for “<a href="http://ps10.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Over-Crowding.pdf" target="_blank">Let’s Talk About Overcrowding</a>.” The event will focus on the issue of overcrowding in public schools in Cobble Hill and Caroll Gardens, in addition to addressing several other school-related issues. State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, City Councilmember Brad Lander, City Councilmember Steve Levin, and others will participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3:30 Wednesday in Manhattan, Families for Excellent Schools is planning to hold another <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8579681/shifting-focus-unions-charter-group-plans-teacher-rally" target="_blank">rally</a> to support charter schools, this time featuring charter school teachers, about 1,000 of whom are expected to rally.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 8 a.m. Thursday, <a href="http://www.summit.mas.org/why-attend/" target="_blank">The Sixth Annual MAS Summit for New York City</a> will commence. The Municipal Art Society summit will run through Friday evening and include two days of networking opportunities and one hundred speakers. Notable presenters include: Commissioner Vicki Been, of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development; Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development; New York State Senator Chuck Schumer; Purnima Kapur, Executive Director for the Department of City Planning; and many more to speak about “The City We Want.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-presidents-land-use-hearing-2-2-2-2-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-2/?instance_id=1328" target="_blank">Land Use Hearing</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Finance will meet to discuss the extension of credit against the unincorporated business tax and the general corporation tax.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Transportation will meet to hear several bills related to the TLC and commuter vans..</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. the Committee on Land Use will meet, with agenda TBA.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services will hold a hearing on new accessibility-related bills.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet for oversight on coastal storm resiliency in the city two year after the SIRR report.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Economic Development will meet on bills that would require the NYCEDC to submit annual job creation reports to community planning boards; require SBS to collect data on gender and racial diversity among “executive level employees” in city contractor companies.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Assembly</a>&nbsp;Thursday, a “Budget oversight hearing for the Assembly Standing Committees on Local Governments and Cities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Public Agenda will hold “<a href="http://www.publicagenda.org/blogs/nyc-event-restoring-opportunity-the-role-of-education" target="_blank">Restoring Opportunity: The Role of Education</a>,” an event to discuss how the education policies of both New York State and the entire nation need to change in order for the country to truly offer the opportunities promised by the American Dream. Brian Lehrer, from WNYC, will moderate the discussion, interviewing Andie Puriefoy, the former president of the Public Education Network and Alison Kadlec, an expert of higher education reform.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. BRIC will host the panel discussion “<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/breaking-down-the-walls-brooklyn-bheard-on-immigration-a-community-town-hall-tickets-18780118841?aff=estw&amp;utm_source=tw&amp;utm_medium=discovery&amp;utm_content=attendeeshare&amp;utm_campaign=social&amp;utm_term=listing" target="_blank">Breaking Down the Walls: #BHeard on Immigration, a Community Town Hall</a>.” The talk will be moderated by Brian Vines and feature City Council Member Carlos Menchaca; Linda Sarsour, Arab American Association; Adrian Carasquillo, immigration reporter for Buzzfeed news; Alina Das, NYU professor; and Shena Elrington, director of immigrant rights and racial justice at the Center for Popular Democracy.</p> <p dir="ltr">At their <a href="http://www.prideagenda.org/news/2015-09-28-empire-state-pride-agenda-present-25th-anniversary-silver-torch-award-governor" target="_blank">annual fall dinner</a> Thursday, Empire State Pride Agenda will award Governor Cuomo with the 25th anniversary Silver Torch Award for “his extraordinary efforts to make marriage equality a reality in New York — paving the way for the freedom to marry nationwide” and “his more recent commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic in New York.” Along with Cuomo, other speakers will be Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand,&nbsp;City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; City Public Advocate Letitia James; Pride Agenda Board Co-Chairs Norman C. Simon and Melissa Sklarz; and Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan Schaefer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Citizens Union, the good government group,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.citizensunion.org/www/ud00/2/264f19babedf446a956b4911d258be18/Personal_Documents/CitizensUnionGala2015_InviteFINAL.pdf" target="_blank">will hold</a> its 2015 Annual Awards Dinner Thursday evening. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will give featured remarks. Citizens Union honorees include Mylan L. Denerstein (Public Service Award), Adam Flatto (Business Leadership Award), Haeda B. Mihaltses (Public Service Award), and Stephen P. Younger (Civic Leadership Award).</p> <p dir="ltr">Beginning Thursday evening and continuing through Friday, the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute will host “<a href="http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/events/youth-jobs-and-the-future-responses-to-youth-unemployment/" target="_blank">Youth, Jobs and Future: Responses to Youth Unemployment</a>.”</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 Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Friday: at 10 a.m. the Committee on Higher Education will convene for oversight on college testing access.</p> <p>"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Friday, October 23 at 10:00 AM."</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank"> New York State Assembly</a> on Friday: at 10:30 a.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions and the Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry will hold a joint public hearing on “Providing Affordable and High Quality Cable, Broadband, and Telephone Service.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday at 10:30 a.m., New Yorkers Against Gun Violence will hold <a href="http://nyagv.org/walk-over-the-hudson-for-gun-sense-saturday-1024/" target="_blank">Walk Over the Hudson for Gun Sense</a>, a march in response to recent bursts of gun violence across the US. The event invites citizens to show their “commitment to background checks, safe storage, and other common sense gun safety laws.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At noon Saturday, BetaNYC will hold an <a href="http://www.meetup.com/betanyc/events/226031486/" target="_blank">event</a> to improve CityGram.NYC, a website which allows New York City residents to subscribe to open government data based on their geographic location and areas of interest.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), 2 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday, the de Blasio family will open their doors to the public at a Gracie Mansion Open House. A ticket giveaway will take place on the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/gracie/visit/gracie-mansion-open-house-tickets.page" target="_blank">event</a> website. In celebration of the Mansion’s 35th anniversary, the open house will feature 49 new works as part of the “Windows on the City: Looking Out at Gracie’s New York” show.</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> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 5 2015-10-04T05:00:00+00:00 2015-10-04T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5920:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-5 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 include a focus on what the city can do to stop gas-related explosions after another such explosion occurred this weekend, this time in Borough Park; education politics and policy, as the pro-charter, anti-de Blasio group Families for Excellent Schools will hold a large rally; a continuation of negotiation and criticism between city and state entities over MTA funding; and more.</p> <p>Oh, and it's the Major League Baseball playoffs, with both the Mets and Yankees in the post-season for the first time in a long time, with many hoping for a "subway series" World Series between the two, a la 2000, when the Yankees defeated the Mets.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING DE BLASIO:</strong> With the threat from Hurricane Joaquin abated, Mayor de Blasio decided to go through with his trip to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore on Friday and Saturday. The mayor delivered remarks at a reception for the State Innovation Exchange Conference on Friday, then attended the United States Conference of Mayors Fall Leadership Meeting on Saturday. The mayor then headed back to Borough Park, Brooklyn, where he attended to the emergency gas explosion that tore apart a building, killing at least one and injuring several.</p> <p>The incident is another in a string of gas explosions, including East Harlem and the East Village, that has many worried and talking about a need for new measures to combat the deadly incidents. Gov. Cuomo announced he was deploying representatives to investigate and city officials are calling for action. This explosion appears to have been caused by mistakes made during the removal of an oven.</p> <p>On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will be on Staten Island for the groundbreaking of The Staten Island Family Justice Center, at which the mayor will speak around 10 a.m.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/10/staten_island_family_justice_center.html" target="_blank">Read more from</a>&nbsp;the Staten Island Advance, including that Staten Island will join the other boroughs, each of which already has such a center, which "provide comprehensive criminal justice, civil legal and social services free of charge to victims of domestic violence, elderly abuse and sex trafficking in the other boroughs."</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read 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 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Bronx County Courthouse, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will announce a major crackdown on distributors of synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs."</p> <p>On Monday morning, "State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan joins state Sen. Martin Golden on a walking tour and media availability in Gerritsen Beach, starting in front of 3078 Gerritsen Ave., Brooklyn," according to City &amp; State NY.</p> <p>At 12:30 p.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will announce&nbsp;the "launch of MonumentArt, an International Mural Festival hosted in East Harlem and the South Bronx," from La Marqueta.</p> <p>On Monday,&nbsp;Public Advocate Letitia James "will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation conference."</p> <p>Monday evening, First Lady McCray will be among the honorees of a&nbsp;Feminist Power Award from the Feminist Press.</p> <p>At 8 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer "Receives the Pacesetter Award at The National Association of Investment Companies 45th Annual Meeting &amp; Convention Welcome Reception."</p> <p>Monday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday, at 10 a.m., a press conference in PACE University's downtown campus will mark the beginning of Poverty Awareness Week, which is co-sponsored by Pace University and The Mayor's Office. The week will include a series of events. Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. will be one keynote speaker; Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of NYCHA will participate in a discussion on "Local Initiatives to Eradicate Poverty."</p> <p>On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio "will deliver remarks at the ribbon-cutting for the Brooklyn College Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School for Cinema at Steiner Studios."</p> <p>At 5 p.m., the Mayor will appear on WCBS Newsradio 880.</p> <p>In the evening, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and many others will attend a birthday celebration for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.brooklynhistory.org/visitor/calendar.html" target="_blank">will host</a> "Why New York? Our Broken Bail System." The event will be moderated by New York Times journalist Shaila Dewan, with panelists: Judge George Grasso, public defender Josh Saunders, criminal justice reform advocate Glenn E. Martin, and an individual who couldn't afford bail.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, NY Tech Meetup will be <a href="http://www.meetup.com/ny-tech/events/220016185/?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoku6zIe%2B%2FhmjTEU5z16uUuWaW0gJt41El3fuXBP2XqjvpVQcNhNrDNRw8FHZNpywVWM8TIKNARt9B5LwzkAG8%3D" target="_blank">held</a> at NYU, with a number of New York companies presenting demos of technologies that they are developing.</p> <p>Tuesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 4 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Brad Lander (District 39, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>JCOPE is set to meet Wednesday morning in Albany.</p> <p>Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., City &amp; State NY <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-energy-tickets-18606786399?aff=erelexporg" target="_blank">holds</a> its fifth annual "On Energy" event, inviting leaders in government, advocacy and business to speak on a number of topics related to the future of energy. Among the topics of discussion will be Governor Andrew Cuomo's regulatory overhaul in New York, Mayor de Blasio's 80 by 50 plan, and more. The event includes a panel with Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of Center for an Urban Future; Nilda Mesa, Director at NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability; Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation. Other notable speakers to appear include: Richard Kauffman, NYS Chair of Energy &amp; Finance; Arthur "Jerry" Kremer, Chairman of New York AREA; Ambassador Ron Kirk, Chairman of CASEnergy; Kevin Parker, a New York state Senator and ranking member of the Energy &amp; Telecommunications Committee.</p> <p>On Wednesday, The Families for Excellent Schools rally, postponed from last week because of weather and "to demand equal opportunity in our schools," will take place, starting mid-morning at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, followed by a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, and a 12:30 p.m. press conference at City Hall. <a href="http://www.familiesforexcellentschools.org/parentsrally" target="_blank">The rally</a> is, in essence, to promote more more charter schools and criticize Mayor de Blasio's education agenda, which does not include more charters. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is expected to headline the rally, along with several high-profile performers, including Jennifer Hudson.</p> <p>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Wednesday</a>:</p> <ul> <li>10 a.m., The Committee on Transportation will meet to discuss a bill that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a study on the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists along bus routes. DOT would then institute new safety measures based on the data. The Committee will also discuss a bill that would require the identification of dangerous intersections based on incidents involving pedestrians, and implement curb extensions in such areas. The Committee will also make a decision on resolutions that would require the MTA to instal rear guards on bus wheels and to study ways to eliminate blind spots for buses.</li> <li>Also 10 a.m., The Committee on Aging will hold an oversight hearing on older adult employment.</li> </ul> <p>At 10 a.m. <a href="http://www.eastriverfiftiesalliance.com/" target="_blank">The East 50s Alliance</a> will hold a community rally to protest the planned construction of a 900-foot tower in the 58th street residential area. The residents are "deeply concerned that the tower will diminish the safety, accessibility and livability of a narrow side street during a lengthy construction process and forever after." City Council Member Ben Kallos will speak.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio, along with Council Members Paul Vallone and Vincent Gentile and others, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1500786460235939/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a Celebration of Italian Heritage at the Council Chambers in City Hall. The event will also celebrate Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday.</p> <p>From 6 to 8 p.m. at Fordham Law School, The Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center and the Women's City Club of New York&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/this-bridge-called-my-back-women-of-color-and-the-fight-for-economic-security-tickets-17973743952" target="_blank">will host</a> "This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color and the Fight for Economic Security", on "how gender intersects with economic and racial inequality in New York City." Dr. Christina Greer, professor of political science at Fordham University, will moderate the panel, with Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Luna Ranjit, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Adhikaar; Joanne N. Smith Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equality; and Margarita Rosa, Executive Director of National Center for Law and Economic Justice participating in the discussion.</p> <p>Wednesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">at the City Council</a>:</p> <ul> <li>9:30 a.m., Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss three land use applications in Manhattan.</li> <li>10 a.m., Committee on Finance will meet regarding the Department of Finance's Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.</li> <li>11 a.m., Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss a land use application in Brooklyn</li> <li>1 p.m., Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss another land use application in Brooklyn</li> </ul> <p>Thursday at the New York State Legislature: the&nbsp;Assembly Standing Committee on Health, Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, and Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/Health/20150911/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a joint public hearing regarding Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Services. "The Committees are seeking oral and written testimony from patients and their families, clinicians, service providers, and the Department on topics including the incidence, severity and consequences of TBI; treatment and service appropriateness and availability, including the rights of patients sent out-of-state; and issues relating to the transition of the TBI Waiver program to managed care."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Thursday New York State Assembly Members Latoya Joyner and Marcos Crespo <a href="https://events.gybo.com/events/132/detail" target="_blank">will kick off</a> "Let's Put Our Cities on the Map," sponsored and hosted by Google at the Bronx Museum of Arts, which will offer free counseling for small businesses on how to reach local customer bases, specifically by using "SmartLogic" online tools.</p> <p>"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday, October 8 at 10:00 AM."</p> <p>At 5 p.m. Thursday, EmblemHealth and LaborPress <a href="http://laborpress.org/sectors/municipal-labor/2900-laborpress-honors-heroes-of-labor" target="_blank">will honor</a> 12 labor union members, from eight different labor unions, for their remarkable contributions to the labor communities at the fourth annual "Heroes of Labor Awards". EmblemHealth has invited many city elected officials to speak, several are expected.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Thursday in Washington, D.C., the Brennan Center for Justice and Vox <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/politics-of-participation" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Politics of Participation: Building an Engaged Citizenry for Millennials and Beyond," including City Council Member Eric Ulrich. It is billed as "a candid conversation about what the shifting demographic landscape means for grassroots movements, political action, and civic engagement; how can we shape our democracy into one that is truly representative of the people being governed?"</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-changing-face-of-activism-tickets-17896902116" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Changing Face of Activism," which will explore the historical progression of activism from the 1960s desegregation movement to the present day Black Lives Matter movement. Moderated by Alethia Jones, a leader of 1199 SEIU, the panel will feature activist Barbara Smith; Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform; and Jose Lopez, Lead Organizer at Make the Road NY and member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.</p> <p>At 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Dan Abrams of ABC News&nbsp;<a href="http://www.92y.org/Event/Ray-Kelly-in-Conversation" target="_blank">will talk</a> with Ray Kelly, the longest-serving NYPD Commissioner, at the 92nd Street Y. Kelly will hold a book signing for his new memoir Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City, after his talk with Mr. Abrams.</p> <p>Thursday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 5 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday at 8:15 a.m., NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton <a href="https://nyls.wufoo.com/forms/william-bratton-citylaw-breakfast/" target="_blank">will speak</a> at New York Law School, as part of the CityLaw breakfast series.</p> <p>Weekend <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">participatory budgeting</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Friday, CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1 pm.</li> <li>Saturday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> <li>Sunday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> </ul> <p><em>*Note: we'll publish our next 'Week Ahead' on Monday, October 13 given the Columbus Day holiday</em></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 include a focus on what the city can do to stop gas-related explosions after another such explosion occurred this weekend, this time in Borough Park; education politics and policy, as the pro-charter, anti-de Blasio group Families for Excellent Schools will hold a large rally; a continuation of negotiation and criticism between city and state entities over MTA funding; and more.</p> <p>Oh, and it's the Major League Baseball playoffs, with both the Mets and Yankees in the post-season for the first time in a long time, with many hoping for a "subway series" World Series between the two, a la 2000, when the Yankees defeated the Mets.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING DE BLASIO:</strong> With the threat from Hurricane Joaquin abated, Mayor de Blasio decided to go through with his trip to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore on Friday and Saturday. The mayor delivered remarks at a reception for the State Innovation Exchange Conference on Friday, then attended the United States Conference of Mayors Fall Leadership Meeting on Saturday. The mayor then headed back to Borough Park, Brooklyn, where he attended to the emergency gas explosion that tore apart a building, killing at least one and injuring several.</p> <p>The incident is another in a string of gas explosions, including East Harlem and the East Village, that has many worried and talking about a need for new measures to combat the deadly incidents. Gov. Cuomo announced he was deploying representatives to investigate and city officials are calling for action. This explosion appears to have been caused by mistakes made during the removal of an oven.</p> <p>On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will be on Staten Island for the groundbreaking of The Staten Island Family Justice Center, at which the mayor will speak around 10 a.m.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/10/staten_island_family_justice_center.html" target="_blank">Read more from</a>&nbsp;the Staten Island Advance, including that Staten Island will join the other boroughs, each of which already has such a center, which "provide comprehensive criminal justice, civil legal and social services free of charge to victims of domestic violence, elderly abuse and sex trafficking in the other boroughs."</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read 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 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Bronx County Courthouse, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will announce a major crackdown on distributors of synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs."</p> <p>On Monday morning, "State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan joins state Sen. Martin Golden on a walking tour and media availability in Gerritsen Beach, starting in front of 3078 Gerritsen Ave., Brooklyn," according to City &amp; State NY.</p> <p>At 12:30 p.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will announce&nbsp;the "launch of MonumentArt, an International Mural Festival hosted in East Harlem and the South Bronx," from La Marqueta.</p> <p>On Monday,&nbsp;Public Advocate Letitia James "will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation conference."</p> <p>Monday evening, First Lady McCray will be among the honorees of a&nbsp;Feminist Power Award from the Feminist Press.</p> <p>At 8 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer "Receives the Pacesetter Award at The National Association of Investment Companies 45th Annual Meeting &amp; Convention Welcome Reception."</p> <p>Monday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday, at 10 a.m., a press conference in PACE University's downtown campus will mark the beginning of Poverty Awareness Week, which is co-sponsored by Pace University and The Mayor's Office. The week will include a series of events. Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. will be one keynote speaker; Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of NYCHA will participate in a discussion on "Local Initiatives to Eradicate Poverty."</p> <p>On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio "will deliver remarks at the ribbon-cutting for the Brooklyn College Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School for Cinema at Steiner Studios."</p> <p>At 5 p.m., the Mayor will appear on WCBS Newsradio 880.</p> <p>In the evening, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and many others will attend a birthday celebration for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.brooklynhistory.org/visitor/calendar.html" target="_blank">will host</a> "Why New York? Our Broken Bail System." The event will be moderated by New York Times journalist Shaila Dewan, with panelists: Judge George Grasso, public defender Josh Saunders, criminal justice reform advocate Glenn E. Martin, and an individual who couldn't afford bail.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, NY Tech Meetup will be <a href="http://www.meetup.com/ny-tech/events/220016185/?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoku6zIe%2B%2FhmjTEU5z16uUuWaW0gJt41El3fuXBP2XqjvpVQcNhNrDNRw8FHZNpywVWM8TIKNARt9B5LwzkAG8%3D" target="_blank">held</a> at NYU, with a number of New York companies presenting demos of technologies that they are developing.</p> <p>Tuesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 4 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Brad Lander (District 39, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>JCOPE is set to meet Wednesday morning in Albany.</p> <p>Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., City &amp; State NY <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-energy-tickets-18606786399?aff=erelexporg" target="_blank">holds</a> its fifth annual "On Energy" event, inviting leaders in government, advocacy and business to speak on a number of topics related to the future of energy. Among the topics of discussion will be Governor Andrew Cuomo's regulatory overhaul in New York, Mayor de Blasio's 80 by 50 plan, and more. The event includes a panel with Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of Center for an Urban Future; Nilda Mesa, Director at NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability; Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation. Other notable speakers to appear include: Richard Kauffman, NYS Chair of Energy &amp; Finance; Arthur "Jerry" Kremer, Chairman of New York AREA; Ambassador Ron Kirk, Chairman of CASEnergy; Kevin Parker, a New York state Senator and ranking member of the Energy &amp; Telecommunications Committee.</p> <p>On Wednesday, The Families for Excellent Schools rally, postponed from last week because of weather and "to demand equal opportunity in our schools," will take place, starting mid-morning at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, followed by a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, and a 12:30 p.m. press conference at City Hall. <a href="http://www.familiesforexcellentschools.org/parentsrally" target="_blank">The rally</a> is, in essence, to promote more more charter schools and criticize Mayor de Blasio's education agenda, which does not include more charters. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is expected to headline the rally, along with several high-profile performers, including Jennifer Hudson.</p> <p>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Wednesday</a>:</p> <ul> <li>10 a.m., The Committee on Transportation will meet to discuss a bill that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a study on the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists along bus routes. DOT would then institute new safety measures based on the data. The Committee will also discuss a bill that would require the identification of dangerous intersections based on incidents involving pedestrians, and implement curb extensions in such areas. The Committee will also make a decision on resolutions that would require the MTA to instal rear guards on bus wheels and to study ways to eliminate blind spots for buses.</li> <li>Also 10 a.m., The Committee on Aging will hold an oversight hearing on older adult employment.</li> </ul> <p>At 10 a.m. <a href="http://www.eastriverfiftiesalliance.com/" target="_blank">The East 50s Alliance</a> will hold a community rally to protest the planned construction of a 900-foot tower in the 58th street residential area. The residents are "deeply concerned that the tower will diminish the safety, accessibility and livability of a narrow side street during a lengthy construction process and forever after." City Council Member Ben Kallos will speak.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio, along with Council Members Paul Vallone and Vincent Gentile and others, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1500786460235939/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a Celebration of Italian Heritage at the Council Chambers in City Hall. The event will also celebrate Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday.</p> <p>From 6 to 8 p.m. at Fordham Law School, The Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center and the Women's City Club of New York&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/this-bridge-called-my-back-women-of-color-and-the-fight-for-economic-security-tickets-17973743952" target="_blank">will host</a> "This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color and the Fight for Economic Security", on "how gender intersects with economic and racial inequality in New York City." Dr. Christina Greer, professor of political science at Fordham University, will moderate the panel, with Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Luna Ranjit, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Adhikaar; Joanne N. Smith Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equality; and Margarita Rosa, Executive Director of National Center for Law and Economic Justice participating in the discussion.</p> <p>Wednesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">at the City Council</a>:</p> <ul> <li>9:30 a.m., Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss three land use applications in Manhattan.</li> <li>10 a.m., Committee on Finance will meet regarding the Department of Finance's Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.</li> <li>11 a.m., Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss a land use application in Brooklyn</li> <li>1 p.m., Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss another land use application in Brooklyn</li> </ul> <p>Thursday at the New York State Legislature: the&nbsp;Assembly Standing Committee on Health, Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, and Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/Health/20150911/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a joint public hearing regarding Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Services. "The Committees are seeking oral and written testimony from patients and their families, clinicians, service providers, and the Department on topics including the incidence, severity and consequences of TBI; treatment and service appropriateness and availability, including the rights of patients sent out-of-state; and issues relating to the transition of the TBI Waiver program to managed care."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Thursday New York State Assembly Members Latoya Joyner and Marcos Crespo <a href="https://events.gybo.com/events/132/detail" target="_blank">will kick off</a> "Let's Put Our Cities on the Map," sponsored and hosted by Google at the Bronx Museum of Arts, which will offer free counseling for small businesses on how to reach local customer bases, specifically by using "SmartLogic" online tools.</p> <p>"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday, October 8 at 10:00 AM."</p> <p>At 5 p.m. Thursday, EmblemHealth and LaborPress <a href="http://laborpress.org/sectors/municipal-labor/2900-laborpress-honors-heroes-of-labor" target="_blank">will honor</a> 12 labor union members, from eight different labor unions, for their remarkable contributions to the labor communities at the fourth annual "Heroes of Labor Awards". EmblemHealth has invited many city elected officials to speak, several are expected.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Thursday in Washington, D.C., the Brennan Center for Justice and Vox <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/politics-of-participation" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Politics of Participation: Building an Engaged Citizenry for Millennials and Beyond," including City Council Member Eric Ulrich. It is billed as "a candid conversation about what the shifting demographic landscape means for grassroots movements, political action, and civic engagement; how can we shape our democracy into one that is truly representative of the people being governed?"</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-changing-face-of-activism-tickets-17896902116" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Changing Face of Activism," which will explore the historical progression of activism from the 1960s desegregation movement to the present day Black Lives Matter movement. Moderated by Alethia Jones, a leader of 1199 SEIU, the panel will feature activist Barbara Smith; Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform; and Jose Lopez, Lead Organizer at Make the Road NY and member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.</p> <p>At 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Dan Abrams of ABC News&nbsp;<a href="http://www.92y.org/Event/Ray-Kelly-in-Conversation" target="_blank">will talk</a> with Ray Kelly, the longest-serving NYPD Commissioner, at the 92nd Street Y. Kelly will hold a book signing for his new memoir Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City, after his talk with Mr. Abrams.</p> <p>Thursday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 5 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday at 8:15 a.m., NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton <a href="https://nyls.wufoo.com/forms/william-bratton-citylaw-breakfast/" target="_blank">will speak</a> at New York Law School, as part of the CityLaw breakfast series.</p> <p>Weekend <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">participatory budgeting</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Friday, CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1 pm.</li> <li>Saturday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> <li>Sunday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> </ul> <p><em>*Note: we'll publish our next 'Week Ahead' on Monday, October 13 given the Columbus Day holiday</em></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> Map Launched to Bring Greater Accountability to Capital Spending 2015-08-30T14:37:30+00:00 2015-08-30T14:37:30+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5863:map-launched-to-bring-greater-accountability-to-capital-spending Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Screen_Shot_2015-08-27_at_4.27.52_PM.png" alt="Lander map" height="551" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">A screenshot of the new map launched by Council Member Brad Lander</span></p> <hr /> <p>They are notoriously over-budget and late. Capital projects - infrastructure investments in things like transportation, parks, libraries, and schools - regularly leave members of the public wondering if their elected officials are competent or honest.</p> <p>On a large-scale, think 2nd Avenue Subway, 7-line extension, and East Side Access. But, there are also many, many smaller capital projects all over the city.</p> <p dir="ltr">As participatory budgeting has taken hold in about two dozen New York City Council districts, residents can see capital spending and project progress on a small-scale, down-the-block basis from the very start. One of the keys to the “PB” process is that district residents themselves get to design and decide where government money gets spent in their neighborhoods. Still, it is not always easy to keep track of these projects, which can often take longer than residents would like.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, New Yorkers of the city’s 39th council district have a new government accountability tool at their disposal. And, it is one that could be a model to bring greater transparency and urgency to capital projects across the city. Brooklyn City Council Member Brad Lander has published a new comprehensive map of ongoing capital projects in his district, which stretches from Cobble Hill to Park Slope to Kensington.</p> <p dir="ltr">The interactive map, now&nbsp;<a href="http://bradlander.nyc/council-district-39-capital-budget-projects" target="_blank">available on the council member’s website</a>, designates projects both in progress and completed, and whether or not they were funded through <a href="http://pbnyc.org/" target="_blank">participatory budgeting</a>. By simply clicking an icon on the map, users can find out more detail about each project in particular, including what year it was funded, the amount allocated to the project, and its current completion status.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Screen_Shot_2015-08-27_at_4.28.43_PM.png" alt="Lander map zoom in on project" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="394" width="350" /></p> <p dir="ltr">The tool, a Google Maps embed created by Pratt Institute summer intern Annie Levers (and a feasible project for anyone with a gmail account) is not being billed as the next big, highfalutin tech solution, but rather a simple common-sense step towards improving accountability in the city’s capital contracts.</p> <p dir="ltr">The idea comes from desire for more transparency in the way that the city handles its capital projects. Discussing the tool and larger issue at hand, Lander points to the <a href="http://www.nycgovparks.org/planning-and-building/capital-project-tracker" target="_blank">Parks Capital Tracker</a>, introduced last year by the city Parks Department, as a good first step toward setting a new standard of transparency, but noted that council member-funded capital projects were still not included in discretionary funding information publicly provided the City Council.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ideally, Lander considers the map a step toward a larger, more robust citywide system for tracking the ways in which public money is spent. Even though overhead costs were minimal and the data accessible to all council members, Lander does not expect his colleagues to follow suit and publish maps of their own.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think the long term answer is for the City of New York to provide a portal for all capital projects,” Lander told Gotham Gazette. “I am developing legislation that would require the city to provide something like this -- or the Parks Capital Tracker -- for all city capital projects, whether funded by an agency, City Hall, or by the Council.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don't think the long-term answer is every council member developing their own map and database,” Lander said. Rather, “the long-term answer is a citywide system that tracks all capital projects.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Such a system, Lander hopes, would be a resource for both individuals seeking information about a particular project in their neighborhood and for more formal research purposes, including the city’s own efforts to increase efficiency and accountability.</p> <p dir="ltr">For instance, Lander offers that “it may be that a particular contractor works for three or four different agencies, but if you track it over time, you see that that contractor is persistently late or persistently coming in over budget. So there's a value in systems efficiency, there's value in meeting questions of equity: how's the number being spent in between neighborhoods; evaluating different priorities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">This effort runs parallel to a broader theme within the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Lander’s predecessor in the Council: simplifying and streamlining the city’s capital investments.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think [improved accountability] has been a theme in the de Blasio administration on the capital budget side,” says Adam Forman, of the Center for an Urban Future, a think tank. City Comptroller Scott Stringer released <a href="http://comptroller.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/documents/A_Closer_Look.pdf" target="_blank">a report</a> in February looking at the rates at which capital projects are begun in the fiscal year they are supposed to, showing some of the inefficiencies in capital processes over the past ten years.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, Forman adds that due to the time that it takes to design contracts, bid them out, and finally get shovels in the ground, the City Council often authorizes some $15 billion of capital spending a year, “knowing full well” that only some $8-10 billion will actually be contracted out.</p> <p dir="ltr">Simply opening up the details of capital contracts to public scrutiny could contribute more pressure towards a model where, as Forman puts it, “the money that we authorize to spend, let's actually spend it in that fiscal year.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Bolstering a sense of public stewardship<br /></strong>A second goal of the map will be more difficult to quantify than improved contracting accountability. Lander hopes that making information more available, and importantly, more digestible will help bolster a sense of public stewardship in capital projects around his district.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although increased accountability will be a main selling point when presenting legislation to the Council, the map was originally born out of a desire to merely better present updates about ongoing participatory budgeting projects within the district.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Screen_Shot_2015-08-27_at_4.26.35_PM.png" alt="Lander map various" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="395" width="350" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Lander says that a key value add of participatory budgeting, currently in its fifth year in the 39th District, is that it “enables people to feel like stewards of pieces of the public realm. They develop the ideas for them, they lobby for them, and so they feel a stronger sense of stewardship around the projects that they voted and advocated for, so that they're eager to know their status.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Because people voted on them, we felt a responsibility to provide updates on where these projects are,” Lander said. “And until now, we just had a big [Microsoft] Word-like webpage, where you have to scroll down and you see each year's project and which ones won, and look at it, and there it is. Now that we're in year five, we realized that's not the best way to keep people updated.” Thus, the new interactive map.</p> <p dir="ltr">Constituent Julie Bero, a Windsor Terrace resident and member of the District Committee for Participatory Budgeting, agrees that the map has a deeper potential as a tool for public education. “Just a few years into the process, I think the effectiveness of PB is not quickly clear because many of the projects are not yet complete,” said Bero.</p> <p dir="ltr">The PB process is largely run as a volunteer effort, where delays and bureaucratic holdups can present a challenge to recruiting and retaining volunteers, and winning over skeptics. Bero explains that “so much in our culture is about instant gratification and some people have expressed frustration that projects that won funding early on aren't already done.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Bero thinks that tools such as the mapping project could compensate for the lack of feedback for many projects so far. Bero hopes that in several years, when a variety of PB projects finally are really bearing fruit, that a sense of communal stewardship and accomplishment may be more visible. “But in the meantime, this map can help residents of our district to understand the progress that's already been made and look forward to what's on the horizon.”</p> <p>***<br />by Brit Byrd, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Screen_Shot_2015-08-27_at_4.27.52_PM.png" alt="Lander map" height="551" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">A screenshot of the new map launched by Council Member Brad Lander</span></p> <hr /> <p>They are notoriously over-budget and late. Capital projects - infrastructure investments in things like transportation, parks, libraries, and schools - regularly leave members of the public wondering if their elected officials are competent or honest.</p> <p>On a large-scale, think 2nd Avenue Subway, 7-line extension, and East Side Access. But, there are also many, many smaller capital projects all over the city.</p> <p dir="ltr">As participatory budgeting has taken hold in about two dozen New York City Council districts, residents can see capital spending and project progress on a small-scale, down-the-block basis from the very start. One of the keys to the “PB” process is that district residents themselves get to design and decide where government money gets spent in their neighborhoods. Still, it is not always easy to keep track of these projects, which can often take longer than residents would like.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, New Yorkers of the city’s 39th council district have a new government accountability tool at their disposal. And, it is one that could be a model to bring greater transparency and urgency to capital projects across the city. Brooklyn City Council Member Brad Lander has published a new comprehensive map of ongoing capital projects in his district, which stretches from Cobble Hill to Park Slope to Kensington.</p> <p dir="ltr">The interactive map, now&nbsp;<a href="http://bradlander.nyc/council-district-39-capital-budget-projects" target="_blank">available on the council member’s website</a>, designates projects both in progress and completed, and whether or not they were funded through <a href="http://pbnyc.org/" target="_blank">participatory budgeting</a>. By simply clicking an icon on the map, users can find out more detail about each project in particular, including what year it was funded, the amount allocated to the project, and its current completion status.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Screen_Shot_2015-08-27_at_4.28.43_PM.png" alt="Lander map zoom in on project" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="394" width="350" /></p> <p dir="ltr">The tool, a Google Maps embed created by Pratt Institute summer intern Annie Levers (and a feasible project for anyone with a gmail account) is not being billed as the next big, highfalutin tech solution, but rather a simple common-sense step towards improving accountability in the city’s capital contracts.</p> <p dir="ltr">The idea comes from desire for more transparency in the way that the city handles its capital projects. Discussing the tool and larger issue at hand, Lander points to the <a href="http://www.nycgovparks.org/planning-and-building/capital-project-tracker" target="_blank">Parks Capital Tracker</a>, introduced last year by the city Parks Department, as a good first step toward setting a new standard of transparency, but noted that council member-funded capital projects were still not included in discretionary funding information publicly provided the City Council.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ideally, Lander considers the map a step toward a larger, more robust citywide system for tracking the ways in which public money is spent. Even though overhead costs were minimal and the data accessible to all council members, Lander does not expect his colleagues to follow suit and publish maps of their own.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think the long term answer is for the City of New York to provide a portal for all capital projects,” Lander told Gotham Gazette. “I am developing legislation that would require the city to provide something like this -- or the Parks Capital Tracker -- for all city capital projects, whether funded by an agency, City Hall, or by the Council.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don't think the long-term answer is every council member developing their own map and database,” Lander said. Rather, “the long-term answer is a citywide system that tracks all capital projects.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Such a system, Lander hopes, would be a resource for both individuals seeking information about a particular project in their neighborhood and for more formal research purposes, including the city’s own efforts to increase efficiency and accountability.</p> <p dir="ltr">For instance, Lander offers that “it may be that a particular contractor works for three or four different agencies, but if you track it over time, you see that that contractor is persistently late or persistently coming in over budget. So there's a value in systems efficiency, there's value in meeting questions of equity: how's the number being spent in between neighborhoods; evaluating different priorities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">This effort runs parallel to a broader theme within the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Lander’s predecessor in the Council: simplifying and streamlining the city’s capital investments.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think [improved accountability] has been a theme in the de Blasio administration on the capital budget side,” says Adam Forman, of the Center for an Urban Future, a think tank. City Comptroller Scott Stringer released <a href="http://comptroller.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/documents/A_Closer_Look.pdf" target="_blank">a report</a> in February looking at the rates at which capital projects are begun in the fiscal year they are supposed to, showing some of the inefficiencies in capital processes over the past ten years.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, Forman adds that due to the time that it takes to design contracts, bid them out, and finally get shovels in the ground, the City Council often authorizes some $15 billion of capital spending a year, “knowing full well” that only some $8-10 billion will actually be contracted out.</p> <p dir="ltr">Simply opening up the details of capital contracts to public scrutiny could contribute more pressure towards a model where, as Forman puts it, “the money that we authorize to spend, let's actually spend it in that fiscal year.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Bolstering a sense of public stewardship<br /></strong>A second goal of the map will be more difficult to quantify than improved contracting accountability. Lander hopes that making information more available, and importantly, more digestible will help bolster a sense of public stewardship in capital projects around his district.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although increased accountability will be a main selling point when presenting legislation to the Council, the map was originally born out of a desire to merely better present updates about ongoing participatory budgeting projects within the district.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Screen_Shot_2015-08-27_at_4.26.35_PM.png" alt="Lander map various" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="395" width="350" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Lander says that a key value add of participatory budgeting, currently in its fifth year in the 39th District, is that it “enables people to feel like stewards of pieces of the public realm. They develop the ideas for them, they lobby for them, and so they feel a stronger sense of stewardship around the projects that they voted and advocated for, so that they're eager to know their status.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Because people voted on them, we felt a responsibility to provide updates on where these projects are,” Lander said. “And until now, we just had a big [Microsoft] Word-like webpage, where you have to scroll down and you see each year's project and which ones won, and look at it, and there it is. Now that we're in year five, we realized that's not the best way to keep people updated.” Thus, the new interactive map.</p> <p dir="ltr">Constituent Julie Bero, a Windsor Terrace resident and member of the District Committee for Participatory Budgeting, agrees that the map has a deeper potential as a tool for public education. “Just a few years into the process, I think the effectiveness of PB is not quickly clear because many of the projects are not yet complete,” said Bero.</p> <p dir="ltr">The PB process is largely run as a volunteer effort, where delays and bureaucratic holdups can present a challenge to recruiting and retaining volunteers, and winning over skeptics. Bero explains that “so much in our culture is about instant gratification and some people have expressed frustration that projects that won funding early on aren't already done.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Bero thinks that tools such as the mapping project could compensate for the lack of feedback for many projects so far. Bero hopes that in several years, when a variety of PB projects finally are really bearing fruit, that a sense of communal stewardship and accomplishment may be more visible. “But in the meantime, this map can help residents of our district to understand the progress that's already been made and look forward to what's on the horizon.”</p> <p>***<br />by Brit Byrd, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> City Council Highlights Gains in Participatory Budgeting Program 2015-05-20T20:24:59+00:00 2015-05-20T20:24:59+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5735:city-council-highlights-gains-in-participatory-budgeting-program Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/kallos_pb_vote.jpg" alt="kallos pb vote" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">PB voting in CD5 (photo: @BenKallos)</span></p> <hr /> <p>51,362. That's how many New Yorkers cast ballots in the recently-finished participatory budgeting cycle to determine which community projects receive funding. Implemented this year in 24 of the City Council's 51 districts, the participatory budgeting program sees council members devote $1 million or more in capital funding toward the community initiative. In a year-long process that engages district residents in local decision-making and community-building, New Yorkers not only have the opportunity to interact with each other and their local representatives, but also to learn about city government and budgeting.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/kallos_pb_vote.jpg" alt="kallos pb vote" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">PB voting in CD5 (photo: @BenKallos)</span></p> <hr /> <p>51,362. That's how many New Yorkers cast ballots in the recently-finished participatory budgeting cycle to determine which community projects receive funding. Implemented this year in 24 of the City Council's 51 districts, the participatory budgeting program sees council members devote $1 million or more in capital funding toward the community initiative. In a year-long process that engages district residents in local decision-making and community-building, New Yorkers not only have the opportunity to interact with each other and their local representatives, but also to learn about city government and budgeting.</p> Assessing Resilience Planning: Is the City Preparing Smartly for the Rising Risks of Climate Change? 2015-04-16T04:38:22+00:00 2015-04-16T04:38:22+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5689:assessing-resilience-planning-is-the-city-preparing-smartly-for-the-rising-risks-of-climate-change Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/14044079018_7500f481f4_z.jpg" alt="rooftops PlaNYC" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Rooftop greenery is part of the plan (photo: PlaNYC via flickr)</span></p> <hr /> <p>At one of many such meetings now taking place throughout the city's waterfront, residents of Red Hook, Brooklyn, gathered recently at a local community center to hear about the dramatic expansion of federal flood zones in their area and what the new designation would cost them.</p> <p>As in other coastal neighborhoods, Red Hook struggles with a variety of flooding-related issues. Area homes, businesses and public housing developments suffered heavy damage from a five-foot storm surge during Superstorm Sandy. Red Hook also has long-term stormwater drainage problems.</p> <p>So as the March 31 meeting night wore on, and residents sat closely together staring grimly at maps of their neighborhood, their fatigue and frustration was palpable.</p> <p>One described still not being back in his home more than two years after major damage during Sandy. Another, in exasperation, asked city officials and their Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who presided over the meeting, "What are you going to do? We are having meeting after meeting [about recovery and resiliency] and the neighborhood is still flooding."</p> <p>Red Hook is not alone. Similar issues and worries are being played out in waterfront communities throughout New York, from the Lower East Side to the Rockaways.</p> <p>Problems like localized flooding will become all the more urgent as climate change progresses. But the threat to each neighborhood is different, depending on where it is located relative to the city's 500-plus miles of coastline, and factors like socio-economic conditions, building stock, and critical infrastructure.</p> <p>City officials are far from indifferent. Next week on Earth Day, April 22, the city plans to release a major progress report, the first in four years, on its multi-pronged sustainability framework, known as <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc/html/home/home.shtml" target="_blank">PlaNYC</a>. As in the past, the report is expected to include discussion of climate resiliency, that is, the city's ongoing and developing preparations to manage for the effects of climate change.</p> <p>The update is the result of "an extensive engagement process," a city spokesperson recently <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/04/8565847/de-blasio-process-planyc" target="_blank">told Capital New York</a>, including meetings in every community board district, a survey available in seven languages, and an "expanded advisory board."</p> <p>In anticipation of the city's report, news partners Gotham Gazette, AdaptNY, and the NY Environment Report raised a series of key questions about resiliency planning with a group of planners, engineers, architects, elected officials, and other experts:</p> <ul> <li>What is the pace of preparations? And are there sufficient financial resources? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#Timetable" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> <li>Is the city using the best data possible? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#data" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> <li>What's the impact of expanding flood zones? And is retreat an option? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#floodzones" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> <li>Can we improve the decision-making process? Expand public engagement? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#decisionmaking" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> <li>What are the institutional obstacles? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#obstacles" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> <li>What are the social implications of resiliency planning? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#social" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> </ul> <p><strong>The overarching question: can the process of becoming resilient make New York, in the end, a better city - more livable, environmentally sustainable, and socially cohesive?</strong></p> <p>Among other key takeaways, we found:</p> <ul> <li>The city's multi-faceted preparations for climate change are viewed as sound, but greater public clarity is needed on fundamental details of project rollout and funding.</li> <li>There is fairly widespread frustration with the pace of execution, and ways to speed up the public review process should be examined.</li> <li>It's unclear how residents will manage rising insurance costs within expanded flood zones.</li> <li>Better data could improve the understanding of the climate risks ahead, and there is an open question about how far to look into the future.</li> <li>Residents could be engaged more meaningfully in the planning process, such as through participatory budgeting.</li> <li>In a number of ways, civic society is coming forward with proposals for how the city can further improve its resilience plans.</li> </ul> <p>Although creating resiliency is an ongoing process and climate change is long-term, the need to plan is urgent. "We are holding our breath," said Staten Island City Council Member Vincent Ignizio about the approach of this year's hurricane season.</p> <p>"There will be more sea level rise; there will be more frequent storms; they'll be more intense," said Steven Cohen, who directs the Earth Institute at Columbia University. "If it comes in the next year or two, we're in trouble. If it comes 5 or 10 years from now, we'd be better off."</p> <p>Added Cohen: "The question is can we build a city that's strong enough to withstand that and then recover quickly. And I believe we can."</p> <p><strong><a name="Timetable">WHAT'S THE TIMETABLE?</a><br /></strong>One outgrowth of PlaNYC targets a ten-year approach to resiliency. The city's Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, or SIRR, was first released by the Bloomberg administration post-Sandy, in June 2013, and subsequently endorsed by the de Blasio administration.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/sirr/html/report/report.shtml" target="_blank">The SIRR plan</a> includes 257 separate projects and major coastal flood protection initiatives. It has a particular focus on five vulnerable areas: the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, the East and South shores of Staten Island, South Queens, South Brooklyn, and lower Manhattan.</p> <p>As of last fall, at least 200 of the SIRR projects have been started and 29 were complete, said Daniel Zarrilli, director of the Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resilience. For instance, the city, with support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been replenishing beaches in vulnerable areas like Coney Island and the Rockaways, and rebuilding dunes on the Staten Island coast.</p> <p>Critical infrastructure is being hardened throughout the city, Cohen pointed out. Hospitals are moving generators to higher floors. The Con-Ed power plant on the East River has been made more storm resilient, and the MTA is developing contingency plans to keep water out of subway tunnels, he stated.</p> <p>But all of the major flood protection projects appear to be in some sort of "study" phase. For instance, an "integrated flood management project" for Red Hook, which could include a natural greenway, deployable flood walls, elevated streets, and drainage pumps, was originally scheduled for completion in 2016. Now, the City is currently issuing "requests for proposals" for the project, and hopes to begin construction in 2017.</p> <p>A much <a href="http://www.nycedc.com/sites/default/files/filemanager/Projects/Seaport_City/Southern_Manhattan_Coastal_Protection_Study_-_Evaluating_the_Feasibility_of_a_Multi-Purpose_Levee.pdf" target="_blank">larger project</a>, the elevation and expansion of riverfront parkland adjacent to Manhattan's Lower East Side meant to protect thousands of local residents, could take seven years to move through the review and permitting stages, and another three years or more for construction, according to a 2014 city feasibility study.</p> <p>The "multi-purpose levee" is only the first section of Manhattan's "Big U" flood protection project, which is supposed to one day stretch from West 57th street south to the Battery and up to East 42nd.</p> <p>In the coming weeks, the Army Corps will also be releasing public studies for how best to protect the Rockaway peninsula and the East Shore of Staten Island. And flood protection feasibility studies for Coney Island Creek, the Gowanus Canal, Jamaica Bay, Hunts Point, and Lower Manhattan are also ongoing.</p> <p>So how fast can the city realistically move?</p> <p>Making New York truly climate resilient will require years and, in some aspects, decades. The raising of individual homes and their mechanical systems above flood levels alone "will take a generation," observed Cohen.</p> <p>Flood protection infrastructure in the Netherlands has taken decades to put into place, observed Henk Ovink, a Dutch advisor to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.</p> <p>Even SIRR has a caveat - climate change is a long-term problem, it notes, and "many of the strategies and initiatives [in SIRR] will evolve over a similarly long period of time."</p> <p>But growing anxiety and some frustration with that pace is evident in conversations with local elected officials, such as in Staten Island, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5687-awaiting-the-next-storm-staten-island-balances-long-term-planning-short-term-needs-oddo" target="_blank">which is racing to prepare for another Sandy</a>.</p> <p>The Rockaways also has worries, in part because of historic stormwater drainage issues like in Red Hook. City Council Member Donovan Richards, who represents roughly half of its almost 120,000 residents and chairs the Council's Committee on Environmental Protection, said he is anxiously awaiting the results of the Army Corps study. Richards expressed concern that it could take as long as a decade to fully execute the Corps' recommendations.</p> <p>Meanwhile, plans to repair the Rockaway peninsula's protective bulkheads are mired in inter-agency confusion, Richards maintained. Besides beach replenishment and the eventual repair of the bulkheads on the Rockaway coast, asked Richards, "How are we really protecting these people?"</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/planyc_screenshot_via_twitter.jpg" alt="planyc screenshot via twitter" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="201" width="400" /></p> <p><strong>WHERE'S THE MONEY?<br /></strong>With the launch of the SIRR plan in 2013, city officials made clear that about one-half to three-quarters of its estimated $19.5 billion price tag was in hand. The rest would need to be raised from various sources, such as federal or state funds, and the city's utility ratepayers.</p> <p>Capital projects and studies outlined in SIRR would cost almost $14 billion. Another $5.5 billion is needed for "various other housing, business, and city agency recovery and resiliency needs," said the report.</p> <p>But, according to SIRR, that $14 billion is associated with only the first phase of its projects and programs. It doesn't include implementation costs for projects, for instance, that are to be completed beyond the 10-year time frame of the plan.</p> <p>Think of SIRR as laying the groundwork for the city's ongoing resiliency work, and realizing a first round of projects. Phase 1 projects, such as beach nourishment in Coney Island or a storm surge barrier in Newtown Creek, are included in the $14 billion. But "full build" SIRR projects, like an integrated flood protection system for West Midtown, or a storm surge barrier for the Rockaway Inlet, are not.</p> <p>City Council Member Mark Treyger, who chairs the Council's Committee on Recovery and Resiliency and represents Coney Island, argues that the pricetag for the SIRR plan is steadily rising, and that the flood protection studies happening right now are going to drive the real cost of the projects.</p> <p>"I am fairly confident when I say we don't have all the money to actualize that vision. I'm not even sure if we're anywhere close to it," said Treyger, referring to what he saw as the mounting complexity of each flood protection project.</p> <p>According to the city's "<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/sandytracker/" target="_blank">Sandy Funding Tracker</a>," which is current through the end of 2014, more than $13 billion in federal recovery funding has been earmarked for projects in the city. This includes $7.3 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a $4.2 billion Community Development Block Grant from HUD, and $840 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.</p> <p>City officials declined to clarify how much of that $13 billion is actually for SIRR. For instance, it appears that at least $1.7 billion of the HUD CDBG funds was allocated to Build It Back, the city's controversial rebuilding program for homes damaged by Sandy.</p> <p>It's also unclear whether the portion of the $4.2 billion HUD grant covering some of the new flood protection projects is totally secure.</p> <p>Council Member Ignizio of Staten Island raised the concern that by 2018 the city must have shovel-ready plans – with all the relevant permits and such - or else possibly lose some of the money. "The city is pretty far behind," said Ignizio. "There's a lot of stuff that still hasn't been planned out."</p> <p>City officials did not respond to questions about the HUD grant either.</p> <p>Nonetheless, federal funding for Sandy rebuilding is already helping to make New York more resilient.</p> <p>"The city is now required to come up with certain resiliency measures when they take federal [rebuilding] dollars," said Treyger. An example is the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation, which received a $1.6 billion FEMA grant to both repair and elevate critical infrastructure.</p> <p>Similarly, the federal government has just allocated $3 billion to repair and make more climate resilient 33 public housing developments that were heavily damaged during Sandy. Included in the grant are all six New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments in the Rockaways, along with 14 developments in Manhattan, and 12 in Brooklyn. The grant is the largest in FEMA history, said the city.</p> <p><strong><a name="data">HOW GOOD IS THE DATA?</a><br /></strong>The starting point for the city's resiliency plans is its understanding of flood risk along New York's hundreds of miles of coastline. That, in turn, is largely guided by FEMA's designation throughout the five boroughs of 100-year flood zones, areas that have a one percent chance each year of flooding.</p> <p>The last time that FEMA's flood maps were completely overhauled was in 1983, over thirty years ago. Updated maps are to be released next year, and the drafts of the new maps indicate that almost 85,000 buildings in New York will soon lie in a flood zone. That's a three-fold increase.</p> <p>But there is a very practical reason for using FEMA's flood maps as a planning guide: Only projects that address flood risks identified by FEMA are eligible for federal funding.</p> <p>"By necessity, the SIRR was set up to put New York City in a good position to receive federal money to do these projects," explained Guy Nordenson, a structural engineer and member of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, a body of climate and social scientists and risk management experts which advises the city.</p> <p>But Nordenson, who worked on the SIRR plan, argues that the city could benefit from a more robust assessment of coastal storm hazards.</p> <p>In the simplest terms, Nordenson maintains that hazard assessments for New York also need to include projections for 500-year and 2500-year flooding events.</p> <p>Why? Because these types of events are already happening. "Depending on how you calculate it," said Nordenson, "Sandy was definitely greater than a 500-year" event. "It was closer to what we're looking at as the extreme [2500-year] event."</p> <p>Another way of understanding this, said Nordenson, is that the FEMA maps used by the city look at flood events with a 40 percent likelihood over a 50-year span. But over the next 50 years, what type of flood has a 10 percent likelihood of occurring? Or a 2 percent likelihood?</p> <p>The 2 percent standard is what the U.S. uses for earthquake and tsunami protection guidelines, said Nordenson, who served as chair of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program in the 1980's.</p> <p>Nordenson, who is collaborating with the Army Corps, is also incorporating climate change projections into <a href="http://structuresofcoastalresilience.org/" target="_blank">his flood risk models</a>. Significantly, FEMA is not using climate change data as it updates its flood maps.</p> <p>While Nordenson believes that "[New York] City is way ahead of the majority of communities up and down the East Coast" in terms of resiliency planning, the ultimate goal, he said, is to "do a better job of encompassing the full range of uncertainty."</p> <p>He pointed out: "If you consider what happened in Katrina and what's happened in many cases in floods, there's always something that goes wrong. There's always flooding in places that we don't expect. There's always failure of some levee or other form of protection."</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5687-awaiting-the-next-storm-staten-island-balances-long-term-planning-short-term-needs-oddo" target="_blank">Awaiting the Next Storm: Staten Island Balances Long-Term Planning, Short-Term Needs</a>]</p> <p><a name="floodzones"><strong>WHAT'S THE IMPACT OF GROWING FLOOD ZONES?</strong></a><br />Over 400,000 city residents will soon be living in 100-year flood zones.That's an increase of 84% from the current 218,088. What does adding tens of thousands of residents to the updated FEMA flood zones mean in financial and social terms?</p> <p>The most pressing issue is the specter of working class, waterfront communities facing steadily rising flood insurance costs on top of other economic challenges. Council Member Treyger calls it an approaching "financial storm."</p> <p>To control the costs, FEMA currently recognizes elevating one's home as the only mitigation step. But because elevation is untenable in many cases, the city has been pushing FEMA to take New York's existing housing stock into account.</p> <p>Otherwise, the only viable option for many New York homeowners will be to abandon the first floor of their houses. That's often a critical source of rental income. "Many of us are losing one-third of the value of our houses," said one angry Red Hook resident at the March meeting.</p> <p>The dilemma was brought home by Alexandros Washburn, an architect and chief urban designer at the Department of City Planning under the Bloomberg administration. He rode out Sandy at his home in Red Hook, which was heavily flooded.</p> <p>"If I were to follow the regulatory path of least resistance [by using FEMA guidelines]," Washburn explained, "I'm supposed to take out my Victorian storefront, fill my basement, pour a concrete slab and park cars...Then my house is resilient."</p> <p>But then Red Hook would become a neighborhood of parking garages, he argued. "We would have killed the social heart of our neighborhood."</p> <p>There are solutions. Neighborhood flood protection projects, in planning now, could eventually provide mitigation credits for homeowners. That, in turn, would lower their flood insurance rates, said Treyger.</p> <p>And the city's resiliency projects could do more than help lower the cost of flood insurance for residents. They could also help whole neighborhoods get out of the flood zones altogether, said Washburn.</p> <p>"If we succeed in making a beautiful and effective perimeter protection for Red Hook, we take Red Hook out of the flood zone, out from under the requirement for FEMA [flood] insurance. We remove the problem," he said.</p> <p>Is that realistic? "Totally doable," Washburn responded. "That would be the [city's] end-goal."</p> <p>Added Treyger: "My message to the city is that when we're planning resiliency, are we aligned to the FEMA standards? We have to make sure that we have the relevant city agencies on the same page with FEMA, who have to be on the same page with the Army Corps."</p> <p><a href="http://www.nycedc.com/sites/default/files/filemanager/Projects/Seaport_City/Southern_Manhattan_Coastal_Protection_Study_-_Evaluating_the_Feasibility_of_a_Multi-Purpose_Levee.pdf" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/east_side_area.png" alt="east side area" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="225" width="400" /></a></p> <p><strong>IS RETREAT AN OPTION?<br /></strong>Is there a point at which New York residents should simply move away from an increasingly flood-prone coast? That question begins to make sense when you look at the findings of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, or NPCC, whose <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nyas.2015.1336.issue-1/issuetoc" target="_blank">most recent report</a> was released in February.</p> <p>The NPCC has found that since 1900, New York has seen sea levels rise around a foot, nearly twice the observed global rate over a similar time period.</p> <p>This trend is expected to continue, and even accelerate, as the century progresses. According to the panel's most recent report, sea level could rise another 11-21 inches by the 2050s, and 18-39 inches by the 2080s. By 2100, according to the panel's worst-case, though lowest probability scenario, it could increase as much as six feet.</p> <p>Indeed, after Sandy, some homeowners on Staten Island had already made the decision to give up their homes. They are participating in <a href="http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/ny-rising-buyout-and-acquisition-programs" target="_blank">a joint city and state program</a> under the state's NY Rising community reconstruction initiative. The acquisition program is currently only available in three Staten Island neighborhoods and Suffolk County.</p> <p>Despite this, the city has maintained a "no retreat" policy thus far. "New York City will not retreat," the SIRR plan declared. "[It will] stand with its waterfront neighborhoods."</p> <p>But how far into the future should we try to look? "For the foreseeable future, we can manage risk and we can make neighborhoods safer," argued city resiliency official Zarrilli, in <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/keeping-floodwaters-bay/" target="_blank">an interview</a> last month on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show.</p> <p>"And in the future if things are going either faster or slower in the climate than we anticipated, we can continue to react," Zarrilli maintained. "It's not an all-at-once implementation that needs to happen."</p> <p>A concrete example is the City's approach to inundation. By the 2050's, some neighborhoods are expected to experience weekly or even daily tidal flooding due to sea level rise. The city said it plans to monitor the situation and raise the height of coastal edges, with bulkheads and beach nourishment, as necessary.</p> <p>But others see it differently. "I think we need a realistic, thoughtful conversation about what a sustainable strategy looks like with our waterfront," said Mary Rowe, vice president of the Municipal Art Society, a century-old organization with a special focus on design, planning, architecture and resilience. "There's a significant question about what does New York look like in 50 years. What are the alternatives?"</p> <p>And some go even farther. For instance, Klaus Jacob, a geo-physicist affiliated with the Earth Institute, who also sits on the NPCC, has pointedly argued that the city must plan now to move coastal residents to higher ground.</p> <p>But the Earth Institute's Cohen responded that "abandoning [the coastline] is not practical and not cost-effective." Part of Cohen's concern relates to the working class makeup of many of the city's coastal communities. Given the current housing affordability crisis, asked Cohen, where are the almost 700,000 residents of the city's most vulnerable coastal areas going to move?</p> <p>Another issue Cohen raised is the massive financial loss that would be incurred by walking away from the critical infrastructure, like powerplants and wastewater treatment facilities, that has been constructed all along the city's coastline.</p> <p>In any event, Cohen is not convinced that the most dire projections made by the city's climate scientists are inevitable. In 2014, greenhouse gases actually stabilized, he stated.</p> <p>The global economy is moving away from coal, and will eventually replace all fossil fuels with renewable sources, Cohen said, and that will slow the pace of climate change. Fossil fuels will be driven from the marketplace "long before we're under five feet of water in New York City," he argued.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nycedc.com/sites/default/files/filemanager/Projects/Seaport_City/Southern_Manhattan_Coastal_Protection_Study_-_Evaluating_the_Feasibility_of_a_Multi-Purpose_Levee.pdf" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/manhattan_shorelines.png" alt="manhattan shorelines" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="188" width="400" /></a></p> <p><strong><a name="decisionmaking">CAN THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS BE IMPROVED?</a><br /></strong>One of the challenges of resiliency planning is that the timetable for infrastructure projects is guided by lengthy public review processes, which were originally established to provide more oversight and opportunities for the public to weigh in.</p> <p>"The pace of climate change is such that we have to find a way of speeding up the public process," observed Washburn, the city's former chief urban designer. "The ability for top-down and bottom-up to come together and reach a decision is critical. You can't act without deciding first."</p> <p>He added: "The expeditious part, for me, is not the amount of time it takes to build the thing...It's the time it takes to get to a decision on what you are going to build and how you're going to pay for it."</p> <p>Washburn believes he may have one piece of the puzzle. He now runs a coastal resilience research lab at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., and said his lab has developed a computer program that will "let us plan coastal protections together with the community in real time."</p> <p>Local residents can use this so-called parametric analysis tool to gain a much deeper understanding of the physical effectiveness, social impact, and cost of each proposed project, Washburn argued.</p> <p>"[You] let everybody get into the room, whether it's a virtual or actual room, and play with the parameters," Washburn continued. "If you substitute a concrete wall for a vegetative berm, you can keep track of the costs. You can see what it looks like. You can see what the view from the street is. ... It's tools like that that let you go through the same interactive process that ULURP [the city's Uniform Land Use Review Process] is hoping to establish of community input and top input and modification."</p> <p>Washburn added: "The tools are now out there for the city to get to success. The city's got a pretty good foundation. The number one smart thing the city is doing is taking a neighborhood approach. The question is can they take it the last step and make a reality that's effective but also improves quality of life."</p> <p><strong>DO RESIDENTS HAVE ENOUGH SAY?</strong><br />Another concrete way to engage the public is to give people more direct say over how resiliency dollars are spent, say some policy advocates. This is already a pressing issue in cases where residents have been heavily involved in developing resiliency proposals, but risk being left out of the final decision making process.</p> <p>A case in point is the Hunts Point community of the South Bronx, which has actively participated in developing one of the winning coastal resiliency projects chosen by HUD's Rebuild by Design program.</p> <p>The revised price tag for the <a href="http://www.rebuildbydesign.org/project/hunts-point-lifelines/" target="_blank">Hunts Point Lifelines</a> project is now $481 million. So far, HUD has allocated $25 million, and the city is prepared to offer another $20 million.</p> <p>Some community leaders are asking how what is ultimately built in Hunts Point will be decided upon, and who will participate in that process.</p> <p>We need "clear points of decision making," said Kelly Terry, executive director of The Point CDC, at a public meeting about the project on April 10. She said the community is looking for clear criteria on who gets to participate in a working group created by the city, along with accountability and open communication.</p> <p>There are multiple potential ways residents can participate in resiliency budget discussions.</p> <p>One possible first step could be for the city to provide financial support for some of the "first responder" community groups who were so essential during Sandy. This is a "no-brainer," argued Michael Menser, an assistant professor of Earth and Environmental Science at the CUNY Graduate Center.</p> <p>"Where is the funding program for [the first responder groups] to build their own capacity, to improve their spaces and community infrastructure, to hire more, to have better relationships with the [city] agencies?" he asked.</p> <p>A next step, said Menser, chair of the non-profit Participatory Budgeting Project, would be to utilize participatory budgeting for certain types of local resiliency projects. Participatory budgeting is already used in almost half of New York City's council districts, including several Sandy-impacted areas.</p> <p>"What's been missing is any kind of process that connects neighborhoods to city agencies and city government in a medium-term way," Menser said. "There's been no real defined way that people could participate."</p> <p>To be clear, Menser is talking about actual decision making, not just offering one's opinion at a community board meeting or in a survey. Community boards can only make non-binding recommendations in the city's land use review process, for example.</p> <p>Giving residents a pot of funding could "really enliven and strengthen the city's resilience-enhancing goals," said Menser. As part of the participatory budgeting process, communities would work with the relevant city agencies to develop resiliency proposals that are technically and legally appropriate, he said.</p> <p>Going even further, using participatory budgeting on a citywide level would significantly ramp up the city's resilience process, Menser argued, and be especially useful for overcoming the isolation of Sandy-impacted communities. Referring to the fact that climate change will ultimately affect every New York neighborhood, whether coastal or not, Menser observed that "this is a regional issue."</p> <p>But the underlying question for Menser is how to maintain substantive public involvement in resiliency planning on an ongoing basis. In the participatory budgeting paradigm, "expertise plays a critical role, but it's driven by community need," he said. "And in the process, you create more trust among the government and the community, but also within the community, and also you help to promote interagency coordination."</p> <p><strong>HOW ARE RESIDENTS BEING ENGAGED?</strong><br />Our previous reporting <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/environment/4660-special-report-are-the-citys-most-vulnerable-communities-being-heard-" target="_blank">found</a> striking disconnects in communication between the Bloomberg administration and some of its community boards regarding resiliency planning.</p> <p>Additional interviews last fall with several dozen residents in two of the city's most vulnerable areas found that a significant number were simply unsure what measures, if any, were being taken to protect their communities. The overwhelming majority <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5399-at-risk-residents-worry-over-climate-safety-city-leaders-eye-resiliency-and-outreach" target="_blank">thought they were no safer</a>, two years after Sandy, from the risks posed by climate change.</p> <p>As noted earlier, the de Blasio administration has pledged to increase community engagement as it updates PlaNYC, and, so far, has done so by meeting with all 59 of the city's community boards, and disseminating a survey about a variety of sustainability and resiliency topics.</p> <p>The administration has decided not to re-activate two task forces that were convened after Sandy to enable communities in vulnerable areas to weigh in on resiliency planning.</p> <p>But resiliency planning bodies and advocacy groups are springing up throughout the five boroughs. Resiliency and rebuilding task forces have been established by the borough presidents of Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens, Council Member Treyger noted.</p> <p>Treyger said that he has jump-started a resiliency task force in his community, Coney Island.<br />"I would encourage all of the communities [with] these studies underway [to organize]," said Treyger. "Let's not wait for them," he said of the city. "We can do it ourselves."</p> <p>Resiliency task forces are even being formed at the hyper-local level. For instance, residents in some of the public housing developments in the Rockaways have set up planning groups, said Council Member Richards.</p> <p>Richards observed that a major challenge for the city was figuring out how best to "intertwine environmental justice communities with PlaNYC planning. They have been left out of the conversation."</p> <p>The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding, a citywide coalition of labor unions and community, faith-based, environmental, and policy organizations formed after Sandy, shares Richards' concern.</p> <p>The city's rebuilding process must include a commitment to "the elimination of environmental disparities across communities," the alliance says on its website. The goal is a process that "prioritizes transparency and community inclusion, [and] creates new economic opportunity for all New Yorkers –particularly low-income communities and communities of color."</p> <p>Richards stressed that he believes community involvement in resiliency planning is a "personal issue for the mayor." He said that the de Blasio administration was making an "honest effort" to engage the public and to "really listen" to feedback.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: center;">[Related:&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5687-awaiting-the-next-storm-staten-island-balances-long-term-planning-short-term-needs-oddo" target="_blank" style="text-decoration: underline; text-align: center;">Awaiting the Next Storm: Staten Island Balances Long-Term Planning, Short-Term Needs</a><span style="text-align: center;">]</span></p> <p><strong><a name="obstacles">WHAT ARE THE INSTITUTIONAL OBSTACLES?</a><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/obstacles" target="_blank"></a></strong><br />All levels of government, including Congress, will have to collaborate closely to protect the eight million-plus residents of New York City from the impacts of climate change. At last month's meeting in Red Hook, Rep. Velazquez ruefully observed how hard the New York delegation has had to fight for funding in the Republican-led Congress.</p> <p>One issue that is often overlooked in resiliency discussions is the impact - positive and negative - of state funding decisions on the city. Insufficient funding for basic water infrastructure projects, like upgrades to wastewater treatment plants and water mains, has reached a crisis level across the state, say Democratic and Republican legislators in Albany.</p> <p>This relates directly to climate change because New York is projected to see increases in the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme precipitation events. Yet some coastal neighborhoods in Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn still lack the proper infrastructure to handle run-of-the-mill rainstorms.</p> <p>The city is struggling to play catch-up and is engaged in stormwater infrastructure projects in several communities. This includes building grey infrastructure, like sewer mains, as well as green infrastructure, like <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/dep_projects/bluebelt.shtml" target="_blank">blue belts</a> (natural drainage corridors) and bioswales.</p> <p>The good news, according to those interviewed for this report, is that individual city agencies are increasingly working together on resiliency planning.</p> <p>Challenges remain. For instance, despite ongoing pleas from residents and elected officials, the city cannot seem to determine which agency has ultimate responsibility for repairing some of the bulkheads that will protect the Rockaway coastline until larger coastal flood protection projects are in place. Council Member Richards described the situation as "convoluted."</p> <p>But there are concrete measures that could enable city agencies to work more effectively together, says CUNY's Menser.</p> <p>"It would be a really good time to have a [city] charter review in a year or two," argued Menser, referring to the fact that city agencies now function in the complex and shifting world of climate change. The issue affects their responsibilities, and may alter how power needs to be distributed, especially vis-a-vis the public, he said.</p> <p>A charter review could also address jurisdictional issues relevant to resiliency planning, or even increase the power held by community boards. The last full review was in 1989. An examination of how government is structured is merited, Menser said. "We're due."</p> <p>And the underlying point, said Menser, is that climate resiliency is going to require more than technical solutions. It will also require "social support" and "bureaucratic changes" - a point echoed by others. More specifically, true resilience "requires a remaking of bureaucratic institutions, and the relationship between the public and those institutions," Menser continued.</p> <p>As an example, Menser cited the city's housing authority, NYCHA, which has been plagued by reports of internal dysfunction. Many public housing developments were badly damaged during Sandy, taking an enormous toll on residents.</p> <p>"Remaking the buildings isn't going to be enough," he said. For NYCHA residents to be able to control resiliency spending in their developments, set their own priorities, and get their needs met, said Menser, "requires a reforming of the Housing Authority."</p> <p><a name="social"><strong>WHAT ARE THE SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS?</strong></a><br />It's likely that the city's resiliency plans will ultimately be judged by how well the most vulnerable in society - the disabled, the poor, the elderly, non-English speakers, and others - survive the next crisis.</p> <p>After Sandy, for instance, some of the most harrowing stories to emerge came from disabled residents who were trapped in group homes and other living facilities in the devastated areas. In testimony to the City Council after the storm, some described losing power, water, and, eventually, access to food and medication.</p> <p>As MAS' Rowe observed, the communities that fared the best during Sandy were the ones with the most social cohesion. It's a lesson born out time and again.</p> <p>Case in point: NYU Professor Eric Klinenberg's <a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/443213in.html" target="_blank">research</a> on the 700-plus deaths that took place during a 1995 heat wave in Chicago. The tragic death toll, he concluded, was the "result of distinct dangers in Chicago's social environment" - not primarily the forces of nature. Death rates were far lower in Chicago neighborhoods where social ties were stronger.</p> <p>Building social cohesion and social capital - strengthening the foundation which underlies communities - can come in many forms. The de Blasio administration's "<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/builttolast/assets/downloads/pdf/OneCity.pdf" target="_blank">One City</a>" plan seeks to make all publicly-owned buildings more climate resilient and less polluting, creating scores of local jobs in the process, and potentially a whole new sector of the economy.</p> <p>Menser described the plan as empowering for city residents and an "incredibly ingenious extension of the SIRR plan."</p> <p>The more the city can empower residents in its resiliency process, the more its resiliency plans will truly respond to the conditions of each community, and the more residents will be able to help protect each other from what is to come, whether it is a devastating storm or a heat wave.</p> <p>"You tend to tilt yourself to focus specifically on the disaster that most recently occurred to you," observed Rowe. "Whereas what you really want is to build the capacity of those neighborhoods to anticipate any number of kinds of challenges that may come...It may be something quite different."</p> <p>The city has a tremendous base of social capital on which to build- think of the bands of neighborhood volunteers who canvassed public housing developments across the city after Sandy, providing food and medical assistance to homebound residents; or the volunteers that cleared debris from ruined homes and businesses; or those who set up kitchens in storm-battered neighborhoods.</p> <p>And as much as there are tremendous risks posed to New Yorkers by climate change, there are also opportunities to build a stronger city, both physically and socially. The two are completely linked with, and reinforce each other, Rowe argued.</p> <p>She also pushed back against referring to city government as one monolithic entity, which will "solve" the climate change "problem."</p> <p>"Resiliency is too important an urban challenge to just be left to government," she said. "Resilience is really a movement. One of the important principles of resilience is there are many, many, many parts - no one solution, no one answer. That's the challenge - how do you mobilize and then connect those many parts."</p> <p>But it is equally important to point out that government is the only entity in society whose core responsibility is to maintain public safety and well being. This point was raised more than once during our interviews.</p> <p>And only government has the resources and legal status to carry out the large-scale resiliency projects that are needed.</p> <p>"Climate change is the issue of our time," agreed Council Member Mark Treyger. "It's already happening...Now we have to ask ourselves, 'what are we doing? Are we doing enough?'"</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: center;">[Related:&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5687-awaiting-the-next-storm-staten-island-balances-long-term-planning-short-term-needs-oddo" target="_blank" style="text-decoration: underline; text-align: center;">Awaiting the Next Storm: Staten Island Balances Long-Term Planning, Short-Term Needs</a><span style="text-align: center;">]</span></p> <p>***<br />by Sarah Crean for Gotham Gazette<br />in partnership with AdaptNY and NY Environment Report<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/AdaptNY" target="_blank">@AdaptNY</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/NYEnvironment" target="_blank">@NYEnvironment</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/14044079018_7500f481f4_z.jpg" alt="rooftops PlaNYC" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Rooftop greenery is part of the plan (photo: PlaNYC via flickr)</span></p> <hr /> <p>At one of many such meetings now taking place throughout the city's waterfront, residents of Red Hook, Brooklyn, gathered recently at a local community center to hear about the dramatic expansion of federal flood zones in their area and what the new designation would cost them.</p> <p>As in other coastal neighborhoods, Red Hook struggles with a variety of flooding-related issues. Area homes, businesses and public housing developments suffered heavy damage from a five-foot storm surge during Superstorm Sandy. Red Hook also has long-term stormwater drainage problems.</p> <p>So as the March 31 meeting night wore on, and residents sat closely together staring grimly at maps of their neighborhood, their fatigue and frustration was palpable.</p> <p>One described still not being back in his home more than two years after major damage during Sandy. Another, in exasperation, asked city officials and their Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who presided over the meeting, "What are you going to do? We are having meeting after meeting [about recovery and resiliency] and the neighborhood is still flooding."</p> <p>Red Hook is not alone. Similar issues and worries are being played out in waterfront communities throughout New York, from the Lower East Side to the Rockaways.</p> <p>Problems like localized flooding will become all the more urgent as climate change progresses. But the threat to each neighborhood is different, depending on where it is located relative to the city's 500-plus miles of coastline, and factors like socio-economic conditions, building stock, and critical infrastructure.</p> <p>City officials are far from indifferent. Next week on Earth Day, April 22, the city plans to release a major progress report, the first in four years, on its multi-pronged sustainability framework, known as <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc/html/home/home.shtml" target="_blank">PlaNYC</a>. As in the past, the report is expected to include discussion of climate resiliency, that is, the city's ongoing and developing preparations to manage for the effects of climate change.</p> <p>The update is the result of "an extensive engagement process," a city spokesperson recently <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/04/8565847/de-blasio-process-planyc" target="_blank">told Capital New York</a>, including meetings in every community board district, a survey available in seven languages, and an "expanded advisory board."</p> <p>In anticipation of the city's report, news partners Gotham Gazette, AdaptNY, and the NY Environment Report raised a series of key questions about resiliency planning with a group of planners, engineers, architects, elected officials, and other experts:</p> <ul> <li>What is the pace of preparations? And are there sufficient financial resources? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#Timetable" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> <li>Is the city using the best data possible? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#data" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> <li>What's the impact of expanding flood zones? And is retreat an option? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#floodzones" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> <li>Can we improve the decision-making process? Expand public engagement? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#decisionmaking" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> <li>What are the institutional obstacles? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#obstacles" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> <li>What are the social implications of resiliency planning? <span style="font-size: 8pt;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#social" target="_blank">jump</a>]</span></li> </ul> <p><strong>The overarching question: can the process of becoming resilient make New York, in the end, a better city - more livable, environmentally sustainable, and socially cohesive?</strong></p> <p>Among other key takeaways, we found:</p> <ul> <li>The city's multi-faceted preparations for climate change are viewed as sound, but greater public clarity is needed on fundamental details of project rollout and funding.</li> <li>There is fairly widespread frustration with the pace of execution, and ways to speed up the public review process should be examined.</li> <li>It's unclear how residents will manage rising insurance costs within expanded flood zones.</li> <li>Better data could improve the understanding of the climate risks ahead, and there is an open question about how far to look into the future.</li> <li>Residents could be engaged more meaningfully in the planning process, such as through participatory budgeting.</li> <li>In a number of ways, civic society is coming forward with proposals for how the city can further improve its resilience plans.</li> </ul> <p>Although creating resiliency is an ongoing process and climate change is long-term, the need to plan is urgent. "We are holding our breath," said Staten Island City Council Member Vincent Ignizio about the approach of this year's hurricane season.</p> <p>"There will be more sea level rise; there will be more frequent storms; they'll be more intense," said Steven Cohen, who directs the Earth Institute at Columbia University. "If it comes in the next year or two, we're in trouble. If it comes 5 or 10 years from now, we'd be better off."</p> <p>Added Cohen: "The question is can we build a city that's strong enough to withstand that and then recover quickly. And I believe we can."</p> <p><strong><a name="Timetable">WHAT'S THE TIMETABLE?</a><br /></strong>One outgrowth of PlaNYC targets a ten-year approach to resiliency. The city's Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, or SIRR, was first released by the Bloomberg administration post-Sandy, in June 2013, and subsequently endorsed by the de Blasio administration.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/sirr/html/report/report.shtml" target="_blank">The SIRR plan</a> includes 257 separate projects and major coastal flood protection initiatives. It has a particular focus on five vulnerable areas: the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, the East and South shores of Staten Island, South Queens, South Brooklyn, and lower Manhattan.</p> <p>As of last fall, at least 200 of the SIRR projects have been started and 29 were complete, said Daniel Zarrilli, director of the Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resilience. For instance, the city, with support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been replenishing beaches in vulnerable areas like Coney Island and the Rockaways, and rebuilding dunes on the Staten Island coast.</p> <p>Critical infrastructure is being hardened throughout the city, Cohen pointed out. Hospitals are moving generators to higher floors. The Con-Ed power plant on the East River has been made more storm resilient, and the MTA is developing contingency plans to keep water out of subway tunnels, he stated.</p> <p>But all of the major flood protection projects appear to be in some sort of "study" phase. For instance, an "integrated flood management project" for Red Hook, which could include a natural greenway, deployable flood walls, elevated streets, and drainage pumps, was originally scheduled for completion in 2016. Now, the City is currently issuing "requests for proposals" for the project, and hopes to begin construction in 2017.</p> <p>A much <a href="http://www.nycedc.com/sites/default/files/filemanager/Projects/Seaport_City/Southern_Manhattan_Coastal_Protection_Study_-_Evaluating_the_Feasibility_of_a_Multi-Purpose_Levee.pdf" target="_blank">larger project</a>, the elevation and expansion of riverfront parkland adjacent to Manhattan's Lower East Side meant to protect thousands of local residents, could take seven years to move through the review and permitting stages, and another three years or more for construction, according to a 2014 city feasibility study.</p> <p>The "multi-purpose levee" is only the first section of Manhattan's "Big U" flood protection project, which is supposed to one day stretch from West 57th street south to the Battery and up to East 42nd.</p> <p>In the coming weeks, the Army Corps will also be releasing public studies for how best to protect the Rockaway peninsula and the East Shore of Staten Island. And flood protection feasibility studies for Coney Island Creek, the Gowanus Canal, Jamaica Bay, Hunts Point, and Lower Manhattan are also ongoing.</p> <p>So how fast can the city realistically move?</p> <p>Making New York truly climate resilient will require years and, in some aspects, decades. The raising of individual homes and their mechanical systems above flood levels alone "will take a generation," observed Cohen.</p> <p>Flood protection infrastructure in the Netherlands has taken decades to put into place, observed Henk Ovink, a Dutch advisor to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.</p> <p>Even SIRR has a caveat - climate change is a long-term problem, it notes, and "many of the strategies and initiatives [in SIRR] will evolve over a similarly long period of time."</p> <p>But growing anxiety and some frustration with that pace is evident in conversations with local elected officials, such as in Staten Island, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5687-awaiting-the-next-storm-staten-island-balances-long-term-planning-short-term-needs-oddo" target="_blank">which is racing to prepare for another Sandy</a>.</p> <p>The Rockaways also has worries, in part because of historic stormwater drainage issues like in Red Hook. City Council Member Donovan Richards, who represents roughly half of its almost 120,000 residents and chairs the Council's Committee on Environmental Protection, said he is anxiously awaiting the results of the Army Corps study. Richards expressed concern that it could take as long as a decade to fully execute the Corps' recommendations.</p> <p>Meanwhile, plans to repair the Rockaway peninsula's protective bulkheads are mired in inter-agency confusion, Richards maintained. Besides beach replenishment and the eventual repair of the bulkheads on the Rockaway coast, asked Richards, "How are we really protecting these people?"</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/planyc_screenshot_via_twitter.jpg" alt="planyc screenshot via twitter" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="201" width="400" /></p> <p><strong>WHERE'S THE MONEY?<br /></strong>With the launch of the SIRR plan in 2013, city officials made clear that about one-half to three-quarters of its estimated $19.5 billion price tag was in hand. The rest would need to be raised from various sources, such as federal or state funds, and the city's utility ratepayers.</p> <p>Capital projects and studies outlined in SIRR would cost almost $14 billion. Another $5.5 billion is needed for "various other housing, business, and city agency recovery and resiliency needs," said the report.</p> <p>But, according to SIRR, that $14 billion is associated with only the first phase of its projects and programs. It doesn't include implementation costs for projects, for instance, that are to be completed beyond the 10-year time frame of the plan.</p> <p>Think of SIRR as laying the groundwork for the city's ongoing resiliency work, and realizing a first round of projects. Phase 1 projects, such as beach nourishment in Coney Island or a storm surge barrier in Newtown Creek, are included in the $14 billion. But "full build" SIRR projects, like an integrated flood protection system for West Midtown, or a storm surge barrier for the Rockaway Inlet, are not.</p> <p>City Council Member Mark Treyger, who chairs the Council's Committee on Recovery and Resiliency and represents Coney Island, argues that the pricetag for the SIRR plan is steadily rising, and that the flood protection studies happening right now are going to drive the real cost of the projects.</p> <p>"I am fairly confident when I say we don't have all the money to actualize that vision. I'm not even sure if we're anywhere close to it," said Treyger, referring to what he saw as the mounting complexity of each flood protection project.</p> <p>According to the city's "<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/sandytracker/" target="_blank">Sandy Funding Tracker</a>," which is current through the end of 2014, more than $13 billion in federal recovery funding has been earmarked for projects in the city. This includes $7.3 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a $4.2 billion Community Development Block Grant from HUD, and $840 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.</p> <p>City officials declined to clarify how much of that $13 billion is actually for SIRR. For instance, it appears that at least $1.7 billion of the HUD CDBG funds was allocated to Build It Back, the city's controversial rebuilding program for homes damaged by Sandy.</p> <p>It's also unclear whether the portion of the $4.2 billion HUD grant covering some of the new flood protection projects is totally secure.</p> <p>Council Member Ignizio of Staten Island raised the concern that by 2018 the city must have shovel-ready plans – with all the relevant permits and such - or else possibly lose some of the money. "The city is pretty far behind," said Ignizio. "There's a lot of stuff that still hasn't been planned out."</p> <p>City officials did not respond to questions about the HUD grant either.</p> <p>Nonetheless, federal funding for Sandy rebuilding is already helping to make New York more resilient.</p> <p>"The city is now required to come up with certain resiliency measures when they take federal [rebuilding] dollars," said Treyger. An example is the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation, which received a $1.6 billion FEMA grant to both repair and elevate critical infrastructure.</p> <p>Similarly, the federal government has just allocated $3 billion to repair and make more climate resilient 33 public housing developments that were heavily damaged during Sandy. Included in the grant are all six New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments in the Rockaways, along with 14 developments in Manhattan, and 12 in Brooklyn. The grant is the largest in FEMA history, said the city.</p> <p><strong><a name="data">HOW GOOD IS THE DATA?</a><br /></strong>The starting point for the city's resiliency plans is its understanding of flood risk along New York's hundreds of miles of coastline. That, in turn, is largely guided by FEMA's designation throughout the five boroughs of 100-year flood zones, areas that have a one percent chance each year of flooding.</p> <p>The last time that FEMA's flood maps were completely overhauled was in 1983, over thirty years ago. Updated maps are to be released next year, and the drafts of the new maps indicate that almost 85,000 buildings in New York will soon lie in a flood zone. That's a three-fold increase.</p> <p>But there is a very practical reason for using FEMA's flood maps as a planning guide: Only projects that address flood risks identified by FEMA are eligible for federal funding.</p> <p>"By necessity, the SIRR was set up to put New York City in a good position to receive federal money to do these projects," explained Guy Nordenson, a structural engineer and member of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, a body of climate and social scientists and risk management experts which advises the city.</p> <p>But Nordenson, who worked on the SIRR plan, argues that the city could benefit from a more robust assessment of coastal storm hazards.</p> <p>In the simplest terms, Nordenson maintains that hazard assessments for New York also need to include projections for 500-year and 2500-year flooding events.</p> <p>Why? Because these types of events are already happening. "Depending on how you calculate it," said Nordenson, "Sandy was definitely greater than a 500-year" event. "It was closer to what we're looking at as the extreme [2500-year] event."</p> <p>Another way of understanding this, said Nordenson, is that the FEMA maps used by the city look at flood events with a 40 percent likelihood over a 50-year span. But over the next 50 years, what type of flood has a 10 percent likelihood of occurring? Or a 2 percent likelihood?</p> <p>The 2 percent standard is what the U.S. uses for earthquake and tsunami protection guidelines, said Nordenson, who served as chair of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program in the 1980's.</p> <p>Nordenson, who is collaborating with the Army Corps, is also incorporating climate change projections into <a href="http://structuresofcoastalresilience.org/" target="_blank">his flood risk models</a>. Significantly, FEMA is not using climate change data as it updates its flood maps.</p> <p>While Nordenson believes that "[New York] City is way ahead of the majority of communities up and down the East Coast" in terms of resiliency planning, the ultimate goal, he said, is to "do a better job of encompassing the full range of uncertainty."</p> <p>He pointed out: "If you consider what happened in Katrina and what's happened in many cases in floods, there's always something that goes wrong. There's always flooding in places that we don't expect. There's always failure of some levee or other form of protection."</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5687-awaiting-the-next-storm-staten-island-balances-long-term-planning-short-term-needs-oddo" target="_blank">Awaiting the Next Storm: Staten Island Balances Long-Term Planning, Short-Term Needs</a>]</p> <p><a name="floodzones"><strong>WHAT'S THE IMPACT OF GROWING FLOOD ZONES?</strong></a><br />Over 400,000 city residents will soon be living in 100-year flood zones.That's an increase of 84% from the current 218,088. What does adding tens of thousands of residents to the updated FEMA flood zones mean in financial and social terms?</p> <p>The most pressing issue is the specter of working class, waterfront communities facing steadily rising flood insurance costs on top of other economic challenges. Council Member Treyger calls it an approaching "financial storm."</p> <p>To control the costs, FEMA currently recognizes elevating one's home as the only mitigation step. But because elevation is untenable in many cases, the city has been pushing FEMA to take New York's existing housing stock into account.</p> <p>Otherwise, the only viable option for many New York homeowners will be to abandon the first floor of their houses. That's often a critical source of rental income. "Many of us are losing one-third of the value of our houses," said one angry Red Hook resident at the March meeting.</p> <p>The dilemma was brought home by Alexandros Washburn, an architect and chief urban designer at the Department of City Planning under the Bloomberg administration. He rode out Sandy at his home in Red Hook, which was heavily flooded.</p> <p>"If I were to follow the regulatory path of least resistance [by using FEMA guidelines]," Washburn explained, "I'm supposed to take out my Victorian storefront, fill my basement, pour a concrete slab and park cars...Then my house is resilient."</p> <p>But then Red Hook would become a neighborhood of parking garages, he argued. "We would have killed the social heart of our neighborhood."</p> <p>There are solutions. Neighborhood flood protection projects, in planning now, could eventually provide mitigation credits for homeowners. That, in turn, would lower their flood insurance rates, said Treyger.</p> <p>And the city's resiliency projects could do more than help lower the cost of flood insurance for residents. They could also help whole neighborhoods get out of the flood zones altogether, said Washburn.</p> <p>"If we succeed in making a beautiful and effective perimeter protection for Red Hook, we take Red Hook out of the flood zone, out from under the requirement for FEMA [flood] insurance. We remove the problem," he said.</p> <p>Is that realistic? "Totally doable," Washburn responded. "That would be the [city's] end-goal."</p> <p>Added Treyger: "My message to the city is that when we're planning resiliency, are we aligned to the FEMA standards? We have to make sure that we have the relevant city agencies on the same page with FEMA, who have to be on the same page with the Army Corps."</p> <p><a href="http://www.nycedc.com/sites/default/files/filemanager/Projects/Seaport_City/Southern_Manhattan_Coastal_Protection_Study_-_Evaluating_the_Feasibility_of_a_Multi-Purpose_Levee.pdf" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/east_side_area.png" alt="east side area" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="225" width="400" /></a></p> <p><strong>IS RETREAT AN OPTION?<br /></strong>Is there a point at which New York residents should simply move away from an increasingly flood-prone coast? That question begins to make sense when you look at the findings of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, or NPCC, whose <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nyas.2015.1336.issue-1/issuetoc" target="_blank">most recent report</a> was released in February.</p> <p>The NPCC has found that since 1900, New York has seen sea levels rise around a foot, nearly twice the observed global rate over a similar time period.</p> <p>This trend is expected to continue, and even accelerate, as the century progresses. According to the panel's most recent report, sea level could rise another 11-21 inches by the 2050s, and 18-39 inches by the 2080s. By 2100, according to the panel's worst-case, though lowest probability scenario, it could increase as much as six feet.</p> <p>Indeed, after Sandy, some homeowners on Staten Island had already made the decision to give up their homes. They are participating in <a href="http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/ny-rising-buyout-and-acquisition-programs" target="_blank">a joint city and state program</a> under the state's NY Rising community reconstruction initiative. The acquisition program is currently only available in three Staten Island neighborhoods and Suffolk County.</p> <p>Despite this, the city has maintained a "no retreat" policy thus far. "New York City will not retreat," the SIRR plan declared. "[It will] stand with its waterfront neighborhoods."</p> <p>But how far into the future should we try to look? "For the foreseeable future, we can manage risk and we can make neighborhoods safer," argued city resiliency official Zarrilli, in <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/keeping-floodwaters-bay/" target="_blank">an interview</a> last month on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show.</p> <p>"And in the future if things are going either faster or slower in the climate than we anticipated, we can continue to react," Zarrilli maintained. "It's not an all-at-once implementation that needs to happen."</p> <p>A concrete example is the City's approach to inundation. By the 2050's, some neighborhoods are expected to experience weekly or even daily tidal flooding due to sea level rise. The city said it plans to monitor the situation and raise the height of coastal edges, with bulkheads and beach nourishment, as necessary.</p> <p>But others see it differently. "I think we need a realistic, thoughtful conversation about what a sustainable strategy looks like with our waterfront," said Mary Rowe, vice president of the Municipal Art Society, a century-old organization with a special focus on design, planning, architecture and resilience. "There's a significant question about what does New York look like in 50 years. What are the alternatives?"</p> <p>And some go even farther. For instance, Klaus Jacob, a geo-physicist affiliated with the Earth Institute, who also sits on the NPCC, has pointedly argued that the city must plan now to move coastal residents to higher ground.</p> <p>But the Earth Institute's Cohen responded that "abandoning [the coastline] is not practical and not cost-effective." Part of Cohen's concern relates to the working class makeup of many of the city's coastal communities. Given the current housing affordability crisis, asked Cohen, where are the almost 700,000 residents of the city's most vulnerable coastal areas going to move?</p> <p>Another issue Cohen raised is the massive financial loss that would be incurred by walking away from the critical infrastructure, like powerplants and wastewater treatment facilities, that has been constructed all along the city's coastline.</p> <p>In any event, Cohen is not convinced that the most dire projections made by the city's climate scientists are inevitable. In 2014, greenhouse gases actually stabilized, he stated.</p> <p>The global economy is moving away from coal, and will eventually replace all fossil fuels with renewable sources, Cohen said, and that will slow the pace of climate change. Fossil fuels will be driven from the marketplace "long before we're under five feet of water in New York City," he argued.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nycedc.com/sites/default/files/filemanager/Projects/Seaport_City/Southern_Manhattan_Coastal_Protection_Study_-_Evaluating_the_Feasibility_of_a_Multi-Purpose_Levee.pdf" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/manhattan_shorelines.png" alt="manhattan shorelines" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" height="188" width="400" /></a></p> <p><strong><a name="decisionmaking">CAN THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS BE IMPROVED?</a><br /></strong>One of the challenges of resiliency planning is that the timetable for infrastructure projects is guided by lengthy public review processes, which were originally established to provide more oversight and opportunities for the public to weigh in.</p> <p>"The pace of climate change is such that we have to find a way of speeding up the public process," observed Washburn, the city's former chief urban designer. "The ability for top-down and bottom-up to come together and reach a decision is critical. You can't act without deciding first."</p> <p>He added: "The expeditious part, for me, is not the amount of time it takes to build the thing...It's the time it takes to get to a decision on what you are going to build and how you're going to pay for it."</p> <p>Washburn believes he may have one piece of the puzzle. He now runs a coastal resilience research lab at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., and said his lab has developed a computer program that will "let us plan coastal protections together with the community in real time."</p> <p>Local residents can use this so-called parametric analysis tool to gain a much deeper understanding of the physical effectiveness, social impact, and cost of each proposed project, Washburn argued.</p> <p>"[You] let everybody get into the room, whether it's a virtual or actual room, and play with the parameters," Washburn continued. "If you substitute a concrete wall for a vegetative berm, you can keep track of the costs. You can see what it looks like. You can see what the view from the street is. ... It's tools like that that let you go through the same interactive process that ULURP [the city's Uniform Land Use Review Process] is hoping to establish of community input and top input and modification."</p> <p>Washburn added: "The tools are now out there for the city to get to success. The city's got a pretty good foundation. The number one smart thing the city is doing is taking a neighborhood approach. The question is can they take it the last step and make a reality that's effective but also improves quality of life."</p> <p><strong>DO RESIDENTS HAVE ENOUGH SAY?</strong><br />Another concrete way to engage the public is to give people more direct say over how resiliency dollars are spent, say some policy advocates. This is already a pressing issue in cases where residents have been heavily involved in developing resiliency proposals, but risk being left out of the final decision making process.</p> <p>A case in point is the Hunts Point community of the South Bronx, which has actively participated in developing one of the winning coastal resiliency projects chosen by HUD's Rebuild by Design program.</p> <p>The revised price tag for the <a href="http://www.rebuildbydesign.org/project/hunts-point-lifelines/" target="_blank">Hunts Point Lifelines</a> project is now $481 million. So far, HUD has allocated $25 million, and the city is prepared to offer another $20 million.</p> <p>Some community leaders are asking how what is ultimately built in Hunts Point will be decided upon, and who will participate in that process.</p> <p>We need "clear points of decision making," said Kelly Terry, executive director of The Point CDC, at a public meeting about the project on April 10. She said the community is looking for clear criteria on who gets to participate in a working group created by the city, along with accountability and open communication.</p> <p>There are multiple potential ways residents can participate in resiliency budget discussions.</p> <p>One possible first step could be for the city to provide financial support for some of the "first responder" community groups who were so essential during Sandy. This is a "no-brainer," argued Michael Menser, an assistant professor of Earth and Environmental Science at the CUNY Graduate Center.</p> <p>"Where is the funding program for [the first responder groups] to build their own capacity, to improve their spaces and community infrastructure, to hire more, to have better relationships with the [city] agencies?" he asked.</p> <p>A next step, said Menser, chair of the non-profit Participatory Budgeting Project, would be to utilize participatory budgeting for certain types of local resiliency projects. Participatory budgeting is already used in almost half of New York City's council districts, including several Sandy-impacted areas.</p> <p>"What's been missing is any kind of process that connects neighborhoods to city agencies and city government in a medium-term way," Menser said. "There's been no real defined way that people could participate."</p> <p>To be clear, Menser is talking about actual decision making, not just offering one's opinion at a community board meeting or in a survey. Community boards can only make non-binding recommendations in the city's land use review process, for example.</p> <p>Giving residents a pot of funding could "really enliven and strengthen the city's resilience-enhancing goals," said Menser. As part of the participatory budgeting process, communities would work with the relevant city agencies to develop resiliency proposals that are technically and legally appropriate, he said.</p> <p>Going even further, using participatory budgeting on a citywide level would significantly ramp up the city's resilience process, Menser argued, and be especially useful for overcoming the isolation of Sandy-impacted communities. Referring to the fact that climate change will ultimately affect every New York neighborhood, whether coastal or not, Menser observed that "this is a regional issue."</p> <p>But the underlying question for Menser is how to maintain substantive public involvement in resiliency planning on an ongoing basis. In the participatory budgeting paradigm, "expertise plays a critical role, but it's driven by community need," he said. "And in the process, you create more trust among the government and the community, but also within the community, and also you help to promote interagency coordination."</p> <p><strong>HOW ARE RESIDENTS BEING ENGAGED?</strong><br />Our previous reporting <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/environment/4660-special-report-are-the-citys-most-vulnerable-communities-being-heard-" target="_blank">found</a> striking disconnects in communication between the Bloomberg administration and some of its community boards regarding resiliency planning.</p> <p>Additional interviews last fall with several dozen residents in two of the city's most vulnerable areas found that a significant number were simply unsure what measures, if any, were being taken to protect their communities. The overwhelming majority <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5399-at-risk-residents-worry-over-climate-safety-city-leaders-eye-resiliency-and-outreach" target="_blank">thought they were no safer</a>, two years after Sandy, from the risks posed by climate change.</p> <p>As noted earlier, the de Blasio administration has pledged to increase community engagement as it updates PlaNYC, and, so far, has done so by meeting with all 59 of the city's community boards, and disseminating a survey about a variety of sustainability and resiliency topics.</p> <p>The administration has decided not to re-activate two task forces that were convened after Sandy to enable communities in vulnerable areas to weigh in on resiliency planning.</p> <p>But resiliency planning bodies and advocacy groups are springing up throughout the five boroughs. Resiliency and rebuilding task forces have been established by the borough presidents of Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens, Council Member Treyger noted.</p> <p>Treyger said that he has jump-started a resiliency task force in his community, Coney Island.<br />"I would encourage all of the communities [with] these studies underway [to organize]," said Treyger. "Let's not wait for them," he said of the city. "We can do it ourselves."</p> <p>Resiliency task forces are even being formed at the hyper-local level. For instance, residents in some of the public housing developments in the Rockaways have set up planning groups, said Council Member Richards.</p> <p>Richards observed that a major challenge for the city was figuring out how best to "intertwine environmental justice communities with PlaNYC planning. They have been left out of the conversation."</p> <p>The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding, a citywide coalition of labor unions and community, faith-based, environmental, and policy organizations formed after Sandy, shares Richards' concern.</p> <p>The city's rebuilding process must include a commitment to "the elimination of environmental disparities across communities," the alliance says on its website. The goal is a process that "prioritizes transparency and community inclusion, [and] creates new economic opportunity for all New Yorkers –particularly low-income communities and communities of color."</p> <p>Richards stressed that he believes community involvement in resiliency planning is a "personal issue for the mayor." He said that the de Blasio administration was making an "honest effort" to engage the public and to "really listen" to feedback.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: center;">[Related:&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5687-awaiting-the-next-storm-staten-island-balances-long-term-planning-short-term-needs-oddo" target="_blank" style="text-decoration: underline; text-align: center;">Awaiting the Next Storm: Staten Island Balances Long-Term Planning, Short-Term Needs</a><span style="text-align: center;">]</span></p> <p><strong><a name="obstacles">WHAT ARE THE INSTITUTIONAL OBSTACLES?</a><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/obstacles" target="_blank"></a></strong><br />All levels of government, including Congress, will have to collaborate closely to protect the eight million-plus residents of New York City from the impacts of climate change. At last month's meeting in Red Hook, Rep. Velazquez ruefully observed how hard the New York delegation has had to fight for funding in the Republican-led Congress.</p> <p>One issue that is often overlooked in resiliency discussions is the impact - positive and negative - of state funding decisions on the city. Insufficient funding for basic water infrastructure projects, like upgrades to wastewater treatment plants and water mains, has reached a crisis level across the state, say Democratic and Republican legislators in Albany.</p> <p>This relates directly to climate change because New York is projected to see increases in the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme precipitation events. Yet some coastal neighborhoods in Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn still lack the proper infrastructure to handle run-of-the-mill rainstorms.</p> <p>The city is struggling to play catch-up and is engaged in stormwater infrastructure projects in several communities. This includes building grey infrastructure, like sewer mains, as well as green infrastructure, like <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/dep_projects/bluebelt.shtml" target="_blank">blue belts</a> (natural drainage corridors) and bioswales.</p> <p>The good news, according to those interviewed for this report, is that individual city agencies are increasingly working together on resiliency planning.</p> <p>Challenges remain. For instance, despite ongoing pleas from residents and elected officials, the city cannot seem to determine which agency has ultimate responsibility for repairing some of the bulkheads that will protect the Rockaway coastline until larger coastal flood protection projects are in place. Council Member Richards described the situation as "convoluted."</p> <p>But there are concrete measures that could enable city agencies to work more effectively together, says CUNY's Menser.</p> <p>"It would be a really good time to have a [city] charter review in a year or two," argued Menser, referring to the fact that city agencies now function in the complex and shifting world of climate change. The issue affects their responsibilities, and may alter how power needs to be distributed, especially vis-a-vis the public, he said.</p> <p>A charter review could also address jurisdictional issues relevant to resiliency planning, or even increase the power held by community boards. The last full review was in 1989. An examination of how government is structured is merited, Menser said. "We're due."</p> <p>And the underlying point, said Menser, is that climate resiliency is going to require more than technical solutions. It will also require "social support" and "bureaucratic changes" - a point echoed by others. More specifically, true resilience "requires a remaking of bureaucratic institutions, and the relationship between the public and those institutions," Menser continued.</p> <p>As an example, Menser cited the city's housing authority, NYCHA, which has been plagued by reports of internal dysfunction. Many public housing developments were badly damaged during Sandy, taking an enormous toll on residents.</p> <p>"Remaking the buildings isn't going to be enough," he said. For NYCHA residents to be able to control resiliency spending in their developments, set their own priorities, and get their needs met, said Menser, "requires a reforming of the Housing Authority."</p> <p><a name="social"><strong>WHAT ARE THE SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS?</strong></a><br />It's likely that the city's resiliency plans will ultimately be judged by how well the most vulnerable in society - the disabled, the poor, the elderly, non-English speakers, and others - survive the next crisis.</p> <p>After Sandy, for instance, some of the most harrowing stories to emerge came from disabled residents who were trapped in group homes and other living facilities in the devastated areas. In testimony to the City Council after the storm, some described losing power, water, and, eventually, access to food and medication.</p> <p>As MAS' Rowe observed, the communities that fared the best during Sandy were the ones with the most social cohesion. It's a lesson born out time and again.</p> <p>Case in point: NYU Professor Eric Klinenberg's <a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/443213in.html" target="_blank">research</a> on the 700-plus deaths that took place during a 1995 heat wave in Chicago. The tragic death toll, he concluded, was the "result of distinct dangers in Chicago's social environment" - not primarily the forces of nature. Death rates were far lower in Chicago neighborhoods where social ties were stronger.</p> <p>Building social cohesion and social capital - strengthening the foundation which underlies communities - can come in many forms. The de Blasio administration's "<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/builttolast/assets/downloads/pdf/OneCity.pdf" target="_blank">One City</a>" plan seeks to make all publicly-owned buildings more climate resilient and less polluting, creating scores of local jobs in the process, and potentially a whole new sector of the economy.</p> <p>Menser described the plan as empowering for city residents and an "incredibly ingenious extension of the SIRR plan."</p> <p>The more the city can empower residents in its resiliency process, the more its resiliency plans will truly respond to the conditions of each community, and the more residents will be able to help protect each other from what is to come, whether it is a devastating storm or a heat wave.</p> <p>"You tend to tilt yourself to focus specifically on the disaster that most recently occurred to you," observed Rowe. "Whereas what you really want is to build the capacity of those neighborhoods to anticipate any number of kinds of challenges that may come...It may be something quite different."</p> <p>The city has a tremendous base of social capital on which to build- think of the bands of neighborhood volunteers who canvassed public housing developments across the city after Sandy, providing food and medical assistance to homebound residents; or the volunteers that cleared debris from ruined homes and businesses; or those who set up kitchens in storm-battered neighborhoods.</p> <p>And as much as there are tremendous risks posed to New Yorkers by climate change, there are also opportunities to build a stronger city, both physically and socially. The two are completely linked with, and reinforce each other, Rowe argued.</p> <p>She also pushed back against referring to city government as one monolithic entity, which will "solve" the climate change "problem."</p> <p>"Resiliency is too important an urban challenge to just be left to government," she said. "Resilience is really a movement. One of the important principles of resilience is there are many, many, many parts - no one solution, no one answer. That's the challenge - how do you mobilize and then connect those many parts."</p> <p>But it is equally important to point out that government is the only entity in society whose core responsibility is to maintain public safety and well being. This point was raised more than once during our interviews.</p> <p>And only government has the resources and legal status to carry out the large-scale resiliency projects that are needed.</p> <p>"Climate change is the issue of our time," agreed Council Member Mark Treyger. "It's already happening...Now we have to ask ourselves, 'what are we doing? Are we doing enough?'"</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: center;">[Related:&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5687-awaiting-the-next-storm-staten-island-balances-long-term-planning-short-term-needs-oddo" target="_blank" style="text-decoration: underline; text-align: center;">Awaiting the Next Storm: Staten Island Balances Long-Term Planning, Short-Term Needs</a><span style="text-align: center;">]</span></p> <p>***<br />by Sarah Crean for Gotham Gazette<br />in partnership with AdaptNY and NY Environment Report<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/AdaptNY" target="_blank">@AdaptNY</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/NYEnvironment" target="_blank">@NYEnvironment</a></p>